Not a fan of YES broadcaster Michael Kay? Well then today is definitely not your lucky day. The television voice of the Yankees has reached an agreement on a multi-year extension with YES to continue serving as the lead play-by-play man for their Yankees’ broadcasts, the network announced today. Kay will also continue to serve his various other roles for the network, including hosting Center Stage.
Believe it or not, I’m pretty apathetic on the topic of Kay’s game calling skills. He’s got his quirks, not all of which are endearing, but that’s true of any broadcaster outside of a select few. He’s not in the top tier of game callers around the league by any means, but he’s also far from the worst, which is good enough for me. Congratulations to him on the new contract.
Major League Baseball and the Drug Enforcement Agency are investigating a Miami based contact of Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, and other MLB players for connections to illegal PEDs, the Daily News reported Saturday. Anthony Bosch is alleged to have served as a contact for players looking to secure performance enhancing drugs, mostly through his father, Pedro Bosch, a doctor who came under suspicion with MLB back in 2009 when he was connected to Ramirez after the then-Dodger was suspended for failing a drug test.
According to the report, Bosch “advised” A-Rod on nutrition, diet, and training, and also consulted with Alex on a blood test. It does no appear as though A-Rod himself is under any significant scrutiny and, again, Bosch has been on MLB’s radar since 2009, so this isn’t much of a breaking development. MLB is apparently looking to stamp out a ring of drug suppliers linked to HGH and synthetic testosterone, especially in the wake of several failed drug tests in he past year, most notably by Melky Cabrera, Bartolo Colon, Carlos Ruiz, and Yasmani Grandal.
Last autumn, Major League Baseball and the players union negotiated a sweeping new collective bargaining agreement that made quite a few changes to the game, especially the draft and free agent compensation rules.
The owners Bud Selig wanted to push down the escalating cost of signing elite amateur talent out of the draft with hard(er) slotting rules, and the union, no longer run by experienced organizers who had led the players’ association through the toughest fights with the league like Marvin Miller and Donald Fehr, men who knew that the worst thing the union could do was allow the players to be turned against one another, happily went along with Selig’s top priorities. Indeed, many players were downright eager to agree, happy to throw amateurs under the bus in order to make sure that no-talent good for nothing punks like Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg were no longer able to take money out of the pockets of deserving established major leaguers like Delmon Young and Juan Rivera.
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I really hate to even kinda-sorta have a laugh at injury related misfortune, but Carl Pavano is hurt again. He reportedly fell down while shoveling snow and ruptured his spleen. Obviously we all hope he’s okay and doesn’t suffer too much from the injuries, but for better or worse I doubt too many Yankee fans are going to have much sympathy for Pavano, who may well be the most loathed Yankee of my lifetime (loathed by the hometown faithful, that is). The Mets had actually been talking about bring Pavano back to New York for weeks now, but I imagine that will be on hold given this latest injury. Frankly, that’s probably in the best interests of everyone.
It’s never a bad time for prospect hype, so here’s the latest such bit for the Yankees’ organization: MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo has ranked Gary Sanchez as the third best catching prospect in the game, behind the Mets’ Travis d’Arnaud and Seattle’s Mike Zunino. Those are a couple of stud prospects and the consensus top two prospects at the position, so in effect, Mayo is calling Sanchez the leader of the rest of the pack in the minor leagues, which is really something. That said, though I’m fairly bullish on Sanchez myself, I think Mayo might be a little bit overly optimistic in his evaluation of Sanchez, especially his defense. Sanchez has made gains there, but most of the people who give him better than average reviews for his defense still see him as an adequate at best backstop, while Mayo seems to be saying that he could be an asset behind the plate as well as in the batter’s box.
Sanchez topped my own prospect rankings last season, and should get an invitation to big league camp from the Yankees. With Francisco Cervelli slated to play in the World Baseball Classic, there’s even a decent chance we’ll get to see him play a good bit over the Grapefruit League schedule.
Via Sweeney Murti, the Yankees have signed corner infielder Dan Johnson to a minor league contract. Johnson isn’t an all-world talent or anything, but he’s achieved a certain level of notoriety lately for his heroics on the final day of the regular season, most notably his game tying home run off of Cory Wade back in 2011 that helped propel the Rays to the wild card/ruin the Red Sox. Normally I wouldn’t think much more of a signing like this at this point, but Johnson is a 1B/3B type and, well, the Yankees are notably lacking one of them on their bench, so there may actually be a reasonably decent chance Johnson makes the team out of camp. If not, though, it’s just a minor league contract, which is always fine.
The Braves have reached an agreement to acquire outfielder Justin Upton from the Diamondbacks, according to multiple reports from the usual suspects. After shopping him around for what seems like an eternity, the Diamondbacks have walked away with a package that includes Martin Prado and Randall Delgado, as well as infield prospect Chris Ahmed and pitching prospect Zeke Spruill. The Braves will also get infielder Chris Johnson in the trade, and won’t have to give away their top pitching prospect, Julio Teheran. Upton will join Jason Heyward and his brother B.J. Upton in a revamped Atlanta outfield, and Washington may not be looking at a cake walk to the top of the N.L. East after all.
Despite being a good fit on the surface, the Yankees never really seriously got in on Upton, either because they didn’t want to commit 2014 money to him or because they simply don’t have the pieces in their system. Without knowing exactly what Arizona was looking for I have no idea if the Yankees could have put together a realistic package, but after losing a chance to get Taijuan Walker it appears that they at least weren’t insisting on getting an elite pitching prospect after all.
I know I’m getting into dead-horse territory with this point, but as long as people keep not getting it I feel like I’m going to have to keep saying it. Here’s Tanya Bondurant of Pinstriped Bible, talking about Plan 189 in light of Ken Rosenthal’s report on the revenue sharing refund pool yesterday:
If the team realizes that they may not end up with as much financial relief as they thought, could they be willing to just scrap the plan all together? A potential 50% luxury tax penalty is incredibly high, and the team would be smart to do everything they can to avoid throwing that extra money away, but would the money saved be worth it if they field a team that fails to be competitive? I don’t think the goal of $189 million is a myth, but I do think it could easily be thrown out and forgotten if the front office doesn’t see enough monetary benefit from suddenly needing to pinch their pennies.
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