Via Aaron Fitt, Texas left-hander Sam Stafford will miss the 2012 season due to shoulder surgery. The Yankees selected Stafford with their second round pick last year, but they did not sign him after a physical revealed a small tear in his shoulder. They’ll receive the 89th overall pick in this year’s draft as compensation. The injury is really unfortunate for Stafford, who was poised to climb up the draft rankings this year as a hard-throwing lefty in a class generally considered short on college pitching.
12:59pm ET: Via Ken Rosenthal, the Yankees would pay $19-23M of the $33M left on Burnett’s deal and receive multiple non-40-man roster minor leaguers from the Pirates. The two sides are still talking and it doesn’t appear that a trade is imminent.
12:00pm ET: Via Buster Olney, the Yankees and Pirates have a framework in place for an A.J. Burnett trade. The deal is not done because they still have to agree on the final players and dollar amount, but the two sides are now on common ground. Jon Heyman and Joel Sherman say the Yankees don’t love the two (!) minor leaguers Pittsburgh is offering and will shop around a bit just to make sure there’s not a better deal to be made. All indications are that A.J. will be moved in the coming days. The money they save may then go to Eric Chavez and a left-handed DH.
(The workweek is Saturday-Sunday, so it still counts!)
I’ve never known any other shortstop than Derek Jeter.
River Ave Blues has spent the past week talking about 80’s and bits of pieces of the 90’s because they’re history now: the players are gone, and while their numbers remain forever to tell us what they think is important, and while the plays may be play-index’d and written in scoresheets, they’re long in the past.
One of the great things about baseball is that it’s ageless: it can bring together the young and old. Baseball is frequently passed down from our parents or grandparents, who may have gifted us with stories about Ruth, Henderson, Berra, Righetti, or any number of the people who we the fans were fortunate enough to have in pinstripes. Maybe they became attached by someone old, cranky and awful, like Mel Ott. Fans of all ages deck the stands at New Yankee Stadium, from the cranky old gentlemen whining for the old park to the babies too young to really understand what’s going on yet. For each generation, what Retro Week is is something a little different. Everyone has their own childhood heroes, and ten different Yankees fans of ten different ages would write ten different weeks of Retro Week.
I was born in 1988 and missed out on Mattingly, Berra, and the hapless Yankees of the 80’s. My generation and I were lucky enough to pick up at the right time, raised with a scrawny-legged shortstop named Derek Jeter and his comrades: a Panamanian ex-starter, a chinless, scowly catcher (who was first a backup), and a beak-nosed crafty lefty. And there were plenty of other Yankees in those dynasty teams that 8-year-old me will never forget too, of course: Tino, Bernie, Cone, Paul O’Neill (my first favorite player ever), and so on.
As I end up finding my place in the real world attending my stupid job and counting my birthdays (I turn 24 in two weeks), the players that I grew up screaming for in front of my tv with my grandma have slowly faded away. Earlier this week, Mike covered David Wells’ perfect game as yore and I came to the startling realization that it happened way over ten years ago. Meanwhile, every new year comes with a new group of fans and their own childhood players. There are plenty of readers, I’m sure, who have never known another third baseman other than A-Rod, and some who can’t remember a time when the rotation didn’t feature the pure domination of CC Sabathia. That’s not bad, it’s just the way that time is. The half-important types that these Yankees kids might pick up could be Cervelli, Pena and Nunez. My favorite was Chad Curtis, and I will always love Alfonso Soriano. Sooner than maybe we’d all like (or maybe not soon enough), the youngest generation of fans will only know Derek Jeter from videos, retro baseball cards, and their parents’ brilliant stories of him, much like I know Mattingly, and my grandparents knew Ruth. When he’s honored for the Hall of Fame and Mo knows what else (tentatively everything), they’ll give him polite applause because he is history, while I’m pretty sure I will bawl hysterically thinking of the hundred different ways he enshrined himself in the hearts of everyone (but, as always) especially the kids.
Eventually, fans will grow up loving Manny Banuelos, Austin Romine, JR Murphy, and Mason Williams, or players in that age-group. I will politely reply to any children I have (and maybe some boasting kids) that there’s no one like Jeter or Pettitte or Wells anymore, and that while the cathedral that is Yankee Stadium right now is pretty amazing in almost every conceivable way, it isn’t what they had back in the 90’s. They’ll scoff, of course, and point to whatever the next greatest deed that’s been done by their hero, even if the teams are awful. And after that, well – I’m sure plenty of Yankee heroes of the future are still a blink in their parents’ eyes like Jeter was in the 60’s and Robinson Cano was in the 70’s.
Some day, kids will love them and will eventually boast to their kids that their generation was great, but man they would kill to see heroes of yore, like Derek Jeter.
(Mo is, of course, immortal, and all our children’s children will still see him pitching.)
Pitchers and catchers aren’t due to report for another eight days, but many of the Yankees’ hurlers are already in Tampa preparing for the season according to the AP. Joba Chamberlain threw 15 pitches in his second half-mound session yesterday, saying he’s “happy with the progress and feeling good.” Unlike the other guys in camp, he’s rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.
Ivan Nova threw off a mound yesterday, which is only notable because he ended last season with a strained flexor tendon. The team says he’s fully healed and healthy, but there’s always that little bit of concern until you hear that he got back on a mound and didn’t report any problems. Phil Hughes and Cory Wade also threw off a mound, and Derek Jeter is scheduled to hit on the field for the first time on Monday.
The name Scott Pose might not ring a bell, and no one would blame you if it didn’t. He’s most notable for being the very first batter in Florida Marlins history, hitting leadoff and playing center field for the expansion franchise during their first ever game in 1993. He reached base on an error by the second baseman in at at-bat.
Pose only played in 15 games for the Fish that year, toiling away in Triple-A until he resurfaced with the Yankees in 1997. He went up and down a few times, helping fill out the bench when Tim Raines, Bernie Williams, and some others battled through minor injuries. In 54 games (18 starts) and 96 plate appearances with the Yankees, Pose hit .218/.292/.264 with three steals. While with Triple-A Columbus in 1997 and 1998, he hit a combined .300/.377/.415 with 60 steals in 190 games.
Today is Pose’s 45th birthday, and he’s been out of baseball for about ten years now. The majority of his big league career (202 games and 353 plate appearances) came with the Royals (133 games and 214 plate appearances) after his short stint in pinstripes. Pose is a forgotten Yankee, but he’s a former big leaguer, and that alone is one hell of an accomplishment.
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Here is tonight’s open thread. The three hockey locals already played, but both the Knicks and Nets are in action tonight. I’ve heard something about Linsanity over the last few days that sounds intriguing. Anyway, talk about whatever you like here. go nuts.
George asks: Would Bobby Abreu be a trade candidate for LH DH? Looks as though the Angels are shopping him and he’s signed for a year at $9 million. I’m not sure as to whether the Angels would take on A.J. Burnett‘s contract or not, but something may be worked out if it makes sense.
This was emailed in on Thursday night, before we learned that the ten teams included in Burnett’s no-trade clause are all on the West Coast. So right away we can forget about the Yankees trading him to Anaheim for anyone even though they could really use some rotation depth beyond that stellar top four.
As for Abreu, he definitely makes some sense as a left-handed DH. Putting aside the money and logistics for a second, Bobby still does three things exceptionally well: he draws a ton of walks, steals bases, and stay in the lineup (140+ games in each of the last 14 seasons). His batting eye remains one of the very best in the game, with a 14.7% career walk rate and 13.3% in 2011. He also stole 20 bases (21 to be exact) in 2011 for the 13th consecutive season. You have to figure he’ll slow down at some point — he likely already has, but his instincts have kept him productive on the bases — but if nothing else, he still fits into that Yankee mold of working the count and grinding away at-bats. That style fits perfectly into that seventh hole of the lineup.
On the downside, Abreu’s batting average has sunk into the .250s over the last two seasons (.254 to be exact) after sitting at .285+ for more than a decade. All those walks have resulted in a .353 OBP over the last two years rather than one that’s approaching or above .400. Don’t get me wrong, a .350-ish OBP is still pretty good, but it’s not what we’re used to seeing out of Bobby. Furthermore, his power has started to dry up at age 37 (38 in March), as he hit just eight homers in 585 plate appearances last season (two came in one game against the Yankees, if you remember). Part of that is the pitcher friendly ballpark in SoCal, but not all of it. It’s also worth noting that his performance against left-handed batters has completely tanked the last few years (like, sub-.290 wOBA bad), so you’ve got to consider him a strict platoon bat these days. Obviously, he can’t play defense either.
The Angels owe Bobby $9M in 2012, and he can become a free agent after the season. He’s reportedly open to a trade given the club’s crowded outfield/DH picture, but there’s a sense that they may hold onto him for the time because they don’t have another reliable left-handed bat with Kendrys Morales still on the mend. That said, Jayson Stark recently heard “they’d [trade him] for a middling prospect, just to move the money.” Ideally, they’d get a right-handed bullpen arm in return, he added Stark. The Yankees have middling prospects and a right-handed bullpen arm or two (George Kontos?) to spare, so matching up for a swap doesn’t figure to be difficult.
I don’t necessarily endorse it, but if the Yankees can free up some cash by trading Burnett, Abreu would be a viable DH option. The Halos would have to eat some money and take a lesser prospect in return, but it’s not the craziest thing ever. Someone from the Johnny Damon, Raul Ibanez, Russell Branyan group might be more logical and affordable however, especially since Bobby isn’t guaranteed to outproduce any of them. In situations like this, oftentimes the easiest way to go (sign a free agent) is the best.
Via Ken Rosenthal, the Pirates are just one of four teams with interest in trading for A.J. Burnett. One of those four teams is on his no-trade list, and the Yankees feel Pittsburgh makes the “most sense” as a trade partner. It might have something to do with them being in the NL, or a non-contender, or both. Yesterday we heard that the Pirates are willing to take on $10M of the $33M left on his deal, but the Yankees are holding out for a 50-50 split.