The Yankees were recently in contact with C.C. Sabathia, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reports (Twitter link). The southpaw said after the season that he hoped to return to the Bronx, and it was widely assumed that Sabathia was something of a backup plan for the Yankees if the club missed out on landing Shohei Ohtani. New York did check in with Sabathia, as per Heyman, even before today’s news broke that the Yankees wouldn’t be receiving a meeting with Ohtani and his representatives. Sabathia is both a well-respected veteran and he’s been a quietly-effective innings-eater over the last few seasons, so on paper, he could be seen as the favorite for the Yankees’ fifth starter job at this point in the offseason.
Some more rumblings from around the AL East…
- Evan Longoria’s name hasn’t been “seriously involved” in any trade discussions between the Rays and Cardinals, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi tweets, though Morosi says to “stay tuned” should the Cards fail to land Giancarlo Stanton. St. Louis has been known to be looking for an impact bat this winter and will likely explore several alternatives if they come up short in their pursuit of Stanton, so it makes sense that the Cardinals could expand their talks with the Rays about Alex Colome to also include Longoria. Obstacles to a deal, however, include the $86MM Longoria is owed through the 2022 season, his age (32), and the fact that he is coming off his worst offensive season (.312 wOBA, 96 wRC+).
- The Rays will be heavily counting on internal arms to fill several holes in the bullpen, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes. The club has already parted ways with Brad Boxberger, Xavier Cedeno, and Chase Whitley, and Tommy Hunter, Sergio Romo, and Steve Cishek are free agents. This opens the door for several young pitchers to win relief jobs, or starters that don’t make the rotation could be used in the pen. “While we want to make sure we have a stable group, we also want to ensure we are giving every opportunity to those guys to realize their upside,” senior VP of baseball operations Chaim Bloom said.
- A poor season could lead to the Orioles dealing some veterans at the trade deadline and a possible rebuild, though BaltimoreBaseball.com’s Dan Connolly doubts that the team would embark on a total scorched-earth rebuild a la the Astros or Cubs. It’s also probably unlikely that a struggling O’s team would even deal impending free agent Manny Machado (barring an impossible-to-refuse offer) at the deadline due to Peter Angelos’ philosophy that “the season-ticket holders paid to see a certain team and weakening that promised product in-season is disingenuous.”
- Also from Connolly’s mailbag piece, he doesn’t see the Orioles landing any of the top arms in the free agent market, so the club could check into acquiring a highly-paid pitcher coming off a down season. The O’s likely wouldn’t have to give up much minor league talent in return, plus the other team would probably be covering at least some of the pitcher’s contract. A bad contract swap could also be a consideration, as the O’s could help make up the salaries by dealing one of their own expensive players that might no longer be a fit — Connolly cites Mark Trumbo as a prime candidate in this scenario. This wouldn’t be a perfect fit to solve Baltimore’s pitching woes, though it would at least re-direct some funds towards the Orioles’ pressing need in the rotation.