Here’s the latest baseball news from both Big Apple teams…
- Both the Yankees and Rays made late pushes to sign right-hander Sergio Romo before he agreed to sign with the Dodgers, MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez reports. Romo, a southern California native, preferred to remain on the west coast, as FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman tweets. Heyman noted earlier that Romo had larger offers, including one from a “mystery” team that made a late increase in its offer to Romo. The New York Post’s Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that the Yankees never made a formal offer to Romo, so the late increase would’ve had to have come from Tampa Bay or perhaps another mystery team in the mix.
- There hasn’t been any change in the Yankees’ “file-and-trial” stance towards Dellin Betances’ arbitration hearing on February 17, George A. King III of the New York Post writes. “Nothing has changed, we haven’t talked. We have no intention of talking. It’s not close. Somebody else will make the decision,” GM Brian Cashman said. As King notes, other teams who have recently taken firm stances against negotiating prior to an arb hearing have instead worked out an agreement (such as the Royals and Kelvin Herrera or the Orioles and Kevin Gausman). Betances filed for a $5MM salary in 2017 while the Yankees countered with a $3MM proposal.
- In another piece from Joel Sherman, he looks at the contrast between how the Mets and Yankees are pursuing relief pitching upgrades. Both teams seem to be operating under stringent budgets, though the Mets showed flexibility and a bit more of a win-now mentality in adding Jerry Blevins and Fernando Salas on deals that aren’t guaranteed beyond 2017. The Yankees, meanwhile, missed out on Romo and don’t seem to have much willingness to add another veteran arm to their bullpen unless that pitcher meets their asking price. It should be noted that the Yankees did make a big splash to sign Aroldis Chapman and, with the Chapman/Betances/Tyler Clippard trio in place at the end of games, the Yankees had less of a pressing need in the pen than the Mets did. Still, as Sherman points out, the Yankees would like to add another experienced reliever to both add depth to the bullpen and to possibly allow the team’s young starters to stay stretched out in Triple-A rather than requiring them for relief work.
- Better health from the rotation will be the biggest change to a Mets team that saw little roster turnover, MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo writes. Yoenis Cespedes, Neil Walker, Salas and Blevins are all returning to a roster that managed to reach the NL wild card game in 2016 despite injuries to virtually every member of the starting staff. The Mets are aiming to keep their pitchers healthy by cutting short starts if necessary or skipping starts altogether, and by deploying a six-man rotation to keep everyone fresh. If the rotation is healthier, it stands to reason the Mets could equal or surpass their 87-win total from last season.