The 2018 MLB season did not end the way the New York Yankees or their fans expected it to. Winning the Wild Card instead of the AL East and being bounced in the first round by the hated Boston Red Sox was not ideal. This past season should have shown the front office that changes need to be made if this team wants to win its 28th ring. The Bombers have a laundry list of things to do this offseason, and fans can only hope that most of them will get done.
1. Trade Sonny Gray
Two seasons ago, the Yankees acquired Gray in a deal that was supposed to boost their starting rotation. Two seasons later, this trade is regarded as a colossal bust.
Not only was Gray not a consistent starter, but he was actually moved to the bullpen midseason because of his poor performance. Gray is still relatively young and still has room to be worked with, so I believe he holds some trade value. Alone, New York will get nothing for him, but bundling him with talented prospect could get the Yankees started on the right path.
2. Trade Greg Bird, Start Luke Voit
Yankee fans are tired of waiting for Greg Bird to break out and become the first baseman phenom they’ve been promised. Bird has had plenty of time. His injury set him back but he’s been healthy enough to do damage. He’s either unable to produce for the team, or he is on the DL and the Yankees can’t afford to keep wasting time with him.
Like Gray, dumping him with a prospect could sweeten a deal. Other teams who have aging first basemen or teams who are struggling standings-wise and have room to gamble could also take on Bird as a reclamation project.
As for Luke Voit, he should be the first baseman for the Bombers next season. Ending the season with a .300+ average and 10+ home runs in such a short amount of time, his solid glove, and endless swagger have won over the hearts of Yankee fans and has earned him a spot at first heading to Florida in February.
3. Teach Gary Sanchez How to Catch
I can’t stress this one enough. Gary Sanchez had one of the worst seasons a Yankees catcher has ever had, and a career low in everything. He was also abysmal behind the plate, leading the league in passed balls. Not exactly what the Yankees had in mind this season.
Lingering groin injuries did set Sanchez back, but when he returned, he still did nothing. Sanchez is one of the strongest and scariest hitters in this lineup when he’s on top of his game and is not a bat the Yankees want to lose. Yankees coaching needs to get him right behind the plate and right the ship with his swing back, or Austin Romine may be looking at a full-time gig.
4. Acquire an Ace Starting Pitcher
With C.C. Sabathia potentially retiring, J.A. Happ a free agent, and Gray potentially on the move, that now leaves three spots open in the Yankees rotation, although I fully expect them to re-sign Happ. The means Severino, Happ, and Tanaka will be the rotation as of now.
Lance Lynn will most likely not return either next season. It is unknown if Chance Adams or Justus Sheffield will be in the rotation next season, but the Yankees still need another arm to beef up the rotation, preferably an ace. Severino started the season as a favorite for the Cy Young and then crashed, Happ did very well until the postseason, and Tanaka remained solid. Brian Cashman needs to play the market and find this rotation a ringer.
5. Sign Manny Machado, Trade Miguel Andujar
This might be the most important move the Yankees could make all offseason. After losing out on him in July, the Yankees did not find themselves in a lot of trouble but he would have been a great addition to this lineup.
After Tommy John surgery, Didi Gregorius will be out for most of the 2019 season, leaving a huge hole in the Yankee lineup. Although Gleybar Torres was brought up as a shortstop, keeping him at second base is the smarter move. Machado should be the shortstop next season and the potential Rookie of the Year, Miguel Andujar, should find himself wearing another uniform next season.
After a phenomenal rookie season, Andujar’s trade value has hit its apex. He struggled at third base this season and it hurt the Yankees at times. With him in a deal, the Yankees could be very dangerous this offseason and could build a team that could knock the Sox out of first. Machado will play shortstop until the return of Didi and then move to third. Machado has said he wants to play shortstop, but he also said he wants to be a Yankee. I think he’ll live with switching.
Brian Cashman has already said he plans to keep the entire coaching staff, as well as Gary Sanchez. When the World Series ends, the Winter Meetings come, and the market opens, Yankee fans will be itching to see what is to be done. Hopefully, it’s some of the moves mentioned above.
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