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What is next for the New York Yankees?

Brett Gardner (Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports )

Brett Gardner (Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports )

 

A dreadful final two weeks of the New York Yankees season ended on Tuesday night as the Yankees were shutout by Dallas Keuchel and the Houston Astros 3-0 in the American League Wild Card game.

The Yankees started Masahiro Tanaka, who was not terrible, but not all that great. As a season of questions finally came to a close, one question is still yet to be answered: What is next for the Yankees?

Well the answer might not be that simple. After two straight seasons of retiring legends Mariano Rivera (’13) and Derek Jeter (’14) the Yankees just did not have the same buzz about them.

Sure, the amount of tickets sold were first in the AL again this year with 40,000 tickets sold per game, fourth in all of baseball, but the actual attendance is lacking. The fans aren’t into it. In a series with the Boston Red Sox in late September, Yankee Stadium had empty seats everywhere. Yankees fans just haven’t been into it.

As far as the Yankees in the future, well it looks pretty bright right now, but there is still a lot of work to do:

Find an ace: The Yankees will need help on the mound in 2016. Yes they have Tanaka, who is a good number two and Luis Severino who if healthy will be fantastic for years to come, but the Yankees need another arm in the rotation. CC Sabathia is old with plenty of issues, Michael Pineda is not the answer, Ivan Nova wasn’t the same after returning from Tommy John Surgery, and Nathan Evoldi will be a solid fourth or fifth guy in the Yankees rotation. Where is the ace? I tell you where he is, he will be sitting in free agency. The Yankees need to go out and get an arm that will be consistent all year. There are a few arms on the market that I see the Yankees looking into:

  • David Price, LHP: Regardless of turning 31 in August next year, Price is an elite left hander who would take the Yankees to the next level. The Yankees are one of a few teams that could actually afford him.
  • Jordan Zimmermann, RHP: Zimmermann went 70-50 in his Nationals career, struck out 903 batters and walked 221, a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 4.09. He has thrown a no-hitter, and although being 30-years-old, Zimmermann could be a great fit in New York.
  • Jeff Samardzija, LHP: In a year in which the Chicago White Sox struggled, Samardzija did as well. However, he has a track record of success in the past and has less wear and tear on his elbow. Samardzija could be a cheap and solid reinforcement for the Yankee rotation.
  • Mike Leake, RHP: Will be 27 and has a strong arm. He could be another key addition to the Yankees. Would be another cheap young arm

Fix the Bullpen:

The Yankees bullpen was depleted at the end of the 2015 season. Dellin Betances wasn’t at his best, Chasen Schreve was not the same pitcher, and the Yankees really didn’t have a reliable middle inning guy. It is important for the Yankees to change their back end.

  • Joakim Soria, RHP: Soria could be a great fit for the Yankees bullpen. He is a power arm that could be used in any role. He would not cost the Yankees young talent and could become another power arm along-side Betances and Andrew Miller.
  • Chasen Schreve, LHP: This guy needs to step up. He is a key piece in the Yankees bullpen and needs to find what he had in the beginning of the season.
  • James Pazos, LHP: We have seen Pazos in September. He was impressive and could be another piece to the puzzle in 2016.

Find a Bat:

The Yankees have plenty of young bats including Greg Bird and Aaron Judge who has yet to be seen, but the Yankees need more pop. Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury didn’t have it at the end of 2015 and the Yankees rely on the long ball. It is time to get a bat and grind. There are a few options available:

  • Daniel Murphy
  • Howie Kendrick
  • Ben Zobrist
  • Aaron Judge
  • Mark Reynolds
  • Jason Heyward

 

“What’s at second?” “I don’t know is on third.”

The Yankees need to fill two voids in the infield in 2016 2nd and 3rd base. Well the Yankees did have top prospect Rob Refsnyder at second base on Tuesday night, but is he the answer? He has some pop and can definitely hit, but his defense has been questionable. I believe that he is the Yankees opening day second baseman next year, but you just never know. The Yankees could again go get a player like Ben Zobrist who can play second or third and is very versatile, with a great bat, but he will want a four-year deal minimum which is risky for a 35-year-old.

The Yankees payroll will easily be over $200 million in 2016, but following next season the Yankees will free up money invested in Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran. The time is now to make moves and to go buy players to help win.

The attendance is down because there is not a superstar in the lineup. The Yankees need to make a splash in the free agent market. Bird, Severino, Refsnyder and Judge are all going to be great players for the Yankees in the years to come, but New York is a market that demands winning, and the Yankees need help.

The future is bright, but with a few moves, it could get even brighter.

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