We have movement! On Thursday night, Major League Baseball decided to wake up for a few moments and a couple of fairly notable transactions went down. And they both featured the teams from the 2023 World Series, but the New York Yankees were on the periphery in a few ways.
Former Yankee David Robertson signed with the reigning champion Texas Rangers on a one-year deal worth between $11-$12 million (can't we just get exact numbers, though, since free agency has agonizingly dragged out?). That takes a relief option off the market for the Yanks even though the veteran right-hander probably wasn't on their radar as seriously as we might've imagined.
Robertson, 38, spent last season with the New York Mets and was among the most effective relievers in the game until he was shipped off to the Miami Marlins at the trade deadline and lost his mojo.
Nonetheless, his overall experience and recent track record with the Mets, Phillies and Cubs still has teams interested in his as a back-end bullpen arm, and the Rangers, who badly need relief help after losing Aroldis Chapman, Chris Stratton, Martin Perez and Will Smith, took the plunge.
Happy for Robertson, but unhappy he's somehow hasn't returned to the Yankees since departing after the 2018 campaign.
Yankees News: David Robertson lands with contender, Matt Chapman buzz, Joc Pederson
Before we get into the next transaction, let's talk some actual Yankees news. According to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (subscription required), the Yankees are reportedly interested in third baseman Matt Chapman.
Hmm ... what? Sounds weird, right? It indeed does, until you realize Chapman is reportedly seeking a one-year, $20 million contract to rebuild his value for free agency next offseason. Though the Bombers are already over the $300 million mark for their payroll, almost any one-year deal would fit their current plans, and a durable, Gold Glove third baseman with considerable power might be right up their alley.
Right now, the oft-injured DJ LeMahieu is projected to be the Yankees' starting third baseman, and most would consider him more of a utility/bench option at this point due to his lack of availability and age. Adding Chapman into the fold would change the complexion of this lineup and deepen it considerably, so we'll keep monitoring here to determine if there's any legitimacy to the buzz.
And finally, another former Yankees target is off the board. Joc Pederson, who New York fans desperately wanted in the Bronx the last few years because of his lefty swing, clutch bat and inimitable boost of energy, has landed with the NL champion Arizona Diamondbacks.
It's reportedly a one-year deal with a mutual option for 2025, and Pederson will remain in the NL West after spending the last few seasons with the San Francisco Giants. He'll continue to regularly face his former team in the Los Angeles Dodgers after spending the first seven seasons of his MLB career there.
Meanwhile, the Yankees are rumored to be targeting former Dodger and Red Sox pitcher Ryan Brasier, but again it's unclear how real that pursuit is.
With spring training creeping closer and closer, fans are hoping for the free agency dam to break so we can start seeing many of these deserving players find homes for 2024 and beyond. The Yankees remain very much involved, so it should be an entertaining three weeks or so before pitchers and catchers begin to report.