Friday, November 2, 2012

Top 50 Free Agents & The Yankees

MLB Trade Rumors has released their annual list of the top 50 free agents in all of baseball and predicted where they would sign and the Yankees showed up seven times on the list. Now let us remember that six of those guys were on the 2012 team but still that is a pretty big number. Let's take a look at the list and see what MLBTR had in mind.

The 6th best free agent this offseason according to MLBTR was Nick Swisher surprisingly and they have him going to the AL East rival Baltimore Orioles. This would be hard to watch every day but I do not want him back with the Yankees so I guess I could deal. He is matched with the O's because of his ability to play right field, left field, and first base.

Torii Hunter was named the 20th best free agent and MLBTR has his coming over to the Yankees to replace Nick Swisher. The Angels are highly unlikely to resign Torii and even more unlikely to offer him a qualifying offer and his willingness to sign a shorter term deal makes him attractive to the Yankees. He takes enough walks, hits for enough average, and hits for enough power to make him a good fit for the Yankees.

MLBTR has Hiroki Kuroda (9th best free agent), Rafael Soriano (17th best), Russell Martin (21st best), Mariano Rivera (39th best), Andy Pettitte (43rd best), and Eric Chavez (49th best) all coming back to the Yankees and I cannot say I disagree with much of it. The Yankees are looking for veteran leadership and a strong staff and guys like Hiroki Kuroda, etc can really do that for a team. MLBTR has Ichiro, 40th best free agent, going to the Tampa Bay Rays to wreak havoc over us all season long.

It is looking like it is going to be another long and interesting winter in Yankeeland.

Gil Patterson New Minor League Pitching Coordinator

The Yankees announced yesterday the hiring of former Oakland Athletics minor league pitching coordinator Gil Patterson to be their new minor league pitching coordinator. The Yankees have reassigned long time pitching coordinator Nardi Contreras to an unnamed new position in the Yankees organization. Gil has been in this position for the A's since 2008 and has seen a plethora of young talent get developed through that minor league system so this really excites me and I cannot wait to see what he can do with the likes of Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos. Mix in this hiring, the reassignment of Nardi, and the Billy Connors firing and the Yankees minor league pitching may look a tad bit different by as early as 2014.

Yankees Continue To Give Back To Sandy Affected

The Yankees have announced that they will be sponsoring a blood drive today, Friday November 2nd, at the Gotham Hall on 1356 Broadway at 36th street. The first 300 people to donate blood will receive a pair of Yankees 2013 baseball tickets to go with their generous donation. The blood drive will start at 10:00 am this morning and will go until 4:00 pm this afternoon so I encourage anyone and everyone who can make it to try and swing by because it is definitely a great cause to get behind.

Offseason Decisions: Robinson Cano

"My turn, huh? So whatcha got?"

Unlike my previous Offseason Decisions, this one doesn't have to do with whether or not the Yankees should bring Robinson Cano back. In fact, while I'm not sure the Yankees should bring back Ichiro, Swisher, Granderson, or Martin, there's no doubt in my mind that the Yankees should bring Robbie back... and for many more years.

I've actually written about signing Robinson Cano to an extension a few times, including one post here and another here. Included in those posts are why I want to see an extension done before Opening Day of next season, which have to do with the Average Annual Value of Cano's contract being a bit lower if signed to an extension rather than waiting til after Opening Day of 2013.

If you've been in a coma the last few years, and therefore need a some reasons as to why the Yankees should want to lock Robbie up, then here you go...
  • Career triple-slash of .308/.351/.503, which includes averaging just under 29 home runs a year the past 4 seasons.
  • All-star in each of the past 3 years.
  • Silver Slugger Award winner in 2010 and 2011. The 2012 Award has not been given out yet, but Cano leads all 2B in fWAR, wOBA, wRC+, BA, OBP, and SLG. So another Silver Slugger Award should be on it's way.
  • 3rd place AL MVP finish in 2010, and 6th place finish in 2011. Seeing as how Cano's fWAR is the 2nd highest in the AL, I think another top 5 finish in MVP voting is in the bag
Girl: "I love you"
Guy: "Wow, Cano has been pretty damn good."

So what type of contract are we talking about? Well, in order to get an idea of what Robbie is looking at in an extension, I took a look at some recent mega-deals and three names stuck out.

Troy Tulowitski signed a 7 year contract extension after the 2010 season (added to the 3 years left on his current contract, for a total of 10 years), Joey Votto signed a 10 year contract extension this past offseason (he had one year left on the current deal, so his new contract was basically an 11 year deal), and Prince Fielder signed a 9 year contract this past offseason. So looking at those deals, particularly the most recent ones with Votto and Fielder, you may think Robbie is due for a contract just as long. But you have to consider the ages of each player when they signed those deals. Troy was 26 when he signed a deal keeping him in Colorado for another 10 years, Joey was 28 when he signed a contract that would keep him in Cincinnati for 11 more years, and Prince was also 28 when he signed his 9 year contract. Looking at how old those players will be at the end of their deals, and seeing as how Cano will be entering his age 30 season in 2013, the longest contract I expect to see for him would be for 8 years (that includes 2013).

Seeing what Robbie has done this past year, and seeing as how he's only missed 3 games due to injury since returning from the 15-day disabled list on August 8th of 2006, I see no reason to not lock him up for another 8 years.
"It's my turn to get paid, baby!"

And with that I'm done with my Offseason Decisions series. Don't worry, there will be plenty more for me to talk about involving the Yankees' choices before the next season. I just wanted to get these things off my chest before the offseason really begins.

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