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 two new additions, they are likely to continue to plague the Yankees.  The signing of Wilson adds depth and quality to an already strong rotation that includes Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, and Ervin Santana, making the prospect of facing this team in a short series a daunting one.  The bullpen, featuring fireballing youngster Jordan Walden and lefty Scott Downs will be solid, and the lineup, previously a weak point, adds the future hall of famer Pujols to Yankee-killer Howie Kendrick, phenom Mike Trout, and speedster Peter Bourjos to make a nice core for years to come.… Click here to read the rest

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 publicly about Darvish is an attempt to drive the bidding price down.

So, what’s your bet? How much do you bid for Darvish?

I’m willing to bid $55 million.… Click here to read the rest

Observation of the day

1. Sign Yu Darvish: This is the most obvious direction for the Yankees to take now, and as I outlined this morning, it actually makes more financial sense for the Bombers, since the posting fee they pay the Nippon Ham Fighters won’t count against their luxury tax bill This would likely make Darvish appear to be a cheaper alternative to Wilson, and even Buehrle, while providing more upside. There’s a risk they don’t win the bid, of course, since the posting is done by blind bidding, but this is probably a better strategy than signing Wilson anyway, so as long as they don’t lowball their bid I’d be okay with it.

2. Wait for Cole Hamels: I’m not really buying this idea, but it was proposed to me on Twitter earlier, so I’ll at least address it briefly. It’s an idea that I could certainly get behind with a guarantee Hamels would be available, but I remain fairly convinced Hamels will be staying in Philadelphia.… Click here to read the rest

The Nail In A.J.’s Coffin

Now that the word is out that the Yanks are trying to shop him, we should expect to see a lot more of Bad A.J. in 2012.

(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 of his remaining salary to sweeten the deal, the Yankees are now in a position where they basically HAVE TO trade A.J.

Let’s review his time as a Yankee quickly.  In 2009, A.J.… Click here to read the rest

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 BR, .309 BABIP): 4.3 WAR

Alex Rodriguez (3 D, 3 BR, .291 BABIP): 3.2 WAR (Only projected by ZiPS for 108 games and 405 AB)

Derek Jeter (5 D, 2 BR, .306 BABIP): 1.8 WAR (yikes)

Brett Gardner (1 D, 1 BR, .286 BABIP): 2.3 WAR

Curtis Granderson (4 D, 2 BR, .244 BABIP): 4.1 WAR

Nick Swisher (3 D, 4 BR, .295 BABIP): 2.9 WAR

Jesus Montero (0 D as DH, 4 BR, .297 BABIP): 1.3 WAR… Click here to read the rest

Yanks Win Posting for Japanese SS; Could Signal Future Moves

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

Nakajima lines a run-scoring single during the final game of the 2009 WBC, which was won by Japan. (Photo: Getty Images)

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 hosts a website dedicated to Japanese baseball, he is a plus defender with a strong enough arm to play all three infield positions. Although statistics and scouting reports about Japanese players should be taken with a grain of salt, all signs seem to suggest he has the potential to be a solid utility infielder.… Click here to read the rest