According to FOX Sports, the Yankees are “likely” to sign Roberts, the Orioles’ supplemental pick in the 1999 First-Year Player Draft.
The Yankees need a replacement for Robinson Cano, who signed a 10-year, $240 million contract with the Mariners.
The Orioles still hadn’t reached out to Roberts’ agent during the Winter Meetings, though executive vice president Dan Duquette indicated that the door remained open for a return.
“Let’s see how our team shapes up,” Duquette said, “and we’ll address that at an appropriate time.”
Manager Buck Showalter expressed hope while meeting with reporters that a deal would be worked out.
“In a perfect world,” Showalter said. “We’ll see if it works for everybody. It’s not always a perfect world. It’s got to fit for him and there’s some decisions that have to be made when people start exchanging salaries. It’s something that, I think Dan has it wired. I’m sure at some point the conversations that need to be had will be had.”
I wrote about the Yankees contacting Roberts’ agent on Dec. 9, though the level of interest wasn’t known at the time.
Roberts, 36, was the longest-tenured Oriole before becoming a free agent at the conclusion of the four-year, $40 million contract that he signed prior to the 2010 season. He’s a two-time All-Star and a career .278/.349/.412 hitter in 13 seasons.
Roberts collected 50 or more doubles in three seasons and led the league with 50 stolen bases in .2007. But injuries to his back, hip and hamstring, and concussion symptoms, limited him to 59, 39, 17 and 77 games over the last four seasons.
I’m sure that more will be written about Roberts later today. Yes, we’re past midnight.
The Orioles’ roster is taking on a drastically different look since the final game of the 2013 season. Closer Jim Johnson was traded to the Athletics, outfielder Nate McLouth signed with the Nationals and pitcher Scott Feldman signed with the Astros. Pitcher Jason Hammel remains on the market.
Ryan Flaherty is the leading in-house candidate to start at second base on opening day. Jemile Weeks, acquired for Johnson, also is in the mix.
Roberts eventually will be inducted into the Orioles Hall of Fame, but fans apparently will have to accept that he’s going to wear pinstripes in 2014.
Update: An industry source confirms that Roberts has agreed to a one-year deal with the Yankees. The deal is worth around $2 million plus incentives. FOX Sports first reported the deal.