John Lackey is reported to want something better in terms of money and years than A.J. Burnett got last winter. A.J. Burnett got five years and $82 million. That puts Lackey’s demand in the six-year range, with total dollars approaching $100 million.
Guess what: he ain’t gettin’ that from the Angels, reports Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times. GM Tony Reagins: “There is a point where it doesn’t make sense. You can jeopardize your organization moving forward when you
consider the dollars a player might command.”
How about the Mets? As was reported the other day, the Mets aren’t interested in going six years, either. There is some suggestion this morning that there is still some internal debate about this in the Mets hotel suite, but even that is characterized thusly: “Lackey currently is the only free-agent starter the Mets would consider going beyond three years on.”
The problem with that phrasing is two-fold: (1) it ends with a preposition — it should read “Lackey is the only free-agent starter for whom the Mets would consider going beyond three years”; and (2) there’s a big difference between “willing to go beyond three years” and “willing to give a 31 year-old starter who is a notch below the usual cream of the free agent crop six years and $100 million.”
Barring physicals and roster reshuffling, the Yankees and Reds are all but ready to finalize a deal involving right-hander Sonny Gray, Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported Saturday. The exact return has not been confirmed, but Heyman hears that the Yankees will receive top infield prospect Shed Long and a draft pick in exchange for Gray, with an as-yet unnamed third player possibly involved as well.
According to several reports earlier in the day, negotiations came down to the wire as the Yankees first had their eye on the Reds’ no. 6 prospect, 22-year-old catcher Tyler Stephenson. The Reds ultimately elected to hang on to Stephenson and send Long to New York, as they currently have a greater need for catching depth and weren’t expected to be able to provide a full-time role for the infielder in 2019. Long, 23, is ranked seventh in the Reds’ system and appears to be nearing his MLB debut after batting .261/.353/.412 with 12 homers and a .765 OPS across 522 PA at Double-A Pensacola last year.
Gray figures to step into a prominent role within the Reds’ rotation, which is likely to be a mix of recently-acquired left-hander Alex Wood and right-handers Tanner Roark, Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, and Tyler Mahle, among several others. Despite Gray’s struggle to remain productive on the mound — he’s three years removed from his only All-Star campaign and turned in a disappointing 4.90 ERA and 2.16 SO/BB rate in 2018 — he might yet help stabilize a team that trotted out the fifth-worst rotation in the majors last season. If, on the other hand, the veteran righty finds the hitter-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park a little too unforgiving this year, the Reds can take some comfort in the fact that he’s due to enter free agency in 2020.