• Padres sign Britton
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    The Padres sure love the Yankees cast-offs. They nabbed Scott Patterson when we placed him on waivers. They selected Ian Nova in the Rule 5 draft, someone no one thought a possibility. Now they’ve grabbed yet another Yankee reliever: Chris Britton. The Friars have inked the hefty righty to a minor league deal. As with Patterson, I wish Britton the best of luck and hope he doesn’t spend the year traveling between the majors and minors. That might not be much of an issue now, as he’s out of options. · (22) ·

Update (3:00 p.m.): Buster Olney says that the Yanks had an offer on the table but have since pulled it. “They want to cut payroll,” Olney writes, “and basically, they cannot do this if they sign Teixeira.”

It is of course a bad time to cut payroll as Teixeira fills an obvious need. Additionally, as has been pointed out in the comments, the Yanks could withdraw their offer to Pettitte and just commit to Melky and Brett Gardner in the outfield for instant savings. After 2009, enough money is coming off the books that Teixeira makes sense. I’d hate to see them opt out off this signing as they did with Carlos Beltran over a matter of a few million dollars for one season. But as more and more stories come out, I’m less inclined to believe that Teixeira will wind up in the Bronx.

Dan Graziano says we should forget about a Yankee discount. Teixeira is a true Boras client through and through.

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Scott Boras really wants the Yankees to either land Mark Teixeira or at least be more involved in the bidding. As I wrote this morning, the Yanks may be willing to make Teixeira a $160-million, eight-year offer, but it won’t be enough.

Meanwhile, Boras keeps pushing. He has anonymously sourced reports everywhere. Jon Heyman had the Yanks in on Teixeira; Micheal Schmidt in The Times has them interested. But today, Kat O’Brien unveils the most interesting take of all. It seems that Scott Boras is more interested in the Yankees than the Yankees are in Boras and Teixeira for now.

O’Brien reports on what it would take to land Teixeira. She writes:

Despite agent Scott Boras’ efforts to get the Yankees involved in the Mark Teixeira sweepstakes, the Yankees remain on the periphery of the bidding, sources said yesterday…

Two sources confirmed that Boras and Yankees general manager Brian Cashman talked Friday, but they said it was Boras – not Cashman – who initiated contact. One source said Boras gave Cashman an estimate of what it would cost to land Teixeira, a superb defensive and offensive first baseman. The ballpark figure reportedly was about $22 million to $23 million per year on an eight-year contract, for a total of $180 million to $185 million.

The source said Boras wanted to give the Yankees an opportunity to make an offer. The Yankees currently do not have an offer on the table for Teixeira…A source said the Yankees have not ruled out making an offer for Teixeira, saying: “We’re debating it. Some in the organization want to do it.”

That’s, I think, the most accurate picture of where things stand. Boras wants the Yanks involved. Some of the Yankee Front Office would like Teixeira, and there seems to be a bit of a hold up over signing another costly free agent to a very long-term deal. But as things stand with the Red Sox and Angels, Teixeira could New York’s for the taking if they make the right offer.

If the team really is, as The Times noted earlier, willing to go to $160 million, what’s another $2 or $3 million a season anyway?

Categories : Hot Stove League
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Sunday morning brings with it an intriguing — and familiar — story about Mark Teixeira from The Times’ Michael Schmidt. He reports that the Yanks are interested but remain lurkers in the Mark Teixeira hunt.

Says Schmidt:

Although the Yankees have not actively pursued the free-agent first baseman Mark Teixeira, team officials continue to monitor the negotiations between Teixeira’s agent, Scott Boras, and other teams.

The Yankees are interested in signing Teixeira, according to two people in baseball with knowledge of the matter, but for the moment are unwilling to pay him more than $160 million over eight years, one of them said.

For the moment. That’s a rather pregnant phrase.

Schmidt notes that the Yanks would perhaps have to get creative with either the roster or the contract to add Teixeira, but it seems as though the Yanks could do that with so many contracts coming off the books following 2009. At this point, what’s the difference between $160 over eight years and $180 over the same time? If the Yanks want Teixeira badly enough, they will get him. It just depends on how badly that really is.

Categories : Hot Stove League
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According to the tireless Jon Heyman, the Blue Jays are fielding offers for center fielder Vernon Wells. Of course, as the Yanks are ever looking for an adequate center fielder, some fans have proposed kicking the tires on this one.

On the surface it’s not a terrible idea. While the Jays probably aren’t too keen to trade Wells to a division contender, the Yanks could use a steady presence in center field. But is Wells really the answer? Probably not

The first problem is that Vernon Wells is set to make a lot of money. Last year, he signed a seven-year, $126-million contract that, from the get-go, promised Wells, then 29 and now 30, far more money than he is actually worth. He may opt out after 2011, but over the next few years, his salary structure looks like this:

2009:$1.5M
2010:$12.5M
2011:$23M
2012:$21M
2013:$21M
2014:$21M

His salary is so low up front because the Blue Jays owe him a $25.5 million signing bonus. In fact, his contract is nearly guaranteed to ensure that Wells won’t activate the opt-out clause. Can you imagine a team paying a 33-year-old center fielder more than $63 million over three seasons?

And then there is the problem of production. Wells doesn’t cover that much ground in center, and his career offensive line of .283/.332/.480 just isn’t that good. His career OPS+ of 108 is better than what Melky or Brett Gardner can do, but it’s not $100 million better. In the end, if the Yanks are going to spend this much on a player, Mark Teixeira would be a far, far better investment.

Categories : Hot Stove League
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Now that I’m done with my first round of law school finals, I can dig out from under this avalanche of baseball articles I’ve been saving for various threads. Let’s start with some Maury Brown musings on baseball’s salary structure.

Basically using some recent numbers from Sports Business Journal, Brown argues against a cap. He notes that the Yanks have paid out over $120 million in luxury tax fees with the Red Sox and Angels the only other two teams ever to dole out a cent. “With revenues at an all-time high, the second highest attendance level on record, and as of late, the most parity, it seems a hard sell to say MLB needs a salary cap,” he concludes.

It’s hard to disagree with that. While I recently questioned baseball’s economic system, if the sport doesn’t need a salary cap, I won’t agitate for one. As Yankee fans, we should be happy seeing our team able to dole out the money it draws in by virtue of its being in New York and having great fans.

Anyway, use this as your open thread tonight. Talk salary caps. Talk baseball. The Knicks are off, but the Islanders, Rangers and Nets all have games tonight. Just play nice.

Categories : Open Thread
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Dec
20

Remembering Dock Ellis

By in Days of Yore. Tags: · Comments (7) ·

Dock Ellis, a pitcher famous for reportedly tossing a no-hitter while on LSD, passed away yesterday. He’ll be remembered for his battles with drug addictions and subsequent anti-drug activism, but for a brief moment in time, he was a member of the Yankees.

In a way, Dock Ellis was an incidental and accidental piece of the Yankees’ late-1970s success. He was on the Yanks for all of 1976 and 19.2 innings in 1977. Along the way, he was involved in two instrumental trades and had a season quite odd in the annals of baseball.

The 1976 season saw George Steinbrenner‘s passion for winning build. Following a third-place finish in 1975, he retooled the Yanks by bringing in Ellis, Willie Randolph and Ken Brett in exchange for Doc Medich. Ellis would win 17 games in 1976 but also managed to pull off the rare feat of walking more hitters than he struck out. His only World Series appearance that year was an ugly start in Game 3.

A few weeks into the 1977 season, Ellis, persona non grata around the Yanks due to his drug problems, was shipped off to the Athletics in exchange for Mike Torrez. Torrez would go onto win 14 games for the Yanks and two more in the World Series that year.

I never got to see Dock Ellis pitch. He was on the Yanks before I was born, and all I know of him come through stories. Jay Jaffe, however, saw and loved Ellis. Check out his take on the former Yankee and one-time troubled baseball soul.

Categories : Days of Yore
Comments (7)
  • Giambi market taking shape
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    Jason Giambi, soon to be 38, wants a three-year deal, but it sounds as though he’ll soon get a two-year offer from the A’s with an option. While Tampa has expressed some interest in Giambi as well, my bet is on a return to the Bay Area. He would DH for Oakland and slot in nicely behind Matt Holliday. While Jason once said he’d love to return to New York, the Yanks have so far expressed no interest in having Giambi return. · (15) ·

  • Cool on Sheets, Yanks view Pettite’s return as ‘virtually inevitable’
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    In one of his tersest reports of the Hot Stove League, FoxSports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that Andy Pettitte will return to the Yanks for 2009. The two sides have to work out appropriate compensation for the aging lefty, but the return, according to Rosenthal’s sources is “virtually inevitable.” The Yanks also seem willing to wait for Pettitte because, as Jon Heyman notes, the Yanks are wary of Ben Sheets’ medical reports. The former Brewer would apparently be the fallback choice if Pettitte doesn’t return.

    Bringing Andy back into the fold would leave the Yanks with a rotation of CC Sabathia, Chien-Ming Wang, A.J. Burnett, Pettitte and Joba Chamberlain. Al Aceves, Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy would be waiting in the wings. That sounds like pitching depth to me. Now, if only the Yanks would do something about their offense too.
    · (48) ·