Yankees Rumors: Cashman nearly traded struggling slugger to the Padres

joey gallo, yankees

General manager Brian Cashman did a poor job putting together the New York Yankees’ roster this off-season, committing too much optimism and faith in players who struggled considerably last season.

After 13 games into the regular season, the most disappointing player has been Joey Gallo, who hosts an abysmal .135 average and hasn’t recorded an RBI.

After smashing 38 homers with Texas and New York last season, Gallo hasn’t hit a single home run over 39 plate appearances this year. In 2021, Gallo hit a home run every 16 at-bats on average, but he’s already blown past that average, totaling just five hits on the season.

Nonetheless, the Bombers were considering trading Gallo during spring training to the San Diego Padres, and it looks like their potential trade partner dodged a serious bullet.

Per Jon Heyman of the NY Post, the Yankees and Padres had spoken about a potential swap a few weeks ago, but obviously, nothing materialized:

 The Yankees talked to the Padres about a trade for Gallo this spring, but are believed to have been seeking a return befitting his ability, not his recent achievements.

Coming off a campaign where he batted .199 in total and .160 with the Yankees with a 38.6% strikeout rate, Gallo is still waiting to turn things around. There are reasons to believe that Gallo is having bad luck based on his 22.2% barrel rate and 50% hard-hit percentage. However, his launch angle has dropped to 11.9° compared to 22.7° last year.

With the shift still in place but expected to be eliminated next year, Gallo continues to hit the ball frequently to the right side, which has hurt his numbers. Even so, the Yankees can’t continue to roll with him if he’s going to be an automatic out on nearly every at-bat.

On Thursday against the Detroit Tigers, Gallo contributed an infield single as his lone hit but struck out in the 7th and recorded two easy outs in the 2nd and 5th innings. He also made a terrible defensive mishap in the outfield, letting a ball go by him, which allowed the Tigers to drive in multiple runs.

Even if the Yankees try to trade Gallo now, they would likely get a few pebbles in return compared to what his previous value might’ve been. Cashman should’ve pushed a little harder to pull the trigger with the Padres.

Breaking down the New York Yankees starting infield for the 2022 season

New York Yankees, DJ LeMahieu

After missing out on Freddie Freeman late Tuesday night, the New York Yankees went with their backup option, Anthony Rizzo at first base. It seems as if the 2022 starting infield is all but set. There is one remaining question, where is Gleyber Torres going to play?

If not for DJ LeMahieu signing a big contract extension last off-season, Torres would be slotted in at second base. LeMahieu could’ve started at first, leaving Torres at second, but the Yankees now have a big decision to make.

The Bombers may float the idea of trading Torres instead of trying to work around where he will feature this upcoming season unless they don’t plan on Josh Donaldson starting at third base, which would be incredibly foolish given the two years $50 million left on his contract.

Yankees starting infield for the 2022 season:

1B: Anthony Rizzo

Most would agree that Rizzo is a solid player that will hold down the fort at first for the next two seasons. On Tuesday, he signed a two-year, $32 million deal with the Yankees after hitting .249 with eight homers and 21 RBIs over 49 games last season. As a solid defender and good hitter, Rizzo could realistically hit 30+ homers at Yankee Stadium, but at 32 years old, we’ll have to wait and see if age begins to take its toll.

2B: DJ LeMahieu/Gleyber Torres 

Yankees currently have a pair of players at second base, LeMahieu, and Torres. Given DJ’s impeccable defensive acumen, that would suggest that Torres will be left off the starting team, which could indicate he’s used in a prospective trade this off-season.

Last year, Torres was moved from shortstop due to his poor defense, recording a .952 fielding percentage. Torres has a career .971 fielding percentage at second base, whereas LeMahieu features a .991 percentage. This is an easy decision for the Yankees regarding who will start, the more difficult one revolves around Torres and his value.

SS: Isiah Kiner-Falefa 

The Yankees were clearly hyper-focused on acquiring Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who was traded to the Minnesota Twins before making his way to the Bronx. Falefa has already indicated he’s been a Yankees fan his entire life, and after hitting .271 and posting fantastic defensive metrics during the 2021 season, he’s precisely what the Bombers were looking for in terms of a stopgap.

The Yankees will have two years of team control over Falefa before he hits free agency in 2024. That gives the team plenty of time to develop Anthony Volpe and prepare him for the big leagues.

3B: Josh Donaldson 

General manager Brian Cashman was forced to take on the contract of Josh Donaldson in the acquisition of Kiner-Falefa. A sizable amount, Donaldson has two years and $50 million left on his contract. As a primary slugger who hit 41 homers back in 2015, Donaldson fits the mold for the Yankees in the batter’s box. Last season, he smashed 26 homers and recorded a .247 average. Just two years ago with Atlanta, Donaldson hit 37 homers and 94 RBIs, posting a 15.2% walk rate to go with it.

At 36 years old, Donaldson is undoubtedly getting up there in age, which could impact his athleticism, but he can hold down the fort at third base in the meantime. Donaldson featured in 92 games last year at third, recording a .952 fielding percentage. That could be a justification for the retention of Torres since LeMahieu could shift over to the hot corner and supplement deficiencies if need be.

Yankees: 3 reasons to be excited about new shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa

isiah kiner-falefa, yankees

The New York Yankees recently executed a blockbuster trade with the Minnesota Twins, plugging third base and shortstop while adding another catcher to compete with Kyle Higashioka.

Taking on the two years and $50 million left on Josh Donaldson’s contract might not be ideal, but the Yankees feel as though they upgraded at the hot corner offensively.

As for shortstop, Isiah Kiner-Falefa was clearly the target in this trade, injecting him into the infield as their stopgap for the next two seasons until Anthony Volpe is ready to start his career in the majors.

Yankees trade with the Twins:

-Gary Sanchez

-Gio Urshela

For

-Josh Donaldson

-Isiah Kiner-Falefa

-Ben Rortvedt

Three reasons to be excited about Kiner-Falefa:

1.) Elite defense

Kiner-Falefa is only 26 years old and will hit free agency in 2024. He’s currently arbitration-eligible, but with two years of team control left for the Yankees, he fits the bill perfectly.

While Kiner-Falefa isn’t going to launch home runs at of consistent rate, his defense is where his value presents itself. Last season, he recorded a .972 fielding percentage over 1360 innings. Isiah posted 19 errors, 88 double-plays, and 214 putouts. Comparably to Gleyber Torres, his success rate at shortstop is significantly better. Torres posted a .952 fielding percentage last season with 19 errors over 915 innings.

At the very least, Kiner-Falefa offers the Bombers fantastic support in the infield, which is exactly what they need to help win games.

2.) Solid contact hitting

Kiner-Falefa only hit eight homers last season, but he did record a .271 average with 53 RBIs. His 13.3% strikeout rate is lower than the Yankees average by a significant margin, but he’s not exactly a patient batter, walking just 4.1% of the time.

The former Texas Ranger recorded 136 singles, 25 doubles, and three triples last season, picking up 20 stolen bases in the process. His average has ballooned the past two seasons, so if the Yankees can help him add a slugging element to his bat, he could be a far more productive hitter compared to his time down south.

3.) Perfect stop-gap

It is clear now that general manager Brian Cashman was looking for a stopgap solution so he could wait for Anthony Volpe to reach the big leagues. Cashman has raved about Volpe’s development and growth the past few seasons, and this upcoming minor league season will give him a fantastic sample size of experience to showcase his qualities.

With Volpe projecting to reach the bigs by 2023, the team control for Kiner-Falefa makes perfect sense. With two years of cushion, they can ease Volpe into the lineup, giving him opportunities to supplement injury or take part in blowout wins. With Isiah, the Yankees can smooth over the transition without skipping a beat.

Yankees execute blockbuster trade with Minnesota Twins for new Shortstop, catcher, and third baseman

josh donaldson, yankees

The New York Yankees finally awoke from slumber late Sunday night, connecting with the Minnesota Twins on a blockbuster trade that would send Gary Sanchez and infielder Gio Urshela on their way.

Sanchez, the Yankees’ homegrown catcher, simply couldn’t maintain consistency with his glove or bat over the past few seasons, so management felt as though it was time to sell. Sanchez finished the 2021 season with 23 homers, hitting .204. Sanchez’s best season came back in 2017 when he was an All-Star, hitting .278 with 33 homers and 90 RBIs.

Unfortunately, it was time to move on, acquiring catcher Ben Rortvedt from the Twins in the trade.

As for Urshela, skipper Aaron Boone had indicated that he could be their starting first baseman this upcoming year during a spring training session on Sunday. Gio hit .267 last season with 14 homers and 49 RBIs. As a solid third baseman with quality hitting metrics, Urshela is an interesting piece to lose, especially gaining Josh Donaldson to replace him on the hot corner.

Per the Yankees PR:

The New York Yankees today announced that they have acquired INF Josh DonaldsonINF Isiah Kiner-Falefa and C Ben Rortvedt from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for C Gary Sánchez and INF Gio Urshela.

Josh Donaldson:

Donaldson is currently 36 years old, with age taking its toll the past few seasons. Last year, he hit .24 7/135 games with Minnesota, recording a 21% strikeout rate and 13.6% walk rate.

Historically, Donaldson has been a great defender and features a lucrative power bat. His home run numbers did decrease a bit last season, but he’s only two years removed from sashing 37 homers, and he’s experienced tremendous success in Yankee stadium in the past.

General manager Brian Cashman will consume the $50 million owed to Donaldson over the next two years, which is an extraordinary number that takes a ton of money off the board for the Bombers. To be quite honest, I’m not sure that acquiring Donaldson was the best move, as it seems his slugging ability is the main focus with his value compared to Urshela. It seems as though it was included to push the package over the hump.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa:

It was clear that the Yankees desperately wanted to acquire Isaiah Kiner-Falefa, a 26-year-old shortstop who hit .271 last year with eight homers and 53 RBIs. Falefa recorded just a 13.3% strikeout rate, which will be a welcomed number for the Yankees.

Clearly, they wanted the defensive insurance, as Falefa posted an 8.1 defensive WAR last season, including a .972 fielding percentage over 1360 innings.

Falefa isn’t going to offer the slugging Carlos Correa would’ve presented on a massive contract, but he will save them a ton of cash moving forward, being arbitration-eligible this year and a free agent in 2024. The Yankees still have two years of team control over him, allowing their young prospects to climb the ranks and become legitimate major-league options down the road.

Ben Rortvedt:

The Bombers also acquired Ben Rortvedt in the trade with Minnesota. Having hit just .169 last season over 39 games in the majors, I can’t see Rortvedt becoming a starter for the Yankees this upcoming year. New catching coach Tanner Swanson did work with Rortvedt back in Minnesota, so there’s a connection.

Clearly, the Yankees will have an alternative plan at catcher, meaning they could acquire one via trade. In free agency, there aren’t many quality options to choose from, so unless they plan on giving Kyle Higashioka the reins to the starting gig, they do have a void to fill. Nonetheless, Rortvedt is a solid defensive catcher, posting a .989 fielding percentage last year, allowing nine stolen bases and catching seven runners. He allowed just two passed balls over 256 innings of play.

Altogether, this trade is quite interesting, acquiring an aging player in Josh Donaldson, a stopgap shortstop, and a reserve catcher. It is quite clear that acquiring Kiner-Falefa was the primary asset for the Yankees, being forced to take on Josh Donaldson’s contract as part of the deal.

Yankees facing big problem as top two stop-gap options gone from shortstop market

isiah kiner-falefa, andrelton simmons, yankees

It is no secret that the New York Yankees desperately need a new shortstop to feature during the 2022 season. The consensus was that the Yankees would settle for a stopgap option during the lockout while Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza climbed the farm system.

However, with free agency opening back up, reports indicated that Carlos Correa was still on their priority list, presenting an interesting decision for general manager Brian Cashman and Co.

Do the Yankees remain committed to their youth and sign a player on a two-year contract, or do they swing for the fences and go with the monster deal worth over $300 million?

Based on how the market has already unfolded, the Yankees are already down two of their best stopgap options.

Yankees have already lost their top two stop-gap options at shortstop:

Isiah Kiner-Falefa:

The Yankees were connected to Texas Rangers infielder Isiah Kiner-Falefa during the lockout as a potential solution to their shortstop void. Defensively, Falefa is a fantastic shortstop that would’ve offered them above-average play in that category.

However, his offensive capabilities were limited, especially when it comes to his slugging. He posted a .271 average last season with eight homers and 53 RBIs, showcasing decent contact hitting. His offensive attributes don’t exactly fit the Yankees preferred strengths, which is why they likely didn’t jump into the trade market looking to acquire him. The Minnesota Twins ended up trading for Kiner-Falefa, giving up catcher Mitch Garver and another player in the process.

Andrelton Simmons:

The cheapest stopgap option for the Yankees on the free-agent market would’ve been Andrelton Simmons, who signed a one-year, $4 million deal with incentives to join the Chicago Cubs.

Simmons and the Yankees would’ve been a stretch connection, to begin with, given his serious offensive limitations. Simmons has hit double-digit homers in the past, over three years ago when he smashed 11 back in 2018. His average dipped to .223 this past season, hitting three homers over 451 plate appearances. At 32 years old, Simmons seems to have taken a big dip in production, so the Yankees passing on him was a good decision.

However, with two of the top short-term options off the market, that leaves Carlos Correa and Trevor Story as the primary free agents to consider. If I were to put my money on it, I would imagine a Yankees will grab one of those two players, whether it be Correa on a massive deal or Story on a short-term but big-money contract.

WATCH: Yankees’ Luis Severino strikes out batters in live pitching session | Good health sign!

New York Yankees, Luis Severino

The New York Yankees have a big decision to make with their starting rotation this upcoming season, after losing Corey Kluber to the Tampa Bay Rays before the lockout commenced.

Depending on several injury-prone players may end up biting the team in the butt once again, since general manager Brian Cashman’s strategy has been cost-efficient the past few seasons. He’s committed to players coming off injury, signing them to cheaper deals with hopes they can revive their former production.

However, that method has failed to perform, but the Yankees are still confident that Luis Severino can become a solid middle-of-the-rotation pitcher for them moving forward. Severino has only pitched 18 innings over the past three years, well removed from his 3.39 ERA during 2018. He pitched 191.1 innings during the campaign, recording 19 wins and 10.35 strikeouts per nine.

The hope is that Severino can find his fastball velocity once again after seeing a 2 mph decrease compared to 2018 when he was sitting at 97.6.

Severino posted to Twitter on Tuesday, showing off some work against live batters who failed miserably to make any contact.

Interestingly, Severino mixed in a cutter last season over his short sample size of action. He predominately features a fastball, slider, and change-up, but adding another pitch to his repertoire could give him an edge with batters having last seen him three years ago.

Severino can’t be penciled in as the No. 2 option behind Gerrit Cole at this point, so the team will have to find another player via free agency or trade once the lockout comes to an end. There is optimism between the owners and players union that a deal could get done within the next few days before more games are canceled.

In the meantime, Severino will continue to rehabilitate and prepare for the start of the season, and he will likely be called into action immediately when things get back up and running. It is possible the Yankees feature him in a relief role to get him back into shape, similar to how they approached his return at the end of the 2021 season.

Yankees have massive hole to fill with top relief arm not expected back until end of 2022 season

New York Yankees, Zach Britton

The New York Yankees project to have a solid bullpen in 2022, but they are still dealing with a few injuries that could impact the unit’s efficiency. Notable relief pitcher Zack Britton underwent Tommy John surgery last season, ruling him out entirely after recording just 18.1 innings of action.

Britton has only pitched 37 innings over the past two years combined, after signing a three-year, $39 million extension in 2020. He is headed into the final year of the contract, and since the Yankees already accepted the 2022 club option several years ago, they are on the hook for a $14 million salary.

Losing Britton is significant, especially after he recorded a 1.91 ERA in 2019 over 60.1 innings, his largest sample size since 2016 with the Baltimore Orioles.

Britton is still confident he can make an impact next season despite his struggles remaining healthy, even if it comes at the end of the year during playoff contention.

“My goal is to play at some point toward the end of this season and hopefully into the playoffs,” Britton wrote this week in an email to The Post. “Obviously, there is a lot of time between now and then, but that is the ultimate goal.”

With Britton all but ruled out for the majority of the regular season, the Yankees will have to lean on others for support. One name that comes to mind is Jonathan Loáisiga, who experienced his best season to date in 2021. Loáisiga earned a 2.17 ERA over 70.2 innings, recording a 79.1% left on base rate and 60.9% ground ball rate.

The 27-year-old right-handed relief pitcher also posted a 3.01 SIERA and 3.15 xFIP. The expectation is that management will lean heavily on him to feature as a prominent bullpen arm, which is a lot of pressure for a pitcher who has just one outstanding season under his belt.

Nonetheless, Nestor Cortes can return to a relief role, and the Yankees have a few up-and-coming arms, including Luis Gil and the return of Luis Severino, who could be called upon in the bullpen to start the year. I would be remiss to ignore Chad Green and Clay Holmes. The latter looked great at the end of the 2021 season.

Holmes recorded a 1.61 ERA with the Yankees over 25 games. He pitched 44 games with Pittsburgh after being traded at the deadline, earning a 4.93 ERA. Holmes looked like an entirely different pitcher wearing pinstripes. He threw his fastball/sinker 73.2% of the time compared to 51.2% with Pittsburgh earlier this last season. He also averaged 96.6 mph compared to 95.7, a significant increase in New York. Essentially, the Yankees asked Holmes to stop throwing his curveball, focusing predominantly on his fastball/sinker and slider.

Given the Yankees managed to extract so much value from their bullpen last year, the expectation is they will once again be a strong unit, but they will have to work around some deficiencies. If Loáisiga can continue to play at a high level and the youngsters provide a bit more consistency, the starting rotation will be the only concern regarding their pitching efficiency.

Yankees: What a massive contract extension for Aaron Judge could look like

While the New York Yankees are focused on adding a big-name shortstop this off-season, they have to consider the contract extension Aaron Judge will garner in the near future.

Judge will become a free agent in 2023, so he has just one year left of team control before he can sign elsewhere. That likely means general manager Brian Cashman and Judge’s representatives will look to strike a huge deal before he hits free agency.

The star slugger has indicated he prefers to stay with the Yankees for his entire career, but many players have said that in the past just to leave and find success elsewhere.

A deal for Judge will likely be close to $40 million per season on average, but let’s take a look at a prospective deal that would lock the Bombers into his services for at least five seasons.

New York Post’s Ken Davidoff proposed a monster deal, averaging out at $37.8 million per season over five years with an additional season and opt-out later on:

How about taking the five-year, $189 million package that my colleague Joel Sherman proposed back in October, adding another year and $38 million to it (six years and $227 million, a tribute to the iconic Marla Gibbs), adding vesting options for 2028 through 2030 (his age-36 through -38 seasons) based on collective plate appearances, and, to seal the deal, throwing in an opt-out after 2024?

If Judge is healthy, he is deserving of every dollar, especially considering the Yankees under-spend compared to their revenue per season. Judge played in 148 games this past season at 29-years-old, hitting .287 with 39 homers and 98 RBIs.
The righty slugger posted a career-low 25% strikeout rate and 37.5 offensive WAR. Judge is showing more discipline at the plate and a sustainable proficiency for hitting home runs. The only season where he didn’t break double digit homers was during the Covid abbreviated 2020 campaign when Judge spent the majority of the season injured. His 39 homers this past season is a benchmark moving forward and considering he’s not even 30-years-old yet, investing in him as a long-term solution is an easy decision.
Defensively, Judge has one of the best arms in baseball out of right field, but depending on how the Yankees approach their centerfield spot, it is possible they move Judge to the middle of the outfield and find a replacement in right. If the Yankees do end up retaining Joey Gallo, he could start an RF while Judge makes the move to center, a position he proved capable of this past season.
What do you think of this behemoth contract for Aaron Judge? Comment here!

Yankees News: Cashman eyes monster first baseman, Sanchez’s return is troubling

freddie freeman, yankees

Top New York Yankees links:

Yankees, Blue Jays Among Teams With Interest In Freddie Freeman – MLB Trade Rumors

The New York Yankees have been incredibly quiet this off-season, but one star free agent could be a target moving forward. The 2020 NL MVP Freddie Freeman represents arguably the best first baseman in baseball. According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, Freeman was contacted by the Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays, so there could be a bidding war for his services.

At 32-years-old, freeman remains a longshot to depart from the Atlanta Braves, but a team that is willing to push past five years on a potential deal could be the one to earn his signature. This past season, Freeman hit .300 with 31 homers and 83 RBIs. With a low 15.4% strikeout rate and 12.2% walk rate, Freeman is an incredible offensive player coming off a World Series with Atlanta.

Replacing Anthony Rizzo and Luke Voit with Freeman would be an incredible addition, and given his health history over the last four years, he’s also a reliable player they can count on daily. While his defense has been streaky at times, it is good enough for him to be the starter without question. In addition, his lefty bat makes him an intriguing prospect as well, given the short right porch in Yankee Stadium. Freeman could elevate his home run totals to close to 40, if not better in a home run friendly park.

Gary Sanchez’s return is just part of Yankees sad offseason – NY Post

The Yankees tendered three players on Tuesday, one of them being catcher Gary Sanchez. Sanchez has failed to develop into the star the Yankees expected him to be several years ago. This past season, Sanchez hit .204 with 23 homers and 54 RBIs. After recording a measly .147 average in 2020, his numbers didn’t elevate enough to justify keeping him as a long-term solution.

Nonetheless, the Yankees will avoid arbitration with Sanchez and pay him $8 million for the 2022 season. Worst case, he ends up being the primary catcher for one last year in hopes he can turn things around. Otherwise, the Yankees will have to be active next off-season trying to find a supplement.

Yankees News: Marcus Stroman attacks Yankee fans on Twitter, Aaron Hicks injury update

yankees, New York Mets, Marcus Stroman

The New York Yankees have their focus set on free agency this off-season, but Mets starter Marcus Stroman continues to take shots at the team and their management style. On Tuesday, Stroman went after a few fans on Twitter and responded to Mets pitcher Taijuan Walker that he prefers to wear durags, dreads, and tattoos, a silent shot at the Yankees for their strict rules.

Stroman responded to several fans who shot back at the starter, and his words weren’t exactly civil.

You mad because that crazy payroll continues to let you down year after year? Get off my page and go communicate with the front office bitter boy.

Stroman spoke specifically about the Yankees’ payroll and how their ability to pay players monstrous deals hasn’t translated to wins. I hate to say it, but he isn’t wrong about that, considering the team hasn’t reached the World Series in over a decade despite having one of the highest payrolls in baseball year after year.

Yankees haven’t won a World Series since 2009. They routinely spend more than any other team and acquire the biggest names at every trade deadline. The way the spend and players they get should result in much more success than they’ve had…you don’t agree?
Brian Cashman and Stroman don’t exactly have the best history, which is why this exchange isn’t exactly surprising. Stroman is currently a free agent but could find his way back to Queens on an extension.

Aaron Hicks injury update:

Skipper Aaron Boone stated on Tuesday that Hicks could be in line to play Winter Ball if his left wrist continues to heal at a brisk pace:

“He’s in position to do that,” said Yankees manager Aaron Boone. “As a matter of fact, he sent me some video of him in the cage the other day swinging and he feels great. I think he looks great and we’ll just see where we are in the next few weeks about the final sign-off on that.”

Hicks played in just 32 games this past season, recording a career-low .194 average. Offensively, Hicks hasn’t been very sturdy the past few years, but he offers a switch-hitting option that adds plenty of diversity to the batting order. In 2020, he recorded a career-high 19.4% walk rate, a tremendous number that indicates his patience at the plate. There is no doubt that Hicks has a solid eye, working up the pitch count and helping get starters out of the game prematurely. However, he hasn’t been reliable with his health, suffering a left wrist injury that forced him out for virtually the entire year.
The Yankees expect to have him available for 2022, but management made it apparent they are still looking for centerfield talent just in case they need a supplement. The team has Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Joey Gallo on the roster, so there is a solid chance Judge shits over to centerfield if Gallo isn’t included in a trade.