Tag Archives: Sheets

Taking a beating…

I see where Eric Gagne was sent to minor league camp. He’s trying to comeback with the Dodgers but results weren’t encouraging.

Ben Sheets, who missed all of 2009 and then signed with the A’s, got lit up yesterday.

They aren’t the only ones taking a beating…also taking a bit of a beating are the ones reporting on a Howard for Pujols rumor. Let’s just say I’d believe that one when I see it.      

Yanks’ game tonight. If I remember correctly, Hughes gets in some work tonight, Joba tomorrow. 

Signings…Nady, Sheets, Thome, Garland. Yanks make “minor” deal.

For one guy who hardly played in 2009 and another who didn’t play at all…not bad.

The X-man, Xavier Nady, signed a deal with the Cubs. More than that $2M ceiling that the Yanks supposedly have for a LF. $3.3 M and $2M in incentives, according to Chad Jennings at LoHud. Not bad for someone who was DL’d after just two weeks and underwent his 2nd TJ surgery. I wonder how often he will play or how he will make those incentives. After all, the Cubs OF appears to be Soriano, Marlon Byrd, and Fukodome. Derrekk Lee is set at 1B.

Meanwhile, someone who didn’t play at all last year gets a one-year, $10 M contract. Ben Sheets signs with the A’s. It has to be seen if this will affect Damon. Sheets was supposedly Plan A with the A’s, Damon plan B. Do they how have the $ for Damon? The song plays on…”Ain’t Got No Home…”

Reports vary on Damon/A’s/Yankees, depending on who you read. Remember that JD did spend 2001 with the A’s, going .256-9-49, 27 SB that year. (OPS+ 82, an off year).

Chad Jennings at LoHud reports that the Yanks traded infielder Mitch Hilligoss to Texas for OF Greg Golson. Hilligoss had a nice consecutive game hitting streak in the minors a few years ago for low-A Charleston. He’s 24 and has spent the last two years at High A Tampa. He missed a large part of 2009, playing in just 51 games, .233-0-14. The year before, he hit just .241-1-31 there. He hit .310 with 35 SB for Charleston in 2007, 4 HR and 53 RBI. He mostly plays 3B, some SS. At 24, not above High-A, and playing positions manned by Jeter and Alex, you can see the expendability. As for Golson, he is 24 and 0 for 7 in his MLB career. A righty hitter, he hit .258-2-40 at AAA Oklahoma City last year. The BB/K ratio wasn’t good. 29 walks, 114 K. I’d expect him to be with AAA SWB. As for the deal, strictly minor leagues.

In scanning the blogs, MLBTR states this:

The final offer Scott Boras presented the Yankees with for Xavier Nady was worth $5MM, tweets Joel Sherman of The New York Post. He adds that the Yanks would have considered him at the price he signed for today, and that they’ll only do a minor league deal for Rocco Baldelli (via Twitter).

You may have seen that Mark Loretta retired. 15 years, OPS+ 98, .295 BA.  

MLBTR states that the Twins signed Jim Thome. I don’t know how many more HR than the 564 he has now (one more than Reggie) that Thome will hit. 600 seems out of the question. He could pass Palmeiro’s 569* and Killebrew’s 573, but I wonder if he’ll get the playing time to get to Big Mac’s 583*. 

But MLBTR also states that Thome goes from $13M to $1.5M and incentives. Damon can’t like that, even if Damon will be (it seems) a full-time player to Thome’s part-time.

Jon Garland found a new home in SD. Things are starting to heat up. Garland was 11-13, 4.01 for LAD and Ariz. last year.      

Quiet…for now.

We never know when a story will develop, but all is quiet for now. There is rumors of possible A’s interest in Damon, although as Chad Jennings (for one from a Buster Olney tweet) writes at LoHud, it seems like Ben Sheets is more on their radar. Meanwhile, Damon is still in Clarence “Frogman” Henry mode—Ain’t Got No Home.

Nice point by Jennings on A-Jax:

Austin Jackson will go into spring training as a favorite for the Tigers lead-off spot. By comparison, the Yankees had Jackson open last season batting sixth because they didn’t want to put too much pressure on him… in Triple-A

There are rumors that the Yanks inquired about Nelson Cruz of Texas. It’d take a little. Cruz did, after all, hit 33 HR and steal 20 bases for the Rangers last year. It was a breakout year for someone 29. Was it a fluke?

Jim Thome is still looking for a home for his 564 HR after being rejected by the Chisox.

    

Cross DeRosa off Yanks’ list?

Well, Cashman did say that LF wouldn’t be substantive. Meaning no JD, Holliday or Bay. Could it be less substantive than DeRosa?

Over at LoHud, Chad Jennings writes that DeRosa is leaning toward a two-year deal with SF.

I wondered yesterday if, sans the four mentioned above, if Nady returning (and hopefully that recovery for him is going well) is in the Yanks plans.

Over on his blog, NY Daily News writer Mark Feinsand floats the name of Reed Johnson. Average, maybe a bit below. Needs to walk more, but goodness does he take one for the team.

Meanwhile, Omar Minaya’s miserable off-season to date continues. Another free agent spurns the Mets. I don’t know the level of Mets interest, but word is that that they did have an interest in Matt Capps—who like Marquis goes to DC instead.

Spurning the Mets for the Nats. What’s the world coming to?

Mr. Met crying
Maybe a Piniero, Bengie Molina or 
Jason Bay goes there, but as for now,
this just about sums up Mr. Mets’ offseason.
 

Not that it matters anymore, being that the Yanks pulled the Vazquez deal, but Duchscherer is going back to the A’s. (…and I would suspect that any Sheets talk is now dead as well for the Yanks after the Vazquez deal; not to mention goodbye to Wang.)

Update: The Mets did pick up reclamation project Kelvim Escobar, and signed knuckleball pitcher R. A. “Tricky” Dickey to a minor-league deal. But they are still waiting on Bay (and one major league source says that other than the spurned Red Sox deal and the Mets offer that there are no other serious bidders for him…he must really want to play at Citi Field, right?) and Bengie Molina. They lost out on Lackey, Marquis, Capps… still a rough offseason for Mr. Met (see above).          

Pitcher under the tree as Vazquez comes back to Bronx in exchange for Melky.

I don’t think Josh (the Yankee Truth) likes the deal due to the 2004 memories, but I’ll have to e-mail him about it later.

I like it.

Today the Yankees shored up their rotation by trading Melky Cabrera to the Braves for Javier Vazquez (the Yanks also get Boone Logan in the deal while giving up Mike Dunn and Arodys Vizcaino).    

Vazquez went 14-10, 4.91 for the Yanks in 2004, and was an all-star that year. He had a poor postseason, and gave up the curse-killing grand slam to JD in Game 7 of the ALCS that year. He started that year 10-5, 3.56 then went south after July 9th.

One thing, though. That year, Vazquez was supposed to be the ace, more or less. The Truth is, (sorry, Josh) that the Yanks really didn’t have an ace in 2004, which is why the ALCS collapse occured. Vazquez was 14-10, 4.91; Jon Lieber 14-8, 4.33; Kevin Brown 10-6, 4.09; Mike Mussina 12-9, 4.57; Jose Contreras 8-5, 5.64 when traded at the deadline; El Duque was 8-2, 3.30 after coming back. Only Vazquez gave 30 starts. Vazquez led the 2004 Yankees with 198 IP.

Now, (and I think this is huge), Vazquez doesn’t have to be the ace. Nor 2 or 3. He comes in as the #4 pitcher. A #4 who has been through the NY experience before. A #4 who won 15 games last year with an ERA of 2.87. The 33 year old is 142-139 in his career, 4.19 (ERA+ 107). But he eats innings. That 2004 campaign is the only year since 2000 that Vazquez did not pitch 200 innings. He throws heat (Josh does like the power pitchers). Now he joins Hughes, Joba, CC, AJ, Robertson as guys who can strike batters out (238 last year, 5x over 200 in his career). Not to mention Mo.

We aren’t talking ace here. We are talking a guy who is a legit #2 on most teams (and ace on some) coming in to be the #4 guy. Meaning the Yanks now have four starters who all could win say 14-15 games a year (and in some cases more).

…and it also means this. That #5 guy could come from a batch of Hughes, Joba, Aceves or Gaudin with the other three going to the bullpen. Say Hughes is the #5. You still have Aceves and Gaudin as long men and Joba and Robertson set up Mo.

How can you not like that?

The Yanks also get Boone Logan, a 25 year old lefty. HIs stats aren’t impressive, 1-1, 5.19 in 20 games for the Braves last year, 5-5, 5.78 in his career, but he’ll have the chance to take over the spot Phil Coke (traded to Detroit a few weeks ago in the Granderson deal) had last year. He looks like purely a LOOGY. Hey, the 6’5″ Logan is still young.

On the flip side, the Yanks do lose an OF. Personally, I don’t think Melky will hit as many HR in Atlanta as he did with the Yanks. There won’t be any “Melk” to go with AJ’s pies so we’ll have to see what other moves Cashman has up his sleeve.

Melky hit .274-13-68 with 10 sb (OPS+ 99) for the Yanks in 2009. The 25 year old OF is a .269 hitter, career OPS+ still only 88. His 162 g. average is .269-10-65, 13 sb. Nice little OF. But for a #4 starter who can possibly win 15? Expendable.

Of course for now, Brett Gardner is a winner. But somehow I see Gardner as the 4th OF (PR/Def. replacement) next year.

So if Granderson is in CF and Swisher in RF, who’s in LF?

I don’t see Bay or Holliday. Could JD return even though it’s been ruled out? Is there enough in the budget (now back over $200 M) for JD? Can you picture this?

Jeter SS
Damon LF
Teixiera 1B
Alex 3B
Granderson CF (yeah, I know…I really don’t like him here at 5 but…)
Posada C
Cano 2B
Swisher RF
Johnson DH

Johnson (who had a .426 OBP last year) and whose 162 g. average is .273-19-80 with 102 walks hitting 9th? How insane would that be? ..and don’t forget, Nick Swisher, despite the .249 average, had 97 walks last year. Insane.

I hear DeRosa talk for LF. DeRosa is 34 (35 in Feb.) and looking in the $6M range. I don’t know how low JD will come down to in his negotiations. I don’t think he’ll be back (he said as much, but as that James Bond movie said, Never Say Never Again). DeRosa went .250-23-78 for Cle/StL last year. OPS+ 99. He is versatile.

I, however, would suggest someone else. Move Granderson to LF and go after Marlon Byrd for CF. Byrd is cheaper (just a bit over $3M last year) and at 32, a little younger than DeRosa. He hit .283-20-89 last year (OPS+ 106). His 162 game average is .279-12-69, OPS+ 99. The HR and RBI were career highs as he never had more than 10 HR before but in the past three seasons Byrd hit .307, .298 and .283.

DeRosa has a 162 game average of .275-14-68, OPS+ 97. The numbers compared to Byrd are similar. DeRosa is older. Byrd allows Granderson to go to LF (or vice-versa) and allows for better OF defense. Byrd, a righty, I think complements Gardner. Both are CF and Granderson switches to LF. With DeRosa, Gardner is pushed more in the background since DeRosa plays LF, Granderson CF.

So if JD, Holliday and Bay are off the radar for monetary reasons, and Byrd fits the plans, how would you like this (and in this case, my lineup puts Granderson back at #2 since no JD).

Jeter SS
Granderson LF
Teixeira 1B
Alex 3b
Johnson DH (that OBP in front of Posada, Cano and Swisher)
Posada C
Cano 2B
Swisher RF
Byrd CF

All in all, not too bad.

Cashman has another trick up his sleeve. OF, specifically a LF. The question is when does he pull the rabbit out of the hat and who will that rabbit be?

The other thing I wonder with the deal of Melky is this—how high are the Yanks on that Rule 5 player, Jamie Hoffmann?

Also going to the Braves were Michael Dunn (the 24 year old lefty had a cup of tea with the Yanks in 2009, 4-3, 3.31 in AA/AAA) 99 K in 73 1/3 minor league innings) and 19 year old Arodys Vizcaino, who in short season Staten Island was 2-4, 2.13 in 10 games and a top prospect.

Update: I really think this deal is the straw that broke the camel’s back regarding Wang coming back or even the Yanks possibly signing Ben Sheets as a reclamation project (really, both would be).  Now to see what Cash does for LF.

I wonder if the onus is on JD. Looking at the makeup of the team, JD has to be salivating for another ring. But does he (like A-Rod) do his own deal and basically tell Boras to stick it? Granted JD may have to come back at less than he would want.

In other words, the money elsewhere….or the RING here?  

 

 

Yanks, JD weren’t close in negotiations; and who would you target?

I don’t know the supposedly “hard and fast” number that the Steinbrenners gave to Cashman—whether it was to lop the budget $15M, $20M or whatever.

But it is coming out how far apart JD (who confirms his Yankee years are over…but never say never again…however as of now) and the Yanks were.

JD and his agent, Boras, wanted 3-4 years at the same amount. $13M a year. According to some, JD came back with a two-year, $26M offer, but the Yanks responded with 2-years and $14M. Big difference, and you may have seen that Matsui got $6.5 with the team-with-the-name-that-is-way-too-long. Apparently Damon lowered his demand to 2 years and $20 M but by that time the Yanks had moved on to Jolly Old St. Nick (Johnson) for 1 year at $5.5 with mutual options for the same for 2011.

After the 2010 season it gets interesting. Jeter and Mo. A 36 year old SS and a 41 year old closer. Two of the best ever (in Mo’s case, the BEST) at their positions. Two Yankee ICONS, guaranteed in the future to be two of the last—if not THE TWO LAST—people introduced at Old Timer’s Days. How much to retain them? How long?

Could Pettitte be retiring after 2010? Could the Yanks hit the market then and reunite CC with Lee? Wouldn’t that be a dream…Andy retires and Lee (free agent) replaces him.

Not only that, but there would be another CC available then—Carl Crawford. I salivate at thinking CC/Granderson speed in the OF, on the bases and the lefty bats.

As long as you can draw a walk, speed doesn’t go into slumps.

There is a debate over at the LoHud blog regarding which reclamation project the Yanks should focus on—Sheets, or Duchscherer. Chad Jennings says Sheets. Sam Borden says Duchscherer.

I say Sheets. Let’s compare the two.

Sheets: is 31, 32 next July. Career 86-83, 3.72, ERA+ 115. Big problem is that he missed last year and has never pitched 200 IP in a season since 2004. Since 2004 he has pitched 160 innings in a season just once. He is a 4x all-star who K’d 264 in 2004. I don’t expect that kind of dominance again, but if he can come close to the 2.70 of 2004 (when despite the K’s and ERA he was just 12-14), 3.33 of 2005 (another hard luck record, 10-9) or 13-9, 3.09 of 2008, great.

But the real reason I want Sheets over Duchscherer is this (as long as the health of both are the same and good): Sheets has started his whole career. 221 games. ALL starts.

Duchscherer is 32. 31-24, 3.14 in his career. ERA+ 138. Yes, the ERA is lower, but Duchscherer did that all basically, in relief. Before the 2008 season, Duchscherer had just five MLB starts. He did have three solid seasons as a setup man 2004-2006, with ERAs of 3.27, 2.21 and 2.97. But those were AS  A SETUP MAN. The only real season Duchscherer started was in 2008, when all 22 appearances were as a starter before getting hurt. Duchscherer, like Sheets, missed all of the 2009 season. In 2008 he was 10-8, 2.54 when going down. Superb. 141 2/3 IP. But due to his prior role, it was the only season in Duchscherer’s career where he threw over 100 IP.  

And that’s it. Why I prefer Sheets over Duchscherer. The age (Sheets is 8 months younger) isn’t too much of a factor. Both are coming off injuries. But Sheets has started much more, and despite his history, seems more likely to give the innings (if healthy) than Duchscherer would.

Now if we were talking about bullpen help rather than getting a reclamation project for the #4 rotation spot, then I’d say Duchscherer. But we are not. We are talking reclamation for back-end, and letting Joba/Hughes battle for #5 with the “loser” joining Aceves, Gaudin, Robertson, Mo, Marte, maybe a Melancon in what hopefully would be a killer bullpen.              

Update: Looking at various blogs, I don’t know where people are sometimes. I see a lot of people talking Holliday/Yankees. It isn’t going to happen, people. I can understand your thinking about saving money (Damon/Matsui) to go after Holliday. I don’t believe the Yanks would match what the Cardinals supposedly offered Holiday. I do believe that there is a budget and that if it were more that the Yanks would have upped the ante for JD or Matsui but not both. They had in them 1) two leaders respected by their teammates and who had clubhouse presence 2) two guys with postseason success 3) guys who understood and could handle NY.

In short, quit the Holliday talk. It’s ok to dream that, but it isn’t reality or going to happen. Personally, I think Holliday goes back to the Cardinals. There isn’t a market throwing lots of $ at OF right now. I think Bay goes to the Mets. Who else has made a huge offer? Damon could go to SF, although I think that because of his arm, an AL team and DHing would be better. Damon could (as MLBTR notes) slide into St. Louis if Holliday turns down the Cardinals. As for Holiday, beware. Maybe his RF power translates well to Yankee Stadium. He did hit an AS game HR there in 2008 and he has power to RF. But hIs H/A splits aren’t the best. .351 with 100 HR at home. .284 with 52 on the road. JD isn’t a CF anymore, so I don’t see JD in Chicago. The Cubs will probably look to move Fukodome to RF. Could they now be players for Marlon Byrd? I read where they had Granderson interest. Soriano is in LF. No fit in Wrigley for JD.

Back to Holliday for a second. I don’t see the Colorado numbers continuing. A .318 career hitter, I can still see him hitting .300. I don’t see the 34 and 36 HR numbers but more like 25-30. 90 to 100 RBI, maybe 105 in a good year. Not the 137 again. He is a 133 OPS+ for his career. Excellent. Even knocked down to 120 makes him solid. In short, I see him as solid. .292-27-97 is certainly solid. I don’t think he’d be the .318-34-120 beast that others think he would be.

But I see him staying in the NL. I don’t see him being on the Yanks at all. No, the Yanks as I see it aren’t after Holiday. Yes, believe it or not, they have a budget which they are sticking to, and I believe Cashman when he says that pitching is their top consideration right now. … and with Hinske and Hairston both on the market, a utility guy is probably on their list right now as well. Someone besides Ramiro Pena. Hairston back would be nice. I don’t see DeRosa, since he is asking for too much.

Some talk (Cameron before, Holliday now) I wish would just go away already. Especially when you don’t see it happening.              

Cubs/Marlins deal

The Cubs traded talented but troubled OF Milton Bradley to Seattle for Carlos Silva. Bradley had one year with the Cubs, .257-12-40 ops+ 99. This after a superb 2008 with the Rangers, .321-22-77, OPS+ 161. Bradley’s attitude made him unacceptable to the Cubs and once again he has to find a new team. Silva missed most of 2009, going 1-3, 8.60 for Seattle in 8 games after a disastrous 2008 when he went 4-15, 6.46. Silva is 60-64, 4.72 in his career (ERA+ 92) while Bradley is a .277 career hitter with a career 115 OPS+.

I’m looking at various rumors. There’s one where the Yanks were interested in Mark DeRosa, but that DeRosa’s asking price was too much. I’m wondering…would the Yanks have used him in LF or as a super-utility guy (which they really don’t need). DeRosa is 34 and the Yanks were smart if, as reported, DeRosa wanted a three-year deal.

According to the Post, even though the Yanks save some $12M (Granderson/Johnson 2010 contracts vs. Damon/Matsui’s 2009) the Yanks may not be able to allocate the money. Apparently there is a budget and it’s less than 2009’s.

It’s interesting to see where the other starter the Yanks would like is coming from. For all the talk of Marquis or Piniero, it just may be that someone like Ben Sheets would be the person. There is rumors of the Yanks being interested in Sheets, but the talented but oft-injured (missed all of 2009) pitcher may have to be brought in on a low-base, high-incentive pact. He’s a talent, but one not seen on the mound often enough.

Sheets is just 86-83 in his career, but struggled for years with a then-poor Brewers club. Career ERA 3.72, ERA+ 115. He K’d 264 in 2004. The guy is a 4x all-star, but has topped 160 IP only once since 2004. Sheets is just 31.

Another pitcher the Yanks are said to be looking at is Kelvim Escobar. The 33 year old missed all of 2008 and pitched in only one MLB game in 2009. 101-91 4.15 (ERA+ 112) in his career, and some indications are that teams (Yanks?) are looking at him solely for relief. I would think that he would be on that low base/high incentive (or a minor league deal) like Sheets. 

It’s not official, but apparently the only thing keeping Johnson’s signing from being so is the physical. The agreement has been reached. See the previous post and the comments for my thoughts of Johnson and where he should be in the order (as opposed to where others think he should be).

There is a blog with an all-decade Yankees team. I think it’s pretty straight-forward, especially since some positions have had only one guy there the whole decade. Personally, I probably would break it down to quarter-centuries. More competition, I would think. If we went back to say, 1984, then who would you take at 1B (Mattingly, Giambi, Tino, Teix). Do you place a restriction on someone like Teixeira, who has only one year with the Yanks? Do you say “at least three years with Yanks”? How about 2B. Now we have Randolph, Knobby, Soriano and Cano. Just saying.

I just hope that for the first qtr. century, that I’m still around in 2025 (when I’d turn 64—cue the song—) at the end of that year.   

 

Baseball today…

Putz fans

Hmm…The Chicago White Sox signed
the Grumpy Old Men’s favorite player…
Putz.

The White Sox signed J. J. Putz to a deal today. I guess he’ll soon find out if manager Ozzie Guillen is a Grumpy Old Man. Putz will be 33 to start the 2010 season and went 1-4, 5.22 for the Mets last year (his only year in NY). He was hurt and missed about half the season. He went 10-2 with 76 saves for Seattle in 2006 and 2007.

MLB.com states that the Red Sox could be looking at Beltre. Beltre is still just 30, but is coming off an off-year where he missed about 45 games. .265-8-44, OPS+ 82. That 48 HR, 121 RBI mirage of 2004 with the Dodgers I believe won’t happen again, but Beltre could replace Lowell’s d at 3b for Boston. Beltre did win GG in 2007 and 2008 and could, with Youkilis at 1B (Youkilis can also play 3b) give the Red Sox good D at the corners. The Red Sox would then hope that Beltre goes back to .270-25-90 production.

MLB.com also states the basically obvious and what we suspected. Any Yankees getting Halladay talk begins with Joba or Hughes along with Montero. Cashman, wisely, will wait and see if the price drops. The Angels have apparently offered Joe Saunders (33 wins the past two years), SS Erick Aybar (.312 in 2009) and a minor leaguer.

St. Louis made an offer to retain Matt Holiday. The Mets supposedly made offers to Jason Bay and Bengie Molina.

Checking out the NY Post:

Bargains for Cashman?
Hmm, can Cashman find anything there?

Yanks are looking for value…or the old “Bang for the Buck.” As the Post states, they can now draw lines in the sand for Damon, Matsui and/or a Holiday trade. Part of me wonders if one offer…the same offer…will be made to Damon and Matsui with a “whoever accepts it first” scenario. If Damon really wants more than a two-year deal, then he’s gone.

The Post states that if the Yankees are actually prioritizing another starter over LF, then it’s a bad omen for Damon. 575 hits from 3000, Damon’s agent, Scott Boras is going to try to get four years and that 3000th hit, but is there enough in the tank for that? The Yanks saw how Abreu’s salary dropped from 2007 (Yanks) to 2008 (Angels) and may be looking at JD with the same thing in mind.

The Post says that for now, Damon wants the same $13M he made in 2009 over at least the next three years. If so, nice to have had you, JD. Not at ages 36-38. No way. Joel Sherman writes that his suspicion is that the Yanks will offer a 1-year deal with an option at $10M…and I’d agree with that. Even more shocking could be the offer to Matsui that Sherman guess…1 year but at half that salary. Only $5M? I’d be more inclined to go higher for the WS MVP. Maybe not to $10M but that is one huge cut for a guy who still had 28 HR and 90 RBI.    

The Post states something I mentioned recently. Joba/Hughes battle for one spot in the rotation with the loser being Mo’s setup man? In such a scenario, it seems like no matter what, the Yanks’ win.

I still hear the Cameron talk and I’m not completely sold on him, but he could make sense. The Post suggests that (and Damon and Matsui would BOTH be gone if this happened) Granderson would be in LF, Cameron in CF and Melky in RF with Swisher DHing. Cameron is a free agent. Some reasons why I’m not sold…Cameron will turn 37 next month and you already have in Granderson a guy who whiffs a lot (141, 141, 174 seasons). Cameron whiffed 156 times last year and has had eight seasons of 140 or more. Between he and Granderson, Yankee Stadium could have air conditioning in an outdoor stadium. .250-24-70 in 2009 for the Brewers. The .250 was dead on Cameron’s career average. I can see the superb defensive OF that could develop, but Cameron’s BA and whiffs scare me. The whiffs—when added to Granderson’s—really concern me.

Marlon Byrd’s name also came up in the Post. Byrd is 32 and hit .283-20-89 in 2009 for Texas. It was a career high in HR and RBI for Byrd, who actually projects out to slightly better than Melky-type numbers.   (Byrd 162 g. average .279-12-69 8 SB, OPS+99; Melky (who is 25) has a 162 g. average of .269-10-65, 13 SB but an OPS+ of just 88).   

Cashman has suggested Miranda in the DH role and although Miranda was decent at SWB (.290-19-82 in 122 games in 2009, .287-12-52 in 99 games in 2008) and 26 next April, you wonder. The lefty hitter is 7 for 19 in his MLB career, 1 HR but 8 strikeouts. Could he handle it, or is Cashman blowing smoke like when he said that he was comfortable with Bubba Crosby as his starting CF going into the 2006 season? You have to wonder if it’s just a Miranda Act (sorry, had to write it)… 

Speaking of a Crosby and the Pirates…

Der Bingle
no, not that Crosby, even though
he had a Pirates connection…

Bobby Crosby signed with the Buccos. He hit .223-6-29 for the A’s last year. What year was it, 2008? when Peter Gammons (who is leaving ESPN for MLB network, BTW) predicted Bobby Crosby for MVP? What a miss that was. In 2004, Crosby won the ROY despite hitting just .239 (he did have 22 HR and 64 RBI). Since then, just one year over .240, never 10 HR in a season again, and just one year over 40 RBI as injuries and lack of production have limited him to just one year with over 100 games played.

One encouraging line of reading in the Post is this: Larry Bowa, who briefly saw Yankees Rule 5 pick Jamie Hoffmann with the Dodgers this year, thinks that the Yankees pulled a heist in getting him. Nice comparison to Hunter Pence, and Pence’s numbers as a Houston OF aren’t shabby. We’ll see. As long as he is a serviceable bench player. In the Post report, Bowa predicts more than that…he thinks Hoffmann (25, righty-hitting OF) will be an everyday big league player. Once more…we’ll see. As the Post notes, if the Yanks don’t have a spot for Hoffmann, they must offer him back to Washington.

The Post also states that Cashman (as he must) kicked the tires on Ben Sheets. You wonder what Sheets (so much potential, so many disappointing injuries) could be had for after missing all of 2009.

The Royals signed Jason Kendall, who will be 36 next June. Kendall, a 3x All-Star, hit .241-2-43 for the Brewers in 2009.

Looking at MLBTR, they have a list of possible non-tenders. I can see the non-tender of Wang, but predicting the Yanks non-tender Gaudin? I kind of like the job Gaudin did. Can be #5 starter or long-man.   

       

Yankees lose two in the Rule 5 draft.

My bad. I thought Zach Kroenke might be a candidate for Phil Coke’s replacement. I didn’t realize he was going into the Rule 5 draft, where he was grabbed by Arizona. Sorry. I guess Kroenke is one of those guys who just needs to get a chance somewhere else or someone who projects to be AAAA. After 7-0, 2.85 (AA/AAA) in 2008, he was grabbed by Florida in the Rule 5 but sent back to the Yanks. This year in AAA he went 7-1, 1.99 this year but never even got a September callup. You would have thought those numbers deserved a look.

Some guys just need the right team and the right chance. Good luck to him. NY apparently wasn’t the place.

LoHud’s Chad Jennings has this, Cashman on Kroenke:

Cashman confirmed that Kroenke can elect free agency if he’s not kept by the Diamondbacks. That means there’s a solid chance the left-hander is gone no matter what. “Kroenke’s probably toast,” Cashman said.

Also taken was Kanekoa Texeira, who was 9-6, 2.84 at AA Trenton. Seattle grabbed him.

The Yanks grabbed Jamie Hoffman (that Nats’ pick from the Bruney deal). He was 4 for 22 as a Dodger this year. 2 doubles, 1 HR, 7 RBI. The righty hitting OF (25) played in 97 minor league games (AA/AAA) .291-10-64 and 15 SB.

Sam Borden at LoHud has Melky/Gardner rumors (sure to crop up now that the Yanks have Granderson).

Word is the Royals checked in on Gardner after the Granderson deal, and certainly The Grittiest One would be a cheap outfield option for a low-budget team.

Is that likely? Who knows. But it’s possible. And I wouldn’t rule out Melky Cabrera being shopped either (at one point the Cubs were said to be intrigued).    

Will the Yanks kick the tires on a Sheets or Duchscherer? Mark DeRosa’s name has come up. DeRosa, 35 in February, doesn’t fit the “younger” mold, but can play anywhere. The righty split 2009 between Cleveland and St. Louis, hitting .250-23-78 (OPS+ 99). He’s a .275 career hitter, OPS+ 97.

Chad Jennings states about Rafael Soriano:

Cashman met with reliever Rafael Soriano’s agent — Soriano ultimately accepted arbitration and was quickly traded to Tampa Bay — but the Yankees were never serious players for the right-hander.

Hmm…with Hughes and Joba preparing as starters, you think they would have been in on the mix. You wonder who (Robertson?) would serve as the 8th inning setup guy for Mo if Hughes and Joba are 4 and 5 (whatever order) behind CC, AJ and Andy. Let’s not forget a very important part of the 2009 season—Phil Hughes and Al Aceves stabilizing a bullpen that was as shaky as a wet noodle under Albaladejo, Edwar Ramirez and Veras. Yes, Hughes struggled in the postseason, but his stellar work during the season helped to propel the Yanks to the AL East title. Hughes and Joba as 4 and 5? Ok, but let’s not go back to the bullpen woes of early 2009. Does that mean only one will go into the rotation and the other will stay in the bullpen (with Mitre, Gaudin and possibly Aceves battling it out in spring training for the #5 position)? Who knows. Of course if the Yanks wind up pulling a blockbuster deal for Halladay (Joba or Hughes/Montero/Melky or Gardner [because of Granderson]) then #5 after CC/AJ/Andy and Doc can easily be Gaudin/Aceves/Mitre with the Joba/Hughes survivor setting up Mo.

I’d hate to lose Montero, as those of you who have read me for some time know. But is Romine the better catcher? Some think that despite the big bat, that Montero is best suited for 1B or DH and 1) Teixeira is at 1B and 2) you don’t want to have a 21/22 year old stuck as full-time DH…especially when some other players (Jeter, Alex, Posada) are aging.

Apparently the Yanks are taking their time with Damon and Matsui. If coming back, apparently it’s on the Yankees terms—meaning not long-term, and not for $13M. Things will be interesting on this front.

One move. Pedro Feliz, 3b of the NL Champ Phils, who the Phils let go after the WS, is going to Houston.

Oh, in case you are wondering? Especially in regards to DeRosa as a utility man—Hairston is a F.A., as is Hinske.  Here is a list from MLB.COM:

Reports are that Cincy’s Brian Kelly is bound for ND. I really feel sorry for the Cincy kids. They are undefeated, Sugar Bowl bound and now this distraction where their coach may not be coaching them in the biggest college game of their careers vs. Florida. To Kelly and ND…maybe it couldn’t have waited, but for the sake of the Bearcat players, maybe it should have.

Leave it to Bore-a$$ to rain on the parade.

In writing about Nady in the previous post, I mentioned that he doesn’t have much leverage…unless you count Scott Bore-a$$ (misspelling intentional). Bore-a$$ (Boras) is known for his outrageous demands (see the link below) and his belief that players over 35 deserve salaries as if they will never age or that their production at 40 will be as it was at 30. In other words, he doesn’t believe in reality, the current recession or the aging process. I regard Bore-a$$ as scum. The worst thing to happen to baseball. But then, if you are of of his clients, and he gets you the most you can get, you’d be foolish not to sign, right?

I do share Jason’s concerns (see comments, previous post) regarding Nady. I don’t know what his recovery timetable is, and you wonder about his arm. He would seem to have no leverage after missing almost all of 2009. I was just wondering if he could be a cheap alternative should the Yanks lose out on Damon or Matsui (and could they use the savings then on say, Lackey? More on Lackey though, later).    

The Matsui/Damon question could come down to who the agent is and not who the Yankees would prefer. Joel Sherman writes about the ridiculous demands Bore-a$$ is demanding for JD.   

Right. JD is 36. He relies on his legs. Granted he was 12 for 12 in SB this year, but that is down from 29 the year before. Granted he batted second in 2009 and led off the previous year, thus causing more situations where you don’t want to run and take the bat out of someone’s (T & A’s) hands. But there have been signs that JD’s legs aren’t the same. The calf injury that took him out of Game Six of the WS. The slow start to 2008. There were times of defensive inadequacy, and I’m not just talking about the weak arm, but in going after balls in LF. There is no question that CF for JD is out of the question. No doubt JD had a great year offensively (highest OPS+ of his career). The porch and JD got along well as he tied a career high in HR with 24.

Yet Bore-a$$ wants a multi-year deal for someone who just turned 36. It seems like all Bore-a$$ wants is a team with a bunch of overpriced 35 and older players all signed to multi-year deals…all of whom who could implode at any time due to age and injury issues.

Do you really think that Brian Cashman or any GM wants that?

Ideally, the Yanks would want JD on a one year deal or one year and an option. Austin Jackson (A-Jax), 23 next year, who is cheaper and coming off a .300-4-65, 24 SB year at AAA is in the wings. Do you really think the Yanks want JD for 3 years when a possible rising star—who comes much cheaper—could be ready?

Ideally, JD fits because unlike Matsui, he can still play the OF but be gravitated more and more to DH to save his legs. JD’s game is about his legs. Matsui didn’t play an inning of OF in 2009. There is talk of maybe the Mariners going after Godzilla, but a lot depends on Junior Griffey, who turns 40 soon. After a .214-19-57 year, will Junior take his 630 HR and retire?

It is interesting in looking at the MLBTR link (previous post) to see Nady ranked #48, Damon at 12 and Matsui at 27. There are some guys in the top 10 who (Randy Wolf? Pettitte?) were nowhere near the top 10 last year. The Valverde/Phils projection seems like a natural. I can definitely see the Phils doing that. Will they? Bay with the defensive troubles and 162 Ks would seem a poor fit for LF at Yankee Stadium despite the .267-36-119 and 13 sb.

Sherman also writes today of the Angels tepid interest in retaining Lackey. One AL GM wonders if it is a red flag…as if the Angels know something about their bulldog ace who did not give 30 starts or 200 IP in either 2008 or 2009 that no one else does. Although I do salivate over a possible CC/AJ/Andy/Lackey top 4 of the rotation backed up by a bullpen trio of Joba/Hughes and Mo (and while I’d salivate, others would nauseate over that), there are concerns, even with that. The Lackey numbers for one. I like the bulldoggedness of Lackey, but that stat of no 30 starts or 200 IP in the last two years (combined 23-13, approx. 3.80 ERA) is a concern. There is no question the guy is great when healthy. He is just 31. He did go 19-9, 3.01 (led AL in ERA) in 2007. But what do the Angels know?

Burnett is other question mark. AJ gave 30 starts and 200 IP for the second straight year, first with the Yankees (13-9, 4.04), but it’s the first time in his career that AJ (33 next January) has ever done that. Will he hold up?

Getting back to the free agents, should Bore-A$$ take JD elsewhere, the Yanks may do the currently unexpected (since JD and not Matsui is the better fit given the Yanks want to keep the DH spot free for the aging Jeter, Posada and A-Rod, whose ages will turn 36, 39 and 35 by the end of the 2010 season) and keep Godzilla. Unlike Bore-a$$, whom the Yanks have had a tempestuous relationship with (think A-Rod’s optioning out for one), the Yanks have been on good terms with Arn Tellem, who represents Matsui.

So if Bore-a$$ takes JD elsewhere, what then? Would Nady be physically ready or cheap (although no leverage, rep’d by Bore-a$$)? Is A-Jax ready to play in the majors? You would want to replace some of JD’s power. None of the top 50 on the list thrill me too much. I would not expect the Yanks to make a big push for Holliday or Bay. I could be wrong but I see neither one making his home in the Bronx next year. I could see saving money and maybe going after a Lackey but only if JD or Matsui is gone. So who other than Nady would be reasonably priced and enable the Yanks to get Lackey or a solid #4 (I don’t see Wolf or Harden coming to the Bronx either, but…)

Marlon Byrd? Interesting and the only one I really could see (unless a trade, but we are talking strictly free agents for now). 32 and a CF. CFs who move to LF to cover Yankee Stadiums LF have paid dividends recently. Damon this year. Chad Curtis in 1999. Byrd hit .283-20-89 in 2009 for Texas. I wouldn’t expect the power in NY. Even though Yankee Stadium played short, it didn’t have the heat that Texas does. Balls do fly out there. .280-12-70 for Byrd could be more like it. Yes, Melky could go to LF and Gardner start in CF but I think the way Girardi played it in 2009 was perfect. I wouldn’t go Melky lf and BG cf. Too much power would be lost and I’m still of the opinion that neither may be full-time players but players who are 4th outfielders…but who can thrive in the right situation—that being the one Girardi put them in this year; platooning them, going with the hot hand, keeping both fresh. Byrd doesn’t steal a lot of bases, but he can run.

Who…if anyone besides the trio of Yankee veterans who you probably want back (JD, Matsui and Pettitte)… excites you about the top 50 free agents this year? If the answer is no one, then you understand why the Yankees did what they did last year in striking while the iron was hot. Nothing against Marco Scutaro, but when he is listed at #8 in the top 50 free agents…

I do worry about the prediction MLBTR has for #17. Aroldis Chapman to Boston. Boston is in “must make moves” mode…much like the Yanks were last year.

It will be interesting to see if Sheets/Texas does take place. What a talent. What a shame injuries have taken a toll on that talent. Then again, you can say the same for Erik Bedard.

UPDATE: Griffey is returning to Seattle. You wonder how this will affect the Yankees and Matsui for it appears as if a “landing spot” for Godzilla is now gone. I can’t see Seattle having two aging players, both of whom are now primarily DHs and who would spend hardly any time in the OF.