Andy Martino

Andy Martino is SNY's MLB insider.

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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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 | Hungry for another Manny Machado update? Not really? Well, too bad -- we have one.

As Yankees players trickle into spring training, the front office continues to check in with Machado's camp, according to major league sources. The Yankees are not the frontrunners for Machado -- both the White Sox and Phillies have been more aggressive -- but they are not out on him, either.

Most likely, this an example of Yankees GM Brian Cashman's free agency playbook. He calls, he waits, he lies in the weeds to see if there is ever a moment where it makes sense to pounce...

Tags: Miguel Andujar, Andy Martino
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New York Yankees' Miguel Andujar is congratulated after scoring on a ground out Greg Bird during the third inning of a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays, Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (AP)
New York Yankees' Miguel Andujar is congratulated after scoring on a ground out Greg Bird during the third inning of a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays, Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (AP)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

At the winter meetings in December, we reported the Mets, Yankees and Marlins were talking about a three-way trade involving Noah Syndergaard and J.T. Realmuto. At the time, we heard that Miami asked about Gary Sanchez or Miguel Andujar.

Well, get this. Today we learned, according to a person with direct knowledge of the talks, the exact proposal that Miami made: It was Realmuto to the Mets, Syndergaard to the Yankees, and Andujar plus Sanchez to the Marlins. Joel Sherman of The Post tweeted similar information a few minutes ago.

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, Gary Sanchez, Michael Conforto, Miguel Andujar, Noah Syndergaard, Andy Martino
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Sep 19, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto (11) rounds the bases after hitting a walk off solo home run in the tenth inning against the New York Mets at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Sep 19, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto (11) rounds the bases after hitting a walk off solo home run in the tenth inning against the New York Mets at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The Marlins can't be serious with this, can they?

That was the vibe coming out of the Mets' suite at the Delano hotel in Las Vegas in December, when they were trying their best to pry star catcher J.T. Realmuto away from a division rival.

When Miami, according to major league sources, indicated an asking price of one or two of Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo and Amed Rosario plus multiple prospects, the Mets front office was sure that price would come down before long.

Tags: Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Steven Matz, Andy Martino
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Jun 5, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; General view of Citi Field as the sun sets during the fifth inning between the New York Mets and the Baltimore Orioles. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Jun 5, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; General view of Citi Field as the sun sets during the fifth inning between the New York Mets and the Baltimore Orioles. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | While the Players' Association has proposed a universal designated hitter for the coming season, multiple high-ranking major league sources do not believe that it has a chance to be implemented that quickly.

"It's hard to tell teams in two weeks they have to construct their team with a DH," said one source.

The union has advocated for a universal DH for decades. According to sources, several N.L. owners remain strongly opposed, and the group is not close to consensus on the issue. In order for the players to get their way on this, they would have to offer a significant concession...

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 (Adam Hunger)
(Adam Hunger)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | With all the talk about a potential contract extension for Jacob deGrom, it has been easy to forget that another Mets pitcher, Zack Wheeler, is even closer to free agency.

DeGrom is under team control through the 2020 season, but Wheeler is set to enter the open market this fall. And while the Mets are actively discussing whether to make a long-term offer to deGrom, it is simply too early to say if they will do the same with Wheeler, according to major league sources.

Wheeler, 28, missed two seasons after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2015, but emerged as dominant in the second half of last season. In his final 17 starts, he posted a 2.30 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP. He enters the season as the Mets' most reliable starter, after Cy Young Award winner deGrom...

Tags: Zack Wheeler, Andy Martino
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No big deal for deGrom? 00:01:23
SNY Baseball insider Andy Martino discusses whether Jacob deGrom will sign a contract extension with the Mets.

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | Jacob deGrom has not yet set any deadlines for extension talks with the Mets, and he has not yet threatened to limit the team's usage of him. But with his side disappointed with the lack of progress, it's worth looking at the CAA playbook in dealing with similar situations.

In February of 2012, Ryan Zimmerman's agent Brodie Van Wagenen set a deadline for extension talks with the Washington Nationals.

With two years remaining before free agency, Zimmerman did not want contract talks to distract his team during spring training or the season, so Van Wagenen told the Nats that he would not talk after the beginning of spring training. If the sides had not agreed in that time frame -- and they ultimately did during the weekend of the deadline -- Zimmerman would likely have tested free agency after the 2013 season...

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Andy Martino
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Mar 24, 2018; Lakeland, FL, USA; General view of the field as the Philadelphia Phillies take batting practice prior to the game against the Detroit Tigers at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports (Douglas DeFelice)
Mar 24, 2018; Lakeland, FL, USA; General view of the field as the Philadelphia Phillies take batting practice prior to the game against the Detroit Tigers at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports (Douglas DeFelice)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | With less than two weeks before pitchers and catchers report to spring training, dozens and dozens of quality major league free agents remain jobless.

But there are no plans for the Players' Association to repeat last year's experiment with a training camp for unsigned players, according to major league sources.

Last year, approximately 30 major league players, including recognizable names like Mike Napoli, Neil Walker and Tyler Clippard, attended what came to be known as "Camp Jobless" in Bradenton, Fla. The idea was to keep in shape and be ready when a team called late into spring training.

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Mar 24, 2018; Lakeland, FL, USA; General view of the field as the Philadelphia Phillies take batting practice prior to the game against the Detroit Tigers at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports (Douglas DeFelice)
Mar 24, 2018; Lakeland, FL, USA; General view of the field as the Philadelphia Phillies take batting practice prior to the game against the Detroit Tigers at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports (Douglas DeFelice)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | With less than two weeks before pitchers and catchers report to spring training, dozens and dozens of quality major league free agents remain jobless.

But there are no plans for the Players' Association to repeat last year's experiment with a training camp for unsigned players, according to major league sources.

Last year, approximately 30 major league players, including recognizable names like Mike Napoli, Neil Walker and Tyler Clippard, attended what came to be known as "Camp Jobless" in Bradenton, Fla. The idea was to keep in shape and be ready when a team called late into spring training.

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Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The slow free agent market has left many quality players available in February, and the Yankees and Mets remain engaged with agents, looking for ways to improve.

While both teams have likely completed the bulk of their offseason work and are happy with their respective rosters, both continue to monitor the market for starting pitching depth.

Neither Brian Cashman nor Brodie Van Wagenen is wired to sit back and disengage, when potential upgrades remain available.

Tags: CC Sabathia, Domingo German, Jason Vargas, Luis Cessa, Seth Lugo, Travis d'Arnaud, Andy Martino
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Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The slow free agent market has left many quality players available in February, and the Yankees and Mets remain engaged with agents, looking for ways to improve.

While both teams have likely completed the bulk of their offseason work and are happy with their respective rosters, both continue to monitor the market for starting pitching depth.

Neither Brian Cashman nor Brodie Van Wagenen is wired to sit back and disengage, when potential upgrades remain available.

Tags: CC Sabathia, Domingo German, Jason Vargas, Luis Cessa, Seth Lugo, Travis d'Arnaud, Andy Martino
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Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The centennial of Jackie Robinson's birth presents the opportunity to honor one of the 20th century's great civil rights pioneers, and celebrate baseball's long-ago role in that struggle.

But it should also be an occasion to remember Robinson for what he really was: a thoughtful, nuanced and righteously angry public figure whose ideas were sharp enough that they would still be highly controversial today, if people took the time to consider them.

One of the great aspects of Robinson's true legacy is that if he were active now in public life, he would be as controversial as Colin Kaepernick, whose football career ended because he took a knee during the anthem. (And please don't waste our time by saying that his blackballing happened for any other reason.)

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Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The centennial of Jackie Robinson's birth presents the opportunity to honor one of the 20th century's great civil rights pioneers, and celebrate baseball's long-ago role in that struggle.

But it should also be an occasion to remember Robinson for what he really was: a thoughtful, nuanced and righteously angry public figure whose ideas were sharp enough that they would still be highly controversial today, if people took the time to consider them.

One of the great aspects of Robinson's true legacy is that if he were active now in public life, he would be as controversial as Colin Kaepernick, whose football career ended because he took a knee during the anthem. (And please don't waste our time by saying that his blackballing happened for any other reason.)

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Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen continues to follow through on his pledge to spread the Mets' resources around the roster, rather than burn them on one or two players.

By signing lefty reliever Justin Wilson to a two-year, $10 million deal, according to a major league source, Van Wagenen has further deepened a revamped bullpen that includes All-Star closer Edwin Diaz, and setup man Jeurys Familia.

Tags: Jeurys Familia, 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 |

For weeks, the Mets faced the possibility that Manny Machado might end up in Philadelphia, while Bryce Harper returns to the Nationals. 

But those aren't the only N.L. East rivals who have checked in on at least one of those star free agents. According to major league sources, the Atlanta Braves have also been in contact with Machado's camp. 

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Debating the Hall of Fame 00:01:05
Andy Martino and Mike Vaccaro debate whether the Baseball Hall of Fame is worth all the negativity when it comes time to vote.

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

With any luck, this will be the only Hall of Fame column I'll ever write, because my one opinion on the place is that it should not exist.

That probably sounds unduly harsh, so let me back up and explain. This year marks my 10th in the Baseball Writers Association of America, which makes me eligible to vote for the first time. When Hall officials reached out late last year to see if I would be registering, it pained me to say no.

What kid who grew up with baseball mania wouldn't want a say in who gets into Cooperstown? The building itself is a magical place, a must-visit for all fans that captures the power and romance of the game.

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Debating the Hall of Fame 00:01:05
Andy Martino and Mike Vaccaro debate whether the Baseball Hall of Fame is worth all the negativity when it comes time to vote.

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

With any luck, this will be the only Hall of Fame column I'll ever write, because my one opinion on the place is that it should not exist.

That probably sounds unduly harsh, so let me back up and explain. This year marks my 10th in the Baseball Writers Association of America, which makes me eligible to vote for the first time. When Hall officials reached out late last year to see if I would be registering, it pained me to say no.

What kid who grew up with baseball mania wouldn't want a say in who gets into Cooperstown? The building itself is a magical place, a must-visit for all fans that captures the power and romance of the game.

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Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Manny Machado celebrates after hitting a home run during the first inning against the against the Atlanta Braves in Game 2 of the 2018 NLDS at Dodger Stadium. (Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports)
Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Manny Machado celebrates after hitting a home run during the first inning against the against the Atlanta Braves in Game 2 of the 2018 NLDS at Dodger Stadium. (Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | TwitterFree agent infielder Manny Machado has met in recent days with at least one unidentified suitor, according to major league sources.

There are at least two mystery teams pursuing Machado, in addition to the Phillies and White Sox.

Additionally, the Yankees have kept an open line of communication with Machado's camp, even after signing infielder D.J. LeMahieu, sources say

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Will Yankees get Nolan Arenado? 00:00:48
SNY baseball insider Andy Martino has sources telling him the New York Yankees may trade for Nolan Arenado instead of signing Manny Machado.

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | Earlier this week, after I published my nine millionth story of the offseason about the Yankees and Manny Machado, a major league source reached out with a suggestion: Don't sleep on the Yanks and Colorado third baseman Nolan Arenado.

Certainly, there's been smoke there already. 

Back in December, WFAN's Sweeny Murti wrote about how Arenado would fit the Yankees, and on Friday morning, MLB Network's Ken Rosenthal made passing reference to the possibility on the "Hot Stove" morning show. 

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Oct 26, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Manny Machado (8) hits a single in the sixth inning against the Boston Red Sox in game three of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports (Jayne Kamin-Oncea)
Oct 26, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Manny Machado (8) hits a single in the sixth inning against the Boston Red Sox in game three of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports (Jayne Kamin-Oncea)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | The exact terms of the Chicago White Sox offer to Manny Machado are not known -- you might have noticed some drama about that topic Wednesday -- but some new details of their discussions could offer a roadmap to the Yankees, if they want to jump back into the Machado sweepstakes.

The sides have at least discussed a contract structure that would allow Chicago to exercise an option after year three that would trigger team control for an eighth or ninth year, according to major league sources. This probably accounts for some of the confusion over whether Machado has a seven or eight year offer on the table. He has likely been offered a contract that could be either.

In that structure, Machado would get to opt out after 2021 if the team doesn't opt in. The Yankees and Zach Britton recently agreed to that structure, which Britton's agent Scott Boras called a "swellopt," in an interview with Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic...

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Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Manny Machado celebrates after hitting a home run during the first inning against the against the Atlanta Braves in Game 2 of the 2018 NLDS at Dodger Stadium. (Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports)
Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Manny Machado celebrates after hitting a home run during the first inning against the against the Atlanta Braves in Game 2 of the 2018 NLDS at Dodger Stadium. (Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter

For months, it's been clear through sources that while the Yankees like Manny Machado as a player, they don't plan on outbidding aggressive teams like the Phillies and White Sox. 

Now, word comes from a person with direct knowledge of Machado's thinking that he plans to choose the team that makes the highest offer.

In most cases, this would be about as stunning as "Source: Sun will set this evening."

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Sep 26, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning 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) pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Jacob deGrom and the Mets agreed to an historic one-year contract on Friday, avoiding salary arbitration with a one-year, $17 million deal, as SNY was first to report.

That contract represented the largest raise in arbitration history ($9.6 million), and a record salary for a third-time arbitration eligible pitcher. And it will certainly not hurt the chances that the player and team will agree on a long-term extension...

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Andy Martino
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Will Lowrie be a super utility? 00:00:46
Todd Zeile talks from experience when he discusses the challenges facing Jed Lowrie as he takes on multiple positions for the Mets.

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The Mets acquisition of infielder Jed Lowrie on a two-year, $20 million deal that is still pending a physical crowds their infield, and has the potential to squeeze Jeff McNeil's playing time.

As a solution, the Mets plan to use McNeil in the outfield in 2019, according to a person familiar with the plans.

At the beginning of the offseason, McNeil was pencilled in as the starting second baseman. He was nearly shipped to Seattle in the Robinson Cano/Edwin Diaz trade, but the Mets pulled him out of that deal at the last minute, and replaced him with reliever Gerson Bautista.

Tags: Jeff McNeil, Wilmer Flores, Andy Martino
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Lowrie signing makes sense 00:00:54
Andy Martino argues while the Lowrie signing might seem puzzling at first, it fits with Brodie Van Wagenen's offseason moves.

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Upon first hearing the Mets were closing in on a two-year, $20 million deal with Jed Lowrie, my first reaction was, what?

Lowrie is an excellent player, but he was the A's second baseman last year, and the Mets have Robinson Cano. But upon further digging, it made more sense: According to sources, the Mets view Lowrie as an everyday-quality player who will serve in a super-utility role.

Tags: Todd Frazier, Andy Martino
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Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Manny Machado celebrates after hitting a home run during the first inning against the against the Atlanta Braves in Game 2 of the 2018 NLDS at Dodger Stadium. (Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports)
Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Manny Machado celebrates after hitting a home run during the first inning against the against the Atlanta Braves in Game 2 of the 2018 NLDS at Dodger Stadium. (Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | It's come to this: The final lingering hope for Yankee fans who want free agent Manny Machado is that Brian Cashman will pull one of his stealth strikes, swoop in with a late offer and shock us all with news out of nowhere.

At this point, that's probably the only way Machado becomes a Yankee.

The Yanks haven't engaged Machado's camp much in the new year, according to multiple major league sources. Plus, they haven't made an offer yet. Plus, they signed another guy and told him that he was their shortstop. Plus, as we reported way back in October, they've been lukewarm in Machado's free agency all along...

Tags: Giancarlo Stanton, Andy Martino
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Houston Astros third baseman J.D. Davis bats during the game against the Baltimore Orioles at Minute Maid Park. (Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports)
Houston Astros third baseman J.D. Davis bats during the game against the Baltimore Orioles at Minute Maid Park. (Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen has spoken repeatedly about eliminating the team's "ifs" for the 2019 season. Over the weekend, he executed a series of trades intended to do just that.

Time will tell if Van Wagenen and his evaluators chose the right players to acquire, or parted with a prospect who will develop into a productive major leaguer. But the GM's goal was to create contingency plans that will at least reduce the number of ifs on the roster.

Tags: Juan Lagares, Kevin Plawecki, Andy Martino
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Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | : Troy Tulowitzki signed with the Yankees to be the starting shortstop until Didi Gregorius returns, meaning that Manny Machado almost certainly will not be able to play his favorite position in New York.

According to people with direct knowledge of negotiations, Tulowitzki was only talking with teams that were willing to offer him a starting job. That list included the Cubs and Pirates, as SNY reported earlier on Friday.

If the Yankees do sign Machado, it would only be to play third base, where he is an elite defender. But Machado has repeatedly expressed a preference to play short. He will have to compromise if he wants to be a Yankee.

Tags: Didi Gregorius, Gleyber Torres, Andy Martino
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Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki throws out Boston Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts during the first inning at Fenway Park. (Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports)
Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki throws out Boston Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts during the first inning at Fenway Park. (Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter

The Yankees remain silent about their pursuit of Manny Machado, and the baseball world is left to guess where the star free agent will ultimately sign. But, as we've previously reported, their interest in the player appears lukewarm. They might land him, but they don't exactly seem thrilled about the possibility.

And now, new information about Troy Tulowitzki's decision to sign with the Yanks makes you wonder again if Machado will indeed choose another team.

Consider this:

Tags: Didi Gregorius, Gleyber Torres, Tyler Wade, Andy Martino
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New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) delivers during the first inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Matt Marton) (AP)
New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) delivers during the first inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Matt Marton) (AP)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | : The Mets and Jacob deGrom's reps at CAA have met just once this offseason to talk about a contract extension, but those discussions remain a priority for both player and team, according to major league sources.

Our reported estimate is that deGrom, 30, would make approximately $14-16 million in arbitration in 2019, and would command between $130-$145 million for a five-year extension.

The salary arbitration process can be arcane and confusing, so here is an explainer for how this could actually proceed...

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Andy Martino
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Yankees high on this reliever 00:00:33
SNY baseball insider Andy Martino believes the New York Yankees will target this reliever now that David Robertson signed with Philadelphia

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The market for relievers is beginning to move, and the Yankees appear poised to make a move.

Earlier on Thursday, agents began to say that they were getting close to accepting deals, even if the offers were for shorter terms than expected...

Tags: David Robertson, Andy Martino
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Oct 28, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Manny Machado (8) walks back to the dugout after striking out to the game against the Boston Red Sox in game five of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium. The Boston Red Sox defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports (Gary A. Vasquez)
Oct 28, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Manny Machado (8) walks back to the dugout after striking out to the game against the Boston Red Sox in game five of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium. The Boston Red Sox defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports (Gary A. Vasquez)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | : All through the offseason, the Yankees' stance on Manny Machado has remained the same: They like the player, but won't go crazy for him, especially after a troubling postseason that raised serious questions about his on-field maturity. They believe they can assemble a championship-caliber team with or without him, and they do not expect to be the highest bidder.

By staying consistent in this stance, the team now finds itself in strong position because it's easier to win a negotiation when you are sincerely willing to walk away.

The guess here -- and really, it's just speculation because neither Machado nor his agent, Dan Lozano, has telegraphed his intentions to anyone in the media, as far as we can tell -- is that the Yankees will ultimately land him. Just call it a vibe we're catching.

Tags: Didi Gregorius, Gleyber Torres, Tyler Wade, Andy Martino
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Mar 29, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets catcher Kevin Plawecki (26) runs out an rbi single against the St. Louis Cardinals during the 8th inning of the game on opening day at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports (Gregory Fisher)
Mar 29, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets catcher Kevin Plawecki (26) runs out an rbi single against the St. Louis Cardinals during the 8th inning of the game on opening day at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports (Gregory Fisher)

The Mets are "getting a lot of hits" from other teams on their catchers since signing Wilson Ramos, and are moving ahead with trade talks regarding Kevin Plawecki in particular, according to major league sources.

In pursuit of a lefty reliever or general bullpen depth, the Mets have made clear that Plawecki is more available than Travis d'Arnaud, who might see time at multiple positions in 2018.

Tags: Kevin Plawecki, Andy Martino
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