Pierzynski and Texas are close to a deal

According to a tweet from Ken Rosenthal, the Texas Rangers are close to making a deal with A.J. Pierzynski.

Sources: Pierzynski, #Rangers closing in on one-year contract. Deal will be pending a physical, not yet done.

It’s not like the Yankees were ever really in on the “Pierzynski” sweepstakes but this news seems to lend some crendence to the “the Yankees are going to find their catcher from within the organization” items we have been hearing and reading about all Winter.

Of course, there is always a possibility that Brian Cashman has something up his sleeve and that he may pull off another trade simliar to the one he made last January when the Yankees acquired Michael Pineda and Jose Campos for Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi.

It’s still December so there is plenty of time for the Yankees to get something done but there is always a chance they take a gamble and go into Spring Training with guys like Francisco Cervelli, Chris Stewart and Austin Romine competing for the starting catcher job. Continue reading Pierzynski and Texas are close to a deal

The Yin/Yang of a returning Raul

The Yankees are still talking with Raul Ibanez about a return to pinstripes and I don’t think I could be more lukewarm about it. My first thought with regards to Lord Voldemort’s look alike–and this dates back to when he was brought on in the first place–is that he’s a guy you let go a year too early rather than a year too late. The Yankees took this approach with fan-favorites (and more accomplished players) Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui, and I don’t think they regret it in the least. But the more I think about this situation, the more Continue reading The Yin/Yang of a returning Raul

The end of #toomanyhomers?

The 2013 Yankees are going to look very different from the 2012 version of the franchise. There will be different faces in the starting lineuo, a familiar face returning in Brett Gardner, and no Nick Swisher. But it might not just be the players who aren’t around anymore, we may be bidding adieu to the hand-wringing over “too many homers” as well.

The 2012 Yankees hit a lot of home runs, more than any other Yankees team has ever hit. As such, the exodus of 3-5 lineup regulars means that a lot of those long balls will go with them. Swisher, Russell Martin, Andruw Jones, and Eric Chavez, all of whom will be playing elsewhere next season, combined to hit a total of 75 home runs last year. Add in the 19 the as un-signed Raul Ibanez hit, and that’s a reduction of 94 total long balls. Some of that production will be made up for elsewhere, don’t get me wrong, but with two outfielders and a catcher who may not combine to hit 20 home runs between the three of them penciled in to the Opening Day lineup right now it’s pretty much a given that this year’s team will be hitting many fewer balls into the stands than we’ve grown accustomed to seeing.

On the bright side, that’s not the same thing as saying that they’ll be a worse team, just that they’ll go about accumulating runs (and runs saved) in a different manner. For example, home runs or no home runs a full season from Brett Gardner will almost certainly make them better in left field than they were last year, and even right field probably won’t be too much of a drop off with Swisher gone. As crazy as it may sound, Swisher was only worth an additional 2.6 fWAR over Ichiro in 2012, despite a 38 point advantage in wRC+. That’s because Ichiro defense and baserunning skills combined to net 15.9 runs above average, or roughly 1.5 wins. If we assume that his pinstripe bounce wasn’t a complete mirage and factor in the right handed hitting outfielder the Yankees desperately want to obtain, it’s entirely possible that the Yankee will be able to get the ~4 wins from right field that they’ve become accustomed to getting from Swisher.

But unless something drastically changes next month, for better or worse, there will almost certainly be many fewer home runs. Continue reading The end of #toomanyhomers?

Yankees Finding Undervalued Pieces In Old Players

In Moneyball, Billy Beane uses a number of advanced statistics to find undervalued players on the market. His rival, the New York Yankees, don’t need Sabermetrics, since they have wagons full of cash. While that’s partially true, (the part about all the money) the Yankees were one of the first organizations to implement advanced statistics, well before the story took place in 2002. Now that the Yankees have a budget, we’re starting to see them take a step forward in finding undervalued players. Most recently, the Yankees have signed Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, Kevin Youkilis, and Ichiro Suzuki. The Continue reading Yankees Finding Undervalued Pieces In Old Players

It’s official: Ichiro is back

Word of this deal has been around for a week or so, but today the Yankees officially announced that they have reached an agreement with outfielder Ichiro Suzuki to return to the team in 2013 and 2014. The 39 year old Ichiro will indeed be getting a two year contract that will pay him a $6.5 million salary in both 2013 and 2014, for a total of $13 million. One of the best contact hitters in recent memory, Ichiro is just 394 hits shy of 3,000 in his MLB career, despite getting a late start in the states due to beginning his career in his native Japan. Continue reading It’s official: Ichiro is back

Yankees Sign Ichiro Suzuki

Finally. The Yankees have finished wrapping up their contract with outfielder Ichiro Suzuki. The deal is exactly what we thought it was, 2 years and $13 million. Once his physical is completed, Ichiro Suzuki should be the new right fielder for the New York Yankees. Ichiro hit .322/.340/.454 in his time with the Yankees last season, and I wrote a bit about how we can project him for 2013. Though I think it’s good to be optimistic about Ichrio successfully replacing Nick Swisher next season, I agree with Brad’s recent post about 2 years being too much. The Yankees now Continue reading Yankees Sign Ichiro Suzuki

Yankees considered moving Austin backed to third

Well this is interesting: Chad Jennings reports that the Yankees considered moving top prospect Tyler Austin back to third base in the wake of the Alex Rodriguez injury news.

This winter, the Yankees at least considered the idea of moving Austin back to third base, but they ultimately decided to keep him in right field for the time being.

“He’s a better defender in right,” vice president of baseball operations Mark Newman said. “But (putting him back at third) is something we’ve thought about. It’s a possibility.”

Austin played third base in 2011, his first full season in the Yankees’ system, but shifted to right field last year and took off on a tear that took him from Low-A Charleston on Opening Day to a cup of coffee with Double-A Trenton to end the season. He drew surprisingly positive reviews for his work in the outfield, certainly better than the scouting reports on his third base defense. He’s definitely a bat first player though, so the defense just needs to be passable so long as he keeps raking at the plate.

Of course, Austin is probably still at least a year away from the big leagues, so it really makes no sense to talk about him as a possible fill in for A-Rod. That said, if he can stick at third base he could certainly become the heir apparent to the spot, assuming Alex will be forced into a primary DH role in the not too distant future. Then again, the Yankees need an outfielder too, so if Austin is more comfortable in that position there’s no particular need to move him in order to find a place to play if and when he’s ready for the big leagues. Continue reading Yankees considered moving Austin backed to third

2012 Statistical Trends: Joba’s Comeback

(The following is being syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod) 2012 was a rough year for Joba Chamberlain.  After being shut down in 2011 and undergoing Tommy John Surgery, he was in the process of working himself back to full strength to make a summer 2012 return when he suffered his now infamous trampoline accident that resulted in a dislocated ankle.  When reports first came out on that injury, it sounded potentially career-threatening, but follow-up examinations and surgery made it much less so and Joba was able to return to a Major League mound in August.  Joba pitched to a Continue reading 2012 Statistical Trends: Joba’s Comeback

What’s next? What’s left to do?

Though they haven’t exactly filled the back pages along the way, the Yankees have very methodically gone about keeping some very key players this year, plus signing Kevin Youkilis to replace the injured Alex Rodriguez. A lot of people seem to be waiting for the next big move, however, this year’s equivalent to the trades that brought Curtis Granderson and Michael Pineda to town and seemingly came out of nowhere. While I won’t say that nothing like that will happen this year (though I don’t expect to see it happen), I will note that one impediment to such a move is the simple fact that the Yankees don’t have that many open spots on the roster right now. For the sake of illustration, here’s a rundown of the players the Yankees currently have who would seem to be a lock for the 25 man roster.

Starting pitchers

C.C. Sabathia
Hiroki Kuroda
Andy Pettitte
Phil Hughes
Ivan Nova/David Phelps

Bullpen

Mariano Rivera
David Robertson
Joba Chamberlain
David Aardsma
Boone Logan
Clay Rapada

Catchers

Francisco Cervelli
Chris Stewart

Infielders

Mark Teixeira
Robinson Cano
Derek Jeter
Kevin Youkilis

Outfielders

Brett Gardner
Ichiro Suzuki
Curtis Granderson

There’s a little bit of wiggle room here around the margins (Phelps or Nova could go to Triple-A, different relievers could enter the picture), but the overall picture is pretty much the same either way. The Yankees could maybe use a little bit of depth to the starting rotation, and the catching situation is what it is, but for the most part the core of the team is set. There are 12 pitchers on this list, and every starting position in the field is filled as well, with 21 spots taken. Basically the only thing that’s left to do is fill a bench, and find a DH. We know the Yankees want to get a right-handed hitting outfielder, so that in addition to a DH gets us to 23 players, with just the backup infielder spots unfilled.

None of this precludes any additional moves this winter, of course, especially if the Yankees are willing to consider trading players who are already in this picture, but it does mean that the team has the bulk of an Opening Day roster filled out. And given the way they’ve gone about business so far this offseason, I think it’s a better bet than not that we won’t see any major changes to this landscape. Continue reading What’s next? What’s left to do?