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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)

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Report: Yankees, Pirates in Talks Over Jameson Taillon

Friends, the stove is hot once again. MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports that the Yankees are currently “emerging as the frontrunner” for Pirates starter Jameson Taillon:

Joel Sherman seconded the report, noting that the Yankees are “strongly pursuing” him. There has been smoke here earlier this offseason, remember, and I’m inclined to think that there is fire here. I almost expect a deal to happen in the next few hours, given how this sort of thing goes for the Yankees.

Still, while this is just a rumor, it is an exciting one: Taillon, if healthy, exactly what the Yankee rotation needs. Trading for him would make me pretty satisfied with the Yankee offseason overall. He is a very good pitcher who would be an instant upgrade to the rotation, posting a 3.67 ERA (3.55 FIP, 89 ERA-) in 466 career innings. Taillon has good velocity and spin on his pitches. Though he doesn’t generate a ton of strikeouts (21.5%) , he really limits walks (6%) and keeps the ball in the yard.

The big concern, of course, is his health, as the former first rounder has twice undergone Tommy John surgery and hasn’t pitched since 2019. Derek covered Taillon earlier this winter, so check that for a full refresher on his arsenal.

The big question will be the sort of package the Yankees surrender. Taillon is a pretty big question mark due to his history, so I don’t think the package will be overwhelming. If they get it done, maybe the Yankees send back some high-upside prospects like Estevan Florian or Albert Abreu? Who knows. It’s always a fools game to try and predict this stuff. We’ll see if it even happens.

In the meantime, we’ll keep this post updated with any new info.

UPDATE (1/24, 11:27 am): Not a ton has moved on this since last night, but there is definitely still smoke here. First is this report from the Post-Gazette’s Jason Mackey, which confirms that the Yanks are the front-runner and that a deal should happen today:

Mackey’s follow-up story notes that the Rays are also in on him, for what it’s worth. Ken Rosenthal also joined the fun, confirming the Yanks are in on Taillon. (It turns out Rosenthal, like the rest of us, reads Twitter.)

Finally, a few more notes on the sort of package that’s potentially at play here. Mackey notes that Cherington will want a “haul”, but it’s unclear what that means. Here is what has been reported so far:

  • The Pirates are seeking a “young catcher with upside.” (Chris Cotillo)
  • They also want “prospects with upside,” much as every team does in every single trade. (Jon Heyman)

Not super helpful! That said, the Yanks have two catchers in Anthony Siegler and Josh Breaux who might fit the bill for Pittsburgh. There is also the 40-man backlog, which the Yankees will need to clear to add Kluber and LeMahieu, plus Taillon if a trade were to happen. As BA’s Josh Norris notes, there are plenty on the 40-man with upside from the lower minors:

By my count, this includes 5 SP (Yoendrys Gomez, Roansy Contreras, Luis Gil, Alexander Vizcaino, Luis Medina), 1 SS (Oswald Peraza), and 1 OF (Estevan Florial). Florial, obviously, did make his MLB debut in 2020 but I’m not sure we should count that. I’m sure the bulk of this package would be made up of guys like this, plus possibly Miguel Yajure, Albert Abreu, or Brooks Kriske.

In general, I like this strategy. Removing a 40-man backlog to improve the current team in a contention window is a smart approach. So what do we think the package will ultimately look like?

Peraza probably stays put, as Pittsburgh has a few SS in their system already, so it’s probably some combination of the others. If Cotillo is right, I’d bet Breaux is included in any final Yankee package. Of the rest, I’m partial to keeping Gil, Medina, Gomez, and Abreu, but as they say: there is no such thing as a pitching prospect. (Also, I doubt Frazier or Andújar is moved here, but who knows.)

We’ll keep updating if anything else comes up.

News & Notes: Winter League Opener, Yadier Molina rumor, and a James Paxton update

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Awards season trudges on as the hot stove remains pretty quiet. Tonight, we’ll find out the AL and NL MVPs. As you know, DJ LeMahieu is a finalist in the AL. The Yankees haven’t had an MVP winner since A-Rod won in 2007. The winner will be announced on MLB Network at 6 p.m. eastern. While you wait for that, here’s the latest Yankees-related news:

Domingo Germán to start Dominican Winter League Opener

If we are to believe Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner, Domingo Germán’s future with the Yankees is still up in the air. Tonight could be his first step in a return to pinstripes though, as he starts the season opener for Toros Del Este in the Dominican Winter League. I don’t know what Hal needs to see from Germán in order to bring him back next year, but it very well could be lip service. Frankly, I fully expect the team to bring him back without (publicly) addressing any rehabilitation following his domestic violence suspension.

Also of note, Miguel Andújar and Gary Sánchez will Germán’s teammates, though Gary isn’t expected to report to the team until next month. We’ll see if Miggy is in the lineup tonight.

If you want to watch the game this evening, you can register here. It’s $15 for the full season, which is a bargain.

2020 Trade Deadline Thread

  • 4:00 p.m. EDT: Ding ding ding. Nothing for the Yankees today, unless we get a surprise late announcement like the Zack Greinke trade last year.
  • 3:40 p.m. EDT: Cashman has a few “narrowed-down” talks for relievers and position players. (Brendan Kuty)
  • 3:39 p.m. EDT: Boston makes a move. Kevin Pillar goes to the Rockies. (Mark Feinsand)
  • 3:34 p.m. EDT: Old friend alert. Milwaukee traded David Phelps to the Phillies. He reunites with another old friend, Joe Girardi. (Ken Rosenthal)
  • 3:19 p.m. EDT: The Yankees aren’t optimistic about getting a deal done, though they’ve been in touch on Gausman, Bundy, and Lynn. (Heyman)
  • 2:58 p.m. EDT: Another deal: Jonathan Villar from Miami to Toronto. (Ken Rosenthal)
  • 2:56 p.m. EDT: The Marlins are close to landing Marte. Take him off the Yankees’ wish list. (Craig Mish)
  • 2:22 p.m. EDT: The Diamondbacks appear likely to move OF Starling Marte for the best deal they can get by 4 p.m. The team does not intend to pick up his 2021 option, so a trade will have to do. (Joel Sherman)
  • 2:07 p.m. EDT: Texas “would love” to get Deivi García for Lynn. Duh. (T.R. Sullivan)
  • 1:52 p.m. EDT: The Blue Jays have acquired LHP Robbie Ray from Arizona. He’s been awful this year, but has been connected to the Yankees in the past. (Rob Longley)
  • 1:41 p.m. EDT: The Yankees have checked in on RHP Kevin Gausman. (Heyman)
  • 1:05 p.m. EDT: The Yankees have been in touch with the Rangers over the last 48 hours regarding Lynn. (Jon Morosi)
  • 12:40 p.m. EDT: The Rangers could be motivated to trade RHP Lance Lynn. The team may regret not dealing Minor last year, so they don’t want to make that mistake with Lynn while his value is high. (Joel Sherman)
  • 12:31 p.m. EDT: Another trade: LHP Mike Minor from the Rangers to the A’s for two players to be named later. Mark another pitcher off the board who could have fit the Yankees. (Jeff Passan)
  • 12:25 p.m. EDT: Radio silence in terms of Yankees-related rumors at this point. As per Martino’s report linked below, it sure seems possible that the Yankees don’t make any moves.
  • 11:15 a.m. EDT: Clevinger is off to San Diego. Cross one target off the Yankees’ list. (Robert Murray)
  • 10:25 a.m. EDT: The prices are too high for the Yankees at the moment. They’re not anywhere close on RHP Mike Clevinger or RHP Lance Lynn. It’s also not clear if San Francisco will move RHP Kevin Gausman. (Andy Martino)

T-minus six hours until the 4 p.m. EDT trade deadline. A number of trades went down yesterday — none of them involving the Yankees — and a few more are sure to occur today. We’ll update this post for any deals made and rumors involving the Yankees throughout the day. Here are the latest Yankees-related rumors:

  • The Yankees have talked to the Brewers about LHP Josh Hader, but there’s “no traction” there. They’ve also checked in on RHP Mike Clevinger. (Jon Heyman)
  • CF Starling Marte is on the Yankees’ radar. (Joel Sherman)
  • A deal for Marte could be expanded to include LHP Robbie Ray and/or RHP Archie Bradley. (Heyman)
  • The Yanks are reluctant to add any more salary via trade, which could make a Marte (or any other trade) complicated. (Ken Rosenthal)

To get you up to speed on official transactions, here are the moves from yesterday:

  • Boston traded 1B Mitch Moreland to San Diego for prospects 3B Hudson Potts and CF Jeisson Rosario.
  • Tampa Bay dealt DH José Martínez to the Cubs in exchange for a player to be named later or cash.
  • Baltimore sent RHP Mychal Givens to Colorado in return for minor leaguers 1B/3B Tyler Nevin, SS Terrin Vavra, and a player to be named later.
  • The Angels moved C Jason Castro to San Diego for RHP Gerardo Reyes.
  • Seattle swapped UTIL Austin Nola, RHP Austin Adams, and RHP Dan Altavilla to San Diego for IF Ty France, C Luis Torrens, RHP Andres Munoz, and top OF prospect Taylor Trammell.
  • Baltimore dealt LHP Tommy Milone to Atlanta for a player to be named later.

Free agent profile: Martín Maldonado

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Well, I can’t say I expected to write this free agent profile this winter. The consensus was that the Yankees would either re-sign Austin Romine or plug in Kyle Higashioka to the backup catcher position. I did imagine a scenario in which the Yankees carry three catchers next year, though that’s unlikely. Now with Gerrit Cole in tow and Romine out, there’s another option who’s come into play: Martín Maldonado.

Feinsand’s tweet more or less tells you everything you need to know about why the Yankees are interested. Let’s dig in a little deeper.

He’s well regarded defensively…

The 33 year-old backstop from Puerto Rico does just about everything well defensively. He’s a good receiver, has a strong arm, and has a good rapport with his battery mates (namely, Cole).

Framing is basically the name of the game for catchers nowadays. The Yankees have emphasized it for a while, and the team’s new catching coach Tanner Swanson only reinforces its importance to the organization. Here’s how Maldonado stacks up:

YearFangraphs (FRM)Baseball Prospectus (Framing Runs)Statcast (Runs Extra Strikes)
20157.27.73
20166.52.54
201721.627.220
20189.95.94
20191.0-2.0-1

All of these metrics are scaled to zero being average, so it’s pretty clear that Maldonado is better than your typical backstop even with a couple of sites having him slightly negative this year.

The pretty clear outlier here is 2017. Couldn’t tell you exactly what went right that season, but even so, that’s probably a once in a lifetime defensive year for him. Statcast doesn’t have framing numbers before 2015, but both Fangraphs and Baseball Prospectus had him right around 10 runs in 2013. So, I think we can assume he’s a very good framer but not in the realm of whatever happened in 2017.

Now, have his framing skills declined? That’s what his ’19 numbers indicate. That said, as the entire league has caught on to the value of a good receiver, the variance in framing ability between teams has shrunk. Perhaps that’s partly why Malonado doesn’t appear quite as good as his counterparts.

Aside from framing, Maldonado is also good at keeping pitches in front of him. He doesn’t allow many passed balls and Baseball Prospectus’s Blocking Runs has had him above average for his career.

Additionally, Maldonado is good at honing in the running game. Per Statcast, his pop time was in the 77th percentile of all catchers in 2019 and his 87.1 MPH average throwing velocity ranked sixth in baseball (Gary Sánchez was fourth).

…but brings little to the lineup

If you didn’t like what Romine brought to the table in the batter’s box, you’d actually be in for worse with Maldonado. Even though Maldo holds a better career triple-slash and wRC+ than Romine, the past two seasons tell a different story. Romine owns a 94 wRC+ since 2018, whereas Maldonado stands at 75.

It doesn’t look like there’s much offensive upside for Maldonado. All of his underlying Statcast numbers — exit velocity, hard hit percentage, expected wOBA, et. al. — are well below average.

Contract estimates

Fangraphs pegs Maldonado for two years and $9 million. Jim Bowden nor MLB Trade Rumors have predictions for Maldonado.

After seeing what Romine (and other backstops) have signed for, Fangraphs’ projection seems a little high. Even though Maldonado is excellent defensively, he’s two years older than Romine and a worse hitter. A bunch of other backup-caliber catchers have signed one year deals in the $3 to $4 million range (Romine, Tyler Flowers, Alex Avila, Stephen Vogt). Maldonado will probably receive something similar.

Does he make sense for the Yankees?

I’d rather give Higashioka a shot than Maldonado, but that doesn’t mean Maldonado doesn’t make sense. More catcher depth is good, especially with major league experience and stellar defensive chops, which is what Maldonado brings to the table. It also brings over a familiar face for Cole, though I have little doubt about his ability to dominate with or without Maldonado.

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