Spring Training is a little more than three weeks away, which is simultaneously awesome and depressing. One of those so close yet so far things. On the bright side, the NHL is back tonight with all three locals in action — the Rangers against the Bruins (7pm ET on MSG & NHL Network) and the Devils and Islanders against each other (7pm ET on MSG+). Neither basketball local is playing and the NFL postseason doesn’t resume until tomorrow, but talk about whatever you want here. Enjoy.
According to the AP, Jorge Posada is expected to be with the Yankees in Spring Training as a guest instructor. “They haven’t asked me yet, but they said they are going to,” said Posada while also acknowledging he doesn’t have any plans to get into coaching full-time. “Not right now … Maybe later. I like coaching, I like helping out, but I don’t see myself doing it right now.”
Posada, 41, retired last offseason and said he won’t be attempting a comeback a la Andy Pettitte. “No comeback for me,” he said. “I’m good with what I’m doing and I was happy with the decision I made last year around this time. I’m enjoying the family … I miss certain things about the game. You’re always going to miss certain things. I, obviously, miss my teammates the most.” The Yankees lack a DH at the moment but I take Jorge at his word and don’t expect him to return as a player. He was always a no-nonsense guy. Besides, Pettitte retired when it was obvious he had gas left in the tank. Posada looked done in 2011. Either way, I look forward to seeing him in camp this year. · (42) ·
Happy Friday, everyone. If you’re going out tonight, dress warm because it is frickin’ freezin’ out there. If you’re staying at home, use this as your open thread. The Nets are playing tonight, but talk about whatever you like. Have at it.
According to Jon Heyman, the Yankees and David Robertson filed salary arbitration figures today. Robertson submitted $3.55M while the team submitted $2.85M. Today was the deadline to file and the two sides can still negotiate (and agree to) a contract of any size at any time prior to an arbitration hearing next month. If they do go to a hearing, the three-person arbitration panel will pick one of those two numbers for Robertson’s salary next season based on the cases made by each team.
The Yankees haven’t been to a hearing since beating Chien-Ming Wang back in 2008. For what it’s worth, MLBTR projected a $2.8M salary for Robertson next season, which might suggest the team has a better chance of winning a potential hearing. Chances are they’ll settle somewhere around the midpoint ($3.2M). Robertson is the team’s only remaining unsigned arbitration-eligible player and he can’t become a free agent until after the 2014 season. · (9) ·
Friday: The cartilage damage in A-Rod’s hip was minimal according to Dan Martin. The doctors were unable to assess the extent of the damage until the procedure, and the recovery time depended on the condition of the cartilage. So, good news.
Wednesday: Alex Rodriguez underwent his left hip surgery today and things “went as planned and without complication,” the team announced. A full recovery is expected to take six months, meaning he won’t return until after the All-Star break. No surprises here, the real news would be if things didn’t go according to plan or if the recovery time was something other than six months. · (115) ·
The Yankees and Boone Logan have agreed to a one-year contract worth $3.15M, according to CAA Sports. MLBTR projected $2.8M. The left-handed reliever was arbitration-eligible for the fourth time as a Super Two, so he’ll be up for free agency next winter.
David Robertson is the team’s only remaining unsigned arbitration-eligible player. · (33) ·
Got just two questions for you this week, but they’re both good ones with long-ish answers. Use the Submit A Tip box in the sidebar to send us anything throughout the week.
Bill asks: Should the Yankees have any interest in bringing Manny Ramirez to training camp and see if he has anything left? Could provide a nice righty bat.
Manny, 40, is tearing the cover off the ball in the Dominican Winter League, hitting .306/.405/.532 with four homers, nine walks, and a dozen strikeouts in 17 postseason games after putting up a .293/.360/.434 line in 25 regular season games. One hundred and eighty five total plate appearances is nothing though, so I wouldn’t read much into that performance at all. Ramirez’s agent recently confirmed to Jon Morosi that his client hopes to return to MLB next season and is using winter ball as what amounts to a showcase, and so far, so good.
Prior to the winter ball playoffs, Manny had not been an above-average hitter since splitting the 2010 season between the Dodgers and White Sox (140 wRC+ in 320 plate appearances). His bat speed and power had been slipping for a while when he signed with the Rays prior to 2011, though he continued to hit for average and draw walks. The stint in Tampa lasted five games due to his second PED suspension, which he satisfied after signing a minor league contract with the Athletics last winter. Manny hit .302/.348/.349 with no homers, five walks, and 17 strikeouts in 17 Triple-A games with Oakland before requesting his release in June and sitting out of the rest of the year.
I have no idea what Ramirez is capable of doing at the plate these days. No one does. He looked close to done during his brief (88 plate appearances) stint with the ChiSox in 2010, when he managed just a .261/.420/.319 (115 wRC+) line. The on-base rate is fantastic, but the lack of power from a guy in his late-30s is a red flag. That said, it’s a small sample and he hit .311/.405/.510 (150 wRC+) in 232 plate appearances with the Dodgers before going to Chicago, so maybe it was just a small sample issue. Remember, that was also two full seasons ago now as well. Hard to take anything from those performances.
Given their emphasis on makeup and all that, I can’t see the Yankees signing Manny at this point. Even on a no-risk, minor league contract. Just can’t see it. That said, I’d love it. Love it. Put that all-important veteran clubhouse to work and see if those guys can keep him grounded and in check. Give him an invite to camp and see what he can do against left-handers, against right-handers, as a DH, as an outfielder, at first base, whatever. There’s nothing to lose other than I guess PR, but the club isn’t doing so hot in that department these days anyway. The Yankees are boring as hell and Manny would certainly make Spring Training much more interesting. I’d love to see it.
Mark asks: With the Mariners apparently going with some mix of Jason Bay, Raul Ibanez, Mike Morse, Franklin Gutierrez, and Michael Saunders — should Casper Wells be available? He’d be a good, cheap fit.
Seattle did nothing to unclog their logjam by replacing John Jaso with Morse, and in fact they made it worse since they would have been able to stick Jaso behind the plate. Justin Smoak is terrible, so Kendrys Morales figures to get most of the action at first base. Jesus Montero has a clear opening to catch at least most of the time, meaning Bay and Ibanez will likely platoon at DH while Morse, Gutierrez, and Saunders man the outfield.
Wells, 28, is a right-handed hitting outfielder who does almost all of his damage against southpaws. He’s a .246/.317/.435 (109 wRC+) overall hitter in 656 career big league plate appearances, but that’s broken down into 132 wRC+ against lefties and an 88 wRC+ against righties. He will strike out some (26.2 K% vs. LHP), but otherwise he draws walks (10.2 BB%) and hits for power (.225 ISO) against lefties. The batting average won’t be anything special (.264 career vs. LHP), but power and patience go a long way. Add in the fact that his defense has been rated as above-average in the corners and average in center, and you’ve got a useful platoon outfielder.
Wells is out of minor league options, meaning he would have to clear waivers to go down to Triple-A next season. That won’t happen, he would almost certainly get claimed. Saunders broke out last season (108 wRC+ overall) and suddenly started hitting lefties (116 wRC+), so he doesn’t necessarily need a platoon partner now. Gutierrez is far from a guarantee to stay healthy (or hit) though, so having an extra non-Bay and non-Ibanez outfielder around seems like a wise idea. If the Mariners do make Wells available, a) it would probably be at the end of Spring Training after they ensure everyone makes it through camp in one piece, and b) the Yankees should definitely have interest. He’d be a great fit.
7:47pm: The deal is worth $1.875M with another $275k available in bonuses based on games finished according to Ken Davidoff. Very reasonable.
7:43pm: The Yankees and Joba Chamberlain have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year contract, the team announced. No word on the money, but MLBTR projects a $1.8M salary for 2013. The projections were dead-on for Brett Gardner ($2.8M) and way off for Phil Hughes ($7.15M). Joba, 27, will be a free agent next offseason.
David Robertson and Boone Logan are the team’s only remaining unsigned arbitration-eligible players. · (31) ·
Here is your open thread for the evening. The Knicks are playing, so talk about that game or anything else here. Enjoy.
According to the AP, Derek Jeter has been cleared to resume baseball activities as he rehabs from a late-October surgery to repair a fractured left ankle. “I’ve got the okay to start … but I don’t start until next week or the week after, anyway,” said the Cap’n. “In terms of baseball activity, I’m right where I need to be.”
Last we heard, the 38-year-old Jeter had been riding a bike and running in a pool. An Opening Day return seems likely but is far from guaranteed at this point. A setback is always possible, as we saw when Andy Pettitte pushed himself too hard recovering from his leg fracture at midseason. The most important thing is that Jeter is progressing well and he’s right where he needs to be. Very good news. · (11) ·