A Three-Year Plan to Keep the Evil Empire On Top
With the New York Yankees’ chase for 28 raging forward, Max Rosenfeld breaks down his three-year plan to keep the Evil Empire on top.
Apologies to the rest of Major League Baseball- regardless of how the 2017 season ends for the New York Yankees, the Evil Empire has officially returned. With the right decision making from management moving forward, the Yankees are capable of competing in the American League for the next decade. So, what do the Bronx Bombers need to do to stay on top? Here’s my three year plan.
Extend Joe Girardi
Put Game Two against the Indians aside. Girardi has been a solid skipper for a decade and it is no coincidence that the Yankees performed a year ahead of schedule with him at the helm. Girardi is extremely well versed in dealing with the vaunted New York media, a skill others (such as his cross-town counterpart Terry Collins) often struggle with. Despite an up and down Division Series, Girardi deserves to continue out his run with this core of players.
Let C.C. Sabathia Walk
This might seem obvious, but it’s noteworthy in the fact that Sabathia is the last true representative of the last time the Yankees were dominant. It’s the end of an era.
Extend Didi Gregorius
Gregorius has successfully done the impossible by replacing Derek Jeter as the shortstop of the Yankees, and he’s done so with tremendous play. His contract expires after the 2019 season, but the Yankees would be smart to lock up Gregorius for the long-term this winter. This will keep Gregorius content and motivated as he looks to build a legitimate legacy in the Bronx.
Give Gleyber Torres Third Base
With all the success the Yankees are having this season, it’s easy to forget that they have the best prospect in all of baseball in their farm system. Torres would have been New York’s starting third baseman this postseason if he hadn’t underwent Tommy John surgery during the summer. Torres should be given the opportunity to play every day at third base with Todd Frazier’s contract set to expire at the end of the season. Torres, a natural shortstop, has adjusted well to third base in the minor leagues.
Trade for Chris Archer
From here, prospects become irrelevant. The Yankees will still employ much of their core on rookie deals, offering financial flexibility as they seek free agents in the future. Should the Yankees sell the farm for Archer, it would give them a lethal 1-2 punch with he and Luis Severino. With Sonny Gray, Masahiro Tanaka, and Jordan Montgomery still under contract, the Yankees will have a dominant starting pitching rotation to go along with their phenomenal bullpen.
Make a Mega Offer for Bryce Harper
As if everyone didn’t see this coming. Harper will likely command the game’s first $500 million contract, and no team is better prepared to make this kind of offer than Brian Cashman and the Yankees. Harper would transform this team from a homegrown powerhouse into the money-infused, inorganic winner that we often associate with the Yankees. It’s very hard to see the Evil Empire growing without making a splash signing such as Harper, arguably the best talent in baseball today.
Re-Sign David Robertson
The bullpen is what makes this Yankees team special. Girardi has the ability to go to a number of different arms at all points in the game to make sure opponents’ momentum is kept to a minimum. Robertson, a trustworthy right hander, has Girardi’s trust and is flexible in terms of the role he occupies. The Yankees should look to keep Robertson as an integral part of the team.
Sign Another Veteran Reliever
Jeurys Familia, Zach Britton, and Greg Holland will all be free agents in the Winter of 2018. The Yankees are currently ahead of the curve in developing a shutdown bullpen, but that will not be the case for long. As other teams will look to mimic the Yankees formula for success, it will be important for New York to double down on their philosophy and keep the bullpen as deep as possible. It’s the future of baseball. If the Yanks play it properly, they can be the future too.
Let the Red Sox Crumble
It’s quite possible that we’ve seen the peak for this iteration of the Red Sox. Unless they’re able to shed expensive contracts such as David Price and Hanley Ramirez, Boston will be locked into financially restrictive deals for the long-term that will lessen their ability to improve the roster. At this point, we know what the core of the Sox can do. The core of the Yankees has just begun to approach its potential, especially when considering the financial flexibility the front office will have moving forward.
Consider Aaron Judge at Designated Hitter
Judge is an old rookie at 25 years old. 2019 will be his age-27 season, and by this time it would be beneficial to the Yankees to consider moving him into a designated hitter role, at least part-time. This would preserve his body for the long term and allow him to focus solely on crushing balls over the fence. It would also give the Yankees the chance to acquire another impact outfielder.
Pay Aaron Judge in His First Arbitration Year
This season was not a fluke. Judge will deserve a hefty contract come the Winter of 2019. By then, he could be the face of a Yankees generation.