MLB rumors: Cubs massive moves teased, Cease trade dead? Yankees Hader backup plans

  • Big Cubs moves are believed on the horizon
  • Dylan Cease trade talks could be dead, at least until midseason
  • Yankees targets if they miss on Josh Hader

Jan 12, 2024; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer talks to the
Jan 12, 2024; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer talks to the / Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
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MLB Rumors: Yankees targets if they miss on Josh Hader

The New York Yankees have had a really strong offseason thus far, trading for Juan Soto and Trent Grisham in the biggest blockbuster deal of the winter, and signing Marcus Stroman to fortify what could be a really good rotation.

With their lineup and rotation likely finalized, the Yankees have reportedly turned their attention to the bullpen. The best reliever available is certainly Josh Hader, who the Yankees have shown interest in. Adding Hader to this bullpen that was already among the league's best in 2023 could make the Yankees scary.

The issue with Hader is his contract demands are extremely hefty, with the left-handed reliever looking to fetch the largest contract for a reliever ever, besting the five-year deal worth $102 million that Edwin Diaz signed with the Mets last offseason. It feels extremely unlikely that the Yankees pay that, but could be a serious suitor if his price drops.

If Hader winds up being out of their price range, the Yankees do have a couple of backup targets with MLB Network's Jon Morosi linking them to breakout star Robert Stephenson and Hector Gomez linking former Astros reliever Hector Neris to the Bronx Bombers.

Stephenson is a pitcher who broke out with the Rays this past season posting a 2.35 ERA in 42 appearances, fanning 60 and walking just eight in 38.2 innings of work. For as good as he was with the Rays, this right-hander was nothing more than a journeyman throughout the rest of his eight-year career, raising the question of how good he'll be if he leaves the Rays.

Neris has a better track record than Stephenson and is coming off an outstanding season with Houston, but is also seeking an obscene contract according to Gomez's report.

Both of these relievers would be big additions to a bullpen that could use one more addition even with their question marks. Hader is the dream, but the backup options look mostly good too if the Yankees can get the right price.