No Love for Valentine

(The following is being syndicated from The Captain’s Blog). Bobby Valentine is the new manager of the Boston Red Sox. For a franchise trying to overcome the perception of dysfunction, that might not have been the best decision. Valentine is alternately one of the most revered and hated managers in all of baseball, so his presence in the volatile powder keg of Red Sox Nation is sure to provide a spark. Whether that’s a good or bad thing is matter of wildly varying degrees of perspective. During his long managerial career, Bobby Valentine has probably made as many enemies as he has won games. Continue reading No Love for Valentine

Just Say No To Matt Thornton

(The following is being syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod) As the Hot Stove season continues to be lukewarm for the Yankees, people are starting to get a little antsy and understandably so.  There’s only so long we as fans and bloggers can wait to see which free agents the Yankees sign and what killer trades Cash makes to build the team up to the 160-2 juggernaut we all wish it would be next year.  But when the talk starts turning back to mid-30s lefty specialist relievers and there is serious analysis being done on the most expensive one, that’s Continue reading Just Say No To Matt Thornton

Cashman sings Noesi’s praises

Thought the main thrust of this article is that the Yankees aren’t particularly interested in any of the currently available starting pitchers out there, the most interesting nugget is the quote John Harper gets from Brian Cashman about Hector Noesi:

“Nova arrived sooner than expected,” Cashman said Tuesday. “When you’ve got the tools, that can happen. He knows now that he can dissect a major league lineup and go deep into games. He’s a legitimate weapon every five days.

“And Noesi is the next Nova. He’s throwing the (heck) out of the ball in the Dominican Winter League right now, hitting 98 on the gun with his fastball, and commanding his stuff. He’ll be ready to step in next season if we need him.”

That’s some high praise for a guy with just 43 Triple-A innings under his belt, but Noesi did perform admirably in his big league role next year, and he does compare favorably to Nova both from a scouting and statistical stand point. On the latter point he’s actually better, as his career 8.2 K/9 and strikeout to walk ratio of 5.14 blows away Nova’s minor league numbers. Though the strikeouts have tapered off considerably at Triple-A, so that’s something to be mindful of.

Noesi isn’t a finished product, by any means. As much as anything, he would be well served to develop a true go-to out pitch, which he currently lacks, but I seem to have been more bullish on Noesi than most people for a while, so I think he can do it and become a legitimate middle-of-the-order pitcher in the big leagues relatively soon.

One thing is certain though; if Noesi can be the 2012 version of Ivan Nova, it will be a huge boost to the Yankees, and will make the decision to not aggressively pursue an outside answer to the starting pitching question look like a stroke of genius. Continue reading Cashman sings Noesi’s praises

Trade Match Series-Chad Billingsley

Whether or not a trade happens between two teams can come down to many nebulous factors, from the relationship between the two GMs, how clubs value players, and the level of motivation a team has to move someone. But one important element that can be looked at objectively is how the teams match up. This is a series where I’m going to look at how the Yankees match up with the other team for their prospective trade targets. What do the Dodgers need? Mostly they need to improve their offense, which ranked 11th in wOBA in the NL. (C) Rod Continue reading Trade Match Series-Chad Billingsley

Deconstructing Freddy

With C.C. Sabathia and Fredd Garcia safely back in the pinstriped fold and the front office not in love with any of the starting pitchers on the market this year (or at least their price), the team is beginning to make noise that their 2012 rotation may already be set, bringing back the 2011 corps sans Bartolo Colon, with a rotation of C.C. Sabathia, Ivan Nova, Freddy Garcia, A.J. Burnett, and Phil Hughes. So where does that leave us?

First of all, let’s establish what we (think we) know. Leaving possible injuries aside, C.C. Sabathia should be great, and A.J. Burnett will probably be solidly not good. Ivan Nova likely won’t be as good as he was at the end of 2011, but given the kind of stuff and poise he displayed, he should be good in his own right. That leaves us with true question marks in Garcia and Hughes. The latter is the enigma of all enigmas, to the extent that I’m not sure I’m even going to try to figure him out this winter. Given the nature of Hughes’ injury last season, reports that he came to camp out of shape, and the ever-changing nature of his stuff, I don’t think we’ll have any idea what we’re going to get out of Hughes until April rolls around. He may have a strong bounce back campaign, he may crater completely, or he might settle in as a below average big league starter without a solid off-speed pitch or a go-to out pitch. Your guess is as good as mine.

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Trade Match Series-Matt Cain

  Whether or not a trade happens between two teams can come down to many nebulous factors, from the relationship between the two GMs, how clubs value players, and the level of motivation a team has to move someone. But one important element that can be looked at objectively is how the teams match up. This is a series where I’m going to look at how the Yankees match up with the other team for their prospective trade targets.   What do the Giants need? Offense, hitting and sprinkle in some bats. Despite playing in a division that houses the Continue reading Trade Match Series-Matt Cain

New draft rules even worse than anticipated

Jim Callis has more information on some details of the new draft rules at Baseball America, and they are not good. It’s not all bad by any means, but the bad definitely outweighs the good. This is the most important, and most distressing, bit of news in the post:

The most significant new detail: If a team fails to sign a player in the first 10 rounds, its draft cap is reduced by the assigned value of his pick. It can’t reallocate that value to sign other players. However, it can reallocate the difference between a player’s bonus and the value of his choice.

So, in other words, the idea that teams will get a “pool” of money to spend on their draft picks is only kinda-sorta true. If you sign a pick for under slot value, you can take the balance and reallocate it elsewhere. But if the player refuses to sign within the range you can offer, you lose the slot value of that pick and can’t use it to spend more on your remaining picks.

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Prospect Spotlight: Gary Sanchez

For a young man who won’t turn 19 until Friday, it feels like catching prospect Gary Sanchez has been in the Yankee organization for a while. Sanchez burst onto the scene as a 17 year-old in rookie ball, tearing up the league with a .353/.419/.597 line, drawing raves for his power and hitting ability. He was named the #30 prospect in all of the minor leagues by Baseball America after his 2010 season, an impressive ranking for a teenager who had yet to play in full season ball. With Jesus Montero‘s defensive ability in question, it wasn’t too hard to Continue reading Prospect Spotlight: Gary Sanchez

The "Break the CBA" IFA Option

Amid news that the money available to the near-hard capped draft will be a bit lower than expected, I wrote yesterday that the Yankees should pin their hopes, and their money, on a free agency strategy. I admit that a much more creative option did not come to mind until SEHumphrey made the following comment: I’ve been thinking about the CBA a bit, and it to me that it has limited negative effect on the Yankees. In particular, the international signings seem like a place where they can really just destroy the other teams with limited consequences. Honestly, this could Continue reading The "Break the CBA" IFA Option