Where did the Yankees go from here? Big decisions New York has to face this offseason

This is baseball, Suzyn.

The Yankees looked like a team that flirted with destiny all season long. No injury could lead them on their way to a 103-win season. They have been navigating “up-and-down” seasons from the core members of their original rotation. Now, Chase for No. 28 is postponed until 2020, after Jose Altuve broke the hearts of Yankees fans everywhere with a bomb that won the Aroldis Chapman series.

BERNSTEIN: The Astros are all Yankees, the Dodgers want them

You can point out a number of reasons why Americans fell to Houston. Maybe it was the lack of a hit. Maybe it was the lack of casting. What we do know is that Americans are now stable in offseason mode and are going to be really busy.

1. Seriously start lifting

No, the initial stretch was not the problem in the aftermath, but it was part of a problem.

Yes, the Astros hitters weren’t particularly good at the ALCS, reducing the .178 / .275 / .302 to New York’s win in Game 6, but playing a bullpen game, with a tired and damaged bullpen in a elimination game. , pitching – stick with me here – really help the Americans?

Wild theory, right?

The Yankees ran really well in the series. But here’s the thing: The Yankees start in the postseason after averaging 4 2/3 innings per start. While the Yankees bullpen is undoubtedly a force, luxury and weapon that other teams don’t have, in critical situations where any matchup, pitch or at-bat may be critical, regular season numbers don’t mean that much.

Before Game 3, Astros manager A.J. Hinch points to the fact that pitch relief can become more vulnerable as games continue. some of them are due to tiresome compressors, but another factor may be more familiar with the plan of attacking a compressor. Maybe that’s why the Astros held the Yankees to four runs in the decisive Game 6 game, relying strictly on relievers the Yankees didn’t see often throughout the series.

If the Yankees decide to step up their rotation, there are options in the market. The Yankees have been linked with Gerrit Cole in the past, apparently keen to trade him twice before, but eventually Cole went to the Astros, where he reminded the Yankees this postseason. Houston doesn’t even have to send him twice because the Stros relied on Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke in four games between the two. This right is the benefit of excellent pitching start.

It could be a clash of philosophies and the numbers could tell a different story in favor of using bullpen in the post-season period, but common sense does not. Full disclosure: I love the numbers. I love the way we evaluated pitching in today’s game – but in the pressure cooker environment of October, when every matchup and pitch could move things one way or another, we might rely on your horses to get to one lineup is the best way to go.

Maybe the trio of Luis Severino, James Paxton and Masahiro Tanaka may not count until Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Zack Greinke, but if you are the Yankees, because you would miss another upcoming season, be sure to, bona fide ace in the market? More initial help could be available if Stephen Strasburg withdraws from his contract with the Nationals or Zack Wheeler cuts the Mets offer.

While bullpens can be a constant trend in baseball, the Yankees can’t keep trying to be cute through commerce when there are options that seem to them. It would be silly, at least.

2. Extension of D.J. LeMahieu

DJ. LeMahieu’s contract is beyond the 2020 season, but we have seen how vital this Yankees team is. Communicating with baseball is the new market inefficiency – crazy how does that work? – and the Yankees strikeout rate was not terrible, but it was at 23%, 11th in the MLB. The two teams competing for the World Series this year, the Astros and Nationals, won the first and fifth respectively.

During a season full of injuries to the Yankees, LeMahieu was one of the best on nearly every side. He came out of power, won many seats, drove in runs and obviously didn’t fall very far. Not to mention, LeMahieu avoided the injured list in 2019. The best ability is availability and so on.

The percentage of LeMahieu K in 2019 was dazzling. At 13.7 percent, he was by far the lowest of the Americans and among the best in baseball. For a power-based group that is not afraid to swing and lose, the Yankees need to not only expand LeMahieu, but to find a way to clone it. His ability as a hitter is vital and it changes the composition of the Yankees greatly, and even with another contract season, it only makes sense to get him to avoid the open market.

3. Select the left field

Is Giancarlo Stanton destined to play left field in the Bronx for the next five years? Probably not.

If that were the plan, the Americans probably would not have brought Brett Gardner back into a one-year deal and would eventually have denied Clint Frazier’s trade for anyone. With Mike Tauchman an amazing ingredient in the 2019 outfield recipe, there are some options for the Yankees to understand.

Stanton’s injury history is problematic and concerning and there are some doubts as to whether he can last a full season in left field. With prolonged engagement issues in 2018 and foot proliferation in 2019, it’s hard to envision a world where Stanton plays 140 to 150 games in the outfield in 2020.

Do the Yankees consider themselves interested in resolving the issue? Frazier showed flashes on the plate in 2019 and could give the keys at that point if he stays on the list over the offseason. Tauchman went from unknown to the wild Bronx before an injury limited him the rest of the season. Could Gardner come back for a final fight? What about Cameron Maybin, who went from another filler?

Stanton’s long-term future is as DH, which means the Yankees now have to figure out how to fill the left-field spot.

4. Specify the third base logjam

Not quite the Pan / Pam dilemma of “Step Brothers”, but it could be just as confusing as there is a D involved somewhere.

Gio Urshela had a huge year for the Americans, living up to the top billing he once had with the Indians at 3.1 fWAR, by far his best year as a major leaguer. There’s a blow: With Miguel Andujar possibly returning from injury, there’s a tough decision for the Bronze Yankees to make in the hot corner.

Andujar had a very good bat at the time of the championship, but here’s D: Andujar’s defensive weaknesses hamper his overall production, costing two production wins, per baseball report (-2.2 dWAR). Along with his 27 home trips, he had -25 DRS at the time, the worst among third-base viewers in all of baseball and the second worst of all places.

Urshela is strictly a third baseman like Andujar, so the idea of ​​one of them being a backup infielder is hard to grasp in 2020. Could Andujar be confused about pitching help? It’s hard to say since no one knows what it will be as he returns from the lab tear.

The third key situation will come down to how much the Yankees defense value in the position. With contact baseball (remember that?) Becoming more widespread once again, defense in the area is affecting.

5. The Didi Dilemma

Didi Gregorius is one of the few bats left to start for the Yankees. In 2019, there were only two big lefties in the lineup of Gregorius and Brett Gardner. Both are free agents after the season, and neither is a lock to return. The other lefties in the roster: Tyler Wade, Mike Tauchman, Greg Bird.

Well, now Bird is gone and Gregoris is in the wind, since the Yankees didn’t offer him the qualification. And now what?

If the Yankees trust Gleyber Torres in the shortstop hole, then their main left-wing dominance could be: Miguel Andujar, Gleyber Torres, DJ LeMahieu, Luke Voit. You sacrifice a little bit of defense in this scenario, but it’s still a very good attack.

The Gregorians were a solid Yankee and worth 14.6 fWAR / 13.3 bWAR between 2015 and 2018 before dealing with injuries in 2019. The Yankees will have to decide how much they value defense, left-handedness and leadership at this point. It’s critical, and at this point, it doesn’t look like Didi’s deal is going to end.

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