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Yankees add DJ LeMahieu, who isn’t Manny Machado — Now What?

TRADE SONNY GRAY

Why hasn’t this happened yet?

Before the offseason even got its legs underneath itself, Brian Cashman was singing songs of a Sonny Gray trade. There were (and have been) multiple suitors! 11 teams! Prospects coming back! Well then, what are we waiting for?

It was very uncharacteristic of Brian Cashman to show his hand the way he did with the Sonny Gray situation. The whole “someone is going to get the good version of Sonny Gray” selling point was almost laughable; because how is anyone supposed to believe that with any certainty after the season and-a-half he struggled through with the Yankees?

When the news of CC’s health broke, Cashman walked back what he said slightly, and suggested that Gray might be needed as rotation insurance if CC wasn’t good to go. That made sense, but now CC is on track to be healthy and functional for the start of the season, and Gray is back to having no role on this team.

Of all the careful moves the Yankees have been trying to make this offseason, this one seems like a lay-up. There’s no way Gray is comfortable being a Yankee after he was thrashed at the podium by Brian Cashman, so this situation seems like a win-win-win-win. The Organization wins with any return they can get for Gray, Cashman can pretend this trade never happened, Sonny gets a fresh start, and the fans can find someone else to pick on.

ANOTHER BULLPEN ARM

*Cough*Cough* Adam Ottavino

If the Yankees aren’t going to spend the money on one of the big guns this winter (Harper, Machado), they’d better keep on adding players that will make the ball club better and deeper.

Adam Ottavino is a player who can do that for the Bombers, but is an interesting case on his own. It’s unlikely that he signs for more money than Zach Britton, just due to the lack of success he’s been able to maintain over his career, but his 2018 season was so dominate that a team should have no problem paying Ottavino to be their closer. That said, the reliever market has been highlighted by one of the guys who has yet to sign, Craig Kimbrel. The former Red Sox closer’s $100 Mil contract demands (I believe) have benefited guys like Zach Britton, David Robertson, and Andrew Miller.

Ottavino is poised to be the next beneficiary of Kimbrel’s asking price, and the Red Sox being the team with an opening in the 9th inning because of that asking price scares me. For me, this is a classic example of a player the Yankees should sign to keep the Red Sox from getting him. Ottavino had a 40% K-rate against right handers in 2018 while holding them to a .467 OPS — imagine what he’d make of a Yankees lineup consisting of Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Gary Sanchez, etc.? It’d be a nightmare.

The good news is that Ottavino is a New Yorker. Originally from Brooklyn, Ottavino has expressed a willingness to come home (insinuating that the Mets would also be a preferred destination), so the Yankees are likely his preference to begin with. Now, they just need to get the job done.

ACQUIRE A LEFT-HANDED HITTER

Please, just one.

I don’t know who it would be, or where that player would fit in the Yankees equation, but the Yankees need to balance out the roster with some vintage left-handed pop.

If you’re relying on Jacoby Ellsbury to become relevant again, then power to you, but I think you’re only fooling yourself if you are confident he’ll be healthy, let alone perform. Brett Gardner isn’t the same player he once was, and Greg Bird doesn’t even have a job after Luke Voit dominated baseball for the final month of the season.

The Yankees have built their team this winter around cost value: signing the players they have viewed to offer the best “bang for their buck”. I dont think it’s unreasonable to want the Yankees to find a left-handed bat that fits thats description, but now, their options are limited.

It’s pretty clear that the Yankees don’t seem to be in the Bryce Harper sweepstakes, but there are other left-handed bats on the market that will probably sign very team friendly deals. Could they pursue veteran lefties like Nick Markakis or Carlos Gonzalez? Maybe they add a more versatile player such as Marwin Gonzalez or Asdrubal Cabrera (Both SH)?

Not all of the moves the Yankees have made this winter have made sense, but bringing in a left-handed bat when your right field fence in 314 ft away seems like a no-brainer.


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