Yariel Rodriguez signing, Hector Neris contract rumor putting Yankees in tough spot

World Baseball Classic Quarterfinals: Australia v Cuba
World Baseball Classic Quarterfinals: Australia v Cuba / Kenta Harada/GettyImages

New York Yankees fans learned earlier in the offseason that you can't win 'em all when Yoshinobu Yamamoto chose the Los Angeles Dodgers despite what some might argue was a better offer from the Bombers. That's just how it goes sometimes.

Though this was a lesser blow, New York was reminded of that on Wednesday when free agent target Yariel Rodriguez -- a sought-after Cuban right-hander -- agreed to a deal with the Toronto Blue Jays despite interest from better teams (Yankees, Astros).

He signed a four-year, $32 million deal, which was probably too much for the Yanks after they had just inked Marcus Stroman to a two-year, $37 million contract last week. But it's perhaps worth realizing the Yankees might be running out of bullpen targets.

Rodriguez was believed to be a bullpen target, but reports suggest he chose Toronto because he'll get a chance to start games north of the border. In the end, if that was the deal breaker, Rodriguez probably ended up falling out of favor in the Yankees' eyes. It's the same thing that just happened with Jordan Hicks, but that doesn't make it any less frustrating.

Nonetheless, he was supposed to represent a potential cost-effective relief option, which is something the Yankees need pretty badly. That market doesn't seem to exist, however.

Yariel Rodriguez signing, Hector Neris contract rumor putting Yankees in tough spot

Why do you think Josh Hader is still available? Or Aroldis Chapman? Or Robert Stephenson? There are plenty of others still hanging around too, but it seems everyone's waiting for the market to calm down.

Because if former Astros reliever Hector Neris is seeking three years and $50 million? That's how we know things have probably gotten out of hand. Though the veteran right-hander had a career year in 2023, he's entering his age-35 season and that All-Star-caliber campaign was more of an outlier rather than a representation of his body of work.

In case you forgot, the Yankees have been in the running for Neris, but if there's any validity to this rumored price tag, they're undoubtedly fading into the background (as Jack Curry noted on YES' Hot Stove show Wednesday night).

Then again, Neris has a limited market and the Yankees are reportedly competing with the Texas Rangers, who have refused to spend money this offseason because of the delayed proceedings in getting their local television deal finalized.

Also, Jon Heyman countered that report about Neris' contract demands and said the right-hander is looking for something in the two-year, $20 million range -- a completely different offer that would change the game for all suitors involved.

Stay tuned for more wild, conflicting updates, as that's all we've been accustomed to during this mundane offseason.