The post-Winter Meetings period has been pretty slow, though the reliever market is starting to move and Brian Cashman has said that he wants to add two relievers before all is said and done. Let’s get into some of the storylines:
Miguel Andújar: Trade or Position Change?
This is one of the more interesting storylines that seems like it will span the entire offseason and possibly into 2019: where is Miguel Andújar‘s long-term home? Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported Dec. 17 that “a number of rival executives are convinced the Yankees want to trade Andújar,” and posited that the San Diego Padres could be interested “considering their need for a third baseman and apparent willingness to settle for less defensive skill at the position.”
More recently, Jon Heyman of Fancred wrote that the Yankees like Andújar enough to move him across the infield should the team land Manny Machado to play shortstop, and when Didi Gregorius returns, third base. He suggests Andújar could move across the diamond to play first base, which seems like a natural move that would cut down on the type of awkward footwork that plagues him on defense.
Yankees “Among Lead Teams” on Zach Britton
This one surprised me a bit: Heyman reported late Friday night that the Yankees (along with the Phillies) are “among lead teams” on securing Zach Britton. I would think the Yankees would love to bring Britton back after he posted a 2.88 ERA and 77.8% ground ball rate in 25 outings in pinstripes. I would think the Phillies would blow Britton away with the chance to be a closer and a paycheck to match the opportunity. The fact that it’s close at this point either indicates the Phillies aren’t yet backing up the truck for the southpaw, or that the Yankees are aggressively looking to maintain their super bullpen for 2019.
Yankees Interested in Freddy Galvis
There’s always the possibility that the Yankees do not land Machado to play shortstop (or third base) and they’re currently connected to a few alternatives with slick defensive skills to keep shortstop covered while Gregorius recovers. One such player is 29-year-old switch-hitter Freddy Galvis, who played in all 162 games in the past two seasons for the San Diego Padres. He’s known as a very solid defender and great clubhouse personality, but with little offensive value to add. His 85 wRC+ and 0.1 BsR shows below-average offense and league-average baserunning, but his defense allowed him to still be a 1.2 fWAR player for the Padres. I’d look for Galvis, who has also generated interest from the Mets and Pirates, to sign a deal similar to that of Jordy Mercer with the Tigers: 1-year, around $5 million.
Yankees Check In on Aaron Loup
With Andrew Miller off the market and Britton likely to receive a huge contract, the Yankees are also looking at other lefty options. One of those is Aaron Loup, the 31-year-old who made 59 appearances for Toronto and Philadelphia in 2018. He was great against lefties, holding them to a .678 OPS. But, right-handed hitter smacked him around to a .935 OPS, which is well higher than his .769 lifetime mark. The Yankees typically look for lefties who don’t have such a dramatic platoon split. I’d guess Loup remains unsigned deep into the offseason, since he’s coming off one of his worse statistical years.
Yanks “Intrigued” by Troy Tulowitzki
He was Brian Cashman‘s man in 2010 before Derek Jeter was resigned. Now, Troy Tulowitzki is back on the Yankees’ radar, albeit under radically different circumstances than when the Yankee icon asked the general manager what shortstop he preferred. The Toronto Blue Jays released Tulowitzki from the final two years and $38 million on his contract, allowing him to be signed by any team for the league minimum. That led the Yankees to send “scout JT Stotts [to] watch Tulowitzki’s workout Wednesday at Long Beach State, where Tulowitzki, according to people in attendance, moved well defensively and shelved the closed stance he was working on in the cage during last spring training,” according to George A. King III of the New York Post. The Yankees could use Tulowitzki to fill their middle infield need, though I’d imagine he’s not their No. 1 priority.