New York Yankees Rumors

Yankees Notes: Beltran, Sabathia, Cashman, Montero

We heard this morning that Robinson Cano is looking to re-work his deal with the Yankees. Here’s more news about the defending American League East champions...

  • The Yankees are considering Carlos Beltran as a possible right fielder, according to Wallace Matthews of The Yankees have a $10.25MM option for Nick Swisher that they have to make a decision on after the World Series, but they could pick up the option, sign Beltran and trade Swisher.
  • The Yankees’ negotiations with C.C. Sabathia could come down to the team's willingness to guarantee the left-hander a seventh year, according to George A. King III of the New York Post. While the Yankees would be comfortable with a five or six-year deal worth roughly $25MM per season, the Yankees would pause if Sabathia wants a seven or eight-year deal. Sabathia is expected to opt out of the four years and $92MM remaining on his contract.
  • Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News hears that Brian Cashman’s extension with the Yankees is “just about” complete. The GM’s deal, which appears to be for three years or more, could be announced as soon as the World Series ends.
  • Joel Sherman of the New York Post draws parallels between Mike Napoli of the Rangers and Yankees catching prospect Jesus Montero. Montero can hit despite questions about his defensive ability, so Sherman suggests it might be wise for the Yankees to keep Montero instead of trading him for starting pitching.

Yankees Aim To Sign Sabathia Before Opt-Out Date

9:07pm: The Yankees are "close to completing" a new offer for Sabathia, according to David Waldstein of the New York Times.

9:36am: If the World Series ends tonight, Yankees ace C.C. Sabathia could opt out of his contract as early as tomorrow.  The Yankees, however, hope to quickly take Sabathia off the market by signing him before he opts out, according to George A. King III of the New York Post.

Yankees' brass is currently meeting in Tampa.  King says they are "believed to be OK with a five or six-year deal for an obvious raise over his $23MM a year," but they don't want to go to seven or eight years.  If they propose something like six years and $150MM, that might be enough to prevent Sabathia from exploring the open market.  I think it's possible he could find something like seven years at a $24MM salary on the open market, but there's no guarantee.  Now, if the Yankees won't guarantee a sixth year, I think C.C. is going to have to explore the market.  Guaranteeing a sixth year from the start would give the Yankees a good chance of keeping Sabathia off the market, in my opinion. 

In a poll of almost 8,000 MLBTR readers earlier this month, opinions were divided on the expected total of Sabathia's new deal.  18% of those polled predicted a contract in the $121-130MM range, while 14% saw a deal exceeding $170MM.  For MLBTR's full archive of Sabathia rumors, click here.  Click here for a look at all the available starting pitchers on the free agent market.

AL East Notes: Ortiz, Chavez, Shoppach

The Orioles are searching for a new GM and the four other AL East teams have begun preparations for the coming offseason. The latest links from the division:

Angels GM News: Levine, Evans, Eppler, Oppenheimer

The latest on the Angels' GM opening...

  • The Angels are expected to obtain permission from the Rangers to interview assistant GM Thad Levine once the World Series ends, according to Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times
  • Former Dodgers GM Dan Evans will interview for the job Thursday or Friday, according to DiGiovanna (on Twitter).
  • DiGiovanna points out that Rays executive VP of baseball operations hasn't pulled himself out of the running for the job.
  • Yankees draft guru Damon Oppenheimer will not be called back for a second interview, tweets SI's Jon Heyman, but director of professional scouting Billy Eppler will speak to the Angels again.
  • Kim Ng will interview for the position today, tweets Heyman.
  • Omar Minaya, Andrew Friedman, Jerry Dipoto, and Rick Hahn still appear to be under consideration, while Thad Levine and Dan Evans could also interview.

Front Office Notes: Red Sox, Minaya, Cashman

The Cubs and Red Sox introduced the new leaders of their respective baseball operations departments today. Theo Epstein met with the media in Chicago and Ben Cherington did the same in Boston. Here are some more notes from front offices around MLB...

  • Epstein sounded extremely confident in Cherington’s ability to bring the Red Sox back to the playoffs. “He’s had such a well-rounded development,” Epstein said of Cherington. “He’s got so much integrity. He’s so bright. He’s got great management skills of people. This guy is going to do a fantastic job.” Alex Speier of has more quotes from Epstein.
  • Speier hears from an insider who won't be surprised if the Red Sox and Cubs need the help of the commissioner's office to resolve the issue of compensation for Epstein.
  • Former Mets and Expos GM Omar Minaya is one of top candidates for the Angels’ GM job, according to Jim Bowden of (on Twitter).
  • The Yankees expect to have a new deal with GM Brian Cashman by Monday, according to Andrew Marchand and Wallace Matthews of
  • Newsday's Ken Davidoff explains that Rangers executive A.J. Preller rooted for the Yankees before getting his first job in professional baseball. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes spoke to Preller earlier this month for our GM Candidates series.
  • The Diamondbacks announced that they promoted Junior Noboa to VP of Latin Operations. Noboa, Arizona's first ever international hire, enters his 18th season with the organization. He has overseen the acquisition of players such as Miguel Montero and Gerardo Parra.
  • For the latest on the Orioles’ GM search, click here, for notes on MLB managers click here and for more front office rumors click here.

Offseason Outlook: New York Yankees

The Yankees' offseason is all about their search for starting pitching, though they'll look to add bench help and a second left-handed reliever as well.

Guaranteed Contracts

Arbitration Eligible Players (estimated salaries)

Contract Options

  • C.C. Sabathia, SP: can opt out of four years and $92MM remaining on current deal (Type A) 
  • Nick Swisher, OF: $10.25MM club option with a $1MM buyout (Type A) 
  • Robinson Cano, 2B: $14MM club option with a $2MM buyout (Type A) 
  • Rafael Soriano, RP: $11MM player option or a $1.5MM buyout (Type A)

Free Agents

The success of the Yankees' offseason hinges on Brian Cashman's ability to build a strong rotation. Low-risk signings such as Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon helped the Yankees reach the postseason again in 2011, but Cashman will pursue bigger names this offseason. His starting point? A 97-win team that was among the best in baseball at scoring and preventing runs.

Before the offseason starts in earnest, Cashman himself must sign a new contract. Once the sides sign the deal -- it could happen within the week -- Cashman will continue addressing the Yankees' needs.

C.C. Sabathia will be a top target for the Yankees and it makes sense for them to pursue free agents C.J. Wilson and Yu Darvish along with the best starters on the trade market. The Yankees are rarely outbid for a player they truly want, so their chances of retaining Sabathia seem good (Sabathia's former teammate, Cliff Lee, is the exception to prove the rule).

Retaining Sabathia will require an extended commitment in terms of years and dollars and the Yankees have some concerns about the left-hander's weight, but his numbers are tremendous. He has averaged more than 230 innings since joining the Bronx Bombers three seasons ago, with a 3.18 ERA, 8.0 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in that stretch. FanGraphs' version of wins above replacement suggests Sabathia has been baseball's fourth-best pitcher since signing his current contract. He's going to get paid and if the Yankees want him, they must be prepared to spend, even if they're wary of having too many aging stars on the team a few years from now.

Darvish is an intriguing possibility because the Yankees need starting pitching and they have the resources to outbid the 29 other clubs. The last time the Yankees invested in a Japanese pitcher it didn't work out, but Kei Igawa's failure should push the Yankees to better understand the transition across the Pacific, not to shy away from Japanese pitchers with significantly greater upside than Igawa. If the Yankees are still negotiating with Sabathia when bids for Darvish are due, they'll have to place their bid at a time of great uncertainty.

Wilson, who posted a 2.94 ERA with 8.3 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 223 1/3 regular season innings for the Rangers before struggling in the playoffs, remains an appealing free agent option. He will cost a top draft pick and may not be a proven ace at the level of Sabathia and Lee, but Wilson stands out as one of the top options available. Edwin Jackson and Hiroki Kuroda are among the free agent alternatives to Wilson, but Jackson has been inconsistent and Kuroda appears to prefer Los Angeles to other possible destinations.

Presently, the Yankees' rotation consists of Ivan Nova and A.J. Burnett. They may also count on Phil Hughes, but he will need to stay healthy and return to his 2010 form, manager Joe Girardi said. Otherwise, they'll need multiple starters this offseason, assuming they're not ready to turn starting roles over to Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos just yet. They could bring Garcia back to fill out the rotation, but another deal for Colon seems unlikely after he faded in the second half. Garcia, the Yankees' lone ranked free agent, could obtain an offer of arbitration if the Yankees are prepared to offer him a roster spot in 2012. Even if the Yankees aren't interested in bringing Garcia back, they could set up a handshake agreement and obtain the extra pick.

The Yankees could pursue John Danks, Ricky Nolasco, Wandy Rodriguez and others if they become available on the trade market. In the unlikely event that Seattle takes offers for Felix Hernandez, the Yankees will call.

If the Yankees turn to the trade market for pitching, Jesus Montero's name figures to come up constantly. Cashman has held onto Montero for this long and the powerful backstop is now ready for the Major Leagues, so a trade seems unlikely. However, the Yankees have a wealth of catching depth behind Russell Martin and could consider parting with Austin Romine or Francisco Cervelli.

Longtime backstop Jorge Posada probably won't return after 22 years and five World Series titles with the Yankees organization. Montero will collect some of Posada's plate appearances at designated hitter and Girardi will rotate established players such as Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter into the DH role when they need rest. Red Sox fans probably don't have to lose too much sleep over the possibility of David Ortiz coming back to haunt them in pinstripes.

The rest of the Yankees' lineup is essentially set for 2012, assuming they exercise Nick Swisher's option. There's no question that Robinson Cano's option will be exercised. The Yankees broke their own rules to extend Cano four offseasons ago, so they could consider another extension with the Scott Boras client. Curtis Granderson, who is also under team control through 2013, would be an extension candidate on most teams, but the Yankees will likely abide by team policy and wait until he hits the open market to start negotiating.

The rest of Cashman's offseason will consist of finding a second left-hander for the bullpen and finalizing the bench. Andruw Jones could return as a fourth outfielder and right-handed bench bat. Eric Chavez also appears to be a fit for a bench job, if he decides against retirement.

The Yankees won 97 games without a dominant rotation, so they know as well as any team that it can be done. But if Cashman's offseason goes according to plan, his top acquisitions won't be working under minor league contracts or battling for jobs in Spring Training. They'll be established pitchers who seem capable of leading the Yankees to their 17th playoff appearance in the last 18 years.

Quick Hits: Yankees, Pirates, Moyer, Oswalt

C.J. Wilson wasn't at his best tonight in what may have been the final start of his Rangers career. He allowed five walks and four hits through 5 1/3 innings, but he allowed just two runs -- enough to keep his team in the game and allow Texas to take a 3-2 series lead. Here are today's links...

Front Office Notes: Orioles, Cashman, Cubs, Padres

Theo Epstein is officially the Cubs' president of baseball operations and the Red Sox have announced that Ben Cherington will be Boston's next GM, but there's still lots of front office turnover on the horizon. Here are the latest details from around MLB:

  • De Jon Watson's interview for the Orioles' GM job will take place on Wednesday, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun (on Twitter). I spoke to Watson, the Dodgers' assistant GM, last month. He's up against Jerry Dipoto of the Diamondbacks and Tony LaCava of the Blue Jays.
  • Chase Headley and Heath Bell told Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune that they expect a smooth transition from Jed Hoyer to Josh Byrnes when Hoyer leaves the Padres to become the Cubs' new GM.
  • Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune explains that Cubs president Crane Kenney will move exclusively to the business side now that Epstein is the club's president of baseball operations. Kenney is a polarizing figure in Chicago and the role he played in obtaining Epstein is unclear, according to Sullivan.
  • Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times says letting assistant GM Randy Bush go would be a mistake for the Cubs.
  • Yankees GM Brian Cashman met with Hal Steinbrenner in New York today and Joel Sherman of the New York Post says the sides expect to be able to complete a new deal for Cashman with relative ease (Twitter link).

Davidoff On Pujols, Fielder, Angels, Oppenheimer

Industry people are curious whether C.C. Sabathia actually would leave the Yankees and opinions are all over the map on where Jose Reyes will end up in 2012.  There's an even bigger debate brewing in baseball circles, writes Ken Davidoff of Newsday..

  • Whoever signs first between Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols will set the financial bar for the other player to top and it's hard to say who will make the first move.  Pujols has a realistic chance to re-sign with the Cardinals while it seems increasingly unlikely that Fielder will return to the Brewers.  There's also the matter of the relationship between the players' agents, Scott Boras and Dan Lozano.  Boras has shown in the past that he has no concerns about dragging his players' free agencies well past January 1st in order get the deal he wants.  Meanwhile, Pujols represents Lozano's first big test since breaking off from the Beverly Hills Sports Council last year.
  • For now, Davidoff predicts that Pujols will sign first and stay with the Cardinals.  Fielder, wherever he goes, won't top Pujols' annual average value.
  • There are a number of candidates for the vacant Angels' GM position but Rays executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman is the club's top choice.  However, it's widely assumed that Friedman will remain with Tampa Bay.  Davidoff writes that Yankees senior vice president/director of scouting Damon Oppenheimer seems like the best choice for the job.  Oppenheimer played a significant role in several departments for the Bombers, from postseason scouting to discovering amateur talent to recommending major-league trades.  Oppenheimer would bring baseball intelligence and a strong presence to serve as a check and balance for owner Arte Moreno and manager Mike Scioscia .

Heyman On Friedman, Darvish, Yankees

With the general manager carousel moving at full speed and free agency approaching quickly, there are plenty of rumors in Major League Baseball. Jon Heyman weighed in today at; here are some highlights: 

  • Heyman’s sources doubt the Angels would waste Andrew Friedman’s time if they weren’t prepared to offer him a job. However, someone close to Friedman doubts he would leave the Rays. Friedman tops the Angels’ long list of GM candidates.
  • One general manager expects C.J. Wilson to sign a deal worth $75MM over five years.
  • Yu Darvish is undecided about making the jump to MLB, but he’ll be in line for lots of money if he does make the leap. One general manager suggested Darvish would cost about $100MM between his contract and his posting fee and another GM agrees that he’ll cost “big bucks.”
  • The Yankees and GM Brian Cashman are making progress in their discussions about a new contract.
  • Free agent starter Freddy Garcia is popular with the Yankees’ front office and could return in 2012. The right-hander barely qualifies as a Type B free agent, according to our rankings.

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