Now that the Yankees and Jacoby Ellsbury have kicked off what should be a delicious and possibly extended battle over the $26 million owed to the recently released outfielder, there are other moving parts that require attention.
And though outfielder Brett Gardner’s return remains likely, other key issues aren’t as clear.
Free agent Didi Gregorius has been discussed by Phillies decision-makers to replace Juan Segura at shortstop. Segura has three years and $43.75 million remaining on a five-year deal for $70 million he signed with the Mariners in 2017.
Since the Yankees are high on catcher Kyle Higashioka to be Gary Sanchez’s backup, that means Austin Romine likely will be wearing a new uniform for the first time as a professional. Romine was drafted by the Yankees in the second round in 2007.
As the Gerrit Cole saga unfolds, the Yankees aren’t viewed among the early favorites to sign the 29-year-old free-agent right-hander, though that could change as November turns into December with January looming.
Stephen Strasburg and Zack Wheeler are ranked second and third among free-agent starting pitchers. All three rejected their $17.8 million qualifying offer, which…