Gaudin, Logan file for arbitration

Via Bryan Hoch, both Chad Gaudin and Boone Logan filed for salary arbitration today, which is the deadline to do so. Filing for arb is just a formality, and the two sides will exchange salary figures on Tuesday. Hearings start in February, though they can agree to a deal anytime before that.

The Yanks came into the offseason with five players eligible for salary arbitration, however Chien-Ming Wang was non-tendered, Brian Bruney and Melky Cabrera were traded away, and Sergio Mitre re-upped for $850,000.

Open Thread: Another Friday night

It’s been a long week, for me at least. Time to kick back and enjoy the evening. I’ll be catching up on some reading — reading Stephen King’s The Shining for a book club. I haven’t read anything of his other than The Dark Tower Series (through Book 4) and Misery. I’m interested to see how this one differs from the movie.

Anyway, have at it in tonight’s open thread.

Roundup: YES ratings, Kevin Maas, minor arms

Who doesn’t love Friday afternoon? We can taste the weekend, and the last few hours at work should just fly by. To keep you occupied for just a little while longer in the ol’ cubicle, some links.

YES remains really popular

For the seventh straight year, YES Network, one of RAB’s online partners, was the most watched regional sports network in the country. According to Multichannel News, the network “notched a 13.9% primetime rise to 82,000 TV households” in the New York area, up from 72,000 in 2008. YES outpaced NESN, its closest national competitor, by approximately 8000 viewers per day and more than doubled SportsNet NY’s viewership. In the New York area, YES’ primetime schedule — mostly Yankee and Nets games — topped even ESPN in the ratings game. That’s money, literally, for the Yanks.

Remembering Kevin Maas

Earlier this week, I looked back at 1990. It was a very bad year for the Yankees as the team finished in last place with no pitching and no hitting. Today, Bruce Markusen, the author of the Card Corner column at Bronx Banter, chimes in with his take on that lost season’s one bright spot, Kevin Maas. The phenom, a picture of balance and focus on his 1991 Leaf baseball card, set the world on fire with his 150 OPS+ and 21 HR in his first 300 plate appearances. As with many after and many before, he would never attain that level of success again and was last scene working at Charles Schwab in 2008.

Rating the Minor League arms

Over at The Hardball Times, Max Marchi rated some young outfield arms, and a few Yankee farmhands made the list. Edwar Gonzalez, a 27-year-old, all-arm no-hit kid who hasn’t played past AA, came in third, and Melky Mesa another all-arm no-hit guy, ranked second.

Report: Yanks offered Montero for Halladay

Via Richard Griffin, the Yankees offered Jesus Montero to the Jays in exchange for Roy Halladay back when Toronto was still fielding offers for their ace and the former Cy Young Award winner. And that’s it. The Yanks’ brain trust offered a straight up, one-for-one swap, however Toronto turned it down and went on their merry way.

Can you imagine that? It would have been quite the blockbuster, no? I’m not sure how I would have received such a deal. On one hand it’s the best pitcher in baseball in exchange for a Double-A prospect without a clear cut position, but on the other hand, it’s Jesus frickin’ Montero. Wow.

Yanks and Baldelli have ‘mutual interest’

The other night we examined the case of Rocco Baldelli. It’s a high-risk, high-reward move, though the risk in this case is higher than in others. Yesterday, Pete Caldera reported that there “is some mutual interest” between Baldelli and the Yanks. As I mentioned in Wednesday’s Baldelli post, the idea is to get him on a low base salary contract with some incentives, keeping the budget somewhat flexible. It will also make it easier for the Yanks to release Baldelli if he’s not working out and they need a replacement.

RAB Live Chat

Will the owners decide to lengthen LDS?

While we were busy following the hot stove this week, baseball owners met down in Arizona to discuss, as Bud Selig put it, “everything, from A to Z.” Afterward he seemed optimistic, perhaps even excited, but he would not go into the specifics of the meeting — nor would he give a solid reason for maintaining secrecy. It kinda sounds like Bohemian Grove. He did say, though, that the group discussed a wide range of topics, and that at least one will go into effect before the season starts.

Despite the silence from involved parties, we can be pretty sure of one discussion topic: postseason off-days. Selig had already said he’ll do something about it before this October, and surely he’ll involve the owners in the process. This might not be the change they implement before the season, since they have some time to work out the details, but it’s certainly one of the aspects I want to see changed in 2010. Players and fans alike want to see fewer off-days, and I see little reason to not make this a high priority.

How can MLB cut the off-days and maintain a sane postseason schedule? While there are a few options, I agree with Hal Bodley of MLB.com: lengthen the division series. All parties win that way. The players play more often. The fans watch more baseball. The owners make more money. There are a few kinks to work out, of course, but the owners can make this work.

The biggest snag in this plan, as is always the case with the playoffs, is the necessity to schedule each series for the maximum games. There doesn’t appear to be an easy solution for teams who sweep; they’ll have to wait out the schedule in any case. What MLB can eliminate, however, are the days off during series, and perhaps those between the three playoff rounds. Here’s how such a schedule would break down.

A seven-game series, on a 2-3-2 format, takes ten days. That includes two off-days for travel, plus a day off between rounds. It sounds reasonable, a 30-day playoff schedule that includes three seven-game series. If MLB can start the playoffs on October 5 this year, which I presume they will, that means the World Series ends, at the latest, on November 5, which it did this year. At least in the first year of implementation, that sounds reasonable enough.

In future years, in order to avoid November baseball, the schedule will need altering. MLB might have to start the season on April 1 instead of April 4 in order to finish the regular season by the end of September — something they used to always do, it seemed. If the playoffs start by October 2, that means a 30-day playoff schedule keeps it completely within the month. Just one issues here goes unaddressed.

Because of the TV revenue it generates in the postseason, MLB likes to stagger the schedule, ensuring at least one game per day. If one series starts later than the others, that messes up the compact 30-day playoff schedule. It will mean at least two days between the end of one series and the beginning of the next, since one series will finish before the other. All of the sudden, we’re back to November baseball. This is probably the No. 1 reason why MLB will not expand the LDS right now.

Yet there’s a solution to this as well. Again, the players have expressed their desire to play more often in the playoffs. Would they be amenable to eliminating one of the travel days? That would reduce a seven-game series to nine days maximum. This would allow MLB to stagger the schedule, still staying within the 10-day guideline that would ensure no November baseball. Even after eliminating one travel day, the players would still see more off-days than in the regular season, so perhaps they’d agree.

This is clearly a complex issue, so perhaps it will take more time to work out. It should be a goal of both players and owners. Michael Weiner, executive director of MLBPA, doesn’t see it happening this year. “I expect it’ll have to be dealt with in collective bargaining, so we would have to wait until after the 2011 season,” he said.