By Ross Sutton
So far, the Yankees’ offseason moves have made their fans extremely excited for the upcoming season. They made the biggest move of the offfseason by trading for National League MVP, Giancarlo Stanton. Next, Yankees’ ownership and General Manager Brian Cashman hired Aaron Boone to be the next manager for the team. Then, the Yankees traded Chase Headley to the Angels for Jabari Blash as a salary dump to create more financial flexibility going forward. Then finally, the Yankees re-signed C.C Sabathia to a one year deal worth about $10 million.
Despite only making three big moves up to this point of the offseason, the Yankees have been one of the most active teams during this historically boring offseason. Now, with about a month left until pitchers and catchers report to training camp, the Yankees still have some holes on the roster that need to be filled in order to solidify themselves as the favorite in the American League.
With the trading away of Chase Headley and the expiration of Todd Frazier’s contract after this past season, the Yankees now have a hole at third base. The Yankees currently have a few different options in the organization with Miguel Andujar and Ronald Torreyes. While Andujar has excelled in the minor leagues thus far and played well in a very brief stint in the majors, the Yankees are most likely looking for a more reliable and experienced option at third in a year in which they are trying to win the World Series. Torreyes has also shown that he is a valuable backup while filling in for injured players last year, but his lack of power at the plate is forcing the Yankees hand to bring in a free agent to fill the whole at third base for this season.
The two best free agent options to fill the Yankees’ hole at third are Todd Frazier and Mike Moustakas. Frazier played well and became a leader in the clubhouse during the second half of last season for the Yankees. Moustakas is also coming off of a successful year in which he hit a career-high and Royals franchise record 38 home runs. My prediction is that the Yankees will be able to sign Moustakas to a team-friendly, one year deal that would likely increase Moustakas’ value going into next season when one considers the short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium and the protection Moustakas would have in the Yankees star-studded lineup. This would also allow the Yankees to be aggressive in signing Manny Machado next offseason. Moustakas would bring a valuable, left-handed power bat to an otherwise right-hand heavy lineup.
The Yankees could also use another pitcher to round out the starting staff. If the season started today, the Yankees starting rotation would feature Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Sonny Gray, C.C Sabathia, and Jordan Montgomery. Despite the fact that this rotation could be good enough to win the division, the Yankees goal this season is to win the World Series. The Yankees have recently had strong ties to free agent Yu Darvish who’s value seems to have dropped due to poor performances in the postseason. But the Yankees seem hell-bent on being under the $197 million luxury tax this year, and signing Darvish would mean that the Yankees would have to trade players such as David Robertson, who I believe is too valuable to the bullpen to trade away, or Jacoby Ellsbury, who’s massive contract and full no-trade clause make him very difficult to trade. Therefore, I believe that the Yankees will end up not signing any of the free agent pitchers and will instead elect to go forward with the current group of starters and then call up either Chance Adams or Justus Sheffield, who are the Yankees top pitching prospects and have both found great success in the minor leagues. This would be the most cost effective option for the Yankees and would allow them to feature a six man rotation that could be extremely beneficial to both Masahiro Tanaka, who has shown that he pitches significantly better when getting an extra day of rest, and C.C Sabathia, who has been battling injuries the last few seasons and is in the home-stretch of his career.
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