Anyelo Gomez, Nestor Cortes, Mike Ford and Jose Mesa all have to remain on their new teams’ respective 25-man roster all season or they will be offered back to the Yankees. Most Rule 5 picks are returned before spring training is over, although it is becoming more common for teams to stash players like this. The Yankees lost Luis Torrens to the Padres last year this way.
The players taken in the minor league phase, like Junior Soto, don’t have to be offered back to their original teams if they don’t make the active roster. Those players are gone for good.
Various reports have stated that the Orioles are aggressively shopping all-star third baseman Manny Machado, and the Yankees are rumored to be one of the teams involved.
It’s hard to imagine this trade actually going through, but this is a clear sign that the Yankees see themselves as strong World Series contenders and they themselves are getting aggressive.
It just seems like the need for a starting pitcher is more pressing at the moment than the need for Machado, especially considering the fact that he’ll be a free agent a year from now. Brian Cashman has always been the type to prefer to hold on to prospects rather than give them up for rentals.
The Yankees do technically need a third baseman and a second baseman which is why these rumors aren’t completely ridiculous (the fact that they have Giancarlo Stanton at all makes it hard to discount too). While Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar are available to step in, the Yankees may not want to commit to two rookies in the lineup on Opening Day even if they are both apart of the team’s longterm plans.
This move was a straight salary dump to get rid of the $13 million the Yankees owed third baseman Chase Headley. The Yankees now have the flexibility to add a starting pitcher, maybe two, and a bat.
Jabari Blash is a 28-year-old AAAA player who has hit .200/.323/.336 in 279 plate appearances in the MLB. He’s technically the Yankees 7th outfielder at this point so don’t expect him in the Bronx. He’s probably just around in case they trade Clint Frazier and the Triple-A team needs another outfielder.
Gerrit Cole, still 27-years-old, had a 4.26 ERA, a 1.251 WHIP, a 8.7 k/9 and a 2.4 BB/9 which was good for a 101 ERA+ in 203 innings in 2017. Cole is arbitration eligible this offseason and next and won’t be a free agent until two years from now.
There is a lot of debate about how good Cole can actually be. He was an ace-caliber pitcher in 2015 when he had a 2.60 ERA in 208 innings with 202 strikeouts that year, but then he dealt with injuries in 2016 and only had a 3.88 ERA over 116 innings.
If the Yankees go after Cole, it will probably cost them Clint Frazier and a top starting pitching prospect like Chance Adams plus other prospects. They would have to have faith that he would bounce back and have a year at least similar to his 2015 campaign to go all in. The upside is that he will likely only cost about $8 million this year so the Yankees could conceivably add both Cole and CC Sabathia.