With the Yankees’ offseason now underway, Joel Sherman of the New York Post breaks down the team’s needs, specifically mentioning rotation stability and versatility. While he notes that in the George Steinbrenner days, lavish spending to bring in names such as David Price, Ben Zobrist and Yoenis Cespedes might’ve been the expectation, but Hal Steinbrenner has no interest in pushing an already-high payroll toward the $300MM mark. The younger Steinbrenner also doesn’t wish to dole out any further mega-contracts until some of the large, existing contracts come off the books. As such, Sherman writes that we can likely rule out an earnest pursuit of David Price. Signing Price for $30MM annually — and Price may command even more than that — would cost the Yankees $45MM annually in the deal’s early stages due to luxury tax purposes. Sherman suggests that instead, making a strong push to acquire Sonny Gray (listing Aaron Judge, Jorge Mateo and Gary Sanchez as possible trade chips) is a better fit for the Yankees. Sherman also feels that trades for Martin Prado and/or Enrique Hernandez as well as a signing of Zobrist would give the Yanks a deep, versatile crop of players to keep aging veterans fresh and match up well against pitchers regardless of handedness.
Some more Yankees items…
- Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News takes his own shot at getting the Yankees to the next step this offseason. Feinsand lists five things decisions that the Yankees should make, opining that Justin Upton is a fit that should be signed but that the Yankees should steer clear of a substantial commitment to Price.
- Sherman also reports that the Yankees are planning to tender right-hander Ivan Nova a contract for the 2016 season. Nova, projected by MLBTR to earn $4.4MM in arbitration, struggled to a 5.07 ERA in 94 innings in 2015 — his first season back from Tommy John surgery. Despite the fact that he didn’t look like his 2013 self (3.10 ERA, 7.5 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 in 139 innings), Nova’s 93 mph fastball velocity was right in line with his career mark. The team views him as a back-of-the-rotation option, and a $4.4MM price tag on such a commodity would hardly be exorbitant. Nova is a free agent after the 2016 season.
- General manager Brian Cashman told reporters last night that he passed on the opportunity to acquire Zobrist from the Athletics in exchange for second baseman Rob Refsnyder and right-hander Adam Warren, tweets Chad Jennings of the Journal News. Zobrist would eventually be traded to the Royals in exchange for right-hander Aaron Brooks and highly touted pitching prospect Sean Manaea. He went on to hit .284/.364/.453 with seven homers in 264 plate appearances for Kansas City. As the New York Daily News’ Anthony McCarron adds, Cashman said he has no regrets about not making a deal in July. “I’d be piling guys on top of guys that didn’t have a place to play, other than second base,” said Cashman, stating that Zobrist was the only available second base option that interested him.