Update 8:21 p.m.: All image links now work. Sorry about that Blogspot problem. That platform has never handled images well.

===

The lucky bastards over at Diamond Hoggers were able to get an exclusive sneak preview inside the Yanks’ new digs, but thankfully they were kind enough to share their experience with us in .jpg format.

Players will be privy to some serious ammenities inside the clubhouse, including a fancy new restroom, a twelve person hot tub, and plush carpet. The Yanks’ batting cage is supposedly way bigger than the visiting team’s, and once the team finishes up taking their hacks, they can walk up the steps to the dugout, an honor only a select few can enjoy.

I still don’t know how I feel about the manual scoreboard out in right field, but I do like the big YANKEE STADIUM sign out in left-center.You know, just in case anyone forgets where they are. It still can’t get over how gigantic that JumboTron is. Only one month and four days until the Stadium is complete, when it will be “born.” I can’t wait until I walk into that place.

If still photos don’t do it for you, check this out: (h/t Jamal G. for the email)

How awesome is that? Here’s CitiField, if you’re interested.

Use this as your open thread for the evening. New HOFer Rickey Henderson is going to be on the MLB Network at 7pm demonstrating the art of stealing third base. Talk about that, the New Stadium, Derek Lowe, the Rangers-Isles game, whatever you like. Just don’t be a dick. Also, one of longtime readers started a blog of his own – The Joey H Show – so make sure you check it out.

Oh, and don’t miss our latest Newsday post. And Ameican Idol starts tonight, if that’s your cup of tea.

Comments (280)

While many consider the Yankee Stadium financing issue to be rather jejune, New York State Assembly representative Richard Brodsky is clearing getting down to business. Yesterday, Brodsky’s committee on corporations, authorities and commissions announced plans for a Wednesday hearing on the stadium funding issue. Today, they broke out their subpoena power, compelling Yankees President Randy Levine to appear tomorrow.

According to the North Country Gazette, the hearing will “inquire into circumstances surrounding the provision of close to $2 billion in taxpayer money for construction of the new Yankee Stadium with particular focus on the city’s attempt to add over $400 million in such assistance.” In particular, Brodsky and Committee Chair James Brennan are going to examine the Yanks’ latest request for a final round of tax-exempt bonds.

“The city’s attempt to ram through this complicated project without disclosure of its implications is not acceptable as the Legislature considers what changes in State law it ought to be making,” said Brodsky. “The hearing will provide info necessary for the Legislative process.”

To get the most out of their testimony, the committee is subpoenaing Levine and NYC Industrial Development Agency Chairman Seth Pinsky. While Brodsky is using the Assembly power to dig into the paperwork behind the bond issue, Mayor Michael Bloomberg criticized this move as “politcal theater.”

“I guess it makes for good political theater because it’s the Yankees, but when it comes to valuable taxpayer dollars, decisions should be made on return, not rhetoric,” Bloomberg spokesman Andrew Brent said to the AP. “The deal leverages a federal program and will result in New York City getting back more tax revenue than it will cost and the South Bronx getting thousands of new jobs and more than $1 billion in private investment.”

I’m not too surprised that the Assembly is compelling Levein’s attendance. Since the start of 2009, Levine has appeared on CNBC to defend the stadium and penned a guest column for the Daily News on the same topic. He continues to promote numbers with which many independent analysts have taken issue, and Brodsky, for better or worse, wants to get to the bottom of this issue.

Categories : Yankee Stadium
Comments (33)

Take a look at the remaining free agents and you might see a number of Type A guys still waiting for a home. Namely: Orlando Hudson, Orlando Cabrera, Manny Ramirez, Oliver Perez, Jason Varitek, Ben Sheets, and Juan Cruz. While there are various issues factoring into their current unemployment, for a number of them the major reason relates to draft pick compensation. For a team to sign any of the above, they’d have to sacrifice a first round draft pick (or, for teams finishing in the bottom 15, a second rounder). For many, this just isn’t worth it.

There does appear to be a workaround, though it’s unlikely such a move would make it through the Commissioner’s office. Apparently this comes from Buster Olney, though it is related via South Side Sox. I’ll let them do the talking:

In theory, let’s say the Marlins needed a shortstop (we know they don’t) and wanted to sign Cabrera to a two-year, $16 million deal — but they didn’t want to give up their top draft pick to do it. They could, in theory, pick up the phone and ask the Yankees to sign Cabrera to what the Marlins wanted to pay; the Yankees would give up only a fourth-round pick, and the Marlins could trade a prospect to the Yankees to offset the value of the fourth-round pick. Cabrera would have to waive his right to block the trade because any free agent signing a multiyear deal cannot be traded until June.

Disclaimer: The Marlins are just an example. Everyone knows they have short and second pretty well covered.

First off, you know the White Sox would, rightly, call foul on this one. This screws them out of a first round pick, and the transaction would be achieved by using a means not really allowed by MLB. As they mention, players signed during the winter can’t be traded until June, so Cabrera would have to waive his rights. He would, but I think the Sox would file protest with that. Again, as they should.

Here’s my beef with the argument: The Yanks wouldn’t just settle for fourth round talent for their troubles. They’d be subverting the system. They’d be going out of their way to help out the Marlins get a player they desire without sacrificing a first rounder. That’s worth far more to the Yanks than a fourth round pick. It would probably take something like a player of second round talent. Either that, or they could get demand market value for Cabrera (which probably isn’t that high, really).

In the end, though, this is just a neat idea to think about. The Yanks definitely hold an advantage with the remaining Type A free agents because of their prior Type A signings. Still, I’d far, far rather them use that advantage to sign someone like Cruz or Sheets than to help out another team.

Categories : Hot Stove League
Comments (89)

We’ll start off with the good news. A report earlier this week indicated that the Yankees offered Nick Swisher for Mike Cameron. Thankfully, Buster Olney has stepped in and debunked this already specious rumor. On his blog today, he note:

Heard this in regards to rumors of a Mike Cameron-Nick Swisher swap: The Yankees have not had any trade talks with the Brewers since the winter meetings, and they are not considering a Cameron-Swisher trade.

So sanity is restored. It’s not like many of us took this seriously, anyway. Why would the Yankees offer Swisher, who is young, for Cameron, who is not? The only advantage Cam holds is the ability to play a pretty center field. He did have his best UZR since 2003 in 2008, but even so Swish’s youth, and the fact that he’s under contract next year, make him the more favorable player. Plus, I suspect if the Yankees made this offer, the Brewers would have had the paperwork done already.

We do have some fresh rumors regarding Swish and Xavier Nady. Via MLB Trade Rumors we get word from both Ken Rosenthal and Jerry Crasnick that the Yanks and Braves have discussed the corner outfielders. Rosenthal even went so far to say that the two teams have spoken about trade possibilities.

The team’s next step will be to add a bat, and the club has spoken with the Yankees about their available hitters, Xavier Nady and Nick Swisher, sources said.

By no means does this indicate the Yankees will actually pursue a trade. Like any good GM, Cashman is listening to what’s out there. If he finds something that improves the team this year and in the future, he’ll consider it. If the best that’s out there is something like Swish for Cameron, I suspect he’ll head into Spring Training with a bit of a surplus. As we’ve noted multiple times, depth becomes even more valuable in the spring, when teams get a better look at their teams (and see their players befall injuries).

Categories : Hot Stove League
Comments (153)
  • ‘Protection from what? Zee Germans?’
    By

    Talking Points Memo broke what might possibly be my favorite story of well-spent tax-payer money. Forget the tax-free bonds for the new Stadium. Instead, enjoy this tale of U.S. Marshal escorts for Joe Buck, Tim McCarver and Troy Aikman at various points in the baseball and football seasons. The DoJ report (PDF) outs Joseph Band as the sub-par statistician-cum-lawyer who set up this gig, and while the report makes for some great legal ethics reading, there’s no word on how much this actually cost us. I hope the FOX announcing team can manage without their escort in the future. (Worthless RAB points to the first person who can ID the movie quote in the post title.) · (127) ·

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Braves and Derek Lowe have come to terms on a four-year, $60-million deal. It’s a nice contract for Lowe and a solid signing by the Braves.

Meanwhile, this is a deal that echoes through New York for a few reasons. First off, when the Yanks opted to go for A.J. Burnett instead of Lowe, I never expected the former Dodger hurler to land himself a $15-million AAV deal. It seems that I was wrong, and it seems that the market for starting pitching is a bit more robust than the market for corner outfielders.

From that four-year deal, we probably have to reevaluate the Yanks’ one-year offer to Andy Pettitte. You could very easily make the argument now than $10 million for one year of Pettitte is indeed to low. It shouldn’t take Derek Lowe money to lock up Andy, but it may take $12-$13 million guaranteed.

Second, the Mets are looking at an off-season of futility. They low-balled Lowe and never had a real chance to up their offer. Instead, one of their top divisional competitors lands one of the bigger free agent pitchers left. Now, Omar Minaya will have to dole out the bucks for Oliver Perez and probably take a good, long look at Ben Sheets’ medical reports as well.

Categories : Hot Stove League
Comments (183)
Jan
13

YES we can

By in News. Tags: · Comments (16) ·

Catching up on a news item from the over the weekend, we find Maury Brown at the Biz of Baseball talking about the success of the YES Network. Now that the final 2008 numbers are in, the YES Network has emerged as the most watched regional sports network in the nation for the sixth consecutive year.

According to Brown’s compilation, “YES averaged 29,000 TV in total day delivery, 16% more than #2 NESN, which averaged 25,000 households.” Take that, Boston. Meanwhile, this 29,000 total was just 2,000 less than the combined total delivery of MSG, MSG Plus and the Mets’ SportsNet NY. Talk about crushing the competition.

Meanwhile, when the Yankees are on TV during primetime, YES draws an average of 72,000 households. Game telecasts, according to the YES Network press release, “regularly out-performed ABC, NBC, Fox and CBS programs in New York. For example, from May 28 to August 7, primetime YES Yankees telecasts were the #1-rated program in the New York DMA 24 out of 25 game days in TV households, Men 18+, Men 18-49, Men 25-54, Adults 18-49, Adults 25-54, and Total Viewers 2+.” While that’s a lot of TV ratings mumbo-jumbo to the untrained ear, in a nutshell, that simply means more money for the Yankees.

In terms of local popularity, it’s not that close. Thirty-three Yankee telecasts earned a 5.0 rating or higher while just seven of SNY’s Mets telecasts reached such lofty levels. They may have been a mediocre, over-paid and under-performing team in 2008, but the Yankees still reel in the viewers. For the bottom line, that’s a very good thing indeed, and with even more expectations placed upon the star-filled 2009 team, I would expect a seventh year of YES dominance.

Categories : News
Comments (16)

While the Yankees have made three significant additions this winter, the wheeling and dealing might not be over yet. The Yanks still have a few areas they could choose to address from outside the organization. This means looking to the remaining free agents and to the trade pool. As fans we’re quick to speculate on moves which would help the team. The team, however, has a different mode of thought.

One aspect I don’t see many accounting for is the 40-man roster, which is currently full. This has a significant effect on how the Yankees will build out their 2009 team. Some fans might have wanted to see the Yanks take fliers on the guys the Red Sox picked up recently: Brad Penny, John Smoltz, Takashi Saito, Rocco Baldelli. However, the Yankees are ill equipped to handle such gambles. Each of the four signed a major league deal, meaning they require a 40-man roster spot.

Looking at the current 40-man, there doesn’t seem to be many players the Yanks would consider moving. The only position player they could possibly DFA would be Cody Ransom. He’d likely pass through waivers and head back to the Yanks farm system. However, the Yanks would need to add either him or Angel Berroa to the 40-man prior to Opening Day, so that just pushes the problem on Future Brian Cashman.

On the pitching end, I suppose the Yanks could DFA Chase Wright, but he throws with his left arm so that’s doubtful. The lesser arms — Anthony Claggett, Michal Dunn, Chris Garcia, Eric Hacker, Steven Jackson — were recently added to the roster. It’s not like Cashman used up a spot just to DFA the player later. There just isn’t much room for the team to maneuver right now.

Perhaps this is why the Yanks haven’t stolen Juan Cruz. He makes more sense for them than for the teams which would have to surrender a first rounder. Yet the Yanks can’t make a move because they don’t have much if any 40-man flexibility. If they’re going to sign another free agent, they’d probably have to swing a trade somewhere, perhaps a two-for-one that would free up a roster spot. Otherwise, there’s not much the Yanks can really do.

Categories : Hot Stove League
Comments (106)
  • A day in court
    By

    While I wouldn’t normally think much of the leak that a federal grand jury has been convened as the government decides whether or not to indict Roger Clemens for perjury, this case may have some ramifications for the 2009 Yankees. As ESPN’s investigative reporter Mike Fish explains, Andy Pettitte could very well see himself dragged back into court to testify in front of the grand jury. While the Yanks and Pettitte are at a contractual impasse right now, this news will not be good for the Pettitte camp. · (31) ·

In one sense, it pains me to write about this. Who cares what the Yankees are doing with their personal lives, right? In another way, though, I’m very happy to report that Alex Rodriguez has finally figured out that he can do better than a 50 (and a half) year old pop star. His latest fling: Kate Hudson. I certainly approve, as she’s a significant upgrade from Madonna. Plus, she used to be married to Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes, which is all sorts of awesome. Ben’s reaction: “Dammit. I want to date Kate Hudson.” Mike’s reaction: “You know, I never thought that she was all that hot.” I’m definitely siding with Ben on this one.

That’s definitely her best movie role. For a nude, but covered, photo, go here.

Update by Mike (7:38pm): Go ahead and use this for the open thread tonight. The Knicks are in New Orleans, but otherwise all the local teams are off. Play nice.

Categories : Not Baseball
Comments (367)