The New York Yankees bolstered their lineup and beefed up their rotation this offseason (in a different way than they intended, but ... still) while leaving their bullpen mostly untouched. Despite a few untimely blemishes, it was a strong unit during last year's disappointing campaign, and the Yankees still believe they can patch any gaps with Matt Blake's wizardry.
At this moment in time, it looks like the same unit from last season will return, sans-Wandy Peralta (AUTHOR'S NOTE: Maybe). Unless ... some remaining reliever wants to play the Yankees' game (at their budget?).
Late last week, flamethrowing Astros reliever Hector Neris lost a bit of leverage when his former team signed Josh Hader to a near-$100 million deal. If his rumored previous ask was three years and $50 million, it seems likely that will drop to a more reasonable territory. And it already has, if the latest rumors come to fruition.
According to Carlos Baerga's reporting, the Yankees are close to a deal with Neris. Of course, it's been days since the initial Instagram post.
Yankees Rumors: Hector Neris coming closer to signing?
If a Neris deal does squeeze past the finish line, it could be the Yankees' final push of the offseason. As Brian Cashman stated on Sunday, the team will be "open-minded" moving forward about opportunities to get better, but now must color within the lines after opening the offseason in rampant pursuit of improvements.
In other words, their operating philosophy will resemble the past several offseasons, following in the wake of the aggression that landed them Juan Soto and Alex Verdugo, yet saw them come up short to the Dodgers on Yoshinobu Yamamoto.
Neris will only move from "rumored as close" to "signed on the dotted line" if he's willing to play within the Yankees' parameters.
Jack Curry noted he didn't expect a resolution between the two sides just under a week ago on YES Network's Hot Stove. If Neris is getting closer to an agreement, that would mean he lowered his contract ask significantly after losing the leverage of a potential Astros pact (that money went to Hader). It would be plausible, but it would only be on the Yankees' terms.
If this does get done, the contract details will be fascinating. But don't get your hopes up. With a packed-in 40-man, a trade still seems like a likelier resolution. That is, if anything more is to happen at all, even something as small as a Wandy run-it-back.