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.

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Via MLBTR comes a rumor about Hideki from Yahoo’s Tim Brown:

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.

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  • Change … free agents may not believe in
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    As you may already know, President Elect Barack Obama has proposed to increase the federal income tax rate for the top bracket from 35% to 39.6%. The AP (via ESPN) points out that if a free agent signs after January 1st, his signing bonus would likely be taxed at the new rate, costing them an additional 4.6%. So if Mark Teixeira is looking to match Jason Giambi’s $17M signing bonus, he’d would stand to save himself nearly $800,000 by agreeing to a deal before New Year’s. I thought this was pretty interesting, and if we see a mad dash of guys signing just before the calender turns to 2009, this might be why. · (53) ·

Via Davidoff:

There are rumblings that Pettitte wants a two-year deal, and that won’t be happening with the Yankees, who would ask Pettitte to accept a one-year offer in the neighborhood of $10 million. Pettitte made $16 million each of the past two years.

Pettitte hasn’t even filed for free agency yet, but when he does, and if this staredown is still going on with between Pettitte and the Yankees, expect the Astros to try to bring Pettitte back to his hometown. The Astros, from owner Drayton McLane to manager Cecil Cooper to ace Roy Oswalt, are very fond of Pettitte. It’s a saga on which to keep an eye.

We’ve written enough about Pettitte since the season has ended to eschew the analysis. Suffice it say, the Yankees should not, under any circumstances, give Andy Pettitte a guaranteed two-year contract. I’m not even sure I’d give the lefty one year. If Pettitte goes to the Astros, so be it.

Categories : Hot Stove League
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  • A-Rod + Scott BFF 4ever
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    According to Scott Boras, his relationship with A-Rod is all better. The über-agent and A-Rod fell out of each other’s good graces last winter when Boras did or did not botch the whole opt-out thing. Of course, if you believe in conspiracy theories, Boras was never out of favor with A-Rod; he did after all secure a much better deal for A-Rod than the one out of which the slugger opted. Someone had to take the fall for A-Rod’s PR hit. Either way, they’re tight again. Phew. · (6) ·

Over the last two years, we’ve talked a lot about the new Yankee Stadium. While the Yankees originally claimed they were footing the bill for construction and that the costs to taxpayers would be minimal, a small but vocal group of writers and analysts attuned to baseball economics disputed this claim.

Today, after politicians have wrung city and team officials through the gamut of some Congressional hearings, The Times offers up an analysis of the rising costs to the public of the new stadiums. For what its worth, the total cost for Yankee Stadium has now ballooned to $1.7 billion, up for an original estimate a few years ago of $1.2 billion. May, how times have changed.

Charles V. Bagli offers up this summary:

As the two stadiums near completion, the cost to taxpayers is anything but small, a review of the projects shows. Though the teams are indeed paying about $2 billion to erect the two stadiums, the cost to the city for infrastructure — parks, garages and transportation improvements — has jumped to about $458 million, from $281 million in 2005. The state is contributing an additional $201 million.

Those totals do not include an estimated $480 million in city, state and federal tax breaks granted to both teams. In addition, neither team has to pay rent or property taxes, though both are playing on city-owned land.

The expanding public cost of the stadiums, coming in another downturn, has fueled debate about their economic benefits, and has become an issue in Congressional hearings in Washington into the use of tax-exempt bonds for stadium construction.

Now, we can debate whether or not, as Yankee and city officials claim, that stadiums spur economic development. While politicians claim they do, most economists agree that stadiums never deliver these promised benefits. What we can’t deny is that, at a time in which the city’s finances are looking rather bleak, the city has given a significant level of money to very wealthy baseball teams, and that’s just not very good government.

Categories : Yankee Stadium
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Ken Davidoff has been blogging up a storm this week, and most of what he’s posted has been fairly interesting. One thing that caught my eye this morning was his look at the Phillies bullpen. It was meant as a message to Mets fans. As in, don’t think that throwing money at K-Rod or Fuentes or Joe Biemel or Juan Cruz will solve your bullpen problems. The Yanks tried to accomplish this by signing Kyle Farnsworth after the 2005 season, and we saw the results.

Instead, the Phillies have pieced together a bullpen by finding underrated pitchers who get the job done. When I look at their guys, I can’t help but think of how the Yankees went about building the pen this year. Let’s hope they stick to a similar strategy going forward.

Philly Salary Yankee Salary
Brad Lidge $6.35MM Mariano Rivera $15MM
J.C. Romery $3.25MM Damaso Marte $2MM
Ryan Madson $1.4MM Brian Bruney $750K
J.A. Happ $390K Jose Veras $400K
Scot Eyre $950K Edwar Ramirez $400K
Chad Durbin $900K David Robertson $400K
Clay Condrey $420K Dan Giese $412K

Paying for proven closers is one thing. Paying for middle relievers is quite another. This is likely why the Yankees haven’t yet committed one way or another on the Damaso Marte option. However, other than a hiccup in August, he’s been pretty solid over the past seven seasons. Perhaps he’s an exception to the rule. His history sure makes it look like he is.

Categories : Analysis
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The last (and only other) time I posted an update of our fantasy football league I was buried with a 2-4 record, good for 15th place in a 20 team league. I had lost Rashard Mendenhall (who was primed for an increase in carries due to Willie Parker’s injury) and Vince Young to injury and suicidal thoughts, respectively, and San Diego’s sorely underperforming D was no help either. The future looked bleak.

But then something unexpected happened. I got huge games out of Calvin Johnson, Ryan Grant & Brandon Jacobs in Week 7, leading to a 34+ pt win. The following week my team gritted & scrapificated out a 3.24 pt win behind my boy Chad Pennington to pull to .500. Solid contributions across the board led to a firm 20 pt win last week, and viola, I’m suddenly right in the thick of the playoff hunt at 5-4.

With five weeks to go before the postseason (the top eight teams will make it), I’m tied with four others for seventh place, although my lack of total points has relegated me to tenth. Three of my final five games come against the teams currently in second, third and fourth place, so I’m going to have to earn my way to the playoffs.

I lost one of my most consistent point getters when Michael Pittman landed on the IR, so my 3 RB / 2 WR lineup suddenly became a 2 RB / 3 WR setup with Antwaan Randle El falling into a full-time gig. The waiver wire & free agency pool is barren, and attempts to acquire a fill-in RB via trade have proved fruitless. The trade deadline is next Friday, and barring some minor tweaks, it looks like I’ll be going to war with my current roster.

I’m sure some of the other players will chime in via the comments. Current standings after the jump.

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Categories : Not Baseball
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One of the biggest obstacles to the Yankees acquiring Mark Teixeira this winter is the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. It appears they want to retain him, and will make a sizable offer to the 28-year-old first baseman. Not only that, but the Red Sox appear interested, meaning the price might get a bit steep. Probably not 10 years, $200 million steep, but it’ll get up there.

The good news is that the Angels don’t necessarily play Scott Boras’s game of gauging the market and waiting it out in hopes of extracting the largest possible offer. They like to make big offers and act quickly, as evidenced by the Torii Hunter acquisition last winter. Word from Angels GM Tony Reagins is that the team won’t let the Teixeira situation drag out.

“In any situation, you get to a point where you have to make a decision and move the business forward,” Angels GM Tony Reagins said. “In any negotiation, there always comes that point where you have to say, you’re in or you’re out.”

When will that point be? Rosenthal speculates that it could come as soon as next Thursday, though that’s doubtful. There’s little chance that Teixeira accepts an offer before at least gauging the market. You don’t hire Scott Boras as your agent so you can take a hometown discount before hearing other offers. You don’t turn down $140 million without the intent of hearing higher bids.

I have a feeling this might be some hot air coming from the Angels. They’ll surely make an aggressive offer to keep Teixeira, who hit .358/.449/.632 in his 234 Angels plate appearances. I don’t expect them to just bow out, though, if he doesn’t immediately accept the offer. There will be plenty of them, and it’s in his best interest to take the time to examine each of them. (Especially if the highest one is from the Yankees.)

Categories : Hot Stove League
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