So, you’re trying to build a contender, are you, New York Yankees? Well, then, you might’ve wanted to start doing so prior to MLB’s sure-to-be-endless lockout, which officially began last week and put a freeze on every pending transaction.
Yes, even Justin Verlander to the Astros.
Though the Yanks didn’t put pen to paper with anyone except Joely Rodriguez prior to the lockout — in retrospect, pretty dumb! — they’re theoretically prepared to play around in the sandbox and rejoin the frenzy when everything’s settled in the spring and many top free agents have only a few weeks to find a new home.
The problem? Every other team, including most of the big spenders (Red Sox, Dodgers, Astros) will be in the exact same boat.
What, the Yankees thought they’d just be able to waltz into the end of the offseason and clean up like Supermarket Sweep? Get real. Everybody wants in on this. Hal Steinbrenner will still have to fork over some fairly big bucks.
Even based solely on the rumors that have leaked out in the early days of the lockout, there are plenty of ways this could all still go haywire for the Bombers, even if Brian Cashman is given full permission to splash cash. Plenty of the team’s rivals want in on the same players they’re pursuing. The superstar trade option who was supposedly at the “one-yard line” of joining the Yankees several weeks ago now is coveted by a series of major players.
Oh, and the ever-annoying Boston Red Sox seem prepared to at least consider throwing their current infield alignment in a trash can just to make our lives hell.
Out of all the things that could go wrong (namely, sitting on our hands and opting out of participating), these three nightmares seem most likely to occur.
3 Yankees nightmares that could happen when MLB lockout ends.
3. Matt Olson to the Rangers
Yeah, having an “Oops, All Rangers!” offseason would be a pretty big bummer.
The Yankees have already lost out on not one, but two of the iconic free agent shortstops on the market to these very same Rangers, a team that got lapped in the AL West last season and seemed to basically surrender midway through the campaign. That’s the team that’s gonna grab Marcus Semien and Corey Seager from you, and still have enough foresight left over to swing a deal for Matt Olson from within the division’s walls while the Yankees sit tight and treat Anthony Rizzo like Manny Diaz in Miami?
“Hey, Anthony! Our No. 1 guy, something we’ve always said! How’ve you been, man!”
If the Yankees want to, they can absolutely outbid the Rangers for Olson, if it comes down to it. Texas’ entire future hinges on Josh Jung and Jack Leiter, their top two prospects and crown jewels. Outside of those two names, most of their farm system consists of recently-traded Yanks from the Joey Gallo deal. As long as New York is willing to include Oswald Peraza and 1-2 of their high-ceiling pitchers, they can do better.
This scenario will likely unfold if (and when) Freddie Freeman heads back to the Atlanta Braves. That’ll make New York and Texas the Olson finalists, left to duel with each other. If Freeman leaves Atlanta, the Braves will hop in the mix … but the Yankees can also just go ahead and sign the ex-MVP! Freeman and Olson both being off the table, thanks to the intrusions of an AL West bottom-feeder yet again would be a certified disaster.