Posted on January 10, 2017 by Bryan Zarpentine
With more than a month left until the start of spring training, there are more than a few impactful free agents still available on the market and still plenty of trades that could be made. But it appears those players won’t be signing with the New York Yankees, nor will the Bronx Bombers be involved in any trades. While making a television appearance Monday night, Yankees GM Brian Cashman didn’t close the door completely on making any moves between now and the start of the season, but he strongly suggested that the Yankees are all but done this winter.
Cashman said on Monday that he continues to do his due diligence, and obviously minor moves can’t be ruled out, but he is “99% sure” there won’t be any meaningful additions to the Yankees before the start of the season. The Yankees haven’t been particularly active this winter, and so their opening day roster figures to look quite similar to the team that was on the field last September when New York finished the season fourth in the AL East.
The Yankees have made just two significant additions this offseason. First they brought back closer Aroldis Chapman on a record-setting deal after trading him earlier in the summer in a blockbuster deal. The Bronx Bombers then signed Matt Holliday to a one-year deal, presumably to be their primary DH with veterans like Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira no longer part of the organization. However, the Yankees have notably failed to make any additions to the a stagnant starting rotation that will face serious questions when the season begins.
Cashman’s statement implying that the Yankees are done making moves this winter implies that the Bronx Bombers are no longer in the mix to acquire starter Jose Quintana via trade. Last week, the Yankees were reportedly still engaged in discussions with the White Sox about Quintana, even if some described them as a “long shot” to land the lefty. Cashman indicated on Monday that the White Sox are looking for three elite prospects in return for Quintana. While the Yankees undoubtedly have the prospects to meet that price tag, Cashman said what the White Sox are asking is more than he’s willing to give.
The Yankees haven’t been linked to any of the starting pitchers on the free agent market, and so if they are out on Quintana, New York’s rotation figures to remain as it is now. To be fair, the Yankees have enough pitchers with potential to put together a solid rotation, and there’s few starters in a weak free agent class that would represent a significant upgrade. Of course, there is no guarantee that the pitchers they have in place will perform up to their potential in 2017.
New York staying silent the rest of the winter also means the Yankees won’t be trading away any of their core players in hopes of freeing up payroll for a bigger move at a later date. Cashman has fielded offers on some of his players this winter, and at times has been open to trading players like Brett Gardner and Chase Headley. But by all accounts, he did not receive the kind of offer that would make him pull the trigger on a trade for those players or others.
Other than opening their wallet to bring Chapman back to the Bronx, the Yankees have declined to make bold moves this winter to significantly improve their team. It’s important to keep in mind that the Yankees have chosen to put their faith in their young players, which is a good reason for such an inactive offseason, at least by New York’s standards. That being said, without the Yankees making any more moves this offseason, it’s hard to consider them among the elite teams in the American League heading into the 2017 season.