New York Yankees Rumors

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

Quick Hits: Braves, Ross, Cabrera, Kang, Aoki

The White Sox, Yankees and Astros have spent heavily on relief help this offseason, and ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick wonders if they’ll end up regretting their expensive contracts for veteran relievers. “In the last couple of years we’ve lost a lot of games late in the eighth and ninth inning,” says White Sox manager Ventura. “After a while you sit there and think, ‘We have to have somebody who can come in and do this.’ Everything has its risks — and this is one of them — but we’re pretty confident we got a guy [David Robertson] who we can put in the bullpen and be a leader.” The reason for all the spending on players like Robertson, Zach Duke, Andrew Miller, Luke Gregerson and Pat Neshek isn’t so much that teams are trying to emulate the Royals‘ ferocious 2014 bullpen, Crasnick suggests. Rather, it’s more that teams are loaded with cash and pitchers like Robertson and Miller are very good. Here are more notes from around the Majors.

  • The Braves continue to explore potential trades involving Justin Upton and Evan Gattis, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports (Twitter links). The Braves have spoken about Upton and Gattis with five teams Wednesday, and continued to consider ways to include B.J. Upton or Chris Johnson in trades involving Justin Upton or Gattis. The Padres had previously looked like a potential destination for Justin Upton, but it would appear that their agreement to acquire Wil Myers today rules them out as a potential trade partner, at least for now.
  • Free agent catcher David Ross is deciding between the Red Sox, Cubs and Padres, WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford writes. Meanwhile, lefty reliever Craig Breslow has spoken to the Red Sox and Cubs. Ross has played for the Red Sox, of course, and has a history with Jon Lester and Theo Epstein of the Cubs (although his signing with the Cubs would likely result in, or come as the result of, a trade of Welington Castillo). The Padres are in the process of trading both Yasmani Grandal and Rene Rivera, but are also in the process of acquiring Ryan Hanigan and Tim Federowicz, so it’s unclear where Ross would fit in.
  • Asdrubal Cabrera has drawn interest from the Giants, Athletics, Mets, Cardinals and Twins, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman tweets. Heyman writes that Cabrera could play second base or third base as well as shortstop, although there have been rumblings that Cabrera prefers to play shortstop or second base only, and not third. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle would be surprised if the A’s are interested, as they’ve never shown interest in Cabrera in past years despite up-the-middle needs (Twitter links).
  • Those same five teams have asked about Korean middle infielder Jung-ho Kang, although the Athletics and Mets are downplaying their interest, Heyman tweets. A’s GM Billy Beane has stated on the record that reports of his club’s interest in Kang are inaccurate. Kang was posted earlier this week.
  • Heyman lists the Orioles, Reds and Mariners as possibilities for Nori Aoki, with the veteran outfielder potentially receiving two to three years at $7MM-$8MM per year. Aoki had previously been connected to the Orioles and Reds, with the Orioles mostly interested in him as a backup option. Heyman reported last week that Aoki was looking for a three-year deal. Earlier this offseason, we at MLBTR guessed he would receive two years and $16MM.

Yankees To Re-Sign Chris Capuano

The Yankees have agreed to a one-year deal with lefty Chris Capuano, Jack Curry of the YES Network reports (Twitter links). Capuano receives a $5MM guarantee, per Curry. ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick tweeted this morning that Capuano was nearing a deal with an unspecified big league club.

Since his strong 2012 (198 1/3, 3.72 ERA), Capuano has been steady, if unspectacular, over the last two seasons. Last year, his age-35 campaign, he worked in a swingman capacity for the Red Sox and Yanks, posting a 4.35 earned run mark over 97 1/3 innings. He worked exclusively from the pen in Boston, and in the rotation in New York.

Capuano figures to provide some much-needed protection against injury for a New York rotation that includes question marks like Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda. If he is not needed as a starter, Capuano should be able to work as a long man in the pen.


Minor Moves: Teahen, Pridie, Kelly, Worth, Francisco

Former Royals infielder/outfielder Mark Teahen has retired from baseball, tweets SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo. Now 33 years old, Teahen last appeared in the Majors in 2011 and most recently split the 2013 season between the D-Backs’ minor league system and indy ball. Teahen had an outstanding 2006 season in which he batted .290/.357/.517 with 18 homers and 10 steals, but he was never able to repeat that success. Teahen eventually found himself the recipient of a three-year, $14MM extension with the White Sox that provided the bulk of his $21MM career earnings. All told, he will finish his career as a .264/.327/.409 hitter in 3171 plate appearances.

Here are today’s minor moves from around the league…

  • Outfielder Jason Pridie and right-hander Merrill Kelly have signed with the SK Wyverns of the Korea Baseball Organization, tweets ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. The 31-year-old Pridie has received cups of coffee in each of the past three seasons but accrued most of his big league service time with the 2011 Mets when he batted .231/.309/.370 in 236 PA. He’s perhaps best known for being part of the trade that sent Delmon Young to Minnesota and Matt Garza to Tampa. Kelly, on the other hand, has spent his entire career with the Rays organization. He’s posted a career 3.40 ERA with 6.5 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 527 1/3 innings and reached Triple-A for the first time in 2014.
  • Former Tigers infielder Danny Worth has signed a minor league deal with the Diamondbacks, reports MLive.com’s Chris Iott. Worth received offers from multiple clubs, including one who had interest in him as a pitcher, Iott adds (Worth pitched twice in 2014 and actually throws a decent knuckleball). The 29-year-old Worth is a career .230/.293/.295 hitter with Detroit and a .242/.320/.350 hitter at the Triple-A level.
  • Baseball America’s Matt Eddy reports (via Twitter) that the D-Backs have also signed former big league outfielder Ben Francisco to a minor league deal. Francisco, now 33 years of age, didn’t see big league action in 2014 but has a career .253/.323/.418 batting line in parts of seven big league seasons.
  • Eddy also tweets that the Red Sox have signed right-hander Nestor Molina and catcher Luke Montz to minor league deals. Molina struggled in parts of three seasons in the White Sox’ minor league system after being acquired in the Sergio Santos trade. Montz is a 31-year-old veteran with 56 big league plate appearances and a .232/.318/.456 batting line in parts of four seasons at the Triple-A level.
  • The Royals have signed infielder Gabriel Noriega, tweets Eddy. Noriega is described by Eddy as a slick fielder who made a couple of Royals Top 30 prospects lists. The 27-year-old hit .275/.299/.360 between Double-A and Triple-A in the Mariners organization last year.
  • The Marlins have acquired righty Craig Stem from the Dodgers to complete the Kyle Jensen trade, Miami announced. Stem reached Double-A last year at age 24, but struggled mightily upon his promotion. The Dodgers are now expected to designate Jensen for assignment to clear room for the signing of Brandon McCarthy, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports tweets.
  • First baseman Clint Robinson has joined the Nationals on a minor league pact, Ryan Walton reported on Twitter (and Robinson himself confirmed through a tweet). The 29-year-old has scant MLB experience, but torched the PCL with a .312/.401/.534 line over 499 plate appearances last year.
  • Dan Johnson is set to reach a minor league deal with the Astros, Chris Cotillo of SB Nation tweets. Johnson is 35 and has not reached triple-digit MLB plate appearances since 2010 (and 2007 before that), but owns a lifetime .281/.401/.509 slash at the Triple-A level.
  • The White Sox have added lefty Zach Phillips on a minor league deal, Eddy reports on Twitter. As Eddy notes, the South Siders have been loading up on LOOGY depth this offseason. The 28-year-old has seen sporadic big league action, with 15 2/3 innings to his credit over 2011-13, and spent some time last year playing in Japan.
  • The Indians have added catcher Brett Hayes and corner outfielder/first baseman Jerry Sands on minor league deals, Eddy tweets. Hayes has appeared in six-straight big league seasons, though he’s never seen more than 144 plate appearances in a season. Sands, 27, has mostly played at the Triple-A level in recent seasons, but did get 227 plate appearances in 2011 (.253/.338/.389).
  • After being non-tendered, Jose Campos (Yankees) and Gus Schlosser (Braves) have returned to their prior organizations, Eddy reports on Twitter. Both righties have moved into swingman roles in their organizations, though Campos has yet even to reach High-A while Schlosser saw 15 games in the big leagues last year.


Yankees Sign Chase Headley

4:58pm: Headley will not obtain direct no-trade protection, but he earns a $1MM bonus if he is dealt, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets.

12:52pm: The Yankees have locked up one of their top free agent targets, as they announced on Monday the signing of third baseman Chase Headley to a four-year deal. Headley will reportedly receive $52MM over the life of the contract, and MLBTR has learned that he can earn up to $1MM each season for reaching 550 plate appearances, meaning his contract can max out at $56MM over four years. The 30-year-old Headley is a client of Excel Sports Management’s Jim Murray.

Chase Headley

Headley joined the Yankees in a midseason trade that sent infielder Yangervis Solarte and right-hander Rafael De Paula to the Padres. After struggling to a .229/.296/.355 batting line in 77 games with the Padres, Headley improved to a .262/.371/.398 line in 58 games with the Yankees. Of course, those numbers are a far cry from his MVP-caliber 2012 — a season in which he batted .286/.376/.498 with 31 homers.

Even if Headley’s 2012 was the offensive peak of his career — and his numbers since that time suggest that it was — the switch-hitter can still bring plenty of value as an average to above-average bat capable of playing elite defense at third base. Headley posted a 119 OPS+ with the Yankees, suggesting that his bat was 19 percent above the league average, and he posted a 112 mark in 2013 with the Padres. Scouts and defensive metrics are both in agreement that Headley is a strong defender at third base. While he’s unlikely to repeat 2014’s single-season marks of +13 defensive runs saved and +28 UZR/150, DRS feels he’s saved 29 runs over 6300 innings at third in his career, and UZR/150 has him as a lifetime +10.8 defender. All of those factors led MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes to project a four-year, $48MM contract more than two months ago, which proved to be very accurate.

Perhaps the largest concern with Headley is that of his health. Headley fractured the tip of his thumb in Spring Training 2013, and some believe he may have rushed back quickly from the injury, dampening his production. He also dealt with a knee injury that ultimately ended up requiring surgery in the 2013-14 offseason. This past year, Headley spent two weeks on the disabled list with a calf strain and also battled a herniated disc in his back that required an epidural injection in early July.

By adding Headley, the Yankees can now deploy Martin Prado at second base, Didi Gregorius at shortstop and Mark Teixeira at first base, with Alex Rodriguez shifting to a bench/DH role. The Headley signing creates a clear road block to regular playing time for prospects Rob Refsnyder and Jose Pirela, either of whom could have battled for time at second base had Headley signed elsewhere and Prado manned third base.

With much of their lineup now secured, the Yankees figure to turn to the pitching staff. They’ve already added Andrew Miller in place of David Robertson (who signed with the White Sox) but still lack certainty in their rotation. CC Sabathia has struggled in recent seasons and underwent season-ending knee surgery last year after just 46 innings. Masahiro Tanaka‘s elbow is a question mark after he rehabbed a minor tear in his UCL. Ivan Nova underwent Tommy John surgery last April, Shane Greene has been traded to the Tigers and Michael Pineda‘s injury history is extensive. Brandon McCarthy was thought to be GM Brian Cashman’s top target following an excellent 91-inning stint with the Yankees in 2014, but he’s returned to the NL West on a four-year deal with the Dodgers.

WFAN’s Sweeny Murti was the first to report that Headley would make a decision today. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that Headley and the Yankees were nearing a four-year deal (Twitter link). Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported the agreement and base salary (Twitter links). MLBTR was the first to report the specifics of Headley’s incentives.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Chase Headley Nearing Decision

Third baseman Chase Headley is nearing a decision and could reach an agreement as soon as today, reports WFAN’s Sweeny Murti. The Yankees, according to Murti, are still in the mix, but they face competition from the Giants and likely other clubs as well.

Headley, 30, has been linked to both the Astros and Marlins at various times. A previous report indicated that he’d received a four-year, $65MM offer, but to this point, no report has indicated the source of that offer, and some within the industry have voiced doubt that it exists. Bill Madden of the New York Daily News, however, did hear last week that the Astros have offered Headley $65MM over a five-year term rather than a four-year term.

Headley batted .243/.328/.372 last season, though his numbers improved upon his departure from Petco Park in a trade to the Yankees. With New York, Headley batted .262/.371/.398 with six of his 13 homers in 58 games. And, of course, Headley is known to be one of the game’s premier defensive third basemen.

Last night, Yankees GM Brian Cashman told Brendan Kuty of NJ.com that Headley “wants to be a Yankee” and that Headley’s agents have recently been in touch with the Yankees (Twitter links). “If we can find a common ground,” said Cashman, “I’d like to have him man third base as we move forward.”


East Notes: Yankees, Red Sox, Lester, Nationals

The Yankees‘ restraint so far this offseason is to be commended, New York Daily News’ Bill Madden writes. The Yankees have kept top prospects like Luis Severino, Gregory Bird and Aaron Judge, and they’ve avoided risky big-money free agent contracts, suggesting they’ve “learned their lesson about trying to buy a championship as opposed to building from within.” Still, the Yankees need to find a starting pitcher after losing both Brandon McCarthy and Shane Greene. Here are more notes from the East divisions.

  • Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino didn’t mince words today about the team’s failure to sign Jon Lester, John Tomase of the Boston Herald writes. “We didn’t succeed, so I don’t give us a very good grade,” said Lucchino. “We were trying, sincerely, to get him signed, and wanted him to come back here, but free agency is a special opportunity for a player, and it only comes up once or twice if you’re lucky in your career.” Lucchino again characterized the Red Sox’ $70MM extension offer from the spring — widely perceived to be an attempt to lowball Lester — as just a starting point for negotiations, but noted that offer didn’t create the dialogue the Red Sox hoped for. Lucchino said that the Red Sox’ $135MM offer was sincere, and that they would have been happy had he accepted.
  • With Ian Desmond, Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister, Denard Span and Tyler Clippard all eligible for free agency following next winter, the Nationals feel a strong sense of urgency about the coming season, MLB.com’s Andrew Simon writes. Friday’s trade of Ross Detwiler to the Rangers showed some Nationals that they and some of their teammates could be headed elsewhere soon. “Makes you realize we’ve got to get this going,” says Craig Stammen. “If we want to do it with this group, we’ve got to get it done as quick as possible. Hopefully, we’ll get it done next year.”
  • Nats exec Mike Rizzo says he’s striking a “delicate balance” between winning now and winning in the future, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post writes. Nonetheless, perhaps unsurprisingly, it sounds like the Nationals are going to take another serious shot at winning in 2015, despite the possible departures of so many core players after the season. “We have a good team we know that can compete to play meaningful games in October. We’re going to take that and run with it,” says Rizzo.

AL East Notes: Yanks, Detwiler, McLouth, Melky, Sox

The Yankees came away from the Winter Meetings without completing any deals, though it wasn’t for lack of trying, GM Brian Cashman told reporters, including MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch“We threw a lot of ideas a lot of different ways, but we’ve got a long way between now and Opening Day,” said Cashman as he left the meetings. We’ll keep our conversations that still are ongoing alive, and just wait and see.” Hoch writes that the Yankees never made proposals to David Robertson or Brandon McCarthy, the latter of whom “went to a level we couldn’t play on,” in Cashman’s words.

More from the AL East…

  • The Orioles had definite interest in Ross Detwiler before the Nats traded him to the Rangers, reports Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. That he ended up in Texas may be best for the player himself, however, as Kubatko notes that Baltimore would’ve kept Detwiler in the ‘pen. The Rangers plan to use him as a starter, which is his preference.
  • Also from Kubatko, the Orioles have interest in bringing back old friend Nate McLouth, though not at his current $5MM (plus a $750K buyout of a 2016 option) price tag. The Nationals are willing to eat part of that salary to move McLouth, Kubatko adds, but the Orioles will wait to see if he is released for the time being.
  • The Orioles have some interest in Melky Cabrera, reports Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun, but only on a two- or three-year deal (Twitter link). Cabrera is said to be eyeing a five-year deal, however, and the Mariners’ previously reported interest appears to be stronger than that of the Orioles, based on Encina’s tweet.
  • Though the Red Sox have five starters (or will have five, once the Wade Miley trade is completed), Jon Morosi of FOX Sports tweets that they’re still a match for Cole Hamels. He speculates that an arm like Joe Kelly could be a part of a trade with the Phillies, thereby opening a spot in the Boston rotation.
  • Peter Gammons looks at the reconstructed Red Sox rotation, noting a heavy emphasis on ground-ball pitchers that places some pressure on Xander Bogaerts and Pablo Sandoval. Gammons notes that the Red Sox brass is aware of its lack of a front-line starter. They’d like to add James Shields, but “exit polls” at the Winter Meetings had him going to the Giants, according to Gammons. Johnny Cueto is of interest, but the “timing and price isn’t there right now,” and Hamels negotiations with the Phillies have been difficult for all teams involved.

AL East Notes: Red Sox, Miley, Cashman, Bruce

Even with Justin Masterson, Rick Porcello and (eventually) Wade Miley now in the fold, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington didn’t close the door on the possibility of more pitching moves.  “I think we’€™re going to keep working and see what comes to us. Our hope was to really strengthen our rotation, our position with the rotation, this week, or at some point soon. Hopefully we’€™ll be able to do that,” Cherington told reporters, including WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford.  The GM said he thinks teams can get by without having a frontline ace atop their rotation, though also pointed out his roster has “a lot of younger pitching that we think in time, some of them have a chance to develop into that type of guy.”

Here’s some more from around the AL East…

  • The Miley trade hasn’t yet been finalized since the Red Sox and Diamondbacks are “still squabbling about the extra player,” Arizona GM Dave Stewart tells reporters, including MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert.  The player in question is a prospect Boston will be sending to the D’Backs along with Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster.
  • The Yankees talked to the D’Backs and Tigers about Miley and Porcello, Brian Cashman told reporters (including George A. King III of the New York Post).  “Did I call Arizona? Yes. Did I call Detroit? Yes. I didn’t have [Yoenis] Cespedes to send to Detroit. We are waiting for something we are comfortable with,” Cashman said.  The GM said he “threw a lot of different ideas a lot of different ways” during a quiet Winter Meetings for the Yankees and he’ll “keep conversations alive” throughout the offseason.
  • The Orioles “kicked the tires” on Reds outfielder Jay Bruce but couldn’t match up on a trade with Cincinnati, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets.  In the wake of Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis signing elsewhere, the O’s have a definite need for corner outfield help.
  • Scott Boras told reporters (including Sportsnet.ca’s Shi Davidi) that the Blue Jays were one of the teams who had expressed interest in Japanese middle infielder Takashi Toritani.  This would be a rare case of a Boras client signing with Toronto, a disconnect that the agent attributes to the club’s policy against contracts longer than five years.  “They’re the only team that has said that limitation is five years. When you do that, you are cutting yourself off from a pool of talent that makes it very, very difficult to compete, particularly in the AL East,” Boras said.  (It should be noted that the Jays’ five-year policy probably isn’t applicable in Toritani’s case, as the 33-year-old infielder is very unlikely to receive that long a contract from any team.)

Minor Moves: Villarreal, Noonan, Rangers

Here are today’s minor transactions, with the newest moves at the top of the post…

  • The Twins have signed right-hander Brayan Villarreal to a split contract, ESPN’s Enrique Rojas reports (via Twitter).  The deal contains an invitation to Minnesota’s Spring Training camp and Villarreal will earn $522K if he stays on the Twins’ Major League roster.  Villarreal last pitched in the majors in 2013 and spent last season with the Red Sox Triple-A affiliate.
  • The Yankees signed infielder Nick Noonan to a minor league deal, the New York Post’s Joel Sherman reports (Twitter link).  Noonan, taken 32nd overall by the Giants in the 2007 draft, has a .262/.316/.368 slash line over 3322 career PA in the minors, all in San Francisco’s farm system.  He appeared in 62 games with the Giants in 2013.
  • The Rangers signed outfielder Antoan Richardson and right-handers Anthony Bass and Ross Wolf to minor league deals with Spring Training invitations, the team announced (hat tip to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram).
  • The Marlins are likely to sign free agent infielder Scott Sizemore, SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo tweets.  Sizemore signed a minor league deal with the Yankees last winter and played in six games for the club before being released and re-signed over the summer.  Due in part to a pair of major knee injuries, Sizemore has only appeared in eight Major League games over the last three seasons.
  • The Brewers have released outfielder Jeremy Hermida so he can pursue an opportunity to play in Japan, the team announced.  Hermida just signed a new minor league contract with Milwaukee in November.  The former 11th overall pick (in the 2002 draft) and top prospect last played in the majors in 2012 as a member of the Padres.

Latest On Asdrubal Cabrera

3:34pm: Giants GM Bobby Evans threw some cold water on the idea of Cabrera playing the hot corner in San Francisco in a session with reporters. He said that Cabrera prefers to play up the middle — whether at second or short — and that there is not a fit right now, though the door remains open. (Via Alex Pavlovic of the Mercury News, on Twitter.)

1:27pm: The Giants are weighing the addition of Asdrubal Cabrera to play third base, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports on Twitter. He has received plenty of interest, per Heyman, though mostly at second or third rather than shortstop.

MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes recently noted on Twitter that the Royals have interest in Cabrera, in the event that Omar Infante is dealt. The Yankees and Dodgers also had some interest in Cabrera, Chris Cotillo of SB Nation tweets, though it would appear that those teams’ recent moves probably reduce the likelihood of a match.

Cabrera has seen a decent bit of action at second in his career, though he has only appeared at third in one big league game. He brings a roughly league average bat, though teams can perhaps hope for a return to his ceiling as he is still only 29 years of age.