Before the MLB offseason was locked out, teams were spending left and right trying to nail down all the top free agents.
The Rangers and Mets spent the most, signing big names such as Marcus Semien and Corey Seager to Texas and Starling Marte and Max Scherzer to New York.
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Whenever the new collective bargaining agreement is settled, there could be a flurry of moves made by teams trying to prepare for the 2022 season, especially if the labor dispute cuts into spring training. Every team has moves they want — or even need — to make before the campaign begins.
What is the top item on each team’s holiday list? What is a move that would make each team better, or more fun to watch? Here’s what Sporting News identifies as a wish for each team.
fWAR and all stats are from Fangraphs
Los Angeles has a borderline Cy Young candidate in Shohei Ohtani, but he’ll be limited in his innings as he continues to star as a two-way player. The next two highest starting pitchers by fWAR were Alex Cobb and Andrew Heaney, and both have left Anaheim.
The Angels could also use some hitting, but pitching has been an issue for a while now, and their rotation is still a bit questionable heading into 2022. Ohtani has only once in four MLB seasons pitched more than 50 innings. Jose Suarez impressed, but he’s still young. Griffin Canning regressed in 2021, though the potential is still there for him to improve. Los Angeles signed Noah Syndergaard hoping he can rebound from injury, but they’ll need some more pitching depth to improve a rotation that last season had the ninth-highest ERA in the majors.
Don’t count Houston out of the Carlos Correa sweepstakes, but for the time being it appears that he might not be coming back. If this was a true wish list and the Astros could have anything they wanted, it would probably be a new contract with him. We won’t count that out, but for now the priority will certainly be to fill the vacancy in the infield either with him or with someone else.
Here’s where the Astros stand in the infield: first baseman Yuli Gurriel, second baseman Jose Altuve and third baseman Alex Bregman are all coming back. Bregman could shift over to shortstop as needed given his experience manning the position at LSU, which could potentially open the door for them to explore available third baseman via trade, in addition to shortstops. Maybe the market sours on Trevor Story, and they decide to bring him in to play short and see him use that right-handed pop to target the Crawford boxes. Maybe they use that money to go after Kris Bryant. That lineup with Yordan Alvarez, Kyle Tucker and the aforementioned infielders would still look like one of the league’s best.
This hasn’t been the best season and subsequent offseason for the Athletics. Though the 86-76 record was another good season, the A’s missed the playoffs, lost midseason trade acquisition Starling Marte and watched the Padres take manager Bob Melvin out of the Bay Area. The good news for Oakland is that it found its manager, Mark Kotsay, and still returns a strong core featuring Matt Olson, Matt Chapman and a starting rotation that excelled in 2021 and returns in full.
The A’s picked up Marte at the deadline becuase of Ramon Laureano’s PED suspension. Laureano will be back in early 2021 and should again be a top-of-the-order bat for the Athletics. While the infield looks set, Oakland could still use another corner outfielder as the team didn’t see the season it was hoping for out of Stephen Piscotty, and Chad Pinder is best utilized as a utility player rather than an everyday starter. There’s still enough in Oakland to compete in 2022; it just needs a few more finishing touches to stay ahead in the deep AL West.
There aren’t many teams that could lose a top-three AL MVP finisher and the reigning AL Cy Young and still be among the most loaded teams in the American League. But that’s the case with the Blue Jays. Despite missing the playoffs in 2021, Toronto has an envious core featuring superstar sons Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette, slugging outfielders Teoscar Hernandez and George Springer, and a capable one-two punch in the rotation with free-agent signee Kevin Gausman and midseason trade acquisition Jose Berrios.
Though Toronto could use another infielder to replace Semien, the bullpen is probably a more urgent area of need. Jordan Romano was a breakout relief ace in the backend, and Tim Mayza and Adam Cimber pitched well, but teams in the postseason have consistently found success with a stable of ace relievers. Toronto’s bullpen ranked 25th in the majors with a 1.6 fWAR last season, and could greatly benefit from adding another star talent to help shorten the gap to Romano.
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Re-sign Freddie Freeman
The reigning World Series champs have to feel good heading into 2022. Along with walking into Truist Park with rings, the Braves will also largely be the same team they were in 2021; Ozzie Albies, Ronald Acuña Jr., Ian Anderson and Charlie Morton are all coming back, just to name a few. However, there are a few notable exceptions. Three of the star group of outfielders put together at the trade deadline — Eddie Rosario, Jorge Soler and Joc Pederson — are free agents. However, with the healthy return of Acuña, the need to re-sign all of them is less urgent.
What remains urgent, however, is bringing back first baseman Freddie Freeman. The five-time All-Star and 2020 NL MVP has been a fixture in Atlanta for years, and is cementing his legacy as one of the most important Braves in their storied history. He’s still producing at a star level, and at age 32 should still have several more solid years left. Not to mention that without him, there is a huge hole at the position.
Add a power bat
Milwaukee made a real case for having the best rotation in baseball in 2021. Between NL Cy Young winner Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta, their 1-2-3 punch was about as dangerous as any. That’s even before opposing teams reached the bullpen that featured weapons Josh Hader and Devin Williams.
The lineup, however, was not so good. Christian Yelich had another down year, a bad sign after his 2018 NL MVP campaign and perhaps even better 2019 season. Midseason acquisition Willy Adames was a solid bat for the team and the offseason trade for Hunter Renfroe should help, but Avisail Garcia left via free agency, leaving an already quiet lineup with even less thunder. The NL Central is wide open for the taking, and with Milwaukee’s pitching, it should remain a strong contender. But to take the next step, it needs to score more runs.
St. Louis stunned the baseball world when it rattled off 17 wins to reach the NL wild card and make the playoffs, but don’t let that take away from the fact that it was a team loaded with talent that just underperformed during the first half of the season, and still has a lofty ceiling. Much of that core returns in 2022, with the entire stellar outfield coming back, Paul Goldschmidt, Tommy Edman and Nolan Arenado returning to the lineup and a rotation led by Adam Wainwright and Jack Flaherty returning with the added signing of Steven Matz.
There aren’t many holes on this team right now as the bullpen is solid and the lineup is deep. But if there is one, it would come at shortstop. Paul DeJong has struggled over the past two years and rookie Edmundo Sosa doesn’t look like the bat they need to solidify the position long term. The big splash would be to reunite Story with Arenado, but they might also look to bring in a second baseman such as Josh Harrison or Jed Lowrie and shift Edman to short.
Chicago seems like it could be headed in a number of different directions. It traded off most of the big names from the 2016 World Series-winning team at the trade deadline, but has made signings such as Marcus Stroman, Yan Gomes, Wade Miley and Clint Frazier before the lockout. Perhaps those are pieces to make the team better before trading Willson Contreras and Jason Heyward? Or maybe they believe they will help the team compete after breakouts from Patrick Wisdom and Frank Schwindel in 2021.
Cubs’ fans probably aren’t ready to see their team blow the whole thing up again, and after a few early signings, the front office might be in the same boat. If they hope to contend in a wide-open NL Central, they would still need to bring in a true middle-of-the-order bat. Perhaps they bring back Nick Castellanos if the NL adopts a DH, or perhaps they hand a mountainous contract to Correa.
Experienced starting pitcher
The Diamondbacks aren’t going to be competitive in 2022. We’ll get that out of the way first. They finished this past season tied for the worst record in baseball, and they compete in one of the toughest divisions. But this team isn’t going to be too dull in 2022. Ketel Marte continues to be a star, a few younger bats such as Daulton Varsho and Pavin Smith started to make an impact, and Zac Gallen continues to show glimpses of being an ace.
What this young team needs is a pitcher capable of eating more innings. Madison Bumgarner and Merrill Kelly ate a good chunk of innings in 2021 and will be back to join Luke Weaver and Gallen, but Caleb Kelly looks like he’s headed for the bullpen, leaving a spot open.
Backend starting pitchers
Los Angeles has gone all out in pursuit of a World Series in recent years, acquiring major pieces Mookie Betts, Max Scherzer and Trea Turner in an effort to solidify its homegrown core of Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger and Clayton Kershaw. But the chase has run up the cost of players, limiting how much the Dodgers can spend on free agency, and the impacts are showing this offseason. Seager and Scherzer have both already walked, and Kenley Jansen and Kershaw could potentially be next, leaving more questions for the team in 2022.
The core remains strong, but the rotation more than anywhere has taken a major blow. After Walker Buehler and Julio Urias, there is a major dropoff, particularly with Dustin May working his way back from midseason Tommy John surgery. The Dodgers signed Andrew Heaney, who shows glimpses of promise amid inconsistency. Tony Gonsolin would likely step into the rotation, but he hasn’t pitched more than 100 innings in a season since 2018. Even bringing back Kershaw might not fix the issue as he has dealt with health issues in recent years.
Right-handed power bat
Free agency loomed large in the minds of Giants’ fans, as key names such as Brandon Belt, Kevin Gausman, Anthony DeSclafani, Alex Wood, Bryant and Johnny Cueto were all on expiring deals. However, Belt, DeSclafani and Wood have all re-signed. The Giants were dealt a major blow with catcher Buster Posey announcing his retirement, but they have one of the best catching prospects in the game in Joey Bart, who looks about ready to step into the role.
The focus for the rest of the offseason should come into adding a power-hitting right-handed bat. With Belt, Brandon Crawford, Mike Yastrzemski and LaMonte Wade Jr., the lineup is heavy with left-handed hitters. Bringing Bryant back would help San Francisco retain a deep, balanced lineup, and there are several other options still out on the free agent market.
Potent outfield bat
For the first time, Cleveland will take the field in 2022 not as the Indians, but as the Guardians. And fans would love for nothing more than for the name change to lead to a turnaround of the team’s fortunes. Cleveland went 80-82 last year, and have to deal with the White Sox, who won the division, and improving teams such as the Royals and Tigers, who could start to become more competitive in the coming seasons. The lineup can feel encouraged still having Jose Ramirez and Franmil Reyes, while the rotation returns ace Shane Bieber and bullpen weapon Emmanuel Clase, but the Guardians need to make moves when the offseason resumes.
The top signing is one fans have wanted to see for years now: an outfield bat. Cleveland has plugged in several options over the past few seasons, but none have managed to stick. This needs to be the time where the Guardians spend the necessary money to lock down a bat in the outfield capable of slotting into the middle of the order. Bringing back Rosario after his stellar Braves’ postseason would work well, as could targeting other sluggers such as Pederson or a rebound candidate such as Gregory Polanco.
Jerry DiPoto seemingly loves nothing more than making moves, and he’s already made a few this offseason, trading to bring in Adam Frazier and signing Robbie Ray to a big deal. Those moves come as a young team with former top prospect Jarred Kelenic and current top prospect Julio Rodriguez look to give the Mariners a dynamic team that could just be entering its competitive state after finishing last season 90-72 and just missing the second wild card.
The focus now for the offseason should be to add some rotation depth. Seattle brought in Ray, but has not re-signed Yusei Kikuchi after he pitched well in 2021. The rotation right now looks like Ray, Chris Flexen, Marco Gonzales, Logan Gilbert and Justin Dunn, and even with prospect George Kirby nearing MLB readiness, Seattle could use another, more experienced starting pitcher to help the back end of it up to potentially take pressure off younger pitchers Gilbert and Dunn.
Sign another outfielder
Miami was likely hoping for more in 2021 after it snuck into the expanded playoffs as in the uniquely formatted 2020, but the lineup was silent, and by midseason, the Marlins were ready to trade both Starling Marte and Duvall away to begin to reload and try again next year. Next year is here now, and the Marlins seem to be gearing up to add a few pieces this offseason, having already signed Avisail Garcia to a deal and trading with the Rays to acquire Joey Wendle.
The rotation looks like a strength with Sandy Alcantara, Pablo Lopez, Trevor Rogers and enticing southpaw Jesus Luzardo coming back. The infield looks solid with Jazz Chisholm, Brian Anderson and Wendle. And the Marlins acquired catcher Jacob Stallings from the Pirates. The outfield remains the most notable gap, even after signing Garcia. Jesus Sanchez, Bryan De La Cruz and Lewis Brinson each showed flashes of potential, but also struggled to remain consistent. Another bat in the outfield could allow the team to rotate through its young outfielders a bit more to build up confidence and get a sense for what each of them can do.
Land another big bat
Over the past year, the Mets have been going hard trying to become the beast in the east. Last offseason, they made the big splash of trading for Francisco Lindor. At the trade deadline, they acquired Javier Baez. The moves didn’t pan out, as New York finished 77-85, 11.5 games out of first and had to watch the rival Braves win the World Series. This offseason, they signed Marte and Scherzer to deals as they try to take that next step and surpass the Braves to climb atop the division again.
Owner Steve Cohen is certainly investing in the team as New York has handed out big contracts to Lindor, Scherzer and Marte. Does he have space for one more? The lineup struggled enough in 2021 that adding another big bat sounds like a good idea. With the likelihood of the DH arriving in the NL, the Mets could try to land a slugger such as Nick Castellanos, or if they don’t think Eduardo Escobar is enough at third, maybe they sign Bryant to give themselves a third base and corner outfield option.
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Experienced starting pitcher
Much like the Cubs, the Nationals were the talk of the trade deadline this season for trading away several pieces from a team that won a World Series not too long ago. However, Washington had to feel good about the return, especially in the Scherzer-Turner deal, as it brought back MLB-ready pieces such as Josiah Gray on the mound and Keibert Ruiz behind the plate. Both figure to begin the 2022 season on the MLB team as they join Juan Soto, Carter Kieboom and a young and rebuilding Nationals’ squad.
What that rebuilding team needs now is starting pitching. The infield should feature young players getting experience, but the rotation has some gaps in it that the farm system might not be ready to fill. Patrick Corbin struggled mightily in 2021, but he’ll be looking to turn things around in 2022, while health problems continue to keep Stephen Strasburg off the mound. Gray, Erick Fedde and Joe Ross appear to round out the rotation for now, but that is putting a lot of pressure on a stable of pitchers where none have thrown more than 135 innings in a season.
Veteran starting pitcher
Look, the Orioles will have the No. 1 draft pick in 2022 for a reason. At 52-110, they were tied with the Diamondbacks for the worst record in baseball. The pitching was historically bad, and the team hit a collective .239. Still, fans don’t have to squint too hard to see reasons to be excited. Cedric Mullins, 26, had a 30/30 season and was a breakout star. Ryan Mountcastle, 24, launched 33 homers and looks like a middle-of-the-order power bat. John Means, 28, was an All-Star and ace.
Baltimore has a loaded farm system and should reap the benefits of it soon, with starting pitchers Grayson Rodriguez and DL Hall near the big leagues, as well as catcher Adley Rutschman. What the team could use in the meantime is a few older starting pitchers to eat some innings and provide a mentorship role for the younger staff coming in. Only Means, Matt Harvey and Jorge Lopez had more than 100 innings pitched in 2021, and both Harvey and Lopez had ERAs north of 6.00.
First base solution
Eric Hosmer was brought in on an eight-year deal in 2018 as San Diego began to hand out major deals and try to build up a strong core. It was clear after 2021 he won’t be enough offense at first base for a playoff-hopeful team. He hit just 12 homers and posted an even 0.0 fWAR. That won’t cut it in a division with the Dodgers and Giants.
San Diego occasionally used Jake Cronenworth at first base, but after Frazier was traded to the Mariners, he’ll need to stick it out at first base. Maybe a reunion with Anthony Rizzo could be in order, or perhaps they target another middle-infielder such as Story to shift Cronenworth to first and upgrade the lineup that way. The resolution might also require finding a trade partner for Hosmer, which could be difficult as he still has four more years left.
The Phillies were just on the outside looking in of the playoffs in 2021 despite having one of the NL Cy Young finalists in Zack Wheeler and the NL MVP in Bryce Harper. There were encouraging signs, such as the emergence of Ranger Suarez in the rotation, but Alec Bohm didn’t produce at the level the team was hoping for, and the lineup was inconsistent throughout the season.
While Philadelphia could certainly use another prominent bat to back up Harper and JT Realmuto, the bullpen is in dire straits heading into 2022. It was the third-worst bullpen in the majors with a 1.1 fWAR in 2021, ahead of only the Nationals and Diamondbacks. It was tied for the MLB lead with 34 blown saves with Washington. Then, it lost its best reliever from a season ago in Hector Neris and Archie Bradley remains a free agent. If the Phillies want to become a playoff contender, it will require a major overhaul of that bullpen.
Extend Bryan Reynolds
Sometimes, the most exciting move for a team is to make sure it keeps franchise players around. Bryan Reynolds established himself with a star-caliber season in 2021, launching 24 homers and slashing .302/.390/.522 and tallying 5.5 fWAR. He has been the subject of trade rumors this offseason, and he’s been the subject of extension rumors. Pittsburgh fans want the outcome to be the latter.
Reynolds is only 26 years old, and could be the anchor of a core of the next playoff-bound Pirates’ team with Ke’Bryan Hayes, Oneil Cruz, Nick Gonzales and Henry Davis in a few years. He’s a stellar defender, provides a top- or middle-of-the-order bat. The Pirates extended Andrew McCutchen to keep him in Pittsburgh back in 2012 at age 25, and he developed into an MVP for the team. Reynolds seems like the next franchise star for the team.
Texas had been the talk of the town before the lockout shut everything down. The Rangers made the two biggest signings in locking up top middle-infielders Seager and Semien, along with signing former Rockie starting pitcher Jon Gray. They were 60-102 a season ago, but all of a sudden, appear to be trying to sprint closer toward being competitive in the division.
Those big moves will help, but is it enough to make the postseason? It’s likely that the answer for now is still no. The biggest gap on the team is the outfield. Despite a promising start from Adolis Garcia and the free agent signing of Kole Calhoun, Texas still needs another bat to fit out in left to join the middle of the order. If the pocket book remains endless, maybe the target is Castellanos, Bryant or Conforto. If not, Joc Pederson and Eddie Rosario are coming off impressive postseasons and could return more left-handed thump to that lineup.
Despite finishing the 2021 season with the American League’s best record at 100-62, the Rays were an early exit from the playoffs, losing to the Red Sox in four games in the ALDS. But this team isn’t going to be exiting the picture of the top teams in baseball anytime soon, especially after locking up young phenom Wander Franco for the long haul. With Randy Arozareno, Brandon Lowe, Franco and an impressive group of young pitchers, Tampa Bay figures to remain well in the mix for the AL pennant and a World Series again in 2022.
The loss of Tyler Glasnow to Tommy John surgery remains a stinging one, and it might keep him out for most, if not all, of 2022. But the Rays seemingly always have enough pitching, and they should be able to survive there. Instead, they might want to focus the offseason on looking for an option at third base. Yandy Diaz isn’t quite the slugging corner infielder a contender would expect, even if he still remains valuable to the team. Tampa Bay does not spend much in free agency, but if the Rays are looking to trade from their considerable prospect depth, a player such as Matt Chapman or Jose Ramirez would be a major splash if they try to go all in.
Boston was one of baseball’s biggest surprises in 2021, turning around from a last-place finish in 2020 to reach the ALCS this past year. The left side of the infield remains stacked with Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts returning to the middle of the lineup, and Boston will get a boost from a full season of Chris Sale, who will help give the Red Sox a strong top of the rotation with Nathan Eovaldi.
Still, this is a team that needs to improve if it wants to stay where it is in the competitive AL East. This offseason, it traded Renfroe for former Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr., who struggled with the bat in 2021. The rest of the outfield looks to be comprised of Alex Verdugo in right field, where his arm will fit better than in center or left, and rookie Jarren Duran, who figures to be the answer in left. Now, the Red Sox need a center fielder to provide a bit more offensive thump than what they can expect from Bradley to add to the depth of the lineup.
Cincinnati is in a tricky position heading into 2022. It could lose free agent outfielder Nick Castellanos, and it will need to count on turnarounds from Eugenio Suarez and Mike Moustakas after both sluggers struggled in 2021. If it wants to reach the postseason again with Joey Votto, who will enter the year at age 38, it has a few holes it needs to address.
None stand out more than the bullpen. The prior offseason, the Reds parted ways with Raisel Iglesias and Archie Bradley. This season, it watched ace reliever Michael Lorenzen join Iglesias with the Angels. The bullpen had a collective 4.99 ERA in 2021, and it desperately needs more depth past Lucas Sims and Tejay Antone. The Reds had two position players — Max Schrock and Mike Freeman — who finished the year with a higher fWAR than seven relief pitchers that tallied at least 20 innings of work. Those two had 0.0 fWAR.
Bring back Trevor Story
It was a surprising move by Colorado to keep Story at the trade deadline despite having no clear path to the postseason. Instead, the Rockies held onto him and have attached a draft pick to him in free agency through the qualifying offer as they try to find a way to bring him back.
Rockies’ fans were disappointed to see Nolan Arenado get traded away, and would be similarly crushed to watch Story leave, this time for as little as a draft pick. He has continued to produce as one of the best shortstops in the game with his combination of power, speed and standout defense. With teams such as Detroit and Texas already having found their shortstops in free agency, Story could make sense to return to Colorado and establish himself as a franchise fixture in Denver.
The next competitive Royals’ team is starting to look clearer and clearer. Though Kansas City finished 2021 at just 74-88, it continued to receive a glimpse of the future, with Nicky Lopez having a breakout season at shortstop, Andrew Benintendi rebound after struggles in Boston, and a rotation with Brady Singer, Jackson Kowar and Daniel Lynch start to take shape. With the impending arrival of Bobby Witt and Nick Pratto, it’s nearing time for the team to make moves to become more competitive.
One such move would be to add a middle-of-the-order outfield bat. While Benintendi was improved, the outfield remains the biggest question mark moving forward as the team doesn’t have as much prospect depth at the position, and most of the MLB options disappointed in 2021. A big splash such as Castellanos might be a bit out of the question for Kansas City, Conforto could be a less expensive option, while providing both a left-handed power bat the Royals could use and a long-term option for the next competitive window.
Innings-eating starting pitcher
Detroit is quickly starting to turn things around. Following a 77-85 season, optimism is bubbling up in the Motor City after signing Javier Baez and Eduardo Rodriguez earlier in the offseason. The two big signings come with the added bonus that top prospects Riley Greene and Spencer Torkelson are both likely to reach the big leagues at some point during the 2022 campaign.
The next big step for the Tigers is to get a pitcher capable of eating some innings. Even after Rodriguez, their rotation remains young, filled out with Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal and Matt Manning, who boast tantalizing upside, but still need time to reach that peak. Matthew Boyd and Spencer Turnbull, the team’s top two pitchers from a year ago, will miss time due to surgeries, leaving the rotation a bit depleted. Bringing in an experienced pitcher that can take some of the burden off the young arms could go a long way toward helping the team both in 2022 and beyond.
Another starting pitcher
Minnesota was tied for the second-best record in the American League in 2020. It had the third-worst in 2021. The resulting struggles led to a bit of a sell off, with Berrios traded to Toronto and Nelson Cruz traded to Tampa. There are still some exciting pieces in Minnesota, such as Byron Buxton, Trevor Larnach, Jorge Polanco and Max Kepler, but the Twins need to figure out what moves need to be done to climb back into contention.
It’s possible that what comes after the lockout is a series of trades, including Buxton and Josh Donaldson, but if they decide they want to give it a run to start the 2022 season, they’ll need to figure out some more pitching. They have promising prospects, such as Jhoan Duran and Jordan Balazovic, who could be ready at the start of the season to join 2021 rookies Bailey Ober and Joe Ryan, and they signed Dylan Bundy to a deal, but they’ll need more than that to compete in the AL Central. The free agent market has seen several top arms already come off the board, but there are still options such as Carlos Rodon and Danny Duffy, who could help.
Second baseman trade
Chicago looks like it is willing to let ace Carlos Rodon walk in free agency after not extending him a qualifying offer to begin the offseason, but even after that, the White Sox look to be among the most formidable teams in the American league. Lucas Giolito, Lance Lynn and Dylan Cease are a standout 1-2-3 option in the rotation, and the lineup is stacked with stars like Jose Abreu, Tim Anderson, Luis Robert and Yoan Moncada.
The most glaring hole for the White Sox comes at second base. Madrigal looked like the future there, but he was traded to acquire Kimbrel. The free agent market at the position isn’t great, so perhaps they dangle some of their top prospects again to make a big splash in the trade market. The Diamondbacks could look to move Marte, who could net them a huge return on the market, or perhaps the Athletics decide to trade away Tony Kemp, who had 2.7 fWAR in 2021.
Yes, the Yankees have reportedly lost interest in signing a major shortstop. Yes, Correa feels like an awkward fit because of his popularity, or lack thereof, with the fan base. But this remains the biggest hole on the team. The Bronx Bombers have been reported to have interest in signing a stopgap, defensive-first shortstop to wait on prospects Oswald Peraza and Anthony Volpe, while helping them keep payroll down.
At this point, they’ve likely waited too long to add a big name shortstop anyway due to the unlikelihood of Correa winding up in pinstripes and the trade market for shortstops appearing scant. The best option at this point would seem to be Story if they wanted to go for the big bat, but if not, someone like Andrelton Simmons stands out as an optimal fit.