84, 680, 704, 183, .252, 4.16. That’s the wins, runs scored, runs allowed, home runs, batting average and ERA for the 2016 New York Yankees. That’s a very unusual stat line to see when you’re a lifelong Yankee fan. 2016 and 2014, 84 wins in both those seasons, were a “low-point” for the franchise this century. In the 2000’s, 84 wins is our lowest mark. In fact, let me stretch that even further: 84 wins is our lowest mark since all the way back in 1995 when we won 79, which let me point out was a shortened season and we still finished 15 games above .500. Many franchises last season would’ve loved to have 84 wins, but for us bombers, it just quite isn’t good enough, not when you’re so used to winning. So if you’re like me, and you miss the glory days where if we didn’t win the world series every coach got fired (I should point out I’m making a joke here, I don’t miss the firings, only the winning), then you’ve probably sat and thought about ways to make this team better.
Here’s the problem with our day and age: everyone has a voice now. And to make it even worse: everyone isn’t afraid to make their voice heard. Every guy or girl who owns a laptop and is on social media thinks they know what it takes to be a general manager. I hate to say it, but I’m also one of these not-so-elite people who think they’re smarter than Brian Cashman. So if you humor me for a few minutes, and Brian Cashman if you’re out this reading this and agree with what I have to say just know that I’m very open to being your assistant GM (a million a season is the salary I’d like to have), I’m going to throw my opinion out there for everyone to hear it. So now I introduce to you: How to fix the New York Yankees, the way Hal Steinbrenner is trying to force Cashman to do it.
The first thing we should do is look at what our opening day lineup would be if we didn’t make another move this off season.
One thing on this page stands out the most: 153,900,000. That payroll would be the lowest Yankees payroll since 2003. This isn’t the worst constructed team as I assume that a team like this would be able to win about 82 games. However, that is not my goal.
And now it’s time for the fun stuff.
Here’s my full goal: to create a team that could potentially take home the World series trophy, while also keeping the payroll under the luxury tax threshold and getting the team younger.
For the purpose of this demonstration I’m going to assume the luxury tax is not going to change and stay at 189 Million, despite rumors that it will be going up to 200 Million.
When I sat down to do this I first thought, “What is the most important thing we need?” Now this type of question will change with everyone who asks it. To me, I think these three items need to be on our shopping list:
– Starting Pitcher
– Relief Pitcher
– At least one impact bat
Which is the one we could potentially do without? For me, I think we can do without a starting pitcher. I believe that with a stronger bullpen and a solid lineup our rotation will be able to survive.
Now here’s where it gets tricky. Who to do we trade? To me it’s obvious. We should be trading Brett Gardner and Chase Headley. If we do that’ll clear even more payroll and allow us to sign even better free agents.
Here is my team after the winter, I’ll explain the moves after.
Contracts: Chapman 4yr/72 Million, Turner 4yr/64 Million, Encarnacion 4yr/68 Million.
I know what you might be thinking:
“18 million for Aroldis Chapman?!”
“Justin Turner? What do we need him for???”
“If we are trying to get younger why would we sign a 34-year-old DH?”
I’m sure there are more questions than that, but those are the big three I’m going to answer, hopefully I answer the rest of the questions in the process.
Side note: the trades themselves are up to Cashman, I’m just saying who would actually need to be traded.
First off, yes. 18 Million dollars a year for a guy who throws 2 pitch types and throws 10-20 pitches 3-5 days a week. “Why not Mark Melancon or Kenley Jansen? They’d both be cheaper!” They’re both NL pitchers. They haven’t shown whether or not they could handle the AL. Chapman pitched to a 2.01 ERA with 44/8 KK/B ratio, in only 31.1 innings. All of this while sitting out the first month of the season. With a proper ST and the month of April when everyone is still finding their stroke, there should be no reason why his stats shouldn’t improve. Also, think about this: if we resign Chapman, then basically we would have received Starlin Castro, Gleyber Torres, Billy Mckinney and Rashad Crawford, all for the cheap price of Brendan Ryan.
Justin Turner is a story of a player needing a change of scenery to find his full potential. In his time with the Mets, Turner hit .265/.326/.370 with 8 homeruns and 86 RBI’s over 301 games. Hard to imagine this guy being worth 16 million a year right? Well JT went on to average .296/.364/.492 with 50 homeruns and 193 RBI’s over 386 games with the Los Angeles Dodgers. That’s the Justin Turner that is worth 64 million dollars. All it took was for him to move 2,451 miles and change his mechanics.
Lastly, the man who circles the bases after a home run holding his arm up like he’s carrying a parrot. Since his breakout year in 2012, Edwin Encarnacion has averaged 39 homers and 110 RBI’s while slashing .272/.367/.544. Slide production like that into a team who had its home run leader be a player who was traded midway through the season (Carlos Beltran hit 22 home runs for us, despite being traded after only 99 games). That type of production would be huge in this lineup and would take pressure off of Sanchez, Didi, and Starlin and just give those three the opportunity to just relax and not try to carry the team. That being said, Encarnacion is entering his age 34 season and decline is expected, but not a guarantee. If Bartolo Colon can be an All-star at the age of 42 and sign a 1 year, 12.5-million-dollar contract at the age of 43, then declining isn’t a guarantee.
I am a firm believer in WAR, and if we used WAR to show how this team would be impacted, everyone would be pleasantly surprised. In 2016, Headley, Mccann and Gardner combined for a 6.9 WAR rating. Justin Turner and Edwin Encarcion combined for a 8.6 WAR rating. That means the Yankees would’ve had about 86 wins this year. Add a full year of Gary Sanchez, Aroldis Chapman, Greg Bird and Aaron Judge, and the Yankees will have a nice season ahead of them.
Would this team win the Fall Classic? Maybe, maybe not. It’s never a guarantee. Even the Cubs were down 3-1 in the World Series. You never know what could happen, but this team gives the Yankees a real chance.
You may not agree with what I have to say, and no one has too. I’m not the GM, and if I were I wouldn’t be driving a 2003 Nissan Altima and I sure as hell wouldn’t consider Waffle House a nice meal out of the house.
The beauty of this team is the payroll. After the upcoming season, we can remove CC and A-rod’s combined 46 Million dollars, and save that money for the potentially legendary free agent class of 2018-2019. Being below the luxury tax would give us the freedom to spend on every free agent in that class if we truly wanted too. I don’t know how you think, but I think Bryce Harper, AJ Pollock, Clayton Kershaw and Craig Kimbrel would all look very, very nice in Pinstripes. I’ll settle for Harper and Kersh, but I tend to be spoiled and want more than we need.