Murti: Looking Ahead To Another Unpredictable Yankees Offseason

Sweeny Murti
October 31, 2019 - 9:30 am
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The World Series is over. Offseason storylines begin in 3…2…1…

Listen to your team news NOW.

First of all, congratulations to the Washington Nationals. What a way to win a franchise’s first championship!

The Nats trailed 3-1 in the 8th inning of the wild-card game, facing elimination. They trailed 3-1 in the 8th inning of Game 5 of the ALDS, facing elimination. And they trailed 2-0 in the 7th inning of Game 7 of the World Series, facing elimination. 

This will go down as one of the most amazing title runs in history.

Now, onto the business of the next three months until spring training.

Free agency moved at a glacial pace last winter. The calendar hit February before the biggest names on the market, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, found the money they were looking for. 

I don’t know yet if the “pace of pay” will be the same this winter, but would it surprise you if it was?

That’s why we have lots of time to discuss whether the Yankees play or pass on Gerritt Cole, Stephen Strasburg, or Madison Bumgarner. But let’s begin our winter of potential discontent with a few simple thoughts.

-Cole will get the most money this winter.

Everyone agree on that? How far are the Yankees willing to go to get him? Those are all good questions.

Gerrit Cole
Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Images

It will take a lot of financial flexibility for even the Yankees to make this happen, because as we know they are sensitive to the luxury tax thresholds. There are salaries coming off the books, including CC Sabathia, and for now Brett Gardner, and there are only one year commitments remaining for both Masahiro Tanaka and Jacoby Ellsbury. 

But there are also arbitration raises coming for Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez, and only one more year of pre-arbitration left on Gleyber Torres.

So many moving parts. We will have time to discuss this at length. Let’s just say for now, the Yankees can afford to make almost anything work if they want.

The way it stands right now, before any moves are made, the Yankees have Tanaka, James Paxton, Luis Severino and J.A. Happ under contract for next year. They also should expect to get Domingo German back from suspension at some point. Jordan Montgomery will be full go after his comeback from Tommy John surgery, and the rookies who could make some noise include Clarke Schmidt, Nick Nelson and top prospect Deivi Garcia. 

Some attractive free agent options to put at the top of this list, but it’s too early to tell if any of them actually will be there.

-The Yankees hit a home run when they found Didi Gregorius.

For a team that preaches culture and team chemistry, they would lose a big piece of it all if they let Didi go via free agency.

You could make the argument that moving Torres to short and planting DJ LeMahieu at second gives the Yankees a seamless transition away from Didi, allowing those saved dollars to go toward extending LeMahieu or Torres. Or give that money to Cole. So many moving pieces, it’s like trying to complete a jigsaw puzzle on a table that’s spinning in front of you.

-The popular choice among Yankees fans to replace Larry Rothschild as pitching coach appears to be David Cone. Here are a few thoughts on that:

Cone has obviously shown an affection for analytic data and its use in game-planning.  He has made that perfectly clear during his time in the YES broadcast booth. Cone is smart and knows pitching, that alone should get him an interview for the job if he wants it. I believe Cone would consider it based on numerous conversations with him over the years. 

That doesn’t mean he’s necessarily the right man for the job, and it doesn’t mean the Yankees have to hire him simply because he was a great Yankees pitcher in the past and a sharp analyst on their broadcasts now.

But if I was running the show, I’d really be interested to hear Cone’s thoughts and philosophies. Getting different viewpoints and perspectives was a vital part of the managerial search process for the Yankees two years ago before they settled on Aaron Boone. Listening to smart people talk should be part of the process no matter who is eventually hired.

As for who they actually hire, the first reported names to interview tell you the Yankees find great value in the way college coaches run their programs. 

A former D-1 college coach told me this week, “These guys know how to use (technology) and are way more advanced … I don’t think experience matters now. All about spin rate, velocity, etc.”

-As for hitting coaches, think about this: Kevin Long has now been a hitting coach for three major league teams, the Yankees, the Mets and the Nationals, and has helped each one of them get to the World Series, winning two championships.

-For now, let’s end on this: No matter how many times we pronounce the sport dead, there is nothing like baseball and the World Series proved it. Let’s do it all over again next spring.

You can follow Sweeny on Twitter (@YankeesWFAN)

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