MLB Trade Rumors » » New York Yankees 2017-09-25T18:30:17Z Steve Adams <![CDATA[Yankees Again Striving To Move Under Luxury Tax Barrier]]> 2017-09-22T03:30:32Z 2017-09-22T03:30:32Z The Yankees are once again striving to get under the luxury tax threshold, though there’s added incentive for them to do so this time around, writes Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. Getting under the luxury tax barrier (which is set to rise to $197MM next year) will reset the Yankees’ luxury tax hit just in time for the 2018-19 mega-class of free agents that features the likes of Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Clayton Kershaw (assuming he opts out of the final two years on his deal), Dallas Keuchel, Josh Donaldson and Charlie Blackmon, among many others. As Heyman notes, achieving the goal is more realistic than ever for the Yankees as well, with commitments to CC Sabathia, Alex Rodriguez and quite possibly Masahiro Tanaka coming off the books (in addition to recent veteran pickups Matt Holliday, Todd Frazier and Jaime Garcia).

Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Would The Yankees Do The Aroldis Chapman Contract Again?]]> 2017-09-18T01:24:58Z 2017-09-18T01:24:58Z
  • Less than a year after the Yankees and Mets signed Aroldis Chapman and Yoenis Cespedes to multi-year free agent deals, Joel Sherman of the New York Post doubts either team would make those signings again given how both stars underachieved in 2017.  Injuries played a part in both players’ performance, of course, and there is still lots of time for Chapman and Cespedes to deliver on their contracts.  In Chapman’s case, his relative struggles also haven’t kept the Yankees from leading the AL wild card race.  With Chapman owed $60MM through the 2021 season, however, it’s still an ominous sign for the Yankees that this down year came in the first season of that deal.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Aaron Hicks, Adam Warren Nearing Returns]]> 2017-09-17T20:31:41Z 2017-09-17T20:31:41Z
  • The Yankees are optimistic outfielder Aaron Hicks and reliever Adam Warren will return before the regular season, per Bryan Hoch of Hicks, on the DL since Sept. 3 with a left oblique strain, will begin taking batting practice soon, manager Joe Girardi said. Warren has also been out since Sept. 3, with lower back spasms. Both players have been among New York’s best this year, but the club has piled up wins without them over the past couple weeks and now looks like a playoff lock.
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    Charlie Wilmoth <![CDATA[Yankees Will Be Interested In Alex Cobb]]> 2017-09-16T18:03:51Z 2017-09-16T18:03:51Z
  • The OriolesYankees and Blue Jays have seen Rays righty Alex Cobb up close in recent seasons, and they’ll be interested when he hits the market this winter, writes Cafardo. Cobb will also attract plenty of interest from outside the AL East as well, as he’ll be a good and more affordable alternative to a free agent ace.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[MLB Announces Fines For Red Sox & Yankees]]> 2017-09-15T22:07:31Z 2017-09-15T20:58:42Z Major League Baseball has announced punishment arising out of its investigation of mutual accusations of improper gamesmanship between the Red Sox and Yankees. Both clubs will receive undisclosed fines, with the latter said to be tagged with a lesser amount.

    Those interested in reading more about the allegations can read about it in full right here. In essence, the Yanks claimed that their long-time rivals were improperly stealing signs with the aid of an Apple Watch and other technology. In turn, Boston accused the Bronx Bombers of taking advantage of YES Network cameras to the same end.

    Commissioner Rob Manfred found that the Red Sox did wrongfully use technology in the dugout, leading to the discipline. He did also note that certain factors were present that warranted some leniency, including that the misstep took place without any involvement of ownership or the front office and that the club cooperated in ceasing the activity and aiding the ensuing investigation. While the league could not substantiate the allegations against the Yankees, they were fined due to a finding that the club had wrongly utilized a dugout phone in a prior season.

    Some may charge that Manfred gave the Red Sox only a slap on the wrist after taking away the watch. But he did put Boston and the rest of the league on notice not to expect such treatment going forward. “[A]ll 30 Clubs have been notified that future violations of this type will be subject to more serious sanctions, including the possible loss of draft picks,” Mandred stated in the announcement.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[2017 Rule 5 Roundup]]> 2017-09-14T16:14:45Z 2017-09-14T14:15:17Z With just a few weeks left in the season, we have a pretty clear idea of which Rule 5 draft picks will stick with their drafting teams. At this point, having already carried the player this far and with expanded rosters easing any pressures, teams are quite likely to stay the course. Here’s how this season’s Rule 5 group has shaken out thus far:


    It isn’t official yet, but these

    • Miguel Diaz, RHP, kept by Padres (via Twins) from Brewers: As part of the Pads’ unusually bold Rule 5 strategy, the club kept three youngsters this year. Diaz, 22, has managed only a 6.21 ERA with a 31:22 K/BB ratio over 37 2/3 innings. But he is showing a 96 mph heater and will remain with the organization, quite likely heading back to the minors next season to continue his development.
    • Luis Torrens, C, kept by Padres (via Reds) from Yankees: The youthful backstop — he’s just 21 — has struggled badly on offense in limited action. Through 133 plate appearances, he’s slashing just.169/.246/.212 — with just four extra-base hits, none of them home runs.
    • Allen Cordoba, INF, kept by Padres from Cardinals: And then there’s Cordoba, who’s also just 21 years of age. He faded after a hot start at the plate, but on the whole his output — a .209/.284/.304 batting line and four home runs over 215 plate appearances — is fairly impressive given that he had never before played above Rookie ball.
    • Dylan Covey, RHP, kept by White Sox from Athletics: Technically, owing to a DL stint, Covey has only compiled 83 of the minimum 90 days of active roster time required to be kept. But he’s going to make it there before the season is up, meaning that the Sox will be able to hold onto his rights and option him back to the minors in 2018. Covey, 26, has struggled to a 7.90 ERA with 4.9 K/9 against 4.4 BB/9 over 54 2/3 innings, allowing 18 long balls in that span.
    • Stuart Turner, C, kept by Reds from Twins: Turner has seen minimal action, appearing in just 33 games and taking only 77 trips to the plate. And he’s hitting just .141/.184/.268 in that sporadic action. Clearly, though, the Reds have seen enough to believe he’s worth the trouble to hang onto.

    Still In Limbo

    • Kevin Gadea, RHP, selected by Rays from Mariners: Gadea has not pitched at any level this year owing to an elbow injury. He’ll remain with the Tampa Bay organization for the time being, but will still need to be carried on the 40-man roster over the offseason and then on the active roster for at least ninety days for his rights to permanently transfer.
    • Armando Rivero, RHP, selected by Braves from Cubs: It’s the exact same situation for Rivero as for Gadea, though he has had shoulder problems.
    • Josh Rutledge, INF, selected by Red Sox from Rockies: This was not your typical Rule 5 move. Boston snagged the veteran infielder after he signed a minors deal with Colorado. He ended up seeing minimal MLB time owing to injuries and his season ended recently with hip surgery. Rutledge is eligible for arbitration this fall and isn’t likely to be kept on the 40-man roster regardless.
    • Anthony Santander, OF, selected by Orioles from Indians: Since he only made it off of the DL late in the summer, Santander can accrue only 45 days on the active roster. If Baltimore wants to keep him, then, it’ll need to put him on the Opening Day roster next year. Santander has seen minimal playing time thus far, recording two hits in twelve trips to the plate, though he put up impressive numbers on his rehab assignment.

    Kept By Other Means

    • Daniel Stumpf, LHP, signed with Tigers after electing free agency upon return to Royals: This is another unusual situation. As a previous Rule 5 returnee, Stumpf was eligible to elect free agency upon being returned to his original organization. That’s just what happened when Detroit sent him back to Kansas City; the southpaw then turned around and re-signed a MLB deal with the Tigers. He has ended up turning in a rather productive year, posting 32 1/3 innings of 2.78 ERA ball with 8.6 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9 at the major-league level and showing even more impressive numbers during his time at Triple-A.

    Already Returned

    • Tyler Jones, RHP, returned to Yankees by Diamondbacks: Jones has thrown rather well at Triple-A since going back to the New York organization, posting 10.7 K/9 against 2.8 BB/9 in 63 2/3 innings, though he has also allowed 4.38 earned per nine.
    • Caleb Smith, LHP, returned to Yankees by Brewers: Smith ended up earning a 40-man roster spot and spending some time in the majors after showing quite well as a starter in the minors. But he has been knocked around in his 18 2/3 MLB frames on the year.
    • Justin Haley, RHP, returned to Red Sox by Twins (via Angels): The 26-year-old didn’t stick with Minnesota, allowing a dozen earned runs in 18 innings before being returned to Boston. But he has thrown well since landing back at Triple-A Pawtucket, posting a 2.66 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9 in 44 innings over seven starts.
    • Tyler Webb, LHP, returned to Yankees by Pirates: Webb also gained a 40-man spot with the Yankees after showing some intriguing K/BB numbers at Triple-A. He was ultimately dealt to the Brewers.
    • Aneury Tavarez, OF, returned to Red Sox by Orioles: Tavarez played his way back up to Triple-A upon his return to his former organization, but has hit just .244/.292/.400 in 145 plate appearances there.
    • Glenn Sparkman, RHP, returned to Royals by Blue Jays: Sparkman was bombed in his one MLB appearance and has been limited to just 30 1/3 minor-league frames due to injury.
    • Hoby Milner, LHP, returned to Phillies by Indians: Another player who has risen to the majors with the organization that originally let them leave via the Rule 5, Milner has turned in 24 1/3 frames of 1.85 ERA ball in Philadelphia. Of course, he has also managed just 15 strikeouts against ten walks in that span.
    • Mike Hauschild, RHP, returned to Astros by Rangers: The 27-year-old righty struggled badly in his eight MLB frames. Upon returning to the rotation for Houston’s top affiliate, Hauschild has uncharacteristically struggled with free passes (5.3 per nine).
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Latest On Yankees' International Prospect Market]]> 2017-09-10T18:50:23Z 2017-09-10T18:50:23Z The 2017-18 international market has only been open for a little over two months, but Baseball America’s Ben Badler already has a preview (available to BA subscribers) of 10 notable prospects who will be available in the 2018-19 int’l class, which opens next July 2.  Dominican shortstop Orelvis Martinez projects to have the largest bonus of this group, as the 15-year-old is expected to receive over $3MM from a team, with the Blue Jays reportedly favorites.  The Jays have been active on the international front in recent years, most notably landing star prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr.  Badler’s piece outlines which teams are connected to the other nine prospects, as well as details on the Rangers and Yankees potentially still lined up to sign well-regarded prospects in the current international class (or eyeing Shohei Otani this winter).

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Yankees Sign Ronny Rojas]]> 2017-09-09T15:35:57Z 2017-09-09T15:33:51Z The Yankees have signed Dominican shortstop Ronny Rojas to a contract with a $1MM bonus, Ben Badler of Baseball America reports. New York had been the front-runner to land Rojas dating back to July 2, the opening of this year’s international signing period. Rojas wasn’t eligible to ink a deal until his 16th birthday on Aug. 23.

    [RELATED: Yankees News & Rumors On Facebook]

    The Yankees entered July with $4.75MM available to spend on the international market and quickly signed a few touted prospects, yet they nonetheless increased their total to around $8MM after acquiring pool money in various summer trades. In the 6-foot, 170-pound Rojas, they’ll get a player whom both Baseball America and rank as this year’s 11th-best international prospect.

    Despite his young age, the switch-hitting Rojas already carries plenty of offensive polish from both sides of the plate, per Badler (subscription required and recommended), who notes that he has 15- to 20-home run potential and a chance to play either short or second base in the majors.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Warren Will Require Two Weeks Of Rest For Back Injury]]> 2017-09-08T04:42:48Z 2017-09-08T04:42:48Z
  • Yankees righty Adam Warren landed on the 10-day disabled list yesterday, as the team announced, and Erik Boland of Newsday writes that he’ll need to rest for the next two weeks as a result of the current ailment. Manager Joe Girardi acknowledged that he’s concerned about when he might be able to add Warren back into his bullpen, though the skipper said he’s still hopeful that Warren will make it back before the season ends. The 30-year-old Warren has been outstanding for the Yanks this season, logging 56 1/3 innings with a 2.40 ERA, 8.5 K/9, 2.4 BB/9, 0.6 HR/9 and a 44.3 percent ground-ball rate.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Former Yankees GM Gene “Stick” Michael Passes Away]]> 2017-09-07T16:56:26Z 2017-09-07T16:48:44Z Longtime Yankees stalwart Gene “Stick” Michael has passed away, the New York Post reports. Michael, who served the organization in a variety of capacities over several decades, was 79 years of age.

    Michael was long a key figure around Yankee Stadium, playing and managing the Bronx Bombers before eventually moving over to the operations side. Following a stint as the Cubs’ manager, he took the reins as Yankees’ general manager before the 1991 season, with the club still reeling from consecutive sub-.500 finishes and disciplinary action against owner George Steinbrenner.

    Though the Yanks took a few years to resume their winning ways, they finally returned to the postseason in 1995 — Michael’s last season as the GM. While he did not get to oversee the full blossoming of the roster he built from the GM seat, Michael remained in the organization in a scouting and advisory role.

    Of course, many of the players installed during Michael’s tenure ended up leading the Yankees back to glory. As the Post notes, Michael was at the helm when the team gathered together the entire “Cour Four” — Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, and Jorge Posada — that would go on to win the World Series in four of five seasons between 1996 and 2000.

    Beyond his renown as a baseball man, Michael was seen as a passionate and caring figure on a personal level — as today’s outpouring of grief suggests and as Joel Sherman of the New York Post captures in a column. MLBTR joins those around the game in extending its best wishes to his family and friends.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Red Sox Could Face Punishment For Illegal Use Of Electronics To Steal Signs]]> 2017-09-05T22:49:31Z 2017-09-05T22:00:00Z 5:00pm: Drellich tweets that Manfred has stated there’s no specific rule against sign-stealing. The punishment the Red Sox could face would be from illegal usage of technology in the dugout.

    4:45pm: Evan Drellich of CSN New England tweets that Dombrowski said there is indeed an investigation looking into the Yankees. Newsday’s David Lennon tweets that when asked about the Red Sox’ allegations regarding YES cameras, Yankees skipper Joe Girardi replied bluntly: “No chance. We’re not doing it.” Girardi did acknowledge that all teams try to steal signs to some extent, though without going so far as to use technology to do so (Twitter link via Lennon).

    4:30pm: USA Today’s Bob Nightengale writes that a league official confirmed Schmidt’s report to him and added that the league is preparing discipline against the Red Sox. The stealing of signs by a runner on second base (and relaying the upcoming pitch to the hitter) is not forbidden “so long as artificial means are not used,” per Nightengale. While MLB has allowed the presence of iPads in the dugout and bullpen, those league-issued devices don’t have Internet access and cannot stream live video.

    Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner briefly addressed the issue today when speaking to reporters (Twitter link via’s Bryan Hoch), telling the media: “It’s always been a game within a game, but the use of electronics takes it too far.”

    4:14pm: In one of the more eyebrow-raising stories of the season, Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Times reports that MLB investigators have determined that the Red Sox used an Apple Watch and other technology to steal signs from the Yankees earlier this season. Furthermore, the Red Sox also filed their own complaint against the Yankees today, alleging that they use a YES Network camera for the exclusive purpose of stealing signs during games.

    The Yankees filed a complaint about two weeks ago, according to Schmidt, providing the Commissioner’s Office with video that depicted a member of the Boston training staff receiving intel from his Apple Watch and relaying it to players on the field. More damning is the fact that Schmidt reports that the league has already confronted the Red Sox on the matter, and the team has conceded that their training staff did indeed receive information from video replay personnel, which was then relayed to players. The process had been in place for “at least several weeks,” per Schmidt.

    The Red Sox reportedly told the league that president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski and manager John Farrell were not involved in the implementation of this process and weren’t even aware of the sign-stealing operation at all. Investigators have already interviewed the Red Sox’ training staff as well as outfielder Chris Young. Schmidt’s report also mentions that Brock Holt and Dustin Pedroia were seen on video receiving info from assistant athletic trainer Jon Jochim.

    Asked about the story, Farrell told reporters that the Red Sox are “aware of the rule (that) electronic devices are not to be used in the dugout,” but said that it’s a league matter and offered no further comment (link via ESPN’s Scott Lauber).

    It’s not clear what actions that commissioner Rob Manfred will take against the Red Sox, nor is there any word of whether an investigation of the Yankees will be launched based on Boston’s reported allegations. Manfred has previously stripped the Cardinals of multiple draft picks as punishment for illegally accessing the Astros’ proprietary databases, though certainly that was a different scenario and is not a direct comparison to the Red Sox/Yankees situation.

    Manfred is at Fenway Park tonight and will meet with the media at 5:45pm ET, per Lauber, so there could very well be further details made available in the near future. In the meantime, I’d highly encourage those interested in the matter to read Schmidt’s column in full.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Montgomery To Start In Garcia's Place Vs. Orioles]]> 2017-09-04T14:28:12Z 2017-09-04T14:26:16Z
  • The Yankees are turning to Jordan Montgomery with the fifth spot in their rotation this time around — not veteran trade acquisition Jaime Garcia, writes Dan Martin of the New York Post. It’s not a long-term move, per manager Joe Girardi, who notes that Garcia will be plugged back into the rotation sometime during the next turn. Nonetheless, it’s a disappointing outcome for a Yankees club that parted with a pair of minor league arms (Zack Littell and Dietrich Enns) to acquire Garcia. The veteran hasn’t lasted more than 5 1/3 innings in any of his starts for the Yankees, though, as Martin points out.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Yankees Place Aaron Hicks On DL]]> 2017-09-03T20:54:31Z 2017-09-03T20:54:53Z 3:54pm: The Yankees are optimistic that Hicks’ latest oblique injury isn’t as serious as his previous one, per Bryan Hoch of (on Twitter). They believe he’ll be able to resume swinging within the next 10 days.

    11:47am: The Yankees announced that they have placed outfielder Aaron Hicks on the 10-day disabled list with a left oblique strain and recalled left-hander Caleb Smith from Triple-A Scranton.

    This is the second oblique-related DL placement of the summer for Hicks, who suffered a right oblique strain June 25 and didn’t return until Aug. 10.  A similarly lengthy absence this time could mean the Yankees won’t have Hicks again this year, given that the 72-63 club is 2.5 games up on a wild-card spot and no sure thing to advance well into October.

    Having seen his OPS drop 83 points since his initial DL stint, Hicks has slumped at an inopportune time for the Yankees. However, despite his recent struggles and injury woes, Hicks has surprisingly been one of the Yankees’ top players this year.  After trudging through a disastrous 2016, his first season in the Bronx, the switch-hitting former Twin has slashed .265/.367/.463 with 13 home runs and eight stolen bases in 342 plate appearances.  Hicks has combined that above-average offensive output with terrific work in the field (14 DRS, 5.7 UZR) to account for 2.7 fWAR – more than three times the total he posted from 2013-16 (0.8).

    With expensive reserve Jacoby Ellsbury on hand, the Yankees are decently equipped to replace Hicks, though the former Red Sox star hasn’t exactly thrived this season. The Yankees’ outfield as a whole now looks much weaker than it did earlier in the season when Hicks and Aaron Judge were at their best. Judge is in the middle of a well-documented nosedive since the All-Star break, while Brett Gardner has also declined somewhat during the second half and Clint Frazier has been on the DL since Aug. 10 with an oblique strain of his own.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[MLBTR Poll: Masahiro Tanaka’s Future]]> 2017-09-03T15:23:09Z 2017-09-03T15:23:09Z Whether Angels left fielder Justin Upton opts out of his contract will serve as one of the most intriguing storylines during the early part of Major League Baseball’s upcoming offseason. The same opt-out question applies to Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, who may have an easier decision than Upton. While Upton has four years and $88.5MM left on his contract, Tanaka’s remaining pact consists of fewer years and dollars (three and $67MM, respectively). But that doesn’t necessarily make it a slam-dunk call for Tanaka, who, unlike Upton, has had a bit of a rocky season in what could amount to a platform year.

    Masahiro Tanaka

    Tanaka, who emigrated from Japan on a seven-year, $155MM agreement in 2014, emerged as a front-end starter in the Bronx from the get-go and entered 2017 off a strong three-season stretch. Over 75 starts and 490 innings, the splitter-loving Tanaka logged a 3.12 ERA with 8.17 K/9 against 1.54 BB/9 and a 47.4 percent groundball rate. The only full-time American League starters to post a better ERA during that span were Corey Kluber, Chris Sale, Felix Hernandez and Garrett Richards, while just nine outdid Tanaka’s combined 10.0 fWAR.

    Judging solely on fWAR (2.3), Tanaka is having another good season, though the 28-year-old trails 41 other major league starters in that category. Meanwhile, among the 112 hurlers who have thrown at least 100 innings this year, Tanaka is a below-average 73rd in ERA (4.54, tied with fellow opt-out candidate Johnny Cueto).

    Fortunately for Tanaka, the run prevention problems he has had in 2017 aren’t nearly as dire as they appear. A bloated home run-to-fly ball rate (20 percent, up from 14.1 percent over the previous three years) is the main culprit, but Tanaka has only yielded eight long balls in 78 innings dating back to June 17, when his ERA sat at 6.34 and his HR total was already at 21 through 76 1/3 frames. Since then, Tanaka has notched nine quality starts in 12 outings – including a gem against the Red Sox on Saturday – pitched to a 2.77 ERA and and racked up 82 strikeouts against 15 walks. Those are ace-like numbers, and a newfound reliance on his slider is among the reasons for Tanaka’s summer success, as FanGraphs’ Eno Sarris explained Friday.

    Thanks in part to his adeptness over the past month-plus, Tanaka ranks 13th among starters this season in strikeout-walk percentage (18.7), 13th in infield fly ball rate (11.2 percent) and 15th in the grounder department (49.3 percent). Those are all encouraging signs, clearly, as is the fact that his velocity looks normal. Tanaka should hit the 30-start mark for the second straight year, too, which is especially positive for someone who hasn’t been the picture of durability during his career. He combined for 44 starts in his first two seasons and has dealt with a laundry list of arm issues over the years, the most serious of which being a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow. Tanaka has managed to pitch through the UCL tear over the past couple seasons, though teams could be wary of it in free agency.  As such, it’s something Tanaka’s going to have to consider when choosing whether to vacate the remainder of his contract.

    Should he opt out, Tanaka figures to reject a qualifying offer from the Yankees before officially reaching free agency, which could also negatively affect his market to some degree.  Still, along with a pair of over-30 hurlers in Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta, Tanaka would be among the most sought-after starters available. And in a league that has seen starters with more questionable track records (Rich Hill, Jeff Samardzija, Mike Leake and Wei-Yin Chen, to name a few) rake in sizable paydays in recent winters, it’s reasonable to guess Tanaka will indeed venture to the open market in hopes of outdoing the $67MM he’d make by sticking with his current deal.

    (Poll link for Trade Rumors App users)

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Latest On Suspensions For Gary Sanchez, Austin Romine]]> 2017-09-03T01:10:20Z 2017-09-03T00:33:55Z
  • Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera will serve a six-game suspension stemming from his role in a brawl with the Yankees on Aug. 24, while reliever Alex Wilson will sit three games and manager Brad Ausmus will be barred from one, per an announcement from Detroit. Major League Baseball originally handed down seven-, four- and one-game bans to Cabrera, Wilson and Ausmus, respectively, before the appeals process. Their suspensions began Saturday against Cleveland, with bench coach Gene Lamont stepping in for Ausmus.
  • As of Friday, settlement discussions between MLB and the players’ union regarding suspensions for Yankees catchers Gary Sanchez and Austin Romine were still ongoing, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. A decision is unlikely to come before Monday, per Rosenthal, who adds that the two backstops won’t serve their penalties simultaneously. Before Sanchez and Romine appealed, the former received the larger ban (four games to two).
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Yankees Notes: Otani, Ellsbury]]> 2017-09-02T22:40:37Z 2017-09-02T22:40:37Z
  • Yankees general manager Brian Cashman went to Japan last week to watch two-way sensation Shohei Otani, a right-handed ace and left-handed slugger who could head the majors in the offseason.  Thanks to some recent trades, the Yankees have boosted their international pool money total from $4.75MM to $8MM, which could help them reel in the 23-year-old if he does become available in the next few months.
  • Speaking of Cashman, if he’s still the Yankees GM after the season (his contract is set to expire), it’s possible he’ll be able to move outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury in a trade, Cafardo writes.  The recipient of a seven-year, $153MM contract prior to 2014, the ex-Boston star has disappointed and become a superfluous piece in New York, which looks set in the outfield with Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner, Aaron Hicks and Clint Frazier in the fold.  The 33-year-old Ellsbury still has around $68MM left on his deal (including a $5MM buyout in 2021), but Cafardo suggests that the Yankees could get rid of him if they’re willing to retain approximately half of that money.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Yankees Acquire Erik Kratz From Indians]]> 2017-08-31T16:46:27Z 2017-08-31T16:37:49Z The Yankees announced that they’ve acquired veteran catcher Erik Kratz from the Indians in exchange for cash considerations.

    The 37-year-old Kratz has spent parts of the past seven seasons in the Majors, logging a combined .200/.248/.362 batting line in 647 plate appearances as an up-and-down reserve option. He’s had a very nice year with Cleveland’s Triple-A affiliate, however, posting a robust .270/.359/.472 slash with 13 homers in 324 plate appearances. Kratz has also thwarted 37 percent of stolen base attempts against him this season in Triple-A and posted characteristically solid framing marks (per Baseball Prospectus).

    Gary Sanchez and Austin Romine will remain the two primary catchers in the Bronx, but the addition of Kratz gives the Yankees a veteran option to serve as a third catcher down the stretch in September when rosters expand. Notably both Sanchez and Romine are facing potential suspensions following the Yankees’ recent brawl with the Tigers, so Kratz can help fill in during their absences as well.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Yankees Won't "Chase" Tanaka, Could Have Interest In Retaining Sabathia]]> 2017-08-31T17:40:07Z 2017-08-31T16:19:45Z
  • The Yankees aren’t currently planning on “chasing” Masahiro Tanaka if he opts out of the remaining three years on his deal, with one source telling Heyman that the Yanks wouldn’t offer anything beyond the $67MM he’s still guaranteed. Tanaka has a 3.79 ERA with 116-to-19 K/BB ratio in 99 2/3 innings since May 26 and a 3.32 ERA with 10.3 K/9 against 1.4 BB/9 since the calendar flipped to July. Heyman also notes that the Yankees could also be interested in retaining left-hander CC Sabathia on a one-year deal this offseason.

    • The Yankees aren’t currently planning on “chasing” Masahiro Tanaka if he opts out of the remaining three years on his deal, with one source telling Heyman that the Yanks wouldn’t offer anything beyond the $67MM he’s still guaranteed. Tanaka has a 3.79 ERA with 116-to-19 K/BB ratio in 99 2/3 innings since May 26 and a 3.32 ERA with 10.3 K/9 against 1.4 BB/9 since the calendar flipped to July. Heyman also notes that the Yankees could also be interested in retaining left-hander CC Sabathia on a one-year deal this offseason.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Yankees Activate Greg Bird]]> 2017-08-28T22:37:37Z 2017-08-26T04:04:51Z The Yankees have announced that they will bring first baseman Greg Bird back onto the MLB roster in time for tomorrow’s game, as Sweeny Murti of WFAN first reported on Twitter. Tyler Austin was optioned to create active roster space. Bird is finally back to health after struggling all year with ankle issues. As Murti notes, the 24-year-old turned in an 11-for-26 performance in his rehab stint. The Yankees will surely hope he can maintain that momentum upon his returning after posting an anemic .100/.250/.200 batting line in his first 72 plate appearances on the year.

    • The Red Sox and Yankees appear to be gearing up for a big international spending period, as Jon Heyman of Fan Rag writes. Both organizations have struck deals to acquire pool money, boosting their initial $4.75MM allocations up to $8MM apiece. Heyman wonders whether the two AL East giants might be lining up a pile of cash to tempt Japanese superstar Shohei Otani, if he decides to make a move to the majors this winter, though it’s certainly also possible that the clubs are simply planning to add as much young talent from Latin America as they can.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[MLB Announces Suspensions From Tigers-Yankees Brawl]]> 2017-08-25T21:24:54Z 2017-08-25T20:54:45Z The league has officially handed down suspensions arising out of yesterday’s fisticuffs between the Tigers and Yankees. Detroit star Miguel Cabrera received the stiffest discipline, with a seven-game ban owing to his “inciting the first bench-clearing incident and fighting.”

    Cabrera isn’t the only one who’ll take some games of unpaid leave (pending appeal). Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez got four games for throwing punches in the melee — he was fortunate, perhaps, not to take a harsher punishment — while fellow New York backstop Austin Romine got two for his part in the tangle with Cabrera. That could cause the organization some troubles with filling out its catching situation, though it seems there’ll be some effort to ensure the suspensions aren’t served simultaneously.

    In addition to losing their star for some time, the Tigers will go without reliever Alex Wilson for four games because he threw at Todd Frazier after warnings had been issued — and then admitted it (somewhat admirably) after the game. Detroit skipper Brad Ausmus will also sit one out contest due to Wilson’s actions.

    All of those players received undisclosed fines. A variety of other participants were levied financial punishment as well. Needless to say, there’ll be plenty of debate over the league’s actions. Tigers righty Michael Fulmer was not suspended despite plunking Sanchez earlier in the game. Likewise, Yankees righty Tommy Kahnle won’t be banned despite throwing behind Cabrera. And fellow New York righty Dellin Betances also avoided punishment though he hit Tigers catcher James McCann in the helmet with a pitch after the initial brawl.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Blue Jays Interested In Extending Marco Estrada]]> 2017-08-20T17:03:07Z 2017-08-20T15:13:46Z Blue Jays right-hander Marco Estrada is scheduled to become a free agent in the offseason, but a trip to the open market isn’t a certainty. A member of the Toronto organization informed FanRag’s Robert Murray that there’s mutual interest in keeping Estrada in a Blue Jays uniform beyond this season.

    “The player loves Toronto, the agent says publicly he doesn’t want to go anywhere,” the source said. “Frankly, we are open to extending him.”

    Estrada is on the verge of completing the two-year, $26MM contract he signed with the Blue Jays prior to the 2016 season. Given his status as an impending free agent and Toronto’s longshot playoff hopes, Estrada seemed like a plausible summer trade candidate. And while the AL East rival Yankees claimed Estrada on revocable waivers this month, they did so in a blocking maneuver, Murray reports (Twitter link). Even if New York had real interest in acquiring Estrada before his 48-hour trade window expired, the Blue Jays weren’t keen on parting with him. In fact, manager John Gibbons told reporters Tuesday that the Jays “need” Estrada.

    Despite Gibbons’ endorsement, the 34-year-old Estrada’s 5.09 ERA through 139 2/3 innings likely means his stock has dropped to some extent since the outset of the campaign. He entered the year having combined for a 3.30 ERA over 357 innings from 2015-16, his first two seasons in Toronto. Estrada did so in spite of unremarkable strikeout (7.46 K/9), walk (3.03 BB/9) and ground-ball (32.8 percent) numbers, though he overcame those figures by generating weak contact. No starter posted a better infield fly rate (14 percent) or a lower batting average on balls in play (.224) over that two-year span than Estrada, who’s third in the majors this season in the infield pop-up department (14.5 percent). However, Estrada’s BABIP allowed has skyrocketed to .312 – an increase that has come even though he has continued to do a nice job suppressing strong contact. Estrada’s expected weighted on-base average against is just .303, a far cry from his actual wOBA surrendered (.349, via Statcast and Baseball Savant).

    There is some misfortune at play with respect to Estrada’s bloated ERA, then, and it’s also worth noting that his 9.21 K/9, 23.3 strikeout percentage and 11.4 percent are all above average relative to his career numbers. While Estrada’s walk (3.87 BB/9) and grounder (30 percent) rates continue to underwhelm, he remains a capable starter – one who’d generate a decent amount of interest in free agency. Although, if both the Jays and Estrada have it their way, potential suitors among the league’s other 29 teams may not even get the opportunity to bid on him.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Yankees Rumors: Sabathia, Denbo]]> 2017-08-20T13:30:43Z 2017-08-20T13:30:43Z Yankees left-hander C.C. Sabathia’s right knee was in so much pain during an unsuccessful Aug. 8 start against the Blue Jays that the 37-year-old feared he wouldn’t take the ball again, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reports. “I know that he was pretty emotional that night, because I think he thought he was probably headed for surgery,” manager Joe Girardi said.  A clean MRI and a painkilling injection enabled Sabathia to avoid surgery, though, and he returned from the 10-day disabled list Saturday to throw six innings of two-earned run ball in an upset win over Chris Sale and the Red Sox.  Sabathia is due to become a free agent in the offseason, when he’ll have to decide whether to pursue another deal or call it a career. His performance this year would certainly warrant a contract – the former ace has ridden a 50 percent ground-ball rate to a 3.99 ERA over 108 1/3 innings.

    • Yankees vice president of player development Gary Denbo is an early front-runner to become the Marlins’ general manager once the Jeter group assumes control of the franchise, according to Mark Feinsand of (Twitter links).  Denbo has worked in various capacities with the Yankees since the 1990s, the decade in which Jeter’s professional career began, and was a mentor to the the now-retired shortstop during his Hall of Fame-caliber playing days.  The two remain “close,” Feinsand notes.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Yankees Notes: Chapman, Estrada, Tanaka]]> 2017-08-19T22:33:55Z 2017-08-19T22:32:08Z Not even a full season into signing a five-year, $86MM contract – a record deal for a reliever – Aroldis Chapman is out as the Yankees’ closer, manager Joe Girardi announced Saturday, per Erik Boland of Newsday (Twitter link). The move isn’t necessarily permanent, however, but a measure to “try and get him right,” said Girardi, who revealed that Chapman reacted well to the news. One of the most dominant relievers of all-time, the 29-year-old flamethower hasn’t been himself this season, as his pedestrian ERA (4.29), plummeting strikeout percentage and falling swinging-strike rate indicate. Chapman’s also amid arguably the worst stretch of his illustrious career, one in which he has yielded two earned runs in three straight appearances for the first time, and made a couple mental errors in the Yankees’ loss to the Red Sox on Friday. Chapman was responsible for a double steal when he neglected to keep tabs on the Red Sox’s runners on first and second base, and he then failed to back up home plate on a two-run single by Jackie Bradley Jr. Those slip-ups led to an animated mound visit from Girardi, who figures to turn to David Robertson and Dellin Betances as his ninth-inning choices while Chapman attempts to overcome his struggles in a different role. (Follow @CloserNews, MLBTR’s sister Twitter site, for more on the Yankees’ late-game configuration and news about all ninth-inning situations around the majors.)

    A bit more on the Yankees, who will try to avoid falling six games behind Chris Sale-led Boston for the AL East lead on Saturday:

    • It was either the Yankees or the Orioles who claimed right-hander Marco Estrada off waivers from the division-rival Blue Jays earlier this week, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. Regardless, Estrada isn’t going anywhere because the Jays were unable to agree to a trade with the claiming team within the 48-hour window.
    • Estrada would’ve been a quality reinforcement for the Yankees’ rotation (or Baltimore’s), but the Bombers will get some in-house help on that front. Masahiro Tanaka, on the disabled list since last Saturday with shoulder inflammation, is set to make his return Tuesday against Detroit, Girardi informed reporters (Twitter link via Boland). Rotation mate C.C. Sabathia will come off the 10-day DL and start in Boston tonight. Friday’s starter, rookie Jordan Montgomery, is headed back to Triple-A to make room for Sabathia, the team announced.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Twins Could Seek Additional Garcia Compensation Due To Enns Injury]]> 2017-08-18T17:28:35Z 2017-08-18T16:52:24Z
  • The Twins placed lefty Dietrich Enns, who was only just acquired from the Yankees as part of the Jaime Garcia swap, on the 10-day disabled list with a shoulder strain yesterday. Enns missed more than two months of the season with a shoulder issue as a member of the Yankees’ Triple-A club, and Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press suggests that the Twins could potentially seek additional compensation from the Yankees if Enns’ shoulder issue proves to be serious.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Sabathia To Return Saturday; Tanaka Could Return Next Week]]> 2017-08-16T22:45:38Z 2017-08-16T22:45:38Z Masahiro Tanaka is on the disabled list due to some inflammation in his shoulder, but he could be back with the Yankees as soon as next week, per WFAN’s Sweeny Murti (Twitter link). Murti also notes that lefty CC Sabathia is slated to come off the DL on Saturday. Tanaka will throw a bullpen session tomorrow, and if that goes well, he’ll return to the rotation next week against the Tigers. Demonstrating that this is a minor issue will be key for Tanaka and the Yankees; Tanaka has pitched quite well over his past nine starts and been solid dating back to late May, perhaps positioning him to opt out of the remaining three years on his contract. And the Yankees, of course, are currently in possession of an AL Wild Card spot and are also 4.5 games back of the Red Sox in the AL East.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[More Details On Mets' Jay Bruce Talks With Yankees]]> 2017-08-16T19:09:14Z 2017-08-16T03:48:37Z Both the Yankees and Mets acted rationally with their approaches in trades this summer, opines Joel Sherman of the New York Post. The Yankees showed a willingness to deal from the middle range of their considerable prospect depth to avoid luxury taxation, as they did with the Jaime Garcia trade and reportedly tried to do in their pursuits of Jay Bruce and Neil Walker. Sherman writes that the Yankees asked the Mets to eat $2.7MM of the remaining $3.7MM on Bruce’s contract in exchange for two prospects. The Mets clearly didn’t deem the difference between that pair and Ryder Ryan (whom they acquired from the Indians for Bruce) to be sizable enough to eat that cash. While many Mets fans chastise the organization for not spending, Sherman points out that the Mets have taken on salary (Bruce, Addison Reed, Yoenis Cespedes) in recent years. They’ve also already begun spending for 2018, Sherman adds, pointing to the acquisition of AJ Ramos. In that sense, saving money in trades to better stock the team’s offseason war chest could have relatively immediate impact on the team’s fortunes. Of course, it remains to be seen how their offseason plays out.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[2017 Opt-Out Clause Update]]> 2017-08-14T20:55:49Z 2017-08-14T19:41:13Z The last look we took at the handful of players with opt-out clauses following the 2017 season was more than a month ago, and a few of their situations may have changed since that early July check-in. Here’s an update on this group of potential free agents…

    [Related: MLBTR Free Agent Power Rankings: August Edition]

    Trending Up

    • Justin Upton, Tigers ($88.5MM from 2018-21): There have been plenty of suggestions that there’s no way Upton will walk away from that contract, but we’re not really sold on that notion. Upton was terrible in his first three months with the Tigers but is hitting .274/.352/.542 (137 wRC+) with 45 homers dating back to July 1, 2016. Over the past calendar year, he’s hitting .281/.366/.571 (148 wRC+) with 40 homers in 631 PAs. He’s been seven to nine runs above average in left field, per UZR and DRS, as well. Upton will play next year at the age of 30 and needs only to feel he can top Hanley Ramirez’s guarantee to opt out. Beyond that, he may simply like the idea of moving to a team that isn’t openly trying to pare back its payroll and retool for the future.
    • Masahiro Tanaka, Yankees ($67MM from 2018-20): Tanaka’s home-run woes are an unequivocally troubling issue, but his numbers since the summer began are encouraging. Since May 26, Tanaka has a 3.99 ERA with 10.7 K/9, 1.9 BB/9 and a 47.6 percent ground-ball rate — good for a 3.12 xFIP and a 3.17 SIERA. The numbers are even better if you look at his past nine starts (3.00 ERA, 65 K, 12 BB, 57 innings). The health concerns are well known. Tanaka had a partial UCL tear in his rookie season but was able to avoid Tommy John, and he’s currently on the DL with what is reportedly some minor shoulder fatigue. The righty has averaged 2.2 HR/9 this year, but he’s also going to be just 29 years old next year. An opt-out looked highly unlikely two months ago but now looks entirely plausible, as long as this latest DL trip proves minor.
    • Welington Castillo, Orioles ($7MM player option): Since last check, Castillo has absolutely raked. He’s batted .308/.345/.500 with four homers and three doubles in his past 84 PAs, and his overall batting line it up to .283/.319/.457 (103 wRC+). Castillo’s framing marks have improved from some of the worst in the league to roughly average (per Baseball Prospectus), and he’s halted an incredible 46 percent of stolen-base attempts against him in 2017. He should be able to top a one-year, $7MM deal with ease this winter.

    Trending Down

    • Greg Holland, Rockies ($15MM player option): Since our last check, Holland has reminded everyone that he is indeed mortal. In his past 11 2/3 frames, he’s coughed up eight runs on a dozen hits and six walks with 14 strikeouts. Six of those runs have come in his past two outings, but as long as that proves to be a blip on the radar, Holland still seems a safe bet to opt out. If he significantly fades in his first year back from Tommy John or lands on the disabled list, though, there’s at least a chance that he takes the option. Assuming he remains healthy, though, Holland will likely look to top Mark Melancon’s four-year, $62MM deal this winter.
    • Johnny Cueto, Giants ($84MM from 2018-21): It’s been almost a month since Cueto last set foot on a Major League mound, as he’s been sidelined with a forearm issue that has significantly clouded his chances of opting out. Reports earlier in the summer suggested that a slow start wasn’t going to deter Cueto from opting out, but a month-long injury scare and an ERA in the upper-4.00s certainly might. Cueto, 32 in February, has a 4.59 ERA with 8.0 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 and the second worst ground-ball rate of his career (39.2 percent). FIP, xFIP and SIERA all peg him at 4.41 or worse.

    Unchanged Since Last Check

    • Matt Wieters, Nationals ($10.5MM player option): Wieters wasn’t hitting in early July, and he’s hitting even less now. His defensive reputation limited him to a two-year, $21MM deal with a player option after year one on the 2016-17 open market, and that was coming off a much better offensive season. Wieters seems extremely likely to take the $10.5MM in 2018.
    • Ian Kennedy, Royals ($49MM from 2018-20): Kennedy’s results have improved slightly since the last opt-out update, but it’s hardly enough to make it likely that he’ll opt out of that significant guarantee. Through 120 innings in 2017, Kennedy has averaged 1.65 HR/9, tying a career-worst mark, while both his strikeout and walk rates have gone the wrong direction. He’s also missed a couple of weeks with a hamstring injury, and he’ll turn 33 this December.
    • Wei-Yin Chen, Marlins ($52MM from 2018-20): No change here. Chen has scarcely been able to pitch in 2017 due to a reported partial tear of his ulnar collateral ligament. He’s reportedly still aiming for a late comeback, but that won’t be enough to give him the earning power to top his remaining guarantee.
    Charlie Wilmoth <![CDATA[Yankees Place Masahiro Tanaka On 10-Day DL With Shoulder Inflammation]]> 2017-08-12T17:04:12Z 2017-08-12T16:33:22Z 12:02pm: There is nothing structurally wrong with Tanaka’s shoulder, Bryan Hoch of tweets. Tanaka simply told the team that his arm was tired, and the Yankees are giving him a short break.

    11:33am: The Yankees have announced that they’ve placed righty Masahiro Tanaka on the 10-day DL with shoulder inflammation. To take his place on the active roster, they’ve recalled righty reliever Giovanny Gallegos from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

    Tanaka has posted a 4.92 ERA and allowed 28 home runs over 133 2/3 innings this season, although his strikeout and walk numbers (9.5 K/9, 2.2 BB/9) have been fine. He left Wednesday’s start against the Blue Jays after allowing five walks in four innings, however.

    While a trip to the DL with a shoulder injury doesn’t always mean that injury is significant, it’s certainly worth watching. Tanaka missed time due to arm issues in 2014 and 2015, although those were to his wrist, forearm and elbow, not his shoulder. The seriousness of his current injury is unclear.

    In the short term, the Yankees will have to fill a rotation that’s also currently missing CC Sabathia, who’s out with a knee inflammation, and Michael Pineda, who has a UCL injury. The Yankees recently promoted Jordan Montgomery to take Sabathia’s place.

    Charlie Wilmoth <![CDATA[Yankees Place CC Sabathia On 10-Day DL]]> 2017-08-12T14:49:17Z 2017-08-12T14:48:37Z
  • Prior to yesterday’s game, the Yankees placed lefty CC Sabathia on the DL with knee inflammation. To take his place on the active roster, they recalled righty Jordan Montgomery from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Sabathia left his last start due to issues with his knee, so his DL placement doesn’t come as a surprise, but his situation has to be frustrating for the Yankees — Sabathia is in the midst of a solid season, with a 4.05 ERA, 7.0 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 thus far. Montgomery is scheduled to start tomorrow against Boston.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Yankees Nearly Acquired Neil Walker]]> 2017-08-11T00:56:00Z 2017-08-11T00:56:00Z The Yankees showed interest in Mets second baseman Neil Walker before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, according to FanRag’s Jon Heyman. The crosstown rivals actually had a deal for Walker in place, tweets Mike Puma of Newsday, but it fell through over medical concerns. Walker suffered a partially torn hamstring in mid-June and returned shortly before the deadline. At that point, the Yankees had recently lost second baseman Starlin Castro to a hamstring injury of his own, but he’s now nearing a rehab assignment, per Bryan Hoch of (Twitter link). As for Walker, the impending free agent has already cleared revocable waivers this month, making him eligible for a trade, though he’s owed sizable sum (around $6MM) through season’s end.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Yankees Place Clint Frazier On 10-Day DL, Activate Aaron Hicks]]> 2017-08-10T16:35:43Z 2017-08-10T16:35:43Z The Yankees have placed outfielder Clint Frazier on the 10-day DL, per a club announcement. That move had been expected, as he’s dealing with an oblique strain.

    Aaron Hicks will return from his own oblique-related DL placement to take the open roster spot. He has been out since late June, but was on quite the tear through his first sixty games. Hicks will look to pick up where he left off, with a .290/.398/.515 batting line.

    Generally, the picture on the position player side of things has continued to evolve for New York. With Matt Holliday on the DL, the club looked into a trade for Jay Bruce — and could still consider adding a lefty bat. But the switch-hitting Hicks becomes the team’s active third outfielder that represents an option against righties, and first baseman Greg Bird still could make it back in a few weeks. If no new addition is made, it seems reasonable to anticipate that the Yanks will rotate the DH role to keep everyone fresh, at least until Holliday returns.

    As regards Frazier, there have been signs of both good and bad. He’s slugging .477 over his first 117 MLB plate appearances, but has also managed only five walks against his 34 strikeouts and is reaching base at a mediocre .274 clip. He may have been set for an optional assignment were it not for the injury; instead, he’ll now likely be viewed as a candidate to come back when rosters expand in September, assuming he’s healthy by that point.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Notes From The Jay Bruce Trade]]> 2017-08-10T13:41:10Z 2017-08-10T13:41:10Z Last night’s trade sending Jay Bruce from the Mets to the Indians was perhaps the most significant deal since the non-waiver deadline. It could well hold that title the rest of the way, though there are also a variety of other notable players that could be dealt this month. (Click here for MLBTR’s top 25 ranking of candidates; click here to see the players that have already reportedly cleared waivers.)

    While the transaction was largely a straightforward affair — a team with a need chipped in a low-level prospect and took on the entire contract of a veteran who fit — it’s worth taking a look at some of the post-deal chatter:

    • Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti spoke with the media about the deal, and’s Jordan Bastian provided a transcript of the chat. Antonetti acknowledged the importance of injuries to the swap, noting that the club wouldn’t really even have playing time to give to Bruce were it not for the absences of Lonnie Chisenhall and now Michael Brantley. The timing was right now, says the club’s top baseball decisionmaker, but the organization has long had interest in Bruce. While Cleveland will begin to face some challenging playing-time questions if it gets a fully healthy roster, the expectation at present is that Bruce will “play regularly.”
    • There aren’t a lot of recent scouting reports on Ryder Ryan, the young righty who goes to New York in the trade. That’s due largely to the fact that he is a late-round relief prospect that hasn’t had much time to climb the organizational ladder. But that doesn’t mean he’s not a reasonably intriguing prospect. Antonetti himself said as much, crediting Ryan’s “really good stuff” and saying he “has a chance to pitch in a major league bullpen.” Baseball America also has some details, noting that Ryan is working in the mid-nineties while working on developing his slider and commanding his pitches.
    • One of the most interesting elements of the deal, though, was the alternative swap that didn’t go through. The Yankees were in on Bruce through to the end,’s Jerry Crasnick (via Twitter) and Joel Sherman of the New York Post (Twitter link) report. But the Yankees’ offer would’ve left the Mets holding onto most of Bruce’s remaining salary this year, per reports from Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (on Twitter) and Newsday’s Marc Carig (also in a tweet), while also picking up two prospects that (it stands to reason) would be more valuable than Ryan. The Mets’ motivation for choosing Cleveland’s offer isn’t yet entirely clear — GM Sandy Alderson has yet to speak to the media, but will do so today — but there could certainly be multiple factors at play. While the cross-town Yankees obviously aren’t off limits as a trade partner, perhaps considerations of intra-city marketing played some role. And surely the cost and talent packages offered different benefits and drawbacks.
    • Per Sherman, Bruce would’ve functioned as the DH had he been acquired by the Yankees, filling in there with Matt Holliday on the DL. With Aaron Hicks nearing a return and Greg Bird still representing a possible option, there are some internal possibilities for bolstering the team’s array of lefty bats. While it’s not clear at present whether the Yanks are looking hard at alternatives, it stands to reason they’d be open to the possibility. (Clearly, though, there are limits to how much salary they want to take on at this point.) Among the players that we have identified as plausible August trade chips, there are a few that could fit the bill. If the Mets are willing to keep chatting, old friend Curtis Granderson or even Neil Walker could make sense; neither has the same profile as Bruce but both offer more defensive function. Former Red Sox nemesis Daniel Nava might be an affordable target, while Matt Joyce of the Athletics is surely available. Of course, Yonder Alonso arguably made the most sense, but he was dealt to the Mariners after Seattle placed a waiver claim (meaning the Yankees never had a shot — at least, after July 31st).
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Yankees Concerned About Sabathia's Knee, Montgomery's Innings]]> 2017-08-09T14:18:08Z 2017-08-09T14:12:29Z There is once again concern surrounding CC Sabathia’s troublesome right knee, writes Ken Davidoff of the New York Post. Pain in that knee forced Sabathia out of last night’s start after three innings, and the 37-year-old said after the game that his knee hasn’t felt this bad in two years, Davidoff continues. Sabathia is headed back to New York to have the knee further evaluated today, and it’s an all-around worrisome scenario for the Yankees, who have quietly received strong production out of Sabathia over the past three months or so. Sabathia has a 2.98 ERA in his past dozen starts (albeit with somewhat lesser peripherals), but he’s now given up four runs in each of his past three trips to the hill. The Yankees have bolstered their rotation with the additions of Sonny Gray and Jaime Garcia, but they’ve also lost Michael Pineda to Tommy John surgery and are trying to limit young Jordan Montgomery’s innings.

    • As part of that effort to limit Montgomery’s innings, the Yankees optioned him to Triple-A on Monday. Presumably, if Sabathia were to require a trip to the disabled list, Montgomery would be the first line of defense to step back into the team’s rotation. Via’s Bryan Hoch, manager Joe Girardi recently said that the Yankees have “somewhat of a concern” about the notion of Montgomery exceeding 180 innings, as Montgomery worked a total of 152 innings last year (including the Triple-A playoffs). “We care about all our players, but this is not just a one-year deal for him,” said Girardi. “We envision him being a starter here a long time, and we want to make sure we don’t push him too hard.” Montgomery has thrown 120 2/3 innings this season between the Majors and his lone minor league start of 2017.
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Yankees Option Jordan Montgomery To Triple-A]]> 2017-08-07T14:34:16Z 2017-08-07T04:06:41Z
  • The Yankees optioned left-hander Jordan Montgomery to Triple-A after today’s game, as per a team announcement.  With Luis Severino, C.C. Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka and new acquisitions Sonny Gray and Jaime Garcia in the rotation mix, the rookie Montgomery was the obvious odd man out when the Yankees made the move back to a standard five-man starting staff.  The 24-year-old southpaw posted a 4.05 ERA, 8.6 K/9 and 3.17 K/BB over 115 2/3 IP (21 starts) in his big taste of MLB action, making an excellent case for himself as a future rotation piece in 2018 and beyond.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Matt Holliday May Require DL Stint]]> 2017-08-06T00:00:14Z 2017-08-06T00:00:14Z
  • Designated hitter Matt Holliday wasn’t in the Yankees’ starting lineup Saturday after tweaking his lower back Friday, and a DL stint is possible, per Bryan Hoch of Judging by his output lately, a Holliday absence wouldn’t be the worst thing for the scuffling Yankees. The 37-year-old got off to a sizzling start this season before going on the DL in late June with a viral infection. He has been a drain on New York’s offense since returning in mid-July, with a .136/.165/.198 line and 24 strikeouts against three walks in 85 second-half plate appearances.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Cardinals Floated Trade Proposal For Sonny Gray Before Yankees Trade]]> 2017-08-01T18:28:52Z 2017-08-01T16:29:31Z The Cardinals “float[ed]” a trade proposal for Sonny Gray before the Athletics shipped him to the Yankees, according to MLB Network’s Ken Rosenthal. In concept, at least, St. Louis would have considered sending young outfielder Stephen Piscotty to Oakland along with a promising starter (Luke Weaver or Jack Flaherty), though it seems talks never got going. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch looks closer at the Cards’ lack of action on deadline day. Top baseball decisionmaker John Mozeliak acknowledged “a level of frustration” that nothing got done, though he also said the team wasn’t inclined to make deals just for the sake of action. Ultimately, momentum never built toward a deal for Lance Lynn, and the club’s other chatter never materialized into a trade. You’ll want to peruse the lengthy column for all the details.

    Tim Dierkes <![CDATA[New Facebook Pages For Fans Of Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, Braves, Cardinals]]> 2017-08-01T14:37:26Z 2017-08-01T14:37:12Z For the past month, we have been attempting an experiment: five human-curated team Facebook pages.  Under the direction of JP Hadley, Jack Stockless, Stephanie Nevill, Chris Jervis, and Tanner Puckett, our Facebook pages for the Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, Braves, and Cardinals have become engaging, informative, fun, and up-to-date.  Instead of the previous automated posting of MLBTR content, these pages have team news of all kinds, polls, infographics, interesting links, discussion, and of course hot stove rumors.  These pages have everything a fan could want.  If you follow any of these five teams, please give our new Facebook pages a Like today!

    Tim Dierkes <![CDATA[Yankees Acquire Sonny Gray]]> 2017-07-31T21:34:49Z 2017-07-31T20:35:21Z The Yankees pulled off a long-awaited rotation upgrade, acquiring righty Sonny Gray from the Athletics today for three prospects:  outfielder Dustin Fowler, infielder/outfielder Jorge Mateo, and righty James Kaprielian.  In addition to Gray, the Yankees will receive $1.5MM in international bonus pool money.  The teams have officially announced the trade, which was first broken by Jack Curry of the YES Network.  Yahoo’s Jeff Passan was first with the return.

    Gray joins a Yankees rotation that lost Michael Pineda to Tommy John surgery this month, but added Jaime Garcia in a trade with the Twins. With C.C. Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka, Luis Severino, and Jordan Montgomery also in the mix, the Yankees have a rotation logjam.  Yankees manager Joe Girardi nixed the idea of a six-man rotation, so it seems Montgomery will move to the bullpen or to Triple-A, according to Curry.  Sabathia and Garcia are headed to free agency after the season, and Tanaka can join them if he chooses to exercise his opt-out clause.  Gray adds veteran stability for the 2018 and 2019 seasons.

    "JulGray, 27, was drafted 18th overall by the Athletics in 2011 out of Vanderbilt. He excelled from 2013-15, posting a 2.88 ERA over 491 innings. 2016, however, was a lost year for Gray as he endured DL stints for a strained right trapezius as well as a forearm injury. This year, Gray is back on track with a 3.43 ERA in 16 starts, as well as his best strikeout rate since his rookie year. Gray, who is listed at 5’10”, is one of the most successful starting pitchers of this height since the Dead Ball Era, to this point in his career.  With the Cubs having acquired Jose Quintana several weeks ago, Gray was the big prize of the 2017 MLB trade deadline.

    In the end, the Athletics were unable to pry loose the Yankees’ top three prospects: Gleyber Torres, Clint Frazier, and Chance Adams.  Fowler, a 22-year-old outfield prospect, suffered a major knee injury in the first inning of his Major League debut last month.  The open rupture in his right patella tendon resulted in season-ending surgery. ranked Fowler fourth among Yankees prospects, citing a potential five-tool ceiling.  Now, Fowler will likely make his first MLB plate appearance in 2018 as a member of the Athletics.

    Mateo, 22, was ranked eighth among Yankees prospects by  Mateo has what Baseball America describes as “80-grade speed,” and this year he’s spent most of his time at center field and shortstop.  He was promoted to Double-A in late June, and has flourished with a .300/.381/.525 line in 140 plate appearances.  Mateo was the key to the deal for Oakland, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.

    Kaprielian, 23, was drafted 16th overall out of UCLA by the Yankees in 2015.  He suffered a flexor tendon strain last summer that eventually led to Tommy John surgery in April of this year.  He is expected to begin a throwing program next month. ranks Kaprielian 12th among Yankees prospects.  Last winter, Baseball America wrote that the righty had “front-of-the-rotation makeup and stuff with a well below-average delivery.”

    Prior to adding Garcia and Gray to their rotation, the Yankees completed a mid-month blockbuster with the White Sox that brought in David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle for bullpen help and Todd Frazier to contribute at the infield corners.  The Yankees hold just a half game lead over the Red Sox for the AL East, with a Wild Card berth a possible alternative.

    The last-place A’s also shed a pair of bullpen pieces earlier this month, sending Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson to the Nationals. The Gray trade is another in which they’ve moved veteran pitchers (and their salaries, although Gray’s salary was not a primary factor in this deal) for younger talent.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Yu Darvish Trade Rumors: Deadline Day]]> 2017-07-31T19:33:26Z 2017-07-31T19:33:38Z It’s quite possible that today is Yu Darvish’s last day as a member of the Rangers organization. The Texas ace has drawn interest from several teams, with the Dodgers the most prominently linked club. However, Darvish has also been tied to the Yankees and the Indians to varying extents. The Astros are also said to have checked in, though the intra-division roadblock makes that notion a bit tougher. We’ll track all of the latest Darvish chatter in this post between now and the 4pm ET non-waiver trade deadline…

    • At this point, it seems that Darvish will either go to the Dodgers or stay put, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). Given other indications that Los Angeles is focused elsewhere, it could be that the righty won’t end up changing hands today.
    • Yahoo’s Jeff Passan reports (via Twitter) that it’s “getting increasingly harder” to envision Darvish landing with the Dodgers, as the two sides “simply aren’t matching up.”

    Earlier Updates

    • Bowden suggests that the Dodgers could look to pry lefty Alex Claudio away from the Rangers in a package deal alongside Darvish (Twitter link). Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News suggests the same, though he notes that it’d still require the Dodgers changing their stance on the inclusion of Verdugo or Buehler. Claudio, though, is just 25 years old and is controlled through 2021, so he’d be a nice long-term piece for L.A. He’s held lefties to a laughable .131/.169/.197 slash this year and has a masterful 70.5 percent ground-ball rate overall in 2017. However, he doesn’t miss many bats.
    • Yahoo’s Tim Brown tweets that the Indians “are not in on Darvish” at this time. Notably, Cleveland was reported by Hoynes to be in pursuit of Orioles closer Zach Britton.
    • ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, however, hears that the Indians and Astros are both “hanging around” in the Darvish picture, but the Dodgers are Texas’ preferred trading partner (Twitter link). The Yankees’ interest in Darvish is dependent on the outcome of their talks for Sonny Gray, Crasnick adds.
    • Bowden tweets that the Astros, Indians and Dodgers are the three teams that are still in the mix for Darvish, and he again mentions Mejia’s name in connection to talks. Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer tweets that the Indians are interested in Darvish only if the price tag drops.
    • While the Dodgers have generally regarded as the favorites for Darvish, their talks with the Rangers have essentially reached an impasse, tweets FanRag’s Jon Heyman. Los Angeles has reportedly been unwilling to part with the likes of top-ranked prospects Alex Verdugo, Walker Buehler and Yadier Alvarez for a half-season rental of Darvish, and it would seem that president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman has yet to budge in that regard.
    • The Rangers and Indians have spoken about a “Yu Darvish for Francisco Mejia type” of deal, tweets Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM. Including Mejia, the consensus top catching prospect in baseball, would be a steep price for Cleveland to pay for a rental, though the wording of the report leaves some wiggle room for other pieces to potentially be involved. The 21-year-old Mejia is hitting .317/.367/.520 with 10 homers through his first 279 plate appearances in Double-A and ranked as baseball’s sixth-best prospect on Keith Law’s midseason list. pegged him 16th overall, while Baseball America had him 18th. Cleveland is on Darvish’s no-trade list, though it remains possible that he could waive that right for a clearer shot at the postseason.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Orioles Acquire Yefry Ramirez From Yankees For International Bonus Money]]> 2017-07-31T18:55:08Z 2017-07-31T18:50:19Z The Orioles announced that they’ve acquired Double-A right-hander Yefry Ramirez from the Yankees in exchange for international bonus pool money. Ramirez’s departure opens a move on the Yankees’ 40-man roster.

    Ramirez, 23, has worked as a starter with the Yankees’ Trenton affiliate this season, pitching to a 3.41 ERA with 8.9 K/9, 3.7 BB/9 and a 36.4 percent ground-ball rate. Baseball America rated him 23rd among Yankees prospects this past offseason, though he didn’t crack’s midseason list of the top 30 Yankees prospects. Per BA’s report, he works with a low-90s fastball and a changeup and curve that both grade out as average pitches.

    The Orioles have made a habit of trading their international bonus allocations rather than spending them to sign amateur free agents in recent years, so this swap represents a continuation of that tendency. However, Ramirez’s solid results in Double-A, presence on the 40-man roster and proximity to the Majors seem to suggest more upside than some of the others that Baltimore has received in exchange for previous international considerations.

    Tim Dierkes <![CDATA[Sonny Gray Trade Rumors: Deadline Day]]> 2017-07-31T18:58:53Z 2017-07-31T18:47:11Z With about one hour remaining until the trade deadline, all eyes are on Athletics ace Sonny Gray.  Gray comes with a 3.43 ERA on the season and club control through 2019.  The latest:

    • The Yankees’ dialogue continues on Gray, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.  Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports says the Yankees and A’s have had some movement on a trade, but aren’t quite there yet.  Mark Feinsand of feels Gray will either go to the Yankees or stay with the A’s.  There is a strong belief within the A’s organization that a Gray trade will get done, tweets’s Jane Lee.

    Read more

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Yu Darvish Trade Rumors: Sunday]]> 2017-07-31T12:07:25Z 2017-07-31T06:27:39Z With the non-waiver trade deadline closing in, here’s the latest chatter on Rangers ace Yu Darvish

    • Ken Rosenthal of MLB Network has the latest on Darvish. It’s said to be unclear whether the veteran would waive his no-trade protection, though of the teams with known interest only the Indians would need authorization to acquire him. There remains a mystery team in on Darvish, and the Rangers still think they’ll make a deal despite the lack of evident progress thus far.

    Yesterday’s Updates

    • Cleveland has indeed spoken to Texas about Darvish, as Grant suggested,’s Jon Morosi tweets.
    • ESPN’s Buster Olney tweets that the Yankees “aren’t really that involved” in talks for Darvish.
    • Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that the Rangers are “more sold than ever” that they will trade Darvish. The Dodgers and Yankees are the two likeliest landing spots, though a trade isn’t likely to be announced on Sunday. Rangers GM Jon Daniels and other execs met with Darvish last weekend to explain to him the possibility that he’d be traded, Wilson continues. Texas hopes to trade Darvish to a contending club and re-sign him, and while Wilson reports that the right-hander has told the team he hopes to continue his career with them, he also is curious to see what the open market will bear.
    •’s T.R. Sullivan also tweets that the Dodgers and Yankees are both in on Darvish, but he hears there’s a third team in the mix that no one anticipated. (Hooray for the mystery team!) The Cubs aren’t heavily involved in Darvish talks, according to Wilson (Twitter link). Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News speculates that the Indians could be interested (Twitter links). Grant also notes that the Astros have expressed interest, though the Rangers feel that would be the toughest deal to complete.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Sonny Gray Trade Rumors: Sunday]]> 2017-07-30T23:21:03Z 2017-07-30T22:31:35Z Sonny Gray’s scheduled Sunday start has already been pushed back to Monday, and as of yesterday, the Yankees were widely rumored to be the favorite to land the Oakland ace. Generally, though, the state of play does not appear to have changed all that much much as of this afternoon. Still, there will be plenty of rumors on Gray flying around from this point forward, and we’ll track them all in this post…

    • Indications from this morning are that the Yankees remain focused on pursuing Gray rather than a rental arm, as Jon Heyman of Fan Rag writes. New York has added lefty Jaime Garcia from the Twins, of course, but that acquisition reportedly will not deter their pursuit of Gray — who’d likely bump Garcia to the pen if he’s added.
    • At this point, though, talks between the Yanks and A’s are at something of a stalemate, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. There are suggestions on both sides that the teams will stick to their valuations even with the pressure of the deadline. And that means there’s somewhat “less optimism” that there’ll be a deal sending Gray to the Bronx. Indeed, per Sherman, there hasn’t been much new dialogue of note between New York and Oakland over the last day.
    • Meanwhile, the Dodgers are still talking with the A’s about Gray,’s Jon Morosi tweets. But it’s also possible, he notes, that the ongoing dialogue is as much about maintaining leverage as it is due to serious, mutual interest.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Yankees Acquire Jaime Garcia]]> 2017-07-30T13:41:36Z 2017-07-30T13:30:41Z The Yankees and Twins have agreed to a trade that will send left-hander Jaime Garcia from Minnesota to New York in exchange for Double-A right-hander Zack Littell and Triple-A lefty Dietrich Enns, the Yankees announced on Sunday.

    Jaime Garcia | Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

    The 31-year-old Garcia will bring some stability to the Yankees rotation, having logged a 4.29 ERA with 6.9 K/9 against 3.3 BB/9 and a 55 percent ground-ball rate between Atlanta and Minnesota this season. He’s worked six or more innings in 15 of his 19 starts this year, which is especially encouraging for a Yankees team that features a deep bullpen — particularly following the trade that netted them both David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle from the White Sox.

    Garcia is a free agent at season’s end, making him a pure rental. However, the Yankees reportedly plan to continue their talks with the A’s regarding a longer-term rotation piece, Sonny Gray, even after completing the Garcia trade. Whether those talks come to fruition remains to be seen, but Garcia alone is a nice step up for a Yankees rotation that recently lost Michael Pineda to Tommy John surgery. The veteran Garcia, who comes with a solid postseason track record and a World Series ring (2011 Cardinals) will join Luis Severino, CC Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka and Jordan Montgomery in the starting five.

    Garcia’s stint with the Twins lasted less than a week. Minnesota’s declining play and lengthy winning streaks for the Royals and Indians have created a seven-game gap for the Twins in the American League Central, which is steep enough for the front office to sell off some short-term assets. The Twins, though, agreed to pay the remainder of Garcia’s $12MM salary when acquiring him from the Braves in exchange for right-hander Huascar Ynoa, and they’ll reportedly pay that figure down to the pro-rated league minimum for the Yankees.

    Minnesota will remain on the hook for about $4MM in this trade, which effectively amounts to buying a pair of prospects that the Twins clearly feel to be superior to the player they initially surrendered to acquire Garcia. Littell ranks 22nd among Yankees prospects on’s midseason top 30 list. (By comparison, Ynoa ranked 22nd in a weaker Twins farm system.)

    Littell, 21, was the Mariners’ 11th-round pick back in the 2013 draft and landed in the Yankees organization as part of last November’s James Pazos trade. After a strong 2016 campaign split between two Class-A levels, he’s taken another step forward in 2017. In a combined 115 1/3 innings between Class-A Advanced and Double-A, he’s worked to a 1.87 ERA with 8.5 K/9, 1.8 BB/9 and a 52 percent ground-ball rate.’s Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo write that Littell has three average or better offerings with above-average control.

    The 26-year-old Enns isn’t considered to be one of the Yankees’ best prospects, but he has an excellent track record of results in his minor league career. The Central Michigan University product has never posted an ERA higher than 2.94 in a full season, and he’s worked to a 1.99 ERA with 9.3 K/9 against 2.0 BB/9 in 45 1/3 innings between Triple-A and a Rookie-level injury rehab start this year. Enns is on the 40-man roster, though he was just added this past offseason, so he has two more option years remaining beyond the 2017 campaign.

    Yahoo’s Jeff Passan first broke news that the two sides were moving toward a deal.’s Jon Morosi first mentioned that Littell could be involved in the deal. ESPN’s Buster Olney tweeted that talks were at the “1-yard lins.” FanRag’s Jon Heyman tweeted that there was an agreement. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported that Enns was also in the deal (Twitter link). Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN and’s Mark Feinsand added details on the financial component (Twitter links).

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Twins, Yankees Moving Toward Jaime Garcia Trade]]> 2017-07-30T18:30:34Z 2017-07-30T12:10:08Z 7:10am: Talks between the Twins and Yankees are “at the 1-yard line,” tweets ESPN’s Buster Olney. The Yankees will continue to talk to the A’s about acquiring Gray as well even after the Garcia trade is finalized.

    12:53am: Yankees Double-A pitching prospect Zack Littell is part of the talks, tweets Jon Morosi of MLB Network. The Yankees scratched the righty from his start Saturday. ranks Littell as New York’s 22nd-best prospect.

    12:39am: The Yankees and Twins are “deep into discussions” on a trade that would send left-hander Jaime Garcia to New York, reports Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter). Acquiring Garcia would not take the Yankees out of the running for Athletics right-hander Sonny Gray, according to Passan. Reports on Saturday tabbed the Yankees as the favorites to land Gray.

    As is the case with Gray, the Yankees have come up in Garcia rumors throughout July. Garcia has already changed teams once this month, having gone from the Braves to the Twins this past Monday in a deal that netted Atlanta unheralded pitching prospect Huascar Ynoa. While the upstart Twins were buyers at the outset of the week, they’ve done a 180 thanks to a 1-5 skid since Monday that has dropped them to 50-52 – seven games out in an American League Central division they once led and four back in the wild-card race.

    The 31-year-old Garcia has made just one start with the Twins, a 6 2/3-inning, three-earned run effort in which he struck out seven and walked three in a win over the A’s on Friday. Garcia, an impending free agent who’s owed around $4.5MM through year’s end, has been effective all season, having logged a 4.29 ERA (4.04 FIP), 6.29 K/9, 3.31 BB/9 and a 55 percent ground-ball rate over 119 2/3 innings. He’d upgrade the back end of a Yankees rotation that has most recently relied on Caleb Smith, who has combined to throw seven subpar frames in two starts dating back to last Sunday, and join Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia and Jordan Montgomery to comprise their starting staff.

    Acquiring Gray on top of Garcia would create an extremely interesting conundrum for the Yankees, as it would give the team six capable starters and more than make up for the loss of Michael Pineda to Tommy John surgery. The least proven member of the group would be Montgomery, though the rookie has pitched at least as well as Garcia this year. It’s worth noting, however, that Montgomery has never thrown more than 139 1/3 innings in a season and has already amassed 108 this year. In an effort to tamp down his workload, then, perhaps he’d be a candidate to shift to a relief role. Jon Heyman of FanRag noted Saturday (on Twitter) that the Yankees “wouldn’t mind” picking up another southpaw for their bullpen, and the lefty Montgomery has limited same-sided hitters to a horrid .177/.236/.392 line this season.

    Regardless of how the Yankees’ rotation aligns going forward, it’s apparent that general manager Brian Cashman believes the club is a legitimate World Series contender. Cashman made a bold strike earlier this month in picking up two standout relievers – Tommy Kahnle and David Robertson – as well as third baseman Todd Frazier in a trade with the White Sox, and New York has awoken from an early summer slumber since then to regain first place in the American League East. Winners of six straight, the Yankees own a 56-46 record and a half-game advantage over the Red Sox in the division. The Yankees also boast the AL’s second-best run differential (plus-117), which suggests their record should be even better than it is.