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Brett Gardner, Yankees Mutually Decline Option

The Yankees’ offseason has now officially begun. The team announced that Brett Gardner declined his $2.3 million player option today; in turn, the Yankees declined their $7.15 million team option for the longest-tenured Yank. In other, related news, Darren O’Day declined his player option, and the Yankees declined. That was not surprising.

The Yankees’ End of Year Press Conferences: News & Notes

After this morning’s big Aaron Boone news, Brian Cashman took to the podium to give his annual end-of-the-season press conference. That was always how this was going to go. Make a managerial decision, then have the press conference. Makes sense.

Anyway, Cashman said a lot of interesting things today. That is pretty typical for him – I always like listening to him speak. I know the Yanks’ GM has his fair share of critics these days, but I find him to be pretty forthright and nuanced in his remarks. Sure, he is always going to have his standard talking points and non-answers, but he usually goes a level deeper than you’d expect. Today was no different. Here is a rundown of the most notable announcements, with a more detailed analysis of the day’s happenings to follow a bit later on:

2021 Trade Deadline Open Thread

  • Update, 11:36am: The Yankees “are at least lurking” on RHP José Berríos. (Joel Sherman)
  • Update, 12:05pm: The Rockies don’t plan to trade RHP Jon Gray. (Jon Heyman)
  • Update, 12:34pm: The first big deal of the day has been struck. The Blue Jays are getting RHP José Berríos. Strike one option off the Yankees’ list. (Ken Rosenthal)
  • Update, 12:39pm: Big haul for the Twins in return for Berríos: top prospects SS Austin Martin and RHP Simeon Woods-Richardson (Dan Hayes). Based on this, the Yankees would have had to include at least SS Anthony Volpe to get Berríos.
  • Update, 1:11pm: Here’s a weird one. Cleveland is trading OF Eddie Rosario to Atlanta for 1B/3B Pablo Sandoval. (Mandy Bell)
  • Update, 1:14pm: OF Adam Duvall won’t face the Yankees this weekend. Miami is dealing him to Atlanta. (Craig Mish)
  • Update, 1:29pm: Finally, something Yankees-related although it’s not exactly new news. The Yankees are still looking to move Luke Voit. (Mark Feinsand)
  • Update, 1:55pm: Not much interest in 1B Luke Voit thus far. (Brendan Kuty)
  • Update, 2:19pm: Wow. The White Sox are getting RHP Craig Kimbrel. (Jeff Passan)
  • Update, 2:32pm: 6 or 7 teams are looking at CF Byron Buxton. (Jon Heyman)
  • Update, 2:41pm: The Mets are going after SS Javier Báez. (Joel Sherman)
  • Update, 2:51pm: That was quick. The Mets indeed got Báez. (Andy Martino)
  • Update, 3:01pm: The Phillies are trading for RHP Kyle Gibson and RHP Ian Kennedy. They need pitching badly, and this helps. (Ken Rosenthal)
  • Update:, 3:11pm: Old friend LHP JA Happ is on the move. He’s going to the Cardinals. (Mark Feinsand)
  • Update, 3:50pm: The Yankees are on the board!
  • Update, 3:54pm: The Giants are getting Kris Bryant as the final bell draws near. (Jeff Passan)
  • Update, 4:00pm: Ding ding ding. We’ve hit the deadline. More announcements might trickle in, but as of now, Voit is still a Yankee.
  • Update, 4:05pm: The Yankees are done. There won’t be any post 4pm announcements for them. (Jack Curry)


Yankees acquire Tim Locastro

Embed from Getty Images

Welcome back, Tim Locastro. In case you don’t recall, the Yankees previously traded for the now-28 year-old outfielder in November 2018, only to send him to Arizona a few months later. He returns to New York as added outfield depth, essentially filling Mike Tauchman’s vacated spot. In return, the Yankees sent minor league reliever Keegan Curtis to Arizona.

Locastro’s hitting a paltry .178/.271/.220 (44 wRC+) in 133 plate appearances this season and has five steals in eight attempts. He had been much better offensively in his previous to years with the Snakes: .260/.367/.370 (101 wRC+) in 332 plate appearances from 2019 through 2020, including a perfect 21-for-21 in attempted steals. He won’t walk much, but he won’t strike out much either. What he will do a lot is run, if you couldn’t tell from the stolen bases already. He’s been in the 100th percentile in sprint speed since 2019.

Even though Locastro is a right-handed hitter, he actually has a reverse-platoon split. The Yanks may try him in a platoon with Brett Gardner in center field anyway, considering how awful Gardy has been against southpaws in recent years. Speaking of center field, defensive metrics are mixed on Locastro’s ability in spite of his speed.

Locastro does have a minor league option remaining, so it’s not clear whether or not he’ll report to the majors immediately. If he does, he could replace either Clint Frazier or Miguel Andújar on the roster. Perhaps Tyler Wade if the team wants to use Gio Urshela as the backup shortstop once more. And no, before you ask, I don’t think this is the move that finally gets Rougned Odor out of here. Additionally, the Yankees have an open spot on the 40-man roster, so no additional transaction will be necessary to add Locastro.

Curtis, 25, was the Yankees’ 22nd round pick in 2018 and is Rule 5 eligible this winter. He’s posted an impressive 39.1 percent strikeout rate in Double-A Somerset’s bullpen, though he struggles with control (10.1 percent walk rate) and is a reliever-only profile.

Yankees Spring Training News & Notes: March 29, 2021

Friends, the last day of Spring Training has come and gone. It’s time for the Yanks to travel back to New York for Opening Day, where they’ll take on the Toronto Blue Jays this Thursday. Just because today was the last day of spring, however, does not mean that it was uneventful. Far from it, in fact.

More on that in a second. First, the Yanks played a game today and they lost it to Detroit 5-2. They finished the Grapefruit League season 14-12, if you’re one of the 5 people in the universe who cares about that. Next time they play, the game will count. I can’t wait for that. On to the final news and notes of the Grapefruit League season after the jump.

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