Sunday, March 21, 2010

Mauer Re-Ups with Twins, Helps Continue To Set The Table For Jesus Montero To Be Yankees' Next Catcher

Congrats to Joe Mauer on his 8-year, $184 million deal that was finalized today, complete with a full no-trade clause, that all but guarantees he will play his entire career in Minnesota.  Along with showing that the Twins are willing to and capable of keeping a key player in-house to help compete with the Red Sox and Yankees of the world, this deal also guarantees that the Twins will have at least one player on their roster for the future who won't completely shit the bed in their Divisional Series matchups against the Yankees.

The effect this deal has on the Yankees is that it scratches the biggest name off their 2010 offseason shopping list and pretty much ends all speculation about what the plan will be for The Almighty Jesus moving forward.  Despite being cut from the Major League Spring Training camp today along with Austin Romine, Joe praised Montero's work and improvement behind the plate.  Logic would dictate that this will be Jorge's last season behind the plate, at least as a full-time, 100+-game catcher, and if Montero continues to hit like a beast in Triple-A this year and continues to improve his skills behind the dish, he should be the Opening Day catcher in 2011.

On the bad news side of Minnesota sports page today, it was announced that Joe Nathan will have season-ending Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow, leaving the pickings a bit slim on the closer shelf of the Twins' bullpen cupboard full of decent, but unspectacular options.  No word yet on whether Nathan blamed Phil Cuzzi for the injury.

Yankee Blogosphere Linkapalooza For The Week That Was (March 15-21)

Another week, another great batch of Yankee-related bloggy goodness.  As usual, the boys at The Yankee U carried the torch.  Let's get into it.

- Will Leitch kinda sorta previews the 2010 Yankees on Deadspin.  Actually, he just muses his way to nowhere in discussing how ridiculous the concept of a "true Yankee" is.  I can't say I disagree with that theory, but it's a fucking season preview, dude.  You gotta do more than just name drop all the new guys the Yankees signed and old guys they didn't bring back.

- Moshe Mandel at TYU posts a well-written guest article by a frequent TYU commenter pointing out the flaws in Leitch's opinion of Yankee fans.  Sure Yankee fans bitch and moan a lot, we all know that.  But for Leitch to imply that the fans have something to do with players being signed or traded is asinine, so kudos to Ridderling for straightening that out.

- Robbie Cano was a big topic of discussion this week as he was officially announced by Joe as the man who would hit 5th in the lineup this year behind The Horse.  Joe P at River Ave. Blues gives his assessment of Cano in the 5-spot, and Steve S. at TYU comments on Cano's patience or lack thereof, and how that will be the key to him being successful batting behind A-Rod this year.

- EJ Fagan at TYU profiles Austin Romine, AKA the "other catcher" in the Yanks' Minor League system.  With the potential Romine has to be an above-average catcher, it makes the Jesus Montero situation all the more interesting.  Personally I'd like to see the Yankees hold onto both of them but you never know with Cash.

- Joe P. really tickles my fancy with this season preview for CC and A.J. that predicts each could be better in 2010 than they were in 2009.  I find it hard to believe that CC could outdo what he did last year, but there certainly is room for Burnett to improve and if he does, watch out.

- Another solid TYU guest post looks ahead to the 2010 off-season and breaks down possible Yankee free agent/team salary scenarios.  I think the Yankees should focus solely on Cliff Lee with Pettite and Vazquez question marks for 2011 and leave Carl Crawford alone, but Brett Gardner's performance in an everyday role will almost certainly determine just how hard they pursue Crawford.

- Brian Burkhart at Bronx Basebally Daily checks the box next to Joba's name for his choice for 5th starter.  I guess everybody has their own personal favorite, but I would caution Brian to not get too excited about one good Joba start since that was the prevailing thought going through the blogosphere after Hughes' solid performance earlier in the week.  Let's see some consistency from Joba before we give him the spot.

- A couple of gems from the crew at Fack Youk.  Jay breaks down the battle for the 5th rotation spot and argues that Joba going to Triple-A might not be a bad thing.  Matt discusses the Ron Washington situation in Texas and makes solid points about whether or not Washington should still have a job and why stories like this continue to get leaked to the press months and months after the fact.  Some people need to start subscribing to the Carmelo Anthony school of thought and "stop snitchin'."

- The guys at No Maas have renewed their sponsorship for Josh Beckett's Baseball-Reference page and need ideas for a new sponsorship message.  Get creative and give them some good shit to work with.

- Lord Duggan at Pinstripe Alley takes a break from Spring Training to look back at how the Yankees went 103-59 last season.  Normally I don't like to live in the past, but when the past is a 103-59 season in which the Yankees hoisted the Championship trophy, I'll make an exception.

- Vince Mercandetti at Sox and Pinstripes previews the only 3 teams in the AL East that matter and comes to the conclusion that the Yanks will win 98-101 games this year and the division.  Naturally.

And just for shits and gigs, here's another look at my bracket from earlier this week:

You may now commence the laughing at my expense.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, Yankee fans.  If you get bored with the tournament, check out the UFC on Versus tonight.  Jon Jones and Junior Dos Santos are trucksticks.