Lackey headed to Boston

From Ken Rosenthal, although Ed Price originally broke the story:

Free-agent right-hander John Lackey underwent a physical Monday with the Red Sox, an indication that he is close to an agreement with the team, according to a major-league source.

The deal is expected to be similar to the five-year, $82.5 million contract that the Yankees awarded free-agent right-hander A.J. Burnett last winter.

If the Sox sign Lackey, then they would have the best rotation in baseball (led by Beckett, Lackey, Lester).

The signing could help the Yankees pursue a Roy Halladay or a Matt Holliday, though, as Boston is likely out of the bidding for those two players (unless they can acquire Halladay without giving him an extension). I’m sure many will sound the alarm and argue that the Yankees should now acquire Halladay, however, in my opinion, I don’t think he’s a necessary piece for the team.… Click here to read the rest

Wang may not sign until May

Last night, after speaking to Chien-Ming Wang’s agent, Alan Nero, Ken Davidoff of Newsday noted that Wang may not sign until April or May. Today, ESPN’s Buster Olney confirms, writing that it’s “possible that [Wang] won’t sign for months.” This is largely a contractual move, as Wang may receive better offers after a few months of rehab, in which he could prove his shoulder’s health. “In short,” states Olney, “the more he shows as he goes through his rehabilitation, and in perhaps throwing for scouts in the spring, the better the offers to him could be.”

In light of this news, the Yankees, who Olney says can possibly resign Wang, will likely have to move on this winter and explore other pitching options that are currently available (e.g., Ben Sheets, Justin Duchscherer, Kelvim Escobar, etc.). They can’t really wait for Wang, not if he’s holding out until May. If the team adds other players and still has payroll space for him at that time, then perhaps a deal will happen, although it seems unlikely.… Click here to read the rest

What the Tiger Woods fiasco has taught us about free agency

The following is a post from sometime Yankeeist contributor Scott “Skip” Kutscher. Skip’s last piece for Yankeeist was about his favorite Yankee team.

You may have read recently that Joe Mauer is looking for a contract extension before opening day, or he will enter free agency guns-blazing come the end of the year. As a Yankee fan, this news makes me ecstatic. Mauer is the first catcher to ever lead the AL in batting average — a feat he’s now thrice accomplished — and the only catcher to ever lead the AL in slugging. In 2009 he led the league in all 3 slash stats and picked up his second gold glove en route to a near-unanimous MVP vote. He’s a once-in-a-lifetime talent, and I can’t help but dream of him one day wearing pinstripes.

Still, there is a part of me that hopes he stays with the Twins. He is, after all, a local kid; a down-home Minnesota boy who could become a legend.… Click here to read the rest

So long, CMW.

Andy Pettitte is being signed to deliver around the level of production the Yankees got from Wang each year from 2006-2008, and he’s getting paid $11.75 million for a single year. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not starting up a donation pool here–CMW’s got more money than I’ll have in my lifetime. But in terms of dollars produced, and to be clear, those dollars produced by winning, how good of a deal was Wang for the Steinbrenners?

And while we’re on the topic, remember at the beginning of 2009, when anyone projecting the Yankees’ season included 10-15 (or more) wins from the Taiwanese sinkerballer? How good was this team? They lost their #2/#3 pitcher for the season (and their best hitter for the first month), and still managed to walk into the playoffs, before steamrolling their competition enroute to title #27.

This story hasn’t ended, of course. The $5 million that Wang made in 2009 could only be dropped by 20% via arbitration (and historically, arbiters have been very skittish about dropping players’ salaries at all).… Click here to read the rest

For there is no joy in Kansas City, incompetent Dayton has struck out (again)

Poor Royals fans. The team has managed a .500-plus record only four times in the last 20 seasons (with one of those coming in a strike-shortened 1994 campaign). Kansas City’s last playoff appearance was more than 20 years ago, in 1985, though they did manage to win the World Series that year — the only World Championship in franchise history. And they’ve finished in 4th or 5th place in the five-team AL Central in 12 of the division’s 16 years of existence.

It’s kind of hard to fathom that the Kansas City Royals were at one time a competitive baseball team. I don’t mean to sound churlish, it’s just that I didn’t become the raving Yankee fan that I am until 1988, when I was seven years old and managed to complete all 792 cards in the Topps set that year. Given that this was three full years after the Royals had last won the World Series combined with the franchise’s relative ineptitude ever since, I’ve only ever really known the Royals to be mostly mediocre.… Click here to read the rest

For Holliday, security is key

From Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Dispatch, we learn that the Cardinals have extended a formal offer to free agent left fielder, Matt Holliday. According to Strauss, “a source familiar with the process said it does not offer an average annual value of $18 million,” and Holliday is “seeking no-trade protection as part of any deal.” This information will likely be prevalent to the Yankees if they are, indeed, open to signing the Oklahoma native, although, for financial reasons — yes, even the Yankees have payroll concerns — it’s unlikely (but such a signing can’t be ruled out).

Remarkably, for Holliday, as unbelievable as this may sound, average annual salary has always been discussed as a secondary issue. In the past, he has candidly noted that his main priority as a free agent would be to acquire security via a long-term deal, one with a no-trade clause attached.

During spring training in 2008, when the Rockies offered Holliday a 4-year deal worth $82M (before the market crashed), he rejected the proposal because of the lack of years provided by Colorado, and because the deal was devoid of no-trade protection.… Click here to read the rest

A primer on the stats we favor at Yankeeist

I rely pretty heavily on statistical analysis for many of my critiques of the Yankees, and a couple of my less-statistically-minded readers have asked me to define and/or clarify the acronyms that are frequently tossed around at Yankeeist.

I’ve been worshiping at the sabermetric altar for as long as I’ve been aware of Sabermetrics, and so OPS (On Base Plus Slugging) and OPS+ (OPS adjusted for park and league) have been my guiding offensive lights for years now, although as I mentioned in my ALCS preview, I’ve recently been moving away from OPS and looking more at wOBA (Weighted On Base Average) as a guideline, as it’s a better tool for calculating overall offensive performance.

On the pitching side of things, I like ERA+, as, like OPS+, it is adjusted for park and league. However, I’ve begun to move away from ERA+ and have been growing fonder of FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching), although we’ll get to that shortly.… Click here to read the rest

“I’d like to add, if I could”

Photo Courtesy of NoMaas

That was Brian Cashman’s answer when he was asked by WFAN’s Mike Francesa if he feels like he has enough starting pitching on the roster right now. I transcribed that portion of the questions and answers (Someone tell Mo to double my salary!) for our readers. They are as follows:

Mike Francesa-“Do you have enough on your current roster to go to Spring Training right now, as far as Starting Pitching goes, or in your mind do you have to add a Starting Pitching component?”

Brian Cashman-“I think I’d like to add if I could. It’s just that the prices on some of these (free agents) are prohibitive, and it’s a very limited list as well, the list that we would have an interest in. It goes from a comfort level of knowing this will help, versus the choices of players that you want to take flyers on, and hey, you might get lucky and catch lightning in a bottle like we’ve done in years past with certain guys.

Click here to read the rest

Damon wants $52M over 4 years

Via Buster Olney (ESPN), we learn that in “the early conversations between the Yankees and Johnny Damon’s side, there appears to be a very wide gulf between what the team is willing to pay and what Damon expects to get paid in this winter’s market.” In fact, Jon Heyman (SI) tweets that the Yankees and Damon are $34M apart, as the Yankees are only offering $18 over two years while Damon wants $52M over four ($13M per). Clearly, the two parties view the market from differing perspectives (the Yankees’ view is more realistic). Perhaps the Yankees would be best served waiting until January to get a deal done. Then again, they may not be able to prolong the patient approach for such an extended period, as there are other priorities on Brian Cashman’s ledger.

One of those priorities is finding a DH. According to Mark Feinsand of the Daily News, “if Damon is unwilling to take a two-year contract in the next two weeks or so, a source said the Yankees would likely turn their attention to Hideki Matsui, who is willing to accept a one-year deal to return to the Bronx.” If you’re the Yankees and you can have Matsui back for one-year, whether or not Damon wants to come back, you do that deal.… Click here to read the rest