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Yankees Mailbag: Addressing defense, handedness and extensions

Here’s the answers to the latest edition of the mailbag.

Division Series - New York Yankees v Tampa Bay Rays - Game Five Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Good morning everyone, let’s tackle some more of your questions about the offseason. Remember to send in your questions for our weekly call by e-mail to pinstripealleyblog [at] gmail [dot] com.

Range Rider asks: Will the Yankees address the elephant in the room this offseason? Statistically, the most glaring team weakness is defense. Will the Yankees try to upgrade the defense or just continue to try and outscore their opponents? If so, what position is most in need of an upgrade?

I don’t think this will be something they address this offseason, at least by getting different starters. The Yankees committed to this path when they moved Gleyber Torres to shortstop this season, and it’d be a seismic shift to give up on that after just one shortened season. Yes, Torres did not perform well by any stretch of the imagination this year, but that’s a hasty move to make.

Instead, the team seems likely to rely on internal improvement from Torres and Gary Sánchez. DJ LeMahieu’s defense — should he be re-signed — would be the cornerstone of the infield, and Luke Voit and Gio Urshela are capable enough to stay on the field while also contributing significantly with their bats.

Frank asks: The Yankee lineup is too right-hand heavy, making it easy for opposing managers to set up their bullpen, particularly in big games against teams with good relievers (see Rays). What moves can the Yankees make in the offseason to balance out the lineup?

Tom has an article on this topic coming out later today, but I’ll preview it by offering my opinion on the matter. There is no move the Yankees could do this offseason to balance out the lineup, because any move they could make would leave them with lesser talent starting instead. While it’s not ideal to be heavy on one type of batter, be it righties or lefties, if the the players you have are quality, you deal with it.

The idiot that said, “Harper is coming” asks: Will the Yankees extend Judge this offseason? And they won’t try to extend Gary, right?

I doubt that they can come to terms with Judge this offseason. Judge is entering the second year of arbitration, with one more year of control left before he could become an unrestricted free agent before the 2023 season. The team has looked to make extensions for key players in the past, with Luis Severino’s extension for instance, but Judge isn’t in a comparable spot. Judge has battled injury concerns prior to extension talks whereas Sevy unfortunately has developed them after signing.

On top of that, the fallout of the pandemic will likely lead to the Yankees looking to tighten the budget, and the team is already going to have to scrape the money together to keep the current batch of free agents from leaving. If Judge is going to be a career Yankee, he’s likely going to have to get an offer matched after testing the free agent market two years from now. As for Sánchez, there’s no doubt that the team isn’t looking to extend him currently. This is a make-or-brake year for the catcher, and his future on the team altogether may be determined not just by if he can rebound in 2021, but how well he can rebound.

newyorkred47 asks: Gary Sánchez and Domingo German to Colorado for Jon Gray, Tony Wolters and Raimel Tapia.