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Report: Yankees waiting for Yu Darvish’s price to drop

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The Yankees are ready to seriously consider free agent ace Yu Darvish, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reports, but only when his asking price enters a reasonable range. They’ll still need to remain under the $197 million luxury tax threshold to make a deal work, and with Giancarlo Stanton‘s mammoth contract already on the books, their chances of securing another big name through free agency might be slim at this point.

Darvish has already attracted several suitors over the last month, with the Cubs, Astros and Twins all reportedly interested in adding the star right-hander to their rotations. The 31-year-old is coming off of his most valuable career year since 2014, one in which he produced a cumulative 10-12 record, 3.86 ERA and 3.5 fWAR in back-to-back stints for the Rangers and Dodgers. He’s expected to command upwards of $100 million in free agency, though nothing appears to be imminent just yet.

Assuming Darvish’s asking price doesn’t drop over the next few months, the Yankees still have plenty of options left to pursue. They’ve been tied to fellow free agent Alex Cobb, who is said to be seeking $20 million per year, and have also engaged in preliminary trade talks for right-handers Gerrit Cole, Chris Archer and Michael Fulmer. Heyman speculates that Cole would be the best fit of the bunch for the Yankees, as the Tigers will reportedly only deal Fulmer in a “lopsided offer” and the Rays have little incentive to move their best starter to a division rival. Trading for a frontline starter would undoubtedly require some top shelf prospects, however, which may be less appealing to the Yankees as they look to contend beyond 2018.

Two of 10 players accept $17.8 million qualifying offers

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First baseman José Abreu and starter Jake Odorizzi have accepted their $17.8 million qualifying offers from the White Sox and Twins, respectively, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports. Reliever Will Smith signed a three-year contract with the Braves ahead of Thursday’s 5 PM ET deadline to accept or reject the qualifying offer.

The remaining seven players — Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, Stephen Strasburg, Zack Wheeler, Madison Bumgarner, Josh Donaldson, and Marcell Ozuna — have rejected their qualifying offers, per Passan. They are officially free agents and will have draft pick compensation attached to them, a potential deterrent for some interested teams.

The QO is unlikely to materially affect the fates of Cole, Rendon, and Strasburg, but it could limit the markets for the other four players. Reliever Craig Kimbrel and starter Dallas Keuchel both had draft pick compensation attached to them after the 2018 season and didn’t end up signing until June. It seems unlikely that Wheeler, Bumgarner, Donaldson, and Ozuna would have to wait until June next year to sign but it may take a while for their markets to develop.