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Three Key Moves the Yankees Must Make

The New York Yankees need to sign starting pitcher Max Scherzer, first baseman Anthony Rizzo and shortstop Corey Seager in free agency this offseason.

With just five days to go until a potential work stoppage as a result of the expiring collective bargaining agreement, the Yankees have been very quiet on the free agent market.

While it is unknown whether they plan on doing anything of significance prior to the lockout, there are still three key moves that general manager Brian Cashman must make before the season starts.

So, without further ado, let’s dive into the three big splash signings the Yankees can pull off to jettison them back into the conversation of being World Series contenders.

Another Veteran Cy Young Winner

Yes, the Yankees whiffed on two-time Cy Young Award winner in Justin Verlander, who went back to the Houston Astros on a one-year, $25 million deal that includes a second-year option.

However, they likely dodged a bullet since they would’ve had to forfeit a second-round draft pick for the 39-year-old due to his decision to reject the Astros’ initial qualifying offer.

And despite Verlander’s Hall of Fame resume, he hasn’t pitched since July of 2020 after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Now, the Yankees can instead pivot to another household veteran ace who has three Cy Young Awards under his belt. And that’s 37-year-old Max Scherzer, who is still one of the best arms in the game.

READ: MLB Insider Lists Yankees as Possible Suitor For Free Agent Max Scherzer

The eight-time All-Star and three-time NL strikeouts leader was traded by the Washington Nationals, along with Trea Turner, to the Los Angeles Dodgers at the deadline in July.

Down the stretch, Scherzer dominated with a 7-0 record and 1.98 ERA. Overall, he finished the year with a 15-4 record, 2.46 ERA and 236 strikeouts across 30 starts, so yes, he's still got it.

The Yankees would be wise to offer Scherzer a three-year, $45 million contract, which is what some executives have speculated he might draw.

Even if Cashman and Co. have to up the AAV, having Gerrit Cole and Max Scherzer at the top of the Yankees’ rotation would be a championship duo.

Shortstop

Although the industry has been buzzing as of late that the Yankees are not truly in on any of the top free agent shortstops, they absolutely should be.

And despite having Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza waiting in the wings, they are not in the big leagues yet and neither are sure things in the long term.

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That is why they should still make it a priority to sign left-handed hitting shortstop Corey Seager.

By adding Seager, the Yankees would be getting a World Series Champion, 2020 NLCS MVP and a slick fielder up the middle with some serious pop.

Seager’s left-handed bat makes him a match made in heaven with the short porch at Yankee Stadium, and Cashman must go hard to bring him to the Bronx because he’d make a big difference both offensively and defensively.

READ: Top Shortstop Prospects Will Impact How Yankees Approach Free Agency

First Base

While we keep hearing the Yankees have interest in trading for Oakland Athletics first baseman Matt Olson, they would have to give up a boat load of assets to land him.

That’s why they should instead just bring back last year’s trade deadline acquisition in Anthony Rizzo.

Rizzo was a bit underwhelming during his time in pinstripes, but he still made a great impression, and the team is interested in bringing him back.

The 32-year-old, who turns 33 in August, is another much-needed lefty power bat who will help balance out the Yankees’ lineup.

He is also a veteran presence and leader in the clubhouse that has already won a World Series with the Chicago Cubs back in 2016.

The Yankees could use more Rizzos on the team, and based off his track record, he is a prime bounce-back candidate in 2022. Not to mention, he was slowed by a lingering back issue last season as well.

As long as he is healthy, the Yankees could possibly retain him on a three-year deal worth $18 million AAV.

If the Yankees are able to sign Scherzer and Seager, Rizzo would be the icing on top of the cake. And these three targets would essentially fill the team’s three biggest holes at first base, shortstop and in the rotation.

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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.