Saturday, November 30, 2013

Report: Teams Interested In Stewart (No, For Real)

First reaction- No effing way teams are actually willing to trade for a guy who's probably going to be non-tendered in a few days.

Second reaction- No effing way the Yankees would actually entertain the idea of offering a new contract to a catcher they no longer need.

Third reaction- Love when talks are fluid.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Friday Afternoon Linkapalooza: 11/29/13

Food coma.  I don't know about y'all but I'm still very much in one today.  I stuffed myself full of as much food and beer as I could fit for about 10 hours yesterday and it all finally came crashing down on me around 8:30 when I passed out on the couch and missed the first 3 quarters of the Steelers-Ravens game.  I woke up to see the last quarter and I was still so full at that point that I couldn't really get back into a good sleep pattern.  I can still feel how heavy and bloated my body is today, but that's what Thanksgiving is all about, right?  Justifiable and enjoyable gluttony.  Now onto the links!

- On Monday, Chad Jennings of LoHud compared new leading OF target Carlos Beltran to the other top players available at the position.

- El duque of It Is High... lamented the added confusion that the Brian McCann signing brings to the Yankees' future plans.  I think he's being a little too negative in his assessment, but there are some valid points there.

- Derek Albin of Pinstripe Pundits broke down just how big an upgrade Brian McCann will be both offensively and defensively.

- Jason Evans of Yanks Go Yard questioned how real the "limited time offer" to Cano is.  Fair question based on how the Yankees have handled some of their other big re-signings in the past.

- Greg Corcoran of Bronx Baseball Daily listed his top 5 first base prospects in the Yankee system.  Yeesh, that's a pathetically short list after Bird.

- On Tuesday, Mike Axisa of RAB wrapped up his 2013 season review by looking at the good and the bad of all the spare parts used by the Yankees this year.

- On Wednesday, Matthew Provenzano of Pinstripe Alley profiled Matt Kemp as a potential trade target.

- SJK of NoMaas showed how much the Yankees and Cano need each other and why it's in both sides best interests to speed up talks and get a deal done.

- Domenic Lanza of IIATMS/TYA put together some free agent pairing options the Yankees could pursue with the money they'd otherwise give to Cano.

This Friday's jam is "Come A Little Closer", the new song from Cage The Elephant.  I heard it once or twice on the radio in the last week and now I can't get the hook out of my head.

Enjoy your weekends, everybody.

Yanks Lose Mike Harkey To The D-backs

It was rumored to be a possibility weeks ago and now it's close to becoming reality.  Via Jack Magruder, the Arizona Diamondbacks have tapped Mike Harkey to become their new pitching coach.  They're expected to formally announce the signing on Monday.

Harkey had been the Yankee bullpen coach since 2008 and he was one of the few coaches who had served on Joe Girardi's staff since Joe took the manager job.  He was well respected in the clubhouse and in the bullpen and he's actually a pretty cool dude, evidenced by him tossing my friends and I a ball from the bullpen before the Saturday Yanks-Sawx day game in September and then laughing off our drunken razzing when he dropped another ball somebody had thrown him to sign.  With Harkey leaving, the Yankees will need to find a new bullpen coach for 2014.  Expect Triple-A pitching coach Scott Aldred to be the leading candidate.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Brendan Ryan Signing Official, And For More Years

("Don't worry, Robbie.  I got this.")

The one bit of news that snuck through yesterday and bears posting today is the official announcement of the Brendan Ryan signing.  While it's basically been a done deal for a few weeks now, Ken Rosenthal reported that the deal was made official yesterday.  Somewhat surprisingly, there were additional years and dollars added to the contract than what was initially reported.

According to Rosenthal, the contract is for 2 years and $5 million, which raises the AAV a tick from $2 mil per year to 2.5.  There is also a mutual option for 2016 and an incentive package that could make the total value of the deal $10 million when all is said and done.  That might seem like a lot for a player with a bat as weak as Ryan's, but the Yankees badly need a defensive upgrade at the position and they don't have anything closely resembling a full-time replacement for The Captain in their farm system.  If Ryan hits slightly better than his career average and plays his typical stellar defense, this should be a winning deal for the Yanks.

Happy Thanksgiving From AB4AR

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, as I'm sure it is for many more of you out there, so expect today to be slow around the blog.  Unless something incredibly unexpected and newsworthy happens I'll be spending my day eating myself sick, drinking a shit ton of great beer, and watching football, and I sincerely hope everyone else out there does the same.  Wherever you are, hopefully you're surrounded by family and friends and have as great a Thanksgiving today as I intend to.  And if you're one of the chosen people, have yourself a happy Hanukkah today.  It's a celebration for everybody.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

See Ya Monday...

 That tweet came on the heels of Feinsand reporting that the 2 sides spoke today but did not meet.  Doesn't sound like this week's discussions led to much progress, but that really doesn't come as much of a surprise.  There's no reason for Cano's side to lower their asking price significantly this early in the game and there's no reason for the Yankees to raise their offer at all knowing they're still the only team who's made one.

Sooner or later, somebody will have to blink and right now the Yankees are still in the more favorable position.  Let's see where the talks go next week.

What About Third Base?

Regardless of you how you feel about how they're prioritizing this offseason and who they're going after, the Yankees have to be commended for the proactive approach they've taken.  Recognizing that this past season's penny pinching/washed up veteran reclamation project approach was not the right way to contend on a budget, they've wasted no time in identifying their primary and secondary free agent targets and appear to be making a strong effort to upgrade every major area of need on their roster.

Every area, that is, except for third base.  The Yankees used 9 different players at the hot corner in 2013, best among them Alex Rodriguez.  While they've stated that they are planning on having him around and at third next season, there's a very, very good chance that he ends up suspended for at least 50-100 games.  Even if he beats the odds and is free to play for the whole season, A-Rod no longer has the ability to be an everyday third baseman after years of injury problems and surgeries to both his hips.  Yet third base remains the one position the Yankees don't have a clear plan to address, at least not when compared to catcher, right field, and the starting rotation.

So what's the deal?  What do Cash and the rest of the front office have in mind to address this seemingly under-considered roster hole?

Moose On The HOF Ballot

(Courtesy of Getty Images)

The jam-packed 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot was released yesterday, and in the middle of the surefire yeses (Maddux, Glavine), litany of holdover maybes (Biggio, Piazza) and almost definite nos (Bonds, Clemens) there is Mike Mussina.  Mussina's HOF case has been a topic of conversation going back to the days when he was still active, and now that he's eligible and on the ballot we'll get our first chance to see how the voters really feel about his qualifications.

"But Brad, what about you?  What's your hot take on Moose's HOF worthiness?"  Glad you asked, nobody.  Glad you asked.

A-Rod Keeps Beating Up On Bud

He didn't get the chance to hear the explanation for why he was suspended for 211 games last week, but that hasn't stopped Alex Rodriguez from throwing body blows at Bud Selig.  Now that his suspension appeal hearing is over, A-Rod is using his lawsuit against MLB to air his grievances with the MLB commissioner.  His lawyers amended the lawsuit yesterday to include complaints about Bud no-showing at the hearings.  Here's the best part:

“Mr. Selig chose to hide in his office in Milwaukee rather than come testify at the grievance hearing in New York. In Mr. Selig’s world, apparently the ‘buck’ does not stop with Bud.  Mr. Selig lacked the courage of his convictions to explain under oath the reasons for the suspension and the conduct of his investigators. His silence on these issues speaks volumes and leads to only one logical conclusion — his actions, and those of the MLB personnel he controls, were aimed at destroying the reputation, career and business prospects of Alex Rodriguez.”

The amended lawsuit also included pictures designed to show evidence of Bud's alleged hatred for A-Rod, like the one above.  I've said it before and I'll continue to say it until every man, woman, and child on this planet acknowledges it.  No matter how you feel about A-Rod as a player or person, the comedic value of this whole situation cannot be understated.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Yanks Put Cano On The Clock

(Tick-tock, fellas.  Courtesy of Getty Images)

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

It's not quite Brian Cashman telling Derek Jeter to go out and find a better offer like he did in 2010, but the Yankees' approach with Robinson Cano this offseason continues to be one of tough love and smart business. They've said all along that they want him back, they've made what they consider a fair offer, they've clearly stated what amount of time and money they aren't willing to go to, and they've spent time engaging backup plans should Cano and his team decide they aren't willing to work with the Yankees' numbers.

It certainly appears as if the Yankees are determined not to repeat their past mistakes of bidding against themselves and overpaying for their own free agents, and if that's the case then it's a lesson I think we're all glad they've finally learned.  The latest chapter in the story, courtesy of Andrew Marchand, had the Yankee brass meeting with Cano's agents yesterday to essentially put a time limit on the offer they've already extended.  According to Marchand's source, "the Yankees feel they only have so much wiggle room" above their initial contract offer and they are willing to pull it off the table to prevent the stalled talks with Cano from delaying the rest of their offseason plans.

Teix Talks About His Rehab Schedule

If you missed it, Mark Teixeira was a guest on YES' "Yankees Hot Stove" show last night and during his appearance he gave us our first real update on the rehab work he's been doing since having wrist surgery in July.  For those who don't have time to check out the whole video, here are the highlights:

- Currently, Teix is doing mostly slow swings and range of motion exercises to improve the strength and flexibility in the surgically-repaired wrist.  The plan is to continue these exercises through the end of the year.

- Starting in January, Teix will hit off a tee and take batting practice against a pitching machine.  He wants to ramp up to a 90 MPH pitching machine by early February.

- When spring camp starts, he'll participate in full team workouts and drills, including live batting practice, but he doesn't plan to play in any ST games until early March.

Teix also said he'll ditch the weighted bat and cut his game day swings down from an estimated 100 per day to around 70-80 once the regular season starts.  It sounds like he wants to take things slow and make sure the wrist doesn't have any pain or tightness at each level of activity before moving on.  Given how long the wrist problems lingered from 2012 into this season, I think that's the smart play.  Teix can be a big part of a rebuilt lineup this season so the most important thing is making sure he's 100% healthy and able to play and contribute every day.

Yankees Continue To Stockpile Middle Infield Depth

I highly doubt he's a serious candidate to replace Robbie Cano or Jeter up the middle, but the Yankees added another warm body to their growing collection of middle infielders yesterday with a MiL signing.

Via Joel Sherman, the Yanks signed 26-year-old utility guy Yamaico Navarro to a Minor League deal with an invite to Spring Training.  Navarro is a righty bat with experience at second, short, and third base.  He's another all-field/no-hit kind of player, with a .206/.258/.267 career tripleslash and a 26.1% K rate in 199 Major League plate appearances.  It's worth noting that he did hit .267/.354/.418 for the Orioles' Triple-A affiliate this past season.

I'll say this.  If the Yankees aren't planning on cutting Nix and/or Nunez soon, they should at least look into the possibility of setting up some kind of reality show to follow all these middle infielders around during ST.  Call it "Up The Middle: The Battle for the 4th Spot on the Infield Depth Chart" and put it on YES after Francesa during February and March.  I'd definitely watch that.

Monday, November 25, 2013

What Not To Like About The McCann Signing

(Courtesy of the AP)

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

If you were away from all forms of media or under the proverbial rock this past weekend, the Yankees and Brian McCann agreed to a 5-year/$85 million deal.  The deal comes with a vesting option that can make it 6 years/$100 million and it's contingent on McCann passing a physical, but there's little reason to think that won't happen.  For all intents and purposes, McCann can be considered the Yankees' new starting catcher.

The reaction to the signing has been most positive thus far.  I know I was a big fan of it.  In McCann, the Yankees got the best player available at their position of greatest weakness in his prime, and they got him for basically market value.  That's not to say the deal is a 100%, no-doubt win for the Yankees.  There are a few things that could turn the signing against the Yanks, things that surely influenced William's decision to steer clear of McCann in his Project 189 team construction before starting to come around to the idea of McCann at catcher yesterday.  In the interest of looking at this deal from all angles, here are the things that could potentially turn it into a loser for the Yankees down the road.

Cue Beltran Watch 2013

Via Mark Feinsand:

"According to sources, the Yankees have set Beltran as their No. 1 target while they wait to reignite talks with Robinson Cano, for Hiroki Kuroda to decide whether he wants to return next season and for the Japanese posting system to be hammered out so righthander Masahiro Tanaka can be made available... 

Likewise, Beltran has let it be known to those around him that the Yankees are his top choice, hoping to finally land himself in pinstripes after previous free-agent flirtations during the past decade did not work out."

Sorry, Tanaka Watch.  You just got dropkicked to the back burner (probably a safety hazard BTW) by Beltran Watch.  With McCann all but locked up, the Yankees are moving onto the next name on their list and this report makes it sound like that name is Beltran's, written in all caps with one of those really thick Sharpies.

Do I prefer him to Choo?  No I do not.  Do I think he'd be a great signing on a 2-year deal to bump Ichiro to the bench where he belongs?  I absolutely do.  Sounds like the number of years is the hold up right now, but if the Yanks don't cave to a 3rd and get Beltran for 2/$30 mil, that's another win for them.

Don't Be Fooled Into Thinking C-Grand Really Is A "Serious Part" Of The Yankees' Plans

(Say goodbye to the Grandyman, kids.  He ain't coming back)

With the focus now shifting from behind the plate to the void at second base and need to upgrade the outfield, Cash attempted to keep all options open when he commented on the team's interest in Curtis Granderson last week.  Speaking to George King of The Post, Cash said C-Grand is a "serious part" of the Yankees' plans to address the outfield and is "not a fall-back option."

While that all sounds good at face value, the club's actions don't match up to the words.  If Granderson is such a serious part of what the Yankees want to do to upgrade their outfield, why was it such a hard decision to make him a qualifying offer earlier this month?  Why was the front office still debating whether to make the offer or not in the final hours leading up to the deadline?  It's not like the level of production that Granderson had in his last 2 non-injury years weren't worthy of the offer.  It's not like he's not on almost equal ground with the Beltrans and Choos of the world when it comes to new contract value.  If he's such a big part, why didn't the team extend the qualifying offer and immediate engage him in talks of a new multi-year deal like they did with Cano?

Anybody Want This Beat Up Matt Kemp?

The Yankees might.  They've been connected to virtually every other big name available on the free agent market or potentially available via trade this offseason, so it comes as no surprise that they were among the list of teams to reach out to the Dodgers to ask about Matt Kemp's availability, this according to Nick Cafardo.

Kemp, 29, is only 2 seasons removed from being one of, if not the best all-around player in baseball.  He's spent the better part of the last 2 years under the knife and on the disabled list thanks to injuries to his hamstring, ankle, and shoulder.  When healthy, he's a legit 5-tool guy, evidenced by his 8.4 fWAR season in 2011.  The problem is that he hasn't been able to stay healthy and the racking up of injuries and surgeries while he's in what is supposed to be his physical prime doesn't spell good things for the future.

There's also the matter of his contract.  Kemp is owed $128 million over the next 6 seasons, which is a lot of money to take on for a guy who's missed 145 games over the last 2 years, luxury tax avoidance goals or no luxury tax avoidance goals.  He'd be an easy on-field upgrade over Ichiro if he can stay healthy, but that unsteady ship, the dollars, and the Yankees' lack of Major League-ready trade chips makes it a very steep uphill battle.  I'd really only be interested if the Dodgers were willing to eat a lot of the money and I have to imagine that's a thought that Cash and the rest of the front office share.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Report: Yanks Not Waiting Around For Cano

We've heard once or twice already this week that the Yankees weren't letting the lack of activity on the Robinson Cano contract front slow them up on the rest of their offseason plans.  We saw that play out in textbook form yesterday with the signing of Brian McCann and now with this latest report from Buster Olney we're seeing that they're sticking to their guns.  While the Cano talks continue to go nowhere, the Yanks are staying active on other fronts and that's exactly what they should be doing.

No word on what other players have received offers from the Yankees.  Jhonny Peralta signed with the St. Louis Cardinals earlier today so I assume he wasn't a part of that group, but I'd bet Carlos Beltran, Shin-Soo Choo, and maybe Stephen Drew all got offers.  The message seems to be pretty clear to Cano and his team; "we're moving forward with or without you."  Let's see how all this other activity and next week's reported sitdown between Cano and the Yankees serves to speed things up.

Brian McCann Signing Thoughts & Afterthoughts

(Courtesy of Jason Getz/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

I was about to sit down to dinner with my family last night when I went to the computer for one last news refresh.  Needless to say, I wasn't expecting to see a barrage of updates on negotiations with Brian McCann, those negotiations being "close", and then the first few tweets reporting that he and the Yankees had agreed to a 5-year deal.  There had been no indication that anything was imminent earlier in the week.  McCann's meeting with the team hardly made the news, as it was among the first team meetings he had and most expectations were that he'd have more visits and work towards building his contract value up leading into the Winter Meetings.

Yet there it was, confirmed by one of the most reliable sources in baseball.  McCann is going to be a Yankee, the first big move of the offseason has been made, and the stage could be set for a big offseason in New York.  A lot more thoughts on the signing and what it means after the jump.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

BREAKING: Yankees Sign Brian McCann (UPDATED)

Well I can't say I this coming so early.  Via Ken Rosenthal, the Yankees and free agent catcher Brian McCann have agreed to a 5-year/$85 million deal.  The deal also has a vesting option that could bring the total to 6 years and $100 million.

The report has been confirmed by Mark Feinsand, so it sounds like this is a done deal pending a physical.  McCann was one of the Yankees' major offseason targets from the beginning and he's an obvious great fit for the stadium, the team, and the pitching staff.  My FA profile on him can be found here.  Cash recently said the team was "absolutely" going to tender a contract offer to Cervelli this year, so now there's an overabundance of catching depth.  Expect Stewart to be non-tendered and maybe one of the Romine/Murphy tandem to be traded.

More details to come on this as they become available.  The first big offseason stone has been cast.  Let's see what chips fall as a result.

** UPDATE 6:34 PM- David Waldstein reporting that the deal is actually worth $82.5 million and still has not been finalized.  Stay tuned... **

** UPDATE 7:28 PM- Via Joel Sherman, the Yankees offered the $82.5 mil figure and McCann's side countered with 85 to make it a deal. **

** UPDATE 9:34 PM- Missed this earlier but via Jon Heyman, the contract comes with a full no-trade clause.  That and the vesting option make the deal a little more of a risk for the Yankees, but it's still a very good one for the best player available at the position. **

Here's An Idea, Trade Corban Joseph

Since the acquisition of Dean Anna a few days ago, there's been a lot of talk about what other roster moves might be coming.  I've seen more than a few people suggest trading Eduardo Nunez, but let's be realistic here.  Teams aren't lining up to trade for a utility infielder who can't field or hit, no matter what his age and upside may be.  Nunez's trade value has all but expired and if they aren't going to DFA him, the best thing the Yankees can do is hold onto him and hope he can provide some value in limited work.

A better idea if they're looking to move an infielder for something might be to trade Corban Joseph.  He was excommunicated from the 40-man roster to open up a spot for Anna, a pretty damning statement about where he stands in the organizational pecking order these days, but in terms of trade value he still has to have more than Nunez.

Saturday Morning Food For Thought

(Courtesy of the AP)

Alfonso Soriano Career BB Rate: 6.0%
Alfonso Soriano 2013 NYY BB Rate: 8.6%

Soriano Career K Rate: 21.2%
Soriano 2013 NYY K Rate: 27.6%

Soriano Career HR/FB Rate: 15.4%
Soriano 2013 NYY HR/FB Rate: 27.6%

The focus this offseason has been addressing the offensive weaknesses at catcher and in right field, and justifiably so.  There hasn't been a lot of talk about Alfonso Soriano and what he'll do as an encore to his dynamite 58 games in 2013.  While it's safe to assume he'll be an upgrade over Vernon Wells, let this serve as a reminder to not go overboard with expectations.  Soriano's BB rate in pinstripes last year was abnormally high, he struck out more often than he did when he was with the Cubs, and his frequency of home runs to fly balls hit was almost double his career average and unsustainably high.

Don't lose sight of the fact that Soriano is 36, turning 37 before the start of the 2014 season, and has numbers indicative of a player who outperformed his true skill level in his 58-game Yankee sample size and could be losing bat speed.  He'll contribute next year, but that contribution won't be close to the near 50-HR pace he was on after the trade.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Friday Afternoon Linkapalooza: 11/22/13

It's my birthday on Monday.  For the first time in my life I don't really give a shit about it.  There's nothing fun, exciting, or special about turning 28.  It's just clicking another year off.  But I am flying back to CT to spend the Thanksgiving week at home and that's always a good time.  I get all the east coast beer that I can't get out in Wisconsin back, I get Francesa on the YES Network back, I'm going to the Rangers-Canucks game next Saturday, and I get the luxury of having the entire week off from work to sit around and do nothing.  Hopefully a noteworthy thing or 2 happens while I'm home so I have something good to blog about.  Now onto the links!

-  On Monday, Michael Eder of IIATMS/TYA profiled free agent outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury.  He hasn't been talked about a lot, but he could be a better fit for the Yankees than people realize.

- On Tuesday, Brandon Mauk of The Greedy Pinstripes identified the cheaper free agent options that would make a lot of sense for the Yankees this offseason if they can't afford to shop hard for all their top targets.

- Craig Edwards of Pinstripe Alley discussed the idea of Brendan Ryan getting the bulk of the shortstop playing time over Jeter next year.

- On Wednesday, Vizzini of NoMaas went way off the free agent radar to find some starting pitching options that could work for the Yankees.

- El duque of It Is High... lamented the Randy Levine-heavy week we had to endure this week.  I hear that, Duke.  I hear that.

- SG of RLYW released the first round of MLB standing CAIRO projections for 2014.  Not a lot to be taken from it this early in the offseason, but another way to show how much work the Yankees have to do.

- On Thursday, Jonathan Aron of Yanks Go Yard kicked the tires on Scott Kazmir, one of the top low risk/high reward starters on the market.

- Mike Axisa of RAB looked back at the 2013 draft and declared it one of the strong points of the 2013 Yankee season.  That should spell good things for the farm system next year, right?

- Greg Corcoran of Bronx Baseball Daily ranked his top 5 Yankee catching prospects now that Austin Romine is no longer considered one.

- Chris Mitchell of Pinstripe Pundits examined the possibility of David Phelps becoming a reliable part of the rotation next season.

- On Friday, William Juliano of The Captain's Blog broke down the arguments against re-signing Robinson Cano to point out how flawed they are and make the point that the Yankees can and should re-sign him.

This week's jam is "Do I Wanna Know?" by Arctic Monkeys.  Was going to go see them next month in Milwaukee but found out the show is already sold out.  Balls.

Enjoy your weekends, everybody.

40-Man Moves Could Signal The End Of Nix, And Maybe Nunez

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

If you didn't get all jazzed up at the announcement of the 40-man roster moves on Wednesday, don't worry.  I didn't either.  It went almost exactly as expected, with the Yankees protecting Gary Sanchez, Slade Heathcott, Shane Greene, Bryan Mitchell, and Jose Campos from next month's Rule 5 Draft by adding them to the roster and leaving their Rule 5 eligible relievers unprotected.

The one unforeseen move was made via trade, a small trade between the Yankees and the Padres for MiL utility infielder Dean Anna.  Anna is a 26-year-old lefty hitter who can play all over the infield and some of the outfield, with his primary positions being second base and shortstop.  He was hardly a prospect in the San Diego system, but the guy does appear to have some tools.  He hit .331/.410/.482 (.400 wOBA) in 582 Triple-A plate appearances last year, he's always had strong K and BB rates, and he's got enough gap power in his bat to conceivably be a useful bench player.  He came at the expense of High-A pitcher Ben Paullus, which is to say the Yanks basically got him for free, and his immediate addition to the 40-man is another harrowing sign for some of the Yankees' incumbent infielders.

Yanks Interested In Joe Nathan

(Courtesy of the AP)

We knew the Yankees were going to be in the market for bullpen help this offseason, and according to multiple reports they're starting their search at the top with Joe Nathan.  It was reported last Sunday that the team had been in contact with Nathan about replacing Mariano Rivera, and Mark Feinsand confirmed that yesterday with a report of his own.

Nathan, who I talked about earlier in the week, is the premiere free agent closer on the market this offseason.  He turns 39 today and is coming off an excellent season closing in Texas (2.26 FIP, 43-46 saves in 64.2 IP), so he should be looking for a multi-year, big money deal and he'll probably get it.  Feinsand's report mentioned that the Yankees were going to focus on other areas of need before looking for bullpen help and that's the right strategy to take, particularly with Nathan.  The money he's going to command could be the difference between signing someone like Brian McCann and not, and bullpen help can be found for much cheaper.

He's an ideal late-game arm to add to next year's 'pen, but I wouldn't expect Nathan to end up in pinstripes when all is said and done.

A-Rod Appeal Hearing Ends Quietly

While it looked like the stage was set for more shenanigans after Wednesday, Alex Rodriguez stayed true to his word and did not appear at yesterday's hearing session for his suspension appeal.  With him no longer participating and Bud Selig staying away, the hearing concluded yesterday and now everything is in Fredric Horowitz's hands to make his ruling.

Initially it was reported that Horowitz would have 25 days to render his decision, putting him on a December 16th deadline.  T.J. Quinn of ESPN had differing information yesterday, however, reporting that both sides have to put together summary briefs and submit them to Horowitz before his 25-day countdown can begin.  The deadlines for the brief submittals and responses are December 11th and 21st, and only when those requirement have been met will Horowitz start working on his decision.

This pushes the schedule way past the Winter Meetings and possibly out into January, which is not good news for the Yankees.  Given how aggressive they've been on the free agent front since start of the offseason, I have to think they're anticipating the suspension being upheld, or at least reduced to a number that still keeps A-Rod's money off the books next year.  Guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Project 189: Spreading The Wealth

(Originally posted at IIATMS/TYA.  And "Project 189" is going to be an ongoing series for the next week and change, so make sure you keep following each day to see every writer's version.  Fair warning, this post is long as shit)

The latest chapter in the A-Rod/MLB saga stole the show yesterday and with good reason.  When something this big reaches the level of absurdity that it did and when Mike Francesa gets added to the mix, that's a situation that deserves everyone's full attention.

But if in the wave of A-Rod reports you happened to miss the start of the IIATMS/TYA "Project 189" series yesterday, please stop reading this immediately, scroll down the page a bit, and catch up on that because you're missing out if you don't.  The series is the brainchild of Michael Eder, who wanted to know what kind of team that Yankees could go out and build while still trying to stay under the luxury tax threshold if they didn't have A-Rod's salary on the books next year.  That looks like an even greater possibility than it already did after yesterday's events, and Mike kicked off Project 189 yesterday by setting the bar pretty high.

MIke's version of the 2014 roster had power, lineup balance, and probably the best team defense that the Yankees have had in a long, long time.  Today it's my turn to follow that up and offer my version of Project 189.  Remember, the point of these posts is not to make predictions on what we at IIATMS/TYA think the Yankees will do but rather to examine all the possibilities and stimulate some thought and discussion about what they could do.  And another reminder that the salary and arbitration numbers being used in these posts are from MLBTR's free agent profiles.  We're aware that the actual numbers might come out differently, but for the purposes of standardization in the series it's what we chose to work with.

Without further ado, my Project 189 roster.

Yankees Acquire Dean Anna From San Diego

(Courtesy of Val Valdez Photography)

It's not in the same universe as trading for Chase Headley, but the Yankees and Padres hooked up for a small trade yesterday that does bring a little more infield depth to the Yankee roster.  The Yanks acquired MiL infielder Dean Anna from San Diego in exchange for High-A pitcher Ben Paullus.

Anna is a 26-year-old, lefty-swinging utility infielder who has most of his experience at second base and shortstop.  He had been in the SD system since 2008 and worked a slow and methodical climb up the ladder until he reached Triple-A last season.  In 582 PA there, Anna hit .331/.410/.482 (.400 wOBA) with 9 HR, 38 2B, 90 R scored, and solid BB and K rates (10.5% and 11.2% respectively).

He's never been much of a power guy and will likely be even less of one at the Major League level, but Anna does appear to be a step up from Corban Joseph, the player whose spot he essentially took on the 40-man roster.  He can play more positions defensively, and the fact that shortstop is one of them suggests he's got a better arm than CoJo.  While I wouldn't anticipate Anna seriously factoring into any 25-man roster competitions, he's a nice utility piece to have on hand in case of injuries.

Yanks Make 40-Man Roster Moves

Yesterday was the deadline for teams to reset their 40-man rosters before next month's Rule 5 Draft and as expected, the Yankees were very active in protecting some of their top eligible guys.  They added 6 players to the 40-man: Gary Sanchez, Slade Heathcott, Bryan Mitchell, Shane Greene, Jose Campos, and newly acquired Triple-A infielder Dean Anna (more on him later).

The players left unprotected were relievers Tommy Kahnle, Dan Burawa, and Chase Whitley.  None of those decisions come as a surprise, although it is a bit of a bummer to not protect a strong Triple-A arm like Whitley.  There's a good chance at least 1 or all 3 of those guys get picked next month.  Luckily, hard-throwing bullpen arms are a source of major depth in the Yankee system.

There was one roster casualty yesterday, Tsecond baseman Corban Joseph.  He was outrighted off the roster and back to Triple-A after clearing waivers.  He struggled with a shoulder injury this past season and with Anna now on the 40-man his dwindling prospect status takes another hit.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

BREAKING: A-Rod Walks Out Of Appeal Hearing

This story is still developing and details are coming in at a rapid pace, but all you need to know is that the A-Rod/MLB circus continues to become more comically insane and The Horse himself is at the center of today's controversy.  After arbitrator Fredric Horowitz ruled that MLB commissioner Bud Selig did not have to testify today, A-Rod reportedly slammed his hand down on a table, told Rob Manfred he was "full of shit", and then stormed out of the meeting room.

A-Rod has since issued a statement.  Props to the Daily News I-Team for getting this:

“I am disgusted with this abusive process designed to ensure that the player fails. I have sat through 10 days of testimony by felons and liars, sitting quietly through every minute, trying to respect the league and the process. This morning, after Bud Selig refused to come in and testify about his rationale for the unprecedented and totally baseless punishment he hit me with, the arbitrator selected by MLB and the Players Association refused to order Selig to come in and face me. The absurdity and injustice just became too much. I walked out and will not participate any further in this farce.”

Wow.  Just wow.  Getcha popcorn ready because this is going to get REALLY good now.  Your move, MLB.

Musing On The Playing Time Breakdown At Shortstop

(Courtesy of Ron Antonelli/NY Daily News)

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

It's way too early to call anything for sure, but it sure looks like the Yankees are done addressing the shortstop position for 2014.  They gave Derek Jeter a new contract, in all likelihood his final one, so he can try to go out on his terms as the starter and they hedged their bets by re-signing Brendan Ryan to a reported 1-year/$2 million deal as the backup.  With as many other roster holes as they have to fill and the front office sticking to its "we're planning to have A-Rod around next year" story, it seems highly unlikely that they will go out and drop another $10-15 million on a Stephen Drew or a Jhonny Peralta as a third option.  Realistically we can assume the Yankees will roll with The Captain and B-Ry (still working on Ryan's nickname) at short and will split the bulk, if not all, of the playing time there between the 2.

The Quotable Randy Levine

(Courtesy of Andrea Mohin/NY Times)

Big day for everybody's favorite front office stooge yesterday.  Randy Levine was large and in charge with the media, spouting off about the Robinson Cano negotiations:

”We want Robbie back.  We think Robbie is terrific.  But we have no interest in doing any 10-year deals and no interest in paying $300 million to any player. Until he gets a little more realistic, we have nothing to talk about."

... And the latest in the A-Rod saga on the day he was called to testify in the suspension appeal hearing:

"This is a decision that was made by Major League Baseball. We've [the Yankees] had no involvement in it. No participation in it. Alex is our player until we hear anything else. As I've said and Hal has said, as Cashman has said, the way we budget and everything for this year is he's on our team."

I actually don't have anything to add to either of those statements.  I just hate when Randy Levine opens his mouth to speak.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Free Agent Target: Jhonny Peralta

(Courtesy of Getty Images)

Shortstop has undoubtedly been the position of most activity so far this offseason for the Yankees.  They re-signed captain Derek Jeter to a new 1-year contract, they've reportedly agreed to terms on a new 1-year deal to bring back Brendan Ryan as his defensive caddy and injury insurance policy, and they've been heavily connected to leading free agent shortstop Stephen Drew.  So it comes as no surprise that the Yanks are also showing interest in Jhonny Peralta, the next best free agent shortstop on the market after Drew.  Both Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi of Fox Sports have tweeted the report, which is enough for me to add Peralta to the ever-expanding pile of free agent targets.

In keeping with the "no stone unturned" approach to the most important infield position, it's only right to profile Peralta and see how he might fit as a part of next year's team.

Yanks Considering A Raul Reunion?

Raul Ibanez was one of the players deemed too rich for the Yankees' blood last offseason.  They dragged their feet making him an offer and he opted to take one that Seattle made him instead.  According to a new report from The Post, the Yanks might be looking to right that previous wrong this offseason:

"The Post has also learned the Yankees have an interest in bringing back the popular and productive Raul Ibanez to be the DH against right-handed pitching."

The Yankees love having that lefty DH role filled and on paper Ibanez would be an ideal candidate for the job.  He hit .242/.306/.487 (.344 wOBA) with 29 HR in 496 PA for the Mariners last year, an across-the-board improvement from the .325 wOBA/19 HR season he had for the Bombers in 2012.  He can also still fake it in the outfield if needed and his splits against R/L pitchers in 2013 were almost identical.

The A-Rod Appeal Resumes

(Photo courtesy of Sweeny Murti)

The sides were back together yesterday for the continuation of Alex Rodriguez's suspension appeal against Major League Baseball.  After not being well enough to make it to New York for a scheduled interview with MLB last Friday, The Horse was in good enough shape to rejoin his legal team yesterday (yay!).

This is supposed to be the final session for this hearing and the early word is that it will go continuously through the next 10 days if needed.  No breaks, no taking weekends off, it sounds like the goal is to get the hearing wrapped up by Thanksgiving so the arbitrator can take his time needed to consider everything and hand down his ruling.  That could take another 3-4 weeks, which would push the decision into late December, after the Winter Meetings are over.  A-Rod, Bud Seling, and Randy Levine could all be called to testify during this session.

The Yankees have been saying all along that they're operating under the assumption that A-Rod and his salary will be around next season, but their aggressive actions on the free agent market speak otherwise.  If something unexpected happens and A-Rod's suspension is completely lifted, we'll see how true those "payroll goal" statements really are.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Don't Forget About Teix

(Thug life.  Courtesy of Corey Sipkin/NY Daily News)

While the bulk of the early offseason talk has been about the Yankees upgrading offensively in the outfield and behind the plate, it's worth revisiting the huge hit in production the team took at first base last year because of the wrist injury to Mark Teixeira.  Teix played in 15 games this year, 2 fewer than Derek Jeter, and with his .151/.270/.340 slash line and 3 HR/12 RBI included, the Yankees managed only a .229/.292/.397 tripleslash with 22 HR and 83 RBI from the first base position in 2013.  Their 58 total R scored from first were tied for last in MLB.

The bulk of that paltry production came from Lyle Overbay, Teix's temporary replacement who was in over his head once he became the full-time guy.  Overbay isn't expected back in 2014 with the return of Teix on the horizon, but somewhat surprisingly Cash shot down any rumors that the Yankees were looking for insurance at first for next season.  Via Dan Martin of The Post, Cash had this to say when asked about the current first base situation:

“I’m looking for a lot of things, but a first baseman isn't one of them.  I saw Mark recently and he said he was doing well and seems to be recovering nicely. So there’s no reason to think he can’t be a regular first baseman next season.”

Given the time he's spent resting and rehabbing after surgery, Cash is probably right when he says there's no reason to think Teix can't be the everyday first baseman next year.  What he can offer at the plate as the everyday first baseman, however, is up for debate and will go a long way in determining just how potent the Yankee lineup can be.

If Not D-Rob For Closer Next Year, Then Who?

(Courtesy of the AP)

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

With the GM meetings now in the rearview, there's an even busier Yankee offseason to-do list in place.  They need multiple starting pitchers, they still need to re-sign Robinson Cano, they're looking to upgrade at right field, catcher, shortstop, third base, and possibly DH, and they may be in the market for a new closer.  Despite being the apparent in-house favorite after Mo's retirement, Cash stated pretty definitively last week that the Yankees had not designated David Robertson as next year's closer and that they were looking for a more "proven" option on the free agent market.

Putting aside the comments questioning D-Rob's capability of closing and the motivation for making them, there is some sound logic to this plan.  The Yankees are missing 60+ elite-level relief innings from their bullpen with Mo out of the picture and those innings aren't easily absorbed by just signing a rehabbing David Aardsma-type off the FA scrap heap or calling up Mark Montgomery and calling it a day.  The Yankees do need another arm at the back end of their bullpen, and if nothing else, going after a proven closer covers them for the 8th and 9th innings again.  So if it's not going to be D-Rob trotting out to start the bottom of the 9th next season, who else could it be?

Report: Yanks Re-Sign Brendan Ryan (Updated)

Via Jon Heyman, the Yankees and Brendan Ryan have agreed to a new contract,  There are no details yet, but after reports came out last week that a new deal was close and the teams were just waiting on the results of a standard physical it appears as though the Yanks have their first (and maybe only) piece of Jeter insurance in place.

Ryan hit .220/.258/.302 for the Yankees in just 17 games late this past season.  He was worth 0.1 fWAR, mainly on the strength of his defense, and assuming the Yanks don't sign a bigger name to also share the time at short he will most likely be handling the duties on days where Derek Jeter is the DH.  The new deal hasn't been confirmed by any of the Yankee beat guys yet, but I'll update the post as more information comes in.

** UPDATE 3:00 PM- Via Buster Olney, the value of the new deal is expected to be in the $2 million range.  Can't imagine there will be too many bonuses in there to drive that value up significantly. **

40-Man Roster Crunch Could Be Coming

The move hasn't been made yet, but according to a report by Joel Sherman the Yankees are planning to add Double-A right-handers Bryan Mitchell and Shane Greene to the 40-man roster to protect them from next month's Rule 5 draft.  Both guys are part of that gaggle of MiL players who will become Rule 5 eligible this offseason and with Slade Heathcott and Gary Sanchez sure bets to get added as well, that's 4 spots that will be taken up.

Between this, the spots reserved for arbitration-eligible players, and the anticipation of more spots being taken up by free agent signings, the 40-man could be set to suffer a few casualties before next spring camp.  That's bad news for guys like Chris Stewart and Jayson Nix, Joe favorites who offer little on-field value when compared to others at their respective positions.  Don't be surprised to see either or both of these guys get non-tendered to make room for the new 40-man spots.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

2013 AZFL Wrap-Up

The 2013 Arizona Fall League season has wrapped up and it wasn't a very exciting one for the corps of Yankee representatives.  Here's how they all ended up statistically:

- Tyler Austin: .333/.438/.500 in 12 AB
- Mason Williams: .267/.330/.337 in 86 AB
- Peter O'Brien: .190/.212/.413 in 63 AB
- Addison Maruszak: .281/.452/.344 in 32 AB

Rough go for O'Brien, who struck out 26 times in his 63 at-bats.  He did lead the team with 4 HR and 13 RBI though, so the power continues to show through.  Also a disappointing performance for Mason Williams, who continues to show little power and not really enough average or OBP to make up for it.

- Vidal Nuno: 5 G, 3.20 ERA, 18 K/3 BB in 19.2 IP
- Brett Gerritse: 9 G, 9.26 ERA, 12 K/11 BB in 11.2 IP
- Fred Lewis: 11 G, 0.00 ERA, 10 K/5 BB in 11.0 IP
- James Pazos: 10 G, 1.74 ERA, 9 K/7 BB in 10.1 IP

Real strong finish for Nuno after a poor first 2 starts.  His plus command continues to be noteworthy.  Not a bad showing for Lewis either.  He's still way down on the food chain when it comes to Major League lefty bullpen options, but working 11 scoreless innings in a hitters league is not too shabby.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Jeter Says He Expects To Play Shortstop Next Year

The Yankees have seemingly been doing everything in their power to prepare for Derek Jeter no longer being their everyday shortstop in 2014.  They met with Stephen Drew's agent at this week's GM meeting, they're reportedly close to a deal with Brendan Ryan, who took over the starting job in September when Jeter hit the DL again, and they paid him more money than they needed to in an apparent attempt to appease The Captain and keep him from causing problems in the media.

As expected, none of that has changed Jeter's mentality this offseason.  He's started his workout program already and speaking to reporters at a Joe Torre foundation fundraiser this week he had this to say about his expectations for next year:

"My job is to play short. It’s been my job since I came up, and it will continue to be my job. I understand the concerns because of everything that went down last year, so I understand that, but I’ll be ready to go."

I'm sure Jeter is going to do everything in his power to get his body ready to play shortstop next season.  What I'm not so sure of is how well it, particularly that ankle, is going to hold up to the rigors of playing everyday after basically taking a year off to heal.  The body doesn't just ramp back up to the everyday physical grind at age 40 like it did at 35, 30, or 25.  I think the fact that his ankle is good enough to do leg strengthening exercises regularly is a great sign, but the real test will come when the ST games start.  If Jeter can't play every day then, there's little reason to expect he'll be able to once the regular season starts.

LOOGY Watch: Javier Lopez

The early bullpen talk has revolved around late-inning guys and potential closer options.  Yesterday we got our first strong LOOGY target when Andy McCullough reported that there is the always encouraging "mutual interest" between the Yankees and free agent lefty Javier Lopez.  While it's nothing certain, this is a strong indication that the team will not pursue bringing Boone Logan back.

Lopez, 36, is an absolutely devastating LOOGY, one of the best in baseball.  He held left-handed hitters to a measly .156/.208/.222 batting line (.197 wOBA) in 26.1 IP in 2013 and for his career lefties are hitting just .209/.294/.301 with a 21.4% K rate against him.  Similar to Clay Rapada a few years back, Lopez works from an awkward arm angle and features a fastball/slider combination that has its strength based in the delivery more than the velocity.

Lopez's agent said that Lopez wants to play for a contender and "wants the innings to be meaningful." He would have a great chance for both of those things assuming the top lefty role in the Yankee 'pen.  For now it sounds like the 2 sides are going to table talks until the Yankees address some of their other more pressing needs, but Lopez would definitely be a great fit on a 1-year deal.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Friday Afternoon Linkapalooza: 11/15/13

Did everybody get everything they wanted out of the GM meetings?  Good, great, grand, wonderful.  Now onto the links!

- On Monday, Greg Corcoran of Bronx Baseball Daily profiled Aaron Judge, the last of the 3 2013 1st round picks.  He's easily one of the most intriguing players in the entire system going into next season.

- On Tuesday, Chad Jennings of LoHud discussed all the problems the Robinson Cano contract situation is causing and could continue to cause the Yankees this offseason.  Lotta moving parts and they all revolve around Robbie.

- On Wednesday, Vizzini of NoMaas made a case for signing Corey Hart, a name hardly seen around the Yankosphere or MSM hot stove coverage this offseason.

- EJ Fagan of IIATMS/TYA mused on the idea of pulling back the reins a bit on the offseason aggression and taking a more rebuild-based approach.  That wouldn't make a lot of fans happy, but what it could set up for the future would be tremendously beneficial.

- El duque of It Is High... pointed out the early signs of the Robinson Cano media smear campaign as talks between he and the team draw closer.

- On Thursday, Mike Axisa of RAB commented on the Yankees' need to improve their rotation next year and why it would be a good idea to try to add more than just the 400 innings Cash mentioned on the free agent market.

- On Friday, Tanya Bondurant of Pinstripe Alley discussed the Yankees' facial hair policy and whether it's become outdated in response to Brian Wilson's beard being the reason he won't sign with New York this offseason.  My take, it absolutely is and it should be scrapped.

/has a beard

- Derek Albin of Pinstripe Pundits profiled Oakland A's shortstop Jed Lowrie as a new trade target.

- Daniel Burch of The Greedy Pinstripes completed another all-time team exercise, this time assembling the all-time homegrown Yankee team.

Going with a little Wu-Tang this Friday, "Triumph" off their second album.  Pretty sure this was the video with the computer animated swarm of killer bees flying around.

Enjoy your weekends, everybody.

What We Learned From The GM Meetings

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

As expected, the GM meetings wrapped up yesterday without any major deals being made or news being broken.  The biggest stories were about things that didn't happen or aren't happening, like Masahiro Tanaka still not being posted, no market coming together for Robinson Cano yet, and a potential David Freese trade not materializing.  Still, the Yankees were the most active club of the bunch this week, showing up in full force and scheduling meetings with all their top free agent targets.  They didn't come away with any commitments but they did position themselves as the favorites for more than a few of the available big names.  Along with establishing that favorable position, here's a few other things this week's meetings taught us.

The Most Important News Of The Offseason So Far

(Originally posted at IIATMS/TYA.  The Photoshop is too good not to re-post)
I know sometimes I write things here that may come across as a bit ridiculous, and I'm the first to admit that there are instances where I intentionally add a dash or 2 of hyperbole to my posts to spark a reaction and discussion in the comment section.  But believe me when I tell you that I'm being 100% honest when I say this.  The idea of Brian Cashman and Jay-Z working together directly, 1-on-1, to negotiate Cano's new deal is the most fantastically entertaining possibility in the history of MLB hot stove season and if you don't agree then you have no sense of humor.

Just picture it.  Cash sitting there in his khakis and team polo shirt, Jay in a $10,000 suit and a pair of designer sunglasses with Memphis Bleek and Beanie Siegel flanking him, one of those giant bottles of Spades champagne on ice and a few Cuban cigars on standby to celebrate the new deal when it's reached.  Straight up Swag City.

The Real Reason Hal Gave Jeter More Money

Via a Jon Heyman report from Wednesday:

"The intrerest in Drew is interesting in that Derek Jeter, the Yankes' iconic shortstop, has already signed back for $12 million. Steinbrenner, who did that deal, has already talked to Jeter to warn him that they might seek a starting shortstop due to Jeter's status as a player returning from a severe ankle injury and missed most of last year. Jeter hasn't spoken publicly since signing, but he's said to understand the Yankees' shortstop interest after speaking with Steinbrenner."

So it looks like it wasn't just paying Jeter because he's Jeter, but rather paying him as a way to appease him while the team looks for better shortstop options.  Either way it was still overbidding against themselves when they didn't have to, but if that was Hal's plan then that makes the decision look a little better than it did 2 weeks ago.  The battle in the media would be even uglier if it revolved around Jeter's money and his playing time.  It looks like Hal wanted to get ahead of that by basically paying Jeter to keep his and his agent's mouth shut so the team could look for a better present and future option without issue.  Between this information and the news on a possible Brendan Ryan return, it looks like Jeter could be spending a lot of time at DH in 2014.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

NPB Posting Changes Delayed, Tanaka's Status In Jeopardy

Didn't see this one coming.  After reports earlier today that the final changes to the new NPB player posting system had been agreed to by both sides and could be put into place as early as next Monday, Major League Baseball decided to put the brakes on things this afternoon and now plan to change their side of the proposal.  MLB Chief Operating Officer, and A-Rod's best friend, Rob Manfred had this to say:

“We warned them, told them, if this sat too long, there could be shifting winds out there. And suffice it to say, there have been shifting winds."

What those winds are nobody knows, but David Waldstein just tweeted that it could have something to do with smaller market MLB teams wanting posting fees to count against the luxury tax.  This would obviously be a huge blow to the Yankees, who were hoping to go hard after Masahiro Tanaka whenever he was posted while staying below the luxury tax threshold.  With things back up in the air and no clear direction on what comes next, the new posting agreement might not get put into place this offseason and Tanaka might not be made available for 2014.

Report: Yanks "Close" To Re-Signing Brendan Ryan

(Used courtesy of the fine folks at Pinstripe Alley)

I mentioned this earlier in the Freese post, but the other "big" infield story that popped up yesterday involved Brendan Ryan and the high level of interest both he and the Yankees are reported to have in each other.  Ryan became the everyday shortstop after he was acquired late in the season, and hit .220/.258/.305 (.252 wOBA) in 62 plate appearances while reminding everybody what a good defensive shortstop looks like.  That performance appears to have been enough to convince the Yankee brass he's worth another go because Joel Sherman reported last night that the 2 sides are "close" to a new deal.  It's not even in the same area code as a Tanaka or McCann signing would be, but bringing Ryan back would be a smart strategic decision on multiple fronts.

Well That Freese Trade Rumor Fell Apart Pretty Quickly, Huh?

(Courtesy of Getty Images)

It had been all Tanaka and McCann and Beltran and Choo talk early on in Yankeeland until Mark Feinsand came out with a report yesterday afternoon on the Yankees and Cardinals working on a trade for Cards third baseman David Freese.  Right around the same time, reports started trickling out that the team was working on re-signing Brendan Ryan and suddenly it looked like it was going to be a multi-pronged attack to address the aging aged and now incredibly unreliable left side of the infield.

Freese, while not the all-world player his 2011 postseason made him out to be, would have made sense for the Yankees as third base insurance for A-Rod.  He's a right-handed hitter with a .286/.356/.427 career slash line (.345 wOBA) and while he won't garner any Fielding Bible Award votes at the hot corner, he's not a complete disaster defensively.  At 31 and coming off a down and injury-filled year in 2013, Freese was a textbook "buy low" trade target and even with 2 years of team control remaining he probably could have been had for a modest prospect return.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Yankees "Absolutely" Bringing Back Cervelli Has To Mean The End Of Chris Stewart ... Right?

(Courtesy of the AP)

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

With things heating up at the GM meetings and the Yankees being reported as the early favorites to land Brian McCann, Cash shed a little light on where the team's thoughts might be relative to the backup catcher position next year.  Talking to reporters yesterday, Cash said the Yankees will "absolutely" tender a contract to Francisco Cervelli this offseason.  Cervelli is in his first year of arbitration eligibility and MLBTR pegged him at an even $1 million for his projected salary next year, hardly a drop in the Yankee payroll bucket.

Whatever new deal the Yankees offer Cervelli will be in that range and Cash's stated commitment to make the offer should end any speculation about his future with the team after an injury and PED suspension-plagued 2013.  It should also come as a sign that the Chris Stewart era behind the plate is over, and regardless of what happens with McCann or any of the other free agent catchers on the market, that's great news.