NEW YORK – In a frenzied free agent atmosphere, big names are taking flight, including the reported agreement of the Mets with Max Scherzer – set an MLB record for the highest average annual value.

And in this accelerated market – with the current CBA expiring at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday – the Yankees, with an already bloated payroll, have played a long game.

On Monday alone, the Yankees sat idly by as the Mets locked up three-time Cy Young Award-winning Scherzer, while current AL Cy Young winner Robbie Ray agreed with the Seattle Mariners and Shortstop Corey Seager landed with the Texas Rangers according to multiple reports. .

The Rangers’ booty was particularly infuriating for Yankees fans, with infielder Marcus Semien also heading to Texas and completing a total Semien-Seager package of $ 500 million.

During this time…

Their crosstown rivals, the Mets, had already improved with the signing of center fielder Starling Marte, as well as outfielder Mark Canha and infielder Eduardo Escobar.

And rivals in the Yanks ‘division have made noise, with the Blue Jays reportedly landing starter Kevin Gausman (having already extended Jose Berrios’ contract), and the Rays signing former Yankees starter Corey Kluber and extending. the sensational young shortstop Wander Franco with an 11- year contract.

So far, the Yankees have signed their own left-handed reliever Joely Rodriguez on the cheap while bidding farewell to Clint Frazier, Tyler Wade and Rougned Odor and save a few million in salary 2022.

Other questions must be answered by the Dec. 2 deadline for teams on non-tender contracts, with wide receiver Gary Sanchez being at least one candidate to be sidelined due to his upcoming hike. arbitration expected.

Let’s try to follow the Yankees’ strategy and figure out where they’re going from here, with a CBA deadline just around the corner.

Shortstop

2020 - Corey Seager, Dodgers

Diving first, the Texas Rangers entered the market for available shortstops, apparently signing a seven-year, $ 175 million contract at Semien.

Now he plans to stay at second base – his main job this year with the Toronto Blue Jays – with Seager’s early addition on a 10-year, $ 325 million contract.

Semien’s power, leadership and ability to move up to second base once Gleyber Torres achieved free agent status made him a potential target for the Yankees.

Seager’s left-handed swing was ideal for the Yanks’ roster and their baseball stadium, and he could have possibly advanced to third base.

Carlos Correa could still receive the highest contract of this free agent shortstop class (from Detroit?) And Javier Baez’s prize is expected to go north from here.

And, yes, despite their way of watching the market, the Yankees have identified the shortstop as their greatest need.

But they haven’t been linked to any aggressive lawsuits, which makes you wonder if they’re really engaged in an interim plan (like free agent Andrelton Simmons), or if they’re waiting to see if Trevor’s deal Story completely collapses.

Yankees shortstop prospects Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza think they’re at least a year away from the Bronx, well, they’re still prospects.

Pitching

Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Carlos Rodon (55) throws against the New York Yankees in the first inning at Yankee Stadium.

The Blue Jays have now lost Ray and Steven Matz from their rotation.

But Toronto won the battle for Gausman, who jump-started his career with the Giants this year, and they’re willing to spend more to get better.

The Red Sox have lost southpaw Eduardo Rodriguez and reportedly agreed to a one-year deal with Michael Wacha, but they have been linked with several prominent free agents.

The Yankees weren’t going at the level Houston did to re-sign Justin Verlander (two-year, $ 50 million), and they weren’t going down the $ 21 million one-year road for Noah Syndergaard, either. , as the Angels did. Both were returning from Tommy John’s rehab.

They still need a winger for ace Gerrit Cole, so where do they go from here?

Lefty Carlos Rodon should be an obvious target and his market is sure to climb in this free agent atmosphere.

Exploring the trade route, the Cincinnati Reds are said to be open to offers for Luis Castillo. And if the Oakland Athletics clearance sale goes ahead, Sean Manaea and Chris Bassitt could be moved.

First base, central field

Anthony Rizzo of the New York Yankees celebrates with his teammates after scoring on a Giancarlo Stanton single in the third inning of the team's baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday, August 3, 2021, in New York City.  (AP Photo / Mary Altaffer)

Marte is out of the board and a potential commercial target on center court has disappeared, with the oft-injured Byron Buxton signing a seven-year extension with the Minnesota Twins.

Currently, the Yankees have aging and often injured Aaron Hicks as a starting center fielder, although general manager Brian Cashman has expressed interest in adding a center fielder in a very tight market, where versatile free agent Chris Taylor is a very attractive target for several contenders.

At first base, a meeting with free agent Anthony Rizzo makes sense as he ticks a lot of boxes – left-handed bat powerfully, makes good contact, lines up his position at Gold Glove level.

The powerful Luke Voit remains one of the Yankees’ best trade candidates and he could be moved during this too active period, allowing the Yankees to move on to Rizzo or a potential trade for Oakland’s Matt Olson.

Pete Caldera is the Yankees Beat Writer for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to all Yankees analysis, news, transactions and more, please register today and download our app.

E-mail: [email protected] Twitter: @pcaldera