Predicting moves Yankees will make at 4 key positions after MLB lockout

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SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – SEPTEMBER 29: Matt Olson #28 of the Oakland Athletics swings at a pitch during the first inning against the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park on September 29, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) /

Whether you believe the New York Yankees will polish off their offseason with big moves or whimper towards Opening Day, the bottom line is: they need to do something.

It’s not just a desire. It’s a necessity. Even the flawed roster they entered the Wild Card Game with has been partially dismantled. Anthony Rizzo’s gone. Andrew Velazquez is gone. Tyler Wade, Rougned Odor, Clint Frazier, Corey Kluber…gone.

Were these your favorite players? Maybe Rizzo, definitely not the other guys. Regardless of what you thought of them, they’re all on other teams now (plus, Riz floating in the ether). If the Yankees were to “run it back,” they’d be about 1/4 empty. It’s impossible to think they won’t make three, four, five or six moves before camp opens.

How impactful will those moves be? Well, that’s still undecided.

As we see it right now, the Yankees remain especially incomplete at four positions: shortstop, first base, pitching, and outfield depth.

Say what you will about Gary Sánchez at catcher, but after they tendered him a contract, that ship seems to have sailed, as nice an addition as Willson Contreras could be in his final year before free agency. It seems likely the Yankees will replace Sánchez next offseason — either he fumbles the bag again, or finally breaks out and becomes someone else’s $80 million contract. For now, though, we predict he remains, especially since December and January will be months away from the bargaining table.

We’ve decided to predict where the Bombers will turn at the other Big 4 positions. We’ve tried to stay rational; some moves are large-scale, while others are classic bounce back and bargain basement propositions. Could the Yankees target Trevor Story and Carlos Correa? We hope so. It’d be a swing-and-a-miss if they don’t.

Do we think they will? Well…stick around and find out. Follow us around the diamond first.

The Yankees could address four positions of need with these post-MLB Lockout moves.

4. Predicting Yankees Moves: First Base

OK, here’s where we’re going big or going home: we still believe Matt Olson will be a Yankee when the season begins. Brian Cashman simply has to use his trade chips somewhere. The Yankees have spent all offseason shoving their belief in Anthony Volpe and Oswald Cabrera, the New Tyler Wade, in our faces. Oswald Peraza just has to be the centerpiece of an Olson deal. It makes too much sense not to happen.

Despite rumors intended to stir up discontent, you’d still have to think Freddie Freeman emerges from the lockout nostalgic, and decides to re-up with the Atlanta Braves, who’ve also softened their five-year offer to six. That’ll take the Braves off the table. While the Dodgers might be intrigued by bringing the Californian Freeman home, they won’t be desperate enough to sacrifice prospect capital to chase Olson, so they’ll just wait for Max Muncy and re-tool elsewhere.

Unfortunately, Anthony Rizzo has entered the crypto space. There’s no saving him now.

Combine all these dominoes falling, and the Yankees will pounce on Olson the way we thought they would back in November. Peraza, Luis Medina, Luke Voit, Elijah Dunham and Andres Chaparro for Olson and…a pitcher. Stay tuned.