MLB Trade Rumors » » New York Yankees Sun, 21 Jan 2018 05:37:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Market For Eduardo Nunez Reportedly Picking Up Fri, 19 Jan 2018 18:34:56 +0000
  • Also via Heyman, Eduardo Nunez is seeing his market “heat up” a bit. There are as many as eight teams that have shown interest in Nunez of late, including the Mets, Yankees, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Giants, BravesBrewers and Royals. (Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area recently suggested that a reunion with San Francisco wasn’t likely, implying that Nunez can receive superior offers elsewhere.) Heyman joins others that have recently reported that Nunez is on the Mets’ radar as a second base option. The Yankees, Red Sox, Braves and Brewers all make varying degrees of sense as well, though it’s tougher to see a clear fit with the Jays, Giants and Royals for various reasons. Toronto has already added Aledmys Diaz and Yangervis Solarte this winter (with Troy Tulowitzki and Devon Travis both still on board as well), while the Giants picked up Evan Longoria and are reportedly striving to remain under the luxury tax threshold. Nunez would almost certainly put them over, as they’re within less than $5MM of that point at present. As for the Royals, they could use a versatile infielder, but they’re also gearing up for a rebuild.

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    Latest On Julio Pablo Martinez Fri, 19 Jan 2018 01:54:05 +0000 The market for top Cuban free agent Julio Pablo Martinez has begun to take shape, according to Ben Badler of Baseball America. Martinez has yet to receive signing clearance, but Badler notes it’s anticipated he will be officially named a free agent before the conclusion of the current July 2nd period.

    If Martinez does indeed become eligible to sign before June 15th, he’ll have the open of signing either in the current or the ensuing period. That will help open up his options a bit.

    Of the three teams that Badler tabs the leaders, one — the Rangers — might utilize its 2017-18 pool money to make a deal with Martinez. (As Badler explains, Texas will need to use or lose its remaining spending availability, which at last glance sat at about $3.53MM.) The others — the Yankees and Marlins — would almost certainly view Martinez as a major part of the 2018-19 signing class.

    Martinez, 21, is considered one of the best young talents from his baseball-loving home nation. Badler provides all the necessary details about his profile in the above link. In brief, Martinez is a fleet-footed center fielder with some pop. Notwithstanding an eye-popping 30:52 K/BB ratio in his last 264 plate appearances in Cuba’s top league, Martinez is said to possess more palatable than great plate discipline abilities.

    All said, Martinez seems to be a legitimately interesting prospect asset. Unlike many of the more youthful Latin American players that sign as bonus-limited international amateurs, he may actually not be that far off from the majors. Of course, he’ll still need to refine his skills and prove he’s worthy of a crack at the game’s highest level. Regardless, Martinez ought to represent an intriguing new addition for whatever organization signs him.

    Yankees To Sign Wade LeBlanc Tue, 16 Jan 2018 21:03:46 +0000 The Yankees have agreed to a minor-league deal with lefty Wade LeBlanc, according to’s Jerry Crasnick (via Twitter). He’ll receive an invitation to MLB Spring Training and an opt-out opportunity just before the start of the season, per Crasnick, who notes that the deal comes with a potential $1MM base rate of pay in the Majors. USA Today’s Bob Nightengale adds that LeBlanc also has an opt-out on June 15 and would earn a monthly salary of $32K in the minors. LeBlanc is represented by agent Joe Rosen.

    LeBlanc, 33, engineered a return to the majors after spending a season in Japan in 2015 (and then appearing on the MLBTR Podcast). After spending some time as a swingman for the Mariners in 2016, he landed with the Pirates and threw well enough to earn a major-league contract in the following offseason.

    Things didn’t go quite as hoped in 2017, as LeBlanc managed only a 4.50 ERA with 7.1 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 in his 68 innings in Pittsburgh. He did carry a personal-best 9.6% swinging-strike rate, though, and fielding-independent pitching metrics valued his output as better than the results (e.g. 3.97 SIERA).

    As has long been the case, LeBlanc was much more effective last year against righties than when pitching against same-handed batters. It seems he’ll join a camp battle to earn a place as a long man for the Yankees.

    Yankees' Final Offer For Gerrit Cole Reportedly Consisted Of 3 Prospects Mon, 15 Jan 2018 05:55:48 +0000 The Yankees were reportedly willing to part with outfield prospect Clint Frazier in a trade for then-Pirates right-hander Gerrit Cole earlier this offseason, but no deal come together between the teams. Although Pittsburgh ended up trading Cole to Houston on Saturday for a four-player package, the Pirates valued Frazier over everyone they got back from the Astros, according to Jim Bowden of The Athletic. However, the Pirates liked the package they got from the Astros better than the offers the Yankees made, including a final pitch from the Bombers that consisted of three prospects, per Bowden (Twitter link).

    More Reaction & Fallout To The Gerrit Cole Trade Sun, 14 Jan 2018 15:26:56 +0000 The Astros and Pirates swung a major trade yesterday, with the World Series champions acquiring Gerrit Cole in exchange for a package of four players (Joe Musgrove, Michael Feliz, Colin Moran, Jason Martin).  We’ve already published one batch of reactions to the deal, and now here are some additional details about the trade talks and further analysis about what this deal means for Houston, Pittsburgh, and other clubs…

    • The Astros were able to land Cole without giving up any of their top prospects, as ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that Houston wasn’t willing to offer Forrest Whitley, Kyle Tucker, Derek Fisher, or Yordan Alvarez.  Musgrove and Moran were seen as the top two pieces of the trade by the Pirates, and they pulled the trigger on the deal since Pittsburgh felt no other team was offering two top prospects of better quality in exchange for Cole.  Musgrove, Feliz, and Moran give the Bucs 15 years of controllable talent, which was also a factor in their decision.
    • Also from Crasnick, the Yankees were willing to include one of Clint Frazier or Chance Adams in a potential Cole trade, but not both.  New York was also intent on holding onto its top minor leaguers, as Gleyber Torres, Miguel Andujar, Justus Sheffield, and Estevan Florial were considered off-limits in trade talks.
    • The Yankees’ unwillingness to move its best prospects could be due to a belief that Yu Darvish could be signed for a “reasonable” price, John Harper of the New York Daily News writes.  This could be a contract in the range of five years and $80MM-90MM, which would represent a stunning discount from the six-year, $160MM deal MLBTR predicted for Darvish at the start of the offseason.  Even with the unprecedentedly slow nature of this winter’s free agent market, it’s hard to believe Darvish would settle for such a relatively small deal, especially with at least five other teams known to be vying for his services.  Harper also notes that even a five-year/$80MM pact would put the Yankees over the luxury tax limit, unless they were to move another big contract to create payroll space.
    • The Pirates’ return was “more one of quantity than of impact,”’s Keith Law writes, though Cole may only be “a soft upgrade” for the Astros rotation if he replicates his 2017 numbers.  Law feels that Cole’s 2016-17 performance curtailed some of his trade value, and while Houston is obviously hoping that Cole returns to his 2015 form, the trade also could’ve been a way of keeping him away from a chief AL rival like the Yankees.
    East Notes: Machado, Yankees, Mets Sun, 14 Jan 2018 03:10:22 +0000 While Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription required/highly recommended) doesn’t necessarily expect the Orioles to trade Manny Machado prior to the season, he reports that the Diamondbacks are still pushing to acquire the infielder. D-backs second baseman Brandon Drury continues to be one of the players involved in Machado trade discussions, as Rosenthal first reported last month, and left-handed pitching prospect Anthony Banda has also been part of the teams’ talks. Machado would play shortstop in Arizona, potentially pushing Ketel Marte to second base and Chris Owings to a super-utility/outfield role, Rosenthal adds.

    A few other items stemming from baseball organizations on the East coast…

    • Though the Yankees were in on Cole at one point, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the two sides never actually came close to a deal. The Pirates wanted at least one of Miguel Andujar and Clint Frazier, which may have (in my perspective) provided a reasonable framework to get a deal done. However, the hangup was over the other players involved in the package for Cole; the inability to agree on supplemental players proved an obstacle in getting a deal done.
    • The latest on the Mets’ infield comes from Rosenthal, who writes that they’re more interested in acquiring a second base than a third baseman. However, it doesn’t seem they’ve made any headway with the Pirates regarding Josh Harrison, Rosenthal suggests, while free agent Eduardo Nunez may be too pricey at the moment. A reunion with free agent and ex-Met Neil Walker is possible, but there’s competition from the Brewers and other teams, per Rosenthal. Interestingly, even after signing Jay Bruce this week, the Mets are considering bringing back free agent first baseman Lucas Duda, Rosenthal relays.
    • Elsewhere on the Mets front, suspended reliever Jenrry Mejia is expected to apply for reinstatement “in the near future,” Matt Ehalt of The Record writes. Major League Baseball hit Mejia with a lifetime ban for performance-enhancing drugs back in 2016, but he’s allowed to appeal after two years. That two-year window will expire in February, which will enable Mejia to vie for reinstatement and get a hearing with commissioner Rob Manfred within 30 days of submitting his application, per Ehalt. If Manfred doesn’t rule in Mejia’s favor, he’d have the ability to appeal to an arbitration panel, Ehalt reports. Regardless, odds continue to be against Mejia ever pitching in MLB again, Ehalt suggests.
    Conflicting Signals On Yankees' Interest In Yu Darvish Sat, 13 Jan 2018 06:19:47 +0000
  • Chicago is said to be among a handful or more of teams still in the hunt for top free agent starter Yu Darvish, who has himself added intrigue to the market with some comments from his Twitter account. After musing recently on a mystery team, Darvish again took to the airwaves today to address the interest of the Yankees. After first suggesting the team had not made him an offer, the veteran righty then tweeted he had received one — but that “the numbers are not correct.” That said,’s Bryan Hoch reports (via Twitter) that New York has not, in fact, put together a contract proposal for Darvish. The Yanks have long seemed a lurking but less-than-perfect potential suitor, given the team’s interest in staying below the luxury tax line this year.
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    Players Avoiding Arbitration: American League Fri, 12 Jan 2018 21:00:23 +0000 The deadline for MLB teams to exchange salary arbitration figures with their arbitration-eligible players is today at 1pm ET. As such, there will be a veritable flood of arb agreements piling up in the next few hours — especially in light of a more universal approach to the “file and trial” method for teams. (That is to say, those teams will no longer negotiate one-year deals after arb figures are exchanged and will instead head to a hearing with those players, barring an agreemenr on a multi-year deal.)

    Note that you can keep an eye on all of today’s deals using MLBTR’s 2018 Arbitration Tracker, which can be filtered to show only the results of the team you follow and is also sortable by service time and dollar value of the agreement. All projections that are referenced come from MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz’s annual compilation of projected arbitration salarie

    American League West

    • The Astros and Evan Gattis agreed to a $6.7MM deal for 2018, per FanRag’s Robert Murray (Twitter link). A free agent next season, Gattis lands within $100K of his $6.6MM projection. The club also has deals (for values unknown) with starters Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers Jr., and Brad Peacock, Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle tweets.
    • The Rangers agreed to a $1.05MM deal with infielder Jurickson Profar, tweets Murray. Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star Telegram, meanwhile, tweets that lefty Jake Diekman landed a $2.7125MM deal and righty Keone Kela will earn $1.2MM. Profar had been projected at $1.1MM and is controllable another three seasons. Diekman, a free agent next winter, was projected at $2.8MM. And Kela, still controlled for three more years, matched his $1.2MM projection on the dot.
    • The Athletics and closer Blake Treinen agreed to a $2.15MM deal for next year, tweets Murray. The A’s can control Treinen for another three years. He was projected at $2.3MM. Shortstop Marcus Semien has settled for $3.125MM, Heyman tweets; his $3.2MM projection was nearly spot-on. Oakland has announced that it has avoided arbitration with Liam Hendriks and Josh Phegley as well, but their salaries have yet to be reported.
    • The Angels have a one-year, $7.3MM agreement in place with right-hander Garrett Richards, per Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register (Twitter link). Richards, a free agent next offseason, tops his $7MM projection by a margin of $300K. The Halos have also avoided arb with first baseman C.J. Cron ($2.3MM) and left-hander Tyler Skaggs ($1.875MM), tweets USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. Cron’s total falls a ways shy of his $2.8MM projection, while Skaggs comes in just $25K south of his $1.9MM projection. Both are controllable through the 2020 season. Lastly, Murray tweets that Matt Shoemaker agreed to a $4.125MM deal. He’s controlled through 2020 and projected at $4.4MM. Fletcher also tweets that the club has agreed with righty J.C. Ramirez ($1.9MM salary vs. $2.6MM projection) and lefty Jose Alvarez ($1.05MM salary vs. $1.1MM projection). Finally, righty Cam Bedrosian has agreed at $1.1MM, Flecher tweets, which represents a payday close to his projection of $1.2MM.
    • Left-hander James Paxton will earn $4.9MM with the Mariners in 2018, tweets Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. Murray tweets that the Mariners and David Phelps agreed to a $5.55MM deal. Paxton, controlled through 2020, projected to earn $5.6MM, while Phelps was pegged at $5.8MM. He’s a free agent next winter. Righty Erasmo Ramirez took a $4.2MM deal,’s Greg Johns reports. That’s half a million shy of what the model suggested. Fellow right-hander Nick Vincent also has an agreement, but the terms aren’t yet known.

    American League Central

    • New lefty Luis Avilan has agreed to a $2.45MM deal with the White Sox, Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune reports via Twitter. The recent trade acquisition came with a projected $2.3MM price tag. Fellow southpaw Carlos Rodon will receive $2.3MM, a bit of a bump over the $2MM he projected to receive. Also, utilityman Leury Garcia gets $1.175MM, which is just $25K short of his projected value.
    • The Royals and righty Nate Karns agreed to a $1.375MM deal for 2018, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet reports (on Twitter). That lands within $25K of his $1.4MM projection for the coming season. Kansas City controls Karns through 2020. Meanwhile,’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports (via Twitter) that Kelvin Herrera will earn $7.9375MM in 2018, landing a bit shy of his $8.3MM projection. Herrera is a free agent next winter.
    • The Indians have a $5MM agreement with righty Danny Salazar,’s Jordan Bastian tweets. He had projected to earn just $200K more, this falls right in line with expectations. Cleveland also agreed with Lonnie Chisenhall on a $5.5875MM deal, tweets Nightengale. The third baseman-turned-outfielder, who was projected to earn $5.8MM, will be a free agent following the 2018 season.
    • Trevor May has a $650K agreement with the Twins for the 2018 season, according to Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. May, who missed the entire season due to Tommy John surgery (and did some writing for MLBTR during his rehab process), had been projected at $600K. The Twins also agreed to a $1MM deal with infielder Ehire Adrianza, per La Velle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune. Meanwhile, righty Ryan Pressly has agreed to a $1.6MM deal, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN. Both deals are identical matches with their projections. Adrianza has three years of team control remaining, while Pressly has two. Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets that outfielder Robbie Grossman settled at $2MM, leaving him $400K shy of his projection. Grossman is controlled for another three seasons.
    • Tigers third baseman/outfielder Nick Castellanos will earn $6.05MM, per Heyman (via Twitter). He had projected at a much heftier $7.6MM in his second-to-last season of arb eligibility.’s Jason Beck reports (Twitter links) that the Tigers and right-handed reliever Alex Wilson settled at $1.925MM, while fellow righty Shane Greene will earn $1.95MM. Wilson was projected to earn $2.1MM, while Greene was at $1.7MM. Wilson is controlled through 2019, while Greene is under control through 2020.

    American League East

    • The Yankees have knocked out some of their biggest arb cases, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (Twitter links). Shortstop Didi Gregorius receives $8.25MM and righty Sonny Gray checks in at $6.5MM. The former had projected to earn $9.0MM while the algorithm was just $100K high on the latter.Backstop Austin Romine will earn $1.1MM, Heyman also tweets, which is also $100K below the projection. Righty Adam Warren and the Yankees have a $3.315MM deal, per Murray (Twitter link). This is Warren’s final season of eligibility before hitting the open market next winter. He’d been projected at $3.1MM. Meanwhile, fellow right-hander Dellin Betances has agreed to a $5.1MM deal, per’s Mark Feinsand (via Twitter). That’s just $100K more than Betances had sought last year, when he took his case to a hearing that he ultimately lost. But it’s quite a bit more than the $4.4MM he projected to receive after a subpar season in which he played at a $3MM salary.
    • The Red Sox have agreed to pay $8.5MM to southpaw Drew Pomeranz, per Alex Speier of the Boston Globe (Twitter link). That’s short of the $9.1MM that had been projected after Pomeranz turned in a productive 2017 season. Boston and Jackie Bradley Jr. settled at $6.1MM, tweets Murray. That’s a bit north of the $5.9MM at which he’d been projected for the upcoming season. Bradley Jr., a Super Two player, has another three seasons of club control remaining. Nightengale tweets that righty Joe Kelly ($3.6MM projection) agreed to a $3.825MM deal. He’ll be a free agent next winter. Lefty Eduardo Rodriguez ($2.375MM salary vs. $2.7MM projection) and righty Brandon Workman ($835K salary vs. $900K projection) are two other Sox hurlers that have agreed to terms, Speier reports (Twitter links). On the position player side, catcher Sandy Leon falls a bit under his projection $1.95MM (via Speier, on Twitter) while utilityman Brock Holt just beats expectations at $2.225MM (per’s Jerry Crasnick, on Twitter). The team also agreed with shortstop Xander Bogaerts for $7.05MM, Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston tweets, which comes in a bit shy of his $7.6MM projection. Boston also announced agreement with backstop Christian Vazquez, who’ll earn $1.425MM, per’s Ian Browne (via Twitter). That’s just under the projection of $1.5MM.
    • The Blue Jays and righty Aaron Sanchez agreed to a $2.7MM deal for 2018, according to Nightengale (Twitter link). That crushes his $1.9MM projection, which was likely suppressed due Sanchez’s lack of innings (just 36) in 2017. He’s under Jays control through 2020. Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith, meanwhile, tweets that second baseman Devon Travis will make $1.45MM next year, falling a bit shy of his $1.7MM forecast. Other Toronto players agreeing to terms include Kevin Pillar ($3.25MM vs. $4.0MM projection) and Dominic Leone ($1.085MM vs. $1.2MM projection),’s Gregor Chisholm tweets.
    • The Rays and closer Alex Colome settled at $5.3M, per USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (on Twitter). He’d been projected at $5.5MM and is controllable for three more years. They also settled at $5.95MM with outfielder/DH Corey Dickerson ($6.4MM projection) and $4.5MM with infielder Brad Miller ($4.4MM projection), per Murray (all Twitter links). Steven Souza, according to Murray will earn $3.55MM, placing him right in line with his $3.6MM projection. Dickerson and Miller are controlled through 2019. Souza is controlled through 2020.
    Yankees Avoid Arbitration With Hicks, Kahnle Fri, 12 Jan 2018 05:12:47 +0000
  • ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweets that the Yankees and Aaron Hicks have settled on a one-year deal worth $2.825MM, placing him $75K shy of his $2.9MM projection. Hicks enjoyed a breakout 2017 season and heads into 2018 as the favorite to play center field on a daily basis in the Bronx. He’s controlled through 2019.
  • Meanwhile, FanRag’s Jon Heyman tweets that hard-throwing right-hander Tommy Kahnle and the Yankees agreed to a one-year, $1.3125MM pact for the upcoming season. Kahnle and his triple-digit fastball will be under team control through 2020. He was projected at $1.3MM.
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    Yu Darvish Choosing Among Six Teams Thu, 11 Jan 2018 05:34:03 +0000 Yu Darvish is widely considered to be the top starting pitcher available in free agency, and while his market — like the market of nearly every other top free agent this winter — has been slow to progress, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that Darvish has whittled the decision down to a handful of teams: the Rangers, Cubs, Astros, Twins and Yankees. Darvish himself has hardly been shy about stirring the pot on social media this winter, though, and he created an additional layer of intrigue tonight when he responded to the report by tweeting: “I know one more team is in.” The Dodgers may very well be the sixth team to which Darvish alluded, as Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times tweeted tonight that Los Angeles “remains in the mix” to bring Darvish back to L.A.

    In his column, Wilson once again cautions that the Rangers aren’t a prime suitor for Darvish. The right-hander, according to Wilson, would prefer to return to Arlington were all things equal, but the Rangers aren’t expected to pursue top-tier free agents, as has reportedly been the case for the entire winter. Wilson reported three months ago that Texas was aiming to trim payroll by about $10MM for the coming season, which would leave them around $155MM overall. A backloaded contract for Darvish could technically still make that goal possible, but Wilson strongly suggests that the Rangers won’t be making any moves of the “all-in” variety this winter. The Rangers’ payroll projects to check in around $144MM as things presently stand.

    Both the Yankees and Astros have been prominently linked to another high-end rotation candidate recently, as both have been said in recent weeks to be in talks for Pittsburgh righty Gerrit Cole. Astros GM Jeff Luhnow earlier today shot down a report that his team had struck an agreement to acquire Cole, but both New York and Houston appear to have some level of interest more cost-effective trade candidates.

    The Yankees, of course, have been hard at work trying to bolster their 2018 roster while simultaneously remaining south of the luxury tax barrier (to great success thus far), while Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported just yesterday (subscription required and recommended) that Houston prefers to trade for a pitcher like Cole rather than shell out a massive contract to Darvish or another free-agent starter. If the Yankees can find a way to shed a significant portion of Jacoby Ellsbury’s contract (which seems unlikely) or if the Astros ultimately deem all of their trade targets too expensive in terms of prospects, then perhaps on of those clubs will take a more serious look at Darvish.

    Minnesota, meanwhile, has long been reported to be one of the more aggressive teams on Darvish, who knows Twins GM Thad Levine quite well from the pair’s time with the Rangers. Of all the teams in the mix, the Twins’ payroll outlook is by far the most open (zero dollars on the books beyond the 2019 season). As for the Cubs, they’ve been tied to Darvish, Jake Arrieta and fellow righty Alex Cobb as they seek to round out their rotation and remain atop a competitive NL Central division.

    The Dodgers, like the Yankees, are facing some self-imposed financial restrictions. Both clubs are trying to reset their luxury tax penalty level, and the Dodgers look to have done so in the Adrian Gonzalez/Scott Kazmir/Brandon McCarthy/Matt Kemp trade. Bringing Darvish back into the fold would once again push them north of the tax line, L.A. is also looking for ways in which to shed Kemp’s contract. As is the case with the Yankees and Ellsbury, finding a taker for a notable portion of that deal could create additional flexibility.

    Yankees Notes: Stanton, Judge, Andujar, Frazier Wed, 10 Jan 2018 02:59:36 +0000 While the Yankees were assuredly disheartened upon being informed that they were not a finalist for Shohei Ohtani, that information looks to have largely paved the way for New York’s blockbuster acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton. Yankees GM Brian Cashman joined Jim Bowden and Craig Mish on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM today and discussed his club’s pursuit of both Ohtani and Stanton (Twitter link with audio). As Cashman explains, had the Yankees been among the finalists for Ohtani, or even signed him, they’d have been committed to keeping the DH spot largely open in order to accommodate Ohtani’s desire to both pitch and hit. However, being informed that they were out of the Ohtani sweepstakes fairly early in the process allowed Cashman and his staff to pivot and re-engage the Marlins on Stanton. New York and Miami had talked in the previous month, per Cashman, and negotiations quickly became serious once the Yankees knew they could use the DH spot that had been earmarked for Ohtani to rotate Stanton, Aaron Judge and others.

    • In that same appearance, Cashman also spoke about the possibility of Stanton and Judge seeing time in left field as well as trade interest in prospects Miguel Andujar and Clint Frazier (both links via’s Bryan Hoch). Hoch notes that the DH spot is a more likely avenue to get both Judge and Stanton into the same lineup, though Cashman said that both players have expressed a willingness and level of excitement regarding the possibility of playing the opposite outfield corner. Brett Gardner and Aaron Hicks figure to line up regularly in left field and center field for the Yankees, but it seems that there’ll be days when one of the two slugging career-long right fielders could see time in left. As for Andujar and Frazier, Cashman spoke highly of both and acknowledged the possibility of a trade, though he also said he could hang onto both young players. Cashman calls Frazier a “very valuable, attractive asset” not only to the Yankees but to other teams and later adds that Andujar is “…a very exciting talent — one that’s being insisted upon, it seems like, in every conversation I’m having with anything that’s high-end out there.”
    Yankees Notes: Ellsbury, Luxury Tax Sun, 07 Jan 2018 22:48:12 +0000
  • “The Orioles actually like (Jacoby) Ellsbury a little,” Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes, though several hurdles stand in the way of the Yankees managing to deal the veteran outfielder.  New York would have to eat the big majority of the $68.5MM remaining on Ellsbury’s contract, and he may prefer to only waive his no-trade protection for a deal that would send him closer to his home in Arizona.  Ellsbury-to-Baltimore was first floated by the Yankees as part of trade talks about Manny Machado, though obviously the O’s would need a lot more than Ellsbury for such a deal given how Ellsbury has struggled in each of the last three seasons.  While the Orioles’ interest in Ellsbury may be muted, his addition would bring more left-handed balance to Baltimore’s lineup and also perhaps open the door for Adam Jones to shift to right field.
  • Ellsbury’s deal is the biggest obstacle facing the Yankees in their desire to both make further upgrades (including some potential big names) to their roster while also staying until the $197MM competitive balance tax threshold.  Since an Ellsbury trade could be a tall order, Sherman writes that David Robertson might be the biggest trade chip “within reason” that would allow the Bronx Bombers to both move a large salary and score a quality return.  Robertson is owed $13MM in 2018, his final year under contract, and Sherman wonders if a closer-needy team like the Cardinals would part with MLB-ready young talent for Robertson’s services.  This does seem to be speculation, however, as Sherman notes that the Yankees have shown no willingness to trade from their loaded bullpen, plus Robertson is a closer-in-waiting should Aroldis Chapman get injured.
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    Yankees To Sign Jace Peterson Fri, 05 Jan 2018 20:32:49 +0000 The Yankees have agreed to a minors pact with infielder Jace Peterson, according to SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (via Twitter). The 27-year-old will receive an invitation to MLB camp this spring and can earn at a $900K rate in the majors, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets.

    Peterson, 27, figures to have a chance at earning a role in the Yankees’ infield rotation, which remains in flux after the organization dealt away veterans Chase Headley and Starlin Castro earlier this winter. It’s still possible that the organization will add some significant pieces, but Peterson could contend for a reserve position regardless.

    The Braves could have retained Peterson via arbitration at a projected rate of just $1.1MM. But Atlanta decided it was time to move on after a year in which he slashed just .215/.318/.317 over 215 plate appearances.

    If things work out, the Yanks could yet control Peterson for two or more seasons through the arb process. Peterson has just 3.003 years of service, so if he spends a bit of time in the minors to open the year, it’s possible he’d still have three years of control ahead of him.

    It’s worth remembering that Peterson was not long ago considered a quality prospect. And he did turn in a .254/.350/.366 output, with 52 walks against 69 strikeouts, over 408 plate appearances in 2016. Peterson has also shown wide platoon splits; while that doesn’t bode well for his potential to one day turn into a regular, it does suggest that he could be more useful to an organization that is able to pair him with other players.

    Yankees Notes: Machado, Harrison, Frazier Fri, 05 Jan 2018 18:33:42 +0000
  • The Yankees checked back in with the Orioles on Manny Machado this week, per FanRag’s Jon Heyman, but the O’s have yet to receive an offer from any team that is close to what they’d hope to receive for Machado. The Yankees remain interested in Machado, though, believing that they have a legitimate chance to sign him long-term (even without an extension window being granted). The O’s reportedly want a pair of MLB-ready pitchers for Machado, though Heyman notes that third base prospect Miguel Andujar intrigues Baltimore to some degree. For now, Andujar is viewed as the Yankees’ starter at third base, though Heyman adds that the Yanks are exploring a number of avenues in the infield; in addition to Machado, they’ve shown interest in the PiratesJosh Harrison and are keeping tabs on the free-agent market in case Todd Frazier’s asking price drops to one year.
  • ESPN New York’s Andrew Marchand writes that the Yankees would indeed “love” to bring Frazier back into the mix, but the organization has some reservations about his asking price (both in dollars and years). At present, the Yanks are poised to head into the season with Andujar at third base and one of Ronald Torreyes, Gleyber Torres or Tyler Wade at second base. “We are currently set up to go this route, unless something presents itself between now and whenever that gives us a change of position,” GM Brian Cashman tells Marchand. Certainly, that suggests that Cashman & Co. are yet open to additions, and Marchand calls it a “pretty good bet” that the Yankees will add an infielder to the mix before the offseason concludes.
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    Yankees Could Add Infielder Mon, 01 Jan 2018 20:26:27 +0000
  •’s Bryan Hoch writes that the Yankees seem likely to bring in an infield option from outside the organization to man either second base or third base in 2018. Trades of Starlin Castro and Chase Headley freed those two spots up, and while Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar give the Yanks a pair of high-upside assets at those positions, some additional certainty and depth in a season with lofty expectations seems plenty reasonable. Per Hoch, the Yankees have been in touch with Todd Frazier, and it’s also possible that they explore a reunion with versatile Eduardo Nunez.
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    Yankees Have Reportedly Made Offer To Ji-Man Choi Mon, 01 Jan 2018 15:31:02 +0000
  • First baseman Ji-Man Choi’s agency in Korea recently spoke to the media about their client’s current foray into free agency and revealed that he’s received offers (presumably of the minor league variety) from the Yankees, Angels, Rays, A’s, Brewers, Marlins, Cubs, Reds, Orioles, Twins, Braves, Blue Jays and White Sox (English link via Jee-ho Yoo of South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency). The 26-year-old Choi slugged a pair of homers in 18 plate appearances with the Yankees last year and posted a strong year with their Triple-A affiliate, slashing .288/.373/.538 in 87 games. In parts of five Triple-A campaigns, Choi has posted a robust .298/.390/.479 batting line.
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    Potential Infield Options For Yankees Sat, 30 Dec 2017 20:45:53 +0000
  • While the Yankees have been trying to trade for a starting pitcher recently, Joel Sherman of the New York Post argues that the infield should be a greater priority for the club. The Yankees have a full complement of starters on hand, after all, while they’ve lost second baseman Starlin Castro and the third base duo of Chase Headley and Todd Frazier since last season. With that in mind, Sherman runs down a host of veteran infielders the Yankees could add either via free agency or the trade market. Notably, Sherman senses that the Yankees have never been bullish on free agent infielder Brandon Phillips, which would seem to rule out one potential target. Sherman goes on to suggest that the Yankees have had questions about whether Athletics infielder Jed Lowrie has the temperament to play in New York. So, while Lowrie looks like a prime trade candidate, it doesn’t appear he’ll end up in the Bronx.
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    Yankees Re-Sign CC Sabathia Sat, 30 Dec 2017 01:54:52 +0000 The Yankees have officially agreed to terms with left-hander CC Sabathia on a one-year contract worth a reported $10MM. Sabathia, a client of Roc Nation Sports, can also earn $500K apiece upon reaching 155, 165, 175, and 185 innings. He will have full no-trade protection by operation of ten-and-five rights.

    CC Sabathia

    Sabathia has spent the past nine seasons with the Yankees, and he’ll return to a rotation that also includes Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Sonny Gray and Jordan Montgomery. It’s not a surprise that he’s returning to the Bronx; MLBTR predicted he’d re-sign with the Bombers, and Joel Sherman of the NY Post reports (via Sabathia’s agent, Kyle Thousand) that the Yankees “always wanted Sabathia back and he did not want to leave.” He also mentions that the Yankees would like to add one more starter, likely through a trade. Sherman adds in a subsequent tweet that while there were competitive offers for the lefty that made Sabathia take his time, he feels there is “unfinished business to attend to” with the Yanks.

    [Related: Updated New York Yankees depth chart]

    Sabathia had a respectable 2017 campaign, posting a 3.69 ERA that was his best mark since 2012. He induced soft contact off the bats of opposing hitters 24.1% of the time while posting a 2.40 K/BB ratio and 49.9% ground ball rate. Sabathia’s solid 2017 performance continued into the postseason, where he allowed just five earned runs in 19 innings across four starts, striking out a batter per inning. Perhaps some of his success this past season can be attributed to less exposure to hitters the third time through the order; Sabathia averaged fewer than 5 2/3 innings per start during the regular season and below 5 during the playoffs.

    Sabathia was a first round pick of the Indians all the way back in 1998. He was excellent in his seven full seasons for Cleveland, including his Cy Young-winning performance in 2007. The Indians traded their prized lefty to the Brewers in 2008 in exchange for Matt LaPorta, Rob Bryson and a player-to-be-named-later that ended up being Michael Brantley. He hit the open market following an excellent stretch run in Milwaukee and signed a then-record-setting seven-year, $161MM pact with the Yankees, and has called New York his home ever since (he signed an extension with the club back in October of 2011). His five excellent starts in the 2009 postseason went a long way in helping the Bombers win a world championship that year; he managed a sparkling 1.98 ERA across 36 1/3 innings.

    Mark Feinsand of (Twitter links) reported the agreement. Jon Heyman of Fan Rag added details on the incentives (via Twitter). 

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

    Transaction Retrospective: The First Aroldis Chapman Swap Thu, 28 Dec 2017 05:26:20 +0000 Tomorrow is the two-year anniversary of the trade that sent Aroldis Chapman from the Reds to the Yankees. While Chapman is currently ensconced as New York’s closer, just as he was in the wake of the swap, the intervening period has seen quite a few twists and turns.

    Aroldis Chapman

    Six years before the trade, the Reds had landed Chapman as a free agent, staking a hefty $30.25MM bet on the power pitcher from Cuba. He proved the team wise, providing 319 innings of 2.17 ERA pitching and racking up 146 saves.

    Entering the 2015-16 offseason, though, it seemed clear that it was time for both sides to move on. Chapman had just one year of control remaining, after all, and the Reds were coming off of a 64-win season. While the team struggled, Chapman was his typically dominant self, and seemed positioned to draw a big return.

    In early December, it seemed Chapman was destined to join Kenley Jansen to form a terrifying one-two punch in Los Angeles. Precise details of the proposed Dodgers swap were never clear, though reportedly the Reds would not have added then-top L.A. prospects Julio UriasCorey Seager, or Jose De Leon.

    Just when it seemed a deal was imminent, though, a stunning off-field development intervened, as reports emerged that Chapman had been arrested earlier in the offseason for a troubling domestic incident. With Chapman’s reputation tarnished and a possible suspension looming, the Dodgers backed away and the market dried up.

    Thus it was that the Yankees stepped into the void and placed a somewhat controversial bet on the game’s most intimidating reliever. Despite already carrying a fantastic late-inning duo of Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances, the Yanks saw an opportunity to create a three-headed bullpen monster. They shipped four prospects — third baseman Eric Jagielo, second baseman Tony Renda, and right-handers Rookie Davis and Caleb Cotham — to Cincinnati to acquire Chapman.

    The risk, really, was never on the field or even in the course of the investigation: Chapman was one of the surest relievers in baseball and had he received a sufficiently lengthy suspension, he’d have been eligible for another season of arbitration. Rather, the Yanks were gambling that Chapman would be valuable enough to warrant absorbing a significant public relations hit.

    While he was never arrested or charged with a crime, Chapman was rightly criticized and ultimately suspended for what commissioner Rob Manfred determined to be violent actions directed toward his girlfriend. He eventually acknowledged he “should have exercised better judgment” but insisted he “did not in any way harm [his] girlfriend that evening.”

    At the same time, it is hard to escape the conclusion that the Yankees benefited greatly from taking him on. After returning from a thirty-game ban, Chapman picked up right where he left off, throwing 31 1/3 innings of 2.01 ERA pitching leading into the trade deadline. With the Yanks in a less-than-promising postseason position, the organization decided to market Chapman in the summer trade market, finding interest far more robust than had existed just months earlier.

    Thus it was that the Yankees ended up with a foursome of players immensely more valuable than that which it had shipped to Cincinnati. New York sold the rights to rent Chapman for the remainder of 2016 to the Cubs, who obviously saw him as the final piece needed on a World Series-caliber roster.

    Infielder Gleyber Torres was the undeniable headliner; he’s now seen as one of the game’s very best prospects. Though Rashad Crawford has yet to show much since coming to New York, outfielder Billy McKinney is now fresh off of a promising season in which he restored some of his former prospect luster. And the Yanks even came away with right-hander Adam Warren, who has provided 87 2/3 productive relief innings since the swap and is still under team control via arbitration for one more season.

    Then, of course, there’s the fact that Chapman ended up returning to the Bronx after his brief stint with the Cubs. In the first year of his record-setting $86MM contract, the now-29-year-old Chapman wasn’t quite as devastating as usual — his 3.22 ERA was the second-highest mark of his career, and he has never before ended a season with a lower strikeout rate than his 12.3 K/9 — but he still averaged a triple-digit heater. While there are some signs of concern, including a plummeting swinging-strike rate, Chapman generally figures to remain one of baseball’s better closers for some time.

    As for the Reds? Only Davis and Jagielo remain in the organization. As for the former, there’s certainly hope he’ll be a MLB contributor. Davis did make it up to the majors in 2017, though he struggled quite a bit and was less than dominant at the highest level of the minors. Jagielo, 25, struggled in his first attempt at Triple-A in 2017 and does not rate among the organization’s top thirty prospects, per

    It remains a major disappointment for the Reds that they were unable to fully capitalize on Chapman. While some argued that the organization was foolish not to have carried him into the 2016 season rather than accepting a discounted return, that action would have come with its own significant risks. If there’s a silver lining, perhaps it’s that the Reds have since come to realize another successful investment in a high-powered Cuban reliever. Raisel Iglesias has now established himself as one of the game’s best young closers. For the time being, at least, it seems he’s staying put as the anchor of the Cincinnati bullpen.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Latest On Market For Josh Harrison Thu, 28 Dec 2017 02:59:44 +0000 In an update on the market for Pirates second baseman Josh Harrison, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review writes that a “handful” of organizations have at least reached out to gauge the asking price. Indeed, there’s some indication that he’s the Bucs’ most heavily pursued trade candidate.

    Among the teams to have reached out are the Yankees, Mets, and Blue Jays. The Yanks were tied recently, albeit somewhat speculatively, to Harrison in relation to a potentially larger move involving Gerrit Cole. Interest from the latter two was reported a few weeks back (see here and here), though it’s notable to hear they’re still in pursuit.

    Though further pursuers haven’t yet been identified, it isn’t difficult to imagine quite a few other clubs having interest. Harrison, after all, can play all over the diamond and would fit quite comfortably on a number of rosters.

    His contract rights are also rather appealing. The 30-year-old will earn a reasonable $10MM in 2018 and can be controlled by successive club options. At $10.5MM and $11.5MM apiece, they won’t exactly come at a bargain rate, but the flexibility is plenty desirable in its own right.

    Harrison likely won’t replicate his excellent 2014 campaign, but was plenty productive in 2017. He ended the year with a solid .272/.339/.432 batting line and career-best 16 home runs to go with a dozen steals. As usual, Harrison rated as a quality defender and baserunner, making him an approximately 3-WAR player despite only carrying league-average production at the plate.

    At this point, it does not seem that any team has emerged as a clear favorite to acquire Harrison — or even that the Pirates are more likely than not to move him. While the organization could fill in from within should it deal Harrison, there’s also little question that he improves the team’s outlook for 2018. Just how inclined the Pirates will be to move him may hinge on whether they end up dealing Cole and/or long-time franchise face Andrew McCutchen.

    Latest on Gerrit Cole Mon, 25 Dec 2017 01:31:14 +0000 TODAY: Chance Adams and Miguel Andujar could be part of a hypothetical Yankees/Pirates trade for Cole, Kristie Ackert and Bill Madden of the New York Daily News report.  If those two prospects and Frazier are all included, that could mean the Pirates will also include Josh Harrison in the deal.  While the Yankees have also talked to the Diamondbacks about Patrick Corbin and the Tigers about Michael Fulmer, it seems as if Cole is New York’s preferred target of the three pitchers; Corbin is under control for just the 2018 season while Detroit is putting an enormous asking price on Fulmer’s services.

    SATURDAY: A trade of Gerrit Cole doesn’t appear to be imminent at this point, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports (via Twitter). Though it seemed at one point that talks between the Yankees and Pirates were picking up momentum, Crasnick says that multiple clubs have engaged with the Pirates since the winter meetings; the prospect of a Cole trade isn’t “Yankees or bust”.

    The Yankees don’t appear to have tunnel vision on a Cole deal, either. Though the Bronx Bombers are trying to net Pittsburgh’s prized right-hander with proposals centered around Clint FrazierBill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the Bombers offered similar packages to the Rays and Tigers for Chris Archer and Michael Fulmer, respectively. From my perspective, it seems as though the Yankees may not be interested in Cole specifically, but rather could have a broader objective to move the 23-year-old Frazier in exchange for pitching help. Following the club’s acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton, it appears as though Frazier is destined to be a high-ceiling depth piece for the Yankees, whose outfield picture features Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks and Stanton, with Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury also on the roster.

    In a brilliant piece for the New York Post, Joel Sherman points out that the Yankees can afford to be patient, as they did with Stanton this winter and Sonny Gray this summer. They’re not desperate for pitching right now, as their rotation is set to feature Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Gray, CC Sabathia and Jordan Montgomery. While each of those pitchers carries a question mark or two (or in Sherman’s words, “red flag possibilities”), the ballclub wouldn’t be chastised if it were to have these five in the rotation come Opening Day. Furthermore, top prospects Chance Adams and Justus Sheffield could reach the majors before long, with Adams being the more likely of the two to contribute in 2018.

    From the Pirates’ side, they don’t necessarily need another outfielder. However, it stands to reason that a trade of Cole could set off a domino effect that prompts Pittsburgh to sell off other pieces. As Brink states in a separate article (one that deals with the “what if” scenario of a Cole trade), trading the right-hander could act as “the first tug on the rope that raises the white flag on 2018.” In that case, they’d be highly likely to shop Andrew McCutchen, the 2013 NL MVP, and his hypothetical trade would mean that Frazier could suddenly become a useful piece.

    It’s unclear how serious the Pirates’ talks are with other potential suitors at this time, or even whether those clubs have made formal offers. Crasnick notes in his above tweet that a deal probably won’t come together before Christmas, but adds that trade talks could pick up again between then and New Year’s. It stands to reason that Pittsburgh could be patient for months, or even wait until the 2018 trade deadline to trade Cole (if they opt to move him at all). It will of course be far more evident how the Pirates’ playoff chances compare with those of the other NL Central clubs. However, there are plenty of reasons to move him now as well, including the high probability that clubs would be willing to pay more to have Cole for a full season, and the risk that the Yankees might acquire a different starter.

    Latest On Yankees' Interest In Manny Machado Sun, 24 Dec 2017 00:46:12 +0000
  • The Red Sox and Yankees remain interested in Orioles third baseman/shortstop Manny Machado, though neither team has “moved the needle” in talks with the O’s, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports. Baltimore is reportedly done actively shopping Machado, as it doesn’t believe any other club has put forth a suitable offer for the superstar as he prepares for a contract year. Given that both the Red Sox and Yankees are in the Orioles’ division, it figures to be especially difficult for either to persuade the Orioles to move Machado. The left side of Boston’s infield looks to be in fine shape anyway with Rafael Devers at third and Xander Bogaerts at short. The Yankees, on the other hand, don’t have an obvious third base solution to place next to shortstop Didi Gregorius.
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    International Signings: 12/23/17 Sat, 23 Dec 2017 05:13:46 +0000 Let’s check in on a few notable international signings that have just gone down …

    • The Yankees have struck agreements with two Venezuelan talents, according to Ben Badler of Baseball America. With cash still left to spend after missing out on Shohei Ohtani, the Yanks are moving to bring in another big haul of talent from Latin America. Outfielder Raimfer Salinas and catcher Antonio Cabello will join an already strong haul from the current July 2nd class. Per BA’s rankings, these two are the 11th and 15th-best players available, respectively, leaving the Yankees with five of this year’s top twenty talents.
    • Another spurned Ohtani suitor, the Rangers, has found another investment opportunity with some of its funds. The Texas organization has added shortstop Osleivis Basabe out of Venezuela, Badler also reports. Basabe, who has a few family members already playing in affiliated ball, is said to be a quality athlete with excellent speed and a good arm. Though Basabe ranked as only the 46th player on the BA board due to questions about his hitting acumen, Badler says he has shown well in winter ball action.
    • It seems the Twins have finalized a deal with Taiwanese righty Kai-Wei Teng. That agreement was first reported by LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star-Tribune and was noted as going in the books recently on Twitter by’s Rhett Bollinger. The 19-year-old is said to be receiving a bonus in the $500K range.
    Pirates Reportedly “Motivated” To Move Gerrit Cole Fri, 22 Dec 2017 16:19:06 +0000 10:19am: Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports (via Twitter) that the Yankees would also likely balk at including either of Justus Sheffield or Estevan Florial in a package for Cole. Sherman suspects that any package would be structured around Clint Frazier and Chance Adams.

    10:07am: Feinsand tweets that there’s been no change since this morning, reporting that the two sides aren’t close to a deal. Like Heyman and Bowden (as well as the YES Network’s Jack Curry), Feinsand adds that the Yankees have no plans to trade Torres.

    9:45am: Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM now tweets that the Pirates and Yankees are close to a deal that would send Cole to New York. Torres is not a part of those talks, according to Bowden.

    Dec. 22, 8:17am: Both Feinsand and Heyman throw some cold water on the talks with the Yankees, as Feinsand now hears that the advancement in talks last night may have been “overstated.” Heyman notes that there’s no positive momentum in talks between the two sides at this time.

    Dec. 21, 9:49pm: Passan adds more context in a full column, reporting that the Yankees are “hopeful” that they can entice the Pirates to agree to a deal that does not include Torres, who is the leading candidate to succeed Starlin Castro as the everyday second baseman in the Bronx. Passan suggests that Cole could very well be traded before Christmas and adds that the Pirates may also market McCutchen as they prepare for a rebuilding effort.

    8:59pm:’s Mark Feinsand tweets that talks between the Yankees and Pirates are “getting hot,” though he notes that it remains unclear if a deal is on the verge of completion.

    8:24pm: FanRag’s Jon Heyman tweets that the primary sticking point in talks has been that the Yankees want to headline a package for Cole with Frazier, while the Pirates want Torres to be the headliner.

    8:08pm: The Pirates and Yankees are again discussing a trade that would send right-hander Gerrit Cole to New York, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (Twitter links). While there’s been plenty of trade talk surrounding Cole this winter, Passan now reports that the Pirates are “motivated” to get a deal done and there’s a “very strong”likelihood that he’ll be traded.

    The Yankees, according to Passan, are the likeliest landing spot for Cole, with one source telling him that it’s a matter of “when” a trade will ultimately be agreed upon rather than a matter of “if.”

    Talks between the Bucs and Yanks have been ongoing, to some extent, since the Winter Meetings at the least, though The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported earlier this week that those negotiations had “cooled” to some extent. The Pirates at one point were said to have been pushing for Gleyber Torres to be included in the deal, though it’d be tough for the Yankees to part with the touted young infielder. Other names that have been mentioned in rumors include young outfielder Clint Frazier and right-hander Chance Adams, though the permutations of the current talks remain unreported.

    Cole, 27, is controlled for another two years and comes with a projected arbitration salary of $7.5MM, per MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz. He’d give the Yankees another high-octane arm to add to the top end of a rotation that also includes Luis Severino, Sonny Gray, Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia and Jordan Montgomery at present. Certainly, that strong group and the presence of Adams and Justus Sheffield in the upper minors presents the Yankees with an enviable stock of starters, but Cole, a former No. 1 overall pick, also comes with a Cy Young caliber season on his resume and stands out as a nice rebound candidate on the heels of a down season (by his standards).

    Cole was one of just 15 pitchers to top 200 innings in 2017, and in his 203 frames he averaged 8.7 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 with a 45.8 percent ground-ball rate and a fastball that averaged 96 mph. A huge spike in Cole’s HR/9 rate (from 0.54 in 2016 to 1.37 in 2017) led to a bloated 4.26 ERA, but he also maintained an ability to miss bats, limit walks and keep the ball on the ground. All of those trends point to the possibility of a return to form, though moving to the AL East (and, specifically, Yankee Stadium) isn’t necessarily a great recipe to cut back on one’s home run rate.

    If Cole is ultimately traded, the question then becomes just how far the Pirates will go in terms of selling off veteran assets. Josh Harrison and Andrew McCutchen have both been oft-mentioned trade candidates this winter — speculatively speaking, Harrison could hold appeal to the Yankees — with each becoming increasingly expensive and moving closer to free agency. McCutchen will hit the open market next offseason, while Harrison is controlled through 2020 by virtue of a pair of club options but is now commanding $10MM+ per season.

    Yankees Rumors: Cole, Darvish, Ellsbury Thu, 21 Dec 2017 15:04:39 +0000 It seems the Yankees and Pirates have lost momentum toward a prospective deal involving righty Gerrit Cole. Per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, via Twitter, talks have “cooled” since the Winter Meetings wrapped up. While Cole’s talent would be a welcome addition to just about any big league rotation, the Bucs are reported to have a lofty asking price on the former No. 1 overall pick, and the Yankees don’t necessarily need to feel urgency to finalize a deal. New York has already agreed to bring CC Sabathia back on a one-year pact, and he’ll join Luis Severino, Sonny Gray, Masahiro Tanaka and Jordan Montgomery in a mix of quality rotation options (with prospects Justus Sheffield and Chance Adams looming in the upper minors).

    A few notes out of the Bronx…

    • Rosenthal also writes in a notes column (subscription required/recommended) that despite that group of starting options, the Yankees have some interest in free-agent righty Yu Darvish. A serious pursuit could require shedding some other salaries, as the Yankees have a known preference to dip under the luxury tax threshold and surely would like to enter the season with some degree of leeway in that regard, should the need for in-season additions on the trade market arise.
    • While Darvish may seem a curious fit given that quality group of options, George A. King III of the New York Post also hears that the Yanks do have some degree of interest. New York is monitoring the Darvish market to see if his price comes down at all, per King, who adds that the Yankees do still want to add another starter even with the aforementioned arms in tow. Even if Darvish’s price drops to a lower level than expected, the Yankees would likely still need to move Jacoby Ellsbury’s salary (or a significant portion of it) in order to work him into the mix and remain under the tax barrier.
    • Jacoby Ellsbury “might consider” waiving his no-trade clause for a few teams, reports Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, who suggests the Giants as a possibility in that regard. That’s probably music to the ears of many Yankees fans, though it’s worth noting that there’s no indication that the Giants would want any part of Ellsbury’s enormous contract. San Francisco has a need for a center fielder, but the Giants have their own luxury tax concerns. Even if the Yankees are willing to absorb a significant amount of the remaining $68MM+ that Ellsbury is owed, there’s no indication that the Giants view him as an upgrade. San Francisco could, for instance, simply sign a player in the Jarrod Dyson mold to a considerably shorter-term deal, knowing that he’d be a vastly superior defensive option with lesser financial risk.
    Manny Machado Rumors: Monday Mon, 18 Dec 2017 14:57:42 +0000 Just days after the Giancarlo Stanton trade saga came to an end, the Orioles reportedly made Manny Machado available and began asking teams around the league for offers on the 25-year-old superstar. Here’s the latest chatter on Machado as the Orioles field interest in the best player in recent franchise history…

    • Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic takes a lengthy look at the market for Machado (subscription required and strongly recommended), reporting that trade offers from interested parties improved over the weekend and that a deal could happen this week. Specific details on each club’s offers, of course, aren’t fully known, though Rosenthal reports that the D-backs included young infielder Brandon Drury as part of their package. Rosenthal provides an overview of how seven Machado suitors could make a deal work, though he notes that there’s still a general doubt among his sources that Orioles owner Peter Angelos would green-light a deal sending Machado to the Yankees.
    • Dan Connolly of paints a bit of a different picture regarding Angelos, writing that it’s possible Angelos could be swayed into approving a deal sending Machado the Bronx. Angelos, Connolly writes, solicits opinions from a wide array of trusted confidants and advisors — so many so that there are often conflicting opinions. A lack of consensus among that inner circle may have been what ultimately quashed this past July’s would-be Zach Britton trade to the Astros, per Connolly. However, Connolly hears that there’s a general sense within the organization that a deal will get done, and an organizational consensus could dissuade Angelos from interfering with any agreement, regardless of the trade partner in question. Within that same piece, Connolly also explores how the Machado situation could be slowing Baltimore’s other offseason endeavors.
    • The Cardinals have been oft-linked to Machado, though president of baseball operations John Mozeliak implied in an appearance on KMOX Sports radio in St. Louis this morning that he’d have a hard time making a deal for Machado (Twitter link via KMOX’s Tom Ackerman). Said Mozeliak: “If you’re trading away two to three prospects that have a combined 18 years of control… for one [year]? That doesn’t sit well with me.” That, of course, doesn’t preclude a deal from coming together — Mozeliak did trade four pieces for two years of Marcell Ozuna — but it does seem to suggest that the Cards would have a hard time deciding to outbid the field to secure the rights to Machado’s 2018 season.
    Latest On Manny Machado Sun, 17 Dec 2017 15:10:02 +0000 SUNDAY: The White Sox and Diamondbacks had shown the most interest in Machado as of Saturday morning, Olney heard from AL sources.

    THURSDAY: Trade winds continue to swirl around Manny Machado, as the Orioles’ apparent willingness to consider dealing its star third baseman was one of the major storylines of the Winter Meetings.  The Orioles have received ten “legitimate offers” for Machado, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports, though the quality of those offers and the number of teams involved may be hampered by Baltimore’s refusal to allow a 72-hour window for a new team to talk to Machado’s agents about a possible extension.

    The Cardinals didn’t make “a formal offer” due to that lack of negotiating period, and the White Sox (previously thought to have made the strongest of all the offers) apparently didn’t include any of their top prospects in their proposal, Nightengale reports.  Two executives said that Chicago made its offer with the belief that the Sox would only have Machado for the 2018 season.

    One major factor influencing talks is Baltimore owner Peter Angelos’ insistence that Machado not end up with the Yankees in 2018.  This naturally rules out a direct trade with New York, though Angelos also doesn’t want a scenario where Machado is dealt to a team that would flip him to the Yankees for prospects, be it before the July trade deadline or even later this offseason.  These parameters would seem to limit the Orioles’ list of potential trade partners to only contending teams, and maybe even to contenders that would seemingly have no chance of a midseason collapse and subsequent deadline fire sale (though obviously one can’t know for sure what would-be contenders could be in for a nightmare season, a la the 2017 Giants.)

    The White Sox aren’t expected to contend for even a couple of seasons yet, and thus would seem like potential candidates to deal Machado in order to further hasten their rebuild.  The Sox are apparently willing to address Angelos’ concerns, as Nightengale writes that “if the Orioles even wanted it in writing that they’d keep him around until at least mid-summer,” Chicago would be fine with that assurance.  This would be quite an unusual type of trade provisio, of course, and one that Angelos may still not be fine with if he wants to eliminate any chance of Machado wearing Yankee pinstripes in 2018.

    Beyond the teams already reported as having interest in Machado, the Diamondbacks are also in the mix,’s Buster Olney tweets.  Arizona “checked in” on the Machado talks, though it isn’t clear if the D’Backs were just performing due diligence or if they were one of the clubs who made Baltimore an offer.  Machado would seem to be something of an unlikely fit for a D’Backs team that doesn’t have the payroll space to afford Machado’s $17.3 projected salary for 2018, though they could clear some of their own pricier arb-eligible players off the books by sending them back to the O’s.  Patrick Corbin, for instance, would be an upgrade for the Orioles’ rotation, while Jake Lamb would replace Machado at third base and give some much-needed left-handed balance to Baltimore’s lineup.

    MLBTR’s Steve Adams recently took a broad look at the Machado situation, gauging all 29 other teams by how plausible they seem as contenders to actually land the star infielder.  Needless to say, Angelos’ specifications would seem to narrow an already thin market, since there aren’t many teams willing to meet the Orioles’ big asking price (reportedly two controllable starting pitchers) for just a year of Machado’s services.  Adams listed both the White Sox and Diamondbacks as “out of the picture” candidates, so their chances of working out a deal could be even more remote given Angelos’ wariness of any “creative” follow-up trades a Machado suitor could make.

    Yankees Interested In Evan Longoria Sun, 17 Dec 2017 01:18:02 +0000 The Astros and Phillies have interest in Rays right-hander Chris Archer, joining a slew of previously reported clubs, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. The Rays clearly wouldn’t have any trouble finding a taker for Archer, thanks to his track record, age (29) and team-friendly contract (four years, $34MM). Teammate and face of the franchise Evan Longoria, the Rays’ longtime third baseman, is three years older than Archer and costs far more (a guaranteed $86MM over a half-decade). But that doesn’t seem to be a prohibitive price tag, as the three-time All-Star is drawing some interest from the division-rival Yankees as well as the Giants, Mets and previously reported Cardinals, according to Topkin.

    Yankees, Pirates Discussing Gerrit Cole Trade Sat, 16 Dec 2017 22:36:08 +0000 SATURDAY: In return for Cole, the Pirates have been pushing for infielder Gleyber Torres (’s second-ranked prospect), per Jon Heyman of FanRag (Twitter link). Heyman doubts the Yankees would give up Torres, though, and he notes that it’s more likely a deal would include Frazier and at least one other piece. The two teams are continuing to negotiate.

    THURSDAY: The Pirates and Yankees are discussing a trade that would send right-hander Gerrit Cole to the Bronx Bombers in exchange for a trade package that includes outfielder Clint Frazier, George A. King III of the New York Post reports.  The Bucs are also reportedly looking for a young starting pitcher who is on the verge of being ready for the big leagues; righty Chance Adams may be the Yankees prospect that best fits this description, though there isn’t any indication the Pirates are specifically targeting Adams.

    Cole has been linked to the Yankees in rumors throughout the Winter Meetings, though New York was (at least at one point) under the impression that Cole wasn’t being made available.  Then again, Pittsburgh hasn’t given much indication all offseason if the team plans to start selling off pieces or if it still plans to contend in 2018.  Cole, Andrew McCutchen, and Josh Harrison have drawn the most trade buzz this winter, with the consensus being that McCutchen is the likeliest to be dealt regardless of whether the Bucs are going for it or not.  Since McCutchen is only under contract through 2018, adding a big league-ready young outfielder like Frazier would seem to fit right into the Bucs’ plans.

    Trading McCutchen or Harrison would free up more money from the Pirates’ 2018 payroll, though dealing Cole would also be the bigger indicator that Pittsburgh will explore at least a soft rebuild.  Cole is also set for a pretty healthy salary next season (projected by MLBTR to earn $7.5MM) in his second year of arbitration eligibility, though hardly a big sum for a team like the Yankees, their desire to get under the luxury tax threshold notwithstanding.  There is no shortage of teams that would be interested in two years of control over a 27-year-old who has shown ace-like stuff in the past — the Twins, Rangers, and Orioles are a few other teams known to have checked in with the Pirates on Cole this offseason.

    Cole posted a 4.26 ERA, 8.7 K/9 and 3.56 K/BB rate over 203 innings for Pittsburgh last season.  It was the second time Cole has topped the 200-inning mark in his young career, as he bounced back nicely from an injury-shortened 2016 season.  One worrisome number, however, was a big spike in home runs allowed, as Cole’s 1.4 HR/9 rate was more than double his 0.6 career mark prior to last season.  He was hardly the only pitcher to run into trouble with the long ball in 2017, though it is a bit of a troubling statistic if Cole is moving from pitcher-friendly PNC Park to a hitters’ paradise like Yankee Stadium.

    Frazier has already been part of one blockbuster deal in his young career, as he and Justus Sheffield were the headliners of the prospect package the Indians sent to the Yankees in the Andrew Miller trade in July 2016.  The fifth overall pick of the 2013 draft, Frazier has long been touted as one of the game’s best prospects, ranked as high as 16th in the sport by the Baseball Prospectus top 100 list prior to the 2017 season.

    For all of Frazier’s promise, however, he may be an expendable part in the Bronx.  Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge look to own the corner outfield slots for years to come, with Aaron Hicks, Brett Gardner, and Jacoby Ellsbury in center field and in reserve roles.  (This doesn’t even account for other prospects like Estevan Florial, or the possibility that the Yankees could pursue another star outfielder like Bryce Harper in free agency.)  New York’s farm system is more than deep enough to withstand the potential loss of Frazier or a pitcher like Adams for a young arm of Cole’s caliber, as he would slot right into a scary starting five that also includes Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Sonny Gray, and Jordan Montgomery.

    Yankees, D'Backs Discussed Jacoby Ellsbury Fri, 15 Dec 2017 01:46:38 +0000 Jacoby Ellsbury’s name was mentioned in trade talks between the Yankees and Diamondbacks, NJ Advance Media’s Brendan Kuty reports, and though “nothing is believed to be off the table,” Arizona didn’t have much interest in the veteran outfielder due to his big price tag.  Ellsbury is owed over $63.3MM through the 2020 season, plus a $5MM of $21MM club option for 2021.  He no longer has a starting job in the crowded New York outfield due to his underwhelming .261/.331/.372 slash line over the last three seasons, and it seems like the Yankees would surely have to eat some money to facilitate a trade, particularly with the D’Backs.  Ellsbury can also block any deal due to his no-trade clause, though he does own a home in Arizona and he has a past relationship with D’Backs GM Mike Hazen from their time in the Red Sox organization.

    • The Orioles were again aggressive with Rule 5 selections, taking three players (left-hander Nestor Cortes and righties Pedro Araujo and Jose Mesa) in this morning’s draft, though they’ll now face a bit of a roster crunch, Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun writes.  With the O’s in need of southpaws in the pen, Cortes is the likeliest of the trio to actually spend the whole season on the team’s 25-man roster, which is required for Rule 5 picks to fully become property of their new teams.  Araujo and Mesa are longer shots to take up valuable 25-man spots, though it’s possible Baltimore could work out trades with their original teams (the Cubs and Yankees, respectively) to officially acquire their rights.
    Orioles Owner Does Not Want To Trade Machado To Yankees Thu, 14 Dec 2017 08:53:43 +0000 TUESDAY, 6:27pm: The Yankees and White Sox are also interested in Machado, ESPN’s Buster Olney reports (Twitter link).  As mentioned below, Peter Angelos doesn’t want to deal Machado to New York, while the Sox are an interesting suitor that could be looking at Machado as the centerpiece of a return to contention.  Cardinals GM Michael Girsch told Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that giving up significant assets for a star player with just one year of control remaining is “not a path we are likely to go down.”  Interestingly, this description applies to both Machado and to another oft-mentioned Cards trade target in Josh Donaldson.

    The Orioles, per Rosenthal, are aiming to acquire two controllable young starters in any trade for Machado. That’s a lofty ask for a lot of teams, but a win-now club with an ample supply of touted but unproven pitching could look at that as an acceptable price to pay for a player that has been worth better than five wins per season, on average, over the past half decade (despite missing 80 games due to injury in 2014). Notably, Rosenthal adds that owner Peter Angelos does not want to trade with the division-rival Yankees.


    Yankees May Have Interest In Eduardo Nunez Thu, 14 Dec 2017 01:46:20 +0000
  • A variety of organizations are still looking at versatile infielder Eduardo Nunez. Jon Heyman of FanRag tweets that the Red SoxBlue Jays, and “possibly” the Yankees are among the suitors. Boston president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski acknowledged the interest, as Alex Speier of the Boston Globe was among those to tweet. The Giants have some ongoing involvement, too, but Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic reports (via Twitter) that San Francisco is “a longshot” to make a deal.
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    Pitching Market Chatter: Phils, Yanks, Greinke, Cole, Archer, Duffy, CC, Jays Thu, 14 Dec 2017 00:51:51 +0000 With a pair of relief signings being wrapped up, the Phillies seem to feel good about that aspect of their roster. Per’s Todd Zolecki, via Twitter, the team will turn its gaze to improving the rotation. Both they and the Yankees checked in with the Diamondbacks regarding right-hander Zack Greinke, Robert Murray of FanRag writes. Greinke ending up with either club is unlikely, however, sources informed Murray. With the Rangers also having shown interest in Greinke, we now know at least three teams have inquired about the expensive 34-year-old this offseason.

    Greinke is the latest hurler to land on the radar of the Yankees, who have also eyed Pirates righty Gerrit Cole. Consequently, the Bucs “are gathering names of young, controllable” Yankees they could acquire in a Cole deal, though there’s “nothing close,” Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports (on Twitter). Notably, Brink adds that the Yankees are also “looking at” Rays righty Chris Archer. The 29-year-old has drawn significant interest this winter, but it’s unclear whether the Rays will move him.

    Plenty more pitching rumors…

    • The Royals are giving serious consideration to dealing southpaw Danny Duffy, who’s “extremely popular” on the trade market, Jon Heyman of FanRag tweets. Duffy suggested on Twitter that he doesn’t want to go anywhere, for what it’s worth. “Bury me a Royal,” he declared.
    • As the Blue Jays look for pitching reinforcements, they are giving real consideration to veteran CC Sabathia, as Ben Nicholson-Smith of writes. Though manager John Gibbons suggested his own priority is to add bats, he also said he’d welcome the addition of the veteran Sabathia — who has a lengthy history with the Jays’ current front office leadership stemming from their time in Cleveland together.
    • Teams have given up on trying to acquire Reds closer Raisel Iglesias, Heyman reports on Twitter. The Reds understandably want an enormous haul back for the 27-year-old star, who’s under affordable control for the foreseeable future.
    • The Twins and Rays have chatted about veteran righty Jake Odorizzi, per Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press (via Twitter), who adds that Tampa Bay was not interested in Minnesota’s initial offer.
    • Although they’re at the beginning of a full, cost-cutting rebuild, the Marlins aren’t feeling any urgency to deal righty Dan Straily, per Joe Frisaro of (Twitter link). Miami’s de facto ace will play his first of three arbitration-eligible seasons in 2018. He’s projected to earn a $4.6MM salary, which even the Marlins can afford.
    • The Mets are not likely to sign another free agent reliever, at least in the near term, according to GM Sandy Alderson and as’s Anthony DiComo tweets. Instead, after landing Anthony Swarzak, the organization expects to begin looking to fill its other needs.
    • Brewers GM David Stearns discussed his organization’s situation with reporters including’s Adam McCalvy (Twitter links). He said the team was willing to go to two years to get Swarzak, but wasn’t willing to match the dollar amount he ultimately took. The club still has open payroll capacity, which Stearns says he’ll put to good use. “We have spending power this offseason,” he said. “I’m confident we are going to find places to use that effectively.”
    • Before the Astros agreed to a deal with Joe Smith on Wednesday, Brian McTaggart of hinted on Twitter that the team could have interest in free agent righty Hector Rondon. Whether that still stands remains to be seen, but the Astros are already chock-full of righty relievers as it is.
    Angels, Giants, Mets Among Teams Showing Interest In Todd Frazier Wed, 13 Dec 2017 20:30:46 +0000 As many as 10 teams have reached out to Todd Frazier’s camp, including the Angels, Giants and Mets, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports (all links to Sherman on Twitter). Frazier isn’t a top priority for the Yankees at present, though they could circle back around to him depending on how the rest of their moves play out. He was linked to the Red Sox earlier today as well.

    The 31-year-old Frazier (32 in February), split the 2017 season between the White Sox and Yankees, hitting a combined .213/.344/.428 with 27 homers in 576 plate appearances. Though Frazier’s played just 78 innings at first base since Opening Day 2016, he does come with 740 career innings at the position and is drawing interest at both corner infield spots, per Sherman. More notably, it seems that his frequent re-positioning in defensive shifts created a belief among some teams that Frazier could even play an adequate second base if needed, per the report.

    Frazier’s batting average has plummeted in recent years, though that’s due largely to a massive uptick in infield flies than any sort of erosion in contact skills. Frazier whiffed at a 21.7 percent rate last season, which is hardly outlandish in today’s offensive climate. However, he also popped out 31 times — fifth most in baseball — and his 109 infield flies dating back to the 2015 season are far and away the most in baseball.

    That said, Frazier’s overall approach at the plate also came with some positive indicators. His 25 percent chase rate (swings outside the strike zone), far and away the lowest of his career, tied him for the 26th-best mark among big league hitters. He also made contact at a career-high 76.9 percent clip and walked in a career-best 14.4 percent of his plate appearances. Those gains in plate discipline helped to offset his lack of contact and left his overall offensive output at healthy levels (105 OPS+, 108 wRC+).

    Moving Frazier around the diamond certainly enhances his appeal, though it also should be emphasized that he still draws strong marks as a defender at third base. Though he had an abnormally poor year in that regard in 2016, Defensive Runs Saved (+10) and Ultimate Zone Rating (+6.7) both felt his defense was among the best in the game. Only Nolan Arenado ranked above Frazier in both DRS and UZR this past season.

    The Giants have no clear answer at third base, with Pablo Sandoval and prospects Christian Arroyo and Ryder Jones representing the top internal options at the moment. San Francisco third basemen combined to post a putrid .216/.268/.300 batting line in 2017, so it wouldn’t take much to raise the bar from an offensive standpoint. The Angels, meanwhile, have Luis Valbuena as an option at the hot corner, but Frazier would seem to represent a more palatable option there and could help out around the infield as needed.

    As for the Mets, David Wright’s longstanding health concerns and T.J. Rivera’s Tommy John surgery have combined with the inexperience of Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith to create a sizable amount of uncertainty. The team does have Asdrubal Cabrera as an option to bounce around the infield, and bringing in Frazier as a more regular option at third base could free him up to take some reps at second base.

    D-Backs, Yankees Have Discussed Brandon Drury Wed, 13 Dec 2017 16:38:40 +0000
  • The Yankees have not only been in contact with the Diamondbacks about lefty Patrick Corbin, they’ve also discussed infielder/outfielder Brandon Drury in those talks, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Sherman notes that multiple clubs have discussed Drury with the Snakes, but he’s a strong fit in the Bronx following trades of Chase Headley and Starlin Castro. The 25-year-old Drury has slashed .275/.323/.453 with 29 homers in 979 plate appearances across the past two seasons while playing second base, third base and left field. He’s controllable for another four seasons and won’t be arbitration-eligible until next winter.
  • ]]>
    Yankees Sign Erik Kratz Wed, 13 Dec 2017 05:30:08 +0000 The Yankees have re-signed veteran catcher Erik Kratz, as revealed in a tweet by Kratz’s representatives at JMG Baseball.  Kratz elected to become a free agent after the season rather than accept an outright assignment to Triple-A, though it appears he’ll be back in the pinstripes providing the Yankees with experienced catching depth in the minors.

    Kratz only played four games for New York after being acquired on an August 31 trade from the Indians, as he was picked up to add more depth during the September roster expansion.  Those were Kratz’s only four Major League games of the 2017 season, giving him appearances in parts of the last eight big league campaigns.  Kratz has only a .203/.250/.366 slash line over 649 career PA with the Yankees, Blue Jays, Astros, Royals, and two separate stints each with the Phillies and Pirates.

    Latest On Yankees, Todd Frazier Wed, 13 Dec 2017 03:56:54 +0000 The Blue Jays met with C.C. Sabathia today, George A. King III of the New York Post reports (via Twitter).  Toronto joins the Yankees and Angels as teams that have checked in on Sabathia to bolster the back of their rotations, eating innings and still delivering effective results at age 37.  The Jays have a lot of uncertainty with the fifth spot in their rotation, and maybe even beyond that given the blister and fingernail problems that plagued Aaron Sanchez last season.  There was some good news on that front today, however, as’s Shi Davidi reports that Sanchez played catch for the first time in three months and reported no issues with his finger.

    • After Chase Headley was dealt earlier today, speculation immediately arose that the Yankees could look to re-sign Todd Frazier.’s Bryan Hoch reported that Yankees GM Brian Cashman has been speaking with Frazier’s agent, though things don’t “appear hot at the moment” between the two sides, as per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman.  As the New York Post’s Joel Sherman observes, one of the stumbling blocks is that Frazier is naturally looking for a multi-year deal, whereas the Yankees don’t want to lock up third base with prospect Miguel Andujar in the fold and a possible pursuit of Manny Machado coming next winter.
    New York Notes: Mets Pen, Harvey, Lowrie, Duffy, Yankees Options Tue, 12 Dec 2017 21:56:44 +0000 New Mets skipper Mickey Callaway indicated in his comments to reporters that he’s disinclined to utilize a traditional closer, as Mike Puma of the New York Post tweets. While Jeurys Familia has thrived in that role at times in the past, it seems the Mets may at least consider dabbling in more of a late-inning matchup approach, though surely the team’s approach will also depend upon its ensuing transactions. GM Sandy Alderson suggested to reporters, including Marc Carig of Newsday (Twitter link), that bullpen usage plans are still open for consideration.

    More from the New York organizations:

    • Meanwhile, recent chatter surrounding Matt Harvey does not seem likely to go anywhere. Alderson indicated (also via Carig, on Twitter) that Callaway and pitching coach Dave Eiland have recommended the organization retain the former ace. While it’s not clear that anything has changed since the rumors emerged yesterday, that viewpoint seems at least to be informing the Mets’ valuation of a pitcher that has a massive ceiling but who has struggled quite notably of late.
    • While the Mets held at least some conversations with the Athletics regarding second baseman Jed Lowrie, per Puma (via Twitter), the clubs “don’t appear to match up.” That seems to remove at least one possibility from the Mets’ seemingly wide-open search for options up the middle. At this stage, it’s anyone’s guess how the open job will be filled.
    • The Yankees have reached out to the Royals to express interest in lefty Danny Duffy, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports on Twitter. Kansas City seems to be in the early stages of exploring trade scenarios for Duffy and others, but we’ve heard some news trickle out on various possibilities in recent days. The Yanks, meanwhile, have been connected to a variety of names; Sherman also discusses some of the other avenues for building out the Yanks’ rotation.
    • Sherman also looks at the Yankees’ situation from a higher level. Without further salary-shedding maneuvers, he tweets, the team may have something on the order of $20MM to $25MM to work with before reaching luxury tax territory. Given that the organization has possibilities for moving yet more cash off the books, it seems there’s still ample flexibility.
    Padres Acquire Chase Headley, Bryan Mitchell Tue, 12 Dec 2017 18:26:39 +0000 12:26pm: The deal is official. Indications were that the Pads were taking the full salary of Headley, but the Yankees announced that some amount of cash will be included in the deal as well.’s Mark Feinsand tweets that $500K will go to San Diego, though Jon Heyman of Fan Rag notes on Twitter that the cash will represent payment of half of Headley’s $1MM assignment bonus, which the clubs agreed to split.

    10:13am: The Padres have reached agreement with the Yankees on a swap that will bring third baseman Chase Headley back to San Diego along with righty Bryan Mitchell, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (via Twitter). Jabari Blash is going to the Yanks in the deal, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter). It’s far from clear that Blash will have any chance of holding a 40-man spot with New York, so this seems to make clear the move is intended almost entirely to shed Headley’s salary and free up some roster space.

    Sep 14, 2017; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees third baseman Chase Headley (12) watches his RBI single against the Baltimore Orioles during the first inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

    There are several interesting dimensions to this deal at first glance. Headley’s shocking return to San Diego is surely among them; he went through a lengthy trade saga with the Friars before being sent to the Yanks. Ultimately, the veteran third baseman re-upped with the Yankees on a contract that has one year and $13MM remaining on it.

    In taking on that money, the Padres get a solid veteran player but also add an interesting and controllable arm in Mitchell. The 26-year-old has mostly worked in a relief role during sporadic MLB action over the past four years, pitching to a middling 4.94 ERA with 5.9 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9. But he has also shown greater promise at times in the minors. In 2017, Mitchell posted a 3.25 ERA with 9.3 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 over 63 2/3 frames at Triple-A.

    Things really get interesting when one considers the potential fallout. On the San Diego side, plugging Headley in at third would likely mean that Yangervis Solarte will end up on the move, though perhaps there are still some arrangements where both could coexist. Headley himself could end up moving on to another team; he ought to hold some appeal after a late-season hot streak boosted his overall 2017 batting output to a .273/.352/.406 slash that lands in range of league average. While he’s probably not worth his full contract value, the Padres ought to be able to find a taker for a not-insignificant portion.

    For the Yankees, this swap — combined with the decision to include Starlin Castro in the Giancarlo Stanton deal — leaves the team without clear options at both second and third base. With added payroll flexibility, though, there are any number of possibilities that could be pursued, including a potential reunion with Todd Frazier, who was acquired to upgrade over Headley at the 2017 trade deadline. The Yanks have a variety of intriguing young players, too, led by top prospect Gleyber Torres, so that remains an option at either spot. And, of course, the Yankees are said to be perusing the trade market for starters, with free agency also now seemingly a possibility as well.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Yankees Considering Michael Fulmer, Patrick Corbin In Trade Talks Tue, 12 Dec 2017 15:42:48 +0000 The Yankees are among the teams with interest in Tigers righty Michael Fulmer, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). New York also has considered Diamondbacks lefty Patrick Corbin, per the report.

    Clearly, the Yanks are interested in finding a rotation upgrade, as the club was also linked yesterday to Pirates righty Gerrit Cole. Currently, the first four members of the staff seem set: Masahiro Tanaka, Luis Severino, Sonny Gray, and Jordan Montgomery. But the fifth slot is much less settled.

    [RELATED: Yankees, TigersDiamondbacks Depth Charts]

    While the Bronx powerhouse is still committed to remaining under the luxury tax line for 2018, the club obviously sees some ways to fit high-quality hurlers into the payroll. Of course, GM Brian Cashman is also reportedly looking into moving some existing salary to open yet more space.

    Fulmer and Corbin each represent quite different assets. There’s some reason to believe that either could be made available, but for differing reasons.

    With regard to Fulmer, he’s one of the most intriguing young starters in baseball. The 24-year-old is on track to qualify for Super Two status next year but won’t be a free agent until 2023. And he has already turned in 323 2/3 innings of 3.45 ERA pitching in his first two MLB seasons. While offseason surgery to deal with a nerve issue in his elbow may give some pause, that particular procedure does not seem to come with significant future concern. Accordingly, the asking price is expected to be astronomical, even if the Tigers will hear out teams with interest.

    As for Corbin, the D-Backs are in a tight payroll situation that will present challenges as they seek to return to the postseason. GM Mike Hazen indicates yesterday that a “creative” approach will be required, as’s Steve Gilbert notes on Twitter. With Corbin projected by MLBTR to take home a $8.3MM payday via arbitration, he could be a useful trade piece, perhaps bringing back pieces that could fill other needs while also freeing up some spending money. The 28-year-old southpaw turned in a solid 2017 campaign, running up 189 2/3 innings of 4.03 ERA ball with 8.4 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9. While Arizona would surely prefer to retain Corbin, they have four other strong rotation pieces on hand along with a few internal candidates to battle for a spot.

    Yankees Had Interest In Carlos Santana Tue, 12 Dec 2017 04:25:46 +0000
  • The Yankees expressed interest in free agent Carlos Santana after Ohtani turned them down and before they acquired Giancarlo Stanton, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reports (Twitter link). Now, Stanton’s presence removes any need for the Yanks to add another hitter, meaning he won’t end up with them, as Davidoff notes.
    • The Yankees expressed interest in free agent Carlos Santana after Ohtani turned them down and before they acquired Giancarlo Stanton, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reports (Twitter link). Now, Stanton’s presence removes any need for the Yanks to add another hitter, meaning he won’t end up with them, as Davidoff notes.
    • On the other hand, the Stanton deal may hasten a rebuild for the Rays, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes. The Rays would be wise to take that route, Topkin posits, thanks in part to the fact that New York and Boston are in their division. Additionally, the payroll-challenged club already looked primed to trade notable veterans even before the Yankees got Stanton. On the heels of a fourth straight sub-.500 season, the Rays will also lose righty Alex Cobb to free agency, which will make it all the more difficult for them to compete in the near term, Topkin points out.
    Giancarlo Stanton Discusses Trade To Yankees Mon, 11 Dec 2017 23:55:06 +0000 After a prolonged saga in which the Giants and the Cardinals were the primary trade suitors for Giancarlo Stanton, the reigning NL MVP spurned both clubs in order to approve a trade to the Yankees that seemingly came together in a matter of days. The Yankees introduced Stanton at a press conference at the Winter Meetings in Orlando, Fla. on Monday, and the slugger spoke about his decision to approve a trade out of Miami as well as the process of ultimately green-lighting a deal to New York.

    “When I signed up in Miami, I wanted things to work out,” Stanton began in his address of the media. “I had a good vision there. But, sometimes things just spiral out of place, and you have to find a new home. I’m very excited to be here and I’m looking forward to stepping up and being with this winning environment and winning culture.”

    Giancarlo Stanton

    Stanton’s comments regarding the Marlins mirror those that he made on Instagram earlier today. “…I’ve always tried to be as professional as possible during the unprofessional, circus times there!” he wrote amid a thank you/farewell message to Marlins fans, the city and the organization.

    Indeed, the Miami organization has long drawn flak from the media and throughout the industry under the leadership of former owner Jeffrey Loria and president David Samson. From the team’s 2012 fire sale just one year after moving into a publicly funded stadium to a near-constant managerial shuffle as well as the seemingly interminable saga of Loria’s sale of the team, Stanton withstood a roller coaster ride like few other players experience in their careers.

    “You guys in the media, you’ve seen what’s gone on down there,” said Stanton, who played for seven different managers in his eight seasons in Miami (including a season in which former GM Dan Jennings bizarrely shifted from the front office to the dugout). “What I mainly meant was just no structure — no stamp of, ’This is how things are going to be.’ It’s a different direction every Spring Training. Something new every spring. A different manager every spring or middle of the season. That’s mainly what I meant.”

    In the Yankees, it seems, Stanton sees a largely different scenario: a young team with a freshly appointed manager that has clear designs on winning over a sustained period of time.

    “Just watching them from afar, seeing their young dynamic group, the way they flow together on the field,” Stanton said when asked why the Yankees appealed to him. “They never give up, never quit. The atmosphere, the storied franchise — there’s not much you could say of why you wouldn’t want to be there. They were for sure on the list of where I wanted to be.”

    Stanton also noted that the team’s young core can “strike from everywhere,” calling them “well-balanced” and “hungry.” That’s not to say that he didn’t hold former teammates such as Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna, J.T. Realmuto, Dee Gordon and others in similarly high regard. Stanton made clear that he felt the basis of a contender was there in Miami, but his vision for the team’s future did not align with that of new owners Derek Jeter and Bruce Sherman.

    “We had a meeting, yes,” Stanton said when asked if he sat down with Jeter. “We spoke about the direction of the team. I wanted us to go forward and have an advance with the pitching staff. I thought our lineup was legit, and we needed help with our pitchers and we needed to add — not subtract. Derek, the way they wanted to go was to subtract, so I let that be known that I didn’t want to be part of another rebuild or another losing season. That’s almost a guaranteed losing season, taking away what I thought was a great lineup.”

    At that point, Stanton said he provided the Marlins with a list of teams prior to the beginning of trade negotiations. Though the Cardinals and Giants weren’t on that list, those two teams have long been reported to have the most interest in Stanton, and the Marlins went ahead in negotiating potential deals to send Stanton there, pending his approval.

    Stanton noted that he was open to hearing what the Giants and Cardinals had to say, and he was complimentary of the executives with whom he met as well as the history of each organization and its culture. Ultimately, however, he simply stated that a trade to either San Francisco or St. Louis “just wasn’t the fit for me.” Stanton unsurprisingly declined to delve into his exact motivation for vetoing trades to both clubs, though he did shed some light on his reasons for meeting with two teams that weren’t on his list of approved trade destinations.

    “I really just wanted to learn what another organization is like,” said Stanton. “All I’ve ever experienced is the Marlins and basically one way of going about things, so I wanted to see how other organizations went about their business and how the city would appeal to me.”

    “I’ve always watched them from afar,” Stanton said of the Cardinals when asked specifically about his talks with St. Louis. “We share the same Spring Training, so I’ve noticed how they go about their business. It’s winning first, culture, the fans and everything — it’s a great organization. We did have a good meeting, but I wanted to see my options [with] the teams that I initially chose.”

    That, Stanton emphasized, was a list that always included the Yankees. The Dodgers, too, were on the list, though Stanton stated he wasn’t sure how aggressive Los Angeles ever was in its attempts to acquire him.

    As for what’s to come, he acknowledged an excitement to play with a player that he feels is similar to himself in Aaron Judge. The exact nature of the outfield alignment remains to be seen, and Stanton said there’s been no talk of how they’ll all line up defensively, but he’s willing to play anywhere. His focus isn’t on where he’s playing in the field but the ultimate outcome of his team’s efforts.

    “It’s what I’ve always wanted,” Stanton replied upon being asked about playing in a major market with definitive postseason expectations. “It’s what I’ve dreamed of. You always want to be in competitive games where they mean something and your performance means something to the team and the city. It’s going to be a fun challenge, and I’m looking forward to it.”

    As for the Marlins, they did not have a contingent on hand to discuss the franchise-altering move. In fact, Jeter did not even travel to Orlando for the Winter Meetings, though he did speak to reporters by phone today. Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald and Tim Healey of the Sun Sentinel rounded up the key bits of information (all links that follow are to their Twitter feeds).

    Jeter gave some details on the process, saying that the Yankees were the only team really involved beyond the Cardinals and Giants. He stressed the financial flexibility that comes with shedding Stanton’s salary and emphasized that Stanton told the Fish that he “wanted to continue his career elsewhere” after learning of the team’s plans. The new Marlins CEO emphasized that he understands why some fans are disappointed, though he also stressed that he thinks building a sustainable winner in the long run will reward the patience the organization is asking for. Jeter also rejected any inkling that his connections to the Yankees had anything to do with the move.

    Yankees Notes: Pirates Matchup, Ellsbury, Clint Frazier Mon, 11 Dec 2017 22:59:07 +0000
  • The Yankees reportedly came away from talks with the Pirates with the impression that they won’t move righty Gerrit Cole. However, the Pirates are at least willing to listen to offers for Cole, per Buster Olney of ESPN (Twitter link). The Yankees and Bucs match up well for a potential Cole trade, sources tell Olney, who notes that Bombers general manager Brian Cashman and the Pirates’ Neal Huntington have swung plenty of deals in the past.
  • In the wake of the Giancarlo Stanton acquisition, the Yankees are loaded with outfielders. Although that seems to be bad news for Jacoby Ellsbury, who’s toward the bottom of the Yankees’ current outfield depth chart, he’s still “unlikely” to waive his no-trade clause, Mark Feinsand of tweets. The belief is that the Yankees would eat roughly half of the $68MM to jettison Ellsbury, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag, but it could be a moot point if he’s unwilling to go anywhere. And Cashman said Monday that Ellsbury “has a spot on the roster” and “will compete to take his job back,” Alex Speier of the Boston Globe relays (Twitter link). On the other hand, if the Yankees make 23-year-old outfielder Clint Frazier available, the Athletics would unquestionably have interest, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports (via Twitter). However, the price to acquire Frazier would likely be too high, Slusser adds.

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    Yankees Have Interest In Gerrit Cole Mon, 11 Dec 2017 20:21:23 +0000
  • The Yankees have shown interest in Pirates ace Gerrit Cole, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets, but have been left to believe that Cole won’t be moved. Pittsburgh’s intentions for the winter have never really been clear, with a few notable veterans nearing free agency but a core in place that might still contend in the near term. Presumably, the Bucs are still weighing their options. If a Cole deal is considered, it’s not entirely certain whether the team would prioritize long-term prospect value or prefer instead to bring back controllable assets already playing at the MLB level. While the 27-year-old was less than dominant in 2017, he was able to top two hundred frames and averaged a typical 8.7 K/9 with 2.4 BB/9. The asking price, in other words, will likely still be lofty for a pitcher with a front-line reputation. If the Yankees are serious about pursuit, they’d surely have some interesting pieces to dangle.
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    Yankees Acquire Giancarlo Stanton Mon, 11 Dec 2017 15:55:55 +0000 MONDAY: The trade is now official, per club announcements.

    SATURDAY: It would appear that the Giancarlo Stanton saga has come to a close. The Yankees are set to acquire the 2017 NL MVP from the Marlins in exchange for infielder Starlin Castro, along with minor-leaguers Jorge Guzman and Jose Devers. The Marlins will also send the Yankees $30MM in cash if Stanton does not opt out of his contract after the 2020 season. The deal is still pending a physical.

    Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports was the first to report that a deal was set, while Joel Sherman of the New York Post mentioned earlier that a deal was “virtually in place”, adding that Castro would be part of the deal. While some other cash numbers were mentioned by some reporters earlier in the day, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic was the first to mention the $30MM figure that has since been confirmed by Morosi as well as Mark Feinsand of Credit goes to Sherman for the report that the prospects involved are in the low minors, as well as first breaking the news that those prospects were Guzman and Devers. Sherman was also the first to report that the Yankees will only get the cash if Stanton doesn’t opt out after 2020.

    While there was initially some uncertainty surrounding whether or not Stanton would waive his no-trade clause, that dissolved when Heyman reported that Stanton was on his way to New York City for his physical. Stanton will retain no-trade privileges after the one-time waiver, Heyman adds on Twitter, so he’ll still control his destiny if the Yanks end up trying to move the contract in the future.

    The acquisition of Stanton by the Yankees brings a dramatic swirl of trade rumors to a firm close. There had been speculation about Stanton’s availability as early as July, though a trade never materialized despite Stanton reportedly clearing revocable trade waivers. Early in November, reports surfaced that the Marlins were interested in moving Stanton (and other big contracts) in order to trim payroll to about $90MM before the start of the 2018 season. While the Marlins were able to work out the framework for deals "<strongwith the Cardinals and Giants, Stanton ultimately used his no-trade clause to block those deals. The Marlins were ultimately forced to settle for a lesser prospect return from the Yankees, although Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Yankees took on more of Stanton’s salary than the Cardinals were willing to.

    Stanton will add even more power to a Yankees lineup that finished the 2017 season with 241 homers; more than any other MLB club. Notably, Stanton will unite with the only other player to finish this past season with more than 50 homers: Rookie of the Year Aaron Judge. Those two right-handed power threats, along with a third in catcher Gary Sanchez, should become an absolute terror for opposing left-handed pitchers.

    The Yankees have made it clear that they plan on trying to get below the luxury tax threshold in 2018, and while the acquisition of Stanton would seem to run contrary to that objective, making the two work in tandem could be easier than it would initially appear. Luxury tax implications are based on the average annual value of guaranteed contracts, and Stanton’s figure towards the threshold is based off of his entire contract with the Marlins. Since that deal was for 13 years and $325MM, Stanton’s luxury tax contribution will be $22MM annually, thanks to the conditional $30MM contribution from the Marlins. The average annual value of Castro’s contract is $8.6MM, so the Stanton trade will only add about $13.4MM to the Yankees payroll in 2018 for luxury tax purposes.

    The Stanton deal will no doubt have an enormous ripple effect throughout baseball, starting with the AL East. The Red Sox stand out as big losers in this deal; not only did they hope to acquire Stanton themselves after finishing last in the AL in home runs, but the 2017 homer champ will be another right-handed power threat to a lefty-heavy Boston rotation that includes Chris Sale, David Price and Eduardo Rodriguez. In addition, the Stanton deal further bolsters a Yankees team that looked formidable even without the reigning NL MVP, meaning that Toronto, Baltimore and Tampa Bay (who seem to be on the fringes of contention) might reconsider their intentions to seriously compete for a pennant. Should those teams change their direction, big names like Josh Donaldson and Manny Machado could potentially become available in trade discussions. Even if that doesn’t happen, a more dominant Yankees lineup has a better chance to force their weaker rivals out of contention before the midseason trade deadline. That’s not to say that one player can definitively make such a profound impact, but as a seven-WAR player, Stanton could certainly tip the scales. Elsewhere in baseball, the Nationals, Mets and Braves will benefit from the full rebuild the completed deal signals for the Marlins camp.

    Stanton, of course, led all qualifying MLB players this past year with 59 homers and a .631 slugging percentage en route to his first MVP selection. The towering 6’6″ right-handed hitter terrorized NL pitching to the tune of a .281/.376/.631 overall batting line while playing roughly average defense in right field. The Marlins took him in the second round of the 2007 draft, and have since been rewarded with 34.1 wins above replacement level. Stanton ranked seventh in the majors in 2017 with a 91.9 MPH average exit velocity, including the hardest-hit ball all year (122.2 MPH). His .410 wOBA and 156 wRC+ both ranked fifth in MLB.

    The 21-year-old Guzman is best known as one of the pieces sent from Houston to New York in exchange for catcher Brian McCann just last winter. The 2015 international signee out of the Dominican Republic posted excellent numbers in thirteen starts for the Yankees’ Low-A affiliate, including a 2.30 ERA with 11.28 K/9 against just 2.43 BB/9. Chris Mitchell of Fangraphs describes Guzman as someone who throws “absolute gas.” The 6’2″ righty reportedly sits around 96-100 MPH with his fastball and can reach back for up to 102. He combines that pitch with an 89 MPH slider; that combination helped him strike out a league-leading 33% of batters faced. KATOH projects him as high as a 4.5 WAR player in the majors.

    Devers, 18, was also signed out of the Dominican Republic. The Yankees added the left-handed hitting shortstop to their system just this season for a bonus of $250K; he’s only got 53 pro games under his belt. Devers is best known as the cousin of Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers, who was a top prospect in Boston’s system and made his major league debut in 2017. Ben Badler of Baseball America describes the younger Devers as “a wiry shortstop with above-average speed, good hands and quick footwork.” He’s largely put to bed initial concerns about his arm action and arm strength, and has been described by opposing managers as someone who takes away a lot of hits with his glove. While he doesn’t provide much in the way of power, Devers shows good contact ability with the bat. Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs notes that Devers also has a projectable frame, and confirms that his swing will need some tweaking if he wants to develop any real power.