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Will The Real New York Yankees Please Stand Up?

Updated: Apr 1, 2022

Photo Credit: GettyImages

The free agency period officially started this past Friday in Major League Baseball. The MLB Lockout is over and baseball teams are open for business. However, the New York Yankees seem to have not gotten the memo. Fans of the New York Yankees are waiting for them to make a move, yet we are all wondering if the recent trade is the only move. As a Yankees fan, we would love to ask if the real Yankees can please report to free agency.

The Yankees rebuilt an aging team towards the end of 2015 into a young hungry team that was ahead of schedule by 2017. The Yankees earned an American League Championship appearance against eventual champion Houston Astros and that season was supposed to be a stepping stone to another World Series. But five years later, the Yankees haven't reached the American League Championship and this team is going backwards. The 2021 season ended unceremoniously in the MLB Wild Card play-in game against hated rival Boston Red Sox.

Photo Credit: NY Daily News

Questions about the Yankees starting rotation, first base, shortstop, outfield positions dominated the off-season. The Yankee fan has been waiting for general manager Brian Cashman to pull the trigger and land one of the big free agent fish out on the market. Before the lockout, there were shortstop names that would have been a perfect fit for the Yankees. However, the Texas Rangers shelled out big money for Corey Seager and Marcus Semien. The Detroit Tigers handed out $140MM for Javier Baez and the Yankees struck out again.

The Yankees have been stuck in neutral because of the competitive balance tax or the luxury tax. The Yankees have been reluctant to go over the $210 million threshold and have been running the organization to avoid paying the luxury tax. This was a tax that the late George Steinbrenner was happy to pay annually to ensure the Yankees kept winning. However this regime has done a complete 180 degree turn and relies on analytics and cost savings. While most Yankee fans would agree the Yankees have spent recklessly since their last World Championship in 2009, we are the Yankees. We're watching the Los Angeles Dodgers throw caution to the wind and spend upwards to $300 million per year on their payroll. New York Mets owner Steve Cohen has spent just under $260 million on free agents like Max Scherzer, Starling Marte, Mark Canha and more. Cohen recently said the Mets probably aren't done spending, meanwhile the Yankees can't even get to the negotiation table.

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The biggest move the Yankees have done is trade away Gary Sanchez and Gio Urshela to get a young shortstop that no one can recognize in Isiah Kinar-Falefa and 3B Josh Donaldson. Kinar-Falefa is a solid SS, plus defender and brings speed to a slow lineup. But he is hardly the Seager/Correa upgrade we were dying for. While Donaldson is a solid pickup, it's another right-handed bat, bloated salary ($50MM left in his deal) and is not the answer Yankee fans were looking for. This deal reeks of SS Troy Tulowitzki, another damaged goods signing that may not work out for the Yankees but is cost effective. The Yankee fans are tired of shopping in the bargain basement. We are the Yankees!

The Yankees have been running the team with analytics and waiting on young talent to develop, but it failed miserably in this plan. The penny pinching may have worked in Tampa, but it isn't working in New York. The Yankees have waited for the Baby Bombers to produce, but the organization has failed to develop them over the past 5 years. Gary Sanchez is gone and was a disaster while he was here behind the plate. Gleyber Torres took a step back, but now he's moved from SS to 2B in hopes to save his career. Clint Frazier could have been trade bait for three straight years, but this last offseason we watched him sign with the Chicago Cubs for nothing. Aaron Judge has lived up to expectations but has often been injured, and hasn't had a season like his rookie year when he was runner up to MVP. Luis Severino has been hurt for the past few seasons and went from a number one starter to a solid number three.

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The Yankees have a little room to spend to get to the new $230 million CBT threshold. The Donaldson trade is almost a salary swap. The Yankees can easily spend another 20 million plus, or crazy enough go over it the luxury tax threshold. But Yankees fans aren't confident that the Yankees will actually spend to that limit. This Yankees fan wish list includes Freddie Freeman and Carlos Correa. If the Yankees are anything like we know this wouldn't be a debate. The Yankees would have been introducing them in Yankee Stadium and holding up pinstripe jerseys. Yankees fans are desperate for the Yankees to act like the Yankees. We don't want to feel like this team is doing just enough to make the playoffs but not win the World Series. Meanwhile prices at the stadium are sky High and we haven't seen a championship in 13 years. Time to get back to the old way we did business!

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