The New York Yankees‘ ownership of the baseball news cycle lasted about 15 hours. After their blockbuster trade with the Minnesota Twins, the Oakland Athletics and Atlanta Braves upped the ante.
On Monday afternoon, the A’s sent star first baseman Matt Olson to the defending World Series champions in a league-altering deal of their own, which took another option off the board for the Bombers, who are seemingly in need of a lefty slugger at the same position.
Yes, Luke Voit is here, but the Yankees’ trade for Anthony Rizzo last year made it evident they’re ready to move on and upgrade. Freddie Freeman is still available, but the Yankees just invested $50 million into Josh Donaldson. How much more are they willing to spend?
Rizzo is a free agent as well, but does he want to return after reports and rumors have pegged him New York’s Plan C this offseason? He’s also been spotted working out with his Cubs teammates, with a reunion in Chicago speculated as a possibility.
There are more complications with Rizzo, too. He’s unvaccinated, at least to our knowledge dating back to late last season. Can the Yankees afford to add another unvaccinated player to their roster when they have to play nine pivotal division games in Toronto?
Canada’s vaccine mandate will not allow unvaccinated players to travel into the country, let alone play.
What’s the Yankees plan after losing out on Matt Olson?
Though it’s not 100% certain both Olson and Freeman are vaccinated, the world knows Rizzo wasn’t … plus, he’s simply not as good as the other two sluggers at this point in his career.
It’s very possible the Yankees are forced to go with an unvaccinated Plan C or leave Luke Voit as the starter (despite souring that relationship with last year’s Rizzo trade) because it’s becoming more and more clear that the Dodgers are the favorites to land Freeman.
They’ve already offered him a contract, would give him an opportunity to return to his native Southern California, and play for a bonafide World Series contender.
If they don’t get any of the lefty hitting options, they’ll be in a similar spot as they were last year trying to find at-bats from that side of the plate. Importing Josh Donaldson and Isiah Kiner-Falefa did nothing to alleviate that issue, which means Aaron Hicks and Joey Gallo would be the only left-handed starters (on paper at the moment). Not the easiest of scenarios to navigate as the options begin to dwindle.
Oh yeah, and one more thing. Don’t tell us ever again there isn’t a “Yankees Tax” in trade talks. The A’s reportedly wanted Anthony Volpe (one of the top prospects in all of baseball) plus more for Olson, and eventually settled for what we can imagine was a more underwhelming package headlined by Cristian Pache, who has hit .119 with a .336 OPS in his first 24 MLB games. If he were a Yankee, his trade value would be zero at the moment.