Yankees must answer these questions before the season begins

TAMPA – After one lockout that lasted 99 days, we’ll get our first look at the Yankees on Sunday when players are due to report for spring training. Aaron Boone is expected to address the media and while there will be many questions for the manager, who signed a new contract this offseason, there are many he cannot answer. Prior to the layoff, the Yankees sat out most of the offseason, with left-hander Joely Rodriguez being the only major league free agent.

Perhaps no team goes into the latter part of the offseason with more significant holes than the Yankees, who have to deal with first base and shortstop as well as midfield and maybe the catcher and third base. They have depth in rotation and bullpen, but additions to either would not be surprising.

The biggest question of all, however, can’t be answered by either Boone or general manager Brian Cashman, as only managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner knows how he’ll handle the new competitive balance sheet tax thresholds in the year Collective bargaining agreement agreed on Thursday. According to, the Yankees’ payroll is around $222 million, which gives them about $8 million to spend and stay below the first threshold of $230 million, with the next threshold at $250 million begins.

The important things first

The rush of moves expected following the transaction freeze was lifted after lockdown had yet to begin on Saturday afternoon, with Freddy Freeman and Anthony Rizzo yet to sign and Matt Olson awaiting a trade. Luke Voit remains in the squad and spent much of the lockout training in Tampa. He is eligible for arbitration and is set to receive around $5.4 million. Whether that comes from the Yankees is open. The Yankees have spoken to Oakland about Olson, but — unsurprisingly — this costs would be steep. The Dodgers are also targeting Freeman, but the Yankees’ interest in the 32-year-old is said to be justified if he doesn’t return to Atlanta.

Luke Voit
Luke Voit
Bill Kostron

Shortstop opportunities are dwindling

We know who isn’t playing shortstop for the Yankees this season. The Gleyber-Torres experiment is over and a possible replacement, Andrelton Simmons, is off the table now that he has signed with the Cubs, as is Isiah Kiner-Falefa. which was traded from Texas to Minnesota on Saturdayin exchange for another potential Yankee target, Mitch Garver.

Carlos Correa remains available and the Yankees have done some due diligence, but there has been no sign they were ready to cough up the $300m-plus to land the 27-year-old, especially since Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza possibly waiting in the wings. If Trevor Story could get a short-term deal, the Yankees could overlook his recent arm problems and attack him, but there are questions about how well his hitter could play outside of Coors Field.

Trevor story
Trevor Story could be a potential stop-gap option for the Yankees at shortstop.

Jose Iglesias was another stopgap – although his defense has waned in recent years – but the 32-year-old with an improved racquet over the past two seasons was signed with Colorado on Saturday.

Jose Iglesias is another stopgap, but Iglesias’ defense has slipped in recent years and while his racquet has shown more signs of life in parts of the last two seasons, it might not be a good bet that he continues for the 32-year old.

The judge’s new contract

Aaron Richter
Aaron Judge has previously said he wants to retire a Yankee.

Aaron Judge is entering his final year of arbitration and is likely to receive around $17 million. The right fielder has said he wants to be a “Yankee for life” and would be in talks with the team about a contract extension, which would keep him from hitting free agency. Do the Yankees want to make this investment in Judge, who has become the face of the franchise? He has been struggling with injury issues but has remained healthy for the most part last season. If they decide to give Judge a new contract, which The Post’s Joel Sherman says could be in the five-year $189 million range, it would reduce some of their potential spending on other free agents this offseason. Yankees must answer these questions before the season begins


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