The New York Yankees had better watch their step this offseason.
Not only is every contender motivated to improve, armed with the knowledge that an Astros backslide seems quite likely, but several fringe teams (as well as, let’s face it, a few mired at the very bottom of the league) seem uniquely positioned to spend.
Several weeks away from any serious free agent action going down, we’re starting to hear a lot about a few surprise teams that seem armed to the teeth with cash and prepared to torpedo the offseason.
Or, of course, those teams could all get shut out, sending us right back to normal. That seems to happen fairly often, too.
Whether it’s connections to the top free agents, an increased sense of urgency, or a new regime trying to accelerate their timeline, all three of these surprise franchises have their own unique reasons for pursuing talent that’s typically been out of their price range.
However it turns out, it’s undoubtedly a good thing to have more teams at the offseason table — and it’s potentially a good sign for the upcoming CBA negotiations, too.
The more franchises and ownership groups choosing to get off the mat, the better the sport’s parity is long-term — and, yes, MLB’s already the best of all the major sports at championship turnover, which is something to hang the league’s hat on.
Of course … then there’s the Oakland A’s, with a top-10 richest owner in the sport, yet still willing to trade you anything that isn’t nailed down, and probably a few things that are. You can have a bench, if you really want it.
From a purely selfish perspective, though … man, it would feel great for the Yankees to win just one more title so we can remove this monkey from our backs before the entire league catches up and closes our window for us.
As the race for top talent tightens, these three surprising teams scare us the most.
These 3 surprise teams may steal top talent from the Yankees this offseason.
3. Texas Rangers
Yes, the Texas Rangers, of all teams, seem uniquely charged up to drop coin. Rumor has it GM Jon Daniels’ budget has been authorized for an increase of ~$100 million. That’s got baseball folks talking not just about one Seager, but both brothers.
At first, the Rangers rumors were treated as a bit of an offseason joke. Foolish Baseball used the “Clayton Kershaw wants to come home!!” narrative as a way to assign every top free agent starter, from Max Scherzer to Justin Verlander, to Arlington.
However, once Kershaw didn’t receive the qualifying offer from the Dodgers, leading the team’s GM to speculate about how he might need some time alone with his wife to discuss their future, the narrative didn’t seem so misguided anymore.
Prognosticators also seem to believe that, if the Yankees complete their chase for Carlos Correa, the logical next step for Corey Seager will be to seek refuge in Texas, where he might be able to pair up with his older brother Kyle, an ex-Mariner who was jilted by the team on his way out of town and may very well enjoy staying in the AL West.
If the chain of events occurs at a different speed and the Yankees lose Correa to Team No. 2 on this list, then can’t nab Seager whatsoever because of a Texan overpay, then things could get a little nasty.