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The Yankees misread the Carlos Correa market

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One look at the contract Carlos Correa signed with the Twins should leave every Yankees fan shaking their head. Hell, a fan of any team other than the Twins, for that matter. A three year deal for $105 million with opt outs after each season for a 27 year-old star shortstop? Sheesh. Considering how his market played out, it’s hard not to wonder if the Yankees’ front office has regrets.

Brian Cashman spoke to the media yesterday, and based on his statements, it’s evident that he ran out of room in the budget Hal Steinbrenner gave him. Via Bryan Hoch’s latest: “We evaluated all the market availabilities from trade to free agency, then placed our bets,” Cashman said. “We were able to attack what was available to us. Once we pulled those down, it closed doors on other things. You only have a certain amount of money to spend, and once you fill those needs, you keep moving.”

In other words: Hal gave Cashman a certain amount he could increase payroll for the 2022 season, and once the deal with Minnesota was completed, there wasn’t much more wiggle room. Hindsight is 20/20, but moving quickly on Josh Donaldson while the market for Correa and Trevor Story remained uncertain looks very, very bad.

The Case Against Waiting

The Yankees of my youth were a win now team. They long eschewed minor leaguers for everything but their on-field value and routinely traded away most prospects. This plan worked in that they won lots of games, including lots of championships, and didn’t really regret having dealt away those minor league players. Of course, given their massive financial resources and willingness to spend a lot of money, they were a perpetual win now team, a win now and later team. About fifteen years ago, the process of being a win now and later team changed in that the Yankees changed their focus to improving their draft and development processes so their prospects should be more than just trade fodder. They’ve succeeded with this, too, and the current roster boasts of that success: Aaron Judge, Luis Severino, Jordan Montgomery, Gary Sanchez, Chad Green, Jonathan Loaisiga, Gleyber Torres (kind of). 

Thoughts as the lockout looms

The current CBA expires at 11:59pm eastern tonight. As the clock winds down, it doesn’t look like a new deal is coming. Maybe things will change in the coming hours, but considering the recent run on free agents, the writing is on the wall. The owners are expected to lock out the players, thereby freezing transactions, not allowing players to use team facilities, and more. You won’t see pictures like this for a while:

@JoeyGallo24

From everything I’ve read, it doesn’t sound like regular season games are in jeopardy. There’s still a ways to go until spring training, after all. That said, prepare yourself for radio silence in terms of hot stove news for the next few weeks and months. All that buzz and excitement over the last few days? A product of an anticipated lockout, sure, but good for the league nonetheless. And yet, the owners are ready to shut that down to gain negotiating leverage.

As a result, it’s going to be pretty difficult to discuss anything Yankees-related in the near future. This could be the last Yankees-related thoughts post for some time, so let’s jump in:

Yankees Free Agent Target: Carlos Correa

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It’s no secret that the Yankees are going to have a new shortstop for the 2022 season. Brian Cashman made that crystal clear during his end of season press conference last month. Good thing there are a number of good-to-great shortstops available in free agency. At the top of the list is Carlos Correa.

Correa’s not just the top shortstop free agent, mind you. He’s the best free agent out there, period, and it doesn’t seem like he’s going to return to the Astros. Houston offered Correa $160 million over five years, an amount well short of what the young shortstop will get this winter.

The Yankees will surely talk to representatives of other shortstops on the market. Those players include Corey Seager, Trevor Story, and Marcus Semien (among others). All are good-to-great players in their own regard, but from my perspective, it’s hard to argue for any of those three over Correa.

Mailbag: Cubs fire sale, free agent shortstops next year, Kluber, and a Lindor proposal

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Happy Friday, everyone. It’s been a few weeks since our last mailbag, so apologies for the delay. We have a few good questions to address today. But before that: if you’d like to be considered for a future edition, please email viewsfrom314 [at] gmail [dot] com with your questions. We plan to choose our favorites each week. Now to the mailbag.

Sam asks: With Theo leaving the Cubs, it really feels like they’re about to tear everything down. What Cubs players make sense for the Yankees to target in the trade market? Adding Schwarber’s left-handed power is very appealing.

Yup, a selloff certainly seems to be coming. Schwarber feels like someone the Yankees would pursue, especially since the team was connected to him in the past. That said, I don’t like the fit in spite of his undeniable power from the left side. Even though he absolutely crushes the ball, he’s another low-contact bat (28 percent career strikeout rate) and is without a position. Statcast had him in the 2nd and 23rd percentiles in Outs Above Average and Outfielder Jump this season. With Giancarlo Stanton parked at DH, there’s really no place for Schwarber.

There are a bunch of other players on the Cubs I’m interested in, though. Javy Báez would be cool as a Francisco Lindor/DJ LeMahieu fallback. He had an oddly bad 2020 (57 wRC+) after hitting .286/.321/.544 (123 wRC+) from 2018 through 2019. One thing remained steady: his elite defense, which would unequivocally help the Yanks.

I’d also love to bring in Yu Darvish, who I mentioned yesterday in our news and notes post. The 34 year-old has been dominant since mid-2019 and can probably be had for very little because his contract goes through 2023. I’d bet that the Yanks would be able to get the Cubs to take Adam Ottavino’s deal as part of a trade too.

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