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

Cashman: New catcher “likely” already with organization

I don’t want to say I told you so, but:

With Russell Martin heading to Pittsburgh, GM Brian Cashman has another player to replace, although he doesn’t anticipate making a big splash.

“It’s possible our catchers are on our roster right now,” Cashman said. “That is very well possible and more likely than not, but we’ll see.”

There could, of course, be better options, but that’s not necessarily likely to be the case if the Yankees don’t intend to make a push for Mike Napoli or A.J. Pierzynski. Truth be told, as annoying as it would be I don’t think there could be a better public face for the “new” Yankees than Francisco Cervelli (or Chris Stewart) starting at catcher.

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ATHLETE WHO CAN’T RUN ADDS LOTS OF WEIGHT!

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.

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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.

So that’s really the rub: Martin is going to Pittsburgh because of the Yankees 2014 budget plans (or the Yankees had no interest in him at all and just used the payroll issue as a cover, but that wouldn’t comport with everything else we’ve heard about the organization’s opinion of Martin).

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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.…

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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.…

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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.

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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?

Think I’m exaggerating? Then answer me this: what sort of self-respecting institution would not only completely outsource it’s most visible form of decision making, but would continue to stand idly by when that process became as absurd as the Hall of Fame voting process we have today?…

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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.

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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 parallels 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?…

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