New CBA will include HGH testing, eliminate Elias rankings

Baseball’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement has not been officially announced just yet, but details of some rather substantial changes have started to leak out. Here’s the latest….

New CBA will include blood testing for HGH

Via Michael Schmidt, the new CBA will include blood testing for human growth hormone. The testing will begin when players report to Spring Training in February, and a positive test will result in a 50-game suspension. Minor leaguers have been getting tested for HGH for two seasons now.

This is obviously a significant step for baseball and a major concession by the union. None of the other major North American sports leagues allow blood testing, though the International Olympic Committee does. Players that participate in the World Baseball Classic are subject to IOC rules and tests.

Type-A free agent relievers and Elias rankings will be eliminated

Via Ken Rosenthal, all remaining Type-A free agent relievers will not be subject to draft pick compensation this offseason. Teams will not be required to forfeit draft picks to sign them, though their old team will still gain a pick somehow. I’m guessing it’ll be just the supplemental first rounder. Click here to see all the Type-A and B free agents. Other Type-A free agents (Albert Pujols, Jose Reyes, etc.) will still require a team to surrender a draft pick to sign them.

The Elias ranking system will be completely eliminated next offseason. In order to receive draft pick compensation for a top free agent, the player’s team will need to tender them a qualifying offer of at least $12M per season. I’m curious to see how they decide who is and who isn’t a top free agent, that should be interesting. Reportedly, the Yankees will still gain a supplemental first rounder if Type-B free agent Freddy Garcia signs elsewhere this offseason.

Cashman: Market moving at “glacial speed”

It’s been a very slow offseason for the Yankees so far, save for the Mike O’Connor signing and yesterday’s Rule 5 Draft moves. “The free agent [market] is moving at a glacial speed,” said Brian Cashman to Dan Martin. “And the category I’m shopping in, I don’t believe guys are jumping off the board this week. The players I’m interested in won’t be coming off the board anytime soon. But trade stuff is different. That can move fast, if someone finds the right match.”

“I made trade proposals that were rejected and received trade proposals that I rejected,” added the GM. “The free agent guys haven’t made me any offers.” Cashman also confirmed that he has not yet followed up with C.J. Wilson and his agent after they asked to visit the Yankees in New York. I expect things to pick up a bit once the new Collective Bargaining Agreement is announced next week, since teams will know exactly what is going on with Type-A and B free agent compensation. The winter meetings are two weeks after that, and that’s when all hell breaks loose.

Open Thread: Juan Miranda

(Kathy Willens/AP)

With the light at the end of Jason Giambi‘s contract tunnel starting to draw closer, the Yankees made a move to bring in someone they hoped could be their first baseman of the future. During the 2006-2007 offseason, they signed Cuban defector Juan Miranda to a four-year Major League contract worth $4MM, hoping he’d be able to step in for Giambi when his contract expired after the 2008 season.

Miranda, reportedly 23 at the time, mashed at two minor league levels in 2007 and was anchoring the Triple-A Scranton lineup by Opening Day 2008. He hit .287/.384/.449 with a dozen homers that season, then got his first taste of the big leagues (14 plate appearances) that September. Miranda’s shot at becoming the full-time first baseman disappeared when the Yankees signed Mark Teixeira the following offseason, a move that sentenced Miranda to two more years in Triple-A with intermittent call-ups. He hit a respectable .253/.330/.458 with four homers in 94 plate appearances spread across three seasons in pinstripes, with his most memorable moments being this walk-off single against Kyle Farnsworth, this moonshot against the Rays, and this walk-off walk against the Red Sox.

One year ago today, the Yankees traded the out-of-options Miranda to the Diamondbacks for Single-A pitching prospect Scottie Allen. Allen was a total disaster in 2011 (7.52 ERA in 93.1 IP), but Miranda finally got his first chance at extended playing time in the bigs. He started out very well, hitting .270/.387/.539 through Arizona’s first 51 games, but he stopped hitting after that. Miranda finished the season with a .213/.315/.402 batting line in 202 plate appearances, and was taken off the 40-man roster in June. He remains in the D’Backs’ system.

* * *

Here is tonight’s open thread. None of local hockey teams are in action, so there’s not a whole lot going on in the New York sports scene. You can talk about anything you like here though, have at it.

Yankees, Rafael DePaula still waiting on visa

One year ago today, the Yankees agreed to sign Dominican right-hander Rafael DePaula for $500k, pending a work visa. VP of Baseball Ops Mark Newman confirmed to Ben Badler that DePaula still hasn’t been able to get the visa, so he remains stuck in limbo. He spent this past season working out at the team’s academy in the Dominican, but he is not allowed to participate in games since his contract is not yet official.

DePaula, 21 in March, had been suspended by MLB for a year after lying about his age and identity. His actual age and identity was confirmed by MLB’s verification process last summer, allowing him to sign. Unfortunately, the U.S. government doesn’t like the idea of letting people who lied about their identity into the country, especially after Sept. 11th. DePaula may never get a visa, but the Yankees also don’t have to pay him unless he does. The 6-foot-3 righty was said to be able to run his fastball up to 97 last year.

Yankees add five to 40-man roster

With the deadline to set the 40-man roster for next month’s Rule 5 Draft looming, the Yankees added RHP David Phelps, RHP D.J. Mitchell, OF Zoilo Almonte, IF Corban Joseph, and IF David Adams to the 40-man roster today. The first three guys are not surprising at all, as I explained yesterday.

Joseph, drafted out of high school in 2008, was eligible for this year’s Rule 5 Draft because he graduated at 19 years old, so he had to protected one year earlier than usual. Adams is somewhat surprising to me; he’s missed the majority of the last two seasons following a brutal ankle injury suffered last May. He’s played in just 29 games since, so the Yankees must feel pretty good about his health if they protected him.

There’s only spot on the 40-man roster left open now, so some guys will get the axe as the Yankees add players this offseason. Kevin Whelan is probably first in line to go, and something will have to give with the out-of-options trio of Greg Golson, Justin Maxwell, and Chris Dickerson.

Will the Yankees pony up for Cespedes?

When news first broke of Cuban superstar Yoenis Cespedes’s impending free agency, the Yankees were immediately connected. In fact, Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan wasted little time in making the connection, opening his second paragraph with: “The New York Yankees are particularly hot for the right-handed Cespedes.” This is not a surprise. The Yankees are always connected to international talent and high-priced free agents. But given the team’s recent words about spending, there’s a chance that they might sit this one out.

Earlier today Peter Gammons heard word that Cespedes will cost more than the $30.25 million the Reds paid Aroldis Chapman in 2010. The low end, according to Gammons, is $35 million, and the target is around $50 million. That’s an enormous outlay for unproven talent, and chances are Cespedes won’t hit the high end of that projection. But even at $30 to $35 million, the Yankees could back away from Cespedes, perhaps focusing on some of the younger and less expensive Cuban defectors.

In an article for the Star-Ledger, Marc Carig describes the Yankees financial situation:

These Yankees work with budgets — yes, still the largest war chest in the game — but limits nonetheless. And this week, with representatives for the game’s top free agents trying to drum up interest in their clients, the Yankees left no indication that they’ll stray from the target area they’ve established over the past three years.

Instead, according to people with knowledge of the team’s thinking who requested anonymity to speak candidly, the Yankees came away from the GM meetings Thursday skeptical of their willingness to meet the asking price of top free agents such as pitcher C.J. Wilson or Japanese star pitcher Yu Darvish.

True, the $30-$35 million outlay for Cespedes isn’t quite the $100-million-plus outlay for Wilson or Darvish. But it’s a significant chunk of money for a player who has zero major league experience. The Yankees have around $190 million on the books for 2012, when counting projected arbitration raises, and the focus this winter centers on pitching. It’s doubtful that they’ll fit both a pitcher and Cespedes in their budget. They’d have to really like Cespedes in order to make that kind of exception.

They are the Yankees, though, and you never know. After all, in the same article Carig describes the process behind signing Russell Martin, which involved asking Hal Steinbrenner for a few extra million. But that filled a specific need, and it went towards a player who had significant major league experience. Will the Yankees make a similar exception for a player whose only experience has come in another country? The smart money, right now, is on no.

This is also incidentally why I think they’ll make a non-aggressive bid on Darvish, but that’s a subject for another day.

The RAB Radio Show: November 18, 2011

MLB announced some big changes, and the Yankees talked money. That’s what we’re covering in the podcast.

  • The added playoff team. Mike and I run through the situation pretty thoroughly, talking about the goods and the bads. While the new system will bring more teams into the playoff hunt, there are some negative unintended consequences.
  • The Astros are moving to the AL, which could cause some minor problems with interleague play. Mike and I run down the single biggest issue with future interleague scheduling.
  • Brian Cashman talked budget this week, and it seems he’s playing coy again. What does this mean for the Yankees offseason?

Podcast run time 37:52

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  • Download the RAB Radio Show by right clicking on that link and choosing Save As.
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Intro music: “Die Hard” courtesy of reader Alex Kresovich. Thanks to Tyler Wilkinson for the graphic.