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Brian Cashman says Yankees will talk to Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg

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Yankees GM Brian Cashman spoke to the press at the general manager meetings in Arizona last night and said “of course we’re gonna have to talk to Strasburg, we’ll talk to Cole, we’ll talk to the higher-end guys, clearly.”

That’s certainly something Yankees fans want to hear, but given how the Yankees have been uncharacteristically loathe to go after the biggest names in free agency over the past couple of offseasons, I feel like the club’s actions will need to speak louder than Brian Cashman’s words.

Not that some of his words weren’t unwelcome: Cashman said that he has not been given a directive by ownership to stay under the Competitive Balance Tax threshold. Which is somewhat surprising given that they did exceed it this past season and people who cover the club seem to think they’ll try to get under it in 2020.

All of which sets some pretty high expectations for Cashman, no? I mean, what happens if it’s reported that the club did not seriously engage Cole and/or Strasburg? What happens if they simply get outbid? What happens if, despite the apparent lack of a mandate to stay below the CBT, Cashman chooses to anyway?

Which is to say that while, in the past, the Yankees being broadly connected to top free agents like this might’ve moved the needle a little bit, they’re going to have to do better than say “we’ll have to talk” to top free agents to keep their fans happy winter.

Report: Mets sign Brad Brach to one-year, $850,000 contract

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The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the Mets and free agent reliever Brad Brach have agreed on a one-year deal worth $850,000. The contract includes a player option for the 2021 season with a base salary of $1.25 million and additional performance incentives.

Brach, 33, signed as a free agent with the Cubs this past February. After posting an ugly 6.13 ERA over 39 2/3 innings, the Cubs released him in early August. The Mets picked him up shortly thereafter. Brach’s performance improved, limiting opposing hitters to six runs on 15 hits and three walks with 15 strikeouts in 14 2/3 innings through the end of the season.

While Brach will add some much-needed depth to the Mets’ bullpen, his walk rate has been going in the wrong direction for the last three seasons. It went from eight percent in 2016 to 9.5, 9.7, and 12.8 percent from 2017-19. Needless to say the Mets are hoping that trend starts heading in the other direction next season.