The Yankees made no significant moves in free agency or the commercial market before the Dec. 2 lockout, leaving them with plenty of question marks after the work stoppage ends.
Some of their greatest needs include the shortstop, first base, outfield and starting pitchers. And while Carlos Correa and Trevor Story are two big names that are still available in short, the Yankees sound like they would. opt instead for a palliative option until top prospects Oswald Peraza and Anthony Volpe are ready for the majors.
While this type of move is a tough sell to fans, who are already hysterical, one way for them to justify this direction is to add a superstar bat to first base. The acquisition of trade deadline Anthony Rizzo made it known he was open to re-sign with the club, but that wouldn’t move the needle enough if they chose to add a defensive specialist to fill the shortstop position like Andrelton Simmons (0.558 OPS in 2021).
That’s why general manager Brian Cashman needs to move all-in on longtime Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman, who is a free agent and surprisingly didn’t re-sign with Atlanta earlier in the offseason. . And while it’s still possible Freeman will stay with the Braves, the Yankees should do whatever it takes to get him to come to the Bronx.
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Freeman, 32, won the NL MVP Award 2020, is a five-time All-Star, two-time Silver Slugger Award and won a Gold Glove in 2018. He also helped the Braves claim their first World Series title in 26 year. season.
Beyond Freeman’s position as one of the best, if not the best first baseman in the game, he would be a perfect fit for the Yankees roster given his left-handed power bat. This aspect would play well on the short porch of Yankee Stadium and should create an increase in homers for an already dangerous longball threat (271 career homers in 12 seasons).
Not to mention, Freeman holds a career slash line of .295 / .384 / .509 / .893, which is the type of versatile hitter the Yankees offense could use.
By adding Freeman, the Yankees would gain strength in the middle of their roster for many years to come, as well as a gold glove first baseman in defense. Freeman’s signing could potentially be a franchise change for a Yankees team in desperate need of a facelift after failing in the playoffs for the past five seasons. Freeman also has a solid reputation as a clubhouse leader.
While Freeman isn’t cheap, all it would take to acquire his services is cash, instead of giving up a load of assets in an eventual Trade for Oakland Athletics first baseman Matt Olson. Instead of parting ways with top prospects and perhaps some major league talent at Gleyber Torres or Gio Urshela, Cashman and the Yankees would be wise to retain their players by choosing to spend big on free agency.
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The Yankees are reportedly interested in locking up superstar Aaron Judge with a long-term extension before the season, which is why they are unlikely to sign Correa in the massive deal he seeks in the $ 350 million range. . However, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported in December that Freeman was looking for a six-year, $ 180 million contract, which is more than reasonable. If the Yankees are willing to pull the trigger on Freeman, it would reduce their luxury tax payroll to around $ 255 million, and that doesn’t factor in a judge extension. But given that this will likely be their big splash of the offseason, the impact Freeman would make will be well worth the cost and put the Yankees back into the conversation as legitimate World Series contenders.
Adding Freeman to first base would also help Yankees fans understand that they are destined to insert a temporary shortstop option until one of their top prospects, Volpe or Peraza, takes them out. joins in the Bronx.
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