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.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the Major League Baseball Players Association has submitted a proposal to the league concerning the 2020 season. The proposal includes a 114-game season with an end date on October 31, playoff expansion for two years, the right for players to opt out of the season, and a potential deferral of 2020 salaries if the postseason were to be canceled.
Passan clarifies that among the players who choose to opt out, only those that are considered “high risk” would still receive their salaries. The others would simply receive service time. The union also proposed that the players receive a non-refundable $100 million sum advance during what would essentially be Spring Training 2.
If the regular season were to begin in early July, as has often been mentioned as the target, that would give the league four months to cram in 114 games. There would have to be occasional double-headers, or the players would have to be okay with few off-days. Nothing has been mentioned about division realignment or a geographically-oriented schedule, but those could potentially ease some of the burden.
Last week, the owners made their proposal to the union, suggesting a “sliding scale” salary structure. The union did not like that suggestion. Players were very vocal about it, including on social media as Max Scherzer — one of eight players on the union’s executive subcommittee — made a public statement. The owners will soon respond to the union’s proposal. They almost certainly won’t be happy with many of the details, but the two sides can perhaps find a starting point and bridge the gap. As the calendar turns to June, time is running out for the two sides to hammer out an agreement on what a 2020 season will look like.