In a game that started out very poorly for the Yankees, the Yankees got a game-winning hit by new Yankee Josh Donaldson in the bottom of the eleventh to beat Boston 6-5 on Opening Day. After Opening day was pushed back a day because of rain (I got 4 inches in my basement, had to take off of work, and spent most of the day with a plumber going over what will be major work on my house) the game started off very poorly, as I just mentioned. After starter Gerrit Cole gave up a walk on four pitches to the first hitter, a HR, a single and a double followed, and the Yankees were down 3-0 just four batters into the game. Cole settled in after that, giving up just one more hit in his four innings of work. Anthony Rizzo got the Yankees back in the game with a 2-run HR in the bottom of the first inning. Maybe it was Opening Day jitters, may it was the shortened spring training, but both starters had trouble in the first inning. Giancarlo Stanton hit a laser shot, a screaming liner that cleared the short porch in right to tie the game up at 3 apiece in the bottom of the fourth inning. Boston got a run to go up 4-3 in the sixth, but D.J. LeMahieu tied it up again in the bottom of the eighth with a HR of his own. To extra innings, and that ghost runner rule that is going away next year. Boston scored in the top of the tenth but the Yankees tied it up in the bottom half on a SF by PH Gleyber Torres. Winner Michael King kept Boston from scoring in the top of the eleventh, and Donaldson, leading off the bottom of the eleventh, drove in ghost runner Isiah Kiner-Falefa with his game winning single. Donaldson 2 hits, GW RBI Judge 2 hits Rizzo 2-run HR (1) Stanton HR (1) LeMahieu HR (1) Cole 4 IP, 3 R, 4 H, 1 W, 3 K. 1 HBP. Gave up 1 HR. 6.75 Green 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 0 K. 0.00 Holmes 2/3 IP, 1 R, 3 H, 0 W, 0 K. 13.50 Castro 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 1 K. 0.00 Loaisiga 1 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K. 0.00 Peralta 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K 0.00 Chapman 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K 0.00 King 2 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 W, 3 K. 0.00 Earlier in the day, Aaron Judge, who is being offered $17MM this season from the Yankees while he asked for $21 MM in arbitration, turned down a 7 Yr./$213.5 MM extension offer from the Yankees. He’s a free agent after the season. That’s a lot of moolah to turn down (I could use that to pay my plumbing expenses).
Posted in Mike's Musings, Players, Regular Season, The Front Office
Tagged Castro, Chapman, Cole, Donaldson, Green, Holmes, Judge, King, LeMahieu, Loaisiga, Peralta, Rizzo, Stanton
Brian Cashman stays busy. Not long after parting ways with Albert Abreu, Cashman has traded away another member of the Yanks’ bullpen, sending LHP Joely Rodriguez to the Mets for RHP Miguel Castro.
Rodriguez, 30, has been in the majors with the Phillies (2016-2017), Rangers (2020-2021) and Yankees (2021). Last year he was 1-3, 5.93 for Texas and 1-0, 2.84 for the Yankees. Combined 2-3, 4.66, ERA+ 94. His Yankees’ tenure last 21 games. 3-5, 4.61 in his career, ERA+ 96 in 102 games. Castro, 27, has been with Toronto (2015), Colorado (2015-2016), Baltimore (2016-2020) and the Mets (2020-2021). Last year he was 3-4, 3.45 with the Mets, ERA+ 116. In 299 MLB cames, he is 11-22, 4.13, ERA+ 107.
While most of us were consumed by the Final Four last night, Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman was busy making a trade. With Ben Rortvedt most likely missing the start of the season due to an oblique injury, Cashman wanted more catching depth other than David Freitas, Rob Brantly and Max McDowell. He traded RHP Albert Abreu and minor league LHP Robert Ahlstrom to Texas for C Jose Trevino.
In 30 games as a Yankee in 2020 and 2021, Abreu was 2-1, 5.68, ERA+ 77 in 38 IP. He is 26. Ahlstrom, 22, hasn’t pitched in a minor league game yet, spending last year at the University of Oregon, where he was 9-3, 2.50 in 14 starts. Trevino, 29, has been with the Rangers from 2018-2021, appearing in 156 games, hitting .245-9-55, OPS+ 70. He bats righty.
Posted in Mike's Musings, Offseason Moves, Players, Spring Training, The Front Office
Tagged Abreu, Ahlstrom, Brantly, Cashman, Freitas, McDowell, Rortvedt, Trevino
In a game that featured 7 HR, 4 by the Yankees, the Yanks (2-6-1 in spring training) came up short in losing to Toronto Saturday 10-9. Of all the other teams in the AL East, I think I fear Toronto the most this year. A young, up and coming team that barely missed last year’s postseason despite 91 wins. Michael King struggled, as did two minor league pitchers in the loss. Joey Gallo had 2 hits, including a 3-run HR. Rob Brantly had a 3-run HR. Giancarlo Stanton had solo HR, as did Miguel Andujar. The pitching line: King 2 2/3 IP, 3 R, 4 H, 1 W, 2 K. Gave up 2 HR. Luetge 1 1/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 2 K. Green 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K. Peralta 1 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 W, 3 K. Nittoli (BS, L) 2/3 IP, 4 R, 3 H, 1 W, 1 K. McClain 1 IP, 3 R, 3 H, 1 WS, 0 K. Gave up 1 HR (to ex-Yankee Greg Bird). Marinaccio 1 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K. Joely Rodgriguez has a neck issue, which contributed to his poor outing the other day. The Yankees are about to present a multi-year extension to Aaron Judge, and hopefully both sides come to a deal. Judge’s arbitration is still to be decided for this season. He asked for $21MM, the team offered $17MM.
Posted in Players, Spring Training, The Front Office
Tagged Andujar, Brantly, Gallo, Green, Judge, King, Luetge, Marinaccio, McClain, Nittoli, Peralta, Rodriguez, Stanton
As I was about to write about the Yankees’ inactivity in the free agent and trade market, I woke up to a major trade the Yankees have made that has reconfigured their infield. I am now waiting for more dominoes to fall. The Yankees have traded C Gary Sanchez and INF Gio Urshela to the Twins for 3B Josh Donaldson, INF Isiah Kiner-Falefa (who the Twins just picked up from Texas the day before) and C Ben Rortvedt. Going: Sanchez hit .204-23-54 (OPS+ 99) for the Yanks last year. His defense behind the plate has been a problem. After a great start to his career (20 HR in 53 games in 2016, 33 HR in 2017 and a 2x All-Star), Sanchez hasn’t fulfilled his potential. Since 2017, he has only hit .201, including seasons of .186 (2018) and .147 (2020). Urshela was with the Yanks 2019-2021, and established himself with the club. Only a .225 hitter before coming to the Yanks, Urshela broke out in 2019, hitting .314-21-74, OPS+ 133 that season. Last year he hit .267-14-49, OPS+ 96. As a Yankee, he hit .292 in 243 games, with 41 HR and an OPS+ of 119 while providing great defense at 3B. Coming: Donaldson, 36, is a 3x All-Star and 2x Silver Slugger who won the MVP award for Toronto in 2015, when he hit .297-41-123 and led the AL in RBI (OPS+ 151), the majors in runs scored and the league in total bases and SF. He has received MVP consideration 6x, and finished in the top 10 three other times besides his winning the award in 2015. Last year he hit .247-26-72, OPS+ 127. He has played for Oakland (2010, 2012-2014), Toronto (2015-2018), Cleveland (2018), Atlanta (2019) and Minnesota (2020-2021). It’ll be interesting how Donaldson and Gerrit Cole get along after Donaldson’s comments about the Spidertack and Cole last season. His 162 g. average is .269-34-98, OPS+ 135. In 39 postseason games, he has hit .260-5-16. Kiner-Falefa, 27 soon, can play 3B, SS and even catch. He won a Gold Glove at 3B in 2020. Last year he hit .271-8-53 with 20 SB for Texas, OPS+ 85. His 162 games average is .265-7-49, 16 SB, OPS+ 81. He’ll be a stopgap until prospects like Oswald Peraza and/or Anthony Volpe are ready. If the Yanks are only going to hae a stopgap SS for a year or two, he’s the one I wanted. Kiner-Falefa has played for Texas (2018-2021). Rortvedt, 24, is a lefty hitting catcher who only has 39 games of MLB experience, all last season. He hit .169-3-7 (15 for 89), OPS+ 41. As of now, Kyle Higashioka takes over as the Yankees’ #1 catcher, so I am waiting for another shoe to fall. Is another trade coming? The Yankees also signed two guys for minor league depth. They brought back Tim Locastro, OF, 29, who played in 9 games for the Yankees last year. Locastro was selected off the Yankees in November via waivers by Boston but then Boston released him later. Locastro is known for his speed (31 SB in 34 attempts) and is a .231 career hitter with 5 HR and an OPS+ of 78 in 432 at bats. Loacastro has played with the Dodgers (2017-2018), Diamondbacks (2019-2021) and Yankees (2021). They also signed 1B Ronald Guzman (Texas 2018-2021), a lefty hitter. Guzman hit 16 HR in 2018 for Texas and has a .227 career batting average with 31 MLB HR in 737 at bats, OPS+ 86. Waiting for more signings/trades.
Posted in Mike's Musings, Offseason Moves, Players, Spring Training, The Front Office
Tagged Donaldson, Guzman, Kiner-Falefa, Locastro, Rortvedt, Sanchez, Urshela
Finally! The baseball season, and all 162 games of it, will start on April 7. Games cancelled from March 31 to April 7 will be rescheduled. The NL will have the DH. So we won’t see pitchers hit (in case you are wondering, the last Yankees’ pitcher to hit a HR was Lindy McDaniel in 1972). The one and done wild card game is out. There will be six playoff teams in each league. The top two division winners get a bye while the other four teams play an opening round best of 3. Then the LDS best of five before the LCS best of 7 followed by the WS best of 7. Spring training games start March 17. Which means basically 2 1/2 weeks of spring training before the season starts. I haven’t seen anything yet about an expansion to opening day rosters. For hitters, not much of a problem, but for pitchers, how are they going to be stretched out? If you don’t expand rosters, and even if you DO, bullpens will be used extensively in the first few weeks because the starters haven’t been stretched out. I do hope that there will be expanded rosters in the first few weeks to help with the problem of pitchers not being stretched out enough. Not only that, but the GMs have to really work OT now. There are still a lot of free agents out there like Correa, Story, Rodon and Freeman just to name a few. There is very little time to sign them before the season begins. Brian Cashman has to work his butt off to sign some people. Remember as of now the Yanks really don’t have a SS, and expect Luke Voit to be traded to a NL team that needs a DH. But what then? Do the Yanks get Rizzo for 1B? Freeman? Trade for Olson? LeMahieu at 1B? Trades and signings will now be fast and furious. There isn’t much time before the season starts. But at least there IS a season, and a full one at that.
Yankees’ legend Derek Jeter stepped down as CEO of the Marlins yesterday, effective immediately. While talks to try and get a resolution to the labor deal went on throughout the night, the Yankees named a new assistant hitting coach. Hensley Meulens replaces Eric Chavez, who was named asst. hitting coach but then left to become the hitting coach for the Mets. Meulens was a Yankee OF (with some time at 3B and 1B) from 1989-1993, and was with Montreal in 1997 and Arizona in 1998. He won 3 WS rings as a coach with the SF Giants. He was one of those considered for the managerial job that went to Aaron Boone in 2017. Another person who interviewed for that job was Carlos Beltran, who is now with the YES broadcasting team.
Recently I saw, and also received an email about, moves the Yankees could or should do to get them back into the World Series. Now, they cannot do all five moves suggested, for various reasons I’ll get to in a moment. First off, remember that because of the lockout, the Yankees cannot do anything on the major league level until the lockout is over and an agreement is in place with the players’ union. They can do things on the minor league level, and the minor league season isn’t affected. As for the majors, who knows if the season will be 162 games, 120 or 100? A reduced season may actually help the Yankees regarding the pitching. Jameson Taillon is recovering from ankle surgery, and if he returns in May with none of the season having been played yet, he missed nothing. Luis Severino hasn’t hardly pitched in two years. You don’t know how many innings he will give. If the season starts later because of the lockdown, there is less of a chance he may be out of gas come September. The lockout, although unfortunately possibly costing part of a season, could actually work to the Yankees’ benefit. Now to the moves that were suggested in that article. Let’s get to the elephant in the room first. Aaron Judge is a free agent after the 2022 season. The Yankees have to address his situation with an extension. Judge wants to stay. But do you risk him going on the free agent market? His contract will be substantial. Now say he gets $30+MM/year, becoming the third player on the team earning that much, after Cole and Stanton? How many $30+MM/year players can you have on the team? First base: Among the five suggestions were signing Freddie Freeman as a free agent. Freeman would cost over $30MM/year, and if you sign him, getting a SS like Carlos Correa or Trevor Story is out of the question because they would demand the same kind of money. The Yankees could get one, 1B or SS among these free agents but not both, and very possibly can’t afford EITHER because of the Judge situation. Another possibility would be trading for Matt Olson of Oakland. This would require giving up a lot, but Olson would allow the SS acquisition because Olson isn’t making that much money yet. The Yankees would have to give up a lot for Olson and some prospects (Jasson Dominguez and Anthony Volpe for example) are off the table. Speaking of the SS acquisition, I don’t see the Yankees going after Correa or Story. Why commit to a long term, $30MM/yr or more deal with them when you have FOUR top SS prospects in your system? Now all four obviously can’t play at the same time once ready. One may not make the majors or be that good. Another may be used in a trade. Another may be moved to another position. But FOUR top notch SS prospects, two of which are only a year or two away mean that the Yanks are more likely to pursue a short-term solution at SS than go after Correa or Story. I do like the one suggestion in that article about trying to get Luis Castillo from Cincinnati. More on that in a moment. Ok, if I were Brian Cashman … sign Freeman (Anthony Rizzo backup plan). With the universal DH coming into play where the NL now will have the DH, that makes Luke Voit available to DH for an NL team. Freeman has a Gold Glove, and as much as I like Voit, his injuries and defensive deficiencies make him more of a DH than a 1B, and the Yankees have Stanton DH-ing. Voit to Cincy (along with a minor league pitching prospect and maybe another pitcher?) makes sense for Castillo. Voit could switch off DH/1B with Future HOF Joey Votto, who is now 38 years old. The Reds had a nice lineup last year (nine players hit 10 or more HR), have a hitter-friendly ballpark, and Voit would help them. Castillo, 29, has been a hard-luck pitcher. He led the majors in losses last year, going 8-16, but his ERA was 3.98 and his ERA+ was 120 (20% above league average). For his career, he is 40-49, but his ERA is 3.72 with an ERA+ of 123. His numbers are far better than his record. If you can get Freeman (or Rizzo) and have dealt Voit, you can address CF and SS in a couple of ways. I’d try to work out some kind of 3-team trade. The Yanks send the disappointing Gary Sanchez to Texas, and Torres to Arizona. Texas just signed Marcus Semien and Corey Seager for a powerful DP combo. Adding another power bat (albeit with a poor batting average) may be up Texas’ alley, especially the way balls can fly in the Texas heat. Maybe Texas revitalizes the disappointing Sanchez. From Texas, you get that stop-gap SS in Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who has even caught 73 games in his career (3rd string emergency C). Kiner-Falefa won a GG at 3B in 2020. With Freeman or Rizzo, plus Kiner-Falefa, the infield defense is improved, especially since LeMahieu, who is signed to a long-term deal which has five years left, moves back to his natural position of 2B, where he has 3 Gold Gloves. So if D.J. is at 2B, Torres becomes expendable, and I’d use him in a package for Ketel Marte of Arizona for CF. I don’t trust Hicks to remain healthy or to produce well. Hicks may be better off as a 4th OF, and you let Brett Gardner (38 now, 39 in August) go. Marte can play 2B and SS as well as CF. So if you have DJ at 2B (and who could play 1B and 3B), Kiner-Falefa (SS, 3B and even C) and Marte (CF, 2B, SS), there is a lot of depth and versatility there. That depth and versatility could make Oswaldo Cabrera (23 soon, 2B/SS/3B, .272-29-89, with 21 SB in minors last year) available along with Torres for Marte, and since Arizona has a young catcher on the come, you ask for Carson Kelly along with Marte. Kelly, 27, doesn’t have the HR potential of Sanchez, but would be better defensively. You are sacrificing a bit of offense for better defense. Torres and Cabrera probably won’t be enough for Marte and Kelly, so who else? Well, since you got Castillo by dumping Voit, you probably could include a Deivi Garcia, Domingo German, Michael King or Clarke Schmidt in the deal. One or possibly two of them as well as a pitching prospect like Luis Gil, Hayden Wesneski or Ken Waldichuk as well. So if I were able to do those deals, let’s say I now have this. C Kelly and Higashioka. Ok, I lose Sanchez’ power, but he’s only hitting .201 since 2017. And I get better defensively and unload a headache and enigma in Sanchez. Remember when the Yanks sacrificed offense (Mike Stanley) for defense and pitch-calling (Joe Girardi)? That worked out nicely. 1B Freeman (Or Rizzo). And, esp. w/Freeman, separate Judge and Stanton. Put that lefty bat between them. 2B LeMahieu. His natural position, where he has 3 Gold Gloves. SS Kiner-Falefa, until Volpe or Oswald Peraza is ready (and you still have two other top SS prospects, one being Trey Sweeney that could sweeten the deal for Marte/Kelly). 3B Gio. And say you keep Volpe and Peraza. Could Peraza be SS of future with Volpe moving to 3B? OF Gallo, Marte and Judge. Stanton DH. Can go Judge, Freeman or Rizzo, Stanton, Gallo. R/L/R/L Starting P. Cole, Castillo, Severino, Montgomery and Taillon. You still have a relief corps fronted by Green, Chapman, and Loiasiga. Cortes can be long man/emergency starter. Whoever is NOT dealt among King, Schmidt, German is also in the bullpen. You still have Luetge, Peralta, Holmes, Joely Rodriguez, and don’t forget Stephen Ridings. All of whom also could be used in a trade. And if you can’t work out a deal with Freeman or Rizzo, can’t work out a deal with Arizona for Marte/Kelly, you then can check with Oakland regarding Olson, CF Ramon Laureano, and/or P Chris Bassitt. So Brian Cashman has lots of options, I know how I would approach matters, let’s see how Cashman approaches things. But I think 1B is key, then unloading Voit. But which 1B will it be? Rizzo? Freeman? Olson? Then after that, address SS/CF. Domino effect. When the lockout ends, Cashman won’t have much time to be busy, but he will be VERY busy. But first, let’s get an agreement, end the lockout and then, get down to business, Yankees.
Ok, I’ve worked 2 days all month because of contracting Covid. Still recovering. My sinuses are a little better. At worst, they felt like a basketball was shoved up my nose. Also not fun was sneezing or blowing my nose and seeing a tissue filled with blood. (I am on Xarelto, a blood-thinner, because of a PE I had last summer). Between a partial nephrectomy due to renal cell carcinoma, a saddle pulmonary embolism and contracting this Omicron variant, the last year has sucked, health-wise. Anyway… The Yankees are expected to sign the top international free agent on the market today, switch-hitting 16 17 year old Roderick Arias. Although not confirmed, the deal is supposed to be for about $4 million of the $5 million the Yankees have to spend on international signings. You may remember that a few years ago, the Yankees used all of that money on CF Jasson Dominguez, who is now 18 and who played a bit at low A Tampa in 2021. Arias would join a trio of other top prospects, ALL shortstops, in the Yankees’ system. Let’s look at them and what the Yanks may do at SS. Oswald Peraza. 21. Righty hitter. I expect him to start 2022 at AAA SWB. His 2021 numbers are at 3 levels. High A (28 games)/AA (79) and AAA (8). Total: 115 games. .297-18-58 with 38 SB. Anthony Volpe. 20. Righty hitter. Played in 109 games at Low A (54) and High A (55) in 2021. I expect him to start 2022 at AA. .294-27-86 with 33 SB in 2021. Trey Sweeney. 21. Lefty bat. 29 games at Tampa Low A, where I expect him to start 2022. .245-6-13. With prospects like this, and the signing of Arias, you wonder a few things. #1, I don’t expect the Yankees to offer a long-term deal to Carlos Correa or Trevor Story. Why, when you have these youngsters that would be under your financial control just a few years away? #2 That $ you would be giving Correa or Story? That money has to go to Aaron Judge to lock him up into a long-term deal and keep him from becoming a free agent. So you then have huge multi-year deals with Cole, Stanton, and Judge. There is only so much $ (albeit, a LOT of it) to go around. So what do you Yankees have in the infield now? Nothing at SS. 1B. LeMahieu? Voit? These are who are there now. Do they bring back Rizzo? Go after Freeman? Trade for Olson? If a trade for Olson, you can bet one of these prospects would be heading to Oakland in the deal. If you are paying $$ for Rizzo or Freeman, that leaves no $$ for a long-term SS. Which, with the prospects listed here, isn’t too bad since all you are probably looking for right now is a short-term SS anyways. But if you get another 1B, be it Rizzo, Olson, or Freeman, who are you trading Voit to, and for whom? 2B. Torres and LeMahieu. Having proven he isn’t your answer at SS, Torres moves back to 2B, unless you decide LeMahieu is your 2b (after solving who plays 1B) and trading Torres. SS. At present, they have none. Unless Gio plays SS as he did late last year and LeMahieu plays 3B. Not optimal. Neither is sticking Gleyber back there. 3B. Urshela, unless … see SS above. Remember Tyler Wade was traded to the Angels, Rougned Odor was released (and signed with the Orioles). One player to remember as a utility man is 22 year Oswaldo Cabrera, a switch-hitter who can play 2B, SS (yet another SS prospect, negating the need for a long-term SS solution) and 3B. He has played 212 games at 2B in the minors, 159 at SS and 135 at 3B. A lot at each position. He has an excellent chance of making the majors in 2022 and even beginning the season with the team after a 2021 that saw him do very well (AA 109 games and 9 games AAA). Even though most of his time was at AA, his numbers of .272-29-89 with 21 SB in 118 games were outstanding. As for those 9 games in AAA? 15 for 30 with 5 HR. Extremely small sample size but he handled the jump to AAA quite well. So for a short term solution, what would be available? My first guess is a deal with Texas for Isiah Kiner-Falefa. 26 and a righty hitter. He won a GG at 3B for Texas in 2020. He has played 173 games in the majors at SS, 117 at 3B. He can even be your 3rd string emergency catcher, having played 73 games there! (and throw in 20 games at 2B). His bat is below average (2021 .271-8-53, 20 SB OPS+ 85) but his defense and versatility fit fine as a short-term solution. Another option is Andrelton Simmons. Excellent glove, but terrible bat. 32, righty bat. The free agent only hit .223-3-31, OPS+ 57 for the Twins last year. Awful. He is a 4x GG winner. If the Yanks sign him, they would have to make a huge splash (Olson? Freeman? Someone even better than Rizzo) to make up for Simmons’ lack of offense (162 game average .265-10-59, OPS+ 88). Simmons’ glove is so good that he has finished Top-15 3x for MVP, including a #8 finish in 2017. IF he can somehow hit close to league average, a decent short term solution. But that is a big if, and the rest of the lineup would have to carry his lack of a big bat. Yet another is a deal for Elvis Andrus of Oakland. 33, righty bat. Andrus, like Simmons, didn’t have a good 2021. .243-3-37, OPS+ 73 with 12 SB. (162 game average .272-7-61, 29 SB, OPS+ 85). Of the short term solutions, my first choice would probably be Kiner-Falefa. Now not every prospect makes it (remember Jorge Mateo? or at catcher, Jesus Montero?) but you wonder which of these SS prospects a) will be the future Yankees SS b) will be moved to another position (3B? 2B? OF? ) or c) will be traded for a big name because they can’t beat out another of the top prospects who play the same position. As for possibly another signing? Like P Carlos Rodon (I don’t see Zack Greinke b/c of his anxiety issues) or OF Seiya Suzuki? That’s for another blog post. As for now, just focusing on SS (and a little at 1B). And, of course, nothing can be done until there is an agreement and this lockdown (haven’t we heard that word too often in EVERY sort of way recently?) ends.
Posted in Mike's Musings, Minor Leagues, Offseason Moves, The Front Office
Tagged Andrus, Arias, Cabrera, Kiner-Falefa, Peraza, Simmons, Sweeney, Volpe
If the Yankees have a plan this off-season, I’d like to know what it is. Now some contracts given out are a bit much. With the Yanks already paying a fortune for Stanton and Cole, and needing to save money for Judge down the line, they are probably watching their wallet. But …. let’s go by position. C. Rumor had them interested in Jacob Stallings, Gold Glove C for the Pirates. He was traded to Miami. Missed out there. So far stuck with the disappointing Sanchez and also Higashioka. 1B. Haven’t done anything with Voit. Rizzo still a free agent. Could always go with D.J. at 1B. Matt Olson of the A’s is on the Yanks’ radar but the A’s are asking for the moon and stars. I’d be shocked if Freddie Freeman doesn’t re-up with Atlanta. SS. Need help here. Torres back at 2B. Urshela isn’t really a SS. I was hoping for Corey Seager. Lefty bat they needed, and a SS. Went to Texas. 10 years, $325MM. Ok. Yanks probably didn’t want to go that high. Especially with prospects Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza a year or two away. They also didn’t want to go more than 7 years for Marcus Semien, who ALSO went to Texas (7 yr. $175MM). Now, Trevor Story is still out there. So is Javier Baez. So is Carlos Correa. All would be expensive, and in the case of Correa, maybe even more expensive than Seager (and Correa comes with that Houston baggage, plus he recently dissed Yankees’ legend Derek Jeter). But rumor has the Yanks looking at a stopgap until the kids are ready. So then who? They could be looking at Andrelton Simmons. 32 year old. Righty bat. Doesn’t help, they need more lefty bats (see Seager). 4 time Gold Glove. Great. 3x MVP consideration, including a top 10 finish. Great. Hit .223-3-31, OPS+ 57 for Twins this year. That is horrid. 162 game average is .265-10-59, OPS+ 88. 100 is average. If Yanks sign him, Defense great. But teammates will have to pick up the slack and carry his bat. Since Texas now has Seager and Semien, they Yanks may consider a trade for Isiah Kiner-Falefa, 26, of Texas, who won a GG at 3B in 2020 before switching to SS. He hit .271-8-53 with 20 SB for Texas this year, OPS+ 85. Another righty bat. Sigh. His 162 g. average is .265-7-49, 16 SB, OPS+ 81. See Simmons, above. Same thing. Fine D. Other bats need to carry him. Yet another rumor is trading with the Phillies to bring back the popular Didi Gregorius, especially if the Phils go big on a Story, Correa or Baez. The familiarity with Didi is a plus. Didi gives them the lefty bat they need. Didi, 32 in February, could be a one or two year stopgap. But he had a terrible 2021, hitting just .209-13-54, OPS+ 71 in 103 games, and his defense also took a step back. Didi’s 162 game average is .259-21-82, OPS+ 97. If he can get back to what he was, a better hitter than Simmons or Kiner-Falefa, and got MVP consideration twice, but you have to wonder if he is on the downside. If he can get back to where he was 2016-2018 when he averaged .277-24-81, OPS+ 108, a good stopgap until the kids are ready. But in the last three years, he has only it .237 with an OPS+ of 89. You wonder, as I stated, if he is on the downside. The only move the Yanks have made to address the SS situation so far has been a very minor one. They signed Jose Peraza to a minor league deal. SS, 2B, LF. Another righty bat (Sigh). 27. Played for Dodgers 2015, Reds 2016-2019, Red Sox 2020 and Mets in 2021. Best year 2018 Reds. .288-14-58, 23 SB. OPS+ 98. For the Mets in 2021? .204-6-20, OPS+ 76. Not good. His 162 game average is .266-9-48, 21 SB. OPS+ 79. Once again, 100 is average. 79 is 21% below average. Starting pitching. The Yanks offered Justin Verlander, 39 in February, a 1 year $25MM deal but Verlander got a 2nd year player option with Houston and decided to stay there. The Mets gave Max Scherzer, 37, a ridiculous 3 year, $130MM (!!!!!) deal. No way the Yanks were going $43.3MM a year! But they lost out on Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray, a lefty pitcher who got 5 years and $115MM from Seattle. He would have been nice slotted behind Cole (or since Ray won the CYA and Cole finished second, in FRONT of him). Another the Yanks didn’t get was Kevin Gausman, who got 5 year and $110 MM from Toronto. Yet another Jon Gray, who got 4 years and $56MM from Texas. Now maybe the Yanks didn’t want multi-year deals, but $25MM for 1 year of a 39 year old Verlander but not $22MM per or $23MM per for 5 years of Ray or Gausman? Or $14MM for 4 years of Jon (no, not Sonny) Gray? Even 3 years, $36MM for Anthony DeSclafani? 2 years, $20MM for Alex Wood? I don’t get it. It seems as if the Yanks could be looking at 4th place in their division if they don’t do something. So far they have done nothing, and remember—two less wins this year and the Yanks WOULD have finished 4th in the AL East. Meanwhile the Yanks lost Corey Kluber to a division rival—-Tampa Bay. Kluber only gave the Yanks 1/2 a season this year because of injury. Good, and a no-hitter before the injury, not so hot after it. Marcus Stroman apparently isn’t interested in the Yanks. Nor the Yanks in him. Carlos Rodon is still available. The lefty threw a no-no himself this year, turns 29 in just a few days, and was 13-5, 2.37 ERA+ 183 this season. He was an All-Star who finished 5th in CYA voting this year. He is 42-38, 3.79, ERA+ 110 in his career. Before this breakout year, he was just average, and an injury risk. Now, if the Yanks were going to throw $25MM for 1 year of Verlander, guess who else is out there? Clayton Kershaw. 34 in March. Maybe not the dominating Kershaw anymore, but younger than Verlander, and even though Kershaw has had injury issues recently, he isn’t coming off TJ surgery like Verlander is. Kershaw went 10-8, 3.55, ERA+ 115 for the Dodgers this year. 3 CYA. 1 MVP. 8X All-Star. Pitching Triple Crown. Average 162 game season 17-8, 2.49. Look at that ERA again. 2.49. ERA+ 155. Now I don’t see the Dodgers wanting to lose Kershaw as they have lost Seager and Scherzer. But the Yanks took a chance on Kluber. They were thinking of Verlander. Both CYA winners coming off injuries. Kershaw is expected to do one of three things. Back to the Dodgers, home to Texas, or retire. But if the Yanks were going to risk chancing Kluber, then Verlander, Kershaw would have been an interesting gamble. Also interesting and still out there would be Zack Greinke, another former CYA winner. Grienke had some issues which makes me think he wouldn’t be a good fit in NY. 6x All-Star, 6x Gold Glove, the guy can even hit!, but at 38, has slowed down. 11-6, 4.16 in 2021, ERA+ 103. But you wonder if they missed the boat on, say, Ray or Gausman. Some guys (Kershaw? Greinke?) could be like when the Yanks got Randy Johnson. Ok, but past his prime. CF . The Yanks are looking for someone more reliable than injured Aaron Hicks. Starling Marte was out there but went to the Mets for 4 years and $78MM. The Yanks do have prospects like Everson Pereira and Jasson Dominguez here. As with SS, are they waiting for players they can control, hope those players are the real deal and therefore doing nothing now but biting the bullet? A couple of trade possibilities are Cedric Mullins of Baltimore (in division and won’t be cheap) and Bryan Reynolds of Pittburgh. Some teams have inquired to see if the Yanks would deal Joey Gallo, who struggled mightily with the Yanks last year. So far, the Yanks have done nothing, and there isn’t even a ripple in the water. No rumors. For them so far, the hot stove is ice cold. The natives are getting restless, especially after all the moves that have been made, especially by the cross-town Mets. What exactly IS the Yankees mode of attack and when will they strike? WILL they strike? UPDATE: SS Freddy Galvis , 32, switch-hitter, is still a free agent the Yanks may go after. Phillies, 2012-17, Padres 2018, Blue Jays 2019, Reds 2019-2020, Orioles and Phils 2021. HIt .242-14-40, OPS+ 91 in 2021. 162 game average .246-16-63, OPS+ 82. Another cheap stopgap.