Posted on December 27, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine
When it comes to hot stove rumors, it’s sometimes tough to figure out what’s true and what’s a fabrication. Tuesday morning there were reports that the New York Yankees were not only pushing to make a trade with the Chicago White Sox for Jose Quintana, but also that they were trying to incorporate closer David Robertson into the deal. Such a trade would have been the highlight of the offseason by far. Alas, it was not meant to be for Yankees fans, as reports surfaced later in the day indicating that the Bronx Bombers are not working on any such deal.
At first glance, the Yankees trying to orchestrate a trade for Quintana and Robertson made sense, which is so easy to believe the rumor. Yankees GM Brian Cashman did a great job over the summer of accumulating high-profile prospects, giving the Yankees enough prospects to convince the White Sox to part with both Quintana and Robertson, assuming New York is comfortable trading away that many prospects. The Yankees, of course, are used to going after the players they want with reckless abandon, also making it believable that they would go all-in on such a blockbuster deal.
However, the truth appears to be that the Yankees are both reluctant to give up so many of their prized prospects and unwilling to add to their payroll at this point in the offseason. While Quintana is under a team-friendly contract for the next four years, Robertson is owed $25 million over the next two years, which is a substantial amount of money for a reliever who wouldn’t act as a closer with the Yankees already signing Aroldis Chapman to a monster contract.
Even if it means adding a quality starting pitcher to a rotation facing question marks and a dominating relief pitcher to an already strong bullpen, the Yankees are uncomfortable adding to their payroll and giving up a mega-bounty of prospects. New York is reportedly open to trading third baseman Chase Headley or outfielder Brett Gardner to help reduce salary and give them more payroll flexibility, but they haven’t received any offers to make trading either worthwhile.
The Yankees are likely out of contention for Robertson altogether, but there could be a chance they remain in contact with the White Sox about Quintana. The price for Quintana is incredibly high in terms of prospects, but prior to the false rumors about Robertson being involved in the deal as well, the Yankees were believed to be one of the teams with a legitimate chance of trading for the lefty.
However, there’s no guarantee that Quintana will end up getting traded this winter, with a source close to the White Sox calling it a coin flip. Chicago has no reason to come down on the price for Quintana, as he will still be a valuable trade chip over the summer or next winter. There were also reports last week that the Pittsburgh Pirates were stepping up their efforts to land Quintana, potentially putting them ahead of the Yankees and any other team interested in working out a trade for him.
All of this points to the Yankees remaining inactive for the remainder of the offseason. In theory, New York has the means to work out a blockbuster for Quintana, as well as Robertson if they really wanted to. However, despite the rumors that surfaced Tuesday morning, the Yankees appear unwilling to take the bold steps necessary to make those moves happen.