Prospect Profile: Ty Hensley

(Photo via BaseballLife365.com)

Ty Hensley | RHP

Background
Raised in the Oklahoma City suburb of Edmond, Hensley was a two-sport star at Sante Fe High School before giving up his quarterback gig to focus on baseball as a senior. He pitched to a 1.52 ERA with 111 strikeouts in 55.1 innings with the Wolves this spring, earning him Gatorade Oklahoma Player of the Year honors and several other awards. His father Mike was a second round pick who was a long-time college pitching coach after injuries derailed his playing career.

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Report: Yankees preparing to offer Rivera pay cut

Via Bob Klapisch: The Yankees are preparing a contract offer for Mariano Rivera, and it includes a pay cut from this year’s $15M salary. Exact details of the offer are unknown, but one team official said “there’s just no way” he could expect the same salary in 2013.

Rivera, 43 later this month, recently informed the team of his decision to return next season. The Yankees got Andy Pettitte to take a substantial pay cut following his subpar 2008 season, but incentives eventually pushed the value of that deal back up into his usual salary range. I suspect we’ll see something similar here. A lower base salary with a bunch of easily attainable incentives that could bring the deal back into the $15M range.

The Don’t Needs

(Jim Rogash/Getty)

The Yankees have a pretty long shopping list this offseason, a shopping list topped by an outfielder, a catcher, and a starting pitcher or two. There are other needs as well, but those three are by far the most pressing.

There are also things the Yankees don’t need this offseason, but as fans we like to rummage through the hot stove scraps for interesting names and potential bargains. We often come up with solutions for problems the team doesn’t even have. It’s part of the fun of the hot stove season. Barring something unforeseen like a trade or an offseason injury, here are three roster items the Yankees won’t spend much (if any) time addressing this winter.

Left-Handed Reliever
An awful lot of money was wasted on Pedro Feliciano and Damaso Marte these last few years, yet in 2012 the Yankees paid the duo of Boone Logan and Clay Rapada less than $2.5M for rock solid left-on-left relief work. Logan held same-side hitters to a .289 wOBA (31.6 K%) this year while Rapada was even better, holding them to a .238 wOBA (28.7 K%). Both are under team control next season and are expected to pull down less than $3.5M combined.

Furthermore, the Yankees claimed left-hander Josh Spence yesterday and also intend to give 2011 Rule 5 Draft pick and fellow lefty Cesar Cabral another look in Spring Training after he missed all of this season with a fractured elbow. Triple-A southpaw Juan Cedeno held lefties to a .303 wOBA (27.8 K%) this year and has already signed a minor league contract to return to the organization next year. The Yankees have two good lefty relievers at the big league level as well as solid depth in Triple-A, so a LOOGY doesn’t figure to be a priority this winter at all.

(J. Meric/Getty)

Backup Catcher
The Yankees are said to have interest in David Ross, the game’s best backup backstop, but they already have plenty of options for the position. Chris Stewart held the job down last year and Frankie Cervelli the two years before that, plus Austin Romine will be just a phone call away in Triple-A. The Yankees also claimed Eli Whiteside off waivers yesterday for even more backup catcher depth. Ross is an upgrade over all four of them and someone New York should pursue if the price is reasonable, but a backup catcher is hardly a pressing issue this offseason. A starting catcher is the focal point.

Pure DH
We all laughed earlier this year when the Yankees said one of the reasons they signed Raul Ibanez over Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui was his defense, but it turned out they were correct. All three are terrible outfielders, but Ibanez was the most equipped to play the position everyday. That came in handy when Brett Gardner went down with his elbow injury two weeks into the season.

Given their DH rotation system, expect the Yankees to pursue a similar player this offseason. It could be another outfielder or maybe even a first baseman since Nick Swisher isn’t coming back, which rules out players like Jim Thome and Travis Hafner. They offer the left-handed power and patience the Yankees crave, but they also haven’t played a position even semi-regular in years. Every little sliver of value you can squeeze from a player is important these days, especially in the ultra-competitive AL East, even if that value is playing a DH in the field once or twice a week to rest other players.

Shocker: Scott Boras doesn’t like the Yankees’ 2014 payroll plan

Via Jon Paul Morosi: Scott Boras is not a fan of the Yankees’ plan to get under the $189M luxury tax threshold, and he even went as far as calling the tax a “reward” for clubs generating huge revenue. “Are you going to put your brand at risk, when your brand is having more superstars than anyone else? Superstars are good for business. Superstars make money for franchises and their television networks,” he added.

Of course, superstars also make money for Scott Boras, which is something he neglected to mention. The plan to scale payroll back theoretically takes away a potential suitor for Boras’ clients, which limits his negotiation power and by extension, his earning potential. That’s pretty much the only reason he doesn’t like it, he doesn’t care about the Yankees brand. I don’t like the idea of the team scaling back payroll, not with the New Stadium just opened a lucrative new television deals being signed, but it would be kinda awesome if it was just one big negotiating ploy.

Open Thread: GM Meetings

(Gregory Shamus/Getty)

Baseball’s annual GM Meetings kick off tomorrow in California and run through Friday, but don’t expect a crazy amount of hot stove news. The meetings are held primary to discuss various issues around the league, but GMs will meet with agents — Ken Davidoff and George King report that Brian Cashman will likely meet with Larry Reynolds this week, the agent for Torii Hunter and B.J. Upton — and each other to touch base in advance of the rest of the offseason. Three winters ago the groundwork for the Curtis Granderson three-team trade was laid at the GM Meetings even though the deal wasn’t completed for another month. It’s the first real event of the offseason, but it usually doesn’t yield much excitement.

Here is your open thread for the evening. There’s not much sports going on these days, just miscellaneous NBA action. I know the election was today, but please let’s curb the politics talk. There are plenty of places to discuss that stuff and a baseball site isn’t one of them. Thanks in advance. Enjoy the night.

Yankees claim Josh Spence off waivers from Padres

The Yankees have claimed left-handed reliever Josh Spence off waivers from the Padres, the team announced. Earlier this evening they claimed right-hander David Herndon off waivers from the Blue Jays.

Spence, 24, has pitched to a 3.15 ERA (3.92 FIP) in 40 innings for San Diego over the last two seasons. He’s an extreme fly ball guy (33.0% grounders) and an extreme soft-tosser (mid-80s fastball, mid-70s curveball) with a funky arm angle, but he’s held left-handers to a .222 wOBA with a 26.7 K% as a big leaguer. He’s another Clay Rapada, for all intents and purposes. Spence has at least one minor league option left, maybe even two.

Yankees claim David Herndon off waivers from Blue Jays

Via MLBTR: The Yankees have claimed right-handed reliever David Herndon off waivers from the Blue Jays. The 27-year-old had Tommy John surgery in June and won’t return until the middle of next season.

Herndon has been a solid middle reliever for the Phillies over the last three years, pitching to a 3.85 ERA (4.27 FIP) in 117 innings. He’s a ground ball guy (44.3%) with unspectacular walk (3.23 BB/9 and 8.3 BB%) and strikeout (5.85 K/9 and 15.0 K%) rates. Philadelphia plucked him from the Angels in the 2009 Rule 5 Draft, and from what I can tell he has at least one and possibly two minor league options remaining. Extra bullpen depth is never a bad thing.