Some items from the Bronx…
- The Yankees “tried hard” to land Orioles reliever Mychal Givens at the trade deadline, the New York Post’s Joel Sherman reports. The right-hander was a popular figure on the rumor mill last July, with such clubs as the Indians, Dodgers, Braves, Phillies, and Nationals all reportedly showing interest in acquiring his services. It isn’t any surprise that the Yankees were also involved given how New York is constantly looking to reinforce its already strong bullpen, and it isn’t out of the question that the Yankees could ask about Givens again this winter. The 29-year-old is under team control for two more seasons (and projected to make $3.2MM in arbitration this winter), though Givens is coming off the worst of his five big league seasons. Givens posted a 12.3 K/9 and 3.31 K/BB rate over 63 innings but his ERA ballooned to 4.57, due in large part to a lot of problems keeping the ball in the park (1.9 HR/9).
- Sticking with Sherman’s piece, he wonders if the Yankees could perhaps try to land both Givens and Jonathan Villar from the Orioles in a package deal that would also address another team need — a lack of left-handed hitting. Interestingly, Sherman writes that there is some strategy behind this lineup imbalance, as the Yankees have preferred to deploy right-handed bats with opposite-field power rather than actual left-handed hitters, as lefty bats can be more easily hampered by defensive shifts. If the Bronx Bombers did decide to add more pop from the left side, however, Sherman feels the best possible solution would be switch-hitting superstar Francisco Lindor, if the Indians made him available in a trade. Beyond Villar, Sherman lists a few other players (old friend Didi Gregorius, Freddy Galvis, Tucker Barnhart, Jason Castro) who could be signed or acquired in trades to add left-handed balance to either the lineup or bench. In Galvis’ case, Sherman reports that he was the Yankees’ second choice as shortstop depth last offseason before they landed Troy Tulowitzki.
- The Yankees’ decision to exercise some financial restraint has drawn criticism from some fans and pundits, particularly since the club has now gone 10 full seasons without a World Series title. As Fangraphs’ Craig Edwards observes in a look at the last 20 years of Yankees spending, the franchise made a gigantic payroll spike in 2003-2004 (up into the $200MM-$240MM range, around three times as much as the average payroll) that possibly “outstripped what might have been reasonable compared to their revenues and financial status, and that staying at around $240 million reflected a necessary correction.” The Yankees’ average payroll increase hasn’t matched the rest of the league’s overall increase over the last decade, however, even while the Yankees franchise has increased its revenues.