Friday, December 30, 2011
Thursday, December 29, 2011
In case you’d forgotten, A-Rod still has six years remaining on his contract, which means he’ll turn 42 in July of the final year of his deal, 2017, at which point he’ll still earn $20 million, down from the $31 million he made last year.We can clearly see the side-effects of A-Rod's contract with the way the Yankees have handled this offseason, and I suspect that won't change for the life of the deal.
By then, well, the only question was supposed to be how many more home runs had Rodriguez hit than Barry Bonds in surpassing him to become baseball’s all-time home run leader. Now the question, after four straight injury-marred seasons, isn’t just whether A-Rod will get near Bonds’ record but whether he can play anywhere near his superstar level of old.
It’s not about his bat speed but simply his ability to stay healthy. He was an iron man for much of his career, averaging 158 games played from 2001 through 2007. Of course, we know that he had some help in at least some of those years, since A-Rod has admitted using steroids from 2001-03.
But in any case, injuries have prevented him from playing more than 138 games in any of the last four seasons. Because he needed arthroscopic knee surgery last summer and then dealt with a thumb injury upon his return, A-Rod last season played in only 99 games, a career-low, while hitting only 16 home runs.
The drop-off in power last year was clearly linked to his knee injury. Rodriguez, remember, had a spectacular spring training last March, hitting with an explosiveness in his swing that had been absent since hip surgery in the spring of 2009. Hitting coach Kevin Long was so wowed that he was predicting a return to 2007-like numbers; A-Rod hit 54 home runs that year in winning his third MVP award.
So you could make a case that Rodriguez should return to form. He insisted the knee surgery, which repaired torn cartilage, wasn’t anything serious enough to limit him in the years to come, and indeed, it’s the most common of surgeries for pro athletes.
Only now you have to wonder. If it was still enough of an issue for him to seek radical treatment earlier this month, following Kobe Bryant’s advice in getting Orthokine treatment on his right knee — and left shoulder — then it can hardly be dismissed as something that won’t bother him in the future.
It's a deal that, in my opinion, will go down as the worst contract ever handed out in baseball, if not all of sports. I had hoped the Yankees wouldn't let it change the way they do business, but obviously it has.
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Tags: Carlos Beltran
This begs a simple, yet important question: why? There are two legitimate answers to the question, I think, and I would argue that they are fairly well intertwined.
With respect to the five aforementioned starters, I think a reasonable argument can be crafted in favor of the Yankees disinterest. Wilson, for all of his success in 2010 and 2011, is 31 ... with two years as a starter on his resume. For that, he received a five year deal worth $75 MM - a figure which includes a hometown discount for the Angels. Does that represent a sound investment?
While I do buy into Darvish's potential, we should not forget that that's all we have to work off of - his potential. He has never pitched stateside, and, despite his dominance in the NPB, the historical NPB to MLB transition has been rocky at best. The issues of a different ball, a new culture, and starting every five days are very real, even for a starter of his caliber. Is that package worth a $100 MM or better investment? And, for comparison's sake, did Stephen Strasburg receive a $100 MM bonus? No.
Buehrle has been remarkably consistent for the past decade or so, but is he really worth $58 MM from his age-33 through 36 seasons? Further, consider that he may have cost the Yankees more, as New York state taxes are fairly costly, whereas Florida's are nonexistent.
As for Oswalt and Kuroda, remember that both are older (34 and 36, respectively), and neither have pitched outside of the National League. Oswalt is also coming off of some fairly disconcerting back issues, and Kuroda is only a few months removed from expressing an unwillingness to pitch on the East Coast. There seems to be at least a bit of risk, even on a one-year deal.
Perhaps I am lying to myself, or even sipping the Cashman Kool-Aid. After all, I have argued for all five being a worthwhile pursuit for the Yankees, and I am somewhat reneging on previous statements. However, considering the risks involved, a large investment may well have resulted in a hindsight-fueled lambasting, not unlike those levied against A.J. Burnett and Alex Rodriguez.
The most pressing reasoning for the lack of spending, however, may well be something that has not been discussed here - the ramifications of crossing the luxury tax line under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Joel Sherman does a tremendous job of outlining what the Yankees have to gain by dipping under that line prior to 2014 here. For our purposes, the key passage is this:
As an organization, they are saying they are driven to have a payroll of $189 million or less in 2014 when that becomes the luxury tax threshold. Because the incentives that come via the new CBA are just too great for them to ignore.As per Cot's Contracts, the Yankees currently have $72.125 MM tied-up in Rodriguez, Teixeira, and Sabathia for the 2014 season. That leaves a bit over $116 MM to re-sign Granderson and Cano ... and fill an additional twenty roster slots.
For if they are at $189 million or less for the three seasons from 2014-16, they not only avoid paying one cent in luxury tax, which would rise to 50 percent for them as repeat offenders, but they also would get roughly $40 million in savings via the to-be-implemented market disqualification revenue sharing program. However, only teams under the luxury-tax threshold get reimbursed in this program, which is designed to prevent big markets such as Toronto and Washington from receiving revenue sharing dollars, which in turn will lower how much teams such as the Yanks pay (as long as they are under the threshold).
And even if they just went under $189 million for 2014 before going over again in 2015, the Yankees would receive serious benefits. They would get about $10 million in the revenue sharing disqualification program. Also, by simply going under the threshold once, the Yankees would go back to having a 17.5 percent tax rather than the 50 percent that begins in 2014 for them if they never go under. Keep in mind that since the luxury tax went to 40 percent for them in 2005, the Yankees have averaged paying $25.75 million in tax annually.
With that in mind, the Yankees hesitance to give long-term deals to Wilson, Darvish, or Buehrle is understandable and wholly justified. Standing pat with Ivan Nova, and giving shots to David Phelps, Adam Warren, D.J. Mitchell, Manny Banuelos, and Dellin Betances, all of which would be making the minimum in 2014, in order to see if they could play a role in the team's future may well take precedence over a one-year flier on Kuroda or Oswalt. For the rotation, this may well be a transitional year. As disconcerting as that may be in terms of going all-in for the World Series ... it makes sense for the team's financial future.
The Yankees will be a competitive team this year. I'm loath to point to the team's record last year, or the successes of Garcia and Nova, or anything of the sort - but there is talent throughout the roster, and every team has its fair share of question marks. All things considered, this isn't rebuilding so much as it's ensuring a more stable future, both in terms of salary commitments and roster spots. As someone that enjoys watching a solid team year in and year out, I respect that.
In the end, it boils down to a rather simple terms: frustrating, yet understandable.
Follow me on Twitter - @DomenicLanza
The Yankees have agreed to a minor-league contract with former Red Sox reliever Hideki Okajima, according to multiple reports. Okajima, who turned 36 on Christmas Day, will be invited to spring training and could compete for a spot in the Yankee bullpen as a second left-hander alongside Boone Logan.There's not much to be happy about regarding this signing. After three solid seasons to start his career in the States, Okajima has faded a bit, going just 5-4 with a 4.47 ERA over 63 appearances in 2010 and 2011. Last year he spent most of the year in Triple-A. His batting average against vs. lefties has also gotten worse with each passing season.
Okajima, who came to the majors from Japan before the 2007 season, has held lefties to a .218 average, .277 on-base percentage and .323 slugging percentage over five seasons. He was an all-star as a rookie with the Red Sox when he was 3-2 with a 2.22 ERA and five saves.
Tags: Hideki Okajima
According to multiple sources, the Yankees third baseman recently followed a recommendation from Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers star, and traveled to Germany for an experimental therapy called Orthokine on his bothersome right knee.Let's hope it does work. With the lack of any significant moves this offseason the Yanks are going to need a pretty big year from A-Rod.
The innovative procedure was performed on Rodriguez — with the Yankees’ blessing — within the last month, according to one source. The Yankees first cleared the procedure with the commissioner’s office to avoid the appearance that Rodriguez might be receiving impermissible treatment.
Rodriguez, the source said, would not have had the procedure without the Yankees’ permission. Last season, the team was blindsided by a report that pitcher Bartolo Colon had undergone controversial stem-cell treatment.
Orthokine involves taking blood from the patient’s arm and spinning it in a centrifuge, a machine used in laboratories to spin objects around a fixed axis. The serum is then injected into the affected area — in this case, Rodriguez’s knee.
Bryant underwent the same treatment last summer to try to strengthen his right knee. He also reportedly had the procedure done in October to treat a chronic left ankle ailment.
It remains unclear if the procedure actually works long-term.
Tags: Alex Rodriguez
It has been reported in several places that the Yankees and Red Sox are actively pursuing free-agent right-hander Hiroki Kuroda, but the baseball sources I have spoken with over the past week say it is unlikely the Yankees will make a bid on the 37-year-old former Dodger.Why is it that the Yankees are treating this offseason like they're the damn Pittsburgh Pirates?
The reason? Once again, the luxury tax.
Kuroda is known to want in the neighborhood of $12 million or $13 million for a one- or two-year deal, which may not seem like much when you consider the Yankees are paying A.J. Burnett $16.5 million a year for each of the remaining two years on his contract.
But when you add in the 40 percent luxury tax surcharge, that pushes Kuroda's price to around $17 million a season, which may be a bit much to gamble on an aging pitcher with a 41-46 career record (3.45 ERA) who has never pitched in the American League.
Monday, December 26, 2011
As much as I'd love to say "this team is great, they won 97 games last year!", I really can't. Yes, last year was a great season considering the circumstances the team was under. Freddy Garcia, Bartolo Colon, and Ivan Nova all pitched above and beyond anyone thought going into the season. But ultimately, the Yankees fell short of even the ALCS, losing to the Tigers in a heart-breaking 5-game series. While Game 5 was not to hang on the pitching (the Yankees left the bases loaded, what, 15 times that game?), it still doesn't change the fact that the pitching is the Yanks' #1 concern once again.
CC, Nova, and what? A.J. is, well, he's A.J. A bounce back season from him should not be anticipated. Garcia, as great as he was last year, is still 35, and I wouldn't bank on him having another year like 2011. And then you have the 5th spot. Whoever gets it - Phil Hughes or Hector Noesi; well, they don't even have real expectations going into the season. If the Yankees were to make the playoffs again, I don't think even the Mets would be scared to face this staff.
The offense, while still one of the best in baseball, also has some red flags. Alex Rodriguez is probably the biggest concern. Turning 37, A-Rod is no longer an MVP-candidate. No longer in the top 5 players list. He is an aging star who hasn't played in 150 games since 2007. While it seems like he can still hit around .280 and play an above-average third base, he's not a cleanup hitter anymore, and probably won't hit 30 home runs again unless he makes some calls to his cousin Yuri.
Another concern in that offense has to be the captain, Derek Jeter. While having a superb second half of the season, Jeet too is declining and will be 38 next June. As ageless a legend Jeter will go down as, every great player goes through this. This could be Jeter's last year as the starting shortstop, and it's hard to say he'll play so well that the front office decides otherwise next season.
The reason why I don't go out and say "Cash, you need to this....." is because I really don't see him doing anything. They want to stay under the luxury tax, and, despite there being still nice pieces on the market in Roy Oswalt or Edwin Jackson, if Cash really wanted to do something, he would have done it already.
And the Yankees, as they stand today, are in for a wake-up call next season. We can hope and pray that the Yanks will surprise us again, but I'm an optimistic realist. I can't see the Yanks making the playoffs next season, and if they were to, they'd fall well short of #28, as they did in 2011.
The Tampa Bay Rays appear to have interest in signing free-agent catcher/designated hitter Jorge Posada, according to a report from ESPN Deportes.I'd hate to see Jorge sign with another team, especially one the Yanks would have to play 18 times, but who am I to tell the guy what to do, right?
Posada could serve as a backup at first base, DH and catcher, the story states, which potentially would give the Rays a 36-year-old starting catcher in Jose Molina and a 40-year-old reserve in Posada. During the 2011 season, the final year of a four-year, $52.4 million deal with the Yankees, Posada played just six innings behind the plate.
There is still a decision to be made by Posada, who is drawing interest from the Orioles and Phillies according to the same report, as to whether he will return for the 2012 campaign or retire. Posada has a .273 average with 275 home runs and 1,065 RBIs in 1,829 career games played over 17 years. He was a major contributor to four Yankees World Series championship teams, producing 11 postseason homers and 42 RBIs in total.
That said, I do believe signing on somewhere else for one or two more sub-par years wouldn't do much for his legacy in this game.
Sunday, December 25, 2011
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Nick Swisher was on the YES Network last night, and he took some exception to the idea that the Yankees haven’t enough enough to improve themselves this winter.You can throw me in the line of people who are saying, "why haven't the Yankees made any moves?". If I were grading the Yankees offseason to this point, it would get a D-. They're no better than they were when the season ended, and being that it ended with a ALDS exit the word "amazing" is not one I would use to describe it.
“I think it’s time to put us back on the map,” he said. “I think with the guys we have going into this season, we feel confident. A lot of people are saying, why haven’t the Yankees made any moves? Well, we didn’t win the most games in the American League last year with just nobody. We feel we have an amazing team, and we’re going to go out there and hope we prove that this year.”
“In New York, people expect to win, and we want to win for them,” Swisher said. “Regardless of whatever lineup we put on the field, we will be competitive.”
Tags: Nick Swisher
Thursday, December 22, 2011
The New York Yankees were hit with a $13.9 million luxury tax bill Thursday, their lowest since 2003.Looks like the Yankees are getting closer to where they want to be financially, which is good, I guess.
The fee, assessed by Major League Baseball under its labor contract, is down from $18 million last year and $25.7 million in 2009, when the Yankees won the World Series.
Boston, which missed the playoffs for the second straight season, is the only other team that will have to pay a tax. The Red Sox received a bill for $3.4 million, up from last year's $1.5 million.
Season-ending payroll information and the tax was sent to teams and obtained by The Associated Press.
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
For weeks, it has appeared to be a foregone conclusion that Andruw Jones would return to the Bronx next season, but that’s no longer the certainty it once seemed.Cashman and Co. have done very little, if anything this offseason to improve the team, the least they can do is sure up the bench. Get it done, Brian.
The Yankees have stayed in touch with Jones’ agent, Scott Boras, but a source said the two sides have not made much progress despite the mutual desire for a reunion. The source added that “several” other teams have expressed interest in the 34-year-old outfielder — one of which is believed to be the rival Red Sox.
Like the Yankees, the Red Sox are searching for a righthanded power bat to share time in the outfield, a role Jones filled admirably last season in New York.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Monday, December 19, 2011
If Japanese pitching sensation Yu Darvish indeed throws his first major league pitch next season, it will not be in a Yankees uniform.
The Yankees are "not getting him," a person with knowledge of the situation said today, on condition of anonymity because the posting process is still ongoing. Darvish's Japanese team has until Tuesday to decide whether to accept the highest bid to negotiate with Darvish.
The Yankees submitted a bid. But the only way they can emerge with Darvish is if it proves to be the highest on the table, and the person with knowledge said the Yankees' bid will not be high enough to top those they believe were submitted by a pair of American League rivals, the Rangers and Blue Jays.
"A ridiculous number," the person with knowledge said, while declining to offer exact figures.
Sunday, December 18, 2011
Contrary to published reports, the top sealed bid submitted for star Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish on Wednesday was the highest in the history of the posting process, exceeding the record $51.1 million fee that the Boston Red Sox paid the Seibu Lions for the rights to negotiate with Daisuke Matsuzaka in 2006, according to Japanese league officials.Wow, with the recent failures of Japanese pitchers I didn't think it would be that high. Oh well, still wish he was headed to the Bronx.
Though the identity of the major league franchise that won exclusive negotiating rights to the 25-year-old right-hander has yet to be revealed, Japanese league officials say that the offer to Darvish's team, the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, is higher than the $40-48 million range that has been reported in the U.S. and Japan.
Friday, December 16, 2011
Having made a posting bid above $40 million and possibly close to $50 million, the Blue Jays are the favorites to land the negotiating rights to Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish.
There is a belief the Cubs also made a large bid on the right-hander but a number hasn’t been attached to their bid.
The Yankees made a bid Wednesday night, but it’s not expected to top what the Blue Jays submitted. The Rangers are also believed to have bid.
According to several sources with knowledge of the situation, the Blue Jays’ made the monster bid on orders from owner Rogers Communications.
By Tuesday at 5 p.m. EST, the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, for whom Darvish pitched the past seven years, will either accept the highest bid without knowing the identity of the team or reject it.
If accepted, the winning club will have 30 days to cut a deal with Darvish...
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
According to multiple sources, the Red Sox acquired Astros closer Mark Melancon in a trade Wednesday for pitcher Kyle Weiland and Jed Lowrie.The Sox also signed Nick Punto to 2-year deal worth $3.5M.
Melancon, 26, a 2006 draft pick of the Yankees out of the University of Arizona, had Tommy John surgery late in 2006 and missed the 2007 season. He made his debut for the Yankees against the Red Sox in 2009. He was traded to the Astros last year as part of the Lance Berkman deal. The right-hander went 8-4 with a 2.78 ERA and 20 saves in 25 chances for the lowly Astros this past season. He had 66 strikeouts in 74 1/3 innings.
Weiland, 25, debuted for the Red Sox this season, going 0-3 with a 7.66 ERA. He is expected to be given a spot in the Astros rotation.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Sweet Luigi is headed back to the Yankees.Welcome back!
Lou Piniella, a fan favorite as both player and manager, is deep in negotiations and close to signing a deal to return to the Bombers as an analyst for the Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network. He also will likely serve as a spring training instructor.
According to industry sources, Piniella will do a limited number of appearances for YES in the broadcast booth and studio.
Piniella would join YES’ cast of analysts that includes Ken Singleton, John Flaherty, Paul O’Neill, David Cone, Al Leiter and play-by-play man Michael Kay.
Piniella is no stranger to the Yankees broadcast booth. After being fired — for the second time — as Bombers manager by George Steinbrenner in 1988, Piniella still had a year left on his contract. He spent the 1989 season in the Madison Square Garden Network’s Yankees booth.
Monday, December 12, 2011
Tags: Freddy Garcia
Boston ace Josh Beckett, who always seems to be upset about something, is ticked off at Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long for mentioning that Beckett takes too long between pitches, which can throw off the rhythm of the hitter.As you might expect, Kevin Long didn't care:
That was the word from new Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine in comments made Saturday at the Red Sox “Christmas at Fenway’’ event.
On an ESPN telecast in August, Valentine criticized Beckett for his slow pitching pace, saying, “That’s a half hour added to this game of him standing around and us sitting around watching him do nothing.’’
Valentine was correct. The Aug. 7 game between the Yankees and Red Sox lasted 4 hours, 15 minutes. Beckett started that game and pitched six innings in Boston’s 3-2, 10-inning victory. Valentine spoke to Beckett last week and said at the winter meetings that Beckett is still quite upset. Valentine and Beckett, though, worked out their differences, Valentine said in the interview Saturday and it is Long on the receiving end of Beckett’s ire.
Basically, the pitcher who takes too long between pitches is upset with Long for mentioning that fact.
“Kevin Long started complaining about him taking too long,’’ Valentine explained at the event. “And [Beckett] felt, ‘Why don’t I take long and if [the hitters] don’t like it, then that’s exactly what I want to do? Whatever they don’t like, and what makes them uncomfortable, makes them unsuccessful.’ So he said that and we at ESPN fell into his trap ... or we bought into Kevin Long’s strategy to reverse his success. I get it. Maybe I did and there was frenzy about what Kevin said and I was reiterating it.”
Long, reached by The Post yesterday, said he was merely stating the obvious to Valentine and the ESPN broadcast crew at the time and that it was Valentine who ran hard with his own comments about Beckett’s pace, backing up Long’s point of view.Is this really the sort of thing that upsets these losers in Boston? Get over it, freakin' crybaby.
Long is not losing any sleep over the fact that Beckett is upset with him, telling The Post, “I kind of think this is humorous.’’
Friday, December 9, 2011
Thursday, December 8, 2011
For those of you unfamiliar with Niese, he has produced the following over his two full-ish seasons with the Mets:
2010 - 173.2 IP, 4.20 ERA, 4.10 FIP, 3.80 xFIP, 7.7 K/9, 3.2 BB/9, 47.7 GB%
2011 - 157.1 IP, 4.40 ERA, 3.36 FIP, 3.28 xFIP, 7.9 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, 51.5 GB%
Niese mixes five pitches - four-seam and two-seam fastballs (around 90 MPH), a cutter (his primary weapon against righties), a 12-to-6 curveball (his strikeout pitch), and a rarely utilized change-up. Though he is a bit more effective against left-handed batters, he does not show a worrisome platoon split, which speaks volumes about the effectiveness of his cutter.
There is a bit of downside with Niese, in that he has struggled to stay healthy over the past two seasons. Hamstring and oblique issues have hampered him intermittently and, while there hasn't been any permanent damage or throwing-arm related injuries, durability may very well be a concern. And, of course, the National League caveat applies.
Should the reports of the Mets asking price be accurate, I believe that the Yankees could and should make a strong push for Niese. The team does not necessarily have a chip comparable to Hammel, but I could see Hector Noesi as an appealing option to step into the Mets rotation in April ... and he may be preferable to someone like Hammel, due to his cost and team control. I suspect that this will garner a bit of grief, but I would be willing to offer Dellin Betances as the principal piece in the deal, which speaks more to my opinion of Niese than my valuation of Betances. Should the Mets desire a bat, I would seek to package Austin Romine, Eduardo Nunez, and one of David Adams, Corban Joseph, or Brandon Laird. Nunez is incredibly far removed from Reyes' stratosphere, but he and Romine would be able to step in all but immediately and fill very real holes on the Mets roster (and at a very affordable rate, which is an integral consideration).
Follow me on Twitter - @DomenicLanza
Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish ended months of speculation today by saying he intends to make a move to Major League Baseball.And let the bidding begin!
The 25-year-old right-hander, considered the best pitcher in the Japanese professional leagues, wrote on his blog that he had decided to use the posting system, which allows MLB teams to bid for the negotiating rights to Japanese players who have yet to become free agents.
"I have decided to use the posting system," he said. "I wanted to tell my fans directly, so that is why I am posting this on my blog."
"I owe a lot of thanks to my team," Darvish said, adding he would provide more details at an upcoming news conference.
Tags: Non-Yankees News
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Last summer, Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker and FanGraphs stated the following about Nakajima in a run through some Japanese prospects:
Nakajima gets my vote as Japan’s second best hitter, behind Aoki. Nakajima doesn’t quite match up with Aoki’s pure contact skill or plate discipline, but is still very good in both categories and adds a bit more gap power to the equation. Nakajima is a back-leg hitter, with a big stride that he will occasionally shorten up. On the turf, Nakajima plays a solid shortstop, among many good shortstops in his league.In a lengthier follow-up, after Nakajima asked to be posted (and subsequently denied), Newman wrote about his glove:
Good glove, pretty good arm. I’ve seen some commentary speculating that he’s better suited to second base in MLB, but I don’t see why he shouldn’t get a chance to play shortstop. Nakajima has played his career on turf, in his home games at Seibu Dome and most of his road games, as all of the Pacific League teams have turf infields. The turf-grass adjustment was tough for Kazuo Matsui, but Tadahito Iguchi did fine so it can go either way.And his bat:
Nakajima is a good contact hitter who uses the whole field. I see him as a line drive/gap hitter; in Japan he’s been around 20 hr and .500 slg for the last four years or so. He’s also gotten better at drawing walks over the last few years, but he’s still not great by American standards. Generally speaking, though, there are fewer walks and strikeouts in NPB. Like many Japanese NPB hitters, he has a complex swing, with a long stride and a lot of leg movement. I think he will shorten up his stride and cut down on his lower body movement in MLB, which will likely cost him some power.Reports indicate that Nakajima is an above-average baserunner, and his numbers seem to bear that out (as well as much of Newman's scouting report).
Based upon the information on-hand, Nakajima does fit the profile of a solid utility infielder. I am a bit leery of the transition from the NPB to the MLB, particularly in cases where the player's numbers don't jump off the page, but the expectations seem reasonable. So long as the contract is reasonable, I think that Nakajima is a solid gamble.
On another note, I imagine this is indicative of the Yankees willingness to move Eduardo Nunez. His name has popped up in several rumors, and the rumor that he was the breaking point in the non-trade for Cliff Lee persists to this day. I suppose it may also mean the Yankees are going to allow him to play every day in Triple-A, but that would be somewhat unprecedented - particularly when the team could likely include him in a package to upgrade the rotation. I suppose we'll just have to wait and see.
Follow me on Twitter - @DomenicLanza
The Yankees have inserted A.J. Burnett into the trade market at the Winter Meetings, The Post has learned.Not a surprise nobody is interested. I can't imagine this goes anywhere further unless the Yankees pick up even more money, and if that's the case then you have to wonder if making that kind of deal is even worth it.
According to multiple teams, the Yankees have let it be known they will listen to offers for Burnett and are willing to pay $8 million of the $33 million Burnett is owed over the next two seasons.
“We will listen on anybody,’’ GM Brian Cashman said without getting specific.
Even with the Yankees swallowing about a quarter of Burnett’s contract, they haven’t gotten a nibble. First, Burnett, who will be 35 in January, would still be owed $12.5 million this coming season and next. Secondly, Burnett hasn’t pitched well (21-26) the past two seasons and has suffered a dip in velocity.
However, the fact that the Yankees have progressed to the point they are listening and willing to eat cash could be an indication they believe there is a move they can make to add a starter good enough to fall in behind ace CC Sabathia.
Cashman said, “I don’t have significant money for free agents’’ because of the dollars allotted for his bevy of stars, meaning adding an arm will likely come through a trade.
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Interesting... The money is a lot for a middle of the rotation guy, but signing Kuroda makes some sense if the Yankees are going to avoid some of the higher priced talent out there. They won't be locked into a long-term deal, he's coming of the best of his four big league seasons, and has thrown right around 200 innings for two straight years.
What do you guys think?
Not sure how credible this is, so take it with a grain of salt, but here's the info from NYBD:
A source down at the Winter Meetings informed me of a 3-way deal being discussed between the Yankees, Oakland, and Kansas City. The players discussed were:Gonzalez is a solid pitcher and he's only 26, so I guess this isn't a terrible deal. At the same time, I really don't think the Yankees should trade Gardner. His speed and defense do a lot for this team, even if he finds himself in a deep slump every now and then. And with the Yankees, and their money, I'd much rather see them avoid trades, and throw some money at a free agent (Darvish, Wilson, etc...). If they're going to continue to raise ticket prices and force the average fan to stay home, the least they can do is continue to buy themselves into the post season.
Yankees get: Gio Gonzalez
A’s get: LF Brett Gardner from Yanks, 1B Clint Robinson from Royals.
Royals get: RHP David Phelps, OF Michael Taylor, and a PTBNL from Yanks that is expected to be off 40-man roster.
I find myself very torn on Cespedes.
The Yankees are lacking high-impact outfield prospects in the upper levels of the farm system, which could be an issue with Swisher (2012) and Granderson (2013) approaching free agency. Signing Cespedes would quash that issue immediately, albeit at a fairly high cost, while (possibly) allowing the Yankees to shop Swisher for help in the rotation. The latter, of course, assumes that Cespedes is ready for the Show ... which he very well may be. Based upon Cespedes' Cuban League statistics, ZiPS guru Dan Szymborski projects a .270/.331/.435 line, with 23 HR and 9 SB in 2012. I would take such production in a heartbeat.
It's also worth noting that the track record of Cuban position players is superior to their pitching brethren. Yunel Escobar, Alexei Ramirez, and Kendrys Morales (pre-injuries) have met expectations in recent memory, Tony Perez is in the Hall of Fame, and Tony Oliva has a fairly compelling argument, to boot.
Despite this, the risk is still obvious. Cespedes will command a fairly substantial contract and a spot on the 40-man roster, and he does not have any experience in the United States. In transitioning to Major League Baseball, he will also have to deal with language and cultural barriers. Considering that he will likely seek a guarantee to start in the Majors at some point in 2012 ... I would argue he's even more of a gamble than Yu Darvish.
In the end, I think Cespedes is a worthwhile gamble, particularly if he is willing to work his way from Double-A to the Majors. I would be hesitant to deal Swisher and open 2012 with Cespedes manning right field, but if the front office is confident in the Cuban wunderkind's ability to step into the Yankees line-up, I suppose I could be swayed.
Follow me on Twitter - @DomenicLanza
Monday, December 5, 2011
Sunday, December 4, 2011
The Miami Marlins and shortstop Jose Reyes agreed to terms on a six-year, $106 million deal Sunday, sources told ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney.According to the article, the Marlins, who also just signed Heath Bell, will now turn their attention to free agent 1B Albert Pujols.
The guarantee for the first six years totals $102 million, sources told ESPN.com's Jayson Stark. The deal includes an option for a seventh year, with a guaranteed $4 million.
Sources told ESPNDeportes' Enrique Rojas that the option would be worth $22 million.
Robinson Cano(notes) would like to see his friend David Oritz jump from the arch-rival Boston Red Sox to his New York Yankees and Johnny Damon(notes), the former teammate of both players, said it would be a good idea.I know there really isn't a need to bring in a big bat, but I would certainly have no problems if the Yankees were actually interested in signing Ortiz. Not only would it add a very good lefty bat to the lineup, but it would crush Red Sox fans.
"Shoot, I was trying to tell him if he went to New York his 30 home runs turns into 40," Damon said while at Ortiz's celebrity golf tournament in the Dominican Republic, according to The Boston Globe. "He still has a great chance to win. I'm happy I got to experience both sides (of the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry). Both sides were very incredible for me.
"… As a baseball fan, I would love to see him stay in Boston," Damon said. "But being a part of it, I know there may be some opportunities and less drama elsewhere."
Cano, also attending Ortiz's tournament, had earlier said he would welcome Big Papi to the Bronx.
"It would be a good idea, having another lefty on the team," Cano told the New York Daily News. "We all know he's a great hitter. Last year, a lot of people were saying, 'He's done.' He proved a lot of people wrong. I like people, when they're down, they prove people wrong. He came back, did a great job."
Saturday, December 3, 2011
There was also this related bit of info from Chad Jennings:
Brian Cashman was asked today whether the new collective bargaining agreement will impact his pursuit of international free agents this winter. Teams are about to pay a premium when they spend big on the international market — and there are some premier international free agents out there — but Cashman wouldn’t comment on the issue.
“I’m not prepared to talk about what the new CBA does to us and how we have to adjust to it,” he said. “I’m still sifting through all of it. It’s a big document, and as you go through it you’re having meetings on every aspect of it as well as trying to do the job at the same time.”
Friday, December 2, 2011
Tags: Jorge Posada
As for Gonzalez, since coming to the AL he's certainly been knocked down a beg going 3-5 with just 2 saves and a 4.27 ERA in 85 appearances for the O's. Prior to his move to the AL, Gonzalez had an impressive 2.57 ERA 302 appearances for the Pirates and Braves. Clearly age is either catching up with the left-hander, or he's a pitcher better suited to face lineups where pitchers hit.
He was pretty good against lefties in 2011, holding them to a triple-slash of .214/.264/.311, so maybe there's some value there. Not sure the move is necessary, but as I've said a thousand times, extra pitching is always a good thing.
Thursday, December 1, 2011
As we have reported on this site for weeks (months?), the Yankees are not that hot for C.J. Wilson. In fact, even though, his agent requested a trip to the Bronx, the Yankees said no.He goes on to say that he puts the Yankees chances at getting Wilson at about 5% I'm starting to think he's right. For the Yankees to say no to a visit, they either want nothing to do with him, or, they want nothing to do with him at the current asking price. Either way, it does look like Wilson to the Yanks is highly unlikely.
Joe Girardi says he fully expects the 25-year-old to be in the Yankees’ rotation next season, but Hughes told the Daily News Wednesday that he knows he must deliver to keep his job. Part of that is coming into camp fitter than ever.It's time for Hughes to really take that step forward and I'm glad to hear he's working hard and making sure he comes into camp in shape. The sad part is that he wasn't in shape last year, which is unacceptable and probably should have been talked about more when it was an issue. Either way, it's going to more than just losing a few pounds to get Hughes back on track.
“I’m at a point where the patience is running out,” Hughes said during a telephone interview. “I’m not a prospect anymore and I’m not 21 years old anymore. You’re gauged on what kind of year you had, not what you’re capable of doing.”
“I’m certainly not at the point in my career where I can come in and go through the motions, and if I give up eight runs in an outing, it’s all good because it’s spring training,” Hughes said. “ For me, coming off a bad season, I’m trying to do as much as I can to make sure that I’m ready to go when spring training rolls around.”
The first step was a return last month to Athletes’ Performance Institute in Los Angeles, where he trained in 2008-09. Hughes reported a few pounds overweight last season, and while he doesn’t attribute his velocity or injury issues to conditioning, he couldn’t rule out a link, either.
“It’s hard to say, but if there’s even a 1% chance that it did, then I’m doing everything I can now to make sure that doesn’t happen again,” Hughes said.
“It’s always good to hear your manager say that he expects you to be in that spot,” Hughes said. “But at the end of the day, if you don’t do what you’re expected to do, there’s going to be somebody that will.”
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Buehrle has started at least thirty games and tossed at least 201 IP in each of the last eleven seasons, and his ERA and FIP have been below-average exactly once in his career, way back in 2006. While he may not represent the "1B" to Sabathia's "1A" that many Yankees fans are clamoring for, such a pitcher does not exist on the market (and paying C.J. Wilson as if he is such a pitcher is foolhardy at best). Buehrle's consistency makes up for the modest upside, and I would have a great deal of faith in him as the Yankees Game 2 starter.
Sign Yu Darvish
You can find further thoughts on Darvish here. Suffice it to say that I believe in his potential, and that upside is worth the gamble, particularly when his posting fee would not count against the luxury tax. This assumes, of course, that Darvish is posted ... which is apparently fifty-fifty at this juncture.
Re-Sign Andruw Jones
Jones battered left-handed pitchers to the tune of a .286/.384/.540 slash line in 2011, good for a 151 wRC+, and he remains a solid defender in both left and right-field. In my mind, there isn't a better option on the market.
Trade A.J. Burnett
This is easier said than done, of course - but the Braves ability to unload Derek Lowe gives me the faintest glimmer of hope. Burnett has the look of a sunk cost at this juncture, and freeing up a roster spot and $6 MM or so (assuming the Yankees pick up around $10 MM per season) would be quite beneficial. If the Yankees can acquire a lottery ticket prospect along the way, that's just gravy.
Follow me on Twitter - @Domenic Lanza
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
The Boston Red Sox have picked Bobby Valentine to be their next manager and the sides were working to complete a contract, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press on Tuesday night.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no announcement had been made. Several media outlets in Boston, citing anonymous sources, reported earlier in the evening that Valentine would be the team's new manager.
An announcement could come by Thursday.
"He's got it. I just spoke to him a little while ago," Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda, who managed Valentine in the minors with the Los Angeles Dodgers, said in a telephone interview with the AP.
Tags: Boston Sucks
The New York Yankees are interested in right-hander Kyle Drabek, who made 14 starts in the Jays rotation and the next 15 at triple-A Las Vegas. The Yanks have CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, Phil Hughes and A.J. Burnett in the rotation. They are reported to have re-signed right-hander Freddy Garcia. Yankees people are asking Jays scouts questions and as well as Phillies people, who had Drabek in the minors: Why the control problems after never having any? Why did the Jays take his cutter away? Can he be fixed?Drabek, Baseball America's 25th best prospect in 2010 and 29th best in 2011, has been a pretty big disappointment since going over to Toronto in the Roy Halladay deal a couple years ago.
He did have a solid first season in the minors for the Jays and even won 2010 Eastern League Pitcher of the Year. He then started the 2011 season on the Jays staff, but after 14 starts he was 4-5 with a 5.70 ERA he was sent down the minors. His struggles continued at Triple-A Las Vegas where he went 5-4 with a 7.44 ERA. Eventually he would get called up in September for a few relief appearances and finished the 2011 MLB season with a 6.06 ERA.
Still, with all the struggles he had last year the kid isn't even 24 yet, and as you all know, one bad season doesn't mean a young pitcher is done. It's also worth noting that interest from the Yankees doesn't mean the Jays are ready to give up on the guy they got for Roy Halladay. So for now I'd say this is just another meaningless winter rumor.
Monday, November 28, 2011
As one of the insiders who talks to insiders, I, too, have been told that the Yankees might just sign Freddy Garcia and not do much else this offseason. This is what is emenating out of the Bronx.Um, wasn't last season's quick exit from the playoffs enough to realize that they don't have what it takes to win? Hopefully, there is nothing to this report and the Yankees will indeed try to improve on last year, otherwise we might as well start looking towards 2013 because they're not going anywhere next season with CC, Nova, Burnett, Garcia and Hughes as their starting 5.
... Unless the Yankees trade Nick Swisher, it is hard to see where they add to the offense. Maybe Yoenis Cespedes could be signed as the Yankees look toward Swisher's free agency after this year.
On the pitching side, the Yankees don't really like the prices vs. talent of any of the starters. Could they make a huge splash with Yu Darvish? That seems possible, even with their Kei Igawa experience. There is almost no way they are signing C.J. Wilson. Mark Buehrle may be better suited for the National League, in their opinion. Edwin Jackson is no better than what they have. Roy Oswalt has a back issue that concerns them. Hiroki Kuroda likes life in Los Angeles or Japan.
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
The Yankees' quiet offseason got what they hope is only a minor jolt Tuesday when closer Mariano Rivera revealed that he might need surgery on his vocal cords. Rivera, who spoke barely above a whisper at a charity event, said they’ve been bothering him for about a month.I'm sure everything will go smoothly and Mo will be fine. Again, like the article says, it's not his right arm.
“Every time I talk, it gets worse and worse,” the Yankee closer said while hosting 42 children and their families for a Thanksgiving meal at his New Rochelle restaurant, 42 Clubhouse Grill. “I thought it was a little simple thing and I went to the doctor and she said they might have to do something. I think they have to scrape them.”
It’s unclear whether any procedure would affect Rivera’s preparations for spring training or the 2012 season. As Rivera put it, “When you’re talking about surgery, there’s no ‘simple.’” Still, it’s unlikely to be a major problem for the closer, who turns 42 next week - it’s not his seemingly ageless right arm, after all.
Brian Cashman, citing the HIPAA privacy rule, refused comment on the matter. Rivera said he is headed to the doctor on Monday for another examination, which could determine whether he needs surgery.
Tags: Mariano Rivera
Many Bleacher Creatures are now being asked to shell out as much as $1620 for a full season ticket plan next season, up from $15 to $20 per game, and are beginning to wonder how much longer they can afford to populate Section 203.Not only will the Creatures face this price increase, but they'll do it while prices for 70% of the other seats in the stadium stay the same. Wow, what a joke. It's like the morons in the GOP are running this team.
“People are groaning about going from $972 to $1620 (for the full 81-game plan) just because Nick Swisher waves at us,” said Mike Donahue, a long-time Creature. “As the economy gets worse, the deforestation begins.”
Many Creatures already were dismayed this season to discover that half-season ticket plans only entitled them to purchase tickets to half the playoff games.
Yet another example of big business raping the little guy. Sadly, in this case, that evil big business happens to be our favorite baseball team.
Monday, November 21, 2011
First was GM Brian Cashman texting me, "Don't waste your breath,'' when I asked about the deal, and then came another source, who insisted upon anonymity, and said, "Number one, we're not trading Nunez, and number two, there's concerns that Jurrjens has a serious knee injury.''I honestly don't understand why Cashman is so determined to hold on to Nunez (remember the Cliff Lee deal?) but obviously you can't trade for damaged goods.
So today we've heard rumors that the Yankees don't want Jurrjens and Darvish may not be coming to the states. To me, that makes CJ Wilson the main target--at least if any of the above is true.
“Yu and I are talking about having a family meeting once the Nippon Series is over.”Jeff Passan has more on the topic. Sources are saying that Darvish wants to change baseball.... in Japan. Darvish also apparently has a problem with the posting system.
“At this point it’s about 50-50.”
(Hat-tip to LoHud)
Yankees outfielder Curtis Granderson did not win AL MVP, but a former teammate did.With a 24-5 record and 2.40 ERA you're not going to find any complaints about this award, even if he already won the Cy Young.
Tigers ace Justin Verlander won the award on Monday and became the first pitcher to earn the honor since Oakland's Dennis Eckersley won in 1992 and the first starter since Boston's Roger Clemens in 1986.
Granderson, whom the Yankees acquired from Detroit after the 2009 season, finished fourth in the voting...
...Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury was second with 242, Bautista third with 231, Granderson followed with 215, and Verlander's Tigers teammate Miguel Cabrera came in fifth with 193 points.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Brian Cashman has always said he never regretted clinging tightly to Eduardo Nunez back in July of 2010 when the young infielder might have been the final necessary piece in the proposed trade for Cliff Lee. So would the Yankee GM give him up now if it meant a chance to acquire Braves pitcher Jair Jurrjens?Harper also mentions that Nick Swisher could also be part of a potential deal, since he could fill the Braves' void in the outfield.
The Braves think highly enough of Nunez’s potential, according to a major league source, that they might consider trading Jurrjens, their 25-year-old All-Star righthander, to the Yankees in a deal built around the 23-year-old shortstop.
At the GM meetings last week the Braves reportedly were asking for a very high price in return for Jurrjens, but the source expects that price to come down.
“They’re willing to trade him,” the source said, “because they have plenty of young pitching without him, he’s starting to make big money — and he’s a (Scott) Boras guy who’ll be gone (as free agent) in two years.
“They need offense, they need a shortstop because they don’t want to bring (Alex) Gonzalez back, and they like Nunez a lot. They know the jury is out on him defensively, but they think his offense is strong enough that he could move to the outfield if he can’t be their long-term answer at short.”
A Yankee source, meanwhile, says that last week the Braves let the Bombers know they’d be interested in dealing for Nunez, but didn’t discuss Jurrjens or any specific players on their side.
I'm not sure how possible this actually is, but if the Yanks can actually make a deal like this I think they'd have to go for it, especially if things fall through on the FA pitching market. And if the Yankees do unload Swisher, I'd expect them to go after Cuban defector Yeonis Cespedes (which they'll probably do anyway).
Friday, November 18, 2011
The Yankees made their moves to protect young players from the Rule 5 draft, and they included their high-upside, injury-marred second baseman.
This afternoon, the team added RHP David Phelps, RHP D.J. Mitchell, OF Zoilo Almonte, INF Corban Joseph and INF David Adams to the 40-man roster. All five would have been eligible for the Rule 5 had they not been protected with a 40-man spot.
Tags: Minor Leagues
Baseball’s wild card just got wilder, with one more team per league added to the postseason mix.The article goes on to mention that there doesn’t appear to be any opposition on any side and that new system is likely to be ratified.
The new playoff system could be implemented as early as the 2012 season, according to commissioner Bud Selig, who also announced the transfer of the Houston Astros to the AL in 2013 – creating a balance of 15 clubs in each league.
Selig dubbed Thursday as “a very historic day,” as MLB’s general managers and quarterly owners meetings wrapped up at the Pfister Hotel, in the commissioner’s hometown. “[It’s] a monumental day,” he said.
First, baseball’s owners unanimously approved the Astros sale from Drayton McLane to Jim Crane, who paid $615 million according to The Associated Press; that’s a cut from the original $680 million sale price.
For the sale to go through, Crane had to agree to the Astros switching from the six-team NL Central to the four-team AL West, thus creating the balance desired by owners and giving the Texas Rangers a natural rival within their division.
To make the schedule work, Selig said there would be interleague play throughout the regular season beginning in 2013.
In announcing the addition of two wild-card teams, Selig said his panel favors a dramatic one-game playoff to determine which club advances to the division series – a system that puts far greater emphasis on winning the division.
“This will be very good for us,” said Selig, who was optimistic – but not certain – that the new playoff format would be adopted for 2012.
“I say that with some reservation, because we have some work to do,” Selig said. “But I’m hopeful.”
Jayson Stark also mentioned today that this "is just the beginning. Once the new labor deal gets finished, there's a whole lot more coming -- changes that will affect big-league payroll disparity, revenue sharing, the draft, free agency and the broad scope of the business of baseball." Clearly, none of this will help the Yankees.
The Houston move to the AL makes sense. The leagues should have the same amount of teams. And I guess the new playoff system will help the division winners, so that's probably a good thing. But when it comes to the addition of more interleague games I couldn't be more against it.
Interleague play, as it is now, is unnecessary, boring, and clearly the novelty wore off about 5 years ago. Why add more? Does Selig really think fans are eagerly awaiting another thrilling Indians-Pirates series? Please just admit that interleague play is stupid and let it go the way of the dinosaurs.
Tags: MLB News