In news that will be surprising to only Will Carroll and Will Leitch, Jorge Posada is really close to signing a new deal with the Yankees. I know the Yanks offered him three years originally, but I fear that this deal will be for four. Hopefully, Jorge is up for learning how to man first base. · (14) ·
If the Yanks want to grab Johan Santana from the Twins, they’ll have to be prepared to give up an arm and a leg. Reports in Yankeeland say that the Twins want the offer for their lefty stud to start with Roninson Cano and one of the Yanks’ Big Three pitchers. I’ll update this post with more info later, but let me just say that the Twins’ early demands sound much too steep.
Update 9:48 p.m.: Now that I’m home, let me flush this out a bit.
The story came to us via this Ken Davidoff article. Davidoff reports that an official close to the Twins believes any trade offer will have to start with Robinson Cano. Jim Baumbach speculates that the offer would have to include Cano plus a top-flight pitcher. Furthermore, Davidoff says that a package of Phil Hughes, Melky Cabrera and other prospects wouldn’t be enough to land Santana.
There’s a lot to unpack here.
First, Robinson Cano. As many of you already have noted in the comments, this is simply an example of the Twins throwing out an opening bid through the media. As others have said, Cano is arguably one of the best players on the Yankees right now. As a young second baseman with a career average of .314 and a career OPS of .835, this kid has a ton of value, and he’s nearly irreplaceable on the field and in the lineup. The Yankees should not give up Cano for anything really. I’d consider to be the one untouchable in the Yanks’ current lineup.
Second, the package deal. The Yankees certainly shouldn’t give up Cano and others for Sanatan. There’s no need to explain this one.
Finally, the Phil Hughes+Melky Cabrera deal. As skeptical as we are of Melky, trading Hughes and Melky for one year of Johan Santana is simply insane. The Yanks have Hughes for five more years, and Melky for four. Basically, they have nine years of these two players under control. Trading nine years of that for one year of Santana doesn’t make any sense.
Right now, the Twins are in no rush to trade Santana. They don’t really have to trade him until July. At that point, the asking price will be a lot lower. If the Yanks want Santana, they should wait until he becomes affordable. Right now, as Brian Cashman I’m sure realized, the Yanks have no business making a trade with the Twins.
Let’s be clear: I’m not trying to bury Melky Cabrera. I simply think he’s vastly overrated (and, incidentally, think that if any GM overrates him so, we should see what we can get for him). His arm is valuable in center, but as I’ve continually noted, he often takes poor routes to balls, resulting in him making fewer plays than he should given his range. Dave Pinto’s Probabilistic Model of Range agrees with me. It actually rates Melky below Johnny Damon in center.
Now, this clearly isn’t a flawed metric. I think we can all see, on the whole, that Melky is better defensively in center than Damon at this point in his career. However, that’s heavily considering Melky’s arm. When it comes to ability to get to batted balls, they’re on more even ground. If there’s a gap shot to right center, I’d actually feel more comfortable with Damon running it down than Melky (though that’s just one man’s opinion). But on a medium fly ball with a runner on third and less than two outs, you and I would both rather have Melky there.
Anyway, I just wanted to use PMR to illustrate that point. Johnny Damon is by no means a poor center fielder. He just has Berniearm. And yes, in many ways that can hurt us over the course of a season. But if we were to get a quality offer for Melky, I would be totally comfortable with Damon starting the year in center field. Check that: as long as Matsui isn’t in left. I understand how poor that would make our outfield defense.
Bernie Williams just doesn’t know when to turn in his spikes. According to Mark Feinsand in The Daily News, Bernie thinks he could return to the Majors in 2008. Bernie had a great run on the Yankees, but he just doesn’t accept the fact that his time seemed up. I love Bernie; I can’t wait for the Yanks to retire number 51 during the eventual Bernie Williams Day celebrations. But this latest news just makes me pity Bernie. Enough already. · (15) ·
From the Globe:
Admit it, now that the World Series trophy has paraded through every Middlesex village and farm. You are starting to feel a little sorry for them. The New York Yankees, I mean.
Truth be told, they are pathetic. Their greatest current player, Me-Rod, is stinking up the sport, baying for lucre that he doesn’t need. Their Murderers’ Row of pitching aces is headed for the glue factory. Mussina, Pettitte, Clemens, Rivera – stick a fork in ‘em. They’re done…
I’m not sure I’ve ever felt this sorry for anyone in my life.
Alex Beam, whoever the hell you are, you can go fuck yourself. We don’t want your pity, nor do we need it. But keep talkin’ the big boy talk, it’ll be that much more fun watching you hit the pavement.
Nothing like a humble champ, right? · (29) ·
AzFL Peoria (5-3 win over Surprise)
Brett Gardner: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 K
Juan Miranda: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI – tied for the league lead with 5 homers, second with 17 steaks
Steven “don’t call me” White: 4 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K – someone out there has to get that reference…
HWB Honolulu (2-2 tie with Waikiki)
Austin Jackson: 1 for 4, 1 K – thrown out at third
Anthony Claggett: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K – lefties are hitting .448 off him, righties .225
FYI – the Guess the PED Users game is kaput. It turns out the report claiming that 11 free agents will be named PED users in the Mitchell Report was inaccurate. Good thing I didn’t spend too much thinking up a prize.
I recently sat down and exchanged emails with Chad Jennings, author of the brilliant Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees blog. Chad’s site is one of the truly great baseball blogs on the internet, and his analysis is always insightful, accurate and entertaining. If you haven’t already bookmarked his site, well, what are you waiting for?
I asked Chad a bunch of questions about the Yanks’ minor league system, and he was kind enough to reply, in record time no less. Let’s get to it…
Prior to the Yanks coming to town, the Phillies occupied the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre market. With all due respect to the Phillies organization, they aren’t the Yankees and the buzz just isn’t the same. How different were things around the team this year with the Yanks compared to years past with the Phightin’s?
Pinstripes Plus is reporting that Mark Melancon has returned to game action at Dominican Instructional League, and topped out at 92 in his first appearance.
AzFL Peoria (5-2 loss to Surprise)
Brett Gardner: 0 for 3, 2 BB, 2 K – 6 for his last 27 after going 6 for his previous 9
Juan Miranda: 0 for 3, 1 BB, 1 K
Steven Jackson: 1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K – one of the walks was intentional, not that it makes a difference
Peoria manager (and Double-A Trenton coach) Tony Franklin was tossed for arguing a call on the bases in the 9th.
HWB Honolulu (6-1 loss to Waikiki)
Austin Jackson: 0 for 3, 1 BB, 2 K – 17 for his 30 hits have gone for extra bases
Bradley Suttle: 0 for 4, 2 K - 1 for his last 22
George Kontos: 4 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 5-1 GB/FB – 39 K in 29 IP
Be sure to play our “Guess the PED users” game!
Mark Feinsand gives us a quick update on Mo and Posada. I found something particularly interesting:
Mariano Rivera also figures to test the market, as teams can begin talking money with all free agents on Tuesday. But unlike Posada, Rivera has sat down face-to-face with the Yankees, as the two sides expressed a mutual desire to continue their relationship. The Yankees have offered Rivera a three-year deal worth $40 million, which is in the closer’s ballpark.
If another club comes within $5 million of that offer, I’ll be shocked. Three years and $40 million? I think it’s kind of insulting that Mo hasn’t already accepted. No other team is going to pay $13.3 million per season for a 38-year-old closer who would be 41 at the end of the deal. Unless they’re run by lunatics and think that Mo’s 70 innings are going to get them over the hump.
Free agency officially begins on Tuesday, and in all likelihood Jorge Posada will remain unsigned at that point. The Yankees have made what amounts to a very generous offer for a catcher entering his age-36 season: three years and around $40 million.
However, we’re seeing a unique trend from Jorge. While it appeared in 2005 that he was entering his decline phase (he posted his lowest OBP and SLG since 1999), he has surged over the past two years, and miraculously posted the best season of his career in 2007.
Unsurprisingly, Jorge has all but rejected the Yankees offer. He claims he’s “more determined than ever to test the market,” and the market will likely bear a four-year bidder in the $50 to $55 million range. The Mets are likely to make such a bid, which puts the Yankees in an uncomfortable position.
We’ve discussed it many times, but with the market opening up in a couple of days it seems appropriate to discuss again. Do you up your three-year, $40 million offer to match or exceed a four-year, say $53 million deal?
I’d say yes, but under a few conditions, the paramount of which being that if Jorge doesn’t produce in the later two years of the contract, he sits. My main fear regarding Jorge is that he’ll finally enter his decline years and drop off dramatically. It doesn’t seem likely that this will come in the next two years, but with a catcher you never know. It’s tough to sit your $15 million annual investment on the bench, but if they can do it with Jason Giambi, they should do it with Jorge.
In that scenario, you’d be essentially paying him $50-some-odd million for two years of work. It sounds absurd, but it’s not like the Yankees are paupers. They have the money, and they might as well use it to keep Jorge around while we wait for Jesus Montero and Austin Romine to develop.
However, if his contract is going to keep him in games whether he produces or not, I can’t advocate a fourth year. A third is enough of a gamble. How many catchers do you know who produced at high level at this age? I can think of one off the top of my head: Carlton Fisk. But we’re talking a Hall of Famer here, and while Jorge has been excellent, he’s a member of a far less exclusive club: The Hall of Very Good.
But hey, Fisk did put up a line of .285/.378/.451 in 452 at bats as a 42-year-old. So it can happen. I’m just not sure I’m willing to bet $50 million on it.