Good afternoon everyone, it’s time for another edition of the mailbag. Remember to send in your questions for our weekly call by e-mail to pinstripealleyblog [at] gmail [dot] com.
Paul M. asks: Now that Judge is back, what are the chances that Cashman signs Benintendi for left field and Rodón for the starting rotation? That would seem like a solid, competitive team.
Let’s take a look at these two cases individually first. Carlos Rodón is the last big name left on the pitching market, which has seen Jacob DeGrom and Justin Verlander sign massive short-term deals. There have also been several mid-tier pitchers starting to sign around the league as rosters start to become clearer, leaving only a few teams still in the bidding for Rodón’s arm. The Yankees are one of those teams, and by the looks of it they seem to be very invested in landing him. There are a number of teams in the running still that could put together a competitive offer, but it may just come down to preference — something that many of the top free agents have shown in turning down higher-paying offers. Reports indicate that there’s mutual interest, and at this point it would be a bit of a disappointment if the Yankees didn’t land him.
Andrew Benintendi could also feasibly be in play, but his case is a bit more unclear. There are a number of names in the outfielder market that were available, but we’re starting to see some of them find teams and earn some sizable contracts. It’s possible that the Yankees might get priced out if teams start bidding high on Benintendi and they commit to Rodón. Should they fail to sign the Giants ace then I would fully expect there to be budget room to re-sign Benintendi, but if they want to make multiple moves this is a spot where they may move on relatively soon.
The idiot that said, “Harper is coming” asks: With all the big money being thrown around in MLB, what are the chances Gerrit Cole opts out of the remainder of his deal after next season? He’ll be owed $144M over four years going into his age 34 season. He doesn’t have the injury issues deGrom had and will be roughly the same age at opt out time.
We had a conversation about this possibility earlier in the year and I was fairly confident that Cole wouldn’t, but this year’s market has certainly thrown some uncertainty into that position. There has been a lot of money thrown at big free agents on the wrong side of 30, which hasn’t been the case in a number of years, and it happened fluidly with plenty of competition as opposed to recent offseasons where the stars are waiting around until it’s nearly spring training before they find their homes.
That being said, Cole has still had a bit of a decline since signing his deal, and he would need to sort out these home run problems that have been plaguing him before it would become a likely outcome. Could he add a bit of extra money or even an additional year to his current contract post-opt out if he went this route? Perhaps, especially given the language in the deal that would allow the Yankees to simply give him that year and prevent him from becoming a free agent. With that in mind I think he could leverage the opt out like CC Sabathia did with his original Yankees deal while still remaining in pinstripes, but we’ll have to see if this offseason becomes more of the norm and if Cole maintains his place near the top of the game.
OLDY MOLDY asks: What does it take to acquire Reynolds from the Pirates?
Too much to consider it a viable option at the moment. The Pirates are a strangely run organization, but they’d be fools not to ask for the moon with so much control left on Reynold’s contract status and the Yankees have their eyes on promoting their biggest prospects rather than dealing them. The Yankees could dangle one of Peraza or Volpe, and they would be more likely to deal the former, but a package built around just one of them isn’t going to be enough to entice Pittsburgh this year. It’s a rough scene for Reynolds, who has astutely noticed that not much is going to change with that franchise anytime soon, but the team holds all of the cards at the moment in these negotiations.