New York Daily News | Kristie Ackert: The big question of spring training for the Yankees is whether they can keep Aaron Judge in the fold for the foreseeable future, or if he is entering his final season in pinstripes. The two sides failed to reach an agreement on a contract for Judge’s final year of arbitration eligibility, with Judge filing at $21 million and the Yankees at $17 million.
Both sides will hope to resolve the situation and agree on an extension to avoid the animosity that tends to come with arbitration hearings, with Judge in particular reiterating his desire to play his whole career in the Bronx. Jon Heyman is reporting that the Yankees plan to tender their first extension offer this weekend. However, if an extension is not reached by Opening Day, Judge maintains that talks will be shelved until after the season.
Sports Illustrated | Pat Ragazzo: The Yankees have been linked in trade rumors with the Athletics all winter, as Oakland continues their attempts to shed payroll. Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, and Chris Bassitt have already found new homes, leaving starting pitchers Frankie Montas and Sean Manaea as the most likely candidates to be traded. New York was linked to Olson, but balked at the idea of parting with their highest rated prospects.
However, Ken Rosenthal has suggested that the Yankees could acquire Montas or Manaea without having to include the likes of Anthony Volpe or Oswald Peraza. Montas is the obvious top prize, last year going 13-9 with a 3.37 ERA, 3.37 FIP, 207 strikeouts and 4.1 fWAR in 187 innings, and remains under team control for two season. If his asking price proves too rich for the Yankees’ blood, they could pivot to Manaea, who went 11-10 with a 3.91 ERA, 3.66 FIP, 194 strikeouts and 3.3 fWAR in 179.1 innings, but with only one year of team control remaining.
New York Post | Joel Sherman: With the offseason additions of Josh Donaldson, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Ben Rortvedt, and Anthony Rizzo, the Yankees now find themselves with ten starters to fill nine spots. In particular, in a crowded infield of Donaldson, Kiner-Falefa, Rizzo, DJ LeMahieu, and Gleyber Torres, someone will have to sit on the bench. For a roster that has suffered injuries at nearly every position in recent seasons, having too many starting-caliber players could be a blessing in disguise.
NJ Advance Media | Brendan Kuty: When the details of Carlos Correa’s three-year, $101.5 million contract with the Twins emerged, many were understandably confused as to why the Yankees didn’t show more interest, especially for a deal of such short length. Jon Heyman has revealed three points of speculation to the Yankees non-pursuit of the star shortstop. He cited the cheating scandal (which seems less relevant given the addition of teammate Marwin González to camp), Correa’s comments about Derek Jeter, and his relationship with Alex Rodriguez as factors which soured the Yankees on Correa.
Bergen Record | Pete Caldera: Since signing his seven-year, $70 million extension, Aaron Hicks has missed significant portions of the past few seasons to injury. He has appeared in only 145 games since signing the extension, slashing .223/.338/.410 with a 104 wRC+ and 2.2 fWAR. That fact is not lost on the 32 year old centerfielder, who states his goal is to “Finish the rest of [his] contract out and get ready for a new one.” Recovering from his latest ailment — surgery to repair a torn tendon sheath in his left wrist — Hicks was worried about the effect it might have on his swing, however a 12-game assignment in the Dominican Winter League assuaged those fears.