If you’re an overly angry New York Yankees fan, we get it. General manager Brian Cashman and the front office making just one move (re-signing Joely Rodriguez) before the lockout commenced really doesn’t feel like a winning formula.
On the flip side, there’s plenty of time for the Yankees to strategize over these next few months as the owners and MLBPA work on coming to terms on the next collective bargaining agreement. Yes, a reason for optimism … but it comes with the caveat that they’ll have to act extremely quickly because just about every other contender will be looking to do the same.
The issue here is that they could’ve made it a lot easier on themselves by trading for or signing a single impact acquisition to address one of their many voids. They had a month. But why do that? The Yankees have made a living of keeping their fans in panic mode over the last few years, whether it’s in the offseason or playoffs.
It’s understandable why the organization’s dedication to gaining a competitive advantage over their most hated rivals as been put into question. The Astros and Red Sox feel like they’re always two steps ahead. The Rays’ formula exists to combat the Bombers. Meanwhile, Cashman and Co. have yet to truly respond. Signing Gerrit Cole was the first step, but it wasn’t enough.
There were ample opportunities for the Yankees to bring someone new to the Bronx, make a statement before the sport shut down for a few months, and instead leave other teams worrying about their next move.
Did we go over the list of team needs? First base, shortstop, center field, bench depth, starting rotation and bullpen. That’s a lot! Let’s pray there’s a master plan in place when this is all over, because the team really let these
The Yankees whiffed on these six opportunities before the MLB lockout.
6. Kendall Graveman
The Yankees love bullpen help … especially when it’s fairly cost effective. So where were they when reliever Kendall Graveman signed with the Chicago White Sox on a three-year, $24 million contract? That’s $8 million AAV through 2024 when the Yankees will be losing Aroldis Chapman, Zack Britton and Chad Green after 2022. Are they even thinking ahead?
But forget about who they’ll lose. This bullpen is far from stable. Britton is out for all of next season. There is no way Green can be a trusted option in the later innings right out of the gate after he did in 2021. How many other guys can realistically handle high-pressure innings for an entire 162-game slate?
Graveman transitioned to a full-time relief role last year and finished with a 1.77 ERA and 0.98 WHIP in 53 games between the Mariners and Astros. He’s entering his age-31 season, but has plenty of mileage left on his arm having appeared in just 147 career games since 2014.
This seemed like a team-friendly deal Cashman whiffed on, especially since we’re looking at a relatively weak relief market.