With free agency now upon us, it’s officially time for people to make their guesses as to what uniforms top free agents will be wearing come 2020. There have been numerous experts attempting to predict where some of them will play next year, such as Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, Stephen Strasburg, along with many others. Many people believe the Yankees will sign a starting pitcher or two. There are also some who think they could bring Brett Gardner back for another season. Some scenarios are likely, but none of them are too exciting. If that’s the case, Yankees fans could be in for a long winter. Nonetheless, let’s start with a crosstown rival who may join the dark side.
The longtime Met has been an exceptional pitcher over the last couple of seasons. He was five strikeouts away from hitting the 200 strikeout mark in 2019, and has posted an ERA in the “threes” the past two years. With the Yankees needing help on the mound, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post believes Wheeler will be in pinstripes next season with a four-year, $85 million contract.
Signing Zack Wheeler would make a lot of sense for the Yankees. He’s an established arm and we know the 29-year-old can handle the pressures of pitching under the bright lights of New York, which was a problem the Yanks have had trading for a guy like Sonny Gray. The odds that the Bombers are able to reel in Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg are most likely slim, so having a second-tier pitcher such as Wheeler is not the end of the world.
The team would not have to break the bank, and it would give them more wiggle room to sign other free agents as well. It may be wiser for them to give money to two starting pitchers who are in that second-level instead of giving everything to one pitcher in the top-tier. Though, if Cole and Strasburg were not free agents this year, Wheeler would be the top pitcher on the market, which shows you how stacked this class of arms are. Don’t get me wrong, Cole and Strasburg are definitely worth signing, but I wouldn’t bank on it (pun intended), especially since Hal Steinbrenner says he’s comfortable with the rotation as it is now.
The longest-tenured Yankee is now a free agent, but not many seem to think he’s going anywhere else besides back to the Bronx. Gardy will be 36-years-old come Opening Day, but his age hasn’t seemed to be a factor in his play as he had arguably his best season in 2019 when he smashed a career-high 28 home runs.
Tim Dierks of MLB Trade Rumors believes the Yanks will, in fact, have Gardner in pinstripes next year. Gardy has always been a well-rounded player who is gritty and absolutely hates to lose. With Aaron Hicks having undergone Tommy John Surgery and out for the start of the season, that makes the resigning of Gardner all that more likely. He has shown his ability to rotate extremely well from left field and center field without a problem. He started almost 100 games in center in 2019, which shows how much the Yanks like him controlling the outfield. I’d take this one to the bank that Gardner will be a Yankee in 2020.
These are the two rumors that seem to be circulating that are most likely to happen, especially the re-signing of Brett Gardner. However, if these are the ONLY two major moves that occur over the winter, the Yankees fanbase is not going to be delighted knowing that the top free agents found a home elsewhere.