Tag: Didi Gregorius

Yankees Sign Troy Tulowitzki; DFA A.J. Cole

Tulowitzki will suit up at the same position as his idol, Derek Jeter.

January 4, 2019: The Yankees have officially announced the Tulowitzki signing, and have designated RHP A.J. Cole for assignment to clear a 40-man roster spot.

Cole made 28 relief appearances for the Yankees in 2018, mostly in a mop-up role. He had a stellar first few months, but the wheels fell off when he finished the season with a 8.40 ERA in August and September. All told, Cole finished with a 3-1 record and 4.26 ERA after his April 24 acquisition in a cash trade.

For Tulowitzki, the plan is for him to be the Opening Day shortstop should his health allow it. The Yankees internal options, namely Hanser Alberto, Thairo Estrada, Tyler Wade or a position shift for Gleyber Torres, were not deemed sufficient.

“I think the Troy Tulowitzki thing is about being open-minded and reactionary and making sure we’re exploring all options that present themselves,” Brian Cashman said during the introductory conference call. “I think this probably snuck up on a lot of people. We’re aiming high and we’re evaluating other options that present themselves, and Troy was a late entry into the available marketplace.”

For now, the Yankees will feature an all-righty infield of Miguel Andújar at the hot corner, Tulowitzki at shortstop, Torres at second base and Luke Voit at first.

January 3, 2019: According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, Tulowitzki will be undergoing his physical with the Yankees today.


After his release from the Toronto Blue Jays, the Yankees attended 34-year-old shortstop Troy Tulowitzki‘s free agent workout in California. Now, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the Yankees are in agreement with the veteran on a one-year, league-minimum contract, pending a physical.

Passan notes that Tulowitzki “is expected to play shortstop for the Yankees while Didi Gregorius recovers from Tommy John surgery,” and that the move does not remove the Yankees from the Manny Machado sweepstakes.

Tulowitzki was released by Toronto on Dec. 11, allowing him to become a free agent and sign with any of the other 29 teams. The Blue Jays still owe him $38 million through the end of the 2020 season, but the Yankees will be responsible for a $555K salary. He last played consistently in 2016, when he slashed .254/.318/.443 (104 wRC+) in 131 games for the Blue Jays. He managed to be a 3.0 fWAR player that year because of stellar shortstop defense. He missed all of 2018 because of bone spurs in both of his heels that required surgery.

At league-minimum, this seems to be a low-risk, high-reward move for the Yankees. They can easily cut bait with Tulowitzki if he’s unable to perform at a high enough level or if his ugly injury history shows itself again.

I’m intrigued to see what this means for Miguel Andújar. If the Yankees also sign Machado, it seems Andújar’s only path to playing time with the Bombers would come at first base, left field (unlikely) or at designated hitter. Of course, they could also use him as a trade chip to bring in a high-profile starting pitcher as well.

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 Tender Contracts to All on 40-Man Roster

All pre-arbitration and arbitration eligible players were tendered contracts by the Yankees by the 8 p.m. ET deadline Friday.

The team and players did not have to reach specific figures by that deadline, but the Yankees were required to at least extend an offer. Players and teams must have exchanged arbitration figures by Jan. 11, 2019, and then hearings will run from Feb. 1 to Feb. 20. Players who are not yet eligible for arbitration (less than three years service time) typically agree to their 1-year split-level deals in early-March. The Yankees agreed to deals with all of their arbitration eligible players ahead of the deadline last year.

Here’s everyone eligible for arbitration this year with their 2018 salary and 2019 projection from MLB Trade Rumors:

  • RHP Dellin Betances
    • 2018 salary: $5.1 million
    • 2019 projection: $6.4 million
  • 1B Greg Bird
    • 2018 salary: $582K
    • 2019 projection: $1.5 million
  • RHP Sonny Gray
    • 2018 salary: $6.5 million
    • 2019 projection: $9.1 million
  • SS Didi Gregorius
    • 2018 salary: $8.25 million
    • 2019 projection: $12.4 million
  • CF Aaron Hicks
    • 2018 salary: $2.825 million
    • 2019 projection: $6.2 million
  • RHP Tommy Kahnle
    • 2018 salary: $1.3125 million
    • 2019 projection: $1.5 million
  • LHP James Paxton
    • 2018 salary: $4.9 million
    • 2019 projection: $9 million
  • Austin Romine
    • 2018 salary: $1.1 million
    • 2019 projection: $2 million
  • RHP Luis Severino
    • 2018 salary: $604.975K
    • 2019 projection: $5.1 million

The two players closest to being non-tendered, in my opinion, were Gray and Gregorius. Gray was awful in 2018, and Brian Cashman is determined to trade him this offseason. Didi Gregorius is set to miss at least the first half of 2019, though the Yankees could work with him on a myriad of contract options as this is his final year of arbitration.

Everyone else, with the exception of the guaranteed contracts for Aroldis Chapman, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner, CC Sabathia, Giancarlo Stanton and Masahiro Tanaka, has less than three years of service time and will have their split-level deals revealed later on. They get paid one salary for MLB service and a much smaller one for the minor leagues.

Ronald Torreyes Traded to Cubs for PTBNL/Cash

The Ronald Torreyes era is over. After 221 games, the Yankees announced today that they traded the versatile 26-year-old to the Chicago Cubs for a player to be named later or cash consideration. He had been designated for assignment Monday when the Yankees claimed pitcher Parker Bridwell from the Los Angeles Angels.

Torreyes had grown into a fan favorite since joining the Yankees in 2016 because of his energy and ability to produce as a bench player. He proved exceedingly useful in 2017, when he started the first month of the season at shortstop to allow Didi Gregorius to recover from a shoulder injury. Overall as a Yankee, he hit .281/.308/.373 (80 wRC+) with four home runs and 55 RBIs. He suited up at second base, third base, shortstop and right field for the Yankees.

Though he made a ton of contact, Torreyes provided little value with his offense. He walked 23 times in three seasons (3.8%), and only picked up extra-base hits in 6.4% of his plate appearances. He graded out as an average baserunner, but had little value as a pinch-runner since he only stole four bases in his time as a Yankee.

The real reason Torreyes was dealt appears to be his price tag. He is eligible for salary arbitration for the first time this winter. I think the Yankees were planning to non-tender him if they did not find a destination by this Friday’s deadline. MLB Trade Rumors projected he would make $900K in his first go-around. The Yankees have way cheaper options for the utility-man bench role (Hanser Alberto, Thairo Estrada, Tim Locastro Tyler Wade, etc.) and Torreyes became the odd man out.

I’m expecting Toe will get a big hand at Old Timer’s Day at some point down the road. Only time will tell if Chicago is his final destination this offseason, as Torreyes has bounced around in the past. The Yankees acquired Torreyes along with lefty Tyler Olson in January 2016, but he got claimed by the Angels off waivers a week later. A week after that, the Yankees claimed him back from Los Angeles and the rest is history. For now, he’s a Cub. In February, we’ll see where he’s suiting up for Spring Training.

Rosenthal’s Latest: Gray, Goldschmidt

Though I’m not sure he can top yesterday’s bombshell revealing the Yankees and Seattle Mariners “briefly discussed” a Jacoby EllsburyRobinson Canó contract swap, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic dropped another set of interesting Yankees tidbits in his notes column:

Mariners Wanted Gray in Paxton Deal

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Rosenthal did, however, add further insight into the trade that sent lefty James Paxton from Seattle to the Yankees. The Mariners asked the Yankees to add Sonny Gray to the return for the lefty, which included top prospect Justus Sheffield, fringe 40-man pitcher Erik Swanson and lower-level outfielder Dom Thompson-Williams. The Yankees decided to keep Gray, however, telling Seattle that “they had a number of other teams interested in him.”

Rosenthal also cited sources within the Yankees organization who “suspected the Mariners wanted Gray to flip him – perhaps to the Reds, who were trying to land Paxton.” It’s pretty clear that Brian Cashman is waiting for the best deal before trading Gray, who is projected to make $9.1 million in his final year of salary arbitration in 2019. If Cashman was looking to dump Gray for a roster spot, the trade would have been made in advance of last week’s 40-man roster deadline. I’d look for Gray to be dealt prior to this Friday’s non-tender deadline.

Yankees “Not Pursuing” Goldschmidt

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The early offseason news cycle was set abuzz when ESPN’s Buster Olney speculated the Yankees would engage the Arizona Diamondbacks regarding first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. He stirred that up even further by reporting the Yankees had pushed Justus Sheffield in those negotiations before dealing him to Seattle for James Paxton. But, it seems Goldschmidt and his one-year deal are not targets for the Bronx Bombers.

The team is already “too right-handed, particularly with shortstop Didi Gregorius expected to be out until at least June as he recovers from Tommy John surgery,” per Rosenthal. The Yankees also not focusing on an upgrade at first base at the moment.

Rosenthal did note, however, the Yankees would be willing to add yet another righty to the lineup if it was someone like Manny Machado. He mentioned that “at 26, [Machado] is five years younger than Goldschmidt and would be under long-term control. Goldschmidt is signed only through next season.”

Steinbrenner: Machado’s Hustle Comments “Troubling”

“Because that ain’t gonna sell where we play baseball. That conversation will happen no matter who it is.”

It seems Manny Machado would have some explaining to do if he were to become a Yankee. The team’s managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner told Ken Davidoff of the New York Post that the infielder’s comments about his style of play were “troubling” and would require an explanation.

“If it’s a $300 million guy or a $10 million guy, clearly those comments are troubling,” Steinbrenner told a small group of reporters. “But that’s really [general manager Brian Cashman’s] job. If we’re interested in any player, sit down with him face to face and ask him, ‘Where did this come from? What was the context around the entire interview? Was there a point you were trying to [make]? How do you justify it?’ Because that ain’t gonna sell where we play baseball. That conversation will happen no matter who it is.”

The comments in question, of course, come from the Oct. 16 interview Machado gave to Ken Rosenthal where the 26-year-old said his style of play did not include hustling 100% on every play.

“Obviously I’m not going to change, I’m not the type of player that’s going to be ‘Johnny Hustle,’ and run down the line and slide to first base and … you know, whatever can happen. That’s just not my personality, that’s not my cup of tea, that’s not who I am,” Machado said. “Should I have given it a little more effort? One hundred percent. (It’s) my fault like always, I mean that’s just my mentality when I’m in the game. (There are) things that you learn, things that you gotta change. I’ve tried changing it for eight years and I still can’t figure it out but, one of these days I will.”

Machado’s comments combined with a .670 OPS in the playoffs left the star shortstop at a disadvantage heading into free agency for the first time in his career. Players with his talent and youth don’t hit the market often, and he should still cash in with a big contract. But, there will always be questions about his effort and reputation as a “dirty player,” to use the words of Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich.

The Yankees have an obvious hole at shortstop now with Didi Gregorius slated to miss the first half of 2019 at the very least. They could stand to upgrade defensively at third base with Miguel Andújar‘s -15.5 defensive WAR coming in at seventh-worst in all of baseball for 2018. The Yankees have been doing their due diligence on Machado, but have to be weighing whether the signing is worth the inevitable media circus that will come with it.

The very “Yankees” thing to do would be to fill Gregorius’s spot with the best (and most expensive) option. I see them making a serious run at Machado, being careful to avoid a bidding war and albatross contract like Jacoby Ellsbury‘s. C’mon, guys who average 128 wRC+ over their last three seasons don’t just grow on trees.

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.

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