Sources close to ESPN’s Andrew Marchand tell him that the Yankees are preparing for a shopping spree that could total as much as $300 million. Marchand recalls that the last time the Yankees unloaded that much money in a single off-season came after the 2008 season, when the Yankees committed a total of $423 million to CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, and A.J. Burnett.
The Yankees are expected to push for Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka and many believe they will eventually bring second baseman Robinson Cano back after he deflates his price. As their catching situation is a bit of a mess, Brian McCann would make some sense. They have had their eye on veteran outfielder Carlos Beltran as well.
With Alex Rodriguez’s future up in the air as his legal battles are pending, Derek Jeter’s health a gigantic question mark, and having watched Mariano Rivera walk into retirement, the Yankees want to do something to generate renewed interest in the organization. It will be tough to do that if they stand pat with a team that finished in a tie for third place in the AL East with an 85-77 record.
The Mariners signed free agent left-hander Wade LeBlanc to a one-year deal, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reported Saturday. LeBlanc previously signed a minor league agreement with the Yankees, but later requested his release following the team’s Grapefruit League outing on Friday. The Mariners have yet to confirm the deal or disclose its terms.
This is LeBlanc’s second stint with the Mariners in two years. He was initially acquired by Seattle in the summer of 2016 after the Blue Jays traded him for cash considerations, and produced a 4.50 ERA, 1.6 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 in 50 innings before getting designated for assignment in August. The 33-year-old southpaw was last seen in the majors with the Pirates, with whom he generated another 4.50 ERA, 2,3 BB/9 and 7.1 SO/9 over 68 innings in 2017. He entered free agency after the club declined his $1.25 million option for 2018.
The signing comes at a fortuitous moment for the Mariners, who were pressed to find additional bullpen depth after right-handed reliever David Phelps tore his ulnar collateral ligament last week. As with most injuries of that kind, Phelps is expected to undergo Tommy John surgery and will miss the entire 2018 season. LeBlanc made a full transition to the bullpen in 2017 and boasts the kind of reverse platoon splits (.216/.270/.389 vs. righties and .292/.333/.500 vs. lefties in 2017) that will make him an effective replacement for the right-handed Phelps.