Sometimes, Yankees fans know better than the team's primary decision-makers. For example, any WFAN caller worth his salt could've told you that neglecting left field this offseason would turn out poorly. Plan A was a converted utility infielder with 40 games of experience. Plan A!
But sometimes, unfortunately, the fans are wrong. In the eyes of some observers, the Yankees should never have a budget, and should continue committing $40 million annually to one or two mega-free agents per offseason. The Yankees' budget should be higher than it is, but it also definitely has to exist. If the fans always got their way, Patrick Corbin and Trevor Bauer would still be clogging up space on the books.
This offseason, New York's front office strayed far from the light. They extended Aaron Judge, which was absolutely necessary. They added Carlos Rodón to complement him, which seemed like a coup at the time, but turned out to be nasty work (so far). They created the "best rotation in baseball," which didn't even last through January when Frankie Montas announced his injury. They neglected to add ... any non-Judge offensive talent, relying on silly sources to produce above their paygrades.
But at least the team didn't follow the fans' urges to a tee the way they did when they put together a Joey Gallo trade package two summers ago. Things could've been even uglier in 2023 and beyond.
3 Yankees mistakes fans were begging team to make in 2023
Long-Term Andrew Benintendi Contract
Much like cutting a bagel with a serrated knife, there is a right way and a wrong way to go about filling a left field vacancy.
Adding an established veteran/potential mentor? Good. Adding a player with one standout tool or aggressive defense, if you find the market to be largely unappealing? Good. Outbidding the Chicago White Sox' five-year offer at $75 million for Andrew Benintendi, who's regressed since his Boston peak in 2018 and hasn't hit for power in quite a while? Bad. Do not do that.
And yet, at the time, people in New York were convinced that the Yankees' move that was "bigger than Rodón" on the horizon involved a long-term pact with the light-hitting lefty coming off a snapped wrist. The Yankees don't just trade for people midseason, right? They usually try to keep them in the fold long-term if they liked 'em in August.
In the end, Benintendi's reported preference to return to the midwest did the Yankees a significant favor. In Year 1 of the largest free agent contract in White Sox history, a sad but true reality, Benny hit .265 with five homers, good for an 89 OPS+, and racked up 0.2 bWAR.
The saddest part of all? Some Yankee fans would still cite his batting average and claim the Yanks could use more of that type of contact, no matter the cost.