Cespedes, Bautista, Encarnacion to reject qualifying offers

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Yoenis Cespedes of the Mets and Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion of the Blue Jays are reported to be rejecting their qualifying offers.

No surprises here, but at least these are reports rather than just speculation. Even if it was pretty well-informed speculation, based on the fact that all three of these guys are expected to receive multi-year offers, most likely in excess of $17.2 million a year. The reports com from Joel Sherman of the New York Post, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports and Chris Cotillo of SB Nation, respectively.

Cespedes hit .280/.354/.530 with 31 home runs and 86 RBI in 132 games for the Mets and is the consensus top free agent available this offseason. Encarnacion hit 42 homers and 127 RBI in 160 games for the Blue Jays in 2016 and, with Toronto signing Kendrys Morales last week, will no doubt be looking for a new team. Bautista hit .234/.366/.452 with 22 home runs and 69 RBI in 116 games this past season for Toronto. While he has declined off of his peak, he’s still one of the more potent bats available and his 2016 was hampered by some nagging injuries.

Brian Cashman signs 4-year contract to remain Yankees GM

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SAN DIEGO — Brian Cashman has signed a four-year contract to remain the New York Yankees Senior Vice President and General Manager. The announcement was made during the first day of baseball’s Winter Meetings.

Cashman, New York’s GM since 1998, had been working on a handshake agreement since early November, when his five-year contract expired.

The Yankees were swept by four games in the AL Championship Series and haven’t reached the World Series since winning in 2009. It is the franchise’s longest title drought since an 18-year gap between 1978-96.

Cashman’s main goal during the offseason is trying to re-sign AL MVP Aaron Judge.

Judge hit an American League-record 62 homers this season with a .311 batting average and 131 RBIs. He turned down the Yankees’ offer on the eve of opening day of a seven-year contract that would have paid $213.5 million from 2023-29.

While Judge remains on the market, Cashman was able to re-sign Anthony Rizzo on Nov. 15 to a two-year contract worth $40 million after turning down a $16 million player option.

Cashman has been the Yankees general manager since 1998. He has been with the organization since 1986, when he was a 19-year old intern in the scouting department. In his 25 seasons as GM, the Yankees have reached the postseason 21 times, including four World Series championships and six American League titles.