Though I’m not sure he can top yesterday’s bombshell revealing the Yankees and Seattle Mariners “briefly discussed” a Jacoby Ellsbury–Robinson Canó contract swap, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic dropped another set of interesting Yankees tidbits in his notes column:
Mariners Wanted Gray in Paxton Deal
Rosenthal did, however, add further insight into the trade that sent lefty James Paxton from Seattle to the Yankees. The Mariners asked the Yankees to add Sonny Gray to the return for the lefty, which included top prospect Justus Sheffield, fringe 40-man pitcher Erik Swanson and lower-level outfielder Dom Thompson-Williams. The Yankees decided to keep Gray, however, telling Seattle that “they had a number of other teams interested in him.”
Rosenthal also cited sources within the Yankees organization who “suspected the Mariners wanted Gray to flip him – perhaps to the Reds, who were trying to land Paxton.” It’s pretty clear that Brian Cashman is waiting for the best deal before trading Gray, who is projected to make $9.1 million in his final year of salary arbitration in 2019. If Cashman was looking to dump Gray for a roster spot, the trade would have been made in advance of last week’s 40-man roster deadline. I’d look for Gray to be dealt prior to this Friday’s non-tender deadline.
Yankees “Not Pursuing” Goldschmidt
The early offseason news cycle was set abuzz when ESPN’s Buster Olney speculated the Yankees would engage the Arizona Diamondbacks regarding first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. He stirred that up even further by reporting the Yankees had pushed Justus Sheffield in those negotiations before dealing him to Seattle for James Paxton. But, it seems Goldschmidt and his one-year deal are not targets for the Bronx Bombers.
The team is already “too right-handed, particularly with shortstop Didi Gregorius expected to be out until at least June as he recovers from Tommy John surgery,” per Rosenthal. The Yankees also not focusing on an upgrade at first base at the moment.
Rosenthal did note, however, the Yankees would be willing to add yet another righty to the lineup if it was someone like Manny Machado. He mentioned that “at 26, [Machado] is five years younger than Goldschmidt and would be under long-term control. Goldschmidt is signed only through next season.”