New York Yankees still targeting left-handed first basemen after big trade

yankees, matt olson

The Yankees made their first big move of the offseason tonight with a bit of a perplexing deal. New York acquired Josh Donaldson, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, and Ben Rortvedt for Gary Sanchez and Gio Urshela.

It was a deal that took many by surprise especially the acquisition of Josh Donaldson. Of course, immediately the wheels started turning in that this would likely be the first move of many from the Yankees.

Shortly after this deal was officially announced, Ken Rosenthal tweeted out that New York was still in the market for a left-handed first baseman. They still believe they are in the hunt for Freddie Freeman and they are still engaged with Oakland on Matt Olson.

Now, Jon Heyman tweeted out that Anthony Rizzo is a more likely option at this point. Rizzo would be the cheapest option on the free agent market and he wouldn’t cost the Yankees and capital in terms of prospects.

What will the Yankees do next?

I think the next big move you’re going to see from the Yankees is a Luke Voit trade. Whether Voit is in the package that ends up going to Oakland for Olson or not, I think that Voit’s days in New York are numbered.

From the very beginning, I never thought the Yanks were a viable option for Freddie Freeman. Yes, they could change course and offer him more money than God to bring him to New York, but I don’t see them doing that.

Freeman is likely going to return to Atlanta or sign with the Dodgers. If the Yankees had their preference, it would be to trade for Matt Olson. However, the prospect haul is going to be a steep price for Brian Cashman to pay and we know that Cashman loves his prospects.

Rizzo won’t cost a lot of money and he won’t cost prospects. My gut says that they end up reuniting with Rizzo while trading Voit for some pitching. Whether it’s a package for a reliever or starter, I think Voit goes for pitching. Stay tuned because the Yankees seem very active right now.

What will the New York Yankees do first once the hot stove is live?

brian cashman, yankees

The news that Yankees fans have been waiting to hear for nearly 100 days dropped today. MLB and the MLBPA agreed to a new CBA that will end the lockout and the hot stove will officially go live later this evening once the deal is ratified.

There needed to be 20 votes out of 38 from player reps and the executive committee for the deal to go through. All eight executive members voted no and four teams dissented including the New York Yankees. However, 26 team reps voted yes and baseball is officially back.

I don’t even think you could classify what’s about to happen as the hot stove. This is going to be like the surface of the sun. MLB Spring Training is set to begin in just a few days and there are over 300 free agents that are still searching for a home including some notable Yankees targets.

Will the Yankees make a splash?

For the Yankees, the needs of the team haven’t changed since the beginning of the offseason. The lack of action from the bombers before the lockout means they still have their full plate of agenda items to take care of in a very short amount of time.

Obvious priority is the shortstop position. It’s been clear for a while now that the Yanks are not going to have Gleyber Torres manning shortstop in 2022. The Yankees engaged in conversations with Carlos Correa, Trevor Story, and Andelton Simmons before the lockout.

All of those players are still available to New York. Now, Simmons is the least sexy move the Yanks could make, but it might be a deal that comes together considering the talent in the farm system at SS. It will also depend on what happens with a few other positions including first base.

The Yankees are said to have serious interest in both Freddie Freeman and Matt Olson. Both would cost a lot in very different ways. I think Olson is more likely between those two, but I also wouldn’t rule out the Yanks reuniting with Anthony Rizzo after his time in the Bronx.

To me, Luke Voit is still a goner. I just can’t see New York bringing him back after last year which means a trade is likely going to go down soon with him. Does he bring back pitching or is he part of a deal that brings in Olson? Time will tell.

Pitching is always a need, but I think the Yankees will focus on suring up the infield right away. There’s no time to waste so I expect some deals to come together quickly. Don’t roll your eyes but a Brett Gardner extension might be one of the first dominos. Buckle up Yankees fans, it’s about to get hot.

Yankees News, 3/6: Why blockbuster trade for Matt Olson won’t come to fruition, prospects over money

yankees, matt olson

The New York Yankees have been stockpiling infield prospects for the past few seasons, featuring some impressive names among their ranks. Ranging from Anthony Volpe to Oswald Peraza, the Yankees have plenty of trade bait if they wish to take that route, but it would be foolish to give up on their promising young stars before seeing what they can do at the major league level.

This off-season has been filled with rumors and mock trades, heavily involving the Oakland Athletics and first baseman Matt Olson. Olson is coming off a tremendous 2021 season, hitting a career-best .271 with 39 homers and 111 RBIs. Olson reduced his strikeout rate to 16.8% after logging 31.4% back in 2020.

At just 27 years old, the left-handed batter could likely smash 40+ homers in Yankee stadium, but the question is, are the Yankees willing to offer up some of their big minor-league players to acquire him?

If the team is looking to win a championship now, parting ways with young talent makes logical sense, but the long-term future of the team is disrupted, especially if they view Volpe and Peraza as potential infield starters over the next year or so.

Peraza seems like the most probable to be traded if Cashman engaged with Oakland, but given the Yankees’ hesitancy toward investing big money at shortstop, they may call upon him to feature if he continues to perform well with Scranton in Triple-A.

Last season, Peraza hit .286 with one homer and two RBIs over just 28 at-bats with Scranton. He will start the year at the top of the minor league, and if he continues to impress, he could receive a call if the Yankees need to supplement shortstop for any given reason.

Spending money instead of minor-league capital seems to be the most efficient method of injecting talent into the starting team at this point. Given Volpe and Peraza could feature as a dynamic duo in the infield come 2024, Cashman would have a ton of money to spend elsewhere as contracts begin to expire down the line.

However, it could also fuel the idea of spending big money now on a player like Freddie Freeman, who is expected to generate tremendous interest once the lockout comes to an end. Freeman is coming off a World Series win with the Atlanta Braves and smashed 31 homers last year. You can always spend and find more money, but giving away great prospects is a decision you can’t come back from.

New York Yankees: Yankees weekend news roundup, check it out

New York Yankees, Brett Gardner

The New York Yankees and the other 29 teams are still suffering through a lockout that is now 95 days long, with no apparent quick resolution in the offing. MLB canceled more spring training games last week due to not reaching an agreement. Spring training games will not start until March 5 at the earliest. It is evident at this point they will not reach that goal. This week MLB announced that the first two series of the new regular season are canceled.

The big news; No Yankee baseball

After over 100 days of negotiations, the owners and players have installed the universal DH, but not much else. The main issues in a new agreement are as far away as before the negotiations even started. If it isn’t bad enough, the players and owners can’t come to a resolution. We have recently learned that the owners can’t agree on some issues.

On a Zoom call, four owners reportedly voted against the league’s “best and final” offer that the MLBPA turned down before the league’s self-imposed deadline on Tuesday. The Athletic’s Evan Drellich later revealed that those teams were the Angels, Reds, Tigers, and D-backs.

So while the Yankees should be playing spring training games, they are instead working out at local high school fields, as the lockout prevents them from entering minor league fields until a new agreement can be reached. Although no one knows when the new regular season will start, it won’t likely be in April. On his part, Commissioner Rob Manfred has announced that all canceled games will not be made up, putting the entire season in jeopardy.

It’s that time of year, will Brett Gardner return yet again?

Brett Gardner is the longest-tenured Yankee, being the last Yankee to be retained from the 2009 World Series team. He has been with the Yankees since he was drafted in 2005, and 2022 would be his 15th major-league season. “Gardy” has been a mainstay with the Yankees, never being an MVP, but being an All-Star and Gold Glover, he has always been solid for the Yankees.

However, in recent years his star has dimmed, causing the Yankees to reevaluate bringing him back every year. Such is the situation again this season as the Yankees, while in a lockout, try to find ways to improve the team. Gardner has again made it clear that he wants to play another season, and he wants to play that as a Yankee. However, his agent has echoed the same but added that he, now in free agency, will look at returning to any team that values him as a player.

Pitcher Beck Way is working his way up the Yankee ladder

There has been much chatter about Yankees’ prospects Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza, mostly due to the team’s need for a new shortstop. There are other Yankee prospects to be examined; one of them is another story about an up-and-comer, earning some pretty hopeful reviews. Yankees pitching prospect Beck Way is described as having “electric” stuff.  The Yankees are hoping that he can even improve further in 2022.

Way has been playing ball for some time but only started pitching full time in his last year of college. He showed flashes of excellence in college, with a fastball that often reached over 100mph. With Yankee coaches working with him this season, they hope he can learn more control and continue developing. Last season, the 22-year-old righty pitched for the Hudson Valley Renegades with a 3.98 ERA.

Trades have won seasons for the Yankees

The Yankees have won many pennants and World Series due to making smart trades before and during winning seasons. This season may end up the same, with their many needs. The Yankees say they are good just the way they are, but that won’t put forward a championship team that likely will fall short yet again.

So, what is general manager Cashman to do after only being an observer during the first half of the postseason? He will have to act fast with all teams looking to add help. Another thing is that after having months to figure out what he will do, he will likely have to look to trades to put forth a winning team.

When the lockout is lifted, the Yankees are going to need: a first baseman, a shortstop, a center field insurance piece, possibly a fifth outfielder, bullpen help, and a number 2 or 3 starting pitcher.

Here is a look at three trades the GM should closely consider: Matt Olson, Merril Kelly, and Ketel Marte. Some moves will only require money. The ones that trades could solve should not be overlooked. Brian Cashman should first get with Billy Beane and the Oakland Athletics. The Yankees have been successful with the A’s before. Get a deal done for first baseman Matt Olson without giving up too many prospects.

With the Yankees’ decision to go big or take the stop-gap avenue at shortstop, that decision should be made quickly. At the moment, that looks to end up a short gap replacement. Get in touch with the Diamondbacks, and talk about Ketel Marte. Marte is a seven-year veteran that can adequately play center, second base, and be a more than average shortstop for the Yankees.

The Yankees could possibly put together a big trade that would include Marte and Merril Kelly, who could solve a starting rotation for the Yankees.

New MLB rules will make it difficult for the Yankees to sign star 1B Freddie Freeman

freddie freeman, yankees, braves

The New York Yankees may now regret not being more active before the MLB lockout. Two new MLB rules will make a complex situation even more complicated. Those two rules are the Universal DH for the season 2022 and beyond. The other is the loss of removal of draft pick compensation.

This, of course, will make it more difficult for any team to sign free-agent first baseman Freddie Freeman, which goes for the World Series-winning Atlanta Braves as well. The Braves would dearly like to hold onto the backbone of both their defense and plate production. But, with Freeman already refusing the Braves’ $180 million offer, these new rules will likely raise his financial desires, making it more difficult for any team to sign him. Make no mistake, a team will sign him, but it might not be the Braves or the Yankees.

With the ongoing MLB lockout, teams across the country are more desperate than ever to fill the holes remaining in their lineups. With spring training scheduled to start this week in Florida and Arizona, it only makes the signings more critical, as they will have to fill those holes in record time. With the Yankees sitting on their hands during postseason one, the Yankees will have to act quickly and aggressively.

The Yankees have several holes to fill. The biggest is their shortstop position. It is most likely they will go with a stop-gap addition while they wait for Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza to become major league-ready. They need some help in center field, as they cannot count on Aaron Hicks to remain healthy. They also would like a true number two starter to follow ace, Gerrit Cole. Freeman comes into focus due to their need for an everyday first baseman.

The Yankees have Luke Voit, who they held over from last season. But with his inability to keep the lower half of his body healthy, he should be their last choice. A trade with the Oakland Athletics’ Matt Olson isn’t all that desirable. The Yankees have already, before the lockout, talked to the A’s, who want at least Anthony Volpe and or Oswald Peraza. The Yankees have indicated that that is a non-starter. This is where Freeman comes into the mix.

He is either the best first baseman in the business or the best player overall in free agency. The problem for the Yankees with Freeman is the money he will ask to join the Yankees. Depending on how much owner Hal Steinbrenner wants to spend and how much they can save on other needs, will write the story on the Yankees acquiring Freeman.

These new rules certainly won’t help the Yankees in signing him. When and if a new CBA is reached, the Yankees will have to make that decision. However, even though other names for the everyday first baseman have not been mentioned, The one thing you should know is that you can never tell what general manager Brian Cashman will do to fill the spot. He may pull off a surprise, like the acquisition of a DJ LeMahieu-like surprise, that has turned out successful for the Yankees.

MLB analyst predicts the Yankees will make some noise after the lockout

carlos correa, yankees

While the rest of the league raced to sign their preferred free agent targets quickly before the December 1 lockout, the New York Yankees stood idly by and didn’t make any major moves. This situation, according to Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham, will change when transactions are allowed again and there is a new CBA deal.

The Yankees have three glaring needs: a shortstop (at least one has to come to the organization, as they said Gleyber Torres would play second and there isn’t a starting shortstop in place at the moment), an outfielder who can play in center and spell Aaron Hicks if needed, and starting pitching.

Abraham points out that the Yankees won’t be as passive as they were prior to the lockout when the action starts again.

“New York didn’t make any impact moves ahead of the lockout, preferring to wait and see what the financial landscape would be when it ended. The Yankees have made the playoffs the last five seasons but haven’t been to the World Series since 2009. Brian Cashman knows that’s not a streak he can ride for much longer. Hal Steinbrenner has to be feeling some heat, too. Whether it’s signing (Carlos) Correa or making a big trade, the Yankees are going to do something. Their business plan has always been to act.”

Who will the Yankees sign?

The Yankees have been linked to Correa for a while, but if they don’t want to spend over $300 million in one player, they could turn to Trevor Story, a former All-Star, too.

Another position that the Yankees could be looking to improve is first base, where Voit missed most of last season with several physical issues, mostly with his knee. They also don’t trust his glove, and could be looking to make a move for former NL MVP and World Series champion Freddie Freeman. They could also re-sign Anthony Rizzo.

Of course, the trade market is also an option for the Yankees. They could find solutions to all of their current needs with the Oakland Athletics, who are shopping first baseman Matt Olson and could also deal pitchers Chris Bassitt, Frankie Montas, and Sean Manaea, plus outfielder Ramon Laureano.

In any case, the feeling around the industry is that the Yankees will make a big move after the lockout.

AL contender could consider a deal for Yankees’ target Matt Olson

yankees, matt olson

The New York Yankees and the Cleveland Indians were among the most successful MLB franchises in the second half of the 2010s decade. Sure, they didn’t win a title, but they were constantly competing deep into the playoffs.

Last year, however, their offenses were far from productive. The Yankees finished 16th in fWAR, and Cleveland, now the Guardians and not the Indians, were 19th. In wRC+, the Yanks were ninth, but the Guardians were 19th.

It’s not a mere coincidence, therefore, that they are focusing their time and energy in bringing offensive assets to their lineups. And they could be targeting the same player, according to insider Paul Hoynes (link to NJ Advance Media article here).

Hoynes has covered the Guardians for a long time and has multiple sources there. In his latest piece for cleveland.com, he said the team may make a move for fellow Yankees’ target Matt Olson, who plays first base for the Oakland Athletics.

The Yankees aren’t the only team interested in Olson

The A’s aren’t expected to compete this season, and could be looking to shed some salary. Olson will be one of their highest-paid players.

“If the A’s are going to rebuild as has been speculated, Olson would certainly look good hitting in the middle of the Guards’ lineup. If a deal did take place, first baseman Bobby Bradley would probably be one of the players headed to the A’s along with a middle infielder and possibly a starting pitcher. Olson, with two years of control left, is eligible for arbitration. His salary is projected to be $12 million for 2022,” Hoynes wrote.

The Yankees have long been connected with Olson, but the Atlanta Braves also want him, especially if they can’t re-sign Freddie Freeman.

Olson made the All-Star Game in 2021, hit 39 home runs and drove in 111 runs. He is also a terrific defensive first baseman.

Who will win the Olson sweepstakes?

 

 

New York Yankees: Will the Chicago Cubs’ interest in Anthony Rizzo benefit the Yankees?

anthony rizzo, yankees

More than other teams, the New York Yankees have been highly affected by Rob Manfred’s baseball lockout, as they didn’t make any moves to improve the team before that lockout was imposed. The Yankees still have their major priorities unmet. They still need a quality shortstop to replace Gleyber Torres, they need to bolster the starting rotation and to make a decision on who will be the starting first baseman.

Opinions on social media have swung wildly during the lockout regarding the retention of Luke Voit at first base or to re-sign Anthony Rizzo, who was acquired last season at the trade deadline. There has been interest in Freddie Freeman, especially after his struggle getting a new contract with the World Series-winning Braves.

The Braves offered him $180 million over six years to stay with the team, an offer he rejected. At the same time, the Yankees may have been internally discussing a trade with the Athletics for first baseman Matt Olson. Those seemed unlikely, Freeman for the cost and Olson as the A’s would like to strip the Yankees of prime prospects.

Now things have taken another turn as the Cubs have apparently been discussing bringing Rizzo back for another year. Rizzo was a star for the Cubs for many years, actually all of his career, before being traded to the Yankees last season. This might be more competition for the Yankees, with no decision one way or the other, it might be a bidding war that the Yankees probably won’t be interested in, with their other needs.

Make no mistake about it, Rizzo, although approaching the later part of his career, is still a quality defensive first baseman and a pesky lefty at the plate. Any team would happy to have him in their starting lineup. But with interest increasing for Rizzo, it may leave the Yankees to reconsider Freeman or Olson.

Earlier in the month, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, Freeman is on their radar:

“The Yankees are expected to take a run at Freddie Freeman, who they love. Though 1B isn’t their real need, they’d love to fit one of the game’s best lefty hitters into their lineup. With the Braves not quickly wrapping up their star, all are options are on the table for Freeman.”

With Rizzo’s likely salary being in the $14-18 million range for next season, Freeman does not seem out of the question. The decision regarding Matt Olson is far more complicated. The Yankees have made it clear that they will not be dealing Anthony Volpe or Oswald Peraza in any trade this season. That would mean the Yankees might have to nearly strip the farm system of prospects to reign in Olson from the A’s. 

However, all of this might be moot if the sides in the CBA negotiations can’t come to a compromise and new agreement. Presently, it looks as if the start of spring training will be delayed. One thing is for sure, and that is that the Yankees are going to have to pounce when the lockout is over, as half of the prospects they need to fill the teams’ holes have already gone to other teams. At the present, Voit, after the lockout, may be traded, taking him out of the equation and making the search for a new first baseman even more intriguing.

Considering all of this, there is at least one other option. General Manager Brian Cashman, who is always secretive in his workings, may surprise us all with a pick that no one has thought off, just like he did with DJ LeMahieu.

 

The Yankees have 3 options at first base: The expensive one, the familiar one, the blockbuster one

yankees, matt olson

The New York Yankees have been linked to a variety of different first basemen this off-season, but the consensus is they will bring in a new player to fill the position despite Luke Voit working hard to earn an opportunity at the starting job. Unfortunately, Voit has dealt with injuries, missing a significant amount of time during the 2021 season.

With general manager Brian Cashman and ownership looking to fill the shortstop position with a stopgap until their young prospects are ready to make the jump, they have a bit of money to spend elsewhere, and first base seems like a logical allocation.

However, they will have plenty of competition bringing in talent once free agency opens back up after the lockout.

Three first base options for the Yankees:

The expensive one: Freddie Freeman

Right off the bat, Freddie Freeman presents a phenomenal talent for the Yankees to target in free agency 2.0. At 32 years old, Freeman is coming off a World Series victory with the Atlanta Braves, hitting .300 with 31 homers and 120 runs during the regular season. His 34.4 offensive WAR was his highest mark since 2016, and adding a lefty bat to the Yankees’ hitting order would be tremendous. Given the short right porch in Yankee Stadium, Freeman could hit 40+ homers next season if acquired.

Freeman is looking for a deal in the six-year, $150+ million range, which is a significant number for the Bombers to invest at first base. Nonetheless, they’ve had inconsistencies at the position in recent years, so locking it down for the long term might be a good move.

The familiar one: Anthony Rizzo

Anthony Rizzo replicated his statistics with the New York Yankees after being traded at the deadline from the Chicago Cubs. He batted .249 with eight homers and 21 RBIs over 49 games. Having won four gold gloves in his career, Rizzo is a quality player who can be depended on as an everyday first baseman.

Rizzo is reportedly being targeted by his former team in free agency, so the Yankees will have competition for him as well. Rizzo is a tier below Freeman as a batter, but he offers quality defense and reliability, having played over 140 games in every full season since 2013.

The blockbuster one: Matt Olson

If the Yankees want to take a shot at Matt Olson, they’re going to have to give up young prospects to get it done. With Cashman unwilling to part ways with Anthony Volpe or Oswald Peraza, Olson seems like a long shot. Despite the Texas Rangers going heavily into free agency before the lockout, they still have their eyes on more talent, notably Olson.

The Dallas Morning News’ Evan Grant reports, “The Rangers likely won’t be players for free agent Freddie Freeman, but they will absolutely call to check on Oakland’s willingness to trade Matt Olson.”

This past season, Olson hits .271 with 39 homers and 111 RBIs. It was by far his best year as a professional, and considering he will be a free agent in 2024, the Yankees still have several years of service at a low cost. While his price tag is attractive, the Yankees have never really cared about money, and Cashman’s desire to develop young talent seems more valuable than Olson’s cost control for the next three years.

Yankees could go with a familiar face at first base, but it will cost them

anthony rizzo, yankees

When and if a new Collective Bargaining Agreement can be reached, the New York Yankees will have several issues to solve, and they may have less than two weeks to do it. There are three major issues that the Yankees have on their plate. A new shortstop, a permanent first baseman, and the possibility of needing another starting pitcher. Getting that shortstop seems to be the priority, but deciding on a first baseman for the new season is just as important.

When we speak about first base, the Yankees do have obvious options. They already have Luke Voit on the books, they could re-sign last year’s acquisition of Anthony Rizzo, who is a free agent. The other options are a trade with the Oakland Athletics for Matt Olson, and lastly, spending big for the Atlanta Braves’ Freddie Freeman.

Although, still very unclear as to what the Yankees will do, here is how things are shaping up. Voit, although the cheapest way to go, and already held over for another season, was not productive at the first base position last season after being the home run leader in 2020. He could be satisfactory, but his inability to keep the lower part of his body (feet and knees) healthy could be a challenge for the Yankees, keeping him off the field and becoming useless. So let’s say he is not the most desirable to take on the job.

Herein comes the roadblocks. The Yankees hiring the Braves Freddie Freeman seems pretty unlikely. This is true mainly because he will demand a contract in the area of $180 million over the next six years. That is something the Yankees, although interested, might not be willing to pay. He has already refused the Braves’ offer and seems likely not to stray too far from those wants. N

No matter how attractive to the Yankees, being the best man for the job, the Yankees have to consider they may have to pay big for a shortstop and a pitcher, they also have slugger Aaron Judge, the face of the Yankees, waiting in the wings for a big contract extension. Add that to two huge contracts, Stanton and Cole, already on the books, the money doesn’t seem to be there to add Freddie Freeman.

The second roadblock would be the acquisition of Matt Olsen from the Athletics. Before the lockout, the two sides in that discussion could not form a deal. The A’s wanted Anthony Volpe in a trade package that also might include Oswald Peraza. The Yankees refused.

According to SNY’s Andy Martino, the Yankees were unwilling to send top shortstop prospects Anthony Volpe and/or Oswald Peraza to the A’s in exchange for Olson before the lockout. Several other analysts also echoed that suggestion. Unless the Yankees do a complete turnaround, that trade does not look likely, as the Yankees will be unwilling to strip their farm system for one player.

The answer that is becoming more clear by the day is that the Yankees will settle with re-signing Anthony Rizzo. There are several reasons that that choice makes sense. For one, although not the most important consideration, is that Rizzo likes New York and wants to remain with the team.

Last season he disappointed some, but still, in 49 games played after the trade deadline, he hit .249 with 8 home runs. Between the Yankees and the Cubs, the only other team he has ever played for, he hit a total of 21 home runs, nothing to make fun of. Also, the Yankees have to consider his excellent defense. His home run total and batting average was better than Voit and has a much better injury history than Voit. Considering all these facts, it seems the best overall option for the Yankees is to resign Anthony Rizzo.