Andy Martino

Andy Martino is SNY's MLB insider.

New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway looks on as his players warm up before a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies Wednesday, June 20, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) (David Zalubowski/AP)
New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway looks on as his players warm up before a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies Wednesday, June 20, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) (David Zalubowski/AP)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Following an embarrassing weekend in Miami, when the historically bad Marlins swept a Mets team that lacked any signs of life, the Mets front office knew it had only two choices: Fire manager Mickey Callaway immediately or say publicly that his job was safe.

GM Brodie Van Wagenen chose to do that latter, of course, even though it's very clear that the Mets do not view Callaway as their manager of the future, or particularly effective at his job. In a year-plus, Callaway has improved somewhat as a tactician and communicator, but clearly lacks the necessary presence or expertise.

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New York Mets Yoenis Cespedes (52) holds his broken bat as he looks at a video replay of his flyout to deep left field during the third inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals, Sunday, April 1, 2018, in New York. (AP)
New York Mets Yoenis Cespedes (52) holds his broken bat as he looks at a video replay of his flyout to deep left field during the third inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals, Sunday, April 1, 2018, in New York. (AP)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

In light of what Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen called a "non-baseball" injury in which Yoenis Cespedes fell into a hole on his ranch and fractured an ankle, can the Mets get out of the remainder of his contract?

The answer, according to agents and executives not connected to Cespedes or the Mets, is that it depends on the specifics of how he was injured, and whether they violate certain contract language.

Tags: Yoenis Cespedes, Andy Martino
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New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway smiles before the game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. (Jake Roth/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway smiles before the game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. (Jake Roth/USA TODAY Sports)

A little more than a week ago, we heard that Mickey Callaway's job was safe -- and word on Sunday evening, following an embarrassing sweep in Miami, was that nothing had changed yet.

Make no mistake, the subject of Callaway's job security won't go away unless the team starts to win, and quickly. But after Sunday's game, Mets higher-ups had not reached the point of firing their manager.

Having said that, the team believes that its roster is severely underperforming...

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Jim Duquette on Mets' woes 00:03:06
SNY Mets analyst Jim Duquette on what must change for the Mets to turn their season around

Baseball people know a dead team when they see one -- and here's a sampling of words offered via text from several veteran evaluators, executives and former players during Saturday's 2-0 loss to the historically bad Miami Marlins:

"Listless."

"No energy."

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Oct 9, 2018; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton (27) reacts during the sixth inning against the Boston Red Sox in game four of the 2018 ALDS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Oct 9, 2018; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton (27) reacts during the sixth inning against the Boston Red Sox in game four of the 2018 ALDS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Aaron Boone struggled during a Tuesday afternoon news conference to describe Giancarlo Stanton's shoulder injury, but the Yankees remain unconcerned about Stanton's health, and consider him to be progressing.

According to people familiar with the situation, Stanton's shoulder discomfort -- which the team called a shoulder strain shortly after Boone was unable to name the injury -- is not serious enough to prevent him from facing live pitching in Tampa.

If he continues in this vein with no setbacks, he should be in extended spring training games in a week or so, then would begin a rehab assignment.

Tags: Giancarlo Stanton, Miguel Andujar, Andy Martino
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Brodie Van Wagenen (Matthew Cerrone, MetsBlog.com)
Brodie Van Wagenen (Matthew Cerrone, MetsBlog.com)

As soon as Brodie Van Wagenen began work as the Mets' general manager last fall, he set about building roster depth and eliminating as many "ifs" as possible.

Now that several of those "ifs" have been answered one way or another, tough decisions await. This a consequence of some of the redundancies that Van Wagenen and his staff considered necessary in December and January, and one that they are happy to deal with. After all, tough roster decisions mean that at least some of that depth-building project bore fruit.

Consider Keon Broxton, whose roster status is now tenuous. The Mets traded for Broxton as a hedge against several ifs:

What if Jeff McNeil couldn't handle the outfield (turns out he can)? What if Juan Lagares, with his injury history wasn't healthy (turns out he is)?

Tags: Amed Rosario, Jason Vargas, Jeff McNeil, Juan Lagares, Todd Frazier, Yoenis Cespedes, Andy Martino
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 (Adam Hunger)
(Adam Hunger)

Major League Baseball's language on pitchers using pine tar to improve their grip could not be more clear. Rule 6.02 (c)(4) states that "a pitcher shall not ... apply a foreign substance of any kind to the ball."

In practice, the issue is far more nuanced.

Many pitchers use pine tar, sunscreen and other substances, and most hitters don't mind, because they prefer that pitchers are able to control the potentially deadly sphere in their hands. Pine tar helps them do that, so baseball's unwritten rules view it as acceptable. It is not seen as egregious as scuffing or doctoring a ball.

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Yankees trade deadline strategy 00:01:16
New York Yankees have had bad luck with injuries to starting pitching. SNY's Andy Martino says Yankees will target starters at the deadline

Injuries have decimated the Yankees at almost every position this season, but the front office expects to focus on acquiring starting pitching before the July 31 trade deadline, according to major league sources.

With Luis Severino and James Paxton on the injured list and Masahiro Tanaka's partially torn elbow ligament always on the team's mind, the Yankees view rotation help as the most pressing need. After the amateur draft ends on June 5, the team will turn its focus to that pursuit.

An acquisition could come either in the form of a trade or of a signing of free agent Dallas Keuchel. The Yankees are not willing to sign Keuchel before the draft, which would mean sacrificing a pick. But once the draft passes, they will view the former Cy Young winner as a viable short-term upgrade.

Tags: James Paxton, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, Andy Martino
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May 2, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard (34) pitches against the Cincinnati Reds during the first inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
May 2, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard (34) pitches against the Cincinnati Reds during the first inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Injuries have decimated the Yankees at almost every position this season, but the front office expects to focus on acquiring starting pitching before the July 31 trade deadline, according to major league sources.

With Luis Severino and James Paxton on the injured list and Masahiro Tanaka's partially torn elbow ligament always on the team's mind, the Yankees view rotation help as the most pressing need. After the amateur draft ends on June 5, the team will turn its focus to that pursuit.

An acquisition could come either in the form of a trade or of a signing of free agent Dallas Keuchel. The Yankees are not willing to sign Keuchel before the draft, which would mean sacrificing a pick. But once the draft passes, they will view the former Cy Young winner as a viable short-term upgrade.

Tags: James Paxton, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, Andy Martino
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Apr 26, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) looks on from the dugout after giving up five runs against the Milwaukee Brewers during the third inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Apr 26, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) looks on from the dugout after giving up five runs against the Milwaukee Brewers during the third inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

There are two ways to look at Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard's seasons, heading into what promise to be a pair of highly scrutinized starts for the Mets against Cincinnati: Analytically, which suggests that improvement is coming, and with your eyes, which inspires more concern, particularly for Syndergaard.

A simple glance at the Fangraphs pages for both makes a clear case that neither pitcher has been quite as bad as we think. Most of deGrom's peripherals are in line with career norms. His strikeout rate is 37 percent, which is better than his lifetime number of 29.2 percent. His xFIP (expected fielding independent pitching) is 2.91, compared to 3.02 for his career.

Additionally, opponents' batting average on balls in play (BABIP) against deGrom is .389, which suggests bad luck that will turn around. Part of that high BABIP could be a result of opponents' hard contact rate of 47.5 percent -- nearly double last year's 26.6 percent. Several analytically-inclined evaluators said this week that it's far too early in the season to draw any conclusions about a number like hard contact; the sample size is too small.

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Andy Martino
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New York Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud during spring training at First Data Field. (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud during spring training at First Data Field. (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The Mets surprised us with their timing in designating catcher Travis d'Arnaud for assignment on Sunday, but the d'Arnaud era was already essentially over in Queens.

For a while now, the team has seen Tomas Nido as its long-term answer at backup catcher. The Mets wanted to see what d'Arnaud had to offer after returning from Tommy John surgery, but did not expect to keep him beyond this season.

Tags: Noah Syndergaard, Travis d'Arnaud, Andy Martino
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Brodie Van Wagenen (Matthew Cerrone, MetsBlog.com)
Brodie Van Wagenen (Matthew Cerrone, MetsBlog.com)

Gio Gonzalez opted out of his minor league contract with the Yankees on Saturday because he is interested in continuing to be a starting pitcher, and the Yanks did not have room for him in their rotation.

On Thursday, he chose the Milwaukee Brewers over the Mets for similar reasons: The Brewers offered him a far better opportunity to start.

After talking with the Mets, Gonzalez agreed to terms on a one-year, $2 million deal -- that's $2.3 million over a full season -- with Milwaukee. The contact includes $2 million in additional performance bonuses.

Tags: Jason Vargas, Seth Lugo, Andy Martino
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Wheeler on mentality VS NL East 00:00:37
New York Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler talks about his mentality whenever he goes out to face an NL East rival.

A scout who has watched Zack Wheeler for many years sat in the stands at Citi Field on Tuesday night and offered a blunt assessment.

"This is the best I've ever seen him," said the scout, whose team has tried to trade for Wheeler in years past. "Hands down."

Perhaps even more exciting for the Mets, on a night that Wheeler struck out 11 batters in seven scoreless innings in an 8-0 win over Philadelphia, is that the pitcher himself didn't agree. Though pleased with his performance, Wheeler still doesn't think he has his best stuff.

Tags: Zack Wheeler, Andy Martino
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Mar 23, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees pitcher Gio Gonzalez (43) throws a pitch during the sixth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Mar 23, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees pitcher Gio Gonzalez (43) throws a pitch during the sixth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

The market for Gio Gonzalez will be more robust than it was in the winter, with the Milwaukee Brewers now interested in bringing the lefty back, according to major league sources.

The Mets, who were only minimally interested in Gonzalez during the offseason, are more intrigued now. Gonzalez is seen internally as a more likely addition than free agent starter Dallas Keuchel.

The Mets sent a scout to watch Gonzalez's final start for the Yankees' Triple-A affiliate on Friday, but the game was rained out. Gonzalez exercised an opt-out clause in his contract the following day.

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Gelbs talks deGrom injury 00:01:14
SNY's Steve Gelbs reports on the elbow discomfort that Jacob deGrom is experiencing and that he will return to NY for an MRI

The following is a statement sent via text from Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen. It echoes what we previously reported from other sources -- that the Mets are not particularly concerned about the injury.

"Jacob dealt with sickness over the last week and hasn't been able to conduct his normal routine between starts. As a result, he has been scratched from tomorrow's game. Additionally, Jacob experienced some mild soreness in his throwing arm over the last 24 hours. His arm felt significantly better following treatment with our health and performance staff today. Even so, Jacob will be evaluated by our medical team in New York on Monday in the abundance of caution.

"We will be placing Jacob on the IL retroactively to April 16th enabling him to return on Friday the 26th when we begin our series with the Brewers. We will make a corresponding roster move prior to tomorrow's game."

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Mar 23, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees pitcher Gio Gonzalez (43) throws a pitch during the sixth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Mar 23, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees pitcher Gio Gonzalez (43) throws a pitch during the sixth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

Gio Gonzalez appears increasingly likely to opt out of his minor league deal with the Yankees on Saturday, according to multiple major league sources. If he does, the Mets could be more of a fit than they were in the offseason.

On Friday, Gonzalez switched agents from Scott Boras to CAA. The move was intended to set him up with representation that he felt more comfortable with, in the event that he would become a free agent again.

If Gonzalez requests his release from the Yankees on Saturday, per a clause in his contract, the team will have 48 hours to add him to the major league roster. With Domingo German pitching capably and CC Sabathia back from the injured list, there is no obvious spot for Gonzalez -- though the Yankees could promote him and either piggyback him with German or put in him their rotation, in order to retain control.

Tags: CC Sabathia, Domingo German, Jason Vargas, Andy Martino
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Apr 12, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher J.A. Happ (34) pitches against the Chicago White Sox during the second inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Apr 12, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher J.A. Happ (34) pitches against the Chicago White Sox during the second inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

Ever since he broke in with the Phillies a decade ago, J.A. Happ has relied on rhythm and precision to carve up hitters. During his best seasons, Happ's results have outpaced the quality of his actual repertoire.

In order to achieve this, Happ relies on the subtleties of confidence and controlled aggression. When he's on, he works quickly, pounds the edges of the strike zone, and tricks himself into being unafraid that the ball might drift out over the middle of the strike zone and end up crushed over an outfield wall. He's one of those players who's good because he believes he's good.

So far this season, Happ has not been able to find that mindset. He is overthinking between pitches, and finding the ideal pace elusive. He is tentative and cerebral -- two qualities that undermine him when they emerge too strongly.

Tags: J.A. Happ, James Paxton, Andy Martino
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Tipping Pitches or Speed Issues? 00:01:37
On the Shea Anything podcast, Doug Williams and Andy Martino discuss Jacob deGrom's recent struggles, tipping pitches, and speed variances.

Our first order of business on Monday morning was to find out if Jacob deGrom is tipping pitches. In each of his past two starts, opposing hitters have looked oddly comfortable -- and since deGrom is the best pitcher in baseball, this activates our natural curiosity.

On the national telecast during Sunday night's loss in Atlanta, analyst Alex Rodriguez appeared to be hinting that deGrom was tipping, when he said after Josh Donaldson's fifth inning home run that it was "Almost like he knew what was coming -- 109 (exit) velocity on 2-2 fastball in is way too good off a guy like deGrom."

Checking with several veteran evaluators Monday, none saw any signs of tipping -- although one noted that A-Rod, along with Carlos Beltran, Adrian Beltre, Alex Cora and Shawn Green, was among the best in his generation at spotting it. It's possible that he noticed something that escaped other scouts, and even the Braves.

But that aside, tipping doesn't appear to be the issue.

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Andy Martino
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New York Yankees' Miguel Andujar hits a fielder's choice ground ball in the first inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles. (AP)
New York Yankees' Miguel Andujar hits a fielder's choice ground ball in the first inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles. (AP)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Miguel Andujar swung a bat on Friday for the first time since doctors diagnosed him with a torn labrum earlier this month, and declared himself a fully healthy hitter. The problem with his injured shoulder is that it prevents him from making the throw from third to first base.

Here's a suggestion for the terribly depleted Yankees: Throw a band-aid on this makeshift lineup, and use Andujar as a DH or first baseman in the short term in order to get his bat back.

Tags: Giancarlo Stanton, Jacoby Ellsbury, Miguel Andujar, troy-tulowitzki, Andy Martino
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Apr 10, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone (17) watches the game from the dugout against the Houston Astros during the eighth inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports  (Erik Williams)
Apr 10, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone (17) watches the game from the dugout against the Houston Astros during the eighth inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports (Erik Williams)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

If any Yankee fans were looking for Aaron Boone to call out his team or turn over a food table after the Houston Astros completed their sweep on Wednesday, they were once again disappointed by the even-tempered manager.

And as unsatisfying as it might be for a bloodthirsty public, Boone was exactly right, both in style and substance, when he said the following:

Tags: Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances, Domingo German, James Paxton, Luis Severino, Luke Voit, Miguel Andujar, Andy Martino
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Apr 2, 2019; Miami, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jason Vargas (right) talks with catcher Wilson Ramos (left) near the pitchers mound in the fifth inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports  (Steve Mitchell)
Apr 2, 2019; Miami, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jason Vargas (right) talks with catcher Wilson Ramos (left) near the pitchers mound in the fifth inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

Every time Jason Vargas steps on a mound, Dallas Keuchel becomes more appealing to the Mets.

How could that not be the case? 

Even when Vargas is only pitching for an inning, as he did in the ninth of Tuesday's 14-8 loss to Minnesota, his inability to fool hitters is evident.

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Jason Vargas, Zack Wheeler, Andy Martino
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If you've followed the Mets over the past decade or so, you're familiar with an identity common to nearly every season: The team features a world-class rotation and a lineup that doesn't score enough to support it.

It's a pattern best personified by that famous game in 2015, when Eric Campbell and John Mayberry Jr. comprised the middle of the lineup while both batting around .170. But the roster has felt this way at least since the front office decided to build around arms like Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Zack Wheeler and Noah Syndergaard.

Watching these Mets through spring training and the first nine games of the regular season, you sense an unexpected inversion of that formula. The deep lineup will score runs all year, and the team's chances at contending for a championship will hinge on whether it is able to pitch enough...

Tags: Edwin Diaz, Jacob deGrom, Jeff McNeil, Jeurys Familia, Matt Harvey, Michael Conforto, Noah Syndergaard, Pete Alonso, Robinson Cano, Steven Matz, Wilson Ramos, Zack Wheeler, Andy Martino
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New York Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres scores a run on a hit by third baseman DJ LeMahieu against the Baltimore Orioles during the fourth inning at Yankee Stadium. (Gregory Fisher/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres scores a run on a hit by third baseman DJ LeMahieu against the Baltimore Orioles during the fourth inning at Yankee Stadium. (Gregory Fisher/USA TODAY Sports)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

As the week dragged on and the carnage mounted, it was easy to look around the field during a Yankees game and lament all the key players who were missing:

Giancarlo Stanton. Aaron Hicks. Miguel Andujar. Luis Severino. Dellin Betances. Not to mention the OG injured Yankee of 2019, Didi Gregorius.

Those stars are missed terribly, and the loss of Troy Tulowitzki so early in his comeback doesn't help, either. But it's also easy to forget that several highly talented players remain on the field and must now step up to save the Yankees season. Last year's rookie sensation Gleyber Torres is not least among them.

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner, Didi Gregorius, Giancarlo Stanton, Gleyber Torres, Tyler Wade, Andy Martino
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Oct 16, 2018; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel (60) walks off the mound after the third out in the first inning of game three of the 2018 ALCS playoff baseball series against the Boston Red Sox at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports (Troy Taormina)
Oct 16, 2018; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel (60) walks off the mound after the third out in the first inning of game three of the 2018 ALCS playoff baseball series against the Boston Red Sox at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports (Troy Taormina)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The Mets have enjoyed a dynamic start to their season, but it's not Brodie Van Wagenen's style to stop making calls and thinking of ways to tinker with his roster.

To that end, the team is still in continued contact with free agent pitcher Dallas Keuchel, multiple major league sources said on Wednesday.

Earlier this week, the Athletic reported on that contact and labeled it "due diligence." That has been our understanding, too -- and sources insisted that it remained the case. But at the same time, we keep hearing noise in the industry connecting the Mets to the former Cy Young Award winner.

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Apr 2, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman (54) reacts after giving up a run against the Detroit Tigers in the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Apr 2, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman (54) reacts after giving up a run against the Detroit Tigers in the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

When a power pitcher begins to lose his fastball, he first tells the world that everything is fine.

The pitcher's manager and teammates will echo that too, because what can you say in the face of apparently diminishing stuff other than to offer encouragement?

Tags: Aaron Judge, Aroldis Chapman, Andy Martino
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Mar 25, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; New York Yankees left fielder Giancarlo Stanton (27) looks on from the dugout against the Washington Nationals before the game at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Mills)
Mar 25, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; New York Yankees left fielder Giancarlo Stanton (27) looks on from the dugout against the Washington Nationals before the game at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Mills)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

First, let's state the obvious: You can't drop a series to the 2019 Orioles. Throw away all your cliches about how it's a long season with many ups and downs, and any major league team can beat another on any given day, blah blah blah.

Those justifications don't apply here because the Orioles are truly not a major league team. Last year, they lost 115 games, and that was with contributions from Manny Machado, Zack Britton and Adam Jones. All of those players are gone, as is iconic manager Buck Showalter.

Tags: Aroldis Chapman, Giancarlo Stanton, Andy Martino
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Mar 28, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Adam Ottavino (0) pitches against the Baltimore Orioles during the sixth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Mar 28, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Adam Ottavino (0) pitches against the Baltimore Orioles during the sixth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Early on Thursday, Aaron Boone and pitching coach Larry Rothschild checked in with their relievers, telling them how they might be used that afternoon against the Orioles.

The message for Adam Ottavino was to be ready for the sixth or seventh inning. The Yankees call these "lanes," a term the team uses for the basic game situation and part of an opposing lineup that best suits each reliever's repertoire. In a well-executed game, Boone is able to utilize each reliever in his ideal lane.

Tags: Aroldis Chapman, Chad Green, Dellin Betances, Andy Martino
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Mar 9, 2019; Fort Myers, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler (45) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Boston Red Sox the spring training game at JetBlue Park. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Mar 9, 2019; Fort Myers, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler (45) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Boston Red Sox the spring training game at JetBlue Park. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

Now that the Mets have announced Jacob deGrom's contract extension, their next move should be to engage Zack Wheeler and prevent him from hitting the open market at the end of the season.

The front office was focused on deGrom negotiations through spring training, and did not engage in substantive talks with any of its other extension candidates, be it Wheeler, Noah Syndergaard, Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, Pete Alonso or Amed Rosario.

With deGrom done, the next move is to pivot to internal discussions about which these other players represent the best gambles. Because of timing and production, Wheeler should be first up. He is the only one of the group in his final year of team control.

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Zack Wheeler, Andy Martino
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New York Mets catcher Devin Mesoraco plays during a spring training game against the Atlanta Braves at First Data Field. (Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Mets catcher Devin Mesoraco plays during a spring training game against the Atlanta Braves at First Data Field. (Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

In a somewhat unique situation, catcher Devin Mesoraco plans to retire because the Mets refuse to grant his release.

The Mets have the right to expect Mesoraco will honor his minor league contract, but agent B.B. Abbott says his client would prefer a situation in which he has a better chance to play in the majors.

After falling behind Tomas Nido in spring training, particularly on defense, Mesoraco slid to fifth on the depth chart, behind Wilson Ramos, Travis d'Arnaud, Nido and the newly-signed Rene Rivera.

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Rene Rivera, Travis d'Arnaud, Wilson Ramos, Zack Wheeler, Andy Martino
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Mar 7, 2019; West Palm Beach, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) looks on from the dugout during a spring training game against the Washington Nationals at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Mar 7, 2019; West Palm Beach, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) looks on from the dugout during a spring training game against the Washington Nationals at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

If you're reading this website, you know by now Jacob deGrom set an Opening Day deadline for contract extension talks, and Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen is on board with it.

That deadline is looming, but deGrom's team at CAA set the it more as a statement concept than an exact time.

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Andy Martino
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Syndergaard on deGrom's future 00:01:38
Noah Syndergaard talks about the future of Jacob deGrom, hoping he remains a Met long-term, and also addresses the team's travel schedule

Sure, it was mildly annoying last winter when Noah Syndergaard posted a few silly tweets about how SNY was "trying to trade him" because of our reporting on the Mets' efforts to do so. And now we can probably add the mayor of Syracuse and a few Mets officials to the list of those with small complaints.

But you know what? The inclination here is to give Syndergaard credit for expressing honest opinions, whether or not we agree with those views.

He has thrown off clichés and thrust himself into an arena where most athletes and PR departments are loathe to go. He is giving us a glimpse of how he feels, and that's much rarer than it should be...

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Andy Martino
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On the morning after Derek Jeter announced his retirement during spring training of 2014, I happened to be in Angels camp in Tempe, Arizona. At that time, a manufactured storyline was going around that Mike Trout could replace Jeter as the "face of baseball."

As Trout fielded questions about this topic, he was affable, engaging -- and clearly uninterested in being anything other than a great ballplayer for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He was more goofy younger brother than international celebrity, and that seemed fine.

The news on Tuesday morning of Trout's 12-year, $430 million agreement with the Angels, first reported by ESPN, closed off any remaining chance that Trout can ever rise above niche recognition from hardcore baseball fans.

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On the morning after Derek Jeter announced his retirement during spring training of 2014, I happened to be in Angels camp in Tempe, Arizona. At that time, a manufactured storyline was going around that Mike Trout could replace Jeter as the "face of baseball."

As Trout fielded questions about this topic, he was affable, engaging -- and clearly uninterested in being anything other than a great ballplayer for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He was more goofy younger brother than international celebrity, and that seemed fine.

The news on Tuesday morning of Trout's 12-year, $430 million agreement with the Angels, first reported by ESPN, closed off any remaining chance that Trout can ever rise above niche recognition from hardcore baseball fans.

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Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Gio Gonzalez throws a pitch in the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Miller Park. (Benny Sieu/USA TODAY Sports)
Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Gio Gonzalez throws a pitch in the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Miller Park. (Benny Sieu/USA TODAY Sports)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The Yankees needed starting pitching depth, especially after learning last week they will be without injured ace Luis Severino until at least May.

And while we can file the signing of veteran lefty Gio Gonzalez into the "why not" category, we can also look at recent history and see it as unlikely that Gonzalez will be much help.

Tags: Luis Severino, Andy Martino
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Sep 26, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) reacts after the top of the eighth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Sep 26, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) reacts after the top of the eighth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Negotiations between the Mets and ace Jacob deGrom are ongoing, with optimism in some corners that the sides will reach a deal by next Thursday's self-imposed deadline.

As of Monday morning, an agreement was not imminent, but the Mets and deGrom's reps continued to hammer away behind the scenes. SNY has previously reported that deGrom is seeking a deal of approximately five years and $150 million; it is not known what type of deal the sides are currently discussing.

The tone of this negotiation has shifted a few times over the course of the winter, which is probably to be expected for a potential deal this large. At the winter meetings in December, deGrom's reps at CAA left a meeting with Mets higher-ups expecting an offer.

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Andy Martino
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Feb 28, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees pitcher Adam Ottavino (0) throws a pitch during the third inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Feb 28, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees pitcher Adam Ottavino (0) throws a pitch during the third inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | TwitterA bullpen loaded with high-end relievers is one of the Yankees' great strengths. But having so many relief aces capable of pitching the eighth or ninth inning can also be awkward.

Traditionally, relievers appreciate two things from a manager: Knowing which inning they will pitch, and having an opportunity to collect saves and holds, the stats that earn money in arbitration and free agency.

With the Yankees, it will be difficult for Aaron Boone to fully provide either, because of the depth that he has, and the flexibility expected of it.

Tags: Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances, Andy Martino
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Sep 30, 2018; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles right fielder Adam Jones (10) runs off the field during the eighth inning against the Houston Astros at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports (Tommy Gilligan)
Sep 30, 2018; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles right fielder Adam Jones (10) runs off the field during the eighth inning against the Houston Astros at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports (Tommy Gilligan)

In April 2017, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's debut, MLB Network aired a roundtable discussion about diversity in the game.

Hosted by Harold Reynolds, the panel included Josh Harrison of the Pirates, Chris Archer of the Rays, Mychal Givens of the Orioles and Marcus Stroman of the Blue Jays. But the highest-profile star at the table was Baltimore outfielder Adam Jones.

Less than two years later, Jones is unemployed. His free agency has stretched deep into spring training, and his prospects are uncertain...

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Sep 30, 2018; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles right fielder Adam Jones (10) runs off the field during the eighth inning against the Houston Astros at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports (Tommy Gilligan)
Sep 30, 2018; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles right fielder Adam Jones (10) runs off the field during the eighth inning against the Houston Astros at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports (Tommy Gilligan)

In April 2017, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's debut, MLB Network aired a roundtable discussion about diversity in the game.

Hosted by Harold Reynolds, the panel included Josh Harrison of the Pirates, Chris Archer of the Rays, Mychal Givens of the Orioles and Marcus Stroman of the Blue Jays. But the highest-profile star at the table was Baltimore outfielder Adam Jones.

Less than two years later, Jones is unemployed. His free agency has stretched deep into spring training, and his prospects are uncertain...

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Andy takes on Chris Christie 00:01:47
Former Gov. Chris Christie takes on SNY's Andy Martino in BNNY's Rapid Fire and boy was it a battle.

Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie certainly knows his U.S. presidents, but SNY's MLB Insider Andy Martino does as well as he proved when the two matched wits on Baseball Night in New York.

Watch Christie and Martino go toe-to-toe in Rapid Fire.

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Bryce Harper chooses Phillies 00:01:00
The New York Yankees weren't all-in on Bryce Harper and now that he's in Philly, the Yankees can focus on keeping its young stars.

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Late on Wednesday night, as the Phillies negotiated with Bryce Harper, the sides remained far apart on money, according to major league sources. Harper wanted to top Giancarlo Stanton's record $325 million contract, and the Phils were unsure if they even wanted to exceed $300 million.

On Thursday, the team stepped up and agreed with Harper on a 13-year, $330 million deal. A person with direct knowledge of negotiations said that the Phils were nowhere near that number early in the day.

The record-setting deal has implications for both New York teams. The Yankees, true to what SNY first reported way back in October, never engaged with Harper. Despite years of innuendo connecting Harper to the Bombers, the baseball operations department remained totally uninterested this winter. 

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Bryce Harper
Bryce Harper

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Late on Wednesday night, as the Phillies negotiated with Bryce Harper, the sides remained far apart on money, according to major league sources. Harper wanted to top Giancarlo Stanton's record $325 million contract, and the Phils were unsure if they even wanted to exceed $300 million.

On Thursday, the team stepped up and agreed with Harper on a 13-year, $330 million deal. A person with direct knowledge of negotiations said that the Phils were nowhere near that number early in the day.

The record-setting deal has implications for both New York teams. The Yankees, true to what SNY first reported way back in October, never engaged with Harper. Despite years of innuendo connecting Harper to the Bombers, the baseball operations department remained totally uninterested this winter. 

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Big picture for Hicks' extension 00:00:42
The Yankees signed Aaron Hicks to a 7-year extension, Andy Martino takes a look at what the deal means for the Yankees long term.

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | All through the offseason, as we tracked Bryce Harper and Manny Machado's free agencies, the Yankees' couldn't have been more clear about their current philosophy. It's just that many in the public and fan base didn't want to believe it.

Now, with Aaron Hicks joining Luis Severino as valued members of the core locked into relatively team-friendly extensions, the Yanks are actively executing the plan that they decided months ago to pursue. After years spent building a team of young, affordable players, Brian Cashman and his staff is betting on that group, rather than on big-ticket free agents.

And they're not done yet. According to major league sources, the Yankees are also interested in finding common ground with Didi Gregorius and Dellin Betances. The team is not close to an agreement with either player, but sees value in them, both in terms of production and clubhouse presence, and will continue to explore agreements...

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Dellin Betances, Didi Gregorius, Luis Severino, Andy Martino
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Jed Lowrie (Mark Flamini, SNY)
Jed Lowrie (Mark Flamini, SNY)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Mickey Callaway was flawless in his execution of the official message on Friday, repeating several times that Jed Lowrie's injury was "not serious." That was the line, and he was sticking to it.

The manager offered little additional information; we know only that the MRI on Lowrie's left knee showed no structural damage, the Mets are terming the injury "soreness behind his left knee," and Lowrie hasn't yet spoken publicly since returning to New York.

Tags: Jed Lowrie, Andy Martino
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Update on deGrom contract talks 00:01:27
Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen joined Steve Gelbs at Duffys for Mets Hot Stove and gave an update on talks for a Jacob deGrom extension.

PORT ST. LUCIE - Jacob deGrom's new representative at CAA, Jeff Berry, was in Mets camp on Thursday, part of the usual rounds that agents make this time of year. Berry dined with a different client, Tim Tebow, on Wednesday, and surely checked in with other players.

But with deGrom's opening day deadline looming, and his threat to self-impose an innings limit hanging in the air, Berry's visit generated significantly more interest than usual.

Still, the Mets and deGrom are no closer to reaching an agreement on the contract extension that the pitcher wants, and that Brodie Van Wagenen wants to give him...

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Andy Martino
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Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Manny Machado hits an RBI double during the ninth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. (Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports)
Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Manny Machado hits an RBI double during the ninth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. (Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | PORT ST. LUCIE - In recent days, talk of Manny Machado and the Yankees would not quite die, but that had nothing to do with the team.

Right up until the end, when Machado joined the San Diego Padres on the megadeal he had always sought, some in the player's camp were urging him to consider a shorter-term deal with the Yankees. But word all throughout Machado's free agency was that he would chase the highest offer, and that's what ended up happening.

Here is the full history of the Yanks' very half-hearted pursuit of Machado: As reported last fall, the team came out of its annual pro scouting meetings lukewarm on the idea of signing him, and all but ruling out pursuing Bryce Harper...

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Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

On Oct. 8, 2018, during the terrible span of 10 minutes or so between a playoff loss and a grilling from reporters, Brian Cashman offered Aaron Boone an out.

"You can tell them about Britton," said the GM, whose typical approach is to preemptively reveal stories that are likely to leak anyway.

Tags: Gary Sanchez, Gleyber Torres, J.A. Happ, Luis Severino, Andy Martino
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Didi Gregorius (18) Aaron Judge (99) Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports (Ken Blaze)
Didi Gregorius (18) Aaron Judge (99) Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports (Ken Blaze)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

TAMPA, Fla. -- It was a day of transition for the Yankees at Steinbrenner Field on Saturday, with glimpses of both the past and future -- and questions about whether the Yankees can hold their new core together.

The marquee event was an afternoon news conference in which CC Sabathia announced his plans to retire at the end of the season. Sabathia was a key member of the Yankees' most recent championship team, and a link between the Derek Jeter/Andy Pettitte/Jorge Posada era and the Aaron Judge/Gary Sanchez/Luis Severino group...

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, CC Sabathia, Didi Gregorius, Gary Sanchez, Luis Severino, Andy Martino
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Sanchez eyeing March 1 return 00:01:27
New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez has been recovering from shoulder surgery. Manager Aaron Boone said he expects him back by March 1.

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

TAMPA, Fla. - A few minutes after one o'clock on Thursday afternoon, a contingent of Yankee bigwigs gathered behind the cage to watch Gary Sanchez's first batting practice of Spring Training.

As they stood there in the sun, Brian Cashman, Aaron Boone, and assistant GM Tim Naehring shared a common thought: Despite Sanchez's terrible season in 2018, the Yankees still truly believe he will be their catcher of the future, and an All-Star caliber hitter for many years. Spring is a time for easy platitudes and flattery, but this one is different. The Yankees really do still think highly of Sanchez.

Tags: Gary Sanchez, Andy Martino
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Sabathia to announce last season 00:00:32
SNY MLB insider Andy Martino is told New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia will announce on Saturday that 2019 will be his farewell tour.

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Yankees are preparing for a news conference on Saturday at George M. Steinbrenner Field to announce that CC Sabathia will retire after the season, as SNY was first to report.

Sabathia's family is expected to attend, and the pitcher will have the chance to recap his career, while looking ahead to one more run at a championship. That is sure to be a well-deserved, feel-good day for the longtime Yankee and one-time ace. But the team enters Spring Training with reminders that relying on late-career Sabathia as part of the starting rotation comes with heavy risk.

Tags: CC Sabathia, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Andy Martino
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Not likely Machado a Yankee 00:00:58
From New York Yankees camp, SNY baseball insider Andy Martino reports Manny Machado is debating signing for less years which is good for NY.

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Padres have shown a willingness to commit significant money to Manny Machado, perhaps more than any other club to date, according to major league sources.

But as Machado continues to weigh his options, some in his camp are encouraging him to consider taking a shorter-term deal with the Yankees.

With the Padres, Phillies and White Sox all pursuing Machado aggressively, the expectation all along has been that he will take the highest offer. But the Yankees are highly unlikely to offer more than the other three teams -- especially the Phillies.

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