Author Archives: Brien Jackson

The Yankees have scouted Vazquez

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.…

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Andy Pettitte will pitch in WBC

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.…

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Morosi: Upton too expensive for Yankees

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.…

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Yankees have “nothing alive” on Morse

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.…

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Thames to become Tampa hitting coach

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.

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Hal walks back austerity budget plans. Sort of.

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.”

Of course, it’s certainly not clear that Steinbrenner’s view of a “championship caliber team” will be the same as that of Yankee fans, so this could certainly be a PR smokescreen to mollify the fans and media as the worm begins to turn on ownership amidst a very quiet offseason in which the team’s biggest move has been letting Nick Swisher skip town in order to save money.…

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C.C. Sabathia has lost 20 pounds

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.

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Nunez back in utility role

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.…

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On the Money 1/9/2013

As a wrap up of sorts to our Hall of Fame coverage for this year , Stacey and I chatted with Craig Calcaterra about today’s announcement of the voting results, and what they’ll mean for future ballots and future voting patterns amongst the BBWAA voters. Craig spends about as much time writing about the Hall and the voting process as just about anyone, so his thoughts on this are definitely worth a listen. After that we switched gears entirely back to the offseason, with updates on the latest rumors and pressing issues surrounding the Yankees with Mark Feinsand of the Daily News. Enjoy!

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