Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year, People

I could have sat here over the last couple days and written a bunch of stuff about how I resolve to swear less in the blog in 2011 and resolve to be a little less harsh on A.J. Burnett, but you and I both know that's not going to happen.  Shit, it probably wouldn't even take a week for me to break both of those resolutions.  So instead, I'm just going to go to a party and get hammered drunk and have a good time tonight and then sit on my ass hungover all day on Saturday watching college football.

2010 wasn't the season the Yankees and their fans wanted, but it also wasn't a complete failure.  And despite the current state of the rotation, I'm still very much looking forward to what 2011 has in store.  Happy New Year, everybody!  Have a good time tonight and I'll see you on the other side.

Take it away, Frankie...

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Texting With Teix And Andy

Teix: "Hey man, wuts up?"

Andy: "n2m, u?"

Teix: "Same.  Just hangin out.  how was ur xmas?"

Andy: "real good.  got the kids the new xbox kinect.  we've been playin w that a lot."

Teix: "haha nice!  i gotta wait til mine are a lil older.  wut else u been up to?"

Andy: "Nm.  Been spending time w the fam.  hangin out w the kids.  it's been nice."

Teix: "Cool, cool.  How's the back feeling?"

Andy: "Pretty good.  It's gotten a lot better w all the rest but I can still feel it sumtimes when i'm playing w the kids.  Gettin old, u kno, lol!"

Teix: "Haha, yea.  I hear that.  My hammy is almost all the way back to 100%"

Andy: "That's good, man."

Teix: "Yea.  So u talk to Mo or Jeet or Cash or anybody lately?"

Andy: "Yea, kinda.  Mo's been talking to be a little bit about next year and Cash has called me a couple times and sent me this big fake blank check, like they give out at golf tournaments."

Teix: "OMFG HAHAHAHA!!  That is hilarious.  Guess he's been a little broken up about the whole Cliff Lee thing."

Andy: "Yea, i guess so too."

Teix: "So u thinkin about coming back for 1 more year or..."

Andy: "idk, man.  not sure if my body will hold up for another season and its taken me 4ever to get healthy after last season."

Teix: "I understand, believe me.  But u kno we got Serg in the rotation right now lol!"

Andy: "Haha yea!  I read that.  Not exactly the same as Lee right?"

Teix: "No shit.  and we could really use u back this year.  The guys are all askin about u."

Andy: "Yea?  Well it would be good to see some of the guys again."

Teix: "So... u in?"

Andy: "Idk man.  I still gotta think about it.  i'll let u kno tho.  gotta run now.  takin the kids to the movies.  ttyl."

Teix: "K.  later, man."

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Looking (Way) Forward

Another slow day on the free agent front, which means Sergio Mitre is still in the rotation at this moment, so why not focus on what the Yankees already have instead of what they don't.  Here's one of Mike Ashmore's videos of Manny Banuelos fanning some schmuck in the Minors last season:

I'm just going to sit back and watch this video a few dozen times before I catch my flight back to Milwaukee today and dream about ManBan starting the All-Star Game and winning the Cy Young in 2016.  I suggest you do the same.

Monday, December 27, 2010

After Christmas Sale (Sort Of)

With Brandon Webb coming off the board, the pitching options continue to thin out for the Bombers.  To put it in perspective, Freddy Garcia and Jeff Francis are the equivalent of getting pairs of socks and underwear for Christmas that you know you need but definitely don't want for Christmas and certainly didn't ask for.  And trading for Joe Blanton is like getting a Playstation 2 game that you already have from a crazy uncle who doesn't realize that XBox 360 and PS3 even exist yet.

There still is Andy Pettitte out there, who's basically like getting a first generation iPod.  But at least an iPod is useful and still with the times.  The technology might be a bit behind, but it still serves a purpose.  Compared to the other options, I'd be paying top dollar for the old iPod right now.

Friday, December 24, 2010

An AB4AR Christmas

We don't take too much seriously here at AB4AR, so why should Christmas be any different?  With that, I give you Mr. Garrison's Christmas classic, "Merry F*cking Christmas."  Enjoy.

In all seriousness (or at least as much as I can muster with this much beer in me), Merry Christmas, everybody.  May you get everything on your list and enjoy the time spent tomorrow with your family and friends.  Tomorrow is one of the few days where being a Yankee fan can take a backseat to other things and I truly hope everybody's Christmas turns out to be as good as I know mine will be.

I'll catch you back here the day after, when the stomach aches and hangovers have worn off and we can all get back to Yankee business.

Not A Creature Was Stirring, Except For Cash?

In about 10-12 hours it will officially be the night before Christmas and I don't know about you people, but I will be tucked away in my bed waiting for Santa to land on the roof and illegally enter my house to leave some presents and hopefully smiling at whatever last-minute deal Cashman pulled off to boost the rotation.

Last year he had the Javy Vazquez trade on the 22nd, 2008 we had the Teix signing on the 23rd, so what does Cash have up his sleeve for 2010?  I have to be honest, adding Johnny Damon or Jeff Francis would not be the gift I would want, and if that's the move he's planning to make then I hope Cash has a gift receipt with it.

But I'll leave some cookies and milk out for him just in case he decides to stop by and leave me a #2 or #3 pitcher and a brand new Scott Hairston.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A New 4th Outfielder Option Comes Into Play

From Newsday:

"While the Yankees' primary focus remains pitching, they have been communicating with free agent Johnny Damon about a possible return to the Yankees for 2011, Newsday has learned.

Four sources said that Damon and the Yankees were talking about a role in which Damon, 37, would get occasional at-bats as a designated hitter and fill in at leftfield, allowing starting leftfielder Brett Gardner to either rest or shift to fill in for centerfielder Curtis Granderson or rightfielder Nick Swisher."

Would this be a good move for the Yankees to make?  On the one hand, Damon has played in the Stadium before and been successful, and does give the Yanks a little flexibility in the outfield by allowing them to move Brett Gardner around.

On the other hand, Damon is another 2 years older than he was when he left, can ONLY play left field, isn't the lefty masher that the Yankees really need as a 4th outfielder, is still an abysmal defensive outfielder with the arm of a 7-year-old girl, and while he may be talking to the Yanks about playing a bench role, his track record of following money and playing time suggests he could become a problem in the clubhouse if he doesn't feel he's getting enough at-bats.

In looking at what the Yankees already have and still need, I don't see how Damon fits in.  Jorge is going to get the lion's share of ABs at DH and they will need that spot to rotate the A-Rods, Teixs, and Jeters of the world through when they need off days, not to mention using that spot to get Jesus' bat into the lineup whenever he gets called up and needs a day off behind the plate.  This story also makes me worry that the Yankees might be looking to bring Damon in so they can use Gardner as a trade chip for a pitcher.  Unless that pitcher is Josh Johnson or Adam Wainwright (neither of whom are going to be available), that would just be a dumb move by Cash. 

If these rumors are true, then I'm glad Johnny has seen the light and realized that things aren't always as pretty on the other side.  But his time as a Yankee has come and gone and I'm not seeing how the positives outweigh the negatives if he comes back.  As a backup option, right fit or not, Damon has some value to the Yankees.  As a full-time starter and replacement for Gardy, he does not.  Is it really worth paying a guy the money he'll command when he really doesn't improve any of the weaknesses the Yankees still have on their team?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

5 Reasons TO Be Worried About The 2011 Rotation

1) CC, ace or not, is coming off knee surgery and the heaviest workload for any pitcher over a 4-year period, and will probably need his innings monitored accordingly.

2) Phil Hughes most likely won't, and isn't ready to, make the jump to become a legitimate #2 pitcher, regardless of how much he improves his secondary pitches.

3) Andy Pettitte seems to be leaning more towards retirement rather than returning, and even if he does, you can pretty much pencil him in for 2 DL stints in 2011.

4) A.J. Burnett is still A.J. Burnett, which means he's the maddeningly inconsistent pitcher he's been his entire career, even before he came to New York, and flat out isn't worth the money he's being paid.

5) No matter how good Larry Rothschild is, he can't be good enough to get 60 league average starts out of Nova, Sergio Mitre, or any of the other options in Triple-A.  And replacement options for those guys in the free agent and trade markets are dwindling at breakneck speed.

5 Reasons To NOT Be Worried About The 2011 Rotation

1) CC, and his 40 wins over the last 2 seasons, is still the ace.

2) Phil Hughes will have a full year of experience under his belt, no innings limitation, an offseason and Spring Training to work on improving his secondary pitches, and is still only 24.

3) Andy Pettitte hasn't officially retired yet.

4) A.J. will have his rumored divorce finalized so he won't be getting beaten by his wife anymore, and he really can't be any worse than he was in 2010.

5) If anybody can improve Phil's cutter and change, fix what plagues A.J.'s location, and maximize Nova's stuff to make him a competent 5th starter, it's Larry Rothschild and his track record of success.

Monday, December 20, 2010

What Would It Have Taken For The Yanks To Get Greinke?

Zack Greinke is no longer on the Yankees' radar after being traded to Milwaukee (where I can now use my company's season ticket connection to try to see him pitch a few times next year.  SCORE!!)  But in looking at what the Brew Crew gave up to get Greinke, it raises questions in my mind as to what kind of package the Yankees would have had to put together to bring Greinke into the Bronx.  It was believed that any package would have had to start with Jesus Montero, but with the Royals having their own top hitting-heavy catching prospect in the Minors and the fact that they took on less than top-level talent from Milwaukee, it's not outside the realm of possibility to think that a comparable or better package could have been built by the Yankees without including The Chosen One.

Lorenzo Cain and Alcides Escobar are decent prospects, but nothing that lights the world on fire.  Escobar can field pretty well but his tripleslash was .235/.288/.326 in a full season of at-bats.  And Cain showed some flashes after a late season call up, but he doesn't do anything well enough to be reasonably be considered a future All-Star or even an impact player.  If the Yankees started their package around Brett Gardner and Eduardo Nunez, you're talking about a SS prospect who probably already is a better hitter than Escobar and an everyday outfielder who gets on base, covers tons of ground, and could steal 50+ bases and score 100+ runs at the top of a lineup.  That should have gotten the discussion started. 

Now onto the pitching prospects.  Jeremy Jeffress is a former first rounder who pitched 10 innings for the Crew after a September call up last season.  He has a big time power arm and could translate to a lights out closer, but the dude also likes to puff a little ganj every now and then and he isn't exactly good at hiding it, as evidenced by his 2 marijuana-related suspensions in the Minors.  Jake Odorizzi, on the other hand, hasn't thrown up any red flags with his off-the-field activities and his on-the-field activities make him arguably one of the top 10 pitching prospects in baseball.  But he also finished last season in Class-A and so probably wouldn't end 2011 any higher than Triple-A if he's really good.  By comparison from a Yankee prospective, you put Dellin Betances (power arm with question marks, albeit not weed ones) and Graham Stoneburner (high-ceiling Class-A pitcher looking to take the next step) together with Gardy and Nunez and that's pretty much the same package as what Milwaukee offered, maybe even a little better.  And the Yankees probably wouldn't have asked for or wanted Betancourt and $2 mil back in return.

Now I'm on record as being high on Betances and Stoneburner and I'm as big a Brett Gardner fan as anybody, but the 2 guys the Yankees really weren't looking to give up were Jesus and ManBan and this hypothetical trade offer keeps both those guys off the table.  Would that would have been worth offering if it brings back a former Cy Young winner to plug the hole in the 2nd spot in your rotation at a reasonable contract for the next 2 years?  I think it would have been worth a shot.  I mean, what's the worst that could happen?  Dayton Moore says "no" and hangs up the phone and you're right back where you started.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Breaking Down The Current Yankee Catching Situation

Now that the Russell Martin signing has been made official, the Yankee catching picture has become much clearer for 2011.  To start off the year, Martin will be the starting full-time catcher with Cervelli backing him up.  Jesus, previously promised a chance to compete for the job out of Spring Training, will start the season in Triple-A and most likely be a call up some time early in the summer.  With this new plan comes both good and bad and here's a quick breakdown of where the Yankee stand right now with their catching contingent.


- Martin Adds Experience

He may  not be completely healthy and he may not be capable of producing at his All-Star levels of years past, but Russell Martin is a professional catcher with years of experience that should make him more than capable of playing in New York and handling this pitching staff.  We've already seen what Cervelli can do and we don't know anything about what Jesus can do, so to have a veteran on hand to help bridge the gap and maybe teach a thing or 2 to The Savior is a plus.

- Improved Defense

The argument for Cervelli getting playing time has always been that he's a better defensive catcher than Jorge.  2010 all but disproved that argument as Cervelli struggled at times to keep the ball in front of him and had a caught stealing rate right in line with Jorge's, which put them both firmly at the bottom of baseball in that category.  Martin has consistently been able to throw out guys at a 30% clip, give or take a few percentage points depending on the year and has always been considered a solid all-around defensive catcher.  With defense being the biggest question mark about Jesus, this is another area where Martin has the advantage.

- Increased Depth/Flexibility

While they didn't come into the season armed to the teeth at catcher, at least not at the Major League level, the Yankees have plenty of prospects.  The addition of Martin, while strengthening their 25-man roster, also allows them the option of starting Jesus in Triple-A again and starting Austin Romine in Double-A, thus giving them both more time to work on the holes in their game before moving up to the next level.  Also, with word going around that Jesus' slow start last year could have been attributed to the colder April temperatures that he wasn't used to, why not give him another year in the Minors to adjust his play to that and then call him up in the summer when the weather, and his bat, are both heating up?  Lastly, pushing Jesus back down provides him a chance to play everyday and better prepare him for the call up whenever it comes, which could be soon based on Martin's recent injury history.  For any situation that could come up, the Yankees are covered 2-deep at the dish now and that's certainly not a bad thing.


- Cervelli Still Tapped For Playing Time

Let's be honest, Frankie Cervelli is not that good a baseball player.  God bless his heart, because I like the guy, but the more time he spends behind the plate and in the lineup, the worse off the Yankees are going to be.  If Martin goes down early and the Yankees decide Jesus isn't ready, that means Cervelli becomes the starter by default.  I think we can all agree that a combination of Martin and Jesus is more talented than a combination of Martin and Frankie, so to have Frankie still in the fold does weaken the overall 25-man roster a bit.

- Injury Risks

Going back to the point I just made about Frankie having to step in, the Yankees are at greater risk for injury at the catcher position with Russell Martin on the team than they would have been if he wasn't.  They just finally got done with having to deal with all of Jorge's bumps and bruises and sprains and strains over the last few years that led to more Cervelli time and now the Yanks could be heading down the same path with Martin.  He may not be completely ready to handle a full-time catching role in the Majors, but there's something to be said for having Jesus and Cervelli, 2 healthy guys, on call instead of one who could be constantly hurt.  Not to mention that every injury suffered by Martin or any of the others leads to the greater chance that Jorge has to strap on the gear again.  And that's just not something I want to see.

- Montero Still Possible Trade Bait

My biggest beef with the Martin signing is that I still see it as a possible sign that the Yankees are willing to include Jesus in a trade to bring in a top-flight pitcher to cope with losing out on Cliff Lee.  The good news is that those types of pitchers are quickly fading from the free agent and trade markets, especially today after Zack Greinke was traded to Milwaukee.  The bad news is that the longer Montero is not up with the big league club, raking and showing the Yankees why they were smart to not give him up for anybody, the longer he stands to be viewed as a "can't miss prospect" on everybody else's trade radar.  Part of me wishes Martin didn't sign just so the Yankees had to put Montero on the Major League roster and protect him from being traded for Adam Wainwright or Dan Haren.

So there's my take on the whole situation.  Overall I think the Martin signing was good for the Yankees because of the immediate depth and production improvements it gives them and the option to keep Montero and Romine down to hone their skills for a while longer it allows them.  But, if Montero does end up in another uniform before the 2011 season starts, you can forget everything I just wrote here.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Feliciano Joins Bullpen

It wasn't who I wanted (Randy Choate), and it was for more years and more money than I would have liked to see them spend (2/$8 mil w/ a club option for a 3rd), but the Yankees have their 2nd lefty in the bullpen and his name is Pedro Feliciano.

Dude has been a workhorse in terms of appearances, leading the NL in that category in each of the last 3 seasons, so the Yanks should get their money's worth assuming he doesn't get hurt.  And as a lefty specialist, Feliciano gets the job done (.214/.282/.297 tripleslash career vs. lefties) with a solid groundball rate.

At the very least he gives the Yankees another option to turn to in late game situations against Ortiz, Gonzalez, and Carl Crawford, and that isn't a bad thing.  At the most he could team with Boone Logan to become a pair of absolute lefty stoppers, which would allow Joe to play the matchup game that he loves so much.

(** Site note: back at home in CT for the holidays, which means working on the computer that time forgot again.  So no links until the 27th.  But trust that my posts are still legit.  I mean, it's not like I work for the NYT or anything **)

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Little Holiday Yankee Prospect-y Goodness

Anybody that reads this blog knows I get all wet in the pants over reports and rankings of the Yankee Minor League prospects.  With that in mind, here's John Sickel's list of the Top 20 Yankee Prospects for 2011 and my take on the list:

1) Jesus Montero
2) Gary Sanchez
3) Dellin Betances
4) Manny Banuelos
5) Hector Noesi
6) Andrew Brackman
7) Ivan Nova
8) Austin Romine
9) Slade Heathcott
10) Adam Warren
11) Graham Stoneburner
12) David Phelps
13) Eduardo Nunez
14) Brandon Laird
15) David Adams
16) J.R. Murphy
17) Corban Joseph
18) Cito Culver
19) Brett Marshall
20) Jose Ramirez

- No surprise that the list is pitcher-heavy.  The Yankees are stocked with high quality arms.  But I was a little surprised that guys like Nunez and Laird were still sitting that high when everybody seems to think that they are what they're going to be at this point.  I would have expected higher-ceiling guys like Mason Williams and Rob Segedin to sneak into the end of the list, but maybe some more playing time will give better insight into just what kind of prospects they are.

- I was a little surprised that Gary Sanchez has shot up to Number 2.  Sure, he looks to be another monster bat, but shouldn't we see what he can do for a full season at higher levels before we jump him over the likes of Noesi, ManBan, and Nova?

- Gotta swap ManBan and Betances on that list.  Scouts rave about ManBan and Betances hasn't been able to stay healthy for a full year yet.

- Given his upside, I would have swapped Stoneburner and Nova on the list.  Nova's ceiling seems to top out at back end of the rotation-type.  Stoneburner could be a stud.

- No love for Brett Marshall??  What gives?

- Don't know if I would have put Slade in the Top 10 yet.  Dude needs to start putting some of the tools together.

Just my take on the list, but it still didn't change the fact that I'm sitting here at full mast reading this stuff again.  The Yankee farm system is stocked.  Period.  And it's a safe bet that anywhere from 5-10 of the guys on this list are going to turn into big time players.  High five!!

Well What Do Ya Know?

Look at that.  Highest payroll in baseball, eh?  I tell you what, it's just amazing what that scrappy little underdog team in Boston can do on a limited budget, isn't it? 

Barely able to get by trying to keep up with the Yankees and their gargantuan payroll.  They're like the Tiny Tim of baseball, just struggling to stay afloat and trying to stay positive and now it's all paid off because the tiny little small-market Boston Red Sox have managed to beat the odds and become one of the big boys.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Another Free Agent Target Bites The Dust: Red Sawx Sign Jenks

"Bobby Jenks is changing his Sox from white to red.

The former Chicago White Sox closer agreed to a two-year, $12 million contract with the Boston Red Sox, pending a physical, a source told ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney.

Jenks has been told he'll be a set-up man in 2011 and will have a chance to be the closer if Jonathan Papelbon is replaced, the source said." (via

Man, it really sucks to be Daniel Bard right now, huh?  Poor guy gets tossed under the boss like a bag of garbage when the Sox go hunting for The Sandman and now he's going to lose his setup man role to Bobby Jenks?

I hate to dine with the enemy, but has Cash contacted Boston about Bard's availability?  Dude will come a hell of a lot cheaper than Rafael Soriano and is more reliable than Joba.  And since the Sawx clearly don't want the guy, Cash could probably get him for Craig Heyer and Abraham Almonte.  Shit, Bard might welcome a change of scenery.  At the very least, it would be nice for him to hear his last name pronounced correctly by the fans and radio guys (not including Mike Francesa).

Just a thought...

Ummm, Pass

As the potential Yankee free agent targets continue to drop like flies, a story this morning by Bill Madden suggests that the Yanks might target Carlos Zambrano in a trade to fill the rotation.

No.  Please God no.  A thousand times no!!  I don't want Carlos Zambrano anywhere near Yankee Stadium unless he's hocking fake NYY merchandise outside on the sidewalk after his Major League career ends.  Dude is a fucking nutcase.  And not in the Zack Greinke "Oh he has SAD so he might not be a good fit for the pressure of New York"-style nutcase.  I mean a legit nutcase.  Like he would probably kill you if you pissed him off enough.

The Yankees have already lost out on guys who they either targeted or who were good fits for the team in Cliff Lee, Carl Crawford, Matt Diaz, Scott Downs, and now it sounds like Kerry Wood and Randy Choate  also.  The next step needs to be bringing back a proven commodity who already fits in in Andy Pettitte and then focusing on shoring up the 'pen with Rafael Soriano or Bobby Jenks and then adding someone to the bench like either of the Hairston brothers.  With what's left available in terms of lefties, I wouldn't waste my time or money.  Just go to battle with Logan and see if something else develops from the arms currently in the bullpen and in the Minors.

The next step does not need to be trading away some of the top-flight prospect arms in the Minors for a guy who has essentially become a mid-level starter over the last couple years and, as previously mentioned, is a known and well-documented whack job.  Come on, Cash.  You preached patience the other day in your response to the Lee signing earlier in the week.  Trading someone like Manny Banuelos for Carlos Zambrano, even straight up, does not signify patience.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Yanks Skip Plans B-E, Go Straight To Plan F By Signing Mark Prior

How's that for a free agent, motherf'ers??  Mark F'ing Prior, baby!!  I just high fived myself 8 times in a row after hearing the news.

Cliff Lee, Schmiff Lee.  Who needs that boring, rosin-hatted d-bag now?  Look at Prior's numbers.  18-6 record, 211.1 innings pitched with 10.4 K/9, 2.43 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 179 ERA+, 6.2 WAR.  That'll get it done for sure!

I mean, yeah, those numbers are from 2003, but still.  It's reasonable to expect Prior to come close to that this year after having not pitched since 2006, right?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My Cliff Lee Reaction Post (Calm, Rational Version)

The mysterious "Mystery Team" was revealed last night to be the Philadelphia Phillies, as they swooped in and snatched up Cliff Lee, sending him back to the place where he apparently wanted to pitch all along and leaving the Yankees with nothing to show for their efforts and no answers to the questions that plague their current rotation.

Now that all the deals have come out in the open, it was clear that the Yankees weren't as far ahead of everybody else as originally thought.  In fact, it can be argued that their deal might have been the least attractive out of the 3.  The Yanks and Rangers both offered 6-year/$138 million deals, but Texas' vesting option for the 7th year was at the same $23 million level as the first 6 years while the Yankees' vesting option was for $16 mil.  And when you consider that Philly's 5-year/$120 million offer has a higher per-year value than the Yankees' or Rangers' offer, it's obvious that Lee didn't leave that much on the table, certainly not enough to sway him for going where he wanted to go.

This is a bit surprising to me from a Yankee perspective, since they are known for blowing away the competition when it comes to dollars in free agency.  They did it with CC and they did it with Teix in 2008 and it seemed all but certain that they were going to go all out again for a pitcher they clearly had been after for some time.  But as the negotiations wore on and Cash said they were standing pat on their offer, it became clear that things had changed.  The Yankees of a few years ago would have guaranteed that 7th year, they would have upped to value of the deal to $170 million to try to pry Lee from the Phillies, but this time Cash didn't do that.  He stayed true to his word, the team stayed true to their original plan, and they lost out their big target because of it.

Maybe all the past free agent pitching failures have finally knocked some sense into the front office.  Maybe A.J. Burnett shitting the bed this past season was a clue that they are still far higher in the "Bad Move" column than in the "Good Move" one and it wasn't a good idea to try to make another big FA pitching splash.  Maybe they are willing to sacrifice a year or two of not winning the World Series to give this next bumper crop of arms in the Minors a chance to form a new stable of Yankee pitching for the next 10 years.  Whatever the case is, the Yankees got beat by the competition in free agency for the first time since Greg Maddux in 1992 and they are left with 2 gaping holes in their 2011 rotation.

But the reality of the situation is that the Yankees are not as dead in the water or as desperate to fill the gap left by Lee as many people think they are or as many people in the MSM would like us to believe.  Let's look at the facts.  They still have CC Sabathia, they still have Phil Hughes, and if Andy Pettitte decides to come back (which you know the Yankees will push for now that they have extra money to spend) they will have him too.  That's 3 above-average starters right there.  They still have the best closer in the history of baseball, Mariano Rivera, lurking in the bullpen at the end of games.  They still have a lineup that features, at worst, league average and above-average production from every position except maybe catcher, and at best, All-Star-level production from 1B, 2B, 3B, RF, CF, and above-average production from every other spot.  Not to mention that lineup also makes up one of the best all-around defenses in baseball, a defense that just got better with today's signing of Russell Martin.

The Yankees also have money.  More of it than anybody else and more of it to spend this offseason now that they won't be paying Lee.  They still have a few big targets available to shore up the bullpen for 2011 and fill out the bench.  And they've got the previously mentioned stockpile of young, high-ceiling arms scattered across all levels of their Minor League affiliates that can be used to build the future core of the rotation and also to bring in another arm for 2011, either in the offseason or once the season starts and it starts becoming more clear who the buyers and sellers will be come the trade deadline, without completely gutting the farm system.  So even without Lee, the Yankees still have plenty of means to achieve their end of improving the rotation

Cliff Lee was the big prize and the big target for the Yankees this offseason, no doubt.  But all hope is not lost without him for 2011.  Let's not forget that the Yankees will be returning almost the entire team that won 95 games this past season and came within 2 wins of reaching the World Series despite having a combined 492.2 innings pitched by A.J. Burnett, Javy Vazquez, Chan Ho Park, Dustin Moseley, and Chad Gaudin.  And guess what?  Cliff Lee wasn't on that team.  Sure, he could have helped push the 2011 team over the top, but his not being in pinstripes next year certainly doesn't cripple them, regardless of what other teams have done.

Hank knows this, Hal knows this, Randy Levine knows this, Joe knows this, and Cash knows this.  And they know there's no reason to push the panic button because Lee didn't take their offer.  They aren't done this offseason by a long shot and all early indications are that they are not interested in trading away Jesus or throwing an insane prospect package at teams to try to pry away a Chris Carptenter or Ricky Nolasco.  The more I think about it, the more I like the fact that the Yankees took a hard line on Lee and let him walk when he didn't bite at it.  It's a good sign for the future of the organization moving forward.

Championships aren't won in December, folks.  And there's a whole lot else that can and will happen between now and next October.  The Yankees have shown they can be just as dangerous at the trade deadline as they can in free agency, and adding more talent to the core that still exists makes them just as big a threat as the Phillies, Red Sox, and whoever else wants to try to compete with them.  The Yankees lost the battle for Cliff Lee, but the war hasn't even begun yet. Let's let that war start and play out for a little while before we start to worry.

The First Domino Falling?

I certainly hope this isn't the start of a chain reaction of knee-jerk moves in response to losing out on Cliff Lee, but the Yanks have signed Russell Martin.

Now the dude still needs to pass a physical, which is no small feat given the injury problems he's had, but if he passes and becomes a Yankee, he certainly gives them improved depth and flexibility at catcher and he better damn well be here to compete with The Jesus and not to replace him.  They lost out on Lee, but they've still got $25-30 mil to spend now and spending is what the Yankees do best.  Use that money to shore up the other holes in the roster and wait for a trade to present itself in 2011 once the season starts.

(If I read that talks between the Yankees and Royals have started up again this afternoon, I might kill somebody)

My Cliff Lee Reaction Post (Fan Version)

Really, dude?  The Phillies?  The team that refused to make you a deal a year ago for less money and then shipped your ass to fucking Seattle?  You'd rather go back to them and their shitty city for fewer dollars than come to the greatest city in the world and play for the greatest team in the history of professional sports?  I'd say I can respect that, but then I would be just as big a moron as you because NOBODY IN THEIR RIGHT MIND can respect that and NOBODY IN THEIR RIGHT MIND WOULD MAKE THAT DECISION!!!!

So your chubby little wife didn't like the way Yankee fans treated her, huh?  Guess she didn't attend too many games the last time you pitched for Philly because those people are absolutely brutal.  Word of advice, bro, you might want to make sure you throw a complete game shutout every time you pitch at home because there's no telling what kind of abuse (and objects) that hord of Orcs will be hurling your old lady's way if you fuck up.

You know what, I'm not even mad.  Clearly Lee didn't want to pitch in New York or he would have taken the money and ran immediately.  I hinted at it in my Russell Martin post over the weekend that the Yanks might be trying to make moves to cover themselves in case Lee didn't sign and now it all makes perfect sense.  Nobody in their right mind leaves that much money on the table these days.  Nobody.  And I don't want to hear all the "well this just goes to show you that not every athlete is about the money" bullshit either.  Every athlete is about the money.  If they weren't then there wouldn't even need to be winter meetings every offseason in the first place.  The only reason you wouldn't be about the money is if you truly didn't want to go somewhere and Lee truly didn't want to come to New York and didn't want to be a Yankee.

So good riddance, dickhead.  I'm glad we don't have to worry about watching your sorry ass age ungracefully in the 5th, 6th, and 7th years of your contract.  The Yankees have had such a shitty track record signing old pitchers that I'd rather not risk adding another one to that list.  The last time they lost out on somebody was Greg Maddux in 1992 and if memory serves correct, the next 6-7 years worked out pretty well for the Yankees then.  So if anything, I'll take this as a blessing in disguise.

P.S.- Enjoy watching the rest of that offense crumble over the next couple years as everybody gets older.  That should be fun.

P.P.S.- Your wife is fucking hideous

Monday, December 13, 2010

Umm, What???

You've got to be fucking kidding me, right?

Seriously?  This is a joke, right?

** UPDATE: 11:37PM- Sounds like this shit is really happening.  If so, more power to the Phillies.  Out of all the teams that could have been this mystery 3rd team, I didn't think it would be them.  Time for the Yanks to move on to Plan B, huh?

When should I start preparing my "Goodbye, Jesus" post and retiring him to the AB4AR Photoshop Hall of Fame?

Best Link I Saw On Another Slow Day In Yankeeland

Matt at TYU took a look at Brett Gardner's WAR projections for 2011 today, and while I agree that the project numbers he would put up (between 2.86 and 3.56 depending on which outfield position he played) would be more than acceptable, I still take umbrage with the fact that people seem to think 2010 was the best Brett Gardner can do.

Let's look at the facts.  Gardner has great patience at the plate (13.9% walk rate in 2010) and great speed on the basepaths.  He worked with Kevin Long before this past season to focus on hitting the ball more on the ground to maximize the speed asset and for the most part, that work translated into success for Gardner: high OBP, lots of runs scored, good SB numbers.

But now that he has mastered that ability, what's to say Gardner can't work with Long more on learning to drive the ball a little and find gaps?  His speed becomes even more of a weapon when he's hitting balls to the wall and racking up XBH like it's going out of style.  Infield singles are nice and all, but they still leave the threat of a double play present.  Gardner's speed on 2nd or 3rd base makes producing that run even easier for the hitters behind him than him being on 1st base does.

With what I saw from Gardner in his first full year last year, I see no reason why he can't be molded into a little bit more of a power hitter.  I certainly don't expect him to start jacking homers all over the yard, but with how well he sees the ball, a combination of improved hitting mechanics and more experience can give him a little more oomph in his swing.  But am I crazy in thinking this, people?  Because I seem to be the only one that has any faith in Gardner being able to improve and build on his 2010 season.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


... Does anybody know what Cliff Lee and his agent are up to?  Anybody?  Homeboy just up and left the winter meetings early and now there's been no activity for days.  How fucking long does it take to figure out if you want $140 million or 160?

Did his agent's flight make it back OK?  And if he on a family vacation or something?  Did he lose power?  Or is he just on a really long hunting trip?  Somebody find this fucking guy and get him to sign on the dotted line already so I don't have to talk about Carl Crawford or fucking Russell Martin anymore.

Does The Russell Martin Contract Offer Mean Anything In Terms Of The Lee Offer?

For those that don't know, the Yankees reportedly made a one-year contract offer to Russell Martin.  There had been talks of a Martin-for-Cervelli trade a few weeks ago, but that quickly died down and it seemed like Martin was no longer on the radar.  But now the Yankees have made him an offer and could be on the verge of having 4 catchers on the 25-man if he decides to accept.

Which brings us back to the original question posted in the title?  Does this offer give a little insight into what the Yankees might be thinking about the Cliff Lee situation?  It's no secret that any Plan B they would follow if they didn't get Lee would include putting together a major prospect package to offer in a trade.  For the type of front-line starter they would be looking for, that major package would almost certainly have to include Jesus Montero.  Now they Yankees have already made it known that they plan on giving Montero an opportunity to win the starting job in Spring Training in 2011, and they have already walked away from potential trades in the past that included him as the main chip.  So why, all of a sudden, would they bring another catcher into the mix to compete for the job?

On the one hand, it could mean that they aren't as confident that Lee will end up signing with them as they once were and they might be getting a head start on putting that prospect package together.  We've already seen that Cervelli is not capable of being a productive everyday catcher, and Jorge's catching days are long behind him, so the Yankees need a more viable option if Jesus is going to be traded away for a Zack Greinke or Chris Carpenter-type pitcher.  Martin could be that option if he shows his health problems are behind him and he would give the Yankees better offensive and defensive production than Cervelli if he became the new starting catcher after Jesus' departure.  The argument can be made that if the Yankees still felt that they were the leaders in the Lee sweepstakes, there would be no need to bring in another catcher.

On the other hand, this could just be the Yankees looking to upgrade at a position that they will be a bit weak and uncertain at next year.  You have to assume that Jesus, even if he wins the job, is going to have some growing pains early in the year.  And maybe some early struggles would be a call to have him take a bit of a breather and not handle the bulk of the catching duties until he gets his feet under him.  If that happens, the Yankees will want somebody there who can handle the task and Martin would be a major upgrade over Cervelli in that department.  Now that might not seem like an appealing offer to Martin, and maybe that's why he won't take the Yankees' offer, but he doesn't exactly have other teams knocking his door down right now and playing on the Yankees where he has a chance to win a title is definitely a situational upgrade over rotting away on the dead stick that is the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Whatever the case may be, this situation puts the writing on the wall for Frankie that his days in pinstripes may be coming to an end.  Regardless of who the starter is, a catching tandem of Jesus and Martin is much more attractive than one of Jesus and Frankie.  That being said, I'm still a bit skeptical as to what the Yankees' real motives are in going after Martin.  They aren't use to having to wait this long to get their big target and the fact that there's nothing coming out of the Lee camp has to be making them a little bit uneasy.  I certainly hope they aren't already planning to move Jesus to add another pitcher prematurely.  Keeping Jesus and adding Lee makes the offense and defense better.  You can't say that same about having Lee and Martin.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Lookin' Good, Carsten

And the strange offseason picture weekend continues here at AB4AR.  Here's CC on MSG the other night rocking a killer Rampage Jackson/B.A. Baracus beard:

Goddamn!!  That thing is vicious!  He might want to think about keeping that thing going into Spring Training and the start of the regular season.  Maybe take it to the next level and rock the big chain like Rampage.  I know I look at Rampage and poop my pants a little bit.  Maybe the CC beard could have the same effect on hitters.

Yeah, you know it's slow here when I'm spending time ragging on Joba hanging out with Mickey Mouse and analyzing CC's new beard.  Lee is waiting, Andy is deciding, Jeter and Mo are locked up, and the Yankees lost out on pretty much every other potential free agent they could have been interested in so I have to fill space here somehow, right?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Joba Getting An Early Start On His Offseason Workout Program

And apparently it involves having a Zoolander-style pose off with Mickey Mouse.

That's great, Joba.  Really great.  Here I am coming off a fantastic blogging season where I led the league in most varieties of the F-word used and won Best Photoshop Award and you still see me out here every day, giving it my all, trying to get better, making Daniel Turpen jokes at 8PM when I should be sitting in a VIP room somewhere with chicks hanging off me like goddamn jewelry.

And there you are, kicking it at Disney Land and yukking it up with fucking Mickey Mouse.  Unless he was giving you some tips on how to keep your front shoulder in to improve your fastball location or talking about changing your grip to get some bite back on that slider, I don't think there's any reason for you to be there right now.  Get off Twitter, take your kid home and put him to bed, and then get your ass down to Tampa to work with Larry Rothschild.

And iron your shirt.  Jesus Christ, man, have some class.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Yankees Make A Big Splash In The Draft

Well, the Rule 5 Draft that was this morning, but still.  I mean, look at the 2 names they got.  Daniel Turpen and Robert Fish.  Robert Fucking Fish!!!  This is big news!

Listen to some of these details.  Fish had an 8.93 ERA and a .365 BAA last season in Double-A.  And one profile on Turpen described him as not being "typically overpowering."  One righty who isn't overpowering and a lefty who can't seem to get anybody out?  When do I get to start popping the champagne.

Fuck Carl Crawford.  I think these 2 moves today might have put the Yankees over the top for 2011 and beyond.

Barstool NY Actually Making Some Valid Yankee-Related Points For Once

I've gone on record before criticizing Barstool NY for their half-assed Yankee coverage and arguments, but today they're actually on fire when it comes to discussing the Carl Crawford situation.  First, resident Barstool NY Yankee blogger Scott puts the Red Sox offseason moves in perspective: 

"Yea, the Red Sox are having themselves a nice offseason. Tip your hat to those fucking goobers because Gonzo and Crawford are legit. And no denying the Sox have a nice little lineup and a pretty nice little rotation right now. But I’m a fucking Yankee fan bro. And the day I start worrying about what the Red Sox are doing is going to be a cold, dark day in hell indeed.

Especially because the Yankees are about to sign this guy Cliff Lee. Maybe some of you have heard of him? He’s supposed to be pretty good. And all I know is that its going to be a great time watching CC and Cliff Lee mow down lefty after lefty in this fancy new Red Sox lineup. Just mow them all down like the Yankees have done to the Red Sox throughout the course of human history.

And these moves were 2 years in the making for Boston. Since Tex and CC, the Yankees just flat out had more big time talent on their team. You saw it when the Yankees won the World Series in 2009. And you saw it when Boston had too many injuries last year....

So I say its about time those fucking losers made some power moves. You didn’t need a brain surgeon to tell you John Lackey isn’t a difference maker."

... And then 90 minutes later, KFC drops some straight knowledge about how lame and hypocritical Red Sox fans are:

"And then my favorite is come April when they [Bostonians] want to flip a switch and become the blue collar Red Sox fans again. Come down from their holier than thou Ivory Tower as Pats fans and start to play the role of the “Idiots” and pretend they are a small market, underdog franchise. And like clockwork they start complaining about payroll and the Yankees buying players. When the Yankees signed CC, Tex and Burnett, I legit thought the Red Sox fans were never going to stop complaining. Best part is, that year the Yankees overall payroll went down when they did that. They reinvested a bunch of money, cut payroll by $8 million, and won a World Series, while all of New England just sat around crying. And then you look at the Sox payroll, which jumped $50 million between 2009 and 2010, and as of this morning they just spent another $300 million on two players."

Bravo, boys.  Bravo indeed.  I don't think I could have said it better myself.  On a day like today I'm actually quite thankful that I'm not back home on the East Coast where I would have to listen to all the phony Red Sox fans walking around with their chests puffed out, talking like 2011 World Series was already in the bag or the sadsack subgroup of dumb Yankee fans who would be ready to jump off their roofs and kill themselves because the Sox added 2 big bats.  And to be honest, I never even considered the fact that Boston is loading up their lineup with lefties for CC, Cliff, and Boone Logan to school next season.

The bottom line is, there's really nothing for the Red Sox or their fans to be proud of yet.  They got all excited after the V-Mart trade in 2009 that was supposed to be the final piece they needed to get back to the World Series and instead they got their dicks knocked in the dirt by the Angels in the first round while the Yankees took home title 27.  They got even more excited before 2010 when they brought in John Lackey, he of the 4.40 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, .277 BAA, 6.53 K/9, 99 ERA+, and 1.9 WAR in 2010, to "solidify" the rotation and watched their commitment to pitching and defense blow up in their face behind a rash of injuries.

Yeah, Boston's lineup looks better on paper for 2011.  Congratu-fuckin'-lations.  A lot of people thought the same thing going into '09 and 2010 and they ended up behind the Yankees both of those years.  Let's let the rest of the offseason play out and wait until teams start playing again before we all just bow down and suck Theo Epstein's dick for the brilliant moves he made.

(I don't know how I've never seen this before, but I laughed my ass off when I saw it on Barstool NY today)

Red Sox Add Carl Crawford. This Is Me Not Caring

(Photo of Crawford getting thrown out at 3rd by Greg Golson courtesy of The AP)

According to multiple reports, the Red Sox signed Carl Crawford last night to a monster 7-year/$142 million deal, upgrading both their offense and defense in the process and vaulting themselves right back into contention as an AL East favorite, at least in the eyes of everybody at ESPN.  But my reaction when I read the stories this morning?  To borrow a line from the great Derrick Coleman, "Whoop-de-damn do."

Does Crawford really make the Red Sox THAT much better?  Yes he's an upgrade over Mike Cameron in the field and at the plate, and yes he completes Boston's replacement of Victor Martinez and Adrian Beltre's offensive production, but that's still just a replacement.  And for the money he's getting, money that makes him the highest paid outfielder ever in terms of total pure dollars, shouldn't the Red Sox be getting more than just a replacement?  Consider that Crawford has never hit more than 19 HR in a season, has never driven in more than 90, has never slugged above .495, has a career OPS of .781, and has only been above 4.4 WAR 3 times in his career.  Check his stats if you don't believe me.  Oh, and if you're wondering, almost all of Crawford's career highs were set last year in, that's right folks, A CONTRACT YEAR!!!!  Hmmmm...

Don't get me wrong, Crawford is a very good baseball player.  But he's not a $20+ million per year baseball player.  For that kind of money you should be getting Ken Griffey Jr. in his prime, Willie Mays in his prime, Barry Bonds in his prime (steroids or not), somebody who can play Gold Glove-caliber defense AND carry a team offensively by himself if need be.  Now in this Boston lineup, Crawford won't have to do that, but that doesn't change the fact that it's still the kind of production you should expect for that kind of investment.  And Crawford, quite frankly, is not that type of player.

And while we're on the subject of the Red Sox lineup, I take a look at it and still see a lineup that's not as deep or dangerous as that of the Yankees.  I'll take Swish, Grandy, and Gardner (the much cheaper, homeless man's Carl Crawford) over Crawford, Ellsbury, and a rapidly-declining J.D. Drew any day of the week.  The right side infield combo of Teix and Cano should outproduce the combination of Gonzalez and Pedroia no matter how much better Gonzo's numbers get thanks to playing in Fenway, ditto for the left side combo of Jeter and A-Rod compared to Scutaro and Youkilis.  The catching trio of Jesus, Frankie, and Jorge (assuming he gets a little time behind the plate) will be better than the garbage combo of Saltalamacchia and Varitek even on their worst day.  And let's not forget that David Ortiz was getting ready to be thrown on the scrap heap after April this season.  In 2011 he's going to be another year older and that that bat will be another year slower.  Any way you try to cut it, the Yankee lineup is still at least a little bit better top to bottom than Boston's with the potential to be a lot better if Grandy plays like he did in the 2010 postseason and Jesus has a quick learning curve.  So if Crawford didn't help put the lineup over the top, how can you justify making him the highest paid OF ever?

Basically, what happened here was the Red Sox got spooked by the reports of the Yankees having "serious" talks with Crawford and scrambled to make him an offer much bigger than what they probably should have, knowing it had to be more than the ridiculous contract the Nationals gave to Jayson Werth.  I'm sure they've been doing their damnedest to do the same thing to the Yanks with Cliff Lee, but in reality they were never major players for Lee, knew they weren't, and instead overspent on their other big target that they did have a shot at. 

The Yankees were going to make Lee a monster offer regardless of what the Red Sox or anybody else did.  The Sox probably weren't going to do the same for Crawford, especially after the Gonzalez trade/re-sign, but started feeling the heat of all the Yankee-Crawford rumors and did what they thought they had to do to keep up.  Now they've spent their money and they still have a lineup not as good as that of New York and they're about to watch the Yankees improve their rotation to the point where it can also be considered better than Boston's.  So at the end of the day, this Crawford signing doesn't mean anything to me and it shouldn't mean anything to you.

(P.S.- $142 mil for Crawford and $150-160 mil coming for Gonzalez?  I think we can end all this "the Yankees spend too much, we're still just a scrappy underdog" bullshit coming from Boston once and for all)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Darek Braunecker Sucks

What the hell is with this guy?  He's probably been the leak for all these bogus Washington National/7-year deal/new teams involved stories surrounding Lee over the last couple days and now he decides to just up and leave the meetings without giving anybody, most importantly the Yankees, a chance to make a formal offer to his client.  The fucking balls, huh? 

I definitely don't remember reading the chapter that discusses bailing out on all your potential suitors in "The Art of The Deal."  Something tells me the rest of these negotiations are going to go something like this:

Heyman Says Cliff Lee Offer Coming Today

"Yankees are going to make a "very strong" six-year offer to Cliff Lee today that is expected to be for $23 to $25 million per year." - via

Well there you go, Nolan Ryan.  If this is true then you and your gang of yokels might as well check out of your hotel rooms, grab your ten gallon hats, and mosey your fat Texas asses back to Arlington because there ain't no way in Hell you're competing with that.

All we can do now is sit back and wait for it to become public...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Quick Look At Some Of The Quotes From The Jeter PC Today

The Yankees finalized the deal and made it official today.  Derek Jeter is back and is now going to retire a Yankee.  They capped everything off with a press conference and there were a few interesting bits said here and there by those who participated.  Let's hit it with a real quick and dirty FJM'ing.

“He never left. We didn’t want him going anywhere.” - Cash

And let's be honest.  Where the fuck else was he going to go?  Detroit?  The Mets?  COME ON!!!

“He is a true Yankee.” - Joe

Not like that prima donna, A-Rod.  Jeter would never overestimate his own worth and try to use that misguided opinion to get more money.  Oh wait...

“I had never planned on going anywhere.” - Jeter

I mean, let's be honest.  Where the fuck else was I going to go?  Detroit?  The Mets?  COME ON!!!

"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't angry how some of this went... " - Jeter

Because facing your own mortality is never a fun experience.  But in fairness, Derek, I think the Yankee brass and the fans would be lying if they said they weren't angry watching you constantly beat balls into the left side of the infield all last season.

“I’m getting older, but so is everyone else in this room.” - Jeter

No argument on that point from a scientific perspective.  But not every else in that room is getting grossly overpaid to play a physically-demanding position that they are no longer capable of doing at an All-Star level on an everyday basis.  Just sayin'...

All kidding aside.  It's good to have Jeter back and it's good to have this whole issue resolved and behind us after the press conference today.  Now we can move on to Cliff Lee and Jeter can move on to getting some bat speed and lateral range on defense back.

(Thanks to Chad Jennings at LoHud for posting the quotes from the PC)

Sifting Through The Bullshit

Part of the fun of the winter meetings is all the rumors that start flying around about who's talking to who, who's offering what, and how much money and how many years everybody is willing to go.  Most if it is smoke designed to play mind games and get other teams to up their offers and pay more money than they should.  This year is no different and right now there are plenty of rumors related to the Yankees and their dealings floating around.  Let's take a minute to clear some of them up.

Cliff Lee wants a 7-year deal and getting anything less is a deal breaker

Almost certainly floated to the media by Lee's agent, this is an obvious attempt by him to try to get his client more years and more money that he probably won't get and definitely doesn't need.  He already knows about where the Yankees and Rangers are going to come in with their offers from talking to them and he's just doing his job trying to see what, if anything, else he can get for his guy.  Bottom line, these guys wouldn't turn down 6 years and $140 million from the Yankees if that was the best offer they got.

The Nationals are getting ready to make a HUGE offer to Lee

A big old slice of bullshit pie a la mode, probably coming directly from the National front office after they made the first, and so far biggest, free agent splash with their Jayson Werth signing.  They have set the market for all the other big players available and are simply trying to stir up some uncertainty and force the front runners in the Lee sweepstakes (see: Yankees and Rangers) to up their offers.  The Nationals obviously don't have the money to make a huge pitch to Lee (pun intended) and they know it.  They're just using their position as the first to strike to try to make everybody else squirm a little bit.  Not a bad strategy for a smaller market, shitty team but there's no way the Yankees let themselves get outbid by the Nationals.

The Yankees are interested in Carl Crawford

Partially true, because who wouldn't be interested in a 5-tool player in his prime?  But this is just the Yankees playing the game with a guy they aren't really targeting but know the Red Sox are.  They've beaten the Sox when it came to A-Rod and Teix before, so it's worth the Yankees' time to make the Sox sweat a little here and spend more money than they have to to get Crawford.  The Yankees already have an outfield that does a great job approximating Crawford's value at less than it would cost them to sign him this offseason.  There's no real chance that Crawford ends up in pinstripes.

Andy Pettitte is not coming back.  Oh wait, yes he is.  Oh wait, ...

People can listen to these stories supposedly coming from "sources" all day long if they want to.  I'm not going to give on second's thought to Pettitte until I know the Yankees are actually in discussions with him and Pettitte himself comments on what his plans are for 2011.  It's still a little early for him to be leaning one way or the other yet, so it's really a waste of time to put any weight into what these sources are hearing or saying about him.  When Andy makes up his mind, we'll know about it.

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Tale Of 3 Offseason Approaches

While we all sit and wait for the winter meetings to play out and everybody to make their respective moves, one thing is for certain:  We are going to be looking at a drastically different AL East next season and the 3 main competitors are all going about that change in very different manners.

The Yankees, like last offseason, are focusing on their one glaring need (starting pitcher Cliff Lee), then re-signing their own legacy free agents to ensure they stay in pinstripes and looking to fill the roster out with a bit piece here or there (second bullpen lefty, bench depth, possible cheap reliever).   Sure they gave Jeter too many years and too much money, but we all knew that was going to happen.  And with the rest of the lineup set with guys either in their prime or still performing above league average, there's not much cause for the Yankees to get involved with big names other than trying to drive up the price on Boston.

The Red Sox have abandoned last season's plan of pitching and defense (because we all saw how well that worked out in 2010) and instead are focusing on completely revamping the lineup.  Out are Adrian Beltre and Victor Martinez (and some high-level prospects) and in are Adrian Gonzalez and possibly Carl Crawford before it's all over.  Their bullpen is still a mess and the top of their rotation has now seemingly flip-flopped to the bottom as Lester and Buchholz are clearly better than Beckett, Lackey, and Dice-Gay, but there will be a little more pop in the lineup in 2011 to be added to to their group of returning All-Stars.

The Rays, with the shallowest pockets and most players leaving, have focused on trying to get the most for all their departing free agents, and look like they'll be rewarded with a substantial cache of high draft picks for all the arbitration offers they made to their Type-A and Type-B guys.  It's no secret that they built their successful team over the last few years through consistently high draft picks, and they've shown the ability to scout talent, so it's not a bad approach to try to replace what they've lost this offseason.  Consider the fact that they still have a decent amount of talent, solid starting pitching, and new guys like Desmond Jennings and Jeremy Hellickson ready to contribute full time in 2011 and it goes without saying that the Rays will still be in the mix.

On top the big 3 taking their approaches, the other 2 teams in the AL East aren't just sitting back either.  The Orioles added HR machine Mark Reynolds earlier today, and the Jays are making deals to possibly make a run at trading for Zack Greinke.  We're a little less than 4 months away from the start of the 2011 season and it's already shaping up to be another highly-competitive year in the best division in baseball.

Careful, Sandy

You might very well be a better GM than Omar, and you almost certainly can't be any worse, but I don't think it would be wise to run your mouth about the Jayson Werth deal when you look at some of the contracts on your club.

"It makes some of our contracts look pretty good.  That's a long time and a lot of money. I thought they were trying to reduce the deficit in Washington."

Kudos to the dig at the government, friend-o, but which contracts of yours' does Werth's $18mil/year make look good?  Would that be Jason Bay's 4-year/$66 million deal for which the Mets received 6 HR, 47 RBI, and a .749 OPS last season?  Or maybe Oliver Perez's 3-year/$36 million deal that resulted in a 6.80 ERA, 2.07 WHIP, and .293 BBA in just 46.1 innings of work last year?  Not those?  How about the $12+ mil you're going to be paying a declining K-Rod in 2011 to continue to decline and possibly punch out another family member?  Or the $18 mil you'll give Carlos Beltran in the final year of his deal to probably play no more than 80 games because of injury and put up sub-par numbers when he is on the field?

Bottom line, Sandy, is that as overpriced and too long as Werth's deal with the Nationals is, you're still talking about a player who has averaged over a .900 OPS and 135 OPS+ over the last 2 seasons and been worth 12.6 WAR over the last 3.  Dude is in the prime of his career and is far more productive than any of the guys that you'll still be paying 8 figures to in 2011.  I know you've got big plans for fixing the Mets, but you might want to let some of these horrible deals end and make a few good ones of your own before you start criticizing others.

Leave the shit talking to somebody who actually deserves to be talking shit.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

This Story Makes Me Smile

Just when I think Theo and his merry band of assclowns can't possibly get any more inept, they go and pull a stunt like this...


Just kidding, they're still a bunch of incomparable morons after allowing the Adrian Gonzalez trade to fall through this afternoon after reportedly not being willing to give Gonzalez a contract comparable to Teix's 8-year, $180 mil deal the Yankees gave him in 2008.

I'll put my Yankee homer hat off to the side for a second to discuss how stupid this is of the Red Sox.  They just agreed to trade 3 of their top 6 prospects for one of the premiere first basemen in baseball, a player they happen to have been after for over a year now in response to losing out on Mark Teixeira in the 2008 offseason.  This premiere first baseman happens to be perfectly suited for hitting in Fenway Park, has put up comparable numbers to Teixeira over his 5+-year career in a major pitcher's ballpark, is 2 years younger than Teix, and is coming off his last 2 years that have been the best of his career and ended with him posting higher OPS numbers than Teix (.958 vs. .948 in '09, .904 vs. .846 in '10).

Now because they were unwilling to give Gonzalez comparable money to Teix (money that he is almost assuredly worth), they have lost out on improving their team for the next season and beyond and have to scramble to either win him back or get back in the running for Adrian Beltre, the guy they cast aside because of their plan to trade for Gonzalez.  Neither one of these deals will come cheap as they've already failed to make one happen and now become more desperate as a result.  They have no bargaining power, no backup plan, and have completely shown their hand to the Padres and any other teams that they wants to deal with in trades as far as prospects are concerned.  If the Padres were smart, they would up their demands and play this thing for even more if the Red Sox try to re-start trade talks, as they now know they are still going to lose their best player but can risk asking for at least another prospect or maybe another of the Sox's top 6 as a new option since the Sox clearly don't have a better existing option to fill 1st or 3rd base.

As a Yankee fan, this is all music to my ears.  It had been a rough day or 2 for the Sox already before this trade came about and fell through after the failed Mariano Rivera signing that was a blatant slap in the face to their best 2 relievers.  Now this puts them even further behind the 8-ball as they've lost Martinez and Beltre and replaced them with nothing and everybody else out there knows what they offered for the player they wanted as a starting point for negotiations if the Sox call them up looking to make a deal for another player.  Oh, and there's the fact that now everybody on their team knows that the team wasn't willing to make a deal for a player that would have made the team better simply because they were too cheap to open their wallets.  That doesn't exactly build confidence for guys who are on the last years of their deals or who are interested in making it back to the playoffs that they missed in 2010 and winning a ring.

A Long Overdue Linkapalooza

I'm way behind in giving credit where credit is due.  I'm disappointed in myself really.  That's just unacceptable.  But I'm going to sit down, look at some tape, make the adjustments I need to make, and take this post one link at a time.

- Kevin of 6P8OBJ breaks down the implications of the Adrian Gonzalez trade for the rest of the league.  I've been too busy laughing at Boston's boneheaded attempt at signing Mo to really give this trade the time of day, so I'm glad somebody out there is picking up the slack.

- Bruce Markusen of Bronx Banter writes a nice piece about the career of Gil McDougald, who died in the past week.  Tough year for Yankee greats, no doubt.  But their collective memories have been done justice by writing like this.

- Caught up in the comedy of el duque's 10-Point Plan to respond to the Adrian Gonzalez signing is actually a lot of valid points, namely letting Jesus catch full-time and keeping all of the Killer B's.  Maybe I should take these guys a bit more seriously when it comes to baseball analysis.

- Luke Adams of MLB Trade Rumors packages together the latest news on Cliff Lee.  This is me linking to another larger collection of links.  That's efficient blogging there, people.

- Marshall at No Maas followed the non-tender list earlier this week and put together a quick little post showing the potential value in signing Bobby Jenks.  Jenks' numbers compare favorably to Kerry Wood's when he was in pinstripes at the end of last season, so for $3-4 mil, I wouldn't be opposed to bringing him in as the setup guy.

- Mike Vacarro of The Post tells us what we all already know, that Jeter saved face by agreeing to the new deal.  Sure we know it, but it's still good to read it again.

- SG at RLYW took a look at Mo's stats and projections to see if he's on the verge of falling off the cliff after signing his new deal this week.  Long story short, he's not.  Awesome.

- Mike A. at RAB makes a compelling case for the Yankees going after Scott Hairston this offseason.  With all that he does well, Hairston will most likely get a starting job somewhere, but trying to build a bench that is actually productive wouldn't be a bad strategy.

- Also, no link because they're updated daily, but do yourself a favor and head over to River Ave. to check out the new RAB Radio Show.  Lot's of good stuff on there and they don't take hours and hours to get to it like regular radio shows.

- Steve S. of TYU reminded us why the Yanks are still the winners in the Sox-Adrian Gonzalez deal.  Going back to 2008, the Yanks have now given up a few draft picks for Teix while the Red Sox essentially gave up 6 prospects (4 of them top prospects) and Victor Martinez to get Gonzalez as a response to losing out on Teix.  And now they have Salty and 'Tek as their catchers for 2011.  Another brilliant move by Cash becomes even more brilliant.

So there's some of the other good stuff from this week around the Yankee blogosphere.  Now if you'll excuse me, I have to drink beer and watch football all afternoon.  Enjoy.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Captain Returns

Things certainly moved quickly after Casey Close reached back out to the Yankees to get the talks going again earlier this week, and now it appears that Jeter is officially a Yankee again and they won't need to pick a new captain for 2011.

There aren't any definite words on the deal, as it is still pending the passing of a physical, but word is the offer is a 3-year/$51 million one for $17 mil per season, with an option for a 4th year that could be worth another $ 10 mil.

All in all, that's not a bad deal at all and has to be considered a win for the Yankees, who end up with the final dollar value being much closer to what they wanted to pay and also didn't get locked into a 4th, 5th, or 6th year.  Jeter and Close look a little dumber for their comments in the media and their out-of-this-world desires, but at the end of the day they both recognized that this deal was more than fair and far better than anything they would have been offered by any of the other 29 teams in baseball.

Mo's back.  Derek is back.  Now the Yanks can focus all their winter meeting on Cliff Lee.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Nice Try, Theo

From the Worldwide Leader in Fraud Sox Nut Hugging:

"The Red Sox offered reliever Mariano Rivera a two-year, $30 million deal and were prepared to non-tender closer Jonathan Papelbon, according to a baseball source with direct knowledge of the negotiations.

Rivera turned down the Red Sox to return to the Yankees, who offered the same money as Boston. Rivera's pending agreement with the Yankees was first reported by the New York Daily News."

BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!  Are you serious, Red Sox front office?  Really, are you serious???  Let me get this straight.  You've had Daniel Bard wasting away as the setup man in your bullpen for the last 2 seasons while Papelbon continued to trend downward, yet you refused to trade him for something valuable while at the same time promoting Bard to the closer role.  You've refused to include Bard in any trade offers for anything that could have helped your team over the last couple seasons because you're so high on him as your future closer.  And now this story is coming out that your genius plan to help bolster the 2011 bullpen was to try to pry The Sandman away from the Yankees so you could non-tender Papelbon?  Do I have that right?

What kind of fake-ass reality are these clowns living in where they even thought they had a chance to sign Mo away from the Yankees?  This isn't some money-grubbing, Scott Boras-tainted free agent whore like Johnny Damon here.  This is Mariano Fucking Rivera.  The most famous pitcher in Yankee history and one of the most professional, most loyal people in sports.  You could have thrown a blank check, majority ownership in the team, and changed the name of the stadium to Rivera Park at him and he still wouldn't have signed.

Now all you've succeeded in doing is leave yourself exactly where you were last year with Crapelbon as the closer and Bard stuck in 8th-inning purgatory, only now you're going to pay Papelbon MORE money to continue to suck and you'll have pissed him off by going behind his back to get Mo and dump him AAAAAAAAAAAND pissed Bard off by going after Mo instead of promoting him to the role he deserves and has supposedly been groomed for.  Really inspires confidence in your players when you show you've got confidence in them.  But then again, what else would you expect from the guy who brought back Jason Varitek AGAIN instead of re-signing Victor Martinez?

Exit Light, Enter Night

(2/ $30 mil for this guy?  Fuck and yes.)

On behalf of the Yankees, I'd like to apologize to the rest of the American League for the 9th-inning failures they'll have to continue to endure for the next 2 years.  I know it seems like this nightmare has been going on for 15 years already and it may never end, but know that someday it will end and you can go back to having hope for a late-game comeback, eventually.  Maybe.  Possibly.

Fuck, I don't know, Mo might very well be some kind of inhuman closer demon from Dimension X who will pitch until the end of the world.  In that case, I guess you're all fucked.  Sorry.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Lamesauce 101

Allow me a quick minute to rant on something.

What the fuck is with all these reputable Yankee blogs hopping on this Derek Jeter in other teams' uniforms bullshit that the Beckett Blog did.  Now I never talk ill of LoHud and TYU and places like that, because I get a lot of my info and inspiration from those sites and I readily acknowledge that they are light years ahead of me in terms of quality.  But come the fuck on, guys!!  Really?  You're really going to get involved with this childish, cutesy pipe dream crap and direct Yankee fans to it like we're supposed to chuckle at it and pretend we're playing some kind of adult dress-up game?

I say FUCK THAT SHIT.  I don't want to see Derek Jeter in another uniform.  I don't want to even THINK about Derek Jeter in another uniform.  Is the guy possibly a year or 2 away from being completely washed up?  Possibly.  Is he completely delusional if he really thinks he should get $23-24 million per year in his next contract?  Probably.  But the fact of the matter is and always has been, Derek Jeter is a Yankee legend.  He's right up there with Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, and Mantle.  And to even give the time of day to something even pretending to put him in another uniform spits in the face of the legacy he has created.  And if any fans of all these other teams actually gets enjoyment or hope out of this because they think they have a shot, then they can just go get fucked in the face because there's no chance in hell that Derek Jeter will be wearing anything other than his blue and white pinstriped jersey with the interlocking "NY" on the chest and the number 2 on the back.

I may not be happy with how Jeter and his agent have gone about these negotiations, but I never for one second thought or wrote about wanting the guy to leave.  He is a Yankee, always has been a Yankee, and always should be a Yankee.  And if I have to look at something like this again like it's a funny ha-ha little joke:

I swear to God I am going to find the first wheelchair-bound 10-year-old that I am 100% confident doesn't know any kind of martial arts and I am going to kick his ass out of anger.  And that goes double if he also happens to be a Red Sox fan.

SOOOO Glad To Have This Guy Back

Who needs Cliff Lee or Zack Greinke or another bullpen arm when you can bring back Sergio Mitre, right?  I mean, any time you can bring back your 7th-8th, "super end of the world emergency" starter/ mop up bullpen scrub and his sparkling 4.81 K/9, that's a move you have to make 25 hours a day, 8 days a week.

The Yankees really thought it was worth bringing back The Serge instead of giving his innings to Romulo Sanchez, Ivan Nova, and then perhaps later in the season Brackman or Betances (fingers crossed)?  Oh well, at least I know Mitre won't be pitching any meaningful innings next year and I can feel better that the more useful arms in the 'pen won't have to be wasted in blowouts.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Back At The Negotiating Table

Well look who came crawling back!  After reportedly talking with Jeter yesterday morning, Casey Close reached out to the Yankees yesterday, according to NY Daily News, and then went to Tampa to meet face-to-face with Head Elf Cashman and Big Hal.

This was a smart, if not surprising, move by Close to get these talks going back in the right direction.  Ever since his "baffling" comment hit the papers and airwaves, the public opinion has been strongly for the Yankees and against Close and Jeter.  Those flames were fanned further when the reports of the 6-year/$ 150 mil desires and even the $23-24 mil/year desires were brought to light.  I guess it's not a good idea to call out the team making the best offer to your client without you ever making an official counter offer while rumors swirl about you and your client having incredibly outsized demands after all, huh?

All kidding aside, this is a good sign for both sides.  Clearly Jeter has been paying attention to all the negative talk he and Close have been getting as a result of their rumored demands and wanted to get things back on track rather than drag this out.  Surely in his talk with Close yesterday morning he told him how important it was that this deal get done sooner rather than later and sent Close to Tampa as a show of good faith.  If things continue to progress in this positive direction, we could be looking at a new deal being announced soon after the Winter Meetings.