Here is an update of rumors surrounding the Yankees' free agent and trade pursuits, followed by my take on how things currently stand and may shake out...
Cashman says Sanchez for Realmuto rumors are "completely false"
Fancred's Jon Heyman reported last Thursday that the Yankees, among several clubs, had expressed some level of interest in All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto. However, Yankees GM Brian Cashman said Sanchez is not available. Cashman believes Sanchez is not only going to be the Yankees catcher for a long time, but going to be a superstar in the role.
MY TAKE >> I guess I'm thinking along the same lines as Cashman as I wrote Sunday that the Yankees should not trade Sanchez for Realmuto even if the deal was somehow a one-for-one scenario. Sanchez still maintains significant offensive upside and Realmuto is not a great defensive catcher by any means, to the point that Sanchez grades out better behind the dish in some aspects. Since defense is the main issue with Sanchez, why move away from him for Realmuto if the potential upgrade is inconsequential and the club stands to lose two years of control in the process?
The New York Post's George King reports that the Yankees could turn to Andrew Miller or Adam Ottavino as bullpen replacements for David Robertson and Zach Britton, who have popped up in Red Sox rumors of late, yet remain options for the Yanks.
MY TAKE >> The Yankees could turn to any of the four relievers here and do well to continue their lengthy run of dominant bullpens. Robertson and Miller are the older veterans in the group, though Robertson has shown to be a bit more durable than Miller. Britton began to show signs of his old dominance in late September, which could help him land a deal as a closer at a cost that might not entice the Yankees. Ottavino is riding into free agency at the right time after an excellent 2018 campaign, though the Yanks have to wonder if that was representative of the future after Ottavino's struggles in 2017. If it was up to me, I'd look at Miller and Britton first, as it would help the Yanks to have another strong lefty in the pen along with southpaw closer Aroldis Chapman.
Corbin and the Yankees' starting pitching targets
SNY's Andy Martino reported Saturday that the situation with free agent targets Patrick Corbin and J.A. Happ could be resolved in less than a week. Meanwhile, The Athletic's Jayson Stark tweeted that the Yankees could go after another "high-profile" starter like Happ (or Nathan Eovaldi) even if they sign Corbin, who is their top target.
MY TAKE >> It would not be surprising if Corbin gets the starting pitcher market rolling this week before the Winter Meetings commence Sunday. If the Yankees are able to secure Corbin and then stay in the rotation hunt as Stark suggests, it would point to the club's concern with the health issues of its current collection of starters. Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia and newly acquired James Paxton all come with injury histories, meaning there could be plenty of starts to go around for six pitchers. If the Yankees could go six deep in the rotation, allowing extra rest here and there (not a strict six man rotation) for their more fragile starters, it could forge a deep and strong asset for the Bombers.