Yankees ace CC Sabathia has stated time and time again that he wants to remain in New York, but all signs point to him opting out of his contract this winter in order to gain a few more years and dollars.
In order to secure those years and dollars, though, Sabathia will need other interested suitors.
The Yankees won’t open their wallets unless given a reason — an opponent or two willing to meet or exceed the already-lofty salaries on his current deal.
Enter the AL West champion Rangers.
A “baseball source” told Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York this week that the Texas front office is preparing to make a significant bid for the 31-year-old left-hander with the expectation that he will indeed opt out after the World Series.
“I hear they’re going to throw a boatload of money at him,” said the source, who requested anonymity, “But I think he’ll stay with the Yankees. He’s talked so much about how much he loves New York, and besides, the Yankees can’t afford to lose him from that pitching staff.”
Sabathia posted a 3.00 ERA and 230/61 K/BB ratio in 237 1/3 innings this season for the American League East champion Yankees. It’s hard to imagine baseball’s biggest spenders letting him go, especially with their lack of rotation depth. But Nolan Ryan, Jon Daniels and Co. are apparently going to give it a whirl.
The Royals are in agreement with right-handed reliever Drew Storen on a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Per Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the deal is worth $1.25 million if the veteran righty breaks camp with the club this spring. Additional, albeit unspecified incentives will be included in the contract as well.
Storen, 31, is coming off of a protracted absence from any MLB duties. After inking a one-year deal with the Reds in 2017, he sustained a right elbow sprain toward the end of the year and underwent Tommy John surgery that October. He was effectively decommissioned for the club’s entire 2018 run and generated little interest around the league this winter, perhaps due in part to the uninspired 4.45 ERA, 3.8 BB/9, 7.9 SO/9, and career-low -0.2 fWAR he posted across 54 2/3 innings during his last healthy season.
While it’s not immediately clear what kind of performance the Royals can expect from Storen in spring training, they’re not exactly in a position to be choosy. Their bullpen ranked dead last among all MLB teams with a collective 5.04 ERA, 4.85 FIP, and -2.2 fWAR last year, and still appears to be in a state of flux as they approach Opening Day. Skipper Ned Yost told reporters Wednesday that he intends to eschew the traditional closer appointment in 2019 and will instead utilize a combination of right-handers Wily Peralta and Brad Boxberger, lefty Tim Hill, and various others as he tackles high-leverage situations in the future.