Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Yanks Brass Met With Jeter On Tuesday

From Ken Rosenthal:
Derek Jeter and his agent, Casey Close, met with Yankees executives in Tampa on Tuesday.

As of 7:45 p.m. ET, it is not known whether the sides were still meeting or which Yankees officials were in attendance. But any sitdown with Jeter figured to include owner Hal Steinbrenner and general manager Brian Cashman.
Maybe this meeting will be the start of getting these negotiations moving in the right direction.

Jeter to Meet With Agent To "Mull Things Over"

http://twitter.com/KenDavidoff/status/9721882462920704

Looks like it might be time for Jeter and his camp to rethink their negotiating strategy.

Greinke open to pitching in New York?

From Jeff Passan:
If the New York Yankees somehow lose out on the Cliff Lee sweepstakes, they still may have a shot at getting an ace to go alongside CC Sabathia.

Though Kansas City starter Zack Greinke has a no-trade clause in his contract that includes the Yankees and other big-market teams, a source close to the right-hander suggested he would happily pitch anywhere that would provide a winning team.

“I wouldn’t put it past him to go to New York,” the source said. “I don’t think he’d rule out anybody. He says he likes New York. Especially because they’re winners. He wants to go to a team that wins.

“He’s got a list, but in the process, a lot of people have lists.”

The source suggested Greinke’s preference for a no-trade clause had nothing to do with his feelings about pitching in a large market, as many have interpreted because of his earlier battles with anxiety issues. Instead, no-trade clauses often give a player leverage to negotiate a new contract, something that Greinke could utilize were the Royals to engage with one of the teams on his list.
Here's what Passan said about the expected cost of a Greinke deal:
If the Royals do deal Greinke, they expect return commensurate with what Texas received for Mark Teixeira in 2007: at least one major league-ready player and multiple high-level prospects.
The Yankees farm system is loaded so they could make a deal like that, but should they?

Don't get me wrong, he's a great pitcher and a very good plan B. However, Jesus Montero and a few other top prospects is a lot to give up, and that's if you believe he can handle New York. Personally, I'm still not sold on the idea of a pitcher with anxiety issues handling the bright lights of The Big Apple.

All Questions Answered - Volume I

What would you give up for Justin Upton?
Several sources have reported that the Diamondback are either shopping Justin Upton, or very willing to listen to offers. According to Jon Heyman, the Yankees are one of the many teams interested in the 23-year old outfielder. Before delving into any trade ideas, let's take a quick look at Upton's resume.

2007 - .221/.283/.364, .277 wOBA, 2 HR, 2 SB, 152 PA (age: 19)
2008 - .250/.353/.463, .347 wOBA, 15 HR, 1 SB, 417 PA (age: 20)
2009 - .300/.366/.532, .388 wOBA, 26 HR, 20 SB, 588 PA (age: 21)
2010 - .273/.356/.442, .349 wOBA, 17 HR, 18 SB, 571 PA (age: 22)

Upton is regarded as a very good defensive right-fielder, and defensive metrics back that up (9.1 UZR/150, 7 DRS, 20 TZ in 2010). Several scouts, in fact, believe that he has the range and smarts to play center-field, to boot. Upton is owed $49.5 million over the next five seasons.

To me, Upton is a superstar in the making. His 2010 was somewhat disconcerting, particularly with a three-percent up-tick in strikeouts - but that must be taken in stride, as Upton spent the majority of the season as a 22-year old. In other words, most players his age are in Double-A or Triple-A, as opposed to spending the past three years in the Majors. Upton also battled nagging injuries throughout the season, for what it's worth. He's a rare talent, and he's fairly proven at the Major League level, to boot.

Now, to answer the question, I would give up a fair amount for Upton. Brett Gardner, who is four years older than Upton, would have to be in the package as a ready-made replacement for the Diamondbacks. Ivan Nova and Joba Chamberlain could provide the Diamondbacks with two potential starters (or solid relievers) for a consistently pitching-starved team. One of David Phelps, Graham Stoneburner, and Adam Warren serves as a potential mid-rotation starter. Austin Romine remains a solid prospect, and could help to back-up the injury-maligned and lefty-embattled Miguel Montero. And Brandon Laird has a decent bit of power potential to be slotted in at any of the four corners.

In the end, I don't really think that that would get it done. The Diamondbacks simply have too much leverage in this situation, and any team would love to add Upton to its roster. A realistic package from the Yankees would probably include Gardner, Jesus Montero, and Manny Banuelos, and perhaps even more. As great as I believe Upton will be, I would not be willing to give up so many important organizational pieces to upgrade an area that is already a Major League strength.

Are there any conceivable replacements for Jeter in 2011? 2012? And so forth.
This year's free agent class is limited to stop-gaps. Orlando Cabrera, Christian Guzman, and Edgar Renteria represent the 'best' of the group, and I shudder to think of them starting at shortstop for the Yankees.

The 2012 free agent shortstop group has two interesting names - Jimmy Rollins and Jose Reyes. Their names, however, fail to paint a proper picture. Rollins will be 33 next offseason and, in addition to seeing his production decline for three consecutive years, has missed time in two of the last three years. No thanks. Jose Reyes is younger and remains in the prime of his career, but his list of injuries has grown fairly extensive, as well. Should he hit the market following a healthy and effective 2011, a bidding war would likely ensue. I wouldn't be against Reyes, but that doesn't help the Yankees in 2011.

There are a few interesting names being bandied about on the hot stove as potential trade candidates - Jason Bartlett, Stephen Drew, J.J. Hardy, and Marco Scutaro. I assume that neither Bartlett or Scutaro are likely candidates, as I cannot see the Rays or Red Sox making a deal with the Yankees ... nor do either particularly interest me. Hardy is a very good defender, but he doesn't offer much with the bat. He has shown some potential with the bat, but I don't think he'll ever be more than a league-average hitter. That's certainly not a bad combination, but I don't see him as the sort of player the Yankees would pursue.

Stephen Drew is interesting. He's a roughly-average defensive shortstop, he has a nice power-speed combination to go along with a solid approach at the plate, and he's a left-handed pull hitter. Should the Yankees actually go forward and seek to replace Jeter (which I don't see happening), Drew would be my preference.

From within the organization, the Yankees have Ramiro Pena and Eduardo Nunez as essentially finished products. Pena strikes me as the all-glove, no-hit type with little room for growth. Nunez is somewhat intriguing, as he's grown progressively more patient at the plate, shown good base-running instincts, and, at least according to Baseball America, developed into one of the finest defensive shortstops in the minors. I could get behind Nunez receiving a fair shot. Cito Culver has some potential, but he's three or four years away.

Are there any free agent pitchers that you like, besides Lee? Any available for trade?
All of the safer bets have already been signed - Ted Lilly, Jon Garland, Jake Westbrook, and Hiroki Kuroda are off the market. Carl Pavano is still available, and he has been a fine pitcher over the past two seasons - but I wouldn't be terribly excited to repeat that failed experiment.

Erik Bedard, Ben Sheets, and Brandon Webb represent the high-risk, high-reward arms on the market. I would certainly endorse giving any of the three a shot, but I wouldn't be too thrilled if the Yankees counted on any to contribute to the rotation for the entire year. I would probably rank the three Webb, Bedard, Sheets, for what it's worth.

As for trades, I've seen the following names mentioned: Jeremy Guthrie, John Danks, Ricky Nolasco, Wandy Rodriguez, Zack Greinke, and Chad Billingsley. Guthrie is a solid, back of the rotation type - he doesn't strike many batters out, nor does he keep the ball on the ground, but he has had success in the AL East. Danks sort of reminds me of Andy Pettitte, and his groundball numbers have trended upwards each year. He's a fine pitcher, and he could be a solid third starter ... his asking price would probably be fairly high, though. Nolasco is an underachiever in the vein of Javy Vazquez, having underperformed his fine peripherals in two consecutive seasons. The Marlins seem to enjoy being on the receiving end of poor deals, so perhaps he could be had for pennies on the dollar - his flyball rates leave a bit to be desired. Rodriguez is a very interesting name. He's had very good peripherals and results over the last three seasons, and the Astros have been notorious for receiving the short end of the stick in trades. My only hang-ups here are his age (31) and injury history. I mention Greinke and Billingsley only because their names have been thrown around a bit - I don't see either being moved this offseason, nor do I see the Yankees giving up the pieces that would be needed for either.

From that group, I could get behind a deal for either Danks or Rodriguez, with Danks being my preference. In a deal, I would probably look to deal from the group of Ivan Nova, Joba Chamberlain, Brandon Laird, and Austin Romine, and I'd prefer to limit it to that. I'm not sure if that would land either lefty, however.

What can we reasonably expect out of Jesus Montero in 2011?
Let's take a look at a couple of projections.

James - .285/.348/.519, .376 wOBA, 21 HR, 39 BB, 75 K, 442 PA
CAIRO - .261/.326/.446, .337 wOBA, 18 HR, 41 BB, 85 K, 467 PA

As much as I like Bill James' projection, I do find it to be a bit optimistic, as it essentially has Montero replicating his Triple-A numbers with the Yankees. SG's CAIRO projection appears to be fairly pragmatic, yet palatable at the same time. I could certainly see Montero struggling in the early stages of the season, improving slowly yet surely, and ending up with something quite similar to that.

However, it may be most reasonable to temper expectations severely. About two years ago, fans, scouts, and analysts were touting the merits of uber-prospect Matt Wieters, expecting the young catcher to set the world on fire. Wieters destroyed pitching at every level of the minors, and made his debut in May of 2009. That year, Wieters hit a solid .288/.340/.412 with a .330 wOBA and 9 home runs in 385 plate appearances. While that may not be stellar, it's a fine rookie season nonetheless. Paul Konerko, the player to whom Montero's baseline is most often compared, batted .214/.275/.326 with a .267 wOBA and 7 home runs in his first 247 plate appearances.

It is from there, however, that these two comps differentiate. In Wieters' second season, he showed a bit more plate discipline, yet made weaker contact and saw his bottom line plummet. Konerko, on the other hand, batted .294/.352/.511 with a .372 wOBA and 24 home runs, which is essentially his career norm. Of course, there are plenty of examples of prospect performing admirably, such as Jason Heyward and Buster Posey - but that's the exception, not the rule.

In the end, I'm really not quite sure what to expect. I do think that the CAIRO projection is reasonable, but I don't think that that anything less should be considered a disappointment.

I am really looking forward to making this a regular feature of Sliding Into Home. It's a great way for us to connect with our excellent readers. Don't hesitate to send me questions at any time, on any topic - domenic.lanza@gmail.com.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Yanks & Mo Closing in on $17 Million Deal

From the Toronto Sun (Another hat-tip to BBD):

While Derek Jeter and the Yankees remain at an impasse, Mariano Rivera is quietly closing in on a new contract that will pay him $17 million.

Rivera, 41, is seeking a two-year deal but the Yankees have not yet agreed to go beyond one more season for their iconic bullpen closer, though they haven’t balked at giving him a raise over his previous $15 million stipend.

Here's more from Brian Costa:
The team is expected to talk to [Mo's] agent, Fernando Cuza, sometime later this week and likely again during the winter meetings next week in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

An agreement is expected by the end of the winter meetings, the person said. And while the two sides will not get into the financial parameters of the deal until they talk later this week, Mr. Rivera isn't making any outrageous demands.

Rangers Reach Out To Pettitte (Updated)

(Update 10:04 PM) Bryan Hoch is now reporting that the Rangers are denying that they've contacted Pettitte. Oh well, he wasn't going there anyway. (Hat-tip to BBD).

From Mark Feinsand:
According to a source, Rangers president Nolan Ryan recently reached out to Pettitte, who is now a free agent, to see if he could convince the veteran lefthander to pitch in his home state.

The 38-year-old Pettitte has made no secret of his desire to be near his family in Houston — he left the Bronx in 2004 to play with the Astros before returning to New York in 2007 — and he may also be unhappy with his current pay structure. He serves as the team’s second starter while being paid along the lines of the fourth.
I'm not too concerned. Andy made his intentions pretty clear a couple weeks ago and the Rangers were not part of the picture.
"...at this point in my career, it'll be New York or it'll be nowhere for sure."
Sorry Nolan.

Things Aren't Going As Well With Jeter

From Wallace Matthews (hat-tip to WasWatching):
Negotiations between the Yankees and Derek Jeter are at a standstill until Jeter and his agent, Casey Close, "drink the reality potion," according to a source close to the negotiations.

According to the source, a baseball industry executive who has knowledge of both sides' position, the Yankees are not budging from the three-year, $45 million offer they made to Jeter earlier this month, nor has Jeter moved off his demand for a longer contract believed to be in the area of $23-$25 million per season.

No talks took place over the holiday weekend and none are currently scheduled. Neither Yankees general manager Brian Cashman nor Close immediately returned messages seeking comment early Monday.

...

The baseball industry source said the Yankees have provided Jeter and Close with detailed statistical and market analysis to support their contract offer, including comparisons between Jeter and other shortstops and middle infielders throughout baseball.
This is getting pretty ugly.

Yanks and Rivera Aren't Far Apart

From Andrew Marchand:
The Yankees' negotiations with closer Mariano Rivera are progressing much smoother than the rancor-filled struggle with Derek Jeter.

"Night and day," said one baseball official with knowledge of both talks.

While the Yankees and Jeter are reportedly tens of millions of dollars apart, the Yankees and Rivera are said to be closer on financial terms. A second official with knowledge of the Rivera talks said the reliever is looking for a raise from the $15 million he received last season, but the Yankees view his demands as much more reasonable than Jeter's.

Rivera likely will get a slight bump to $16 or $17 million. The question that still needs to be fully ironed out is if Rivera will receive one or two years. Rivera has asked for a two-year contract but he turned 41 on Monday. A one-year deal with a vesting option could be a way to bridge the gap.
There is absolutely no reason why these talks shouldn't be going smoothly. Hopefully this gets wrapped up pretty soon, it sure looks like it will.

A Brief Thought on the Jeter Conundrum

I, for one, have been on the side of the Yankees over the course of the negotiations with Derek Jeter. There is some recent precedent for the Yankees asking a player to take a pay cut as they enter their twilight years (Mike Mussina in 2007 and Andy Pettitte in 2009) - particularly where the market for said player doesn't really exist. As great as Jeter has been, I do not believe that any team will match the Yankees first offer, nor do I believe that Jeter's value is as great to any team outside of the Bronx. Put simply, Jeter will not produce as much off the field value to another team as he has (and will) for the Yankees. As a result, it seems as if the Yankees will spend a fair chunk of the offseason bidding against themselves.

It is that last point that has left me wondering what exactly the front office is currently pondering. From the outset, it seemed as if Cashman et al were willing to let Jeter twist in the breeze a bit. While I can see how that could potentially alienate the Jeter camp to a fair degree, I do think that it's worthwhile - this team has a few holes that it has to account for, and it cannot spend its time and resources catering to Jeter's whim. That being said, the team has seemingly never been willing to do just that. With word that the Yankees are prepared to up their offer bouncing around, I can fully sympathize with Jeter's willingness to stay firm in his demands - if the team has shown signs of wavering without any threat of another team swooping in, what reason does Jeter have to acquiesce?

The reality of the situation is this - Jeter doesn't really have anywhere else to go, and the Yankees don't really have anyone else to fill the captain's shoes. In the end, I'm all but entirely sure that both are quite aware of that, and that a deal will be struck. In the interim, it's the fans that are left twisting in the wind.

OK, So Maybe They Didn't Up Their Offer To Jeter

From George A. King III:
The Yankees have not upped their offer to Derek Jeter.

According to a report last night, the Yankees had added $5 million to their three-year, $45 million offer to Derek Jeter.

A person with knowledge of the negotiations, however, said that wasn't the case.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Vazquez Signs One-Year, $7MM Deal With Marlins (Updated)

From ESPN:
Free-agent pitcher Javier Vazquez has agreed to terms on a one-year deal with the Florida Marlins, multiple outlets are reporting Sunday.

The 34-year-old right-hander had been on the Marlins' shopping list since the trade of Dan Uggla freed up money for a veteran starting pitcher.
...

In fact, there was enough interest, sources told ESPN.com, that Vazquez turned down two multiyear offers -- one of which was believed by other clubs to be potentially worth $20 million over the two years.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, though it's unlikely it would approach $10 million a year. However, Vazquez has portrayed himself this winter as being more concerned with finding the right fit than the most dollars.
Because Vazquez was a Type-B free agent, and was offered and decline arbitration, so the Yankees will receive a draft-pick.

Good luck in Florida, you gutless bitch.

... I kid, I kid.

(UPDATED 8:15 PM)
http://twitter.com/Ken_Rosenthal/status/9002127649148928

Bigger Offer For Jeter On The Way?

Honestly, I have no idea why the Yankees would budge an inch here. Anyway, here's the report via Jon Heyman (hat-tip to RAB):
The Yankees are expected to ramp up negotiations in coming days in an effort to put longtime star Derek Jeter back in pinstripes, but Jeter will still have to accept some sort of pay cut to stay, according to a league source familiar with their thinking.

The Yankees appear willing to enhance their latest $45 million, three-year offer to retain the iconic Yankee, but are said to be unwilling to match his previous salary on a deal of at least three years. Jeter just completed a 10-year, $189-million deal that paid him about $21 million in 2010.

The Yankees' next offer is expected to be for a couple million more per year, so perhaps in the $50 million range for three years. Indications thus far are they have very little inclination to add a fourth year, though that can't be entirely ruled out. The team would like to complete the Jeter negotiations so they can get to the rest of their offseason to-do list, bringing Jeter's longtime friend and iconic closer Mariano Rivera back into the fold and pressing to sign superstar free agent pitcher Cliff Lee.
This may be a little about the money, but in the end the hold up here is about years. And as I've said many times you can't blame the Yankees for not wanting to give a 36-year-old a 4, 5 or 6 year deal.

This Week in Yankees History (11/28-12/4)

This Week in Yankees History 

November 28th - December 4th


November 28th

1884 - Former Yankees INF/OF Wilbur “Roxy” Roach (1910-1911) was born. In August of 1909, the New York Yankees purchased Roxy Roach from Lancaster (Tri-State) for $2,500. He appeared in 83 games for the Yankees hitting just .219. On June 15, 1911, he was purchased by Jersey City (Eastern) from the Yankees.

1927 - The New York Yankees released veteran pitchers Bob Shawkey and Dutch Ruether, who both have retired from MLB. Bob Shawkey finished his New York Yankees pitching career with a record of 168-131. He was a 4-time, 20 game winner (1915-1927) after being obtained from the Philadelphia A’s for $85,000 in 1915. Bob will manage the Yankees in 1930 to an 86-68 record, before being replaced by veteran NL manager Joe McCarthy. Dutch Ruether finished out his long MLB career by going 12-6 in 1927 after being obtained from the Washington Senators.

1958 - Former Yankees P Dave “Rags” Righetti (1979-1990) was born. On January 11, 1977, Dave was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 1st round (10th pick) of the 1977 MLB amateur player draft (January). On November 10, 1978, Dave was traded by the Rangers along with Greg Jemison (minors), OF Juan Beniquez, P Mike Griffin and P Paul Mirabella to the Yankees for C Mike Heath, pitchers Sparky Lyle, Larry McCall, Dave Rajsich, INF Domingo Ramos and cash. Dave won the American League Rookie Of Year award in 1981. The highlight of his efforts as a starting pitcher occurred on the Fourth of July, 1983, when he threw a 4-0 no-hitter against the Boston Red Sox. It was the 1st Yankee no-hitter since Don Larsen's perfect game in the 1956 World Series, and the 1st by a Yankee left-hander since 1917. In 1984, Dave was converted from a starter to a closer by the Yankees, replacing closer Rich Gossage, who left the Yankees for MLB free agency.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Yanks Make Two Minor Moves

http://twitter.com/Ken_Rosenthal/status/8587081609641984

These are obviously not major deals.

Sisco hasn't pitched in the big leagues since 2007 thanks to TJ surgery, but according to Rosenthal, has been hitting 95 mph in Winter Ball.

Anderson is a converted outfielder who has never thrown a pitch in the majors. However, Anderson was pretty good in 14 games in the Royals system. In 17 innings he allowed 4 ER on 10 hits, walked 5 and struck out 17.

Cashman Concerned About AJ?

http://twitter.com/Buster_ESPN/statuses/8670199788081152

http://twitter.com/Buster_ESPN/status/8669965548785664

This is definitely not normal, and I'm not really sure what good a meeting like this could do. I guess we'll have to wait until tomorrow's column for more. Make sure to check back here for an update.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Jeter Wants a 4 to 5 Year Deal Worth $22-24M Per Year (Updated)

(UPDATE: Saturday @ 12:30 pm) According to a Daily News report this morning, Jeter's camp is asking for $22-24 million over four or five years, so just slightly different from the NY Times report from yesterday.

***Original Post Below***

From Michael S. Schmidt:

Derek Jeter’s agent, Casey Close, is currently asking the Yankees to agree to a new contract of either four or five years at $23 to $24 million a year, according to a person in baseball who had been briefed on the matter.

The disclosure of what Close is seeking on behalf of Jeter, the 36-year-old Yankee captain and icon, comes just days after it was revealed that the Yankees are offering Jeter a three-year contract for $15 million a year.

OK, so it's not $25 million a year for six years, but it's still ridiculous.

More Denials From The Jeter Camp

From Wallace Matthews:
In an e-mail message sent in response to a question from ESPNNewYork.com, Close wrote: "The recently reported terms of our contract proposal are simply inaccurate."

Close was referring to a story in Friday's New York Daily News that reported Jeter had demanded a six-year, $150 million contract -- an average of $25 million a year -- from the Yankees, who have offered him three years at $15 million per.

...

In a phone conversation Wednesday night with ESPNNewYork.com, Close decried what he and Jeter consider the Yankees' tactic of leaking information to the media in an attempt to damage Jeter's pristine image. Close said both sides had agreed not to negotiate through the media, an agreement he and Jeter believe the Yankees have repeatedly violated.

Close also said there were no further meetings or conversations scheduled and did not anticipate any significant movement in the talks over the holiday weekend.
Wow, so now you have Jeter's agent accusing the Yankees of "leaking information to the media in an attempt to damage Jeter's pristine image." This is getting uglier by the day. Still, with all the ugliness, I'd put it at about a 99.9% chance that Jeter resigns here.

Madden: Jeter Wants $25M A Year (Updated & Debunked)

Apparently Madden's report was not true:

http://twitter.com/jimbaumbach/status/8188160328605697

(hat-tip to Rob a BBD)

From Bill Madden:

Throughout this process, Close and Jeter have never revealed what they're actually looking for - which is why so many Yankee fans, opposing club officials and nationwide media types are asking: Why are the Yankees treating Jeter this way? But sources close to the Jeter/Close camp have said their starting point was six years, $150 million and that they aren't budging on $25 million per year - which would effectively get the captain about even in annual average salary to Alex Rodriguez, the real benchmark from their standpoint in this negotiation.

I suspect this is why Yankee GM Brian Cashman lashed out the way he did the other day after Close told the Daily News' Mike Lupica he was "baffled" by the Yankees' hard-line stance with Jeter.
That is absolutely ridiculous. What else is there to say?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Unlike Jeter, Mo Would Have A Lot Of Suitors

From Mark Feinsand:
The negotiations with Jeter have dominated the headlines in recent days, but Rivera's contract situation - which has been as private as Jeter's has been public - could be even trickier.

...

While Cashman invited Jeter to test the market if he wasn't satisfied with the Yankees' three-year, $45 million offer, the Bombers should hope that Rivera doesn't do the same. According to an industry source, Rivera is considered the preeminent free-agent reliever, one that many teams would love to pry away from the Bombers.

"Jeter may not have many teams looking to pay him millions, but Rivera certainly will," the source said. "He's still one of the best - if not the best - closers in the game."

Rivera is reportedly looking for a two-year deal worth $18 million per year, which would be a $3 million annual raise from the $15 million he's earned in each of the past three years. The Yankees would prefer to give their legendary closer a one-year contract, although with few internal options to replace Rivera, their hands may be tied.
Just pay the man.

MLB Execs: Nobody Is Going to Match Yanks Offer For Jeter

From George A. King III:
In a survey of baseball officials yesterday, it appears Derek Jeter has a steep mountain to climb if he wants to better the Yankees' offer of three years for $45 million.

One day after general manager Brian Cashman encouraged the Yankees' captain to shop for a better deal, the reaction throughout baseball was mild.

Of course, it only takes one team to top the Yankees, but the executives firmly believe Jeter eventually will reach an agreement with the Yankees.

"What he needs to happen, and it won't, is for Boston to get in it to amp up the price," an exec said. "But that's not going to happen because he is a [Yankees] icon. And if they did that, Theo [Epstein, Red Sox GM] and Cashman would go to blows. There is nobody to drive the price up."
...

Even if there was a team -- and one high-ranking AL official said he thought the Orioles, Nationals, Cardinals or Giants might have an interest -- the chances of Jeter leaving New York for those cities are slim.

And with Jeter believed to be looking for a five- or six-year deal upwards of $20 million a season, those clubs aren't spending close to that. Even if they topped the $15 million per year offer, would Jeter leave for $17 million a year? Doubtful.

"Both sides are posturing, but it will get done," an exec predicted.

"He will be 37, a three-year deal is more than a generous offer," an NL executive said. "That's a pretty nice offer. Jeter is a Hall of Famer who will get 3,000 hits (he is 74 shy), and that should be done as a Yankee."
This pretty much confirms what we've been saying about this... OK, now go back to enjoying the holiday.

Happy Thanksgiving!

On this Thanksgiving Day, let's be thankful for our families, our good fortune and the greatest sports team ever. Let us be hopeful that the Yankees will stop airing the Captain's negotiations in public and will, instead, quickly sit down in a room with him and work it out. He is worth more to the Yankees than any other team and the Yankees are worth more to him than any other team. Casey Close was right, the negotiations are "baffling" - that they are being played out in public is what's baffling. The offer is not insulting and no one said it was. Shut up, sit down and get it done! Let's also get Mo's done before he gets antsy. Having Jete & Mo locked up will go a long way to convincing Pettitte that the Core 4 deserve one more Championship run in 2011. Finally, let's be thankful that Cliff Lee won't turn down a boatload of $$ to be a Yankee but please don't make that contract longer than 4-5 years - we don't want another Kevin Brown for the last 2 years of the contract.

From everyone here at Sliding Into Home, we wish
you all a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A New Tradition - All Questions Answered

The growth and maturation of Sliding Into Home over the past years or so has been staggering. Traffic has gradually grown (Thank you!), a greater breadth of topics have been tackled, breaking news time frames have been more competitive, and users have become more and more engaged with the authors. The latter is the most important trend of all - interacting with those frequenting this blog provides us with terrific insight into what everyone is looking for, and how we can better serve our community. With that in mind, I would like to offer something that many of my favorite blogs offer - an all questions answered thread, or a mailbag (as RAB refers to it).

While the premise is mostly self-explanatory, I'll go into a bit of detail. Anyone can ask any number of questions, about almost any Major League Baseball topic, and I shall answer said questions to the best of my ability - please be civil, that's all I ask. This will allow me to tackle those issues that are simmering on the hot stove without having to post dozens of shorter tidbits. Essentially, myself and the SIH community will be collaborating on a mega-post.

Questions may be posted in the comments section or e-mailed to myself (domenic.lanza@gmail.com) or Greg (slidingintohome@gmail.com). I do not have an ideal number to shoot for, but I am hopeful that this will generate a fair amount of feedback. Look for the post sometime on Sunday.

Ask away!

Rare Jeter Interview From Prior to the '96 Season

This has nothing to do with contract negotiations or any of that stuff, it's just an interview I that I found on YouTube today that I had never seen and I doubt you've ever seen. Here is a 21-year-old Derek Jeter talking to Kids News Network reporter Scott Porter Good prior to spring training in 1996.

NY Papers Have Some Fun With Photoshop

The NY Daily News:The NY Post:

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Heyman Says Yanks Will Increase Offer For Jeter

http://twitter.com/SI_JonHeyman/status/7222953380941824
I have no problem with this decision if they're just going to add more money, but giving Jeter a fourth or fifth year is a mistake and an unnecessary one. Nobody is going to give him four years, so why should the Yankees?

Hank on Jeter & Mo: "We've already made these guys very, very rich"

From The AP:
Hank Steinbrenner has a message as the New York Yankees negotiate to re-sign Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera.

"As much as we want to keep everybody, we've already made these guys very, very rich, and I don't feel we owe anybody anything monetarily,'' the Yankees co-chairman said Tuesday. "Some of these players are wealthier than their bosses."

...

"Negotiating is always a process,'' Steinbrenner said. "I know he wants to stay. It's going to come down to what's fair for everybody considering all circumstances.''
...

"Do we want to keep Derek? Of course we do, obviously," Steinbrenner said. "Obviously we all want to keep Derek and we all want to keep Mo."

Steinbrenner remains confident deals will be reached to keep the pair.

"I don't think in the end they will be unreasonable,'' he said. "It's going to come down to what's fair for everybody considering all circumstances."
The best part about all these quotes and statements is that they're almost totally meaningless. Jeter (and Mo) aren't going anywhere and will both start the 2011 season right where they belong -- in Yankees pinstripes.

No Arbitration For Wood

http://twitter.com/KenDavidoff/status/7211169584517120

Apparently they must have feared he would have accepted and been paid more than the Yanks were willing to offer.

Andy Leaning Toward A Return?

http://twitter.com/KenDavidoff/status/7173225112932352

That's the best news of the offseason. Let's hope it's true. (Hat-tip to RAB.)

Yankees to Jeter: Go Test The Market

From Wallace Matthews:

"We understand his contributions to the franchise and our offer has taken them into account," Cashman told ESPNNewYork.com. "We've encouraged him to test the market and see if there's something he would prefer other than this. If he can, fine. That's the way it works."

Cashman was clearly stung by the recent statement of Jeter's agent, Casey Close, who was quoted in Sunday's New York Daily News as saying he was "baffled" by the team's negotiating strategy.

"I was certainly surprised," Cashman said in regards to Close's use of the word baffled. "There's nothing baffling about our position. We have actually gone directly face to face with Casey and Derek and been very honest and direct. They know exactly where we sit."

...


Cashman said there are no further meetings scheduled between the two sides, although he did speak to Close on Monday night to inform him the Yankees would not be offering Jeter arbitration.
I really think the Yankees played this one perfectly. Jeter and Close are going to realize very quickly--if they haven't already--that nobody is going to come close to the Yankees offer.

Cashman: "I'm thinking yes on Wood"

From Wallace Matthews:
The New York Yankees are likely to offer arbitration to Kerry Wood, opening the door to a possible return in 2011 for the right-handed reliever to once again serve as the set-up man for Mariano Rivera.

...

"I'm thinking yes on Wood," Cashman said. "We'll do them a favor. If we put them into an arbitration setting, then we can take them out and make a fair market value offer to them."

...

But offering arbitration is the first step toward re-opening negotiations for a return to pinstripes next year for Wood, 33, who has a long history of injury problems but remained healthy during his brief tenure as a Yankee.

Vazquez Declines Yanks Arbitration Offer

In case you missed it earlier, the Yankees offered salary arbitration to Javier Vazquez. Here is why via Ken Rosenthal:

The Yankees plan to offer salary arbitration to free-agent right-hander Javier Vazquez, but not because they want to retain him.

Vazquez, a Type B free agent, has agreed to reject the Yankees' offer, enabling the team to collect a supplemental draft pick between the first and second rounds when he signs with another team, major-league sources say.

Teams frequently make such gentlemen's agreements with Type B free agents. No harm is done to the signing team, which does not lose a pick for signing a Type B player.

Thanks, Javy.

Hamilton Wins AL MVP, Cano Finishes 3rd

From MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan:
Josh Hamilton became the fifth Rangers player to win the American League Most Valuable Player Award on Tuesday, outpolling Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera and Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano in voting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Hamilton is the first Rangers player to win the award since Alex Rodriguez in 2003. Outfielder Jeff Burroughs was the first Texas player to take the honor in 1974. Outfielder Juan Gonzalez won in 1996 and '98, and catcher Ivan Rodriguez won in 1999.

Hamilton led the AL in batting with a .359 batting average while finishing with 95 runs scored, 40 doubles, three triples, 32 home runs and 100 RBIs. He also led the league with a .633 slugging percentage and was second with a .411 on-base percentage.
Even though he did miss most of September, he still had a monster year and deserved the award.

As for Cano, 3rd is probably right where he belonged in this voting. Still, that's nothing to be ashamed about for Robbie, who will have many more opportunities to take home an MVP.

Yanks Up Their Offer For Lee?

Last week we had heard that the Yankees were going to offer Lee a five-year deal wprth $120 million. Now today there's this report from The Sporting News:
Yahoo! Sports, citing an industry source, reports the Yankees have offered free-agent SP Cliff Lee a six-year, $140 million contract but that Lee is holding out for a seventh year. Neither side would confirm the numbers to Yahoo!'s Tim Brown. The $23.3 million average cited in Brown's report is slightly higher than the $23 million per season that the Yankees gave SP CC Sabathia in the 2008 offseason (in a seven-year agreement), and the $22.9 million that the Mets gave SP Johan Santana in 2008 (in a six-year pact). Many people expect Lee to eventually sign with the Yankees, but the Rangers have signaled they will try to keep Lee and match the Yankees' offers.

Passan: Yanks Only Want to Give Mo One Year

http://twitter.com/JeffPassan/statuses/6890193281884161

Obviously it would be better for the Yankees to go year by year with Rivera, but I'm sure there aren't many Yankees fans out there who would be upset with them for giving him two.

Cashman Responds to Jeter's Agent, Won't Offer Him Arbitration

From George A. King III:
“There is nothing baffling about our position,” Cashman said. “We have been very honest and direct with them, not through the press. We feel our offer is appropriate and fair. We appreciate the contributions Derek has made to our organization and we have made it clear to them. Our primary focus is his on-the-field performance the last couple of years in conjunction with his age, and we have some concerns in that area that need to be addressed in a multi-year deal going forward.

“I re-state Derek Jeter is the best shortstop for this franchise as we move forward. The difficulty is finding out what is fair between both sides.”
Cashman also said that the Yankees wouldn't offer Jeter arbitration by tonight’s deadline.

Yanks Could Offer Aribitration to Jeter, Mo and Pettitte

From Mark Feinsand:
The Yankees must decide Tuesday whether to offer arbitration to their six Type A or B free agents, and industry sources believe they are all but certain to extend such offers to Jeter, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera, all three of whom are Type A.

While there doesn't seem to be much risk with Pettitte or Rivera, offering arbitration to Jeter would be intriguing. Jeter could accept and, with a one-year deal, use 2011 to prove that this past season's numbers were the exception and not the rule.

By offering arbitration, the Yankees would guarantee themselves two draft picks should Jeter sign elsewhere, though it could also serve as a deterrent for any club considering a run at him.

It's not unprecedented for a future Hall of Famer to accept arbitration in his free-agent year, as Greg Maddux did with the Braves after the 2002 season.
We'll have our answers on this later in the day.

Yanks Sign Neal Cotts and Daniel Martinez

http://twitter.com/eddymk/statuses/6911741271212032

http://twitter.com/eddymk/status/6916082166140928

Monday, November 22, 2010

Votto Wins NL MVP

From the AP:
Cincinnati's Joey Votto was overwhelmingly elected the National League's Most Valuable Player on Monday, ending the two-year reign of Albert Pujols.

Votto, a first baseman who helped the Reds reach the postseason for the first time in 15 years, received 31 of 32 first-place votes and 443 points in voting announced by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Votto was a first-time All-Star, finishing second in the NL in batting average at .324 and third in homers (37) and RBIs (113). He led the NL in slugging percentage (.600) and topped the major leagues in on-base percentage (.424)
Pujols finished second in the voting with Colorado's Carlos Gonzalez coming in third. Adrian Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki rounded out the top five.

Votto was an absolute beast this year and definitely deserved the award.

Some Interesting Posts on Larry Rothschild

I must give a tip of my hat to the Replacement Level Yankees Weblog for compiling these articles. My quest for more information about the Yankees new pitching coach has proven to be mostly fruitless, and SG came to the rescue - he is my blogging knight in shining armor.

The first article I'd like to steer you to is this Marc Carig joint, which outlines the process Brian Cashman utilized in finding a new pitching coach, as well as the challenges ahead of Rothschild. For those of you unwilling or unable to take the jump:
In his nearly four decades in baseball, Larry Rothschild had never dealt with what awaited him on Tuesday, when he sat in front of a monitor at Yankee Stadium.

General manager Brian Cashman transformed a video room near the Yankees’ dugout into a simulator, designed to determine whether he had found his next pitching coach.

Rothschild’s mission, if he chose to accept it, was to break down six hours of film featuring Yankees pitchers CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes and A.J. Burnett. He would return the next day to tell Cashman how he would prepare each for a start.

It amounted to a 48-hour standardized exam, one the 56-year-old Rothschild apparently aced.

-----

“It was very different, much more in-depth ... and I think it led to more in-depth conversations during the interview process,” said Rothschild, who spent eight hours with the film. “As far as an interview process, it was something that I had never thought of, and had never seen, and really had never heard of.”

While I am not in a position to comment on the candidates (and non-candidates) interviewed by the Yankees, as I'm really not too familiar with the work of many, I must say that this seems like the best possible way to find a coach. If Rothschild was able provide strong analysis based on six hours of video, then I'm sure he can perform quite well when given the chance to actually work with the pitchers.

The second post is from the Fangraphs Community Research Blog - Larry Rothschild and Strikeouts. It's short but sweet, listing twenty-one pitchers that faced at least one-hundred fifty batters as a Cub under Rothschild, and their strikeout numbers before joining the Cubs and with the Cubs. Of the twenty-one, seven saw an increase of at least five-percent, which feels fairly significant, and only five saw their strikeouts decrease.

The next entry is from Another Cubs Blog, and is entitled Larry Rothschild and Walks - it works as a companion piece to the Fangraphs article, and it's far more substantial. I recommend checking it out. In short, the author looks at eleven pitchers with a substantial body of work pre-Cubs and with Rothschild and, as a whole, the group had an increase in strikeouts (2.17%) and a decrease in walks (1.33%). Only one pitcher, the immortal Antonio Alfonseca, had a noteworthy regression in terms of walks.

The final article, also from Another Cubs Blog, is Larry Rothschild and Home Runs. Here, Rothschild does not appear to have much of an influence at all. Pitchers allowed .07% more home runs with the Cubs, but some of that may be attributed to the friendly confines of Wrigley Field.

What can we make of all of this? I suppose that's for you to decide. In my mind, Rothschild's resume remains very impressive, and I am a strong proponent of high-strikeout, low-walk approaches, which appears to be the foundation of his approach. The Yankees certainly have the sort of arms that Rothschild could (should) work wonders with, as well.

Today's Daily Derek Jeter Post: MLB Insider Questions Yanks Tactics

From Mark Feinsand:
The Yankees may truly want Derek Jeter to wear pinstripes for the rest of his career, but according to a source familiar with both sides, their "arbitration-ambush" approach in contract negotiations with the captain isn't doing them any favors. In fact, says the source, the Yankees would do well to remember what makes them an iconic franchise - their great players.

"Players like Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle - and Derek Jeter - are what make the Yankees the Yankees," the source said. "The iconic players make the iconic franchise, not the other way around."

The Yankees have made it clear that while they want to sign their 36-year-old captain, they expect it to be on their terms, namely with a three-year contract. And they have not been shy in pointing out Jeter's shortcomings, presumably as a counterpoint to what he brings to the franchise - a peculiar approach to signing a free agent of Jeter's status.

"If you have a valuable asset, why would you want to devalue it?" the source said. "That's what they're doing. It has an arbitration feel to it."
...

"He's not trying to be unreasonable," the source said of Jeter. "He just doesn't want to go through this again in a few years."

Given Jeter's place among the all-time Yankee greats, he figures to be the one called upon to throw out ceremonial first pitches and be the link to this generation for years to come. Why, asks the source, would the Yankees take the chance of alienating the most popular player they've had since Mickey Mantle?

"They may be overvaluing their brand," the source said.
...

"When you say it's nothing personal and that it's just business, it becomes personal," the source said. "Even if they end up signing him, do they want there to be bad feelings? It makes no sense given everything he has meant to the Yankees."
Can you believe this crap?

These sources sound more like Jeter's PR team.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

This Week in Yankees History (11/21-11/27)

This Week in Yankees History 

November 21st - November 27th

November 21st

1885 - Former Yankees P Harry Billiard (1908) was born. Harry Billiard appeared in six games for the Yankees with no record during the 1908 AL season.

1911 - After a 6th place finish with a 76-76 record, Hal Chase resigns as the New York Yankees manager. Harry Wolverton replaces him. Hal Chase will remain a player with the Yankees, until he is traded to the Chicago White Sox during the 1913 AL season.

1934 - The New York Yankees purchased minor league OF Joe DiMaggio from San Francisco Seals (PCL) for players to be named later and cash. Joe will report to the New York Yankees for the 1936 AL season. The son of Italian immigrants will be one of three DiMaggio brothers to play in the MLB, Dom (Boston Red Sox) and Vince (Boston Braves and Pittsburgh Pirates). Doc Farrell refused to report to his new team in 1935. On December 19, 1934, the Yankees sent Doc Farrell (Minors), Floyd Newkirk, Jim Densmore (minors), Ted Norbert (minors), and $5,000 (1935) to the San Francisco Seals (PCL) to complete the trade.

Yanks To Offer Lee $120MM over 5 Years

From Nick Cafardo:
Cliff Lee, LHP, free agent — Word is the Yankees are in the $115 million-$120 million range for five years, while the Rangers are determined to match whatever it gets up to. The Nationals are another team aggressive in this hunt.
Regarding the part about the Rangers matching any offer, this info from Nolan Ryan earlier this week tells another story.

http://twitter.com/BrianCostaWSJ/status/5314905024499712

As for the predicted offer itself, I like the idea of a five-year deal, even one worth $120 million, a lot more than any six or seven year deal. Still, it's highly unlikely that Lee agrees to the first offer.

What are your thoughts on the offer?

Mo Telling Friends He Wants 2 Years

http://twitter.com/SI_JonHeyman/status/5709778835734528

I'm sure the Yankees will have no problem with this.

Jeter's Agent Calls Yanks Negotiating Strategy "Baffling"

From Mike Lupica:
This is what Casey Close said Saturday night, after a week of reading what the Yankees have to say about everything:

"There's a reason the Yankees themselves have stated Derek Jeter is their modern-day Babe Ruth. Derek's significance to the team is much more than just stats. And yet, the Yankees' negotiating strategy remains baffling."

Then Close said: "They continue to argue their points in the press and refuse to acknowledge Derek's total contribution to their franchise."
The Yankees should respond to this by telling Close to go out and see if he can get a better deal than the 3-year $45 million deal they offered this week. See what other teams are willing to pay for Jeter and his intangibles. The reality is that no team will come close to that offer.

It's pretty unfair for anyone to blame the Yankees for how they're handling these negotiations. What are they supposed to do, just hand him the 6-year $120 million deal he probably wants because he's DEREK JETER?

I don't think so.

It's not their fault that Jeter--at 36--just happens to be coming off his worst season ever. Maybe if he hit .320 last year the Yankees negotiating wouldn't have to be so baffling.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Saturday Afternoon Links

- Here's a very nice photo gallery from over at MLB.com showing the stadium setup for today's Notre Dame vs. Army game.... If you'd like to go to the game you can still get tickets here.

- Here is an updated version of the time-lapse video I posted yesterday. This one actually shows the football configuration completed at the end.

- The Yankees added Dellin Betances, Brandon Laird, and Ryan Pope to the 40-man roster.

- They also traded for Braves minor league outfielder Cody Johnson.

- Back in 2007, Derek Jeter apparently told his trainer (Jason Riley) that he wants to play until 2017. Here are a couple quotes from the trainer:
"I don't think anything can hold Derek back other than himself. If he decides to hang it up before [he turns 43], then that will be his decision. If Derek decides at 41 he's already given his best years, then that's where it will end. But if he decides to go until he's 43, he'll do everything in his power to play the game at a high level and help the team through that time. I think there's so much determination inside of Derek that he can do it."

...

"You can't put an age on the heart of an athlete, and Derek's got one of the purest hearts in sports," Riley said. "He's not going to allow himself to have another down year, if he even considers 2010 a down year. His internal drive separates him from others. I've worked with very few people who go after the game like he does."
I just hope this doesn't mean he wants a seven-year deal now.

- Speaking of Jeter, many people within the game think he will end up back in the Bronx, but they also see a position change in his future.

- Yankees Magazine visited Don Mattingly, who is managing in the Arizona Fall League. You can check out the video on YES.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Larry Rothschild is the New Yankees Pitching Coach

Here's the Yankees press release, courtesy of Chad Jennings:
The New York Yankees today announced they have signed pitching coach Larry Rothschild to a three-year contract. The 2011 season will mark Rothschild’s 37th season in professional baseball as a player, coach or manager. He has served on the Major League coaching staff for two World Championship clubs – the 1990 Cincinnati Reds and 1997 Florida Marlins.

Rothschild, 56, joins the Yankees after serving as the Chicago Cubs pitching coach from 2002-10. Over the nine-year stretch, the Cubs pitching staff combined to lead the Majors in strikeouts (11,604). Cubs pitchers led the Majors in strikeouts in each of his first seven seasons as the club’s pitching coach through 2008, including a still-standing single-season Major League-record of 1,404 strikeouts in 2003.

He began his coaching career as a roving minor league pitching instructor for the Cincinnati Reds from 1986-89, before joining the Major League staff as bullpen coach from 1990-91 and then pitching coach from 1992-93. Rothschild then served as roving minor league pitching instructor for the Atlanta Braves in 1994, before taking on the role of pitching coach for the Florida Marlins from 1995-97.

Rothschild was named the first manager in Tampa Bay Devil Rays history on November 7, 1997, and remained in the position until April 18, 2001, compiling a 205-294 managerial record over the stretch. Under his guidance, the club’s winning percentage increased each of his three full seasons with the organization.

Originally signed by the Cincinnati Reds as a non-drafted free agent in 1975, Rothschild’s minor league playing career spanned 11 seasons from 1975-85 with the Cincinnati and Detroit organizations, going 66-46 with a 3.96 ERA in 387 appearances (80 starts). He made seven Major League relief outings (all with Detroit in 1981 and ’82), recording a 5.40 ERA with one save and no decisions (8.1IP, 5ER, 8H, 8BB, 1K, 1HR).

The Chicago, Ill., native graduated from Florida State University with a degree in business management.

Rothschild's "strike 'em out" approach seems to be the antithesis of more famed pitching coaches Leo Mazzone and Dave Duncan, both of whom preach to hitting the corners, pitching to contact, and keeping the ball on the ground. My knowledge of Rothschild is extremely limited, so I may be making a snap-judgment based on numbers alone - but those Cubs teams walked and struck out batters by the boatload. The Yankees certainly have the arms to fit that strategy.

Based off of the little I know about the candidates interviewed and Rothschild's history, I must say that I am a fan of this move. I'll keep my eyes open for more about the new coach's philosophy and the like.

Heyman: Yanks to Offer Jeter 3-year, $45MM Deal

http://twitter.com/SI_JonHeyman/status/5699617224134656

Jeter will reject the offer five minutes later.

Even with the inevitable rejection, this is probably a better deal than any other team in would give him, so hopefully the Yankees aren't so quick to add a year or a few million dollars. The Yankees should wait this out as long as they need to for Jeter to realize what he's really worth at 36 and coming off his worst season.

Albaladejo Released

From Chad Jennings:
The Yankees have released reliever Jonathan Albaladejo so that he can sign a contract to play in Japan.
Nice of the Yankees to let him out of his contract to get a chance to play more and probably make more money than he would have in the US next season. In 49 games over 3 seasons with the Yankees, Albaladejo went 5-2 with a 4.70 ERA.

Yanks Interested in J.C. Romero

From John Paul Morosi:
The New York Yankees are interested in free agent reliever J.C. Romero, according to major-league sources.

Romero is among the top left-handed relievers on the free-agent market. Injuries have limited him to only 53 1/3 innings over the past two seasons, but he has a 3.38 ERA during that span.
When he's healthy he's pretty decent, especially against left-handers who have hit just .174/.278/.251 against him over the last three seasons.

Yankees to Sign Dominican RHP Rafael DePaula

Hat-tip to MLB Trade Rumors:
The Yankees are expected to sign Dominican right-hander Rafael DePaula for about $700K later today, according to Melissa Segura of SI.com (on Twitter). He reappeared on the market a week ago after facing age and identity fraud questions for a year. MLB suspended him in 2009 and he later confessed to using a false identity.

If not for the suspension, DePaula would likely have signed for more, according to Segura. He turns 20 soon, so the Yankees may fast track his path through the minor leagues.

Here's the best scouting report that I could cobble together:

  • Low to mid 90s fastball
  • Projectible change, slider, and curve
  • Good feel for secondary stuff
  • Clean, simple, repeatable mechanics

Had DePaula not lost a year of eligibility, it is likely that he would've commanded a seven-figure deal ... and a great deal more hype. His secondary stuff is certainly advanced for a young pitcher, but the lost year of professional development is significant - particularly for a prospect from the D.R., as common sentiment reveals that they are taught from a young age to throw as hard as possible, and little else. Regardless, this is a fine signing by the Yankees, with little risk and a potentially high reward.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Time-Lapse Video: Yankee Stadium Turns into a Football Field

Breaking sports news video. MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL highlights and more.

No Cy for CC as King Felix's Takes Award

From Mark Feinsand:
Felix Hernandez captured his first career Cy Young Award, beating out David Price and CC Sabathia for the honor in a vote by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Hernandez received 21 first-place votes, while Price received four and Sabathia got three. Hernandez and Sabathia were the only pitchers named on all 28 ballots, while Price was listed on 27.

This marks the second straight year that voters rewarded a pitcher despite his win-loss record, as Hernandez won with a 13-12 record.

"If you look at every way you measure a pitcher other than wins, Hernandez had the other two guys beat," said one voter, who listed Hernandez, Sabathia and Price in the top three slots on his ballot. "If it was the 'Most Valuable Pitcher' award, I would have voted for Sabathia. But the Cy Young is for best pitcher, and to me, that was Hernandez."
I know a lot of you are going to be upset by this result, but the right guy won the award.

Yanks Trade Juan Miranda To Arizona For Scott Allen

Allen, a 19-year-old right-hand pitcher, was drafted Arizona in the 11th round of the 2009 MLB June Amateur Draft. He spent the 2010 season Single-A South Bend for the Diamondbacks. In 16 starts Allen went 4-4 with a 4.73 ERA.

I guess this was the small move Brian Cashman was talking about a few days ago.

More on the Jeter Negotiations

First, it's being reported by Joel Sherman that the Yankees are going to offer Jeter a 3-year deal later this week:
The Yankees are planning to make a contract offer of at least three years to Derek Jeter very soon, perhaps before the end of this week, The Post has learned.

...

The expectation is the Yankees will offer something in the three-year, $45 million range, which will create some negotiating room to climb toward $57 million to $60 million on a three-year deal or perhaps go to a fourth-year option or a straight fourth year as a way to reach a settlement. Of course, that is assuming Jeter finds that range acceptable.
Then there were this quotes from Randy Levine in this article by Anthony McCarron:
"All I can say is we think he's a great Yankee, we think he's been a great Yankee and we've been great for him and this is the best place for him," Levine said. "But he's a free agent and he's allowed to test the market and do whatever he wants."

...

"He's a baseball player," Levine said. "It's a player negotiation. Everything he is and who he is gets factored in. But this isn't a licensing deal or a commercial rights deal. He's a baseball player.

"But with that said, you can't take away from who he is. He brings a lot to the organization and we bring a lot to him.... Derek Jeter is a great Yankee, a great player. That said, now is a different negotiation than 10 years ago."
And finally this article from Wallace Matthews:
The New York Yankees would be happy to get Derek Jeter to agree to a three-year contract for $21 million a year, according to a source who has ties to both the team and the player.

But Jeter, the source said, wants at least a four-year deal, preferably five or six. According to the source, there is at least one voice inside the Yankees' hierarchy urging the front office to play hard ball with Jeter.

"Tell him the deal is three years at $15 million a year, take it or leave it," the person taking the hard-line approach said. "Wait him out and he'll wind up taking it. Where's he gonna go, Cincinnati?"
This is getting more interesting by the day.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Heyman: Yanks & Sox After Justin Upton

http://twitter.com/#!/SI_JonHeyman/status/4990158147420160

Originally I wasn't going to post anything about this story, mainly because all the reports stated that the asking price was way too high for the Yanks. But with two straight days of reports I had to post something.

Upton is one of the better young players in the game, but I'm not sure trading for him makes any sense. The asking price would almost certainly start with Jesus Montero and go up from there, probably to one or more of the Yankees top pitching prospects, a for a team that doesn't really need an outfielde cleaning out the farm for Upton isn't a wise move. And if for some reason they do end up in need of an outfielder there are two pretty good ones sitting on the free agent market.

Cashman: Nova has a Good Chance to be in Rotation

As per ESPN New York:
"I think Ivan Nova has a good chance to be in our rotation, regardless," Cashman said. He meant regardless of whether the Yankees sign Lee or convince Pettitte to return for one more season.

"He can be our number five, or maybe better than that, I don't care," Cashman said of Nova. "I think he's got a chance to take the ball for us every five days.’"

Nova, the 23-year-old right-hander pressed into emergency service when Pettitte went on the DL with a groin strain in mid-July, was outstanding in his first four major-league starts, and less so in his last four, and was left off the postseason roster. Still, his stuff is live enough that Cashman expects him to be an important part of the staff next season.

"If you've got quality arms, I don't care if they’re inexperienced or not, they'll make your problems go away real quick," Cashman said. "We think he’s got a quality arm."

...

"He's got to earn it still, but he opened a lot of people's eyes last year in our organization and outside the organization," Cashman said.
Also of note from the article - on Aceves:
Cashman also delivered good news about Alfredo Aceves, the right-handed reliever who was sidelined in May with a lower back strain and at one point appeared headed for surgery. But Cashman said Aceves had recovered in full and would probably pitch winter ball in his native Mexico.
On Marte:
The news about Damaso Marte, the lefty reliever who was such a vital part of the Yankees bullpen in the 2009 postseason, was not so good. Cashman said Marte, who went on the DL in August with a shoulder injury and eventually underwent surgery, is not expected back at all in 2011.
On Chamberlain and Robertson:
Cashman also said the experiment to turn Joba Chamberlain into a starter was officially, permanently over, and expressed the hope that either he or David Robertson would emerge as the replacement for Kerry Wood as the set-up man for Rivera.
While I do think that Chamberlain deserves a real shot at the starting rotation - which I don't really believe he was ever afforded - I will say that it makes sense to lay out a role for him at this juncture. Whether or not I agree, it allows him to prepare for a full-time relief role, both mentally and physically. I'm also looking forward to seeing if Robertson can translate his warm-weather dominance into a full season of dominance - he certainly has the stuff to do so.

On Pettitte:
He also said he has had no further contact with Pettitte since the 39-year-old lefty told him on the final day of the season that he would need some time at home in Texas with his family before deciding whether he would pitch again in 2011.

"I saw him interviewed recently and he reiterated what he said to me, that if he had to make a decision yesterday, he would be retired," Cashman said. "So we'll just have to wait and see."
I'm not sure what to expect with Pettitte, and I don't really feel comfortable making a prediction, as Mussina spurned us all a couple of years ago. That being said, it does not surprise me that he's leaning towards retirement at this juncture. After all, he's spending more time with his family then he has in about eight months - that cannot be understated.

Winter League Weekly Update - 11/17

Arizona Fall League

Manny Banuelos, LHP
25.0 IP, 31 H, 10 BB, 16 K, 3.60 ERA, 1.55 G/F

Banuelos has been nothing short of impressive in the AFL. While the numbers may not bear it out, scouts have raved about the ease of his delivery - in terms of torque and repeatability - and his pinpoint command. A few even believe that his change-up and curve are already Major League quality offerings, which is incredibly praise - particularly for a 19-year old with all of three starts above Single-A.

Craig Heyer, RHP
18.0 IP, 16 H, 3 BB, 7 K, 2.50 ERA, 2.92 G/F

Heyer has consistently brought forth mixed sentiment. It's difficult to not get excited by his fantastic control and ability to garner grounders at a substantial rate. On the other hand, his two-seamer is his only quality pitch, and he rarely draws swings and misses. I don't see a great deal of quality in his future, but I do think he could be a valuable spot starter or long reliever.

George Kontos, RHP
12.2 IP, 21 H, 10 BB, 11 K, 12.08 ERA, 1.25 G/F

Kontos tossed back-to-back scoreless, hitless innings this past week, shaving two-plus runs from his ERA. I refuse to put too much stock in the AFL - particularly when it's something so very disconcerting - but I'm bothered by Kontos' apparent regression in terms of stuff and flyballs over the course of the short season.

Ryan Pope, RHP
11.1 IP, 14 H, 4 BB, 10 K, 3.18 ERA, 1.00 G/F

I think Pope's more than earned a shot at a Major League bullpen job - either in the Bronx or elsewhere. With the sort of contracts being thrown around to relievers nowadays (such as Joaquin Benoit being given three-years and $16.5 million), it would seem prudent for the Yankees to exhaust their own resources before scouring a very volatile market.

Austin Romine, C
.276/.311/.328, 0 HR, 1 SB, 3:12 BB:K, 58 AB

Romine has only played once since last week's update. I've heard mixed reports regarding the reasoning, but I think it's safe to say that he's simply worn out. He caught more games this year than ever before, and adding to that number in the AFL does not appear to helping.

Jose Pirela, SS
.185/.247/.222, 0 HR, 2 SB, 6:19 BB:K, 81 AB

One of very few Yankees prospects that I knew absolutely nothing about heading into the offseason, Pirela has done nothing to make me feel ashamed. Poor defense, poor hitting, and poor base-running (he's been caught stealing three times) are the story here.

Brandon Laird, OF
.216/.266/.422, 4 HR, 0 SB, 6:26 BB:K, 102 AB

Laird is now 7 for his last 57, though he did add a double and a home run in his last sixteen at-bats. If there's anything positive to draw from his time in the AFL, it has to be his solid performance in the outfield. While he's unlikely to ever be much better than average in a corner outfield position, the positional flexibility adds a fair bit to his value - to the Yankees or a potential trade partner.

Other noteworthy performers:

Mexican Winter League

Justin Christian, the Willie Mays of the Mexican Winter League, is a minor league free agent, and it appears that he will seek employment elsewhere. A sad day for those expecting to see at least one solid batting line in these updates.

Venezuelan Winter League

Josh Schmidt, RHP
28.2 IP, 14 H, 13 BB, 32 K, 1.26 ERA, 0.67 G/F

I'm not sure whether or not his numbers should be described as 'dominant' or 'silly.' Either way, I will continue to tout his merits as a candidate for the Yankees bullpen in 2011. He's performed admirably throughout his professional career and, most importantly, the Yankees wouldn't have to surrender anything other than league-minimum salary to give him a shot. That's much better than surrendering a draft pick for Scott Downs or Jason Frasor, and preferable to giving a free agent reliever a multi-year deal.

For more names and statistics, check out MLB.com's page for Yankees prospects playing winter ball.