Russell Martin returned Sunday after missing four days with back stiffness, but he wasn’t able to give it another go tonight, as the Yankees scratched him and started Francisco Cervelli behind the plate in the series finale against the Indians.
It makes one wonder if Martin might go on the disabled list within the next 24 hours. Even if he might be capable of playing through his back problems, it doesn’t look like he’ll be an asset in the process. He’s currently in a 2-for-32 slump that’s seen him drive in just one run since May 25.
The Yankees, though, have been very patient so far. One reason for that, perhaps, is that Jesus Montero is in no position to come up and battle for time behind the plate. The team’s top prospect is hitting .289 for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, but that comes with just four homers and a 50/12 K/BB ratio in 201 at-bats. He’s going the wrong way, too, having hit .365 in April, .269 in May and just .130 in 23 at-bats so far this month.
So if the Yankees do decide to place Martin on the DL, odds are that Gustavo Molina would be called up to back up Cervelli.
Free agent left-hander Rich Hill is rumored to be entertaining a three-year, $40+ million offer from the Dodgers, reports Peter Gammons. The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo corroborated the report, adding that Hill could receive somewhere between $46 and $48 million from his former team.
Hill, 36, pitched to a 2.12 ERA and 3.91 FIP in back-to-back stints with the Athletics and Dodgers in 2016. While a chronic case of blisters on his pitching hand limited the frequency of his starts, he still figures to be one of the most productive and noteworthy starting pitchers on the market this winter.
The Orioles, Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers and Astros have all been mentioned as potential suitors for the left-hander’s services, though Orioles’ GM Dan Duquette said the club has yet to make a play for Hill and ESPN’s Jim Bowden pointed out that the Red Sox are less involved in trade talks than other interested parties.
In light of the Astros’ deal for veteran designated hitter Carlos Beltran on Saturday, the Yankees are thought to be intensifying their pursuit of free agent Edwin Encarnacion, reports Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. The Yankees never made an official offer to Beltran, but remain in need of a DH/first baseman to give them a little more power outside of a Tyler Austin–Greg Bird combo in 2017.
The Red Sox, on the other hand, are reportedly withdrawing their interest when it comes to the Encarnacion sweepstakes. According to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, they will look for a hitter to beef up their lineup without taking a “big plunge” on the 34-year-old.
Encarnacion enjoyed another All-Star run with the Blue Jays in 2016, hitting at a .263/.357/.529 clip with 42 homers and a league-leading 127 RBI in 702 PA. He’s expected to command a significant contract in free agency, and agent Paul Kinzer said that a potential deal is unlikely to be finalized before the Winter Meetings as Encarnacion is not close to agreeing to any offer. Interested teams include the Blue Jays and the Astros, though Beltran’s signing appears to have effectively taken Houston out of the running for the slugger.