It’s a quiet night in Yankee-land. The GMs are heading home, and the dealing won’t come down for a few more days. But for playoff-watchers, the General Managers are close to making a significant change. They want to do away with coin-flip tiebreaker scenarios. Right now, MLB determines home-field advantage for potential tiebreaker games based on a series of coin flips. The GMs would rather see the advantage awarded to the teams with the best records in head-to-head competition. Either way, it’s all kind of arbitrary, but this seems more fair than a bunch of coin tosses. · (15) ·
Ask, and you shall recieve.
This week’s GM meetings were pretty tame, a whole lotta rumors but very little activity. In fact, the most significant move of the week was the Yanks’ signing of Sergio Mitre. Lots of talk and little action is typical of baseball’s offseason, when seemingly innocent quotes from an executive get turned into monster three-team trades involving All-Stars and top prospects by fans and media alike.
The Winter Meetings in December will be much more exciting, but until then we’re left to just ponder thoughts and fabricate obsurd roster moves. You know the names out there: Peavy, Holliday, Sabathia, Burnett, Teixiera, so on and so forth. Talk about all the hot stove goodness here, and play nice.
Mike Mussina won the entirely symbolic Gold Glove Award for whichever players the
BBWAAmanagers and coaches think might be among the best fielders. With his soft hands and cat-like reflexes, Moose has now grabbed seven Gold Gloves. This will probably be the only off-season award a member of the Yanks land although you could make a case for A-Rod for MVP, as shocking as that may sound to some of the A-Rod haters. (Gold Glove Winners) · (57) ·
This first came up early this week, but didn’t become official until today. The Yankees have declined the option for Damaso Marte. As has been mentioned, there’s a chance they could bring him back on a new deal, rather than paying him $6 million for 2009. The team will likely offer him arbitration, meaning that if he signs elsewhere the Yankees can collect a first round pick and a compensation pick. However, his Elias ranking isn’t towards the top of the free agents — 79.288 — so if a team signs two Type A free agents, it’s likely we could get their second rounder. We’d also get a second rounder if he signed with a bottom 15 team.
Hopefully Brian Cashman makes a statement regarding this decision (or a savvy reporter asks him). Was it that they’ll seek compensation picks, or that they’d just like to have him longer and for less money? · (55) ·
Jeremy Bleich hasn’t pitched since October 24th, not sure what that’s about. Maybe he had that inevitable elbow operation.
AzFL Peoria (11-4 loss to Surprise)
Kevin Russo: 1 for 4, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 K – hitting streak is up to 15 games
Humberto Sanchez: 1 IP, zeroes, 1 WP, 1 HB, 2-1 GB/FB – only 6 of 11 pitches were strikes (54.5%)
HWB Waikiki (11-1 loss to North Shore)
Austin Romine: 1 for 4, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K – just 5 for his last 29 (.172) … too many Mai Tai’s I guess…
Andrew Brackman: 3.1 IP, 3 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 7 BB, 6 K, 2 WP, 1-2 GB/FB - just 41 of 84 pitches were strikes (48.8%) … damn, he’s a bust this week … it’s a good thing winter ball stats aren’t meaningful
AzFL Peoria (9-3 loss to Scottsdale)
Austin Jackson: 0 for 4, 2 K
Kevin Russo: 1 for 3, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K – if nothing else, at least he’ll be going into 2009 with a ton of confidence
Kevin Whelan: 1.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 0-1 GB/FB – 19 of 34 pitches were strikes (55.9%)
AzFL Peoria (5-3 loss to Surprise)
Kevin Russo: 2 for 5, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 E (fielding)
Austin Jackson: 1 for 4, 1 K, 1 SB
Phil Hughes: 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K, 0-7 GB/FB – 41 of 59 pitches were strikes (69.5%) … phew, he’s not a bust this week … it’s a good thing winter ball stats are so meaningful
HWB Waikiki had a scheduled off day.
AzFL Peoria had a scheduled off day.
HWB Waikiki beat West Oahu 6-5, but no Yanks’ farmhands played in the game.
This one’s coming a bit late, but that’s because we have so many other damn rumors to share. Plus, we like the idea of Nick Swisher much more. Anyway, Anthony DiComo, writing for MLB.com’s Hot Stove Blog, reports that the Yankees have contacted the Brewers regarding a trade for Mike Cameron which would center around Melky Cabrera. I’m not sure who else would be involved in the trade. Despite Cameron’s disproportional $10 million salary, I have a hard time believing Doug Melvin would trade him for Melky Cabrera straight up. While Cameron would be a short-term upgrade in center, it’s difficult to evaluate this proposal without knowing the other players involved. · (89) ·
At MLBTR last night, Tim linked to a post by Ken Davidoff – blogging MVP of the GM Meetings – mentioning that the Yanks & ChiSox have had “extremely preliminary” talks about former Moneyball draft pick Nick Swisher. The soon-to-be 28 yr old is coming off the poorest season of his young career, a season in which he hit just .219-.332-.410 in nearly 500 at-bats. With strong competition expected for Mark Teixeira‘s services, Swish represents a possible Plan B for a first base.
Carlos Quentin & Jermaine Dye are locked into Chicago’s corner outfield spots, and Paul Konerko & Jim Thome fill the first base & DH spots, meaning Swish is seemingly a man without a position. Even though he could play centerfield in a pinch, he’s not equipped to man that spot on a full-time basis. He’s played first more than any other position in his career, committing just 10 errors in over 1,660 total chances (.994 fielding %) at the first sack.
Despite the down season, Swish still did what he does best in 2008: get on base. His 82 walks were good for eighth in the league, and he led the majors by a significant margin with 4.51 pitches seen per plate appearance. Take a second to get your head around that number. Never one to hit for a high average, Swish’s line drive rate (20.9%) was the best of his career in 2008, but his .251 BABIP was a career low, suggesting that his .219 batting average may have been the product of some plain ol’ bad luck. His IsoP was down a touch to .191, but he still managed to send 24 balls into the people. A switch-hitter, Swish hits for more pop from the left side, but hits for a higher avg from the right.
Drafted one pick after Scott Kazmir and one pick before Cole Hamels in 2002, Swisher’s tool set is still a desirable one despite the down year. More athletic than he looks, Swish’s defense doesn’t compare to Teixeira’s, but he’s very good at first and adequate at the three outfield spots. Anyone who saw him during his time in Oakland knows he’s a great clubhouse guy (I didn’t see him much with the Sox, so I can’t speak to that), always the first one on the top step to high-five a teammate after a big hit. He would provide the Yanks a great deal of roster flexibility, capable of staying in the lineup at another position if, say Juan Miranda gets hot for two weeks.
So what would it take to get Mr. Swisher? I have no frickin’ idea. Kenny Williams is rumored to be on the lookout for a centerfielder/leadoff hitter, and presumably pitching. Johnny Damon might be a candidate to head to the South Side, but that would open up a hole in the outfield to fill a hole on the infield. A straight one-for-one deal is unlikely. Swisher’s contract is reasonable (he’s locked up for $21.05M total over the next three years w/ a $10.25M option or $1M buyout for 2012), and unlike Xavier Nady this summer, the Yanks would be buying low on the former Ohio State star.
Teixeira might be the sexy name, but Swish offers the same on-base skills from both sides of the plate while still providing a good amount of power and above-avg defense, all without the hassle of Scott Boras and a nine-figure contract negotiation. He hasn’t been on the disabled list since a shoulder issue sidelined him for three weeks during his rookie season, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that he has a plus-plus girlfriend. What do you think, seems like Swish would be a solid buy-low candidate, right?
The New York writers have kept themselves busy over this past week, running the floor to bring us rumor after rumor from the GM meetings. While we know that the bulk of these rumors mean little or nothing, we still like to toss them around and drop our two cents. Today, we get some peeps about the Yankees pitching targets, namely Jake Peavy and CC Sabathia.
We’ll start with Peavy. Mark Feinsand has a tidbit on the Padres righty:
The Yankees could put together a package built around Phil Hughes and Austin Jackson, according to a source, although they would likely have to include two or three more players, one of which could be Ian Kennedy. The Padres, according to the source, have no interest in Robinson Cano.
As always, beware the anonymous source. Yes, the Yankees could do that, but there’s only a small chance they will. It would mean talks have been exhausted with all NL teams, and even then the Yankees would likely have to add dollars and/or years to Peavy’s contract. He’s not going to waive his no trade clause for nothing, as he’s made clear through his agent Barry Axelrod.
The tireless Ken Davidoff says this won’t happen. Then again, he also said that the chances of Moose coming back is one percent, so we should get a chance soon to gauge his predictive accuracy. He also puts the kibosh on the Matsui to Seattle rumor, which sounded pretty frivolous from the outset. Now, if he could only kill those Lowe rumors.
Not everything is sunshiny for the Yanks, though. Davidoff brings up a scenario under which the Angels could snatch up CC Sabathia, even if the Yankees are the high bidders. It would start with the Angels letting Mark Teixeira walk. While that’s not a highly likely scenario, word is from Terry Reagins’s lips that the team won’t wait around forever awaiting his decision.
So how could the Angels then get CC without being the high bidder? If they top the $137.5 million, six-year contract signed by Johan Santana last winter, Sabathia could be content. We’ve talked about the pressure from the union to take top dollar, but the pressure might not be as intense if CC raises the bar for pitcher salaries. The union might raise a stink if CC wants to take a six year, $120 million offer from the Angels when a six year, $140 million deal is on the table from the Yankees. But if the Yankees are offering $150 million and the Angels are offering $140, he might take the slightly lower, yet still record-breaking, salary to play on the West Coast.
All of this is to say that we have no freaking clue how this off-season is going to pan out. Plenty of people say they are “convinced” CC will be a Yank. Others (::cough:: Mike Pop) think Burnett in pinstripes is inevitable. However, there is no sure thing during the Hot Stove.
One source mentioned a potential three-way deal that would send outfielder Hideki Matsui from the New York Yankees to the Seattle Mariners for a pitching prospect, perhaps Ryan Rowland-Smith. The Yankees would package the prospect with second baseman Robinson Cano and another young player to the Rockies for Matt Holliday.
The Mariners wouldn’t trade Ryan Rowland-Smith for Matsui. The Yankees aren’t going to try to acquire Holliday unless they miss out on Teixeira. Have fun with this one, but don’t take it seriously at all. By the way, that other young player in the Rockies’ half of the day would probably be Phil Hughes.