Vegas has the Yankees as favorites to win the AL East crown despite an insignificant offseason. Read to find out why the industry is wrong on this one right now.
Do not make any future bets on the Yankees before they’ve made a move
With the MLB lockout now over, the New York Yankees will prepare with the rest of Major League Baseball for an April 7th Opening Day. The Yankees will take on their arch-rival Boston Red Sox in the Bronx to open the new season.
Despite the Yankees’ reputation as big time spenders with the deepest pockets in the big leagues, they’ve had a miserable offseason thus far, losing out on every big free agent they had their eyes on. Now that free agency is in action again and the season is back on schedule, the Yankees will look to make a couple big pickups before Opening Day.
Right now Vegas has the Yankees as both the favorite to win the AL East as well as tied for 3rd best odds to win the World Series. This is a false assessment of the Yankees’ skill level, and bettors should be very wary when it comes to the Bronx Bombers right now.
Current Season Preview
The Yankees have a team that’s shown it’s capable of making it to October as they finished 92-70 in 2021, but right now the gaps on this team are glaring. They’ve missed out on every big free agent and the likelihood that they sign Carlos Correa continues to become less and less likely.
The fact that they haven’t even re-signed 2021 trade deadline pickup, first baseman Anthony Rizzo makes one scratch their head as to how exactly the Yankees are the favorite to win the AL East.
There are a lot of big name players on this team such as Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, DJ LeMahieu and ace Gerrit Cole, but right now the Yankees status as top dogs in the AL East seems to be based on these big names only.
It’s important to remember that the Yankees spent most of the 2021 season treading water as they were 3.5 games out of the American League Wild Card just a week before the trade deadline. It took a 21-8 August to propel the pinstripes into the position they ended the season in.
The Yankees’ offense wasn’t great in 2021, as they finished 23rd in team batting at .237 and they’ve yet to make any significant position player pickups. As lackluster as the position player depth chart looks right, it’s the starting rotation that may actually be the bigger issue.
Other than Gerrit Cole, the Yankees’ rotation consists of Jordan Montgomery, Luis Severino (who’s pitched just 18 innings since 2019), Jameson Taillon and Nestor Cortes Jr. The amount of money this team’s ownership has at their disposal compared to the offseason they’ve had is baffling.
The current gaps on this team are too great to have them as favorites in such a competitive division. The Toronto Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays are both ball clubs that have more pure talent on their rosters heading into the 2022 season, and right now anyone looking to make a future bet on the winner of the AL East would be wise to take one of those teams over the Yankees.
What the Yankees need to do
Since the return of free agency, the Yankees have already lost out on another piece in left-handed starter Carlos Rodon who the San Francisco Giants signed on Friday afternoon.
The Yankees have to make a big splash for one of the top free agents remaining. Right now on offense, first base needs to be the priority. If the Yankees want to be the team they used to be, Brian Cashman needs to go all in on Freddie Freeman. If they’re looking to play it cheaper, they could re-sign Anthony Rizzo and then go for All-Star shortstop Trevor Story.
After Rodon’s signing with San Francisco, the only top starting pitcher left in free agency is Clayton Kershaw who is unlikely to go to New York. The Yankees’ rotation is a big question mark heading into Opening Day, but if they make a move for either Freeman, Story, Rizzo, or a combination of those three, it’s possible that the Yanks could skate by on their bats until they’re able to work out a trade for some starting pitching.