Despite having a productive winter last season, Yankee fans were largely underwhelmed. Missing out on Patrick Corbin, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado was a bit of a letdown after all of the hype. Despite making impactful additions in the forms of DJ LeMahieu, Zack Britton and Adam Ottavino, the off-season still left something to be desired. D.J. was the best signing of the year, but choosing Happ over Corbin proved fatal. The Yankees did not want to play at the top of the market.
That does not appear to be the case this year.
Speaking at the G.M. Meetings in Arizona Monday, Brian Cashman was blunt about his off-season plans.
Asked of his interest in Cole and/or Strasburg, Brian Cashman said: “Of course were going to talk to Strasburg, we’ll talk to Cole, we’ll talk to the higher-end guys, clearly. We’ll also talk about some surprise guys, I’m sure … Anybody would have interest in players like that.”
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) November 12, 2019
And then, the bombshell from Andy Martino:
Cashman also said he has no directive from ownership to stay under the luxury tax
— Andy Martino (@martinonyc) November 12, 2019
If you are a Yankee fan, this quote has to make you do cartwheels.
For the past seven years, all we heard about is the luxury tax — the penalties, staying under the tax, fiscal responsibility. We watched ownership pass on multiple stud free agents while we willingly spent $16 for tall boy beers at the stadium.
I honestly thought the Yankees were finished as big-game hunters. If they weren’t going to spend on Manny Machado, who were they going to spend on?
Apparently, the answer to that question is Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg.
While there were some warts with last year’s free agents, you’d really have to squint to find issues with Strasburg and Cole. Both of these guys are dominant. They’re playoff-proven, throw hard, and strike a ton of people out. They are alpha male big-game starters capable of changing the landscape of the league.
Hal Steinbrenner is patient and pragmatic, but a ten-year championship drought undoubtedly gnaws at him. Before you can have a dynasty, you need to get one first. Cashman and Hal know this.
If there was ever a time to break the bank, to say screw it, now we would be the time.
Go get one of them.