On the Money returns tonight for our regular Monday program to help you grind out the deepest, darkest, period of the winter. MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch will join us at the top of the show to discuss the latest Yankees related news (I’d say there’s a very good chance we’ll be asking him about Justin Upton and Javier Vazquez), and later on in the hour our own William Tasker will come out of hibernation long enough to check in and share his thoughts on the offseason thus far. The festivities start at 9:00 P.M., and you can listen live here. Continue reading On the Money preview
Nick Cafardo passes along a tidbit of information likely to send many Yankee fans into apoplectic fits: The Yankees are among the teams who have scouted Javier Vazquez as the former Yankee contemplates a comeback. Scouts are apparently raving about what they’re seeing from Vazquez, who’s reportedly throwing his fastball in the 92-95 MPH range, but that probably doesn’t matter to many of the pinstriped faithful after Vazquez’s two, um, less than stellar tours with the Bombers.
For what it’s worth, I really don’t expect the Yankees to sign Vazquez, even though he probably won’t get any more than a minor league contract after sitting out all of 2012. Aside from the PR problems a reunion would bring, and the immense pressure Vazquez would likely be under if he did indeed take the Yankee Stadium mound again, the Nationals are said to be particularly interested in him at this point, and seem like a likely landing point for the guy who apparently just doesn’t mesh with the Bronx.
Continue reading The Yankees have scouted Vazquez
Via Jon Heyman, Andy Pettitte will pitch for Team USA in this year’s World Baseball Classic. He’ll join Ryan Vogelsong and reigning N.L. Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey in the Team USA rotation. Unlike a lot of people (so it seems, anyway) I enjoy having the WBC to watch every few years, but I’m not sure how wild I am about one of the Yankees’ starters participating in the tournament, especially the 40 something Pettitte. It’s more inning put on the arm of a guy who missed a big chunk of last season, and a greater chance of getting hurt. On the other hand, it’s more chances to see Pettitte pitch in what could well be his final season, and it’s not like guys can’t get hurt in camp or regular Spring Training games.
Update: According to multiple reports, Mark Teixeira will also play for Team USA. Along with Robinson Cano (Dominican Republic) and Francisco Cervelli (Italy), that makes four Yankees participating in the WBC. Continue reading Andy Pettitte will pitch in WBC
Less than a week after Hal Steinbrenner assured Yankee fans that his team’s mandate to get below the luxury tax threshold before next season would not get in the way of assembling a championship caliber team, a report comes out that seriously puts those assurances in doubt. According to Jon Paul Morosi, the Yankees are “reluctant” to enter the Upton sweepstakes, and Morosi fingers the 2014 budget plan as the reason.
As those of you who know me might have expected, I spent most of the weekend in a football coma and didn’t get around to writing about this yesterday, which I thought might mellow my opinion on this story a little bit. It didn’t. There’s a lot of variables that could be in play here, namely that I still have trouble seeing the Yankees matching up with the Diamondbacks on a package, especially with other teams with deeper organizations involved, but if they really are passing on Upton simply because he’s owed roughly $10 million per year on his current contract, that’s just completely indefensible for the richest team in the league. The Yankees are looking for a right-handed hitting outfielder, and Upton is a 25 year old with tremendous power and an MVP caliber season to his name already.
Morosi (seemingly) speculates that the Yankees could try to move Curtis Granderson to Seattle in exchange for a similar package to the one they just offered up for Upton, and could then flip those guys to Arizona. I don’t think that’s particularly likely (even with a contract extension, Granderson is much older than Upton and not as good), but it suggests that an unwillingness to part with the team’s own prospects could be an issue here as well. That’s not quite as ridiculous as the possibility that Upton’s salary is too expensive for the Yankees, but it’s pretty close. Continue reading Morosi: Upton too expensive for Yankees
The Yankees are looking for a right-handed power hitter, but they have “nothing alive” in terms of trading for Washington 1B/OF/DH Mike Morse, according to Chad Jennings. Morse is going to be traded by the Nationals this winter after being left without a position by the acquisition of Denard Span and Adam LaRoche re-signing with the team, and the Yankees reportedly do have interest in acquiring him, but it’s far from clear that the Yankees are any sort of favorite to acquire the big righty.
When we asked Mark Feinsand about Morse on Wednesday night’s episode of On the Money, he was fairly bearish on the Yankees’ chances of acquiring Morse, noting that the Yankees didn’t exactly have a wealth of the sort of major league ready talent Washington would likely seek in return. The Nationals would like to add a left-handed reliever, but an offer centered around Boone Logan isn’t likely to get anything done given the level of interest there’s likely to be in Morse around the league. The Yankees do have a glut of prospects on the 40 man roster they could easily part with, but none of those guys profile as being ready to make an impact in the big leagues this season. Continue reading Yankees have “nothing alive” on Morse
Former Yankee Marcus Thames is retiring from MLB to become the hitting coach for the Tampa Yankees, the club’s High-A affiliate. The team announced the move on their Twitter page. Thames was mostly known for his ability to hit left-handed pitching, and finishes his major league career with 115 home runs and a .246/.309/.485 slash line. He spent one season with the Yankees, 2010, a year in which he hit .288/.350/.491 with 12 home runs and served as a key part of the team’s bench as they advanced to the ALCS before losing to Texas. He also hit a memorable walk off home run against the Red Sox in May of that year for his defining moment in pinstripes. Congratulations to Thames on a very nice big league career, and good luck in his new job.
Continue reading Thames to become Tampa hitting coach
MLB’s owners are meeting in Arizona this week, and yesterday Yankees’ general partner Hal Steinbrenner took a moment to speak with reporters. Of course, the biggest ownership focused story in Yankeedom is the team’s mandate to get below the luxury tax threshold before next season and, for the first time as far as I can tell, the Yankees’ owner acknowledged that the plan is negotiable, and a secondary goal to fielding a winning team. “All I can continue to tell everyone is our commitment to the fans is never going to change. We will always field a championship-caliber team,” Steinbrenner told The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post yesterday. “Is our goal [a $189 million payroll] next year? Yes. But [we’ll go that low] only if I’m convinced if the team I see, that we’ve put together, is a championship-caliber team.”
(click “view full post” to continue reading) Continue reading Hal walks back austerity budget plans. Sort of.
I don’t think it’s quite “best shape of his life” season yet, but via Rob Abruzzese, Yankees’ ace C.C. Sabathia is getting trim after offseason knee surgery. “I’ve lost 20 pounds,” Sabathia said on Colin Cowherd’s ESPN Radio show. “Coming off the elbow surgery, I just wanted to be healthy and stay healthy all year.” Rob also passes along a first hand observation on Sabathia’s leaner figure after seeing C.C. on ESPN.
Sabathia’s weight issue has been a just-under-the-surface topic ever since the Yankees’ ace
got off the Captain Crunch came into camp lighter back in 2011, only to regain most of the weight during the season. It’s not something that has really hindered Sabathia’s performance in his career thus far, but with the commitment the Yankees have made to the big guy, shedding as many unnecessary pounds as possible and reducing any added stress to his lower body can only be a good thing. Continue reading C.C. Sabathia has lost 20 pounds
After having enough of his epically bad defensive performances last season, the Yankees demoted Eduardo Nunez to Triple-A and declared that he would no longer play any position other than shortstop. That might have made sense from a developmental perspective, but it made him fairly useless to the big league team since, ya know, they already had a pretty good shortstop.
Since then the Yankees’ stance on Nunez has apparently softened, and Brian Cashman told ESPN New York that Nunez would likely be a utility player once again in 2013. “If he is at the big-league level, he is going to have to,” Cashman said. “We have everyday guys at other positions. If he makes our club, it will be at a utility role.”
I know Nunez is hardly the most popular guy in the Yankees’ organization, but this is obviously the most logical track to take. Presenting Nunez as a shortstop in an attempt to trade him makes a certain amount of sense, but it’s not like other teams don’t know who he is, and you can only leave him sitting in the minor leagues for so long. Besides that, his hitting and baserunning abilities give him plenty of value even if his defense is, um, a little shaky, so there’s a pretty good argument to be made that he’s still the best option the Yankees have to fill the utility infielder role. Continue reading Nunez back in utility role