The New York Yankees passed on arguably the most talented shortstop group in the history of free agency last offseason, letting Texas two-step on Marcus Semien and Corey Seager before Carlos Correa, Trevor Story and Javier Báez (technically a part of this) all went elsewhere.
Given a second chance this offseason, they neglected Trea Turner and Xander Bogaerts, then let Correa walk to the Giants after a brief flirtation with Steve Cohen and the Mets.
And yet … after months and months of No’s, some folks still think the Yankees could splurge at the position rather than elevate Oswald Peraza and Anthony Volpe.
MLB Network Radio’s Ryan Spilborghs (formerly of the Colorado Rockies) thought New York should drop an “Eff You” move on the rest of the league, elevating their core with the shortstop who’s been power-ranked consistently in the No. 4 spot: 2021 World Champion Dansby Swanson.
After so much silence, a $25 million AAV for the last man standing would be jaw-dropping for the Hal Steinbrenner Yankees. That’s why, when Swanson signed with Chicago Cubs for $177 million on Saturday night, no one was surprised — except maybe Alex Cora and the Red Sox, who wasted time following Swanson on Instagram.
Could Yankees throw caution to the wind and sign Dansby Swanson?
Musical chairs placed Swanson firmly in the Cubs’ lap, with the Minnesota Twins and his former team in Atlanta also seeking the shortstop to varying degrees over the past few weeks.
Hell, even the Boston Red Sox, currently under scrutiny and Bogaerts-free, made more sense than the Yankees. Sad they didn’t even really try here.
Swanson, coming off a career year with an above-average 115 OPS+, is the most likely of the four free agent shortstop centerpieces to regress into a good-not-great career. The Yankees paying big money for the player who brings up the rear would’ve been surprising, to say the least, especially considering the precedent for his payday set over the past week..
That said, if he had gone to Boston, he’d undoubtedly have become a Yankee Killer.
He’d have made the Opening Day roster better, but not to the same extent Correa, Bogaerts or Turner would’ve. He might not make the 2024 roster any better than Volpe would. At this cost, Cashman was right to leave this one to the Cubbies.