3 way-too-early Yankees’ offseason free agent/trade whiffs

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Justin Verlander #35 of the Houston Astros (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) /

We’re not sure what’s happened over the last decade-ish, but the New York Yankees never seem to make things as easy as they should be. Just look at this offseason. They had to “get creative” to make necessary additions that … weren’t all that necessary when they made the blockbuster trade with the Minnesota Twins.

Fans can go down the list of gaffes ever since the 2009 World Series-winning campaign, but the last couple years have particularly been frustrating. The last two offseasons take the cake, too, since there were ample opportunities to upgrade and the Yankees went for the “cost-effective” or low-risk, high-reward options.

Can’t just take the leap? Spend a little bit more money than you’re comfortable with? The Mets and Dodgers have higher payrolls and their valuations are significantly lower. Maybe figure out your cash flow issues?! I don’t know. I do not run a baseball team. But it should be a bit more seamless than how it appears.

And though we’re not even two weeks into the season, some of the Yankees’ whiffs this offseason are a bit glaring, and fans have had no choice but to overreact based on successes elsewhere and struggles at home.

So where did the Yankees potentially screw up? These are our “way-too-early” offseason whiffs for the Yankees, which are obviously subject to change since these small sample sizes won’t last for a full 162 games.

But the returns the Yankees are getting on the players they swore would be better are much, much worse than this. Either that, or their rivals got better when the Yanks had a chance to use their resources to make them worse.

3. Justin Verlander

Before we go any further, just know we did advise against a deal for Justin Verlander because of what the Yankees had just experienced with Corey Kluber. Injuries derailing a veteran’s progress for nearly two years, with the first year back likely being a “get back up on the saddle” situation? No thanks.

BUT … the difference here was that the Yankees were interested in Verlander and had the opportunity to pluck him away from the Astros, making one of their most hated rivals even worse following the departure of Carlos Correa. Instead, the Yankees didn’t budge on their offer and Houston matched it. Verlander chose the team he’s been with since 2017. No-brainer for him.

It’s not like the Yankees necessarily need the pitching help, but Verlander is already off to a hot start, logging 13 innings, a 0.69 ERA, 0.69 WHIP and 15 strikeouts in his first two outings. If they had a hunch he’d be good to go the year after his elbow surgery, then why not bid a little extra or give him another year of security?

Why let the Astros keep their top-of-the-rotation presence only so they can potentially punk you again in the postseason? It seems even when the Yankees are “feeling it,” they hamstring themselves with arbitrary limitations that keep them from going over the top.