Add Jon Heyman to the long list of writers who think the Yanks are interested in Ben Sheets. Heyman notes that Sheets will decline arbitration tonight, spurred on in part by the idea that the Yanks are interested. While his speculation is just that and Sheets seems to be on the Yanks’ second tier of choices, we have repeatedly expressed our support for Ben Sheets. Fewer years and a few million less should land Sheets, and it’s a much better risk than overpaying Derek Lowe or A.J. Burnett. · (37) ·
While one Kennedy may be gearing up to join New York’s Senate delegation, another is quietly restoring his status as a pitching prospect. Pitching for the Indios de Mayaguez in the Puerto Rican Winter League, Ian Kennedy has put together a strong of solid outings.
Yesterday, facing the Aguilas Cibaenas, Kennedy had another solid outing. He emerged the hard-luck loser in a 1-0 affair, but six innings, he allowed one earned run on five hits and two walks while striking out six. On the season, he now has 34.2 innings under his belt, and he’s allowed 12 walks and 19 hits while striking out 31. While the Caribbean winter leagues are a far cry from MLB hitters, Kennedy is throwing strikes with confidence.
Now, the Yankees won’t just hand Ian Kennedy a job come March, but he’ll very much be in the mix. He turns 24 later this month, and there’s no reason why he can’t still be a good Major League starter. After a rough season, his winter league showing is a good sign indeed.
According to Larry LaRue, one of the sports writers at the Tacoma-based News Tribune, the Yanks are one of ten teams interested in Raul Ibañez. This is an interesting, if random, rumor. Ibañez turns 36 in June and has put together three straight 20-HR, 100-RBI, 121+ OPS+ seasons while playing half of his games in Safeco Field. He would probably be a one- or two-year stop-gap, but whichever team signs him has to give up a draft pick. The Yanks could do a lot worse than Ibañez. I, however, don’t think much will come of this one. · (55) ·
Considering their blowaway offer has been dangling out there for three weeks, the Yankees privately seem pretty smug about landing CC Sabathia, laughing off the idea that the Giants are serious competitors or that the Angels, if and when they do make an offer, will go anywhere near $140 million.
“We’re confident it will happen,” was the way one Yankee person summed up the organization’s feeling one day last week.
Too confident? Is the Yankee brass reading the situation correctly, that Sabathia won’t walk away from an extra $30-$40 million even if it’s clear he’s not dying to be a Yankee? Or are they underestimating either Sabathia’s desire to play on the West Coast or some other organization’s willingness to make an offer well north of $100 million?
Harper’s basic premise is one worth considering. Maybe the Yanks are being too smug about Sabathia. But at the same time, if they lose out on Sabathia, they have a fall-back plan, and that fall-back plan, as I said yesterday, could lead to a more balanced team. If they lose out on Sabathia and pursue Teixeira, Sheets, Lowe or Burnett, they wouldn’t be landing that big ace they could use, but they would be shoring up both their offense and pitching.
I think Sabathia would be more important come the post-season, but you have to get to October before you can start worrying about October. I don’t think the Yanks or their fans should worry, per se, if they miss out on Sabathia. Plan B isn’t the worst thing in the world either.
Ed Figueroa had a brief but memorable stint in the Major Leagues. In 1978, he became the first Puerto Rican to win 20 games and won a World Series while with the Yankees. He would go on to win just seven more games over the next three years as injuries cut short his career. Figueroa now owns a few restaurants in Puerto Rico, and Anthony McCarron checked in on him recently. It sounds like the stalwart from the late 1970s Yankees teams is enjoying himself these days. · (8) ·
OK. OK. I know I said that I wouldn’t harp on A-Rod and the WBC, but I’m sort of touched and sort of amused by the Yanks’ third baseman’s announcement about his decision to play for the Dominican team:
“I am 100 percent sure that I will play for the Dominican Republic team,” he said. “This time, there will be no doubts and it is a dream of my mom’s that I intend to fulfill.”
Rodriguez played for the United States in the 2006 inaugural Classic and was largely criticized by fans in the Dominican Republic and across Latin America. He at first had announced he would play for the Dominican Republic, then said he would not play and ultimately joined the U.S. team.
Rodriguez’s parents are from the Dominican Republic, and although he was born in the U.S., he is allowed to choose for which country he will play. “It will be a very special day for me and my family to see me play again with a Dominican uniform,” he said.
Awww. Mommy Rodriguez must be so proud that her son is playing for the Dominican.
Cynically, I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that the Dominican team finished third in 2006 and has a much better shot at winning with A-Rod around. Remember how well the U.S. team fared?
- Melky Cabrera: 15 for 46 (.326), 8 R, 2 2B, 5 RBI, 4 BB, 6 K, 1 SB in 12 games
- Robbie Cano: 13 for 41 (.317), 12 R, 6 2B, 7 RBI, 5 BB, 2 K, 1 SB, 1 HBP in 10 games … 5 walks & 2 strikes? who is this man and what has he done with Robinson Cano?
- Frankie Cervelli: 10 for 37 (.270), 8 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 7 BB, 9 K, 1 CS, 1 HBP in 17 games
- Justin Christian: 42 for 143 (.294), 22 R, 7 2B, 3 HR, 17 RBI, 13 BB, 21 K, 12 SB, 1 CS, 1 HBP in 35 games
- Reegie Corona; 15 for 56 (.268), 10 R, 5 2B, 1 HR, 9 RBI, 3 BB, 6 K, 1 SB in 26 games
- Walt Ibarra: 14 for 70 (.200), 3 R, 2 RBI, 6 BB, 16 K, 3 SB, 1 CS in 32 games
- Ramiro Pena: 16 for 63 (.254), 7 R, 3 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 CS, 2 HBP in 19 games
- Jon Albaladejo: 10.2 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 1 WP in 9 appearances
- Wilkins Arias: 7.1 IP, 12 H, 14 R, 14 ER, 1 BB, 10 K, 1 HB, 2 WP in 13 appearances
- Ian Kennedy: 28.2 IP, 14 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 10 BB, 25 K, 2 HB, 1 WP in 5 starts
If I have my dates correct, IPK will be starting for Mayaguez tonight. Here’s the scoreboard, which will eventually get you to the box score.
Use this as your open thread for the evening. You know the routine, don’t be a dick to each other.
At this stage in his career, with 13 straight playoff appearances and four World Series rings as a manager, Joe Torre is probably the most deserving non-Hall of Famer around. While he never received more than 22 percent of the vote while on the player ballot, he is again up for eligibility under the rules of the Veterans Committee, and this time, as MLB.com’s Tom Singer explores, he just might make it in. The Veterans Committee is tasked with considering a candidate’s “total contributions to the game of baseball,” and I think that Torre has a legitimate case for inclusion in Cooperstown. Despite his unpleasant departure from New York and his recent lack of playoff success, I’d vote for him given the chance. · (37) ·
David Pinto directs our attention to an interview with Ian Kennedy. The once and future prospect has been working hard to improve his breaking pitches and command this winter with the current USC pitching coach Tom House. Kennedy is optimistic about 2009 but realizes he has a long way to go after his disastrous 2008 season. While a lot of Yankee fans have an irrational hatred of Kennedy, he’s still very young and still very well regarded. A bounce-back season would not be out of the ordinary. · (68) ·
Update: Comments are back on, and I’ve added a few more stories.
We have a lot of CC Sabathia quick hits this morning. Let’s dive in.
- For a long, drawn-out take on Brian Cashman‘s trip out west — replete with a “he’s going to stare him straight through the eyes and into the heart of his soul” analogy — check out Jon Heyman’s latest. It features two anonymous-to-him bids for Sabathia and a growing sense that the Yanks want to judge Sabathia’s interest before withdrawing their offer and pursuing Mark Teixeira.
The more I think about it and the long Sabathia stews, the more I prefer Teixeira. It has nothing to do with Sabathia’s perceived desire and everything to do with Teixeira’s offensive and defensive prowess. The first baseman may just be a better cog.
- Ken Davidoff believes that the Brewers won’t go higher than six years and $110 million. The Yanks’ offer would remain the best known deal by a significant amount.
- Anthony McCarron disputes Heyman’s report. Those other two anonymous deals, according to McCarron’s sources, aren’t really there. One source speculates that they are smoke screens tossed up by Sabathia’s agent to draw more out of the Yanks. That source really doesn’t see the Giants as a legitimate option. Bruce Jenkins, writing for the San Francisco Chronicle, isn’t ready to write the Giants off yet.