Heyman: Yankees eyeing Carlos Beltran, Stephen Drew, Jacoby Ellsbury, others

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The Yankees already made waves this off-season with their recent signing of free agent catcher Brian McCann to a five-year, $85 million deal (the largest ever for a catcher going by average annual value). However, they are still pursuing some of the biggest names still available in the free agent market, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Heyman writes that the Yankees have their eyes on outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, and Shin-Soo Choo, starter Hiroki Kuroda, and shortstop Stephen Drew.

Heyman also notes that the Yankees are trying to pressure Robinson Cano to get a deal done sooner rather than later. The two sides are reportedly far apart on a deal, with Cano asking for ten years and more than $300 million, while the Yankees have been more comfortable in the seven-year, $160 million area. The market for Cano has been slow-moving, but the second baseman recently said he would be willing to wait until as late as January to ink a deal.

Report: Yankees, Reds finalizing trade for Sonny Gray

Sonny Gray
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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.