So how about that, eh? In one move today, the Yanks took on Nick Swisher and his salary in exchange for Jeff Marquez and Wilson Betemit. Talk about heating up the Hot Stove League in the blink of an eye.
But do you know what’s even better than Nick Swisher? How about Nick Swisher and C.C. Sabathia, together, in the same picture? Via the excellently-named It’s All A-Rod’s Fault comes this image from Nick Swisher’s Web site:
If only. If only.
Meanwhile, while we’re all enjoying the high of a good trade, the free agent signing period kicks off in a few hours with CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira and Manny Ramirez headlining the Hot Stove this year. It seems as though Manny and the Dodgers may be heading for a split.
While the Dodgers have an offer on the table that could send $60 million Manny’s way over three seasons, Scott Boras fired back today with a quote that shows his true character. “On behalf of Manny Ramirez, we will, for the first time, begin accepting serious financial offers on Friday,” said Boras. What a class act.
So as we head into the best time of the winter, feel free to open the floor to anything. The Jets and Pats are playing on Channel 11 at 8 p.m., and money is about to dominate baseball’s off-season.
Late add by Mike: South Side Sox has an exclusive transcript of the Swisher trade negotiations. Check it out.
AzFL Peoria (3-2 loss to the other Peoria)
Kevin Russo: 0 for 0 – came in for defense at short in the 8th
Jeff Marquez: 4 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 3-6 GB/FB – 47 of 75 pitches were strikes (62.7%) … even with his AzFL time, he’s still about 30 IP behind last year’s total because of this summer’s groin injury
Kevin Whelan: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 1-1 GB/FB – only 12 of 26 pitches were strikes (46.2%)
HWB Waikiki (3-2 win over North Shore in 10 innings, walk-off style)
Damon Sublett: 1 for 5, 1 R, 1 K
Austin Romine: 0 for 2, 1 K - left the game in the 6th for an unknown reason
Andrew Brackman: 5 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 5 BB, 3 K, 2 WP, 9-3 GB/FB – 47 of 89 pitches were strikes (52.8%) … drat, he’s a bust this week
PRWL Mayaguez (5-2 loss to Carolina)
Ian Kennedy: 3.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 1 HBP, 2-1 GB/FB – 12 K in 8.2 IP in his 2 starts
ESPN.com baseball scribe Jerry Crasnick is reporting that the Yankees have acquired Nick Swisher in a trade with the White Sox. The Yanks have sent at least Jeff Marquez to Chicago. It is unclear if anyone else will be included in this deal.
According to Ken Rosenthal, the White Sox will send Kanekoa Teixeira to the Yanks while Wilson Betemit & Jhonny Nunez are heading to Chicago. Teixeira, not the one I hope the Yanks land before the winter is out, put up some good numbers in relief this year but at the A level.
Right now, this acquisition is a great move for the Yanks’ roster. While Mike predicted it early last week, Swisher’s role on the 2009 Yankees is still up in the air, and that is perfect. He gives the Yanks a lot of roster flexibility. He could be in the center field mix; he could be one of the corner outfielders (and thus we would be waving farewell to Bobby Abreu); he could wind up at first base. I’d still, of course, rather see Mark Teixeira land there.
Swisher, 28, has been in the league for five years and is due, according to Cot’s baseball Contracts, $5.3 million in 2009, $6.75 million in 2010 and $9 million in 2011. His contract includes an option in 2012 for $10.25 million with a $1 million buyout.
Swisher had a down year last, hitting just .219 but still managed a .332 OBP and a .410 SLG. As Mike noted last week, his numbers suggest a season of bad luck. Swisher is a power threat and an on-base machine who gives the Yanks some much-needed youth.
Marquez is a 24-year-old right-hander with some pedestrian MiLB peripherals. While the sinker-slider specialist was once on BA’s Top 10 list for the Yanks, he hasn’t made the steps the experts expected and doesn’t project very well right now in the Bigs. It’s hard not to love this trade.
Update by Mike (4:15): In case you don’t feel like reading back through the post, the deal is Swisher & Kanekoa Texeira for Marquez, Betemit and Jhonny Nunez. Good deal. The Depth Chart has been updated.
Okay, we’ve tried this a couple of times before, to no avail. This time, though, we’re super cereal. Mike and I team up this week to talk about the upcoming days, when free agents will be eligible to sign with everyone.
We go over the basics. Pitching, as in CC Sabathia and the rumored 6 year, $150 million offer the Yanks will make. That could have been a concoction of Joel Sherman’s imagination, but the figure makes sense. We talk about CC’s uniqueness, and about the prospect of adding a seventh guaranteed year to the deal. Then it’s about the also-rans: Derek Lowe, A.J. Burnett, Ben Sheets. We discuss the pros and cons of this, plus talk about the conditions under which we would consider Oliver Perez. As a final note on the pitching front, we talk about the popular trade ideas, including why I’m uncomfortable with giving up Phil Hughes for Jake Peavy, and an available starter I wouldn’t mind getting, but will probably get me pelted with rotten veggies.
Then it’s onto position players. We talk about the Jermaine Dye idea Jamal wrote about last night, and how it’s like the Mike Cameron deal. Hey, we’re not saying we should go out and get all these one-year, aging players. We’re just saying that the fit into the strategy. You can’t get younger overnight, so you might as well bring in vets with short commitments.
Of course, we debate the merits of Mark Teixeira, including the prospect of him getting an eight-year deal from some team. Would you go that long for a guy who will be 29 in 2009? Then it’s onto the trade guys, where we bring Nick Swisher back into the conversation. Would they swap him for Damon and a lower level pitcher? Would we throw in IPK? Would the White Sox even be interested in that?
Just so it’s not neglected, we hit on the bench to close things out. No one has yet been able to answer Mike’s challenge: name three utility infielders better than Betemit. He’s a homer threat every time he steps up, which is a positive for a bench guy. We also talk about how the rest of the bench could round out, including the Yanks attempting a little experiment with Justin Christian.
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Since the end of the season, Yankees fans have been waiting to hear the intentions of Mike Mussina. The 20-game winner doesn’t have a contract for the 2009 season, and there has been heavy speculation that he will go out on top. Still, we haven’t heard much from the man himself. It sounds like he’s still mulling the decision; if he was set on retiring, I imagine he would have announced it already.
That isn’t to say that he’s coming back. The way he told it to Mark Feinsand, he still hasn’t decided one way or another. We could hear from him soon, though. He claims he will make his decision “early next week.”
“I’m still kind of up in the air,” Mussina said Wednesday from his home in Montoursville, Penn. “I’m enjoying my time off, but then again, I always enjoy my time off.”
If he does come back, the first question will be on what terms. Will Moose seek a guaranteed three years, which he feels he’ll need to reach 300 wins? Will he accept a one- or two-year deal with options, perhaps of the vesting or mutual type? Or, most importantly, will he consider pitching anywhere but New York?
For all we know, though, we could be bidding adieu to a borderline Hall of Famer early next week. In either case, it has been a pleasure to have Moose on the mound for the past eight years. You know, except those few months in 2007.
In what is perhaps, outside of Edinson Volquez’s Rookie of the Year votes, the most unintentionally hilarious story of the off-season so far, Topps has named Kei Igawa to the card company’s AAA All Star team.
Chad Jennings has the press release from the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre home office, and it too is rather funny simply because it’s so endearingly unironic:
2008 may end up being a break through year for left handed pitcher Kei Igawa. The second year pro from Japan set a Scranton/Wilkes-Barre franchise record for wins in a season by a left handed pitcher with 14 and was named the team’s 2008 Pitcher of the Year.
Igawa set the tone for the season with six perfect innings on opening night for the Yankees and closed out the season winning 11 of his final 13 decisions, earning the southpaw a spot on the 2008 Topps’/Minor League Baseball Triple-A All-Star Team…
Igawa led the Yankees in starts (24), wins (14), innings pitched (156.1) and strike outs (117). His 14 wins tied Joe Roa’s franchise record set in 2002. The outstanding work on the hill for the left hander did not end with the regular season as Igawa posted a 1-0 mark with a 1.35 ERA and nine K’s in 13.1 post season innings, helping lead Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to the Governors’ Cup for the first time in franchise history.
I don’t really know what else I can add to this news. I, for one, am glad the Yanks’ $46-million investment is paying dividends for some team. That 6.66 ERA and 1.76 WHIP in 71.2 big league innings makes me wonder just how bad AAA hitters are anyway.
Now, can we trade him?
Jamal G. sent this to me tonight, and I thought I’d run it tonight/this morning. The over/under on the number of comments that say “We don’t need another aging outfielder” is 50.
According to MLBTR (via the Chicago Tribune), Kenny Williams and his underlings are scouring the Arizona Fall League for a potential Jermaine Dye trade. I was wondering, would Dye make sense for our beloved Bombers?
Dye, in some aspects, had a career season in 2008. His 34 HR’s was the second highest in any of his fourteen Major League seasons (44, 2006); the 154 games he played this season was the first in which he amassed 150+ games played since his 2001 split-season with the Kansas City Royals and Oakland Athletics (158); his 77 XBH’s are the second highest of any single-season in his career (79, 1999); the .541 SLG% he posted was the third highest of his fourteen seasons (.622 in 2006 and .561 in 2000); his .249 ISO was trumped only by the .306 ISO he achieved in 2006; and the 17.5 K% he amassed was bested only by the 16.5% mark he posted in 2000 with the aforementioned Royals. So, in his age-34 season, Jermaine Dye had one of his top three or four seasons in the Major Leagues.
Tim Dierkes mentioned that the ChiSox were scouting two of the New York Mets’ top relief prospects: Bobby Parnell and Eddie Kunz. I’m fairly certain that Williams would not accept a package centered around cost-controlled relievers, but if that is indeed a starting point, this bodes well for the Yankees. Also, Dye’s contract situation is favorable for a player of his age and current production. With only one guaranteed year left on his deal ($11.5M in 2009), the team that potentially acquires him need not worry of employing Jermaine Dye when he is a shell of his former self. Lastly, even though his contract states he can block deals to six squads as part of a limited NTC, guaranteeing Dye’s 2010 option for $12M would not be a significant deterrent since he produced at such a high level in 2008 (if that is indeed what it would take for Dye to accept a trade to 161st St. and River Ave.).
Playing time would be tricky, but seeing as how *Hideki Matsui – and his surgically repaired knees – would bear the blunt of the loss of playing time, I don’t think this is much of a deterrent to acquiring Dye either. You could slot Dye into Right Field where his -17 rating in Bill James’ Plus/Minus system of ranking fielders would actually be an improvement over Bobby Abreu (-24). With Dye in RF, Xavier Nady can take root at First Base where he has played 82 games in his Major League career.
So, do you think this make sense for the New York Yankees? What kind of package could Brian Cashman & Co. put together that would be considered “fair value”? Outside of the vague notion that Williams & Co. want to get a “younger and quicker team for the future”, what do you see Williams trying to acquire in a deal for his slugging, aging Right Fielder?
*- I feel that Juan Miranda should get some serious playing time at DH this season so the Yankees can evaluate whether he can be a productive Major League slugger going forth. With Jason Giambi and Bobby Abreu potentially departing, this teams needs a new source of on-base and slugging skills. Miranda needs to be evaluated at the Major League level; he could serve as the RH portion of a RH/LH platoon with Hideki Matsui at the DH spot.
Another day, another collection of boring Hot Stoviness. Keep it together, because at the stroke of midnight tomorrow, free agents are free to start negotiating & signing with new clubs. That’s when the offseason gets fun.
The only noteworthy news out of the Bronx today was the resigning of Damaso Marte, but we also learned that Al Leiter won’t be in the YES booth as much next year. Elsewhere in the baseball world, Joe Maddon & Lou Pinella took home MOY honors, and the Astros made an offer to free agent Randy Wolf. Al Cy Young comes out tomorrow, hopefully Moose & Mo get some votes.
Locally tonight, you’ve got the Rangers in Jerz to take on the Devils, and the Knickerbockers in Memphis. If that doesn’t do it for you, Greg Oden returns to the lineup tonight as Portland takes on Miami, which you can see on the 4-letter. Talk about whatever here, anything goes. Play nice.
Roxanne Geyer, a web producer at WCBS AM, sent us this video she shot in Monument Park this week as the Yanks prepped the historic monuments for their new home across the street. Jason Zillo, the Yanks’ director of press relations, talked about the process. Check it out. It’s a great video.
Via The Biz of Baseball comes a story about new Yankee Stadium and the current national financial situation. Due to the slowing U.S. economy, the Yankees still have some unsold suites and have yet to wrap up their stadium sponsorship deal with the Bank of America.
The AP has more:
Seven luxury boxes down the foul lines priced at $600,000 remain available for the 2009 season, the first at the new Yankee Stadium. The team still had seven available in August, too.
“There’s no getting away from the fact that the world is different than it was, so traffic slows,” chief operating officer Lonn Trost said Tuesday. “So you don’t have 10 people banging on the door. You may only have two people.”
Trost said in August that 44 of 51 suites priced at $600,000 to $850,000 had been committed, and that the $650,000 and $850,000 suites had sold out.
Basically, it sounds like the big-ticket buyers — the ones who opt for the premium suites — have made the decision that the investment will cover itself. The Yankees are having trouble finding buyers for the mid-range suites that won’t take up primo real estate and would sell to mid-level firms. I’m sure when push comes to the shove, the suites at the new stadium will be at 100 percent occupancy in April.
The AP report has a few more tidbits about the new stadium:
- Construction is 12.5 days ahead of schedule. Even if New York has a particularly brutal winter, the new stadium will still be completed well in advance of Opening Day. So much for those early season rumors about the stadium’s being behind schedule.
- The new Metro-North stop will open in the middle of May.
- While Shea Stadium is mid-demolition, old Yankee Stadium won’t face the wrecking ball until next summer when the dismantling will be on full view for every fan to see. The Yankees have yet to announce their plans to sell off stadium memorabilia.
- Old Stadium tours have been extended through Nov. 23. At this point, Monument Park is gone, but you can still walk on the field, check out the press box and enjoy the view from the dugout. Registration is available here.