Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Yankees and the Big Decisions Looming

The New York Yankees have built an amazing foundation for years to come here in 2017 and that team and foundation has far-exceeded any expectations put on the team this season, and it’s not even close. The 2018 season was always “the” season for the Yankees and with the 2018 season, either way, coming front and center in about a month for New York the team has a ton of big decisions looming. While we wait for the Orioles and Yankees game this afternoon let’s take a look at some of those potential big decisions and decipher how the Yankees will go about making those big decisions. Will we be talking about these decisions as the deciding factor in the 2018 World Series like many of the fans planned? Or will all be collectively back to screaming “Fire Cashman” even if he isn’t the GM of the team anymore when it all goes down?

CC Sabathia set to be a free agent and while many Yankees fans, myself included, have been counting down the days until the big left-hander hits free agency the craziest ideas are starting to pop up. Many are wondering if it would be in the Yankees best interest to bring back Sabathia on a one-year deal for insurance purposes and honestly, it’s a good idea if you ask me. If Sabathia’s knee finally gives out or if he pulls a Roger Clemens and “misremembers” how to pitch then a simply DFA or a Mark Teixeira or Alex Rodriguez type handout could easily be in order. This is all dependent on a lot of things but none of them bigger than the Masahiro Tanaka opt-out that’s looming, the Shohei Otani potential signing and the emergence and development of Chance Adams and others. If you ask me here on September 16 though I say give the big man a one-year deal worth $10 million or so.

Speaking of starting pitching and the Tanaka opt-out clause the Yankees have another big decision regarding that. Obviously the decision making process is all in Tanaka’s hands but the big decision for the Yankees comes if Tanaka decides to opt-out. Do the Yankees offer Tanaka a bigger, and presumably longer contract to come back to the Bronx? I would personally advise against that honestly but if history is any indicator of the future then the Yankees will at least entertain the idea. Will the team shift their focus to Shohei Otani instead? Honestly I think the team will be all-in, or as all-in as they can be, for Otani regardless of the Tanaka decision. Will the team simply plug the hole via free agency? I don’t see any slam dunks there and the Yankees will be trying to get under the luxury tax threshold anyway so I can’t see the team splurging for much if Tanaka were to opt-out and not come back. Could we be seeing the last of Tanaka in pinstripes? Stay tuned.

The final starting pitching decision for the Yankees this offseason will be the decision on what to do with Michael Pineda after a Tommy John surgery in July likely ended any chances of the right-hander pitching in 2018. The Yankees faced a similar situation with Nathan Eovaldi recently and let the flamethrower head to the Tampa Bay Rays but the team could conceivably sign Pineda to a two-year deal loaded down with incentives with the purpose of keeping him under contract for the 2019 season. With the roster crunch the Yankees have going on and all the young players the team has coming through the pipeline it seems unlikely that the Yankees would do so but Pineda has a talent and a right arm that is worth taking a chance on in my opinion. If I were a betting man though I’d say he will likely be wearing another uniform here in 2018 though and not the Yankees pinstripes.

I know I’m crazy and I know I’ll probably catch a lot of flak for this but I really, really want to bring back Todd Frazier for the 2018 season. Of course if Frazier is looking for an astronomical contract then my opinion would change but Frazier just doesn’t seem like that kind of player to me. Frazier, set to be a free agent at the end of the season, is a great clubhouse guy and he is versatile as hell. Now I know what many are thinking, what about Miguel Andujar? What about Gleyber Torres? Why would I want to block the third base position from either of those two players? First of all either of them making the Major League roster and contributing is a guarantee but New York has a backup plan if either or both of them do, first base. Frazier can be more than adequate at first base defensively and can also be counted on in the DH position as Matt Holliday hits free agency. I can see a young team like the Yankees will have in 2018 putting those thumbs down every time Frazier hits a home run or knocks in an RBI all year long next season.

Speaking of Matt Holliday the 37-year old slugger is likely seeing his final at-bats inside Yankees pinstripes as we sprint towards the end of the 2017 season. The signing of Holliday was great in theory and was working out marvelously until Holliday got hit with the Epstein-Barr virus that has seemingly and presumably zapped him of all his power and stamina. Holliday has served his purpose here in the Bronx both on the field and off the field as he worked with Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner and others and the Yankees need to realize that. Thank him for his services and wish him luck on his next stop and for the 2018 season.

Now I know what you’re thinking, why bring back Todd Frazier when you have somewhat of a mirror image of him already under contract in Chase Headley? Because Frazier is better, that’s why. Now all of this is contingent obviously on the contract demands of Frazier but if the Yankees can bring back the Toddfather then the team can immediately start looking for trade partners for Headley. According to the Yankees GM Brian Cashman the team discussed moving Headley last offseason and could presumably rehash some of those conversations with just one-year and $13 million remaining on the Headley contract in 2018. If not Headley can split time between first base, third base and DH until Gleyber Torres and/or Miguel Andujar is ready to take over the position at third base permanently.

Speaking of first base the final decision the Yankees have looming is what to do at first base. For the second consecutive season the Yankees “first baseman of the future” Greg Bird has not been able to stay on the field due to injuries leaving the Yankees not only scratching their heads, but frustrated. With so many options on the roster, albeit less than ideal and not natural options, for the first base position and a player hitting free agency that the Yankees really like in Eric Hosmer could we be seeing the end of Greg Bird? Could the Yankees package Bird and Headley, plus prospects, in a deal to fill a hole or to bring in more prospects after trading away quite a few in July and August this season? Honestly I think Hosmer will be too rich for the suddenly austerity-driven Yankees which only works in Bird’s favor but weirder things have happened here in the Bronx. Especially with a Steinbrenner running the show and writing the checks.

So what will the Yankees do? Honestly I think the team brings Sabathia back for the 2018 season, the thought of the partially torn ulnar collateral ligament and a less-than-stellar 2017 campaign keeps Tanaka in pinstripes, the team makes a serious run at Otani but loses out to a National League team which allows him to hit every fifth day, and the team runs Bird back out there for Opening Day 2018. The Frazier and Headley situation will be an interesting one to watch but the Yankees will likely see Headley as a sunk cost, if they trade him the team will likely have to eat some of his salary after a couple down seasons in the Bronx, and let Frazier walk via free agency if I were to guess. Again though, weirder things have happened with a Steinbrenner running the show though so you will just have to stay tuned. 


  1. If I could get Showalter from Baltimore I woukd prefer him as nanager.I doubt if he would come back to the Yankees.
    CC is easy , 1 million dollars with incentives for next year.
    Todd Frazier would be interesting , if Glyber is ready though tough to choose Frazier over him.
    Chapman is a maybe , he seems to be 50/50 on trades and signings . I don't know maybe 60/40 on bringing him back .
    My choices in managers are 1.Showalter
    If you go out and sign Japaneese star and snub Dellin again it is wrong.Somehow we need to see what Shefield can do.
    Shefield /Otani
    CC as a last resort.

    1. Showalter hates the Yankees, he has basically said as much. Not coming.

      One million for CC is a slap in the face. Like a serious and literal slap in the face.

      Gleyber won't be ready for a few months or at least before the All-Star break.

      Chapman isn't a "bring him back" player. He is under contract and for the money he is owed is unlikely to be traded.

      We can't snub Dellin. He is done with arbitration. Sheffield hasn't pitched above Double-A.

    2. Redacted:

      Dellin isn't done with arbitration yet. I'm wrong there.

  2. We need to clean house a bit.....
    Ells, Brett, Todd F, and Headley must go to make room for better players coming up. I have always liked Brett but we need to use what talents we have or Lose them!
    Otani is a very good talent and young also is one of the only pitchers I can see out there that MAY BE better than what we have now.
    Dellin as the closer to start the season is a no brainer, but we need another two guys to help getting to him...we have a couple now and a more coming along next year, therefore we can try and trade Chapman, Brett, Ells, Headley and Todd easy task!
    Judge is becoming a much better hitter now that he can see what the pitcher is doing to him. The umps will start giving him that low pitch next year...right now they see it as a strike even though it is below his knees.

    1. Gardner has trade value and honestly I think Headley does too with the little bit left on both contracts, Chapman really doesn't though IMO. He struggled this season and was injured or complained of discomfort and such more than once. Ellsbury is Ellsbury. We are stuck with him.

    2. Can't the team eat 1/2 of Ells contract with all the money coming off the books?
      Oh, sh-t, I forgot about the Japan wiled man...that will eat a lot of the freed up $$$$$!

    3. Otani won't cost much since he is an International free agent. Teams can't offer him more than $4 million or $5 million, whatever their pool cap is.

      The team can eat Ellsbury's contract, just not sure if they would be willing to in the name of austerity. Plus I'm not sure there's a team who would want him, although he has regained some value as of late after losing his starting job.

    4. Otani is on my wishlist and I think a pitcher such as he could make a big difference next year. Other than that, they don't need anyone, we have everything we need. I think!

    5. First base is a growing concern but if the Yankees just got Otani and nothing else I think I'd be okay with it. I would feel confident heading into 2018.


Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)