Sunday, January 23, 2011

Flurry of Activity

So Ramirez and Damon go to The Rays. While Tampa cleaned out the roster house, I'm still one of those few that think both ManRam and Johnny D have something left in the tank - and want to prove it. They'll help Tampa's draw, but do not believe they'll finish better than 4th in the AL East.

Vernon Wells heads West to the Angels. Don't know why, I just always liked the idea of Wells being a Yankee. Clearly not going to happen for while now. He'll regain his form on the West Coast.

I don't mind the signing of Andruw Jones - but it does remind me that it would have been an unnesary addition had the Yanks opted to hold onto Tabata or Austin Jackson.

With Rafael Soriano on the books the Yanks have a chance to have one of the most dominating back-ends baseball has ever seen.

What to do with Joba? 7th inning guy, give him another shot as a starter? or trade?


old professor said...

ManRam's career has taken a decided turn for just about over. His power numbers last year were way down and while in Chicago tended to be a singles hitter. In addition, which Manny will show up? The one who wants to play or the one who will sulk and act completely non-interested.

As for Damon, he will be a good lead-off man. He will get on base steal a few bases and play somewhere in the neighborhood of 65 games in the outfield.

I tend to agree that the Yankees should have maintained Austin Jackson because had they not made the trade they would also have Phil Coke and Ian Kennedy and would not be wondering what to do with the #4 and 5 spots in the rotation. Tabata was traded because of what appeared to be some personal issues.

Crash said...

I think Damon is just a 4th OF and DH at best. He and Manny will platoon at DH. He is also probably the backup plan if Desmond Jennings falls flat. Jennings is the rookie that is replacing Crawford, but is supposed to have more speed if you can believe that.

Kennedy is a good pitcher and will do real well in the NL West, but he wasn't cut out for NY. Kennedy is actually ranked better than some "name" pitchers like Zambranno, Edwin Jackson, Pavano, Westbrook, Tommy Hunter, Cueto, etc. Yankees would kill to have this year, but overall I think trading him was the right move. I agree that trading Jackson was a huge mistake. And I'm hearing rumblings that the division in the Yankees front office goes back to trading Jackson, not just the disagreement over the Soriano deal. Trading Tabata was a given. Not a huge loss, though he had a real solid rookie year.

Just 21 days until pitchers and catchers.

Crash said...

A non-Yankee baseball conversation...

I'm not sure how they do it, but the Blue Jays continue to dump massive contracts off to sucker teams. 2 seasons ago they were able to dump the Alex Rios contract and now they trade Vernon Wells to LA. Wells still has 4 years left making $23MM this year and then $21MM the next 3 each. Angels did give up Juan Rivera and Mike Napoli (Rivera is due $5.25MM this year and Napoli $3.6MM).

Everyone is jumping on the Angels over the fact that they wouldn't give Crawford $18mm a season, but they are willing to take on a contract paying an older, less agile, weaker defender $21MM per (not saying Wells is a bad OF, but I think Crawford is better) and I have to agree. Even when you take in the difference in salaries Angels take on +15MM, so you weren't willing to sign Crawford for an extra $3-5MM? It's just ridiculous and it doesn't make sense. You have to figure they still could have traded one or both of those guys to relieve the extra payroll needed. I thought Cashman was having a bad offseason, but Tony Reains (Angels GM) is even worse. This guy should be canned immediately for making this deal.

The trade for LA definitely makes them better defensively because now Abreau is not in the OF. But weaker offensively (Napoli hit 26 bombs last year, and Rivera is 20-25HR guy when healthy). I would have rather paid Crawford for $18-20MM, then trade Napoli and Rivera for prospects to one or more teams.

I like the deal from the Blue Jays perspective. You get better production offensively in both spots (if Rivera can stay healthy). And you put your club in a better position financially both immediately this season and over the next couple years,as Rivera's contract is done this year, and Napoli's is a 1 year deal and may be arb eligible.

old professor said...

Crash, Wells had a good comeback year last year having recovered from a significant wrist injury the year before. His contract was somewhat of an albotross, but consider this: The angels had four catchers pencilled in for this year. Napoli was expendable because he would have seen most of his time at DH. He did play first last year but with Morales coming back, that is no longer an option. And the key with Rivera as you indicated is when he is healthy which he has not been. So the Blue Jays end up with a catcher who did hit some homeruns but batted 231 and an often injured outfielder. The Angels ended up with the better deal.

The Rios deal to the White Sox was in my opinion a clear salary dump and Rios did come back somewhat last season for the Sox.

What stumps me is the Jays trade of Shawn Marcum who is a young pitcher who would have been a solid #3 or 4 man in the rotation.

You also have to be realistic about the financial aspects of the the trades the Jays have made. Their attendance is close to being the worst in the league (I believe only the Marlins and Rays draw less). The team needed to cut the contract costs that were becoming a burden. I would not be surprised to see the Jays move out of Toronto in two to three years.

It is also getting quiet on the Yankee front about any of the available free agent pitchers being seriously looked at. Garcia's name has not surfaced recently nor has Bonderman's. What worries me is I have heard Boras is talking to the Yankees about Milwood. He is 36 and may still have something left in the tank, but to me he is more of a gamble than the other two.

Crash said...

As far as attendance. Toronto ranks 26th in the league, beating out only Pittsburgh, Florida, Oakland, and Cleveland. How sad is that Cleveland not so long ago was breaking attendance records with longest consecutive sell outs (now I think Boston has that streak) and not they are dead last averaging just over 17,400. Yankees lead the league in attendance at 46,491 (which is about 88% capacity). Philly, Boston and Minnesota are actually over 100% capacity because of the standing room only loophole.

No way did the Angels get the better deal here. Especially considering what they let slip through their fingers with Crawford. This was panic move, that makes the Yankees signing of Soriano look sane.

Yankees were almost willing to trade for Derek Lowe, but got Vazquez instead (another great Cashman deal)...If the Yankees rotation is still in flux in June I wonder if they try to trade for him this year.

old professor said...

Don't hold your breath regarding Lowe. That the Yankees were willing to go with Vasquez last year instead of Lowe could speak volumes. In addition, Lowe is considerably on the down side of a good career. Why trade for someone who "may" give you 8-10 wins before running out of steam?

It is interesting to consider that Andrew Brackman could be a dark horse for the rotation. He will be more than recovered from the Tommy John surgery he had (two years in the rear view mirror). He is back to full strength and he threw somewhere in the neighborhood of 140 innings last year. He also has th college experience to lean on. While he may be targeted for Triple A, he could surprise some people.

I would expect the Yankees to sign a free agent just before camp if Pettitte is still sitting home mulling over his future.

Crash said...

8-10 wins...what are you talking about Derek Lowe has been putting double digit wins every year for a decade. Last year he won 16 with a 4.00 ERA in the NL East. He's actually improved the last 4 consecutive years 12 to 14 to 15 to 16 wins in '07, '08, '09, and '10 respectively.

I'm excited about Brackman...and Banuelos, and Betances. Brackman is actually rated lower than those 2 guys. I think they each have to stop at S/WB before making a jump to the Bronx. If they start there do well, then I'm not opposed to giving them a call up when the rest of the league catches on that Mitre only has one mediocre pitch and couple of below average pitches, that should be about April 10th.

Crash said...

So Cashman makes some odd comments yesterday. First was he wants to keep his job, but he's not opposed to running a small market club. The next is that Joba has an elbow problem. And then Jeter would most likely not be playing SS by the end of his deal and most likely be moved to the OF.

This has been a very strange year for Cashman.

On the plus side Yankees have 3 prospects in the Top 50. Montero was obviously the highest he came in at #9, which kind of boggles my mind. I think last year he was in the top 5, and before last year's draft he was in top 3 (behind Strausberg and Heyward). His skills didn't decline but you get guys like Bryce Harper who would be lucky to make AA this year rated as #1. The other Yankee prospects Gary Sanchez (rated #32), another catcher who has more upside than Montero or Romine (Romine didn't make the list). Sanchez spent time in the Gulf Coast league and then NYP league. He may start at class A this year but could make Trenton sometime later in the season. Sanchez is only 18!!! The next is their top pitching prospect Manny Banuelos. He's 20, a lefty, and spent time at both A and AA last year. I would think he goes to AA again and gets bumped to AAA later and maybe a September call up if he's real good.

The Yankees' Killer B's (yes they need a better nickname) of Banuelos, Betances, and Brackman are at least 2 seasons away.

old professor said...

Regarding Cashman, he may be leaving at the end of this year. The way he is sounding off it has become obvious that he is having issues with the Tampa offices.

I believe you will see one of those three young pitchers before the end of this current season - if the Yankees don't come up with an option for #5.

Regarding Lowe - come on how many of those wins came against the Mets and Nats and he probably picked up one or two against the pirates. Those three teams would struggle at Triple A.

old professor said...

You have to be kidding - with all of the free agents left on the market, Cashman signs Bartolo Colon to a minor league contract. Exactly what is his line of thinking. Has he come down with a strange mental disease or what??

Crash said...

Don't start citing wins against the Nats and Pirates for padding the win column for Lowe. It's an illogical argument.

As example, CC had 21 wins last year...12 W's came against losing teams (under .500 win %). Including 5 wins against Baltimore, 3 vs. Mariners, and 2 vs. Royals. Bottom line is every pitcher.

While Felix Hernandez was just the opposite (and he didn't have to face the Mariners). He went 2-5 against losing teams, and 11-7 against winning teams.

And for the record I would certainly attempt to trade for Lowe, or anyone else for that matter, before signing Colon to anything. Colon's deal is 900,000 plus incentives. He apparently he pitched for Tony Pena's Dominican winter league team. He made 7 starts, 37.1 IP, went 2-1, ERA 1.93. Not sure how much stock you put into those numbers. He didn't pitch at all last year, and hasn't been good since 2005 when he won the Cy Young. He fell off real quick.

old professor said...

Crash, what I am trying to get at is Lowe is getting up in years, the Yankees sign Colon, They seem intent on signing retreads. Justin Dauscher (spelling) has indicated he is healthy and is not afraid to pitch in NY. He will probably sign with Baltimore.

This entire winter season has been a mystery in trying to figure out what the Yankees are doing.

Crash said...

Duchscher would be a great signing for anyone. Low base/with incentives would be great. He could be comeback player of the year candidate. I would take him over Colon any time.

I don't care about age as long as they're healthy and effective. Which Lowe appears still be both.

All the talk about how the Red Sox do things right in both the majors and minors and how good their farm is...Yankees farm system ranked #5 in the league, Boston's farm #11. Some how this gets overlooked.

old professor said...

Odd that the Yankees farm system is ranked so much higher than the Red Sox. Yet, last year as the injuries mounted for the Red Sox they relied on their system to fill the holes and they stayed in contention until the last week.

The Yankees never seem to have the faith in their system. In the outfield, only Gardner is "homegrown"; in the infield - Jeter and Cano. Their DH is homegrown. From the rotation - Hughes and Nova. Bullpen - three players. Throw in Pena and you have nine out of the 25 man roster have come from the system. On players that have an impact: Garnder, Cano, Jeter, Mo and Hughes.

The Yankees spend a lot of time hyping their system and then trade it away for veterans nearing the end of their career or a non-impact player (read into this Granderson).

By the way according to MLB Network Ian Kennedy is slated into the #2 spot in the rotation for the Diamondbacks - he could be sitting in the Yankees rotation as #4.

old professor said...

It appears the Yankees are increasing their interest in Justin Dauscher (okay spelling is way off). However, they are holding off until they hear conclusively from Pettitte. Why wait? Pettitte indicated he wanted the team to move forward as if he were not coming back. Take him at his word and move forward. He has had almost three full months to mull over what he wanted to do. If his heart isn't into coming back and going through the grind of getting in game shape - then retire.

Sign the free agent and if Pettitte comes back move Nova to the pen where he can get more seasoning in the big leagues. Last year he was good until he went into the lineup a second time. If Pettitte comes back, Nova to the pen and is a backup starter should someone go down.

Crash said...

Apparently the Yankees are through waiting...they will reportedly offer Pettitte a 1 year $12MM deal. I would think if he rejects it or delays further the Yankees will sign Duchscher.

Crash said...

Saw this in Joel Sherman's NY Post column today:
"There are, in fact, Yankees executives who want to have a flat-out competition as early as spring training with the best among prospects such as Banuelos, Betances, Andrew Brackman, Hector Noesi and Adam Warren winning a job immediately."

I couldn't agree more. I was in favor of letting Kennedy, Joba, and Hughes start early. And I like it now. I certainly like it better than Mitre and Colon.

old professor said...

Crash, Cashman has indicated there is no validity to a $12 million offer to Pettitte. The GM indicated "there isn't an offer because he hasn't called. If he wants to pitch he will call us and we will make an offer."

I believe if the Yankees do indeed have an open competition it might surprise them as to the outcome. I think that if the kiddie corp is given the opportunity at truly winning a rotation spot, one or more will step up - any of the individuals listed has to be a better option than Mitre (I still cannot understand where the loyalty to this guy comes from other than he was somewhat successful with the Marlins (and if anyone hasn't noticed Marlin baseball ain't Yankee baseball).

Crash said...

Mitre was not successful at any point in his career. In 2 seasons at Florida he was 6-13 with an ERA with a 4.88 ERA. He was even worse at Chicago. Besides being affordable, he has no positive value to this team, at least on field.

Crash said...

Somehow I missed this...Yesterday (January 27th) was the 20th anniversary of Super Bowl XXV...Yes that's right...well maybe more appropriately "Wide Right"...the Giants beating the Bills 20-19 on the infamous missed Norwood field goal. Yes I'm bias as a Giants fan, but the 2 greatest Super Bowls I'ev seen are Super Bowl XXV and Super Bowl XLII.

There is a good article on about's the link:

old professor said...

Yes, the 20th anniversary of Wide Right and the city of Buffalo and the region have never recovered. Banks and businesses began to exit the city. Even as a possible precurser to relocating, the Bills now play at least one home game per year in Toronto.

Back to baseball - The Yankees now officially confirm what the rest of the world already knew - Joba never fully recovered from his 2008 shoulder injury.

Unfortunately, this does not bode well for the future. If his shoulder impedes his effectiveness to be a starter and also draws issues when he comes in for relief two days in a row he is a pitch away from ending his career. (Sounds oddly familar to Mark Prior).

I still believe the Yankees best free agent option not named Andy Pettitte is Jeremy Bonderman (if if they sign Pettitte, Bonderman should be brought it).

Crash said...

I think Duchscher is a better option than Bonderman. Freddy Garcia has come out and stated he wants to pitch for the Yankees. I would take ahead of Bonderman as well but not over Duchscher.

old professor said...

The issue with Duchster is now a moot. He has signed with the Orioles. Yep another free agent off of the list and the Yankees continue to sit on their hands. If the orioles can sign Vlad they will be a power player in the AL East. The Yankees seem to be willing to stand pat while everyone else in the division is getting stronger.

Crash said...

Heard on MLB radio that in 18 if his 28 starts Garcia went at least 6IP. That sounds like what they need right now...innings. And if he still in after 6 his team had to be in the game. It can't be a money thing holding this up, he only made $1MM.

If I'm looking at the schedule and counting correctly, the Yankees only have to use their #5 starter twice in April. The way the off days line up they could use #5 once in the Boston series early in April then again in Toronto late in April, everything in between would give starters #1-4 their regular rest.

For some reason I think Cashman is just going to wait it out until he can get a big marquis name in June. I don't like this thinking because it means we'll have to give up young talent. Maybe with Sanchez now ranked higher than Romine, Romine becomes expandable. Same thing with Nova. He's ranked lower than other Yankee prospects, but if he can show something as the #5 guy maybe they trade him for a strong veteran presence. I can see a package of Joba (who is obviously on the way out), Nova, and Romine for a front end guy. And by then Pettitte returns.

Crash said...

Good article in the Post about Dellin Betances. He's been ni Florida for the last couple of weeks, with his eye on the big leagues. I wouldn't be surprised if he has a great spring and makes the team or gets an early call up. He's a big boy...6'8, 270!!!

Here's the link:

Crash said...

Finally a deal I understand...Freddy Garcia signs with the Yankees. It's a minor league deal, $1.5MM if he makes the team and and another $3.6MM in incentives based on starts. He has to get 30 starts to max the value of the contract.

I know it's not Cliff Lee or Andy Pettitte, but it gives them depth and innings at an affordable price. Smart signing. I think when Duchscher signed with Baltimore, they realized the well was running very dry very quickly and they had to pounce on an affordable guy. I think it was either him or Millwood at this point and Garcia showed a bit more last year.

old professor said...

The Yankees will be bring three aging veterans to camp: Prior, Colon and now Garcia. All will be given the opprotunity to make the team. If I were a betting man, I would say Garcia has the best shot a going north with the team (at least he pitched in the majors last year). I do not see Colon making the team. Prior is a dark horse who would be used strictly as a reliever.

If any of these individuals make the team or Pettitte comes back, you can anticipate both rule five pick ups being cut.

I really like th idea of the Garcia signing. While he threw only 160 innings last year he still one 12 games and had a decent ERA. Those two items make him more effective than Mitre.

As for your indication that Joba will be traded - I don't think so. He showed last year that for one inning he can be explosive. I would see the Yankees having a very deep pen that will not need to have certain pitchers over used. Feliciano, Logan, Joba, and Robertson give Quality depth after the sixth. Robertson or Joba in the seventh Logan in the eighth, Feliciano and Soriano splitting time in the eighth as well and Mo in the ninth. If you had Prior or Mitre to the pen you have now effectively shortened games and will allow Girardi the opportunity to let his starters to gradually increase their innings through April and May.

The most interesting competition will be for catcher. Martin will be the starter, but then you have Cervelli, Montero, and Romine competitng for the backup. Moving north the team will acctually have three catchers on the roster: Martin plus 1 and Posada who may catch sporadically (once a week??).

Crash said...

I would like to see Montero get the starting job, but I think you're right Martin will most likely get the starting job, Posada is essentially the backup. Cervelli may not make it out of camp. Montero down to the minors. You can't have Montero just sitting the bench as the #3 guy.He needs AB's everyday and real game catching to get better. If they can get Montero in minimum 3x a week then keep him up if it's less than that, send him down to get the reps in.

Crash said...

So not to be overly optimistic, but Pettitte had a schedule autograph event with Steiner Sports in NY scheduled for February 15th, which is the first day of camp for pitchers and catchers...he has now cancelled that event. Wonder if he will be FL instead???

old professor said...

Yankees make another minor move - trade for an outfielder from the Nationals. he will battle three others for the fourth outfield position or would it be the fifth outfield position (let's see: Granderson, Swisher and Garner are the starters, they sign Jones that makes four and the team indicated maxwell will compete against Golson and the other other outfielder they brought up). Do they really plan on carrying five outfielders?? Oh and Maxwell's career batting average is .201 and he is coming off non- throwing elbow tommy john surgery. Now there is a real pick-up.

Don't get your hopes up about Pettitte. Plan on seeing him start the season sitting home. if he signs - great, if not, he can watch the team on satellite.

old professor said...

The latest from the Yes Network indicates that Andy Pettitte will be in NY this Friday to formally announce his retirement from baseball. This should once and for all end the speculation as to will he or won't he.

Crash said...

This sucks! I hope it's a ruse and they'll actually announce his return.

Ok -- deep breath -- if Burnett can not totally suck and return to 2009 form and Hughes can repeat last years regular season performance, the Yankees are in a better position than when they won it all in '09. Still when teams like the Sox, Phillies, and Giants are 4 aces deep, they need to step up and get another big time arm. I just don't know where they will get it.

The rotation now seems pretty clear. I think it's safe to say that Garcia will get the #4 spot and Colon, Nova, and Mitre will battle it out for #5...I'm having a real hard time believing I just wrote that last line.

old professor said...

Maybe Cashman believes the yankees will bludgeon the opposition into submission.

At this point, I would put the Red Sox and maybe the orioles (they have had a pretty good winter process) ahead of the Yankees in the division.

A quick synopsius of the team shows they have fewer quality arms in the rotation they are a year older and they are relying on new comers who are either coming off injury or bad years (Martin was down offensively, Colon has not pitched in the majors since 2009 and Prior has not pitched in the majors since the last millenium).

Their strengths may be - defense - first and second base are locks for gold gloves, they have speed in the outfield; offensive they have three guys who consistently hit 30 or more homeruns and their bullpen.

At this stage of going into the season, you can only hope the team stays close until the trade deadline and can make a trade for someone who has not spent an immense amount of time in the trainers room.

Crash said...

Cashman stated that Nova is the # 5 guy and the others are trying out for #4.

old professor said...

Based on what you indicated Cashman said, he believes that Mitre is a potential number 4 starter. I wonder if he travels to California for medicinal purposes?

Apparently they have kicked the tires on Millwood, but he is asking for more money than the Yankees want to hand out - he has to be a better option than Mitre. In addition, Bonderman is still available (I believe).

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