FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal provides the scoop:
The Yankees, sources say, are among the possibilities for [Vernon] Wells — the teams discussed him at the winter meetings, and Wells could fill the Yankees’ need for a right-handed hitting outfielder.
Wells has batted just .222 with a .667 OPS over the past two seasons and is owed salaries of $21 million in 2013 and 2014, but the Angels are surely willing to eat most of that remaining money. And Wells would probably be open to waiving his no-trade clause for a fresh start, and a chance at regular playing time.
Rosenthal says the Yankees are also “looking at” free agent Scott Hairston to fill their outfield vacancy but might not be willing to meet his desire for a two-year contract. The times, they certainly are a-changing.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that there is a “one million percent” chance Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman will opt out once the season ends.
Just going by the math this makes perfect sense, of course.
Chapman signed a five-year, $86 million deal with the Yankees before the 2017 season. Pursuant to the terms of the deal he’ll make $15 million a year in 2020 and 2021 (he was given an $11 million signing bonus that was finished being paid out last year). This past season the qualifying offer was $17.9 million. Craig Kimbrel of the Cubs just signed a deal that will pay him $16 million in 2020, 2021, and 2022 (he’s making a prorated $16 million this year). Other top closer salaries at the moment include Kenley Jansen ($19,333,334); and Wade Davis ($18 million).
It’s fair to say that Chapman fits into that group and, I think it’s safe to say, more teams would take him than those guys if they were all freely available. As such, Chapman opting out to get more money makes all kinds of sense. Heck, opting out, getting slapped with a qualifying offer, accepting it and then hitting the market unencumbered after the 2020 season would stand him in better financial stead than if he didn’t opt-out in the first place.
The question is whether the Yankees will let it get that far or whether they’ll approach him to renegotiate the final couple of years on the deal or to add some years onto the back of it. If they’re smart they will.