Monday, October 21, 2013

Yanks Interested In Cuban Pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne

The New York Yankees seem ready to jump back into the international free agent market, at least on paper anyway, as they have been liked to yet another international pitcher this evening. The latest Cuban defector is Odrisamer Despaigne and the Yankees have been scouting him at his showcases in Spain. Despaigne is expected to come to Mexico soon to put on a big showcase for teams and does not expect to leave the country before signing with a major league team. Despaigne defected back in July and is still awaiting his clearance from the United Stated Office of Foreign Assets Control but that seems like a formality at this point that should be cleared up relatively quick.

The Yankees are not alone as the Phillies, Giants, Mariners, and Mets among others have all shown varying levels in the next big thing from Cuba. Despaigne has hired the same agent, Jaime Torres, as Yasiel Puig, Alexei Ramirez, and Jose Contreras and those guys got big money so he may price himself out of the Yankees budget, especially if the $189 million goal is real, but you never know with these Cuban players. No speculation has been reported to what kind of contract he may require or ask for so we will have to stay tuned for that.

Despaigne is 26 years old and has eight years of professional baseball under his belt in Cuba and is a true free agent. Obviously there is no posting fee and due to his age you will  not have to use international spending cap money to bring in Despaigne. Odrisamer has a career 51-39 record with a 3.65 ERA but posted a 2.58 ERA in his final season before defecting.

I am going to go out on a limb and say, due to his age, that Despaigne will sign for a four year deal worth $20,000,000 and hopefully it is with the New York Yankees.

Dodgers Just Signed Cano Back With The Yankees

The Los Angeles Dodgers just basically, barring a huge unforeseen happening, ensured that Robinson Cano will be back with the Yankees in 2014 and beyond. Let's face it, again unless something really out of the blue happens, the only people that have an open spot and can afford Cano were the Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Yankees. Well the Dodgers got their man today when they officially signed Cuban defector and second baseman Alexander Guerrero. Guerrero signed a four year deal with the Dodgers and is expected to step straight into the major leagues in 2014.

Obviously a team like the Houston Astros, the Miami Marlins, the New York Mets, etc. have the money and the position open to sign with Cano but I cannot see Cano chasing money over contending. This is his final contract he is likely to sign in his career and surely wants the opportunity to win a ring or three.

Yankees Interested In Suk Min Yoon

It was funny because when I posted that Suk Min Yoon, the best available pitcher from Korea, was a free agent and coming to the major leagues I got questions on whether the post was a joke or not. Well it's not a joke as we learned today that Scott Boras will talk to the Yankees about Yoon this week as both the Yankees and Yoon have mutual interest.

Yoon is 27 so he is a true free agent and would not affect our international spending cap or anything like that and would not require a posting fee either. Yoon has been trying to be posted for three seasons now and his Korean team, the Kia Tigers of the Korean Baseball Organization, refused to post their pitcher.

Yoon posted a 4.00 ERA in 87.2 IP with 76 strike outs this season while walking 26 batters in mostly relief. Yoon was sent to the bullpen because of an on again and off again shoulder injury that we should obviously be worried about before signing. Yoon was the MVP in 2011 though while throwing 172+ innings and also has World Baseball Classic and Olympic experience so it's not like we would be getting a complete unproven.

Yoon tops out at about 92 MPH with the fastball but has a hard slider and an above average changeup to keep batters off balance at the plate. Yoon has been the best Korean pitcher ever since the Dodgers Hyun Jin Ryu came to the states which will surely affect his asking price. Will his shoulder issues and lack of innings pitched in 2013 make him a full time reliever in the states or will he be a back end of the rotation starter? Personally I lean towards the former, which is why I initially say pass, but Scott Boras will surely push him as a starter.

You can look at Wei Yin Chen's contract of three years and $11,000,000 million and Hyun Jin Ryu's contract of six years and $36,000,000 as an idea of what Boras will likely be asking for Yoon. The Twins are early suitors for Yoon as well and at this point, if your asking me, they can have him.

Yankees Announce 2014 Season Ticket Prices

It is no secret that the Yankees were not that good last year, the YES Network ratings showed it and attendance showed it, and this will carry over into 2014. Today we learned that somewhere around 39,000 seats in the stadium will stay the same price while another 9,000 seats will see decreases in prices. We actually only saw 2,000 seats increase in price, which if I had to guess I would say they were either luxury boxes or the nose bleeds seats, go figure.

The Yankees are also changing the names of certain sections, and probably increasing the price of the tickets, by naming them Outdoor Suite Boxes. The Yankees are also adding, which is currently under construction, the Field MVP Club Lounge and are renovating the Home Plate Team Store. The Yankees are adding more premium seating and decreasing the prices for the working man in other sections so maybe we can see more of a fan presence at this games this season.

LCS Wrap-Up

We'll start in the AL. I figured whoever won Game Five would win the series. People told me I was nuts; the Tigers got Scherzer and Verlander in Six and Seven. But that Tiger bullpen clearly resembled the Yankee bullpen at the end of the season. My colleague Brian Danuff made a great point; Veras used to be Mo's setup guy a few years back...Lord help us. When Scherzer couldn't get out of the seventh, I said to myself, "This is the time when the Tigers choke." And choke they did. Now Victorino isn't really known as a power-hitter; but I'll tell you what, I wasn't surprised (don't forget B.F. Dent!) The Red Sox have almost become masters of the late-inning drama...maybe more so than the Yankees.

Prince's bellyflop was very symbolic (and funny.) Basically it was symbolic of the ineptitude of that Tiger offense. The only starters that had a good LCS were Victor Martinez (.364, 3 RBIs but NO homers), Jose Iglesias (.357 and how ironic that he was the final out?), and Austin Jackson batting .318. Miggy was hurt for most of the stretch and playoffs (outside of the backbreaker in Oakland), but the Prince of Persia simply did nothing. His dad was more effective in one World Series for the Yankees than this guy in three straight postseasons for the Brewers and Tigers (.194 postseason lifetime average if you're keeping score.)

Hats off to Mattingly; although now I'll do a 180 on the Division Series. Originally I was all in favor of starting Kershaw in Game Four against the Braves, but in the aftermath, that blocked Kershaw from being able to start a Game Seven against Wainwright, which never happened anyway. Yes, Kershaw had a bad LCS, but it's funny how the most unknown players like David Freese or Michael Wacha shine brightest in Cardinal red. Wacha would probably give up 100 home runs in pinstripes, it's just the way it's always been. But to out-pitch the probable NL Cy Young Winner TWICE is just incredible. Both LCS MVP's were pitchers; shows a true testament to how dominant the pitching's been in October.

Papi had a nice, human moment after Game 6 when he said "This is our....BLEEP city!"

And so the World Series is upon us. Two very evenly matched teams, that I think will take it to a seventh game. Ultimately though I think due to the emergence of the Cardinals young pitchers, that St. Louie has the better overall pitching and bullpen, and I betcha you'll see Wainwright in Game 7. Until then...

'Till Next Time!

Neil Dwyer @neildwyer1993

Video Proof Of Peter O'Brien In Bowman Hitting Challenge

Remember last week when we reported that peter O'Brien won the inaugural Bowman Hitting Challenge? Well I did my best to describe the new event but here is video of the event including the Yankees prospect Peter O'Brien winning the event and being crowned.

Masahiro Tanaka's Greatest Highlights

With the Yankees reportedly interested in Masahiro Tanaka now is the perfect time to look at his greatest highlights from his time in Japan. Enjoy!

This Day In New York Yankees History 10/21

On this day in 1976, older Yankees fan turn your heads here because you are not going to like this, the Yankees lost their fourth consecutive game getting swept in the World Series. The "Big Red Machine" proved to be too much for the Yankees team. The Reds would win 7-2 behind a two run home run and a three run home run from Johnny Bench.

On this day in 1998 the Yankees completed a four game sweep of the San Diego Padres by winning 3-0. The Yankees would win their 24th World Series title in their storied history and the 125th win of the season with the regular and post seasons combined.

On this day in 2000 the Yankees would beat the Mets in the longest World Series game ever played. The Yankees would beat the Mets 4-3 in a four hour and 51 minute game that went 12 innings. This also keeps the streak alive at 13 consecutive World Series games with a victory.