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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.

Braves sign Marcell Ozuna to one-year, $18 million deal

Marcell Ozuna
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The Braves have announced on Tuesday evening the signing of free agent outfielder Marcell Ozuna. ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that it’s a one-year contract for $18 million.

Ozuna, 29, hit .241/.328/.472 with 29 home runs, 89 RBI, 80 runs scored, and 12 stolen bases in 549 plate appearances for the Cardinals last season. He’s been consistently above-average in each of the past four seasons, which also included a career year in 2017 in which he was worth 6.1 WAR, per Baseball Reference.

It is surprising that Ozuna, a two-time All-Star and Gold Glove Award winner, had to settle for a one-year deal. The Braves are happy he did as he will help make up for some of the offense lost when third baseman Josh Donaldson became a free agent and ultimately signed with the Twins. Ozuna can become a free agent again after the 2020 season but won’t have qualifying offer compensation attached to him, part of the reason why his market may have been slow to develop.

Along with Ozuna, the Braves have signed in free agency this offseason reliever Will Smith, starter Cole Hamels, and catcher Travis d'Arnaud. They re-signed relievers Chris Martin and Darren O'Day, catcher Tyler Flowers, infielder Adeiny Hechavarría, and outfielder Nick Markakis.