The New York Yankees are exactly one week away from the AL Wildcard game against the Oakland A’s. But looking ahead even further to this coming offseason the Yankees will have some interesting decisions to make. Mostly deciding which free agents to pursue and which to let go by. We take a look at a few of those decisions now.
Fire From The Left Side: Zach Britton over Andrew Miller
While the Yankees have been fortunate enough to have had both men in the organization for an up-close view this coming offseason they will have to choose. Both Zach Britton and Andrew Miller pitched beautifully in the Bronx. And both are slated to become free agents this offseason. Thus leading to the compare and contrast pieces that are sure to follow the completion of the postseason. But in watching what both men have been able to accomplish over the course of the last three-plus seasons.
The Yankees should choose Zach Britton over Andrew Miller. While donning the Pinstripes, Miller was nothing less than phenomenal but since his trade to the Indians in 2016 that hasn’t so much been the case. Now neither man would take hold of the closer role occupied by fellow lefty fireballer Aroldis Chapman. Which could very well factor into the decision for either pitcher.
But beyond the admission of the Bronx being a top choice, Zach Britton has proven to be the more reliable reliever over the last two seasons. And Andrew Miller has been hurt repeatedly, and that should bring the utmost reluctance to the Yankee decision makers.
Rotation Reinforcement: JA Happ over the Field
While many pitchers are set to hit the market this season the leading starting pitcher the Yankees should pursue is the in-house candidate JA Happ. While Happ was a questionable trade by many at the time. It has been nothing but praised ever since. JA Happ has proven that he can not just handle the high-pressure environment that is New York. But he seems to thrive on it. Happ does not display much emotion on the mound, something Happ learned from Cliff Lee during their Phillies tenure. But he has seemed to elevate his game since the trade to the Yankees. And therefore he should be someone the Yanks pursue this offseason heavily.
Hot Corner Conundrum: Miguel Andújar over Manny Machado
Now, these next two suggestions of offseason decisions may be a bit controversial to some but hear me out. And let’s be clear about this if I were in charge of the decision I may not make these same decisions but these are the choices I think the Yankees will make. Now, let me start off by saying I am a big fan of Machado, and he would be a significant signing for any ballclub. And he would significantly improve any team he joins. And he will be heavily pursued by many clubs, but most speculate the Philadelphia Phillies.
But with that being said, the Yankees have a young gifted third baseman who is on a controllable salary. And Andújar’s bat is producing at nearly unprecedented levels as a rookie. And as Miguel develops more the 40 plus doubles and 25 plus homers he’s already hit will increase. Yes, Andújar is nowhere close to the defender that Machado is at third base. No one other than Nolan Arenado is. But Manny is likely to cost somewhere in the range of $35-$40 million a season. While Andújar will cost less than 1 million per season. And in all honesty, the offensive production is likely to be similar enough to what Machado would provide the Yanks that the difference in salary won’t be warranted. And while defense is essential, I don’t think the Yankees would spend $40 million a season for fewer errors.
Corner Outfield Chaos: Andrew McCutchen over Bryce Harper
In a comparable case to that of Manny Machado, I am also a huge fan of Bryce Harper. For years I have been waiting for this free agent class so that Bryce would finally be able to put on the Pinstripes. Alas while I would love to have Bryce Harper, financially I don’t see the Yankees dishing out the $35-$40 million a season for Harper’s services. Bryce is the type of talent that can change the direction of a team. He can single-handedly boost ticket and merchandise sales. Yet for this New York Yankees team, it doesn’t seem like a move they would make.
However, resigning Andrew McCutchen looks like the move they would make. While Cutch is much older than Bryce Harper that makes the contract much shorter regarding dollars and years. This Yankees team is built on versatility and flexibility, and McCutchen can provide them that. Going after Bryce Harper will not give the Yankees the financial flexibility that they have been looking for over the last several seasons. Even though they will reset their luxury tax threshold penalty this offseason, I do not expect the Yankees to make more than a cursory inquiry on both Manny Machado and Bryce Harper.
Offseason to Watch
The 2018-2019 offseason has been on the radars of everyone for the last six-plus seasons. As this free agent class is set to be one of the most star-studded classes since the inception of free agency. And I fully expect there to be a lot of moves made and money handed out. The question remains to be seen just how much the Yankees are going to spend.
The Yanks have been financially prudent the last few seasons in expectation of this upcoming free agency. But will they continue the frugal nature of their recent spending? Or will they venture back in time to the days of the “Dynasty” and pull one out of “The Bosses” playbook and buy the two biggest names on the market. With teams getting larger TV contracts, less and less are top-tier players hitting free agency. And even less is money being given to players once they hit the open market. So this will be an exciting offseason to watch.