Some items from the Bronx…
- Indians right-hander Danny Salazar was one of several pitchers the Yankees considered as potential trade targets last winter, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. Salazar is controlled via arbitration through the 2020 season and he has shown excellent promise when healthy, posting a 3.82 ERA, 10.5 K/9, and 3.27 K/BB rate over 587 1/3 career innings with the Tribe. Unfortunately, Salazar has also been bothered by shoulder and elbow problems over the last two years, and he looks to miss at least a bit of time at the start of the 2018 season due to rotator cuff inflammation. Despite the health risks, Salazar has been a popular trade target for multiple teams, with the Cubs and Brewers both being linked to the righty this offseason.
- Also from Sherman’s piece, he doesn’t blame the Yankees for jumping at the unique opportunity to land Giancarlo Stanton, though in terms of pure payroll allocation, rotation help was more of a need than another big bat. Aside from re-signing C.C. Sabathia, the Yankees didn’t do much to address possible questions in the rotation, though they did explore trades for the likes of Salazar and Gerrit Cole. New York was only on the periphery of the Yu Darvish hunt, with GM Brian Cashman telling Sherman that “We talked about Darvish with [his agent] Joel Wolfe, but it never got off the ground. We kept seeing if his market collapsed and it didn’t.” Cashman also noted that “Darvish was never a choice for us, in terms of length [of contract request] with a pitcher,” which Sherman interprets as the Yankees no longer being comfortable handing out major long-term deals to pitchers in their 30’s and/or with notable injury histories.
- Tyler Wade will be on the Yankees’ Opening Day roster, manager Aaron Boone told MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch and other reporters. Wade’s multi-positional versatility will help a New York team that is only planning to have a three-man bench for now, in order to deploy an eight-man bullpen. Wade’s roster opportunity may come at the expense of Jacoby Ellsbury, who Boone said isn’t likely to be ready for the start of the season as the veteran outfielder continues to recover from an oblique injury.
- The Yankees have long been considered a prime suitor for Manny Machado when the Orioles star hits free agency next winter, though Mike Axisa of the River Ave Blues blog questions whether the two sides are an ideal fit. For one, New York has solid-to-very good shortstop and third base options both at the big league level (Didi Gregorius, Brandon Drury, Wade) and coming up in the minors (Gleyber Torres, Miguel Andujar), so even though Machado is an elite player, the Yankees might prefer to spend their money on pitching instead of the left side of the infield. To that same end, Axisa wonders if the Yankees will, as rumored, once again far exceed the luxury tax level for big-money free agents like Machado, given Hal Steinbrenner’s desire to keep payroll relatively in check, at least by the Yankees’ standards.