Yankees ready to “get serious” with Cliff Lee

The last two days have featured plenty of talk but basically no action on the Cliff Lee front, but Brian Cashman told reporters today that he’s ready to make the free agent lefty an offer. “If they’re willing to take [an offer] and they’re ready to close something out, I’m willing to get serious,” said Cash. “We’re just waiting for them to get to that position.” Apparently Darek Braunecker isn’t ready to take offers just yet, though he reportedly has two seven-year offers in hand. That sounds like nothing more than agent speak to me.

Open Thread: Winter Meetings Day Two

Earlier today Joe posted video of Joe Torre speaking about his time as a manager during today’s press conference with Lou Piniella, Cito Gaston, and John Schuerholz as Bobby Cox. Let’s follow that up with the media’s Q&A session, which featured questions about Ron Santo, Derek Jeter, Torre’s time in New York, and their histories in general. It’s a good 15 minutes long, but it’s worth the watch. They were all entertaining.

Once you’re done with that, use this sucker as you open thread for the evening. The only local team in action is the Nets, so … find something else to watch. Talk about whatever your heart desires here.

Moseley on his way to San Diego

Via Ken Rosenthal, the Padres are close to signing former Yankee Dustin Moseley to a big league contract of unknown terms. The Yankees recently non-tendered Moseley rather than going to arbitration with him in a move that Brian Cashman said was designed to “control costs,” which came after he pitched to a 5.99 FIP (-0.4 fWAR) in 65.1 IP. I fully expect Dustin to put up an ERA south of 3.50 in 180 or so innings with the Pads next year. Petco Park, the career reviver.

Yankees checking out Russell Martin’s medical records

Via Joel Sherman, the Yankees (and Mets) have received, and are presumably reviewing, free agent catcher Russell Martin‘s medical records. The Yanks will also meet with his representatives here during the winter meetings, but a deal is unlikely to get done this week. Clearly the Yankees dig the idea of improving their catching situation, and Martin would be a) an upgrade over Frankie Cervelli, and b) allow the team to be more patient with Jesus Montero. I fully expect Martin to sign with the team that offers the best combination of money and playing time, but the fact that the Yanks are reviewing the medicals tells you they mean business.

Cliff Lee negotiations moving slowly — or not at all

If a Cliff Lee deal is going to get done this week, they’ll have to get things moving pretty quickly. We heard last week that his agent, Darek Braunecker, wasn’t going to take any offers until the Winter Meetings commenced. “He wants to be the ringmaster at the winter meetings,” said a source of ESPN New York’s Wallace Matthews. Yet here we are, almost done with Day 2 of the Winter Meetings, and Braunecker still hasn’t started fielding offers, according to Ken Rosenthal.

The Yankees have refrained from making an offer to Lee at the request of his agent, Darek Braunecker, according to sources in contact with the club.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, anxious to close a deal, has privately expressed his frustration to others at the winter meetings about the team’s inability to move the negotiations along, sources say.

Emphasis mine. The Yankees’ interest in Lee is universally known, and Braunecker is going to use this to his advantage. His strategy apparently includes making the Yankees sweat. With no viable alternatives readily available, there’s not much that the Yankees can do about this. All they can do is continue to wait for Braunecker to accept an offer.

There is hope, though, that the situation gets moving tonight. Marc Carig reports that Brian Cashman will meet with Braunecker tonight. We’ve heard a slew of rumors today, including a team, not necessarily the Nationals, willing to offer seven years. It appears to go hand-in-hand with rumors we’ve heard already, which mostly sound like a ploy to get the Yankees’ offer to six, or maybe even seven, years. There’s a chance we could find out more on that front in a few hours.

It is interesting that the two sides are meeting tonight, after moving slowly through the process to this point. It almost resembles the CC Sabathia situation from two years ago. That situation moved slowly — not at all, really, since the Yankees made an offer in mid-November and didn’t hear back until the Meetings — but it started to gain steam not on Tuesday during the day, but Tuesday evening. I’m not as optimistic that something moves with Lee tonight. Then again, I wasn’t at all optimistic that Cashman would get anything done with Sabathia at the 2008 meetings.

For right now we’re left with a mostly unclear situation. Maybe it becomes clearer after Braunecker meets with Cashman this evening. But even if it does I don’t expect anything to get done this week. Lee and his agent are going to take their time getting something done, no matter what other teams think of it.

A quick look at Tom Gorzelanny

(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Earlier this morning a rumor surfaced that the Cubs are shopping left-hander Tom Gorzelanny, somewhat surprising after he managed 2.3 fWAR in just 136.1 innings in 2010. The Yankees are perpetually looking for pitching, especially since Andy Pettitte is on the brink of retirement and Cliff Lee may or may not be getting a monster contract offer from the Nationals. I’m not sure the two teams match up for a trade (Chicago’s looking for a lefty hitting first baseman, and not someone like Juan Miranda), so this may all be for naught. Either way, let’s explore.

Gorzelanny, 28, broke in with the Pirates a few years ago and was pretty good for them in 2007 (2.9 fWAR, 201.2 IP, 4.24 FIP), but he struggled in 2008 (6.35 FIP) and was shipped to the Cubs for nothing spectacular in 2009. His fine 2010 season featured a good amount of strikeouts (7.86 K/9) and an above average amount of swings-and-misses (9.7%), an important underlying skill. Gorz is generally a ground ball guy as well, sitting between 40.3% and 40.8% over the last three years, though he can definitely be a little homer prone (one for every 7.2 IP over the last three years).

A three-pitch guy (FB, SL, CH) with a fastball right around 90, Gorzelanny actually isn’t very effective against lefties, holding them to a .309 wOBA in his career and .351 this year, though the 2010 number is inflated by five triples (two doubles, four homers). That seems rather fluky since a) Wrigley’s not a triples park, and b) he’s given up six triples to lefties his entire career. I wouldn’t expect the triples thing to continue. As far as his contract goes, he’s arbitration eligible for the second time as a Super Two, meaning Gorz is still under team control for another three years. After earning $800,000 this season, he’ll get a bump to $2M or so.

Gorzelanny would certainly give the Yankees some pitching depth, but he wouldn’t be anything more than a back-end arm. Even in the two best years of his career (2007 and 2010), he still walked close to three-and-a-half batters per nine unintentionally. That combined with homer tendencies and the lack of dominance against lefties hold him back, but there’s nothing wrong with a solid starter in the fifth spot. Also, Gorzelanny would be a) too expensive for LOOGY work, and b) again, he’s not great against same side batters.

I wouldn’t be opposed to picking Gorzelanny up as sort of a Plan B or C option, but I wouldn’t expect great things and I wouldn’t give up a ton either. Like I said, I don’t see the two teams matching up for a deal given Chicago’s needs.

Joe Torre at the managers’ press conference

Today at the Winter Meetings Major League Baseball held a press conference to honor four long-time managers who announced their retirements in 2010: Joe Torre, Lou Piniella, Cito Gaston, and Bobby Cox. Unfortunately, Cox was not able to attend. Long-time Braves GM and current club president John Schuerholz took his place. I have video for all of them, but they’re taking a while to upload. The Torre one, of course, is the most relevant to our interests.

You can’t see it in the video, but he’s rocking his World Series ring. In fact, the only one who wasn’t was Lou.