Report: Yankees in touch with Oswalt, Wilson, and others

Via Marc Carig, Brian Cashman has already had preliminary talks with the agent for Roy Oswalt and C.J. Wilson. “I’m in the process of talking with everybody,” said Cash, who indicated yesterday that he would get in touch with Wilson’s people at some point. “That’s the way the routine works.” The Yankees are reportedly concerned about the two degenerative discs in Oswalt’s back, but there’s no harm in making a phone call. Oswalt and Wilson share the same agent, Bob Garber.

In other news, Cashman confirmed that he’s already talked to Freddy Garcia’s agent about a possible return, and he plans to do the same with Eric Chavez, Andruw Jones, and Bartolo Colon. Chavez would supposedly welcome a return to New York if he doesn’t retire.

Saturday Night Open Thread

If you hurry up and turn on MLB Network, you can still catch the end of the fourth game of the Taiwan All-Star Series. Here’s the game recap in case you want to know what happens ahead of time. Once that is over, the Arizona Fall League Rising Stars Showcase will air at 8pm ET on the same channel. No Yankees farmhands are playing, but you’ll get to see guys like Bryce Harper, Gerrit Cole, Danny Hultzen, Mike Trout, Jaff Decker (a personal fave), and Mikie Mahtook, the guy the Rays took with the draft pick the Yankees forfeited for signing Rafael Soriano. All three hockey locals are in action as well. Talk about whatever you want here, anything goes.

Discussion Question: Who was a bigger bust, Andrew Brackman or Drew Henson?

Orioles set to hire Dan Duquette as GM

Via Tim Kurkjian, the Orioles are close to hiring Dan Duquette to be their new GM. Yankees amateur scouting director Damon Oppenheimer was a candidate for the job, but Dan Connolly reports that the O’s never even set up an interview with him.

Duquette hasn’t been in MLB for nearly ten years now. He was GM of the Expos from 1991-1994, then GM of the Red Sox from 1994-2001. He should get a bunch of credit for building the 2004 World Series team, but he doesn’t because crediting Theo Epstein is a better story. Duquette was the guy that brought in Pedro Martinez, Manny Ramirez, Derek Lowe, Jason Varitek, and Johnny Damon. Anyway, hooray for keeping Oppenheimer.

Mailbag: Working The Count

(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Roy asks: Given the emphasis put on pitchers’ pitch counts in today’s games, what do you think about the idea of a player who bats below the Mendoza line, but has somehow mastered the skill of fouling off pitches and consistently puts up at-bats that take up 10+ pitches to a point where he could waste anywhere from a quarter to a third of the starting pitcher’s total pitches?

Two things jumped to mind when I first read this question. One, if the player is that bad with the bat and draws his offensive value from working the count, then he better be fast and awesome on defense. He’ll draw walks just by working the count so much, so he needs to be able to steal bases efficiently to maximize his value. The extra-bases won’t come from swinging the bat. The defensive part is self-explanatory, you can’t have a guy providing that little offense and be even average on defense. He’s got to be a stellar gloveman.

Secondly, here is something Joel Sherman wrote last month

Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long mentioned to me several times this year how good the arms were that the Yankees were seeing regularly in the middle innings. It messed a bit with the Yankees philosophy of work the starter hard to get to a weaker middle reliever. Long talked about a ton of arms throwing in the mid-90s now throughout bullpens with a strong secondary pitch that a lineup has to adjust to on one look. The underbelly did not feel as mushy.

Bullpens are getting more and more specialized these days, and more importantly, managers have gotten better at deploying them. Specialists are starting to be used more properly, which has added a whole new group of players to the talent pool because have begun to appreciate what guys excel at rather than dwell on their faults. Middle relievers are still the weak spot of pretty much any club’s roster, but they’re just not so weak anymore.

This player would basically be Brett Gardner to the extreme. Phenomenal defense, baserunning, and plate discipline, but zero ability to hit the ball for authority. The one thing we have to remember is that players don’t work the count to draw walks; walks are a byproduct of patience. They work the count to get a pitch to hit, and this theoretical player won’t be able to do much of that. It’s a radical idea, but I’m not sure it would work. I’m almost certain no team would ever try it though.

Cashman: We’ll talk to C.J. Wilson

Via Dan Martin, the Yankees will talk to C.J. Wilson at some point this offseason according to Brian Cashman. “We haven’t talked to him yet, but we will,” said the GM. “They have won a lot and he’s been a big part of that, so we’ll certainly talk to him.”

This shouldn’t be a surprise at all. The Yankees need pitching and Wilson is the best starter on the market, so they’d better at least put in a phone call to see what’s up. There’s no harm is asking, it’s just due diligence more than anything. I took a detailed looked at Wilson earlier this week, listing both the good and the bad.

Rough day for Yankees farmhands in AzFL

The full list of minor league free agents is out, and here’s who the Yankees lost…

New York Yankees (21)
RHP:
Francisco Castillo (Hi A), Noel Castillo (Hi A), Grant Duff (AA), Logan Kensing (AAA), Jeff Marquez (AA), Kelvin Perez (Lo A), Mark Prior (AAA), Josh Schmidt (AA), Kanekoa Texeira (AA), Eric Wordekemper (AAA)
LHP: Wilkins Arias (AA), Steve Garrison (AA), Brad Halsey (AA), Kei Igawa (AA), Jose Quintana (Hi A), Josh Romanski (Hi A)
C: P.J. Pilittere (AAA)
1B: Mike Lamb (AAA)
SS: Doug Bernier (AAA), Luis Nunez (AAA)
OF: Jordan Parraz (AAA)

The biggest loss is easily Jose Quintana, who I hope the Yankees re-sign. The 22-year-old southpaw broke out with a 2.96 FIP in 102 IP for High-A Tampa this year. Here’s a mini-scouting report. Parraz, meanwhile, has already signed a minor league contract with the Braves. He had a pretty nice year for Triple-A Scranton in 2011 (.358 wOBA), but it’s not a surprise the outfielder left for a team that offered him a great opportunity once he hit free agency.

Also, Mason Williams and Dante Bichette Jr. were named the Topps Players of the Year in the NY-Penn League and Gulf Coast League, respectively. Congrats to both.

AzFL Phoenix (8-7 win over Mesa, walk-off style) Thursday’s game
Corban Joseph, 2B: 1 for 2, 1 CS – left the game after getting thrown out trying to steal third to end the fourth inning … hopefully he didn’t get hurt
Dan Burawa, RHP: 1 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 0-1 GB/FB – 21 of 30 pitches were strikes (70%) … brutal stint out here continues
Preston Claiborne, RHP: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 1-0GB/FB – 14 of 24 pitches were strikes (58.3%)

Open Thread: Two years ago today…

Good times, good times. Here’s a link to the video archive, so you can relive all the glory of Game Six. Once you’re done with that, use this as your open thread. Game Three of the Taiwan All-Star Series will be on MLB Network at 9pm ET, but the game is on a delay and I can’t find a recap, so I have no idea what happened. Hopefully no one got hurt. Talk about whatever you like here, the thread is yours.

Discussion Topic: Rank the 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2009 World Championships by awesomeness.