Chad Jennings has a good update on the upper level Yankees pitching prospects, including one on my boy Eric Hacker. Guys profiled include: Phil Hughes, Humberto Sanchez, Ian Kennedy, Phil Coke, Alfredo Aceves and even Kei Igawa. Because I got to interview him here, Hacker’s review is below:
25 years old
Where he’s been: Hacker is older than you might expect because he too has been hampered by injuries which cost him all of 2004 and 2006. When he’s pitched, though, Hacker has a 2.70 ERA in the minors and he was outstanding last season in Tampa and Trenton.
Where he’s going: I’ve been thinking he’ll open back in Trenton, but Hacker is on the 40-man and he’ll turn 26 before opening day, so a push to Triple-A has merit, especially if he gets in some games in big league camp and opens some eyes on the major league coaching staff.
Ticket to New York: Consistency. Health is too obvious and goes without saying. Hacker doesn’t have massive strikeout numbers, but he also doesn’t walk many guys and he gets a lot of outs on the ground. If he’s steady in Triple-A, he should earn a shot. That consistency, obviously, requires that he not go back on the disabled list.
I’ll be down in FLA right after P&C report. Eric, if you’re reading this, I’ll give you a call/email when I am down there. How’s about a tour of the ballpark/facilities?
When I go out on the street in my fake mustache (Bobby V. style, so I blend into the native populace) and ask the generic, run-of-the-mill Yankee fan who the greatest Yankee starting pitcher ever is, you know what everyone says? “Whitey Ford,” of course. When I ask who’s #2, however, what’s the most common [...]
According to Jon Heyman of SI.com, the Red Sox and C Jason Varitek have agreed to a two-year deal worth $5 million in 2009 and an option of $3-5 million in 2010.
Not quite the Chad Johnson/Ocho Cinco hubbub from this past NFL season, but it seems that Russell Martin of the Dodgers is changing the name on the back of his jersey.
As the lettering on the back of his jersey will attest this spring, it’s “J. Martin” this year, and that’s not the only change Russell Martin would like to announce.
The “J” is Martin’s way of paying tribute to his mother, as it represents her maiden name — Jeanson. Martin’s legal name is Russell Nathan Jeanson Coltrane Martin.
Now, THAT is some name. Any name that can stuff “Coltrane” in as the third middle name is a prodigious name by any definition. I wonder what his monogrammed towels look like.
Down in the same article, Martin give credit to Manny for reminding him and others to have fun while playing this game. Good advice, methinks:
“I think we all learned from him, realizing that you don’t always have to be stone-faced to be successful,” said Martin.
“This guy is smiling and having a good time, laughing it up, and he’s hitting homer after homer and driving guys in and really supporting the team and carrying the team to the postseason. It made me realize that you’re supposed to have fun in this game. If you have fun, then you enjoy it, and it’s going to be a better experience.”
Evidently the Yanks have hit their limit. No, not with regards to their payroll ceiling. Not with the amount of tax breaks they can get. Not with the number of luxury boxes sold.
Free agents, baby.
Under the rules, “if there are from 39 to 62 [Type A and B] players [during a given offseason], no team can sign more than three.”
According to an unofficial list compiled by the Sports City Sports News Service, this year there were 63 Type A and Type B free agents — 29 Type As and 34 of the Type B variety. A Type A player is one who’s ranked among the top 20 percent of his group — pitcher or position player. A Type B player is among the top 40 percent. The Elias Sports Bureau does the annual independent rankings.
“If there are more than 62 such players, the club quota shall be increased accordingly,” the Basic Agreement also says.
“If there were more than 62 this year, we should have agreed on an increased quota,” [Rob Manfred, Major League Baseball's executive vice president of labor relations] said. “We did not. I think if [the Yankees] were contemplating signing another Type A player, they would’ve read the agreement and asked us what we wanted to do. They would’ve said they wanted to sign a fourth player and we would’ve had to do something with the union.”
Teams own Type A’s do not count against this quota, however.
As far as the remaining Type A free agents and what their availability means:
“It’s always been our position that if [a player] goes past the Draft, the compensation goes away,” Manfred said, adding that it has never happened.
Remaining Type A free agents: Bobby Abreu, Orlando Cabrera, Juan Cruz, Adam Dunn, Orlando Hudson, Mike Mussina (retired), Oliver Perez, Ben Sheets and Jason Varitek.
If Cabrera and Cruz and Varitek (if he declines the Sox offer today) wait until June, they can join any team without that team having to offer a first round pick as compensation. We can all agree that it’s preposterous that a middle reliever like Juan Cruz should never be saddled with a Type A designation. I can’t see any team giving up their first round pick for a middle reliever, no matter how good he is.
UPDATE (11:50am, 1/30/09): This is making me dizzy. Now it seems the Yanks haven’t come close to the quota.
10:44am: Brian Cashman told Peter Abraham the Yankees could sign up to eight Type A free agents if they wanted to. 10:05am: One reader asks a question I can’t answer: if the quota is three Type A/Bs, how were the Giants able to sign Jeremy Affeldt (B), Bob Howry (A), Randy Johnson (B), Edgar Renteria (A), and Juan Uribe (B)? Does it only apply to Type A/Bs who were offered arbitration? Is the quota three of each type? 7:45am: Just wanted to add the info from a January 6th Nick Cafardo article, where he stated that this year’s quota is nine Type A or B free agents. Everyone I’d spoken previously to believed the Yankees have not approached any quota. I know the CBA allows for more Type A/Bs to be signed if you lose them, and the Yankees lost Bobby Abreu and Mike Mussina. We attempted to tackle this in October and came away confused.
Still, Bloom talked to MLB’s executive VP of labor relations Rob Manfred for his article and it seems highly unlikely that Manfred would be wrong. – Tim Dierkes
He’ll be on today and will discuss the revelations and accusations in his new book.
While driving home last night, I flipped to ESPN Extra (1050 ESPN local feed via XM #141) during a commercial break from MLB on XM. I hadn’t flipped to that channel in weeks, if not longer. I just happened to since I recently modified my presets. When I did, I heard Michael Kay breathlessly tell me to stay tuned, that if I hadn’t yet heard Boomer Wells’ interview from earlier, it’d be worth staying for. I was hooked. I love me some Boomer Wells interviews. And when they rolled that interview, it was awesome. Boomer unchecked, rambling, honest. (You can check here, at the 1050ESPN site for the audio/podcast). If you can’t check out the audio, just check in to The Daily News for their take on the interview.
You’ll hear a lot about the “I’d probably just knock him out” comment, but you have to realize that he was laughing and a sense of context is really needed. His tone was one of mocking Torre and his decision to do this book (or the Dead Torre Scrolls as I call them). From the article:
Torre has been criticized for publicly calling out players in his book, something he said he’d never do when he was still managing in pinstripes. But Wells called that notion “BS” to begin with.
“Joe called guys out from time to time,” Wells said. “He always said you’ll never hear anything from him in the media or the papers, and that was BS … Joe didn’t respect a lot of people in my eyes.“
Over the last twelve seasons, many future Hall of Famers or borderline type players have passed through the Yankee organization. If you asked a casual Yankee fan to a compile a list, names like Jeter, Johnson, Rivera, Clemens, Sheffield, Williams, Mussina, and Pettitte would undoubtedly come up. One name that would probably get less play [...]
Mike Ashmore challenged fans to create a team of all Yankee prospects. What if something horrible happened to the team? I’m not the first blogger to try this, but I think that I can offer a unique take on it. The Rules: Rookie-eligible players only. I think that this would be much more interesting if [...]