The New York Yankees season ends without a World Series title yet again, so expect them to be busy this offseason.
The New York Yankees managed to win 103 games this year with an ever-rotating lineup that always found a way to cover for a fallen teammate. The Yankees were crushed by injuries all season but it hardly held them back. Everything seemed to be coming together at the right time, too, as the whole lineup and rotation entered October with a clean bill of health.
Per usual, the Yankees carved through the Minnesota Twins in the ALDS, setting up an epic showdown with the Houston Astros in the ALCS. The Yankees put up a solid fight against the vaunted Astros rotation and lineup but were ultimately done in by a Jose Altuve walk-off to end Game 6. The Yankees fought hard all season, but the Astros were the more complete team in the end.
Losing in the ALCS is a tough pill for the Yankees to swallow, especially when they have not won the World Series since 2009. This was supposed to be their year, and they were hardly challenged in the AL East. The Yankees have built a strong team capable of winning over 100 games in the regular season, but their weaknesses can still be exposed by a better team like the Astros.
Offseasons have been uncharacteristically quiet as Brian Cashman and his front office focus on player development and the trade market, but that may have to change this winter. Expect the Yankees to be more aggressive, especially with a chance to bury the Boston Red Sox. Here are five key moves that could make the Yankees a stronger contender for the World Series next year.
5. Transition Giancarlo Stanton to first base
For $26 million this year, the Yankees got a grand total of 18 regular season games from Giancarlo Stanton. The slugger was only able to suit up in five of the team’s nine playoff games as a quad injury slowed him down. The entire 2019 season will go down as a wash for the 29-year-old Stanton, who hit three home runs in the regular season and one more in the playoffs.
The Yankees are on the hook for eight more seasons with Stanton, who is unlikely to exercise his opt-out clause following the 2020 season. He’s just not going to find a better deal than the one he has, which will pay him like a franchise player through his age-37 season. Knowing the Yankees need to start planning for the next eight seasons and find a way to ensure Stanton can be in the lineup over 140 times per season — something he has only done four times in his nine full years in the big leagues.
A move to first base should be in the cards for Stanton, which would give him a better chance to stay healthy without turning him into a full-time DH. Stanton has never played first base in the big leagues, but the Yankees can afford to make it a gradual transition. The Yankees have some depth to work with at first base and DH, but are unlikely to keep Edwin Encarnacion. Luke Voit will get a chance to play every day but has yet to make it through a full MLB season. Getting Stanton into the mix at first base is the right step to prolonging his career.