New York Yankees rumors: Coming off another disappointing season, the pressure is on the New York Yankees to make big changes with just one World Series title and appearance in the last two decades. A year after signing Gerrit Cole to a record-setting contract, everyone is watching to see what general manager Brian Cashman can pull off this offseason.
The Yankees will already be spending heavily, coming off a year with the second-highest payroll in baseball. Once again, this time in an American League Division Series loss to the small-budget Tampa Bay Rays, New York’s weaknesses were exposed once again. Cashman needs to do something big to make this club a legitimate World Series contender and he might already be eyeing a big trade.
Let’s dive into the latest New York Yankees rumors.
New York Yankees rumors: Team a landing spot for Francisco Lindor
The Cleveland Indians are looking to slash payroll this winter, a recurring theme from the club’s ownership. After stunningly releasing All-Star closer Brad Hand, Cleveland is now determined to trade Francisco Lindor before Opening Day in 2021.
According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, the Yankees will be in the mix of teams vying to acquire Lindor. While there will be plenty of competition, New York boasts MLB-ready talent and a willingness to take on money. When negotiating with Cleveland, both of those things are valuable.
Lindor, in the final year of his contract, is expected to be owed $19.5 million for the 2021 season via arbitration. As a result, Cleveland is looking to offload his salary now and recoup young, cheap talent to build its team around now instead of recouping a draft-compensatory pick a year from now.
Gleyber Torres has proven he can be an All-Star talent, with his bat plenty capable of 40-plus bombs in a 162-game season. However, the 23-year-old has shown that he can’t hang at shortstop defensively. Acquiring Lindor would allow New York to cover the position, with Torres moving to a more comfortable spot at second base.
It’s absolutely something New York can take advantage of. A blockbuster trade for Lindor would also open things up for the team’s spending flexibility. While the Yankees could still re-sign DJ LeMahieu, one of the best free-agent talents available this offseason, adding Lindor would provide flexibility.
New York Yankees rumors: What would a blockbuster trade for Lindor cost?
The Indians are looking for offense all over the diamond. It’s one thing the Yankees don’t lack. New York could dangle Luke Voit, who hit a league-leading 22 home runs this past season. Voit’s trade value has never been higher and there are strong arguments to be made for moving a first baseman to land a great player at a more valuable position. However, Voit is a fan favorite and will be an important player next season.
While he’s certainly a great shortstop, Lindor is coming off the worst season of his career. The 27-year-old posted a career-worst .750 OPS and only had a 1.7 fWAR. The drop in batting average (.258) and slugging (.415) are a bit concerning, but having a down season is understandable given what players went through in 2020.
Lindor a great candidate to rebound in 2021, returning to his previous MVP-caliber form. Of course, the Yankees will try and play hardball to get him
One player the Yankees can offer, Clint Frazier. A 26-year-old outfielder that boasts a powerful bat (.905 OPS last season) and is improving defensively would already be appealing to Cleveland. Add in Frazier’s owner-friendly contract, which keeps him under team control through the 2023 season, and it makes him the ideal trade target. Of course, the Yankees might still have to part with one or two of their top-10 prospects.
It’s been 11 years since the Yankees won a pennant and their fans are getting desperate. Trading for Lindor could give this team its best chance to bring a World Series back to New York and that’s why Cashman should be willing to pay the price for Lindor.