The Yankees’ present championship window was opened on the backs of the Child Bombers. The very fact they obtained unbelievable manufacturing out of such younger, cost-controlled stars developed via the farm system allowed them to put money into different areas of the roster. Aaron Judge, Gary Sánchez, and Gleyber Torres signify the offensive core of this staff, and it was hoped such a proficient trio may ship a number of pennants whereas nonetheless remaining underneath staff management. Quick ahead to at the moment and the Yankees have but to achieve the Fall Basic since their final title in 2009, all whereas Choose’s and Sánchez’s free companies quickly strategy. That’s the reason the upcoming season will decide the look of this franchise for years to return.
Aaron Choose, when wholesome, is among the 5 finest gamers in MLB. However that’s the crux of the matter, isn’t it? When wholesome. A participant’s biggest asset to his staff is availability, and the truth that Choose has missed 37% of standard season video games within the final three seasons means he’s failing his staff in that regard.
Together with his arbitration prices rising, the Yankees have an enormous choice within the subsequent few years. Choose will enter free company heading into his age-31 season, and well being typically declines with age. If Choose turns in a fourth straight injury-shortened marketing campaign, the Yankees must assume lengthy and onerous about his future in pinstripes. Handing a hefty extension to an oft-injured participant on the unsuitable aspect of 30 is dangerous to say the least.
If Choose desires to stay the face of the franchise, he has to discover a strategy to keep on the sector. It could appear sacrilegious to ask, however may the Yankees go the identical route with Aaron Choose because the Red Sox did with Mookie Betts? If the Yankee don’t really feel protected extending Choose, it is smart to attempt to maximize his worth to the staff through the commerce market. If he misses important time subsequent 12 months, I feel it’s doubtless they at the very least hearken to provides within the subsequent offseason.
Since bursting onto the scene in 2016, Gary Sánchez has been the second-best offensive catcher (117 wRC+) and fifth-most invaluable total (11.4 fWAR) in MLB. And that’s together with his dismal 2018 and outright putrid 2020. Expertise like that, particularly on the catcher place, doesn’t simply develop on bushes.
Nonetheless, ought to he exhibit continued decline, that paired with escalating prices places the Yankees into an unenviable scenario. Do they attempt to transfer him and threat the embarrassment that he rediscovers the power that made him so invaluable (à la Sonny Gray)? Or do they grasp onto Sánchez, just for him to proceed alongside his downward spiral?
That’s the reason the upcoming season will decide if Gary is the long-term catcher. If he turns in a season like his 2019 marketing campaign, the Yankees’ choice will likely be made simple. When Sánchez is main all catchers in house runs, the Yankees gained’t be terribly bothered if he boots the occasional handed ball. If he delivers one other dud offensively, the Yankees are left with none notably appetizing selections.
Some are able to pencil Kyle Higashioka in as beginning catcher, however his profession observe document as a 55 wRC+ hitter speaks a lot louder than the near-meaningless dozen sport pattern on the finish of 2020. The Yankees may try to quick observe their catching prospects via the minor league pipeline. Choosing such a route doesn’t encourage a lot confidence, as every of these prospects comes with extra query marks than solutions. No, the most effective answer is for Sánchez to rediscover his kind, and that’s one thing we as followers ought to all be rooting for.
There isn’t a placing this evenly: Torres’ protection hurts his staff. He’s not even being requested to make five-star, spotlight reel performs. He’s simply being requested to do the routine components of the job, one thing Torres reiterates in lots of his interviews, but to this point has not occurred with sufficient consistency.
“For Gleyber, it’s about changing into glorious on the routine. That’s what separates actually good shortstops from common to below-average. For Gleyber, it’s about making the routine play, day in and time out. That’s what’s gonna permit him to change into a very good shortstop.”
This all boils all the way down to focus. Gleyber should singularly decide to enhancing the weakest a part of his sport. Boone’s feedback, and the noticed lack of enchancment on the sector, recommend Torres has an extended strategy to go in that regard.
Torres clearly has the instruments, now he has to place within the work and discover the advance. It’s not an unreasonable ask, neither is it an inconceivable job. One want look no additional than different younger stars, resembling Fernando Tatís Jr. or Rafael Devers. Tatís remodeled himself from one of many worst fielding infielders to the most effective in a single 12 months. Devers improved from a butcher at third in his first two seasons to an above-average fielder throughout the next two seasons.
Torres’ enchancment (or lack thereof) within the fielding division will form the Yankees’ offseason technique this 12 months and subsequent. Brian Cashman not too long ago would not commit to naming him because the long-term shortstop.
In the event that they really feel Torres is incapable of constructing that leap, it may imply the tip of DJ LeMahieu’s tenure in pinstripes, as Torres could must be moved again to second. If that have been the case, one has to assume the Yankees could be lively gamers within the free agent market after subsequent season. Francisco Lindor, Corey Seager, Trevor Story, Javier Báez, and Carlos Correa are all important upgrades defensively at quick. Every would require a considerable funding that will restrict the Yankees’ skill to deal with different areas of want.
The 2021 season is an inflection level for the Yankees. Their core is rising older and dearer. There isn’t a assure of a season in 2022, because the looming CBA expiration brings the specter of a piece stoppage. If the Yankees are going to make a single World Series look with the present nucleus, it’s gotta be subsequent 12 months. And the prospect of that group remaining intact relies upon upon the performances of its three most necessary members.