Via Matt Eddy, the Yankees have signed Cuban-born shortstop Yadil Mujica. Mujica defected in 2009 after hitting .358/.432/.440 with the National Team, and he’s somewhere around 25 years old, perhaps as old as 27. I’m sure the Yankees know for certain. I can’t find anything else about the guy, but if he was some hotshot prospect, the info would be out there. Consider a minor league depth move until further notice.
The latest from Spring Training…
- Mariano Rivera threw his first bullpen session of the year, about 25 pitches. Pretty much all he did was work on his location. (Bryan Hoch)
- Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, Andrew Brackman, and David Phelps threw live batting practice this morning. Dellin Betances did as well, and was impressive with Derek Jeter in the box. Brian Cashman, Mark Newman, and Gene Michael were among those that watched Manny Banuelos during his session. (Yankees PR Dept., Ben Shpigel, Erik Boland & Boland)
- Curtis Granderson, Greg Golson, Kevin Russo, and Ramiro Pena did extra bunting drills, something Brett Gardner did yesterday and has been doing for a while. Joe Girardi said Gardner should make bunting more a part of his game, and although I have no trouble with him working on it, I don’t want a guy that had a .380+ OBP last year sac bunting. You know Girardi will do it during the season, it’s inevitable. (Chad Jennings & Marc Carig)
- Russell Martin‘s knee is about 90%, so he’s unlikely to catch in Saturday’s Grapefruit League opener. “It’s just a matter of a conservative approach,” said Girardi. His hip is a non-issue. Both Eduardo Nunez and Austin Romine were both sent home sick. (Sweeny Murti, Carig, Carig, Carig & Carig)
- Jorge Posada might not catch in a game all spring according to Girardi, but he will catch bullpens. The team knows he can play behind the plate during the regular season after a career this long. Not sure if I buy that logic, but whatever. (Murti & Carig)
- Girardi said the biggest revelation of the spring was seeing “just how good some of our young pitchers are. We have guys that can help us this year.” Brandon Laird is slated for Triple-A, but could push Ronnie Belliard and Eric Chavez for the final bench spot. (Jack Curry & Carig)
- Mike Mussina has an open invitation to be a guest instructor in Spring Training, but he told the Yankees he wants to spend one more year at home. It’s possible Bernie Williams may show up to camp and instruct at some point this year. (Joel Sherman)
Here’s the nightly open thread. Carmelo Anthony is making his Knicks debut tonight (I think), when they face the Bucks at the Garden at 7:30 ET. That one will be on MSG. Chat about whatever, go bananas.
If you’re driving down a highway in the Chicago area, I’m guessing you wouldn’t expect to see Derek Jeter on a billboard. Yet, there he is. A reader of Tremendous Upside Potential caught this, and I’m guessing most fans — Yanks fans, at least — find this more than a bit odd. Sure, the Yanks do play in Chicago this summer, but is Jeter really going to help them sell tickets to the other 78 home games? Apparently this isn’t too uncommon, but it does seem especially odd coming from Chicago and the Cubs. But hey, if it works it works, right?
Via Big League Stew.
About 24 hours before he signed a contract with the Red Sox, Carl Crawford dined with Brian Cashman and the Yankees’ brass at the Winter Meetings. Before that, there were reports that the Yankees were “very much engaged in discussions” with Crawford’s agents. According to Crawford himself, either none of those things happened, or he just has a terrible memory. He spoke to Dennis & Callahan on WEEI this morning, and his story doesn’t exactly match what we heard this winter.
“To be honest with you, I never talked to New York. They never offered me a contract. I never had any kind of communication with New York, so it was never an option to go to New York.” Emphasis mine. Maybe he’s talking about the Mets?
Mike is out today, so we’re bringing in Dave Gershman of Beyond the Box Score to co-host the show. We’re talking Baseball America’s Top 100 list, which includes six Yankees. We’re talking them, plus some other AL East prospects, on the show.
Podcast run time 31:11
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Intro music: “Smile” by Farmer’s Boulevard used under a Creative Commons license
Perhaps the oddest moment of an odd winter came during the Rafael Soriano press conference. Speaking to the press after Soriano’s introduction, Brian Cashman revealed that he had discussions with Carl Pavano. There was an offer, and Ken Rosenthal’s sources indicated that he was on the verge of a pinstriped return. That didn’t work out, though, as the Twins wooed him back with a two-year, $16.5 million deal. Still, he stood to make a decent sum from the Yankees.
Today SI’s Jon Heyman reported that the Yankees offered Pavano one year at $9.75 million plus incentives. That base salary would have trumped Pavano’s annual salary with the Twins, but there’s no chance that the incentives would have brought him anywhere near that $16.5 million guarantee. Still, I wonder what the situation would have been if the Twins only offered the two years and $13 million that the Pirates did. Might he have come back to New York for up to, say, $12 million in incentives?
The issue really highlights the fan divide on the subject. Despite question marks in the Nos. 4 and 5 rotation spots, many fans wouldn’t have wanted Pavano back under any circumstances. The emotions of seeing Pavano, flat-out accused by some fans of stealing $40 million from the Yanks, for some outweigh the positives he could bring to the mound. My stance runs counter to that; I mocked Pavano as much as the next guy, but on a one-year contract he made more sense than perhaps any other non-Lee pitcher this off-season.
The point is moot, of course. We’ll never get to see Pavano write his redemption story. Instead he’ll start on Opening Day for the Twins. The Yanks did make a significant effort, though, offering Pavano the highest average annual value. But in the end more money, and a less hostile environment, won out.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned about scouting director Damon Oppenheimer in his six years running the Yankees’ drafts, it’s that he loves players who standout in the Cape Cod League. The Cape is the most prestigious amateur summer league around, pitting top college players against each other with wood bats. It’s traditionally been a very pitcher-friendly league, and last year was no different: batters hit just .233/.315/.310 overall, and pitchers posted a 3.05 ERA with 7.78 K/9 in the 44-game season.
Prospects like Rob Segedin, Tommy Kahnle, Adam Warren, David Adams, Dan Brewer, D.J. Mitchell, and Andrew Brackman went from the Cape to the Yankees’ system in short order, and I’m certain a few more will join them this winter. Here’s a few guys that stood out in the league last summer…