Yankees have not approached Jacoby Ellsbury about waiving his no trade clause but reportedly they will do so. Ellsbury is a Scott Boras client and the agent has already let it be known that he was not happy with playing time. Cashman said Ellsbury will be a fourth outfielder, more fodder to get him to waive it and get traded. Giants may bite if they cannot land Giancarlo Stanton and Yanks agree to pick up some of the money. Ellsbury has three years and $63.4 million dollars left on his deal that also features a club option for 2021 with a $5 million buyout.
Speaking of the Yankee outfield, some outlets have thrown Clint Frazier’s name around in speculating about potential deals. I’ll say it right here. Big mistake if Yanks trade Frazier. I liked what I saw from him last season, he just needs a little experience. The consensus among the scouts who have seen the 23-year old outfielder is that “barring injury, he will eventually be a big league star.”
Yankees Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner reiterated that the decision to let Joe Girardi go was not “a decision that had to do with two or three weeks. It had to do with two or three years. Observing things and hearing things.” If you read between the lines, and take into account that Cashman wanted a new voice in the dugout, why wasn’t Girardi let go after the 2016 season. Going into the 2017 season, the transition had begun and should’ve also started in the dugout if this move was inevitable.
Shohei Ohtani, who is being referred to as the “Babe Ruth of Japan” because he pitches and hits, is being pursued by major league clubs and not just because of his versatility. Ohtani would come “cheap” as compared to Masahiro Tanaka who inked a seven year, $155 million dollar deal with the Yankees in 2014.
FanRagSports’ Jon Heyman reported the Major League Baseball Players Association has set a Monday deadline to resolve the posting issue. Under the current CBA between the owners and players, Ohtani’s earning power is limited because he is under the age of 25. The Nippon Ham Fighters want to proceed under the previous Collective Bargaining Agreement that would net them a $20 million dollar posting fee from the club that signs Ohtani.
Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman went to Japan to personally see Ohtani but offered a “no comment” when asked for an evaluation of the 23-year old. Maybe Cashman is “playing possum.” The Mets were reported to be interested, but they never personally scouted Ohtani.
Ohtani is being projected as a pitcher but some teams are considering using him in both capacities, which is a risky proposition in itself. There are a lot of obstacles and logistical problems in having a player both pitch and hit on a regular basis in today’s game.
NY Post Baseball Columnist Joel Sherman reported the Yankees are showing interest in Rangers infielder Jurickson Profar. The 24-year old, who debuted in 2012 as a19-year old, has not lived up to his billing and has dealt with debilitating injuries in his young career. Reportedly, Texas is not so quick to give up Profar but they are looking for highly touted young pitching prospects in any deal. If the Yankees are indeed serious about pursuing Profar, it could mean they may have something in the works for one of the established infielders like Starlin Castro or Chase Headley.
It doesn’t appear as if the Mets’ brass was impressed with Dominic Smith during his two month stint at first base at the end of last season. When asked if Smith would have to compete for the first base job heading into spring training, GM Sandy Alderson said, “He didn’t win it in September.”
If you take out his 2 for 22 to finish the season, Smith hit .256 with 6 home runs and 18 runs batted in in the month of September. At times, he showed an ability to go to the opposite field with power. The concern about his physique going forward is warranted, but he’s got the hands to be a solid, big league hitter. Smith’s commitment to his craft during the winter and the results of that commitment will be worth watching when spring training arrives. The Mets, who already have a need on the right side of the infield at second base, don’t need another hole to fill.
NY Post columnist Ken Davidoff is right on point by writing the Mets should go after free agent 1B Eric Hosmer, but taking into account the team’s lack of desire to spend, it’s not a realistic option. Hosmer is reportedly drawing interest from the Padres. It’s getting tiresome hearing Boras continue to “tweak” the Mets in the media because they don’t show any interest in signing his clients.
Like most teams, the Braves are looking to enhance their bullpen. New GM Alex Anthopolous was not shy in making moves when he was in Toronto and that could include the field personnnel. Manager Brian Snitker’s option for next season was picked up before the new GM was hired but the contract wasn’t extended. Braves were adamant in stating they will not trade Freddie Freeman, while Nick Markakis, who has one year left on his contract, will be offered around.
Angels are looking to upgrade the infield. Reportedly, the Halos have approached the Tigers about a potential deal for second baseman Ian Kinsler. There’s also been interest in free agent Neil Walker and ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported a deal with the Reds for Zach Cozart may be a possibility if Cozart would agree to move from shortstop to second base. Despite the report that stated free agent third baseman Mike Moustakas has the Angels at the top of his wish list, the ballclub may not be able to meet his price.
The Mariners and A’s got things going with a three player deal that sends 25-year old 1B Ryon Healy to Seattle for right hand pitcher Emilio Pagan, who worked out of the bullpen last season and soon to be 18-year old shortstop prospect Alexander Campos. Healy, who slammed 25 home runs last season and is a “Mark Trumbo type,” was deemed expendable because of the emergence of Matt Thompson and Matt Olson at the corner infield spots but how many years have the A’s been in a rebuilding process.
Free agency will be an interesting watch now that teams don’t have to sacrifice a first round pick in the amateur draft to sign a quality player.
POTB (Pat On The Back) time: I was 8 for 8 in the post season awards.
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