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...
Yankees interested in Mets pitching
The Yankees and Mets are engaged in trade talks of various magnitudes. The Yankees are interested Mets pitching, and not just Noah Syndergaard, according to SNY's Andy Martino. The scenarios include a three-way trade that might net the Mets J.T. Realmuto. The cost on the Yanks' side in any scenario is unclear at this time.
MY TAKE >> The Yankees have been eager to make a pitching splash and Syndergaard would be an enormous one. Adding Syndergaard is the type of move that would place the Yanks rotation squarely in the conversation of one of the best in the game. It would be quite amazing if Mets new GM Brodie Van Wagenen was able to persuade ownership to trade the big righty to the Yanks. In that vain a trade for Zack Wheeler or Steven Matz would appear to be easier to make, though neither pitcher boosts the Yankees rotation all that much, but rather points to a deal if the Yankees stray away from free agent target J.A. Happ.
Yankees like Happ, but don't want to budge on contract length
Martino reported that the Yankees are "highly reluctant" to go beyond a two-year deal for Happ. This could be a problem for the Yankees with the Phillies very interested in Happ and others like the Braves lurking.
MY TAKE >> As I mentioned yesterday, the Yankees have seemingly drawn up contract parameters on free agents and the club is doing its best to stick to them. The Yanks would not go to six years on Patrick Corbin and pushing to third year for Happ appears to be off the table for New York. Happ had a fine half season for the Yankees and while durable, age can creep up at any time with the lefty finishing a three-year deal at 38. I do wonder if the Yankees could be persuaded to add a club option (even one that kicks in if Happ reaches a total innings mark) for the third year?
Yankees have talked with Machado's agent
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has had a "a conversation or two" with Dan Lozano, Manny Machado's agent, according to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand.
MY TAKE >> Knowing what we have heard from Martino, who has stated all along that the Yankees' interest in Machado has been lukewarm and that we learned the club does not want to pay $300 million per Fancred's Jon Heyman, these conversations may have been nothing more than pleasantries. Cashman likely received an earful on Machado's desire to play in New York with Lozano explaining his client's poorly timed indiscretions on the field. Machado is a generational talent, one that will command a large contract, so this decision will go well beyond Cashman and his team, with the ultimate decision being Hal Steinbrenner's.
Cashman closes door on Harper
Cashman all but closed the door on the club signing free agent Bryce Harper. Cashman told reporters, "The Harper stuff, I'm surprised you are still asking."
MY TAKE >> The Yankees sealed their outfield over the last two seasons and the club has no interest in paying a player over $300 million to learn a new position. However nice it would have been to have Harper's lefty-swing in the middle of the Yankees right-handed heavy lineup, it won't be happening this offseason.
The Yankees have "extensively" scouted Kikuchi
The Yankees have scouted Japanese LHP Yusei Kikuchi "extensively," GM Brian Cashman told reporters Monday. The Yankees have plenty of competition for Kikuchi with the Giants, Red Sox, Dodgers, Phillies, Brewers and Rangers in the mix.
MY TAKE >> The Yankees will not leave any stone unturned and the club is completely comfortable signing Japanese players. The Yankees have had recent success with Masahiro Tanaka and have also felt the pain of pitchers not working out with Hideki Irabu and Kei Igawa. Kikuchi does not maintain the aura Tanaka possessed when he was posted, but the former could be a middle of the rotation hurler. It would seem that the Yankees would exhaust other options (Mets pitching, Happ and potential trades for Indians starters Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer).
Yankees show interest in Reds' Gennett
The Yankees had "a little talk" with the Reds about second baseman Scooter Gennett, according to Heyman.
MY TAKE >> With the Reds looking at Sonny Gray as a trade target, it would not be far-fetched to see these players switch clubs. However, the Yankees would likely have to add to their side of the deal as Gennett's trajectory is upward, while Gray's performance has trended downward. Gennett would help fill Didi Gregorius' absence by playing second base in 2019, with Gleyber Torres being able to shift to shortstop. Gennett being a one-year rental would be a perfect stopgap for the infield and his left-handed bat, which has some pop, would complement the Yankees heavy right-handed leaning lineup.