In early December Yankees GM, Brian Cashman stated that his team is a “fully operational Death Star.” Is the statement true? Somewhat. The Yankees have gotten much better as a team within the last few months, adding much needed depth in their starting rotation. Let’s take a look at the Yankees offseason so far, and really put Cashman’s claim to the test.
On November 19, the Yankees traded for Seattle Mariner’s left-handed ace, James Paxton. In the deal, the Yankees dealt a few prospects including starting pitcher, Justus Sheffield. Although Paxton has been labeled as being injury prone, he has proved himself a worthy starter and will help boost production in the rotation. Plus, there is no guarantee that Sheffield will meet his all-star potential.
In addition to trading for Paxton, Cashman made it a point to re-sign the two southpaws who helped anchor the Yankees rotation down the stretch last season, C.C. Sabathia and J.A. Happ. Sabathia signed a one-year deal early this offseason to return for what he has said will be his 19th and final big league season. New York was able to ink Happ for two-years and will likely fit into the number four spot in the rotation. Happ joined the team last season in late July during the trade deadline and went 7-0, with a 2.69 ERA. As an added bonus, Happ has posted strong numbers against the Red Sox throughout his career, continuing that trend during his time with the Yankees last season, winning both of his starts against them during the regular season.
The hunt for all-star infielder, Manny Machado, was put on hold for the Yankees in early January when they surprisingly signed shortstop, Troy Tulowitzki to a league minimum contract. What is even more interesting, was the Yankees signing former Colorado Rockies third baseman, DJ LeMahhieu to a two-year, 24-million dollar deal two weeks later.
The move didn’t go over very well with fans, and it’s understandable. Machado is probably one of the best players in the game today, why wouldn’t the Yankees go for him? As of today, the Yankees haven’t given him an official offer yet, which is smart. The Yankees don’t want to get into a bidding war with three different teams. Let the talks slow down, and then get back into it.
The most recent move the Yankees made was signing relief Pitcher, Adam Ottavino. Ottavino adds another huge arm in a bullpen full of them. This comes after resigning Zach Britton for another three-years, to join the likes of Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances and Chad Green. The Yankees bullpen is once again terrifying for opposing teams.
The Yankees are currently looking for a sixth pitcher to back up Sabathia. 2015 American League Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel, formerly of the Houston Astros, remains available on the free agent market and would serve as a a viable starting option should New York elect to sign him. Keuchel’s 2018 season wasn’t his best year, but he has potential to bounce back this year.
All in all, the Yankees have become a much better team, adding depth in almost every area. Is it enough to beat the Red Sox? Maybe. The Red Sox have lost two of their biggest relievers in free agency in Joe Kelly who signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers and closer Craig Kimbrel who is still looming on the free agent market, though his return to Boston is unlikely. So the Red Sox lost more than they have gained, but they are still a very dangerous team.