The Yankees would like to set aside roughly $10MM of payroll space to save for in-season promotions and additions at the non-waiver trade deadline, per MLB.com’s Jon Morosi. As such, the actual amount of money they have left to spend this offseason is less than it would appear on the surface. (Morosi suggests that New York has $15MM to spend, though they’re currently at about $176MM in luxury tax considerations, and subtracting the $10MM figure he mentions would leave them closer to $11MM to spend.) Rather than a significant splash like jumping back into the Yu Darvish mix, then, the Yankees are likelier to add some veteran complements either to their rotation or their infield; the Yankees have been oft-connected to free-agent second basemen in recent weeks as the team eyes a bridge to prospect Gleyber Torres, who is returning from Tommy John surgery on his non-throwing elbow.
Here’s more from around the American League…
- Tigers GM Al Avila said this week that his team could still make some additions to the 40-man roster, MLB.com’s Jason Beck writes. The GM didn’t cite a specific area of need, indicating that he could have room to add a starter, a position player or a reliever. What’s clear, though, is that the Tigers don’t plan on making any kind of move that would come with long-term ramifications. “I’m not trying to come across as saying we’re going to try to pick up a pitcher here, a pitcher there and it’s going to make us so much better that we have a chance to win a championship,” Avila stated. “At this point, we might try to pick up a player here or there to, quite frankly, get us through the season, and hopefully have a guy have a bounceback and be able to make a trade later on and acquire a younger player, a piece here, a piece there, to make ourselves better little by little.” Comments like that, of course, make the MLBPA and agents alike bristle, as they’re the type of non-competitive remarks that have often been cited as a reason for the historically slow free-agent market. The Tigers have spent a bit of cash this offseason, signing Leonys Martin and Mike Fiers to Major League deals, but they won’t come anywhere near their previous levels of spending as they embark on what figures to be a lengthy rebuilding effort.
- Right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma has been cleared to begin throwing as he rehabs from 2017 shoulder surgery, according to Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times (all Twitter links). Divish was among the reporters on hand when Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto spoke to the media about a wide variety of topics, including health updates on a number of Mariners. In addition to Iwakuma setting out on a throwing program, righty David Phelps and outfielder Guillermo Heredia are expected to be at or very close to 100 percent when Spring Training opens. Dipoto also said that lefty Marco Gonzales, who is out of minor league options, “will be given every opportunity to make our club.” Dipoto has taken some heat from fans for trading prospect Tyler O’Neill to acquire Gonzales from the Cardinals, though O’Neill’s .254/.304/.548 slash and 27 percent strikeout rate in Triple-A following the trade raise questions of their own.
- Blue Jays outfielder Dalton Pompey spoke with Arden Zwelling of Sportsnet about his lost 2017 season. The former top prospect was once heralded as the center fielder of the future in Toronto but struggled in his first exposure to the Majors and was scarcely able to play at all last season. Pompey suffered a concussion playing for Canada in the World Baseball Classic that effectively prevented him from any sense of normalcy for the first few months of the season. The outfielder explains that he had to wear sunglasses everywhere he went, wasn’t able to use his phone or watch television and, certainly, was not participating at baseball activities for several months. A knee injury in his first rehab game back from the concussion more or less ended his 2017 campaign entirely. Pompey still has a minor league option remaining, Zwelling notes, but he has a long way to go to prove he can still be a long-term piece for the Jays. The column is well worth a full look, as it features an in-depth look at concussion symptoms, featuring interviews with not only Pompey but also recently retired first baseman Justin Morneau, whose career trajectory was dramatically altered by a 2010 concussion.