Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Report: Yanks Not Making Any More Moves Until Tanaka Signs

Things have slowed to almost a snail's pace as the offseason moves into its final stanza and Spring Training starts to vaguely appear in the distance.  A report from Steven Marcus of Newsday confirms that the Yankees will keep it at that pace until the Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes conclude.

"The Yankees' pursuit of Japanese righthander Masahiro Tanaka has essentially frozen any other additions to the big league roster.

"We are doing nothing until Tanaka resolves," a club official said Wednesday."

"Duh," the rest of the Yankee fanbase also said Wednesday.  In all seriousness, this makes sense from the Yankees' standpoint and is the right approach to take.  There's not much left out there on the free agent infield and bullpen markets and the team isn't in a rush to go after what is still there.  Tanaka represents their biggest opportunity for improvement in their biggest area of need and they should be focusing all their energy over these next 9 days towards signing him.  As I've been saying all offseason, they've put too much time and effort into Tanaka to risk losing him now.  The Dodgers look like they're focused on getting Kershaw locked up before the arbitration figure deadline on Friday.  Now's the time to strike and land Tanaka.

A Quick Word On The Idea Of Moving Derek Jeter To Third Base

(Courtesy of Getty Images)

The Yankee infield is a hot topic right now and rightfully so.  On Opening Day the Yanks will have a starting infield that's entirely different from the one that opened the 2013 season.  They've got 2 old/older players in Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira returning from serious injuries at first base and shortstop, they've lost Robbie Cano at second base and Alex Rodriguez at third base, and their current plan to replace the 2 of them appears to be the old "throw as much stuff at the wall as we possibly can and see what sticks" method.

An idea that I've seen mentioned multiple times in various blogs across the Yankosphere, and one that's really been gaining steam in the comments section here is moving Jeter to third base and making Brendan Ryan the starting shortstop.  In theory it makes a lot of sense and I totally understand why people are thinking this way.  Jeter's biggest defensive weakness is lateral movement.  It always has been and it's not going to get any better now that he's turning 40 this year and coming off a litany of leg injuries.  By moving him to third base, the Yankees could not only mask his defensive deficiencies and improve their overall infield defense, they could also protect him from re-injuring himself by cutting down on the ground he has to cover.

Again, this is all great in theory.  There are 2 problems with that plan though.  It would never work and it's never going to happen.  If you'll allow me, I'd like to quickly explain why so we can all put this notion behind us and move on with our lives.

Report: Yanks Reach Out To Padres About Infield Depth

When Ken Rosenthal reported over the weekend that the Yankees weren't going to sign any more infielders to Major League free agent deals, he didn't say anything about not trading for Major League talent.  The Yanks have been quiet on the trade front since dumping Chris Stewart, but a report from Jon Morosi earlier in the week may suggest a change there.

According to Morosi, the Yanks have made a "trade inquiry" to the San Diego Padres about infield depth.  The Papas, while not exactly flush with it at the moment, have some pieces they could deal and they're definitely in the market for some pitching help.  This obviously brings the name Chase Headley back to the forefront of most people's minds, but Morosi reports that Logan Forsythe "is the most realistic target", not Headley.

Forsythe, 27, is a natural second baseman who played every position except first base, catcher, and center field in 2013 while putting up a .272 wOBA in 243 PA.  He's only a .241/.310/.349 career Major League hitter but raked at every level of the Minors before breaking in.  He's almost like a right-handed version of Dean Anna, and if San Diego isn't asking for too much in return he's worth taking a chance on.  I'd still rather have Headley though.

Five Yankees File For Arbitration

Yesterday was the deadline for arbitration-eligible players to file, and as expected the 5 eligible Yankees all filed.  It's more of a procedural thing than anything else.  The real action starts on Friday when the players and team exchange salary figures and then in February when the hearings start, provided both sides don't come to an agreement before then.  In case you've forgotten, here are the 5 eligible Yankees and their respective MLBTR projected 2014 salaries:
Off the top of my head, I wouldn't be surprised to see D-Rob get a little more based on his excellent body of work the last 3 seasons and I think Gardner could get significantly more than 4 mil because of the value his speed and defense creates.  The other 3 should come in right around those projected figures, but we'll see what happens Friday.