Category Archives: Winter Leagues

Baseball news.

From Lohud, with my comments:

• The Yankees first significant signing of the winter — if you call it that — could be shortstop Brendan Ryan. The team is said to be “close” to a deal that would bring Ryan back as infield insurance. He’s an elite defender, and he had his moments with the bat during his brief Yankees tenure this season.

My thought? Ryan is a great defensive SS who can’t hit. It may be time to get Jeter off of SS and to DH him much more often (the same can be said for A-Rod and 3B if he comes back).  

• Knowing the Yankees are in the market for a shortstop, Derek Jeter spoke at Joe Torre’s foundation gala and said he still fully expects to be the Yankees everyday player at the position next season. Jeter has started his offseason workout and said he feels good. He expects to be 100 percent healthy in 2014.

• Brian Cashman made it clear that the Yankees will tender a contract to Francisco Cervelli, meaning Cervelli will be back in some capacity next season. Chris Stewart might not be back.

My thoughts? Let Cervelli go. Let Stewart go too. Get someone like McCann or go for Pierzynski on a one-year deal to let Romine, Murphy and/or Sanchez develop. I’m down on Cervelli what with that suspension. Stewart, although good defensively, can’t hit a lick.

• The Arizona Fall League season came to an end. Vidal Nuno probably had the most impressive numbers of all the Yankees prospects assigned to the league. The numbers from Peter O’Brien and Mason Williams showed a mix of good and bad, while the most significant Yankees news coming out of Arizona was the early decision to pull Tyler Austin because of ongoing wrist issues.

I liked Nuno. He had a good spring training, is a lefty (needed since Andy retired) and was 1-2, 2.25 in 20 IP (5 g., 3 starts) for the Yanks last season. His season came to a quick end. I’d like to see more of him. Does he have what it takes to be successful over a full season?    

• Nothing official yet, but it certainly sounds like the Yankees are going to play two exhibition games in Panama next season. The trip would be a sort of gesture of thanks to Mariano Rivera, who’s from Panama and would, presumably, make the trip.

Fantastic finish.

I don’t know how today’s NFL games can top the finish of that 49ers/Saints game yesterday. What, four TD’s back-and-forth in the last 5 minutes or so? Once you thought it was over, it (as Yogi said) wasn’t. 49ers win and now find out if they host the Giants or go to Green Bay.

As for the other game, a blowout. Tebow (6 for 28) did what I thought he’d do against my Steelers. I give him credit for beating Pittsburgh, but New England was having none of it. A fabulous game by Brady (6 TD passes) as it was a blowout by halftime.

Today, Texans at Ravens, Giants at GB. As for GB, cue that old Three Dog Night song, “Eli’s Coming.”

It appears that Bartolo Colon found a new team. It could be the A’s.

Just some reminders. There is an RSS feed. Comments are welcomed (just keep it clean in case there are kiddies reading), and if you want to advertise, you may, but there are rates.

Oh, Btw, Cespedes isn’t impressing in some games right now. It may take him a while to get his bearings, but so far… trouble with the slider and it’s making his stock drop…

News on youngsters

The NY Post is reporting that Jesus Montero will be called up tomorrow. He’s at .288-18-67 for SWB.

Four minor leaguers will be going to the Arizona Fall League: P Dave Phelps, 2B Corban Joseph, OF Rob Segedin and INF Ronnier Mustelier.

News on Colon, Baldelli

MLBTR reports that Rocco Baldelli is retiring at the age of 29. It’s sad. In his first two seasons, Baldelli at age 21 and 22 hit .289 and .280, stole 44 bases and hit 27 HR. He was considered to be a can’t miss star—at a time when Tampa Bay (2003 and 2004) needed a star besides Carl Crawford. Then came injuries and illness. As MLBTR reports:

He missed the entire 2005 season and considerable chunks of the 2006-10 seasons as he dealt with foot, hamstring, and hip injuries, plus a type of channelopathy, which has caused muscle fatigue.

After 2004, Baldelli never played 100 games in a season again. From 2006-2010, the number of games he appeared in counted 92, 35, 28, 62 and 10. From that great beginning, to these numbers 2006-2010:

Average 45 games a year, .268-7-22. He retires with a .278 career BA, 60 HR, 60 SB. OPS+ 101.

What could have been.

Meanwhile, a minor league signing for the Yanks as they decide to give Bartolo Colon a look. After reading that, let’s just say that MY Colon isn’t doing very well. Colon pitched for Tony Pena in the Dominican Winter League, and he and scouts must have liked what they saw. Whatever. Colon will be 38 in May, 2011. Since his CYA year of 2005 (when I thought, and I still do feel, Mo should have won the award) when he went 21-8, 3.48, Colon has gone 14-21, 5.18. Those numbers are from 2006-2009. He wasn’t in the majors in 2010. In those four years, Colon only averaged 12 games a year. The last we saw of him, he was 3-6, 4.19 for the White Sox in 2009. Maybe Sidney Ponson’s old pants will still fit him. It’s funny how Baseball Reference has him listed at 6 feet, 185. He probably hasn’t been 185 since his rookie year. 245 to 255 is more like it.

As for the deal, ugh. Desperation. I’ll be (pleasantly) shocked if he makes the Yanks and does well. I’m certainly not expecting it to happen, though. 

Colon, excessive? and the end of a streak.

Could the Yankees be interested in Bartolo Colon? He says that the Yanks, Rangers and Indians are interested. He’s pitched well in winter ball, but it seems as if he is in the same boat as Jeff Francis and Freddy Garcia. A chancy risk.

Colon turns 38 next May. Since going 21-8, 3.48 and winning the 2005 CYA (one I thought should have gone to Mo) he has gone 14-21, 5.18. He went 3-6, 4.19 in 12 starts for the White Sox in 2009 and wasn’t in the majors in 2010. Risky.

I don’t like hot dogs, as you may know from previous posts. But the ending of the Pinstripe bowl in Yankee Stadium today has me wondering. In case you don’t know, Kansas St. was down 36-28 with a minute or two left in the game. They got a TD but the player who scored the TD was called for excessive celebration for what was what, a 2-second salute? So the tying 2-point conversion try wasn’t from the two yard line but from the 17. Not good. Syracuse won 36-34. I don’t like hot dogging, but that was NOT excessive celebration. Note the word EXCESSIVE. Later that night, a Tennessee WR scored a TD, did  a dance, and saluted TWICE. No Flag. I know excessive is subjective, but c’mon. Be real. If I have to point out what excessive is and is not, we have a problem.

After 90 wins in a row, the U Conn women’s basketball team were defeated by Stanford tonight by 12 points. I believe the Cardinal women were the last ones to beat them. An impressive streak. We’ve seen Penn State women’s volleyball win 109 consecutive matches and the U Conn women’s basketball team win 90 in a row. Both very impressive.

Ken Rosenthal reports (via MLBTR) that the Yanks are not in on Rafael Soriano and that talks on Keppinger went nowhere. He also states that Eduardo Nunez is playing 3B in the Dominican. No surprise there, as he played some 3B with the Yanks last year. The more versatile he is, the better.

The Yanks are said to be interested in Brian Fuentes, but he wants $5MM per and a multi-year. Could the Yanks go with THREE lefties in the bullpen (Logan, Fuentes and Feliciano)? It’s said the Rays are interested in Fuentes and after losing Soriano and Benoit may need him.


A JD return? I argue against it.

Various blogs report via Ken Davidoff that the Yanks have talked to Johnny Damon.

I like JD. I also think the Yanks made the right move in moving from him last year. JD is now 37 and to be truthful, can’t play the OF anymore. I don’t want his lack of an arm out there.

Besides, he is a lefty bat. I thought the Yanks were looking for a righty (speaking of, Kearns is back to Cleveland. Cleveland has Shelley Duncan. Could Shelley now be available? Shelley’s numbers against lefties aren’t shabby, he can play LF, RF and 1B, and is popular among Yankee fans. He’s 31 and although he is just a .227 career hitter (OPS+ 96), he is a .264 hitter vs. lefties with an .823 OPS. Against righties the OPS is just .641. As a guy who is used solely vs. lefty pitching, could Shelley be a good return? Hmmm….).

Ok, here is what I really would rather have. Brandon Laird, who could be a better option than Duncan or Damon. This winter, Laird went to the Arizona Fall League to learn the corner OF spots. In the minors, Laird (brother of Gerald) played 1B and 3B. He’s just 23, perfect for a move away from age (Damon) to youth. You already have a SS about to be 37, a 41 year old closer, a DH that will be 40 in 2011 and a 3B who will be 36. You also are praying that a pitcher who will be 39 in 2011 will return. Now do you really want a 37 year old who will struggle to get DH at bats (against the soon to be 40 year old) and who can’t play the OF anymore because of a weak arm? Laird hit .281-25-102 between AA/AAA last year. Granted .246-2-12 at AAA, so you don’t know if he needs more AAA at bats. But he a) is younger than Damon, b) would be less expensive, c) has more pop and d) if he took or takes to the corner OF could possibly fill in at 1B/3B/LF and RF as well as DH if needed; hence he’d be more versatile.

All things considered, I’d pass on JD and go with Laird. The kids need a shot sometime.      

Nobody beats the Viz.

Well, that was the slogan in 2007. Can it be the same in 2011?

From the LoHud blog:

Yankees have agreed to a minor league deal with right-handed reliever Luis Vizcaino. He will reportedly make $750,000 if he makes the big league roster.

You might remember Vizcaino from 2007 when he pitched out of the Yankees bullpen, having come over from Arizona in the Randy Johnson trade. He hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since 2009, but he has good number in the Dominican this winter (11.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 11 K). That includes a stretch of one hit allowed in nine appearances.

More dumpster diving by Cashman. Low risk/high reward. Vizcaino is 36, and in his one year with the Yanks (2007) was 8-2, 4.30. He pitched 2/3 of an inning in game 2 of that year’s ALDS, gave up a run and took the loss when the Yanks lost 2-1 in 11 innings. You may remember that game as the Midges vs. Joba game.

Vizcaino has pitched for the A’s (1999-2001), Brewers (2002-2004), White Sox (2005, 6-5, 3.73 for the WS Champs that year, one scoreless inning in that postseason), Arizona 2006, Yankees 2007, Colorado 2008.

He was last in the big leagues in 2009, when he split the year between the Cubs (four games) and the Indians (11 games) and went 1-3, 4.11.

His career record is 35-30, 4.33 with 8 saves. ERA+ 103.

Like Prior, taking a chance. Low risk, low salary and see if he has anything left.