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MLB Notebook: “Mutual interest” between Stroman and Yankees, Red Sox need to pivot after missing out on Teoscar, and more

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Photo credit:© John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Brett Holden
1 month ago
Once again, the Los Angeles Dodgers steal the headlines as they swing another massive deal in the wee hours of the night while other clubs, like the New York Yankees, look to keep up.
The dominos continue to fall as the MLB off-season trundles along, and a couple of former Blue Jays lead the way in this edition of the MLB Notebook. Let’s start off with a former Jays pitcher and a bitter Jays rival. 

Marcus Stroman and Yankees have a “mutual interest”

The New York Yankees continue their search for pitching depth as both Marcus Stroman and the New York Yankees have “mutual interest” in each other, according to Bob Nightengale. The 33-year-old right-hander expressed interest and reached out to the Bronx Bombers, but New York initially declined to send Stroman an offer.
Stroman and the Yankees have an intriguing relationship. In 2019, the Yanks were interested in acquiring Stroman ahead of the Trade Deadline, though the Stro-Show would eventually be traded to the New York Mets for pitchers Anthony Kay and Simeon Woods Richardson.
After Toronto’s deal with the Mets was made and Stroman went to the other New York team, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said that Marcus was not a ‘difference maker.’ In 2021, Stroman would catch some heat on social media after teeing off on the Yankees front office in his Twitter mentions.
Despite the history, Nightengale reports the Yankees have pivoted their view of Stroman and now show interest in the ground-ball-inducing righty. It is a position the Yankees need to improve and is a market they have been very active in this off-season. 
After missing out on many of the top available pitching targets, the Yankees are now at the point where they can’t be focused on an absolute ‘difference-maker.’ The Yankees need to ensure they have five major league arms in their rotation come Opening Day. 
The Yankees currently sit with a likely rotation of Gerrit Cole, Carlos Rodón, Clarke Schmidt, and Nestor Cortes, (enter fifth starter here). After missing out on Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Shohei Ohtani, Sonny Gray, Aaron Nola, and other top free-agent arms, New York needs to close in on a significant piece before they get left out to dry.
The biggest name still on the pitching market is Blake Snell. The former NL and AL Cy Young Award winner has plenty of suitors; However, it seems like the Los Angeles Angels may be the current leaders for the outstanding lefty. 
Reports also suggest the Yankees are interested in bringing back Jordan Montgomery, who would be that significant arm they are looking for, after trading him at last season’s trade deadline to the Texas Rangers. New York has also been one of the teams circling around the Chicago White Sox and Dylan Cease

Aug 27, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Mariners designated hitter Teoscar Hernandez (35) watches his solo-home run against the Kansas City Royals during the second inning at T-Mobile Park. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

What’s next for the teams who missed out on Teoscar Hernandez?

The Dodgers have struck again. The Los Angeles Dodgers have agreed to a one-year, $23.5 million contract with former Blue Jay and Mariner Teoscar Hernandez. Of that $23.5 million, Hernandez will defer $8.5 million and will be paid to Hernandez between 2030 and 2039.
Los Angeles continues their off-season domination with this signing as they have now spent over one billion dollars during the winter, and it sounds like they may not yet be finished. Fabian Ardaya suggests the Blue Crew could still be in the market for starting pitching and could strike again. 
The Dodgers have made a habit of this whole deferral thing. Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, Shohei Ohtani, and now Teoscar Hernandez have all included deferrals in their deals, which have allowed LA to go afford other top players like Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Tyler Glasnow, and Manuel Margot. It must be time for other teams around the MLB to follow suit and attempt something similar to compete with the continually building Dodgers.
With Hernandez crossed off the free agency list, teams who were in the race, like the Red Sox and Blue Jays, need to avert their attention elsewhere. 
Boston has had a very quiet off-season, mostly due to finishing runner-up in a lot of the races for the star targets this winter. The only major addition made by the BoSox has been acquiring Canadian Outfielder Tyler O’Neill. Boston has been intent on adding another outfielder to the club and have now been linked to Michael A. Taylor and Tommy Pham. Boston could also look to add DH Jorge Soler as well.
The Toronto Blue Jays were also rumoured to be in the race for Teoscar Hernandez after trading him last off-season for pitchers Erik Swanson and Adam Macko, as the team showed interest in re-acquiring the slugger ahead of the summer’s trade deadline. The Jays brought back Kevin Kiermaier and brought in utility player Isiah Kiner-Falefa recently, and as General Manager Ross Atkins confirmed, they are looking to add at least one more bat to the lineup. Toronto has also been circling around Jorge Soler, but Boston seems to be the current front-runner. 
If the Blue Jays are looking for a bat who can add defensive value in any way, the market may be slim. Cody Bellinger can play in the outfield, but the re-signing of Kiermaier may affect the playing time for Bellinger. Michael A. Taylor is a strong defensive outfielder, but does not fit the offensive build the Jays are looking for.
Joc Pederson, J.D. Martinez, and Soler all add robust offensive upside but are defensively inadequate. Plus, players like Rhys Hoskins and Joey Votto can contribute on both sides, Toronto is already set in their first-base position. Kiner-Falefa does allow for some flexibility around the diamond and could make up for the potential defensive liabilities the Blue Jays next big signing may come with.

Mar 21, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; Japan starting pitcher Shota Imanaga (21) pitches against the USA in the first inning at LoanDepot Park. Mandatory Credit: Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports

Quick Notes:

  • Shōta Imanaga is likely to finalize MLB contract prior to the January 11th Posting Window Deadline. Giants, Red Sox, Angels, and Cubs have reportedly shown interest in the Japanese left-hander.
  • Sean Manaea signs a two-year, $28 million deal with the New York Mets. Manaea posted a 7-6 record with a 4.44 ERA last season with the Giants.
  • The Mets also sign Harrison Bader to a one-year, $10.5 million contract. Bader’s salary for the 2024 season will be $9.5 million, with a $1 million bonus.
  • San Francisco Giants acquire LHP Robbie Ray from the Seattle Mariners for OF Mitch Haniger and RHP Anthony DeSclafani. Seattle also sends $6 million to San Francisco as well.
  • The Mariners also acquire Luke Raley from the Rays for José Caballero.
  • Michael Brantley retires from Baseball.
  • Dominican Republic Judge orders conditional release of Wander Franco. Franco will be allowed to leave the Dominican Republic but must return once a month to report to authorities.

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