The Yankees today announced their 2008 coaching staff. No surprises here as Joe had this info in October: Kevin Long – hitting, Tony Pena – 1B, Bobby Meacham – 3B, Rob Thomson – bench, Dave Eiland – pitching, Mike Harkey – bullpen. This is indeed the beginning of a new era in the Bronx. · (15) ·
Earlier today, frequent commenter E-ROC asked us about Masahide Kobayashi. MLB Trade Rumors noted a few weeks back that Kobayashi was one of the top three Japanese Free Agents on the market this winter. Well, not anymore. Ken Rosenthal reports that the Indians have a deal in place with Kobayashi pending a physical. If the price is right, Kobayashi would be a decent pick up, but his recent back issues and age don’t make him that appealing to me. · (18) ·
Ed Price, in an article for the Staten Island Advance, notes that the Yankees have asked the White Sox about Bobby Jenks:
According to a Yankees official, who asked not to be identified because he is not directly involved in the decision, the Yankees have inquired about Chicago White Sox closer Bobby Jenks to set up Rivera.
Jenks had a strong season (2.77 ERA, 40 saves in 46 chances and a record-tying streak of 41 consecutive batters retired), but a deal is considered a long shot. The Yankees’ best hope is that the White Sox fail to sign free-agent centerfielder Torii Hunter and thus ask the Yankees for Melky Cabrera or Johnny Damon in a trade.
The good news is that you won’t hear Joba, IPK, or Hughes involved in these potential trade talks. It also appears unlikely that Chicago would trade their closer, since he’s their only good reliever. With the recent Orlando Cabrera trade, it would appear that the team is still looking to contend. However, their team is full of fragilities and mediocrities. I would be surprised to see them contend in ’08 unless they make some kind of huge splash, though that would be tough, considering they have little talent on the farm.
Still, it’s nice to envision a Jenks-Rivera tandem.
Allow me to opine – albeit briefly – on the behavior of Jets fans at the Meadowlands. That article from today’s Times details the how drunk men exude an undercurrent of hostility as they encourage women to flash the crowd during halftime. The Jets had no comment. In this age of Isiah in New York, this dispatch from the Meadlowlands sure makes for one unpleasant story. · (37) ·
Now that the Yanks have nearly wrapped up their internal unfinished business this off-season, they can turn their attention to the team’s other holes. Right now, those holes begin and end with pitching. While the Johan Santana sweepstakes have yet to heat up, the Yanks are looking at Ron Mahay as a potential lefty arm.
Mahay, a well-traveled 36-year-old, has played 11 seasons of a decent enough career for a lefty. He’s spent time on six different teams, compiling a 3.87 ERA but a 1.40 WHIP. He doesn’t give up too many run, but he puts a lot of guys on base. In other words, he’s a perfect fit for a Yankee pen that perennially cannot locate the strike zone. Let’s sign him.
Last season, Mahay made $1.25 million and split his time between Texas and Atlanta. He finished the year with a 2.55 ERA despite pitching to a whip of 1.33. He certainly enjoyed his fair share of luck. Looking at his splits, we see a pitcher who was quite effective against lefties. They hit just .189/.250/.292 against him last year, and Mahay struck out 27 lefties while working just 8. On the other side, righties hit .242/.377/.379 with 28 strike outs and 29 walks. I’d say this guy’s a lefty specialist.
Considering the recent southpaws the Yanks have trotted out — Ron Villone, Mike Myers, Sean Henn, Felix Heredia — the Yanks could do a lot worse than Mahay. I’d probably offer him a $1.5-$2 million, one-year deal and hope he lands in the Bronx. He’s among the best of what’s around really.
After numerous reports that Rivera was going to sign the three-year, $45-million offer from the Yanks, ESPN is reporting that Mariano has accepted his deal. So that’s all over. Now, if the Yanks can just convince Andy Pettitte to return, they’ll have landed nearly all of the best free agents out there this off-season. Not bad considering where things were just a few weeks ago. · (15) ·
Voting for ESPN’s crappy little annual NEXT competition is underway, and Joba’s one of the choices. ESPN has either been horribly wrong when picking NEXT athletes (Kordell Stewart? Kaz Matsui?? The US Men’s Soccer Team???), or just too lazy to do any research and instead picked the most obvious choice possible (A-Rod, LeBron, Kobe). This is a rather useless honor, but I want Joba to win. So go vote. · (15) ·
Nothing surprising here, but how in the world was it not unanimous? I guess the 2 voters that gave their first place nod to Magglio Ordonez felt the Tigers would have missed the playoffs without him. Oh, wait a second…
Update: PeteAbe says the two writers that gave their first place votes to Mags were from Michigan. Seriously. Wow. · (8) ·
Remember when Mariano Rivera went all Godfather on the Yanks’ bullpen? He called out Brian Bruney, Scott Proctor and Kyle Farnsworth for sucking. A week later, Proctor had been sent to the Dodgers, Bruney to AAA and Farnsworth to the sixth inning of 11-2 games.
Rivera is believed to have been one of A-Rod’s major sounding boards during the craziness of Rodriguez’s past three weeks. Rivera, according to his friend, told Rodriguez as far back as days after A-Rod opted out Oct. 28 that he should approach the Yankees to tell them how he truly felt.
Hey, if Rivera truly did help convince A-Rod to stay in New York, maybe his own $45-million deal should include some negotiating clauses as well.
When the Red Sox decided to fork over $103 million for a pitcher who had never thrown a Major League pitch, they do so with the expectation that their investment would open up new markets for them. The Yankees and the Mariners, after all, have managed to secure multi-million-dollar revenue partnerships with Japanese-based companies due to the presence of Japanese stars.
However, the Red Sox were not so lucky. Rob Bradford of The Boston Daily Herald reported today that the Sox managed just one $900,000 deal with a Japanese company. While the World Champions aren’t complaining, they are a bit disappointed in the financial returns.
“There was absolutely not this windfall of corporate advertising dollars we thought there may be, or that [Matsuzaka’s] representative might have led you to believe during the negotiations,” Sam Kennedy, Boston’s senior vice president of sales and marketing, said to Bradford. “But it was fascinating to watch the media, the fans that came over from Japan to see him, and to see someone assimilate into our culture. From everything I hear the best is yet to come.”
And as astute observers may note, Matsuzaka’s representative in this process is the much-beleaguered Scott Boras. With Kenny Rogers’ unceremoniously dumping Boras this weekend and the way the A-Rod saga has played out, this news is just another blow to the Boras empire.