What is the best way to handle Brackman this season?

[image title=”brackman-in-st” size=”full” id=”24012″ align=”center” linkto=”full” ]Andrew Brackman is a better pitcher than most people realize. That’s a bit odd, because Brackman has also mostly been a disappointment to fans since he was drafted. In his freshman and sophomore years in college, Brackman was a 100 mph fireballer. That and his size earned him routine comparisons to Randy Johnson, and it was probably deserved. He was likely to be considered for the 1st overall pick in the draft, and quickly move on to become a major league ace.

Of course, we all know that things worked out differently. He didn’t recover fully from his elbow injury (perhaps because he waited to be drafted and handled $4 million dollars before undergoing it), and had trouble adjusting to both a long layoff and reduced velocity. Nothing was really working for him a year ago. Now, he’s completed the Double-A level, has recovered to 93-95 mph, and has some of his mechanics better locked down.… Click here to read the rest

Should We Worry about the Rest of the AL East?

The Yankees main adversaries will be the Red Sox, and as the table shows, they are prohibitive favorites over the Yanks as a result of the off-season maneuvering. Offensively and defensively, they lose 7 wins from Adrian Beltre, but the Red Sox will benefit from some more health for Youkilis, Pedroia, Cameron, and Ellsbury, which more than makes up for the loss of Beltre. Add Crawford and Gonzalez, and the position players have really improved from last season, especially if they don’t need to give innings to the black holes of Eric Patterson, Jeremy Hermida, and Yamaico Navarro. The Red Sox paid dearly, but they have a younger, better core of position players than the Yankees. If they stay healthy, they could be devastating.

Unfortunately for the Yankees, the team should also improve their production from the pitching staff. I went fairly conservative on some of the pitchers because of health concerns for Lackey, Beckett, and Matsuzaka, but the rotation looks to be really good.… Click here to read the rest

“Plan B”

Of course, there were decent secondary options on the market for starting pitchers, but a good many of those guys signed before Lee, throwing a wrench in the most obvious back up plan. As far as the trade market goes, well, it’s pretty bare. The Yankees may or may not have had serious interest in Zack Greinke, but the most comprehensive reporting I’ve seen had the Royals asking for Montero, Eduardo Nunez, either Dellin Betances or Manny Banuelos, and one of the Yankees AAA arms. I was as bullish as just about anyone when it came to acquiring Greinke, but that would have been too much for even me to stomach giving up for 70 starts from Greinke, and it represents significantly more value than what the Royals got from Milwaukee.

And now? Well the Yankees still need a starting pitcher but, not counting Andy Pettitte, the best one available on the free agent market is Carl Pavano. Raise your hand if you want Cashman to reach out to him.… Click here to read the rest

Adding Mid-Season

A lot of us have said–and I have, too–that one of the pluses about the Yankees not signing Cliff Lee is that they will have the ability to add a lot more payroll in the middle of the season. While we have absolutely no idea what the trade market will look like in season, we can speculate that guys with expiring deals are the ones who will likely be on the trading block.

This thought drove me to Cot’s to check out the potential free agent starters for the 2011-12 Hot Stove Season. There’s a decently sized list, but there are only a few names worth looking at.

The first one to pop out is Mark Buehrle. I’m not the biggest fan of Buehrle, but if he becomes available (unlikely), he’s worth at least thinking about. In every year from 2001 through 2010, Buehrle pitched at least 201 innings. If anything, he could eat innings for a Yankee rotation that may be hurting for them.… Click here to read the rest

Simulpost on ESPNNY: Soria vs. Soriano

At what cost, though? The Yanks’ 2011 first-round pick and likely a minimum of $10 million per year for at least three years. The Yanks have the cash, as Ian Begley noted yesterday.

But just because the team has the cash does not mean it should be spent on a security blanket, even one as good as Soriano. We do not know if Soriano only wants to close, rather than be Mo’s caddy. The only real cost to the Yanks, besides the cash, is that first-round pick and they’ve been giving those away for years with their repeated Type A free agent signings. Giving it to their AL East competitors is a double dip of bitter. Soriano would represent a very expensive luxury and while the team could be better off in the short term, I’m not confident the team will be happy with this deal in two years.

On the other hand, we now hear that the “Mexicutioner,” Joakim Soria will not block a trade to the Yankees, despite having New York on his no-trade list:

“I didn’t put it there, my agent did, as a strategy,” Soria said.

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Discussion: Rooting For The Uniform?

Yesterday’s Bobby Jenks – Oney Guillen brouhaha spurred some discussion about Jenks’ character, and brought a 2005 ESPN article about Jenks and his upbringing to my attention. The article suggests that Jenks is lacking in terms of intelligence, and that he is a “backwoods” guy with a drinking problem. The following anecdote caught my eye:

His ex-agent says Bobby Jenks used to call him D.J., short for Dirty Jew.

The agent says Bobby would say it casually on phone messages — “Call me back, D.J.” — and while Bobby denies it, it’s a window into the mystery of a backwoods pitcher.

The relationship between agent Matt Sosnick and Jenks seemingly did not end well, such that I cannot take anything said in the aftermath of their split entirely at face value. However, assuming for a moment that Sosnick is telling the truth, the anecdote raises an interesting point. I wanted Jenks on the Yankees, and I am not sure how I would have felt, as a Jew, after reading the ESPN story if he was in pinstripes.… Click here to read the rest

Early Projection From RLYW: 89 Wins, Wild Card

SG over at RLYW has posted his initial CAIRO projected standings for the 2011 season, with the caveat that it is really, really early to be drawing significant conclusions from the data. Regardless, they should provide a decent guide for where teams stand relative to one another at this point, so click through to view the standings and then come back here for some takeaways:

1) The AL East should be a dogfight again, although the Red Sox (98 wins) are clearly ahead of the Yankees (89) and Rays (87) at this point. However, it is important to note that the Yankees and Rays are not finished products, while the Red Sox look largely complete. Adding Andy Pettitte, a bullpen arm, and a bench bat would likely put the Yankees in the 93 win range and in the conversation for a division title if they got a few breaks. Even without adding anybody, they should be good enough to compete for a wild card spot, which allows Brian Cashman some cushion before he needs to address the starting rotation.… Click here to read the rest