Mark Feinsand has a delicious rumor for us as we head into Tuesday morning. The Yanks, according to his sources, plan to make Ben Sheets a two-year, $30-million offer before leaving Las Vegas later this week. It will probably take a third year to get this one done, but I certainly like the sound of Sheets more than I like those five-year A.J. Burnett rumors that just won’t die. · (137) ·
Day 1 of the Winter Meetings, and nothing is going on. You’d think this wouldn’t make for interesting radio, but I think Mike and I do the best we can with what we’ve got.
First impression of the Winter Meetings: a bit of overwhelm. There are lots of people here who we only know through their quotes in the media and their goofy avatars. That wore off later in the day, but it was still awesome to walk right past Peter Gammons. Dislike him now if you want, but the man is a legend.
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The Yankee trainers checked in with the folks in Vegas, and it sounds like Jorge’s rehab is going well. The Yankee catcher is one week into his throwing program and seems determined to put his disappointing and injury-plagued 2008 behind him. A healthy Jorge would do wonders for the Yankees next season. · (39) ·
Just a quick follow-up on Joe’s latest: According to PeteAbe, the Yanks and CC Sabathia met again today. While Pete also has word of slight interest on the part of the Dodgers, this second meeting means one of two things: either Sabathia is going to say, “Thanks, but no” (unlikely) or he’s hammering out what it means to be a Yankee with the team. We’ll find out soon enough what’s going on. · (109) ·
Nothing much to pass along, so I thought I’d share a bit on the MLB Hot Stove blog about the Blue Jays meeting with Carl Pavano’s agent Tom O’Connell. He claims he’s going to talk to 10 teams this week, though there’s no indication that they’re all about Pavano. · (19) ·
We know that The Yanks are on CC Sabathia’s list. Now we hear via Jayson Stark that last night’s meeting was mostly a session for CC to gauge life in New York. That’s fair enough. As Stark notes, this is a major life decision for CC, as he’ll likely be signed through most of his remaining productive years. Why not have all the information possible at hand before making that decision.
(Though someone might disagree about obtaining as much info as possible to make a decision.)
The Yanks are also making moves on their second free agent target, A.J. Burnett. Jerry Crasick reports that the Yankees are looking to make an offer, and “might be willing to surpass the guaranteed dollar figure that Atlanta has on the table for the free agent right-hander.” The Atlanta deal is reportedly for four years and $60 million, with an option for a fifth year which could bring the package to $75 million. No one seems sure about the nature of the option; early word was that it would vesting, though it could just be a team one.
Oh, and Sheets is in the house. When asked about the Yankees, he replied: “I haven’t even given it thought.” That might not sound good, but he also had this to say about his prospects in general: “There’s nothing out there for me to contemplate right now.” So we will see.
Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com notes that the Manny – Dodgers relationship might be coming to a close. He acquired this quote from GM Ned Colletti:
“I just find it curious,” Colletti said. “We made a [contract] offer and never heard back. We made a [salary] arbitration offer and never heard back. Maybe we have to look into the communications we’re using.”
First off, they did hear back on the arbitration offer; Manny declined. Minus that nitpick, Colletti certainly isn’t projecting a feeling of optimism regarding Manny. Most telling, to me, is that he didn’t discuss an improved offer. When asked about the chances of Manny showing up to Dodgers’ Spring Training, Colletti gave a roundabout answer. Colletti also joked that he didn’t want to go out to the lobby and see Scott Boras.
This, of course, is going to open the rumors of the Yankees being interested. I wouldn’t put much stake in these until we hear something substantial. Which in many cases means until we get a confirmed report of a signing, or that Boras and the Yankees are “deep in talks.” I don’t expect to hear anything of that nature in the next few weeks, if ever.
Just overheard two writers near me talking about Mark Teixeira: The Angels are ready to go to eight years for him, and $20M per year “isn’t even an issue.” He also said the Beltway Teams (Nats and O’s) are hard after him as well. There was also brief talk about the Halos wanting Justin Masterson from the Sox in exchange for Jeff Mathis or Mike Napoli.
Like I said, I overheard two media guys talking about this not more than 6 feet away from me. Just a rumor. · (55) ·
The guys from MLB Network are launching into their big press conference right now, but I’d say a solid 75% of the media guys are out to lunch/staking out the elevators. Harold Reynolds, Matt Vasgersian and Hazel May are on stage as part of the crew that will host MLB Tonight, a Baseball Tonight type show. I’ll update this post if they say anything exciting, it seems like they have their stuff together.
Update (1:40pm): The network is launching in July 2009. It’ll be the largest launch in television history, and it sounds like most cable providers have decided to carry it.
Update (1:45pm): My bad, it launches on January 1st. They’ll broadcast the original tape of Don Larsen’s perfect game on Day One, original commercials and all. Their facility is in Secaucus.
Update (1:50pm): This sounds like a very ambitious endeavor. They’re going to have a daily eight hour live highlight show (not the same broadcast crew for all eight hours, obviously) and have already enlisted a ton of high end TV talent, including Al Leiter.
Update (2:00pm): The PC is over. The Q&A was rather light since half the press is chowing down on the buffet. · (30) ·
Both the rhetoric and real news surrounding CC Sabathia are ramping up. After last night’s reported meeting between the two sides, everyone had something to say. Since the meeting went, according to Brian Cashman, “great,” let’s see where everything stands.
Bill Madden kicked off the fun with his analysis of the meeting. Sabathia and his agent are reportedly trying to stall. Writes Madden:
The reason Genske wanted the meeting, said one source, is that the agent is trying to buy more time for another team more to Sabathia’s liking to approach the Yankee bid.
With each passing day, the likelihood of that lessens considerably. “(Genske) has to be concerned about them pulling the offer and moving on to the other (free agent) pitchers,” the source said. “If he blows this deal, he’s dead as an agent. For one thing, who’s going to approach that $140 million if the Yankees are out of it? Sabathia winds up with a deal $20 million less than Barry Zito? Like I said, (Genske’s) dead.”
That last line is an interesting one. Sabathia basically is waiting for another offer to come along that approaches the Yanks’ deal. It doesn’t seem likely to happen.
Seemingly in response to the Madden piece, Dan Graziano offers up a even-keeled rebuttal:
The way it was put to me, it’s not that he’d hate playing in New York or couldn’t handle it — it’s that he knows the Yankees’ offer isn’t going to vanish, and he wants to make sure he knows what all of his options are before deciding where to sign. Sounds doggone sensible if you ask me.
Graziano’s conclusion is a lot more sensible that the doom-and-gloomers predicting that Sabathia hates New York and doesn’t want to play here. In that vein, my favorite article of the day comes from Jon Heyman who alleges that Sabathia hates going to Florida for Spring Training. I’ve been to both places, and let me just say that Arizona isn’t really any better.
Heyman also notes that the Brewers may have up their offer to six years and $110-$120 million with an opt-out clause. It sounds like a Hail Mary offer made with the expectation that Sabathia isn’t going to take it. The wheels, they are a-turnin’.
Update 4:11 p.m.: A few people have started to take the “Randy Johnson was unhappy” line of reasoning in the comments, and I just wanted to drop in one more link that I forgot to include up here originally. All reports indicate that the Yanks believe Sabathia will be fully invested in New York if he were to sign. He may prefer California, but he’s not resistant to the idea of New York. He’s not a cranky Randy Johnson-type. I’m not worried about his being unhappy in New York.