Van Riper: Yankees should trade Robinson Cano and Mariano Rivera

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This is an, uh, interesting column by Tom Van Riper for Forbes.

But [Cano is] also 30, and heading to free agency next fall represented by Scott Boras, who will no doubt be looking for a deal that pays his client well over $100 million until his 40th birthday, give or take.

Even if Van Riper’s hypothetical Robinson Cano contract is for, say, $175 million, the average annual value ($17.5 million) would still be good for the Yankees. Dream bigger!

But because most clubs continue to overvalue closers against all the evidence (95% of all ninth inning leads result in victories, rendering a top closer a marginal contributor), the Yanks could probably get a nice haul of young talent by dangling Rivera to a contender.

Conventional wisdom says this will never happen, because public relations rules dictate that Rivera must retire a Yankee.

Mariano Rivera also has 10-5 rights, which makes things a bit more difficult.

April is going to be the hardest month for the Yankees. They’ll start getting players back from the disabled list in May and should be running on all cylinders by the time summer arrives. There really isn’t any reason for the Yankees to throw in the towel now. Even with the new and improved Blue Jays, the AL East is still very winnable.

Nick Williams has been trying to sell Jake Arrieta on the Phillies

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CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reports that Phillies outfielder Nick Williams has been working out daily with free agent starter Jake Arrieta in Austin. The right-hander, who won the 2015 National League Cy Young Award, still remains teamless with spring training less than a month away. Williams has been trying to sell Arrieta on joining the Phillies.

Williams said of Arrieta, “He loves it here [Austin]. He has told me he likes working with young guys. I’m like, ‘All right, come on up.’ But I’m not writing the check. I don’t know what he wants. I don’t really dig into that because I’m not really in his position.”

On GM Matt Klentak’s hunt for pitching help, new manager Gabe Kapler said, “The pursuit is very real. I have a lot of trust that we’ll either go in [to spring training] with a new toy or we will pass on the opportunity because we’re better off giving this collection of pitchers a really healthy look because we thought that we could go acquire that piece a little bit later on this season or in the offseason next year.”

Arrieta, who turns 32 years old in March, went 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA and a 163/55 K/BB ratio in 168 1/3 innings last season with the Cubs. The Cubs, Cardinals, and Brewers have been linked to Arrieta this month.

Presently, the Phillies’ starting rotation figures to include Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, and Vince Velasquez along with some combination of Nick Pivetta, Ben Lively, Zach Eflin, Mark Leiter, and Jake Thompson. Arrieta would certainly amount to a big upgrade in the starting rotation and could make the Phillies a more attractive landing spot for Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, who become free agents after the 2018 campaign. The Phillies are expected to be in the mix for either or both players.