The Yankees haven't done a whole lot this offseason, even despite making a few trades. They managed to solidify their second base situation, added a switch-hitting bat to the outfield picture, and improved their Triple-A rotation depth, but have they really accomplished anything? Most of these moves involved dealing from a place of depth, which is fairly common in baseball, but when all you've done is essentially rob Peter to pay Paul, as they say, it leaves a roster with solutions here, but new holes there. Right now, Brian Cashman has solved some problems, but he's also made new ones that he still needs to deal with.
They started the offseason by trading from their infield depth when they sent Jose Pirela out in order to add minor league starting pitcher Ron Herrera. Then, with Gary Sanchez poised for a major league role, they deemed John Ryan Murphy expendable in order to acquire a right-handed hitting outfielder in Aaron Hicks. Then they dipped into their bullpen depth and moved Adam Warren to solve their second base situation with Starlin Castro and traded Justin Wilson for Triple-A depth in Luis Cessa and Chad Green. Essentially, they started with catching and bullpen depth and ended with outfield, second base, and Triple-A starting depth.
Maybe having three places of depth is better than two, but when you compare the big league pieces that have changed hands this winter, it's easy to see that it's left the Yankees wanting, depth or no depth. They have added 2.0 projected WAR and 2.3 2015 WAR between Castro and Hicks, while surrendering 2.0 projected WAR from Warren, Wilson and Murphy. It looks fair on paper, but after giving up 4.4 actual WAR from the 2015 season, it makes things look a little worse. Of course you can say that Warren and Wilson will regress after career-high seasons, and it wouldn't be surprising, but you're also hoping that Hicks and Castro turn things around, especially when Hicks could be a bench player. Plus, add whatever John Ryan Murphy offers as a starting catcher compared to Sanchez–which could go either way, really–and it isn't clear that the Yankees have improved at all.
Maybe they'll be ok with Sanchez over Murphy in 2016, and they could definitely have used a younger and more versatile Chris Young, but now they have nearly 200 quality innings to fill between Warren and Wilson and the internal replacements don't seem poised to step up. Can Nick Goody, Branden Pinder, Nick Rumbelow, and company really log all those innings and provide similar quality? Will Ivan Nova pitch even 100 innings this year, and will they be anywhere near as good as Warren's were in 2015? Can some combination of Chasen Shreve, Jacob Lindgren, and James Pazos make up for the loss of Justin Wilson? Did it make sense to move them in a year where you don't plan to upgrade a shaky rotation? Especially when you can say that if we see Cessa or Green this year, it's likely because something has gone very wrong.
Of course, the offseason isn't over yet and Brian Cashman might still be looking into trades that will make everything look a little better. He now has an extra second baseman he might not need in Rob Refsnyder, and he has extra outfielders in Mason Williams, Slade Heathcott, and Ben Gamel–add Jake Cave to that list if he's offered back to New York after spring training with the Reds. It makes sense to trade from depth, but this winter, the Yankees have done so much of it that they have spread themselves out too thin in their depth, their value, and their talent. It might not be fair to judge an unfinished product, but it's at least understandable to start wondering if this can all make sense in the end. Right now, it looks like Cashman is just moving WAR around. Hopefully, the true upgrade is coming.