Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |
CARLSBAD, Calif. -- The Yankees have already engaged in preliminary talks with free agent J.A. Happ's agent about a return, per major league sources, and there is definite mutual interest in a reunion. But it's early enough in the offseason that the sides are both weighing other options, too.
That is in keeping with the Yanks' primary goals this winter, which are to improve the starting rotation and make sure the bullpen remains strong. As SNY first reported, the team is not interested in Bryce Harper, and is lukewarm on Manny Machado. The latter is more likely to become a Yankee than the former, but both are less important to Brian Cashman than pitching.
In addition to Happ, who is 36 but in excellent shape and expecting to pitch for many more years, the Yankees are in the early stages of weighing several intriguing trade options. Both Cleveland and Seattle are prepared to deal high end pitchers like Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco and James Paxton, and the Yankees are interested in all of them -- though the free agent market is a bit more appealing to them than a trade, because they have already traded away several top prospects.
The Yanks' top free agent pitching targets are Happ, Patrick Corbin and CC Sabathia. They will face competition on all three, with Happ and Corbin in particular generating widespread interest early in the offseason.
But needing to fill multiple rotation spots, Brian Cashman could easily sign one or two of those pitchers, and make a significant trade. The Yankees are a championship-caliber team, save for their current starting rotation, and intend to be aggressive in fixing that before spring training.