Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday Afternoon Linkapalooza: 11/30

I got roped into going with a group of people from work to look at possible new office furniture and paint and carpeting and stuff.  Apparently it's been decided that our office looks old and outdated, which is true, and it's time to brighten things up.  Admittedly none of that type of stuff matters to me.  I couldn't tell you what color the carpeting or the walls in my building even are.  I could work on a beanbag chair and a rickety folding card table, so don't ask how it was decided that I was a valuable member to have on this refurbishing team, but at least I got a free lunch out of it.

The best part of the whole thing was listening to some of the higher-ups talk about how this had to be pitched to our CFO and how likely he was to shoot it down.  One of them said, "he's going to see that it's a need, but not a need that he's willing to spend that much on."  You know, like a starting catcher.


Now onto the links!

- On Monday, Mike Eder of TYA weighed the option of trading Robinson Cano, and used some future WAR calculations to make a decision on whether or not it would be a smart move for the Yankees.

- Steve Goldman of Pinstriped Bible looked back at the bad Yankee drafts of 2007-2009 and their connection to the upcoming payroll cuts.

- Jonah Keri of Grantland posted his two-part list of the Top 50 MLB trade value rankings (Part I, Part II).  I'm not a big Grantland guy, but I used to like when Simmons did this with the NBA and Keri knows his stuff, so it's definitely worth a look.

- On Tuesday, Greg Corcoran of Bronx Baseball Daily profiled his breakout prospect candidate for 2013, Low-A Charleston outfielder Ben Gamel.

- Bryan Van Dusen of The Greedy Pinstripes liked the idea of Shane Victorino as a Yankee, an opinion decidedly opposite of mine.

- On Wednesday, Mike Axisa of RAB looked past tonight's midnight non-tender deadline to see which non-tender candidates could be good fits for the Yankees if they became free agents.

- William Juliano of The Captain's Blog did some serious number crunching to show the financial benefits of the Yankees' planned payroll cap and some different scenarios that lead to different levels of savings.

- El duque of It Is High... came up with an interesting idea for a Curtis Granderson trade partner, if the Yankees are entertaining the idea of trading him.

- On Thursday, Brien Jackson of IIATMS offered up his simple solution for how to fix the Hall of Fame.  Hint- it has nothing to do with steroids.

- Chris Carelli of Yanks Go Yard predicted what roster spots the Yankees would focus on when Cash heads to the Winter Meetings next week.

- Roberto E. Alejandro of Respect Jeter's Gangster came up with a good idea for a new owner, one who would be willing to match a 2-year/$17 million offer, if Hank and Hal were interested in selling.

- On Friday, Delia E. of Yankees Fans Unite correctly pointed out that Cash will head to the Winter Meetings next week with more to do now that the Yankees have let Russell Martin go.

- Jesse Schindler of Bleeding Yankee Blue already identified his ideal trade target to replace Martin.

For this week's Friday Jam I'm kicking it with some Black Keys, old Black Keys, before they were "cool" enough to play on Jimmy Fallon's late night show.  It's not that I think newer Black Keys isn't good, but I prefer the older, grimier stuff.

Enjoy your weekends, everybody.

How Will Losing Russell Martin Change The Yanks' Winter Meetings Plans?

(Congratulations, Hal.  You've successfully handcuffed your GM before the most important part of the offseason)

The Winter Meetings were already going to be a little different for the Yankees this year than in years past. With their plans to get below the self-imposed payroll ceiling becoming more real, and their early offseason actions being more strongly geared towards that one goal than ever, the days of the big, bad Yankees breezing into Nashville and stirring things up with their rumored connections to all the big names appear to be over, at least for the next couple offseasons. But with last night’s bombshell of Russell Martin signing with the Pirates, the entire landscape of the remainder of this offseason has shifted dramatically for the Yanks. While they did make very good progress in reloading the pitching staff, there are still a lot of gaping holes in the lineup and fewer quality players with which to plug them. I think the Yankees always anticipated that they’d be able to re-sign Martin, and now Cash will have to adjust his whole approach to next week’s meetings to cover for the loss.

Russell Martin Thoughts & Afterthoughts

(We'll be seein' ya, dude.  Courtesy of the AP)

Well that was an interesting turn of events last night, wasn't it?  Less than a week after it was reported that he was "willing to wait" for the Yankees to make him an offer before looking at other teams, Russell Martin signed a 2-year/$17 million deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates, who were only introduced as a serious candidate for his services earlier this week.  The bulk of the talks involved bigger-spending teams like the Yankees and Rangers, but shockingly enough it was Pittsburgh who swooped in and got the job done.

Even more shocking were the multiple reports from Yankee beat writers that the Bombers didn't even make a contract offer to Martin, who was easily the best all-around catcher available on the market.  The internal crop of Yankee catching options was and still is woefully thin on depth and talent, and the Yankees had to be keenly aware that the rest of the available free agent pool was very shallow, and yet they still chose to put re-signing Martin off to hammer out deals with guys like Pettitte and Mo who were never going to play anywhere else but New York next season.  It's a very puzzling strategy and move by the Yankees, one that I'm still having a hard time formulating a complete response to.  So in classic AB4AR fashion, I'll just throw it all out there in some bullet points.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

DOUBLE BREAKING NEWS: Pirates Sign Russell Martin

Well how about that?  I thought it was just early rumors, but Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Pittsburgh Pirates have signed Russell Martin.  There are no known contract terms at this time, but Rosenthal is pretty good with this stuff.  Looks like the Yankees are going to have to find themselves a catcher.  More on this story to come...

** UPDATE- 7:53 PM- David Waldstein reporting that it's only a 2-year/$17 million deal.  You've got to be kidding me. **

** UPDATE- 7:56 PM- Heyman saying the Yankees offered 2/$12-14 mil.  They must know something we don't. **

** UPDATE- 8:12 PM- Erik Boland reporting that a "source" said the Yankees never made an offer to Martin, which is the complete opposite of what Heyman said.  What the hell is going on?? **

** UPDATE 8:14 PM- And Buster Olney confirms that.  Wow. **

BREAKING NEWS: Yankees Re-Sign Mariano Rivera

(The G.O.A.T.)

And Operation Old Guys is complete.  A day after the Yankees re-signed Andy Pettitte to a 1-year deal, they followed that up by officially re-signing Mariano Rivera.

Jon Heyman first reported the deal, which will be for a base salary of $10 million, $2 million less than Pettitte got.  Dan Barbarisi reported that the deal does include award bonuses, with rumors of them being near $5 million.  Mo will get another chance to retire on his terms.

For the Yankees, this all but completes their 2012 bullpen.  They'll need a long man, but will have plenty of options for that spot.  There's no guarantee that he'll be as dominant as he's always been, but based just on the numbers, you have to somewhat expect Mo will at least be good.

For the fans, this is another opportunity to watch the greatest closer in the history of baseball one more time. I promised myself if he came back I was going to make sure to go to a game next season to watch him one more time and now I have my chance.  Time to start scouting the schedule...

Any Innings Concerns For 2013?

The 2013 New York Yankees starting rotation is set right now after yesterday's re-signing of Andy Pettitte was made official.  At worst, the rotation should be pretty good again next season and at best it could be very good if everybody stays healthy and a few things rebound from 2012.  Not to rain on anybody's parade or start to poke holes in this group, but it is worth pointing out that there will be a lot of workload questions tied to next year's rotation.

CC Sabathia- Coming off a season in which he had 2 separate stints on the DL, and already has plans being made to limit his innings/pitch count next season.

Hiroki Kuroda- Coming off a career high 235.2 IP between the regular and postseasons in 2012 at age 37.  Unknown how that extra work will carry over and affect him in 2013.

Pettitte- Pitched just 89 total Major League innings last season, and has pitched just 106 total innings in the last 2 calendar years.  Unknown how many innings he can pitch over a full season.

Phil Hughes- Coming off a career high 201 total IP between regular and postseasons in 2012 a year after pitching just 91 total innings and 2 years after pitching 192 total innings, and after years of being shuttled between starter and reliever.

The only guy in this group without innings concerns is Ivan Nova, who was the least effective starting pitcher in the rotation last season.  It's not time to raise the red flag on this or anything, just something to keep in mind going in ST next year.

Why Do I Not Like Shane Victorino?

(Double-ear flaps. So stupid. GAH!!!  Courtesy of the AP)

In addition to muddying the waters of the Russell Martin contract situation, Jon Heyman also listed the Yankees as one of several teams interested in free agent outfielder Shane Victorino. Victorino, 32, is coming off a down year that saw him traded from his longtime team in Philadelphia out to Cali to finish the season with the payroll-bloated Dodgers. I’m just going to get right to the point and say that I want absolutely no part of Shane Victorino on the 2013 Yankees. And here’s the kicker, I have absolutely no reason why. I’m not sure what it is about him, because it’s not like he’s a shitty baseball player, but I’ve just never been much of a Shane Victorino guy. It’s completely irrational and I’m the first one to admit it, because Victorino could actually be a good fit for the Yankees.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

BREAKING NEWS: Yankees Re-Sign Andy Pettitte

(One more year of the stare)

After an acceleration to the re-signing process earlier this week, and multiple reports that a new deal was imminent yesterday, the Yankees officially re-signed Andy Pettitte this afternoon, completing part 2 of their offseason checklist.

According to multiple reporters, the deal is of the 1-year variety and will be for $12 million next season, with another $2.5 mil available in awards bonuses.  It's a hefty raise from the non-guaranteed $2.5 million Andy signed for when he came back this past season, but after the way he pitched a big hike in salary was to be expected.

With this move, the Yankees now have a rotation set for 2013- CC, Kuroda, Andy, Hughes, Nova- with a couple other arms outside that top 5 as insurance and the always-lingering possibility of them signing a cheap veteran arm here or there.  Andy coming back does give Cash the flexibility to include Hughes or Nova in a trade package if he pursues that route to fill the right field void, but even if nothing else happens with the rotation this offseason, the Yankees can go into Opening Day confident that their rotation is set.

**UPDATE- 3:29PM- Eli Whiteside has been DFA'd to clear a 40-man roster spot for Andy.  So that's why they signed Whitesite to a split-contract.  Smart move. **

Who Wants To Get Non-Tenderized?

See what I did there?  That's wordplay.  It's not all fun and games and re-signing 40-something pitchers and finding a right fielder this offseason.  The Yankees do have some other things on their plate that they'll have to address, one of them coming up very soon.  The non-tender deadline for arbitration-eligible players is this Friday at midnight, and the Yankees have a group of 6 eligible players left waiting to learn their fate (David Herndon and Eli Whiteside both signed small deals already).

None of these guys have really gotten much ink in the hot stove press so far this offseason, at least not on this blog, and there's a pretty simple reason for that.  Nobody expects that the collection of Phil Hughes, David Robertson, Brett Gardner, Joba Chamberlain, or Boone Logan are going to be non-tendered.  They'll all get new contracts for 2013 through arbitration and return as part of the 25-man roster next season, although there has been some talk of trading Logan coming off a heavy workload around the blogopshere and that's an idea I would entertain.

The one guy who's up in the air is Jayson Nix, do-all utility infielder and part-time emergency outfielder who notched a hair over 200 PA in pinstripes this season as an injury fill-in.  Nix proved valuable as a defensive upgrade at shortstop over Eduardo Nunez, and he's not a complete waste of space with the bat, but a .304 wOBA and 88 wRC+ with a low BB rate doesn't exactly scream to have an offer made to it.  That being said, the Yankees are light on useful infield pieces right now and are going to need extra help to cover for the advancing age and injury comebacks on the left side.

Nix is projected to make less than $1 million, chump change for the Yankees, but that would still be more money than they're paying Nunez right now.  And with the team doing everything in its power to pinch pennies in preparation for the 2014 payroll cap, they could decide that a little bit extra saved is more beneficial than having Nix around.  There's no guarantee the Yankees can find a suitable replacement, either internally that's as solid defensively as Nix or externally that's cheaper, so it will be worth paying attention to what happens with him come Friday at midnight.

2012 Statistical Trends: Robinson Cano's Hitting Against LHP

(Looks like a GB out reaction to me.  Courtesy of Getty Images)

In hopes that this will become a running series for the rest of the offseason, I want to take a look at some of the big statistical surprises from the season that was.  There was a large handful of significant statistical shifts this season, some good and some bad, and I want to try to figure out what caused them, what they mean, and what to expect moving forward.  For the first installment, I want to investigate Robinson Cano's awful year against left-handed pitching.  It's almost crazy to think of a hitter of Cano's caliber as a platoon bat, but that's just what he was this year.

Cano finished the 2012 season with a career .290/.338/.453 line against LHP (.344 wOBA), and that's after the down year he had this season.  Entering 2012, Cano was coming off a season in which he hit .314/.354/.525 against lefties, a result we've become accustomed to seeing from Robbie and the type of L-on-L production that makes him one of the best all-around hitters in the game.  In 2012 something changed, and Robbie struggled mightily against lefties to the tune of .239/.309/.337 (.290 wOBA) in 269 plate appearances.  He still drew a fair amount of walks, for him at least, against southpaws.  But the drop in batting average and power was significant, and something that could potentially raise a red flag given Robbie's pending free agency.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Now The Offseason Wheels Are Turning

Looks like the front office is finally picking up steam after their slow start to the offseason.  Hiroki Kuroda re-signed last week, and that got the ball rolling, and now there's a rash of reporter activity today talking about pending deals and player interest.  Here's the latest:

- Buster Olney got things started this morning with a report that not only was a deal between Andy Pettitte and the Yanks close, but that it will end up at or near the $11 million mark.

- Olney also said Russell Martin, despite recent reports that he was willing to wait for the Yankees to make an offer, has visited "multiple cities" to gauge interest in other teams, according to his agent.

- Ken Rosenthal reported that the Yankees were also "optimistic" about getting a deal done with Mariano Rivera this week, likely at a dollar amount higher than Pettitte's $11 mil.

- Joel Sherman shot down rumors that the Yanks and Ichiro had agreed to a 1-year/$5 mil deal, saying there are "no serious talks ongoing."

Obviously getting Pettitte and Mo locked in this week would be a huge leap forward in their offseason progress, and more than likely speed up the talks with Martin.  Stay tuned...

Andy Starts Offseason Workouts

The next, and possibly final, piece of the 2013 rotation puzzle may be starting to get put into place.  At least that's how a positive-thinking person would take Mark Feinsand's report Sunday about Andy Pettitte starting his offseason workout program as a test to see how his body responds and see if he thinks it will hold up for another season.  After the earlier report that Pettitte would make his decision sometime this week, this latest news makes it look more like we're going to see the lefty back in pinstripes for one more season.  There's no guarantee, but there are 2 big things to take away from this:

Monday, November 26, 2012

Russell Martin Joins The Waiting Game

(Pictured: Not Russell or Ichiro)

Well it looks like Ichiro isn't alone in holding out for the tall, handsome Yankees to ask him to dance before settling on another suitor.  George King of The Post had the deets on Russell Martin also being sweet on the Yankees and reportedly being willing to wait his turn for a contract offer while they sort through things with Mo and Andy before pursuing other options.

2012 AB4AR Season Review: The Minor League Awards

I swear I'm not doing this on purpose.  I know I've already promised that the 2012 Season Review series was over like 45 times by now, but it dawned on me this morning on my ride to the airport that while I managed to hand out all my end-of-season awards to the Major League team (and do it quite well, I might add), I neglected to dish out those same awards for the Minor Leagues.  I guess subconsciously I didn't want to do the MiL awards because it was such a rough season for the Yankee system, but it wasn't all doom and gloom.  A lot of less heralded guys put good years together, and the young A-ball core was dynamite across the board.  So without further ado, and for realsies this is the final 2012 season review post, here are the AB4AR 2012 Minor League award winners.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Pineda Continuing To Progress

(When is somebody going to get a shot of one of Pineda's flat ground sessions?  Courtesy of the AP)

Michael Pineda still has a long uphill battle to fight to get back on the field, back to full or as close to full game shape as he can be after his labrum injury, and back into the good graces of the Yankee fan base, but the updates on his comeback progress continue to be positive.  Brian Heyman of LoHud had the latest details on Friday, including information on Pineda's latest follow-up visit with team doctors, confirmation that he's been on his flat ground throwing program for about 2 months now, and a quote from Brian Cashman on Pineda's arm action in the throwing session looking good and that "he’s in great physical shape in terms of body weight."

All of those are positives for Pineda, who got himself in trouble early in ST last season for reportedly coming into camp in less-than-ideal physical condition.  But has this latest round of updates changed the planned return timetable for him?

The Reality Of Ichiro

It's no secret that I'm not on the "Yankees should bring back Ichiro" bandwagon.  I think he's a fraction of the player he used to be in his prime; I think the .322/.340/.454 tripleslash he put up in a third of a season's worth of plate appearances with the Yankees is not nearly as true an indicator of his current talent level as the results he put up in the previous season and two-thirds worth; and I think if they made slightly more of an effort than they have so far, the Yankees could find a much better all-around option for a starting right fielder next season.  I also think the Yankees are pretty set in their way for how they're going about this offseason and I think Ichiro's performance in a Yankee uniform this season did enough to put him on their radar for 2013.  And the more time that passes this offseason, the more I think Ichiro becomes a fit for what the Yankees are looking for.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Friday Afternoon "Happy Thanksgiving Weekend" Linkapalooza: 11/23

Black Friday is one of the stupidest concepts ever, and I cringe every year watching videos and stories of all the people who wake up at the ass crack of dawn to go to the mall or worse, camped out the night before outside of Best Buy or something just to get a good deal on an off-brand TV.  I have much bigger and better plans today, embarking on my yearly Thanksgiving vacation trip into the city with my 2 best friends.  Unfortunately, due to the NHL lockout we won't get to go to our usual Ranger game, but we audibled nicely and scooped up some tickets to the Nets-Clips game at the Barclays Center tonight.  Chris Paul and Blake Griffin is a nice substitute for Ranger hockey.  We're also upping the ante this year by bringing our dads with us, so it will be fun to see how long they can hang drinking with us all day.  No matter what happens, it's going to be infinitely more fun than going Black Friday shopping, and if you're out there doing that I feel very sorry for you.  Now onto the links!

- On Monday, EJ Fagan of TYA graphically illustrated how the Yankees' competitive payroll advantage has dwindled over the past 10+ years.  As previously discussed, this issue becomes magnified this offseason with ownership's new penny-pinching ways.

- Andrew Mearns of Pinstriped Bible continued his series of all-time best underrated seasons in Yankee history with his selections for the outfield and pitchers.

- On Tuesday, Alex Belth of Bronx Banter posed an interesting question about the Yankees' "Evil Empire" status now that they've paired up with News Corp.

- William Juliano of The Captain's Blog compared the YES-News Corp. deal to the recent similar move made by Toronto and what those moves could mean for each team.

- Bronx Goblin listed the top 10 ways to know you're a crummy Yankee fan.  Proud to say that none of those 10 things apply to me.

- George S of Gutty Gritty Yankees used the early 2013 Marcel projections to show that letting Nick Swisher walk is still a huge mistake.

- Rob Abbruzese of Bronx Baseball Daily offered up his personal take on the Yankees-News Corp.-payroll ceiling situation.

- On Wednesday, Mike Axisa of RAB discussed the idea of trading Curtis Granderson in the face of this year's early free agent trends.  It's certainly an idea worth considering.

- Brian Heyman of LoHud got some thoughts from Cash on the Blue Jays' string of big moves this offseason.

- Brien Jackson of IIATMS pointed out the importance of the Hiroki Kuroda re-signing in terms of solidifying next season's rotation.

- On Thursday, Chris Carelli of Yanks Go Yard questioned whether making an all-out effort to get below the luxury tax threshold in 2014 is even necessary.

For this week's jam I'm keeping with the theme of our trip today and giving a shout out to Brooklyn with some old school Jay-Z.  I haven't been able to get his people to call my people back about meeting up at the game tonight, but I'm sure he got my calls.

Enjoy your weekends and all the leftover turkey, everybody.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving, Everybody

Today I'm thankful that I have a ton of great food to eat, a ton of great beer to drink, and my family and best friend to share it all with.  I certainly hope that's the case for everybody else out there as well because Thanksgiving is hands down the best holiday and it's not even close.  It's the Mariano Rivera of holidays.

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.  May your celebration today be safe, fun, and filled with good memories.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Progress On The Offseason To-Do List

($15 million would bring a smile to your face too.  Courtesy of the AP)

He's another old guy, but he's a productive one and one who actually made sense to bring back, so Hiroki Kuroda re-upping for another year yesterday was a positive first step for the Yankees yesterday after an early offseason of mostly inactivity.  There's still a lot to be done, and still plenty of opportunities for people like me to complain about them only targeting guys 35 and over, but Kuroda was the most important player to bring back and now that's been done.  Hopefully this a sign that Cash is going to start moving and shaking a little more heading into the Winter Meetings, and he's still got plenty of time before then to work out new deals with Mo and Andy and free up his time at the meetings for perusing the trade market.  By my count, here's how the updated to-do list should look:

Mo Back On The Mound

Well, sort of.  It wasn't even close to a game situation, and I'm sure he wasn't painting the inside corner with the cutter there, but at least it's something.  He had to be pushing off in some capacity to shoot this ad, so that's a good sign for the health and progress of Mo's knee as he gets ready to come back next season.

It's easy to forget that Mo is still not officially a Yankee.  As we live and breathe right now, he's still technically a free agent, although the situation is an obvious "Yankees or nobody" one for the G.O.A.T.  We were told a few weeks ago that the re-signing process would be a quick one after he formally declared that he wanted to come back, but so far no progress has been made outside of the Yankees stating that their offer would include a paycut.  You have to think with Hiroki Kuroda re-signing late yesterday that getting Mo to do the same is the next on Cash's to-do list.

P.S.- Definitely just put that cologne on my Christmas list.  Always good to smell like a champion, right?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

BREAKING NEWS: Yankees Re-Sign Hiroki Kuroda

There aren't any details on the money yet, but the Yankees and Hiroki Kuroda have reportedly agreed to a new 1-year deal.  Normally I'd wait to get a few more details before posting, but when the tweet confirming the deal is coming from Buster Olney, that's good enough for me.

Kuroda was always the top priority this offseason, and it's good that this has now been resolved.  There's still a lot of work to do, but at least there's one space we can fill in on the open roster card for next season.  More details to come...

** UPDATE- 6:43PM- The deal is worth $15 million for next season, with a little less than $1 mil worth of incentives.  Sounds like a good deal for both sides.  Yanks and Kuroda both get the 1-year deal they wanted, and Hirok gets the raise he deserved and earned with his 2012 performance. **

Billions Of Dollars, Billions Of Dollars...


That's what the Yankees are worth.  Forbes magazine's annual list of the most valuable sports franchises from June of this year had the Yankees tied for 3rd with the Dallas Cowboys at an estimated $1.85 billion.  The YES Network is worth even more than that, an estimated $3 billion according to recent reports, and that number stands to go up in the years to come with News Corp. in line to purchase a 49% stake in the network.  While that deal shouldn't and in all likelihood won't affect the way things are run on the baseball side of the organization, part of me can't help but try to connect this move clearly designed to make more money with the baseball side's efforts to cut costs this and next offseason.

Situation Heating Up With Ibanez

I'll just make this quick to try to avoid it veering off into another talk about roster rigidity and an older-than-dirt team actively seeking to make itself older.

According to Ken Davidoff, the Yankees have progressed from the "preliminary discussions" portion of their offseason courting process to the "significant interest" stage with respect to re-signing Raul Ibanez.  Ibanez hit .240/.308/.453 last season, and punctuated his first season in pinstripes with some of the most dramatic home runs in a long time.  His first-ballot election into the "True Yankee" club notwithstanding, Ibanez would be best as the DH-only bench piece he was supposed to be this season.  If the Yankees are interested in him being any more than that, then actively pursuing him this early in the offseason is probably a mistake.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Opening Day Roster Not Looking So Hot Right Now

(Time for the Ninja GM to start moving in the shadows)

It's still relatively early, the spots are all going to be filled eventually, and I totally get that this is going to be business as usual for the Yankees for the next 2 years as they make their push to get below the self-imposed payroll threshold.  But it's worth nothing that this sluggish start to the offseason comes during a year when there are more holes on the roster to fill than we've seen in the past few offseasons.  Here we are, on the week of Thanksgiving, and the Yankees are in a position where, if the season started tomorrow they would be in a pretty tough spot.  Take a look.

Is Scott Hairston Really The Answer?

With Torii Hunter and Melky Cabrera already off the board and never really looking like they were serious candidates to end up in pinstripes, it was only a matter of time before Scott Hairston's name came up.  He's been on the offseason wish list for the past couple years, but was never a high priority while the Yankees still had 3 good starting outfielders.  Now that they're down to just 2, it was inevitable that he'd be connected to the Yankees and that connection came to light over the weeked thanks to Dan Martin of The NY Post. 

My TYA teammate Mike Eder posted his thoughts on the Yankee-Hairston connection earlier this morning and while he made some good arguments for why Hairston is a good fit, Mike concluded that the Yankees could do better and that's a sentiment I echo.  2 years ago, I would have been all over bringing Hairston aboard, but now?  Not so much.

Yeah, the power is nice, and he's a defensive upgrade over Andruw Jones, but that's really all there is to like.  He doesn't walk, therefore he doesn't get on base; his power is almost exclusively pull power, which doesn't translate as well to YS3 as all-field power does; and he doesn't hit right-handed pitching at all, which means the Yankees will be set up for another outfield platoon setup.  Add that to the revolving door at DH and the quasi-platoon situations at third base and shortstop, and the 2013 team would resemble a Little League World Series team where players are constantly being moved into and out of the lineup.

As an emergency insurance option, sure.  But as a planned platoon "solution" for right field next season with Ichiro, I would be very much against the Yankees signing Scott Hairston.

P.S.- "Jus-tin Up-ton! Clap, clap, clapclapcap!"

My Realistic Reactions To The AZFL Season

The Arizona Fall League wrapped up its 2012 season this past week, and overall it was a pretty good showing for the Yankee representatives.  Some guys dominated and continued to improve their prospect stock, some guys got to work on their transitions to new roles and positions to hopefully improve their prospect stock, and some guys just got the work in that they needed to get in after losing most of their 2012 seasons to injury.  I'm sure there are a lot of people out there who are jumping for joy at some of the results and whipping themselves into a "ZOMG GUYZ, THE YANKZ SHOULD TOTES LET SLADE HEATHCOTT TAKE OVER IN RIGHT FIELD THIS YEAR!!!!!!" frenzy, but that's just not going to happen.  At the risk of coming off as a Negative Nancy here, allow me to put each player's AZFL performance in the proper context, just so there aren't any crazy expectations based on a few weeks' worth of games.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

How 'Bout Josh Hamilton On A 1-Year Deal?

(Dude would have the Stadium crowd eating out of his hand.  Courtesy of the AP)

Admittedly this is me thinking out loud on a painfully slow news Sunday in Yankeeland.  Let's just get that out of the way upfront.  But the more I've put the pieces together in my head, the more it kinda, sorta makes a little bit of sense to me.  The Yankees have an open spot in their outfield, they could use a boost to the declining middle of their batting order, and a lot of the guys that make sense are either already signed or would never entertain the idea of a 1-year deal that is all the Yanks are likely to offer.  But they still do have the most money to spend, and could offer more on a 1-year deal than any other club out there.  So what if, and believe me, this is hy-po-thetical.  But what if the Yankees were to make a monster 1-year offer to Josh Hamilton?  How much would it take for Hamilton to seriously consider the offer and consider signing?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Time Is Of The Essence With The Rotation

The latest in the Hiroki Kuroda sweepstakes is making the rounds on the blogosphere today, a report that Kuroda now prefers to play back in California to be closer to his children.  If that's true, then it takes the Yankees out of the driver's seat in the race to sign Kuroda, but like some of the previous reports on Hiroki this offseason the story cites friends close to him, hence my hesitancy to link to it.

Mike Axisa of RAB posted his quick take on these developments earlier today, and I agree with Mike on both of the key points.  One, the citing of anonymous friends brings into question the validity of the claim and it sounds more like Kuroda and his agent playing all angles to drive up his price for the teams interested.  If that's what they're doing, good for them.  Coming off the season he had, I'd be doing the exact same thing and that still puts the Yankees in the best position to land him.

Second, and more importantly, was Mike's statement that whatever the truth is, it's to the Yankees' benefit to have the Kuroda deal put to bed quickly one way or the other.  My list of free agent pitching targets didn't include many starters, for the simple reason that it's almost certain the Yankees aren't going to get involved in the bidding for guys like Zack Greinke and Anibal Sanchez, and they've already lost one potential 1-year backup option this week in Scott Baker.  If, that's IF, they lose out on Kuroda, they're going to have to scramble to find another starter willing to take a 1-year deal to build enough depth.  He's the key to their offseason rotation rebuilding, and the quicker they get that resolved the quicker they can move on to finishing the process and audibling if they need to.

Jeter Already Uncertain For Opening Day 2013

(Ouch, bro.  Very ouch.  Courtesy of the AP)

The news wasn't surprising, given the fact that the estimated recovery time from his surgery was going to put him right up against the start of the regular season at the latest, but that doesn't make Joe Girardi's comments about Derek Jeter possibly missing the start of the 2013 season any better.  Dan Martin of The Post had the story yesterday, with Joe saying:

“He’s still basically non-weight-bearing, I believe, so, I really believe it might be a little push,”

when asked about Jeter's status.  Jeter is still just a few weeks removed from surgery to repair his broken ankle, and while it's still very early in the recovery process, if there are already doubts about Jeter's availability for Spring Training and the season opener then it might be time for the Yankees to start putting together their contingency plan.  As I discussed weeks back, Jeter being out would impact more than just the shortstop position and create added stress on what is already a somewhat inflexible roster.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday Afternoon Linkapalooza: 11/16

Ahh the holiday season.  It's back, people.  Stores are inexplicably playing Christmas music far too early, the football seasons (college and pros) are starting to become important, the weather is cooling down, and I get to make the first of my 2 yearly trips back to good old D-Block, Danbury, CT.  Going home for the holidays has become increasingly stressful in the last year or so, not because I hate Christmas or don't want to see my family or anything, but because when I'm home I live in fear of how much shit is going to get screwed up at work while I'm gone.  Now I'm the first to admit that I do a job that a smart high school kid could do, but I'm the only one at my company who does it.  And the end of the year happens to be the busiest time of year in our industry, so missing 3 days is basically like going on a religious sabbatical for me.  I really try to not give a shit, but it's always there, in the back of my mind.  Because I'm getting older and more mature and have to care now.  Being an adult sucks.  Now onto the links!

- On Monday, Chris Carelli of Yanks Go Yard discussed the undesirable path the Yankees might have to go down to address the rotation if they aren't able to re-sign Kuroda and Pettitte.

- On Tuesday, Brien Jackson of IIATMS pointed out the fallacy in the Manager of the Year award voting and made a case for why Joe Girardi was worthy of far more consideration than he got.

- William Juliano of The Captain's Blog took an interesting stance and argued for why Mike Napoli and Kevin Youkilis would be good fits for the Yanks.  Definitely worth a read if you're on the fence about either of those 2.

- On Wednesday, Robert Casey of Bleeding Yankee Blue made a call for the widening gap between player and fan relationships to be closed.  I'd love to see it happen, but doubt it will in today's world.

- El Duque of It Is High... made his pitch for going after Melky Cabrera for the open right field spot.  I don't agree that a 1-year deal will get it done, but Melky brings a lot of things to the table that the Yankees lineup needs.

- Donnie Collins of The SWB Blog had all the details (and the new logo) on the Yankees' new Triple-A nickname, the RailRiders.  Porcupine train conductors FTW!

- Matthew B of Yankees Fans Unite is on board with pursuing Justin Upton as Nick Swisher's successor in right field.

- On Thursday, Chad Jennings of LoHud debated the candidates for Yankee team MVP in 2012, correctly concluding that Robinson Cano was the most deserving of the distinction.

- Vizzini of NoMaas pointed out the early effect that the Yankees' $189 million goal is having on the offseason strategies of their AL East competition.

- Bryan Van Dusen of The Greedy Pinstripes put together a logical list of reasons for why Robinson Cano can't and won't be traded this offseason, even if the idea is one worth giving a second thought to.

- Andrew Mearns of Pinstriped Bible compiled a list of the most underappreciated individual seasons by position in Yankee history, starting with the infield.

- On Friday, Mike Eder of TYA explained the real reason behind Miguel Cabrera's landslide MVP victory yesterday.  It's not one that many of us agree with, but it's probably the closest thing to a logical explanation.

- Mike Axisa of RAB continued their season review series by looking back at my main man David Phelps' successful debut season.

For this Friday's jam, we got "Toxicity" System Of A Down.  Great album, great song, better than "Chop Suey!" even though that's what pushed them into the mainstream rock scene.  I had a chance to see them when they headlined the last real Ozzfest, the tour where they made so much money that they could take 5 years off, and I didn't go.  Major regret.

Enjoy your weekends, everybody.  I'll be blogging back from the EST next week.

Reviewing 2012's 10 Fearless Predictions

I lied again.  One last 2012 review post, and I swear that's it for me.  I did my first 10 Fearless Predictions post before the beginning of last season, and ended up doing about as horribly as I did in my 2012 divisional predictions.  I ended up with 2.5 out of 10 right, which put me at a better hit rate than Russell Martin had this season but still isn't getting me any significant multi-year contract offers.  I was looking to take a step in the right direction in 2012, learn from my mistakes, be a little more patient, take some predictions to the opposite field every now and then just to keep myself honest.  I felt good about my 10 fearless for 2012, I really did.  I thought I'd be looking at at least .400 this year.  How'd that turn out?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Real Talk On Robbie Cano

(The king of smoove.  Courtesy of the NY Times)

Is he worthy of a 10-year contract?  Absolutely not.  Would I be happy if the Yankees re-signed him for that many years?  Absolutely not.

But is Robinson Cano worth top-of-the-market dollars?  Abso-fucking-lutely.  Check out what this guy has been doing:

  • 6 straight seasons of 159+ games played
  • 3 straight All Star Game appearances
  • 2 Gold Gloves in the last 3 seasons
  • 3 Top 10 batting average finishes in the last 4 seasons
  • 4 straight Top 4 total bases finishes
  • 3rd in total fWAR in the last 3 seasons
  • 3 straight Silver Slugger Awards
  • 3 straight Top 6 MVP finishes
There aren't many out there doing shit like this, and that's a fact.  Robinson Cano is one of the 4-6 best position players in all of baseball.  He's having a historically impressive run of production and success for his position, he could end up one of the best of all time at his position when he's done, and he's still in his prime.  Robbie Cano is going to get paid in a big way after the 2013 season because he SHOULD get paid in a big way.  If the Yankees signed him to a 5-year/$135 million deal, I'd throw a party because I'd feel very confident that at least 3 of those years are going to be more of this elite-level production.  It's those 5 years after the next 5 that scare me, just like they scare everybody in the front office.

It's not that Robbie Cano isn't a fucking boss, because he is.  It's that we're already watching what happens when players start to un-boss in their mid-30s with too many years left on their deals and don't want to watch it again.

2012 AB4AR Season Review: The Awards

I have a confession.  I lied to you all last week when I said the 2012 Season Predictions Review post was the end of the 2012 AB4AR Season Review series.  I forgot about the awards.  MLB is giving out all their big season awards this week, with the Yankees coming up dry in all the ones already announced and looking like they only have a top 5 candidate at best in Robinson Cano for the AL MVP award today.  So being the kind, caring, selfless, generous person I am, I'm going to use this time to hand out my version of the end-of-season awards for the 2012 Yankee season.

Know that this was a difficult decision and a tireless process to determine the winners.  All those who do win an award will be getting one of the free fictional AB4AR t-shirts that are still in the developmental stage and everyone is invited to a dinner at a location to be determined to honor all the winners.  Without further ado, the 2012 AB4AR award winners...

The Old Get Older

(Why not bring Bernie back while you're at it?  Courtesy of Mike McCann/WFAN)

I know we're still weeks away from the offseason really heating up and it's way too early to state this as a definitive conclusion, but I can't help but feel like the Yankees are just going to bring back as many of last season's older players as possible on 1-year deals to control costs.  Rather than try and get creative or work the phones and the trade market to get younger, better, and payroll-friendly, they're going to take the easy way out, just re-up with the same old crew, and hope for the best.

After being connected to Torii Hunter right off the bat when free agency started, the Yankees announced that they weren't interested in signing him to anything more than a 1-year almost as soon as the reports of them talking to his agent came out.  Now Hunter did carry some risk going into next season, and 2 years and $26 million would have been a deal that I would have said no to if I were the Yankees as well, but consider the backup options they've been pursuing and tell me that doesn't concern you.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Finding The Next Great Swish/C-Grand-Type Trade Candidate

Barring a a big-time unexpected swerve, the Yankees seem pretty well set in their plans to not add significant payroll this offseason as they try to address their team needs.  They've engaged pretty much every older free agent from last year's team in some capacity while letting the younger, more expensive ones walk.  If there is going to be any real effort towards improving the quality of the on-field product next year and not just controlling the dollars, that effort may have to come through the trade market, a roster-building medium with which Cash has great familiarity.

The Montero-Pineda deal aside, Cash has had a pretty successful recent track record adding productive pieces in their prime to the aging core of his lineup, most notably with the now departed Nick Swisher and the likely soon-to-be departed Curtis Granderson.  Both of those moves followed a similar formula- seeking out and adding sub-30-year-old players with skill sets that fit the Yankee mold who were coming off seasons of significant decline in production.  It's the classic buy-low method and there's no argument to be made for the Swish or Granderson deals not being good ones in terms of the production they brought to the team.

There are some names out there that could fit that similar mold of what Cash has looked for when making trades to bolster the lineup, some of which everybody knows and some that haven't been considered nearly as much.  There's been no real indication that the Yankees will make a move for any of these players, but if Cash is playing opossum again, here are 4 guys who would make a lot of sense to go after.

And The AL East Plot Thickens...

Points for effort and creativity on the part of the Toronto Blue Jays, who swooped in and got themselves a pretty nice haul yesterday in their massive 12-player salary dump trade with the Florida Miami Marlins.  With the Yankees still being on top looking down, the Orioles coming off a successful season and getting involved in the running for Josh Hamilton, the Rays holding a lot of valuable trade chips of their own, and the Fraud Sawx signing... David Ross to be their... backup catcher... whatever, Toronto had to do something drastic to keep up with the Joneses and this was it.

I'm not going to get into the nitty-gritty analysis here, but suffice it to say that the Jays improved the top of their lineup, improved their starting rotation, and improved their bench depth with this trade.  Add a healthy Jose Bautista back into the mix and this could be a much more effective offseason approach than the "hope our young starters come around" tactic they've used the past few seasons, and should make the AL East even more competitive than it already is.

To that point, how will this big swing by Toronto affect the Yankees' offseason plans, if at all?  On the one hand, this aggressive bid to compete for the division title could and normally would be the type of thing to make the Yankee front office scrap its payroll slashing plans and make some big moves of their own to beef up their roster.  On the other, this type of blatant fire sale by Jeffrey Loria could be exactly what reinforces the Steinbrenners' belief that getting under the luxury tax threshold is the right thing to do so they aren't cutting more checks to help line Loria's pockets.  Stay tuned, sports fans...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Robbie Cano Makes It Official...

Pop Quiz: What New York Yankee MVP candidate just officially became a US citizen today?

Answer: Why it's Robinson Cano.  DON'TCHA KNOW?!?!?!

Full disclosure, I had no clue Robbie wasn't a US citizen.  But good for him and welcome to the club, bro.  I know this isn't about me, but I'm really glad that Robinson and I finally have something in common.  Up until today, it's been a steady string of polar opposites.  I'm a lazy, uncool, untalented, out-of-shape cubicle monkey making 5 figures doing something I'm really not even that good at; he's awesome, the best second baseman on the planet, in peak physical condition, oozes swag at every turn on and off the field, and stands to be paid somewhere safely inside the realm of 9 figures in his next contract once mega-shark agent Scott Boras squeezes every last penny out of some team (likely the Yankees) after the 2013 season.

So yeah, I'm glad Cano and I have some common ground now, a conversation starter.  I'm a citizen, he's a citizen.  So hit me up sometime, Robbie.  Maybe we could hang out.  And congrats again on making it official.  Now somebody cue the fucking music!

P.S.- Coulda done without the David Ortiz beard, Robbie.  I know it's the offseason and you can let the scruff go, but clean it up.

Reviewing Last Year's Two Biggest Free Agent Passes

(Anybody wish these 2 were around right now?  Courtesy of US Presswire & Getty Images)

Interestingly enough, or frustratingly enough depending on how against the austerity plan you are, the Yankees really kicked this plan into high gear last offseason when they failed to get involved in the international free agent market.  It was one of the best classes in recent memory, highlighted by Yu Darvish and Yoenis Cespedes, 2 players who, ironically enough, play the positions the Yanks most need to fill this offseason.  At the time, the Yankees' reasons for passing on both players were good ones.  The history of Japanese pitchers making the transition to MLB was short on success stories, and the Yankees had been on the losing end of that gamble before, and there were questions about Cespedes' ability to come right in and play at the Major League level.

Not wanting to commit high dollars to 2 risky options that might not have returned comparable rewards, Cash decided to play it safe with his bids on each player and the Yankees lost out on both.  Darvish ended up in Texas and Cespedes in Oakland, and both of them finished in the top 3 of the AL Rookie of the Year vote yesterday, an award that they could have battled it out for had Mike Trout not come and blown everyone's doors off.  Now that their first years as Major Leaguers are over, let's take a look back and play a little "what if?" game with each guy.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Checking In On The Mets' Offseason

The Yankees are taking a penny-pinching approach to their offseason, the Fraud Sawx are busy bringing back the soul of their organization and seeing what other coaches are available in trades.  What's going on with the Mets?  Sounds like they're about ready to start opening lemonade stands and turning tricks in the Citi Field parking lots to pay their players, according to Matthew Pouliot of Hardball Talk and WSJ writer Michael Salfino:

Normally this is the part in the post where I say something derogatory about the Mets and the Wilpons and then make a pitch for the Yankees to make a call about David Wright, but I know that's not worth my time from a comedic or baseball standpoint since this is almost too easy a target and Hank and Hal aren't in the business of making the team better this offseason if it hurts their chances of filling their own pockets in 2014.  So instead I'll just say, "fucking Mets."

But seriously, Cash.  You should put a call in to check on Wright's availability.

Top Free Agent Targets For 2013: Pitchers

Payroll restrictions or not, the Yankees are going to have to get involved in the free agent market this offseason to address their areas of need and finish out their roster to take another run at title 28 next season. They've already lost some major parts of the 2012 roster and they're going to have to get creative to fill those holes and build a roster capable of contending for a championship.

Yesterday I presented my list of position players I felt made the most sense for the Yankees to go after this offeason, some of whom would fit the team's cost cutting goals and some who wouldn't but were good fits in terms of addressing team needs.  Today we'll take a look at the group of players in the bigger area of need, pitching.  The Yankee rotation has 2 open spots right now, 3 if you think they aren't going to guarantee Ivan Nova a spot heading into next season, and they could use some depth in the bullpen to cover for the loss of Rafael Soriano and the uncertainty surrounding Mariano Rivera's return from injury.  They need to spend money to adequately address these openings, but as with the position players their approach will be dictated by their future payroll plans and their desire to keep costs and years committed to a minimum.

I'm All For Reducing CC's Workload (If It's Done The Right Way)

(Nothing wrong with wanting to keep the big guy as healthy as possible.  Courtesy of Getty Images)

Pitching limits are a tricky thing.  People are either in support of them as a way to lessen the stress on a pitcher's arm and reduce risk of injury or vehemently against them because they don't allow a pitcher to build up the arm strength needed to make it through a full season without getting hurt, with very little gray area in between.  Typically these debates are had in reference to young pitchers making the transition to the Majors, but the Yankees stoked the debate fire last week when they brought up the idea of reducing the workload for their ace, CC Sabathia.  Sabathia is coming off a season dotted with DL stints that saw him pitch fewer regular season innings (200.0) and make fewer regular season starts (28) than he has since 2006, and is fresh off surgery to clean bone spurs out of his pitching elbow.  Not surprisingly, Sabathia stated last week that he was against the idea of limiting his workload moving forward, but there may be some merit to the idea.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Adams & Heathcott Getting It Done In The AZFL

Maybe the folks at Baseball America knew what they were talking about after all putting Slade Heathcott 2nd in their top 10 organizational prospect rankings for the Yankees this week.  Despite his inability to be smart, eloquent, or a good speller when discussing the election on his Twitter account, Heathcott has been a standout since day 1 in the Arizona Fall League this year.  And David Adams, who continues to impress and create buzz for himself heading into ST 2013, has been no slouch either:

Heathcott- .333/.457/.526, 5 2B, 3 3B, 10 R, 12 RBI, 12 BB/14 K in 69 PA

Adams- .261/.363/.507, 10 XBH (3 HR), 9 R, 14 RBI, 11 BB/12 K in 80 PA

And if you're a visual learner, he's a piece from on the Yankees' AZFL participants.  Mmmmmmm, prospects...

P.S.- Heathcott has no neck, Austin Romine looks like he's 35 years old, Mark Montgomery looks and sounds like a meathead who doesn't give a shit about anything other than striking guys out, and Dellin Betances fucking blows.

Top Free Agent Targets For 2013: Position Players

With everyone having now made their decisions on the qualifying offers that were made (all were declined) and the GM meetings this week getting things moving towards the meat of the 2012 offseason schedule, the Yankees know where they stand and know where they need to focus their efforts to build their team for 2013.  As presently constructed, the Yankee roster is short 2 starting pitchers, 1 right fielder, 1 hitter capable of handling a significant chunk of the time at DH, at least 1 relief pitcher to build depth in front of a returning Mariano Rivera, and a couple of pieces to fill out the bench.

The precedent has already been set from the front office for how they plan to fill these needs, and it's going to be on the cheap, cheaper than it was last season when the Yankees jumped in late to swipe a few veterans on 1-year deals.  That strategy will eliminate some of the players mentioned below, but that still isn't stopping me from putting together my list of the top free agents the Yankees should be going after this offseason.  We'll tackle the first half of that list, the position players, after the jump.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

What Next With Kuroda?

(Can't say I blame the guy for rejecting.  Courtesy of Getty Images)

As expected, Rafael Soriano and Nick Swisher were among the group of all 9 players who rejected the qualifying offers made by their respective teams.  Slightly less expected, but only slightly, was Hiroki Kuroda also being a part of that group to reject his qualifying offer, making it open season for all teams interested in his services to make him an offer.  There were reasons to believe that Kuroda could possibly accept the qualifying offer to come back to New York next season - he was reported to have enjoyed his time in New York and to be looking for another 1-year deal- but now the Yankees will have to re-focus their efforts to get a deal done.  Kuroda is the most important piece for the Yankees to bring back to solidify next year's starting rotation.  What needs to be done to make sure that happens?

2012 AB4AR Season Review Review

The 2012 season has officially been put to bed, at least as far as I'm concerned.  Games were won and lost, lessons were learned, the good things were praised, and the bad things were bummed out on.  In case you missed any of the Season Review series this week, and shame shame if you did, here's your chance to catch up.

- The Lineup

- The Rotation

- The Bullpen

- The Bench

And if you wanted to have a laugh at my expense and see how my MLB divisional predictions turned out, you can check that out right here.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Friday Afternoon Linkapalooza: 11/9

I got nothing again as a lead-in for a second straight week.  Shitty Friday at the office, which is not how Fridays are supposed to go.  Oh well, at least it's payday.  Let's get right to it.  Onto the links!

- On Monday, William Tasker of IIATMS laid out the internal and external options the Yankees have for replacing Nick Swisher in right field.  Spoiler alert: they're both kinda thin.

- Fernando Alejandro of Respect Jeter's Gangster mused on what the Yankees should do with whatever leftover money they have this offseason after their internal crew of "maybes" are hashed out.

- Cliff Corcoran wrote a very introspective piece for Pinstriped Bible about his history as a Yankee fan and blogger and his motivations for stepping away from both this year.  Definite must-read if you're a longtime diehard fan.

- On Tuesday, Chad Jennings of LoHud laid out the landscape of the 40-man roster as we get ready for the offseason to really kick into gear.  Yanks appear to be in a good position, but we'll see what moves they make to protect Rule 5 guys.

- El Duque of It Is High..., inspired by Josh Norris' early leak of the BA Top 10, started to talk himself into jumping on the Slade Heathcott bandwagon.  I don't think he's convinced, but he recognizes the talent.

- Matt Imbrogno of TYA made a case for Angel Pagan as a right field replacement option.  I admittedly hadn't given Pagan much thought, but Matt's making a believer out of me.

- On Wednesday, Mike Axisa of RAB put together the most complete profile on 2012 1st-round pick Ty Hensley I've seen to date.  If you're still not up to date on this kid, use this to get familiar.

- Robert Casey of Bleeding Yankee Blue explained his proposed trade package for Justin Upton, and truth be told, I think it's a good starting point even if the Yankees are really "not in" on Upton.

- On Thursday, Jane Heller of Confessions of a She-Fan reacted to the rumor that Tino Martinez may be in line for the Fraud Sawx hitting coach job.  Funny, my reaction was identical to Jane's.

- SJK of NoMaas wondered if there's more to these $189 million payroll plans than just getting under the luxury tax threshold.  It's a question worth asking with how Hank and Hal have run things.

On Friday, Andrew Corselli of Yanks Go Yard handed out his final grade to Curtis Granderson for C-Grand's 2012 season.  I don't know if it was on a curve or not, but I think it was a fair grade.

- Rob Abruzzese of Bronx Baseball Daily commented on the state of the Yankee bullpen after Cash expressed his level of satisfaction with the group.

For this week's Friday Jam I'm going with an all-time drunken karaoke favorite of mine, "Say It Ain't So" by Weezer.  If you've never belted this song out with at least one friend sometime around bar close, you just haven't lived.  If I could only listen to 10 songs for the rest of my life, this would absolutely get a spot in that group of 10 and it wouldn't even require that much debate to include it. This is just a great tune.

Enjoy your weekends, everybody.

2012 AB4AR Season Review: The Predictions

(Not the best in the world in this instance)

I don't pretend to be the smartest cat on the block, even if I do take the opportunity to toot my own horn once in a while when I get something right.  But I actually felt pretty good about my 2012 season predictions back in April when I made them.  I made an effort to read up on other teams and where the rest of MLB stood heading into the season so that I wasn't just a loudmouth Yankee fan/blogger talking out of the wrong hole about the rest of the league.  Well, sometimes even the best laid plans go completely to shit, as you'll see after the jump.  Maybe it'd be better if I just stick to being a loudmouth Yankee fan/blogger...