The Final Piece

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Eddie Castro Sports

As of this past Monday, the Major League Baseball winter meetings have begun and one of the teams that is expected to make a blockbuster splash are the New York Yankees. The Bronx Bombers are on the verge of going an entire decade without making a World Series appearance. Their last one, of course, was when they won it all in 2009 when they defeated the Philadelphia Phillies. So, let’s play a game called “mind reader” as I tell the Our Time Press universe what should be on the mind and on General Manager Brian Cashman’s Christmas list of new players.

First, of course, as it’s been well-documented, the Yankees have been in search for another top-tier pitcher to complement ace pitcher Luis Severino. Cashman made a quick splash when he was able to strike a deal and acquire the hard-throwing Canadian lefty James Paxton from the Seattle Mariners. In return, the Yanks sent Seattle some prospects including top pitching prospect Justus Sheffield. Since that move, Cashman has been very quiet and cautious and careful as far as what players he feels fits with the current roster and how to go about spending the money to land those players. The Yankees concerned about money you say? That’s correct. When asked about why the team has been so quiet in making moves Cashman said, “We just are more careful about how we go about our business and for good reason. We and (the fans) want the ultimate prize sooner rather than later.” Could that ultimate prize be either of the top two free agents in Bryce Harper or Manny Machado?

The two stud sluggers are the highlight of this year’s free agent class with potentially the Yankees in the mix of landing one of the two players. Machado, 26, is probably the more realistic option to end up in pinstripes with current shortstop Didi Gregorius expecting to miss a chunk of the 2019 season as he recovers from Tommy John surgery. The Yankees are flooded with outfielders with Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Brett Gardner and Aaron Hicks already in the fold for the team in 2019. Not to mention Clint Frazier and Jacoby Ellsbury. The flipside is the dollar bills the Yankees are willing to dish out. Both Machado and Harper are projected to land record-breaking deals.

The Yankees already have a great lineup and Machado in pinstripes will truly be a blessing in the skies. However, past history and bad long-term contracts will indicate why Cashman and the Yankees would hesitate to give out $300 million to one player–A’la Alex Rodriguez and Jacoby Ellsbury. I expect Cashman to at least land a pitcher he has been seeking all off-season. Free agent pitcher J.A. Happ, whom the Yankees acquired in an off-season trade last July, could very well be brought back by the team at a reasonable price. There have been reports regarding the team and their willingness to part ways with their young third baseman Miguel Andujar. Whatever Cashman and the Yankees do, it must be a ground-breaking move that will put them in a great predicament to dethrone the defending champion and rival Boston Red Sox and capture their 28th World Series title.

Sports Notes: (Baseball) The big buzz in the winter meetings is a rumored 3-team trade involving the Yankees, Mets and Marlins. Full details have not been provided as far as if this trade actually has any promise to it. Reports say it will involve Yankees’ Miguel Andujar, Mets’ Noah Syndergaard and Marlins’ J.T. Realmuto. (Football) Despite Odell Beckham, Jr. missing last Sunday’s game (Quad), the Giants pulled off a much-needed win and appear to be playing the role of spoiler in the NFC East. The team will play the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. The Jets snapped their six-game losing streak by defeating the Buffalo Bills. The team will battle the Houston Texans in a special Saturday matchup.