Another Free Agent Right Hander

At the end of last week, I briefly touched on one free agent the Yankees could look into signing. Now, we’ll look into another, courtesy of this tweet from Mike Axisa:

Edwin Jackson, the forgotten upcoming free agent.

I’ve never been a huge fan of Edwin Jackson, honestly. I thought his control was always pretty “meh” and he didn’t quite strike enough guys out to make up for it despite his awesome stuff. Regardless, it’s my job here to look at things as objectively as possible. And considering the dearth of starting pitching that will be available this offseason, Jackson may be worth a look.

He’s thrown a solid amount of innings since 2007 (161.0 low, 214 high) so he’s shown he can stay healthy. He’s combined that with a relative effectiveness that has seen him produce 3.6. 3.8, and 3.8 fWAR. His FIP- (96, 91, and 89) and xFIP- (98, 92, 94) numbers have been solid, as well as trending in the right direction.… Click here to read the rest

A tale of two Phil Hughes

Photo courtesy of the NY Daily News

On the heels of his disastrous 2011 campaign, former Yankee phenom Phil Hughes is at something of a crossroads in his career. At 26 years old and entering his 6th season of professional baseball he’s no longer someone who we should advocate patience for, or is too young to draw any conclusions about. Thus far he’s been hurt 5 times in 6 years in the pros (3 more times in minors) including two lengthy DL stints in 07 and 11. Gene Michael told me firsthand that there are questions about his work ethic, which could go a long way towards explaining why his stuff has been so inconsistent and he’s been hurt so often. For those who missed it the first time, here’s what he said:

Gene Michael: “…Phil is better when he does his work. And his stuff was better when he pitched out of the bullpen. Not just the fastball, if you look at the cutter, it was much better when he worked out of the bullpen.”

Indications are he’ll have to (once again) earn a spot in the starting rotation in Spring Training, competing with the likes of Hector Noesi and Adam Warren.… Click here to read the rest

Sherman says Pujols can’t handle New York

No, it means he needs to give the media material to write about. That’s. All. This. Is. It has nothing to do with “the fans,” and it definitely has nothing to do with the other players on the Cardinals. It’s all about the reporters.

The open secret no one ever wants to talk about is this; beat reporters really don’t provide much in the way of added value to a story. That’s not a knock on individual reporters, mind you, but on the job itself. In the modern age with so many mediums for interacting with the game and so many ways to disseminate news, you really don’t need any function the beat writer provides. Missed the game? Watch the highlights on SportsCenter, or check out the condensed game through MLB TV (or watch the entire game after it’s archived, for that matter). Wondering where Albert Pujols is going to sign? Well, it’s not exactly Watergate, they’re going to announce it.… Click here to read the rest

Good News For The Yankees: Hard-Slotting System Facing Resistance In CBA Negotiations

From MLB Trade Rumors Yesterday:

Commissioner Bud Selig discussed several topics in an interview with Chris Russo of SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Radio today before Game 2 of the World Series.  Here are some of the highlights:

  • The issue of a hard slotting system for the draft is “really critical” for Selig.  Buster Olney reported yesterday that Selig was unlikely to “dig in and fight” for slotting since doing so would prolong the labor negotiations.

This is very good news for the Yankees. Selig had made no secret for some time now that one of his top priorities for the new CBA would be to replace the current slot recommendations system (which has been holding costs down, although not completely) to a hard-slotting system, where there would be a prescribed signing bonus for each slot, and the player/team can either take it or leave it. It would hurt the Yankees considerably, since their draft strategy evolves around paying players in the late rounds the big bucks that other teams aren’t willing to pay.… Click here to read the rest

Pujols Flies the Coup, but Media’s Reaction Is Foul

(The following is being syndicated from The Captain’s Blog).

Albert Pujols, one of the greatest players in the history of the game and most revered figures in the city of St. Louis, is a coward who lacks leadership skills, at least according to the headline writers at Yahoo! Sports.

Judging by the solemn photo of Pujols, crouching low after allowing a relay throw to slip by his glove, you’d think the Cardinals’ first baseman did something heinous. Was he caught cheating on the field? Or, maybe he put a personal accomplishment ahead of team goals? Perhaps he had an argument with his manager, or disrespected a teammate in full view of the country? Pujols did none of those things. He simply skipped out on reporters by leaving the clubhouse soon after the game.

Yahoo! Sports Teaser for a Column by Jeff Passan
Source: Yahoo! Sports

Yahoo! Sports wasn’t alone in criticizing Pujols for his early exit. In columns and tweets, media members took turns lambasting the MVP for his refusal to live up to his post game obligations.… Click here to read the rest

TYA Mailbag: Brett Gardner to the Nationals?

Most people see an amazing catch. I see WAR!

Welcome to TYA, where the trade speculation about Brett Gardner never stops! In case you missed it, my fellow writer EJ Fagan tackled this subject on Thursday. Around the same time we also received the following email from reader Travis:

“The Washington Nationals seem to have a need for a leadoff man and center fielder.  Brett Gardner (although I like him in pinstripes) fits the mold for what they are looking for.  Here’s the question… What would the Nats give up for Gardner? Would they trade Peacock, Detwiler and Stammen? Or any two of the three? I dont think just one would suffice, seeing as how Gardner is cheap, has 3 more seasons of team control and was the 4th best LFer in MLB (2nd in AL), and contributed around 5.0 WAR.  Peacock and Stammen’s sample sizes are small (under 15 IP) and Detwiler seems shaky to me, so I’m not sure what your take is on this situation, if it were to arise.  Click here to read the rest

An update on Brett Gardner's batted ball profile

(AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)

I took a quick snapshot of Brett Gardner’s month-by-month batted ball profile back on August 31, and with the season over I wanted to revisit it to see if anything had changed.

Here’s the updated chart, with Gardner’s month-by-month numbers through the end of the year:

At the time of the August 31 post, I was surprised to find that Brett actually led all of MLB in Infield Fly-Ball percentage. However, following a September where his IFFB% was just 7.7%, his season mark fell to 19.6%, which was the third-highest in MLB.

Still, this was a career-high by far for Brett (his previous high was 14.9% in 2009; and he was at 8.8% in 2010), and something to keep an eye on if Gardner’s going to improve on that relatively meager .330 wOBA (103 wRC+). Not that a .330 wOBA out of the league’s best-fielding outfielder is anything to sneeze at, but it’s a bit of a disappointment after his robust .358 in 2010.… Click here to read the rest

Ex-Dodger Notes: Blake, Kuroda linked to Yankees

In the last two days, both Hiroki Kuroda (linke) and Casey Blake (link) have been connected to the Yankees. The connections are tenuous at best, but both players could have roles on the 2012 Yankees and are worth examining.

Starting with Blake, who could play a backup infield role, we see a guy whose 2011 season was ended by neck surgery. He was limited to just 63 games and 239 plate appearances this season. In those 239 PAs, Blake was essentially average, hitting to a .314 wOBA and a 99 wRC+. His Iso was an unimpressive .119, which marked the continuation of a downward power trend (.189 Iso in ’09, .159 in ’10, .119 this year). However, he managed to post a 10.9 walk rate, leading to a productive .342 OBP. In terms of fielding at third base, Defensive Runs Saved, Total Zone, and UZR have all liked Blake for years now. Looking at the whole picture–a good defender who isn’t an automatic out–I think we could have a solid backup infielder on our hands.… Click here to read the rest