3 free agents Yankees must sign day after MLB lockout ends

Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman (5) Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman (5) Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /
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Joc Pederson #22 of the Atlanta Braves (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

The very second the MLB Lockout nightmare ends, agents will grab their clients, sprint to side rooms, and start dialing. It’s gonna be a free agency feeding FRENZY — and if the Yankees get left out in the cold, their fans will never forgive them for their non-efforts.

After all, it would be so avoidable.

New York’s roster is strong, as is; according to FanGraph’s projections, they’re still the most likely team to win the AL East AS CONSTRUCTED, even if you or I don’t believe it.

There are discernible holes remaining on their roster, though, even if you believe in somewhere between two and 12 bounce-backs in 2022.

Unless they sign or trade for an All-Star-level first baseman, they quite simply do not have someone to play the position.

Whether they add a marquee shortstop or a stopgap option doesn’t necessarily matter right now; they’re going to grab someone. The solution is not on the 26-man roster, nor is he on the 40-man (it’s not Oswald Peraza quite yet).

This is not to mention the team’s desperate need to add depth to the outfield, insure against an Aaron Hicks flop, and wrap Luis Severino/Jameson Taillon in bubble wrap by adding a high-upside innings-eater or two.

Sounds simple, right? Just one first base superstar … and one shortstop … one more infielder, an outfielder, a second one, three pitchers, and maybe a new manager (PURCHASE PENDING).

Great. Settled. Offseason plan in place. Now, do it all in 48 hours with the entire rest of the league barking down the exact same trees.

The Yankees have to come out of the gate firing the second restrictions are lifted. If they wait longer than 24 hours to address these problem areas, it may already be too late.

3 free agents Yankees must sign 24 hours after MLB Lockout ends

3. Joc Pederson

The Yankees have their second chance in as many offseasons to add a fourth outfielder who rips home runs from the left side of the plate and ignites playoff runs at the low, low cost of $10 million or so.

Will they step up to the plate? Or will they fade once again, allowing the team that does nab Joc Pederson to serve as the backdrop for his personal third consecutive title run.

We pledge not to get wooed too easily by the dudes who were instrumental in the Braves’ midseason retool on the fly, but we were in favor of the Yanks signing Pederson last offseason, and we will staunchly come out in favor of it yet again after he delivered in new digs all Joctober long.

In full understanding that this role used to be automatically bequeathed to Brett Gardner every offseason, the Yankees simply have to aim bigger this time around. You want a defensive specialist? Then nab a fifth outfielder, too. You want to save money? Add pitching on the trade market, and shore up your second line of defense here, because the Universal DH is about to be passed, and there are 15 NL teams with a Joc-shaped hole at the position.

Sometimes, Pederson whiffs and misses. So do the rest of the Yankees. We’ll pay $10 million for consistent playoff greatness (outside of, uh, last year’s World Series, actually). It’s a necessary statement to make.