Saunders: What The Yankees Are Looking At This Offseason

The rebuilding in New York has begun! At the 2016 trade deadline, when a few of their key players were dealt away.  Those traded included Andrew Miller, Aroldis Chapman, Ivan Nova, and Carlos Beltran. With the fire sale past them, the Yankees have work to do throughout the offseason to fortify their rebuilding efforts.

While the Yankees have already dealt away a bevy of players, multiple veterans still remain on their roster. Catcher Brian McCann and outfielder Brett Gardner are included in that category.  Both players have received diminished and unclear roles. McCann is currently the number two catcher behind rookie phenom Gary Sanchez, who’s not coming out of the lineup for anyone.   Sanchez’s arrival makes McCann’s departure inevitable. The Washington Nationals and Houston Astros would be great trade partners.

The Nationals could offer the Yankees veteran southpaw Gio Gonzalez in return for McCann. While not the stellar arm he once was, Gonzalez can get through innings, and is still serviceable. On the other hand, McCann would give the Nationals a temporary replacement for catcher Wilson Ramos.  Ramos would provide a power lefty bat for the team. As for the Astros,  Jason Castro left Houston via free agency and while Evan Gattis is a viable catcher,  he has only caught 176 games started behind the plate, while being the designated hitter for 212.  McCann is still an average catcher, with a pedigree as a leader of the pitching staff.  Young core Astros such as Lance Mccullers, Joe Mustgrove, and others would greatly benefit having McCann behind the plate.

As for Gardner, the Texas Rangers would be a great fit.  Carlos Gomez, Beltran, and Ian Desmond are all hitting the open market this winter, leaving the Rangers in need of outfield help.  Gardner would be a welcome addition.  While not the speed demon he once was, Gardner can get on base and is a great fielder (winning Gold Glove) this year. In a potential deal, the Yankees could ask for utility player Jurickson Profar, who has shown some potential, but missed all of the 2014 and 2015 seasons due to shoulder injuries. Profar could add to an already intriguing infield.  Trading their veterans is a necessity for this Yankee team, especially when the free agent crop of Harper, Machado, and others hit the free agent market in two years.

A possible next move for the Yankees going forward through this offseason might be to not overspend during this weak free agent market.  Keith Law reported earlier this week that this free agent crop per WAR (wins above replacement) is weakest since baseball analysts started tracking this information in 2006.  Both Edwin Encarnacion and Yoenis Cespedes are high profile players who would enhance any team that they’re on, but given what is a very weak free agent class, players such as these two will be immensely overpaid.  Encarnacion and Cespedes are good players, but the Yankees can’t be the team to give them that massive deal.   They must refrain from signing players to massive contracts, and focus on developing their youth.

The New York Yankees are a team in a definitive rebuilding mode.  As a result, they need to trade seasoned players, develop the younger novices, and refrain from spending and signing large monetary contracts when it comes to high profile free agents.


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