NATIONAL HARBOR, MD. — While the Red Sox stunned the baseball world Tuesday by adding Chris Sale to the top of their rotation, the Yankees were working to solidify the other side of their pitching staff.
General manager Brian Cashman has extended offers to free agents Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen, taking the next step to add a big-name closer to pair with Dellin Betances in the back end of the bullpen.
“Offers have been put out there,” Cashman said. “(Chapman agent) Barry Praver and (Jansen agent) Adam Katz are the people you’d have to ask about whether it’s progress or not. We’re still having the dialogue, but whether it leads us to a positive resolution from our perspective or not remains to be seen. They’re still active with a whole bunch of people.”
The Dodgers, Marlins and Nationals are all said to be in the mix for the two All-Star relievers.
Mark Melancon signed a four-year, $62 million deal with the Giants Monday, kick-starting the closer market. Cashman said Melancon’s deal hasn’t impacted his talks with either Chapman or Jansen’s reps, as the two closers are expected to sign for significantly more than Melancon, whose contract is the highest for any closer in history.
“It’s never even been brought up by either agent in the discussions with us,” Cashman said.
Chapman remains the Yankees’ top priority, with Jansen serving as the backup plan. Cashman likes that Chapman has already shown he can pitch in the Bronx, though it’s the draft-pick compensation attached to Jansen that appears to be the biggest difference between the two.
“The preference, yes, would be to retain our draft pick if possible,” Cashman said. “We know that Chapman pitched in New York. I don’t believe that Jansen would have any issues pitching in New York either, but it’s nice to have that box checked, too. They’re both exceptionally talented individuals and they’re both going to be well-rewarded for that talent regardless of where they decide to play. It would be nice if somebody picks us at some point. If not, we’ll adjust.”
Chapman told ESPN Monday that he is seeking a six-year contract, though the Yankees aren’t likely to go beyond five years with either pitcher. Cashman declined to say whether Praver has expressed the desire for a six-year deal for Chapman.
“When the dust settles, you’ll see whatever the contract turns out to be with whoever he chooses,” Cashman said. “Whether it’s for four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10 years, I guess we’ll all find out. …I’ll talk about everything after it’s all said and done, whether we win the day or lose the day on that.”
The Yankees have also been in contact with the agents for relievers Greg Holland, Mike Dunn and Brad Ziegler among others, looking at contingency plans in the event they’re not able to land either Chapman or Jansen.
“We’re looking to get potentially an arm, a closer that would go above Dellin Betances,” Cashman said. “If not, once that gets decided, then we’ll go find something – if it doesn’t go our way – we’ll look to support Dellin Betances.”
There’s no firm timetable for either Chapman or Jansen to sign, though speculation within the industry is that Chapman will wait for Jansen to sign before making a decision.
The fact that Cashman has made official offers to both pitchers is certainly a step toward a resolution, but the GM couldn’t say whether either pitcher’s decision was imminent.
“I’m not in a position to say,” Cashman said. “It’s their dance tune that we’re dancing to. I can’t predict when this thing is going to finish.”
Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News