Sunday, November 30, 2008

Yankees Art From Legendary Sports Prints

Former Yankees public relations director Marty Appel, emailed me and wanted me to let you guys know about some great Yankees related lithographs from Legendary Sports Prints.


Both of these are by Bill Purdom. The one on the left shows Mantle at bat with Maris on deck from 1960, and the one on the right shows Ruth at bat with Gehrig on deck from 1929, the first time players wore numbers.

They have many other great Yankees pieces, including this one that has The Babe standing with Negro League legend Josh Gibson. And another one of my personal favorites is this one of Donnie Baseball launching his ALDS homer in 1995 against the Mariners.

This Week in Yankees History (11/30-12/6)

November 30th - December 6th


November 30th

1909 - Former Yankees P Jimmy DeShong (1934-35) was born. Jimmy went 10-8 in 60 games with the Yankees. On January 17,1936, Jim was traded by the Yankees along with OF Jesse Hill to the Senators for P Bump Hadley and OF Roy Johnson.

1936 - Former Yankees reliever Steve Hamilton (1963-1970) was born (1936-1997). Steve was obtained from the Senators for P Jim Coates in April of 1963. Steve worked out of the Yankees bullpen until September of 1970, going 34-20 in 312 games with 36 saves. On September 9,1970, Steve was selected off waivers by the White Sox from the Yankees. Also Steve played basketball in the NBA in the late 1950's for the Minnesota Lakers.

1952 - On a local TV program, Brooklyn Dodgers All Star INF Jackie Robinson charges that the Yankees management is racist for its failure to bring up a black player. Yankees General Manager George Weiss denies Robinson’s allegations of racism. In reality, GM Weiss will release or trade away all minority players in the Yankees farm system except for C Elston Howard, who will become the 1st black Yankee MLB player in 1955. Among those who were traded away or released by the Yankees were future AL All Star 1B Vic Power and MLB P Ruben Gomez.

1953 - The Yankees lose minor league OF Jerry Lynch to the Pirates in the MLB Rule 5 Player Draft. Lynch would later become a successful pinch MLB hitter for the Reds during the 1950-1960’s. Lynch was another talented player who was stuck in the Yankees farm system because of the amount of talent the team had in the majors.

1960 - Former Yankees P Bob Tewksbury (1986-87) was born. Bob was drafted by the Yankees in the 19th round of the 1981 MLB amateur player draft. In 1986, Bob went 9-5 in 23 games with 2 complete games. Bob was 1-4 in 8 games with the team, when on July 13, 1987; he was traded by the Yankees along with minor league hurlers Rich Scheid and Dean Wilkins to the Cubs for starter Steve Trout.

1964 - The Yankees drafted C Ellie Rodríguez from the A’s organization in the 1964 MLB 1st-year player draft.

1964 - 1B/OF Duke Carmel was drafted by the Yankees from the Mets in the 1964 MLB Rule 5 Player draft.

1967 - The Yankees purchased shortstop Gene ”Stick” Michael from the Dodgers for cash. He will be the Yankees starting shortstop until the 1975 AL season. After retiring as a MLB player, he will return to the Yankees organization to be a coach, Manager (MLB and minor leagues), General Manager. Currently Gene is serving as a Special Consultant in the Yankees front office.

1976 - The Yankees purchased OF/DH Jimmy ”Toy Cannon” Wynn from the Braves for $100,000. He hit a disappointing .133 in 43 games for the Yankees before being released on July 14, 1977.

1976 - Former Yankees 1B/OF Craig Wilson (2006) was born. After being traded by the Pirates for P Shawn Chacon, Craig only hit .212 in 40 games in pinstripes. He left the Yankees for free agency in the fall of 2006, signing with the Braves.

1981 - The Yankees rookie left-handed starter Dave Righetti, who had of 8-4 record with a 2.06 ERA in 1981, wins the 1981 AL Rookie of the Year Award. The Yankees had obtained him from the Rangers in the winter of 1978.

2000 - Free agent starter Mike Mussina inks an $88.5 million, 6-year contract with the Yankees. The 10-year veteran compiled a 147-81 record with a 3.53 ERA as an Oriole hurler. Mike Mussina tells the NYC media that a deciding factor to sign with the Yankees was a telephone call from Yankees Manager Joe Torre.

December 1st

1940 - Former Yankees P Cecil Perkins (1967) was born. He went 0-1 in 2 games with the Yankees in 1967.

1951 - Yankees released former player Tommy “Old Reliable” Henrich as an MLB coach.

1954 - The Yankees and Orioles complete the largest trade in MLB history as 17 players, including stars P Don Larsen, OF Gene Woodling, and P Bob Turley change teams. The 1st phase of the transaction began on November 18th and will conclude today after the 1954 MLB draft. The Yankees obtained 1B Richard Kryhoski, P Mike Blayzka, C Darrell Johnson, and outfielders Jim Fridley and Tel Del Guercio from the Orioles, with the Yankees sending them P Bill Miller, 3B Kal Segrist, 2B Don Leppert and 2 minor leaguers to be named later. Only C Darrell Johnson remained with the Yankees as a back-up catcher for Yogi Berra in 1958-1959, before he was traded to the Cardinals organization after the 1959 AL season. The rest of the players involved in the trade were traded away or never played for the Yankees at the MLB level.

1956 - Former Yankees minor league P Tom Filer was born. Tom was signed by the Yankees, as an amateur free agent in 1978. On December 8, 1980, Tom was drafted by the A’s from the Yankees in the 1980 MLB Rule 5 player draft. On April 9, 1981, he was returned by the A’s to the Yankees. On April 27, 1981, Tom was traded by the Yankees along with cash to the Cubs for veteran C Barry Foote.

1969 - OF/1B Tom Shopay was drafted by the Orioles from the Yankees organization in the 1969 MLB Rule 5 player draft.

1971 - The Yankees obtained 2B Bernie Allen from the Rangers for pitchers Terry Ley and Gary Jones. Bernie Allen would be a successful pinch hitter for the Yankees during the 1972 AL season.

1978 - The Yankees assigned the contract of left-handed reliever Paul Linblad to the Mariners for future considerations. Paul went 0-0 in 7 games with the Yankees after joining them from the Rangers in August of 1978.

1982 - The Yankees signed onetime AL MVP Don Baylor to a free agent contract. Baylor won the AL MVP Award in 1979, when he hit 24 HRs and 93 RBI’s for the Angels. The Yanks signed him to a reported 5-year, $5 million contract. After hitting .303 with 21 HRS and 85 RBIs in 1982, Don dropped off in his next 2 seasons with the Yankees just hitting only .262 and .231. On March 28, 1986, Don was traded by the Yankees to the Red Sox for OF/DH Mike Easler.

1991 - Former Yankees OF (1940) and MLB Manager Buster Mills passed away. (1908-1991). Buster hit .397 in 14 games for the Yankees in 1940. In 1953, Buster managed the Reds for 8 games, posting a 4-4 mark.

December 2nd

1889 - Former Yankees INF Ray Morehart (1927) was born. On January 13, 1927, Ray was traded by the White Sox along with C Johnny Grabowski to the Yankees for INF Aaron Ward. Ray was a reserve INF on the 1927 Yankees bench, appearing in 73 games and hitting .256. He retired from MLB after the 1927 World Series.

1903 - Former Yankees P Don Brennan (1933) was born. Don went 5-1 in18 games with 3 saves for the Yankees in 1933.

1950 - Former Yankees P Robert “Bob” Kammeyer (1978-79) was born (1950-2003). Bob was drafted by the Yankees in the 21st round of the 1972 MLB amateur player draft. He attended Dartmouth University, majoring in Economics. Bob went 0-0 in 8 games for the Yankees during the 1978-79 AL seasons. In 1980, Bob was named International League Pitcher of the Year, while pitching with the Columbus Clippers. Bob passed away in 2003.

1952 - Brooklyn Dodgers executive Buzzie Bavasi dismisses the Yankees front office’s reaction to Jackie Robinson's charges of racism. MLB Commissioner Ford Frick plans to take no action against Jackie Robinson for his remarks to the NYC media. Two days earlier Jackie Robinson had called the Yankees, a racist organization for its failure to promote a black player to the parent club. The 1st black Yankees MLB player would be C Elston Howard in 1955.

1967 - The Yankees purchased C John Boccabella from Cubs for cash. He never played for the Yankees at the MLB level. He would be sold to the Expos.

1974 - The Yankees purchased OF/1B/DH Bob Oliver from the Orioles for cash. Bob hit only .132 in 18 games before being released by the Yankees on July 15, 1975.

1997 - Former Yankees P Steve Hamilton (1963-1969) passed away.(1936-1997). Steve was obtained from the Senators for P Jim Coates in April of 1963. Steve worked out of the Yankees bullpen until September of 1970, going 34-20 in 312 games with 36 saves. On September 9,1970, Steve was selected off waivers by the White Sox from the Yankees.

December 3rd

1922 - Former Yankees 1B/OF Joe Collins (1948-1957) was born. Before 1939 AL Season, Joe was signed by the Yankees as an amateur free agent. In 10 seasons with the Yankees Joe hit .256, never really living up to the hitting promise that the Yankees had hoped for. Joe appeared in 7 World Series with the Yankees. During the 1957 AL season Joe was replaced by Bill Skowron as the regular Yankees 1B. On March 20,1958, Joe was purchased by the Phillies from the Yankees. Joe retired from MLB, turning down a $100,000 player contract offer from the Phillies. He told the NYC media that he wanted to be remembered as a Yankee.

1925 - Former Yankees OF Harry “The Suitcase” Simpson was born (1925-1979). On June 15,1957, Harry was traded by the A’s along with P Ryne Duren and OF Jim Pisoni to the Yankees for INF Billy Martin, P Ralph Terry, INF/OF Woodie Held, and OF Bob Martyn. In 1957, Harry hit .270 in 75 games for the Yankees. In 1958, he hit only .216 in 24 games, before being traded back to the A’s along with P Bob Grim for A’s P Duke Maas and P Virgil Trucks.

1960 - Former Yankees P Gene Nelson (1981) was born. On October 8, 1979, Gene was sent to the Yankees by the Rangers to complete the Oscar Gamble-Mickey Rivers trade made earlier in August of 1979. Gene would go 3-1 in 8 games in 1981. In 1982 spring training camp, he made the Yankees starting rotation, but once again the Yankees front office decided to bring in a veteran pitcher rather than go with a young pitcher. On April 1, 1982, Gene was traded by the Yankees along with a player to be named later, P Bill Caudill to the Mariners for starter Shane Rawley. At 1st report of the trade, Mariners informs Nelson that he would be pitching for their AAA team. Nelson balks telling them that he had just made the Yankees starting rotation, he will not report to AAA, finally both sides reached an agreement. The Yankees would later send OF Bobby Brown on April 6, 1982, to the Mariners to complete the trade. Gene would go 6-9 in 22 starts for the Mariners during the 1982 AL season.

1962 - Former MLB players Frank Crosetti (Yankees) and Johnny Schulte (Cubs and Phillies) file suit to halt any increased MLB pension benefits that fail to include old-time MLB players.

1968 - The MLB Rules Committee adopts a series of changes designed to increase the amount of offensive run production in both leagues. In the most significant alterations, the committee agrees to decrease the size of the strike zone and lower the height of the pitcher's mound from 15 inches to 10 inches. The rules changes will result in increased run scoring in 1969.

1974 - The Yankees obtained P Skip Lockwood from the Angels for C/INF Bill Sudakis. Skip Lockwood would be released by the Yankees during spring training, then signing on with the Mets.

1988 - Free agent P Dave LaPoint signs a 3-year contract with the Yankees. Dave would go 14-19 in 48 games with the Yankees. On February 17,1991, Dave was released by the Yankees.

2005 - Former Yankees set-up man Tom “Flash” Gordon agreed to terms with the Phillies on a 3-year contract.

December 4th

1890 - Former Yankees P Robert “Sailor Bob” Shawkey (1915-1927) was born.Bob Shawkey finished his Yankee pitching career with a record of 168-131. He was a 4-time 20 game winner for the Yankees after being obtained from the A’s in 1915 for $85,000. Bob will manage the Yankees in 1930 to an 86-68 record before being replaced by veteran NL Cubs Manager Joe McCarthy.

1938 - Former Yankees C/1B Bill Bryan (1966-67) was born. On June 10, 1966, Bill was traded by the A’s along with P Fred Talbot to the Yankees for OF Roger Repoz, P Gil Blanco and P Bill Stafford. Bill hit .217 and .166 for the Yankees. On November 28, 1967, Bill was drafted by the Senators from the Yankees organization in the 1967 MLB Rule 5 Player Draft.

1954 - Former Yankees INF Tucker Ashford (1981) was born. On October 24, 1980, Tucker was traded by the Rangers with cash to the Yankees for INF Roger Holt. In 1981, Tucker will appear in only 3 games with the Yankees with no hits. On October 27, 1982, he was purchased by the Blue Jays from the Yankees. On April 5, 1983, Tucker is returned to the Yankees by the Blue Jays. On April 18, 1983, Tucker is traded by the Yankees to the Mets for a player to be named later and Steve Ray (minors). The Mets would send Felix Perdomo (minors) on May 3, 1983 to the Yankees to complete the trade.

1957 - The MLB baseball kills the bonus rule and raises the minimum MLB player salary to $7,000.

1957 - Former Yankees P Lee Smith (1993) was born. The former NL All Star Cardinals closer Lee appeared in 8 games with a 0-0 record with 3 saves in September of 1993, before leaving the Yankees for free agency. He would sign with the Orioles.

1957 - Former Yankees reserve OF Pat Sheridan (1991) was born. On January 24, 1991, Pat was signed as a free agent with the Yankees. He would bat only .204 in 62 games for the Yankees during the 1991 AL season.

1962 - Former Yankees reserve OF Stanley “Stan” Jefferson (1989) was born. On October 24, 1988, Stan was traded by the Padres along with P Jimmy Jones and P Lance McCullers to the Yankees for 1B Jack Clark and P Pat Clements. Stan appeared in only 10 games with the Yankees, just hitting only .083. On July 20, 1989, Stan was traded by the Yankees to the Orioles for P John Habyan

1964 - The MLB restore to the commissioner's office all powers rescinded after Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis's death in 1944. Principally, they waived their right to take legal action in the event of disagreements with the MLB Commissioner and grant him authority to judge whether actions taken by the owners in concert are, automatically "in the best interests of baseball." Voting for the annual MLB All-Star teams is turned back to the fans.

1964 - The MLB approves a free-agent draft. At their winter meetings in Houston, the minor league and major league organizations establish a system, basically like that of professional football, which will take effect in January of 1965 and be held every 4 months thereafter. Choices will be exercised by clubs in reverse order of their previous year's league standings. Draftees must be included in their club's 40-man roster or be susceptible to claim at the waiver price the following season. This move by the MLB owners would end the dominance of the Yankees and Dodgers from spending big money to sign young players, giving the poorer teams a chance to sign young talented players.

1968 - The Yankees obtained OF Richard Simpson from the Astros for P Dooley Womack. Simpson hit .273 in 6 games before being sent to the Pilots. Dooley Womack was never effective after leaving the Yankees.

1968 -The Dodgers traded P Mike Kekich to the Yankees for OF Andy Kosco. Kosco never really showed the promise of being a power hitter, while playing for the Yankees. Mike Kelich is more known for his wife trade with fellow Yankees teammate P Fritz Peterson than for his pitching with the Yankees.

1969 - The Yankees send veteran starter Al Downing and C Frank Fernandez to A’s for 1B Danny Cater and C Ossie Chavarria. Al Downing was still coming back from pitching arm problems. Frank Fernandez was a weak hitting catcher. Danny Cater would be traded to the Red Sox for reliever Sparky Lyle in March of 1972.

1969 - The Yankees traded former AL Golden Glove winner 1B/OF Joe Pepitone to the Astros for 1B/OF/C Curt Blefary. Curt returns to the Yankees, the MLB team that he originally signed with in the early 1960’s. He was lost by the Yankees in a 40-man roster move made during the 1963 AL season, adding veteran INF Harry Bright. Curt, who was playing at Greensboro (AA), was immediately claimed by the Orioles. Curt will be a major disappointment for the Yankees, never showing the power hitting that he had with the Orioles during the mid 1960’s. Joe Pepitone had worn out his welcome with the Yankees front office with his disputes with the team.

1975 - Former Yankees P Ed Yarnell (1999-2000) was born. On February 1, 1999, Ed was traded by the Marlins along with Todd Noel (minors) and Mark J. Johnson to the Yankees for INF Mike Lowell. Ed went 1-0 in 7 games with the Yankees. On July 12, 2000, Ed was traded by the Yankees along with OF Jackson Melian (minors), 3B Drew Henson, and Brian Reith to the Reds for OF Mike Frank and veteran starter Denny Neagle.

1992 - The Yankees signed free agent shortstop Spike Owen (1993) to a 3-year contract. Spike hit .234 in 103 games with the Yankees, before being traded on December 9, 1993, along with cash to the Angels for minor leaguer Jose Musset.

December 5th

1928 - Former Yankees minor league P Jack Urban was born. In 1949, Jack was signed by the Yankees as an amateur free agent. He never appeared with the Yankees at the MLB level. On April 5,1957, Jack was sent by the Yankees to the A’s to complete an earlier deal made on February 19,1957. The Yankees sent a player to be named later, along with OF Irv Noren, INF Milt Graff, P Mickey McDermott, P Tom Morgan, P Rip Coleman, and INF Billy Hunter to the A’s for players to be named later, along with P Art Ditmar, P Bobby Shantz, P Jack McMahan, and INF Wayne Belardi. The Yankees would send P Jack Urban on April 5, 1957 to the A’s to complete the trade. The Athletics would send Curt Roberts on April 4, 1957 and then INF Clete Boyer on June 4, 1957 to the Yankees to complete the trade. On April 8, 1959, Jack was traded by the A’s back to the Yankees for P Mark Freeman. On May 12, 1959, Jack was purchased by the Cardinals from the Yankees. Despite of all of this trade activity, Jack managed to have MLB career record of 15-15 in 69 games with the A’s and the Cardinals. His best MLB season was in 1957, posting a 7-4 record with the A’s.

1958 - The Phillies, hoping to fill the NL void in New York City caused by departure of the Giants and Dodgers to California, drop any plans for 1959 regular season broadcasts into New York City after the Yankees threaten to broadcast their 1959 AL season games into Philadelphia TV market.

1959 - Representing MLB, the Yankees' AL All Star and MVP catcher Yogi Berra visits Italy to present baseball equipment and aid in the sport's development in the country.

1964 - Former Yankees OF Gary Roenicke (1986) was born. On December 12, 1985, Gary was traded by the Orioles with a player to be named later to the Yankees for P Rich Bordi and INF Rex Hudler. The Orioles would send Leo Hernandez on December 16, 1985 to the Yankees to complete the trade. Gary would hit .265 in 69 games with the Yankees, before leaving the team for free agency.

1974 - Yankees obtained INF Eddie Leon from the White Sox for P Cecil Upshaw. Ed would only appear in 1 game for the Yankees before being released by the team on May 5, 1975.

1984 - The A's send All Star base stealing OF Rickey Henderson and P Bert Bradley to the Yankees in exchange for P Jay Howell and P Jose Rijo, OF Stanley Javier, and minor leaguer pitchers Tim Birtsas and Eric Plunk.

1984 - The Yankees traded veteran C Rick Cerone to the Braves for P Brian Fisher.

1996 - Two days after signing C Joe Girardi, the Yankees send back-up C Jim Leyritz to the Angels in exchange for minor leaguer players Ryan Kane and Jeremy Blevins. Jim Leyritz, the Yankee player with the longest tenure of 5 years, 126 days was vulnerable because of his $1.75 million yearly contract.

1996 - Former Yankees reserve OF Cliff Mapes (1948-1951) passed away (1922-1996). On November 1, 1946, Cliff was drafted by the Yankees from the Indians in the 1946 MLB Rule 5 player draft. He was the last active Yankee player to wear Babe Ruth’s No. 3 Yankees uniform. Also he wore No. 7 during the 1951 AL season, the number that rookie OF Mickey Mantle would get after returning from Kansas City Blues (AAA). On July 31, 1951, Cliff was purchased by the Browns from the Yankees.

2001 - New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani announces he wants to complete new stadium deals for the Mets and Yankees before he leaves office at the end of the month. Before the September 11 attacks, which dramatically changed the city's financial stature, the mayor thought an arrangement in which the city, the state and the owners agreed to pay one-third of the cost of the new stadiums might complete the negotiations with the teams.

December 6th

1873 - Former Yankees 3B and Manager Harry Wolverton (1912) was born. The Yankees would go 50-102 in 1912 under Harry’s leadership. He would replace by former Cubs great INF Frank Chance in 1913.

1903 - Former Yankees HOF 2B Tony “Poosh 'Em Up Tony” Lazzeri (1926-1937) was born. (1903-1946). Tony Lazzeri set what were then organized baseball records with 60 HRs with 222 RBIs for the Salt Lake City Bees in 1925, not to mention a .355 batting average. On August 1, 1925, Tony was traded by the Salt Lake City Bees (PCL) to the Yankees for players to be named later and $50,000. The Yankees would send in March of 1926, Mack Hillis, Frank Zoellers and Curt Fullerton to the Salt Lake City (PCL) to complete the trade. Tony had a lifetime BA of .293 with Yankees. He appeared in 7 World Series hitting .262 with 4 HRs with 19 RBIs. His best Yankees season was in 1929, when he hit.354 with 18 HRs with 106 RBIs. Tony had seven 100 RBI Seasons: (1926-27,1929-1930 1932-33 and in 1936). He was on the 1st AL All Star team in 1933. On October 15, 1937, Tony was released by the Yankees, upon his request to retire from MLB. Tony was elected to MLB’s Hall Of Fame in 1991.

1920 - Former Yankees back-up C Gus Niarhos (1946-1950) was born. In 1941, Gus was signed by the Yankees as an amateur free agent. On June 27, 1950, Gus was selected off waivers by the White Sox from the Yankees for $10,000. Gus was another one of the young Yankee catchers, who were blocked by the presence of Yogi Berra, starting behind home plate.

1945 - Former Yankees MLB 3B Coach Larry Bowa (2005-2007) was born. Larry left the Yankees after the 2007 AL season to join former Yankees Manager Joe Torre, who took over the Dodgers manager’s job.

1946 - The Yankees obtained 2B Ray Mack and C Sherman Lollar from the Indians for P Al Gettel, P Gene Beardon and OF Hal Peck. Mack would be sent to the White Sox during the 1947 AL season. In 2 seasons with the Yankees, Lollar would catch 19 games as back-up catcher, before being sent to the Browns.

1953 - Former Yankees OF Gary Ward (1987-1989) was born. On December 24, 1986, Gary was signed as a free agent with the Yankees. During with his stay with the Yankees, Gary never hit like he had done with the Twins earlier in his MLB career. On April 16,1989, Gary was released by the Yankees.

1968 - The Yankees obtained INF Nate Oliver from the Giants for 3B Charlie Smith (A classic nothing for nothing trade that leaves nothing).

1971 - Former Yankees P Jose Contreras (2003-04) was born in Cuba. In 2003, Jose was signed by the Yankees as an amateur free agent. A former pitching star in Cuba, Jose never really felt comfortable with the Yankees. In 2003, he posted a 7-2 record. In 2004, Jose was 8-5 with the Yankees, when he was traded in July to the White Sox for P Esteban Loaiza.

1973 - Yankees purchased shortstop Jim Mason from the Rangers for $100,000. Jim would hit .250 for the Yankees in 1975, before dropping off to .152 and .180, before being drafted by the Blue Jays from the Yankees as the 30th pick in the 1976 AL expansion player draft.

1997 - Former Yankees OF Lou Clinton (1966-67) passed away (1937-1997). On January 14,1966, Lou was traded by the Indians to the Yankees for C Doc Edwards. Lou hit .220 in 80 games in 1966. He appeared in only 6 games for the Yankees in 1967.


(As always I'd like to thank Fw57Clipper51 for his great contribution.)

11/30 Winter Ball Report

Mexican League

- Justin Christian (Mochis) 1-for-4 with a double and two RBI. He's now hitting .291 with 3 HR and 17 RBI for Mochis.

Dominican League

- Robinson Cano (Estrellas) went 1-for-3 with a double, a walk, and two runs scored. He's now hitting .310 in the Dominican League.

Here's a full list of Yankees playing in the Venezuelan, Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Dominican winter leagues:

Venezuelan League: Francisco Cervelli is playing for Cardenales de Lara. Reegie Corona is on Navegantes del Magallanes.

Puerto Rican League: Ian Kennedy and Jonathan Albaladejo are on Indios de Mayaguez.

Dominican League: Robinson Cano is playing for Estrellas de Oriente. Matt Carson, Melky Cabrera, and Wilkins Arias are playing for Aguilas Cibaenas. And Amaury Sanit is playing for Tigres del Licey.

Mexican League: Justin Christian is playing for Caneros de los Mochis. Ramiro Pena is playing for Tomateros de Culiacan. And Walter Ibarra is on Naranjeros de Hermosillo.

You can check out all of their Winter Ball stats here.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Neyer: CC's Biggest Issue is His Wasteline

Yesterday we looked at Anthony McCarron's article about the risks of a $100 million pitcher. Today ESPN's Rob Neyer discussed the McCarron article as well. He thinks that for the most part CC has little in common with other $100 million pitchers:
But other than the potential contract, I don't see that Sabathia's got much in common with Kevin Brown, Barry Zito, or Mike Hampton. Brown had been up and down, durability-wise, and was well into his 30s when the Dodgers signed him (and it should be said that he did pitch brilliantly for two years). Zito was a disaster waiting to happen, his performance obviously slipping long before the Giants signed him. And Hampton was a very good pitcher who was thrown into an extreme environment.

Essentially, all three of those deals were festooned with red flags from Day 1, and I'll bet that if you take a few minutes and look, you can find a bunch of pointy-headed sabermetricians who cautioned against them immediately.
Neyer goes on to say that Sabathia has a lot more in common with Johan Santana based on their ages, durability and track record. Citing each as reasons not to be afraid of signing CC to a long-term deal. The one thing Neyer would worry about is CC's weight:
He's the most massive great pitcher we've ever seen. Sabathia's listed weight is now 290 pounds. Maybe it's because of rank political correctness, but Sabathia's build seems to me like the elephant in the room that everyone's ignoring.

There isn't another pitcher like him, and never has been. What happens to 290-pound pitchers as they move into their late 20s and into their early 30s? If it were me trying to sign Sabathia, that's the single unanswerable question I would ask the smartest people around me to answer.
I'm concerned about his weight as well. It has not effected him yet, but you have to believe as he gets older it will start to take it's toll on his back and knees.

There are examples of pitchers - like Bartolo Colon and Fernando Valenzuela - who broke down because they were just too fat, and then there are also guys like David Wells who never seemed effected by their weight in a negative way. So I guess like Neyer said it's a question that remains unanswerable.

But is it so absurd to think that maybe a $140-$150 million contract and playing for the New York Yankees might give the guy some motivation to drop a few pounds? Can't he just watch what he eats and get in the gym?

11/29 New Stadium Photo Update

Here's some brand new hi-res shots of the new stadium. And I believe this is the first time we're seeing the visitors locker room.

I may get and post more photos either later today or tomorrow.

(click to enlarge)

For the main updates page click here.

11/29 Winter Ball Report

Dominican League

- Robinson Cano (Estrellas) went 2-for-5 with a double, two RBI, and three runs scored. He's now hitting .308 with 6 RBI and 6 runs scored.

Puerto Rican League

- Jonathan Albaladejo (Mayaguez) pitched one perfect inning to pick up his fifth save of the winter. He still has yet to allow a run for Mayaguez.

Venezuelan League

- Francisco Cervelli (Lara) went 1-for-4 with a walk and a run scored. He's now hitting .257.

Mexican League

- Justin Christian (Mochis) went 1-for-3, he's hitting .292.

- Walter Ibarra (Hermosillo) went 0-for-3, he's currently hitting .212.

Here's a full list of Yankees playing in the Venezuelan, Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Dominican winter leagues:

Venezuelan League: Francisco Cervelli is playing for Cardenales de Lara. Reegie Corona is on Navegantes del Magallanes.

Puerto Rican League: Ian Kennedy and Jonathan Albaladejo are on Indios de Mayaguez. Jose Molina is on Leones de Ponce.

Dominican League: Robinson Cano is playing for Estrellas de Oriente. Matt Carson, Melky Cabrera, and Wilkins Arias are playing for Aguilas Cibaenas. And Amaury Sanit is playing for Tigres del Licey.

Mexican League: Justin Christian is playing for Caneros de los Mochis. Ramiro Pena is playing for Tomateros de Culiacan. And Walter Ibarra is on Naranjeros de Hermosillo.

You can check out all of their Winter Ball stats here.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Risks of a $100 Million Pitcher

With a $140 million offer from the Yankees on the table for CC Sabathia the Daily News' Anthony McCarron discusses the risks of $100 million contracts for pitchers:
Long-term contracts for pitchers are generally considered risky by baseball executives, but when deals reach the $100 million mark, teams flirt with doom. In the brief history of $100 million contracts for pitchers - there have been only four, including Kevin Brown who signed a seven-year, $105 million deal with the Dodgers before the 1999 season - every pitcher except Johan Santana last season has been plagued by injuries, ineffectiveness or both.

While Sabathia has proven he's a terrific, durable pitcher, there are plentiful cautionary tales for the Yankees, Brewers and Angels to consider. None of the four previous $100 million pitchers - Brown, Santana, Barry Zito and Mike Hampton - has pitched in the playoffs for the team he signed with. In fact, none of the teams that have signed a pitcher to a nine-figure deal has made the playoffs while that pitcher has been on their roster.

"The dangers in these kinds of deals are tremendous," said a baseball executive who spoke on condition of anonymity. "How old is the pitcher? What is his history of injury? Based on his age, how fast will his performance decline, because most pitchers, as they get older, they lose their velocity and have to become more of a pitcher and mix it up, change.

"You weigh how good the pitcher is, what is your team's need, how long do you think he can sustain his performance? There are pros to CC - he's a big guy, a good athlete, a horse. On the other hand, he's pitched a lot of innings."

Even Omar Minaya, who just signed Johan Santana to a record-setting $137.5 million deal is no fan of these contracts:

"I'm never comfortable with those kinds of contracts. It's a lot of risk. But sometimes you're forced to do them. You have to look at what the guy can give you in value to the organization.

"You tell yourself you hope your guy does it. You're talking about premium guys and there are only a few of them in the game."

Of course, that's just what the folks who signed Brown, Hampton and Zito were telling themselves at the time. But Brown was only 72-45 in seven years (58-32 in five years with the Dodgers, 14-13 in two years with the Yankees). Hampton missed the entire 2006 and 2007 season and was slowed by injuries in other seasons, too. He was 21-28 for the Rockies, who gave him an eight-year, $121 million deal before the 2001 season, and 35-24 for the Braves. Zito, who won the 2002 AL Cy Young award, is 21-30 in two lost seasons for the Giants after inking a seven-year, $126 million pact.

"If you are going to take this gamble, you have to take it on a Johan Santana or a CC Sabathia, someone like that," says Jim Duquette, the former Met and Oriole executive who now hosts a baseball show on XM Satellite radio. "They are No. 1s who can give you length in a game and are durable. With CC, you might have to be careful of the workload he's had up to this point."
The risks are definitely there, nobody can deny that, but the question is are those risks enough that they would scare you away from signing Sabathia. My answer is no, as I've said all off-season I don't mind the Yankees breaking the bank for CC. It's a risk the Yankees must, and are taking.

Rumor: Yanks Make Offer to Odalis Perez, Interested in Greinke

Mike Silva from Mike Silva's New York Baseball Digest reported this morning that the Yankees have made an offer to left-handed pitcher Odalis Perez. Perez went 7-12 with a 4.34 ERA in 30 starts for the Nationals last year. This was also mentioned a few days ago by ESPN's Enrique Rojas. I have no idea why the Yankees would be interesting in Perez, this can't possibly be part of their backup plan if they don't sign CC, Burnett, and Lowe, can it? If they're going to sign a left-hander named O. Perez it should be Oliver not Odalis.

Silva is also reporting that the Yankees have been asking the Royals about 25 year old right-hander Zack Greinke. Last year he was 13-10 with a 3.47 ERA, and threw 202.1 innings in 32 starts for KC. Silva speculates the deal will take a package of either Hughes or Kennedy and Melky. I wouldn't trade Hughes for him, but I'd wouldn't mind sending Kennedy and Melky to KC.

11/28 Winter Ball Report

Not much going on last night, the Puerto Rican and Dominican Leagues were off.

Mexican League

- Justin Christian (Mochis) went 1-for-6.

- Walter Ibarra (Hermosillo) went 0-for-3 with a walk.

Here's a full list of Yankees playing in the Venezuelan, Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Dominican winter leagues:


Venezuelan League: Francisco Cervelli is playing for Cardenales de Lara. Reegie Corona is on Navegantes del Magallanes.

Puerto Rican League: Ian Kennedy and Jonathan Albaladejo are on Indios de Mayaguez. Jose Molina is on Leones de Ponce.

Dominican League: Robinson Cano is playing for Estrellas de Oriente. Matt Carson, Melky Cabrera, and Wilkins Arias are playing for Aguilas Cibaenas. And Amaury Sanit is playing for Tigres del Licey.

Mexican League: Justin Christian is playing for Caneros de los Mochis. Ramiro Pena is playing for Tomateros de Culiacan. And Walter Ibarra is on Naranjeros de Hermosillo.

You can check out all of their Winter Ball stats here.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Yanks May Be Willing To Up The Ante For CC

Contrary to yesterday's report where Ken Davidoff said that the Yankees are reluctant to raise their record-setting $140 MM offer to Sabathia even if that means he signs somewhere else, today he reports that things may have changed:
If the Angels do deliver a competitive offer to CC Sabathia, the Yankees must decide whether to raise their own bid for him. They are debating that issue internally, but the majority of their decision-makers support the idea of going higher for the coveted lefthander, a person familiar with the situation said yesterday.
Maybe the Angels are more serious about signing Sabathia than the Yankees had thought, and they may feel the only chance they have to sign him is by raising their offer. Davidoff speculates something about $150 for six years.

I'd expect things to really start to heat up after Thanksgiving with CC. Next week could be a very busy week.

11/27 Winter Ball Report

Dominican League

- Robinson Cano (Estrellas) went 1-for-4 with a double, 2 RB, and a walk.

- Melky Cabrera (Aguillas) went 1-for-4.

Mexican League

- Justin Christian (Mochis) went 2-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored.

- Walter Ibarra (Herosillo) went 0-for-4.

Puerto Rican League

- Jonathan Albaladejo (Mayaguez) allowed one hit in a scoreless inning to pick up his fourth save of the winter.

Here's a full list of Yankees playing in the Venezuelan, Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Dominican winter leagues:


Venezuelan League: Francisco Cervelli is playing for Cardenales de Lara. Reegie Corona is on Navegantes del Magallanes.

Puerto Rican League: Ian Kennedy and Jonathan Albaladejo are on Indios de Mayaguez. Jose Molina is on Leones de Ponce.

Dominican League: Robinson Cano is playing for Estrellas de Oriente. Matt Carson, Melky Cabrera, and Wilkins Arias are playing for Aguilas Cibaenas. And Amaury Sanit is playing for Tigres del Licey.

Mexican League: Justin Christian is playing for Caneros de los Mochis. Ramiro Pena is playing for Tomateros de Culiacan. And Walter Ibarra is on Naranjeros de Hermosillo.

You can check out all of their Winter Ball stats here.

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all you guys and your families.
Have a great Turkey day.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Conflicting Reports on Hughes

Earlier in the week Peter Abraham reported that three scouts said that Phil Hughes was throwing 94-95 MPH with ease in the Arizona Fall League. This wasn't the first time this was reported this winter. Abraham also had reported it a few weeks ago, and Kevin Kernan mentioned it on XM Radio around the same time. These reports would lead you to believe that he's regained his overpowering stuff, but today Jim Callis of Baseball America had this to say:
Hughes experienced his own ups and downs with the Peoria Javelinas. He earned AFL pitcher-of-the-week honors after his first outing and started the league's all-star game, but he also got shelled by the Scorpions and missed a start with a torn fingernail.

Hughes mainly pitched off his 89-92 mph fastball and a plus curveball, a nice combination but not the 91-94 mph heater and knockout bender he showed down the stretch in Double-A two years ago. Whether he'll regain his premium stuff once he stays healthy for an extended period remains to be seen. Whether he can stay healthy is uncertain, too, though he hasn't had any arm-related problems since 2005, when he made two trips to the DL with shoulder tendinitis and a tired arm.

"I just don't see how he dominated the lower levels of the minors so thoroughly," a second scout said. "He's not overpowering at all. But he has a solid fastball and the curveball is OK. I don't see what all the fuss was about, but he's probably still a No. 3."

Even if he can't overpower hitters, Hughes still should be tough to hit. He has a good feel for his pitches and his mechanics, though he could use more deception and a steeper angle.
When you hear from some scouts the kid could be an ace, and when you hear from others he's a middle of the rotation guy.

From what I've seen I think his curveball is better than just "OK," but I understand the concern with his velocity on his fastball. We haven't seen much since he hurt himself during the no-hitter in Texas, although he was touching 94 in the playoff game against the Indians.

I still think injuries have set him back a lot and even Callis admits that his stuff a few years ago was electric, the only question is can he regain that "premium stuff."

I also wonder if changing his mechanics, like the Yankees did a year or two ago, has hurt him. Maybe it has caused him to lose something off his stuff. Apparently it was done to improve his command, but I'm not sure that worked either.

I'm no scout so I can't say how good or bad he's going to be, but as I've said before, from what I've seen I think he can be pretty darn good. He just has to put it all together and learn how to pitch. Some scouts say the same thing, and others, like the scout quoted in the Callis article above, say something completely different. Who's right? Nobody knows yet, but we will find out soon enough.

Wednesday's Rumors

These are mostly updates of yesterday's stories...

-
Mark Feinsand says that the Yankees think the Angles are bluffing when they say they're shifting their attention from Teixeira to Sabathia.

One Yankees official didn't seem too concerned with the news of the Angels' supposed interest in Sabathia, which the Bombers believe is designed primarily to speed things up with Teixeira and his agent, Scott Boras.

"It sounds like they're trying to get a message to Teixeira," the official said. "That's the guy they really want."

However, if the Yankees do not sign Sabathia the article goes on to say that the Yankees would become more aggressive in trying to sign A.J. Burnett and Derek Lowe.

- Ken Davidoff reports that the Yankees are reluctant to raise their record-setting $140 MM offer to Sabathia even if that means he signs somewhere else.

- The L.A. Times is reporting that Scott Boras has said that he's "received a number of offers" for Mark Teixeira. But he would not mention which teams or how much the contracts were worth. The Angels are not one of those teams though.

- On the Andy Pettitte front, Davidoff mentions that a L.A. Dodgers official said it was unlikely that they would sign Pettitte.

- It's not a rumor but I felt like throwing it in here instead of creating another post for it - White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was not upset at all to see Nick Swisher traded to the Yankees.

The White Sox manager told the Chicago Tribune in a recent Q&A that the first baseman/outfielder wasn't always the best influence in the Chicago clubhouse.

"You've got to ask the players about that," Guillen said. "To be honest with you, I was not happy with the way he was reacting at the end of the season. He wasn't helping me either."

11/26 New Stadium Photo Update

The first five were taken by Flickr member topkidnum1.
These two overhead shots were taken by
WCBS 880's Tom Kaminski from Chopper 880.

The first is monument park and the second is the bullpen in leftfield.

(click to enlarge)

For the main updates page click here.

11/26 Winter Ball Report

Puerto Rican League:

- Ian Kenne
dy started for Mayaguez tonight, leading them to a 4-2 win over Carolina: Box Score - Recap

It was his fourth start of the Winter and also his best. In seven shutout innings, he allowed just three hits, walked none and struck out four. Kennedy picked up his first win of the winter to improve his record to 1-1.

- Jonathan Albaladejo pitched a scoreless inning. He didn't allow a hit and struck out one. Albaladejo picked up his third save of the winter.

Dominican League:

Aguilas (Melky's team) play Estrellas (Cano's team) last night with Estrellas winning 3-2: Box Score - Recap

- Melky Cabrera went 2-for-5 with a HR, a RBI, a walk, and a run scored.

- Robinson Cano went 2-for-5 with 2 doubles, and a run scored.

Mexican League:

- Justin Christian went 1-for-4 with a run scored.

Here's a full list of Yankees playing in the Venezuelan, Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Dominican winter leagues:

Venezuelan League: Francisco Cervelli is playing for Cardenales de Lara. Reegie Corona is on Navegantes del Magallanes.

Puerto Rican League: Ian Kennedy and Jonathan Albaladejo are on Indios de Mayaguez. Jose Molina is on Leones de Ponce.

Dominican League: Robinson Cano is playing for Estrellas de Oriente. Matt Carson, Melky Cabrera, and Wilkins Arias are playing for Aguilas Cibaenas. And Amaury Sanit is playing for Tigres del Licey.

Mexican League: Justin Christian is playing for Caneros de los Mochis. Ramiro Pena is playing for Tomateros de Culiacan. And Walter Ibarra is on Naranjeros de Hermosillo.

You can check out all of their Winter Ball stats here.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Inside the New Stadium

CBS Sportsline writer Larry Dobrow recently took a tour of the new Yankee Stadium. Here's some of what he had to say, oh, and yes he's a Yankees fan.
We proceeded into the so-called Great Hall, I started mentally filling out a Bank of America job application. Holy temple of awesome. Big (around 1.6 times the square footage of its predecessor, even with a few thousand fewer seats).

Shiny (lotsa glass and chrome). Bright (the old Yankee Stadium, mystique-y and aura-tastic as it may have been, was perpetually caked in grime). If this is the future of the stadium experience, I humbly request to be teleported to next April. You can have your quaint ivy walls and forbidding monsters of green; me, I'll take the laser beam turbo rocket ship.

First up was the super-super-lounge, an enormous two-floor chamber soon to feature bars, multiple serving stations and -- get this -- tablecloths. Later we'd visit the higher-deck super-lounge, which, while not quite as appropriate for christenings or jazz recitals, nonetheless affords superior field views. Both areas will eventually be wallpapered with flat-screen TVs. Neither screams "ball yard" so much as "Marriott in downtown Indianapolis," but they're nice if you're into that sort of thing.

The tour continued with a descent into the stadium's nether regions and shortcut through the oval-shaped Yankee clubhouse (nearly as big as a regulation basketball court) and the adjacent bathroom (nearly as big as the old Yankee clubhouse).

...And then we walked through the tunnel into the cruise ship of a dugout, and exploded out onto the field.

This, not the steakhouses or the Hard Rock Cafes or the post offices or the arboretums, is why the new Yankee Stadium will make hard-core, old-time, middle-tax-bracket fans very, very happy. Yes, there are modern flourishes, like the monstrous video screen and the obligatory center-field outdoor café dealie. But mostly the new field is the old field.

The dimensions remain the same, save for the elimination of chunks of foul territory around home plate and the first- and third-base lines (this won't thrill the pitchers, I imagine). Most important, the upper decks still hang tightly and imposingly over the field. If I felt somewhat claustrophobic beneath their shadows on a quiet November morning, I can only imagine how intimidated opposing players might feel on a boisterous October night.

He certainly makes the place sound great, even better than I expect it to be. Even the things he said about the upper deck - which I thought had been pushed back way too far to regain the same feel of the old stadium - sounded great.

I'm looking forward to seeing the place for myself (by the way anyone involved with the new stadium I'd be happy to take a tour) and judging the place for myself. I'm just happy that everyone who has been there has had nothing but great things to say about it.

Angels out on Teixeira?

From Danny Knobler:

The market for both of the winter's top two free agents has shifted dramatically, with the Angels deciding to drop their pursuit of Mark Teixeira and go after CC Sabathia instead.

The Los Angeles Times reported the shift this morning, and a major-league source with knowledge of the Angels plans confirmed it to CBSSports.com. But while the Times said that Teixeira "remains the Angels' top priority," the source said that's no longer true.

"They're moving on to the next guy," the source said.

As you might expect, that next guy is CC Sabathia. The article I posted earlier from the LA Times goes into more detail about the deal they may be ready to offer up to him.

Here's some more about the Angels' plans:
Even if they sign Sabathia, there's a chance the Angels would still try to complete a Jake Peavy trade with the Padres. As CBSSports.com reported last week, the Angels are strongly interested in Peavy, and think they have enough to offer the Padres to get a deal done. Peavy has veto power over a trade, and hasn't listed the Angels as a team he would agree to. But since he plans to keep his permanent residence in San Diego, there's a chance that pitching nearby in Anaheim could be attractive to him.

The Angels will likely move fast after Sabathia. As a major-league general manager pointed out, it was a year ago today that they made their offer to Torii Hunter, with a 48-hour deadline. Hunter signed late the night before Thanksgiving.

There were two main reasons for the Angels' decision.

First, and probably most importantly, agent Scott Boras has been seeking a 10-year deal for Teixeira. The Angels are unwlling to go more than six years, in part because their team doctors are concerned about Teixeira's knee holding up for that long.

"There's something in his knee that really bothers their doctor," the source said.

Second, the Angels don't see a quick end to the Teixeira derby, and they started to get worried that they wouldn't get either of their two top targets. They remember waiting too long for Paul Konerko in the 2005-06 winter, only to lose Konerko to the White Sox and be left without a backup plan.

The Angels front office was always split on whether to make Teixeira or Sabathia the top winter target.

If the Angels do end up signing Sabathia the Yankees will have to sign Teixeira. It also has been written many times that if the Yanks don't sign the pitchers they want they will go hard after Teixeira. I believe they should go after him anyway, but you already knew that.

Pettitte Talking to the Dodgers?

From Ken Rosenthal:
Mike Mussina has retired, and the Yankees could lose Andy Pettitte, too.

Don't believe it?

Pettitte, 36, has spoken more than once with his former manager, Joe Torre, about joining the Dodgers, according to major-league sources.

His first choice is to stay with the Yankees. The Yankees say they want him back. But at the moment, the Yankees are focused on the top free-agent starting pitchers — CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Derek Lowe.

For Pettitte, the Dodgers would represent a viable alternative. So could a team such as the Cardinals, who also might want Pettitte on a one-year deal.

I've thought for a while now that the Yankees needed to bring Pettitte back. He's a workhorse and I think he'll have a much better year in '09 than he did in '08. Now, with other teams starting to get involved I think it's important that the Yankees give him an offer and get him signed. The last thing the Yankees want is to fall short on CC, Burnett, and Lowe, and not have Pettitte to fall back on. If I'm advising Cashman I'd tell him to sign Pettitte and hope you can get at least one of the other three (hopefully Sabathia).

Spring Training Dates of Interest

The Yankees issued a press release today outlining their spring training schedule. Here are some important dates.

- Pitchers and catchers report on Friday, February 13th.

- Their first workout will be on Saturday the 14th.

- The first full-squad workout is set for Wednesday the 18th.

- The opening game of spring training will be on the Wednesday the 25th at 1:05 p.m. vs. the Toronto Blue Jays at Knology Park in Dunedin, Florida.

- Their first home game will be on Thursday the 26th, also at 1:15 p.m. vs. the AL Champion Tampa Bay Rays.

- The Yankees will host Team USA on Tuesday, March 3rd at 1:15 p.m..

- The Yankees will also host Team Canada on Thursday, March 5th at 1:15 p.m.

- And the World Baseball Classic will be played from March 5th through March 23th.

Angels Ready To Offer CC Huge Offer?

From the LA Times:
The Angels, unwilling to meet Mark Teixeira's desire for a 10-year contract, are in discussions with CC Sabathia and could offer him a contract that approaches the $140-million bid extended to him by the New York Yankees.

The Angels appear reluctant to guarantee more than seven years in a contract for Teixeira, said a source familiar with the club's thinking. They appear more likely at this time to pursue Sabathia, with an offer in the range of Johan Santana's six-year, $137.5-million contract with the New York Mets.

Teixeira remains the Angels' top priority -- the club would sign him but does not want to miss out on Sabathia while waiting to see whether Teixeira's asking price falls. The Angels are not believed to have made a formal offer to either player.
If the Angels do come in with an offer more than Santana's deal the Yankees will have two options; let CC go to the Angels or offer him $150 or even $160 million, and maybe even a seventh year. CC obviously would rather pitch on the west coast, so if the contracts are close he will sign out there. I don't really care how much money they offer him, but I would like to see them stay away from a seventh year.

Long Expects Big Things From A-Rod and Cano

From Tyler Kepner:
Joe Girardi will not be filling out the first lineup card of the new Yankees’ season for more than four months. But Kevin Long, the hitting coach, can peek ahead to April and tell which two hitters will be difference makers. He has already visited them both this winter.

Long, who lives in Arizona, has returned from his tutorials with Robinson Canó in the Dominican Republic and with Alex Rodriguez in Miami. The way Long figures, Canó could bat directly ahead of Rodriguez, who hits cleanup, or directly behind him. Either way, Long expects both to improve.

Canó, Long said, has dedicated himself to physical fitness and is in “immaculate condition.” And Rodriguez, he said, is in a better frame of mind after dealing with a divorce last season.

“To say that what he went through in his personal life didn’t affect what he did on the baseball field, I think you’d be hard-pressed for it not to affect anything,” Long said. “But he seems to be moving forward and doing great. He sees his daughters all the time, and he seems to be doing O.K.”

Considering the time he missed due to injury A-Rod had a pretty solid year. He hit .303/.392/.573 with 35 HR, 103 RBI, 104 R, 18 SB in 138 games. The only thing I wish he'd have done more was hit with RISP. It wouldn't surprise me to see A-Rod put up another monster year next year, something like his 2007 MVP season. That does seem to be the trend since joining the Yanks; one below average year (for A-Rod) followed by a monster MVP season the next year.

Before I comment on Cano, here's a little more about him from George A. King III:

"I was as impressed with what he looks like as I have ever been in my whole life," hitting coach Kevin Long said of Cano yesterday after spending six days last week in the Dominican Republic with the second baseman who led the list of Yankees disappointments last season.

"He hired a personal trainer from New Jersey who is kicking his [butt], and he looks great," Long said. "His body fat is at 11 percent, his stomach is cut."

The Yankees have been concerned about the 6-foot Cano's body weight - listed at 205 pounds - for a while. That, according to Long, shouldn't be a worry.

"He works on hitting and doing agility drills for two hours, rests and goes to the weight room for three hours," Long said of Cano, who enters the second-year of a four-year, $30 million deal. "There isn't a whole lot of heavy lifting. It's more cardio and light weights."

"If he is going to be a third- or fifth-place hitter, which we need him to be, he has to learn about the strike zone and taking a lot more often than not," Long said of Cano, who drew 26 walks last year. Only 11 players with at least 477 at-bats drew fewer walks than Cano.

"He can do that, because he hits as well as anybody with two strikes."

One of the main complaints we all heard this year about Cano was that the big contract made him too complacent and lazy. From comments he made during the season this idea that he was lazy or didn't care seemed to bother him, and it's great to see that he's now using it as motivation to get better.

I just wonder if moving him up to third or fifth in the order - as long mentioned is what the Yanks need - is the right thing to do at this point in time. It might be too much pressure coming off the down year he had last year. I'd rather see him hit lower in the order at first, get his swing back, and also show that he knows how to take pitches and work counts before they move him up. (Yes, I know how badly they need a no. 3 hitter, and that's one of the main reasons I want them to sign Teixeira.) Eventually I think Cano can handle the three spot, he's got all the talent in the world, I just don't know if he's ready now.

Monday, November 24, 2008

No Deadline For CC

From Jon Heyman:

The Yankees have not yet set a deadline for their $140-million, six-year offer to free-agent starting pitcher CC Sabathia, and according to someone familiar with their thinking, they have no intention to pull the offer anytime soon.

New Yankees boss Hal Steinbrenner was responding to a reporter's question when he said, "We made an offer. It's not going to be there forever.'' And all he meant was exactly that. Not forever.

It appears now that the Yankees aren't about to set a deadline -- at least not yet. The Dodgers, Giants, Angels, Red Sox and incumbent Brewers all have interest in Sabathia. But to this point, no one has emerged to play in the Yankees' dollar stratosphere, and they remain the favorite to win the Sabathia Derby.
It seemed like posturing when it happened, and this verifies that. However, if an offer is "not going to be there forever" doesn't that mean that there is in fact some sort of deadline?

Anyway, I can't see any reason why the Yankees would pull this offer off the table. They want CC and they're not going to get him by withdrawing this offer.

In related news, ESPN radio is reporting that A.J. Burnett will not sign a contract until Sabathia is signed.

11/24 New Stadium Photo Update

The first two shots were taken by Flickr member Ron Greco, and the rest were taken by Flickr member pro23nyc.

(click to enlarge)

For the main updates page click here.

11/24 Winter Ball Report

Dominican League:

- Robinson Cano went 1-for-3 with a walk for Estrellas.

- Melky Cabrera went 1-for-3 with a walk and 2 RBI for Aguilas.

Mexican League:

- Justin Christian went 2-for-5 with a double, a RBI, and a run scored for Mochis.

- Ramiro Pena went 1-for-4 for Culiacan.

- Walter Ibarra went 1-for-1 for Hermosillo.

Here's a full list of Yankees playing in the Venezuelan, Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Dominican winter leagues:


Venezuelan League: Francisco Cervelli is playing for Cardenales de Lara. Reegie Corona is on Navegantes del Magallanes.

Puerto Rican League: Ian Kennedy and Jonathan Albaladejo are on Indios de Mayaguez. Jose Molina is on Leones de Ponce.

Dominican League: Robinson Cano is playing for Estrellas de Oriente. Matt Carson, Melky Cabrera, and Wilkins Arias are playing for Aguilas Cibaenas. And Amaury Sanit is playing for Tigres del Licey.

Mexican League: Justin Christian is playing for Caneros de los Mochis. Ramiro Pena is playing for Tomateros de Culiacan. And Walter Ibarra is on Naranjeros de Hermosillo.

You can check out all of their Winter Ball stats here.