Yankees would prefer to make a big trade instead of signing free-agent ace

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As Spring Training continues, the standstill between free agents and teams has budged a little, but the New York Yankees will still not go the extra mile to pay Blake Snell. This isn’t an indictment of the organization or ownership, as any expense they make will be taxed at a 110% rate because they’re above the $300 million threshold, and it also comes with other penalties because of the Qualifying Offer that’s still attached to the reigning NL Cy Young Winner, which would require the Yankees to surrender their second and fifth-round picks.

Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Yankees would prefer to trade for Dylan Cease of the Chicago White Sox instead of signing Blake Snell, but there’s a caveat there as well. The White Sox require Spencer Jones in any trade, and the Yankees aren’t parting ways with the talented outfielder.

Trade Market Could Make More Sense For the Yankees

MLB: New York Yankees at Chicago White Sox, dylan cease
Aug 7, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago White Sox pitcher Dylan Cease (84) pitches in the first inning against the New York Yankees at Guaranteed Rate Field. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees are also not considering a short-term contract with Blake Snell because it would likely come with a larger hit toward the Luxury Tax, which the team will not pay. That’s been a consistent theme in recent weeks, and that leads me to believe that any reports of momentum between the two sides were overblown. Reporting about the situation has become more consistent in the past week, and everything points towards the Yankees hoping that Blake Snell settles at a price point they’re comfortable paying, which isn’t close to a guarantee.

While Cody Bellinger did sign a three-year deal with two opt-outs, that kind of contract structure would still cost the Yankees $63 million since there’s a 110% tax. It would make far more sense for the Yankees to instead engage on the trade market where they could flip some of their excellent prospects for MLB talent, but the previously mentioned asking price for Dylan Cease is preventing any further talks. Spencer Jones isn’t being traded right now, and after yesterday’s incredible performance, we caught a glimpse as to why the Yankees are so high on him.

READ MORE: Yankees’ star outfield prospect launches 470-foot homer in first spring training at-bat

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Vanderbilt right fielder Spencer Jones (34) hits a single against Texas A&M during the eighth inning at Hawkins Field in Nashville, Tenn., Thursday, April 28, 2022. Vandy Tam Base 042822 An 010

Shane Bieber has been a rumored target for the Yankees as well, but reports of added velocity at Driveline could make the Cleveland Guardians hesitant to trade him away. The right-hander was one of the 10 best pitchers in the entire sport and posted strikeout rates north of 30% when he was sitting 93-94 MPH on his fastball, and it would be wise to wait and see what he can do before trading him. There were reports that the Miami Marlins and Pittsburgh Pirates were actively discussing a trade involving young right-hander Edward Cabrera, but no deal has been completed yet.

It’s unclear who the Yankees would acquire, but the quotes from both Aaron Judge and Hal Steinbrenner have backed reports from the likes of Andy Martino regarding the team’s desire to add another starter. The Yankees may not be all that interested in landing Blake Snell at his price tag, but his lack of options and the time between now and Opening Day might force him to make a decision soon. The Los Angeles Angels are also involved in the race, and one would imagine they’ll have a strong offer to make.

As of right now the Yankees like where they’re at as a roster, but they’ll still lurk in the market for pitching if an opportunity were to arise.

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