In five weeks and six days, the Yankees will host the Tigers for their Grapefruit League opener in Tampa. Less than six weeks until real live baseball is taking place. I can’t wait. Here are some bits of news to check out in the meantime.
Yankees among six finalists for Darvish
According to Jeff Wilson, the Yankees are one of five teams free agent right-hander Yu Darvish is still considering. It’s the Yankees, Astros, Cubs, Rangers, and Twins. On Twitter, Darvish said he is also considering a sixth team, so that’s fun. He’s been setting the record straight on rumors all offseason. My guess is the Dodgers are that sixth team, but who knows. Maybe it’s a surprise team like the Mariners or Angels.
The Yankees have been connected to Darvish for a few weeks now — Darvish confirmed they’ve made an offer — but unless he takes a deep discount, they won’t be able to fit him under the $197M luxury tax threshold. They have about $22M to spend, though the team needs to set some money aside for midseason additions. Adding Darvish would mean a Brett Gardner or David Robertson trade to free up payroll space, and even that would mean no money for anything else, like an infielder. I don’t see this happening. The Yankees are interested in Darvish because he’s really good, but realistically, the math doesn’t work.
Yankees willing to eat half Ellsbury’s contract
The Yankees are willing to eat half the $68.5M remaining on Jacoby Ellsbury’s contract to facilitate a trade, reports Jon Heyman. That would turn Ellsbury into an $11.4167M a year player. Do you think Ellsbury would get three years and $34.25M as a free agent this offseason? I mean, maybe, but probably not. The market is moving slow enough as it is, and the younger and better Jay Bruce just signed for three years and $39M. So yeah.
It is no secret the Yankees would love to unload Ellsbury, and reportedly he might be willing to waive his no-trade clause to join certain teams. Eating half his remaining contract probably won’t cut it. The Yankees will have to eat more. But, this is only a first offer. Start by saying you’ll eat half, then adjust as necessary. Don’t start out with your best offer because who knows, some team actually might take Ellsbury at $11.4167M a year. I wouldn’t hold my breath though.
Extended netting details announced
Back in October the Yankees announced they will “significantly” extend the protective netting at Yankee Stadium — it only took a little girl being hospitalized after taking a Todd Frazier line drive to the head — and earlier this week, the team announced the extent of the new netting. From the press release:
Netting attached to the roofs of both dugouts will extend to a height of nine feet above each dugout during games. The bottom portions of these nets will be upwardly retractable by up to three feet, allowing fans the opportunity to fully interact with players during batting practice when the protective batting cage is being employed around the home plate area of the field. Prior to the start of the game, the nets will connect to the dugout roof, where they will remain in place throughout the game.
Beyond the dugout, netting will extend to Section 011 on the first-base side and Section 029 on the third-base side. The netting in these locations will rise to eight feet above the playing field (approximately 5.5 feet above the wall surrounding the field of play), and will remain in place from the start of batting practice through the end of the game. These sections of netting may be removed for soccer matches or other events held at Yankee Stadium.
Dyneema fiber Ultra Cross 1.2 mm-wide knotless netting — the same as was used for Yankee Stadium backstop netting in 2017 — will be utilized for all netting in the 2018 season. Additionally, all netting will be “field green” in color to minimize its visible impact for those in attendance and viewers watching on television.
Here’s part of the image the team sent showing the extended netting:
The Yankees say the extended netting will be in place for the start of the regular season. Also, the netting has been extended at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa as well. That’ll be ready for the start of Spring Training. Good news. Extended netting has been long overdue around the league. Now, what about netting to protect fans in the bleachers from Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge?