The Yankees have reached the offseason many believed would see them make monumental moves that push them back to the head of the pack in the American League as they aim for a 28th World Series title.
Here is an update of rumors surrounding the Yankees pursuits, followed by my take on how things currently stand and may shake out…
Machado tells friends he prefers New York, but decision to come after New Year
According to Jim Bowden of The Athletic, Manny Machado has told friends that he would prefer to play with the Yankees. Later Thursday, Fancred's Jon Heyman tweeted that Machado would not be making a decision until after New Year's.
MY TAKE >> It's unknown at this time what type of contract offers Machado has received (if any), but it is safe to assume that he's been given plenty of information to weigh. Industry speculation has the Phillies, and maybe the White Sox, outbidding the Yankees, who have claimed to not want to surpass an eight-year deal or the $300 million mark to secure Machado's services. There are some that believe if the Yankees come close enough to the Phillies or White Sox bids, he will choose pinstripes. That remains to be seen if the amount is drastically larger, which it certainly could become.
The Phillies and White Sox have zero salary constraints, where New York has shown a desire to not considerably surpass the luxury tax threshold. Further, it is evident the Yankees will in no way flirt with the second threshold of the luxury tax which stands at $246 million in 2019. This should not be an issue for New York under its parameters for Machado, but inching toward "stupid" money the Phillies or White Sox might offer, could give the Yankees pause. Why? Well, keep in mind the Yankees want to sign two more relievers this offseason as well, at least one of whom could be costly. It all adds up.
Yankees, Phillies lead in Britton talks
The Yankees and Phillies are not only battling for one of the top position players in the game, they are the lead candidates to land free agent lefty reliever Zach Britton, according to Heyman.
MY TAKE >> The Yankees have enjoyed deep and dominant bullpens in recent years and fully believe that one is needed to contend. Britton took some time to get into a groove after coming over to the Yankees in a trade with the Orioles last summer, but once he did, it was clear that the southpaw could still be an elite reliever. The Yankees appear to have confidence in closer Aroldis Chapman, especially after a statistically fantastic season. However, there are enough red flags with Chapman (health and diminishing velocity) to provide the Yanks hesitation in relying solely on him over an entire season.
The Yankees do have right-hander Dellin Betances, but it has also been apparent that he is much better suited and seemingly more comfortable as a set-up man. Britton, an experienced and successful closer, would provide the Yankees with a bonafide backup to Chapman. If Chapman is healthy, Britton gives the Yankees a much-needed set-up left-hander in the bullpen with only unseasoned lefty Stephen Tarpley on the roster.
The Yanks are down to three choices where it concerns the late-inning relievers in Britton, David Robertson and Adam Ottavino. I've stated numerous times that Britton would be the best selection of the three and for the moment, it seems the Yanks might agree.