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...
As Yankees-Mets talks stall, Andujar's availability comes to fruition
Talk of the Yankees and Mets striking a blockbuster deal fizzled somewhat Tuesday, but amid the letdown, SNY's Andy Martino tweeted that he had the sense that the Yanks would be willing to deal Miguel Andujar.
MY TAKE >> It stands to reason that if the Yankees are going to make a big trade for a starting pitcher, Andujar might need to lead the package. The Yankees have limited resources in the minor leagues that are clearly ready for the major leagues, so Andujar shoots to the top of the list for clubs. The Yanks must understand that for the right pitcher (Noah Syndergaard, Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer for example), they might have to let go of a very talented player like Andujar. If the Yankees were to trade Andujar, it would seem that their pursuit of Manny Machado will receive a boost.
Cashman mum on Machado pursuit; mystery team enters fray
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said he "wouldn't say" when asked if he was going to speak with Machado during the Winter Meetings. As it happens each winter, a mystery team has arrived in a free agent pursuit, making it four teams in on Machado.
MY TAKE >> Cashman likes to do as much work as he can behind the scenes, so even though everyone knows the Yankees are interested in Machado, there is no way Cashman is going to make it seem as though he cannot wait to speak with him. While Cashman keeps his thoughts on Machado in the dark, a team lurks that isn't named the Yankees, Phillies or the White Sox. Often times mystery teams can be dangerous and with the Yankees already suggesting that they will not pay Machado $300 million, New York could be out of the hunt sooner than we all initially thought. This of course could change if the Yankees do indeed trade Andujar for starting pitching.
Yankees losing out on Happ too?
Martino reported that the Yankees have "serious interest" in Happ, according to sources, but he has multiple offers. Martino previously said the Bombers are "highly reluctant" to go beyond a two-year deal for Happ.
MY TAKE >> Taking a hard line on Happ in reference to granting him a third season is not one I disagree with. The Yankees seem desperate to not make a mistake with contract lengths and taking the chance that Happ won't completely break down in a three-year timespan might be begging for a mistake. I've stressed over and over that the Yankees need to acquire, whether via free agency or by trade, a top of the rotation arm and Happ is not that. Could he help the Yankees? Sure, depth is always good, but Happ is not pushing the Yankees any further than they reached in 2018.
Yankees meet with Ottavino's reps
According the New York Post's Joel Sherman, the Yankees met with right-handed reliever Adam Ottavino's representatives Tuesday.
MY TAKE >> The Yankees have some work ahead of them concerning the bullpen after David Robertson and Zach Britton became free agents. The Yanks enjoy rolling out a strong bullpen and Ottavino is considered one of many reliever prizes this offseason. The estimated price tag for Ottavino -- figure about three years, $30 million range -- is somewhat hefty for a reliever that has surely sparkled, but cannot hide from being a Tommy John surgery recipient and the fact that he is entering his age-33 season. The Yankees love strikeouts from relievers and Ottavino delivered his best season in that area in 2018 with a 13.0 K/9 ratio and he owns a 10.1 K/9 rate for his career. Having a breakout season at 32 is somewhat unnerving at the cost expected, however among the other options, Ottavino is truly no more a risk than they are.