We can cry until the cows come home about Bryce Harper, New York Yankees fans. Same goes for the Jordan Montgomery trade. The Nathan Eovaldi whiff. The failure to sign Michael Brantley. Corey Seager. Carlos Correa. Trea Turner. Marcus Semien. Zack Wheeler. The list goes on.
But is the failure to sign Kyle Schwarber the biggest form of malpractice from Brian Cashman and the front office? Schwarber, for years, was said to be Cashman's "white whale," and the Yankees had their chance to add an elite slugging lefty bat to their lineup after the 2021 season.
Though redundant (high strikeout, low average, tons of homers and walks, below-average defense), Schwarber, even before his last two runs with the Phillies, was a beast in the postseason. He was instrumental in the Red Sox' flukey 2021 ALCS run, and many would argue his World Series performance in 2016 was the undisputed difference maker in the Cubs breaking their 108-year title drought.
Nonetheless, the Yankees have tried to go after so many players that theoretically fit this mold but don't. Joey Gallo is fraudulent version of Schwarber. The Yankees have filled their roster with largely three-true-outcome players and most have been the worst kinds -- the hits never come at the right time, the strikeouts get worse and worse, and the walks come in meaningless moments.
And you're concerned about his defense? How many clowns played out of position for the Yankees since 2020 and compromised the team on that side of the ball? When you slightly downgrade defensively in left field for 93 home runs and 198 RBI over the last two seasons instead of Aaron Hicks, then you're throwing caution to the wind correctly.
Is Brian Cashman's biggest offense depriving Yankees of Kyle Schwarber?
Schwarber ended up signing a four-year, $79 million contract with the Phillies after the 2021 season. That's a $19.75 million AAV. It's not too much higher than what Luis Severino, DJ LeMahieu, and Anthony Rizzo made in 2023. Schwarber would've been the fifth-highest salary on the payroll this past season.
How could this not have been in the Yankees' plans? What if they had just ... non-tendered Gary Sánchez, paid Schwarber his money and didn't bother with Josh Donaldson? The Yankees said goodbye to Sánchez, Gallo, Gio Urshela, Rougned Odor, Luke Voit, Clint Frazier and Brett Gardner after 2021, so we're really struggling to see why adding Schwarber was any sort of problem.
Again, the Yankees love these kinds of hitters. Fans might not because it's a frustrating style of baseball, but if there was a single one to employ on your roster, it's Schwarber.
"Under the cap" is the wrong terminology there -- it's "under the luxury tax threshold," just so we're all clear. But yes, that's probably what happened, especially after we looked back and noticed a disturbing trend of the Yankees cutting payroll when they should have been adding like maniacs.
It's very easy to revise history and make it conveniently align with the present day happenings, but this was yet another attainable move with honest projectable results the Yankees passed on. You'd have to think Giancarlo Stanton's contract played a role here, too, since he's entrenched in the DH role, but the Yankees have yet to catch on to the fact he hasn't participated in a season uninterrupted by injuries since 2018.
The Yankees don't act on the obvious, game-changing possibilities in front of them. They constantly rely on intangible occurrences, like bounce-backs and luck with health, to fall back into their favor. They've rarely taken matters into their own hands dating back to 2017, and that's why this is where we're at.