We’ve almost made it to the halfway point in the offseason. This is typically the time where things start to feel boring, but that hasn’t been the case because there are so many major free agents still on the board. Usually, the Yankees make all their big moves by the end of December. In fact, the Yankees haven’t made a substantial offseason move in January (or later) since they signed Masahiro Tanaka on January 22nd in 2014.
This offseason has moved at a slower pace, though. Plenty of rumors circulated at the Winter Meetings, but not many deals took place. The top two free agents—Manny Machado and Bryce Harper—have yet to sign, and David Robertson, Craig Kimbrel, Zach Britton, and Adam Ottavino are all still available. Now seems like a good time to take a look at what the rest of the AL East teams have done to date, and see where the Yankees stack up.
The Orioles opened up shop at the trade deadline and dismantled their painfully bad team. Since the season ended, they’ve hired a new GM, Mike Elias. Other than that, they’ve done very little besides hand out some minor league contracts (Josh Lucas, Sean Miller) and make a few waiver claims (Rio Ruiz, Richie Martin).
One of the first things the Red Sox did to kick off their offseason was sign Yankee-killer Steve Pearce to a new contract. It’s really a shame that he didn’t end up elsewhere. Boston also traded second baseman Esteban Quiroz to the Padres in exchange for right-hander Colton Brewer, and signed Nathan Eovaldi to a four-year deal. Their former reliever, Joe Kelly, signed with the Dodgers, and it remains to be seen if they will bring back Craig Kimbrel or target one of the other top bullpen arms on the market.
New York Yankees
Compared to the rest of the AL East, the Yankees have been very busy. They wasted no time signing CC Sabathia and Brett Gardner to a one-year deals. Shortly thereafter, Brian Cashman acquired James Paxton and sent Justus Sheffield, Erik Swanson, and Dom Thompson-Williams to Seattle. The Yankees shipped Jordan Foley off to the Rockies in exchange for Jefry Valdez. Other small moves include the Tim Locastro-Drew Finley swap with the Dodgers, and the Bombers parting ways with Ronald Torreyes. They also acquired Tyler Hill from the Tigers. Most recently, they agreed to bring J.A. Happ on a two-year deal.
In a surprising move, the Yankees agreed to a deal with Troy Tulowitzki late last night. Whether this means they’re out on Manny Machado remains to be seen, but now they have a potential Didi Gregorius replacement. They are expected to sign at least one of the big-three relievers left, too.
The Rays have made a ton of trades since November. First, they acquired Mike Zunino, Guillermo Heredia, and Michael Plassmeyer from Seattle in exchange for Mallex Smith and Jake Fraley. They also flipped Chih-Wei Hu to Cleveland for Gionti Turner. Oddly, Tampa Bay was part of two different three-team trades in December. The first one involved the shuffling of Edwin Encarnacion and Carlos Santana between the Mariners and Indians. The Rays ended up sending Jake Bauers to Cleveland, cash to Seattle, and received third baseman Yandy Diaz and right-handed pitcher Cole Sulser in the deal. A week later, they worked out a deal with the Rangers and Athletics that netted pitchers Emilio Pagan and Rollie Lacy, along with cash considerations. They also signed Charlie Morton to a two-year contract.
The biggest move the Blue Jays have made to date was releasing Troy Tulowitzki. They also traded Aledmys Diaz to Houston for RHP Trent Thornton. A few days ago, Toronto signed Matt Shoemaker to a one-year deal. They’ve also acquired cash and Clayton Richard from the Padres in exchange for outfielder Connor Panas.