A few notes from the AL East:
- With the offseason now underway for the Yankees, general manager Brian Cashman discussed several topics of interest in an interview with Mike Francesa of WFAN earlier this week. As free agency and trade season approach, the Yankees are expected to be among the majors’ most active teams in the starting pitching market – especially considering left-handers J.A. Happ and CC Sabathia are without contracts. Indeed, Cashman revealed: “We’re excited about adding to our rotation. It’s going to be a focus point for us, and there’s going to be a lot of competition, regardless of the available players out there. We need to continue to reinforce that rotation.” As for Happ and Sabathia, Cashman declared that “they’re going to get a lot of consideration, not just from us but from a lot of people.” The 36-year-old Happ, whom New York acquired from Toronto in July, fit in well with the Yankees during the regular season and is now fresh off his fourth straight strong campaign. He seems like a shoo-in to land a multiyear deal, whereas Sabathia, 38, may have to settle for his second consecutive one-year pact. A Yankee since 2009, Sabathia re-signed with the team for $10MM last offseason and then continued his late-career renaissance during the 2018 campaign.
- Although the Orioles lost out on the Mesa brothers, two highly touted outfield prospects who chose the Marlins over the O’s on Saturday, Baltimore’s still “hopeful” about signing young right-hander Sandy Gaston, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com writes. Even after their Saturday signings, the Marlins may still try for Gaston – who, like the Mesas, hails from Cuba – but the Orioles could easily outbid them (or anyone else) at this point.
- Even though he has never managed at any level, Rays coach Rocco Baldelli has interviewed with five skipper-needy teams in recent weeks. Despite his inexperience, it’s no surprise the 37-year-old has drawn serious interest from teams seeking a manager, argues the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin, who notes Baldelli packages youth, intelligence, communication skills and a knowledge of analytics. That’s a coveted blend in the modern game, and as Topkin points out, it doesn’t hurt that a.) Baldelli comes with front office/scouting experience and b.) is part of a club that just wrapped up a successful season under his boss, manager Kevin Cash. The Cash-led Rays plan to return the same coaching staff in 2019, Topkin reports, though they may have to replace Baldelli.