New York Yankees – MLB Trade Rumors 2020-01-27T01:22:56Z WordPress Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Teams That Gained Or Lost Draft Picks Via Qualifying Offer Free Agents]]> 2020-01-26T13:49:39Z 2020-01-26T13:49:39Z Now that Marcell Ozuna has signed, all 10 of the players who were issued a one-year, $17.8MM qualifying offer in November have settled on teams for the 2020 season.  Of that group, two (Jose Abreu of the White Sox and Jake Odorizzi of the Twins) accepted their qualifying offers and returned to their clubs — Abreu, in fact, topped off his QO by signing a contract extension that will run through the 2022 season.  Stephen Strasburg also isn’t changing uniforms, as the longtime Nationals ace rejected the club’s qualifying offer but eventually re-signed with Washington on a seven-year, $245MM deal.

That leaves us with seven QO players who will be playing on new teams in 2020, and as such, the draft compensation attached to those seven players has also now been allotted.  Under the rules of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the same compensation was handed out to all six teams who lost those players, as the entire sextet fell under the same financial criteria.  The Mets, Cardinals, Braves, Giants, Nationals, and Astros all aren’t revenue-sharing recipients, nor did they exceed the luxury tax threshold in 2019, so all six teams will receive a compensatory draft pick between Competitive Balance Round B and the third round of the 2020 draft.

Here is how the so-called “Compensation Round” breaks down.  The order of the picks is determined by worst record-to-best record from the 2019 season.

68. Giants (for Madison Bumgarner)
69. Giants (for Will Smith)
70. Mets (for Zack Wheeler)
71. Cardinals (for Marcell Ozuna)
72. Nationals (for Anthony Rendon)
73. Braves (for Josh Donaldson)
74. Astros (for Gerrit Cole)

San Francisco now possesses five of the first 87 picks in next June’s draft.  With the Giants still in the NL wild card race last summer, president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi opted to hang onto Bumgarner and Smith rather than trade either player, a decision that led to some criticism since San Francisco was widely considered to be closer to rebuilding than truly contending.  The critics’ judgement grew even harsher after the Giants went 22-32 record in August and September and fell well short of the postseason.  Still, given that teams were reluctant to part with top-flight young talent for even controllable players (let alone rentals like Bumgarner and Smith) at the trade deadline, Zaidi clearly felt that the two picks he could recoup from the qualifying offer process were more valuable than anything offered for the two Giants pitchers last July.

It’s worth noting that the 74th overall pick will be Houston’s first selection of the 2020 draft, after the Astros lost both their first- and second-highest selections in both 2020 and 2021 as part of their punishment for the sign-stealing scandal.  Since the Red Sox are also under league investigation for their own alleged use of electronics to steal opponents’ signs in 2018, Boston could also potentially lose at least one pick in this year’s draft, so we can’t yet say that the 2020 draft order is finalized.  Of course, the order could be further muddled if more trades occur involving picks from the two Competitive Balance Draft rounds, which are the only types of draft picks that can be traded.  We’ve already seen the Rays and Cardinals swap their picks in Rounds A and B as part of the multi-player trade that sent Jose Martinez and Randy Arozarena to Tampa Bay earlier this month.

Let’s now look at the six teams who signed the seven QO-rejecting free agents, and see what those clubs had to give up in order to make the signings.

Yankees, for signing Gerrit Cole: Since New York exceeded the luxury tax threshold in 2019, they gave up their second- and fifth-round picks in the 2020 draft (a.k.a. their second- and fifth-highest selections).  The Yankees also gave up $1MM in funds from their international signing bonus pool.

Diamondbacks, for signing Madison Bumgarner: As a team that didn’t exceed the luxury tax threshold and was a revenue-sharing recipient, the D’Backs had to give up their third-highest draft choice to sign Bumgarner.  This ended up being Arizona’s second-round selection — the team’s first two picks are their first-rounder (18th overall) and their pick in Competitive Balance Round A (33rd overall).

Twins, for signing Josh Donaldson: Minnesota also received revenue-sharing and didn’t exceed the luxury tax threshold, so signing Donaldson put the Twins in position to give up their third-highest draft selection.  However, the Twins are actually giving up their fourth-highest pick in the 2020 draft, which is their third-round selection.  The Twins’ actual third selection is their pick in Competitive Balance Round B, but those picks aren’t eligible to be forfeited as compensation for QO free agent signings.

Angels, for signing Anthony Rendon: Since the Halos didn’t receive revenue-sharing funds and also didn’t pay any luxury tax money, they had to give up their second-highest draft pick (their second-rounder) and $500K in international bonus funds to sign Rendon.

Phillies, for signing Zack Wheeler: The Phillies surrendered their second-highest selection (their second-round pick) and $500K of their international bonus pool, since they were another team that didn’t exceed the luxury tax line and didn’t receive revenue-sharing money.

Braves, for signing Will Smith and Marcell Ozuna: The dual signings put Atlanta in line for a dual penalty.  The Braves didn’t exceed the luxury tax threshold and also didn’t receive revenue-sharing money, so they gave up their second-highest draft pick (their second-rounder) and $500K of international bonus money for Smith.  In landing Ozuna, the Braves then had to also forfeit their third-round pick (their third-highest selection) and another $500K from their international bonus pool.

Losing two draft picks and $1MM in international pool money isn’t nothing, though these particular sanctions had less impact on the Braves than on other teams, which undoubtedly influenced their decisions.  First of all, the compensatory pick Atlanta received for Donaldson is higher in the draft order than their third-round pick, so the net loss is only a second-round pick.  Secondly, the Braves’ movement in the international market is still limited by the punishment handed out by Major League Baseball in November 2017 for Atlanta’s past international signing violations.  Part of that punishment included the Braves’ pool for the 2020-21 international market being reduced by 50 percent — being so handcuffed in the international market anyway, the Braves probably felt $1MM in pool money was no great loss.

Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Yankees Want Miguel Andujar To Learn To Play 1B, LF]]> 2020-01-25T05:10:07Z 2020-01-25T05:10:07Z The Yankees’ Miguel Andujar spent 2018 at third base, where he endured his fair share of struggles. Andujar posted a horrid minus-25 Defensive Runs Saved and a similarly poor minus-16 Ultimate Zone Rating, but the doubles machine’s outstanding offensive production overshadowed his difficulties in the field. While Andujar finished second in AL Rookie of the Year voting in his first season, he wasn’t able to follow it up in 2019 on account of shoulder troubles that shelved him for almost the whole campaign.

In Andujar’s absence last year, the Yankees saw fill-in Gio Urshela enjoy an out-of-nowhere breakout. Urshela’s now set to enter 2020 as the Yankees’ top option at the hot corner, which could force Andujar to another position. Yankees manager Aaron Boone has told Andujar that he’ll have to learn to play first base and left field in spring training, Randy Miller of reports.

Andujar’s no sure thing to begin 2020 with the Yankees if he’s unable to adapt to his new spots. Considering he has minor league options left, the Yankees could opt to send him to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. But Andujar’s “makeup is off the chart,” general manager Brian Cashman told the YES Network, so the Yankees are still banking on him doing enough to crack their 26-man roster.

If Andujar does start the season in the majors, it’s up in the air how much playing time he’ll receive from the get-go. As mentioned, he’s now the Yankees’ No. 2 guy at third. Meanwhile, the Yankees have fellow right-handed hitter Luke Voit, who has been quite productive since he joined the club in 2018, as well as lefty Mike Ford as first base possibilities. They also boast Giancarlo Stanton, Mike Tauchman and Clint Frazier as left field choices. So, there doesn’t appear to be an easy path to early season playing time in New York for Andujar, despite the .297/.328/.527 line he recorded and the 76 extra-base hits he amassed during his rookie campaign.

Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Free Agent Spending By Team: American League]]> 2020-01-25T01:22:17Z 2020-01-25T01:08:49Z As we covered earlier this week, almost all of the prominent free agents in this year’s class have already exited the board. Because of that, we’ll see more and more minor league signings and fewer and fewer major league deals in the weeks leading up to the start of the regular season. This has been an aggressive offseason in terms of spending, though. To this point, which teams have handed out the most guaranteed money via the open market? We’ll examine both leagues, but let’s begin with the AL (reminder: This exercise excludes trades, club options, extensions, waiver claims and Rule 5 selections)…

Yankees: $336.5MM on two players (Gerrit Cole and Brett Gardner; top 50 MLBTR signings: two)

Angels: $260.85MM on three players (Anthony Rendon, Julio Teheran and Jason Castro; top 50 signings: three)

White Sox: $196.5MM on six players (Yasmani Grandal, Jose Abreu, Dallas Keuchel, Edwin Encarnacion, Steve Cishek and Gio Gonzalez; top 50 signings: five)

Twins: $151.8MM on eight players (Josh Donaldson, Michael Pineda, Jake Odorizzi, Homer Bailey, Sergio Romo, Alex Avila, Rich Hill and Tyler Clippard; top 50 signings: four)

Blue Jays: $114.35MM on four players (Hyun-Jin Ryu, Tanner Roark, Shun Yamaguchi and Travis Shaw; top 50 signings: two)

Rangers: $62.25MM on five players (Kyle Gibson, Jordan Lyles, Robinson Chirinos, Joely Rodriguez and Todd Frazier; top 50 signings: two)

Tigers: $17.8MM on four players (C.J. Cron, Jonathan Schoop, Austin Romine and Ivan Nova; top 50 signings: one)

Astros: $15.65MM on three players (Joe Smith, Martin Maldonado and Dustin Garneau; top 50 signings: zero)

Rays: $12MM on one player (Yoshitomo Tsutsugo; top 50 signings: zero)

Red Sox: $9.9MM on three players (Martin Perez, Jose Peraza and Kevin Plawecki; top 50 signings: zero)

Athletics: $7.5MM on one player (Jake Diekman; top 50 signings: zero)

Royals: $6.95MM on two players (Alex Gordon and Maikel Franco; top 50 signings: zero)

Indians: $6.25MM on one player (Cesar Hernandez; top 50 signings: zero)

Orioles: $3MM on one player (Jose Iglesias; top 50 signings: zero)

Mariners: $2.95MM on two players (Kendall Graveman and Carl Edwards Jr.; top 50 signings: zero)

Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Brian Cashman: J.A. Happ To Open 2020 In Yankees’ Rotation]]> 2020-01-24T01:27:53Z 2020-01-24T01:27:53Z There has been no shortage of offseason trade speculation centering on Yankees left-hander J.A. Happ, especially in the wake of the team’s blockbuster Gerrit Cole signing. If we’re to believe general manager Brian Cashman, though, Happ isn’t going anywhere. Cashman told Meredith Marakovits of the YES Network (video link) that Happ will open 2020 as the Yankees’ fifth starter behind Cole, Luis Severino, James Paxton and Masahiro Tanaka.

Whether you want to take Cashman’s statement at face value is up to you, but it does appear Happ would be a challenge to trade. The normally solid Happ is coming off a subpar season, set to enter his age-37 campaign, owed a significant salary, and has an unappealing vesting option baked into his contract.

Happ, who pitched to a 4.91 ERA/5.22 FIP with 7.81 K/9 (down from 9.78 the prior year) in 2019, will earn $17MM this season. Worsening matters, he’ll make another $17MM in 2021 if he racks up 165 innings or 27 starts this year – two figures he has typically approached or surpassed over the past several campaigns.

Getting Happ’s money (or at least some of it) off the books would help the Yankees from a luxury-tax standpoint, as they’re currently projected for a whopping $261MM-plus total. That said, there’s a case it would benefit them to keep Happ around and hope for a bounce-back showing.

Happ, despite an overall disappointing year, did end last season on a high note with a strong September. He’s also the most logical candidate to eat innings from the back of a Yankees rotation that will go awhile without righty Domingo German, whom MLB handed a suspension for domestic violence that will cost him the first 63 games of 2020. Meanwhile, southpaw Jordan Montgomery – the Yankees’ next most experienced starter – barely pitched over the previous two years after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Beyond German and Montgomery, New York’s looking at mostly unproven 40-man options, albeit some intriguing ones including Deivi Garcia, Jonathan Loaisiga, Albert Abreu and Mike King, as well as minor league signing Nick Tropeano. One or more of them could factor into the Yankees’ starting staff during the season, but for now, it appears they’ll take a backseat to Happ.

Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Yankees Sign Tyler Lyons]]> 2020-01-23T04:38:06Z 2020-01-23T03:44:37Z The Yankees have brought back left-handed reliever Tyler Lyons on a minor league contract, according to Chris Hilburn-Trenkle of Baseball America.

Lyons divided 2019 between the Pirates and Yankees, but New York outrighted him off its 40-man roster in November. Before that, Lyons – whom the Yankees signed in August – saw a bit of action at the major and minor league levels as a member of the organization. He finished the year with a combined 12 2/3 innings for Pittsburgh and New York. Although Lyons struck out 17 batters during that span, that was overshadowed by the nine earned runs he yielded on 13 hits and five walks. He was far superior in Triple-A ball, throwing 50 1/3 frames of 3.22 ERA ball with 10.7 K/9 against 3.4 BB/9.

At his best, the soft-tossing Lyons was outstanding for the Cardinals in 2017 – a 54-inning effort in which he registered a 2.83 ERA/2.86 FIP and struck out more than 11 hitters per nine. Lyons failed to revisit that form in the majors over the previous two years, but he’ll nonetheless try to work his way back to MLB as a member of a Yankees team whose bullpen includes two established southpaws in Aroldis Chapman and Zack Britton. The Yankees subtracted some lefty depth when they traded Stephen Tarpley to the Marlins on Jan. 15, but they’ve signed Lyons and Luis Avilan as reinforcements since then.

Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Yankees To Sign Luis Avilan]]> 2020-01-22T19:04:54Z 2020-01-22T18:42:43Z The Yankees have agreed to a minors pact with southpaw Luis Avilan, per Jon Heyman of MLB Network (via Twitter). He’ll participate in big league camp.

It may seem like he has been around for quite a while, but Avilan is still just 30 years of age. He has found his way to the majors in each of the past seven seasons, appearing with five different organizations.

Last year, Avilan struggled to a 5.06 ERA in 32 frames with the Mets. He recorded 8.4 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9, right in line with his career averages, but allowed quite a few more long balls (1.4 per nine) than he has over the course of his career (0.5 per nine).

Avilan was as good against lefties as he was unplayable against righties in 2019, carrying a whopping 677-point OPS platoon spread. He has typically dominated same-handed hitters (.203/.280/.283) while finding things tougher without the platoon advantage (.259/.340/.374), though not to that extreme.

Connor Byrne <![CDATA[This Date In Transactions History: Sonny To Cincy]]> 2020-01-22T02:46:38Z 2020-01-22T02:46:38Z It was on this date a year ago that the Reds made one of their best pickups in recent memory. Then desperate for rotation help, the Reds took a flier on former standout right-hander Sonny Gray, acquiring him and young reliever Reiver Sanmartin from the Yankees in a three-team trade that also included the Mariners. The Yankees received middle infielder/outfielder Shed Long and a Competitive Balance Round A draft pick in the swap, though they quickly flipped Long to the Mariners for outfield prospect Josh Stowers.

It was obvious entering last offseason that the Yankees would try to trade Gray, whose tenure in their uniform was a letdown. The Yankees paid what was then a high price to acquire Gray, who was coming off a strong run in Oakland, back in July 2017. But Gray wasn’t the same pitcher in New York, particularly struggling at Yankee Stadium, and the club left him off its playoff roster in 2018. After that, general manager Brian Cashman admitted that “it’s probably best to try somewhere else” for Gray.

Twelve months later, the change of scenery has been a godsend for Gray and Reds. For the team, not only has the trade paid off, but the three-year, $30MM contract Cincy gave Gray the moment it acquired him looks like a bargain.

In his first season as a Red, the 30-year-old Gray performed like one of the premier starters in the sport and earned his second All-Star nod in the process. Gray tossed 175 1/3 innings, his most since 2015, and turned in the third-lowest ERA of his career (2.87). He also notched a 3.42 FIP with a 50.8 percent groundball rate and fanned more hitters than ever. Gray’s 10.52 K/9 was easily a personal best, while he also posted his second-highest swinging-strike percentage (11.3). When batters did make contact, they seldom did much damage, as Gray ranked near the top of the league in hard-hit rate, exit velocity and expected weighted on-base average against.

Despite Gray’s efforts, the Reds endured yet another sub-.500 season in 2019. However, he’s still among the reasons they now look like a team on the upswing. Gray, Luis Castillo, Trevor Bauer, Anthony DeSclafani and Wade Miley now make up one of the game’s most formidable-looking rotations on paper. That’s a drastic 180 for a club whose starting staff was among baseball’s worst the season before it hauled in Gray.

The Gray-less Yankees, for their part, appear to have an even better rotation than the Reds at this point. That said, no one knows whether they’ll get anything from the players they landed for Gray. Both Stowers and lefty TJ Sikkema, whom the Yankees chose with the pick they received in the trade, are still a ways off from the majors. The 22-year-old Stowers isn’t far removed from going in Round 2 of the 2018 draft, though, and he was plenty productive at the Single-A level last season, hitting .273/.386/.400 with 35 steals across 460 plate appearances. Sikkema, 21, had a very brief but very dominant showing in low-A ball after the Yankees drafted him.

As for the rebuilding Mariners, it looks as if they did well to insert themselves into this swap. Long joined the team as a promising prospect and then lived up to the billing in his first major league action last season. The 24-year-old amassed 168 PA and batted .263/.333/.454, also gaining a solid amount of experience at second base and in the outfield. Long figures to see even more time in Seattle this year, when the team no doubt hopes he’ll further demonstrate that he’s capable of serving as a core member of its roster.

Thanks to this trade, the Reds have a core piece for their rotation in Gray. A year into Gray’s time in Cincinnati, he and the team are surely thrilled with how their union has worked out.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Steve Adams <![CDATA[Marlins Acquire Stephen Tarpley, Designate Brian Moran]]> 2020-01-15T21:16:58Z 2020-01-15T21:05:26Z The Yankees have traded left-hander Stephen Tarpley to the Marlins in exchange for minor league third baseman James Nelson and cash, the two teams announced. In order to open a spot for Tarpley on the 40-man roster, fellow southpaw Brian Moran was designated for assignment. Tarpley was designated for assignment last week when the Yankees finalized their deal with Brett Gardner.

Tarpley, 26, came to the Yankees organization in the 2016 trade that sent Ivan Nova to Pittsburgh, but he’s only logged 33 2/3 innings of action in the Majors. Most of that workload came in 2019, when he pitched to an ugly 6.93 ERA with a 34-to-15 K/BB ratio in 24 2/3 innings.

Control was clearly an issue for Tarpley this past season, as in addition to his 15 walks, he plunked two hitters and unleashed five wild pitches. But he hasn’t had that type of issue finding the zone throughout his minor league tenure and has generally been a successful reliever in the upper minors. Tarpley pitched to a 1.76 ERA in 46 Double-A innings (albeit with less impressive marks of 7.6 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9) and is also the owner of a career 2.88 ERA with 9.9 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 65 2/3 Triple-A frames. His gaudy ground-ball tendencies haven’t carried over to the Majors just yet, but Tarpley has routinely run up grounder rates north of 60 percent in Double-A and Triple-A. The lefty has a pair of minor league options remaining as well, so the Marlins can shuttle him between New Orleans and Miami as they see fit over the next two seasons.

Nelson, 22, was Miami’s 15th-round pick back in 2016. The Cisco College product turned in a big age-19 season in the Class-A South Atlantic League when he slashed .309/.354/.456 with seven homers, 31 doubles and three triples against older competition. But the past two seasons, both of which have come with Miami’s Class-A Advanced affiliate in Jupiter, have been nightmarish. Nelson has racked up 723 plate appearances but has sub-.300 marks in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage: .222/.273/.290.

The 31-year-old Moran is the older brother of Pirates third baseman Colin Moran. He made his MLB debut at the age of 30 this past season, allowing three runs on six hits and two walks with 10 strikeouts through 6 1/3 frames. Moran has solid numbers in Triple-A, where he’s averaged better than 11 strikeouts per nine innings in parts of five seasons, so perhaps another club in need of some left-handed relief depth would place a speculative claim if the Fish try to pass him through outright waivers.

Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Yankees To Hire CC Sabathia As Special Advisor]]> 2020-01-15T04:18:33Z 2020-01-15T03:27:30Z Last July, in the middle of the final season of his storied career, Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia expressed an interest in eventually taking on a front office role with the organization. That’s about to come to fruition, as Bryan Hoch of writes the Yankees are set to add Sabathia to their stable of special advisors (Andrew Marchand of the New York Post first reported the news). The role’s “expected to encompass speaking with players at all levels of the system,” according to Hoch.

The 39-year-old Sabathia will become the latest ex-Yankee to fill this type of position with the club. Carlos Beltran (now the Mets’ manager), Andy Pettitte, Alex Rodriguez, Nick Swisher, Hideki Matsui and Reggie Jackson were special advisors for the team last season.

Like everyone from the above group, Sabathia enjoyed an excellent run in the Bronx as a player. An Indian and Brewer from 2001-08, Sabathia joined the Yankees prior to ’09 on a seven-year, $161MM pact. The union ended up going swimmingly for both sides. Sabathia helped the Yankees to their most recent championship in his first season with the team, and he continued to further his Hall of Fame case throughout the remainder of his time in pinstripes.

Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Managers, Top Front Office Execs On Expiring Contracts]]> 2020-01-14T03:42:32Z 2020-01-14T03:42:32Z Monday was one of the most stunning days baseball has seen in recent memory. Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and A.J. Hinch, who oversaw several contending teams in Houston and led the club to a World Series championship, lost their jobs as a result of a sign-stealing scandal. Before accusations against the Astros arose several weeks ago, neither Luhnow nor Hinch looked likely to leave their posts for the foreseeable future. Now, though, the Astros are the lone team in baseball that doesn’t have a clear answer at either spot (though the Red Sox could join the Astros soon if the league drops the hammer on manager Alex Cora). But what about after the 2020 season? Which clubs could be in need then?

With help from the ever-valuable Cot’s Baseball Contracts, let’s take a look at clubs whose GMs and/or managers are entering contract years. As a reminder, this list might not be complete or fully accurate. Some teams may have extended their lame-duck executives/skippers and not publicized those moves yet, for instance, while other individuals in those spots could have less job security than it appears.

Angels: Entering the 2016 season, the Angels hired general manager Billy Eppler to helm a franchise led by all-world center fielder Mike Trout. As was the case then, Trout remains on a collision course with a Cooperstown plaque. The problem is that the Angels have continually failed to take advantage of his presence. Since Eppler came aboard, they haven’t even posted a .500 season. They’re also on their third manager (Mike Scioscia, whom Eppler inherited, then Brad Ausmus and now Joe Maddon) since their GM assumed the reins. Eppler has been rather aggressive this offseason as he works on a turnaround, though, having signed third baseman Anthony Rendon to a seven-year, $235MM contract, picked up catcher Jason Castro and added starters Julio Teheran and Dylan Bundy. The acquisition of a much-needed front-line rotation piece this winter has eluded Eppler, who will perhaps keep trying to land one before the season. Regardless, it appears to be put up-or-shut up time for Eppler. Should the Angels fail to make significant progress in the upcoming campaign, it seems likely they’ll have a new GM a year from now.

Blue Jays: The partnership consisting of president Mark Shapiro and GM Ross Atkins has been going on since before 2016. The Blue Jays were then on the cusp of their second straight ALCS-bound season, but they’ve since launched a rebuild and endured three consecutive losing campaigns. Shapiro’s now going into the final season of his contract, though he and the organization are willing to discuss an extension, while Atkins’ status is a bit less clear. Atkins signed an extension last June, but it’s unknown whether it will go beyond the coming season. One thing’s for sure, however: This has been a busy offseason for Shapiro and Atkins, as the Jays have acquired four pitchers (Hyun-Jin Ryu, who cost the team an $80MM commitment, as well as Tanner Roark, Chase Anderson and Shun Yamaguchi) and infielder Travis Shaw.

Braves: The two-year extension Snitker inked in 2018 has a team option for 2021, in which he and the Braves will go for their third straight NL East title. Snitker, who took over as interim manager in 2016, endured a couple losing seasons before his recent run of success and has not been able to secure a playoff series win thus far. The overall results have been good, however, so it stands to reason the Braves will exercise Snitker’s option if they have another playoff-caliber season.

Nationals: The extension the Nationals gave GM Mike Rizzo a couple years back reportedly lasts through 2020, while manager Dave Martinez has a club option for ’21. Back when the Nats re-upped Rizzo, they were known as a talented team that couldn’t break through in the fall. That finally happened in 2019, the year the franchise finally took home its first World Series. Thanks in part to that triumph, it would be a stunner to see the Nats allow Rizzo or Martinez to get away anytime soon.

Royals: Like Rizzo, it doesn’t seem Moore’s in any danger of exiting his current organization. Moore, KC’s GM since 2006, has only overseen two playoff teams, but the Royals sure made those seasons count. They won the AL pennant in 2015 and then the World Series the next year. They’re now amid a rebuild and coming off two 100-loss seasons, and are likely in for another lean year. Still, new owner John Sherman is reportedly set to hand Moore an extension to keep him atop the franchise’s baseball hierarchy.

Tigers: GM Al Avila seems to be safe, at least from a contractual standpoint, but the rebuilding Tigers could go in another direction in the dugout soon. Veteran skipper Ron Gardenhire’s not signed beyond then, and there doesn’t appear to be any hurry on the team’s part to change that. While Gardenhire enjoyed plenty of success with the division-rival Twins from 2002-14, he signed off for a difficult job in Detroit. The club, which hasn’t had much talent throughout Gardenhire’s reign, has gone 111-212 on his two-season watch. The Tigers have somewhat beefed up their roster this winter, though, and that should give Gardenhire a legit chance to help lead the team to a better output than its 47-win mark in 2019. Detroit has redone the right side of its infield by signing first baseman C.J. Cron and Jonathan Schoop, improved at catcher by adding Austin Romine and landed innings-eater Ivan Nova for their rotation. Nothing splashy there, but Gardenhire’s probably happy to have those vets aboard after he had to guide such a sorry roster a season ago.

Yankees: This is the last guaranteed year of Boone’s contract, though his deal does include a club option for 2021. At this rate, the Yankees will exercise it, as Boone has made an almost seamless transition from the broadcast booth to the dugout. He has two 100-win seasons in as many attempts, has helped the Yankees to an ALCS, and nearly won AL Manager of the Year honors during an injury-laden 2019 for the club. Expectations will be even higher this season, though, considering Boone now has ace Gerrit Cole at the front of his rotation.

TC Zencka <![CDATA[Yankees Announce Brett Gardner Signing, DFA Stephen Tarpley]]> 2020-01-11T18:11:47Z 2020-01-11T17:59:17Z The Yankees officially announced the signing of Brett Gardner to a one-year contract with a club option for 2021. Left-handed pitcher Stephen Tarpley was designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster.

Gardner unofficially returned to the Yankees in mid-December when news broke of the one-year, $12.5MM deal. As reported at the time, Gardner receives a $2MM signing bonus, $8MM salary for 2020 and a buyout for a club option in 2020 valued at $2.5MM to make up the total $12.5MM guarantee. Should the Yankees pick up their 2020 option, he will earn $20MM over two years.

Gardner is one of only five players drafted by the Yankees to collect 1,000 hits in pinstripes, joining Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Thurman Munson and Don Mattingly. He is also one of only 10 players in the current MLB to play for the same team for the last 12 seasons (Ryan Braun, Miguel Cabrera, Alex Gordon, Felix Hernandez, Clayton Kershaw, Yadier Molina, Dustin Pedroia, Joey Votto and Ryan Zimmerman). A couple players could move from this list in 2019, while Molina holds the crown for longest-tenured player in the majors having made his debut with the Cardinals in 2004.

Tarpley saw 21 games of action with the big league club in 2019 after 10 games the year prior. In total, the soon-to-be 27-year-old owns a 5.88 ERA/4.77 FIP across 33 2/3 innings with 12.6 K.9 to a troubling 5.6 BB/9. Tarpley’s DFA comes as a bit of a surprise after back-to-back stellar seasons in the minors from 2017 to 2018 as a multi-inning reliever. Even given his troubles at the big league level in 2019, Tarpley figured to get a chance somewhere to start the season in a big league bullpen.

Steve Adams <![CDATA[Players Avoiding Arbitration: American League]]> 2020-01-11T03:11:53Z 2020-01-11T01:00:21Z Entering the day, there were more than 150 players on the clock to exchange arbitration figures with their respective teams prior to a noon ET deadline. As one would expect, there’ll be an utter landslide of arbitration agreements in advance of that deadline. We already ran through some key facts and reminders on the arbitration process earlier this morning for those who are unfamiliar or simply need a refresher on one of MLB’s most complex idiosyncrasies, which will hopefully clear up many questions readers might have.

We’ll track the majority of the American League’s settlements in this post and split off a separate one for NL settlements as well. Note that all projections referenced come courtesy of MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz:

  • Newly acquired Angels righty Dylan Bundy receives a $5MM salary, per Jon Heyman of MLB Network (Twitter links). He had projected at a $5.7MM price tag. Teammate Hansel Robles gets $3.85MM, per Heyman, just shy of his $4MM projection.
  • The Yankees have worked out deals with all of their eligible players. The team has a hefty $8.5MM pact with Aaron Judge, per’s Mark Feinsand (via Twitter). Backstop Gary Sanchez settled for $5MM, per Feinsand (via Twitter). The New York org will pay righty Luis Cessa $895K and Jonathan Holder $750K, Murray reports (Twitter links). Fellow reliever Tommy Kahnle will earn $2.65MM, per Jon Heyman of MLB Network (via Twitter). And star lefty James Paxton has settled at $12.5MM, Heyman adds via Twitter. Chad Green and Jordan Montgomery have also agreed to terms, the former at $1.275MM and the latter at $805K, per Heyman (Twitter links).
  • The Twins announced that they struck deals with Trevor May, Taylor Rogers, Eddie Rosario and Byron Buxton. Jon Heyman of MLB Network followed up with salary terms (all links to Twitter). May earns $2,205,000; Rogers takes home $4.45MM; Rosario lands at $7.75MM; and Buxton receives $3.075MM. While the first and last of those land rather close to the projected amount, Rogers got $550K more and Rosario got $1.15MM less than the calculators predicted.
  • Shortstop Carlos Correa settled with the Astros for $8MM, per’s Brian McTaggart (via Twitter). Righty Brad Peacock lands at a $3.9MM salary, per Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). The former went for more than his $7.4MM projection, while the latter ended up shy of the $4.6MM mark produced by the computers. The ’Stros also have agreed with closer Roberto Osuna as well, per an announcement. It’s a $10MM deal, slotting in just $200K shy of his projection, per Rome (via Twitter).
  • The Orioles have a deal with outfielder/first baseman Trey Mancini, Roch Kubatko of tweets. It’s for $4.75MM, per Dan Connolly of The Athletic (via Twitter), well south of the $5.7MM projection.
  • Outfielder Jorge Soler has agreed to a $7.3MM deal with the Royals,’s Jeffrey Flanagan tweets. That’s well off of the $11.2MM that MLBTR’s model projected, though it is likely that the cause of the gulf lies in the interpretation of the correct baseline to start from in building Soler’s salary. He’s in the 4+ service class but had been playing on the original deal he signed out of Cuba.
  • The Tigers have a deal in place with southpaw Matthew Boyd, per Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press (via Twitter). It’ll pay him $5.3MM, per Chris McCosky of the Detroit News (Twitter link). That falls comfortably below the $6.4MM, suggesting that Boyd’s camp was concerned with the way his suboptimal ERA would play in the arb process. Fellow lefty starter Daniel Norris will earn $2.96MM, McCosky tweets.

Earlier Settlements

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Steve Adams <![CDATA[Yankees To Sign Chris Iannetta]]> 2020-01-09T18:16:49Z 2020-01-09T18:16:40Z 12:16pm: The Yankees and Iannetta are in agreement on a minor league deal, tweets MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.

11:50am: The Yankees and veteran catcher Chris Iannetta are close to finalizing a minor league contract WFAN’s Sweeny Murti reports (via Twitter). The 14-year MLB veteran would presumably be in Major League camp this spring to compete for a backup role. He’s represented by Octagon.

Iannetta, 36, spent the 2019 season with the Rockies organization but was cut loose in August after hitting .222/.311/.417 with six home runs through 164 plate appearances. Those numbers don’t look too bad for a backup catcher, but when accounting for Iannetta’s home park and the league-wide offensive explosion in 2019, Iannetta’s output wilts substantially (70 wRC+, 75 OPS+).

Earlier in his career, Iannetta was a starter with the Rockies and Angels, enjoying a lengthy run as a low-average, high-OBP backstop who drew plenty of walks and hit for power. As recently as 2017, he slashed .254/.354/.511 with 17 big flies in 89 games with the D-backs, but that’s been his only above-average offensive campaign of the past half decade.

Iannetta has improved his framing in recent years and has drawn overall positive marks with his glove in three of the past five seasons, but the 2019 campaign saw those framing numbers dip as he also struggled to control the running game (17 percent caught-stealing rate). Currently, Kyle Higashioka is the favorite to back up Gary Sanchez behind the plate in 2020, but Iannetta and fellow veteran Erik Kratz will be in Spring Training as non-roster invitees hoping to land a big league gig in the Bronx.

Steve Adams <![CDATA[Yankees, Nick Tropeano Agree To Minor League Deal]]> 2020-01-08T21:43:37Z 2020-01-08T21:38:15Z The Yankees and right-hander Nick Tropeano have agreed to terms on a minor league contract, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman tweets. Tropeano, who is represented by the Bledsoe Agency, will be invited to Major League Spring Training.

It’s something of a homecoming for the 29-year-old Tropeano — a Long Island native who has spent the past five seasons in the Angels organization. When healthy, the 2011 fifth-round pick has pitched to a reasonable level of effectiveness, but injuries have hampered the righty rather consistently. Shoulder troubles have dogged Tropeano since 2015, and he underwent Tommy John surgery late in the 2016 season. At his best, Tropeano tossed 106 innings of 3.65 ERA ball with 9.0 K/9, 3.5 BB/9, 1.4 HR/9 and a 36 percent ground-ball rate in 2015-16.

This past season was a particularly rough one for Tropeano, though, as he struggled to keep his ERA under 6.00 in the supercharged Triple-A offensive environment and also yielded 15 runs in 13 2/3 MLB frames.

With the Yankees, Tropeano can provide some depth in both the rotation and the bullpen, though he’s a long shot to make the Opening Day roster. New York currently projects to break camp with a rotation of Gerrit Cole, Luis Severino, James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka and J.A. Happ. The Yankees have endeavored to move the remainder of Happ’s contract, but even if they’re able to succeed, they can install left-hander Jordan Montgomery in the back of the rotation to begin the year. Tropeano could compete with the out-of-options Luis Cessa for a long relief spot, but it seems likelier that he’ll head to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to open the season (if he doesn’t land with another club following a spring release or opt-out).

TC Zencka <![CDATA[Third Base Is Urshela's To Lose]]> 2020-01-05T16:42:17Z 2020-01-05T16:42:17Z It’s an NFL day, but there’s time enough for some quick hits in MLB…

  • Gio Urshela projects as the Opening Day third baseman after a breakout year in the Bronx.  He put up 3.4 rWAR while Miguel Andujar missed the year with injuries, and since Andujar has minor league options remaining, Urshela’s case looks even stronger. Urshela could even expand his portfolio to include backup shortstop duties in 2020, per’s Bryan Hoch, though Thairo Estrada and Tyler Wade are the more likely options to take that on should Gleyber Torres need a day off.
  • Second-year Orioles’ manager Brandon Hyde will have a veteran voice in his ear this season now that Fredi Gonzalez has joined his staff. Gonzalez is listed as a general Major League Coach, but the veteran manager looks forward to being freed up to contribute in a lot of different areas, per MASN’s Roch Kubatko. Gonzalez will team with Major League Field Coordinator Tim Cossins to fill the duties traditionally assigned to a bench coach – but the important thing for the Orioles is that Hyde has another influence that he trusts as he looks to build on the development of a very young Orioles’ squad. Gonzalez certainly knows the terrain, having spent the last few seasons as the third base coach for the Miami Marlins. When the 2019 season came to a close, Gonzalez didn’t know exactly what would await him, but he decided it was time to move on from Miami and make himself a free agent. Hyde, meanwhile, managed the High-A and Double-A affiliates in Florida during Gonzalez’ managerial tenure from 2007 to 2010, and he didn’t wait long to add Gonzalez to his staff.
  • As they say, the ball don’t lie, and that’s good enough for Joel Sherman of the New York Post, who marks the Nationals as the winners of last year’s offseason thanks to their championship in October. Of course, a year makes all the difference, as Sherman names the Red Sox the top loser of last year’s offseason for their ill-fated attempt to keep the good vibes going after their 2018 World Series title. Sherman makes this particularly interesting note about the fates of those giving multi-year offers to relief pitchers: “There were 11 relievers who signed for multiple years last season. Six had zero or negative WAR (Baseball Reference version). Just two improved on their WAR from 2018 to 2019, and just three ([Zack] Britton, [Adam] Ottavino and Justin Wilson) improved their ERA.” For what it’s worth, the Nationals can be counted among the group of team’s handing out multi-year deals to a reliever this offseason.