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!