While the New York Daily News photo-shops CC Sabathia into a Red Sox uniform the New York Post (and George King) reports that the Yankees will meet in Florida to formulate a plan to keep Sabathia.
A few months ago there were several reports about how Sabathia had no plans to exercise his opt-out clause, but at this point just about everyone seems to agree that he’ll do so and test free agency.
And rightfully so, because from Sabathia’s point of view there’s really no downside to hitting the open market even if his ultimate goal is to remain with the Yankees. He can do that, but also get a bigger commitment from New York than the four years and $92 million remaining on his current deal.
According to King “the Yankees will develop a plan they hope will keep Sabathia from opting out of a contract following the World Series.”
That makes sense given that he has until three days after the World Series to exercise the opt-out clause and in the meantime the Yankees have exclusive negotiating rights, but it’s hardly guaranteed that Sabathia (or his agent) is willing to agree to a deal before fielding offers as a free agent.
King speculates that the Yankees would be “agreeable” to a five- or six-year deal worth more than the $23 million per season he’s getting now. Last offseason Cliff Lee inked a five-year, $120 million deal with the Phillies, so that would seemingly be the starting point for a new Sabathia contract.
Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.
Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.
The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.
Comments from an anonymous team official suggest that Rangers right-hander Tyson Ross will not be expected to join the rotation until May or June, per a report from Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Both Ross and GM Jon Daniels favor a conservative approach for the 29-year-old as he works his way back up to full health after undergoing surgery last October to relieve thoracic outlet syndrome.
The delay is reportedly being implemented so that Ross will be have the strength and stamina to contribute during the stretch run. Per Daniels:
We would rather err on a little extra time up front with the goal being to finish strong, pitching in big spots, meaningful games down the stretch and hopefully past 162.
Ross signed a one-year deal with the team on Thursday after pitching through an injury-riddled season with the Padres in 2016. If all goes according to plan, he’ll slot into a rotation that includes Yu Darvish, Cole Hamels, Andrew Cashner and Martin Perez. The Rangers are expected to narrow down their fifth starter alternatives in spring training.