The Yankees don’t need to be criticized for not answering these questions looming over their 2020 season – but that won’t last…
The Yankees, like all teams at this point in the offseason, have more questions than answers about the team they will field in 2020.
But as Christmas approaches, stakes are raised regarding the free-agent market and possible trades to improve the team.
For the most part, that’s Brian Cashman’s bailiwick, and from what we’ve learned, it’s best just to let him do his thing.
Within the organization, however, internally, there are several questions that beg answers. Here are a few that may not ask Gerrit Cole features on the back pages of New York newspapers, but are equally as important.
What’s the deal with Domingo German?
Domingo German, as we know, is embroiled in a “situation” that primarily at this point is in the hands of Major League Baseball (MLB).
To its credit, MLB is taking all reported incidences of domestic violence seriously.
When first published, MLB suspended German for the balance of the 2019 season, including the playoffs.
His status now still rests with MLB, and possibly the Player’s Association if they deem it necessary to intervene at a later date.
But for the Yankees, will German be available for the start of the 2020 season (not likely)? And if not, when can the team count on the pitcher who was arguably the ace of their staff to rejoin the team?
Is Giancarlo Stanton worth betting on?
Is Giancarlo Stanton‘s body too etched in stone to be a reliable contributor to the Yankees or any major league team?
Was 2019 a hiccup or an omen of all things to come?
Carrying the albatross of an inflated salary superseding even the money owed to Jacoby Ellsbury, versus time spent on the field, Stanton now rises to the top of the most current “worst contracts” ever inherited by the Yankees.
Trade him? In a New York minute, Brian Cashman presumably would – if he could.
In the meantime, all Aaron Boone can do is write Stanton’s name in the lineup, hoping for the best. Ouch.
Is Aaron Hicks really the answer in centerfield?
Brian Cashman did not make a mistake when he traded for Aaron Hicks in a deal with the Minnesota Twins. Hicks can play at a high level, and he’s proven it.
The trouble is he can hardly ever play. Cashman or any other GM in baseball could not have predicted the rash of injuries that would occur with Hicks, including the one that will sideline him until midseason in 2020.
Hope against hope perhaps; the Yankees saw fit to sign Hicks to a six-year $70 million deal, effective in the 2019 season.
With the Yankees, it’s not always about the money, but a left-handed bat in a lineup sorely in need of one, Hicks was signed to fulfill that role.
Can the Yankees rely on Hicks to fill that contract, and if they can’t, what happens next?
Will Clint Frazier always be an afterthought?
For any fan who has followed the Yankees in recent years, Clint Frazier and Greg Bird have dominated the “what the hell” headlines on the back pages of New York newspapers.
Up and down, in and out, injuries, promotions, demotions, but always with a touch of hype, Frazier and Bird have always been synonymous with the Yankees’ future – almost.
In Bird’s case, he is now permanently etched in the lore of Yankee history as a free agent, having been released by the team, and refusing a minor league assignment.
Good for him, but there’s still Clint Frazier lying in limbo and awaiting the fate of his career as a major league ballplayer.
There’s no doubt that Frazier has shot himself in the foot any number of times since he was acquired from the relief-starved Cleveland Indians for Andrew Miller.
With Clint Frazier, it’s the proverbial s__t or get off the pot time for the Yankees…
Do the Yankees have a first baseman?
Luke Voit can’t possibly be the next Wally Pipp, can he?
A late-season injury sidelined Voit, cutting short a year in which he seemed certain to eclipse thirty home runs and 90+ RBI as the first baseman for the Yankees.
Mysteriously relegated to the bench during the entire Yankees postseason, Voit was never given a chance (either way) to prove his value to the team.
Pursued for more than a year by Yankees scouts, Voit was finally the target of a trade with the St. Louis Cardinals at the deadline in 2018.
Voit then proceeded to light it up with a .333 average, 14 home runs, and an off the charts 1.095 OPS. Last year, the batting average ebbed but the 21 home runs and the .378 on-base percentage rang loud.
Today, the Yankees speak of a platoon with Mike Ford at first base. Voit’s numbers against lefties are decidedly lower -,but Voit is also a raker and natural hitter, capable of generating offense and run production no matter who is pitching.
Yankees beat goes on…
None of these questions are likely to be the breaking point for the Yankees as they seek their 28th World Championship in 2020.
The point, however, is that there are potential holes in the team taking the field in April that can have lasting effects if not tended to now, or at least before the season begins.
The spotlight, perhaps as it should, will continue to shine on Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg, and Zack Wheeler as so-called “must-haves” for the Yankees.
But underlying are issues and questions about the team that can easily emerge as equally significant once the season is underway…