Monday, December 01, 2008

Morning Commute Amusement

On my way into work I saw perhaps my most favorite license plate ever:




The Scooter said...

I remember the good old days, when the Yankee fans didn't even acknowledge the Red Sox. I think it's a compliment to Red Sox Nation that now we have stooped to their level with anti Sox license plates and bumper stickers etc.

We will know that the Yankees are back once the Sox once again become an afterthought to us all.

Does anyone EVER remember the free agent front to be this quiet on the eve of the winter meetings? I'm sure the dominoes will start to fall next week, but damn there has been NOTHING going on for 2 or 3 straight weeks now.

With Vasquez going to the Braves, I wonder if that takes them out of the Burnett race.

Well, I guess there's nothing else to talk about since I refuse to spend even one minute on Pacman Burress.

Crash said...

I don't think the Vazquez deal removes them from the Peavy talks. The Braves send 4 players to Chicago all are minor leaguers and not top tier prospects. It does eliminate them from any discussions with Burnett. The Braves always keep their payroll around $80MM. Burnett would push them over that threshold.

This has been an unussually quiet off season so far. It is the calm before next week's storm. I would be shocked if several major deals are not completed next week at the winter meetings.

Bye-bye Plax. If the Giants want to make a statement they should suspend Pierce now for a couple of games. I know it's bad timing with the Eagles and Dallas on the upcoming schedule, but this would certainly send the right message.

The Scooter said...

Crash, I'm not sure I agree with you on Pierce. What's he guilty of? Having a teammates back with maybe a little bit of poor judgment thrown in for good measure.

Let's wait until it plays out a little before we talk about suspending him.

Crash said...

Shows you how much I know. Some reports are surfacing that the Braves are prepared to offer 5 years to Burnett, at approximately $15-16MM/year. That offer is imminent. Reports are that Burnett will jump on it. I have to say I can't blame him, he's getting the years and money he wants, plus it's in the NL, plus it's on a team that will be in the mix come playoff time.

Also the Braves appear to be done with any talks about Jake Peavy.

Random thought here...Ben Sheets. Brewers offered him arbitration. Meaning he's guaranteed to make at least $11MM next season if he accepts (unless he negotiates a deal before the arbitration date). Is a multi-year deal at $11MM a reasonable risk for the Yankees? Could the Yankees offer 3 years at $10-12MM? Is that risk/reward worth it?

Crash said...

I was reading on that Cano and Melky are doing well in the Dominican winter league. Kennedy is pitching decently in Puerto Rico. In general I think the Yankee prospects are doing well in their respective winter leagues. Except maybe Andrew Brackman who was playing in Hawaii and last time I checked he had an ERA above 6.00 and was walking a lot of people.

It looks like the Padres have traded Khalil Greene to St. Louis for a couple of relief prospects. It's being speculated that trading Greene will allow the Padres to keep Peavy now. Greene was scheduled to make $6.5MM this year. Everything I was reading said the Padres want to be around $35 million this year for payroll. If they hold true to that it would be pretty tough considering 90% would be tied up in 4 players: Peavy $15, Giles $9, Young $4.5, and Gonzalez $3. I wonder what DePodesta is going to say about this on his blog. Speaking of the Padres, there front office is a complete mess. Towers can't make any deal without having 3 other people sign off on it, one of them being DePodesta, the Assistant GM. How crazy is that?

old professor said...

The Braves have leaked information that a five year offer to Burnett is imminent. If the Yankees are serious about landing him, they need to consider five years.

It is somewhat concerning there has been virtually no activity by the Yankees other that the Swisher deal, which won't help them with pitching. The way the rumors are flying, the Yankees may not sign any of the top free agent pitchers.

Giants made the right move with Burress - good bye, good ridance.

Crash said...

I'm seeing tat if the Yankees land CC, then they turn their focus on to Lowe and Pettitte, and not Burnett. They have made an initial offer to Pettitte at $10MM. Derek Lowe has received offers from 2 different teams one being the Phillies and the other not the Yankees or Red Sox. That would leave the Mets, Dodgers, Giants and maybe the Mariners.

Cashman is in CA visiting with Boras, which could mean talks about Lowe, Manny, and/or Teixeira.

Crash said...

Early reports of Cashman meeting Boras in CA were incorrect. Cashman actually was in Washington meeting Mark Teixeira, Boras was also there.

In Buster Olney's blog he is reporting that the Yankees are heavily attempting a trade of Robinson Cano with the Dodgers. The Yankees would ask for Clayton Kershaw or Chad Billingsley. If Dodgers decline they would go after Matt Kemp. Trading Cano would leave them free to sign Orlando Hudson.

old professor said...

I would not trade Cano for any of the individuals you listed. From all reports he has done more during this off-season to get in shape and make changes in his hitting approach than could have been expected. There is too much upside to him to let him go.

You will get better defense with Hudson, but there is no guarantee you will get a higher end of offense. In addition, Kemp is no model citizen in the clubhouse.

Interesting to read the comment by Joe Torre that there is little if any possiblity of the Dodgers adding Andy Pettitte. That removes a lot of leverage Pettitte may have had in negotiations with the Yankees.

It would also appear the Braves have not offered a solid five year contract to Burnett. Rumors tend to indicate it is a four year contract with some incentives based on health that if met would lead to a fifth year. (So why couldn't the Yankees try to structure a contract along those lines?).

The key meeting for Cashman will be his meeting with Sabathia this weekend. It will be at that time that Sabathia will have to indicate if he would prefer NOT to play in NY which would allow the Yankees to go in another direction. And in that discussion, the name that seems to keep servicing is Perez - he couldn't be consistent with the low expectation Mets, but there is a belief he could do well with the Yankees????????????

Scooter, I will also have to agree with your assessment that this has been a very quiet hot stove season. It is a sad commentary when the most active team seems to be the SF Giants.

The Scooter said...

I would have to consider Cano for Billingsly AND Kemp, but not for only one of them. I don't know enough about Kershaw.

Prof, you say that "all reports" say Cano is doing extremely well. Who do you think is leaking those reports....the order to perhaps build up his trade value??

Don't get me wrong, I still love Cano. I think he will win a batting title some day. He still has the potential to be Rod Carew with more pop. That being said, if he can bring you a front line starter and a center fielder with an upside then maybe you have to pull the trigger.

I still think Sabathia is a Yankee next week.

Crash said...

I would be more than willing to have Cano back at second base if he loses the blasé attitude on the field. I can take him hitting .270 if I at least have the impression he is hustling all the time and cared when he sucked or made a bad play.

Given that, he is the only Yankee player with significant trade value, I'm excluding Wang, Joba, et al. Melky and Kennedy have no trade value at all, Hughes has very little, his AFL performance has increased it somewhat. Some of their prospects have value but they would only be traded if a top tier pitcher was coming back in the deal (a Peavy-like pitcher).

Keep this in mind, the Yankees were one of the worse defensive teams in the league last year. You improve the defense (Hudson at 2B, Teixeira at 1B, a real RF/LF) and your pitching suddenly gets better. You can succeed with sub-star level pitchers like Pettitte, Sheets, Garland, and even Perez, instead of spending $275MM on a hefty lefty, an old .500 pitcher, and a huge injury risk.

Crash said...

We had Moose retire early this offseason, now Greg Maddux will officially retire Monday. It is unarguable that Maddux is a first
ballot Hall of Famer, he may possibly receive the most votes ever. I think it was significantly important for Maddux to finish his career 1 win ahead of Roger Clemens. Imagine if Glavine and Smoltz also retire this year. That could be quite a class in 5 years. It also most likely eliminates Mussina from being selected on his first ballot. I know it was a long shot anyway, but with at least one of the best pitchers of all time going in it makes Mike's accomplishments seem not as significant. I think the voters can't help but compare the two, and there simply is no comparison.

old professor said...

Scooter, the reports regarding Cano are coming out of winter ball. He is hitting over .300, has been working with a personal trainer and apparently has shed a lot of weight. I would believe that before a team would talk trade with the Yankees the other team's scouts would confirm what has been said. The Yankees are well known to over blow the value of their prospects.

Regarding pitching, it would appear the Yankees are serious about bringing Pettitte back. The team and Yankees are trying to find a way the team and player can save face with the contract (probably loaded with incentives). The team turning its attention toward Pettitte could be an indication they believe Sabathia is going in another direction. I may be wrong, but the Yankees also have Eric Milton back in the minors coninuing to work on rehabbing from surgery. While not a #1, he could fill the backend of the rotation if necessary.

As I have said before, it bothers me to continue to hear the name of Perez being mentioned as a fallback for the Yankees. Garland makes more sense (though he is righthanded).

Crash said...

If Sabathia doesn't sign and Burnett goes to Atlanta or Lowe goes back to Boston, the Yankees will make an offer to Sheets (he didn't accept the Brewers arbitration offer).

I love the thought of Sabathia in pinstripes but think the Yankees would be better off if they don't sign him and/or Burnett. It forces the Yankees to go after pitchers of arguably better value. They then can focus on bolstering the line-up with the $ saved.

Oliver Perez is only a fallback option if the first fallback options fall through. He's nothing more than a #4 or 5 starter. Yankees need a front of the rotation guy, not another back-end guy.

On an NFL note, the Giants played like crap but still wrapped up the NFC East. If they take 2 of the next 3 with a win over Carolina they have lock up the 1 seed in the NFC. Hopefully Jacobs isn't hurt seriously.

The Jets and Bills lose, Patriots were looking to come out with a win against Seattle. Scooter at least one of your teams won this week.

The Scooter said...

Crash, is it too late for me to jump on the Dolphin's bandwagon?

The Scooter said...

The Tigers have acquired catcher Gerald Laird from the Rangers in exchange for Double-A pitcher Guillermo Moscoso

This means absolutely nothing other than it reduces the likelihood that the Rangers will trade "Salty". They still have three catchers (Teagarden, Salty and Max Ramirez) and don't get me wrong, they would still surely move Salty to the Red Sox for Bucholz, but I don't see the Sox parting with one of their young pitchers for him.

That being said, Varitek will decline arbitration so who knows how much the Sox will be willing to give for a young catcher?

Crash said...

Yeah I was pretty surprise to see that Veritek didn't take arbitration. That would have given him $10MM or so. He's not getting that anywhere on the open market. I bet he signs with the Red Sox as a player/coach role at a greatly reduced rate for 2 or 3 years. Trading one of their young pitchers, like Bucholz, for a catcher is not smart.

I can't figure the Rangers out. They say they are not in "sell mode" but they trade Laird, and are actively seeking trades for Hank Blalock ($6.2MM), Vincent Padilla ($12MM) and Kevin Millwood ($11MM). Millwood is an interesting option. He's had some injury problems as of late. But he pitched well down the stretch and when he's on, he has ace stuff. He's a veteran with post-season experience...the kind of guy the old Yankee regime would have jumped at. Plus he's signed through 2010 and "only" making $11MM this year and $12MM next year. Not sure what the Rangers are asking for in return.

Looking over a list of FA out there, does anyone else think that Casey Blake would be a great fit for the Yankees? He can play 1B, back-up 3B and the corner OF positions. He's a great hitter. Good clubhouse guy. He reminds me of the type of player they had in '96-'01.

Crash said...

Some conflicting reports out there about trade talks between Yankees and Dodgers. FoxSports was reporting talks have resumed between the Yankees and Dodgers about Cano and Melky (Yankees are interested in Kemp and pitching). A couple hours later Ned Colletti is saying he hasn't talked to the Yankees since July.

I have to say Melky doesn't make sense for the Dodgers. They already have Andruw Jones under contract as well as Juan Pierre, how many bad CF options do you need?

FoxSports is also saying AJ Burnett met with Cashman. Burnett also spoke to to Pavano about pitching in NY. Question...what Pavano know about pitching in NY? Was he actually there?

Crash said...

I just came across something that utterly made me sick and I have to share...The Boston Red Sox have expressed an interest in...ANDY PETTITTE.

Say it ain't so. He wants to go back to Huston fine. He wants to reunite with Joe Torre in LA, I can handle that too, but Boston? This would put me over the edge.

Also there's rumor that the Yankees will offer 2 years $30MM to Ben Sheets.

old professor said...

Crash, The Sox have no interest in Pettitte. They are blowing smoke to distract Cashman. In the long-run, Ben Sheets and AJ Burnett will be in NY as will Pettitte. Beyond all the nice things that Cashman and Girardi have said about Sabathia after their meetings, they have to realize the guy's heart is on the west coast. He has three young kids and wants to be in California. Let's be realistic, whether he is paid $100 million by LA or SF versus the 140 million from the Yankees, that is more money than he will ever be able to spend. He does not need $140 million to be happy and with his family.

The fact the Yankees are talking about increasing the number of years and money associated with the soon to be delivered offer to Burnett, it is clear the Yankees are changing direction.

I am still surprised there has been what appears to be no interest in Garland.

Crash said...

Old Prof. The Orioles have talked to Jon Garland's agent.

Crash said...

The SF Giants have entered the mix with Sabathia, though no official offer has been made. Yankees have apparently turned up the heat on the negotiations with Lowe and Burnett. Thus reports are beginning to leak that Sabathia has declined the Yankees offer.

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