Tag Archives: Keppinger

More holes created, and none are being filled.

Ok, the few names out there I wanted were Victorino, Soria and Keppinger.

All are gone. Keppinger went to the White Sox today.

Meanwhile, another hole to be filled. Chavez goes to Arizona.

Meanwhile, the Yankees haven’t added ANYONE. There were rumors about Schierholtz coming to the Yankees to be a platoon OF. He signed with the Cubs.

So the Yanks still have holes at C, 3B (and now Chavez is gone, along w/Alex out for 1/2 a year), SS (if Jeter isn’t ready on Opening Day), RF and DH… and Ichiro and Ibanez, granted both old, are getting restless waiting for the Yanks to make an offer (as Chavez probably was). Are they even interested in them?

When are these holes going to be filled?

Are the Yanks interested in Youkilis (would fill the 1b/dh/3b Chavez role) or Reynolds (likewise)? If so, Youk and Joba on the same team? Reynolds and all those strikeouts?

Are they interested in Ross?

What’s the Yanks move? Their plan? I can’t figure it out. All I can figure out is their sudden frugality.

 

More off the board.

So Shane Victorino, who I would have liked for RF (to replace Swisher, and in place of the aging Ichiro) is off the board, having gone to Boston as a free agent.

It does mean that Cody Ross, who hit .267-22-81, OPS+ 113 for Boston last year is available. The righty hitter could be a match for the Yanks for RF now. For his career, the 32 (soon) year old has a 162 g. ave. of .262-22-83, OPS+ 107… numbers similar to Swisher. In the postseason, he’s .294-5-10 in 51 AB. Do the Yanks pursue Ross, now?

I also wanted Joakim Soria, in part to replace Soriano, but Soria is off to Texas.

There isn’t too much more I wanted. Of those out there I was interested in, only Jeff Keppinger makes sense. He would be a better utility man than Nix, and could platoon with Chavez at 3B until A-Rod comes back.

With Jeter’s injury (will he be ready for Opening Day?), Keppinger would be insurance there.

You wonder about Nunez. If they won’t use him in a utility role, is he trade bait?

Yankees interested in Victorino, Miller dies, Keppinger injury

The Yanks are supposedly interested in Shane Victorino. I’d applaud this move (see my post of a few days ago). He’s seven years younger than Ichiro, has three Gold Gloves of his own, and provides speed like Ichiro (39). I love Ichiro, but how old of a team do you want?

Marvin Miller died today at the age of 95. It is a shame he isn’t in the HOF yet, but that could be because of the owners. Maybe also some writers with a grudge. One thing is for certain. Any player who doesn’t attend his funeral, send flowers, send condolences or give money to Miller’s charity is an ungrateful POS. Miller was the great emancipator for the players. He fought for their rights, gave them free agency and made them millionaires. Every player owes PLENTY to Marvin Miller.

Jeff Keppinger, who the Yanks have been interested in as a utility man for quite some time (and probably still are), and who hit .325 last year, and who has a .288 career B.A., fractured a fibula in an accident recently. He should still be good for spring training, but you wonder if it will scare off some teams.

Who should the Yanks target?

Now that the Yanks brought back Kuroda, and know that Mo is coming back, who should they target?

We don’t know about Andy Pettitte yet, and rumors are that they are interested in bringing back Ibanez.

There’s one problem with all that, and I’ve mentioned it a lot. Kuroda is 38 next year, Mo 43, Pettitte and Ibanez turn 41 next June.

I won’t go into Chavez (35), Andruw Jones (35), Russell Martin, Rafael Soriano or Nick Swisher here. Chavez may be back, I don’t want Jones. Martin could be back, and I hope so. Despite the poor .211 batting average, he did have 21 HR, handled the staff well, was good defensively, and let’s face it, Romine isn’t ready. Cervelli isn’t a starting catcher. Sanchez is a few years away. Stewart is a nice backup who can’t hit. Martin is still the best option for catcher for the Yanks next year.

I expect Soriano and Swisher to be gone.

We know that Jeter (39 in June) and A-Rod (38 in July) are coming back. There is an age issue.

We also know that the Yanks are watching their pennies much more than when the Boss was alive.

So who among the top free agents out there would fit the Yanks’ needs?

Here’s who I would target. You can offer your own opinions, and I’d be glad to hear them.

1) Shane Victorino.  Victorino will be 32, seven years younger than Ichiro (39). I like Ichiro, but see the age issue I mentioned above. I don’t want to see the Yanks with 1/3 of the 25 man roster 35 years old or older. Ichiro has 10 Gold Gloves in his career, Victorino three. You could move Granderson and his bad routes to the short RF at the Stadium, move Gardner to CF and play Victorino in LF. The switch-hitting Victorino could bat second and along with Gardner’s comeback, give the Yanks the speed they lacked last year. He had an off-year in 2012 (.255-11-55, 39 SB, OPS+ 91) but has a 162 g. average of .275-14-62, 30 sb, OPS+ 102. He also has postseason experience, a plus in NY.  You’d have a speedy OF. Of course, you’d have to get Granderson stealing bases again and not just hitting HR (you’d also have to get Curtis to get the batting average up and cut down on the strikeouts).

2) Joakim Soria. He missed all of 2012 with Tommy John surgery. The Yanks are taking a flyer with David Aardsma, who’ll be 31 next year, why not Soria? Aardsma missed all of 2011, and only pitched in one game for the Yanks in 2012 (1 IP, walk, K, solo HR). Soria will be just 29 next spring and has expressed the desire to set up for Mo. He could come cheaply, loaded with incentives. His 162 g. average is 3-3, 2.40, 37 saves, ERA+ 181. If he can come back to a semblance of his old self, the Yanks won’t miss Soriano. Not only that, if he is back to his old self and Mo falters, he is a fallback. Him, Robertson, Mo and Joba could be formidable.

3) Jeff Keppinger. The Yanks have been interested in him in the past. If there are concerns over Jeter being ready on opening day or Nunez playing SS (with his shaky defense) while Jeter gets ready, Keppinger could be a fill-in. He can play 2B, SS, and 3B, and (no offense to Nix), would be an upgrade over Jayson Nix. Keppinger hit .325 last year, (.325-9-40, 127 OPS+) and is a .288 career hitter, (162 g. average .288-9-59, OPS+ 97).

4) Stephen Drew. A lefty hitting SS who had a rough year. .223-7-28, OPS+ 79 this year. Once again an option if Jeter isn’t ready. But despite a lefty bat that the Stadium may help, he doesn’t offer the versatility of Keppinger. 30 next year, his 162 g. average is .265-15-70, OPS+ 96. I rate Keppinger higher because of his versatility, esp. with the age issues of Jeter and A-Rod.

I don’t see the Yanks making a big splash. So forget B.J. Upton, Josh Hamilton, Dan Haren, etc.

I was looking for guys still in their prime. I also wasn’t looking at guys like Chavez, Ibanez, Pettitte and Martin who could be returning who were with the team last year.

One person I’ve heard that the Yanks should trade for is Shin-Soo Choo of Cleveland. I’m on board with that. He’s 30 (another in their prime player), who could replace the (probably) departing Swisher. Choo, a lefty hitter, hit .283-16-67, 21 SB, OPS+ 131 this past season. He provides some much needed speed. His 162 g. average is .289-19-86, 20 SB and an OPS+ of 132.

If they could sign Victorino and trade for Choo, it means Jones and Ibanez are gone, and they get younger and faster. I am all for that.

As mentioned, I’m looking for guys affordable (which guys like Soria, coming off injury and probably amenable to an incentive-laden contract are), who would fit needs, and who are IN THEIR PRIME.

The team needs to get younger.         

Keppinger, Francis sign. Phils make trade.

Utility man Jeff Keppinger, at times linked to the Yanks, signed with the Rays.

Now for the Yanks to get to business on Eric Chavez.

Jeff Francis, once the Rockies ace, signed a minor league deal with the Reds.

The Phils traded Wilson (Exxon) Valdez to the Reds for lefty pitcher Jeremy Horst. It’s a bit surprising considering the recent injuries to Utley, Polanco and Rollins.

Could Yanks go for Soriano now? Pettitte, Keppinger, WS MVPs and a look back to 1996

Maybe, Boras and Soriano are starting to get desperate.

Maybe, this is what Cashman means by saying, “be patient.”

Maybe.

But maybes mean hope. Without hope, there is …  ??? Despair?

Rafael Soriano is still out there. By far, he is the best free agent still available. The league leader in saves for the AL in 2010, with 45 for the Rays, along with a 3-2, 1.73 ERA. 1-6, 2.97, 27 saves in 2009 for the Braves. 11-20, 2.73 for his career. 31 years old. Still in his prime.

But still out there and available. You wonder how desperate he gets and how much his price drops.

MLBTR has interesting news. That there is one, and only one, team that Soriano would consider being the setup man for. The Yankees. Meanwhile, Fuentes still wants to close.  From MLBTR:    

The best closer on the free agent market is open to being a setup man. Agent Scott Boras told Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com that Rafael Soriano would consider signing with the Yankees even though it would mean setting up for closer Mariano Rivera.

“I don’t think there is a team in baseball where he could be asked to be a setup guy other than the Yankees,” Boras said.

Boras said the “door is open” with the Bronx Bombers, but Yankees GM Brian Cashman declined to comment on his team’s level of interest. Jon Heyman of SI.com reports that the sides are in contact (Twitter links). However, talks are preliminary and re-signing Andy Pettitte remains the Yankees’ priority.

The White Sox are eyeing Soriano and the Angels seem like a possible fit. The Cardinals don’t appear to have much interest and the Rangers are not bidding at the moment.

Cashman won’t comment on Pettitte or Soriano. It appears that with Soriano still out there, that Boras is looking for closer $ for Soriano if he sets up for the Yanks. There aren’t that many jobs out there for the price Soriano wants as a closer. So they change tactics. Closer money for a setup guy. But only from one team. The Yankees. Cashman has said that he won’t give closer money to a setup guy. Will he make an exception? Or by preaching “patience” is he waiting for Soriano’s price to drop? The best case scenario for the Yankees is this: Pettitte back for one last year, and sign Soriano.

Picture this: 12 pitchers. Five starters. CC, AJ (you hope Rothschild can restore AJ into a #2). Hughes, Pettitte and Nova. Seven relievers. Let’s start from the back. Rivera the 9th. Soriano the 8th. The sixth and seventh have Joba, Robertson, Logan and Feliciano. Your middle guy is either Mitre (I don’t want him at #5 starter….PLEASE COME BACK, ANDY!) or maybe even Mark Prior. If Andy doesn’t return, then his #4 spot goes to a scrap heap guy. Meaning Colon, Garcia, Francis, Millwood, Bonderman… etc. I don’t want Mitre as a #5 starter. I’d rather him fight for middle relief with Prior, a young prospect, or even re-sign Aceves.   

But if Andy returns…things look better. Esp. with Soriano. But a lot—A LOT— depends on AJ regaining form.

Getting Soriano can give the Yankees a killer bullpen in which Joba and Robertson move to the 6th and 7th innings along with Feliciano and Logan. How huge can that be?  It means that even if Andy DOES retire, and you are left with a scrap heap guy like Millwood, Francis, Bonderman, etc. that you are looking for just a five-inning quality start (3 R or less) then go to the bullpen.

Meaning Girardi would have the bullpen, but would need to manage his ass off.

But hey, let’s look at something here.

Pitcher #1 21-8. 3.87. 35 g. 34 starts. 221 IP. 6.31 IP/apperance.
Pitcher #2 12-8, 4.68 30 starts. 179 IP. Just a tick under 6 IP/appearance.
Pitcher #3 11-7, 5.01  29 starts.  170.2 IP. 5.88 IP/appearance.
Pitcher #4 12-11 4.68 30 starts. 169.1 IP. basically 5 2/3 IP per start.
Pitcher #5 7-2, 2.88 11 starts. 72 IP. about 6 1/2 IP per start.
Pitcher #6 4-5, 6.79  11 starts 1 relief appearance. 53 IP. Just a bit over 4 1/3 IP per appearance.

Hmm, four guys with a large # of starts who had ERA’s of 4.68 or higher. Add up the starts. 100 out of the 162 games. Any guess who they are? Not great ERAs or length to their starts.

The answer? #1? Pettitte. #2? Rogers. #3? Gooden. #4? Key. #5? Cone and #6 Mendoza.

The WS Champion 1996 Yankees.    

Could Girardi get a rotation that gives 5 to 6 IP, then have a bullpen that is killer, like Mo setting up Wetteland in 1996? Wickman, Nelson, Mo and Wetteland were primary in 1996. Wickman was dealt before the WS. Lloyd, Boehringer and Weathers were terrible down the stretch but great in the postseason.

It may be what is necessary  in 2011. As Santayana said, those who don’t remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

Maybe the 2011 Yanks should look to the past and learn from history. Look to 1996 and get a lock-down bullpen.

Signing Soriano, and bringing back Andy, could be their best bet.             

MLBTR also states that the Yankees may give Andy a raise in order to get him back.

The Yankees are willing to offer $12MM or $13MM to Andy Pettitte and are awaiting a decision from the lefty, tweets Jon Heyman of SI.com. As Heyman notes, either of those figures would represent a modest raise for Pettitte, who earned $11.75MM in 2010, according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts. Pettitte, who has been playing on one-year deals in each of the past four seasons, will probably either re-sign with the Yankees or retire.

Interesting news on Jeff Keppinger, of whom the Yanks were linked to recently regarding utility infielder. From MLBTR:

The Astros were thought to be mulling the idea of trading Jeff Keppinger this offseason, but the utility infielder is scheduled to undergo left foot surgery next week and will likely miss the start of the regular season…

Edgar Renteria is going to the Reds. It is interesting how the history of WS MVPs has been lately. Renteria of course, drove in the winning run of the 1997 WS. Livan Hernandez was the MVP of that WS. Since then, only three WS MVPs are still with the team they won the WS MVPs with. That is 13 years ago. Let’s take a look:

1998. Scott Brosious. Retired after 2001.
1999. Mo. Still with the Yankees.
2000. Jeter. Still with Yanks. Ok. That is two of the three still with the team they won WS MVP with.   
2001.   Tie. Schilling and Randy Johnson. Both retired.
2002. Glaus. Angels then, Braves in 2010.
2003. Beckett. Marlins then, Boston in 2010.
2004. Manny. Looking for work.
2005. Dye. Out of MLB in 2010. Probably Done. Note this is just five years ago when he was WS MVP.
2006. Eckstein. Cards then, Padres in 2010.
2007. Lowell. Retired. This is just three years ago for his WS MVP. 
2008. Hamels. Still with Phils.
2009. Matsui. Angels in 2010, A’s 2011.
2010. Renteria. Reds in 2011.

Interesting, eh?

Twins wrapping up 2 year deal with the American Idle, Pavano.

I got an e-mail regarding Brian Bannister the other day, wondering if he was on the Yanks’ list of pitchers on the scrap heap, so to say. MLBTR reports he is heading to Japan.

Free-agent starter Brian Bannister has agreed to a one-year deal (plus a club option) with the Tokyo Giants of Nippon Professional Baseball, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

Bannister, a five-year veteran of the big leagues, pitched for one season with the Mets and the past four with the Royals, to largely underwhelming results, and made 108 starts in his four-year stint with Kansas City. He’ll turn 30 in February.

A second-generation Major Leaguer, Bannister was selected by the Mets in the seventh round of the 2003 draft.

 

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.

            

Still shopping around

Rumors were that the Yanks are looking to upgrade the bench. Bill Hall was a target, but the INF-OF signed with Houston. The Yanks could be looking at a trade for Jeff Keppinger, who hit .288-6-59 for the Astros (OPS+ 105) this year. He is a .281 career hitter and could be a better alternative than good field/no hit Ramiro Pena. They may also be looking at bringing back Jerry Hairston, Jr.

The deal between Dennis Reyes and the Phils fell through. The lefty reliever is back on the market.

Buster Olney on Twitter yesterday:

Heard this from two sources: With the Jenks signing, BoSox payroll is actually higher than NYY. But the Yankees still have moves to come.