Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |
The Yankees liked Zack Wheeler, and they like Madison Bumgarner well enough.
But in the wake of Wheeler's five year, $118 million agreement with the Phillies -- and in the face of an intensifying market for Bumgarner -- it is clearer than ever that the team's square focus is on the two big fish, Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg.
Of the two, Cole is the primary target, but the Yanks consider Strasburg elite, too. And that's the entire list of elite starters available via free agency. Bumgarner is no longer in that top tier.
As wild bidding for Wheeler between the Phillies and White Sox built to a resolution on Wednesday, the Yankees were mostly focused on their meetings in California with Cole and Strasburg. They like Wheeler enough to have tried to pry him from the Mets several times in recent years, but not enough to spend their Cole/Strasburg money on him.
Now, Bumgarner is the best available pitcher not named Cole or Strasburg. The Yanks don't want to end up without a starter, and are retaining some level of interest in Bumgarner. But as with Wheeler, other teams seem more aggressive now.
According to major league sources, the White Sox and Twins are among those teams. Both missed out on Wheeler, as did the Reds. Neither team is believed to be in on Cole and Strasburg.
The Yankees are capable of multitasking. And as SNY reported Tuesday, some team officials are high on Bumgarner. But it's clear that their attention now is more squarely on Cole and Strasburg.