A new power rises in the west

In case you have been under a rock today and didn’t hear the news, the Angels made two big acquisitions today, inking slugging 1b Albert Pujols to a 10-year $254 million contract and LHP CJ Wilson to a 5-year $77.5 million deal. After years of competing for but just coming up short on a number of big free agents, Arte Moreno and new GM Jerry DiPoto made the big splash that their fanbase has been awaiting for many years. The Angels have been a constant thorn in the side of the Yankees throughout the Mike Scioscia era, and with the Continue reading A new power rises in the west

Yankees not confident about signing Nakajima

Put those Eduardo Nunez trade rumors on hold everyone. While the Yankees secured the rights to negotiate with former Seibu Lions’ shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima yesterda, Jon Heyman is reporting that the team is not confident they’ll be able to sign the Japanese infielder. The Yankees are looking at Nakajima as a utility infielder for the bench, and will want to pay him as such, and Heyman speculates that the low offering could encourage Nakajima to stay in Japan.

It won’t be a big loss if the Yankees don’t sign Nakajima, by any means, but it would be interesting to see what possibilities opened up if the team were more wiling to put Eduardo Nunez in trade proposals. Continue reading Yankees not confident about signing Nakajima

The Darvish Lottery Has Begun

The posting process for Yu Darvish started today. Teams will have through Sunday to submit sealed bids. Early next week, the bid that his team accepts (the highest bid, except in some circumstances) will be made public, and that team will have 30 days to negotiate with Darvish. The Yankees are playing coy. Of course they are. Bluffing is going to be a big part of the bidding process. I can’t imagine that the Yankees won’t at least put a substantial bid in. They might not go all-in, but they will at least make a bet. Anything they are saying Continue reading The Darvish Lottery Has Begun

Observation of the day

Over the past few weeks or so, we’ve heard a lot coming from the front office about how the price of pitching on this year’s market was supposedly crazy. And perhaps that’s true of the trade market, but we’ve now seen C.J. Wilson and Mark Buehrle sign with new teams for contracts that don’t seem all that unreasonable to me. Buehrle’s is perhaps a large risk, depending on what you think of his stuff moving forward, but the 5 year, $77.5 million deal Wilson signed with Anaheim is, frankly, a steal. That’s fewer nominal dollars than A.J. Burnett and John Lackey signed for years ago, when Wilson is both a better commodity than either of those pitchers, and the best available big league pitcher on the market. If the Yankees didn’t really make a serious attempt to beat that offer, given the current state of their pitching staff, I think it’s safe to say that they weren’t interested in Wilson at any (realistic) price.

And that’s okay, I suppose. If they really don’t think Wilson is a very good pitcher, they shouldn’t make that sort of commitment to him. They’re probably wrong, but rationality is certainly its own virtue. But the fact remains that they need pitching help (that isn’t Freddy Garcia) so let’s consider some possible directions now that Wilson is off the market.

(click “view full pots” to continue reading) Continue reading Observation of the day

The Nail In A.J.’s Coffin

(The following is being syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod) Let’s not waste time trying to sugarcoat it.  A.J. Burnett‘s Yankee career has been an absolute disaster.  It’s been dismal.  A.J. has become the latest in the long line of failed Yankee high-profile free agent pitching signings and made himself the newest poster boy for the “He Can’t Hack It in New York” argument that people love to use when guys fail in pinstripes.  And with the recent NY Post report that the Yankees are actively shopping A.J. this week at the Winter Meetings and are willing to eat some Continue reading The Nail In A.J.’s Coffin

Pujols to sign with Anaheim

Everyone who’s anyone is reporting that Albert Pujols will be taking his talents to South Beach Orange County, apparently signing a 10 year $250 million with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. I don’t really have much to say about it because, while it’s obviously big news, I don’t see it as particularly Earth shaking stuff. Obviously a lot of people are impressed with the Angels’ new roster in the short term (and will be even more impressed if they sign C.J. Wilson as well), but I’m not terribly certain this is a good long term deal. It reminds me of nothing so much as Alex Rodriguez‘s contract, and the Yankees aren’t exactly looking back on that deal with tremendous fondness. If anything, the main difference is that A-Rod was coming off of one of the best seasons in recent memory in 2007, while Pujols is coming off of the worst year of his career.

In any case, for me personally there’s two emotional reactions that stick out. On the one hand, I really hate the Angels. On the other hand, I’m going to really enjoy the meltdown from St. Louis fans over the next few days. They’re the best fans in baseball, doncha know?

Update: In unsurprising news, the Angels are signing C.J. Wilson too. Continue reading Pujols to sign with Anaheim

More WAR projections

The other day, I ran through some pitcher projections. Yesterday, I stumbled across this simple WAR calculator from Wahoo’s on First. Using that, let’s project the WARs (not doing any trades, so we can’t add ’em up, you guys) and get nuts. For the appropriate projected numbers, I’ll use the 2012 ZiPS Projections. I’ll do the starting nine and go in position order. Remember, lower numbers for defense/base running are better in this system. Russell Martin (2 Defense, 3 Base Running, .276 BABIP): 3.5 WAR Mark Teixeira (3 D, 4 BR, .287 BABIP): 3.4 WAR Robinson Cano (3 D, 4 Continue reading More WAR projections

Yu Darvish to be posted this week

Recent speculation about Japanese pitching prospect Yu Darvish has focused on whether he might not be posted at all, and then everyone seemed to agree he’d be posted in January. But last night his agent posted to Twitter that Darvish will be posted “tomorrow,” though I’m not clear if tomorrow means today or Friday. Darvish is the last big name to hit the market, as it were, a hard throwing righty with more upside than anyone available this year. I would expect a lot of interest in him around Major League Baseball, though it’s extremely difficult to predict what everyone is going to bid. The official bidding period is open four days, but it usually takes a week to find out who won a bid, so expect an announcement at the end of next week.

Personally, I was a little lukewarm on Darvish earlier in the offseason, not necessarily enthusiastic about the prospect of a big outlay for a pitcher with no MLB experience. But thanks to the details of the new CBA, and the Yankees’ desire to get their payroll down to $189 before 2014, I think Darvish has become a near necessity for the team if they’re truly trying to add a top of the rotation starter to the roster. Remember that the posting fee they pay for the rights to negotiate with Darvish won’t count against their luxury tax bill at all, so as far as MLB is concerned, that portion of the outlay is tax free. The only portion of the deal the Yankees will be taxed on is the average annual value of Darvish’s contract, a number that shouldn’t be much more than $10 million at the highest. Continue reading Yu Darvish to be posted this week

Yanks Win Posting for Japanese SS; Could Signal Future Moves

(The following is being syndicated from The Captain’s Blog). Considered along side the other big headlines being made at the Winter Meetings, the Yankees winning bid for the rights to Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima doesn’t seem like a big deal. However, it could signal the beginning of a new strategy designed to circumvent some of the onerous restrictions triggered by the new CBA as well as mitigate some of the difficulty in building a bench behind a strong starting lineup. In 10 seasons with the Saitama Seibu Lions of Japan’s Pacific League, Nakajima posted a line of .302/.369/.475 in over 4,500 plate appearances. According to Patrick Newman, who Continue reading Yanks Win Posting for Japanese SS; Could Signal Future Moves