Holiday Weekend Open Thread


Hope everyone had a great Christmas, and for those of you don’t celebrate, I hope the last few days have been pretty awesome as well. Now that Masahiro Tanaka has been posted, there isn’t much baseball news out there right now. The hot stove always slows to a crawl around the holidays. I don’t think that’s a bad thing either. The break is nice.

Just a heads up, I’m planning to re-use this as the nightly open thread through the end of the weekend just because I suspect many of you have already started your weekends. Talk about whatever right here. Enjoy.

Categories : Open Thread


  1. LitFig says:

    According to Yahoo, Shin Soo Choo and the Rangers have agreed to a 7 year/ 130M contract.

    My take on this deal is they would have been better off signing Josh Hamilton a year ago than paying Choo that money.

    I know the sport is flush with money, but the idea that the Choo’s and Ellsbury’s of the sport are getting 7 year contracts. They are talented, but have serious flaws in their games.

    • LitFig says:

      * 7 years contracts baffles me.


    • forensic says:

      Choo and Ellsbury have serious flaws but you’d think they would’ve been better off signing Hamilton??? It’s a slightly shorter contract, but it’s even more money than Choo and is already considered a disaster contract.

      • JobaWockeeZ says:

        It’s only a disaster depending on perspective.

        • forensic says:

          As in, if you hate the Angels like me, then it’s an awesome contract and not a disaster contract? :-)

          I just hope it doesn’t become Vernon Wells Part II in a few years.

          • LitFig says:

            Oh, don’t get me wrong. Hamilton would’ve been a risk. But it’s a shorter contract, and Hamilton is a higher impact offensive player than either one (at least at the time of Free Agency).

            Choo has been bad against lefties and is generally substandard on defense.

            Ellsbury hasn’t shown much power, and is a leadoff hitter without great OBP skills. We basically are paying $22M per for Brett Gardner on steroids.

  2. forensic says:

    Somebody wake up Cashman! I can’t believe Tanaka is not in pinstripes yet. It’s absurd how long Cashman is taking to get this done.

  3. Hip Contusion says:

    What’s the latest on Balfour? Any news??

    • Joseph says:

      Most likely the Yanks are waiting on Arod and Tanaka to see if they are going to be frugal or frivolous. They’d like Balfour if he fits there plans which are STBD*. *Still to be determined

  4. OldYanksFan says:

    The history of Japanese starters in Major League Baseball is rather sparse – only forty-one pitchers have come stateside, and only a dozen of those were starters for the majority of their career.

    Hisashi Iwakuma – 345 IP, 131 ERA+, 6.0 bWAR per 162
    Yu Darvish – 401 IP, 127 ERA+, 5.9 bWAR per 162
    Hiroki Kuroda – 1120 IP, 118 ERA+, 4.1 bWAR per 162
    Tomo Ohka – 1070 IP, 105 ERA+, 2.6 bWAR per 162
    Masato Yoshii – 757.1 IP, 101 ERA+, 2.3 bWAR per 162
    Daisuke Matsuzaka – 707 IP, 100 ERA+, 3.0 bWAR per 162
    Hideo Nomo – 1976.1 IP, 97 ERA+, 2.8 bWAR per 162
    Kenshin Kawakami – 243.2 IP, 94 ERA+, 1.4 bWAR per 162
    Kazuhisa Ishii – 564 IP, 90 ERA+, 0.6 bWAR per 162
    Hideki Irabu – 514 IP, 89 ERA+, 1.6 bWAR per 162
    Mac Suzuki – 465.2 IP, 86 ERA+, 0.6 bWAR per 162
    Kei Igawa – 71.2 IP, 68 ERA+, -0.9 bWAR per 162

    • OldYanksFan says:

      Opps…. from IIATMS.

    • forensic says:

      I’m not really sure this tells us anything, especially since it’s only Japanese-born starters. It doesn’t include guys like Wei-Yin Chen who was born elsewhere (Taiwan, for him) and then pitched several years in Japan before coming to MLB.

    • Dalek Jeter says:

      How is that any more relevant to Tanaka than the history of Florida born starters is relevant to Bronson Arroyo? Or how is it any more relevant than the history of California born pitchers to Garza?

      My point is literally every single on of those guys has a different level of work ethic, different stuff, different levels of control, different level of mental toughness, pitched against different talent, had different routines, and had different bodies. Just because they come from the same country isn’t any sort of indicator of how well they would pitch, and the same can be said for Tanaka.

      • FIPster Doofus says:


      • Mr. Roth says:

        Yeah dude, but Americans have higher ceilings than Japanese players.



      • RetroRob says:

        In addition, we should consider that the scouting and understanding of players transitioning from Japan has improved. Japanese baseball has also improved by learning from their players coming to MLB.

        Tanaka gets compared to Kuroda. That would be a good thing. A 25-year-old Kuroda.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner says:


        • CashmanNinja says:

          You make a VERY important point with the improvement of scouting and the transition. The scouting is nothing like it used to be. Teams didn’t send entire scouting groups to see guys pitch all the time. They’d send 1 or 2 guys to get a look at a guy pitching in 1 or 2 games and judge everything based off that. They didn’t try to look at the personality and see how they’d cope. It wasn’t even a calculated risk. It was just a guess. That’s why Igawa was such a crappy signing. The Yankees wanted Matsuzaka (who was great in Japan and actually had decent “stuff”, but once he got hurt there was no coming back). They missed out on him and panicked by getting Igawa. They hadn’t scouted him. The Yankees threw a ton of money at him via the posting process and they won. It was kind of a “shit, what do we do now? I dunno…I guess take 1/2 the money we were going to spend and try and get this dude.” Igawa was a good pitcher in Japan, but overall he wasn’t suited well to make the transition to MLB. He relied more on fooling hitters with offspeed stuff. That worked in Japan because their hitters are much more aggressive. It didn’t fly here and he got smacked around. Cashman knew NOTHING about him. He didn’t know how hard he threw or even what pitches he threw. That’s because they did NO homework on him since it was a panic move. If they had done their homework there’s no way they’d have given him damn near anything. Tanaka is another situation because he’s simply much better than Igawa was and has the stuff to translate well to the majors.

      • Mr. Roth says:

        It might be a little better to take the stats of the player in Japan and compare them to their stats for their first couple of years they played in MLB. More of an apples to apples comparison.

      • WhittakerWalt says:

        I didn’t read it as an ethnicity issue. I think it’s just an analysis of the transition from Japanese baseball to baseball in the States. I think most of us agree that MLB has the best players in the world?
        So it’s just a comparison of where you played, not where you’re from.

        • OldYanksFan says:

          Thank you.
          Everyone else is bothering to be defensive or PC.
          This is not about Japanese PLAYERS, it’s about the level of competition you have playing in Japan vs the level of competition you have playing in playing in MLB. It is also about the difference between the way the game is played, and how that if effected by the transition.

          We have to get Tanaka, simply because if we wish to be competitive THIS year, we need him. Will ultimately paying $20m/yr for 6 or 7 years be smart for our future? Hard sayin’ not knowin’. But it seems to me we are heading down the same ole road.

          From what I’ve seen is Tanaka, on average, sits around 89-90 mph, and likes his FB up in the zone. His slider is excellent, although it doesn’t have the radical drop that early Joba had.

          Only THREE Japanese SPs in history with an ERA+ over 110. So we probably get a good #3 from Tanaka.

          • forensic says:

            Hey, don’t say everyone else when my reply was clearly in the realm that you’re speaking of, with other players that weren’t included in his BR sort.

          • WhittakerWalt says:

            Right, it’s just about level of competition. It could just as easily be a list of, I don’t know, Dominican players who played in the Japanese league first then came to the States (not that this is a real large number). How much does success there translate to success here, and vice versa? We’ve seen washed-up MLB players go to Japan and dominate, and in the other direction we’ve seen “the next Nolan Ryan” Hideki Irabu come here and be… Hideki Irabu.

            With all that said, I’m all aboard the Tanaka Express.

  5. Ironbow says:

    Ellsbury will turn out to be a much better signing than Choo, if he stays healthy.

  6. Now Batting says:

    I have no idea how NPB stats translate to MLB. Maybe Japanese hitters are more contact oriented but Tanakas low K/9 worries me.

    • forensic says:

      They are much more aggressive and contact oriented hitters, whereas there’s more power and patience in MLB. I remember a good appearance that C.J. Nitkowski (who pitched a few years in Japan) did on Clubhouse Confidential where it’s very difficult to try to translate the stats over. You really need to more just look at the stuff of each pitcher. There are so many differences (workload, days off, the ball, the dirt, the umpires, etc.) that it’s more than just attempting to translate the stats like you might try with MiLB stats.

      • RetroRob says:

        Similar is watching hitters from the 1970s. More players choked up, became more defensive with two strikes, more upper-body hitters designed for contact, less power. Charlie Lau style of hitting. So, yes, strike outs for pitchers were more difficult…well, unless you’re Nolan Ryan type.

    • MS says:

      This. I wouldn’t mind a 25 year old who dominated Japan for a contract under 80 million, but a 120-130 guaranteed contract is insane. How will challenging MLB hitters high in the zone with a low 90s fastball work out?

      Anyone else would prefer Jimenez and Santana on 5/50 and 5/70 over Tanaka for 6-120?

      • mustang says:

        I don’t like Jimenez or Santana rather go Arroyo if your going cheap. But I also think that it’s not going to go to 20 mm for 6. I’m thinking 7 for 105 that’s 5mm more a year and one year more then Darvish. The common opinion is that Tanaka will break the 100mm mark and I agree but I don’t think it will be by that much. Then again all that it takes is one team as we all know.

        • RetroRob says:

          Lots of interest, lots of money in the game, a true free agent bidding war. People will be surprised.

          • mustang says:

            I also think that marketing and a winning situation also plays a role. Does Tanaka want play in obscurity with the Cubs or Astros for the next few years or jump into the LA or New York spotlight and be on a contender?

            • RetroRob says:

              It will come down the money, but that’s why I feel confident in the Yankees’ chances. Even if another team matches them, they have the history and the brand. And if Tanaka wants to reach out to fellow countrymen who made the move, I’d certainly think it would help if Matsui, Kuroda and even Ichiro (if he does such things) gave their perspective.

              • Now Batting says:

                He’s signing with the team that values his ability the most (i.e., pays the most). You’re playing with yourself if you think brand/history/agent or player ties will influence his decision.

                • Now Batting says:

                  And by “you’re” I don’t mean you Retrorob (just in case).

                  • RetroRob says:

                    I did mention brand/history, but as a secondary after money. If all else is equal, having a history (and I’m talking about a history of winning) won’t hurt the Yankees’ chances, nor will have the Yankee brand. But, once again, only after the dollars, especially at this point in his career when he is going in for his first big financial pay day.

                • mustang says:

                  Yep, I forgot you have the insight into what all players value most. It’s not like players don’t sign for less or have teams they dream of playing on and agents don’t influence players at all. This of course comes with your deep knowledge of Tanaka’s thinking since you and him are hanging out for New Years.

                  Got it my bad.

  7. Macho Man "Randy Levine" says:

    R.I.P. Paul “Motormouth” Blair.

    • RetroRob says:

      Yikes. I saw him play, although it was past his prime. Somehow feels worse when players I actually saw play die.

      He was bowling.

    • dkidd says:

      strange fact: blair won as many rings with the yankees (77 & 78) as he did with the o’s (66 & 70)

      wish there was more footage of him playing center field in his prime

      • forensic says:

        Also, his postseason OPS of .684 in 161 PA’s (not an insignificant number of appearances considering the fewer number of rounds) is exactly the same as his regular season OPS in over 6600 PA’s.

        • nsalem says:

          He won Game 1 of the 1977 WS with a walk-off single in the bottom of th 12th. It was a ig deal considering the Yankees performance in the 1976 WS.

      • RetroRob says:

        The Orioles put together some ridiculous defensive teams. Belanger at short (who along with Ozzie Smith were the best I’ve seen there), Grich at second, Brooks at third, Blair in center, defensive standouts like Hendricks, Etchebarren and then Dempsey at catcher. The areas where they’d skimp on defense were from positions and players they expected major offensive production, such as Frank Robinson in right, Singleton later, Boog Powell at first.

        Trying to think of some more recent team that had that many standout defenders. Can’t off the top of head.

        • Kosmo says:

          The mid-70s Reds ? Bench-Rose-Concepcion-Morgan-Geronimo-Griffey.
          Late 60s Pirates ? Maz-Alley-Clemente
          Late 70s Phillies ? Maddox-Schmidt-Bowa-Trillo-Boone

  8. Lysol says:

    Paul Blair is dead. RIP.

  9. nycsportzfan says:

    I miss the yanks =-(

  10. greatbambino says:

    I wish we just signed YU DARVISH a couple years ago..

    Yu Darvish = Pedro Martinez. Tanaka = Kuroda/Dan Haren.

    And Tanaka’s going to get paid even more than Darvish. I know there’s the difference in the posting fee now, but it makes absolutely no sense in terms of talent.

  11. OldYanksFan says:

    Oh…. and here’s something radical.
    I would not trade Gardner… but I would test the waters and see if we could get anything for Soriano.

    Over the last 6 years, Sori has averaged under 1/bWar per year.
    In his 7 years with the Cubs, Sori has averaged about 1.1/bWar per year.
    About 70% of SP is RH’ed. In 2013, Sori posted a .735 OPS against RHP.
    It’s great to have some RHB power, but ultimately, LH’ers do better at YSIII.

    Sori has no future with us past this year… Gritner does.

    The question is…. can we get anything back for Soriano?

    • forensic says:

      There’s a reason the Yankees were able to get him for only Corey Black. There’s approximately zero chance he repeats his historic run through part of the time he was in NY and I think he will end up being a huge disappointment to many fans and a could be big drag on the team next season.

      I don’t see anyway he gets the Yankees anything in a trade.

      • nsalem says:

        Hoping Soriano could be MarcusThames 2010 or Andruw Jones 2011.

      • Alkaline says:

        Plus he’s pretty much our current RH power option, right? I don’t know Tex’s numbers offhand.

        • forensic says:

          Depending on what happens with A-Rod, yeah he’s it (well, other than Brendan Ryan, of course…).

          Both Tex and Beltran have generally been better batting righty vs. lefty, though.

          • forensic says:

            Of course, people like to obsess about thinking the Yankees desperately need a RH power bat (I think taking it from Mike’s lead), but I don’t agree. They have the two switch-hitters in Tex and Beltran. From the right side they have Soriano (and possibly A-Rod) and from the left side they have McCann.

            Beyond that, they have Gardner, Ellsbury, Jeter, and Roberts. The closest thing to another power bat is probably Kelly Johnson, which is a bit of a stretch.

            With Tex and Beltran generally being better righties than lefties and the possibility of A-Rod appearing at some point, I think they actually already have more righty power than lefty power.

            • vicki says:

              don’t forget ichi’s reverse splits!

            • pft2 says:

              Its unknown how Tex wrist injury affects him from the right side of the plate this year. Usually wrist injuries linger for a year and his wrist affects him from the right side the most.

              Also Beltran was 252/.281/.448 against LHP’ers last year

              Its a lineup that looks pretty susceptible to LHP’ers

              • forensic says:

                Also Beltran was 252/.281/.448 against LHP’ers last year

                Yes, but he was better against lefties for each of the six years prior to that, as well as over the course of his career. Hence why I said generally better righty than lefty.

                his wrist affects him from the right side the most.

                Actually, it’s been said that his wrist mainly (they even used the word ‘only’) bothered him hitting from the left side, not the right side. This is also shown in his numbers from last season (SSS warning).

                • pft2 says:

                  Your right on Tex, I mixed it up. As for Beltran, not sure if you start your decline from 1 side earlier than the other, if not he should regress and hit LHP’ers better than last year.

  12. OldYanksFan says:

    Oh…. and when the arguments fly, bear in mind that Sori will be 38 in 2014. I quoted his last 7 years of production. His line of: .256 .325 .525 .850 for the Yankees in 2013 was based on 219 AB.

    Which numbers are probably more reflective going forward?

  13. Dave M says:

    Sad news guys. Paul Blair, who played for the Yanks as a backup OF in the mid to late 70′s passed away. He was more known as the CF for the Orioles in his prime during the late 60′s and early 70′s.

  14. Blojo says:

    Is ARoid gone for good yet ?

  15. nycsportzfan says:

    This lineup is gonna be nuts. I keep thinking about the great yankee bottom of the orders they had during those late 90′s title runs. Now i look at this upcoming seasons team, and i really like the balance from 1-9 in the lineup. This team has the potential to be the best offensive team in baseball.
    Say we open against a RHP(just example)
    Jacoby Ellsbury CF
    Derek Jeter SS
    Carlos Beltran DH
    Mark Texiera 1B
    Brian McCann C
    Alphonso Soriano RF
    Kelly Johnson 3B
    Brian Roberts 2B
    Brett Gardner LF

    That lineup 1-9 is a tough out with a nice mix of power,speed,overall hitting..etc Thats a beastly lineup!

    • forensic says:

      You might be the most optimistic person on earth.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner says:

      That’s pretty optimistic of you. I still say 2B and 3B are black holes right now.

      Also, for the love of God, Alfonso. I promised I wouldn’t take grammar cheap shots, but that’s like fingernails on a blackboard.

      • forensic says:

        Also, for the love of God, Alfonso.

        lol, thank you! He also did it with ‘Raphael’ DePaula a couple of threads ago.

        • nycsportzfan says:

          Whoa dude!!!(sarcasm)

          • jjyank says:

            No. Just spell it right. It’s not hard (actually, you’d even save yourself typing a letter, so it’s even easier!) and it’s been pointed out several times. Spell the player’s name right, especially when it’s an easy name. This is way beyond just a typo. Every. Time.


      • nycsportzfan says:

        Black holes? Assuming health, both Kelly Johnson and Brian Roberts are dangerous hitters, especially when your talking bottom third of a order. The yanks can have Roberts, Gardy, Ells, and Jeets all setting up the heart of the order. Its not optimistic in my opinion, i just think the yanks offense is alittle underrated right now.

        As for Alfonso, i always thought it was spelled Alphonso. Either way, I find it hard to believe that can bug someone that badly??lol

        • forensic says:

          Assuming health? That’s where your problems start. What has Brian Roberts done in years to make you think you can ‘assume health’ with him? And Kelly Johnson is still basically a guy who’ll be maybe a touch over a .300 OBP. He’ll periodically hit one out, which saves him a little, but what has Roberts done in years to tell you he’s dangerous at all?

          And we’re not even discussing the health issues that the rest of the lineup has had, which makes your ‘assuming health’ qualification even worse.

          • nycsportzfan says:

            If players are healthy, you assume they’ll stay healthy. No one predicts injuries. Thats the point. As of now, the bottom of the yankee order looks extremely dangerous, and we have about 4 guys batting in a row from 7-1 that on paper, would seem to be a great quartet of table setters for are big bats. And even the yanks big bats aren’t one dimensional power hitters, but guys who can simply “hit”, which is fantastic. This lineup is underrated and you’ll see that once the season begins.

            • jjyank says:

              I’m an optimistic guy myself, and I do agree that I think the offense has been underrated by some.

              But, come on, you can’t assume health with a guy like Roberts. I’d love from him to prove me wrong, but that’s exactly what he’s gonna have to do for me to have any faith in him.

              • nycsportzfan says:

                You give a guy 3million dollars because you don’t assume health? The yanks paid for his services thinking they are gonna get a full seasons production outta him. Thats what i always think untill proven otherwise. Anyone can get hurt, and on any given yr, anyone can stay healthy.

    • pft2 says:

      Jeter and Roberts are potential holes, and the lineup looks like it can be shut down by LHP’ers. However, it is a stronger lineup than what we saw most of last year, if it can stay healthy, and if Tex wrist injury does not linger.

      • nycsportzfan says:

        Jeter and Roberts are potential studs as well. Jeter has one true injury plagued injured season and now hes a black hole? I’ll take my chances that hes gonna go out with a bang. As for Roberts, hes had all sorts of injuries but stayed healthy after returning last season and is healthy as of now. The yanks gave him 3million dollars because they expect him to be healthy.

    • sevrox says:

      Agreed with that lineup’s potential – don’t let the screenstaring naysayers get ye down.

    • Yanks20 says:

      Switch Ellsbury and Jeter…it avoids too many lefties bunched together (Johnson, Gardner, Ellsbury all lefty) with only switch hitter Roberts between them.

  16. Tom says:

    For every Yu Darvish there is a Kai Igawa. I guess the Yanks are hoping Tanaka will at worst be in between the two ( a solid 3 or 4 starter) or the Darvish Type and be an ace.

    The amount of interested from other teams on him proves he is the real deal.

    If we think about it the Yankees have a lot of good options for the 4th and 5th starter spots.
    1) Phelps pitched solid last year beofre he got hurt
    2) Nuno in a brief stint looked amazing
    3) Pineda is a wildcard but WAS a great starter
    4) Warren was also very solid in all roles last year

    4 guys who are young and will by Hungry in spring training to earn a spot

    • pft2 says:

      Keep in mind most teams need 8 or more starters to get them through a season due to injuries. I would include Banuelos as someone who could help by the ASB. The problem is that neither CC, Nova or Kuroda is really more than a # 2 or # 3 SP’er at this point. They don’t have a real ace unless CC can bounce back.

  17. GOING GOING GONE says:

    This is how I see the Tanaka negotiations going down; would like to know what others think.

    1. Cashman calls Close and after some cordial small talk reiterates the Yankees want Tanaka and tells him due to the relationship he will not make an initial low-ball offer, but a serious one to start. He’ll call him in a few days with offer.

    2. Cashman offers six years and $108 million with a $5 million signing bonus for a total deal value of $113 million.

    3. Close tells Cashman he will run it by Tanaka and they will be going through the process with other teams and he will get back to him. Close says that before a deal is made he will give all teams a last look to see if they want to match what’s on the table.

    4. Close tells all interested teams their is an offer on the table for $113 million. Some teams will fold and others may match or up their bid to stay in. So it goes for the month.

    5. Process finishes by January 24th and at the end Close will get an offer from Cashman of six years and $114 million with an $8 million signing bonus for a total deal value of $122 million. Includes a seventh year option, no trade clause and an opt out after four years. This gets Tanaka to agree and sign with the Yankees.

    Potential Dealbreaker: Tanaka who is an unknown pulls a Cliff Lee and for whatever reason, wife, family, etc., decides he doesn’t want to play in New York City and he prefers the shorter flight and Japanese communities that the West Coast teams can offer. (Dodgers, Giants, Seattle)

    Unlikely Nightmare Scenario: Ben Cherington with owners support outbid and outsell the Yankees and Tanaka signs with the Sox.

    • Blojo says:

      GOING GOING GONE says:
      December 27, 2013 at 9:03 pm

      This is how I see the Tanaka negotiations going down; would like to know what others think.

      1. Cashman calls Close and after some cordial small talk reiterates the Yankees want Tanaka and tells him due to the relationship he will not make an initial low-ball offer, but a serious one to start. He’ll call him in a few days with offer.

      ** Offer of 6 @ $120 to start, weeds out the wannabes …. prob already made an offer this morning.

      2. Cashman offers six years and $108 million with a $5 million signing bonus for a total deal value of $113 million.

      ** 6 @ $120 with a $5 mil. signing bonus

      3. Close tells Cashman he will run it by Tanaka and they will be going through the process with other teams and he will get back to him. Close says that before a deal is made he will give all teams a last look to see if they want to match what’s on the table.

      ** BS game to see if he can get a better offer. That’s just part of the process tho …….

      4. Close tells all interested teams their is an offer on the table for $113 million. Some teams will fold and others may match or up their bid to stay in. So it goes for the month.

      ** 2 – 3 weeks max. Yankees aren’t messin around. After all its only $ (see Aroid & Igawa)

      5. Process finishes by January 24th and at the end Close will get an offer from Cashman of six years and $114 million with an $8 million signing bonus for a total deal value of $122 million. Includes a seventh year option, no trade clause and an opt out after four years. This gets Tanaka to agree and sign with the Yankees.

      ** 7th year mutual option, full no trade, no opt out as he’s done squat in MLB. Total offer may go as high as $140

      Potential Dealbreaker: Tanaka who is an unknown pulls a Cliff Lee and for whatever reason, wife, family, etc., decides he doesn’t want to play in New York City and he prefers the shorter flight and Japanese communities that the West Coast teams can offer. (Dodgers, Giants, Seattle)

      ** Cross off Seattle (already shot their wad on Cano) Dodgers (Kershaw comes first) NYY = most $$$’s

      Unlikely Nightmare Scenario: Ben Cherington with owners support outbid and outsell the Yankees and Tanaka signs with the Sox.

      ** Cherington has a coronary when he hears the final offer, falls to the floor screaming … !!@&%$!!*#%!! EVIL EMPIRE !!! – STEINBRENNERS !!!!! First Ellsbury, now this ! Hospitalized till Spring Training when he recovers to watch Tanaka go 21-5, 2.18 ERA with 260 K’s and lead the NYY into the playoffs.

      • GOING GOING GONE says:

        Won’t go anywhere near $140. No need to, no one will be close to that.

      • RetroRob says:

        I’ve heard the “shorter flight” issue mentioned before as a plus for west coast teams. Does anyone really think the extra few hours back home for the couple of times a year a player gets on a jet back to Japan will make any difference at all?

        The player is here during the season and will fly home in the offseason. That’s it.

        • forensic says:

          With the amount of money he’s going to get from the Yankees, or any other eastern team, he can just buy a very fast and comfortable jet anyway.

        • GOING GOING GONE says:

          I’m just saying it could be a factor if all things (money) are equal. The Dodgers haven’t really said whether they are interested or not and they certainly have the bucks to be in this thing. And the flight was just one thing mentioned in that context; there’s family, community, etc. I’m not saying those things are likely to swing anything on their own, but they could be a consideration.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner says:

          You get to “shorter flight” when there is absolutely nothing else to talk about.

          Maybe Tanaka really hates highway traffic. Phobic of it, in fact.

          • Grover says:

            How about the Dodgers being closer to a World Series than the Yankees and being the number three or four starter versus having the pressure of essentially being the number one in New York by the time the season begins? Casey Close is aware of that dynamic. The Dodgers are the most serious threat to the Yankees for this guy but beware a Cano type of offer from Seattle. Just hoping Cashman has Ichiro, Kuroda and Matsui calling this kid and extolling Yankee legend.

            • Jorge Steinbrenner says:

              That’s a bunch of shit.

              You may think they’re “closer.” All I see is a franchise that hasn’t done jack shit with their spending yet.

              Tanaka won’t have the pressure to be the ace. That pressure still falls squarely on the hands of CC Sabathia. Tanaka still slots in at #3 on the Yankees.

              The Dodgers are the biggest thread because they have the biggest willingness to spend. That’s about it. Being paper champions means nothing. If you want to see rings, they’re all at Yankee Stadium.

              Fuck Seattle.

            • RetroRob says:

              The Yankees are easily the best-known and respected baseball brand in Japan. No team is close. Not the Dodgers, not the Mariners, not the Red Sox, not the (fill in the blank).

              The Yankees name will certainly not hurt them in negotiations, yet that said, I don’t think it will help them that much. It is about the money(reference: Cano). The fact that they are the Yankees and consistently have winning teams will play well, but it’s still going to be about the money.

              With that the Dodgers absolutely could be the Yankees biggest competitor because, like the Yankees, they have the money, they have the market, they have the money, they have the team, they have the money, they have the brand, and they have the money. Things like a shorter flight home just won’t play in the equation. It’s one of those nice things that get added in the plus column after the ink has dried on the contract.

              Now I’m not saying a player won’t leave a few million behind if he assesses the overall situation, which is why a team like the Mariners had to overwhelm Cano, yet that just shows it still comes down to the money.

          • I'm One says:

            Maybe Tanaka really hates highway traffic. Phobic of it, in fact.

            I realize this was just an example, but have you ever been in a major city in Japan? That would be a real problem for him.

            But yeah, we don’t know what he cares about and what he doesn’t, so some little thing we think is insignificant could make the difference in the team he selects.

            Also read this morning over at MLBTR that his innings total (over 1300 so far and he’s only 25) could be a concern for some teams. Might keep some teams from offering too much (or might not).

            • Jorge Steinbrenner says:

              I can imagine it must be hellish! I was just thinking of something about LA.

              You’ll drive yourself crazy coming up with infinite possibility and, in that there’s almost nothing to report from now, people’s minds are going to start gravitating.

              We need to also keep in mind that this type of thought process occurs with every single MLB player signing somewhere, just like it happens with every job hunter out there. I won’t take a job in the Bronx right now, despite there probably being some decent opportunities for me there. Too far a commute and I want to be home to my kid as soon as possible. :)

    • pft2 says:

      I think the team that offers the most years and guaranteed dollars adjusted for taxes and cost of living will get Tanaka.

      I think 8 years at 144 will be needed to get it done, with an opt out after 6 years. Add a couple of team options at 18 million AAV which could bring the total to 180 million plus 20 million posting if Tanaka is still pitching well.

      If all else is equal, Tanaka goes for a WC team, NL team, pitchers park over Ny, AL East, hitters park. He may also be looking at which team looks to be competitive during his first few years, and lets face it, the Yankees future is not bright due to the lack of prospects and budget constraints imposed by the 189′ers.

      • vicki says:

        when did all this adjusting for taxes and cost of living business start?

        for years i’ve tried to explain to fans of other teams that this is why the yankees have to overpay, and this is why we necessarily have a higher budget curve than other teams.

        sooo, everybody gets it now?

  18. OldYanksFan says:

    “Raul Ibanez has agreed to a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Angels. Multiple reports previously said the deal is for a $2.75 million base salary and includes incentives that could increase the payout to $5 million.”

    Wow…. old, washed up veterans ain’t as cheap as they used to be!

    • mustang says:

      Not when you have a line like this:

      2013 29 HR 65 RBI .242/.306/.487

      I’m sure the incentives aren’t easy

      • FIPster Doofus says:

        He had to hit 29 HRs just to be worth 0.0 fWAR.

        • RetroRob says:

          wRC+ of 117; OPS+ of 123. Problem was Seattle playing in nearly 100 games in the OF. As a bat, he is certainly worth the price, and in today’s market $2.75MM is not much.

          Question is, when will age catch up to Raul so that his bat to a degree that his bat fails?

          • FIPster Doofus says:

            Yeah, I just thought it was funny that Raul hit 29 dingers and was basically worthless. He’s still a good hitter and I’ll always be a big fan because of 2012.

            • RetroRob says:

              Right, I agree. I’m still not convinced he was worthless even with his fielding, but it does reinforce he should be put in the field as little as possible. It’s interesting that the last two seasons, with the Yankees and then he Mariners, he ended up playing so much in the field. I don’t think that will happen with the Angels, although with Bourjos traded and Trout returning to CF, who the hell are the Angels planning to play in left??! I’m sure I’m forgetting someone here…

            • Darren says:

              Putting aside what WAR says, do you really think Raul Ibanez was “worthless” in 2013? I mean, his defensive flaws are obvious, but to claim that he’s worthless is pretty stupid. Having 0 WAR doesn’t mean he’s worthless. It shows that even finding a replacement level player is hard to do. The Yankees could used his worthlessness last year.

  19. nsalem says:

    If the Tanaka prices get driven up to the 120 million dollars some parties are discussing, I wonder if a team like the Yankees will start contemplating the possibility that they can both Earvin Santana and Ubaldo Jiminez for the same price. Santana is nothing but league average but he has been an innings eater who has been in the top 20 is quality starts 5 of the last 6 years he has been eligible. Jiminez while not as consistent possesses an incredible upside and is in the prime of his career. I’m not advocating this, but considering Tanaka has never pitched here it well may be worth the thought.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner says:

      Someone will. My gut feeling is that the Yankees are going to have a bit higher Tanaka threshold here. They may be setting the market, not walking away from it.

      That being said, yes, of course there’s a point at which this gets ridiculous, and I do hope they see that point if it comes.

      “It’s not your money” seems to have become a popular reactionary phrase on here as of late, and I understand why. Even without a celery cap, and even being the Yankees, what you pay out, and for how long, on which player still does matter.

    • OldYanksFan says:

      I think $120m is a bottom figure.
      Tanaka stated he wanted $17m/yr.
      That’s 6/$17m ($102m) + $20m(posting) = $122m.
      And that’s before teams start bidding against each other.
      Someone will go 6/$20m (or $140m total cost).

  20. Eselquetodolosabe says:

    Came across an interesting head-line today regarding The NBP and the agreed upon, new posting system with MLB. Seems that due to “the cap” on posting fee (20mm), The Rakuten Golden Eagles are trying to find creative ways of circumventing the posting cap. The article intimated that, as appreciation for being posted, Masahiro Tanaka might’ve been “encouraged” to donate money to Rakuten, once a deal was consummated with a MLB Team. For its part, MLB has sworn to prevent such circumvention of the rules. Really MLB ? How are you going to do that ? I don’t know, but to me, it seems a bit presumptuous, intrusive and arrogant. Under the table deals are part of every day life. I wouldn’t be surprised if these deals might already be happening with Cuban prospects. How can you prevent people from giving their own money away ? How can you determine intent and purpose ? Interesting, but predictable, given Rakuten’s loss of significant revenue.

      • Eselquetodolosabe says:

        Thanks. My point exactly regarding “control” of what individuals do with their money, regardless of taxes and reporting concerns. IMO, MLB should tread lightly with this possible donation, lest they be confused for OFAC, trying to regulate movement and acquisition of large sums of money by nefarious organizations, in efforts to stem terrorism. His money. He can burn it if he’d like – of course after paying corresponding taxes to those nations that’d be indignant over such acts.

    • Deep Thoughts says:

      I for one feel relieved to know that MLB stands ready to bring its full ethical and moral authority to bear in order to preserve the integrity of the NPB posting scam–I mean, scheme.

  21. stuckey says:

    “How can you prevent people from giving their own money away?”

    Well, for one assuming Japan has an equivalent to our IRS, I suspect they’d frown upon unreported transfers of 8-figure sums of money.

    “Under the table” deals are almost always in violation of tax law, which certainly serves as a significant deterrent.

    A suitcase full of 5 and 6-figure sums to players with indeterminate legal citizenship issues is one thing, but a private individual or U.S. ballclub, trying to “gift” a professional organization a significant sum of money on the scale if would put a dent in this process is quite another, and highly unlikely, given it’s extreme (though presumed) illegality.

  22. Bavarian Yankee says:

    those late december days are always the worst of the year when it comes to baseball. There’s just nothing happening for like 2 weeks.


  23. mustang says:

    Under the table deals between teams, players “gifts” to old teams MLB has the Midas touch but everything they touch turns to shit.

  24. I'm One says:

    Anyone watching the “Breaking Bad” marathon? Didn’t follow the series, so this is a great chance to see it. Really getting into it. Good show.

  25. Itsallhowuseeit says:

    Not to beat a dead horse but why with all the mountains of evidence that mlb had on A Rod is this slam dunk decision taking so long?

    • Jorge Steinbrenner says:

      It’s not just the verdict. It’s the writing of it, etc.

    • Betty Lizard says:

      Oh please let this be snark.

      In the small chance that it isn’t snark:

      Because having the parties submit final briefs and arguments satisfies everyone that they’ve been heard and clarifies for the arbitrator(s) the legal and factual bases for their decision.

      Because administrative decisions that are arbitrary and capricious are overturned on appeal. Which does one’s reputation as an arbitrator no good.

      Because it’s not a slam dunk.

      • RetroRob says:

        I assumed it was snark or trolling.

        Then again, you never know judging by some of the postings here now!

      • Eselquetodolosabe says:

        Wow ! Harsh, no ? Maybe benefit of the doubt and your eventual explanation would’ve been suffice ? Maybe everyone’s level of understanding and familiarity with the subject matter isn’t the same ? Either way, you’re usually pretty much on point in these parts, so, never mind me.

  26. MD says:

    Bowden compares Tanaka to Dan Haren. I agree. I couldn’t think of who he reminded me of — but it’s Haren. And I think the comparison goes beyond his command and use of the split. He has the pause and the “flat plane” fastball issue (that didn’t seem to hurt him).

    I still worry that he’s been too easy to hit in Japan, so he better have Kuroda-like pitch-ability to succeed here. He’s no Darvish.

    • Steinbrenner's Ghost says:

      what makes you say he’s too easy to hit when has a sub-1 WHIP?

      • MD says:

        I didn’t say anything about walks. Hits per 9 vs Darvish or Dice-K. They can hit his fastball in Japan — the league where Casey McGehee hit 35 pts higher (in his first season at age 30) than his career ave in MLB. If they’re not hitting his splitter, they’re hitting something else. MLB hitters will make you pay a higher price for a fringe fastball. This and the already fading Ks make you wonder how easy he’ll be to hit over here. He better be Kuroda from the neck up — b/c he doesn’t throw with Darvish or even Dice-K.

        • Joseph says:

          MD sounds quite similar to Fat Toad Kitty from previous threads, carrying on about stats and players from the Japanese league and bringing up Yu “fucking” Darvish constantly while bad-mouthing Tanaka to no end. A MFing killjoy to the real Yankee fans here that enjoy the anticipation and speculation of NY possibly signing Tanaka to bolster their rotation.

          • MD says:

            I don’t know who Fat Toad Kitty is or what horrible thing he’s done to the psyche of a “real” Yankee fan like you.

            I guess I’m not a “real” Yankee fan b/c I dared to utter some skepticism about a pitcher who’s being hyped more and more in a pitching thin FA market?

            What do you do at a game? Cup your ears and yell LA-LA-LA-LA-LA if someone boos so another killjoy doesn’t shatter your delusions?
            Get a grip.

            And in my original post I compared him to Dan Haren – while also mentioning that Haren was able to pitch with a flat plane fastball. That’s a positive for Tanaka. So where you come up with “bad-mouthing Tanaka to no end” is beyond me.

            And why on earth do you read this blog if you hate when others “carry on about stats”? That’s like moving to the Arctic to get away from cold weather.

        • Silvio says:

          You’d better quickly get in touch with Cashman–maybe even Hal–and warn them about all this.

          • MD says:

            I guess I can’t have an opinion or be skeptical in any way? This board wouldn’t exist without amateurs thinking they know everything.

            And of course the front office of the Yankees could never misfire. They would never sign an import in a reactionary way without trustworthy due diligence. See the “baseball people” who scouted Kei Igawa for further details. They probably post here after their shift is done at the car wash.

        • BFDeal says:

          Do you even know what WHIP is?

          • MD says:

            Yes, I do.
            Do you understand that I was referring to hitting? And that hits are hits? And that a walk isn’t a hit? And that being able hit a pitcher’s stuff says more about that stuff than drawing a walk against it?

        • Jorge Steinbrenner says:

          That Casey McGeehee, Karl Rhodes, and Orestes Destrade had solid Japanese careers before/after not doing much in the MB is nothing new.

          Teams are not going to base their scouting solely upon quality of opposition.

          Also, WHIP: Not the most difficult of stats not found on a 1985 Topps card to learn.

          • MD says:

            Thanks for the good-natured comment and the learning difficulty assessment. I appreciate it — but I do understand WHIP.

            I was referring to how hard/easy stuff is to hit — not hit and draw a walk against. Hitters who are overmatched by a pitcher’s stuff can sometimes draw walk instead. (See Brett Gardner’s first 1500 PAs for plenty of examples.) My point is that the walks portion of WHIP doesn’t matter in the context in which I was speaking. Betances has a horrible WHIP for his career — but he’s continues to be given a chance. Why is that?
            B/c his stuff his hard to hit. If that same horrible WHIP broke down differently — a lot more hits, but a lot less walks — he would’ve been released years ago. Same WHIP — different story.

            I’m not bashing Tanaka. If they get him, I hope he’s the pitch-maker Kuroda is. That’s all I’m saying. It’s not easy to assess that in a few video clips. With Darvish you could see overpowering stuff in those videos — and his hits to innings and Ks were ridiculous.

            And no one said they base it SOLELY upon quality of opposition — but there is a clear difference between MLB hitters and Japanese hitters — and that matters. Igawa was a good pitcher in Japan. That translated to being a good pitcher in AAA here. What was his problem? That he faced superior opposition in the big leagues here perhaps? The penalty for a 91mph fastball up in the zone is a lot greater here than there. To dismiss the difference in competition — esp when the pitcher in question doesn’t have overpowering velocity by MLB standards — is absurd.

  27. Jorge Steinbrenner says:

    Melky Mesa’s HOF career will now resume in the Royals’ system.

    • dkidd says:

      HOF = “heaps of failure”

    • nycsportzfan says:

      Just saw this myself. Oh well, we got Zoilo.

      • RetroRob says:

        Zoilo is better, not that I think Almonte is anything special. I was never a big Melky 2.0 fan. He has some skills that could make him useful (good defense, speed, his bat will occasionally run into a fastball), but overall his weaknesses overwhelm his strengths. We only focus on him because the Yankee farm system at the upper level is so weak that he was one of the few who might play in the majors. Yet every team has Melky Mesa’s, who eventually get cut or passed through waivers and then claimed by another team who might have an opening.

        I can see Almonte actually having a major league career, even if it’s nothing spectacular. Mesa looks like a guy who will get a cup of coffee here and there, might even have a season where he gets some ABs for a bad team, but he’s nothing that will be missed or can’t be replaced.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner says:

          Yup. Many were in love with his tools and, if everything were to click perfectly, he could be something. It never did, though, and now he’s another 25-26 year-old floating around the waiver wire out there looking for a shot.

          I do like the kid, though. Got to watch him way back in SI. Best of luck to him.

          • RetroRob says:

            He turns 27 in a few weeks, eight years in the minors, career .246/.313/.438 hitter. I think his plate discipline, or lack of it, convinced me he’d never cut it in the majors. I hope he proves me wrong! I just never saw any progression from him as a hitter. Yet, I would have been fine if the Yankees tried a Melky/Dickerson platoon in right last year as opposed to signing Ichiro for two years.

            Yet think of all these fringe OFers the Yankees have had in AAA the last few years. Mesa, Dickerson, Golson, Maxwell etc. Next year we’ll have Russ Canzler. They are easy to find and replace. Players who seem to have something, but all have some flaw and remain a half a step away.

            That all said I still think Almonte has a better chance than some of the others but I doubt it will come with the Yankees.

            • The Great Gonzo says:

              You’ll be eating your words when Ichiro is at the head of the pack of the “Let’s get Tanaka in Pinstripes” bandwagon committee… Until Tanaka is signed and Ichiro is cut to make space on the 25-mn roster..

              Only 1/2 kidding about all of the above.

              And, for all conspiracy theory crowd, I am contemplating if this is why the Yankees offered him one more season than he REALLY deserved at this point in his career. I mean, if YOU had buckets of cash, and YOU had the ability to sign the Japanese George Herman Ruth as an ambassador to the best young arm to come out of Japan since Darvish… And it was only $6M?

              I mean, I am inclined to think Ichiro’s fading star had enough name power to bamboozle the Front Office to overpaying for his services… but just sayin.

        • qwerty says:

          Nothing special? He’s the yankees’s top prospect.

  28. Steinbrenner's Ghost says:

    Puig arrested for driving 110 mph

    • forensic says:

      Arrested for the second time…

      • RetroRob says:

        It’s not going to end well for this guy.

        • mustang says:

          Agree and you can probably say the same of the Dodgers. Rumors of Kemp not being happy (what’s new), the Mattingly situation, Kershaw turning down 10 for 300 and so on they just seem to have a “Bronx Zoo” vibe . Great for headlines but a bad way to run an organization.

          • OldYanksFan says:

            Kershaw turned down 10/$300m? Really? Jeez…. what do these guys want?

            • RetroRob says:

              I remember seeing that number tossed about in the media, but there was no verification. I don’t believe it’s true because if he was offered that he would have accepted it.

              Perhaps it’s one of those numbers similar to the one Robinson Cano originally tossed out, meaning that’s the number it will take to buy him out of becoming a free agent.

              • nsalem says:

                He most likely has been offered something close to that and as of now he has not accepted it and there can be many reasons. Maybe he sees the Dodgers as a dysfunctional orgaization, Maybe he doesn’t like Los Angeles. It could be that he is willing to risk getting injured for a year to get the oppurtunity to play where he wants and find out what his true market value is. He’s from the Dallas area any maybe he wants to pitch close to home If there are teams willing to shell out between 120 to a 150 million to someone who hasn’t thrown a pitch in the MLB (and has been great only in a league where Casey McGhee hit 35 Home Runs and Dice-K was once the dominant pitcher) he realizes that he maybe worth much more than 300 million dollars to another team. Unlike Cano (or his agents) it appears that he is not looking to negotiate his contract through the press.. Hopefully he hasn’t signed yet because deep down inside he wants to be a Yankee.

  29. forensic says:

    Any UFC fans? Quite an injury to Silva tonight.

  30. OldYanksFan says:

    Still with the ‘Holiday Weekend Open Thread’?
    Jeez…. feels like Ground Hog Day.

  31. OldYanksFan says:

    Raising Aces
    Examining Masahiro Tanaka’s Mechanics


    It takes a script to read the whole article, but the comments give you some idea of what was said.

  32. forensic says:

    Ah, Cowboys. Even without Romo, you’re still very reliable to lose big games. Please never change!

  33. Tom says:

    A crushing late 4th quarter pick to secure a loss? I thought they said Romo was out for the season?

    Toggling between this game and the Breaking Bad marathon… which kind of seems fitting as it always just a matter or time before Dallas breaks bad.

  34. OldYanksFan says:

    Masahiro Tanaka
    Full Analysis, Video and Predictions

    • forensic says:

      His ‘About Me’ says he graduated with a degree in English. You would think that would mean he’d proofread his stuff for mis-spellings and typos.

      But regardless, there’s nothing too earth-shattering in there. Interesting stuff about his mechanics, but it’s nothing we haven’t heard before about Japanese pitchers. Some pitchers get hurt, some don’t. It’s a fact of life. Some guys survive while doing bad things and others get hurt despite doing good things. Sure, there’s risk, but that’s there with any other guy too. And he even admits that himself with his discussion later in the first section. It is nice, though, that he didn’t just fall right into the camp of saying he’s doomed because he’s thrown a lot of pitches.

  35. Deep Thoughts says:

    This always cracks me up as a prelude to serious Bowl Week action:

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