Rivera throws from a mound, sort of

Mariano Rivera was back on a mound for the first time since tearing his ACL on Friday, but don’t get too excited, he’s not going to be throwing simulated games next week. Via Bryan Hoch, Mo took to the mound and tossed some “prop baseballs” as part of a commercial shoot yesterday. Still, it was Rivera’s first time on a mound in six months, and the Yankees’ closer told Hoch that he felt good about it all the same. “I’m feeling good,” said Rivera. “The rehab has been great; it’s been tough, but at the same time, I’m seeing good results.” And though he said he hasn’t “discussed anything” in terms of a new contract, he reiterated that he’s absolutely coming back for another season. “Like I told you guys before, I didn’t want to go out like that.”… Click here to read the rest

Kuroda rejects offer

You can add Hiroki Kuroda to the list of players who rejected their qualifying offers. He had until 5 p.m. tonight to decide.

In fact, every player who received the $13.3M qualifying offer from their respective teams, B.J. Upton, Michael Bourn, Kuroda, Nick Swisher, Rafael Soriano, Kyle Lohse, Adam Laroche, and Josh Hamilton, rejected them.

If Kuroda, Soriano and Swisher all sign elsewhere, the Yankees will get draft picks.… Click here to read the rest

Swisher, Soriano, reject offer

Obviously not a surprise, but now it’s official: Nick Swisher and Rafael Soriano have both turned down their qualifying offer from the Yankees, and will remain free agents. The Yankees are not expected to make an attempt to keep either player on a multi-year contract, but they will receive a supplemental first round draft pick for each if/when they sign with another team.

The Yankees are also waiting for Hiroki Kuroda’s decision on his offer. That’s not such a foregone conclusion as the other two, but the Yankees expect Kuroda to reject his offer as well. … Click here to read the rest

Baseball America’s top 10 Yankee prospects

Baseball America is out with their list of the Yankees’ top ten prospects today, and the list has some rather…interesting quirks. You can get the whole list for free here, but need to be a subscriber to read the full scouting reports. Here’s the list:

1. Mason Williams OF
2. Slade Heathcott OF
3. Gary Sanchez C
4. Tyler Austin OF
5. Jose Campos RHP
6. Brett Marshall RHP
7. Angelo Gumbs 2B
8. Manny Banuelos LHP
9. Ty Hensley RHP
10. Rafael DePaula RHP

I won’t put out my own rankings until late February, but I’ve got some quick thoughts on these rankings after the jump.

-Someone really likes Slade Heathcott, eh? I would imagine that the first instinct reaction of a lot of people will be to be taken aback by seeing him ranked ahead of Sanchez and Austin, but in truth it’s not as crazy as it probably seems at first blush. After all, we’re talking about a former first round draft pick who has always had the potential to be a five tool athlete.… Click here to read the rest

Re-Signing Russ Is The Right Move

Bring this guy back. Courtesy of Jim McIsaac/Newsday

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

It could be a lot different.  Russell Martin could be kicking back right now recuperating from the long season and waiting to enter the second year of a 3-year contract.  But he chose to decline the Yankees’ offer before this season and took the plunge on another 1-year deal.  That plan backfired a little bit on him, as Martin’s .211/.311/.403 batting this season didn’t do a lot to help his negotiating leverage this offseason.  But Martin is a known commodity in the Yankee organization, and a valued on at that, and down season or not it sounds like things are already progressing towards a new deal to stay in the Bronx.

Anthony McCarron of The Daily News reported last Sunday that the team and Martin’s agent have already talked and that, “it was all very positive.”  Nobody is close to putting pen to paper yet, but the fact that talks are starting this quickly shows there is desire on both sides to have Russ remain in a Yankee uniform next year. … Click here to read the rest

Joakim Soria Seems Like A No-Brainer For The Yankees

Rafael Soriano will not accept his $13.3m qualifying offer, and the Yankees look destined to bring Mariano Rivera back for at least the 2013 season. The team will lose one great closer, and gain back the greatest closer. Still, they could have used the type of reliable setup man they lost when Soriano was promoted to closer, and Cory Wade was demoted to Triple-A.

The Mexicutioner

The outlook for next season has Rivera closing and David Robertson setting up for him in the 8th inning. With Joba Chamberlain and David Aardsma fully recovered from Tommy John surgery, they figure to compete for late inning relief work. Despite the upside of both players, they represent lottery tickets with their injury history. Guys like Boone Logan, Cody Eppley, and Clay Rapada did their part in 2012, but it’s hard to imagine any of them emerging as a high-leverage reliever. The Yankees have the opportunity to now hedge their bets on Chamberlain and Aardsma, and throw in a third lottery ticket.… Click here to read the rest

Morning update: Swisher and Kuroda

Today is the deadline for free agents to accept or reject qualifying offers from their respective teams, and the Yankees are waiting on three such decisions. We’ve already hear that, as expected, Rafael Soriano will decline his offer, and Mark Feinsand reports that Nick Swisher will do so the same. That, of course, is also not a surprise, and Feinsand also reports that Swisher has already received serious interest from five teams, including the Mariners and Rangers. The Mariners seem like a good fit to me, as they desperately need help at the plate and would probably benefit by putting some additional resources into trying to actually compete before they have to make a serious decision about Felix Hernandez‘s future there. There’s also been a lot of noise here in the Baltimore area that the Orioles have him on their radar, another match that would make a lot of sense given that, beyond some starting pitching, the O’s could really use some more on base guys.… Click here to read the rest

Marlins name Tino Martinez their hitting coach

Earlier today, there were reports that the Red Sox and Tino Martinez were in talks to have Martinez join Boston’s coaching staff as their hitting coach. Yankee fans were horrified. Tino in a Sox uniform? The horror!

Well, fret no more kids. Danny Knobler reported via his Twitter account that Martinez has been named hitting coach for the Miami Marlins.

The move came out of nowhere but that’s the way these things go sometimes. Remember Mark Teixeira’s signing? Or even the A-Rod trade? And no, I’m not comparing these moves, I’m just saying that baseball is, well, unpredictable.

Honestly, I would have been happy for Tino either way and it’ll be good to see him back in baseball once again.… Click here to read the rest