On Tuesday night, the New York Yankees season and their World Series hopes ended at Fenway Park with a 6-2 loss to the Boston Red Sox.
Many had World Series hopes for the Yankees, but ended up not making it past the Wild Card playoff game and instead of facing the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League Divisional Series, they are sitting on the couch and figuring out how to make the team better.
So how does a team that won 92 games get better? Although, given the fact that four teams in the division won over 90 games, they are definitely going to have to figure out a plan and blueprint.
So what is the plan?
Giancarlo Stanton is a permanent cog
I never want to hear again that the Yankees need to trade Giancarlo Stanton. Without him, especially for the last month, the Yankees don’t even play last night. Giancarlo Stanton looked like the guy who won the MVP in 2017.
So is Aaron Judge
Sign Aaron Judge to an extension. This team goes with him and Stanton.
The catching situation
As far as catcher goes, Austin Wells is still a few years away and Kyle Higashioka is a backup. The only other choice I’d take is trading with the Cubs for Willson Contreras. If not, Gary Sanchez probably gets offered arbitration and is catching next year.
Gerrit Cole’s disappointing start
Yes, Gerrit Cole had a disappointing start. With that said, he also had a Cy Young type season. I think he’ll learn from this loss and get better from it.
Get Anthony Rizzo back
Sign Anthony Rizzo to a 3-year, $68 million deal. His offense, glove and leadership are what the Yankees need.
Shed some outfielders
If you can find a way to trade Joey Gallo, do it. If you can also find a way to trade Aaron Hicks, do it.
The trade to make…
Gallo and Hicks to the New York Mets for Robinson Cano. Yes, I’m serious.
What does Brett Gardner do?
Brett Gardner has been the epitome of a team player. He was signed to be a 5th outfielder and ended up starting because Aaron Hicks can’t ever stay healthy. With that said, he sounded like someone ready for retirement last night. He’s earned it. If he also wants to come back on a one-year deal, he probably will.
With Jasson Dominguez still a few years away, and if the Yankees need a centerfielder, a short term option: Starling Marte or Joc Pederson. Again, I’d prefer to not have Aaron Hicks or Joey Gallo and both are better short term options.
The bullpen and setup man
Zack Britton is likely out for most of 2022 with reconstructed elbow surgery. A reliever to look at for the set up man role: Andrew Miller. Aside from that, the Yankees bullpen is pretty solid.
If Gleyber Torres isn’t the shortstop of the future and gets moved back to second base; Corey Seager is probably the most attractive free agent out there.
The starting rotation
Aside from Gerrit Cole, the Yankees rotation has a ton of question marks.
Can Nestor Cortes duplicate what he did in 2021? Can they count on Domingo German? Is Luis Gil ready? Can Deivi Garcia be better? Will Luis Severino stay healthy? Can Jordan Montgomery win more than six games?
Starting rotation continued
Does Corey Kluber come back? If not, someone to consider on an incentive-laden deal: Justin Verlander. Side note: his supermodel wife… huge Yankee fan.
First and third
As much as I like Luke Voit, if Anthony Rizzo comes back, trade him for prospects. And with DJ LeMahieu needing a spot, and if Gleyber goes to second, DJ probably goes to third. So maybe trade Gio Urshela for prospects or pitching too.
The manager situation
Aaron Boone sounded like a guy who might not be managing in 2022. A person to consider for the manager job if Boone isn’t back: David Cone.
The final verdict:
Yes, I am disappointed that the Yankees season ended in early October. But they were also a team that won 92 games and got to the Wild Card game.
So while it wasn’t the best season, we also didn’t go 103 days in first place and finish under .500 either like some other team did.
So, Yankee fans, take a collective deep breathe, and know that the Yankees will reload the team for 2022. The window hasn’t closed. It’s still wide open with a lot of winning seasons coming through.