After the Yankees dealt veteran Brian McCann to the Astros last week, the Bombers’ general manager Brian Cashman said the move opened up the possibility of pursuing some lumber while the team still focuses on its main goal of strengthening the rotation and bullpen.
But don’t expect free-agent Cuban slugger Yoenis Cespedes to be one of the Yankees’ targets, despite Cashman saying last week that he’s “talked to Cespedes’ agent (Brodie Van Wagenen)” and that the two sides would talk again.
The Daily News has learned that Cespedes — who earlier this month opted out of his three-year, $75 million deal he signed with the Mets — is not part of the Yankees’ winter spending plans despite speculation that the Bombers could make a run for the 31-year-old outfielder. The main three areas of import for the Yankees, according to sources, are bringing back Cuban lefty reliever Aroldis Chapman, acquiring a starting pitcher and signing a designated hitter. Cespedes is reportedly looking for a five-year deal in the $125-135 million range.
“‘Tis the season to engage and find out,” Cashman said last week at the Covenant House in Manhattan during a charity sleep-out event, referring to scouring the free-agent and trade market. It would make sense that Cespedes is not on the Yankees’ radar since the team continues to build upon its youth movement, the pinstriped outfield is already filled at every position, and Cespedes would be a costly DH-only addition if he were acquired for that role.
Cashman said last week that Aaron Judge and Aaron Hicks will battle for right field, and that Brett Gardner is the team’s everyday left fielder going into 2017, “unless trade opportunities (present) themselves and put me in a position to consider making a move.” The Yankees also have stud outfield prospect Clint Frazier (22 years old) and prospect Jorge Mateo (21), who the Yankees are considering shifting to center field. Oft-injured Jacoby Ellsbury is slated to play center for the Yanks next year, and he has four years left on his $153 million contract. Even though Gary Sanchez is the club’s everyday catcher going into next year, manager Joe Girardi will probably still want to have Sanchez’s pop in the lineup as often as possible, meaning Sanchez could be the DH for 35-40 games.
Carlos Beltran, whom Cashman traded to Texas at the trade deadline this summer, is also considered a strong target for the DH role, according to sources, even though the switch-hitter turns 40 in April. Sources say that the Yankees would also be interested in free-agent slugger Edwin Encarnacion, but his asking price — FanRag’s Jon Heyman reported that the Blue Jays offered Encarnacion $80 million and four years to return to Toronto — would probably have to come down considerably for the Yankees to pursue him. Mike Napoli is another possible target for the Yankees to fill the DH spot.
“I would not rule out (bringing Beltran back),” Cashman said last week. “I’ve talked to Beltran’s agent. If you name any player, I’ll probably say I’ve talked to him. Carlos did a great job for us. Tremendous performer this year and a leader. Despite his age, he’s still productive.”
Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News