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You are currently viewing archive for November 2006.

Posted by: Patrick
Here's a quick rundown of free agent rumblings.

George King:

Julio Zuleta is a right-handed-hitting first baseman with power who, according to Zuleta, hits Daisuke Matsuzaka very well. So do the Yankees, who are looking for a right-handed-hitting first baseman so Jason Giambi can DH, have an interest in the 31-year-old who clubbed 109 homers across the past three years in Japan? ...

The agent for Octavio Dotel has held talks with the Yankees about bringing back the veteran right-handed reliever, and has chatted about Keith Foulke, too.

"We have talked about both, more so Dotel," said agent Dan Horwits.

I'd take a pass on Foulke, but I'm interested in bringing Dotal back in a low risk/high reward situation. 1 year deal, most likely, in other words.

Dan Graziano:

To that end, they have had conversations with free-agent right-hander Vicente Padilla, who was 15-10 with a 4.50 ERA for the Texas Rangers last year. A baseball official familiar with the Yankees' plans described Padilla as one of several free-agent pitchers on which the team is keeping tabs.

Tyler Kepner:

Cashman has other goals besides refining the rotation. The Yankees are pursuing another left-handed reliever and could bring back Ron Villone or sign the free agent Scott Schoeneweis.

George King:

"We have talked to the Yankees about [Pettitte and Clemens]," agent Randy Hendricks told The Post via e-mail yesterday. "We have also talked to other teams as well. No decision has been made, but I expect one to be made before Christmas by Andy. Who knows about Roger?"

At Joe Torre's "Safe At Home Foundation" dinner in November, Pettitte told friends a return to The Bronx was an option. ...

I'd welcome Andy back. Rather him than Lilly or Meche or something like that.

Anthony McCarron:

Craig Wilson remains a possible option in the Yanks' pursuit of a righthanded-hitting first baseman. Cashman has had a conversation with Wilson's agent, and the two are expected to talk again at next week's winter meetings. ...

Via Pro Sports Daily.
Posted by: Patrick
From the New York Post:

"I am going to support him as I possibly can," Matsui told Sankei Sports. "I do not mind introducing him to an American girlfriend if he likes - just kidding. If he has his best performance next season, I believe the Yankees will be the world champions. The Yankees are the team whose players are proud of their great tradition. He does not have to worry about New York life because there is no big difference from Japan. Maybe he has to drive in Manhattan much more careful."


Via Pro Sports Daily.
Posted by: Jason
If you accept the proposition that the (yet to be sealed) Igawa deal will end NYY's foray into the starting pitching market, then the rotation could be something like:

1) Wang
2) Mussina
3) Johnson
4) Igawa
5) Sanchez, Karstens or Rasner

Johnson immediately emerges as the key to the rotation next year. Given his oscillating performances (the early season Toronto bashing vs. the dominant June outing vs. DET) we are left to wonder:

Did Cashman know about the back issue before the end of '06? If so, is he confident that RJ can recapture his '04 form now that the back has been repaired?

Don't get super comfortable in Scranton, Phil.

Posted by: Seamus
ESPN is reporting that the Yankees have sent in the top bid for Japanese pitcher Kei Igawa for around $25 million. The Yankees have until December 28 to reach a deal with the pitcher.

That's about as high as I would've made the bid for Matsuzaka. Now we're going to pay $25 million just for the right to a guy who will probably put up similar numbers to a pitcher we could get under contract for that much for about three years. But hey, when the Red Sox are about to pay $75 million for J.D. Drew for five years, maybe this isn't TOO bad.
Posted by: Patrick

The Hanshin Tigers have accepted the top bid -- believed to be about $25 million -- for left-handed pitcher Kei Igawa, has learned.

The announcement on who got him is expected tonight. Would we really pay that much for Igawa with what we put forward for Matsuzaka in mind? Then again, I don't know much about Igawa.

Via Jim Baumbach.
Posted by: Patrick
It's finally official. Mussina is back for 2 years.

The ink on Mike Mussina's new contract with the Yankees has been dry for about a week, but with the recent Thanksgiving holiday, the Bombers delayed making the announcement official until Monday.
Posted by: James
David Pinto over at Baseball Musings broke out his Probabilistic Model of Range (link eventually leads to a video on the stat) for Second Basemen yesterday. Of the 37 second basemen profiled, Yankees second baseman Robbie Cano came in 12th, which isn't too shabby for a player that was initially profiled as an below-average to average fielder. Pinto's system predicted that with the same amount of chances, Cano should be able to convert 373 outs; Cano was able to get 385.

Now before you point it out, yes, I realize that defensive metrics are still more or less in their first/second iterations. Still, it still makes me feel good to know that Cano is getting better and that Pinto's PMR isn't the only one that shows Cano being an above average defender. Baseball Prospectus' Rate2 statistic pegged Cano at 113 (100 being average) for 2006 after a 2005 season at a Rate2 of 100. Let's hope Robbie can keep this up.

Update: First Basemen are also profiled (Giambi is DEAD LAST - big surprise there), as are Left Fielders (way to go Melky...and wow on Manny Ramirez), Center Fielders (Damon doesn't do too badly), Right Fielders (Abreu is right smack at average) and Shortstops (Jeter is 5th to last).
Posted by: YB Bloggers
With the hitters done, here are our 2006 regular season grades for the pitchers.

SP - Chien-Ming Wang: A
Patrick: In a rotation full of veterans, it was the second year Wang who stood out the most. His 19 wins led the team and the AL (tied with Cy Young winner, Johan Santana). He pitched in 34 games (he pitched one in relief, giving him a save), had 2 complete games, 1 shutout, threw 218 innings (5th best in the AL) and allowed just 12 home runs with an ERA of 3.63 (T7th AL), a WHIP of 1.31 and a BAA of .277. Statistically, Wang was the ace of this staff.

SP - Randy Johnson: B-
Seamus: The Big Unit struggled a bit as his age seemed to be catching up with him. His fastball isn't what it used to be and he was a bit more wild than in the past (most likely a result of him throwing too hard to compensate for what he's lost in his arm). He did start to show some signs, though, towards the second half of the season and he did seem to be adapting better to becoming a pitcher rather than a thrower as the season went on. However, although he's still (in my opinion, anyway) better than the average pitcher, this season was the first season that Johnson has had an ERA of 5 or higher since his 6.67 mark in 1989 when he pitched only 29 and 2/3 innings.

» Read More

Posted by: Patrick
As a follow up to the hitters, here are the pitcher results from our community projections.

Randy Johnson

            G GS    IP  W  L BB   K  ERA
Projected: 33 33 223.2 19 7 45 228 3.36
Actual: 33 33 205.0 17 11 60 172 5.00
Our projection for Randy was pretty aggressive. We were hopeful that he'd return to form. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. Even so, we nailed games and games started and were only off on wins by 2.

Individuals Dead On: James for games. Seamus and James for games started.

Mike Mussina

            G GS    IP  W L BB   K  ERA
Projected: 29 29 185.0 14 9 47 145 4.40
Actual: 32 32 197.1 15 7 35 172 3.51
While we hoped The Unit would return to form, we didn't give Moose much of a chance. We got close in some areas, but on the whole, he proved us wrong, big time. He performed better than every single one of our projections.

Individuals Dead On: Mike and Richard A. Holland for wins. Me for losses.

» Read More

Posted by: Patrick has an interview with new Yankee Kevin Whelan:

"I actually found out the day before the wedding," Kevin Whelan told after just getting back from his honeymoon, "an hour or so before they announced the trade. I was actually really shocked. I wasn't expecting it, of course I had so much going on with the wedding. I wasn't expecting it by any means." ...

"I see myself as a closer. I love being in that situation and in that role. As soon as I got traded I was sitting there thinking, 'wow, the Yankees have Mariano Rivera'. I would just love to sit down with that guy to talk to him and just learn from him. There's nobody else in the big leagues I'd rather learn from than him. He's so successful. He's one of the best closers in the game. It'll be a lot of fun. Hopefully I'll get a chance to talk to him and learn from him." ...

One of Whelan's friends growing up and former college rival is J. Brent Cox. While Whelan was closing out games for Texas A&M, Cox was closing out games for the University of Texas.

"I talked to J. Brent Cox right after the trade and he said 'the Yankees treat you good'. He played for [The University of] Texas so we were big rivals in college. I played with him in high school."
Posted by: Patrick
From the San Francisco Chronicle:

On Nov. 15, after attending his own charity poker tournament in Manhattan, he canceled on a major fundraiser the next night at the Yogi Berra Museum in Little Falls, N.J. According to a person in the Rodriguez camp who spoke on condition of anonymity, A-Rod's mother, Lourdes, had suddenly been hospitalized -- certainly a legitimate excuse and far better than the reason David Wright's people gave for him not showing. (Wright had been inadvertently double-booked that night.)

But Wright is a Met, A-Rod a Yankee, and because he has a history around town of blowing off events (including one of Torre's last year), because the call to the museum to cancel was made not by Rodriguez but by one of his employees, because there was an A-Rod sighting Nov. 17 at courtside of the Knicks-Heat game in Miami, the museum people and the Berra family and even the Yankees' president, Randy Levine, were said to be in a snit, with the impression that A-Rod too often gives: He just doesn't get it.

Not going to make an assumptions or pass down a guilty verdict because I don't think that's fair, but it is a little odd.

Via Steve.
Posted by: Patrick

Finding a capable backup catcher is high on the Yankees' agenda this offseason, and the agent for Gregg Zaun said last night that he has been in "consistent" contact with general manager Brian Cashman.

Via Pro Sports Daily.
Posted by: Patrick

Pat Dobson, 64, one of four Baltimore Orioles pitchers to win 20 games in 1971, died in a San Diego area hospital on Wednesday night. The cause of death was not immediately known. ...

Dobson was 122-129 lifetime with a 3.54 ERA in 414 games (279 starts) for Detroit, San Diego, Baltimore, Atlanta, the New York Yankees and Cleveland from 1967-77. He helped guide the Tigers to the 1968 world championship, while his 1971 Orioles club lost to the Pirates in the World Series. He was an All-Star with the Orioles in 1972, though he finished 16-18, but with a 2.65 ERA.

Dobson was traded to the Yankees on June 7, 1973 in exchange for Frank Tepedino, Wayne Nordhagen, Dave Cheadle and Al Closter. In his 2 and 1/2 plus seasons in New York, he was 39-37 with a 3.65 ERA. On November 22, 1975, he was traded to Cleveland for Oscar Gamble.
Posted by: YB Bloggers
The 2006 is well over now and we've had some time to think and reflect back on the individual performances of the season. And so, here are our individual player grades for the 2006 regular season. First, we have the hitters. We'll cover the pitchers in a future entry.

C - Jorge Posada: A
Patrick: 2006 was a nice bounce back year for Jorge, from the down year that 2005 was. He hit .277 with a .374 OBA, .492 SLG, 27 doubles, 23 home runs and 93 runs batted in. His .492 SLG was the 3rd best mark he's put up in his career while the 143 games he played ties with 2002 for the second most in a single season. Somehow, he managed to steal 3 bases, more than he's ever stolen in a single season, while not being caught once.

C - Sal Fasano: C
Jason O.: How can you not love Sal? The sweet facial hair, the cannoli-fueled physique - this guy is 100% old school. He fulfilled his expected role admirably (very little offense, above average defense) as a back-up catcher after the release of Kelly Stinnett.

» Read More

Posted by: Patrick

Mike Krzyzewski is accustomed to expectations of greatness as Duke University's basketball coach. He says it's nothing compared with what Joe Torre faces as manager of baseball's New York Yankees.

``There's more pressure on Joe Torre than anyone coaching anywhere,'' Krzyzewski, who has won three national championships and 684 games at Duke, said in an interview for Bloomberg Radio's ``On the Ball'' program.
Posted by: Patrick
I just wanted to mention that some other Yankees showed up on ballots, as well.

A-Rod received 1 5th place vote, 2 8th place votes and 1 10th place vote. Jason Giambi received 1 6th place vote and 2 9th place votes. Johnny Damon received 1 5th (?) place vote and 1 10th place vote. Robinson Cano received 1 8th place vote. Mo received 1 9th place vote. Finally, Chien-Ming Wang received 1 9th place vote.
Posted by: Patrick
Before I mention the link, I just wanted to remind everyone that this is just baseball and is just a matter of opinion. It's very, very easy to criticize when you aren't the one voting. And no matter what the case is, again, it's just a game - personal attacks and namecalling have no place. Do I think Jeter should have won? Yes. Am I disappointed he didn't? Yes. Yes, yes, yes. But, it should be kept in perspective. So, if you want to contact these individuals and give your opinion, very well. But, keep it classy and respectful, please. Respresent us well.

Anyway, here is the link. For those curious, the person who voted Jeter 4th was Danny Knobler of Booth Newspapers in Detroit. The person who voted him 6th was Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun Times.

Via Fabian.
Posted by: Jason
First, I knew something was afoot when Ryan Howard won the NL MVP over the deserving Pujols.

Also, don't expect me to start this with the pro forma "all due respect to Morneau" concession. As has been mentioned 37 times elsewhere, Morneau was not even the MVP of his own team. He did not deserve this award, period.

I'll review the extensive damage that the sacred BBWAA has done to the MVP award by drawing appropriate analogies:

1) The Heisman Trophy: In 1989, Raghib "Rocket" Ismail was without question the best player in college football. Notre Dame's coaching staff actually INVENTED a play for the Rocket, the flanker screen. Who wins the Heisman? Ty Detmer, of course, who threw for 200,000 yards in the defensively challenged (to be kind) Western Athletic Conference.

2) The Oscars, 1999: Steven Spielberg crafts one of the 15 greatest movies in 100 years of Hollywood, Saving Private Ryan. The film succeeds on so many levels that it almost defies description.

Best Picture? Shakespeare in Love.

Reflect on that for a moment. A movie memorable now to me only in the absurdity of Ben Affleck cast as an original Shakespearean actor.

Recall the 7th inning of the 2nd game of the doubleheader in the defining Boston series this year. Bases loaded. #2 clears the bases with an opposite field double. Yankees win en route to a sweep.

Morneau over Jeter. I am baffled...and like the oscars and the Heisman, I'll never look at the award the same way again.

Posted by: James
According to Peter A. over at the LoHud Yankees Blog, Minnesota's Justin Morneau won the American League MVP over Derek Jeter.

Morneau had 320 points and 15 first-place votes. Jeter had 306 points and 12 first-place votes. Pete A. found the link to the official BBWAA release, includes the voting breakdown. Morneau hit .321/.375/.559 with 34 homers, 130 RBIs and 3 steals while Jeter batted .343/.417/.483 with 14 homers, 97 RBIs and 34 SBs.

Much like Alex Bleth over at Bronx Banter, I could have lived with Jeter losing to Mauer and Santana but losing to Morneau is just plain annoying. He was CLEARLY the THIRD most valuable player on that Minnesota team behind Mauer and Santana and yet he beats out Derek Jeter for the MVP. I might sound like a fanboy here but to me, that's just ridiculous.

Update: Say what you will about Derek Jeter, he was all class in his remarks about his getting hosed, I mean, losing, the MVP award. For those of you who side with me, I'd check out Mike A.'s thoughts as well as what NoMaas has to say. The comments over at David Pinto's Baseball Musings are also definitely worth a look.
Posted by: Patrick
The AL MVP will be announced today. If it goes to Jeter, that will be an acceptable birthday gift.
Posted by: Patrick
From the New York Post:

Former Yankee three-time World Series champion Scott Brosius will take over from Scott Carnahan, his head coach at Linfield College in McMinnville, Ore., starting in 2008. Carnahan will be Brosius' pitching coach for the Division III program. "I am excited," the Yankees' third baseman from 1998 to 2001 tells The Post's George King. "I have been an assistant the last few years and things worked out and led to the head coach. It's a 40-game schedule and it won't keep me away from my wife and [three] kids." The classy Brosius doesn't follow the Yankees closely but is aware Alex Rodriguez has had a tough time with the fans. "I would have been thrilled with those numbers," Brosius said.

Via Steve.
Posted by: James
If you saw the $51.1 million posting for Matzuka and thought it was just a blip, get ready to be amazed. A Chicago-based radio station is reporting that the Cubs just signed Alfonso Soriano to an 8 year deal worth $136 million. That's $17 million per season for those playing along at home. $17 million for converted infielder who happens to turn 31 years old in a month. Yes, I know he went 40/40 last year but Soriano scares me on many levels. I mean, he was playing for a new contract last year, a good part of his game built on his speed and even in his best year (last year), his OBP was just .351. Honestly, if you look at his career stats, last year certainly looks like a outlier, doesn't it? Well, the Cubs will certainly find out over the next 8 years.

What does this mean for the Yankees? Well, remember a couple of years ago when a ton of teams were just throwing around money (and the Yanks picked up Pavano & Wright) - yeah, it looks like it's going to be one of those free-agent hauls this year. If you want to pick someone up, be prepared to pay through the nose for him because a lot of teams seem to have cash just burning a hole in their pocket. For example, look at Mark DeRosa. He's a utility infielder that I liked at the beginning of the offseason to fill Miggy Cairo's spot on the Yankees bench. He plays a lot of positions (all of them pretty well actually) and I figured he wouldn't command more than a couple million on the open market. I mean, DeRosa will turn 32 before the beginning of next year and prior to last year, really hadn't done too much. So what happened? Well, he was signed to a 3 year, 13 million dollar deal by (who else?) the Cubs. Wow. I can't wait to see what Boras is drumming up for Mr. Zito.

In hindsight, it looks like Detroit really did get a bargain on Sheffield at just $13 million. Who knew?

Update: Justin Speier, who Patrick had mentioned earlier as a player that the Yanks were looking at, just signed with LAnaheim to a 4 year, $18 million dollar deal. $4.5 million a year for a reliever who is pretty good and has been consistent the last few years but is also turning 33 before the start of next season. Interesting. Even with the minimal amount of actual talent out on the free agent market, it looks like big dollars and long-terms are back in vogue.
Posted by: Patrick
Ted Lilly:

"We have an interest but that is it, it's premature [at this point]," Cashman said of the 30-year-old Lilly, who was a Yankee from 2000-02 (8-12 in 49 games). He was sent away in the trade that brought Jeff Weaver to the Bronx.

Lilly will be 31 on opening day. For his career, he is 59-58 with a 4.60 ERA. During his time in New York, he was 8-12 in 205.1 IP over 49 games wth a 4.65 ERA. Last season with Toronto, he was 15-13 with a 4.31 ERA. He threw 181.7 innings in 32 games, meaning he pitched about 5 and 2/3 a start.

Rich Aurilla:

Rich Aurilia grew up in Brooklyn rooting for the Yankees and now may have a chance to wear the pinstripes. ...

"We've had conversations," Axelrod said of the Yankees, "and I would characterize it as sort of open-ended at this point."

Aurilla is 35 years old. Last year, he played in 122 games for Cincinnati, getting 440 ABs. He hit .300 with a .349 OBA, 23 home runs and 70 RBI.

Justin Speier:

Free-agent right-hander Justin Speier would like to sign a new contract soon and the Orioles are "right there in the mix," according to his agent, Chris Arnold.

The Orioles offered Speier a three-year deal worth about $12 million during last week's general managers meetings in Florida. They sweetened it Friday, Orioles vice president Jim Duquette confirmed. He would not reveal specifics of the new offer.

Speier is 33 years old. After a number of up and down/iffy years, he has been excellent in the past two seasons, posting ERAs of 2.56 and 2.98 in 65 and 58 games, respectively.

Via Pro Sports Daily.
Posted by: Patrick
According to the Philadelphia Daily News:

"It came down between the Yankees and the Phillies," Helms said, and then listed why he chose Philadelphia. "I definitely wanted to stay in the National League. I knew all the pitchers. I knew all the hitters. I know where to play them in the field. Everybody I know who has changed leagues, it's an adjustment period. ...

Apparently, he thinks he'll be happier, too, starting at least part of the time at third base - instead of getting consistent playing time at first base for baseball's most marquee team as the replacement for the departed Craig Wilson/Gary Sheffield experiment.

"The role was to play first base," Helms said. "They were going to DH [Jason] Giambi. On the guaranteed side, they were a little higher [in salary]. But that's just me. I'm going to go where I'm happy. I felt like this is where I needed to be."

Via Steve.
Posted by: Patrick
As you may remember, from earlier in the year, we had a community projections project where we asked readers (as well as Bloggers, of course) to make statistical predictions for various players on the Yankees roster. With the season well over, it's time that we take a look back and find out how close or far away we were. Today, we'll take a look at the hitters. We'll have the pitchers in the next few days probably.

Before we get started, I just wanted to thank James for coming up with the idea and getting behind it, compiling the averages and more. Thanks James.

» Read More

11/17: Chris Britton

Posted by: Patrick
I just wanted to mention that we are sponsoring his page. He'll probably get traded now...
Posted by: Patrick
George King:

According to industry sources, the Yankees have Hillenbrand high on their list. Their plan is to use Jason Giambi as a DH, thus creating a need for a first baseman who isn't a left-handed hitter because the Yankees have lefty swingers Bobby Abreu, Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui, Robinson Cano and Giambi in the lineup. ...

Dan Horwits, the agent for Octavio Dotel, said the Yankees have an interest in bringing the right-handed reliever back. "They want to re-sign him and we are working toward that." Danys Baez' agent, Greg Genske, said, "The Yankees have expressed interest in signing Danys" even though Baez wants to close.

Via Pro Sports Daily.
Posted by: Patrick

"We'll probably have him proceed and prepare as a starter, because you can always go the other way, slide him down and reduce his workload. But it's hard to go the other way," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said yesterday as the general managers' meetings concluded. "But that's for another day."

Cashman soon will deliver these likely instructions to Proctor, as the righthander has to work out according to the Yankees' directives.

Sounds like a good idea. Not to start him in the rotation, necessary, but just to prepare him for it. Keeping options open isn't a bad thing. I'm sure some people would rather see Proctor make the rotation, than us give Barry Zito a huge, long term deal.

Via Pro Sports Daily.
Posted by: Patrick reports that Johan Santana was unanimously voted as the 2006 AL Cy Young Award winner. That gave him 180 points. Wang managed to finish second, though, with 51 points, just ahead of Roy Halladay's 48. Wang received 15 second place votes and 6 third place votes, meaning that he was left off of 7 ballots.
Posted by: Patrick
According to, Joe Torre finished 4th in the AL Manager of the Year voting. Only 4 managers received votes. Jim Leyland won with 114 points, followed by Ron Gardenhire who had 93. After that it was Ken Macha with 26 and Mr. Torre with 15 (1 2nd place vote and 12 3rd place votes).
Posted by: Jason
If your team collapsed and finished 11 games behind your rival, wouldn't you do anything possible to prevent your rival from getting better, and quite possibly leaving you (even further back) in the dust for 2007?

The RS were forced to bid like a James Bond villain because it was their only option to try to maintain, as Henry Kissinger would say, a balance of power in the east.

Another benefit for Lucchino and friends: If the RS do sign DM for between $85-$100m (including the posting bid) that directly increases Zito's leverage and indirectly increases the leverage of any other FA starting pitcher on Cashman's board.

That is, if the Red Sox are actually serious about signing DM, IMO the probability of that is still roughly 0.5 a.k.a. a coin flip.

11/15: $51,100,000!

Posted by: Patrick

The $51.1 million winning bid is only the start. Now the Red Sox have 30 days to finalize a contract with the Japanese ace. ...

The Mets finished second with a bid between $39 million and $40 million, according to a baseball official who spoke on condition of anonymity because none of the losing bids were revealed. The Yankees bid between $32 million and $33 million, another baseball official said.

I wish Matsuzaka the best and hope he lives up to the expectations. But, I am glad that we did what we did. We threw a lot of money out there ($32-$33 is a lot of money!) to try to get him, but we didn't go too far. And we ended up 3rd. That's fine. Could you imagine the headlines if we had bid $51.2 or higher? lol. Not that I care about headlines, but man. Still, I like where we are. It was a good play. We put in a bid that allowed us to make it so that no one got him "too cheaply" (I use that term very loosely) and that they had to bid to win, which we did and the Mets and especially the Red Sox, certainly did.

Jim Baumbach:

I've got to believe the Seibu Lions officials, after receiving the bid last week, spent their weekends laughing and laughing, and laughing and laughing.

That's the downside of the sealed bid process.
Posted by: Patrick
Joel Sherman:

After the 2007 season, Rodriguez has the right to void the final three years on his contract and declare free agency. He would be walking away from $81 million (of which the Yanks are responsible for $51 million, with the Rangers picking up the rest). ...

Following the 2007 season, Rodriguez will gain leverage to potentially follow one of three paths: 1) to opt out as a free agent; 2) to push the Yanks to extend his contract upon threat of opting out; 3) to use the threat of opting out and the Yanks getting nothing to push the Yanks to trade him to a desired spot so that he does not have to forfeit the $27 million annually.

Boy, that contract was a monster.
Posted by: Patrick
From the New York Post:

According to several industry Sources, Mussina, 38 next month, and the Yankees have agreed to a two-year deal worth $22.5 million after he went 15-7 with a 3.51 ERA in 32 starts.

Works for me.

Posted by: Patrick
Ken Rosenthal:

Believe it or not, teams are contacting the Yankees about trading for right-hander Carl Pavano; the Rockies are one club that might have interest if the Yankees paid a portion of the $21 million that Pavano is owed over the next two seasons.

The Yankees, naturally, say they won't give Pavano away; their public position is that they want him to get healthy and be productive. Still, it's difficult to imagine the Yankees rejecting even a mediocre offer for a pitcher who has been a severe disappointment.

One rotation possibility that the Yankees might consider, with or without Pavano: Right-hander Scott Proctor, who was one of the team's best relievers last season.

Via Steve.
Posted by: Patrick

The Red Sox bid $42 million for the right to negotiate with prized Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka, sources told ESPN's Peter Gammons. Boston's bid far exceeded any other team's offer.

If that holds up... wow. $42 million dollars. On one hand, Matsuzaka is an exciting player. On the other hand, there is a part of me that is glad it's not us.
Posted by: Patrick
According to Jon Heyman:

The winner of the Daisuke Matsuzaka sweepstakes should be known in the States by Monday night. While the winning team has been kept quiet, one person in the know suggested there were multiple bids in the $30 million range, and perhaps even a little higher.

The Seibu Lions are expected to accept a posting fee for Matsuzaka that should trump their lofty expectations. reported that the Red Sox bid between $38-45 million, and some competing executives are taking the lack of denial of this story by MLB people as a sign Boston is indeed the high bidder -- even if those figures are slightly off. While industry scuttlebutt had Boston's bid at "close to $40 million,'' one person indicated the reported $38-45 million range was "not correct.'' But if Boston's bid was just a million or two lower than that range, it's still hard to see someone else landing Matsuzaka. It is believed that both the Mets and Yankees bid closer to the $30 million neighborhood, and neither New York team seemed particularly optimistic they'd beaten Boston to Matsuzaka.
Posted by: Patrick
No longer a rumor. According to the The Baltimore Sun:

The Orioles have agreed to trade reliever Chris Britton to the New York Yankees for starting pitcher Jaret Wright and cash, according to two team sources. ...

Along with Wright, a 30-year-old right-hander with a 68-57 record over 10 major league seasons, the Yankees have agreed to send the Orioles $4 million, according to sources. That is the amount it would have cost New York to buy out Wright's 2007 option.

Britton, a 23 year old right handed reliever, put together a nice rookie campaign in 2006, pitching in 52 games, going 0-2 with a 3.35 ERA after beginning the season at AA Bowie, where he pitched in 13 games going 1-0 with a 2.81 ERA. He never pitched a game in AAA and Baseball America said he had the "best control" of any pitcher in the Orioles system last year.

Seems like a good deal to me.

Via Chris (a quick guy!) and
Posted by: James
Excellent. If this report from ESPN bears fruit, I would be very pleased indeed. I mentioned this earlier in the comments about the Sheffield trade but I'm glad to see the Yankees front office thinking along the same wavelengths. The Yankees are on the hook for a 4 million dollar buyout with Wright so why not pick up the option (another 3 million) and then package him and some cash and try to get something potentially useful.

I realize that Wright did go 11-7 with a 4.49 ERA last year but he rarely lasted past the sixth inning (wearing down the bullpen) and infuriated managers, coaches and fans with the way he would pitch from behind in the count. It was maddening to watch the man pitch. Also, even though he didn't give up the longball, he was plenty hittable (.283 /.355/.414/.770 line against), especially against lefties (.314/.390/.487/.876 against - in essence, he basically made every lefty who faced him into Matsui in his best year).

Still, if this were to happen, it certainly would put the onus on resigning Mike Mussina, though most sources say that those negotiations are in the bag. With Moose resigned, you would then have Chien-Ming Wang and Mussina as the only two reliable starters signed for next season. Yes, I know Randy Johnson is signed as well but the man will be coming off back surgery (and a season in which he put up a 5.00 ERA) in what could possibly be his final season in the majors so I can't think of him as a certain part of the rotation. There's always Carl Pavano...and I want to make a joke here but the situation has gone well past the point of being humorous. I wish him a speedy(-ier) recovery and hope he can actually produce for the Yankees (and regain some of his dignity) at some point in his contract. In any case, that's still only two (presumed) solid starters and one starter that's up in the air. How does the rest of the 2007 rotation get filled? Do you trust Darrell Rasner and Jeff Karstens (or Steven White) to pitch in the majors to start the season or do you look for a free-agent addition (i.e. Jeff Suppan or Barry Zito) to shore up the back end of the rotation? I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.

11/11: Wait a sec...

Posted by: Patrick
        G   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB   BA  OBP  SLG  TB
A-Rod 154 113 166 26 1 35 121 15 4 90 .290 .392 .523 299
Crede 150 76 154 31 0 30 94 0 2 28 .283 .323 .506 275
No disrespect to Joe Crede, but how does A-Rod not get the Silver Slugger? Man...
Posted by: James
Polls aren't usually note-worthy but I thought that it would be interesting to point out this ESPN Sportsnation poll on the recent trade.

There are already more than 26,000 people who have weighed in and most (69.2% so far) seem to think that the Yankees got a decent haul, that Bobby Abreu is the better player (69.9%) and that the Yankees won't trade A-Rod (81.9%). Wait, how did he get thrown in the there? Oh right, I forgot we have to have the obligatory A-Rod trade reference in every Yankees piece - my bad.
Posted by: Patrick
Bubba Crosby became the first Yankees free agent to bolt as he is headed to the Reds at a rate of $400,000 for 1 year.

By signing him to a Major League deal, Cincinnati protected Crosby on its 40-man roster. But he's not assured a 25-man roster spot for Opening Day 2007. The 30-year-old will go to Spring Training and compete for a job as a reserve outfielder.

Always seemed like a nice guy. Good luck, Bubba.
Posted by: Patrick
From the official site:

Derek Jeter's romp through postseason awards continued on Friday, as the Yankees' shortstop earned the first Silver Slugger Award of his career.

Jeter had some company on this one, though, as Robinson Cano picked up a Silver Slugger of his own as the American League's top hitting second baseman.

Posted by: Patrick
Commenter Chris just pointed to an article that is saying that the Yankees and Tigers have agreed to a deal. The details:

The Yankees and Tigers have agreed on a Gary Sheffield trade, has learned.

In return, the Yankees will acquire highly touted right-hander Humberto Sanchez and Class A pitchers Kevin Whelan and Anthony Claggett, according to a Tigers source.

Humberto Sanchez is 23 and Kevin Whelan and Anthony Claggett are both 22. None of them have any major league experience.

Sanchez was 10-5 with a 2.63 ERA between AAA and AA last year. Whelan was 4-1 with a 2.67 ERA in 51 games at A+. Claggett also pitched 51 games at A with a 7-2 record and a 0.91 ERA. He pitched 1 inning scoreless in AAA, as well.

Last year, Baseball America placed Sanchez as the 5th best prospect in the Tigers system and Whelan as the 10th. I am the last guy in the world to be considered a prospect expect, but given their performances and the promotions of Verlander and Zumaya, I doubt they would have fallen from those spots, at the very least.

Now, again, from that non prospect expert stance, this seems like a really sweet deal on Cashman's part. Consider that Sheffield turns 38 in a week, was injured most of last year, really had little place to play (either him or Abreu or Matsui or Melky...), was talking up a storm with discontent since the trade news came out... considering all that, it really seems like Cashman did really well to get such a package, if the deal goes through. It's pending a Sheffield physical. Thoughts?
Posted by: Jason
According to ESPN's Buster Olney, MLB sources monitoring the bidding process report that the Red Sox "may have placed the highest bid" for Matsuzaka.

According to these unnamed "sources," the Red Sox bid is between $38 and $45 million.

This is exhibit "A" as to why the mainstream media is a constant source of amusement: MLB sources monitoring the bidding process?? That includes the entire league office and the front offices of at least 6 teams!! No potential for disinformation at all...
Posted by: Patrick
According to

Outfielder Gary Sheffield, a nine-time All-Star who won a world championship with Tigers manager Jim Leyland in Florida, has been the subject of serious trade talks this week between the Tigers and the New York Yankees. One baseball official suggested Thursday that a deal could happen soon, but other officials said the Yankees were talking to several teams and would prefer to send Sheffield to the National League.

It's not clear what the Tigers would need to give up to acquire Sheffield, but the Yankees' needs include a utility infielder (the Tigers could offer Omar Infante or Ramon Santiago) and starting pitching (the Tigers could offer Humberto Sanchez or Jordan Tata).

Via Pro Sports Daily.
Posted by: Patrick

"It's a lot of noise; that's the bottom line," Levine said. "Gary Sheffield signed the contract, he negotiated it himself -- and took great pride negotiating it himself -- and the contract is what it is. It's noise. I really don't pay much attention to it." ...

"We picked up his option, so he's our player," Levine said. "If we choose to have him play with us, he'll play with us. If we decide to trade him, in the best interest of the Yankees, he'll be traded. Or he won't be playing baseball. It's very obvious to everybody that he doesn't have a no-trade clause, but he's trying to pretend that he does. I don't blame him for attempting to get leverage, but the truth is, he has none."
Posted by: Patrick
According to Peter Abraham:

... the Yankees have purchased the Staten Island Yankees and will have Mandalay Sports run the team. ... [Steve] Swindal spoke to us later and mentioned that the team also had an option to purchase Class AAA Scranton.

Via Fabian
Posted by: James
This report from ESPN notes that apparently, Gary Sheffield wants to talk to the Boss but Yankee "middle-men" won't allow it. Well, think about it Gary - if the newspaper reports are to be believed, Cashman never wanted you here; he wanted Vlad. The only reason you got picked up was due to Steinbrenner making the call. Cashman would be a fool to let that happen again so sorry, Gary, that well is dry.

Still, the most interesting (and annoying part of the article) is the following quote from Sheff:

"My situation, honestly, the truth about it, I never was comfortable," Sheffield said Wednesday night at the opening of the Brooklyn Diner's Times Square location. "I was always feeling a little insecure about where I fit here and where I belonged, or do they want me here? And I had to play on those terms, and I was being a man about it and going out and trying to do my job under the conditions."

Listen, I was for the guy when he was carrying the Yanks to the postseason with a bum right arm and striking fear into the hearts of opposing pitchers. However, I have always liked Vlad more and this just keeps piling on to that. Gary is complaining about the fact that the Yankees will be forcing him to honor his $13 million contract (which he negotiated and signed) and now he has the gall to come out and say that he's being a man about this? Give me a break! His actions are the same ones you see spoiled children do at recess. For a while, he played nicely with others but once something changes and he's not getting his way, he wants to take his ball and go home (be declared a free agent) or run crying to a grown up (complain to George).

Still, if nothing else comes of this, it's really been very impressive how quickly Sheff turned the good will towards him into bitterness - he could run a how to clinic on the process.
Posted by: Patrick
Baseball America has posted their Top 10 prospects:

1. Philip Hughes, rhp
2. Jose Tabata, of
3. Dellin Betances, rhp
4. Joba Chamberlain, rhp
5. Ian Kennedy, rhp
6. Chris Garcia, rhp
7. Tyler Clippard, rhp
8. J. Brent Cox, rhp
9. Mark Melancon, rhp
10. Brett Gardner, of

Mike Axisa posted his as well:

1. Phil Hughes, RHP
2. Jose Tabata, RF
3. Eric Duncan, 3B/1B
4. Joba Chamberlain, RHP
5. Austin Jackson, CF
6. Dellin Betances, RHP
7. Jesus Montero, C
8. Ian Kennedy, RHP
9. Tyler Clippard, RHP
10. Christian Garcia, RHP

Full write-ups and details available at either site.

Via Steve.

11/08: Say What?

Posted by: James
I fail to see how no one bid on the following item. It boggles the mind.

I would love to know how any self-respecting Yankees fan could pass up this this game-used Yankees cap...especially from such a legendary player who represents such a storied part of Yankee history.

Hat tip to High & Tight.

11/08: Judgement Day

Posted by: Patrick
Today is judgement day in the Matsuzaka sweepstakes. How high will we go? What will he go for? Feel free to take a guess in the comments. 5:00 PM is the deadline for bids.
Posted by: Patrick

Johnny Sain, a three-time All-Star who teamed with Warren Spahn to make up one of baseball's most fabled pitching tandems, died Tuesday. He was 89.

Sain's best year was 1948, when he and Hall of Famer Spahn led the Boston Braves to the World Series, which they lost to Cleveland. It was during that season when the famous saying was born: "Spahn and Sain and pray for rain."

Sain spent around 4 seasons with the Yankees, pitching in 130 games, going 33-20 with a 3.31 ERA. The Yankees acquired him on August 29, 1951 for Lew Burdette and $50,000. And then traded him on May 11, 1955 along with Enos Slaughter for Sonny Dixon and cash.
Posted by: Patrick

The Yankees announced Sunday that they have picked up Sheffield's $13 million option for the 2007 season, but they are expected to trade him sometime this winter.

"All that has happened is that they picked up the option," said Rufus Williams, who represents Sheffield. "Our expectation since Spring Training was that they would pick it up, so we're right where we thought we would be."
Posted by: Patrick reports:

Entering the final year of his contract, Rivera also reiterated his desire to remain a Yankee long enough to pitch in the new Yankee Stadium when it opens in 2009. He said there have been no talks yet on a contract extension, but that he'd be open to them.

"That's up to the Yankees. We're waiting for the right time," Rivera said. "Hopefully, they will do the right thing and I will pitch (at the new ballpark)."

Let's get it done.
Posted by: Patrick
According to

Matsuzaka was officially "posted" yesterday by his Japanese team, the Seibu Lions. That means major-league teams have until 5 p.m. Wednesday to submit sealed, secret bids to the commissioner's office for the rights to negotiate a contract with Matsuzaka.

At 5 p.m. Wednesday, the commissioner's office will inform Seibu what the highest bid was, but not which team submitted it. Based on just the number, Seibu will then have four business days to decide whether to award Matsuzaka's rights to whichever team won the bidding. If they do, that team will have 30 days to negotiate a contract with Matsuzaka and his agent, Scott Boras.
Posted by: Patrick

"The Gold Glove Award means a great deal to me," Jeter said in a statement. "Fielding doesn't get many headlines, but it's a big part of the game of baseball. I take great pride in my defense, and to be recognized with a Gold Glove for three straight seasons is a great honor that I will always cherish."

Congrats to him.

Via SG.
Posted by: Patrick
Steve points to the results of the 2006 Internet Baseball Awards from Baseball Prospectus.

Derek Jeter was named the AL MVP with a healthy, if not huge, margin over Joe Mauer. Chien-Ming Wang finished 3rd in the Cy Young race while Mo finished 9th and Moose finished 13th. Melky finished 8th in the Rookie of the Year voting. Finally, Joe Torre finished 4th in the Manager of the Year results.
Posted by: Patrick
It's official. Donnie Baseball is now our Bench Coach and Kevin Long has been promoted to Hitting Coach from the same position in AAA. Lee Mazzilli will not return.

11/01: Gavin Floyd

Posted by: Patrick

The Philadelphia Phillies are expected to chase hard after Soriano, the top slugging free agent, but they also would consider sending a package including starter Gavin Floyd to the Bronx in exchange for Sheffield, whose $13 million option should be triggered by Sunday night's deadline. ...

Floyd, 23, also is an intriguing pitcher for the Yanks, who would need to fine-tune the right-hander's development. Though he possesses a big curveball, a low-to-mid 90 mph fastball and change-up, Floyd is said to have his detractors in Philadelphia since he hasn't progressed quickly.

Floyd was the 4th overall pick in the 2001 draft. From 2004 through 2006, he has pitched in 24 games, starting 19. His record is 7-5 with a 6.96 ERA. I'm sure the prospect anaylsis guys in the Yankees blogosphere will be all over this one shortly. :)
Posted by: Patrick

... the veteran outfielder must decide whether he wants to play in 2007 or retire after a 16-year career. ...

"I'm wondering [if he has played his last game as a Yankee] as well," Williams said. "I don't know what's going to happen. I'm going to enjoy my offseason and make a decision at some point."