Yankees rumors: Machado a better fit than Harper, Cashman says; NYY showing interest in Gennett

The New York Yankees have already taken care of some business this offseason, as they've re-upped with veteran lefty CC Sabathia and swung a trade for fellow lefty James Paxton. They're not done, though. 

The Yankees, with their deep pockets, still want to fortify the lineup, and to that end they've been linked to this year's top free agents, infielder Manny Machado and outfielder Bryce Harper. On Monday at the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, Yankees GM Brian Cashman was asked about those two headliners. First, Harper ... 

Those outfielders would be Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks, Giancarlo Stanton (though he's a primary DH), Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Clint Frazier. That's indeed a full and crowded outfield. Harper's camp has previously indicated a willingness to play first base, and the Yankees could certainly use him there. Cashman, though, shot that possibility down, as you see above. Now for Machado ... 

That above is quote is from Cashman. While the Yankees do have Gleyber Torres, Miguel Andjudar, and -- once he returns from injury -- Didi Gregorius on the left side of the infield, they're very likely willing to make room for Machado at short or third. Torres could shift back to second, and Andujar has been the subject of trade rumors. As for Gregorius, they could deal with the roster crunch once he returns from Tommy John surgery in June or thereabouts. 

While most of us expect Harper to land the bigger contract, you can make the case that Machado, thanks to his defensive value, will be the more valuable player going forward, just as he has been over the course of their careers to date. If Torres is at second and then Machado and a healthy Gregorius man short and third, then you're talking about one of the most powerful infields in baseball regardless of how first base shakes out (and regardless of what becomes of Andujar). 

Of course, there's always a Plan B ... 

Gennett's put up strong numbers over the last two seasons, and the Reds are willing to move him heading into his walk year. He'd slot in at second base for the Yankees, which would allow Torres to remain at short. That, though, would be in lieu of a Machado signing, one assumes. 

As for the rotation, Cashman isn't done. They were heavily in the mix for Patrick Corbin, who wound up inking with the Nationals, and they'll have a spot to fill once Sonny Gray is moved. Speaking of Gray ... 

Given that Cashman has pretty much declared that Gray will be traded, you can expect something to materialize. As for Gray's replacement, the Yankees are known to have interest in bringing back J.A. Happ. Another name to monitor is that of 27-year-old Japanese lefty Yusei Kikuchi, who's been posted and who's making the leap to MLB this winter. Now back to Cashman ... 

 Masahiro Tanaka is of course in the Bronx, and would be able to guide Kikuchi through his stateside adjustment period. It's possible that Kikuchi projects as the best starting pitcher left on the market now that Corbin is spoken for, and at age 27 he still has mid- to long-term value. 

We figured coming into the offseason that the Yankees would be active (especially after the hated Red Sox hoisted the trophy), and the early scuttle at the Winter Meetings has done nothing to change that expectation. Cashman has a history of being quite aggressive when he has holes to fill, and the winter of 2018-19 will likely be the latest example of that. 

CBS Sports Writer

Dayn Perry has been a baseball writer for CBS Sports since early 2012. Prior to that, he wrote for FOXSports.com and ESPN.com. He's the author of three books, the most recent being Reggie Jackson: The... Full Bio

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