Friday, October 18, 2013

A Rod 211 Game Suspension Pushed Back A Month

Yesterday we reported that Alex Rodriguez's lawsuit against Major League Baseball for their "witch hunt" against him was pushed back two weeks until November, 7th today we learn that the 211 game suspension will be pushed back a month until the middle of November.

Major League Baseball has completed their case against Alex after eight hearings in front of arbitrator Frederic Horowitz. Unless the case is settled before then we will see Alex and his team of lawyers resume their questioning and the entire legal process on November, 18th.

The only problem I have with this is this will push back our free agent signings back because we will still not know whether we have to pay Alex his $25,000,000 for the 2014 or not when free agency opens.

Brandon Phillips Or Robinson Cano?

John Fay of reported that the Reds are interested in Cuban second baseman Alexander Guerrero. He also pointed out that the team's interest in Guerrero indicates that they may want to trade away three-time All Star Brandon Phillips.

The idea of going after Phillips, instead of signing Robinson Cano, crossed my mind. Robbie is likely looking at a contract of at least seven years, while Brandon is signed through the next four years. And while the average annual value of Cano's new deal could reach $25 million, Phillips' current contract has an AAV of a little over $12 million.

I don't think it's even possible, as the Yankees don't have the players to swing such a deal, but it does bring up a viable option to spending big on Cano.

Are the Yankees Hell Bent on a Huge Shopping Spree This Winter?

ESPNNew reports that despite the original $189 million plan, the New York Yankees are plotting to break bank this winter.

Yankees officials will meet on Monday to discuss a potential $300 million shopping spree, while STILL finding a way to stay under the luxury tax.

As of right now, the Yankees have over $87 million invested in 2014, thanks mostly to the retirements of Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte, as well as the potential departures to free agency for Phil Hughes and Hiroki Kuroda. If Alex Rodriguez's suspension is upheld, the Yankees could be off the hook for up to $31 million next year. Derek Jeter has a player option that could cut his pay from $17 million to $8 million.

According to ESPN NY's Andrew Marchand, the Yankees primary goal is to bolster the lineup by bringing back Robinson Cano and reeling in catcher Brian McCann and 37 year-old outfielder Carlos Beltran.

Another big time free agent this winter is Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, and the to-be 25 year-old right-hander is very much coveted by the Yankees. The posting fee negotiations will not count towards team payroll and hinder their goal to avoid the luxury tax.

Of course, these players easily fill the Yankees' biggest needs for 2014. With Andy Pettitte and possibly Hiroki Kuroda gone, the only starters penciled in the rotation right now are CC Sabathia, who is looking to rebound next year after posting a career worst 4.78 ERA, and Ivan Nova. Tanaka is a good start, but they also need to look for other free agents on the market.

This year, the normally deadly Bronx Bombers offense struggled big time, and the biggest issues were at catcher and in the outfield. Yankees catchers put up a .587 OPS, 26th in baseball, so a healthy McCann makes a ton of sense, at the right price. Beltran also makes sense if Granderson leaves, as the Yankees can't afford to keep putting Vernon Wells and Ichiro Suzuki in their every day lineup.

The only question is what the Yankees do with third base if A-Rod is suspended. Before his August return this year, production at the hot corner for them was literally the worst in baseball. David Freese of the Cardinals could be a potential target, as he could be dealt with the arrival of top infield prospects in St. Louis.

If the Yankees' get their wish, they could look a lot better than they were for much of the 2013 season:

C- Brian McCann
1B- Mark Teixeira
2B- Robinson Cano
SS- Derek Jeter
3B- Alex Rodriguez or replacement
OF- Alfonso Soriano
OF- Brett Gardner
OF- Carlos Beltran

LHP CC Sabathia
RHP Ivan Nova
RHP Masahiro Tanaka
Possibly RHP Michael Pineda
Another possible free agent or RHP David Phelps

If healthy and if everything pays off, this could be a very deadly lineup. If Sabathia rebounds, Pineda is healthy, and Nova and Tanaka live up to their successes this year, this could be a solid rotation. For what it's worth, it's very encouraging for Yankees fans that ownership plans on spending again to put the best team on the field, as they claim to do every season.

Eduardo Nunez Breaking News?

But can he play shortstop, that is the question....

Charleston Riverdogs: Introducing the Pumpkin Beer Shake!

Seasonal favorite will debut at the Monster Bash on October 24

CHARLESTON, SC - Whether it be muffins, coffee or beer, pumpkin-flavored food and drinks are everywhere this time of year, and it only makes sense that folks can now enjoy an ice cold Pumpkin Beer Shake. Yes, a pumpkin beer shake.
The RiverDogs have teamed with Advintage Distributing to feature a Pumpkin Saison Beer from Quest Brewing Co. in Greenville, SC. Paired with vanilla ice cream, it creates a tasty treat that's simply perfect for the fall season.The Charleston RiverDogs are offering up the seasonal treat at the Inaugural Monster Bash on Thursday, Oct. 24 at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park.
There will also be a toppings bar available which will include pumpkin seeds, mini marshmallows, candy corn, cinnamon and nutmeg so everyone can put their own spin on this unique offering.
"Our food & beverage team has been chomping at the bits to create a new Beer Shake with all the seasonal beers that are released during the fall and winter," said RiverDogs food and beverage guru John Schumacher. "However, we rarely have a chance to do too much because our baseball season is over. We leaped at the opportunity to come up with something creative specifically for the Monster Bash. We've created a psychedelic Pumpkin Beer Shake that I'm sure everyone will enjoy."
The Monster Bash … A Ballyard Smash presented by Halloween Express is an inaugural Halloween-themed costumed party being held at The Joe on Thursday, Oct. 24. The event runs from 7-10 pm in the Ashley View Pub that overlooks third base and the scenic Ashley River.
Tickets are $5 in advance and $10 at the door. Order tickets through or call 843/577-DOGS (3647) for more information. Patrons must be 21 (and older) to enter.

Being posted with permission from the Charleston Riverdogs organization. The original post can be seen HERE

We Have All But Lost The Jose Dariel Abreu Sweepstakes

Jose Dariel Abreu, someone I have been clamoring for since he defected from Cuba and tried to establish residency somewhere else, is not going to be a New York Yankees player in 2014. Instead the Chicago White Sox have continued their dominance in the Cuban baseball players market by signing Abreu to what is speculated as a six year deal worth $68,000,000. This deal absolutely shatters the six year deal that Yasiel Puig got last season for $42,000,000 for the biggest contract ever handed out to a Cuban player.

I know many will not believe me, and frankly that is okay, but I have all of the 2014 free agents predicted in a post that I am waiting until November to post and I had Abreu going to the White Sox. Go me!

Fair trial for A-Rod?

As I’m sure everybody knows, Alex Rodriguez’s arbitration hearing continues in New York with him appealing against the 211 game suspension handed down to him by MLB.

Like a lot of Yankees fans, I would like to know exactly what evidence MLB have on A-Rod and how they justify his suspension being 211 games (I know it was the number of games remaining in the 2013 regular season and all of 2014 season but I want the actual reasons for why it is so long). On the face of it, A-Rod is a first time offender under the MLB drug scheme. If MLB are claiming obstruction of their investigation and coercion of other players then there are 2 issues:

1) What proof is there? How substantial and reliable is it? 
2) Since a situation like this has not been legislated for, who has decided on the term?

Sure, it seemed like a nice number at the time, taking A-Rod out for the rest of the season and all of next but if it is upheld, then surely it would now have an impact on his 2015 season, such as it may be, which seems a bit harsh. If he is going to face a suspension in the realms of this amount of games, surely missing an entire season would be punishment enough? Again though, I come back to the fact that A-Rod is a FIRST TIME offender (assuming they even solid enough evidence to back this up).

I’ll admit, when this first came out, I was shocked and believed that if all of the allegations were true, then A-Rod should have the book thrown at him. Initially, I would probably have backed a full lifetime exclusion from the game. BUT, when I actually sat back and looked at it in the cold light of day, rather than the harsh bright lights of the media, I thought to myself, “Why is A-Rod being treated SO MUCH differently to others?”

This smacks of a vendetta by MLB to get rid of a player who, admittedly, can be prickly and kind of arrogant. A-Rod has always been a polarising figure in baseball, who in England we would describe as being like Marmite – you either love him or you hate him. No matter what you think about him as a person, he is a stand out player. Ok, so the Yankees may have made a mistake on his 10 year contract but that’s hardly his fault – he wanted a long term deal and to be paid well for his abilities. Because, he does not always conform to how MLB want him to behave, they now appear to be taking issue with this. From what I have heard, there is a good deal of delving into A-Rod’s personal affairs in the appeal hearing, which I know is a standard legal practice in order to attempt to sway the decision maker (Judge, jury or in this case Fredric Horowitz) one way or the other. It just does not seem right though to be dragging this up; it has little to do with the case, apart from seemingly trying to discredit A-Rod.

At the end of the day, if A-Rod HAS done something wrong, then he should be punished. There is no way that we can teach kids that you can get away with something, just by appealing it even if you have done wrong. The sticking point is that A-Rod should not be treated any differently to other people and he should receive a fair hearing and if it comes to it, a fair punishment. If Mr Horowitz decides that the 211 game suspension should be upheld, then I hope we are given some justification for the term. In fact, whatever the decision is, I would like it to be transparent so that we can see exactly what evidence led to it and how the punishment has been decided.

A little while ago I made the following declaration, “My name is Clive Barker, I am a New York Yankees fan and I forgive Alex Rodriguez”.

This is not something that I did lightly but as it says, I am a Yankees fan. I feel that we need to forgive A-Rod and accept that he may have messed up. Forgiving him does not mean that we condone him not being punished if he has done something wrong but it does mean that we can move on.

Ultimately, all we are asking for is that A-Rod be given a fair hearing and if it comes down to it, a fair punishment. This would be best for A-Rod, best for the Yankees, best for the fans and best for baseball, which is the key here! Baseball does not need to get dragged through the mud for singling out and discriminating against one player. This would be worse for the game than the whole steroid saga as it is a basic human right to have fair trial and fair punishment. In a way, this whole A-Rod thing, transcends baseball and comes down to fairness and doing the right thing, no matter what!

Alfonso Soriano 2013 Highlights

Look back at Alfonso Soriano's 2013 highlight from both the Chicago Cubs and the New York Yankees.

Should The Yankees Bring Back Tino Martinez?

Let us be clear here before we get started that this is pure speculation and I have nothing to back this up. With that said one of our friends in twitter, because he is more than just a follower, @thisguygd posted the hash tag #BringBackTino and that is not that bad of an idea.

I know the Yankees brass said they wanted to bring back the entire coaching staff, including hitting coach Kevin Long, and have already made good on that promise bringing manager Joe Girardi and pitching coach Larry Rothschild but should we explore the idea of Tino back in pinstripes? This is not one of those posts where Long should get the axe because the team couldn't hit a lick, I understand he far exceeded expectations considering what he was given, I am more going along the line of change for change sake. Unless of course you are convince that Mark Reynolds improved that much under Long then by all means keep him.

Kevin is long, see what I did there, considered to be this hitting guru but holes are beginning to be exposed in that boat. He may be a good hitting coach, and honesty I think he is, but I think it's time to see what someone else can do. Long has not done enough to make him close to irreplaceable like Girardi did and the thought of having a former Yankee during the dynasty years back on the team excites me, even for nostalgia reasons. 

I don't feel compelled to speak on the whole Miami Marlins incident because first and foremost I do not like to Derek on the past much. Secondly I know I do not know Tino personally but without a history of anything like this being known public I personally believe this was an isolated incident and that it will not happen again. Finally I just don't care and I cannot be more honest than that.

This is not a bashing Kevin Long post and it's not a praising Martinez as the messiah post, it's just something to think about. Happy Friday everyone and Go Yankees! 

Free Agent Profile: Jose Dariel Abreu

Being posted as a part of Syndicated Sunday from MLB Trade Rumors. Yes I know it's Friday

Is Jose Dariel Abreu MLB's next Cuban sensation?  Abreu, who turns 27 in January, defected from Cuba in August and is now free to sign with any team.  He has a good chance to sign the largest contract ever for a Cuban player, topping Yasiel Puig's seven-year, $42MM deal.  Every team had some kind of scouting presence at Abreu's early October showcase, reportedBaseball America's Ben Badler.  


Abreu put up huge numbers in Cuba's Serie Nacional as well as in international tournaments.  His calling card is power, prompting Athletics assistant GM David Forst to say to Grantland's Jonah Keri in February 2012"There are legitimate comparisons to Ryan Howard."  Badlerelaborated in August this year, "Abreu is a physically imposing righthanded hitter with tremendous raw power to all fields."  In an ESPN article, former GM Jim Bowden gave Abreu a 70 hit tool and 70 for power on the scouting scale, after talking to "a few execs and scouts who have seen him play."  One scout told ESPN's Jerry Crasnick Abreu has "monstrous power."  Many different reports suggest Abreu could hit 30 home runs for an MLB team right away, a level no free agent reached in 2013.  Given the scouting grade on his power, it seems possible Abreu could reach 40 in a season at some point during his contract.

Since Abreu will play in 2014 at age 27, he's younger than every significant free agent hitter.  A six-year deal could still catch a large portion of his prime, which is unlikely to be the case with any other free agent.  

If they reach the open market, many of the top free agent power bats have a good chance of requiring the sacrifice of a draft pick to sign: Robinson CanoNelson CruzCarlos BeltranMike NapoliKendrys MoralesShin-Soo Choo, and Brian McCann.  Abreu will not require the loss of a draft pick.


If Abreu has a few vintage Ryan Howard or David Ortiz-caliber seasons during his contract, he should easily be worth $50-60MM, and could provide an excellent return on investment.  MLB executives are drooling at the thought.  There have been some less-than-glowing reports about Abreu's overall hitting ability, however.
Abreu's bat speed was questioned in a pair of excellent reports from Badler and Crasnick, and there are multiple scouts who feel he will struggle against hard fastballs inside.  Crasnick talked to a scout who described Abreu as a less-athletic Dayan Viciedo, a player with a .264/.306/.432 line in over 1,200 big league plate appearances.  In sum, Viciedo has been about replacement level for his career.  The scout felt that Abreu has more power than Kendrys Morales, but is a worse hitter.  There are few questions about Abreu's power, but will he be able to hit for average or draw a walk?  Badler has noted that scouts and teams have extensive history watching Abreu, but based on reports, it's unclear whether they project him over or under Morales' .333 career OBP.

Reports vary on Abreu's ability to contribute beyond his bat.  One scout told Crasnick Abreu is "all bat," an Edgar Martinez type, while another felt he could be a solid first baseman.  The bar is raised for a bat-only player, and it's certainly possible to hit 25-30 home runs and still be replacement level, as Raul Ibanez did this year.  As far as young DHs go, Billy Butlerhas a .298/.364/.459 line in seven seasons, yet has never had a season in which he was worth three wins above replacement.  Still, if Abreu settles in as a two-win player, he'll still be worth a $10MM salary.  

At 6'2" and 250 pounds, Abreu is not nearly the athlete Yasiel Puig or Yoenis Cespedes is, though Crasnick says Abreu has ramped up his conditioning of late.  He's still likely to be a negative in baserunning.  


Abreu is married and has a son, and I've heard he is a relatively quiet player who takes a professional approach to his job.  Abreu is more grounded than Puig and is considered a "good kid" in scouting circles, according to Crasnick.  Abreu's good friend Henry Urrutia, an outfielder for the Orioles, told's Jesse Sanchez"He's a humble man and he comes from a rural area of hard-working people."  Abreu has a "fun-loving personality,"'s Joe Frisaro.


The top end of the free agent market for first basemen includes Mike Napoli and Kendrys Morales, both of whom seem likely to come with a draft pick cost attached.  Badler talked to scouts who preferred Napoli to Abreu, but it's far from a slam dunk.  Though Abreu has been scouted extensively, I still believe some teams will be seduced by the allure of the unknown, as it's easier to dream about Abreu hitting 40 home runs than Napoli or Morales, partially because Abreu has never played in the Majors.

Unlike typical free agents, Abreu is free to sign now and already held a showcase, so rumors are plentiful.  The Marlins, Red Sox, White Sox, Rangers, Giants, Pirates, Orioles, and Mets have been linked to Abreu to varying degrees, and Badler says the first five teams had the strongest presence at his showcase in the Dominican Republic.  Abreu's market is not limited to win-now teams, given his age.  The Marlins, in particular, are "all-in" on Abreu,'s Joe Frisaro in early October.  They sent GM Dan Jennings to his showcase, and already have two of Abreu's countrymen on the roster in Jose Fernandez and Adeiny Hechavarria.

Expected Contract

Predicting Abreu's contract is particularly difficult without knowing the player's goals.  Cespedes made a point of limiting his term to four years, to allow a quick path back to free agency.  Puig maximized his total dollars by taking a seven-year deal, a contract few saw coming in advance.  Napoli has his share of drawbacks, yet I've projected a three-year, $42MM contract.  Given that Abreu is more than five years younger, won't cost a draft pick, and may have more power, an average annual value of $10MM or less may be a bargain.  $60MM over six years appears to be Abreu's ceiling.  Ultimately I find the oft-cited six-year, $54MM prediction to be the best bet.

This Day In New York Yankees History 10/18

On this day in 1960 the Yankees fire Casey Stengel just seven days after losing the World Series to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Yankees claim that Stengel is "too old" to manage and Stengel responded by saying that he "would never make the mistake of being seventy again."

On this day in 1977 Reggie Jackson hit three consecutive home runs on three consecutive pitches in the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Reggie also hit a home run in the last at bat of the previous game to make it four consecutive World Series at bats with a home run. The Yankees would win their 21st World Series Championship today for George Steinbrenner and Billy Martin.