As the offseason winds down, the hot stove rumors will begin to dissipate. Workout highlights and updates will replace free agent and trade buzz. Before that transition takes place, though, it’s fun to look back on the winter’s rumors. In December I compiled the best rumors of 2018, capturing a good deal of the offseason’s excitement. Today I’ll take the opposite side of the coin and collect the most head-scratching, frustrating, and overall meh ones.
To come up with this list, I searched the Rumors and Hot Stove tab here on Pinstripe Alley. Feel free to make up your own collection and share them in the comments.
One of the most frustrating rumors of the offseason also happened to be one of the earliest. Just weeks removed from the World Series came word that the Yankees had no interest in pursuing top free agent Bryce Harper. At the time that seemed like posturing. Why would the Bombers sacrifice leverage and show their cards to the world? As it turns out, however, that report was accurate. The Yankees have yet to make any push for the outfielder. How lame is that?
The very definition of ‘meh’.
Before J.T. Realmuto landed with the Phillies, the Marlins engaged virtually every team in baseball on the catcher. The Yankees somehow got caught up in the discussions, with a rumored swap of Gary Sanchez for Realmuto. Now the varying permutations of the trade talks — including the floated three-way deal with the Mets for Noah Syndergaard — were fun. This one, however, seemed pretty bad. Realmuto appears to have been greatly overrated this winter. Give me Sanchez all day, every day.
Arguably the most frustrating blow of the offseason came when Patrick Corbin signed a six-year, $140 million deal with the Nationals. Word surfaced a few days later that the Yankees didn’t even present an offer to the southpaw. As it turns out, Brian Cashman only discusses financial parameters in hypothetical terms. Andy Martino explains that Cashman is notoriously difficult to pry an offer from. The frustrating part here comes from the fact the team wouldn’t match the offer for the best starter on the market, settling for a decidedly second-tier option in J.A. Happ.
On paper, this is a perfectly fine rumor. The Yankees stay in touch with Manny Machado while also keeping their eye towards Nolan Arenado? Sounds completely reasonable to me. The problem, however, is this was obviously a leak from ownership to soften the blow of potentially losing out on Machado. The Yankees tried to pull one over on fans by saying they aren’t spending big this year because the prize comes next winter. How long before we hear the real goal was Mike Trout all along? Get out of here, Yankees.