Since I was 8 years old, people have constantly questioned me as to why I love baseball, and why I let it play such a significant role in my life. And for years, I've searched for the answer to that question. It isn't because I am a particularly good player. I don't have a family history of baseball. It has taken me a long time to realize why I let this great game be such a significant part of the life I live. And I have finally figured it out.

Baseball is my best friend. I know. It sounds crazy, but it's true. I mean, I have loads of great friends who are real people and everything, but there is no one I trust more than baseball. It never lies, it never leaves, it always stands beside me. At the age of 8 I moved to a lacrosse dominated society in Denver. I was new, and didn't exactly fit in, but baseball was there. When I was bored I always had my mitt, a ball, and a brick wall to throw at. My whole life, I've done my best thinking with a baseball in my hand. I can stand and just throw my hardest at a wall for hours at a time. With every throw I let some anger escape. With every thud I can forget about the world around me. I can get lost in a simple game of throw and catch with the wall. Baseball never runs out of stories, something is always happening, all year round there is always something unfolding before us, revealing more and more about the sport. From spring training to the season to the all star game to the pennant races to the playoffs to the awards to the Hot Stove to the Hall of Fame voting to the draft, baseball never stops. There is no such thing as perfection in baseball, there is always more to be done, more to be pondered, more to be examined.

To me, baseball, while it is it's own world, is truly a smaller model of the world which we inhabit. For as long as I can remember, every meaningful life talk or explanation I have received has used baseball as a comparison. There are the rich, the poor, and the greedy. The hopeful, the doubtful, and the proven. There is always a need to measure risk versus reward. Every big decision you make, what high school to go to, what college to attend, who to marry, they are like big free agent contracts that will lock you into one gameplan for multiple years. Every life is full of coaches, mentors, teammates, agents, etc. trying to help you do what they think is best, but just like in baseball, what you do, what you say, what you decide is what will have the most effect on your life.

So that's my thought for today. Is your life really just a big baseball game?


Slow Going

Not much news to report today. 

Brian Bruney avoided arbitration and agreed to a one year 1.325 mil deal.

RAB live chat today. Always fun...


Well What Happens if Somebody Goes Down???

Thats my question of the day. Our rotation, as it stands, contains Sabathia, Burnett, Wang, Chamberlain, and Pettitte. Burnett and Chamberlain are far from "sure things" (at least from a 200 inning standpoint) and we need able spot starters. If you want a fantastic look at our pitching depth, check out Chad Jennings in depth look at the matter.


Andy Pettitte Update

Seems like the deal is for $5.5mm guaranteed with a possible $6.5mm in incentives.

Joe Torre

 Si has an excerpt from Joe Torre's new book. I encourage you all to read it.

Pettitte Back in Pinstripes?

Via MLBTR we have found out that Andy is close to signing a deal to return to the Bronx. He would presumably be the 4th starter in the rotation(ahead of Joba to keep Joba's innings down). With so many injury risks in the rotation it would be great to have a typical Pettitte season of 200+ innings. Also, with so much turnover in the rotation, having a veteran Yankee presence will most certainly be a good thing.

Here are some updates on the situation

John Harper

Jon Heyman


Ken Rosenthal

Seems like it will end up being a 1 year $6mm deal guaranteed. And incentives could make it $6mm more. I'm glad this is finally working out. It seems that, like many other free agents, Pettitte misread the market, and now he must settle for less guaranteed money than the Yanks originally offered. When Andy signs, the Yanks' rotation will look like this

CC Sabathia
AJ Burnett
Chien Ming Wang
Andy Pettitte
Joba Chamberlain

So basically the first 3 guys would be aces on lots of other staffs, and the #5 starter has ace potential, but is the #5 so that his innings count is limited (predictions on Joba's inning count via RotoAuthority). Then the #4 is a veteran who thrives in the playoffs and in New York. And let's not forget that Ian Kennedy, Phil Hughes, Alfredo Aceves, and Phil Coke are all still available from the farm if injuries hit. That's a solid group of starting pitchers. As big of a fan as I was of a Ben Sheets' signing, having some one who is less of an injury threat is certainly a good thing, which is why this signing makes sense. $6mm is a pretty good value for a guy like Pettitte.


Torre Speaks Out

Former Yankee manager Joe Torre has a new book coming out called "The Yankee Years." I want to first state that I have always been a Joe Torre fan. I think he has a phenomenal ability to manage multiple and varying personalities in a clubhouse which is the strength of his managing ability. However, even when he was with the Yanks I think it was pretty clear that although he can manage people he isn't the best baseball manager. He rarely would change things up with sac bunts or hit and runs and he always overused his bullpen, but the fact that he always kept a steady head was one of the great things about him.

In his book apparently Torre says that the Yankee players would call A-Rod A-Fraud because he is a spoiled brat. It is true, Alex is one of those guys that aggravates everyone because he apparently thinks he above everyone else, but he is one of the greatest players in the game and despite the dumb things he does, he isn't as big of a nuisance as someone like Manny Ramirez. Torre also talks about how Cashman didn't give him support in the final contract negotiations between Torre and the Steinbrenners after the 07 season. As much as all of these things that Torre says upset me, the fact that he is trying to publicly make the Yanks look bad upsets me more. I don't want to make judgements here, and I will always give Joe the benefit of the doubt, but I am a little dissapointed that a guy like Joe would turn his back on his former team. I know that the Yanks kind of turned their backs on him, but I usually put Joe above other people and expect him to be more civil than others. This disappoints me, but I will have to read the whole book before I draw any real conclusions.


Jon Heyman

Heyman says that the Yankees are still in contact with both Sheets and Pettitte. Sheets is obviously the better pitcher, but his injury history has kept many teams from making a strong offer to him. Pettitte isn't as good of a pitcher anymore, but he is a workhorse and has playoff experience with the Yanks. The Yanks seem to have more interest in Andy, most likely because they are more concerned with having someone that will definitely give 200 average or above average innings than someone who could give 200 great innings, or only 50. Since CC Sabathia has pitched so much in the past two years, AJ Burnett is always an injury risk, Wang is coming off a foot injury and shortened season, Joba has an innings limit, and we don't know exactly what to expect from Hughes, Coke, and Aceves the Yanks want someone that they can rely on for innings. Andy Pettitte is a class act and a guy that you can always count on to give his best, but a healthy Ben Sheets would give the Yankees 5 pitchers who would be aces on any other staff.

Updates from Fox Sports

I read some interesting stuff over at FoxSports today. Heres what I found...

Ken Rosenthal explores the possibility of VARITEK??? to the Yankees. I don't think thats going to happen.

Joe DelGrippo ponders where the Yankees will hit Teixeira. Interesting article.

Dayn Perry gives us ten reasons why the 2009 baseball season will be epic. Yanks come in at #3 and #1.


I've made it pretty clear over these first two months of blogging that Bernie Williams is my favorite player of all time. If it hasn't been clear, it is now. It made me so happy today when Matt Marone of the Daily News ranked Bernie as the number 3rd greatest Center Fielder in Yankees history. Go Bernie.

Movin' on Out

The Yankees moved out of the old Yankee Stadium yesterday. PeteAbe has a video of it from Lohud. Its sad knowing that the Yankees are cleaning out of the place where they won 27 World Series, but at the same time the whole thing is very exciting. It's a shame they are leaving the old Yankee Stadium, but boy oh boy I'm excited for the new one!

Lets hear your thoughts about the old and new Yankee Stadium in the comments!


Pitching Pitching Pitching

Ok. We all know from Baseball Tonight that everybody's favorite game is "Name That Molina", but for the Yankees intents and purposes right now, Lets play "NAME THAT FIFTH STARTER"!

Here's the fifth starter updates for today.

Freddy Garcia has signed with the Mets to a minor league deal. Any speculation regarding him is gonzo.

According to Jon Heyman, "Sheets' new medical report sparks interest". Although not mentioned specifically in the article, I sure hope the Yankees are using this new report wisely...

According to Pete Caldera, the Yankees and Andy Pettitte still talking. I think Ben from RAB said it best when he said "He should take the money and come back to the Bronx". He isn't getting any younger and certainly isn't getting any other offers.

Also, I found a video of Joba singing "Staying Alive" in the bullpen. Its pretty funny stuff. Take a look


Heyman Article

Jon Heyman said today that the Yankees are "said to be getting more interest in Nick Swisher than Xavier Nady". He also went on to say that the Yankees would be "luckier to dispose of Swisher's contract". I still think that Nick Swisher is the guy we need to keep(OBP OBP OBP), despite the contract situation.

Heyman also talked about how he believes that Freddy Garcia has narrowed it down to the Yankees, Mets, and Rangers. So I guess we'll see.


Ken Rosenthal

Ken Rosenthal wrote an interesting article today. In it he spoke about how he believed the Yankees weren't done signing big name players. He urges the Yankees to "give strong consideration to signing Ben Sheets as their fifth starter and Juan Cruz as their setup man." Many teams are shying away because both were offered arb and declined, but the Yanks already signed 3 higher ranked Type As, so they would only lose a 4th and 5th rounder. I totally agree with Rosenthal. Both would be great options for the Yankees, at the right price...

What do you think about these potential signings? Would people just freak out? How much would you pay for these guys? 

Lets hear it in the comments...


Avoiding Arb...

According to Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times, the Yankees inked Xavier Nady to a 1 year 6.55 mil deal, avoiding arbitration.

Center Field

Center Field has been a very hot topic for Yankee fans this off-season. After Melky's underwhelming season and Brett Gardner's marginal hitting, the Yankees have been exploring their options. Many things have been discussed, whether it be a deal for Mike Cameron, the Melky-Gardner platoon, or other trades that could potentially happen. One player that was talked about at the beginning of the offseason was David Dejesus of the Royals. Quite frankly, I think that a Dejesus deal should be explored once again. Dejesus hit .307/.366/.452 last season, which was definitely one of his better seasons. For his career, his line is .287/.360/.422 with an OPS+ of 105. That is not too shabby at all. He is a very good defender and has base-stealing potential. As much as I love Melky, his stats just don't compare. Melky's career line is .268/.329/.374 with an 84 OPS+. Dejesus is also very cheap contract wise. He was signed to a 5 year 13.8 million dollar contract, and is only owed 3.6 Mil in 09. Although he is cheap in dollars, we might need to give up a few quality prospects to get him from the Royals. What do you think we would need to give up in order to get Dejesus? Would this be a good acquisition for the Yankees? Lets hear it in the comments.



The Yanks have 13 players playing in the WBC. Jeter, Cano, A-Rod, Marte, Melky Cabrera, Francisco Cervelli, Alfredo Aceves, Kai Liu, Edwar Ramirez, Jahdiel Santamaria, Jorge Vasquez, Jose Veras, and Zhenwang Zhang will all play in the Worl Baseball Classic.

I think the WBC is a fun event and is a great way to have international baseball pride, but having it right before the season starts just seems stupid to me. Players don't get to go through the routine their managers want them too, they have to play in big pressure situations before April, and it just seems like a bad idea for players' health. Since the season is so long, I know that it is hard to find another time to have the tournament, but I have one idea...

Move the WBC to right after the playoffs. The season ends at the end of September/beginning of October, and then there are 3 weeks of playoffs. I don't know the exact schedules of the leagues in other countries, but I imagine they would be similar. Lots of players already play fall ball in the Arizona Fall League or in the Dominican Republic, so why not add a few more and make it an international competition. As the playoffs start non-major league players and players who are on teams that didn't make the playoffs could report to their national camp and start working out. Some players will have to play in the playoffs, but start the competition a week after the World Series ends. Perhaps, if the MVPs, Cy Youngs, and Rookies of the Year are in the competition, then Bud Selig could present them with their awards in front of a crowd of their countrymen at a packed stadium rather than at a press conference that fans don't usually attend. This seems like the best solution to me.

I know that most players are tired after a full season, but then should just choose not to play. Players can choose not to play in the spring, but after a full season a player has a better sense for how their body is physically. If a player were injured in the fall, they'd have the whole winter to recover rather than entering the season hurt. Also, I bet the Japanese teams would love this, because if their players played well in the WBC, then they would be fresh on the minds of scouts and would likely garner higher posting bids. Free agents could use the competition to re-establish their value if they had been injured at the beginning of the season. This is just an idea, but I think that seeing tired players play is definitely better than seeing players who aren't ready for the season play and be afraid to challenge themselves because they aren't yet at their potential. This would also allow players who change teams during the offseason to report to their team's camp, without feeling as if they are letting down their country.

That's just my opinion though. Let's hear your thoughts in the comments.


Robbie Cano

According to Derrick Goold of STLToday, the Cardinals inquired about Robinson Cano. The conversation was short lived though, as the Yankees started by asking for Adam Wainwright.


Thinking outside of the box

Not saying any this is possible, not saying it has been rumored, just some wild ideas I had.

Austin Jackson, Ian Kennedy, Jesus Montero for Hanley Ramirez. I know, we have shortstop, and AJax is one of our best prospects, Kennedy's value is low, and Jesus Montero can hit. But here's what I think...Hanley would play centerfield(as he would have if he went to Boston). Hanley's only a little over 3 years older than Ajax, and he can hit for power, which Jackson can't. Kennedy is going to be a good pitcher, but the Yanks have CC for 7 years and Burnett for 5. Joba and Wang are still under team control for multiple years, and so are Hughes, Betances, Brackman, and Aceves. Also, Japanese phenom Yu Darvish is likely to be posted after the season and as he will only be 23 when the season is over, expect the Yanks to place a huge posting bid for him. So, with all of those other options, Kennedy isn't as essential to the team as one would think. Then Montero. Montero is probably the Yanks best prospect, but many people think he can't stick behind the plate. He's blocked by Tex at first and Posada is under contract for 3 more years to play catcher. And when Posada's contract is up the Yanks could either put Austin Romine or Francisco Cervelli behind the plate, or try to acquire someone like Joe Mauer, Russell Martin, or Brian McCann. Hanley is signed cheap through 2014 . He has power (33 home runs in 08) and speed (35 SB in 08) which would be great for the lineup. The Marlins would probably love to have a prospect like Montero who could end up being a big slugger for years to come, and they would love Jackson's athleticism as well. Kennedy will be a good #2 or #3 starter which is valuable too. The Yanks meanwhile would have a lineup of

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

That's pretty good. And having your number 3 hitter be a huge stolen base threat is always a good luxury. Thoughts on the deal for both sides... let's hear 'em in the comments.


Don Zimmer, former Yankees bench coach, suffered a stroke in December, but is recovering. Zimmer is currently a senior baseball advisor for the Rays and we wish him a speedy recovery.

Kepner Article

Tyler Kepner, who recently did an interview with us, wrote an interesting article regarding the Swisher-Nady trade situation.  I personally think that if we deal a player, Nady should be the one to go. Nady could get more value in a trade and also, the Yankees lost 2 big OBP guys (Giambi and Abreu) and Swisher is an OBP fiend. According to the Kepner article, "Swisher’s on-base percentage, .332, was actually better than Nady’s .320 figure over two months with the Yankees. In that way, Swisher profiles better as the kind of player the Yankees seek for their lineup. He saw an average of 4.53 pitches per plate appearance last season, leading the major leagues in that category. Nady averaged 3.65 pitches per plate appearance." It's a pretty good read.


Some Interesting Reads

Hey everybody,
I read a couple of interesting articles. Ken Rosenthal  writes about the Braves inability to meet the Yankees price-tag for Nady, although they do have interest. He also writes about how the Yankees are uninterested by Pedro Martinez, Ben Sheets, and Freddy Garcia. Its a good read.

I also found this article by Kevin Kernan  about how Mark Teixeira was born to be a Yankee. Another interesting article.

Ted Keith from SI writes an article about how great the AL East race is going to be this year. It'll be fun.

RAB live chat today. Always good stuff there.

Kevin and I would like to apologize for our slow output recently. We have both been ridiculously swamped with work. We will certainly pick it up again in the following days.
Thanks for Reading


Thoughts for the Day

On the Freddy Garcia front, I'm not a big fan of signing him. He's going to want a big league deal I would presume, and the Yanks shouldn't offer him one. He has never been a dominant pitcher, and hasn't pitched a full season since 06. I think that guys like Eric Milton and Victor Zambrano would be better, cheaper investments. I personally wanted Bartolo Colon and Mark Prior, but they signed with the White Sox and Padres respectively. There are definitely arguments for signing a veteran pitcher like Garcia for the 5th spot, and I want veteran insurance, but Garcia just isn't the best option. I could see Jason Jennings and Mark Mulder as being interesting back-up options that wouldn't cost much. One other candidate, Rich Hill. He's still with the Cubs, but is out of options, and would probably come cheaply in a trade. In 07 he had an ERA of 3.92, a WHIP of 1.195, and threw 195 innings. If he could get anywhere back near those numbers he'd be a great acquistion, and he'll only be 29 when the season starts. There are a lot of options out there, and Cashman just needs to figure out which one(s) will be the best. And don't forget he also has Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy, Phil Coke, Jason Johnson, Sergio Mitre, Scranton Wilkes-Barre Pitcher of the Year Kei Igawa, and Alfredo Aceves. Really, I think the fact that the top four pitchers in our rotation (Sabathia, Burnett, Wang, and Chamberlain) could all be aces on almost any other staff makes up for having a weaker 5th starter. Even with an injury the Yanks will survive. And if for some reason they are yet again in need of pitching next year, I'm guessing Japanese Phenom Yu Darvish will be posted after this season to take advantage of a weak free agent market, and of course the Yanks will at least be rumored to be in the bidding. So don't get too hung up on pitching. It's the 5th starter role, not the ace role.

SHELLY'S BACK! (Or at least invited to ST)

The Yankees invited 20 non-roster players to spring training. To have a look at the list, click on the link.

Freddy Garcia

According to Jon Heyman, Freddy Garcia is "talking to a few teams, including the Yankees...". He also says that we should be expecting a deal in the next few days. He has a career 4.07 ERA and could be a very interesting/cheap option for the 5th starter role.



Chien-Ming Wang and his wife are having a baby!

Jon Heyman says that the Yankees have less than a 50% chance of re-signing Andy Pettitte. My god, what a couple of months can do.

The Orioles signed former Yankee speedster Justin Christian. Best of luck to him.

The Braves are now being connected to Nady and Swisher. I don't know about all of you, but I'm excited to see how this plays out. I personally hope that they keep both of them. They have the cash and there is no problem with having good depth.


Marti and Gomez

I know I'm a little late on this one (mid-year exams...), but Yadel Marti and Yasser Gomez have defected from Cuba and are ready to hit the MLB free agent pool. Marti and Gomez are said to be 29 and 28 years of age respectively. Both players used to play for the Industriales de la Habana, a very popular team in Cuba (according to Enrique Rojas). Marti, a pitcher who dominated in the WBC, had a career 3.23 ERA with the Industriales. Gomez had a .331 career average with the Industriales. 

If I were Cashman, I would certainly take a flier on these guys. 



I know that this is a baseball blog, but as a huge Giants fan, I just want to take a minute to be bummed about their loss to the Eagles. The Giants did not capitalize on their many opportunities and it is a shame. Great season, better luck next year.


The Sox

As much as I hate to compliment Boston, I have to give Theo Epstein some props on his signings of Brad Penny, John Smoltz, Mark Kotsay, Rocco Baldelli, and Takashi Saito. None of those guys are necessarily big impact players, and all but Kotsay are serious injury risks, but they all are useful players with high ceilings. Penny wasn't great in 08, but he had a 3.03 ERA in 07. At $5mm if he does nothing at all they don't lose significant money, but he could also end up being a great bargain and helping out the rotation a lot. Smoltz won't be ready to play until May or June, but he's been a great player his whole career with a phenomenal work ethic. He hasn't had an ERA above 3.50 since 1994. He can pitch in the rotation or out of the pen, as he has 210 career wins, and 154 saves. Smoltz is getting old (turns 42 in May) but he can still be effective. Like Penny, he's a low risk, high reward signing. Kotsay played for the Sox in 08, and with his re-signing he'll end up backing up Kevin Youkilis at first and he'll see some time in the outfield. Kotsay doesn't have any great strengths, but he's a veteran who can handle himself on the field well. Baldelli performed well in limited time with the Rays and he recently was diagnosed with a more curable disease than the one he was previously thought to have. I don't know the names of either one though, sorry. Saito was a phenomenal closer in LA, but with his injuries he was non-tendered. If he gets healthy, a Saito-Papelbon duo at the back end of the Boston bullpen will give me nightmares.

This is just a thought, but wouldn't it be cool if one game the Red Sox had Dice-K start, and he pitched 7 innings, then Okajima pitched the 8th, and then Saito pitched the 9th? It would be cool to see a team put out only Japanese pitchers in one game, it would highlight the influence of the international market on the MLB. What would make that situation even better though...is if it was a game against the Yankees, and Kei Igawa pitched a complete game and Hideki Matsui hit a walk-off home run. Ok, I know Kei Igawa most likely won't ever pitch for the Yanks again(at least I hope he won't), but come on, how cool would that be? Can you imagine the headlines on the Post and the Daily News the next day?


Nady and Swisher Talk

Henry Schulman says the Yanks prefer to move Nady. And doesn't support an acquistion by the Giants of Xman. Dejan Kovacevik says the Pirates have talked to the Yanks about Nady and Swisher, but a swap doesn't seem likely. I still like the Braves and Reds as the most likely fits for a trade. But, I don't support the idea by Joe at RAB that Aaron Harang would be a good return for Nady. He's the kind of guy we most certainly shouldn't look for in return. An expensive ($11mm in 09, $12.5mm in '10, $12.75mm in '11 with a $2mm buyout), 30 year old (turns 31 in May) pitcher with an ERA of 4.78 in 08 isn't what I would want back for Nady. The Yanks are looking to trade Xman to either fill team holes, get younger, or shed payroll, or all three. Harang is signed for too long, and would hog a rotation spot from Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy, Dellin Betances, Phil Coke, etc. in the upcoming years. I'm not against getting someone to fill the 5th starter spot in 09, but acquiring someone who is signed for at least 1, if not 2 years beyond that, at a high salary is not ideal. I don't think Harang is a bad pitcher by any means, and he could bounce back and be a reliable ace in Cincy again, but he is not someone we need. If we are going to trade Nady for pitching it should be cheap, controllable, young pitching, or a very short term, consistent, veteran to be insurance in case of injury or to fill the 5th rotation spot. Personally, I want to get some positional prospects, but that's just me. Let's here your thoughts in the comments.

A Little Bit Dissapointed

Let me say one thing first. I am a ridiculously biased writer. That said, I am a blogger, not a professional sportswriter. I write my opinions, and that is a big component of this site. However, a site like ESPN is supposed to be a national news outlet, and while some bias is inevitable, remarks like the ones that Peter Gammons made in his interview on WEEI are just disrespectful and rude. We all know that Peter Gammons is a Boston guy and got his start covering the Sox, but his bias here was just dissappointing, as I usually rely on Gammons to be a professional. He said, and I quote, "I don't think Alex (Rodriguez) really cares about communicating with other other players, we know (that) from Derek Jeter." I'm not a big A-Rod fan, but c'mon, how can you say that? A-Rod is a great baseball player, and there is no way a sports reporter can know exactly how A-Rod communicates with his teammates. It isn't like A-Rod gives everyone the silent treatment or something. Watch a game, A-Rod talks to the guys on the team, he doesn't just go silent the whole time like Tiger Woods(note: That's not a hit on Tiger, it's a compliment towards his immense concentration. Golf and baseball are very different).

This next part is what really aggravated me. For those of you who watched Tex's press conference, you know that his wife played a big roll in his decision. I mean, duh, money had something to do with it, but Leigh Teixeira wanted Mark to be a Yankee, and so he became a Yankee. Gammons says "...his wife doesn't like Boston--apparently she doesn't like the stores on Newberry Street or something..." Really Gammons? This woman hasn't made any big public statements, or done anything uncalled for, but Peter Gammons judges her like this? First off, this is a sexist statement as Gammons is acting like, oh she's a woman, she must like to shop. Secondly, he's insulting her and calling her snooty by implying she only wants to shop in the fashion capitol of the world, New York, instead of in Boston. Thirdly, he is too ignorant to act like there might be other factors that drew Leigh to ask her husband not to play in Boston. As a professional, and highly acclaimed sportswriter, Peter Gammons shouldn't be saying things like this. I'm truly dissappointed. He was a guy I used to have a lot of respect for, and I still do, but now that level of respect is most certainly lessened.


Interview with Tyler Kepner

I recently conducted an interview with Tyler Kepner, the Yankees writer for the New York Times. He gave us some great info and we really appreciate his time. Have a look!

Conor Cashel- The Yankees spent $243.5mm on their two new starting pitchers. Was that the best way to spend the money, or should they have spent it differently?

Tyler Kepner- It's hard to tell now, of course, but it seems to me that they did what they had to do. They lost a 20-game winner and still don't know if they'll bring back a 14-game winner. So they had to do something to address the rotation. Sabathia was clearly the best guy out there, and Burnett's a huge injury risk, but it's the kind of risk the Yankees -- and perhaps only the Yankees -- can take. Never forget how much money they have and how that changes the risk/reward equation relative to other teams.

 CC- What kind of return would the Yankees get for  Nady if they put him on the trade market. Is he the 1st guy to go with the excess outfielders?

 TK- That's a good question, and we'll find out over the next 2 1/2 to 3 months. Swisher has 3 years and $21 million left on his deal; not sure how many teams will pick that up at this stage, coming off a bad year. Nady's still pretty young, and he's coming off a very good season overall. But he'll be a free agent after the season, and he's a Scott Boras client. So both players have complicating factors. So does Hideki Matsui: a no-trade clause and two bad knees. My guess is they would try to trade Swisher first, but that 3-year commitment is a lot to ask another team to take on.

CC- Should the Yankees sign a more capable utility infielder now, like Aaron Miles, or let Ransom be the backup to start the season? If there were an injury mid-season could they pursue a trade for a player in his walk year, such as Chone Figgins or Jack Wilson?

TK- Well, Aaron Miles signed with the Cubs, so he's out. (The questions were sent before Miles signed with the Cubs) They're bringing Angel Berroa to camp, and the Dodgers got by with him at shortstop while Rafael Furcal was out last season. But Cody Ransom is perfectly fine as a back-up infielder; he plays all the positions and has a little power. How often are the Yanks going to sit Teixeira, Cano, Jeter or Rodriguez, anyway? Almost never, unless they're hurt. If somebody does get injured, then sure, you look at guys in their walk years as obvious trade candidates. But it's not a big issue at the moment. They can always find guys to fill in here or there.

CC- Jason Giambi has been regarded as a great, personable, and friendly guy throughout his time in New York. Do you think his absence will have any effect on the clubhouse?

TK- I think they'll miss him, yes, but the trade-off for Teixeira's production in the field and at the plate is a no-brainer. Teixeira spoke about accepting the responsibility of leadership, and that's good to hear; from all accounts he's extremely prepared and serious about his work. Giambi spent a ton of time in the batting cage, and he was great in the clubhouse. He was very popular with teammates, not just for his zany antics but for his generosity -- nobody paid more attention or gave more credit to the staffers and the ancillary people around the team than Jason. He also wasn't afraird to get in a guy's face, and that's important. But Damon is still around to fill that role, and the Yankees' clubhouse is actually fairly harmonious, as far as I can tell.

CC- Which of the Yankee prospects do you think will make the biggest impact in 2009? Who will be the most successful over the course of their career? 

TK- If Mark Melancon stays healthy, I tell you what, there's no reason to think he won't be a very successful closer. I could see him making his move to the big leagues this season, giving the Yankees another lights-out setup guy to go with Brian Bruney. Melancon has the stuff and especially the makeup to be very valuable to the team. Austin Jackson's a great kid, too, and he's learning rapidly in the minors. I'd expect to see him in center in 2010 as long as his current rate of progress continues.

CC- This one's just for kicks. What kind of big unexpected trade would you like to see the Yanks make? Who would be the players on both sides? 

TK-No idea. Maybe Michael Kay for Vin Scully? One Fordham guy for another.

Thanks again to Tyler Kepner!

I'm already becoming a fan of Hal

Hal Steinbrenner has already become one of my favorite people to hear about on the news. This quote is great "If some of the owners are upset that we're trying to invest in our team, which we do for the fans, then I'm not going to lose any sleep over it." He's the man.


Talk about long term...

Angels' manager Mike Scioscia signed an extension through 2018. So, just to clarify, that means he'll be there in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018. That's 10 seasons. By the time he leaves Anaheim A-Rod and Tex's contracts will be up, Joba will be in his 30's, and Barack Obama's presidential term (and possibly second term) will be over. I'm typically opposed to long term contracts, especially ones that last a whole decade, be it for players, managers, or even executives. However, in this instance I think Mike is a guy who really deserves it. He's a phenomenal manager, which is a big reason as to why the Angels are so successful year in and year out. In New York, so much of the role of manager is being able to handle the press and manage all the superstars in the clubhouse. That's where Joe Torre's biggest strengths were. Girardi does a fine job of that as well. However, I wouldn't say that either of those two are great baseball managers. Scioscia calls a game as well, if not better, than anyone else in the game, so congratulations to him on earning the trust of Anaheim to keep him for 10 years.


Seems like the first free agent pitcher the Yanks' signed is now suspended for 50 games in the upcoming season. Sergio Mitre tested positive for performance enhancing drugs, which he claims to have bought at a GNC. To some extent, it's upsetting that he used PEDs. But, if things you buy at GNC are now illegal...well I have a problem with that. I understand the policy against drugs that you aren't allowed to buy without a prescripition, but over the counter nutritional supplements? That's a little too much I think. Apparently, what Mitre brought had sources of Andro, which is banned, but I just think that banning supplements that are legal is taking this PED thing too far.

Tex Press Conference

Couple of Signings

According to Ken Rosenthal and Joel Sherman, the Yanks signed Angel Berroa and John Rodriguez. They both got minor league deals. Rodriguez is an outfielder, while Berroa will likely battle Cody Ransom for the utility infield spot.


According to Ken Rosenthal, the Oakland Athletics have reached a preliminary agreement with Jason Giambi for a one year deal with a club option. Personally, I have always been a fan of Giambi. I have some very funny/great memories of him. My little brother LOVED Giambi when he was little and called him Basen Giami. I always cracked up at that. The mustache last year was classic. It was on my birthday that he his the walk-off grand slam in the rain. He was a great player for us for a long time and I wish him luck with his "new" team.

Shelly Duncan DFA'd

Its true. 2007's Cody Ransom (swing and miss or hit a HR) Shelly Duncan has been DFA'd in order to make room for Teixeira. He always played with a ton of enthusiasm and I thought that was great. 

In other news, Phil Coke has been told to come to camp ready to start. Mike over at RAB says that this comes at no surprise to him. According to PeteAbe, the  "No. 5 starter candidates are Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy, Alfredo Aceves, Jason Johnson and Coke." No surprise there.

The American Idle Lives On...

The Cleveland Indians have signed Carl Pavano to a one year 1.5 million dollar deal. According to Jerry Crasnick he could earn up to 5.3 in incentives (starts and innings pitched). Best of luck to the former "Yankee". I wish him luck with his new team.

Jason Johnson

The Yankees signed Jason Johnson to a minor league deal today. Jason has been in the MLB since 1997 and hasn't been too successful. With a career 4.99 ERA, he is at the very best a 5th starter.


Pettitte Declines

According to Tyler Kepner, Andy Pettitte has declined the Yankees 1 year 10 million dollar offer.

Derek Jeter

Derek Jeter. Captain of the New York Yankees. He has been the symbol of this great franchise since he first became the starting short-stop (1996). He isn't a power hitter, he is no longer a great defender, but people still adore Derek Jeter. He doesn't need to be the best player on the team to get the most love and admiration. The reason why he is so beloved by the entire baseball community is because of the influence he has on the people that watch him play.

Tonight at the dinner table, my little brother was talking about Jeter, and how great a role model he is. He said that he loves and looks up to Jeter because he is always the first guy to jump out of the dugout after a homerun, he gives 100% every game, and because he loves the jump-play (who doesn't?). He says that if he played baseball he would play every game like Jeter. Hearing this from him made me think. There must be hundreds of thousands of kids, just like my brother, having the same conversation at their table. He has such a great influence on so many people. Its because of the little things he does. The never-ending love for the game itself, the hustle, the selflessness on the field, the clutch factor, its all there. He doesn't do stupid things off the field like other big-time stars. He is out on the field enjoying every single second (so it appears) and that is exactly what baseball players these days should be doing. More importantly than the major-leaguers now following his great example, every young baseball player in the nation should look at the way Jeter plays. He is the perfect role model for every young kid, because he plays the game the way it should be played. I have always been a big fan of Jeter, but seeing his extremely positive effect on my little brother (and kids everywhere) makes me love and respect the guy that much more.

Pat Burrell

According to Buster Olney, the Rays have signed slugger Pat Burrell to a 2 year 16 million dollar contract. Great pickup for the Rays because of the fact that the "'08 Rays struggled against lefties (.726 OPS) and Burrell crushes them (.952 OPS in '08)." (Quote from Tim Dierkes at MLBTR)


Andy Pettitte

The Yankees 10 million dollar offer to Andy Pettitte has been on the table for quite a while now. Pettitte has made it quite clear that he wants more than 10 mil, but to be frank, I'm not sure its a great idea to give him 16, or any more than 10. He wasn't great at all last season, going 14-14 with a 4.54 ERA. On the upside, he pitched 202 innings and is a real inning-eater, which could be a necessity. The Yankees have plenty of other people that could fill the 5th starter role. Al Aveces, Phil Hughes, and IPK are potential candidates. I would love to see Pettitte back in pinstripes, as he has been a great Yankee for a long time, but for 16 million dollars? I'd rather give the rookies a shot.


If I Were Jim Bowden...

This is a Yankee blog, but I'm a fan of baseball in general and wanted to talk about that Nats for one post. We all know that they missed out on Teixeira, so they have to turn their attention elsewhere. Their offers to Tex would have paid him roughly $20mm next year. That's a good amount of money, and here's how I think they should spend it.

One word...Pitching.

For $20mm you can buy a nice collection of pitchers.

I say they should go out and offer contracts to Victor Zambrano, Eric Milton, Mark Mulder, Mark Prior, Jason Jennings, Kris Benson, and Bartolo Colon. These guys aren't great, but they all could be good investments. I say get 4 of them. Pitching is everything, and if one of these guys can perform to his full potential than it's a worthwhile investment. When the trading deadline comes around pitching is gold and they can flip someone of younger prospects if they are out of the running.

The Nats also should try to get some pitching via trade. They have Lastings Milledge, Austin Kearns, Elijah Dukes, Wily Mo Pena, and Josh Willingham all out in the outfield. Trade at least one them and get some pitching. Those guys aren't going to get you a Jake Peavy kind of guy, but maybe they could pick up an experienced veteran reliever that might give the young guys some guidance.

The Nats should try to sign one of Brandon Lyon, Trevor Hoffman, and Takashi Saito. A veteran closer type on the cheap is a great investment. Having someone they can hand the ball to, and be confident in, is a valuable thing. If you want proof, think Mariano Rivera. Joel Hanrahan is not the answer at closer and the Nats should know that. Personally, I think it would be a cool idea for them to sign El Duque(former Yankee Orlando Hernandez) to close for them. He says he wants to be a big league closer this year, and they could give him that opportunity.

Washington's lucky that they have the 1st pick in next year's draft. Stephen Strasburg is going to be a successful major league pitcher, most likely a perennial all-star. He needs to be signed. None of this crap where you give up on signing a top draft pick because of a matter of less than a million dollars like they did with Aaron Crow.

Pitching wins baseball games. That's the truth. You can win with a crappy offense, but you can't win with crappy pitching. That should be Jim Bowden's main focus. But I understand that pitchers aren't the marketing tools that hitters are, so if they want to focus on position players, then the plan should consist of signing Sean Casey, signing David Eckstein, and signing Ivan Rodriguez. Look, these guys aren't the best available, but here's why they'd be a smart investment. Casey is up there on the list of baseball good guys, right next to Sabathia and David Ortiz. He's a guy that will be a great role model for the young guys on the team and could emerge as a team leader while putting up league average offense. Eckstein is a hard worker who has won two World Series rings (02 Angels, 06 Cardinals). He's a guy that gives it all every game and he's another guy that will be a great influence on the young guys. Pudge is a former superstar. He's a future hall of famer and he can still hit and play defense. Having a guy like Pudge catching the Nationals' no-name pitching staff would be reall valuable. Guys like Pudge that can call a game the way he does, and have his pitchers trust him the way they do, help a team succeed immensely. I hate Jason Varitek a lot and I think he is way overrated, but the reason the Sox and their pitchers have been successful in years past is that his staff trusts him completely. Even though he was practically an automatic out for the Sox this year, his ability as a catcher has been an integral part of the team since he joined the team full-time in 1998. And having a year or two of Pudge doing that for the Nats could have the same kind of impact that Varitek has had on the Sox. You might say, well then why not just sign Varitek? Because he's going to be more expensive.

Those are my thoughts. How would you spend the Nats' money? Let's hear it in the comments.

News Update

Just a few things from the past couple of days (sorry I haven't been posting. New Years and then somehow I got to play gold both of the past two days...Yeah, I love Colorado weather)...

The Dodgers' Andruw Jones had his contract restructured. This is a precursor to him being traded or released by Spring Training. I know a bunch of you are going to say we should take a flier on him. I'm not necessarily opposed to that, but when you look at Jones' stats he just isn't someone I really want on my team. He's only hit over .280 once in his career (in 2000). And his OBP has never hit .370. The guy has (or had) power there's no debate about that. he played good defense too. However, he's an older(32 in April) not particularly more effective option in center than the Melkman and Gardner. Sure, if the Dodgers release him and we can get him on a minor league contract for 1 year and $500,000 then there's no reason not to, but I don't think there is a big chance that that opportunity will present itself.

Rumor from Roch Kubatko that the O's and White Sox are exploring a Brian Roberts-Gavin Floyd swap. That would be a great deal for the O's. It could help the ChiSox, but trading young pitching for a second baseman in his walk year is questionable.

Jeff Moorad, CEO of the D-Backs, resigned. He might try to buy the Padres. That could end their firesale, depending on how soon a sale happens to Moorad or anyone else. I think it would be smart of Moorad to wait out the firesale. He'd enter an organization stacked with young talent. the team could only get better, and he could have Kevin Towers spend the extra cash in the next two offseasons so he'd seem like a guy that comes in and turns the team around. Also, a team that has sold off all of it's veterans is worth less than a team that hasn't, so he'd get the team at a lower price. Just my thoughts.

Seems like the Cubs will have Milton Bradley in right field for them next year. Yes, the team that has stressed that defense is a major concern for them want to sign a guy who DH'd all year to be their right fielder. They want a guy who has only played in more than 140 games once in his entire career to man right field in front of the brick wall at Wrigley for the next 3 years. The Nats have interest, but can we please not hurt that franchise like this.

Former Yank Scott Proctor is going to sign with the Marlins. Scott was a solid Yankee and I hope he does well down in Miami.

The Yanks are having a clinic in Taiwan. Great idea by the Yanks. I talked about the importance of having strong holds in Taiwan the other day.

PeteAbe listed the things that bug him. I agree with him that Joba should, and will, be a starter next year and that there should be no debate on that. I agree that the Yanks shouldn't even look into signing Manny Ramirez. I agree that giving up on guys like Cano, Hughes, and Kennedy this early is a bad idea and just shows impatience. I agree that the Yanks shouldn't trade Godzilla now(I want to trade Nady). But I can't agree with him saying that people shouldn't overthink things. Look Pete, overthinking is how baseball is won. The Rays won the AL pennant a non-conventional closer-less bullpen. The A's won by using Billy Beane's Moneyball methods. Baseball is completely about overthinking. The best way to get an edge is by doing something that other people wouldn't consider. The Yankees are a baseball team and that means every player should do what the organization wants them to do. You can try to categorize ballplayers all you want by position, or lineup spot, but in the end they are paid to be Yankees, and that means doing what is best for the team. You take the players you are given and try to put the most effective team out on the field, whether it is what other people would think is the most effective or not.

And the new MLB Network is officially the greatest channel ever. I watched parts of Don Larsen's perfect game and it was so cool to see the legendary players of the Yanks and Dodgers actually playing ball. The Hot Stove show is great. Barry Larkin is one of my favorite ballplayers/baseball people and he's fun to listen to, as is Al Leiter. Harold Reynolds has always been a great broadcaster and it's great to see him on TV again. Jon Heyman's one of the Insiders. He's got a lot of sources, but it seems to me that despite all his connections, he just isn't that smart. That sounds harsh I know, but if you read RAB's post on him you understand what I'm saying. I like that he thinks outside the box, but sometimes that outside the box thinking is a tad ridiculous. He's still better than some writers though...like oh, say Dayn "Worst Sportswriter Ever" Perry.


Happy Holidays

Hey All,
I just wanted to wish all of our readers a very happy holiday season. I know its a little late, but better late than never. Kevin and I only got started a month ago (to the day!) and we both just want to thank everybody who has stopped by over the last few weeks. We really appreciate all of your support and are excited to continue to bring all of your Yankee news!
Thanks again,