Friday Morning Food For Thought: A New Hitting Coach Candidate Emerges

Via George King:

“There was serious speculation running through Kauffman Stadium before the Giants’ 3-2 victory over the Royals in Game 7 of the World Series that the Yankees were waiting for the end of the Series on Wednesday night to contact the Royals’ Raul Ibanez to gauge his interest in becoming their hitting coach.

While Ibanez was not on the active roster against the Giants, he was with the team serving as a wise head for the younger Royals to bounce ideas off and listen to. Royals manager Ned Yost has praised Ibanez’s leadership qualities throughout the postseason.”

Raul Ibanez, huh?  OK, I can get on board with that.  The Yankees have already lost out on what we have to assume was their top 2 candidates for the vacant hitting coach job.  If the silence since then has been them biding their time and waiting to talk to somebody who was still involved in the postseason, that would be much better than them stalling because they didn’t really have a backup plan.  …

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Quick Hit: The Important Offseason Date Coming Up This Weekend

In my haste to get to the qualifying offer/5-day exclusive window free agent deadlines early next week, I skipped past another key date before then that has some meaning to the Yankees.  The deadline for teams to pick up or decline their options on players is this Saturday and there is one option for the Yanks to consider.  That option is for Andrew Bailey, the rehabbing reliever New York signed before this past season.

The move to sign Bailey was made with 2015 in mind, and the Yankees have a $2 million option on him that they have to decide on by Saturday.  Bailey did not pitch in any games in 2014 at any level while rehabbing from a torn shoulder capsule.  The last time I heard about his progress was in early August and reports said he had experienced multiple setbacks during his throwing program.

With that in mind, I have to think the Yanks will decline Bailey’s option and free up that couple of mil to use elsewhere.  …

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Was It Worth It?: Mark Teixeira

Teix Face

Seen way too much of this face the last few seasons. Courtesy of Getty Images

The biggest of the big anchor contracts in Yankeeland, the 10-year one for Alex Rodriguez, is cloudy in terms of the juice being worth the squeeze depending on how you factor in extra revenue and championships against all the negative headlines and declining production.  The next biggest deal, CC Sabathia‘s, was a little more clear in its worth.  Signing CC to lead a rotation desperately in need of an ace was the right decision.  It worked out splendidly for the first half of the contract before the decision to extend him was made and the move went sour thanks to injuries.

How about the “smallest” of the 3 contracts, Mark Teixeira‘s 8-year deal?  He signed it in the same offseason as CC, teaming up with him and the pitcher I’ve sworn never to name again to form the biggest Yankee free agent haul prior to last offseason.  …

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Somebody Fire Up The Stove…

… And let the offseason commence!  Madison Bumgarner put the Royals in a diaper last night and now we can finally start fully focusing on what’s really important, what the Yankees are going to do in the next 4 months to get invited back to the big kids’ table and return to the playoffs next year.

Hot stove season becomes official in less than an hour, when all free agents to be become free agents and all 60-day/suspended roster guys get activated.  Per my terrible counting yesterday, the Yankees actually have 10 players who will become free agents and 5 on the 60-day/suspended list (forgot about Slade Heathcott).  When the clock strikes 9 AM, the 40-man roster will be down to 35.

And over the next few days we’ll get an early idea of how many spots might get taken up by returning players.  Monday is the deadline for qualifying offers to be made and the Yankees have a pair of worthy candidates for the QO in D-Rob and Hirok.  …

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The Game 7 of the World Series Game Thread

If you were told that the pitching matchup for Game 7 of the World Series would be Tim Hudson against Jeremy Guthrie, you would probably start laughing and then ask, “No, really, who’s pitching?” But it’s true. We are here. It’s the night of Game 7 and it’s Guthrie against Hudson in a winner takes all game.

Isn’t baseball fantastic?

Here are your lineups courtesy of BaseballPress.com:

GIANTS
1. Gregor Blanco (L) CF
2. Joe Panik (L) 2B
3. Buster Posey (R) C
4. Pablo Sandoval (S) 3B
5. Hunter Pence (R) RF
6. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
7. Michael Morse (R) DH
9. Juan Perez (R) LF
ROYALS
1. Alcides Escobar (R) SS
2. Nori Aoki (L) RF
3. Lorenzo Cain (R) CF
4. Eric Hosmer (L) 1B
5. Billy Butler (R) DH
6. Alex Gordon (L) LF
8. Mike Moustakas (L) 3B
9. Omar Infante (R) 2B

So, who do ya got?

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Searching For The Eventual 40-Man Casualties

One way or another, the 2014 Major League Baseball season will come to an end tonight.  Once that happens and the champagne starts flowing in one of the locker rooms in KC, the offseason will be officially underway.  The Yankees have plenty to do this offseason, as we’ve been detailing and dissecting for the last few weeks, and there could be a fair amount of roster turnover.

Before we get to that part, it only makes sense to take a look at the current roster situation.  The Yankees always seem to be under some kind of 40-man roster squeeze and it stands to reason that they’ll have another one on their hands at some point over the next few months as they re-sign and/or sign new players.

As of this morning, the Yankees have 45 players listed on their 40-man roster.  9 infielders, 9 outfielders, 5 catchers, and 22 pitchers.  When free agency becomes official, 12 of those players will come off the roster (Capuano, Hill, Huff, Kuroda, McCarthy, Robertson, Rogers, Drew, Headley, Jeter, Ichiro, Young), dropping the Yankees back down to 33.  …

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Was It Worth It?: CC Sabathia

CC vs BAL 2012

The big fella in more dominating times. Courtesy of William Perlman/The Star-Ledger

The top prizes of this year’s free agent crop are 2 upper-echelon starting pitchers in their early 30s.  They’re going to command a lot of money and they could command a lot of years from whatever team eventually lands them.  The Yankees are not expected to be seriously in the running for those 2 pitchers, in part because they’re feeling the effects of their own-long term contract they gave out to an upper-echelon starter in his early 30s.  CC Sabathia has been the ace of the staff in name since signing before the 2009 season, and the ace in production from 2009-2012.  He’s on the books for the next few years and may not be able to pitch a full season or pitch at all again.  So was it worth it?

The Deal- 8 years/$186 million, with a $25 million vesting option or a $5 million buyout for 2017.  …

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Quick Hit: The Hitting Coach Story I Forgot About

Things aren’t as completely silent on the hitting coach front as I made them out to be yesterday.  Turns out the Yankees did reach out to another potential candidate and got shot down.  Via George King:

“With Chili Davis taking the Red Sox job and the Yankees’ brass deciding Dave Magadan wasn’t a good fit, the Yankees reached out to Eric Hinske to gauge his interest in replacing Kevin Long as hitting coach.

However, the former Yankee opted to remain with the Cubs, where he will be the assistant hitting coach after serving as their first base coach this past season.”

Not sure what to make of the pursuit of Hinske or him turning the job down.  Like all the other candidates, I don’t know enough about him and his reputation as a coach to know if he’s a good fit or even worth the consideration.  I will say that it’s probably much more attractive to him to stay in Chicago where he gets to work with a gaggle of good young hitting prospects and already-established good young players like Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo as opposed to coming in and working with the older Yankee crew.  …

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Aaron Judge Named To AZFL’s “Fall Star Game”; Greg Bird Not

Arizona Fall League update.  They announced the rosters for this upcoming weekend’s Fall Star Game (get it?) and the Yankee representative is going to be Aaron Judge.  Judge gets the nod over fellow Yankee farmhand Greg Bird despite Bird leading the league in games played, at-bats, hits, runs, doubles, home runs, RBI, and total bases, and he’s getting the nod because this game is designed to showcase top prospects rather than reward good performance.

Whatever.  I get that.  The AZFL is more of a showcase than anything else, so it makes sense to highlight the bigger prospects to get more people familiar with them now in case they turn into big All Stars at the Major League level later.  I actually love this for both guys.  Judge gets to go out and be the big freakshow athlete with the monster power potential that he is, and if he hits a monster home run in the game it will be the first thing people remember when they’re talking about the game online the next day.  …

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