Given their impressive contingent of young talent, the retooling Yankees likely could have put together a package to acquire ace Chris Sale, who’s now with archrival Boston after the rebuilding White Sox traded him for a prospect haul last month. Noting that “all of a sudden, you’re tearing down when you start to build up,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman unsurprisingly expressed an unwillingness to give up potential superstar catcher Gary Sanchez for Sale (via Randy Miller of NJ.com). Regarding auxiliary pieces, Cashman said, “Is it (a touted pitching prospect such as James) Kaprielian or Chance Adams or Justus Sheffield? It would probably be (Luis) Severino right now. So those are the two primers just to get the ball rolling with the other two players yet to be named to try to match up for Sale.”
Elsewhere around the American League East…
- The Orioles’ Zach Britton has been a premier closer since 2014, but he only developed into a lights-out reliever after a difficult run as a starter. In 48 appearances (46 starts) from 2011-13, Britton flashed his signature ground-ball ability (55.5 percent), though he otherwise underwhelmed with a 4.77 ERA and 5.94 K/9 against 3.92 BB/9 across 254 2/3 frames. Britton “had flashes of brilliance” as a starter, ex-Orioles pitching coach Dave Wallace told David Laurila of FanGraphs, but Wallace doesn’t believe the 29-year-old would have evolved into a high-end rotation piece had he stayed in that role. “He doesn’t have the… I wouldn’t say mentality, but the wherewithal to navigate,” observed Wallace. “When you’re a starting pitcher, and you give up a run — give up something — you have to maintain your composure and still make pitches, knowing you have quite a bit of the game to go. A lot of guys can’t do that, and he was one of those guys.”
- Although the Red Sox are making an effort to bolster their depth with minor league signings, they’re having trouble attracting players, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski explained to Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald. “We keep trying to sign minor-league guys to contracts with big league invites,” Dombrowski said. “We haven’t been very productive. Not for a lack of trying, but guys are still at the point where, first of all, they’re looking for major league contracts if they can. You can see this past week, they finally started to click where, they were accepting some (minor league) invites. But they’re going to other clubs rather than ours, because they don’t like the chances of making our major league club as much at this time.” While Dombrowski “wouldn’t mind” picking up extra pitching and outfield depth, he’s content with his third base possibilities and is “hopeful” Pablo Sandoval will rebound from a forgettable two-year stretch.
- As of earlier this month, Baltimore general manager Dan Duquette hadn’t ruled out signing the top starting pitcher available in free agency, one-time Oriole Jason Hammel. That was before the club re-signed pricey slugger Mark Trumbo, though, meaning it’s now more likely to add a cheaper starter, according to Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. Baltimore remains interested in re-upping swingman Vance Worley, per Kubatko, who hears that the right-hander’s price will have to drop for a reunion to happen. The Orioles non-tendered Worley last month in lieu of paying the 29-year-old a projected $3.3MM via arbitration in 2017. Worley managed to prevent runs at a respectable clip with the O’s last season in spite of a subpar K/BB ratio (1.6, well below the 2.53 league-average mark), as he pitched to a 3.53 ERA over 86 2/3 innings and 35 appearances (four starts).