Picking up the pieces

The Fat Lady sings as Yanks split in Boston
Mo to go under the knife

Over the weekend, Tyler Kepner surveyed the scene for the Yankees. The team, he writes, has a lot of issues to address and a lot of questions to answer. While Kepner seems to think Cashman isn’t coming back, other sources claim he is. We’ll know soon as the Yanks start to pick up the pieces from a disappointing 2008 campaign.

Meanwhile, as we await news on Cashman, notice Kepner’s take on CC Sabathia. The Yankees seem rather pessimistic that they can convince Sabathia to come east and pitch in the AL. Plan A is looking rather unlikely right now. Money, though, can change everything.

The Fat Lady sings as Yanks split in Boston
Mo to go under the knife
  • MJ

    Sabathia stated he loves to bat in the NL. That was one of the main reasons he said it would be tough to leave for the AL.

    But, obviously millions of dollars can change that and we are the only team in the league that is dropping off about $80 million in salaries.

    Hopefully it works out, but we can’t automatically think our pitching is going to be amazing even if we get him. Our back end of the rotation is inconsistent and CC could easily drop off to a 4 ERA, once he gets ‘paid’. But, he shows signs that he could lift us up in the postseason where our struggles have been so obvious, regarding our pitching.

    Every other good free agent pitcher is either old or injury-prone.

    Good luck NY, this free agency sucks.

    • mustang


      So much for the CC plan.

    • steve (different one)

      CC could easily drop off to a 4 ERA, once he gets ‘paid’.

      this is stupid.

      • ceciguante

        actually, your comment is stupid. sounds like it came from the sandbox.

        in case you haven’t been watching the yanks for too long, you should know of the long history of free agents coming to the bronx and having a subpar first year. to say nothing of the apparent surge in performance that many players enjoy in their walk years, or the gargantuan workload CC has endured the past 2 seasons (close to 500 IP, not counting playoffs). and of course, CC was posting close to a 4 era for the first half of this season in the AL.

        the notion that CC could drop to a 4+ era next year for the yanks is completely plausible. in fact, i’d expect him to post a 4+ era in his first year in the bronx.

        • steve (different one)

          in case you haven’t been watching the yanks for too long, you should know of the long history of free agents coming to the bronx and having a subpar first year.

          right, except when it doesn’t.

          like Jimmy Key. or Mussina. or Giambi. or Sheffield. or Reggie.

          sure, sometimes it does happen. but just as often it doesn’t.

          to say nothing of the apparent surge in performance that many players enjoy in their walk years

          right, many players do, and many players don’t. there have been studies that have debunked this myth.

          also, Sabathia WON THE CY YOUNG last year. so, i don’t see how this is a “contract year” surge. completely irrelevant. he’s awesome, has been awesome for a long time, and will probably be awesome for the immediate future.

          the gargantuan workload CC has endured the past 2 seasons

          this is completely valid. and if that is what i thought the original post was alluding to, i wouldn’t have said anything.

          i thought the implication was that Sabathia would stop trying as hard once he got the big contract. if that was NOT the implication, then i apologize. maybe i read too much into it.

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos

      Okay, here’s the NL standings as of today.

      Philadelphia 92-70
      New York 89-73
      Florida 84-77
      Atlanta 72-90
      Washington 59-102

      Chicago 97-64
      Milwaukee 90-72
      Houston 86-75
      St. Louis 86-76
      Cincinnati 74-88
      Pittsburgh 67-95

      Los Angeles 84-78
      Arizona 82-80
      Colorado 74-88
      San Francisco 72-90
      San Diego 63-99

      Which one of those teams is really going to make a serious run at CC? Sure, he loves batting in the NL, but not nearly as much as he loves contending for championships and making money. And the problem with the whole “CC likes the NL” or “CC wants to stay on the west coast” is that all the teams in the NL or on the west coast either A) wouldn’t target him because they already have good rotations but need offensive upgrades, B) would love to have him but can’t realistically bid on a pitcher asking for north of 19M per, or C) suck something god awful and won’t be remotely good enough anytime soon to even consider adding a big ticket free agent of any type.

      I know his boy Kevin Millwood told him to follow his heart and not the money. But Kevin Millwood said that because he took the money to sign with a shitty team in a crappy town. How do you think Kevin Millwood would advise CC if he said, “Hey, I’m trying to decide between the Yankees 6 year, 140M offer or the Dodgers 5 year, 85M offer… what should I do?”

      You really think he’s not going to pick the Yankees because he likes to bat and because his buddy regrets signing with the Rangers, a move that everyone knew was dumb the minute he did it?

      • mustang

        “You really think he’s not going to pick the Yankees because he likes to bat and because his buddy regrets signing with the Rangers, a move that everyone knew was dumb the minute he did it?”

        Yes I do.
        What makes you think that the Dodgers will not match the Yanks dollar for dollar? The Dodgers were the team that broke the bank on Kevin Brown wasn’t they.
        And CC really seemed over joy with the idea of becoming a Yankee in his last trip to the Stadium this year.
        The kid looks like he having fun and success in the NL why leave that for the microscope in the Bronx and money? See A-Rod and Millwood to Texas not a good idea.

        • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos

          Okay, you asked, I answer:

          A) The Dodgers were bought in 2004 by Frank McCourt. McCourt has a well-known reluctance to spend money, as the Dodgers are basically the only thing he owns and he went heavily into debt to buy them. He also has no minority owners or team partners to help him offset or defray the costs of running the club. It should be telling that the Dodgers wouldn’t sign off on the Manny deal without Boston first agreeing to pay the balance of his 2008 contract… he wasn’t even willing to take on the second best offensive player on the planet unless he didn’t have to kick in the 7M to do it.
          B) The Brown deal, as well as the Dreifort deal and many others, were from the Fox/Murdoch ownership group and are not indicative of the McCourt strategy.
          C) After new GM Ned Colletti’s recently horrid spending sprees of Jason Schmidt, Juan Pierre, Andruw Jones, Hiroki Kuroda and the like, McCourt is likely to order Colletti trim payroll/shed those horrid contracts before singing off on money for CC.
          D) With Billingsley, Kershaw, Penny (in some capacity), Kuroda, and Stults, the Dodgers aren’t likely to prioritize starters as much as fixing the offense, especially after Manny departs.

          I can see the Dodgers making a push for CC, yes. But I can’t see Frank McCourt giving more than $100M of his own money (remember, the Dodgers don’t have a new stadium or a broadcast network) or more than 5 years to ANYBODY, even if he is a dominant lefty ace.

          The Dodgers are more of a big small-market team than a small big-market team.

          • mustang

            Well done.

          • mustang

            Well done with both comments see even I can’t admit defeat.

            • mustang

              can not can’t

        • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos

          And mustang, come on…

          “See A-Rod and Millwood to Texas not a good idea.”

          You’re smarter than that. You’re not reinforcing your point, you’re reinforcing mine. Millwood’s advice to not chase the big money applies to why he wouldn’t take a huge contract offer from the Mariners or the Giants, not us. We’re offering him more than just 40M more than everyone else, we’re also offering him a team that won 89 games despite being besieged by injuries and probably would be in the playoffs with a few lucky breaks (or perhaps non-breaks), we’re offering him the chance to compete for a title every single year (which is still reason #1 why every single free agent considers coming here), we’re offering him the center of the media universe where his greatness will be celebrated on a scale like no other. Comparing Millwood regretting signing with the backwater Rangers is not a parallel with Sabathia signing with the Yankees… it’s a deal he’s much, much less likely to regret.

          Most of the things said about Sabathia are reminiscent of Mussina (he doesn’t care about or for the spotlight, he wouldn’t like playing in the NYC fishbowl, he wants to be close to home, etc. etc. And Moose loves the Yankees. You think he regrets the deal? You think Santana regrets the Mets deal, their recent collapse notwithstanding? Doubt it. People who are unhappy with their big free agent contracts are the playerse who signed big free agent contracts to play for shitty teams. That ain’t us.

          Here’s the two arguments people cite on why CC won’t come here:
          1) he doesn’t care about money
          2) he likes California

          Here’s the two reasons those two reasons are bullshit:
          1) nobody cares so little about money that they’d leave 30 or 40 million on the table, which is easily how much our offer could trump the next best offer
          2) there’s only one California team who could afford him that he’d actually want to play for, and that’s the Angels, and they’ve got zero chance of offering him anything. The Dodgers, Giants, Padres, and Athletics would never in a million years give him anything more than 16-17M per year, they just can’t afford it.

          • mustang

            Well done I agree and I hope your right because I just saw the list of 2009 free agents starters. There is CC and Sheets (if they want to take that risk) and nothing else.

            I still don’t think the kid is sold on coming here, but it’s up to the GM to sale him on it and money always speaks volumes.

            • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

              It’s not up to the GM to sell him on anything. The GM talks it over and makes the right offer. If CC doesn’t want to come to New York, Brian Cashman can’t brainwash him into coming here.

              • mustang

                I would think that it’s the GM’s job to sale to a player not only the financial benefits, but also the situational benefits of being a Yankee.
                While at the same time easing any questions that a player might have about playing in NY.
                You can call it brainwashing if you want I called it a sale pitch.

                • mustang

                  I would think that Brian Cashman would bring more then the Yankees check book to the table.

              • Ed

                I can very clearly remember the newspaper articles from back when Greg Maddux first left the Cubs. Gene Michael took him on a tour of Bergen County, as that’s where most of the members of the team lived. Showed him around some towns, showed him the major malls, etc.

                It wasn’t brainwashing, but it sure was a hard attempt at selling the idea of playing in NY. I’d be surprised if that stuff still doesn’t go on.

  • Yank Crank 20

    I think Cano took the last month of the season and did a good job convincing the Yankees not to trade him.

    • TurnTwo

      or actually rebuilding all of that value so you can get top dollar back in talent for him.

      • Yank Crank 20

        You think a month was enough for that? Those final numbers weren’t too impressive, but you’re definitely right that the last month helped raise his stock a little higher.

  • pounder

    Brett Smith was the wiser pick at round 42.Yanks were hungry for young arms and Smith was,until injured,a top hurler,and still may be.

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos

      And, for the record, CJ Henry over Ellsbury wasn’t bad either. Henry never put it together but he had a much better upside than Ellsbury. It wasn’t hard at all to imagine then, just as now, that Ellsbury will end up as nothing more than a weak-hitting pinch runner. That’s why he slipped as he did.

      If Ellsbury were in Kansas City or Pittsburgh, nobody would ever mention him. He’d be Joey Gathright.

  • jsbrendog

    yeah and sheets elbow is confetti. he’s done for the year so say goodbye to your big contract. i could see him staying with the brewer’s since few people will be willing to pony up the big dough for someone who will more than likely have tommy john sometime in the next year or so lol

  • Barry

    Random thought: To me at the beginning of the season I just wanted Gardner on the team to make up for the lack of speed and bring that dynamic to the Yankees game plan in situations where speed could win a game. Now after his 10 game hit streak to finish the season I wonder if he could be a scrappy .270 hitter who could start for the Yankees. The Yankees already have a lot of power so they don’t really need it from the CF’er and I’m beginning to think that Gardner is the right type of guy for the job. Am I thinking blindly?

    • MJ

      I agree. His speed can turn singles into doubles. He can also steal a base at any given moment. Which could allow him to be one of the top three in runs scored for the Yankees next season if he started and had around a .333 OBP.

      Wish him the best of luck and hopefully he can find a position on our roster.

    • radnom

      A ten game hit streak and everyone is going back to this line of thinking? No no no.

      • Barry

        Gardner is still more inspiring than Melky Cabrera.

    • mustang

      Don’t get fooled by September numbers.

      • Barry

        I’m not fooled I know the general consensus on him but I also remember that Cashman thinks highly of him and maybe with the right coaching he could turn the corner and become a good option for the future.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.
        • mustang

          You keep coming Mike you know Ben would not approve.

          The problem with your remark is that he has been that good before. Now what happens if the Yanks can’t sign CC wish looks like a strong possibility.

          “A bird in the hand is worth two in bush”

        • mustang

          Also something about being 9-0 after the break or something I can’t remember.

          • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

            Hey, Phil Hughes didn’t take a loss after April, majors or minors. Heh.

            • mustang

              The problem with that is that most of these starters were in the minors and 2 in the majors.

              You’re just being a smart ass now.

        • mustang

          Or IPK last September.

  • ChrisS

    Granted, Ellsbury is more valuable than CJ Henry now, but Cashman turned Henry and a couple of suitcases of cash into Abreu and then got Henry back.

    That said, Ellsbury isn’t exactly the second coming of Rickey Henderson or Grady Sizemore. The Yankees have Jacoby Ellsbury and his name is Brett Gardner.

    Good article nonetheless, Cashman is still dealing with people that want to pay top dollar for yesterday’s news.

    • Ivan


      • Barry

        I agree Ellsbury is overrated, a solid player but overrated.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

        What’s not to like about an 89 OPS+?

    • Reggie C.

      The RS don’t need Ellsbury to be “the second coming” of Ricky or Grady. Point remains that Ellsbury remains a viable starting CF who’ll lock down that spot for years to come. Maybe he gets replaced eventually, but he hits way more than Gardner and Melky.

      • http://www.new.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/profile.php?id=594331910&ref=name Jamal G.

        “…but he hits way more than Gardner and Melky.”

        He does?

        Jacoby Ellsbury’s rookie campaign (2008):

        .280/.336/.394/.730; 38-XBH; 218-TB; 41/80-BB/K

        Melky Cabrera’s rookie campaign (2006):

        .280/.360/.391/.751; 35-XBH; 180-TB; 56/59-BB/K (Jesus, what happened to that great plate discipline?)

        • Reggie C.

          The experience is an important factor here. Ellsbury is a grad from high level college competition. I’ve got to add that here. The RS will gladly take Ellsbury’s performance. You only highlight the heights from which Melky has fallen over a couple years. Will that happen to Ellsbury?? Very unlikely.

          Fact remains: Ellsbury will be a regular in Fenway’s CF , while Melky rides the pine hoping Gardner turns his ankle.

          • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos

            I’ll bet you a dollar that Ellsbury does a Scott Podsednikian disappearing act within the next few years.

      • AndrewYF

        Um, he put up roughly the same statistics as Melky did when he was 22. Ellsbury is 25.

        He runs way more than Melky, and that’s all we can say for now.

  • Felix the cat

    Im not going to bash nor endorse kepners article but i will say this….if the sportswritters hit on every story correctly then baseball would be in a sad state. Yes kepner has credentials like a peter abraham but that doesnt mean that everything is gospel. Brian will remain with the org as Jean Aferman is finally reassinged away from the assistant gm role. Cc wants money but he also wants the best situation for his family. Andy pettitte could sway him here in this regard. Dont expect matsui until may/june. Im excited that the org will finally bring in LEGIT baseball people now that the stadium is complete.

    • steve (different one)

      Dont expect matsui until may/june.

      based on what?

    • kenthadley

      Im excited that the org will finally bring in LEGIT baseball people now that the stadium is complete.

      what’s this mean?

      • Yank Crank 20

        What did all of that mean? You’re about as random and coherent as Sarah Palin

        • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos

          Nope, nobody else is that dumb.

          Palin is a mathematical singularity of incomprehensibility.

    • Ed

      Why would you expect Matsui that late? He had knee surgery last year in mid-November and was ready for the start of the season. This year he’s having the same surgery done to the other knee. I believe the surgery is today. With the surgery coming 1.5 months sooner, why would it take several months longer to recover?

  • JRVJ

    The first thing the Yankees have to do is ensure that Cashman is back next year.

    The second thing they have to do is ensure that Moose and Pettitte are back in 2009. Yes, I realize Moose is giving feelers that he will retire (don’t let him!!) and Pettitte sucked in the second half of the year.

    Those two pitched over 400 innings (extremely well in Moose’s case), and the Yankees should try to start the 2009 season with Hughes being the 6th starting option (i.e., Hughes or Aceces or IPK, whomever’s first in line, should preferably not start the season with the Yanks, but get some work in over in SWB).

    The third thing the Yanks have to do is offer arbitration to Abreu and I-Rod. I-Rod will surely not take it, but Abreu might. If Abreu stays, the Yanks have to make some decisions (one possible decision would be to move Abreu to DH/1B or to trade Matsui away).

    The fourth thing the Yankees should do is go after Sabathia, big time.

    The fifth thing the Yankees should do will depend on whether Abreu stays, but if he’s gone, going after Teixeira is a good decision.

    There’s things out of left field that I can’t guess, like the Marte/Nady trade (or even the Krazy Kyle – I-Rod trade), but I could see the Yankees trading away some of their excess young pitching (like they did with Ohly, Kartens and McClutcheon) for help in other areas.

    • Yank Crank 20

      Go after Sabathia AND Tex…do any Yankee fans want their team to have high draft picks anymore, or was the one year of young pitchers/building through the draft a mirage?

      • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos

        And yet, while Hughes, Joba, and Kennedy were all first or sandwich rounders, most of the rest of our quality young pitching talent (Betances, McAllister, Coke, Robertson, Melancon, Marshall, etc.) were acquired in round 3 and beyond.

        We can sign one or two big ticket FA’s, offset the draft pick losses with a few extra picks recouped from FA departures (like Bobby and Pudge), and still likely have at least one or two good pitching prospects fall to us in the lower rounds.

        And, don’t forget the bonus picks we get for not signing Cole or Bittle. Or the international pipeline, which also allows us to supplement draft pick losses.

        Draft picks are nice and valuable, but we should never fear giving up a draft pick in exchange for signing a quality veteran like CC or Tex.

        • Mike Pop

          Agreed if u go and sign tex and cc the team looks as solid as any team in the league… as long as u bring back one of mussina or pettite… im not too fond of givin a 6 or 7 yr deal to cc tho. he is obviously the best pitcher but its real risky.. would i love to see complete game shutouts every now and then tho.. yes i would

      • mustang

        Since when has getting high draft picks in baseball become such a major issue.
        When did baseball become football?

        • Mike Pop

          lol im with ya brother but it became big since the rays started winning

  • J (yf)

    re: JOBA:

    Can someone please explain to me why– if his return to the rotation in 2009 is up in the air based on innings limits –he doesn’t pitch in the Fall/Winter leagues to boost his numbers????

    Are they afraid his rotator cuff will realize it isn’t the MLB and go *SPLAT* in protest?