The Winter Meetings have come and gone but the news is here to stay. It’s obviously a bit quieter now than it was this week, but there are still plenty of Yankee-related rumors abound. Let’s get right to it on this gross, rainy Saturday in New York.
Cole Will Wear #45
I’m going to lead off with Gerrit Cole because it is still really freaking awesome that Gerrit Cole is on the Yankees. After the Yankees and Cole finalized the deal on Wednesday, Luke Voit tweeted that he’d give up his #45 for the new ace:
Today, thanks to Nancy Newman of the YES Network made it seem as if that’s been finalized. Check it out:
Yep, that’s about as clear as it gets. Cole will wear #45 next season. Hilariously, that also probably means that the Yankees will officially unveil their new Nike jerseys at the Gerrit Cole press conference, which will take place sometime next week. I wonder if that will stop the complaining online. Okay, who am I kidding? Definitely not. What else is social media for?
So Long, Didi Gregorius
You guys, I am very sad about Didi Gregorius. Very, very sad. I’ll have more to say about this in a dedicated post to Sir Didi later in the week, but it sucks that he’s gone. A true joy to root for. Anyway, the Phillies officially introduced him as one of their own yesterday, so now it’s real:
It sucks! I do not like it! Anyway, Gregorius said goodbye to fans yesterday with a message on Instagram:
And, this being Didi, also with a video that he almost certainly made himself:
Check it out. Happy trails, Sir Didi. You will be missed.
Josh Hader Update
According to Jon Heyman, the Yankees are still engaged with the Brewers about Josh Hader, which is something we’ve already touched upon here. I speculated that it was originally Plan B to Cole’s Plan A, but perhaps not:
Hader has been one of the very best in the business for the last two years, and we all know how the Yankees feel about dominant back-end relievers, so, in that sense, this all aligns. I’d still be surprised–even if it won’t take Torres, Severino, and Luis Gil to get it done, as someone posted yesterday in what was the most Your Trade Proposal Sucks trade proposal of all time–if this happens, though.
One, I’m not sure why the Brewers would unload him and two, I’m not sure why the Yankees would surrender the pieces to do this now. They’d probably have to subtract from the team they already have–remember the Sean Doolittle trade for Washington?–and that seems silly. But I don’t know anything and this trade will probably happen now by the time I finish this post because that’s how this stuff goes.
Dellin Betances Update
I haven’t been as upset about a free agent leaving New York as I am about Didi Gregorius since at least Robinson Canó way back when. That might change as soon as today if the Yankees let Dellin Betances walk, though. Betances is one of my all-time favorite Yanks–as was Didi, to be fair–and he’s been so, so good in pinstripes. It will seriously hurt, possibly even more than Didi does, to see him go.
Anyway, the Dodgers are still engaged with Betances, according to MLBTR, and we really haven’t heard all that much about his engagement with the Yankees. I do not like it. If I were the Yankees, I would simply sign the best reliever in baseball from 2014-18 to a contract, but what do I know?
Yoenis Céspedes and Jacoby Ellsbury
We found out yesterday that Yoenis Céspedes and the Mets restructured his deal in a move that will save the Mets a significant amount of money. Joel Sherman was first to report it and also has all the details:
Now, I saw a lot of griping about the MLB Player’s Association yesterday, which makes sense because they’ve had a rough go of things recently. But this is not that. As Friend of the Blog™ Jarrett Seidler said on Twitter yesterday:
It sucks for him but it is true. Jarrett hit the nail on the head here. Anyway, this is all relevant to the Yankees because they’re essentially doing the same thing to Ellsbury that the Mets did to Céspedes, just under different individual circumstances. The Mets didn’t pay Yoenis this year just as the Yankees won’t pay Ellsbury.
We still don’t know a lot about the Ellsbury situation–surprise!–so it’s really hard to have a concrete opinion here yet. If the Yankees’ case is equally credible, and it might be, this might be the inevitable outcome of that situation, too. That would have CBT impact–depending on when it is resolved, it would be for 2020 or 2021–and would finally mark the end of the Ellsbury saga. We will keep you posted on that front as things develop, but this is a useful precedent. (So too was the Aaron Boone situation from 2004, but that was a lot more cut-and-dry, mostly because Boone made it that way by being so honest.)
Finally, Major League baseball is At It Again. The latest in the fight with the Minor Leagues is that Rob Manfred and MLB are threatening to walk away from MiLB entirely. Craig Calcaterra had the scoop here, and here is the important bit:
“If the National Association [of Minor League Clubs] has an interest in an agreement with Major League Baseball, it must address the very significant issues with the current system at the bargaining table. Otherwise, MLB clubs will be free to affiliate with any minor league team or potential team in the United States, including independent league teams and cities which are not permitted to compete for an affiliate under the current agreement.”MLB Statement
This was a fairly predictable move honestly–the way the MiLB is currently structured does not match up with the development structure of MLB at the moment–but it is still newsworthy. The negotiations are now pretty harsh, as one can imagine. MiLB itself released a pretty vicious, point-by-point refutation of many of MLB’s talking points last night:
The memo is included down that thread, so check it out. As for me, I am very much in Camp Minor Leagues. The current MiLB structure is extremely popular, drawing more than 40 million fans a year, and is often the only way that many, many folks across the country can see live professional baseball. It is good for the growth of the game and it develops connections between fans and the MLB stars of tomorrow. That’s the point of all of this, you know. But anyway, more on this as it develops. It will probably get even uglier before it resolves itself, and, as usual, I don’t think MLB is doing itself very many favors here. We’ll see.