Where should the Yankees turn after Paxton?
The craziness of domestic life has been a little too much lately so I have been underground for a bit. Thank you again for everyone who listens, and subscribes to the NYYST Podcast. Please keep those 5 star ratings coming. The fellas are working on some exciting things, and will have some great guests as the hot stove season heats up.
A lot has transpired in the baseball world since I last checked in so I figured I'd hit on a few different topics. The Red Sox finished off their magical season with as many people expected a World Championship. That is 4 World Series Championships in 15 years for the Yankees blood rivals. That is a little troubling sitting here in the Yankee Universe since the Bombers have just 1 in that period. Hopefully Brian Cashman is working on the remedy for that as we speak. The trade for James Paxton last night is a step in the right direction, we hope.
For the record I am team 27 rings. I see a lot of debate on social media that it's irrelevant to be proud of the past. I disagree. If you have sustained excellence you should be proud of it. Think of it this way. When you were a kid you always wanted cooler stuff than your friends right? Guess what? Being a fan of the most successful franchise in sports means you have the coolest stuff, you're the big dog, etc. You should revel, and take pride in it. You know the fact that other teams and their fans constantly troll the Yankees in so many ways proves they sure as hell care that the Yankees are the cream of the crop. Maybe members of our fanbase should appreciate that more. That jealousy shows it. I've been alive for 7 Yankee championships. That's 3 more than any Red Sox fan I know of has been of theirs? To me that is awesome and I don't care who disagrees.
The Yankees began the offseason by re-signing Brett Gardner ($7.5million plus $2million buy out) and CC Sabathia ($8 Million) to 1 year deals. I am kinda meh about these deals. I get they are proven commodities in New York, and they are the emotional leaders of the current Yankee team, but I'm over that. These move just don't move the needle to me. Gardner was brutal as usual in the second half. Yes. The guy may very well be the best LF in baseball still at 35 but his bat in LF just doesn't float my boat anymore. I felt it was time to upgrade. Now if you can tell me the plan is to have him be a platoon player and defensive replacement then yeah, cool. But that is predicated on Brian Cashman finding someone to take Jacoby Ellsbury off his hands to free up salary(easier said than done) If the goal is to be better than last years 100 win team I just don't feel Gardy in a fulltime role is going to do that.
CC on the other hand I am a little more comfortable with. Game 4 of the ALDS aside the guy can still pitch. He went 9-7 with a 3.65 ERA last season, but he gives up a lot of soft contact according to the sabermetrics. If the team uses him correctly he can really help. See I envision him as kind of a hybrid 6th starter/swing man. Let him start to give guys like Sevy, and Tanaka a rest every couple times through the rotation. We all know Tanaka is exponentially better on 5 days or more rest, and Sevy clearly hit the wall last year. Then on those instances it has been a few days since his last start have Sabathia throw a few innings out of the pen. Maybe in a game where the starter gets bombed early CC could come in, shut the other team down for a few innings (while saving the other relievers) and allow the offense to come back. This is a better option to me as opposed to punting the game away with a scrub reliever so often. Again if you are a championship caliber team this is how a guy like CC should be used. If he is being counted on for big contributions then you aren't a championship caliber team.
Finally there is lots of speculation about just how the Yankees plan on going about improving for next year. Brian Cashman has said he is going to trade Sonny Gray, and reports are this is close to happening. Will Hal Steinbrenner let Cashman take the payroll above the luxury tax threshold? Will they sign Manny Machado? Should they sign Bryce Harper because they are uncharacteristically right handed? If they sign Harper do they trade Giancarlo Stanton? Do they move Harper to first base? What pitchers will they add/bring back outside of Paxton? With Didi injured, and Gary Sanchez coming off that lousy year this is a really weird offseason for a 100 win team. I will have thoughts on just how I believe the Yankees should "cook" during this hot stove season in the next couple days.