Questions for the Hot Stove and Beyond

The official start of the Hot Stove season isn’t until after the World Series, but friends, it is never too early to start thinking about it. Steve hit on the top ten things the Yankees must do in the offseason earlier, so I won’t rehash something like that. Instead, I’m going to offer up a few brief questions, give a few brief answers, and leave them for you all to talk amongst yourselves.

1. Brandon Laird is coming off of a career year and has a 1.002 OPS in the Arizona Fall League thus far. The way I see it, there isn’t much room for Laird on the big club in the near future. His trade value is never going to be higher than it is now, unless he hits well at AAA Scranton to start the 2011 season. I don’t know if that’s worth risking. The Yankees should look to shop Laird now, likely as part of a package, because I think he’ll add more value to the team going forward as a trade piece than he will with his own play.… Click here to read the rest

Non-Yankees WS ratings down, so what?

Fox will make less this year than last but that doesn’t (immediately) impact baseball. It’s possible that a period of prolonged and signficant declines could adversely affect the price paid during the next network negotiation, but I highly doubt this occuring.  The World Series is a cornerstone to any network’s sports business and far to0 attractive for them to shortchange.

Last Friday’s defeat of the well-known, defending champion Yankees was not welcome for Fox as finalists San Francisco and Texas lack a similar national following. Last year’s World Series was the highest-rated since 2004.

Fox is going to be challenged,” said sports TV consultant Mike Trager, a former NBC Sports vice president. “They better hope that (series) goes six or seven games.”

MLB is and will continue to be an incredibly attractive property that will remain highly sought after whenever network negotiations are concerned.  The money won’t stop a’flowin’ so I’m not a’worryin’.  And if Fox isn’t worried, why should you (emphasis mine):

Fox, which will broadcast its 11th straight World Series, has sold all the ad spots for the Series’ first five games at rates said to be running at $450,000 per 30 seconds.Click here to read the rest

Would trading for Dan Haren have changed the outcome of the Yankees' season?

On Wednesday, commenter Phil raised what I thought was a pretty interesting notion, one that I really hadn’t thought about at all since July — what if the Yankees had consummated the rumored trade for Dan Haren, and how might that have altered the outcome of the season?

Now, the idea of going back and tossing out all of the crappy Dustin Moseley/Javier Vazquez, etc. starts and inserting what Haren did with the Angels, while tempting, has a spectacular amount of flaws. There are so many presuppositions that need to be made, and obviously the rotation would have continued to evolve and adapt based on how well/poorly certain guys were pitching, so it’s impossible to know exactly whose numbers he’d be replacing. There’s also obviously no way of knowing whether Haren would’ve pitched exactly the same way he pitched for the Yankees in his Angels’ outings, and also whether the Yankee offense would’ve performed the same way it did in the Moseley/Vazquez/Nova starts.… Click here to read the rest

Girardi’s hits and misses

Chad Jennings over at LoHud recaps some of the decisions that did and didn’t work for the Yankee manager this season. I’ll go through them individually, with comments of my own. Here goes:

Three decisions that worked
Taking the fifth: Robinson Cano and Phil Hughes

Agree. It was time to challenge him entering his age 27 season and he didn’t disappoint. We all knew the tools were there with Robbie and his profile is that of a perfect #5 hitter given how much he swings the bat and his contact rates. The Yanks have wanted him there for years, and 2010 was when he finally put it all together. On Hughes, his strong 2009 out of the bullpen and upside as a starter made him an easy call as well, unless you had your mind made up about ‘Joba the Starter’ going into 2010 spring training.

Trusting Tex: In the No. 3 spot, Mark Teixeira rebounded

Agree, but it’s not like he was going to bench a player who signed a massive 8 year contract just a season earlier.… Click here to read the rest

Girardi's hits and misses

Chad Jennings over at LoHud recaps some of the decisions that did and didn’t work for the Yankee manager this season. I’ll go through them individually, with comments of my own. Here goes:

Three decisions that worked
Taking the fifth: Robinson Cano and Phil Hughes

Agree. It was time to challenge him entering his age 27 season and he didn’t disappoint. We all knew the tools were there with Robbie and his profile is that of a perfect #5 hitter given how much he swings the bat and his contact rates. The Yanks have wanted him there for years, and 2010 was when he finally put it all together. On Hughes, his strong 2009 out of the bullpen and upside as a starter made him an easy call as well, unless you had your mind made up about ‘Joba the Starter’ going into 2010 spring training.

Trusting Tex: In the No. 3 spot, Mark Teixeira rebounded

Agree, but it’s not like he was going to bench a player who signed a massive 8 year contract just a season earlier.… Click here to read the rest

Jose Guillen Linked to HGH; Barred from Post-Season?

Before diving into this question, let’s be clear on a few points. First, the Giants are not exactly missing Guillen’s presence in their lineup.  The guy hit only .266 in 42 games for the Giants, after being traded to SF by KC.  Second, we don’t know exactly what Bud Selig knows about this case, or communicated to the Giants. Third, if you’re looking for a poster boy for the cause that we’re all innocent until proven guilty, Jose Guillen may not be your first choice. He was listed as a user of performance-enhancing drugs in the Mitchell Report. Also, the SF Chronicle has previously reported that Guillen purchased $19,000 of HGH between 2002 and 2005.

But let’s get back to the original question. Can Bud Selig order a team to remove a player from its roster, based on the mere suspicion that the player might have received shipments of performance-enhancing drugs?

Maybe. Quite possibly.

We’re familiar with baseball players who have failed drug tests and received suspensions.… Click here to read the rest

The gratuitous Joe Girardi post

It’s official — the Yankees have resigned Joe Girardi to a three year, $9 million pact. A $450-$500k incentive has also been baked into the agreement dependent upon postseason success. In other words, the rumors during the past few days have been fairly close to reality. In terms of salary relative to his peers, Girardi will be the sixth-highest paid skipper in MLB.

Since Girardi took the helm back in 2008, the Yankees have experienced three winning seasons and one World Championship. Obviously, Girardi isn’t exactly hurting for talent. Still, he’s managed to generally excel in his bullpen management, the players all seem to really respect his approach and many of his decisions have generally been right. He also seems to be quite popular with Cashman and the front office.

There had been some discussion of Girardi heading to the Chicago Cubs; however, many of us felt from the start that this was both unrealistic and illogical, and the rumors soon became irrelevant anyway as the Cubs hired Mike Quade.… Click here to read the rest