Yanks want to add another lefty reliever

We missed one little detail in yesterday’s conference call notes, but Pete Caldera saves the day: Brian Cashman said he would like to add another lefthanded reliever this winter. Boone Logan will again be the primary LOOGY next year with Damaso Marte out until after the All Star break, and Royce Ring didn’t exactly impress in his late season cameo.

Looking at the list of free agents, I’d cross guys like Brian Fuentes, Pedro Feliciano, Arthur Rhodes, and Scott Downs off the list. They’ll want too much money (and some are Type-A free agents) for a role designed to throw about about three percent of the team’s total innings next year . More than likely they’ll look at someone from the Joe Beimel/Randy Choate/Dennys Reyes/Will Ohman group. Cheap, short-term commitment, just as likely to be effective (or suck).

Who I would trade Phil Hughes for: NL Edition

Mark Feinsand asked on Twitter last night if there were 5 players in baseball that you would trade Phil Hughes for. Immediately the obvious answer was yes. He later followed up adding that you have to include cost, age and success in New York. He then said there are less than 20 players in the majors he would consider trading Hughes for. Off the top of my head this still seemed low, so I figured I’d scan the rosters and check it out. I’m looking at this from the Yankees perspective, not in a vacuum. Without dipping into the minor leagues as I am not a prospect expert, are there 20 (or more) guys on MLB rosters that I would trade for taking everything into consideration? Today I will address the National League, come back tomorrow for the American League.

Arizona Diamondbacks
Justin Upton is the only guy here I would trade Hughes for. While 2010 was a disappointing season for him, a 22 year old with a 111 OPS+ and 3.8 bWAR in a down season is a great commodity. Would the D-Backs trade Upton for Hughes? No.

Atlanta Braves
Jason Heyward is an absolute no-brainer. I’d also go with Brian McCann, who is probably 90% of Joe Mauer at a much lower cost. While the Yankees are stacked in the catching department, if you could trade Hughes for McCann you would, then you could flip Montero in a deal to bring back your Hughes replacement. Would the Braves make either of these trades? No.

Chicago Cubs
If the Yankees were ready to move Derek Jeter off of SS, or if Jeter was ready to move off SS himself, I’d trade Hughes for Starlin Castro. Considering the situation the Yankees are in it’s not a move I would make now, but young shortstops of Castro’s caliber are harder to find than pitching. Would the Cubs trade Castro for Hughes? No.

Cincinnati Reds
Joey Votto is a no brainer. He’s the kind of guy you’d make a spot for. Jay Bruce is just 23 years old with 68 career HR’s and is coming off a 127 OPS+, 5.3 fWAR and 4.3 bWAR season. He doesn’t fill a need with the strong Yankees outfield, but I think I’d make this trade and deal from the surplus. Would the Reds trade Votto or Bruce for Hughes? No and possibly.

Colorado Rockies
Regardless of Jeter’s situation, if you could trade Hughes for Troy Tulowitzki you do that in a heartbeat. Ubaldo Jimenez would be another easy one. You could make the argument for Carlos Gonzalez but his road splits are a huge concern. Would the Rockies trade any of these three for Hughes? No.

Florida Marlins
Hanley Ramirez, like Tulo would be too good to pass up regardless of Jeter’s situation. Josh Johnson is another no-brainer. Mike Stanton would also be too good to pass up. Would the Marlins trade any of these three for Hughes? No.

Houston Astros
None. The Astros are a mess.

Los Angeles Dodgers
Clayton Kershaw is a definite yes. You could argue for Andre Ethier and bringing his left handed bat to Yankee Stadium but he’s older than you may think (29 in April) and getting expensive. If you believe in upside you might consider Matt Kemp, but Kershaw is the only sure thing for me. Would the Dodgers trade Kershaw for Hughes? No.

Milwaukee Brewers
Yovani Gallardo and Ryan Braun are definites for me. I wouldn’t want to bring Prince Fielder in, pay him a bunch of money, then tell him all he has to do is hit. That’s got problem written all over it.

New York Mets
I’d probably trade Hughes for David Wright and move A-Rod to DH full time but I could be easily talked out of it. I don’t think the Mets would make the trade though.

Philadelphia Phillies
I’d take both Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels for Hughes. If the Yankees didn’t already have Cano I’d think about Utley though he’ll be 32 next year and expensive. The Phillies would not trade any of them for Hughes.

Pittsburgh Pirates
I’d consider Andrew McCutchen but I think I’d stick with Hughes. The Pirates would not make the trade however.

San Diego Padres
Adrian Gonzalez is another guy you make room for. As awesome as Mat Latos was, would I pull the trigger on a trade for Hughes? I don’t think I would (but I’d probably be wrong). Pitchers coming from the NL is always dangerous. Coming from the Padres and Petco only adds to that uncertainty. Would the Padres trade Gonzalez or Latos for Hughes? No.

San Francisco Giants
Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Buster Posey are no brainers. An argument could be made for Madison Bumgarner but I’d stick with Hughes.

St. Louis Cardinals
Albert Pujols wouldn’t fill a need and is about to get very expensive, but he’s Albert Pujols so of course I’d make the trade. Adam Wainwright and Colby Rasmus would both make the cut as well, Rasmus would force another trade from the crowded outfield but it would be worth it. Would the Cardinals trade Pujols or Wainwright for Hughes? No. Would they trade Rasmus for Hughes? I doubt it, unless Larussa really hates him and has enough pull to ship him out.

Washington Nationals
Even thought the need isn’t great, Ryan Zimmerman is and I’d trade Hughes for him. I’d also trade Hughes for Strasburg but with an eye beyond 2011 and taking a huge risk. I think the risk would be worth it as Strasburg truly has a chance to be a once in a generation type of pitcher. It’s certainly a big risk/reward situation. The Natinals would not trade either of them for Hughes.

So there we have it, I count 25 National Leaguers I would trade Hughes for if the situation presented itself. How about you? Be sure to check back tomorrow for my take on the American League.

Kontos pulls an Ankiel (or a Holland) in Arizona

Baseball America had a nice little puff piece about Graham Stoneburner today, but you need a subscription to read it. The only thing you really need to know is that VP of Baseball Ops Mark Newman called him “Jake Westbrook with a little more power … he has that kind of sink on his fastball.” Stoneburner posted a 2.73 FIP in 142 IP in A-Ball this year, though Newman did admit that there’s been “debate internally about him being a starter or being in the pen.” It’s all about the changeup, if he improves it, he’ll start.

Meanwhile, check out these pics of Stoneburner courtesy of Andy in Sunny Daytona.

AzFL Phoenix Desert Dogs (11-4 loss to Peoria)
Jose Pirela, 2B: 0 for 3, 1 BB, 1 K
Austin Romine, C: 0 for 4, 1 K, 1 PB – six for his last 32 (.188)
Brandon Laird, LF: 0 for 4, 1 K – four walks in 13 games is the same number he had in 31 games with Triple-A Scranton this year
George Kontos: 0.2 IP, 3 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 4 BB, 0 K, 2-0 GB/FB – just 17 of 37 pitches were strikes (45.9%) … that’s Sarah Jessica Parker ugly

I’m don’t know how in the world I missed this, but apparently a game had to called early the other day because Desert Dogs manager Don Mattingly ran out of pitchers in the eighth inning. They’re not going to push any of the pitchers in a developmental league, and this doesn’t tell you anything about Donnie’s managerial ability, but it’s just funny. Could you imagine if he had just been named the next manager of the Yanks (with zero experience, no less) and this happened? The MSM would have a field day.

Open Thread: NCAA Football Comes To The Bronx

That pic comes courtesy of the Yankees, and it’s obviously a shot of the field goal posts being put up in Yankee Stadium in advance of the two NCAA football games that will be played there this winter. Army and Notre Dame will meet on November 20th, and exactly a month later two teams will meet in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. Apparently the field will be laid out like this, which is … interesting. Anyone out there going to either of the games? I sure as hell ain’t.

Anyway, here’s your open thread for the evening. It’s Friday, so I suggest going out and doing something fun. If you’re stuck inside, you could always seek the comfort of the Knicks, Nets, Rangers, Islanders, and/or Devils, all of whom are in action tonight. Talk about whatever, go nuts.

Friday Notes: Pitching Coach, Payroll, Lineup, CC, More

Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman spoke to the media via conference call today and hit on a few topics, so lets’ round it all up. All the info below comes courtesy of RAB fave Marc Carig

  • Girardi and Cashman have brainstormed about potential pitching coaches, but so far they have not yet reached out to anyone nor have they scheduled any interviews. Cashman doesn’t expect the process to move quickly, which is kinda surprising. He added that bullpen coach Mike Harkey and Triple-A Scranton pitching coach Scott Aldred are candidates for the job.
  • Cashman on hitting coach Kevin Long: “I think he’d like to stay. We’d like to keep him. I think he’s exceptional at what he does.” K-Long’s contract is up, and I suspect he’s seeking a considerable raise and multiple years. He deserves it.
  • “Nothing’s really going to happen until I sit down with my bosses,” said Cashman. He’ll meet with Hal Steinbrenner and whoever else on Monday and Tuesday in Tampa. The 2011 payroll will be hashed out during those meetings.
  • Beyond pitching, Cashman doesn’t think the team “needs a lot of changes.” The only change they need as far as the lineup goes is for certain guys to get back to performing up to their full potential. That’s the biggest upgrade they could make.
  • “Our lineup is maybe something that could change next year,” said Girardi. I think that’s code for “Derek Jeter won’t keep hitting leadoff if he doesn’t get on base more than 34% of the time,” or at least I hope it is.
  • CC Sabathia was dealing with his knee issue since early in the season, and it had no bearing on why he wasn’t used in relief in Game Six of the ALCS. They suspect it may have affected his mechanics, which is kinda crazy since he still had a Cy Young caliber season. Sabathia had surgery to repair the minor meniscus tear in his right knee today and will need three weeks to rehab, as expected. It won’t hurt his offseason training at all, he usually doesn’t start throwing again until after Christmas anyway.
  • As far as leaving for the Cubs, Girardi said he “didn’t really think about leaving the Yankees.” The idea of him bolting for Chicago was mostly fan and media speculation, anyway. Two and two made three, then we tried to squeeze it into four.

Parking prices up 50% at stadium lots for 2011

For the league's most transit-accessible ballpark, Yankee Stadium is surrounded by too many parking lots.

Yankee fans who opt to drive to the Bronx next season may find themselves in for a new round of sticker shock. Due to lower-than-expected revenue and the looming threat of default on a bond payment, Bronx Parking Development, the owner of the stadium parking garages, will raise parking rates as much as 50 percent for the 2011 season. Barring an off-season restructuring of the parking lot bonds, a spot in the lots will now cost at least $35 while the valet option will reach $45.

It never made much sense for the city of New York to surround Yankee Stadium with parking lots. Because of the fast, easy and cheap access provided by the IRT and IND subways, relatively few Yankee fans drive to the games as it is, and the new Metro-North stop made transit access that much easier (and cheaper). Yet, even though on-street parking remained an option and the rates at the Gateway Shopping Mall lots are just $10, the city expanded the number of stadium spots from 6500 to 9127 against the wishes of Bronx politicians and community leaders.

The move has been a debacle from the start. This year, for instance, when the Red Sox were in town, BPD reported just 5600 paid costumers. To add insult to injury, New York selected a company with a history of defaulting on bond payments to build the lots.

Last month, I reported that BPD was facing a revenue crisis. Because the company saw just $4.8 million in revenue — half of its initial estimates — BPD was in danger of defaulting on its payments. Parking rates would inevitably have to increase for 2011, and as Juan Gonzalez reports today, that is exactly what’s going to happen. He reports:

Even at [$35 per car], the garages will still fall into a technical default unless two-thirds of bondholders agree to waive some requirements in the original construction bonds.

Bronx Parking barely managed to make a $6.8 million bond payment that was due Oct. 1 and will likely not have enough cash to make its next $6.8 million due in April. Without the waiver, the company warned, it will be forced to charge a minimum of $55 per car next year to avoid a default.

“The truth of the matter is, the whole thing’s a mess,” said one financial adviser to several bondholders. “If the city doesn’t step in, there’s no way Bronx Parking can pay back the money it took to build those garages.”

This story just gets messier and messier as it progresses. The city’s Economic Development Corporation seemingly flushed taxpayer money down the drain in selection Bronx Parking Development as well. They granted the company $237 million in tax-free bonds and gave it $100 million as well. This is money we’re likely never to see returned to New York’s empty coffers.

For now, the bondholders are struggling to restructure the company’s finances in order to avoid a default, but as Gonzalez points out, higher rates will do nothing to stem this financial bleeding. As parking rates go up, more and more fans will choose to reach the stadium via transit.

Bronx officials meanwhile are urging the city to correct this project’s deep flaws. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz wants the city to sell off the excess garage space for “other development projects” that will better benefit the South Bronx area. Said one Bronx politician to the Daily News, “We don’t need a wasteland of empty garages in this borough.”

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