The New York Yankees and all MLB teams are four days off since the end of the baseball Winter Meetings, probably the most boring show of baseball changes in recent memory. The only team that made significant moves was the Chicago White Sox. The Yankees did nearly nothing. They did sign Nestor Cortes Jr., a relief pitcher that has pitched for the Yankees in 2018.
The big Yankees news is that they have not signed their prime priority DJ LeMahieu. According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the sides are still far apart. The Yankees want a four-year contract with the 32-year-old batting title winner. LeMahieu wants five years at $100 million, putting the sides $25 million apart. If the signing happens, it will more likely be for $88 million over four years.
With the Yankees unable at this point to re-signing DJ, it is most likely the Yankees will do little until they know the outcome of that possible deal. Even if they can sign DJ, they most likely won’t do much more than that. General manager Brian Cashman has stated that he is satisfied with the pitching arm they now have. That, however, does not preclude them from hiring a low-cost arm to bolster the rotation.
Just after the end of the World Series, it seemed likely that the Yankees could make a change at the backstop and shortstop. That now seems doomed. The only real upgrades would be expensive after a season where the Yankees lost the most money in all of baseball. Another indicator is that both Cashman and manager Aaron Boone have continued to show promise in Gary Sanchez as their starting catcher.
Corey Kluber to the Yankees?
This weekend, news traveled that prior ace Corey Kluber will be throwing bullpen sessions for the Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins. You can be sure the Yankees will be watching. If the Yankees were to hire Kluber, it could be a risky move. On the other hand, the Yankees do have a history of hiring pitchers with a recent injury history. The most recent was James Paxton; he ended up starting only five games this year when he had yet another injury. The Yankees let him walk at the end of the season.
Kluber was an ace-type pitcher in 2018, and if healthy, he could return to that pitcher again. Kluber, 34, barely pitched at all in his one and likely only season with the Texas Rangers because of shoulder problems. The year before, he broke his forearm and only pitched 35 innings for the Cleveland Indians. But the year before that, he was one of the best pitchers in all of baseball. Because of his injuries, his value will be reduced by at least half, meaning the Yankees, if willing to take the risk, would likely get him for $10-15 million on a one-year contract. If healthy, it could be a huge upgrade from Masahiro Tanaka, who the Yankees are also considering.
J. T. Realmuto’s value is shrinking
After the Philidelphia Phillies flat out said they don’t have the money to re-sign their star catcher, it created quite a bit of excitement with him entering free agency. Rumors were flying all over the place on who would sign the high-priced catcher, who is considered the best catcher in baseball. It seemed the MLB teams seemed the likely landing spots for Realmuto would be a fight between The Yankees, Steve Cohan’s Mets, and the Toronto Blue Jays.
However, since then, the New York Yankees have made it clear that although they would love to have the slugger, they are sticking with the troubled Gary Sanchez and will give him another year to prove that he can hit more than home runs. Meanwhile, according to several reports, the New York Mets seem to be very close to signing the second-best catcher in free agency, James McCann. Unless there are other unknown suiters, that leaves just the Toronto Blue Jays. With so few teams now interested in signing the star for big money, his payday will likely be reduced.
The Cleveland Indians will be no more!
The Cleveland Indians have decided to change their moniker. They will be dropping “Indians” from their name that they have been known for nearly 100 years. The world Indians are considered offensive and insensitive to Indians and caused the Washington Redskins to change their name. CBS Sports HQ’s Jim Bowden has since confirmed Cleveland’s plans. An announcement from the team could come as soon as this week, per the New York Times.
At present, it is unclear what the new name will be. It could be as simple as the Cleveland Baseball Team, while they decide upon a new name. There are a few popular suggestions out there; the most liked is the Cleveland Spiders. The Cleveland team has had other names in the last century, but the only one that lasted more than a year was the Cleveland Naps. That name came for the popular Cleveland player Nap Lajoie. Another possibility is the Cleveland Dobys, named after Hall of Famer Larry Doby, the American League’s first Black player.
Baseball’s Winter Meetings were dull at best
Last week the annual baseball Winter Meetings were held. They weren’t held in a posh hotel in a prime destination. There were no deals made over a drink at the bar or in hotel lobbies. No late-night deals hashed out in hotel rooms. This year’s meetings were held virtually over four days. There was no wining and dining. The meetings were mostly dull and uneventful. The only team to make significant moves were the Chicago White Sox.
At the start of the Meetings, there were big names out there to be had. Trevor Bauer, Cory Kluber, J.T. Realmuto, James McCann, George Springer, and folks after the Meetings are still all unsigned. Whether that was caused by the meetings being held virtually is unknown. What is known is that MLB teams don’t have much money to spend on big names, with all teams having lost so much money last year. Another cause that surely entered into it, it that teams have no clear view of what a 2021 baseball season will look like.