New York Yankees – MLB Trade Rumors 2020-11-28T03:50:06Z WordPress Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Yadier Molina Says Five Teams Have Shown Interest]]> 2020-11-27T04:40:50Z 2020-11-27T03:21:07Z Yadier Molina has long stated that he wants to remain with the Cardinals, and he reiterated that hope in an interview with Laura A. Bonnelly V. of Mas Que Pelota (hat tip to Deportivo Z 101’s Hector Gomez).  However, Molina also revealed four other teams who have shown interest in his services — the Yankees, Mets, Padres, and Angels.

The two New York clubs had already been linked to Molina’s market, and the Cards have been in talks for seemingly close to a year about another contract to keep Molina in St. Louis.  The Angels and Padres are new additions to the hunt, however, and each represents an interesting possible landing spot for the nine-time Gold Glover.

At first glance, San Diego already seems set at catcher, with Austin Nola behind the plate, former top prospect Francisco Mejia slated as the backup and star prospect Luis Campusano probably within a year or two of his MLB debut.  Signing Molina, however, would add immeasurably more experience and some veteran leadership to a team that plans to contend for a championship in 2021.  While Nola’s ability to catch makes him a particularly valuable utility asset, he can also play several other positions around the diamond; the Padres could use Nola in a somewhat normal backup catcher role to spell Molina once a week, and then otherwise deploy him at other positions.

Molina has expressed interest in a two-year contract, but even if Molina were to land such a deal, that wouldn’t be much of a roadblock to Campusano as the Padres’ eventual catcher of the future.  Mejia could be the odd man out if Molina joined the team, as Mejia has yet to show much over parts of four MLB seasons with the Indians and Padres.  That said, Mejia has only 362 career plate appearances, only just turned 25, and was a consensus top-35 prospect as recently as the 2018-19 offseason, so he would still be an interesting trade chip if the Padres made him expendable.

There are some obvious family ties for Molina in Anaheim, as his brother Jose is the Angels’ catching coach, and his other brother Bengie spent his first eight MLB seasons in an Angels uniform.  Yadier would also be reunited with his old Cardinals teammate Albert Pujols for the final season of Pujols’ ten-year, $240MM deal with the Halos.

Beyond the personal connections, Molina would also fill a need for Los Angeles since Max Stassi could miss the start of the season after undergoing hip surgery in October.  Depending on how quickly Stassi recovers, the Angels could start Molina (and use Anthony Bemboom as the backup) until Stassi is ready, and then potentially move into something closer to a timeshare, though it’s probably safe to guess Molina might end up getting the bulk of the action.

Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Latest On Luke Voit]]> 2020-11-25T04:05:23Z 2020-11-25T04:05:23Z
  • Yankees first baseman Luke Voit has popped up in trade rumors early this offseason, but “that idea does not seem to have generated real traction in the front office,” Bryan Hoch of writes. There doesn’t seem to be any reason for the Yankees to trade Voit, who’s coming off a huge year and under affordable control through 2023. Voit slashed .277/.338/.610 with a league-leading 22 home runs over 234 plate appearances in 2020.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Why The Yankees Could Prefer To Keep Luke Voit]]> 2020-11-22T19:25:47Z 2020-11-22T19:25:47Z Happ initially came to Toronto as part of a ten-player trade with the Astros in July 2012, back when Alex Anthopoulos was the Jays’ general manager.  After Happ was dealt to the Mariners in the 2014-15 offseason, he then came back to the Jays on a free agent contract in November 2015, spending the better part of three seasons in Toronto before again being dealt, this time to the Yankees prior to the 2018 trade deadline.  745 1/3 of Happ’s 1741 1/3 career innings have been thrown in a Blue Jays uniform, and Happ has a 3.88 ERA, 2.72 K/BB rate, and 8.3 K/9 as a Blue Jay.

    • Luke Voit’s name has been floated as a potential candidate to be dealt, though’s Buster Olney (subscription required) wonders how much value Voit has a trade chip.  Clubs might not be willing to pay a premium since so many other power bats are available, and the Yankees might simply want to keep Voit (or, in general, as much depth as possible) as a guard against the multiple injuries that seem to regularly hamper the veteran roster.  Voit is projected to earn $3.7MM in the first of four arbitration-eligible seasons as a Super Two player, and he turns 30 in February.
    Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Aroldis Chapman's Suspension Reduced To Two Games]]> 2020-11-22T02:38:59Z 2020-11-22T02:32:53Z
  • The Rangers have expressed interest in free agent left-hander J.A. Happ, reports Jon Morosi of (Twitter link). Texas is expected to work younger players into the fold after posting the worst record in the American League in 2020. Nevertheless, the Rangers figure to explore the market for plenty of lower-cost starting pitchers this winter, particularly if they trade Lance Lynn before his final year under contract. The 38-year-old Happ put up a 4.57 ERA across 210.2 innings with the Yankees from 2019-20. He’s also known to have drawn some attention from the Angels, likely among plenty of others.
  • Aroldis Chapman will now serve a two-game suspension to start the 2021 season, relays Jon Heyman of MLB Network (Twitter link). The Yankees reliever was originally suspended three games for (intentionally, in MLB’s determination) throwing a pitch near the head of Rays infielder Mike Brosseau. Chapman managed to shave a game off on appeal. Brosseau, of course, went on to hit a series-winning home run off Chapman a month later during Tampa Bay’s run to the American League pennant.
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    Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Yankees Select Four Players To 40-Man Roster]]> 2020-11-21T00:49:06Z 2020-11-20T23:35:29Z The Yankees are selecting four players to their 40-man roster, per a club announcement. Right-handers Roansy ContrerasYoendrys Gomez and Alexander Vizcaino are being selected, as is infielder Oswald Peraza.

    Contereas, Gomez, and Vizcaino have all yet to reach Double-A, but each ranks among New York’s top 20 farmhands at The same is true of Peraza, who hit .273/.348/.333 in Low-A in 2019. The well-regarded defensive shortstop is’s fourth-ranked Yankee prospect.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Latest On DJ LeMahieu]]> 2020-11-20T00:33:43Z 2020-11-20T00:21:01Z Second baseman DJ LeMahieu was a godsend for the Yankees during the previous two seasons, but as a free agent, he could go elsewhere this offseason. Re-signing with the Yankees is LeMahieu’s preference, according to Ken Davidoff of the New York Post, but the 2020 American League batting champion wants to stay in the area. That could put a LeMahieu-Mets union in play, per Davidoff, though he reports that the Blue Jays are also in on him.

    The Mets now have an unexpected opening at the keystone after starter Robinson Cano received a 162-game suspension Wednesday because of performance-enhancing drugs. Cano won’t earn a penny of his $24MM salary as a result, which will only make it easier for new, deep-pocketed Mets owner Steve Cohen to make splashes this winter. The Mets don’t necessarily have to throw money around at second, as they could simply use Jeff McNeil at the position and allocate their cash elsewhere, but LeMahieu does look like a more realistic option for the franchise than he did before Cano’s punishment came down.

    The Yankees, for their part, aren’t going to let LeMahieu walk without a fight. They already gave LeMahieu a qualifying offer worth $18.9MM for 2021, but he made the no-brainer decision to reject it. They still want to keep him, however, according to Davidoff.

    Regardless of whether LeMahieu stays with the Yankees, the team’s call to sign him for two years and $24MM before 2019 was a masterstroke, considering he was its best player over the prior two seasons. The 32-year-old former Cub and Rockie is now coming off a near-MVP season, which puts LeMahieu in position to clean up during this winter’s free-agent period. MLBTR pegs LeMahieu for a four-year, $68MM contract, though it wouldn’t be surprising to see him do even better than that on the open market.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Offseason Outlook: New York Yankees]]> 2020-11-14T03:23:50Z 2020-11-13T23:39:04Z The Yankees clinched another postseason berth in 2020 before falling short in the playoffs once again. They’re now facing offseason questions in their middle infield, at catcher and in their pitching staff. Those issues could be difficult to properly address if the club decides to tamp down its payroll, which seems likely.

    Guaranteed Contracts

    Arbitration-Eligible Players

    Note on arb-eligible players: this year’s arbitration projections are more volatile than ever, given the unprecedented revenue losses felt by clubs and the shortened 2020 schedule. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz, who developed our arbitration projection model, used three different methods to calculate different projection numbers. You can see the full projections and an explanation of each if you click here, but for the purposes of our Outlook series, we’ll be using Matt’s 37-percent method — extrapolating what degree of raise a player’s 2020 rate of play would have earned him in a full 162-game slate and then awarding him 37 percent of that raise.

    Option Decisions

    Free Agents

    As Joel Sherman of the New York Post detailed last month, it could be a relatively low-spending offseason for the Yankees if their goal is to get under the $210MM luxury-tax line in 2021. They may only add around $30MM to a payroll that is already in the $170MM range with guaranteed deals, arbitration raises and rookie contracts. That’s problematic for a team with a pair of high-end free agents and needs to address.

    The biggest possible departure for the Yankees would be DJ LeMahieu, who has been their premier player since they signed him to a two-year, $24MM contract before 2019. The move couldn’t have worked out better for the Yankees, with whom LeMahieu went from solid contributor to superstar. The 32-year-old is coming off a season in which he won a batting title, led the AL in wRC+ and finished third in MVP voting. Great timing for LeMahieu during a contract year, but it could price him out of the Yankees’ range.

    The Yankees did issue LeMahieu an $18.9MM qualifying offer at the beginning of the offseason, but he predictably rejected it. According to Sherman, they might be reluctant to do much better than a three-year, $48MM offer on a long-term pact, and it’s hard to believe he’d accept that. For what it’s worth, MLBTR predicts a four-year, $68MM accord, but it’s possible he’ll do even better than that.

    If LeMahieu does exit, where would that leave the Yankees? It’s hard to imagine them turning the reins over to the light-hitting Tyler Wade. Fortunately for the Yankees, they do have some flexibility in their middle infield because of the versatility of shortstop Gleyber Torres, who has also played extensively at second base.

    Should the team decide to leave Torres at short, it could pursue any number of Band-Aid free agents at the keystone, including Kolten Wong, Tommy La Stella, Jurickson Profar and Jonathan Schoop. Those aren’t especially exciting options on paper, though remember that LeMahieu didn’t look like the most thrilling addition when the Yankees brought him into the fold. Perhaps they’d be able to strike gold yet again on a somewhat understated pickup.

    Moving Torres back to second would also present some possibilities for the Yankees, as free agency features a few accomplished vets at short (old friend Didi Gregorius, Marcus Semien, Andrelton Simmons). Korea’s Ha-Seong Kim is going to be posted, so he could also pique the Yankees’ interest. And you can’t ignore the trade front, where the Indians’ Francisco Lindor is likely to wind up on the move. It’s also not unreasonable to think the Rockies could listen to offers for Trevor Story.

    While middle infield is the main concern in the Yankees’ position player group right now, catcher isn’t too far behind. Gary Sanchez won their starting job with an all-world performance in 2016 and has held it down since. There have been defensive miscues and up-and-down offense since then, though, and now the Yankees may elect to pull the plug on the Sanchez era. They’re reportedly willing to listen to offers for Sanchez, whom they could non-tender if they can’t find a trade partner. They’ve also shown interest in free-agent catcher Yadier Molina, which doesn’t seem to bode well for Sanchez. Molina would figure to start ahead of Kyle Higashioka.

    Molina’s aging, and his offense has declined of late, yet he’s still one of the top free agents at his position. J.T. Realmuto is No. 1 with a bullet, but whether the Yankees would dole out a $100MM-plus contract for him in their current situation looks iffy. They might not even be willing to go into the two- to three-year range for James McCann, the second-best backstop out there.

    Meanwhile, the rest of the Yankees’ lineup looks pretty well set. Torres will be back to play somewhere. First baseman Luke Voit has developed into a star slugger. Gio Urshela remained a highly productive starting third baseman in 2020. His presence could push out Miguel Andujar if the Yankees find an enticing enough trade offer. Right fielder Aaron Judge and designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton aren’t going anywhere, though the team will need healthier seasons from the hulking duo next year. Clint Frazier finally broke out in 2020 and now looks like the Yankees’ answer in left field, while Aaron Hicks has center locked up.

    There’s a question as to whether the club will bring back Yankees institution Brett Gardner as a reserve outfielder. New York bought out the 13-year veteran and saved $7.5MM in the process, but it could re-sign him for a lesser salary. If not, the Yankees might be content to plug in Mike Tauchman as their primary backup.

    Whether or not LeMahieu, Sanchez and Gardner return next year, the Yankees should still feature a strong offense. Their rotation may be another story, however. Gerrit Cole delivered in the first season of a record nine-year, $324MM contract, though the Yankees don’t really have any sure things after him.

    Of returning Yankees starters, Luis Severino has been an ace when healthy enough to pitch. The hope is he’ll get back to form next year, but he missed almost all of the previous two seasons because of serious arm injuries. Severino might not even be ready for Opening Day after undergoing Tommy John surgery in February. Domingo German sat out 2020 after a domestic violence suspension, though it appears the Yankees will pencil him in for some role next season. Jordan Montgomery is also an in-house front-runner for a starting job, but he had his struggles in 2020 after coming back from a TJ procedure. Otherwise, the Yankees have some younger hurlers they could turn to in Deivi Garcia, Michael King and Clarke Schmidt.

    For now, the Yankees’ starting depth looks as if it’s going to take a hit in free agency. Career-long Yankee Masahiro Tanaka is on the open market, as are JA Happ and James Paxton. Tanaka, who has long been effective in New York, seems the most likely of the three to re-sign. He’s not going to come at an exorbitant cost – certainly nothing like the seven-year, $155MM contract the Yankees originally gave him. Other free agents who should be affordably priced include Jake Odorizzi, Charlie Morton, Corey Kluber, ex-Yankees farmhand Jose Quintana, Garrett Richards and Adam Wainwright, to name some familiar names. And the Yankees could explore trades for one of their former pitchers, the Rangers’ Lance Lynn, or the Pirates’ Joe Musgrove.

    Considering the spending power the Yankees have typically shown off, perhaps you can’t rule them out for the No. 1 free agent available, NL Cy Young winner Trevor Bauer. Of course, that would require the franchise to hand out yet another massive financial guarantee. Notably, Bauer and Cole – who were teammates at UCLA – have not gotten along in the past. Bauer did, however, tell reporters this week that there is no feud with Cole (via Brendan Kuty of NJ Advance Media).

    “I have nothing wrong with Gerrit,” Bauer said. “We had our differences in college and that was nine or 10 years ago at this point. I’m a different person now than I was then. I’m sure the same is true for him.”

    Regardless of whether it’s Bauer or someone else, it seems probable the Yankees will sign or trade for at least one starter this winter. General manager Brian Cashman could also make an addition(s) to their bullpen, which wasn’t the lights-out unit the Yankees expected. They already retained Zack Britton, so he’ll be a key late-game piece again. Closer Aroldis Chapman isn’t leaving, while Chad Green, Jonathan Loaisiga and Luis Cessa should also be back. The Yankees would probably like to move on from the last year and $9MM of Adam Ottavino’s contract after a rough 2020, but it would be difficult to find a trade partner right now. If no team wanted Brad Hand for $10MM, why would anyone take on Ottavino at $9MM?

    Hand is now looking for a job – as are several other well-known relievers – but that depends on if the Yankees are interested in throwing money around on bullpen upgrades. They could at least take a fairly low-priced gamble on someone like Greg Holland, Kirby Yates, Jake McGee, Joakim Soria or ex-Yankees Mark Melancon and Shane Greene. The top of the market includes Hand, Liam Hendriks, Blake Treinen, Trevor May and Trevor Rosenthal. Let’s not forget that the Yankees pursued superb Brewers reliever Josh Hader last winter. Maybe they’ll circle back there this offseason, though Hader would cost a significant amount in a trade package.

    It was no surprise that the Yankees reeled in Cole, last year’s best free agent, an offseason ago. However, because of the economic issues the league is currently facing, this looks as if it will be a much less predictable offseason for the Yankees and just about every other team. If the Yankees actually are going to slash payroll, though, it could be a winter of discontent for their fans.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Yankees Willing To Listen To Trade Offers For Gary Sanchez]]> 2020-11-12T20:39:31Z 2020-11-12T20:39:10Z A little under a month ago, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman suggested the club would evaluate the catcher position this offseason. That could put Gary Sanchez in jeopardy of remaining a Yankee in 2021. Now, according to Joel Sherman, Ken Davidoff and Dan Martin of the New York Post, the Yankees will at least listen to trade offers for Sanchez.

    This development regarding Sanchez comes on the heels of a report saying the Yankees have interest in free agent Yadier Molina, a longtime Cardinal and potential Hall of Famer who would give New York a defensive upgrade at catcher. Of course, Molina is far older than Sanchez (38 to 27) and doesn’t possess as much offensive upside at this point of his career. Both players had subpar seasons at the plate in 2020 (82 wRC+ for Molina, 69 for Sanchez), but the powerful Sanchez was a well-above-average hitter as recently as 2019. He also began his career with a flourish from 2016-17 before a down year in ’18.

    Should the Yankees decide to move on from Sanchez, they could also turn to J.T. Realmuto or James McCann in free agency. Realmuto may command a $100MM-plus contract, though, which checks in well north of the $5.1MM to $6.4MM Sanchez is projected to earn in arbitration this offseason. Sanchez also has arbitration eligibility for 2022, so it would be a risky move on the Yankees’ part to cut bait on an affordable, controllable backstop who has enjoyed a pretty successful, albeit uneven, career to this point. The only other catcher on their 40-man roster is Kyle Higashioka, a 30-year-old who owns a line of .186/.221/.381 (55 wRC+) through 204 major league plate appearances.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mets, Yankees Have Shown Interest In Yadier Molina]]> 2020-11-12T15:47:27Z 2020-11-12T15:47:27Z Both the Mets and Yankees have reached out to Yadier Molina’s camp to express interest in the veteran catcher, reports Jon Heyman of MLB Network (via Twitter). The Cardinals icon has also heard from at least three others, per Heyman.

    It’s not surprising that either New York club would at least explore the possibility of bringing the 38-year-old Molina into the fold. As noted here at MLBTR last week, signing Molina would be a major narrative shift in the Bronx, where Gary Sanchez’s defensive struggles and prolific strikeout rates have drawn the ire of many fans. Molina, of course, is a generational defender at his position and still possesses some of the best bat-to-ball skills in baseball (13.5 percent strikeout rate in 2020).

    As for the Mets, they’ve been oft-connected to J.T. Realmuto since it became clear that Steve Cohen would purchase the club from the Wilpon family. Wilson Ramos is a free agent, leaving Tomas Nido atop the team’s depth chart behind the dish. For a club with immediate postseason aspirations under new ownership, that doesn’t cut it. Molina would be a more affordable option than Realmuto, leaving more resource available to pursue other top free agents and trade targets (e.g. George Springer, Trevor Bauer, Francisco Lindor). Outgoing White Sox catcher James McCann stands out as a younger alternative as well.

    Agent Melvin Roman told Heyman a couple weeks back that he’s seeking a two-year deal for Molina, and Roman told’s Jon Morosi last week that they’ve heard from at least three clubs beyond the Cardinals. At this point, there’s no reason to call any club other than St. Louis a favorite, as the Cards clearly have the most motivation to keep Molina through the end of his career. Ostensible interest from other clubs — particularly big-market organizations out of New York — will only increase fan pressure to make a deal happen, though to this point it’s not clear that any of the teams that have expressed interest have shown a willingness to offer the two-year term that Molina and Roman seek.

    TC Zencka <![CDATA[DJ LeMahieu To Reject Qualifying Offer]]> 2020-11-11T04:24:58Z 2020-11-11T04:24:58Z As expected, DJ LeMahieu plans on rejecting the $18.9MM qualifying offer and testing the open market, per’s Mark Feinsand (via Twitter). The deadline to make a decision is tomorrow at 5 ET.

    Given that LeMahieu posted and MVP-type season in 2020, it’s no surprise that he’ll head to the open market seeking a multi-year deal. The two-time batting champ has now won a batting title in each league, and he’s primed to cash in for more than the two-years, $24MM that he made last time he was a free agent. The Yankees certainly got their money’s worth over the past two seasons, as LeMahieu slashed .336/.386/.536 with 36 home runs over 871 plate appearances.

    Despite the expected for a depressed free agent market, LeMahieu figures to be one of the rare players who will be able to transcend the coronavirus-driven downturn. The 32-year-old not only brings a top-of-the-line bat, but he’s a versatile defensive player who would fit on most any roster. That he happens to get rave reviews for his character and clubhouse presence is only icing on the cake.

    As for the rest of this year’s qualifying offer crop, MLB Insider Jon Heyman suggested on his Big Time Baseball podcast that Kevin Gausman is the only relative sure thing to accept his offer from the Giants. Heyman couldn’t quite decide on Marcus Stroman, though he at least thinks there’s a possibility that Stroman would accept. That seems unlikely, given his position as perhaps the top starting pitcher on the market, but a decision will be made by tomorrow evening.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Latest On Jasson Dominguez]]> 2020-11-09T03:37:30Z 2020-11-09T03:37:30Z
  • Jasson Dominguez is the Yankees’ top prospect and one of the more intriguing young players in all of baseball, though the 17-year-old has yet to actually begin his professional career.  Inked to a $5.1MM bonus as the 2019-20 international signing window opened, Dominguez’s first year as a Yankee has been interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and thus he has been mostly spent his time training and working out at a baseball academy in his native Dominican Republic.  “I expected to play my first professional season and get to experience what that felt like,” Dominguez told’s Jesse Sanchez.  “I wanted to live the experience, but COVID changed everything….What I’ve learned, and what I think everyone in the world is learning, is how to adapt and live with what is happening.”
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Erik Kratz Won’t Play in 2021]]> 2020-11-07T00:03:16Z 2020-11-07T00:02:29Z Veteran catcher Erik Kratz announced that he won’t play in 2021, Robert Murray of Fansided relays.

    “My next season will not be as a player, that’s for sure” Kratz told Murray. “I am deciding not to play.”

    This could bring about the end of the playing career of the 40-year-old Kratz, who made his major league debut with the Pirates in 2010. Kratz has since been part of a slew of organizations, most recently the Yankees in 2020 – with whom he slashed an impressive .321/.367/.393 (113 wRC+ across 30 plate appearances. Kratz owns a less productive line of .209/.256/.355 (63 wRC+) with 31 HRs in 951 PA for his MLB career, but he has always been regarded as a quality teammate and a leader. That’s more than can be said for most 29th-round picks, which is when the Blue Jays drafted Kratz in 2002.

    Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Six Players Extended Qualifying Offers]]> 2020-11-02T13:23:41Z 2020-11-02T04:30:49Z Six players will be extended qualifying offers this winter, reports Mark Feinsand of (Twitter link). Those players are:

    None of the players issued the QO comes as a particular surprise. Bauer, LeMahieu, Realmuto and Springer were all easy calls for their respective teams. Each of that group will certainly reject the offer. Stroman and Gausman might’ve been tougher calls but had been reported previously.

    More notable are the series of players who were not issued a QO. Astros outfielder Michael Brantley will hit the market unencumbered, as he did when he became a free agent two years ago. Oakland didn’t issue a QO to either of Marcus Semien or Liam Hendriks, while the Phillies and Angels decided against an offer for Didi Gregorius and Andrelton Simmons, respectively. The six players issued a qualifying offer is down from last offseason’s ten, which isn’t much of a surprise since this winter is expected to be particularly tough for players in the wake of teams’ pandemic-driven revenue losses.

    The players issued the qualifying offer will now have ten days to weigh their options. Players who reject the offer and become free agents will cost their signing teams draft compensation (or the right to recoup draft compensation if they sign with their current team). Here is a full run-down of the qualifying offer rules this offseason.

    TC Zencka <![CDATA[Yankees Plan To Keep Stanton At DH]]> 2020-11-01T00:56:47Z 2020-11-01T00:56:47Z
  • The Yankees’ thinking on slugger Giancarlo Stanton has not changed in the weeks following their postseason elimination. The front office expects Stanton to spend most of his time at designated hitter in order to give him the best chance of staying healthy, per Erik Boland of Newsday. Though they think Stanton capable of playing the outfield, they’re paying him $29MM in 2021 for his bat to be in the lineup. If he could give them innings in the field, it would certainly help from a roster construction perspective, but his value proposition remains dependent on his offensive production.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Tommy Kahnle Elects Free Agency]]> 2020-10-31T19:10:12Z 2020-10-31T18:54:12Z Right-hander Tommy Kahnle declined an outright assignment from the Yankees and instead chose to become a free agent, the team announced.

    After undergoing Tommy John surgery in August, Kahnle will miss most and quite possibly all of the 2021 season, making him a logical non-tender candidate.  Headed into his third trip through the arbitration process, Kahnle was projected to earn $2.7MM, or a minimal raise on his $2.65MM salary from 2020 given that he pitched a single inning this season.

    In electing to become a free agent, Kahnle will now look for a change of scenery in a new organization and see if he can land a two-year commitment — as per the usual model for TJ recovery cases, Kahnle would earn a minimum salary in the first year of the contract and then a larger salary in the second year when he is expected to actually pitch.  Finding such a contract in this troubled free agent market could be a challenge, though Kahnle has delivered enough results on the mound that a club might be convinced to take what should still be a relatively inexpensive plunge.

    The 31-year-old righty has a 3.82 ERA, 2.61 K/BB rate, 46.6% grounder rate, and 11.2 K/9 over 227 2/3 career relief innings with the Yankees, White Sox, and Rockies.  Though injuries plagued him in 2018, Kahnle has shown that he can be a bullpen workhorse when healthy, tossing 62 2/3 innings over 69 appearances in 2017 and 61 1/3 innings over 72 appearances in 2019.