The “new year, new me” approach is not one the Yankees have embraced recently, trotting out teams built in a similar mold each of the last few seasons.
That needs to change in 2022, as the current blueprint has fallen short of New York’s championship or bust aspirations. A lack of pre-lockout activity left onlookers skeptical that significant changes will occur, but the Yankees have already shaken up their coaching staff, and a new year—and, hopefully, CBA—is the perfect time to make some other adjustments.
With that in mind, here are few resolutions for the Yankees to stick to in 2022.
There are a few paths the Yankees can take when it comes to shortstop. Whichever they opt for, they must, at the bear minimum, get someone who can actually play the position.
Gleyber Torres did not clear that low bar each of the last two seasons, and Brian Cashman admitted as much. Now the Yankees can sign a high-priced star when the lockout ends, as Carlos Correa and Trevor Story are still available. Or they can add a veteran stopgap—José Iglesias and Andrelton Simmons remain on the market—to hold the fort down until top prospects Oswald Peraza and Anthony Volpe are ready. Either way, the Yankees need to make a move.
READ: Why the Yankees Shouldn't Sign Trevor Story
New York’s rotation was stellar in 2021, ranking sixth in fWAR. However, the Yankees went into the season reliant on a handful of starters that had not thrown many innings in previous years. Essentially, their gamble paid off.
As presently constructed, the Yankees will make that same bet in 2022. Outside of Gerrit Cole and Jordan Montgomery, there are no sure commodities among rotation candidates. Luis Severino has not pitched a full season since 2018, and the often-injured Jameson Taillon is coming off ankle surgery. Nestor Cortes Jr. came out of nowhere last year, but can he replicate that performance? Youngsters Domingo Germán, Michael King and Luis Gil, meanwhile, have had mixed success in the rotation.
A little more certainty could go a long way for the Yankees. At the very least, it never hurts to have reliable depth. Of course, that’s easier to say than find after the pre-lockout frenzy left few quality free agent starters available.
Cashman hasn’t been shy about his quest to upgrade in center field even though Aaron Hicks is under contract for the foreseeable future.
The switch-hitter has had trouble staying healthy, creating another position at which the Yankees could use more dependability. However, like the pitching market, there aren’t a ton of attractive choices left. New York signed former All-Star and Gold Glover Ender Inciarte to a minor league deal, but he should only be considered a depth piece. If the Yankees want to replace Hicks, they may need to look at the trade block.
READ: Yankees' Aaron Hicks Finishes Strong in Winter Ball After Slow Start
Luke Voit is the only natural first baseman on the Yankees’ 40-man roster, and he may not even be with the team in 2022.
That’s a decision the Yankees need to figure out. They could keep Voit, re-sign Anthony Rizzo, or make splashy upgrades by trading for Matt Olson or prying Freddie Freeman away from the Braves in free agency. Defense should factor into New York’s preferences, but it doesn’t have to be the deciding issue depending on what the team does at other positions.
This one is pretty straightforward, and it can be done via whatever moves the Yankees may make at the aforementioned positions of need. Speed and defense can also be added through depth signings.
Either way, the Yankees have clearly lacked these traits in recent years. Mid-season trades for Rizzo and Joey Gallo alleviated some of these concerns in 2021, but Rizzo is a free agent and Gallo certainly doesn’t help with the contact part. The Yankees could generally use more athleticism, which should cover these three areas.
READ: Did the Yankees Make a Mistake Trading Tyler Wade?
The easiest way to abide by these other resolutions is to stop worrying about money.
The Yankees have made it a point to stay under the luxury tax in some recent years, and it’s undoubtedly hindered their championship goals while simultaneously bringing the sincerity of those ambitions into question. Whatever the luxury tax looks like under the new CBA, the Yankees will likely be over it in 2022, but that was always going to be the case due to arbitration raises. The Yankees need to spend beyond that if they want to make the additions necessary to win, and they most certainly can afford to.
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