Looks like Yankee fans will have to wait a little longer for the King

The Mariners have signed Felix Hernandez to a five-year, $80 million deal, which means the King now won’t be hitting free agency until after the 2014 season. Although incredibly, he’ll just be coming off his age 28 season that year. Despite the half-decade wait, if you listen closely you can already hear the Yankees’ dumptrucks being filled with bags of cash as we speak.

Nice move by the Mariners, who have shown continually throughout this offseason that they’re ready to field a contending ballclub now.… Click here to read the rest

Finding a Middle Ground, Part Three

Jorge Posada

Both Joe P. of River Ave Blues and our own Steve S. have wondered aloud if Jorge Posada is headed for a decline in 2010. There’s no doubt that, having read those articles or not, the same question has crossed all of our minds. After all, Jorge’s a catcher, which makes the aging process at the plate much more accelerated.

Due to Jorge missing a lot of time in ’08 (51 games played) and ’09 (111 games played), the projection systems–including the fans–don’t see Jorge reaching 500 PAs, something he hasn’t done since 2007. Anyway, on to the numbers.

Despite the worrying–which is still warranted–Jorge’s average projected line actually looks pretty good. It comes in at .274/.367/.469 with 18 HR and 69 batted in across 460 PAs. As I said, though, some of the worrying is warranted. The average projection still has Jorge striking out above 20% with a walk rate of about 11.5%. While those aren’t bad numbers, they’re still worse than his career averages.… Click here to read the rest

Discussion: Building A Bullpen

Spring training will no doubt show us a battle between relievers looking for their spot in the bullpen. Barring a Ben Sheets surprise, we already know what players will make up most of the bullpen. They are:

Certains: Mariano Rivera, Phil Hughes or Joba Chamberlain, Damaso Marte, David Robertson, Alfredo Aceves

Strong Candidates: Sergio Mitre, Chad Gaudin, Boone Logan

Weaker Candidates: Mark Melancon, Edwar Ramirez, Jon Albaladejo, Wilkins De La Rosa, Zach Kroenke*

*Has to be returned from the Rule V draft

The Yankees will likely carry 7 relief pitchers on their roster. That means that two candidates will make the team. I don’t know about you, but the prospects of two of Mitre, Gaudin, and Logan don’t make me feel very confident. Logan and Mitre have career ERAs in the 5s, and really only make sense in a super-specialized role (Mitre as mop-up guy and Logan as an extreme LOOGY). Gaudin at least has a major league track record of consistently keeping opponents to a slight below average ERA.… Click here to read the rest

Worst signing ever?

In the aftermath of the Aroldis Chapman signing and the Yankees’ general frugality this offseason, Kei Igawa of all people popped into my head the other day. In a time and place that seems especially far away from the present day, the Yankees spent a total of $46 million to bring Igawa over from Japan in December of 2006. Given the Yankees’ penny-pinching ways this offseason, doling out this much cash to an unproven Japanese pitcher with no real record of sustained success seems unfathomable.

Here’s what Igawa has given the Yankees in the Majors during the first three years of this deal (by the way, he’s incredibly signed for two more seasons!):

I remember his one outing against the Tigers in 2008. 13 hits in four innings! I went over to my brother’s place to watch that game and we couldn’t stop crying from the moment Igawa took the hill, due to a combination of agony and laughter.

And here’s what Igawa has done in parts of three seasons at AAA:

A career FIP over 4 in the minors.… Click here to read the rest

Jose Offerman decides he never wants to coach again

Though if you ask me, the ump took a flop that rivals any we’ve seen in soccer or the NBA. But that was probably due to shock and fear. Can’t say I really blame the poor guy.

Of course, this wasn’t Offerman’s first ridiculous baseball-related fight:

In 2007, Offerman, a two-time All-Star during his 15 seasons in the majors, hit Bridgeport Bluefish catcher John Nathans in the head with a bat during an independent minor league game. Offerman, playing for the Long Island Ducks, had been hit by a pitch from Matt Beech of the Bluefish.

A court subsequently forced Offerman into anger-management treatment.

Offerman also faces a $4.8 million civil suit brought by Nathans, who claims he continues to suffer from problems stemming from the incident, which he says ended his professional career.Click here to read the rest

Other Bench Possibilities

We learned earlier today that the Yankees never made an offer to Jerry Hairston, Jr.. Obviously, it would seem that Mr. Hairston was not in the Yankees 2010 plans. So, what else could they be thinking for the 2010 bench?

The first option is rolling with a bigger bullpen and a smaller bench. That is, the Yankees could just have three bench players–a back up catcher (Frankie Cervelli), an infielder (Ramiro Pena or Kevin Russo), and an outfielder (presumably Jamie Hoffmann). That would mean a thirteen man pitching staff and a very green and probably weak hitting bench. To make a potentially medium sized discussion rather short, there’s no way this happens. There’s zero power threat off of this bench and if a regular got hurt, I don’t think the Yankees would want one of those three guys being the replacement. There’s also the pitching side to this: it’s hard enough to get innings for seven bullpen guys, let alone eight.… Click here to read the rest

Yanks could face some competition for Reed Johnson

Most of iYankees’ readers believe that Reed Johnson, a career .313/.378/.463 hitter against southpaws, is the best right-handed outfield bat the Yankees can add this winter to bolster their current bench (especially with Jerry Hairston Jr. bound for San Diego). And, while I agree in that Johnson seems like the best platoon fit, unfortunately for the Yankees, Johnson’s defensive and offensive skills have attracted other suitors as well, and the Bombers may actually face some legitimate competition for the outfielder’s services.

According to two recent sources – one by Chicago Tribune writer Paul Sullivan and another by Chicago Sun-Times scribe Gordon Wittenmeyer – the Chicago Cubs are currently in search of a right-handed bat to compliment Japanese import Kosuke Fukudome, and the club could look to bring Johnson back to Wrigley in order to serve in that capacity. “Reed is in the mix,” said Chicago’s assistant GM, Randy Bush, when asked about the outfielder. “We love Reed. We’d love to have him back.… Click here to read the rest

Outfield Items: Xavier Nady, Rocco Baldelli

Here are a few quick outfield-related items on the day:

  • Scott Boras says that his client, Xavier Nady, will be ready for spring training.
  • In the same FOX Sports article, we learn that the Cubs are interested in Nady.
  • Mark Bowman thinks that the Braves may also have an interest in signing Nady.
  • Mark Topkin writes that the Yankees and the Cubs are both in on Rocco Baldelli.

I still believe most of the clubs in search of outfield help, including the Yankees, are waiting for Johnny Damon to sign. Then, once he is officially off the market, the lower-level players like Nady and Baldelli will finally find a home.

Photo by J. Meric/Getty ImagesClick here to read the rest

Olney: Yanks Made No Offer To Hairston

From Buster Olney:

Two things: No. 1, the NYY never made an offer to Jerry Hairston, and No. 2, there has been no recent contact between NYY and Johnny Damon.

The tidbit about Damon is to be expected, in that I doubt that the Yankees would be negotiating with Damon even if they actually wanted him back. They would be more likely to let Damon sit and fret upon the open market until he crawls back to them at a significantly reduced rate. Regarding Hairston, the Yankees lack of interest in him makes perfect sense. With players such as Ramiro Pena, Eduardo Nunez, and Kevin Russo in the system, the Yankees are equipped to handle their utility role internally, at the league minimum. While Hairston is likely to be better than any of those players in 2010, the difference is minimal, such that saving funds for other areas or for an in-season move makes plenty of sense.… Click here to read the rest