Hot Take: Addition by subtraction is cause for Yankees fans to celebrate


Daniel Hartwig | Wikimedia

Aman Dharani

Carlos Correa, Corey Seager and Freddie Freeman were players on the free agent market that were expected to be targets for the Yankees this offseason.

They acquired Josh Donaldson and Isiah Kiner Falefa instead.

However, that may not be as bad of a thing as it may seem when one looks at the  mid-sized to small names they got to replace veterans.

Gary Sanchez, Gio Urshela and Joely Rodriguez are no longer Yankees. This offseason, the Yankees went a route we are not used to seeing them go. Their goal this offseason was to upgrade defense.

Getting rid of Gary Sanchez was a move that will go a long way. His defense was as poor as it could be at perhaps the most important defensive position on the field.

His replacement, former backup catcher Kyle Higashioka, is one of the best defensive catchers in the sport, with a 84thpercentile framing rate. He has even been called Gerrit Cole’s “personal catcher.”  The fact that the Yankees’ best pitcher preferred not to work with Sanchez is telling

Not only do they have Higashioka, they also acquired Jose Trevino from the Rangers, who is in the 96th percentileframing rate.

Replacing Urshela with Donaldson is a move that can vault the Yankees offense to the next level. Urshela is viewed as a contact hitter with not much power. When playing for the Bronx Bombers, you’re going to need to do more than post a 96 wRC+. Donaldson, on the other hand, is projected for a 127 wRC+ this season.

While they lost some versatility as a result of moving on from Urshela, they gained just as much back in signing Falefa. He is a young infielder who won a Gold Glove just two years ago. He is a maneuverable piece who is an upgrade at shortstop, allowing Gleyber Torres to slide back to second base.

Meanwhile, the American League is not as out of reach as one might think. Just last year, the Yankeees won 92 gameswhile being abysmal with their bats at times. Donaldson, paired with sluggers DJ Lemahieu and Joey Gallo who are due for bounce-back years, would undoubtedly put them into contention for first place in the AL East, the most competitive division in baseball.

The Yankees bullpen is also one of the best in the league, if not the majors. The pitching staff will bring back Luis Severino, who missed almost all last year to injury.  You can think of that as an offseason addition.

Within the division, the Rays did not add much. The Blue Jays are building a super team but lack an elite bullpen. The Red Sox have great hitters, but a lackluster pitching staff. The Orioles are basically a minor league team.

While the Yankees did not make the high profile moves fans are used to, they bet on their own guys to bounce back and considered players coming off injury as additions too.  Would a major addition have helped? Obviously, yes. However, the Yankees still have an elite team at all levels. Their recent moves will bring stability to the infield and the team as a whole.