Yankees courses of action following Shohei Ohtani news

In case you missed the breaking news from last night, prized Japanese free agent Shohei Ohtani released his short list of teams he will be meeting with this week.  The Yankees are not on it. It was widely presumed that New York was the frontrunner to land the 23-year-old dual threat, but Ohtani has made it clear he prefers to sign with a team on the West Coast, as well as one in a smaller market.  

Photo Credit: AP

The Yankees had hoped to sign Ohtani not only to fill the fifth spot in their rotation, but also add his bat to an already potent lineup that carried them to within a single win of the World Series last season.  Now, the Yankees will need to pivot to alternative options.  Here are a few targets we should expect to see New York hone in on now that Shohei Ohtani will not be donning pinstripes.

Re-sign CC Sabathia
Following his loss in Game Seven of the American League Championship Series, Sabathia became a free agent for the first time since the 2008-09 offseason. Now 38 years old, CC is clearly on the back-nine of his career, and perhaps not looking for anything more than a one or two year commitment and a reasonable salary.  He has also expressed his interest in staying with New York.  

Photo Credit: David J. Phillip/AP

The Big Man has loved his time in the Bronx and I would imagine he would not want to uproot his family from their cozy New Jersey suburb if the Yankees came calling.  Not only does Sabathia offer a wily veteran at the back-end of the rotation, but he is also a clubhouse leader, something that is absolutely invaluable with a young, first time manager in Aaron Boone. Expect the Yankees to offer him a one-year deal in the $13-15 million range.

Use Their $3.5 million in International Pool Money
Perhaps you have heard, but Major League Baseball came down hard on the Atlanta Braves two weeks ago for violations of international signing market.  The penalty? The team was required to forfeit 13 international prospects in their system, all of whom were signed in some relation to the aforementioned infractions in 2016 by former Braves GM John Coppolella.

Among those 13 prospects you’ll find 17 year old Venezuelan shortstop Kevin Maitan.  Maitan, who currently ranks 38th on MLB.com’s prospect watch, is credited with a 60 hitting grade, 55 power, 40 run, 65 arm and 50 defense on the 20-80 scale.  He is a switch hitter who one day might mirror Francisco Lindor of the Indians.  The Yankees have the second most money to spend on international free agents, and despite the log-jam at the middle infield position within the organization, this is one name to watch out for.

Photo Credit: Cliff Welch

Add Another Impact Bat
While Ohtani might have effectively played both this role, as well as that of the fifth starter, New York now has some extra cash to throw at an available bat this offseason to bolster the lineup.  Top available names include:
  • JD Martinez
  • Eric Hosmer
  • Mike Moustakas
  • Lorenzo Cain
  • Jay Bruce
  • Carlos Santana
  • Logan Morrison

While it is highly unlikely the Yankees pull the trigger on a long term commitment to a player like Martinez or Hosmer, General Manager Brian Cashman has been phenomenal in recent years at finding diamonds in the rough, either in Free Agency or via trades.

Photo Credit: Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Looking through the list of available free agents, one name in particular popped out to me: Carlos Gonzalez.  Gonzalez, coming off an extremely poor year last season in Colorado, is still just 32 years old and just a full year removed from hitting .298/.350/.505 with 25 home runs and 100 runs batted in.  Per Jon Heyman of FanRag, Gonzalez might be had on a one-year, prove-it type deal this season, and outside of Coors Field, what better stadium for a dead pull left-handed power hitter than Yankee Stadium?  Gonzalez is also still very strong with the glove and could spell each of New York’s outfielders to give them a day off and keep everyone fresh. Unlike in years past, the Yankees lack a bit of left-handed power outside of Didi Gregorius and Greg Bird. Gonzalez would be an interesting and potentially impactful platoon player in the outfield or in the DH spot.

Other possible targets that can be had on short-term, low AAV deals include OF Austin Jackson, INF/OF Howie Kendrick, 1B Mark Reynolds, OF Jayson Werth and 2B Brandon Phillips.

The Major League Baseball offseason has been slow to say the least this winter, but once Ohtani signs and Giancarlo Stanton is traded, expect the floodgates to open up. Brian Cashman will be ready.

Article by: Andrew Natalizio


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