The puzzle that is the Yankees’ offseason is not yet ruined, but it’s damn close. At the very least, it’s confusing, muddled, and leading to more questions than answers.
Let’s get to the good, though, before we get to the rest.
Despite our personal feelings and potential misgivings about the big trade with the Twins, there is some upside there. Josh Donaldson, when healthy, will absolutely rake. The shortstop and catcher defense are markedly improved by Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Ben Rortvedt…at least before the latter’s injury. Signing Anthony Rizzo is…fine? He’ll be fine. And the team itself will most likely be fine. They’ll win more games than they’ll lose and they’ll get into the playoffs. But beyond this surface level–still an important level–I’m still left feeling, well, puzzled.
After years of luxury tax orthodoxy, they break it by going for two corner infielders in their mid-30’s? The players in question aren’t bad, of course, as we noted above, but.
With a glaring hole at shortstop, they only do ‘due diligence’ on a young superstar who ended up on a short-term contract elsewhere? Elsewhere in this case being the team whom you just relieved of a bunch of money so they could sign that young superstar. That series of events is a horrible look for Brian Cashman and company.
Rare is the time when the smart move and the obvious move are one in the same, but this offseason was one of those times. Too often lately, it feels like the Yankees are always trying to do the smart move, but the definition of smart is simply what isn’t obvious, what wouldn’t be expected from a team like them. In doing so, the Yankees purposely forgo their biggest advantage, the one they have over almost every team in American pro sports: stupid amounts of money.
Regardless, the moves are done. But–I can’t help coming back to this word–despite that, the team still feels incomplete. There’s time to remedy that with a few weeks to go before Opening Day, but there are just so many question marks right now.
Will Donaldson stay healthy enough to make his bat worth it?
Will Gleyber Torres, DJ LeMahieu, Anthony Rizzo, Aaron Hicks, and Joey Gallo return to form?
Will IKF hit at all?
Will either catcher option hit at all?
Will the team’s best player (and first baseman and one other catcher) even be available to play home games?!
Will skipping out on a shortstop this year be justified by either/or Anthony Volpe or Oswald Peraza?
Again, things can bounce back quickly if the Yankees do go out and nab Trevor Story and add another starter or…something. But right now, all these questions leave me wondering in a way I don’t like to be wondering this close to the start of the season.