Sunday, January 31, 2010

2010 Yankees-Red Sox Comparison: Left Field

Yankees- Curtis Granderson- Perhaps the biggest difference between the 2009 and 2010 Yankees is that the 2010 edition will be entering the season with a clear answer to centerfield. When the Yankees sent Austin Jackson and Ian Kennedy elsewhere they got back the strong and potentially long-term answer to centerfield that has eluded them since the golden age of Bernie Williams. Granderson offers that rare combination of speed and power that you just have to love. I know their are a lot of Yankees fans who have coveted him since his Tigers knocked the Yanks out in the first round of the 2006 playoffs and now they'll finally get their wish.

He's coming off of a third straight year of decline but Brian Cashman and the Yanks did well to buy low on him. His BABIP in 2009 was .276 compared to a career mark of .323. While some of that can be pinned on a high FB% and a low GB%, some of those FB outs are going to turn into homeruns in the cozy confines of Yankee Stadium. I don't think a FB% six points higher than his career average can totally account for a change like that either, so bad luck was definitely a factor. Don't count on him reverting back to his 2007 MVP level form but I think something like his 2008 when he put up a line of .280/.365/.453 with a wOBA of .374 is a pretty realistic expectation.

We can't really be sure what we'll be getting from him on defense either. In 2006 and 2007 he was outstanding and saved his team over 13 runs over the course of the season both years, in 2008 he was awful and cost his team 8.9 runs, and in 2009 he saved his team only 1.6 runs (all according to UZR). They'd probably be better off putting Granderson in left and Gardner in center but I doubt they'll do that and they could still sign another leftfielder anyway. The Yankees have probably found the answer to centerfield though, even if it costed them A-Jax. He has a Jeter-like reputation off the field and produces on the field. If he can rebound in 2010, the Yankees are going to have another big hitter in their lineup.

Red Sox- Jacoby Ellsbury- Boston may have also found their centerfielder of the future after a few years of trying to plug the hole that Johnny Damon left when he bolted for the Bronx. Jacoby Ellsbury's name has been thrown around for a while now and he impressed in his major league debut in 2007. However, 2009 was the first time he really stepped forward and proved he could be a starter in the major leagues. It was a big improvement, at least offensively, over his 2008 for the 26 year old. He also further showed how much of a weapon his speed can be by leading all of the major leagues with his 70 stolen bases.

In his 2009 campaign he made a strange change. While his offense did improve, as one might expect from a young player still learning how to play at a ML level, his defense fell off a cliff. His wOBA went from .333 in 2008 to .354 in 2009. He was pretty much a replacement level player offensively in 2008 but in 2009 he actually contributed 11.8 runs above what a replacement level player would have according to The complete detoriation of his defense though erased the positive impact of his improved bat. In 2008 he spent time at all three outfield spots and played well in all of them. However, last year he played center exclusively and posted a -18.6 UZR out there.

To tell you the truth, Ellsbury probably belongs in a corner outfield spot. Especially with Mike Cameron on the team and I have to think that he'll eventually be moved. However, he's played a strong centerfield in the past and clearly has the pure speed to handle it. The Ellsbury/Cameron dynamic will be an interesting storyline to follow this year, especially if his defense doesn't improve.

Advantage- Yankees- With the Yankees and the Red Sox the rivalries can extend down to individual players when they both become fixtures at their position. Think of Jeter and Nomar or Posada and Varitek. We may have another one of these developing in centerfield. Both Granderson and Ellsbury look like long-term answers for their respective teams. Granderson is much more proven though and his power truly dwarfs Ellsbury's. With that short porch in right, I could see the new Yankee centerfielder hitting over 30 homers on a regular basis. Thrown in the solid defense he should provide and you have a pretty potent weapon batting behind A-Rod and Texeira in the #5 hole.

Yanks Invite Higashioka To Big League Camp

From Robert Pimpsner:
Catcher Kyle Higashioka received an invite to MLB spring training with the Yankees
It will be good for the 19-year-old to play a little with the big boys. Still, this is just being done so the Yankees have enough catcher in camp, but the experience can't hurt.

Last season Higashioka hit .253/.333/.332 with 2 HR and 32 RBI in 247 at-bats for the Staten Island Yankees.

Joba Will Be Early To Camp

Mike Puma reported today that Joba Chamberlain will show up in Tampa next week, much earlier than the rest of the pitchers and catchers. Yankee brass has told him to come into camp with the idea that he's going to be a starter.

As of now he is the clear favorite for the No. 5 spot in the rotation, behind CC, AJ, Pettitte, and Vazquez. Even though that's the case Joba isn't taking anything for granted.
"I'm going to go in and understand a lot of guys are fighting for that spot," Chamberlain said after an autograph signing in New Rochelle in conjunction with Steiner Sports. "Nothing is guaranteed."
Joba starting makes the most sense. Hughes would have an innings limit as a starter, which would create the same situation the Yankees had last year with Joba. Joba, on the other hand, won't have any limits on him this time around and can finally just go out every fifth day and pitch. One way or another, it's great to see Joba heading to camp early. He needs to be more prepared this season than he was last year and hopefully an early arrival will help.

Winter Ball Recap

Here is the final winter ball report from Big Guy. I'd like to thank him for all of these throughout the winter, they've been great.

Final Fall and Winter league stats including playoffs are listed below for all Yankees who played this offseason. Reegie Corona and Jon Weber were the final 2 Yankee players still playing in the playoffs this past week. Corona’s Maganelles team was eliminated Friday in the Venezuelan championship series. Corona hit .300 in that series. Weber’s Mazatlan team got knocked out in a 1-0 loss in game 7 Saturday night. Weber led the team with a .462 average in the series. The Caribbean World Series begins this week and can be seen on MLB Network for those interested.


Colin Curtis--OF--Curtis had a terrific fall league. In 20 games he hit .397 (31-78), with 5 homers, 7 doubles, 18 rbi, 19 runs and an OBP of .472. He’ll be starting 2010 at AAA SWB.

Brandon Laird--Laird had a very good fall league hitting .333 (30-90) in 22 games. He added homers, 9 doubles, 24 rbi, 18 runs and an OBP of .406.

Austin Romine--Romine only played in 4 games at the AFL hitting .400 (6-15) with 2 rbi. He had no extra base hits. He’ll be starting 2010 at AA Trenton.

Grant Duff--Duff appeared in 10 games in relief picking up 2 saves. 9.1 innings, 3 ER, 7 hits, BAA .212.


Ivan Nova-- The righty pitcher had a terrific winter league. He made 5 appearances, 4 starts going 1-0 with a very impressive 1.05 ERA. In 25.2 innings he allowed only 3 earned runs, 17 hits, 17 K’s--4 walks. Whip 0.82, BAA .187 Nova will be starting 2010 in the SWB rotation.

Edwar Ramirez--The righty reliever appeared in onl 3 games. He tossed 2.2 innings allowing 1 run on 4 hits and 1 walk. He added 3 strikeouts. Whip 1.88, BAA .333.

Zack Segovia--RHP--recently picked up by the Yankees on a minor league deal. Segovia converted 6 of 7 save opportunites with a 0.71 ERA.

Jonathan Ortiz--The righty reliever appeared in 6 games for 4.0 innings. He did not allow a run, 4 hits, 3 K’s--1 walk. Whip 1.25, BAAA .267.

Wilkins Arias--had a busy winter league relieving in 26 games. 17.0 innings, 9 earned runs, 17 hits, 18 K’s--7 walks, Whip 1.41, BAA .258.

Noel Castillo--Castillo appeared in only 3 games. 2.0 innings, 5 earned runs, 5 hits, 1 K--4 walks.


Ramiro Pena--Pena’s Culican team made the playoffs and Pena had an excellent postseason hitting at a .414 clip with 1 homer, 4 rbi and 5 runs scored. Pena appeared in 26 regular season games hitting .247 (21-85). He scored 10 runs, with 4 rbi, 3 doubles and 1 triple. OBP .340.

Reid Gorecki--recently signed to a minor league deal by the Yankees. Gorecki hit .250 with 5 homers. He added 17 stolen bases, 4th in the MWL.

Jon Weber--Weber was signed as a minor league free agent. His Mazatlan team made it to the Mexican League Championship series and he led the team in hitting with a .462 in the championship series. Overall in the postseason Weber hit .373 with 8 rbi, 7 runs, and 3 doubles. Weber hit .396 (65-164) in 40 MWL regular season games. He pounded 7 homers and 13 doubles to go along with 29 rbis and 30 runs scored. OBP .429, OPS 1.032. He’ll be playing at SWB in 2010.

Jorge Vasquez--Vaszuez had a rough postseason going just 3-21 with 1 solo homer for his only rbi and run scored. Vasquez played in 32 regular season games and showed some great power, hitting 11 homers and 5 doubles. He hit for a .252 average (31-123), with 26 rbi and 16 runs scored. He also struck out 25 times. OPS .877.

Walter Ibarra--Ibarra played in 34 games, hitting .250 (16-64) with 4 rbi and 10 runs scored.


Francisco Cervelli--Cervelli only played in 6 games, hitting .214 (3-14) with 1 double, 4 K’s--3 walks. OBP .389.

Jesus Montero--Montero got in 9 games as a DH hitting just .115 (3-26) with 1 rbi. He had 3 K’s--3 walks.

Reegie Corona--Corona had a very good winter league. His Maganelles team made the VWL postseason going all the way to the championship series but they were defeated. He hit .344 overall in the postseason with 6 rbi, 6 runs, and 4 doubles. He hit an even .300 in the championship series. In 44 regular season games he hit .317 (44-129) with 2 HR, 17 doubles, 36 runs, 18 rbi, OBP. .435.

Luis Nunez--Nunez played in 17 games hitting .289 with 7 rbi, 3 doubles and 2 runs scored. OBP .319.

Romulo Sanchez--Sanchez appeared in 24 regular season games in relief. 35 innings, 14 earned runs, 26 hits, 49 K’s--22 walks. BAA .218, Whip 1.42. His Zulia team made the playoffs, but he struggled with 3 blown saves and 3 losses in his first 3 postseason games. He appeared in 6 postseason games, 4.2 innings, 8 runs, 8 hits, 4 K’s--3 walks.

Josh Schmidt--Schmidt had a solid winter league. In 13 starts he posted a 3.58 ERA in 75.1 innings. 30 earned runs, 61 hits, 71 K’s--31 walks, Whip 1.22, BAA .222

Pat Venditte--The switch-pitcher only appeared in 7 games posting 4.82 ERA in 9.1 innings. 5 earned runs, 11 hits (2 homers), 7 K’s--3 wlkas, Whip 1.50, BAA .314.

Eric Wordekemper--Eric had rough winter league, relieving in 5 games. 8.1 innings, 9 earned runs, 12 hits, 3 K’s--5 walks. Whip 2.04, BAA .343.

Juan Marcano--The youngster appeared in only 3 games. 6.1 innings, 5 earned runs, 8 hits, 3 K’s--2 walks.


Amaury Sanit---Sanit was the only Yankee player who played in the PRWL this season. He appeared in relief in 6 games posting 1 save. 4.1 innings, 4 earned runs on 9 hits.

OK, Just One More Damon Post

Trust me, I'm as sick as you are of this whole Johnny Damon situation. But with it being a slow Sunday I figured I'd just post these three links.

The first comes from Buster Olney, who describes how Johnny said no to every offer he got from the Yanks, offers that will likely be better than anything he'll eventually get. Nick Cafardo also wrote about Damon this morning.

The sthird link comes from Peter Botte of the Daily News, who writes that many of Johnny's former teammates are sad to see Damon go. Here's some of the quotes from the article:

"Obviously, any of the guys we lose from last year, you hate to see that. We wanted to keep that team intact," Andy Pettitte said Saturday... "It doesn't look like we're going to sign Johnny back ... and that's a big loss, but I think we're excited about the additions, too. Every year your team is going to make changes.

"But I know Johnny loved it here and wanted to come back, and I'm sure if there's another chance in the future that he'd love to come back. Obviously it was a money situation."

Brett Gardner said Damon was "one of the older guys who's helped me a lot the last two years," and then added that "Johnny means a lot to the team, and you hate to see people like that go." For some reason, I really don't think Gardner is that upset. After all, nobody gains more from Damon leaving than Gardner, but good job sounding like you care.
"It's not my call, but obviously Johnny's a great friend and was my locker mate from spring training on," Swisher said. "But Curtis is a great player, too, and Randy Winn, same thing. So I think this year is going to be tremendous."
Hopefully this is the last Damon post until he signs somewhere.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Girardi Happy With Roster

Yankees manager Joe Girardi spent his Saturday with Bernie Williams at the Greentree Country Club in New Rochelle, N.Y., at a charity event to benefit the Hillside Food Outreach. He spoke about the current state of his team, here's some of what he said from Bryan Hoch:
"I like what we've done, but I'm going to miss the players that we had," Girardi said. "Whenever you win as a group, you're going to miss not only what they did on the field, but their personalities.

"I'm going to miss Melky [Cabrera]. We're all going to miss Melky and [Hideki] Matsui and Johnny and [Phil] Coke. We're going to miss them, but we've gotten younger, we've added rotation depth, and our young relievers have another year of experience. Are we better? I don't know, but I like our club again."


"The thing is, everyone's going to play," Girardi said. "That's the bottom line. I believe that sometimes guys need days off. We had the situation last year where everybody thought we had too many outfielders and [Xavier] Nady got hurt [in April]. I don't think we can have too much depth. Having four guys gives us good depth, and that's important, because you never know what's going to happen."
He also spoke about Johnny Damon, specifically the chances he could return at the trade deadline:
"You never say never," Girardi said. "The possibilities in baseball are endless. I don't think anyone is quite sure from our standpoint where Johnny is going to end up. But Johnny was a great Yankee, we loved having him, and we're going to miss him."
Girardi on Granderson and the outfield allignment:
"Curtis is the type of player that would do anything that you ask of him," Girardi said. "I've talked to our outfielders. We're going to see what happens in Spring Training. We're not necessarily going to nail down one position and tell a guy, 'This is where you're going to be.' We might have to make some adjustments with the players that we have. All of our outfielders are versatile, and I really believe that."
And Winn:
"I think he can be a good player for us," Girardi said. "I know people have talked about Randy Winn replacing Johnny Damon, and that wasn't why we signed Randy Winn. We signed Randy Winn so we'd have depth to make sure we have depth and make sure that we have competition. If someone gets hurt, we have enough people to fill the spot. Randy Winn has been an everyday player for a long time. We're comfortable with him in that spot."
Starting with the first few comments he made, I feel the same way. I like what they've done, but I'm going to miss the guys that left. Honestly, I don't think there are many Yankees fans out there who won't miss Matsui, Damon, and Melky.

I'm not even going to touch the idea of Damon coming back at the deadline. Like I said the other day that's way too far ahead to start considering.

I continue to love everything I hear about Curtis Granderson. He seems to have the perfect attitude for the situation, which will only help this team in the long run. And I see the Winn signing the same way Girardi does. Sorry to those who believe he's Damon's replacement (The Daily News), but he's not. He's simply here to add depth to the roster, that's it.

The roster itself is pretty much built for a manager like Girardi. A lot of spots to give guys off, a good amount of speed, and good depth. He'll be able to mix and match throughout the year and keep everyone fresh like he did so well in 2009.

Joe's 2010 NL Predictions + Playoffs

Once again, it is early, but I've got a pretty good picture of what this season could turn out like.

NL East:
1. Phillies, 93-69
2. Marlins, 86-76
3. Braves, 85-77
4. Mets, 81-81
5. Nationals, 76-86

NL Central:
1. Cardinals, 92-70
2. Cubs, 85-77
3. Reds, 82-80
4. Brewers, 79-83
5. Astros, 77-85
6. Pirates, 69-93

NL West:
1. Dodgers, 90-72
2. Diamondbacks, 87-75*
3. Giants, 85-77
4. Rockies, 80-82
5. Padres, 72-90

*=wild card, these wins/losses are just off the top of my head (just what seems right)

NL MVP: 1. Albert Pujols, STL; 2. Hanley Ramirez; FLA.

NL Cy Young: 1. Roy Halladay, PHI; 2. Adam Wainwright; STL.

NL MOY: 1. A.J. Hinch, ARZ; 2. Fredi Gonzalez, FLA.

(I don't really know any rookies, so I'm going to hold off on that, although just putting Stephen Strausburg would be easy, LOL.)

Now the playoffs:
Division Series:
Yankees def. Twins, 3-1; Mariners def. Red Sox, 3-2.
Phillies def. Diamondbacks, 3-2; Cardinals def. Dodgers, 3-1.

ALCS: Yankees def. Mariners, 4-2.
NLCS: Cardinals def. Phillies, 4-3.

World Series:
Yankees def. Cardinals, 4-3.
World Series MVP: Mark Teixeira, NYY.

Am I possibly biased? Yes. Am I wrong? Hopefully not. But seriously, is there any reason to believe the Yanks can't repeat as champs? I don't think so.

Yanks 2010= #28

PECOTA Changes Their Projections

Earlier this week PECOTA posted their 2010 projected standings and had the Yankees finishing third in the AL East and missing the postseason. If you don't remember here's what those standings looked like:

Most Yankees fans I spoke to were not happy with these projections, and apparently neither was Baseball Prospectus, cause now they've been revised. Here are the new 2010 PECOTA projections:

Now, the Yankees are picked to come in tied for first and at least making the playoffs as the Wild Card. Apparently the whole system needed tweaking, specifically the offensive numbers, which seemed to have taken a dip across the board. But I have one question: How are the Rangers and A's are both going to finish better than the Angels and Mariners?

Harper: Aging Core Yanks Biggest Concern

After Mike Lupica made the Yankees not signing Johnny Damon seem like their worst mistake since signing Carl Pavano, another Daily News writer, John Harper, seems to understand things a bit better.... OK fine, a lot better:
[Losing Damon] is more of an emotional issue for fans who appreciated Damon's toughness and good humor than it is reason to fear the impact on the Yankees repeating as champs.


So fans have every right to wonder if the chemistry will be the same. You can go all the way back to the 1986 Mets, who never had quite the same bulletproof bravado after management dumped heart-and-soul guys Ray Knight and Kevin Mitchell, deciding that Kevin McReynolds - talk about joyless - was a better fit.

Only it's hard to imagine that will be the case here. By all accounts, GM Brian Cashman has added high-character, high-intensity guys in players such as Curtis Granderson, Nick Johnson and Randy Winn to a clubhouse that is now full of players who share Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada's commitment to winning.

With that in mind, you can argue with Cashman's reasoning for moving on without Damon - or Matsui, for that matter - but you can't argue that his moves this winter have helped put his ballclub in position to build on last season's success.

Who's kidding whom? The Yankees are loaded.
He goes on to add that "it's impossible to imagine them not making the playoffs" with the pitching depth they now have with CC, AJ, Pettitte, and Vazquez, who he says is the best No. 4 starter in the game. So far so good, no complaints here. Moving on to the issue of age an injuries:
Mariano Rivera turned 40 in November. He had another brilliant season in '09, but he can't go on like this forever, can he? He's been so great for so long that any significant decline could have a devastating effect on the ballclub.

Jorge Posada turns 39 in August. His defense, always something of an issue, became a major story when he clashed with A.J. Burnett, leading Joe Girardi to sit him in the righthander's postseason starts. With Johnson signed as a full-time DH, Posada's health and performance behind the plate are critical.

Andy Pettitte turns 38 in June and has a history of elbow and shoulder problems. What if it all catches up with him this year?

Derek Jeter turns 36 in June, and while he enjoyed something of a renaissance season in 2009, there's no denying he's old for a shortstop.

Alex Rodriguez turns 35 in July, and his hip surely will continue to be a concern, if not an issue.

The point here is that, although they lost Chien-Ming Wang for the season and A-Rod for a month due to hip surgery, the Yankees were very lucky with injuries last season. Even Burnett, forever an arm injury waiting to happen, survived his first year as a Yankee without missing a start.
This makes complete sense and surely could be an issue for the upcoming season. Luckily for the Yanks, the core four (plus A-Rod) have also been durable. Jeter has only had one season where he missed significant time. Coming off his first major injury A-Rod seems to be healthy again. Remember, he's a guy that throughout his career rarely misses more than a handful of games all year. Mariano Rivera always seems to have one minor injury throughout a season, but rarely misses much time. Pettitte is a workhorse who should once again be able to give the Yanks around 200 innings, but at 38 there's always a chance for decline. And then there's Jorge Posada. To me, Posada is the biggest risk for a major injury out of the group. He plays the toughest position and has made several DL trips over the past two seasons. In 2009 he played just 111 games after playing just 51 in 2008. Losing your starting catcher can be a season-killer.

However, this concern of an aging core makes the departure of a 36-year-old Johnny Damon and 35-year-old Hideki Matsui, both guys who have had their injury issues over the years, look pretty well thought out, doesn't it? After all, if the Yankees are going to get younger it's going to needs to start somewhere, and unless Brian Cashman suddenly forgot what he's doing the Yankees goal over the next few seasons will be to bring in good young talent to mix with the vets. A guy like Curtis Granderson starts the ball rolling nicely. Carl Crawford, who is just 28, will probably be one of the Yankees next big targets (at least I hope he is), whether it's by mid-season trade or as a free agent next offseason. Also with Posada getting up their in age, there's always Joe Mauer to look at if he decides to leave Minnesota.

Over the past few seasons Cashman has shown that he does have a plan with this team. In 2008 it was to hold on to the youngsters and wait to the 2009 free agent class. This offseason he seems to have stressed pitching and defense, as well as getting a little younger in the process. Next offseason I suspect we'll see more of the same.

Baseball America's Top Yankees Prospects of the Decade

Baseball America posted their top prospects of the decade for each team (hat-tip to RAB), here's how the Yankees looked:

(click to enlarge)

As Ben from RAB pointed out, where is Phil Hughes? Hughes wasn't a better prospect than Melky or Thames?

Friday, January 29, 2010

My Take On Johnny Damon

Well, it's pretty obvious now - Johnny Damon isn't coming back to the Yankees. The Bombers tried as hard as they thought they could to get Damon back, but Johnny was just too greedy and wouldn't even accept a $6 million offer from them (see post below).

JD was one of my favorite Yankees the past four years. When he first signed in December of 2005, I hated him just as much as every other New York fan did. He hit that grand-slam in the '04 ALCS that sealed the deal for the collapse, and pretty much just didn't seem like a good fit in the Bronx. But then thanks to his 24 home-run campaign and his great clubhouse attitude, my entire family was embracing him with open arms come 2007. If there was one player I wanted to see when I went to Yankee games, it was Derek Jeter. But Johnny Damon was a strong second.

The biggest moment I remember of Damon's 2007 season was his clutch 3-run home run in Game 3 of the ALDS which kept the Yanks alive at least for another day. Since I was only 9 and didn't remember much of the late 90's dynasty, it was amazing to me to see the Yanks win a playoff game at the legendary Yankee Stadium (I wasn't there, I watched it on TV). So Damon was pretty much responsible for my first playoff memories as a Yankee fan.

2008 wasn't a great year for the Yankees, but Johnny Damon did once again deliver for me. I was at the game when he went 5 for 5 against the Royals, including a walkoff double in the 11th inning. Not only did Johnny come up big in the clutch, but it was my final game at the old Yankee Stadium, so leaving the House That Ruth Built for the final time with "New York, New York" blasting from the sterios in winning fashion was just great.

I don't need to go into specifics about last year because we all know how successful he and the Yankees were. But what I do want to point out is how JD constantly said he wanted to return to New York and didn't plan on signing elsewhere. Red Sox fans, does this remind you of anything? Let me refresh you guys if you forgot:

In the middle of the 2005 season, Damon, still the Geico caveman, said that he would never play for the Yankees after rumors came up that he may want to sign with New York. He also said that he "loved Boston" and wouldn't leave it for the world. But I'm pretty sure he signed with the Yankees and took the biggest deal possible.

Now, move ahead to 2009. Johnny constantly said that he wanted to stay with the Yanks, and that New York is a great place to play. The Yankees even said they wanted Damon back, and clearly stated that throughout the offseason. But sure enough Damon got greedy and thought he was worth $11 million per year (he said that on WFAN today), and the Yanks refused to give him more than $6 mill.

Do I hate Johnny Damon for his selfishness? No. Do I think his "loving New York" talk was garbage? Not neccissarily. But in the end, Damon will always be remembered to Yankee and Red Sox fans as a player who was well-liked, but ended up being just another player who wants nothing but the $.

Fangraphs On The Winn Signing

From Dave Cameron:
Randy Winn signs with the Yankees. This is a somewhat odd move, not because Winn isn’t useful (he is), but because of Winn’s unbelievably terrible line against LHPs a year ago. We’re talking about a switch-hitter with no platoon split over his career (.765 OPS vs RH, .758 OPS vs LH) who just posted one of the single worst lines against LHP of any player in the history of the game.

.158/.184/.200. That’s unfathomably bad. Most pitchers hit better than that. But for 125 at-bats, Winn was utterly useless at the plate, going 19 for 120 against southpaws.

And despite that, the Yankees signed him to be their fourth outfielder and presumably split time with Brett Gardner, who is a left-handed batter that has been fairly heavily platooned as a major league player. It’s just strange that in a winter where lefty mashing outfielders are plentiful, the Yankees chose a reserve outfielder who performed so poorly against LHPs to backup their starting LF who they may not trust to start against LHPs.

Its not a bad move. Winn’s a useful player, the price is right, and his 2009 performance against lefties looks like a fluke. But it’s just a weird one.
I pretty much feel the same way about the move; not bad, but weird considering the Yankees needs.

Heyman: Damon Turned Down $6MM Offer From Yanks Last Week

From Jon Heyman (hat-tip to RAB):
In a last-ditch effort late last week after Damon himself called the team, Cashman, one of baseball's best dealmakers, tried floating a contract of $6 million with $3 million deferred at no interest (with the promise it would be cleared with team boss Hal Steinbrenner, who was about to return from his honeymoon). But Damon wasn't moved enough to respond.
Based on these quotes from Damon, he's either been brainwashed by Boras into thinking that he's actually going to get the deal he's looking for, or he's just THAT stubborn.
"I know what kind of player I am. I know I'm a player who makes a difference and won't back down,'' Damon told by phone on Thursday....

"I'm all right being a free agent at this point. I get to see how teams are shaping up,'' Damon said. "I know what I can do. And I think the rest of the world knows what I can do.''

Lupica's Bitching and Moaning Again

Mike Lupica is at it again. He's once again found a reason to bash the Yankees. This time the fact that the Yankees set a budget and stuck to it seems to be just too much for Mr. Lupica to handle. A man who has spent years bashing the Yankees spending is now upset that they're setting budgets. I know I know, it makes complete sense. (hat-tip to TYU)

It's amazing how this guy always finds something to complain about regarding the Yankees, it's almost like he's intentionally searching for reasons to complain. Interestingly, he sounds a lot like those fans who are never satisfied and expect a superstar at every position, a fan he's spent years ridiculing.

The headline of the baseball offseason isn't that the Yankees have Curtis Granderson now, that they have Nick Johnson and Javy (Game 7) Vazquez back, that they now have Randy Winn, who hit a total of two home runs last season, to share time in the outfield with Brett Gardner, who hit three. The headline is that the Yankees have a budget. We are supposed to believe that this budget is the reason that Johnny Damon goes now. Sure it is.

Now you can take the Yankees at their word, buy this notion that they can't spend $200 million on baseball players anymore. But if you do, you sort of have to wonder if the team really is rolling in dough, the way we're constantly told. Printing money like they're the Goldman Sachs Yankees. You have to wonder if they even made money last season in a new Stadium and with all those home playoff games, all the way into November.

Maybe the only way we'll ever find out what the books really look like on 161st Street is when the Steinbrenners sell the team someday. You can hide a lot of things from a prospective buyer. The books are hardly ever one of them.

Ahh yes, how could the Yankees ever want to spend money responsibly? Why do that? I personally think this is a smart move by the Yanks, especially with how strong next year's free agent class is, but for Lupica it's another case of damned if you do and damned if you don't.

By the way, just for fun, check out this 10-year-old quote from Lupica (hat-tip to Craig Calcaterra):
The Yankees continue to live big and baseball dies a little bit at a time, even as this as treated like some kind of boom period. If you even suggest that there is something wrong with the assembly line we see working at Yankee Stadium, you’re just anti-Yankee. More and more the Yankees are treated, especially by the local media, like the company in a company town.
And now back to today's article:

But for now the story, and the Yankees are sticking to it, is that they've got a by-God budget. That they couldn't afford what they say Damon wanted. Or what they thought he wanted. Or what they were afraid Damon's agent, Scott Boras, might try to weasel out of them, because nobody can out-weasel Boras.

Really? Johnny Damon turns out to be the one guy the Yankees can't afford? It would be like finding the one bar girl Tiger Woods didn't want to take home with him.

This Yankee budget, by the way, revolves around the completely arbitrary figure of $200 million. To them, it is some kind of magic number, even though nobody else in baseball spends anything close to that, has ever spent anything close, will ever spend anything close to that.

But does anybody believe that Johnny Damon, who helped beat the Yankees in 2004 when he was with the Red Sox and played such a spectacular World Series for the Yankees five years later against the Phillies, has to go because of money? Or because Boras made Brian Cashman mad?

Let me see if I have this straight: Boras' No. 1 top-dog client, Alex Rodriguez, got to opt out of his Yankees contract during Game 4 of the 2007 World Series, show up the Yankees as much as anybody ever has, but that wasn't a career-ender in New York?

You know what the bottom line is on this sudden bottom line the Yankees have? If they wanted Damon to play two more years here, he'd be playing two more years here. They just don't want to say that. And for some loopy reason, they want to act as if they're the victims here.

Of course Cashman doesn't want to be regarded as the guy who can only buy the World Series. Of course he wants to have the kind of rep as a personnel savant the way Theo Epstein and Billy Beane do. Of course he did make a whole series of terrific small moves to improve the '09 Yankees.

Except: Except none of those moves matters if Cashman didn't get to spend nearly a half-billion dollars on CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixeira last winter! And if the Yankees don't win this season, you can only imagine what happens to this new budget next winter if somebody like Joe Mauer is in play. What kind of money will they throw at him?

The first budget in all of Yankee history is good cover here. Boras is much better cover, just because banging him around is a much more enjoyable workout than you could ever get at the gym. But if the Yankees wanted Johnny Damon, he'd still be here. They didn't. He isn't.

A-Rod Chats With Kim Jones

Alex Rodriguez is coming off what had to have been not only his most rocky season as a big leaguer, but in the end probably his most satisfying. Wednesday he spoke about that season with the YES network's Kim Jones.
"I think I grew up a lot, both on and off the field," Rodriguez told the YES Network's Kimberly Jones for the Yankees Hot Stove show. "Staring at retirement right in the face, kind of like Bo Jackson -- that's the first thing I thought of.

"... It was a commitment that I wanted to do for the team, and it was very scary. I knew I was putting the rest of my career at risk, but I felt that with the team at hand, it was a risk worth taking."


"Overall, it was an adventurous year, but I'm glad's behind me now and we get a chance to continue to build on the positives," Rodriguez said.
I doubt there was any real chance he was going to retire, but we all know how pro athletes are when they suffer their first major injury.

He also said he was relieved to get rid of that whole "can't get a hit in the playoffs" stigma.
"It was good because I was so tired of hearing that," Rodriguez said. "I mean, it was exhausting, to be honest with you. It was so frustrating to go in every postseason with all the expectations and ambitions to do well, and three, four games [later] and we were right back in Miami and to our [respective] homes. It was frustrating, painful.

"For me, I was just so tired of the whole 'unclutch' thing. It was just very annoying, but to come over and be part of a championship team and get some of the biggest hits of my career and to deliver for my teammates when they needed me, that certainly feels really good and I'm very relieved."


"I've made plenty of mistakes in the past and stood up to them," Rodriguez said. "I think I've learned from them and I think I've grown a lot. It just makes me appreciate being a part of a great team, a great organization.

"Having my teammates and coaches and the organization always standing by me is something that I'm very grateful for, and I look forward to leading this team to more championships, because I think we have a team that can do that."
You can listen to the entire interview here. One thing I noticed was how relaxed he seemed, something we've only seen from A-Rod for maybe half a season, a half where he hit a ton. I expect big things from A-Rod in 2010, who now can finally just play baseball, no steroids talk, no unclutch talk, just baseball. Watch out American League.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Cashman on Hot Stove

Brian Cashman was on tonight's Hot Stove show on YES. He spoke about Johnny Damon, signing Vazquez, Granderson, and Johnson, who will play center, the starting rotation, Jeter's contract, and other things.

A couple things stuck out to me thoughout the interview. When asked if the Winn signing officially closed the book on Damon, he said
“The book closed on Johnny a long time ago on actually.... We had a strong desire to have Johnny back, but not at all costs. We put a value on Johnny, shared that opinion on what that value was and Scott Boras and Johnny had a different value and adifferent opinion. Unfortunately, we never even came close to assessing each other or finding a way to bridge the gap between what they were looking for and what we were willing to offer. ... I just hope in the end that when he does decide to sign that it’s not for a number that was within the range that we were offering before. Because that means that he could have been a Yankee if he wanted to and it took him awhile to assess what his market value was. “
He was also asked if Granderson could play some left field and said
Yeah that’s possible. We feel we have 2 centerfielders on our outfield situation, 2 starting centerfielders. In terms of Brett Gardner and Curtis Granderson. Grandersen’s an all star centerfielder. Brett Gardner’s obviously biggest tool is his field and run ability, and we feel he’s one of the best defensive centerfielders in the game. So it's terrific to be in a position we think as we enter the season to have 2 centerfielders out of the 3 guys with Nick Swisher... Right now we’re going into it thinking it's Granderson in center and Gardner obviously in left. But if by watching the games unravel in spring training, and we've talked to Curtis about it as well, if we feel a better team exists with Curtis Granderson in left and Gardner in center. If that actually shows itself, our job is to put the best team in the best alignment on the field and that’s what we’ll do.
The entire interview can be seen here.

Yanks Sign Taiwanese Infielder

The Yankees have signed Taiwanese infielder Fu-Lin Kuo. Here's some info on Kuo from Donnie Collins:
... he’s 19, somewhere in the 6-foot, 190-pound range and most likely a second baseman — I’m not going to pretend to give you a scouting report.

he’s 19, somewhere in the 6-foot, 190-pound range and most likely a second baseman — I’m not going to pretend to give you a scouting report. This one is the best that I’ve found, and it ranked him as the No. 4 senior high school player in all of Taiwan last year.
It also said he is “a poor man’s version of the Seattle Mariners’ Yung-Chi Chen.” Hope that helps.

To give you a better idea of what a poor man's Yung-Chi Chen is, in 381 games over six minor league seasons Chen is hitting .295/.348/.413 with 22 HR, 125 RBI, and 80 stolen bases. Not too shabby.

How about another top prospect list?

There have been many top prospect lists and organizational rankings list in the past few days and weeks. Today, Keith Law came out with his top 100 prospects list. Two Yankees, catcher Jesus Montero (10) and LHP Manny Banuelos (96), made the list. Here's what Law said Montero and then Banuelos:
Montero is really a "CINO" (catcher in name only), as few people outside the Yankees organization believe the giant player -- listed at 6-4, 225 pounds, although he's bigger than that now -- can stay behind the plate, even with the improvement in his throwing in 2009. Montero's ticket to the big leagues is his bat, and his hitting style is similar to that of another big guy who spent a lot of his career at DH: Frank Thomas. Montero transfers his weight early and hits off his front foot, but he generates tremendous bat speed and is so strong that he hits and hits for power regardless of the fact that he's on that lead foot. Behind the plate, he has arm strength and has improved his accuracy, but he's so big that he doesn't move quickly enough to catch in the big leagues, and his receiving has never been a strength. His bat is so far ahead of his glove anyway that it might end up making sense for the Yankees to employ him as a major league DH soon rather than wait for him to develop as a catcher, knowing that there's a good chance the latter won't happen.
Banuelos and Zach McAllister are both pretty close and I could have put McAllister on the list instead, but I'll roll the dice on Banuelos' age and chance for a little more velocity as he matures physically. He sits 90-92 mph right now as a starter with a solid-average changeup, and a chance for both pitches to improve to above-average in time. His curveball remains his weakest offering, soft without much depth, although he has the arm speed to throw a good breaking ball; it just may turn out to be a slider or cutter instead of a true curve. He has good feel and tremendous mound presence, which helped him survive as an 18-year-old in the full-season Sally League. He's also one of the best Mexican prospects in the minors, as the Yankees are one of the few teams to still scout Mexico aggressively for amateur talent. His ceiling is probably just a No. 3 or No. 4 starter, but given his youth and feel he's got a good chance to get there.
Doesn't sound too convinced that Montero can catch in the bigs, huh? But like we've been hearing for a while now, his defense is the thing that could hold him back. With the Yankees having a lineup full of aging stars, some who may need to DH in the future, he may have to learn to play the outfield.

The key for Banuelos is getting his breaking stuff in order. Luckily he's just 18-years-old, which gives him plenty of time to figure that out. I think most Yankees fans would be happy if he did end up turning out to be "just a No. 3 or No. 4 starter."

Law also posted his list of the top 10 Yankees prospects which looks like this:

1. Jesus Montero, C
2. Manny Banuelos, LHP
3. Zach McAllister, RHP
4. Austin Romine, C
5. Slade Heathcott, CF
6. Jose Ramirez, RHP
7. Gary Sanchez, C
8. Andrew Brackman, RHP
9. David Adams, 2B
10. JR Murphy, C

No arguments here. (hat-tip to TYU)

My AL 2010 Predictions

These are preliminary, but seeing as the free agent market isn't full of very many impact players, I'm going to go ahead and put up my predictions.

AL East:

1. Yankees, 98-64
2. Red Sox, 95-67*
3. Rays, 93-69
4. Orioles, 73-89
5. Blue Jays, 64-98

AL Central:

1. Twins, 84-78
2. White Sox, 82-80
3. Tigers, 80-82
4. Royals, 75-87
5. Indians, 70-92

AL West:

1. Mariners, 92-70
2. Angels, 89-73
3. Rangers, 81-81
4. Athletics, 79-83

*=wild card, these wins/losses are just off the top of my head (just what seems right)

AL MVP: 1. Ichiro, SEA; 2. Joe Mauer, MIN.

AL Cy Young: 1. CC Sabathia, NYY; 2. Felix Hernandez, SEA.

AL MOY: Don Wakamatsu, SEA.

(I don't really know any rookies, so I'm going to hold off on that.)

I'll put up my NL Predictions in a day or so. Feel free to comment below.

PECOTA Picks Yanks To Finish 3rd?

PECOTA (Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm) came out with their annual projections (hat-tip to Circling The Bases) and I'm pretty disappointed with where they have the Yankees.

(click to enlarge)

If you were wondering, here's last year's.

This obviously doesn't mean the Yankees won't win the division, or the AL, or the World Series. I'm just wondering what PECOTA saw that caused them to predict a 3rd place finish for the Yanks. Could the loss of Matsui, Damon and Melky really have a bigger impact than the additions of Granderson, Vazquez, Johnson and Winn?

Here's the NL projections, they have the Mets finishing 4th at 77-85.

Nightengale: Yanks To Hire Kevin Towers

From Bob Nightengale (hat-tip to MLB Trade Rumors):
The Yankees may be done with their player roster, but before spring will announce the hiring of former Padres GM Kevin Towers
Towers may actually turn out to be the Yankees most valuable signing this week.

Montero Makes MLB Networks Top Prospect List

MLB Network came out had their top 50 prospect countdown last night. You can check out the entire list here. Montero, he came in at number 19 on the list. Bryan Hoch wrote an article about Montero for and had some quotes about Montero from Yanks senior VP of baseball operations from Mark Newman:

"Offensively, he's an outstanding player," Yankees senior vice president of baseball operations Mark Newman said recently. "He can flat hit, and he can hit with power. He hits the ball to all fields. It's a special hitter, one of the best we've had since I've been here.

"We've had guys do what Derek [Jeter] did as a young player, but beyond him, Montero is right at the top of the list. He's got ground to cover, though. Obviously not many of the chapters have been written in his story, but if he keeps working at it and keeps his head on straight, I think he will do all that stuff. He's got a chance to be an awfully good player."


"He came a long way this year defensively in the second half, before he hurt his finger," Newman said. "He threw out a higher percentage of runners in Double-A than A-ball, and of course a lot of that depends on the pitching staff you have. But he changed his throwing footwork a little bit and it seems to have really helped him defensively.

"He was a 19-year-old kid playing what I think is the most demanding position on the field defensively, and he's got improvements he's got to make. But his hands are good and he's got arm strength. He's a big guy, so he's going to always have to work at lower-body flexibility and general conditioning, but he's been doing a good job of that."

Patrick Teale, who covers the Yankees for Pinstripes Plus magazine, had this to say in the article:
"He can mash," said Patrick Teale. "This guy could be [Albert] Pujols-like, he could be [Mike] Piazza-like. He's got that kind of bat. He can hit for average, he can hit for power, he can hit any pitch and he's got a good approach at the plate. He doesn't really walk a ton yet, but I wouldn't let the small amount of walks disguise the fact that he's a pretty patient hitter, very selective. He's a complete hitter."
Even if he can't figure out how to catch at the level necessary for the big leagues, the Yanks have to find a way to get that kind of bat in their lineup.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Keith Law Posts His Organizational Rankings

Earlier today I posted Frankie Piliere's rankings where the Yankees came in at number 15. Today, Keith Law posted his rankings and it's safe to say he wasn't as impressed with the Yankees system, which he ranked at number 25.
Lost picks and trades depleted the system; they traded two guys currently in the top 100. After Jesus Montero, the next impact guys are probably Slade Heathcott and Gary Sanchez, with three pro games combined to date, while their highest-ceiling arm, Andrew Brackman, struggled with command in his first full year back from Tommy John surgery.
Law had the Rangers (1), Red Sox (2), Rays (3), Indians (4) and Braves (5) as his top five. He had the Mets at 15.

I can't really argue with what Law said about the Yanks, although he didn't mention all the good arms at the lower levels, or guys like Austin Romine and Zach McAllister. Still, I can't help but question Law's rankings when I see where he put the Red Sox.

Rays Interested In Damon

From Joel Sherman:
A darkhorse has emerged in pursuit of Johnny Damon, and it is an AL East rival of the Yankees.

The Tampa Bay Rays have been in regular contact with Scott Boras about adding Damon to be their primary DH, The Post has learned.


Friends of Damon say interest in the lefty hitter has intensified as clubs have grown to believe that the Yankees will not swoop in at the last minute to re-sign him. The A’s are definitely involved with Damon, and there have been reports the Reds and Tigers are interested.
Sherman also says that the Rays would use Damon as a DH against righties and play him in left to give Carl Crawford a day off here and there.

Yanks Sign Randy Winn

Joel Sherman is reporting that the Yankees have reached and one-year agreement with outfielder Randy Winn, pending a physical. Sherman also tweets that the Yanks "considered Winn a better overall player than Reed Johnson, though Winn is not a good hitter from RH side" and believes Winn the last $2 million in the Yanks budget.

This would seem to officially end Johnny Damon's career in pinstripes.

The switch-hitter had a down year in '09 hitting .262/.318/.353 with 2 HR, 51 RBI, and 16 stolen bases in 149 games with the Giants. Unless he can regain his 2008 form when he hit .306/.363/.426 with 10 HR, 64 RBI, and 25 steals. I'm guessing he'll start the season splitting time with Brett Gardner until one of them proves they deserve more playing time. He'll get most of his time in one of the corner outfield spots where he has been very good throughout his career.

I'm not sure how much the 35-year-old has left, but it's a pretty good move for the Yanks, who continue to improve their team defense, specifically in the outfield.

YES Propaganda Led To Cone's Departure

From Joel Sherman:
I continue to hear that Cone’s departure after one season in the booth for YES was hardly pleasant. He had a personality conflict with one executive in particular, feeling this executive was intrusive and disrespectful all year. However, there were two incidents, in particular, that made Cone flip out.

Early in the season, with the Yankees struggling, Cone remarked on the air that if the Yankees did not start performing better than they could fall out of the race. The YES executive told the broadcasters that this remark aggravated Hank Steinbrenner and needed to be avoided in the future (so much for a firewall between the team and what is said on the air). Cone felt this was a true statement – and rather innocuous – and should not have been discussed.

Late in the season, Cone remarked that one of the important, behind-the-scenes workers involved in daily coverage of the Yankees was a free agent at the end of the year. This made the top YES executive flip out because the plan was not to retain this particular employee. Cone was confronted by the YES executive and there was a heated exchange during which Cone explained that he had made a lot of money playing (nearly $67 million) and took the YES job as a way to get back into baseball, but that he would not take such verbal abuse from anyone because he did not need the job.

At that point it became apparent that Cone would not be back in 2010. Instead, YES plans on bringing in Tino Martinez to do about 40 games.
The idea that an announcer shouldn't speak the truth even if that truth is that the team isn't playing well is ridiculous and I can't blame Coney for being upset. I used to laugh every time I'd read Bob Raissman's column when he'd call YES Al-Yankzera, but maybe he was on to something. YES needs to understand that Yankees fans are smart enough to realize when the team is in trouble or not, and that no statement any announcer makes about the state of the Yankees should be against the rules as long as it's true.

Sherman also said that Cone has been approached by ESPN, but is more likely to take an advisory role with the Players Association.

Girardi Willing To Play Granderson In Left

From Bryan Hoch:
Girardi spoke on Tuesday at the Baseball Assistance Team dinner in New York, where he received the inaugural Bobby Murcer Award on behalf of the Yankees. The club acquired Granderson in December to play center field, but Melky Cabrera has since been traded to the Braves and Gardner's value is as a pure center fielder.

"That's something that we'll discuss as we get down to Spring Training," Girardi said. "You kind of wait to see what's going to happen here, if we do sign another bat and another outfielder, and how that really adjusts everyone's playing time.

"I'm not really locked into anything. We're going to do whatever makes our team the best, but until we have that full team, it's kind of hard to make that decision."


"When you look at our outfield, right field is the short porch, and left and center are the areas to cover ground," Girardi said. "I think wherever we put either one of them, they're going to cover a lot of ground when they're out there.

"If Gardy is in left, he's going to cover a lot of ground and that's going to be helpful. Our field is built to where you want your left fielder and your center fielder to cover a lot of ground."


"I think Curtis Granderson, as skillful as he is, could play anywhere in the outfield," Girardi said. "That's something that he could do. But right now, we're not sure exactly what our club is going to be, so it's hard to say what everyone is going to be."
I've been behind the idea of Gardner in center for a while, simply because he's faster and could possibly cover more ground then Granderson. And although the sample size might not be big enough to come to any conclusions based on UZR Gardner was the better centerfielder last season. Either way with the Gardner and Granderson in left and center (whichever way the Yanks decided to play it) the Yankees outfield defense should be at its best in years.

I may have asked you this before, but who would you rather see in center?

Piliere: Yanks System Ranks 15th in Baseball

After posting his top 100 prospects a few days ago Frankie Piliere ranked the farm systems for all the teams around the league. The Yankees came in 15th on his list and here's what he had to say about them:
The Yankees have plenty of depth. What they don't have right now is a great deal of impact talent behind Jesus Montero. They have a lot of potential in the low levels, and it's a solid system, but at the moment much of their high-upside players are early in their development.
If you're wondering, the top five were Tampa, Texas, Oakland, Atlanta and Cleveland. Boston came in at no. 11 and the Mets came in at no. 24.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Some Info From Cash and Girardi

First this from Girardi via Marc Carig:
Girardi: Golson trade doesn't mean Yankees are out of market for outfielder. Of course a peak at Golson's numbers said the same thing.
And regarding Damon returning to the Yanks he said "I don't see it getting done. But you never say never."

Cashman had this to say about Damon to Carig:
"Don't bother paying attention. Johnny's physical abilities exceed our financial abilities at this point in time."
Also regarding the Damon situation is this from Brian Cashman via Bryan Hoch:
Brian Cashman on Johnny Damon: "I'm not having any discussions on him. His abilities exceed the money that I have."
Cashman on Damon, part 2: “He’s a valuable player that a lot of teams are talking to, I’m sure." Asked if the Yankees are one, he said "No."
Cashman is also apparently eying a right-handed bat:
NYY priority is a RH-hitting OF. “I have players that are willing to move with me when I decide to," Cashman said.
Based on all this I'd put the Yankees chances at resigning Damon at about 1-2% and that might be a stretch.

Yanks Trade For Greg Golson

From Doug Miller:
The Yankees added to their outfield depth Tuesday, acquiring Greg Golson in a trade with the Texas Rangers.

New York, which gave up Minor League infielder Mitch Hilligoss in the deal, receives a 24-year-old who batted .258 with 40 RBIs in 123 games with Triple-A Oklahoma City in 2009. Golson, who had 27 extra-base hits last year, is a .263 career hitter in the Minors with 48 homers and 265 RBIs in 634 combined games in the Rangers and Philadelphia Phillies organizations.
In return for Golson the Rangers will receive minor-league infielder Mitch Hilligoss and between $15,000 and $20,000 cash.

Nady Signs With Cubs

Tim Brown reported earlier today that Xavier Nady has agreed on a deal with the Cubs. So you can check another name off the Yankees list.

(Updated 2:26 p.m.) Jerry Crasnick is reporting that it's a one-year deal worth $3.3 million base salary. Nady could make up to $5.35 million with performance bonuses.

In other news, Ben Sheets signed a one-year, $10 million deal with the A's. This probably means they're out of the running for Johnny Damon's services.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Wang's Agent Expects Good Deal

From Ken Rosenthal:
Chien-Ming Wang, coming off shoulder surgery on July 29, is expected to throw off a mound in the next week or two, according to one of his agents, Alan Nero.

“Everything is going extraordinarily well,” Nero said.

Six teams are evaluating Wang’s medical records, Nero said. Wang, who turns 30 on March 31, is training at Fischer Sports in Phoenix.

“We’re anticipating a major-league offer with a substantial guarantee and substantial upside,” Nero said.

“We’re so confident with what is going to happen, if we don’t do it until May, we’re OK. Whoever shows the initiative to take a little bit of risk is going to win.”
That risk is probably the reason why Nero is saying he'll wait until May. Wang is going to have to prove he's 100% healthy before teams are going to be ready to hand him a big league deal.

Can Jeter Reach Rose?

Lucas Vanderwarker brought up the idea over at LoHud as a guest blogger and Rob Neyer posted about it over on ESPN. Me? As much as I'd love to see him become the all-time hits king, I don't think it's gonna happen. Neither does Neyer, and since he's the expert I'll show you some of what he had to say.
According to Bill James' Favorite Toy method, Jeter has not established a measurable chance to break Rose's record. That said, he does have a six-percent chance of reaching 4,000 hits. Which leads to the obvious question: Is 4,257 hits really so many more than 4,000?

And the obvious answer: Yes. When you're 43 or 44, 257 is an awful lot of hits.

The other problem is one of context. It's not just incredibly uncommon for a player to collect nearly 1,500 hits after turning 36, as Pete Rose did. It's also incredibly uncommon for a player to play regularly or semi-regularly into his mid 40s, as Rose did. And of course he was able to do that because a) he played first base, and 2) he managed his own team for the last 203 games of his playing career.
He then brings up the fact that since the Yankees have both Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira locked up in long-term deals, that when Jeter grows out of shortstop he'll likely have no position, at least not as an everyday player.
With the Yankees, anyway. Jeter's halo is such that some other organization might consider giving him 500 plate appearances at that age, just for the sake of having him around. But I don't see him taking a huge pay cut, and I don't see him playing for another team.

What strikes me as infinitely more likely is that his next contract runs for four or five years, taking him perhaps through his Age 41 season. As the years pile up, he'll transition to some sort of utility role and will leave the game with a great amount of grace.

I would absolutely love to see Derek Jeter replace Pete Rose in the record books. But it says here that he'll finish his career with 3,692 hits.
The only way Jeter can do it is if he defies the laws of aging. Some players have done, most needed steroids, but some have done it legitimately. Can Jeter? I have no idea, but like I said before I doubt it. Still, he's one of the greatest Yankees of all-time and will be the first with over 3000 hits, and that, in it of itself is pretty amazing.

What about you, do you think Jeter has a shot at breaking Rose's record?

Four Yanks Make Fanhouse Top Prospect List

Frankie Piliere of AOL Fanhouse came out with his list of the top 100 prospects in baseball and four Yankees made the list. Jesus Montero came in at no. 5 on the list, Manuel Banuelos came in at no. 41, Austin Romine was ranked 45th, and Zach McAllister came in at no. 76. Here's what Piliere had to say about them:

Jesus Montero:
Can he catch? Yes. Will he catch? It doesn't matter much. His bat is that potent. Much debate surrounds Montero's ability to stick behind the plate, but the bat is going to be special. He has a potential 40-homer bat with the offensive upside of Miguel Cabrera. We could see the Venezuelan slugger as early as midseason in 2010 if all goes well in Triple-A.
Manuel Banuelos:
Banuelos somehow gets the tag of a command guy with limited stuff. That couldn't be further from the truth. His command and feel for pitching are his trademarks, but with a 90-93 mph fastball and the potential for two plus secondary pitches, this smallish lefty has the upside of a No. 2 starter. He's extremely young, but he could force the Yankees to advance him quickly.
Austin Romine:
Romine has always been "the other guy," with the presence of Jesus Montero overshadowing him in the organization. He does not have the offensive upside of Montero (few players do), but his skills behind the plate and developing power make him nearly as interesting a prospect. He's ready to move as fast as Montero from an offensive standpoint, but he has the potential to be a potent offensive threat and an above-average defender behind the plate.
He did not provide commentary for anyone ranked below 50th.

This Week in Yankees History (1/24-1/30)

This Week in Yankees History

January 24th - January 30th

January 24th

1885 - Former Yankees 2B Earl Gardner (1908-1912) was born. Earl played 5 seasons for Yankees, hitting .263 in 273 games.

1936 - Yankees obtained P Bump Hadley and OF Roy Johnson from Senators for OF Jesse Hill and P Jimmy De Shong. Hadley will go 49-31 in 5 years with the Yankees. Johnson will hit .265 as reserve OF, before being sent to the Braves.

1939 - Eddie Collins, Willie Keeler and George Sisler are elected to the Hall of Fame by the BWAA. George Sisler set a MLB season-record with 257 hits in 1920. He batted .420 in 1922 on his way to a .340 career average. Collins batted an even .333 for his career and stole 744 bases as a member of 4 World Series. The Yankees OF Willie Keeler, who "hit 'em where they ain't", batted .341 and 2,932 hits.

1953 - Former Yankees P Tim Stoddard (1986-1988) was born. Tim came to the Yankees in the Ed Whitson trade with the Padres. He posted a 10-6 record with 11 saves working out of the Yankees bullpen in 109 games.

1958 - Former Yankees P and MLB Bullpen Coach Neil Allen (1985, 1987-1988) was born. Neil went 7-4 in 56 games with 1 save in 2 tours with the team. He would later become the Yankees MLB bullpen coach.

1960 - Former Yankees P Russ Ford (1910-1913) passed away. In September of 1908, Russ Ford was drafted by the Highlanders from Atlanta (Southern Association) in the 1908 MLB Rule 5 player draft. Russ posted a 73-56 record in 143 games for the Yankees. Ford‘s best Yankees seasons were in 1910, when he went 26-6 and in 1911, when he posted a 22-11 record. On January 20, 1914, Russ Ford jumped from the Yankees to the Buffalo Buffeds of the Federal League. Russ Ford dominated the AL for a few seasons thanks to his devastating “emery ball”. The emery ball was a nominally illegal pitch that involved doctoring the baseball by scuffing it with emery paper. Ford disguised his illegal modification by claiming to throw a spitball, though he came clean about his technique after retiring as a player in 1936. Other MLB pitchers apparently figured out that he was getting away with scuffing and copied both his approach and the dodge of claiming that their pitches were spitballs. He is the brother of former MLB P Gene Ford. Russ Ford is a member of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.

1969 - Former Yankees P Tom Zachary (1928-1930) passed away. On August 23, 1928, Tom was selected off waivers by the Yankees from the Senators. While pitching for the 1927 Senators, Tom Zachary gave up 3 of Babe Ruth's 60 HRs during the 1927 AL season, including his 60th HR on September 30, 1927. With the Senators, he appeared in 2 World Series (1924-1925) with a 2-0 mark. Zachary holds the MLB record for most wins in a MLB season without a loss. In 1929, Tom went 12-0 for the 1929 Yankees. He appeared in the 1928 World Series for the Yankees, posting a 1-0 mark. His overall Yankees pitching record was 16-4 in 36 games. On May 12, 1930, Tom was selected off waivers by the Braves from the Yankees. Tom pitched in majors for 19 seasons, before retiring at the age of 40 in 1936.

1980 - The Yankees signed INF/OF Jim Nettles as a free agent. He is the brother of Yankees 3B Graig Nettles. He will play at Columbus (AAA).

1991 - The Yankees signed MLB free agent OF/DH Pat Sheridan. Pat will hit .204 in 62 games for the Yankees during the 1991 AL season.

2000 - Yankees minor league INF prospect D'Angelo Jimenez suffers a broken neck when a car he is driving in the Dominican Republic collides with a bus. Jimenez is not paralyzed, but will miss the 2000 AL season. He figured to be the Yankees reserve infielder, taking over the role that Luis Sojo, now with the Pirates, filled during the 1999 AL season.

2006 - It is announced that more than 1,000 items of Joe DiMaggio memorabilia, including his 1947 AL MVP Award plaque and a signed photo of Marilyn Monroe, will be auctioned in May.

2006 - Former Yankees minor league INF/OF Carlos Martinez passed away. On November 17, 1983, Carlos Martinez was signed by the Yankees as an MLB amateur free agent. He never played for the Yankees at the MLB level. On July 30, 1986, Carlos was traded by the Yankees along with a player to be named later and C/DH/1B Ron Hassey to the White Sox for OF/1B/DH Ron Kittle, C Joel Skinner and INF Wayne Tolleson. The Yankees would send minor league C Bill Lindsey on December 24, 1986 to the White Sox to complete the trade. Carlos Martinez hit the famous HR off the head of Rangers OF Jose Canseco on May 25, 1993. He died at the age of 41 of AIDS-related causes.

January 25th

1876 - Former Yankees P Fred Glade (1908) was born. Fred went 0-4 in 5 games in 1908, after coming from the Browns.

1889 - Former Yankees C Les Nunamaker (1914-1917) was born. On May 13, 1914, Les was purchased by the Yankees from Red Sox. He appeared in 369 games for the Yankees hitting .262.On January 22,1918, Les was traded by the Yankees along with P Nick Cullop, INF Joe Gedeon, INF Fritz Maisel, P Urban Shocker and $15,000 to the Browns for P Eddie Plank and 2B Del Pratt.

1908 - Former Yankees P Roy Sherid (1939-1941) was born. Roy went 23-24 in 87 games with 7 saves for the Yankees.

1918 - Former Yankees P Steve Roser (1944-1946) was born. Steve went in 5-4 in 20 games with 1 save, before being sold to Braves.

1943 - The Yankees sell future HOF P Lefty Gomez to the Braves. Gomez will never pitch in a game for the Braves, who decided to release the veteran left-hander. Gomez will eventually sign with the Senators in May, only appearing in 1 game before retiring from MLB.

1945 - Larry MacPhail, Dan Topping and Del Webb purchased the Yankees for $2.8 million from the heirs of previous owner Jacob Ruppert. The new owners announce that Ed Barrow will remain in place as GM, but a month later they will install Larry MacPhail as the Yankees new GM. Edward Barrow was the Yankees President and GM from 1939-1945, running the team for the Jacob Ruppert estate.

1956 - Former Yankees P Dale Mohorcic (1988-1989) was born. On August 30, 1988, Dale was traded by the Rangers to the Yankees for reliever Cecilio Guante. Working out of the Yankees bullpen, Dale went 4-3 in 45 games with 3 saves. On November 8, 1989, Dale was released by the Yankees. He would finish out his MLB career with the Expos.

1966 - Yankees veteran shortstop Tony Kubek announces his retirement due to a serious back problem. During a 9-year MLB career, Tony Kubek was named to 3 AL All-Star teams and played on 7 Yankee pennant winners and 3 World Championship clubs. He was the AL Rookie Of Year in 1957, hitting .297 in 127 games. Tony will become a successful MLB baseball announcer.

1999 - The Mets games for the coming 1999 NL season will broadcast by WPIX-TV, Channel 11, after being aired on WOR-TV, Channel 9, since the club inception in 1962. The Yankees games, which had been aired for nearly 50 years on WPIX-TV, will now be seen on Channel 5, a FOX-TV affiliate.

1999 - MLB free agent OF/DH Tim Raines is signed by the A’s to a $600,000 contract. Raines hit .290 for the 1998 World Champion Yankees. He has a .296 MLB career batting average.

January 26th

1927 - Former MLB player and Yankees MLB scout Bob Nieman (1977-1984) was born (1927-1985). Bob played 12 seasons in MLB. After retiring in 1962, he became a MLB scout with the Indians, Dodgers, A’s and finally with the Yankees from 1977-1984. Bob passed away in 1985.

1950 - Former Yankees minor league P Mike Pazik was born. Mike was a 1st-round pick in the 1971 MLB amateur player draft (secondary phase). He was in the Yankees organization from 1971 through part of 1974. He went 13-8 for Syracuse Chiefs in 1973 and in 1974, split between Syracuse and Tacoma (Twins), again went 13-8. Mike never appeared with the Yankees at the MLB level. On May 4, 1974, Mike was traded by the Yankees along with cash to the Twins for veteran P Dick Woodson.

1950 - Former Yankees reserve C (1924), Minor league manager and MLB player Chick Autry passed away. Chick was reserve catcher in ML. He appeared in 2 games for the 1924 Yankees with no hits. Also he played for the Indians and White Sox. After retiring from MLB as an active player, he managed in the minors for the Pirates and Yankees. His last manager job was with the Yankees with the Beaumont Exporters in the Texas League for the 1948-1949 seasons.

1955 - Former Yankees reserve INF Brian Doyle (1978-1980) was born. On February 17, 1977, Brian was traded by the Rangers along with INF Greg Pryor and cash to the Yankees for veteran INF Sandy Alomar. Brian had a very busy 1978 season, being sent from the Yankees to Tacoma Yankees (AAA) 5 times. In 1978 MLB post season, Brian filled in at 2B for the injured Willie Randolph. In the 1978 ACLS, Brian hit .286 in 3 games. In the 1978 World Series against the Dodgers, Brian hit .438 drove in 4 runs in 6 games for the Yankees. With the return of a healthy Willie Randolph at 2B, Brian spent the next 2 seasons moving between the Yankees and Columbus Clippers (AAA). On December 8, 1980, Brian was drafted by the A’s from the Yankees in the 1980 MLB Rule 5 player draft.

1958 - Former Yankees reserve OF Mike Patterson (1981-1982) was born. On May 20, 1981, he was traded by the A’s along with minor leaguer Chuck Dougherty and 1B Dave Revering to the Yankees for 1B/DH Jim Spencer and P Tom Underwood. Mike appeared in 15 games for the Yankees, hitting .200.

1962 - Yankees All Star outfielder’s Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle sign contracts with Columbia Pictures to appear in “Safe at Home!” a movie that is to be shot during the 1962 Yankees spring training camp. The movie will star Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle as themselves and feature cameos by Yankee players Whitey Ford, Yogi Berra and Yankees Manager Ralph Houk.

1962 - Former Yankees reserve C (1925) and MLB manager Steve O’Neill passed away. On December 15, 1924, Steve was selected off waivers by the Yankees from the Red Sox. Steve appeared in 35 games for the 1925 Yankees, hitting .286. Steve would manage the Indians, Tigers, Red Sox and Phillies. In addition he was a MLB coach and scout before retiring from the game.

1989 - The Yankees signed MLB free agent P Chuck Cary (1989-1991). Chuck would go 11-22 in 60 games as a Yankee before being released by the team in October of 1993.

1995 - Former Yankees reserve OF Richard Tettelbach (1955) passed away (1929-1995). Richard Tettelbach, who played at Yale University with George H.W. Bush, was in the AL during 1955-1957. Also he had a 6-year minor league career, hitting .302. Tettelbach was at Yale from 1948-1950. Before 1951 AL Season, Richard Tettelbach was signed by the Yankees as an MLB amateur free agent. He was a star with Norfolk Tars in 1952, a team that went 96-36; Tettelbach led the Piedmont League with 30 stolen bases, while hitting .317, good for 3rd in the league. While in Triple A in 1955 with Denver Bears, he played with many future MLB players, including future Yankees Don Larsen, Marv Throneberry, Whitey Herzog, Tony Kubek and others. In September of 1955, Richard made his MLB debut with the Yankees appearing in 2 games with no hits. On February 8, 1956, Richard was traded by the Yankees along with a player to be named later, C Lou Berberet, INF Herb Plews and P Bob Wiesler to the Senators for INF Bobby Kline and P Mickey McDermott. The Yankees would send minor league OF Whitey Herzog on April 2, 1956 to the Senators to complete the trade. Most of his MLB at-bats came with the 1956 Senators. He played LF, a position where Roy Sievers was the regular from 1954-1959 for the Senators. Whitey Herzog, Tettelbach's former teammate at Denver, played CF.

1998 - The Yankees signed MLB free agent P Doug Linton. The Yankees would release Doug during their 1998 spring training camp.

1999 - The Yankees released reserve C Alberto Castillo. They signed MLB free agent P Jason Grimsley. For the Yankees, Jason Grimsley will post a 10-4 record with 2 saves in 118 games (1999-2000). In 1999, he will go 7-2 in 55 games with 1 save for the Yankees.

2000 - The Yankees signed free agent MLB veteran OF Roberto Kelly. Roberto will only appear in 10 games with the Yankees during the 2000 AL season, hitting only .120. He had originally started his MLB career with the Yankees, before being traded to the Reds for OF Paul O’Neill.

2007 - The Yankees signed free agent MLB veteran reserve INF Miguel Cairo. Miguel will appear in 54 games, hitting .254 for the Yankees before being released by the team on August 15, 2007. He will be picked by the Cardinals and finished the 2007 MLB season with them.

January 27th

1888 - Former Yankees reserve OF Alan Wickland (1919) was born. He hit .152 in 26 games for the 1919 Yankees.

1896 - Former Yankees P Milton Gaston (1924) was born. Milt went 5-3 in 29 games for the Yankees, before being traded to the Browns in Urban Shocker trade.

1901 - Former Yankees P Fred “Lefty” Heimach (1928-1929) was born. Fred went 13-9 in 48 games with the Yankees.

1921 - The Yankees obtained shortstop John Mitchel from the Vernon for P Ernie Shore, P Bob McGraw and C James “Tuck” Hannah. John hit .262 in 17 games for the Yankees before being traded to Red Sox in the Joe Dugan deal.

1929 - Former Yankees minor league INF Bobby Kline was born. On February 8, 1956, Bobby Kline was traded by the Senators along with P Mickey McDermott to the Yankees for a player to be named later, C Lou Berberet, INF Herb Plews, OF Richard Tettelbach and P Bob Wiesler. The Yankees would send minor league OF Whitey Herzog on April 2, 1956 to the Senators to complete the trade. Kline never appears with the Yankees at the MLB level.

1968 - The Yankees drafted John Andrews in the 5th round of the 1968 MLB amateur player draft, but did not sign the player.

1978 - Former Yankees All Star P Monte Pearson passed away (1908-1978). Monte was acquired by the Yankees in trade that sent starter Johnny Allen to the Indians in 1935. He pitched for the Yankees from 1936-1940. His best Yankees season was in 1936, when he went 19-7 and made the AL All Star team. Monte Pearson threw the 1st no-hitter at Yankee Stadium against the Indians in 1938. He appeared in the 1936-1939 World Series with the Yankees going 4-4. His Yankees pitching career record was 63-27. He was sold to the Reds in 1940.

1978 - Former Yankees reserve INF Angel Berroa (2009) was born. On January 6,2009, Angel was signed as a MLB free agent by the Yankees. Angel appeared in 21 games for the 2009 Yankees, hitting just .136. On July 7, 2009, he was released by the Yankees. He would finish the 2009 MLB season with the Mets.

1991- Former Yankees veteran reserve 1B Dale Long (1960, 1962-1963) passed away (1926-1991). On December 5, 1949, Dale was drafted by the Yankees from the Tigers in the 1949 MLB minor league player draft. Don will not appear with the Yankees at the MLB level. On November 16, 1950, Dale was drafted by the Pirates from the Yankees in the 1950 MLB rule 5 player draft. In 1956, Don was a NL All Star 1B with the Cubs, during that season Don set a MLB record of hitting 7 HRs in 7 straight games. During the 1958 NL season with the Pirates, he caught 2 games as a left-handed catcher. Don was obtained from Giants in August of 1960. Don hit .366 in 26 games for the1960 Yankees. He was lost in the 1960 AL Expansion Player Draft to the new Senators. On July 11, 1962, Dale was re-obtained from the Senators for minor league OF Don Lock (Richmond AAA). He hit .298 in 41 games for the 1962 Yankees. The Yankees released Dale during the 1963 AL season; he was only hitting .200, while appearing in only 14 games. He appeared in 2 World Series with the Yankees (1960 and 1962) hitting .250.

2003 - Former Yankees P Bob Kammeyer (1978-1979) passed away (1950-2003). Bob was drafted by the Yankees in the 21st round of the 1972 MLB amateur player draft. Bob went 0-0 in 8 games for the Yankees during the 1978-1979 AL seasons. In 1978, he went 12-2 for the Tacoma Yankees (AAA). The following season at Columbus (AAA), Bob posted a 16-8 record. In 1980, Bob was named International League Pitcher of the Year, while pitching with the Columbus Clippers posting a 15-7 record with 2.91 ERA and 13 complete games. Despite posting a 63-35 mark at AAA level for the Yankees for 3 seasons, Bob didn’t get a real chance to break into the Yankees starting rotation.

2003 - The Yankees signed veteran MLB free agent reliever Juan Acevedo. Juan will go 0-3 in 25 games with 6 saves out of the bullpen, before the Yankees released him in August of 2003. He will finish the 2003 AL season with the Blue Jays.

January 28th

1884 - Former Yankees P Tom “Salida Tom” Hughes (1906-1907, 1909-1910) was born. In August of 1905, Tom was drafted by the Highlanders from Topeka (Western Association) in the 1905 MLB Rule 5 player draft. Tom went 17-17 in 54 games with the Yankees.

1906 - Former Yankees INF Lyn Larry (1929-1934) was born. Lyn was purchased from Oakland Oaks (PCL) in 1928. He had 3 good seasons with the Yankees, before slipping in 1932. In 1934, he would be sent to the Red Sox.

1916 - Former Yankees P Bob Muncrief (1951) was born. On November 16,1950, Bob was drafted by the Yankees from the Cubs organization in the 1950 Rule 5 MLB player draft. He went 0-0 in 2 games with the Yankees during the 1951 AL season.

1928 - Former Yankees minor league C Jim Robertson was born. Before the 1949 AL season, the Yankees originally signed Jim Robertson, as an MLB amateur free agent. Jim played in the Yankees farm system until 1953. In 1949, he played for the Grand Forks Chiefs, hitting .248 in 153 at-bats. He played for the Quincy Gems in 1950, hitting .295 in 404 at-bats. With the Muskegon Reds in 1951, he hit .288, and with the Binghamton Triplets in 1952 he hit .303. He split the 1953 season between the Kansas City Blues and Syracuse Chiefs, hitting .278 with the Blues and .264 with the Chiefs. On December 16,1953, Robertson was traded by the Yankees with INF Don Bollweg, OF Jim Finigan, Johnny Gray, 1B Vic Power and OF Bill Renna to the A’s for P Harry Byrd, 1B Eddie Robinson, OF Tom Hamilton, OF Carmen Mauro, and INF Loren Babe. On April 15, 1954, he made his MLB debut. He spent his entire 1954 AL season with the A’s, hitting .184 in 63 games (147 at-bats). In 1955, he played in 6 games for the A’s, hitting .250 in 8 at-bats. He spent most of the 1955 season with the Portland Beavers (PCL), hitting .229 in 319 at-bats. Robertson played his final MLB game on May 10,1955. Overall, he played in 69 MLB games for the A’s, hitting just .187 in 155 at-bats.

1967 - The Yankees drafted P Terry Ley in the 3rd round of the 1967 MLB amateur player draft (Secondary Phase). Terry will appear in 6 games for the Yankees with no record in 1971. On December 2, 1971, Terry was traded along with minor league P Gary Jones to the Rangers for veteran INF Bernie Allen.

1976 - The Yankees released veteran OF Walt “No Neck” Williams. The Yankees Owner George Steinnbrenner would help Walt obtain a player contract with a team in Japan. After coming to the Yankees, Walt hit .113 and .281 in 125 games for the Yankees (1974-1975).

1987 - The Yankees signed MLB free agent P Bob Shirley (1983-1987). Bob posted a 14-20 record in 165 games with 5 saves before being released by the team in August of 1987.

1994 - The Yankees signed veteran MLB free agent P Bob Ojeda. Bob appeared in 2 games with no record before being released by the Yankees in May of 1994.

2001 - Former Yankees OF/DH/1B Curt Blefary (1970-1971) passed away. In 1962, the Yankees signed Curt Blefary was signed as a MLB free agent. He was removed from the 40-man Yankee roster, when they acquired veteran INF Harry Bright during the 1963 AL season. Curt was immediately claimed by the Orioles. In 1965, he was the AL Rookie Of Year award winner with the Orioles, hitting .260, 22 HRs with 70 RBI’s. On December 4, 1969, Curt was traded by the Astros to the Yankees for 1B Joe Pepitone. Curt only hit .212 as a Yankee. On May 26,1971, he was traded by the Yankees to the A’s for P Rob Gardner. He would play for the Orioles, Astros, A’s and Yankees during his 8-year MLB career.

2002 - The Yankees signed veteran MLB free agent INF Ron Coomer. Ron would appear in 55 games hitting .264 for the Yankees in 2002, before leaving the team for free agency.

2004 - The Yankees signed MLB free agents OF/DH Darren Bragg and OF Tyler Houston. Darren Bragg and Tyler Houston will not play for the Yankees at the MLB level during the 2004 AL season, spending the season at Columbus (AAA).

January 29th

1885 - Former Yankees INF George “Hack” Simmons (1912) was born. He hit .239 in 110 games in 1912.

1930 - The Red Sox sell former AL HR king Ken Williams to their rival Yankees for the waiver price. Williams, a lifetime .319 hitter, will be released prior to the start of the 1930 AL season. He will never again play in the MLB.

1943 - The Yankees traded 2B Jerry Priddy and minor league P Milo Candini to the Senators for P Bill Zuber and cash consideration. Bill Zuber was classified 4-F in the war draft, will not have a winning season with the Yankees, while Milo Candini will go 11-7 for the Senators in 1943.

1948 - MLB Commissioner Happy Chandler fines the Yankees, Cubs and Phillies $500 each for signing high school players.

1951 - Former Yankees minor league INF Sergio Ferrer was born. On March 26, 1977, Sergio was traded by the Phillies to the Yankees for OF Kerry Dineen. Sergio never appears with the Yankees at the MLB level. He was assigned to Syracuse Chiefs (AAA), appearing in 67 games, hitting .281. On December 9, 1977, he was traded by the Yankees to the Mets for INF Roy Staiger.

1955 - John Williams Cox buys Yankee Stadium from the Dan Topping-Del Webb partnership. He immediately sells the grounds to the Knights of Columbus. He will leave Yankee Stadium to Rice University in 1962.

1960 - Former Yankees All Star INF Steve Sax (1989-1991) was born. Steve was signed as a free agent replacing Willie Randolph at 2B. He hit .315, .260 and .304 as a Yankee, making the AL All Star team in 1989-1990. On January 10, 1992, Steve was traded by the Yankees to the White Sox for pitchers Melido Perez, Bob Wickman, and Domingo Jean.

1961 - Former Yankees reserve OF/1B/DH Mike Aldrete (1996) was born. On June 12, 1996, Mike was traded by the Angels to the Yankees for P Rich Monteleone. Mike appeared in 32 games for the 1996 Yankees, hitting .250. He appeared in 2 games of the 1996 World Series against the Braves with no hits. On November 4, 1996, Mike was granted free agency by the Yankees.

1964 - Former Yankees P John Habyan (1990-1993) was born. On July 20, 1989, John was traded by the Orioles to the Yankees for OF Stanley Jefferson. John will spend the rest of the 1989 season at Columbus (AAA). He went 11-9 in 154 games for the Yankees with 10 saves. On July 30, 1993, John was traded as part of a 3-team trade by the Yankees to the Royals. The Cubs sent P Paul Assenmacher to the Yankees. The Royals sent OF Karl Rhodes to the Cubs.

1966 - The Yankees drafted Darrell Evans in the 2nd Round of the 1966 MLB amateur player draft (secondary phase), but did not sign the player.

1982 - The Yankees named AL All Star 3B Graig Nettles as their team captain. Nettles, becomes the 1st Yankees captain since Thurman Munson, who was killed in August of 1979 in airplane crash in Ohio.

1992 - The Yankees signed MLB free agent P Allan Anderson. He never appears in a game with the Yankees.

1993 - The Yankees signed 1B Fernando Seguignol was an MLB amateur free agent. He was assigned to the 1993 GCL Yankees and struggled, batting only .217 as an OF. In 1994, the teenager improved to .289, though he struck out 61 times in 266 AB’s. He led the NY-PA League with 9 triples that year. In 1995, he was traded to the Expos for P John Wetteland. In 2003, Fernando returned from Japan to play in the USA, signing with the Yankees. He was 5 for 7 in limited appearances with the Yankees. He was 5 for 13 with the Tampa Yankees. He spent most of 2003 season, producing at a .341 clip with 28 HRs in 402 AB’s for the Columbus Clippers (AAA). He led the IL in HRs and BA, led all of full-season MIL baseball in slugging percentage. He was named the DH on the IL All-Star team and won the IL MVP award. In 2004, he went back to play in Japan, where he is still active.

2005 - The Yankees signed veteran MLB free agent OF Doug Glanville. The Yankees will release him during their 2005 spring training camp.

2007 - Former Yankees pitching coach and former MLB pitcher Art Fowler passed away. (1922-2007) He was Billy Martin’s longtime pitching coach with the Tigers, Rangers, Yankees and the A's. As MLB pitcher (1954-1964), Art went 54-51, with the Reds, Dodgers and Angels. As a MLB pitching coach, Art Fowler never believed in running for his MLB pitchers, he is quoted as saying "If you pitched with your legs, Jesse Owens would have won 30 games."

January 30th

1923 - The Yankees GM Edward Barrow raided his old team the Red Sox again, this time obtaining P Herb Pennock exchange for INF Norm McMillan, P George Murray, OF Camp Skinner and $50,000. Herb would win 162 games as a Yankee starter, finishing with a career winning percentage of .643. Herb had 165 complete games in 346 games with 19 shutouts and 700 strikeouts. In 1924, he went 21-9 for the Yankees. Then in 1926, Herb posted a 23-11 mark. In the World Series, he went 3-2 in 10 games with a 1.95 ERA for the Yankees.

1948 - Former Yankees Hall Of Fame starter Herb Pennock (1923-1933) collapses and dies from a heart attack. Pennock, who was 53, had been serving as the General Manager of the Phillies since 1944. He would be inducted into baseball’s Hall Of Fame in 1948.

1954 - Former Yankees reserve OF Dave Stegman (1982) was born. On April 30, 1981, Dave was sent by the Padres to the Yankees to complete an earlier deal made on April 6, 1981. The Padres sent a player to be named later to the Yankees for minor league player Byron Ballard. He appeared in 2 games for the 1982 Yankees with no hits. On November 22, 1982, Dave was granted free agency by the Yankees.

1961 - Former Yankees 2B Aaron Ward (1917-1926) passed away. Aaron Ward was the 2B for the Yankees in the days before Tony Lazzeri. Coming up to the Yankees in 1917 at age 20, he was one of the youngest players in the AL. He became a Yankees regular in 1920. He was in the World Series of 1921, 1922 and 1923 (he hit .417 in the 1923 World Series, which the Yankees won). Ward was one of several players who held out at the start of 1922 season for better contracts. Ward succeeded in getting a big raise. When Tony Lazzeri came up, Ward was traded to the 1927 White Sox for a season, thus missing the great 1927 Yankees experience. On January 13, 1927, Aaron was traded by the Yankees to the White Sox for C Johnny Grabowski and INF Ray Morehart. Ward’s final Yankees career status were .268 BA with 45 HRs, 391 RBI’s in 908 games. He finished out his MLB career with the 1928 Indians. "Babe Ruth was great, but then we expect Babe Ruth to be great. Let us give credit where credit is due, and give most of the credit to Wardie and [manager Huggins]." – New York Yankees Owner Jacob Ruppert after the 1923 World Series.

1964 - Former Yankees P Hipolito Pena (1988) was born. On March 30, 1988, he was traded by the Pirates to the Yankees for OF/1B Orestes Destrade. He appeared in 16 games for the 1988 Yankees, posting a
1-1 record.

1978 - Former P Addie Joss and former baseball executive and team owner Larry MacPhail are voted into the Hall of Fame by the Special Veterans Committee. Larry MacPhail was one of the owners who bought the New York Yankees in 1945 from the Jacob Ruppert estate. He would be the Yankees President and General Manager from 1945-1947. In the fall of 1947, he sold his share of the Yankees to co-owners Del Webb and Dan Topping. MacPhail was very unpopular with the Yankee players, who were very happy to see him leave.

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

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