New York Yankees – MLB Trade Rumors 2020-10-26T00:51:39Z WordPress Steve Adams <![CDATA[Gregorius On Time With Phillies, Potential Yankees Reunion]]> 2020-10-23T18:58:34Z 2020-10-23T18:57:08Z Didi Gregorius’ decision last winter to bet on himself with a one-year deal looks to have been a wise one, and he’ll now head back to free agency on the heels of a .284/.339/.488 slash with 10 home runs in a full 60 games with the Phillies. He’s already been linked to the Angels, and Gregorius himself said today in an appearance on WFAN’s Moose & Maggie Show that he’d have interest in returning to the Phillies (audio link).

“If they want me back, sure,” Gregorius said. “…I can’t force or say that I have to do this, or I have to be there. At the end of the day, it’s up to them. I really enjoyed playing with the guys over there. I had a really great time.”

Gregorius’ deal with the Phils reunited him with former Yankees skipper Joe Girardi, whom the shortstop praised multiple times throughout the interview. The 30-year-old Gregorius also had nothing but positive things to say when asked about playing alongside Bryce Harper, calling him “awesome” multiple times while discussing the experience.

While Gregorius’ positive comments on his time with the Phillies and his openness to a return are surely of note, his reply when asked about a return to the Yankees is drawing considerable attention in its own right.

“I don’t think they would want me back in New York to be honest right now,” Gregorius said when asked about whether he could envision a return to the Bronx. Asked why, he expressed confidence that Gleyber Torres would rebound from his 2020 struggles and seize the shortstop job.

“I think Gleyber is the future shortstop,” said Gregorius. “It’s just the one year and to my understanding he was hurt for some of it. Once you get hurt, it’s like a step back on everything. If he gets to next year, he’s fully prepared and ready to go, I think everything should work smoothly and he will be fine.”

It was a rather rough season for 23-year-old Torres in 2020, but he’ll surely be given every opportunity to rebound next year, whether at shortstop or second base. Torres turned in a respectable .243/.356/.368 slash through 160 plate appearances, but that was a far cry from 2019’s brilliant .278/.337/.535 line and 38 homers. More glaring, perhaps, were Torres’ defensive issues (-9 DRS, -5 UZR, -4 OAA).

Despite those defensive struggles, Yankees GM Brian Cashman said last week that Torres “is our shortstop moving forward” (link via Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News). Cashman expressed confidence that Torres could improve his glovework but stopped short of declaring that he’d be the shortstop in 2021, instead stating that the organization will “continue to evaluate” its options.

Many Yankees fans have clamored for a reunion with Gregorius, who exceeded expectations in the Bronx as the successor to Derek Jeter at shortstop. However, Gregorius implied that he saw the writing on the wall toward the end of his time in New York and did not speak optimistically about a return tour in the near future.

Of course, Gregorius’ strong season makes him a potential qualifying offer candidate. That could impact his market and would leave him with the choice of returning to join Girardi, Harper and others on a one-year deal worth $18.9MM or hitting the market in search of a multi-year pact. Generally, when a player bets on himself with a one-year pact and delivers high-quality results, it’s expected that he’ll look to cash in on a longer-term deal the following winter. This offseason is anything but typical, though, and the league-wide revenue losses raise the question of whether the Phillies would risk making the offer and whether Gregorius would consider accepting.

TC Zencka <![CDATA[Tim Naehring Unlikely To Leave Yankees]]> 2020-10-19T16:47:04Z 2020-10-19T16:47:04Z
  • The Phillies are now looking to fill their pitching coach spot yet again following Bryan Price’s retirement. Price spent just one season in the role, leaving manager Joe Girardi with a significant leadership void to fill. A former catcher himself, Girardi no doubt will take a leading role in finding the right voice to speak to his  hurlers, and a number of names are popping up already, such as Yankees bullpen coach Mike Harkey and internal candidates Dave Lundquist, Rafael Chaves, and Jim Gott, tweets Scott Lauber of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
  • Tim Naehring has been a popular name for baseball ops openings around baseball like the Phillies and Marlins, but he’s unlikely to leave his role with the Yankees, per Andy Martino of the SNY Network (via Twitter). Connections to Derek Jeter in Miami and Girardi in Philly draw straight lines to Naehring, who is a VP of Baseball Operations in New York. But the role he is in now apparently works for Naehring, and those obvious contacts may be pumping up the possibility of a change.
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    TC Zencka <![CDATA[Examining The Yankees’ 2021 Payroll Situation]]> 2020-10-18T00:17:31Z 2020-10-18T00:10:45Z The Yankees 2020 season was a success by most measures – except for the 2nd-place finish behind Tampa Bay. The Rays took them out in the postseason as well, which was particularly galling with a payroll that (for a full season) floated around $265MM. The Rays, by contrast, fielded a payroll of around $73MM. As opposed to the old days, when the Yankees division rivalry with the Red Sox might prompt a spending spree to put them over the top, the Rays pose a new kind of threat. The Yankees cannot delude themselves into thinking their loss in 2020 has anything at all to do with money. The Yankees have to explore the possibility of doing more with less.

    If there’s a model for the Yankees to mimic, it’s the Dodgers more so than the Rays. Though, considering that Andrew Friedman – the architect of these Dodgers – came from the Rays, one could argue that modeling oneself after the Dodgers is mimicking the Rays. The Yankees – lest we forget – are no slouches themselves when it comes to roster construction. Besides, it’s not any easier to become the Rays overnight than it is to become the Yankees overnight. Still, signs point to the Yankees facing a dramatic cut in payroll, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

    Sherman suggests the Yankees will want to steer clear of exceeding the $210MM luxury tax line, which means taking a significant step back payroll-wise. Making it easier for GM Brian Cashman will be a whole slew of contracts coming off the books: James Paxton ($12.5MM), Masahiro Tanaka ($23MM), DJ LeMahieu ($12MM), J.A. Happ ($17MM), Jacoby Ellsbury ($5MM), and Brett Gardner ($7.5MM).

    Taking into account potential arbitration raises, Sherman pegs the Yankees current 2021 payroll to be around $171MM, which leaves probably a little more than $30MM in payroll space if the Yankees do intend to stay south of the luxury tax line. Non-tendering or trading Gary Sanchez would save $5MM, but they would need to fill his roster spot in that case.

    Otherwise, they need a middle infielder – or to bring LeMahieu back. If LeMeahieu leaves, they could explore the possibility of finding a glove-first shortstop to shore up the defense while moving Gleyber Torres to second. While it’s not fun to  consider the possibility of losing LeMahieu, they could probably withstand his departure, especially with Clint Frazier looking like a viable starting outfielder. Not to diminish LeMahieu’s importance – he is the batting champ, after all – but the Yankees would otherwise return most of a crew that scored the 4th-most runs in the majors in 2020.

    As much as the Yankees like LeMahieu, they have greater need in the rotation – and the money crunch is real. If Tanaka were to, say, accept a qualifying offer, their available money gets cut in half pretty quickly. LeMahieu, meanwhile, is looking at a contract that nets him $20MM per season, if MLBTR readers are to be believed.

    Gerrit Cole, Luis Severino, Deivi Garcia, Jordan Montgomery, Clarke Schmidt, and Domingo German provides manager Aaron Boone with a better group of rotation arms than many teams have, but they’re largely unproven (or coming off lost seasons in the case of Severino/German). Especially returning to a full 162-game season, depth is key in the rotation, a lesson Yankees’ fans know well. Without any additions, the Yankees would lean heavily on Cole for the second consecutive season. As good as he was this year, he can’t win a pennant all his own.

    All that said, there could be some real bargains on the free agent market this winter. It’s an offseason unlike any we’ve ever seen before. With teams planning to cut payroll almost across the board because of the revenue losses caused by the pandemic, it’s hard to pinpoint any specific club that’s definitely going to spend big money. New York could explore moving some of their committed money – like the $13MM owed to Zack Britton and his 1.89 ERA in his final season on the books – but again, given the revenue losses all across baseball, there aren’t likely to be a lot of places to dump payroll.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[MLBTR Poll: DJ LeMahieu’s Next Contract]]> 2020-10-17T01:30:11Z 2020-10-17T01:30:11Z It was only two years ago that second baseman DJ LeMahieu reached free agency for the first time. The former Cub and Rockie hit the open market as someone who was regarded as a useful contributor, but hardly a star. He still did well for himself, inking a $24MM pact with the Yankees, but now finds himself on the verge of another trip to free agency. The difference this time is that LeMahieu will now be one of the most coveted players available.

    While LeMahieu did have a batting title with the Rockies on his resume when the Yankees added him, he didn’t show off a ton of power prior to moving to New York. In all, he was a .298/.350/.406 hitter with a mediocre 90 wRC+ and 49 home runs across 3,799 plate appearances. Since then, though, LeMahieu has exploded for a .336/.386/.536 mark, a 146 wRC+ and 36 HRs, making him one of the sport’s elite hitters. He’s coming off a regular season in which he picked up another batting title (.364) and paced the American League in wRC+ (177).

    One of the questions now is how far the Yankees may go to retain LeMahieu. He said before their season-ending ALDS loss to the Rays that there had not been any contract talks, but it’s hard to believe the Yankees won’t put forth an earnest effort to re-sign the 32-year-old before free agency opens. They may not make a competitive enough offer, however, as Joel Sherman of the New York Post wrote earlier this week that the Yankees are likely to “hold the line” at a maximum of three years and $20MM per annum.

    During our pre-free agency debates at MLBTR, we’ve set a floor of $80MM over four years, though we have entertained even higher guarantees. No matter what, it’s easy to see LeMahieu, a big hitter with defensive versatility, reeling in a far larger payday than he did the last time he was looking for a contract. For this exercise, we’ll place the over/under at $80.5MM. How well do you think LeMahieu will do? (Poll link for app users)

    TC Zencka <![CDATA[Latest On The Catching Market, Realmuto, Sánchez]]> 2020-10-15T02:22:44Z 2020-10-15T02:22:44Z J.T. Realmuto will be the best catcher on the free agent market this winter – and one of the best players of any measure. The two-time All-Star should have no shortage of potential suitors when the bidding begins. Though their opportunity to filibuster is nearing an end, the Phillies aren’t yielding the floor quite yet. Expect interim GM Ned Rice and President Andy MacPhail to continue their efforts to bring the Oklahoman back to Philadelphia. A true two-way serviceman like Realmuto with elite skills on both sides of the ball will wag the tails of more than a few executives around the game, however.

    Realmuto will turn 30-years-old in March of next season, and any team that signs him will have to be aware of the threat the aging curve poses to his long-term productivity. And yet, it’s not as if we haven’t seen productive offensive catchers in the past. Similar performers of the past can provide insight into how well Realmuto may age as he enters his thirties (and how much he might be worth over the life of that next contract), which the Athletic’s Tim Britton explores. Looking at a collection of catchers with similar career arcs to Realmuto’s, Britton lands on either a four-year, $96MM deal or a six-year, $128MM deal as the proper valuation for Realmuto’s services moving forward.

    It’s worth mentioning, Realmuto’s future viability could benefit from a rule change or two. If the designated hitter stays in the National League, for instance, Realmuto’s next club could keep him fresh into his thirties while still allowing his bat to play. He is one of the rare catchers whose bat could conceivably play at DH. But there’s also the possibility of electronic strike zones, which could lessen the detriment that aging has on a catcher’s defensive performance.

    But electronic strike zones aren’t coming next season, and it’s hard to know when exactly they may enter everyday use. It’s that very issue that threatens the employability of bigger-body backstops like Gary Sánchez, Wilson Ramos, and Jorge Alfaro, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Sherman provides this interesting insight from an anonymous executive, “When the automated strike zone comes maybe you can have a DH catch because framing will mean nothing or maybe if we give the catcher an earpiece and can feed him every pitch, game calling will mean nothing. But we are asking catchers to make 150 decisions a game and have deep relationships with every pitcher and more than ever you cannot throw the defensive component away.”

    Each of Sánchez, Ramos, and Alfaro lost playing time down the stretch and in the playoffs to better defensive catchers. Sánchez in particular faced a rather public “benching.” As the playoffs wore on and Sánchez struggled to light a fuse at the plate, the Yankees increasingly went with Kyle Higashioka as their primary receiver. Sánchez has another round of arbitration this winter after making a full-scale salary of $5MM in 2020, but the Yankees are likely to try and move him before the contract tender date of December 2nd, writes Sherman.

    Given the state of the game amid the pandemic, rampant revenue losses make for a more uncertain winter than any in recent memory. The number of teams capable of luring J.T. may be limited if the price for entry is in the neighborhood suggested by Britton. James McCann and Mike Zunino represent the “best of the rest,” though the trade market could add a player like Sánchez to grease the wheels. Take another look at our free agency preview, provided here by MLBTR’s Steve Adams, but it’s certainly going to be interesting to see the length, duration, and location of Realmuto’s next deal.

    TC Zencka <![CDATA[Voit Receives Treatment For Plantar Fasciitis]]> 2020-10-15T01:22:05Z 2020-10-15T01:21:32Z Luke Voit’s plantar fasciitis is under control after receiving a platelet-rich plasma injection, per the Athletic’s Lindsey Adler (via Twitter). Voit will be in a walking boot for a week or two, but the Yankees expect him to be healed by the end of that time. Voit didn’t miss any time to the issue, and he certainty didn’t appear to be overly affected while slashing .277/.338/.610 and leading the majors with 22 home runs.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Latest On Luis Severino, Yankees’ Rotation]]> 2020-10-15T00:16:41Z 2020-10-14T22:23:17Z The Yankees have gone through most of the past two seasons without one of their best players, right-hander Luis Severino. After emerging as an ace-caliber starter from 2017-18, Severino logged just 12 innings in 2019 because of shoulder surgery. The hope was that Severino would return to health this past year, but the Tommy John procedure he underwent in February wiped out the chances of that. He missed the entire season as a result.

    As someone who’s still just 26 years old, the Yankees are no doubt hopeful that the hard-throwing Severino will return to form next season. However, they’ll have to make do without Severino when the campaign opens, as general manager Brian Cashman told James Wagner of the New York Times and other reporters on Wednesday that the hurler won’t return until June or July.

    Another Severino-less rotation, even if only for a couple of months, would leave the Yankees with Gerrit Cole, Jordan Montgomery, Deivi Garcia and Clarke Schmidt among the in-house possibilities for their staff (Cole’s obviously a lock). They’re currently slated to lose Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton and J.A. Happ to free agency, while Domingo German’s future is uncertain after he missed all of 2020 because of a domestic violence suspension. Though German has been reinstated by MLB, the Yankees have not had “access” to him yet because of COVID protocols, per the Athletic’s Lindsey Adler (via Twitter).

    Cashman spoke about the rotation Wednesday, saying that it needs to get improved upon,” per Marc Carig of The Athletic. Notably, aside from the aforementioned pending free agents from New York, the market will include the likes of top option Trevor Bauer, Kevin Gausman, Marcus Stroman, Jose Quintana, and Jake Odorizzi. The Rangers’ Lance Lynn, a former Yankee, figures to be near the forefront of the trade market. Don’t be surprised to see the Yankees explore the Lynn or other options in the trade market to build out their rotation depth. Given the success of the Rays this season, the Yankees figure to enter 2021 with an appropriate amount of urgency – and that means having depth ready for action.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Tigers Have Interviewed Marcus Thames For Managerial Job]]> 2020-10-26T00:51:39Z 2020-10-14T21:31:21Z The Tigers interviewed Yankees hitting coach Marcus Thames for their vacant managerial position last week, Jason Beck of tweets (and as Tony Paul of the Detroit News previously reported). Thames joins Dodgers first base coach George Lombard as known candidates to succeed Ron Gardenhire, who retired as the Tigers’ skipper in the second half of September.

    Like Lombard, Thames was a member of the Tigers during his playing career. In fact, Thames spent the majority of his career in Detroit, where he suited up from 2004-09. His time as a major leaguer, which he also spent with the Yankees, Rangers and Dodgers, ended in 2011.

    Dating back to 2014, Thames has worked for the Yankees in both the minors and the bigs. He joined their major league coaching staff as the hitting coach prior to 2018, and though it’s difficult to quantify the impact he has made, the Yankees’ offense has been rather successful on Thames’ watch. In three years under his tutelage, the club ranks first in the league in runs and wRC+.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Yankees Will Evaluate Catcher Position]]> 2020-10-14T17:22:27Z 2020-10-14T17:22:27Z The Yankees have largely stuck by catcher Gary Sanchez during what has been an up-and-down career, but it’s possible that could change before next season. Asked Wednesday about Sanchez’s status, general manager Brian Cashman was not willing to commit to him as the team’s No. 1 catcher going forward. Cashman said (via Bryan Hoch of that it’s “certainly a fair question” whether Sanchez will remain the Yankees’ main backstop. The Yankees plan to evaluate the position during the offseason.

    Sanchez began his career with a flourish in 2016, smacking 20 home runs and slashing .299/.376/.557 in 229 plate appearances, but his offense and defense have been inconsistent since then. Sanchez was a big-hitting catcher as recently as 2019, but the 27-year-old slumped to a .147/.253/.365 line with 10 homers over 178 PA during this past regular season. He also led the AL in passed balls and finished in the majors’ 37th percentile in framing (per Statcast), though he did throw out a respectable 27 percent of would-be base stealers.

    While the Yankees may be souring on Sanchez, whom they sat in the playoffs on multiple occasions, alternatives aren’t easy to find. J.T. Realmuto would represent an upgrade and a major splash on the open market, but the only starting-caliber catcher available after him in free agency will be James McCann. The Yankees do have Kyle Higashioka, ace Gerrit Cole’s personal catcher, on their roster, but he hasn’t shown he’s capable of an everyday role. So, barring a $100MM-plus Realmuto signing, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Yankees keep Sanchez on their roster for 2021 in his second year of arbitration eligibility. He earned a prorated $5MM this season.

    Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Steinbrenner: Aaron Boone “Will Be Back” In 2021]]> 2020-10-13T22:58:50Z 2020-10-13T22:58:50Z Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner met with various media members to discuss the team’s upcoming offseason. First and foremost, he addressed the status of skipper Aaron Boone. As with most managers whose teams don’t ultimately win the World Series, Boone came under some fire from fans and media for his handling of the pitching staff this postseason. Steinbrenner, though, shot down any speculation about a change in the managerial chair. “Aaron Boone will be back next year, that’s just a fact,” the owner said (via Marly Rivera of ESPN). Steinbrenner added that he remains happy with the performance of GM Brian Cashman, as well (from David Lennon of Newsday).

    While it seems the Yankees will keep their main leadership structure in place, they’ll have some key roster decisions to make. One player Boone seemed to lose faith in down the stretch is Gary Sánchez. The 27-year-old has been one of the league’s premier offensive catchers since breaking into the big leagues for good in 2016. Sánchez completely lost his way at the plate this season, though, prompting the Yankees to at least consider moving him in advance of the August 31 trade deadline.

    Steinbrenner implied Sánchez would be back in the Bronx in 2021, noting that the club will have to “get him back” to form (via Bryan Hoch of Those comments notwithstanding, Joel Sherman of the New York Post hears from multiple rival executives who expect the Yankees to again listen to offers on Sánchez in the coming months.

    Of course, the club will also have to weigh the uncertain economic climate in all their personnel decisions. Steinbrenner became the latest MLB owner to discuss the widespread revenue losses the sport incurred this season. The 50-year-old said the sport’s most visible franchise took “significant losses, more than any other team in baseball” during the pandemic-shortened season (Hoch link). How much that’ll affect the Yankees’ upcoming payroll remains to be seen.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Yankees Were "Open" To Trading Gary Sanchez In August]]> 2020-10-13T20:05:13Z 2020-10-13T19:58:57Z Gary Sanchez’s nightmarish 2020 season has turned him into a question mark for the Yankees moving forward, and the club at least considered turning the page earlier this year.  According to’s Mark Feinsand, “the Yankees were open to the idea of trading” Sanchez back in August prior to the trade deadline.  Given how adamant GM Brian Cashman has been about Sanchez not being a trade candidate in the past, this seems like a noteworthy shift in thinking, though not an unexpected one given how badly Sanchez struggled this season.

    Feinsand included this news tidbit as part of a larger piece about J.T. Realmuto’s likeliest suitors this winter, with the Yankees ranked second on that list.  Signing Realmuto would be the biggest possible way to upgrade at catcher, but it isn’t clear if the Yankees are willing (or able) to make another huge spending splash in the wake of 2020’s major revenue losses.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[No Talks Yet Between Yankees, Zack Britton On Contract Option]]> 2020-10-13T17:36:36Z 2020-10-13T17:36:36Z The Yankees face a number of big decisions this offseason, though one of their more immediate bits of business will be figuring out Zack Britton’s status for both the 2021 and 2022 seasons.  Britton is two years into a three-year, $39MM deal that contains a $14MM club option for 2022, and a clause in the contract states that the Yankees have to decide whether or not to exercise that option now, rather than after the 2021 campaign.  If the club option is declined, Britton can opt out of his contract and hit free agency this offseason.

    More details are provided by Britton himself, in an e-mail to George A. King III of the New York Post.  According to the left-hander, “the Yankees have until the third day following the end of the World Series” to exercise or decline the 2022 option.  If they decline, Britton has until five days after the end of the World Series to decide whether or not to opt out or remain playing under his 2021 obligation.

    I have not had any discussions regarding my contract with the Yankees,” Britton said, adding that he will soon be touching base with his agent Scott Boras to discuss the situation.

    Given that New York’s season only just ended last Friday, it perhaps isn’t surprising that the team hasn’t yet fully explored all of their offseason matters.  It is also quite possible that in Britton’s case, the Yankees might not have much to discuss — the southpaw delivered another superb year, with a 1.89 ERA, 2.29 K/BB rate, 7.6 K/9, and elite 71.7% grounder rate, and zero home runs allowed over 19 innings of work.

    Retaining Britton for the cost of $27MM over 2021-22 seems like a relatively easy yes for the team.  One potential complication could be the Yankees’ overall payroll picture, should they decide that Britton’s salary could be better spent on other pressing issues, like re-signing DJ LeMahieu or adding to the rotation.  But, as King notes, Britton was an important stabilizing force in a bullpen that had its share of inconsistency in both the regular season and in the playoffs.

    On the off chance that the club option is declined, it’s probably also safe to assume that Britton would choose to opt out of his 2021 deal.  Britton turns 33 in December, and he would be leaving $13MM on the table to enter one of the most unpredictable free agent markets of all time.  The Yankees could also attach a qualifying offer to Britton, further impacting his market.  Even with those obstacles, however, it’s quite easy to imagine Britton scoring more two years and $27MM considering his track record as one of the sport’s better relievers.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Yankees Notes: Voit, Anderson, Offseason]]> 2020-10-11T14:34:57Z 2020-10-11T14:34:57Z Just about every day in October corresponds with a memorable Yankees postseason moment, and October 11 is no exception.  It was on this day in 1943 that the Yankees clinched their tenth World Series title, defeating the Cardinals in Game Five on the strength of a complete game shutout from starter Spud Chandler.  While the World Series MVP award didn’t exist back in 1943, it’s safe to say that Chandler would have been the winner — the righty tossed complete games in both the first and fifth games of the series, allowing just one earned run over his 18 innings for an 0.50 ERA.  This brilliant performance capped off a dream year for Chandler, who led the American League in ERA, WHIP, K/BB rate, and wins while winning AL MVP honors.

    Something of a forgotten star in Yankees history, Chandler was a late bloomer who didn’t make his MLB debut until age 29.  Chandler posted a 2.84 ERA over 1485 innings for New York between 1937-47 (missing most of 1944 and 1945 while serving in World War II), and had a sterling resume that included four All-Star appearances, two league ERA titles, three World Series rings, and that AL MVP award.

    Some items on the modern-day Yankees…

    • Luke Voit will undergo an MRI on his foot today, as the slugger told reporters following the Yankees’ Game Five loss to the Rays on Friday.  While the MRI will reveal the specifics, Voit described his issue as a “classic case of plantar fasciitis.”  Voit’s lack of mobility became more apparent down the stretch, though he had apparently been dealing with the foot problem for much of the season, not that it stopped him from hitting .277/.338/.610 with a league-best 22 homers.
    • There has already been much speculation about how the Yankees will respond to their ALDS loss, though’s Andy Martino doesn’t believe any major free agent spending is in the works due to revenue losses from the 2020 season.  Since spending around baseball is expected to be down this offseason, Martino believes this benefits a Yankees organization that has been adept at finding and developing hidden-gem players in trades and signings.  Of course, the challenge is that the Rays have also been experts in this arena, and Martino notes that the Yankees and Rays have been mutually interested in some of each other’s players.  For instance, the Yankees had interest in Nick Anderson in 2018, before Anderson had even debuted in the majors and before Tampa Bay acquired the ace reliever from the Marlins in July 2019.  Likewise, the Rays looked into a deal for Mike Tauchman back when the outfielder was with the Rockies, prior to Tauchman’s trade to New York in March 2019.
    • Something of a contrast to Martino’s opinion is provided by Joel Sherman of the New York Post, who also believes the Yankees won’t spend much, and in fact might look to get payroll under the $210MM luxury tax threshold to avoid a third straight year of an escalating tax bill.  The one splurge Sherman figures the Yankees “pretty much have to” make is re-signing DJ LeMahieu, given the infielder’s overall importance to the team over the last two seasons.  But, in order to address roster issues like defense and an overload of right-handed hitting, Sherman suggests that Voit or Gleyber Torres could become trade chips to acquire some left-handed pop or some extra pitching depth.  New York would then need a shortstop to replace Torres, and Sherman suggests the team pick up a one-year rental in advance of signing one of the many star shortstops projected to be available in the 2021-22 free agent market.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Yankees v. Rays: Who Will Advance?]]> 2020-10-09T23:00:44Z 2020-10-09T23:00:44Z The rival Yankees and Rays entered the season as the two favorites in the AL East, and they did indeed finish atop the division. The Rays handily outdid the Yankees, though, finishing with a 40-20 record to New York’s 33-27 mark. The Rays got there in part because they dominated the Yankees in the regular season with eight victories in the teams’ 10 contests. However, the clubs have been much more evenly matched in their ALDS showdown. At 2-2, they’ll meet for the decisive Game 5 of the series on Friday.

    To this point, the offensive excellence of designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton – who already has four home runs in the series – has led the Yankees. In all likelihood, though, New York will need a sterling performance from ace Gerrit Cole, a 30-year-old who’s starting on short rest for the first time in his career, in order to advance. The club signed Cole for this type of game when it landed the ex-Pirate and Astro on a record contract worth $324MM over nine years last offseason. Cole has since gone 2-0 in the playoffs, including a Game 1 victory against the Rays, and allowed five earned runs on 12 hits with a 21:2 K:BB ratio over 13 innings.

    With a payroll that falls well short of the Yankees’, the Rays have used a mix of creativity and shrewdly acquired talent to earn a place among the game’s elite teams. They revolutionized the opener strategy a couple years ago, and they won’t be afraid to turn to it yet again Friday. Righty Tyler Glasnow, Cole’s former Pirates teammate, will take the ball in Game 5 at the start; however, Glasnow’s only on two days’ rest, and manager Kevin Cash said on Friday that the Rays will utilize 2018 AL Cy Young winner Blake Snell early if there’s a need for it, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Snell could further strengthen a bullpen that was one of the majors’ best during the regular season.

    So far in the series, the Yankees have outscored Glasnow, Snell & Co. by a 23-19 count. But none of that matters heading into a do-or-die Game 5. Which team do you expect to finish with more runs Friday and advance to face the Astros in the ALCS?

    (Poll link for app users)

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Whitey Ford Passes Away]]> 2020-10-09T16:29:59Z 2020-10-09T16:29:59Z The Yankees will head into Game 5 of tonight’s ALDS with heavy hearts. The team announced today that franchise icon and baseball Hall of Famer Whitey Ford has passed away at the age of 91.

    A ten-time All-Star and the 1961 American League Cy Young winner, Ford stood as one of the last remaining members of a star-studded Yankees dynasty from the 1950s and 1960s. Ford missed the 1951 and 1952 seasons while serving in the military but took home six World Series rings as a member of the club — including World Series MVP honors for a 1961 series in which he hurled 14 shutout innings with just six hits and one walk allowed.

    Ford, born and raised in New York City, spent all 16 of his big league seasons with his hometown Yankees, posting a sub-3.00 ERA in a dozen of them. He finished second in 1950 Rookie of the Year voting, and by the time he retired in 1967, he’d compiled a stellar 236-106 record with a lifetime 2.75 ERA and 1956 strikeouts in 3170 1/3 innings pitched.

    The “Chairman of the Board” also racked up 146 postseason frames in his career, and his 2.71 ERA in that time was a near-mirror image of his regular season efforts. Ford twice led the league in ERA (1956 and 1958) and in shutouts (1958 and 1960), and he paced the American League in wins three times as well (1955, 1961, 1963). He topped 20 wins in two different seasons, including a 25-4 season in 1961 that saw him lead the Majors not only in victories but in starts (39) innings pitched (283).

    Ford’s legacy with the club will forever be commemorated at Yankee Stadium’s Monument Park, where his iconic No. 16 is retired among the organization’s all-time greats. Ford and lifelong teammate Mickey Mantle were inducted into Cooperstown together in the summer of 1974. No list of the best lefties — or simply the best pitchers, for that matter — in the game’s history would be complete without Ford’s inclusion.

    We at MLB Trade Rumors join those throughout baseball mourning the loss of a genuine icon and extend our condolences to the family, friends and loved ones of Ford.