Author Archives: Brien Jackson

Free agents can, in fact, change teams

I’d say we’ve officially reached the point in the offseason where the media is really mining the rumor mill for anything remotely interesting they can get. Yesterday it was talk that the Yankees might hit the proverbial bank shot and sign Josh Hamilton after all, and today it’s this report in the Daily News that Robinson Cano may be playing elsewhere in 2014. The problem is that there’s really nothing new in the report, nor anything concrete for that matter. It basically just says that Cano isn’t going to give the Yankees any discounts as he angles for his one chance at a big payday, and that he has no problem signing somewhere else if the Yankees don’t match the going rate for his services.

Actually, I take that back. There is one slightly interesting nugget here, but it’s only tangentially related to Cano. Rather, it’s this assessment of the Yankees’ organization from the ever popular rival executive. “I don’t think [Cano] be with the Yankees beyond next season,” they said.…

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Yankees still talking to Ichiro

Though their primary concern at the moment is waiting on a decision from free agent Kevin Youkilis, the Yankees still have a hole to fill in right field, and with that in mind they are still engaged in talks with their own Ichiro Suzuki, tweets Jon Heyman. Ichiro was a pleasant surprise during his time with the Yankees in 2012, including a very strong postseason performance, and would seem to be a natural fit for a team obsessed with avoiding anything more than one year contracts this winter. On the other hand, many have speculated that the Yankees don’t want to have an all left-handed hitting outfield, especially one that includes both Ichiro and fellow light-hitter Brett Gardner.

All the same, both sides seem to prefer a reunion, and I wonder if a lot of the feather fluffing from both sides isn’t designed as a ruse to push the other closer to an agreement.

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Sayonara Andruw?

Via NPB Tracker, it appears that Andruw Jones may be taking his talents to a whole new country in 2013. Nikkan Sports is reporting that the outfielder, who spent the last two seasons in the Bronx, has agreed to play for the Rakuten Golden Eagles for $3.5 million this coming season. If true, it’s a pretty interesting turn for a player with a borderline Hall of Fame case like Jones to take, as it sees like most of those kinds of players (*cough* Johnny Damon *cough*) do whatever they can to hang around and compile counting stats. I certainly can’t think of any who have spent their twilight years playing in another country, especially when there’s a decent chance he could have landed at least a Spring Training invite stateside.

Of course, that almost certainly wasn’t going to come with the Yankees. Jones was a surprisingly valuable player back in 2011, especially in the second half when he absolutely destroyed left handed pitching, but he was just as utterly useless last season.…

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Yankees avoid arbitration with Gardner

The Yankees have announced that they have agreed to terms on a 2013 salary with Brett Gardner, avoiding arbitration, the team announced today. The speedy outfielder will earn $2.85 million this season, after making just 9 nine starts before being sidelined for most of the season with an elbow injury in 2012.

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Was Marvin Miller bad for players? #Slatepitch

On Wednesday, Hippeaux linked to this piece written by Dan Rosenheck at The Economist that purports to counter the “hagiography” that has followed the death of MLBPA pioneer Marvin Miller. The basis of the charges: that Miller didn’t care about the rank and file baseball players, be it union members with less service time or non-union minor leaguers and even amateurs. The supposed proof for this is that today’s salaries are largely concentrated amongst the “elite” players, with a far smaller share of the pie concentrated amongst the masses. The raw data is interesting, I guess, but I don’t really agree with the conclusions drawn. Furthermore, I’m going to respectfully but forcefully disagree with my colleague and say that not only is Rosenheck’s premise not “compelling,” but rather obvious hogwash.

First of all, let’s take what is supposed to be the damning accusation here, that the free agent pricing mechanism is irrational because it unevenly distributes salary dollars, and note that this simply isn’t true.…

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Someone from the Yankees checked out Josh Hamilton

This is just a very, very strange report from Bob Nightengale:

I say it’s strange because, well, why is someone other than the GM doing this? After all, yesterday the story was that Cashman lacked the authority to make any offers at the Winter Meetings because ownership was already clamping down on their payroll spending, and now today someone other than Cashman (so presumably someone above Cashman’s head) is running a background check on the top position player on the free agent market? Talk about night and day.

Of course, checking up on someone isn’t the same thing as being all that interested in signing him, and I would still put the odds that Hamilton lands with the Yankees at somewhere between slim and none. Then again, there is a distinctly similar feel to the way the Mark Teixeira signing went down: a middle of the order bat the Yankees could certainly use just sitting in limbo on the free agent market, with no one seemingly making a particularly strong push to sign him.…

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The Yankees are not hanging up on anyone

I guess this goes into the “semi-mundane things we kind of already knew” file, but ESPN New York’s Andrew Marchand reported earlier that the Yankees were “listening” to offers on Curtis Granderson, Phil Hughes, and Ivan Nova. I say “listening” because the semantics of these things can matter quite a bit. Taken literally, “listening to offers” merely means that the Yankees are willing to entertain pitches for their players, and differs quite a bit from “shopping” someone. I would basically expect that the only players the Yankees wouldn’t so much as listen to realistic offers on are Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, and C.C. Sabathia. In any case, listening doesn’t cost you anything, and people can’t say “yes” if you don’t give them the chance.

That doesn’t mean that absolutely nothing will come of this, of course. I still have trouble seeing where the Yankees are going to get good value for one year of Curtis Granderson, but Hughes and Nova I could at least imagine fetching a decent return if one team or another had a high opinion of them.…

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Report: Cashman not allowed to make offers

Rumors to this effect were brewing yesterday, but I held off on posting anything on it because it seemed to be coming mostly from agents. Dan Barbirisi just added some details however and, well, read for yourself:

In a situation that highlights how much has changed for the big-budget Yankees, Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman came to the winter meetings in Nashville with his hands so fully tied that he lacked the authority to make offers to free agents.

The situation was first brought to light by agent Scott Boras, who quietly suggested Wednesday that Cashman lacked the power to make offers.

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On Thursday, people within the Yankees organization confirmed that this was in fact true: Cashman arrived in Nashville unable to make offers to players, and without that power, targets like Jeff Keppinger and Eric Chavez took deals elsewhere.

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Another Yankee official downplayed the seriousness of the situation, saying that most general managers would have to go back to ownership to vet potential deals.

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