Yankees Face Tough Decisions in Offseason
Building a Championship Team Requires More Than One Star
As the offseason begins, the New York Yankees find themselves at a crossroads. The team’s failure to make the playoffs in 2023 has raised questions about their roster and management. While the blame cannot be solely placed on players like Cody Bellinger, Shohei Ohtani, and Juan Soto, it serves as a reminder that success in baseball requires more than just one great player.
With all three players set to command significant financial investments, the Yankees must carefully consider their options. It is crucial that they have confidence in these players and can make a strong case for how they will significantly improve the team’s chances of winning a championship.
Perhaps the Yankees are hoping for an offseason similar to 2008-09 when they invested heavily in A.J. Burnett, CC Sabathia, and Mark Teixeira after a 13-year postseason drought. However, the circumstances are different this time around. The Yankees are not opening a new stadium and do not have a roster filled with established stars like the Core Four era.
Building around Gerrit Cole and Aaron Judge, the Yankees must address their offensive struggles in 2023, which was the worst dollar-for-dollar offense in major league history. Additionally, their inability to develop sustained success with positional prospects and their poor track record in athleticism and player health are concerning factors.
While there have been criticisms of Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner’s spending habits, he has shown a willingness to invest when under pressure. In the past, he authorized significant spending after losing key players like Robinson Cano and being eliminated from the playoffs. However, caution must be exercised to avoid compounding bad contracts on top of bad contracts.
For the Yankees to justify investing in one star or multiple players, they must have confidence in their prospects, believe in the replicability of DJ LeMahieu’s performance, ensure Anthony Rizzo’s recovery from concussion effects, and expect improved health outcomes for the team. There are several uncertainties that need to be addressed before committing significant resources.
While there is hope for players like Giancarlo Stanton to rebound and for emerging talents like Michael King to contribute, the Yankees must also consider the health of their relievers and the recovery of Jose Trevino from wrist surgery.
The criticism surrounding the Yankees has only intensified after Hal Steinbrenner’s recent press conference during the GM Meetings. It is clear that changes are needed to improve the team’s performance in 2024. However, the question remains whether flashing their wallet and making big signings is the right approach.
Looking back at the successful offseason following the 2008 season, it was a logical move considering the team’s circumstances. But now, the Yankees must carefully evaluate their options and ensure they are not simply adding expensive contracts to an already problematic roster.
Ultimately, the Yankees are determined to change the narrative and improve their results in 2024. However, they must approach this offseason with caution and make strategic decisions that address the team’s weaknesses and uncertainties. Building a championship team requires more than just one star player, and the Yankees must consider the bigger picture before making significant investments.