Thursday, November 8, 2012

Swisher & Soriano To Decline Qualifying Offers

In the most non shocking news of the day various reports have come out and stated that both Rafael Soriano and Nick Swisher will reject their qualifying offer of a 1 year deal worth $13.3 million and test the free agent market waters. At least five teams are reportedly in on Nick Swisher including the Orioles, Mariners, Red Sox, and Texas Rangers. A countless number of teams are expected to be in on Rafael Soriano as well even with a 4 year $60 million contract request looming. The Yankees will get first round draft pick compensation for either or both if they reject and sign with another team this off season.

Kuroda Open To Signing With Other Teams, Sox Interested

Contrary to a report that we heard earlier in the week Hiroki Kuroda has a list of teams that he would be willing to sign with for 2013 and it includes more then just the Yankees and the Hiroshima Carp like originally thought. The Red Sox are jumping at the opportunity to not only sign the 28 38 year old but steal him away from the Yankees so this could get ugly in a hurry. Kuroda is expected to reject his qualifying offer and net more then the $13.3 million he would garner with accepting the offer. This is something the Yankees and myself will be watching closely develop.

Cano & Jeter Win Silver Slugger Awards

The Silver Slugger Award is given to the top offensive player at each position every yea and this year Yankees second basemen Robinson Cano and short stop Derek Jeter took home the hardware. This is Derek's fifth silver slugger overall(2006-2009, 2012) and Robbie's fourth overall (2006, 2010-2012). With this award Derek Jeter reached an incentive in his contract that will give him a $1.5 million raise from $8 million to $9.5 million and counting for 2014. Congratulations to both players!

Former Yankees Update : Tino Martinez

Former Yankee 1B during the dynasty years Tino Martinez has been officially hired by the Miami Marlins to be their new hitting coach. Reports surfaced earlier that the Red Sox were interested in Tino for the same job but the Marlins got their man. Congratulations to Tino and the best of luck to him down in South Beach!

Yankees Not On Upton's No Trade List, But...

The New York Daily News posted an article saying that the Yankees are no longer listed on Justin Upton's limited no-trade clause. The Bombers originally were, but it was reported by many that the list had changed, but without any knowledge of whether or not New York was still on it or not. However, now it appears the Yankees are able to acquire Upton.

But don't get your hopes up Yankee fans, because at about the same time the New York Post reported that the Yankees are not in on the Upton trade talks. Not that I take a lot of stock in such reports, as the Yankee GM is known as "Ninja Cashman", but it looks like it will take a three team trade for Justin to end up in pinstripes, since Arizona wants left-side MLB-ready help... something the Yankees don't have (ARod is not being traded).

Day One GM Meeting Notes

There wasn't much as far as news coming out of day one of the GM Meetings. Brian Cashman said not to expect anything big to come out of the meetings, as he's basically just getting a feeling for who's available in a trade, not to mention waiting to find out if Swisher, Kuroda, or Soriano accept the qualifying offers. 

A couple of things did stick out to me, though. 
“He obviously wants to be here, and we want him back,” Cashman said. “That’s the hard part. So I’m confident we’ll be able to work through the issues, whatever they are.”
That quote is in response to Mariano Rivera returning to the team next season. There has been some concern since it was announced that the Yankees are looking to cut Rivera's salary from the $15 million he made in 2011 and 2012. Cash doesn't seem to be taking a hard stance on Mo's contract, so I'm more confident that it will get worked out and Rivera will be closing for the team on Opening Day.
“I don’t pencil him in anywhere right now, but I think he’s best as a starter,” Cashman said. “Good starters can all go to the pen. Pens are where failed starters go. He can do that. All our starters can do that. … Mo was a failed starter. Sorry Mo. The only failure he ever had.”
This time Cashman was referring to David Phelps. Last season, as a starter, Phelps had an ERA of 3.77 with a triple-slash against of .233/.322/.390. He also started in 90 out of 91 appearances in the minor leagues, where he had an ERA of 2.51. So I'm glad that David is still being seen as a possible starter next season, as we could see him and not Ivan Nova in the rotation along with Sabathia, Hughes, Kuroda, and Pettitte.

D'Backs In Active Discussions To Trade Justin Upton

Ken Rosenthal reported that the Arizona Diamonbacks are in active trade discussions with various teams regarding Justin Upton. This comes as a shock to me after the D Backs have already traded away Chris Young to the Oakland A's earlier in the off season.  The Yankees were included on his partial no trade clause for the 2012 season but that has since changed since the World Series ended. Upton is only entering his age 25 season and signed through the 2015 season with $38.5 million left on his contract. The Diamondbacks are looking for left side of the infield help, namely third base, and I do not think that Eduardo Nunez is going to cut it. I also do not see any willingness to take on Alex Rodriguez in such a small market from either side, especially Alex's who owns a full no trade clause and 10/5 rights. Kevin Towers does know the Yankees prospects better then most after working as a special adviser to Brian Cashman but I still do not see us landing him without giving up a Tyler Austin. The D Backs have also expressed some willingness in trading 21 year old starting pitcher Trevor Bauer so maybe we can see another mega three team deal with the Yankees coming out like gold this time around.

Michael Pineda Starts Throwing Off Flat Ground

Brian Cashman told reporters that Michael Pineda has started to throw off flat ground in his rehab from major shoulder surgery. That is always encouraging news but in a nutshell it does not really mean much until he gets into real game action. The Yankees do not expect anything out of Michael Pineda this season, and probably for good reason, and do not expect him back until at least June of the 2013 season.

TGP Top 10 Yankees Prospects List

On the eve of Baseball America releasing their annual top 10 list of every teams prospects I wanted to release what, in my opinion, is our 10 best prospects heading into the 2013 season. Agree, disagree, or feel like I am totally off my rocker because of my huge man crush on Tyler Austin if you want but here is the list.

1. Tyler Austin 
2. Mason Williams 
3. Gary Sanchez
4. Slade Heathcott
5. David Adams
6. Jose Campos
7. Manny Banuelos
8. Brett Marshall
9. Corban Joseph
10. Mark Montgomery

No one in my opinion did more to garner the top spot then Tyler Austin. Starting out in Low A Charleston and finishing in the playoffs with AA Trenton is no easy feat. His biggest concerns going into 2012 were his power numbers and subsequently his position due to the power, or lack their of. Austin moved to the outfield where he conveniently started out his career and found his groove in right field along with the power stroke the Yankees were hoping for. Mason Williams getting hurt kept him from the top spot in my opinion after the shoulder surgery that ended his season prematurely. Mark Montgomery probably could have been higher but as a reliever only I find it hard to see him on many peoples top 10 lists.

TGP Yankees Awards: Cy Young

The Yankees award for Cy Young goes to Hiroki Kuroda!

Say What?!?!? I know, I know, what was I thinking not giving our Cy Young award to CC Sabathia right? Well CC had two DL stints and a long stretch of ineffective starts and Hiroku Kuroda was the rock that we all relied on start after start all season long. He took the ball every time we needed him to no matter what kind of rest he had and left everything he had on the field. He even almost had a perfect game so let's take a closer look at the 2012 campaign for Hiroki Kuroda.

Kuroda spent his age 37 season pitching in his first year with the New York Yankees and the first year in the American League, let alone in the toughest division in baseball in the AL East. Kuroda impressed start after start, even though the numbers may not exactly showcase that, and was undoubtedly the ace of the staff this season in my eyes. With a modest 16-11 record and 3.32 ERA Kuroda went on to throw a career high 219.2 IP while striking out 167 batters, throwing 2 shut outs, and compiling a 1.165 WHIP. Kuroda threw his way to a 5.2 WAR He did not slow down in the post season either as he pitched his way to a 0-1 record with a 2.84 ERA and a 0.686 WHIP that was very much skewed by the Yankees bullpen letting him down and a blown call by the umpires in Game 3 of the ALCS against Detroit.

Kuroda was a sight for very sore eyes every 5 days in the Bronx this season and my congratulations go out to him for being the TGP Yankees 2012 Cy Young Award Winner!