Yankees end relationship with StubHub

MLB officially re-upped their agreement with StubHub yesterday, and to exactly no one’s surprise the Yankees joined the Angels and the Cubs in opting out of the agreement. Instead, they’ll be using Ticketmaster as their official re-seller in a move that the team called “fan friendly,” which caused George Orwell to rise out of his grave in admiration.

Let’s be clear: there’s nothing fan friendly about this decision, and there’s not supposed to be. The Yankees have had StubHub in their sights for some time now, specifically because of the brand’s association with cheap tickets. The Yankees blamed this for their sparse and stoic crowds, but that’s ridiculous. As a basic matter of fact, lower ticket prices means higher demand for tickets, so if StubHub were really having that big of an impact it should be creating higher numbers at the turnstile, not lower. The “problem,” such as it were, is that the common fans awareness of StubHub as a destination for below face value tickets for non-premium games meant fewer people going to the Yankees and paying face value for those tickets, and apparently was leading some season ticket holders to wonder if they were being played for fools.… Click here to read the rest

Could This Be The End Of Rodriguez At Third Base?

Another year deeper into Alex Rodriguez‘ 10 year contract, and we’re already on his second hip surgery. The 37 year old third baseman is in a perpetual decline, and health isn’t helping much. While he’s dealt with some fluke injuries over the last two years, Rodriguez is barely starting half the games at third base. In 2013, he’ll be lucky to start on the field for a couple of months, as the team only plans for him to return in June or July.

When Rodriguez returns to baseball next season, he could very well have already turned 38 already, and coming off his second major hip surgery, amongst a number of other leg problems in recent years. Assuming he’s able to make a full recovery, and cartilage damage hasn’t dampened his range, he’ll still be a valuable fielder at the hot corner. The Yankees still have $114 million invested in him though, and pushing him any further on the field may carry a huge risk for his future.… Click here to read the rest

Yankees set to re-sign Ichiro

With their pitching targets in hand and Kevin Youkilis on hold, the Yankees have turned their attention to addressing their hole in right-field, and that means getting serious with Ichiro Suzuki. The Yankees have been pursuing Ichiro fiercely for the past few days, and now pretty much all the usual sources are reporting that a deal between the two sides is imminent. No word on the contours being discussed, but it’s safe to assume the 39 year old Ichiro will only be in line for a one year deal, with a pretty steep decline in his salary to boot.

After kicking this around last night, I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it. My first inclination is to be okay with it, but I do worry that I’m letting Ichiro’s surprisingly strong finish to last season cloud my estimation of what we can reasonably expect him to do in 2013. Is .322/.340/.454 over a full season a reasonable expectation for a 39 year old who hit .272/.310/.335 back in 2011?… Click here to read the rest

On the Money

TYA’s Matt Imbrogno joined Stacey and I again tonight, and once again the three of us had entirely too much fun discussing the hot stove and…other things in baseball. But mostly we talked about the big offseason developments that have broken in the last few days, what the Yankees are up to, what we think about the impending return of Ichiro, and we may or may not have gotten an offer from the Dodgers midway through the hour. Enjoy!

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What about Austin Romine?

Perhaps the most shocking development so far this offseason was the failure to retain the services of Russell Martin. Martin hasn’t exactly put our warm memories of Jorge Posada‘s bat to sleep, but he gave the Yankees two respectable seasons behind the dish. That’s why it was surprising when the Pirates out bid the Yankees for his services. Seldom do the Bombers let their man walk. Martin wasn’t going to be a Yankee for a decade, but it was worth it to keep him around for another year.

There’s no use crying over spilled milk. Martin is gone. Fortunately the Yankees are deepest in their farm system at Catcher. That’s part of why the team was comfortable letting Jesus Montero go in trade. Gary Sanchez is just 20 years old, and his bat arguably has as much promise as Montero’s. But Sanchez is a few seasons away. Is 2013 the season of Austin Romine?

Romine has never had the same hype as Sanchez or Montero because he’s never shown the same promise with the stick.… Click here to read the rest

Cracking The Hot Stove Code

Last week, we had four days of Winter Meetings to look forward to, and all we got were four days of rumors. (1,2,3,4) The Yankees haven’t needed this much TLC since 2008, and now they get to do it with a budget in mind. On top of that, the free agent market isn’t exactly booming with potential. Brian Cashman may have missed a number of outfield  and infield free agents last week, but none of them were “must-haves”.

He has to please the fans with a winning team, he has to please ownership by staying within a budget, and he has to do his job with the largest media market in American sports breathing down his neck. How’s he going to get his job done when the media is broadcasting all his weaknesses to every baseball organization and agent he needs to negotiate with? He makes stuff up.

If you’ve followed any of the rumor updates from last week, you’ll see that the number of contradicting reports is ridiculous.… Click here to read the rest

Rays, Royals, complete Shields-Myers swap

The Rays have been shopping James Shields around the league for weeks to multiple suitors, but it would appear now that they have settled on a partnership with Kansas City. The Rays will be shipping out not only Shields, but also Wade Davis, and in exchange they’ll be getting outfielder Wil Myers, RHP Jake Odorizzi, LHP Mike Montgomery, and 3B Patrick Leonard.

My first thought here is that Tampa Bay is getting a lot of recognizable names. Myers, of course, is the centerpiece and one of the top five prospects in baseball, but Odorizzi was Kansas City’s top pitching prospect and also somewhere in the top 75-100, and Montgomery was formerly viewed as their top pitching prospect before struggling quite a bit in the last couple of years. But unlike the Royals, who have been awful at developing pitching from their vaunted farm system, the Rays seem to have a magic touch with their young hurlers. If they can find a way to help both Odorizzi and Montgomery reach their potential in the big leagues, this is going to go down as a mammoth haul for them.… Click here to read the rest

Rosenthal: Yankees making a push for Ichiro

So Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports is reporting that the Yankees are “all over” Ichiro Suzuki.

 “They are all over him,” one source says. “That (a deal with Ichiro) will happen.”

That quote made me laugh just because of the imagery.

Ichiro came over to the Yankees in July after a trade with Seattle. He batted .261 with a .642 OPS in his 95 games with the Mariners. Then turned things around once he got to New York and batted .322 with a .794 OPS in 67 games with the Yankees.… Click here to read the rest