Category: Rumors

Harper: Gerrit Cole Trade to Yankees “Inevitable”

Despite news that the Houston Astros were checking in on Pittsburgh Pirates RHP Gerrit Cole, the New York Daily News’ John Harper cites an unnamed rival executive calling a trade of Cole to the Yankees “inevitable”.

Two important quotes:

“I think it’s inevitable they’ll get together on a deal,” a rival exec told me Monday. “The Yankees have the pieces and Pittsburgh needs to tear it down. They’ll find common ground.”

“They’re one of the few organizations that have the depth, at the big-league and minor-league level, to match what the Yankees can offer,” an AL scout said. “But (GM Jeff) Luhnow has shown he doesn’t want to give up top prospects if he can help it, so I’d still favor the Yankees.”

The report from Harper comes as Astros’ owner Jim Crane told reporters that his team is pursuing “a high-end starter”. Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reported the same day that the Astros checked in with Pittsburgh on Cole. The Astros and Pirates reportedly discussed outfielder Derek Fisher as a return, The Pirates are aiming higher at top prospects Kyle Tucker and Forrest Whitley.

Reports linking the Yankees to the Pirates have died down in recent weeks, since Brian Cashman told Neil Huntington that top prospect infielder Gleyber Torres is off-limits. The Yankees have also been connected to the Pirates’ versatile utilityman, Josh Harrison. In his column, Harper suggests Cashman would make the deal if it were to be Clint Frazier and someone like Chance Adams for Cole.

Though the Yankees already have five starters on their roster, it would appear as though they would like to add one more quality arm heading into Spring Training. They have been linked to other controllable young pitchers in the trade market like Arizona’s Patrick Corbin and Detroit’s Michael Fulmer. Plus, they have kicked the tires on free agent Yu Darvish.

Since they can field a rotation with their current personnel, Brian Cashman does not need to overpay for pitching. Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Sonny Gray, CC Sabathia and Jordon Montgomery already represent an intimidating pitching staff. That said, expect Cashman to pounce if the deal is right.

Heyman: Yankees Check in With Orioles on Machado Again

The Yankees need a third baseman, and may be trying to fill that hole with a three-time All-Star. Per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, the Bronx Bombers once again engaged the Baltimore Orioles in trade talks on 25-year-old third baseman Manny Machado late last week.

Heyman’s column, dated Jan. 5, reads:

The New York Yankees, apparently excited about the idea they could make their excellent winter even better and more star-studded, were back in contact with the Baltimore Orioles regarding Manny Machado this week, sources say…

The Yankees actually may have the best chance of several contenders to land Machado, but word still is that the Orioles haven’t been tempted by anything they’ve heard from anyone regarding the superstar infielder.

Machado will be a free agent after the 2018 season, and teams are weary of giving up premier talent without some assurance that he would consider signing a long-term extension wherever he ends up. He has already expressed interest in moving back to shortstop, the position where he played until being blocked in Baltimore by J.J. Hardy. Nevertheless, Machado won Gold Gloves at the hot corner in 2013 and 2015.

Offensively, Machado struggled in 2017. He managed to slash just .230/.296/.445 with 18 home runs and 47 RBIs in 83 games before the All-Star break. He did not get any help from a .239 BABIP rate. The second-half was much improved, where he hit .290/.326/.500 and added another 15 home runs. All told, he put together a .259/.310/.471 (102 wRC+) line with 33 home runs and 95 RBIs.

Embed from Getty Images

The Orioles are said to want at least two MLB-ready pitchers in any trade package for Machado. For the Yankees, that would mean someone in the category of Chance Adams, Justus Sheffield or one of Domingo Acevedo/Albert Abreu. The Yanks have been pushing Adams as their top trade chip, hoping to keep the higher upside guys like Sheffield, Acevedo and Abreu. There are also reports (one from Joel Sherman) that the Orioles “actually like [Jacoby] Ellsbury a little,” though any trade would be complicated by his no-trade clause.

Though it would not be wise to count Brian Cashman out for any deal, it does not appear to be worth it for the Yankees to give up premier talent within their own division for only one guaranteed year of Machado. They appear comfortable with letting Miguel Andújar compete for the starting job out of Spring Training, and are keeping tabs on free agents like Todd Frazier and Eduardo Núñez.

In a perfect world, Andújar or a veteran on a 1-year deal hold down the hot corner in 2018, and Machado puts on the pinstripes for 2019. But, if it turns out that the Yankees do not need Machado, they can focus on signing top-level starting pitching or fill whatever holes may come up during the course of the season.

Embed from Getty Images

Kuty: Yankees, Todd Frazier Maintain Mutual Interest; Finances May Complicate Deal

There is still interest between the Yankees and infielder Todd Frazier, according to a report from NJ.com’s Brendan Kuty. He notes that the 31-year-old “has continued to speak with multiple clubs”.

Kuty spoke with two sources that knew of Frazier’s talks with the Yankees:

“The team’s mission to stay beneath the $197-million payroll luxury tax threshold for the 2018 season has kept the sides from speaking much this offseason, according to one of the sources,” Kuty wrote.

Frazier came to the Yankees prior to the trade deadline alongside right-handed relievers Tommy Kahnle and David Robertson. Initially viewed by many as a throw-in, he provided a strong clubhouse presence and energy to the already successful Bronx Bombers. He anchored third base defensively, where Fangraphs says he saved 10 runs.

His career has been marked by a lower batting average, but a solid on-base percentage and slugging percentage. The Toms River, New Jersey, native slashed .222/.365/.423 in 66 games after coming to the Bronx. He added 11 home runs and 32 RBIs, and walked at a 14.5% rate. The postseason was not kind to Frazier, however, where he slashed just .186/.255/.302.

The Yankees certainly have a reason to stay in touch with Frazier, even though his desire for a multi-year deal is a difficult obstacle. With no changes to the current roster, the Yankees are looking at filling both second base and third base with young players who have never been full-time MLB starters. Regaining Frazier’s veteran presence would help younger players, while also taking the pressure off of them.

Embed from Getty Images

“At the end of the day, I just want to play baseball. I would love to play for the Yankees. I would love to play for any team,” Frazier said to Kuty Dec. 16. “Like I said, we’ve been talking. My agency has been doing a heck of a job talking to a lot of teams for me. We’ve got a lot of great talks and hopefully at the end, something comes to fruition soon.”

Frazier, who has experience at first base, second base, shortstop, left field and right field also, indicated that he was willing to suit up at another position to help a team win. He was ranked as the No. 17 free agent by MLBTradeRumors, and predicted he would sign a three-year, $33 million deal with the New York Mets.

If his market does not develop for some reason, Frazier fits perfectly in the Bronx on a one-year deal. His veteran presence and willingness to play all over the diamond would be invaluable to the youthful Yankees squad.

Embed from Getty Images

Heyman: Ellsbury Could Waive No-Trade Clause To “A Select Few Teams”

UPDATE (Dec. 21 at 9:40 p.m. ET): Heyman is reporting now that the Yankees have indeed reached out to the Giants about Ellsbury, but that he is not at the top of their list for their vacant center field position.

The Giants do have an opening after dealing the aging Denard Span to Tampa Bay in a trade for third baseman Evan Longoria. Ellsbury would represent a downgrade statistically when looking at the 2017 season, but the Giants would be looking to catch lightning in a bottle.


The Yankees outfield could round into shape over the next few days, and may not include 34-year-old Jacoby Ellsbury. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Thursday that the veteran may be willing to waive his full no-trade clause to move to “a select few teams”.

In his piece, Heyman mentioned the San Francisco Giants specifically:

Jacoby Ellsbury was said early this winter not to want to waive his full no-trade clause, but word now is that he might consider waiving it for a select few teams, and the San Francisco Giants could be one of them.

Ellsbury could fit in as the Giants’ center fielder, whereas with the Yankees he seems destined to be the fourth outfielder, as Yankees people say they are going with Aaron Hicks in center field. Ellsbury lives in the Phoenix area, so the Giants’ spring home in Scottsdale would be a plus for him, too.

You can read the full article here. Ellsbury slashed .264/.348/.402 in 112 games in 2017, missing 29 games due to a concussion suffered in May. Prior to the concussion, he was hitting 30 points higher, and lost the starting job in center field to Aaron Hicks while on the disabled list.

Signed after a 2013 season where he hit .298/.355/.426 with nine home runs, 53 RBIs and 52 stolen bases with Boston, Ellsbury has largely failed to live up to his seven-year, $153 million contract. So far, his line with the Yankees stands at .264/.330/.386 with 39 home runs, 198 RBIs and 102 stolen bases (80.3% success rate).

The current Yankee depth chart has Ellsbury slated to be a very expensive fourth outfielder. Brian Cashman has already said Hicks will start the season in center field, Brett Gardner seems anchored in left field and the towering combination of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton will patrol right field. There will not be many designated hitter opportunities available either, since Judge/Stanton will likely hold that spot while the other is in right field.

Ellsbury really wants to play out the rest of his contract in New York, where the earliest he can be a free agent is after the 2020 season. He would be 36 at that time, and would certainly be paid the $5 million buyout of his 2021 team option. The Yankees would have to eat a fairly hefty chunk of his salary in order to move him to another team. Plus, Ellsbury has to approve any trade.

Olney: Yankees Interested in Diamondbacks’ Corbin

The Yankees’ search for a starting pitcher has hit the desert, as ESPN’s Buster Olney reports the Bronx Bombers have checked in with the Arizona Diamondbacks about left-handed pitcher Patrick Corbin in trade talks.

Corbin is just one of many MLB-ready starters that the Yankees are reportedly kicking the tires on. They also have looked into the Pittsburgh Pirates’ RHP Gerrit Cole and Detroit Tigers’ RHP Michael Fulmer, per reports.

Reports that the Yankees are interested in Corbin come as a bit of a surprise. His contract, if not extended, has the least control when compared to the other pitchers that the Bombers are connected to. He will be able to become a free agent after the 2019 season, when Cole is controlled until after 2020 and Fulmer until 2023 (if neither signs an extension this offseason).

The lefty had a phenomenal finish to his season. After starting the year with a 6-9 record and 4.71 ERA prior to the All-Star break, he finished the season with a stellar second half. In 15 games (14 starts), Corbin pitched to a 8-4 record and 3.26 ERA to close out the 2017 campaign.

Corbin also has the worst career stats in comparison to the aforementioned Cole and Fulmer:

W-L ERA K BB fWAR
Corbin 45-47 4.12 651 223 9.6
Cole 59-42 3.50 734 203 15.9
Fulmer 21-19 3.45 246 82 6.6

The Yankees may be attracted to Corbin’s 50 percent ground ball rate from the 2017 season, which was six points higher than the league average of 44 percent. His 2017 rate was a bit of a drop from 2016, where he posted a 54 percent grounder rate. But, as his ground ball rate dropped, his ERA also dropped from 5.15 to 4.03 from 2016 to 2017.

There is also a possibility that the Yankees see a flaw in Corbin’s mechanics that they think their coaching staff could fix. That was reportedly one of the reasons they traded for SS Didi Gregorius, who coincidentally also came from the Diamondbacks.

Trading for Corbin would essentially be betting that second-half Corbin is the real pitcher. Those statistics came in a shorter sample size, and he actually walked more hitters and struck out fewer after the break.

I think the Yankees are simply doing their due diligence in checking in on Corbin. While he showed promise in the second half, he would be too much of a risk in the rotation of a win-now team in the American League East.

TB Times: Yankees Have Checked In on Rays’ Archer, Longoria

As the Yankees look to put finishing touches on their roster for the 2018 season, they have checked in with a division rival on two of their best players. The Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin reports that the Yankees have reached out to the Tampa Bay Rays to check in on RHP Chris Archer and 3B Evan Longoria.

It’s no secret the Yankees would love another starting pitcher, especially a top-flight arm like Archer. The Yankees also have a hole at third base after trading Chase Headley back to San Diego. Both players would be interesting fits in the Bronx.

Archer would help upgrade the Yankees starting rotation without question. The 29-year-old pitched to a 4.07 ERA, 3.40 FIP, 11.1 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in a league-leading 34 starts for Tampa Bay. The ERA seems inflated, but his 42.0% ground ball rate would play perfectly in Yankee Stadium. Archer also would join a staff that already has Masahiro Tanaka and Luis Severino, which would mean that he would not have to be the ace. He is owed just $14.08 million guaranteed for the next two seasons, with club options for both the 2020 and 2021 seasons.

Longoria is more of a longshot to become a member of the Yankees. He has been the face of the Rays franchise for years, but 2017 was another year of decline for the 32-year-old. He slashed .261/.313/.424 with 20 home runs, and struck out at a respectable 16.1% rate. Advanced metrics indicate Longoria may have been unlucky, netting just a .282 BABIP rate. Longoria has been a Yankee killer, slashing .273/.347/.494 with 35 home runs and 104 RBIs in 168 games against the Bombers. He can still pick it at third base, checking in with +11 DRS and a +3.2 UZR at the hot corner in 2017. Longoria’s problem is his contract, where he is still owed $81 million guaranteed through the 2022 season. Brian Cashman would have to convince the Rays to eat some of that money before accepting a deal.

As the Yankees aim to get under the luxury tax threshold of $197 million for the 2018 season, they could upgrade their team by trading with Tampa Bay. Chris Archer would fit perfectly, while Evan Longoria would require further maneuvering of contracts (could Cashman salary dump Jacoby Ellsbury on the Rays?). There is no indication that a deal is in the works between the two American League East teams. But, Rays’ general manager Erik Neander has apparently said he “isn’t philosophically opposed to trading with other AL East teams,” per Topkin’s column.

King: Yankees, Pirates Discussing Deal for Gerrit Cole

The Yankees may look to the trade market to fill in a gap in their starting rotation, according to the New York Post’s George A. King III. On their radar: the Pittsburgh Pirates’ RHP Gerrit Cole.

King reports the Yankees are in contact with the Bucs about a deal that could include OF Clint Frazier and potentially more. King mentions that the Pirates would also look for “a pitcher ready to work in the majors,” which would imply someone like Chance Adams. There is no indication that a deal was close to done.

Cole had a down year for the Pirates, pitching to a 4.26 ERA, 8.7 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 and 1.4 HR/9. The Yankees would likely try to buy low on Cole, who they drafted No. 28 out of high school in 2008. Cole did not sign, instead opting to pitch at UCLA. He became the No. 1 overall pick in 2011.

Frazier has become a bit of an odd-man-out in New York. He was ticketed to take over left field once Brett Gardner‘s contract expired, but the acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton made that seem less likely since both Stanton and Aaron Judge may see time in left field. He made his MLB debut July 1, and posted a .231/.268/.448 line with four home runs, 17 RBIs and a 30.3% K-rate to a 4.9% BB-rate.

Embed from Getty Images

Adams is seen as one of the most MLB-ready arms in the Yankees system. Many fans clamored for him to be promoted in 2017 when the Yankees needed starting pitching reinforcements. Split between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2017, Adams pitched to a 2.45 ERA, 8.1 K/9, 3.5 BB/9 and 0.7 HR/9. His command could use some work, and many think he could profile better as a reliever because he only averaged five innings per outing.

Embed from Getty Images

This deal would allow the Yankees to grab a high quality arm in Cole with hopes that he rebounds toward his All-Star season in 2015. The 27-year-old would not be a free agent until after the 2020 season, like current Yankee RHP Sonny Gray. He would shore up a Yankees rotation that is relying on a big bounce-back season from Masahiro Tanaka, and young arms like Luis Severino and Jordan Montgomery.

Angels Have Reached Out to CC Sabathia

CC Sabathia‘s return to the Bronx may not be as obvious as most Yankees fans would like to think. George A. King III of the New York Post reported Sunday that the Los Angeles Angels discussed signing the veteran lefty.

Sabathia, 37, expressed interest in re-signing with the Yankees after his seven-year, $161 million contract signed in 2009 expired. CC pitched to a 14-5 record and a 3.69 ERA in the final season of his deal. Overall in pinstripes, he was 120-73 with a 3.75 ERA. He led the MLB in wins in 2009 and 2010, and was the ALCS MVP in 2009. He won his only World Series with the Yankees in 2009.

The Yankees were reportedly reaching out to Sabathia after failing to land RHP/DH Shohei Ohtani. Now, the Angels have Ohtani and are trying to snatch Sabathia from the Bombers, too. Sabathia would fit perfectly in the back of an already scary Yankees rotation.

If they are unable to re-sign Sabathia, the Yankees are reportedly in on RHP Alex Cobb. They also have been dangling the talented OF Clint Frazier as trade bait since they recently acquired reigning NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton in a trade with the Miami Marlins. The Bombers are reportedly asking for a top-line starter plus prospects for Frazier.

The Yankees also have starting pitching depth available in their minor league system. Chance Adams and Justus Sheffield are considered as close to MLB-ready as the Yankees have. They are Top 5 prospects in the Yankees system, and rated as Top 100 overall by MLB.com.

Reports: Stanton Would Accept Trade to Yankees

With the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes finally wrapped up (he signed with the Los Angeles Angels Friday), the focus now shifts back to the offseason’s other huge storyline: where will Giancarlo Stanton be traded?

Craig Mish of SiriusXM reported this week that the 2017 National League home run leader has included the New York Yankees in a list of teams that he would waive his no-trade clause to join. The Houston Astros, Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers are on the same list. Stanton had recently been linked in trade talks with the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals, though both teams indicated Stanton would not waive his no-trade clause.

It’s unknown whether geography will play into Stanton’s eventual choice. From the teams he has chosen, it’s clear he wants to win. With the Miami Marlins slashing payroll at every corner, it’s only a matter of time until the 6’7″ outfielder finds himself on another ballclub.

Imagining Stanton in a lineup with Greg Bird, Aaron Judge and Gary Sánchez is a scary thought. Using 2017 numbers, that’s 153 home runs in the same lineup. It would take some maneuvering to find playing time for all the outfielders currently on the Yankees roster if Stanton were to come up north.

Acquiring Stanton would necessitate dumping the cumbersome contract of Jacoby Ellsbury, who is signed through 2020 and owed $63.4 million. Stanton, of course, is not cheap either. He is theoretically signed until his age-38 season (2028), with an opt-out following the 2020 season. He is still owed $285 million.

The Yankees would have to entice the Marlins to continue paying some of Stanton’s contract by including at least one prospect of decent value. After seeing that the Giants offered Joe Panik and three prospects not in MLB.com’s Top 100, the Yankees could easily make a better offer. That said, don’t expect to see Gleyber Torres headed to Miami in a trade for Stanton.

 

Heyman: Yankees, Marlins Have Discussed Giancarlo Stanton

The Yankees and Miami Marlins have reportedly had discussions regarding a trade that would send the 6′ 6″, 245-pound OF Giancarlo Stanton to the Bronx, according to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman.

The article from Heyman is a really interesting read simply because Stanton is such a dynamic and expensive player. The 2017 NL MVP hit .281/.376/.631 (156 wRC+) with 59 home runs and 132 RBIs in his age-28 season with the Marlins. Stanton is signed through 2027 (can opt out after 2020) with a club option for the 2028 season. He has $295 million due from 2018 onwards.

There is an obvious appeal to adding another power bat to the Yankees lineup. Pair Stanton with the likes of Aaron Judge and Gary Sánchez and you have an impressively scary lineup. But, the Yankees are looking to get under the luxury tax threshold this offseason, and taking on Stanton’s salary would make that difficult.

Embed from Getty Images

Heyman mentions that the Yankees would have to unload Jacoby Ellsbury, Chase Headley and maybe even longest-tenured Bomber Brett Gardner to offset the cost of Stanton. With Jake Cave, Clint Frazier and Billy McKinney on the 40-man roster they would be able to offset the trades of Ellsbury and Gardner. Stanton would presumably start in left field since I would avoid moving Judge. Trading Headley would ensure that either Miguel Andújar or Gleyber Torres would start the season at third base.

As good as this deal sounds, I do not think it’s worth it for the Yankees. They are better off keeping their veterans and letting other teams overpay for Stanton. The Marlins want whoever takes Stanton to pay the majority of his contract (Jon Morosi reported today that the Marlins would accept the Giants paying “at least $250 million of the $295 million left”).

Of course, these teams have already linked up on a trade this offseason. The Yankees traded 1B Garrett Cooper and LHP Caleb Smith to the Marlins in exchange for Michael King and international signing bonus pool money ahead of the 40-man roster deadline. The other connection is that the Marlins’ CEO is former Yankees SS Derek Jeter, and the Vice President of Player Development and Scouting is former Yankee Gary Denbo.

The Yankees are better off letting Gardner and Headley play out their contracts, trying to dump Ellsbury to free up a roster spot. Then, once their luxury tax number resets, they can go all-out on a free agency class that includes Bryce Harper and Manny Machado.

Embed from Getty Images