This might shock you unless you’re a regular reader of this site, but the New York Yankees still have some work to do this offseason if they want to return to the playoffs in 2022.
Not “return to championship level”. Simply return to the postseason at all.
As of this moment, their roster lacks a shortstop, center fielder, first baseman, clear No. 2 starter (please, Sevy), bullpen help and a catcher you can believe in. Not too sure about the second baseman, either. Or third baseman. And we all definitely love Joey Gallo, we’re sure about that?
Yeah. Lot going on here. Lot of distrust and disorder in the house. We’re barely sure of anything anymore.
But, silver lining: though none of the league’s contenders were quite as silent as the Yankees, it’s true that we saw mostly non-playoff teams go wild to revamp their rosters.
The New York Mets went nuts. The Texas Rangers signed not one, but two of the massive shortstop names floating around. The Detroit Tigers added Javier Báez and several of the reinforcements Yankees fans had their eye on (seriously, why do you need Tucker Barnhart?). All of those spending sprees made ripples, but theoretically — whether you have faith in them or not — the Yanks still have time to catch up to the top of the league.
Boston added a couple No. 5 starters. The Dodgers brought Chris Taylor back, but lost every other core free agent who tested the waters. The Astros added Justin Verlander to their rotation once again (illegally). All of those moves made the Yankees’ addition of Joely Rodriguez look like nothing, sure, but nobody’s pulled away from the pack.
New York has more holes to fill than that trio, but there are a few clear upgrades on the table for them when the MLB Lockout wraps … sometime in mid-June, we assume. If the Yanks get off the mat and make one or two of these trades, along with some strategic signings, they will still enter 2022 in a strong position.
These 3 Yankees trades can help New York win the offseason after the MLB Lockout.
3. Matt Olson (and Chris Bassitt)
Yes, we’re adding pieces to this one.
Would we be satisfied with just Matt Olson? Sure. We’d always be satisfied with just two years of a superstar-level lefty slugger who’d lay waste to the right-field line at Yankee Stadium. But if it’s going to cost a hefty prospect package to obtain Olson’s services (and it definitely will), then why not try to squeeze the rebuilding A’s for all they’re worth and add an arm to the proceedings.
The bedeviling bulldog Chris Bassitt is our pick, though you might be more satisfied with Frankie Montas (13-9, 3.37 ERA, 207 strikeouts) or Sean Manaea (another lefty, but still … 3.91 ERA, 194 Ks). We’d power rank Manaea third just because of the theoretical redundancy with Jordan Montgomery and/or Nestor Cortes Jr., but we wouldn’t say no to any of the three.
It’s not that Olson and his 50-homer potential isn’t “enough” for us. We’d just like to fill another need, as long as we’re about to surrender Oswald Peraza, Luis Medina and Austin Wells anyway.
You likely already know Olson’s bonafides: 5.8 WAR and 39 homers with Gold Glove-level defense at first base last year should translate nicely to Yankee Stadium, even if he isn’t one of those Trevor Story-types who’s prone to see, say, a 20-homer increase at our friendly confines. We picked Bassitt as our addition because he’s:
- Slightly older (33 by Opening Day)
- Only controllable for one year, and should be cheaper
- Bulldog/Change of Pace
Knocked down and out of the 2021 season by a line drive to the face, Bassitt managed to post 3.9 WAR in 157.1 innings beforehand, striking out a batter per frame and finishing 10th in the Cy Young voting while nabbing his first All-Star appearance. Words like “gritty” and “gutty” are thrown around far too often, and are usually used to disparage players who play the game more effortlessly. We are not declaring anything ridiculous, like Bassitt has a “care factor” that Manaea and Montas don’t.
We’re just saying he’ll likely be less expensive, provides a different level of stuff from the Yankees’ mid-rotation options (guile, slower fastball, pitchability), and simply gets the job done. We’ll take the cheaper choice who satisfies those needs.