Yankees ratings: shortstop, judge, Gardner, coaching staff
There are plenty of opportunities for the Yankees, who are expected to be one of the most active teams in the league this winter. After going below the luxury tax threshold to reset their penalties in 2021, it looks like the club are ready for a big offseason.
Early comments from CEO Brian Cashman fueled the fire, with the baseball operations chief telling reporters at GM meetings last week that the front office had some financial leeway. Owner Hal Steinbrenner echoed the sentiment, recounting Newsday’s David Lennon that Cashman’s suggestion is “correct”. The New York president declined to go into details on where the club’s budget limit could land, but he didn’t downplay the possibility of some notable moves.
The easiest path to a great winter would seem to be to dive into the autonomous agent shortstop market. Not only has Cashman previously professed a desire to improve his position, he has confirmed that the club have been in contact with representatives of several free agents. Jon Heyman of the MLB Network tweeted this week that the outgoing Yankees and Dodgers were among the clubs interested in Corey seager, while the brass of the Yankees have expressed their willingness to consider Carlos correa despite his role in the Astros sign theft scandal.
It remains to be seen whether the Yankees will be willing to pledge anywhere in the vicinity of the $ 300 + MM guarantees it could take to land Seager or Correa. The club have two of the most promising shortstop prospects in the game – Oswald Peraza and Antoine Volpe – climb the ranks of the minor leagues. Matthew Roberson of the New York Daily News reported yesterday that the Yankees were more likely to pursue an interim option than play at the top of the market at the position based on the belief that Peraza and / or Volpe could take the reins in the not too distant future. If the Yankees avoided star free agents at the top of the market, Andrelton Simmons Where Freddy galvis could present themselves as short-term options to stabilize home defense.
Whether the Yankees should be willing to skip this offseason shortstop class is up for debate, but it could allow them to allocate more funds to lock up the star outfielder. Aaron Judge on a long term deal. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz predicts the judge will receive a salary in the order of $ 17.1 million in 2022, his final season of officiating eligibility. The triple All-Star is expected to reach free agency status in the next offseason.
The judge has already expressed his openness to an extension. Cashman told reporters (including Bryan Hoch from MLB.com) Tonight, the club were willing to discuss a long-term deal with Judge representatives, but have yet to open discussions. Locking up Judge at this point in his career would no doubt require a massive investment. The 29-year-old has already racked up a significant amount of money during his umpiring run, and he’s putting out an excellent .287 / .373 / .544 showing out of 633 plate appearances.
Reunion with Brett Gardner would require a much lower expense but could possibly be on the to-do list. The Yankees have continued to bring the fourteen-year-old veteran back in recent seasons, but the 38-year-old is currently a free agent after both teams declined the end of a 2022 option. The Yankees did not discuss of a possible meeting with Gardner’s representatives early in the offseason, Cashman said (via Hoch), but the general manager said he believed the Yankee intended to continue playing throughout his career.
In the non-player news, Cashman also expressed a desire to expand the coaching staff. The Yankees plan to hire three batting coaches and an additional pitching instructor (Hoch link). It’s become an increasingly common approach, especially this offseason. We’ve seen teams like the Brewers and Orioles hire two hitting instructors as co-hitting coaches, with an assistant working under this top duo. The Yankees parted ways with former batting coach Marcus Thames at the end of the season.