Monday, January 31, 2011

Yankees Sign Garcia to a Minor League Deal!/jcrasnick/status/32258297151102977!/jcrasnick/statuses/32263854234800128
Another low-risk, moderate-reward signing for the Yankees. You'll hear no complaints from me.

Is This....The End?

The Core Four (possibly three, now) are at the tail-end of their careers. A-Rod is almost 36. The starting rotation has only two reliable starters. Is this finally the end of Yankee dominance?

I’ve been hearing for a while this winter, how the Yankees are aging, and not like fine wine. How Derek Jeter can no longer produce. How Teixeira can go down the same path as Jason Giambi. And how the Yankees’ long run of postseason success since the mid 90s could be coming to an end. Well, that actually got me thinking. Is it the end?

Let me give you a hint. The answer starts with an N, and ends, with an O. No.

This season, the Yankees are clearly not the favorites to win the World Series. And that’s completely understandable, and true. The Yankees failed to do anything big this offseason, and in the process their rivals improved, acquiring two superstars named Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez.  And by the way, that Cliff Lee guy went to this team down in Philadelphia. Filled with veterans, this Yankee team right now looks to be a border-line 90-win team.

But, to reassure you all, this is NOT the end. This is not a year like 1982, where the Yankees come off a World Series appearance, and then just suck for the next 10-12 years. This isn’t the last time we’ll see meaningful baseball in the Bronx for a while. And this isn’t the last time we’ll see the Yankees in the playoffs. If anything, people should consider these next couple years the start of something grand.

Take a look at the names on the Winter 2011 Free Agent Market – Mark Buehrle, Rich Harden, Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, Albert Pujols, Jon Garland, Aramis Ramirez – all big impact players (mostly pitchers) that can be a big force in the Yankees’ future teams of 2012, 2013, etc. And I’m certain a couple of those players will be sporting navy blue pinstripes very soon.

And then there is always the magic of trades. There’s always a big player on the block around mid-season and the Yankees of course nearly acquired Cliff Lee last season before all that stuff went down. I don’t know who could be on the market (KING FELIX, HOPEFULLY), but I’m certain if the Yankees need him, this time, Cashman will get the job done.

Also, we have once again a great farm system. Jesus Montero and Dellin Betances are leading the pack, one a power-hitting catcher, and the other a pitcher with just nasty stuff. Other players like Colin Curtis and Slade Heathcott are also getting ready for their respective calls to the Big Show.

Finally, we still have some pretty kick-ass players on the roster today. Robinson Cano has blossomed into an MVP-caliber player. CC is still the man. Mark Teixeira is still slugging 30 every year; why should Yankee fans really be worried? To me, while the old gaurd may be leaving soon, a new core of players has been formed. Young, powerful players that can be the new face of the Yankees for many years to come.

To be honest, this season, there may not be confetti down the Canyon of Heroes, but in the very near future, there’s a chance the Yankees will win #28. And #29. and 30. And so on.

And as Yogi Berra once said, “It ain’t over till it’s over!” And this season hasn’t even begun. Go Yankees!

Kernan: 'Betances is Yanks Next Big Thing'

Kevin Kernan penned a nice piece on Yankees pitching prospect Dellin Betances. Here is some of the article:
Betances is in full pursuit of his dream, arriving here several weeks ago to begin workouts to give himself the best chance to impress manager Joe Girardi when spring training opens in two weeks. He flew back to New York last weekend to be honored by the New York Pro Scouts as their “Star of the Future.”

“I just want to work hard and try to pitch to my ability,” the soft-spoken right-hander said. “To be able to go to my first big league spring training, growing up a Yankee fan and now you are with these guys, it’s kind of a humbling experience.”

Betances will turn 23 in March. He finished at Double-A Trenton in 2010. At some point this season, he could be in The Bronx.

“I’m just excited wherever I go to start the year and then finish strong,” Betances said.


Right now Ivan Nova is the fifth starter, and the Yankees are looking for a fourth starter. That would be Andy Pettitte if he returns, or another veteran. But nothing is set in stone. Perhaps Betances will impress Girardi to such a degree in spring training that he gets in the mix.

How good can Betances be? [Cesar] Presbott, the scout who signed him, said Betances could be “one of the top pitchers in the major leagues, no question.” Asked what current major leaguer Betances reminds him of, Presbott answered, “Ubaldo Jimenez.”
 Betances then went on to talk about how Tommy John surgery has actally helped his progression as a pitcher:
“One thing with the Tommy John surgery is that it allowed me to work on a day-to-day basis on my delivery,” Betances said. “I feel like that has changed me as a pitcher. Just mentally, I feel I’ve gotten a lot stronger.”
A summary of his stuff for those who don't know:
Betances’ fastball is mid- to upper-90s. He also features a slider, changeup and spike curve.
Betances talking about his goals:
“Definitely seeing those guys that I’ve played with, making a run and helping the team out, it is something I look forward to,” Betances said. “My goal is to make it to the major leagues at some point this year.

“As a kid you always dream about something like this, being there and just helping your team win championships,” Betances added. “I just don’t want to be there one year or two years, I want to be there for a good amount of time, have a good career. Just watching Derek Jeter, five championship rings, it’s amazing. Robinson Cano and I have the same background.”
With all the great arms in the Yankees system--names all laid out at the end of the Kernan article--there's a lot to be excited about if you're a Yankees fan. But for me, Betances is at the top of that list. I've heard scouts compare him to Josh Beckett in his prime, and now we get an Ubaldo Jimenez comparison. Whether he lives up to that hype or not, that's pretty high praise for the soon-to-be 23-year-old. I can't wait to watch him this spring.

The Red Sox Are So Lame

You've really got to be one scared and insecure organization to pull something like this:
[The Red Sox] $142 million deal with Carl Crawford includes a clause that prohibits any team he's traded to from then trading him to the Yankees. They rarely give no-trade clauses, and in Crawford's case allowed him to block trades to only two teams.

Duchscherer Signs with the Orioles

Strike up the band, as another potential candidate for the Yankees questionable rotation has headed for greener pastures. While I cannot in good faith say that Duchscherer would have been the answer, I am still wholly baffled by the Yankees (in)actions on the free agent market.

According to Dan Connolly, Duchscherer is guaranteed$700,000, plus $400,000 if and when he makes the 25-man roster. In order to make the $4.5 MM figure cited by Crasnick, he will have to make thirty starts.

That seems fairly reasonable to me - though, as was the case with Greinke, perhaps the Yankees know something about his mental fortitude to which the fans are not privy.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Yanks No Longer Interested in Duchscherer?
He doesn't say if the Yankees are out because Duchscherer doesn't want to come here or because the Yankees are not willing to give him a Major League deal. Based on his comments earlier this week about not being afraid of New York I'd have to assume it's the latter. Either way, it looks like we're gonna be stuck with Sergio Mitre or (God forbid) Bartolo Colon as the Yankees no. 5.

This Week in Yankees History (1/30-2/5)

This week in Yankees History 

January 30th - February 5th

January 30th

1923 - The New York Yankees General Manager Edward Barrow raided his old team the Boston Red Sox again, this time obtaining P Herb Pennock exchange for INF Norm McMillan, P George Murray, OF Camp Skinner and $50,000. Herb Pennock would win 162 games as a New York Yankees 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 New York Yankees Hall Of Fame starter Herb Pennock (1923-1933) collapses and dies from a heart attack. Herb Pennock, who was 53, had been serving as the General Manager of the Philadelphia Phillies since 1944. He had helped the Philadelphia Phillies new ownership that took over the team in 1944, rebuild the team and it’s minor league team organization. He would be inducted into baseball’s Hall Of Fame in 1948. The results of his work would lead to the 1950 “Whiz kids team”, who won the 1950 Nation League championship.

1954 - Former Yankees reserve OF Dave Stegman (1982) was born. On April 30, 1981, Dave Stegman was sent by the San Diego Padres to the New York 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 two games for the 1982 Yankees with no hits. On November 22,1982, Dave was granted MLB 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 New York Yankees in 1917 at age 20, he was one of the youngest players in the American League. 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 AL season for better contracts. Ward succeeded in getting a big raise. When Tony Lazzeri came up, Ward was traded to the 1927 Chicago White Sox for a season, thus missing the great 1927 Yankees experience. On January 13,1927, Aaron was traded by the Yankees to the Chicago 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 Cleveland 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, Hipolito Pena was traded by the Pittsburgh Pirates to the New York Yankees for minor league OF/1B Orestes Destrade. He appeared in 16 games for the 1988 Yankees, posting a 1-1 record.

1978 - Former Cleveland Indians starter Addie Joss and former MLB baseball executive and team owner Larry MacPhail are voted into the Hall of Fame by the Special Veteran’s Committee. Addie Joss went 160-97 with a 1.88 lifetime ERA with the Cleveland Indians (1902-1910). He had passed away in 1914 from an illness. 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 New York 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.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Cashman On Montero

Recently, Brian Cashman sat down for an interview with Josh Norris to discuss various topics. The most interesting topic that came up was Jesus Montero, here is that part of the interview:
Josh Norris: With Russell Martin coming on board, is that an indicator that Montero will probably start the year back at Scranton?

Brian Cashman: It’s an indicator of who’s going to be the starting catcher. It’s going to be Russell Martin, period. Then after that, the back-up situation’s going to be open for discussion between Cervelli, Montero, Romine, we’ll see. Or all of them. … They all could split time and get a little education in the process.

JN: With Montero, obviously the questions are with his defense. I know the Yankees believe he can catch right now. How far does the organization believe he has to go before its certain he can catch long-term.

BC: We believe he can catch, and we believe he can catch long-term.

JN: What are you and the organization seeing, then, that perhaps other organizations are missing when it comes to Montero’s defensive abilities?

BC: He’s come a long way. The defensive side is something he’s had to work on a long time. I’d liken it separately to a guy like Wade Boggs, who came through the farm system of the Red Sox, always hit, but people said he can’t play defense. He ultimately turned himself into a perennial Gold Glove-winning third baseman.

Hard work can close the gap on deficiencies. Derek Jeter made 56 errors in the South Atlantic League. … The minor leagues is (where you) work out your problems, and he’s certainly closing the gap. He’s not there yet, but he’s pretty damn close. We believe he’s better than some starting catchers, defensively, in the big leagues right now.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Levine to Rangers Owner: You're Delusional

First, here's what Rangers owner Chuck Greenberg said earlier in the week:
"We had three different meetings with Cliff and his wife and his agent in Little Rock," the owner said. "Even though Philadelphia was probably not in, they were always in the back of our mind...I think if we wouldn't have gone to Arkansas that last time, I think he was going to sign with the Yankees. We pried the door open a little bit to give ourselves another opportunity. And ultimately the Phillies were able to take advantage of that opportunity that we created."
Now here's more from Jon Heyman and Nathaniel Vinton:
The Yankees are again upset about comments made by Rangers owner Chuck Greenberg. This time, the Yankees believe Greenberg implied in remarks made to fans in Texas Thursday that he got one over on the storied franchise when he made his second trip to visit superstar pitcher Cliff Lee in Arkansas.

"Chuck's delusional. He's been in the game for a few minutes and yet he thinks he knows what everyone's thinking,'' Yankees president Randy Levine said. "I think he should let Cliff Lee speak for himself. "

"If he really wants to impress us then he can get the Rangers off of welfare and show how they can be revenue-sharing payors, rather than recipients for three years in row, without financing from Major League Baseball," Levine said Friday. "That would really be something."

I've never been a fan of Levine's, but I'll give him credit for speaking his mind, regardless of whether Greenberg's comment are accurate or not. Remember, Greenberg is the same yutz who had this to say about us Yankees fans after last year's ALCS:
"I thought Yankee fans, frankly, were awful. They were either violent or apathetic, neither of which is good. So I thought Yankee fans were by far the worst of any I've seen in the postseason. I thought they were an embarrassment."

Obviously this tool is trying to make a name for himself and get attention, and I guess he's accomplished that. He's also accomplished becoming the enemy of Yankees fans everywhere, which isn't necessarily the wisest of moves.

Hal Shows His Support For Cashman

There's been a ton of talk recently about the rift between ownership and GM Brian Cashman. This morning Hal Steinbrenner spoke to Joel Sherman and had nothing but good things to say about Cash:
"[Cashman] and I have a great working relationship," Steinbrenner said by phone, "There is no problem, right now. I think we have had a bunch of drummed-up drama."
As for the Soriano matter, Steinbrenner said he listened to Cashman, but decided to authorize the signing because he felt the club needed an "impact" move this offseason. However, he blessed Cashman's behavior at the press conference.

"I value his opinion and his advice," Steinbrenner said. "That does not mean I am always going to go with that advice and all of my VPs know that I might go a different way. There are no hard feelings between Cash and I. There never was. Reasonable men can differ in opinions.

"I keep reading about dissension and discord. We are a well-functioning company. The bosses have a decision to make. Sometimes people don't agree with those decisions. So I told him, 'You are always honest with the media, be honest now. Tell them what you have to tell them.' I was already onto the next decision. I told him, 'You and I are fine. Answer in any way you want.' We are not always going to be on the same page. It is my job to think what is best for the family, partners and company."

Steinbrenner also said he had no issues with any of the statements attributed to Cashman from the breakfast get-together with fans, even the remark that the Red Sox are currently better than the Yankees.

"My understanding was he was asked in an objective way about the different areas of the team and said our hitting was on par with the Red Sox, our bullpen is better and their starting pitching, right now, is a little stronger," Steinbrenner said.
"Really, there are no problems at all," Steinbrenner said. "Brian calls me on my cell phone more often than I would even like. He and I talk on a daily basis multiple times. There is not much that he does without consulting me first. This has been a very good relationship."
Obviously this could all be lies and a PR move to make everything look like it's running smoothly, but is it that hard to believe that this is yet another time that the NY media blew something completely out of proportion to sell a few extra papers?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Freddy Garcia Wants to Be a Yankee

From the Venezuelan newspaper Meridiano (hat-tip to MLBTR):
"My preference is to be with the New York Yankees, and it's not unreasonable to have that in mind, because I've demonstrated that I can be useful," Garcia said. "A team like New York would be ideal for my age, [as would ] playing in a successful, media-heavy, demanding division. Without doubt it would be an inspiration."
At this point the Yanks might as well sign as many of these washed up veterans as they can. Maybe one of them can be, as Garcia said, useful. Garcia's also got to be a better option than Bartolo Colon.

Five Yankees Prospects in Keith Law's Top-100

You can find the entire list over on, though insider is required. We cannot re-post the entire list or Law's commentary here for legal reasons, but I can give you a sneak peak at where the Yankees rank. Without further ado:

04. Jesus Montero (behind Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, and Domonic Brown)
12. Manny Banuelos (top-rated LHP, fourth pitcher on the list)
68. Gary Sanchez (7th among catchers)
73. Dellin Betances (34th among pitchers)
88. Andrew Brackman (45th among pitchers)

Austin Romine is listed as having just missed the cut, and only the Rays (8), Blue Jays (7), and Royals (6) placed more prospects in the top-hundred. The Brewers were the only team without a prospect making the cut, though they did deal Brett Lawrie (ranked 37th) to the Blue Jays in the Marcum deal.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Heyman and Calcaterra: Pettitte is Likely to Pitch in 2011!/SI_JonHeyman/status/30337480209207296

And Craig Calcaterra:
A source close to Andy Pettitte tells me that there is a “very strong possibility” that Pettitte is going to pitch in 2011. He is doing his usual preseason workouts and has had no physical issues thus far.

Moreover, the source tells me that Pettitte’s hesitation to confirm that he is coming back for the upcoming season is in no way connected to the Roger Clemens trial, which was something that many had speculated about.

Jon Heyman tweeted to this effect a little over an hour ago, but I’m pretty sure that he and I are talking to different people, so I suppose you can consider this corroboration of some kind. Real journalism frightens and confuses me, however, so maybe it’s more confirmation. Or triangulation. Or something.

Either way: I have this feeling that Bartolo Colon is not going to be the Yankees #4 starter in 2011.
The back and forth nature of the waiting game is making my head hurt.

Fangraphs on the Yankees Pitching Staff

There are two interesting articles over on Fangraphs outlining a few of the concerns with the Yankees rotation. The first is on the team's recent history with fifth starters:
The Yankees may rely on Sergio Mitre or Ivan Nova to be their fifth starter this year. You may think that this is patently un-Yankee-like, but you’d be wrong. In the past five seasons, Yankees starters have compiled 72.5 WAR, good for eighth most in the Majors. However, virtually none of that was compiled by their fifth starters.

The fifth slot in the Yankees rotation has rarely been consistently filled by the same person, making it generally impossible to give one player credit for being the fifth starter. In 2006, Shawn Chacon started the year as the fifth starter, but in examining the game logs, Cory Lidle, Aaron Small, Sidney Ponson and Jeff Karstens all took turns there as well. That magical quintet combined for 32 starts and -0.4 WAR. The next season, Phil Hughes’ debut offset Kei Igawa’s own disastrous debut, but the net result between their performances and Darrell Rasner’s was 0.7 WAR. Two-thousand and eight’s motley mix of Ponson, Ian Kennedy and Carl Pavano tallied a whole 0.3 WAR. The next season, 2009, saw Hughes back in the fifth-starter mix, as he, Chad Gaudin, Chien-Ming Wang, Chad Gaudin and Mitre combined for 0.9 WAR. And last season, the Javier Vazquez Experiment, Version 2.0 didn’t end all that spectacularly either, as he posted a -0.3 WAR. He was replaced late in the year by Nova, who undid his damage and balanced the scales with a 0.4 WAR.

And the second discusses Chamberlain's stuff as a starter:
Yesterday, while doing a question-and-answer session with WFAN, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman was asked about Joba Chamberlain‘s role with the Yankees. Chamberlain has bounced back and forth between the pen and rotation several times, but spent all last year in the pen. Now with the Rafael Soriano signing and questionable back-of-the-rotation options (which Paul Swydan outlined earlier) many have wondered whether Chamberalin would start next year.

But Cashman said the Yankees view him solely as a reliever. “I don’t think his stuff is the same since he hurt himself in Texas [August 4th 2008] … The stuff plays up better in the pen.” Cashman continued, “His stuff doesn’t play out of the rotation anymore like it did before prior to his shoulder.”

You'll have to take the jump to Fangraphs to read the entirety of each post - and I highly recommend that you do so.

Duchscherer: I'm not afraid of New York

From Britt's Bird Watch (hat-tip to IATMS):
Free agent Justin Duchscherer, considered one of the best starting pitchers still on the market, said Tuesday evening that physically he feels "pretty much 100 percent" and shot down the notion that his previous depression issues would prevent him from playing in New York.

"I find it funny that people say I can't pitch in that environment, but I've pitched in New York before," he said. "As far as my mind, I have no problem being anywhere. Physically it's a matter of what's the best situation for me."
Like I said the last time I posted something about Duchscherer, if he can stay healthy I think he'd be a great pickup.

Hank: "We just have to f***Ing win"

From Kevin Kernan:
Hank Steinbrenner, the Yankees co-chairman, is fired up for the 2011 season -- even without Cliff Lee in pinstripes.

"We will do what we have to do to win," Steinbrenner told The Post recently in a wide-ranging interview at Steinbrenner Field. "We have the highest payroll and the reason is we are committed to our fans to win.

"We just have to (bleeping) win," Hank added emphatically, looking out onto the field and sounding much like his father.


"I'm really happy with our bullpen," Hank said. "You got both Rivera and Soriano, then you got Chamberlain and [David] Robertson and so forth. I think Chamberlain is going to come back and have a big year."


"The fans pay the bills, we owe it to ourselves and to them to put the best product out there," Hank said. "If we couldn't get Cliff Lee, I'm really happy about getting Soriano. I just wish Lee would have given Brian the chance to meet with him, but [Lee] was on a hunting trip. He's got his own reasons."


"Hopefully our starters will get the job done," he said. "Hopefully Andy [Pettitte] will come back. He knows we want him back. It's strictly up to him now. Even though he's already got five rings, he's the type, like Mo, like [Derek] Jeter, like [Jorge] Posada, he wants another one.


"We got those kids coming too, [Ivan] Nova more as a starter, and the others [including big right-hander Dellin Betances and lefty Manny Banuelos]. You never know, one or two of them may join the team," Steinbrenner said. "I know some of our baseball people don't agree with our other baseball people a lot of the time, but they all like Nova.


"I think A.J. [Burnett] is going to come back and have at least the kind of year like he had two years ago. CC Sabathia is going to be great as usual. Phil Hughes, we're expecting more big things.

"I say we have one of the top four teams in baseball, whether we end up being the best or not, we'll see."
Hank, who apparently couldn't stop talking, had a lot more to say. He spoke about how the AL East remains the best division in baseball, A.J. Burnett, the lineup, and Alex Rodriguez.

Yanks Ink Bartolo Colon to Minor-League Deal
I just hope this isn't Cashman's idea of a solution to the rotation issues.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Coney Returning to the YES Booth

After an embarrassing story earlier, YES did something good this time:

YES Censoring Affiliated Bloggers

As you all know, Yankees fans had varying opinions of the Rafael Soriano signing. Some liked it, some hate it, and some are taking a wait and see approach. Where you sit on that fence is not important right now. What is important is that TYU's Moshe Mandel reported earlier today that some bloggers weren't allowed to express those opinion freely:
Pinstriped Bible is directly affiliated with the YES Network, as the site is designed to look like the YES homepage and is frequently featured on the YES front page. A few hours after being posted, Steve Goldman’s post was suddenly pulled, only to reappear a number of hours later with a new title (Soriano Strengthens the Pen, But Do Dominoes Fall?) and a softened stance. A visit to the page shows the altered title and article, but the URL still contains the original title. I have the original article saved (available upon request), and the primary differences are a few sentences added in support of the deal, as well as the moving of a positive paragraph to the beginning of the article. When asked about the incident, Goldman declined to comment.

River Avenue Blues has a slightly weaker affiliation with YES, as they simply have a YES toolbar at the top of their page, but they too are featured on the YES website and in commercials that run on the YES network. After seeing what had happened to Goldman’s post, I kept an eye on RAB to try and see if something similar occurred. Sure enough, a few hours after their criticism of the signing, I noticed that the YES toolbar had disappeared. When I asked the guys at RAB about it, they declined to comment, and continue to do so. I am not sure when it returned, but I did notice that it was still missing at least 4 days after the signing. It is now back in place.
Geeez, I didn't know Joseph Goebbels worked for YES.

I wish I was surprised by this, but I'm really not. More disappointed than anything. Very lame move by the Yanks and YES. 

Yanks Sign Warner Madrigal to Minor-League Deal!/Kevin_Goldstein/status/29972162227998720
In 2 seasons (08-09) with the Rangers, Madrigal went 0-3, with a 6.10 ERA. In 35 games in AA and AAA, the 26-year-old went 5-2 with a 3.73 ERA. In 50.2 IP he allowed 21 ER on 41 hits, walked 14 and struck out 42.

Cashman at Today's WFAN’s Breakfast with a Champion Event

Cashman spoke to the media today during WFAN’s Breakfast with a Champion event in New York. Here are some quotes via Amanda Rykoff you might find interesting (I'm not sure if these are exact quotes):
  • When Mike Francesa asked him who's a better team right now - the Red Sox or Yankees? Cashman said: Red Sox. But we have better bullpen.
  • Francesa also asked him if there were any chance that Joba would end up in the rotation. Cashman said, No. He hasn't been same since injury in TX.
  • On A.J. Burnett: "He knows he has a problem and he's doing all he can to fix it."
  • On Jeter and his new deal: "I'd be surprised if he plays SS for all 4 years. I see him moving to OF."
  • On the catching situation: Jorge is the DH and there will be an open competition in camp for the starting catchers spot.
  • He called Mariano Rivera “The best Yankee I’ve ever seen.” 
  • Cashman also had a complaint about the NY media, saying can wear a person out.
  • And finally, he also mentioned that the Yankees need a starter. "We're one starter away from being a World Series contender."
Those are some very open and honest answers from Cashman.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Speculation, Conjecture, Redundancy, and the 2011 Rotation

We've analyzed the free agent market for potential starting pitchers over and over. We've discussed most every name that has popped-up in trade rumors. We've looked into potential in-house candidates. What we haven't done is make reasonable assumptions about who might be available. The reasonable basis for this post is, in my mind, the fact that each of the following pitchers are potential free agents after this season (and may be dealt under the right circumstances), with the assumption being that those circumstances already exist or that a contingency may already be planned.

Chris Carpenter, Cardinals
2010 - 235.0 IP, 3.22 ERA, 3.69 FIP, 51.0% GB, 2.84 K/BB
The Cardinals are certainly contenders in a wide open NL Central, but they are certain to find themselves in a precarious position in 2012. In addition to Albert Pujols' impending free agency, Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina will get raises and Colby Rasmus may qualify for arbitration - and this coming without much coming off of the books. Carpenter remains a fine starting pitcher, but he is also expensive ($15 MM in 2011 and a $15 MM option for 2012), somewhat old, and injury-prone. I think he would be the most costly of the bunch, but he's also the very best.

Aaron Cook, Rockies
2010 - 127.2 IP, 5.08 ERA, 4.54 FIP, 58.1% GB, 1.19 K/BB
Cook may be the odd-man out of a crowded Rockies rotation - he's the nominal fifth starter on a team with two or three prospects close to the Majors. He struggled with injuries last season, but he maintained a fantastic groundball rate, which is a key to success in Yankee Stadium and the AL East. Where Carpenter would give the Yankees a formidable one-two punch, Cook would bolster the back-end of the rotation. I imagine he could be had for a reasonable package of middling prospects.

Joel Pineiro, Angels
2010 - 152.1 IP, 3.84 ERA, 3.84 FIP, 54.9% GB, 2.71 K/BB
I would be shocked if the Angels don't try to move either Pineiro or Scott Kazmir, considering the amount of payroll they added with Vernon Wells, and will add once Jered Weaver's contract situation is settled. I'm quite certain that the Angels would prefer to move Kazmir, but I'm equally certain that they'd have a hell of a time attempting to do so - he's owed $12 MM this season and hasn't been healthy or effective over the past two seasons. Pineiro shares injury concerns, but he's been very good over the past two seasons and has a reasonable salary. His combination of limiting walks and burning worms would work quite well for the Yankees - he's the middle ground between Carpenter and Cook, in terms of cost and quality.

Wandy Rodriguez, Astros
2010 - 195.0 IP, 3.60 ERA, 3.50 FIP, 47.9% GB, 2.62 K/BB
Rodriguez may be the likeliest of all the players listed to be dealt. He's likely to earn over $10 MM after arbitration in 2011, he's unlikely to stick with the Astros beyond this season, and he's a very desirable target for most any team - a durable lefty with above-average strikeout, walk, and groundball rates. As the Astros need a little bit of everything, the Yankees may be able to cobble together a strong package without touching the top-five or so prospects in the system.

C.J. Wilson, Rangers
2010 - 204.0 IP, 3.35 ERA, 3.56 FIP, 49.2% GB, 1.83 K/BB
While the Rangers have been linked to Halladay, Lee, and Greinke over the past two seasons, I'm not quite sure that they'll hold onto Wilson beyond this season. Hamilton and Cruz are slated to garner sizable raises in arbitration, Beltre will earn an average of $16 MM over the next five years, and several younger players will be arbitration-eligible next year. With Lewis, Harrison, Webb, Feldman, Holland, and Hunter under contract, Feliz interesting in moving back to the rotation, and Scheppers and Perez as fine prospects, Wilson may very well be expendable as the most expensive arm in the stable. From the Yankees' perspective, Wilson's a Wandy-lite - but he would be an upgrade over every starter but Sabathia.

In the end, I'm not quite sure what each team would expect as a return. The Yankees have valuable trade chips throughout the system, particularly in the pitching department - Phelps, Noesi, Warren, and Stoneburner are quite good, and each fall within the second-tier of Yankees prospects. The Cardinals, Angels, Astros, and Rangers could use a catcher, as well, so perhaps Austin Romine's value could be gauged. Otherwise, I'm not terribly certain where to begin.

Salary Commitments for 2011 and Beyond

I'm not quite sure why I felt that this exercise would be interesting - to myself or our fine readership - but it seemed better than sorting through the inconsequential rumors and musings that fill-up baseball news this time of the year. While the Yankees do not have the sort of salary constrictions that most everyone else in professional sports must deal with, it does seem clear that they are scraping the ceiling of some self-imposed cap (as high as it may be). With that in mind, I was curious to see how things would shake-out as this decade progresses - which may be particularly intriguing, as Cashman's contract is up at the end of this coming season.

These numbers are courtesy of Cot's Baseball Contracts - an indispensable resource for all things related to player contracts, arbitration figures, and free agency.

2011 - $191.45 MM
2012 - $171.5 MM
2013 - $149 MM
2014 - $73.5 MM
2015 - $66.5 MM
2016 - $42.5 MM
2017 - $20 MM

A few notes:
  1. Sabathia may opt-out after this year - if he does, $23 MM would be subtracted from 2012 - 2015.

  2. Soriano may opt-out after this year, in which case $11 MM would be subtracted from 2012 and $14 MM from 2013. He may also opt-out after 2012, in which case the $14 MM would be subtracted from 2013. If he opts out, the Yankees would owe him a $1.5 MM buy-out.

  3. I included the club options for Swisher (2012) and Cano and Granderson, which run through 2013. I simply cannot see the Yankees letting them go at what appear to be relatively team-friendly salaries.

  4. I did not include the options for Jeter, Marte, and Feliciano. I expect Jeter to decline his option for $8 MM and seek a raise, and I doubt that Marte and Feliciano are in the team's long-term plans.

  5. I did not include the salaries of Gardner, Pena, Nunez, Robertson, and the other league-minimum players - I can't imagine those numbers bringing the payroll up much more than a couple million dollars.

For comparison's sake, you can take a gander at the Blue Rays salary obligations at MLB Trade Rumors - suffice it to say that the 2015 Yankees will likely be paying more for three mid-to-late 30s players than the Blue Jays will pay their entire roster this season.

What should you take away from this? To be honest, I'm not quite sure. The Yankees finances do seem to negate some of the worries of overpaying players, but I'm not sure that I'm comfortable with Teixeira and Rodriguez earning a combined $42.5 MM in 2016 - particularly when both players are expected to be firmly in their decline phases at that point. As it stands, the Red Sox are the only other team with a player locked-up through 2017 in Carl Crawford. At this juncture, they don't approach the Yankees mid-decade commitments, though that is likely to change with an extension for Adrian Gonzalez.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

This Week in Yankees History (1/23-1/29)

This Week in Yankees History

January 23rd - January 29th

January 23rd

1890 - Former Yankees reserve OF Ed Barney (1915) was born. On July 20, 1915, Ed Barney was purchased by the New York Yankees from Jersey City (International League). He appeared in 11 games, hitting .194 for the 1915 Yankees. On August 19,1915, Ed was selected off waivers by the Pittsburgh Pirates from the New York Yankees.

1904 - The New York Highlanders send pitchers Long Tom Hughes and Bill Wolfe to the Washington Senators for veteran starter Al Orth. Hughes, who posted a 20-7 record with the Boston Pilgrims in 1903, came to New York in December swap with the Pilgrims, who had received P Jesse Tannehill.

1916 - Former Yankees 1B Johnny Sturm (1941) was born. In 1941, Johnny Sturm made his MLB debut with the New York Yankees, hitting .239 as the club's regular first baseman. In the 1941 World Series, he got a hit in each of the five games played. After that season, he enlisted in the Army and served in World War II. During his time in the military, he lost the tip of his right index finger in a tractor accident. Sturm tried to make a comeback with the Yankees in 1946, but a broken wrist ended the attempt, before he played in a game. After his playing days ended, he was a minor league manager who was largely responsible for discovering Mickey Mantle, when he gave the young player a tryout. Also he spent time as a MLB scout.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

CAIRO Projections

These numbers are from the fine writers of the Replacement Level Yankees Weblog. You can find the entire set of projections here.

Starting Lineup
Robinson Cano - .306/.355/.511, .372 wOBA, 26 HR, 4 SB
Brett Gardner - .270/.358/.372, .329 wOBA, 5 HR, 38 SB
Curtis Granderson - .252/.335/.462, .346 wOBA, 25 HR, 14 SB
Derek Jeter - .290/.360/.406, .342 wOBA, 13 HR, 15 SB
Russell Martin - .263/.362/.380, .336 wOBA, 11 HR, 11 SB
Jorge Posada - .267/.354/.458, .354 wOBA, 15 HR, 2 SB
Alex Rodriguez - .281/.372/.526, .384 wOBA, 32 HR, 11 SB
Nick Swisher - .260/.354/.470, .357 wOBA, 26 HR, 2 SB
Mark Teixeira - .276/.377/.515, .384 wOBA, 33 HR, 2 SB

Francisco Cervelli - .255/.326/.347, .303 wOBA, 3 HR, 2 SB
Andruw Jones - .221/.312/.414, .317 wOBA, 16 HR, 6 SB
Jesus Montero - .261/.326/.446, .337 wOBA, 18 HR, 1 SB
Eduardo Nunez - .257/.296/.350, .286 wOBA, 7 HR, 19 SB

A.J. Burnett - 187 IP, 189 H, 74 BB, 156 K, 4.66 ERA
Phil Hughes - 172 IP, 161 H, 58 BB, 147 K, 4.22 ERA
Sergio Mitre - 72 IP, 76 H, 21 BB, 43 K, 4.63 ERA
Ivan Nova - 116 IP, 130 H, 49 BB, 72 K, 5.21 ERA
CC Sabathia - 219 IP, 198 H, 60 BB, 176 K, 3.54 ERA

Joba Chamberlain - 85 IP, 81 H, 32 BB, 80 K, 4.25 ERA
Pedro Feliciano - 65 IP, 69 H, 21 BB, 53 BB, 4.18 ERA
Boone Logan - 48 IP, 49 H, 18 BB, 39 K, 4.39 ERA
Mariano Rivera - 68 IP, 49 H, 14 BB, 62 K, 2.69 ERA
David Robertson - 67 IP, 64 H, 30 BB, 71 K, 3.99 ERA
Rafael Soriano - 66 IP, 50 H, 17 BB, 61 K, 3.34 ERA

I didn't project an entire 25-man roster, as I doubt that the Yankees are finished making moves. I expect Cashman to add another starter and a utility infielder, and I'm fairly certain that Montero will begin the year at Scranton - his projection was simply too appealing to leave off the list.

As for the projections themselves, I don't find anything to be particularly egregious. I think Jones' overall numbers will be better, as I expect Girardi to use him mostly against lefties, and I'm hopeful that Burnett will bounce back a bit further... otherwise, I'd be satisfied with everything here.

Manny & Damon Reunite in Tampa

Friday, January 21, 2011

Venon Wells Traded to the Angels
Am I the only one that thinks the Angels got hosed?

Verducci: Is Tex heading down the same path as Giambi?

SI's Tom Verducci penned this piece on Mark Teixeira and the possibility the he may end up becoming another Jason Giambi..... Yea, I know, more Yankee-hate..... Verducci recently spoke with Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long about Teixeira, and Long told him he will be working with Teixeira on three key areas of his offensive game--his poor starts, unothodox mechanics, and a lack of opposite-field hitting--so that he doesn't have a repeat performance of his .256 2010.

Here is Verducci's take on all three:
• Poor starts. Teixeira is a career .235/.342/.411 hitter in April. He basically writes off the first month of his season. To buck this trend, Long is working with Teixeira on taking more swings before spring training begins, as well as making suggestions to tweak the intense pregame workout regimen of Teixeira, a fitness freak.

• Unorthodox mechanics. Teixeira collapses his back side as he hits, rather than driving through the ball with his back side while letting his back foot fully pivot. The style has worked for Teixeira, an accomplished slugger. But the style means that Teixeira must catch the ball out in front and leaves him prone to lifting the ball rather than driving through it. As he ages, Teixeira becomes an even more extreme fly ball and pull hitter, trends that mean he will continue to lose points off his batting average.

• Opposite-field hitting. Teixeira always has been a pull hitter from both sides of the plate, but he virtually gave up hitting the ball the other way last season. From 2003 through '09 Teixeira had between 14 and 22 opposite-field hits each season. Last year he managed only seven.
Verducci goes on to mentions that Long will use a similar approach with Tex that he used with Nick Swisher prior to the '10 season, adjustments that led to a .288 batting avg for Swish.

"[Kevin Long] believes that if Teixeira makes the adjustment to drive his back side through the ball rather than collapsing it, he will maintain his slugging but also add to his batting average because he will be able to drive the ball to all fields."

He then leaves us with this:
Without adjustments, Teixeira is likely to lose more hits into overshifted defenses and lose chunks of points off his batting average as he ages through his 30s and loses the timing and bat speed advantages of youth. If he needs further proof, he can examine the careers of hitters such as Jason Giambi and J.D. Drew. They were versatile, dangerous all-fields hitters through their 20s, but as they aged they worked the ball more and more out in front of them and defenses began overshifting more and more against them to the pull field.
I'm not going to sit here and pretend that this isn't possible. It clearly is. However, I do have faith (hopefully it's not blind) that Teixeira and Kevin Long will put in the work and make the necessary adjustments to help him remain a very dangerous hitter in this league.

Tex has proven he's a hard worker, so there's no reason to believe that the he won't put in the necessary effort, and as for Long goes, he's proven time and time again that he can fix a player's swing. Why would Teixeira be any different?

If he has another down year I may begin to worry, but for now I'm pretty confident that Tex will do what he needs to do and be right back in the MVP voting next October.

A New Place (on Twitter) For All Your NYC Ticket Info

I wanted to pass along this cool (and more importantly, useful) Twitter feed along to you guys. It comes from the folks at TiqIQ and is called TiqFeed NYC (@TiqFeed_NYC).

If you don't know, TiqIQ is company that aggregates tickets listings from some of the top ticket brokers in the country and makes those tickets available to fans all in one place. Besides providing the tickets themselves, they also use their "IQ" system to rank each ticket so that the buyer can see just how good (or bad) a deal they're getting. It really makes things very easy for the buyer.

They've partnered with many blogs and websites (You may have noticed the widget on the right or the posts on RAB) and now they've started a new Twitter feed called TiqFeedNYC and tweet out ticket info and deals from around the net for all NY sports teams. There's lots of good info coming out of the feed and if you attend sporting events in the NY area I suggest following these guys.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Olney Talks About the Yankees Front Office

We already heard what Tim Kurkjian had to say, now Buster Olney add his 2 cents.

Yankees Sign Andruw Jones
Five years ago, this would have been front-page material. A fantastic signing, perhaps the best the Yankees could have made in the past decade. And now ... it may very well be their best move of the 2010-11 off-season, all things considered.

While Andruw Jones' fall from grace has been well chronicled, I cannot help but feel that this is a fine signing. Jones has mashed lefties throughout his career (.261/.361/.501 for his career and 256/.373/.558 in 2010) and his glove still plays quite well in the corners - and I'm guessing that he could play a bit of center without embarrassing himself terribly. As much as I appreciate the tremendous play of Marcus Thames last season, it would be disingenuous to suggest that this isn't an upgrade.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Andy still unsure about his future, but now he's working out!/BryanHoch/status/27765851570569217
This might not mean anything, but it is a change from what we've been hearing for weeks now. Maybe it meanss he's changing his mind and wants to come back or maybe he just wants to have all his bases covered if he ends up changing his mind. Whatever the reasons I'm sure we'll all find out soon enough.

Quotes From The Soriano Press Conference

This first batch comes to us via Bryan Hoch. First, here's Soriano:
It's a great pleasure to be here, one of the most important days of my career to represent this uniform," Soriano said via a Spanish translator after donning a pinstriped jersey bearing No. 29.

"I know a lot of people will find this strange, but I'm very happy to be close to the greatest closer, and hopefully in the future I will be a closer, too."


"Mariano is one of the ones who actually did something for me to be signed by the Yankees," Soriano said. "I'm going to learn a lot from him. He's one of the greatest closers and the communication between he and I is wonderful. We're going to do a lot of good for the team."
Joe Girardi:
"A lot of the success of the Yankees over the years has come because of a knockdown bullpen, and Soriano is adding to that," manager Joe Girardi said. "You could argue that Mariano and Rafael had the best years as closers last year, and we have two closers now.

"When you have a lead, it's important to win those games, I'm going to be very excited to pick up the phone and call down and bring him into the game and feel good about it."
These next quotes from Cashman come from Peter Botte on Twitter:
“I think 29 other GMs would love to have their owner shove Rafael Soriano down their throat.” (I can only imagine the image NoMaas is working on for that quotes)

"Its not my team. I don't own it. They do...In any job you better be prepared for every decision to not go your way."
Cash also said that Joba Chamberlain remains a reliever, and the Cashman actually had several conversations with the agent of Carl Pavano (Seriously, WTF?).

Welcome to the Bronx, Rafael

Some images from today's press conference via Yahoo! Sports:

Now pitching for the Yankees, number 29, Rafael Soriano. Number 29.

I'll be back with some quotes shortly.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Kurkjian Discusses the Yanks

Not much new info here, just Tim's take on Pettitte (the Yankees need him) and his view on the Cashman, ownership, Rafael Soriano situation.

Some Quotes From Curtis

Here's some quotes from Granderson via Bryan Hoch:

On his first year in Pinstripes:
"I look at the good and the bad," Granderson said. "As a team, we played well, and for myself individually there are a couple of things that I want to do better. There are things that you take with it that you're happy with, so it's kind of a mix. Of course the team is the most important, and I would have loved to continue playing. I'm excited for the 2011 season."
On his late-season adjustments at the plate:
"At the end of it, we just simplified everything," Granderson said. "The changes actually weren't that drastic; we just cut out things. The good thing about it is hopefully when I begin this offseason I'm able to easily pick back up what we'd been doing once I get down to Florida."
On the team the Yanks having going into 2011:
"You see the free agents that were available this offseason, and of course all 30 teams would have wanted a lot of those guys," Granderson said. "And of course you can't get everybody. We had a great team last year, and there's still a couple of question marks, like if Andy Pettitte is going to come back. But with the core that we have right now, I'm very happy and positive and excited about what we've got."
On those hated Boston Red Sox:
"The big thing for [Boston] is that they brought big pieces over," Granderson said. "Who wouldn't want Carl Crawford or Adrian Gonzalez? At the same time, it'll be a little adjustment period for them as well and I think a couple of pieces will have to move. They're going to be just as excited."
He also spoke about the "great moves" the Orioles made and the questions marks surrounding the Rays after an offseason spent watching a third of their team walk away.

One Year Deals For Hughes, Joba, and Logan

From Brian Costello:
Hughes was signed for $2.7 million. The 24-year-old pitcher was in his first year of arbitration eligibility...

Chamberlain snagged a $1.4 million deal. The reliever also was in his first year of eligibility...

The Yankees gave Logan $1.2 million. This is Logan’s second year of eligibility.

With these three deals the Yankees avoid going to arbitration with all three.

Yanks Looking at Millwood

From Jon Heyman:
The Yankees among the teams looking at Kevin Millwood as a back-end starter and have also looked at Freddy Garcia. They are also pressing for Andruw Jones to be their fourth outfielder and have their eye on Johnny Damon, too.
I'm not very interested here. The guy has posted a 5+ ERA in 3 of the last 4 seasons and he turned 36 this past December. I can't image this is really the best option out there.

Thames To Sign With Dodgers
Do you guys think the Yanks should have done more to sign Thames or are you happy with the idea of signing Jones instead?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Yanks Close To Deal With Andruw Jones!/TBrownYahoo/status/27051562538893312
I like the move. It should do a lot to solidify the bench. 
If there are any updates I will update this post.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

This Week in Yankees History (1/16-1/22)

This Week in Yankees History 

January 16th - January 22nd

January 16th

1957 - Former Yankees 1B/DH Steve “Bye-Bye” Balboni (1981-1983,1989-1990) was born. The New York Yankees in the 2nd round of the 1978 MLB amateur player draft drafted Steve Balboni. After seeing limited action with the Yankees, Steve Balboni was traded on December 8,1983, along with P Roger Erickson to the Kansas City Royals for P Mike Armstrong and minor league player Duane Dewey. On March 27, 1989, Steve was traded by the Seattle Mariners to the Yankees for minor league P Dana Ridenour. He only hit .232 and .219 before being released by the Yankees in 1990.

1966 - Former Yankees P Jack McDowell (1995) was born. On December 14, 1994, Jack McDowell was traded by the Chicago White Sox to the Yankees for a player to be named later (OF Lyle Mouton) and minor league player Keith Heberling. He went 15-10 in 30 games for the Yankees in 1995.

1970 - Former Yankees P Ron Villone (2006-2007) was born. On November 16, 2005, Ron Villone was traded by the Florida Marlins to the New York Yankees for minor league player Ben Julianel. Ron went 3-3 in 107 games for the Yankees.

1974 - The BWAA selects former New York Yankees teammates Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford to the Hall Of Fame. Mickey Mantle becomes only the seventh player to make it in his first try. His 536 MLB career HRs with the New York Yankees ranked second only to Babe Ruth and he played in more games (2,401) than any other Yankee player, including Lou Gehrig. Whitey Ford was arguably the greatest New York Yankees pitcher of all time, retiring with more wins (236), more innings pitched (3,171), more strikeouts (1,956), and more shutouts (45) than any pitcher in the club’s history.

Martin on Two Down Years: I Was Distracted

From The Canadian Press (hat-tip to WasWatching):

The two-time all-star catcher from Chelsea, Que., attending Baseball Canada's annual awards banquet Saturday, attributed his consecutive off-years with the Los Angeles Dodgers to poor preparation.

That's all changed now, and he says "this year I'm looking to be better" than ever.

"Probably some frustrations, probably not training as hard as I should have in some ways," Martin said in explaining his 2009 and '10 seasons. "That's always been my strength, is training my butt off, doing all those things in the best way possible. And I think I had some distractions that maybe led me not to have that same drive that I've had in the past. Really, that's all it is, I trained hard, but before nobody trained as hard as I did.

"This year I feel like I'm back. Just mentally, I feel better."

Asked about the distractions, he said, "there are some things that you keep for yourself, and those distractions are personal."

As far as his decision to join the Yankees he said this:

"The Yankees were a little bit more aggressive and a little less concerned with the injuries I had," said Martin. "I was told by my agent that (the Blue Jays) were willing to match the Yankees' offer but in my mind it was where do I have a chance to win the World Series the most next year.

"My opinion was I had the best chance with the Yankees."


"The Yankees were just like, 'Hey, we want you to catch as much as possible, we want you to be our guy,'" said Martin. "That helped my decision as well."

You gotta wonder how Jorge Posada is feeling about losing his job is being taken by a guy who admits he took the last two years off because of "distractions". Also, New York is the city of distractions so Martin will need to learn how to handle that stuff pretty damn quickly if he's going to survive here.

Another thing he may want to learn is that sometimes it's better not to tell the truth to the press. Remember Russell, unlike sports fans in La-La Land, New Yorkers read, retain that information, and then will hold it against you.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Pitchers & Catchers to Report One Day Later!/BobKlap/status/26062898769960960!/BobKlap/status/26339140970745856

A Little More On That "Rift" Between Ownership and Cashman

Jon Heyman has the info:!/SI_JonHeyman/status/26328601926307840!/SI_JonHeyman/status/26329266836733952!/SI_JonHeyman/status/26330424095539200

Buster Olney twat the same thing as well.

The Daily News also reported this morning that Cash was overruled by both Hank and Hal Steinbrenner. Mainly because they didn't like the idea of going into the season with a starting rotation full of question marks "and little protection for closer Mariano Rivera." They also weren't too fond of Cashman's plan to have Joba Chamberlain open the season as the Yanks main setup guy.

Olney: Soriano Signing Was Ownership-Driven

Earlier we heard that Mariano was also a big part in getting the Yanks to sign Soriano, but he wasn't the only factor in this decision. Apparently Randy Levine played a big role as well.!/Buster_ESPN/statuses/25969283402043392

Gammons backs up Olney's report:!/pgammo/status/25932251879444480

While I'm never a fan of ownership going over the head's of the baseball people to make a move, I still have very few problems with this move. Let's just hope this trend doesn't continue.

Heyman: Yanks would consider trading Joba for a starter!/SI_JonHeyman/status/26055802020167680
He's basically lost in the Yankees pen now, so I wouldn't mind seeing a deal happen if the Yankees were able to get a pitcher that would actually help them win in return.

At the same time I still believe Joba can be successful in New York if given another chance, whether it be in the pen or even the starting rotation.

Giving him another shot at the rotation is something I've heard a lot of fans talking about in the 24 hours since they signed Soriano and solidified their pen. It's certainly not something I'm against, after all I was always a Joba-to-the-rotation guy anyway.

It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. Stay tuned...

Friday, January 14, 2011

Better Know a Prospect Countdown: 5 - 1

You can find the first two installments of this series here and here. This post will remain at the top of the page throughout the day, so scroll down a bit for other news and musings throughout the day.

Gary Sanchez, C, 18
Rk/A - .329/.393/.543, 8 HR, 2 SB, 14 BB, 44 K

This is a very ambitious ranking, though you'll find that most publications are similarly optimistic. Sanchez displayed an incredibly advanced approach at the plate in his professional debut, and simply clobbered the competition in Rookie Ball. From there, he earned an aggressive push to Single-A and held his own against much older competition - all at age-17. Several scouts have labeled his potential ceiling as "Montero with a better glove," and he does appear at least as developed as Montero at a similar age, and his glove is certainly better. That being said, I don't quite see the same power potential, nor do I think such grand opinions can be drawn from such a small sample. I'm incredibly bullish with Sanchez, as one can glean from this ranking, but I cannot push him much higher than this, nor would I deal Montero due to his presence as some fans and analysts have suggested. I liken Sanchez to Geovany Soto, and I would be extremely happy with such a development.

Andrew Brackman, RHP, 25
A+/AA - 140.2 IP, 144 H, 39 BB, 126 K, 3.90 ERA

I've said it before and I'll say it again (and again, and possibly again) - Andrew Brackman is the definitive high-risk, high-reward pick. The 6'10" righty was drafted with the knowledge that TJS was necessary, as the Yankees looked past that towards the overwhelming potential. Armed with a mid-to-high 90s fastball, a knee-buckling curveball, and the length to deceive hitters, Brackman was simply too good to pass up. He struggled in his professional debut, as most post-TJS pitchers do, raising plenty of doubts and concerns. This past season silenced many of the naysayers, and returned Brackman to the forefront of the Yankees system. He demonstrated excellent control, kept the ball on the ground (over 50% of balls in play were grounders), limited home runs, and remained healthy, which may be the most important factor of all. In just one year, Brackman went from a tremendous question mark to a solid year away from the Majors - more than anyone could have ever hoped for. Here's hoping the trend continues.

Dellin Betances, RHP, 22
A+/AA - 85.1 IP, 53 H, 22 BB, 108 K, 2.11 ERA

In terms of past, present, and future, the best comparison for Betances is likely Andrew Brackman. Both were drafted with an eye to the future, with an awareness of injury issues and the likelihood of slow-and-steady development. Like Brackman, Betances works with a mid-to-high 90s fastball and a big breaking ball, though Brackman's change-up is a bit more advanced. What distinguishes Betances is his age (he's three years younger) and his more extensive resume. Betances did quite well in 2007 and 2008, with his injury-marred 2009 being his first real roadblock - I'm simply not sure what to expect from Brackman, whereas Betances showed flashes prior to this season. In the end, I'm quite happy to have both pitchers in the system - both remind me of Josh Johnson, in terms of size and stuff.

Manny Banuelos, LHP, 19
Rk/A+/AA - 64.2 IP, 54 H, 25 BB, 85 K, 2.51 ERA

Perhaps this is some sort of Yankees prospect persecution complex, but I cannot help but feel that Banuelos would be at the top of many lists were he 6'3" instead of 5'10". While it is true that smaller pitchers have struggled to maintain their stuff and stay healthy, it's far from a rule, or even a minor commonality. Banuelos features a 91 to 94 MPH fastball that tops out around 96 MPH, a low-80s circle-change, and a mid-80s curve - all of which he commands wonderfully. His mechanics are clean and repeatable, his delivery deceptive, and his resume to-date is fantastic (particularly when you consider that he's been among the youngest pitchers at every level thus far). Like Johan Santana, Banuelos' change-up dives down and in towards righties, which should allow him to maintain an insignificant platoon split. In fact, Banuelos' stuff and poise on the mound are reminiscent of Santana, and I do think that Banuelos' best seasons could be Cy Young-worthy.

Jesus Montero, C, 21
AAA - .289/.353/.517, 21 HR, 0 SB, 46 BB, 91 K

What can I say about Montero that hasn't been said already? Not much. Montero has power to all fields and somehow manages to spray line drive after line drive, despite swinging at some fairly questionable pitches. That isn't to say that he's undisciplined at the plate - rather, that he has confidence in his ability to hit anything and everything, and the results seem to dignify that mindset (not unlike Miguel Cabrera). In my mind, Montero's early struggles at Triple-A don't mean much of anything, as he was young for the level and adapting to the rigors of catching everyday; that he held in there and absolutely dominated the International League from June forward tells us much more about his potential. To many, the glaring issue is whether or not Montero will stick at catcher, and that may not be without merit. To me, however, few will care where he stands in the field once he steps into the batter's box.

Matthews: Mo Convinced Yanks to Sign Soriano

From Wallace Matthews (Hat-Tip to Crossfire):
As befitting an aging king preparing to abdicate his throne, Rivera -- according to a source with intimate knowledge of the negotiations -- chose his own successor.

He chose Rafael Soriano. More importantly, he convinced his bosses to choose Soriano.

And just like that, a team with huge holes in both its starting rotation and bullpen comes up with a waterproof patch. Suddenly, a question mark becomes an exclamation point. A shaky bullpen becomes one of the best in the league.

And without Mariano going to bat for Soriano, giving him the vote of confidence the Yankees needed to hear and agreeing to take him under his wing, to groom him for the most difficult succession since Larry Holmes tried to follow Muhammad Ali, maybe it doesn't happen at all.


According to the source, who insisted upon anonymity because he is not authorized to speak until Soriano passes his physical and the deal is official, Rivera played no small role in that.

In fact, it appears that he played a huge role. "Mariano knows this kid very well,'' the source said. "All those issues the Yankees were concerned with came up in the negotiations, but Mariano spoke to Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner and convinced [them] that he had matured and was worth getting. He told them he would look after the kid as a Yankee, bring him along so that in two years, he'll be ready to close for them.''
Very interesting. I guess Mo saw the same problems with this bullpen as most of us did and didn't want to spend next season getting 4 and 5 out saves. A smart move considering he's now 41-years-old and doesn't need any unnecessary wear and tear on that arm of his.

Also, to those of you out there complaining about the money, please stop acting as if you're the one spending it. Sure, it's a lot of money for a setup man, there's no denying that. But the bottom line is the move makes the Yankees a better baseball team, and when your pockets are as deep as the Yankees' are, that's all that matters. Like Andrew Marchand said last night, this contract won't stop the Yankees from doing anything.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Yankees Sign Rafael Soriano!/SI_JonHeyman/status/25731057428992000!/SI_JonHeyman/status/25732258144985089!/SI_JonHeyman/status/25733578239254528

At face value, I do like this deal. Soriano will be the finest set-up man in the game, and the Yankees bullpen will be a major strength. Digging deeper, however, I'm not too keen on giving up a first round pick in a loaded draft - particularly when it means two additional picks to the Rays. As it stands, I'm not quite sure what to make of this.

Greg's Note: For those wondering about how this contract will effect the Yankees in the future, here's what Andrew Marchand had to say: