The New York Yankees find themselves in a unique position. Over the past few seasons, the rest of the AL East has weakened themselves. In the past two seasons alone, a former MVP (Mookie Betts) and a former Cy Young (Blake Snell) were traded to the NL West. So for the Yankees, the time is now or never to go all-in for their 28th World Series championship.
(Be sure to check out the Laracuente Ledger Network for an accompanying video on this article. (Time’s Up, It’s Now or Never for the New York Yankees.) And for more videos about the New York Yankees, baseball, and a host of other topics.)
American League Least???
The Yankees’ path just got a little easier when it comes to the American League East Pennant. Before the 2020 season, the Boston Red Sox traded Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Moving Mookie freed up a serious threat for the Yankees. Mookie made the Red Sox a different team, a more well-rounded team. So the loss of Betts would weaken Boston’s ability and chances.
Fast forward to this offseason, and the 2020 American League pennant-winning Tampa Bay Rays have weakened themselves. The Rays trading away Blake Snell diminishes their stellar rotation. Then combine that with Charlie Morton‘s loss to the Atlanta Braves, and the Rays are not the same team they were in 2020.
The Yankees are in a state of flux after the 2020 season. The reason being the Yankees stated they lost more money than any other team due to the pandemic. The Yanks find themselves in a strange battle for how much to give DJ LeMahieu. There’s no denying that DJ LeMahieu is extremely valuable and even more so to the Yankees. DJ provides the Bronx Bombers something different from the rest of their lineup. The Yankees lineup is built of swing-and-miss, all-or-nothing type hitters. So having a “contact-first guy” like DJ LeMahieu gives the Yanks a different kind of threat. Thus this makes LeMahieu (arguably) the most valuable and important Yankee.
So the Yankee front office must decide the depths they will reach into to resign the uber-talented LeMahieu. Rumors of the monetary separation between the two parties are approximately $25+ Million. But the big separator is a fifth year on the contract for the 32-year-old LeMahieu. The Bronx Bombers have been burnt many a time from long-term deals with players in their 30’s. And while DJ is a different kind of player to most of those, time catches up to everyone. Just think back to the last few years of another “DJ” in the Bronx to understand exactly how deterioration happens.
Striking While the Iron is HOT!!!
The Bronx Bombers are in a unique and otherwise prominent position. Their two biggest adversaries (the Rays and Red Sox) have traded away key contributors. And the next rising team (the Toronto Blue Jays) will need at least another year (in my opinion) to gain the necessary edge that comes with experience. And while the Baltimore Orioles had a shockingly good shortened 2020 season, over the course of 162 (or thereabout), the O’s will not fair so gracefully. So the Yanks need to make moves to win. What moves might you be asking? How can the Yankees improve?
Well, the answer is simple and complex at the same time. The Yankees proved that they need more pitching. Yankee GM Brian Cashman himself said that the Yankees would need more certainty from their rotation. And with that, the Bombers can call an old friend in Jed Hoyer and see if a deal can be made with the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs recently traded Yu Darvish to the San Diego Padres (more on them in a moment). So the Cubs are clearly willing to listen to the right deal. And the Yankees have the prospects to make a move to aid the Cubs while also greatly increasing their own team. A trade for Kyle Hendricks gives the Yankees a clear number 2 starter behind Gerrit Cole and a man who has consistently produced over the last few years.
Pitching, Pitching, and More Pitching
The Yankees found themselves in an uncomfortable position during 2020 when their “star-studded” bullpen cost them yet again in the postseason. What was supposed to be a strength turned out to be a weakness. Tommy Kahnle needed Tommy John Surgery, so he was a non-factor, and Adam Ottavino pitched about as poorly as possible. Additionally, Luis Severino also needed Tommy John, and James Paxton’s injury history wrote another unfortunate chapter. So factoring in all the injuries and ineffectiveness, the Yankee front office must look at things differently.
Pitching is always at a premium in Major League Baseball. But as we’ve seen the league move towards a “bullpenning” type of approach, it’s even more of a priority. Thus a trade for a reliable starter (i.e., the previously mentioned Kyle Hendricks) makes a ton of sense for the Yankees.
Shadow San Diego
The San Diego Padres have been quite active in this slow offseason. They have made moves to bring in reliable starters. (Blake Snell & Yu Darvish.) But the reach of the moves dates back to the 2020 trading deadline when they acquired Mike Clevenger from the Cleveland Indians. And while Clevenger is hurt and won’t pitch in 2021, following Tommy John Surgery, he will impact San Diego in the future.
So how can the Yankees “shadow San Diego?” The answer is quite simple…MAKE SOME MOVES ALREADY! There’s no secret in the industry that DJ LeMahieu is the prized target of the Yankee offseason. So instead of playing with keep away with the checkbook, Hal Steinbrenner needs to say, “ok DJ, what’s the lowest offer you are willing to accept? And work with us here; we want to make some other moves to win the World Series a few times this decade.” And then give DJ what he wants; he’s proven to be that valuable. And after DJ, get more pitching. Trade with the Cubs, trade with Pittsburgh for Jameson Taillon. Go make some quality moves for starters and bullpen help.
The Time Is Now!
The New York Yankees find themselves on the outskirts of their ultimate goal, winning the World Series. New York failed to even reach the World Series for the first decade since 1910-1919. And with the 2020 season gone by without even a World Series appearance, the World Series-less count reaches year number eleven. So the Yanks must find a way to buck the trend of their recent failures. And they must do whatever it takes to win the World Series in 2021 and beyond. The time is now or never for the New York Yankees.