Burnett's on the way?

If you believe this from GAKIII, he sure is:

Talking to a Yankee recently, A.J. Burnett informed the player they were going to be teammates.

He wants to come to New York – those words came out of his mouth,” the player told The Post last night. “He really wants to play here.”

From all indications, Burnett will join CC Sabathia at the top of the Yankee rotation, and the deal could be sealed as early as today.

Five years? Can’t they give him a 3 year out, too?

UPDATE (12/12/08, 6:31pm): So it’s done. Just got home so I’ll try to get something up later tonite.

Free agent right-hander A.J. Burnett has reached preliminary agreement on a five-year, $82.5 million contract with the New York Yankees.

The Yankees made a late charge to beat out the Atlanta Braves for Burnett, who went 18-10 with a 4.07 ERA in 35 starts with Toronto this season. Burnett won 10 of his last 12 decisions. He set career highs in wins, strikeouts (231) and innings (221 1/3).

Continue reading Burnett's on the way?

Updated thoughts on the Sabathia opt-out

Courtesy of Ken Davidoff:

Here is the column I wrote about CC Sabathia. After I sent this column, I ran into a friend of CC’s, and he agreed wholly with my take: CC will be so outta here in three years. Which could very well be a good thing for the Yankees.

How much does CC prefer the West Coast over the East Coast? “He hates having spring training in Florida,” the friend said.

As I wrote, there’s every reason that CC will give everything he has to the Yankees for three years. But the idea that he’ll want to stay in New York after that? No. And if you’re a Yankees fan, you’ve got to love the idea of bidding him adieu well before his decline phase kicks in.

Ya know what, I’ll take three kickass years from CC and then worry about replacing him, and not worrying about the last few years. Again, if his arm falls off before then, forget I ever said this.

More from Davidoff’s linked-to column:

Sabathia’s reputation is golden. There’s every reason to think that, despite the obvious reality that New York did not rank as his first choice, he’ll embrace his role as the Yankees’ ace. That he’ll give all he has, just as he did to the ’08 Brewers during what he knew was a temporary stay.

He’ll bring his heart to New York; he won’t leave it in San Francisco. And yet … By the time the 2011 season concludes, Barry Zito will have just two years left on the gargantuan contract he signed with the Giants in December 2006. Tim Lincecum will be two years away from free agency. Matt Cain will be a free agent. The Giants will have the roster flexibility necessary to welcome in Sabathia, at a still young 31.

And the Yankees, they hope, will have developed enough young arms – from the group of Dellin Betances, Jeremy Bleich, Andrew Brackman, Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes and whoever else emerges – that they can cheer when Sabathia relieves them of their remaining, four-year, $92-million commitment.

When that happens, then history will officially smile on Brian Cashman’s decision a year ago not to trade Hughes and other chips for Johan Santana. Just think: While the Mets will be sweating out Santana’s health in 2013, monitoring the progress of the four players they gave to Minnesota, the Yankees will already have been in and out with Sabathia, while surrendering only a draft pick.

Now, let’s not ignore the obvious downside of this transaction: What if Sabathia is terrible and miserable these first three years? What if, three years from now, he can’t even sniff four years and $92 million on the open market?

That’s a long shot, first of all. If it does happen, though, then the Yankees probably would have to ship Sabathia to the Giants or Dodgers and pay a lot of the freight. That would be a highly unpleasant experience. But really, what is the chance that’s how it will go down?

Continue reading Updated thoughts on the Sabathia opt-out

Resistance is futile

I’ve tried to keep away from the Farnsworth signing, but I just couldn’t resist after reading this:

Removing situation from the equation, Farnsworth would have contributed less to the Royals bullpen last year than Jimmy Gobble. I wasn’t sure that was possible.
Who am I kidding? This is a bad contract for a below average pitcher. This is not how the Royals should build their bullpen.

Good luck, Royals fans.

UPDATE (12/12/08, 10:20am): Just getting thru Pos’ latest manifesto and he touches on the Farnsworth deal and well, I just couldn’t resist. It’s futile.

I do not at all like the Kansas City Royals signing of reliever Kyle Farnsworth. I do not like it in a house. I do not like it with a mouse. I do not like it for two-years, $9.25 million, but I would not like it if it was two-years, 17 bucks and a box of Ho Hos. Royals general manager Dayton Moore asked me what I thought about it, and I told HIM I do not like it. Not that he should care about that.

But I do not like it, do … not… like… it. I do not like it because Farnsworth hasn’t even been league average the last three years. I do not like it because he throws a million miles an hour and can’t get people out. I do not like it because he once slammed reliever Jeremy Affeldt to the turf during a brawl and later could not even explain why. I do not like it because I would NEVER go out and spend $4-plus million on a volatile seventh or eighth inning reliever. I’m hoping that I am making myself clear here – I DO NOT LIKE THIS SIGNING.

Continue reading Resistance is futile

Last Peavy post…for now

After this, I am done riffing on the dynamic of leverage at play in the Peavy saga. I’ve written too many words on this, been mocked and ridiculed (maybe rightfully so) and frankly, I’m tired of the whole saga. But I’m not alone in those watching the dynamics of the leverage with this thing:

What they learned Thursday is that their leverage is more limited than they would like and that their desperation is apparent.
Every baseball executive is aware of the Padres’ financial plight, of the divorce proceedings that have cut off the cash flow from owner John Moores and prompted a severe payroll purge. Most rational observers, then, expect the Peavy discount to deepen until the pitcher’s $63 million contract can be unloaded.

Towers reiterated Thursday that the Padres would not trade Peavy unless the deal made solid baseball sense, but acknowledged holding on to the pitcher effectively tied his hands in other areas. Because moving Peavy would make for improved maneuverability and keeping him could be catastrophic in the event of an injury, an eventual trade is still the way to bet.

If you can’t afford to make the payments, you can’t afford to keep the car.

This last comment is precisely why I think Peavy will be traded. Cubs, Angels, Yanks. Someone with cash and prospects, or the creativity to get that which they are lacking. Continue reading Last Peavy post…for now

Will NYC weigh on Sabathia?

Personally, I think he’s got the right sort of disposition to handle the critics, the disarming personality that the press corps will eat up. But the Daily News’ Bob Raissman is a bit more concerned:

Not only can Sabathia look forward to having each start – win or lose – over-analyzed by the media, he will hear about Santana, too. Al Yankzeera is likely preparing to alert the free world to the TV ratings Sabathia generates each and every time he pitches, but only if they are better than the numbers generated by Santana when he hurls on SNY.

The CC to-do checklist, please: Collect major moolah; participate in a prefabricated pitching “rivalry”; juice Al Yank ratings. Help fill expensive seats at the new Yankee Stadium. Be a significant force in taking the Bombers deep into October.

And if all that isn’t enough, Sabathia can also look forward to having his off-field movements scrutinized, too. Along with the dough comes official Yankee celebrity status. Sabathia’s name is about to transcend the sports pages. Gossip, anyone? His family will share in this lovely experience.

I had to post that only because I never heard the term Al Yankzeera before to describe the YES Network. I love it.

This, however, is the real concern and as I said in the open, I think CC has the right personality to deal with it. And surely new buddy Jeter will help him navigate the waters.

I know CC well enough to know he didn’t really want to go to New York,” said Sheldon Ocker, the veteran Indians beat writer for the Akron Beacon Journal. “I don’t think it (Sabathia’s reluctance) was about the Yankees, but it was the city. The media stuff might wear on him. I don’t know. He certainly is aware of what he’s getting into. And I’m sure he has it in his head that he can deal with it (the New York media), but when you face the reality of it it’s sometimes different.

Continue reading Will NYC weigh on Sabathia?

Towers overplayed his hand

So the Peavy-to-the-Cubs deal is seemingly dead. No surprise given that Towers wanted a “Hershel Walker type deal“.

I can’t help but think Towers overplayed a losing hand. There are only two ways out of this that will be good for Towers:
  1. Trade Peavy to an American league team that can afford his contract and has the prospects to deal (Angels, Yanks were on his “approved list”)
  2. Peavy has a dominating first half of the 2009 season and then flips Peavy at the trade deadline

Other than that, I think Towers is stuck with an over-priced asset at a discount shop with an owner pushing for lower costs.

Continue reading Towers overplayed his hand

Do I smell an ambush coming?

Heading into this off-season, the Yanks shed some $88 million from their payroll (mostly from Moose, Giambi, Abreu, Pettitte, Pavano).

Sabathia will cost $23m (roughly) this year. Burnett would add another $17m. Hell, add another pitcher –either Sheets or Lowe or Pettitte– for something like $13m. That’s “only” $53m. I say only with a cheesy grin on my face, knowing that’s more than many teams’ entire roster. If the normal contractual increases for the existing Yanks add another $15m, we’re at $68m. What does that leave in order to keep the payroll on par with 2008? Some $20m bucks.

Conveniently, you know who’s gonna cost about $20m/year? Some 1B who is a switch hitter, Gold Glove-caliber defender, upstanding citizen and Don Mattingly worshipping dude (which is why he wears #23).

It just feels like the Yanks are quietly lurking on the Teix scenario. If they, at the last minute, call Boras and tell him they’ll match the Nationals 8 year, $160m offer, I can see them walking off with the two best players this offseason, plus at least two other very good pitchers. The Evil Empire striking again.

Obnoxious? You betchya. At least the ownership is committed. Or should be committed. Whatever. Continue reading Do I smell an ambush coming?

Things that make you go….blech

I won’t go so far as to shout “PICK ATLANTA!”, but I’m contemplating it. This sort of offer is preposterous, in years and AAV.

The New York Yankees, making a hard late charge to beat out the Atlanta Braves for A.J. Burnett, offered the free-agent right-hander a guaranteed five-year contract Wednesday, a baseball source told ESPN.com.

The proposed deal is worth about $85 million, the source said.
Burnett is moving closer to making a decision on his next destination, a source told ESPN.com, and a deal could be in place as soon as Thursday.

Blech. I’m having a tough time with the extra years, the extra dollars, the extra risk. People keep saying “it’s not your money; you don’t have season tickets“. But it offends some part of my brain that controls sense and logic. I tried to deactivate that part of my brain but failed. Three years with an attainable option 4th year would be great. Four years guaranteed, less so. Five guaranteed…. ridiculous, even with his great AL East numbers.

Looks like I’m wearing my “angry pants” today.

From MLBTradeRumors:

Yankee players have been calling Burnett, lobbying him to choose their team over the Braves.

PICK ATLANTA! Continue reading Things that make you go….blech

So much for working the count

So long Giambi and Abreu, perennial top 10 guys in pitches per AB. Enter Swisher and now, likely, Mike Cameron. Sure Cameron’s a better CF than Melky and he’s got more power, but this is a free swinger who will strike out 150+ times a year. He will also be a spry 36 by Opening Day. He owns a career .250 AVG and a beefy .340 OBP. He struck out exactly 142 times twice in the last three years, surrounding a 160 K “effort”. Oy. His defense better make up for some of this.

According to Baseball-Reference.com, his Range Factor compares favorably to the league average, even last year, so that’s good but how much left does he have? How good is his arm? I haven’t seen a lot of him so if you have, let me know what to expect.

Remember, too, that Cameron missed 25 games last year due to a PED (amphetamines) suspension. Those 142 K’s could have been north of 160.

At least CC gets an old buddy to hang with.

UPDATE: Not so fast, my friends, from MLBTradeRumors.com:

11:49am: Joel Sherman talked to a top exec involved in the talks who called the Chances of a deal “remote.”
11:17am: Ken Rosenthal says the potential deal hit a roadblock over the Yankees’ desire to have Milwaukee pick up part of the tab on Cameron. Also, the Brewers want a second player after Cabrera. Tom Haudricourt says the Yankees tried to unload Kei Igawa on them.
9:28am: The Cabrera for Cameron deal is close but not done, according to Joel Sherman’s source. He says the Brewers could receive a pitcher as well, with the quality depending on whether they’ll assume salary.
8:41am: Tom Haudricourt is not sure this is done. He says the Yankees like Bill Hall as well. The Brewers could gain quite a bit of payroll flexibility here. It’d be interesting to see all three Brewers friends (including Sabathia) move to the Yanks.

Continue reading So much for working the count