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You are currently viewing archive for February 2007.

Posted by: Patrick
The voting results are in and the Veterans Committee decided not to elect anyone else to the HOF this year.

The person who got the closest was Ron Santo, who fell 4 votes short with 57 (69.5%). Of former members of the Yankees organization, Jim Kaat was the highest with 52 (63.4%).

The rest: Bill White, 24 (29.6%); Roger Maris, 15 (18.3%); Lefty O'Doul, 15 (18.3%); Luis Tiant, 15 (18.3%); Billy Martin, 12 (14.8%); Joe Gordon, 10 (12.2%); Gabe Paul, 10 (12.2%); Mickey Lolich, 8 (9.8%); Wes Ferrell, 7 (8.5%); Sparky Lyle, 6 (7.3%); Carl Mays, 6 (7.3%); Thurman Munson, 6 (7.3%); Rocky Colavito, 5 (6.1%) and Bobby Bonds, 1 (1.2%).

Joe Torre received 26 votes or 31.7%.
Posted by: Patrick
Sweeny Murti of WFAN shares some personal memories of Bernie.

One spring I told him about a band I had just seen in concert over in Clearwater, a hot band that opened up for George Thorogood. They were called Los Lonely Boys (okay, many of us have heard of them now, but they hadn't hit it big yet, and I was thoroughly impressed by the live show). I told him they were a cross between Stevie Ray Vaughn and Santana, and I thought it was something he would like.

Bernie nodded his head, and when he walked away, I figured he probably hadn't heard a word I just said.

About four months later, Bernie walked past me in the Yankee clubhouse as he was leaving after a game. He was already 5 steps past me when he yells, "Hey!" I turned around, and he's holding up the Los Lonely Boys CD. "Good call, man," he says, flashing a thumbs up.

Via Cliff.
Posted by: Patrick
Updating a previous story, some good news for the Torre's as a match has been found in two of Frank Torre's children:

Joe Torre's brother could undergo a kidney transplant in the next couple of months after tests determined two of his children are a match for the procedure.

Via Cliff.
Posted by: Patrick
From the official site:

Yankees outfielder Bobby Abreu could miss two to three weeks with a strained right oblique muscle, freeing Spring Training at-bats for Melky Cabrera, but not free agent Bernie Williams. ...

Abreu left the Yankees' Spring Training complex without speaking to reporters. Injuries of this nature tend to be variable among players, but the consensus appears that Abreu may not be ready to bat in a Spring Training game until the exhibition schedule is half-complete.

"He had a significant oblique strain, and it could be timely," general manager Brian Cashman said. "I know Joe said two weeks, and I'll probably say three weeks. But we'll see. It could be one week."

Disappointing, but at least it happened now... rather than later. Hopefully the 2-3 week projection proves to be accurate.
Posted by: James
Okay...maybe not. Topps just released their 2007 baseball cards and lo and behold, the Derek Jeter card has been "modified". You really have to check out the picture of the card.

A closer look at the background reveals a uniformed Mickey Mantle handling a bat in the dugout while behind Jeter, walking through the lower box seats is a smiling, waving President George W. Bush.

"Someone was having a little fun between the final proofing and the printing process," Topps spokesman Clay Luraschi told "We first saw the card only after it was printed and honestly, could not do anything but laugh."

Heh - someone at Quality Assurance at Topps needs to have their eyes checked.

Hat tip to Deadspin for the story.
Posted by: Patrick
Jim Baumbach mentioned that the MRI on Carl Pavano's left foot revealed a bone bruise. They haven't said how much time he'll miss.
Posted by: James
Call me a sap but I love reading stuff like this coming out the Yankees camp. The following was in the spring training notes from

Also notably, outfielder Bobby Abreu has taken 18-year-old Venezuelan prospect Jose Tabata under his wing, advising him about professional life.

Hey, don't knock it. Ruben Sierra took Cano under his wing and we are all seeing how that worked out. It's nice that Bobby is trying to help out the fellow Venezuelan and suffice it to say that if Tabata ends up hitting like Abreu or developing like Cano, Yankees fans will have nice big smiles on their faces.
Posted by: Patrick
When asked if he could see himself pitching for the Red Sox, he said:

“I don’t think so,” Rivera said. “I respect the players and I respect the organization, but we’ve had so much happen between us. I don’t think I could do it.” ...

“There’s too much between the teams,” Rivera said. “I like some of their players. They’re my friends. I just don’t think it would be possible.”

This is a little different from what he said 10 or 11 days ago when he said that "you never know".

Via Steve via XM MLB Chat.
Posted by: Patrick
Dana Cavalea, Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Yankees, has a blog.

Via Steve.
Posted by: Patrick

Carl Pavano was hit on the left foot while pitching live batting practice to Yankees players on Saturday.

Pavano, 31, was clipped by a ball batted by infielder Alberto Gonzalez. The right-hander is attempting to make the Yankees' rotation this spring after losing the last 1 1/2 Major League seasons to an assortment of various injuries.

"It feels a little stiff," said Pavano, who later joked about having a bulls-eye on him. "It isn't the first time I got hit down there."

General manager Brian Cashman, watching the events from his perch behind the batting cage, said that Pavano "seems to be a heat-seeking missile."
Posted by: James
David Gassko at The Hardball Times checks in and notes that they have completed a fairly large and complex project: three years worth of projections for almost 1300 players. Per Dave, they used the most most granular data available to us and complex aging analysis to generate projections three years into the future. From that process he points out ten things that he learned about what could happen next season and two Yankees figure prominently in the article.

All those projections will be available in the 2007 Season Preview, but here are a few to whet your appetite: The best fielder in the game is Everett, who is projected to be 19 runs above average at shortstop. Scott Rolen does slightly better in terms of runs—he’s at +20—but at an easier position. And guess who else projects to 19 runs above average?

If you guessed Alex Rodriguez … well, you didn’t. But our data shows that A-Rod was so great in 2004-05 that even a poor season last year can’t keep him from being one of the best fielders in baseball. Before you scoff, I’d like to remind you that Rodriguez won two Gold Gloves at shortstop before coming to the Yankees. Would it be that surprising for him to be great at third base as well?

He also had some thoughts on Chien-Ming Wang.

I can’t recall the last time I got so many pissed off e-mails as I did after running a column suggesting that Chien-Ming Wang would see a strong decline next season.

That assumption was based off batted ball data, but only a year’s worth, with some pretty crude assumptions. These projections are based on up to four year’s worth of batted ball data as well as more basic outcome statistics. And the verdict is … Wang is awesome.

We project a 3.82 ERA next season despite a 63/41 K/BB ratio, mainly because Wang is projected to allow just 12 home runs all year.

Those are the positive points - I'd check out the book (which based on the two annuals I've purchased from THT and the accompanying article sounds great) once it's available to see how the rest of the Yankees project. Until then, I'll refer you to

02/22: BP Breakdown

Posted by: James
Man, do I love the LoHud Yankees blog. Pete A. is a good guy and there's basically up to the minute notes on the major Yankees news. There's also little things like how each pitcher did when going through batting practice. The one that is bound to get Yanks fans salivating? Phil Hughes of course.

Phil Hughes (34 pitches, faced Giambi, Chavez, Pratt, Matsui): Phil Franchise threw only half his pitches for strikes by my count. But eight of the strikes were fouled off and only two were put in play. The rest were unhittable. Chavez and Pratt had what looked like singles. As “Ain’t No Other Man” by Christina Aguilera played, Hughes showed a ridiculous curveball and the ability to spot his fastball inside or outside. “You almost never see that at this stage of the spring,” said Ben Davis, who caught him. “He has filthy stuff,” Giambi said. Matsui took the worst swing you’ll ever see him take at a Hughes fastball.

I know that I got a little bold happy there...and yes, I know that these guys are rusty and probably seeing this kid for the first time...but still, it is nice to be this excited about a prospect, no? Hit up the link to see how everyone else (Wang, Pettitte, Mussina, Igawa, Pavano and Sanchez) did.

Posted by: Patrick
Peter Abraham mentions that, as far as pitchers throwing batting practice today, this is the lineup: Wang, Pettitte, Mussina, Igawa, Pavano, Hughes and Sanchez.

It may mean nothing, but it could be a tentative outline for the rotation. Who knows.
Posted by: Patrick
I would just like to thank Bubba Crosby for giving us something to talk about besides Jeter/A-Rod, Mo and Bernie. Here is what Bubba said:

"Even being a fifth outfielder for a National League team, you're going to get three times as many at-bats as I would if I were with the Yankees again," Crosby said. "It's exciting to know I can play my game. Sometimes I'd get the green light, but I'd get the stare from Joe (Torre) that said I better be sure. Then you hesitate and just wait for (Hideki) Matsui to hit a two-run homer." ...

"I think I just got labeled with the Yankees as a utility outfielder. I never got a chance to hit a whole lot in New York," Crosby said. "There they used two extra outfielders, they had an offensive guy, which was Bernie (Williams) last year, and a defensive one, which was me. I'd go out and do my part, but if my spot came in the order to hit, Bernie would hit for me." ...

"I hit every spring training. I got to the big leagues with the Dodgers because I could hit," Crosby said. "I was ready to see what I can do, hitting. I knew I could go out there in spring and lead the whole camp in hitting and it wouldn't matter, I'd still be the fifth outfielder. It's nice to go to an organization that if you produce, you're going to play."

Oh, man. If you produce... produce in what? In the minors, Bubba Crosby is a .279 hitter with a .348 OBA. In the minors. At the major league level, that drops to .216 and .255. I understand that he had limited at bats. But, when you have guys like Hideki Matsui, Bernie Williams, Gary Sheffield, Melky Cabrera, Bobby Abreu and even... eh... Kenny Lofton, you better believe you are gonna need to perform in those limited at bats to get a shot at more regular playing time. And, even then, good luck.

Is he really going to get 261 at bats with Cincinnati? I guess we'll have to see... maybe if someone gets injured?

I'm pretty much in agreement with Mark Feinsand here.

Now, I’m not sure what Crosby thinks his role should have been with the Yankees, but if he thinks he should have been starting over Matsui, Damon, Williams, Sheffield or whoever else was playing out there for New York, he’s insane. Crosby is a nice bench player, one with speed and defensive ability. But why do you think he hit well in the spring? Because he was largely facing pitchers who were not big-leaguers.

Isn’t it amazing how players love to rip Torre and the Yankees on the way out? What do they all have in common? They weren’t that good to begin with.
Posted by: Patrick
Michael Geffner witnessed something interesting after Jeter had finished addressing the media. He said that he saw A-Rod "race" over to Jeter's locker where the two talked for a couple of minutes (A-Rod did most of the talking, apparently) and shared a laugh. Now, if that happened, are things as bad as they seem? (Or, perhaps, as some would want them to seem?) I mean, yeah, it's simple, but... there is no doubt some meaning there something, no?

(Just kidding on the subject, by the way).
Posted by: Patrick

Williams has apparently rejected the Yankees' offer of a non-roster invitation to camp and is not expected to report to the team's Legends Field facility. His agent, Scott Boras, informed The Associated Press of Williams' intentions.

"Other than the invite, there wasn't any information that led him to believe he would be a member of the team," Boras told The AP on Tuesday. "He's continuing to work out [and] will wait to see if their position changes." ...

"If he wanted to be here, he'd be here," Cashman said. "You'd have to be stupid not to interpret the answer. He's given us the answer."
Posted by: James
Everyone just keep this in your back pocket until the end of the year...especially when Scott Boras starts evangelizing about how A-Rod has plenty of options and is considering all of them. Alex didn't actually say that he wouldn't excercise his option but he did say the following:

However, he did say he wanted to be part of the 2009 Yankees.

"I want to be a Yankee and I understand my contract and I understand my options," Rodriguez said. "My goal is to go in with Derek [Jeter] and Mo [Mariano Rivera] and open the new [Yankee] Stadium. It's pretty clear."

It almost sounds as if he's still making up his mind. Hmm...Also, if you haven't checked out Bronx Comix yet, do so now. Hilarious stuff.
Posted by: Patrick
Here are some of Jeter's thoughts in response to A-Rod's comments.

"Has our relationship changed? I've had a lot of relationships change over the years. But what we do away from the field, how much time we spend together really makes no difference when we're playing." ...

When asked if getting the truth about their friendship-turned-coexistence out in the open is for the best, Jeter said, "You have to ask him. I didn't bring it up. You have to ask him if it's a good idea to get it out of the way. To me it was never an issue I felt we needed to talk about."

He also said that A-Rod has never felt a lack of support from him and that they've talked about it. Peter Abraham has the audio. It's only 4 minutes and 21 seconds, so I'd recommend a listen. (We'll have to come up with a nickname for Mr. Abraham... The Audio Man? That's a little straightforward, but it's nice to listen to the interviews uncut without any editorial speculation).

It's normal for relationships to change, over time, and for people to grow apart. It happens a lot. This just isn't that big a deal. And I'm not worried about it affecting anything. Your average work relationship is not "best friends." People can respect each other and get work done without being best friends.
Posted by: Patrick
The Veterans Committee will be voting on 27 different candidates. There are 84 voters in all and, like the writers HOF ballot, you must get 75% (or 63 voters) of the vote for inclusion.

The players ballot features former Yankees Bobby Bonds, Rocky Colavito, Wes Ferrell, Joe Gordon, Jim Kaat, Mickey Lolich, Sparky Lyle, Roger Maris, Carl Mays, Thurman Munson, Lefty O'Doul and Luis Tiant. It also features Joe Torre.

The composite ballot features former Yankees player and manager Billy Martin, former General Manager Gabe Paul and former Yankees broadcaster Bill White.
Posted by: James
ESPN has a story up that A-Rod has acknowledged that his relationship with Derek Jeter has cooled. Does anyone care? No, really - anyone? Well, in case you did, here's what Alex had to say:

"We were best of friends about 10, 13, 14, years ago, and we still get along well. We have a good working relationship. I cheer very hard for him. He cheers hard for me. And most importantly, we're both trying to win a world championship," Rodriguez said.
"The reality is there's been a change in the relationship over 14 years and, hopefully, we can just put it behind us," Rodriguez said. "You go from sleeping over at somebody's house five days a week, and now you don't sleep over. It's just not that big of a deal."

During the offseason, former Yankee Darryl Strawberry said Jeter needs to "embrace" Rodriguez. A-Rod said he didn't feel Jeter needed to support him more.

"I'm a big boy. I'm 31 years old now, so I should be able to help myself out there," he said. "I care about what he thinks about me on the field. I think it's important for us to be on the right page. And we are. We're here to win a championship together."

Yes, it's a silly discussion and hardly deserves a bold ESPN headline, but you know what, the answers that A-Rod gives in the article seem surprisingly frank. It's worth a read.

In my mind, Derek and Alex don't have to be best friends - they are who they are at this point in both their careers and their lives and the Yankees depend on both. If they were best buddies, that would be cool but you know what? It should really be a moot issue, especially if both players play to the best of their abilities. Naturally, with the fixation on the Yankees and A-Rod in general, it won't be so expect more and more of these silly little stories to come up in the Year of A-Rod (or as I would hope, the Year of A-Rod's Redemption).

Update: Pete A. has audio from A-Rod's interview so you might want to check that out as well.

02/19: Mo Change Up

Posted by: Patrick
From Ed Price:

Rivera, who has established himself as a Hall of Fame closer with only a cut fastball and occasional sinker, also toyed with a change-up.

"Nasty," Guidry called it.

Rivera said he was "just messing around." Asked if he might incorporate a change-up, he said, "We'll see."

Jim Baumbach mentions that Mo playing around with a change up in Spring Training is a yearly deal that has never come to fruition before.

02/19: Prof. Posada

Posted by: Patrick

A new titanium mask engineered and crafted by Nike, which is as light as a feather but is 10 times stronger than steel. The rods are smaller to help catchers see through better and the durability is, according to Posada, endless. ...

Posada has gone to the Nike headquarters in Portland, Ore., during the offseason the past two years to give suggestions and to listen to new ideas from the engineering team. He has worked specifically with the Nike Sport Research Lab (NSRL) to figure out ways to improve everything from chest protectors to cleats.

The NSRL is a state-of-the-art center where designers are devoted to bringing products to the market that take athletic performance beyond the next level. The lab works with professional athletes in every arena to develop and test the newest in sport technology. ...

Posada will also go to battle this year with a new type of chest protector that has padding that is smaller and lighter but also stronger and more durable than in the past. It also is created of microfibers that pull the sweat away from the body, keeping the catcher dry during the hot days of summer.
Posted by: James are not impressing your teammates with your passion to play with this sort of thing.

Carl Pavano spent much of the winter working with a personal trainer in Arizona, but he bailed out of several drills late in the workout complaining of "heavy legs," according to Yankees manager Joe Torre.

Pavano still is scheduled to throw his bullpen session today.

Now, I don't want the guy to get hurt (again) so I'm all for being cautious. Heck, I genuinely want to see Pavano perform and perform well for the Yankees so they can get better value for him when they do trade him. By the way, it looks like the Rockies still have interest (though I am a little surprised - Colorado has some depth (though somewhat medicore) when it comes to SP as well as some pitching prospects who aren't bad). So Carl, let's get those legs a little less "heavy" and get back on the mound.
Posted by: Patrick
From George King:

Clemens yesterday told Houston television station KRIV there is an 80 percent chance he is going to end his Hall of Fame career by retiring.

"[Clemens' son] Koby asked me [Thursday] when we were working out; he was doing more of a workout than I was," Clemens said. "I still told him, 80-20 that I wasn't going to play."

Via PSD.
Posted by: James
John Sickels over at has a crystal ball feature up on Melky Cabrera. For those not familiar with the feature, here's what John tries to do:

Disclaimer: The Crystal Ball is an "educated opinion"...not to be taken TOO seriously and mostly for fun. I do put quite a bit of work into them, looking at similar players and trying to figure out how the guy in question might develop. Is there a fancy computer program? No. Do I just slop numbers on the page? No. It is less than a projection/prediction but more than just guesswork.

Go on and take a look at how John thinks Melky's career might play out (oh, and he sees Melky leaving the Yanks after the 2008 season) and as always, check out the comments.
Posted by: James
I don't know if you guys noticed it but Kevin Goldstein came out with the organizational rankings over at Baseball Prospectus the other day. Here's the methodology:

I began by assigning points to each team for the talent it has, giving points at differing levels within the Excellent, Very Good, and Good labels used in the recently completed Top 10 lists. Additional points were granted for average prospects, as well as talent beyond their top 10 that would qualify for that level. The rankings you see here reflect the total raw points. In order to have a little fun with this, and in an attempt to provide some additional information, I then split the talent between hitting and pitching, found the average amount of hitting and pitching points, and then calculated the number of standard deviations above or below that average. Presto! Instant 20-80 scores for each category.

He lists the Yankees as having the best pitching talent in the minor leagues. Hitting talent comes in at #18 as every Yankee prospect hound would suspect. Combine the two together and the Yanks are the 4th best organization in terms of prospect talent - not too shabby.
Posted by: Patrick
Joe Torre discussed some situations where Bernie Williams could still make this team:

... Torre Thursday mentioned several scenarios that would make room for Williams, including using Giambi at first base, making lefthanded-hitting Doug Mientkiewicz the everyday first baseman or using Miguel Cairo as the righthanded part of a first-base platoon.

All of those scenarios most likely would mean the roster spot that Andy Phillips and Rule 5 selection Josh Phelps are vying for would go to Williams, as long as he proves to the team that he still is capable of performing. "It's how many first basemen are we going to carry," Torre said. "That's where the choices will come from."

Addressing his various options at first base, Torre said, "I don't think that I would be afraid to play Mientkiewicz [against lefthanded pitchers]. He's always played both ways ... If we see Jason as a first baseman, that all of a sudden opens up a spot, too."

Personally, I could live with Bernie making this team. I mean... it's Bernie. In October, I'd still take a Bernie Williams at bat over a Josh Phelps at bat or an Andy Phillips at bat. It's not like we'd be cutting Albert Pujols for him. Phelps is a .268 hitter, Phillips is a .228 hitter. Not saying they aren't better than that, but that's what they've done so far. But, the overall message to Bernie was that to get a spot, you have to be here. We'll see.

Via Jim Baumbach.
Posted by: Patrick
From the official site:

Former Major Leaguer Frank Torre needs a kidney transplant because of medication he's taken since receiving a new heart more than a decade ago. ...

"I talked to him yesterday. He sounded good yesterday," Joe Torre said on Thursday. "His heart is working on the 11th year now. With all the rest of the medication you have to take, the rest of the organs take a beating. That's what it comes down to."

Our thoughts are with the Torre family.
Posted by: Patrick

Yankees general partner Steve Swindal was arrested by the St. Petersburg Police at 4:26 a.m., according to a copy of the charge report posted on the Pinellas County Sherriff's Office's Web site. He was booked for a misdemeanor and released from jail in Largo at 9:53 a.m. on $250 bond. ...

Swindal was weaving and driving 61 mph in a 35 mph zone when he was pulled over, Proffitt said. He refused to take a breathalyzer test and failed a field sobriety test, but was cooperative, Proffitt said.
Posted by: James
Normally, I let these sort of opinions go but I enjoy Jayson Stark's writing more often than not so I'm trying to get an understanding on his rationale for a point in his latest article, where he lists the Red Sox as the most improved team in the AL.

A year ago this time, the Red Sox thought they had a real shot to break out of that Yankees-finish-first, Sox-finish-second rut they'd been buried in since 1998. But not that way. They've responded to their third-place hangover by addressing their leadoff issues (Julio Lugo), bullpen troubles (Brendan Donnelly, Hideki Okajima, J.C. Romero, Joel Pineiro, Runelvys Hernandez), outfield questions (J.D. Drew) and International Man of Mystery deficit (Daisuke Matsuzaka). If they find a closer and everything else works, this could be the most dangerous team in baseball. Team you'll be shocked to hear got some votes: Royals.

It's not that I disagree that the Red Sox are an improved team (though I certainly don't think they're the MOST improved), it's that I really don't understand Stark's particular reasoning here for his first two points.

First, I don't see how Julio Lugo is that big of an upgrade at the leadoff spot. Maybe it's because he hasn’t hit particularly well against the Yankees over the past three seasons but I don't see Julio Lugo as a great player. At first, I thought this might be an addition by subtraction type deal (a la Damon taking over for Bubba/Bernie last year) but after checking the stats, he doesn't provide much of a leap above what the Sox had last year. The #1 spot for the Red Sox hit .260/.348/.394/.742 last year. Now, I'm fairly sure Lugo beats that batting average pretty handily but I can't seem him blowing past either the OBP or SLG by a lot (career .277/.340/.402 hitter). If you look further at the stats, Lugo is definitely an upgrade for the Boston team but not as a leadoff hitter but definitely more valuable than what was trotted out at SS last year. That should have been Stark's point and I would have gladly agreed.

Next we have the bullpen issues. Brendan Donnelly, J.C. Romero, Joel Pineiro and Runelvys Hernandez? Really? That's the upgrade? Anyone who thinks that a team's bullpen issues can be fixed with the likes of these guys is a very optimistic person. Donnelly is a decent pitcher but he will be 36 and his ERA (and FIP and OPS allowed) have gone up every year for the last three years. J.C. Romero, Joel Pineiro and Runelvys Hernandez all had ERAs of over 6.30 and WHIPS of over 1.65 last year and you're adding them to a bullpen that has Manny Delcarmen (6.23 ERA after the All-Star Break), Craig Hansen (7.52 ERA after ASB) and Mike Timlin (6.06 ERA after ASB). I fully expect most of these guys to be better than they were in 2006 (realistically, it would be hard to be worse) but to say that these are the guys who will plug up what was a very leaky bullpen last year is really reaching.
Posted by: Patrick
The best thing you can do to see how Mo feels and what the current situation is, better than reading any article, is to listen to the audio clip that Mark Feinsand posted. There is rarely anything clearer than hearing it directly from the source. I listened to the entire clip and I feel like the whole thing was overblown. While some articles posted online today are focusing on the line where he says that once he is a free agent, everyone will get an equal shot (and the Yankees will not have an advantage), you have to listen to the whole thing.

He speaks complementary of the Yankees, he says that they have never disrespected him, they have always taken care of him, he wants to remain a Yankee and he understands the Bernie Williams situation. The clip is definitely worth a listen (especially for anyone who may have already thrown Mo under the bus, so to speak, as hard as it is to believe that anyone would be so unfair as to do that because of a few quotes in some articles). He said that opening day is really the deadline to get anything done. After that, they won't be talking further because he doesn't want to be a distraction.
Posted by: Patrick
From Mark Feinsand:

The Yankees just announced that they will wear a black armband on their uniforms this season to honor the memory of Cory Lidle, who died in a plane crash last October.
Posted by: Patrick
George King:

Sitting in his car outside Legends Field yesterday, Rivera was asked by The Post if he could be Boston's closer next year.

"You never know," said Rivera, who is determined to become a free agent after the World Series since the Yankees didn't react to his December request for a two-year contract extension.

Determined to become a free agent? I don't really think that's accurate. Or, I hope not.

Via PSD.
Posted by: Patrick
From the New York Daily News:

Philip Hughes found his locker located next to Derek Jeter's instead of in the middle of the rookie section. Apparently, the Yankees are hoping that Hughes can learn a thing or two from the captain, who doesn't officially report to camp until Sunday.
Posted by: James
Hmm - this is an interesting (and very curious) move. According to John Heyman over at Sports Illustrated, the Yankees have resigned Ron Villone.

He stands to make $2.5 million if he makes the club, which is likely, and an additional $300,000 in incentives based on games pitched. He will compete with Sean Henn and Mike Myers for a spot in the bullpen

Well, considering how many relievers and prospects are mentioned when Yankees roster is analyzed, I'm very surprised at this move, especially considering Villone's overuse and subsequent meltdown last year (2.27 ERA before the All-Star break, 8.35 ERA after; in 2005, 2.52 and 6.04, respectively.)
Posted by: Patrick
Ken Davidoff writes that extending Mo isn't wise and says that Mo would sign for about 2 years at $12 million a year now ... or next November. With all of the money everyone is making these days, that doesn't seem like enough to me, but I guess it makes sense (although, it would not at all shock me to see someone come in and go much higher than that - $20 million? - to get him away from New York and, if he has a great year this year, it'll still be a good deal).

I understand that Mo will be 38 next year and I understand that that is old. But, who is going to fault Cashman if he picks Mo up at around that money and then Mo never pitches another game. How could you fault him? If that happens (besides crying myself to sleep), I'll always, always look funny at anyone who looks back and says "well, Cashman shouldn't have signed him."

I don't need to cite numbers or performance because everyone already knows. There are pros and cons to both approach. However, one major pro is that if we lock him up now, there will be nothing for him to think about come November. Mo wants to be a Yankee, we know that. But, when he actually has the options in front of him, that could change. Do we want that to happen?

I don't even want to imagine not having Mo in 2008. My brain can't process things like that. But, forcing it to do so, I look at the FA class next year, from Cot's. Nothing that excites me. I mean, yeah, Trevor Hoffman is good, but he's two years older than Mo which defeats the purpose. The Twins aren't going to let Joe Nathan walk at that price. We have a very good bullpen (with Mo being a very big part of why it is so), but as far as a closer... eh. Minors? Who knows. Mo was a nobody once, too, of course. Some work in '95, setup in '96, closer in '97. So, the next great Yankees closer could be waiting, certainly. As great as Mo? Probably not. But, that day is going to come eventually. Still, we should be hoping that it's later, rather than sooner.

Forget the fact that he's a career Yankee, a model citizen, etc. etc. Looking at it from risk/reward. Is it worth the risk of him suddenly imploding to prevent him from having options in 2008? Or, is it worth running the risk of him having options in 2008 to prevent us from being stuck paying him for 2 more years if he implodes? Personally, I'd take the former.
Posted by: Patrick
From the mouth of Mo:

"I definitely want to finish my career here, but if they don't give me the respect I deserve, I have to move on," Rivera said. Asked if he felt he wasn't being given that respect, Rivera responded, "The Yankees always give me the respect. When it comes to these times (contracts ending), I don't like to talk about it. It's a business.

"If they have somebody who will do the job better than I do, they will do it. I don't worry about those things. When the time comes, if they want me back, they want me back. Otherwise, I am not going to sit in my house crying. I have to move on. I would definitely love to be a Yankee and finish as a Yankee, but I only have one more year for that."

Definitely a little out of character. Maybe he was just in a (decidedly rare) bad mood, out of frustration.
Posted by: Patrick
From The New York Times:

... Williams said, he would maintain a waiting game of sorts by staying home, staying in shape, spurning offers of guaranteed contracts from other teams and waiting for the Yankees to change their minds and offer him a guaranteed spot on the roster. He spoke in his usual calm demeanor.

“I think if they wanted me, they would have signed me already,” said Williams, who has spent 16 seasons with the Yankees, the only team he has played for. “The option to go to spring training and see what happened — I don’t think at this moment it is something I want to consider.”

Via Steve.
Posted by: James
John Sickels over at checks in with his look at one of the more polarizing prospects in baseball, Tyler Clippard. I'd also check out the comments as they are often as good as the post.

The list of comparable pitchers generated by Baseball Prospectus' PECOTA system is intriguing, including Anibal Sanchez, John Patterson, Ralph Terry, and Javier Vazquez on the positive side, with Pete Broberg, John Stephens, Dicky Gonzalez, and Scott Sobkowiak on the `not-so-positive' end.

I am more than a little biased when it comes to Clippard as I've always been the type who roots for the underdog.
Posted by: Patrick
Bill Madden reports that Hank Bauer has passed away:

Hank Bauer, the rough-hewn, much-decorated ex-Marine who went on to become an integral player on nine Yankee championship teams from 1949-59 and set a record that still stands of hitting in 17 consecutive World Series games, died today of lung cancer. He was 84.

Rest in peace.

02/08: The Kids

Posted by: James
Quick couple of goings-on regarding two of the more touted/hyped Yankees prospects.

First off, John Sickels over at MinorLeagueBall posts a prospect smackdown between two of the more anticipated position prospects in all of baseball, Fernando Martinez of the Mets vs. Jose Tabata of the Yankees. It's an interesting read, if only to read about each player's skill set at such a young age. As usual, the comments are a pretty interesting mix.

The Daily News checks in with a report on the 6'9" power pitching prospect Dellin Betances and it is very rosy indeed.

Betances, drafted out of Brooklyn's Grand Street Campus in the eighth round of last year's amateur draft, said he spent his winter working out at his former high school and at Parisi Speed School in New Jersey, trying to improve his speed, stamina and strength for his first full season as a professional.
Grand Street coach Mel Martinez said Betances bulked up from 215 pounds to 230 over the winter, and his velocity rose accordingly.
Betances said he's among some of the best baseball talent in Tampa. He said he's seen some big leaguers around the complex, and looks forward to working alongside Yankee legends such as Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte at spring training - and, one day, to sharing the field with them during the season. "Being around them is an inspiration, because you look up to them," Betances said. "You see what they accomplish, and you hope one day you can be in that position."

Well, he's home-grown, big, throws hard and says all the right things. It'll be interesting to see what he does in his first full season as a pro.
Posted by: Patrick
From Pete Caldera:

The Yankees are not seeking to enter discussions about extending Mariano Rivera's contract during spring training, according to a person familiar with the situation.
Posted by: Patrick
From February 1:

"I had a nice talk with (GM) Brian Cashman but basically he said he had nothing for me," Stottlemyre said yesterday. "I was a little surprised and disappointed, but I don't have any hard feelings. I just decided I'd move on." ...

"I would have gone to spring training if I had heard from Cash earlier," said Stottlemyre. "He apologized for being so late to call, and said he was putting me on a list to be submitted for George Steinbrenner's approval.

And today:

Mel Stottlemyre is headed to the desert. The former Yankees pitching coach has taken a job with the Diamondbacks as an organizational pitching instructor.

Kind of a shame, really. For whatever is thought about Mel, we won 4 titles while he was pitching coach and he was a career Yankee that had a pretty good go at it (164-139, 2.97 ERA, 6th all time for the Yankees in wins, 3rd in innings, 6th in strikeouts, 3rd in games started, 8th in complete games and T2nd in shut outs).
Posted by: Patrick
From Ken Davidoff:

The Yankees were supposed to visit San Diego this season, but when Colorado management begged for the Yankees to come in and boost attendance, baseball relented and switched the schedule, as first reported by the San Diego Union-Tribune. This is when the Yankees have every right to cry hypocrisy: Opposing teams don't want them spending so much on talent - until the chance arises to have them in their ballpark

Via Steve.