A few notes from the Bronx…
- With crucial bullpen pieces David Robertson and Zach Britton among their free agents, the Yankees are planning to add two relievers this offseason, according to general manager Brian Cashman (via Joel Sherman of the New York Post). One of those pickups may be free-agent right-hander Adam Ottavino, whom the Yankees are interested in, Sherman reports. The 33-year-old Ottavino – a New York City native – just put up a career season in Colorado, where he logged a 2.43 ERA/2.74 FIP with 12.98 K/9 and 4.17 BB/9 across 77 2/3 innings. On the heels of his marvelous 2018 campaign, MLBTR predicts Ottavino will join the Yankees on a three-year, $30MM contract this offseason.
- The Yankees have discussed signing Japanese left-hander Yusei Kikuchi, team owner Hal Steinbrenner revealed earlier this month (per David Lennon of Newsday). “I saw film on him during the pro scouting meetings,” Steinbrenner said. “We talked about that individual. We’ve always been paying attention to that area of the world — some unbelievably great players came out of there. So it won’t be any different this year.” Steinbrenner’s comments came before the Yankees acquired fellow lefty James Paxton from the Mariners this past Monday, which in theory could lessen the need for Kikuchi. However, the Yankees still seem destined to get at least one more high-end starter this offseason, and they’ve never been shy about pursuing hyped Japanese talent, evidenced by past signings such as Hideki Irabu, Hideki Matsui, Kei Igawa and Masahiro Tanaka. While the 27-year-old Kikuchi’s not yet available to major league clubs, that will change when the Seibu Lions – his team in Nippon Professional Baseball – post him in early December.
- New York is loaded in the outfield, where it boasts Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Hicks, Brett Gardner, Clint Frazier and Jacoby Ellsbury. Free-agent outfielder Bryce Harper seems like more of a luxury than a need, then, though there has been speculation about the Yankees signing the superstar to play first base, where their top holdover, Luke Voit, dominated late in 2018 but doesn’t carry an extensive major league track record. Earlier this week, Cashman discussed the possibility of signing Harper to line up at first, telling the YES Network (via Mike Rosenstein of NJ.com): “People have talked about Bryce Harper being able to play first base, I don’t know if he can or can’t. I know he’s very athletic, but that’s not necessarily a bet I would recommend placing with the amount of money he’s expected to get.” Although Cashman doesn’t seem enthusiastic about Harper as a first base option, the executive added that he’s “not ruling anything out.”