As the New York Yankees continue to sell their veteran players in order to try to rebuild, Yankees GM Brian Cashman may have a master plan to “Make the Yankees Great Again” a lot sooner than later. The latest veteran to leave the Bronx is Brian McCann, who was traded to the Houston Astros for flame-throwing pitching prospects Albert Abreu and Jorge Guzman. This continued the trend set last year, as many believe that Yankees will try to “rebuild”, but we all know that is not the Yankees style.
New York Yankees Offseason Expectations and Possibilites
The Effects of the Brian McCann Trade
Trading McCann may have more effects on the Yankees than most people think. The Yankees will miss McCann in plenty of ways. Statistically, despite his “advanced age” for a catcher, he is still one of the most productive offensive catchers in the bigs. Last year was a bit of down year for McCann, but he still finished tied for sixth, with Gary Sanchez, in home runs for catchers, and tied for 10th in RBI among catchers. Just a year ago, in 2015, McCann won the Silver Slugger for catchers after finishing second in home runs and RBI.
This year’s drop-off for McCann could be the result of many things, from not having any protection in the weak Yankees lineup, to the damper the wonder-boy Sanchez may have put on the veteran catcher. Having Sanchez does help this fact tremendously and is the very reason the Yankees made the trade, but if the young Sanchez experiences a sophomore slump, the Yankees will miss the stability McCann brought to the team.
the 12-year veteran has been renowned as one of the best game-callers in the majors, and his leadership in the locker room is where the Yankees will miss him. Who better to teach the defensively challenged, offensively charged Sanchez a thing or two about catching in the majors than someone who Hall of Fame pitchers have trusted behind the plate? Balls in the dirt have been an issue for Sanchez, and catching guys like Masahiro Tanaka and Nathan Eovaldi, who have incredible split-fingers, could be an issue.
The biggest positive for Bomber fans is that this trade opens up a lot of possibilities. It freed about $23 million for the Yankees, who need to get their luxury tax under the $189 million threshold, because yes, they are still paying Alex Rodriguez. It also creates flexibilty for the DH spot. The Yankees could sign a big-name free agent, like Edwin Encarnacion or Carlos Beltran, to fill the role. Or, they could go a different route and give some young players a chance. As of right now, Aaron Judge, Tyler Austin and Greg Bird won’t be able to play every day without one of them hitting DH. The Yankees now have the freedom to decide what they want to do going forward.
Expectations and Possibilities Going Forward
The Yankees have some work to do to get their team back to the glory days of the Core 4, but the process very exciting so far. Moments such as Austin and Judge going back-to-back for their first career homers and Sanchez’s first home run at Yankee Stadium set the place abuzz like it was 2009. That being said, many fans were not happy with trading Aroldis Chapman, and few liked trading Andrew Miller for prospects that may not even be on the roster next year. The Yankee fans are a right-now crowd, with World Series expectations every season. The thing is, they may not have to wait much longer.
The Yankees have, according to MLB prospect analyst Jim Callis, the deepest farm system in the Majors. This could mean plenty of things, but it certainly means the Yankees will do as they usually do: hype up their prospects and trade them away for players of value. Mike Trout and the Yankees have been rumored for a Big Apple Romance in the making, but, sadly, that may just be a fantasy. That said, do not be surprised if the Yankees make a move for a guy like Chris Sale, who the Chicago White Sox were thinking about dealing at the deadline last year. If any team has the prospects to get him, it’s the Yankees. That sounds like a right-now move, but he is controllable for two more years and we all know about the 2018 free agency market.
Enough of all this prospect talk. WHERE IS THE MONEY?! The Yankees are still the Yankees, so who are some big free agents this offseason that the Yankees could persue? The first names that come to mind are some former Yankees from just a season ago in Chapman and Beltran. Chapman was reported to be upset after the trade and said he would go back to the Yankees “god-willing” if they contacted him. With questions about Dellin Betances having the nerve to be a closer, this could be a good move for the Yankees and put them back in the conversation for the best bullpen in baseball.
Beltran could be another nice move for the Yankees, depending on the years they may give him. He has also expressed respect for the Yankees and a desire to be a Yankee. He could be a good option as the Yankees DH, giving him a chance to focus on hitting and not worry about playing the outfield. Beltran was a leader in the Yankee clubhouse last year. It was reported that Beltran would watch film with the younger players, like Starlin Castro, to try to fix some hitches in their swings. Castro credits Beltran for helping him out this year.
A few other names that come to mind are some rivals in Jose Bautista, Encarnacion, and cross-town rival Yoenis Cespedes. Bautista isn’t a gerat option for the Yankees, but Encarnacion may be, especially with the Toronto Blue Jays signing Kendrys Morales. He could be a nice power option for the Yankees, especially in hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium. Cespedes may be an option, as his bat could help any team, but the Yankees may not be willing to put up with Cespedes being Cespedes.
The Yankees are an interesting team to watch this offseason. The road back to prominence has so far been paved with a slew of young talent. The amount of money they could spend in free agency this year and, more importantly, next year could see the Yankees figure it all out and win a World Series within the next five years. A slew of young talent, a lot of money to spend, and a one of the best GMs in the game? Sounds like a very familiar formula.