Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Winter Meetings are over and the Yankees contingent is back in the Bronx to introduce recently acquired Jacoby Ellsbury at a 11am press conference at Yankee Stadium Friday morning. It was a pretty quite week for the Yanks, who didn't make any actual moves, but did stir up the rumor pot a bit.

-- Wednesday night, Jon Heyman of reported that the Yankees had rejected a deal with the Cincinnati Reds that would have sent second baseman Brandon Phillips the New York in exchange for outfielder Brett Gardner, straight up. The Yankees rejected the deal for a couple of reasons.

1.) Phillips is owed $50 million over the next four-years, which the Yanks feel is too much for a guy who they feel is in decline, with his numbers at the plate having gone down in each of the past three season.

2.) When Phillips began to think that Robinson Cano might be leaving the Yankees, he added the Bombers to his no-trade list. Trying to be clever -- and although he was never actually approached by the Reds about a trade -- it seems like he would have tried to use his no-trade clause to renegotiate his contract before he would waive his no-trade.

3.) It the Yankees are going to make a trade involving Gardner, it would have to give them at least a No. 4 starter for the rotation. Denying a second baseman like Phillips shows that the Yanks are serious about keeping Gardner if moving him doesn't get him a starter. As much as the Yanks want to keep him, they won't hesitate to deal him if it makes the team better.

-- Second base is still very much a priority for the Yankees has they head back home. The team has been heavily involved with free-agent Omar Infante throughout the offseason. Buster Olney, of ESPN, said Thursday that the Yankees offered Infante a 3-year, $24 million offer right after Cano signed with the Seattle Mariners.

The problem is, Infante is looking for a four-year deal worth about $40 million. The Yankees would really like to stand firm at three-years, but just like we saw with them and Carlos Beltran eventually getting the third year he was looking for, it doesn't mean that the Yanks won't budge on their offer and give Infante a fourth year.

Several other teams have recently jumped into the bidding for Infante, including the Kansa City Royals, who appear to be the favorites to sign him at this point.

-- The Yankees made it seem like they would really like to add a fourth starter before pitchers and catchers report to camp in February -- and they should want to. For the moment, the Yanks' rotation is lead by CC Sabathia, who is coming off the worst year of his career; Ivan Nova, who was great in 2013, but you can only hope his continues the success next season; and Hiroki Kuroda, who fizzled down the stretch.

Michael Pineda, according to general manager Brian Cashman, is completely healthy and will compete for the fifth spot in the rotation during Spring Training, along with David Phelps, Adam Warren and Vidal Nuno.

Adding a fourth starter isn't impossible at this point, but it looks like it won't be an easy task. Obviously they could trade Gardner, but the trade market isn't very strong at the moment. The Yankees have been showing interest in guys like Justin Masterson and Jeff Samardzija, however, the Yankees don't have enough high-level prospects to just trade away.

As for free-agents, the Yankees aren't very intrigued with the top-tier starters -- Matt Garza, Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana. They're prices are too high for what they are offering. It would seem more likely that a backend of the rotation starter could be a guy like Paul Maholm, who would fit well with the Bombers.


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