Despite much speculation in the offseason that the Yankees could snag a big-name free agent like first baseman Freddie Freeman or shortstop Carlos Correa, the team never actually made an “official” offer for either player, Brian Cashman said on Monday.
The Yankee general manager made the remarks while speaking to WFAN Sports Radio’s Carton & Roberts, which sheds new light on the team’s maneuvers this winter, which had largely disappointed fans who had expected more splashy moves from the big-spending Yankees.
Brian Cashman on free agents the Yankees missed: "We never made an official offer to Correa or Freeman, but we were in touch with their reps on what they were looking for." @CartonRoberts
— WFAN Sports Radio (@WFAN660) April 11, 2022
“We didn’t put a piece of paper in front of them to sign, though we talked terms and knew what it would take,” said Cashman.
Freeman, the decorated former MVP of the Atlanta Braves, was widely believed to be a target for the Bronx Bombers, with first baseman Anthony Rizzo hitting free agency and the team looking to add another reliable bat to the lineup.
Ultimately, the team re-signed Rizzo to a 2-year, $32 million contract.
Meanwhile, Freeman, who had left Atlanta amid an ugly contract dispute, moved out west to join the Los Angeles Dodgers on a 6-year, $162 million deal.
Freeman, who is entering his 13th MLB season, has been named to 5 All Star games, and won 1 MVP trophy and 1 Gold Glove award, among many other accolades. Freeman is a career .295/.384/.508 hitter at the plate.
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Carlos Correa, 27, meanwhile, was also linked to the team this offseason, when it was clear he would be leaving the Houston Astros after 7 seasons in Texas — but fans in the Bronx were subsequently disappointed when he inked a 3-year contract worth $105.3 million with the Minnesota Twins, which makes him the highest paid infielder in the MLB.
A career .276/.355/.481 hitter, Correa has been named to 2 All Star games, while also securing a Gold Glove award last season.
Cashman, explaining the Correa situation, said the dollar amount was simply too high, and it would have hampered their other plans, and put a stranglehold on their flexibility.
“If you’re going to place that type of bet for that type of number in this particular calendar year for our payroll, then it would preclude us from having the ability to do the things we were able to do,” Cashman said on the show.
Instead of signing the phenom, the team brought in Isiah Kiner-Falefa at shortstop, along with Ben Rortvedt and Josh Donaldson in a trade with Minnesota, who had acquired Kiner-Falefa from the Texas Rangers a day earlier.
Adding insult to injury for Yankees fans, Kiner-Falefa has performed poorly to start the season, securing just a single hit in 11 at bats during the team’s opening series against Boston. While he’s known more as a defensive player, he also recorded a throwing error that almost cost the Yanks an Opening Day victory in the 9th inning, bringing the tying runner to the plate.
While fans were bemoaning the lack of Freeman and Correa signings, it seems that any talk of putting them in pinstripes was perhaps overly-optimistic.
Making matters worse for Yankee fans, they also now have to deal with an intra-city arms race, with new Mets owner Steve Cohen purchasing the team and becoming the richest owner in the league.
The Mets have shown a willingness to spend like the Yankees-of-old, such as when they signed starting pitcher Max Scherzer 3-year, $130 million contract, while trading for former-Oakland Athletic star pitcher Chris Bassitt — all to go with Jacob deGrom, which forms one of the best bullpens in baseball.