Sunday, November 17, 2013

Yankees Have Had Discussions With Joe Nathan

The Yankees, in hopes of somehow replacing Mariano Rivera, have had contact with the agents for free agent closer Joe Nathan. Nathan is coming off of a strong season with the Texas Rangers and is rumored to be wanting around $15 million per season on a multi-year deal. The problem with Nathan is though is that he is about to turn 39 years old and does not fit in with the $189 million goal for the Yankees whatsoever.

Nathan had a strong 2013 posting a 1.39 ERA with 43 saves and a 2.26 in 64+ innings for the Rangers. Nathan now has three full seasons under his belt since his Tommy John surgery in 2010 so the health should not be a concern for the right handed pitcher anymore.  Nathan would be nice to have but to pay a closer into his 40's not named Mariano Rivera is a foolish thing to do in my opinion, especially when they want to make more then Rivera did in his 40's.

Is This The Biggest Offseason Ever?

As much as Yankee fans can be impatient when it comes to having a true contender year in and year out, the Yankees can't go "all in" for 2014. While they should absolutely try and compete in 2014, they can't make any moves to hurt the future.

With that in mind, seven things came to mind...

1. Do not give Carlos Beltran 3+ years. It's not just that he'll be 37 in April, which on the surface raises red flags. You also have to consider the fact that he's had a number of health problems. Between 2009 and this past season he's had issues with his abdomen, shoulders, lower back, knees, lower back, hamstrings, wrist, and neck.

Beltran's injury list looks sort of like this, but with one big difference.... Mick Foley did most of this stuff to himself.

Earlier in the offseason I was all about Beltran, but like many others I may have just been caught up in his postseason heroics. Which is very hypocritical of me, as I've been against Raul Ibanez while accusing others of being too caught up in Raul's late and postseason heroics. After thinking about what Corey Hart could do for the team, along with only costing two years... max, i'm really starting to think that the Yankees should pass on Carlos.

2. Don't even think about getting Shin-Soo Choo because of what he can do marketing-wise. The money that could be made off the field with Choo is great, but putting the best product on the field is much better for the organization.

I'm a bit on the fence regarding getting Choo. You see... I like him. His on-base percentage is awesome, and he could hit over 20 home runs a season. But a five year commitment is tough for somebody who'll turn 32 in July. And that doesn't cover the fact that his defense is suspect. But Shin-Soo has been healthy in his career outside of a fracture due to being hit by a pitch, and an abdominal strain in 2011. So again... I'm not sure.

3. As much as I hate to say it, because I'd love to see him with the Yankees, passing on Brian McCann would probably be for the best. He'll be 30 years-old soon, and has already caught 8820.1 innings (that's over 980 games). You can't tell me he's 100% healthy, and I'm talking about a lot more than his shoulder (he had surgery on it in October of last year). His bat would be good for the DH spot if necessary, but I don't like having a DH-only as that can really hurt the versatility of the team.

4. I still want to see the Yankees re-sign Robinson Cano, but I can't disagree with those that question the move. A lot can happen over the course of seven years, from injuries to simply not being the same player, so it's a big risk. Especially when Robbie could be getting around $25 million a season. The team is run by people a hell of a lot smarter than me, so they have to make sure they're not setting themselves up for another ARod-type situation in a few years. By that, I mean they don't want to look at paying a guy twice as much as he's worth for years to come.

Alex actually just struck out, but he's still smiling because he remembered how big his back account is.

5. Jhonny Peralta has been looked at, but we can't ignore his ties to Biogenesis. It's nice to think his issues are behind him, but you can't be sure of that. The last place you want to have a guy with off-field issues is on the Yankees, as the media and fans will eat him alive. Just look at how they've treated Alex Rodriguez in all but two seasons (2007 and 2009). There are plenty of Yankee fans that are still on Andy Pettitte's case regarding his use of steroids, and he's not too far below Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera in his "True Yankee" status.

6. I'm all for taking chances on players, a la Corey Hart, but you can't do that with guys like Matt Garza, who will demand a contract around five years. It's not that I don't like Garza, but he's certainly not a "sure thing". While his strikeout rate of 8.6 per nine innings in the National League is good, that drops to 7.2 in the American League. His ERA also jumps from 3.45 in the NL to 4.01 in the AL. He wasn't awesome after being traded to Texas this past season either, as his ERA jumped from 3.17 with the Cubs to 4.38. That's thanks to giving up almost two more hits per nine innings, and giving up more home runs.

But adding just one top of the rotation pitcher is probably not good enough. CC Sabathia is suspect after his worst season in Major League Baseball, Ivan Nova may have been really good but it's still really hard to lean on him, David Phelps and Adam Warren are unproven as starters in MLB, and there is nothing special coming up from the minors anytime soon. I can live with adding Tanaka, slotting Nova in at #3, taking a chance on somebody like Josh Johnson... who may only cost a one-year deal, and putting one of Warren or Phelps at #5.

7. It's time to give David Robertson a real shot at the closer's role. The alternative to doing so is signing somebody like Joe Nathan to a contract worth upwards of $15 million a season. That would be fine if it wasn't for the fact that the Yankees are looking to get payroll down. They would be best served to see what Robertson can do in that role this season, and then lock him up with a contract afterwards. Because while he'd cost the team more after closing for a season, it wouldn't be as much as elite closers go for in free agency. What the team should do this offseason is think about a set-up man for David.

I'm sure there is somebody out there thinking "what about not giving up draft picks?" I covered that last week in an article in which I pointed out that good to great players don't have to come from high draft picks. In fact, draft pick compensation is hardly a deal-breaker to me. Just maximize your other picks in each draft, work on development in the farm system, and build some role players to add to those making big bucks (such as Robinson Cano). If an elite player like Robbie comes from the farm, then that should be considered a plus. Let the Rays of MLB lean on the farm for superstars.

There has to be another Evan Longoria in here somewhere.

This offseason was originally interesting to me as the Yankees have to fill a number of holes while trying to get payroll down, but now I find it even more interesting as it could very well be huge for the future of the organization. It may be hyperbole, but this offseason could very well be the most important offseason for the Yankees ever.

Walter Ibarra Jumps Ship To The Chicago Cubs

Long time New York Yankees prospect Walter Ibarra has become a minor league free agent and has decided to leave New York and go to the Chicago Cubs on a minor league deal. The 26 year old career minor leaguer finally reached AAA last season with the Scranton Wilkes Barre RailRiders and will now look to provide the Cubs with some middle infield depth. Ibarra is coming off a triple slash of .276/.308/.367 but is known far more for his glove then his bat. Good luck to Ibarra and we hate to see him go.

Robinson Cano Holding The Yankees Hostage

Have I said lately how much I love NoMass? I had to share this picture from those guys over there with Robinson Cano holding Brian Cashman and the Yankees hostage while he waits to sign his mega contract.

This Day In New York Yankees History 11/17

On this day in 1964 the New York Mets signed former Yankees star Yogi Berra to a player/manager deal on a two year contract. The Yankees had recently just fired Yogi as a manager for them and will have to watch Yogi collect two more hits in nine National League at bats.

On this day in 1976 Yankees catcher Thurman Munson received 18 of the 24 first place votes to capture the American League MVP award.George Brett finished in second place and was no match for Munson's .302 average with 17 home runs and 105 RBI's. Munson is the first Bronx Bomber to be selected as the MVP and the Rookie of the Year, as Munson won the ROY in 1970.