Yankees Rumors: New York reportedly rules out top free agent starter

Look elsewhere, Yankees fans.
World Baseball Classic Championship: United States v Japan
World Baseball Classic Championship: United States v Japan / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

While the Yankees' rotation doesn't look any beefier than it did the day they dipped into their pool and traded for Juan Soto (Dec. 6, for the record), the good news is the free agent market -- in general -- has moved at a glacial pace.

If the Yankees want to scare up money for a Jordan Montgomery reunion (current reports indicate they actually do), they might be able to do so in February. Montgomery's market appears to contain the Yankees, the Rangers (Jon Heyman's predicted landing spot), and the Red Sox, a team that needs to clear more money if they intend to go beyond Lucas Giolito this winter. The move might take some apologizing on Brian Cashman's part, but the waiting game portion of the process is totally feasible for New York.

If they would rather acquire depth via trade, that market hasn't moved much, either. Dylan Cease and Shane Bieber are still available. So are Jesus Luzardo and Edward Cabrera. Things might start to shift between Jan. 12 (when arbitration numbers are settled) and Jan. 29, per Jeff Passan, but we'll believe it when we see it. That was supposed to be the case following Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto's signings, too. Maybe the Dodgers fouled that all up by nabbing both. Maybe it's Scott Boras controlling the top of the market with Blake Snell, Cody Bellinger and Monty. It's probably that.

Regardless, the Yankees have some time left before spring training to put their ducks in a row and avert fan confusion. According to Jon Heyman, though, there are a few markets they don't seem to care about directly. Japanese lefty Shōta Imanaga might as well be eliminated now; Heyman delivered a pretty withering diagnosis of the Yankees' interest on Wednesday's livestream.

Yankees Free Agency: Shōta Imanaga not high on New York's wishlist

"Yankees don't really love Imanaga, from what I understand," Heyman dropped (before going through any examples of teams that actually do like the lefty). "They think of him as more of a fly ball pitcher (who) may not work in Yankee Stadium."

Turns out, the same due diligence and information overload that led the Yankees to focus $300 million of their (unspent) dollars on Yoshinobu Yamamoto also led them to count out Imanaga.

Snell is most likely not on their table either, though Aaron Judge could disagree and Heyman wasn't willing to rule it out. For now, Wednesday's most pertinent positive info came from Passan, who did a little process of elimination on Montgomery, claiming the Red Sox are more focused on the trade market at the moment (both clearing cash and adding pieces in exchange for young outfielders).

While the Red Sox and Marlins/Mariners chat (presumably), maybe the Yankees can make inroads on Montgomery, who Passan confirmed they'd like to reunite with. At least in Brian Cashman's eyes, six years and $150 million for Montgomery seems to make more sense than $100 million for Imanaga.

For everyone's sake, it'd be fantastic if any lingering "bad blood" dried up -- and quickly.