As expected, Brian Cashman’s “I didn’t want Rafael Soriano” press conference has led to chatter about the State of the Yankees front office. Danny Knobler has some anonymice talking to him:
Some people within the organization were telling friends that the divide between Cashman and the team’s Tampa operation is growing again, and even that ownership wasn’t happy with some of Cashman’s recent moves. Last winter, Cashman traded for Javier Vazquez and signed Nick Johnson and Randy Winn as free agents, and none of those moves worked out well. There was even talk that Cashman had mishandled the Lee negotiations by showing too much patience, rather than pushing to get a deal done quickly.
Of course second guessing is an easy game and there are two sides to every story. If the front office was willing to step in to sign Soriano now, why wouldn’t they have stepped in to block the Javier Vazquez trade or the Nick Johnson signing last year if they hated those deals so much? And while it’s theoretically possible that an early, overwhelming offer to Cliff Lee may have changed things, almost everything that was being reported about Lee back in November and December was that he wanted to take things slowly.
I still maintain that the Soriano signing is not, in and of itself, a worrisome thing as it relates to Cashman’s actual power. Owners overrule GMs all the time. But Cashman’s surprising candor on the topic has certainly emboldened people in the organization to start airing the dirty laundry. And that — more than any one signing — is the kind of thing that can kill someone in New York.
Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reports that third baseman Jose Ramirez is finalizing a four-year extension with the Indians. The deal is said to be worth north of $30 million, and may crest $50 million if all options are exercised. While the extension won’t take effect until the 2018 season, it guarantees Ramirez a $26 million sum with two options worth $11 and $13 million and will give the Indians control of the infielder through the 2023 season.
Ramirez, 24, is entering his fifth season in the Indians’ organization. He posted career-high numbers during his first full season in the majors, slashing .312/.363/.461 with 11 home runs, 22 stolen bases and 4.8 fWAR in 2016. He’s projected to have a strong follow-up season at the plate and will likely see some time at second base as Jason Kipnis works his way back from a shoulder injury.
Although 2016 only showcased the beginning of Ramirez’s success with the club, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman says it’s a standard move for Cleveland to “sign their stars early,” and indicates that Ramirez was rumored to want the deal. Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors adds that the extension will keep Ramirez under club control through three arbitration-eligible years and one year of potential free agency.
Diamondbacks’ right-hander Tyler Jones is headed back to the Yankees, the teams announced on Friday. The Diamondbacks had previously selected Jones in the Rule 5 draft last December, but elected to leave the 27-year-old off of their 40-man roster heading into the 2017 season. Rule 5 draft rules stipulate that when a player is not kept on the receiving team’s roster, the player must be offered back to his original team.
Jones signed a minor league contract with the Yankees prior to the 2016 season. He pitched to an impressive 2.17 ERA, 2.2 BB/9 and 13.2 SO/9 over 45 2/3 innings with Double-A Trenton, but was unable to make the leap to Triple-A or beyond during his stay with the organization.
Jones’ outlook with the Diamondbacks appeared slightly more promising. GM Mike Hazen described the righty as a power arm with a “good fastball and power curveball” after selecting him in the Rule 5 draft, and early reports indicated that Jones would be in the mix for a bullpen spot. A rough spring performance — underscored by his lack of experience at the Triple-A and major league levels — undid most of that confidence, however, and the Diamondbacks weren’t willing to keep him on the active roster throughout the entire 2017 season in order to acquire his control rights.
Jones is set to open the season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, per a report from the Yankees.