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

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Saturday evening reading: Larry King transcript

Joe Torre appeared on "Larry King Live" last night. The Post has a transcript of the interview, that can be found here.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Scott Proctor is charitable

Thank you, Drew, for bringing this to my attention.

Scott Proctor, his agent and his foundation are trying to make baseball more prevalent in Proctor's hometown of Stuart, Fla.

Proctor's agent donated $10,000 to help improve a baseball field, and then Proctor's M.E.'s Team Charitable Foundation donated another $10,000.

“This was one of our initial dreams,” Proctor said, “getting baseball to different groups of kids. Just growing up, I’d see one or two black kids playing baseball ... not a lot. Come to find out, rides to practice are a problem. And baseball costs a lot of money. The bats are expensive, the gloves, cleats.”
I love it when players give back to their communities. I also love it when namesakes of my blog do the same.

Stadium pictures

The Yankees were testing the big screen in center field yesterday. WCBS 880 has some great shots of the Stadium, including the view from John and Suzyn's booth.

The opening of the new place, as well as the additions of CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixeira, are making me really excited. April can't get here soon enough.

Yankees sign Bruney

Peter Abraham is reporting that the Yankees have signed Brian Bruney, avoiding arbitration. Bruney signed a one-year, $1.25 million deal. As a result, the Yankees avoided arbitration with all of their eligible players.

Bruney had asked for $1.55, while the Yankees only offered $1.1 million.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

O Thief! My Thief!

The Times' Harvey Araton finally got to the bottom of what Derek Jeter took from Yankee Stadium.

Derek Jeter came clean Wednesday night. He pilfered the Joe DiMaggio sign, as I suspected.

When I had last seen Jeter before covering the kickoff party to his celebrity golf classic for his Turn 2 Foundation at the Saddlebrook Resort about a half-north of here, he had refused comment on the famous sign (“I want to thank the Good Lord for making me a Yankee”) in the tunnel leading to the Yankees dugout that went missing soon after their last Stadium home game.

A clue on his intentions had come earlier that night, when he said he had his eye on a particular Stadium keepsake but wouldn’t say which. After the game and on-field celebration, I noticed the sign was missing and told him, “I know what you’re taking out of here,” and I asked if I could report it.

He shook his head and replied, “In due time.”

Four months later, he admitted he had taken the sign, and another item or two.
That sounds about right.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Yankees could bring both Swisher and Nady to Tampa

Now that the Andy Pettitte situation is resolved, it's time to steer the conversation back to the outfielders. Jon Heyman has a new report out about Nick Swisher and Xavier Nady.

More teams have shown interest in Nick Swisher than Xavier Nady, but it's possible now that the Yankees take both players to spring training. After getting Pettitte back so cheap, they don't appear to be in quite the rush to unload one of the outfielder's contracts. While Swisher may be drawing interest, the value of Nady, who outhit Swisher by quite a bit last year (.305 to .219), has to be much higher.
As I've said all along, keep both!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Wright designated

Needing room on the 40-man roster after signing Andy Pettitte, the Yankees designated LHP Chase Wright for assignment.

Wright, of course, will be remembered for giving up four straight home runs to the Red Sox in 2007.

The Yankees have 10 days to trade Wright, outright him to the minors or place him on waivers.

Thanks, Jane

The deal with Pettitte's deal

Peter Abraham relays an AP report regarding Andy Pettitte's incentives:

Base salary: $5.5 million.

Innings bonuses: $500,000 each for 150, 160 and 170 innings pitched and $750,000 each for 180, 190, 200 and 210 innings.

Roster bonuses: $100,000 for 120 days on the active 25-man roster, $200,000 for 130 days, $250,000 each for 140 and 150 days, and $400,000 each for 160, 170 and 180 days.
They're mostly health-based and not performance-based, but it seems fair to me. It will keep Pettitte motivated, because, as we've seen this offseason, Pettitte really does care about the money.

Meanwhile, Mike Ashmore (via River Ave. Blues) from Thunder Thoughts does not like the move. He believes it hinders the development of the younger starters.
Consider the starters that will be without a big league job come April…

Phil Hughes
Ian Kennedy
Phil Coke
Alfredo Aceves
Jason Johnson
Dan Giese
Kei Igawa
Chase Wright
Eric Hacker
Christian Garcia
George Kontos
Humberto Sanchez
Alan Horne

Where do all of these guys go? How many of them end up moving to the bullpen — some like Coke, Sanchez and Giese already have experience having done so — or starting at the minor league level.

Yankees fans have to ask themselves…what’s more important, Andy Pettitte getting 30 starts or Phil Hughes/Ian Kennedy/Phil Coke/Alfredo Aceves getting 30?

If the consensus is that Pettitte is little more than a placeholder, why not use one of your numerous starting pitching prospects in a meaningful role at the big league level instead of picking up garbage innings as a long man in the Bronx or spending another year in Trenton or Scranton?
Hughes and Kennedy need more time in the minors, I believe. Hughes was rushed up in 2007 and has proven he can't stay healthy. I also don't think Kennedy is a very good major-league pitcher. Coke was solid out of the bullpen last year, and Aceves would be a great long reliever/spot starter.

To answer Ashmore's question, I'd much rather have Pettitte get 30 starts. With A.J. Burnett's injury history and Joba Chamberlain's innings limit, there could be some extra starts to go around. Some extra polishing in the minors for both Hughes and Kennedy is a good thing.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Pettitte to return

According to the Daily News' John Harper, Andy Pettitte will return to the Yankees.

Sources said Pettitte will receive a base salary of $5-6 million. Incentives based on innings pitched and days on the roster could increase the value of his deal to $12 million.

This deal is good for both sides. I'm happy.

Heyman: Yankees in serious talks with Pettitte

SI.com's Jon Heyman is reporting the Yankees are in "serious talks" with Andy Pettitte and there is much optimism that a deal will get done.

It is believed that the two sides are discussing a one-year deal worth less than $10 million in guaranteed money.

This is good news, if true. Pettitte at $10 million is probably still a stretch, but it's certainly better than $13 or $14 million.

More on Torre's book

Joshua Robinson has a good summary of other topics in Joe Torre's new book, "The Yankee Years."

Covered here: Carl Pavano, George Steinbrenner's health, how the Yankees do business and steroids.

Meanwhile, this Times article by Michael S. Schmidt mainly focuses on Alex Rodriguez.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Torre rips Yankees in new book

Joe Torre is releasing a tell-all book on Feb. 3 called "The Yankee Years." In it, he apparently pulls no punches, ripping the organization and some players.

From Bill Madden:

According to a new book by Sports Illustrated baseball writer Tom Verducci, Torre was a bitter man by the time he left the Yankees in October of 2007, and he takes a few rips at the team that he led for 12 seasons.

In "The Yankee Years," due to be released on Feb. 3, Torre describes general manager Brian Cashman as a less than supportive ally who betrayed him on several fronts, and says that his star player, Alex Rodriguez, was often referred to by his teammates as "A-Fraud" and was obsessed with his perceived rival, shortstop Derek Jeter.
...

According to a source familiar with the book, Torre does not step out of character. He simply recites the facts as he saw them and does not unfairly disparage the Yankees. As has been reported, he reiterates the claim that Cashman did not stand up for him at the crucial meeting with the Steinbrenners in Tampa as the 2007 season wound down and the Yankee brass discussed whether to bring him back or not, even though publicly Cashman had let it be known that he wanted Torre back as manager.

According to the source familiar with the book, Torre confronted Cashman about his role in the meeting and the Yankee GM confirmed to him that he had offered no opinions to the Steinbrenners on whether they should upgrade their offer from the one-year deal to the two-year deal Torre wanted.
That all said, there has to be some positive parts in the book. The media will only focus on alleged rifts between the organization and manager, but there were also four championships in five years during this time.

But from this report, it appears as if Torre is bitter at the team that essentially resurrected his career.

I don't read many books (Jane's book is in the mail), but I may have to read this one. If anything, Torre and his publisher are doing a great job of promoting it.

Torre will appear on "The Late Show with David Letterman" and sign books at the Yogi Berra Museum on Feb. 3.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Heyman: Yankees still interested in Pettitte, Sheets

Jon Heyman is reporting that the Yankees remain interested in both Andy Pettitte and Ben Sheets. However, the new news here is that Heyman said the Yankees are believed to be offering Pettitte less than the $10 million they previously offered. That would be very interesting, and it is the right play in my mind.

Heyman also said the Yankees are one of a few teams interested in the oft-injured Sheets. I would love Sheets at a two-year, incentive-laden deal. At least one of the teams interested in the righty has a one-year deal on the table.

Yankees giving back

The Yankees - including Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira - will be signing autographs to benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs, according to Bryan Hoch.

Nice to see overpaid millionaires giving back to the community.

Friday, January 23, 2009

My appearance on 'The State of the Mets'

I appeared alongside Andrew Vazzano for his third recording of "The State of the Mets." I come in at 3:52 and discuss why the Yankees always grab the attention of the city.

Click the above link to watch the embedded video.

For some reason, Jeremy Schilling also appears at the end.

Enjoy.

Moving day

The Yankees' front office is moving across the street today, using reusable, environmentally-friendly orange crates. The clubhouse staff, information technology, ticket staff and switchboard will all remain at the old Stadium until Feb. 27. Change is upon us.

Peter Abraham will be there, so I'm assuming the other papers will be there as well. If I get my hands on some good pictures, I will post them later.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Yankees still open to Pettitte's return

Pete Caldera has the latest news on Andy Pettitte (and bonus Freddy Garcia information):

Andy Pettitte is still in play, and Freddy Garcia is very much on the Yankees' radar - though it would appear he might have a better opportunity to be a starter with the Mets. As for Ben Sheets, the Yankees like him, but right now they would probably only take him on a one-year deal with a deep discount -- say, something in the $7 million range guaranteed.

According to a source with knowledge of such things, the door is still not closed on Pettitte, and there has been some dialogue lately -- though there's been no movement off the club's $10.5 million stance (or Pettitte's stance, for that matter). But the fact that they are still talking provides some hope that a deal could get done.
Very interesting. If Pettitte still wants to pitch, you better believe he's still talking with the Yankees. There hasn't been much talk between Pettitte and other teams.

As for Garcia, the Mets can have him.

Update - 9:01 p.m.: And the Mets just got him.

Yankee Stadium tribute

A man named Chris Pavia is a terrific impersonator of both Yankee Stadium public address announcer Bob Sheppard and former organist Eddie Layton. Via friend of Scott Proctor's Arm Bryan Hoch comes this great video of some of Pavia's work.



While you're at it, check out the rest of his tributes on his YouTube profile page.

Keith Law's top 100 prospects

Keith Law posted his top 100 prospects on ESPN today. Although we can only see Nos. 1-25 for free (I know I'm not subscribing to Insider), River Ave. Blues posted the Yankees who made the list, so thanks to them.

Austin Jackson (No. 46), Jesus Montero (No. 83) and Andrew Brackman (No. 95) were the Yankees named. Dellin Betances was one of the 10 prospects who narrowly missed the top 100.

Orioles' catcher Matt Wieters came in at No. 1.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

ESPN, somehow, finds a way to make SNB worse

I was going to write about this earlier today, but I forgot. So thank Vazzano for bringing it to my attention again.

The Watchdog is reporting that ESPN will not remove Joe Morgan from the "Sunday Night Baseball" booth, as was previously rumored. In fact, they will add Steve Phillips to it.

ESPN really outdid itself here. It managed to take an already awful product and make it worse. I can't say that I'm shocked, however. I'm just happy that MLB Network's game night programming will begin to make "Baseball Tonight" obsolete.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Bruney, Cabrera make their demands known

Peter Abraham has the latest updates on the arbitration front:

Brian Bruney
is seeking $1.55 million in arbitration, and the Yankees countered with a $1.1-million offer.

For some reason, Melky Cabrera thinks he's worth $1.7 million. The Yankees, unamused, responded with $1.2 million, still a large jump from the $461,000+ he made last season.

Abraham received word that Cabrera has signed, but does not know the figure yet. I will update this post when I get the news.

Update - 6:45 p.m.: From Abraham:

Melky Cabrera settled for $1.4 million from the Yankees.

He can earn an additional $100,000 in performance bonuses based on plate appearances: $25,000 each for 525, 550, 575 and 600.
What a country! How ridiculous.

Yankees avoid arbitration with Nady

According to the LA Times' Dylan Hernandez (via RAB), the Yankees avoided arbitration with Xavier Nady today.

Nady and the Yankees have agreed on a one-year, $6.55 million deal. The Yankees still haven't come to terms with Brian Bruney and Melky Cabrera.

Nady made $3.35 million last season.

Inauguration Day

We inaugurate our new president today. Here is video of (soon-to-be former) President George W. Bush taking part in one of the most poignant moments in Yankee Stadium history (via The Final Score).

Monday, January 19, 2009

WBC provisional rosters

The following Yankees have been named to their respective countries' provisional rosters:

Alfredo Aceves - Mexico
Melky Cabrera - Dominican Republic
Robinson Cano - Dominican Republic
Francisco Cervelli - Italy
Derek Jeter - United States of America
Kai Liu - China
Damaso Marte - Dominican Republic
Edwar Ramirez - Dominican Republic
Alex Rodriguez - Dominican Republic
Jahdiel Santamaria - Panama
Jorge Vazquez - Mexico
Jose Veras - Dominican Republic
Zhenwang Zhang - China

Ex-Yankees Bobby Abreu (Venezuela) and Ivan Rodriguez (Puerto Rico) were also named. Bernie Williams was given a spot on the Puerto Rican team, but he suffered a leg injury in Winter Ball at the end of December.

Here is the United States' provisional roster. I like the infield and catching spots, but the pitching and outfield definitely could have been better. If the U.S. medals, I'll be happy.

WBC rosters to be released tonight

The first round of World Baseball Classic rosters will be released tonight at 6 p.m. ET.

The provisional rosters will consist of 45 players for each of the 16 teams. The final rosters (up to 28 players) will be released on Feb. 24.

Derek Jeter (USA) and Alex Rodriguez (DR) have already committed. The Yankees most likely won't have many others, especially in the pitching department.

I like the idea of the WBC and I love supporting my country, but there really is no good place to have this tournament unless the season is stopped somewhere in the middle.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Yankees ask for Wainwright, Cardinals said no, no, no

The St. Louis Cardinals asked the Yankees about Robinson Cano's availability, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (via MLBTR).

The asking price the New York Yankees set for second baseman Robinson Cano when the Cardinals called about a deal: Adam Wainwright. The conversation did not last long.
Shucks. My thoughts on Wainwright? Just watch the ninth inning of Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS (sorry, Vazzano).

Pinch hitting at The LoHud Yankees Blog

My post on Peter Abraham's blog was published this morning. Here it is:

Last season was tough for all Yankees fans to handle. Under a new manager and in the final year of the old Yankee Stadium, the Yankees missed the playoffs. This marked the eighth straight season in which the team failed to meet expectations. Once again, they proved that having the highest payroll doesn’t mean much in October.

But for me, this season was even stranger. Being a 20-year-old, my earliest baseball memory was the 1996 World Series. I was 8 at the time, and didn’t fully grasp what exactly happened. Not until I saw signs reading “World Champions” did I finally understand how big this moment was. After that, Yankees would continue to reach the playoffs year after year. One could say that winning was my birthright.

The words “winning” and “Yankees” were synonymous for an impressionable young fan like me. I began to think this success was normal. Another year would pass and another championship would be celebrated. After five years of following baseball, the Yankees had won four World Series titles and no one seemed to get in their way. Life as a baseball fan couldn’t be better.

But the loss in the 2001 World Series immediately brought me back down to reality. While I was upset, I realized the world didn’t end and life would, eventually, go on.

And life continued to go on for the next six years, though 2004 was the hardest. Even the oldest Yankees fans had to be shaken by what transpired during those four games in mid-October. Sometimes I deny it even happened.

I have almost grown numb to these playoff “failures” over the last few years. The older, poorly-constructed pitching staffs were no match in a short series. When the Yankees tried to go younger last season, injuries and ineffectiveness derailed another highly-paid campaign. It happens, but around the Bronx over the last 15 years, we’re just not used to it, especially fans of my generation.

Seeing the Yankees out of the playoffs for the first time as a fan was definitely a weird experience for me, but a lack of a championship is something I’ve been able to handle as I’ve matured as a person and as a baseball fan. I’ve begun to realize that winning is a privilege and not a birthright.

I wish the same could be said about some Red Sox fans I’ve encountered at school. You see, Quinnipiac University is located right between Boston and New York, the epicenter of the rivalry. After the Red Sox won the 2007 World Series, one of my (former) roommates exclaimed, “It’s been three long years!” It’s amazing what a stretch of winning can do to a fan base. Needless to say, watching the Rays quiet this “dynasty” up at school was rather fulfilling.

The 2008 season was humbling for Yankees fans. It made me realize just how difficult and special it is to win just one World Series, let alone four in five years. Those teams of the late 90s were special indeed – I just wish I was a little bit older to fully appreciate them. We should all be grateful to have witnessed their performances on the field.

---

I appreciate any feedback. Thanks to Peter for giving us bloggers this opportunity again this year.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sabathia ready to tackle N.Y. pressure

Here are some quotes from CC Sabathia via Jeff Latzke before Sabathia received the Warren Spahn Award (baseball's top left-handed pitcher).

“If you ask anybody in my family or anybody that knows me, I don’t think there’s any outside pressure that could be put on me that I don’t put on myself,” Sabathia said Saturday night before being honored with the Warren Spahn Award. “I put an enormous amount of pressure on myself to go out there and perform and expect to win every game, expect to pitch well in every game.

“I think having the guys in New York—the A-Rods and the Jeters and these great players, and Tex—I think it will help me be a better player.”
...

“All I’m going to say is I’m excited to be on a big-market team and to be able to get where we need to win and know that the organization’s going to do that every year, year in and year out,” Sabathia said. “That feels good.”
I love this guy already. I can't wait to watch him pitch this spring.

Update - 11:55 p.m.: I can't believe I missed this earlier. Thanks to Rebecca for bringing this to my attention:
Before Saturday night’s ceremony, he said he’s looking forward to having Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera there to close out games for him, and he’s already talked to Chamberlain about it.

“To have that bullpen and have just the support of that team, that team is unbelievable,” Sabathia said. “To add me and A.J and put Tex in that lineup, I think it’s going to be an unbelievable team. Hopefully we have a special year.”
Joba won't be in the bullpen, Carsten Charles.

Guest blogger: Jeremy Schilling

The following post is written by Jeremy Schilling from the fantastic J Schil's Blog. Jeremy is one of my good friends from college and can be heard on WQAQ-FM, The Soundtrack of Quinnipiac (time: TBD) and covers the golf team for the WQAQ Sports blog (which I edit).

The New York Yankees got more money from the City of New York today for the new Yankee Stadium. Yes, the richest team in baseball that just spent half a BILLION dollars on THREE PLAYERS in the offseason is needing more public financing.

80,000 jobs have been lost so far in the United States in 2009. Fronting today (Friday, Jan. 16)'s dismal report was the announcement of the liquidation of Circuit City. American families are hurting big time -- some living paycheck to paycheck. And like that isn't worse enough, some are having to choose between vital medicine and food!

Yet the Yankees are begging for more of OUR money. That's right: OUR money. And at the same time they're raising ticket prices in the new stadium. And at the same time their spending OUR money eliciting the help of some fancy real estate company to help sell the remaining high-priced seats. I frankly hope they don't sell.

I'm a Yankee fan...just like many who will read this post. And I hope this team plays well this year. But the way the Yankee hierarchy has spent both their money and OUR money is unfair, unjust, and plain old painful in these economic times.

I'm not sure what would make the Yankees change their ways, but I sure know that giving them more $$ isn't going to be the solution.

Thanks, Jeremy.

What are you thoughts on this topic? Let Jeremy hear them in the comments section.

More the Swisher/Nady trade front

Tyler Kepner has the latest news regarding a possible Nick Swisher or Xavier Nady trade.

That leaves Swisher and Nady, and Cashman said there was no preference for trading one over the other; it would depend on what a team offers in return. For several reasons, though, it seems more prudent to hold on to Swisher and dangle Nady.

Swisher, a 28-year-old switch-hitter, is two years younger than Nady and is signed for three more seasons at roughly $21 million. Nady, 30, is a right-handed hitter who is eligible for free agency after the season. He is represented by Scott Boras, who rarely agrees to a long-term deal before a player explores the open market.

Nady had a better season than Swisher last year, batting .305 with 25 home runs and 97 runs batted in — all career highs. Swisher had the worst of his five seasons, hitting just .219 with 24 homers and 69 R.B.I. But Swisher’s on-base percentage, .332, was actually better than Nady’s .320 figure over two months with the Yankees.

In that way, Swisher profiles better as the kind of player the Yankees seek for their lineup. He saw an average of 4.53 pitches per plate appearance last season, leading the major leagues in that category. Nady averaged 3.65 pitches per plate appearance. Among Yankees, only Robinson CanĂ³ (3.35 pitches) was worse.
I've stated many times that I'd like to keep both, but Kepner makes a compelling argument to trade Nady. Again, it's all contingent on what the Yankees get in return.

Meanwhile, Kepner also has news from Brian Cashman regarding the progress of Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera - both coming off offseason surgeries. Cashman said that fact "concerns me" and that "Posada is just throwing at 90 feet on flat ground and Mo's not even throwing yet."

Posada won't be able to catch the spring training opener on Feb. 25 but remains on track to be ready for the season opener. Rivera, on the other hand, never throws in January, so this is par for the course.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Yankees receive more funding

According to this AP article (via ESPN), the Yankees and Mets will receive more funding for their stadiums.

The teams sought to issue more bonds as costs increased on the new ballparks, both scheduled to open with exhibition games on April 3. Opponents say the original deals were unfair to taxpayers.

The Yankees asked for another $259 million in tax-exempt bonds and $111 million in taxable bonds. That is on top of $940 million in tax-exempt bonds and $25 million in taxable bonds already granted for its $1.5 billion Bronx stadium.

The Mets wanted an additional $83 million, after the $615 million already approved for their $800 million Queens park.
That's a lot of money. I don't want to get political here, but I find it hard to give this much money to already expensive projects. I'm just glad I don't have to make these decisions.

Pinch hitting at The LoHud Yankees Blog

Peter Abraham has - for the second straight January - allowed members of the Yankees blogosphere to "pinch hit" on his blog. I jumped at the opportunity once again.

My post will appear on his site a little after midnight on Jan. 18, so be on the lookout and let me know what you think.

Here is what I wrote last year.

Four-week warning

That's right folks - 28 days until pitchers and catchers report.

I can't wait to watch CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Joba Chamberlain start throwing. Seeing those early pictures from spring training really warms me up when we're in the dead of winter.

Speaking of which, it hit -6 (not Celsius) in Hamden, Conn., last night. Just wonderful.

Regarding the picture to the right: I despise anyone who has ever bought or worn this shirt. I'm only posting it because of the No. 28 on the back of it.

Braves cooling on Nady

According to Ken Rosenthal, Xavier Nady remains safe for now.

A trade remains a possibility, but the Braves are unwilling to meet the Yankees' price for outfielder Xavier Nady, knowing they might get better deals in July.
I like the sound of that. The Yankees aren't just going to trade Nady away for nothing. The only thing here is that we once again don't know exactly what the Yankees hope to obtain.

I guess that's a good thing in the long run. Hank Steinbrenner was essentially negotiating through the media during the 2007-08 offseason, but we all know he's irrelevant now.

I really hope Nady and Nick Swisher stay. This team is better with both in the lineup.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Rest in peace, Todd Drew

The Yankees blogger community is mourning the loss of one of our own, Mr. Todd Drew, who succumbed to cancer at the age of 41. Todd created his blog Yankees For Justice and recently joined up with Alex Belth at Bronx Banter.

Here is the post Alex wrote about the loss and this is Todd's final post, written on Dec. 22.

He was a terrific writer and will be missed.

Posada wants to play in WBC, Yankees don't

Jorge Posada, who underwent shoulder surgery at the end of July, apparently wants to play in the World Baseball Classic. The Yankees, however, have other ideas.

"I am sure he would love to play [in the World Baseball Classic], but he is currently rehabbing from surgery and would not be ready," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said.

Reports out of Puerto Rico indicated that Posada has started training for the tournament. Posada's father, Jorge Sr., told the Associated Press that his son has already signed a participation agreement for the Classic.

"He feels fine and wants to play for Puerto Rico," Posada Sr. reportedly said.
Wow. If he were to play, he'd probably serve as the designated hitter, but I think he should sit tight and continue his rehab.

For the record, Yankees media relations director Jason Zillo said Posada will not participate. We shall see.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Yankees invite 20 to spring training

The Yankees announced 20 spring training invitees in a press release today. Some names we already knew from minor-league signing this offseason: Angel Berroa, Kevin Cash, Sergio Mitre and John Rodriguez. Other notables are Shelley Duncan, Kei Igawa, Austin Jackson and Jesus Montero.

In addition to the players on the 40-man roster, this brings the total number of players scheduled to report to 60. Chad Jennings notes that some names not included were J.B. Cox, Alan Horne and Eric Duncan.

Click the above link to read the entire release.

Yankees hire brokerage to sell seats

The Yankees have hired Prudential Douglas Elliman to help sell the most expensive seats in the new Yankee Stadium, according to Richard Sandomir.

“They have some customers we may not be able to reach, and they can, so we entered into a nonexclusive agreement with them,” Randy Levine, the Yankees’ president, said Tuesday. “They have customers they have sold real estate to, or will in the future, and they can sell our seats in an innovative way.”
...

The Yankees hope Douglas Elliman will accelerate the sales of seats that range in cost from $350 to $2,500 a game.

“There’s been a lot of press about how expensive the premium seats are,” said Neil Sroka, president of Douglas Elliman Worldwide Consulting, which promotes and markets real estate projects for developers.

He said buyers can still get a 20-game package for $7,000 a seat.

“It’s obtainable,” he said. “In this economic time, people are still looking for things to take their children or grandchildren to.”
These quotes make me nuts.

I would not feel an ounce of sorrow if the Yankees fail to sell out many of their games. In fact, I'm hoping they don't. There is no better way to get the organization to lower prices.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Heyman on Pettitte

SI's (as well as SNY's, WFAN's and MLB Network's) Jon Heyman is reporting Andy Pettitte has less than a 50 percent chance of resuming his Yankee career, according to team officials.

We all know Pettitte was upset at the Yankees' one-year, $10 million offer, but he hasn't seen anything better, according to Heyman, and will likely have to wait for the team to trade either Nick Swisher or Xavier Nady to free up payroll space.

If all else fails, retirement could be his second option, and pitching for either Houston or the Dodgers could be other long-shot alternatives, Heyman said.

If Pettitte really wants to pitch in 2009, I believe he is going to regret not taking the Yankees' original offer.

Just keep in mind what Pettitte said on Sept. 10 (via NoMaas): "The Yankees know me enough, it's not like I'm going to hold out. I guess if I had spent all my money or whatever, it might be different. But it's not about that, really, anymore."

Hmmm...

Virtual tour of Yankee Stadium

Enjoy this virtual tour of Yankee Stadium from Sony's MLB 09: The Show.


It features A.J. Burnett striking out an unidentified Seattle Mariner, Mark Teixeira hitting home runs from both sides of the plate (against the Red Sox), CC Sabathia striking out a batter and a closeup of Monument Park.

Vazzano has the virtual tour of Citi Field up on his blog.

Braves interested in Nady and Swisher

According to Ken Rosenthal, the Braves are interested in two Yankees.

The team's next step will be to add a bat, and the club has spoken with the Yankees about their available hitters, Xavier Nady and Nick Swisher, sources said.
There is no word on what the Yankees are seeking in return or what the Braves are willing to offer. My hope is that the Yankees don't trade one or both just for the sake of making a trade. The team is fine if they keep both of them.

Mr. Levine goes to Albany

Team President Randy Levine was issued a subpoena today by a New York State Assembly committee investigating the use of millions of dollars of public money to build the new stadium, an anonymous official told the AP today. An official with the city economic development office was also issued a subpoena.

The hearing is scheduled for tomorrow, but Levine's spokeswoman said while he was told he would be subpoenaed, he hasn't received it yet.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Henderson, Rice elected to Hall of Fame

Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice were both elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame today. Henderson received 94.8 percent of the vote in his first year of eligibility, and Rice was on 76.4 percent of the ballots in his final year of eligibility.

Congratulations to both.

Don Mattingly received 64 votes (11.9 percent) and will be on next year's ballot.

Yankees will wear Stadium patch this season

The Yankees wore two patches on their uniforms last year - one for the final season of Yankee Stadium and the other for the All-Star Game.

Peter Abraham posted the new Yankee Stadium patch image today. The Yankees will wear it on their home and away uniforms. My guess is it will be on the left sleeve like the final season patch was. The Yankees' reasoning back then was so Yankee Stadium would be closest to the players' heart.

Meanwhile, the Citi Field patch (see Abraham's link) is God-awful. Seriously. Could it be any more generic?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Giant disappointment

Wow. I don't even know what to say about today's Giants game. This had to remind you of Yankees performances in the playoffs lately. What a disgrace.

Oh well.

33 days until pitchers and catchers.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Red Sox sign Saito

The Boston Red Sox signed yet another player to an incentive-laden contract. Takashi Saito will join ex-teammate Brad Penny, along with Rocco Baldelli and John Smoltz, Ken Rosenthal reports.

The contract will guarantee at least $1.5 million and could reach $7 million if he reaches his incentives.

I don't know about you guys, but I'm a little worried about all of these moves. There is no guarantee any of them will stay healthy, but if they can be scary if they do indeed produce.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Pavano sounds off

I'll let this Carl Pavano quote speak for itself.

"When you're down, you expect your organization to pick you up, not kick you when you're down," Pavano said. "I've had to pick myself up quite a few times the last four years."
Have at it.

Newsday photo

All Nady and Swisher, all the time

Xavier Nady and Nick Swisher have become the new Mark Teixeira and CC Sabathia around Yankees Universe lately. Will the Yankees trade one of them? Will they stand pat? Time will tell.

Jon Heyman believes one is easier to deal than they other.

The Yankees are looking to trade either Xavier Nady or Nick Swisher. But from here, Swisher would be difficult to deal, with $20 million left and coming off a .219 season. The Braves and Pirates showed some interest before the Yankees took him as logical first-base insurance. While Nady is a year from free agency, his market should be much stronger.
I know some people disagree with me (Jane), but I wouldn't mind keeping both and having Johnny Damon patrol center for the year.

I don't see the need to trade Swisher or Nady. Depending on the players the Yankees get back, I don't think the Yankees traded for these two players to trade them away. The Yankees gave up some nice pieces for Nady and Damaso Marte, and while Swisher struggled last season, he draws walks and has put up better numbers in the past.

It's a tough call, and I'm glad I'm not the one who has to make the ultimate decision.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Pettitte to Houston unlikely

Alyson Footer brings us the good word, saying Andy Pettitte likely won't bolt to Houston.

Have the Astros reached out to Pettitte? Has Pettitte contacted the Astros?

According to general manager Ed Wade, no and no.

"We haven't had any discussion with Andy or his representatives and we don't see a scenario where he would fit into our payroll scenario at this time," Wade said.

And an e-mail inquiry sent to Pettitte's agent, Randy Hendricks, was not returned.
Nice try by Pettitte's people planting this story.

Sony makes sure it's all over Yankee Stadium

Our long national nightmare is over, Yankees fans! The Yankees have found their "Official LCD Television," "Official HD Television" and "Official Consumer Electronics Manufacturer."

It was announced today that Sony will hold all three of those titles in the new Yankee Stadium. In addition, there will be an "HDNA" sign on the right-field wall, 550 LCD HD television sets will be all over the building and PlayStation3 systems and VAIO notebooks will be available for fans in designated locations.

The control room where the production switches are will be named the "Sony Control Room," there will be a 30-second promo before each game and game highlights will be presented by Sony.

Yikes. That's a lot of Sony.

Pettitte unhappy, possibly open to joining Astros

Ken Davidoff is reporting Andy Pettitte has grown unhappy with the Yankees during this free agent process and could be open to rejoining the Houston Astros.

People familiar with Pettitte's thinking aired out grievances:

1. Pettitte believes that the Yankees should display more appreciation for all that he has done for them.

2. While the Yankees are asking that Pettitte take a pay cut, the team clearly is not hurting financially, given its large investments in Teixeira, CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett.

3. Pettitte thinks that his 2008 season wasn't as bad as the Yankees are making it out to be.
14-14, 4.54 ERA, 98 ERA+ (100 is league average), 1.412 WHIP. I'd say that's pretty damn bad.

Davidoff goes on to say that when the Yankees were discussing signing Mark Teixeira, they were figuring out the corresponding roster moves to make the 2009 payroll lower than where it was the year before. Their two conclusions were letting Pettitte walk and trading Xavier Nady. "Nady figures to be dealt now, although the Yankees have already received calls about newly acquired Nick Swisher," Davidoff said.

If the Yankees don't want Johnny Damon in center field (i.e. having Brett Gardner or Melky Cabrera start there), the Yankees would likely have to make a move. I'd like to keep Swisher and Nady and have Damon play center for a year, but it seems like the Yankees want to make a move.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Smoltz to sign with Red Sox; Baldelli too?

MLB.com's Mark Bowman is reporting John Smoltz will sign with the Boston Red Sox. According to a source, Smoltz will call the Braves tomorrow to tell them of his decision.

Smoltz is coming off of shoulder surgery and isn't expected to pitch until June 1, according to Bowman.

Meanwhile, Rocco Baldelli is close to signing with the Red Sox, according to the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo (via Sliding Into Home.)

Goodbye and good luck

Even though he played with the A's for seven years, it still is weird seeing him wear that jersey. Good luck in your new (old) home, Jason Giambi. You and your antics will be missed in New York.

AP Photo

Gammons trying to cause trouble

Peter Gammons appeared on WEEI today, and Boston.com's Chad Finn transcribed his comments, mainly about Mark Teixeira. Here is something that really sticks in my craw:

It's going to be interesting. As you probably remember, there was a lot of testiness between Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira when they played in Texas together . . . and I don't think Alex really cares about communicating with other players, we know [that] from Derek Jeter. Also, we haven't really seen Teixeira in a situation where the expectations are really that high, and he's going to have to deal with them in New York. It will be very interesting to see how it goes with the Yankees.
No, it's not going to be interesting because no one is going to care.

"As you probably remember..."

I don't remember this. Do you? Rodriguez and Teixeira were teammates for one season five years ago when Teixeira was a 23-year-old rookie.

I don't buy that this will be an issue, nor should you. The Red Sox correspondent for ESPN is trying to stir up the sediment.

Thanks to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum for the above picture.

Some Teixeira 'clutch' stats

We all know how Alex Rodriguez has gotten burned for his struggles in "clutch" situations. In reality, his career OPS with runners in scoring position is a healthy .957. But I'm not interested with Rodriguez's numbers right now. I'm here to talk about our newest addition, one Mark Teixeira.

In 2008, Teixeira actually had a higher OPS with runners in scoring position and two outs (.956) than he did with RISP overall (.936). His career numbers with RISP and two outs are even better: 1.070 in 496 plate appearances.

Late and close - plate appearances in the seventh inning or later with the batting team tied, ahead by one or the tying run at least on deck - Teixeira batted .352/.458/.716 in 107 plate appearances last season. That is very, very, extremely good. Overall, he's batted .282/.379/.555 with 32 home runs and 101 RBI in these situations.

And we can't forget postseason number - Rodriguez's bugaboo since joining the Yankees. Teixeira has only played in one postseason series in his career, which was last year's ALDS against Boston. He went 7-for-15 with one RBI, four walks and four runs scored.

Teixeira played in 26 games at the old Yankee Stadium, amassing 113 plate appearances. He batted .305/.354/.524 with five home runs and 21 RBI. While this building won't be in play this year, the dimensions of the new place will be exactly the same.

I can't wait to have a hitter of this caliber in the lineup.

Thanks, once again, to the great Baseball-Reference for these stats.

Analysis of new Yankees' wives

Vazzano, writing about the Yankees for whatever reason, offers some hard-hitting analysis of the new Yankees' wives - Karen Burnett, Amber Sabathia and Leigh Teixeira.

Mrs. Burnett looks like she could still be attending school in search of her undergraduate degree, and I mean that in the best way possible. She’s smoking hot, but seems to come off with that air of “I’m better than you.” I bet she was a cheerleader at some point in her life.

Mrs. Sabathia reminds me of Jada Pinkett Smith. Very beautiful but kind of scary at the same time. Hey, you’ve got to have some ‘tude if you’re going to tango with 295 lbs. of man.

And finally to Mrs. Teixeira, where I see a hint of Anne Hathaway in her. I guess that fits right in with New York City, being as Ms. Hathaway was born in Brooklyn, NY. (Destiny?) She’s very pretty, but in that “girl next door” kind of way that almost any guy will pant like a dog for.
Click the above link to read the entire thing, including what he had to say about how A.J., CC and Mark look.

AP Photo

Yankees begin clinic in Taiwan with special visitor

It was announced earlier this year the Yankees would conduct a clinic with high school baseball players in Taiwan from Jan. 7-11. Here is what President Randy Levine had to say then:

"This clinic serves as another step in the outreach and integration of baseball throughout the international community," Yankees president Randy Levine said in a statement. "The Yankees organization is recognized around the world, and we are confident this important event will leave a positive imprint on our countless fans in Taiwan."
Today, national hero Chien-Ming Wang showed up (via Peter Abraham.)

But the Yankees are bad for baseball.

AP Photo

Did Giambi live up to expectations?

Benjamin Hoffman wrote a piece on the Times' Bats blog saying Jason Giambi lived up to expectations.

Hoffman writes:

What that is failing to account for is that Giambi actually did exactly what the Yankees signed him to do. As the face of the Oakland Athletics, Giambi embodied the spirit of patience and power that was lionized in Michael Lewis’s book “Moneyball.” Relying on his ability to draw walks and hit balls over the fence, Giambi won the 2000 American League M.V.P. and was the runner-up in 2001. At that point, no one was complaining about his defense, which was already sub-par.

Over the course of his seven years in New York, Giambi continued to do exactly the same thing. He compiled a .404 on-base percentage (fifth in Yankees history), .521 slugging percentage (seventh in Yankees history) and 209 homers (10th in Yankees history).

Making his home run total more impressive is the fact that he accomplished it in just seven seasons. Of all the storied sluggers in Yankee history, the only players who had that many over a seven-year span were Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle and Babe Ruth.

In the end, his various controversies and his poor fielding may outweigh his power and patience, but Giambi did what he was asked to do. Likely headed back to Oakland, he should go back to being celebrated for his strengths rather than blamed for his weaknesses.
I loved Giambi during his time here. He's a very likable figure and he seems to have a lot of fun playing the game. However, I don't think he lived up to expectations just because he's in the all-time top 10 of many Yankees offensive categories.

Giambi signed a seven-year, $120 million contract with the Yankees to win World Series championships (plural). During his time with the team, he only reached the World Series once. The only other year during his contract the Yankees advanced past the ALDS - 2004 - Giambi didn't play. Is this all his fault? Probably not. But like Alex Rodriguez's failures in the postseason, Giambi's lack of team postseason success will be how he's judged, fairly or unfairly.

He was productive when he was healthy, and helped the Yankees immensely in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS. He was known as a high batting average, high on-base hitter with Oakland. Steroids or not, he only had one season with a batting average above .300 - his first - with the Yankees. His OPS+ was over 108 in six of his seven seasons, so that should account for something.

However, it all goes back to winning for me, and Giambi's teams only won three playoff series in seven years. He was a good player for the Yankees, and at times was great. If Aaron Boone hits a fly ball in Game 4 of the 2003 World Series, Giambi could very well have a World Series ring. You have to remember, though, that when the Yankees signed Giambi, they reached the World Series five of the previous six years and won four of them.

He came in with high expectations, and now leaves not having reached them. I'm sure if you asked Giambi about his time in New York, he'd be disappointed too.

Now the circle of first baseman life starts all over again. Mark Teixeira will take Giambi's old position and old number. Hopefully these eight years will be different from Giambi's seven.

All of this being said, do you think Giambi lived up to expectations? Let me hear it in the comments.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Yankees sign Angel Berroa

Wow, the Yankees really are buying championships. First Jason Johnson, then John Rodriguez. Now they have signed Angel Berroa, according to Ken Rosenthal.

Remember the uproar when he won the Rookie of the Year award over Hideki Matsui in 2003? Boy, has his career really fallen off.

Rosenthal said Berroa is expected to compete with Cody Ranson for the utility infielder job.

Yankees sign John Rodriguez

According to Joel Sherman, the Yankees have signed outfielder John Rodriguez to a minor-league contract. If he makes the major league roster, he will earn $450,000 plus plate appearance-based incentives.

Rodriguez, who will turn 31 on Inauguration Day, last played in 2006 for the Cardinals. In 332 career at-bats, Rodriguez has seven home runs and 32 RBI, while hitting .298/.378/.434. The Yankees actually signed him as an amateur free agent back in 1996.

Sherman suggests that he'll add outfield depth especially if the Yankees trade Xavier Nady or Nick Swisher.

Post: Yankees set to lower offer to Pettitte

From Joel Sherman:

(Andy) Pettitte recently rejected the Yankees' latest $10 million overture, and now - barring a wave of sentimentality by the Yanks or significant change of strategy by either side - that dollar figure very likely will not be offered again.

Multiple sources refused to divulge if the offer had been lowered already. But one executive briefed on the matter described both the chances of making a deal and the $10 million bid as on life support. Another executive said he did not believe that the $10 million offer was there to be taken any longer. A lowered offer almost certainly would assure the end of the prideful Pettitte's second tour with the Yankees.
You snooze you lose, Andy. I don't think another team will come up with $10 million.

With the Yankees signing Jason Johnson and having Phil Coke preparing to be a starter, it appears as if the Yankees are ready to move on.

Photos of the day

Here are some professional photos from Mark Teixeira's press conference.








(Photos by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Pavano finds a home

Carl Pavano is the latest ex-Yankee to find a home.

Jerry Crasnick is reporting that the Cleveland Indians have signed the oft-injured right-hander to a one-year contract this afternoon. A dollar amount was not disclosed.

Crasnick says the deal could have a low base salary and performance incentives.

I think it's safe to say Pavano will receive a rude welcome if and when he pitches in New York this season.

Update - 4:35 p.m.: Jon Heyman says the deal is for $1.5 million but could reach as high as $6.8 million if he makes 18 starts and pitches 130 innings. That's no easy task; Pavano didn't reach 18 starts in any season as a Yankee, and only made 26 starts with the club in four years.

Duncan DFA; Coke's role change

More news from Sam Borden via Peter Abraham:

Shelley Duncan was designated for assignment resulting from the acquisition of someone named Mark Teixeira. Phil Coke was also told to prepare to work as a starter.

Duncan was fun to watch for about five minutes. But hopefully he'll catch on with someone else.

Coke pitched 12 games in relief at the end of the season, allowing only one earned run in 14 2/3 innings.

So Coke throws his hat into the ring for the fifth starter spot, along with newly-acquired Jason Johnson. If all else fails, he'll be a solid left-handed relief option.

Yankees sign Jason Johnson

Sam Borden (via Peter Abraham) is reporting that the Yankees have signed RHP Jason Johnson to a minor-league. Manager Joe Girardi said he will compete for the fifth starter spot.

Johnson went 1-2 with a 5.22 ERA in 16 appearances (two starts) with the Dodgers last season. He is 56-100 with a 4.99 ERA (89 ERA+) in 1357 career innings.

In other words, he won't be the fifth starter.

Yankees announce Teixeira, old No. 25 finds a new home

Mark Teixeira just finished speaking at the podium and is officially a Yankee. For those who couldn't watch, he will wear No. 25. I doubt there will be the same backlash there was when LaTroy Hawkins wore No. 21 for a time last year.

Teixeira appeared very excited and happy to be there. Michael Kay made a point of saying some acquisitions seem lost at these press conferences, but Teixeira took everything in stride and had a big smile on his face while doing so.

I really, really can't wait for this season to begin.

Meanwhile, the old No. 25, Jason Giambi, has agreed to a one-year deal with his old team. His contract with the Oakland A's is for $4.5 million and has a $5 million option for 2010 ($1 million buyout).

Mitre speaks

It was reported last night that Sergio Mitre failed a drug test as a result of taking a supplement he bought at a GNC store. He released a statement today talking about what happened (via YanksBlog).

"Although being suspended for 50 games is tough to accept, I think that it is important to understand that I am in full support of drug testing in baseball," Mitre said in a statement. "I did take the supplement in question and accept full responsibility for taking it. What has been difficult for me to understand is that I legally purchased this supplement at GNC and had no intention nor desire to cheat or to circumvent the system in any way.

"As confirmed through the drug testing and grievance processes, it contained a 'contaminant' amount of an illegal, performance-enhancing drug. This was not listed as an ingredient on the packaging, should not have been in the supplement and certainly should not have been available for legal purchase at a store."

"I accept my punishment because, as a professional, I have a responsibility for what I put into my body," Mitre said. "For this I will suffer a significant financial penalty and, more importantly, it will affect my reputation. I only hope that this will help others avoid being punished for having taken a product bought legally at a retail store."
If he's telling the truth, you really have to feel for him. He filed a grievance in September, and obviously was unsuccessful.

Rosenthal's Yankee-centric news: Swisher, Nady, Fuentes, Pettitte

Ken Rosenthal has a bunch of Yankee items in today's column, so let's tackle it piece-by-piece.

Nick Swisher might not be a Yankee for long. The signing of free agent Mark Teixeira eliminated any chance of Swisher playing first base, and the team's outfield surplus almost certainly will lead to a trade.

Both Swisher and Xavier Nady are drawing significant interest, according to major-league sources. The Yankees are not in a rush to trade either; their only desire is to make the best possible deal.

The versatility of both players is appealing; Nady plays both outfield corners and first base, while Swisher plays all three outfield positions and first.

Nady, 30, is a free agent after next season. Swisher, 28, is signed through 2011 with a club option for '12. Either would be more affordable to the Giants than Ramirez. Swisher also would fit for the Braves and Pirates.
"The Yankees are not in a rush to trade either; their only desire is to make the best possible deal."

Exactly. The Yankees don't need to trade either. They fit into the lineup just fine. Depending on the returns, the Yankees should just sit tight.
Before free-agent left-hander Brian Fuentes signed with the Angels, his agents proposed an interesting concept to the Yankees.

Their idea was for Fuentes to serve two years as a setup man for Mariano Rivera, then replace him as the team's closer — assuming that Rivera, 39, was ready to retire.

"We had some serious talks," said Fuentes' lead agent, Rick Thurman. "It didn't end up happening. At the end of the day Brian's preference was to close. And when push came to shove, he wanted to be on the west coast, close to home."

The Yankees liked Fuentes, but they were not willing to pay him closer money as a setup man and never made him an offer, a major-league source said.
But we have Joba Chamberlain to take over as closer when Mariano Rivera retires, remember? Fuentes ended up signing a two-year, $17.5 million deal.
The Yankees still want to re-sign free-agent left-hander Andy Pettitte, with one source saying, "The door is not closed. When there's a will, there's a way." Pettitte, 36, has balked at the Yankees' one-year, $10 million offer, but the two sides could compromise by enabling Pettitte to approach his previous $16 million salary through reasonably attainable appearance-based incentives ...
An incentive-laden contract could be the best way to handle this situation. It's obviously about the money at this point, but it still would be nice to have Pettitte eating innings at the back end of the rotation.

Sergio Mitre suspended for using banned substance

Sergio Mitre (remember him?) tested positive for a banned substance and will be suspended for 50 games.

The Yankees signed the right-hander on Nov. 3. He was already set to be out until at least the middle of the season due to his recovery from Tommy John surgery. Apparently a supplement he bought at GNC contained a trace amount of androstenedione.

Phillies pitcher J.C. Romero also tested positive.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Kepner: Pettitte rejects Yankees' offer

According to Tyler Kepner of The New York Times, Andy Pettitte's return to the Yankees is uncertain.

Pettitte has rejected the Yankees’ one-year, $10 million offer, according to a person with knowledge of the negotiations, and there is no standing offer for now.

Pettitte could return because some in the Yankees’ hierarchy want him back. But in a winter of aggressive activity, the Yankees have been unwilling to bend for Pettitte. As an eight-year, $180 million deal for first baseman Mark Teixeira becomes official with a news conference Tuesday, the awkward Pettitte drama plays out in the background.
Remember when his return was "virtually inevitable?"

If this news is true, good riddance.

Braves think they still have Teixeira

Sorry, Atlanta, but he's ours.

Via Jim Baumbach at The Final Score comes this hilarious bit from the Braves' 2009 spring training ticket site:

Join the Braves in sunny Lake Buena Vista, FL, as they embark on a new journey toward National League East supremacy. They will play 18 Spring Training games at Champion Stadium.

Come on out to the ballpark and see the Atlanta Braves take the field for their 12th season of Spring Training at Champion Stadium. Don't miss this rare opportunity to see returning Braves stars like Mark Teixeira, Chipper Jones and John Smoltz as they play alongside the stars of tomorrow.
This is why copy editors will always have a job. At least they spelled "Teixeira" correctly.

Teixeira press conference set for 1 p.m. tomorrow

Peter Abraham is reporting that the Mark Teixeira press conference will take place at the old Stadium at 1 p.m. tomorrow.

I'm assuming YES and ESPN will be carrying it.

There's something about this press conferences that I love. Yes, the responses to questions are pretty standard - "always dreamed about being a Yankee," "tradition," "great to be a part of the Yankee family" - but seeing the player wear pinstripes for the first time is pretty special.

Yankee items on ESPN's '09 watch list

ESPN rolled out their 2009 MLB watch list Sunday. They've broken it up into nine categories, and the Yankees have found their way into three of them.

New face in new place:

(CC) Sabathia rides into New York just as Johan Santana did last season: two trains running, each 29 on entrance, both kind and thoughtful and vehemently competitive. Santana could have won the NL Cy Young Award, but for the Mets' bullpen. Sabathia arrived in the league in June, and after going 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA and not allowing more than four runs in 17 starts -- including four in succession on three days' rest down the stretch -- he made himself part of the Cy discussion. Sabathia is 117-73 lifetime; Santana is 109-51. Each has won the Cy Young in the American League, and last year both were in the top three in the majors in ERA, quality starts, games started and innings pitched.

Santana had no problem handling New York, and neither should Sabathia. Of course, there is a lot of pressure on the $243 million initials twins, CC and A.J. Burnett. The Yankees have lost their 20-game winner, Mike Mussina, and may lose Andy Pettitte. Last season, the Yankees lost Chien-Ming Wang on June 15 and used nine different people for at least seven starts; consequently, more than a quarter of their games were started by Sidney Ponson, Darrell Rasner and Carl Pavano.

As he neared signing with the Yankees, Sabathia got a message from Red Sox GM Theo Epstein telling him how much Epstein respected him for putting aside free agency to try to bring Milwaukee a championship. Some look at what Sabathia has done the past two seasons -- from Opening Day to the playoffs: 36 wins, 513 innings pitched, 69 starts -- and worry about what that means to his long-term career. The Yankees look at him and see what they most need: the model of reliability.
-- Peter Gammons
The pressure is on...
Let's see: In (Joe) Girardi's first season as manager, the Yankees failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 1993. His critics in the New York media compared him unfavorably with his predecessor, the sainted Joe Torre.

The team is moving into a new $1.3 billion stadium, and ownership has just invested more than $420 million in free agents CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira and A.J. Burnett. If the Yankees get off to a slow start -- say, 0-3 in Grapefruit League play -- someone is going to feel the heat. And our gut tells us it won't be Brian Cashman.
-- Jerry Crasnick
And the early favorite is...
What if I told you that a team with unlimited financial resources won 89 games, and then acquired the world's greatest pitcher and the American League's greatest first baseman? Is that something you'd be interested in? I'm fairly sure it's going to interest the oddsmakers. It has been so long since the Yankees have won a World Series that it's now fashionable to look for reasons why they'll continue not winning. It's really not that complicated, though: The World Series favorite should be the best team in the American League, and right now that perfectly describes the New York Yankees.
-- Rob Neyer
Nothing unbelievably groundbreaking here. I do agree that Girardi is under a lot of pressure this season. While Crasnick is probably displaying some sarcasm with his Grapefruit League line, it's not too far from the truth. A slow April and May could signal the end for the Yankees' skipper.

And I'm sick of the Yankees being the favorite talk. The Yankees have had the highest payroll for years and haven't brought home No. 27. This is why they play the games in little TV screens and not on paper.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Teixeira to be announced early this week

Old Yankee Stadium will have one last event. After introducing CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, many thought the old place was ready to shut its doors. Not so fast.

Mark Teixeira, who agreed to terms with the Yankees on Dec. 23, could take his physical as early as tomorrow. After that, the news conference could take place Tuesday, according to Bryan Hoch.

Unless they sign Manny Ramirez or something, this will be the Stadium's last hoorah.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Reviving a dead issue: The Joba Debate

"Reviving the Joba (Chamberlain) Debate," by Justin Sablich (via Greg at Sliding Into Home).

Why? Why bring up this issue again? It's been understood for a while that Chamberlain would go into spring training as a starter. We don't need to discuss this any further.

Let's examine Mr. Sablich's points.

Should Pettitte return, is there any reason to believe (other than injuries) that the Yankees cannot survive with a rotation of C.C. Sabathia, Chien-Ming Wang, A.J. Burnett, Pettitte and Hughes?

Chamberlain in the bullpen would most likely make each starting pitcher better by shortening his starts. Fans concerned about Sabathia burning out in September or Burnett breaking down over the long haul could rest a little easier. A Chamberlain bridge would also make life easier for Rivera, who turned 39 in November and may not be able to crank out a two-inning save with as much ease as in the past.
The Yankees could probably survive with that rotation, but having Andy Pettitte and Chamberlain round out that rotation is better than Pettitte and Hughes alternative. This, of course, is contingent on Pettitte accepting the Yankees' offer.

CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Chamberlain miss bats and are intimidating figures on the mound when they're on their respective games. Why try to break that up?
In addition to keeping others healthy, Chamberlain could be healthier by remaining a reliever. There’s no questioning his effectiveness as a starter. His numbers as a starter last season (2.75 ERA and 10.3 K/9) were almost identical to his stats as a reliever (2.31 ERA and 11.1 K/9). But his shoulder injury came about as a starter, and fewer innings could only help him keep his shoulder strong.
Maybe his shoulder injury came about as a result of his transition from a reliever to a starter?
A popular argument for having Chamberlain start is that you should not waste a player with such ability as a reliever because the more innings he can pitch the better. Wouldn’t you rather have 230 innings of Chamberlain rather than 90?

The problem with that argument is that you can say the same thing about Boston’s Jonathan Papelbon or a number of other great relievers. Are the Red Sox wasting Papelbon’s talent by limiting his innings and not converting him back to a starter?

Yes, I would rather have 230 innings out of Chamberlain rather than 90, thank you very much. He'll most likely have an innings limit this season, but 230 innings a couple of years down the line sounds very nice. It's always better to have more than less.
If the Yankees used Chamberlain to shorten games to six innings, is that really a waste of talent? It sounds more like an incredible advantage to me.
Piggy-backing off of what Greg said, having a good bullpen is nice, but a rotation of aces is even better.

The "Joba Debate" will always linger for as long as he pitches. If he struggles or gets hurt as a starter, Yankees fans will immediately ask, "Why wasn't he in the bullpen this whole time?" Chamberlain was drafted and groomed to be a starter. Because Brian Cashman has always struggled in building a bullpen, Chamberlain had to put his development on hold to save the Yankees. He is not a reliever, nor should he be in 2009, 2010, or anywhere else in the future.