Welcome to the theoretical free agent feeding frenzy, where the trade market could end up getting both slightly neglected and extremely complicated — but hopefully not for the New York Yankees, who’ve done their homework.
After all, Brian Cashman loves a trade steal, and has been laser focused in the past on not just making one surprise transaction per offseason (at least) but also winning every trade that gets posted.
That has been his downfall, on occasion. You do have to give to get, and when the Yankees are unwilling to take a chance on offloading talent they believe in (like Oswald Peraza), it makes it significantly more difficult for them to come to agreements (especially because of the baked-in Yankee Tax that costs the Bombers extra).
So, what is Cash to do, especially with the other 29 teams swirling and trying to make additions, too? Hopefully, he’s spent the past three months of downtime doing his homework so the first post-lockout calls come easy to him.
When the lockout is lifted, the Yankees are going to need (clears throat, breathes in for 1,000 years): a first baseman, a shortstop, a center field insurance piece, possibly a fifth outfielder, some more bullpen lottery tickets, a No. 2 or 3 starter, more innings for the rotation, and a new manager (kidding).
They did next-to-no building prior to the lockout being installed, adding only Joely Rodriguez on a major-league contract, making no trades, and only touching up the system with a few minor-league signings (Ender Inciarte, for one). This has been your State of the Yankees Address. There’s a lot of work to do.
While some of that work can be accomplished with money alone, via the signings of, say, Carlos Rodón and Freddie Freeman, there are also plenty of available (and helpful) trade partners who will need to be contacted just as quickly.
3 trade calls Yankees must make day after MLB Lockout ends
3. Oakland A’s for Matt Olson/Ramon Laureano/Frankie Montas
Brian Cashman’s first call should be to Billy Beane and the Oakland Athletics, and it should last an extremely long time. Tie up that line. Don’t let anybody else in. Force Beane to talk things out with you the way he did with Mark Shapiro about Ricardo Rincon.
Was that just a scene from Moneyball, or did that really happen? You tell me.
The Yankees’ interest should start with slugging first baseman Matt Olson, and Cashman should engage with the A’s to figure out if there’s any way around including Oswald Peraza in a potential swap. As long as the answer’s still no, he should expand the deal to make it worth his while, then push it across the finish line.
Could that mean outfielder Ramon Laureano as the Yankees’ fourth outfield option/Aaron Hicks insurance? Or any of the three starters being dangled on the market, all with their own unique brand of pros and cons? Chris Bassitt, Frankie Montas and Sean Manaea all bring with them at least No. 3 starter upside, as well as the theoretical durability the Yankees require for whoever’ll be absorbing the innings between Gerrit Cole and Jordan Montgomery, backing up Jameson Taillon and Luis Severino.
And, if Rodón is their big free agent pitching acquisition, all the better to have an arm you can count on added to this deal.
Olson should be Plan A for the Bombers, and it should happen within the first 24 hours of discussions. These two sides should know each other well enough by now. As for the remaining pieces of the trade? The Yankees should go for broke. This is their major acquisition brewing, after all.