The New York Yankees will be losing 150 pounds of dead weight off their 40-man roster over the course of the next few weeks. Now, all that's left is to pose with the gigantic jeans they used to wear, then get back to filling 'em with better talent.
The offseason begins in earnest five days after the World Series wraps, and the non-tender deadline is Nov. 17. That represents the first demolition day, where veterans like Kyle Higashioka and Jonathan Loaisiga might join the minor-league flyers and expiring big-league contracts on the free agent market.
Then, it's time for the Yankees to really get down to brass tax -- or, more specifically, it's time for the rest of the league to feast their eyes on the free agents who are escaping New York's clutches. Harrison Bader got an early start in Sept., and no longer qualifies as a forthcoming Yankees free agent following his short stint on the Reds as part of Waiver-Palooza 2023.
Now, it's time for the rest of the team's birds to leave the nest -- and, yes, it really seems as if every single free agent in the Yankees' 2023-24 class could be finding a new home soon. Captain Aaron Judge did say big changes are needed, and when he talks, Hal Steinbrenner and Co. typically listen (via a long-distance call from Rome). The fewer members of last season's 82-80 team who return, the better.
Predicting where Yankees free agents will sign during 2024 Winter Meetings, before regular season
Isiah Kiner-Falefa: Pittsburgh Pirates (Two Years, $14 Million)
Where does Isiah Kiner-Falefa belong? A player best cast in multiple roles, with 100+ games of experience feeling like the sweet spot. A player willing to take on whatever is thrust upon him, but who doesn't perform to his capacity when too much is thrust upon him. A player who probably will receive a multi-year commitment, but perhaps hasn't earned one? A Gold Glove third baseman who wound up anywhere but that position at his previous stop.
Yeah. Pittsburgh, or another young team trying to make the leap to 80-or-so wins, feels like the correct landing spot.
IKF played a relatively competent left field and completed circuitous routes in center this past summer, but belongs in the infield (and in a mentorship role for a team that requires glue). He'll be missed, and he'll miss the Bronx, but a team with expectations like the Yankees could probably do better than a 78 OPS+ on their bench (though they certainly didn't last year).