I can’t really criticize the Yankees for the Carl Pavano contract. In 2004, everyone wanted a piece of Pavano, and the Yanks were bidding against the Red Sox, Tigers and Orioles, to name a few of the teams involved. Who knew that Carl Pavano, who had just thrown back-to-back 200-inning seasons, would utterly break down?
This week, when the Yankees officially welcome Alex Rodriguez and Mariano Rivera back into the fold, the Carl Pavano Era will come to an ignoble end. The Yankees are going to release Pavano and sign him to a Minor League deal for the purposes of rehab and insurance.
That’s not the funny part though. Here’s the funny part, courtesy of George King:
Pavano, 31, can’t return to Arizona because his questionable work ethic ticked off fitness guru Brett Fischer last winter. Pavano is leaning toward accepting the Yankees’ minor-league offer so he can have a place to rehab his elbow. By keeping him in the system, the Yankees protect themselves from Pavano healing ahead of schedule (pigs have a better chance of flying) and pitching effectively for another team.
So basically, the Yankees are worried that Pavano, whose work ethic is so bad that a fitness expert won’t take him on as a client, may recover faster than they anticipate? And I have a bridge to sell you.
The Yanks got 19 starts and 111.1 innings from Carl Pavano for their $39.95 million. They have to keep him in the Minors to collect the insurance on his contract. But do they really have to feed us this line? I guess the Yanks really do have that sense of humor.
The Yankees, according to Ken Rosenthal, are close to a one-year, $3.75 million deal with LaTroy Hawkins. This move bores me. On the one hand, it’s a one-year deal for not very much money. On the other, Hawkins has seen his K/9 IP decline over the last five seasons (with a slight uptick last year), and just like every other Yankee reliever, he puts on more than a baserunner per inning. Is a 35-year-old really a bullpen upgrade? · (33) ·
With the Matsui trade talks swirling earlier this week, I was planning on writing up a defense of the Yankees’ DH and sometimes-left fielder. But Mike Plugh beat me to it. So check out Canyon of Heroes’ rational for keeping Matsui. Despite his numbers in the clutch in 2007, Hideki is one Yankee the team shouldn’t trade.
And a quick point that Plugh didn’t touch upon: If Matsui goes, Jason Giambi would become the full-time DH. Can we really expect Jason Giambi to do anything this year anyway? I don’t relying on Giambi is really the way to go. · (105) ·
I’m not sure why we didn’t see the Yanks connected with Japanese reliever Kazuo Fukumori before, but according to Newsday, they’ve announced their intentions to Alan Nero, Fukumori’s agent. You may remember Nero from this past week, when he approached the Yankees about a long-term deal for client Chien-Ming Wang, but cowered from making the first offer. Anyway, they’re supposedly one of 10 teams in on the righty, though I’m sure Nero is counting every team that has even a passing interest.
I’m not sure what to make of Fukumori. His strikeout rates are all over the place — it seems he’s either around 4.50 per 9 innings, or over one per inning, which has to give pause. For instance, he struck out 36 in 75 innings in 2005, and recorded a 3.57 ERA. In 2006, he struck out 55 in 58 innings, to an ERA of 2.17 ERA. In 2007, he kept his strikeout rate up — 33 in 36 innings — but had a 4.75 ERA.
Here’s a scouting report, courtesy of MLB Trade Rumors:
Might have emerged as a top-flight closer on a better team, but best years may have been wasted playing for expansion Rakuten Golden Eagles. Still, saved 21 games and was an All-Star in ’06. ERA jumped nearly two runs in 2007, but still saved 17 and maintained a strikeout per inning ratio. Has a formidable slider that tails toward right handed batters. Could emerge as a nice sleeper considering the number of solid closers possibly headed to the U.S.
Through all this, though, he’s always had a poor walk rate, which immediately has me saying “pass.” He also managed to toss only 36 innings last year, after having totals of 60, 48, 63, and 58 from 2003 through 2006. There’s just too much inconsistency there. If I want a guy who’s going to walk the farm, I’ll throw Bruney in the bullpen. He seems like he could do just as well as Fukumori at a far lesser cost.
MLB Trade Rumors also cites a source that says the Yanks think they’re in the lead for Ron Mahay (purple monkey dishwasher). We’ve heard rumors of Mahay seeking a three-year between $9 and $12 million. Once again, I’m not so keen on signing someone so old and so inconsistent to a long-term contract.
In bullet-point form for all y’all:
- The Shelley Duncan health scare was very serious, according to Duncan. He developed a serious blood clot in his arm and can only do limited upper body work until the January. Doctors say the scare has since passed.
- The Yankees DFA’d Andy Phillips. He cleared waivers but refused the Yanks’ offer of a AAA assignment. He is now a free agent. Best of luck to him.
- Andy Pettitte plans to pitch for the Yankees in 2009 also. The allure of a new Bronx ballpark was too much for Pettitte to pass up. Sounds good to me.
- Luis Vizcaino and the Yankees are through with each other. No big loss there. The Viz had three good months and three incredibly terrible months last season. That’s easy to replace for less than the $4 million a year he wants.
- The Mitchell Report may come out as early as Thursday. Merry Christmas, MLB.
- Finally, for those of you trying to access the mobile version of RAB but failing, point your browsers at http://riveraveblues.com/?mobi to bypass the faulty auto-redirect. We’re working on a better solution but for now, this is the best we’ve got.
After a poor finish by Mike Mussina and terrible starts by Johnny Damon and Bobby Abreu, the Yankees are emphasizing off-season fitness. Mussina and Abreu are both participating in new weight and strength programs while Cashman basically called out the Yanks’ delinquents. “We’re going to do a better job this winter with all of our players, so we can hit the ground running in spring training,” he said. · (19) ·
We haven’t spoken about our favorite third baseman in a while. And as the Yankees and A-Rod wrap up their contract negotiations, let’s check in on how New York’s favorite son is doing.
Selena Roberts, soon to depart The Times, checks in on A-Rod’s properties in Florida. He is not a very good landlord, she finds. In 2004, A-Rod, flush with cash and arriving in New York, decided to he wanted to invest. So he spent $58.7 million for properties in Tampa that, while aren’t slums, are not in much better shape.
Today, those properties are worth just – just – $46.3 million, and residents are none too impressed with the A-Rod management company:
A-Rod is the face on their leaky faucets, and yet his name isn’t in the welcome kit. Rodriguez’s brother-in-law, Constantine Scurtis, is the company manager — the one whose signature is on nearly $50 million in mortgages for properties in Tampa, according to records — but some of the cashiers and cooks who live at places like Newport Riverside know who holds their house keys.
To them, he isn’t A-Rod, a regular-season crackerjack on the verge of a Yankees deal potentially worth $300 million. To them, he is Tight-Rod, an apartment tycoon, who, renters say, has jacked late fees to $100 from $50 on units that run around $600 a month.
“He’s got everything, so why take money off our backs?” ” said Roberto Santiago, standing next to his neighbor, Ruiz.
Throughout the rest of the article, Roberts looks at A-Rod’s philanthropy and notes how he doesn’t stack up too well with Derek Jeter and Tiger Woods. His donations are meager based on his salary, and his big-ticket items have resulted in scholarships and stadiums named after him at the University of Miami. Whether you want to consider Roberts’ piece a hack job looking to tear down A-Rod or an honest assessment of an absentee landlord, it’s not a very flattering look at the future Hall of Famer.
On Wednesday, I wrote about the BBWAA’s decision, inspired by Curt Schilling, to disqualify players with incentive clauses when it comes to award voting. Today, we hear that the Writers’ board decided to table this proposal pending discussion with MLB and the Players’ Association. I hope the writers don’t back down, but I’m not optimistic. · (3) ·