• In search of a second catcher
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    The Yankees currently have two catchers on their projected Opening Day roster, but the differences between Jorge Posada and Jose Molina are extensive. Meanwhile, with Posada’s working his way back from a very serious injury, his catching 140+ games this season is no sure thing. To that end, Steven Goldman wonders if the Yanks would be best off signing a second starting catcher. He makes a compelling case for the argument, but the Yanks’ options are Jason Varitek and Pudge. While both could be had for the right price, they don’t add much offensively to the team. The Yanks will sink or swim with Posada. Hopefully, his shoulder can carry the load. · (66) ·

Looking back at this thread, which is hilarious in hindsight, some out there wanted the Yankees to offer arbitration to Ivan Rodriguez. Over a month and a half has passed since that deadline passed and, as with Bobby Abreu, we’ve heard few rumors of teams interested in Pudge. There’s just not a market for a 37-year-old catcher seeking a large contract.

The only real team I’ve seen him connected with is the Marlins. But landing there would mean a substantial pay cut from his 2008 salary:

Indications, however, are the only way Rodriguez would be a Marlin is if he is willing to play for the league minimum. For an established star like Pudge, that may not be the price he is willing to accept.

The O’s are out for Pudge, as they signed Gregg Zaun to handle duties until Matt Wieters is deemed fit for full-time duty. The Red Sox could use a catcher, but could Pudge catch a knuckleballer? We know Josh Bard can’t.

While Pudge’s destination isn’t known at this time, we do know one thing. If his agent had been able to properly forecast the MLB off-season landscape, he would have accepted an arbitration offer from the Yankees. And that would have been a bad thing — it might have cost them Mark Teixeira.

Categories : Hot Stove League
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  • No team for corner outfielders
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    While RAB readers are busy predicting Bobby Abreu’s eventual home. the former Yankee is watching his options dwindle. As MLBTR reported earlier this evening, Abreu’s price seems to be too steep for Cincinnati. At this point in the off season, the Reds seemed to be emerging as Abreu’s most likely destination, but with this news, my guess is that we’ll just have to wait for the Manny Ramirez dust to settle before Abreu finds a home for less money than he had hoped. · (62) ·

Provisional rosters for the sixteen countries taking part in the ’09 version of the World Baseball Classic were released earlier this evening on MLB Network, and I stupidly anticipated a thorough breakdown of each roster, or at least a graphic showing the players on each country’s squad. Instead I got a bunch of chit chat between analysts and famous players who called in, with the occasional note mixed in regarding big name players on a specific team.

Anywho, here’s a list of all the Yankees’ players I managed to find on various clubs:

USA: SS Derek Jeter (this was obvious since he was on stage for the WBC press conference during the winter meetings)
Dominican Republic: 3B Alex Rodriguez, 2B Robinson Cano

Woo hoo.

CC Sabathia declined the opportunity to play. Ex-Yanks Bobby Abreu and Pudge Rodriguez will suit up for Venezuela and Puerto Rico, respectively. They said the rosters would be available on the WBC site, but I can only find the 2006 rosters.

These are just the provisional 45-man rosters; 25-man rosters don’t have to be finalized until February 24th. The tournament starts 45 days from now in Tokyo, Mexico City, Toronto and San Juan. Tickets went on sale today; there will be games played in Petco, Dodger Stadium, and Dolphins Stadium.

Update (7.42pm): The provisional rosters are up. In addition to A-Rod, Jeter and Cano who I mentioned above, Al Aceves & Jorge Vazquez will be playing for Mexico, Melky Cabrera, Edwar Ramirez, Jose Veras & Damaso Marte for the DR, Frankie Cervelli for Italy (Italy!), Jahdiel Santamaria for Panama, and Kai Lui and Zhenwang Zhang For China (you remember those two).

Here’s your open thread. The Knicks already beat the Bulls and the Islanders already lost to the Capitals (you get one guess:  who do you think scored both Caps’ goals?). The only local team in action tonight is the Devils, who are out in Nashville. I’ll be kicking it with the new episodes of House and 24. You know the routine, talk about whatever, just be nice.

Categories : Open Thread
Comments (150)
  • Bandwagon Nation: confirmed
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    The Red Sox picked up an under-the-radar free agent this winter: some kid named Tim, who they paid off to become a Sawx fan. Drunk Jays Fans has the news, complete with a full arsenal of not so nice language. This whole thing is just too funny. · (31) ·

Every year for Christmas, my parents browse through my Amazon Wishlist and get me a ton of books. Sometimes, though, they’ll pick out things that aren’t on there which they think I might like. This year, it was Baseball Between the Numbers. Problem is, I already have the book. So instead of going through the Amazon return process and buying myself yet another novel, I’ve decided to put this to good use. It’s the latest giveaway on Rive Ave. Blues.

We’re going to do this contest style. Since we’re in the free agent signing period, and since this is a particularly bizarre off-season, I figured we’d do a free agent guessing game. Who more appropriate than Bobby Abreu? The rumor mill isn’t treating him well, even after Pat Burrell and Raul Ibanez have found homes. No one seems to have an idea of where he’ll land, so that makes the game more interesting.

To enter, you have to guess 1) the team that will sign him, 2) the number of years he’ll receive, and 3) the total dollar amount of the contract. So we don’t have a situation where one person bids $10 million and another bids $10 million and one, we’re going in increments of $500,000. So $10 million and $10.5 million are okay, but $10.1 million invalidates the entry. One entry per person. Make sure to leave a valid email address when you’re filling out the comment form (do not leave your email address in the comment, though).

Update: Just to be clear, the criteria above are listed in the order of importance. So if you don’t get the team correct, you can’t win.

Comments (147)
  • With WBC on tap, Bernie still wants to play
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    Bernie Williams never really wanted to retire when the Yanks decided his time was up. Over the last two years, the former center fielder has come to grips with his enforced retirement, but in a way, he just hasn’t been able to accept that his Major League career is all but over. In a lenghty profile on Bernie, the Daily News’ Christian Red explored the ins and outs of Williams’ celebrity in Puerto Rico and the current state of denial Williams appears to be in over his career.

    To prove himself ready for the WBC, Williams tried his hand at winter ball and hurt his quad. As it heals, he’s contemplating his next step. “What would be the logical next step? That’s why the World Baseball Classic is so pivotal,” Williams said to Red. “To be really honest, if I play and I start getting those feelings back again, start getting the urge and feel good physically, it can open a whole world of possibilities for me. But right now, I’m just speculating on what could happen. It’s not going to be until I play in that competition whether I’m going to be able to make those kind of decisions.” At some point, Bernie will retire. For now, he’s trying to live his dream for another game, another series, another season.
    · (49) ·

  • A look at Robinson Cano
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    Derek Carty over at THT took a look into what 2009 might hold for the Yanks’ young second baseman. Granted, Carty’s article is focused on fantasy value, but it’s still nice to see someone believing that Cano’s due for a nice rebound next year. It’s a relatively short read, give it look. · (35) ·

As I write this post, there are just 36 hours left in the presidency of George W. Bush, and baseball fans might be watching closely. Pardon rumors surrounding Roger Clemens just won’t die.

On Friday, the Daily News’ I-Team blog, run by the paper’s sports investigative team, noted that Dana Perino, White House press secretary, basically shot down the idea of a Clemens pardon. Meanwhile, yesterday, Buster Olney hypothesized on the prospects of a pardon. In the end, the ESPN scribe didn’t believe a pardon would be forthcoming.

For the most part, baseball on the whole is sick of the Clemens-Bonds-steroids saga. It’s become far more about catching a big fish in a lie or half-truth about something they did five or ten years ago. While George Mitchell tried to gloss over the shortcomings of his report by half-heartedly suggesting ways the game should look forward, once he named names the report became a useless piece of sensationalistic reporting instead of a series of serious recommendations.

The Bush pardon question, though, and Clemens’ potential culpability raise some interesting questions. If Bush were to pardon Clemens, in a way, this part of the saga would be over. No longer would we have to listen to he said, he said fights between Clemens and McNamee as the game of baseball tries to move beyond the cloud of steroid.

Olney summed up the argument for a pardon in a nutshell:

He probably has already suffered the greatest punishment he will receive: the diminishment of his reputation and legacy. In the past month, a golf tournament removed Clemens’ name from its title, as did a hospital funded by the pitcher’s money. It’s possible he will never be inducted into the Hall of Fame, despite putting up the most daunting numbers of any pitcher in his lifetime.

Why bother running Clemens through the public spectacle of a trial, basically?

Well, the flip side of that argument is a good one. It’s possible that Clemens lied to Congress, and as Olney writes, if Bush pardons his friend Roger Clemens, he may have to do the same for Barry Bonds. At that point, millions of government dollars and thousands of man-hours would basically have gone to waste. Of course, many people already think the money has gone to waste, and a witch hunt for Bonds or Clemens won’t make anyone feel better.

In the end, a Clemens pardon is probably, as Olney said, a headline-grabbing event that Bush seems to be trying to avoid in his final day in office. He’s taken heat for the Isaac Toussie pardon and seems much less trigger-happy on the pardon issue than Bill Clinton did during the waning days of his presidency.

So the steroid circus will continue. While I’d hardly advocate for pardoning Clemens or Bonds, part of me thinks the health of baseball and the continued success of the game would benefit from the opportunity to put the Steroid Era behind us once and for all.

Categories : STEROIDS!
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