The Next Chien Ming Wang?

As you probably know, the Yanks' Chien Ming Wang is a national icon in Taiwan. I have a lot of friends from Taiwan and none of them are really baseball buffs. But, I've walked into my friend's room multiple times to see 7 of my Taiwanese friends watching MLB Gameday to see how their national hero is doing. Now, another Taiwanese pitcher has an offer to play proffesional baseball in America. Ni Fu-Te apparently has an offer from an East Coast team in which he would get a $150,000 bonus and a chance to start his American baseball career at triple A. I hope the Yanks made this offer, because regardless of whether or not Fu-Te becomes a consistent major leaguer, his signing with the Yanks would increase the magnitude of the Yankee fan-base in Taiwan. The Yanks have international agreements with the baseball league in China, as well as with the Yomiuri Giants in Japan, and becoming the main pursuer of Taiwanese talent would give them a nice standing in the Far East market for ballplayers.

Captain Re-Visited

Bob Klapisch has a piece talking about his belief that Teixeira will be the new Jeter. He's wrong. Nobody can come into a clubhouse at age 29 and become the face of the franchise. Sure, Tex will be a good influence and a nice clubhouse guy. He's clean shaven and polite like Yankees are supposed to be, but he isn't Jeter. He isn't a lifelong Yankee. He didn't earn greatness as a Yankee. He hasn't won a ring. He probably will while he's in New York, but he can't be the next Jeter. Jeter isn't going to leave the Yankees until he's leaving baseball for good.

Utility Options Disappearing

The Cubs signed utilityman Aaron Miles to a $4.9mm two dear deal. Miles was one of my top choices to replace Wilson Betemit. The Cubs then sent Mark DeRosa to Cleveland for three minor league pitchers(Jeff Stevens, Chris Archer, and John Gaub). These moves, along with the reported Luis Vizcaino-Jason Marquis trade, have shaved some salary from the Cubs' payroll, meaning they could re-enter trade talks with the Padres about Jake Peavy. The previous deal had been close, and players had even been agreed upon, but the Cubs needed to reduce their payroll if they were going to get Peavy. Now that they've got the reduced payroll it seems like the only barrier in front of a Peavy trade is the ownership situation of the Cubs, which has to be settled before a Peavy trade is made.


The Story of Joba

This piece at the Daily News gives a little bit of history about our Lord the Savior, Joba Chamberlain. It's a good read, and gives you a little bit of insight into his life. It talks about his complicated relationship with his mom. It talks about how great he has always been with kids. It talks about how his work ethic really improved at Division II University of Nebraska-Kearney. It mentions his 2 year old son Karter. In reading it I felt like there was a lot of stuff about Joba that I hadn't heard before, or at least hadn't heard about in depth. Take twenty minutes to read the article, it's definitely worth it.

Any more moves?

The Yanks have been busy this off-season. They signed Sergio Mitre. Then they signed Damaso Marte for three years. Next they acquired Nick Swisher and Kanekoa Teixeira for Wilson Betemit, Jeff Marquez, and Jhonny Nunez. Then they got rid of Darrell Rasner when they sold his rights to a team in Japan. Then BAM they signed CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, and Mark Teixeira. And then they also signed Kevin Cash. And now...what's left on Cashman's agenda? Let's take a look.

Get rid of at least one of Xavier Nady, Hideki Matsui, Johnny Damon, and Nick Swisher. The Yanks have a glut of corner outfielder/DH guys and wouldn't mind unloading one of their contracts.

Figure out the Pettitte Situation. The Yanks made a 1 year $10mm offer to Andy Pettitte. He's being stubborn and wants a $16mm deal. The Yanks don't particularly need him, and he will not be returning to the Yanks if he won't lower his price tag. I think the Yanks need to give him a time frame. They should tell him they need a decision by a certain time (one or two weeks from now) and then they will either sign him to the deal they offered or they will withdraw their offer.

Make a decision about center field. Brett Gardner and Melky Cabrera are supposed to battle it out for the center field spot in spring training, with the winner getting the starting job. I'm a big fan of both of those guys, but I think Cash needs to make a final decision, either it's a battle between those two or he's going to try to acquire someone else. With the Mike Cameron rumors that flew around for a while, the Melkman and Gardner can't be sure if one of them will really be the opening day centerfielder. Cash needs to make his decision and tell them what is going to happen so that they can go into the season knowing exactly where they stand on the team.

Find a utlity infielder. Cody Ransom? Really? Sure he did well in his 43 at bats last year. And sure, utility infielders aren't starters because they aren't good enough to be. But, are we really going to have a guy with 183 career at bats be our only backup for A-Rod, DJ, and Cano? Ransom will be 33 by opening day, but will have only appeared in 166 games in his entire career. I don't see him as a guy capable of stepping in if one of the infielders go down, and there aren't any other minor leaguers the Yanks should expect to be capable of stepping in (not a single middle infielder made John Sickels's top 20 prospect list. The Yanks should see if they can sign a free agent utility infielder at a decent price. The market has guys like Willie Bloomquist, Aaron Miles, Mark Grudzielanek, Jerry Hairston Jr., Tadahito Iguchi, and Angel Berroa. Who knows, maybe former all-stars Nomar Garciaparra and Omar Vizquel would consider filling a backup role. Ideally the Yanks could get one of my personal favorite players, David Eckstein, to take up a role as a backup, but I know that's a little bit of a stretch as he'll likely get a starting gig somewhere else. The Yanks need to get someone to take over Wilson Betemit's old role, and hopefully they can get someone who can do so with speed and good defense, both skills that Betemit lacked.

Replenish the farm system with positional prospects. The Yanks have tons of young arms with Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy, Dellin Betances, Mark Melancon, Zach McAllister, and Andrew Brackman among others. They have some strong catching prospects with Frankie Cervelli, Jesus Montero, and Austin Romine. They have some young center fielders with Melky, Gardner, and Austin Jackson. But, they don't really have any strong prospects for the corner outfield spot, second base, shortstop, third base, or even first base(unless you're someone who thinks that Jesus Montero will eventually wind up there). Now you might be thinking, "The Yanks have Tex for 8 years at 1st, A-Rod for 9 more years at 3rd, Cano's young, and the Yanks will never git rid of Jeter." And that's all true. But what about when A-Rod is 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41 and 42. At some point during that timespan he'll either get injured, or possibly be moved to DH. What about if Jeter's defense becomes a real liability and he's moved to either second base or the outfield? What about if Cano's attitude becomes a problem and the Yanks decide to deal him? What about if Tex gets injured over the course of his 8 year contract? It never hurts to have depth. Cash should try to get some positional prospects for whatever outfielder he gets rid of and he should think about trading some low potential pitching prospects for low potential positional prospects. The Yanks have a lot of depth at pitching, and little to none among their positional players. Cash needs to try and even that out.

Those seem like the big issues that the Yanks should focus on this winter. Any other thoughts? Let's see em in the comments.


According to Tom Verducci and Jon Heyman, the Red Sox tried to acquire Hanley Ramirez (as in fantasy god Hanley Ramirez) as a way to counter the Yanks' acquisition of Teixeira. Clay Buchholz and Jacoby Ellsbury would've been part of the package for Hanley. Luckily, the talks are apparently over, and the Marlins would have had to be "overwhelmed" to have made the deal. If they had made that deal. Well I would've been scared. The interesting thing is that the Sox apparently would have used Hanley in center field (they have Jed Lowrie at short, and Hanley is no defensive gem). An outfield of Jason Bay, Hanley Ramirez, and JD Drew could have possibly been the best in baseball. Let's be thankful that this deal didn't happen. For those of you who don't know, Hanley was the centerpiece of the trade that brought Josh Beckett to Boston. Hanley isn't super well known by baseball fans who don't play fantast baseball because he's down in Florida, but he is arguably the most valuable player in baseball because of his contract, age, and stats. He's only 25 and is entering an $70mm/6 year extension he signed in May. He hit 33 home runs in 08, while stealing 35 bases (he stole 51 in both 07 and 06). He has a .400 OBP, a .540 SLG, and a .301 AVG this past season. He's a guy who can hit leadoff because of his speed and OBP, or can bat cleanup because of his power. If the Sox had acquired him, the consequences would be horrific for Yankee fans.

O, and little note here. Not saying history will repeat itself, but the last time the Red Sox failed to acquire an all star shortstop, he ended up donning pinstripes the next season.


The Captain

We all know that Derek Jeter's contract is up after the 2010 season. He'll make $20mm in '09 and $21mm in '10. I've heard people talking about how the Yanks shouldn't bring him back. People argue his declining defense is going to hurt the team. People argue his offense won't stay at the high level it has been at his whole career. But seriously? I mean he's Derek Jeter. He is the New York Yankees. At the last game at Yankee Stadium the fans weren't cheering "A-ROD, A-ROD," they weren't cheering "Pett-itte, Pett-itte," they weren't even cheering "MA-RI-A-NO, MA-RI-A-NO." They were cheering "DE-REK JE-TER, DE-REK JE-TER." He is such a Yankee icon, I just don't see how they could possibly let him go. I hear so many people talk about how overrated he is, but he really isn't. His career OBP is .387. That's a great on-base percentage. He hasn't had an OBP under .360 since 2004. In 08 he only slugged .408. But he slugged .450, .483, and .452 in 05, 06, and 07 respectively. He's had double digit homerun totals every year of his career (well not including his 15 games in 95). No, Derek isn't the best player on the team. But, he is the best Yankee on the team. Derek gives 125% game in and game out. He's won four world series. He has tons of post-season experience. He gave the farewell speech at Yankee Stadium, which won moment of the year. He never says stupid things to the media (A-Rod and Hank Steinbrenner should take some lessons from him). He is the face of the franchise, and letting him go would be a bad decision. Could fans really root against Jeter when we face his new team? Could the Yanks make the playoffs without their captain? Jeter needs to stay with the team for his whole career, no matter the price. Sure, maybe Derek will switch positions at some point. He could move to the outfield or to second base. But, that has to be Derek's decision. It has to be DJ saying "This is best for the team, and that's why I'm doing it." Derek won't want to move, but I think he'd rather move and win a World Series then not move and miss out on another ring. Derek is 34 now, his contract expires when he's 36. He should get a 4 or 5 year extension, starting with the 2011 season. He can be slow, or even worse with the glove, or maybe his batting average will slip down to .280. But, his presence on the team. His professional demeanor, his post-season experience, his ability to come through in the clutch, his "Yankee-ness" won't diminish. Jeter has 2,535 career hits to date. That means he's 465 hits away from 3,000. Is there anyone that would want him to reach that milestone in a different uniform? I didn't think so. He won't get those hits over 2 years, so he has to be under contract through the time he gets them. The Yanks currently have three staples from the championship teams of the late 90's still on the team: Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, and Derek Jeter. Mo's contract is up after 2010 as well, and you can expect him to retire then. Jorge is signed through 2011, but he isn't the fan and media favorite that Jeter is. Jeter needs to be with the team for as long as he plays pro baseball. They simply can't afford to lose him.

James Predictions at RAB

I read the Bill James' projections for the Yankee bullpen over at RAB. James' projections seem to agree with my opinion that the bullpen will be successful. They don't have predictions for Phil Coke or Jonathan Albadejo, who could both be important members of the pen next year.


Trades Anyone?

Looking through team depth charts, I thought it might be useful to have a little synopsis of what players teams might be looking to trade. Here it goes:

Blue Jays: Vernon Wells, Scott Rolen, Lyle Overbay, BJ Ryan

The Jays are looking up at 3 tough teams to beat in their division with the Rays, Red Sox, and Yankees all being projected as strong teams for 2009. They might look to unload some payroll. With the plethora of closers and corner OF/1B types they could look to trade Ryan and/or Overbay, and get some bargains from the free agent bin to take over. (Trevor Hoffman, Chad Cordero, Brandon Lyon, Eric Gagne, and Eddie Guardado at closer and then Rich Aurilia, Sean Casey, Doug Mientkiewicz, Richie Sexson, or another free agent at 1B.)


Baltimore also might look to unload some contracts and think about the future rather than the present. We could see Brian Roberts, Melvin Mora, and Aubrey Huff as trade candidates. Although, with so many free agent 1B and corner OF types, the O's might wait until the trading deadline and trade him to a team that needs a bat to make a playoff run. He might bring back more then than now.


Tampa doesn't really have any big contracts they need to get rid of, but they might unload another one of their young pitchers to get a bat to fill the void left by Cliff Floyd. But, it might be more likely that the Rays get a hitter off of the free agent market.

Red Sox: No major trade candidates, but we could see a young pitcher (like Buchholz or Bowden) traded for a catcher.

Yanks: Our Yanks will try to trade at least one of Swisher, Nady, Matsui, and Damon. Don't expect them to trade Damon though.

Indians: Not any guys I would expect to be traded, but they might try to get rid of some contracts like that of Hafner and Westbrook. Yet, I don't think anyone really wants to take on their contracts.

Royals: The Royals are overstocked with outfielders (Crisp, Dejesus, Guillen, Teahen, Maier) and firstbasemen/DHs (Butler, Gload, Ka'aihue, Shealy, and Jacobs). Expect them to trade one of those guys. They might look for another veteran arm to add to the rotation or another reliever. They have Mike Aviles and Alberto Callaspo at short and second, but they might look to upgrade over Callaspo.

Tigers: Detroit is coming off a very disappointing 2008 season. The one thing I could see them doing would be trading Marcus Thames or Magglio Ordonez to trim some salary. Maggs is a crucial part of their offense, so I see a Thames trade as more likely.

Twins: No one they need to get rid of, but word has it they have tried to gauge the market for Delmon Young.

White Sox: Jermaine Dye's name has been mentioned in trade talks. He is supposedly trying to get the team younger. However, trade wise, we really never know what Kenny Williams is up to. I mean the guy traded for Wilson Betemit.

Angels: They need a closer and another bat. I don't think they have anyone they will really try to trade. We could see Nick Adenhart as a trade chip though. Chone Figgins is entering his walk year, so they might trade him to get that bat they need. He's one guy I would love to see on the Yanks. Who knows, maybe they'll deal him for Swisher or Nady( who would play first base), altough I don't know how likely that is.

Athletics: Billy Beane is one of those guys who you can't ever predict their next move. They need offense and have some extra payroll of the upcoming year. Maybe they'll trade one of their pitchers, but they have already traded Greg Smith this offseason, so they might be hesitant to trade another pitcher.

Mariners: Seattle was truly disappointing in 08. They have a new GM and a new manager. They should look to shed some payroll, meaning they might look to get rid of Jarrod Washburn, Carlos Silva, and maybe Adrian Beltre. However, not sure how many takers they'll have for Washburn and Silva with their ridiculous contracts.

Rangers: They obviously are open to trading one of their catchers(Saltalamacchia, Ramirez, and Teagarden) if they can get pitching in return. They are said to be open to trading Hank Blalock, and they might even trade Michael Young. The Rangers have a great offense, so now they just need to add some pitching.

Braves: The Braves need an outfielder. They could be a good trade partner for Nady or Swisher. They have some young pitching they might be willing to trade, but their pitchers might cost more than just Nady or Swish.

Florida: The Marlins are always trying to cut payroll, so we could see a Jeremy Hermida trade.

Mets: The Mets might want to deal an outfielder, as they are overstocked there with Beltran, Tatis, Church, Reed, Pagan, Evans, and Anderson. Even with this overstock, they are looking for a corner outfielder that might bring something more to the lineup.

Phillies: The defending champs seem pretty set for the upcoming year after the signing of Raul Ibanez, but they will look to get rid of Adam Eaton who is overpaid, and takes up a 40 man roster spot.

Nationals: The Nats have an overstock of outfielders, with Kearns, Dukes, Willingham, Milledge, Harris, and Pena. If I were Jim Bowden I'd try to trade one or two or even three of those guys to get some starting pitching, and then take the money set aside for Teixeira and sign Manny to put some fans in the seats as the team continues to rebuild.

Astros: The Astros don't really have depth anywhere. They are trying to trade Miguel Tejada though in order to free up some salary.

Brewers: The Brewers have prospect Alcides Esocbar able to play shortstop in the near future, so they might consider trading current shortstop JJ Hardy. They obviously were rumored to be looking into trading Mike Cameron to the Yanks, though that seems dead now. Prince Fielder is set for a pay raise in 09, and he could possibly be a trade candidate. The Brewers need pitching, and badly. They lost their two headed ace of CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets to free agency (although there is some chance Sheets could return) and need to find replacements for those two.

Cardinals: The Cards might look to trade away Ryan Ludwick or Rick Ankiel so that they can open an outfield spot for Colby Rasmus. They would want pitching or a middle infielder in return for either of those guys.

Cubs: The Cubbies would like to get rid of Fukodome and his contract, but will probably keep him so he can hopefully reestablish his value. They have some useful middle infielder with DeRosa, Fontenot, Cedeno, and Theriot. Perhaps they'll be open to trading one of them.They wanta lefthanded power hitter who can play right field. I think they should also look for a better centerfielder instead of relying on some combination of Johnson, Gathright, and Pie.

Pirates: The Bucs would love to rid themselves of the Wilson and Sanchez contracts, but haven't had too many takers. The Dodgers were interested in Wilson, but now that they have Furcal count them out.

Reds: I think the Reds are really going to surprise in 09. But, in order to do so, they need to add another power hitter. They signed Willy Taveras to play centerfield, and Jay Bruce is sure to be another outfielder for them. They should look to add a corner outfield type to play left. They might look to trade fallen prospect Homer Bailey, but there isn't anyone they should be actively shopping.

Diamondbacks: Arizona has been hit particularly hard by the economy. They will look to get rid of Eric Byrnes' contract. As a Rockie fan (second to the Yanks though), I hate Eric Byrnes with a passion. They'll probably end up getting rid of him in a swap of bad contracts. With Brandon Lyon and Juan Cruz leaving the D-Backs should look to add some pitching.

Dodgers: The Dodgers have made some bad decisions in recent years (Juan Pierre, Andruw Jones, Jason Schmidt). They would probably like to get rid of one of those contracts, but they're unlikely to find any takers. They might look to trade Delwyn Young, who is blocked by Pierre, Jones, Matt Kemp, and Andre Ethier.

Giants: San Fran has a great rotation, but needs some offense badly. They could look to trade Jonathan Sanchez for a corner infielder. If they can add some kind of a respectable hitter then they could end up as NL West champs.

Padres: The Padres are going to be for sale in the near future and with their owner's divorce they have been looking to cut payroll like crazy. They could still trade Jake Peavy. They also might look to get rid of Brian Giles' salary.

Rockies: The Rox already made their big move of the offseason with the Holliday trade. They could look to trade Huston Street for a starting pitcher. They also would consider trading 1B/3B Garrett Atkins. I think they should trade an outfielder. They have Ryan Spilborghs, Carlos Gonzalez, Brad Hawpe, Seth Smith, and Dexter Fowler who all can only play the outfield. With Clint Barmes seemingly set as the second baseman, and Atkins and Helton(depending on his back) set at the corners, we could see Jeff Baker and/or Ian Stewart moved to the outfield. The Rox need some young starting pitching, an area where they have seen mixed results. They have Jeff Francis, Aaron Cook, Ubaldo Jimenez, Greg Smith, Jorge de la Rosa, Franklin Morales, Jason Hirsh, and Greg Reynolds as candidates for the starting rotation, but I don't see any of them as ace caliber. As a Rockie fan (again that's behind the Yanks) I wish they'd sign Ben Sheets to give them that ace they really need.

Those are my thoughts. What are yours? Let's here them in the comments.

Top Prospects

Found this link at RAB. It's the Yanks' list of top 20 prospects by John Sickels.
He has Jesus Montero as number 1, which I have to agree with. He seems like the guy with the biggest upside. Austin Jackson is typically considered the top prospect, but he figures to have, in Mike Ashmore's opinion, "a .260-275 average, 10-20 home runs and maybe 70 RBI depending on where you stick him in the order." I'd say that makes him an average player, and Montero has the ability to be a great hitter, and if he can stay behind the plate then he will have an even greater value. However, AJax seems like the biggest sure bet to make the bigs and be a successful player, which is probably why Sickels has him at number 2. It's a good read. The rest of the list continues with:
3.Dellin Betances
4. Austin Romine
5. Zach McAllister
6.Mark Melancon
7. Jairo Heredia
8. Andrew Brackman
9. Phil Coke
10. Alfredo Aceves
11. Wilkins de la Rosa
12. Humberto Sanchez
13. Jon Albadejo
14. David Robertson
15. Brad Suttle
16. Arodys Vizcaino
17. Christian Garcia
18. George Kontos
19. Kanekoa Teixeira
20. Eduardo Sosa
21. Eric Hacker (The title is top 20, but he has 21, so I guess it's top 21 prospects).

From what else I have heard, it seems like Melancon, Montero, Jackson, and Betances are the most promising. Though, of those 4 Melancon is the only one who figures to make a big impact in 09.


Randy Johnson to the Giants

The Big Unit signed a 1 year deal with the San Francisco Giants. The former Yank is 5 wins away from 300, and the Giants are probably hoping he'll bring fans to the games, like Bonds did in his quest for 756. Johnson wasn't a great Yankees, but he has been a great pitcher over the course of his career and you have to respect a guy who at age 45 is as effective as he is. This also means there is one less veteran pitcher for teams to fight over.


Yankee Christmas

Boy oh boy. If you are a Yankee fan, you couldn't have asked for anything more for Christmas. Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia, and Aj Burnett are all bought and "under the tree". Cashman has really delivered for us fans this Christmas.

Reasons for the Teixeira Signing

I know that Kevin already posted about Joel Sherman's article regarding Teixeira, but I just read his blog post at Hardball, and it throws in a few more reasons. It's an interesting read.


Interview with Newsday's Kat O'Brien

Kat O'Brien was nice enough to answer some questions for us.

Here's the interview.

Kevin Seefried: Joba is supposed to be the 5th starter in 08. One of your colleagues, Anthony Rieber, recently wrote a piece saying that Joba should move back to the ‘pen. Do you agree with him? Personally, I think 180 quality innings are more valuable than 70. With a bullpen that has legendary closer Mariano Rivera, distinguished veteran Damaso Marte, 08 surpise Dan Giese, the young and proven Edwar Ramirez, Jose Veras, and Brian Bruney, and more young guys supposed to make an impactwith Mark Melancon, Phil Coke, Jonathan Albadejo, and David Robertson all competing for spots on the roster, why would anyone want to move such a successful starter to the ‘pen?

Kat O’Brien: I would leave Joba Chamberlain in the rotation. If the Yankees had not re-signed Mariano Rivera a year ago, it would make sense to move Joba to the bullpen. But not now. If they have an injury in the rotation, they could have rotation problems again if Joba's not there.

KS: What is going on in the Pettitte negotiations? Cashman has said that he wants Andy back, and that Andy wants to come back. Is Pettitte really refusing to take a pay cut when his statistics clearly show he isn’t a
$16mm pitcher anymore? I’ve always thought of Pettitte as a class act, and to make such a big deal over a salary dispute, especially after the Yankees supported him during the whole Mitchell Report ordeal, I’m kind of surprised. Why is he being so intent on not taking a pay cut?

I guess Pettitte really doesn't want to take a 38 percent pay-cut. I suppose I can see from his standpoint, I mean, it's not like the Yankees are short on cash. That's obvious given the Sabathia, Burnett and Teixeira signings. But adding Teixeira really throws a wrinkle into things. They may stand pat now and not bring Pettitte back.

KS: Since the Yanks signed Teixeira, will they look to trade one of Damon, Nady, Swisher, or Matsui? Could Cincinnati be a fit for Nady? They were rumored to be looking into trading for Jermaine Dye, might they turn their
attention to getting the more cost-efficient Nady instead?

Kat: I think the Yankees will definitely try to trade one of the aforementioned hitters, likely with their eye on getting a true centerfielder. They probably won't revisit Mike Cameron, after adding Teixeira's salary, but could find another athletic, low-cost centerfielder.

KS: What kind of role will Dan Giese have in 09? He had a great ’08, but might Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy, or Alfredo Aceves end up pushing him out of the long reliver/spot starter role?

Kat: Giese will have a chance to compete for a job going into spring training. He's not assured a spot. People root for a guy like him, though, as he's a super-nice individual.

KS: With a year under his belt and some tweaking of his coaching staff, is Joe Girardi set up for a strong ’09 season? Any changes to expect in both his management on the field and off?

Kat: Everyone learns from their experiences. I expect Girardi will ease up a little bit off-the-field and will probably be more adept at handling the media. He had good and bad moments in each area this year, and I think those are two spots he could improve in.

KS: Who will be the better investment, AJ Burnett and his $82.5mm 5 year deal or Ben Sheets and the 3 year $48mm deal he will most likely get wherever he signs?

Kat: Very interesting question. I think there's similar risk in each. Probably the team that invests in Sheets has less room for error than the wealthy Yankees, but I think there is a similar risk-reward factor at play with Burnett and Sheets.

KS: What kind of a season should we expect from Robby Cano? Will he bounce back to his 06-07 form?

Kat: I think we'll see a big year out of Cano. Maybe not the hitting title contender we saw a couple years ago but I think he'll be close to his second-half '08 performance for all of 2009. He was embarrassed and motivated by the way things went last year.

KS: Finally, your best prediction at the 09 AL East standings will look like at the end of next season, the order of the 5 teams and their respective records.

Kat: After the Teixeira signing, here goes:

1. Yankees 100-62
2. Red Sox 93-69
3. Rays 89-73
4. Blue Jays 81-81
5. Orioles 77-85

Joel Sherman's Take on the Teixeira Signing

Joel Sherman claims the Tex signing was basically a result of the Yanks missing out on Carlos Beltran back when he hit free agency. The Yanks then had to get Johnny Damon the next off-season, who has ended up not being able to play center full time. Beltran most certainly would have been a better signing. Sherman says the Yanks saw a similar situation with Tex. He figures that if the Yanks skipped on Tex then they would sign Matt Holliday next year, who would command lots of money as well, but doesn't bring the gold glove defense and switch hitting ability. It's an interesting read. He also notes that the Yanks prefer to keep Damon, and would like to get rid of Matsui the most. He says that the Angels and A's might want Matsui. He also mentioned the Rangers, but I don't think the team with the top offense in baseball in 08 wants to add an aging DH with bad knees. He says the Braves like Nady and even more so, Swisher. And like I suggested, he thinks the Yanks should look to get utility guys in return like Martin Prado and Chone Figgins. I'm not sure if Figgins is necessarily available, or that the Angels would want to add another outfielder to the miz when they already have Vlad Guerrerro, Torii Hunter, Gary Matthews Jr, Reggie Willits, and Juan Rivera. He also says the Yanks might want prospects to make up for the 3 draft picks they lose because of the signings of Teixeira, Sabathia, and Burnett.


The Yankees signed, highly sought-after, future hall of famer, free agent catcher Kevin Cash to a minor league deal which will pay him $700,000 if he reaches the majors. Okay, so get rid of all those adjectives before free agent catcher. Cash will basically be the Chad Moeller of 2009. Cash was a Red Sock in 08, and he was the catcher for Tim Wakefield. Let's hope the Sox can't find a replacement that can catch Wake's knuckler.

A Perfect Fit...

Or so says Lee Jenkins on the Yankees' signing of Mark Teixeira. He claims Tex is as professional as ballplayers get. He will always keep up the clean image that the Yanks are so well known for. It's an interesting read, and definitely worth a look.

Salary Cap?

Mark Attanasio, the Brewer's owner, reacted to the Texeira signing by saying that baseball needs a salary cap. I think he's just upset over losing out on CC. He wasn't complaining when the Yankees' payroll was $20mm higher and they were paying Jason Giambi, Andy Pettitte, and Carl Pavano much more money than they were all worth. Mark, I root for the Brewers and always hope to see them take down the Cubs, but a salary cap is not necessary. The Yanks high payroll ends up in their luxury taxes being spread to other teams. It's their decision how they spend their money. Money isn't the main factor in creating a successful team. Look at the Mariners and Tigers. Spending lots of money doesn't make a good team. Spending money smartly makes a good team. I don't support a salary cap in the slightest. If an owner wants to spend his money so that he can get a World Series ring, then he should be allowed to by all means.

Jays are Done

JP Ricciardi, the GM of the Blue Jays, said that his team won't be spending any more money this offseason. So much for my Manny to Toronto prediction.

The Next Move

With Tex on board, the Yanks are going to have to trade one of Hideki Matsui, Johnny Damon, Xavier Nady, and Nick Swisher. I see the Braves, Athletics, Reds, Giants, and Cubs as teams that might be interested in these guys. Damon is the most likely to have a strong 09, and he provides above average defense in left field. Swisher is signed through 2011 with a team option for '12. Matsui won't be able to play the field on a regular basis and would most likely have to go to an AL team. X-Man is coming off a career year. Hideki, Johnny, and Xavier are all free agents after next season. The Yanks' need a utility infielder and maybe a centerfielder, but the main point of trading one of these guys is to drop payroll. I would like for them to just get some high upside positional prospects and get rid of somebody's contract. What kind of player do you all want to see in return? Write your ideas in the comments, but keep it realistic.

No Opt Out for Tex; Outbid Boston by $12mm

Danny Knobler says the contract doesn't have an opt-out clause.
Joel Sherman says the Yanks outbid Boston by $12mm. That's only $1.5mm a year.

More Teixeira

First off, you should follow all the going-ons with the Tex negotiations at MLBTR.

Bill Madden at the Daily News has some more info on the Tex negotiations. He says the Yanks are signing Tex to a $180 million deal over eight years. The deal includes a $5mm signing bonus as well as a no-trade clause. Madden says that in years past the Yanks have had a policy against no-trade clauses, but A-Rod, Sabathia, Burnett, Rivera, Jeter, Posada, Damon, and Matsui all have some sort of no trade clause in their contracts. He notes that Tex claims he has preferred the Yanks all along. Tim at MLBTR laughed at that, but I think there is some truth to it. Let's think about it, how many times have we heard that Boras would approach the Yankees with a last chance to sign? How many times have we heard the Carlos Beltran comparisons? Sure, the Yanks didn't get the discount they were hoping for, but why would there be all of those comparisons if he didn't really want to be a Yank. Let's look at it this way. It was known that Tex wanted to be on the East Coast. It was known that he wanted to play for a competitor. It was known that he wanted a lot of money. Those factors add up to him wanting to be a Yankee. It's great to have Tex, but I still think an Adam Dunn signing would have been a better investment. I'm not saying Dunn is necessarily a better player, just a better investment. Shorter term, less money, more homers. But, who knows. If Tex has an opt-out clause after 3 or 4 years, then he'll give the Yanks a couple of great seasons and then leave and sign a huge long-term contract as he exits his prime, and the Yanks can spend their money elsewhere.

Manny's weakening market.

The Yanks won't get Manny now that they have Tex. They got their hitter, and they have an excess of corner OF/DH types now with Swisher, Nady, Matsui, and Damon all possibilities.

Angels' GM Tony Reagins says that the Angels will not sign Manny.

It seems like his only known suitor now is the Los Angeles Dodgers.

We know that I already think the Blue Jays should pursue him, and I feel even stronger about that now that his price tag is dropping. He is the hitter they need and he will bring fans to the games. I see other possible suitors being the Nationals and Athletics. The Nats missed out on Tex, and Manny is a good alternative for them. He is a great hitter, which they need, and he'll most definitely put fans in the seats. On a short term deal Manny brings in fans while the Nats rebuild, then hopefully when his contract is up they have enough good players to retain the fan base. The A's already traded for Matt Holliday, and it seems like they really plan to contend in 2009. Rafael Furcal turned down their deal, so perhaps they spend a little more dough, but for only 2 or 3 years, and get Manny. A lineup that has Matt Holliday and Manny Ramirez in the middle of the order is a big improvement from a lineup with Holliday and Eric Chavez in the 3 and 4 spots. Again, a Manny signing is a great way to bring in fans. the A's don't get a lot of fans at their games, if they have Holliday and Ramirez, more fans are sure to show up to the ballpark. If they can get those two and also sign Randy Johnson to a one year deal, the A's might have their best attendance numbers in recent history.

Whoever gets Manny will benefit from his hitting and the fans he brings to the games, but they will also have to deal with his attitude, slow speed, poor fielding abilites, ridiculous comments, fighting of traveling secretaries, and increasing age. I really hope that Manny ends up making a lot less than he is asking for and that he has to play for a non-contender, that's what he deserves for the way he acted in Boston this year.

Teixeira in Pinstripes

It seems like it's the real deal.

Jon Heyman says the Yanks and Tex have reached an agreement on an 8 year $180mm deal.
Buster Olney says his sources claim the Yanks and Tex agreed on an 8 year deal for more than $170mm.

I can't even believe it. That's a lot of money, and a lot of years, but for right now I'm pretty excited. Tex gives us another power bat and great defense too. The best part is that the Red Sox don't get him. He's pricey, and most certainly overpaid, but money aside, you have to love this lineup...

LF Johnny Damon
SS Derek Jeter
3B Alex Rodriguez
1B Mark Teixeira
DH Hideki Matsui
C Jorge Posada
2B Robinson Cano
RF Nick Swisher
CF Melky Cabrera/Brett Gardner

Financially though, it is kind of embarassing that the Yanks will have the 4 highest paid players in baseball on their team (A-Rod, Jeter, Sabathia, and now Tex). However, I guess if you have money, spend it. Ken Rosenthal thinks that Tex will most likely get an opt out clause, like Sabathia.

Other good news, this means we almost certainly won't sign clubhouse cancer Manny Ramirez.

The Tex signing will most likely result in a trade of Xavier Nady, who seems to be the odd man out now. He had a great 08 campaign, and is going into his walk year, so he should definitely have some trade value. The Yanks will most likely look to get young pitching or a center fielder in a Nady trade. I wonder if they might try to trade him for a utility guy.


Jon Heyman reports that the Yankees are on the verge of signing Mark Teixeira.

Update: ESPN has the story as well

Maybe it's not over...

Chico Harlan at the Washington Post says that his Nats source doesn't know of the team having any plans for an announcement about Teixeira today. That might mean that the announcement could be made by another team or Boras. Or perhaps Thom Loverro's source was just wrong.

Is The Teixeira Saga Almost Over?

A source told Thom Loverro at the Washington Times, that there should be an announcement about Mark Teixeira's future today.That could mean he picked a team. Or...it might mean he's simply eliminated one. I mean with as vague a statement as that it means he might have signed a marketing deal. I think it's going to be the announcement of a signing with the Washington Nationals, but that's just a guess. Buster Olney and Peter Gammons say the Nats and Red Sox are the frontrunners, while there might be a chance that the Yankees swoop in (like with Johnny Damon) so they don't make a mistake they'll regret (like with Carlos Beltran). He also mentions the possibility that Tex makes them an offer they have to take. I'm not exactly sure why Tex would give the Yanks a discount, but maybe he just really wants to play for a winner. But, Boston is supposedly a winner too. Well, maybe Tex just wants to play at the new Cathedral with the ridiculously nice locker rooms. We shall see what happens.

The Untalented Dayn Perry

Dayn Perry at Foxsports recently wrote an article about why the Yankees are still a third-place team. It was poorly written, he had weak arguments, and it showed his obvious bias against the Yanks. I have thought of Dayn Perry as the worst sportswriter around for a long time, and this article assures me that my assumptions are correct. I like most sportswriters, and trust them, but I am always confused as to why a news outlet that has great professionals like Ken Rosenthal would employ someone like Perry. YFSF didn't like the piece either, but I'm going to go into details as to why Perry's argument is extremely weak.

Worse for the mediocre New York attack is the fact that they had the oldest lineup in all of baseball in 2008 (average age of 31.3), and they haven't gotten measurably younger.

Seriously Dayn? Let's look at a few things.

Mike Mussina, born in 1968. AJ Burnett, born in 1977.
Sidney Ponson, born in 1976. CC Sabathia, born in 1980.
Bobby Abreu, born in 1974. Brett Gardner, born in 1983. (Or Melky Cabrera, born in 1984)
Jason Giambi, born in 1971. Nick Swisher, born in 1980.

In other words: Perry's argument is an Epic Failure.

As presently constructed, the Yanks have neither the offense nor the team defense to hang with Tampa and Boston. On the offensive side, last season the Yankees ranked seventh in the 14-team AL in runs scored.

Yeah. They ranked seventh. Boston, the Wild Card winner ranked 2nd, but the division champion Rays ranked 9th. Yeah, 9th. As in two spots behind the Yankees. Also, factor in that Jorge Posada only played in 51 games, while battling a shoulder injury, and that Hideki Matsui only played in 93 games, and there's your reason why the offense performed below expectations. Johnny Damon and Alex Rodriguez also missed some playing time, albeit not as much as Jorge and Hideki. Damon played in 143 games, A-Rod in 138. Sure the departures of Bobby Abreu and Jason Giambi will have an impact on the offense this upcoming year, but Nick Swisher and Xavier Nady aren't exactly terrible. Swisher is known for his great plate discipline. He had a tough 08 season, but he should improve for 2009, probably not to the point of replicating Giambi, but enough to help the offense. Nady, who had a break out year in 08, is going into his contract year. He's a Scott Boras client, meaning that a good season could lead to a huge payday. So Dayn, your argument against the offense fails as well.

Jason Giambi, one of their most productive hitters last season, is no more, and he's being replaced by Nick Swisher, who hit .219 in 2008.

Yes. Dayn Perry tried to make his entire argument against Swisher based on batting average. Come on Dayn. It is the 21st century. So many statistics are available. Use them. How about how Swisher's OBP was .332, in comparison to his .219 average. That shows ridiculously good plate discipline. If Swisher's average jumps back to his career average of .244, then we could see that OBP rise up to the high .300's. Swisher has hit at least 20 home runs every year since 2005. He is a huge improvement over Giambi defensively. And he is 9 years younger, and signed to a relatively cheap deal. Sure, Swisher is not as great a player as Giambi, but no one ever said he was. He is a cheaper, younger solution who will still help the offense. So again, Perry's argument skills are lacking.

They must hope that Robinson Cano, Melky Cabrera, and Swisher all have bounceback seasons.

Yes. We have to hope they have bounceback seasons. But, is there any real doubt by baseball executives that Cano and Swisher will bounce back? Swisher didn't particularly like Chicago and had to play CF instead of his more natural positions of first base and right field. Playing a comfortable position in the field can have extreme effects on a player's hitting. Cano spent significant time this winter working with Terrence Long on his swing and plate discipline, and that should help his offense immensely. Cabrera is a different case. He might not have a bounceback season, but there's also Brett Gardner competing with him for the center field spot, so he isn't the Yankees' only hope for center field.

The Yankees can't play defense. As with the offense, the Yankees' advancing age and lack of turnover among position players means that the defense is likely to be even worse in 2009.

So, replacing Giambi with Swisher does nothing for the infield defense? And having Nady in right instead of the wall-a-phobe Abreu won't help the Yanks at all either right? Sure, Jeter and Cano aren't the best defenders in the league, but it isn't like they aren't going to get to anything hit up the middle. A-Rod is above average at the hot corner, and Swish plays a decent first base. I'm excited that the Yanks won't have to make Wilson Betemit the back-up infielder. He wasn't particularly good with the glove at any position. Cody Ransom, or whoever else fills in, will most likely be a huge improvement on the defensive substitution front. Also, an outfield that has Johnny Damon in left, Melky or Gardner in center, and Xavier Nady in right isn't terrible. Damon still has the speed and range to play center, it's just his weak throws that have pushed him to left. I don't know the full report on Gardner, but I know that Melky has a cannon and that his presence in center makes runners think twice before going for an extra base. Nady isn't a gold glover, but he'll cover more area as he won't stay 20 feet away from the wall all the time like Abreu did. The Yanks aren't a gold glove team, but they can play some defense. Perry's argument isn't extremely strong, but I won't say it fails completely this time. But, you have to laugh when he talks about the Yankees' " lack of turnover among position players." Swisher in for Giambi, Nady in for Abreu, Posada in for Molina/Moeller, Damon in full time for Nady/Matsui, Ransom, or whoever, in for Betemit, and possibly Gardner in for Melky/Damon. That's a lot of turnover on who is playing each position. Perhaps Perry is referring to how the Yankees aren't moving perennial MVP candidate Alex Rodriguez, team captain Derek Jeter, or Robinson Cano, the second baseman, who not so long ago was projected to be a perennial competitor for the batting title.

And speaking of the rotation, it isn't as improved as you might think. There's no assailing Sabathia's excellence, but the Yankees may live to regret giving five years and more than $80 million to Burnett. Burnett's injury problems have been widely chronicled (just twice has he pitched 200 or more innings in a season),

I agree with Dayn that we will most likely regret the Burnett signing, but did he really just say the rotation wasn't as improved as we think? The 4 Yankees pitchers with the most starts last year were Mike Mussina, Andy Pettitte, Sidney Ponson, and Darell Rasner. They only had 15 starts from Chien Ming Wang, and 12 from Joba Chamberlain. A full season of Sabathia is better than a full season of Mike Mussina. A full season of AJ Burnett is better than a full season of Andy Pettitte. Chien Ming Wang is better thanSidney Ponson. And a full season of Joba Chamberlain is better than a season of Darrell Rasner. How is that not improving? Sure, Burnett has a history of injury problems, but that doesn't mean there is no way he pitches a full season this year. Also Dayn, use a fact checker next time. Burnett has pitched at least 200 innings 3 times, not 2. He did it in 02, 05, and 08.

Certainly, his 2008 peripheral numbers were strong, but it bears repeating that the Yankee infield defense is going to hurt him. So what are Burnett's prospects for being healthy and putting up near-ace numbers in 2009?

Hey Dayn, guess what. Burnett doesn't have to be an ace there's actually this guy named CC who's going to do that. Also, the Yanks have this other guy named Chien-Ming who has been their ace for a while. And, they have this kid named Joba who is supposed to be an ace in the near future. He just has to be an above average pitcher. I'm not Burnett's biggest fan, and I think his ERA is not impressive at all, but, aside from his price tag, do you really think that a pitcher who had 231 K's in 08 is not a good addition to the team? Also, Burnett is great when playing against good teams. He had a 1.64 ERA, with 43 K's in 38.1 innings in the 5 games he pitched against New York. Against Boston he had a 2.60 ERA, with 24 K's in 27.2 innings over 4 starts. He had a 3.15 ERA, with 26 K's in the 20 innings he pitched against the Rays over his 3 starts against them. He pitched 7 shutout innings, with 7 K's, in his one start against the AL Central champion White Sox. A guy who can shut down Boston and Tampa is always a welcome addition to the team.

And let's not forget that the rotation will be without Mike Mussina's 200.1 innings and 3.37 ERA.

Dayn, those stats are being replaced with CC Sabathia's 2.70 ERA and 253 innings pitched.

no team in all of baseball needs Teixeira more than the Yankees do.

Ha ha. Are you serious Dayn? You think the Yankees need Tex's offense more than the Angels do? How about the Athletics, who have Daric Barton playing 1st? How about the San Francisco Giants and their team home run leader Bengie Molina, who hit 16 homers in 08? Dayn, don't be so ignorant.

If the Yankees make that move( Signing Teixeira), then you can make the case that they're the best team in the AL. If they do nothing more or merely address needs at the margins, then third place is where they're probably going to wind up.

So one player takes a team from third place in their division to the best in the league? Dayn, no player has that effect. Sure, Teixeira would improve the team, but they aren't going to be a third place team without him. I could see you saying that they would be if he goes to Boston, there is some merit to that argument, but if he ends up in Washington, then the Yanks are definitely just as strong as Boston and Tampa. You just can't say that a team with CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, Chien Ming Wang, and Joba Chamberlain in the rotation is going to end up in 3rd. You can't say that an offense with Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Jorge Posasa, Robinson Cano, and Johnny Damon isn''t going to compete. You can't say a team who's bullpen has the Great Mariano Rivera, Damaso Marte and his career 3.29 ERA, Brian Bruney and the 1.93 ERA he posted over 32 games in 08, Jonathan Albadejo who hasn't allowed a run in 16 innings in the Puerto Rico winter league, Jose Veras and his 3.59 ERA over 57.2 innings in 08, Edwar Ramirez and the .215 batting average that opposing hitters had against him in 08, and Phil Coke who posted a 0.61 ERA over 14.2 innings in 08, is not going to even make second in their division.

Basically, Dayn Perry has an extremely flawed argument. I hope he will read this and think next time before he rights.


Kevin Will Love This...

Kevin over the past two years has done nothing but talk about how we should get Aaron Rowand to play CF. Sweeny Murti of WFAN agrees with him. Murti proposes Aaron Rowand for IPK and Xavier Nady. This is a very interesting proposition. Rowand is a career .283/.342/.453 hitter. He is very consistent at the dish and is even better in center. He has consistently been regarded as one of the better defensive CF in the game. Unfortunately he comes at a high price. I think that IPK and Nady might be a little bit too high for Rowand, but if the Giants picked up some of his contract, I don't see why Cashman shouldn't ask.

Minor League Coaching Staffs

According to Peter Abraham the SWB Yankees and Trenton Thunder have set their coaching staffs for 2009.

Manager: Dave Miley
Hitting Coach: Butch Wynegar
Trainer: Darren London
Pitching Coach: Scott Aldred
Infield Coach: Aaron Ledesma
Strength and Conditioning Coach: Lee Tressel

Manager: Tony Franklin
Pitching Coach: Tommy Phelps
Hitting Coach: Frank Menechino
Coach (no specialty given) : Vic Valencia
Trainer: Tim Lentych

That's one way to spend $26.9mm

The Yanks have again been hit with the luxury tax. This year they have to pay $26.9mm. So for all those fans of the Royals, Twins, Athletics, Diamondbacks, and Pirates who complain that the Yankees just go out and buy all their players, stop complaining. For every dollar they spend above the luxury threshold, they must pay a proportional amount of money in Luxury Tax, which is put into the revenue sharing system.


More Tex news. I've been following all the Teixeira news at MLBTR pretty closely. Tim does a great job with gathering all the rumors.

Seems like the Nationals could be the new front-runners.They improved their offer to an 8 year deal between $178-184mm.That's between $22.25mm and $23mm a year. I don't think the Yanks or Red Sox are going to beat that offer, but anything is possible. And who knows, maybe the Orioles are still in it too.

Chien Ming Wang

The Yanks signed Chien Ming Wang to a 1 year deal to avoid arbitration. It's for $5mm, as I predicted in the payroll post. 1st link I found on MLBTR.

Update on the Alleged Manny Deal.

MLB.com's Bryan Hoch asked Cashman about the report from Impacto Deportivo. Cashman replied, "Not True." That's a relief.

Payroll: Just thinking for 09

Payroll has been a concern this offseason as Cashman was said to want a lower payroll this year than last. Let's look at the 2009 payroll. We're not going to worry about 2010 or any future seasons here, just 2009. I got the contract info from Cot's. We'll do just salary first.

C Jorge Posada $13.1mm
1B Nick Swisher $5.3mm
2B Robinson Cano $6mm
3B Alex Rodriguez $32mm
SS Derek Jeter $20mm
LF Johnny Damon $13mm
CF Melky Cabrera $0.5mm
RF Xavier Nady $5mm (That's an estimate. Nady is arbitration eligible.)
DH Hideki Matsui $13mm

Backup C Jose Molina $1mm
Backup 1B Juan Miranda $0.4mm
Backup IF Cody Ransom $0.5mm

SP1 CC Sabathia $14mm
SP2 AJ Burnett $16.5mm
SP3 Chien Ming Wang $5mm (That's an estimate. Wang is arbitration eligible.)
SP4 Phil Hughes $0.5mm
SP5 Joba Chamberlain $0.4mm
CL Mariano Rivera $15mm
SU Damaso Marte $3.75mm
SU Brian Bruney $2mm (That's an estimate. Bruney is arbitration eligible.)
MRP Jonathan Albadejo $0.4mm
LRP Dan Giese $0.5mm

Minor Leaguers

Shelley Duncan $0.4mm
Ian Kennedy $0.4mm
Andrew Brackman $1-2mm
Kei Igawa $4mm

Other Players didn't have financial numbers available at Cot's.

So that adds up to....about $174mm committed for 2009.

However, the Yanks must also pay signing bonus installments for Rodriguez ($1mm), and Sabathia ($27mm, paid in $3mm (this post originally said $9mm, but a reader, Andrew, alerted us in the comments that it is in fact $3mm) installments on New Year's Eve, March 1st, and July 31st). That's another $10mm. So the Yanks will be playing their current players $184mm in 2009 ( and 12/31/08 when CC gets $3mm).

The Yankee payroll in 2008 was about $209mm.

The Yanks wanted to cut payroll down to around the $180mm mark. However, if they decide to go all the way to last year's payroll, then they have $25mm to play with. The Yanks could sign Andy Pettitte ($10mm), Manny Ramirez ($20-25mm), Adam Dunn ($13-18mm) or Mark Teixeira ($18-25mm). The Yanks also could end up with Mike Cameron's $10mm salary if they end up trading for him.

Obviously payroll is important. And long term thinking is important as well. Yet, I really want to see the Yanks win the World Series in their first year at the new Cathedral. I would love to watch a powerhouse lineup head straight to a World Series victory, but I also don't want to have to deal with the repercussions that we will have for signing players long term. Cashman needs to balance a win-now strategy with a planning for the future strategy. The GM's who can do that are the ones who are very successful. We'll see what he comes up with this winter.


Let's just look at a few things to ponder....

Here are possible lineups and defensive alignments for certain signings.

If we sign Manny

CF Damon
SS Jeter
3B Rodriguez
LF Ramirez
DH Matsui
C Posada
2B Cano
1B Swisher
RF Gardner/Cabrera

I figure Nady is a worse hitter than Manny, Damon, and Matsui, and he has trade value, so he would be traded away. Damon's arm can't survive in RF, so he'd play center, where his arm will still be a problem. Damon in center and Manny in left? That does not sound good for our defense.

If we sign Tex

LF Damon
SS Jeter
3B Rodriguez
1B Teixeira
DH Matsui
C Posada
2B Cano
RF Swisher
CF Gardner/Cabrera

The outfield defense is much improved with Damon in left where his athleticism is useful, and his arm less important. Swisher can play fine defense in right and Melky and Gardner could be above average defensive center fielders. Teixeira is a little better than Swish with the glove, and having him in the infield would definitely be good for the defense. Again, I think this would lead to Nady being traded away.

If we were to sign Adam Dunn.

CF Damon
SS Jeter
3B Rodriguez
LF Dunn
DH Matsui
C Posada
2B Cano
1B Swisher
RF Gardner/Cabrera

This leads to the same defensive problems as a Manny signing. I figured infield defense is more important than outfield defense. However, the Yanks could possibly do this

LF Damon
SS Jeter
3B Rodriguez
DH Matsui
C Posada
2B Cano

It seems like a Teixeira signing would be the smartest, at least for 09. However, Tex also would be on the payroll for 8 years, while Manny or Dunn would be gone after 2 or 3. That's why I'm in favor of Dunn, he's short term and he isn't a doofus like Manny. I just like to know that someone we are paying a lot of money to play baseball will actually play baseball and not sit themselves out because of made up injuries which are only cured by being traded and having your contract options removed.


Impacto Deportivo reports that Manny Ramirez is on the verge of signing with the Yankees for $75mm and 3 years. The link is in Spanish, but my Spanish is decent enough to understand it. Let's hope it's an incorrect report. If it's true, then I guess we just do what we're doing for Burnett, and rooting for him because he's a Yankee. It'll be tough to root for Manny after all the stupid things he's done, and after hating on him for so many years when he was in Boston.


The Tex Saga Continues

The Angels have withdrawn their offer for Teixeira. Wow. That means they are out of it, and Boston hasn't spoken to Boras since Thursday. I guess that leaves the Nats and Orioles as the main suitors, but wait. Buster Olney heard that the Nationals do not expect to win the Teixeira bidding. The publically known offers had Baltimore's as the smallest. So what does this all mean? It means Teixeira will be a Yankee, Red Sock, Oriole, or National. I truly think Anaheim is out of it, but we also all thought Boston was out of it after John Henry's statement. Now, I still say Washington is mst likely to get Tex, followed by Baltimore, then Boston, and then the Yanks.

Interview with Ed Price

Ed Price of the Star Ledger kindly answered some questions for us. Here's the interview...

Kevin Seefried: As the Yankees search for a utility infielder will they focus on defense or offense? With Swisher, Cano, Rodriguez, and Jeter being such important parts of the lineup would it be more valuable to have someone that can put up consistent offense if one of them were to be injured?

Ed Price: I don't think utility infielder is a big priority now. I think Cody Ransom made a decent impression, and one can probably be had closer to spring training. Posada's situation last year showed the importance of a capable backup, for sure, but that doesn't mean it's easy to find someone who can step in and play close to the starter's level.

KS: What would have a bigger effect on the team if Manny is signed? His offense or his attitude?

Manny wouldn't affect the clubhouse too much, I don't think. Giambi's steroids fiasco didn't, nor Pettitte's. And his offense would be quite a boost -- if he plays hard.

KS: What’s Hideki Matsui looking like these days? Will he start in the outfield at all next year? It’s often said that he currently has “negative trade value.” Is there really no team that wants to take a risk on a guy who in his big league career has had a .295 AVG /.371 OBP/ .478 SLG? It’s been said he would waive his no trade clause to play in San Francisco, however I think he will need the DH spot this year, so would he accept a trade to the other Bay Area city, Oakland?

EP: Matsui is in Japan and on the mend. He could play some outfield, but for now it's Damon and Nady on the corners. I think Matsui has shot down trades before with his no-trade clause, and if someone would take a chance on him -- they'd have to see him in spring training -- Matsui would have to be convinced it's the best thing for him and the team. Remember, there's a cultural issue here, and in Asia, "face" is important -- saving it and not losing it.

KS: You reported that Jorge Posada has started his throwing program. Do you think he can last the whole year behind the plate? And if not will Jose Molina or Francisco Cervelli take over?

EP: Molina is the backup. Posada believes he can play 120+ games at catcher. That's certainly the team's expectation. If he can't, it's a disaster.

KS: If Andy Pettitte doesn’t re-sign will the Yankees leave the 5th starter spot to some combination of Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy, and Alfredo Aceves, or will they sign another veteran like Randy Wolf or Brad Penny, who you mentioned as possible replacements in a recent article?

EP: I believe they go for a veteran and use the kids (is Aceves a kid?) as AAA backups.

KS: If you’re Joe Girardi, would you rather have Mike Cameron, Melky Cabrera, or Brett Gardner in the outfield on opening day?

EP: Cameron, surely. You know what you'll get. But acquiring him means giving up something and paying him.

KS: Any free agents you see the Yankees signing to minor-league deals? Could they perhaps offer incentive based minor league deals to any of Mark Prior, Bartolo Colon, Victor Zambrano, and Eric Milton?

EP: Someone like that will pop up (like Scott Erickson did).

KS: Where do you see Carl Pavano going? Chances of a Yankee reunion have to be slim right?

EP: I'd bet on Florida. I'd bet against the Yankees -- easy.

KS: Of the following young Yankee players, who will contribute the most for the big league club in 09? Francisco Cervelli, Brett Gardner, Phil Coke, Mark Melancon, or Juan Miranda?

EP: Good question. Cervelli and Miranda are blocked. I'd say Coke.

KS: Do you see Melky bouncing back this season? What kind of stats and how much playing time should we expect from him?

EP: I don't see a bounceback. I think he's a fourth outfielder, a good one.

KS: With the Yankees reportedly having so much interest in Manny, why don’t they look into Adam Dunn? He has more power, more patience at the plate, is younger, is incredibly consistent, is cheaper, and he won’t be nearly as big of a nuisance in the clubhouse as Manny.

EP: And Dunn might be worse in the outfield than Manny. Plus that might tilt them back to being too left-handed. But it makes a little sense.

KS: In a big game, which Yankee starter do you most want to see on the mound?

EP: Sabathia. Best pitcher in baseball in 2007-08.

KS: And finally, who are your picks for team MVP, team Rookie of the Year, and team Cy Young for the 2009 year?

EP: Team MVP is A-Rod. Team rookie might be Coke, since I guess him above. Team Cy is Sabathia; I expect him to pitch great.

6 Pound 8 Ounce Baby Joba: Interview with Mike Ashmore

6 Pound 8 Ounce Baby Joba: Interview with Mike Ashmore

6 Pound 8 Ounce Baby Joba: Interview with Tim Dierkes

6 Pound 8 Ounce Baby Joba: Interview with Tim Dierkes

Chris Britton

I just read on MLBTR that Chris Britton, non-tendered by the Yankees, signed with the Padres to pitch the 7th inning. Thats much more than he would have done for the Yankees. I wish him lots of luck with his new team.

Bernie Williams

Bernie Williams has been my favorite player since age 5. His class, talent, and ability to be a leader on and off the field made me really really respect the guy. I personally think that he got shafted by the Yankees two years ago, when they neglected to offer him a contract to return. He had given them many years of service and played fantastically throughout all of them. I think that Bernie should absolutely get into the HOF and I think that the Yankees should retire his number in the new Yankee Statium. 
For his career, Bernie was a .297/.381/.477. In his best seasons (1997-2002), he was one of the best center fielders in the games of baseball. In those seasons he hit .328, .339 (Batting Title), .342, .307, .307, .333 respectively. As a CF, he was one of the best. He won 4 Gold Gloves, and was selected to the Allstar team 5 times. Despite the fact that he had excellent stats throughout his regular season career, his post-season stats were even better. According to Wikipedia, he holds the career postseason records for games, double, RBI, and extra base hits. On the Yankees all-time lists, he is 2nd in doubles, 4th in walks, 5th in hits, 5th in extra base hits, 6th in HR, and 6th in RBI. Being this high up on the Yankees all-time list is very impressive considering he is being compared to people like Babe Ruth, Lou Gherig, Joe DiMaggio, and Mickey Mantle. He won 4 World Series, being one of the key members of each run. He was always a fan favorite and a clubhouse favorite. It was very clear that the Yankee fans loved him when he was introduced at the final game. He received the longest and loudest ovation of any of the great players introduced. On his "last" game as a Yankee, a game that I was at, the entire stadium chanted his name throughout the entire 9th inning, a memory that I will never forget.
The combination of Bernie's career stats, postseason prowess, and the amount of respect and love that fans and players have for him should absolutely land him a retired number, and hopefully put him into the HOF.

Manny Being Manny

I'm sorry that so many posts have been about Tex and Manny recently, but what's going on with them is important for the Yanks. Anyways, if I were Brian Cashman I would wait, at least until the new year, to seriously look at Manny. Comcast is airing Manny being Manny: The Final Days in Boston, a series starting on Christmas and ending on New Year's eve. Let's see the in-depth look at what really went down in Boston, and then decide if we want Manny and his baggage.

Ricky Bobby Quotes

We all know that the title of this blog, 6 Pound 8 Ounce Baby Joba, is derived from a quote in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. If you didn't know that...well it is. You can check out our side description on how the blog was started for more on that. I thought that it might be fun to use a couple of Ricky Bobby quotes that are fitting for certain Yankees and Yankee moments of past and present. If you haven't seen the movie, then buy it on itunes, or go to Blockbuster, or buy it at the store, or whatever you have to do to get it. Then watch it. Then read this post. Even if you aren't going to finish the post, watch the movie. It is the best...EVER!

Robinson Cano and Melky Cabrera: SHAKE and BAKE!

Carl Pavano: Hey, look...I thought about it. So why don't you go ahead and break my arm?

Brett Gardner: I wanna go fast.

Derek Jeter: Hey! It's me, America!

Brian Cashman to Carl Pavano: I really regret opening my mouth and talking to you.

Rickey Henderson: ...It's the fastest who gets paid, and it's the fastest who gets laid!

CC Sabathia to AJ Burnett: But maybe, just maybe. You might challenge me. The Beatles needed the Rolling Stones. Even Diane Sawyer needed Katie Couric. Will you be my Katie Couric?

David Wells (if asked how he pitched his perfect game): I'm all jacked up on Mountain Dew! (In this case Mountain Dew is actually alcohol though...)
"One of you turds is about to get smacked in the mouth."

"Old Man, I'm gonna come at you like a spider monkey!"

Alex Rodriguez WOULD say this, but Mariano Rivera SHOULD say this: Here's the deal. I'm the best there is. Plain and simple. I wake up in the morning and I piss excellence.

Roger Clemens, if asked why his fastball is so good: America is all about speed. Hot, nasty, badass speed.

Aaron Boone after his 03 ALCS Game 7 homerun: What does that do? Does that blow your mind? That JUST happened!

George Steinbrenner: If you ain't first, you're last.



UPDATE: The New York Times' Michael S. Schmidt (I wish I was a sportswriter with the name of a hall of famer) says that according to two knowledgeable sourses about the matter, the Yanks want to sign Teixeira, but don't want to pay him more than $160mm/8 years. That seems smart on the part of the Yanks. But, you can bet Boras will do everything he can to get an offer from the Yankees, and a higher one than $160mm. If the Yanks really won't go past $160mm then I don't see why he would sign with them, especially when he has/will have higher offers than that from Anaheim, Washington, Boston, and possibly Baltimore.

I know that we've seen a lot of articles on Tex recently, but his signing will affect lots of teams, including the Yanks. Kat O'Brien from Newsday writes that the Yanks are "on the periphery of the bidding." Apparently Scott Boras, the super-agent, initiated a conversation with Cashman about the parameters of a deal with Tex. She claims that a source said that the Yanks would have to give a 8 year deal with a total of $180mm to $185mm. She says that Boras claims the ESPN report saying that he told the Red Sox that it would require a $195mm contract was incorrect. Follow all the reports at MLBTR.

I still think he'll be a National. They will offer the most money, and for a Boras client that matters the most. Remember when A-Rod signed with the Rangers? Tex won't make the Nats competitive, and I don't really see him bringing in a lot of fans, so I'm confused as to why they would make that kind of investment for him. However, that is what Ted Lerner wants to do, and that is what he will do. I think if he wants to get nation-wide attention and put fans in the seats his best decisions would be Randy Johnson and Manny Ramirez. Randy is going to get his 300th win next year, which means every start he makes with 299 wins under his belt will sell out. Manny brings a media circus with him everywhere, and all publicity is good publicity. Signing one of those guys to get the Nats on the national radar (no pun intended) would be a smarter decision because they would only require short term deals, freeing future payroll for locking up young players. However, Lerner is set on Tex and that's why he'll get him.

Gammons' Blog

I was reading Peter Gammons' blog on ESPN.com, and found an interesting note.

Cashman backed off the Mike Cameron deal because Melky Cabrera has improved his plate discipline in winter ball, and there are voices in the organization who still believe Brett Gardner is going to be a useful major league player. No one will argue his energy and intensity, but watch him take batting practice, and you'll find out he's a lot stronger than he looks. Granted, he has to take it into games, but there is something on which to place hope.

Melky is showing discipline? That is awesome. If the Melkman can draw walks and boost his OBP, not to mention his average because he will have better selection when it comes to what pitches to swing at, he will bounce back to tolerable statistics, and his trade value will increase as well.

I'm a Brett Gardner fan. Gammons is right that no one can say he isn't energetic and intense. Gardner is a serious threat on the basepaths. I bet he leads the team in steals next year. Ok that isn't really bold, because we don't really have anyone else super fast, but basically my point is that he is fast. I like hearing that his batting practice shows he is stronger than he looks. Could Brett Gardner hit home runs in the bigs? He isn't expected to have power at all, but if he does, that would be a great addition to his set of skills.

This good news on the young Yankee center fielders might mean the Yankees will be more reluctant to trade for a center fielder.

3 Years of Manny?

Mark Feinsand says that Manny has told friends that he thinks the Yanks will give him a 3 year offer. I think that's only possible if Hank Steinbrenner, and not Brian Cashman, is running the team. I think, and hope, that Cash is in charge and not Hank. Cash doesn't want Manny, and he didn't resign with the team to just be ignored. This is most likely just a ploy by Manny and Boras to raise his pricetag and hope the Dodgers or Angels will meet it.

Veron Wells?

Jon Heyman wrote a piece saying that the Jays have listened to offers for Vernon Wells. Before you all start talking about how he would be such a great acquisition, let's look at a few things.

Vernon is on a 7 year/$126mm contract. His salary in '08 was only $0.5mm. He also received one of the three $8.5mm installments he gets from his signing bonus. In other words, he still is owed a lot of money.

Vernon is 30, and is signed for 6 more years. That means we would be getting him for the declining years of his career.

Buster Olney recently wrote an article on Wells. He are some of the quotes he had from talent evaluators (GMs, assistant GMs, and scouts).

"Vernon Wells can be a joy to watch when playing inspired baseball. However, I can't get over how many at-bats he throws away chasing high fastballs or breaking balls off the plate, even in fastball counts, almost like he occasionally lacks any semblance of patience or ability to slow down the game."

"The reality is, he's still a very good player and performs at a high level, but there's still a sense of underachievement there based on his abilities and his seemingly inconsistent focus."

"...there's clearly no question about his tools. He remains one of the more physically talented outfielders in the game and gets tremendous reads and jumps in center field, though he did appear to lose a step or two this past season. "

"Has a little length to his swing, but has good bat speed. Not a pure hitter, but he is such a good athlete."

"Though the back end of his contract is sure to weigh down his trade value significantly, Wells could conceivably be a classic change-of-scenery guy who really wakes up when he finds himself in a larger, more pressurized market, though at age 30, his window is much smaller than it used to be."

"...he tends to cruise through part of the schedule. You don't get 100 percent of Vernon Wells every day, for that reason. He paces himself."

"Bill James Handbook projections for Wells in 2009: 139 games, .281 BA, .336 OBP, .817 OPS, 23 homers, 85 RBIs, 43 walks and 70 strikeouts."

I don't like what I hear in these quotes. Sure, the comment that he could be better with a change of scnerey and a more competitive team is positive, but sounds like he doesn't always give his best, he's slowing down in the field, he's an underperformer, and he has no patience at the plate.

Wells has never had an OBP above .360, and only played in 108 games this past year. With his contract, his age, and his poor qualities above, he isn't worth the risk of giving up young players for him.


According to Jon Heyman of SI, the Yankees and Mark Teixeira are "back in talks" regarding a possible contract. This is no surprise, with Tex being the biggest free-agent left on the market. The Yankees could spend the money to sign him, because they clearly have it, but it would go against Cashman's goal of being under the payroll from last season. I think Joseph from RAB said it best when he wrote, "1) Sign Pettitte. Sign bat. Screw payroll." If he is willing to come at a slight discount, I would be all for a deal.