4 Unforgivable mistakes the Yankees could make this offseason
By Adam Weinrib
The Yankees have a big offseason ahead of them, with a more unsettled roster than many think. They can’t afford to make these mistakes.
No, the Yankees’ championship window isn’t closing. New York will enter the 2021 season with one of the most complete rosters in the game, one which had them pegged as a consensus American League favorite prior to a nonsensical 60-game season that shouldn’t have affected our assessment of them, but definitely did.
But there’s a chance the Yankees could accentuate their own demise this offseason with a few short-sighted moves. And even though the 60-game season wasn’t gospel, there were pretty clearly some things that the Yanks wish would’ve gone differently.
If they enter the ’21 season with an identical roster, there’ll be some weak spots that should’ve been acted upon to shore up. But if they make a roster-shattering move just to do something, that’ll also be a catastrophic error.
Without further ado, these drastic moves or sloth-like follies would be huge swings and misses for a Yankees team that’s objectively close (even though it’s very annoying to hear Aaron Boone say that out loud). Blow up your roster and you’ll be doomed, but sit on your hands, and you’ll see some unnecessary regression, too.
Fun offseason! Got to be perfect, right? Right.
4. Entering 2021 Without a Gary Sanchez Backup Plan
The Yankees don’t need to cut Gary Sanchez, but they can’t wait forever for an alternative.
We’ve loved the idea of Yadier Molina to the Yankees for weeks now, but it’s generally treated as an either-or situation with Gary Sanchez. The late-20s regressive power bat or the likely Hall of Famer reaching the tail end of his career who absolutely isn’t the future?
And to that I ask: Why is Kyle Higashioka assured a role on this club simply because he caught Gerrit Cole and isn’t named Gary Sanchez?
We enjoyed Higgy’s 2020 as much as anyone, but he’s not a starter in this league. And as of right now, he’d be the beneficiary of a deemphasizing of Sanchez, which would also not be prudent in the long term. It might be fun for a week, and you’re listening to the person who’s been perhaps bothered the most by Sanchez’s unreliability since early 2018, but despite the playoff struggles, there’s a far better chance of Sanchez clicking at any given moment.
The Yankees can’t be callous with Sanchez, but they need to be careful. If they’re going to trade him, they need to have a major free agent signing lined up, like Molina, James McCann, or even JT Realmuto. But if they’re going to keep him, I’d advise they sign Molina anyway to split backup duties and caddy for Sanchez in his final years in the game. The backup plan for Gary Sanchez can’t be a 38-year-old doing 162 games worth of work all by himself. It has to be youth, or it has to be a wisened veteran taking Sanchez under his wing.
Then, we can start the Austin Wells clock in earnest.