Sayonara Rasner

Shysterball sent me this last night. I know Rasner was never going to be a long term part of the Yanks rotation, but I would have liked to see him hang around a bit longer.

Right-handed pitcher Darrell Rasner, who started 20 games for the New York Yankees last season, has been sold to a team in Japan for $1 million, his agent said.

Rasner, 27, expects to sign a two-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of the Pacific League, agent Matt Sosnick said.

Sosnick said he and Rasner recently approached New York general manager Brian Cashman and told him that Rasner would like to pitch in Japan, and that Cashman and scout Hiroshi Abei helped facilitate the deal.

The rationale for asking for the trade: He simply has greater earning power in Japan than here. Can’t say I disagree, though that’s a tough call to make. But with a rare skill (pitching) that only has a (relative) few years of useful life, he’s got to capitalize on it while he can. If he can go make $5-10million in Japan over 2-3 years, he will have provided a fair degree of security for his family. I wish him well.

MLBTradeRumors provided the zinger:

The cash from this deal would provide 0.7% of the money needed for the contract that has been offered to CC Sabathia.

From my interview with Rasner earlier this year:

IIATMS: What was it like stepping on the field as a major leaguer for the first time? At Yankee Stadium?
DR: Neither one was such a jolt that I forgot about my primary goal, which was to get guys out. The first game that I played as a big leaguer made all of the long, lousy bus rides in the minors worth while. Yankee Stadium has such a history that I know how amazing it is to be playing on the same field and for the same team as Ruth and Gehrig.

Continue reading Sayonara Rasner

Because they can!

For some reason, Brewers GM Doug Melvin is “baffled” by the Yanks over-the-top bid for Sabathia. Why he’s so surprised, I have no idea. It’s not like this was a government classified covert operation. “Operation Doughboy”? “Operation FatCat”? “Operation Dollar Dump”?

“It sounds like they’re overbidding,” Melvin said. “If the speculation is true that we’ve offered CC $100 million, why would you offer $140 million? Why wouldn’t you offer $110 million?”

Gee, ya think?!?!? Let’s count the reasons, Dougie:

  • Because they CAN!
  • Because they have to compensate for not being located in the West
  • Because they have to compensate for not being in the NL
  • Because they have $88 million coming off the books
  • Because they have a brand new stadium that will print oodles of cash
  • Because, if you haven’t noticed, the team is owned by the biggest group of at-all-costs, ego-maniacal, middle-finger-waving owners in the game

How could you NOT expect the Yanks to overbid to win his affections? Could it simply be only about the money, stupid? Why yes, it can!

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Continue reading Because they can!

BREAKING NEWS: Swisher a Yank

Just got an email from an insider alerting me of the following: Jeff Marquez traded to the White Sox for Nick Swisher.

Looks like I beat Jerry Crasnick beat me to the scoop by a mere few minutes. Just a few minutes. Bummer.

I can’t get over how much I like this deal for the Yanks. Swisher can play 1B or CF, two positions the Yanks are looking for. Switch hitter, too. It doesn’t preclude them from still going after Teix, either. And, the contract is reasonable (both in dollars and years). I can’t help but think that the White Sox got fleeced in this one.

Last year, Marquez was the #7 ranked Yankee prospect according to Baseball America but slipped out of the top 10 in this year’s ranking. Here’s a report from last Spring about Marquez.

Featuring a sinking two-seam fastball, a power changeup and a developing curveball, Marquez said he is ready to tackle Triple-A lineups for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this year. From there, it may be just a short jump to New York, whether the Yankees need a spot starter to fill in or a long reliever to soak up innings out of the bullpen.

From MLBTradeRumors, some data on Swisher:

Swisher, 28 this month, hit .219/.332/.410 in 588 plate appearances this year. He’s set to earn $5.3MM in ’09, $6.75MM in ’10, $9MM in ’11, and has a $10.25MM club option for ’12 with a $1MM buyout. So, about $22MM over the next three years.

UPDATE (11/13/08, 4:01pm): Yanks also acquiring pitcher Kanekoa Texeira. The White Sox will receive infielder Wilson Betemit and minor leaguers Jeff Marquez and Jhonny Nunez. (We got Teix too! Wait, not THAT Teix! Nevermind.) Continue reading BREAKING NEWS: Swisher a Yank

The Age Epidemic

A very good article by Howard Megdal from The New York Observer about the Yanks NEED to sign Sabathia, not their desire. The NEED is dire. Megdal lays out how while Burnett isn’t a bad Plan B, he’s not without plenty of risk and plays right into the Yanks current epidemic:

In this case, Sabathia is a far better bet to be as good or better moving forward than Burnett, whose best bet is a regression. Sabathia is 28, and doesn’t turn 29 until next July, meaning he is right in his prime; Burnett will be 32 in January, likely exiting his prime.

This is truly an epidemic problem for the Yankee roster, with nearly every key player likely pre- or post-prime heading into 2009. Derek Jeter, Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, and Andy Pettitte and Bobby Abreu (should they return) will all be 35 or older during the 2009 season. Even Alex Rodriguez will be 33. Meanwhile, Chamberlain, Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy will all be 24 or younger. Only Robinson Cano and Chien-Ming Wang are Yankees entering what should be their primes. But Wang missed most of 2008 with injury, and following a hugely disappointing 2008, Cano is prominently mentioned in trade talks.

Hard to argue any of that. And seeing it in writing certainly is scary and a huge concern. So what’s the cost, practically, you ask?

He’ll cost the Yankees no players, just a pair of draft picks and a boatload of money. But the chances either draft pick will become the player Sabathia is in his prime are virtually nil, and there is no better way for New York to spend that money, whatever it takes.

Continue reading The Age Epidemic

Jack Morris' case for HOF

Tom Tango (tangotiger) from THT puts Jack Morris “the Pitcher of the 1980’s” under the microscope. If you’re into the banality that accompanies the HOF voting looniness (not a knock on Tango!), this is for you.

Tango does a good job in separating truth from perception, namely the arbitrary selection of a decade as bordered by a year that ends in “0” and the out year ending with a “9”. Some tidbits from the piece:

If you want to give Morris credit for most wins for the decade, fine, go ahead. But, don’t call him the best pitcher for the decade. Stieb is definitely ahead of him. And with Welch, Nolan Ryan, Bert Blyleven, Charlie Hough and Fernando Valenzuela around, Morris is lucky to even be considered better than any of those guys for “best” pitcher of the 80s.
If you go by total Cy Young points (five for first place, three for second place, one for third place), the leader is Steve Carlton (280), followed closely by Roger Clemens, and Bret Saberhagen. Quisenberry is fourth. Jack Morris is in 22nd place.

As a child of the 1980’s, there are guys I remember and guys that are less memorable. I remember Quis from his battles with the Yanks. Welch, too, on those West Coast trips the Yanks would inevitably get tripped up on. Fernando, from a distance. Clemens in his “natural” prime. Nolan, period. Sure Morris’ 1991 post-season was incredible, but I have a hard time considering him HOF-worthy. But a sure-fire first-ballot election to the Hall of Very Good. Continue reading Jack Morris' case for HOF

Straight cash, homey

Back up the dumptrucks! Start the wire transfers. Check your account balance, baby!

This is about cash, and just how much of it the Yankees will offer their No. 1 offseason target. Well, really it is about how much more of it they will offer than any West Coast team or NL team, or in Sabathia’s ideal world, a West Coast NL team.

There is nothing coy about this. Everyone’s intentions are known. … All things being equal, Sabathia wants to go home to California and play in the NL, where he can hit. But as a friend of Sabathia’s said yesterday, “he is mature enough and realistic enough to know that the Yankees might not make it close. And if it is not close – no matter how much he likes the West Coast and likes hitting – he is not going to walk away from $25 million. This is not rocket science. It is about how much more the New York Yankees will spend than anybody else.”

What scares me is Joel Sherman’s estimate about what big ole CC’s gonna cost:

My gut says six years at $150 million sounds about right to force league-wide surrender before the bidding really even gets started.

$25 million per?!?!?! Straight cash, homey.

Continue reading Straight cash, homey