Tag: AL East

Predicting New York Yankees Depth Charts a Month Ahead of Spring Training

The New York Yankees remain a team in flux, heading into spring training with a roster that could contend—or fall short of the playoffs for the fourth time in the past five years.

Veterans like Brian McCann (traded) and Mark Teixeira (retired) are gone, replaced by youngsters who are big on upside—but light on experience. That could lead to some growing pains in 2017, but it’s a pain that general manager Brian Cashman believes fans are ready to endure.

“(The fans are) willing to walk through that (the ups and downs) with you as long as they have some legitimate players they can really grow with,” he recently told Mike Mazzeo of the New York Daily News. “We’re really now in a better position to provide a group of talent where hopefully some will really be part of the next championship core.”

Some of those players will be competing for a spot on the 25-man roster this spring. Others still need more minor league seasoning before they can officially join the fray. How will things shake out when it’s said and done?

Let’s take a look.

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Predicting Boston Red Sox Depth Charts a Month Ahead of Spring Training

The Boston Red Sox will roll into spring training with one of the best rosters in the league.

That was assured when they went on a shopping spree during the winter meetings. They added lefty ace Chris Sale, slick-fielding first baseman Mitch Moreland and shutdown reliever Tyler Thornburg to a roster that produced 93 wins and an American League East title in 2016. 

Before the Red Sox can get going on 2017, they need to narrow down the favorites for their 25-man roster and which players will be on the waiting list to get on it should any spots open up.

With that in mind, let’s run through the names Red Sox fans should really know and which ones they should also know.

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Colby Rasmus to Rays: Latest Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

Veteran outfielder Colby Rasmus reportedly agreed to sign with the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday, according to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman.

Rasmus will receive around $5 million with bonuses that could reach $7 million, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

“I feel good about it,” Rasmus said, per Mark Berman of Fox 26 in Houston. “There’s some boys I played with there. It’ll be fun. It’ll be fun to be back in the American League East.”

Rasmus, 30, hit just .206 with 15 home runs, 54 RBI and 38 runs in 107 games in 2016. It was a disappointing season in his second campaign with Houston following a solid 2015 that saw Rasmus hit .238 with 25 homers and 61 RBI.

Rasmus will bring pop to Tampa, though he hasn’t recorded a great batting average (his career high is .276 in 2010 and 2013) or on-base percentage (his career high is .361 in 2010) in the big leagues. Still, his ability to hit the ball out of the park—he’s hit 18 or more home runs five times—makes him an appealing addition to the Rays lineup.

The Rays finished 68-94 in 2016, but their poor record wasn’t the result of a lack of offensive power. Tampa Bay ranked sixth in home runs (216) and 13th in slugging percentage (.426). The fact the Rays batted .243 as a team (28th) is concerning, however, considering Rasmus is a career .241 hitter.

Still, the Rays have historically kept a low payroll, so they were priced out of the market for the top outfielders in free agency. Rasmus should be a solid cost-effective alternative.

Keeping Rasmus healthy will be key, as he has missed 182 games in the past five years.

But Rasmus is an excellent fielder and can play all three outfield positions, so he’ll bring plus defense to an outfield that already includes one of the league’s best defenders, Kevin Kiermaier.

If Rasmus can regain some of his pop from two years ago, he could be one of the savvier signings in free agency.


You can follow Timothy Rapp on Twitter.

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Yankees’ Next Big Moves Will Make or Break New Era’s Future

It’s not easy to do what the New York Yankees have done. It’s even tougher to do what they have to do next. 

In this era in which total rebuilds are all the rage and tanking is rewarded, the Yankees rebuilt their farm system without also suffering through a 101-loss season (like the Chicago Cubs) or 324 losses over three campaigns (like the Houston Astros). Three years after MLB.com said they had none of the top 60 prospects in the game, they have five of the top 51.

That doesn’t even include Gary Sanchez, who turned 24 in December but graduated from prospect status when he hit 20 home runs in just 53 contests in 2016.

“The Yankees have the best (and deepest) farm system in the game,” MLB.com’s respected prospect analyst Jim Callis tweeted in December.

Great, so now they’ll start winning, just like the Cubs did?

Not so fast.

“This is still a building year for them,” said a National League scout who follows the Yankees and their farm system closely.

This is a building year, for sure, but it’s also a crucial year. For all the good work general manager Brian Cashman and his staff have done, and for all the patience managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner has shown, they haven’t yet built a team that can win.

You don’t win with a rotation headed by Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda and CC Sabathia, with nothing but question marks behind them. You don’t win with uncertainty at so many positions in the field.

The Yankees didn’t build to win last year (when they were the only team not to sign a major league free agent), and they haven’t built to win this season (when they spent big on closer Aroldis Chapman and basically swapped Brian McCann for Matt Holliday as their designated hitter).

They’re trying to remain competitive while building for what could be a bright future, and so far, they’ve done a good job with that.

The Yankees haven’t won a postseason game since the 2012 Division SeriesDerek Jeter, Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson and Raul Ibanez played in that gamebut they also haven’t had a losing season since 1992.

But how do they get from here (impressive rebuild) to there (true championship contender)?

“The biggest issue they have, by far, is starting pitching,” the NL scout said. 

In his view, the Yankees need to find a way to trade for Jose Quintana, who may not be an ace but is a 27-year-old left-hander who is already a solid major league starter. The problem, the scout acknowledged, is that the Chicago White Sox have been looking for prospect-heavy deals like the ones they made for Chris Sale (with the Boston Red Sox) and Adam Eaton (with the Washington Nationals).

“They’re asking for blood and more,” the scout said.

The Yankees weren’t going to gut the farm system they just rebuilt to get Sale, so they certainly won’t do it for Quintana. If they can get him for what they deem a reasonable price, though, a Quintana trade would be a good place to start.

If not, then just wait.

With or without Quintana, the Yankees likely won’t win in 2017. There aren’t other obvious rotation upgrades available right now, but there will be. Unless he signs an extension, Jake Arrieta will be a free agent next winter. The Detroit Tigers would trade Justin Verlander for the right price. Clayton Kershaw can opt out of his contract after 2018. So can David Price.

If they don’t do anything stupid between now and then, the Yankees will be in position to chase whichever ones they want.

Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez are already gone. Sabathia’s contract expires after this season. The Yankees might get under the luxury-tax threshold next winter, and in any case, they have just $74.2 million committed to five players for 2019.

There will always be speculation the Yankees will spend a big chunk of that money to sign Bryce Harper, who can be a free agent after 2018. In December, my friend Ken Davidoff of the New York Post named Harper “most likely to be a Yankee” out of the 2018 class.

I don’t doubt it, but so much depends on what happens between now and then. Can Harper recover from a subpar 2016 season? Will a big-hitting outfielder even be the Yankees’ most pressing need then? Would they be better off signing Manny Machado to play third base? Will they need to spend all their money on pitching?

Things change from year to year, as the Yankees know only too well. Twelve months ago, Luis Severino was one of the stars of the rebuilding process, a front-end starting pitcher ready to blossom. Now, the Yankees aren’t even sure he’s a starting pitcher at all.

They need to find out more this year about Severino and about fellow young starters Luis Cessa, Chad Green and Bryan Mitchell. They need to see if the progress James Kaprielian showed in the Arizona Fall League was real and whether fellow pitching prospects Justus Sheffield and Domingo Acevedo develop as true rotation options.

They need to find out if Greg Bird is the answer at first base and whether Aaron Judge can overcome his swing-and-miss issues to be a dependable power source in right field. They need to watch shortstop Gleyber Torres and outfielder Clint Fraziertheir reward for trading Chapman and Andrew Miller last summer.

“I think Frazier is playing right field for them before the year’s over,” the NL scout said. “And I wouldn’t be surprised if Torres plays second, with [Starlin] Castro moving to third.”

It’s nice for the Yankees and their fans to think about, because it’s fun to imagine talented players developing. But it’s also a challenge, because the next decisions will cost more (in money and/or prospects) and have bigger consequences.

Two decades ago, the Yankees made all the right decisions at a similar point. They kept Jeter and Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera while trading highly rated (but not as good) prospects like Matt Drews and Russ Davis.

They built a team that won year after year. They dream of doing it again.

The decisions they make over the next 24 months could determine whether it happens.


Danny Knobler covers Major League Baseball as a national columnist for Bleacher Report. 

Follow Danny on Twitter and talk baseball.

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Boston Red Sox’s Top Free-Agent, Trade Targets Post-New Year

With 2017 officially here and spring training just around the corner, the Boston Red Sox have the luxury of already having checked the big boxes on their offseason to-do list.

They didn’t need much to begin with but made a splash anyway by adding Chris Sale, Mitch Moreland and Tyler Thornburg and jettisoning Clay Buchholz. A Red Sox team that won the AL East in 2016 is now projected by FanGraphs to be the American League‘s best in 2017.

“If we started spring training right now, we would be content where we are,” Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said after Buchholz was traded, via Tim Britton of the Providence Journal.

However, we should stop short of seeing the 2017 Red Sox as a finished product. They do have lingering questions to answer, so let’s look at five free-agent and trade targets who could answer them.


1. Trevor Plouffe

As of now, the Red Sox have Pablo Sandoval penciled in at third base. It’s an upside play in light of his improved conditioning, but also a risky play in light of his disastrous 2015 and injury-shortened 2016.

Mark Polishuk of MLB Trade Rumors is right in thinking that third base insurance tops Boston’s remaining needs. The free-agent market has just the guy for it: Trevor Plouffe.

The Red Sox seem to already know this. Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald reported in late December that they have their eye on Plouffe, who spent his first seven seasons with the Minnesota Twins.

Beyond the fact he can likely be had on a cheap one-year contract, Plouffe’s appeal is his solid track record. The 30-year-old has been a league-average hitter in 723 major league games. He’s also played mostly passable defense at the hot corner.

If Sandoval were to prove up to the challenge he’s facing, Plouffe could also serve the Red Sox as a platoon bat. He’s a right-handed hitter with an .809 OPS against left-handed pitching. He also has experience at first base, left field, right field, second base and shortstop in addition to third base. 

Of course, Plouffe may prefer a more direct opportunity to be an everyday player on another team. That’s why the Red Sox need a Plan B, such as…


2. Adam Rosales

Plouffe isn’t the only right-handed utility type the Red Sox have on their radar. According to Rob Bradford of WEEI, Adam Rosales is on there as well.

As well he should be. Rosales isn’t so much a utility man as he is the utility man. He’s played at least 80 games at all four infield positions and also has some experience in left field and right field.

What Plouffe has that Rosales doesn’t is an offensive track record. Rosales is only a .227 career hitter with a .665 OPS, making him an easily below-average hitter.

However, Rosales is coming off a breakthrough in his age-33 season in 2016. He put up a career-high .814 OPS with 13 home runs for the San Diego Padres. He backed all this up with a 36.9 hard-hit percentage, a career best by plenty.

Rosales is certainly more appealing as a platoon player than as a possible everyday third baseman. But if he were to pick up where he left off on offense, he would have more than just a steady glove to offer while playing the hot corner.

The Red Sox need a Plan C in their search for a third base/utility type. He might be a long shot, but there’s one guy on the trade market who sticks out…


3. Hernan Perez

The Red Sox may have missed their shot at acquiring Hernan Perez. If they really wanted him, they may have found a way to include him in the trade that brought Thornburg from the Milwaukee Brewers for Travis Shaw.

But never say never.

Perez quietly found his stride in 2016. The 25-year-old played in 123 games and posted a .730 OPS with 13 homers and 34 stolen bases. He mostly played third base but also some right field, second base and first base.

Perez’s 2016 breakout didn’t end when the MLB season ended. He also starred (h/t Jim Goulart of Brewerfan.net, via Brew Crew Ball) in the Venezuelan winter league, winning the batting title and the Gold Glove at third base.

Perez’s rising star could make the Brewers want to hold on to him. But it also gives him trade value that could only go down in 2017. With Shaw locked in at third base and the other three positions on the infield also spoken for, Perez is only projected to be a utility guy.

The Red Sox would have to give up something (or somethings) of value to get Perez. But if they got him, they would get a younger, more controllable version of what Plouffe and Rosales could be for them—and with more upside, to boot.

Elsewhere, the Red Sox’s list of needs comes down to some low-risk starting pitching depth. That makes them a fit for…


4. Scott Feldman

The Red Sox traded Buchholz in part because it didn’t make sense to pay $13.5 million to a guy who wasn’t guaranteed a rotation spot.

With Buchholz gone, however, the Red Sox do have a slight depth issue in their rotation. Sale, Rick Porcello and David Price are an elite trio at the front. After them will be some combination of Eduardo Rodriguez, Steven Wright or Drew Pomeranz, each of whom has durability questions.

It wouldn’t hurt for the Red Sox to add another body to the mix. But their options are limited. They can only target guys who are in a position to accept an opportunity rather than a clearly defined role. And ideally, whoever they pick up could also be used in relief.

Hence, Scott Feldman.

The 33-year-old has been effective when healthy over the last four seasons, posting a 3.85 ERA. But he’s also no longer a lock to stay in anyone’s rotation anymore. He made just 18 starts in 2015 and found himself pitching mostly in relief in 2016.

This makes Feldman just the kind of guy the Red Sox are looking for: a veteran who could be signed for cheap as rotation insurance and could be stashed in the bullpen if no starting role materializes.

There’s one other free agent who matches this description…


5. Bud Norris

Bud Norris is a lot like Feldman. Once a semireliable starter, he’s fallen on hard times as he’s gotten older and is now in a position to try to latch on wherever he can.

Unlike Feldman, Norris hasn’t been effective when he’s been healthy in recent seasons. The 31-year-old has put up a 5.79 ERA since 2015, in which he’s started 30 games and appeared in relief in 43 others.

Norris still has some of the qualities that once made him a decent back-end starter, however. He’s maintaining his fastball velocity well, sitting in the 93-94 mph range. In a related story, he’s still a solid strikeout artist.

Norris is also a better bet than Feldman to stay healthy. Beyond being younger, Norris doesn’t have anything as serious as Feldman’s Tommy John surgery or microfracture knee surgery in his injury history.

These last two aren’t exactly sexy names, to be sure. But when a team’s to-do list is down to names like Feldman and Norris, that’s how you know that team is in good shape.


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted/linked. 

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Andrew Benintendi Poised to Become MLB’s Next Rookie Superstar

This winter, most Boston Red Sox-related headlines have focused on prospects on their way out of town. Most notably, the Red Sox shipped a gaggle of young talent to the Chicago White Sox in the Chris Sale trade, including five-tool Cuban Yoan Moncada.

There are still blue chips left on Boston’s table, however. One of them appears poised to win a starting job out of spring training and become MLB‘s latest rookie star.

I’m speaking, in case that headline and photo up there didn’t give the game away, about Andrew Benintendi.

In 34 games with the Red Sox last season, Benintendi flashed big-time potential, posting a .295/.359/.476 slash line with 11 doubles, a triple and two home runs.

He also provided one of the few bright spots in Boston’s division series sweep at the hands of the Cleveland Indians when he homered in Game 1:

The seventh overall pick in 2015, the 22-year-old looks like the odds-on favorite to claim the Sox’s starting left field gig. Since he kept his rookie status intact, he’s also among the favorites for American League Rookie of the Year honors.

Are we getting ahead of ourselves based on a small sample? Possibly. The list of highly rated prospects who raked on a short audition only to struggle over a full season is long. Somewhere right now, a big league pitcher is studying film of Benintendi’s swing and figuring out how to exploit it.

Benintendi, however, has the tools and temperament for sustained success.

In August, J.J. Cooper of Baseball America called him “one of the most polished hitters of the past few drafts.” That was before Benintendi’s successful big league debut but after he’d slashed .312/.392/.540 while rocketing through the minors.

He showed excellent plate discipline in his MLB stint, swinging at just 25.2 percent of pitches outside the strike zone compared to the league average of 30.3 percent. He barreled up many of the pitches he did swing at, making hard contact 32.9 percent of the time. That compares favorably to fellow Red Sox outfielder and AL MVP runner-up Mookie Betts’ hard-contact rate of 33.4 percent.

Skeptics can point to Benintendi’s admittedly robust .367 batting average on balls in play, but patient hitters who make loud contact tend to have higher BABIPs. They might also note that the lefty swinger hit .179 against southpaws, though that came in a scant 33 MLB plate appearances.

Steamer projects a .282/.338/.439 slash line with 10 home runs and 14 stolen bases in 2017. Boston would take that, but Benintendi’s ceiling is much higher.

The mental aspect of the game is harder to quantify, but it’s equally essential for success. In lieu of stats, we’ll turn to Red Sox manager John Farrell, who had this to say to reporters during the division series:

[He’s] in the Major League postseason, and much like we talked about what makes a guy wired to perform in postseason, he’s calm. Even before the postseason started, he’s been a guy that’s never really panicked, even when he’s been in a disadvantaged count at the plate. It’s almost like you watch, his athletic movements are graceful. It’s almost like a window into what his mind is going through. It’s even, it’s under control, and he plays like that.

Benintendi made the bulk of his minor league starts in center field, but that position is taken by All-Star Jackie Bradley Jr. Rather, Benintendi will continue to learn the nuances of the Green Monster and join Bradley (age 26) and Betts (age 24) to form one of the most athletic outfield troikas in the game.

They can dance, too.

The Red Sox didn’t sign or trade for a top-tier slugger to replace retired franchise icon David Ortiz. Instead, they added ancillary pieces such as Mitch Moreland, gilded the rotation with Sale and are putting their faith in this young core to carry the offense.

They’ve got Big Papi’s stamp of approval.

“Those are the players you want on your ballclub,” Ortiz said to reporters of Benintendi, Bradley, Betts and shortstop Xander Bogaerts (the new Killer B’s?). “Young, talented, and with that mentality, that’s on another level.”

Here’s an interesting thought experiment: Imagine if Benintendi dukes it out with Moncada for ROY honors. It’s no guarantee, but it’s far from far-fetched.

If it happens, Beantown fans will doubtless feel the sting of watching the stud who changed his Sox. At the same time, they’ll be able to take solace in the one who stuck around.


All statistics courtesy of FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

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New York Yankees’ Top Free Agent, Trade Targets Post New Year

The calendar may have flipped to 2017, but we’re still a couple of cold months away from baseball. That’s actually good news (hear me out) for many MLB clubs with unfinished items on their to-do lists.

Like, say, the New York Yankees, who have holes to plug in the starting rotation, the bullpen and behind the dish.

Let’s examine a few realistic trade and free-agent targets, with the key word being “realistic.” Not all of these deals will go down, but they’re tied to credible rumorsor at least informed speculationand a sense of the Yankees’ needs and resources.

They could hypothetically use Mark Trumbo’s pop, for example, but he’s not in the budgetary plans. Plus, where would they put him?

We’ll begin with a veteran backup catcher and work our way to a left-handed All-Star. Tap the (frozen) clay off your (proverbial) cleats and dig in when ready.

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How Yankees Can Still Make Impact Upgrade to Questionable Rotation

The New York Yankees are rebuilding. They’re also trying to win. That’s how it works in the Bronx.

Those aren’t mutually exclusive goals. Last season, the Yankees sold at the trade deadline and restocked a farm system that Bleacher Report’s Joel Reuter subsequently ranked No. 1 in the game. They also stayed in the playoff picture until late September thanks to contributions from youngsters such as catcher and American League Rookie of the Year runner-up Gary Sanchez.

It’s possible to shed costly pieces and compete at the same time.

This winter, the Yanks traded veteran backstop Brian McCann to the Houston Astros for prospects. They also handed one year and $13 million to aging slugger Matt Holliday and a whopping five years and $86 million to closer Aroldis Chapman.

Clearly, general manager Brian Cashman is treading the line between a full-blown fire sale and keeping his team competitive. Hardcore fans are surely rejoicing the burgeoning youth movement, but the casual observers who put butts in seats at Yankee Stadium want to watch a winner.

To that end, Cashman has work left to do. Specifically, he has to improve a starting rotation that’s littered with question marks and could be the club’s undoing.

We’ll explore how he can accomplish that in a moment. First, let’s drill a little deeper on where the Yankees stand.

New York is in decent shape on offense, with seasoned bats such as Jacoby Ellsbury, Chase Headley and Brett Gardner joining the nascent brigade led by Sanchez, masher Aaron Judge and top-rated outfield prospect Clint Frazier.

The bullpen is robust behind the dual threats of Chapman and super-setup man Dellin Betances.

The starting five, meanwhile, is a concerning mishmash.

Ace Masahiro Tanaka threw 199.2 innings in 2016, his highest total since coming over from Japan three seasons ago, and posted a 3.07 ERA.

Behind him, there’s hard-throwing right-hander Michael Pineda, who has shown flashes of brilliance but posted a 4.82 ERA in 2016, and 36-year-old southpaw CC Sabathia.

After that, the Yankees are counting on some combination of Luis Severino, Bryan Mitchell, Luis Cessa, Chad Green and Adam Warren. All except Mitchell owned ERAs north of 4.00 last season, and Green has a grand total of eight big league starts under his belt.

That’s not a disaster if everything breaks right, but it’s uncertainty on stilts.

So what are New York’s options? The club could mortgage the farm and go after a top-tier trade candidate such as the Tampa Bay Rays‘ Chris Archer or the Chicago White Sox‘s Jose Quintana.

The Yankees, however, didn’t make a serious play for White Sox ace Chris Sale, who wound up with the archrival Boston Red Sox. It’s unlikely New York will suddenly become a big-time buyer.

There are lesser trade targets. The Kansas City Royals may be looking to shed payroll with multiple key pieces due to hit free agency next offseason.

Mercurial right-hander Yordano Ventura is Kansas City’s flashiest pitching piece, but southpaw Danny Duffy is an interesting, under-the-radar possibility.

The 27-year-old went 12-3 with a 3.51 ERA in 179.2 innings last season with 188 strikeouts next to 42 walks.

He has a final year of arbitration remaining before he tastes the market, which means he doesn’t necessarily fit with a long-term vision. It also means he won’t cost a massive haul in prospects.

Duffy is a fly-ball pitcher, which could hurt him in the home run-happy confines at 1 East 161st Street. He’d slot in nicely behind Sabathia, however, and give New York another proven mid-rotation arm.

Turning to the free-agent stew, there’s meat to be picked from the bones.

“I think it’s less likely that we wind up with a starter,” Cashman said of the free-agent options, per the Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com). “It’s a tough market to be finding one in it.”

Tough, but not impossible.

Right-hander Jason Hammel was a workmanlike contributor for the Chicago Cubs rotation with a 3.83 ERA in 166.2 innings last season.

The Yanks were “sniffing around” Hammel in November, per the New York Post‘s George A. King III, and he’s unsigned as of this writing.

Another name that could pique their olfactory response is Ivan Nova. New York traded Nova and his 4.90 ERA to the Pittsburgh Pirates at the deadline last season.

He excelled with the Bucs to the tune of a 3.06 ERA in 11 starts. The 29-year-old Dominican Republic native was stellar in stretches after making his MLB debut with the Yankees in 2010 and could be a bounce-back candidate.

Speaking of which, here’s one more option: Doug Fister.

Yes, Fister put up a career-worst 4.64 ERA last season and will turn 33 in February. As CBSSports.com’s Mike Axisa put it, “The trend is not pretty.”

Fister, however, has been a ground-ball pitcher throughout his career. He was a top-10 Cy Young Award finisher with the Washington Nationals in 2014. He could be had on a short-term, show-me contract that won’t bust the bank.

None of these names will make the Yankees instant World Series favorites. Some may argue they’d be better off cashing in a gaggle of minor league chips for an Archer or a Quintana, or standing pat.

As Cashman threads the needle between retooling and relevance, however, he’d be wise to add some impact depth to his stable of arms.

He has a mandate to play the kids and grow the farm. He also has to try to win.

That’s how it works in the Bronx. And this is how it goes when you’re chasing starting pitching in the thin, cold winter of 2016.

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Brett Gardner Trade Rumors: Latest News and Speculation on Yankees OF

It looks as though the New York Yankees‘ offseason spending could remain dormant for the rest of the winter; however, veteran outfielder Brett Gardner‘s name has emerged in trade talks. 

Continue for updates. 

Yankees Shopping Gardner

Tuesday, Dec. 13

According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the Yankees have continued to “gauge interest” in Gardner in an attempt to cut salary. 

The 33-year-old is owed $23 million over the next two seasons, which are the final portions of his four-year, $52 million deal, per Spotrac

Gardner has spent each of his first nine MLB seasons with the Yankees, compiling a career .264 batting average and .346 on-base percentage as a bat near the top of the lineup. 

While his power numbers fluctuated from 17 home runs in 2015 to just seven in 2016, Gardner can still add speed on the basepaths and in a corner outfield spot. That could make him an attractive trade option to teams looking for a veteran spark.

Shedding his deal would be a step in the right direction for New York to get under the $197 million luxury-tax threshold for 2018, which is a goal of owner Hal Steinbrenner, according to Sherman. 

The Yankees were busy, though, around and during the winter meetings, signing veteran outfielder Matt Holliday to a one-year, $13 million deal and closer Aroldis Chapman to a five-year, $86 million contract. 

Per Sherman, that has the Yankees hovering near a $210 million payroll heading into 2017, which makes the prospects of adding another reliever like Boone Logan or Brad Ziegler to join Chapman and setup man Dellin Betances unlikely unless they can get a contract like Gardner’s off the books. 


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Chase Headley Trade Rumors: Latest News and Speculation on Yankees 3B

In an effort to cut salary, the New York Yankees are gauging interest around the league in third baseman Chase Headley.

Continue for updates.

Yankees Seeking Headley Trade

Tuesday, Dec. 13

Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported the Yankees are looking to potentially deal either Headley or outfielder Brett Gardner.

Owner Hal Steinbrenner reportedly wants to lower the payroll before the 2017 season.

Headley is owed $26 million over the next two years after signing a four-year deal with the team before the start of the 2015 season.

The 32-year-old has put up modest numbers since joining the Yankees, hitting just .257 with 31 home runs in two-and-a-half seasons. His on-base plus slugging percentage of .716 in 2016 was only slightly better than it was the year before at .693, which was his career low for a full season.

Headley began his career with the San Diego Padres, where he spent parts of eight seasons. His best year by far came in 2012 when he won a Gold Glove, Silver Slugger and finished fifth in MVP voting. He led the National League with 115 RBI and tallied 31 home runs.

He has never had more than 14 home runs in any other season of his career.

If the Yankees find a buyer for Headley, 24-year-old Ronald Torreyes could potentially take over at third base after playing 34 games at the position last year.

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