New York Yankees Rumors

New York Yankees trade and free agent rumors from MLBTradeRumors.com.

White Sox Pull David Robertson Off Waivers

1:10pm: Heyman tweets that the White Sox have pulled Robertson back off waivers.

11:50am: Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports hears from a source that part of the Yankees’ motivation in making the claim was indeed to prevent the Blue Jays from having an opportunity to acquire Robertson (Twitter link).

8:32am: The Yankees have claimed closer David Robertson from the White Sox on revocable waivers, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, but a trade between the two sides is seen as unlikely. To this point, according to Heyman, there’s little indication of a deal in the works, and as of late Saturday night there hadn’t even been legitimate discussions between Chicago and New York. It seems probable that the White Sox will elect to pull their closer back off waivers.

Robertson, 30, has spent his entire career with the Yankees aside from this season. He departed as a free agent following the 2014 campaign, electing to sign a sizable four-year, $46MM contract with the Sox. (The Yankees, meanwhile, made their own significant commitment to lefty Andrew Miller: four years, $36MM.)

It’s still far too early to judge that hefty investment from the White Sox, but the early returns have been outstanding. Robertson has a 2.60 ERA with 12.2 K/9, 1.9 BB/9 (a career-best rate) a 38.3 percent ground-ball rate and 27 saves in 52 innings with the Sox. That ERA would likely be even better were it not for the fact that White Sox rate as one of the worst defensive clubs in all of baseball. SIERA, FIP and xFIP, for instance, all peg Robertson between 1.89 and 2.17 — significantly better than his still-impressive 2.60 ERA.

Robertson is earning $10MM in 2015 and has about $1.97MM remaining on his current salary, plus an additional $36MM through the 2018 season. The Yankees will have until 2:00 ET to work out a trade, per Heyman, indicating that the actual claim of Robertson was made on Saturday afternoon. It’s possible, though, that the Yankees made the claim not so much expecting a deal but more to prevent the division-leading Blue Jays from having an opportunity to add to their bullpen.

Even if that were the case, it wouldn’t mean the Yankees aren’t interested in a reunion. They pursued bullpen help in late July, and Robertson would mark at least the third elite reliever that the Yankees have attempted to acquire to pair with their already dominant late-inning duo of Miller and Dellin Betances. GM Brian Cashman reportedly showed strong interest in both Craig Kimbrel and Aroldis Chapman prior to the non-waiver trade deadline last month.

Though his specific trade probably won’t come to fruition, it’s likely that we’ll see a few swaps made prior to midnight. Players acquired on Sept. 1 or later are ineligible for their new team’s postseason roster, meaning that any last-minute trades that contenders wish to make in order to upgrade their potential playoff rosters will need to be completed in the next 14.5 hours.


Cafardo On Rangers, Jackson, Brewers, Yankees

The Red Sox didn’t go by MLB’s minority hiring rules when they interviewed only Dave Dombrowski for the president of baseball ops role but they have been instructed to do so for the GM job, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes.  If the Red Sox take the step of hiring a minority GM candidate, Cafardo suggests that Ken Williams would be a strong choice if he chooses to leave Chicago.  Here’s more from today’s column..

  • The Rangers were very interested in acquiring Austin Jackson “a few days ago,” but nothing came of those talks, Cafardo writes.  Jackson, 28, cleared waivers last week and was said to be generating interest, though it appears that no one wanted to take the remaining ~$1.7MM salary off the Mariners‘ hands.
  • Former Red Sox GM Ben Cherington is in play for the Brewers job, a major league source tells Cafardo.  “Despite his last-place finishes he’s seen as a team builder, especially when it comes to farm systems,” said the source.   The Angels, Mariners, and Phillies are also thought to be possibilities for Cherington.
  • The Yankees have been blocked in every attempt to add to their pitching, both out of the bullpen and in the starting rotation. Baseball sources tell Cafardo that GM Brian Cashman doesn’t seem optimistic about his odds of pulling anything off.  The Mets have been blocked from adding a reliever as well.
  • The Royals want a backup catcher for the playoffs just in case something happens to Salvador Perez.  KC turned down the opportunity to land A.J. Pierzynski from the Braves, Cafardo writes, but they’re still looking for an affordable left-handed hitting backstop. Some KC scouts like the Red Sox’s Ryan Hanigan, but he hits right-handed and has a $3.7MM salary next year with an option for 2017.
  • Unsurprisingly, Cafardo hears that the Rangers are looking for offense, the Twins are looking for relief help, and the Blue Jays want to add to their bullpen.  However, a deal for Toronto doesn’t seem likely at this time.
  • Cafardo writes that the Nationals, Padres, Red Sox, Mariners, Reds, Orioles, Indians, and Tigers are expected to be quite active this winter.

AL East Notes: Yankees, Red Sox, De Aza

If the Yankees had to win one playoff game and could send out whomever they wanted to the mound, that pitcher might be Nathan Eovaldi, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes.  Eovaldi, who has posted a 2.93 ERA in his last 12 starts, has looked like a top starter for more than two months and a scout familiar with him from his NL days says he’s the best hurler the Yankees have right now.  The question is, is this all a fluke or is Eovaldi for real?  Sherman is betting on the latter.  Here’s more from the AL East..

  • Now that Alejandro De Aza has started two games in a row for the Red Sox, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe (on Twitter) wonders aloud if the outfielder is being showcased for a trade.  Through 89 combined games for the Orioles and Red Sox this season, De Aza owns a .264/.320/.441 slash line.  The Dodgers and Giants both had interest in acquiring De Aza after he cleared waivers this month but both NL West teams felt that the asking price was too high.
  • New Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has a history of pulling off quality trades and he isn’t the type to beat around the bush when it comes to negotiating, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald writes.  “There wasn’t a lot of back and forth,” said former Phillies GM Ed Wade, reflecting on his 2005 acquisition of Ugueth Urbina. “I think it was two or three calls. Every conversation with trades, even prior to that, was pretty matter of fact and to the point. Dave always seemed to get to the crux of the matter pretty quickly.”  Among the great deals on DD’s resume are the acquisitions of Miguel Cabrera and Max Scherzer and also Mike Lowell when he was with the Marlins.
  • Rays prospect Blake Snell could be the franchise’s next great starter, Roger Mooney of The Tampa Tribune writes.


Minor MLB Transactions: 8/28/15

Here are today’s minor moves:

  • The Yankees announced that lefty Chris Capuano has been outrighted. Thus far, Capuano’s most recent trip through DFA limbo is taking the same course as the previous three that have occurred in the last month. Odds are that Capuano will again take up residence in Triple-A and then move back to the big league roster after rosters expand at the end of the month. MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch spoke with Capuano and GM Brian Cashman for an interesting story on the somewhat unusual situation.

Yankees Activate Michael Pineda, Designate Chris Capuano

The Yankees have designated lefty Chris Capuano yet again, as Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets. His roster spot was needed for the activation of righty Michael Pineda. (New York also optioned Nick Rumbelow and activated Nick Goody, both of whom are also right-handed pitchers.)

Remarkably, this marks the fourth time in the last month that Capuano has hit DFA limbo. With a $5MM salary for this season and an unsightly 7.71 ERA, Capuano has cleared outright waivers and accepted an assignment to Triple-A on the three prior occasions.

The return of Pineda came somewhat sooner than had been expected, as he ultimately missed about a month with a right forearm strain. His health and effectiveness will obviously be critical down the stretch as the Yankees fight for the division title. And Pineda will also be pitching for his next contract, as he’ll hit arbitration for the second (and second-to-last) time over the winter looking to build off of his $2.1MM salary from the present season.


Injury Notes: Martin, Sabathia, Affeldt, Stanton

Rangers center fielder Leonys Martin will have surgery tomorrow to remove the hamate bone from his right hand, reports Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (on Twitter). Martin was optioned to Triple-A in early August due to severe struggles in the Majors but had batted .297/.372/.541 with a pair of homers in nine Triple-A contests. Per Wilson, he’ll be able to play defense again in two weeks’ time and could hit in four to six weeks. Martin most likely would’ve rejoined the Rangers’ active roster on Sept. 1, but it seems that his return to the active roster will be delayed.

A few more injury notes from around the game…

  • Upon meeting with doctors, CC Sabathia learned that he won’t need surgery to repair his arthritic knee, writes George A. King III of the New York Post. Sabathia hopes he can return in early September, and the lefty tells King he’ll pitch with the Yankees in any capacity upon his return, as his main priority is helping the team win. “If that means pitching out of the bullpen, it is what it is,” said Sabathia. “I am not here to make that decision, that’s not for me to make.” Sabathia did add that he feels like he could start, if healthy. Manager Joe Girardi said yesterday that there was a chance Sabathia would be out for the season, but that now seems unlikely.
  • The Giants‘ injury troubles continued today, as lefty reliever Jeremy Affeldt landed on the 15-day disabled list due to a subluxed left knee sustained when playing with his children, per an Associated Press report. The 36-year-old Affeldt hasn’t been himself this season, struggling to a 5.46 ERA with 5.7 K/9 against 4.0 BB/9 in 31 1/3 innings. His injury nonetheless thins out the bullpen for the Giants, who have turned to Triple-A right-hander Mike Broadway.
  • Giancarlo Stanton believes he’s about 10 days away from returning to the lineup, writes MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro, meaning he’d tentatively come off the disabled list on Sept. 4. Stanton has been absent from the Marlins since breaking his hamate bone on June 26 and undergoing surgery two days later.

AL East Notes: Sabathia, O’s, Sox, Buchholz, Kelly, HanRam

Yankees lefty CC Sabathia will not need surgery and hopes to limit his absence to an approximately two-week layoff, Bryan Hoch of MLB.com reports (Twitter links). It had been feared that his balky right knee could end his season. The southpaw also said that he’d be amenable to working in relief when he comes back, if requested, saying he is open to “helping the team any way I can.”

  • This August has apparently been heavy on waiver claims, with one general manager telling Peter Gammons of GammonsDaily.com that he’s never seen this many claims made. “The Orioles seemingly claim everyone,” said the unnamed GM. Of course, Baltimore has yet to pull off any deals this month (or end up being awarded any claimed contracts).
  • The Red Sox head towards 2016 as “almost an entirely blank slate,” writes Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald. Many pieces of next year’s roster remain to be determined by new president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, he explains, to say nothing of the front office and coaching staff.
  • One interesting decision for the Red Sox has been somewhat surprisingly underplayed thus far, says Rob Bradford of WEEI.com, who writes that the team faces a difficult decision on Clay Buchholz and his $13MM option. It’s entirely unclear what Dombrowski thinks, of course, and elbow issues have the remainder of the season in question for the righty. Buchholz has been quite good this year, of course, but isn’t set to resume a throwing program for another week. Even if he doesn’t return to the hill this year, says Bradford, that option still seems like a reasonable risk. The 30-year-old, meanwhile, denies that he views a return as necessary for his own contract situation. “I’ve been assured by a couple of different doctors that if the Red Sox or any other team needed any kind of word on how they should view it they would definitely call and talk to whomever they need to talk to just to reassure I’m 100 percent healthy even without throwing,” he said. “Time is the best doctor for this sort of thing from the information I gathered from Dr. Andrews. What I’m looking to do is just start playing catch.”
  • Especially after a strong recent run, righty Joe Kelly remains an “intriguing” (albeit uncertain) piece for the Red Sox, writes Alex Speier of the Boston Globe. Senior club analyst Tom Tippett rightly noted recently at the SaberSeminar in Boston that evaluations of trades are always changing. In this case, he said, “if we can figure out how to turn Joe Kelly into a number two or three starter with all those great tools he has, it might look very good a few years from now.”
  • Another major Red Sox question mark, of course, is Hanley Ramirez. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe argues that Ramirez should not be considered an option at first base, arguing that he either needs to improve in left field or hit the trade block. But sources tell Cafardo that Ramirez has not put in extra work on his outfield defense since Spring Training, though there appears to be consideration regarding injuries and wear and tear that account for that to some extent. Of course, the trade route doesn’t look terribly promising either, though Cafardo suggests that some kind of bad contract swap could be explored.
  • Interestingly, though Ramirez was spotted today working with a first baseman’s mitt and receiving instruction from David Ortiz and coach Brian Butterfield, Lauber tweets. Needless to say, it’s far too soon to reach any conclusions even as to what kinds of possibilities the club could pursue, underscoring the uncertainty that Lauber highlighted in the above-linked piece.
  • If you’re interested in a discussion of all those moving pieces, be sure to check out last week’s MLBTR Podcast with Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald, who did a nice job of setting up the fascinating offseason to come.

Quick Hits: Chemistry, Cuba, Rule 5, Breakouts

Clubhouse chemistry still plays an important role in making a winner, writes Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Multiple players — in rather thoughtful and interesting quotes — tell Nightengale that it is unwise to reject that factor as having causative effect simply because it can’t presently be measured. Indeed, while some adages have been questioned, the ever-changing capacity to measure and value various components of the game has in some cases validated “traditional” viewpoints (as in the case of catcher framing). And it’s not hard to imagine how a positive work environment could help boost play over a long season under often-stressful conditions. Of course, valuing that impact remains a highly inexact science, and it is difficult to separate out true “chemistry” from the generally positive aura of a club that happens to be winning games (due to whatever combination of talent and luck it may have enjoyed). Regardless of one’s feelings on the subject, the piece provides good fodder for thought.

For more reading on the topic, I highly recommend a 2013 piece by Sam Miller for ESPN, which goes into outstanding depth on the opportunities and limitations in this arena. Here are few more notes from around the league:

  • Baseball America’s Ben Badler looks in at the latest on the developing market for Cuban talent. There’s too much to summarize here, but Badler includes updates on several of the players who are preparing to sign with major league teams as well as the latest developments and intrigue on those still in Cuba.
  • We are in the midst of a historic season for Rule 5 prospects, writes BA’s J.J. Cooper. As he notes, with just days to go until rosters expand, it appears that a remarkable ten of fourteen picks from last winter will be kept by their new teams. Even better, several players — Odubel Herrera and Delino DeShields Jr. chief among them — have been real big league contributors.
  • This season, like every other, has featured apparent breakouts from numerous players, only some of which will prove sustainable. In an Insider piece, ESPN.com’s Keith Law lists the nine men who are most likely to build off their big 2015 campaigns. Two of the names on the list — Shelby Miller of the Braves and Nathan Eovaldi of the Yankees — were acquired in offseason trades in hopes that they could regain upward trajectories.

Sabathia Possibly Done For Season; Yankees Re-Sign Capuano

The Yankees will place left-hander CC Sabathia on the disabled list due to a right knee injury, and manager Joe Girardi told reporters, including MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch (Twitter link) that “it’s a possibility” that Sabathia will not pitch again in 2015. As a result of the injury, the Yankees have re-signed Chris Capuano, who had briefly elected free agency, according to a team announcement.

The 35-year-old Sabathia exited yesterday’s contest due to knee pain after just 2 2/3 innings. If his season is indeed finished, he will end the year with a 5.27 ERA with 7.4 K/9 against 2.4 BB/9 in 138 1/3 innings. It would also mark the second straight year in which a right knee injury ended Sabathia’s season early. He has one more guaranteed season remaining on his contract and will earn $25MM in 2016, but his 2017 vesting option for the same amount will become guaranteed if Sabathia’s left shoulder remains healthy in 2016. The only ways for the option not to vest are if Sabathia ends the season on the DL due to a shoulder injury, if he spends 45 or more days on the DL due to a shoulder injury or if he makes six or more relief appearances due to a shoulder injury.

For the Yankees, it further depletes the team’s rotation depth, although as Jack Curry of the YES Network noted earlier today (on Twitter) that Michael Pineda threw a bullpen session today and is slated to return to the rotation on Wednesday vs. Houston. Pineda, then, would join Masahiro Tanaka, Ivan Nova, Nathan Eovaldi and Luis Severino in the rotation, with Capuano (and perhaps eventually Bryan Mitchell) serving as depth options.

Capuano, who turned 37 earlier this week, has pitched 33 innings for the Yankees in 2015 but struggled to a 6.55 ERA. He’s averaged 8.5 K/9 but also yielded 4.4 BB/9, hit three batters and served up five homers. Capuano has, somewhat incredibly, been designated for assignment and outrighted three times in the past month. As the Yankees announced, he technically rejected his most recent outright in order to sign a new Major League contract and expedite his return to the big league roster.


Injury Notes: Sabathia, Hardy, Wright

An update some some notable players who will be joining or leaving the disabled list…

  • C.C. Sabathia lasted just 2 2/3 innings in today’s start before leaving due to pain in his right knee.  The veteran lefty will at least be shut down for a while, though Yankees GM Brian Cashman told reporters (including MLB.com’s Grace Raynor) that he presumed Sabathia will need a DL stint “just because he walked off the field without even throwing another pitch.”  Sabathia underwent surgery on that same knee in 2014 and has been bothered by pain for much of this season, which could partially explain his rough 5.24 ERA over 135 2/3 innings.  The Yankees had planned to expand to a six-man rotation upon Michael Pineda‘s impending return from the DL, though those plans are on hold with Sabathia sidelined.
  • The Orioles announced that shortstop J.J. Hardy has been placed on the 15-day DL with a left groin injury, and he’ll undergo an MRI on Monday to determine the severity of the injury.  Hardy, who also missed all of April with a strained shoulder, has hit only .220/.251/.313 in 353 plate appearances this season, his first under a three-year, $40MM extension signed last October.  Ryan Flaherty will likely handle shortstop duties while Hardy is out, though the O’s also have Paul Janish at Triple-A.
  • The Mets plan to activate David Wright from the disabled list prior to Monday’s game against the Phillies.  Southpaw Dario Alvarez has been optioned to Triple-A to make room for Wright on the active roster, ESPN’s Adam Rubin reports.  Wright was originally placed on the DL in April with a strained hamstring but he was discovered to have the much more serious condition known as spinal stenosis.