Monday, October 31, 2011

CC on Staying in The Bronx

From Mark Feinsand:
“I was confident that we would get to an agreement," Sabathia said. "I wanted to stay here. I want to be here. I love it here. I love pitching here. I love being a part of the Yankees organization, and I’m just so happy to be able to come to an agreement.”

Sabathia said he didn't want to go through the free-agent process, something he got a good feel for three years ago before signing with the Yankees.

“It was a big motivation," Sabathia said. "I didn’t want to be a part of being a free agent and doing everything, opting out and doing all that stuff. It was clear to everybody that I wanted to be a Yankee, wanted to end my career as a Yankee, and hopefully I can do that.”

Here are a few other nuggets from Sabathia's conference call:

On his family: “Our family is comfortable here. We have a good time. We love it here. We relax here. This is our home. I never really bought into what was going on or if we would opt out or if we wouldn’t. This is our home. We’re here as a family, and we’ll continue to grow here and be a part of the community.”

On why he loves pitching in New York: “The energy. What you get coming out of the bullpen. The fans, the energy, everything it is to be pitching in New York, in the Bronx. It’s just so much fun, and to be a part of this organization is a dream for me.”


On what was most important to him during the negotiations: “It was just more time. That’s all it was. It was never a question about money or anything like that; it was just being more time. I want to end my career here, make sure I end my career as a Yankee. Hopefully I’ve done that.”
Glad he's staying around and even happier it happened so quickly. Now the Yankees can actually focus on improving the team.

Oh Happy Day!!/Buster_ESPN/status/131151171023933440!/CC_Sabathia/status/131149202830000128

Freddy Garcia is a Type B Free Agent

What does this mean?

The Yankees may offer Freddy Garcia arbitration in an effort to retain him on a one-year deal for the 2012 season. Should Garcia decline, perhaps with hopes and dreams of one final long(ish) term deal to close out his career, the Yankees would receive a supplemental round draft pick in the 2012 Amateur Draft if and when he signed elsewhere. Unlike a Type A free agent, such as Rafael Soriano, the signing team would not lose a draft pick, meaning the market for Garcia's services isn't necessarily limited for fear of losing a first or second round pick.

Considering Garcia's relative health and league-average performance over the past two years, I see no reason for the Yankees to not offer the veteran junkballer arbitration. The worst-case scenario would be that he accepts, makes $6 MM or so, and garners consideration at the back-end of the rotation. With the uncertainty surrounding the rotation, that doesn't sound too bad at all.

And a tip of the hat to MLBTR.

Follow me on Twitter - @DomenicLanza

This Week in Yankees History (10/30-11/5)

This Week in Yankees History 

October 30th - November 5th

October 30th

1888 - Former Yankees P Marty McHale (1913-1915) was born. Marty McHale went 12-27 in 51 games for the Yankees.

1941 - Former Yankees DH/3B James “Jim Ray” Hart (1973-1974) was born. On April 16, 1973, Jim Hart was purchased by the Yankees from the San Francisco Giants for cash. Jim hit .254 for the Yankees in 1973. On June 7,1974, Jim was released by the Yankees.

1962 - Former Yankees OF/DH Danny Tartabull (1992-1995) was born. Danny Tartabull was the son of former MLB player OF Jose Tartabull. On January 6,1992, the New York Yankees signed Danny Tartabull as a MLB free agent. His best Yankees season was in 1992, when he hit .262 for the Yankees. On July 28,1995, Danny was traded by the Yankees to the Oakland A’s for OF/DH Ruben Sierra and Jason Beverlin.

1982 - Former Yankees P Jonathan Albaladejo (2008-2010) was born. In the fall of 2007, hurler Jonathan Albaladejo was traded by the Washington Nationals to the New York Yankees for P Tyler Clippard. Albaladejo was injured for most of 2008 AL season, but did make 7 appearances for the Yankees. He wasn't as good as the previous year, allowing 15 hits and 6 walks in 13 ⅔ innings, being charged with a loss in his only decision. Still, he did strike out 13 batters, demonstrating that his fastball still has some bite. He also pitched in 6 games in the minors, 2 rehabilitation starts for the Staten Island Yankees (New York-Penn League), and 4 games with the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, totaling only 11 innings of work between the 2 stops. Back with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2010, Albaladejo was dominant as a closer, beating the old International League mark of 38 saves in a season that had been held by Matt Whiteside since 2004. In the fall of 2010, he left the New York Yankees to pitch for a team in Japan.

2001 - George W. Bush becomes the 8th President of the United States to attend a World Series game, the 1st since Dwight D. Eisenhower to throw out the ceremonial 1st pitch. Wearing a New York Fire Department windbreaker in honor of the heroes of the September 11th attacks, the President walks to the mound by himself, gives a thumbs up, and throws a perfect strike much to the delight of the Yankee Stadium faithful. In Game 3, the Yankees will win by the score of 2-1 over the Arizona Diamondbacks, behind strong pitching by starter Roger Clemens and closer Mariano Rivera.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Yanks Exercise Options on Cano, Swisher!/Yankees/status/130446246186975232

Friday, October 28, 2011

Congrats To The Cards

That was a hell of a series. Congrats to the Cards and their fans on their 11th WS title. Amazing to think they were 10.5 games out on August 25th. Wow.

And the baseball season is officially over. On to the hot stove...

Heyman: Yanks & Cash Agree on Deal!/SI_JonHeyman/status/130012624250343425

Boras: Soriano Will Not Opt-Out

From George A. King III:
According to Scott Boras, who represents reliever Rafael Soriano, his client isn't going to exercise the opt out clause in his three-year deal.

"He adjusted to the [seventh- eighth-inning] role, liked being there with Mariano [Rivera] and he adjusted to New York City," Boras said of Soriano, who pitched much better after returning from an extended stay on the disabled list with right elbow inflammation. "The player is happy there."

Soriano is scheduled to make $11 million next year and $14 million in 2013. There is a $1.5 million buyout for each year on a deal general manager Brian Cashman was against, believing that was too much for a setup man.
No surprises here. Let's just hope his second season in pinstripes is better than the first.

Yanks Talking About Beltran (Updated: Or maybe not)

Here's an update from Anthony McCarron that pretty much kills the previous story:
Nick Swisher seems set for a return to the Bronx next year after a baseball executive familiar with the Yankees' thinking said Thursday the team would “probably pick up” Swisher’s contract option.

Triggering Swisher’s $10.25 million option would likely mean that the Yanks would not pursue ex-Met Carlos Beltran as an answer in right field.

“That’s the clue,” the executive said. If the Yankees pick up Swisher’s option, they “won’t be in on Beltran."
That makes more sense to me than going after Beltran.

***Original Post***

From Wallace Matthews:
Not long ago, it was considered a slam-dunk that the Yankees would pick up Nick Swisher's $10.25 million option for 2012, despite another miserable postseason performance.

Now, it's not so clear.

The reason? Carlos Beltran, a free agent after seven up-and-down, and mostly down, seasons with the Mets. Beltran is being shopped hard by his agent, Scott Boras, and his name came up in discussions at the Yankees organizational meeting in Tampa on Wednesday.

"He's on our list,'' said a team official who was present at the meeting. "But we have to make a decision on Swisher first.''

That is an ominous sign for Swisher and his agent, Dan Lozano, who during the season were given reason to believe the option would be picked up, although not before the Nov. 1 deadline. Now, it seems as if the Yankees front office is weighing one of three options -- pick up Swisher and forget Beltran, sign Beltran and forget Swisher, or sign Beltran, pick up Swisher's option and include him in a trade for a starting pitcher.
I still see no reason not to just sign Swisher's extension and reevaluate the outfield situation again after next season. However, if they do decide to go in a different direction, Beltran would be a good replacement for Swisher, if he can stay healthy and if it's for one year. Like I've said before, it's not worth getting locked in to any multi-year deals for an outfielder with Matt Kemp hitting the FA market after next season.

Yanks Preparing Their Pitch To CC

From George A. King III:
The Yankees have put together a contract proposal for CC Sabathia the left-handed ace will receive shortly.

Will it be good enough for Sabathia to not opt out of the final four years and $92 million left on his deal and become a free agent?

Sabathia has until three days after the World Series ends to make his decision. While retaining Sabathia to front a shaky rotation is the Yankees' top priority, there are other less complicated issues in their universe.


While the details of the proposal to Sabathia were kept quiet, the club isn't adverse to a five- or six-year deal with a raise over the $23 million he earned this past season.

However, the Yankees may balk if Sabathia requests a seven- or eight-year pact.

If their ace opts out, the Yankees still have the full five days of exclusive negotiation rights with Sabathia. Free agents can begin talking to teams other than their own at midnight five days following the end of the World Series.
If you're Cashman and CC tells the Yankees it's 7 years or I'm signing somewhere else, what would you do?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Yanks Hope To Resign CC Before Opt-Out Deadline

From George A. King III:
By the time two days of meetings in Tampa end tomorrow, the Yankees will develop a plan they hope will keep CC Sabathia from opting out of a contract following the World Series.

General manager Brian Cashman will chair meetings of Yankees brass that will include president Randy Levine, assistant GM Jean Afterman, Billy Eppler, the head of pro scouting, and likely owner Hal Steinbrenner.

Cashman’s new contract could be finalized in Tampa.

“Their hope is to present Sabathia with an offer he is agreeable with before he opts out,’’ said a person with knowledge of the Yankees’ thinking.

Sabathia can opt out of the final four years of a contract, which has $92 million remaining. He has three days following the World Series (which will end no later than Thursday) to opt out and become a free agent.
They probably are trying to avoid any other teams getting involved and bringing up the price, but don't expect CC, and more importantly, his agent to rush the process. They're going to get as much as they possibly can out of this deal.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Today in Indefensible Journalism, Featuring Joel Sherman

Let's dive right in, shall we?
In yesterday’s Post, I wrote this column about how negotiations between CC Sabathia and the Yankees may take shape. I may be in the minority, but I think they will be difficult and I think there is a very good chance Sabathia will leave. And the reason is Derek Jeter.
Allow me to set the stage.

In the Winter of 2010, Derek Jeter was a free agent for the first time in his career. Coming off of the worst season of his phenomenal career at age 36, a season in which he made $21 MM, most everyone recognized that the Yankees would be bidding against themselves for his services. While position scarcity revealed Jeter as an above-average shortstop, few teams would be willing to approach the sort of salary that the erstwhile Captain could demand of the Yankees, and few could logically believe that his name would mean as much to another franchise as it does to the Yankees.

Now, the Winter of 2011, CC Sabathia may once more test the waters of free agency. At age 31, Sabathia is coming off of the second best season of his career by both bWAR and fWAR, both of which view him as within the top-three in Major League Baseball. Few teams are able to afford such a prodigious salary as Sabathia is sure to demand, but it is worth noting that both Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee have broken the $20 MM AAV plateau over the past two years, with the latter having multiple teams bid for his services.

At face value, it would be difficult to find two players at such starkly different points in their careers.
No, Jeter is not actually part of these negotiations. But think about how the Yankees handled talks with a legend last year. They were concerned about his long-term future.
A justified concern, given his age and subpar 2010 campaign. A concern that seems justifiable in hindsight, as even Jeter's hot second-half left his overall offensive line well below his baseline.
The Jeter camp thought because he was Derek Jeter with all that he meant to the franchise, the Yankees would just capitulate and give him a deal in the range of five years at $125 million.
A questionable stance, given that little rational thought would construe Jeter as having much leverage in the negotiations.
The Yankees not only never considered it: They went public with their views, namely with Hal Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman putting voice to their concerns about Jeter’s worth. And this was Derek Jeter. Face of the franchise. Beloved by the fans. Historic Yankee who has played nowhere else. It was a little bit like taking on Santa Claus at Christmas time.
The Yankees also went public with the Rodriguez negotiations, and he ended up re-signing (in another instance of the team bidding against itself). Jeter also re-signed, and there was little that indicated the negotiations hindered the organization or the player.

The rest is largely irrelevant, as it doesn't apply to CC Sabathia in any way, shape, or form.
Sabathia loves being a Yankee and the Yankees adore having Sabathia on their team and in their clubhouse. But he is no Jeter. He has played two other places. He has put down stakes in New Jersey, but not roots.
Nothing to see here, other than Sherman revealing that his previous point was irrelevant as soon as he hit return.
Meanwhile, the Yankees are as concerned about his long-term future as they were with Jeter due to Sabathia’s workload and, especially because of his expanding girth.
Girardi and Cashman have said all the right things with respect to Sabathia's long term future. Both have indicated that his purported weight gain did not have an impact on his season, and little has come forth to the contrary. Regardless, issues like this are always a part of negotiations, as will surely be the case when Prince Fielder looks for a boatload of cash.
Remember what happened with Jeter: The Yankees made an offer and essentially told Jeter – remember, Derek Jeter – if you don’t like it and think you can get more, go shop it. Jeter was never going to shop it. First, it was highly unlikely another team was going to give a shortstop heading into his upper-30s and coming off by far his worst season a three-year contract at good money. Second, the image that allows Jeter to be one of the top athletes when it comes to corporate/commercial ties is one built around loyalty and association with the biggest of all sports franchises. To chase comparative nickels, Jeter was not going to threaten that image. He had a one-team negotiation and eventually signed the Yankees deal.
Once more ... none of this applies to CC Sabathia. It's also highly doubtful that the Yankees would attempt such a ploy as, unlike Jeter, Sabathia will have at least a few teams offering him the moon.
Sabathia’s investment in the Yankees is not in the same universe. Yes, he has gotten some commercials, probably because of his Yankees association. But if the Yankees push Sabathia, I fully expect him to push back and go into the marketplace. Brian Peters is the agent who works for CC Sabathia, but he is part of a group led by Greg Genske and Genske’s reputation was summed up this way by a non-Yankees executive: “He is a hard negotiator who is going for the bucks.”
How does this have anything to do with Derek Jeter? Or the Jeter contract negotiations?

I'll give you a hint - it doesn't.
So if the Yankees wonder if any teams would be willing to exceed the four years at $92 million left currently on Sabathia’s deal, I suspect Peters/Genske will advise their client that they can find more. Then it will be up to Sabathia to decide if he really wants to spend perhaps the rest of his career in, say, Washington or Toronto.
Sabathia probably can find a nice chunk of change in several cities, so I'm not quite sure how this has anything to do with Jeter. If and when Sabathia opts out, he has every right to attempt to sell his services. Should Washington or Toronto seek to make an offer, I'm sure Sabathia will consider it - as he should. I'm also quite sure the Yankees will not hesitate to offer their very best when push comes to shove.
The one team that would probably be a no-brainer for him is back in his home state, the Angels. And, remember, the Angels were just about to bid six years at about $125 million last time when the Yankees went to seven years at $161 million to seal the deal – but the deal did have this opt-out clause after three seasons. Which is where we are now.
When the Angels offered Sabathia that contract, they chose to pursue his services over Teixeira's - they operate on a set budget, not within the Yankees stratosphere. Much of, if not all of that money is now being paid to Vernon Wells, who will make $21 MM in 2012. And 2013. And 2014. A sizable extension was just given to Jered Weaver, who will make $85 MM over the next five years. With no major contracts coming off the books, I don't quite see how the Angels could make a push for CC Sabathia.
If pushed will the Yankees budge higher? Well, I think they are hesitant to tie themselves up to much longer contracts, notably because they are seeing what it does to even their roster and financial flexibility moving forward if Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira both continue to fade.
I have not seen much proof of this.

It's also worth noting that Sabathia isn't likely to command the dollars or years that the Yankees gave to Rodriguez and Teixeira, and that their respective roles and positions make the situation entirely different.
Also, the lack of a true ace in this current World Series could be a motivator to the Yankees that they can find other ways to meet their mandate to win a championship.
Both C.J. Wilson and Chris Carpenter were within the top-fifteen in fWAR this season. Both teams had another starter in the top-30 in fWAR (Matt Harrison for the Rangers ranked 24th, and Jaime Garcia placed 30th). The Rangers placed four of their five starting pitchers in the top-37 in fWAR. After Sabathia, the Yankees next best starter was Bartolo Colon, who placed 50th.

The Rangers starters produced 3.5 fWAR more than the Yankees rotation, with Sabathia's 7.1 fWAR included. Sure - Sabathia's far better than anyone on the Rangers staff ... but having four starters superior to the Yankees second starter speaks volumes about the importance of a strong rotation, ace or not. Replacing Sabathia with an average starter this season would have seen the Yankees staff drop to 17th in MLB - and likely out of the postseason.

Without Sabathia, what is the Yankees contingency plan to avoid such a precipitous drop? Signing C.J. Wilson to a A.J. Burnett like contract? Throwing money at Yu Darvish? Giving up draft picks and praying for miracles from Mark Buehrle and/or Roy Oswalt? Trolling the recycling bin once more?

The front office may not want to dole out another blockbuster contract, but Cashman et al are intelligent enough to know that Sabathia's production isn't being replicated by anyone else on the market - and the negotiations will progress as such.

And no, this does not have anything to do with Derek Jeter.

Follow me on Twitter - @DomenicLanza

Cash & Hal Meet

From Bryan Hoch:
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman met with managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner on Monday in New York, and a new contract for the GM is expected to be agreed upon before next Monday.

According to the New York Post, Cashman and Steinbrenner discussed the state of the Yankees in their meeting and not Cashman's expiring deal, which the GM has said is not his top concern at the moment.

"It'll get done between now and Oct. 31st, I'm sure," Cashman said last week. "I can't promise, but I think that's what everybody expects. I know it's something that everybody has to follow. But that's not a pressing circumstance, as far as something I'm worried about right now."

Cashman chaired the club's professional scouting meetings in New York last week. He was expected to travel to Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday to meet with other members of the team's hierarchy.
This will be done in no time.

Monday, October 24, 2011

This Week in Yankees History (10/23-10/29)

This Week in Yankees History

October 23rd - 29th

October 23rd

1882 - Former Yankees OF/INF William “Birdie” Cree (1908-1915) was born. William “Birdie” Cree played 742 games for the New York Yankees with lifetime BA of .292. His best Yankees seasons were in 1911 and 1912, when he hit .348 and .332 for the team. He retired from MLB after the 1915 AL season.

1907 - Former Yankees P Lee “Lefty” Grissom (1940) was born. On January 4, 1940, Lee Grissom was traded by the Cincinnati Reds to the New York Yankees for P Joe Beggs. Lee went 0-0 in 5 games with the Yankees. On May 15,1940, Lee was selected off waivers by the Brooklyn Dodgers from the Yankees.

1922 - Former Yankees P Ewell “The Whip” Blackwell (1952-1953) was born. On August 26,1952, the New York Yankees purchased veteran hurler Ewell “The Whip” Blackwell from the Cincinnati Reds for $35,000 and 4 players: pitchers Johnny Schmitz and Ernie Nevel and Outfielder’s Bob Marquis and Jim Greengrass. Blackwell will go 3-0 with 2 saves in September and the 1953 AL season. On March 30,1955, he was purchased by the Kansas City A’s from the Yankees for $50,000.

1923 - New York Yankees OF Babe Ruth makes a postseason appearance in a New York Giants uniform as the Giants defeat the minor league Baltimore Orioles (International League) by the score of 9-0. Ruth hits a Home Run over the Right Field roof at the Polo Grounds. The game is a benefit for destitute former New York Giants owner John Day.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Yankees May Not Be Willing to Spend Big on Darvish!/Joelsherman1/status/127143062131572736

Given the veritable bevy of issues with a pitcher transitioning from Nippon Professional Baseball to Major League Baseball, I suppose I cannot fault the Yankees brass for some hesitancy in throwing money at Darvish and the Nippon Ham Fighters. However, the fact that the Igawa signing was an exercise in idiocy from the get-go should not in and of itself hinder the team's efforts going forward. I wish that someone would step-up and admit that Igawa was not a terribly promising import from the beginning, as opposed to showcasing his struggles as a reason to avoid Japanese pitchers on the whole.

Follow me on Twitter - @DomenicLanza

Matthews: Yanks Will Likely Pick Up Swish's Option

From Wallace Matthews:
Despite another post-season flameout, the Yankees are likely to pick up the $10.25 million on right-fielder Nick Swisher although not until the very last minute, which is three days after the conclusion of the World Series. That means as early as next Wednesday if the St. Louis Cardinals sweep, or as late as October 30 if the series goes the distance. The Yankees appear willing to forgive Swisher another awful October -- he batted .211 with one HR and one RBI in the ALDS against Detroit -- in exchange for his regular-season production, which after a terrible start rebounded to produce fairly typical Swisher numbers: .260-23-85 and a .374 OBP.
I think this is the smart move. Swish, during the regular season, has been solid and I'd have no issues with him holding down right for another year. No reason to get locked in to a long term deal with someone else, especially with Matt Kemp hitting the FA market after next season.

Stay Classy, NY Post

How do you use the capture and death of a dictator to make fun of a baseball player?

Anyway, yes, I know it's slightly funny.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Never-Seen Photos From 1961 Spring Training

I got an email about this today and wanted to share it with you guys. Here's a litte more info from LIFE:
In 1961, during spring training, LIFE gave 25-year-old Yankee shortstop Tony Kubek a camera and asked him to photograph his teammates: Mantle, Berra, Maris, Ford, and the rest of the players on what would, in time, be seen as one of the greatest teams in baseball history. The resulting photos were never published.
Is Mickey farting?
Check out all the images over at

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Yanks To Decline Marte's Option!/HaleMark/statuses/126739848596951041

The three-year, $12 million dollar deal he got turned out to be a bit of a disaster but at least he had a very good 2009 postseason (0 R, 2 H, 5 K, 0 BB over 4 IP) concluding with this performance in the clincher:

Pros & Cons: C.J. Wilson v. Yu Darvish

C.J. Wilson
  • Left-handed
  • Strong performance in AL, in a hitter's park
  • Limited wear and tear (less than 1300 IP in professional career)
  • Above-average groundball and strikeout rates
  • Improved across the board in second full season as a starter
  • Above-average ERA, FIP, and xFIP in 2010 and 2011
  • Top-10 in AL in fWAR, bWAR, ERA, FIP, and xFIP in 2011
  • Will be 31 in November
  • Only two full seasons as a starter limits the usefulness and overall reliability of the data
  • Would cost a first-round draft pick to sign
Yu Darvish
  • Far better NPB resume than previous imports, including Daisuke Matsuzaka, Kei Igawa, Hideki Irabu, Hideo Nomo, and Hiroki Kuroda (the most successful Japanese pitcher in MLB)
  • Possibly the best pitcher in NPB history - career 1.99 ERA, 8.9 K/9, 3.75 K/BB
  • International scouts grade his fastball and slider as plus pitches
  • Only 25-years-old
  • Very successful in World Baseball Classic
  • Durable, with 200+ IP in four of last five years
  • Simple, repeatable delivery
  • Will not cost a draft pick; posting fee does not count against luxury tax
  • Has logged nearly 1300 IP at age-25
  • Potential transitioning issues - heavier ball with higher seams, pitching every fifth day instead of once a week, and higher level of competition (most compare NPB to AAA) in MLB
  • General lack of success of Japanese players in MLB
In my mind, neither Wilson nor Darvish is a sure thing.

Though Wilson has been incredibly successful over these past two seasons, his resume is lacking otherwise (and his relief career was plagued by inconsistency). Hindsight bias aside, I do think he's a safer bet than A.J. Burnett ... but to what degree I am not quite sure.

Darvish's success in the NPB is simply jaw-dropping, on an entirely different level than any other pitcher we've ever seen. Unlike Matsuzaka and Igawa, it does seem like the only issue with Darvish's transition is the general malaise of prior imports, as opposed to questions regarding his stuff. That being said, the transition is far from simple and the degree to which others have failed is sometimes staggering.

In the end, I would prefer Yu Darvish by the slimmest of margins. I view him as a top-notch prospect with a bevy of experience, and the lesser hit to the luxury tax and ability to retain the first-round pick is quite important. Wilson's floor is higher than Darvish's, but his ceiling is equally lower - and he's not quite safe enough for me to not roll the dice.

Follow me on Twitter - @DomenicLanza

Darvish Asks To Be Posted

From The Mainichi Daily News:
The Yu Darvish sweepstakes are set to begin.

Nippon Ham Fighters ace Darvish, long said to be Japanese baseball's next biggest export to the majors, is ready to make a move stateside through the posting system this offseason, Kyodo News learned through several sources on Tuesday.

The 25-year-old Darvish, the highest paid player in Japanese baseball at an estimated 500 million yen per season, is expected to officially ask the Fighters to put him up for bidding after the postseason.


The Fighters are likely to grant Darvish his request.

"If he wants to play at a higher level, then that's his wish," Nippon Ham owner Hiroji Okoso said.

"It's really up to him," a source at the team said. "That was the conclusion they reached after a series of talks."
Darvish went 18-6 in 28 starts with a 1.44 ERA, 261 K and 35 BB in 223 innings pitched. It was also the fourth straight year that Darvish posted a sub-2.00 ERA.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Cashman Expects New Deal By End Of Month

From Bryan Hoch:
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman believes that he will have a new contract in place by the time his current deal expires on Halloween, remaining in the position he has held since 1998.

"It'll get done between now and Oct. 31st, I'm sure," Cashman said. "I can't promise, but I think that's what everybody expects. I know it's something that everybody has to follow. But that's not a pressing circumstance, as far as something I'm worried about right now."

Cashman said that he has no flights booked to meet with managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner at the Yankees' base in Tampa, Fla., but a new contract would not necessarily have to be negotiated face to face.

"I'm sure it could get done over the phone, from my perspective," said Cashman, who is completing a three-year, $6 million agreement with the club. "I don't want to speak for him."
It appears that these negotiations will go as smoothly as everyone pretty much expects.

Joba Update!/Joba_62/status/125974005650952192

For a little more, here's this from Chad Jennings:
Just in case you need a translation: That’s 50 throws from 60 feet. The last time I remember talking to Chamberlain was a little less than a month ago, and he had just started making 30 throws from 30 feet. Building the arm strength is a process, and Chamberlain’s going through it.

But so far, so good, and that should mean he’s still ahead of schedule. He’s expecting to throw off a mound by spring training.
The bullpen should be fine next year, so that's not a concern of mine going forward. Much like this year, I think the bullpen will be a strength in 2012 especially with a healthy Joba.

No Winter Ball For Jesus

From Chad Jennings:
he Yankees have decided not to have Jesus Montero play winter ball this offseason. Between Triple-A and the big leagues, Montero played in 127 games this season, and he caught most of them.

General manager Brian Cashman said the Yankees will have Montero maintain his strength and conditioning, but they don’t want him to continue playing in games.
Cashman also told Jennings that there's no chance of moving Montero to right field.

Monday, October 17, 2011

This Week in Yankees History (10/16-10/22)

This Week in Yankees History 

October 16th- 22nd

October 16th

1895 - Former Yankees reserve C Bill Skiff (1926) was born (1895-1976). Bill Skiff appeared in 6 games for the 1926 Yankees with .091 BA. Bill would later work for the New York Yankees as a MLB scout and long-time Minor League manager. Also Bill worked for the Milwaukee Brewers organization before retiring from baseball in the early 1970’s.

1900 - Former Yankees P/PH Henry “Tomato Face” Cullop (1926) was born. Henry Cullop only appeared in 2 games for the Yankees as a pinch-hitter, before being sent on October 19,1926, to the Washington Senators to complete an earlier deal made on August 27,1926. The Yankees sent players to be named later to the Senators for veteran P Dutch Ruether. The Yankees would sent hurlers Garland Braxton and Nick Cullop on October 19,1926 to the Senators to complete the trade.

1921 - In defiance of MLB Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis ban on World Series participants playing post-season exhibitions, Babe Ruth, Bob Meusel and Bill Piercy launch a barnstorming tour in Buffalo, NY. Five days later, they cut it short in Scranton, Pa. In the meantime, Babe Ruth openly challenges Judge Landis to act. The judge does, fining the players their World Series shares ($3,362.26), and suspending them until May 20th of the 1922 AL season.

1923 - Soon after Babe Ruth receives his 1923 World Series winner's share of $6,160.46, MLB player (Tigers) and insurance agent Harry Heilmann, who beat Babe Ruth for the AL batting title by 10 points, sells him a $50,000 life insurance policy. Beneficiaries are Mrs. Ruth and adopted their daughter, Dorothy.

1929 - The New York Yankees sell veteran OF Bob Meusel to Cincinnati Reds for cash. Bob had a .311 lifetime BA with 146 HRs with the Yankees from 1920-1929. He had 7 seasons with the Yankees hitting .300 or better. In 1925, he led the AL in HRs with 33 and RBI’s with 133. He led the Yankees in stolen bases 5 times, finishing his Yankees career with 131 stolen bases.

1936 - New York Yankees AL All Star 1B Lou Gehrig, who hit .354 with 49 HRs, 167 runs, and 152 RBI is voted the 1936 American League Most Valuable Player.

1949 - Former Yankees P Don Hood (1979) was born. On June 15,1979, Don Hood was traded by the Cleveland Indians to the New York Yankees for DH/C/1B Cliff Johnson. Don went 3-1 in 27 games for the Yankees before leaving for MLB free agency in the off-season.

1956 - The New York Yankees sell OF Bob Cerv to the Kansas City A’s for cash. Bob would get a chance to play full time with the A’s, including a great 1958 AL season with a .305 BA, 38 HRs, 104 RBI’s, making the AL All Star team as the starting LF. He would return to Yankees in May of 1960 in trade for veteran 3B Andy Carey.

1961 - New York Yankees purchased veteran P Robin Roberts from the Philadelphia Phillies for $100,000. The Yankees made a major mistake when they wrote him off as a washed up in 1962 spring training. Clippers Note: They should have kept him and dumped veteran P Bob Turley instead. Robin Roberts signed with the rival Baltimore Orioles, going 10-9, then he won 14 games in 1963. If the Yankees had kept him, he would have won 300 games during his great MLB career.

1962 - With the tying and winning runs in scoring position, San Francisco Giants slugger Willie McCovey hit a hard line drive at 2B Bobby Richardson for the final out as the Yankees won Game 7 of the 1962 World Series by a score of 1-0, for their 20th World Series title. The winning pitcher for the Yankees is Ralph Terry, who after being the goat in 1960 and losing a game in 1961 World Series is finally a Yankee World Series hero.

1962 - Former MLB Player and Yankees Minor League Manager Ray Powell passed away (1888-1962). As MLB Player, Ray Powell played for the Detroit Tigers and the Boston Braves. He managed in the Yankees minor league system for 1939-1942.

1965 - Former Yankees minor league OF Darren Reed was born. On June 4, 1984, Darren Reed was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 3rd round of the 1984 MLB amateur player draft (Secondary Phase). Darren never appeared at the MLB level with the Yankees. On December 11,1987, he was traded by the Yankees along with minor league P Steve Frey and C Phil Lombardi to the New York Mets for shortstop Rafael Santana and minor league player Victor Garcia.

1976- Cincinnati Reds pitchers Don Gullett and Pedro Borbon combine on a 5-hitter as the Reds win the opening game of the 1976 World Series over the New York Yankees, by the score of 5-1. 3 hits by Tony Perez, who is the 1st DH in World Series history and 2B Joe Morgan with a HR supply the Reds offense. Yankees starter Doyle Alexander took the loss.

1977 - In the 1977 World Series, the Dodgers stay alive with a 10-4 victory in Game 5 against the Yankees. Dodgers Steve Yeager and Reggie Smith hit HRs, and Don Sutton pitches a complete game. Yankee starter Don Gullet only goes 4 innings, allowing 4-runs. Late inning HRs by Reggie Jackson and Thurman Munson provide the Yankees offense.

1978 - The Yankees clinch their 22nd World Championship with a 7-2 victory at Dodger Stadium behind the pitching of veteran starter Catfish Hunter. The Catfish goes 8-innings, giving up only 1-run before Yankees Closer Rich Gossage shuts down the Dodgers in 8th inning and saves the game for the Yankees.

1993 - Former Yankees P Jimmy DeShong (1934-1935) passed away (1909-1993). Jimmy DeShong went 10-8 in 60 games for the Yankees. On January 17,1936, Jimmy was traded by the Yankees along with OF Jesse Hill to the Washington Senators for P Bump Hadley and OF Roy Johnson. Jimmy would be repurchased by the Yankees from the Senators in 1939, but not appear with them at the MLB level, instead playing with their Newark Bears AAA club in the International League.

1999 - The Boston Red Sox roll over the New York Yankees by the score of 13-1, behind a strong pitching of starter Pedro Martinez. Nomar Garciaparra gets 4 hits for the Red Sox, while John Valentin gets 5 RBI. Garciaparra, Valentin and Brian Daubach, all hit HRs for the Red Sox. The Yankees now leads the 1999 ALCS, 2-games-to-1.

2003 - The New York Yankees capture their 39th AL pennant beating the Boston Red Sox by the score of 6-5, thanks to Aaron Boone's 11th inning HR off of P Tim Wakefield at Yankee Stadium. Aaron Boone becomes the 5th player to end a post-season series with a HR joining Bill Mazeroski (1960 WS), Chris Chambliss (1976 ALCS, Joe Carter (1993 WS) and Todd Pratt (1999 NLDS2).

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Rangers Say They're Not Interested in CC!/DKnobler/status/125345654057869313

In other CC news, Andrew Marchand reports that CC's agent made it seem like CC will in fact opt-out of his current contract.
"CC has been clear about how he feels about New York and the Yankees," One of Sabathia's agents, Brian Peters told our teammate Buster Olney (insider subscription required), "and we will exhaust all of our efforts to reach a new agreement [with the Yankees]."
The key phrase there is "new agreement".

Hal & Cashman To Meet Next Week!/Joelsherman1/status/124906667782574080

Friday, October 14, 2011

ESPN: The Rangers May Look To Land CC

From Wallace Matthews:
A baseball source told today that the Texas Rangers, currently one win away from a second straight trip to the World Series but likely to lose starter C.J. Wilson to free agency over the winter, are preparing to make a strong bid to sign CC Sabathia if the Yankees ace chooses to exercise the opt-out clause in his contract, as expected.

"I hear they're going to throw a boatload of money at him,'' said the source, who requested anonymity, "But I think he'll stay with the Yankees. He's talked so much about how much he loves New York, and besides, the Yankees can't afford to lose him from that pitching staff.''
This will probably make CC's inevitable extension with the Yankees a little more expensive, but that's probably it. I assume that there will be reports that a lot of teams will look to add CC by the time November and December roll around, but I still believe he ends up staying here.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Red Sox Name Ben Cherington GM

A day after the Chicago Cubs agreed to a 5-year deal with Theo Epstein, the Red Sox have reportedly named Ben Cherington their new general manager.

The 37-year old Cherington has been with the Sox since 1997, hired as an interim by Dan Duquette, the GM of Boston at the time. He has since held many jobs in the Red Sox organization, from their mid-Atlantic scout to directing their entire farm system. He also was an assistant to Theo Epstein at one point.

This hiring was expected ever since Epstein started hinting of his departure, and now that this is over with the Red Sox will look to find a new manager in the coming weeks.

Billy Eppler Will Also Interview For Angels GM Job

From Mark Feinsand:
Eppler, the Yankees’ 36-year-old senior director of pro personnel, joined the Yankees in 2004 after a four-year stint with the Rockies. He was promoted to director of pro scouting a year later, then given another promotion to his current position as Cashman’s right-hand man after the 2009 season.

“I am flattered and excited for the opportunity to interview with the Angels and look forward to the process,” Eppler said in a text message Wednesday night.

Ortiz Says He Might Be Open To Joining Yanks

Here's part of the interview from

It's highly doubtful that the Yankees would even have a place for Ortiz, especially if they plan on using Montero as a DH, but the guy did hit .309 with 29 HR and 96 RBI so you could do worse. Plus, you have to believe it would make Red Sox fans furious, which is always a good thing.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Real Reason For Boston's Collapse?

With their team in peril and their manager losing his authority, three Red Sox pitchers last month were uniquely positioned to prevent the greatest September collapse in major league history. All the Sox needed was Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, and John Lackey to apply the skills and commitment that previously made them World Series champions.

Instead, Boston’s three elite starters went soft, their pitching as anemic as their work ethic. The indifference of Beckett, Lester, and Lackey in a time of crisis can be seen in what team sources say became their habit of drinking beer, eating fast-food fried chicken, and playing video games in the clubhouse during games while their teammates tried to salvage a once-promising season.


Drinking beer in the Sox clubhouse is permissible. So is ordering take-out chicken and biscuits. Playing video games on one of the clubhouse’s flat-screen televisions is OK, too. But for the Sox pitching trio to do all three during games, rather than show solidarity with their teammates in the dugout, violated an unwritten rule that players support each other, especially in times of crisis.

Sources said Beckett, Lester, and Lackey, who were joined at times by Buchholz, began the practice late in 2010. The pitchers not only continued the routine this year, sources said, but they joined a number of teammates in cutting back on their exercise regimens despite appeals from the team’s strength and conditioning coach Dave Page.

“It’ s hard for a guy making $80,000 to tell a $15 million pitcher he needs to get off his butt and do some work,’’ one source said.

For Beckett, Lester, and Lackey, the consequences were apparent as their body fat appeared to increase and pitching skills eroded. When the team needed them in September, they posted a combined 2-7 record with a 6.45 earned run average, the Sox losing 11 of their 15 starts.
There's a lot more in the article, so check it out. It talks more about the pitchers and their bad habits, as well as Terry Fancona's failure to control the clubhouse.

If all this stuff is true, than cutting ties with Francona was the only real option they had. For him to allow this kind of crap in the clubhouse on a team that was blowing the biggest September lead ever, would be unacceptable.

Oh well, not our issue.

Over on ESPN New York, Joe Petruccio put together this cartoon on the story.

Oppenheimer Being Considered by Angels, Orioles

As per Chad Jennings:
It’s not new to see Yankees amateur scouting director Damon Oppenheimer’s name pop up on a list of potential general manager candidates. He’s a recurring character on those lists, with Yankees pro scouting director Billy Eppler making occasional appearances of his own.

Most recently, Oppenheimer’s name showed up in the Baltimore Sun as a possible replacement for Andy McPhail, who’s not coming back to run the Orioles next season. Oppenheimer has also been mentioned as a candidate for the Angels’ general manager opening.

Oppenheimer’s become a hugely valuable piece of the Yankees organization. Ten players from the Yankees 2006 draft class have advanced to the big leagues — that’s a massive number for one class — and the farm system has grown to be widely respected and effective, thanks in large part to a recent batch of pitchers drafted by Oppenheimer.
Losing Oppenheimer to a potential rival would be a very bitter pill to swallow ... particularly when said rivals have the finances to make a splash on both the amateur and professional levels. Here's (selfishly) hoping he'll remain in the Yankees front office for the foreseeable future.

Martin Wants To Stay In The Bronx

From Andrew Marchand:
"My situation is I"m still arbitration eligible," Martin told me and one other reporter today outside of Yankee Stadium. "So either I'll get offered a contract or I won't get offered a contract. It is the same situation I was in with the Dodgers last year. Now, it is up to the Yankees to make a decision. For me, I would like nothing more than to be here."


"I obviously want to play as much as I can, but my main goal is just to be on a winning team and win a championship," Martin said.
Marin was a very solid pickup for the Yanks this season and I'd have no problems with the Yanks giving him another one or two-year deal.

The main issue is whether or not the Yankees have confidence Jesus Montero's defense. I don't think the Yanks will give any catcher a multi-year deal if they plan on giving Montero most of the games back there. If their plan is for Montero to DH or split time behind the plate, then Martin should be back.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

So Long to Laffey, Proctor, and Valdes

As per Chad Jennings:
The Yankees announced three player moves this afternoon.

• LHP Aaron Laffey was claimed off waivers by Kansas City.

• LHP Raul Valdes elected free agency in lieu of being outrighted off the Major League roster.

• RHP Scott Proctor also elected free agency in lieu of being outrighted.

The Yankees 40-man roster now stands at 37 with Boone Logan as the only left-handed reliever. Laffey and Valdes were added as late-season left-handed depth.
As per my own perfunctory glance, the only Yankees worth protecting in the Rule 5 Draft that are not already on the 40-man roster are David Phelps and D.J. Mitchell. With that in mind, I believe thank yous are in order for the Royals and Misters Valdes and Proctor, for making the Yankees 40-man roster maneuvering that much easier.

First Francona, Now Epstein?

From the Boston Herald:
Two baseball sources have confirmed that Theo Epstein is on the cusp of leaving his job as general manager of the Red Sox [team stats] to accept a position with the Chicago Cubs that is believed to include powers greater than he has in Boston, with an announcement expected to be made “within the next 24 to 48 hours.”

The hangup in the negotiations has been twofold. One of them is that Red Sox ownership was still hoping to have Epstein remain with the team. The other is compensation: If Epstein is to leave Boston, said one source with knowledge of the negotiations, the Red Sox are going to want “something real.”

Whether that involves a player, money or a combination of the two remains unclear.

“But this is going to be resolved very soon,” said a second baseball source.
Looks like their collapse has continued into the offseason.


Hale: CC's Love For NY Might Not Be Enough

From Mark Hale:
The Yankees ace -- a possible free agent-to-be -- reiterated yesterday he loves being in New York. But while Sabathia admitted it would be hard to leave, that won't necessarily carry his decision.

"Of course it would be [difficult to leave]. It was difficult for me to leave Milwaukee. But you understand that baseball is a business," Sabathia told The Post outside Yankee Stadium yesterday. "I do love it here. My family loves it here. But we'll have to wait and see what happens."

That Sabathia cited his time with the Brewers could be an ominous sign and an indicator the lefty is prepared to play hardball with the Yankees.


The Yankees could try to pre-empt his opt-out by signing him to an extension, but Sabathia said the team has not reached out to him. Cashman confirmed the Yankees have not begun talking with the pitcher.

"Not yet. Just waiting to see," Sabathia said. "This is really the first day. Just waiting for the weekend to get over, so we'll see what happens."


Sabathia lives in New Jersey, and he will be here during the offseason "[hanging] out with the family and [watching] some football."

Sabathia said he will not be visiting Yankee Stadium much, though.

"This will be the last time you see me here for a while," Sabathia said jokingly.
To me this sounds like a basic negotiating tactic. Does anyone really expect him to come out and say "Yes, I love NY and this is where I'm going to be" while costing himself millions in the process? That's not how things work these days. More importantly, that's not how agents work these days.

He's going to act like his open to anything--even if he isn't--to make sure he gets every last dollar out of this extension.

Monday, October 10, 2011

End of Season Returns on Some Ex-Yankees

Position Players

Lance Berkman - .301/.412/.547, 31 HR, 159 wRC+ (587 PA)

Only Jose Bautista, Ryan Braun, Miguel Cabrera, Matt Kemp, and Prince Fielder bested Berkman's 159 wRC+ - that's a veritable 'who's who' of MLB sluggers. For his efforts, Berkman was rewarded with a one-year, $12 MM extension for the 2012 season. While I don't see him repeating his stellar 2011 season, the Cardinals will have a bargain on their hands if he can find the happy medium between his 2010 and 2011 lines.

Austin Jackson - .249/.317/.374, 10 HR, 90 wRC+ (668 PA)

Jackson's second season left a great deal to be desired, as his wRC+ dropped significantly (from 104 to 90) and his strikeout rate increased nearly two-percent ... and his average plummeted forty-four points due to his loss of luck with balls in play. On a positive note, both his walk rate (from 7.0% to 8.4%) and ISO (.107 to .125) increased, despite the league-average numbers dipping slightly from 2010.

Juan Miranda - .213/.315/.402, 7 HR, 92 wRC+ (202 PA)

As was the case in August, Miranda did not sniff the Diamondbacks roster.

Jose Tabata - .266/.349/.362, 4 HR, 101 wRC+ (382 PA)

Tabata was shutdown on September 16 with a fracture in his left hand. His 2011 was something of a disappointment, though he did perform better as the season wore on. He also increased his walk rate from below-average in 2010 (6.3%) to above-average in 2011 (10.5%). If his power develops as some still expect, he could be a real force.


Alfredo Aceves - 114.0 IP, 84 H, 42 BB, 80 K, 2.66 ERA, 4.03 FIP

In 25 IP this past month, Aceves posted a 1.80 ERA ... though, it is worth noting that he played a role in the Red Sox collapse, allowing two inherited runners to score in the team's 6-4 loss to the Orioles on September 21. That is sort of tenuous, though, as Aceves was brilliant otherwise.

Phil Coke - 108.2 IP, 118 H, 40 BB, 69 K, 4.47 ERA, 3.57 FIP

Thanks for helping the Yankees force a Game 5 in the Bronx, Phil.

Michael Dunn - 63.0 IP, 51 H, 31 BB, 68 K, 3.43 ERA, 4.30 FIP

Dunn held LHB to a .198/.308/.307 slash line this past season, and improved as the season wore on (and the Marlins stopped using him against RHB).

Ian Kennedy - 222.0 IP, 186 H, 55 BB, 198 K, 2.88 ERA, 3.22 FIP

Kennedy wrapped up 2011 ranking in the top-twenty in ERA, FIP, K/BB, bWAR, and fWAR. Very, very impressive.

Dustin Moseley - 120.0 IP, 117 H, 36 BB, 64 K, 3.30 ERA, 3.96 FIP

A successful season for the journeyman, unfortunately cut short by a shoulder injury.

Javier Vazquez - 192.2 IP, 178 H, 50 BB, 162 K, 3.69 ERA, 3.57 FIP

Vazquez's 2011 went from hilarious to depressing to infuriating for Yankees fans. His month-to-month improvements culminated in an absolutely filthy September - 38 IP, 21 H, 3 BB, 36 K, 0.71 ERA, 1.79 FIP. Wow. There are rumors circulating that Vazquez will call it quits this offseason, as well.

Kerry Wood - 51.0 IP, 45 H, 21 BB, 57 K, 3.35 ERA, 3.59 FIP

Wood missed a fair bit of time this season, but he was quite effective when he was on the mound. He was shutdown in late September with a torn meniscus.

Follow me on Twitter - @DomenicLanza

This Week in Yankees History (10/9-10/15)

This Week in Yankees History 

October 9th - 15th

October 9th

1898 - Former Yankees 3B Joe Sewell (1931-1933) was born/ After playing 2B with the Cleveland Indians for 11 years, Joe Sewell joined the New York Yankees for the 1931-1933 AL seasons becoming their 3rd baseman. He hit .301 in 1931. Joe was on the 1932 World Championship team, hitting .272. Joe finished MLB career with a .312 lifetime BA and with only 114 career strikeouts, making him the toughest player to strike out, ever be elected to the Hall Of Fame.

1921 - Babe Ruth hits his 1st World Series HR to lead the Yankees to their 1st series game victory over the Giants by the score of 3-0. This game will be the only Sunday game that Yankee hurler Carl Mays ever hurled in his 15-year MLB career.

1926 - St. Louis Cardinals Grover Alexander scatters 8 hits in Game 6 of the 1926 World Series while the Cards tee off Yankees pitchers at Yankee Stadium for a 10-2 romp that sends the 1926 World Series to a 7th game.

1928 - Yankees slugger Babe Ruth hits 3-HRs in a World Series game for the 2nd time in his Yankee career as the Yankees beat the St. Louis Cardinals by a score of 7-3. Yankees starter Waite Hoyt picks up the win for the Bombers.

1938 - In the 1938 World Series, the Yankees became the 1st team to win 3 successive World Championships defeating the Chicago Cubs by the score of 8-3. Yankees starter Red Ruffing posted his 2nd victory of the 1938 World Series game as the Yankees sweep the Cubs for the 2nd time in 6 years.

Report: Cashman Talks Going Smoothly

From Buster Olney:
Contract negotiations between the New York Yankees and general manager Brian Cashman are going smoothly, according to sources, and could be concluded with a new deal in the week ahead.

...contract talks with club executives, including Hal Steinbrenner, have started.
I suspect that these negotiations won't last too long.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Nyjer Morgan Drops F-Bomb (twice) On TBS

Nova Injury Update!/injuryexpert/status/122767444312989697
It was reported yesterday that it was a Grade 1 strain, so it's slightly worse than originally thought, but still shouldn't be an issue next spring.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Is This The End of A-Rod?

For the second consecutive season, Alex Rodriguez went down swinging to end the Yankees' postseason run. Last year it was in Texas against Neftali Feliz; last night it was at home and against big mouth Jose Valverde.

What happened last night was A-Rod's season in a nutshell - he had a couple good at-bats, clawing and battling fouling off some tough pitches; but ultimately striking out three times and walking once.

Rodriguez, now 36, played just 99 games during the regular season, and while he hit for average, hovering around .290 for the majority of his games, he couldn't hit a home run if it was placed on a tee. His power dropped considerably and only hit 16 home runs. Most people will take that from a third baseman, but this is A-Rod - who still has about $150 million and 6 years left on his gigantic contract.

While everyone is talking about CC possibly opting out, or Jorge playing his final game, the A-Rod and his contract are the elephant in the room. Not just that A-Rod isn't playing well, or up to his standard and contract, but that he's still on the team for six more seasons.

Yeah, you heard me. A-Rod in my opinion should not be on the Yankees, and should not be making a nickel of his $275 million. The Yankees did fine with Eduardo Nunez and Eric Chavez platooning in Rodriguez's absence, and they actually played better WITHOUT him, than with him.

Don't get me wrong, I still have confidence left in A-Rod. If he can drop 10-15 pounds, get back to being 100% healthy, he still can be a good threat in the Yanks' lineup and can maybe hit 20-25 home runs next season. But at the end of the day, A-Rod is an aging star well past his prime, his steroid years are catching up to him, and his contract is quickly turning into possibly, one of the worst of all-time.

A-Rod, it's time to prove that you still have something left. Because right now, you really do look like a 36-year old third baseman. Not Alex Rodriguez, the great and immortal future Hall-of-Famer.

Nova Injured?!/YankeesWFAN/status/122393329513136128

A Brief Retrospective

I was prepared to open this post with something along the lines of "at the end of every unsuccessful season," but that doesn't feel quite right.

The Yankees finished with the best record in the American League, and the second best mark in Major League Baseball. They led the Majors in run differential (often the best indicator and predictor of a team's success) and placed either second or third in most offensive categories, including runs scored, OPS, wRC+, wOBA, and fWAR. The much maligned pitching staff - the cement shoes that would sink the Yankees season before it even began - ranked in the top four in the American League in ERA and FIP, while placing third in all of baseball in fWAR.

As fans, we were able to appreciate the emergence of Jesus Montero, David Robertson, and Ivan Nova, regardless of what their future may hold. We enjoyed the dominant left-handed duo of Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano, both of which have an argument for the best player at their position. We watched Brett Gardner cover more ground than any Yankees outfielder in recent memory, and we haven't seen an outfielder like him visit the Bronx recently, either. We wrote off, at least in part, Nick Swisher, Derek Jeter, and Jorge Posada, only to see them come up huge as the season wore on. And so it goes.

Yes, none of this propelled the Yankees to another World Series victory. There were ample disappointments along the way, as well - I'm quite certain the names Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez will remain infamous to Yankees fans for the next several months. And yet, it is difficult for me to place the onus for the ALDS loss on anyone but the collective 'Yankees' ... the twenty-five men on the roster and their manager.

At this juncture, I'm sure everyone remembers the moments that led us here - I see no reason to detail them further. However, be sure to keep those moments in a clear context. It is quite simple to blame the last man standing (or swinging and missing, in this case) ... but there were missed opportunities abound. Each moment of impotency could have changed the pace of the three losses. Some will say the hitters were too passive. Others will claim that the strikezones were inconsistent at best, biased at worst. Many will assert a lack of 'clutch,' and search eagerly for a single goat with a high price tag.

Sure, Girardi could have put the team in a better position to succeed ... but turning to a rookie like Montero or a borderline washed-up veteran like Eric Chavez (as evidenced by my own venom) could have ended up just as disastrously. I will forever question many of Girardi's decisions, but that comes with an obvious caveat - there really were no simple changes to be made, and stating anything to the contrary would be inane.

And in the end, perhaps this season wasn't a success. Perhaps anything that could call forth such vitriol must be a failure.

To me, however, this season was a success. Obstacles aplenty were overcome. Young players were given a shot, and oftentimes thrived. The marathon that is the regular season went to the New York Yankees and, while it may not lend itself to the cliché 'flags fly forever' sentiment, I enjoyed it. And I'm glad it happened.

CC on His Opt-Out Clause

From Marc Carig:
“I can’t even wrap my head around that right now,” Sabathia said. “I’m just thinking about what I didn’t do to help us win. Maybe in the next couple days, next couple of weeks, I’ll think about that and see what happens.”


“I love it,” he said. “I’ve loved this since Day One of spring training since I got here. I’m just waiting to see what happens.”

So what will go into making that decision for the 19-game winner?

“A lot,” Sabathia said. “My family, everything that matters. So, we’ll just have to wait and see.”

Even though he continues to seem to lean toward staying in the Bronx, Sabathia said that opting out is still a viable option for him.

“It’s there, so I just need to see,” he said. “But I can’t even begin to tell you what I’m thinking right now or what’s going to happen or anything like that.”
I don't think there's any chance he doesn't opt-out. I mean, would you?
He knows the Yankees are going to want to resign him anyway so it's basically turning down free money if he didn't. He's still owed $92 million over the next four years in the Bronx, so I figure he'll get another 2 or 3 tacked on at the same rate.

Posada's Emotional Post Game Comments

From Rick Carpiniello:
Did Posada consider whether he’d just played his final game in a Yankees uniform:

“I don’t know. I don’t know,” he said. “That’s a tough one. We’ll see. I don’t want to look at it like that. We lost. We’ll see what happens in the offseason.”

Would he want to come back in a similar, or lesser role?

“I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen. I really can’t answer that right now. We just lost a tough series. We come back home to lose 3-2, it’s a tough one.”

Did he think about it during the game?

“No. No. It was all about the game. You put yourself in the situation of trying to win the ballgame. That’s all you think about.”

Asked about memories (presumably of all his years as a Yankee, the question was inaudible):

“I don’t go back as far as (yesterday). I don’t know. I can’t answer it. Really. I gave it all on the field.”

About the fans:

“They’ve been awesome. The fans have been unbelievable to this team and to me, and I give them a lot of credit. They kept me here.”

If this loss hurts more than others …

“Sorry,” he said, rubbing his eyes. Then he broke down in tears and left the clubhouse.
If this was the end for Jorge at least he went out with a nice series. He finished the ALDS with a .429 batting average, going 6-for-14, with 4 walks.

Thanks for the great career, Jorge.

And That's That

Talk about a game of missed opportunities. All they needed was one big hit and they'd be preparing for the ALCS right now, but sadly, that hit just never came. Instead they fell 3-2 to the Tigers and now face another long winter.

I've seen and heard many complaints over the last few hours, many of which are warranted, but in the end this was a game where the Yanks clearly beat themselves, squandering chance after chances and ultimately coming up just one run short. Here is a great breakdown of their lack of clutch hitting tonight via friend of the blog SteveB:
Inning 2-
Teixeira hits a double with one out.
Swisher hits a grounder to SS (ahead of the runner) for an out and no advance.
Posada called out on strikes.

Inning 3-
Granderson walks, putting runners on first & second, two out.
In a long at-bat, Cano flies out to CF.

Inning 4-
Posada singles to load up the bases, one out.
Martin pops out to 1B, Gardner pops out to 3B.

Inning 7-
Cano singles to load the bases, one out.
Arod strikes out swinging.
Teixeira manages a walk to score one run.
Swisher strikes out swinging.

2-for-9 with RISP, 11 men left of base, and from a team that wasn't that great in the clutch all year I can't say I'm surprise. It's terribly disappointing, but not a surprise at all.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

ALDS Game 5: Yankees vs. Tigers

First Pitch: 8:07 PM | TV: TBS | Radio: WCBS

Derek Jeter, SS
Curtis Granderson, CF
Robinson Cano, 2B
Alex Rodriguez, 3B
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Nick Swisher, RF
Jorge Posada, DH
Russell Martin, C
Brett Gardner, LF

Pitching: RHP Ivan Nova

TIGERS (2-2)
Austin Jackson, CF
Don Kelly, 3B
Delmon Young, LF
Miguel Cabrera, 1B
Victor Martinez, DH
Magglio Ordonez, RF
Alex Avila, C
Jhonny Peralta, SS
Ramon Santiago, 2B

Pitching: RHP Doug Fister

Video: Yankees Playoff Mix

(hat-tip to TYA)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Yankees Moneyball Parody

(hat-tip to Pinstripe Alley)

CC Available in Relief Tomorrow, Verlander is Not!/BryanHoch/status/121671395074777089!/BryanHoch/status/121671236706254848

Quotes From Nova on Game 5!/Yankees/status/121666699702452224!/eboland11/status/121663464543485953

Nova's Pregame Pep Talk For AJ

From Kimberley A. Martin:
A.J. Burnett reached into the small compartment at the top of his locker and grabbed his iPhone, eager to show off the text message that had meant so much.

The majority of Yankee Universe had all but given up on him, but as he stood alone in the corner of the visitors' clubhouse at Comerica Park just after midnight Wednesday, he spoke of one person in particular who gave him all the advice he needed for his big day.

Ivan Nova.

"I'll tell you exactly what he said," Burnett, dressed in a dark gray suit and burgundy dress shirt, told Newsday after the Yankees' 10-1 pasting of the Tigers in ALDS Game 4. "He owed me too, because I texted him all year. He said, 'I trust you and I believe in you, so let's get this series to New York, brother.'"


"I just told him to have fun," Nova continued, adding that he was one of Burnett's biggest cheerleaders in the dugout. "I texted him last night: We've got to take the series back to New York and you don't have to put no pressure on yourself. Just enjoy and relax and have fun. If it's working for me, it's got to be working for him."

Burnett said he couldn't help but be deeply touched by his teammate's gesture.

"You get goose bumps. Immediately, you know?" said Burnett. "[Nova's] got this thing where he wins baseballs, when he does good, from Chad [Bohling]. So he always wants to earn the baseball. So I told him, 'I said I want my pelota,' " Burnett said, referring to the Spanish word for "ball."

"It feels good. He didn't have to send me that text, you know? He calls me big brother for a reason, I guess."
What a great kid. Nova continues to show wisdom far beyond his years.

The Plays That Saved The Season

Back To The Bronx We Go

So, how's the prediction looking now, Jose?

With their backs against the wall, A.J. Burnett and the Yankees came through in a huge way, beating the Tigers 10-1 on Tuesday to force a do-or-die game 5 on Thursday at The Stadium.

There was a lot that led to this huge win for the Yanks; solid pitching from AJ, clutch hitting, and good relief work. But there was nothing was more important than Curtis Granderson's spectacular play in the first inning to save A.J. Burnett and the Yankees from almost certain defeat.

Burnett was walkinng the ballpark and looked lost on the mound and the Tigers had the bases loaded with two out for Don Kelly. Kelly then hammered a 1-0 fastball deep to center. Granderson, who initially took a step in, had to back track and leap to make a lunging grab saving at least three runs.

Had the ball fallen in the Tigers would have had a commanding lead, Burnett might have been done (Wade was warming), and we'd almost certainly be talking about a disappointing end to the 2011 season for the Yanks. Instead, Burnett got out of the inning, eventually settling down and pitching 5.2 innings of one-run ball, Derek Jeter started the Yankees off with a two-run double in the 3rd propelling the Yankees offense to a 10-run 13-hit outburst, and now we're headed to a game 5.

But that season-saving play wasn't it for Granderson on the night. In the 5th, he came through with a big RBI double extending the Yanks lead to 3-1 at the time. Detroit had just cut the Yanks lead to 2-1 when Victor Martinez hit a solo shot off Burnett in the 4th--Burnett's lone blemish after his shaky first. Granderson also made another highlight reel play in the bottom of the 5th, robbing Jhonny Peralta of extra bases and probably and RBI with a diving grab in left-center.

Back to Burnett, who I'm sure shocked most of you with his performance. I know I'm shocked. He had good stuff, and most importantly, command of it. This is the guy we've been waiting for all year and to be honest, he couldn't have picked a better time to show up. If the Yanks can win game 5 and go on to the ALCS, Burnett, I assume, will have a starting spot in the rotation--one he most certainly deserves after today.

Some other notes:

- Jesus Montero went 2-for-2 with an RBI and a run scored in his first two postseason at-bats.
- Rafael Soriano had a solid 1.1 innings of work after his rough outing on Monday.
- Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez actually got hits.
- So did Nick Swisher.

Just an overall great win for the Yanks who have to be feeling good about themselves as they board that plane back to NY.

Game 5 is Thursday in the Bronx with a rematch of game 1 (part 2), Ivan Nova vs. Doug Fister.