Checking in with former Yankees

Contrary to popular belief, the Yankees aren’t the only team trying to acquire players at the winter meetings. In fact, some other teams are even trying to acquire players that played for the Yanks at one time or another. Jon Lane at rounded up the latest on some former Bombers, including Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui, Gary Sheffield, and Kerry Wood. One former Yank he did not mention is Tom Gordon, who I’ve seen in the halls in the few times. Flash lives in the area and does some broadcasting work for MLB Network Radio, but Gordon Edes says the 43 year old is trying to find a team willing to take a chance on him. He hasn’t appeared in a game since early-May 2009, so I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were him. Still kinda cool to see him hanging around though.

Open Thread: Winter Meetings Day Three

Mo, Mo Jr., and some school official. (Photo Credit: Lenny Neslin,

We’re now three-fourths of the way through the 2010 edition of the winter meetings, but it wasn’t until a little while ago that the Yankees did anything noteworthy. After meeting with some agents and a bunch of behind the scenes stuff, they made a formal offer to free agent Cliff Lee. The ball is in their court now. There was also some noteworthy stuff in Joe Girardi’s press conference, but perhaps the biggest news of the day came from back home, as Mariano Rivera Jr. visited in Quinnipiac. Exciting stuff.

Anyways, here is your open thread for the evening. You’re on your own as far as entertaining goes, none of the NBA or NHL locals are in action tonight. Ain’t that a drag. Enjoy.

Cashman confirms that Yankees have made offer to Lee

Brian Cashman confirmed to reporters not too long ago that the team did in fact made an offer to free agent lefty Cliff Lee today. Earlier it appeared that the Yankees didn’t get a chance to make an offer before agent Darek Braunecker took off. Details of the offer are unknown, but it’s widely believed to be six years and somewhere around $140M.

The Lee-Crawford payroll situation

This morning we heard some writers float an interesting idea: could the Yankees add both Cliff Lee and Carl Crawford if Andy Pettitte retired and they flipped one of their outfielders? It sounded interesting, if a bit unrealistic. I decided to put together a spreadsheet, based on the one found at Cot’s Baseball Contracts. I took out Pettitte and Swisher while adding $24 million for Lee and $18.75 million for Crawford. Here’s how it would play out:

Add in another $10 or so million for arbitration raises (per B-Ref), and the payroll gets to around $220 million. That’s a bit above last year, but it still seems within the realm of possibility. I did take the liberty of naming the fifth starter as Ricky Nolasco, but that could be any starter making around $6 million. It could be even lower if they went with Ivan Nova instead of an outside pitcher in that fifth start spot.

Of course, signing Lee and Crawford would add plenty of money to future payrolls. He’s how the Yankees would look from 2012 through 2016 were they to sign those two.

And that’s before they play a single zero to six player. Maybe winning in the earlier years will make the later years sustainable. But those numbers just don’t seem within the realm of possibility.

Darek Braunecker has left the building

Via Jerry Crasnick, Cliff Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker has left the winter meetings, meaning there will be no deal made here. It’s unclear if the Yankees were even able to make their reported six-year offer today. I have to say, this Braunecker character is really starting to get on my nerves, and I’m not even doing business with him. What’s so hard about soliciting offers worth hundreds of millions of dollars on your client’s behalf and not playing hard to get? He’s going to end up costing Lee money with his crap.

Update (3:35 p.m.): Braunecker’s hold-up is also going to leave the Yanks in flux for now. Ken Davidoff says that the Yanks are “unlikely to commit more payroll” to other roster areas until the Lee situation is resolved, and he notes that Andy Pettitte will “probably stay undecided” about pitching in 2011 until Lee signs. The waiting is the hardest part.

Update (4:45 p.m.): Joel Sherman confirms that the Yankees did not make an official offer while Braunecker was here. Jack Curry says that Lee’s agent is aware of what the Yanks are willing to spend.

Girardi Press Conference Notes

All 30 managers meet with reporters at designated times during the winter meetings, and this afternoon Joe Girardi sat down with a horde of media this afternoon to talk about the state of the team. The managers go two at a time, so Jim Leyland was on the other side of the room doing his presser simultaneously. I’m not joking when I say there were half-a-dozen reporters around Leyland and about two dozen around Girardi. It was the New York media circus at its finest.

Here are the highlights from the presser, with audio to follow…

  • Andy Pettitte is leaning towards retirement, and it’s the first time they’ve heard that from him. Girardi plans to call Pettitte after the meetings.
  • “Everything you want” said Girardi about Cliff Lee, who he simply gushed about. He talked about his command, his repertoire, his playoff performances, his left-handedness, the whole nine. You can tell they love him and really want him.
  • As far as what happens if they fail to sign Lee, Girardi simply said “We have explored options.”
  • Girardi has spoken to A.J. Burnett quite a bit during the offseason, and the righty was the first to reach out to new pitching coach Larry Rothschild after he was hired. They’re going to go to town on A.J.’s mechanics, but Girardi cautioned that it won’t necessarily be a complete overhaul or something that’s easy to see with the naked eye.
  • Although he said “not right now” when asked about moving Joba Chamberlain back to the rotation, you can tell there’s no chance of it. Girardi just used the wrong words there. He added that Joba and David Robertson are fine candidates for the setup job should they not bring anyone in.
  • Joe talked about his transition from a full-time catcher to a backup, joking that he couldn’t figure out why they didn’t move him to designated hitter. He’s talked to Jorge Posada about the switch, but the team has also told Jorge to prepare as if he’s going to catch, and why wouldn’t they?
  • The Yankees love them some Jesus Montero, and they feel he made “big strides” last year. That said, the kid will have to win a job in Spring Training. Nothing will be handed to him.
  • Girardi also gushed about how the team’s minor league pitching depth, going out of his way to praise Manny Banuelos and talk about being “exciting about the progress of [Andrew] Brackman.”

The audio file is uploading, so give us a few minutes and we’ll have the full interview up on the site. Check out some more choice quotes on our Twitter feed.

Here’s the audio…