Yankees News: Brian Cashman’s waiting game could cost them DJ LeMahieu and Masahiro Tanaka

New York Yankees, DJ LeMahieu

If the New York Yankees are looking to decrease their level of talent, letting DJ LeMahieu and Masahiro Tanaka walk in free agency would be a good start. So far, there has been little movement from general manager Brian Cashman — sticking to signing minor-league deals for depth players who may or may not contribute during the 2021 season.

Ultimately, the Yankees will have to make moves eventually, as they lack starting talent in the pitching rotation, and losing DJ would force them to supplement his loss with alternative players. Francisco Lindor was an insurance policy in case DJ did end up leaving, but he has since been traded to the New York Mets, who have made several high-profile moves to compete with the Yankees this off-season.

Cashman seems quite confident that waiting and being patient will pay off, and his hopes are that no other teams offer LeMahieu an astronomical deal, which would force his representatives to compromise with New York.

“I understand by waiting on something you want and trying to find ways to make it happen … comes with risk,” Cashman said last month. “That has a downside to it, too, but there are certain players you feel are more worth the waiting game on, and I think DJ LeMahieu is worth that.”

When it comes to pitching, the Yankees have been connected to former Cy Young winner Corey Kluber, who pitched for over 25 teams on Wednesday morning, topping out at 90 mph on his fastball. Some might see that as a negative, but Kluber only reached 92 mph in his prime.

He is a significant target given his success in the past and the progress he’s made since missing nearly two full seasons due to injury. However, the Yankees still might want to consider bringing back Tanaka, who has been a consistent pitcher for them and represents quality. He might not be the No.2 they desire behind Gerrit Cole, but he can get the job done and has historically played well in the postseason. Nonetheless, the Yankees are on pace to lose him as well, as a San Diego Padres are considering Tanaka is a potential free-agent signing.

The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported that the San Diego Padres are looking at potentially adding Masahiro Tanaka to their ranks.

Even after trading for left-hander Blake Snell and righty Yu Darvish, the Padres are doing background work on multiple free-agent starting pitchers, sources say. One of those pitchers, righty Masahiro Tanaka, has connections to two significant members of the organization – Darvish and pitching coach Larry Rothschild. Darvish and Tanaka are friends and Rothschild was Tanaka’s pitching coach with the Yankees from 2014 to ’19. Tanaka suffered a partial elbow tear in ’14, chose rehabilitation over Tommy John surgery and remained largely durable, ranking 18th in the majors in starts since ’15.

This off-season is not playing out as most Yankee fans had hoped, acquiring additional talent needed to compete for a World Series. I’m surprised Cashman hasn’t utilized some of his younger options to acquire better talent in trades.

Blake Snell was a pitcher I viewed as the perfect match for the Yankees, considering his youth and price per year. However, Cashman continues to rely on his young players and sees them as more than just trade pieces. Homegrown talent is important, but when other teams are surpassing you and making the moves necessary to compete for a championship, you can’t remain hesitant.

New York Yankees: MLB executive says expect Yankee news today

The offseason has been really slow for both free agents and the 30 MLB teams, including the New York Yankees. Teams suffered huge losses last season, with the Yankees recording the highest losses of any team. They also have no clear picture of what revenues they can expect this season, with the coronavirus surging all over the county. There are now vaccines available but are being distributed far slower than previously expected. Add to that; free agents are abundant out there that remain unsigned.

The offseason may be even slower for the New York Yankees as they have made it a priority to re-sign DJ LeMahieu and, for the most part, put everything on hold until they know the outcome of those negotiations. So far, they are at a standstill as the sides are far apart on the length of that contract.

Last night on Twitter, MLBExecutiveBurner tweeted on his account to expect Yankee news tomorrow. [email protected] is a front office MLB executive, so he must have some knowledge of pending signings or moves the Yankees may be making today. What those moves or signings may be, is anyone’s guess. Rachel Luba a former gymnast and now MLB player agent and attorney calls MLB ExecutiveBurner a sexist clown whose identity is unknown.

The New York Yankees have been in a wait and see stalemate with DJ LeMahieu’s contract offer so that the news may be a breakthrough in those negotiations. But with so many need the Yankees have, it could be almost anything. Although the Yankees believe they are satisfied with their young pitching rotation, fans know they would like another premium veteran arm to bolster the pitching rotation. There has been talk that the Yankees could reenlist Masahiro Tanaka’s services or even sign Corey Kluber.

But the news might not end there. The Yankees are also looking to replace Tommy Kahnle, who is now with the Dodgers. They need an additional premium type arm for the bullpen. Other news could involve the resigning of veteran outfielder Brett Gardner. The Yankees refused his option for the 2021 season. EmpireSportsMedia.com will be overseeing the news all day and will bring you the latest when available.

 

 

 

Yankees News/Rumors: Yanks could lose Masahiro Tanaka to West-Coast rivals

New York Yankees, Masahiro Tanaka

It seems as if every other team is making moves but the New York Yankees. General manager Brian Cashman continues to take his time, inking minor league deals instead of adding starting-caliber talent to the roster.

It is no secret that Cashman believes the Yankees can win with their current team, consisting of players like Giancarlo Stanton, Gerrit Cole, and Aaron Judge. However, they are on the brink of losing star infielder DJ LeMahieu and don’t have a starting pitching rotation capable of overcoming deeper clubs. They lost three starters in the rotation this off-season, including James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, and JA Happ.

There were reports that indicated the Yankees could bring back Tanaka on a shorter contract, but with Cashman looking to save as much money as possible, that seems unlikely.

Other clubs have inquired about his services, and it is more likely he leaves than stays in pinstripes. The Yankees seem to feel confident with Domingo German and Luis Severino returning in 2021, but considering neither have pitched in over a year, I don’t feel very comfortable they can hold it down over the course of a 162 game season. German was being batted around in the winter league down in the Dominican Republic last time I checked, and Severino hasn’t pitched any significant inning numbers in over two years.

The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported that the San Diego Padres are looking at potentially adding Masahiro Tanaka to their ranks.

Even after trading for left-hander Blake Snell and righty Yu Darvish, the Padres are doing background work on multiple free-agent starting pitchers, sources say. One of those pitchers, righty Masahiro Tanaka, has connections to two significant members of the organization – Darvish and pitching coach Larry Rothschild. Darvish and Tanaka are friends and Rothschild was Tanaka’s pitching coach with the Yankees from 2014 to ’19. Tanaka suffered a partial elbow tear in ’14, chose rehabilitation over Tommy John surgery and remained largely durable, ranking 18th in the majors in starts since ’15.

The problem is Tanaka will be a bit pricey, so the Yankees might look for a business or bust candidate like Corey Kluber, who is coming off two years of injury-riddled performances. I don’t know if it’s fair to blame Cashman or ownership for the lack of spending this off-season.

New York Mets: Is There a Difference Between Sugano and Tanaka?

Tomoyuki Sugano, New York Yankees

The New York Mets have a big decision to make on Japanese pitcher Tomoyuki Sugano by Thursday. If Sugano selects their offer, he will become a new member of their starting rotation. There are plenty of similarities between Sugano and Masahiro Tanaka, but their small difference could make or break any deal.

The career NPB ERAs for Sugano and Tanaka are 2.32 and 2.30, respectively. Sugano spent one more season in Japan and only threw 45 more innings than Tanaka. Both pitchers are six-time NPB All-Stars, and both won the league’s best pitcher award twice. Each has similar repertoires, sharing a 4-seam and 2-seam fastball, a slider, and the trademark splitter as their strikeout pitch. Both are also pitching through elbow ligament issues that they rehabbed in past seasons.

What Makes Them Different?

Age is a big difference between the two Japanese stars. Tanaka garnered all his success and made his major league debut at the ripe age of 25, while Sugano would be 31 on opening day. Sugano still has to prove himself in the major leagues after his NPB success. Tanaka is a proven big-league pitcher and is only one year older. Over seven MLB seasons, Tanaka has a 3.74 ERA and is a two-time All-Star.

Sugano’s elbow issues are more in the past, and Tanaka’s forced the New York Yankees to be extremely cautious in recent years. Sugano also dealt with injuries at the end of 2019 but put any doubts to bed with his stellar 2020 season. In most rotations, Sugano would fit in the 2-3 spot, falling to four in elite rotations.

Sugano will cost a ton of money, but he is the second-best starting pitching option behind Trevor Bauer. Much like a lot of the pitching market this offseason, it is a huge wild card to give him a lucrative contract. Even if they lost the Sugano sweepstakes, Tanaka is a suitable replacement.

Tanaka has thoughts of heading back to Japan but asking Tanaka to change pinstripes to remain in New York is plausible. Either one of these pitchers automatically makes the Mets starting rotation better. If they want a long term addition, Sugano is the move while Tanaka fits best for the short term.

New York Yankees News/Rumors: How the Padres could affect the LeMahieu signing and much more

New York Yankees, Luis Castillo

The New York Yankees have made their sole priority the re-signing of baseball’s hitting champ DJ LeMahieu while all the other team needs are on hold. However, two months into the offseason and the Yankees have not been able to make that happen. LeMahieu wants more money, and a longer contract than the Yankees want to offer. So as far as we know, the sides are still far apart. Meanwhile, the Toronto Blue Jays and the Los Angeles Dodgers are hovering about their interest in the star.

The Dodger’s interest may have heightened by what the San Diego Padres are doing. In case you don’t follow what all of baseball is doing, you may have missed the Padres have been making a splash during the past week, trading for the Tampa Bay Rays ace, Blake Snell, the Chicago Cubs ace Yu Darvish, and added to that, the signing of SS Ha-seong Kim. Snell and Darvish could be the number one ace on any team. Ha-song Kim is an excellent shortstop.

The question has arisen if the Dodgers who play in the same division are concerned. The Dodgers are World Champions and the Padres last season posted a record over .500 for the first time since 2010. The Dodgers have replied that they are not worried. But you have to believe that the Jaugearnaut that is known as the Dodgers must be in some way concerned when a team in their division vastly improves their chances for a postseason run.

With the Dodgers already interested in LeMahieu, they may be more serious in the upgrade that DJ would be to their club with his hitting ability and infield versatility. Watch out, New York Yankees; the Dodgers have the wherewithal and could swoop in and give DJ what he wants.

What’s the status of the Tanaka/Gardner negotiations?

Two long-time New York Yankees, Masahiro Tanaka, and Brett Gardner, are free agents after Tanaka was not offered a qualifying offer, and Gardner did not have his option taken up by the Yankees. Of all the departing Yankees, these two hold the most promise of returning, yet they are still in limbo after two months.

The Yankee front off has been in contact with both agents. They have told the two that they can’t decide on their return if it’s possible until the outcome of the LeMahieu negotiations is known. The two have use to the Yankees. The starting pitching is lacking, and Tanaka still has value as a number three starter that has been mostly reliable for the Yankees. Gardner, on the other hand, is as good as any reserve outfielder in free agency. Like with every other team need, we will have to wait and see when the Yankees know if they can re-sign DJ LeMahieu.

If the New York Yankees won’t spend, how do they fix the bullpen?

New York Yankee owner Hal Steinbrenner has declared that he wants more than anything this offseason not to spend and stay below the luxury tax threshold of $210 million in payroll. To accomplish that, he has to drop the 2020 payroll by $30-40 million dollars if it’s going to cost him $25 million to resign DJ LeMahieu, which leaves him little money to do anything of significance to improve the starting rotation or upgrade the bullpen.

If the Yankees are going to accomplish either need, they will have to do it via the trade route. That may be the way to go anyway, as three bullpen arms are better than any free agent. Joe Musgrove, Luis Castillo, and Kyle Hendricks all come with multiple seasons of control, and all come from the Central Division of the American League teams from teams with little chance of postseason runs. Although Hendriks would be the most expensive, Luis Castillo is the better fit for the Yankees. If the Yankees want any of these three, they will have to give up prospects that will hurt.

Cheap acquisitions likely won’t get the job done for the Yankees because they need to replace high-quality Tommy Kahnle with a similar if not better arm. They also have to consider that Adam Ottavino, who is in the last year of his contract, may not rebound from his subpar 2020 season.  Luis Castillo would add just over $4 million to the Yankee payroll, but they would have control over him until the end of the 2023 season, when he will only be 30 years old.

Photo accompanying this article is of Luis Castillo. EmpireSportsMedia.com’s Columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research. Follow me on Twitter @parleewilliam.

Yankees News/Rumors: Masahiro Tanaka wants to be back in Pinstripes, Power Rankings overrate Yankees?

New York Yankees, Masahiro Tanaka

It is no secret the New York Yankees desperately need starting pitching unless you’re confident that Luis Severino and Domingo German will easily slide back into the starting rotation. Severino hasn’t pitched meaningful baseball in over two years, and German was suspended for the entire 2020 season due to a domestic violence dispute in 2019. Relying on them could end up being a massive mistake, and the Yankees just recently allowed three free agents to hit the market, thinning out their rotation significantly.

General manager Brian Cashman does have a bit of money opening up due to the departures, but it still seems as if he plans on being conservative this off-season. Whether they sign DJ LeMahieu to a big extension or not, the result of that deal will set forth a plan for the rest of the year. If they sign LeMahieu, we shouldn’t expect to see any massive expenses occurring in the pitching department, but if another team steals them away, I expect the Yankees to be aggressive in finding a number two behind Gerrit Cole.

Reports have indicated that Masahiro Tanaka could stay in the Bronx, as he is considering two options. Either the Yankees retain him, or he will depart and go back to Japan. His market value was a bit over the Yankees’ preferred price tag, but he did have a solid 2020 campaign nonetheless. Tanaka finished with a 3.56 ERA, 43.3% ground-ball rate, 8.25 strikeouts per nine, and allowed nine homers over 48 innings. Tanaka isn’t a high strikeout pitcher, which is something the Yankees would prefer behind Cole, but he utilizes deadly finesse and off-speed pitches to attack batters.

The major problem with Tanaka is that when teams figure out his finesse and sequence of pitches, he is quite easy to hit. However, when he’s on his game and getting the location he wants, he’s one of the best pitchers in baseball. If the Yankees are able to extend him on another deal, I wouldn’t offer more than $15 million per season. Adding another two years onto his contract could be a good move, considering the Yankees don’t feel confident in their current group, and they aren’t going to be all in on a player like Trevor Bauer.

Are the New York Yankees overrated in the Power Rankings?

The Yankees landed quite high in the MLB Power Rankings, finishing at the top of the American League and third overall in baseball. You could make the argument that a few other teams could be considered ahead of them due to their lack of pitching.

Only the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres remain ahead of the Bombers, which you could justify but also make the argument that without quality pitching, the Yankees aren’t a consistent team, especially with the number of injuries they deal with yearly.

Alternatively, when the Yankees are 100% healthy, they easily have one of the most intimidating bad in orders in baseball and can put double-digit runs on any team. They’re the epitome of a polarizing team.

New York Yankees News/Rumors: Tanaka likely to be a Yankee, Garcia maybe not, and much more

New York Yankees, Deivi Garcia

With no decisions made, New York Yankee fans are getting antsier by the day while waiting to see what their team will look like in 2021. It appears that general manager Brian Cashman has everything on hold until he finds out if the team can resign the second baseman and batting title holder DJ LeMahieu. It now appears that if they can get a deal done, even if it’s a compromise, it will cost them more than they wanted.

Although the Yankees would love to resign their best player, it does present problems in an offseason where the front office doesn’t want to spend much money to stay below the luxury tax threshold after tremendous losses last year due to the coronavirus and the unclear outlook for 2021. The Yankees, after the season, let three pitchers walk, Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, and J.A. Happ. Previously it only seemed that they might be interested in only resigning Tanaka, but that might not be the case.

For years Masahiro Tanaka has said that he would like to end his baseball career back in Japan with his team, the Rakuten Golden Eagles, who he last pitched for in 2013. Tanaka is a national hero in Japan. But that might be delayed. He recently admitted to NJ.com that he wants to remain a New York Yankee and will not consider playing for another American team in favor of returning to his homeland.

That statement may make it easier for the Yankee front office to resign the pitcher that has been good to very good for five of his seven years with the team. As the days pass, it seems likely that the Yankees will offer Tanaka a contract for one or two years at roughly half what he earned in 2020, if that. Tanaka had a solid 2020, finishing with a 3.56 ERA, 44 strikeouts even though he went only 3-3 in ten starts. Seeing that Tanaka has indicated he won’t likely deal with another team may get a deal done.

Four Players the Yankees could trade, two will shock you!

The New York Yankees will not be spending big to improve the team for the 2021 season, or at least it appears that way as they look to cut $30-40 million off their 2020 payroll expenditures. With that in mind, general manager Brian Cashman will be forced to trade off some players he may not want to, to make improvements in the team, most likely before spring training.

Even though the New York Yankees have pretty much been dead in the search for free agents, once they know the outcome of their priority to re-sign DJ LeMahieu, things will shift into high gear. If they can’t resign him, they will have $20 to $25 million more to spend. Although that amount may seem like a lot, just one number two-like starter could eat all that up. The answer is to trade prospects to get what they need.

Two of the most likely to be traded are Miguel Andujar that they don’t have much use for and number two pitching prospect Clarke Schmidt. The other two would shock Yankees fans, Deivi Garcia or Luke Voit. Although Voit would be the last resort after hitting the most home runs in baseball, Garcia could be in the mix. There is no question that if the Yankees are to make improvements, mostly in the starting rotation and the bullpen, they will have to make some trades that will hurt to get deals done.

Could the Yankees be taking a second look at James Paxton?

With the only pitchers in free agency that would dramatically change the Yankees’ chances of getting to another World Series after a very long drought being very costly, the Yankees will be looking for mid-rotation pitchers for relief. It appears the Yankees will need one veteran pitcher that can give them innings. They also need a good arm to replace Tommy Kahnle that has now signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers for the next two years and the faltering Adam Ottavino.

Reports are that the Yankees are not all out on the familiar James Paxton for another try. Paxton went 1-1 with an ERA of 6.64 this past season as dogging surgery issues allowed him only 5 starts on the season. A completely rehabbed Paxton could be a solid addition to a rotation that will lack veterans. He is 57-33 in his career and was one of the best 2019 pitchers for the Yankees when he recorded 15 wins against only six losses.

If the Yankees decide to sign Paxton for the 2021 season, it will not be near his 2020 salary after his poor showing. It is also not likely that other MLB teams will throw a lot of money at him either. He will likely only earn in the $7-10 million range for the 32-year-old. In this cost-cutting year, if the Yankees re-sign Tanaka and Paxton, they will get solid production near half the cost of last year.

Plan B is more likely by the day

With each passing day, it is less likely that the New York Yankees will be able to re-sign Yankee star player DJ LeMahieu. According to who you want to believe, the deal could be off the table due to the sides being off as much as $50 million in money and two years in contract length.

All of this, as other teams are hot on the trail of tieing up the star for a multi-year deal. The Los Angeles Dodgers have already taken star relief pitcher Tommy Kahnle from coming back to the Yankees also want DJ LeMahieu for his hitting ability and ability to play any infield position. Most industry insiders feel that DJ will end up with the Toronto Blue Jays, which would be the Yankees’ worst nightmare.

It appears that the main sticking point to the Yankees making a deal with LeMahieu is not money; it’s contract length. DJ is demanding five years of security, and the Yankees don’t want to go for more than three years. If the sides could both compromise for a four-year deal, DJ might accept it. However, if the Dodgers or Blue Jays drop five years on DJ, he will be gone, leaving the Yankees with a whole new plan to improve the team.

If unable to sign LeMahieu, it will leave the team with an additional $25 million to get a hard-hitting shortstop or second baseman possibly. They could also further address the catching situation. Not signing LeMahieu will turn the offseason for the Yankees on its head. There will be acquisitions and, more likely several trades on the block for a team with early exits in the postseasons and has not had a World Series win since 2009.

 

 

 

 

 

Yankees News/Rumors: Two familiar starting pitchers could be in play to return to the Bronx

New York Yankees, James Paxton

The New York Yankees have to allocate resources toward the starting pitching rotation whether they like it or not. With three starters hitting free agency, they must supplement their losses, and Luis Severino cannot be trusted to hold down the fort.

Severino isn’t even supposed to return until after the start of the 2021 regular season, so general manager Brian Cashman must take that into account.

Severino last pitched in 2018, going down early this past year and needing Tommy John surgery. In his prime, Severino was close to reaching ace status, but after two years without a significant sample size, going into the 2021 season, expecting him to be the number two behind Gerrit Cole would be an optimistic decision.

Then there is Domingo German, who the Yankees expect to gain back after being suspended for a domestic violence dispute. He has been hit around in the Dominican Republic, as he participates in winter ball with Gary Sanchez and a few other Yankees.

However, there are familiar faces that Cashman could consider, especially if he feels uncomfortable bringing in new players on cost-efficient contracts that might not represent quality.

The New York Yankees could consider retaining a familiar face:

James Paxton:

Paxton is a good option for the Yankees if they want to sign a player with ties to the team on a minimal deal. He pitched in just 20.1 innings this past year, so the Yankees could probably retain him on a short contract that wouldn’t eat up too much salary.

When at the top of his game, Paxton is a dangerous lefty pitcher who adds plenty of value to the rotation. It seems as if he is back to full health, recently pitching for 20 teams and hitting as high as 94 mph with his fastball.

Masahiro Tanaka:

Reports have indicated that Masahiro Tanaka will likely head back to Japan if the Yankees don’t offer him a new deal. Tanaka had a solid 2020, finishing with a 3.56 ERA, 44 strikeouts, and 8.25 strikeouts per nine. It has become clear that Tanaka is not a high strikeout pitcher but utilizes his finesse to create ground balls and easy out opportunities.

He did allow nine homers this past season and had a few tough performances, especially in the postseason. Usually, Tanaka is a consistent pitcher that the Yankees can rely on, but he’s no longer worth the $26 million he was set to make in 2020.

If the Yankees offered him a two-year deal worth $15-16 million per season, I would be happy with it. He’s one of the better options on the market that won’t cost upwards of $20 million, so he represents a possible option for Cashman as he navigates this strange off-season.

Too much of the Yankees’ off-season plans revolve around the extension of DJ LeMahieu, so I wouldn’t expect much action until they figure out that deal.

It could be the Yankees or Japan for free agent pitching star

New York Yankees, Masahiro Tanaka

The New York Yankees have several holes to fill in the rotation because they lost three-fifths of their 2020 rotation to free agency. James Paxton, J.A. Happ, and Masahiro Tanaka are now free to sign with any team for the 2021 campaign and beyond.

Tanaka, precisely, is needed in the Bronx, but the Yankees have been waiting to re-sign infielder DJ LeMahieu to focus on other areas of need.

The seven-year deal Tanaka signed with the Yankees before the 2014 season is now on the books. In 174 games and 173 starts, he pitched 1054.1 innings of a 3.74 ERA and a 3.91 FIP, with an 8.46 K/9 and a 1.78 BB/9. The stellar import accumulated 18.9 fWAR over that span.

Now, according to NJ Advance Media, Tanaka could opt to return to Japan if he doesn’t re-sign with the Yankees. Returning to New York appears to be his first choice, but the Bombers are playing the waiting game and Tanaka may not want to.

Tanaka wants to return to the Yankees

Here is the NJ Advance Media report: “There’s a good chance that Tanaka will either re-sign with the Yankees or play in Japan next season for his old Pacific League team, a source close to the pitcher told NJ Advance Media. The source, who didn’t want his name made public, added that Tanaka wants to return to the Yankees and isn’t interested in playing for a team that won’t contend next season, regardless of money.”

The New York Mets and the Los Angeles Angels are in need of some starting pitching, but it is unlikely that Tanaka goes to another United States team that isn’t the Yankees.

“The source added that it’s unlikely Tanaka will sign with the Angels, who already have fellow Japanese star Shohei Ohtani, a pitcher/designated hitter. Also, the source stated Tanaka has had plans for years to end his playing career with the Rakuten Golden Eagles, his club from 2007-13. If he returns to the Yanks, he’ll probably to have to settle for a one- or two-year deal for around $12M annually tops,” the article said.

New York Mets: Latest Report on Trevor Bauer May Change Their Plans

New York Yankees, Trevor Bauer

According to Jon Heyman, Trevor Bauer is looking for a boatload of money from whichever team signs him. The 2020 Cy Young award winner wants a five to a six-year deal with a $36M to $40M annual average value. The outrageous asking price should make the New York Mets reconsider their plans on rebuilding their starting rotation.

Bauer immediately quoted the tweet to say this was false information. This is more like damage control because the asking price would set a record and is getting clowned on for being way too much. Bauer deserves a large deal but does not deserve any record-setting offers. J.D. Martinez had a similar strategy during his time on the free-agent market

Move Forward Without Him

Steve Cohen has endless money to spend but signing Bauer to those terms is “spending like a drunken sailor.” Bauer is setting the bar high to make sure he gets overpaid by the time he officially signs a deal. This is a risky move because most owners are tight on money and could drastically hurt his deal. If Bauer’s price comes back down to the $25M-$30M range, signing him becomes a little more realistic.

Signing any combination of Jake Odorizzi, Masahiro Tanaka, or Tomoyuki Sugano would be a better way to spend the funds. Their production would equal or better Bauer’s over the course of a full season. All three pitchers would not be a significant downgrade either. Odorizzi and Tanaka are recent All-Stars, while Sugano is a two-time Sawamura Award (Japan’s Cy Young award) winner.

Bauer should remain the top pitching priority for the Mets at the moment. Bauer and Rachel Luba’s conversation are the factors in swaying the Mets vision, not a Jon Heyman tweet. If the conversations justify the tweet, the Mets cannot be afraid to let Bauer know they will look for starting pitching elsewhere.