Gil McDougald, the 1951 Rookie of the Year, passed last night at his home in New Jersey at the age of 82. According to his family, the ten-year Yankee vet died from complications from prostate cancer. McDougald, a versatile infielder who played third, second and short during his decade with the Yanks, was a five-time All Star with a career line of .276/.356/.410. He won five World Series with the Yankees and retired at the age of 32 only when it became apparent that he would be selected in the 1961 expansion draft. The Times has an obituary, and William over The Yankee U has an excellent look back at McDougald. Our thoughts go out to the McDougald family.
Channeling his inner Jon Albaladejo, former Yankee farmhand Marcos Vechionacci has signed on with the Hanshin Tigers as an ikusei player according to NPB Tracker. An ikusei player is basically the Japanese equivalent of a minor league contract; you can learn all about it here.
Vech was once one of the Yankees’ most promising prospects (and also a personal fave), a switch-hitting shortstop/third baseman that put up a .373 wOBA across three levels as a 17-year-old. The Yanks rushed him up the ladder at a time when they needed trade chips, and it killed his development. Vechionacci enjoyed the best season of his career in 2010, wOBA’ing .350 as a 23-year-old corner infielder with Double-A Trenton, though he became a minor league free agent after the season. Good luck to him.
Via The Toronto Sun (h/t MLBTR), the Yankees are “quietly closing in” on a new deal with Mariano Rivera. It’ll pay the birthday boy $17M per season, but the team is unwilling to go beyond one year at this point. Earlier today we heard that negotiations are going well, and it sounds like this might be wrapped up very soon.
Update: Eh, looks like the hosers jumped the gun on this one. Brian Costa says the two sides will meet this week then again at the Winter Meetings next week, and the contract is expected to be finalized before the meetings come to an end. Got me all excited for nothing.
A few weeks ago, as he adjusted to life back home after a physically taxing season, Andy Pettitte spoke of his uncertain future. Not sure if he wanted to pitch again in 2011, he said that if he were to take the mound again, it would be for only one more year. “At this point in my career, it’ll be New York or it’ll be nowhere for sure,” he added. That hasn’t stopped other teams from calling.
According to a report in The Daily News, Texas Rangers president Nolan Ryan has “reached out” to Andy Pettitte to see if “he could convince the veteran lefthander to pitch in his home state.” Neither Pettitte nor the Rangers have commented on the report.
So should we be worried? I don’t think so. Pettitte has been very explicit in stating his desire to pitch for the Yanks or to stay home. He tried the Houston gig a few years back and wound up in the Bronx again. I do think the Rangers are taking an obvious jab at the Yankees because they see New York at Cliff Lee’s next home. Why not make the Yanks sweat as they pursue Lee and try to re-sign their own free agents at the same time?
If anything, as Mark Feinsand notes, the Rangers’ interest might bump up Pettitte’s price tag a bit. He made $11.75 million in 2010, but due to concerns over Pettitte’s age and health, the Yanks were probably hoping to see that figure drop a bit. With other interest, Pettitte has the ever-important leverage — something that has, for instance, so far eluded Derek Jeter — and he could make the Yanks pay for it.
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Update (10:00 p.m.): The Rangers have seemingly denied contacting Andy Pettitte, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reported this evening. According to Hoch’s Rangers’ sources, “the only contact between Pettitte and the club was when the lefty called Ryan after the ALCS to congratulate him.” Take that for what you will.
Yesterday it was Jesus Montero, today it’s Mariano Rivera. The greatest relief pitcher in the history of humanity turns 41 years old today, and although he’s not technically a Yankee at the moment, we certainly expect him to be very soon. He simply belongs in pinstripes. Also happy birthday to another all-time great, Dodgers play-by-play announcer Vin Scully. The Bronx-born Scully turns 83 today, and like Mo he remains at the very top of his game late into his career. Happy birthday to a pair of baseball’s greatest.
Here’s your open thread for the night. The MNF game features the 49ers and Cardinals (holy snorefest), plus the Rangers are in action as well. You guys know the drill, so have at it.
Weekend Writer Update: The three of us are still pouring through the applications, I think there’s close to a hundred of them. We want to have this process wrapped up this week, but we’ve still got a ways to go. Stay tuned.
Thanks to RABer Tyler Wilkinson for the graphic.
Long after the playoffs are over, Major League Baseball totals up the gate receipt from the various postseason games — the first three LDS games of each series and the first four LCS and World Series games from each series — and distributes them to the victors. Each playoff team gets a share based upon how far they made it and the four second-place non-Wild Card teams share in the action as well. (I’m sure that’s a bittersweet reward for the Padres.)
Today, MLB announced the totals. While the Giants get a playoff pool of over $19 million and the Rangers took home $13 million, the Yanks’ players had to split $6.588 million amongst the club. Ultimately, the Yanks awarded 43 full shares of $110,302.97 each, 15.75 partial shares and one cash award. While that’s a far cry from the $365,000 World Series share the players enjoyed in 2009, that 100 grand isn’t a bad reward for losing the ALCS.
Phil Hughes is headed to arbitration for the first time. Mike provided an excellent write-up. We take it a bit further on the podcast, talking about all those tangential issues that don’t fit into an article proper.
Then we move onto the inevitable topic of every podcast from now until January: Derek Jeter. It’s not about his negotiations, per se — though we do invoke the reality potion — but rather about how Juan Uribe’s new three-year, $21 million contract affects the situation. Will Jeter think he’s worth triple Uribe? Will the Giants jump into the fold now that they don’t have a shortstop?
(No and no, but it’s a fun discussion.)
And then there’s Mo. Everything’s going fine with Mo. That’s nothing but good news.
Podcast run time 24:25
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Intro music: “Smile” by Farmer’s Boulevard used under a Creative Commons license