Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Ervin Santana Comes Off The Yankees Board

Not that the Yankees necessarily had Ervin Santana on their board but if they did after the report earlier of the eagerness to trade him it is too late now. Ervin Santana has been shipped to the Kansas City Royals with cash considerations up to $1 million for LHP Brandon Sisk. The Royals will be on the hook for $12 million of the remaining $13 million after the option for 2013 was picked up. I do not know how high on the board Santana was for the Yankees but the price for Haren just wen't up a little.

Yankees Interested In Torii Hunter

In my Offseason Decisions: Nick Swisher post I mentioned some alternatives in free agency, but one guy I didn't mention was Torii Hunter. Well, according to Mark Feinsand, the Yankees are interested in the former Angel.

Hunter hit .313/.365/.451 last season, but that was a bit out of the ordinary for him. He had an extremely high BABIP of .389, which tells me that anybody thinking he can repeat that slash line is out of their minds. However, Torii does play solid defense, and could probably hit somewhere around .275/.340/.445, which would be plenty useful for the Yankees.

More on this as it develops... although I'm sure nothing will come of this news anytime soon.

Rafael Soriano Officially #Untuck's, Opts Out

Well we can put any speculation to bed, not that this is in anyway surprising, because Rafael Soriano has officially opted out of his final season of his contract and will accept a $1.5 million buy out from the Yankees. He will hope to build on his 42 of 45 saves in 2012 in place of the injured Mariano Rivera and will look for a four year deal, reportedly. The Yankees are still expected to offer him a qualifying offer of $13.3 million and either retain him or get draft compensation back for him if he signs with another team.

Yankees Donate $500,00 To Hurricane Sandy Relief

The New York Yankees continue to show why they are one of the classiest acts in all of baseball today by donating $500,000 to the Hurricane Sandy relief effort. This donation to the American Red Cross will go towards helping all affected in the Tri-State area so kudos to the Yankees organization. Love us or hate us we always step to the forefront and are always the first to help out in times of need across the country.

LAA To Trade Dan Haren And Ervin Santana

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of California of the United States of North America of Earth of the Milky Way galaxy of the Universe have announced that they are looking to trade both Ervin Santana and Dan Haren. The Angels hold club options on both players, Ervin for $13 million and Dan for $15.5 million. The buyouts on each deal are $1 million and $3.5 million, respectively. So this is a case of the team having options for the players that are too much, but where simply buying them out gets the team nothing in return.

Seeing as how they'd basically be on one year deals for the Yankees, and therefore wouldn't affect the 2014 payroll, it seems like a good idea to kick the tires on at least one of those pitchers (I'd think about Haren before Santana). But after hearing the news about Kuroda being okay with signing a one year deal, and a chance that Pettitte does return, I see no reason to give this a serious thought. Both pitchers had below average seasons (4.33 ERA for Haren, and 5.16 ERA for Santana), and I'd rather use the prospects to sweeten a deal for a young outfielder to take over for Nick Swisher.

In a few months I may look back and wish the Yankees had given things a harder look, but since the price isn't "all that" I don't think I have to worry.

McGehee Elects Free Agency

Well, Casey McGehee avoided being non-tendered by the Yankees by choosing to be a free agent already. Casey was removed from the 40-man roster, and was allowed to accept or decline a minor league assignment. He's declined the assignment, thus becoming a free agent.

I can't imagine many Yankees fans sitting there, reading this news, and say "aw, shucks".

Rafael Soriano To Opt Out Of Contract Today

According to Jon Heyman  Yankees closer Rafael Soriano is expected to opt out of the final season of his contract with the Yankees and test the free agent closers market. The Yankees are still expected to offer him a qualifying offer and may even work out a new deal with him, especially considering Mariano Rivera's recent reluctance to come back for 2013, so Soriano may not be done in New York though. Soriano is set to make $14 million next season with a $1.5 million buy out if he decides to opt out. If he would opt out and accept the qualifying offer of $13.3 million he would basically be going around the system and getting himself a raise from $14 million to $14.8 million for doing absolutely nothing. I think the will to close and a have a multi year deal, a 4 year deal is what is being reported by "sources",  will keep any of that from happening though so we shall see.

Offseason Decisions: Russell Martin

I swear, I didn't edit this picture at all.

Outside of those 21 home runs, which are always nice... especially coming from your catcher, Russell Martin stunk with the bat. When it comes to a slash line of .211/.311/.403 there's just no way I can sugar coat things. Batting .143/.143/.143 in the ALCS , after a line of .176/.300/.412 in the ALDS, doesn't help matters either.

Russell did bat .258/.347/.539 in 102 plate appearances in September/October, which is a line I'd take out from him in 2013. I don't mean because it's a great batting line, but to be honest we're talking about a guy that hits in the bottom 3rd of the Yankees batting order. And if the Yankees continue to have an effective offense like they've had for years, then they won't need anything more ("wanting" more is a whole other thing).

So I can take a catcher that's an average hitter, especially when you consider that Martin seems to work well with Yankee pitchers. You can't argue with results, and outside of Ivan Nova and Freddy Garcia (non-reliever version), the pitching staff was fantastic. They had a 3.86 ERA and 3.98 FIP in 2012, both of which were good for 5th in the American League. And when you have a team that scores the 2nd most runs in the league (only behind the Rangers by 4), chances are you're going to win a lot.

Unless, of course, you forget what that wooden stick that says "Louisville Slugger" is for.

But why not see what's out there? I mean, if the Yankees can acquire somebody better, then why the hell not? So here's the list of free agent catchers, along with their 2012 triple-slash, home run total, fielding percentage, caught stealing percentage, and some notes. I split up each group into "No", "Maybe", "Yes, but unlikely to be available", and "Yes".


Rod Barajas - $3.5m club option
.206/.283/.343, 11HR, .992 Field%, 6% CS%
-the batting average stinks, the OBP stinks, the HR total isn't bad but not enough to say "wow, FP is normal, and CS% is awful. In a word "NO"

Henry Blanco - $1.24m mutual option
*21 Games .188/.224/.281, 1 HR, .992 F%, 26% CS%
Even assuming his option is not picked up, his career triple-slash is hardly news worth (.227/.291/.367). Combine that with average fielding and throwing and I'll pass.

Gerald Laird
.282/.337/.374, 2 HR, .993 F%, 19% CS%
His BA and OBP were much higher than they were in the previous 3 seasons. If I thought he could replicate that season I'd say "yes", but at 32 years old I'm not that optimistic. His FP is average, and his CS% is below average, so I'm going to walk on by.

Jose Molina - $1.5m club option
.223/.286/.355, 8 HR, .993 F%, 33% CS%
His 2011, in which his slash line was .281/.342/.415, was definitely not his normal season. Those numbers in 2012 are actually right in line with his career averages, making me say "nah".. regardless of his above average CS%.

Miguel Olivo - $3m club option
.222/.239/.381, 12 HR, .993 F%, 31% CS%
Although I think he could up those numbers a bit, it wouldn't be enough for me to take a strong look at him. In fact, outside of an outlying season in which he hit 23 HR in KC, and a higher than normal BA in COL of .269, he's a below average catcher. Chris Stewart is about what to expect, and I don't think anyone wants to see somebody like Stewart play regularly for the Yankees.

Ronny Paulino
*only 20 games .254/.266/.302, 0 HR, .993 F%, 17% CS%
Looking at his '10 and '11 numbers, one should expect him to hit a bit better than he did in 2012, but not by much. Certainly not enough to overlook his low CS%.

Humberto Quintero
*43 games .232/.257/.341, 1 HR, .993 F%, 35% CS%
He's never been a full-time player, not playing more than 88 games in any of his 10 MLB seasons, and his batting line is pretty much in line with his career averages. Outside of having a better arm, Chris Stewart would be a better choice than Quintero.

David Ross
.256/.321/.449, 9 HR, .992 F%, 44% CS%
The only reason I do not see him as an option is the fact that he's averaged only 57 games over the last 4 years in Atlanta. And going into his age 36 season, I have serious doubts about him holding up as a reglar catcher for around 130 games.

Brian Schneider
*34 games .225/.289/.348, 2 HR, .992 F%, 32% CS%
Even if he'd hit a few more HRs being a lefty and playing at YS, it wouldn't make up for his really low BA and OBP. His defense isn't bad by any means though, making him a backup catcher at best.

Kelly Shoppach
.233/.309/.425, 8 HR, .993 F%, 33% CS%
Nothing about Shoppach excites me. He doesn't hit well in BA, OBP, or SLG, while his defense is average.

Chris Snyder - $4m mutual option
.176/.295/.308, 7 HR, .990 F%, 22% CS%
Although Chris isn't as bad as his 2012 numbers suggest, if you think he can bat .271, and get on base almost 38% of the time like he did in 2011, then you're nuts. Top that off with below average fielding catcher and I wouldn't let Snyder pay the Yankees to be their starting catcher.

Yorvit Torrealba
.227/.293/.330, 4 HR, .993 F%, 22% CS%
He's another catcher that I think had an unusually poor 2012, meaning that he could up those numbers a bit. But seeing as how he'll be 34 next season, and is an average defensive catcher at best, I wouldn't give Yorvit a second thought.


Russell Martin
.211/.311/.403, 21HR, .994 Field%, 24% CS%
Although I think he could raise those numbers to respectable levels, I don't see them going so far up that I'd really want him back in pinstripes in 2013. However, those numbers aren't bad for a catcher, and he does seem to have a good rapport with Yankee pitchers. I wouldn't bet against him returning, but he's not somebody that I'd jump on as a free agent either.

AJ Pierzynski
.278/.326/.501, 27 HR, .993 F%, 26% CS%
Although he hit quite a few more HR in 2012 than he has in every other season, being a lefty I don't think that total would go down that far thanks to the short porch at YS. The improvement across the board over Martin makes me think he'd be a good option to take over catching duties for the Yanks in 2013. He's hardly my favorite player in MLB, though, which gives me pause. But you can't argue with the stats.

Yes, but unlikely to be available

Carlos Ruiz - $5m club option
.325/.394/.540, 16 HR, .992 F%, 34% CS%
Although he's unlikely to come close to those 2012 numbers, his career slash line is .275/.363/.418, and along with solid defense I think he'd be a good addition to the Yankees. The problem is the Phillies are likely to exercise that $5 million option, as he's been way more valuable than that the past 4 years. The only chance he'd be a free agent would be if Sebastian Valle hit better than the .218/.232/.397 he put up with AAA Lehigh Valley.


Mike Napoli
.227/.343/.469, 24 HR, .994 F%, 21% CS%
I believe Napoli could raise his BA and SLG a bit, making him a strong candidate. And he's not as bad a defensive catcher as some make him out to be, although he throws out fewer runners than the league average. I'd give him a strong look.

I said a "strong" look, not a "stern" look.

After the 2010 season, Victor Martinez got a contract for 4 years and $50 million (AAV of $12.5m). In 2011 VMart had hit .302/.351/.493 with 20 home runs. Napoli had four more home runs, but Martinez was the better overall hitter. Mike is also a year younger than Victor was in his free agent year. In all, I'm betting Mike will command about the same that Victor got.

On the other hand, Russell Martin is probably looking at a three year contract at most, and for much less than $12.5 million per season. Looking at the 2 year/$6.4 million contract Ramon Hernandez signed during the last offseason, after he'd hit .282/.341/.446 with 12 HR in 2011, I'm guessing that Martin is looking at a 3 year contract for no more than $22.5 million (AAV of $7.5m, which is what Russ made in 2012).

So the question is this... Russell Martin for 3 years/$22.5 million, or Mike Napoli for 4 years/$50 million? I'm taking Mike Napoli, especially if the Yankees are able to swing a trade to replace Nick Swisher, allowing them to save a few bucks there and spend it on an upgrade behind the plate.

I've written a lot about the austerity budget, but it still seems weird looking out for the Yankees' wallet.

Oh, and one last thing... Gary Sanchez should be MLB-ready in a few of years, after spending half this season in high-A Tampa. So Gary would likely be able to get some part-time work with the Yankees as a backup catcher to Napoli, before possibly taking over the starting gig when Mike's contract is up.

Teixeira & Cano Win Gold Gloves

The Gold Glove award winners were announced last night on ESPN2 and Mark Teixeira and Robinson Cano were the Yankees that took home the hardware. This is the third time in the last four seasons that the Yankees have had multiple Gold Glove award winners in the same season. Teix led all first basemen with a .999 fielding percentage committing just one error on his way to his 5th Gold Glove at first base, third as a Yankee. Cano finished second in the league in fielding percentage with a  .992 rate and only making six errors. This is Cano's second Gold Glove in his career, his first coming in 2010. Matt Weiters beat out Russell Martin for the Gold Glove Award at catcher after Russell was announced as a finalists on Monday. Congratulations to Mark and Robby!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Kuroda Willing To Sign 1 Year Deal In 2013

Hiroki Kuroda has come out and announced that he would be willing to take another 1 year deal in 2013, which is music to my ears. The Yankees have the 2014 luxury tax threshold plan still in place so you can basically hand Kuroda a blank check and a one year deal and hope that he comes back to us. There is always that possibility he wants to return to Los Angeles so the qualifying offer will still be made but this is music to my ears since I am a big fan of Kuroda and having him back for 2013. Kuroda made $10 million last season so for him to sign in the $15 million range for one season would not surprise me whatsoever.

Yankees Arbitration Eligible Players

The Yankees go into the long winter with a very uncertain roster and an even more uncertain future heading into 2013. The first flashes of clarity came down when the Yankees picked up options on Curtis Granderson, Robinson Cano, and David Aardsma and now we are close to having even more clarity. The Yankees have a total of seven arbitration eligible players next season and how much they earn will have a big impact on what the Yankees do in 2013 and beyond.

Phil Hughes heads up the list after making $3.2 million last season for the Yankees in the starting rotation. Hughes has had some inconsistency to say the least in his big league career so I wouldn't expect him to make much over $5 million a season.

Casey McGehee came over in a mid season trade after making $2.5 million last season for the Pirates and the Yankees. His value severely dropped and so did his playing time so I cannot fathom a way that he makes over $3 million next season.

Brett Gardner had a total of 31 at bats for the Yankees in 2012 after making $2.8 million for sitting on the disabled list most of the season. After missing most of the season I cannot see him making any more then what he is currently making.

Boone Logan threw a career high in innings pitched, games, and K/9 while making $1.9 million for the Yankees in 2012. I could see Boone's salary almost double next season after this being his fourth arbitration eligible season.

David Robertson has been the shut down set up man that we have been lacking since Mariano Rivera was John Wetteland's setup man in 1996. Robertson made $1.6 million in 2012 and if Robertson had not missed a month with an injury he could be sitting at around $3.5 million but I would probably see it settle more around $3 million for 2013.

Joba Chamberlain had the exact definition of a roller coaster up and down season in 2012. He went into the season where he made $1.67 million and rehabbed a dislocated ankle and his Tommy John surgery to have a nice month or two, including the post season. I still do not expect him to get a raise but if he made under $2 million next season I think it would still be a steal.

Jayson Nix was a steal at the league minimum for the Yankees bench in 2012. Nix's value is his ability to play multiple infield positions and the fact that he is not a slouch with the bat never hurts either. If we could keep him and give him more of Eric Chavez's role from 2012 then he would be a steal for $1 million or less.

Thoughts & Prayers To Those Affected By Hurricane Sandy

Never take a single day for granted because you are not promised tomorrow...

I just wanted to take a minute to tell everyone affected by or who has family or friends or loved ones affected by Hurricane Sandy that you are in our thoughts and prayers. At last check we had a confirmed 16 deaths due to the storm and countless numbers of homes, buildings, and cars affected. To the nearly 2 million people without power right now in New York and to all those affected, again, you are in my thoughts and prayers.

Monday, October 29, 2012

2012-2013 Winter Calendar

River Avenue Blues posted a beautiful article outlining the calendar of events ahead for what looks to be yet another busy and exciting offseason for Major League Baseball. If you want to know anything from how long teams have to pick up options, offer contracts, how long players have to negotiate with their former teams exclusively, when players are officially free agents, when the Winter Meetings are, etc just check out the write up on RAB. Enjoy!

Martin, Teixeira, & Cano Named Finalists For Gold Gloves

The finalists for the Gold Gloves were announced today and three Yankees names were on them, Mark Teixeira, Russell Martin, and Robinson Cano. The winner will be announced Tuesday 10/30 on ESPN 2 at 9:00 pm ET. I am especially surprised to see Cano and Martin getting recognition for these awards finally as Cano has always been considered to be lazy in the field and lackadaisical. The rest of the finalists can be seen here just in case you were wondering.

Cano, Granderson, and Aardsma's Options Picked Up

I just posted about the Yankee free agents, and noted that Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, and David Aardsma could join them should the team decline their 2013 options. Well, not one minute later I read at MLBTradeRumors (via Mark Feinsand's Twitter) that the Yankees did exercise those options.

Now it's time for the team to sign Cano to an extension!

Yankee Free Agents

The free agent season is officially upon us, although a free agent's former team has exclusive negotiating rights for the next 5 days. Not that you should expect anything close to "big" news, as any free agent that's worth anything is going to wait until all teams can negotiate... thus driving up the price for his services.

Twelve Yankees are included among the 137 total that filed for free agency...

Eric Chavez
Pedro Feliciano
Freddy Garcia
Raul Ibanez
Andruw Jones
Hiroki Kuroda
Derek Lowe
Russell Martin
Andy Pettitte
Mariano Rivera
Ichiro Suzuki
Nick Swisher

Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, and David Aardsma could join those twelve players, should their options for 2013 not be picked up (highly unlikely). Rafael Soriano will probably be the 13th Yankee to be a free agent, as he's expected to decline his player option for 2013, but after the news that Rivera may retire the Yanks could re-sign him.

Hyun-Jin Ryu To Be Posted

I posted an article regarding Ichiro Suzuki this morning, and now there's another Asian player making the news.

The Yonhap News reported that Hyun-Jin Ryu, who plays for the Nanwha Eagles of the Korean Baseball Organization, will be posted by his team. The Eagles had originally said they would not post Hyun-jin, as they wanted him for their rotation the next season, but apparently they will give in to Ryu's wishes. However, the team seems a little more willing to reject an offer, should it not live up to their expectations. Unfortunately they are not making their expectations known.

Mike Axisa at River Avenue Blues suggested that it could cost $20-$25 million to cover the posting fee and contract for Ryu, but he admits that it's just a guess. Just keep in mind that we're not talking about the next Yu Darvish here. The KBO is not on the same level as Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan. But Hyun-Jin is only 25 years old, and is a lefty with four average to above average pitches, so he's at least intriguing to the Yankees.

Offseason Decisions: Ichiro Suzuki

And I tip my hat to you, sir.

I wouldn't mind if Ichiro Suzuki returned as a part-time player, but I don't want to count on a guy that had an OPS+ of 86, 95, and 84 in his last 2+ seasons in Seattle, as a regular player. I understand the idea that a player can become disinterested and unmotivated being on a bad team, but I just don't buy into it. When we acquired Ichiro I hoped that a move to a contender made a difference, but I'm not going to lie and say I expected it to. The fact of that matter is, if the game itself can't motivate them, not to mention a salary of $17 million, then I can't help but question that player's ability and/or makeup. I'm not a professional athlete, so I could be totally off on this point, but it's really hard for me to believe in somebody like that.

Another thing that gives me pause about Ichiro being an everyday player is that he just turned 39, which to be honest isn't that big a problem since he'd only command a one year contract... two at most. But we're talking about a guy who's value is largely wrapped up in his legs. I mean, if Ichiro can't steal 30+ bases in a season, and cover as much ground in the outfield, then his value to a team goes down quite a bit. And we mustn't forget that Brett Gardner should be healthy next season to pick up that part of the game for the Bombers.

Although Suzuki is unlikely to bat .300+ again, he still hit .272 and .283 the past two seasons. So there's certainly reason to like him in that regard. But look at his on-base percentage the past two seasons... .310 and .307, which is way off from his career OBP of .365. Looking at his numbers you may think his walk rate was the issue. Ichiro's career BB% is 5.9%, and his 2012 number was a major outlier at 3.3%. If he'd had the same BB% in 2012, his OBP would have been .321 thanks to walking 14 more times. So walks were not the only issue.

When I said "walk" this is what popped into my head.

The other 44 points missing from his OBP simply come from not getting as many hits. Unfortunately his batting average on balls in play, along with his line drive percentage, tells me that it wasn't a matter of being a unlucky. To be frank, age is catching up to him, as it would to any professional athlete (except for Derek Jeter, apparently). So even if Suzuki was able to increase his walk rate to normal levels, would you really want a guy that hits .280/.321/.390 (.390 was his slugging percentage in 2012, which was higher than in 2011) in the regular starting lineup? I mean, Eduardo Nunez hit .292/.330/.393 this past season, and he even played a bit in the outfield, so he could be almost the same guy as Suzuki anyway... and Eddie is already in the organization in 2013.

Ichiro has apparently said that he'd like to return to the Yankees, and that money is not an issue. The question in my mind is "would he come back as a part-time player?" If he's looking for a full-time gig in New York then perhaps he should see if the Mets are interested, because at that point I'd rather thank him for what he did in 2012 and wish him the best elsewhere.

No thanks, I think I'd rather retire.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Adams & Montgomery Added To AFL Rising Stars Game

The Arizona Fall League has a Rising Stars Showcase game that is less like an All Star game and more like what is sounds like, a showcase for the bigger named prospects. The Yankees will be well represented with David Adams and Mark Montgomery attending the game for the Scottsdale Scorpions. Congratulations to them both!! In other AFL news Dellin Betances has not pitched in the league in over a week due to a groin injury. This injury does not seem serious and has nothing to do with the shoulder injury that ended his season prematurely.

Yankees Resign 4 Minor Leaguers, Release Another

The Yankees wasted no time in trying to lock up some of their minor league systems yesterday as they announced that the resigned LHP Juan Cedeno, LHP Francisco Rondon, OF Abe Almonte, and OF Cody Johnson. The Yankees also announced that they released OF Bill Hart. These are nothing but depth moves but you have to consider that Juan Cedeno and Abe Almonte could be Spring Training invitees in 2013 so the re signs make sense.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Qualifying Offers & Draft Picks

I have a feeling Bud Selig is just as confused as this guy.

Pretty soon we're all going to start hearing a lot about "qualifying offers", and how they will affect a team's draft picks. Chad Jennings did a good job of telling people about that stuff, but since you'd probably just like me to tell you instead, here you go...

First of all, there are no such things as Type A or Type B free agents anymore. There are players that have been given a qualifying offer, and there are players that haven't. It doesn't matter how good or how bad a player is, any possible free agent can be given a qualifying offer. I'm sure the people at Elias are upset, as free agent season used to give them all sorts of press since they were the ones that determined the Type A or B free agents.

In order to be eligible for a "qualifying offer" a player must have spent the entire previous season with the same team. If a player was traded mid-season, or picked up off of waivers mid-season, then they will just be another free agent. That means guys like Ichiro Suzuki, who the Yankees acquired via trade during the season, are ineligible.

So what is a "qualifying offer"? Well, a "qualifying offer" is basically a contract offer from a player's former team, that's good for one year. The amount of the "qualifying offer" is determined by the average salary of the top 125 paid players in the previous season, so it's likely to change from year to year. This year that number is $13.3 million.

If a team makes a qualifying offer to a player, that player has until 5 days after the World Series to either accept it or reject it. If the player accepts the qualifying offer, then he has basically signed a contract for 1 year and at least $13.3 million (teams are allowed to offer more than $13.3 million). If the player rejects the offer, then he will be a free agent.

By rejecting a qualifying offer, that player allows his former team to gain a draft pick, assuming the player signs a deal with another team. So if the Yankees make a qualifying offer to Nick Swisher, Nick rejects the offer, and he goes on to sign a contract with another team, then the Yankees will receive an extra draft pick, which will occur between the 1st and 2nd rounds.

If a team signs a free agent that rejected a qualifying offer from another team, that team loses it's 1st round draft pick. Except if that 1st round pick were to occur within the first 10 picks, which are protected, and in that case signing the player will cost the signing team it's 2nd round pick. By the way, those lost picks don't go anywhere, they are just that... lost. The following picks will simply move up a spot.

Other than Nick Swisher, the only other player the Yankees are likely to give a qualifying offer to is Rafael Soriano (assuming he opts out of his current contract with the Yanks). Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera are eligible, but unlikely to sign with another team, so there's really no point in making them that offer. Raul Ibanez, Freddy Garcia, Russell Martin, and a few "lesser" players aren't worth $13.3 million, so they'll likely not receive qualifying offers. And while Hiroki Kuroda was key in 2012 for the Bombers, I don't see him getting an offer of $13.3 million, seeing as how he signed for $10 million this past season.

My guess is that the Yankees will give Swisher a qualifying offer, and he'll reject it in order to sign a multi-year deal with another team. I also think Soriano will opt-out in order to look for a multi-year deal, and he too will reject a qualifying offer made by the Yankees. Thus giving the team two more draft picks. Putting smiles on the faces of prospect huggers like my cohort Mr. Burch.

Mariano Rivera May Be Leaning Towards Retirement

Mariano Rivera was adamant about returning for the 2013 just weeks after tearing his ACL in Kansas City way back in May of this year but now he might not be so sure. Brian Cashman spoke to Mariano personally and was told that he was not sure whether he would be coming back or not which is at the other end of the spectrum from his previous statements. Mariano Rivera is 43 years old and has always said that he wanted to go out on top and at the top of his game and there are no guarantees that we would see the 2011 version of Mariano in 2013 but at the same time a lesser Mariano Rivera is probably still better then 27 or 28 other closers in the majors. I personally hope he comes back so he can get the Canyon of Heroes type reception everywhere he went like Chipper Jones did this season, and I am pretty greedy which never hurts either.

Fielding Bible Award Winners Announced, Teix Wins

The 2012 Fielding Bible Awards were announced last night and one Yankee won his first and that was Mark Teixeira. The Fielding Bible Award is considered to be a higher honor among everyone in and around baseball and much more prestigious then the Rawlings Gold Glove Award. Congratulations goes out to Mark Teixeira for his superb defense at 1B all season long. Here is the complete list of winners for your information.

C - Yadier Molina (STL)
1B - Mark Teixeira (NYY)
2B - Darwin Barney (CHC)
SS- Brendan RYan (SEA)
3B - Adrian Beltre (TEX)
LF - Alex Gordon (KC)
CF - Mike Trout (LAA)
RF - Jayson Heyward (ATL)
P - Mark Buerhle (MIA)

Offseason Decisions: Nick Swisher

"Yep, struck out again, oh well."

Not too long ago I lobbied for Nick Swisher to return next season. I actually love the guy, and his approach to the game, as he seems to truly love baseball and the Yankees. But his worth to the team pretty much ends there. In New York, it's about the postseason, and he hasn't gotten it done... not even close. Nick's only hit above .211 in one postseason series (2010 ALDS vs. MIN). In fact, that's the only series in which his OPS was above .400. The vast majority of his value is wrapped up in home runs. The only other part of Swisher's hitting that holds any value is his ability to get on base 37% of the time, but I have a problem believing that will happen again.

I'll explain... The last two seasons, in which Swish has been able to get on base over 37% of the time, came in 2009 and 2011. In those seasons he had very high walk percentages of 16% and 15%, while Nick's career walk average is 12.3% (the MLB average last season was 8.4%). His strikeout rates were 20.8% and 19.7%, which is fairly close to his career mark of 21.3%. Swisher's line drive rate wasn't much different from his career average of 20%, as he hit 18% and 20%. He certainly wasn't hitting the ball better, as his batting averages in 2009 and 2011 were .249 and .260.

Which was still a hell of a lot better than what this guy just did.

You might think that Nick Swisher was simply less patient in 2010 and 2012, thus leading to lower on-base percentages, but looking at his 2009 season you can't really draw that conclusions. You see, in 2009 Nick's OBP was .374, which is his highest since 2007, and 2nd highest of his 9 year career. But he only saw 4.06 pitchers per plate appearance, which is the 2nd lowest of Swish's career. All of this leads me to believe that a high walk rate is the one thing that leads to Swisher's big on-base percentage. And at 32 years old, I'm just not sure a guy will do anything better than his career average up to that point.

Of course, Swisher has been able to hit pretty well this season (.272 batting average), as well as back in 2010 (.288). But all you have to do is look at his batting average on balls in play in both of those seasons to see that he got a bit lucky. His career average BABIP is .292, which is right in line with the league average of around .300. But in 2010 and 2012 Nick's BABIP was .335 and .324. So I really believe he's much more likely to hit .260 or lower.

Mind you, getting an outfielder that can regularly hit 26 home runs in a season (Swisher's average HR output per season with the Yankees) is not simple. In 2012 only 21 outfielders in all of baseball reached that plateau, which isn't a ton when you take into account that 90 different outfielders are listed on Opening Day lineups. Now, three of them are free agents. However, one of those three is Ryan Ludwick, and I'm not taking his 2012 campaign seriously after three straight years of replacement player level production, on top of turning 35 years old next July.

Yeah, I'll take Cameron Frye over Ryan Ludwick.

So what about those other two outfielders that hit 26 or more home runs last season, as well as a couple other intriguing free agent outfielders.  First of all... "intriguing" is a bit of a strong word when talking about this free agent crop. Except for one...

Josh Hamilton 

I'd love to have this guy in pinstripes. He's a left-handed batter with power, that also has a career batting average of .304, while getting on base over 36% of the time. Josh has averaged 33 home runs per season over the last 3 years, and that includes missing 35 games in 2011 with a broken arm, and 24 games in 2010 with broken ribs. And keep in mind that those injuries were not something to be worried about in the future, unlike if he missed all that time due to a bad back. Other than his offense being vast superior to Swisher's, Hamilton's defense looks to be a bit better as well. Nick's career UZR/150 in RF is 4.5, while Josh's is 6.0 (Hamilton played mainly in CF this past season, and was mainly in LF the previous two years). The problem with Josh is that he's going to command too much. Not that it really matters to fans, who just want the best on the field, but the Yankees seem to be getting tight with the dollar. And keeping the austerity budget in mind, I think the chances of seeing Josh Hamilton playing for the good guys next season are pretty slim.

Like how I didn't even bring up his past substance abuse? Well, except for right here.

Melky Cabrera

I really don't believe he'll come close to the numbers he put up in 2012, before he was suspended for testing positive for a banned substance. Melky's batting average was 41 points higher, his OBP was 51 points higher, and his SLG was 46 points higher than in 2011. Not that we need another MVP candidate in right field. I mean, if Melky were to put up numbers like he did in 2011 with the Royals (.305/.339/.470), then we'd certainly take it. But can those numbers be believed? Although Cabrera was 26 that season, so he could have very well "come into his own", seeing that he jumped 50 batting average points, 22 OBP points, and 116 SLG points from the 2010 doesn't instill the most confidence. And that doesn't even get into his deal with the failed drug test, which is something that doesn't go over well in New York. Just see what Alex Rodriguez still puts up with, and he confessed to taking PEDs nearly 4 years ago. So I can't bring myself to say "yes" to Melky.

BJ Upton 

The only reason I even bring up his name is because of... well... his name. At one point Upton was thought to be a future star. In 2004 Baseball American ranked BJ has the #2 prospect in all of baseball. Those thoughts didn't die down when he followed up that high ranking with a batting line of .303/.392/.490 in AAA in 2005. When Tampa Bay brought Upton up during the 2006 season the kid didn't blow anybody away, but in his first full MLB season in 2007 he impressed people with a line of .300/.386/.508, which included 24 home runs. Although the batting average and slugging percentage went down in 2008, BJ was able to maintain a high on-base percentage, so all didn't seem lost. Unfortunately he didn't retire young, because after that it was all downhill. Mind you, BJ's home run totals have been fairly good (69 over the last 3 seasons), but other than that he's lived deep in the shadow of his brother.

Shane Victorino

Well, what version of Victorino would the Yankees be getting? Would it be the 2010 version, in which he stole 34 bases while hitting .259/.327/.429? The 2011 version, where Shane's batting line was .279/.355/.491 with only 19 stolen bases? Or the 2012 version, in which he stole 39 bases while hitting .255/.321/.383? How about we break it down stat by stat? To start off with, I don't see Shane hitting any more than 15 home runs in a season from here on out. Sure, he hit 35 between 2010 and 2011, but at 32 years old I'd expect that number to go down long before going up. Now look at his batting averages and on-base percentages in 2010 and 2012. If there's a chance the Yankees were going to get a guy that hit .257/.324, then they might as well save their money and start Chris Dickerson in right field next year (Chris has hit .266 and had an OBP of .352 in 599 MLB plate appearances). And I want to bring up the age 32 thing again, because I don't feel comfortable needing the guy to steal 35+ bases in order to get some value. I mean, the legs have to start going sometime soon... right?

The other guys on the free agent list are even less interesting, so it seems to come down to bringing back Nick Swisher, or making a trade. I really don't like depending on a trade to occur in order to fill a spot, especially when we have nothing even close to exciting within the system that's a good back-up plan.

Sorry to the Chris Dickerson lovers out there.

Hopefully Ninja Cashman can swing a deal for something better, but Yankee fans may have to deal with the fact that Nick Swisher is the best of a "not-so-great" situation.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

CC Sabathia Has Successful Elbow Surgery Today

Yankees ace CC Sabathia had what was described as successful elbow surgery performed by Dr. James Andrews to remove a bone spur in his left throwing elbow. This surgery will alter his Spring Training some possibly but will not keep him out of any games or Opening Day. According to reports Sabathia has had this bone spur since his days with the Indians and has not had trouble with it until recently. I guess throwing his arm off since his days in Milwaukee will do that to a guy. This is relatively minor on the scale of pitching elbow surgeries so I am not all that concerned for CC in 2013 and beyond.

Mason Williams Cleared To Play After Shoulder Surgery

Yankees top prospect Mason Williams has been cleared by team doctors to resume baseball activities following the shoulder surgery that ended his 2012 season prematurely. He had his left, non throwing, shoulder labrum repaired after it was torn diving for a ball in the outfield. The Yankees will be slow with him as they will only allow him to work out and run at this point but it is a big step in the right direction. The year of the Yankees big prospects going down was hard so maybe 2013 will be better, with news like this its ever more encouraging.

Ichiro "Strongly" Wants To Remain With The Yankees

I hate to even bring up the dreaded "close friends" or "relatives" type sources but it's a slow news day so take it for what you will. Ichiro told these "personal close friends" that he would strongly like to remain with the Yankees because of the professional and winning atmosphere that surrounds the team. Having a lot of teammates around his age could not hurt either but I digress. The San Francisco Giants were linked to Ichiro before the Yankees acquired him so the Yanks may have some competition this year via free agency but Ichiro claims that money will not be a deciding factor so you never know. The expected contract to land Ichiro for 2013 would be in the $5-$8 million range on a one year deal or a one year deal with an option for 2014. In 67 games for the Yankees this season Ichiro found his youth again while hitting .322/.340/.454 with 14 stolen bases and big base running and defensive plays one after another. I am not sure I would want Ichiro starting every day in the same outfield as Brett Gardner, especially if we do not re sign Nick Swisher, but in Cashman I trust.

Nippon Ham Fighters Draft Otani

Shohei Otani was officially drafted by the Japanese League Nippon Ham Fighters and cannot sign with a Major League team before April on 2013. They hold exclusive rights to Otani through March of next year and then they can decide to post him or let him sign with a Major League team. Otani still figures to sign with a Major League team this season but this does delay and complicate things just a little.

Pablo Sandoval Does His Best Babe Ruth Impression

Pablo Sandoval joined a pretty elite company with a couple black and white pictures last night in Game 1 of the World Series between the San Francisco Giants and the Detroit Tigers. Pablo joined the likes of Babe Ruth, who did it twice, and Albert Pujols, and Mr. October Reggie Jackson. The Giants went on to win the game 8-3 behind a strong pitching performance from Barry Zito who out pitched Detroit ace Justin Verlander. Congratulations to Pablo, especially after the 2010 campaign and World Series run where he spent a lot of time watching, this has to be the best moment of his big league career.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Shohei Otani and The Yankees

I'm still not clear on the rules regarding International Free Agents, but there may be a chance for the Yankees to get 18-year old Japanese pitcher Shohei Otani.

It was reported at that the Nippon Ham Fighters intend to pick Otani during tomorrow's NPB draft. Shohei has said he wants to play in MLB, but it was originally thought that he would cost the Yankees future considerations involving IFAs, since the team is almost already at their cap of $2.9 million. But it may be possible that if Otani is drafted, and then posted by Nippon Ham, that the Yankees could get involved without affecting the IFA cap at all.

Like I said, the rules aren't very clear to me, as one person pointed out that a foreign player must be of a certain age to not have any affect on the IFA cap. So I'll be looking out for more information, and will share it with you as soon as possible.

Girardi's Press Conference A Big To Do About Nothing

As I am sure everybody predicted we all listened to and watched Joe Girardi's annual end of the season press conference expecting to get nothing out of him, and we got just that. We all expected the vast majority of the questions to center around Alex Rodriguez and the playoff debacle and we got just that, a lot more then we wanted actually.

Girardi has not spoken to any of the Yankees player since the season ended but plans to do so very soon. He says he is not worried about his relationship with certain players, Alex Rodriguez for example, being strained but acknowledged that every action has a consequence, i.e benching Alex for the last week or so of the season.  He also stated that he was not hiding any injuries from the media or the fans and that everybody was as healthy as you can be, besides Derek Jeter of course, after playing a 162 game marathon and a Division Series war with the Orioles.

Joe stated that he did not believe Alex Rodriguez would be traded this offseason and expects him to be a very productive starting 3B for the Yankees nest season. He was also adamant in his belief that CC Sabathia's elbow is fine and the trip to Dr. James Andrews will not be much more then routine because of the way he finished the season and the two starts he had against Baltimore. He expects CC to be ready to make the start on Opening Day for the Yankees. He also expects Derek Jeter to be back healthy on Opening Day for the Yankees as long as he does not try to do too much too quickly, which sounds a lot like Derek Jeter.

Joe was also asked about the impending retirement of both Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera and answered with your typical politically correct type answers. He did not ask Mariano whether he was coming back for 2013 but did state that he is convinced that he would by the way he pushed through his rehab and even started throwing earlier then expected. He mentioned Andy Pettitte's fire and competitiveness as reasons that Andy might come back for one more season with the Yankees but also played devil's advocate when he mentioned his family and growing sons.

I just touched on the high points as I could not do it nearly as well as Lohud and River Avenue Blues, to name a few, so I suggest going out there and giving them a read or two as well.

A Note About Girardi's Press Conference

Although this morning's end of season press conference with Joe Girardi wasn't going to set the Yankee blogosphere on fire, one thing the Yankee skipper had to say caught my attention. It's not a direct quote, but here is the basics of what was said...
He [Girardi] also spoke about the Yankees getting power from non-traditional power sources (specifically catcher, second base, and center field) and their [sic] ability of the offense to absorb the loss of a homerun hitter if that happens this winter. - River Ave Blues
I've had a number of conversations regarding the Yankees already hitting enough home runs, particularly a small Twitter war with a fellow Yankee blogger. What my side of the discussions boiled down to was that the Yankee offense could use a bit of a change. Emphasis on the word "bit", as the bats clearly are capable of carrying the team... regardless of what we saw during the last few weeks of Yankees' season.

Over the last three seasons the Yankees have hit 668 home runs, which is 27 more than the 2nd place team in that category... the Blue Jays. The next closest team, the Red Sox, have hit 579 homers. So it's safe to say that the team hits enough long balls.

So I believe that if the Yankees can acquire a younger player, who can regularly bat around .290 and get on base 35% of the time, while playing really good defense, then they absolutely should do it. Even if that means losing a handful of nice prospects.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that it's assumed Joe Girardi was referring to Nick Swisher when he mentioned absorbing the loss of a home run hitter.

Joe Girardi To Address The Media Today

Joe Girardi will hold his annual end of the season press conference this morning to give us any new information that he may have and answer questions. I expect the vast majority of the questions to be about Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson, Robinson Cano, his own job security, etc and I do not expect much else to come out of it. Joe will give the politically correct answers and half truths and we will all suck it up and continue to speculate on how much of A Rod's salary that we are going  to eat.

Offseason Decisions: Curtis Granderson

Yes, Curtis, your phone is cool, but I'm going to talk about your option instead.

My initial thought was that the Yankees should not pick up Granderson's option. It's kind of crazy that if you take out Granderson's 43 home runs, and replace him with a guy that hit zero home runs, then the Yankees still would have finished 4th in MLB in total homers. That makes me wonder if they need a guy that was "HR or nothing" in 2012.

Another thing that bothers me about Granderson is that his defense is only decent, and that's because of his speed. Watching Curtis run to a fly ball is like watching a car drive down Lombard St. in San Francisco. There are a handful of times in the postseason alone where you heard people say "Gardner would have gotten to that". For example, there was the run-scoring double that Miguel Cabrera hit in the bottom of the 5th inning of Game 3. I'm sure it didn't help that that hit gave Detroit a 2-0 lead, and turned out to be the winning run as the Yankees could only put up 1 run in the game. However, that was a well struck ball, so I'm not sure if Gardner or anybody else would have gotten to it, but it seemed like Granderson got a bad read.

Speaking of bad reads.

Going back to Curtis' speed... where did it go? Although I shouldn't be surprised, as that's been the pattern. His stolen base total between 2007 and 2012 is 26, 12, 20, 12, 25, 10. Maybe he steals 30 next season... I don't know. I'd like to see him steal 25 bases like he did in 2011, along with hitting 35 or more bombs, if he was brought back. Especially if he were to hit 2nd again ahead of guys like Cano and Teixeira, who would surely rack up a few more RBI during the season if Granderson was able to steal his way into scoring position.

Bloggie McBlogger made a great point on Twitter, which was that a guy that hits 43 home runs only needs a tweak, not an overhaul. It seemed like Kevin Long had hit upon something huge in August of 2010, as Granderson went on to bat .263 in September/October, then .262 the following season, on top of 50 home runs. To be fair, perhaps Grandy got a bit unlucky in 2012. His batting average on balls in play was a low .260 (career .305), while his line drive percentage was actually a bit higher than last season (18% to 16%). I think what it comes down to is being a bit more patient at the plate (he saw 4.43 pitchers per at bat in 2011, and 4.26 pitchers/PA in 2012), which could help him get better pitches to handle. And that could help him cut down on something that hurt too... a high strikeout rate (24.5% in 2011, and 28.5% in 2012).

Hey, Curtis, I found it!

What really makes me think the Yankees should pick-up Granderson's option for next season is the list of outfield free agents...

Left fielders
Travis Buck (29)
Melky Cabrera (28)
Jonny Gomes (32)
Scott Hairston (33)
Josh Hamilton (32)
Eric Hinske (35)
Reed Johnson (36)
Andruw Jones (36)
Austin Kearns (33)
Carlos Lee (37)
Ryan Ludwick (34) - $5MM mutual option for 2013 with a $500K buyout
Darnell McDonald (34)
Juan Pierre (35)
Juan Rivera (34) - $4MM club option for 2013 with a $500K buyout
Drew Sutton (30)
Delmon Young (27)

Center fielders
Alfredo Amezaga (35)
Rick Ankiel (33)
Michael Bourn (30)
Scott Hairston (33)
Mitch Maier (31)
Angel Pagan (31)
Cody Ross (32)
Grady Sizemore (30)
B.J. Upton (28)
Shane Victorino (32)

Right fielders
Brian Bixler (30)
Travis Buck (29)
Matt Diaz (35)
Kosuke Fukudome (36)
Torii Hunter (37)
Andruw Jones (36)
Ryan Ludwick (34) - $5MM mutual option for 2013 with a $500K buyout
Xavier Nady (34)
Juan Rivera (34) - $4MM club option for 2013 with a $500K buyout
Cody Ross (32)
Ichiro Suzuki (39)

There's not a single player there that I'd like to see the Yankees bring in, at least to fill the hole left by Curtis. What it comes down to his "Curtis Granderson for 1 year at $15 million, or any of those guys", and that's a resounding "Grandy!" to me.

While I don't think the Yankees need a guy that's "HR or nothing" again in 2013, I believe Granderson has more than that to offer. I totally expect him to have a year more like 2011 than 2012, and he finished 4th in MVP voting in 2011.

No, I'm not going to get ahead of myself.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Giants vs. Tigers World Series Schedule

Here is the World Series schedule in case anyone is interested. I know I am not since the Yankees are in it but I am probably in the minority there. Here you go:

Game 1 - Wednesday 10/24/12
@ San Francisco
8:07 pm ET on FOX

Game 2 - Thursday 10/25/12
@ San Francisco
8:07 pm ET on FOX

Game 3 - Saturday 10/27/12
@ Detroit
8:07 pm ET on FOX

Game 4 - Sunday 10/28/12
@ Detroit
8:15 pm ET on FOX

Game 5 if necessary - Monday 10/29/12
@ Detroit
8:07 pm ET on FOX

Game 6 if necessary - Wednesday 10/31/12
@ San Francisco
8:07 pm ET on FOX

Game 7 if necessary - Thursday 11/1/12
@ San Francisco
8:07 pm ET on FOX

This Kind Of Mood I'm In Right Now

Looking At 2013: The Potential 40 Man Roster

25 Man Roster

SP CC Sabathia
SP Andy Pettitte
SP Phil Hughes 
SP Ivan Nova
SP David Phelps

RP Cody Eppley
RP Boone Logan
RP David Aardsma
RP Joba Chamberlain
SU David Robertson
CL Mariano Rivera

C ???
1B Mark Teixeira
2B Robinson Cano
SS Derek Jeter
3B Alex Rodriguez
LF Brett Gardner
CF Curtis Granderson
RF ???
DH ???

BN Eduardo Nunez
BN Chris Dickerson
BN Francisco Cervelli
BN ???
BN ???

40 Man Roster

SP/RP Adam Warren
SP Dellin Betances

C Austin Romine
3B David Adams
2B Corban Joseph

OF Zoilo Almonte
OF Melky Mesa

SP Michael Pineda *60 Day DL

I originally had David Phelps off of the 25 man roster and had Michael Pineda penciled in as a 4th or 5th starter but after the news of him being out until June or July I had to edit that.

That is only 33 spots on the 40 man filled leaving plenty of space to protect our minor leaguers from the Rule 5 Draft and to sign minor league depth in case of another injury epidemic.

*note that these are my opinions and not necessarily what I think will happen as much as I think what should happen.  

Monday, October 22, 2012

Michael Pineda Expects To Be Out Until June

The hits just keep on coming with Michael Pineda and his pinstripes career. Brian Cashman announced that he did not expect Pineda to make his debut with the Yankees until at least June of next season. With the many Pedro Feliciano's and Carl Pavano's that we had you have to even begin to doubt that if you are a Yankees fan right now. Jesus Montero we miss you so. 

Happy 39th Birthday Ichiro Suzuki

Happy 39th Birthday goes out to Ichiro Suzuki. You may have only been with us for half of a season, to date, but we appreciate all that you gave us. Thank you and have a great birthday!

Happy 30th Birthday Robinson Cano

Happy 30th birthday goes out to all star slugging second basemen Robinson Cano. Hopefully we see many many more of these in pinstripes!

Projected 2013 Roster and Payroll

Before started my series of posts about the offseason decisions facing the Yankees, I thought I'd take a look at the current roster and payroll for 2013. Since it was reported that Rafael Soriano is going to opt-out, I went ahead and left him off the roster for next season. And as I always do, I'm looking at each player's salary in terms of the Luxury Tax, meaning the numbers represent the Average Annual Value of the contracts.

Players under contract for 2013

Alex Rodriguez - $27.5 million
Mark Teixeira - $22.5 million
CC Sabathia - $24.4 million
Derek Jeter - $17 million
Robinson Cano (club option) - $7.5 million
Curtis Granderson (club option) - $6.875 million
Phil Hughes - (arbitration 3) $6 million, raise of $2.8m
Brett Gardner - (arbitration 2) $4 million, raise of $1.2m
Boone Logan - (arbitration 3) $3 million, raise of $1.125m
Joba Chamberlain - (arbitration 3) $3 million, raise of $1.325m
David Robertson - (arbitration 2) $3 million, raise of $1.4m
Francisco Cervelli - (arbitration 1) $1 million, raise of $.4863m
Ramiro Pena - (arbitration 1) $1.5 million, raise of $.9964m
Michael Pineda - (pre-arbitration) $1 million
Ivan Nova - (pre-arbitration) $1 million
Clay Rapada - (pre-arbitration) $1 million
Eduardo Nunez - (pre-arbitration) $1 million
Chris Stewart - (pre-arbitration) $1 million
David Phelps - (pre-arbitration) $1 million

The arbitration, and pre-arbitration, numbers are a guess on my part. However, I wanted to add something there, rather than leave it empty.

Total $133.275 million

Next, I wanted to point out what players will be free agents this offseason.

Key Free Agents

Mariano Rivera
Hiroki Kuroda
Rafael Soriano
Nick Swisher
Russell Martin
Freddy Garcia
Andy Pettitte
Andruw Jones
Raul Ibanez
Eric Chavez
Pedro Feliciano
Derek Lowe

So, position-wise, what are we looking at?

C -
1B - Teixeira
2B - Cano
3B - Rodriguez
SS - Jeter
LF - Gardner
CF - Granderson
RF -
DH -

SP1 - Sabathia
SP2 -
SP3 - Hughes
SP4 - Pineda
SP5 - Nova (possibly Pettitte at SP3, which would move Hughes and Pineda down a spot in the rotation)

CL -
SU - Robertson
BP - Rapada (L)
BP - Logan (L)
BP - Chamberlain
BP -
BP - Phelps

Bench (middle infielder) - Nunez (R)
Bench (catcher) - Stewart (R)
Bench (corner infielder) - Nix (R)
Bench (outfielder) - Dickerson (L)

I have a feeling the team is going to make an offer to bring back Hiroki Kuroda, or at least I hope the team plans to do that. On top of Kuroda, I could see the team bringing back Andy Pettitte as well, which I'm guessing will knock Ivan Nova out of the starting rotation assuming Michael Pineda is good to return (and I'm one of the more optimistic fans when it comes to Pineda). So if Kuroda and Pettitte return, Nova would take the middle reliever spot.

That would leave the team looking to add a catcher, right fielder, outfielder/designated hitter (preferably a left-handed batter), and a reliever that could possibly close games if/when Mariano Rivera is ready to take over his closing role.

Who Replaces Alex Rodriguez If He Gets Traded?

If the Yankees decide to trade Alex Rodriguez this offseason, and let us assume that he does not net us a replacement 3B in the deal, then who should we look at to potentially fill his spot in the lineup, in the field, and in the clubhouse? Well the most obvious choice is to look via free agency so here is the list of available free agent 3B in the 2013 class via

Third basemen
Miguel Cairo (39)
Eric Chavez (35)
Mark DeRosa (38)
Alberto Gonzalez (30)
Brandon Inge (36)
Maicer Izturis (32)
Jose Lopez (29)
Placido Polanco (37) - $5.5MM mutual option with a $1MM buyout
Scott Rolen (38)
Drew Sutton (30)
Ty Wigginton (35) - $4MM club option with a $500K buyout
David Wright (30) - $16MM club option with a $1MM buyout
Kevin Youkilis (34) - $13MM club option with a $1MM buyout

No, no, no, no, no, no, no, not likely on David Wright, and no! We're not replacing Alex via free agency unless we get that right handed middle of the order impact bat back in the trade.

Also to note that the Diamondbacks traded Chris Young to the Oakland Athletics so it is even more unlikely now that the D Backs would be willing to trade Justin Upton. As much as I would want him on the team because he is the right handed power presence that Alex used to be but he is also a perfect replacement for Nick Swisher in RF. I guess I have to personally get that pipe dream out of my mind now and move on. I cannot see anyone else, well anyone that I would want anyway *cough* Vernon Wells *cough*, that we could feasibly trade for unless it was in a separate deal not involving Alex. Maybe the Oakland A's would want to part with one of their 19 outfielders for a premium, who knows. The Marlins seem to be out of it after dumping even more salary in Heath Bell but, who knows maybe the deal was made TO make room for Alex, I will not hold my breathe.

The most notable and interesting player that we could feasibly replace Alex with would surprisingly come from within. David Adams was moved from 2B to 3B not only to make room for Corban Joseph but, in my opinion anyway, to replace Alex Rodriguez at the position eventually. Well eventually may come in 2013 after a huge bounce back season in 2012 and a strong debut in the Arizona Fall League to date. His health seems ready, his bat is ready, and he is ready defensively. If the spot comes open I think we will see David Adams as the starting 3B on Opening Day for the Yankees, barring any miracle trade.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

More Japanese Reinforcements On The Way

Kyuji Fujikawa has been the best and most dominant reliever in the Japanese League for the past 10 + years and is now looking to see how that translates into the Major Leagues. Entering his age 32 season he will leave his job as the Hanshin Tigers closer and will look for a major league bullpen job. He is represented by agent Arn Tellem who has represented other notable Major Leaguers such as Mike Mussina, Jason Giambi, and Japanese slugger Hideki Matsui. The history between the Yankees and Tellem shows us that we have as good a chance as anyone to sign this guy, especially if Rafael Soriano opts out. Fujikawa has pitched to an ERA under 1.50 with a K/9 over 12.0 for six of the last eight seasons while hitting 94 MPH on his fastball with his splitter being his out pitch. Sounds like the kind of guy worth taking a waiver on to strengthen the bullpen so I am all for this signing if the years and money are right.

Latest Japanese Import Linked To The Yankees

Get used to saying this name because you are going to be hearing it all off season long, Shohei Otani. Otani is a Japanese high school pitcher and has announced that he will pursue a Major League career rather then opting into the Japanese League first, thus avoiding the bidding war that comes with the posting process. Otani, unlike Daisuke Matsuzaka or Yu Darvish, will not jump directly into a rotation but will rather go down to the minor leagues like any normal prospect would.

Otani stand 6'4" and throws right handed while hitting 99-100 mph comfortably which is scary and turns me on at the same time in an arm so young. He has been scouted recently by other major league teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Boston Red Sox so the competition will definitely be there so it will probably come down to the money. Otani knows that he will have to go to the minors first but has specified, in English I may add, that his dream is to push to the majors as soon as possible.

If Otani signs he would become the first Japanese amateur to jump straight to the majors and skip the Japanese League and draft. Hopefully he comes to the Yankees because it is just money that does not require a posting fee and the risk is far below the reward in my eyes.

2010 - 2012 Yankees Injuries Graph

I am borrowing the graphic from our friends over at River Avenue Blues

If this does not show the Yankees that they need to get more flexible and more importantly younger then I do not know what will. Injuries are more luck then they are preventative in most cases but still this is an eye opener for me. The fact that the Nationals are so high was also a shocker to me. Enjoy and head over to RAB to see their complete write up.