Thursday, June 13 2024

Here’s the latest Yankees free agency and trade buzz during the 2023-24 MLB offseason…

Dec. 30, 1:45 p.m.

Former Yankees right-hander Frankie Montas is signing a one-year, $16 million deal with the Cincinnati Reds, according to numerous reports.

Montas spent a season and a half in the Bronx, but made just nine appearances over that span after undergoing arthroscopic surgery in his right shoulder.

New York had shown interest in a reunion with the right-hander as they look to fill out their rotation, but now they’ll have to turn their attention elsewhere.

Dec. 26, 8:00 p.m.

With ace right-hander Yoshinobu Yamamoto officially off the board on a historic deal with the Dodgers, the Yankees and many other teams will have to turn elsewhere to fill out their rotation this offseason.

One of the more intriguing arms remaining on the free agent market is Japanese southpaw Shota Imanaga.

With his Jan. 11 deadline quickly approaching, the 30-year-old is expected to meet with teams in the United States after the New Year, according to the Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.

Imanaga doesn’t quite have the upside Yamamoto possesses, but he’s certainly enjoyed his fair share of success over the past few years in the NPB.

Both the Mets and Yanks could make a ton of sense for the left-hander, who struck out 188 batters last season and is seen as more of a middle-of-the-rotation arm in MLB.

Dec. 17, 11:40 p.m.

If the Yankees fail in their pursuit to sign Japanese right-hander Yoshinobu Yamamoto, they plan to be quite “aggressive” in the free agent pitching market, reports The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.

The Yanks have held internal discussions about bringing back left-hander Jordan Montgomery and also could potentially look to build, what a source told Rosenthal, a “super-charged” bullpen.

Rosenthal added that if the Yanks sign Yamamoto, they will likely stay in the market for more pitching “seeking affordable options” to add to the rotation.

Montgomery pitched to a 3.20 ERA (3.56 FIP) in 188.2 innings over 32 starts in 2023, 11 of which came for the Texas Rangers after a late July trade from St. Louis. The soon-to-be 31-year-old struck out 166 and walked just 48 with a 1.193 WHIP.

Montgomery spent the first five years of his career in the Bronx before he was traded to the Cardinals for Harrison Bader in his sixth big league season.

He made six appearances (five starts) in the postseason in 2023, pitching to a 2.90 ERA (3.90 FIP) over 31 innings en route to a World Series ring.

Dec. 17, 10:45 a.m.

The Yankees are expected to have a second meeting with Japanese ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto as early as Sunday, according to SNY’s Andy Martino.

The right-hander is in town after he had dinner with a Mets contingent including manager Carlos Mendoza and pitching coach Jeremy Hefner at Steve Cohen’s house on Saturday night.

While he’s in the area, Martino notes he’ll head crosstown to have a second meeting in the Bronx.

The Mets haven’t made a offer to Yamamoto yet, and it’s still unknown if the Yankees have or not, but the process is expected to accelerate this week.

Dec. 14, 8:30 p.m.

As the Yoshinobu Yamamoto sweepstakes continue, the Yankees are among teams keeping their eyes on some contingency plans.

New York is considering left-hander Shota Imanaga as a fallback option if they miss out on Yamamoto, according to Jon Heyman of the New York Post.

The Mets, Red Sox, Cubs, and Dodgers are some of the others with interest.

While Imanaga doesn’t quite have the upside of the 25-year-old Yamamoto, he did enjoy a ton of success of his own throughout his eight-year NPB career.

The southpaw posted a 2.66 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, and 188 strikeouts across 24 starts last season for the Yokohama DeNA BayStars.

Dec. 7, 10:32 a.m.

The Yankees have interest in hard-throwing right-handed free agent reliever Jordan Hicks, per Brendan Kuty and Chris Kirschner of The Athletic.

Hicks, 27, has a high-octane fastball that averaged a tick over 100 mph in 2023 and has reached as high as 104 mph in regular season games.

He has had a number of health issues that have hampered him since his rookie season in 2018, when he appeared in a career-high 73 games. But Hicks was healthy and very effective for the Cardinals and Blue Jays in 2023.

In 65.2 innings over 65 appearances in 2023, Hicks had a 3.29 ERA (3.22 FIP) and 1.35 WHIP with 81 strikeouts — a rate of 11.1 per nine.

Dec. 6, 5:35 p.m.

Free agent reliever Robert Stephenson is drawing broad interest this week, according to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi, with the Yankees among the clubs involved.

The other teams linked with the right-hander are the Texas Rangers and both Los Angeles teams, the Dodgers and Angels.

Stephenson, who will turn 31 in February, pitched to a 3.10 ERA and 0.879 WHIP with 77 strikeouts to 16 walks over 60 games a season ago. But his year didn’t take off until he was traded to Tampa Bay at the start of June.

The righty had a 5.14 ERA through 14 innings with Pittsburg prior to being dealt before closing out the season with a 2.35 ERA over 38.1 innings with the Rays.

Dec. 5, 7:55 p.m.

In his Tuesday media availability, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman confirmed he has had talks with a number of agents. Specifically, the organization has talked with representatives for Shohei Ohtani and others.

“I talked to [Ohtani’s] agent, I will concede that, but leave it at no more than that,” Cashman said.

As Ohtani looks for his next landing spot, it’s become known that any leaks regarding personal meetings will be held against the team. It’s being reported that the Dodgers, Blue Jays, Giants, Angels and potentially the Cubs are in on the two-way star.

In his talk with the media, Cashman also confirmed that he has spoken with the agents of Frankie Montas, Wandy Peralta and Isiah Kiner-Falefa about potential reunions.

Dec. 4, 10:20 a.m.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa is drawing interest on the free agent market from “about 12 teams, including the Yankees,” reports the New York Post’s Jon Heyman.

Teams are considering Kiner-Falefa as a third baseman, shortstop and super utilityman, Heyman added.

With the Yankees in 2023, he saw the majority of time in the outfield (29 starts, 278 innings in center and 28 starts 248 innings in left) and third base (26 starts, 240 innings).

Kiner-Falefa played over 1,000 innings (131 starts) at shortstop for New York in 2022 after he made 155 starts during his final year with the Texas Rangers, the last time he was an everyday player. He has also done some catching in his career (66 starts) and has spent some time at second base (19 starts).

He is coming off a rough year at the plate, slashing .242/.306/.340 for a .646 OPS (and a below-average 78 OPS+) in 361 plate appearances over 113 games for the Yanks.

Dec. 4, 2:40 p.m.

The Yankees are one of the many teams interested in free agent left-hander Wandy Peralta and are hopeful of a reunion, according to the New York Post’s Jon Heyman.

Peralta, 32, pitched to a 2.83 ERA (5.05 FIP) in 54.0 innings over 63 appearances for the Yanks during the 2023 season, with 51 strikeouts and 30 walks for a 1.222 WHIP.

The lefty came to the Bronx in an April 2021 trade with the Giants for Mike Tauchman and has posted a 2.82. ERA in his 165 games with the club.

Nov. 30, 11:32 a.m.

The Yankees are in the market for a left-handed hitting outfielder with some power and they are remaining engaged with representatives for free agent Cody Bellinger, according to The Athletic’s Brendan Kuty.

Another option would be Juan Soto, and SNY MLB Insider Andy Martino reported on Thursday that talks between the Yanks and San Diego Padres for Soto trade progressed to the point of exchanging names on players. The sides are not close to an agreement and San Diego’s initial ask was very high for what would likely be a one-year rental as the 25-year-old will likely test the free agency waters for the first time in his career after the 2024 season like other Scott Boras clients do.

The Yankees found the asking price for Bellinger “a bit steep” for now, according to The Athletic, as expected for another Boras client this early in free agency. But the Yanks are still interested in the 28-year-old who is coming off a bounce-back year for the Chicago Cubs in which he posted a .307 average and .881 OPS with 26 home runs and 97 RBI in 130 games.

The son of a one-time Yankee, Bellinger was the 2017 NL Rookie of the Year and 2019 NL MVP with the Dodgers before he had back-to-back disastrous seasons with Los Angeles, batting .193 with a .611 OPS with just 29 homers and 104 RBI over a 239 game stretch.

Nov. 23, 5:30 p.m.

The Yankees are on the hunt for starting pitching this offseason, and according to Jon Heyman of the NY Post, the team is considering a reunion with left-hander Jordan Montgomery.

Montgomery spent the first five and a half seasons of his career in the Bronx before being traded to the St. Louis Cardinals ahead of the 2022 trade deadline in exchange for Harrison Bader.

He enjoyed success in St. Louis, but with the team out of playoff contention, he found himself flipped again at this season’s deadline to the Texas Rangers.

Montgomery was a breakout star for the World Series champs, pitching to a 2.79 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, and 58 strikeouts across 11 starts.

Heyman notes that the Yankees have been particular about their rotation targets so far this offseason.

Nov. 21, 9:45 a.m.

The Yankees have agreed to a deal with right-handed reliever Yerry De Los Santos, his representatives, Epitome Sports Management, announced on social media.

The contract is a minor league deal with an invite to spring training that will pay him $900,000 if reaches the majors, according to the New York Post’s Joel Sherman. The contract also includes a June 1 assignment clause to the 26-man big league roster and a July 1 release clause.

De Los Santos became a free agent after he went unclaimed on waivers earlier this month after pitching for the Pittsburgh Pirates the past two seasons, his only MLB experience.

The 25-year-old reliever appeared in 48 games with Pittsburgh pitching to a 4.14 ERA (4.04 FIP) in 50.0 innings with 44 strikeouts to 24 walks and a 1.260 WHIP. He pitched to a 3.33 ERA over 24.1 innings a year ago.

While the strikeout percentage is low (17.3 percent in 2023), thanks to a sinker that he throws 61.5 percent of the time he tallied a 55.6 percent ground ball rate in the big leagues last campaign, which could indicate the Yanks’ interest in the righty.

Nov. 20, 6:40 p.m.

The Yankees and San Francisco Giants are among the teams showing interest in Korean outfielder Jung-Hoo Lee leading up to his posting later this winter, according to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi.

The 25-year-old, who grew up idolizing Ichiro Suzuki, has been a star over the past few seasons in the KBO. Lee’s a former Rookie of the Year, MVP, and a five-time Gold Glove award winner.

Though he doesn’t offer too much in the power department, his bat-to-ball skills are elite. The sweet-swinging lefty is a career .340 hitter and has been able to get on base at a stellar .407 clip. He also batted .429 with two doubles and five RBI across four games as part of Team Korea during the 2023 World Baseball Classic.

Lee underwent season-ending ankle surgery in July, but according to Morosi, he is expected to be full-go for the beginning of the next season.

Nov. 17, 3:59 p.m.

The Yankees announced they traded OF Jake Bauers to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for minor-league outfielders Jace Avina and Brian Sanchez ahead of MLB’s non-tender deadline on Friday.

Avina, 20, spent the last two years in the Brewers system. Last season in Single-A Carolina, the right-handed batter hit .233 with 22 doubles, 14 home runs, 50 RBI, 57 runs scored and 10 stolen bases in 99 games.

Sanchez, 19, signed with the Brewers as a non-drafted free agent in February. The Venezuela native played 33 games in Milwaukee’s farm system this year, hitting .297/.414/.446 with 20 runs scored, seven doubles, four triples, 19 RBI and eight stolen bases in 33 games with the DSL Brewers 1.

Bauers, 28, was a key depth piece for the Yankees in 2023, hitting a slash line of .202/.279/.413 with 12 home runs and 30 RBI in 84 games last season with the Bombers.

Nov. 17, 2:21 p.m.

The Giants are among the suitors for Cody Bellinger, reports Jesse Rogers of ESPN.

San Francisco has missed out on big stars in recent offseasons, including whiffing on Aaron Judge and having a deal for Carlos Correa fall apart late over medical concerns last winter.

Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi is expected to be aggressive this offseason, so it makes perfect sense that the team has been linked to most of the big free agents.

While San Francisco could be a threat to the Yankees’ chances of signing Bellinger, the Cubs aren’t expected to be.

Per ESPN, a source familiar with the situation said Bellinger — who played for the Cubs in 2023 — “is as good as gone,” with Rogers adding that Chicago won’t get into a bidding war for him.

Nov. 16, 8:36 a.m.

With the Yankees in need of a center fielder, they have “engaged the Rays in multiple conversations” this offseason about Manuel Margot, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

The Rays are also speaking to other teams about Margot, per The Athletic.

Margot, 29, hit .264/.310/.376 with four homers and 21 doubles in 99 games for the Rays in 2023.

In eight big league seasons with the Rays and Padres, he has slashed .255/.309/.385.

He has graded out as above average in the outfield via DRS in every season except 2023, when he was worth -3 DRS.

Margot will earn $10 million in 2024, and his contract contains a mutual option at $12 million for 2025.

Nov. 14, 10:55 a.m.

The Yankees “are among the most active teams in the starting pitching market,” reports Jon Morosi of MLB Network, who notes that the Yanks are interested in free agent RHP Aaron Nola.

Nola had a 4.46 ERA and 1.15 WHIP in 32 starts over 193.2 innings for the Phillies in 2023. He has bookended mediocre seasons (he had a 4.63 ERA) around a very strong 2022 campaign, where he posted a 3.25 ERA and 0.96 WHIP in 205 innings.

He will be entering his age-31 season in 2024, and should be one of the most sought after pitchers on the market.

Nola made $16 million this past season for the Phillies in what was the final year of a four-year deal.

Because the Phillies extended a qualifying offer to Nola, which he will reject, the team that signs him will lose a pick in the 2024 MLB Draft.

Nov. 10, 5:55 p.m.

The Yankees are reportedly interested in re-signing free agent reliever Wandy Peralta.

According to Gary Phillips of the Daily News, the Yankees have spoken about a reunion with the left-hander, but an offer has yet to be extended to the 32-year-old.

Peralta has been a great left-handed specialist for the Yankees since being acquired from the Giants in the Mike Tauchman trade in 2021.

In parts of three seasons with the Yanks, Peralta is 10-9 with a 2.82 ERA and 1.18 WHIP over 37 appearances. Peralta has also amassed 11 saves in that time.

Peralta was also clutch in the postseason, giving up three runs in 8.2 innings while striking out seven batters.

Nov. 9, 10:40 p.m.

After Yankees GM Brian Cashman stated to the media that the team is in the market for one or two outfielders — preferably left-handed — a new report says the Bombers have Kevin Kiermaier on their radar.

The Athletic reported that aside from Cody Bellinger, the Yankees have discussed the free-agent center fielder.

Kiermaier, 33, hit .265 with eight home runs and 36 RBI in 2023 with the Toronto Blue Jays. He’s a four-time Gold Glove winner, including this season, and gives the Yanks a defensive center fielder they need while Jasson Dominguez recovers from elbow surgery.

Nov. 8, 11:07 a.m.

According to The New York Post’s Jon Heyman, this offseason the Yanks have reached out to Cody Bellinger, who is reportedly at the top of their free-agent list.

That list also includes Shohei Ohtani and Juan Soto, all left-handed hitters, but Heyman notes that the player most likely to land in New York is Bellinger, followed by Soto then Ohtani.

A former MVP and Rookie of the Year, Bellinger signed a one-year deal with the Chicago Cubs last offseason and revitalized his career after three consecutive down years. In 130 games, the 28-year-old had 26 home runs and 97 RBI while batting a career-best .307 with an .881 OPS.

While all three play the outfield – a major area of need for the Yankees – Bellinger likely adds the most value to New York as he can play both center field and first base at an elite level.

Scott Boras, Bellinger’s agent, spoke to reporters Wednesday as the GM Meetings continue and was asked how he thinks the outfielder would like playing in New York.

“Cody’s played in major markets so he just wants to play on a winning team,” Boras said.

Nov. 7, 11:30 p.m.

Luis Severino is looking to get back on the mound after his 2023 was cut short due to an oblique injury, but it looks increasingly like the Yankees won’t be bringing him back.

Severino, who is an unrestricted free agent this winter, is back to throwing and is “feeling good,” according to The Athletic’s Brendan Kuty. The report also states that there has been interest from as many as eight teams for Severino’s services in 2024, but the Yankees aren’t believed to be one of them.

Last season, Severino had a career-high 6.65 ERA over 19 games (18 starts). His 1.65 WHIP was also a career-high and his 79 strikeouts were his lowest since 2016, when he started just 11 games.

Of course, Severino’s career with the Yankees has been marred by injuries. After bursting onto the scene in 2017, he had his high-water mark the following year by going 19-8 with a 3.39 ERA in 32 starts. The next three seasons saw Severino appear in just seven games and make three starts due to a number of different injuries.

After a solid 2022, Severino was poised to solidify his spot in the rotation before he hit free agency. However, his poor numbers and injuries may have spelled the end for the 29-year-old’s tenure in The Bronx.

The Yankees rotation is filled with a number of arms including Gerrit Cole, Carlos Rodon, Nestor Cortes and newcomers Clarke Schmidt and potentially Michael King. With the Yanks also looking into bringing Frankie Montas back, Severino will seemingly have to go to a new team.

Nov. 7, 9:26 a.m.

The Yankees are considering a reunion with free agent right-handed pitcher Frankie Montas, per Joel Sherman and Jon Heyman of The New York Post.

Montas, whom the Yanks acquired from the Athletics at the 2022 trade deadline, was limited due to shoulder injuries the last season and a half.

He threw just 39.2 innings over eight starts after being acquired in 2022, while pitching to a 6.35 ERA.

In 2023, he pitched in just one game (in relief) late in the season after missing the bulk of the year following arthroscopic surgery on his shoulder in February.

Entering his age-31 season and with serious injury concerns, Montas — who has a career 3.90 ERA and 1.29 WHIP in eight seasons in the majors — will likely have to settle for a one-year deal.

Nov. 2, 7:00 p.m.

The Yankees placed Domingo German, Franchy Cordero, Billy McKinney, Matt Bowman, Jimmy Cordero, and Ryan Weber on outright waivers.

All six players had been arbitration-eligible.

Source: Yahoo Sports


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