New York Yankees Rumors

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

Yankees Sign Rich Hill

The Yankees have signed left-hander Rich Hill to a minor league deal and assigned him to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, according to Chad Jennings of LoHud.com (on Twitter). Hill is a client of ACES.

The 34-year-old Hill has made one appearance this season, with the Angels, but he allowed three walks and a hit without retiring a batter. That comes on the heels of an ugly 2013 season in which he posted a 6.28 ERA in 38 2/3 frames with the Indians.

However, Hill was very good at the Triple-A level with Boston in 2014, posting a 3.23 ERA with a 45-to-17 K/BB ratio in 39 innings of relief. The former Cubs starter last enjoyed success in the Majors in 2012 when he allowed four runs and struck out 21 in 19 2/3 innings of relief for Cleveland. He’s held lefties to a .215/.336/.338 batting line over parts of 10 Major League seasons.


AL East Notes: Soriano, Castillo, Cherington, Blue Jays, Yankees

Former Orioles and Rays outfielder/DH Luke Scott has been “fired” from his KBO club after some harsh words for his coach, as Jerry Spar of WEEI.com writes.  The 36-year-old must have been causing problems for SK Wyverns, because he was carrying a productive .267/.392/.505 line in 130 plate appearances for the club. Scott split time at the DH position last year with Tampa, slashing a slightly above-average .241/.326/.415 (108 OPS+).

Here’s the latest from the AL East:

  • The Blue Jays have “checked on” recently-released outfielder Alfonso Soriano, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Soriano, who might provide a power bat while several regulars work their way back off the DL, is “mulling his option,” according to Rosenthal.

Earlier Updates

  • The Orioles will scout Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo at his upcoming workout, tweets Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. Castillo, 27, is an intriguing player to watch; as Ben Badler of Baseball America writes, he could even have an impact on a big league roster later this year.
  • Red Sox GM Ben Cherington said today that a lot of trade chatter has already happened between clubs, in an interview with WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan (audio link). He acknowledged that his struggling club is not conceding the season, but is “engaged in the conversations … to be in position to make the right decisions” at the trade deadline. But he said that the organization is not yet at the point of swapping actual trade proposals, though it is aware of what contending teams’ needs are.
  • Looking back, Cherington says that he “didn’t do a good enough job building a complete offense.” Though the team felt good about things heading into the season, says Cherington, the offensive production has been missing even though the pitching has been good enough to win.
  • The Blue Jays may prioritize upgrades in the lineup (a second or third baseman, most likely) and in the bullpen over acquiring starting pitching help, reports Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star. Of course, in spite of GM Alex Anthopoulos’s insistence that the team can add salary in the right scenario, some believe that the club lacks financial flexibility on the big league roster.
  • One reason that observers doubt the Blue Jays‘ ability to boost payroll this year is the club’s pre-season pursuit of Ervin Santana, which involved a reported plan involving salary deferment from several veterans. As Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca reports, MLBPA head Tony Clark criticized that situation, saying “it is not the players’ responsibility to sign a player or bring a player on board.” Clark said that any deferral should redound to the individual player’s ultimate benefit, but was somewhat ambiguous about what in particular concerned him in this case. “As it was brought to our attention, there were a number of conversations that were had, unfortunately with some of those players in the middle,” he said. “How that entire process was handled we don’t believe was in a fashion that was as beneficial to everyone involved as it could have been. The place we ended up suggested the players were able to make, should they decide, those deferrals in an effort to bring in those players.”
  • Yankees prospect Luis Severino has received a promotion to Double-A, as Josh Norris of Baseball America recently tweeted. The 20-year-old righty had only recently been bumped to the High-A level, where he dominated in four starts. Severino landed among the top fifty prospects in the game according to Baseball America’s mid-season update, but another New York youngster — outfielder Aaron Judge — caught the eye of ESPN.com’s Keith Law (Insider link) for his own updated top fifty.

Yankees Release Alfonso Soriano

JULY 14: The Yankees have released Soriano, per the MLB.com transactions page.

New York will owe Soriano the remainder of the $5MM portion of his salary for which the team is obligated. He will be free to sign with any club (likely at a league-minimum rate), though Soriano has indicated that he would give at least some consideration to retirement.

JULY 6: Yankees manager Joe Girardi told reporters, including Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News (on Twitter), that Alfonso Soriano has been designated for assignment.  Dropping Soriano from the roster will make room for the newly-acquired Brandon McCarthy.

MLB: New York Yankees at Kansas City Royals

Soriano has been struggling this season, batting just .221/.244/.367 with six homers in 238 plate appearances.  Still, the news comes as a surprise given Soriano’s lifetime body of work.  In fact, before this season, Soriano was in the midst of a career resurgence with a .258/.312/.494 slash line between 2012 and 2013 with the Cubs and Yankees.

The 38-year-old is in the final year of the eight-year, $136MM contract that he signed with the Cubs in November 2006.  Soriano will earn $18MM on the year, but the Yankees are only on the hook for a portion of that with the Cubs paying the majority of the deal.  The Cubs are paying out $13MM of Soriano’s 2014 salary while the Bombers are responsible for just $5MM.

Soriano is sure to find plenty of suitors looking for outfield help, but it remains to be seen how much longer he wants to keep playing.  Soriano previously discussed retiring after the 2014 season but he also indicated that he might want to keep going through 2016.  At the time, he said he’d like to finish his career with the Bombers, but that doesn’t appear to be in the cards now.

If Soriano packs it in at the end of the season, or in a couple of years from now, he won’t be hurting for cash.  According to Baseball-Reference, Soriano has earned nearly $158MM over the course of his big league career.  In 16 seasons for the Yankees, Rangers, Nationals, and Cubs, Soriano posted a lifetime .270/.319/.500 slash line and earned seven consecutive All-Star selections from 2002 through 2008.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.



AL East Notes: Duquette, Robertson, Jays

It was on this day in 1934 that Lou Gehrig made his only career appearance at shortstop, though the Yankees legend never actually took the field at the position.  Gehrig was battling lumbago when the Yankees traveled to Detroit to face the Tigers, yet the “Iron Horse” was in the doubly-unusual lineup spot of both playing short and hitting leadoff.  After Gehrig singled to begin the game, he was removed for pinch-runner Red Rolfe, who played short the rest of the way.  This game was one of a few unofficial rest days Gehrig occasionally received while continuing his consecutive game streak into the 1939 season.

Here’s some news from around the AL East…

  • The Orioles are having “active discussions with a number of teams” about possible trades, O’s executive VP Dan Duquette told MASNsports.com’s Steve Melewski, though the talks have “not really” gotten very serious.  Duquette implied that teams are asking for Baltimore’s top prospects in return and he didn’t outright deny the possibility of dealing one of those minor leaguers.  “Young talent is going to be the lifeblood of our organization, but at the same time we want to advance the organization in the postseason, so that is kind of what you’re looking at,” Duquette said.  “We hope our top prospects are going to help us for a long time.”
  • David Robertson says there have “been zero talks” between his representatives and the Yankees about a contract extension, Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News reports.  “When the offseason comes, it comes and we’ll hear what other teams and everybody else wants to say,” Robertson noted, though he said he would like to remain with the Yankees.  The closer will become a free agent this winter and he’s set himself up for a nice contract after an impressive first half as Mariano Rivera‘s replacement.  The Yankees generally don’t discuss extensions before a player’s contract is up, so the lack of talks shouldn’t necessarily indicate any disinterest in retaining Robertson, though Dellin Betances could be waiting in the wings as a future closer.
  • For the second straight year, Joe Girardi is leading an injury-depleted Yankees team to a record that outperforms a negative run differential, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post writes.  While questions are being raised about several other aspects of the Yankees organization in the face of another postseason absence, Davidoff notes that “Girardi keeps enhancing his status, both within the organization and among other teams.”
  • The names of Daniel Norris and Dalton Pompey have already been frequently mentioned in Blue Jays trade rumors, and Sportsnet.ca’s Shi Davidi profiles the two prospects who are both big parts of the Jays’ future, whether it be in a Toronto uniform or as bait to obtain upgrades before the deadline.

Minor Moves: Alderson, O’Neill, Wang, Miller, Wolf

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

  • The Orioles have released pitcher Tim Alderson, David Hall of the Virginian Pilot tweets. The Giants traded Alderson, a 2007 first-round pick and former top prospect, to the Pirates for Freddy Sanchez in 2009, and the Bucs traded him to the Orioles for Russ Canzler last year. In 50 innings for Triple-A Norfolk this season, Alderson had a 6.12 ERA with 6.7 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9.
  • The Cardinals have outrighted outfielder Mike O’Neill after designating him for assignment Friday, MLB Daily Dish’s Chris Cotillo tweets. O’Neill, 26, has hit .258/.343/.341 in 320 plate appearances this season for Double-A Springfield.
  • Pitcher Chien-Ming Wang has opted out of his deal with the Reds, the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Fay tweets. Wang pitched 119 1/3 innings for Triple-A Louisville, posting a 3.70 ERA with 3.8 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9. He last appeared in the big leagues last season with the Blue Jays.
  • The Yankees have announced they have outrighted right-hander Jim Miller to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Miller was designated for assignment Friday. 
  • Randy Wolf has cleared out his locker and has left the Orioles‘ Triple-A team, tweets David Hall of the Virginian-Pilot. Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com tweeted Wolf opted out of his contract. The 37-year-old appeared in six games for Norfolk, including one start, and posted a 4.20 ERA with a 12-to-5 K-BB ratio in 15 innings.
  • Blue Jays right-hander Bobby Korecky has cleared waivers and been assigned to Triple-A Buffalo, the club announced (hat tip to Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith).  Korecky was designated for assignment on Friday.  The righty posted an 8.10 ERA over 3 1/3 relief innings for Toronto this season in his first taste of Major League action since a one-game cup of coffee in 2012.
  • The White Sox have released right-hander Henry Rodriguez, the team announced.  Rodriguez just recently signed a minor league deal with the Sox but posted a 21.60 ERA, three strikeouts and a whopping eight walks over 1 2/3 innings with Triple-A Charlotte.  That lack of control has been the story of Rodriguez’s career, as the righty has recorded a 6.4 BB/9 over 150 1/3 Major League innings with the Marlins, Cubs, Nationals and A’s over six seasons in the Show, though his high-90′s fastball has helped him record 151 strikeouts.  This is the second time Rodriguez has been released this season, as the Marlins already cut ties with him in June.

Edward Creech and Charlie Wilmoth contributed to this post.


Yankees Designate Then Option Matt Daley

4:33pm: The Yankees have announced Daley has been optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

9:51am: The Yankees designated right-hander Matt Daley for assignment, the team announced.  This is the second time Daley has been designated this season, and the move comes just a day after New York recalled Daley from Triple-A.

The 32-year-old has a 4.85 ERA, 6.2 K/9 and 1.5 K/BB rate over 13 relief innings for the Yankees this season, and he’s been very impressive at the Triple-A level, posting a 3.38 ERA, 12.8 K/9 and 5.43 K/BB over 26 2/3 innings for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Daley joins two other Yankees (Alfonso Soriano and Jim Miller) plus eight other players in “DFA limbo” according to the MLB Trade Rumors DFA Tracker.


AL East Notes: Price, Zobrist, Lackey, Lester

David Price is trying to just focus on pitching amidst the many trade rumors surrounding him, and the Rays ace admitted to being a bit nervous when he was recently summoned from a pre-start hot tub soak to Joe Maddon’s office.  Price told Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times that he was wondering if the long-rumored deal had finally come, but upon arriving at Maddon’s office, the skipper merely wanted to congratulate Price on making the All-Star team.  Topkin’s piece quotes Price and several other Rays on how everyone is handling all the trade buzz surrounding the star left-hander.

Here’s some more news from around the AL East…

  • The Giants are considered to be the team most interested in Ben Zobrist, Marc Topkin reports, with the Reds and Mariners among other teams also intrigued by the 33-year-old.  Zobrist would help the Giants and Reds at second base while the versatile 33-year-old would fit in Seattle as a shortstop or right fielder since Robinson Cano has the keystone locked up for the M’s.
  • The Red Sox have over $72MM coming off the books this offseason and will have lots of payroll flexibility to get the team back in contention, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes.  While the Sox seem adverse to signing veteran free agents to major contracts, there’s still plenty of payroll space for moves like re-signing Jon Lester.  The Sox are still committed to their young prospect base, though Cafardo notes that the club could trade from this minor depth to acquire a more expensive proven Major Leaguer.
  • John Lackey worries that the negotiations between Lester and the Red Sox have resembled his own extension talks with the Angels, Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald writes.  Lackey and the Halos tabled talks during Spring Training of Lackey’s final contract year in 2009 and then the Angels were outbid on the open market by the Sox.  Now, Boston could be the ones who lose their ace due to another aggressive bidder if Lester ends up testing free agency.  “(The Red Sox) messed up in spring training for sure. The price of gas is going up every time (Lester) goes out there,” Lackey said.
  • Lackey also didn’t say whether he will approach the Red Sox about an extension, given that he’s under contract for a league minimum salary in 2015.  “I haven’t even thought that far ahead. I’m just worried about pitching right now, and we’ll see what happens at the end of the year,” the righty said.
  • Derek Jeter‘s retirement marks the end of the “Core Four” era for the Yankees, and ESPN New York’s Andrew Marchand notes just how unlikely and special it was for the franchise to reach the postseason from every year, save one, from 1995-2012.

Tanaka Has Slightly Torn Ulnar Collateral Ligament

TODAY: Dr. James Andrews was also consulted on Tanaka’s elbow, and concurred with the other three doctors that rehab was the appropriate action at this point, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter).

YESTERDAY: Yankees general manager Brian Cashman gave reporters devastating news today, as he revealed that Masahiro Tanaka has a slight tear in the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, and Tommy John surgery is possible (All Twitter links to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News). Tanaka was examined by three doctors, all of whom confirmed the tear. For now, a platelet rich plasma injection is being recommended, and the Yankees are hopeful that he can return in six weeks’ time.

Cashman stressed that this is a slight tear, Feinsand tweets, and if the immediate recommendation had been Tommy John surgery, Tanaka would be undergoing the operation. It’s not unheard of for pitchers to throw with slightly torn UCLs, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports notes (on Twitter). Adam Wainwright did just that for nearly five years, he notes, and Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star tweets that Luke Hochevar did the same. Ervin Santana is another example of a pitcher who has successfully avoided Tommy John despite a UCL tear. Still, this is highly disheartening news for the Yankees, and those pitchers’ circumstances are the exception, not the rule.

Even with the likes of Cliff Lee, David Price and Cole Hamels potentially on the trade market, it’s unlikely that any acquisition could replace the brilliant performance that Tanaka has turned in to this point in the season (and, the Yankees likely don’t have the prospects to acquire those big names anyhow).

Three months into his seven-year, $155MM contract — a contract he signed after undergoing an MRI that showed his UCL was intact, Cashman notes (via Feinsand) — Tanaka has a masterful 2.51 ERA with 9.4 K/9, 1.3 BB/9 and a 45.9 percent ground-ball rate. That’s good for 3.2 fWAR and 4.1 rWAR, and those numbers would be even better if his two most recent starts (which may or may not have been impacted by the injury) were thrown out. Tanaka allowed nine runs in 13 2/3 innings over those two contests but had a 2.10 ERA in 115 2/3 innings prior.

As far as the Yankees’ approach at this year’s deadline, Cashman said that he will continue to be aggressive unless he is told otherwise (link). The Yankees have already acquired Brandon McCarthy from the Diamondbacks and were expected to pursue infield upgrades and potentially some further pitching help. Cashman likely wouldn’t concede to selling right off the bat anyway, however, and it’s difficult to see the Yankees making a sustained run if they end up losing Tanaka, CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova for the season.


Yankees Acquire Jeff Francis

1:50pm: The A’s have now released a correction that lines up with the Yankees’ announcement (hat tip: MLB.com’s Jane Lee). Francis and cash considerations are indeed heading to the Yankees for a player to be named later.

1:17pm: The Yankees, however, have announced that they will be receiving Francis and cash considerations in exchange for a player to be named later. The discrepancy is puzzling, but it appears Oakland could be receiving what would likely be a marginal player to be named later in the deal.

1:03pm: The A’s have announced the trade of Francis to the Yankees in exchange for cash considerations.

12:39pm: The Yankees have acquired veteran lefty Jeff Francis from the A’s, reports ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick (via Twitter). Francis was designated for assignment last week.

Francis, 33, has pitched 18 1/3 innings this season for the A’s and Reds, allowing 12 runs (5.89 ERA) with a 14-to-3 K/BB ratio. Formerly the ninth overall pick in the draft (2002), it’s been awhile since Francis enjoyed success as a member of a big league rotation. He posted a 4.19 ERA in 414 1/3 for the 2006-07 Rockies — no small feat in Coors Field, as evidenced by his park-adjusted 116 ERA+ — but it’s been a struggle since that time for the Canadian hurler. Francis owns a 5.22 ERA in 632 2/3 innings since that time.

The Yankees are undoubtedly on the lookout for pitching depth with yesterday’s news that Masahiro Tanaka has a slight tear in his right elbow’s ulnar collateral ligament. Francis has pitched well over the past three seasons in Triple-A, registering a 3.75 ERA with 7.9 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 in 163 1/3 innings between the Reds and Rockies organizations.


Yankees Designate Jim Miller For Assignment

The Yankees announced that they have designated right-hander Jim Miller for assignment to make room on the roster for the newly acquired Jeff Francis.

Miller, 32, pitched 2 2/3 innings for the Yanks this season, surrendering six runs on seven hits and a pair of walks with two strikeouts. He has fairly limited Major League experience, but he did total 48 2/3 innings of 2.59 ERA ball for the A’s in 2012 (albeit with 5.0 BB/9 and a 4.74 FIP). Outside of that season, he’s never totaled more than 7 2/3 big league frames in any given year, but he has nice Triple-A numbers: a 3.75 ERA with 9.8 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in 412 2/3 innings.