New Year Notes: Bullpen, Gray, Machado, Profar

Manny Machado ignited a fury among Yankee fans with a simple Instagram follow.

We’re officially into 2019, and it feels like Spring Training is right around the corner. Here are a few recent storylines to follow:

While Awaiting Machado, Yanks Weigh Bullpen Options

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While star infielder Manny Machado is finalizing his decision between Chicago, Philadelphia and New York, the Yankees are working to solidify their bullpen, according to Fancred‘s Jon Heyman. Their focus is currently on top guys like former Yankees Zach Britton and David Robertson, as well as former Colorado Rockies setup man Adam Ottavino. The Yankees face competition for all three players, and Heyman noted that the Red Sox have been interested in all three as well.

Brewers, Padres Remain in on Gray; Reds “Fading” in Trade Talks

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As Brian Cashman continues to weigh offers from many teams for Sonny Gray, it seems the Cincinnati Reds “have faded” in in their pursuit of Gray after acquiring Tanner Roark from Washington and Alex Wood from Los Angeles, according to MLB.com’s Jon Morosi.

Morosi noted in the same tweet that the Milwaukee Brewers “remain prominent” in trade discussions with the Yankees after losing multiple starters from their rotation to free agency. MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell also reported that the San Diego Padres are “very much a part of trade talks” for Gray.

It had been reported a few weeks back that as many as 11 teams had inquired with the Yankees about the right-hander. Now, it looks like Cashman is whittling down his list of teams and I would imagine Gray is traded in the next six weeks before Spring Training begins.

Machado Follows, Then Unfollows, YES Network on Instagram

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Manny Machado (possibly inadvertently) started a firestorm on Twitter last night after his Instagram account followed the YES Network for a short period of time. The TV station’s account then followed Machado’s account in return. This lasted for about an hour or two before both accounts unfollowed each other.

It’s no secret that the Yankees and Machado have had mutual admiration for awhile, and the Yankees are one of the final three teams competing for the 26-year-old’s services. He had visited the three home cities of those interested teams, and is likely to announce his signing in the next few weeks.

Yankees Showed Interest in Profar Before Trade to Oakland

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Before the Oakland A’s, Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers linked up on a three-team deal that sent infielder Jurickson Profar to Oakland, the Yankees made one last attempt at a player they’ve been connected with for a few years now.  Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News reported the Bombers were not “willing to give up much” for the 25-year-old former top prospect. The Rangers wound up receiving four minor leaguers and $750K in international signing bonus pool money for Profar, who will now replace Jed Lowrie as Oakland’s starting second baseman.

After being connected last offseason, the Yankees apparently had discussed a one-for-one swap of Profar for Sonny Gray. The Rangers, citing Profar’s extra year of control, wanted more from New York and it appears talks broke down from there.

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