Yankees can punctuate strong offseason with one more big move

Even the most optimistic plans laid out by New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman couldn’t have looked as good as how his offseason is actually playing out. Despite missing out on Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani, the Yankees have made a massive impact while further stacking a roster that finished one win shy of a World Series appearance in 2017. And Cashman still has the time and assets to cap it with at least one more impact move.

Obviously, the crown jewel was acquiring Giancarlo Stanton from the Miami Marlins. New Marlins owner Derek Jeter was desperate enough to unload Stanton’s contract that the Yankees ended up acquiring the reigning National League MVP for pennies on the dollar. Now Stanton will form a home run-hitting trio of epic proportions along with AL Rookie of the Year Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez.

The next big move came on Saturday, when Cashman reached a one-year, $10 million agreement to bring back CC Sabathia. The 37-year-old left-hander’s return gives the Yankees a pretty full starting rotation. Sabathia will remain behind Luis Severino, Sonny Gray and Masahiro Tanaka, who started the offseason by opting in to the final three years and $67 million on his contract. But the general feeling is the Yankees aren’t done. The potential for another big addition looms, and if the Yankees strike it will put an exclamation point on an already strong winter.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is on a roll this winter and he’s not done yet. (AP)
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is on a roll this winter and he’s not done yet. (AP)

The names most frequently connected to the Yankees are Pittsburgh Pirates ace Gerrit Cole and Detroit Tigers right-hander Michael Fulmer. Both would require a trade, and in Cole’s case might force the Yankees to part with a significant prospect. Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reported the Pirates have asked about Gleyber Torres, the Yankees top ranked prospect and the No. 2 overall prospect in MLB. That’s not going to happen. The Yankees would prefer building a package around outfielder prospect Clint Frazier, who’s expendable now with Stanton around. If Pittsburgh gets on board with that, a deal might get done.

Tampa Bay Rays ace Chris Archer is another arm that’s reportedly available that would certainly interest Cashman. Mike Mazzeo of the New York Daily News adds left-handers Danny Duffy of the Kansas City Royals and Patrick Corbin of the Arizona Diamondbacks as other potential trade targets for New York specifically. They don’t elicit the same excitement as Cole, Fulmer or Archer, but could provide similar enough production for a smaller cost.

With that in mind, we do suspect Cashman will aim high with his next big move. That could open up all kinds of possibilities, including Baltimore Orioles All-Star Manny Machado. The Orioles made it clear they were willing to listen to offers at the Winter Meetings. Several intriguing proposals have reportedly come in over the last few days, and it’s possible the Yankees end up making a strong push to acquire Machado to in part give themselves a leg up with his free agency looming after the 2018 season.

Despite trading for Stanton and re-signing Sabathia, the Yankees are positioned to get below the luxury tax threshold. They’re going to have flexibility to add now and to spend again next winter when Machado, Bryce Harper and many others in a loaded free agent class hit the open market. It’s scary enough to think about how good the Yankees are now. It’s even scarier to wonder how good they could possibly be 12 months from now.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Yahoo Sports Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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