Yankees interested in Mark Prior

Via Joel Sherman, the Yankees and free agent right-hander Mark Prior have mutual interest in what would surely be a minor league deal. Prior has not yet worked out for the team, though they have scouting him during his various independent league stints over the years. Prior did through one inning in Triple-A this past September (for the Rangers), his first action in affiliated ball since 2006. There’s no such thing as a bad minor league contract, but sheesh.

The Yankees, of course, drafted Prior 43rd overall in 1998 but the two sides could not come to terms with a contract. He then went to Vanderbilt for a year before landing at USC and eventually went second overall in 2001. The rest, as they say, is history.

Eiland catches on with the Rays

Via Joel Sherman, former Yankee pitching coach Dave Eiland has been hired by the Rays to work in an executive capacity, though the team has not announced it yet. I presume he’ll be able to stay in Tampa all year round, which is where he probably lives after spending so many years in the Yankees’ organization. After his month long absence this past June, maybe this is exactly what he wanted. I’d wish him good luck, but not when he’s employed by a direct competitor. Sorry Dave, nothing personal.

Yankees ready to “get serious” with Cliff Lee

The last two days have featured plenty of talk but basically no action on the Cliff Lee front, but Brian Cashman told reporters today that he’s ready to make the free agent lefty an offer. “If they’re willing to take [an offer] and they’re ready to close something out, I’m willing to get serious,” said Cash. “We’re just waiting for them to get to that position.” Apparently Darek Braunecker isn’t ready to take offers just yet, though he reportedly has two seven-year offers in hand. That sounds like nothing more than agent speak to me.

Open Thread: Winter Meetings Day Two

Earlier today Joe posted video of Joe Torre speaking about his time as a manager during today’s press conference with Lou Piniella, Cito Gaston, and John Schuerholz as Bobby Cox. Let’s follow that up with the media’s Q&A session, which featured questions about Ron Santo, Derek Jeter, Torre’s time in New York, and their histories in general. It’s a good 15 minutes long, but it’s worth the watch. They were all entertaining.

Once you’re done with that, use this sucker as you open thread for the evening. The only local team in action is the Nets, so … find something else to watch. Talk about whatever your heart desires here.

Moseley on his way to San Diego

Via Ken Rosenthal, the Padres are close to signing former Yankee Dustin Moseley to a big league contract of unknown terms. The Yankees recently non-tendered Moseley rather than going to arbitration with him in a move that Brian Cashman said was designed to “control costs,” which came after he pitched to a 5.99 FIP (-0.4 fWAR) in 65.1 IP. I fully expect Dustin to put up an ERA south of 3.50 in 180 or so innings with the Pads next year. Petco Park, the career reviver.

Yankees checking out Russell Martin’s medical records

Via Joel Sherman, the Yankees (and Mets) have received, and are presumably reviewing, free agent catcher Russell Martin‘s medical records. The Yanks will also meet with his representatives here during the winter meetings, but a deal is unlikely to get done this week. Clearly the Yankees dig the idea of improving their catching situation, and Martin would be a) an upgrade over Frankie Cervelli, and b) allow the team to be more patient with Jesus Montero. I fully expect Martin to sign with the team that offers the best combination of money and playing time, but the fact that the Yanks are reviewing the medicals tells you they mean business.

Cliff Lee negotiations moving slowly — or not at all

If a Cliff Lee deal is going to get done this week, they’ll have to get things moving pretty quickly. We heard last week that his agent, Darek Braunecker, wasn’t going to take any offers until the Winter Meetings commenced. “He wants to be the ringmaster at the winter meetings,” said a source of ESPN New York’s Wallace Matthews. Yet here we are, almost done with Day 2 of the Winter Meetings, and Braunecker still hasn’t started fielding offers, according to Ken Rosenthal.

The Yankees have refrained from making an offer to Lee at the request of his agent, Darek Braunecker, according to sources in contact with the club.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, anxious to close a deal, has privately expressed his frustration to others at the winter meetings about the team’s inability to move the negotiations along, sources say.

Emphasis mine. The Yankees’ interest in Lee is universally known, and Braunecker is going to use this to his advantage. His strategy apparently includes making the Yankees sweat. With no viable alternatives readily available, there’s not much that the Yankees can do about this. All they can do is continue to wait for Braunecker to accept an offer.

There is hope, though, that the situation gets moving tonight. Marc Carig reports that Brian Cashman will meet with Braunecker tonight. We’ve heard a slew of rumors today, including a team, not necessarily the Nationals, willing to offer seven years. It appears to go hand-in-hand with rumors we’ve heard already, which mostly sound like a ploy to get the Yankees’ offer to six, or maybe even seven, years. There’s a chance we could find out more on that front in a few hours.

It is interesting that the two sides are meeting tonight, after moving slowly through the process to this point. It almost resembles the CC Sabathia situation from two years ago. That situation moved slowly — not at all, really, since the Yankees made an offer in mid-November and didn’t hear back until the Meetings — but it started to gain steam not on Tuesday during the day, but Tuesday evening. I’m not as optimistic that something moves with Lee tonight. Then again, I wasn’t at all optimistic that Cashman would get anything done with Sabathia at the 2008 meetings.

For right now we’re left with a mostly unclear situation. Maybe it becomes clearer after Braunecker meets with Cashman this evening. But even if it does I don’t expect anything to get done this week. Lee and his agent are going to take their time getting something done, no matter what other teams think of it.