Brian Cashman recently stated that the Yankees are after a big bat. Now the club has some room to spend after they traded away Brian McCann and after Mark Teixeira hung up his spikes, it appears that the team is willing to spend again. But is it a wise decision to do so?
In the last few months, the Yankees have built one of the best farm systems, if not THE best farm system by making some smart trades. By trading away Carlos Beltran, Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Millar they got a lot of talented (some near MLB ready) players in return.
Greg Bird will return to the Yankees (after a year on the DL) to play first base. The Yankees have another big bat in Gary Sanchez, although it is very unlikely that he will keep putting up the numbers like he did in the final months of the 2016 season. Aaron Judge is also a big bat but he has to work on his hitting as he has problems with hitting breaking balls.
But despite having a great farm system with promising players, the Yankees are still looking for a big bat. Names like Carlos Beltran (again), JEdwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista have been mentioned in the press.
Right now the main focus should be on starting pitching. After Masahiro Tanaka, and C.C. Sabathia (yes, I know it is strange to hear this from me), there are several question marks in Michael Pineda, Luis Severino and Nathan Eovaldi (the latter was designated for assignment). In Adam Warren the Yankees may have a reliable nr. 5 starter but the number 3 and 4 spots are weak.
Also the bullpen needs to be upgraded. Dellin Betances is a great set up man, but as a closer he has his flaws. The Yankees were very high on Aroldis Chapman, but you can count on it that he is asking for the jackpot and Kenley Jansen will probably do the same.
If the Yankees go after Encarnacion or Bautista, it will cost them a draft pick as the Blue Jays made qualifying offers to the two. Carlos Beltran may be a bargain because of his age. It is likely that the Yankees may sign him to a one year contract. Last year he was the best hitting Yankee before he was traded, with a BA of .304 and 22 homeruns.
Another disadvantage of acquiring one or more big bats is that they will block the the way for talented minor league players from being called up.
The Yankees have made a wise decision to rejuvenate. Let’s keep it that way and continue with the youngsters instead of chasing mercenaries who are at the (very) wrong side of thirty. The Yankees better regard 2017 as a transition year in which young players get a chance to profile themselves.
Another year without play offs will not harm the club.