Rightfully so, the Yankees will be all-in on the postseason. But Brian Cashman cannot afford to be distracted. 2020 looms ahead…
Hopefully, the Yankees will be “preoccupied” between now and the parade in Manhattan celebrating their 28th World Championship. But in the meantime, Brian Cashman needs to be picking his staff and scouts brains with a plan for 2020 that is ready to swing into action on the day following the conclusion of the season.
There is a myriad of decisions facing the Yankees and Cashman before the bell rings in late March of next year to open the season. Decisions loom both internally and externally regarding the constitution of the Yankees roster when the team moves North from Tampa and Spring Training.
But for the next month or so, teams already eliminated from the postseason competition will have the jump on the Yankees.
The Chicago Cubs, New York Mets, and Philadelphia Phillies, for instance, stand out as teams awakening to the stink of how their seasons ended, and therefore ready to scurry to prepare for 2020.
It doesn’t matter all of these teams are in the National League. In the offseason, you compete against all 30 teams for the jump on 2020.
Things Happen Fast In The Offseason
On the day following the World Series, eligible free agents can declare their candidacy to enter the open market. In theory, Yankee scouts have already done their homework on players the Yankees might be interested in, and have forwarded those reports to Cashman.
There they sit on Cashman’s desk, waiting for action, which means a barrage of phone calls to agents representing each player. What are you looking for ($)? How many years? Does he have an inkling to play in New York and for the Yankees? Are there kids and schools involved in his decision?
Time needed and spent, plus the follow-up calls to see if anything has changed. All in a day’s work for a seasoned GM like Cashman. But on October 4, Cashman will be riveted in his seat in the GM’s box at Yankee Stadium. Meanwhile, while other GM’s, also in attendance, are “fraternizing” with those same agents in the dining room just below Cashman.
The Yankees Can’t-Wait Before Deciding On…
And that’s just the beginning. Every one of the players shown in the table is eligible for arbitration this year.
There is no room for error on any of these players. Additionally, Dellin Betances, Didi Gregorius, and Austin Romine are eligible to enter the free-market as free agents in November.
Deadline dates keep coming. November 20, a mere three weeks after the WS ends is the deadline for teams to add eligible minor leaguers to the 40-man roster to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft. A look at the Yankees 40-man roster shows several players on the bubble.
In this area, the Yankees seem to be okay for this year. But there are a host of players in the team’s farm system who has reached free-agent status. Cashman and his team need to take a final look at before they expose them to the draft.
And then, there are internal personnel decisions to be made. Is it Miguel Andujar or Gio Urshela at third base next season? Or somehow, both? What about Greg Bird, assuming he’s healthy and ready to play? Ditto, Clint Frazier and Tyler Wade. Who has a place on the Yankee’s team in 2020?
Cashman – The Master Juggler – Again?
Brian Cashman has always been adept at pulling the rabbit out from beneath his hat when he needs to. But this season is different, and time will prove to be of the essence. Cashman’s recent judiciousness and restraint have worked well.
The Yankee’s offseason will be dramatically shortened if the team proves capable of going the distance. The honeymoon afterward will add to the distraction.
It’s presented here as something to merely keep an eye focused on as we get lost in the postseason and the calendar moves forward. And I hope that’s all we need to be worried about (James Paxton‘s injury Friday night?)…