Yankees fans might get to this point in the offseason and wonder – is that all there is? Is it enough? Yes, it is, and we should save the rest of our ammo for July.
The Yankees, and in particular Brian Cashman, have done a pretty good job of adding players to the team’s arsenal during the offseason. James Paxton is the real deal, and DJ LeMahieu will help the team in any numbers of ways on and off the field. Cashman targeted and won the battle for Adam Ottavino, more than making up for the loss of David Robertson.
Re-signing Brett Gardner and CC Sabathia affirms stability in the clubhouse as the last carryovers from the previous Championship, now a decade ago. And J.A. Happ rounds out what is a formidable starting staff to begin the season, while Troy Tulowitzki is an inexpensive insurance policy, and possibly lightning in a bottle catch if indeed he is healthy.
As a bonus, the Yankees have reached this point without giving in to the lure of the big splash signing of Manny Machado or Bryce Harper, despite how much fans like myself would like to see Harper taking cuts at that right field porch for 600 at-bats.
This team, as currently constructed, is more than good enough to waltz into the playoffs. This Yankees team should even be good enough to win the American League East by finishing ahead of the sleeping Boston Red Sox.
Still, without a closer and possibly waiting for the price on Greg Kimbrel to come down from his lofty expectations, the Red Sox just might be saying the same thing about themselves as I’m speaking about the Yankees – we have enough to do what we need to do during the regular season. So, let’s calm down everybody because we can always reload later.
There’s more reinforcement to the argument in this chart from Spotrac on 2019 team payrolls (to date):
Translation: The Red Sox have already blasted through the luxury tax limit for 2019 ($206 million) while the Yankees have about $12-13 million to spend before exceeding the limit. There can’t be better news for Yankees fans who will be pushing for Player X in a trade at the July deadline to propel the Yankees into the World Series in the final stages of the season.
We need more starting pitching due to injuries or just to go over the top by adding another? No problem. Take a glance at the players who will become free agents at the end of the season, and take note of the teams they are currently on.
Will, for instance, the Giants be buried so far behind the Dodgers that they put Madison Bumgarner on the block? Or maybe the Angels realize again they have zero chance of catching the Astros and Matt Harvey, who has rebounded, is made available.
Or maybe it’s position players who are needed, again due to unforeseen injuries (remember Aaron Judge and his wrist). And lo and behold the Tigers are ready to unload power hitting Nick Castellanos, a player who has already expressed a desire to leave the woeful team he is playing for.
Or, it could be that the Yankees prime free agent target to sign in 2020, All-Star third baseman Nolan Arenado, who has already stated he is tired of losing in Colorado, is put up for sale, rather than the Rockies risking losing him when he enters free agency.
The possibilities are myriad, and by now Yankees fans should have all the trust in the world that when Brian Cashman sees a need, he’s going to fill it.
But between now and then, the 25 Yankees players who move North with the team have all they should need to win another 100 games by season’s end. And this time, different from last time, Aaron Boone needs to step up, ensuring that each of his players is held accountable.
No more freeze-ups in the field and on the bases by Gleyber Torres. No more lazy shifts by Gary Sanchez to block balls in the dirt. No more giveaway at-bats by Giancarlo Stanton where he ends up flailing at a pitcher’s pitch a foot outside. And most important, a second half equal to the first half from Luis Severino.
The offseason for the Yankees should be over and done with, and the focus now is solely on Spring Training set to begin a couple of weeks, with Opening Day coming sooner than we think after that. This Yankees team is good – not just good enough – it’s Good. Let it be.