Girardi Speaks: CC, Rotation, Lineup, A-Rod

New year, same buzzcut.

Travel problems delayed Joe Girardi‘s arrival to Spring Training, but he made it to Tampa safe and sound prior to today’s workout session, the first of the 2012 season. Girardi spoke to the media about the state of his team afterward, so here’s a recap…

Pitching

  • CC Sabathia will get his seventh consecutive Opening Day nod, but after that? “You go [in] with an open mind,” said the skipper. [Marc Carig]
  • Girardi said it’s important that Sabathia maintains his weight, and “stays there or close to it.” It’s most important that he “stays strong,” obviously. [Jack Curry]
  • Phil Hughes and Freddy Garcia will battle it out for the fifth starter’s spot, though Girardi said he still envisions the former as a starter. [Curry]
  • “I’m always amazed at how big players are today,” said Girardi about new pickup Michael Pineda. “They’re large humans.” [Mark Feinsand]
  • David Robertson will remain the Eighth Inning Guy™ while Rafael Soriano gets stuck in the seventh inning. I’d like to see Robertson in more a fireman role rather than be married to one inning, but whatever. [Feinsand]

Position Players

  • Girardi is leaning towards a 3-4-5 of Robinson Cano, Alex Rodriguez, and Mark Teixeira, but he qualified it by saying: “I’m not married to that.” Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson figure to remain atop the lineup. [Feinsand & Carig]
  • Girardi doesn’t have a clearly defined plan for A-Rod regarding his rest and time at DH, and he’ll probably play it by ear. He does expect Alex to have a big year, though not necessarily 45 homers big. [Carig & Curry]
  • “I anticipate it will be [Frankie Cervelli],” said the skipper when asked about the backup catcher. Others like Austin Romine will get a shot to take the job in camp though. [Erik Boland & Carig]

Miscellany

  • “If not for [A.J. Burnett], we may not win that World Series,” said Girardi about his departed right-hander. “I felt A.J. did everything we asked him to.” [Marc Carig]
  • “I thought our guys came in good shape,” Girardi said. “I thought they were all ready to go.” [Chad Jennings]

[Photo via Bryan Hoch]

The Yankees’ 2012 Draft Pool: $4,192,200

Via Jim Callis, the Yankees will have just $4,192,200 to spend on the first ten rounds of the draft (eleven picks) this year thanks to the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. That number will go down ever so slightly if Derrek Lee manages to sign a big league contract. The Twins lead the way with a $12,368,200 draft pool while the Angels only have $1,645,700. Ouch.

Teams that exceed their draft pool by no more than 5% are taxed at 75%, and after the 5% they start forfeiting future picks in addition to the tax. Picks from the 11th-40th rounds each have a $100k soft cap, and any money exceeding $100k for those late picks counts against the draft pool. If a team fails to sign a player in the first ten rounds, they lose that spot’s pool money. They don’t get to reallocate it elsewhere. The Yankees have spent between $6.1M and $8.0M on the draft in each of the last five years, and last year they spent $4,202,500 on the first ten rounds (ten picks).

Fan Confidence Poll: February 20th, 2012

2011 Record: 97-65 (855 RS, 657 RA, 102-60 pythag. record), won AL East, lost to Tigers in ALDS

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Yankees agree to sign Raul Ibanez

(REUTERS/Tim Shaffer)

In the least surprising news ever, the Yankees have agreed to sign Raul Ibanez to a one-year deal worth $1.1M according to Buster Olney and Joel Sherman. Ken Rosenthal says he can earn up to $4M if he hits all his incentives. We heard that the contract framework had been in place for weeks last night, but the team was waiting to see if they acquired a left-handed DH-type in an A.J. Burnett before committing. That didn’t happen, so here’s Ibanez. The deal is pending a physical, and Ibanez will report to camp on Thursday. Position players are required to report on Friday.

Ibanez, 39, was born in New York City but grew up in Miami. His overall offensive production has been steadily declining over the last few years, though he can still hit righties some (.322 wOBA) and has pop in his bat (.184 ISO vs. RHP last year). He also doesn’t strike out much against righties (15.6 K% last year). Ibanez is unusable against left-handers though (.254 wOBA with a 27.5 K% vs. LHP last year), and he’s been one of the very worst defensive outfielders in baseball over the last three seasons. If he sees any time in the field, it better be in an emergency only. He’s a good clubhouse guy according to all accounts, which is something the Yankees emphasize.

My gut feeling that the Yankees were waiting out Johnny Damon was wrong, as usual. Ultimately, I think they went with Ibanez over Damon for three reasons. One, he was asking for less money. Two, he’s less likely to make a big stink if he only gets 300 plate appearances this year. And three, he’s more reliable defensively in the sense that Damon only played 84 innings in the outfield last year and 352.1 innings over the last two years. I don’t love Ibanez, but it’s not like he’s vastly inferior to Damon. None of the available DH candidates are all that great frankly, so we’ll just have to see how it goes.

Sherman: Framework for Ibanez deal in place for weeks

Via Joel Sherman, the framework for a contract between the Yankees and Raul Ibanez is in place, and has been for weeks. The team had to make sure they didn’t take on a left-handed DH-type in an A.J. Burnett trade before moving forward with the deal, however. Ibanez will earn a $1M base salary with incentives, but the contract has not been agreed upon yet and is nowhere close to official. The Yankees do have an open 40-man roster spot after the Burnett trade, but I sure hope they don’t give any potential DH a big league deal. At least fake a competition with Russell Branyan before committing to someone.

Meanwhile, Sherman also says the Yankees and Eric Chavez are also talking about a one-year deal worth $1M with incentives, but that won’t happen until Ibanez is signed at the very least. These two deals seem inevitable, though I don’t love either. Then again, it’s not like any of the other DH-types really stand out from pack.

Open Thread: 2/19 Camp Notes

Baseball's back. (REUTERS/Steve Nesius)

The 2012 Yankees season officially started today when pitchers and catchers reported for duty in Tampa. All they did today was take physicals, and the first workout scheduled for tomorrow. Position players report on Friday. We’ve already recapped Brian Cashman’s meeting with the media, but Joe Girardi‘s session was pushed back to tomorrow because of travel issues. Here’s some miscellaneous notes from throughout the day…

  • Frankie Cervelli is in camp and is 100% ready to go for baseball activities. He suffered his fourth concussion in seven years in September, but was medically cleared in November. Alex Rodriguez will be 100% ready to go once he reports as well. He had that experimental knee procedure in December. (David Waldstein)
  • Joba Chamberlain threw off flat ground, and Cashman said they will play it safe as the right-hander rehabs from Tommy John surgery. They’re shooting for a June return, which is 12 months out from the operation. (Erik Boland & Marc Carig)
  • What about Pedro Feliciano? “If he gets back for us, it would be toward September, most likely,” said Cashman. “His rehab is going well and I think he’s more optimistic, but he had a significant surgery that time-frame wise is going to cut it close.” (Chad Jennings)
  • New uniform numbers: Michael Pineda will wear #35 and Hiroki Kuroda will wear #18 with Andruw Jones switching to #22. Number 20 was not assigned, unsurprisingly. (Anthony McCarron & Carig)
  • Pineda’s locker is right next to CC Sabathia, which I’m sure is purely coincidental (nope). Manny Banuelos and Freddy Garcia are also nearby. A.J. Burnett‘s old locker now belongs to Hiroki Kuroda. (McCarron, Mark Feinsand & Erik Boland)

Here is your open thread for the evening. The Rangers, Devils, and Nets are all playing rare Sunday might games, so there are plenty of ways to entertain yourself before getting back to the grind in the morning. Talk about whatever you like here, anything goes.