As Isiah Kiner-Falefa continues to botch routine grounders, throw sinkers to first base, and underwhelm with his bat, New York Yankees fans are up in arms over the team not playing Oswald Peraza at shortstop following his promotion; not calling up Anthony Volpe and making the switch, which the organization has already deemed “the future”; and not filling the void in a more productive manner this offseason.
As for that last frustration, it’s sadly in the past. Though the Yankees can once again pretend like they’re involved in the market when guys like Dansby Swanson, Trea Turner, Xander Bogaerts and Carlos Correa hit free agency in November, they’re not making a signing of that magnitude now that they’re a year closer to their “grand plan.”
But ever wonder what life would’ve been like in the second half of 2022 had the Yankees signed an actual shortstop to start at shortstop? And a star one, at that? IKF is a utility player with an ability to play multiple positions, but shortstop, on an everyday basis, clearly isn’t his strongest.
The Yankees had their pick of the litter this past offseason. Corey Seager was a free agent. So was Correa, though we can safely assume he was never a fit. Trevor Story, Javier Baez and Marcus Semien were there, too. Not the best options as this season has now proven, but … still better than IKF and Gleyber Torres!
Now that this is all in the rearview, we can say the Yankees probably made a prudent financial decision avoiding all of those guys. But was there even a willingness to spend elsewhere? Was general manager Brian Cashman once again sitting back and opting not to push the envelope?
Yankees president Randy Levine seemingly threw Brian Cashman under the bus
"“That wasn’t about the luxury tax. That was a baseball operations decision that Cash and his people made. You’d have to ask him. I’m not a talent guy, I don’t make those decisions. But I can tell you I do get involved on the money side, on the budget, and nobody ever came to me with any of those guys — Correa or Seager or any of them — and asked ‘what’s the story with the money?'”"
Now, not the most believable statement, and feels like Levine, in his natural inflammatory manner, is trying to start some “Cashman rift” discourse for whatever reason. Or maybe it was an accident. It’s just what this guy does every time someone gives him a platform.
For the sake of argument, let’s say the shortstop conversation wasn’t even relative here. Did Cashman actually not approach the team’s brass about more money for pitching (Max Scherzer, Carlos Rodón, Justin Verlander)? For Freddie Freeman? For Kyle Schwarber? For Starling Marte?
He didn’t consider a single longer-term deal this offseason. He took on Josh Donaldson’s money for two years. He signed Anthony Rizzo for one year and some options. He took on two arbitration years for IKF. He didn’t touch the pitching staff. He didn’t sign Aaron Judge!
Hal Steinbrenner is clearly holding this team back in more ways than one, but if Cashman isn’t even asking to go above and beyond … then what even is his job?