Bill Hall, and the (Not So) Super-Utility Bargain Bin

With the hot stove dwindling just below a simmer, yesterday saw Ken Rosenthal “break” a story with respect to the Yankees’ interest in … Bill Hall. This is indicative of, at the very least, Cashman’s continued interest in having a veteran presence to spell Alex Rodriguez. A more optimistic and/or pessimistic view may be that the team is looking to send Eduardo Nunez packing – be it to Scranton to work on his ability to be the shortstop of the future, or to another team … with the reader determining which version is the better-case scenario. Regardless of your preference, Continue reading Bill Hall, and the (Not So) Super-Utility Bargain Bin

Jorge Posada’s HOF Case

Since Jorge Posada‘s retirement after a distinguished 17-year career, a consensus has emerged on his Hall of Fame case.  Most people will probably place Posada in the “Hall of Very Good” with other Yankee legends such as Don Mattingly and Bernie Williams (presumably), and as a small hall supporter in general, I understand this viewpoint. The anti-Hall case for Posada was articulated in a recent article on Fangraphs by Marc Klaasen.  Klaasen argued that Posada’s career fWAR of 47.6 is well below the standard set by Andrew Dawson, a “baseline” hall-of-famer, who had a career WAR of 62.3.  Klaasen also Continue reading Jorge Posada’s HOF Case

Campos is Yankees’ 5th best prospect

Lost in the shuffle of the excitement that surrounded the Jesus Montero-for-Michael Pineda trade earlier this month was the fact that the Yankees also acquired another very solid young pitching prospect in Jose Campos. Campos lit up short-season ball in the Mariners’ system last year, and was ultimately deemed the third best prospect in the Northwestern League by Baseball America. Now, via Anthony McCarron, Baseball America has revised their organizational top 10 prospect lists in the wake of the trade, and they have Campos listed as the fifth best prospect in the Yankees’ system, behind only Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances, Gary Sanchez, and Mason Williams, in that order. That’s pretty high praise for a 19 year old hurler who hasn’t gotten to full season ball yet, and a good reminder that the big trade wasn’t all about Montero and Pineda.

For my part, I really don’t know very much about Campos at all. As far as the basics go, he’s listed at 6’4″ and 195 pounds, so he has a pretty good pitching frame he could grow into and, like a lot of 19 year olds, he’s heavily reliant on his fastball at this stage in his career. Thankfully, it sounds like his fastball is a really good pitch, with scouting reports having it sitting in the mid-90’s and pounding the strikezone. Campos reportedly has a developing secondary pitch that’s sort of a slurve right now, as well as a nascent change up. In other words, he’s very young, very raw, and a long way from the majors, but there’s a lot to like there and the Yankees managed to add another high ceiling young player to the mix along with the second starter they were looking for this offseason. Hard to argue with that. Continue reading Campos is Yankees’ 5th best prospect

Yankees hire Jim Hendry

According to Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago, the Yankees have hired former Cubs general manager Jim Hendry as an assistant to Brian Cashman, in a move that looks very similar to the one they made with Kevin Towers after the Padres decided not to keep his as their GM after the 2009 season. Hendry was a bit of a disaster on the North side, signing the number of bad contracts and leaving the Cubs’ minor league system a mess, but prior to taking the top job he worked in scouting and development for the Cubbies, and did help them build some pretty good clubs in the early part of the last decade. I don’t know what, exactly, the Yankees envision Hendry bringing to the table, but considering that this is the second time they’ve retained a former National League general manager in such a fashion, I wonder if they aren’t looking for him to bring a little bit more familiarity with the senior circuit to the table. Continue reading Yankees hire Jim Hendry

Your moment of zen

Blogger Murray Chass throwing down on Scott Boras sock-puppet and insufferable scold CBS reporter Jon Heyman? Yeah, I’ll read that.

On the other hand, there was this report quoting one of its reporters, Jon Heyman: “Heyman also notes that the finalists to land Fielder were the Nationals, Tigers and” – look out, here it comes – “one other ‘mystery team.’”

It is no surprise that Heyman would cite a mystery team that no one else knew about, even if he didn’t identify the team. Heyman, according to an Associated Press report on the Fielder signing, “first reported the agreement with Fielder.”

That Heyman is first with a major Boras signing has come to be expected in the baseball and reporting industries. There’s nothing wrong with a reporter having a good relationship with an agent, but the Heyman-Boras link has been so beneficial to Boras that years ago baseball executives told me they understood that Heyman was on Boras’ payroll.

I’m not sure what’s better: seeing crusty ole’ Murray Chass calling out Heyman like that, or the fact that he indirectly cites Rich Lederer to do so.Score this one for the bloggers. Continue reading Your moment of zen

Who is the X-Factor?

I define X-Factor as, “The player who has the greatest range of variation.” An X-Factor could be really good, or really bad. X-Factors ultimately will make-or-break your season. C.C. Sabathia may be the best player on the roster, but he’s so consistent it’s almost boring. Players may be aging, but many are pretty easily judged by the back of their baseball cards. So, who is the 2012 Yankee X-Factor? I can think of three candidates. Michael Pineda – Pineda could have a relatively poor (say, an ERA around 4.oo) 2012 season and still be a good acquisition for Brian Cashman Continue reading Who is the X-Factor?

The looming curse of Mo

Well, that escalated quickly. I suppose I’m not surprised that there are people who wouldn’t trade David Robertson for Dominic Brown straight up (which I wasn’t even expecting could happen in the first place, which makes the reaction even more interesting), but I am surprised by the vehemence with which some people rejected the notion of trading a relief pitcher with as many career innings pitched as Hiroki Kuroda threw in 2011 alone for one of the top position player prospects out of hand. Especially considering the relative ease with which the Yankees have built quality bullpens in the past few seasons.

The most interesting part of the thread, in my opinion, was when the topic shifted to Mariano Rivera. Long story short, I ended up posing the following question: would you have traded Mariano Rivera for Andruw Jones or Vladimir Guerrero (the top two prospects in baseball at the time) prior to the 1997 season? It’s not a perfect analogy, I suppose, but it’s reasonably close, given that Robertson and Brown are both not quite as good as Rivera and Jones/Vlad were at the time. And honestly, the question isn’t as clear cut as I originally expected it to be, as Mo actually stacks up pretty darn well next to the two outfielders. He’s third on the list in bWAR, but not by much (Mo has been worth 56.3 wins above replacement over his career compared to 59.2 for Vlad and 60.4 for Jones) thanks to Mo’s superior longevity. Factor in the value of Mo’s great work in the postseason and I don’t think it’s at all hard to argue that, for the sum totals of their career, Mariano has been the most valuable player of the three.

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Is There Hope For A.J. In 2012?

(The following is being syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod) After the additions of Michael Pineda and Hiroki Kuroda, it seemed like a forgone conclusion that A.J. Burnett‘s days as a starting pitcher for the New York Yankees were over.  It had already been reported that Cash shopped him around at the Winter Meetings while offering to eat $8 million of his remaining contract, and that was before the Yankees were flush with the rotation depth that they now have.  Once Pineda and Kuroda were in the fold, it seemed obvious that Ninja Cash already had the next move lined Continue reading Is There Hope For A.J. In 2012?

Whelan – Yanks’ Last Tie to Sheffield

There was little surprise this week when Kevin Whelan was designated for assignment. After Hiroki Kuroda passed his physical to seal his one-year deal with the New York Yankees, room was needed on the 40-man roster. Whelan was the most obvious choice to go. We’ll have to see what this means for Whelan as both the player and the team have less than two weeks to decide their options. Whelan can either be traded, released or head back to the Yankees’ minor league system if he clears waivers. That final option can be refused and allow Whelan to purse other options as a free agent. Whelan is the last remaining tie to the Gary Sheffield era as Whelan was one of the three players the Yankees obtained from the Detroit Tigers for Sheffield (along with Anthony Claggett and Humberto Sanchez) in a traded concluded on November 10, 2006.

It seems strange to look back on the Sheffield years now that we are six years removed from them. Each season seems like an epic drama, especially in New York. We become wrapped up in a season’s story lines and live them out each day until the season is over. 2006 seems like a bad dream in retrospect. In 2006, it had been six years since the Yankees had won a World Series title. Joe Torre was under increased scrutiny despite his ninth straight American East title. The scrutiny was maximized as the Yankees again lost their first post season series that year to the Tigers, three games to one. It was the second straight season the Yankees’ post season had gone one and out. Torre would only last one more season.

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