Nightly Links: Hughes, Joba, Cano

Another year, another rotation competition. Joe Girardi says that Sabathia and Kuroda are the only ones with guaranteed rotation spots, and expected the media to believe that. Mark Feinsand’s article last night points out how impressive Phil Hughes looks this season. Feinsand isn’t the only one, according to the NY Post, Brian Cashman feels that Hughes looks like a top-of-the-rotation starter, and Joel Sherman believes Hughes has already won the rotation spot. Joba Chamberlain threw off a full mound today. HOORAY! Although he hasn’t begun throwing breaking balls, this marks a big step in his recovery, and the next week Continue reading Nightly Links: Hughes, Joba, Cano

How about Mike Gonzalez?

The Yanks have only one spot open on the 25 man roster. With all of the starting positions filled and all the bench spots taken, the conventional wisdom says the 25th man will be a reliever, preferably a LOOGY to complement Boone Logan. In house candidates are many, and most observers have LHP Cesar Cabral as the most likely candidate to head north with the team. But can the Yanks do better? A recent check of ESPN’s free agent tracker shows that lefty Mike Gonzalez is still available. Should the Yanks give him a look? The Yanks have shown an Continue reading How about Mike Gonzalez?

Camp notes: Cano to hit third, Joba throws

A couple of quick notes from Spring Training today, Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi announced that Robinson Cano will indeed be batting third in the lineup this year, while seeming to indicate that the rest of the batting order remain fluid (though of course we can all guess at what it will be). My initial instinct is to think that having A-Rod batting third with Cano in the clean up spot would be more productive, but the 3-6 spots in the Yankees’ lineup are pretty interchangeable, really. Girardi also stated that only C.C. Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda have guaranteed spots in the starting rotation, which is cute.

On a more substantive note, Joba Chamberlain threw off of a full mound for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery. Joba threw 15 fastballs, a program he’ll repeat Friday, after which the trainers will evaluate a plan to incorporate breaking balls into his throwing program. Continue reading Camp notes: Cano to hit third, Joba throws

The rising price of catchers

In the last week we heard rumors that the Yankees were discussing a multi-year extension with Russell Martin, which would have kept the 29-year old Martin in pinstripes for the next 3 years.  Ultimately, no agreement was reached, and instead Martin will play out 2012 for his agreed-upon 1-year salary.  It sounds like there is mutual desire to keep Martin in New York, but it doesn’t sound like the two parties saw eye-to-eye on the finances. The topic of extending Martin has been discussed on this blog and elsewhere, with mixed opinions.  Those in favor have argued that Martin is Continue reading The rising price of catchers

Swisher wants to remain a Yankee

William touched on this this morning, but odds are this is Nick Swisher‘s last season as a Yankee. Though picking up his 2012 option last fall was a no-brainer, Swisher is a free agent at the end of this season, and it will be hard for the Yankees to come to an agreement with Swisher at anything approaching market value if they’re going to hit their 2014 payroll target, at least after accounting for a new contract with Robinson Cano that we all assume the team will agree to. Nevertheless, Swisher insists he wants to remain in pinstripes as long as possible:

“I wish I could write in a book and script it out,” he said Sunday. “I’d be here for the rest of my career.”

That decision lies mostly in the hands of the Yankees. But Swisher can play a part. A free agent at season’s end, a strong campaign could turn his script into reality.

“I know I’m going to go out there and bust my (butt), do everything I can to make that decision real difficult,” he said.

I’m pretty sure Swisher would take a discount on salary to stay with the Yankees, but I’m not sure he’ll even consider taking a large enough one that he can remain with the team after his contract expires. The Yankees already have large existing commitments to Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, C.C. Sabathia, and Mark Teixeira, and will need to work something out with Cano before the 2014 season begins. They may also want to try to keep Curtis Granderson in town, and are reportedly amenable to an extension with Russell Martin that would include 2014. Add all of that up, and I don’t see any way that Swisher can realistically fit into the team’s plans after this year.

Here’s a Geico SportsNite clip on Swisher’s impending free agency.

(click “view full post” to view video) Continue reading Swisher wants to remain a Yankee

Goodbye, Jason Varitek

Like many Yankee fans, I’ve always hated Jason Varitek. I probably don’t have a good reason for doing so. Varitek was an underrated in the way that most catchers usually are. He was a strong defender, and had more than a few very strong years with the bat. He was never a dirty player, and never made the kind of inflammatory remarks or gestures that gave us reason to hate Manny Ramirez, Pedro Martin, or even Kevin Youkilis. I hated him because he was the public face of the Red Sox, wearing the ‘C’ for absolutely no reason, and therefore an enemy. Continue reading Goodbye, Jason Varitek

Fool Me Once: Can MLB Point FIFA In The Right Direction?

Over the past couple weeks, both sports that I’m intimately involved with—baseball and European soccer—have seen semi-crises surrounding possible doping among one (or more) of their star players. Larry and Brien have done a fantastic job chronicling Ryan Braun’s struggle with doping allegations on IIATMS, so there’s no need for a refresher on all of that. However, over the course of the last week, a well-known journalist (I won’t use his name for fear of another heated interaction) accidentally reported on Irish national radio that one of FC Barcelona’s star midfielders was using “growth hormone,” and had been publicly for some time. I won’t address the actual allegations, which I have since taken down from my site, as he has since corrected himself—apparently, he meant to say “growth factors”—but will instead compare the ways in which baseball and soccer fans have had to deal with the inevitable question of doping.

(click “view full post” to continue reading) Continue reading Fool Me Once: Can MLB Point FIFA In The Right Direction?

Searching Off the Radar for Prospect Value

There’s plenty to get excited about at the top of the Yankees prospect food chain right now. They have a small group of players who could step in and contribute at the Major League level right now, some in bigger fashions than others, and an even bigger group of players in the lower levels of the system with high ceilings who could fill the gap left at the top after the higher-level players move on in the next year or so. Check any top 10 or top 20 list out there and you’re bound to see a lot of the Continue reading Searching Off the Radar for Prospect Value

Enjoy Nick Swisher This Season

How can you not like Nick Swisher? He has been as refreshing and fun a player the New York Yankees have employed in recent memory. But more importantly, Swisher has been as productive on the field for the Yankees as he has been fun to have around. Swisher’s play the last three years as a Yankee has been worth $47.6 million while only costing the Yankees $21.35 million in actual salary. You can’t help but love that value proposition. Nick Swisher’s contract runs out at the end of the 2012 season. Yesterday, Craig Williams of Rant Sports suggested the Yankees strongly consider re-signing the right fielder. The odds of that happening are between zero to slim.

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