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Yankees still must sort out left-fielder, jumbled infield

With about six weeks to go until pitchers and catchers report to spring training, the Yankees have accomplished their main goals of the offseason: bringing back Aaron Judge and naming him captain, adding another frontline starter to the rotation with the signing of Carlos Rodon, and keeping Anthony Rizzo at first base. 

Additionally, Tommy Kahnle was signed to a two-year deal to provide another valuable arm in the bullpen. 

But the roster still needs some work, from a possible new left fielder to join a mix that currently includes Oswaldo Cabrera, Aaron Hicks and potentially Estevan Florial, as well as a sorting out of the infield, which is currently jumbled. 

Earlier in the offseason, general manager Brian Cashman said he hoped to resolve Judge’s contract status as soon as possible to give the Yankees a clearer picture of their needs and budget for next season. 

Oswaldo Cabrera
Oswaldo Cabrera is vying to be the Yankees’ starting left-fielder.
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They accomplished that by agreeing to Judge’s nine-year, $360 million deal at the winter meetings nearly a month ago and then signed Rodon to a six-year, $162 million contract before Christmas. 

The Rizzo deal was done in November and his presence at first base is about the only thing certain for the infield in The Bronx. 

So what remains on the Yankees’ to-do list? 

Gleyber Torres is expected to get close to $10 million in arbitration and his name was involved in trade talks last season, and although the Yankees are confident DJ LeMahieu is healthy after a fracture near his right big toe robbed him of much of his effectiveness in the second half of he season, there is reason to be cautious about trading Torres. 

For now, the Yankees seem set on sticking with Josh Donaldson — who is owed $27 million this season — at third base. 

And Isiah Kiner-Falefa remains on the roster and will make $6 million next season after avoiding arbitration. 

But Kiner-Falefa was benched in the playoffs, as the Yankees turned to both Cabrera and another rookie, Oswald Peraza. 

Gleyber Torres
Gleyber Torres remains one of the biggest remaining Yankees questions.
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The Yankees’ hierarchy, from Cashman, to managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner to Aaron Boone, have all spoken highly of Peraza and their other top prospect, Anthony Volpe. 

If the Yankees feel the newcomers are ready to compete, they would be left with too many infielders. 

They have talked to teams about trading Hicks. The 33-year-old hasn’t been healthy and productive for a full season since 2018 and still has three years and just over $30 million remaining on his contract. 

Josh Donaldson
The Yankees appear set to stick with Josh Donaldson at third base.
Getty Images

Free-agent outfielders such as Andrew Benintendi, Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto have all signed elsewhere, so the Yankees would have to look to the trade market. 

Pittsburgh’s Bryan Reynolds wants out, yet the Pirates have so far asked for a lot. 

Cashman has shown a willingness to be patient, as he did even last year, when he waited until the trade deadline to add a desired center fielder. 

And even then, Harrison Bader was sidelined with plantar fasciitis and wasn’t a factor until September. 

They added minor league depth with free-agent veterans Willie Calhoun and Billy McKinney, but haven’t swung a move that would impact the 26-man roster.

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