Report: Jorge Soler finally declared a free agent

Via Ken Rosenthal, 20-year-old Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler has been declared a free agent and is free to sign with any team. He can sign for any amount until the spending restrictions implemented by the new Collective Bargaining Agreement take effect on July 2nd, so expect him to sign sometime this month.

The Yankees were said to have “serious interest” in Soler earlier this season, but obviously they’re not the only club in the hunt. Bidding could approach $20M across four or five years on a big league contract. I’m a fan based on the little we know and it would be great to see the Yankees add a young player of this caliber to the organization. Either way, expect to here a whole lot about Soler over the next few weeks.

Report: Yanks talked trade for starting pitcher with Nats

Via Josh Norris, the Yankees had talked with the Nationals about a trade involving one of Washington’s starting pitchers earlier this season. Eduardo Nunez, southpaw prospect Nik Turley, and an unnamed Low-A Charleston outfielder* were supposedly heading the nation’s capitol. Talks have cooled of late and nothing is imminent.

It stands to reason that Edwin Jackson was the subject of the trade talks. Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, and Jordan Zimmerman are presumably off-limits and Ross Detwiler, Chien-Ming Wang, and John Lannan aren’t anything special. Certainly not guys you’d trade three young players for. Jackson signed a one-year contract with the Nats this offseason and can’t be traded until June 15th without his consent. It’s an interesting rumor, but Washington lives and dies with its starting pitching. It doesn’t appear that they’re getting enough of an offensive upgrade to dish one of their four best starters, even if he’s only signed through this season.

* I have to think it’s either Ben Gamel or Kelvin DeLeon. I can’t imagine either Mason Williams or Tyler Austin being including in a package like this unless one of Strasburg, Gio, and Zimmermann was on the table, and I find it very hard to believe they are.

Granderson & A-Rod slam Tigers in win

Source: FanGraphs

The Yankees beat the Tigers on Friday night to guarantee a winning road trip, but don’t expect to see them on the back pages Saturday morning. Johan Santana threw the first no-hitter in Mets history and that’s pretty cool. Here’s a recap (of the Yankees)…

  • Granderslam: If you’ve been reading RAB long enough then you’ve heard me say this before: the only things you can count on young pitchers to do are walk people and get hurt. Anything else is a bonus. The Yankees scored five runs on just one hit in the second inning because rookie southpaw Casey Crosby walked the bases loaded, forced in a run by walking Derek Jeter, and served up a grand slam to Curtis Granderson. Just like they drew it up.
  • Sabathia: It was a typical bad CC Sabathia outing, meaning seven innings and three runs. A good start for normal folk but not what you like to see from the ace. Anyway, Sabathia threw 71 pitches in the first three innings but just 42 over his last four innings. Ramon Santiago hit a solo homer and both Prince Fielder and Danny Worth touched him up for run-scoring singles. Big whoop. Sixteen of his 21 outs were recorded on the infield. Go big man.
  • Insurance: The Yankees were up 6-3 when Sabathia left the game and they managed to tack on a trio of insurance runs. Andruw Jones doubled in Nick Swisher in the eighth and one inning later Alex Rodriguez hit a two-run homer out to left-center off Octavio Dotel. I didn’t think it was gone off the bat, but it just kept carrying. An underrated moment of the game was Jayson Nix’s steal of third in the fourth, which allowed Chris Stewart to slap a ground ball single through the drawn-in infield to answer right back after the Tigers scored in the third.
  • Leftovers: Clay Rapada pitched for the first time in nine days and retired one of four batters, and it wasn’t either of the two lefties he faced … Rafael Soriano picked up a cheapie save by coaxing a double play ball out of Miguel Cabrera with a five-run lead to bail out Rapada … Boone Logan and Cory Wade bailed out Cody Eppley with a scoreless one-run eighth … Derek Jeter and Granderson each had two hits, plus Nix reached base three times (double and two walks) … everyone in the starting lineup reached at least once and five of the nine starters reached at least twice. has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs the advanced stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Yankees are now tied with the Orioles for second place in the AL East and are just one back of the Rays in the loss column. Game two of this three-game set is a rare Saturday night game, my least favorite. Hiroki Kuroda and Rick Porcello will be on the bump.

Sanchez mashes, Mitchell mashed in Low-A loss

Got some notes to pass along…

  • RHP Mark Montgomery, OF Rob Segedin, and C J.R. Murphy will represent the Tampa Yankees in the High-A All-Star Game. The Murphy selection is quite sketchy, but they tend to lean towards prospects with these things anyway. Montgomery and Segedin are well-deserving.
  • OF Tyler Austin ranked ninth in this week’s Prospect Hot Sheet. His .545/.667/.818 performance last week was probably like, his fourth best week of the season.
  • 2B Corban Joseph has been promoted from Double-A Trenton to Triple-A Empire State. This was long overdue, he’s been suiting up for the Thunder since the middle of 2010. Cole Garner was placed on the DL with a hand injury in a corresponding move.

Triple-A Empire State Game One (4-3 loss to Norfolk in seven innings, walk-off style) makeup of an April 21st rain out
CF Kevin Russo: 1-4, 1 R
2B Corban Joseph: 1-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB — celebrated his promotion to Triple-A by homering in his first plate appearances
1B Steve Pearce: 1-3, 1 2B, 1 K
DH Jack Cust: 0-4, 1 K
LF Ronnie Mustelier: 2-3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 K, 1 HBP — first multi-hit game of his seven-game hit streak
C Frankie Cervelli & 3B Brandon Laird: both 0-3 — Laird struck out twice
RF Colin Curtis & SS Ramiro Pena: both 2-3 — Pena drove in a run and got picked off first
RHP Ramon Ortiz: 6 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 9/3 GB/FB — 55 of 85 pitches were strikes (64.7%) … worst start in about three weeks
RHP Manny Delcarmen: 0.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K — 12 of his 22 pitches were strikes (54.5%)

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2012 Draft: Baseball America’s Mock Draft v3.0

In their latest mock draft (subs. req’d), Baseball America has the Astros selecting Stanford RHP Mark Appel first overall. That seems to be the consensus so far. They have the Yankees taking Florida HS RHP Zach Elfin with their first round pick (#30 overall), a three-pitch righty with lots of projection remaining. I actually wrote up a profile on him earlier today and plan on posting it tomorrow, so check back for that.

Baseball America says the smart money is on the Yankees selecting a high school right-hander from a group that includes Eflin, J.O. Berrios (Puerto Rico), Mitch Gueller (Washington), Shane Watson (California), Ty Buttrey (North Carolina), Lucas Sims (Georgia), and Walker Weickel (Florida). We’ve heard that they’re leaning towards various prep arms for about two weeks now. Baseball America had the Yankees taking high schoolers C Stryker Trahan (Louisiana) and SS Addison Russell (Florida) in their first two mock drafts.

Game 51: Return to Comerica

"Earn the privilege?!" (REUTERS/Alex Gallardo)

A 4-2 record on the West Coast was a pretty good start to this nine-game road trip that now takes the Yankees to Detroit. It’s their first trip to Comerica Park since A.J. Burnett put together an unexpectedly strong performance in Game Four of last fall’s ALDS, in what was ultimately his final act as a Yankee. The Tigers have been disappointing this year, so it would be nice for New York to finish this trip with a couple of wins and head home on a high note. Here’s the lineup…

SS Derek Jeter
CF Curtis Granderson
1B Mark Teixeira
3B Alex Rodriguez
2B Robinson Cano
RF Nick Swisher
DH Andruw Jones
LF Jayson Nix
C Chris Stewart

LHP CC Sabathia

Tonight’s game starts a little after 7pm ET and can be seen on YES locally and MLB Network nationally. Enjoy.

Brett Gardner Update: Prior to the game, Joe Girardi said that Gardner’s workouts (he hit in the cage today) continue to go well and he could return to the team by next weekend or shortly thereafter. He still needs some minor league rehab games after missing nearly two full months.

David Robertson Update: Robertson was supposed to play catch today and throw a bullpen tomorrow, but it rained in Tampa. He could still throw off a mound tomorrow, but they’re likely to just push everything back a day according to Girardi.

Russell Martin/Laz Diaz Update: MLB Executive VP of Baseball Ops Joe Torre discussed the little spat between Martin and Diaz with both parties and decided not to impose any punishment. No fines, no suspensions, nothing.

2012 Draft: Keith Law’s Mock Draft v3.0

In his latest mock draft (subs. req’d), Keith Law still has the Astros taking Stanford RHP Mark Appel with the first overall selection. He projects the Yankees to take Georgia HS RHP Duane Underwood with their first rounder (#30 overall), noting that they’re primarily interested in prep arms at the moment. He mentions RHP J.O. Berrios (Puerto Rico) and RHP/OF Mitch Gueller (Washington) as targets well.

Law says it’s possible the Yankees would take “a major bat” if one fell into lap and was willing to sign. Their first round slot money is a healthy $1.6M, though I’m sure most of the draft’s best position players are seeking more than that. Law had the Yankees selecting Florida HS SS Addison Russell and Las Vegas HS 3B/RHP Joey Gallo in his first two mock drafts. Here are my write-ups on Underwood, Berrios, Gueller, Russell, and Gallo.