Yankees’ ‘serious’ talks with Justin Wilson also perfect shot at Mets


As soon as the Adam Ottavino trade became official, Brian Cashman very publicly registered his interest in bringing two additional relievers to the Yankees.

Fans worried when the dust settled on Ottavino’s departure that the sum total of his salary would be used to appease Brett Gardner, and for no other reason.

Several weeks later, that wasn’t only clearly false, but Gardner himself could end up the odd man out.

So, who would it be? And how much wiggle room would the Yankees be able to maintain before they hit the luxury tax threshold?

Based on the latest rumors, it seems lefty Justin Wilson might be willing to take less money than we anticipated in our free agency projections.

Early morning Sunday, the registered interest in Wilson had gotten much more serious and the two sides were progressing, according to FanSided’s Robert Murray.

Darren O’Day’s $2.5 million and Wilson’s…$3.5 million or so (?) would leave about $3-4 million maximum for Gardner, who’s clearly not the Yankees’ top priority at this point. For what it’s worth, Wilson’s crowd-sourced free agency projection was $5 million annually on a two-year deal.

Not only would such a move wisely fill New York’s middle innings with a fifth reliable arm, but it would be an excellent way to deplete their crosstown rivals, the Mets. After all, Sandy Alderson was reportedly progressing towards a deal with Wilson midway through last week.

Leave it to the Mets to respond to the news that they’ve lost Seth Lugo for an extended period of time by further deconstructing their 2020 bullpen by choice.

Have the Mets signed Trevor May and Aaron Loup this winter? Absolutely, correct.

But Loup was the Rays’ sixth or seventh depth piece throughout their World Series run, occasionally missing entire series when he wasn’t needed. That’s what teams that build elite bullpens do; they build all the way up and down.

Loup isn’t a back-end stalwart. He’s one of many building blocks who can’t hold a candle to Wilson’s versatility.

We’d mentally eliminated options like Wilson and Trevor Rosenthal in favor of cheaper choices like former San Francisco Giant Tony Watson, especially because of the expected need to commit multiple years to the first two names.

But if Wilson and the Yankees really are getting serious, then it’s clear he’s getting ready to clock in at a lower number.

And the ability to pry a bonafide middle-innings option away from the Mets, who are shirking responsibility when they should be getting more desperate, would further sweeten the pot.