With 2018 Here, the Yankees Still Have Some Questions to Answer
It’s been almost a month since the New York Yankees shook up the baseball world and traded for reigning National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton. Since then, they’ve also traded third baseman Chase Headley and his $13 million salary to the San Diego Padres, re-signed C.C. Sabathia to a one year, $10 million deal, and have been linked in trade discussions with the Pittsburgh Pirates regarding pitcher Gerrit Cole.
Going back to the Stanton trade, it’s easy to forget that the Yankees traded away their everyday second baseman for the past two seasons, Starlin Castro, to the Miami Marlins. Not even a week after that, it was Headley who was moved in an effort to shed salary. Those are two guys who were everyday players for the Yankees in the regular season, and in Headley’s case, for most of the postseason as well.
When Headley was in the lineup during the postseason, he was the designated hitter. That hole will now be filled by either Giancarlo Stanton or Aaron Judge. When they acquired Todd Frazier from the Chicago White Sox, the Yankees made him the everyday third baseman, and it stayed that way until the season ended. Frazier is now a free agent. So, the Yankees currently have holes at second and third base.
Who is going to fill those holes? Will top prospect Gleyber Torres be called upon to do so at second base coming off of Tommy John surgery? Even if the Yankees do opt to go with him, it will likely be Tyler Wade or Ronald Torreyes for 10 games, as the Yankees would get an extra year on Torres’ contract due to the service time rule. Who will replace Todd Frazier at third base then? It obviously won’t be Headley, who many thought was a safety net if the current free agent Frazier left the Bronx. It is unlikely Manny Machado is walking through those doors either, even though the Yankees were linked with him in trade discussions.
Moving away from the lineup, it seems as if the Yankees still want to add starting pitching, even after inking Sabathia to a one year deal. If they don’t complete a trade for Gerrit Cole, could they be in on a guy like Alex Cobb? How about Yu Darvish? As of now, Sabathia, Jordan Montgomery, and possibly Chad Green would be the guys behind Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, and Sonny Gray. Sabathia is a rotation lock, while Green is being brought to Spring Training as a starter, and there could be competition between he and Montgomery.
However, Sabathia still has an ailing knee and it would be wise for the Yankees to be prepared for Montgomery to have a regression or the “Green being a starter” experiment failing. I’m not saying any — or all of the three — will happen, but the Yankees would be wise to prepare for those possibilities, and they seem to be doing just that.
Don’t expect this to end anytime soon. As Jon Heyman writes, only one of his top 10 free agents has signed. The market this year is very slow. However, there will eventually be a breaking point. Will the holes then fill for the Bronx Bombers?
Even with the Yankees now being World Series favorites, significant parts of the team still need to be addressed, and we’ll just have to stay tuned until that happens.