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.
Tulowitzki agreement begs questions
The Yankees reached an agreement with shortstop Troy Tulowitzki in which they will pay the league minimum while the Blue Jays will pick up the rest of his $20 million tab, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan.
MY TAKE >> Immediately after word of the deal got out, questions about the Yankees' infield configuration began. How does this affect the potential signing of Manny Machado? How does Miguel Andujar fit now?
The Yankees are taking a simple flyer here, one that doesn't cost them anything but negligible cash. Considering Tulowitzki's recent (career-long, really) injury history, the chances he will completely fill the shortstop void for the Yankees is fairly slim. In that respect, the move appears to be more about depth than an Opening Day decision. As such, this has little to do with Machado other than it might allow the Yankees to shift him to third base if (a big if) Tulowitzki proves to be a capable player when the season begins.
As for Andujar, with few top starting pitching options available at the moment, the general belief was he would man third base with Machado at shortstop if the latter is signed. If Tulowitzki proves to have enough in the tank to shift Machado (should he be aboard), then the Yankees would have to determine how best to use Andujar, which could include reps at first base, but more likely time as the designated hitter.
Any way we look at this, the entire situation is very fluid and Tulowitzki is hardly the key component.
Hint about Gray's value
Passan also reported there was "traction" on a three-team deal involving the Yankees, Braves and Rangers in which RHP Sonny Gray would have gone to Atlanta, with New York grabbing infielder Jurickson Profar and Texas acquiring a prospect. However, Profar was later traded to the Athletics.
MY TAKE >> We've been waiting all winter for the Yankees to pull the trigger on a Gray trade after GM Brian Cashman's comments that Gray was not long for the club's roster. While the volume of interested teams was clear, the potential return for the Yankees was not. The scope of this deal demonstrates that Gray maintains moderate value in that he would have returned an MLB regular in Profar.
As I mentioned late last week, the Yankees do not have to rush to trade Gray by any means, as the righty could be held until the free agent market dries up. Further, if there is significant concern with the heart condition of CC Sabathia, it would not be all that shocking if the Yankees hold on to Gray despite Cashman's commentary earlier this offseason.