2020-2021 Yankees Offseason Discussion

jon abbey

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I don't have much energy for this yet, but I did want to talk about the catching situation briefly.

There are moves a team makes in a postseason that they would not do with the same personnel if it was a series in May, for instance Clint Frazier is NY's everyday LF but he only started 2 of 7 postseason games because Gardner was much hotter than him at the end of the season, plus he is lefty, plus he is better defensively, plus he is much more experienced.

Higashioka over Sanchez feels like it could be more than that, and a piece on Pinstripe Alley gets into some of the defensive metrics to show that Higgy isn't just a placeholder, he has some exceptional defensive skills, the best framer in all of MLB this year using BP's CSAA (Called Strikes Above Average) stat:


So it might be time to trade Gary and pair Higgy with someone else.

 

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Selling low on Sanchez seems un-Yankeelike, but it might be best for all involved.

Universal DH creates twice the market for his prime asset
 

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I think they probably do need to move on from Sanchez, but I think I'd rather see how he looks up to the trade deadline next season. Let Swanson work with him some more. See if his hitting gets back on track. Maybe do something closer to a 50/50 split on catching duties to start the season and evaluate from there.
 

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despite being on pace for 27 HRs, Sanchez's OPS was a pitiful .618. -0.5 WAR, on pace for -1.3.

am I crazy or is a non-tender more likely than a trade? I still think they keep him because the pandemic very likely messed up some players' "rhythms" for lack of a better word (JDM comes to mind here, hopefully for the Sox).
 

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Is Sanchez all swing-related? Or is the defensive preoccupation play a factor?
 

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I think there is roughly a 0.0 chance that the Yankees non-tender Sanchez based on this highly irregular season. We know he has tremendous offensive potential . At 27, still a little more time for all around improvement too, though I think that window is probably starting to close.

He's several years younger than Higashioka, who is 30.
 

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It’ll be really interesting to see Cashman’s strategy for this offseason. If ownership is intent on operating with a budget, does Cashman finally trade some prospects to go all-in? Do you trade Deivi, Schmidt and Dominguez for Bieber? You’re clearly missing one more elite SP, and the 6 year window that was opened in 2017 is halfway done already. Severino is a question mark, both Paxton and Tanaka are free agents and I’m not sure either are good or dependable enough to bring back.
 

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It’ll be really interesting to see Cashman’s strategy for this offseason. If ownership is intent on operating with a budget, does Cashman finally trade some prospects to go all-in? Do you trade Deivi, Schmidt and Dominguez for Bieber?
Bieber can't be a free agent until 2025. Why would the Indians trade him now?
 

jon abbey

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Dominguez is as untouchable as any player in baseball, except maybe Franco. Hicks had better enjoy his time in CF now because I say he is bumped by early 2023 (when The Martian will be 20).
 

jon abbey

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Bieber is not going anywhere and I say it constantly but I do not believe the Indians will ever send one of their stars to the Yankees if anyone else makes an offer even close, ideally in the NL.

But ignoring that, I still think that a Gleyber for Lindor deal (now CLE would have to add pitching, four seasons of Gleyber and one of Lindor, plus Lindor is much pricier) coupled with a resigning of DJ is the way to go forward in the infield for NY (Voit, DJ, Lindor and his best bud Gio), also CLE saves money on that exchange. Alternately NY could let DJ go (eek), resign Didi for a season and Lindor after next season, and let Gleyber go back to second. It's the same issue that got people confused when NY first signed DJ, both he and Gleyber are by far the most valuable at 2B. DJ has proven himself OK at both 3B and 1B, but 2B is where he was the best defender in MLB
 

jon abbey

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There are Japanese news reports that Tanaka’s old Japanese team Rakuten is going to offer him somewhere between $20-$25M annually (no report on length) to try to woo him back, which I think is way past where NY would go.
 

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Frazier looked much better in the field this year, but assuming Gardner moves on, I'm not sure how reliable he would be playing full time in that big LF. I wouldn't mind packaging him and Gleyber if it could bring back Lindor and a good pitcher. Cleveland always seems to need OF help. I'd love to get Plesac, but I don't see that happening.
 

jon abbey

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I don't think they can afford to trade Frazier anymore unless Stanton starts playing the field again. Tauchman was just awful this year, he literally couldn't hit fastballs down the middle at 92, so I'm not sure who your LF is if it isn't Clint.
 

jon abbey

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Not sure CLE really has excess pitching left to move, but Gleyber would be someone they could build around for four seasons.

Lindor 30.8
McKenzie 19.8

Torres 61.3

NY could throw in Andujar (2) even if CLE wanted to try him in LF. The numbers there are lopsided towards CLE but that is the only way I see them making a deal with the devils from the Bronx and it really fits NY's personnel needs.
 

jon abbey

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OK, let me take a shot at this:

Let Paxton, Happ, and Tanaka go.
Let Gardner go.
Resign DJ for 4/84. (Obviously I am just guessing)
Trade Gleyber and Andujar for Lindor and McKenzie.
Trade Sanchez for the best cost-controlled reliever you can.
Find a second catcher to split time with Higashioka.

???/Higashioka (???/1)
Voit (3)
LeMahieu (21)
Lindor (21?)
Urshela (4)
Frazier (1)
Hicks (10)
Judge (11)
Stanton (22)

Cole (36)
Severino (11)
German (3)
Montgomery (2)
McKenzie/Deivi/Schmidt

Loaisiga (1)
Cessa (1.5)
Ottavino (9)
guy they get for Sanchez
Green (3)
Britton (13)
Chapman (17.5)

That's around $191M, so even with the added $15M for benefits, NY would be just under the lowest tax line of $210M, not sure what their goal is this year. That's only 20 players but I figure the rest could be cheap if needed. If they are trying to stay under 230 instead of 210, they could sign Gardner for 6 or 8 and trade Tauchman (he turns 30 in December).
 

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Do you offer DJ and Paxton QOs? DJ gets one for sure but what are the chances he turns it down?

Who’s giving up a first round pick to sign DJ for his age 33 to age 36 (?) season? Only a win now team with a need at 2B. I don’t see many that can afford him and is willing to give up a first round pick.

Same with Paxton. Who’s giving up a pick to sign oft-injured Paxton for his age 32 season and beyond? I think Paxton comes back to the Yankees for the QO.
 

jon abbey

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Do you offer DJ and Paxton QOs? DJ gets one for sure but what are the chances he turns it down?

Who’s giving up a first round pick to sign DJ for his age 33 to age 36 (?) season? Only a win now team with a need at 2B. I don’t see many that can afford him and is willing to give up a first round pick.

Same with Paxton. Who’s giving up a pick to sign oft-injured Paxton for his age 32 season and beyond? I think Paxton comes back to the Yankees for the QO.
Oh, that's a good point, but the rules for what draft picks you lose now are super complicated. NY lost a 2nd round and 5th round pick for Cole, I think you can't lose a #1 pick under any conditions anymore.


But they will offer DJ one. If I'm reading that link right, NY would only get a 4th round pick if one of their guys turned down a QO and then signed for more than $50M total. Paxton is still possible, though, didn't consider that.
 

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This is going to be the hardest offseason for Cashman. Deciding how much to spend on free agents, who to trade, and making a blunt assessment on what we can expect from young players who have been really inconsistent in their Yankees careers.

All of NY is ready to move on from Sanchez but they can't expect much for him in a trade right now, a trade that could ultimately backfire. I keep comparing this situation to Matt Harvey, because the upside makes you foam at the mouth but it just doesn't feel like there's a real chance for him to put it together again. Not in the spotlight.

Pitching wise, everything they need, they have on paper for next year. But our team is an injury-prone mess and we can't rely on any production from Severino and who knows what you'll get from German. German doesn't have a long enough sample size of success to predict what he'll do out of the third spot.

I like the idea of Lindor but I'm still afraid of giving up on Torres after a 60 game sample size given what he did in 2019 and prior.

Here are some quick thoughts on must-haves
1) Resign DJL
2) Roster efficiency. Loaisiga, Tauchman, Ford, Frazier, Wade all need to be evaluated and a decision has to be made about their futures. Keep Frazier, get rid of the rest is what my gut tells me.
3) Bullpen can be cured through free agency. Lot of quality arms available, only need 1.
4) Need a durable SP who can anchor in at the 3 spot. We don't need another ace and we don't need another flamethrower. Someone akin to Jose Quintana, if he had better performance.
 

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4) Need a durable SP who can anchor in at the 3 spot. We don't need another ace and we don't need another flamethrower. Someone akin to Jose Quintana, if he had better performance.
I've been thinking about this sort of pitcher. I think we need to call them Charlie Mortons
 

jon abbey

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Good post, crow. One quibble:

Loaisiga, Tauchman, Ford, Frazier, Wade all need to be evaluated and a decision has to be made about their futures. Keep Frazier, get rid of the rest is what my gut tells me.
Tauchman or Gardner is a decision they’ll probably have to make, but Loaisiga, Ford and Wade are all very cheap bench guys without obvious replacements in the system. If you sign FAs to replace them, you are not only spending more, but you are hurting roster flexibility (all three have options remaining).
 

crow216

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Good post, crow. One quibble:



Tauchman or Gardner is a decision they’ll probably have to make, but Loaisiga, Ford and Wade are all very cheap bench guys without obvious replacements in the system. If you sign FAs to replace them, you are not only spending more, but you are hurting roster flexibility (all three have options remaining).
I don't disagree about the need for roster flexibility, I'm making the assumption that Ford and Wade don't do much other than fill the lineup card for a day. I'd prefer we find more productive flexible players since our everyday players need so much rest. In other words, we ask a lot of our bench.
 

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Is there any chance Cashman might try to make an impactful trade, giving up something good to get something they need. Thinking of after 1995 season, trading Hitchcock for Tino and Nelson. Are there any stupid GMs out there?
 

jon abbey

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I don't disagree about the need for roster flexibility, I'm making the assumption that Ford and Wade don't do much other than fill the lineup card for a day. I'd prefer we find more productive flexible players since our everyday players need so much rest. In other words, we ask a lot of our bench.
No, I get it, but what I'm saying is that's a lot easier said than done, and it's worth keeping in mind that both Ford and Tauchman were legit great in 2019 before being awful in this strange short season. Tauchman I get dumping in favor of Gardner, since neither can be optioned and there's only really roster room for one of them, but finding bench upgrades on Ford and Wade who are better than them and have options and are similarly cheap is not so easy.
 

jon abbey

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I would try to extend Voit a few years.
He is under control through 2024, he will be 34 at the start of the 2025 season, and he's had season-impacting injuries two years in a row. I do think he's NY's 1B for the foreseeable future (I am reading a lot of people who would like NY to add a SS and move Gleyber to 2B and DJ to 1B which seems less than ideal), but I can't see why you'd want to extend him even further.
 

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Why not trade Voit at the peak of his value? He is easily replaceable and might fetch a more essential need for the Yankees, like a lefty bat.
 

crow216

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Why not trade Voit at the peak of his value? He is easily replaceable and might fetch a more essential need for the Yankees, like a lefty bat.
He's typically healthy, good team chemistry, cheap and like you said...if he's easily replaceable then his value is lower to other teams too.
 

jon abbey

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Voit is more valuable to NY than he is on the trade market.

The place that NY has value to trade is young pitching, they have too much to protect. Guys already on the 40 man:

Deivi Garcia
Clarke Schmidt
Luis Gil
Luis Medina
Miguel Yajure
Albert Abreu
Nick Nelson

Guys they need to protect before the rule 5 draft:

Alexander Vizcaino
Roansy Contreras
Yoendrys Gomez

They could get rid of guys like Cessa and Heller to free up a couple spaces if they decide to move Nelson and Yajure to full-time relievers but still I think at least Abreu is a goner.
 

terrynever

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He's typically healthy, good team chemistry, cheap and like you said...if he's easily replaceable then his value is lower to other teams too.
Voit has worn down physically the last two seasons, first with a core injury, and this year with a foot problem. So I do not call a player “typically healthy” just because he sucks it up and limps around bases and in the field.
This lineup needs a lefty hitter. It is too right-handed. Trade Voit, bring back Didi. Whatever.
 

jon abbey

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This lineup needs a lefty hitter. It is too right-handed. Trade Voit, bring back Didi. Whatever.
This is why I think the answer is to trade Gleyber, assuming they can re-sign DJ. Gleyber is a top 10 trade value in all of MLB (was ranked 8th when Fangraphs did it in August) and would fetch a ton in return. Then, if you haven't traded for Lindor, you can sign Didi or Andrelton Simmons for a year and get into the FA bidding after 2021, when Lindor, Baez, Correa, Story and Kyle Seager all hit the market.

And yeah, Voit played hurt for the bulk of this season as well as the end of 2019, this can hurt the team at times. It didn't this year but it definitely did in 2019.
 

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I am for trading any one of the core stars if it balances this lineup and, in the case of Gleyber, improves the defense.

This core looks like 1995 to me, strong but lacking a couple of pieces. How does Cashman get them off this level of falling short in the LCS or LDS? Four years now. I don’t blame Cashman for the first three offseasons but this year screams out for a tweaking of the core.
 

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After Cashman’s too clever by half fiasco in ALDS, you think he’s more or less likely to pull the trigger on a surely controversial Gleyber move? One one hand, he needs to show he actually is super smart, on the other it’s high-risk if he blows another out of the box move. I think trading Gleyber and signing DJ makes a ton of sense, but I bet it wouldn’t be popular.
 

terrynever

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After Cashman’s too clever by half fiasco in ALDS, you think he’s more or less likely to pull the trigger on a surely controversial Gleyber move? One one hand, he needs to show he actually is super smart, on the other it’s high-risk if he blows another out of the box move. I think trading Gleyber and signing DJ makes a ton of sense, but I bet it wouldn’t be popular.
Not sure Cashman worries about how he is perceived nationally. Although it’s an interesting question. People used to talk about how brilliant Theo was. Not so much anymore.
Cashman wants to fix this team and surely he sees things that people like us can only guess about. In a year or two, barring a WS championship, Hal Steinbrenner might think about changing his baseball command structure. Cash has ruled since Torre left. 13 years. 1 championship.
 

jon abbey

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How does Cashman get them off this level of falling short in the LCS or LDS? Four years now. I don’t blame Cashman for the first three offseasons but this year screams out for a tweaking of the core.
I mean, they have consistently been in the top handful of teams in MLB, you can't do too much more than that as a GM. This year obviously everyone was deeply impacted by the craziness of 2020, but I think NY was impacted more than most other teams in a few ways:

1) After signing Cole, Paxton and Severino were slotted in as their #2 and #3 guys, and Domingo German was going to be back two months into the season. They ended up with none of them, and had to fill those three rotation spots internally. TB had a ton of pitching staff injuries this year, but their top three starters are intact for the postseason, which is obviously huge.

2) They lost their best RH reliever in Kahnle early in the season, which would have been OK if Ottavino hadn't also sucked.

3) NY would also have had Deivi and Schmidt (and Gil and Medina and Yajure and Nelson, etc) getting regular innings in the minors, and getting tons of concrete data on which could help the big league club. The minor league season being cancelled obviously removed this source of input.

4) MLB essentially changing the postseason rules AFTER THE TRADING DEADLINE, to a format with no travel days in which pitching staff depth is more important than ever before. Cashman had no chance to potentially react to this.

They do need to make moves, as do most teams, but they don't need to do anything drastic that they don't want to do.
 

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That’s all fair. I have thought much the same. But now the off-season has begun. How do they fix the inconsistency of the offense, the streakiness of several hitters, the decline of Sanchez, the reliance on the long ball? I guess you fix it one move at a time. Sign DJ first. Is he going to play the field or will he accept a fair offer? His value is obviously high, with only his age a future concern.
Do you try to find another hit-making machine? Someone who doesn’t swing from his ass on every pitch? Is this offensive philosophy a winning approach? The Last Dynasty was not built on all-or-nothing sluggers. O’Neill, Jeter, Brosius, Girardi and even Posada were guys who put the ball in play. Tino, Bernie and Strawberry took big swings. But these guys in 2020, all but Gardner and DJ were trying to go deep, especially when ahead in the count. I blame Sanchez’s problems on this approach to hitting. Whatever happened to using the whole field?
 
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crow216

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That’s all fair. I have thought much the same. But now the off-season has begun. How do they fix the inconsistency of the offense, the streakiness of several hitters, the decline of Sanchez, the reliance on the long ball? I guess you fix it one move at a time. Sign DJ first. Is he going to play the field or will he accept a fair offer? His value is obviously high, with only his age a future concern.
Do you try to find another hit-making machine? Someone who doesn’t swing from his ass on every pitch? Is this offensive philosophy a winning approach? The Last Dynasty was not built on all-or-nothing sluggers. O’Neill, Jeter, Brosius, Girardi and even Posada were guys who put the ball in play. Tino, Bernie and Strawberry took big swings. But these guys in 2020, all but Gardner and DJ were trying to go deep, especially when ahead in the count. I blame Sanchez’s problems on this approach to hitting. Whatever happened to using the whole field?
Doesn't help when you take an offense suited for their stadium out of their stadium either. Neutral site playoffs might hurt the Yankees a bit more than the frikkin Rays. In some ways, it's the perfect postseason for the Rays.
 

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TB methodically beat NY in both Tampa and NY this year and the ball was mostly flying out of SD (except the one colder night, game 3?). NY had a great record at home but I don't think they hit too many cheap HRs to RF this year, I think they just felt really comfortable there, even without the crowd. You know, except when TB was kicking the crap out of them... :)
 

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Along with Renteria, the White Sox fired Don Cooper, the famous White Sox pitching coach since 2002, he is 64. He seems like he could be a good fit to team with young inexperienced Matt Blake in some capacity, obviously I have no idea really but seems worth considering.

Also I can't be the only Yankee fan who laughed every time they saw Larry Rothschild (66) coming out to the mound as the primary pitching coach for the ultra-young Padres.
 

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Everyone seems to have ideas about what to do about NY's infield (Andy Martino wants to trade Gio), here is how I see it:

Voit and Urshela are cheap, really good (Voit is not great defensively but I think adequate), and don't have too much trade value. They shouldn't go anywhere.

That leaves you with SS and 2B, Gleyber under contract through 2024 and DJ a FA. The issue is that neither can play SS adequately, both are superstars at 2B. I think the options are:

1) Let DJ go (ugh), keep Gleyber, sign a stopgap SS like Andrelton Simmons or Didi and sign a big FA SS next winter (Lindor, Baez, Story, Correa).

2) Trade Gleyber for one of those potential FA SSs plus more (4 years of Gleyber for 1 year of new SS), resign DJ for a lot of money. This is what I have been pushing for a couple years now, some kind of Gleyber/Lindor swap.

Without Gleyber, NY will end up paying a lot for the 2B/SS positions, but they make it up with Voit and Urshela just hitting arb now.
 

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Everyone seems to have ideas about what to do about NY's infield (Andy Martino wants to trade Gio), here is how I see it:

Voit and Urshela are cheap, really good (Voit is not great defensively but I think adequate), and don't have too much trade value. They shouldn't go anywhere.

That leaves you with SS and 2B, Gleyber under contract through 2024 and DJ a FA. The issue is that neither can play SS adequately, both are superstars at 2B. I think the options are:

1) Let DJ go (ugh), keep Gleyber, sign a stopgap SS like Andrelton Simmons or Didi and sign a big FA SS next winter (Lindor, Baez, Story, Correa).

2) Trade Gleyber for one of those potential FA SSs plus more (4 years of Gleyber for 1 year of new SS), resign DJ for a lot of money. This is what I have been pushing for a couple years now, some kind of Gleyber/Lindor swap.

Without Gleyber, NY will end up paying a lot for the 2B/SS positions, but they make it up with Voit and Urshela just hitting arb now.
Andy Martino brought up the possibility of trading Urshela and moving Torres to 3rd. Get a stopgap guy for next year then go all out for the SS class next offseason.
 

jon abbey

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Andy Martino brought up the possibility of trading Urshela and moving Torres to 3rd. Get a stopgap guy for next year then go all out for the SS class next offseason.
Yes, I mentioned that at the start of the post, it makes no sense to me because it’s far from clear that Gleyber can play adequate defensive 3B plus Gleyber obviously has way more trade value.

NY’s issue is that both Gleyber and DJ should be everyday 2B, both are much less valuable in any other role.
 

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DJ is probably better at 3B than Gleyber is, but yeah, both are best at 2B and moving Torres to fill a bigger need is preferable.

Moving Gio is a solution in search of a problem. No thanks. Besides, if Cleveland doesn't want to trade Lindor to NY, I'd rather have his buddy Gio still in place if and when Lindor becomes a free agent. :)
 

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A bit of macro context:

NY has been in the top 3-4 teams for 4 straight seasons now, it is a very tightly packed group. Going by run differential, here is every team in the last four seasons that outscored their opponents by at least 1 run per game, WS winner in bold:

2017: CLE +254. NYY +198, HOU +196, LAD +190
2018: HOU +263, BOS +229, LAD +194, NYY +182, CLE +170
2019: HOU +280, LAD +273, NYY +204, MIN +185, OAK +165 (WAS were WS champions, they got off to a terrible start at 19-31 but were +189 over the remaining 112 games, a pace of +273 for a full season)

Run differential is not ideal to use in 2020 because the divisions did not interact, so I will go with the teams over a 1550 power rating in 538 (this includes postseason results up until now so not a great comparison, but close enough)

2020: LAD, TB, NYY, HOU, ATL

NY beat CLE in 2017 and lost in 7 to HOU, eventual WS champs*.
NY lost to BOS 3-1 in the ALDS in 2018, but despite the game 3 pounding, Gary Sanchez came very close to tying the series at 2-2 with a walkoff grand slam, but it just fell short. BOS of course went on to win the WS, one of the three best teams of my lifetime (3rd IMO behind the 1998 Yankees and the 1986 Mets).
NY swept MIN in 2019 and lost in 7 to HOU again, who lost in 7 in the WS. NY outscored HOU in the ALCS.
NY swept CLE in 2020 and lost 3-2 to TB, 2-1 in the final game, TB is now in the WS. NY outscored TB in the ALDS.

What’s the point? NY is close, just keep tweaking and trying to improve.
 

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The Dodgers have been closer for a longer stretch and still haven't gotten over the hump. I think they will this year though. But still, NY is doing basically everything right, and have suffered through just an unbelievable amount of injuries - and not to scrubs...to stars. For them to be right there consistently tells you that they don't need an overhaul. They just need a couple of breaks to go their way and they'll be fine.
 

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This is big if true, Naehring is generally considered to be this generation's Gene Michael in terms of talent evaluation.

"In 2018, when the Mets were looking to fill their vacancy at general manager, the team asked the Yankees permission to speak to vice president of baseball operations Tim Naehring.

Naehring politely declined the chance, citing his happiness with his current position and desire to continue living with his family in the Cincinnati area.

That did not keep Naehring from remaining top-of-mind to many other teams. This year, the list of teams looking for new general managers or heads of baseball operations includes the Phillies, Marlins, Angels and, shortly after the World Series, the Mets.

But according to league sources, Naehring remains highly unlikely to bolt the Yankees for any of these jobs. He has told colleagues he is happy where he is, and does not plan to leave for a more glamorous title or more power elsewhere."

 

jon abbey

Shanghai Warrior
Dope
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
52,016
Maybe the first decision NY needs to make this winter is on Zack Britton. Right now his remaining deal is 1/13, FA after 2021. NY has 3 days after the World Series to decide whether to exercise a $14M option on him for 2022 or not. If they choose not to, Britton gets 2 days to decide whether to become an immediate FA or not. I’m betting they decline and he stays for 2021, but any of the three outcomes are possible.