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Where Do the Yankees Go From Here?

The New York Yankees can still sign free agent shortstop Trevor Story and starting pitcher Carlos Rodón or trade for first baseman Matt Olson this offseason.

At the beginning of the offseason, the Yankees acknowledged that they were in need of several upgrades on their roster and that changes were going to be made. But they have seemingly changed their tune.

And this has never been clearer due to their inactivity throughout the mad dash to sign free agents prior to what has become an imminent lockout on Dec. 2.

With teams such as the crosstown rival Mets making several big splash moves, the Yankees have essentially done nothing and have been extremely quiet.

Not to mention, they’ve already missed out on three of the big-name free agent shortstops: Marcus Semien, Corey Seager and Javier Báez.

At this stage, any significant transactions they make are destined to come after the new collective bargaining agreement is reached, which might not be until February.

And although general manager Brian Cashman initially stated earlier in the offseason that upgrading the shortstop position was a priority, multiple reports have indicated that they now prefer a stopgap option instead of one of the top available players.

This has sent their fanbase into a panicked frenzy, as they’ve recently been linked to underwhelming candidates such as Andrelton Simmons and Isiah Kiner-Falefa.

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While both shortstops are defensive upgrades over Gleyber Torres, the Yankees would be almost better off keeping Gio Urshela in this spot.

The reasoning behind the Yankees’ reluctance to splurge at short is due to top prospects Oswald Peraza and Anthony Volpe nearing the majors. But these youngsters are no sure thing, and the team is still in need of upgrades in the interim.

After missing the boat on three out of five of the free agent shortstops, Carlos Correa and Trevor Story are the last two that remain in this talented class.

And although Correa is the best of this duo, he is expected to draw a 10-year, $350 million deal, which would exceed Francisco Lindor’s historic 10-year, $341 million contract.

The best fit right now would be Trevor Story, who should be a cheaper option than Correa and potentially someone who the Yankees could move to second base, third or outfield in the future.

Báez just signed a six-year, $140 million contract ($23 AAV) with the Detroit Tigers which includes an opt-out after the second season. And based off Story’s track record, the Yankees should be able to land him for less than that.

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Again, Cashman and Co. have to do something big, and they still have an opportunity to create some fireworks, although it will have to wait until after the lockout.

Beyond shortstop, remaining areas of need include first base, outfield and in the rotation. And as previously mentioned, bringing back Anthony Rizzo appears to be the easiest route at first base.

Yankees do have interest in signing Freddie Freeman and trading for Matt Olson, but both scenarios would be tremendously difficult to pull off. For Freeman, luring him away from the Braves would be costly, and likely unrealistic due to his love for Atlanta. And the Oakland Athletics are asking for the moon in exchange for Olson.

In the outfield, Lindsey Adler of The Athletic reported that they were showing interest in Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier, but this is also seen as unlikely since AL East rivals rarely trade with each other.

READ: Did the Yankees Make a Mistake Trading Tyler Wade?

On the pitching front, there isn’t much left for them to do besides take a chance on talented lefty Carlos Rodón, who comes along with an extensive injury history, or make amends with righty Marcus Stroman.

Stroman has had a gripe with the Yankees for several years because they did not trade for him at the deadline back in 2019. Not to mention, he has also battled with their fans on Twitter on numerous occasions.

But in the end, money does talk. And the Yankees’ rotation needs a legitimate No. 2 starter behind Gerrit Cole. Stroman’s market has yet to materialize and despite agents and executives initially projecting he’d draw $25 million AAV, he is now expected to receive close to the $22-23 million AAV that Kevin Gausman and Robbie Ray got from their respective teams across five-years.

On the trade market, Oakland A’s left-handed starter Sean Manea is another name that could be available. Manea is entering his final year of arbitration and is expected to make $10.2 million in 2022, which is a bargain for a pitcher that struck out 194 batters last season.

When teams put together their roster, one aspect that gets taken into consideration is the entertainment factor and level of attraction of their club. If the Yankees get a stopgap at shortstop, and don’t make any significant upgrades to their team next season, it will be a tough sell for the organization to get the fans to buy in.

For that, be patient and expect them to be way more active following the lockout. It is hard to imagine that Cashman and the Yankees don’t have something up their sleeve.  

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Follow Pat Ragazzo on Twitter (@ragazzoreport). Be sure to bookmark Inside The Pinstripes and check back daily for news, analysis and more.