On Friday, Brian Cashman answered the ongoing question of “who will play shortstop in the absence of Didi Gregorius?” After making the Troy Tulowitzki signing official, the Yankees GM said in a conference call that Tulo will open spring training next month with a legitimate chance to be the team's "everyday shortstop.” It remains unclear how the acquisition will affect the team’s pursuit of Manny Machado. Despite some recent speculative twitter reporting, the landing spot of the highly-touted free agent remains a mystery. Should the Yankees continue to engage in talks with Machado, the Miguel Andujar trade rumors are likely to resurface. Despite showing tremendous potential as a Rookie of the Year finalist last season, it appears as though the Yankees are open to trading the sophomore third baseman. During the Winter Meetings, there were rumbles of a three-way trade involving Andujar, Noah Syndegaard, and J.T. Realmuto. Andujar’s defensive shortcomings might make him expendable to the Yankees, but his offensive power at such a young age makes him an attractive commodity to many teams looking to compete in 2019. Naturally, Machado in Pinstripes would result in a move back to third base, his stronger position.
At the same press conference, Cashman told reporters that the Yankees’ “intention is to move Sonny Gray and relocate him.” So, in other words, nothing has changed. The GM went on to say that the Yankees will only trade Gray “when we get the proper return, in our estimation. It’ll happen this winter, it’ll happen in the spring or it’ll happen sometime during the season.” The initial indication this offseason was that the Yankees were in a hurry to trade the righty, but it appears that that mentality has shifted. When C.C. Sabathia underwent an angioplasty to clear a blockage in a coronary artery last month, all signs pointed to the veteran being 100% ready for Opening Day. He very well might be on track for just that, but Cashman said that he could not confirm anything for sure until some tests later this month. “We are very optimistic as he approaches those,’’ Cashman said. “If those follow-up appointments go well, I think we'll be in a much better position to give you an honest answer on Opening Day expectations.’’ This new development has led to the GM pumping the brakes on Gray trade talks. I still believe that even if everything checks out for Sabathia, the Yankees should groom him as a sixth starter as insurance for the aging lefty. In addition, David Robertson will not be returning to New York this season, as he has signed with the Phillies. With relief pitching on the Yankees’ agenda, I would not rule out a potential move to the bullpen for Gray.
Then there’s this: Jim Bowden reported yesterday that the National’s latest offer to Bryce Harper was “much more than the $300 million being reported by the media.” Is he bound for a return to Washington?