The Yankees made moves recently. Fans are still waiting for one huge trade to make it all make sense. Let’s dive into what has happened so far for the Yankees.

THE BIG TRADE

Well, it happened. The Yankees cut ties with Gary Sanchez for now. After fans have been begging for the Yankees to do something since the lockout was lifted, they get a move that many aren’t happy about.

The Yankees needed a shortstop but they also had a problem behind the plate that many fans didn’t think was a big problem. The Yankees called up Gary Sanchez in 2016 mainly for his bat. It was known that his defense wasn’t great. He was the start of the “rebuild” the Yankees had from July 2016. From 2016 through 2017, Sanchez showed everyone his power at the plate. His defense started to be questioned in 2017 and hasn’t improved to the team’s liking since. 

Brian Cashman has commented about Sanchez having to fight for the everyday catcher position during Spring Training last year. Kyle Higashioka caught six of the previous eight postseason games. At this point, you have to realize that the Yankees weren’t happy with the defense. In my opinion, it was time to move on from the Sanchez phase. 

Gio Urshela’s time was ticking once the need for a shortstop reared its ugly head. There would be no spot for him and at best, he would be a backup infielder. It was best that he was traded where he can play every day. 

The Yankees got Josh Donaldson, who can play third base, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who can play shortstop and a couple of other positions, and Ben Rortvedt, who will share time with Kyle Higashioka manning the pitching staff. Many fans aren’t happy because they don’t understand the trade but the Yankees felt it was needed.

OUT ON CORREA OR STORY?

Now acquiring Kiner-Falefa doesn’t mean the Yankees are out on Carlos Correa or Trevor Story. The Yankees just insured themselves a backup plan should both players sign elsewhere. It isn’t a bad thing.

FIRST BASE

First base was a need the Yankees filled last year at the deadline with Anthony Rizzo. They started the post-lockout by pursuing Freddie Freeman. It was reported that the Yankees sensed Freeman did not want to play in New York and therefore, went to their backup plan: bringing back Anthony Rizzo. And so they did for two years, $32M, and an opt-out after this season. The worst-case scenario will be that DJ LeMahieu plays first base. Luke Voit is almost certainly getting traded at this point. 

THE WORST-CASE

Now it’s important to remember the worst case because, under the NYC Vaccine mandate implemented last December, private businesses must only have employees that are vaccinated. That includes sports teams. The Brooklyn Nets are facing this problem with their player and the Yankees can face a similar problem once the season starts. On top of that, Canada is not allowing any MLB player unvaccinated to play in Toronto. That’s about 90 games that can be missed by a player not vaccinated this year. It was last known that Rizzo is not vaccinated and it was reported that only two of the players on the 26-man roster (prior to the Rizzo signing) are not vaccinated as of now. Even if the NYC mandate gets changed, missing about nine games in Toronto can be the difference in the division, especially with the 12-team expanded playoffs. 

So the deals haven’t been “blockbuster” for the Yankee fans but you wanted moves. So those are the current moves so far. Could a starting pitcher join soon? Or maybe another catcher? Who knows. What we do know is that Cashman holds his cards close to his chest. It will be interesting to see what happens next now that Freddie Freeman is signing with the Dodgers.