Some general managers can’t fill a team’s needs in the offseason, even if they do have the money to spend. Then there’s Brian Cashman.
All he did was bring in a young center fielder and a durable starting pitcher through trades and signed a guy in his prime for DH. He did this without giving up either of the Yankees’ top three young players, and didn’t have to spend much money.
Still, fans complain he didn’t convince the big guns upstairs to sign Johnny Damon. Well, as I noted yesterday, Cashman did convince them to go $4 million over their budget. It’s Damon’s fault he’s not a Yankee. Not Cashman’s.
So Cashman had no choice but to stop pursuing in the guy everyone wanted for a huge increase in production, but also a huge downgrade in defense for left field.
Instead, he settled with Brett Gardner, a guy who still has time to develop into the dangerous leadoff man he projected to be as a young prospect. And to put the cherry on top, Cashman brought in a veteran, Randy Winn, to back Gardner up if he really starts stinkin’ up the joint. He did that in less than a week after Damon turned down his offer.
There are no holes on this roster. Hats off to Cashman, and stop whining if you’re still whining.
January 30, 2010
Some general managers can’t fill a team’s needs in the offseason, even if they do have the money to spend. Then there’s Brian Cashman.
The Yankees are done making big moves after signing Randy Winn on Wednesday. Besides possibly moving Sergio Mitre or Chad Gaudin, the Opening Day roster won’t be changing. That means it’s time for some projections. Here’s what I expect the Opening Day roster to look like:
Joba Chamberlain/Phil Hughes
Sergio Mitre/Boone Logan/Mark Melancon
Jamie Hoffmann/Juan Miranda
January 29, 2010
"We had a strong desire to have Johnny back," Cashman said. "But not at all costs."
Johnny, you will regret this decision for the rest of the year. No team is going to offer you more than $6 million at this point in the offseason, and even if they do match the offer, you won’t be as happy as you would have been in New York. If I were you, I would fire Scott Boras immediately and post this flyer:
Now that the Yankees and Johnny Damon are officially divorced, Damon’s agent Scott Boras has been acting up. Boras claimed Brian Cashman never made Damon a contract offer.
"I love Johnny," Cashman said. "I don't appreciate, obviously, Scott's representation of the events because we just had a different opinion, that's all. When I saw he said we never made an offer he knows that wasn't the case."
There’s no question who I trust more in this case. Cashman went on record saying he offered Damon a two-year, $14 million deal, but Boras wanted two years, $20 million.
Boras messed up in not accepting Cashman’s deal, and now he’s just whining about it.
It seems to me Boras is still hoping the Yankees are going to “finally” make an offer to Damon. But I doubt that’s going to happen.
January 28, 2010
MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch posted an article on Jesus Montero last night after he was ranked No. 19 in the site’s Top 50 Prospects in baseball. Hoch delivered some nice quotes from Yankees senior vice president of baseball operations Mark Newman on Montero.
"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."
I thought these quotes validated the hype around the Yankees’ top prospect. His No. 19 ranking is actually the lowest he’s been placed at by any of the lists I’ve seen to date. ESPN’s Keith Law had him at No. 10 in the list he released yesterday (paid content).
I’ve posted a lot of updates on Montero over the past year, so be sure to check out the archives on him here. You can find all archives by any player and other notable things I’ve tagged in my blog on the left sidebar.
January 27, 2010
The good news: Finally, the cries for Damon will quiet and I won't have to keep posting about him.
The bad news: I don't think Winn was the right guy to spend the last bit of dough on.
Winn is just a guy to challenge Brett Gardner for his spot in left field. He's not the future. The only positives are he might make Gardner work a little harder to keep his job and he can play all three outfield spots fairly well. I highly doubt he'll be an Opening Day starter. I'll have more on Winn as soon as we hear more from the club.
Yes, another post on Frankie Piliere’s scouting reports. Chad Jennings asked him what he thought about the Yankees’ newest 40-man roster addition, outfielder Greg Golson.
“I think it’s a fantastic deal,” Piliere wrote. “Zero risk. (Mitch) Hilligoss was pretty limited, I think. Golson can absolutely fly and can play the outfield. I think it’s a great gamble. It wasn’t very long ago that he was a top prospect. He wasn’t awful in AAA, not great but not bad. I think he can continue to develop.”
So, Golson is a Brett Gardner type — fast, plus-defense and not much bat. Here’s what Joe Girardi said his plans were for both players (also via LoHud):
“We expect Gardy to have more playing time, and (Golson) gives us another guy like Gardy (off the bench) if we feel there’s a need.”
I didn’t post about him yesterday when the Yankees added him because I didn’t think he had a chance to play a role on the Yankees in 2010. But it seems now he does.
Also, check out Piliere’s in-depth scouting report on Pat Venditte, the switch-pitcher in New York’s farm system.
Frankie Piliere of AOL Fanhouse has done an excellent job scouting the top prospects and farm systems in the game this week.
The Yankees’ farm system as a whole was ranked 15th in all of baseball. He said:
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.
Piliere is referring to guys like Manny Banuelos, who is just an 18-year-old lefty with one great year for the GCL Yankees. It’s nothing special, but it’s still an average system.
Obviously, Jesus Montero was the top ranked prospect for the Yankees. Piliere ignored the criticism of his weak defense and glorified his bat.
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.
Can you imagine a homegrown 40-homer player on the Yankees? It’s not easy for a great team like the Yankees to pick up an All-Star bat at such a young age. That’s just great scouting.
Montero ranked No. 5 in baseball behind Stephen Strasburg (WAS), Michael Stanton (FLA), Desmond Jennings (TB) and Jason Heyward (ATL).
January 26, 2010
What this all means: The Cubs and A's are no longer possible suitors for Damon's services, therefore, the Yankees' chances of re-signing him grow.
This is big news. During last season, I expected the Yankees to re-sign Damon. After signing Nick Johnson, I thought he was long gone. Now, there are just a few teams that would even remotely need/want Damon. The Yankees are one of them.
What does it all come down to: The same thing as always. Money.
Unsigned Chien-Ming Wang is still recovering from shoulder surgery on July 29 and is expected to throw off a mound in the next couple of weeks, according to Ken Rosenthal. His agent Alan Nero also had this to say:
“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.”
So, what do you think? Is any team going to offer the new, injury-prone Wang a Major League contract?
I wouldn’t. Like I’ve said, I think it’s time he looks back to the tape from his 19-win seasons and literally try and duplicate his mechanics and mentality on the mound.
Back then, he heavily relied on his sinker, more so than he did the past two years. He’ll never be a strikeout pitcher, but his sinker is like a bowling ball.
January 25, 2010
“Mr. Perfect.” That’s my new nickname for Mark Teixeira. He plays flawless defense, hammers the baseball and has a want-to-win mentality.
I know some people say Derek Jeter was the team MVP last year, but to me it’s undoubtedly Teixeira. He led the American League in total bases, RBIs and tied for the league-lead in homers. In my mind, he deserved a lot more votes for AL MVP, but that doesn’t matter now.
Teixeira turns 30 on April 11 and is signed through age 36. Last season marked the sixth straight season Mr. Perfect hit 30 homers and drove in 100 runs. If he averages 35 homers and 110 RBIs for the rest of his contract, he’ll be right on the cusp of 500 homers and 1,500 RBIs for his career.
Basically, he’s the man.
January 24, 2010
After Jon Heyman reported yesterday Brian Cashman set a deadline for Johnny Damon to respond to his low deal, Mike Puma of the NY Post reported today Cashman denied setting a deadline on the negotiations.
"There is no deadline," Cashman said. "We'll spend when we feel comfortable."
In a text message to The Post, Damon indicated he was vacationing and not aware of a deadline. More likely, Boras gave the Yankees a deadline of this weekend to make their final offer.
The offer, if any, is expected to be for one year and under $5 million — maybe as low as $2 million because of the Yankees’ low budget.
Does Damon have too much pride to turn down any offer less than what he thinks he’s worth? I think yes, meaning he’ll do what Kepner suggested.
Also, check out this long, but funny satire piece.
Relief pitcher Mark Melancon is one of the guys fighting for a spot in the Yankees bullpen in spring training. In my latest weekly poll, 51 percent of the fans voted he would make the team.
Melancon posted a 3.86 ERA last year in 13 games with the Yankees. He did not make the postseason bullpen.
Remember, this is a guy who was brought up as a reliever in the minors, and the Yankees organization has a lot of confidence in this guy.
If the season began today, I would side with the fans.
Next poll: Without Damon, is this year’s team better than last year’s?
January 23, 2010
Both Jason Giambi and Miguel Tejada were considered two of the best hitters in baseball in the early 2000s. Both have steroids clouding their reputations. And both were picked up off the free agent market today.
Giambi is expected to re-sign with the Colorado Rockies and Tejada will return to the Baltimore Orioles. Both are expected to be one-year deals.
Last season was the first time Giambi wasn’t with the Yankees since 2001 and it wasn’t pretty. He hit a combined .201/.343/.382 in 102 games. He really doesn’t belong in the National League anymore because of his horrendous defense, so I guess he’ll be used primarily as a pinch-hitter.
Tejada is a different story. He led the NL in doubles last year with 46 and hit .313/.340/.455 with the Astros. Now he’ll be back to playing shortstop with the Orioles, a team that has made a lot of big moves this offseason (more on that soon).
Javier Vazquez said those words to a Puerto Rican newspaper, as reported by Bryan Hoch. He also said:
"It is up to God. I go year by year, and I don't know if it will be one, two or three years, but I'm definitely not going to play until 40."
So I guess Vazquez is a guy looking to leave on top, especially after he told the paper he was looking to win a World Series.
This news in general surprised me. One reason why he might be thinking about early retirement is how much he’s pitched throughout his career. In 11 of his past 12 seasons, he’s started over 32 games. Maybe he’s starting to wear down.
But that case is not evidenced by his numbers. Statistically, he’s coming off his best year ever. Yes, it was in the National League, but a sub-3 ERA is good no matter what.
The news leads me to this final prediction: If the Yankees win the World Series this year, he’ll retire.
January 22, 2010
The NL Champion (World Series losing) Phillies have bolstered their bullpen with ex-Yankee Jose Contreras, according to ESPNDeportes.com’s Enrique Rojas.
The deal is pending a physical and we only know it’s a one-year deal.
Contreras, 38, was great out of the bullpen for the Rockies last year after stinking up the joint in the White Sox rotation.
The deal comes about a month after the Phillies acquired Roy Halladay in the biggest blockbuster deal of the winter and yesterday’s re-signing of Joe Blanton to a three-year deal. But Contreras will most likely be staying in the bullpen for the Phillies.
John Sickels, author of “2010 Baseball Prospect Book,” is posting excerpts from his book on his site. Yesterday, he included a brief on Yankees uber-prospect Jesus Montero. Here’s what he said:
Jesus Montero is an amazing young hitter. He has excellent power to all fields. Although not a walk machine, he controls the zone well and doesn't strike out very much for a power hitter. He hits fastballs. He hits breaking balls. You might fool him once but don't try the same trick too soon or he'll make you pay. He murdered the Florida State League to the tune of a +45 percent OPS, and he remained extremely successful in the Eastern League at +26 OPS despite%2Mark Teixeira a lot of money. For now, Montero will remain behind the plate, waiting for a DH spot to open up in New York. He could also be traded, but any trade involving Montero as a centerpiece would have to be a blockbuster. I have absolutely no doubts about Montero's bat. Despite the questions about his glove, Montero rates as pure Grade A prospect. The bat is that good.
if you aren’t excited about him yet, you should be. Will he replace Jorge Posada eventually? We’ll see, but he’s only 20 years old. Other experts have compared him to Paul Konerko because he originally came up as a catcher but moved to 1B/DH.
The Yankees haven’t done anything to improve their major league lineup/pitching staff since Tuesday, but rumors are still swirling of acquiring an outfielder to platoon with or even take over for Brett Gardner. Here’s a link roundup, including some notes on the Mets, who I saw all over my Google Reader this morning.
- Rick Ankiel signs with the Royals ($3.25 million/1YR). Cross another name off the list for the Yankees.
- Mets reach deal with Gary Matthews Jr. Is he worth $23 million over two years? Absolutely not. But the Mets are only paying $2 million of that and giving up RP Brian Stokes. Good move for Mets.
- Not really news, but the Yankees are still considering Xavier Nady and Rocco Baldelli for the outfield. I’m surprised Ken Davidoff didn’t mention Reed Johnson too.
- Also from Davidoff, the Yankees were interested in John Smoltz before trading for Javier Vazquez. Now the Mets are interested in the 42-year-old. Umm. WOW! That makes me feel awesome with having Vazquez.
- Mets interested in picking up Chien-Ming Wang. They are one of 15 teams interested, Anthony McCarron reports. Maybe the Yankees should try and retain him for more depth?
- Mets might re-sign Fernando Tatis… Go Mets!
January 21, 2010
Photo from NY Post
You can, if you’re willing to travel to Fordham University this weekend. Via Yankees.com:
The championship hardware from the Yankees' 27th title run will be on display for fans to view and take photographs with from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET.
I’d be there if I didn’t have so many obligations at school. If you’ve never seen any of the championship trophies in person, I’d say its worth checking out.
When I was very young, maybe eight years old, I got a tour of the Yankees clubhouse through a family-friend connection with Brian Cashman. I saw the trophy and my family and I got to talk to Cashman in his office. I was too young to document/remember much…
But the highlight of the visit by far was Cashman handing me an autographed baseball of Derek Jeter. I got Cashman to sign another ball too. I’ll post pictures next time I’m home from school.
Anyone remember Hideki Irabu? The ex-Yankee of the late 1990s came out of retirement last year to pitch in the Golden Baseball League and eventually drew interest from a Japanese baseball team. After a wrist injury, he was released, and today he has announced his retirement, again.
"I've decided to retire and consider what to do next in my life," said Irabu, who last pitched in the majors for the Rangers back in 2002.
So sad. I was hoping the 40-year-old would re-sign with the Yankees this year to fill the void of a veteran in the bullpen…
Some of you might be wondering why I’ve always liked this guy. Well, here’s the history behind it. Back when I was around 10 years old, a casual fan, I went to see him start a game at Yankee Stadium. My dad told me before the game he tends to be wild at times, so I shouldn’t expect much. He was right. I remember he ended up getting rocked like my dad expected, and I gained this lighthearted, lovable-loser attitude for him.
If this is my last post about him, please remember him the way I did when I featured him as my Yankee Card of the Week on Aug. 17, 2009.
I know some of you older fans think of him as the duplicate of Kei Igawa. It’s a pretty fair comparison, I must admit, but I still love the guy and I wish him a happy life after baseball.
January 20, 2010
“Brian Cashman’s going to get mad at me, but Yanks didn't make me offer because he's waiting on Damon price to come down.”
That right there is Hairston getting back at the Yankees for not offering to re-sign him. Well played, JHJ.
Now I’m sure Cashman is going to get asked about this, and he’ll have one of two responses.
- Most likely, he’ll just shoot down the “rumor” leaving everyone confused on who to believe.
But he could also answer Hairston was being truthful and the Yankees are moving closer to coming to terms with Damon. It’s still possible!
UPDATE: And here’s your response via Ken Davidoff:
Brian Cashman says it's "right" that he never made an offer to J. Hairston Jr., but "not right" that he is waiting for Damon's price to drop
Also, be sure to check out Tyler Kepner’s latest blog post titled “Career Crossroads for Johnny Damon.” Kepner compares Damon’s career to Lofton’s and concludes Damon could wind up waiting for a key player to go down with an injury in spring training and take the player’s spot.
I haven’t heard that prediction yet, but I’m sure Damon and Scott Boras are keeping that idea in their minds.
Hat tip iYankees for tweet
The Yankees have five players who have played for 15 seasons or more currently slated to start the new decade. Six if you count Johnny Damon, who hasn’t ruled out anything yet.
If you haven’t guessed them already, the five 15-year vets are Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez (16), Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte. All of whom are coming up on milestones — some bigger than others — and have a good chance of reaching them or coming close to reaching them this season.
- 3,000 hits — Probably the biggest statistical milestone for the type of player he is to reach. He stands at 2,747 now, leaving him 253 hits short. His highest ever was 219 back in 199, so he’s got virtually no shot at reaching it until 2011. This means he’ll have to sign another contract if he wants to do it with the Yankees, which I hope is no doubt a goal in his mind. Passing Lou Gehrig on the all-time hit list in 2009 was a great honor (I was at the Stadium when he broke it!), but becoming the first Yankee with 3,000 hits would be even greater.
- 250 home runs — Definitely a notable milestone for Jeter. Not many players with career .459 slugging percentage or less have reached 250 blasts. Adrian Beltre (250 exactly) is the only active player to accomplish the feat.
- 10,000 plate appearances — Jeter has dug his cleats into the batter’s box 9,809 times in his career, which means he’ll surely reach 10,000 this year. If he stays off the DL, he’s expected to hit 10,000 in late May or early June.
- 600 home runs — Yup. With the help of PEDs, A-Rod’s going to become just the seventh player in baseball history with 600 homers if he crush 17 more in 2010. He’s blasted at least 30 for the past 12 years, so it’s hard to bet against him not reaching the milestone.
- 10,000 plate appearances — With 9,611 PAs under his belt, he’ll easily surpass 10,000 plate appearances if he can stay healthy, like Jeter. Expect him to eclipse 10,000 sometime after the All-Star break.
- 1,500 hits — Sitting at 1,488, he should be able to get the 12 needed in April. Halfway to 3,000 is quite an accomplishment for a catcher. Keep in mind, 86 of those hits don’t count because he wasn’t at catcher when he got the hits. If he can duplicate last year’s total as a catcher, he’ll actually reach 1,500 on the dot.
- 250 home runs — He’s just seven shy of 250 dingers heading into 2010. If he stays healthy, expect him to hit the milestone in May. Once again, he has 233 homers while catching, so he’ll actually need to have a pretty good year to reach 250 as a catcher.
- 3,000 innings pitched — The Texas-grown southpaw is a mere 73-2/3 IP shy of 3,000 for his career. He notched his 3,000th K last year, and will easily reach 3,000 innings before the All-Star break if healthy.
- 500 games — Pettitte’s been extremely healthy over the past five years (knock on wood), and at his current pace he should pitch in his 500th game by September. Currently, he’s 32 shy (last year’s total), so even a 15-day DL visit would probably push reaching the milestone to 2011.
- All-time saves leader — With only Trevor Hoffman ahead of him in the saves category, he’ll have to outlast Hoffmann to become the record holder. However, it’s not a very well-known record, making it less important. A few years ago, a guy very few people realized held the record, Lee Smith. But becoming the record holder eventually would be the icing on the cake of his Hall of Fame career. When his career is done, he’ll be known as the best closer of all-time, no matter what, because of his postseason fame. Still, he should have the most saves just so nobody questions his greatness, right?
After getting his first RBI and 500th save last year in the same game, plus reaching 1,000 strikeouts, Mo isn’t expected to eclipse any other important milestones in 2010. He’s done all that a reliever can do except reach 1,000 games pitched. But standing at 917, he’ll have to wait until 2011 for that feat.
January 19, 2010
This makes me so happy. Thanks to my roommate Andrew McDermott and my dad for the two awesome framed pictures!
The one on the left is an array of pictures of the 15 walk-off wins in 2009 highlighted by a pied Nick Swisher with A.J. Burnett in the background.
The one in the right is the front-and-back cover of the New York Post from Nov. 5, headlined “27th HEAVEN” and has the team celebrating in the infield.
Oh, and I got that “27-time World Series champions” pennant at the parade.
Hated Red Sox closer Jon Papelbon avoided arbitration with the Red Sox today, signing a hefty $9.35MM deal for 2010. King Felix Hernandez, a 2012 target for most Yankees fans, inked a five-year, (“in the neighborhood of”) $80 million contract with the Mariners.
That’s a lot of dough for pitchers.
Jerry Hairston Jr., the Yankees’ 2009 utility player, signed a $2.125MM contract with the Padres yesterday, joining his brother Scott Hairston. Buster Olney tweeted the Yankees didn’t even make an offer, and have “no recent contact with Johnny Damon.”
All three news bits were a bit surprising to me. Come on Cashman, the Padres went $125K over your budget and you didn’t even make an offer? Now the free agent market lacks a player who can play both infield and outfield at a decent level, so the Yankees will most likely settle for an outfielder. Dan LaTorraca of Bronx Baseball Daily listed six possible options.
Also, if the Yankees haven’t contacted Damon, then who has? His list of suitors shrink by the day along with his price tag.
Another news item for you: Chad Gaudin and Boone Logan signed one-year deals with the Yanks, avoiding arbitration.
January 18, 2010
Don’t get too excited, this is just a reprint. A real Whitey Ford card is quite valuable compared to one from last decade. Ford was the Yankees’ left-handed ace in the 1950s and ‘60s, garnering a Cy Young Award, several World Series records and six World Series rings before reaching Hall of Fame status in 1974 (2nd ballot).
If you are having trouble picturing him, imagine Andy Pettitte but a couple runs better ERA-wise and a couple more rings.
January 17, 2010
The fans couldn’t agree on how confident they were in the Yankees bullpen. And I don’t blame them.
After Mariano Rivera and Joba Chamberlain/Phil Hughes, the Yankees aren’t very deep with major league experience but have a lot of young players competing for a few spots.
Marte and Robertson: Lefty Damaso Marte and righty David Robertson figure to be the next options out of the pen. Marte’s been very inconsistent in the past, but was great in the postseason and down the stretch. Robertson was too, but how do we know he’s not the next Brian Bruney? I think he’ll be fine, but he’s not a sure thing.
Ace’s spot: Nobody knows where Alfredo Aceves is fitting in, yet he might be the most reliable of the bunch. He’s done everything the Yankees asked, and he has exceeded expectations. I’d like to see him start the year as a multi-inning pitcher and then possibly pitch in later innings if Marte and Robertson don’t work out.
Melancon: Everyone seems to like Melancon. I do too. He’s a true reliever. He’s not a minor league starter called up to relieve. He was an absolute stud at every level of the minors, and finally got his chance to show off his electric stuff in pinstripes last year. In the majors he was mostly great, but had a few appearances where he was yanked after losing control of his pitches. I hope to see him develop this year like Robertson did last year.
The rest: Melancon isn’t a sure thing to open the year with the Yankees, but if he is, that leaves one spot left for Chad Gaudin, Sergio Mitre, Wilkin De La Rosa, Boone Logan, Edwar Ramirez, Jon Albaladejo and Romulo Sanchez. Gaudin and Logan filed for arbitration, and might be the top competitors for the final spot. Gaudin’s a long guy/spot starter and Logan is a lefty specialist. The decision is up to the Yankees
Overall: This bullpen has the potential to be great — mainly because of their strong closer-setup man combo. It might be the strongest in the majors, as both Hughes and Chamberlain have proven they can be elite relievers.
Next poll: When will Mark Melancon be with the Yankees?
January 16, 2010
Rocco Baldelli’s Facebook page had some surprising news for Yankees fans this morning:
Rocco Baldelli just came to a mutual agreement with the New York Yankees..now I get to see what the Yankee side of the rivalry is like after witnessing the Boston side in 2009
Here’s what Brian Cashman said when this message made it to his ear:
“That would be false,” Brian Cashman said.
Alrighty then. Now we know not to trust Baldelli’s Facebook page.
He still remains an option for the Yankees, but they haven’t agreed to anything yet.
I'll be quite busy getting situated back at school over the next few days which most likely means less posting.
But it's not like I'm missing out on a busy part of the year. In fact, this is the slowest time of year in terms of Yankees news. Once pitchers and catchers report to spring training on Feb. 17, expect the news to pick up quickly.
I have three morning/early afternoon classes Monday through Thursday, and two night courses on Monday, through Wednesday nights. Meaning, my typical post plan is a scheduled morning post (9 a.m.), a mid-afternoon post (3-4 p.m.) and then a game recap (10-11 p.m.).
Final exams finish up sometime in the second week of May, leaving me about a month into the season. Just keeping you informed.
Speaking of informing you...
- The Tigers have no interest in signing Johnny Damon, and the Braves aren't interested either. At this point, my best guess is he ends up with the Yankee making $2 million. I give up.
- Chad Gaudin and Boone Logan filed for arbitration yesterday.
January 15, 2010
I was trying to get from my sister's apartment in SoHo to my parents' apartment just south of Morningside Park. I took the 6 train uptown to the Upper East Side leaving me with a few avenues and Central Park to cross to get home. I wasn't mad. After all, it was a gorgeous day in New York City.
As I was walking through the park with my headphones blasting in my ear, I noticed I was practically alone. I took out my ear buds and all I heard were a few squawking birds. Nothing else.
I am here in Manhattan on the last day of my winter vacation from school, so I've gotten used to the constant sound of honking horns and explosive subwoofers in cars. But the park suppressed those distractions today, as if I were alone in my dorm.
Up by 102nd Street, I walked past a few baseball/softball fields that easily could have hosted a pickup game on this sunny January day. My history playing the game went through my mind in a flash and all I could think about was standing on one of the mounds and snapping off a sharp hook.
Instead, I looked to the bleachers, remembering the book I just started (a rarity for me) was in my coat pocket. In no rush whatsoever, I took an unfamiliar seat and started reading. My book-loving dad probably doesn't believe me at this point.
After turning a few pages I pulled out my phone, only to discover its battery was too low to take a picture and capture this beautiful setting. I settled to store the image away in my mind where I hopefully will remember it for years to come.
Soon, I gave in to my hunger, put in my bookmark (a baseball card) and left the tranquil scene.
When I first realized I had taken the wrong subway after walking up the subway station's stairs, I had planned on making an important phone call knowing I had enough time in my long walk ahead. Obviously, that call wasn't made.
When I came home and plugged in my phone, I saw I had a voice message. It was from the person I was going to call and he had resolved my problem.
Just another off-season day for a Yankees blogger in New York, I guess.
- According to MLB.com's depth chart, Austin Jackson is set to start in center field and Carlos Guillen is marked down as the left fielder and designated hitter. Signing Damon could create a nice rotation of those three players plus Ryan Raburn as a backup. Magglio Ordonez wasn't very productive in right last year, but a .310/.376/.428 hitting line is still good enough to be starting.
- Also, Carlos Beltran's knee surgery could mean bad news for Yankees fans who want to see Jerry Hairston Jr. back in pinstripes. Ken Rosenthal tweeted the Mets are interested in picking up the utility player, as he is the only FA left who can play center and shortstop.
The Yankees and their $2 million budget don't look like aggressive suitors right now, so that really hurts their chances against a club like the Mets. It may be time to start thinking about Reed Johnson as the outfield backup.
- Yankees spring training tickets went on sale this morning. So, if you're living in Florida, click here.
New York Yankees team ownership revealed Tuesday that the phrase "Yankees suck," one of the most popular chants in sports, was trademarked by the 27-time World Series champions prior to the 1996 season, a business strategy that has earned the team close to $100 billion over the past 13 years.Trademarking is awesome. Here's what Hal Steinbrenner had to say on the matter:
"If you multiply that $2 by 13 years of chants, hundreds of sellout games in opposing teams' stadiums, and the hundreds of millions of people who hate the Yankees, you can see that this was a brilliant financial tactic," Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said during a televised press conference at the team's spring training facility. "Where do you think we get the money to keep Mariano Rivera here? Or sign a bust like Carl Pavano without making the slightest dent in our bank account?"
"You know what? Why don't you all join me in a 'Yankees suck' chant right now. Come on, you know you want to," Steinbrenner added. "Yankees suck! Yankees suck! Yankees suck! That's another $9 million right there."
And Brian Cashman:
"Owning the 'Yankees suck' property is the best thing that ever happened to this organization," Cashman said. "CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira were both signed with 'Yankees suck' money. And people who said 'Yankees suck' over the course of our 2000 World Series run helped foot the bill for executive bonuses and the organization's annual Christmas party. To be honest, I actually can't remember the last time we had to dip into our funds from merchandising, broadcast rights, or ticket sales."
This is NOT made up! ... OK, fine. It is.
January 14, 2010
- Melky Cabrera avoided arbitration with the Braves and agreed to a one-year, $3.1 million deal - more than double what he made with the Yankees last year. The Braves could be starting an all '09 Yankees outfield this season. That's Eric Hinske in right, Cabrera in center and Johnny Damon in left.
- Jose Valverde finally signed with the Tigers. He'll make $14MM over two years with a $9MM option. Some Yankees fans speculated he could be Mariano Rivera's setup man this year. He certainly would have helped the Yankees' bullpen, but the Yankees seem to have Joba Chamberlain or Phil Hughes chalked up for that role.
- Josh Johnson of the Marlins got a big payday. Four years, $39 million, to be exact. And that's after Major League Baseball and the players' union encouraged them to spend more revenue-sharing money. Johnson was discussed in a lot of Yankees forums/comment sections as possibly the next big move for the Yanks. He's one of baseball's premier pitchers and he's about to turn 26.
- Hideki Okajima avoided arbitration with the Red Sox and will earn $2.75 million plus bonuses in 2010. The Yankees have hit him pretty hard in the past (14 ER in 22-1/3 IP).
- Adam LaRoche agreed to a one-year deal with the Diamondbacks worth $4.5 million. He briefly saw some time with the Red Sox last season and then was traded back to the Braves to finish out the year. LaRoche is a very durable player who averages 26 homers and 91 RBIs in 162 games.
Beltran already had two of the top surgeons in the country agree that he needed to have the surgery, yet the Mets are mad at him for doing it without telling them. The Mets will be funding the surgery, but they still are looking into taking action against Beltran.
Why? I do not know. Beltran's probably thinking, "I don't want to deal with an injury-plagued team's training staff. I'll do things my own way and get back on the field as soon as possible."
Meanwhile, the Mets aren't keeping good terms with one of their star players.
Let's just say, the Mets aren't in a very good place right now.
Taken from my cell phone's 3-megapixel camera.
Just making sure you all know, I'm very open to answering questions about anything Yankees. Feel free to e-mail them or just post them in the comments.
A few writers and I responded to these questions:
1. The Yankees acquired Curtis Granderson, but didn't appear interested in signing free agents Matt Holliday or Jason Bay, so it appears as if the team will enter Spring Training with an outfield that includes Brett Gardner and Nick Swisher. Have the Yanks done enough to improve their outfield or is there another move they should make?
2. The addition of Javier Vazquez to the starting rotation means Phil Hughes will probably remain in the 8th inning role in 2010. Is this where he should be or should the Yankees eventually give him another shot at starting?
3. How do you feel about New York trading away three of its best prospects this offseason in Austin Jackson, Mike Dunn and Arodys Vizcaino?
4. The Bombers had great chemistry in 2009, which helped them win the World Series. How do you believe the departure of Melky Cabrera, Hideki Matsui and possibly Johnny Damon will affect that aspect of the team?
5. The Red Sox have been very busy this offseason, acquiring John Lackey, Adrian Beltre, Mike Cameron and Marco Scutaro. Are the Yankees still the favorites to win the AL East?
I really don't care at this point, but I thought you ladies would like to know.
To raise your hopes even more, one of my older sisters (a lawyer) said she saw Jeter with a woman in a restaurant.
She said that woman didn't look like Minka Kelly.
Earlier on Wednesday tens of thousands wandered dazed and sobbing in the chaotic, broken streets, hoping desperately for assistance.One young man yelled at reporters in English: "Too many people are dying. We need international help ... no emergency, no food, no phone, no water, no nothing."
Photo from Reuters.
January 13, 2010
"I don't do extensions," Steinbrenner told FanHouse. "It's a policy I have, one I've always had."This is perplexing to me. George Steinbrenner had his facial hair policy, which is still in order today, but, correct me if I'm wrong, I don't think he passed down this extension policy to Hal. At least Joe Girardi, whose contract expires after this season, doesn't appear to be angry.
"I don't worry about my contract," Girardi said. "I worry about this year. I wouldn't expect them to talk to me about it till it's over."If I'm Girardi, I'd be a little upset the Steinbrenners won't negotiate an extension before his contract expires. It's a matter of job security, and I think a World Series championship in his second year warrants some green flowing Girardi's way. Dare I say it, it's almost unclassy not to extend his contract or at least reach a verbal agreement.
People can argue the Series wasn't won by the team, rather than Girardi. Well, he didn't do anything to screw it up, and that's an accomplishment when you have one of the most scrutinized jobs in New York.
Here's a small link dump for the articles I found amusing or worth your time:
- Kung-Fu Panda gained weight (he's probably my favorite NL player)
- Brett Gardner's not just fast, but the fastest in MLB
- The Yankee U has another post with a picture worth a click
- Although the text is a little hard to read, an interview with Chad Jennings is worth copying and pasting into a Word document
- Missing the football Giants? This may cheer you up
“Either [Xavier] Nady or [Reed] Johnson represent marginal improvements that may not justify the cost. Neither is really a full-time player. Johnson is strictly a platoon player, and can back up [Curtis] Granderson, but they have [Brett] Gardner for that. Nady, even when healthy, was a platoon guy until ‘08. I’m not a Gardner guy, never have been, but their offense is fine even if they put a pointed stick in left field (if the ball hits the stick, the batter is out). So why not play for defense a little with the cheap guy in-house? Eventually, some other option will emerge and there’s no reason for the Yanks to spend money on left field simply for the sake of spending money.”No need for me to reiterate the positives in going with Gardner. The one thing I would like to emphasize is the idea that the additional production of Nady or Johnson wouldn't warrant the cost of signing them. In other words, would an upgrade from Gardner to their caliber make a considerable difference in the lineup's ability to produce runs? Is the slight downgrade on defense worth it too?
Now, if you are still on the "bring back Johnny Damon" bandwagon, an upgrade to his ability at the price he'd have to accept to fit the Yankees payroll (let's say $5 million or less) would make more of a positive impact on offense. He'd be hitting second and popping more homers than any other candidate for left field can at this point. But he's also a major downgrade on defense compared to Gardner and his services on offense aren't required for the Yankees to make a run at repeating as champs. Ask anyone: Whose lineup is more feared than the Yankees'?
January 12, 2010
That might be just enough to sign Jerry Hairston Jr., Rocco Baldelli or Marcus Thames, but the amount probably would fall short to acquire Xavier Nady or Reed Johnson (Sherman says all are Yankees targets).
Sherman also revealed the Yankees had competed a deal for Mike Cameron (now on the Red Sox) last July, but Hal Steinbrenner wasn't willing to pay the cost of $5.5 million to keep Cameron the rest of the year. If that doesn't show you the Yankees are serious about payroll, I don't know what does.
However, Cashman was able to convince Steinbrenner last offseason to expand the payroll to retain Andy Pettitte. Because of this, Johnny Damon remains a "remote" option for left field.
My thoughts, again, are: it is unnecessary to bring Damon back after acquiring Nick Johnson and Curtis Granderson, and re-signing Hairston would suffice. Baldelli and Thames also are fine options, and I would prefer Johnson to Nady.
While you are reading this, I'll be in an IMAX 3D theater watching Avatar. I've heard nothing but good things (except for those who "have no interest watching blue people roam around another planet").
Ring wants a ring: Only one of these three names rings a bell, and that's Ring. Ring's name was spotted in 26 box scores for the Mets in the 2005 and 2006 seasons. He went 0-2 and gave up nine earned in 23-1/3 innings for them. Since then, he's pitched with the Padres, Braves and Cardinals. After a dreadful 2008 year with the big league club, he spent all of '09 in Triple-A Memphis (Cardinals affiliate) where he compiled a 5-2 record and a 3.04 ERA in 51 appearances.
What rhymes with Hideki?: Gorecki! He spent most of 2009 with the Braves Triple-A squad before being called up in mid-August. He went 5-for-25 (all singles) and saw time in all outfield spots. Chad Jennings said barring a huge spring training he will open 2010 in Scranton.
Free me from Minny: Winfree has spent the last seven years in the Twins minor league system and is yet to have a major league at bat. A career .270/.318/.442 hitter should expect that.
Expect a lot more of these announcements to come in the upcoming weeks. I'll try and group them together for you.
On Saturday, January 30, 2010, members of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) will come together to celebrate SABR and all things baseball. Chapters and members across the US and Canada will gather for everything from Hot Stove discussions to research presentations to guest talks by former players to a Dice Base Ball Tournament (scheduled to be played outside in Vermont).
SABR has 55 chapters in the US, Canada, Puerto Rico, the United Kingdom, and Japan. Approximately 10% of the membership attends SABR’s national convention each year, making local chapters a key part of the nationwide (and worldwide) community of baseball fans who make up the heart of SABR. SABR Day is an alternative to gathering members in one place by having as many members as possible come together on the same day—regardless of where they live. And every SABR Day gathering is open to all baseball fans; SABR membership is not required.
The Society for American Baseball Research is an international, member-driven nonprofit organization whose mission is to foster the research, preservation, and dissemination of the history and record of baseball. More information is available on SABR’s website at: www.sabr.org.
A sampling of scheduled events and locations is below. The full list of chapter and member events is available at: www.sabr.org. All times are local times on January 30, 2010.
Bob Davids Chapter (VA)
· Time: 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m
· Location: Holiday Inn Rosslyn at Key Bridge 1900 North Fort Myer Drive Arlington, VA 22209-1602
· Agenda: Guests include former Orioles pitcher Scott McGregor, member Dave Smith, and Nationals blogger Mike Henderson. Also research presentations from members
Boston Chapter (MA)
· Time: 5:30 p.m.
· Location: McGreevy's, 911 Boylston St., Boston
· Agenda: dinner and post-dinner baseball chat
Charlotte Chapter (NC)
· Time: 11:30 a.m.
· Location: Villa Francesca, 321 North Caldwell Street, Charlotte, NC 704/333-3447
· Agenda: gets together for a presentation by Brett Friedlander, author of Chasing Moonlight: The True Story of Field of Dream's Doc Graham
Lefty O'Doul (San Francisco) & Sacramento Chapters (CA)
· Time: 1:00 p.m.
· Location: Armadillo Willy's, 4480 Tassajara Rd., Dublin, CA
· Agenda: Trivia contest, update from board member, research presentations
Michigan Joint Meeting (Detroit, Don Lund (Ann Arbor), & Wally Pipp (Holland)
· Time: 1:00-4:00 p.m.
· Location: Michigan Historical Museum, 702 W. Kalamazoo St, Lansing, MI
· Agenda: Optional lunch (Clara's Lansing Station, 637 E. Michigan Ave at 11:45 a.m.), trivia, research presentation, tour of museum, optional dinner/drinks (Michigan Brewing Co. Pub, 402 Washington Square S, 4:15 p.m.)
Northwest SABR Chapter (WA)
· Time: 12:00-3:00 p.m.
· Location: Mariner's FanFest, Seattle, WA
Pee Wee Reese Chapter (KY)
· Time: TBA
· Location: Louisville Slugger Museum, 800 West Main St., Louisville, KY
Rocky Mountain SABR Chapter (CO)
· Time: TBA
· Location: Denver, CO (TBA)
· Agenda: Hot Stove, research presentation, point-counterpoint debate on instant replay in baseball, trivia contest, silent auction
Utica-Cooperstown Chapter (NY)
· Time: 10:00 a.m.
· Location: Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown, NY
Vermont Chapter (Burlington)
· Time: 10:00 a.m.
· Location: Church Street, Burlington, VT (TBA)
· Agenda: Dice Base Ball tournament (outside, weather permitting)
January 11, 2010
As you can see from part of the transcription below, he said he believed he could have hit 70 home runs in 1998 and collected 583 homers over his career without steroids, just as a result of his God-given ability. I'm not even going to bother discussing why steroids do enhance performance. Ask any doctor, they'll tell you the same thing. I actually asked an athletic trainer, one who is very knowledgeable about PEDs, and he told me they did, unequivocally.
Sorry Big Mac, but that is just not a believable idea. I don't believe you for a second. I can understand you only used them when you were recovering injury, but those things that make you recover quicker also give you more strength. Not to mention, the PEDs sped up your recovery time, which in turn helps your performance. There's no argument here.
I was glad McGwire finally came out earlier today, and he definitely gets more credit than guys like Barry Bonds. But to believe that his power numbers were not abnormal and not related to the stuff he took, is just flat out stupid. So now I believe he has some more admitting to do, because I think he knows he is just dodging the full impact of what he did.
Some notable quotes from the interview:
Could you have hit 70 home runs without using steroids?
McGwire went on to say how people still talk about his homers he hit in little league, high school, legion and the minors.
"The only reason I took steroids was for my health purposes."
They made you stronger than you ever could have been without steroids. They didn't just speed up your recovery.
Asked on what PEDs he took:
"The names I don't remember. The steroids I took were very low dosages, just because I wanted my body to feel normal."
You are making millions of dollars to play baseball. How do you not know what is going into your body?
Why not say what you are saying now back in front of congress in 2005?
"So 2005, I was ready willing and prepared to talk about this. I wanted to talk about this. My lawyers Mark Bear Marty Steinbre, I meet them back there. We talk about the situation. Marty laid out a couple scenarios: If you go out there and you talk about this, without protection, there's a very good chance of prosecution."
"I wanted to get this off my chest. I had to do what I had to do to protect myself, my family and my friends. Anybody that was in my shoes would have done the same exact thing."
Nobody in baseball who has admitted to taking steroids has been prosecuted. I think you should have tried harder to work something out with the D.A. and your lawyers.
Did your family ever ask questions about your use of steroids?
"I have never been asked."
People don't need to ask you when they already know.
Do you think your body broke down because of the steroids you took?
"If you look at when I started taking it in the winner of '93/94, I broke down in '94. I took it the winter of '95, I broke down again. It could have been. For some reason, I kept doing it. I mentally thought that maybe if I keep doing this, maybe I'll feel better and better and get out of this rut of being a mash unit."
"For some reason." Maybe it's because they helped you hit more home runs? Just a guess.
"I never talked about it. I can't remember conversations about this in any of the clubhouses I played. If I ever did, which I don't remember, I walked the other way."
Do you view your numbers as authentic? Completely legitimate?
"Unfortunately I decided to take steroids because of injuries. When I look at my hand-eye coordination, what God gave me, I'd have to think so"
Great question by Costas. No way McGwire would answer that one directly.
How much does the Hall of Fame matter to you?
"I'm not doing this for the Hall of Fame. I'm doing this for me to get this off my chest. I played this game of baseball because I was given the ability to play. If I get lucky enough to get in there, that's just icing on the cake."
Everybody wants to get into the Hall of Fame. It should matter to you especially since you have the numbers and the records as a first-balloter.
Will St. Louis forgive you?
"I'm asking for a second chance. I have a lot to offer. I have a whole Rolodex of things I'd like to teach hitters."
You set a nice example. Teach hitters to take steroids? Just kidding, Mark.
If you had a Hall of Fame vote, would you vote for Mark McGwire?
If I had a Hall of Fame vote, I'd leave it up to the writers.