By no means are the New York Yankees in “panic mode” regarding the future of their organization, but general manager Brian Cashman should at least be thinking ahead.
The forecast post-2022 with Aaron Judge’s contract situation up in the air leaves a lot of questions to be answered. Aroldis Chapman, Zack Britton, Joey Gallo, Jameson Taillon, Chad Green and Miguel Castro will be free agents. Anthony Rizzo (player option) and Luis Severino (team option) could become free agents.
The year after that? Josh Donaldson, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Jordan Montgomery and Wandy Peralta are free agents. Gotta start thinking!
As for IKF specifically, the Yankees viewed him as an extended stopgap at shortstop as they awaited the arrivals of Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza. But is that plan coming into focus?
In order for that to work, Volpe and/or Peraza would need to continue on their 2021 trajectories to justify an MLB promotion within the next season or two.
It’s a good thing IKF isn’t a free agent after this year, too, because the Yankees’ top prospects aren’t exactly setting the world on fire like they were last year. Could this change the team’s approach for the future of the position when the offseason arrives?
Are the Yankees to trust Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza?
- Anthony Volpe in 2022 – .229 AVG, .729 OPS, 33 runs scored, 6 homers, 28 RBI and 22 stolen bases in 52 games at Double-A
- Oswald Peraza in 2022 – .216 AVG, .638 OPS, 17 runs scored, 6 homers, 18 RBI and 14 stolen bases in 49 games at Triple-A
Plenty of time for these youngsters to recover … but very much not the early results you want outside of the stolen bases. There figures to be a bit more development in their future, something the Yankees would rather not rush.
Or … OR! Is there a world in which the Yankees’ youth movement gets scrapped altogether? What if some of the top guys (yes, the ones we just mentioned) are used as trade bait before the deadline or in the offseason to address other areas of the roster with so many impending departures?
The Yankees probably aren’t going after Carlos Correa if he opts for free agency, but what about Trea Turner? Dansby Swanson? Xander Bogaerts?! Those guys will all likely be free agents in November. What if the Padres’ relationship with Fernando Tatis Jr. deteriorates due to his lingering wrist issue? One can dream of one of the most unrealistic trades/contract voids ever!
It’s complicated, though, because Judge still needs to be paid a ton of money, but if the front office plays its cards right and acquires cost-effective players elsewhere, perhaps a Judge contract plus another $150-$200 million deal can fit on the books. And hell, if they hit the $290 million Cohen Tax threshold, so be it! This is New York, baby!
Use this as an exploratory reference should your mind wander. That’s all this is. In the end, fans would love nothing more than to see Volpe seize the reins and take over in organic fashion, but nothing is guaranteed.
And you know Cash loves to move in silence. Can’t rule out anything.