"Now, what is this site about, how Joe Torre ruined pitchers' arms? Is that it?"
-Michael Kay, August 18, 2009

Monday, December 31, 2007

Yankees' New Year's resolutions

First and foremost, Happy New Year to all Scott Proctor's Arm's readers. If no one was reading, I probably wouldn't be writing (which would make some people happy, I'm sure). As I said in the Festivus post, blogging this year has been a lot of fun, and I hope it's just as fun in 2008.

Anyway, don't ask how, but I got a hold of some players' New Year's resolutions.

Robinson Cano: I will listen to our General Manager when he tells me to only play in six winter league games (he was later seen writing this on a blackboard 150 times in a Dominican Republic classroom).

Chien-Ming Wang: I will finally step up and win a playoff game.

Roger Clemens: I will not make another comeback.

Derek Jeter: I will learn how to field ground balls to my left. I will learn to regain my clutchness that has seemed to vanish.

Mike Mussina: I will have an E.R.A. under 5.00 this year. I will not complain about pitching on abnormal rest (I really believe that...).

Chris Britton: I will lose 25 pounds.

Edwar Ramirez: I will learn another pitch.

Chase Wright: I will learn how to induce ground balls.

Kyle Farnsworth: I will become a reliable eighth-inning reliever.

New York Yankees: We will win the 2008 World Series.

Happy New Year everybody! See you in 2008!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Update on guest blogging

Yesterday, I mentioned that I will be guest blogging on Peter Abraham's LoHud Yankees Blog.

Anyway, he e-mailed us all today with the guest blogging schedule. My post is scheduled to be up on Jan. 9. I will also post a copy of it here on that date.

He said he was strict about his 200-500-word limit, which was bad news for me. My draft was well past 700 words. I've been taught in journalism classes to be concise and to trim down, but it's very hard to delete what you've written if you really like it.

It's also pretty funny how motivated I was to start writing this piece. As soon as he e-mailed me saying I was in, I got right to work. If this was a school assignment, I would've started writing on Jan. 8.

Canseco ready to release book

Jose Canseco plans to release a sequel to his book Juiced by Opening Day.

From ESPN.com:

Robert Saunooke, Canseco's lawyer, told The New York Daily News and The New York Post that the book, which has a working title of "Vindicated" will be co-authored by former Sports Illustrated writer Don Yaeger.

"Jose already has a lot of stuff put together," Yaeger told The Daily News.

Disappointed by the Mitchell report, Canseco hopes to publish "an unjaundiced view, without the rose-colored glasses" of steroid use in baseball, Saunooke told The Post.

"The book is basically going to be -- I don't want to say an attack -- but it will be a clarification of why certain names should have been mentioned [in the Mitchell report] that were not mentioned," Saunooke said of the new book. "We had hoped that the Mitchell report would have been more revealing. It basically ended up being nothing more than [Mitchell saying], 'I talked to a lot of people, some people wouldn't talk to me and it's up to the commissioner,'" Saunooke told The Daily News.

Canseco claimed he had "other stuff" on Alex Rodriguez, and that may be included in this book. Should be interesting to see what Canseco has on Rodriguez, and hopefully it doesn't pose a distraction.

Guest blogging on the LoHud Yankees Blog

Last night, Peter Abraham of the LoHud Yankees Blog extended an invitation to established Yankees bloggers to guest blog on his very popular Yankees blog.

I quickly e-mailed him saying I was interested, and he later let me know that I was one of the chosen few. I don't know how many bloggers actually took advantage of the offer, but since the writers have to be from established blogs, all of the writing should be informative and thought-provoking.

I had no idea what I wanted to write about at first, but I eventually settled on a post recapping the Yankees' moves this off-season. I have been working on it on and off since then, and I'm excited to have the opportunity to post on his blog.

So be on the lookout in January! He said he'll e-mail us all a schedule as to when it's our turn to post. I'll let you all know when I have more concrete information.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Hawkins' role; Pavano's rehab

The signing of LaTroy Hawkins hasn't answered all of the Yankees' bullpen questions.

From Pete Caldera:

The Yankees are still out to improve their bullpen, though that search could continue into spring training. Right-hander LaTroy Hawkins is not viewed as a replacement for Luis Vizcaino, who was allowed to get away via a two-year deal with Colorado.

"We signed Hawkins to help us in the sixth and seventh inning, and to provide useful relief innings," Cashman said. "He can take the ball and pitch a lot."

Does that mean they expect Kyle Farnsworth to pitch the eighth inning? The Yankees are in serious trouble if they believe Farnsworth could succeed in any late-inning role with the team. I know they have a lot of money invested in him, but they have to be realistic.

From the same article, we find out that Carl Pavano is on the comeback trail.
Carl Pavano's new agent believes that the right-hander could be sufficiently recovered from reconstructive elbow surgery to pitch again by late June, nearly 13 months after the procedure.

"His rehab has been coming along very nicely," said agent Tom O'Connell. For now, Pavano is planning to return to work out and rehab in Arizona, where he spent much of the previous off-season in preparation for the '07 season.

That's wonderful. Thanks but no thanks, Carl.

Bizarre rumor: Yankees sign Juan Gone?

From MLB Trade Rumors:

El Vocero, one of the bigger newspapers in Puerto Rico, is reporting that the Yankees signed Juan Gonzalez to a two-year, $2MM deal.
The article is in Spanish, and I'm three years removed from AP Spanish, so I'm not even going to bother trying to translate.

There is no way the Yankees would give a multi-year contract for a guy who last played in 2005 (and only had one at-bat). Right?

UPDATE - 1:45 p.m.: Apparently we all fell for a prank. Yesterday was their version of April Fool's Day. No need to worry, the Yankees aren't that stupid.

Construction photos

Sliding Into Home, a new Yankees blog, has been posting an updated look at how the new Yankee Stadium construction is progressing. These photos can be found here.

Hank vs. Hal

According to Joel Sherman of the Post, there seems to be a conflict between George Steinbrenner's sons, Hank and Hal.

Hank Steinbrenner has continued to suggest the Yanks are in play for Santana, and a sense has percolated of a tug-of-war between Steinbrenner's willingness to surrender top youngsters and GM Brian Cashman's reluctance. But multiple sources say the media has focused on the wrong son of George Steinbrenner. These sources say Hal Steinbrenner is most responsible for dictating financial policy and does not want to spend the dollars in salary and luxury tax (nearly $30 million annually) necessary for Santana.
I think this could finally put an end to the Johan Santana/Yankee trade rumors to bed. Cashman has seemed hesitant to trade away the farm system that he has helped recover, and the Yankees have had to pay a large luxury tax bill each of the last five years.

If the Yankees don't end up trading for Santana, Cashman would have made a huge stand with the new owner. Hank Steinbrenner likes to talk a lot, but the decisions on players should ultimately rest with Cashman.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Hawkins doesn't care about steroid use

LaTroy Hawkins officially joined the Yankees yesterday. Today, he spoke candidly about drug use in baseball.

From Neil Best's Watchdog blog:

Host Jason Page: “You’re stepping into this Yankee fray. It’s going to be kind of an awkward time. You know in the pre-season especially there are going to be all the questions about what Roger Clemens did, Andy Pettitte did and all that stuff. How do you kind of side-step that stuff when the media comes to you on it?”

LaTroy Hawkins: “It’s not any of my business. First of all the thing is I don’t care. Only person cared about that was [Commissioner Bud] Selig. I don’t care about it. That’s just my own personal opinion.”

Page: “You don’t care if hitters are juicing up?”

Hawkins: “No, I don’t. That’s just my personal opinion. Still got to hit the ball, brother.”
I obviously disagree with Hawkins' thoughts.

Hawkins shares the opinion of many other spectators - they don't care as long as their team wins. This apathy is what led to the rampant drug use. As flawed as the Mitchell Report was, hopefully some of the recommendations are put in place to finally put an end to this negative side of baseball.

Leyritz arrested on suspicion of DUI, vehicular homicide

From ESPN.com:

Former major league baseball player Jim Leyritz has been arrested in Broward County, Fla. on suspicion of drunken driving and vehicular homicide, WPLG-TV in Miami reported Friday.

The station reported that according to Fort Lauderdale police, a car driven by Leyritz, who lives in Plantation, Fla., hit another car at Southwest 7th Avenue and Second Street early Friday morning.

According to the report, the passenger in the car that Leyritz allegedly struck was ejected from the car and died at the scene, police said.

Terrible news.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Yankees want Cano out of winter ball

Robinson Cano has been in the Dominican Republic playing winter ball. However, the Yankees have other plans.

From Enrique Rojas:

"The Yankees sent a letter to Cano to stop playing, but they didn't offer many details or reasons," said Alfredo Griffin, the Estrellas Orientales general manager.

Cano told Estrellas teammates, however, that the Yankees didn't want him to aggravate a calf injury that is still healing.

The Dominican winter league baseball tournament began its round-robin playoff series Wednesday. Cano hit .389 in nine games during the regular season. He was hitless in his first postseason game Wednesday. (ESPN)

Better safe than sorry.

The Yankees also told Melky Cabrera to sit out of winter ball earlier this month, so this isn't out of the ordinary.

Stark on Santana

ESPN's Jayson Stark is reporting that the Twins may wait until Spring Training for the right package in a Johan Santana trade. He also mentions that it's possible that he and his agents will refuse to waive the no-trade clause if a deal isn't completed sooner.

Stark says that the Yankees' last offer was Phil Hughes, Melky Cabrera, Jeff Marquez and an unnamed fourth prospect who was never agreed on. That offer is off the table unless Hank Steinbrenner brings the Yankees back into discussions.

He says that the Red Sox haven't improved their offer of Jon Lester, Coco Crisp and prospects Justin Masterson and Jed Lowrie. He quotes a source who says that the Twins want the Mets, who still seem to be involved, to "rip up their whole farm system" for Santana, which is something I highly doubt they'll do.

The longer this drags on, the less inclined I am to pull the trigger on any deal for Santana. I'm willing to go to battle with the pitchers the Yankees have now, especially if Joba Chamberlain begins the season in the bullpen, as it is beginning to look like. The Yankees would have their starting rotation complete and the bullpen would be better fortified with Chamberlain in the mix early on. I'm starting to believe that Santana will at least begin the season with the Twins.

Hawkins official

The officially announced the signing of reliever LaTroy Hawkins.

Here is the official press release from the Yankees:

The New York Yankees announced today they have signed right-handed pitcher LaTroy Hawkins to a one-year contract.

Hawkins, 35, made 62 relief appearances for the Colorado Rockies in 2007, going 2-5 with a 3.42 ERA. Over his final 53 outings of the season following a one-month stay on the disabled list with right elbow inflammation, he was 2-2 with a 2.63 ERA, holding opponents to a .233 batting average. Hawkins appeared in five postseason games for the National League champions, allowing just 2H and 1ER in 5.0IP (1BB, 3K).

He has a 56-76 career record with 75 saves and a 4.68 ERA in 631 Major League games (98 starts) over 13 seasons with the Minnesota Twins, Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants, Baltimore Orioles and Colorado Rockies. Since becoming a full-time reliever in 2000, Hawkins' 532 relief appearances are tied for the ninth-most in the Majors and tied for the fourth-most among right-handers. He is one of only five pitchers to make more than 60 appearances in each of the last eight seasons (2000-07) and threw a combined 550.2 innings over the stretch, sixth-most among Major League relievers.

A native of Gary, Ind., Hawkins was originally selected by the Minnesota Twins in the seventh round of the 1991 First-Year Player Draft. (Yankees.com)
It was reported earlier this month that the contract was worth $3.75 million.

Mattingly's HOF candidacy examined

Bryan Hoch takes a look at Don Mattingly's Hall of Fame credentials at Yankees.com.

Aside from those great years in the mid-to-late-1980s, Mattingly is not a Hall of Famer.

He is somewhat of a mythical figure in the hearts of Yankee fans. He was a bright light in a dark era for the team. This may be easy for me to say, seeing as I never really saw him play. However, strictly looking at his career numbers, he should not be elected.

He hit 222 career home runs and has a .307 career batting average. Those are solid numbers, but he wasn't as dominant throughout the rest of his career as he was between 1984 and 1989.

However, another former Yankee looks like he will finally get elected.

Keith Law (via YanksBlog and River Ave. Blues) from ESPN has been counting ballots, and Goose Gossage has appeared on 52 of 58 ballots (90%).

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Olney: Prior signs with Padres

Mark Prior has agreed to a deal with his hometown San Diego Padres.

From Buster Olney:

Prior receives a one-year major league deal with $1 million base salary. The contract, which doesn't include an option, contains incentive clauses that could take the total value of the deal to over $3 million. (ESPN)
The Yankees were interested in Prior a few weeks ago, but Hank Steinbrenner ruled out any deal for the oft-injured right-handed last week.

Clemens' attorney launching investigation

Roger Clemens' attorney said today that his firm is launching an investigation into the allegations brought forth by the Mitchell Report.

From ESPN.com:

"We are convinced the conclusions in Mitchell's report are wrong and are investigating the findings ourselves," Rusty Hardin told The Times. "At this stage we have uncovered a lot of logical people who we thought Mitchell was going to talk to but never talked to him or his investigators. That's troubling." (ESPN)
Clemens' interview with Mike Wallace will air on CBS's 60 Minutes on Jan. 6.

Wallace is a fan of Clemens, but hopefully he asks the tough questions that the public wants to hear answers to. After this interview, Clemens will also answer other reporters' questions.

I have said that I want these allegations against Clemens to be untrue, but I also want this story to go away. Pitchers and catchers report in about a month, and I just want to get back to baseball.

Igawa bobblehead - marked down from $14.99!

For whatever reason, Yankees.com sells these ridiculous-looking bobbleheads of some of the more popular Yankees.

For some reason, Kei Igawa's likeness is on one of these said bobbleheads.

It was $14.99, but it has since been marked down to $11.97, while most of the other "Big Head" bobbleheads remain at $14.99. Is there a posting fee necessary?

His contract is five years for $20 million. On the surface, that sounds like a good deal. But then you remember it's for Igawa's services. This is rather similar to the bobblehead situation.

By the way, this really looks nothing like Igawa.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Stark's strange but true of 2007

This article from Jayson Stark of ESPN doesn't have much to do with the Yankees, but it is a good read nonetheless.

Here are the mentions of Yankee feats from this season. Unfortunately, some aren't so positive.

How the heck did this happen? Yankees rookie Chase Wright, a pitcher who had given up four home runs to the previous 673 hitters he'd faced (in the majors and minors), needed a mere 10 pitches to serve up four home runs in a row to the Red Sox on April 22. Naturally, the four hitters who bashed them had combined for only four homers all season before that, in 218 at-bats.

Infield Fly Rule Dept.: After arriving in the Bronx in August, Joba Chamberlain pitched 24 innings, faced 91 hitters, blew zero leads, gave up only one earned run and threw just one wild pitch. Then the dreaded Lake Erie midges came into his life (not to mention his nostrils, eyeballs and earlobes) in October -- and six hitters into his postseason career, he'd already blown a save, given up an earned run and thrown two wild pitches. So where was the Sultan of Swat when the Yankees really needed him?

Crazy Eights Dept.: After the White Sox scored eight runs against the Yankees in the top of the second inning Aug. 2, what do you think the Yankees did? Score precisely eight in the bottom of the second. Of course.

Mission Control Dept.: Yankees rookie Edwar Ramirez had a July 20 outing in which he threw 19 pitches -- only two of them for strikes. And one of those two was mashed for a grand slam by fabled .179 hitter Dioner Navarro.

Feels Like We Forgot Somebody Dept.: For the first time in franchise history, seven different Yankees homered in one game on July 31 -- and none of them was the guy who led the major leagues in homers this year, A-Rod.

Yankees to monitor innings for the Big 3

With the threat of the Yankees young starters (Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy) reaching their innings caps, the Yankees have decided to monitor their total innings pitched.

From Kat O'Brien:

The plan is for the three to compete for two spots in the starting rotation in spring training, with Chien-Ming Wang, Andy Pettitte and Mike Mussina likely to fill the other three rotation slots. But not one of the young trio was at or near the 200-inning mark in 2007. That means it will require careful watch to keep them in the rotation (if they earn it) without raising their innings an alarming amount.

"All of our players will have [innings] objectives," general manager Brian Cashman said by phone Friday. (Newsday)
This obviously means Chamberlain will head to the bullpen, if there are only two spots available and this is the direction the Yankees want to head in. He is the only one of the three with bullpen experience. Kennedy pitched the most innings last season (165 1/3 innings in the Majors and Minors combined).

Chamberlain has said he'd like to start, and he pitched in 136 total innings last season. If he was a full-time starter, he'd likely approach 200 innings, so I could see why that would concern the Yankees.

I don't think it would be the end of the world if Chamberlain has to spend a month or two in the bullpen at the beginning of the season. I still think he'll end up being a starter eventually, and if they ease him into the rotation gradually, he'll succeed.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Duncan discusses the holidays

Yeah, Yankee news has been pretty slim these last few days.

Shelley Duncan spoke with MLB.com about celebrating the holidays in a baseball family.

This was the only Yankee-related question:

Any advice for Brian Cashman and the Yankees as they finish their holiday shopping?

I wouldn't really want to suggest anything. I would just tell them how happy I am with what they've done already. They've done a great job bringing so many important people back this year. I think if you look at our team the way it's set up right now, we're going to have a really great chance to win this season. It's great to have everyone back, and I can't wait to get down to Spring Training and get it all going. (Yankees.com)
Merry Christmas, Yankee fans.

(Frank Franklin II/AP)

Yankees owe almost $24 million in luxury tax

From Ronald Blum:

The Yankees were hit with a tax bill of $23.88 million by Major League Baseball in a notice sent to teams late Friday, pushing them over the $100 million mark since the penalty for profligate spending was introduced in 2003.

The only other club that must pay the competitive-balance tax, as it is formally known, is the World Series champion Boston Red Sox, who owe $6.06 million.

Checks are due at the commissioner's office by Jan. 31. (Yahoo! News)

The Yankees owed $26 million after last season and almost $34 million after 2005. Since the luxury tax was put in place in 2003, the Yankees have paid over $121 million without winning a World Championship.

The tax threshold increases to $155 million next season. Even still, the Yankees will probably end up paying for a sixth-straight season. Hopefully the outcome is different on the field, however.

Hello, Rob Neyer's readers

My stats (especially the Festivus post) are blowing up today, and they're all from Rob Neyer's blog.

I'm curious as to what he had to say. I'm not an Insider member and you guys obviously are.



UPDATE - 5:05 p.m.: Mystery solved. Thank you.


Once again, our fearless leader takes us to the playoffs.

7-15, 111 yards, two interceptions, 38 points

(Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

A Yankee Festivus

Today is December 23, the official day of Festivus! For those who don't know, Festivus was created by Frank Costanza on Seinfield to oppose the commercialization of Christmas. For a more detailed look at Festivus, click here.

In honor of Festivus, I will have an abbreviated Yankees version of Festivus.

One of the major aspects of the Festivus celebration is the Airing of Grievances, a way to vent and talk about the ways everyone has disappointed you over the last year.

I've got a lot of problems with you people, and now you're gonna hear about it!

Joe Torre: Good riddance.

Hank Steinbrenner: Every time you open your mouth, you get closer and closer to tampering. Keep quiet and just sign the checks.

Brian Cashman: You have done a great job building up the minor-league system. However, your bullpen-building has always been questionable, and as of now, there is no one reliable after Mariano Rivera.

Chien-Ming Wang
: The 19 games you won this year were great. However, you spit the bit in the playoffs in your two starts and cost the Yankees a chance at facing the Red Sox in the ALCS.

Mariano Rivera: In statistically the worst season of your career, you received a pay raise and three more years after turning 38.

Mike Mussina: 5.15 ERA in 27 starts and 28 appearances overall. Despite posting solid numbers in 2006, your career has been downhill after 2003. The Yankees still have you at one year for $11 million.

Carl Pavano: You were the Opening Day starter by default this season after missing all of 2006. After getting hurt and needing Tommy John Surgery, you are being fussy regarding accepting a release and a minor-league contract. Pavano, the Yankees owe you nothing. You have no right to hold up anything.

Kyle Farnsworth: 48 strikeouts and 27 walks in 60 innings pitched. You will make $5.5 million this year and have proven to be unreliable in your time in New York.

Brian Bruney: 37 walks in 50 innings pitched. You complained after being sent down to the Minors. You're lucky the Yankees decided to tender you a contract. You better change your act.

Wilson Betemit: You were already unpopular with me after coming here in the Scott Proctor trade. Your play on the field didn't make me feel any better about you. 33 strikeouts compared to six walks later, you're still useless.

Jorge Posada: You had the best season of your career in a contract year. You are making $13.1 million each year until you turn 40. You have played in 131 games behind the plate every season since 2000. You better not break down.

Jason Giambi: 254 at-bats and 14 home runs got you paid $21 million. Not bad. You will get paid the same amount this season, and the production will probably be just as poor.

Canadian Soldiers: Thanks, jerks!

Next are the Festivus miracles:

Alex Rodriguez: When you opted out of your contract during the fourth game of the World Series, all of New York thought you were a goner. I'll admit that I deleted all of my pictures of you on my computer out of anger. Later, it came out that your agent told you that the Yankees didn't want you back, and you obliged. You took matters into your own hands to return to the Yankees, and we welcome you back with open arms.

Joe Girardi: Picking you over Don Mattingly was one of the best decisions of the off-season. You were Scott Proctor's Arm's choice for manager, so we were obviously thrilled you were chosen to manage the team.

On to the Feats of Strength:

The American League East should be another battle between the Yankees and the World Champion Boston Red Sox. The lineups for both teams are pretty much the same as of now, and the Yankees rotation should improve with the addition of the Big Three. The two teams will meet in Boston for the final series of the regular season. This could determine who wins the East.

That's it for me. Have a Happy Festivus all! And have a happy and healthy holiday season.

This has been a great year of blogging for me. Since May 26, I have posted over 600 times and have recorded over 53,000 hits. This has been a lot of fun for me, and I truly appreciate everyone who takes time out of their day to read what I have to say.

Here's to another great year of Yankees baseball, and hopefully we can win that elusive 27th title in 2008.

And now, from YouTube, the real Festivus celebration from Seinfeld.

Here is the Mets version of Festivus, from my pal Andrew Vazzano over at The 'Ropolitans.

Clemens denies drug use in video

From YouTube:

He says towards the end that he'll appear on 60 Minutes with Mike Wallace to answer more questions on the subject.

Clemens believes he's truly innocent, and now he's finally starting to speak for himself. I hope the allegations against him are untrue. He was such a great pitcher and it would be a shame to see all of his accomplishments tarnished.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Clemens and Pettitte not named in Grimsley affidavit

Newsday, as well as other outlets, are reporting that Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte were not mentioned in Jason Grimsley's affidavit when it was unsealed today.

The Los Angeles Times reported last year that both, as well as Brian Roberts, were in the affidavit.

While Clemens denies ever using any performance-enhancing drugs, Roberts and Pettitte have already come clean.

Clemens' attorney released a statement tonight:

"When this grossly inaccurate story broke in October 2006, Roger said it was untrue and the Los Angeles Times chose not to believe him. As the record now clearly proves, Roger was telling the truth then, just as he continues to tell the truth today. Roger Clemens did not take steroids, and anybody who says he did had better start looking for a hell of a good lawyer." (LoHud Yankees Blog)
This makes Clemens look good for the moment. However, I still want to hear from Clemens himself, and not from statements released by his people.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

ESPN: Players won't testify in front of Congress

None of the 86 players mentioned in the Mitchell report released last week are expected to speak at a Jan. 15 hearing on steroids before the House Government Reform Committee, according to a published report.

"We don't want to turn this into a circus," Rep. Tom Davis told USA Today. "We just want to know what Major League Baseball plans to do about their problems. We understand the collective bargaining agreement complicates matters, but we'd like to see if they agree with Sen. George Mitchell's recommendations, and move on."

Davis reiterated those comments Thursday on the Stephen A. Smith Show on ESPN radio, saying "no" to whether Clemens would come to Capitol Hill.

A few of the faces likely to grace Capitol Hill for January's hearings are Commissioner Bud Selig, MLB players union executive director Don Fehr, and Mitchell. (ESPN)

Aside from Rafael Palmeiro, testifying in front of Congress under oath ususally ensures the truth is being told. I really would've liked to hear from Roger Clemens regarding the Mitchell Report's allegations.

My dog ate the World Series ball

Everyone remembers the 2004 World Series ball controversy involving the Boston Red Sox and Doug Mientkiewicz.

Well, the 2007 World Series ball is also in the news, this time involving closer Jonathan Papelbon.

From ESPN.com:

"My dog ate it," Papelbon told the newspaper. "He plays with baseballs like they are his toys. His name is Boss. He jumped up one day on the counter and snatched it. He likes rawhide. He tore that thing to pieces.

"I'll keep what's left of it," he told the paper.

That's a shame. Hopefully this releases whatever hex has been on the Yankees since 2000. It helps that the dog's name is "Boss."

Mahay signs with the Royals

It was reported last night that the Kansas City Royals have signed lefty reliever Ron Mahay to a two-year, $8 million deal.

The Yankees were looking at him earlier this off-season, but he was rumored to be looking at a three-year, $12 million contract. $4 million for a left-handed specialist is way too much.

The Yankees learned from their past bullpen mistakes - giving multi-year deals to mediocre relievers - and signed LaTroy Hawkins to a one-year, $3.75 million contract.

Hank on Santana and Prior

Hank Steinbrenner, a journalist's dream, opened his mouth again today. He spoke about the Yankees' chances on acquiring Johan Santana and Mark Prior.

From Kat O'Brien:

"There's still an outside chance that we get him," Yankees senior vice president Hank Steinbrenner said by phone yesterday afternoon. "We'll see. We've got to do things based on what we think is best. I think myself and [general manager] Brian [Cashman] are going back and forth. I think we're comfortable staying where we are, and I certainly think we'd be comfortable getting Santana, too."

The Pioneer Press of St. Paul, Minn., reported yesterday that "there's buzz that a Santana trade could be made within days," but didn't specify to which team. (Newsday)
If the Twins' demands of Phil Hughes, Melky Cabrera and another high prospect have not changed since the Winter Meetings, I would not pull the trigger. However, if the deal Bill Madden reported is still on the table (Hughes, Cabrera, Jeff Marquez and Mitch Hilligoss), I'd have to accept it.

On Prior:
In another personnel matter, Steinbrenner said he did not expect the Yankees to go after free-agent righthander Mark Prior. The 27-year-old was once one of the top up-and-comers in baseball but has been oft-injured. This season, he was 1-6 with a 7.21 ERA in nine starts for the Cubs before shoulder surgery.

"We kind of looked into it, but at this point, no," Steinbrenner said of the Yankees' interest in Prior.
That's too bad. It wouldn't have hurt to take a chance on the right-hander if the price was right and he appeared healthy.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Clemens denies drug use allegations

Roger Clemens issued a statement through his agent Randy Hendricks regarding him being named in the Mitchell Report last week.

From Ronald Blum:

"I want to state clearly and without qualification: I did not take steroids, human growth hormone or any other banned substances at any time in my baseball career or, in fact, my entire life," Clemens said Tuesday in a statement issued through his agent, Randy Hendricks. "Those substances represent a dangerous and destructive shortcut that no athlete should ever take.

"I am disappointed that my 25 years in public life have apparently not earned me the benefit of the doubt, but I understand that Senator Mitchell's report has raised many serious questions. I plan to publicly answer all of those questions at the appropriate time in the appropriate way. I only ask that in the meantime people not rush to judgment." (Yahoo! News)
The dirt on Clemens was rather detailed, so I'll be interested to see what else Clemens has to say.

The section on Clemens begins on page 215 of the .pdf file.

Monday, December 17, 2007

2008 schedule released

From the official press release:

The Yankees' 81-game home schedule will feature three series totaling nine games with each of the club's four American League East rivals (Baltimore, Boston, Tampa Bay and Toronto) as well as Interleague series vs. three National League opponents. The Yankees will host the New York Mets on May 16-17-18, the San Diego Padres on June 17-18-19 and the Cincinnati Reds on June 20-21-22. Additionally, the Yankees will make their first-ever regular season appearance at Minute Maid Park vs. the Houston Astros on June 13-14-15 and their first Pittsburgh appearance since the 1960 World Series on June 24-25-26 at PNC Park vs. the Pirates. The Yankees conclude their 2008 Interleague schedule vs. the Mets at Shea Stadium on June 27-28-29. (Yankees.com)
The complete schedule can be found here (.pdf file).

Rivera officially agrees to deal

From Bryan Hoch:

The Yankees will wrap up their queue of finalized agreements that needed to be announced today, finishing off Mariano Rivera's three-year, $45 million deal. The Yankees have scheduled a 4 p.m. ET conference call for Rivera to discuss his return. Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada were the other agreements that needed to be cleared off the table. (Bombers Beat)
My ideal contract would have been two years with an option for a third year, but the Yankees couldn't let him walk. He was already upset that they didn't negotiate during Spring Training.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Rodriguez on 60 Minutes

Alex Rodriguez appeared on CBS' 60 Minutes tonight.

The text of the interview can be found here.

Some highlights:

"You never felt like, 'This guy's doing it, maybe I should look into this, too? He's getting better numbers, playing better ball,'" Couric asked.

"I've never felt overmatched on the baseball field. I've always been a very strong, dominant position. And I felt that if I did my work as I've done since I was, you know, a rookie back in Seattle, I didn't have a problem competing at any level. So, no," he replied.

But the Mitchell Report named names, including at least 16 current and former Yankees, like superstars Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens.

What's Rodriguez's reaction to this investigation?

"Katie, you're putting me in a tough spot. I mean, these are guys that I play with. They're my teammates. If anything comes of this, I will be extremely disappointed. And it will be a huge black eye on the game of baseball," he told Couric.


"Why haven't you done better in the post-season?" Couric asked.

"I've stunk," Rodriguez admitted. "You know? I've done very poorly. And that's not acceptable." (CBS News)
He didn't really say that much and he used more of his manufactured answers so as not to bother any one side. He always seems to come off as fake when he speaks to the media.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Pettitte comes clean

Andy Pettitte released a statement through his agent this afternoon, regarding being named in the Mitchell Report.

From Ben Walker:

"In 2002 I was injured. I had heard that human growth hormone could promote faster healing for my elbow," Pettitte said in the statement released to The Associated Press by agent Randy Hendricks.

"I felt an obligation to get back to my team as soon as possible. For this reason, and only this reason, for two days I tried human growth hormone. Though it was not against baseball rules, I was not comfortable with what I was doing, so I stopped.

"This is it — two days out of my life; two days out of my entire career, when I was injured and on the disabled list," he said. "I wasn't looking for an edge. I was looking to heal."

Pettitte was not linked to steroids in the report, and he emphasized he never had never used them.

"I have the utmost respect for baseball and have always tried to live my life in a way that would be honorable," he said. "If I have let down people that care about me, I am sorry, but I hope that you will listen to me carefully and understand that two days of perhaps bad judgment should not ruin a lifetime of hard work and dedication.

"I have tried to do things the right way my entire life, and, again, ask that you put those two days in the proper context. People that know me will know that what I say is true," he said. (Yahoo! News)

Pettitte's situation is obviously different from Roger Clemens' situation.

However, his name is soiled because of this report because, unfortunately, knew the wrong people. If he got HGH from someone who wasn't called to testify, no one would know. And that is one of the problems of the Mitchell Report.

Damon angered over false steroids report

Johnny Damon, Albert Pujols, Jason Varitek and Nomar Garciaparra appeared to have been named by the Mitchell Report, as far as WNBC and its sources were concerned. They posted a list on their website three hours before the official report was released, and 41 of the names on their list turned out to be wrong.

Here is Damon's reaction, from George King and Samuel Goldsmith:

"I woke up and my brother is telling me there are reporters at my father's house," Damon told The Post. "My dad told them, 'My son isn't a liar, my son doesn't lie.'"

The center fielder was furious, and considered suing the station.

"It sucks, I am wondering if there is any legal course to turn to," Damon said. "I walk around with my shirt off. If I had anything to hide I wouldn't do that. I really don't know what to say. There seems to be some people who don't like me...

"I asked my agent about legal action, but he said it wasn't worth it. Maybe the president [of NBC] will write me a nice letter." (New York Post)

It's unfortunate that he has to go on the defensive for something he supposedly didn't do.

This whole situation is doing more harm than good. Could you imagine what would've happened if Kirk Radomski and Brian McNamee weren't forced to testify? All of this time and money would have been wasted in a fruitless effort to uncover some dirt on things we all that went on in the past. That is pretty much what happened anyway, sans Roger Clemens getting busted.

I bet "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" by U2 is playing on Bud Selig's iPod right now.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Fun with headlines

Trentonian.com photo

D-backs acquire Haren, trade Valverde to Houston

From Steve Gilbert:

The D-backs completed a deal to acquire right-handers Dan Haren and Connor Robertson from the A's in exchange for six prospects, it was announced Friday afternoon.

In addition, the D-backs sent closer Jose Valverde to the Astros in exchange for infielder Chris Burke and right-handers Chad Qualls and Juan Gutierrez.

Included in the trade to Oakland are pitchers Brett Anderson, Greg Smith and Dana Eveland along with outfielders Carlos Gonzalez and Aaron Cunningham and first baseman Chris Carter. (MLB.com)

The Yankees were interested in Haren after talks regarding Johan Santana ended. They were told that the A's were looking for a similar package (Phil Hughes, Melky Cabrera, +) for Haren's services.

That said, Gonzalez, Anderson, Cunningham and Carter were named the D-backs' 1, 3, 7 and 8th prospects, respectively, by Baseball America.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Let the denying begin

Roger Clemens' legal team is already on the defensive.

From Bryan Hoch:

Clemens was mentioned on nine pages and 82 times by name. Clemens' lawyer, Rusty Hardin, released a statement on Thursday in which Clemens vehemently denied ever using steroids and said he was "outraged" that his name was included based upon the "uncorroborated allegations" of Brian McNamee, a former Yankees trainer.

"Roger has been repeatedly tested for these substances and he has never tested positive," Hardin said. "There has never been one shred of tangible evidence that he ever used these substances, and yet he is being slandered today." (Yankees.com)

The report on Clemens did go into detail, but it came from someone who was threatened with criminal prosecution, according to Clemens' camp.

The Mitchell Report

If you're bored and want to read through 409 pages of a PDF document, here is The Mitchell Report.

The information on Roger Clemens begins on page 215 of the document (page 167 of the report).

Rodriguez wanted to remain a Yankee all along

The Yankees officially announced the signing of Alex Rodriguez this morning. He talked candidly about the negotiating process and the involvement of Scott Boras.

From Kat O'Brien:

“If I had to do it again, I would have called Hank and done the negotiating myself,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez opted out of the final three years of his 10-year, $252-million contract, a decision that became public during Game 4 of the World Series. He said this morning that that was a huge mistake. All along, he wanted to remain a Yankee, he said, but he was given information by Boras that led him to think the Yankees were not interested in resigning him. Rodriguez’s resigning was officially announced today.

“I opted out simply because, let me preface it by saying it was a mistake,” Rodriguez said. “I was pretty sure based on the information that I was getting was that the Yankees were not interested in my services. … As far as the World Series, that was handled very poorly. My understanding was the letter would not go public until a day or two after the World Series was over. The timing was distasteful and very inappropriate. The whole thing was a mistake, it was a huge debacle.” (On the Yankees beat)
This whole story was been one chapter in a soap opera after another. For once, Rodriguez does not seem like the bad guy in this case.

Clemens and Pettitte reportedly named in Mitchell Report

From Peter Abraham:

There are scattered reports that Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte will be among those named by the Mitchell Report. Their names have come up in the past based on their ties to trainer Brian McNamee.

McNamee is a personal trainer who was employed by the Yankees for several years at the insistence of Clemens. It is believed that McNamee spoke to Mitchell. (LoHud Yankees Blog)

Was this why Pettitte was so undecided about returning?

Here is this interesting tidbit from ESPN.com:
Also, The Bergen (N.J.) Record, citing a baseball industry official, says "several" prominent Yankees will be named in the Mitchell report. The paper said the source spoke to a third party who had seen the final report.

"It's going to be a rough day in the Bronx," the paper quoted the source as saying. (ESPN)

The report will be released at 2 p.m. I know I'll be on the edge of my seat.

40-man roster nearly complete

From Peter Abraham:

Brian Bruney can afford another tattoo, the Yankees decided to keep him. Bruney, Wilson Betemit, Robinson Cano and Chien-Ming Wang were all offered arbitration tonight.

The Yankees did not offer deals to RHPs T.J. Beam, Matt DeSalvo and Darrell Rasner. They now become free agents.

Once they officially add Alex Rodriguez, LaTroy Hawkins and Mariano Rivera, the Yankees will have 40 players on the 40-man roster. (LoHud Yankees Blog)

I'm a little surprised by the Yankees tendering Bruney a contract. He had bouts of wildness at times last year and was angry at the organization when he was sent down to AAA.

DeSalvo started a few times last year when the Yankees had a makeshift starting rotation at the beginning of the season. He won't be missed.

I know the Yankees don't like doing this, but they should really offer multi-year deals to Wang and Cano. They would be able to get them locked up for three or four years at a bargain.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Tanyon Sturtze's Arm

Peter Abraham posted that the Los Angeles Dodgers and Joe Torre have invited former buddy Tanyon Sturtze to Spring Training. Scott Proctor is already on the roster, so Torre is living out his dream in Los Angeles.

Where is Paul Quantrill?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Pavano is being a jerk

According to Dom Amore of the Hartford Courant, Carl Pavano is "weighing his options."

"I'd be giving up a lot of options if I signed a minor league deal," Pavano said.
Pavano has absolutely no right to say anything. He's gotten paid millions of dollars for 19 starts and five wins after signing a four-year, $39.95 million contract before the 2005 season. He should be thanking the Yankees for not having been released by now.

The way he has treated the Yankees while being hurt is inexcusable. The Yankees need the roster spot right now, and Pavano isn't helping matters. He will barely pitch this year, if at all, so there's no need for him to be on the roster. The sooner this saga ends, the better.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Phillies have a mild interest in Mussina

From Bob Matthews:

The Philadelphia Phillies reportedly have a mild interest in New York Yankees pitcher Mike Mussina. Pitching against National League lineups, without designated hitters, could extend Mussina's career long enough to boost his Hall of Fame hopes. He's no cinch to make the Yankees' starting rotation. (Democrat & Chronicle)
I'd definitely try to shop Mussina to gauge interest. Aside from a good 2006 season, Mussina has struggled since putting up solid numbers in 2003. His ERAs in 2004, 2005 and 2007 were 4.59, 4.41 and 5.15, respectively. He turned 39 two days ago, and is certainly pitching like someone that age.

With Chien-Ming Wang, Phil Hughes, Andy Pettitte, Joba Chamberlain and Ian Kennedy in line to be in the rotation, Mussina may not have a spot. If they can get back a decent prospect, they should pull the trigger.

Via MLB Trade Rumors

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Hawkins and Yankees agree to deal

The Associated Press is reporting that the Yankees and reliever LaTroy Hawkins have agreed on a one-year, $3.75 million deal.

He was 2-5 with a 3.42 ERA in 55 1-3 innings pitched for Colorado last year.

It's only a one-year deal, so the Yankees won't be on the hook for that much if he's another Kyle Farnsworth. They needed bullpen help, and there wasn't much out there, so I can't blame the Yankees for targeting Hawkins. Hopefully it works out in the end, but I'm not extremely confident he'll get the job done.

At least they learned from their mistake and didn't give a mediocre reliever a multi-year deal.

Rosenthal: Yankees close to signing Hawkins

From Ken Rosenthal:

The Yankees, rebuilding their setup corps, are close to signing free-agent right-hander LaTroy Hawkins to a one-year contract believed to be worth approximately $3.75 million, according to major-league sources.

Hawkins, 35, will help fill the void created by the loss of righty Luis Vizcaino, who declined salary arbitration from the Yankees, and righty Joba Chamberlain, who is expected to move into the starting rotation. (FoxSports.com)
I don't really like this idea. Hawkins has been on a steady decline since 2004 and the Yankees are probably better off trying to develop a bullpen from within their organization.

But it's only a one-year deal, so it won't hurt that much if he's terrible.

Pavano will accept Minor League assignment

From George King:

"American Idle" Carl Pavano spoke to Brian Cashman on Friday at the Stadium and said he is going to accept a minor-league assignment after the Yankees release him from the final year of a disastrous four-year, $39.95 million contract.

Needing room on the 40-man roster so they can add Alex Rodriguez, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera, the Yankees hatched the idea of cutting Pavano. The right-hander had Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in early June and isn't expected to be ready to pitch until July at the earliest.

Under the release plan, Pavano would get the $11 million he is owed for the 2008 season and the $1.95 million buyout he would have coming to him, because the Yankees aren't going to pick up a $15 million option for 2009. (New York Post)

There is absolutely no argument here. I can't say that the Yankees shouldn't have signed Pavano for the 2005 season, as many teams were after him. No one could have predicted the future. That being said, he was a major bust and this was the best way to handle the situation.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Yankees DFA Sardinha

Bronson Kiheimahanaomauiakeo Sardinha has been designated for assignment following Andy Pettitte's decision to accept arbitration, according to Peter Abraham.

Sardinha made his Major League debut this season and appeared in 10 games. He was also on the postseason roster. He had no role with the team, so this move isn't such a big deal.

Abraham suggests that Carl Pavano will be released soon.

Vizcaino most likely gone

Luis Vizcaino declined the Yankees' offer of arbitration, thus allowing him to remain as a free agent.

From his agent, Bean Stringfellow:

"We are proceeding like the Yankees aren't involved," Bean Stringfellow said yesterday morning. "I talked to Brian (Cashman) and he said he was going to call twice and hasn't. I have teams interested and Luis has played on many teams and has enjoyed them all." (New York Post)
Vizcaino was somewhat of a Joe Torre casualty during a few instances last year. He was used a lot in April and then struggled in May. He came back to form during the summer, but then struggled in September after pitching over 29 innings in July and August combined.

That said, the bullpen still needs to be improved. Mariano Rivera is really the only trustworthy member, now that Joba Chamberlain is being moved to the starting rotation.

Pettitte accepts arbitration

Andy Pettitte accepted the Yankees' arbitration offer, according to Bryan Hoch. This move officially solidifies the 2008 rotation, unless the Yankees pull a move for Johan Santana out of no where.

Pettitte was 15-9 with a 4.05 ERA. He struggled with a lack of run support early on in the season but pitched well for the majority of the season. He also had a huge start in Game 2 of the ALDS.

His contract is worth $16 million for one year. However, he has said that he would like to at least play in the new Yankee Stadium.

Friday, December 7, 2007

More from Joba on ESPN

Joba Chamberlain was interviewed by my friend Jay Crawford. Here is the video:

Thanks to River Ave. Blues for finding this first.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

News on Duncan and Pavano

From George King and Joel Sherman:

Cashman couldn't guarantee Shelley Duncan will be ready when spring training opens. Duncan recently was treated for a blood clot in his arm.


With a need for space on the 40-man roster, the Yankees are about to approach "American Idle" Carl Pavano. Their plan is to release him then invite him to spring training on a minor-league deal. Pavano had Tommy John surgery last summer. The minor-league offer may have something to do with collecting insurance money on Pavano's four-year, $40 million contract that expires after the 2008 season. (New York Post)

Hopefully all is well with Duncan. The Yankees didn't offer arbitration to Doug Mientkiewicz, so their only other real first base options are Jason Giambi and Wilson Betemit.

No arguments on Pavano's situation. If he's not playing, he obviously shouldn't be on the Major League roster.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Yankees interested in Mahay and Vizcaino

According to Bryan Hoch, the Yankees have contacted the representatives for Ron Mahay and Luis Vizcaino.

Mahay, a 36-year-old lefty, will probably receive a three-year, $12 million offer from the Yankees. I feel that three years may be a little too much, but the bullpen is need of improvement right now. Hoch also says that Vizcaino may seek Scott Linebrink money (four years, $19 million). If that's the case, I'd let Vizcaino find employment elsewhere.

Joba is NEXT

Buster Olney wrote a piece on our very own Joba Chamberlain for ESPN The Magazine.

Basically, Chamberlain enjoys text messaging and UFC. Also, Mike Lowell was the toughest batter he faced last season.

Cashman walked away from Santana deal because of money

From Bill Madden:

But it is more than just Cashman's belief in Hughes that suddenly put the Yankees in full retreat after Hank Steinbrenner had sounded the "Charge!" on Santana. Believe it or not, the final decision not to go through with a deal that was on the table - one that would have sacrificed Hughes, Melky Cabrera, 23-year-old Double-A righthander Jeff Marquez and 22-year-old A-ball third baseman Mitch Hilligoss - was based on money.

Once Andy Pettitte announced he was returning to the fold for $16 million, it meant the Yankees had committed $408.4 million this winter to retain six players. The acquisition of Santana would have meant tacking on another $125 million to that figure, and Cashman, who never wanted to do the Santana deal in the first place, blanched at the prospect of adding another $20 million to a payroll that was already on the cusp of $200 million, again. In this respect, the timing of Pettitte's decision to return - while initially seen as giving the Yankees additional leverage in their dealings with the Twins on Santana - actually gave Cashman the "out" he needed. (New York Daily News)
If money wasn't a factor, that trade seems like a steal for the Yankees. However, terrible free agent contracts from earlier this decade have proven to finally inhibit the Yankees' spending.

That said, I could see why Cashman does not want to trade Hughes either. Madden cites that Cashman's legacy will be the big three of young pitchers. Trading them instead of developing from within would show that Cashman does not have the power he sought within the organization.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Pettitte wants to pitch longer?

From Jim Molony:

On Tuesday, Andy Pettitte told KRIV-TV that he could pitch another 10 years if he wanted to and, at the very minimum, would like to help the Yankees open their new stadium in 2009.

"I really believe now, especially after playing with the Astros and pitching with my elbow the way it was when I needed the surgery, I realize now I could go out and probably pitch until I'm 45 years old, because I was throwing 82, 83 miles an hour and still being able to compete, maybe because I'm left-handed or whatever," Pettitte said. "For me, the thing of me not being able to go out there and get any guys out, I think that's so far down the road, probably, that's never going to play into my decision.

Everybody wanted me to come back. My wife realized that if she would have said, 'Let's shut it down,' I would have definitely done that. She was like, 'Let's see how it goes one more year.' So with that support and all of my teammates' support, no matter what, wanting me to come back and do this again, that's probably the big thing." (NASHVILLE CONFIDENTIAL)
If he can still pitch at a high level, I'd definitely want him back for 2009. Pettitte has always been a big-game pitcher and his signing last year was a huge move. He was definitely missed during those three years in Houston.

Thanks to my boy MantleMurcer for finding this.

Yankees will not change offer

From Peter Abraham:

Just spoke to a Yankees Exec Who Can Be Trusted and learned this:

The Y.E.W.C.B.T said that Brian Cashman has made his final offer and will not toss in Ian Kennedy, Alan Horne or Austin Jackson. That would seem to favor the Red Sox but the Dodgers and Angels are now getting in the mix with the Yankees on the outskirts. (LoHud Yankees Blog)
So there you have it. Abraham also says that the Twins don't really like Melky Cabrera but love Jon Lester from the Red Sox.

I'm glad to see the Yankees not give in to the Twins' demands. It was worth trying to dangle Phil Hughes, but when they wanted more, it was right for the Yankees to walk away.

Yankees reportedly trade for reliever

From Barry Svrluga:

A source with knowledge of the situation said the Nationals traded reliever Jonathan Albaladejo to the New York Yankees in exchange for right-hander Tyler Clippard, pending physical examinations of both players. The 22-year-old, who went 3-1 with a 6.33 ERA filling in for the Yankees this year, has a 3.52 ERA over five minor league seasons. He should immediately be a contender for Washington's rotation. Bowden did not return messages seeking comment on the deal. (Washington Post)
Albaladejo went 1-1 with a 1.88 ERA in 14 1-3 innings, striking out 12 and walking two in the process in 14 relief appearances.

The Yankees need bullpen help, so this looks like a step in the right direction.

Thanks to River Ave. Blues for digging this up.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Fans had an effect on Pettitte's return

Two weeks ago, I relayed Steve Lombardi's message to get Yankee fans to write Andy Pettitte letters urging him to return.

Apparently, it had an effect.

From Kat O'Brien:

Along with the teammates and Yankees officials, Hendricks said the barrage of fan pleas had an effect as well. One fan, Steve Lombardi, even came up with "P46" or "Project 46", representing Pettitte's number, and urged fans to write letters and e-mails to Pettitte.

"The fans helped," Hendricks wrote. "Some wrote very touching and eloquent letters." (Newsday)
Good job, Steve, and thanks go out to the fans. Pettitte returning is absolutely huge.

Yankees release Spring Training schedule

Fri., Feb. 29 U. of SOUTH FLA. AT LEGENDS FIELD 1:15 p.m.
Sat., Mar. 1 Philadelphia at Clearwater 1:05 p.m.
Mon., Mar. 3 Houston at Kissimmee 1:05 p.m.
Tues., Mar. 4 Toronto at Dunedin 1:05 p.m.
Thurs., Mar. 6 Cincinnati at Sarasota 1:05 p.m.
Fri., Mar. 7 HOUSTON AT LEGENDS FIELD 1:15 p.m.
Sat., Mar. 8 TAMPA BAY AT LEGENDS FIELD 1:15 p.m.
Sun., Mar. 9 Minnesota at Ft. Myers 1:05 p.m.
Tues., Mar. 11 TORONTO AT LEGENDS FIELD 1:15 p.m.
Wed., Mar. 12 Tampa Bay at St. Petersburg 1:05 p.m.
Thurs., Mar. 13 PITTSBURGH AT LEGENDS FIELD 1:15 p.m.
Fri., Mar. 14 Cincinnati at Sarasota 1:05 p.m.
Sat., Mar. 15 Detroit at Lakeland (SS) 1:05 p.m.
Sun., Mar. 16 CLEVELAND AT LEGENDS FIELD 1:15 p.m.
Mon., Mar. 17 BOSTON AT LEGENDS FIELD 1:15 p.m.
Tues., Mar. 18 Virginia Tech at Blacksburg 3:00 p.m.
Wed., Mar. 19 Pittsburgh at Bradenton 7:05 p.m.
Thurs., Mar. 20 Toronto at Dunedin 1:05 p.m.
Fri., Mar. 21 TAMPA BAY AT LEGENDS FIELD 7:15 p.m.
Sat., Mar. 22 TORONTO AT LEGENDS FIELD 1:15 p.m.
Sun., Mar. 23 Pittsburgh at Bradenton 1:05 p.m.
Tues., Mar. 25 Cleveland at Winter Haven 1:05 p.m.
Wed., Mar. 26 Philadelphia at Clearwater 1:05 p.m.
Thurs., Mar. 27 PITTSBURGH AT LEGENDS FIELD 1:15 p.m.
Fri., Mar. 28 Florida at Dolphin Stadium 7:10 p.m.
Sat., Mar. 29 Florida at Dolphin Stadium 6:10 p.m. (Yankees.com)
Ah, I can't wait. In about three months, pitchers and catchers will report and the 2008 season's wheels will be in motion.

The Yankees will play a game at Virginia Tech on March 18 in honor of last year's shooting.

Molina signed, Phillips gone

The Yankees announced the signing of backup catcher Jose Molina today in Nashville. He signed a two-year deal worth $4 million.

To make room for Molina on the 40-man roster, the Yankees designated Andy Phillips for assignment.

No complaints here. Molina's acquisition last year was a solid move and he's one of the better backups on the market. With Shelley Duncan, Wilson Betemit and Jason Giambi on the roster, there isn't much room for Phillips.

Pettitte to return in 2008

Andy Pettitte has told friends and family that he will return to the Yankees in 2008.

From Jose De Jesus Ortiz:

That wait is over, and the Yankees have been informed of the decision by Pettitte’s agent, Randy Hendricks.

When reached by telephone this morning, Hendricks, who was in route to Nashville for the start of baseball’s winter meetings today, confirmed that he has advised the Yankees that Pettitte will play for them in 2008.

“Many teammates have called urging Andy to return as well as manager Joe Girardi,” Hendricks said. “It’s well known that the Yankees have publicly stated that they were ready for Andy when Andy was ready.” (Houston Chronicle)

This is great news. The Yankees don't have to be desperate for Johan Santana. With Pettitte back, the rotation is very solid.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Yankees set Monday deadline for Santana trade

The Yankees have set a Monday deadline for any Johan Santana trade.

From Ronald Blum:

"I'm not going to be played against the Red Sox. That's not something I'll do. That's not something the Yankees should ever do, and that's I think what they're trying to do now," Yankees senior vice president Hank Steinbrenner said Sunday. "So if they want the best offer that has been offered to them, then they need to make up their minds." (Yahoo)
Thank God. I'm getting sick of writing about this.

Twins want more for Santana

From John Harper:

The Yankees were hoping their decision Friday to include Phil Hughes in a trade package would seal a deal for Johan Santana, but the Twins weren't wowed by the offer. Instead, they let word leak Saturday that they will be perfectly happy to go into next season with Santana in their starting rotation if they don't get what they want.

And apparently what they want is another top-tier prospect from the Yankees, either pitcher Alan Horne or outfielder Austin Jackson, to go along with Hughes and center fielder Melky Cabrera. (New York Daily News)

I'd be perfectly fine going to battle with Phil Hughes in the rotation instead of Johan Santana. Unless the Twins' demands go down, the Yankees would be smart to walk away.

The Yankees felt that including Hughes would allow them to offer a lower-tier prospect. However, the Twins begged to differ.

Having Santana would be a bonus. As the rotation stands right now, it has the potential to be very good.

Ken Phelps! Ken Phelps!

Jim Baumbach of Newsday spoke with Ken Phelps about his name being mentioned in Seinfeld.

This was definitely one of the funnier Seinfeld moments and it's pretty interesting to see Phelps respond to it.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Yankees ready to offer Hughes

From John Harper and Mark Feinsand:

In any case, the club finally agreed to put Phil Hughes in a package that includes center fielder Melky Cabrera and at least one other lesser pitching prospect still to be negotiated, as of Friday night. And by doing so they believe they are the front-runners to land Santana, the two-time Cy Young winner.

There had been speculation the Red Sox were closing in on a deal on Thursday, but Yankee executives don't believe there was much to the rumors. And sources Friday said the Twins won't consider a deal with the Sox unless they include two of their big three prospects, pitchers Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz, and center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury.

The Sox apparently have told the Twins they won't do that, including only Lester among those three as part of a four-player proposal on Thursday. (New York Daily News)

I was afraid that it may come to this, and it looks like it has.

If there's anyone you trade Hughes for, it's Johan Santana. Therefore, I am not opposed to such a deal. The Yankees still have Joba Chamberlain, Chien-Ming Wang and Ian Kennedy, as well as Mike Mussina and possibly Andy Pettitte to fill out the rotation.

Such a move would only make the rotation better. However, as good as this staff looks on paper, the bullpen must be improved as well.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Complete top 50 prospects list released

Minor League Baseball has released its complete top 50 prospects list.

Three Yankees are on the list.

Joba Chamberlain was ranked fifth, Ian Kennedy 26th and Austin Jackson 49th.

Yankees make offer for Santana

From Jack Curry:

The Yankees have offered pitcher Ian Kennedy, center fielder Melky Cabrera and at least one minor league prospect, perhaps outfielder José Tabata. In the trade discussions, the Yankees have told the Twins that pitcher Joba Chamberlain is untouchable and that they do not want to deal pitcher Phil Hughes.

Because the Twins are insisting that Hughes must be a part of the package, the Yankees are mulling whether to make that concession. If the Yankees insert Hughes for Kennedy in their offer, they think it could be enough to obtain Santana. Of course, the Yankees, or any team that reached an agreement with the Twins, would then have the challenging task of signing Santana to a huge six- or seven-year contract in a 72-hour window. (The New York Times)

I like this offer in terms of a starting point. I'm happy with the decision to make Chamberlain untouchable and I believe that Hughes will have to come into play eventually.

I am not opposed to trading Hughes but I'd prefer keeping him.

The article later mentions that the Red Sox offered Jon Lester, Coco Crisp and two minor leaguers.

This ride could get bumpy.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Posada: Pettitte leaning towards retirement

Jorge Posada had a conference call this afternoon following the signing of his contract.

He had a few things to say:

Where it got interesting was when he said the Yankees should trade for Johan Santana because they need a No. 1. Posada also said he has been calling Andy Pettitte once a week.

He said Pettitte is leaning to retirement but he hopes that will change given the direction of the team. (LoHud Yankees Blog)

Things have certainly improved this off-season. Hopefully Pettitte can be swayed into returning for one more season. His one-year, $16 million offer is still on the table.

Posada officially re-signs

The Yankees officially announced the re-signing of catcher Jorge Posada this afternoon.

The contract is four years long and is worth $52.4 million.

Mariano Rivera's contract hasn't been made official yet, and Alex Rodriguez is still working on his new deal.

The Yankees continue to wait on Andy Pettitte's decision. He declined his $16 million player option early this off-season and has not decided whether or not he wants to retire.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Some Santana red flags

There are two sides to every story. Peter Abraham delves into some troubling Johan Santana stats from last season.

This pitcher was 3-2 with a 5.70 ERA against teams from the AL East last season (not counting the Yankees).

He was 5-7, 4.04 in the second half of the season, allowing 88 hits (16 of them home runs) over 98 innings. The 33 home runs he allowed for the season were nine more than in any other previous season. Scouts have noticed he appears hesitant to throw his slider. (LoHud Yankees Blog)
That is somewhat of a cause for concern for me. He was 15-13 last season. However, if he was on the Yankees, the win total most likely would have been higher.

That said, if the right package is offered, I wouldn't be opposed to a Santana trade.

River Ave. Blues wants to save the Big Three

River Ave. Blues is starting a campaign to hold onto Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy.

All three have been mentioned in the persistent Johan Santana trade rumors. I am against trading Chamberlain, as I feel he can be valuable either out of the bullpen or as a starter. He is an excitable character, and the team can feed off of his emotion.

I have seen enough of Hughes to like his stuff, but I would certainly trade him for Santana, and only Santana. However, if the demands are too great, I would hold on to everyone and not make the trade.

Kennedy is probably the most expendable of the three, but I don't know how much the Twins like him. A trade of Melky Cabrera and Kennedy won't get it done alone.

Whatever the case, we're in for a long ride and it will be very interesting.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Yankees, Twins discussing Santana trade

From the Associated Press:

Yankees senior vice president Hank Steinbrenner said Monday that discussions are ongoing but it was too early to tell whether they would lead to a deal. He did not detail how far talks had progressed.

"I don't want to get into that at this point, as far as what they want, what we're willing to give and all that," he said. "It's preliminary right now." (ESPN.com)

As I mentioned on Saturday, I'd be willing to part with Phil Hughes and Melky Cabrera. I saw reports today that the Twins are interested in prospect Austin Jackson as well. That is a little steep if you ask me, but Johan Santana is the best pitcher in baseball.

Is it really worth it? Only time will tell.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A-Rod's marketing package

From Ronald Blum:

Alex Rodriguez and the New York Yankees have agreed on a $30 million marketing package based on home-run achievements that could raise the total value of his new contract to $305 million over 10 years.

Under the agreement, which remains to be finalized, Rodriguez could receive $6 million each for tying the home-run levels of Willie Mays (660), Babe Ruth (714), Hank Aaron (755) and Barry Bonds (762), and an additional $6 million for breaking Bonds' major league record.

The Yankees could designate each level as a historic event, enabling Rodriguez to receive the added money in exchange for additional personal appearances and signed memorabilia for the club. That enabled the agreement to be allowed by the players' association and the commissioner's office. Baseball generally prohibits bonuses based on statistics such as home runs. (Yahoo!)
This type of agreement wasn't unexpected. However, all of this money is relative when you're making as much as Rodriguez will be in this yet-to-be-signed contract.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Yankees expected to make a "good, strong offer" for Santana

Minnesota Twins ace Johan Santana recently declined a four-year, $80 million offer to stay with the team. He will be a free agent after the 2008 season, so he will most likely get traded.

The price, in terms of players, is somewhat coming into play.

From Kat O'Brien:

The Twins are believed to have more interest in Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes than Kennedy, but they also like second baseman Robinson Cano and centerfielder Melky Cabrera. The Yankees have other well-thought-of prospects such as pitcher Alan Horne and outfielder Jose Tabata. Longtime Twins centerfielder Torii Hunter signed with the Angels this week, so the Twins are in need of a centerfielder. (Newsday)
I would give up Hughes and Cabrera before I give up Chamberlain and Cano, even though it is Santana who we are talking about.

The Yankees have young, Major League-ready pitchers aside from Hughes, so I'd be more willing to trade Hughes. I also feel that Cano is too valuable to this Yankee team to be traded. He is part of a solid infield that includes Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.

Melky Cabrera can be replaced, either with Johnny Damon or acquiring Aaron Rowand.

If I was Brian Cashman, I'd start with a package of Cabrera and Hughes to gauge the Twins' interests.