About Brien Jackson

Born in Southwestern Ohio and currently residing on the Chesapeake Bay, Brien is a former editor-in-chief of IIATMS who now spends most of his time sitting on his deck watching his tomatoes ripen and consuming far more MLB Network programming than is safe for one's health or sanity.

Yankees agree to terms with Martin

Via David Waldstein, the Yankees have come to terms with starting catcher Russell Martin on a salary for 2012, avoiding arbitration. Martin will make $7.5 million plus incentives this upcoming season, which is right about halfway between the arbitration figures submitted by both sides. Martin enjoyed a resurgence with the Yankees in 2011 after being non-tendered by the Dodgers, hitting .237/.324/.408 with 18 home runs while being universally praised for his work behind the plate.

The deal leaves Boone Logan as the only remaining unsigned arbitration eligible player on the Yankees’ roster. Continue reading Yankees agree to terms with Martin

Posada makes it official

It was an emotional day at Yankee Stadium as Jorge Posada officially announced his retirement from the New York Yankees. The man often referred to as the heart and soul of the Yankees choked up as he said goodbye (for now) to the only organization he’s ever known, and the day was made even more emotional by the presence of Diana Munson. Though it was a somber event, saying goodbye to a great player, it was also a fitting tribute to one of the most underrated players in Yankee history.

Goodbye Jorge, and thanks for the memories. You’re a Hall of Famer in my book, but whether you get the call to Cooperstown or not, you’ll always have a special place in Yankee history, though something tells me it won’t be too long before we see you back with the team in some capacity.
Continue reading Posada makes it official

Tuesday notes

Football sucks, that is all. On (mostly) happier notes, pitchers and catchers report in less than a month, so let’s get caught up on the last minute developments as another too-long winter begins to wind to a close.

First and foremost, as you’re undoubtedly already aware, Jorge Posada will make his retirement official with an 11:00 A.M. press conference at Yankee Stadium today. When the Yankees traded Jesus Montero for Michael Pineda it opened up a hole at the DH spot in the lineup, creating a glimmer of possibility that Posada may indeed be able to return to the Bombers, but that’s obviously not going to happen now. Posada, much like Andy Pettitte last year, reportedly wasn’t feeling up for another turn through the grinder of a Major League Baseball season, and has decided to hang ’em up after 15 seasons with the Yankees. he finishes his career with a .273/.374/.474 slash line, 275 home runs, a 122 wRC+, four World Series championships as a regular, and a spot in Monument Park waiting for him.

If you have the chance, you can watch the press conference on YES. It will be the second such press conference in as many years, a streak I’d be happy to break next winter.

Speaking of Montero, he finally made it to Seattle for his physical, and The Trade is now official, but Brian Cashman may not be done yet, as he may prefer to fill the DH role via trade. This sounds good in theory, but I’m not sure how it would work in practice. A.J. Burnett isn’t likely to return any useful players unless the Yankees are willing to swallow the vast majority of the money left on the deal, which doesn’t seem likely. Freddy Garcia would have to consent before any deal could happen, and wouldn’t likely return anything better than what’s currently available on the free agent market. The minor leaguers left at Triple-A are interesting commodities, but how much are you really likely to get for low ceiling prospects with no big league experience?

All of which leaves Phil Hughes, who is going to be a hard piece to move right now. His value is likely down after his injury plagued 2011 campaign, and if the Yankees really do still see him as a starting pitcher, and if it’s going to be hard to a trade partner willing to do much more than take a flier on Hughes, you probably aren’t going to find anything better than what Hughes will be able to do for the team if he can get right. So if I had to parse this statement from Cashman, I’d guess that he’s mostly trying to scare the free agents on the market (Johnny Damon, perhaps?) into dropping their asking price and signing a deal before the Yankees fill the role with someone else. Continue reading Tuesday notes

Yankees, Gardner, settle on contract terms

This is yesterday’s news, but the Yankees have settled on 2012 salary terms with Brett Gardner, avoiding arbitration in Gardner’s first year of eligibility. Brett the Jet will make $2.8 million this season, an obvious steal for the Yankees given Gardner’s value since becoming a regular in 2010. Even as far as first year arbitration players go, Gardner is probably being underpaid, but that’s life when a large chunk of your value comes from your defensive work.

The Yankees have two arbitration eligible players remaining un-signed in left-handed specialist Boone Logan and catcher Russell Martin. Continue reading Yankees, Gardner, settle on contract terms

Just say “NO!” to the rotating DH

It seems like the idea of using a rotating designated hitter has been the white whale of Yankeedom over the last couple of seasons; always talked about but rarely actually seen. Unfortunately, now it’s not just beat writers and local pundits invoking it as an option for the Bombers, their slugging third baseman is touting its virtues as well:

Alex Rodriguez says that his offseason workouts are going well and that he plans to do most of his work helping the Yankees in the field, not as a designated hitter.

The 36-year-old Rodriguez told ESPN Deportes that he expects several players to help fill New York’s DH role this season, in the wake of last week’s trade that sent power-hitting prospect Jesus Montero to the Mariners.

“I think the vision for us as a team is now … you want the DH spot to be one that’s kind of a revolving door,” he said in the interview. “I think a lot of us at some point or another, in such a long season, are going occupy that spot. But for me, I’m really excited about playing third base.”

It can not be stated enough: there are few ideas more awful than the “rotating DH.” Sure, it sounds good on the surface. Get your old and expensive sluggers into the lineup while limiting their exposure in the field, thereby hopefully making the grind of the season a little easier on their aging bodies. The problem is that someone has to actually play those positions when the aging guys are DH’ing, which means that those bench players become starters. So, one way to look at this from the Yankees’ standpoint is to imagine that the rotating DH means that Eduardo Nunez is the Yankees’ DH, only he’s also playing the field where he’s arguably worse than he is at the plate.

The Yankees reportedly have about $1-2 million to spend on a DH, which should be plenty considering that they only really need to find a left-handed batter to platoon with Andruw Jones. No, Carlos Pena was never going to be had for that price, but as I said all along, Pena probably wasn’t going to sign up for that sort of role with the Yankees anyway and, sure enough, he’s going back to Tampa Bay where he’ll likely be the everyday first baseman. But Johnny Damon, Russell Branyan, and J.D. Drew are all viable options and should come cheaply (heck, I’d imagine the latter two could be signed to a minor league contract), and in the worst case scenario could easily be cut loose if they don’t pan out.

And if the old guys need a rest, just give them the full day off. I’d gladly take that trade off in exchange for keeping Nunez a part time player. Continue reading Just say “NO!” to the rotating DH

Reminder: We’re looking for new writers

I’d like to extend a thank you to all of you who have expressed an interest in joining the staff at IIATMS, and if you want to write for us but haven’t yet sent an application, there’s still time to do so. Just email a cover letter and at least two writing samples to me by this Friday at the latest. If you have a particular area of expertise or topic you’re interested in writing about be sure to say so in your email. And if you haven’t published any baseball writing on the internet before that’s okay, but please type up at least one piece of original, baseball-related, material for the application. Continue reading Reminder: We’re looking for new writers

Montero would not solve the A-Rod problem

Somewhere around the time it began to become clear that Jesus Montero probably wouldn’t have much of a career as a catcher, a lot of people picked up the notion that Montero would still have value as a first baseman/designated hitter because of his offensive production. And in a vacuum this is certainly true, especially if Montero developed rapidly into a good-to-great hitter during his team control years. But then people began saying that Montero would mitigate the decline of the Yankees aging lineup, particularly Alex Rodriguez who, in case you’d forgotten, is still under contract with the Yankees for six more seasons. This is a pretty good summation of the premise.

I understand that having Pineda in the rotation probably makes the 2012 Yankees a better team than they would have been with Montero as the DH. But in 2013? And 2014?

Arod and Teixeira are already fractions of what they once were and they will be declining in the lineup for years to come. The Yankees have one big hitter in his prime, Cano, who is fierce but not flawless. You don’t have to squint too hard to see a Yankee team desperate for hitting.

There’s truth in this, to be sure, but what’s done is done. A-Rod and Tex are signed 6 and 5 years, respectively, and with A-Rod’s age and health issues it’s basically a given that he’ll have to become a primary DH sometime in the near future. So obviously, if Montero is ultimately a 1B/DH player, there isn’t room for him in the lineup if Teixeira and A-Rod are already slotted into those spots in the long term.

(click “view full post” to continue reading) Continue reading Montero would not solve the A-Rod problem

Is A.J. Burnett about to get voted off the island?

Believe it or not (and frankly I wouldn’t really have thought it possible), the Yankees’ acquisition of Michael Pineda has actually made A.J. Burnett an even larger albatross around their neck. No, it probably won’t make him pitch any more poorly than he has in the past two seasons, and it won’t make Burnett cost any more money, but rather it puts Burnett in the more uncomfortable position of potentially wasting something even more valuable than dollars to the Yankees: a roster spot.

The problem is that the Yankees now have seven starting pitchers penciled in for their 25 man roster. Add the five relievers who are likely a lock to be on the opening day roster (Mariano Rivera, David Robertson, Rafael Soriano, Boone Logan, and Cory Wade), and suddenly you have 12 total pitchers, or a full staff, with two natural starters occupying relief roles. That’s not exactly an ideal way to build a pitching staff by any means. So how can the logjam be resolved? Here are some potential solutions.

(click “view full post” to continue reading) Continue reading Is A.J. Burnett about to get voted off the island?

Looking at Montero through rose-colored glasses

There haven’t been too many truly negative reactions to the Jesus Montero-for-Michael Pineda trade over the last few days, which is a little surprising to me. Sure, there’s been plenty of “it will be sad to see Montero play elsewhere” sentiment, but even most people expressing that haven’t really disliked the trade, or at least it seems. This morning, RAB’s Larry Koestler mounted the most comprehensive criticism of the deal I’ve seen yet. It’s a good read and I highly recommend it if you’re looking for the counter viewpoint, but I have to take a bit of an issue with this:

Now, we all know comping anyone to [Miguel] Cabrera is the epitome of an overzealous expectation, but even though Montero is unlikely to reach that particular historically-good level of hitting, his bat has been near-universally regarded as an impact, middle-of-the-order force, one that doesn’t seem outrageous to expect possible .300/.400/.500 lines from in the future. I realize both the opportunity cost and scarcity of acquiring a young, cost-controlled starter in Pineda, especially when compared to adding an offensive-oriented player, but more than four days in and I’m still not entirely sold on this being the right move.

(click “view full post” to continue reading)

Continue reading Looking at Montero through rose-colored glasses