The Yankees didn't seriously pursue Manny Machado or Bryce Harper this offseason, but they will have another opportunity next offseason to throw a boatload of money at free agents -- with lots of high-impact players potentially available after the 2019 season, including some aces. Here are some the Yanks should have their eye on...
SS Xander Bogaerts, will be entering age-27 season in 2020
Bogaerts emerged as one of the best players in baseball in 2018 in his age-25 season, and just happens to play a premium position the Yanks could need to fill in 2020 -- with the potential departure of Didi Gregorius after the 2019 season. The Yanks could look to extend Gregorius, but there's question of how he will fare when he returns from Tommy John surgery -- with a targeted return of July or August. Even if Gregorius returns and plays well, the presence of Bogaerts on the market would be a tantalizing one.
1B Paul Goldschmidt, will be entering age-32 season
Goldschmidt, who was traded to the Cardinals earlier this offseason (where he could potentially sign an extension), would be the perfect answer for the Bombers at first base if neither Greg Bird or Luke Voit takes the bull by the horns in 2019. Even if they do, it would be hard to ignore Goldschmidt -- a perennial MVP candidate whose career triple slash is .297/.398/.532 and who is one of the best-fielding first basemen in baseball.
3B Anthony Rendon, will be entering age-30 season
Like Goldschmidt, there is a chance Rendon will sign an extension before hitting free agency -- a chance that might have increased now that the Nats have lost Bryce Harper. But if Rendon reaches free agency, he could be a great fit for the Yanks if Miguel Andujar's defense doesn't improve enough or if they shift Andujar to first base.
3B Josh Donaldson, will be entering age-34 season
Donaldson, who battled injuries in 2018 during what was a down season, signed a one-year prove-it deal with the Braves earlier this offseason. If the Yanks have an opening at third base and Rendon either doesn't make it to free agency or his asking price is too rich for the Yankees' blood, Donaldson could be a solid fallback option on what will likely be a much shorter deal than the one Rendon will get.
LHP Chris Sale, will be entering age-31 season
The Yanks have Luis Severino, James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, and J.A. Happ all locked up through at least the 2020 season. But with CC Sabathia retiring after the season, there will be a hole in the rotation. And who better to fill it than one of the best pitchers in baseball, who they would be snatching away from their fiercest rival. If Sale has a healthy 2019 (after posting a 2.11 ERA and 0.86 while battling injuries in 2018), he will be the most sought-after pitcher on the market next offseason.
LHP Madison Bumgarner, will be entering age-30 season
Bumgarner, while dealing with injury issues in 2017 and 2018, has fallen off a bit from the peak seasons he had from 2013-2016. If he returns to form this season, he would be nearly as desirable as Sale. With the Giants not expected to contend in 2019, there is also a chance that Bumgarner -- who the team dangled earlier this offseason -- could be available va trade this summer.
RHP Gerrit Cole, will be entering age-29 season
Swiping Sale from the Red Sox would weaken a fierce division rival, but if the Yanks swipe Cole from the Astros instead, it would severely weaken one of the Yankees' other main threats in the American League. Cole has been a bit inconsistent during his career, but when he's on (as he was in 2018), he's one of the best pitchers in the game.
RHP Zack Wheeler, will be entering age-30 season
Wheeler is open to signing an extension with the Mets before hitting free agency, but not willing to give a discount, meaning it's highly likely he wil hit the open market after the season. Everything clicked for Wheeler in the second half of the 2018 season, which was his first truly healthy campaign since 2014. If things fall into place again in 2019, he'll be one of the best pitchers available -- and he's already familiar with pitching in New York.