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Exec says David Robertson has $39M offer; could set record for relievers — November 30, 2014

Exec says David Robertson has $39M offer; could set record for relievers

By JON HEYMAN

David Robertson, the top free agent closer this winter, is said to have such a vibrant mark that he’s likely to get a four-year deal despite having a draft pick attached to him by virtue of him declining the Yankees‘ qualifying offer.

Some around the game questioned whether Robertson was taking an unnecessary risk when he turned down the Yankees’ $15.3 million offer, which would have given the highest salary ever for a relief pitcher without ever even testing the market. But one rival executive said he’s heard Robertson already has an offer of about $39 million for three years in hand, and that it seems likely with all the outside interest that Robertson will get a four-year offer.

The Yankees, who seem most focused on finding a shortstop to replace the retiring iconDerek Jeter, clearly hope to keep Robertson, about whom GM Brian Cashman raved as the GM meetings, saying he has “all the boxes checked.” But word is, at least initially the Yankees weren’t expecting to go to four years.

The Astros are thought to be one interested team, but there are said to be other teams in the mix, as well, which could put pressure on the Yankees, who have seen the rival Red Sox and Blue Jays each make two significant acquisitions this winter.

The Yankees clearly have work to do, as they not only need to replace Jeter but third baseman Chase Headley and starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy, two more free agents they’ve had interest in bringing back. The Yankees are also considering whether to aim higher on the rotation front, and as was reported here first, have had some contact with Max Scherzer’s agent Scott Boras (though no concrete offer yet, it is believed).

The Yankees love Robertson, who seamlessly replaced the iconic Mariano Rivera, baseball’s greatest closer (Rivera’s $15 million salary in four different years is the annual record), and maintain keen interest in re-signing him to pair again with emerging bullpen star Dellin Betances. Bettances gives the Yankees a seemingly ready-made candidate to fill the closer’s role should Robertson leave, but Robertson’s departure would considerably weaken what was easily the Yankees’ greatest strength last year, a bullpen that gave them a decided edge in close games. It allowed them to post a winning record despite a negative run differential; the Yankees were 84-78 despite being outscored, 664-633.

There’s been skepticism as to whether Robertson made the right call in turning down the qualifying offer despite a superb season — he was 4-5 with 39 saves and a 3.08 ERA. The was even more doubt about whether he might receive a contract in the neighborhood of the total-dollar relief record $50 million, four-year deal Jonathan Papelbon got from Philadelphia three winters ago. But while Robertson hasn’t said publicly what he seeks, it seems more likely than ever he will wind up in that very ballpark, despite having that pick attached to him.

Robertson is a hard thrower with no injury history, and he struck out 13.4 per nine innings last season, about the same as Betances’ 13.5. In this market, where the best players are cashing in — top free-agent set-up man Andrew Miller also may get a four-year deal and will certainly break the relief record for a non closer — Robertson appears set to obliterate the original expectations. Robertson’s agent Scott Leventhal declined comment.

The Astros, whose interest was first reported by Ken Davidoff of the New York Post, wouldn’t lose a first-round pick by signing a top free agent since their first pick is protected. However, there are believed to believed to be a few suitors, and some surprises. The Blue Jays and White Sox are among teams seeking closers, though it isn’t known if they are involved here.

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Yankees will make ‘big splash’ this offseason, Dwight Gooden says — November 28, 2014

Yankees will make ‘big splash’ this offseason, Dwight Gooden says

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Dwight Gooden signs autographs at Steiner Sports in New Rochelle, N.Y., on Friday, Nov. 28, 2014.

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. — Like the rest of baseball, Dwight Gooden is awaiting the Yankees’ next move.

The ex-Yankees and Mets pitcher said he expects the club in The Bronx to “make a big splash” in the next couple of weeks.

“I think the Yankees have something up their sleeve,” he said, “whether it’s Max Scherzer or whoever it is. I definitely for forward to them doing something.”

Gooden was signing autographs with Yankees reliever Dellin Betances, ex-Knicks guard John Starks and Notre Dame legend Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger at Steiner Sports Friday.

The 50-year-old Gooden said he believes the Yankees don’t need to make a ton of additions. Instead, they said, they need to get healthy. Many of their stars spent significant time injured and on the disabled list last season, leading to its second consecutive failed bid to make the playoffs.

“They’re not going to sit back and wait,” Gooden said. “I had the privilege of working for the Yankees for six years after I retired under (late owner George Steinbrenner). So they’re not the club that’s going to sit back and let things happen. I don’t think they need to get crazy. I just think they need to get healthy and get some of their guys back.”

Gooden said the Yankees could benefit from adding a late-inning reliever or two. The club currently hopes to re-sign free agent closer David Robertson, who converted 39 of 44 saves for them last season.

But, Gooden said, if Robertson doesn’t return, Betances could excel in the closer’s job. Betances had a stellar rookie season in 2014, striking out 135 hitters in 92.1 innings while posting a 1.40 ERA.

“I think (Betances) can do it,” Gooden said. “He’s unproven, but with the stuff he has … Going from a set-up guy to a closer, even though it’s an inning, it’s a big difference. It’s just that moment. More of it is mental than physical. He definitely has the stuff to do it. But does he have the mental aspect? I think so. I’ve talked to him a little bit. I think he can do it if Robertson were to leave.”

Gooden also praised the Red Sox, who committed nearly $200 million in long-term contracts recently to third baseman Pablo Sandoval and shortstop Hanley Ramirez, who will move to the outfield for them.

“But if the Red Sox are making moves, the Yankees definitely got something in the works,” the 1986 World Series winner said.

Gooden played 16 years in the majors. His career was highlighted by both brilliances but also inconsistency. He won a Cy Young award in 1987 and was named to four All-Star teams, but his battles with drug addiction were well documented.

Not so thankful: Where do the Yankees have their greatest need? —

Not so thankful: Where do the Yankees have their greatest need?

By Chad Jennings

Joe Girardi, Brian Cashman

Enough with holiday happiness. On to the greater issues at hand.

There’s so much attention understandably focused on the Yankees need for a shortstop, but that’s hardly the only position of weakness on the current roster. Based on the guys currently in place, here’s an attempt to rank the positions in terms of immediate need. It’s hard to compare a pitching staff against an individual position, but I’d go with something other than shortstop at the top of the list.

Michael Pineda1. ROTATION — Even if everyone is healthy, the Yankees still have a rotation opening coming out of spring training. Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, CC Sabathia and Shane Greene can fill four spots, but there’s still an opening while the Yankees wait for Ivan Nova to fully recover from Tommy John surgery. David Phelps, Bryan Mitchell and Manny Banuelos are really nice bits of rotation depth — with Luis Severino waiting in the wings — but given the overwhelming health concerns of the top three starters, it’s hard to overlook the clear need for a starting pitcher. Doesn’t have to be an ace, but the Yankees need someone.

2. SHORTSTOP — How many teams are fully satisfied with their starting shortstop? Almost every shortstop in the game either doesn’t hit enough, doesn’t field enough, doesn’t stay healthy enough, or isn’t nearly young enough. It’s a position of imperfection, and right now the Yankees have an imperfect solution in all-glove, no-bat Brendan Ryan. It’s a position of definite need and certainly a position that could be upgraded, but it’s not like there’s absolutely nothing in place. One caveat: At the very least, the Yankees absolutely need a backup shortstop. After Ryan, the position depth completely disappears.

3. SECOND BASE — I honestly think you could make the case — though not a particularly strong one — that the Yankees current roster has greater need at second base than at shortstop. What they have at shortstop is a guy who’s proven he can defend the position, but has not proven he can hit. What they have at second base are two guys who have never been considered especially strong defensive players, and who haven’t proven they can hit in the big leagues. The fact Martin Prado is floating out there as an alternative eases the desperation, as does the fact both Jose Pirela and Rob Refsnyder have shown legitimate promise.

4. BULLPEN — Relievers are too unpredictable to think of them individually. They must be a collective, and depth is essential. Each one might have a role to play — some roles more important than others — but it can’t be a one-man show. That means, as great as Dellin Betances was last season, the Yankees need more. Shawn Kelley and Adam Warren have been good, and Justin Wilson is a nice addition, but the bullpen is still an arm short. If it’s not Dave Robertson who fills the void, it has to be someone.

5. THIRD BASE — Without making another change to the Yankees roster, you’d have to assume one of the young guys handles second base and Martin Prado starts at third. That’s why I put third base fifth (even though we all know the two positions are really intertwined). Based on what’s in place, third base has a logical everyday starter in Prado, a wild-card who could be productive in Alex Rodriguez, and a handful of prospects in Eric Jagielo, Dante Bichette Jr. and Miguel Andujar. If the Yankees add a third baseman, it’s really in an effort to upgrade second base by moving Prado.

Carlos Beltran6. RIGHT FIELD — The short-term concern here is all to do with Carlos Beltran’s health and production (which are two pretty important factors for any player). The Yankees committed to Beltran last year, and they have little choice but to stick with him next year. He’s coming off a bad season, though, and it’s hard to look at Chris Young’s entire 2014 campaign and think he’s a lock to provide everyday production should Beltran stumble. Tyler Austin could be an in-house replacement at some point, but he’s basically had a half-year of production in the past two seasons.

7. FIRST BASE — If Mark Teixeira hits like he did in the first three months of this season — with that .474 slugging percentage that’s not too bad by today’s standard — then the Yankees should have at least a power threat at first base. If he continues to slide like he did in the second half, then the Yankees might be in trouble. Providing an immediate alternative is Kyle Roller, who hit pretty well in Triple-A last season and should be in the same role next season (provided he’s not taken in the Rule 5 draft). There’s also Greg Bird who’s slated for Double-A and could hit his way into the big league mix by September.

8. LEFT FIELD — Although he was long considered a fourth outfielder, Brett Gardner just made Buster Olney’s list of the Top 10 left fielders in baseball. Behind him, the Yankees also have Young looking for another opportunity to hit his way into regular at-bats. Beyond that, there’s Ramon Flores, who’s having a great winter and looked pretty good in Triple-A before hurting his ankle this season. There’s also Pirela, the second baseman who has considerable experience in left. It’s a position of relative strength, just not overwhelming strength.

9. CATCHER — Even after a disappointing season, Brian McCann still counts as a pretty good everyday option behind the plate. he has a good reputation with his pitchers, and he showed his power late in the year by hitting eight home runs in the month of September. Beyond McCann, the Yankees have a legitimate young player in John Ryan Murphy, plus a potential backup in Austin Romine, plus a high-potential prospect in Gary Sanchez. McCann’s first season left a lot to be desired, but it certainly didn’t leave the Yankees in the market for a catcher.

10. CENTER FIELD — Not only is Jacoby Ellsbury still one of the better center fielders in the game, but the Yankees also have both Gardner and Young capable of playing the position should Ellsbury go down with one of his fluke injuries. Ellsbury’s a long-term answer locked into a long-term contract, and just in case, the Yankees have Eury Perez still on the 40-man while they hold out hope that either Slade Heathcott or Mason Williams — or both, why not? — will eventually live up to the raw potential they showed just a few years ago.

Yankees will go three years for Headley; 3B scouring market — November 26, 2014

Yankees will go three years for Headley; 3B scouring market

JON HEYMAN

Chase-Headley1

Chase Headley is said to be drawing interest from several teams, including the Giants.

The Yankees have signaled a willingness to give free agent third baseman Chase Headley a three-year deal, but with a thin third-base market now that Aramis Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval are off the board, it appears Headley is looking around for something better.

By all accounts the Headley-Yankees second-half marriage was a major hit last year, but he likely believes he can beat three years elsewhere.

The Giants have contacted Headley in the wake of Sandoval’s departure, as was reported here Tuesday, and a few more teams could be interested in a starter at third. The Indianshave reached out, according to Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com, the Jays need a third baseman (or second baseman) and showed interest in Headley at the July trade deadline and his old Padres team still seek a third baseman following their own aggressive putsuit of Sandoval.

Headley was well liked in the Yankees clubhouse, and it is said that he enjoyed New York much more than he would have expected. But Headley turned down a three-year offer believed to have been for about $39 million from the Padres last spring, and expected to do much better than that. He certainly isn’t ready to sign up for less than that for the Yankees at the moment.

At one time, Padres owner Ron Fowler was talking early in the 2013 season about making Headley the highest paid Padre ever (Jake Peavy is the record holder with his $52 million Padres deal signed years ago), but Headley declined to negotiate at that time, citing the fact that he was concentrating on playing.

But that was just after Headley’s huge second half in 2012 that led to him leading the league in RBI that year, and before two more ordinary offensive seasons. Headley had 13 home runs, 49 RBI, a .249 batting average and .700 OPS between his Padres and Yankees stints in 2014. He was excellent at third in New York, though.

The Yankees do have the option to play versatile Martin Prado at third base, and either looking for a second baseman instead, or trying one of two prospects there, Robert Refsnyder or Jose Pirela. Such an option could allow the Yankees to spend more elsewhere, and they have been weighing whether to make a real run at top free-agent pitcher Max Scherzer.

Top talent signing quickly, here’s the best of what’s left — November 25, 2014

Top talent signing quickly, here’s the best of what’s left

By Chad Jennings

Chase Headley

Each offseason, it’s pretty easy to find free agent rankings. And it’s just as easy to, one by one, cross those free agents off the list.

These are the the position players who ranked among the top 25 free agents according to MLB Trade Rumors. I’m choosing their list just because, I don’t know, it’s just the one I picked, and the point is the same regardless of the source: It’s not even Thanksgiving and a lot of the top hitters are already off the market.

Here, I’m listing only the positions players — with their overall ranking on the MLBTR list — because it’s the position market that’s seen the most movement this winter. The pitching market really hasn’t done much. It’s worth noting that guys who might interested the Yankees — guys like Stephen Drew, Rickie Weeks and recently re-signed Chris Young — did not fall within MLB Trade Rumors top 25.

Here are the names initially considered to be among the best position players available. The top tier has been chipped away. How many of the remaining hitters truly fit the Yankees roster?

4. Hanley Ramirezsigned with Red Sox
Top position player on the market; also one of the most significant injury risks.

5. Pablo Sandovalsigned with Red Sox
Top third baseman on the market; solves infield issue in Boston.

6. Victor Martinezre-signed with Tigers
Top pure hitter on the market; signed through his late-30s.

7. Melky Cabrerastill available
Coming off a bounce-back season; Yankees not in the market for an outfielder.

8. Russell Martin — signed with Blue Jays
Top catcher on the market; turned resurgent season into five-year deal.

9. Nelson Cruzstill available
Coming off career-high 40 homers; Yankees are committed at DH and right field.

10. Yasmany Tomasstill available
The top international free agent; another outfielder who doesn’t fit the current Yankees roster.

16. Chase Headleystill available
Yankees showed immediate interest; strong fit as mid-season addition in 2014.

19. Aramis Ramirez re-signed with Brewers
Never truly a free agent; mutual option exercised to keep Ramirez in Milwaukee.

20. Colby Rasmus still available
Inconsistent but still young; Yankees have no need for another left-handed center fielder.

21. Jed Lowriestill available
Could be an option at second or short; offensive power was down this season.

23. Asdrubal Cabrerastill avaiable
Could be an option at second or short; offense is down but still 29 years old.

24. Nick Markakis –still available
Seemed close to re-signing with Orioles; another outfielder who doesn’t fit the Yankees roster.

25. Adam LaRochesigned with White Sox
Left-handed power hitter; should split time between first base and DH in Chicago.

Yankees’ restraint to be tested by splashy Red Sox moves —

Yankees’ restraint to be tested by splashy Red Sox moves

By Joel Sherman

New York Yankees

Re-signing Chase Headley remains atop the Yankees’ to-do list, in spite of the Red Sox’s splashy moves.

In the good old days — let’s call that the early part of this century — the Yankees and Red Sox had a Pavlovian baseball relationship. One would act decisively and the other would counter-punch. Usually this would be done with swelled egos and even larger wallets.

But three Yankees officials told me the Red Sox’s bold moves for Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval — when they are finalized — will not stir the Yankees to react in kind. In other words, these are not Hal Steinbrenner’s father’s Yankees.

Well, they are and they aren’t.

Last offseason, the Yankees responded to missing the playoffs in 2013 by laying out nearly a half-billion dollars to secure Masahiro Tanaka, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran. That was very Steinbrenner-ian. However, the team missed the postseason again and already knows its 2015 payroll is expanding further with the return of Alex Rodriguez from suspension.

Thus, the club does not plan to make plays at the top of the free-agent market for pitchers such as Max Scherzer or Jon Lester. That was the Yankees’ policy when the offseason started and still is Monday as reports of the Red Sox’s moves surfaced.

Yes, the Yankees know they need these kinds of players to project as a strong team in 2015. But they feel they already have taken on too much long-term money and risk and want to limit that — at least for now.

The Yankees’ hope now is Boston is doing the same. That the Red Sox are over-reacting to a last-place finish in 2014 by making a Boss-like choice to care almost exclusively about the following season while swallowing the future gamble. There is little doubt Ramirez and Sandoval will make the 2015 Red Sox better, but this would be a five-year, roughly $200 million gamble on Ramirez’s sometimes dubious temperament and Sandoval’s worrisome girth.

For now, the Yankees are claiming discipline. That they remain fixated on improving the left side of the infield, notably at shortstop, upgrading their rotation and deepening their bullpen.

They essentially could do all of this with re-signs of Stephen Drew, Brandon McCarthy and David Robertson. And they are interested in all of those, plus a re-sign of Chase Headley.

But Headley’s market also might be expanding beyond the Yankees’ comfort zone. With Sandoval off the market, Headley becomes the best third baseman available in free agency. The Giants now join the ranks of suitors interested in him as a replacement for Sandoval. Their manager, Bruce Bochy, has some familiarity with Headley as a player from when Bochy managed the Padres and Headley was in the high minors for San Diego — and, of course, managing against him for years in the NL West.

Also, I sense talking to Yankees people they are more galvanized to find a shortstop than a third baseman, and have made a series of trade offers to teams for shortstops. The Yankees could play Martin Prado at third and use either Jose Pirela or Rob Refsnyder at second.

As for Robertson, the Yankees fully expect him to receive significant multi-year offers from other clubs and have to make a decision whether to take one or what the Yankees are proposing for a reliever they do, indeed, want back.

A closer look at the updated Yankees 40-man roster — November 22, 2014

A closer look at the updated Yankees 40-man roster

By Chad Jennings

Yankees-5-450x299

The Yankees made their single most significant 40-man roster change on Thursday when they protected four prospects from the Rule 5 draft and sent Zelous Wheeler to a team in Japan. At the time, the team announced that there were 38 players on their roster, but it seems to have been a miscount — Mason Williams wasn’t listed online — and the 40-man instead sits at 39 players.

That leaves one open spot, with the Yankees likely to add at least four players before it’s all said and done (shortstop, third baseman, starter, reliever). Trades could obviously change things, but here’s a look at the current 40-man roster, with the ways it might change in the coming months.

I’ve tried to break players into major leaguers and minor leaguers, though there’s obviously some overlap with plenty of minor leaguers perfectly capable of winning a job on the big league roster in spring training.

BanuelosPinedaSTARTING PITCHERS (10)
Majors: Shane Greene, Ivan Nova, Michael Pineda, CC Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka
Minors: Manny Banuelos, Jose Campos, Jose De Paula, Bryan Mitchell, Chase Whitley

Depending on the way he’s progressing in spring training, I suppose the Yankees could open the season with Nova on the 60-day disabled list if they have a non-roster guy they’d like to carry on Opening Day (perhaps Andrew Bailey or Rob Refsnyder, for example). It’s also worth wondering how the Yankees view Campos given last year’s surgery. Is the presence of Banuelos, De Paula and Mitchell as immediate rotation depth enough to risk losing Whitley if/when the roster gets tight? He has options and would surely be claimed, but given the alternatives, Whitley could theoretically become a DFA candidate if the Yankees add more than one starting pitcher.

ClaiborneBetancesRELIEF PITCHERS (11)
Majors: Dellin Betances, David Huff, Shawn Kelley, David Phelps, Esmil Rogers, Adam Warren, Justin Wilson
Minors: Danny Burawa, Preston Claiborne, Branden Pinder, Jose Ramirez

Easiest way to open a couple of roster spots might be to non-tender Huff and Rogers. Huff is coming off a nice season, and he’s certainly a useful piece, but he might have become expendable with the additions of Wilson and De Paula. As for Rogers, he’s going to be fairly expensive for a guy who might not even deserve a big league roster spot. If the roster gets tight and the Yankees have to open another spot, Claiborne could be a DFA candidate. Depends entirely on how the Yankees feel about him compared to recent additions Burawa and Pinder.

SanchezMcCannCATCHERS (4)
Majors: Brian McCann, John Ryan Murphy, Austin Romine
Minors: Gary Sanchez

Clearly the Yankees would prefer to have both Murphy and Romine in big league camp so that they have two young options for the backup catcher role (at the very least, Romine’s good insurance in case Murphy gets hurt in March). But it’s worth noting that Romine’s out of options, and it’s entirely possible the Yankees are going to have to DFA him eventually anyway. He’s more likely to be claimed in the winter than at the end of spring training — right now team’s might see him as being worth a look; in late March they’d have to seriously have a spot for him — but would the Yankees rather risk losing Romine or risk losing one of the pitchers who could provide legitimate depth during the season?

PirelaRodriguezINFIELDERS (5)
Majors: Martin Prado, Alex Rodriguez, Brendan Ryan, Mark Teixiera
Minors: Jose Pirela

Given the way Pirela played last season, and the way he’s continued to play this winter, it’s hard to see any of these guys as a real DFA candidate under any circumstances. Ryan is the only legitimate shortstop in place, and the Yankees have made it clear that they’re committed to bringing Rodriguez back next season. Pirela seems to be a legitimate bench candidate, if not a potential starting second baseman. He’s listed as a minor leaguer here because there’s certainly a good chance that he could end up back in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, but he also might be a favorite for a bench role if the Yankees don’t add a significant utility type this winter. Ultimately, there aren’t enough infielders for the Yankees to risk losing one of them on waivers.

Williams (2)EllsburyOUTFIELDERS (9)
Majors: Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner, Chris Young
Minors: Tyler Austin, Ramon Flores, Slade Heathcott, Eury Perez, Mason Williams

Now that the catchers are thinned out, this is where the Yankees roster is most overstocked, but it’s also a spot without an easy way to trim. All of the minor league outfielders have options remaining, which makes then an easy target on the waiver wire. Now that Young is in place as a right-handed fourth outfielder, Perez might be more expendable than he was at the beginning of the offseason, but he’s also the most experienced and reliable of the minor league outfielders on the 40-man. Trading one of Flores, Heathcott or Williams might make sense given the depth of left-handed outfielders (which goes beyond the 40-man to include guys like Jake Cave and Taylor Dugas).

Raul Ibanez not interested in Yankees’ hitting coach job —

Raul Ibanez not interested in Yankees’ hitting coach job

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Raul Ibanez doesn’t want to become the Yankees’ next hitting coach, according to a report.

By Brendan Kuty

Count Raul Ibanez out of the Yankees hitting coach search.

The ex-Yankees outfielder was intrigued by the job, but has told people he’s no longer interested, according to a report from the New York Post’s George King.

And that’s even if he doesn’t become the Rays’ next manager – a position for which he’s being considered.

Ibanez has been named a finalist for that job, alongside Kevin Cash and Don Wakamatsu, the Tampa Bay announced Friday.

Ibanez, 42, has never coached at any level and was a part-time outfielder for the Angels and Royals in 2014. He hasn’t officially retired from playing baseball.

Ibanez spent the 2012 season with the Yankees.

The Yankees have had difficulty finding a replacement for Kevin Long, whom they fired as hitting coach in October. Chili Davis was reportedly the front-runner for the position, but instead took the same job with the Red Sox.

Eric Hinkse turned down the position to be the Cubs’ assistant hitting coach and the club didn’t give the job to Dave Magadan, who returned his post with the Rangers.

The team has also interviewed Double-A hitting coach Marcus Thames and minor-league hitting coordinator James Rowson.

The Yankees plan on interviewing a new hitting coach candidate next week, general manager Brian Cashman said. No candidates have received second interviews.

Yankees open to signing 2 starting pitchers — November 21, 2014

Yankees open to signing 2 starting pitchers


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New York Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman opens up his sleeping bag as he prepares to sleep outside as part of the Nationwide Sleep Out for homeless youth event at the Covenant House in New York , NY

By Brendan Kuty

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman was typically mum regarding the club’s offseason spending plans Thursday.

Cashman spoke before spending the night sleeping in the streets of Manhattan, hoping toraise awareness for the homeless youth as part of the Covenant House’s fourth annual “Sleep Out” event.

Here are the main takeaways from Cashman on the Yankees’ plans:

He’s open to signing more than one starting pitcher

Cashman was asked whether the Yankees would stop their search for starting pitchers if they re-signed Brandon McCarthy. The GM said he would be open to the possibility, and that, when it comes to his pursuit of the 31-year-old right-hander who performed well in pinstripes down the stretch, “clearly we have interest.”

Will Yankees spend?

Cashman didn’t give much of a clue into his thinking there. First, the GM declined to say whether “any of the big-ticket items are in play,” but that “ownership has always been very beneficial with the resources to put the team on the field.” Sounds like a maybe, right? Then Cashman said the Yankees are looking for “smart ways to improve our club.” And how smart does a nine-figure deal for a Jon Lester or a Max Scherzer sound? It’s open to interpretation.

Priorities haven’t changed

At the GM Meetings in Phoenix last week, Cashman said finding a starting shortstop and possibly adding a third baseman were among his chief concerns. On Thursday, Cashman said nothing’s new on that front. “Those are two areist I would like to focus on,” he said.

Cashman added that he’d like to “reinforce” the pitching staff, too, considering the health concerns swirling around starters Masahiro Tanaka (elbow), CC Sabathia (knee) and Ivan Nova (elbow). Adding a reliever will be a main objective, as well, he said, considering closer David Robertson is still a free agent.

“That’s a handful, right off the bat,” he said.

And what about Kuroda?

Cashman said he still hasn’t heard whether Hiroki Kuroda, 39, will pitch again next season. But, the GM said, he would be surprised if Kuroda didn’t play in either the MLB or Japan, his home country. But Cashman expects him to play somewhere. “The guy is way too talented,” he said.

Yankees GM Brian Cashman sleeps out in NY to raise awareness for homeless youthNew York Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman opens up his sleeping bag as he prepares to sleep outside as part of the Nationwide Sleep Out for homeless youth event at the Covenant House in New York , NY 11/20/14 (Amanda Marzullo | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)

But would that mean the Yankees would be interested in bringing him back? Cashman was vague.

“Every dollar counts to something,” Cashman said. “Everything we do has to be accounted for, so it will have an impact on something else. It depends on the entire context of the roster. But I do need starting pitching so he’s clearly an area that would solve some issues. We’ll see.”

Yankees will have ‘surprises,’ team president Randy Levine says — November 20, 2014

Yankees will have ‘surprises,’ team president Randy Levine says

randy levine

Yankees president Randy Levine.

By Brendan Kuty

It could have been an off-the-cuff line to give theYankees wiggle room or decoy to throw clubs off their trail. But it sure sounded just like the truth.

When asked Wednesday at the Owners Meetings in Kansas City about the Yankees’ offseason spending plans, team president Randy Levine told reporters that the club is taking its usual, calculated approach.

Then Levine threw the punchline: “We have to have some surprises,” he said.

Then he added: “We’ll have to wait and see. I think it’s a little early for any conclusions.”

Levine was right. The Yankees hadn’t made any big moves this time last offseason. Then they shocked baseball by giving outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury a seven-year, $153-million contract, and followed that up with a five-year, $85-million pact for catcher Brian McCann. And not long after, outfielder Carlos Beltran inked a three-year, $45-million deal with the team.

And this was all before they handed starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka a seven-year, $155-million deal.

The point: The Yankees have been quiet this offseason but that’s not unusual. And while various reports have said the Yankees won’t spend on top-priced talent, remember they’re also the Yankees, and they have a history of dumping out their wallets at a moment’s notice.

After all, remember last year’s goal to keep payroll at $189 million to avoid luxury tax penalties? How did that turn out?