Cashman: Next Step Not Imminent

From Chad Jennings: “I am definitely not in a position right now where I feel like I’m ready to do anything,” he said. “The next step isn’t ready to happen now, based on my conversations. There shouldn’t be another shoe to drop immediately.” Cashman has options, and he has little need for urgency. He has to act, obviously, but the past four days have surely eased any need for desperation. Yesterday, Cashman acknowledged having talked to John Lackey’s agent. Today, he acknowledged talking about Ben Sheets. He’s met with the agents for Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui. He’s been engaged Continue reading Cashman: Next Step Not Imminent

Guest posting: Do the Yanks need Halladay?

Every now and then, I’ll run a guest posting. This one came to me unsolicited* and given the timeliness of the subject, I’m going to run it. I’ve made minor gramatical and formatting edits but haven’t changed the tone or the content in material way. Out today is a report that the Yanks remain in the “Hunt for Roy Halladay“. One ping only, please.

Do the New York Yankees need Roy Halladay?

It’s a simple question, but to make it even simpler, let’s break it down a little more.

  • New York Yankees: Defending World Champions, winners of 103 games in the toughest league in the sport.
  • Need: Arguable, but the Yankees do have an ace, and of course are the defending World Champions.
  • Roy Halladay: An elite pitcher, showcasing excellent command, longevity and an ability to succeed at a high level against top-level competition.

The Yankees have an impressive collection of talent, but it’s aging. This is a key factor in whether or not the Yankees should pursue Halladay, because it is theoretically possible that the window for winning championships is closing. As great as Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte have been–that’s three first-ballot Hall of Famers and two maybes–they aren’t likely to all last another five years. Rodriguez could be productive into his late 30s, and Jeter might, too. But the rug could be pulled out from beneath Rivera at any time, Posada is an old catcher with bad knees, and Pettitte’s notorious elbow is a constant threat to break down, even though he’s lately been a 190+ IP reliability for the Yankees, not to mention his pension to seriously contemplate retirement every season.

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The devil you know (UPDATED: Or the one you don't)

UPDATE #1 (8:43am): Well that was quick. Just minutes after posting this, we learn that the Yanks are going to select Dodgers outfielder Jamie Hoffmann (two n’s) with the pick. The nitty-gritty:

Hoffmann is 6-foot-3, 210 pounds and was taken in the eighth round of the 2003 NHL draft by the Carolina Hurricanes. He has been in the Dodger system since 2004.

The Yankees view him as an above-average fielder across the outfield with very good but not elite speed. The 25-year-old lefty right swinger played in the majors for the first time last season, appearing in 14 games, going 4-for-22 with one homer and seven RBIs. Ideally for the Yankees, he would be a late-game defensive specialist who could also pinch-run a bigger, stronger, but slower version of Brett Gardner, who does have options and could be sent back to the minors in 2010.

Hoffmann played in 97 games between Double- and Triple-A last year, hitting .291 with a .390 on-base percentage. He had 10 homers, 64 RBIs and stole 15 bases, but was caught 11 times. He also walked (54) nearly as much as he struck out (55).

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With the Yanks set to make the first selection in the Rule 5 draft today (as compensation for sending Brian Bruney to the Nationals), the leading rumor is that the Yanks will pluck back one of their own:

The Nationals will take Yankees reliever Zach Kroenke first overall in the Rule 5 draft on Thursday and offer him back to New York as the player to be named later in the trade that sent Brian Bruney to Washington, according to a source familiar with discussions.

Kroenke will fill the need for the lefty specialist, a void exacerbated by the loss of Phil Coke in the Granderson deal.

But is Kroenke the best available player? Well…he’s the devil you know. He might be the best “right now” fit, but he might not be the best bet to catch lightning in a bottle. Who are those guys?

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Yankees Choose Jamie Hoffmann, Lose Kroenke and K. Teixeira in Rule V Draft

Being at work, I can’t really go into detail about Hoffman. Greg Fertel at Pending Pinstripes, lucky for all of us, has done it for me. My opinion: Hoffman’s pick screams “right-handed caddy for Granderson” to me. He can play a very good center field, had a good platoon split in 2009, and has the experience to stick to the roster. Basically, he can do everything that Gardner can except swipe bags, and for that reason Brett Gardner’s spot on the roster might be in trouble. For a Rule V pick, even the first overall, that’s a pretty good day. Continue reading Yankees Choose Jamie Hoffmann, Lose Kroenke and K. Teixeira in Rule V Draft

Ben Sheets wants to get paid

Shortly after I put up yesterday afternoon’s post examining the Yankees’ potential free agent pitching acquisitions, news broke on two of them. Rich Harden has apparently agreed to terms with the Rangers on a one-year, $7.5 million deal (with an $11.5 million option) pending a physical. This initially feels like a bit of an overpay, as the pervading thought seemed to be that Harden, Ben Sheets and Justin Duchscherer could be had for around $5 million each, but then again it’s not like there was ever only going to be one team in on their services, so it will obviously Continue reading Ben Sheets wants to get paid

Harden Signs With Texas for 7.5M, Sheets Wants More

From Ken Rosenthal: The Rangers are putting their savings from the Kevin Millwood trade to good use. Free-agent right-hander Rich Harden is close to signing a one-year contract with the Rangers, according to a major-league source. The deal, valued at $7.5 million according to published reports, qualifies as one of the biggest surprises of the winter meetings. With Harden, Penny, and Pavano all coming in around 7-8 million, one would think that Ben Sheets would come in at a similar price. While he may have the highest upside of that group, he is the only one not to have pitched Continue reading Harden Signs With Texas for 7.5M, Sheets Wants More

How come no chatter about Verlander, UPDATED

The original article below was written/published Wednesday, 25 November 2009 10:36. My update:

Following yesterday’s trade of Granderson and Edwin Jackson, I again wonder if the Tigers would be bold enough to dangle their best player, SP Justin Verlander. Not by himself, but something like the Marlins did with Josh Beckett way back when… making the acquiring team absorb one of their awful contracts.

Could the Tigers deal Verlander and one or two of their bad contracts [Dontrelle Willis (1/$12m remaining) or Carlos Guillen (2/$26m) or Nate Robertson (1/$10m)] for MLB ready talent and still survive the fan revolt? It’d be nearly impossible for the Yanks to do a deal like that without blowing up their “budget”, which must be written in an Etch-A-Sketch. Though it’s probably exactly the type of deal the Sox would love, given their affection for King Felix.

Verlander appears to be arbitration eligible for two more years, after which, will command a major contract if things continue at his current trajectory.

Is Dave Dombrowski under THAT much fiscal pressure? Can he handle the fan revolt that would ensue for dealing fan favorites Granderson AND Verlander. And if Verlander followed Grandy to the Yanks? Nuclear winter in Detroit Tigerville. Like with many of these sorts of things, there’s too much we don’t know. This much we do know.

But if the fiscal pressures are real and signficant (and get worse), I think this is something Detroit has to consider, however reluctantly.

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With the constant yard sale signs and rumors (and zingers) coming out of Detroit, how come we haven’t heard any rumors on Justin Verlander becoming available (if a team was also willing to absorb some of DET’s dead money contracts):

The level to which Detroit is foisting right-hander Edwin Jackson on anybody who will listen – “It’s like they want to give him away,” one executive said, “and I don’t really understand why” – is an indictment on the mismanagement that began showing cracks with Gary Sheffield last spring and has graduated to a full-fledged fault line. The Tigers have six players making eight figures this year: Magglio Ordonez (who turns 36 in January) at $18 million, Miguel Cabrera (hopefully sober for opening day) at $15 million, Carlos Guillen at $13 million and – get ready to gag on a slice of Little Caesars – $34.5 million for Jeremy Bonderman, Dontrelle Willis and Nate Robertson (combined 2008: 3-8 in 43 games, with a 6.53 ERA and a 57-to-64 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 93 2/3 innings). All but Cabrera are dead money, leaving Detroit GM Dave Dombrowski to pawn off some of his valuable parts, like Jackson and center fielder Curtis Granderson.

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Remember when (insert player name) was the highest paid?

Good friend of the blog, Lar from Wezen-ball.com has a typically great retrospective of the game’s highest players. Makes a great read given the backdrop of the Winter Meetings.

In fact, it’s been a long time since we last heard the words “the new highest paid player in baseball”. It was nine years ago Thursday, when Tom Hicks (yes, the same Tom Hicks who has piled the Rangers under mountains of debt) signed Alex Rodriguez to the richest contract in sports history, totalling 10 years and $252 million. Since then, we’ve had a few different players take the mantle of “2nd Highest Paid Player” (and we’ve even had A-Rod outdo himself), but no one has yet been able to de-throne the Yankees’ third baseman from his place on high.

Yeah, it’s a fun one. Go support Lar. Then come back. We’ll be waiting!

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Andy Pettitte and Yankees agree to deal

Early this morning the word was that Yankees and Andy Pettitte were close to a deal. According to Mark Feinsand (via Twitter), the parties have agreed on a one year deal for $11.75 million. Just like Jason said last week:

I don’t think Pettitte will gain significantly more than the initially reported $10M guaranteed. Might be a nice buy-out/option in 2011. Might be an additional $1.5m in base pay with decreased incentives.”

Clearly, negotiations went much more smoothly and quickly than last year, when Pettitte did not like the incentive based contract the Yankees offered. The new deal reportedly does not have incentives. Pettitte had a solid 2009 for the Yankees, going 14-8 with a 4.19 ERA. Perhaps more importantly, he started all three games that clinched each playoff series for the Yankees. Welcome back Andy!

At least it wasn’t about the money, right Andy? Because it never is with him ((cough)).

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