Yankees poised to make a move?
That may change, and soon, because the way a few chips fell over the weekend has the Yankees in a good place to make their move. The Cleveland Indians were viewed as New York’s primary competition for free agent Kevin Youkilis before they came to terms with Mark Reynolds to play first base with the intention of playing Lonnie Chisenhall at third base.
That cleared a major hurdle for the Yankees’ efforts to convince Youkilis to accept their one-year, $12 million offer to replace an injured Alex Rodriguez at third. Youkilis reportedly has other suitors, but perhaps none offering him more money in a shorter amount of time. And with Reynolds and Michael Young (traded to the Philadelphia Phillies) off the market, the Yankees are hoping the former beloved Boston Red Sox decides to don the Empire’s pinstripes.
A few other weekend observations:
• The Yankees are showing strong interest in re-signing Ichiro Suzuki, reports Ken Rosenthal. If the two sides come to terms, Ichiro would (for the moment) be the primary replacement for Nick Swisher (expected to depart as a free agent) in right field. Like Ichiro, Yanks’ other two starting outfielders, Curtis Granderson and Gardner, are left-handed. The team would like a righty hitter with power, but are also longshot players for lefty Josh Hamilton. A lot of creativity – like trading Granderson – less years and a leap of faith would be required to bring The Natural to the Bronx. Is it likely? No. Impossible? Never say never.
• Zack Greinke agreeing to a lucrative deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers is expected to open the floodgates for activity not seen during the winter meetings. The Texas Rangers were big players for the right-hander, but with him moving down the coast from Anaheim to Chavez Ravine and the trade of Young to Philadelphia, the Rangers have more money of which to play and are likely to turn their full attention to keeping Hamilton in the Lone Star State.
• Depending on your point of view, the Yankees’ competition either got stronger or weaker after the Tampa Bay Rays sent James Shields and Wade Davis to the Kansas City Royals. Riding shotgun to reigning Cy Young Award winner David Price, Shields went 15-10 with a 3.52 ERA in 33 starts last season, when he pitched 227 2-3 innings - his sixth consecutive year of at least 200 innings pitched.
But before you declare the Rays dead and the Royals AL Central Champions, consider that the Rays acquired outfielder Wil Myers, the Minor League’s top player in 2012, and right-hander Jake Odorizzi, who could compete for a spot in the Rays rotation. Via development or deals, the low-budget Rays have a knack of replenishing their farm system with the game’s most talented young players. Combine the leadership of outside-the-box manager Joe Maddon and the Rays are an annual threat despite the perpetual organizational changes.
Follow Jon Lane on Twitter: @JonLaneNYC