New York Yankees Offseason Tracker: Latest Trade Rumors, Free Agency News
The New York Yankees did not win the World Series in 2012, and you know what that means.
Yup, it means that they're going to be very busy this offseason doing their best to make sure it doesn't happen again.
However, this will be no ordinary offseason for Yankees GM Brian Cashman. With several players set to hit the open market and a few others on the trade block, the Yankees are bound to see quite a bit of turnover this winter. Come Opening Day in 2013, they're going to look drastically different from when we last saw them on the field in the American League Championship Series.
Perhaps this will be a good thing.
Regardless, it's going to be a long winter. Along the way, there will be plenty of rumors, transactions and announcements to keep track of.
Here's where you can keep track of such things. Every Yankees-related update will be addressed in the following slideshow, with the freshest ones right up front.
Orioles Claim Russ Canzler
Posted: Wednesday, Feb. 6 at 12:20 am ET
Oh, Russ Canzler. We hardly knew ye!
So let's see here. So far this offseason, Canzler has been selected off waivers by the Toronto Blue Jays from the Cleveland Indians, then was picked up back off waivers by the Indians, then was picked up off waivers by the Yankees, and now he's going to the Orioles.
Don't worry. I'm sure he's confused too.
I'm a little surprised the Yankees weren't more keen on keeping Canzler around. They need a right-handed stick with power for their bench, and Canzler fits that bill pretty well. He's crushed lefties in his brief major league career to the tune of a 1.086 OPS, and he can play the outfield and both corner infield spots.
He'll have a chance to stick it to the Yankees if he makes it with the Orioles, and he just might. The O's don't have much depth at first base, and that's where Canzler could come into play.
Yankees to Sign Travis Hafner
Posted: Thursday, Jan. 31 at 3:15 pm ET (Updates below)
Well, this came together quickly.
According to Chad Jennings of The Journal News, the Yankees are close enough to a deal with veteran DH Travis Hafner that they could announce something either later today or tomorrow. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com has also heard that the two sides are close to an agreement on a major league contract.
I'm assuming the deal will only be for one year at a very low base salary with incentives, which would make this an extremely low-risk signing for the Yankees. The reward could potentially be high.
Hafner has only played in 160 games over the last two seasons and in 429 games over the last five seasons, but he's tended to be a solid producer when he's been healthy. Since 2009, he has an .814 OPS and a 125 OPS+.
Conceivably, regular action at Yankee Stadium could help boost Hafner's power numbers, as he'd be taking aim at the short right field porch. If that could help Ichiro boost his power numbers, it could surely help Hafner.
Keeping him healthy will be the hard part. And to that end, all the Yankees will be able to do is cross their fingers and hope for the best. If Hafner does come alive, however, they'll have themselves a steal.
UPDATE: Friday, Feb. 1 at 3:35 pm ET
According to Jon Heyman, Hafner's deal is for one year at $2 million, plus incentives.
UPDATE No. 2: Saturday, Feb. 2 at 4:40 pm ET
ESPN's Buster Olney reports that Hafner can make up to $4 million in incentives.
A-Rod May Be Done with the Yankees, but Probably Not
Posted: Thursday, Jan. 31 at 11:50 am ET (Update below)
It's A-Rod's latest hip surgery that could do in his career. He's expected to be back in 2013, but there's at least a chance that his rehab will hit too many bumps to allow him to return. And even if he does, the surgery is likely to derail his career and render him, perhaps at best, a below-average reserve player.
Also, he'll be returning to a team that is fed up with him and doesn't really want him anymore.
“I don’t know why he would want to go through the pain of rehabbing and trying to play up to the caliber of player he was, and come back to a game where nobody wants him,” said a baseball official.
Rodriguez could be forced into an early retirement by his health, in which case the Yankees would be able to collect insurance on his contract. Or he could voluntarily retire after returning to a diminished role. If that happened, he and the Yankees would have to work out a settlement.
There's still the possibility of the Yankees voiding Rodriguez's contract, but that's highly unlikely to happen. They need MLB to suspend him for his alleged PED use first, and the league is going to have a hard time doing that without help.
The feds aren't helping MLB. Michael S. Schmidt of The New York Times says the government is reluctant to provide information from its own investigation into the wellness clinic that was the subject of this week's Miami New Times report. Players, naturally, are unlikely to help MLB's investigation into the matter as well.
So if A-Rod is going to walk away, it's going to be A-Rod's choice in some form or another.
In the past, I would have said good luck with that. Rodriguez has always had a sort of stubbornness about him, and he continued to be stubborn even after his 2012 season ended in embarrassing fashion. He insisted that he was going to be back, even going so far as to say he wouldn't waive his no-trade clause if the Yankees were to find a trade destination for him.
But things have changed over the last couple of months. I'm assuming that Rodriguez wasn't expecting to undergo another major hip surgery, nor was he anticipating this latest PED mess to come to light. Regardless of whether or not the allegations are true, his public perception has taken another huge hit. Nothing he does is going to rescue him from the bad graces of fans (and probably some teammates as well).
So the scenarios outlined by the Daily News certainly add up. A-Rod can be a broken-down player who nobody wants, or he can wash his hands of the game and dissolve into the background.
If he makes that decision, it probably won't be for a while still. But right about now, there is indeed a reasonable doubt as to whether A-Rod will ever suit up for the Yankees again.
UPDATE: Thursday, Jan. 31 at 7:25 pm ET
Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports has it on good authority from sources that A-Rod has no plans to retire. Put simply, he "will not retire, has no interest in a discounted buyout on the $114 million he is owed over the next five years and, if it came to it, likely would not approve a trade away from the Yankees."
As much as the Yankees want Rodriguez to go away, he's intent on sticking around.
Yankees Nearing Deal with Travis Hafner?
Posted: Wednesday, Jan. 30 at 1:10 pm ET
Left-handed sluggers tend to do well at Yankee Stadium, so this latest report doesn't come as too much of a surprise.
According to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com, the Yankees might be close to a deal with veteran DH Travis Hafner. The longtime Cleveland Indian was one of the most feared sluggers in baseball in 2005 and 2006, but he's a solid buy-low option following several subpar seasons over the last few years.
However, Bryan Hoch of MLB.com has heard otherwise. He confirms that the Yankees have expressed interest in Hafner, but he says a deal isn't believed to be imminent.
There are certainly complications to the idea of the Yankees signing Hafner. Chief among those is the fact that it may not be such a good idea for them to have a full-time DH. They're going to need that spot open so they can give older players like Derek Jeter, Kevin Youkilis and Mark Teixeira easier days at the office on occasion.
Though Hafner wouldn't cost that much to bring aboard, the Yankees have every reason to be skeptical about his ability to produce on a consistent basis. He's still a solid on-base guy, but he hasn't been a legit power threat since 2007.
The Yankees could decide that they have nothing to lose in bringing Hafner aboard, but they may have nothing to gain either.
How Alex Rodriguez Can Help the Yankees Clear His Contract
Posted: Wednesday, Jan. 30 at 12:00 pm ET
Following hip surgery and the latest report connecting him to performance-enhancing drugs, maybe Alex Rodriguez will just retire.
The Yankees would love that, as A-Rod would be forfeiting the $114 million still owed to him over the next five seasons if he were to retire. But, obviously, he's not going to do that.
What A-Rod could do, according to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com, is find a doctor who could vouch that he has suffered career-ending injuries. If he did, he would still collect the money owed to him, but insurance would cover 85 percent of the cost for the Yankees.
It may actually come to this. A-Rod had had two hip surgeries in four years, and it's possible that this latest one will force him to miss the entire 2013 season. It will come to that if his rehab slows and he suffers setbacks, in which case the writing will be on the wall that his body is no longer fit to play baseball.
A-Rod would have to miss the 2013 season for the Yankees to collect insurance on his contract. Knowing that, he probably won't have many people in the organization's front office rooting for a swift return.
Yankees Will Try (Unsuccessfully) to Void Alex Rodriguez's Contract
Posted: Tuesday, Jan. 29 at 10:55 pm ET
Because there isn't enough A-Rod drama in your life already...
By now, you've heard that Alex Rodriguez is a key player in a bombshell of a report from the Miami New Times about a PED-supplying wellness clinic in the Miami area. His name was mentioned repeatedly in conjunction with performance-enhancers like HGH and testosterone, and records referenced by the report claim that he was in contact with the clinic during the 2012 season.
There's a big fuss being made, and the Yankees are making one of their own behind the scenes. According to Wallace Matthews and Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com, the Yankees are looking into whether they'll be able to void what's left of Rodriguez's 10-year, $275 million contract.
The hurdles, however, are plentiful.
One: The Yankees can't do anything until MLB does something, and the league may not be able to do anything. A-Rod hasn't failed a drug test, so MLB can't suspend him unless it can find definitive proof that he bought and used the PEDs he supposedly bought and used. That won't be easy, especially given the reality that the documents referenced in the New Times report are all handwritten.
Two: Even if MLB does punish A-Rod, there's no precedent for a player having his contract voided because of PEDs. Furthermore, there are rules:
According to two baseball sources -- one of whom is familiar with the wording of Rodriguez's contract -- even if it is proved that Rodriguez received PEDs and HGH from Bosch, the Yankees would not be able to impose a punishment greater than the mandatory 50-game suspension stipulated for a first-time offender by baseball's collectively bargained Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
Three: A-Rod has already admitted to using PEDs once during the life of his current contract. That's another complication:
According to a source, the fact that the Yankees continued to honor Rodriguez's 10-year, $275 million contract extension after his public admissions of PED use in 2009 might further weaken their case to void the contract.
By their failure to act in 2009, the Yankees can be legally found to have "ratified" Rodriguez's behavior, defined as one party "accepting and approving the conduct of the other."
Long story short: Rodriguez is protected by miles and miles of red tape. As much as the Yankees would love to blow up his contract and blast the particles into space, they can't do a single thing unless MLB acts first and then the lawyers let them.
Good luck with that.
Yankees to Sign Juan Rivera
Posted: Tuesday, Jan. 29 at 12:40 am ET
The Yankees will find their right-handed-hitting outfielder with power, but not before they stage a competition before the job.
According to ESPNNewYork.com, veteran outfielder/first baseman Juan Rivera is the latest to join the battleground. The Yankees are signing him to a minor league deal, and will have him compete with Matt Diaz and Russ Canzler for a spot on the Yankees' bench.
Rivera came up with the Yankees in the early 2000s, but has spent the bulk of his career on the west coast playing for the Angels and Dodgers. He played in 109 games with the Dodgers in 2012, posting a .661 OPS and hitting nine home runs.
Rivera did, however, have a .745 OPS against lefty pitching in 2012, which is better than what Andruw Jones managed. For his career, Rivera has an .820 OPS against southpaws.
There's no risk to this signing for the Yankees. They're giving Rivera a chance to prove he has anything left in the tank. If he doesn't, oh well.
Yankees Avoid Arbitration with David Robertson, Sign Dan Johnson
Posted: Friday, Jan. 25 at 3:10 pm ET
A couple of minor things to catch up on real quick.
According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, the Yankees agreed to a deal with righty reliever David Robertson on Thursday, thus avoiding arbitration. He'll make $3.1 million in 2013, a nice raise on the $1.6 million he made in 2012.
Robertson wasn't as dominant in 2012 as he was in 2011, when he had a 1.08 ERA in 70 appearances and actually finished 11th in the AL Cy Young voting. However, he still managed a 2.67 ERA in 65 appearances and upped his K/BB ratio to 4.26.
Elsewhere, Sweeney Murti of WFAN reported that the Yankees signed Dan Johnson to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training. He hasn't been a regular player since 2007, but he does bring some decent pop to the table that he tends to show off in clutch situations.
If Johnson performs well, he could find his way onto the 40-man roster as a backup for Mark Teixeira and a lefty bat with power for Joe Girardi to bring off the bench.
Boone Logan Avoids Arbitration
Posted: Saturday, Jan. 19 at 3:20 pm ET
After avoiding arbitration with Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain, the Yankees managed to avoid it with left-hander Boone Logan too.
Via CAA Baseball:
Logan only made $1.875 million in 2012, a year in which he made 80 appearances and compiled a 3.74 ERA. He's getting a well-deserved raise.
Cot's Baseball Contracts now has the Yankees' 2013 payroll at over $201 million. They opened the 2012 season just south of $210 million.
As strange as it sounds, they won't have far to go to get under $189 million next year.
Yankees Avoid Arbitration with Joba Chamberlain
Posted: Friday, Jan. 18 at 1:10 pm ET
After avoiding arbitration with Phil Hughes earlier this week, the Yankees have now avoided arbitration with Joba Chamberlain.
The club announced on Thursday that Chamberlain will earn $1.875 million in 2013, a nice $200K raise over what he made in 2012.
Chamberlain had a 4.35 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP in 22 appearances in 2012 after missing the first four months recovering from various injuries. However, he did pick it up towards the end of the year, posting a 0.69 ERA and holding opponents to a .517 OPS over his final 13 appearances.
Chamberlain will be a free agent for the first time after the 2013 season is over. If he has a nice bounce-back year after two straight injury-ruined seasons, he should be in line for a good contract.
Yankees Avoid Arbitration with Phil Hughes
Posted: Thursday, Jan. 17 at 1:00 pm ET
The Yankees will not be going to arbitration with Phil Hughes.
The club announced on Wednesday that the right-hander agreed to a one-year deal worth $7.15 million. He made $3.2 million in 2012.
The 2013 season will be Hughes' walk year, and he stands to benefit greatly from a big year. He'll only be 27 when he enters the open market next winter, right in the middle of the prime of his career. The multi-year offers will come pouring in if he makes the 2013 season his best yet.
That could mean 2013 will be Hughes' last campaign in pinstripes, but the Yankees won't complain if Hughes has a big season. He would make their starting rotation among the deepest in baseball, and they would have an excuse to make him a qualifying offer at season's end.
But since Hughes has a 4.39 career ERA and has never pitched over 200 innings in a season, expectations for a huge 2013 season shouldn't be too high.
Yankees Cool on Justin Upton
Posted: Monday, Jan. 14 at 1:10 pm ET
Arizona Diamondbacks right fielder Justin Upton would fit the Yankees' desire for a right-handed outfielder with power, but the word is that he doesn't feature prominently on their radar.
According to Jon Morosi of FoxSports.com, the Yankees haven't picked up their pursuit of Upton in recent days even despite the fact that it's clear now more than ever that he's available. In fact, he would be a member of the Seattle Mariners right now had he not blocked a trade to them.
There are a couple things standing in the way of the Yankees acquiring Upton. Morosi indicated that the biggest roadblock is the nearly $40 million owed to Upton over the next three years, which is apparently too much money for the payroll-conscious Yankees.
Another big roadblock is the price the Yankees would have to pay to acquire Upton. As I wrote on Friday, the Yankees don't have the prospects to match the offer that the Mariners made the Diamondbacks, as they were prepared to send their top pitching prospect and several other top young players to Arizona.
This means that the Yankees would have to go through another team to get Upton, and even that would be difficult because of the club's lack of desirable assets. Morosi suggested that the Yankees could move Curtis Granderson for prospects and then swing those prospects to Arizona, but that's going to be hard to do given Granderson's impending free agency.
Plus, even if the Yankees were able to swing a deal like that, they'd still have the money to worry about. The roughly $40 million owed to Upton over the next three years isn't that much money in the grand scheme of things, but the Yankees are doing everything in their power to make sure their payroll isn't clogged in 2014 and beyond.
The Yankees may just be biding their time on the Upton front, but Brian Cashman is going to have to get very creative to get something done.
Yankees Interested in Mike Morse
Posted: Tuesday, Jan. 8 at 7:40 pm ET (Updates below)
According to Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com, the Yankees are among the teams interested:
Just Filed: Yanks have interest in trading for Morse.— Andrew Marchand (@AndrewMarchand) January 8, 2013
Makes sense. He's a right-handed-hitting outfielder with power. The Yankees are looking for one of those.
As for what it will take to land Morse, Jim Bowden of ESPN and SiriusXM has the scoop:
Nationals looking for LH relief help and/or prospects to help replenish farm system in a Michael Morse swap according to #Nats source— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) January 8, 2013
Not surprisingly, the New York Daily News pointed Boone Logan out as a potential fit for the Nationals. The 28-year-old lefty has a 3.42 ERA in 195 appearances over the last three seasons.
The Yankees could offer the Nationals some low-level prospects instead, and they may be willing to do a deal like that. Most other trade scenarios have the Yankees in a bind because of their lack of major league-ready prospects, but the Nats have less of a need for such prospects than most. Their big club is already stacked with young talent.
Morse hit 31 homers in 2011 and 18 in only 430 plate appearances in 2012. He would be a fine addition towards the end of what's so far been a lackluster offseason for the Yankees.
UPDATE: Thursday, Jan. 10 at 4:40 pm ET
Chad Jennings of The Journal News has a less-than-encouraging update:
Heard today that the Yankees have "nothing alive" on potential trade target Mike Morse.— Lohud Yankees Blog (@LoHudYankees) January 10, 2013
Par for the course.
UPDATE No. 2: Friday, Jan. 11 at 2:50 pm ET
Jack Curry of the YES Network has a slightly more encouraging update:
Yankees called the Nats about Morse after LaRoche signing, but Nats weren't ready to talk trade yet. The two teams will eventually talk.— Jack Curry (@JackCurryYES) January 11, 2013
This may be why there's "nothing alive" on Morse. If the Nats aren't ready to talk specifics yet, then every team probably has "nothing alive" going on.
Hal Steinbrenner Speaks!
Posted: Thursday, Jan. 10 at 6:30 pm ET
Yankees fans who think the team hasn't done enough to get better this winter are way more pessimistic than the man running the show.
Steinbrenner, re: fans angry about team's direction: "I’m surprised to hear that there’s anger, if you see what we’ve done this offseason."— Ken Davidoff (@KenDavidoff) January 10, 2013
He did, however, admit that the team isn't done yet:
That's not exactly a big secret, as it's common knowledge that the Yankees could use a right-handed stick for their outfield. They've been linked to Scott Hairston and Mike Morse, but the rumor mill says the Yankees aren't top suitors for either of them.
Cheapness is partially to blame, as the Yankees are hesitant to make any moves that would compromise their plans for the future that involve getting their payroll below $189 million in 2014.
Hal, however, hinted that these plans aren't necessarily set in stone:
Hal: "Is our goal 189 next year? Yes. But only if I’m convinced if the team I see, that we’ve put together, is a championship-caliber team."— Ken Davidoff (@KenDavidoff) January 10, 2013
Getting one's hopes up is not advised here, however. Hal went on to insist that it doesn't take a payroll over $189 million to construct a championship team:
Hal: Getting under $189 mil isn't just a 1-year goal: "I believe that you don’t have to have a $220-million payroll to win a championship."— Ken Davidoff (@KenDavidoff) January 10, 2013
He still doesn't sound like his late father, which means that the Yankees probably will remain committed to their plans in the long run.
And if so, that means it's still iffy as to whether Robinson Cano will be a Yankee in 2014 and beyond. He's going to command a lot of money when he hits free agency next winter, and Hal says they haven't even tried jumping the gun yet with an extension offer:
Hal Steinbrenner: "There’s been no real, significant dialogue" with Robinson Cano about an extension. #Yankees— Ken Davidoff (@KenDavidoff) January 10, 2013
If I had to sum up these comments, I'd choose two words:
Will Derek Jeter Opt out After 2013?
Posted: Wednesday, Jan. 9 at 6:05 pm ET
Everyone's worried about whether the Yankees will be able to pay Robinson Cano what he wants after the 2013 season is in the books, but what about Derek Jeter?
Kudos to Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com for bringing up a topic of discussion that never even occurred to me as a possibility. He writes that the $8 million player option on Jeter's contract for 2014 may not be good enough for him if he enjoys another strong season in 2013.
Now, my understanding is that Jeter's 2014 option will actually be for $9.5 million, as his deal calls for the option to raise with a Silver Slugger won between 2011 and 2013. He happened to win one of those in 2012 after hitting .316 and leading the league in hits.
But even that may not be good enough. If Jeter enjoys a strong season in 2013, he could opt not to pick up his 2014 option and instead pursue a contract worth more money. He could want either a lot of money for one final season or he may even want multiple years.
That would put the Yankees in a tight spot. They'd either have to give Jeter a raise, which would compromise their payroll plans for 2014, or wash their hands of him and pursue a replacement for him.
That would be pretty cold, and it's not likely to happen because there aren't any star shortstops set to hit free agency next winter. The best of the bunch is probably Stephen Drew, and he has much to prove in 2013.
Thus, the best hope for the Yankees is that Jeter proves able to be their everyday shortstop once again in 2014. But if he does, he may make them pay him.
Just what the Yankees need: Another complication.
The Latest on Rafael Soriano
Posted: Monday, Jan. 7 at 7:10 pm ET (Update below)
Rafael Soriano is still out there somewhere looking for a job. So far, the rumor mill has been very quiet about where he might end up next.
According to Bob Klapisch of The Record, Soriano's agent, the great Scott Boras, made an interesting proposal to the Yankees last month:
Told Scott Boras asked #Yankees last month if they'd consider taking Rafael Soriano back on a 1-yr deal. Request flatly denied.— Bob Klapisch (@BobKlap) January 7, 2013
ESPN's Buster Olney has a look as to why the Yankees were to so quick to reject the idea:
The Yankees want the draft pick/draft dollars they'll get when Soriano signs elsewhere more than they want him back, no matter the contract.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) January 7, 2013
Yeah, the Yankees are serious about this whole going cheap thing.
That Boras even thought to approach the Yankees about a one-year reunion could be an indication that the market for the reliever is as quiet as it seems to be. It was apparent before that he and Soriano overplayed their hand, and now it seems like a fait accompli that they did.
Still, I think a one-year deal between the Yankees and Soriano is a possibility, for reasons I discussed in an article posted today. I'd say a deal is highly unlikely, but the notion of bringing Soriano back as Mariano Rivera insurance is going to be awfully tempting for the Yankees if Soriano is still unsigned during spring training.
We shall see.
UPDATE: Tuesday, Jan. 8 at 8:05 pm ET
Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com has heard that Soriano has not approached the Yankees about a one-year deal, seemingly contradicting Klapisch's report.
But maybe not. Klapisch never said that Soriano approached the Yankees about a one-year reunion. He said Scott Boras did, which may be true.
Scott Hairston Weighing Yankees and Mets
Posted: Monday, Jan. 7 at 7:30 pm ET (Updates below)
The Yankees want Scott Hairston, and the word is that they stand a 50-50 chance of signing him.
The potential hang-up for the Yankees hasn't changed. Whereas the Mets can offer Hairston a chance to play in the outfield every day, the Yankees are looking at him as a fourth outfielder who can share time with Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson and Ichiro Suzuki.
Plus, it's unknown whether Hairston would settle for a one-year deal from the Yankees, or if the Yankees are willing to give him the multi-year deal he seeks.
The Yankees have already missed out on a couple of intended targets this winter. I wouldn't be shocked if they miss out on another here, as the Mets can offer Hairston what he wants more easily than the Yankees can.
Hairston's mind should be made up in the next few days. My money is on him signing with the Mets.
UPDATE: Tuesday, Jan. 8 at 12:20 pm ET
Here's an update from Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com that isn't encouraging:
Yankees are pessimistic about signing Hairston. Feeling is he will get more ABs elsewhere.— Andrew Marchand (@AndrewMarchand) January 8, 2013
This could be changed with the right offer, but the Yankees aren't in the overpaying business anymore.
UPDATE No. 2: Tuesday, Jan. 8 at 8:05 pm ET
Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweeted today that the Yankees "don't seem" involved on Hairston. They may have already bowed out.
Ben Francisco on Yankees' Radar, but Not Jim Thome
Posted: Monday, Jan. 7 at 3:20 pm ET
Another name can be added to the pile of righty-hitting outfielders the Yankees are considering.
According to Mark Hale of the New York Post, the Yankees are interested in Ben Francisco:
However, this could be problematic for the Yankees:
The fact that the Yankees are looking for a part-timer could take them out of the running for Francisco, but that may depend on the Mets. If they re-sign Scott Hairston, they'll view Francisco as a part-timer as well, and that could steer him towards the Yankees.
Not that Francisco would be much of a prize acquisition, mind you. He played with three different teams in 2012, and he owns a career OPS of .751.
Elsewhere, Hale notes that the Yankees aren't interested in bringing veteran slugger Jim Thome aboard:
On #Yankees, no interest in Thome. And as I posted yesterday, have not tried to coax Chipper out of retirement. Although other teams have.— Mark Hale (@HaleMark) January 7, 2013
Makes sense. With so many old players on their roster, the Yankees don't want one guy hogging the DH spot.
Brian Cashman Not Looking at Catchers or Relievers
Posted: Sunday, Jan. 6 at 7:20 pm ET
The Yankees' roster is pretty well set, but it wouldn't hurt for them to bring in a catcher and/or a reliever from the free-agent market.
But they won't. Brian Cashman spoke with Anthony Rieber of Newsday, and he told him flat-out that he's not looking for catchers or bullpen help on the open market.
"Our catchers are here on the roster," Cashman said. "It was either Russell Martin or we're going from within."
As for relievers, Cashman said: "I am not looking for bullpen help, I can tell you that."
If these two areas are indeed set, then the only thing the Yankees may still be looking for on the free-agent market is a righty-hitting outfielder. They've been rumored to be interested in Scott Hairston, but after him their options are pretty slim.
These things considered, it sounds like Cashman is pretty much done with his offseason shopping.
Yankees Among Teams Interested in Lance Berkman
Posted: Friday, Jan. 4 at 10:30 pm ET (Update below)
Lance Berkman may be donning pinstripes again in the near future.
But then again, he probably won't be.
According to Ken Davidoff of the New York Post, the Yankees are interested in the veteran switch-hitter, but the interest may not necessarily be mutual:
The #Yankees are interested in Lance Berkman, but it's not clear whether he'd consider a return to NY given the Texas teams' involvement.— Ken Davidoff (@KenDavidoff) January 4, 2013
It's hard to see where Berkman would fit on the Yankees anyway. Their biggest need is for a righty-hitting outfielder, and Berkman is more of a DH/first base-type player now. The Yankees have Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis to play first, and they're going to need to keep their DH spot clear to rest some tired old legs now and then.
Whether or not Berkman would even help the Yankees is another question. He'll be 37 in February, and he's coming off an injury-riddled season in which he only played in 32 games.
The last thing the Yankees need is another old guy with too many miles on his body.
UPDATE: Sunday, Jan. 6 at 7:20 pm ET
Berkman signed with the Texas Rangers on Saturday, so there goes this possibility.
Austin Romine Likely to Begin 2013 Season in the Minors
Posted: Friday, Jan. 4 at 4:45 pm ET
With Russell Martin gone, the plan is for the Yankees to fill their need for a catcher with internal options.
It sounds like they're down to two options, as Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News has heard from Brian Cashman that catching prospect Austin Romine is likely to begin the 2013 season in Triple-A.
"I expect Romine to go to Triple-A,” Cashman said. “He missed all of last year, almost . . . I don’t expect him to be our everyday catcher out of the gate. He always has the possibility of taking it, but realistically, if I were in prediction mode, I’d say Triple-A. But he has a chance to alter that.”
If so, that leaves Chris Stewart and Francisco Cervelli to battle it out for the starting job. Stewart may have the inside track after playing 55 games with the Yankees in 2012, whereas Cervelli only played in three games.
Cashman indicated that it will come down to who gives the team better defense behind the plate, so the guy who hits better during spring training may not necessarily get the nod.
Should be fun. You know, if you like position battles between two mediocre players.
Yankees Claim Russ Canzler
Posted: Friday, Jan. 4 at 4:40 pm ET
Man, is that an awesome picture of Russ Canzler or what?
I only bring up Canzler because he was claimed off waivers by the Yankees today, according to ESPN's Buster Olney. He's a right-handed hitter who can play some left field and first base, so he fits with the club's needs pretty well.
Expect Canzler to compete for a job in spring training with Matt Diaz for now, but he probably won't be the last right-handed hitter the Yankees grab before pitchers and catchers.
UPDATE: Friday, Jan. 4 at 2:25 pm ET
According to Chad Jennings of The Journal News, the Yankees have designated outfielder Chris Dickerson for assignment as a corresponding move.
Yankees Not Interested in Delmon Young
Posted: Wednesday, Jan. 2 at 6:50 pm ET
The Yankees still need a righty-hitting outfielder. Might they consider Delmon Young?
The answer, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, is no. With a capital N to boot.
He explained why in two separate tweets on Wednesday. Here's one:
Even after sign Matt Diaz to minor deal, #Yankees looking for RH punch v. LHs. Have no interest in Delmon Young, who is still fr agt (con)— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) January 2, 2013
And here's two:
Young v. LHs:.307/.341/.483, plus 3 strong DS v. #Yankees. But NYY views as horrible OF plus anti-semitic rant makes untenable in NYC— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) January 2, 2013
This all adds up pretty well. There's no point in having a fourth outfielder who can't field, and the last thing the Yankees need is people calling attention to Young's arrest in New York last April every chance they get.
Besides, Young probably doesn't view the Yankees as a fit either. He shouldn't be looking to take a part-time job at this stage of his career, when he could put himself in line for a multi-year deal next winter with a strong season on a one-year deal in 2013. And if he is going to play full-time, he may prefer it do be as a DH rather than as an outfielder.
I wouldn't give this any more thought. It's not happening.
Yanks Still Interested in Scott Hairston
Posted: Friday, Dec. 28 at 12:45 pm ET
Earlier this week, the Yankees picked up Matt Diaz to help balance out their all lefty-hitting outfield.
They may not be done adding just yet. According to Kevin Kernan of the New York Post, the Yankees are still interested in Scott Hairston, another righty-hitting outfielder who has carved out a nice living as a part-time player.
The circumstances, however, haven't really changed. Hairston would be a good pick-up for the Yankees, but it won't be easy for them to acquire him because he's looking for a multi-year deal and a chance for regular playing time.
The Yankees have avoided multi-year deals this winter, and they don't have a starting job to offer Hairston with three starting outfielders already locked up for 2013. To sign Hairston, they'll probably have to overpay him.
They would probably be more than open to doing that if Hairston was only looking for a one-year deal, but overpaying him for two years would impact their plans for a lower payroll in 2014.
This would be your daily reminder that these aren't The Boss' Yankees anymore.
Yankees to Sign Matt Diaz
Posted: Wednesday, Dec. 26 at 7:20 pm ET
The Yankees have filled their need for a right-handed outfielder with a bit of power.
BREAKING: Yankees have agreed to terms on minor-league deal with outfielder Matt Diaz. Invite to big-league camp and will compete for spot.— Mark Feinsand (@FeinsandNYDN) December 26, 2012
And the terms:
Source says Diaz will earn $1.2 million plus incentives if he makes the big-league club. #Yankees— Mark Feinsand (@FeinsandNYDN) December 26, 2012
Diaz has compiled a .291/.339/.431 slash line during his 10-year major league career, in which he's been used primarily as a left fielder. He has logged a significant amount of time in right field as well, however.
With Diaz aboard, the Yankees are pretty much all set in regards to their offense. They may go out and shore up their catching depth, but such a move isn't vital with Austin Romine, Chris Stewart and Francisco Cervelli lined up to share catching duties in 2013.
UPDATE: Thursday, Dec. 27 at 12:45 pm ET
Marc Carig of Newsday has the details for Diaz's incentives:
Source also confirms just how low-risk this will be for Yankees: Diaz could max out at $2m if he makes majors. All incentives worth 800k.— Marc Carig (@MarcCarig) December 26, 2012
Also, Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com doesn't think this signing is going to end the Yankees' search for righty-hitting outfielders:
If so, that means Scott Hairston and others are still in play.
Yankees' Rotation Not Getting Another Upgrade
Posted: Sunday, Dec. 23 at 2:20 pm ET
The Yankees re-signed both Andy Pettitte and Hiroki Kuroda earlier this offseason. Because they did, their rotation is one of the only areas on the team that doesn't appear to need upgrading.
Brian Cashman doesn't think so either. He told Christian Red of the New York Daily News that there are no plans in place to tinker with the rotation the team has in place. And for what it's worth, veteran left-hander Francisco Liriano was never on their radar before he signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
As things stand right now, the Yankees' rotation will consist of CC Sabathia, Kuroda, Pettitte, Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova. Health permitting, that's a rotation that could do some damage.
If the Yankees do make a move in regards to their rotation, it will probably be to add some depth. They could use a long man/spot starter along the lines of Freddy Garcia just in case of an injury.
And rest assured, injuries will happen. Not every team can be the 2012 Cincinnati Reds.
Outfield Notes: Swisher and Ibanez Are Gone, Scott Hairston Still in Play
Posted: Sunday, Dec. 23 at 2:10 pm ET
It's official. Nick Swisher and Raul Ibanez will not be returning to the Yankees in 2013.
Swisher agreed to a four-year deal with the Cleveland Indians on Sunday that could pay him as much as $70 million when all is said and done. Ibanez agreed to a one-year deal with the Seattle Mariners on Saturday that will pay him $2.75 million.
Meanwhile, ESPN's Buster Olney reported on Saturday that the Yankees are not close to a trade for an outfielder. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com provided a list of their options on both the trade and free-agent markets:
Hairston has seemed to be the Yankees' primary target all along, as he's a righty hitter with power who can play all three outfield spots. However, they don't have a starting job to offer him, and Heyman says that could put the Yankees at a disadvantage:
If so, the Yankees may have to drastically overpay Hairston in order to get him. And since he's looking for a multi-year deal, they may not be willing to do that.
Given the way this offseason has already gone for the Yankees, it would be fairly typical if they missed out on Hairston next.
No Pierzynski for Yankees, Plan Is to Stick with What They Have
Posted: Friday, Dec. 21 at 1:35 pm ET
So much for the idea of A.J. Pierzynski joining the Yankees. He signed with the Texas Rangers on a one-year deal on Thursday.
According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, the Yankees never even made the veteran catcher an offer:
#yankees did NOT make an offer to AJ pierzynski. plan at present is to go with cervelli/stewart/romine— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 21, 2012
There you have it. The Yankees are going to go with a motley crew behind the plate. Should be fun.
Unless, of course, they're just posturing here. Maybe they're planning something bigger?
Perhaps, but it's hard to tell what it could be. The free-agent market is devoid of quality starting catchers, and there are only so many catchers out there who could be had in a trade.
Joe Mauer could be one, but it would take an overwhelming offer to land him and the Yankees would have to abandon their payroll plans for 2014 in order to accommodate his contract.
It could very well be that they are indeed willing to suffer through what will likely be very poor production from their catchers in 2013 and then reassess the situation next offseason.
Memo to Gary Sanchez: Please hurry.
Yankees Iffy on A.J. Pierzynski
Posted: Wednesday, Dec. 19 at 7:55 pm ET
A.J. Pierzynski is the obvious solution to the Yankees' catcher quandary, but that doesn't mean he's the best solution.
Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com has heard that this is precisely what the Yankees are thinking:
The Yankees have more than a couple reasons to be skeptical about Pierzynski.
One, his power surge in 2012 was probably too good to be true. He hit 27 home runs at the age of 35 after never hitting more than 18 in a single season. Odds are he's not going to show off that much power again.
Two, Pierzynski's personality would be an odd fit for the Yankees' clubhouse. He has a reputation for saying and doing what he wants, and that may not fly as well in New York as it has in Chicago these last few years.
Three, he may want a multi-year contract. With the exception of Ichiro's deal, the Yankees have avoided multi-year contracts like the plague this winter.
Going with Austin Romine would be risky given his lack of experience, but it could be that the Yankees know something about him that the rest of us don't.
Either that, or this is just them posturing.
Ichiro's Deal Finally Official
Posted: Wednesday, Dec. 19 at 7:40 pm ET
Ichiro's deal with the Yankees is official.
Like, officially official. O-finally.
That takes care of the Yankees' need for an everyday right fielder, and in Ichiro they're retaining a player who's still a plus defender who was a surprisingly productive hitter for them in 2012. In 67 games as a Yankee, Ichiro hit .322 with a .454 slugging percentage and 14 stolen bases.
Ichiro's age is a concern, as he's 39 now and will be 40 in the second year of the deal. He addressed this concern in a statement:
I believe the Yankees organization appreciates that there is a difference between a 39-year-old who has played relying only on talent, and a 39-year-old who has prepared, practiced, and thought thoroughly through many experiences for their craft. I am very thankful, and I will do my best to deliver on their expectations.
In other words: The Yankees may have old players, but at least they have dedicated old players.
Yankees' Luxury Tax Payment Increased
Posted: Wednesday, Dec. 19 at 1:15 pm ET
This isn't a rumor, but it's worth passing along anyway.
According to the Associated Press, the Yankees' luxury tax payment this year is $19,311,642. It was initially calculated at $18,917,994, but Major League Baseball revised the total on Tuesday.
Luxury tax included, the Yankees paid a total of $223.4 million for their roster this season. No other team had a payroll over the $178 million threshold, so the Yankees are the only team that has to pay the luxury tax this year.
The luxury tax threshold will increase to $189 million in 2014. If the Yankees are over the threshold then, they'll have to pay a 50 percent tax. Right now, they're paying a 42.5 percent tax.
You've no doubt heard by now that club boss Hal Steinbrenner would rather not do that if he can help it. From a business perspective, his goal makes perfect sense. It's also worth (re-) noting that the club's luxury tax status will reset if they avoid paying the tax in 2014, meaning they'll be free to escalate their payroll again if they choose.
That would seem to be their endgame. If they're going to go cheap permanently, however, they're going to have to change the way they do things for more than just one year.
Don't Count on Michael Bourn Ending Up in Pinstripes
Posted: Tuesday, Dec. 18 at 11:20 pm ET
A rumor came out this weekend that the Yankees may be interested in free-agent center fielder Michael Bourn.
Today, Wallace Matthews of ESPNNewYork.com shot that rumor to pieces. A source told him there is "no chance" that the Yankees will sign Bourn for the following reasons:
For one, the price tag is too high. For another, Bourn is a left-handed hitter, and the Yankees already have three of them in their projected starting outfield for 2013. And for a third, until further notice, the Yankees already have a center fielder in Curtis Granderson.
You can count me among those who think the Yankees could make it work, but either they don't want to make it work or they don't want people to think they could make it work.
Judging from Matthews' tone, though, this is legit. Bourn may not be on the club's radar at all.
Instead, Matthews says that the front-runner in the Yankees' search for an outfielder is Scott Hairston. He'd be considerably cheaper, and he's the right-handed outfielder with power and versatility that they need.
Hairston, however, would apparently prefer to return to the Mets rather than sign with the Yankees.
Mayans, dude. Mayans.
Curtis Granderson Knows Free Agency Is Coming
Posted: Tuesday, Dec. 18 at 12:55 pm ET
Everyone knows that Curtis Granderson is not going to sign an extension with the Yankees at any point in the next few months.
Even Granderson himself understands this. He told Ken Davidoff of the New York Post on Monday that he fully expects to hit free agency at the end of the 2013 season:
Especially with this team being the way it has been, historically, the talks of extending guys out before the end typically isn’t their M.O. If it happens, we’ll address it as that time comes. But I’m just excited to play this year, and then, once we get to the end, we’ll take it at that point.
Davidoff notes that Brian Cashman has floated the idea of changing the team's practice of not extending its players before they hit free agency, but the Yankees seemed to cool on the idea of extending Granderson after he finished the season poorly. He managed just a .758 OPS in the second half, and then continued his struggles in the postseason.
As such, Granderson is heading towards the 2013 season with much to prove. He'll need to make the most of his contract year if he wants to maximize the value of his next contract, but good luck getting him to admit that he's on the lookout for a huge payday.
“It’s interesting to know that that’s coming,” he said. “It’s amazing just to look back and where I’ve been, where I’m at right now, and know that time is approaching. I’m excited for it. It’s definitely going to be a challenge, something I’ve never had to deal with. But I’ll just get ready for it and accept all of the changes and challenges that come with it.”
Typical Granderson quote...and there's nothing wrong with that.
Is Michael Bourn on the Yankees' Radar?
Posted: Sunday, Dec. 16 at 2:20 pm ET
The Yankees already have a pretty good center fielder. They have two if you count Brett Gardner.
But they may be interested in Michael Bourn anyway. According to Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe, there are some who believe that the Yankees are "quietly interested" in Bourn, and that they could be the team to sign him if the price drops.
To make room for Bourn, the Yankees would have to trade either Gardner or Curtis Granderson. Granderson would be the more likely of the two to go, but it would be hard for the Yankees to find a taker for him.
Several free-agent center fielders have already signed and the Minnesota Twins have dealt two of their center fielders to needy teams. Thus, the demand for center fielders is pretty well dried up.
Factor in the reality that Granderson is owed $15 million in 2013 and will then become a free agent, and there really aren't that many potential suitors.
Still, one thing that's for sure is that Bourn would fit well on the Yankees. He'd be a huge defensive upgrade in center, and he could slide into the leadoff spot with Derek Jeter moving down to the No. 2 hole.
The Yankees could be able to get away with paying Bourn less than $15 million per year, which wouldn't necessarily compromise their payroll plans if Granderson is moved. The Yankees have a lot of money coming off the books after 2013, and they'll have a ton of payroll space to work with if they don't extend Robinson Cano.
I wouldn't count on this actually happening, but it's an interesting possibility.
Yanks Have Discussed Vernon Wells, Still Looking at Scott Hairston
Posted: Saturday, Dec. 15 at 10:55 pm ET
Those who think the Yankees are getting too old and less talented are going to just love this rumor.
According to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com, the Yankees discussed a trade with the Angels for veteran outfielder Vernon Wells, who has a .667 OPS over the last two seasons, at the winter meetings earlier this month.
Wells would fill the Yankees' need for a right-handed outfielder, and he likely wouldn't cost them that much. The Angels understand that nobody is going to take on the $42 million still owed to Wells, and they thus know that they'd have to eat the bulk of it in order to move him.
So if the Yankees were to acquire Wells, he wouldn't get in the way of their plans for their payroll. He would still, however...well, get in the way.
Wells still has pop in his bat, but he can't hit or field like he used to. He'd basically be just another version of Andruw Jones, who was next to useless in the final couple months of the 2012 season.
The Yankees are better off going with Scott Hairston to fill their need for a right-handed outfielder. They're interested in him, but they may be scared off by Hairston's desire for a two-year deal. After the year Hairston just had, the Yankees would likely have to overpay him as well.
The Yankees can pick their poison here. My vote would be for Hairston, but neither he nor wells is a slam-dunk option.
Yankees to Sign Ichiro
Posted: Wednesday, Dec. 12 at 12:50 pm ET (Updates below)
Consider the Yankees' hole in right field taken care of.
As first reported by Craig Carton of WFAN, Ichiro is coming back to the Yankees:
ichiro is ayankee for 2013— Craig Carton (@cc660) December 12, 2012
The bigger question now is what the exact structure of his deal is going to be like, as all anybody really knows at this point is that he's coming back, period.
According to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com, Ichiro's deal could be for one year, two years or one year with a vesting option for 2014. Joel Sherman of the New York Post has reported that the deal is likely to be a two-year pact worth $12-14 million.
Two guaranteed years for Ichiro isn't the greatest idea. He was certainly a productive player for the Yankees in 2012, hitting .322 in 67 games, but he's pushing 40 and it must be remembered that he was a liability for the Seattle Mariners before he was traded.
A one-year deal with a vesting option, though? That's not such a bad idea. If Ichiro is really willing to go back to The Bronx that much, perhaps he'll settle for such a deal.
UPDATE: Wednesday, Dec. 12 at 8:20 pm ET
This deal still isn't done, and Jeff Bradley of The Star-Ledger says it's not getting done tonight:
Source just told me Ichiro contract won't be done tonight. But, guess what? It's close. #yankees— Jeff Bradley (@JerseyJBradley) December 12, 2012
No reason to panic. Just crossing T's and dotting I's is my guess.
UPDATE No. 2: Thursday, Dec. 13 at 5:45 om ET
Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com has the potential parameters of the deal:
ichiro, yankees deal will be for between $12-13M, still working on structure.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 13, 2012
Two guaranteed years for a 39-year-old outfielder? This could be fun.
UPDATE No. 3: Thursday, Dec. 13 at 9:25 pm ET
Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News says the deal is just about there:
Source says Yankees and Ichiro close to finalizing two-year contract worth $12-13 million. Two sides putting finishing touches on deal.— Mark Feinsand (@FeinsandNYDN) December 14, 2012
The money is fine, but the "two years" part is still squirm-worthy.
Yanks Extend a Hand to Bobby Wilson and Gil Velazquez
Posted: Thursday, Dec. 13 at 6:55 pm ET
Josh Hamilton and Ryan Dempster have both signed today, and Anibal Sanchez may soon be next.
Meanwhile, the Yankees have picked up catcher Bobby Wilson and infielder Gil Velazquez!
The Wilson news came from ESPN's Buster Olney:
Catcher Bobby Wilson has agreed to terms on a minor-league deal with the Yankees, with an invitation to spring training.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 13, 2012
The Velazquez news came from Joel Sherman of the New York Post:
Sorry that is Gil Velazquez signed to a minor league deal by #Yankees.— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) December 13, 2012
So the Yankees picked up another catcher who isn't an everyday starter and an infielder who's probably no better than Eduardo Nunez or Jayson Nix.
Cool story, bro.
Contract for Ichiro Up Next?
Posted: Tuesday, Dec. 11 at 7:05 pm ET
The Yankees have signed Kevin Youkilis, thus taking care of the hole at third base that was opened up by Alex Rodriguez's pending hip surgery.
Right field may be next, and Jack Curry of the YES Network says that Ichiro looks to be the man for the job:
With Youkilis in the fold, the Yankees will next look to complete a deal with Ichiro. Source said that could happen in the next 48 hours.— Jack Curry (@JackCurryYES) December 11, 2012
I can't say I'm surprised. The Yankees have been looking for cheap, one-year commitments, and that's all it's going to take to re-sign Ichiro.
Ichiro hit .322 with a surprisingly high .454 slugging percentage in 67 games for the Yankees in 2012, and he's still a capable defensive outfielder. If Brett Gardner stays healthy, Ichiro can provide a little offense at the back end of Joe Girardi's batting order.
The Yankees will be signing up to have a shortage of power in their outfield in 2013 if they re-up with Ichiro, but the other options before them don't appear to fit with their financial plan. Ichiro does, and the Yankees know from experience that he can help them.
Yankees Sign Kevin Youkilis
Posted: Tuesday, Dec. 11 at 6:15 pm ET
It's (kinda/sorta/almost) official. Kevin Youkilis is a Yankee.
This is according to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com:
Source: #Yankees sign Youkilis, one year, $12M.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 11, 2012
He then clarified that it's not quite 100 percent official yet:
To clarify on Youkilis and #Yankees: Two sides in agreement, one year, $12M. Deal almost certainly pending physical.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 11, 2012
Once the formalities are all taken care of, the Yankees will have themselves an experienced third baseman they can plug in until Alex Rodriguez gets healthy.
There's not much of a difference between A-Rod and Youkilis from an offensive standpoint these days. A-Rod finished 2012 with a .783 OPS and 18 home runs in 122 games. Youk also played in 122 games, posting a .745 OPS and hitting 19 home runs.
Still, it's going to be really awkward if Youk turns back the clock and mashes the ball in the months before A-Rod comes back. What do the Yankees do with Rodriguez if Youk is a star hitter again?
Sounds Like Ichiro Is Coming Back
Posted: Monday, Dec. 10 at 9:45 pm ET
The Yankees' vacancy in right field may soon be filled with a familiar face.
According to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com, the Yankees are showing "strong interest" in re-signing veteran right fielder Ichiro Suzuki. A source said that the club is "all over him" and that a deal "will happen."
If so, it's presumably going to be a one-year deal, the likes of which the Yankees are collecting at a rapid pace this offseason. Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera have all signed one-year contracts, and Kevin Youkilis may also sign a one-year contract now that the Cleveland Indians no longer need him.
If Ichiro is brought back, the Yankees' outfield will be exclusively left-handed with Brett Gardner in left field and Curtis Granderson in center field. That's a problem that could conceivably be solved with a trade of Granderson, but that may not happen now that the demand for center fielders has dried up in the last couple weeks.
However, even despite the club's abundance of left-handed hitters, Rosenthal says there's still a chance that Raul Ibanez will be brought back as a fourth outfielder/designated hitter. He wasn't much good away from Yankee Stadium in 2012, but he definitely took advantage of the stadium's short right field porch when he played at home. He slugged .545 at home, as opposed to .365 on the road.
For that matter, Yankee Stadium proved to be a good fit for Ichiro as well. He hit .338 with a .531 slugging percentage in Yankees home games, with five of his nine home runs in only 37 games.
UPDATE: Monday, Dec. 10 at 5:50 pm ET
Here's this from ESPN's Buster Olney:
The Yankees are moving closer to a deal with Ichiro Suzuki; it's expected to be done within the next few days.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 10, 2012
So there's that. I still can't get over how shrug-worthy this is compared to what things would have been like a couple years ago.
Kevin Youkilis Nearly in the Bag?
Posted: Monday, Dec. 10 at 3:30 pm ET
Go ahead and start ordering your Kevin Youkilis Yankees jerseys if you must. A deal isn't done yet, but it's probably just a matter of time now.
It's already been reported that the Yankees have a one-year offer worth $12 million out to the former Boston Red Sox All-Star. Wallace Matthews of ESPNNewYork.com has heard from Youk's agent, Joe Bick, that the offer is "very legitimate" and that his client is "seriously considering" it.
And for what it's worth, Youk's uncle is excited about the prospect of his nephew joining the Yankees. He's a bistro owner in Manhattan, and my understanding is that such people are legit authorities on a great many things in New York.
I kid, of course, but I'll say again that this deal should get done. In fact, I'm surprised it's not yet official.
The Yankees need a third baseman to fill in for Alex Rodriguez, and Youkilis is a third baseman who can fill in for Alex Rodriguez. He wants to be paid handsomely, and the Yankees want to pay him handsomely.
Since the parts match up so well, it's hard to see this not happening.
The Yankees and Josh Hamilton
Posted: Friday, Dec. 7 at 12:50 pm ET
We're not used to disregarding the Yankees as an option whenever a marquee free agent is looking for work, but that's precisely what's happened with them and Josh Hamilton.
But wait just a minute. Here's this from Bob Nightengale of USA Today:
The #Yankees, but not GM Brian Cashman, quietly running background check on Josh Hamilton, rival GM says— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 7, 2012
Is this a case where smoke could lead to fire?
Absolutely. The Yankees have had a (much too) quiet offseason to this point, and the market for Hamilton is pointing towards a three- or four-year deal rather than a six- or seven-year deal. As such, the Yankees wouldn't necessarily be repeating a past mistake if they were to sign him, as they may not have him on their hands for all that long.
Yes, there are the payroll restrictions to worry about. But in this case, where there's a will, there's surely a way. The Yanks could clear some payroll space right away by trading Curtis Granderson, and they're going to have a lot of money coming off the books next year when Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera all have their contracts expire.
Exactly how Hamilton would fit in New York is the iffy part. What isn't so iffy is the reality that he would be an utterly perfect fit for Yankee Stadium.
UPDATE: Sunday, Dec. 9 at 5:55 pm ET
Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com has thrown some water on this idea:
#yankees not involved with hamilton at this point. hear they'd only consider if fell into lap at low #. not happening.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 9, 2012
The Dodgers' signing of Zack Greinke could be the true death of this possibility. The Rangers supposedly wanted Greinke more than they wanted to re-sign Hamilton. Now that they can't have him, they may settle and give Hamilton what he wants.
If so, then Hamilton probably will be way too expensive for the Yankees.
Robinson Cano May Not Be Sticking Around
Posted: Saturday, Dec. 8 at 1:40 pm ET
The Yankees may lose their best player after next season comes to a close.
According to Mark Feinsand and Christian Red of the New York Daily News, it's already being speculated among people in the know that the Yankees won't be able to keep Robinson Cano beyond the 2013 season. He's due to become a free agent next winter, and he may end up seeking a deal similar to Alex Rodriguez's 10-year, $275 million monstrosity of a contract.
“I don’t think he’ll be with the Yankees beyond next season,” said a source. “He’s not giving them a hometown discount, and they seem to be more interested in keeping their payroll down than winning.”
Said another source: “He knows he’s the best player on the Yankees. There’s no reason for him not to be paid that way.”
Cano will be 31 years old next winter, the same age as Albert Pujols when he signed his 10-year deal with the Angels last year and a year younger than A-Rod was when he signed his 10-year deal in 2007.
If the 2013 season follows the same pattern as most of Cano's other seasons, he'll be perfectly able to demand such a ridiculous contract. With his powerful bat and excellent defense, Cano has a strong case to proclaim himself the best second baseman in the game.
He'll certainly be paid like the best second baseman in the game, and that could indeed mean a $25-plus million per year deal at the rate the salaries for impact players are increasing.
The Yankees could find a way to make a deal like that work for them, but they may opt to have a ton of extra payroll space instead. It will also be a lot easier for them to stay under $189 million if they avoid putting another super-expensive player on their books.
Latest on A.J. Pierzynski
Posted: Saturday, Dec. 8 at 4:25 pm ET
With Russell Martin gone and Mike Napoli off the market, A.J. Pierzynski is the only difference-making catcher left on the free-agent market for the Yankees to sign.
To date, though, they haven't been in much of a hurry to sign him. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com shed some light on why:
#yankees hesitating on pierzynski because they view him as only average defender. AJ had big yr but market a mystery— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 8, 2012
They're right, of course, but it's not like the Yankees are trying to find a replacement for Ivan Rodriguez behind the plate. Their bigger concern is replacing the power they lost when Martin signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Pierzynski can provide that. It's hard to see him hitting 27 home runs again like he did in 2012, but he could be good for 15-20 if he were to play half his games at Yankee Stadium.
The bigger concern for the Yankees should be how Pierzynski's personality would fit into their clubhouse. His take-no-prisoners approach to the game probably wouldn't fly as well in The Bronx as it did in Chicago during his eight years with the White Sox.
Granted, whatever hesitations the Yankees may have about Pierzynski may just be a ruse meant to lower his price. If that's the case, Pierzynski and his people can't fall for it. The Yankees may need him more than he needs the Yankees.
Update on Ichiro and Youk
Posted: Friday, Dec. 7 at 7:10 pm ET
The Yankees have been quiet this winter, but you'll be happy to know that they are actually still working.
According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, the Yankees are focused on right field and third base at the moment:
#yankees are still talking to ichiro. main thing today, tho, is waiting on youk.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 7, 2012
Ichiro seems to be the easy answer for the club's vacancy in right field. There have been rumors about the Yankees preferring to have a power bat in right, but they may not like the options they have or the money they're asking for. In Ichiro, they at least know what they'll be getting.
As for Youk, it seems the Yankees have told him "take it or leave it" in regards to the one-year, $12 million offer they made him. Terry Pluto of the Plain Dealer says that Youk may have a two-year deal worth $18 million on the table from the Cleveland Indians, so he has to choose between being overpaid for one year or well-paid for two years.
He may just choose to go to Cleveland. He'll make more money in the long run, and he'll also be reunited with former Red Sox manager Terry Francona.
If Youk walks on the Yankees, they're going to get even more desperate than they already are.
Brett Gardner Avoids Arbitration
Posted: Friday, Dec. 7 at 3:35 pm ET
The Yankees struck a deal with an outfielder on Friday, albeit one they already had under their control.
The club announced that it avoided arbitration with Brett Gardner on a one-year contract. The financial terms aren't known, but he may have gotten a raise on the $2.8 million he made in 2012.
This season was a lost year for Gardner, as he played in only 16 games due to a bad elbow. The Yankees missed him, as they could have used his speed on the basepaths and his defense in left field.
There's been talk of the Yankees possibly moving Gardner to center field in 2013, with Curtis Granderson moving over to left. That's the best way the Yankees can maximize Gardner's value, as he could give them Gold Glove-caliber defense in center to go along with what will likely be 50 or so stolen bases if he stays healthy.
If these things come to pass, Gardner is going to be a little more expensive next winter.
UPDATE: Friday, Dec. 7 at 3:40 pm ET
The Boston Herald reports that Gardner's new deal is for $2.85 million, and that he can earn $150,000 in performance bonuses.
Yanks Shopping Three
Posted: Thursday, Dec. 6 a 10:50 pm ET
It's already been reported that the Yankees are willing to deal Curtis Granderson this winter.
Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com says you can add two names to the club's list of available assets:
Yankees are listening to offers on Granderson, Hughes and Nova— Andrew Marchand (@AndrewMarchand) December 6, 2012
Alright, let's go one at a time here.
Nova doesn't have much value. He overachieved in 2011 and came back down to earth in a big way in 2012 with a 5.02 ERA and a 1.49 WHIP. Opponents compiled an .860 OPS against him, which was so high mainly due to a .511 slugging percentage.
Nova does have controllability working for him, but not so much talent. He's unlikely to fetch anything significant on his own.
Hughes is a little different. He's a better pitcher than Nova, but he's due to hit free agency after 2013. That puts a natural limit on his trade value.
Granderson is also a free agent after 2013, which complicates his value as well. Also complicating it is the fact that he took a few steps back in 2012 at the plate and in the field. He slugged a lot of home runs, but his other numbers fell pretty far.
The Yankees can probably deal these three guys, but maybe not for anything that will help them in the short-term. Since they need help in the short-term, they may end up just holding on to them.
Yankees Talked to Mets About R.A. Dickey
Posted: Thursday, Dec. 6 at 2:35 pm ET
Yup, this actually happened. But don't get your hopes up.
Source: Mets talked to Yanks, Nats re: Dickey this week. Both liked him, but no fit. Yanks don't have pieces, Alderson wouldn't trade in div— Andy Martino (@MartinoNYDN) December 6, 2012
Sounds like a case of all involved parties simply doing their due diligence. 'Tis the season for that sort of thing.
Martino is right about the Yankees not having the pieces. They're perilously short on tradeable assets at the major league level, and their top prospects are all in the lower levels. The Mets seem to prefer top prospects and/or major league-ready players they could control for a while in a deal for Dickey.
The Yankees could probably throw an offer together, but not a competitive one.
So yeah, don't expect this to happen.
Yankees Have Made Kevin Youkilis an Offer
Posted: Thursday, Dec. 6 at 12:50 pm ET
Yankees fans may want to start practicing their "YOOOOOOUUUUUUK" chant.
According to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com, the Yankees have made former Boston Red Sox All-Star Kevin Youkilis an offer:
The Yankees' offer to Kevin Youkilis is one year at $12M, according to source.— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) December 6, 2012
Youkilis and Joba Chamberlain on the same team. There's a fun idea.
The first thought I had was that $12 million is way too much for Youkilis at this point in his career. His hitting skills have greatly diminished, particularly in regards to his power. He's also a much better defender at first base than he is at third base.
But then again, this may be a sign of the times for the Yankees. They couldn't retain Eric Chavez, nor could they sign Jeff Keppinger or Nate Schierholtz. To land guys, it seems they're going to have to overpay.
Overpaying for 2013 is fine. The Yankees will have to abide by Hal Steinbrenner's wishes in 2014, but their 2013 payroll can be as high as they want it. They can afford to go crazy on one-year deals.
And at this juncture, Youk may be the best they can do as a placeholder for A-Rod.
Yankees Miss out on Nate Schierholtz
Posted: Wednesday, Dec. 5 at 12:55 pm ET
Indications are that the Yankees are looking for a cheap, short-term option to fill their hole in right field.
Nate Schierholtz fits the bill pretty well, and the Yankees have apparently realized the same thing. According to ESPN's Buster Olney, they're in the lead to land the former San Francisco Giants and Philadelphia Phillies outfielder:
The Yankees are the early frontrunner in Nate Schierholtz's talks for his next team.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 5, 2012
Olney also noted that Schierholtz is making "good progress" toward his next deal.
Schierholtz has yet to receive more than 362 plate appearances in a season, but he's got decent career numbers across the board. He has a career slash line of .270/.319/.409, and he's posted OPS's over .725 in each of the last two seasons.
If he were to be given as many as 500 plate appearances over the course of a full season, Schierholtz could easily provide good value for what is likely to be a small investment. He could post an OPS in the .725-.750 range, and he could hit as many as 20 home runs if he were to play half his games at Yankee Stadium.
He's also a solid defender in right field, with a cannon for an arm.
I'd say he's worth at least a one-year experiment.
UPDATE: Wednesday, Dec. 5 at 9:50 pm ET
So much for this. Here's Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com:
Nate Schierholtz has agreed on 1 year deal with Cubs, source says— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) December 6, 2012
Why does it seem like nobody wants to sign with the Yankees all of a sudden?
More Infield Rumors
Posted: Wednesday, Dec. 5 at 1:10 pm ET
The Yankees' search for help for the left side of their infield is ongoing. Here's the latest on their possible targets.
It's already been reported that the Yankees are interested in Jeff Keppinger, who can play multiple positions on the infield. Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com says they're still very much interested:
Keppinger seems to have become popular. There's talk he could get 3-year deal for $13 mill or more. Also talk that Yankees really want him.— DKnobler (@DKnobler) December 5, 2012
The price for Keppinger is high, but the Yankees may be more willing to pay it than anyone else. It's obvious that they're going to need a guy who can spell A-Rod and Derek Jeter on occasion over the next couple years. Neither of them is getting younger, and both of them are dealing with significant wounds at the moment.
Elsewhere, the Yankees are still being linked to former Boston Red Sox All-Star Kevin Youkilis, but Alex Speier of WEEI.com says that the Yankees don't appear willing to pay the market price for him, even on a one-year deal.
If so, it's hard to blame them. Youkilis can really only play third base and first base (where the Yankees are set) and his offensive skills are quickly eroding. He may not be the answer they're looking for.
Hannahan doesn't hit much, but he's a stud defender at the hot corner. The Yankees may be willing to go with a guy like that while they wait for A-Rod to return from his hip surgery in 2013.
UPDATE: Wednesday, Dec. 5 at 3:20 pm ET
You can cross several options off the list, including the guy who was probably the best fit for the Yankees' needs.
Keppinger got $12M, 3 yrs w chisox— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 5, 2012
#diamondbacks agree to terms with eric chavez.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 5, 2012
Elsewhere-elsewhere, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News says that it's unlikely that the Yankees will sign Kevin Youkilis:
I'm told Yankees-Youkilis is unlikely. Jeff Keppinger seems to be hottest third base target as of now, but years will be the issue.— Mark Feinsand (@FeinsandNYDN) December 5, 2012
Evidently, the Yankees are in no real hurry to address the left side of their infield. It could be that they have something big planned.
Or it could be that Brian Cashman doesn't know what the heck he's doing.
UPDATE: Wednesday, Dec. 5 at 5:30 pm ET
According to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com, the Yankees met with Mark Reynolds' agent today:
Yankees met with agent for 3B Mark Reynolds today. Made $7.5M this year, looking for similar deal.— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) December 5, 2012
The Yankees are presumably looking at Reynolds as a fill-in for Alex Rodriguez at third base. He strikes out a ton, has disappearing/reappearing power and a questionable glove, so I suppose he'd be perfect.
Yankees in on Mark Reynolds
Posted: Wednesday, Dec. 5 at 12:30 am ET
Remember that one time Mark Reynolds hit about a million home runs in five games against the Yankees this year?
Mark reynolds has nice market. Cubs, nyy, cle, miami, sea, balt, tb, plus— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 4, 2012
I'll be honest. I don't see it.
The Yankees need a third baseman to hold down the fort until Alex Rodriguez gets healthy, but Reynolds is a rotten third baseman. The Yankees also don't want him clogging up their DH spot, as Joe Girardi is going to want to keep the position clear so A-Rod and Derek Jeter can fill in on occasion.
Plus, Reynolds' production comes and goes. He's got tons of power, but he strikes out a ton and is prone to slumps.
The interest here may not be mutual, anyway. Reynolds is probably looking for a starting job, and the Yankees don't have one to offer him.
So yeah, I don't see it.
Latest Infield Rumors
Posted: Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 1:00 pm ET
With news coming out on Monday that Alex Rodriguez may not be back in June following surgery on his left hip, it's pretty clear that the Yankees need to find some help for the left side of their infield.
ESPN's Buster Olney, however, says that the Yankees are not interested in Escobar:
The Yankees are not on Yunel Escobar...— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 4, 2012
This is just a guess, but the Yankees may not be in on Escobar because of his personality. He got in some trouble this past season for putting a homophobic slur on his eye black, and he doesn't have a reputation for being a great clubhouse presence. His antics certainly wouldn't fly on the Yankees.
Elsewhere, Olney says that Stephen Drew is a long shot for the Yankees:
Rival evaluator on Drew:"There's no way he would sign with the Yankees to be a superutility guy, or part-time 3B. He wants an everyday job."— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 4, 2012
This makes perfect sense. Drew is a shortstop by trade and he wants to start, and the Yankees would be likely to ask him to play short and third on more of a part-time basis. Drew is still too young to an accept a role like that.
Scutaro can play third, short and second, and he's a solid hitter with a reputation for being a great guy to have around in the clubhouse. He would fit right in if he were to join the Yankees.
For what it's worth, my opinion is that Scutaro should be the Yankees' top target. He fits their needs perfectly.
UPDATE: Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 3:25 pm ET
According to ESPN's Buster Olney, the bidding for Marco Scutaro is getting a little out of hand. His price tag is now in the range of three years and $24 million, and the Giants are considered the frontrunner for his services.
That makes sense, as they have a starting job at second base to offer him. The Yankees don't have a starting job to offer him anywhere, and a price tag like that is probably too steep for them.
Maybe that's why Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports says they're so interested in Jeff Keppinger:
Yankees interest in Jeff Keppinger very strong. Source says team met with representative yesterday. A-Rod injury accelerating timetable.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 4, 2012
No surprise here. Keppinger's versatility is something the Yankees need, and he's coming off a strong season with the Tampa Bay Rays. His price tag could be just right for them.
Elsewhere, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com has labeled the Yankees as one of the top suitors for Yunel Escobar, and Jack Curry of the YES Network says that the Yankees have spoken to Kevin Youkilis' agent.
Youkilis is an intriguing possibility. The word is that he's open to a one-year deal, and he could fill in for both A-Rod at third and at first base for Mark Teixeira if need be. He's not the hitter he once was, but he still has a good eye and some pop in his bat.
Curtis Granderson Is Available
Posted: Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 1:10 pm ET
Now's not a great time for the Yankees to sell high on Curtis Granderson, but they may trade him anyway.
This according to ESPN's Buster Olney:
NYY have been open to talks about Curtis Granderson. If they move his $15m salary, it would provide more flexibility to do other things.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 4, 2012
To be sure, just because the Yankees are "open" to trading Granderson doesn't mean that they want to. On the contrary, they'd probably just as soon hang on to him for the 2013 season.
The reasons are simple. Granderson may have hit a career-high 43 home runs in 2012, but he only managed an .811 OPS and 10 stolen bases, and he had a really rough go of things out in center field. If he stays the course in 2012, he's barely going to be worth his salary.
Other teams know this, so there may not be a team out there willing to match the Yankees' price for Granderson, which is sure to be high.
And if so, the Yankees should just hold on to him. They can move him to left field to save themselves some headaches when he's on defense, and they will gladly accept another 40-homer season from him. With Nick Swisher likely gone and A-Rod not due back until midway through the year, the Yankees are going to need as much power as they can get.
The Yankees should trade Granderson if the right offer comes along, but only if the right offer comes along. They have no reason to settle.
Yankees Looking at Scott Hairston and Cody Ross
Posted: Monday, Dec. 3 at 4:40 pm ET
The Yankees suddenly find themselves in dire need of help on the left side of their infield, but they haven't forgotten about their need for some power in right field.
Indications are they'd prefer to find a cheap player with a right-handed stick. According to Jon Morosi of FoxSports.com, the Yankees have two guys in mind as possible fits for their needs:
#Yankees interested in both Cody Ross and Scott Hairston as RH outfield options.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 3, 2012
This isn't the first time Hairston has been linked to the Yankees this winter, nor is it the first time they've been linked to Ross.
The Yankees' apparent interest in both players makes sense. Hairston isn't likely to cost much, and he's in line for a nice deal after hitting a career-high 20 home runs in 2012.
Ross would cost the Yankees a little more, but he proved himself capable of handling AL East competition in 2012 with the Boston Red Sox. He hit 22 homers with an .807 OPS, though the big red flag where he's concerned is that those numbers were largely inflated by the Green Monster.
The Yankees can always bring back Ichiro to play right field, but they could sign Ross or Hairston anyway just to add some power to their outfield. One of the best parts about both outfielders is that they can play all three outfield spots.
UPDATE: Wednesday, Dec. 5 at 12:30 am ET
According to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com, the Yankees are still in on Hairston:
Nothing new to report, though. 'Tis the season for such updates.
A-Rod Needs Another Surgery...So Now What?
Posted: Monday, Dec. 3 at 3:10 pm ET
Serious question: Can Alex Rodriguez's 2012 narrative possibly get any worse?
I'm not so sure it can after hearing Monday's news. As first reported by Joel Sherman of the New York Post and subsequently confirmed by Bryan Hoch of MLB.com, A-Rod needs surgery on his left hip. He may be out until June.
So when Opening Day comes around, the Yankees are going to be without their starting third baseman, and they could also be without their starting shortstop. Derek Jeter is a question mark for Opening Day as he continues his recovery from a broken ankle.
Bad vibrations all around, and the question is obviously what the Yankees can do to ease their suffering.
Jim Bowden of ESPN and SiriusXM radio thinks they'll step up their efforts to sign free agent shortstop Stephen Drew:
With Alex Rodriguez having another hip surgery the Yankees will probably step up efforts on Stephen Drew for left side of infield— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) December 3, 2012
Jon Morosi of FoxSports.com thinks the Yankees may be able to swing a deal for Chase Headley:
Elsewhere, Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com floated Marco Scutaro and Jeff Keppinger as possible (and much cheaper) targets:
#Yankees already knew they needed additional help at SS and 3B. FA options include Scutaro, Keppinger. Latter coming off broken right fibula— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 3, 2012
To sum up all this chatter, a good word would be "all."
The Yankees have been sending out pretty strong signals this winter that they're not interested in making big moves that will impact their payroll plans for 2014 and beyond, but A-Rod's situation could force their hand. It's clearer now than ever before that he's not the answer at third base, and the Yankees may have to go find a legit alternative whether they like it or not.
That said, you have to think that the club's preference is to find a player who can play third and short rather than one or the other. That could take them out of the running for big-name players like Headley and Cabrera.
However, there's one big name that should be on their radar if they're looking for a star who could conceivably play short and third: Troy Tulowitzki.
Tulo is obviously a shortstop by trade, but his own recent injury troubles point to a future at third base. He'd be hard to get