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Reds GM: Yankees ‘leaked’ Brandon Phillips trade rumor for Robinson Cano leverage

brandon-phillipsThe Cincinnati Reds have downplayed the prospect of trading Brandon Phillips, though teams around the league seem to think that the second baseman is available. After the New York Yankees lost Robinson Cano in free agency, a report indicated that Brian Cashman had inquired about Phillips but that the price was too steep.

Despite the trade rumors, Reds GM Walt Jocketty has stated publicly that he has not engaged in trade talks with any other team regarding Phillips. So where did the report about New York come from? According to Jocketty, the Yankees planted it for Cano leverage.

In other words, Jocketty is claiming the Yankees wanted Cano to think they had a backup plan in place and thus were not desperate to bring him back. They certainly weren’t desperate, but it remains to be seen if they have a viable plan B or if Phillips is a possibility.

The 33-year old Phillips has four years and $50 million remaining on his contract. He still has some pop left in his bat and drove in a career-high 103 runs last season. New York certainly has money to spend after letting Cano walk. Time will tell if Jocketty is telling the truth or just avoiding a media frenzy.

H/T Eye on Baseball

Carlos Beltran to sign with Yankees

Carlos-Beltran-No-Trade-Clause-Could-Screw-MetsCarlos Beltran wanted to sign with the New York Yankees the last two times he was a free agent, but the pinstripes weren’t interested. Looks like the third time was the charm.

Beltran and the Yankees have agreed on a three-year deal worth $45 million, Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports reports. The free agent outfielder and the Yankees agreed to the deal the same day all-star second baseman Robinson Cano agreed to a huge deal with the Seattle Mariners. In addition to Cano, the Yankees lost Curtis Granderson to the Mets on Friday.

Though the Yankees are losing Cano to Seattle and Granderson to the Mets, they have added Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Brian McCann this offseason. They also signed Kelly Johnson to play second.

The Yankees have a crowded outfield now between Ellsbury, Beltran, Brett Gardner, Alfonso Soriano, Ichiro and possibly Vernon Wells, but they are loaded. Luckily they also have the DH spot to spread around. USA Today’s Bob Nightengale says Beltran will play right field while Soriano will usually DH.

Once they bring back Hiroki Kuroda and add a few more pieces, the Yankees are going to be much better off than they were before. This is shaping up to be an excellent offseason for them.

Curtis Granderson signs four-year deal worth $60 million with New York Mets

curtis-grandersonOutfielder Curtis Granderson and the New York Mets agreed today on a four-year deal worth $60 million, according to published reports.

Injuries limited Granderson to only seven home runs and 15 RBIs in 61 games and 214 at-bats last season with the New York Yankees, but his two prior seasons were his best. In 2012, Granderson hit a career-high 43 home runs and drove in 106 RBIs. He drove in a career-high 119 runs with 41 home runs in 2011. He also scored 136 runs in 2011, tops in his 10-year career. Granderson, 32, spent the past four seasons with the Yankees after playing the previous six with the Detroit Tigers.

His departure means the Yankees have lost two high-profile players in one day. Former second baseman Robinson Cano inked a deal with the Seattle Mariners on Friday.

Yankees prove they have learned lesson by letting Robinson Cano walk

Robinson CanoThe average New York Yankees fan is not going to be pleased that Robinson Cano is not in pinstripes when the 2014 MLB season begins. Those who understand the game of baseball can rest assured that some of the best deals a team makes are the ones it doesn’t make.

Cano reportedly agreed to a 10-year, $240 million deal with the Seattle Mariners on Friday. The Mariners will likely make up most of that money in merchandise and ticket sales, but they are going to regret the contract from a baseball standpoint. No team was going to land Cano without paying an absurd amount of money, but massive contracts like the one Cano signed have gotten the Yankees into trouble recently.

Look no further than Alex Rodriguez, who signed a 10-year, $275 million deal with New York back in 2007. A-Rod was 32 at the time. Cano is 31. The deals are fairly similar, and now the Yankees are left praying Rodriguez is suspended for a significant amount of time so they can be relieved of some of the financial burden.

To give you some perspective, the Boston Red Sox signed 30-year-old Dustin Pedroia to an eight-year, $110 million extension back in July. Is Pedroia the same type of power hitter as Cano? Hardly, but he is the heart and soul of the Red Sox and a former American League MVP. He’s also better than Cano defensively. Somehow, a team felt that Cano is worth $130 million more than Pedroia.

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Yankees reportedly won’t go over $200 million for Robinson Cano

Robinson Cano YankeesRobinson Cano and the New York Yankees remain worlds apart in an attempt to secure a new deal for the All-Star second baseman, according to Yahoo! Sports Jeff Passan.

Negotiations between the two parties have gone nowhere, with the difference of opinions hitting a tune of almost $100 million.

For Cano and the Yankees, it’s obviously a huge gap. Passan says Yankees sources swear they won’t go over $200 million for Cano. Instead, they’re offering around $160 million over seven years, both Passan and Newsday’s Marc Carig report. Initially, Cano’s representatives, which include rap mogul Jay-Z, supposedly led off with an asking price of 10 years at $300 million, but they have since dropped that demand to nine years for $252 million.

Still, it’s difficult to believe Cano and company will agree to anything less than $200 million unless he inks a short-term deal with the Yankees. And that creates a major gap in serious negotiations between the two, possibly increasing the possibility Cano will go elsewhere. The problem is, who can afford to pay Cano more than the Yankees? The Angels are not looking to spend money, the Red Sox are set at second with Dustin Pedroia, and the Dodgers have signed second baseman Alexander Guerrero. The Mets may have interest in Cano, but would they be willing to spend what he is looking for? Recent history suggests they wouldn’t.

It seems that Cano is hitting the market at an unfortunate time and may not end up with the contract he is seeking.

Yankees reportedly interested in trading for David Freese

Lance-Berkman-David-Freese-200-millionThe Alex Rodriguez saga appears to be a long way from a resolution, which means the New York Yankees have a gaping hole in their lineup. If A-Rod’s suspension is upheld, the Yankees will begin the 2014 season without a third baseman. In order to fill that void, they are looking into the possibility of trading for St. Louis Cardinals infielder David Freese.

Freese, who established himself as one of the greatest clutch hitters in baseball during the 2011 World Series, is coming off a down year. He hit .262 with just nine home runs and 60 RBI. According to the NY Daily News, the Cardinals want to shift Matt Carpenter from second base to third to make room for top prospect Kolten Wong, who you may remember from this epic flub in Game 4 of the World Series.

Because of his mediocre stats in 2013, Freese likely wouldn’t cost the Yankees much and could be a great insurance policy if Rodriguez is out. Yankees president Randy Levine said the team fully expects A-Rod to be available on Opening Day.

“We are under the impression that he’s going to come back,” Levine said. “That’s the way we’ve budgeted it. That’s the way we think. We have no control over that and we’ve never had any control. That process is going on and it will be over with by the end of the year. That’s what I’m told.”

We all know it may not be that simple. And even if it was, Rodriguez will turn 39 next season and has been plagued by hip issues. New York may have no choice but to turn him into a $30 million designated hitter. The 30-year-old Freese, a career .286 hitter and great performer in October, would be a nice addition either way.

Randy Levine: Yankees are not going to re-sign Robinson Cano ‘at any cost’

Robinson-Cano-YankeesThe New York Yankees remain in the hunt for a wild card berth this season, but many of their players are aging and breaking down. Derek Jeter suddenly cannot stay healthy and Alex Rodriguez is facing what could be a historic suspension at age 38. Simply put, this team needs Robinson Cano.

Cano is 30, one of the best hitters in baseball, and easily New York’s best all-around player. The second baseman recently fired agent Scott Boras and signed with Roc Nation Sports, so you know Jay-Z’s new agency will be looking to make Cano’s contract its introductory splash. However, Yankees president Randy Levine said the team does not intend to pay ridiculously money to retain him.

“Robinson Cano is a great player. We will sit down and talk to him,” Levine said during an interview with Bloomberg Television on Tuesday, via ESPNNewYork.com. “Hopefully he’s a Yankee. Nobody is a re-sign at all costs, but we want him back and we feel good about negotiating something with him. But nobody is a re-sign at any cost.”

The Yankees are in a strong position with Cano, especially with the Boston Red Sox having signed Dustin Pedroia to a long-term extension this season. Pedroia’s seven-year, $100 million extension not only drives down the market price for Cano, it also (presumably) eliminates Boston from being able to drive up the price on New York.

“The Yankees are the Yankees — we’ve been around for a long time,” Levine added. “I think our fan base understands that we’re going to put a championship-caliber team on the field. … Great players come and go, but the commitment to getting great players continues.”

In other words, we have enough money to put a contender on the field every season — with or without Cano. What you’re hearing from Levine are basic negotiating tactics. He’s not going to do Cano’s agents a favor by saying the Yankees need the second baseman, although it is probably true. When all is said and done, I’d be shocked if Cano isn’t in pinstripes next season. Unless, of course, the Los Angeles Dodgers come calling.