In wake of the Marcus Stroman signing, many have speculated the New York Yankees are probably out on the remaining high-profile crop of pitchers in free agency. But nobody said anything about the trade market!
Per reports, the Yanks are still interested in a Dylan Cease trade, but it's believed the Baltimore Orioles remain the frontrunners because of their superior farm system. Nothing to be ashamed of there, the O's had years and years of bottom feeding to collect the best young players.
But the longer Baltimore waits to sign off on a deal, the better chance the Yankees have of swooping in and convincing the White Sox otherwise. Only problem? It seems Chicago wants Chase Hampton from the Bombers.
If Brian Cashman was unwilling to surrender the No. 4 overall prospect in the Juan Soto deal, then why would he be inclined to do so for Cease, who has a shaky track record and is very much not the same caliber of player as Soto?
Unsurprisingly, the White Sox are also interested in Spencer Jones, who seems to be a non-starter in talks for New York.
Yankees News: Dylan Cease trade rumors, New York eyeing former Astros reliever
The Yankees have to give to get here, especially if they're competing with the Orioles, who can objectively put together the best offer imaginable. As always, however, Brian Cashman will be as careful as humanly possible.
Then again, if the O's give them a lane, maybe a slight overpay could be the move here if it means getting better and taking an impact player away from a division rival.
In free agency, the Yankees can weaken another AL rival, too. The Houston Astros are dealing with some roster turnover and many questions about their future (Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman are entering contract years), and New York could possibly benefit.
The latest reports have linked the Yankees to former Astros reliever Hector Neris, who just completed a career season in H-Town.
Neris is entering his age-35 season and 11th year in MLB, so he's a bit of a peculiar free agent case coming off a campaign in which he logged a 1.71 ERA, 3.83 FIP and 1.05 WHIP in 68.1 innings of work. Though his 4.1 BB/9 are a bit of an issue, he induces whiffs and barely gives up hard contact.
The only potential obstacles? He's another right-hander (and the Yanks are in desperate need of more lefties in their bullpen) and New York would need to clear roster space for him, making this a two-pronged transaction.
But if it means keeping him away from the Astros and making the Yankees better? Fans will probably be all for it.