During yesterday’s somewhat heated discussion on the sketcy goings-on surrounding the land deal for the new Yankee Stadium, one of the RAB commenters asked exactly what the penalty could be for any illegal dealings. At the time, I had no idea, but I shot off an e-mail to Neil deMause who I knew would an answer.
The stadium deal guru had just finished his own Village Voice piece on the topic, and it featured an answer in the last paragraph:
So what happens if it turns out the city cooked the books? Kucinich’s subcommittee staffers say the IRS could conduct an audit; if it turns out there were “material misrepresentations” by the city, the bonds could be stripped of their tax-exempt status. (An IRS spokesperson said he’d have to get back to us on this.) And if nothing else, this should make for some fireworks when the IDA considers the Yanks’ request for $259 million in new tax-exempt bonds — now slated for a public hearing on January 15 at 10 am at 110 William Street.
So that’s that. It’s not that much of a big deal for the Yankees or the City. Someone will get slapped with a fine, and they’ll have to pony up the dough. But no one is going to cart Lonn Trost off to jail or anything drastic like that.
Is anyone else psyched after the press conference? Mike and I are. Yeah, I know they don’t mean much, and that the players pretty much script what they’ll say. Still, it’s good to have an exciting feeling about the team in the depths of winter. We’re just under two months away from pitchers and catchers, so events like this are appreciated. I wonder if we’ll see another one before February…
Will the Yankees add a bat? We’ve been talking about it all week, but there’s no real consensus. I think the Yankees could do a lot worse than the lineup they currently plan to field. It relies heavily on some players to bounce back from poor 2008 seasons, but a few of them, Swisher and Cano, are young and have histories of being good hitters. Unfortunately, until they prove otherwise Posada and Matsui will remain red flags. That’s what happens when you’re in your mid- to late-thirties and are coming off injuries.
We also take questions from readers. There were some really good ones this week. Not to be a spoiler, but there’s one about Joba and the bullpen.
Onto the podcast. It is available in a number of formats. You can download it here by right clicking on that link and selecting Save As. If you want to play it in your browser, just left click the link. You can also subscribe to the podcast feed, which will send it to you every Thursday. You can also subscribe in iTunes. Finally, we have the embedded audio player below.
We appreciate any feedback. You can leave it in the comments or email either of us.
So today’s the day: the Yanks will be introducing their two new prize pitchers at a 1pm press conference at the Old Yankee Stadium. Supposedly you can watch it on YES, but their TV schedule doesn’t agree. You will, however, be able to follow along on MLB.TV or ESPN/ESPNEWS. If you can’t get near a TV (stupid work), then follow along here, I’ll be liveblogging the whole schabang.
Now that the signings are official, I’ve updated the 2009 Draft Order Tracker. The Yanks surrender their first rounder to the Brewers and their second rounder to the Jays. Remember, they can’t lose the comp picks for Gerrit Cole and Scott Bittle, so their top pick is #29 overall, followed by #76 overall. There’s no possibility of that changing; that’s when they’ll pick come June no matter who else they sign. As it stands right now, the Brewers have three of the top 36 picks with the potential to add two more if Ben Sheets signs elsewhere.
So stick around for the next … I dunno, half-hour to an hour and follow along as CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett are thrown to the media wolves welcomed to New York.
According to Kat O’Brien, the Mike Cameron trade talks are “officially” dead. I say “officially” in quotes because a trade such as this one is never dead. However, the Yanks seem to have taken Joe’s plea to heart and aren’t rushing things when they don’t have to. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this deal consummated before Spring Training, but the free agent market has to shake down first. There’s a long way to go on that front. · (36) ·
We’ll pay this one lip service because there’s not a ton moving in baseball right now. We know that talks to send Jake Peavy to the Braves and to the Cubs have broken down, possibly beyond repair with the Braves. Peavy’s agent, Barry Axelrod, has said that while his client prefers the National League, he would consider moving to the Yankees, Angels, or Red Sox in the AL, but that’s it. So it comes as no surprise that we hear, via MLBTR, that Boston has “some” interest in Peavy. Of course they do. Just like they had some interest in CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett. Check out this line, though, by Nick Cafardo at the end of the article:
“But if there’s a Teixeira splash, the Red Sox might not have the money to entertain it.”
Laughable. If the Red Sox wanted both Teixeira and Peavy, they could afford them. No question.
(By the way, don’t forget to submit your questions for the podcast.) · (41) ·
Ben is taking his last final today, so you’re stuck with Joe and I again for today’s edition of our podcast/radio show. If you have any questions you want us to answer, send them in via email (our addresses are on the left sidebar) and we’ll get to them on the show. Emailed questions get priority, but we’ll go through the comments here if we have time.
We’re going to start recording a bit later than usual today because I’m going to liveblog the CC/AJ press conference at 1pm (don’t miss it), so this thing should be up on the site for you to listen too around 3-3:30pm. · (10) ·
It’s hard to under-exaggerate just how bad the Yankee catchers were last season. In 608 plate appearances, the various folks who tried to fill in for an injured Jorge Posada hit an anemic .230 with a .290 OBP and a .335 slugging percentage. Even the most stats-phobic among us know that this is a terrible, terrible offensive line.
Overall, these Yankee catchers were the most anemic group in the AL. Their overall OPS+ was 75, worse than Boston and their All Star Catcher Jason Varitek. In fact, this votex of inoffensive offense could have single-handedly cost the Yankees a playoff spot as it was just a year ago that Jorge Posada turned in a 154 OPS+.
Now lately, as we talked about the Yanks adding either Mark Teixeira or Manny Ramirez as their big bat, we haven’t really looked at Posada. But if the Yanks eschew Tex or ManRam, Posada’s return to the lineup might just be enough to give them that offensive edge they need in 2009.
It’s highly improbable that Posada will hit at his 2007 levels. He’s going to be playing his age 37 season in 2009, and 2007 was a career year for him. But would it be unreasonable to expect a 124 OPS+ season in line with his career averages? Could Posada turn in a .277/.380/.477? While we don’t know how his power will respond to his surgically repaired shoulder, there’s no reason to expect a steep decline for Jorge.
In 2007, Posada was responsible for 117 runs created. In 2008, Yankee catchers combined for just over 50 runs created. That swing of nearly 70 would have probably landed the Yanks into the playoff picture last year. Maybe as we talk about Teixeira and Manny, we’re just overlooking Posada. Putting Jorge back into the lineup should be a huge boost for the 2009 Yankees, and we shouldn’t forget that this winter.
Paul Lukas is one obsessive compulsive dude. The man who slaves over Page 2′s Uni-Watch is back this week with a Sabathia sized edition of “who’s the fattest Yankee ever?” Well, at least that’s what it boils down to. Is it CC? The Babe? Boomer? Find out for yourself.
(Oh yeah. We’re totally stretched for Open Thread content these days. H/t to tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside)
Once you’re done checking out the Uni-Watch, use this as your open thread for the evening. There’s really no local sports to talk about, the Knickerbockers are off and the Rangers have a late start out on the west coast. Uh … go Orange I guess. Don’t forget to guard those sneaky half court shots.
Joba news: His DUI arraignment was pushed back to January 26th. It was supposed to be today, and the delay won’t affect anything as far as being ready for ST.