Yankees “have expressed interest in” Jorge De La Rosa as fallback option to Cliff Lee

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Cliff Lee is obviously atop the Yankees’ offseason shopping list regardless of whether or not general manager Brian Cashman is “desperate” to sign him, but Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reports that they’ve also “expressed interest in” Jorge De La Rosa.

De La Rosa is a left-handed starting pitcher, so it seems pretty obvious that any interest the Yankees have in him is as a fallback plan should Lee sign elsewhere, which is fortunate for De La Rosa in that it could help drive up his asking price.

New York is one of several teams linked to De La Rosa already this offseason and the left-hander is widely viewed as the second-best starter on the market behind Lee, but that has more to do with a weak crop of free agent starters than it does De La Rosa.

De La Rosa turned his career around after being traded to the Rockies in 2008 and has great strikeout numbers, but he’s also a 30-year-old pitcher with a 5.02 career ERA, has never posted an ERA below 4.20, and has never thrown 190 innings. His three-year run in Colorado was very solid, as he went 34-24 with a 4.49 ERA and 434 strikeouts in 437 innings, but he also walked 4.1 batters per nine innings, missed significant time with injuries, and posted a mediocre 4.19 ERA away from Coors Field.

De La Rosa is a good starting pitcher, but he’s also one of the best bets to be overpaid this offseason.

Blue Jays, Josh Donaldson to table extension talks

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Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.

Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.

The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.

If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.