New York Yankees All The Time !

Cashman indicates Luis Severino will go to Triple-A if he doesn’t win a rotation spot — December 29, 2016

Cashman indicates Luis Severino will go to Triple-A if he doesn’t win a rotation spot

By Mike Axisa


According to Andrew Marchand, Brian Cashman recently indicated the Yankees will continue to develop Luis Severino as a starting pitcher next year, even if it has to happen in the minors. “He still possesses all that upside and ceiling, but obviously he will have to re-prove that in 2017 to earn a spot in the rotation at the Major League level. If not, the expectation is that he would go to Triple-A,” said the GM.

Severino, 22, was terrible as a starter and great as a reliever in 2016. He pitched to an 8.50 ERA (5.56 FIP) in 47.2 innings as a starter and a 0.39 ERA (2.29 FIP) in 23.1 innings as a reliever. Goodness. He was two totally different pitchers. Between big league stints, Severino had a 3.49 ERA (2.60 FIP) in 77.1 innings with Triple-A Scranton. Anyway, I have some thoughts on this and Severino’s future in general.

1. Of course the Yankees shouldn’t give up on him as a starter. Context: Luis Severino is ten days older than James Kaprielian. The Yankees would be foolish to give up on a guy this young and this talented as a starting pitcher based on 47.2 terrible starter innings (and 23.1 great relief innings) so early in his big league career. They’re in transition mode and their No. 1 goal should be maximizing their young assets, and in Severino’s case, that means continuing to let him develop as a starter.

Furthermore, the Yankees have basically no established starters under control beyond next season. CC Sabathia and Michael Pineda will be free agents next winter, and if Masahiro Tanaka doesn’t opt-out, that means something went wrong in 2017, most likely an injury. The Yankees have a nice collection of young starters and Severino is among them, along with guys like Luis Cessa, Chad Green, Bryan Mitchell, Jordan Montgomery, and Chance Adams. I don’t think many will argue with me saying Severino has the most upside of that group.

2. Severino needs to make up for lost development time. The Yankees probably wouldn’t have made the postseason without Severino in 2015 — they finished only two games ahead of the Angels, the first non-wildcard team — and at the end of the day, getting into the playoffs is the name of the game. Get in and you have a chance to win the World Series. Severino helped them accomplish that goal in 2015.

At the same time, I don’t think the Yankees did Severino any favors long-term by rushing him up through the minors. Look at his innings by level:

  • Rookie ball: 26.1 innings
  • Low-A: 85.1 innings
  • High-A: 23.1 innings (three during an injury rehab stint in 2016)
  • Double-A: 63 innings
  • Triple-A: 138.2 innings (77.1 innings after getting bombed in MLB early in 2016)

Severino was not some polished college arm fresh out of the draft. He was a teenager in full season ball and in Double-A by age 20. The statistical performance was excellent, no doubt about it, but there’s more to life than minor league strikeout and walk rates. Severino’s command has been pretty terrible in the big leagues, especially with his secondary pitches, and the Yankees didn’t give him a whole lot of time to work on it in the minors. It’s not a shock the kid has looked less than refined in the big leagues.

I get the temptation to stick Severino in the bullpen next year and help the Yankees win. They are still trying to do that, you know. The team didn’t spend $13M on a DH and $86M on a closer to not win in 2017. Putting Severino in the bullpen almost certainly makes the 2017 Yankees a better team. The best long-term move is letting him start though, even if he’s in Triple-A, because there are still plenty of things he can work on in games that don’t count.

3. At worst, he can be a shutdown reliever. It’s entirely possible Severino’s long-term future lies in the bullpen. He might never locate his slider and/or changeup consistently enough to start, and, frankly, I don’t have much faith in the Yankees turning him into a viable starting pitcher. It’s not just the scars of the Joba Rules either. Their development track record is pretty bad.

But, if nothing else, I do feel pretty confident Severino can at least be a really good relief pitcher if the starting thing doesn’t work out. He can dominate for an inning at a time by airing it out, even with less than stellar command. Many relievers do that, including a few in New York’s bullpen. The bullpen should be the fallback plan though. Keep trying Severino as a starter, and if it’s still not working in a few years, a relief role is a viable alternative.

4. What about a long relief role? If Severino doesn’t make the rotation to start the season, a potential alternative to Triple-A is a long relief role. I don’t mean a traditional mop-up guy who throws two or three innings in a blowout every two weeks. I mean a reliever who throws three or four innings every few days by design. Remember, the Yankees may have a bunch of kids at the back of the rotation, which means there figures to be plenty of short starts throughout the summer.

The upside of a long relief role is that Severino would still be helping the MLB team win, and he’d be giving the rest of the bullpen a regular day off. The downside is he might not get a chance to turn a lineup over multiple times. He might face 10-12 batters in a three-inning outing, so a few batters would see him twice, but that only helps him so much. Ideally, Severino would get a chance to go through the lineup three times as a starter in the minors. That won’t happen in a long relief role, not unless we’re talking extra innings or something. I don’t love the long relief idea from a development standpoint, but it’s an option.

Why potential Yankees-White Sox Jose Quintana trade is a head scratcher — December 28, 2016

Why potential Yankees-White Sox Jose Quintana trade is a head scratcher


White Sox starting pitcher Jose Quintana.

By Brendan Kuty

Don’t get it wrong. Adding Jose Quintana is a great idea, like eating broccoli or paying your rent.

But for what it would likely take the Yankees to get him? That’s what make any potential deal head scratcher.

Let’s back it up a little bit. On Tuesday morning, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported that not only were the Yankees and White Sox at some point discussing a deal that would sent Quintana to the Bronx, but that closer David Robertson‘s name was also thrown in, and that Chicago would have to eat some of the $25 million remaining on the last two years of his salary to make it work. Later, the New York Post’s Joel Sherman reported that the Yankees weren’t presently working toward acquiring the pair.

It doesn’t matter who was right. Sherman and Nightengale both rank as excellent reporters. Here’s what matters: Would the Yankees do it?

That brings us back to the lede. Quintana would make the Yankees’ rotation better the same way he’d make any rotation better. In 2016, Quintana was an All-Star, finishing 10th in the American League Cy Young vote while going 13-12 with a 3.20 ERA. He’s made at least 32 starts in each of the last four seasons, and over that span he’s never had an ERA above 3.51.

Making him more attractive to the Yankees is that, as a lefty, he’d combat other lefties well in the Bronx, where the right-field porch is short.

Oh, and don’t forget the face he’s owed about $38 million over the next four years. That’s relatively cheap for an arm of his quality.

But here’s the catch: The Yankees don’t want to move high-end prospects for a single player.

General manager Brian Cashman has said as much. Before the White Sox sent ace Chris Sale to the Red Sox, Cashman was asked why the Yankees might not vie for him. Unable to speak directly about a player on another team due to league tampering rules, Cashman answered in roundabout terms, explaining that he didn’t believe the Yankees were one player away from winning a World Series.

He didn’t believe that stripping the farm system of its top talent — and there’s a lot of it — would have been smart for a pitcher as good as Sale because the major league talent was up to snuff.

So, if the Yankees weren’t willing to do that for Sale, why would they for Quintana?

Well, maybe all this talk that the White Sox might ask as much for Quintana as they did for Sale — who netted them infielder Yoan Moncada, the game’s best overall prospect — isn’t true. So maybe the Yankees would be willing to give up a lesser prospect for Quintana. Or maybe they’d be willing to bring in Robertson’s salary to make it more playable for Chicago. Who knows.

Either way, considering the Yankees’ latest moves and rhetoric — adding young talent, cutting salary — a Quintana trade doesn’t seem to make the most sense. (Though, he would make good insurance should Masahiro Tanaka decide to opt out of his contract at year’s end. Intrigue!)

Yankees’ Aroldis Chapman: Cubs’ Joe Maddon overused me — December 16, 2016

Yankees’ Aroldis Chapman: Cubs’ Joe Maddon overused me


Chicago Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the ninth inning at PNC Park in Pittsburgh on Sept. 26, 2016.

By Brendan Kuty

It got the job done. The Cubs won their first World Series in 108 years.

Still, Aroldis Chapman didn’t like how Chicago’s manager Joe Maddon used him to make it happen.

“Personally, I don’t agree with the way he used me, but he is the manager and he has the strategy,” Chapman said in a conference call with reporters on Friday morning, his first public comments since signing with the Yankees last week.

“My job is to be ready, to be ready to pitch, however that is, however many innings that is, I need to be ready for that. I need to go in and do my job.”

Chapman, who got a five-year, $86-million deal from New York, pitched in five games of the seven-game tilt with the Indians. The 27-year-old lefty — the game’s hardest thrower — saw his results and his fastball diminish as the seres wore on.

Chapman said he never talked to Maddon about the issue.

“I never told him about my opinion the way he was using me,” Chapman said. The way i feel — as baseball players, we’re warriors, our job is to do what we need to do on the field.”

Chapman said he particularly had a problem with Maddon using him in Game 6.

With the Cubs ahead, 7-2, and very likely to force a Game 7, Maddon brought in Chapman with two outs in the seventh inning.

Chapman ended up throwing 20 pitches over 1 1/3 innings, giving up his first earned run of the series just two days after a Herculean effort in Game 5: 2 2/3 innings, 36 pitches.

“There were a couple games — one can pony out to was game 6,” he said. “The game, it was open. He brought me in. I don’t think I needed to come in that day. … The important game was going to be Game 7.”

Chapman did end up pitching in the series finale. Though the Cubs won, Chapman actually blew the save, giving up three hits — including a dramatic two-run home run to Rajai Davis in the eighth inning — and throwing a total of 35 pitches.

Chapman said he’d “learn from all that.”

“You take the experience,” he said. “Now it’s a matter of preparing yourself mentally, physically.”

What a Justin Wilson reunion would cost the Yankees — December 13, 2016

What a Justin Wilson reunion would cost the Yankees

By George A. King III


The Yankees brought back Adam Warren through the trade market this past summer and are ready for a second helping of Aroldis Chapman’s 105-mph fastball via a five-year, $86 million free-agent contract.

Now with Dellin Betances scheduled for the eighth inning and Chapman the ninth, the Yankees are searching for bullpen help as well as a starter, an area where the trade prices are astronomical.

So, what about Justin Wilson returning to the Bronx?

The Tigers want to avoid going over the $195 million luxury-tax threshold for the 2017 season and have $179.2 million tied up in 11 players with guaranteed contracts and six players facing arbitration who might cost $12 million. Add in the salaries for players not eligible for arbitration, and the Tigers would likely exceed the $195 million mark.

Moving Wilson, who made $1.525 million last year and could land a $2.5 million deal for the upcoming season, would help shave the payroll. However, just as the market for starters is high, so too is the relief aisle.


Like other teams, the Yankees have talked to the Tigers about Wilson and found the asking price to be too expensive for the 29-year-old lefty, whom they dealt to Detroit during the 2016 winter meetings for right-handers Chad Green and Luis Cessa.

At the time of the deal, it was judged as a big plus for the Tigers, since Wilson’s one and only season in the Bronx was solid while Green and Cessa’s minor league numbers weren’t good. Green and Cessa made it to the big leagues this past season and are in the mix for spots on next year’s staff in the bullpen or the rotation. Wilson appeared in 66 games for the Tigers, going 4-5 with a 4.14 ERA. He fanned 65 batters in 58 ²/₃ innings and allowed 61 hits.

According to a person with knowledge of the situation, the Tigers are looking for controllable major league arms for Wilson.

Wilson would provide manager Joe Girardi with another power arm to go with Betances and Chapman. Currently the Yankees’ lefty relievers other than Chapman are Chasen Shreve, Tommy Layne and Richard Bleier. None features Wilson’s 96-mph fastball velocity.

As for the starters’ market, after the White Sox sent ace Chris Sale to the Red Sox and outfielder Adam Eaton to the Nationals, many believe lefty starter Jose Quintana is likely to be dealt.

However, the industry buzz is the White Sox want just as much as they got from the Red Sox (four prospects headed by Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech) for Quintana, who’ll be 29 in January and has averaged 200 or more innings in each of the last four years. He is 46-46 with a 3.41 ERA in 154 big league games (151 starts). He has two years and $17.85 million remaining on his contract.

Quintana has Yankees and Mets ties. He signed with the Mets in 2006 and was released in July a year later. The Yankees signed him as a minor league free agent in March 2008. After going 10-2 with a 2.91 ERA for Tampa (Single-A) in 30 games (12 starts) as a 22-year-old, Quintana was granted free agency and signed a minor league contract with the White Sox.

Yankees sign Mets castoff Ruben Tejada: What it means — December 12, 2016

Yankees sign Mets castoff Ruben Tejada: What it means


The Yankees and Mets castoff Ruben Tejada agreed to a minor-league deal, according to his agent.

By Brendan Kuty

The Yankees and ex-Mets infielder Ruben Tejada have agreed to a minor-league contract with a spring training invitation, his agent, Peter Greenberg, told NJ Advance Media on Monday.

ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick first reported the deal.

Here’s what it could mean:

1.) NEW UTILITY MAN?: The 25th spot on a roster is never safe. Somehow — seemingly against all odds — Ronald Torreyes held onto the Yankees’ utility infielder spot all year. He was OK. Torreyes showed the ability to play capably at second base, third and shortstop while not embarrassing himself at the plate, hitting .258 with just about zero power in 72 games. The Yankees weren’t sold on Torreyes last spring, however, when they offered Tejada a minor-league deal, which he turned down for a big-league contract from the Cardinals. Tejada could end up pushing Torreyes for that spot.

2.) DEPTH: The Yankees saw Donovan Solano and Jonathan Diaz become free agents this offseason. They gave the Yankees bodies to play at second and third at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Solano even came up when Starlin Castro got hurt at year’s end. The loser of the Torreyes-Tejada competition could end up taking over at one of those positions.

3.) WORTH A SHOT: To emphasize: The Yankees added Tejada on a minor-league deal. So they aren’t taking any kind of a risk. Wonder if the Yankees think Tejada would be a better longterm option at third than Torreyes would be ifChase Headley were to get injured.

Peter Gammons: Red Sox now operate like George Steinbrenner’s Yankees (VIDEO) — December 9, 2016

Peter Gammons: Red Sox now operate like George Steinbrenner’s Yankees (VIDEO)

Peter Gammons of MLB Network Says Red Sox Are The New Evil Empire

By Joe Giglio

When Yankees general manager Brian Cashman compared the Boston Red Sox to the Golden State Warriors, eyebrows were raised around baseball.

Not only was the leader of the Yankees praising how great Boston’s roster became with the acquisition of Chris Sale, the quote almost came across as an admission from a rival: As the Yankees rebuild, the Red Sox are far and away the AL East favorites. Until the Yankees find their version of baseball’s LeBron James (Mike Trout? Bryce Harper?), it’ll probably stay that way.

Peter Gammons, the long-time baseball insider, had another way to describe what’s happening right now in the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry: The franchises have switched roles.

The Red Sox now operate like the Yankees once did–going for championships at all costs and giving up dollars and prospects without concern. Meanwhile, the Yankees are operating more in an old Red Sox way. During an appearance on The Rich Eisen Show, Gammons even threw out the phrase made famous by former Red Sox executive Larry Lucchino. Yes, ‘evil empire’ is back in baseball’s best rivalry.

“It’s almost like Larry Lucchino calling the Yankees the evil empire,” Gammons said. “The Red Sox are the Yankees now–or what the Yankees used to be in the Steinbrenner days.”

Gammons did go on to praise how the Yankees are rebuilding and thinks New York will be ‘really, really good’ in two years.

You can listen to the entire clip in the video above.

Reds steal Yankees’ former top 10 prospect in Rule 5 — December 8, 2016

Reds steal Yankees’ former top 10 prospect in Rule 5


The Yankees lost one of their top catching prospects, Luis Torrens, to the Reds in the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday.

By Brendan Kuty

OXON HILL, Md. — Luis Torrens may end up a Rule 5 nightmare for the Yankees.

Or he could be back in pinstripes come April. Who knows.

The Reds selected Torrens, a former Baseball America top 10 Yankees prospect, with the second overall pick in the Rule 5 Draft at the Winter Meetings at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center on Thursday.

The Yankees, with their 40-man roster full, added nobody in the major league portion

Torrens, 20, hasn’t played above Low-A Charleston but he’s got a mix of tools that project him to be a strong defensive catcher with a formidable bat. He missed all of 2015 due to a torn right shoulder labrum.

Players selected in the big league Rule 5 come with a $100,000 price tag to be paid to their former teams. They also must remain on a 25-man roster for a full season or else they must be offered back to their old clubs for $50,000.

So if Torrens doesn’t stick at least as Cincinnati’s backup, he’ll be back with New York.

The Yankees also lost a trio of pitchers in the Rule 5: righty Tyler Jones (Diamondbacks) and lefties Caleb Smith (Brewers) and Tyler Webb (Pirates).

In the minor league portion of the Rule 5, the Yankees saw the Rays take from them 2012 first-round pick Ty Hensley, who’s pitched in just 16 professional games due to injury, including two Tommy John surgeries.

The Yankees also lost righty Kelvin Magallanes (Royals) and infielder Kevin Cornelius (Cubs) in the minor league portion.

They did, however, select 26-year-old catcher Jorge Saez (Blue Jays) and 24-year-old righty Colten Brewer (Pirates) during the minor league Rule 5.

MLB.com had Torrens ranked as the Yankees’ No. 17 overall prospect. Here’s part of the website’s scouting report for him:

An advanced hitter for his age, Torrens already shows a willingness to work counts and use the entire field. He used his downtime last year to add strength and get in better shape, so he may begin to realize his 15-homer potential from the right side of the plate.

While he can’t match Gary Sanchez’s lofty offensive ceiling, Torrens is better behind the plate. He already had a plus arm when he signed and quickly learned the footwork and transfer he needed as a catcher, enabling him to erase 41 percent of basestealers in his first two pro seasons. He has the hands and athleticism to become a solid receiver and worked on improving his English while sidelined in 2015 so he could communicate better with his pitchers.

Yankees sign Aroldis Chapman: What’s their next move? —

Yankees sign Aroldis Chapman: What’s their next move?

By Brendan Kuty

OXON HILL, Md. a Now what?

The Yankees have signed closer Aroldis Chapman to a five-year, $86-million deal, a source confirmed to NJ Advance Media late Wednesday night. Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal first reported the deal. ESPN’s Marley Rivera reported that the deal has a three-year no-trade clause and includes a provision that the Cuban defector a and the game’s hardest thrower of all time a can’t be traded to a team in California.

So what do the Yankees do next?

Let’s discuss.

1.) Add starting pitching: General manager Brian Cashman has said he doesn’t expect the Yankees to add a starting pitcher before the start of spring training.

Maybe he’s right. The guess here is that he’s not.

The Yankees can’t go into spring training as a team that spent that much money on a closer only to have two of their five rotation spots up for grabs from a pack of unproven arms in Luis Severino, Luis Cessa, Chad Green, Bryan Mitchell and Adam Warren. Or can they?

Bet on the Yankees to use a portion of the high-end prospect load they have accumulated over the past couple of seasons to bring in a mid-rotation type.

2. Add bullpen help: Here’s the current bullpen: Closer Chapman, set-up man Dellin Betances, seventh-inning righty Tyler Clippard and maybe lefty Tommy Layne to share the duties with him. While the Yankees could pick from whomever loses the starting rotation battle to fill the other slots, why not bring in somebody proven in a short-relief role, such as a Boone Logan, with whom the Yankees are familiar?

Plus, the Yankees will need to keep some starting pitching depth stashed away in Triple-A, the way they did with Cessa and Green in 2016. (By the way, Warren seems to be a favorite to return to the bullpen, too. The Yankees re-acquired him in the deal for Chapman at the trade deadline because they value his versatility.)

3.) Unload a veteran? This isn’t so much a priority. It would seem more of a preference, for the Yankees anyway. Left fielder Brett Gardner is set to make $23 million the next two years and he’s spent the last few offseasons with his name tumbling in the rumor mill. With Mason Williams, Aaron Hicks, Rob Refsnyder and Tyler Austin as potential candidates to match Gardner’s pedestrian production from 2016 a with top prospect Clint Fraizer on his way, itching to prove himself at Triple-A a now might be the Yankees’ last best chance to trade the homegrown Yankee. Chase Headley (two years, $26 million) would appear to be another option … if the Yankee can find a replacement. And, no, Ronald Torreyes won’t become the everyday third baseman.

4.) Make 40-man space: Maybe this goes hand-in-hand with the previous idea. But when the Yankees made the Matt Holliday signing official on Wednesday, it put exactly 40 players on their 40-man roster. The Yankees now have some leeway. They don’t need to announce Chapman as a done deal for days a or longer a if they’d rather not. But the point is that they will have to shed someone to put Chapman on the roster. Potential DFA candidates include Richard Bleier, Johnny Barbato, Domingo German and Nick Goody.

Aroldis Chapman signs five-year, $86 million contract with Yankees —

Aroldis Chapman signs five-year, $86 million contract with Yankees



OXON HILL, MD — The Yankees got their man — and all it took was the biggest contract any closer has ever signed.

Aroldis Chapman agreed to a five-year, $86 million contract to return to the Bronx late Wednesday night, shattering the previous mark of four years and $62 million set only two days ago by the Giants’ Mark Melancon.

A source confirmed the agreement, which was first reported by Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.

Chapman told ESPN’s Marly Rivera his decision came down to the Yankees and Marlins.

“I love the (Yankees organization),” Chapman said. “They welcomed me with open arms and that’s why I decided to go back. I was hoping I had a chance to go back and it happened.

“Every player dreams of being a Yankee, and if they don’t it’s because they never got the chance.”

The move marks the second of this week’s Winter Meetings by the Yankees, who officially announced the signing of Matt Holliday to a one-year, $13 million pact earlier Wednesday after the outfielder/DH passed his physical.

Chapman’s contract won’t be finalized until he passes a physical, a source said.

For the Yankees, the signing reunites Chapman with Dellin Betances, giving the Bombers an imposing 1-2 punch at the back end of the bullpen.

“We have a chance to significantly improve our club,” general manager Brian Cashman said earlier in the day when asked why he was pursuing a big-name closer as the Yankees take part in a youth movement among much of their roster.

The Yankees had been in negotiations with both Chapman and Kenley Jansen, trying to add a big arm to pair with Betances.

Cashman had said several times that adding a major player such as Chris Sale by sacrificing prospects didn’t make sense for the Yankees, but apparently shelling out $86 million was not an issue for the team.

Chapman will get the highest contract ever for a reliever.

Chapman will get the highest contract ever for a reliever.


“If we can secure one of these guys on a multi-year basis, we’re acquiring some other pieces that collectively add up to getting us closer to that championship contending category,” Cashman said Wednesday afternoon. “But we’re not losing pieces along the way that are knocking on the door in the near future, whether it’s 2017 or ’18 or ’19.”

Rivera reported that Chapman’s deal includes a no-trade clause for the first three years, though he can’t be traded to a California team in the final two. Rosenthal also reported that the deal includes an opt-out after the third year.

The Yankees preferred Chapman over Jansen for a number of reasons, most notably because of Chapman’s experience pitching in New York last season and the fact that the team would not have to sacrifice its first-round pick to sign him. The Yankees saw their first-round pick rise from 17th to 16th Wednesday after the Rockies gave up the No. 11 pick to sign free agent Ian Desmond.

Chapman told ESPN earlier in the week that he was seeking a six-year contract, but he ultimately settled for five. He also said the Cubs had shown no interest in retaining him, which proved true when Chicago dealt outfielder Jorge Soler for Royals closer Wade Davis on Wednesday.

Chapman excelled with the Yankees last season, pitching to a 2.01 ERA with 20 saves in 31 games. He was traded to the Cubs in late July for four players, including top prospect Gleyber Torres and major-league righthander Adam Warren.

The move paid off for both teams, as the Yankees stocked their burgeoning farm system with talented youngsters and the Cubs rode Chapman’s powerful left arm to their first World Series title in 108 years. Now the Yankees have Chapman back in the fold, as well.

Chapman posted a 1.01 ERA with 16 saves in 28 appearances during the regular season with the Cubs, then delivered a strong postseason. He blew a save in Game 7 before the Cubs came back to win.

The flame-throwing lefthander tossed 15.2 innings in 13 games between Oct. 7 and Nov. 2, appearing to be out of gas by the end of the World Series, but Cashman said this week he wasn’t worried about that workload impacting the closer going forward.

“He looked healthy,” Cashman said Monday. “I wouldn’t be pursuing him if that was a concern.”

The Yankees entered the offseason looking to add a designated hitter and a closer, both of which were accomplished this week. Barring a trade of Brett Gardner or Chase Headley in the coming weeks, it appears Cashman’s heavy lifting for the offseason is done more than two weeks before Christmas.

Marlins may hold crucial domino in Yankees’ closer pursuit — December 5, 2016

Marlins may hold crucial domino in Yankees’ closer pursuit

By Joel Sherman


NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The Marlins are pushing hard to add a top closer, notably Kenley Jansen, which could set off a series of moves that would make it more difficult for the Yankees to reunite with Aroldis Chapman.

The Marlins are hungry to upgrade their rotation, especially after the death of Jose Fernandez. The Marlins have signed Edinson Volquez. But they realize the free-agent starter market is unappealing and they do not have the minor league trade assets to acquire a top starter, such as Chris Sale or Chris Archer, via trade.

Thus, the Marlins are thinking about trying to shorten the game by deepening a bullpen that already includes A.J. Ramos, Kyle Barraclough and — if not needed in the rotation — David Phelps.

The Marlins are talking to representatives for the big three free-agent closers: Chapman, Jansen and Mark Melanacon. Owner Jeffrey Loria — who is at the Winter Meetings — is involved in the process of those negotiations, sources told The Post.

Jansen has particular appeal to them because Marlins skipper Don Mattingly managed Jansen for the Dodgers. Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports was the first to report Miami was pursuing Jansen and therefore was willing to give up the first-round pick as compensation and perhaps approach or exceed the $80 million it would take to secure the righty.

The Dodgers have been trying to retain Jansen, but internally many of their top officialsbelieve Chapman is a better long-term play. Remember when the Yankees let David Robertson go to get the compensation pick and signed Andrew Miller, feeling he was better anyway? That is what the Dodgers could do here by letting Jansen go and signing Chapman.

Either way, this would put Chapman in a desirable position by having the two highest-payroll teams — among others — perhaps bidding for his services after Jansen has established, as a baseline, a new record contract for a relief pitcher.

Chapman, Jansen and Melancon each is expected to exceed the four-year, $50 million deal of Jonathan Papelbon, the current high-water mark for a reliever. The Giants and Nationals, in particular, are viewed as players for Melancon.

Both the Yankees and Dodgers insist they will have a limit to how far they will go for a closer. They both would love to have an elite guy at the end of the game, but both organizations fret that the top closers are going to be over-valued after a postseason in which elite relievers were highlighted.

The Yankees would prefer to have a closer to allow Dellin Betances to attack earlier innings. They could still pursue someone from a group that includes Greg Holland, Koji Uehara and Brad Ziegler to help with closer duties, along with Tyler Clippard, if necessary.