Category: Rumors

Heyman: Yankees Interested in Carrasco, Kluber, Paxton on Trade Market

Could the Yankees make their biggest splash via trade?

The Yankees have made clear that their first offseason priority is to upgrade their pitching staff. The most obvious fixes would come from the free agent market in the form of Patrick Corbin, J.A. Happ or CC Sabathia.

But now, according to Fancred’s Jon Heyman, there could be multiple aces available via trade as the Indians and Mariners look to shed costs. He reports the Yankees are interested in RHPs Carlos Carrasco and Corey Kluber from the Indians and LHP James Paxton from the Mariners.

Carrasco made 32 appearances in 2018, going 17-10 with a 3.38 ERA (2.94 FIP) for Cleveland. He has made at least 30 starts in three out of his last four seasons, and owns a 3.40 ERA (3.12 FIP) across that span. Carrasco relies on 5 pitches: Four Seamer (31.4%), Slider (30.9%), Changeup (16.4%), Sinker (13.2%), Curve (8.2%).

Kluber leads all MLB pitchers in fWAR since 2014 with a whopping 31.0. He went 20-7 with a 2.89 ERA (3.12 FIP) in 2018, and was named as a finalist for the 2018 American League Cy Young Award. He won the award in 2017. Kluber relies on 5 pitches: Sinker (32.7%), Cutter (29.5%), Curve (22.4%), Four Seamer (8.8%), Changeup (6.6%).

Paxton is the lone lefty of the group, going 11-6 with a 3.76 ERA (3.23 FIP) in 28 starts in 2018. He missed 17 days on two separate occasions, however, because of lower back inflammation and a left forearm contusion. The issue with Paxton is that you can bank on at least two different disabled list stints per season, as he dealt with a left forearm strain and left pectoral muscle strain in 2017. Paxton relies on 4 pitches: Four Seamer (63.6%), Curve (21.5%), Cutter (14.4%), Changeup (0.4%).

Now, let’s look at the contractual obligations of all three. Each is controllable for multiple years, which will add to the prospect cost.

2019 2020 2021
Carrasco $9,750,000 $9,500,000 (TO)

$662.5k Buyout

Kluber $17,000,000 $17,500,000 (TO)

$1M Buyout

$18,000,000 (TO)

$1M Buyout

Paxton $9,000,000

Proj. Arb 3


Kluber easily has the most team-friendly deal. He provides so much more value than his contract is priced for. I think the Yankees should aim high for Kluber, then fallback on Carrasco should that deal not work out. I’m not the highest on Paxton because of his inability to stay healthy and because of his reliance on fastballs.

Heyman: Yanks “Will Look Into Machado”

A step up from “lukewarm”.

Jon Heyman of Fancred has reported that the Yankees will, at the very least, “look into” signing free agent infielder Manny Machado this offseason. This report paints the Yankees as more favorable towards a run at the mercurial star, after it was previously reported that the team was “lukewarm” on a pursuit of the 26-year-old.

Machado hit .315/.387/.575 with 24 homers and 65 RBIs in 96 games for Baltimore before being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers and finishing the year hitting .273/.338/.487 with 13 more home runs and 42 additional RBI. That led to an overall .297/.367/.538 batting line and 37 home runs, which matches a career-high.

But, a .672 OPS in the 2018 postseason and controversies about how he handles himself have led to questions about an all-out pursuit of Machado. That is likely what led the Yankees to be just “lukewarm” on one of the most hyped free agents of all-time. I’d also imagine that term was leaked in order to safeguard the Yankees’ leverage in any potential negotiations.

The Yankees attempted to pry Machado away from the Orioles at the 2018 Trade Deadline, and have been connected to the superstar on a few different occasions. Didi Gregorius is set to miss most of the 2018 season with Tommy John surgery, and there have been consistent questions about Miguel Andújar‘s defensive abilities at third base. Those two spots are obvious fits for Machado with his elite offensive and defensive abilities.

MLB Trade Rumors, which does an annual prediction series on the fates of their Top 50 Free Agents, believes Machado will sign a record-breaking 13-year, $390 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies. That’s the second-biggest contract prediction in their article, as they also predict Bryce Harper will land an unprecedented 14-year, $420 million deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Heyman: Corbin, Happ Will Be Yankees’ Pitching Priorities

Two impressive lefties are at the top of the Yankees’ pitching wishlist.

The Yankees are aiming to put a majority of their offseason focus into improving their pitching staff for 2019. That search will be centered on a pair of lefties – Patrick Corbin and J.A. Happ, according to Fancred’s Jon Heyman. Having more than one strong lefty in the Yankee rotation would help neutralize lefty bats that often target the right-field porch at Yankee Stadium.

Patrick Corbin – 11-7, 3.15 ERA (2.47 FIP), 11.07 K/9, 2.16 BB/9, 6.3 fWAR

By WAR, Corbin was the third-best qualified pitcher in the National League behind stunning seasons from the Mets’ Jacob deGrom and the Nationals’ Max Scherzer. His 48.5% ground-ball rate was sixth-best in the National League, and would’ve been second-best on the 2018 Yankees (minimum 50 innings) behind Sonny Gray‘s 50%. Obviously, Gray wasn’t as successful as Corbin, but Gray walked close to two more batters per nine than Corbin and struck out three batters less per nine. Simply put, Corbin misses bats and can avoid the big hit despite an NL-leading 41.7% hard contact rate amongst qualified pitchers. If it’s hit hard, but on the ground, a well-positioned infield can get you an out. There will be an obvious learning curve with a jump from the National League West to the American League East, but I think Corbin is up to it.

J.A. Happ – 17-6, 3.65 ERA (3.98 FIP), 9.78 K/9, 2.58 BB/9, 3.2 fWAR

At first glance, Happ’s stats are not as strong as Corbin’s, but are still impressive. What I appreciate most from Happ is that he put this line up against the formidable American League East with the pressure of a New York Yankees postseason run on his shoulders. Happ was filthy down the stretch and provided incredible value for the Yankees when he went 7-0 with a 2.69 ERA in 11 starts. Age is the only big concern for the lefty. Happ is 36 now, but showed how he can still be effective for at least a few more seasons.

In a perfect world, the Yanks are able to haul both of these southpaws in as free agents with room to keep building the team. Heyman listed Nathan Eovaldi, Gio González, Dallas Keuchel, Wade Miley, Charlie Morton, Hyun-jin Ryu and CC Sabathia as other options should the Yankees fail to sign either Corbin or Happ. He also mentioned Clayton Kershaw but the lefty just agreed to a 3-year, $93 million extension with the Dodgers as expected.

Hot Stove Notes: Gardner, Harper, Machado, Robertson

Our first round of Hot Stove Hot Takes are here.

With the World Series (painfully) behind us, free agency and Hot Stove are both officially underway. As of 9 a.m. yesterday, all players eligible for free agency are officially on the market. Players can only negotiate with their old team until Friday at 5 p.m. before the real madness starts. Teams must also decide whether they will extend the one-year, $17.9 million qualifying offer to those eligible free agents by that same deadline. Those that get offered the qualifying offer will get 10 days (until November 12) to decide whether they will accept or decline. Teams that sign a player who declined the qualifying offer receive compensation in the form of draft picks and/or international bonus pool money from that player’s new team.

It’s been one day, and there’s already some headlines swirling around Yankees Universe:

  • The Yankees have until Wednesday at 5 p.m. to determine the fate of Brett Gardner and his club option for the 2019 season. The team will either pay $12.5 million to pick him up for 2019, or decline the option and pay him a $2 million buyout. “I’d love to come back here, man,” Gardner said after the season-ending loss to Boston in the ALDS. “I’ve been here for a long time. My agent [Joe Bick] and I have a great relationship with Cash and the rest of the front office. I’m sure when the time is right, we’ll sit down and talk about that.” The 35-year-old saw his offensive production drop to a .236/.322/.368 (90 wRC+) line but also proved he can still play elite outfield defense. If I had to guess, I think the Yankees decline the option but look to retain Gardner as the team’s fourth outfielder.
  • The Bryce Harper headlines are here, folks. Andy Martino of SNY reported the Yankees are “not expected to pursue free agent Bryce Harper” because “The early feeling is that Harper simply doesn’t fit”. On the surface, that seems to torpedo the offseason plan of backing up a dump-truck for Harper and Manny Machado (more on him to come). But, remember what I wrote above. The Yankees would be clearly tampering if they expressed interest in Harper during the exclusive negotiation period. Also, it would kill the Yankees’ negotiating leverage to come out for Harper this early. This reminds me of how Cashman handled Johnny Damon‘s free agency in 2005: where he claimed Bubba Crosby would start in center field… until he didn’t.
  • Now, to the Manny Machado news. Also from SNY’s Martino, the Yankees are apparently “lukewarm” on the idea of a Machado pursuit. The optics and results of Machado’s postseason apparently “cost him some enthusiasm in the offices at Yankee Stadium,” per the report. I can see how that would be true, especially since Machado clearly cleated multiple first basemen on purpose and was called a “dirty player” by multiple players and analysts throughout the playoffs. As with Harper, this is some early-offseason posturing for a team that’s not even allowed to negotiate with the player in question. With Didi Gregorius slated to miss most of next season, I think the Yankees are going to have significant interest in Machado. But, this is a business based on negotiation and Cashman has to play his cards properly.
  • David Robertson, who officially became a free agent yesterday, wrote a short guest post for MLB Trade Rumors about his decision to represent himself without an agent during his second foray into free agency. Namely, he decided he knew his desires for a contract best and also indicated the decision did not stem from a disagreement with his agent. The whole statement is definitely worth a read.

Nightengale: Yanks ‘Front-Runners’ for Manny Machado

We’re only two games into the World Series, and the Yankees have already been connected to one of the marquee free agents who is currently suiting up for the Los Angeles Dodgers: shortstop Manny Machado.

According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Yankees are apparently the “front runners” to land the star shortstop. He also noted the Philadelphia Phillies will be interested and that the Dodgers are likely uninterested in resigning the infielder.

Machado was the premiere rental option on the trade market in July, and the Yankees tried their best to pry the star infielder away from the Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles settled for a six-player package from the Dodgers promptly after Machado made his last appearance in an Orioles uniform at the 2018 All-Star Game.

The 26-year-old slid into the spot vacated by the injured Corey Seager, and hit .273/.338/.487 with 13 home runs and 42 RBI over the final 66 games of the regular season. Despite declaring his intention to only appear at shortstop in the 2018 season, he also started 16 games at third base for the Dodgers.

There has been a lot of talk about Machado’s on-field demeanor, but Nightengale says the Yankees are still willing to put up “at least $300 million for the mercurial star”.  A pursuit of Machado made plenty of sense at the 2018 Trade Deadline, when the Yankees looked to supplement an already powerful lineup. Now, with Didi Gregorius slated to miss significant time with Tommy John surgery, Machado could slot in at his preferred position and cost the Yankees nothing but money (albeit a lot of money).

Olney: Yankees a Fit for Diamondbacks’ Goldschmidt

Could another trade with Arizona be in the works?

The Hot Stove isn’t officially lit yet, but there’s already some crazy rumors consuming Yankees Universe. Buster Olney of ESPN tweeted the Yankees would be a perfect fit for current Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, who has a pending $14.5 million team option for 2019 and will be a free agent thereafter.

The Yankees had a blackhole at first base since Mark Teixeira retired and Greg Bird missed the entirety of the 2016 season. From 2016 to 2018, the Yankees are 27th out of the 30 MLB teams with just 1.9 fWAR generated from first base. They’ve hit .234/.314/.403 (91 wRC+) in 823 games in that time, and that includes Luke Voit‘s heroic .344/.416/.730 (207 wRC+) in 122 at-bats as a first baseman in 2018. Guess how much fWAR he put up: 1.9. Voit has been basically the entirety of the Yankees first base production for three entire seasons.

Goldschmidt is just about as elite as they come at any position. His 15.3 fWAR is second to only Freddie Freeman‘s 15.8 in the same 2016-2018 span in the whole of Major League Baseball. He started off slowly in 2018, hitting just .209/.326/.393 through the end of May (with a tough .288 BABIP and 30.9% strikeout rate). But, he rebounded to finish the season at .290/.389/.533 (144 wRC+). By average, it was his worst season since 2012 but he finished with a 2% stronger overall offensive season by wRC+.

Figuring out a trade for Goldschmidt would be quite interesting, and of course, assumes the Diamondbacks will pick up his option. I would have to think they’d be crazy to decline that option and let him go for nothing. At $14.5 million, he’s a cheap player who puts up approximately $42 million worth of production per season per Fangraphs’ Dollars statistic.

GM Brian Cashman, of course, has dealt with the Diamondbacks many times before. Didi Gregorius came from Arizona for Shane Greene, and the short-lived Brandon Drury era was born from another three-team deal.

Goldschmidt is essentially a more consistent and proven version of Luke Voit, who can bring above-average defense as well. It seems the Diamondbacks could shop Goldschmidt to contenders looking for a consistent first base presence. If Cashman can somehow throw together a package of pending Rule 5 guys, I think it’s a no-brainer.

Offseason Notes: Corbin, Coaches, Harper, Severino

The offseason news cycle is starting to get underway for the Yankees after their disappointing ouster from the playoffs at the hands of the Boston Red Sox. The 2018–19 offseason is one that Yankee fans have been anticipating for years, as many expect the team to spend exorbitantly now that they’ve reset their competitive balance tax penalties. A lot of times, stories from the offseason only contain a few sentences of actual news, and I will compile them into posts whenever there’s enough news to put together.

  1. Jon Heyman of Fancred has already linked the Yankees to one free agent who would definitely help bolster the starting rotation: Diamondbacks’ lefty Patrick Corbin. Corbin grew up in Clay, New York, and told Bob Nightengale that he “grew up a Yankee fan” and said “It would have been cool” to be traded to New York last offseason. The lefty was third among qualified National League starters with 6.3 fWAR, paired with a 11-7 record and 3.15 ERA (2.47 FIP). He was sixth in the NL with a 48.5% ground-ball percentage, and was 11th best at limiting home runs (11.1% HR/FB rate – Chase Field helps too). Both numbers would be top-10 in the American League. At 29, he seems likely to get a contract somewhere in the 3-5 year length.
  2. If you wanted to see Larry Rothschild or Marcus Thames fired, you’re out of luck. George A. King III of the New York Post broke one of the stories likely to be addressed during tomorrow’s postmortem news conference when he tweeted that all Yankees coaches will be back in 2019. Aaron Boone and Brian Cashman will definitely be asked about the coaching staff as a whole, but King’s report makes it clear the Yanks want to keep this corps together.
  3. Uh, Scott Boras really has a way with words. He seemed to imply that Bryce Harper could still fit with the Yankees despite Giancarlo Stanton‘s gargantuan contract already on the team’s payroll. “A Bronx opera … The Three Tenors … Hal’s genius, vision,” Boras wrote in an email to The Athletic. “Alone the three were stars … now a galaxy of international popularity.” That would seem to imply a lineup that includes Harper, Aaron Judge and Stanton arranged in some way. That would be something. Boras clarified to Ken Davidoff of the New York Post that he “didn’t say specific players,” but his implications were pretty clear.
  4. The Luis Severino news continues to get weirder. Another Jon Heyman report quoted an unnamed “Yankees person” as saying “The Red Sox had his pitches” in his ill-fated start in Game 3 of the American League Division Series. Severino only made it one batter into the fourth, and a viral tweet shows Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts correctly predicting a fastball in the second inning. Before his Wild Card start, Pedro Martínez said Severino told him he pitched hurt in the second half. Severino denied it. The righty also got some less-than-great publicity when Ron Darling of TBS essentially accused Severino and the Yankees of not knowing the proper start time for the game, and accused him of only starting to warm up eight minutes before the scheduled time. Severino and the Yankees denied that.

There will probably be another one of these posted tomorrow with the information from tomorrow’s news conference with Aaron Boone and Brian Cashman. That’s at noon Eastern and will also be aired on the YES Network.

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