Yanks close to signing Adam Miller to minor league deal

Via Joel Sherman, the Yankees are close to signing right-hander Adam Miller to a minor league contract. The 27-year-old was the 31st overall pick in the 2003 draft, but he’s thrown just 138 IP since 2006 (zero in 2009 and 2010) due to career-threatening ligament damage in his right middle finger.

Before the injuries, the 6-foot-4, 200 pounder from Texas regularly sat in the high-90’s with a wipeout high-80’s slider and a changeup. It was a true front-of-the-rotation package, which is why Baseball America ranked him as the Indians number one prospect every year from 2005-2008. Miller has had four surgeries on the finger, which is now held together by replacement ligaments from his wrist and calf. He returned to the mound for 44 relief innings this year, reportedly hitting 96 on the gun while working on his feel for the slider. This Terry Pluto article gives you a great idea of what he’s been through, kid sure sounds resilient.

As far as the Yankees as concerned, they’re doing nothing more than rolling the dice. Miller is still pretty young and showed at least some semblance of his former self this summer, so why not take a chance? If he comes up and helps out of the bullpen at some point, great. If not, no big loss. It’s a zero risk move.

Report: Yankees have been talking to Manny Corpas’ agent

Via George King, the Yankees have been speaking with Tom O’Connell, the agent for free agent right-handed reliever Manny Corpas. I wrote about him as a potential minor league target last month.

Corpas, 29, hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since late 2010 due to Tommy John surgery. He spent the first five years of his career working the late innings for the Rockies, relying on ground balls (49.4%) and limiting walks (2.52 BB/9) rather than strikeouts (6.48 K/9). He’s still pretty young and has been very successful so far in his career, he’s pretty much the ideal minor league contract candidate. The two sides haven’t agreed to a deal yet, but they’re talking.

Yanks passed on final opportunity to get involved in Wilson bidding

Via Bob Klapisch, the Yankees were apparently given a final opportunity to get involved in the C.J. Wilson bidding last night, but chose to pass on the offer. Wilson agreed to sign with the Angels for five years and nearly $80M this morning.

The Yankees didn’t appear to be all that interested in the southpaw this winter despite their pitching questions, and in fact we’ve heard that they view him as more of a number three or four type starter than the frontline guy he was marketed as and will be paid to be. With Wilson and Mark Buehrle now off the market, Edwin Jackson is best true free agent starter left standing. Yu Darvish is going to be posted soon though, and the Yankees reportedly have “cautious interest.”

2011 Rule 5 Draft Liveblog

The Rule 5 Draft is the unofficial end of the Winter Meetings, a snoozefest of fringe prospects and journeymen joining new teams hoping to find a diamond in the rough. But because we love fringe prospects and journeymen here at RAB, I’ll be liveblogging the whole thing.

Just five of the 19 picks in last year’s Rule 5 Draft managed to stick with their new team, with lefty specialist Joe Paterson of the Diamondbacks likely representing the best of the bunch (3.44 FIP in 34 IP). Joel Sherman says the Yankees were going to take Paterson last year, but Arizona beat them too it. They ended up rolling the dice on righty Danny Turpen and lefty Robert Fish instead, but neither player made it through Spring Training. They lost George Kontos (Padres) and Lance Pendleton (Astros), but both were returned before the season started and eventually made their big league debuts later in the summer. Expect more of the same this year.

The Yankees protected five players — IF Corban Joseph, RHP David Phelps, RHP D.J. Mitchell, OF Zoilo Almonte, and IF David Adams — but did not clear any additional roster space in advance of this year’s draft. They have one open 40-man roster spot, so they can select only one player in the Major League portion of the draft. Joel Sherman says they were planning to make a pick as of last night, and I’m hoping for Ryan Flaherty, a left-handed hitting utility guy in the Cubs’ system, but he’s unlikely to get to them. The Hiroyuki Nakajima stuff could also affect their pursuit of bench help. Pat Venditte is the player they’re most likely to lose, just because someone will want to take a look at the left/right thing in camp. I expect him to be offered back at some point.

I apologize in advance for any misspellings, some of these names will be tough. The draft is scheduled to start at 10am ET, so I’ll open up the chat/liveblog a few minutes before that.

Report: Yu Darvish will be posted tomorrow

Via Don Nomura, the Nippon Ham Fighters will post 25-year-old right-hander Yu Darvish tomorrow. I don’t know if that means today (Thursday) or tomorrow (Friday) given the timing, but that doesn’t really matter. One day isn’t a big deal. Darvish confirmed the news on his blog (translated link).

You folks know all about Darvish by now, but if not, scroll through our archive. We’ve covered him quite a bit here, and the Yankees like him enough to have been scouting him since at least 2008. The blind auction period lasts four days, but it usually takes MLB and NPB a full week to announce the high bid. We should know who won his rights by Monday the 19th at the latest.