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.


Gotta hand it to the Post, they’re always bringing you the big breaking stories. Today they have the shocking news that, brace yourself…Derek Jeter has put on some weight!

Okay, I can’t snark too hard because they did get me to click on the story straight away, and once you get past the headline and picture there’s no attempt to stir up any controversy or anything. It’s just a straight up attempt to get clicks, and it worked on me, so job well done. There’s obviously no meat to this, though: just a case of a recently injured athlete who can’t do any lower body exercises, or even run, putting on some weight. Once he’s cleared to work out, I have little doubt that Jeter will be in great shape in short order. Continue reading ATHLETE WHO CAN’T RUN ADDS LOTS OF WEIGHT!

So…what now?

The Yankees needed a starting catcher. The Yankees had a starting catcher who’s been worth 5.2 fWAR over the past two seasons (and that probably underestimates the value of his pitch framing abilities), and he’s just signed a two year, $17 million contract. Unfortunately, he signed that contract with the Pirates, not the Yankees, as the latter apparently never got particularly close to a deal with him.

As far as the Yankees’ level of interest goes, details are a little sketchy. Jon Heyman reported that the Yankees were working in the $12-14 million range with Russell Martin before he signed his new contract, but most of the New York beat reporters have said that the Yankees never made Martin an offer at all, and in fact haven’t made an offer to any position player yet. David Waldstein passed along the most specific detail: claiming that the Yankees told Martin they didn’t have the cash to match the Pirates’ offer.

(click “view full post” to continue reading) Continue reading So…what now?

Yankees may not make offer to Martin

It seems like every day brings a new twist in the free agency of Russell Martin, but today the news is not good if you’re a proponent of bringing Martin back to the Yankees. George King reports that, with the Pirates and Rangers showing much interest in the Yankees’ incumbent catcher, Martin may sign with another club without the Yankees so much as making an offer of their own:

With the Pirates increasing an offer from two to three years for upwards of $22 million and Texas showing interest in Martin, the Yankees feel there is a solid chance Martin grabs a deal .

“He could be off the board before they get to him,’’ a person familiar with the situation said of Martin and the Yankees, who made pitching an early off-season priority over catching and right field.. “The Pirates and Rangers have needs at catcher.’’

King further reports that, though Martin likes the Yankees and would like to remain with the team, he’s not necessarily going to wait around and let the other interested teams move on to other options, especially if the Yankees are reluctant to offer him the prevailing market wage. And yes, this is about Hal Steinbrenner’s austerity edict.

I understand that a lot of people aren’t keen on paying Martin to stick around after he struggled at the plate, but as Stacey and I both agreed last night; I think this underestimates the extent to which viable alternatives are going to be hard to come by. In terms of free agents, it’s basically A.J. Pierzynski or a quasi-platoon scneario with Mike Napoli, neither of whom is likely to come at any less cost than Martin. They could hit the trade market for a young, cheaper, catcher, but that kind of commodity is almost never available, so to get one would likely require a hefty return. The only other option would be the waiver wire, but obviously the pickings there are likely to be slim.

All of which is to say that the choice is likely between re-signing Martin and having Chris Stewart and Francisco Cervelli doing the catching in 2013. Framed that way, I’d like to think Martin 95 wRC+ last season doesn’t look so bad.

Continue reading Yankees may not make offer to Martin

Miley named Manager of the Year

Dave Miley has been named the minor league Manager of the Year by Baseball America. Miley led the Scranton-Wilkes Barre Yankees to a division crown and the second best record in the International League despite being forced to play the entire season on the road due to construction at their own stadium, so the award is certainly a deserved one. Miley was also named the International League Manager of the Year for the second time for his work this past season.

Miley has had one managerial stint in the majors, owning a record of 125-164 from 2003-05, with a 76-86 record in 2004, his only full season. I remember that stint pretty well from being in the area at the time, and in hindsight I think Miley was a pretty average manager all things considered. Those were just some untalented teams, and management was in a period of going through managers like socks hoping to placate a restless fanbase, as I recall. He moved on to the Yankees’ organization after that, where he’s had quite a bit of success in the Triple-A ranks. A big congratulations to him tonight on a job well done. Continue reading Miley named Manager of the Year

Drug testing program could expand soon

MLB and the MLBPA have been discussing potentially expanding the league’s drug testing policy, and now union head Michael Weiner indicates that an agreement on expanded testing would seem to be on the way.

Weiner says the union and MLB have spoken about adding in-season tests for human growth hormone next year. There also is discussion about making the tests more sophisticated for all performance-enhancing drugs.

The devil is in the details, I suppose, and though I don’t particularly care much about those scary, scary, arbitrarily banned substances, drug testing is something that’s between the league and the union. If the players want more testing and more “sophisticated” tests (which I find to be rather questionable language, but that’s not really my area of expertise) that’s there business. I do, however, find the apparent reasoning for this to be rather strange:

Earlier this week, Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz became the eighth player suspended this year under the big league drug program. The eight bans are the most since 2007 and Weiner said the increased number of positive tests has “caught the attention of both sides.”

Again, the parameters of testing really shouldn’t matter much to anyone beyond the league and the players, but I don’t really get the logic in thinking that there’s some sort of problem because the current process is catching more people who breaks the rules. If anything, that tells me that things are working as they should. I guess the endgame here is some sort of utopia where no big league players are breaking the rules but, a) that’s pretty unrealistic, as evidenced by the fact that all laws are broken by some people, b) even if you were to reach that point, the absence of anyone testing positive (we’ll put false positives aside for now) would just prompt the drug hysterics to scream that the program wasn’t working because it wasn’t catching any cheaters. The union ought to be very careful about how sensitive they are to playing PR games they can’t ever win. Continue reading Drug testing program could expand soon

Fixing the Hall of Fame in one step

I’ll admit it: usually I look forward to Hall of Fame season. The arguments can be fun, you get to make fun of people for silly votes, and sometimes someone puts forward an argument that makes you appreciate a former player in a new light. Heck, it even gave me the excuse to write about medieval witch trials last year. This year, however, that’s not the case. Part of the reason for that is fatigue with arguments that never really change, but a good chunk of it comes from the realization that so many absurdities result from structural deficiencies in the process itself. Most of all I simply find myself wondering a rather simple question: If the Hall of Fame doesn’t take itself seriously, why should I take it seriously?

(click “view full post” to continue reading) Continue reading Fixing the Hall of Fame in one step

Heathcott among best in Arizona

Baseball America has a list of the top 20 prospects from the Arizona Fall League out today, and one Yankee makes an appearance. That would be outfielder Slade Heathcott, who comes in just shy of the top five in the sixth place spot after tearing up the league to the tune of a .388/.494/.612 batting line. Heathcott, who BA just ranked as the second best prospect in the Yankees’ farm system, comes in ahead of some pretty familiar names, including Seattle’s Mike Zunino (7th), Detroit’s Nick Castellanos (8th), Cincinnati’s record setting speedster Billy Hamilton (10th), and Washington’s Anthony Rendon (11th), which is pretty awesome. Obviously this is no guarantee of future success, but Heathcott’s resurgence is certainly a welcome bright spot in a year that has included so many other setbacks for the farm system. Continue reading Heathcott among best in Arizona

This time, Yankees avoid disaster

With Andy Pettitte and Hiroki Kuroda safely back in pinstripes and Mariano Rivera likely to follow sooner rather than later, a very big chunk of the Yankees’ offseason to-do list has already been checked off. While re-signing familiar faces is never as fun as acquiring new ones, given the Yankees’ present circumstances and the state of the market it’s probably the best thing they could have done for themselves this year, and now the starting rotation looks like a strength of the team heading in to 2013.

It may all seem like things were always in hand now, but as I said in our podcast last night (which you can listen to here, by the way), there were a few too many parralels to the 2010-11 offseason for total comfort. You remember that winter, right? When the Yankees were going to sign Cliff Lee to join Pettitte, C.C. Sabathia, and Phil Hughes to form a killer rotation that would certainly yield a World Series winner? Well as it turned out, Lee and Pettitte were not on the 2011 team, Hughes had an injury plagued season, and things most certainly didn’t go the way we all drew it up (the Yankees did finish with the best record in the A.L., but I digress). A couple of weeks ago, it didn’t take a ton of imagination to envision a scenario in which Pettitte made a surprising retirement announcement for the second time, Kuroda returned to Los Angeles on a two year contract, and the Yankees’ rotation outlook was a very bleak one.

Thankfully, that’s not how things played out this time around. This time, everything did go according to plan, and the Yankees will come into Spring Training with the rotation they wanted to have. That doesn’t guarantee success by any means, Kuroda and Pettitte are both 40 years old (give or take) after all, but the Yankees got their guy(s), and if both can closely approximate their 2012 campaigns, there will be a good chance that the Yankees made the best two pitching moves of the offseason, even if it was just bringing back some familiar faces. Continue reading This time, Yankees avoid disaster


In our never ending quest to conquer the internet media world (not really) IIATMS has launched our own BlogTalkRadio program, and Stacey and I just finished recording the pilot episode. If podcasts are your thing and/or you’d just like to listen to us chat about the Yankees, baseball, and Jason Giambi (yes, the Giambino makes an appearance) you can check out our BTR page, or listen on the player below.

Topics include:

-The Yankees re-signing Andy Pettitte and Hiroki Kuroda, and how we all averted a nasty case of deja vue.
-The case for giving Russell Martin the market rate to return as the team’s starting catcher.
-Why are the Yankees just letting Nick Swisher walk away from them?
-And a brief look at the free agent market as a whole, including the strange case of Josh Hamilton.

Listen to internet radio with IIATMS Radio on Blog Talk Radio

Continue reading IIATMS Radio