Category: Rumors

Hot Stove Notes: Gray, Germán, Ottavino, Tulowitzki

Sonny Gray could be here much longer than anyone expected.

With Zach Britton back in pinstripes pending a physical, there are a few other storylines involving the Bronx Bombers as there are just 37 days until Pitchers & Catchers are due in Tampa:

CC Sabathia’s Health Could Delay Sonny Gray Trade

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The Yankees are considering holding on to right-hander Sonny Gray because of CC Sabathia‘s recent angioplasty. Brian Cashman insisted early in the offseason that Gray would absolutely be traded prior to the 2019 season.

“Our intention is to move Sonny Gray and relocate him when we get the proper return, in our estimation,” Cashman said. “It’ll happen this winter, it’ll happen in the spring or it’ll happen sometime during the season. The CC circumstance certainly has given us pause, because we want to make sure that we’re covered and protected.”

Sabathia had a stent inserted during an emergency angioplasty in early December when a blocked artery was found in his heart. Bryan Hoch of MLB.com reported that “While the Yankees have said that they expect the 38-year-old Sabathia to report to Spring Training on time, Cashman has slowed negotiations concerning Gray until Sabathia clears an array of follow-up visits scheduled for this month.”

Per Jon Morosi of MLB.com, the San Diego Padres continue to be in touch with the Yankees about Gray, and have been connected to him all winter. As many as 11 teams have been connected to Gray at some point this offseason, though Cashman appears to be narrowing his focus.

Domingo Germán Granted Fourth Option Year

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A minor housekeeping note about right-handed pitcher Domingo Germán: he has been granted a fourth option year because he spent an entire optional assignment year on the disabled list. After being acquired in the 2014 offseason alongside Nathan Eovaldi and Garrett Jones for David Phelps and Martin Prado, Germán missed all of 2015 after burning his first option because of Tommy John surgery. Cashman announced the news during the conference call announcing Troy Tulowitzki‘s signing, and also noted that fellow righty Luis Cessa will be entering 2019 out of options.

Yanks “More Engaged” on Ottavino Than Machado

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The reliever market is moving, and Andy Martino of SNY is reporting that the Yankees are currently “more engaged on Adam Ottavino than Manny Machado“. Martino cited that Machado’s decision-making process appears to be “still moving at glacial pace” and that the bullpen “market is moving and Ottavino could sign soon”.

Earlier in the offseason, the Yankees weren’t included in the list of teams that were in talks with Ottavino. The most cited were the Red Sox, Rockies and White Sox. Now, even with Britton in agreement to return to the Bronx, the Yankees “are continuing to pursue Ottavino,” per Jon Heyman of Fancred.

Ottavino, for his part, turned in another fantastic season as the setup man for Wade Davis in Colorado. In 75 games, he owned a 2.43 ERA (2.74 FIP) and a 193 ERA+.

No Utility Role Discussed With Tulowitzki

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It seems the Yankees will use Troy Tulowitzki exclusively at shortstop for his Yankees tenure. Andy Martino of SNY reports that the Bombers’ pitch to the former All-Star “was fully centered around an opportunity to play short”. Tulowitzki will begin 2019 suiting up at the same position as his idol, Derek Jeter, and will have the luxury of a no-trade clause accompanying his league-minimum contract. Tulowitzki has yet to record a professional inning away from shortstop, and it appears that won’t change with the Yankees.

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.

Hot Stove Notes: Andújar, Britton, Galvis, Loup, Tulowitzki

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?

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Yankees, Mets, Marlins Discussing 3-Way Realmuto-Syndergaard Trade

Could the Yankees end up with an ace by helping their crosstown rivals?

Just as most on the East Coast were winding down for the night, baseball’s Hot Stove heated up in a huge way from the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas. The Athletic‘s Ken Rosenthal reported that the Yankees, Mets and Marlins had discussed a three-way deal where the Mets would acquire star catcher J.T. Realmuto from Miami, and in turn would send a starting pitcher like Noah Syndergaard to the Bronx.

Nothing was imminent, and SNY’s Andy Martino did report “there are ’10 other scenarios’ Mets are considering” in a trade for Realmuto. The Mets have been especially active on the trade market, and have been looking to upgrade the catcher position for a while now. Should they be unable to land Realmuto, they’re expected to pivot to free-agent Yasmani Grandal.

Jon Heyman of Fancred was the first to suggest that the Yankees, who insisted Gary Sánchez was their catcher for 2019, were connected to Realmuto for the sake of facilitating a three-way trade. The obvious advantage for the Yankees would be the chance to acquire a marquee starter like Syndergaard at a slight discount should they assist with the acquisition of Realmuto.

Martino also noted that the Yankees were “interested in Mets pitching, not necessarily limited to Syndergaard”. Other appealing pitchers include Jacob deGrom (of course, that’s unlikely), Steven Matz (under control for years but often injured) and Zack Wheeler (rental). The only named mentioned by reporters last night was that of Syndergaard, though the Yankees had scouted Wheeler at the 2018 Trade Deadline.

I’d expect the Yankees top chips like Miguel Andújar, Estevan Florial and more to be on the table if someone of Syndergaard’s quality is being discussed. Andújar is only being moved for someone that good. If talks were to pivot to someone like Matz or Wheeler, I’d be taking both Andújar and Florial off the table. Max Wildstein of Gotham Sports Network mentioned Chance Adams, Clint Frazier, Sonny Gray, Mike King and Jonathan Loáisiga as possibilities to be moved.

Martino said the Yankees were “pushing hard” to make a deal, though it’s unclear where the three teams left talks. The push for Realmuto will be intense, and it’s unclear if the Mets (and the three-team scenario with the Yankees) is the package they’ll accept.

 

Hot Stove Notes: Gray, Happ Harper, Indians, Kikuchi, Soria

The Yankees lost out on lefty Patrick Corbin because they would not stretch their offer to six years. Neither would the Phillies, but Washington did. That’s how it goes sometimes. With the Winter Meetings coming up this weekend, let’s look into what storylines have been involving the Yankees recently:

Brewers, Padres Still Pushing for Sonny Gray

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Brian Cashman said recently that as many as 11 teams have enquired about Sonny Gray. Most recently, it’s been the Milwaukee Brewers and San Diego Padres who are in contact with the Yankees. Those are the two teams Jon Morosi of MLB.com mentioned in tweets Tuesday. The Yanks could look to deal Gray soon as they look to clear his projected $9.1 million arbitration salary from the payroll. The narrative continues to be that the Yankees want their starting pitching figured out by the Winter Meetings, so we’ll see if Cashman gets anything done before the weekend.

Yanks, Happ One Year Apart in Early Talks

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As the Yankees look to finalize that starting rotation now that Patrick Corbin and Nathan Eovaldi are off the market, they’re said to be in contact about the return of J.A. Happ. Max Wildstein of Gotham Sports Network reports that the Yankees want Happ back on a two-year deal, while Happ is looking for a three-year contract. The Phillies are reportedly interested in a reunion with Happ as well. Jon Heyman also reported that Happ was the team’s “next pitching target”.

Yankees Will Meet With Bryce Harper

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Despite the consistent narrative that the Yankees have had minimal interest in Bryce Harper, Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan has indicated that the Bombers “are among upward of a dozen teams that have traveled or plan to travel to Nevada to meet with Harper”. Of course, Nevada also plays host to the Winter Meetings, which start Sunday at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

Passan continues about Harper’s fit in the Bronx:

The Yankees are a wild card, or as much as a team with the highest revenues in the game can be a wild card for a player who may receive the largest contract in American sports history. Harper grew up a Yankees fan, always dreaming of playing in pinstripes, and no matter their ultimate interest, meeting with him was, at very least, an exercise in due diligence for a New York team playing extra coy with Harper’s actual appeal.

There have been reports that the Yankees have discussed Harper internally as a solution at first base, a position where he has yet to appear professionally. The more obvious fit for Harper in New York would be in left field, where he’s logged 1,596 innings since his 2012 debut. This, in turn, would push Brett Gardner into a more useful fourth outfielder role. Acquiring Harper would all but mandate moving a portion of Jacoby Ellsbury‘s contract to another team.

Yankees Re-Engage Indians About Starters

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Max Wildstein of Gotham Sports Network is reporting that the Yankees have circled back with Cleveland about starting pitchers Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer and Carlos Carrasco in trade talks. He did note, however, that each pitcher has a very high asking price at the moment. Wildstein had reported earlier in the offseason that the Yankees balked at the asking price where Cleveland had wanted top lefty Justus Sheffield (since traded to Seattle) and top outfielder Estevan Florial in a deal for Carrasco. There doesn’t appear to be any momentum in current talks.

Kikuchi Posted to MLB; Must Sign by Jan. 2

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Though not nearly as hyped up as Shohei Ohtani was last offseason, Japanese lefty Yusei Kikuchi was posted by the Seibu Lions. All 30 MLB teams can negotiate with the 27-year-old, and he must agree to a contract before January 2. The lefty owns a stellar 2.58 ERA over his last four seasons, while averaging 24 starts per season. He’s projected to have the upside of a No. 3 or 4 starter in an MLB rotation. The Yankees have scouted Kikuchi and have also discussed his free agency, according to Hal Steinbrenner. Kikuchi will be represented by Scott Boras.

Yanks Interested in Joakim Soria

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Brian Cashman told reporters earlier this winter that his plan includes signing two relievers, and they apparently have interest in 34-year-old right-hander Joakim Soria. According to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com, the Yankees are joined by the Angels, Braves, Diamondbacks and Reds in their pursuit of the veteran. Soria made 40 appearances with the White Sox before a midseason deal sent him to the Brewers. He finished with a 3.12 ERA in 60⅔ innings.

Hot Stove Notes: Corbin, Greinke, Happ, Realmuto

Plenty of storylines flying about as the Winter Meetings lurk less than two weeks away, and, of course, the Yankees seem to have their hands in everything. Let’s get into it:

Corbin Visits the Bronx

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Widely known as the Yankees top starting pitching target, lefty Patrick Corbin continued his ballpark tour of the Northeast Corridor with a stop at Yankee Stadium. He previously visited the Nationals and Phillies. The Yankees had their full complement of staff relevant to Corbin, as manager Aaron Boone, pitching coach Larry Rothschild, bullpen coach Mike Harkey and analytical staff member Zac Fieroh were all photographed on-hand along with Brian Cashman.

CC Sabathia was at Yankee Stadium as well, but he was there to work on the rehab for his surgically-repaired knee. The New York Post‘s George A. King III reports that the two lefties did get a chance to say hello, though. SNY’s Andy Martino wrote hours after the meeting at Yankee Stadium that there was no deal close with Corbin.

“I wouldn’t call it a recruiting effort as much as an educational effort, where [he’s] getting a chance to see the facilities from the home side, because clearly he’s played here as a visitor and he certainly has traveled to New York as a visitor,” Brian Cashman said on YES. “He’ll get access to all aspects of what we’re about, the brand, our efforts, the people, with Aaron Boone and our coaches and myself and hopefully he’ll walk away getting a better feel for who we are.”

Corbin grew up in a suburb of Syracuse, New York, with a family of Yankee fans, and apparently his brother took out a Yankees cap during his best-man speech at Patrick’s recent wedding:

The lefty is expected to command a six-year deal with a total salary around $110 million.

Greinke Can Block Trade to Yankees

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Not that there was any trade speculation, but The Athletic‘s Zach Buchanan reported that Arizona Diamondbacks righty Zack Greinke can block a trade to the Yankees as part of his 15-team no-trade clause on his contract from 2016. Greinke has always been seen as the stereotypical salary dump acquisition for the Yankees, as fans hope they can convince Jacoby Ellsbury to waive his no-trade clause to go to Arizona. If that’s going to happen, it’ll require both players to give their consent. Ellsbury is owed another $47.3 million over the next three years, assuming he’s bought out of his 2021 team option. Greinke, on the other hand, is owed another $104.5 million through 2021. I think a Greinke trade to the Yankees is close to impossible.

After Corbin Visit, Yanks Still Considering Happ

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Another lefty not named Patrick Corbin remains on the Yankees radar, as Martino reports “the Yankees may still like J.A. Happ as an alternative” option. The SNY reporter notes that the Phillies are also pushing hard on Corbin, and a contractual commitment to the 36-year-old Happ would be shorter than that to Corbin at 29. Happ, of course, delivered 11 stellar second-half starts for the Yanks, with a 7-0 record and 2.69 ERA. I think fans would be willing to overlook Happ’s ALDS collapse against Boston if he were to be back in the Bronx next year.

Yankees & Marlins Discussed Sánchez-Realmuto Trade

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Here’s a pretty crazy scenario: the Yankees and Miami Marlins have discussed a swap of catchers Gary Sánchez and J.T. Realmuto. Per Jon Heyman, here’s where talks stood:

The issue with the Yankees’ talks apparently is that they still hold Gary Sánchez in high enough regard that they have resisted offering other top pieces in a package with Sánchez. The Marlins, who are run by ex-Yankee types (Derek Jeter, Gary Denbo) seem to like Sanchez as well but are hoping for a major package for Realmuto.

For all of the poor reputation Sánchez received for his abysmal offensive and defensive performance, Gary is younger, under control for longer, has a higher career wRC+ and put up a much superior defensive runs component of WAR in way fewer games than Realmuto. Simply put, trading Sánchez for Realmuto doesn’t seem to make much sense at all. Heyman mentions the Yankees are joined by the Astros and Dodgers in checking in on the 27-year-old.

Sherman: Patrick Corbin to Meet With Yankees Thursday

Much was made of Patrick Corbin‘s visit to the Philadelphia Phillies, which included a viral image of the lefty photoshopped into a Phillies uniform on the scoreboard at Citizens Bank Park. It turns out that Philly isn’t the only stop for Corbin, however, as Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported he’d be in New York to meet with the Yankees (and not the Mets) Thursday.

Corbin is widely regarded as the best starting pitcher available on the free-agent market, after finishing tied for fourth among qualified starters in all of baseball with 6.3 fWAR. By that metric, only these guys were better:

  1. Jacob deGrom (8.8)
  2. Max Scherzer (7.2)
  3. Justin Verlander (6.8)
  4. Patrick Corbin (6.3) | Gerrit Cole (6.3)

That’s a pretty good group of pitchers to be associated with. Corbin’s ground-ball rate has been comfortably above the MLB average since his debut in 2012, and an increase in strikeout percentage turned him into a top-5 pitcher in baseball.

Per Fangraphs’ pitching value system, Corbin had the best slider among all qualified pitchers in the MLB. In fact, since he’s started to throw that pitch more, his fWAR has increased at a similar rate. Corbin relies on 5 pitches: Slider (40.9%), Sinker (29.5%), Four Seamer (19.1%), Curve (9.4%), Changeup (1.1%).

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Patrick Corbin’s fWAR has increased as he throws more sliders.
Credit: Fangraphs

“I don’t think I’ve seen a slider like that since Steve Carlton,” said Rick Schu, San Francisco Giants assistant hitting coach, to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. “I mean, it just disappears.”

The question comes down to whether the Yankees will out-bid the Phillies for Corbin, or if Corbin will accept a competitive offer that will fulfill his dream of pitching in pinstripes. MLB Trade Rumors ranked Corbin as the third-best free agent in their annual Top 50 ranking, and predicted the Yankees would ink the southpaw to a six-year, $129 million contract.

“I know the Yankees have had some interest in the past, and there were a lot of rumors this winter that got my family excited,” Corbin said to Nightengale. “It would have been cool. You just want to go where you’re wanted, and every team will have an opportunity. I would love to be on a contending team for sure, but we’ll see what happens.”

According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, Corbin also met with the Washington Nationals earlier this week. It’s unclear if the lefty plans to meet with any other teams.

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