Saying “when the lockout ends” is now starting to feel like a year ago when we’d talk about the COVID-19 pandemic and say, “Hey, when this is all over [insert whatever plan you weren’t going to do with that person/people anyway]” … but this dispute between the owners and players has an end in sight.
New York Yankees fans know that, which is why they’re trying to map out every single one of the team’s moves whenever transactions are permitted again. We. Need. Movement. Now.
But it’s important for those same fans to keep their head on a swivel because the Red Sox, Rays and Blue Jays won’t be wasting any time either, with contending aspirations of their own after very good 2021 campaigns.
In the case of the Jays, too, the Yankee have a chance to play chess in free agency by adding a position of need while stealing one right from under Toronto’s nose.
The Blue Jays did well by replacing Robbie Ray with Kevin Gausman, but the loss of Marcus Semien will be much harder to supplement. In the end, however, it’ll be a bit easier than expected because Toronto needs a DH.
Mike Wilner, a baseball columnist for the Toronto Star, pitched Kyle Schwarber and Joc Pederson as the best fits, which is troubling news for the Bombers.
The Yankees should be concerned about the Blue Jays’ potential DH upgrade.
Though fans would love if general manager Brian Cashman already had a plan to snag one of these two lefty sluggers, both of whom could double as a fourth outfielder, the fit isn’t really there. The Yankees have Aaron Judge, Joey Gallo, Aaron Hicks, Giancarlo Stanton and potentially Ender Inciarte as outfield options (and definitely need more of a center fielder than anything). Additionally, Stanton is eating up most of those DH at-bats, so there’s not a ton of room for flexibility.
Schwarber and Joc Pederson are corner outfielders (and below average ones), so the Yankees would be downgrading in a sense (or doing a lot of tinkering to make room for everyone to get a maximum amount of reps). Then again, this Yankees team is always injured, so we’re sure there will be enough to go around.
But we doubt that latter point will convince the front office to spend and add to a position that already has a surplus, which is why the Jays possessing the upper hand here is a reason to worry.
Though the Sox have been linked to Schwarber and the Rays could use some DH help, we’re not sure Boston would be willing to employ a position-less Schwarber based on their current roster makeup or if the Rays would be open to paying either player who just saw their markets double with the (unofficial official) Universal DH announcement.
Toronto won’t be getting the 45 homers, 102 RBI and 15 stolen bases that left for Texas, but they’ll likely be getting one of the most pesky lefty bats in all of baseball that will see 140+ games in 2022. The task never gets easier for the Yankees’ pitching staff.