Aaron Boone could have won the 2019 AL Manager of The year but he was the runner up to the Twins’ Rocco Baldelli. Boone was deserving with a team that overcame a MLB record 30 players on the injured list and winning 100 games or more in his first two years as manager.
Leave that for another day about Aaron Boone coming up short. The priority now is for the Yankees to go that extra step and play baseball deep into October.
And with the GM meetings this week in Scottsdale Arizona, Brian Cashman has started that task to a new season. In a few weeks the process to winning again in 2020 continues at the annual Winter Meetings in San Diego.
Which always brings up the question for all teams, and in particular for the Yankees, regarding their failure to reach the World Series for the first time since the years of 1910.
But the Yankees are close. You can blame the inability to send a frontline starter to the mound in the postseason, a Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg.
Overall, the Yankees 2019 postseason has been recounted over and over about their failure to score with runners in scoring position. Or was it analytics that saw their potent lineup swing and miss at first pitches?
The objective, as it always is for Brian Cashman, return and win the World Series and do it with their mix of a few veterans. Get it done with another year of experience from Gleyber Torres, Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge, Luis Severino, Gio Ursehla, and perhaps Miguel Andujar.
And with that in mind, the objective of every GM in baseball this week is beginning that process to improve.
“ Of course we’re going to talk to Strasburg,” Cashman said Monday. “We’ll talk to Cole. We’ll also talk about some surprise guys, I’m sure. It’s going to take two to tango. It’s hard to predict. But of course, anybody would have an interest in players like that.”
So, Cashman is talking. The Yankees, never dormant during the offseason,they will make their bids.
But bring this into consideration? How high will the Yankees go with an offer to Cole or Strasburg? How high will an offer go to Zack Wheeler if the Mets don’t make their bid to re-sign the Right-hander? Wheeler is considered the third top pitcher on the market next to the other two.
And keep this in mind, through the Yankees spend, they are always looking to not exceed that luxury tax threshold of $208 million, though they have the means this offseason to spend.
Didi Gregorious and Dellin Betances are free agents. Cashman is not ruling out a return for Betances, though in a game that requires bullpen help, the Yankees may not have the means to retain him and all assuming at the right offer.
Then there are the words of Yankees General Partner Hank Steinbrenner who informed this columnist three years ago that gone will be the days of handing out lucrative and long term contracts to pitchers.
For the most part, this Steinbrenner, with limited control, is still in the decision process. The Yankees have not gone long term with a starting pitcher since handing a seven-year multi-million dollar deal to CC Sabathia in 2008.
Steinbrenner said at the time, “It is not worth the risk with a pitcher long term and susceptible to injury.”
But the philosophy, and heard from numerous sources, has changed within the Yankees hierarchy. They are aware, as we all do, the game has changed. Pitching and in the postseason will win ball games even if it means spending over the tax.
Though for Cole, Strasburg, or Wheeler there will be a tremendous cost. Cole is projected to obtain the highest paid contract on record for a pitcher and perhaps tops in the game.
But if the trend holds, count on the top two pitchers on the market signing late in the game and a few weeks before spring training.
Again, these next few days are about meeting and getting to know. Very few deals are made during the GM and Winter meetings. It’s a bidding war and the Yankees will be a part of the process.
And if the Yankees want to take that step and begin the new decade with a championship, well the first step is bringing one of those top three pitchers to the Bronx.
They hardly fail to get what they want. They are the Yankees and they do have the means to do it. Stay tuned!
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