Yankees Rumors/News: Yanks sign Adam Warren, is J.T. Realmuto still a possibility?

New York Yankees, Adam Warren

The New York Yankees are waiting patiently for the free-agent market to develop, but that doesn’t mean they are staying quiet. The Yankees have been engaged with DJ LeMahieu on his contract extension, but they have made some minor signings over the past several days.

The most recent signing is middle relief arm Adam Warren, who last pitched for the Yankees in 2018. He’s had amicable success over his career but was injured for the 2020 season and will be making his return in 2021. His most recent season in 2019 didn’t go as planned, as he earned a 5.34 ERA with a lowly 7.85 strikeouts per nine.

With Tommy Kahnle hitting free agency after undergoing Tommy John surgery this past season, Warren can be a decent supplement. He was signed to a minor league contract but was very productive with the Yankees in 2017. He finished the season with a 2.35 ERA over 57.1 innings. His high 53.7% ground ball rate was exactly what Yankee Stadium requires.

Warren reuniting with the Yankees is perfectly timed, as he spent the 2020 season rehabilitating from Tommy John, and 14 months later, he’s prepared to make an impact. He will likely have to work his way up through the minor leagues’ upper tiers, but I imagine he will find his way in the bullpen rather quickly.

Could the New York Yankees still be intrigued by JT Realmuto?

Early reports indicated that Realmuto could cost upwards of $200 million on a long-term deal, but a more realistic contract could hover in the $100 million range over five years. In fact, his theoretical deal would be very similar to DJ LeMahieu’s.

The Yankees are seemingly committed to Gary Sanchez, but he has been degrading the past few years significantly, and if this streak continues, they will have to find a replacement at some point. Locking in the best catcher on the market for the long term would solve a pressing problem GM Brian Cashman promised to reevaluate this offseason.

The Yankees have already extended a new one year contract to Sanchez and having him under control until the 2023 off-season. Considering how cheap he will be, the Yankees can save their money and work with what they have on the roster. Expect them to roll with Kyle Higashiosaka and Sanchez, playing the hot hand.

However, if LeMahieu walks, the Yankees can reallocate that money toward a different player, and Realmuto would be a massive upgrade at catcher.

This past season, he hit .266 with 11 homers and 32 RBIs. Over the course of a full 2019 season, he hit .275 with 25 homers and 83 RBIs. He has a below-average strikeout rate for a catcher and is defensively sound. He only allowed one passed ball over 36 games (Fangraphs).

While it is improbable the Yankees go this route, he is still available on the market, and his contract expectations could dwindle as time goes on.

New York Mets: Yes, J.T. Realmuto is Better But James McCann Fits Right

New York Yankees, Yankees, James McCann

When the New York Mets locked down James McCann on a four-year deal, there were still questions about J.T. Realmuto. Why sign McCann so quickly? Was Realmuto not an option? Why are we settling for a cheaper option? McCann is all they needed as their catcher with the circumstances and the holes on the Mets roster.

Of course, Realmuto is the ultimate option as a catcher, but his requests would hurt the Mets more than help them. Just because Steve Cohen has the most money does not mean you spend it like a fool. Being smart with loads of money is the difference between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels. Both have tons of money, but one builds winners while the other wastes Mike Trout.

Potent Offense

The Mets already had one of the best offenses in baseball without catcher production. In reality, all the Mets needed was an average hitting catcher who is good behind the plate. McCann gives you that production in a sub-par season. The contract McCann signed also allows the Mets to bring in guys like George Springer and Trevor Bauer.

Of course, Realmuto is a tier above McCann but does he make the Mets better once the season starts? Realmuto will draw out the process and end up signing one of the two largest deals this offseason. If the Mets played the waiting game, they run the risk of losing McCann.

In that scenario, the Mets give Realmuto six years and more money than they expected. If they pass, they will end up with a catcher at a level way below their expectations. With the market where it is, signing McCann shows the Mets will run the offseason how they want. They are forcing agents to follow their terms, not the other way around.

The Extra Years

Whether it is Johnny Bench, Mike Piazza, or Buster Posey, all great catchers drop off in production as their push towards their mid-30s. The Mets did not want to give six-years to Realmuto, knowing the last two years he’ll be 34 and 35. With Francisco Alvarez likely to be big-league ready by the time McCann’s contract is nearing its end, it allows the Mets to continue using their farm system.

Outside of on-field production, the best justification of this signing is what happens next. If the Mets strike out on every other big name on the market, it raises questions on why Realmuto was not signed. With the Mets track record this offseason, there is no reason to question any of their methods. As Steve Cohen said, they will not spend like a “drunken sailor.”

Yankees rumors/news: JT Realmuto still a possibility for Bombers as they re-evaluate catcher

New York Yankees, JT Realmuto

If the New York Yankees weren’t rumored as trade partners and free-agent suitors for the best players in baseball, the world might be completely upside down.

However, the New York Mets are about to push the bounds of New York sports, exercising a lofty financial commitment, as new owner Steve Cohen is ready to make the franchise “great.”

With Cohen preparing to dump boatloads of cash into the Mets’ elevation, the Yankees have a new challenger in town. Nonetheless, they are still in the running to acquire the likes of star shortstop Francisco Lindor and potentially catcher JT Realmuto.

Former Cincinnati Reds’ GM Jim Bowden believes that catcher JT Realmuto is a great fit with the Yankees, as stated in his article for The Athletic (subscription required).

Realmuto, who would replace Gary Sanchez at catcher for the Yankees if signed, is one of the best players at the position in baseball. He finished the 2020 campaign with a .266 average, hitting 11 homers and 32 RBIs.

Realmuto’s primary issue is that he hosts a 24.6% strikeout rate and walks just 8.2% of the time. What he lacks offensively, he makes up in defense tenfold. Having committed just two errors and one passed ball this season, he is stout behind the plate and would be a massive upgrade over Sanchez.

Comparably, Sanchez finished the most recent season with a .147 average and a 36% strikeout rate. His offense doesn’t even closely resemble JT’s, representing a massive upgrade, but one that would likely be record-breaking in terms of financial commitment.

Defensively, Sanchez logged five passed balls and five errors this season, displaying a serious lack of consistency behind the plate.

While ownership seems to be committed to Sanchez for the time being, they were reportedly fielding offers for him at the trade deadline in August. That fact alone tells us that the Yankees might be more willing to part ways with him than previously thought.

While I don’t think they will acquire Realmuto and make a blockbuster trade, including Sanchez, it is a deal worth monitoring as the off-season progresses. Things are going to be interesting for the Yankees, and I can see them making a huge splash but also sitting still and plugging holes without spending too much capital.

Mets and Yankees potential target J.T. Realmuto will reportedly reject qualifying offer

New York Yankees, JT Realmuto

The best catcher in baseball will officially hit free agency. J.T. Realmuto, who played the last couple of seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies, will reportedly reject the team’s qualifying offer and is now set to enter the market, one that could have a lot of suitors. Both the New York Yankees and New York Mets, especially the latter, could be tempted to make a competitive offer.

The fact that Realmuto will not sign the one-year, $18.9 million offer tells us that there should be quite a market for him out there. He is said to be seeking a multiyear offer that could be close to the $200 million range, although with the current market uncertainties, reaching that number could be difficult.

He should, however, get a higher annual value than the $18.9 million of the qualifying offer while securing multiple years. Realmuto is, without a question, the most talented backstop in the bigs, and the New York Mets happen to have a hole at the position after declining Wilson Ramos’ club option just a few days ago.

He would be a clear upgrade for the Mets

Tomas Nido, while a good defensive catcher, probably won’t be starting for the Mets. The team is fully expected to find an upgrade in the position, and while the price tag could be very high, Realmuto fits the bill in what new owner Steve Cohen and the team president Sandy Alderson are looking for: players who can contribute now but also have some staying power over the next few years.

The Yankees, meanwhile, have both Gary Sanchez and Kyle Higashioka in the position. Sanchez struggled so much during the 2020 season (.147/.253/.365 slash line) that he was benched in favor of Higgy during the postseason. The team may explore to trade the Kraken, bring Realmuto and keep Higashioka as a backup, but it is highly unlikely because of financial reasons.

Realmuto is fresh off hitting .266/.349/.491 with a .361 wOBA and a 125 wRC+, with 11 home runs, 33 runs, 32 RBI and even 4 steals in 47 games in 2020. He has virtually no weaknesses and could even fit in the middle of the powerful Mets’ lineup.

It remains to be seen if the Mets will splash the cash on Realmuto, if they will pursue starting pitcher Trevor Bauer, or if they focus on cheaper targets at both positions.

3 free agents the Yankees should consider in 2021 offseason

trevor bauer, New York Yankees

After having a huge offseason last year when they snagged Gerrit Cole off the free-agent list, the New York Yankees have found themselves still having similar problems to last year’s roster. One of the main issues is pitching along with defensive adjustments. Here are three free agents the Yankees’ front office should consider when looking to fill these holes.

Trevor Bauer

One of the more obvious ones that come to the minds of Yankee fans, Trevor Bauer would be a great fit in the Yankee rotation. With the possibility of Domingo German and Masahiro Tanaka possibly not coming back next season, having Bauer and Cole as a 1A and 1B type situation would be huge for the team. That’s exactly what both 2020 World Series team have right now. The Dodgers have Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler and the Rays have Tyler Glasnow and Blake Snell.

After having a dominant season and proving to be the best pitcher in the National League by far, Trevor Bauer is most likely going to win the NL Cy Young award. Because of this, he’s also probably looking to get paid this offseason. Luckily for him, the Yankees have money. There’s only one concern when it comes to Bauer wearing pinstripes: he and Cole apparently don’t along which has stemmed from when they were teammates at UCLA. However, if they got along at UCLA, they can figure it out in the Bronx too.

J.T. Realmuto

This is one of the more unlikely signings for the Yankees, however, J.T. Realmuto has proven himself to be a top-three catcher in all of baseball especially for his defense. Gary Sanchez has proven for a few years now that all he can do is hit and is clearly a defensive liability behind the plate. Yankee fans saw this when they had to start back up catcher Kyle Higashioka during the ALDS against the Rays.

Realmuto is a two-time all-star and has won two silver slugger awards in the last three years. The reason why this pickup is unlikely for the Yankees is that they already have Sanchez and Higashioka and the Phillies are also probably going to try to resign him for some good money. It’ll be interesting to see where he lands up, but the Yankees should definitely keep their options open.

Marcus Stroman

Despite not playing during the 2020 season because of a calf injury, Marcus Stroman has proven himself to be a dominant starter and a premier pitcher in the league. He also fits in well in the Yankee rotation, being an extremely solid two or three depending on if Luis Severino returns.

Stroman holds a career 3.76 ERA and because of his prior two teams (Blue Jays and Mets), his record from last season doesn’t give him justice. With the Yankee run support, Stroman’s stuff will play in the Bronx. The Yankees should definitely keep him an option judging that every other team is probably going to shop Bauer hard.

New York Yankees News/Rumors: The biggest questions the Yankees need to solve

New York Yankees, Kyle Higashioka

The New York Yankees and their fans are tired of getting to the brink of a Championship but always falling short. This past season, the Yankees lost the Tampa Bay Rays division and then lost the ALCS to them. The Yankees realize they must improve the team in doing that, they are faced with a multitude of players that become free agents this offseason, and at the same time must pay arbitration-eligible players more money. All of these decisions come as the New York Yankees lost a monstrous amount of money this past season, as Yankee General Partner Hal Steinbrenner stated.

With the need for money to satisfy all these needs, there has been much talk about trading off key players like Luke Voit and Gio Urshela. In this writer’s opinion that won’t happen and the Yankees will not have the money to fix all of their shortcomings.  Let’s take a look at the three big decisions the Yankees will have to make before the start of the 2021 season. The Yankees will have in their mind that the 2021 season may not be a moneymaker either.

DJ LeMahieu:

One of the priorities the Yankee has to deal with is the free agency of DJ LeMahieu. DJ took over the leadoff spot in the lineup from Brett Gardner when he was hired in 2019. Since then, he has been one of the best Yankee players. Just like when Rivera took the mound in the ninth inning, when DJ steps to the plate, you know he’s going to get a hit or advance a runner. In 2019 he was Silver Slugger; in 2020 he won the baseball batting title, the only player to accomplish the feat in both leagues. DJ also leading off, sparks the other players in the lineup.

The New York Yankees will prioritize re-signing LeMahieu. He has just finished a two year contract that paid him $12M per year.  DJ likes playing in New York, but will surely want a sizable raise to keep his services at the Stadium in the Bronx. In signing him it’s hard to tell whether the 32 year old will be more interested in the length of the contract or the money amount. Probably a little bit of both. Without any knowledge of ongoing talks, it will probably take $20M a year to keep DJ in the Bronx and a deal that give him a guaranty of a income stabiltiy for at least the next four years. With money short and other issues to deal with, if DJ wants much more than that, the Yankees could let him walk, and test the free agent market.

Pitching:

The pitching situation, which many beleive caused the Yankee downfall this season, must be solved.  They really only have the $324M Gerrit Cole, beyond that they are in limbo. Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton and J.A. Happ are all free agents. If the Yankees take any of them back it will most likely be Masahiro Tanaka, who has been more or less dependable. However if they do take him back it will be at a much discounted rate compared to what he now earns.  If Tanaka does not accep that, he may very well finish out his career in Japan.

James Paxton, with his injuries might be a risk for the Yankees, and J. A, Happ’s inconsistantly most likely will lead to the Yankees not negoiating to keep him. So that leaves the Yankees with three rotation spots to fill.  Tanaka if they keep him is no longer a number two starter.  The answer is to go out and sign the best pitcher in free agency Trevor Bauer, but that will cost big bucks, a shorter contract but nearly as expensive as Cole per year. There are other options the Yankees must look at: Marcus Stroman of the Mets, Julio Teheran of the Angels, Taijuan of the Blue Jays, or Adam Wainwright of the Cards.

If the Yankees can solve the number two starter situation with a premium pitcher, they can probably get by filling the remaining two spots with the bevi of young arms they have coming along.  Montgomery, Garcia, King, and Schmidt.  The bottom line is that if the Yankees don’t solve the pitching problem they will continue to lose when it counts. The Yankees also must consider the return of Luis Severino, and if he will be effective after his Tommy John surgery.  The Yankees most likely won’t be able to test that out until June at the earliest.  At this point, whether the Yankees will take back Domingo German is unknown.

Catching:

The New York Yankees catching situation is just as complicated. The bottom line here is that the Yankees can’t continue to have a wasted space in the lineup with a catcher that can’t hit. In Gary Sanchez’s career, he has had some bright spots on the home run front but overall has failed to get on base most of the time. This past season has been his worst ever, he stayed healthy but hit only .147 on the year.  Put that together with his regressing defense, and the Yankees must do something.

The obvious thing is to go out and get J.T. Realmuto from the Phillies. He can hit 30 home runs a year; he can hit for contact and is also one of the best defensive catchers in the business. But again that would be costly.  Another possibility is getting a short-term fix with one of the Molina brothers, Yadier Molina, one of the best defensive catchers in the game. If the Yankee were to consider Molina the 38 year old would get a short term contract.

Looking at the situation, I feel the Yankees will not pay for the best catchers available, they will let Sanchez and Higashioka battle it out in spring training for that starting spot. It will also be important for the Yankees to re-sign the 40 year old Erik Kratz who works well with young pitchers and had the 3rd highest WAR of any available free agent catcher.

 

The New York Yankees cannot and should not bring back the same team in 2021

New York Yankees, Brian Cashman

There are a lot of rumors already flying around about what the New York Yankees will do with the upcoming offseason. This year, the bombers went another year without making it to the World Series. They haven’t tasted a World Series in over a decade.

I listened to the words of Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner over the last week. They made their state of the union addresses following another failed Yankees season. One thing that some have mentioned is a possibility is that the Yankees bring back the same team.

Well, virtually the same team. Meaning the Yankees would resign DJ LeMahieu and Masahiro Tanaka while doing nothing else. This strategy would fall in line with the belief that the Yankees have a WS caliber team right now.

I’m fully onboard and believe that the Yankees need to bring back DJ LeMahieu. It’s the talk about bringing back Tanaka where I draw the line. The bombers cannot simply bring back the same team they had in 2020. They need to shake things up if they want to win a World Series next year.

The Yankees’ Options

The most obvious option for me is that the Yankees need to upgrade the rotation. Tanaka is not going to come cheap especially considering the shallow free agent starting pitching market. That said, I would spend however much else is needed to sign Trevor Bauer.

The Yankees made a huge first step in signing Gerrit Cole last year. However, Cole can’t get it done by himself. That showed this year when Cole was the only starting pitcher who looked like he had a pulse for the Yankees in the playoffs.

If the Yankees are content with bringing back Tanaka and hoping the young guys fill out the rest of the rotation, they’ve already failed. They need to upgrade their pitching and there is a clear answer in Trevor Bauer.

If the bombers aren’t interested in making a free agent pitching splash, they need to look at JT Realmuto. Gary Sanchez was reportedly available at the trade deadline which shows that the Yankees are to the point of moving on.

If they do not want to invest into the rotation, they can upgrade the vital catching position. Realmuto is the best catcher in the game, and he would impact the Yankees on both sides of the ball.

No matter how you slice it, the Yankees need to shake things up. They have had a losing mentality for years and have failed to address problems when it forces the front office to be uncomfortable. Well, it’s time for the front office to get uncomfortable and it’s time to get the Yankees back to the World Series.

Should the Yankees move on from Gary Sanchez after 2020?

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez

The New York Yankees have a massive problem at the catcher position. That problem’s name is Gary Sanchez. Yes, I know that some Yankees fans are likely getting ready to type an angry comment back at me for suggesting this, but should the bombers move on from Sanchez after this year?

Sanchez is getting ready to turn 28 years old in December. You cannot deny the power that Gary Sanchez has in his bat. He is lethal when he’s able to connect the barrel to the ball. The problem is those lethal shots are becoming fewer and further between.

Since being called up in 2016, Sanchez has hit an astonishing, 111 home runs in 400 games. Over a 162 game average that’s just about 45 home runs a year. While those numbers the Yankees love, the batting average and the defensive stats are not figures they love.

Since the start of the 2017 season, Sanchez is hitting just .230 and he’s had 45 passed balls in 258 games started at catcher. These are not the kind of numbers the Yankees want from their star catcher.

I know that many people will want to keep pointing to the power numbers, but Sanchez is turning into a blind squirrel at the plate. Sure, he’ll run into a nut every once and a while, but when he’s hitting .177 since 2018, your power defense becomes irrelevant.

The Yankees Options

There’s nobody that the Yankees have on their team that I want to root for more than Gary Sanchez. I want to see Sanchez hitting close to 300 and smacking 40 home runs a year. I want to see the Yankees catcher gunning runners down with his elite arm.

The problem is, the things he does well, we’re not seeing them very often at this point. So what do the Yankees do? Well the easy thing to do is to keep Sanchez and pray that he can stay healthy as well as become more consistent.

Sanchez is just entering his first year of arbitration this year. The Yankees have him relatively cheap next year. If the bombers want to explore other options, they can try to trade Sanchez then turn to the city of Brotherly Love.

J.T. Realmuto is considered by many to be the best catcher in baseball. He hits for average, he has good power, he can steal bases, and he’s a gold glover. Realmuto will enter free agency after the 2020 season.

The Yankees have been interested in the past, and they could make a run at him in the offseason. It should be an expensive offseason given the fact that DJ LeMahieu, James Paxton, and Masahiro Tanaka are all free agents.

The Yankees do have some holes to fill after this year. Realmuto could be a very real option for the bombers in the offseason especially if they can get a good return in a Sanchez trade. The biggest thing about him is that he’s consistently good which is something that we cannot say about Gary Sanchez.