The Yankees baseball operations and scouting departments are “lukewarm” on free agent Manny Machado, per Andy Martino of SNY.tv. Brian Cashman has not been shy about his pursuit of Machado in the past, but the third-baseman-turned-shortstop’s antics during this postseason may have slowed what otherwise could have been a more aggressive pursuit of the infielder in free agency. This isn’t to say the Yankees won’t end up signing Machado, but the questioning of Machado’s hustle and baseball ethic certainly allow the Yankees, as well as other teams, to take a more understandably patient approach in regards to his free agency. Martino adds (via Twitter) that the biggest variable still in play is the Steinbrenner family and whether or not Boston’s World Series win will prompt an aggressive mandate in regards to either Machado or fellow free agent stud Bryce Harper.
But that’s not all that’s happening in the AL East…
- The Yankees have a $12.5MM option on Brett Gardner with a $2MM buyout for next season. Gardner, the longest-tenured Yankee, expressed an interest in coming back, but it remains to be seen if there will be a room in a crowded Yankee outfield that includes holdovers Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Hicks. MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch writes that Brian Cashman and his lieutenants have held three days of scouting meetings to craft their strategy heading into the offseason, with starting pitching figuring to be the priority. Regarding Gardner, the team could buyout his contract and look to bring him back at a discounted rate, but whether the 35-year-old outfielder would be amenable to such an arrangement is unclear. In 2018, Gardner appeared in 140 games, slashing .236/.322/.368 (2.8 rWAR).
- Not that this would be a surprise, but Boston’s Eduardo Nunez is likely to pick up his $5MM option for next season, per Fancred’s Jon Heyman (via Twitter). Despite his occasional postseason heroics, it was a tough season for Nunez, who slashed only .256/.289/.388 during the regular season. The .321/.353/.539 Nunez hit in 38 games in 2017 after being acquired midseason feels like a distant memory, but he can still provide some value off the bench as a versatile infielder and right-handed compliment to young stud Rafael Devers.
- As you ready yourself to dive into baseball’s transaction season, take a minute to read this piece from the Athletic’s Tim Britton about the Red Sox staffer charged with ushering the young players of Boston’s minor league system through each step of their development. Raquel Ferreira is one of the highest ranking women in Major League Baseball and one of the unsung heroes of Boston’s stellar development team. Her title is vice president of major-league and minor-league operations, but that hardly describes the impact she’s had in the twenty years since she joined the Red Sox as an administrative assistant. Ferreira handles everything from managing the logistics of player family travel to walking new players through the basics of minor-league orientation, as she did with Xander Bogaerts when he first signed out of Aruba and thought he had to spend an entire year at each minor-league level.