Report: Martin to the Pirates

Moments ago Ken Rosenthal tweeted:

#Pirates reach agreement with Catcher Russell Martin, pending physical. #MLB


Yes, it was a possibility. Reports were hinting toward that outcome but when was the last time the Pirates outbid the Yankees for a player? It’s been a while, if it’s happened at all. And I’m pretty sure the Yankees were left scratching their heads over this decision by Martin.

So who is left for the Yankees to pursue? Mike Napoli? A.J. Pierzynski? And, no, Francisco Cervelli will not be a starting catcher so don’t even suggest it.

The scenarios presented because of this news are actually kind of frightening.

UPDATE: According to multiple reports, it was a two-year/$17M deal. The Yankees offered two years/$14M according to Jon Heyman.

Really? They couldn’t sign him for $3M more?

Thank goodness it’s only November.

And yet another update: The deal was three years/$24M and reports are coming out that the Yankees hadn’t even presented Martin with an offer.

We’ll have a more in depth recap tomorrow on this and on Mo’s deal as well. Continue reading Report: Martin to the Pirates

Yankees Re-Sign Mariano Rivera

The Yankees have agreed to re-sign closer Mariano Rivera to a one year $10 million deal plus incentives. Last season, Rivera’s year was cut short by an ACL tear in early May while he was shagging fly balls. Rivera should be ready to pitch by spring training. Rivera turns 43 today (Happy Birthday!). Since 1980, only 19 pitchers have relived into their age 43 season. Those relievers put together a cumulated just 10 saves through the last 32 years. Rivera will be the oldest official closer since Hoyt Wilhelm finished 39 games in 1970 at the age of 47. The Continue reading Yankees Re-Sign Mariano Rivera

Yankees and Rivera agree to a one-year deal

So it was a Happy Birthday for Mariano Rivera and every Yankee fan who was born on November 29. The Yankees and Mo agreed to a one-year/$10M deal.

Jon Heyman was the first to tweet about it:

#yankees and mariano rivera have agreed on a $10M guarantee for 2013. will also have awards/incentives.

This is good news heading into the weekend before the Winter Meetings. Next order of business, making sure the Yankees have a catcher behind the plate to work with all of the pitchers they re-signed this past week. Continue reading Yankees and Rivera agree to a one-year deal

Yankees may not make offer to Martin

It seems like every day brings a new twist in the free agency of Russell Martin, but today the news is not good if you’re a proponent of bringing Martin back to the Yankees. George King reports that, with the Pirates and Rangers showing much interest in the Yankees’ incumbent catcher, Martin may sign with another club without the Yankees so much as making an offer of their own:

With the Pirates increasing an offer from two to three years for upwards of $22 million and Texas showing interest in Martin, the Yankees feel there is a solid chance Martin grabs a deal .

“He could be off the board before they get to him,’’ a person familiar with the situation said of Martin and the Yankees, who made pitching an early off-season priority over catching and right field.. “The Pirates and Rangers have needs at catcher.’’

King further reports that, though Martin likes the Yankees and would like to remain with the team, he’s not necessarily going to wait around and let the other interested teams move on to other options, especially if the Yankees are reluctant to offer him the prevailing market wage. And yes, this is about Hal Steinbrenner’s austerity edict.

I understand that a lot of people aren’t keen on paying Martin to stick around after he struggled at the plate, but as Stacey and I both agreed last night; I think this underestimates the extent to which viable alternatives are going to be hard to come by. In terms of free agents, it’s basically A.J. Pierzynski or a quasi-platoon scneario with Mike Napoli, neither of whom is likely to come at any less cost than Martin. They could hit the trade market for a young, cheaper, catcher, but that kind of commodity is almost never available, so to get one would likely require a hefty return. The only other option would be the waiver wire, but obviously the pickings there are likely to be slim.

All of which is to say that the choice is likely between re-signing Martin and having Chris Stewart and Francisco Cervelli doing the catching in 2013. Framed that way, I’d like to think Martin 95 wRC+ last season doesn’t look so bad.

Continue reading Yankees may not make offer to Martin

Miley named Manager of the Year

Dave Miley has been named the minor league Manager of the Year by Baseball America. Miley led the Scranton-Wilkes Barre Yankees to a division crown and the second best record in the International League despite being forced to play the entire season on the road due to construction at their own stadium, so the award is certainly a deserved one. Miley was also named the International League Manager of the Year for the second time for his work this past season.

Miley has had one managerial stint in the majors, owning a record of 125-164 from 2003-05, with a 76-86 record in 2004, his only full season. I remember that stint pretty well from being in the area at the time, and in hindsight I think Miley was a pretty average manager all things considered. Those were just some untalented teams, and management was in a period of going through managers like socks hoping to placate a restless fanbase, as I recall. He moved on to the Yankees’ organization after that, where he’s had quite a bit of success in the Triple-A ranks. A big congratulations to him tonight on a job well done. Continue reading Miley named Manager of the Year

Drug testing program could expand soon

MLB and the MLBPA have been discussing potentially expanding the league’s drug testing policy, and now union head Michael Weiner indicates that an agreement on expanded testing would seem to be on the way.

Weiner says the union and MLB have spoken about adding in-season tests for human growth hormone next year. There also is discussion about making the tests more sophisticated for all performance-enhancing drugs.

The devil is in the details, I suppose, and though I don’t particularly care much about those scary, scary, arbitrarily banned substances, drug testing is something that’s between the league and the union. If the players want more testing and more “sophisticated” tests (which I find to be rather questionable language, but that’s not really my area of expertise) that’s there business. I do, however, find the apparent reasoning for this to be rather strange:

Earlier this week, Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz became the eighth player suspended this year under the big league drug program. The eight bans are the most since 2007 and Weiner said the increased number of positive tests has “caught the attention of both sides.”

Again, the parameters of testing really shouldn’t matter much to anyone beyond the league and the players, but I don’t really get the logic in thinking that there’s some sort of problem because the current process is catching more people who breaks the rules. If anything, that tells me that things are working as they should. I guess the endgame here is some sort of utopia where no big league players are breaking the rules but, a) that’s pretty unrealistic, as evidenced by the fact that all laws are broken by some people, b) even if you were to reach that point, the absence of anyone testing positive (we’ll put false positives aside for now) would just prompt the drug hysterics to scream that the program wasn’t working because it wasn’t catching any cheaters. The union ought to be very careful about how sensitive they are to playing PR games they can’t ever win. Continue reading Drug testing program could expand soon

UPDATED: A belated birthday contract for Mo?

According to a report by Jayson Stark of ESPN, it looks like there will be a belated birthday present for Mariano Rivera in the form of a new deal for 2013. (Today is his 43rd birthday.)

The two sides have agreed on the parameters of a one-year deal, the official said, and spent Thursday trying to finish off final details of Rivera’s salary and incentives.

The report also says that Mo would probably earn $11-12M which would be a pay cut but the deal would have incentives that add up to the $15M he made last season.

UPDATE: From the Twitter account of Jon Morosi:

Source: #Yankees, Mariano Rivera are on verge of one-year, $10 million contract. @MLBONFOX

Continue reading UPDATED: A belated birthday contract for Mo?

Fixing the Hall of Fame in one step

I’ll admit it: usually I look forward to Hall of Fame season. The arguments can be fun, you get to make fun of people for silly votes, and sometimes someone puts forward an argument that makes you appreciate a former player in a new light. Heck, it even gave me the excuse to write about medieval witch trials last year. This year, however, that’s not the case. Part of the reason for that is fatigue with arguments that never really change, but a good chunk of it comes from the realization that so many absurdities result from structural deficiencies in the process itself. Most of all I simply find myself wondering a rather simple question: If the Hall of Fame doesn’t take itself seriously, why should I take it seriously?

(click “view full post” to continue reading) Continue reading Fixing the Hall of Fame in one step

The Hall of Fame Ballot is About to Get Very Crowded

The 2013 Hall of Fame ballot has officially been released. Joe Posnanski said in a tweet, “There are at least 14 players on this year’s Hall of Fame ballot I would love to see in the Hall.” Those players? By my guess: Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Craig Biggio, Mark McGwire, Jeff Bagwell, Kenny Lofton, Tim Raines, Alan Trammell, Larry Walker, Rafael Palmeiro, Mike Piazza, Curt Schilling, Sammy Sosa and Edgar Martinez. And that’s not to mention the lingering presence of undeserveds like Jack Morris, Don Mattingly, Lee Smith, Fred McGriff, Bernie Williams, etc. Basically, the ballot is jammed. The steroids Continue reading The Hall of Fame Ballot is About to Get Very Crowded