The Yankees have reached the offseason many believed would see them make monumental moves that push them back to the head of the pack in the American League as they aim for a 28th World Series title.
Here is an update of rumors surrounding the Yankees pursuits, followed by my take on how things currently stand and may shake out…
Yankees working on bullpen market
As the Yankees await a decision from Manny Machado, the club is reportedly working on revamping its bullpen according to a tweet from Jon Heyman. Heyman states that the club is still in contact with Zach Britton, Adam Ottavino and David Robertson. FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi adds that the Red Sox are also involved in Ottavino discussions.
MY TAKE >> There is no reason for the Yankees to wait around to fill their bullpen voids, which are substantial in my opinion. While the relief crew is fronted by three very good to excellent arms in Chad Green, Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman, today’s game necessitates a deep pen with five strong arms. That is especially true with a Yankees rotation that is not built to provide work late into games.
Further, Yankees should be all-in on two of these relievers – personally, I would say Britton (necessary lefty) and Robertson (track record) – regardless of what transpires with Machado. Understanding that the money would be tighter with Machado aboard, the Yankees could fit two of the relievers on the payroll without going over the second luxury tax threshold, where the ante is admittedly not desirable. If the Red Sox are involved in each of the pitchers as well, that just provides another reason for the Yankees to strike.
Gray still garnering interest
The perceived no-doubt trade of Sonny Gray is taking a LONG time to consummate. However, the Yankees are still receiving interest in Gray according to Morosi and this time it is coming from the Brewers.
MY TAKE >> Yankees GM Brian Cashman flat out said that he was trading Gray this offseason and when it was reported that there were up to 11 clubs interested early on, many assumed this would be among the club’s first winter moves. Yet, here we are just before the New Year and Gray is still with the roster. Cashman might be waiting for the “right” deal to come across his desk, but in my view I could see this could dragging on some more.
There are two things to consider. One, if Cashman is not happy with the current offers, he can gamble and wait until the volume of free agent arms diminishes and go back to the teams that missed out to see if there is any interest in Gray.
Another possibility and new wrinkle with Gray is the health condition of CC Sabathia. As Sabathia recuperates from angioplasty surgery, the Yankees might (and should) be concerned about the depth of the rotation. Would Cashman backtrack on his feelings with Gray? Maybe not, but as a fifth starter when needed or a long man in the bullpen when not, Gray could provide some benefits to the Yankees.