The holiday season has come and gone and the hot stove has seemed to have simmered down a bit. The Yankees most recent move has been the signing of veteran SS Troy Tulowitzki to a league minimum deal. Don't be fooled, this does NOT take them out of the race for Manny Machado. In fact, it has been rumored by more than one person that Manny is choosing to wear the pinstripes in 2019, but we will have to see how true that is as the days continue.
New York brought back CC, and Gardy. They were swift in their acquisition of lefty James Paxton from Seattle. They wisely did not sign Patrick Corbin to the insane 6 year $140 million deal the Nationals did. They resigned lefty JA Happ to a 2 year $34 Million contract with a vesting option for a 3rd year. On paper they have greatly improved a team that won 100 games last season. If you are an intelligent, rational fan you have to like the direction this team is heading in.
So what’s next for the Bombers? On the one hand I am a big Brian Cashman Fan. He is a true “Boss”, a captain of industry if you will. He is firmly in charge of one of the great franchises in sports. The guy has transformed the Yankees from a team that relies on expensive free agents on the fly to a perennial contender with perhaps the best young core in baseball. He rebuilt the farm system, and he reset the luxury tax threshold after keeping last season’s payroll under $189 million without having a bad team. Cash has been savvy in his spending (not signing Corbin), has the organization focused on analytics, and is running a well-oiled machine. On the flip side the Yanks have won 1 world championship since 2000 while their blood rivals the Red Sox have won 4. At some point Cashman has to be accountable for this.
The twitter mob is demanding the Steinbrenner Doctrine be followed and Bryce Harper and Manny Machado be signed payroll and roster limitations be damned! They then want to trade Miguel Andujar for an ace, and dominate the baseball landscape. Now Cashman didn’t help to quell this group when he described the club as a fully functioning “Death Star” at the Winter Meetings when asked a question about Harper. It sounds great and all but that’s not how this works.
The fact of the matter is the Yankees need Bryce Harper, and his lefty bat. They are way too righty heavy a team for Yankee Stadium. The problem many fans don’t realize is they won’t get him because they signed Jacoby Ellsbury to an insane contract in 2013. How has that worked out? Exactly. Now I am not saying Ellsbury is better than Harper. It’s not even close. The roster is just too clogged up because of the impetuous Ellsbury signing. They currently have 7 outfielders on the 40 man roster. Now can you make the argument that they should not have re-signed Gardner? Yup. I would love Harper in pinstripes. I just don’t think it’s prudent unless Cashman can somehow pawn Ellsbury off on someone.
Manny Machado is a different story. As you all know Didi Gregorius is out until mid season because of Tommy John surgery. Could the Yanks get a stopgap at short like Freddie Galvis, or trade Sonny Gray for Scooter Gennett? Absolutely! I believe they should sign Machado at any cost. Here is why. They are the New York freaking Yankees, and they need to win a championship with this group soon. Machado is just 26 years old. Yes Manny has baggage(the non hustling, the dirty plays). However he helps the biggest flaw this club has. Machado is so clutch! He is amazing with runners in scoring position. He hit an awesome .309 last season with RISP. Tell me that wouldn’t be great for this team? Manny is one of the top 10 players in the entire league. He is a platinum glove 3rd baseman, and he can cover short capably until Didi returns. Reports are he wants to be a Yankee. His other serious suitors are the White Sox, and Phillies. The Sox are a ways off from contending, and Machado is reportedly not exactly in love with Philly. The Yankees give him the best chance to win for the duration of his contract! From a team perspective you can never have too much talent or depth in sports. There are always unexpected pitfalls, and injuries over course of a season. Signing Machado lets you hold onto Miguel Andujar as trade bait for that top flight starter you are going to need in October. It also gives you leverage when you try to sign Didi to an extension. It just makes too much sense in the grand scheme of things for this not to happen. This is a no brainer. I say go get Manny if you can keep it at 8 years or less.
The final steps of the offseason will be to complete the bullpen. I’d love Zach Britton back. I would also like to see them sign Adam Ottavino, and let David Robertson walk. Then Cashman has to find a taker for Gray, and this team is ready to roll. If in a few weeks the 2019 Yankees have added Paxton, Machado, and Ottavino in addition to securing Happ and Britton to their stacked core, they are the prohibitive favorites to win the World Series. It should be an exciting time!
I have one last rant before I leave you. We are in Hall of Fame voting season. Mariano Rivera is eligible for the 1st time, and is a shoe in to be elected (despite that douche Bill Ballou’s refusal to vote for him). Mo is my all time favorite Yankee. Sadly until things change with how guys are elected I will never see his plaque. To me the Baseball Hall of Fame is a farce. I cannot pay my hard earned money to go there based on the current method players are elected. I have had enough with the excluding of the “steroid era” guys by writers who couldn’t hit my fastball. There are no failed tests from that era, and guys like Bagwell, Piazza, and Rodriguez have been voted in. I am not saying I am pro or anti PEDs here. This is simply about HOF eligibility. The biggest reason of all I feel that this deliberate exclusion needs to stop is because Bud Selig(the man who profited the most from the steroid era) is in the hall of fame. Bud Selig, the man who cancelled a World Series, allowed a tie in the All Star game, and let home field advantage in the World Series be based on a yearly rotation. As recent NYYST podcast guest Ken Davidoff said in the NY Post it is a museum not heaven. There are guys from every era with moral issues. It has simply become a popularity contest of who writers such as Jon Heyman and Phil Rogers liked personally versus guys they didn’t (like Bonds, Clemens, and Palmeiro). Those guys all were the dominant players of that time in baseball, and should take their place in the museum next to their peers from history. The hypocrisy must stop.
Thanks for reading. Keep listening to the pod(and the fellas solo projects). Give a rating, and Happy New Year everyone!