A’s OF Dustin Fowler Sues White Sox over Leg Injury at Guaranteed Rate Field

Oakland Athletics outfielder Dustin Fowler has filed a lawsuit against the Chicago White Sox because of a leg injury he suffered in a game last summer when he was with the New York Yankees

Per Tom Schuba of the Chicago Sun-Times, Fowler's lawsuit states the White Sox and the state agency that manages Guaranteed Rate Field were negligent when they failed to secure an unpadded electrical box he ran into during a game on June 29. 

Schuba also notes Fowler's lawsuit alleges the White Sox and Sports Facilities Authority "failed to adequately inspect the right field wall and the box" and its placement at knee level was installed "in a manner so as to create a hidden and undetectable hazard."

The 22-year-old Fowler made his MLB debut during the game he was injured. He was attempting to catch a foul ball hit by White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu in the top of the first inning when he ran into a sidewall. 

The Yankees announced Fowler suffered an open rupture of his right patella tendon and required surgery. He was traded to the Athletics as part of the Sonny Gray deal on July 31. 

The A's reinstated Fowler off the 60-day disabled list last month. He will have a chance to compete for the team's starting job in center field for the 2018 season. 

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Matt Moore Reportedly Traded to Rangers from Giants for Prospects

The San Francisco Giants have reportedly traded starting pitcher Matt Moore to the Texas Rangers.  

Per John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle, the Giants will receive prospects from the Rangers in exchange for the left-hander. 

Shea previously reported the Giants were nearing a deal involving at least one of Moore and Hunter Pence in an effort to shed salary. 

The Giants have been linked to multiple high-profile free agents and trade targets this offseason, though they have yet to make any additions to their roster. 

San Francisco had the framework of a trade in place to acquire Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, who vetoed the deal with his no-trade clause before going to the New York Yankees.

USA Today's Bob Nightengale reported the Giants were expected to intensify their pursuit of Jay Bruce after the Stanton deal fell apart. 

Since being acquired by the Giants in July 2016, Moore has posted a 5.12 ERA with 217 strikeouts in 242.2 innings over 44 appearances. He's owed $9 million next season with a $10 million team option for 2019. 

The Rangers are in need of depth in their starting rotation, which Moore will help fill. Their starters ranked 17th in MLB with a 4.66 ERA last season, despite having Yu Darvish through July and Cole Hamels. 

Adding Moore to the mix gives Texas a group of starting pitchers for 2018 that includes Hamels, Martin Perez, Doug Fister and Mike Minor. 

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Yankees Trade Rumors: Gerrit Cole, Clint Frazier Swap Reportedly Discussed

The New York Yankees' offseason dealing may not be over, as they are reportedly interested in right-handed pitcher Gerrit Cole.        

On Friday, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reported the Yankees and Pittsburgh Pirates are having trade talks about Cole and that outfielder Clint Frazier is "likely" to be part of a potential deal. 

Cole's name came up in trade rumors during the 2017 season. In May, Heyman wrote that rival teams believed the Pirates could make him available, and he listed the Yankees as a possible suitor because they have "always loved him."

New York does have history with Cole. In 2008, the team drafted him out of high school with the 28th overall pick, but he opted to play college baseball at UCLA. 

Pittsburgh selected Cole at No. 1 overall in 2011. The 27-year-old has a 3.50 ERA with 734 strikeouts in 782.1 innings over the past five seasons and was a National League All-Star in 2015. 

He is under team control for two more years before being eligible for free agency after the 2019 season. 

The Yankees acquired Frazier in the Andrew Miller trade with the Cleveland Indians in July 2016. The 23-year-old made his MLB debut in 2017, hitting .231/.268/.448 with four home runs in 39 games. 

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Pete Rose Drops Defamation Suit Against John Dowd over Statutory Rape Claims

Pete Rose reportedly dropped his defamation lawsuit against attorney John Dowd on Friday.

According to the Associated Press, the suit was dismissed after the two parties mutually agreed not to proceed in court. 

"Pete Rose and John Dowd have agreed, based on mutual consideration, to the dismissal with prejudice of Mr. Rose's lawsuit against Mr. Dowd. I am not permitted to comment further regarding the resolution of the matter," attorneys for both Rose and Dowd said in a statement, per ESPN.com's William Weinbaum

Rose's initial complaint stemmed from comments Dowd made in 2015 on Pennsylvania radio station WCHE-AM. According to Weinbaum, Dowd alleged an old associate of Rose's, Michael Bertolini, disclosed Rose "ran young girls for him down in spring training, ages 12 to 14."

"Isn't that lovely? So that's statutory rape every time you do that," Dowd added. 

In July, Weinbaum reported a motion filed in Dowd's defense against Rose in the defamation case alleged "that Rose had a sexual relationship with the woman for several years in the 1970s, beginning before she turned 16."

According to the AP, Dowd led MLB's investigation that resulted in Rose being banned from baseball for life after it was discovered that the sport's all-time hits leader bet on games while he was the manager of the Cincinnati Reds.  

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Zack Cozart, Angels Agree to 3-Year, $38 Million Contract

Veteran infielder Zack Cozart has cashed in after his breakout 2017 season by signing a three-year, $38 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels

Angels PR announced the free-agent deal Friday. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports first reported the financial details.

Cozart was a part of the rise in power across Major League Baseball last season. The 32-year-old set career highs with a .297 average, .385 on-base percentage .548 slugging percentage and 24 home runs. 

For his efforts in 2017, Cozart was named to the National League All-Star team for the first time. He has been hit by injuries throughout his career, especially since 2015 when he tore ligaments in his knee after his foot slipped off the first base bag in a game against the Philadelphia Phillies, ending his season after 53 games.

Injuries have also cost Cozart 81 games combined over the past two seasons. He admitted being a free agent for the first time in his career was a different feeling. 

"I've thought about it," he told MLB.com's John Fay in August. "To be honest with you, the thing I keep thinking about is how weird it's going to be to not be affiliated with a team. Usually, I'm in contact with [strength and conditioning coach] Sean Marohn and getting my workout schedule. I'll probably stick to whatever workout routine I've done."

With the Reds still in rebuilding mode after losing 94 games last season, Cozart was able to find a situation that can get him back into a playoff race. He's going to provide a huge boost to the Angels' lineup as long as his body holds up.

There's more inherent risk in a long-term deal with Cozart than a normal free agent, but he proved in 2017 how valuable his bat can be.

He'll likely slot in at third base in L.A. to create a potent infield alongside shortstop Andrelton Simmons, recently acquired second baseman Ian Kinsler and the first baseman C.J. Cron.

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Carlos Santana, Phillies Reportedly Agree to 3-Year, $60 Million Contract

Carlos Santana will bring his blend of patience and power to the Philadelphia Phillies lineup in 2018 after the two sides reportedly agreed to a deal Friday, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

Per Heyman, Santana's deal is worth $60 million over three years with the Phillies. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic confirmed the terms.

Santana spent the first eight years of his Major League Baseball career with the Cleveland Indians. The 31-year-old posted a .249/.365/.445 slash line from 2010 to 2017.

Last season, Santana hit .259 with 23 home runs and 79 RBI. For his career, he has 174 homers and 587 RBI.

A hallmark of Santana's offensive ability is working counts and drawing walks. He led MLB with 113 walks in 2014, and his 15.2 walk percentage since the start of 2010 ranks third in MLB behind Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds and Joey Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays.

Santana has also been a durable player throughout his career, appearing in at least 143 games in each of the past seven seasons and 152 games in each of the last five.

In addition to his offensive prowess, Santana has turned himself into a solid defensive first baseman. He moved to the position full-time in 2014, and his 10 defensive runs saved last season tied for second among MLB first basemen, per FanGraphs.

Even with a glut of solid first basemen available to teams this winter, including Eric Hosmer, Logan Morrison and Mitch Moreland, Santana is a standout in that group because of his ability to hit, get on base and save runs with his glove.

The Phillies will depend on Santana's usual level of production in the middle of their lineup as they look to make a playoff push next season after missing the postseason for six consecutive years.

Philadelphia's decision to sign Santana may raise some eyebrows since Rhys Hoskins currently occupies first base. Hoskins was a revelation last season, hitting 18 home runs in 170 at-bats.

Moving Hoskins to the outfield is a possibility.

Santana can also play third base, although Maikel Franco mans the hot corner for the Phillies. Santana has limited experience in the outfield as well and has caught 330 games in his career, but he hasn't been behind the plate since 2014.

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Freddy Galvis Reportedly Traded to Padres; Phillies Receive Enyel De Los Santos

The Philadelphia Phillies reportedly agreed to trade shortstop Freddy Galvis to the San Diego Padres on Friday, according to USA Today's Bob Nightengale

The Phillies will receive right-handed pitching prospect Enyel De Los Santos in return. According to MLB.com, De Los Santos is the 13th-ranked player in the Padres' farm system. 

Bleacher Report's Scott Miller first reported the sides were nearing an agreement. 

Galvis, 28, has never been renowned as a particularly potent player at the plate, and the numbers bear that out. 

Dating back to his MLB debut in 2012, Galvis has slashed a cumulative .245/.372/.659. That said, he has shown increased pop each of the past two years. 

After mustering 20 home runs during his first four season, Galvis has gone deep 32 times over the past two years. He's also piled up 128 RBI during that stretch compared to a mark of 105 between 2012-2015.  

      

This article will be updated to provide more information on this story as it becomes available.

Get the best sports content from the web and social in the new B/R app. Get the app and get the game.     

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Why Not? Christmas Light Phone Charger

Here’s something I’m surprised I’ve never seen before, a Christmas Lights Phone Charger. I guess it would make your phone charging more festive, but charging my phone and getting it back to full battery is already pretty festive.

It comes in at 46” and includes 10 Christmas lights on the cord. Finally, I can wrap my phone around my Christmas Tree like a real ornament. Of course, eventually it’ll be June, and you’ll lose your main chargers, and you be stuck using this thing to charge your phone. You know it’ll happen.

It’s available for $16, but buy at your own risk, some of the reviews aren’t the most glowing. You might just be better off wrapping your phone in a Christmas Lights cord that you found at Walmart.

Amazon ]

You Can Now Buy A Digital AMOLED Button That Can Display GIFs

Remember the days of the 1970’s where everyone had a button on their jacket to support a cause? Probably not, most of our audience is pretty young. Well, anyway that style has long since been phased out, but one company is trying to bring the trend into the 21st Century.

Beam has made a button with a 400×400 pixel AMOLED display that can show things like GIFs, slideshows and store hundreds of images. Connecting with your phone, you set it up and let the button speak for you. It comes with a 24 battery and ambient light sensors, so you won’t blind people with a ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ GIF.

It’s available for $100 and comes in black or white. Plus Beam will donate $3 to a charity of your choosing.

Beam ]

MLB Rumors: Latest Trade Buzz on Manny Machado, Josh Donaldson and More

Even though the 2017 winter meetings came to an end on Thursday, Major League Baseball's offseason wheeling and dealing is far from being over. 

There are still plenty of top-tier free agents on the board, but the biggest stories coming out of Orlando involved superstar players being discussed in trade talks. That doesn't always guarantee a deal will come to pass, but smoke can often lead to fire. 

It also speaks to the lack of star power at the top of the free-agent market this offseason that teams seem to be more engaged in trade discussions to upgrade their roster. However, J.D. Martinez, Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta are all excellent players with major question marks about their future potential on a long-term deal. 

With all of the trade rumors that came out of the winter meetings, here are the ones to keep a close eye on. 

                     

The Manny Machado Sweepstakes

It's a surprise that the Baltimore Orioles are even listening to offers for third baseman Manny Machado but even more shocking might be the team leading the charge to acquire the All-Star. 

Per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Chicago White Sox have been the "most aggressive suitor" in talks with the Orioles for Machado

Even though the White Sox, who went 67-95 in 2017, don't seem like the right fit for a player one year away from free agency, Rosenthal did note there is a method to their madness: 

"The White Sox want to land Machado and sign him long-term before he becomes a free agent at the end of the season, sources said. However, the possibility also exists that the White Sox could flip Machado to another club—most likely the New York Yankees—and secure additional prospects for what already is one of the game’s best farm systems, if not the best."

The Yankees being part of the equation adds to the drama of this situation. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported there was "no way" they would do the deal because this iteration of the Yankees isn't likely to trade multiple major prospects for a player one year from free agency. 

Unless the White Sox receive some indication they can re-sign Machado, which could realistically end up costing $250-300 million, it wouldn't be smart for them to move three significant prospects from a stacked farm system for a couple more wins in 2018. 

Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported the St. Louis Cardinals have also made an offer to the Orioles for Machado. They would make more sense because they are on the cusp of being a playoff contender following an 83-79 record and after acquiring Marcell Ozuna from the Miami Marlins. 

The Orioles are so bereft of starting pitching that it's hard to see them improving upon last year's 75-win effort without taking drastic action. Their rotation had an MLB-worst 5.70 ERA and threw the fewest innings in the AL (846) in 2017. 

Machado is coming off his worst full season in MLB with a .259/.310/.471 slash line, but he was worth at least 6.2 FanGraphs wins above replacement three times in four seasons from 2013-16.  

The Orioles should be asking for a king's ransom in exchange for Machado. They have to start thinking about replenishing the talent in their farm system, especially if they want to remain within shouting distance of the Yankees and Boston Red Sox in the AL East. 

The White Sox have the kind of system to offer anything the Orioles could be hoping for. It's almost too perfect a match, assuming both sides are serious in their desire to make a move. 

           

Toronto's Dilemma

Staying at third base in the AL East, the Toronto Blue Jays are in a similar position to the Orioles with Josh Donaldson

However, unlike the Orioles actively engaging in discussions about Machado, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reported the Blue Jays have "no intention" of dealing Donaldson even though five teams have shown interest in the 2015 AL MVP.

Donaldson will be eligible for free agency after next season, so the Blue Jays have a short amount of time to decide what kind of team they will be in 2018. They went 76-86 last season and only scored 693 runs, fewest in the AL. 

There still pieces in place for the Blue Jays to be better next season. The starting rotation will be better if Aaron Sanchez and J.A. Happ are healthy and able to make 30 starts each. Donaldson missed 49 games and was still able to hit 33 home runs with a .944 OPS. 

Adding pieces to the lineup will be essential for Toronto's front office. Donaldson, Justin Smoak and Ezequiel Carrera were the only regulars who had an above-average OPS+ in 2017, per Baseball Reference

The Blue Jays' biggest problem is playing in a division with the Yankees, who are loaded with young talent and just added Giancarlo Stanton to the lineup, and Red Sox, who still have a deep core of talent and the money to add major pieces in free agency. 

The Blue Jays could start the year with Donaldson and wait to trade him in July if things fall apart, but that would also diminish the return they can ask for than if they shop him now. 

          

The Marlins' Plan

This has been an offseason from hell for fans of the Miami Marlins, and things don't seem likely to get better any time soon. 

Per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the Marlins told teams they would trade Christian Yelich after Marcell Ozuna was dealt to the St. Louis Cardinals. 

Miami's stance on Yelich has been subject to conflicting reports. Nightengale reported the Marlins said they have no intention of dealing the 26-year-old. 

Heyman added the Marlins were going to talk with Yelich, who is "frustrated" by their recent deals, before making a decision on how to handle things. 

The Marlins' trades of Stanton and Ozuna have been lackluster in terms of the return, as noted by Rotoworld's Drew Silva:

Yelich might be the most valuable of Miami's trade assets because of his contract status. His deal runs through 2021 with a team option for 2022, and he could be owed up to $58.25 million, per Spotrac.

By comparison, Stanton can make up to $295 million over the next 10 years if he doesn't opt out of his deal after 2020. Ozuna is under team control for two years before being eligible for free agency after 2019.

Considering where the Marlins are at right now, it makes no sense for them not to entertain deals for Yelich. They haven't done a good job replenishing their farm system so far with their recent trades. 

It's hard to imagine a scenario where the Marlins' talks with Yelich result in anything other than him expressing a desire to leave what looks like a sinking ship. 

Yelich is entering the prime years of his career, locked into a contract with a franchise that doesn't appear to have any plan beyond cutting as much salary as possible.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Melvin Upton Jr., Indians Reportedly Agree to Minor League Contract

Melvin Upton Jr. will reportedly seek redemption with the Cleveland Indians as he attempts to rebound from an injury-riddled 2017 season. 

According to the Athletic's Ken Rosenthal, Upton and the Indians agreed to terms Friday on a minor league contract. 

FanRag Sports' Jon Heyman reported Upton Jr. will earn $1.5 million if he makes the club. 

Upton Jr. last hit the professional diamond in 2016 when he suited up for the San Diego Padres and Toronto Blue Jays, and it became clear during the split campaign that he didn't have much gas left in the tank. 

Over the course of 492 at-bats, Upton slashed .238/.291/.402 with 20 home runs and 61 RBI.

Those raw power numbers were a silver lining of sorts, but the fact that they were accompanied by 155 strikeouts compared to just 37 walks dampened optimism that he could continue to log time as an everyday outfielder. 

Come 2017, the 33-year-old simply couldn't stay healthy as thumb surgery and shoulder irritation kept him out of the majors entirely. And while Upton Jr. latched on with the San Francisco Giants on a minor league contract, he opted out of the deal in August amid injury woes. 

If there's hope for Upton and the Indians now, it's that in addition to his pop at the plate, he can still be a plus on the basepaths and in the field. To that point, Upton finished 2016 with 27 steals and 10 defensive runs saved, according to FanGraphs

Expectations should understandably be tempered given Upton's recent history of disappointment. But at the price the Indians nabbed him at, Upton is a low-risk, high-upside flier who could have the ability to pay dividends in select situations off the bench in 2018. 

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‘The Game’s Better When They’re Hated’: MLB Reacts to Yankees’ Stanton Trade

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Late night. Chatter echoing. Beers cold and bourbon neat. Psst, wanna know what the industry really thinks of the mighty New York Yankees flexing their considerable financial muscle to trade for Giancarlo Stanton?

"Yeah, they're going to be…hated," one American League executive says in a dark hallway off of the packed lobby above the clinking of the ice cubes at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort.

"The game's better when they're hated."

   

FROM RAGE TO RHAPSODY, amazement to amusement, the Yankees' acquisition of Stanton and their inheritance of the remaining 10 years and $265 million on his deal have sent Major League Baseball into orbit. Hammered into Boston is the realization that defending its AL East title just got tougher. Pounded into the American League is the reality that the Yankees' supposed rebuild was completed at warp speed.

Drilled into everybody is the reminder that there are few constants in this game, but always, always at the top of this list is that few can play on the same economic field as the Damn Yankees.

Over the course of the week, Bleacher Report spoke with some 20 or so baseball figures ranging from owners to players to executives to scouts to managers to media members, and the honest-to-pinstripes reaction truly is all over the map:

Within the industry, there mostly is grudging respect.

Within the game's Haves, it's business as usual. It's the way they live.

Within the Have-Nots, there is resignation combined with the small comfort of knowing that when a backwoods franchise like Miami gets itself into a financial bind, it's nice to know there is a club like New York that offers a soft landing. The Marlins, by the way, are only on the hook for $30 million of the $295 million left on Stanton's deal.

If you're looking for pure, high-octane hatred, well, mostly, that'll have to be left to the fans of 29 other teams. The baseball people have enough to worry about trying to get their own teams in order to dwell on the deal.

"It's not the first time that teams with that economic power have done this," Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter says, noting that AL East rival Boston acquired ace Chris Sale at last year's winter meetings after signing ace David Price as a free agent the year before. "The Yankees have done it and are probably going to do it again. God bless 'em. They should."

    

LUNCHTIME. EXECUTIVES SCATTERING FROM their high-floor suites. Midday sun shining through the resort windows, obscured only by the long, tall shadow of Stanton.

Will he hit 60 home runs next summer? Will he and Aaron Judge lead the Yankees to their 28th World Series title in a blast of shock and awe?

Might they force the cancellation of a game simply because they will knock the Yankees' entire supply of baseballs out of the park during batting practice?

What in the world can we anticipate? What should we anticipate?

"I think it's great for the game," says David Ross, the retired longtime catcher now serving as a special assistant to baseball operations for the Chicago Cubs. He is working (and attending) his first winter meetings, and already he's gotten an eyeful.

"It reminds me a lot of the NBA where you get a lot of power teams," he continues. "It's going to make everybody else step up their game. I don't look at it as the Evil Empire. When you see the Yankees getting back to what you expect them to be, it just seems normal."

Normal, of course, is open to interpretation.

"It's the Evil Empire, right?" Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons says, eyes twinkling, smile cracking. "It is good for baseball. I'm a fan of the balanced schedule, especially with two wild cards. We play each other too much. But in our division, a lot of people like the way it is because people see those teams more and they bring their big-star players.

"So from a financial end, they love it."

Los Angeles Angels general manager Billy Eppler helped orchestrate his own blockbuster this winter, signing Japanese two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani. Before taking control of the Angels for the 2016 season, Eppler worked in New York under Yankees GM Brian Cashman from 2004-2015, the last four seasons as an assistant GM.

The Angels' moment in the spotlight with Ohtani lasted about two blinks of an eye before the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants both announced Stanton would not waive his no-trade clause for them, allowing the Yankees to swoop in for the kill.

"It's a team just trying to be great," says Eppler, who regularly communicates with his old boss. "That's it. … Just like all of us are trying to do."

   

AS MUCH CHATTER AS the Stanton deal has generated, it's hard to imagine anyone is truly surprised.

This is what the Yankees always do.

Survey the landscape. Scour the bushes. Do what it takes, from making creative three-way deals (the way they acquired Didi Gregorius, Derek Jeter's replacement at shortstop, in a deal with Detroit and Arizona following the 2014 season) to ransacking badly run franchises begging to be looted.

"We've seen one of our MLB jewelry stores become a pawn shop," agent Scott Boras says, slamming the Marlins and their new ownership group, battering Jeter in particular, who skipped the winter meetings yet was widely visible attending a Miami Dolphins game during the week. Talk about bad optics.

Meanwhile, the Yankees' acquisition of Stanton has interrupted all of the talk that dominated last year's winter meetings, that Bryce Harper, the star of next winter's free-agent market, will command a deal of at least $400 million and that the Yankees will be the ones to scoop him up.

But even Harper's agent finds it difficult to fault the Yankees for cranking up their economic engine, what with all of that smooth humming and whirring.

"I'm never going to fault a good jeweler," Boras says. "When there's diamonds to be had, they're in the diamond business and [they] know they can go out and get a great deal. ... You tip your cap to how Cash and all of them [work]. That's going to make an exciting process. … I think they're in position to have a wonderful Bronx opera."

And as the week closed, the Yankees were among the small handful of teams engaged with the Orioles to gauge the cost of Manny Machado.

"Cash and his group in the baseball ops department are always looking for opportunity," Eppler says. "They're not afraid to make bold moves. They're not afraid to make unpopular moves. One thing I've always marveled at with Brian is his focus on what's going to help this organization, not what's going to help me or so on and so forth. He is so focused on doing what's right for the organization. 

"That's been his lighthouse and his beacon for 20 years, even before he was GM. That consistency has put them on this path of [being] a formidable organization with a [formidable] lineup. That's the common denominator in this thing."

THE 1970s. JIMMY NEDERLANDER, then a limited partner of Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, tells the Boss that New York is a town of stars. Nederlander knew, of course. He founded the family company that went on to become the largest owner of theater property in the country. And as such, of course, he was a giant on Broadway.

"I know the city we're in and I know that our fans love the big marquee players," Hal Steinbrenner, who inherited the Yankees from his Boss dad, says during a press conference to introduce Stanton on Monday.

He continues, pointing out how the club's fans this year learned to love homegrown players who they can follow over the course of entire careers as Yankees every bit as much as any imported or purchased player. He points out how youngsters like Judge and Gary Sanchez knocked it out of the park with the "varsity" last year, and how exciting that was. But as he finishes, he notes….

"This is New York City. These are the Yankees."

This has been the internal battle waged in the offices of Yankee Stadium for the past few years, insiders tell B/R: Cashman reached a point in which he recognized the Yankees' need to get younger and more athletic. Insiders describe times of tension within the front office relating to Cashman's desire to rid the club of old, dead weight like Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira and restock the organization with bright young talent. Steinbrenner was skeptical of a Yankees team without stars.

That Cashman was given latitude to do it his way became evident during the summer of 2016, in which the club shed Rodriguez, Teixeira and others. Trading relief ace Andrew Miller to Cleveland for a package of young prospects including pitcher Justus Sheffield and outfielder Clint Frazier was a highlight of what turned out to be a lightning-fast rebuild.

The Baby Bombers, as the group led by Judge, Sanchez and Greg Bird came to be called, pushed the Yankees all the way to Game 7 of this year's American League Championship Series.

But as they did, in a billion-dollar incarnation of the latest Yankee Stadium, there is no escaping one harsh reality: Attendance in the Bronx during the past two yearsa per-game average of 38,851 last summer and 37,820—was the lowest in back-to-back seasons since 1997-98.

Beginning in 1999, the year the Yankees won the second of three consecutive World Series titles, they've now drawn three million or more fans annually over 19 consecutive seasons (they were over four million between from 2005 through 2008). The streak, though, barely survived over the past two seasons, when the Yankees drew 3,063,405 in 2016 and 3,146,966 this year.

"I think Stanton was too big of an opportunity for them to walk away from," an owner of a rival club tells B/R. "He's a hell of a guy, the MVP of the NL and they're not drawing the way they hoped to. They're not making any money. They've got so much debt tied to the stuff they've done."

Now, the new Twin Towers of the Bronx, Stanton (6'6", 245 pounds) and Judge (6'7", 282), come as if designed by engineers to fuel a team that will pack that stadium and, if things turn out as planned, whip the Bronx denizens back into a frenzy not seen since they left the old ballpark next door.

    

MONDAY AFTERNOON. THE PODIUM in the front of the press room is still warm from a couple of hours earlier, when new Hall of Famers Alan Trammell and Jack Morris spoke of the agony and the ecstasy of grinding through a two-decade wait to land in Cooperstown. Now Stanton, Cashman and new manager Aaron Boone hover before a standing-room only crowd of industry typesmedia, executivesand a live broadcast on MLB Network. It's the first sighting of Stanton in a Yankees cap.

And it is the last time all week the podium will be used. Amid a winter meetings of much talk and little action, the Yankees swallow up most of the oxygen. Stanton says he thought this day always would come, even when he signed the 13-year, $325 million deal ludicrously offered by now former Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, who had all of the enthusiasm of a baseball expert and none of the knowledge during his tenure running, to use Boras' term, Miami's pawn shop.

"I overthink, and think again on all possibilities that can happen," Stanton says. "So with the history of everything, yeah, of course it was in my mind and I knew I had to be prepared."

He declined offers to play in both St. Louis and San Francisco, he says, because he thinks the Yankees are ready to win now and ready to win for a longer period of time. Whenever he saw them play, they impressed him. Though as his agent, Joel Wolfe, points out, Stanton hasn't seen them play in October, because the slugger wants to win so badly that he annually scheduled European vacations during the postseason because he wanted to get as far away from it as possible if he wasn't participating.

"Just watching them from afar, seeing their young, dynamic group, the way they flow together on the field, how they never give up, never quit, the atmosphere, the storied franchise," Stanton says. "There's not much you can say about why you wouldn't want to be there.

Boone had barely been named to replace Joe Girardi as manager before he suddenly was gifted with a fearsome middle-of-the-lineup hitter.

"You wake up and you're not sure that we were necessarily in on Stanton, but [with] how quick it kind of came together … sure, that catches you off guard," Boone says.

"But you also understand it's the New York Yankees."

Says Hal Steinbrenner: "I've always said that New York's a marquee town, and I think it's important to have marquee players. But more important than that ... [is] to have veteran players that could be mentors for the young kids. And we've got a lot of young kids."

Legendary New York sports columnist Red Smith once wrote that "rooting for the Yankees is like rooting for U.S. Steel." Little has changed more than half a century later. The Yankees brand it ubiquitous, like Starbucks and CVS. They gobble up the mom and pop shops where they can.

Even if you're already a formidable opponent, they keep your attention. New Boston manager Alex Cora, a friend of Boone's, was at home in Puerto Rico when he learned that the Yankees now employ a run producer that will make his rookie season as manager even more difficult.

"I saw the rumors on Friday night going to bed," Cora says. "I got up in the morning and saw it."

He attended a charity event hosted by Yadier Molina that Saturday, and there was a moment when Cora looked up and saw a horde of reporters coming at him.

"And the first thing I said is, 'I ain't talking about Stanton,'" says Cora, who played in this rivalry as a Red Sox player from 2005-08 and understands that the day is coming when he will not be able to escape the subject.

   

DINNERTIME. WEDNESDAY. HALLWAYS EMPTYING. The lack of action brings a sort of malaise over these meetings as the week crawls to a wrap, but New York's gold rush keeps the adrenaline stoked.

What is it about hating that keeps us coming back for more?

"When teams are stacked, they're always hated," another American League executive says. "That's all sports, but being the Yankees doesn't hurt."

Several industry types chuckle thinking back to last December's winter meetings in Washington, D.C., when the Red Sox landed Sale from the Chicago White Sox and it was Cashman who likened Boston to a superteam like the NBA's Golden State Warriors.

"Unfortunately, that's what it seems like now, doesn't it?" says a manager from a Have-Not American League team. "Four or five superteams, like basketball."

But this is baseball, and as we all know, baseball is not foolproof. The Red Sox did steal the show last winter, but they were wiped out in the first round of the playoffs by Houston. A couple of winters ago, the San Diego Padres became the darlings of the winter meetings, and that didn't go so well, either. And as one owner notes, the Yankees' Stanton deal takes the focus off of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who have spent some $500 million over the past five years (including international bonuses) more than anybody else. The Dodgers still haven't won a World Series since 1988.

"It's all part of it," A.J. Hinch, manager of the world champion Houston Astros, says. "The good news about stuff like that is it's above our pay grade. Obviously, each team has its own challenges, each team has its own things it's going to address and its own resources, and to each their own. In our sport. you don't have to make the most to be the best."

"There's going to be a lot of strikeouts in that lineup, but it's going to be fun to watch for their fans," the AL executive says. "Who knows how many home runs Stanton will hit in that ballpark?"

Says Showalter: "If you make real good pitches to those guys, you'll get them out. If you make bad pitches, they'll go a little further than everyone else is hitting them."

He pauses, then cracks: "I'm glad they haven't changed the rule where the further you hit it you get a run-and-a-half, or a run-and-a-quarter. Can you imagine if they had one of those Skee-Ball things where the further you get it the more points you get?

"Don't give them any ideas in the Competition Committee. In Yankee Stadium, as little as that ballpark is, they don't need any help."

No, they don't. But to New York's credit, the Yankees keep helping themselves. It's easy for fans to hate them, but how many falso wish their team's owner were as hell-bent on winning as the Steinbrenners have been for as long as they've been in the game?

"It makes everybody else step up their game and spend money," Ross says. "It's healthy for the game. It fuels the fans and the rivalries.

"You want people to go watch. Go see how far they can hit the ball. It pushes other organizations to get better and I just think it's great for the game."

A couple of years ago in Arizona, Dave Stewart, the former pitcher, worked with Cashman to complete a trade. Stewart was the Diamondbacks GM who sent Gregorius to the Yankees in that three-way deal in December of 2014. A year later, Stewart lured ace Zack Greinke to Arizona on a $206.5 million deal.

Instead of sparking a playoff run, the Diamondbacks were a bust in 2016 and Stewart was fired by Arizona.

He knows the tension and pressure of a life lived on the high wire, and having returned to his previous role as a player agent, Stewart also knows the bottom line from all sides of the great divide.

"You can hate all you want to," Stewart says, "but I admired the Yankees from early on, because they were committed to winning."

 

Scott Miller covers Major League Baseball as a national columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow Scott on Twitter and talk baseball.

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Ranking the Top 5 Prospects Moved in Winter-Meetings Trades

The 2017 MLB winter meetings weren't jam-packed with action. Still, a handful of significant signings and trades were consummated between Monday and Thursday at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Florida. 

Initial reaction focuses on the established big league players who swapped uniforms. But in the case of trades, it's equally interesting to examine the prospects involved.

While none of the game's consensus top MiLB chips were dealt, a number of intriguing, high-upside farm hands will soon be rising through new systems.

Let's take a look at the top five, keeping in mind stats, skill set, ceiling and, as is always the case with prospects, a healthy dose of informed gut feeling.

Begin Slideshow

Aaron Judge Says He’s ‘Just Looking Forward to Being Around’ Giancarlo Stanton

New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge is already looking forward to playing with new teammate Giancarlo Stanton.

"He's an MVP," Judge said Thursday, per the Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com). "You can learn a lot from a guy like that, just kind of watching how he goes through his normal routine. I'm just looking forward to being around him. He'll blend right into this team. We've got a good chemistry in the clubhouse. He's going to be a great fit for New York."

The Yankees announced they acquired Stanton via trade from the Miami Marlins on Monday. They sent second baseman Starlin Castro, minor league pitcher Jorge Guzman and minor league infielder Jose Devers back to Miami, but they also gained a four-time All-Star who slashed .281/.376/.631 with 32 doubles and 132 RBI in the process.

The other numbers are enticing for the Bronx Bombers, but it is Stanton's pure power that stands out.

He led the league with 59 home runs on his way to the 2017 National League MVP, finishing ahead of Judge—who was second with 52 long balls as the 2017 American League Rookie of the Year. The mere thought of those two hitting back-to-back figures to terrify the rest of the American League entering the 2018 campaign.

If there is a downside for the Yankees it is Stanton's contract. According to Spotrac, he is set to make at least $25 million in each of the next 11 seasons. The total climbs as high as $32 million from 2023 through 2025, although there is a player option after 2020 and a club option with a $10 million buyout for 2028.

Still, Stanton is joining the team that led the league with 241 long balls in 2017 and features the likes of Gary Sanchez and Didi Gregorius in addition to Judge.

The Yankees came within a single game of the World Series in 2017 when they lost to the eventual champion Houston Astros in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series and should be on the short list of title contenders in the upcoming campaign with the addition of Stanton.

It is no wonder Judge is looking forward to spending time with him.

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Yankees Trade Rumors: Orioles Reportedly Won’t Deal Manny Machado to NY

The Baltimore Orioles reportedly don't want to trade All-Star third baseman Manny Machado to the division rival New York Yankees.

Dan Clark of the Big Leagues Daily reported the news Thursday, noting Baltimore prefers to trade him somewhere but wants to ensure he doesn't end up in pinstripes. What's more, Clark said the only way a Machado trade won't happen is if Orioles owner Peter Angelos vetoes it.

That Baltimore wants to ensure Machado doesn't ultimately become a Yankee is notable since The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported the Chicago White Sox have been "the most aggressive suitor" for the infielder but could look to flip him to New York to bolster "what already is one of the game's best farm systems, if not the best."

ESPN's Buster Olney also reported the Yankees "expressed interest" in Machado, which makes sense considering there is a need at the hot corner. Third baseman Todd Frazier is a free agent, and New York traded third baseman Chase Headley to the San Diego Padres.

While refusing to trade Machado within its division theoretically gives Baltimore less leverage with fewer potential suitors, MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli reported there were more than five teams discussing a potential swap for the three-time All-Star.

However, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reported "there's no expectation" Machado would want to negotiate a new contract with a team that traded for him, meaning he would essentially be a one-year rental. That could make it more difficult for the Orioles to land their targeted "two young, controllable starting pitchers" in a Machado swap, per Rosenthal.

Whichever team eventually receives Machado will acquire a two-way force who has two Gold Gloves on his resume and slashed .259/.310/.471 with 33 home runs, 95 RBI and 33 doubles last season. He also drilled 37 home runs in 2016 and 35 in 2015 and is just 25 years old.

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Biggest Winners and Losers of the 2017 MLB Winter Meetings

After four days of trades, signings and rumors about trades and signings, Major League Baseball's annual winter meetings came to a close Thursday. 

It'll be years before fair judgment can be passed on the winners and losers. But for now, it's clear enough who appear to be the winners and losers of the meetings. The list ahead covers four of each and includes both teams and players.

Be warned that the New York Yankees and Giancarlo Stanton are not among them. Although the Yankees made their blockbuster trade for Stanton official during the first day of the meetings Monday, it was conceived a couple of days before executives, coaches, agents and players descended on Orlando, Florida.

Otherwise, it's on with the show. 

Begin Slideshow

Zack Cozart Reportedly Targeted by Angels, More Clubs Interested as Well

The market for shortstop Zack Cozart is heating up, with the Los Angeles Angels reportedly interested in the All-Star free agent. 

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported the Angels' interest, but he added that Cozart is also in discussions with other teams as he pursues a deal. 

The Angels have been one of the most active clubs in MLB this offseason, starting with the surprise signing of Japanese star Shohei Ohtani last week. They acquired Ian Kinsler in a trade with the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday. 

Cozart doesn't seem like an immediate fit for the Angels, who have Andrelton Simmons locked in at shortstop. 

Given Simmons' value on defense, where he has won three Gold Gloves and led MLB with 32 defensive runs saved last season, Cozart would likely have to switch positions. 

Third base is a position the Angels need to upgrade after getting a collective .238/.318/.395 slash line from the position in 2017. 

The 32-year-old Cozart is coming off the best year of his career last season. He hit .297/.385/.548 with 24 home runs in 122 games. 

 

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Yu Darvish Reportedly Targeted by Minnesota Twins to Bolster Rotation

The Minnesota Twins are reportedly targeting free-agent pitcher Yu Darvish, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

Darvish would be a big splash for the Twins and another upgrade to the pitching staff after they reportedly signed reliever Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $4.5 million deal Thursday, according to the Associated Press.

         

This article will be updated to provide more information on this story as it becomes available.

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Giants Trade Rumors: Avisail Garcia Deal Being Discussed, Blue Jays in the Mix

Coming off a breakout season in 2017, Chicago White Sox outfielder Avisail Garcia is reportedly the subject of trade talks at Major League Baseball's winter meetings.

According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the San Francisco Giants and Toronto Blue Jays have had discussions with the White Sox about Garcia, though no deal is close right now. 

The Giants have been in the market for outfielders all offseason. They had the framework of a deal in place with the Miami Marlins for Giancarlo Stanton that wound up falling through when the 2017 National League MVP invoked his no-trade clause. 

Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic reported Wednesday that the Giants' initial plan after Stanton turned them down was to sign free agent Jay Bruce and acquire Billy Hamilton from the Cincinnati Reds

Garcia had his best season, by far, in 2017. He was named to the American League All-Star team and had a .330/.380/.506 slash line with 18 home runs in 136 games for the White Sox. 

The 26-year-old Garcia has two more years of team control before he's eligible for free agency after the 2019 season. 

 

 

 

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