MLB rumors: Yankees, Brett Gardner likely to reunite; Cole Hamels open to returning to Phillies

Major League Baseball is in its offseason and we've already seen the list of players who have been extended qualifying offers. Don't expect much movement in the immediate future, but there are plenty of rumors worth monitoring before the substantial deals happen. We also have a rundown of all of the key dates in this year's offseason, and our ranking of the top 50 free agents on the market. 

As for what else is out there on this Thursday.... 

Yankees, Gardner to reunite?

In an unsurprising development, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports that the New York Yankees and outfielder Brett Gardner have already begun discussing a new deal.

Gardner, 36, is a free agent but never seemed likely to leave the only organization he's ever played with. Last season, he hit .251/.325/.503 (117 OPS+) with a career-high 28 home runs and 10 stolen bases.

The Yankees could use the outfield help -- Giancarlo Stanton had an injury-plagued season and Aaron Hicks recently underwent Tommy John surgery, limiting his availability for at least the first few months of the 2020 season. 

Gardner signed a one-year deal worth $7.5 million last winter. He'll presumably receive a similar deal this go around.

Sabathia recruiting Cole?

Here's a fun note courtesy of MLB.com. Recently retired Yankees pitcher (and former highly sought after free agent) CC Sabathia has talked to free-agent starter Gerrit Cole about pitching for New York. 

"Me and Gerrit Cole have spoken at length many times about me pitching as a Yankee as a West Coast Guy," Sabathia said as part of a preview for an upcoming episode of his podcast. "If you give [him] enough money, he's going to want to come here. I am speaking from experience."

The Yankees are expected to be in on Cole. They are not who the league considers the front-runner, however. Executives with other teams have told CBS Sports that the Los Angeles Angels are believed to be the likeliest landing spot for Cole -- due in part to his predilection for the west coast, and their willingness to make a monster offer to land him.

As Sabathia suggests, that could all change if the Yankees make the best offer.

Hamels, Phillies have mutual interest

Southpaw Cole Hamels is willing to take a one-year deal to play for a contender, and would "love the opportunity" to return to the Phillies, according to Todd Zolecki.

Of course, it takes two to tango, and It's worth noting that Zolecki adds there "are indications" the Phillies would have interest in bringing back Hamels, who would fit in as part of a remade rotation.

Hamels, 35, is coming off a season in which he posted a 3.81 ERA (117 ERA+) over 27 starts. His numbers dropped off after seemingly coming back too soon from an oblique injury. Provided he's hearty and hale, he figures to pitch like a No. 3 or 4.

CBS Sports Staff

R.J. Anderson joined CBS Sports in 2016. He previously wrote for Baseball Prospectus, where he contributed to five of the New York Times bestselling annuals. His work has also appeared in Newsweek and... Full Bio

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