The New York Yankees already made news this offseason when the dealt veteran catcher Brian McCann to Houston this week in exchange for a pair of pitching prospects. And, apparently, GM Brian Cashman isn’t done there. He has let closer Aroldis Chapman know that the team wants him back. Chapman, who won the World Series with the Cubs this fall, was dealt away at the deadline this year to Gleyber Torres, Billy McKinney, Adam Warren, and Rashad Crawford. Being able to get Chapman back only months after receiving a top prospect like Torres for him would be a huge win for the Yankees, and the combination of him and Dellin Betances would give them one of the best in baseball. 4-years and about $70-80M should get it done, as long as teams like the Dodgers don’t drive the price up too much.
The Yankees are also among the more serious teams interested in free agents Yoenis Cespedes, who I think should return to Flushing, Edwin Encarnaciom, who likely will land somewhere other than Toronto, and Carlos Beltran, who they traded to Texas late last season. With McCann gone, the Yankees could afford to land a big bat for the middle of their lineup next season, and any of these 3 would fill that role.
The Yankees are also reportedly taking calls on veterans Brett Gardner and Chase Headley. 33-year-old Gardner is a shell of the back-to-back 40 base stealer that he once was and is owed $35.5M through the 2019 season. As good as he can be in the field, the Yankees need to find a lead off man that can produce better than a .260 average. Headley, who will also be 33 next year, is under contract for two more years and owed $26M. He finished last season batting .251, with 14 home runs and 51 RBIs. Acquired in a deadline deal from the Padres in 2014, Headley has never lived up to what the Yankees were hoping for and has remained a question mark defensively at the hot corner. The market may be slimmer for Headley than it was for McCann. And without a replacement at third under contract other than Ronald Torreyes, they will need to find an answer there.
The recent retooling of the farm system has fans hoping the Yanks are getting ready to get 2-time MVP Mike Trout from the Angels, but they would have to be absolutely stupid to trade him, even with holes everywhere else on their roster. I mean, it would be great and all to see the New Jersey native in pinstripes, don’t get me wrong. But does anybody really believe that the best player in baseball is going to get traded at the age of 25? Cashman would have to offer the Angels everything, and then some, before they should even consider trading Trout away. Maybe 4 or 5 years down the road if the team is still in the dumpster, but until then, I expect Trout to stay a star in sunny California.
All of these steps may be the Yankees lining up to be huge players in free agency a couple of years down the road. Bryce Harper and Manny Machado will both be on the market in two years and we should more than expect Cashman to make a run at them.
Once the Yankees admit that they are rebuilding and get some more of these current contracts off the books they will have money to spend, and they will spend it.
Photos courtesy of: http://www.rantsports.com/mlb/teams/new-york-yankees/, http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/columnist/bob-nightengale/2016/11/16/yankees-offseason-flexibility-top-priority-bullpen-aroldis-chapman-kenley-jansen/93992440/, http://www.newsday.com/sports/baseball/yhttp://www.scout.com/mlb/rumors/story/1668330-what-the-mike-trout-trade-take-has-created, http://www.scout.com/mlb/rumors/story/1668330-what-the-mike-trout-trade-take-has-created