A large sector of Yankee fans are up in arms as the team has been mainly quiet during an otherwise chaotic free agency craze ahead of Thursday’s expected MLB lockout.
While teams like the Rangers have already committed over half a billion dollars to formulate a middle infield of Marcus Semien and Corey Seager, the Yanks have done nothing to fill their glaring shortstop need, aside from signing Jose Peraza to a minor league deal. To further twist the knife, the crosstown rival Mets have gone on an all-out spending spree, highlighted by the signing of Max Scherzer and center fielder Starling Marte.
So, while big-name free agents continue to come off the board and the Yankees continue to sit by, one former franchise great believes it’s too soon to criticize Brian Cashman’s offseason.
“If you’re a Yankee fan right now and you’re wondering, ‘the Mets just made hay,’ Cashman has always been somebody who weighs everything in the market,” David Cone said on his Toeing the Slab podcast. “He’s in on everybody…he’s asking questions about every free agent out there. There’s also a robust trade market.”
Many wanted to see the Yanks heavily involved in Seager, a lefty bat that would fill the shortstop void, one which Cashman himself said would be the primary focus of the offseason. But the team never seemed to be too involved at all, furthering frustrations for a fanbase waiting for the team’s current core to be surrounded by pieces that can finally reach a World Series, something many thought was inevitable after 2017. Instead, there have been a few gold mines in minor trades, like for Luke Voit (before his injuries) and Gio Urshela, two big-time acquisitions in Giancarlo Stanton and Gerrit Cole, and not much else in terms of big splashes. But even as other teams rush to fill their needs before a seemingly inevitable shutdown, the former Yankee and current YES Network analyst believes Cashman still has a trick up his sleeve.
“There’s a lot to weigh here,” Cone said. “Don’t get too discouraged if you’re Yankee fans. There’s a lot of different ways for the Yankees to improve this team. It might not involve outbidding the Mets for Max Scherzer, and going to $45 or $50 million a year. That probably wasn’t the answer for the Yankees.”
The Yankees certainly need a shortstop, and if Carlos Correa or Trevor Story isn’t their desired route, it will have to be a much more minor upgrade, but Cone believes the team could still get significantly better with other moves, like a trade for Matt Olson. But those will likely have to wait until the lockout ends.
“I have a feeling the Yankees are operating on multiple fronts,” Cone said. “They have multiple needs. If you’re a Yankee fan, give it a little more time and see what happens here. I have a feeling the trade market is something that the Yankees could be very involved in.”
Follow Ryan Chichester on Twitter: @ryanchichester1