New York Yankees Rumors
WEDNESDAY: Ellsbury is guaranteed $148MM over the first seven years of the contract, and there is a $21MM option for an eighth year that comes with a $5MM buyout, according to Yahoo's Tim Brown (on Twitter). Meanwhile, Jayson Stark of ESPN.com (on Twitter) hears that an option year has not yet been agreed upon.
TUESDAY, 11:45pm: Ellsbury's deal includes a no-trade clause, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
8:00pm: The deal includes an eighth-year option that could boost the total value to $169MM, according to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com (on Twitter).
MLBTR's Tim Dierkes predicted that Ellsbury would get a seven-year, $150MM deal in his free agent profile earlier this offseason.
7:31pm: The Yankees have agreed to sign Jacoby Ellsbury, according to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News (via Twitter). Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com first reported that the two sides were closing in on a seven-year pact. It is believed the deal will top Carl Crawford's $142MM, seven-year deal with one estimate pegging the deal at about $150MM, according to Heyman.
The Yankees have been in simultaneous talks with Shin-Soo Choo, Carlos Beltran, and many other top free agents, including their own Robinson Cano. Things have stalled somewhat with Cano, however, as the Yanks don't want to go far beyond $170MM over seven years and Cano's team looking for about $260MM. Heyman spoke with sources who didn't rule out the Yankees continuing their purusit of Choo or Beltran, but it would seem unlikely at this point. One source told Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter) that a deal with Ellsbury or another top outfielder won't preclude the Yanks from re-signing their star second baseman.
ESPN's Jayson Stark reported on Monday that talks were moving faster than expected for the Scott Boras client. Boras is notorious for waiting out the market to find the right deal as he did with Prince Fielder (signed in late January) and Michael Bourn (February).
Ellsbury offers more pop than the typical center fielder, with a career slugging percentage of .439 and isolated power of .141. While his power is more of the doubles and triples variety, which is aided by his speed, he did hit 32 home runs in his stellar 2011 campaign. In that year, Ellsbury led all of baseball with 9.1 wins above replacement, finished second in the AL MVP voting, won a Silver Slugger and a Gold Glove, and made the All-Star team. However, the left-handed batter wasn't much of a threat against southpaws this year, posting a .246/.323/.318 line in 237 plate appearances.
The 30-year-old has also consistently posted above average UZR and DRS numbers in center field. While he has come back to earth somewhat since '11, he checked in with 5.8 wins above replacement in 2013, which is second only to Robinson Cano among free agents.
Of course, much of Ellsbury's game is predicated on speed. Now, the Yankees have to hope that Ellsbury can stay fleet-footed for some time and will be able to adjust when his motor eventually wears down.
The Yankees have been vocal about their desire to get under the $189MM luxury tax threshold this winter, but it remains to be seen where they'll stand after the Ellsbury deal and Brian McCann's five-year, $85MM pact. Now more than ever, one has to imagine that the Yankees are rooting for MLB's side in the Alex Rodriguez saga.
The market for Ellsbury has been somewhat cloudy, but the Mariners and Giants were both believed to have interest.
Yankees people envision Ellsbury in center with Brett Gardner moving to left, Heyman writes. The 30-year-old was ranked No. 2 on Tim Dierkes' Top 50 Free Agent Power Rankings. With Ellsbury and McCann in the fold, the Yankees have now forfeited their first and second round picks.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
WEDNESDAY: Johnson's deal may end up being in the $3-4MM range upon completion, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter).
TUESDAY: The Yankees are close to signing Kelly Johnson to a one-year deal worth $2.75-$3MM, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (on Twitter). The plan is for Johnson to move around the diamond and serve as a potential second base option if Robinson Cano goes elsewhere.
Johnson has primarily played second base over the course of his career but he also offers experience at left field and saw some time at third base in 2013. Johnson, 32 in February, owns a career slash line of .253/.335/.427 across eight seasons with the Braves, D'Backs, Blue Jays, and Rays. Over the last three seasons, however, he has slashed just .226/.307/.395.
The deal marks a small pay raise for the veteran, who made $2.45MM with Tampa Bay in 2013. Johnson is represented by Relativity Baseball, according to the MLBTR Agency Database.
In today's conference call to announce Tony Clark as the new executive director of the MLBPA, free agent Curtis Granderson didn't give reporters, including Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News (on Twitter), the impression that they are right on the cusp of a deal with the Mets. "We ate a nice meal and it was great to enjoy some salmon … It was kind of what you could expect," said the outfielder. Here's more from around baseball..
- While the Red Sox have been engaged in talks with free agent outfielder Carlos Beltran, the team is unlikely to pursue a three-year deal for the 36-year-old, an industry source tells Alex Speier of WEEI.com. The rival Yankees also won't go to three years, reportedly.
- The Angels are unlikely to trade Mark Trumbo, according to jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register (on Twitter). The Halos believe that a fair return would be top notch young starting pitching for the slugger and that deal doesn't exist. The Angels also aren't sure if they can get a good enough starter in exchange for Howie Kendrick, which could leave them to try and net two starters on the open market with limited money (link).
- The Yankees' $153MM deal for Jacoby Ellsbury is supposed to put the squeeze on Robinson Cano, but it could backfire, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
- The Red Sox's offer to Jarrod Saltalamacchia topped out at two years for about $18MM, a source tells Alex Speier of WEEI.com.
- The Yankees have signed right-hander Brian Gordon to a minor league deal, according to Ken Davidoff of the New York Post (on Twitter).
- Ryan Webb was surprised to learn that he was non-tendered by the Marlins, writes Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel.
- Tim Dierkes of MLBTradeRumors (on Twitter) expected Luke Gregerson to fetch more than Seth Smith. The Padres and A's swapped the two in a one-for-one swap earlier today.
- Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe takes a closer look at the Red Sox's deal for A.J. Pierzynski.
Tonight, the Yankees agreed to sign Jacoby Ellsbury to a seven-year, $153MM deal with an eighth-year option that could boost the total value of the pact to $169MM. The mark tops Carl Crawford's hefty deal signed prior to the 2011 season by a healthy $11MM. Here's a look at the latest reacions and fallout from the blockbuster signing..
- A source tells Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter) that the Yankees not only believe they've got room for Ellsbury and Robinson Cano or Shin-Soo Choo, they still plan on signing at least one starting pitcher as well.
- According to a major league source, the Red Sox’ offer to Ellsbury was ” a ways off” from the seven-year, $153MM deal that he inked with the Yankees, writes Rob Bradford of WEEI. Another source suggested Scott Boras had set the bar at seven or eight years early on in the offseason, a level Boston was not comfortable going to for the 30-year-old.
- John Harper of the New York Daily News (on Twitter) spoke with one agent who likes what the Yankees are doing so far. "Yanks have played it smart with Cano. But $170MM doesn't sound like quite as much when you give Ellsbury $153MM.''
- One rival exec who spoke with Andy Martino of the New York Daily News (on Twitter) isn't a big fan of the deal from the Yankees' perspective. "He’s a good player, but he gets hurt a lot. And not enough power for that kind of money, for me. And he's 30."
- In talking with evaluators, Andy McCullough of the Newark Star-Ledger (via Twitter) finds that the consensus is that seven years is a long time, but Ellsbury is one heck of a player when healthy.
- Passan (on Twitter) crunched the numbers to find that of the $524MM spent on free agents (as of Tuesday night), the Yankees account for $238MM of it, or 45.4%.
- Tim Britton of the Providence Journal looks at the departure of Ellsbury and what it means for the Red Sox both logically and emotionally.
- The Yankees, who watched their TV ratings and attendance plummet last year, are back in the business of star power, writes Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
The Yankees have made offers to several top free agent hitters, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports tweets. The list of players on whom the Yankees have bid Jacoby Ellsbury, Shin-Soo Choo, Carlos Beltran, Stephen Drew and Omar Infante. (ESPN's Buster Olney, however, tweets that the Yankees do not have an offer to Drew pending.) Morosi also tweets, however, that the Yankees did not extend the offer to Infante particularly recently, and that other teams appear more interested. Here are more notes from New York.
- Earlier today, we heard that Beltran had already received an offer of three years and $48MM. Newsday's Mark Carig reiterates, however, that the Yankees aren't likely to give Beltran three years (Twitter link).
- Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News, meanwhile, tweets that Nelson Cruz could also enter the Yankees' sights if the team loses out on Carlos Beltran.
- Feinsand also notes that, while the Yankees have shown some interest in closers, finding a closer is not their highest priority, and they're only likely to spend on one if Robinson Cano signs elsewhere.
4:46pm: A three-year deal for Beltran isn't a dealbreaker for the Yankees, but it's a long-shot, tweets Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News.
4:16pm: Olney tweets that rival teams are becoming convinced that Beltran is going to return to the Royals on a three-year, $48MM contract.
1:00pm: The Royals are making a strong push for Beltran, who is currently in Kansas City meeting with the team, according to George A. King III and Kevin Kernan of the New York Post. The Royals are believed to be willing to go to three years to pry Beltran away from the Yankees, though it's not clear from King and Kernan's report if Kansas City is the team that has extended the $48MM offer referenced by Olney.
12:56pm: Carlos Beltran has a three-year, $48MM offer currently in hand, according to ESPN's Buster Olney (on Twitter). While Olney isn't sure which team has extended the lavish offer, he notes that the Mariners are being very aggressive on the Beltran front.
Beltran is coming off a strong season with the Cardinals in which he batted .296/.339/.491 with 24 home runs. The switch-hitter also saw his plate discipline and defensive metrics take a turn for the worse, however, and $16MM per year for Beltran's age 37-39 seasons would be a significantly higher price than most pundits believed he would fetch on the open market.
The Yankees have been said to be the favorites for Beltran, but the they're reportedly not keen on the idea of offering more than a two-year contract.
3:54pm: The Yankees are also interested in Anderson, according to Yahoo's Jeff Passan (on Twitter). According to Passan, the A's are likely to deal Anderson at next week's Winter Meetings.
3:08pm: The Athletics aren't going to trade Anderson today, tweets John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group (on Twitter). However, the A's are seeking bullpen depth.
1:15pm: The Blue Jays are "infatuated" with Anderson, and the Twins are interested in the lefty as well, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter links). One Major League executive told Slusser that it's likely the A's will make another trade this week, perhaps even today.
Anderson has been around for five years already, but he's still just 25 years old (he'll turn 26 in February) and is under control at $8MM in 2014 with a $12MM club option for 2015. Those final two seasons were both option years on a four-year, $12.5MM extension he signed with the A's in April 2010, coming off a season in which he posted a 4.06 ERA with 7.7 K/9, 2.3 BB/9 and a 50.9 percent ground-ball rate.
Anderson was even better in 2010, posting a 2.80 ERA with 6.0 K/9, 1.8 BB/9 and a 54.6 percent ground-ball rate, but injury problems set in that season. A pair of left elbow issues limited Anderson to 112 1/3 innings that season, and he went on to undergo Tommy John surgery in 2011. He missed most of 2012 recovering from that surgery but was brilliant in his return. In 2013, he missed most of the season with a stress fracture in his foot and pitched to a 6.04 ERA (3.85 FIP, 3.26 xFIP) in the 44 2/3 innings he was healthy.
The A's exercised his $8MM option anyway, believing him to be capable of exceeding that value in 2014, whether in Oakland or with aother team. Though he's totaled just 163 innings over the past three seasons combined, Anderson's talent and youth make him a solid buy-low candidate for teams that don't wish to pay the rising prices for free agent pitchers.
The Indians make sense as a fit after losing Scott Kazmir as a free agent (to the A's themselves, no less) and with the likelihood that they will also lose Ubaldo Jimenez. A starting pitcher is a known desire for Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik, and adding Anderson would accomplish that goal while still leaving plenty of money to pursue big bats like Shin-Soo Choo, Jacoby Ellsbury and Nelson Cruz.
The Mariners have emerged as a major player in the Robinson Cano sweepstakes, several sources told Wallace Matthews of ESPNNewYork.com. With the Yankees not wanting to go to seven years or as much as $200MM, an industry source with knowledge of the negotiations termed the Yankees chances of retaining Cano at "less than 50-50."
That source said that the chances of the five-time All-Star second baseman staying in the Bronx "don't look too good right now." For what it's worth, Mariners GM Jack Zduiencik wouldn't confirm to ESPNNewYork's Andrew Marchand that he has met with Cano. Sources familiar with the negotiations between the Bombers and Cano say that the Yankees believe Seattle is willing to give him an eight-year, $200MM deal.
The Yankees reportedly came to Cano with a seven-year, $160MM offer. An insider said the club might be willing to increase their offer, but not by a ton. New York could go to $175MM over seven years, good for an average salary of $25MM. According to a source who was briefed on their last meeting, the Yankees have rejected the idea of any deal longer than seven years for Cano based on their own history of bad deals, including Alex Rodriguez's ten-year, $275MM pact, and the deals given to Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, and Ryan Howard. Meanwhile, Cano's side painted him as not only "the best player on the board,'' but also as the best player in baseball and someone who is "indispensable'' to the Yankees, the source said.
One baseball insider said that it now comes down to whether Cano wants to be a Yankee or wants to get paid. The Yankees believe they got that answer when Cano's party allegedly asked for a ten-year, $310MM deal from the club during the season. Cano has since denied making such a request.
1:20pm: Joel Sherman of the New York Post has details on the contract (Twitter links). McCann will earn $17MM per season from 2014-18. His 2019 option will vest if he totals 1,000 PAs from 2017-18, catches 90 games in 2018 and is not on the disabled list at the end of the 2018 season. Should his option vest, McCann has the right to void it and hit the open market.
10:30am: The Yankees' decision to let Russell Martin depart as a free agent and use in-house options at catcher last offseason proved to be costly, but general manager Brian Cashman has made sure to upgrade that hole in his lineup in the biggest possible way. The Yankees officially announced today that they have signed Brian McCann to a five-year contract. Reportedly worth $85MM, the contract also contains a sixth-year vesting option that can push the total value to an even $100MM. McCann, who is represented by B.B. Abbott of Jet Sports Management, will also reportedly receive a full no-trade clause.
As Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports notes in his article on the deal, the average yearly salary McCann will receive, $17MM, is the highest ever given to a catcher in free agency. While Joe Mauer's average yearly rate of $24MM remains the record for catchers overall, the Twins have said that Mauer will transition to first base on a full-time basis beginning next season, meaning McCann is set to become the game's highest-paid backstop.
McCann posted a typically strong offensive season in 2013, hitting .256/.336/.461 in 402 plate appearances, but he's likely to see his power rise significantly with the presence of the short porch in Yankee Stadium's right field. McCann's defense is also rated highly by various metrics. While his 2013 total of 102 games in 2013 represented a career-low for a full season, the 29-year-old has usually been a durable catcher. Switching to the AL should also allow him to transition to DH as he ages.
McCann was this offseason's top free agent catcher and one of the top free agents overall. While the Yankees had options such as Chris Stewart and Austin Romine in the mix for their 2014 backstop job, the signing represents a significant upgrade. The Yanks forfeit the 18th overall pick in the June draft in signing McCann, while the Braves, the catcher's former team, gain a pick after the first round.
The Rangers and the Red Sox were also known to be targeting McCann. Jarrod Saltalamacchia is now likely the best remaining free agent option behind the plate.
Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News was the first to report that the Yankees and McCann were close to a deal. Rosenthal first reported that the agreement was in place and was also the first to report the terms (Twitter links). Jon Heyman of CBS Sports was the first to report the deal's no-trade clause.
Steve Adams contributed to this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Major League clubs have until 11pm CT tonight to tender contracts to players for the 2014 season. We'll run down the list of American League non-tenders here. Remember that you can track all of the action using MLBTR's Non-Tender tracker, and we offer a full list of non-tender candidates as well. Also of use will be our Arbitration Eligibles series, which includes Matt Swartz's projected 2014 salaries for all arbitration eligible players.
- The Orioles announced they've non-tendered outfielder Jason Pridie and minor league starter Eddie Gamboa.
- The Rays will non-tender reliever Wesley Wright, tweets Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune.
- The Red Sox announced that they have non-tendered outfielder Ryan Kalish, Mike Salk of WEEI.com tweets.
- The White Sox will not tender a contract to pitcher Dylan Axelrod, tweets Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune.
- The Angels will non-tender pitcher Jerome Williams, tweets Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times. The club will also non-tender righty Tommy Hanson and third baseman Chris Nelson, tweets DiGiovanna. J.C. Gutierrez will also be non-tendered, tweets Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com, though that seemed a given since that he had already been designated for assignment.
- The Indians have non-tendered outfielder Matt Carson, pitcher Tyler Cloyd, and catcher Lou Marson, the club announced.
- The Rays are non-tendering outfielder Sam Fuld, a source tells Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Fuld, who will turn 32 in a few weeks, could be a lefty-swinging bench piece for another club, though he slashed only .199/.270/.267 last year in 200 plate appearances for Tampa.
- GM Brian Cashman says that the Yankees will non-tender infielder Jayson Nix, tweets Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News. The 31-year-old veteran appeared in 87 games for New York last season, putting up a .236/.308/.311 line in 303 plate appearances. The club will also non-tender reliever Matt Daley and infielder David Adams. New York confirmed the moves via press release.
- The Royals announced that they have non-tendered second baseman Chris Getz. The 30-year-old Getz has tried to hold down Kansas City's keystone spot for several years now but produced just a .246/.299/.314 batting line from 2012-13. Swartz had pegged Getz for a $1.3MM salary in 2014.