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Sunday, February 5, 2023

MLB rumors: Yankees still looking for left field upgrade, but wary of payroll; Mets want second lefty reliever

We are only a month away from spring training, baseball fans. Here is each team’s spring training reporting date. Now here are Friday’s hot stove rumors as you await baseball’s return in a few weeks.       

Yankees have checked in on Harrison, Profar

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The Yankees have checked in on free agents Josh Harrison and Jurickson Profar, reports the New York Post. Complicating that, though, is their goal to stay under the $293 million fourth competitive balance tax penalty tier. FanGraphs estimates their 2023 competitive balance tax payroll at $292.3 million, leaving no room for upgrades unless they can dump salary first.

Despite committing $522 million to Aaron Judge and Carlos Rodón this offseason, the Yankees have not added to an offense that sputtered in the second half (despite Judge’s MVP campaign) and into the postseason. Oswaldo Cabrera and Aaron Hicks are currently penciled into left field and that is a position where upgrades would be easy. Profar is a full-time left fielder now, while Harrison is more of a utility guy, though he has left field experience.

Mets seeking a lefty reliever

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The Mets are seeking a second lefty reliever to pair with Brooks Raley, according to the New York Post, and they have interest in free agents Zack Britton and Andrew Chafin. Britton, who missed most of 2022 with Tommy John surgery and then suffered a shoulder injury after returning in September, threw for interested teams recently.

Chafin, 32, has been one of the best relievers in baseball the last two seasons and is effective against both righties and lefties, so he doesn’t need to be sheltered in the three-batter minimum era. The Mets could put David Peterson in the bullpen to serve as their second lefty, though he is also an important piece of rotation, and could go to Triple-A to remain stretched out.

Phillies don’t anticipate big move to replace Harper

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The Phillies do not anticipate a “big acquisition” to replace Bryce Harper, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said during an WIP-FM (94.1) interview Thursday (per the Philadelphia Inquirer). Harper had Tommy John surgery in November and is right on schedule with his rehab according to Dombrowski, though he’s not expected back until the All-Star break, or thereabouts.

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Although all the big names have signed, free agency does offer a few potential DH candidates, namely guys like Franmil Reyes, Miguel Sanó, and Luke Voit. That said, the Phillies could rotate Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber in at DH as a way to get Kody Clemens and Dalton Guthrie playing time, plus they could give J.T. Realmuto DH starts to lessen the wear and tear of catching.

Phillies want to sign Nola long-term

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In other Phillies news, the club would like to sign co-ace Aaron Nola to a contract extension. They exercised their $16 million club option to retain Nola earlier this winter, and he is scheduled to become a free agent after the 2023 season. We explored what an extension might look like earlier this month. Nola leads all pitchers in innings (871 1/3) and is third in WAR (23.9) since 2018.





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We are only a month away from spring training, baseball fans. Here is each team’s spring training reporting date. Now here are Friday’s hot stove rumors as you await baseball’s return in a few weeks.       

Yankees have checked in on Harrison, Profar

player headshot

The Yankees have checked in on free agents Josh Harrison and Jurickson Profar, reports the New York Post. Complicating that, though, is their goal to stay under the $293 million fourth competitive balance tax penalty tier. FanGraphs estimates their 2023 competitive balance tax payroll at $292.3 million, leaving no room for upgrades unless they can dump salary first.

Despite committing $522 million to Aaron Judge and Carlos Rodón this offseason, the Yankees have not added to an offense that sputtered in the second half (despite Judge’s MVP campaign) and into the postseason. Oswaldo Cabrera and Aaron Hicks are currently penciled into left field and that is a position where upgrades would be easy. Profar is a full-time left fielder now, while Harrison is more of a utility guy, though he has left field experience.

Mets seeking a lefty reliever

player headshot

The Mets are seeking a second lefty reliever to pair with Brooks Raley, according to the New York Post, and they have interest in free agents Zack Britton and Andrew Chafin. Britton, who missed most of 2022 with Tommy John surgery and then suffered a shoulder injury after returning in September, threw for interested teams recently.

Chafin, 32, has been one of the best relievers in baseball the last two seasons and is effective against both righties and lefties, so he doesn’t need to be sheltered in the three-batter minimum era. The Mets could put David Peterson in the bullpen to serve as their second lefty, though he is also an important piece of rotation, and could go to Triple-A to remain stretched out.

Phillies don’t anticipate big move to replace Harper

player headshot

The Phillies do not anticipate a “big acquisition” to replace Bryce Harper, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said during an WIP-FM (94.1) interview Thursday (per the Philadelphia Inquirer). Harper had Tommy John surgery in November and is right on schedule with his rehab according to Dombrowski, though he’s not expected back until the All-Star break, or thereabouts.

Although all the big names have signed, free agency does offer a few potential DH candidates, namely guys like Franmil Reyes, Miguel Sanó, and Luke Voit. That said, the Phillies could rotate Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber in at DH as a way to get Kody Clemens and Dalton Guthrie playing time, plus they could give J.T. Realmuto DH starts to lessen the wear and tear of catching.

Phillies want to sign Nola long-term

player headshot

In other Phillies news, the club would like to sign co-ace Aaron Nola to a contract extension. They exercised their $16 million club option to retain Nola earlier this winter, and he is scheduled to become a free agent after the 2023 season. We explored what an extension might look like earlier this month. Nola leads all pitchers in innings (871 1/3) and is third in WAR (23.9) since 2018.





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