Earlier today, second baseman Robinson Cano signed with the Mariners on a ten-year, $240 million contract, leaving the Yankees out in the cold with an infield that includes the embattled Alex Rodriguez, the hobbled Derek Jeter, the recovering Mark Teixeira, and the recently-signed Kelly Johnson. Now that they don’t have to set aside space for Cano, however, the Yankees are free to pursue any free agent they want, and that is exactly what they are doing according to Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. Nightengale tweets that the Yankees are “in on everyone”, citing outfielders Shin-Soo Choo and Carlos Beltran, as well as infielders Stephen Drew and Omar Infante.
Nightengale also writes that trade rumors involving the Yankees and current Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips are “inevitable”. There has been some off-and-on speculation that the Reds will move Phillips by the end of the Winter Meetings on Thursday.
At ESPN, Andrew Marchand writes that if Japanese pitching star Masahiro Tanaka is posted, the Yankees could get involved in the bidding.
So far, the Yankees have signed shortstop Brendan Ryan (two years, $5 million), catcher Brian McCann (five years, $85 million), outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury (seven years, $153 million), and starter Hiroki Kuroda (one year, $16 million), but it appears they are far from finished.
All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.
The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.
It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.
It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.
Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉