Maybe, Boras and Soriano are starting to get desperate.
Maybe, this is what Cashman means by saying, “be patient.”
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.
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.