The Yankees need a shortstop since the Gleyber Torres experiment didn’t work. They found a temporary solution in Gio Urshela but it isn’t filling the need. Someone that can fill in the shoes and then some of the long-time fan favorite, Derek Jeter. The most obvious choice for the Yankees to sign is Carlos Correa. Not only a great player but can be one of the leaders in the clubhouse. So what will hold back the Yankees from signing one of the most sought out shortstops in the free-agent market this off-season?

MONEY

Money could be an issue if the Yankees have a certain budget and stick to it since they do have other needs to fill as well. It also depends on how much they are willing to go over that budget if they feel the need to. People do not realize that the signing of Masahiro Tanaka held the Yankees back a year or two of resetting their taxes because Hal Steinbrenner felt it was necessary. Hal didn’t hesitate to give Gerrit Cole the contract he signed. Many fans think Hal isn’t like his father but I think people are underestimating Hal’s determination. If there was something to learn with how the Yankee pursued Gerrit Cole, it is that like his father, Hal will do what it takes when he really wants someone. The question is, how much does Hal want Correa on the team.

CLUBHOUSE CHEMISTRY

Clubhouse chemistry is also important. Money was not the reason why Manny Machado isn’t a Yankee. There were concerns outside of money.  Derek Jeter was asked about acquiring Alex Rodriguez in 2004. Their friendship wasn’t the same anymore but was still at a level that being in the same clubhouse was no big deal. 

So expect to see reports about the players being asked about Correa joining the team especially because he was part of the 2017 Astros. We know and the players know he can help the team. Will the Yankee players put 2017 behind them? I don’t think there is a doubt they would but you can bet their opinion on the possibility of adding him will be considered. How the Yankees pursue Correa could be determined by how the players feel about him on the team. 

MEDIA HANDLING

Now I don’t think this is going to be a problem but something I wanted to point out because it’s been bothering me since 2019. Players talking to the media can either hurt or help them during their careers. We have seen players put their foot in their mouth, others constantly giving generic answers or one-word answers, or beating around the bush at times.

“STATING FACTS”

Two instances in how Correa handled himself to the media in 2019 and 2020 stood out to me.  In 2019, he went out of his way to speak to Ken Rosenthal to “state facts”. He talked about Jose Altuve’s reason for not wanting his jersey ripped off. The reason was different from what Altuve said and it didn’t make the situation better. It seemed the Yankee players didn’t believe it as shown in the way Judge and Sanchez mocked Altuve during the series in Houston this year. The second instance was in 2020 about how they beat the Twins on the road during the first round of expanded playoffs. It was said in a way to prove to people they didn’t need to illegally steal signs that they went above and beyond to do for three seasons.

Those instances reminded me of Alex Rodriguez. He has made comments in the past that didn’t sit well with people and one of them was against a good friend at the time, Jeter. No team wants a player that can be a PR nightmare because he word vomits every time a mic is in front of him. I’m not saying Correa is a PR nightmare but Yankee fans know that the team pretty much gives generic or predictable answers. Doing what Correa did in the two instances mentioned isn’t the “Yankee way” now.

NOT LIKE GEORGE

Javy Baez had that issue this year when talking about the meaning of the thumbs down gesture. My problem wasn’t that the Mets players came up with a gesture to say “f you” to the fans for booing them. The issue was Baez saying what it actually meant. It was a very boneheaded move on his part. Sometimes the generic responses are the best way to avoid media craziness. A simple “it’s something between us in the clubhouse” would have been fine. 

If you don’t know by now, Brian Cashman and Hal do not play the media games like the late George Steinbrenner. Hal had a concern about Machado’s comment about hustling. Negative media why they didn’t re-sign Joe Girardi. Rather than speaking with Gary Sanchez privately about his disappointment in his defense, he told the reporters his thoughts. That resulted in Gary hearing what his manager said from the reporters first. It caused drama that Hal and Brian did not want.  

LONG OFF-SEASON

There is no doubt that the Yankees will “check-in” on every top shortstop available. This off-season will be filled with sources saying one team is closing in and, everyone’s favorite, a mystery team emerging. Be prepared to hear how Corey Seager grew up as a Yankee fan, how the Yankees have tried to get Trevor Story before, and etc. Some will not be true and some will be an exaggerated truth. And do not think that guys like Correa already have a list of teams they would like to play for. That will also determine how a team pursues him. 

Who do I want? Whoever is going to help the team whether it be Correa or Seager. I will be happy with either. I do think Correa will be first on the Yankees list, assuming they have no issues with anything about him. Can’t see the Yankees going after Trevor Story first unless they know for sure his Coors Field numbers will continue in the Bronx. I see Story as the last option if they miss out on Correa and Seager. The Yankees did try to go for Javy Baez when acquiring Anthony Rizzo. I wouldn’t be surprised if he is in the mix as a backup in case the top two on their list are gone. 

One thing is certain, this will be a long off-season. I don’t expect Correa to sign before New Year’s Eve unless an offer is too good to be true. He is most likely the top free-agent shortstop to set the tone of salary for the others. So I think once he signs, the others will soon follow. 

Buckle up because once the World Series is over, it’s the off-season’s time to shine.