Clearing the Underbrush
Chase Headley is not part of the plan, if you noticed. He’ll have to go. Anyone who loses his job to Todd Frazier this year is not going to win it from Miguel Andujar next spring.
But, more importantly, if the Yankees believe they can contend next year, they cannot just wait for sub-par players’ bad contracts to expire. The same is true for Ellsbury. If the Yankees can’t trade them for some salary relief, they will have to cut them before spring training ends. These types of moves might even come sooner than we think.
I would have never suggested such a thing before the Yankees actually did it last year with A-Rod. Now, it makes sense as the only way to get championship caliber players on the field. At the end of this season, the team will finish paying Alex 40 million not to play; they might start paying one or two others next year.
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The trade of Rutherford also shows the Yankees believe that the outfield is already overflowing with talent and no outside additions will be necessary. That just leaves starting pitching in need of a serious upgrade.
Clearly the Yankees can see that Luis Severino will come into camp as the ace of the staff; that’s a great beginning to a World Series bound rotation. But here is where we will see if the brain trust really sees 2018 as a win now year: The Yankees need to sign Yu Darvish in the off-season.
Not Much Separation Between Vision and Reality
For you salary cap buffs, the team is currently at 221 million. Next year’s cap will be 197 million. The team has roughly 65 million coming off the books and could, therefore, spend almost 40 million and stay under the cap. Darvish is good but he won’t cost 40 million, so the Yankees will be able to afford him.
If the Yankees take these steps, then this trade was a great idea. Think of the team Cashman might be envisioning for 2018. It will have a youthful and resilient upgraded offense anchored by one of the best young players in baseball, many of whom are in the majors getting valuable experience today. They will have a world-class bullpen; they assembled that by trading Rutherford.
And this could be their rotation: Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Yu Darvish, Chris Archer, and Jordan Montgomery. If that is indeed the Yankees vision for next year, it’s one I would like to see become reality. That team would make a championship run a real possibility for the 2018 New York Yankees and beyond.
And the good news is we will only have to wait until the free agent signing period to find out if this was a successful trade for the Yankees. Or just the Steinbrenners.