The Yankees haven’t given up on the idea of signing free-agent right-hander Yu Darvish, FanRagSports.com reported Friday, though signing him might make it “a tight squeeze” to stay under the $197 million luxury tax threshold, which is one of the team’s goals in 2018.
Intent on adding a frontline starting pitcher, the Yankees conceivably could make a deal with Darvish by trading a high-priced veteran such as outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, who has a full no-trade clause but appears to be the odd man out in a crowded outfield situation in New York and might be willing to consider moving on.
The Yankees have had trade talks about Gerrit Cole, Chris Archer and Michael Fulmer, and according to multiple reports, they are looking at free agent Alex Cobb.
FanRagSports.com noted that Cole likely is the best fit for a trade (Archer plays for the division-rival Rays and Fulmer is coming off an injury), but the Yankees and Pirates have made little progress on a deal since the Winter Meetings.
Meanwhile, the Yankees, like a lot of teams, are playing a waiting game — on Darvish and other free agents — hoping for price drops as time drags toward spring training.
Darvish, 31, was 10-12 with a 3.86 ERA with the Rangers and Dodgers in 2017, the first time in his five-season MLB career that he hit double digits in losses, but his WAR was 4.0, tied for second best in his U.S. career.
He was knocked around in the World Series by the Astros, who later said he was tipping his pitches.
Darvish is 56-42 with a 3.42 ERA (1.18 WHIP) since coming to the majors from Japan.