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.
The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.