Thursday, October 12, 2023

2024 Offseason Plan

I put together my offseason plan and I didn't think it was different enough. I mean, we've heard a lot about the Yankees re-evaluating things this offseason and looking different next year. Well, I just don't believe it. Sure, they may make some internal changes, but when it comes to roster construction I don't see anything crazy happening. 

That doesn't mean they will have another boring offseason, though. I do expect a couple of big things to happen. I mean, after looking at the 2023 Yankees "big" things have to happen. The Yankees offense was 20th in MLB in fWAR, Yankees starters ranked 20th in fWAR, and Yankees relievers ranked 16th in MLB in fWAR. The only part of the team you could call "good" was their defense, where the team ranked 10th in defensive runs saved*.

*Other than LF and RF, the team was one of the better defensive teams in baseball. Giancarlo Stanton and Jake Bauers are really bad defenders, and they accounted for 459 innings in RF. Furthermore, Franchy Cordero... merely a bad defender... accounted for another 127 innings in right. That's 42% of the total innings played out there by bad to really bad defenders. As far as LF, the only player I have on the team for 2024 to play there last season is on the bench (Oswaldo Cabrera and I'm not counting Stanton as I have him... elsewhere).

Let's start with the major transactions I would do...

1. Trade Clarke Schmidt, Everson Pereira, and another minor leaguer for Juan Soto and Matt Carpenter

I just talked about defense and now I'm talking about bringing in Juan Soto, who was 31st in outs of average among qualified LFers last season. I guess I'm overlooking Soto's horrible range in LF, and counting on a much stronger performance in RF, to bring the Yankees' overall defense firmly within the top 10 of MLB. I should note that I specifically called out Juan's range in LF, as he has a very good arm. And that doesn't get into how huge an upgrade his bat is over anyone that the Yankees had in LF in 2023.

That "another minor leaguer" might have to be someone of substance, rather than a "toss-in", but that's perfectly okay with me to get a generational talent like Soto.

By the way, having Carpenter (a beloved Yankee) and that perfect swing for Yankee Stadium would be great as a weapon off the bench. 

I should note that it's been reported that the Padres very much want to get payroll done next year, and this move would clear up nearly $40 million. It would be impossible to improve after losing Soto, but his availability is certainly possible. 
2. Sign Yoshinobu Yamamoto for 8 years $200 million

I took care of the offense with Soto, now it's time to address the starting rotation. What better way than to bring in the best non-Ohtani starter available this offseason (ignoring the fact that Shohei is unlikely to pitch in 2024)? I'd like someone with a track record in MLB, but from everything I read on Yoshinobu he should at least be a very good #3 starter, and probably better than that. 

3. Sign Kevin Kiermaier for two years and $25 million 

I've seen a lot about the Yankees signing Cody Bellinger, but with a likely extension coming Soto's way (and a very expensive one at that), along with Jasson Dominguez returning around the All Star break, I see no way Hal okays spending big on Cody. Not that I think Cashman would be fine with handing centerfield over to someone like Everson Pereira (assuming Cashman would have found someone else to add to that Soto trade), as Everson was awful with the bat in 2023. 

I saw a couple of people call Keirmaier a left-handed version of Harrison Bader, and that's fine for a guy that I see playing all over the outfield in the second half of the season in order to make sure guys like Judge and Soto are 100% for the postseason.

4. Trade Ben Rice and Jerad Serna for Tanner Scott

I thought about bringing back Wandy Peralta, as I'd want two good to really good lefties in the bullpen, but the cost of bringing Wandy back just didn't make sense. Not when the Yankees could deal for another reliever, along with their ability to build good ones. Now, do I think the bullpen could be good without making this trade? Yes. But it's past time to say "good enough". Go get another good reliever.

I should also mention that Miami has a good pitching squad... starting and relieving, and since Scott is entering his last year of arbitration (MLB Trade Rumors projects a salary in 2024 of $5.8 million) I think Miami would be perfectly fine moving him.

That may be a bit much for Scott (Serna is #20 and Rice is #23 in MLB's list of Yankees prospects), as Tanner broke out in 2023 rather than built on any other very good season. But if he can keep that home run rate down (it's gone down in each of the past two years), while also keeping up the better control he showed last year, then I think this could be a very good way to get another strong arm in the bullpen.

Here is a list of the players that could either be involved in smaller deals to help the Yankees create depth in the minor leagues, or simply be non-tendered, as they are eligible for arbitration next season...

Kyle Higashioka - With Austin Wells, Jose Trevino, and Ben Rortvedt (who I see in AAA to at least start 2024) around I see zero reason to possibly offer Kyle a MLB contract.
Albert Abreu - Although he'll only make a little more than the league minimum in arbitration, I think it would be better to save a couple hundred thousand dollars and give that roster spot to someone else.
Matt Bowman - he didn't "kill it" in AAA, and was not good in MLB, last season. No thanks.
Ryan Weber - he can't throw the ball past hitters and got hit around in AAA. Pass
Billy McKinney - I thought about McKinney for the bench, but I like the acquisition of Carpenter that leaves no room for Billy.
Jake Bauers - while he does bat lefty, corner outfielders are too easy to find.
Jimmy Cordero - He's not bad, but not good enough to bother with. Especially when he's about to turn 32. But hey... we do share a birthday.
Lou Trivino - he killed it when the Yankees acquired him during the 2022 season, but a 32-year-old returning from Tommy John surgery sometime DURING the 2024 season? Nah.
Domingo German - maybe if he'd shown something as a reliever (only 54 innings out of the bullpen in his MLB career), but as a starter there's no way.
Franchy Cordero - a corner outfielder who can't hit? LOL... nope.

Take the approximate $19 million those players will make in 2024 and say "thank you, but goodbye".

I wanted to discuss a few players that we've heard others talk about trading, or have discussed doing that ourselves....

I don't like the idea of leaning on Oswald Peraza on Opening Day, therefore I'm not trading away Gleyber Torres or DJ LeMahieu. I believe Oswald will end up a solid to better Major League player, which is why I want to keep him around as he could very well be the starting second or third baseman in 2025. However, for a team with championship aspirations going into 2024, I want someone who hit better than .191/.267/.272 last season. Plus, you don't know how Anthony Rizzo will be after his concussion, so I'd rather keep DJ around since he plays a good 1B.

I don't see the point in paying Giancarlo Stanton to play elsewhere by DFAing him, and I can't imagine anyone trading for him and taking on much money without a good prospect attached (that's a hard "no" from me). Oh, and that's assuming he'd waive his no-trade clause, which he doesn't seem keen on doing as he loves being a Yankee.

So finally, we come to my active roster for the 2024 New York Yankees, which includes each player's salary per the Luxury Tax (arbitration salary estimates come from MLB Trade Rumors). By the way, I put the position players in order I'd bat them, but feel free to disagree with that... I don't really care.

• - bats or throws left-handed
# - switch-hitter

2B Gleyber Torres $15.3m
RF Aaron Judge $40m
LF Juan Soto* $33m (assuming no extension)
3B DJ LeMahieu $15m
1B Anthony Rizzo* $20m
DH Giancarlo Stanton $22m (includes $3m from MIA)
CF Kevin Kiermaier* $12.5m
SS Anthony Volpe $.8m
C Austin Wells* $.75m

BE Jose Trevino C $2.7m
BE Oswaldo Cabrera# UT $.8m
BE Oswald Peraza IF $.8m
BE Matt Carpenter* 1B $5.5m

SP1 Gerrit Cole $36m
SP2 Carlos Rodon* $27m
SP3 Yoshinobu Yamamoto $25m
SP4 Nestor Cortes* $3.9m
SP5 Michael King $2.6m

RP Clay Holmes $6m
RP Tanner Scott* $5.8m
RP Jonathan Loaisiga $2.5m
RP Tommy Kahnle $5.75m
RP Nick Ramirez* $.8m
RP Ian Hamilton $.9m
RP Scott Effross $.8m
RP Ron Marinaccio $.8m

Miscellaneous Expenses
Aaron Hicks - $10m (assuming he doesn't play anywhere in 2024, but if so you can take $.74m away from the Yankees obligation)
0-3 yr bonus - $1.667m
40-man players in minors - $2.25m
Estimated Player Benefits - $17m

Total Opening Day Payroll - $317.817 million (2023 year-end payroll was $298,518,065 vs. $376,420,466 for the Mets)

Note, I see Jasson Dominguez taking over CF when he returns from the injured list sometime after the All Star break, making Kiermaier a great way to give everyone in the outfield enough rest to be as fresh as possible going into the postseason.

There it is... another offseason plan on the books. Let me know what you think either here or on TWITTER (screw Elon). 

Have a good one!

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