The Yankees started their offseason by bringing back stalwarts Brett Gardner and CC Sabathia on a one-year deal.
This not only registered a yawn from their fans, but most Yankees fans savaged the team for signing both of them since they offered nothing last season. It’s a safe bet the Boston Red Sox and the Yankees’ playoff competitors are not losing sleep about these deals by the Yankees.
Here’s what will make Yankees fans excited and the Red Sox and baseball world to notice: Sign Manny Machado, Bryce Harper, Dallas Keuchel (whether he is willing to shave his goatee to be a Yankee is another story), Hyun-Jin Ryu and trade for either San Francisco Giants ace Madison Bumgarner or Mets ace Jacob deGrom. Luxury tax threshold be damned.
The Yankees over the years have decided to be cost-conscious by not going over the luxury tax threshold. Under Hal Steinbrenner, they are being ordered to avoid having a payroll of $200 million. He believes the Yankees can build a championship team with a decent payroll.
In theory, he is right. But with the Yankees on a nine-year championship drought and the city on a six-year championship drought in pro sports, they can’t afford to be cost-conscious in a year that the Red Sox won their fourth championship in 15 years.
The time is now for the Yankees to strike. They did not want to go over the luxury tax over the years so that they can pay Harper and Machado when they are free agents. Well, here they are. If the Yankees can’t sign both of them, then it’s clear they are cheap and they are not in it to win it. If George Steinbrenner was alive, both of them are signed, sealed and delivered within no time.
The Yankees have been an ordinary franchise in this town and in baseball for the last few years. No one fears them despite what Yankees fans and the New York media want you to believe. This is why they have to do something about it this offseason and send a message that the days of overlooking them is over.
The Yankees are very close to winning a championship. They have the hitters, but they also need couple of hitters that can get them over the hump. That’s where Machado and Harper become valuable. They have played in the postseason. They know the highs and lows of the postseason, and that experience can serve the young Yankees well.
Machado and Harper are gamers. The type of intangibles the Yankees can use to get them over the top. They will play hard. They want to win everyday. They love the game. They are going to be engaged everyday. They know the responsibility of being a Yankee if they sign with the Yankees. This will only motivate them to do well.
Machado and Harper will make the young players even better by working hard and demanding the most out of themselves each and every game.
The Yankees need several competent pitchers next season. Their starting rotation fooled no one. It wasn’t good. They tried to mask their starters’ struggles by adding up more relievers, and it didn’t turn out well for them, especially when the relievers were overworked later in the season that had them ineffective.
They need to have a starter who will be a difference maker and get a guy who will go seven innings a start. A starting pitcher who is going to be workhorse. That would be Bumgarner. He is one of the best postseason pitchers in this modern era. He would be their best postseason pitcher since Andy Pettitte. That’s the guy the Yankees need to help them get over the hump in the postseason.
They should also try to go after Jacob deGrom if they can. The Mets likely will not trade their ace, but even then, the Yankees should pester the Mets and try to make an offer that they can’t refuse. It can’t hurt to try. They owe it to themselves to explore the possibility.
Reports are circulating the Yankees are interested in acquiring Indians ace Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco, but neither of them will make them formidable. Kluber has been known to struggle in the postseason, and Carrasco is a poor man’s version of Luis Severino, which is not a compliment.
They should get a starter via free agency in Keuchel and Ryu. Both have postseason experience, and both know what it takes to win in the postseason. That’s more than anyone can say about this current Yankee rotation.
Now is the time to go for it. If not now, when? This is an opportunity with so many guys on the free agent market. The Yankees are few pieces away from winning a championship. With the fanbase starving for a championship, it would behoove the Yankees to not go the extra mile after the Red Sox won it all, not to mention they dispatched the Yankees in the American League Division Series at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees can not run like a small-market team. This is the Yankees. They shouldn’t be content playing second fiddle with the Red Sox anymore. It’s time to make a statement to the baseball that the Yankees are back by going all in this offseason in an attempt to win that elusive championship No. 28.
The time is now.
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