Note: This is part five of a five-part series on the New York Yankees and what we think they should do during the 2018-2019 offseason to better the team. This series will take a look at the strengths and weaknesses of the team and identify the options the Yankees have internally and externally through trades and free agency.
At last, let’s put our proposed off-season plan officially together. We will take a crack at forming the 40-man roster for the 2019 season. This will summarize each of the previous four parts of our series, including free agent signings, winter trades, 40-man roster additions, and statistics on why our proposed additions will help address the Yankees weaknesses from 2018.
While the major league rotation still lacks a true proven ace, it is much more well-rounded and improved upon from last season. The re-signing of Happ fills the void of a veteran innings eater that will be one thing that no other Yankee starter was in 2018, consistent.
Patrick Corbin is admittedly a wild card. Will he be an All-Star or a back-end starter? After-all that is what he was most of his career. To be frank, the Yankees are almost forced into signing him and rolling the dice. The lefty is the top free agent pitcher on the market and New York has money to spend. It’s a perfect fit, the Yankees need to invest in pitching above all this winter.
As far as who will fill the number five spot, there are five youngsters that would battle for this roster spot during spring training plus at some point, a recovering Jordan Montgomery. Abreu, Sheffield, and Loaisiga are all potential middle to top-of-the-rotation arms Rosa could be a vital cog in the rotation with his tremendous pitch-ability.
Relief Pitching (13): Dellin Betances, Aroldis Chapman, Stephen Tarpley, Domingo German, Jonathan Holder, Ben Heller, Chance Adams, Domingo Acevedo, Tommy Kahnle, Chad Green, David Robertson, T.J. McFarland, Wandy Peralta
Relief pitching was a strength of the Yankees in 2018 and looks to be once again in 2019. The only true additions proposed would be southpaw’s T.J. McFarland and Wandy Peralta.
Yes, this would mean Boone would lose Zach Britton but is he worth closer money ($15-20 million per year for three to four years) to be a set up man? In short, no and that is exactly why we decided to pass on re-signing the sinkerballer with an injury history.
The void of losing Britton could easily be filled from within. Domingo Acevedo, Chance Adams, and Domingo German should all be transformed into relievers and immediately inserted into the major league bullpen. Acevedo has the highest upside of the group but has the most to prove. I personally think the Yankees should have gone with Adams last season in place of AJ Cole. His stuff is superior and his long-term future could have benefited from a half-season’s worth of Major League experience under his belt.
Nothing has changed here. Sanchez and Romine will be the big-league starter and backup with Higgy being the emergency third catcher in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Should the Yankees find the need to acquire another catcher in place of the light-hitting Higashioka, Pedro Severino from the Washington Nationals would be our top choice. While he is known as a glove-first catcher, Severino provides plenty of upside to take a gamble on.
Avoid Manny Machado. That is the main key here. Our line of thinking is let the young Miguel Andujar have at least a half-of-a-season to figure out his defensive woes at third base. Should he continue to be an extremely poor defender, target Nolan Arenado. He plays with passion, and is much less of a clubhouse distraction than Machado. Should ownership choose to dole out $300 million plus to a player outside the organization, it shouldn’t be to a player with any question marks – it needs to go to a sure thing. It doesn’t get any better than Arenado at the hot corner.
Focusing on the actual additions, Daniel Murphy is the main target here. Aside from his bat, Murphy can man both second and, to a greater degree, first base. He can also act as a quasi-coach for the team, especially when it comes to a two-out approach. In 1,276 plate appearances with runners in scoring position, Murphy has hit .327 with a .485 slugging percentage and an .880 OPS. In 567 plate appearances with two outs and RISP, Murphy has hit .311 with an .874 OPS.
While Bryce Harper would give the Yankees the best offensive outfield in recent memory, we planned out our proposed moves with a budget. As of now this 40-man roster currently has an estimated salary of already over $225,000,000. Realistically, New York will need to spend on pitching this off-season and not spend $35 million on a position player who would make the organization blow way past the luxury tax threshold. We expect project the Steinbrenner’s to open their wallets, but in a more economical fashion with keeping our own free agents to be in mind. If Cashman were to recommend making a huge splash this winter, we think it should be on Harper over Machado and Kershaw.
Ellsbury looks to come back after missing all of 2018 and is the largest question mark. Will he provide any value? Will he be able to play after season-ending surgery? We don’t know. What we do know is he will be on the Major League team if he is healthy and the Steinbrenner family doesn’t want to eat his entire contract.
The Yankees’ core of young talent, if healthy, should improve altogether and lead this team to a divisional title with the right off-season additions.