Take it with a grain of salt, but also don’t hesitate to break a golf club over your knee. You’re going to feel however you’re going to feel after reading all of this and it’s understandable. Welcome to the mental journey that is being a New York Yankees fan since 2001.
This offseason, many fans truly believed there would be some sort of a splash made. Would general manager Brian Cashman be getting a new star shortstop? Trading for a co-ace? Signing or trading for one of the best first basemen in the game? Upgrading at catcher? Center field? Something?
In the end, it was the Josh Donaldson-Isiah Kiner-Falefa trade with the Minnesota Twins that served as a revamp/void filler/payroll expander. Good move? Sure. What we were expecting? Nope? Does it put the team over the edge? Not really.
Others were hoping for a deal with star first baseman Freddie Freeman, who eventually signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers for six years and $162 million (with $57 million in deferrals), or a trade for now-Braves first baseman Matt Olson (a package the Yankees could’ve easily matched).
Others lobbied for short-term, high AAV deals for Carlos Correa or Trevor Story to help the team immediately in 2022 while keeping the spot open for the organization’s beloved top prospects. Correa got that exact pact with the Twins while Story signed with the Boston Red Sox for $140 million over six years.
All of those pairings posed some risks, but in the end — if we’re to believe multiple insiders — the Yankees just didn’t want to go that far in their money-spending endeavors. And that’s just unconscionable.
The Yankees didn’t sign Freddie Freeman or Carlos Correa because of money.
As expected, we’ll never get the real answer here. We’ll just be assuming the worst, or trying to convince ourselves the “fit” wasn’t there. For Correa, it was the sign-stealing scandal and blatant disrespect for Derek Jeter. Story, for his career, has been statistically bad outside of Coors Field. Freeman wanted a six-year contract entering his age-32 season. You could spend all day talking yourself out of these.
But for the YANKEES to say they don’t have room for another $150 million contract? When there’s money coming off the books next year and you unloaded $20+ million in salary by getting rid of Gary Sánchez, Gio Urshela and Luke Voit?
They can use the “impending extension” for Aaron Judge excuse all they want … but both sides have admitted there haven’t even been any negotiations yet!
If they were worried about Freeman muddying the payroll five years down the line, then what’s the excuse for the perfect Correa contract that likely would’ve given them an out after one year? They couldn’t convince Story to do the same by promising him the shortstop position for at least a year?
Of course the Yankees are going to use the Gerrit Cole and Giancarlo Stanton contracts as an excuse not to use their power to get that much better. Using past decisions to affect future ones is where this starts to get frustrating, especially because the Yankees out-bid themselves to get Cole (and paid him $79 million more than the game’s next highest-paid pitcher) and acquired Stanton despite having no need for him in a lineup that was already filled with injury-prone power hitters.
Both are Yankees and have the undying support of fans — and deservedly so — but how the front office didn’t realize more would need to be done outside of what’s on the roster right now is the oversight of all oversights.