Yankees to sign Okajima to a minor league contract

The Yankees are going to sign left handed pitcher Hideki Okajima to a minor league contract. Since coming over from Japan in 2007, the lefty has spent his career with the Red Sox, though he pitched in just seven big league games for them this past season.

Overall, Okajima’s been good at striking batters out (7.86 K/9) and he’s got decent control (3.14 BB/9). He doesn’t get many grounders (36.8%). He owns a career 3.11 ERA/3.86 FIP/4.11 xFIP split (61 ERA-; 86 FIP-; 96 xFIP-).

He’ll have a chance to make the team out of Spring Training, and his job would be, obviously, to get lefty batters out. He’s pretty damn good at that. He’s not helpless against right handed batters (.253/.323/.397/.720), but kills lefties (.218/.277/.323/.600).

It’s a minor league deal so there’s literally no risk attached. At worst, they get a look. At best, they get another knockout lefty pitcher. … Click here to read the rest

Post DH All-Yankee Lineup

Though I didn’t watch the show, it did get me thinking. All three of the outfielders mentioned in that article, Reggie Jackson; Bernie Williams; and Paul O’Neill, are some of the finest the Yankees have had in the post DH era. Back when this blog was still (partially) The Yankee U, I ran the run scoring projections of an all time Yankee team that included the likes of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and what not. To limit the ridiculousness (even the worst configuration of that lineup would break the run scoring record), I decided to go to the post-DH era Yankees and see what I could come up with. The rules: You had to play for the Yankees for at least five years to qualify for this “honor.” The lineup I came up with was:

1. Derek Jeter, SS
2. Bernie Williams, CF
3. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
4. Reggie Jackson, DH
5. Robinson Cano, 2B
6.… Click here to read the rest

Was passing on Beltran (again) a mistake?

As many of us probably remember from the 2005 offseason, Carlos Beltran really wanted to be a Yankee.  Even though the Yankees ultimately passed on Beltran, he reportedly offered to sign with the Yankees for less than the 7-year $119 million contract he ultimately received from the Mets.  Beltran’s tenure with the Mets was a mixture of ups (MVP caliber seasons in 2006 and 2008) and downs (significant time lost to injury in 2009 and 2010), and I have always wondered how having Beltran in centerfield instead of an aging Bernie Williams, Johnny Damon, or mediocre Melky Cabrera during the mid-2000’s would have affected the Yankees’ outcomes in that era.

Fast forward to the 2011 offseason, where a similar situation presented itself.  Beltran, coming off a 4.7 fWAR season for the Mets and Giants, was offered a 2-year $26 million contract by the Cardinals.  This is a pretty reasonable deal for a 34-year old player of Beltran’s caliber.  Given Beltran’s injury history, the short duration of the contract and relatively modest average annual value make sense.… Click here to read the rest

Another Trade Possibility To Consider

No word on whether or not Joba's TJS rehab includes the same Mickey Mouse workouts he did in 2010.

(The following is being syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)

With all or almost all of what would have been considered “real” trade targets for the Yankees either already traded or re-signed, it’s looking like a near certainty that we won’t be seeing any new rotation arms for 2012.  But there is one guy on the Yankees’ roster who could bring back some value in a trade and actually might make sense to move.  That guy is Joba Chamberlain.  I know he’s still injured and won’t be pitching until some time in the summer of 2012, but early reports have him ahead of schedule in his rehab, and at this point he might hold more value to the Yankees as a trade piece than as a piece of the 25-man roster.

The “Joba as a Starter” experiment has already been conducted by the Yankees, and despite there still being pleas from those in the Yankosphere to give it another go, the Yankees have never shown interest in reviving that option. … Click here to read the rest

Looking way ahead to the trade market

Writer’s Note: This is irresponsible. There is a very small chance of any of this happening. But, it’s December 27th and very little is likely to happen this week, so please, bear with me here.

For fun, I took a look at the list of potential free agents for 2013. Why? Well, we keep saying that if the Yankees don’t sign any pitching depth, they’ll be able to use that money to acquire a starter. Looking at the list of available pitchers, though, does not inspire much confidence.

There are some big names, like Zack Greinke, Matt Cain, and Cole Hamels, but I highly doubt either one of those three will be available in a trade. Other possibilities include Francisco Liriano and Brandon McCarthy, but the former is often injured and the latter is relatively unproven. There’s also Shaun Marcum, but the Brewers might still compete in the NL Central and there’s always the chance they extend him.… Click here to read the rest

The Yankees are pinching pennies

Now, if Cashman’s superiors have finally learned the virtue of not chasing whatever offseason acquisition you can get simply for the sake of doing something, I don’t really want to complain. Over the long term, I will certainly advocate the sort of restraint we’re seeing this offseason. The problem, however, is that they’re not implementing the concept correctly from a baseball standpoint. If you’re only worried about the baseball, the correct strategy would be to take your lumps on the cost of those past mistakes while avoiding further long term spending errors and hope that you can get to where you want to once those contracts come off the books. That is decidedly not what the Yankees are doing, if their cries of poverty are to be believed.

Instead we’re getting a crash-diet of austerity, and as in most such cases, the prescription is leaving the patient in a precarious position. At the end of the day, it simply must be noted that the Yankees’ starting rotation is a huge question mark.… Click here to read the rest

Cashing In on Overpriced Closers: Can Yanks' GM Turn Soriano Into a Starter?

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

Closers have been in both high demand and overabundant supply this offseason.  Jonathan Papelbon set the market early with a 4-year, $50 million contract, and since then, the likes of Heath Bell, Joe Nathan, and Frank Francisco have fallen in line. Meanwhile, Ryan Madson and Francisco Cordero remain on the free agent market, while names like Carlos Marmol, Andrew Bailey, and Joakim Soria continue to be mentioned as hot commodities on the trade front.

Papelbon's four-year deal with the Phillies has set the market for closers. (Photo: Getty Images)

When the Yankees signed Rafael Soriano last winter, it seemed like a reach at the time, and this year’s offseason activity has confirmed it. At 3-years and $35 million, Soriano’s AAV of $11.7 million is just a shade below Papelbon’s and well in excess of what the Marlins and Rangers gave to Bell and Nathan, respectively. Such is the advantage of being the only closer available on the market, especially during a year in which the Yankees aren’t trying to stay on a budget.… Click here to read the rest