Fans got a chance to root for what felt like an entirely new version of the New York Yankees this weekend.
Did the offense explode and pummel the Miami Marlins in a free-wheeling sweep? Well … not quite. But the pitching was dominant and the clutch hits flowed from a brand-new source, and New York was finally able to finish a job for the first time in forever.
With the beginning of August came some new and unexpected accolades, as well as a comforting presence the likes of which we hadn’t seen in quite a while.
We’re not going to mandate that this past month of action change the front office’s intentions, but there’s a lot of solid evidence now on the board that the Yankees should jump at a few extensions before the free agency process runs its course.
The Yankees rarely jump at the chance to extend their players well before free agency, and when they do, it typically doesn’t work out. The team broke the mold for Luis Severino and Aaron Hicks, and look at ’em now. They’ve both missed significant time since they signed what seemed like well-timed deals.
This season (and offseason), though, Brian Cashman has a few prime candidates ahead of him, and should at least consider discounted deals for a couple of the big names. The league will be entering a bit of uncertainty as the CBA expires, we’re not sure what the free agent market will look like, and the Yanks will finally be below the luxury tax.
Two of these are obvious. One of them would’ve sounded ridiculous prior to a few days ago. All three have to be weighed when the offseason begins.
The Yankees should consider these 3 extensions as soon as possible.
3. Anthony Rizzo
You heard Aaron Boone this weekend, didn’t you? There’s a chance that new acquisition Anthony Rizzo could outlast the manager in the Bronx, considering how perfectly he balances this lineup and how much he’s been seemingly reinvigorated by a pennant chase (though he was already coming alive in Chi-Town before a trade was struck.
Sure, a Rizzo extension would likely spell an end to Luke Voit’s time in the Bronx … though if the interest is low league-wide, there’s no reason it has to. What’s the harm in playing Voit at DH and Giancarlo Stanton in left field every once in a while? Voit’s injuries have been repeated and painful thus far in 2021 (and 2020 with his foot, and 2019 with his gut …). Maybe reducing his playing time while still keeping his powerful bat on the bench occasionally wouldn’t be the worst idea?
On the surface, there’s no reason to sacrifice offense in an unforced error. There’s also no reason a Rizzo deal should block, say, a Corey Seager contract (and a potential Gio Urshela/Gleyber Torres trade). This is the New York Yankees we’re talking about. They print money. And if something works, you pay that something.
We’re not sure what a Rizzo deal would cost (he’s barely older than Voit, about to turn 32). Three years at $18 million per? Is that ridiculous or reasonable? Let’s see where the rest of this year carries us, but you have to at least consider adjusting your offseason if Rizzo turns out to be a stabilizing force that props the window back open.