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Jonathan Holder has a realistic shot of making the All-Star team

Middle relievers have only recently started receiving universal recognition for their individual performance in Major League Baseball, due to the new age of numbers in the sport. Saves are no longer the all-telling, ultimate stat about a reliever’s success and WAR, ERA+, and other metrics have opened the eyes of fans on just how valuable it is for a team to have dominant relievers outside of the ninth inning role. Their widely agreed on importance has led to a lot of non-closer relievers making the All-Star team in recent seasons. The American League squad had two of them in 2017 and 2015, and a whopping four in 2016. If this trend continues, the AL should feature at least one or two non-closer relievers, and possibly more, with the scarcity of lockdown closers in the AL in 2018. The Yankees feature a lot of highly talented middle relievers and the pitcher who has surprised everyone the most, Jonathan Holder, has a very realistic shot of cracking the AL All-Star squad.

Yankees rumors and rumblings from day one of the Winter Meetings

The Yankees kicked off day one of the Winter Meetings in a big way, officially introducing 2017 NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton as the newest member of the organization. In addition to that, the Yankees were involved in a number of rumors. However, not too much has gone down just yet. Let’s take a look at some rumors and rumblings from day one of the Winter Meetings.
Photo Credit: Willie J. Allen Jr. | AP

Alongside GM Brian Cashman, manager Aaron Boone, and owner Hal Steinbrenner, Stanton took the podium for the first time as a New York Yankee, dawning number 27 in the pinstripes. Boone spoke first about the excitement regarding the acquisition, and the flexibility it brings to the club, though he did not hint as to where Stanton would primarily play and where he would hit in the order. Stanton also spoke rather briefly about his history in Miami, even describing it as often times chaotic, and he expressed his excitement and interest in playing alongside Aaron Judge and the Yankees in the Bronx.

From there, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reported that the Yankeeswere interested in Gerrit Cole of the Pirates. While this rumor does not have much traction at the moment as it is unclear if the Pirates are willing to deal him, this is certainly something to keep an eye on, as the Yankees come into this year’s Winter Meetings with a void to fill in the rotation. 
Photo Credit: Julie Jacobson | AP
Some speculated that the Yankees would be interested in moving either Clint Frazier or Miguel Andujar as the centerpiece in this trade, though there has not been much of that to surface yet either. Cashman has been known for striking bargain deals of late, so we will continue monitoring which names come up in these discussions.

In addition to Cole, Mike Mazzeo of the NY Daily News wrote that the Yankees may also be interested in trading for Rays’ ace Chris Archer. While there has not been much buzz around him either, it is likely the Rays will listen to offers on the 29-year-old. Archer is under contract through 2019, with team options for 2020 and 2021, so he fits the mold of a controllable starter that the Yankees would likely be seeking. However, that also likely drives his price tag up.

Finally, the Mazzeo also hinted that the Yankees are still in the mix for CC Sabathia. However, Cashman downplayed this rumor today indicating the Yankees may be content with exploring other options, and using Sabathia as a fallback. Sabathia would obviously like to return to the Bronx, but he has been in contact with other teams, including the Los Angeles Angels.

For now, there have not been many moves at this year’s Winter Meetings. It is only day one, so it was filled with mostly speculation and conflicting reports. But these storylines are something to watch through Thursday when the Winter Meetings conclude. It would be surprising for the Yankees to not make an addition in the rotation at some point in some fashion this week, so that is something to monitor.

Article by: Chad Raines