New York Yankees Rumors

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

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.


Reactions To Masahiro Tanaka’s Injury

Last night, the Yankees revealed that ace Masahiro Tanaka has a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. The current plan is for Tanaka to receive a platelet-rich plasma injection on Monday and then rehab, with the hope being that he can avoid surgery and be back in roughly six weeks. However, the Yankees were forced to acknowledge that Tommy John surgery is at least a possibility for their $175MM hurler. Here are some reactions from around the league, as well as some speculation as to how this will impact the remainder of their season…

  • Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports wonders when baseball will ever get all 30 teams on the same page in an attempt to remedy what is becoming an epidemic. The problem could be better tackled if all 30 clubs worked in conjunction with the Commissioner’s Office to research the problem from all angles and determine some kind of preventative tactics for future generations. Instead, as Yankees president Randy Levine put it last month: “Teams are hesitant to invest because they think they’re going to seed the money and then everyone is going to share in the information. We’re all too selfish to do it.”
  • Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports references a meta-analysis from the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews this past April which concluded that there is “insufficient evidence to support the use” of PRP injections to treat soft-tissue injuries. He points out that Chad Billingsley had a PRP injection to try to alleviate a partial tear, wound up having Tommy John anyhow, and has pitched two Major League games in the past 22 months.
  • Also from Morosi’s piece, he feels that the Yankees should make the bold move to acquire Cole Hamels from the Phillies. While the team is light on prospects, the Yankees could sweeten the deal by agreeing to take on the contracts of both Jonathan Papelbon and Jimmy Rollins, Morosi speculates. Acquiring Hamels provides cost certainty in the rotation that the Bombers simply couldn’t secure with offseason pursuits of Max Scherzer or Jon Lester.
  • Hiroki Kuroda, David Robertson and even Dellin Betances are pieces the Yankees could theoretically look to move this month if the team does indeed become sellers, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. While Sherman himself isn’t advocating a trade of Betances, he’s heard from a surprising number of executives that the Yankees should market their setup ace while his value is perhaps at its all-time highest. Relievers are a volatile commodity, and they could land a long-term infield piece in the deal. As for Kuroda, he has a no-trade clause but could conceivably waive it to move closer to his family in Southern California. This is my own speculation, but the team could also look to flip the recently acquired Brandon McCarthy to another club as well.
  • Mets ace Matt Harvey spoke to reporters, including MLB.com’s Tim Healy, and weighed in on the news. “It’s an unfortunate thing that you don’t want to see, especially with how much success he’s had in his first year,” said Harvey. “It’s a sad thing. It’s something as a competitive pitcher, you want those guys around. It’s unfortunate that all these are happening. But if you look at the bright side, they’re all kind of happening at the same time. Hopefully we’ll all return at the same time.” Harvey, who went through a partial UCL tear himself before ultimately electing surgery, also discussed his own decision-making process.
  • Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News runs down a list of possible trade targets the Yankees could pursue in the wake of the injury. Feinsand offers a similar line of thinking to Morosi, only his speculation is in regards to Cliff Lee; Feinsand wonders if the Yankees could get away with offering a lesser prospect package for Lee if they agreed to take on the entirety of the roughly $50MM Lee is still owed. He also lists Jorge De La Rosa and former Yankee Ian Kennedy, among others.


AL East Notes: Red Sox, Pierzynski, O’s, Tanaka, Beltran

The day after designating $8.25MM catcher A.J. Pierzynski for assignment, the Red Sox have done some looking back and looking forward. The embattled veteran was a source of clubhouse discord, reports Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. Meanwhile, Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal writes that Pierzynski’s original one-year signing, and his ultimate DFA, fit with the club’s long-term plans behind the dish. GM Ben Cherington acknowledged that his club was in an “unusual spot,” as Jason Mastrodonato of MassLive.com reports“We believe we can win games with [Pierzynski replacement] Christian [Vazquez] behind the plate,” he said. “It is also an investment in him. We’re in an usual spot. We’re just gong to have to see what the rest of the month brings us, if we go on a run and our outlook changes.”

Here’s more on Pierzynski, the Red Sox, and the rest of the AL East:

  • Cherington said that, going forward, the focus for the Red Sox will be on adding offense. “I still believe a lot of that is going to come from guys already here,” he said. “But clearly offense has been an issue. We’d like to add to the offense, so we’re going to look for ways to do that whether that’s now or after the season or both. We’ve got to find ways to improve the offense.”
  • Pierzynski says that he will “go anywhere,” reports Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN (via Twitter). Though the Twins had made him a two-year offer during the offseason, Wolfson says he’d be surprised if Minnesota looks to bring him back at this point.
  • It is easy to imagine several teams being interested in taking a chance on Pierzynski’s bat returning to its 2013 levels, but the Orioles will not be one of them, according to Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com (Twitter link). Three internal sources told Kubatko that Baltimore has no interest in the controversial backstop in spite of its lack of offense at the position. Not only that, but executive VP Dan Duquette tells Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun that the team is generally happy with the club’s backstop duo of Caleb Joseph and Nick Hundley (in addition to the left-handed-hitting Steve Clevenger, stashed at Triple-A).
  • As noted earlier on the site, one player that the Orioles do have interest in is lefty Jorge De La Rosa of the Rockies, as Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports. In another piece, Connolly further discusses the O’s situation at the trade deadline, explaining that the team seems unlikely to add a top-of-the-rotation arm. For his part, Kubatko reasons that Baltimore may have some difficult decisions to make if it tries to plug a new arm into the club, as Kevin Gausman has been expected to take a rotation spot going forward. As both reporters note, a bullpen addition — especially a late-inning option — definitely seems to be a possibility.
  • Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka will fly to Seattle to see team doctor Christopher Ahmad, tweets MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch. Fellow orthopedist Dr. Neal ElAttrache — often consulted on elbow issues — is at the same conference as Ahmad and could also see Tanaka, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (Twitter links). Notably, ElAttrache was the doctor who performed a physical on Tanaka that was shared with the rest of the league by the pitcher’s representatives.
  • Meanwhile, the Yankees are also waiting to hear whether outfielder Carlos Beltran will need to miss any time due to two small fractures in and around his nose, tweets Hoch. He sustained the injury in a freak batting practice accident yesterday.

New York Notes: Tanaka, Colon, McCarthy

The Yankees have officially placed right-hander Masahiro Tanaka on the disabled list with what they’ve termed right elbow inflammation for the time being. The Rookie of the Year/Cy Young contender has been arguably the most valuable player on the Yankees this season, and an extended absence would seriously dampen the Yankees’ postseason hopes. Currently, the team sits four games out of first in the AL East and three and a half games out of the running for a Wild Card spot, despite having spent most of the season without CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova and Michael Pineda.

Here’s more on the Yankees and the Mets…

  • The Yankees’ entire season is hanging in balance as the team waits to learn the severity of Tanaka’s injury, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. In the event of a serious injury to Tanaka, he opines, the Yankees will have to give serious consideration to selling off at the deadline. Sherman discusses the trickle-down effect that such an injury would have on the team, noting that Yankee starters have recorded just 33 outs after the seventh inning this season — and 25 of those have come from Tanaka. His absence would further strain an overworked bullpen, and the team lacks enough quality internal rotation options to survive such a blow.
  • Andy Martino of the New York Daily News gets the sense that the Mets are likely to move Bartolo Colon this summer but may hold on to the rest of their regulars. The team wants to contend in 2015, he says, and they feel they have the pitching depth to make up for the loss of Colon. Others, such as Daniel Murphy, would not be so easily replaced. Additionally, trading Colon would free up $10MM in payroll for next season, which could be reallocated to fill other needs.
  • New Yankees pitcher Brandon McCarthy told reporters, including Dan Barbarisi of the Wall Street Journal, that he doesn’t feel that he’s having a bad year, but rather, a confusing year. McCarthy, who has a 5.01 ERA, explains that he’s well-versed in sabermetrics and knows that based on career-bests in strikeout rate, ground-ball rate and average fastball velocity, he’s doing things right. “I know there’s been mistake pitches here and there that get hurt, but that’s to be expected,” said McCarthy. “It’s the other things happening, where I leave a game and feel like I’ve done everything I needed to and the results are terrible. That’s where I’ve been kind of confused.” Barbarisi’s piece also looks at how McCarthy re-invented himself after delving into sabermetrics while recovering from a shoulder injury in 2010.

AL East Notes: Abreu, Tanaka, Lester, Sox, Jays, Headley, Yanks, O’s

The Red Sox were within $5MM of the final bidding (six years, $68MM) for now-White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu, reports Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald. Interestingly, Boston felt that Abreu could be used across the diamond at third base. Chicago GM Rick Hahn said that, in learning more about the bidding after landing Abreu, “it turns out there were several teams, not just us and Boston, that were awfully aggressive and pretty close to where we were at the end.” As things stand, it looks like Hahn made the right choice to outbid that dense market.

Here’s more from Boston and the rest of the AL East:

  • Prized Yankees hurler Masahiro Tanaka is set to undergo an MRI on his right arm, reports George A. King III of the New York Post. Made available by his Japanese club in December, the righty inked a seven-year, $155MM contract (with an opt-out after four seasons). He has been outstanding, compiling a 2.51 ERA with 9.4 K/9 against just 1.3 BB/9 in 129 1/3 frames, but has recently worked through two rough starts. After his most recent outing, he reported “a little discomfort,” according to a tweet from Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
  • For now, the situation warrants close attention, though it would be unwise to jump to conclusions. Obviously, a layoff of any significant duration would have critical implications for a New York club that has relied heavily on the 25-year-old, who has notched a league-leading 12 wins. The club has called up outfielder Zoilo Almonte but has yet to announce a corresponding roster move, leading Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News to suggest (via Twitter) that the Yankees could be waiting to learn more about Tanaka’s status before acting.

Earlier Updates

  • The Red Sox are having ongoing “conversations” that may result in a new, increased offer to lefty Jon Lester, reports ESPNBoston.com’s Gordon Edes. Boston should — and probably will — reach an extension with Lester, opines Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe. At various points, the on-again/off-again talks have variously made a deal seem close and free agency appear inevitable. Abraham ticks through the reasons that keeping Lester in Boston makes good sense for both sides.
  • Meanwhile, the club may be close to making some kind of change behind the plate, according to a tweet from Abraham. Veteran A.J. Pierzynski has scuffled to a .254/.286/.348 line in 274 plate appearances after joining the Red Sox on a one-year, $8.25MM deal. While he might appeal to some contenders, that contract means that Boston would likely need to eat some cash to get any kind of return. Well-regarded prospect Christian Vazquez is waiting in the wings at Triple-A, and could be given a taste of MLB action.
  • Mired in last place in the division, Boston is highly likely to sell, but there are many permutations that could take. Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal takes a look at the possible chips and names their likeliest suitors. While rumors reached crescendo without a deal yesterday, MacPherson still sees the Cardinals as a good fit for Jake Peavy. He goes on to name several players with potential matches: outfielder Jonny Gomes (Mariners), Pierzynski (Pirates), Koji Uehara (OriolesTigersAngelsPirates), and shortstop Stephen Drew (TigersBrewers) as other possibilities to be flipped.
  • In yet another reminder of how quickly things can change, the Blue Jays now seem to have a greater need in their lineup than the rotation, writes Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca. A right-handed hitting second or third baseman, right-handed outfield bat, and potentially a catching upgrade all rate as areas to explore, according to Nicholson-Smith. The team could stand to add a starter if an impact arm could be had for a reasonable price, he adds, and may also look to pick up a righty for the pen.
  • One possibility for the Blue Jays could be Chase Headley of the Padres, with Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reporting on Twitter that the two clubs have had discussions on the third baseman. Headley is a switch-hitter, which would open up some flexibility for the Jays. On the other hand, he has generally been more successful against righties, reducing the utility of playing him in some form of a platoon with the righty-mashing Juan Francisco.
  • The Yankees are going to go for it, but should not gut the farm to do so, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Sherman says that the Brandon McCarthy acquisition was a good model, because it did not require the sacrifice of a player with a significant part in the club’s future plans, and that the organization can always utilize its unmatched financial capacity to add talented players on big contracts. But with a roster that looks to have a less-than-even chance to take the division, says Sherman, the organization’s best minor league pieces should not be sacrificed for pure rentals.
  • Implicit in the above notes, I would suggest, is that the Orioles may have an unmatched window to make a run at the division. The Rays and Red Sox probably have too much ground to gain, the Yankees don’t look to have the youth or across-the-board talent, and the Blue Jays have faded quickly of late. While the loss of Matt Wieters certainly hurts, the Orioles look like they could be the odds-on favorite. Should the club move to bolster its chances with a mid-season addition or two, it could easily achieve bottom-line impact because it has two positions ripe for upgrade in second base and catcher. Of course, a rotation acquisition may also make sense. While Baltimore will surely be loath to do so, it does have a relative abundance of high-end young pitching to deal from.

Chicago Links: Beckham, Quintana, Russell, Wright, Garcia, Samardzija

The White Sox are willing to move second baseman Gordon Beckham, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports, but Jose Quintana isn’t available (Twitter link). The 27-year-old Beckham opened the season on the disabled list and had a strong month of May after being activated, but he’s cooled since that time and is hitting .248/.302/.395. He’s under team control through 2015 and is earning $4.18MM this season after avoiding arbitration for the second time this season. It’s not entirely surprising that the team wouldn’t move Quintana, as he just inked a five-year, $21MM contract extension in Spring Training. He’s in the midst of his finest season in the Majors to this point, having posted a 3.20 ERA with 8.0 K/9, 2.6 BB/9 and a 47.6 percent ground-ball rate.

Here are a few more items pertaining to the Sox and their north-side counterparts…

  • Left-handers James Russell and Wesley Wright are both drawing trade interest, reports Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish. Each southpaw is under team control through the 2015 season, and each has a 2.22 ERA through 24 1/3 innings this season. Wright, who is earning $1.43MM is slightly more affordable than Russell and his $1.78MM salary.

Earlier Links

  • White Sox GM Rick Hahn told reporters today that injured outfielder Avisail Garcia has been cleared to resume baseball activities (via CSN Chicago’s Dan Hayes). While he has a long way to go and it’s a long shot, Hahn wouldn’t rule out the possibility that Garcia could play in the Majors again this season.
  • Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca reports that the Cubs talked with the Blue Jays regarding Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel before trading the pair to the A’s on Independence Day. The Cubs were asking for Marcus Stroman and Drew Hutchison in addition to “at least” one of Daniel Norris, Aaron Sanchez and Dalton Pompey. That’s a steep price to pay, to be sure, though none of those prospects are as highly regarded as the centerpiece Chicago did acquire in the deal — shortstop Addison Russell.
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports heard the same five names, though he hears that they were discussed in various combinations, and the Blue Jays didn’t discuss packages to acquire both pitchers (Twitter links). One scout tells Rosenthal that Norris and Stroman could both be No. 1 or No. 2 types of starters, and the Jays would be “crazy” to deal them.
  • Speaking to WFAN’s Mike Francesca on Monday, Yankees GM Brian Cashman said that he had extensive negotiations with the Cubs to acquire both Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, but he doesn’t think the Cubs could have landed a better package than they one they wound up taking from Oakland, regardless of who they were dealing with. CBS New York has highlights and audio from the conversation.

Quick Hits: Prospects, Hoyer, Sabathia

Though Byron Buxton has only played in six games this season due to a wrist injury, the Twins outfielder still sits atop Baseball America’s midseason ranking of the top 50 prospects in the sport.  Twenty-two of the 30 Major League teams have at least one player on the list, and the Cubs stand out with three players in the top seven — Kris Bryant at #2, the newly-acquired Addison Russell at #5 and Javier Baez at #7.

Here’s some news as we kick off the final week before the All-Star break…

  • Jed Hoyer discussed several Cubs topics with David Kaplan and David Haugh on their podcast this morning, including how the general manager believes the offseason will be a busy one for his team.  “I expect us to be far more active this winter than last winter,” Hoyer said.  “We have money to spend and I expect teams looking for offense to call us.”  (Hat tip to Kaplan’s Twitter page.)
  • C.C. Sabathia‘s career is at a crossroads with the news that the veteran lefty might require microfracture surgery on his right knee.  Given Sabathia’s declining numbers and 2017 vesting option, ESPN’s Buster Olney (Insider subscription needed) wonders if the Yankees would be better off if Sabathia retired.
  • The week’s minor league transactions are recapped by Matt Eddy of Baseball America.
  • While the A’s are seemingly going all-in with the Jeff Samardzija/Jason Hammel trade, Giants GM Brian Sabean could see upgrades as a lost cause given how his team has struggled recently, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle writes.  Shea opines that Sabean isn’t keen on trading prospects for 2014 given that he’ll have a number of roster holes to fill next season thanks to possibly departing free agents.

AL East Notes: Price, Burnett, McCarthy, Breslow

With 10 wins in their last 12 games, the Rays have escaped the AL East basement and added another wrinkle to the David Price trade rumors.  As Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times outlines, it still makes a lot of sense for the Rays to deal Price, given that the club needs to replenish its minor league stock and the Jeff Samardzija/Jason Hammel trade only increases Price’s value as the best starter available.  On the other hand, the Rays have already invested a record payroll into this year’s team and they could still make a comeback in a weak AL East, then wait until the offseason to explore trading Price.

Here’s some more from around the AL East…

  • “The Yankees don’t have a strong interest in” reacquiring A.J. Burnett, George A. King III of the New York Post reports.  Burnett is a logical trade candidate if the Phillies decide to sell, though the veteran has a partial no-trade clause in his contract.
  • Brandon McCarthy‘s tendency to allow home runs and grounders might be a problem given Yankee Stadium’s small dimensions and the Yankees‘ poor infield defense, but Andy Martino of the New York Daily News still feels the Bombers made a good move in acquiring the righty from the Diamondbacks.  McCarthy’s peripherals indicate that he’s due to pitch better in the second half, and even if he’s only average, Martino still considers that an upgrade over the struggling Vidal Nuno.
  • Before dealing for Rich Hill, the Angels showed some interest in acquiring Red Sox reliever Craig Breslow but felt that Breslow’s stuff had declined since last year, ESPN Boston’s Gordon Edes reports.  Breslow posted a 1.81 ERA (though a 4.37 xFIP) over 59 2/3 relief innings for the Sox in 2013 but has struggled this season, managing only a 5.04 ERA and almost as many walks (20) as strikeouts (21) over 30 1/3 innings.  The southpaw is also averaging just 87.8 mph on his fastball, down significantly from his 89.9 mph average last year.
  • Also from Edes’ piece, he lists several Red Sox veterans who could be traded this summer now that Boston is on the brink of falling out of contention.
  • While it may not seem likely Jon Lester and the Red Sox will work out a new contract before Lester hits free agency, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald reminds us that Cole Hamels and the Phillies were in a similar situation two years ago and agreed on a midseason extension.  Lester has been unwilling to negotiate during the year for fear of distractions, though it was recently reported that he would be open to hearing an offer if it led to a quick signing process.  (One would think he’d be very quick to agree if the Sox presented Lester with the six-year/$144MM deal the Phillies gave Hamels, though I strongly doubt Boston would offer that much.)
  • The Blue Jays have done a poor job of drafting and developing position players over the last decade-plus, Mike Rutsey of the Toronto Sun writes, a problem that has been underscored by the lack of depth available to fill in for several injured Jays regulars.

AL Notes: Soriano, Mariners, Reimold

Alfonso Soriano will consider retirement after being designated for assignment by the Yankees, Marly Rivera of ESPN Deportes tweets. Soriano will take a week to talk with his family and think about what to do next. “This was to be expected. I talked to my lawyer about what I was going through, how I was being used, and I didn’t feel comfortable,” says Soriano. If this is it for the 38-year-old Soriano, he’ll finish his career with a .270/.319/.500 line and 412 home runs. Here are more notes from the American League.

  • One team that might make sense for Soriano is the Mariners, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. The Mariners have struggled against lefties, and Soriano has still hit for power against them, with a split of .247/.269/.416, even as he has struggled this season.
  • The Blue Jays plan to give new outfielder Nolan Reimold plenty of playing time, SportsNet.ca’s Shi Davidi writes. The Jays claimed Reimold from the Orioles earlier this weekend. “His big thing is staying healthy, he’s had trouble doing that over his career. This is his opportunity, there wasn’t a spot for him over in Baltimore,” says manager John Gibbons. “He’ll come here and help us out.” Adding Reimold could help the Jays use Jose Bautista more frequently in the infield.