We heard the doubts about Andy Pettitte start yesterday with a PeteAbe post. They grow louder today as Newsday’s Kat O’Brien chimed in.

In a piece that also provides some insight into the way the Mark Teixeira signing went down, O’Brien notes that her Yankee sources say the Front Office is no longer sure they want to welcome Pettitte back to the fold in 2009. She writes:

Still, even the Yankees have limits. As of midday Wednesday, a final decision had not been made on whether the one-year, $10-million contract offer to Pettitte was still on the table. Yet an inside source said the Yankees were at that point inclined to stick with their team as is.

Pettitte has had that contract offer from the Yankees since early November. And while he stated all season that he wanted to return to the Yankees in 2009 and pitch in the new Yankee Stadium, he has adamantly held out in hopes of taking a smaller pay-cut from the $16 million he earned in 2008. At the winter meetings and also at last week’s press conference introducing Sabathia and Burnett, both Yankees general manager Brian Cashman and manager Joe Girardi said they hoped a return could be worked out.

But Pettitte may have waited too long to accept the Yankees’ offer. With Teixeira now in the fold for eight years and $180 million (pending a physical), Pettitte may be priced out of plans. The source said nothing had been finalized on Pettitte, but the Yankees were leaning towards no. The 36-year-old lefty went 14-14 with a 4.54 ERA for the Yankees this season, having a good first half, but struggling after the All-Star break.

As I said yesterday, Pettitte may learn the hard way that “you snooze, you lose” is a very important life lesson to learn. If he doesn’t get a deal because he was torn over $6 million, he’ll have to live with that decision. For what it’s worth, Ken Davidoff thinks Pettitte will come back (third-to-last paragraph), but I’m not so sure.

So if this really is the end of Andy Pettitte, I can’t say I’m too disappointed. I think that he would be a sturdy back-of-the-rotation pitcher for 2009, and as we’ve learned over the years, a team can never have too much pitching. However, He’s not worth the $16 million he wants, and based on his performance in the second half in 2008, he just didn’t seem to have it. I’m ready to move forward with Phil Hughes, Al Aceves, Ian Kennedy or anyone else the Yanks choose to plug into the five spot.

In an off-season in which the Yanks have spent money they have, it will be sad for nostalgia’s sake to see Pettitte shut out. But he had his offer and declined it. That is, sometimes, just the way the baseball cookie crumbles.

Categories : Hot Stove League
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The Yankees have already given their fans three of the best Christmas presents anyone could ask for, so whatever Santa brings this year is just icing on the cake.

Baseball news is going to be pretty nonexistent the rest of the day, so go and spend time with family and friends. Eat some good food, sit around in gay Christmas sweaters, go caroling, get into a snowball fight with those bastard kids down the street (if there’s snow where you live). Go do whatever it is you this time of year, and forget all about the Yankees for a few hours. Your blood pressure will thank you.

Happy Holidays to you and yours from the three of us here at RAB. Be safe, and may Mo watch over you.

If you need to talk baseball, or anything really, do it here. Just be nice.

Categories : Open Thread
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As much as it pains me to admit it, Curt Schilling has the most level-headed assessment of the Yanks’ Mark Teixeira signing. While his loyalty to his friends — most notably, Mike Lowell — may lead Curt to overvalue what Lowell would bring and undervalue Teixeira’s potential contribution, he chides Boston sports fans for their reaction to the signing.

Take a look:

Please stop with the greedy bum statements too, all of you screaming that would be saying nothing if the Sox had ante’d up. I’m surprised but I don’t think nearly as much as most others. Why? Because not once, never, did you hear ANYTHING from Mark in this entire charade. This is how Scott Boras works, and his clients love him for it. Mark never said he wanted Boston, sources ‘close to negotiations’ did. That and a handful of nickels will get you a quarter.

Stop being surprised in these deals when you hear comments from EVERYONE but the players. Until the player speaks I am comfortable telling you more than 90 percent of what you hear is what teams WANT you to hear through their media ’sources’. Half of these folks get told things from teams because teams
WANT that message in particular, out there…

I think the Steinbrenners, coming off a miserable last season in Yankee Stadium, are dead set on opening the new stadium with a World Series and they don’t care how much it costs. Good for them. You can bitch all you want about the Yankees and greed but they spend money in a sincere effort to win it all, every year. What fan wouldn’t want their teams to do that.

We might not like Curt around here. He’s often outspoken and obnoxious, and he certainly knows how to goad Yankee fans. But he’s hit the nail on the head with this one. The Yankees did what they should do with money lying around, and Boston’s fans should realize that had the Red Sox signed Teixeira, they’d be dancing in the streets around Copley Square today.

Categories : Hot Stove League
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  • Lowe bound for New York

    Derek Lowe is most likely New York-bound, according to numerous reports. Only this time, the other New York team gets to make a free agent splash as they sign another potential Red Sox target. While Ben Shipgel of The Times figured that Boston and the Mets would duke it out over Derek Lowe, the Boston.com staff reports that Lowe and the Mets are nearing a deal. Omar Minaya will net himself another starting pitcher for four years at around $14-$16 million a year. That’s not a bad deal for a team sorely in need of starting pitching. · (42) ·

Perhaps this means they still have enough money left to pursue free agent pitcher Jake Peavy? (h/t to reader John Kilfeather for the screen cap)

Categories : Whimsy
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Apparently, “you snooze, you lose” is as good a philosophy in the crazy world of baseball economics as it is in real life. Unfortunately for Andy Pettitte, he might be learning this lesson the hard way.

Peter Abraham, citing “several different people” who I’m assuming have more authority than, say, his parents or nephew, believes that the Yanks’ signing of Mark Teixeira could lead to the end of Andy’s days in the Bronx. He writes:

Pettitte has been sitting on a $10 million offer from the Yankees for a while now, believing he deserves a salary closer to the $16 million he made last season. But unless the Yankees are able to trade one of their extra hitters, there may be no room for Pettitte.

Signing Teixeira and fellow free agents Damaso Marte, A.J. Burnett and CC Sabathia will add roughly $65 million to the payroll in 2009. That’s about $20 million less than the Yankees have coming off from 2008 and they would like to keep it that way…

Or maybe they’ll just sign Pettitte and keep all the hitters. What’s another $10 million at this point? But as of last night, the team seemed prepared to move on without the left-hander.

Abraham goes on to note that the Yanks may try to trade one of Johnny Damon (NTC), Hideki Matsui (NTC), Xavier Nady or Nick Swisher before bringing back Pettitte. I, however, just don’t buy it.

For weeks, the Yankees have denied every impending signing. They were supposedly never in on the Teixeira negotiations, and for weeks, Abraham and the other Yankee beat writers have accepted the Yanks at their words only to be burned a few days later.

In my opinion, the situation with Pettitte is just the same. The Yankees probably do want Pettitte back, and as Anthony Rieber writes, he probably will be back in 2009. But they want Pettitte back on their $10-million terms, not Pettitte’s $16-million dream. So if the Yanks’ sources leak to the beat writers that maybe they don’t really want Pettitte back anymore, Pettitte may be inclined to take the Yanks’ last best offer. If he doesn’t, then the team moves on with Phil Hughes, Al Aceves and Ian Kennedy. Worse things have happened.

When all is said and done, I’d put my money on Pettitte’s returning to the Bronx for one last hurrah, but I don’t think either side is in much of a hurry to wrap that deal up any time soon.

Categories : Hot Stove League
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No, it doesn’t.

But that doesn’t stop Brewers’ owner Mark Attanasio from thinking so:

“At the rate the Yankees are going, I’m not sure anyone can compete with them,” Attanasio said in an e-mail. “Frankly, the sport might need a salary cap.”
. . .
“They are on a completely different economic playing field,” Attanasio said in a telephone interview. “I paid $220 million for my team; now they get three players for $420 million.”
. . .
“At some point it gets to be absurd when a team has a $200 million payroll,” he said, adding that the Brewers won’t raise their $81 million payroll because of the recession.

That’s coming from a guy who has roughly one-sixth of his payroll committed to Jeff Suppan.

What does a salary cap accomplish? It keeps the Yankees from gobbling up the best players (what would have been said if the Red Sox signed him?), and presumably levels the playing field. In reality though, all it does is transfer the money from the pockets of millionaire players to those of the billionaire owners. And I hate to be the one to break it to you, but the owners aren’t going to use that money to build parks or fix potholes or restore your 401k.

Let’s be real here: baseball needs the Yankees to be good. Baseball needs that villain, that big terrible team that fills the seats on the road because everyone loves to hate them. The Pirates sold out a total of four home games all of last season. One was Opening Day. Care to guess who was in town for the other three?

Sure the economy is rough right now, but these signings don’t effect us as fans. Ticket prices are what they are because of demand, not because of the team payroll. For every person with a ticket in hand for a game at the New Stadium next year, there are three behind them waiting for tickets of their own. So the Yankees are trying to field a great team for all those dedicated fans who pay good money, what’s so bad about that?

Revenue sharing has already brought parity to the game, and it’s not that hard to see. There have been eight World Series this century featuring thirteen different teams. That’s nearly half the league. Eighteen different teams have won their division in that span, and 23 different clubs have played a postseason game. The ones that haven’t: the Blue Jays, Nats, Orioles, Pirates, Rangers, Reds, and Royals.

Baseball doesn’t need a salary cap. It just needs to get rid of incompetent front offices.

Categories : Rants
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  • Yanks continue to steal players from Boston

    A few hours after stealing a big fish away from Boston, the Yanks nabbed themselves a little fish too. MLB Trade Rumors points to a Joel Sherman report noting that the Yanks signed Kevin Cash to a Minor League deal worth around $700,000. Cash will play the role of Chad Moeller next season, serving as the AAA catcher and third-string Major League catcher in case Jorge Posada or Jose Molina goes down. Unlike Mark Teixeira, though, Kevin Cash isn’t very good, and Boston won’t really miss this one. · (33) ·

Right now, the Red Sox and, to a lesser extent, the Angels must be reeling. The Yankees just swooped in and captured the big offensive prize of 2008 a few weeks after signing two of the top pitchers out there as well.

But while baseball fans from across the country line up to boo the extravagant Yankees, the real loser in the Mark Teixeira hunt isn’t one of the Yanks’ fellow competitors. It is none other than Manuel Aristides Ramirez, a player just a few days ago who was rumored to be heading to the Yanks as early as today.

Over the weekend, it seemed as though the Red Sox would emerge with Mark Teixeira. They needed a bat to replace Manny and to back up David Ortiz in their lineup. While they have Kevin Youkilis and Mike Lowell, they were about to go all in to land Teixeira. Had the Red Sox landed Teixeira, the Yanks probably would have turned their attention to Manny as a response, and Manny and Scott Boras knew that.

In fact, according Dan Graziano, the Yankees were more than prepared to make Manny an offer. Had Teixeira left for the Red Sox, Manny would have quickly become a Yankee, according to Graziano’s sources, and those sources were probably feeding Impacto Deportivo too when it seemed as though Teixeira was about to sign with the Red Sox.

Then, the unthinkable happened. The Red Sox got cold feet over a long-term, high-dollar deal, and the Yanks, long rumored to be on the periphery of the Teixeira negotiations, swooped in and landed themselves a $180-million Christmas present, Manny be damned. As they had hoped all along, Boras came calling at the last hour, and the Yankees blocked their rivals from landing a big bat and a Gold Glove first baseman, but they’ve also halted the Manny market.

Right now, things are at an impasse for Ramirez. The outfielder claims to be searching for a four- or three-year deal, but none have materialized in weeks. The Dodgers have withdrawn their two-year offer, and the Angels say they are unequivocally not interested. Even the Mets, in need of some help, say they aren’t interested either. The only other team that makes sense — the Red Sox — separated less than amicably from Manny just five months ago. As hard as it is to believe, with the Yankees out of the picture, no team is currently bidding for the services of Manny Ramirez, a future Hall of Famer.

Of course, over the next few weeks, that will probably change. As evidenced by their $170-million Teixeira play, the Nationals clearly have money to spend, and Manny might help fill seats in D.C. The Dodgers say they’re still interested and now have little competition. Manny will get some of his millions, but he won’t get what he could have gotten from the Yankees. This time, only one of Scott Boras’ clients will win.

Still, despite Tuesday’s turn of events, the Manny-to-the-Yankees crowd just won’t stop. In a piece published mere minutes before the Teixeira signing and hastily edited a few minutes later, Stephen A. Smith claimed that the Yankees need Manny. He stands by that stance. Meanwhile, Jesse Spector of The Daily News thinks the Yanks can add Manny and still cut payroll. But I’d say it’s all over for Manny and the Yanks.

Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner probably aren’t completely through with their winter spending yet. Andy Pettitte is still out there, and the Yanks could choose to revisit the Mike Cameron talks next month. Manny, however, isn’t in the cards, and while Ramirez once thought the road to the bank went through the Bronx, he emerged from Tuesday as the biggest loser so far.

Categories : Analysis
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Roxanne Geyer at WCBS Newsradio 880 sent along another batch of overheard shots of the new and old Yankee Stadiums. As you can see from Tom Kaminski’s photos, the weather is a far cry from the dog days of summer.

From the photo above, you can get a clear idea of the new stadium’s seating bowl. The new upper deck is a bit more recessed from the field than the more intimate one at the old stadium. We’ll have to find out in April what it’s like sitting up there. Meanwhile, someone has placed a Christmas tree on the pitchers mound. Clever, clever.

Categories : Yankee Stadium
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