Nightly Links: Hughes, Joba, Cano

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How about Mike Gonzalez?

Nobody wiggles it quite like Mike

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 interest in Gonzalez in the past. They tried to trade for him back when he was with the Pirates and offered Melky Cabrera for him. They may or may not have shown interest in him again this off season. Jon Heyman was the one who reported it. And yep, you guessed it M-Gon is a Scott Boras client.… Click here to read the rest

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 likely to become much more expensive if he hits the free agent market, and that the Yankees likely won’t have a viable replacement available next year.  Those opposed have pointed to Martin’s injury history as cause for concern, as well as the possible availability of better catchers (Mike Napoli, Miguel Montero, Yadier Molina) hitting the market in the same year.… Click here to read the rest

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. He will likely be the first

Its fitting that Jorge Posada and Jason Varitek both retired this off-season. Their careers in Boston and New York almost exactly coincide with each other. They caught literally hundreds of games opposing each other. Both were outspoken leaders on highly successful teams, and one or the other was behind the plate for each of the bench-clearing incidents that so often marked the early 2000s between the two teams.… Click here to read the rest

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

My original intent in writing this article was to make some sort of grand argument about the benefits of the intense media (and fan) scrutiny surrounding doping in baseball. Basically, I wanted to make the pretentious argument that baseball is actually better off as a sport because of the BALCO and Mitchell report crises. But that was before Ryan Braun won his appeal, and before he was “convicted in the court of public opinion,” as one commenter said (despite Larry’s extremely convincing article to the contrary). Now, I’m not so sure whether baseball is better off—this would be a much more interesting, nuanced opinion, but perhaps not one that lends itself to a great article.

My experience dealing with and living through these doping allegations in baseball has conditioned my work in soccer: it’s hard to live through the Mitchell report, the BALCO scandal, and the “end” of the steroid era as an ardent baseball fan and not have it influence the way you look at other sports.… Click here to read the rest

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 same names time and time again- Banuelos, Betances, Williams, Bichette, Campos, Romine, Sanchez. Beneath that top tier or two of Yankee prospects, there is another group of prospects who could develop into top 5 talent in the next few years, your Brett Marshalls, Slade Heathcotts, Tyler Austins of the world. The players I want to look at today are the guys beneath THAT group; the players who aren’t on many people’s prospect radars, if any at all.… Click here to read the rest

Enjoy Nick Swisher This Season

As our own Brien Jackson has been hammering away at us, the New York Yankees are now budget-conscious. While it is difficult for us to wrap our heads around this new concept, the evidence has been right in front of us all off season. The Yankees passed on all the big-ticket free agents and even dumped A.J. Burnett to save ten million dollars and filled the remainder of the roster with low cost options. The reason, of course, is the new collective bargaining agreement signed during the winter between Major League Baseball its players. The new labor agreement puts serious penalties on spending over a certain limit. While we can all speculate how George Steinbrenner would have handled such penalties, but George is gone and his sons are cut from a slightly different cloth of fiscal thinking.

In 2013, Robinson Cano is going to want to collect what he is worth to the Yankees. That will be a priority. Brett Gardner will make considerably more money even if he has a similar season to last year.… Click here to read the rest