Cliff Lee Alternatives

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In response to the early discussion, I should probably say: I support option #1, which is essentially standing pat. Tomorrow I’ll argue that the Yankees don’t need an upgrade.

Yesterday, we had some really vibrant discussion on whether or not the Yankees should sign Cliff Lee. I think that an important missing piece of my post was alternatives to signing him. To be clear, I don’t support signing him to a long term contract (more than 3-4 years) no matter the alternatives, but the alternatives are still important and interesting to look at.

If we assume that Andy Pettitte continues his career, the Yankees will have a rotation of Sabathia-Hughes-Pettitte-Burnett-X. The X has to be filled by someone. Here are five options that I think they should consider:

1. Fill the position internally

The Yankees have a lot of starting pitchers close to the major leagues. This option, my preferred one, is to let them battle it out for a spot in the starting rotation.… Click here to read the rest

Should they stay or should they go now?

As we delve further into the offseason, we’ll be scrutinizing plenty of potential trades and free agent acquisitions. The big names like Carl Crawford or Cliff Lee will certainly surface (again and again). There’ll also be plenty of discussion around cheap, limited-upside filler guys.

In the meantime, let’s take a look at elements of the Yankees landscape that are going to change regardless of any future Hot Stove developments.

On their way out

Javier Vazquez | Yikes. There aren’t many positives to be drawn from Javy’s season. As Mike discussed in his post regarding Cashman’s preseason decisions, this move seemed like a solid idea in theory. In practice, it was a nightmare. Over 157.1 IP, Javy recorded a 5.32 ERA, 1.398 WHIP, surrendered 32(!) HR (1.8 HR/9), and 8.9 H/9. After accepting an $11.5M paycheck, he delivered a 0.0 bWAR, literally the same level of effectiveness as your run-of-the-mill AAA player. If that weren’t enough, we all “enjoyed” watching his ability seemingly deteriorate before our very eyes one year after almost winning a Cy Young award.

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Season in Review: Jorge Posada

This is the first in a series of posts I’ll do about players and how they fared, compared to their various projections. Luckily, FanGraphs stores projections so it will be an easy comparison to make. Let’s start at one of the most important positions on the field: behind the plate.

Jorge Posada had a vaguely healthy year, playing in 120 games. He came up to the plate 451 times, the most for him since 2007 (589). When he did play, Jorge did hit pretty well. The average wasn’t pretty at .248, but his OBP was good at .357 (13.1% walk rate) he hit for good power, a .454 SLG and a .206 IsoP. His wRC+ was 122, just off his career mark of 127. He wOBA’d .357. So how did Jorge do against his projections?

Batting Average: Jorge fell short of all five projections–Bill James, CHONE, Marcel, ZiPS, and Fans in terms of batting average. His high projection was .281 by Marcel and his low projection was .256 by ZiPS.… Click here to read the rest

The backstop dilemma

For the past decade-plus, Yankees fans have been blessed with Jorge Posada as their catcher. Over his career, he’s posted a triple slash of .275/.377/.479 (.856 OPS). He’s mashed 261 HR as a switch hitter while averaging 97 RBI each season. Since 1995, he’s managed to accumulate 46.0 WAR. In 2007, as a 35-year-old, the veteran backstop even posted a 5.8 WAR and was sixth in the league in MVP voting. Even in a “down” year for Posada, he still produced a .357 wOBA in 2010, and the Yankees have hugely benefited from Posada’s contributions from a premium up-the-middle defensive position over the years.

Of course, nothing lasts forever. Posada will be turning 39 (which might as well be 100 in catcher years) and is entering the final year of his lofty 4-year/$52.4M contract. In each of the last few seasons Father Time has reared his ugly head at Posada as injuries became increasingly frequent. Don’t get me wrong; this is no knock on Jorge — he’s started a lot of games and physical decline is bound to happen.

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Minor Surgery For CC

Joel Sherman and George King had the scoop:

CC Sabathia was diagnosed with a minor meniscus tear of the right knee that will require surgery, The Post has learned.

Sabathia was diagnosed yesterday at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital and is expected to undergo surgery in the coming days. The Yankees do not consider the procedure significant and expect Sabathia to recover within three weeks and be fully ready for spring training.

Nevertheless, the worry with signing Sabathia to the largest-ever pitching contract always had been the two Ws: weight and workload. He has carried a lot of both, and, thus, it is hard to look at any surgery — especially on a joint — as minor.

The Yankees already are planning a full-court press for free agent Cliff Lee, and any concerns about their ace, Sabathia, only would make the Yankees more motivated to solidify the top of the rotation.

While the writers do make a valid point about needing help at the top of the rotation, one could argue that injuries like this can help make a case against Cliff Lee.… Click here to read the rest

Girardi-Yanks Closing In On Deal

Joel Sherman has the scoop on the widely expected move:

The Yankees and Joe Girardi are closing in on a three-year contract that will pay him somewhere between $9 million and $10 million, The Post has learned.

Girardi would receive a bump from a contract that expires Saturday that was paying him $7.5 million over three years. The raise would make Girardi the fifth- or sixth-highest paid manager in the major leagues.

The sides believe the deal could be finalized Wednesday or Thursday.

When the deal is complete, the Yankees will move on to more complicated issues involving free agency for Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, and formulating a plan to chase the diamond of the free-agent class, Cliff Lee.

Despite all of the handwringing and doubts about Girardi’s return, this issue was handled quickly and without any drama. Hopefully the Derek Jeter negotiations have a similar feel and end with a similarly fair contract.

In exclusive BREAKING news, 3 sources tell me that Incarcerated Bob is full of it.… Click here to read the rest