Major league clubs have to offer unsigned players contracts for the 2020 season before Monday’s 8 p.m. tender deadline. A player not offered a contract becomes a free agent.
A look at the Yankees’ 40-man roster — which doesn’t include Domingo German, who is on the restricted list and awaiting word on a likely suspension at the start of the season while being investigated for possibly violating MLB’s domestic violence policy — doesn’t provide many non-tendered possibilities.
The most obvious candidate is right-hander Chance Adams. Such a move would clear one roster spot for a free-agent signing or a trade acquisition. Of course, the Yankees could require more room if they sign multiple free agents or make several trades.
With the winter meetings opening Sunday in San Diego, the Yankees will be active in each area as the meat market will dominate the news cycle until its conclusion on Dec. 12.
Agent Scott Boras represents Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg, the top two free-agent starters, and the Yankees will be interested listeners to what the right-handers are looking for.
Cole and Strasburg have Southern California roots, so it is not out of the question Yankees general manager Brian Cashman and other Yankees officials leave the meetings for sit-downs with each. Cole is a Newport Beach native and Strasburg, who relocated to the Washington D.C. area, went to San Diego State. Any team interested in the stud pitchers would likely want to meet face-to-face before spending upward of $200 million.
The recent narrative running through the industry is that it would be surprising if the 29-year-old Cole, a first-round pick of the Yankees in 2008 who opted to attend UCLA instead, signed with the Yankees.
However, Cashman has a history of going off campus at the winter meetings to recruit a big-time starter. In 2008, the GM split Las Vegas for California and landed CC Sabathia with a seven-year, $161 million deal that helped the Yankees beat the Phillies in the World Series.
Cashman’s reputation as somebody who makes initial contact with agents and other GMs and circles back was on display and successful shortly after getting Sabathia by hooking Mark Teixeira with an eight-year contract worth $180 million.
As for the possibility of losing free agents, it appears the Yankees are satisfied that Gleyber Torres can replace Didi Gregorius at short, Kyle Higashioka, who is out of minor league options, can take over for Austin Romine as Gary Sanchez’s backup and there is enough depth in the bullpen should Dellin Betances split, although adding another reliever wouldn’t be a surprise.
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