Listen, we know it’s tough to catch up on everything happening in the baseball world each morning. There are all kinds of stories, rumors, game coverage and Vines of dudes getting hit in the beans every day. Trying to find all of it while on your way to work or sitting at your desk just isn’t easy. It’s okay, though, we’re going to do the heavy lifting for you each morning, and find the things you need to see from within the SB Nation baseball network, as well as from elsewhere. Please hold your applause until the end, or at least until after you subscribe to the newsletter.
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One of the largest and most talented free agent markets in recent memory is coming to a close -- okay, well maybe not for Dexter Fowler, Yovani Gallardo and Ian Desmond, but more on them another time. Even though it's February, the Yankees, so well-known for their spending and aggressiveness when it comes to acquiring players, haven't signed a single free agent. In fact, they're the only team to not do so to this point, and it would be the first winter since free agency began where they did not. Don't confuse that for a failure to upgrade, though. New York made a number of trades that should help them in 2016 without the need to invest in another expensive and long-term deal.
The Yankees traded for Starlin Castro, who, for all his problems in the first half, came around at the plate after shifting to second base, where New York needs him. They added Aroldis Chapman to a bullpen that already had Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances, allowing them to shorten games and give their rotation something to lean on. They sent John Ryan Murphy to the Twins to get the still young and promising Aaron Hicks in their outfield. The Yankees won 87 games a year ago with plenty going wrong, so moves like these could be all they needed.
They should get a little more than that from what they already had, too, or at least, that's the hope. A healthy Jacoby Ellsbury could do wonders for the lineup. If Mark Teixeira isn't right, Greg Bird is around for first base. A full season of Luis Severino could be just what the rotation needs. Removing Stephen Drew's awful 2015 from the equation is some addition by subtraction baseball, maybe they won't need Ivan Nova -- there are plenty of things that could go New York's way. And none of them required a free agent acquisition. This won't be a permanent state for the Yankees, either: they only have $130 million in obligations heading into next offseason, so they'll surely start spending big again soon.
- Ken Rosenthal has a reminder that fans and executives often feel very differently about what's right for their team, with the question of a Jose Bautista extension at the center of this.
- The Red Sox hosted a fantasy camp for women, and it involved playing legitimate games and lessons from past Sox players. More of this, baseball.
- Garth Brooks might have turned on the champion Royals in favor of his hometown Orioles. That makes sense, there probably isn't room for him at the spring training camp of a defending champ.
- The Red Sox aren't hosting a rookie camp this spring because most of their 2016 youths were already on the big league roster, but there are still a number of possible debuts for them this summer.
- These are the moves that turned NL also-rans into contenders.
- MLB released their top 100 prospects list on MLB Network on Friday night, but since you were doing literally anything but watching MLB Network on a Friday night, here is the actual list.
- Not to be outdone, Baseball Prospectus released their top 101 prospects on Friday.
- I contributed to a baseball blogathon that was raising money for cancer research this past weekend, and while the blogathon itself is over, you can still read all the entries and donations are open for another week. Here's my entry, on Hall of Nearly Great member Bret Saberhagen. There are plenty of others to read if you'd rather do that than work on Monday morning, too.