Yankees: Top free agency priorities for Brian Cashman after 2021 season

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Noah Syndergaard #34 of the New York Mets (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

New York Yankees fans spent the first four months of the season wondering how good this team could truly be if they were able to make a couple of additions to fill holes that were created due to injuries and/or underperforming players.

General manager Brian Cashman did just that at the trade deadline, but he couldn’t patch up every deficiency, which is what will need to happen this coming offseason, regardless of what happens over the next two months.

The Yankees can become a dominant team again like the old days with a few strategic acquisitions during the upcoming rich free-agent market. They’ll need to make both short- and long-term decisions, though.

The following sections identify the best free agents by position the Yanks should aggressively pursue in order to improve a number of areas of the roster and keep the World Series window open through the 2022 campaign.

5. Starters and Relievers to Target

Given present uncertainties, the Yanks should pursue at least one (and probably two) quality starters in free agency for insurance heading into 2022. Fortunately, there will be free-agent pitching candidates on the market who have performed exceptionally well, are not at the end of their careers, and can be expected to throw effectively in future years.

Right-hander Kevin Gausman is my top choice. The 30-year-old is in the race for the NL Cy Young award with the San Francisco Giants and was previously believed to be a fit for the Bombers. My other preferences in rank order are Robbie Ray, Carlos Rodon, and Marcus Stroman.

But right-hander Noah Syndergaard deserves a close look, too. He’s still only 28 years old and is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. The Bombers should first see how well he pitches in September for the New York Mets before deciding whether to pursue him. Syndergaard should be affordable, and he’ll likely be worth the risk.

My top choice for acquiring a relief pitcher is Raisel Iglesias, who is currently with the LA Angels. My second choice is RHP Kendall Graveman, the former Mariner who was traded to the Astros at the deadline. Both are enjoying career seasons.