Via Tim Dierkes, we find out that the Brewers have exercised the 2009 option for Mike Cameron. He’ll make $10 million for the season. Cameron would have been an intriguing option as a one-year stopgap in center field while the Yankees figure out the situation. The likelihood of Melky or Gardner starting the season in center field just got greater. Jim Edmonds remains an option as a one-year stopgap, though I’m not sure how seriously the Yanks are considering him, if at all. · (94) ·
We’ve talked about this a bit before, but with it becoming official that Ivan Rodriguez will be a Type B free agent, we should revisit it. Should the Yankees offer him arbitration in order to gain a supplemental round pick when he signs with a different team? There are a couple of factors to consider in this decision, and I’m sure it’s something the Yankees mulled at their organizational meetings.
If the Yankees do offer Pudge arbitration, there is always the risk he accepts. As we learned when I read through the relevant sections of the CBA, this means he is counted as a player for next season and is added to the 40-man roster. The Yankees will then either have to hammer out a deal with him, or go to an arbitration hearing. Neither of these seems ideal, as the Yankees surely don’t want him back. They can cut him prior to Spring Training and only be liable for a portion of his salary, but they’ll then 1) not get the supplemental pick when he signs elsewhere and 2) be short a 40-man roster spot, which can be used to protect J.B. Cox, Alan Horne, Chris Garcia, etc. from the Rule 5 draft.
However, it doesn’t seem that large a risk. Pudge knows that the Yankees plan to start Jorge Posada behind the dish. Surely he does not want to be relegated to backup status, which he would be if Jorge proves healthy in Spring Training. Plus, he could probably get a two-year deal elsewhere, which would be far more attractive to him at this stage in his career. Chances are that he’d decline an arbitration offer, though it’s certainly no sure thing.
Because he is a Type B free agent, there is no disincentive for a team to sign him. Had he been a Type A, as was the projection at Tiger Thoughts, Pudge would have been more likely to accept arbitration. Teams would have probably stayed clear, not wanting to sacrifice a first rounder for a 37-year-old catcher who was putrid in the second half. Without the draft pick at stake, Pudge becomes more attractive for a team in need of a catcher (helloooo Mets).
In this instance, I think the risk of offering Pudge arbitration is worth the potential reward of a supplemental pick. It helps in the mission to rebuild the farm system, and gives us some form of compensation for Pudge, who was an utter disappointment in pinstripes.
According to a few reports, the Yankees are planning on declining Damaso Marte’s $6 million option for 2009. As we figured the Yanks would pick up this option, I’m about surprised by this move, but the Yanks could be taking one of two approaches here. They’re either going to cash on Marte’s Type A status and take the draft picks or they will attempt to sign him to a multi-year deal worth less per year than his one-year option. I’d like to see Marte return; he offers more stability than Phil Coke and could be the best lefty the Yanks have employed since the heydays of Mike Stanton. We’ll see how this plays out. This is certainly not a finalized divorce. · (171) ·
Apologies for the tardiness, it’s not worth posting two lines worth of stats a day, so I’m spreading DotF out a bit now.
AzFL Peoria (13-1 loss to Mesa)
Austin Jackson: 1 for 5, 1 R, 1 3B, 2 K - threw a runner out at third from CF
Humberto Sanchez: 2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 3-1 GB/FB – 17 of 22 pitches were strikes (77.3%)
AzFL Peoria (3-2 loss to Mesa)
Kevin Russo: 1 for 5, 3 K – the league’s longest active hitting streak reaches 12 games
Austin Jackson: 0 for 4
Jeff Marquez: 4 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 4-2 GB/FB – 39 of 62 pitches were strikes (62.9%) … picked a runner off first
HWB Waikiki (3-2 win over West Oahu in 7 innings)
Damon Sublett: 0 for 4, 1 K
Austin Romine: 1 for 3, 1 R, 1 3B, 1 PB
AzFL Peoria (7-1 loss to Phoenix)
Austin Jackson: 0 for 4, 2 K
Kevin Russo: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 K – way to account for your team’s entire offensive output
Kevin Whelan: 3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 4-3 GB/FB – 26 of 44 pitches were strikes (59.1%)
HWB Waikiki (5-2 win over Honolulu)
Damon Sublett: 2 for 4, 2 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 E (fielding) – big comeback after missing 16 days due to a mystery injury
Andrew Brackman: 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 3 WP, 7-4 GB/FB – 57 of 91 pitches were strikes (62.6%) … phew, he’s not a bust this week
Via loyal reader Angel, Melky Cabrera will make his Dominican Winter League debut for Aguilas on Nov. 12th.
Replacement Level Yankee Weblog ran an early version of their CAIRO system to project the 2009 Yankees. The results are rather uninspiring, to say the least. Of course, the Yanks stand to pick up some players via free agency and lose some that they won’t miss. The 2009 Yankees though are going to need some offensive help and some pitching stars as well. · (22) ·
As the free agent signing period is a few weeks away from launching, a few behind-the-scenes moves are making headlines. On the Yankee front, CNNSI’s Fan Nation links to an article about Bill Livesey in the Paper That Must Not Be Named.
Livesey is a baseball lifer and is making his return to the Yanks. He had last been with the team for 18 years prior to 1995, and many credit him with helping to build the farm system that led to the 1990s dynasties. He was instrumental in scouting Derek Jeter, but considering the word on Jeter in 1992, all we know is that Livesey can rate baseball players.
Now, this isn’t to say that Livesey isn’t a great baseball mind. But since leaving the Yanks, he’s been on the Blue Jays, Tampa and the Mets. While on the Mets, he helped orchestrate a Victor Zambrano-for-Scott Kazmir deal. After departing New York, he has worked in Japan for Mike Pagliarulo’s scouting company.
I don’t mean to cast doubt on Livesey’s abilities, and if Gene Michael vouches for him, he must have some talent. But I know that some Yankee watchers are expecting Livesey’s return to represent some sort of angel arriving on a Golden Chariot. Maybe he will be; maybe he won’t. It’s never a bad idea to have another well-qualified scouting brain on the team.
Another personnel move to watch comes out of Philadelphia where Ruben Amaro has been named GM. At the same time, the other candidate for Pat Gillick’s old job was Mike Arbuckle, and he has left the organization. PeteAbe thinks that Pat Gillick could consult for the Yanks. He is after all a good friend of Cashman’s.
But our own Mike A. offered up an interesting take on the Gillick-Amaro-Arbuckle triangle:
Gillick retired, and two candidates were considered to replace him: Assistant GM/Scouting Director Mike Arbuckle (been the SD since ’93), and Assistant GM Ruben Amaro (been with the team since 2000 or so). Amaro gets the job, Arbuckle’s pissed off about being passed over and quits. They [screwed] this one up good, Arbuckle’s a far better GM candidate. I’m sure the Mariners wish they waited to hire a new GM, because Arbuckle > Zduriencik.
Arbuckle won’t be bound for New York; he’s ready for a GM job, and the spot in the Bronx is taken. But whichever team lands Arbuckle will earn another very good baseball mind.
This news isn’t the most exciting; it doesn’t involve millions of dollars and high-impact free agents. But sometimes, the behind-the-scenes moves are just as important.
Over at his briliant SWB Yankees Blog, Chad Jennings is going through the Yanks’ roster, position by position, breaking down needs, and both internal & external solutions. He’s already hit the backstops and first basemen, with more to come. Check it out, yo. · (27) ·
Continuing the non-stop Saturday coverage of Manny Ramirez comes a piece from Ken Davidoff. Unnamed Yankee insiders claim the team is more likely to wind up with Manny Ramirez than with Mark Teixeira, and Davidoff believes the determining factor is the number of years each player wants. While I’d like to see Manny in pinstripes, I have no qualms about committing to seven years of Mark Teixeira. I believe that Teixeira fills a need now and in the future and would have a greater impact on the team in the long run than Manny would in the short run. If I’m picking one, I take Teixeira. · (125) ·
Jesse Spector writes the Touching Bases column for the Daily News. It’s a lesser known blog that the tabloid has run for the better part of four years now. Today, he tackles the topic of Bobby Abreu:
The top right fielder on the free-agent market is a Yankee, wants to stay a Yankee, and the Yankees might let him walk away.
You read that right. Bobby Abreu’s stated first choice this winter is to remain in the Bronx, but the Bombers have a surplus of outfielders – Melky Cabrera, Johnny Damon, Brett Gardner, Hideki Matsui and Xavier Nady – under contract, in addition to the organization’s top hitting prospect, Austin Jackson.
“Bobby’s definitely very happy with the Yankees and he’s enjoyed his time with the Yankees, and it’s his first choice to come back,” said Chris Leible, one of Abreu’s agents. “But it’s just wait and see what happens.”
If the Yankees do let Abreu walk after he hit .296 with 20 homers and 100 RBI, they probably won’t be looking for his replacement via free agency, where other options are sparse.
I don’t really see the harm in letting Abreu walk though. Sure, he may be the top right fielder on the market, but he’s not the top outfielder on the market. The Yanks could easily slide Xavier Nady to right to make room for Manny Ramirez, a far, far superior player to Bobby Abreu. The cost-benefit analysis would show that Manny is a better investment.
Meanwhile, the Yanks also aren’t going to let having Melky Cabrera and Brett Gardner under contract at or slightly above the league minimum deter them from finding an adequate replacement for Bobby Abreu or for re-signing Abreu. Furthermore, Hideki Matsui isn’t and shouldn’t be considered an outfielder at this point in his career. Until his knees show otherwise, he’s a full-time DH, and even if his knees are healthy, he’d be a defensive liability at this point.
The other options — Ken Griffey, who will never play in New York, and Brad Wilkerson — are indeed sparse, but it’s not really a dire predicament. I’m glad Abreu enjoys New York; I’m glad he’d like to return; I’m just not so sure he’s the man for the job.