Open Thread: Jesus turns 21

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

A very happy birthday goes out to the best prospect in the Yankees’ farm system today; Jesus Montero turns the ripe old age of 21. When I turned 21, I was just starting my junior year of college and trying to figure out where the hell my life was going. Montero already has a full year at Triple-A under his belt and is a .314/.371/.511 career hitter with 162 extra base hits in 380 career games. I suddenly feel very inadequate. Happy birthday kid. Make us all proud next year.

Anyway, here’s tonight’s open thread. The late game has the Chargers at the Colts, plus the Knicks and Nets are both in action. Wish Montero a happy birthday and then talk about whatever you want here. Go nuts.

Olney: Cliff Lee talks are a good fit to pick up this week

Via Buster Olney, negotiations between free agent southpaw Cliff Lee and the various clubs try to sign him are expected to pick up this coming week, and there’s a decent chance he’ll pick his new home during the Winter Meetings in two weeks. “We’ve got a fair number of teams trying to work through the process,” said agent Darek Braunecker. “It’s probably fair to say we’ve got a half-dozen teams in the mix.” We’ve heard that the Yankees are prepared to offer him five years and $120M, though rumors of a Sabathian deal have been floating around. Get ready, the hot stove is ready to take off.

Yomiuri sends Yankees $1.2M for Albaladejo

Well check this out. According to a report passed along by MLBTR, the Yomiuri Giants have sent the Yankees $1.2M for Jon Albaladejo. Albie finalized his deal with Yomiuri yesterday. I didn’t expect the Yanks to get anything out of the move other than a free 40-man roster spot, so this is a pleasant surprise. Granted, $1.2M isn’t much in the grand scheme of things, but it’s just about enough to cover the salaries of Jesus Montero, Frankie Cervelli, and Ramiro Pena next season.

Vazquez lands with the Marlins

Via MLBTR, Javy Vazquez has agreed to a one-year deal for some unknown amount of money with the Florida Marlins. It makes sense, NL team in a big park nice and close to his home in Puerto Rico. Javy still has to pass a physical before the deal becomes official and the Yankees get their extra draft pick, and I guess that’s not a given considering his utter lack of stuff at the end of the season. Either way, I wish him luck and hope the Yankees get to face him in the 2011 World Series.

Yanks getting ready to up offer to Jeter

(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

It’s been a messy few weeks of negotiations between the Yankees and Derek Jeter, as the two sides have taken to the press to state their cases and maximize their leverage. The Yanks offered their captain a more than fair three-year contract at $15M a season, but Jeter’s camp is looking for four or five years worth up to $24M a season. A large gap certainly, but not an unbridgeable one, and the team is prepared to up their initial offer. Take it away, Jon Heyman

The Yankees appear willing to enhance their latest $45 million, three-year offer to retain the iconic Yankee, but are said to be unwilling to match his previous salary on a deal of at least three years. Jeter just completed a 10-year, $189-million deal that paid him about $21 million in 2010.

The Yankees’ next offer is expected to be for a couple million more per year, so perhaps in the $50 million range for three years. Indications thus far are they have very little inclination to add a fourth year, though that can’t be entirely ruled out. The team would like to complete the Jeter negotiations so they can get to the rest of their offseason to-do list, bringing Jeter’s longtime friend and iconic closer Mariano Rivera back into the fold and pressing to sign superstar free agent pitcher Cliff Lee.

As expected, the money isn’t much of an issue, it’s the years. Just ten shortstops have posted a 90 OPS+ or better at age-36, and one of those was Jeter last season (exactly 90). Just three (Ozzie Smith, Omar Vizquel, and Jeter) have done it since 1970, and the first two had decided defensive advantages over the Yankee icon. As historically great as Jeter has been, paying him in hopes that he’ll evade Father Time for the life of the contract is a foolish bet.

Ben explained the leverage situation last week, and for all intents and purposes Jeter has none. No other teams are bidding on him at that price, so the only thing he and agent Casey Close can do is push his iconic status. The Yankees appear to be more than happy to make Jeter filthy stinkin’ rich all over again, but they don’t want to lock themselves into a declining player for the next half-decade just because he’s Derek Jeter. Hard to blame them. I suspect this will all get settled somewhere in the three-year, $60M neighborhood, but don’t hold your breath. This might drag on into January.

Cashman met with Burnett last week

After teasing us last night, Buster Olney tells us this morning exactly why Brian Cashman flew down to Maryland to meet with A.J. Burnett the day before Thanksgiving (Insider req’d). We had some fun trying to guess the reason, but it’s nothing terribly exiting. The GM simply told the enigmatic right-hander that the Yankees still believe in him, and to “reset and refocus” for next season. They kind of have to say that when they owe the guy $49.5M over the next three years.

Saturday Night Open Thread

(AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

I don’t know about you folks, but I killed off the last of my Thanksgiving leftovers for lunch earlier, and I’m sad. Thankfully, the Yanks made me feel better by signing one of my favorite prospects from back in the day, lefty Andy Sisco. That’s a picture of him throwing with the White Sox in Spring Training a few years ago. I’m a sucker for tall, hard-throwing lefties, and Sisco (6-foot-10) fits the bill. It was a match made in prospect heaven.

Anyway, here’s tonight’s open thread. The Devils already beat the Flyers and the Knicks already lost to the Hawks, but the Rangers are in Nashville and the Nets are in Philly. Plus there’s a zillion college football games on as well. Talk about whatever you like on this chilly Saturday evening, have a blast.