A lot of people around baseball expect that the Yankees will end up winning the bidding war for prized Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, whose posting process began on Thursday,but a handful of MLB GMs also expect the Yankees to pull of a deal with free-agent pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, even if they sign Tanaka.
"He had an excellent second half, has great stuff, and he has the type of personality that would fit New York," one GM told Cafardo. "He doesn’t let things get to him. He’s good at shrugging off things and turning the page."
The Yankees have not shown any interest in Jimenez, or any of the other top 3 starting pitchers left on the market -- Ervin Santana and Matt Garza -- so it would be pretty surprising if the Yankees land Jimenez, who MLBTradeRumors.com predicted would get a three-year, $39 million deal.
Jimenez wouldn't be a terrible fit for the Yankees. His homerun rate isn't great for Yankee Stadium, but he does have the potential, when his mechanics are right, to be a very good starting pitcher like he was in Colorado a couple years ago, and just like in the second half of last season.
Tanaka has been priority No.1 pretty much all offseason -- or at least since Robinson Cano signed with the Seattle Mariners -- and the Yankees are going to do everything they can to sign him. Now, if they sign Tanaka and Jimenez, then the Yankees' rotation, currently headed by CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova and Hiroki Kuroda, can be very dangerous next season. You can also throw $189M out the window if that's the case.
Other news and notes:
* Cafardo noted in his column Sunday that with Brian McCann on board and Francisco Cervelli likely to be the Yankees' back up, Austin Romine is very much available to any teams interested in him.
Romine finds himself in the same spot as the Red Sox’ Ryan Lavarnway, with really no business going back to Triple A. With Lavarnway, there’s at least light at the end of the tunnel with Pierzynski and David Ross in the last year of their contracts. Lavarnway is also being pushed by Christian Vazquez and Romine by Gary Sanchez.* Last thing from Cafardo: He said that Johan Santana is close to signing a minor-league deal with an unknown club. The Yankees showed a little bit of interest a couple weeks ago. In my opinion, it wouldn't be a terrible idea for the Yanks to sign him to a minor-league deal with a spring training invite. He could compete for the fifth spot in the rotation, assuming the Yanks pick up one more starter. If Santana can't handle it in the spring, then you can cut him without any further trouble.
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