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12/30: Sabermetrics

Posted by: James
For the most part, when using baseball statistics, our little group of bloggers stick mainly to the big guns (ERA, OBP, SLG, HRs, RBI), and doesn't usually go into sabermetrics. Still, I like the idea of sabermetrics a lot and every now and then, you might see one or two up in my posts. For those who are interested in such things or would like to learn a little more about some of these newer stats, Steve Lombardi over at Was Watching has put up a nice list of definitions of some of the statistics that he uses, which include some sabermetrics.

For those who don't know what sabermetrics consist of, Wikipedia has a pretty clear synopsis:

Sabermetrics is the analysis of baseball through objective evidence, especially baseball statistics. The term is derived from the acronym SABR, which stands for the Society for American Baseball Research. It was coined by Bill James, who has been its most enthusiastic (and by far its most famous) proponent.

With that, I wish you all a very Happy and Fruitful New Year. Enjoy it (responsibly) with family and friends and please be safe. I've lost a friend to a drunk driver and wouldn't want any of our readers to experience the same thing.
Posted by: James
A story in today's Miami Herald has the Marlins set to sign Miguel Olivo.

The Marlins addressed their need for help behind the plate by agreeing in principle to a deal with free agent catcher Miguel Olivo, the player told reporters in his native Dominican Republic. The catcher was expected in Miami on Thursday to undergo a team physical and finalize his contract.

I had previously thought that it would have been nice if the Yankees picked him up as a younger backup for Posada. He would have been a cheap (made $400k last year) and young (entering his age 28 season). Still, why come to the Yanks to compete with Stinnett for the backup job when you can go to any number of teams and compete for the starting one (not that there was any reported Yankee interest)?

In addition, Eric Byrnes, who was mentioned in the comments as a potential solid signing, was signed by the Arizona Diamondbacks and will start the year in center field. Byrnes would probably have been a nice addition to the Yanks because of his ability to play any outfield position and would have provided some pop with his bat, something Bubba Crosby cannot claim. Again, why backup when you can start, right?
Posted by: James
At the bottom of a Daily News article about Chad Bradford, a guy that I wouldn't have minded seeing in the Yankees pen, is the following blurb:

Reserve infielder Miguel Cairo reached a preliminary agreement with the Yankees yesterday on a one-year, $1 million deal. Cairo's contract is pending a physical, which is expected to be given this week.

Just a physical and Cairo can officially be put on the Yankees 25-man roster. So far, Cairo has played every infield position except catcher and every outfield position except center field. That kind of versatility is good to have on any team, even if he can't recreate the numbers he put up in his first stint with the Yanks. Besides, there were very few other options available (ex. Felix Escalona, Pokey Reese, etc.)
Posted by: Seamus
According to YES Network, Hideki Matsui has decided not to play for Japan in the World Baseball Classic scheduled for March.

``The reason I decided to go to the United States was to try and become a world champion with the Yankees, and I fear that chasing two goals might get in the way of that dream,'' Kyodo quoted Matsui as saying in a statement.

Well honestly, it looks like this whole WBC is turning into one big mess anyway. It's at the wrong time of the year, too many guys opting out, too many players playing for countries they never lived in before, and too much politics involved (Cuba is not allowed to send its players, and as a result, Puerto Rico has withdrawn as a host). I could really do without it. It's certainly not big enough to risk injury over, especially during spring training when guys aren't yet in top shape. If a player wants to go that's fine, but I certainly don't have a problem with any of the Yankees' players focusing on their job with the Yankees, who I watch 6 months out of the year.

Posted by: Patrick
It's Damon's Turn at Center of a Yankees Myth:

The Yankees have had three great center fielders, the first of whom most of us easily forget. All three are in the Hall of Fame: Earle Combs, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle. The line ended with Mantle nearly 40 years ago, and it has not regenerated itself, no matter what fans of Bernie Williams think. ...

Williams has been a solid player - he hit better than .300 for eight consecutive seasons - and he contributed significantly to the Yankees' postseason successes. But he was not the Gold Glove outfielder he was voted to be from 1997 to 2000, and he was not a dominant hitter in the American League. ...

Williams has been a good player but not a great player.

» Read More

Posted by: James
Jeff Reardon has apparently been arrested for armed robbery.

Reardon, who finished out his major-league career with a whimper in 1994 with the Yankees, is being said to have walked into a jewelery store with a note saying that he had a gun and that the store was being robbed. The 50-year-old Reardon was later found at a nearby restaurant and charged.

The man wasn't in pinstripes for long (9.7 innings in 1994) but he is 6th in major-league history in saves (Mariano passed him this year for the 5th place). His baseball-reference page cumulates his gross salary at over $11.5 million dollars so unless he lost all of that money, I'm baffled. Not a completely Yankees related item but a sad story, nonetheless.
Posted by: Patrick
Our next interview in the Interviewing the Yankees Blogosphere series is Dave Nekoukar of Pride of the Yankees.

When you're not blogging about the Yankees, thinking about the Yankees, talking about the Yankees, reading about the Yankees or watching the Yankees, what are you doing?

Watching SportsCenter, following the NY Giants and NY Rangers, walking the dog or chasing after my two year old son.

» Read More

12/24: Manny Says

Posted by: Michael
Johnny Damon was deciding where he should go. Should it be to the Yankees? With the Yankees it would be a team that really wants him, and shows it. Or should he remain with his faithful fans in Boston? So he decided to follow the advice of his fellow teammate and current Boston left-fielder Manny Ramirez. Manny said, "Go to NY."

Before Damon agreed to his four-year, $52 million contract, he spoke by phone to Ramirez for some guidance and the latest information about the Boston left fielder's trade demand.

Even though Ramirez still is under contract with the Red Sox, he urged Damon over to the other side of baseball's best rivalry.

"Manny said, 'You should go to New York,' " Michelle Damon [Johnny's wife] told The Post.

Now I'm not surprised that Manny of all people is helping the Yanks in their recruiting efforts. But you have to wonder how long Boston will put up with him. He is still currently on their opening day roster. But is he being shopped? Only time will tell.

The Red Sox are a team that is imploding. It started last year with Pedro and Lowe leaving. Then accelerated with Theo bidding adieu. Now slowly one by one they are peeling off of the WS Championship team. It's a ship that is sinking...slowly, not quite like the Marlins, but more of a painful death.
Posted by: Patrick
Coming into this off season, I was pretty content with most of the team. There were two core needs. Center field and the bullpen. Obviously my crazy dream was to be in a world where B.J. Ryan and Flash both wanted to setup for the Magnificent Mo together. And on top of that, for us to get lefty killer Scott Sauerbeck. Well, even though we were in the running for Flash and Sauerbeck, none of that happened. So, what did happen?

» Read More

Posted by: James
With Bernie back under contract and Johnny Damon in the pinstriped fold, here's where the Yankees' 25 man roster stands as of today. I haven't placed Dotel in as a reliever simply because he will probably start out the year on the DL and I haven't accounted for Mendoza because he will begin the year in the minors. Also, I wouldn't mind seeing a Sturtze and Proctor trade for a good backup OFer who could also possibly back up first base. That way, you can play Andy Phillips as the backup second and third baseman (he's played both positions in the past) and Cairo would slot right in as a backup shortstop and second baseman. As an aside, Miguel Olivo (entering his age 28 season) was recently non-tendered by San Diego. It might make some sense to see if he would sign a minor-league deal of some sort because he strikes me as an appealing option should something happen to Kelly Stinnett (entering his age 36 season). Update: Olivo signed with the Marlins.

» Read More

12/21: Bernie's Back

Posted by: Patrick
I was just watching ESPN and it was reported that Bernie has signed a 1 year/$1.5 million dollar deal. Good to hear.
Posted by: James
Update: Larry over at RLYW has added his thoughts and so has Cliff over at Bronx Banter. Both guys make some excellent points and overall, are positive on the deal. However, the best reading comes in the comments (especially at RLYW) where the collective Yankee conscious seems to be debating on how to view this signing.

As I mentioned in my earlier post, while I was not enamored with the Damon signing, I felt that it was one that I could learn to live with (at least for the first 2-3 years of the deal). I had just started writing a full length piece on the positive and negative aspects of this signing but SG beat me to the punch and has written a piece over at RLYW that does a great job in providing a concise and objective looking at the signing. It's a very good read. If you're really down because of the signing, he might be able to talk to you down and if you've been jumping for joy, he might be able to temper your enthusiasm a little bit. Head over and check it out.
Posted by: James
Though I can learn to live with it, I am not enthused with this signing...but here are various articles regarding the signing:
-ESPN.
-FoxSports.
-The Times.
-The Post.
-The Daily News.
-Newsday.

Here is the blogosphere's take on the signing:
-Bronx Banter.
-RLYW.
-Was Watching.
-NoMaas.
-Baseball Musings.
-Off the Facade.
Posted by: James
Update: Dotel has signed. From what the article states, there doesn't seem to be an option for the next season which strikes me as odd. A team who takes a chance on an injured player theoretically should get a slight reward if that risk pays off. still, I guess you can command that when there are 11 teams interested in signing you.

Octavio Dotel, someone who I have been pushing hard for the Yankees to get, will apparently make his decision regarding who he will sign with known today. Dotel, who came up in the Mets farm system and was traded in the Mike Hampton deal, is a hard-throwing righty who just turned 32 and is coming off Tommy John surgery. He doesn't have a very good history as a closer but when he has been a set-up guy, he has been a dominant one (especially from 2001-2003 for the Astros). When the A's acquired him in 2004 as part of a three way deal with the Astros for Carlos Beltran, they tried to use him as the closer with marginal success (take a look at who sponsors Dotel's Baseball-Reference page). He was injured early last year, which allowed Huston Street to come in and lay claim to the closer job, making Dotel expendable.

According to Dotel's agent, he received 11 offers this winter (including from both the Yankees and the Mets). We'll have to see how much of this is just talk from the agent as every free agent says that the Yankees are interested if only to drive the bidding that much higher. Still, according to writer's sources, the Yankees showed more substantial interest than the Mets. An incentive-laden deal for the 2006 season with an option for the next (something like the Yankees did with Jon Leiber) would be ideal. I guess we will find out today how it plays out.
Posted by: Patrick
Yankees Appear Unlikely to Make a Major Move:

The only pitching move the Yankees officially made yesterday was to re-sign Ramiro Mendoza to a minor-league contract. But they want to make another, and could do so very soon.

Glad to see it. Can't hurt anything to sign him to a minor league deal.

Via Brian.
Posted by: James
MLB.com has an article that explains the non-tender deadline and outlines a few of the players that could be made available on Tuesday. Of course, this isn't a full list nor is it certain that any or all of these players will actually be non-tendered. Nevertheless, I thought we'd take a look at the relievers and position players that the article mentioned by name.

Relievers:
ē RHP Joe Borowski. 35 year old who actually pitched 2 innings for the Yankees way back in 1997. Since then, he was effective for two seasons for the Cubs before getting hurt. Last year, he pitched well in the second half for the Devil Rays but remains an older pitcher who can't seem to strike anyone out anymore - Pass.

» Read More

12/19: Nomar a No-Go

Posted by: James
Well, it looks like that dream is over. Nomar has apparently signed with the 2003 Boston Red Sox, I mean the Los Angeles Dodgers. Sorry, it is a little easy to get confused there with the Grady Little as the manager, the third baseman is Bill Mueller, one of the starting pitchers is Derek Lowe and now starting at first base will be Nomar Garciaparra. Terms of the contract haven't been released, but the New York Post has reported a base salary of $6 million and after incentives, the deal could be worth as much as $8 million. I was hoping the Yankees could have signed him to a contract near the $5 million dollar range but c'est la vie.

Update: Apparently Steve Lombardi and I think along the same lines and he had the following idea first.

However, there is a sliver of a silver lining here because if this is played right, I believe that the Dodger's plan can benefit the Yankees. LA just signed Rafael Furcal to play short and Jeff Kent is currently playing second. When Cesar Izturis comes back from rehab, they can slot him in at second base, move Kent to first and play Nomar in right. All of these moves leave one large (6-5, 240 lbs.) left-handed 26-year old South Korean without a job. I know people haven't been too high on him the last couple of year but he has played in two of the worst parks for hitters over the last two years. he's still young, he get's on-base at a good clip (.349 for his career), is decent in the field and might be non-tendered by the Dodgers. One can only hope.
Posted by: Patrick
noMaas.org is the satirical Yankees analysis site. We sat down with the leader of the group, Sensei John Kreese, and asked him some questions. The name "Sensei John Kreese" is fictional as, I would guess, a few of his answers to our questions are, as well.

When you're not blogging/writing/creating images about the Yankees, thinking about the Yankees, talking about the Yankees, reading about the Yankees or watching the Yankees, what are you doing?

I own a Cobra-Kai dojo where I train kids to fight in the Under 18 All-Valley Karate Tournament.

I'm a fan of noMaas.org. I think the Cashman in the convenience store image is my favorite. So, why don't you tell us a bit about it? How many people you have on staff, who does what, any details about the operation that you'd like to let us in on, etc.?

» Read More

Posted by: Patrick
From our poll:

Do you want the Yankees to sign Johnny Damon?

No - 6
Indifferent - 1
Yes - 1
Posted by: Seamus
The Yankees have been quiet during the Marlins' fire sale this offseason until now. The Yanks have acquired lefty reliever Ron Villone from the Marlins for minor leaguer Ben Julianel. The New Jersey native went 5-5 last year with a 4.08 E.R.A. in 79 appearances.

Not a bad deal in my opinion. Even after signing Mike Myers, it still can never hurt to add another capable lefty in the bullpen. The Yankees have quietly added a bit of depth in the bullpen this offseason. They've acquired two new lefties, replaced Tom Gordon with a younger Kyle Farnsworth, are also looking to resign Al Leiter and if the rotation is healthy to start the season, they will be even deeper with Aaron Small in the bullpen.

12/16: Rumor Roundup

Posted by: Patrick
Myers Hopes Damon Will Eventually Replace Him as the Newest Yankee:

If the Yankees do not sign Garciaparra, they expect to sign Miguel Cairo to be their backup infielder. Cairo, a free agent, said this week that the Yankees were his first choice.


Myers Also Recruits:

General manager Brian Cashman is looking for another reliever from each side, and is pursuing righthanders Julian Taveras and Octavio Dotel. The second lefthander is likely to be Al Leiter.

» Read More

Posted by: Patrick
Well, I had to point this out.

Good stuff.
Posted by: Michael
Looks like our third baseman has decided to sit out of the inaugural World Baseball Classic.

"After thoughtful deliberations with my family, I am announcing my decision to withdraw from the World Baseball Classic," A-Rod told The New York Post. "When faced with the decision to choose between my country, the United States of America, and my Dominican heritage, I decided I will not dishonor either."

I would also consider the additional wear-and-tear on A-Rod, and being that this is the very first Classic, we just don't know how much of a strain that will add to his body. Especially when it comes down to the playoffs in October.

Another point-of-view would be the WORLD stage that it set. It would allow A-Rod to further showcase his talents and add to his own developing storied history. But I don't say he needs that. He can continue building upon his resume with the Yankees. I just want him to stay healthy and hit another 40-50 HRs.
Posted by: James
Update: It looks like the Dodgers aren't interested after all. However, other sources have now added the Orioles to the list of bidders.

Thank you turnover within the Dodger's organization! It looks like Los Angeles is jumping in the Johnny Damon sweepstakes and the buzz is that they are willing to go higher than four years. in my opinion, if Paul DePodesta was still in charge of that organization, there is no way that an offer would be made to Damon. Still, as long as the Yankees don't feel pressured into making their own 5-year offer, this is good news. It pushes the Yankees a little bit farther out of the fray because to this point, Yankees management has stated that a three year deal would be optimal and four years would be a stretch. Five years should get them out of the bidding altogether (hopefully). Also, the Red Sox, who might not be willing to take the possible PR hit of losing Damon, might up their offer in order to compete. Of course, they are setting up their contingency plans just in case and are reportedly also involved in talks with Seattle about Jeremy Reed.

And while we're talking about our friend Johnny, don't forget to vote in the Damon poll.

12/15: No-Mah Update

Posted by: James
Per Jason O's request, here's the latest on Nomar. It looks like the Indians and the Yankees aren't feeling too great on their chances of adding the former All-Star. If the Dodgers, who seem to be the frontrunners right now, sign Nomar, I see it as a double issue. A) The Yankees lose out on Nomar and B) the Dodgers will probably play Nomar in right, move Drew to center and back off of Johnny Damon...making the Yankees and Red Sox practically the only suitors. The more interested teams there are, the better the chances that the Yankees go in another direction, which would be ideal in my view.

I personally would not mind seeing Nomar in pinstripes. I think that the Yanks could stand to add another bat to the lineup and a rejuvenated Nomar would be just the ticket. He would also fit the role of a player who could potentially spot start at any position on the field (outside of pticher and catcher). I think the guys at noMaas.org outlined a nice little plan to give Nomar a good amount of playing time and the rest of the team good amounts of rest, a luxury that the Yanks haven't really had in the past few seasons.

Give Sheffield 20 games at DH and stick Nomar in RF. Give Matsui 15 games at DH and stick him in LF. Give Giambi 50 games at DH and stick Nomar at first. Give Rodriguez 10 games off at DH and stick Nomar at third, Give Jeter 10 games off at SS and stick Nomar at short. Give Cano 10 games off and stick Nomar at second. That's 115 games in the field.

12/15: ESPN Polls

Posted by: James
There's a fun little poll up on ESPN, comparing the Mets and the Yankees. As of now, a little over 40,000 people have voted and not too many surprises in the bunch, with most fans (over 60%) expecting both clubs to make the postseason next year. Naturally, everyone is heralding the Pedro signing as the best signing by either club while the Yankees take up the top three posts in the worst signings department, with Jaret Wright coming in first (51.5%), Carl Pavano second (24.3%) and Randy Johnson third (11.7%). I'm pretty sure that if the Womack signing was an option, it would have ranked highly as well! I was a little surprised at the slight edge given to the Mets outfield and very surprised that two-thirds of the country sees the Mets as being in better shape for the next five years. I don't have a great understanding of the Mets' farm system but didn't they just trade away their two best pitching prospects this winter? The Yankees system is definitely bottom-heavy with far more raw talent in the lower levels than in the top levels so maybe the Mets are the same way. If any Mets fans with an understanding of their system stops by, please let me know.

There's also another poll running on ESPN's main page asking where the world thinks Nomar is going to go. The only places that think that he's going anywhere other than the Yankees are California (the Dodgers), Ohio (the Indians) and Texas (the Astros), which just happen to be the three other teams that he is said to be considering. Come on, Nomar, feel the peer pressure!
Posted by: Patrick
I just wanted to take a moment to wish everyone a happy holiday season and a happy and healthy new year from us at YanksBlog.com. Thank you for reading. :)
Posted by: Patrick
With the Yankees apparently very interested in Damon, I thought that we'd take a quick poll here and see how many people, of our readers, want Damon/don't want Damon.

A simple yes/no answer will suffice. :)

Do you want the Yankees to sign Johnny Damon?

12/14: Rumor Roundup

Posted by: Patrick
Joe pitches to Damon:

The Yankees are talking with free-agent relievers Julian Tavarez, Octavio Dotel and Rudy Seanez, who is also talking with Boston.

... Asked whether the A's acquisition of Milton Bradley yesterday means that centerfielder Mark Kotsay is available, Oakland general manager Billy Beane replied, "Absolutely not."

Klap: Nomar at first base?:

If Boras' own negotiating history is any barometer, Damon could remain on the market well beyond New Year's. Either way, that won't impact the Yankees' pursuit of Garciaparra. If he signs elsewhere, Miguel Cairo remains an alternative, as does Pokey Reese, whose agents were contacted by Cashman last week.

» Read More

Posted by: Patrick
Nomar: The Utility Man
It used to be, years back, the best 3 short stops in the all of baseball were Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Nomar Garciaparra. Remember that? It wasn't that long ago. We were blessed to have Jeter. Most considered A-Rod to be better, but I always said I would never trade Jeter for him. Then, we traded for A-Rod. I remember that day. I was at my grandparents house. It was surreal. How did we, the Yankees, acquire Alex Rodriguez, largely considered the greatest player in the game? How did the best pick up the best? It was awesome. I couldn't believe it. It seemed like he was going to be a Red Sox and then, bam, the best player in the game is coming to New York and shifting positions. Insane. And he hasn't let down, of course.

Nomar has had a bit rockier path than Jeter and A-Rod. He's a question mark. So, he's looking for a one year deal to get himself back on track. And it looks like, it could be with the Yankees:

Three years ago the odds of Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Nomar Garciaparra together in the Yankees' infield were as long as a Beatles reunion.

Today, it's moving toward even money. That's because the Yankees are considering signing the 32-year-old Garciaparra to play first base.

While GM Brian Cashman and agent Arn Tellem refused to confirm or deny an offer has been made by the Yankees to Garciaparra, several industry sources indicated an offer has been made.

I'd like to see it happen. I think he'd be a useful backup 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, OF, DH, etc. The utility guy (see picture) in other words. Use him to give people days off and to fill in here and there.

Via noMaas.org (with permission) and Brian MacMillan.
Posted by: James
A couple of days, the Seattle Post mentioned that the Marinerís talks with the Yankees regarding Carl Pavano had moved away from including Jeremy Reed. Apparently, the Yankees didnít view him as an upgrade over Bubba Crosby. Honestly, I (and apparently Steve Lombardi as well) was so surprised that I almost spit up my coffee.

Letís talk a little about Reed, shall we? Jeremy Reed is:
-a kid (24 years old),
-who plays an good-to-very good CF (depending on who you ask),
-is cheap (heíll be under the Yankees control for at least the next 3 years),
-has a decent eye at the plate (OBP was almost 70 points higher than his AVG),
-and is pretty speedy on the basepaths (though he certainly needs work on when to go).

He was also considered the #2 prospect in the Seattle Mariners organization, coming in right after King Felix Hernandez. His main problem was an inability to hit lefties, putting up a line of just .200/.276/.267 while hitting .269/.335/.376 against righties. He also showed a little more power on the road, which is to be expected since he played his home games at the pitching paradise that is SafeCo.

» Read More

Posted by: James
It seems that a lot of people have been weighing in on Bernie William's status with the Yankees for next year. Patrick would like to see him back and has his reasons why. I personally am a huge fan of Bernie (I have a little statue of Bernie going back on a fly ball at my desk) but I have witnessed his slippage as a player and I can see the reasons why his roster spot might be better used. Larry Mahnken over at RLYW has an article up expressing his feelings on the matter and I have to admit, I find myself agreeing with most of his points. Bernabe, I love you, my man. However, watching you trying to catch up to fastballs that you used to pummel has been a very sad experience for me...the end of an era, really.

If the Yankees do resign Bernie, he would take Ruben Sierra's place as a DH/pinch-hitter/reserve outfielder so you're probably looking at 300-350 at bats. In comparison, Bernie had 485 ABs last year.

12/12: Rumor Roundup

Posted by: Patrick
Yanks contact Clemens' camp:

There is a little more fueling such talk now. The Yankees have had talks with Clemens' agents about a possible return to pinstripes, according to one of his reps. And the Red Sox also have made contact, according to a report in yesterday's Boston Globe.

"We have talked about things in general with the Yankees," one of Clemens' agents, Randy Hendricks, wrote in an E-mail to the Daily News yesterday. "We have told the teams that have called to talk to us in January because there is no rush, due to Roger's timetable."

» Read More

Posted by: Patrick
Recently, we sat down with Matthew McGough, who wrote Bat Boy: My Real Life Adventures Coming of Age with the New York Yankees (review). We asked him about the book, his time with the Yankees, the current Yankees and more.

Have you had any reactions from those that were mentioned in the book? Your parents, people in the front office, the players, coaches, clubhouse staff, etc.? Were there any negative reactions? Was this the first time that your parents had heard of most of your adventures?

As you hint in your question, there were a few adventures in Bat Boy that I'm pretty sure neither my parents nor the Yankees brass knew about at the time I was still working for the team, but thankfully the response has been very positive to date. I suppose I'm lucky to be too old now to be grounded by my folks for old offenses! As for the guys in the clubhouse, one of the most exciting things to have come out of writing the book is that it's brought me back in touch with a few of the ballplayers - Don Mattingly and Jim Abbott, in particular - who I hadn't seen or spoken with in more than a decade, since I was seventeen years old and about to leave for college. Both told me they enjoyed the book, and it's a thrill to be able to get together with those guys and talk with them man-to-man, now that I'm a little older (and hopefully a little wiser).

» Read More

12/10: Rumor Roundup

Posted by: Patrick
CAIRO MAY BE BACK IN BRONX:

The Yankees are believed to be interested in free agent Eduardo Perez, who hit .255 with 11 homers and a .368 OBP in just 161 at-bats with Tampa Bay this past year. The 36-year-old Perez, a right-handed hitter who played mostly first base in 2005, hit 10 of those homers in 137 at-bats against lefties. He also clobbered the Yankees this past year, going deep four times in 17 at-bats.

Former Met Hernandez picks Pirates over Yanks:

The Yankees are still exploring center field options, but the Texas Rangers, despite a surplus of outfielders, did not like what the Yankees offered for Laynce Nix or Gary Matthews Jr.

» Read More

Posted by: James
It looks like Roberto Hernandez will not be pitching for the Yanks but will be toeing the rubber for the Pirates next year. He signed a one year, 3 million dollar deal. The Yanks are reportedly still pursuing Julian Tavarez and Octavio Dotel, both of which seem like good options for the bullpen. Apparently, there is also some interest in Rick White, who I'm not exactly enamored with. I just don't think that he is a good enough pitcher in his role to be a central part of the bullpen nor should he command a 2 year deal.

Also, there are some rumblings that Miguel Cairo might be headed back to the Bronx. I'm not sure what to make of this potential signing. Cairo clearly played over his head when he was with the Yanks but as a utility guy, he does have a lot of use. The Mets certainly made use of him as he played every position but catcher, short and centerfield. He's an average defender at each position he plays and when he does play, he plays hard - both of which are good characteristics to have in your bench players.
Posted by: James
I would have completely missed this story if Brian MacMillan over at Off The Facade hadn't picked up on it. It turns out that the Twins picked up Erold Andrus from the Yankees farm system on Thursday. Now, I'm not completely aware of the rules regarding players chosen in the "minor league portion of the draft" and if those rules are any different from the major portion of the Rule 5 draft, but Andrus isn't a huge loss. At the beginning of the year, John Sickels over at Minor League Ball rated Erold as the 15th best prospect in the Yankees system and gave him a C+. At this point, after the latest draft and Erold's performance this past year (.241/.311/.334 in his age 21 season at A ball), I personally wouldn't even put Andrus in the top 25.

Just as a comparison...and to see who the Red Sox picked up for their castoff Renteria...here's Andy Marte's line from last year, also his age 21 year but at the AAA level: .275/.372/.506. Yeah, I know. Wow - and all they had to do was give up Renteria, who didn't exactly set the AL on fire last year. In addition, all they really need is a stop gap at short to keep the spot warm for Dustin Pedroia, who will be starting next year at AAA. Honestly, I've always thought that Hanley Ramirez was overrated and that Pedroia was going to be the better player. Now, it looks like he'll have the opportunity to show what he's got and to prove me right. I gotta give the Sox credit for this deal as it looks great on paper right now. Time will tell, of course.

12/09: Rumor Roundup

Posted by: Patrick
Williams accepts part-time role:

Also Wednesday, the Yankees spoke with agent Arn Tellem about Nomar Garciaparra, whom the club envisions playing multiple positions.

The Yankees will have interest in speaking with Roger Clemens now that the Astros have declined him arbitration. ...

However, Cashman and Boras were also engaged in discussion about Damon - talks that Boras indicated went well.

Phillies pick up some pitching:

For the moment, Looper is the only free-agent reliever the Phillies are after, but Gillick said they are in talks with a team about a possible trade for more pitching help.

That team could be the New York Yankees. The Yankees remain interested in outfielder Jason Michaels, and after the Chicago Cubs acquired centerfielder Juan Pierre from the Florida Marlins, that interest might pick up again. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman likes Michaels but wasn't willing to give up righthander Chien-Ming Wang to get him. But the Yankees might be willing to give up lefthanded pitching prospect Sean Henn.

» Read More

Posted by: Patrick
Williams accepts part-time role:

Bernie Williams is willing to take a part-time role to remain in pinstripes, and the Yankees are willing to take him back.

According to a source with knowledge of the negotiations, Williams and the Yankees agreed in principle to a one-year, $2 million contract.

Hopefully that is the case although it is not being widely reported. I'd like to get Bernie signed, so that the issue of a Yankee Legend's availability doesn't loom on. It started in New York and it should end in New York.

Via Pro Sports Daily.
Posted by: James
Update: The contract looks like it will be for 2 years for a total of $2.4 million. (At those dollars and without giving up any draft picks, this is a very efficent deal for a good situational lefty.)

It looks like Mike Myers is the most recent addition to the bullpen, joining Kyle Farnsworth as part of the bridge to Mariano. Myers, a 36-year-old lefty submariner, agreed to terms on a two-year contract with New York and the deal is contingent upon Myers passing a physical.

The Red Sox declined to offer him arbitration so the Yanks actually don't have to give up any draft picks for the privilege of signing him. I would have preferred a couple of other lefties but if the deal isn't too outrageous, this might work out okay for the Yankees. However, this is only if, and only if, Joe Torre makes sure to only use Myers against lefties. Mike has been great against lefties...but righties have battered him over the course of his career (.312 AVG against). If he is used properly, it should be fine. There were a couple of other lefties that I would have preferred to Myers (Rincon, Eischen) but still, it looks like a decent deal (pending the financials) and Patrick will be happy!
Posted by: James
Update: The AP has picked up the story so we do have confirmation on the trade. CBS Sportsline's Scott Miller reports the Yankees will get Kevin Howard, a Double-A second baseman who played in Chattanooga last season. This is what Baseball America had to say about Howard.

Howard has the biggest buzz coming into this year's draft after having a brilliant season in the Arizona Fall League. A fifth-round pick in 2002 out of Miami, Howard won the AFL batting title, hitting .409-3-16 in 88 at-bats. But perhaps his strongest asset was proving himself to be an adequate defender at third base. Howard played third in college, but played primarily second base since turning pro. He's a patient lefthanded hitter with a line-drive stroke, and has shown improved power. Some scouts in the AFL liked him better at third, and Howard could be solid at either spot making him the best overall position player available in the draft. Dan Uggla (Diamondbacks) is another utility player who dramatically upped his stock in the AFL, but Howard's lefthanded bat, which could be valuable off a big league bench, gives him the edge.

It looks like the Yanks will be also be recieving Ben Himes and sending $900k to the Reds.

» Read More

Posted by: Patrick
In addition to Bernie, the Yankees also offered arbitration to Al Leiter and (interestingly - to me, anyway) Ramiro Mendoza. All 3 declined the offer and will continue to negotiate.

No arbitration offers were made to Kevin Brown, Alan Embree, Matt Lawton, John Flaherty, Tino Martinez, Rey Sanchez, Felix Rodriguez or Ruben Sierra, which pretty much means that none of them will be back.

In addition to Tino, I'll miss Ruben. Over the last few years, I've developed a bit of an affection for him. Nonetheless, if it's him or Bernie, I'll take Bernie.
Posted by: Patrick
Museum dedicated to slugger Matsui opens doors to public:

A museum exhibiting some 1,000 items related to New York Yankees slugger Hideki Matsui opened here on Thursday.

About 500 fans had lined up at the Hideki Matsui Baseball Museum in Nomi before it opened to the public at 9:30 a.m.

As the article notes, this is the second museum dedicated to Hideki. His parents opened one 11 years ago, but it is now too small.

Via Brian.
Posted by: Seamus
The Yankees have offered Bernie Williams salary arbitration before the midnight Thursday deadline, according to the official Yankees' website. Williams and his agent, Scott Boras have agreed to decline the arbitration offer, allowing for more time for negotiation. The Yankees now have until January 8 to make a decision on Bernie.

Well this decision seems like a no-brainer. It's not like we have to sign him, so obviously I don't see how it could hurt just to prolong the negotiation period. Boras says that if Bernie remains a Yankee for next season, he will be competing for the starting CF job. I don't know about that, but a guy like Bernie can play a key role as a 4th OF off the bench. Bernie can still hit in the .250-.260 range and still hits good with guys on base as Patrick previously mentioned. I'm a little more optimistic about seeing him back next season than I was a couple months ago.
Posted by: Patrick
The Yankees have until today to offer Bernie arbitration. If they don't, he most likely will be going elsewhere. Because of the fact that the least someone can have taken off their deal through arbitration is 20% (taking him down to $9.6 million), it would be offered only if he would agree to decline it. This would allow the Yankees and Bernie to keep talking. If that doesn't happen, they can't sign him until May 1, which again... means he's likely gone.

Is it the end? I don't know. For everything that is negative, etc. about him, if he wants to play, I'd like him back. I'd be alright with a 1 year/$3-4 million dollar deal. He's not completely without value. He's a good guy to have around and even last year, he hit well with runners on. Our 3 OFs to start the season can't include him, but I'd like to see him as a backup. It'd burn to see him wearing another uniform, it really would.
Posted by: James
I'm not sure if anyone who regularly reads this website has ever checked out the site MetsBlog.com but I would suggest that you do. While the site covers mostly things from the Mets universe, they are also doing a great job with the winter meetings going on right now in Dallas. They have a man down there who is posting rumors, other buzzings, and his thoughts on such on a regular basis. If you like rumors or would just like to be a little bit ahead of ESPN (and a day ahead of the printed papers), I'd give the site a once-over.

Via Alex.
Posted by: James
Update: Wednesday, the 8th, is Eric's 21st birthday. Happy Birthday Eric! Also, this article mentioned something that I hadn't realized as Eric was named MVP of the Arizona Fall League today (in light of his performance, I'm not surprised). The article goes on and is a pretty concise interview and Eric comes across as a real good kid.

This article in the Post struck me as a little odd. I have no problems with Eric Duncan being moved to first. I was advocating that move long before it happened. What surprised, and annoyed, me was that the Yankee brass were pushing Duncan all the way up to AAA this quickly, especially after a so-so performance in AA.

Anyone who's read my posts for a little while should know that I have a soft spot for the Yankees' farm system. I believe that there's a decent amount of talent there (far more than what Baseball America/ESPN might lead you to believe) especially at the lower levels. I especially like Duncan and think that he's a good kid who could, if given the opportunity, put up some really good numbers at 1B. However, there are flaws in his game right now and a .235/.326/.408 line at AA does not show that he has worked them out. Sure, he banged around AFL pitchers (.362/.423/.764) over the course of 94 ABs, but that's only a start. Now that he has his confidence back, start him at AA and when he shows that he can hit AA solidly, THEN move him up to AAA. I'm biased here but my way certainly seems more reasonable! Honestly, I would be ecstatic if this move worked out for the Yanks...I just have a bad feeling that it will hurt more than it will help.
Posted by: Patrick
Jay-Z, hip hop icon and President of Def Jam, has coined a new catch phrase.

From The Rolling Stone:

"Manage your heat," he tells Jeezy's A&R man. "Get your Joe Torre on..." which means, become a brilliant manager and navigate the situation...

Edit: Forgot to mention that he goes on to mention Mariano in the article (print version):

Jay's success at getting deals done has earned him a new nickname: the Closer. "If I really want you, I'll close it like Mariano."
Posted by: Patrick
Players heading to international stage:

Jeter will play for the United States, while Cano will suit up for the Dominican Republic. Rodriguez, however, has not announced which country he will represent, as he is eligible to play for both the U.S. and the Dominican Republic. ...

Among the list of 177 were also four free agents who played for the Yankees in 2005: Al Leiter (United States), Felix Rodriguez (Dominican Republic), Rey Sanchez (Puerto Rico) and Bernie Williams (Puerto Rico).

Japan is expected to announce its team later in the week, though Hideki Matsui has not yet decided whether to participate in the event.

On top of that, Roberto Kelly will manage Panama, Luis Sojo will manage Venezuela, Robert Eenhoorn will manage The Netherlands and Tony Pena will manage the Domincan Republic.

Via Brian MacMillan.
Posted by: Seamus
A report on ESPN.com has indicated that the Yankees may have taken between a loss of anywhere from $50-85 million for the 2005 season. This comes after a season in which the Yankees set an all-time franchise attendance record.

The article doesn't say for sure whether that number actually includes revenue brought in from the YES network. If it does, this comes as a complete shock to me. The Yankees play in the largest media market in the world, and it's not as if memorabilia sales have taken a major hit. The Yankees as a franchise are one of the largest, most successful businesses in all of sports. I guess the payroll was just too much. When you factor in revenue sharing and the luxury tax, the Yankees shelled out over $300 million (think about that: $300+ million to pay 25 guys to play baseball).

Well this would explain why the Yankees have decided to place a little more trust in their farm system and have refrained from chasing after a bunch of big name free agents this offseason. After Bernie's and Kevin Brown's salaries have come off the books, the Yankees' payroll should see a bit of a decrease if the Yankees don't make anymore major acquisitions.
Posted by: Patrick
According to the New York Post:

The last time Juan Pierre played center field in Yankee Stadium, he helped the Marlins win the 2003 World Series.

Now, Pierre could be returning to The Bronx as the Yankeesí center-fielder. The cash-dumping Marlins have asked for lefty Sean Henn and right-handed reliever Scott Proctor for Pierre, and the Yankees didnít reject the offer. ...

When the other center fielders available are presented, Pierre stacks up. The Angels are shopping Darin Erstad and Steve Finley. The Dodgers are expected to trade Milton Bradley before Dec. 20. The Phillies asked for Chien-Ming Wang, possibly the Yankeesí No. 3 starter, for Jason Michaels, who never has been a regular player. Carl Pavanoís name surfaced yesterday in a possible deal for Michaels. Tampa Bay could move Joey Gathright but he is raw.

For whatever downsides he has, Pierre does intrigue me. I'd be interested to see what a lineup that started with him, Jeter and A-Rod could accomplish. If he doesn't get on base, he could always bat 9th. He'll be 28 on opening day. He puts the ball in play (career .305, 3 seasons with more than 200 hits), he puts it in play with RISP (career .304) and he is capable of getting on base (career .355 OBA). We all know about his speed. He's durable - he hasn't missed a game since 2002, has played 162 games for 3 straight years and has missed 16 games in the last 5 seasons. His D doesn't seem to be particularly noteworthy. But, the deal does interest me and I'd be interested in giving him a go.

Proctor I don't really care about. Henn is a little different though. Not that I like him or anything, but could we get something else for him? Don't know.

Via Alex.
Posted by: Patrick
From Beckett.com:

The organ, played by the late Yankee Stadium legend, Eddie Layton will be just one of over 200 items to go on the block during an auction to be held from 3-6PM on Friday, December 9th by Yankees-Steiner Collectibles and Grey Flannel Auctions. ...

... The Yankees Managerís desk chair will be auctioned off along with some of the most historic memorabilia in Yankees history including; the earliest known autographed Mickey Mantle game bat, a Babe Ruth game used bat... Also included in the auction is a 1942 Joe DiMaggio game-used pinstripe jersey, Mickey Mantleís 1955 game-used autographed jersey and numerous other one of a kind iconic memorabilia from the history of the New York Yankees.

Fans will also be able to bid on many great Ruth and Gehrig autographed items, a section of Yankee Stadiumís outfield wall pad, including the 399-foot marker and Derek Jeterís 2005 Opening Day jersey.

I agree with Steve. What are we doing? Selling Layton's organ? This stuff should be kept and we should build the finest individual sports team museum in the world. I mean, if any MLB team deserves it's own museum, surely the Yankees are at the top of the list? There is so much that you could do with it. Would it conflict with the Baseball Hall of Fame? Possibly, but there is enough cool stuff to go around.

I was thinking... "perhaps they could do a museum in the old Yankee Stadium?" So, I Googled it and came up with this, in regard to the old stadium:

The field and most of the shell of the current stadium will be preserved, and the city and state will help build a hotel, convention center, a high school for sports medicine and sports management, a museum and other offices in and around the current stadium.

Is that... a Yankees museum, perhaps? In any case, this stuff should be saved, not sold.

Via Steve.
Posted by: Patrick
From Ken Rosenthal:

The Yankees made a late push for Gordon, increasing their offer from two to three years in their bid to retain him as Mariano Rivera's setup man.


A commenter at WasWatching.com, MJ, made a great point.

... I still don't see why they didn't go all out with Gordon AND Farnsworth. If they were willing to throw money at Karsay, Quantrill, Stanton, Hammond and all the other scrubs that have polluted the bullpen, why would they play coy with the one reliever besides Mo that has actually done his job?

At this point, I find myself agreeing and feeling a bit disappointed that we didn't push a little harder, but I suppose you can always feel that way when you don't sign a guy.

Via Steve.
Posted by: Seamus
According to ESPN, Tom Gordon and the Philadelphia Phillies have come to terms on a three-year deal worth $18 million. Gordon will become the team's closer after the Phillies lost Billy Wagner this week to the Mets.

Well, 3 years and $18 million was probably a little much for the Yankees to shell out for Gordon. I was thinking more in the range of 2 years and about $12 or 13 million if we were going to keep him. It helps though that we found another setup guy in Kyle Farnsworth and there are some decent arms still available such as Octavio Dotel, Mike Myers, and Ricardo Rincon.
Posted by: Michael
Its reported today that Brian Giles has decided to remain with the San Diego Padres. Three years at $30 million.

"We're extremely excited that Brian Giles will be wearing a Padres uniform for the next several seasons," general manager Kevin Towers said. "He is a tremendous everyday player who is an offensive force and a solid defender."

Another fish gets away from the Yankees. Who is next on the Radar screen to play the legendary CF position for the Yanks?