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Yankees Mailbag: Incoming changes, non-tender candidates, and strength and conditioning

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The offseason mailbag gets its first full deployment.

MLB: New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Good afternoon everyone, it’s arrived faster than anyone hoped but the offseason editions of the mailbag have arrived. From here on out, the mailbag will be running every two weeks, due to a slower amount of information trickling in and a lack of action going on. Without further ado, let’s open up the mailbag for more of your Yankees questions. Remember to send in your questions for our (bi)weekly call by e-mail to pinstripealleyblog [at] gmail [dot] com.

The idiot that said, “Harper is coming” asks: Are we going to be looking at a very similar Yankee team next season with the exception of a few coaches and a new starting SS?

I was pessimistic on expecting changes last offseason, and while I don’t think the Yankees will run the entire market I do expect some changes beyond the open slots. Catcher probably won’t be addressed this year due to the shallow pool of talent, and this is Gary Sánchez’s last year of arbitration anyway, but center field could be a realistic target. The Yankees were keen on getting Starling Marte at the trade deadline, and could go after him again as a free agent. Will they get into a bidding war for him? Probably not. But if his market doesn’t develop expect New York rumors to spring up.

jjpf asks: Care to comment beforehand on the upcoming 12/1 deadline for non-tender and CBA and the 12/5-12/9 Winter Meetings?

The Winter Meetings are a ways away, and the landscape could change a lot between now and then, so I’ll refrain from commenting on what could go down there. My expectations for the CBA are short and not sweet — it could get real ugly between the players and owners, and the timeline for a lot of things this offseason could get thrown off by these negotiations. Further speculation on that would only get dreary, but hopefully it doesn’t end up as bleak as it seems it will.

As for non-tender candidates, while I don’t think the Yankees will outright non-tender any of their players, I do think it’s likely that they try to make room on the 40-man via trades. Many spaces on the roster will be in flux — some, like Anthony Rizzo and Corey Kluber, will be outright open unless they are re-signed — and there’s a new crop of prospects that need to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft. I don’t see a path back to pinstripes for Miguel Andújar, at least not an easy one, and this could be the time where both parties go their separate ways.

Andrew H. asks: After the first full year with the new Strength & Conditioning staff, how do you evaluate Eric Cressey’s performance? While Judge and Stanton staying healthy was a major plus, it was the same old news for almost every other player on the roster. How much of the blame falls on Cashman for bringing in players that proper conditioning still can’t fix?

It’s hard to pinpoint any specifics, since we’re not privy to the medical information that the team is. There are some general practices that can be scrutinized, however, and our resident medical expert Jon Rimmer has made the case several times that the Yankees have mismanaged some injuries this year, and had some common problems throughout.

My opinion of the strength and conditioning staff is for the most part positive: some injuries just can’t be helped, and the team assembled is fairly high-risk in terms of injury history. I don’t think that in itself is a fault on Cashman, but not providing solid depth behind them could certainly be attributed to him. Getting full seasons out of Judge and Stanton simultaneously is a major plus, and if Cressey and company helped in doing so then I’d say they’re doing their job well. We just don’t know enough to say one way or the other.