Author Archives: Brad Vietrogoski

Report: Rakuten Won’t Post Tanaka

MasahiroTanaka

Maybe next year, guy.

It seemed like things were starting to move in a positive direction on the Masahiro Tanaka front.  The new posting system between MLB and NPB was agreed upon and officially announced, and earlier this week Tanaka told his team that he wanted to pitch in MLB in 2014.  Despite their waffling on the decision to post him and their clear desire not to, it was reasonable to expect that the Rakuten Golden Eagles would eventually give in and honor Tanaka’s wishes, not wanting to set a bad precedent for future players who would want to make the jump to the top level of competition.

But in the immortal words of Lee Corso, not so fast, my friend!  A report by Ken Belson of the NY Times, citing multiple Japanese newspaper sources, states that Rakuten has decided not to post Tanaka and instead will retain control over him for the 2014 season.  Rather than limit themselves to the $20 million max posting fee and risk losing more in stadium and merchandise revenues by not having Tanaka next season, the Eagles appear to prefer maintaining their team control over Tanaka, as is their right, and maximizing their own revenue potential.…

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Let’s Talk About Some Prospects

Bryan Mitchell

I have a confession.  I’m bored.  I’m bored talking about mediocre second and third basemen and I’m bored waiting around for the Rakuten Golden Eagles president to just embrace the inevitable and agree to post Masahiro Tanaka.  I’m bored pondering which righty reliever the Yankees will overpay to “compete” with D-Rob for the closer role next year and I’m bored wondering how or if they are going to be able to move Ichiro.

Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus have both recently released their annual top 10 Yankee prospects lists, and both have their strengths and weaknesses.  That means prospect ranking season is right around the corner, if it isn’t here all ready, so I’m saying the hell with the Major League issues this morning and going with the prospects.  I still have to put the finishing touches on my top 30 ranking for this season, but for the sake of conversation and debate here’s a peek into my mindset.

Prospect I Value More Than I Probably Should- Tyler Austin

Austin slid down the rankings on both BA and BP’s lists.  …

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Brian Roberts Not A Very Good Plan D At Second

Brian Roberts 2013

When Omar Infante signed with the Royals and the Cardinals swallowed up Mark Ellis last week, many of us went back to our mental drawing boards regarding the second base position for the Yankees next year.  The team had said from the minute it signed Kelly Johnson that he was not looked at as a full-time replacement for Robinson Cano, and the expectation was that the team would ramp up efforts to secure Infante or another more reliable Plan B/Plan C option quickly to at least provide some stability there.  They didn’t, other team swooped in, and the new Plan D option, according to Ken Rosenthal’s reports last night, is 36-year-old Brian Roberts.

Roberts, once considered among the best all-around second basemen in the game, has faded into near obscurity over the past 4 years due to injuries.  It all started with a herniated disc in his back in Spring Training 2010 and it hasn’t let up since then.  …

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Darwin Barney: Do Not Want

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

I know the options are starting to dwindle with Omar Infante off the market now, but is it really time to start slogging through the bottom of the barrel to find a second baseman for next year?  Because that’s what trading for Darwin Barney would be.

The simplest way to describe his offense is to say it sucks.  In 1,799 career Major League PA, he has a .246/.293/.336 slash line (.278 wOBA).  He doesn’t hit for average, he doesn’t hit for power, he doesn’t draw walks, and he doesn’t do anything on the bases on the rare occasion that he gets there.  He is a plus-plus defensive player at second, but his offense was so bad in 2013 that even registering 11 defensive runs saved only made him worth 0.4 fWAR.…

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Do You Want This Man As Your Closer Next Year?

papelbonchristmascard

That’s a difficult question to answer for many Yankee fans for a variety of reasons.  Jonathan Papelbon isn’t and has never been very well-liked in Yankeeland.  That will happen when you’re wearing a Boston Red Sox uniform and have a brashness and arrogance about you that borders on obnoxious sometimes.  One thing he has been over the course of his career is a very good closer, and like his left-handed starter teammates in Philly he may be available via trade for the right price.  Part of that price may include outfielder Domonic Brown as part of a package deal, which raises more questions about just what the hell the Phillies are doing this offseason.  But with the Yankees looking for veteran bullpen help and with their progress slowed on other fronts, they may want to consider putting a call in to Ruben Amaro about their former nemesis.

Putting aside the previous laundry, there’s still some things to like about Papelbon as a player.  …

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Yanks Actually Get Something Useful Back In The Chris Stewart Trade

Kyle Haynes

The final punctuation mark was put on Chris Stewart‘s Yankee career yesterday when the Pirates completed their PTBNL part of the trade.  There’s been no announcement yet from YES on when Stewart’s “Yankeeography” will air next year, but when it does it’ll be sure to include a brief mention of Kyle Haynes, the A-ball relief pitcher who was sent to the Yankees for Stewart.  Normally players to be named later are nothing more than organizational filler, guys destined to float around aimlessly on MiL rosters or make phantom DL trips when roster moves need to be made to accommodate higher value prospects.  That doesn’t seem like that’s the case with Haynes, at least not according to his early career numbers.

Before we get to those, a quick little background on Haynes for the uninformed.  He’s 22 years old, he’s a righty, and he’s decent size at 6’2″/190.  He was drafted in the 20th round of the 2012 draft out of VCU, where he worked primarily as a starter, but has pitched almost entirely out of the bullpen in his A-ball career.  …

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Rotation Upgrades: Sign ‘Em, Trade For ‘Em, Or Wait For ‘Em?

Cash Year End Presser

“Gosh. This free agent pitching market is sooooo boring.”

It’s been a somewhat quiet first 2 days at the Winter Meetings for the Yankees, at least compared to last week.  Many of Cash’s comments to the media yesterday were indicative of a team still trying to figure out its strategy for this week, trying to identify the best opportunity to upgrade the roster.  The bulk of the early buzz has been around next year’s outfield: who’s playing where, who’s not playing where, who’s on the trade block, and who’s not.  There’s also been a little talk about the open infield spots and the players currently on the radar as free agent targets, most notably Omar Infante and Mark Reynolds.

What there hasn’t been is much activity on the rotation front.  The Yankees locked up what they hope will be half of the 400 innings they’re looking for when they re-signed Hiroki Kuroda last Friday, and one of the major goals of this week was thought to be securing that other half.  …

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Revisiting The Curtis Granderson Trade 4 Years Later

C-Grand Presser

Remember this?

The Mets finalized their 4-year/$60 million deal with Curtis Granderson yesterday, making his move across town official and ending a 4-year run in pinstripes that was interesting to say the least.  Granderson went from underperforming trade bust who had to be benched to rebuild his swing in his first season to one of the premiere power hitters in baseball from 2011-2012 to an unlucky injury case in a contract year this past season.  He finished his short Yankee career with a .245/.335/.495 slash line, 115 HR, 345 R scored, 307 RBI, 2 All Star Game selections, and 1 Silver Slugger award in ’11.  He also leaves with no rings, joining the Yankees the year after their last title and being a part of 4 teams that failed to return to the World Series.

Yesterday marked the actual 4-year anniversary of the 3-team trade that brought C-Grand to the Yankees.  It was a trade that brought up the always pertinent “playing for the present or the future” question with respect to the Yankees’ plans.  …

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The Winter Meetings Are Here, What Will The Yankees Do Next?

Winter Meetings

What the Yankees have done over the last 2 weeks would be an otherworldly haul to pull from the Winter Meetings.  By spending a shade over $300 million, they’ve added an elite starting catcher, an elite center fielder, a well above-average right fielder, a solid #2 starting pitcher, and an above-average utility player with pop.  They also lost their previous starting second baseman and former best player, but that was something they were apparently willing to live with and it most likely had a lot of influence on the rest of this early spending spree.

Here’s the thing.  This all happened before the Winter Meetings even started.  What the Yankees started by signing Brian McCann 2 Saturdays ago has picked up in a big way across the rest of MLB and we enter the meetings right smack in the middle of a flurry of trade and signing activity usually reserved for this week.  Once the unofficial “real” starting point of the offseason, this year’s Winter Meetings are nothing more than the continuation of a hectic 2 weeks of hot stove action with the Yankees once again leading the charge.  …

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