Pitchers and catchers report in less than a month and the Yankees are in a strong position. They’ve done plenty to boost the team this winter, and yet it seems they have so much left to do.
Aaron Judge has some protection in the outfield, courtesy of the fiery Alex Verdugo and young superstar Juan Soto. Long Island’s own Marcus Stroman also put on the pinstripes. Even the coaching staff looks better with new hitting coach James Rowson and former Tigers and Angels skipper Brad Ausmus.
This has been, on the whole, a very good offseason for the Yankees. Perhaps even great. But even so, there’s always room for improvement. General manager Brian Cashman hasn’t tipped his hand as to what’s next. Based on the team’s current needs, the following moves should be his priorities.
Re-sign Wandy Peralta. The Yankees acquired a younger, cheaper lefty reliever in Victor Gonzalez when they sent Trey Sweeney to the Dodgers in December. However, that doesn’t mean bringing back the veteran Peralta is off the table. Brendan Kuty at The Athletic reports New York wants to bring him back, but both sides are still negotiating.
Peralta has been nothing but great since coming to the Yankees from the Giants in 2021. He has a 2.82 ERA in pinstripes and opposing hitters bat just .228 against him in “late and close” situations. In tie games, that number shrinks to .209. Add his popularity in the clubhouse, and Cashman should get a deal with Peralta done quickly.
Call Blake Snell one more time. It was reported earlier this month that the Yankees had their eye on the reigning NL Cy Young winner. However, nearly three weeks later, Snell remains on the market. Even more shocking, MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports the Yankees’ six-year, $150 million offer is the only one formally on the table.
What’s interesting is that Feinsand notes other teams like Snell, but his turning down the Yankees’ offer has everyone gun shy. They won’t reach out unless his asking price, believed to be $200 million or more, comes down. The Yankees need to strike while the iron’s hot, call Scott Boras, and try to find some wiggle room to bring Snell to the Bronx.
Have backup plans ready. And if adding Snell isn’t an option, the Yankees simply need to have their young pitchers ready to step up when asked. It isn’t a true New York season without some frustrating, poorly timed injuries. Carlos Rodon and Nestor Cortes basically lost last season because they were never healthy.
Luckily, the Yankees have young pitchers down on the farm ready and raring to go. Cashman hasn’t actively sought Milwaukee’s Corbin Burnes nor Cleveland’s Shane Bieber because it’d mean losing Chase Hampton. The Yankees’ No. 4 prospect had a 3.63 ERA and 12.2 strikeouts per nine innings (K/9) across two levels last year.
There’s also Will Warren, who had a 3.35 ERA in Double and Triple-A last season. Now add some exciting young bats like Everson Pereira in case a position player goes down. Depth has never been a problem for the Yankees, but hopefully they won’t need to rely on the minors too much in 2024.