Yankees remain patient as Blue Jays add Melky Cabrera
The Blue Jays keep stockpiling talent, reportedly adding Melky Cabrera on Friday.
The Yankees? Still "all quiet, nothing going on,'' one person familiar with the team's thinking said Friday afternoon.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman always preaches patience in the offseason, a tactic that again is being tested.
Two years ago, it was the Red Sox making blockbuster moves. Last year it was the Angels and Marlins. This week, most of the sport's big news came out of Toronto. The Blue Jays swung a megadeal earlier in the week to land Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson, Emilio Bonifacio and John Buck from the Marlins. And on Friday, the Blue Jays reportedly reached agreement on a two-year, $16-million deal with Cabrera, an outfielder who spent the first five years of his career with the Yankees.
"They see the AL East ripe for the picking,'' YES analyst David Cone said Thursday, even before the Cabrera news. "I would think they'd have to be the favorite right now in the American League East.''
The Yankees, in need of outfield help, discussed but never seriously considered Cabrera, who hit .346 in 113 games with the Giants in 2012 before his 50-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
An outfield target they were far more interested in, Torii Hunter, signed earlier in the week with Detroit. The Yankees never made an offer to him.
As far as outfielders go, they continue to have a good deal of interest in Scott Hairston. But Cashman's focus most of the week has been on pitching, primarily in terms of retaining Hiroki Kuroda and Mariano Rivera.
In the case of Kuroda, whom the Yankees dread losing, the 37-year-old righthander has yet to decide whether he wants to pitch in the U.S. or finish his career in Japan. If Kuroda, who rejected the Yankees' $13.3-million qualifying offer, chooses the U.S., he'll be pursued aggressively by the Yankees, Dodgers and Red Sox and perhaps the Angels.
Rivera isn't a threat to pitch anywhere else, but the Yankees would like the closer, who made $15 million in 2012, to take a lower base salary with the chance to make that up in incentives.
Arizona standouts. Yankees farmhand Mark Montgomery, who had a 1.34 ERA in 31 games with Class A Tampa before posting a 1.88 ERA in 15 games for Double-A Trenton, stood out during the Arizona Fall League.
"I think he should be able to pitch in New York this year,'' one NL talent evaluator said of the 22-year-old righthander, the Yankees' 11th-round pick in 2011, whose fastball sits at 93 to 95 mph. "Great slider.''
Montgomery had a 2.61 ERA in nine games with 19 strikeouts and five walks. Outfield prospect Slade Heathcott (.388, a league-leading .494 on-base percentage) and infield prospect David Adams (.286, 388 OBP) also impressed scouts.
One AL scout said of the 22-year-old Heathcott, the Yankees' first-round pick in 2009: "He was really, really good, one of the best guys out here. He can run, he can hit, he can throw. He's a legit guy.''