For the New York Yankees, the last few offseasons have been somewhat bland. No Patrick Corbin, no Manny Machado, no Bryce Harper, no notable free agents. However, things could change over the winter. The moves, or lack thereof, could dictate the performance of the 2020 Yankees. With the regular season starting in four months, here are five bold predictions for the season.
5. Clint Frazier and Miguel Andujar will be traded
These two young players have had key moments with the Yankees, both good and bad. They seem to have major league bats and have proven they can hit at this level. That said, both of their performances with the glove haven’t been impressive in any way.
Andujar cost the Yanks a whopping -25 runs in 2018, and Frazier has cost -13 since 2017. Neither have a clear future in pinstripes, either. Gio Urshela has seemed to have played his way to be the starting third baseman moving forward. His defense is significantly better than that of Andujar’s, and their offensive numbers are similar. Frazier is in a tough situation as well. Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks, Giancarlo Stanton, and Mike Tauchman are all ahead of him on the roster. Plus, New York’s third-best prospect may be major league ready soon in Estevan Florial. Don’t be surprised if Brian Cashman trades Andujar and Frazier before the start of the season.
4. Francisco Lindor is shipped to the Bronx
The Yankees declined Didi Gregorius’ qualifying offer, thus making him a free agent. The team will most likely shift Gleyber Torres back to his natural position at shortstop and have DJ LeMahieu become the full-time second baseman. But what if they pull off a blockbuster trade for the 25-year-old superstar in Francisco Lindor?
There have been rumors swirling of Cleveland shopping him around, and the Yanks could be a potential fit. Lindor would take an already elite offense to another level. In 2019, he posted a 4.7 bWAR, 32 home runs and a .854 OPS in 143 games. He has also earned three top-10 MVP finishes since 2016. The Yanks wouldn’t have to pay him until 2021 when he hits free agency. It will most likely take a haul to get him, but it would be a price worth paying.
3. The Yankees sign Gerrit Cole to a record-breaking contract
Finally, the news nearly every Yankees fan wants to hear. The entire world knows it is going to take lots and lots of money to get Cole to sign with any team, and the Yankees have the cash.
Even though, the pitching did perform very well in the postseason, Cole would be an incredible boost to the rotation. A rotation fronted by Cole, Luis Severino, James Paxton and Masahiro Tanaka could be debated as the best in the league.
CC Sabathia has attempted to recruit Cole to New York, but Sabathia said the Yanks need to show him the money. I’m not opposed to paying him, and I’m sure you’re not either. The question comes down to ownership and the front office. Are the willing to make it happen?
2. Gleyber Torres has an MVP-caliber season
The 22-year-old superstar has displayed his talent at such a young age, and the world took notice during the postseason. He hit .324/.375/.703 in the nine October games the Yankees played in. He has proven that no moment is too big for him and he has the potential to have his best season yet. He’s been an All-Star in both of his two seasons and has yet to reach his fullest potential. Pound-for-pound, Torres may be the best pure hitter on the team. He without a doubt has the highest ceiling being how young he his and could very well put up MVP numbers in 2020.
1. The Yankees win the World Series
For the first time since 2009, the Yankees will hoist the Commissioner's Trophy. They will address the pitching situation and the bats will only get better and most importantly, healthy. If all the predictions above were to come true, New York would probably be a lock for the World Series.
If even one or two of those scenarios were to unfold they would be American League favorites. Will all five predictions happen? Most likely not. That’s why they are bold. Regardless, the Yanks don’t need to make major roster moves to make it to the promised land. But if they’re serious about winning No. 28, they need to buckle down and go for it all.