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Yankees Mailbag: Bullpen targets, DJ backup plans and the Winter Meetings

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The mailbag is back with the latest answers to your questions.

New York Yankees v New York Mets Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Good morning everyone, it’s time for another round of mailbag questions. Remember to send in your questions for our weekly call by e-mail to pinstripealleyblog [at] gmail [dot] com.

imramet asks: How seriously would you target the bullpen right now? Riffing off of the contracts so far, do you wait to see the starting market, or do you go after one or two relievers first?

The opportunity is there for the Yankees to snag a key reliever or two, and that’s something they should jump on. Throughout the week we’ve covered many of the best options: Tom wrote about Brad Hand, Cooper covered Kirby Yates, Dan provided a case for Shane Greene and Andrés handled Archie Bradley.

Of that bunch, the guy I’m the highest on is Hand. Hand has clearly been one of the best relievers in baseball, but the Indians decided that they’d rather not pay $10 million to keep him for 2021. Amazingly, neither did the rest of the league, as he passed through waivers and became an outright free agent. In a normal year that’d be a major concern, but in a year where COVID has apparently devastated owners’ pockets it means that teams would prefer to bid low on him.

I’m not the biggest fan of offering multi-year contracts to relievers, but if Hand at most is looking for a two-year deal like he’s projected to get, then that is a steal if I’m Brian Cashman. There should be several suitors for Hand, but the Yankees should get their name in early for him rather than waiting out the market.

The Ghost of Pop Logan asks: If DJ is not re-signed, what is Plan B? Rank the below in order of preference and likelihood: Roll with Tyler Wade, sign a free agent 2B, trade for a 2B, sign a free agent SS and move Torres to 2B, or trade for a SS and move Torres to 2B.

I’m not certain what the likelihood of the team’s decision would be currently, since it seems that DJ LeMahieu is the linchpin of their offseason. In order of my preference, however: I’d trade for a shortstop, sign a second baseman, sign a shortstop and then trade for a second baseman. Should they have to resort to starting Tyler Wade, just cancel the season.

If you’re losing a player of LeMahieu’s caliber, they’d need to add a top-tier bat to keep up. Thus, trading for a shortstop tops my list purely for the potential to trade for Francisco Lindor. Should they fail to connect on a deal with him, this option falls down in priority pretty quickly. After Lindor, the choice depends mostly on how much the team trusts Gleyber Torres at short. Brian Cashman did not sound convinced that Torres is better off at short in his recent comments, so while he’s slotted there right now I could see the Yankees being very flexible with his position in the infield.

The idiot that said, “Harper is coming” asks: Since the response to these will be posted on Friday (after Winter Meetings), are we happy? Are we bored to death with the lack of movement? Or are we calling for Cashman’s head?

I’m in the second camp mostly, simply because there hasn’t been much to react to. It’s a slow moving market this offseason, but the Yankees seem particularly reserved — and while that’s not enough to condemn them for moves or lack thereof, it’s not exactly promising either. I don’t mind hearing that the Yankees are connected to some buy-low pitching candidates like Kluber or Taillon, but only if that’s all they are — buy-lows. If they’re planning to patch up the rotation with pickups like that, that’s likely to blow up in their face.