Melky & Cano strong in the Caribbean

I usually post the winter league wrap ups on Sundays, but I’ll be on my way to the most beautiful and romantic place on Earth tomorrow, so here you go:

  • Melky Cabrera: 15 for 46 (.326), 8 R, 2 2B, 5 RBI, 4 BB, 6 K, 1 SB in 12 games
  • Robbie Cano: 13 for 41 (.317), 12 R, 6 2B, 7 RBI, 5 BB, 2 K, 1 SB, 1 HBP in 10 games … 5 walks & 2 strikes? who is this man and what has he done with Robinson Cano?
  • Frankie Cervelli: 10 for 37 (.270), 8 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 7 BB, 9 K, 1 CS, 1 HBP in 17 games
  • Justin Christian: 42 for 143 (.294), 22 R, 7 2B, 3 HR, 17 RBI, 13 BB, 21 K, 12 SB, 1 CS, 1 HBP in 35 games
  • Reegie Corona; 15 for 56 (.268), 10 R, 5 2B, 1 HR, 9 RBI, 3 BB, 6 K, 1 SB in 26 games
  • Walt Ibarra: 14 for 70 (.200), 3 R, 2 RBI, 6 BB, 16 K, 3 SB, 1 CS in 32 games
  • Ramiro Pena: 16 for 63 (.254), 7 R, 3 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 CS, 2 HBP in 19 games
  • Jon Albaladejo: 10.2 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 1 WP in 9 appearances
  • Wilkins Arias: 7.1 IP, 12 H, 14 R, 14 ER, 1 BB, 10 K, 1 HB, 2 WP in 13 appearances
  • Ian Kennedy: 28.2 IP, 14 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 10 BB, 25 K, 2 HB, 1 WP in 5 starts

If I have my dates correct, IPK will be starting for Mayaguez tonight. Here’s the scoreboard, which will eventually get you to the box score.

Use this as your open thread for the evening. You know the routine, don’t be a dick to each other.

Open Thread: Oh, noes!!1! Sabathia meets with the Red Sox

It’s Friday before the Winter Meetings. That means it’s time for the Red Sox to scare the crap out of Yankee fans everywhere. Via the tireless Buster Olney:

The Red Sox are meeting with CC Sabathia sometime in the next few days, and so will Yankees GM Brian Cashman, who reportedly met with Scott Boras, the agent for Mark Teixeira and Derek Lowe. It’s unclear whether the Red Sox are seriously interested in trying to compete with the Yankees’ $140 million offer to Sabathia, or if they are just doing their due diligence and preparing alternatives in their winter shopping.

The Red Sox are doing what any team in their position would do. They’re being a pain in the neck for the Yankees, Angels and any other team interested in Sabathia. Are they going to sign him? No. Do they want to make their opponents pay more? Of course. Welcome to business.

Anyway, that’s that. Use this thread as your Friday night open thread. Discuss anything. Play nice. Just don’t accidentally shoot yourselves in the hip.

Open Thread: A theoretical expansion draft

We’ll resume the Hot Stove League talk at 10 p.m. ET with a short CC Sabathia-related post. Let’s have some fun in the meantime…

Earlier this week, Chad Jennings engaged in a little bit of idle Yankee chatter. Noting that it’s been 11 years since the last expansion draft — the second-longest such stretch during baseball’s Expansion Era — Jennings wondered who among the current Yankees would be protected in a theoretical expansion draft.

He based his lists upon the 1997 rules and writes:

Here are the rules as they were in 1997: Any player with major league experience is eligible. Minor leaguers are eligible if they’re Rule 5 eligible. I’m not sure if someone like Andrew Brackman would have been eligible — he’s on the 40-man but has no major league experience and has not passed the Rule 5 threshold — but I’m going to bet he would have been eligible. Seems to always work that way with the 40-man.

Each team starts by protecting 15 players. No team can lose more than one player per round, and after each round, each team can protect three more. Any 10-5 players (10 years experience, five consecutive with the same team) have to be protected. So do players with no trade clauses.

In the end, he came up with the following list. Keep in mind that the Rule 5 eligibility protects many of the Yanks’ top prospects including Austin Jackson and Jesus Montero:

Must be protected
10-5 players or no-trade clauses
1. Mariano Rivera
2. Jorge Posada
3. Derek Jeter
4. Alex Rodriguez
5. Hideki Matsui

Young and vital
Or maybe not vital, but too good to risk losing
6. Andrew Brackman
7. Joba Chamberlain
8. Phil Hughes
9. Ian Kennedy
10. Chien-Ming Wang
11. Robinson Cano
12. Brett Gardner

Veterans
Not 10-5 guys, but worth protecting
13. Johnny Damon
14. Xavier Nady
15. Nick Swisher

Following the first round and second round, teams can protect more players, and Jennings adds the following eight to his list:

1. David Robertson
2. Phil Coke
3. Alfredo Aceves
4. Chris Garcia
5. Alan Horne
6. Juan Miranda
7. Humberto Sanchez
8. Frank Cervelli

So here is what I pose to you for this open thread: Who would you protect in an expansion draft? In other words, who do you see are the 10-18 most important Yankees on the field right now outside of the guys with the 5-10/No-Trade protection?

Debate away, but play nice. I’m quite curious to see how fans assess the state of the franchise both for this season and in the future in light of this question.

Vegas, baby!

We all know the Winter Meetings begin on Monday in Las Vegas. We know that there will be tons and tons of rumors floating about, as nearly every baseball executive and member of the media will be in attendance. We know that at least a few free agents will sign. We know that a trade or two will go down. We know that there will be a veritable smokescreen of false info spread around.

You know what else I know about the Winter Meetings?

RAB will be there, live, to bring you updates on the action.

As in everything we do, we’re doing it for you guys, the readers who pay attention to the stuff we write and engage in the discussions on our threads. Without you guys, there’s far less motivation to do this.

Yes, this is an open thread, so all topics are safe. However, if you want some direction, why not make some suggestions as to what you want to see from us. Most of you have seen Winter Meetings coverage from the past. What can we do to make it better? How can we approach it that would provide a better overall experience?

So have at it. I’d say play nice, but sometimes it’s more fun when you don’t.

Open Thread: Ex-Yanks on the move

The Hot Stove picked up a little steam this evening, as ex-Yank Javy Vazquez was dealt back to the NL East in a five player deal with the Atlanta Braves. The deal is pending a physical tomorrow, but otherwise it represents the first of many moves we’ll see over the next 10 days.

Yankees’ fans have a strong and somewhat irrational dislike for Vazquez, but the bottom line is that he’s been one of the better pitchers in baseball this century. He’s supremely durable, throwing the second most innings in the game since 2000 (at least 198 IP for nine straight years), and a strikeout machine, trailing only Randy Johnson in K’s during that time. His ERA is 4.11 since 2000, just 0.05 runs higher than Andy Pettitte‘s (that’s one extra run every 180 IP). Given the Braves’ current rotation situation (Jair Jurrjens and pray for rain), the move is exactly what the team needs.

The ChiSox are reportedly getting three players in return, but LHP Jo-Jo Reyes and IF Brent Lillibridge are fringy guys who shouldn’t play a key role on a contending team. The third prospect, Tyler Flowers, is what makes deal worth it for Kenny Williams’ & Co. One of the best unknown prospects out there, Flowers projects to be an offensive catcher who holds his own behind the plate. He’s hit .291-.400-.488 in his three pro seasons, and he just finished annihilating the AzFL with a 232 OPS+. He instantly becomes the best White Sox prospect not named Beckham, and should render AJ Pierzynski moot no later than 2010. The Braves are also getting garden variety LOOGY Boone Logan.

Boy, Kenny Williams’ trades always seem to come out of nowhere, huh?

*****

Not to be overshadowed by Javy, ex-Yanks’ draftee Matt Carson agreed to a minor league deal with the A’s and also gets an invite to Major League Spring Training. Good for him. Here’s your open thread of for the evening, talk about the trade or anything else here. Just pay play nice.

Open Thread: Who gets the Hall call?

As Yankee fans grapple with the arbitration decision, another list of sorts hit the wire today as the voters received their Hall of Fame ballots. Nothing, as we’ve seen, boils the blood quite like a good Hall of Fame discussion.

Now, this year’s ballots are notable for a few reasons. First, it’s the smallest ballot in recent history with just 23 names on it. Additionally, of those listed, I believe that only Rickey Henderson should be elected. Mostly, the folks on the ballot are retreads. They’ve all been denied entry in the past but due to the Hall of Fame’s rules, they get a second, third or even tenth crack at the Hall.

Finally, this year is significant because of the presence of Jim Rice. In New England, most people think that Rice should be in the Hall of Fame. Elsewhere, most baseball fans don’t seem him as deserving. The arguments are out there for all to read. This is Rice’s last year of eligibility, and his showing last year — 72.2 percent — fell just 2.8 percentage points short of election.

My question to those who vote for Rice though is this: What has he done in the 14 years that he’s been on the ballot that earns him a spot in Cooperstown this year that he hadn’t accomplished when he retired? I’m almost tempted to say that eligiblity isn’t restrictive enough. If Rice wasn’t a Hall of Famer for the last 14 seasons, he shouldn’t be one this year just because no one else outside of Rickey is good enough to make the Hall.

Anyway, for our open thread tonight, let’s run the ballot. The names of those are below. Who would you pick for the Hall of Fame? I’d go with Rickey Henderson and only Rickey Henderson.

2009 Hall of Fame Ballot: Harold Baines, Jay Bell, Bert Blyleven, David Cone, Andre Dawson, Ron Gant, Mark Grace, Rickey Henderson, Tommy John, Don Mattingly, Mark McGwire, Jack Morris, Dale Murphy, Jesse Orosco, Dave Parker, Dan Plesac, Tim Raines, Jim Rice, Lee Smith, Alan Trammell, Greg Vaughn, Mo Vaughn, Matt Williams

Melky, Cano performing well in winter ball

In case you missed it, Ian Kennedy was rock solid in his last start this past Tuesday. He lines up to start Tuesday for Mayaguez (off-day tomorrow). The AzFL and HWB seasons are over as you already know; here’s the highlights from the guys still playing down in the Caribbean:

  • Melky Cabrera: 12 for 35 (.343), 6 R, 22B, 5 RBI, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 SB in 9 games
  • Robbie Cano: 8 for 26 (.308), 6 R, 4 2B, 7 RBI, 3 BB, 2 K, 1 SB in 6 games (remember, he’s strictly DH’ing)
  • Frankie Cervelli: 9 for 35 (.257), 8 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 7 BB, 8 K in 16 games
  • Justin Christian: 41 for 141 (.291), 22 R, 7 2B, 3 HR, 17 RBI, 12 BB, 21 K, 10 SB, 1 CS in 34 games
  • Reegie Corona: 15 for 55 (.273), 10 R, 5 2B, 1 HR, 9 RBI, 3 BB, 6 K, 1 SB in 25 games
  • Walt Ibarra: 14 for 66 (.212), 3 R, 2 RBI, 6 BB, 13 K, 3 SB 1 K in 28 games
  • Ramiro Pena: 13 for 51 (.255), 4 R, 2 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 CS in 15 games
  • Jon Albaladejo: 7.2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 1 WP in 7 appearances
  • Wilkins Arias: 7 IP, 11 H, 12 R, 12 ER, 6 BB, 10 K, 2 WP, 1 HB in 12 appearances
  • Edgar Soto: 1 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HB in 1 appearance

Feel free to use this as your open thread for the evening. Lots of interesting NFL action today, so talk it up here. Just be nice.

Update (6:10pm): IPK was flat out awesome today: 9 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 7-13 GB/FB. His last two starts: 16 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 10 K. What a bust.