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.

Author Archives: Brien Jackson

Toronto claims Whiteside

Via Ken Rosenthal, the Blue Jays have claimed catcher Eli Whiteside off of waivers after the Yankees DFA’d him to make room for Andy Pettitte‘s new contract. That’s not necessarily a huge deal, as the light hitting 33 year old is hardly the sort of player you lose sleep over losing to a waiver claim, but it does mean that the Yankees are down one potential option for replacing Russell Martin. Conversely, the Blue Jays already had three catchers in their organization in J.P. Arencibia, the recently acquired John Buck, and top prospect Travis d’Arnaud. That would lead me to believe they plan on trading Arencibia or Buck, though it would be tough to see them moving either to a divisional rival just as they seem to be poised to contend for the division crown.

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You pay a lot for sports television

There’s an interesting story in the Los Angeles Times today about the rising cost of sports programming in cable/satellite television package. The upshot: about half of your cable bill now comes from the cost of sports programming, which includes both your local regional sports networks, as well as ESPN, MLB Network, etc. This, predictably, has non-sports fans and a la carte television pricing up in arms, which is about as hilariously awful as you would expect it to be if you have a rough idea of how the economics of cable work.

Here’s the dime store version of how this works. In addition to whatever costs related to physical hardware they may have, cable television providers have to pay networks for the rights to broadcast their content. The laws of supply and demand are pretty straight-forward here: popular networks that get relatively large audiences (like ESPN or YES) are able to demand much higher fees than smaller, nichey networks, and providers have much less leverage to balk at their asking prices, as a cable company that didn’t let you watch ESPN or whichever network broadcasts your local baseball team’s games would likely find themselves losing customers pretty quickly.…

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Yankees still interested in Stephen Drew

With the likelihood of Alex Rodriguez missing quite a bit of playing time following hip surgery on the horizon, the outlook for the rest of the offseason figures to change pretty sharply for the Yankees. We already knew that the team wanted to add another infielder, potentially to fill a “super-sub” role on the left side of the infield, but with the starting third base position now open, at least on an interim basis, that need has certainly calcified for Brian Cashman and company.

One name that has repeatedly come up on this front is shortstop Stephen Drew. Reports have been out there for weeks that the Yankees were interested in acquiring Drew to backup A-Rod and Derek Jeter, and Jim Bowden tweeted as much just yesterday, reporting that the Yankees were concerned with the lack of range of their aging infielders. I’ve been pretty skeptical of this possibility, if only because the fact that someone is bound to be interested in using Drew as a starter made it tough for me to see him signing up for a bench role, but now that he could be a starting third baseman for at least the first two or three months could make a big difference in negotiations.…

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Red Sox agree to deal with Napoli

While there’s no shortage of big news out of Yankeeland today, the rest of baseball is getting the offseason into high gear as well, and one team who figures to be an active player at the Winter Meetings is our old friend in Boston. The Red Sox have a lot of budget room to play with after unloading the contracts of Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, and Carl Crawford back in August, and they’ve started to spend some of that money today by signing Mike Napoli to a three year, $39 million contract. Napoli had been connected to the Yankees somewhat, and as a nominal catcher would have made some sense, but those rumors basically went nowhere, and he’s seemed destined to sign with Boston for weeks now. I would imagine he’ll split his time between first base and catching this coming season, and his right-handed bat would seem to be a great fit for his new home park.

The Red Sox have a lot of work to do in picking up the pieces of that organization after their last place debacle in 2012, but this is a really good starting point, and it sounds like Nick Swisher may be their next big target.…

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Jacob Ruppert finally elected to the Hall of Fame

One of the first pieces of real news that emerges from the Winter Meetings is the results of the Hall of Fame Veterans’ Committee voting, and this year there’s good news for Yankee fans who care about such things, as former Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert has been voted in as part of the committee’s per-integration ballot. Ruppert, who owned the Yankees from 1915-39, probably played as big a role as anyone in building the early Yankee dynasties, and is probably best known for making the trade to bring Babe Ruth to the Yankees and building the original Yankee Stadium. If anything, it’s really a mystery why Ruppert wasn’t inducted long ago, especially considering some of the owners who have made the cut (*cough* Tom Yawkey *cough*), but at least he’s in now, I guess. Congratulations to him and to his family on the honor.

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(UPDATED) A-Rod potentially out until summer following hip surgery

We expect big news to emerge from the Winter Meetings, but unfortunately the first big development for the Yankees is the impending hip surgery of Alex Rodriguez. George King had the initial report that A-Rod was getting his surgically repaired hip looked at, and his Post colleague Joel Sherman followed that up by breaking that Alex would, in fact, be having surgery to fix the injury. It’s not yet clear what this will mean in terms of Alex getting on the field and being productive next season, but it seems like a given that he’ll miss at least some time, and when you factor his age and existing level of regression into the equation, you have to wonder if the days of being able to count on A-Rod being anything but an average player for the Yankees are just about behind us for good.

We do, however, have some additional details about the surgery and the injury itself. On the former, Mark Feinsand reports that the surgery will be performed by Dr.…

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(UPDATED) King: A-Rod’s hip a cause for concern

It seems like the hits just keep coming with Alex Rodriguez these days, but alas they’re not the kind you want him to be getting on the field. The latest development with the Yankees’ third baseman? His surgically repaired hip may be bothering him. That information comes via George King in the New York Post, who reports that A-Rod will be visiting Marc Phillippon, the surgeon who repaired his torn labrum after the 2008 season. A-Rod has apparently been feeling tightness in the hip, and King’s source labels it “a big issue.”

For his part, Brian Cashman acknowledged that A-Rod’s hip will always be an issue for him, but wouldn’t comment any further than that. ”He is always going to have hip issues to deal with. That’s just part of his winter program,’’ Cashman said of his highest paid player. But while routine maintenance, for lack of a better term, might be a normal part of A-Rod’s conditioning from now on, surgery would likely threaten A-Rod’s ability to start the 2013 season which, combined with Derek Jeter‘s fractured ankle, could leave the Yankees looking for an insurance policy in the infield.…

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Soto re-signs with Texas

Last night, Stacey and I briefly discuss the recently non-tendered Geovany Soto as a possible catching option for the Yankees. You can forget that, however, as not long after it was announced that Soto had agreed to a one year deal to remain in Texas at a lower salary than he would have gotten through arbitration.

Truth be told, Soto was a pretty underwhelming possibility anyway. He hit .196/.253/.338 after being traded to Texas last season, and wasn’t much better in the N.L. Both Stacey and I gave the possibility of him being the Yankees’ Opening Day starter a tepid endorsement at best, with the most positive thing either of us could find to say about him being that he’s probably better than anyone the Bombers have on the roster right now. He does at least have a history of being pretty capable with the bat, and as recently as 2010 he hit 280/.393/.497. He’s off of the table now, however, and even though it isn’t a huge missed opportunity by any means, it probably leaves the Yankees with a choice between going with in-house options for the job, or trying to pry a catcher away from another team in a trade.…

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IIATMS audio: Winter Meetings preview

As baseball gets set for the annual Winter Meetings and the semi-official kickoff of the meat of the offseason, Stacey and I have some things on our mind to share with you on IIATMS radio. In this episode we discuss:

-The departure of Russell Martin. What it means for the 2013 Yankees, and what it says about the team’s budget minded approach to roster building.
-The trade market for catchers, or the lack thereof.
-Recently non-tendered players who could help their teams.
-And a brief look ahead to the week ahead, including a pretty pessimistic outlook on the Yankees’ involvement in such.

Listen to the show on our BlogTalkRadio page, or in the player below.

Listen to internet radio with IIATMS Radio on Blog Talk Radio

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