The 2018 MLB season has yet to come to an end, but the 2019 offseason is just getting started for the Yankees. Despite winning 100 games and setting a new single-season team home run record with 267 big flies, the Yankees still have plenty of unanswered questions heading into 2019.
There are some holes practically in every facet of the team. They will be addressed, and it will be interesting to see how the Yankees’ front office goes about improving the roster. Let’s take a look at some of the spots where the Yankees need help going into 2019.
For the most part, the New York Yankees are well-stocked with infield talent. They have two Rookie of the Year candidates in Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar. They also have Didi Gregorius who, despite requiring Tommy John Surgery, is slated to play a bulk of next season. The real gaping hole in the infield is first base. Luke Voit had a stellar September out of nowhere for the Yankees, but it remains to be seen if he is a long-term option at first base. Also, the Yankees may not be ready to give up on Greg Bird. Furthermore, according to Buster Olney, the Diamondbacks will listen to offers on their best players, including Paul Goldschmidt. If the Yankees can put together a solid package, Goldschmidt could be quite the asset.
Nonetheless, while this infield seems to be well-pieced together, the Yankees likely need to improve it in some way or another. Unless his defense improves, Miguel Andujar should not be playing third base. Andujar sported a -15.5 defensive WAR in 2018, the second worst defensive WAR for this season was -7.5, held by former Yankee Yangervis Solarte.
Furthermore, Didi Gregorius’ Tommy John Surgery raises a lot more questions about the Yankees’ need for Manny Machado. The Yankees could choose to patch up the infield internally by re-signing Neil Walker or Adheiny Hechavarria. Regardless, they need a first baseman, a reliable third baseman, and some depth (at least) to fill the hole that Didi will leave at the beginning of the season.
Starting Pitching and Bullpen
The starting rotation probably is the most question mark filled facet of this team. J.A Happ and C.C Sabathia will both be free agents. There also has to be some concern regarding Luis Severino‘s second-half of the season. Internally, the Yankees could look for options from a crop of Jonathon Loaisiga, Justus Sheffield, Jordan Montgomery, and Domingo German.
If they wanted to fill a hole in the rotation through free agency they could re-sign Happ and/or C.C. They could also see what offers would be like for pitchers such as Patrick Corbin and Clayton Kershaw. The trade market will also be a factor this offseason, as the Giants may be willing to part ways with Madison Bumgarner for the right price.
As for the bullpen, they will lose Zach Britton, David Robertson, and Lance Lynn to free agency. There are no real standouts in the relief pitcher free-agent market. There are, however, plenty of serviceable options that could be effective in 6th and 7th inning relief spots. Adam Ottavino, Andrew Miller, Aaron Loup, and Ryan Madson are some of the free-agent options. The Yankees could very well re-sign Zach Britton and/or David Robertson depending on their asking price as well. Britton, a hard-throwing lefty with a nasty sinker, is probably the most critical bullpen piece that the Yankees need back.
The Yankees still have a very formidable nucleus of players slated to come back for the 2019 campaign. They are a very young team that will hopefully make some significant strides in the offseason. Nonetheless, as Brian Cashman said, the Yankees are about winning championships. If that is the case, they are probably going to need to make a significant move or two this offseason.