Open Thread: The ethics of recruiting Japanese players

Yanks protect four from Rule 5 draft
Bobby Abreu's uncertain future

Junichi Tazawa, the 22-year-old amateur free agent, is creating something of an international incident between the Japanese and American baseball leagues. Some teams from Japan are irked that Major League teams seem to be so heavily invested in landing the highly-touted right-hander.

In The Times today, Alan Schwarz and Brad Lefton covered the issue:

Many Japanese baseball officials are outraged that United States teams are courting Tazawa, a hard-throwing right-handed pitcher, because they insist it is long-established practice for amateurs like him to be strictly off limits to major league clubs. Even some American general managers, including the Yankees’ Brian Cashman, agree.

Major League Baseball officials maintain that the letter of their protocol agreement with their Japanese counterparts, Nippon Professional Baseball, does not forbid either league from courting amateur talent from the other’s nation. When one Japanese representative characterized the rule as a gentlemen’s agreement during a meeting in New York, he was angrily rebutted by a Major League Baseball official, according to two attendees.

The Tazawa dispute extends beyond one pitching phenom and an interpretation of honor. The Japanese major leagues have already seen established stars leave for American clubs, and amateurs following Tazawa’s path away from those leagues could further hurt the leagues’ long-term viability.

As the Tazawa dispute has brewed this offseason, NPB officials released a statement on it: “This was more than just a gentlemen’s agreement, but rather an implicit understanding that the major leagues would do no such thing. That a handful of clubs from the majors is trying to break this gentlemen’s agreement is truly regrettable.”

As Schwarz and Lefton offer up an overview of the situation — including the typical glowing scouting reports on Tazawa — they bring the issue back home to New York:

Officials of major league teams have a wide spectrum of views as to whether Tazawa should be signed…The Yankees’ Cashman was unequivocal.

“I’m old school — there has been an understanding,” said Cashman, whose team has a formal cooperative relationship with the Yomiuri Giants, a team particularly upset with the Tazawa affair. “There’s been a reason that Japanese amateurs haven’t been signed in the past, so we consider him hands off.”

So my question is this: What do you think of Cashman’s stance? The Yankees have some deep-rooted economic and baseball interests in Japan. It behooves the team’s bottom line to keep the NPB officials happy. In all likelihood, the Yanks will benefit in the long-term by respecting this gentleman’s agreement.

But what about Tazawa? Should the Yanks forego this stance to pursue young, amateur free agents who aren’t explicitly breaking a rule but are simply exploiting a free market? I’d probably say no. It’s far better to keep things amicable between the Yanks and Japan, but maybe others see things differently.

So feel free to discuss this issue. I find it a fascinating one as baseball explores an international expansion of the game.

If you don’t feel like talking about this topic, use this thread as the evening’s Open Thread. Anything goes. Just keep it civil.

Yanks protect four from Rule 5 draft
Bobby Abreu's uncertain future
  • Chip

    I understand the Yankee’s prospective on this from a financial point of view (namely that the Japanese teams are another source of income/marketing) but is this good from a baseball sense? Let’s say teams like the Red Sox and Orioles start picking up the top Japanese amateur talent while Cashman is instructed to not do so in order to keep relations across the Pacific. Even if this went on a few seasons, wouldn’t that give those other teams a large (albeit possibly short-lived) advantage?

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

    Congrats to new daddy Brett Gardner.

    • steve (different one)

      born after 3 minutes of labor, setting a new speed record for birthing.

      • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

        His baby’s OUP (Out of Uterus Percentage) is currently 1.000. Prototypical leadoff man.

    • Steve

      Now he has somebody in his family with the same hairstyle he has.

      • steve (different one)

        i hope for his wife’s sake that the kid doesn’t have the same proportionally sized head as Brett.

        • Mike Pop

          Heh, in your own words, I enjoyed this post.

  • Brian

    Yes, this is completely fascinating. I think Cash is making the right move, informed by numerous conversations with Japanese partners, no doubt. Eventually, a new agreement may be reached that is viable for NPB, but until then, Junichi Tazawa is just not worth–not even close–the kind of reparations picking him would incite. And as a formal stance on Cash’s part beyond Tazawa, it’s good of him to be vocal, because that is far better than being a silent partner to his/our/Japan’s interests.

  • mooks

    How about the Yanks make an financial offer to the JBL that the teams may divide up amongst themselves, in return for negotiating with a player (such as this one).

    Think of it as “Here’s some money, no hard feelings, okay, just want to get your okay to go ahead and go after this here kid”.

    By the way, someone help me out here, but if the MLB teams were following this, um “gentlemen’s agreement”, couldn’t that be, oh, a “restraint of trade” ?

    i.e. violation of labor law.

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

      Think of it as “Here’s some money, no hard feelings, okay, just want to get your okay to go ahead and go after this here kid”.

      Garth, if I was to give you some money from out of my wallet, would that help ease the pain?

  • Rob

    This stated fear of chaos if everything were to open up is pure bullshit. The Japanese want to control their players just as the American owners want to control theirs. MLB should have a worldwide draft and if a player cannot come to an agreement with teams here, then they should be free to pursue their livelihood in Japan. Same deal over there. The Japanese, by virtue of their geography, will be better at scouting their own players. And if they miss one, as in this case, then tough shit.

    • DP

      They didn’t miss him. He asked not to be drafted by any of the teams like Eli did with San Diego and John Elway did with Baltimore.

      • Mike Pop

        And San Diago still drafted him. Dumb, but I guess they made out with it

        • pat

          they drafted him knowing they could trade with the giants and get a bunch of other picks- rivers, merriman and kaeding.

          • Mike Pop

            They coulda had Fitz !!!!!!!

      • Rob

        They missed him coming out of high school. It would be like a kid here not getting drafted, missing college, and dominating in the independent league.

  • Currambayankees

    I have a feeling if this guy had more talent the Yankees would have no problem signing him. I don’t think he’s as talented as some seem to feel.

  • Steve

    “The White Sox’s collection of talented Cubans is growing.

    According to major-league sources, the Sox have reached an agreement with 19-year-old third baseman Dayan Viciedo, who was declared a free agent a week ago.

    Viciedo reportedly will receive a major-league contract worth about $11 million. That’s more than twice the size of the deal that brought Alexei Ramirez to the White Sox last season, and Ramirez was second in American League Rookie of the Year voting last season.”

    http://blogs.chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/sports_hardball/2008/11/sox-to-sign-19.html

    • Brian

      ah, looks like they would have taken dickson marquez, a wilson glove, and johnny nunez’ trenton locker just to save some money for this…

    • http://canyonofheroes.blogspot.com Mike Plugh

      Viciedo is for real. He isn’t some smoke and mirrors Cuban defector. The kid was being likened to Omar Linares on the island, out of earshot of the American media. I don’t know how he’ll translate to the Majors being so young, but this was a coup for CWS. If he approached Linares ability and gets to adjust to MLB talent at that early age, watch out.

  • UWS

    Is it just me, or is there something wonky with the front page?

  • Mike Pop

    How many think Dejesus is actually available ? The thing that makes it interesting is do you give up Melancon for him ? Im obviously not saying alone but think about it. It would give them the flexibility to move Soria to the rotation because he would be more valuable to them right. Thye would have a front 3 of Meche, Greinke, and Soria. Thats a pretty solid front 3 if Soria can succeed as a starter. You give them IPK and Melancon. IPK would add them a 4th or 5th starter. They would have a decent looking rotation no ? I think that would be more valuable to them then just Dejesus. I thought this was kind of creative for the person who got upset that ideas were not creative.

    IPK, Melancon, and another either relief or positional prosect of B value ? Is that too much ?

    • UWS

      Throw in Joba and Cano, just to be sure.

      Sheesh.

      • Mike Pop

        I’m gonna punch you in the ovary, that’s what I’m gonna do. A straight shot. Right to the babymaker.

        • UWS

          Oh yeah? I’ll straight-up murder your ass!

          • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

            If you want to throw down fisticuffs, fine — I’ve got Jack Johnson and Tom O’Leary waiting for you, right here!

            • Mike Pop

              You wanna dance, Burgundy? I wanna polka

              • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

                COME GET A TASTE!!!

                • Mike Pop

                  Brick where did you get a hand grenade ?

                • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

                  I’ve been meaning to talk to you about that…Find yourself a safe house or a relative close by. Lay low for a while, because you’re probably wanted for murder.

                • Mike Pop

                  Your favorite Will Ferrel movie ?

                • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

                  Has to be. Anchorman is way up the list of greatest American comedies.

                • Mike Pop

                  Was AWESOME

    • Old Ranger

      DeJesus for Melancon, IPK and another arm? Not a chance, Mel is our next closer (so be de word, man). And those that want to trade Coke and Robertson are nuts, well maybe we would give up Robertson. The thing is; those 3 guys are our best up and coming BP arms…we have a lot of right handers, so Robertson is expendable.
      People throw these names around (to trade) as if they were chips. One may want to look at the value the players have for us; Coke, Lefty (we don’t got none better), Melancon is viewed to be the closer of the post Mo era.
      I like DeJesus on our team (better then Cameron), A-Jax won’t be ready until somewhere around 2010/11, most likely…so we need someone younger then 35 years old.
      I would still like to trade Johnny and have Dejesus in LF (can cover more ground the x) Brett in CF (if for no other reason then his “D”) and X in RF. I do think Johnny will have a smoking walk year. but I would like to try the younger guys. 27/09.

    • Currambayankees

      NO, you dont’ give up Melacon for DeJesus.

  • Steve

    Hughes final line in the AFL

    Phil Hughes ERA 3.00 IP 30.0 H 21 R 11 ER 10 SO 38 BB 13 WHIP 1.13 BAA .198

    http://mlb.mlb.com/milb/stats/org.jsp?id=nyy

    With the 70 IP he had this year and the 30 in the AFL, you figure he’ll still be on a innings limit next season. Figure around 130-140 IP for 2009. Joba will be in a similar situation, so it’s hard to imagine both of them in the rotation out of spring training.

  • Mike Pop

    Burnett and Lowe are pissed at our offers according to Heyman. Good or Bad thing ?

    • steve (different one)

      link? not saying i don’t believe you, just want to read what he said.

      • Mike Pop
        • steve (different one)

          However, Burnett’s agent, Darek Braunecker, is telling teams he’s only considering five-year proposals, and Lowe’s agent, Scott Boras, apparently also suggested the Yankees aren’t in the ballpark.

          we’ll see, i guess.

          i’m not seeing the $18M/year offers for Lowe that Boras thinks he’s going to get.

          i could see someone go to 5 years for Burnett though.

          • Mike Pop

            Ya I think someone will too eventually.. Hope its not us. But as all of ya know Id take him on a 4 year

          • Steve

            If Burnett is “Only considering 5 year deals” that tells me he has a 5 year deal on the table from somebody.

            I pass.

            • Mike Pop

              He has a 5 year deal on the table. But I could be lying

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

      Burnett and Lowe are pissed at our offers according to Heyman. Good or Bad thing ?

      Awesome thing. I’ll be worried if our offers piss off CC, Tex, or Manny. Those other two non-stars can go get bent, for all I care.

  • http://theenlighteneddespot.com NC Saint

    “more than just a gentlemen’s agreement, but rather an implicit understanding”

    Uh, buddy, that’s actually less than a gentlemen’s agreement, which would be, well, explicit.

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

      You know, for the record, the past two “gentlemen’s agreements” in Major League Baseball were kinda, you know, shitty.

      *cough*color barrier*cough*
      *cough*collusion*cough*

      • steve (different one)

        you should take something for that cough

        • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

          I’m on a daily regimen of hookers and blow.

  • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

    Erin Andrews is interviewing Mark Teixeira right now on ESPN college football.

    • Mike Pop

      Ugh, cant believe I missed it

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

      Tex: “I like the East Coast, but Anaheim was pretty cool too.
      Andrews: “When do you expect all this to be done?”
      Tex: “I’d like it resolved by Christmas, hopefully. I’d like to know by Christmas morning where I’ll be playing for the next ten years or so.”

      • Mike Pop

        Lol he’s going hard with that 10 yr

    • UWS

      Damnit, I was just going to post that.

      Says he wants to go “where [i] can win and [my] family is happy.” Real original, Mark.

    • UWS

      There was also a Varitek sighting at the game. Wonder if he’s doing a lil’ recruiting on the sidelines?

      • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

        Meh, they’re both gonna be said when Miami wins this game. Maybe ARod, Ryan Braun, and Pat Burrell can call Tex and Tek and tease them later.

        • steve (different one)

          don’t forget NOMAH!!!

          • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

            You mean Mr. Hamm?

            • steve (different one)

              Jon Hamm’s john ham. now with spicy mustard dispenser!

              • steve (different one)

                remember, if it smells like ham, don’t wipe your ass with it!

        • Mike Pop

          What bout Alex Cora and Aubrey Huff

          • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

            Alex Cora wins ballgames. Including College World Series ones.

            • UWS

              Wow, that’s like…a low blow.

  • Jake H

    This is a business move. The chances that this guy pans out are low. He is a prospect. He could be a good player, great player or blow and never make it to the majors.

    The agreement is going to bring money to the Yanks for years. They will use that money to scout other players and sign them.

  • Steve

    Hey Mike, who would you rather protect, Shelly Duncan or JB Cox?

    I can’t imagine we will ever see Duncan strike ou. . I mean play at the major league level again. Juan Miranda is way ahead of him in the eyes of the Yanks. Cox was considered closer material about a year or two ago. I know they have other bullpen options but I’d protect JB on his upside alone.

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

      Yeah, that didn’t make sense to me either. I can understand why we protected who we did, but to leave Cox and Horne exposed when Shelly Duncan and Cody Ransom are eating up spots on the 40-man was curious. Better safe then sorry…

      • steve (different one)

        i would guess they are 95% sure Horne will not get picked.

        i could see Cox or Whelan getting picked and then returned at some point.

        it’s hard to carry a dead roster spot all season and those guys are not ready for the bigs.

        • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

          Perhaps. But if you say it’s foolish to “carry a dead roster spot all year” in Cox, Horne, or Whelan, my retort is that Shelly Duncan is most definitely a dead roster spot as well.

          • steve (different one)

            yeah, Duncan is horrible. can’t argue with that. they could have tried to sign him to a minor league deal before the deadline.

      • Mike Pop

        I woulda kept Horne for sure. Cox I can understand but Horne has the potential to be just as good as most of our relief prospects in the pen right ?

        • steve (different one)

          they aren’t getting rid of Horne, they just don’t think anyone will pick him.

          • Steve

            In 7 years of college and pro ball, Horne has pitched a grand total 315 innings, or about 3 seasons. He’s always hurt and now its his shoulder, which is never good.

            Horne is a bust. I wouldn’t waste a roster spot on him.

            • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

              Horne the injured bust who still has an outside chance of getting better >>> Shelly Duncan the co-bust who is past the point where he’d get any better

              • Steve

                I agree, I would have protected Cox.

  • pat

    I don’t think these kids should be forced to play in japan if they don’t want to, but at the same time, once one skips the japanese draft to make bucks in the US you gotta think the floodgates are gonna open. As for cashman, Im not so sure he is choosing to uphold the gentleman’s agreement because he truly believes in it or because he just isn’t interested in tazawa.

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

      I’m torn on this issue. Without this “gentleman’s agreement”, the long term viability of the NPB is definitely threatened… good Japanese kids will just leap right to the big league clubs. Compare the scale and success of the NPB to the Latin American leagues… you could severely crimp the NPB’s ability to put a quality product on the field and relegate them to an afterthought.

      At the same time, it’s a bit draconian to bar talented kids from having the right to go compete in whatever market will bear their services. I personally thought the decision barring highschoolers from going straight to the NBA was unfair, and so I can’t condone barring Japanese kids from the same rights I’d grant American kids.

      • Mike Pop

        That was an intelligent statement my friend

        • steve (different one)

          THAT IS HOW YOU DEBATE!!!!

          • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

            Where’d that come from? What happened? I blacked out.

            • Steve S

              Still Holding it…Still Holding it….

      • pat

        Considering the great lengths mlb has gone to market itself in japan this has the potential to be a problem. Hey we had opening day in Japan and while we’re here we’re gonna steal all your good amateur talent too! The only recorse I can think of is to shorten the mandatory playing time from 6 yrs to 3 or 4 so they can hit america in their prime. This at least allows mlb teams to get a few years to scout them against the better competition of the npb instead of the industrial leagues. I dont know for sure though because as you said tazawa could be the tip of the iceburg that depletes japan of its elite talent.

        • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

          Wouldn’t shortening the NPB service time from 6 years to 3 be just as damaging to their league, though?

          • pat

            At least they get them for some time, its better than skipping npb all together.

  • Steve S

    Agree with whoever said this already but this is all financial and has no implication. Lets be honest the yankees dealing with Japan for baseball purposes have been nothing but disappointing in the last ten years. They didnt even win the bid on Irabu, they got Matsui when he was a free agent and they made a terrible mistake with Igawa. I cant even blame Cashman on this one, his stance is way beyond baseball, thats Trost/Goldman Sachs territory right there, its all about $. Its too much risk to invest in a 18-22 year old kid, even if he was Roger Clemens reincarnate, to offend those guys over there and burn out on a business side where they probably pay a pretty penny to broadcast games.

    • Steve S

      “no BASEBALL implications”

  • 27 this year

    You know, this could help us next time posting things go on. You never know, the NPB might not accept posts from certain teams unless they are much higher. I think the Japanese do have ethics and if the Red Sox do sign Tazawa, they could lose major face with japanese pro ball.

    • steve (different one)

      the Red Sox already violated one “gentleman’s agreement” that is to not put a waiver claim on a player being sold to Japan. they claimed Millar after the Marlins had sold him to the Chiunchi (sp?) Dragons.

      in other words, Rasner had to pass through waivers before he could go to Japan, but teams have an unspoken agreement to not interfere.

      didn’t seem to hurt the Sox as long as they were prepared to make the highest bid for Matsuzaka. money talks.

      • Steve S

        I would think there is some requirement that they accept the highest bid right? I’m assuming the bidding system is documented unlike this “gentleman’s agreement”, I dont think the Japanese teams have the option to reject a team, they either post them for the highest bid or pull them back. Im not expert but it wouldnt make sense any other way or teams like the Yankees and Red Sox could always find back door ways of getting players.

        • steve (different one)

          not sure. the original post suggested that this could make NPB refuse to do business with the Sox. i was just pointing out that the Sox already “broke the rules” and there were no repercussions.

          this is admittedly more serious than Kevin Millar.

          • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

            Everything is more serious than Kevin Millar.

        • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

          Miami is pissing me off right now.

          • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

            Sorry, not meant to be in this thread. Disregard.

            • Mike Pop

              Hey man its an OPEN thread no worries

        • Jack

          According to Wikipedia, They are told the highest bid, but not who bid it.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posting_system#Process

    • J-Gao

      Are there any other Japanese guys that are really good and may be posted in the near future? I know of Darvish. Anyone else?

  • Adam L

    Just my two cents, but what about the player’s rights? Isn’t it this kid’s prerogative to play where he wants to? If there’s a profession where the best players in the world get to play somewhere else (and I can make significantly more money in that country), shouldn’t that be my right?

    In the end, it’s that line of reasoning that should rule the day, although I don’t argue that from the Yankees perspective it may be a “shrewd” business move to stay away…

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

      Well, yes, it may be in the Yankees best interest to stay away because they do have business partners in Japan and those relationships would be harmed by this transgression of this agreement. And ultimately, while we want to compete for talented players everywhere, this is still a delicate political issue and we can still get great players from numerous other avenues.

    • Steve

      Absolutely, but does he owe his development to his team’s farm system? I don’t know how the system works over there, but if a prospect spent 3 years in the Yankee farm system and then when he was ready decided he wanted to go free agent and play in Japan, I’d be pretty pissed.

      Also, isn’t it the prerogative of the Yankees to sign whomever they choose? If they have business with the Yomiyuri Giants that would be jeopardized by signing him, then its their call to pass.

  • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

    T.I. is on the sideline of the Miami-GT game… he looks like he’s 4’9″.

  • Mike Pop

    So whaat bout my idea ? Do you give up Melancon for David ?

    • Steve H

      No. Position players hit the market more regularly than pitchers, and are more reliable. I’d rather develop pitching and pay for hitting, in general.

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

      No. DeJesus is good, but not worth giving up our closer of the future for. Mariano is not going to be here forever, and I don’t want any temptation to do anything stupid like move Joba back to the pen or overpay for some 2010 K-Rod equivalent.

      • Steve H

        Dejesus was good this year. He wasn’t very good in 2007, and he’s been slightly above average otherwise. Amazingly, he’s twice been in the top 10 in time caught stealing, yet stole just 8 and 11 bases during those years. So he’s a decent average/obp guy, no power or speed. Can’t we find those guys easily enough without sacrificing God’s hopeful replacement? Yes we can.

    • Ivan

      To me, nah.

    • UWS

      No.

    • A.D.

      Melancon could be real exciting real soon, I think cash could get it done with a package of lesser talent.

  • Mike Pop

    Okaay then

  • J-Gao

    What about Nate McLouth? Is he on the radar? How much more would it take to get him? Kennedy, and some of the right-handed relievers (Kontos, Veras, Ramirez, Britton, Robertson, etc.)?

    Too bad we missed out on Viciedo. On the topic of Cuban players – is Gourriel ever going to see the Majors?

    • Ivan

      That package is not gonna get McLouth. Plus, McLouth is a pretty poor CFer defensively and is really a corner OFer. Im not a big McLouth fan and his second half #’s were not good either.

      • Steve H

        but he won a gold glove!!!. agreed, a big no to mcclouth.

        • Mike Pop

          I would deal a package like that for McClouth even though I dont like him.. Much rather go for David though

    • Steve

      McLouth isn’t available according to Huntington. I know Francesa keeps pushing the idea, but its been shot down numerous times.

      http://www.baseball-reference.com/m/mclouna01.shtml

      Look up his stats, his power numbers surged in the first half and then faded last year to more of his career norms in the second half, and his career norms are kinda shitty (though he has shown some yearly improvement). Plus, he’s a HIDEOUS CFer. His plus/minus rating was something like -30 this year.

      • J-Gao

        http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2008/10/15/634867/best-center-fielders-of-20

        Interesting post.

        So how about the availability of Jody Gerut? Never heard him mentioned. But Padres would probably listen for anyone.

        • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

          Jody Gerut? What are we, catfish?

          • Mike Pop

            Lets go get Corey Patterson baby !

          • J-Gao

            Gerut hit .296/.351/.494 last year (.845 OPS), with 14 HR, and above average defense in PETCO.

            • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

              He’s also 31 years old, was out of pro baseball the two years before that, and hit .253/.330/.347 back in ’05 in his big league stint prior to his exile.

              If you really think he’s going to continue OPS’ing .845 over an extended stretch, you’re braver than I am.

              • steve (different one)

                if the price was right, i would be open to Gerut as a short term option.

  • pat

    at least spitzer got caught banging a hot hooker.

    • Steve

      for 10 Gs a pop I would hope so.

      • Mike Pop

        That musta been some GOOD ass

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

      Spitzer was a moron. Possibly the dumbest politician ever. How a former prosecutor failed to comprehend that his tracks would be that easy to follow is beyond me.

      • pat

        guys like that think they’re above the law

        • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

          I mean, I can understand Kwame Kilpatrick and David Vitter being dumb-asses, but Spitzer prosecuted the very same dumb-asses using the very same tactics that were used against him.

          If I’m a former prosecutor, the minute I start transferring large sums of money between accounts to pay for prostitutes, huge alarm bells are going off in my head saying: “Eliot, what the fuck are you doing? You KNOW this is going to show up on a report somewhere like 10 minutes from now, and someone is going to investigate this.”

  • Mike Pop
    • Steve

      I think these are generally bad ideas when dealing with free agents, who can go where ever they choose. I suspect the Angels deadline for Tex will backfire on them, especially with Boras as his agent.

      This could be an attempt by Hal to not look desperate to sign him, but it doesn’t make him any more likely to sign. If anything, a bit less.

  • E-ROC

    I agree with Cashman’s stance. If there is a gentleman’s agreement in place, major clubs should not be signing Junichi Tazawa. I don’t want Japanes baseball leagues to go out of business. Plus, it’s great to see Bobby Valentine succeed there.

    I don’t know if this has been posted but Hal has set a deadline, sorta, for Sabathia to sign their offered contract.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3716104&campaign=rss&source=MLBHeadlines

    • Mike Pop

      Same time dude … Nice

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

      Hal saying that there’s a deadline + Hal not saying what the deadline is = there’s no deadline

      • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

        Hal saying “We’ve made him an offer. It’s not going to be there forever” = Hal saying “I like to eat ice cream, and I really enjoy a nice pair of slacks”

        • http://img.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2008/02_01/burressDM0402_468x305.jpg Nady Nation

          I love lamp

          • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

            Nady, are you just looking at things in the office and saying you love them?

            • Mike Pop

              I will take your mother out to a nice seafood dinner and NEVER call her again!

            • http://img.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2008/02_01/burressDM0402_468x305.jpg Nady Nation

              I love carpet. I love desk.

      • Mike Pop

        I believe there is some sort of deadline.. If we are feeling he doesnt want to be here we are going to go hard after Tex. Like many have said we are not gonna miss out on the top player available again. That backfired last time with the Unit and Beltran

      • Murph1010

        You would think after last offseason he would know that nobody believes him

        • steve (different one)

          this is Hal, not Hank.

  • Murph1010

    Mike Pop do you have like another internet window open for mlbtr? and just constantly refresh after every 2 minutes? It’s like you constantly have all that site’s stories up on here 2 minutes after they were posted

    • Mike Pop

      Every minute or so I do. Your probably right though considering that was posted on MLBTR about a half hour ago.

      • Murph1010

        No big deal, my roommate that posts on here noticed it too. It is actually quite impressive.

        • Mike Pop

          I didnt think I did that. Are you confusing me with update steve ?

        • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

          DON’T ACT LIKE YOU’RE NOT IMPRESSED…

          • Mike Pop

            Ohh, it’s the deep burn. Oh, it’s so deep. Oh, I can barely lift my right arm ’cause I did so many. I don’t know if you heard me counting. I did over a thousand.

            • Eric

              If you were a man I’d punch you. I’d punch you right in the mouth.

  • Steve

    Jason Stark

    “• Yankees pitcher Phil Hughes (1-0, 3.60 ERA, 28 K’s, 25 IP): “Saw him two games, and he cruised. He dominated, and he should. His curveball was very sharp. All those people who think he’s lost his luster — no way. Hell, he’d be our No. 2 starter right now.” ”

    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/columns/story?columnist=stark_jayson&page=rumblings

    Those numbers are a bit outdated, he finished 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA wit good SO and BB numbers.

    http://mlb.mlb.com/milb/stats/org.jsp?id=nyy

  • Steve

    Jason Stark

    “• Yankees pitcher Phil Hughes (1-0, 3.60 ERA, 28 K’s, 25 IP): “Saw him two games, and he cruised. He dominated, and he should. His curveball was very sharp. All those people who think he’s lost his luster — no way. Hell, he’d be our No. 2 starter right now.” ”

    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/columns/story?columnist=stark_jayson&page=rumblings

    Those numbers are a bit outdated, he finished 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA wit good SO and BB numbers.

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

      Since he was quoting other team’s scouts, I’m curious as to which team that guy was referring to where Phil would be their #2 right now.

      Nationals? Astros? Hell, Phil Hughes might be the #1 pitcher on the Texas Rangers right now…

      • Steve

        As long as it wasn’t someone from the Long Island Ducks.

    • Conan the Barack O’Brian

      Should be noted that this is a random scout quote; not Stark revealing his bias by saying Hughes is better than Matsuzaka and second to Lester;)

    • pat

      dude u messed up that quote

      All those people who think he’s lost his luster — no way. Hell, he’d be our No. 2 starter right now if we were to create a rotation comprised entirely of washed up noodle arm glass jaw pillowbiters

  • Conan the Barack O’Brian

    Does anybody think that we stand a chance on Burnett or Lowe w/o a five-year offer? Of course nobody wants that, but we have to get CC or we might need to offer a 5-year to one of their ilk. Like Mike said on the radio show, it only takes one team…

    • Steve

      If he gets a 4 year offer from us (17.5 per/70 mil), and a 5 year offer from Baltimore (16 per/80 mil) then let him go play in Baltimore.

      • Conan the Barack O’Brian

        Absolutely. But we have to feel pretty optimistic about cc if we hope to improve the rotation, b/c the outlook with burnett and lowe is looking a bit uglier, thanks to their agent responses to our baseline offers.

        Clearly, I’m going through Moosapause.

        • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

          I feel confident about CC. I feel confident that, even if Frisco goes all looneytunes and drops a 6/130, we’ll turn around and counteroffer a 6/150 or a 6/160 and remind him that we’re the Yankees and that the Giants have sucked since they played in the Polo Grounds.

          • Mike Pop

            CC really isnt worth all that but I agree we need to get him

            • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

              I doubt it plays out like that. Just saying, we won’t miss out on CC.

              I think in a week or two, he takes our 6/140 and that’s that.

              • Mike Pop

                Ya but how will the contract p,ay out Tommie ? HOW WILL IT PLAY OUT

          • Steve

            There is no way on God’s green earth that Sabean can survive ANOTHER fiasco on a pitcher. God forbid he gets hurt, he’d be fired immediately. Too risky.

            Plus, his team heeds hitters more than anything else. They have a nice rotation already, but zilch in the lineup.

            • Mike Pop

              And apparently Peavy could approve a trade there.. I read today that Axelrod aid the NL West could intrigue Peavy besides the Rockies. Imagine if they just went all out. Id love to see it. Lincecum, Peavy,Cain, CC, and Sanchez or Zito.. Haha that would be something crazy.. They prob still wouldnt make the playoffs..

              Now real question is this.. Who wins in a JOba/Wang for Linc/Cain trade ? Would you do it

            • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

              Exactly. I still think all the Giants stuff is all BS. Just saying, even on the outside chance it’s true, we’ll still go over the top on anybody.

              • Mike Pop

                Problem is CC doesnt care about the money, he will never go to the Yankees no matter what happens. He would take a 3 year 45 million dollar deal with the Dodgers before he would sign the largest contract for a pitcher in history simply because he hates the Yankees.
                for rspn ….etc

                Once again its your line

    • Mike Pop

      Yes I do think we do.. Why I do think that someone will offer AJ 5, I dont think Lowe is as likely to get 5.

  • Mike Pop

    A) When does Grady become a free agent? B) What kind of a chance do we have at him ?

  • pat

    yo ben what subway lines are they shutting down?

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

      Decreasing service on the J, Z, and Q is what I heard. Dunno about “shutting down” any lines.

      They may shut down a few bus lines, like the Crosstown through the Village…

    • UWS

      http://secondavenuesagas.com/

      Reader’s Digest version: bye-bye W and Z lines.

      • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

        What?!?! THAT WEBSITE SUCKS BALLS, HOW DARE YOU LINK TO IT!!!

        Ben, ban this fucker immediately.

        • UWS

          i think the word you’re looking for is “slut.”

          • pat

            thats what the S stands for right? and the UW means ugly weird?

            • UWS

              You, sir, get a cookie.

              • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

                Seriously, though, can I ask what UWS stands for? I’m always curious as to how people choose their names…

                • UWS

                  What, Ugly Weird Slut isn’t good enough for ya?

                  In seriousness, it stands for Upper West Side, cuz that’s where I live, and I wasn’t feeling particularly imaginative when I chose my handle for this place. Lame, I know.

                • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

                  Hey, rep yo’ hood.

                  From now on, though, it’s Ugly Weird Slut.

                  Mo it is written, Mo it shall be done.

                • UWS

                  Amen.

          • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

            Again, I’m not going to be blamed for everyone calling you a slut. I’m sure you’re a lovely young woman who respects herself and has class…

            …DAMN, I almost made it through that with a straight face.

      • pat

        ah thanx for the link i knew he did something subway related

  • Mike Pop

    I love using the “real question” line haha

  • Clay

    In Soviety Russia, Burnett hurt you!

    • Conan the Barack O’Brian

      Don’t know what you’re sayin’, but I have to ask:
      Is there an Aiken your Buccholz, Clay?

      (brow lowers)

  • Tim Sherman

    You have got to be kidding. Since when have the Japanese been either gentlemen or honorable when it comes to business? Take a look at their huge tariffs on imports designed to make it virtually impossible to export products to that country. By their own standards, “business is war”. Americans need to do what they need to do without worrying about offending the Japanese. They certainly aren’t worried about offending us.

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

      Xenophobic racism FTW!

  • Tim McLeod

    A couple of points here to clarify the Tazawa issue,
    1. This is not a situation where any raiding is occuring. Tazawa as a free agent has expressed a desire to play in MLB and has been above board in notifying both the NPB and MLB of his wishes. He has that right and has chosen to exercise it.
    2. How is this going to affect any future dealings with NPB teams? Players don’t achieve International free-agency until after 9 years of service time at which point they are free agents, and the posting procedure is a cut and dry process.
    3. As far as Cashman’s working agreement with Yomuiri, he has nothing to lose as Yomuiri refuses to recognize the posting procedure and once players have been granted free-agency they are just that. After Irabu and Igawa are the Yankees willing to gamble on NPB pitching right about now? Easy decision for the Yanks and Cashman to stay away from this one I believe.
    This is simply a case of the NPB over-reacting to a situation that they have no control over. Way to much is being made of way to little here.