Karpin’s Korner: Do Yanks Really Need Manny? Harper’s Bazaar, and Mets Could Use This Nick on their Face

How much better does Manny Machado make the Yankees? Does adding Machado immediately thrust the Yankees ahead of the defending champion Red Sox?

There have been reports labeling the Yankees as the favorites to sign the talented but enigmatic free agent. Reportedly, Machado and Bryce Harper are not fond of Philadelphia. If that is the case, a wealthy contract and a chance to “lead” an up and coming team could make either one of them change their minds.

Once Machado signs, a lot of dominoes (aka free agents) will start to fall.

The value of players like Harper, Marwin Gonzalez and Josh Harrison will increase as the teams that wanted Machado, and missed out, may look for an alternative.

If the Yankees don’t sign Machado, Scott Boras, Harper’s Agent, will try, someway, somehow to get the Yankees into the mix. It’s no guarantee that Harper will sign with the Dodgers and he’s always expressed a desire to be a Yankee.

Harrison is drawing interest from as many as five teams and that number could increase depending on where Machado signs. Reportedly, the Nationals, Reds, Giants, Rangers and Brewers have been linked to the 31-year old. The Yankees could make a play for the versatile infielder if they miss out on Machado.

Maybe the Dodgers will end up with Harper but does he really make sense for their lineup which is loaded with left hand hitters. Tigers RF Nick Castellanos is on LA’s radar and the Dodgers do have some attractive prospects to offer Detroit, but the Motown gang is asking a hefty price for a player who has one more year of control.

If I’m Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen, I’m on the phone with the Tigers. Castellanos would fit the Mets nicely as the right handed, outfield bat that they desire. The 26-year old is still learning the position because he began his big league career as a third baseman, but his offense is on the upside. Detroit was asking for one of the Dodgers’ top prospects, but if nothing pans out, the price may come down. If that happens, the Mets should be in line with a respectable, but not expensive, offer. Would BVW offer a package that starts with Brandon Nimmo. I know the fans love him, but he offers more control (Nimmo can’t be a free agent until after the 2022 season) for Detroit than Castellanos does.

The Mets are still in need of a left handed arm in the bullpen. Now that Andrew Miller has signed with the Cardinals, and Zach Britton will likely sign elsewhere, the next tier of free agent lefty relievers that the Mets could explore includes Francisco Liriano, and Aaron Loup.

There’s another name out there who may not be known as a reliever but could transition there and serve as a swing man in case of a need for a starter. Left hander Gio Gonzalez, who gave the Mets fits while he was with the Nationals, is on the market. The 33-year old southpaw could be lured into a deal where he serves as a reliever and part time starter.

Fancred’s Jon Heyman reports the Angels, who have been criticized for a lack of activity this off season, have come to a deal with free agent catcher Jonathan Lucroy. Angels are also in on David Robertson but would have to pay closer money to the 33 year old to lure him out to the West Coast. Halos need infielders and have been linked to Harrison but they’re also showing interest in free agent 2B Brian Dozier.

Where does Adam Ottavino end up? The 33 year old righty reliever is one of the top bullpen arms available through free agency. The Red Sox, who are likely to lose Craig Kimbrel, and have been linked to Ottavino, will make a big push to sign the valuable reliever.

Cleveland has been an enigma this off season. The Indians had made it known that they’d be willing to trade one of their starting pitchers. Former Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer and Carlos Carrasco were all reported to be available but circumstances have changed since that time. Carrasco was signed to a contract extension, Kluber and Bauer are still with the team and now reports indicate that Cleveland has changed their mind and won’t move either of those two.

HKLOOKING: Cardinals are seeking a left handed bat off the bench and have set their sights on free agent and former Marlin Derek Dietrich……It’s “water under the bridge” but the LA Times cited a person with knowledge of the situation saying the Mets offered free agent catcher Yasmani Grandal a four year, $60 million dollar deal but he turned it down…..Sonny Gray has yet to be moved and now comes a report that the Brewers may bite at a deal for the right hander…..Padres are still trying to trade for Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto. Miami hasn’t come down on their demands but the clock is working against them. The Marlins do not want to open spring training with Realmuto still on the roster. Look for something to happen there within the next two weeks…..

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