Saturday, February 4, 2023

Yankees free agency and trade buzz: Jameson Taillon’s market ‘gaining steam’

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Aug 25, 2022; Oakland, California, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Jameson Taillon (50) walks out from the dugout before the start of the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at RingCentral Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Aug 25, 2022; Oakland, California, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Jameson Taillon (50) walks out from the dugout before the start of the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at RingCentral Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports / © Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Here is the latest free agency and trade buzz surrounding the Yankees..

Dec. 1, 3:44 p.m.

Taillon’s market is “gaining steam,” reports Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, who notes that Taillon has impressed interested teams during his Zoom meetings with them.

Feinsand adds that Taillon is expected to get a deal larger than the four-year, $56 million contract Jon Gray signed with the Texas Rangers last offseason.

Taillon, 31, made $5.8 million last season with the Yankees.

In 32 starts in 2022, Taillon had a 3.91 ERA (3.94 FIP) and 1.12 WHIP while striking out 151 batters in 177.1 innings (7.7 per nine).

Nov. 20, 6:26 p.m.

The Yankees may have competition if they want to re-sign Jameson Taillon.

The Mets have been in contact with Taillon, according to a report by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

The Yankees acquired Taillon on Jan. 24, 2021, in a five-player trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

“I haven’t thought about it a ton, but I definitely know I love playing here,” Taillon said after the Yankees’ four-game sweep against the Houston Astros in the ALCS last month. “They took a chance on me coming back from rehabbing elbow surgery. To get to come here — I never experienced the playoffs, never experienced a winning environment and culture. I feel like I didn’t take a day for granted showing up (and) putting the pinstripes on. I loved my time here. I would definitely love to come back.”

Nov. 19, 11:27 a.m.

The Seattle Mariners are interested in Yankees INF Gleyber Torres, reports The New York Post’s Joel Sherman.

Sherman notes that the Mariners have bullpen pitchers that could be of interest to the Yanks, even after Seattle traded RHP Erik Swanson to Toronto for slugging OF Teoscar Hernandez earlier in the week.

Torres, who will turn 26 on Dec. 13, slashed .257/.310/.451 with 24 home runs, 28 doubles, and 76 RBI over 140 games in 2022.

Over five seasons in the Bronx, Torres has a career .265/.331/.455 slash line with 98 homers, 100 doubles, and 310 RBI. He earned All-Star honors as a rookie in 2018 and finished third in Rookie of the Year voting. Torres was an All-Star again in 2019 and crushed a career-high 38 home runs with 90 RBI.

The Yankees agreed on a one-year, $6 million deal with Isiah Kiner-Falefa on Friday, keeping the infielder in New York for another season. It’s still possible the Yankees could try to trade IKF if they decide to keep Torres, as Sherman added the team “let executives at the GM meetings know they were open for business with their middle infielders.”

Moving either player would open the door for Oswald Peraza, Oswaldo Cabrera and/or top prospect Anthony Volpe to get a larger opportunity in 2023.

Nov. 17, 9:07 p.m.

Speaking at the Covenant House Sleep Out event on Thursday night, Brian Cashman addressed the Yankees’ remaining needs on their roster and how they can improve upon them.

After signing Anthony Rizzo to a two-year deal earlier this week, New York must now shift their focus to Aaron Judge, but whether they do or don’t land the superstar slugger doesn’t change the fact that they “have more work to do.”

“We will be in play with trying to improve our team in other aspects without a doubt, not just Rizzo, not just our attempt to sign Judge,” Cashman said. “So if Judge collapses back into our fold, which we hope would be the case, but no guarantees, yeah we have more work to do, regardless.”

When asked if he’s in the market for a closer, Cashman said the team has one, but that doesn’t necessarily mean other closers around the league are not on the table.

“I’m looking to improve our bullpen, but I believe we have a closer,” he said. “That doesn’t mean that we can’t play on somebody who is a quote unquote closer because, ultimately, the more the merrier. You just want as many high-leverage guys that you can collect as you possibly can.”

Cashman added: “I feel really good about Clay Holmes being our closer, but that doesn’t preclude us from entertaining any outside players via trade or free agency if it makes us better.”

As for another quality arm that’s already in their bullpen, Cashman mentioned that Michael King just started a throwing program in Tampa and that their hope is King is ready by Opening Day.

An area that likely will not need addressing, at least according to Cashman, is the infield thanks to young prospects such as Anthony Volpe, Oswald Peraza and Oswaldo Cabrera.

“I think we’re all looking forward to seeing what these kids can do, competing for a spot in the spring,” Cashman said. “But that doesn’t mean they’re gonna oust who’s currently in those spots either.”

Cashman added: “Clearly, the infield is an area of strength for us, more so than probably any other aspect.”

Nov. 15, 6:15 p.m.

The Yankees have reached out and are looking at Brandon Nimmo as an outfield option, The New York Post’s Jon Heyman said on his podcast, “The Show” with Joel Sherman.

“They have reached out, at least, for Brandon Nimmo. … The Mets would obviously like to get Nimmo back, we heard there’s a majority of teams interested,” Heyman said. “I think it’s interesting, too, that the Yankees have looked at him. They are looking at two outfielders, presumably, and hopefully, that’s [Aaron] Judge and one other.”

Sherman noted that he believes the Yankees are just doing their “due diligence” by looking into Nimmo as a free agent option.

Heyman went on to discuss possible SS options for the Yanks, saying they’ve “checked in” on Xander Bogearts, Carlos Correa, Trea Turner, and likely Dansby Swanson too.

“I have heard they have checked in on the big shortstops,” Heyman said. “At least Bogaerts, Correa and Turner and presumably Swanson, though I haven’t heard that. …I don’t know if that’s a hedge in case Judge goes or if they are actually going to consider a potential run at one of the shortstops.”

Nov. 15, 9:17 a.m.

Writing that Justin Verlander seemed like a “good bet” to quickly re-sign with the Houston Astros, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported that Verlander might not have re-upped “perhaps because Verlander sees the potential for lucrative opportunities with the Mets, Yankees, and Dodgers, among others.”

Verlander, who is entering his age-40 season and is about to win the 2022 AL Cy Young award, could be a replacement for Jacob deGrom if deGrom signs elsewhere.

As far as the Dodgers, Rosenthal notes that they could pursue Verlander if Tyler Anderson rejects their qualifying offer — or even if Anderson accepts.

It seems likely that Verlander could be had on a high average annual deal for one or two seasons.

Nov. 14, 8:15 p.m.

The Houston Astros have “identified” Anthony Rizzo as their No. 1 free agent target at first base, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.

After he opted out of his contract, New York extended Rizzo a qualifying offer to stay for another season at the hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium.

With the elimination of most infield shifts in 2023, the left-handed-hitting Rizzo is likely to see his batting average get a boost when facing more traditional defensive alignments. The question is whether Rizzo, who will garner more interest in the market because of the removal of the shift, can get a better contract now or later.

Rosenthal notes the Astros are considering re-signing Yuli Gurriel and pursuing free agent Jose Abreu at first. And signing Rizzo would see them not only bolster the World Series-winning roster but also weaken the team they swept in the ALCS.

Nov. 10, 4:55 p.m.

The Yankees have expressed interest in Japanese OF Masataka Yoshida, according to The New York Post’s Jon Heyman.

Yoshida, 29, has a career slash line of .326/.419/.538. with 135 home runs, 164 doubles, and 474 RBI over 781 games in seven seasons.

In 2022 with the Orix Buffaloes, Yoshida slashed .335/.447/.561 with 21 homers, 28 doubles, and 88 RBI to go along with a career-high 80 walks and just 41 strikeouts at the plate.

Yankees GM Brian Cashman said that he’s “aware of him,” while another person with the Yankees told The Post that they are interested in the lefty.

Nov. 10, 2:15 p.m.

The Yankees announced a few roster moves on Thursday afternoon, including outfielder Tim Locastro electing free agency rather than accepting an outright assignment.

The 30-year-old Ithaca College product was traded to the Yankees from Arizona in July 2021 and then re-signed with the Yankees last offseason. In 38 big-league games in 2022, Locastro slashed just .186/.239/.349 with two homers and four RBI.

Additionally, the Yankees added RHP Jhony Brito and LHP Matt Krook to the major league roster.

Nov. 9, 8:20 p.m.

Yankees GM Brian Cashman told MLB Network’s Jon Morosi that he has been “listening and engaging” on multiple trade possibilities during the GM Meetings in Las Vegas this week.

Cashman added that includes inquiries about the team’s many infielders.

With Anthony Volpe waiting in the wings, the Yankees would have to make room for him or one of the free-agent shortstops on the market. Oswald Peraza and Oswaldo Cabrera have appeared in the big leagues and could have some value, while Gleyber Torres‘ name did come up in trade talks at this season’s trade deadline.

After Anthony Rizzo opted out of his contract, the confirmed infielders on the roster for the Yankees include Peraza, Cabrera, Torres, Josh Donaldson, DJ LeMahieu and Isiah Kiner-Falefa.

Nov. 7, 8:34 p.m.

Anthony Rizzo opted out of his 2023 contract with the Yankees and is now a free agent, according to MLB Network.

He signed a two-year, $32 million contract with the Yankees on March 17.

The deal included a $16 million player option for the 2023 season.

In 130 regular-season games this past year, the 33-year-old Rizzo slashed .224/.338/.480 with 32 home runs and 75 RBI.

Nov. 7, 10:53 a.m.

The Yankees are picking up the $15 million option on RHP Luis Severino for the 2023 season, the team announced Monday.

The move was expected, with GM Brian Cashman saying this past Friday that the team planned to exercise the option.

“I haven’t talked to anybody yet about it, but he’s a really impactful pitcher, so the answer to that would be an easy yes,” Cashman said at the Yankees’ end-of-season news conference.

Severino, who will turn 29 in February, had a 3.18 ERA (3.79 FIP) and 1.00 WHIP while striking out 112 in 102 innings in 2022, but injuries limited him to just 19 starts.

In two appearances in the 2022 postseason, Severino allowed six runs in 11 innings.

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