Quick hit: A-Rod issued a statement against Selig and MLB

Alex Rodriguez issued a statement responding to the comments Bud Selig made during the World Series about standing behind MLB’s investigation team.

Here’s what A-Rod said:

“I am deeply troubled by my team’s investigative findings with respect to MLB’s conduct. How can the gross, ongoing misconduct of the MLB investigations division not be relevant to my suspension, when my suspension supposedly results directly from that division’s work?

It is sad that Commissioner Selig once again is turning a blind eye, knowing that crimes are being committed under his regime. I have 100% faith in my legal team. To be sure, this fight is necessary to protect me, but it also serves the interests of the next 18-year-old coming into the league, to be sure he doesn’t step into the house of horrors that I am being forced to walk through.”

Oh snap.

And, you guys, he actually waited until after the World Series to release the statement. Can you believe it? Alex is growing up. Continue reading Quick hit: A-Rod issued a statement against Selig and MLB

The best laid plans often go astray

I had a plan this week. I was going to write a post about 2013 and how awful it has been for me both personally and in baseball terms. It was going to be called, “2013 sucks: A rant primarily about baseball with some life stuff thrown in for good measure,” and it was going to be epic because it all hinged upon whether the Red Sox clinched the World Series in six games or seven.

Or so I thought.

Last night, after the Red Sox beat the Cardinals 6-1 in Game Six and captured their third World Series of the 21st century, instead of being angry or annoyed about it, I was completely indifferent. I thought to myself, “Boston just won the World Series but so what?” and I think it’s because I’m finally realizing that baseball isn’t the end all be all of life. And I know some people will disagree with me on that statement but hear me out for a few moments.

Over the past decade or so, I have gone through numerous changes. I’ve lost and gained friends, I’ve lost and gained jobs, I’ve lost and gained places to live, I’ve lost and gained a lot of weight and in early 2007, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. That dreary day in early January changed my life. I honestly can’t say if it was for better or worse but what I can say is that having a diagnosis and finally knowing that there was a reason for the way I was behaving and for the way I was feeling, was a relief.
Continue reading The best laid plans often go astray

Ready or Not, the Offseason Has Officially Begun

With the Red Sox beating out the Cardinals last night, the offseason officially started today. If you’re new to following baseball during the hot stove, or you want more specific dates, I posted the offseason schedule earlier this month.

Just to quickly explain the process over the next couple of days and weeks, major league players, like Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, and Hiroki Kuroda are all officially free agents starting today. The Yankees have up until November 5th to offer any of their departing players a qualifying offer (1 year $14.1 million). The next day, November 6th, is the last day that organizations can exclusively negotiate with their departing free agents. For example, the Yankees are the only team that gets to talk to Cano about money and contract length up until this date. Other teams can express interest, talk about their offseason plans, but cannot discuss a contract with the second baseman. On November 11th, free agents must let teams know if they’re accepting or rejecting the qualifying offer, and if they don’t accept it, the team will receive a first-round compensation pick in the June draft, assuming they sign with another major league team. After this November 11th date, free agent signings usually begin. The GM Meetings also begin this day, where a lot of the blueprints for trades are worked out.

What should you expect from this offseason? This morning, Brad posted about the likelihood of Yankee players receiving qualifying offers. This is a process under the relatively new CBA, and no free agent accepted this offer last year. It did cost some free agents in the 2012-2013 offseason, as the draft pick compensation tied to these players means that the new signing team loses their own first-round pick (assuming it isn’t protected). Due to the leverage lost in rejecting a qualifying offer, there’s a good chance we see at least one, if not a few, players accepting qualifying offers this season.

Once teams know who will be returning and who will be testing the market after deciding on that $14.1 million offer, teams will have some of their offseason strategy set at the GM meetings, where they’ll find out about players available by trade. Usually nothing really happens during this process, but the groundwork is laid for some deals to happen less than a month later at the Winter Meetings.

For the Yankees, who want to invest $300 million this offseason, the team will likely be very active on the free agent market. There are a number of needs, but the team also has a big problem to deal with that could hinder their offseason plans. If Alex Rodriguez is suspended, they’ll have $27.5 million more to spend on the 2014 payroll. Yet, the team won’t find out about the length of his suspension until December thanks to the ongoing arbitration process. I theorized that the interest in free agents expressed to the media by the Yankees recently could delay most of the major free agent signings this winter. With the Yankees’ interest, free agents should see a boost in their leverage, and they’ll likely wait until the team is ready to start spending. Because of this, I wouldn’t expect the big names to start coming off the shelf until mid-December.

The Yankees still remain in an inopportune position, where their offseason strategy won’t be confirmed until that Rodriguez decision comes down. They’ll likely continue to send out rumors for the time being, as well as try their hand at re-signing Robinson Cano as soon as possible. We’re due for a riveting offseason. Continue reading Ready or Not, the Offseason Has Officially Begun

Qualifying Offer Candidates: Yay Or Nay

(I wrote this on AB4AR earlier in the month.  With the offseason officially under way now, it seems appropriate to re-post here)

The offseason has officially started and the Yankees are now face-to-face with a buttload of decisions to make for 2014.  They’re losing a lot of players to retirement and free agency, and with the payroll budget and A-Rod’s suspension uncertainty hanging over them it could be quite the uphill battle to replace, rebuild, restock, and re-up for next season.  One of the first round of decisions they’ll have to make is whether to extend qualifying offers to some of their own free agents.  With the QO value expected to be around $14 million, that’s a significant chunk of change to tack onto the payroll for a team on a budget.  The Yankees are going to have to weigh the value of that salary and anticipated production against the possible draft pick.

Now we’re not talking about every free agent here.  Obviously the Yankees aren’t going to make offers to Mo or Andy because they know they’re retiring.  I’m also pretty sure they won’t be making offers to guys like Kevin Youkilis and Boone Logan because they’re nowhere near being worth that kind of money.  There are 4 players who stand out as potential candidates.  Here are my decisions on whether to make each of those 4 a qualifying offer. Continue reading Qualifying Offer Candidates: Yay Or Nay

Quick Hit: What’s New In The “A-Rod vs. MLB” Battle?

Major League Baseball moved to have A-Rod’s “witch hunt” lawsuit thrown out yesterday and followed that up by filing a petition against A-Rod’s PR guy in an effort to obtain the documents they allege A-Rod took from Tony Bosch.  Both sides offered up their feelings on these latest developments.

A-Rod’s Lawyer: “As we have said all along, Alex has never bought any documents related to Biogenesis, and he has repeatedly turned down offers from various individuals who approached him about buying them. Alex unequivocally denies having exposed any players. This is MLB’s desperate cry for help. What happened to the ‘overwhelming mountain’ of evidence against Alex? Having now rested its case against Alex, this effort makes clear to the world that MLB doesn’t have what they said they have. What is perhaps most shocking — and the best evidence of their desperation — is that MLB would do this during the World Series.”

MLB: “We continue to be at a loss to explain how Mr. Tacopina can take the position that his client has done nothing wrong. First, it was Mr. Rodriguez did not use drugs. Now, it is he did not obstruct the investigation. Those statements are simply and demonstrably inaccurate. The action we took yesterday was necessitated by continuing efforts by Mr. Rodriguez’s lawyers to engage in a purposeful cover-up.”

Obviously no love lost on either side.  And the circus continues… Continue reading Quick Hit: What’s New In The “A-Rod vs. MLB” Battle?

Any Chance Of The Cardinals Being An Offseason Trade Partner?

Whatever combination of draft and/or development problems you think are responsible for the Yankees’ present farm system situation, we can all agree that it’s very far from where it needs to be.  In analyzing and discussing those problems over the last 2 days, the St. Louis Cardinals have come up often as an example of the type of farm system the Yankees should be striving to match and with good reason.  Picking lower in the 1st round than most teams and finding undervalued assets that they turn into productive Major League players, the Cardinals’ blueprint for success is based in their strong draft and development strategies.

The Yankees obviously aren’t going to turn their farm system around to that level of success overnight, but could there be an opportunity for them to poach some of the fruits of St. Louis’ labor this offseason?  The Cardinals will at least test the trade market waters to address their biggest roster needs and they have plenty of young pitching to dangle, the type of young pitching the Yankee system has failed to generate.  Seriously, it’s almost stupid how much pitching depth St. Louis will have next year when Jason Motte and Jaime Garcia come back from injury.  If they get serious about moving some of it, the Yankees should be all over that. Continue reading Any Chance Of The Cardinals Being An Offseason Trade Partner?

Trade Target: Mark Trumbo

The Yankees have a number of needs this offseason. They have open spots in their rotation, bullpen, third base, shortstop, second base, catcher, and they could really use another formidable outfielder. Their biggest need is offense, home runs, and it really doesn’t matter where they get it from. When Jose Dariel Abreu was available a few weeks ago, I was a little surprised that the Yankees weren’t more involved. Even though he had no position with the club, a projectable power hitter that comes relatively cheap without costing draft picks should be highly valued. For a team as desperate for offense as the Yankees, teams should try to find creative ways to put a 30+ home run player on the field.

There are few power threats available in free agency this offseason, most of the big names are pitchers. Outside of Curtis Granderson, Robinson Cano, and Carlos Beltran there are few free agents that can put up 30+ home runs. The Yankees may have to look at the trade market to find power, and the Angels may be a decent trade partner.

According to Buster Olney, the Angels recently put Peter Bourjos and Mark Trumbo on the trade block. The Angels have a ton of money guaranteed to players over the next three seasons, particularly Josh Hamilton, Jered Weaver, Albert Pujols, and C.J. Wilson. Cots has their 2014 guaranteed salaries sitting at $126.5 million before arbitration and player benefits. It’s hard to see them adding a big name pitcher like Matt Garza to their payroll, which is why they’re now looking for young and cost controlled pitching.

The Yankees have a number of young pitchers that performed fairly well in an offensive environment last season. Ivan Nova is probably the most valuable trade chip the team can realistically give up. After emerging with a new repertoire in June of last year, Nova pitched 17 games, 116.2 innings, with a 2.70 ERA. Inside Yankees Stadium, in the AL East, a below 3.00 ERA in that many innings is extremely difficult to find. Those are ace-type numbers, but in a sample size that’s far too small to make that determination. Moving Nova to the AL West should theoretically aid those numbers. Angel Stadium, O.co, and Safeco Field are pitcher friendly parks that should help any pitcher coming from an offensive division.

Nova displayed a type of upside rarely seen in Yankee-developed starters, so here’s where we roll the dice. Could the Yankees trade their young starting pitcher to the Angels for Mark Trumbo? The right-handed power hitter has averaged 32 home runs a season, and he owns a career .250/.299/.469 slash line. These numbers should improve as he moves to the AL East. The problem is that Trumbo is probably best suited for first base, as his defense in the outfield is somewhat of a liability. But again, the small dimensions of Yankee Stadium should help him there, where right field has been kind to the range factors of other converted first baseman like Nick Swisher.

As I mentioned earlier, the Yankees also have needs in their rotation, and trading Nova could be considered counterproductive. But the organization also plans on spending big this offseason. Masahiro Tanaka seems like a favorite to land with the Yankees, and the team could also spend on Hiroki Kuroda and Matt Garza without giving up their 18th overall pick.

If the team does indeed plan on spending big this winter, Nova is somewhat expendable, and Trumbo is the type of bat that you might not find on the free agent market. Would you pull the trigger on this deal? Continue reading Trade Target: Mark Trumbo

So What’s The Deal With This Suk-Min Yoon Guy?

Suk-Min Yoon

(Syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)

Masahiro Tanaka continues to be the most sought after international free agent pitcher, and justifiably so, but the Yankees aren’t limiting their international pitching options to just him.  While dishing a harsh slice of truth on the state of the Yankees’ reputation in the free agent world last week, Scott Boras also did some promotional work for a new client of his, 27-year-old right-handed pitcher Suk-Min Yoon from South Korea.

If you’ve never heard of Yoon, don’t fret.  You’re not alone.  He’s been well under the MLB radar for most baseball fans and writers despite being one of the best pitchers in the Korean Baseball Organization for years.  His team, the Kia Tigers, did not allow him to go through the MLB posting process after the 2011 and 2012 seasons, and so this offseason he’s working to finally become available as a traditional free agent.  He’s obviously an unknown commodity in the MLB landscape, and he does have some legitimate concerns attached to him.  But for the right price, he could be a low-risk/high-reward asset for the Yankees to add to next season’s pitching competition. Continue reading So What’s The Deal With This Suk-Min Yoon Guy?