The New York Yankees have gotten better … but it doesn’t necessarily feel that way. It’s hard to please this fanbase, but when you’re a $6 billion franchise with sky-high expectations and charge spectators the most money imaginable for an experience at the ballpark, this is what happens.
Maybe by the time you’re reading this, the team will have signed Aaron Judge to a contract extension and we can change our tune a bit. But do we really think that’s going to go as smoothly as it should?
With plentiful needs prior to the 2022 MLB season, general manager Brian Cashman had his plan thrown a bit off course due to the MLB lockout, but that’s no legitimate excuse since every other team operated under the same restraints.
Then again, despite the apparent deficiencies on the Yankees’ roster, many have forgotten that team-wide regressions were the true culprit and Cashman didn’t really need to make any blockbuster moves … even though a number of them were well within reach.
This is a $6 billion franchise with a terrible lack of success since their last World Series victory in 2009. The urgency just feels like it’s not there, which is where much of the frustration is derived from. And with so many other teams willing to push the envelope from a financial perspective, every time the Yankees pass on someone notable it feels like a failure.
So how can we possibly grade the offseason moves thus far with a level head? It’s not going to be easy, but it’s worth discussing this with our emotions put on the backburner for the moment.
Grading the New York Yankees’ offseason moves ahead of 2022 Opening Day
Cutting the Dead Weight/Players Who Didn’t Fit
- Yankees release Clint Frazier, Chris Gittens and Rougned Odor (A+)
What other option was there? Honestly, many fans were surprised this list wasn’t longer. Miguel Andújar probably should’ve been included, too, but in the end the Yankees got rid of players who simply didn’t move the needle.
Clint Frazier’s ongoing injury issues (and whatever other baggage that came along with him) held this team back mightily for years. Chris Gittens, already 28 years old, unfortunately didn’t shine in his short-lived opportunity in 2021, and will hopefully succeed in Japan. Rougned Odor, who was believed to be a spark plug and potential 30-homer bat, underwhelmed as he’s done for years now.
The Yankees needed some sort of a facelift, and employing the same players who were producing at a below-average level and eating up a roster spot that’d be better filled by a top prospect or an addition via free agency/trade would’ve been a massive oversight.
- Letting Andrew Heaney and Corey Kluber walk in free agency (A-)
Did you see Andrew Heaney’s first spring outing with the Dodgers? More of the same. The Yankees trading for the left-hander was a mistake, but letting him go without trying to convince themselves they can “turn him around” made up for last year’s disaster. He’s never proven to be a capable arm on a consistent basis and there was no room for him in this rotation.
On the other hand, this grade gets an A- and not an A+ solely because Corey Kluber signed with the Rays and we all know how that’s going to turn out. But again, Kluber is an over-the-hill veteran who made 16 mediocre starts with the Yankees (outside of his no-hitter against the Rangers) in what was another season overshadowed by injuries. The Yankees believing he could reach the No. 2 ceiling with so little work under his belt the last two years was wishful thinking and fans are glad they did not run this back because it would’ve shown there really isn’t a plan to get better.