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.

Does MLBPA want a CBA do-over yet?

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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Carl Pavano does Carl Pavano things

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. Continue reading Carl Pavano does Carl Pavano things

Sanchez is Mayo’s third best catching prospect

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. Continue reading Sanchez is Mayo’s third best catching prospect

Yankees sign Mr. 162

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. Continue reading Yankees sign Mr. 162

Braves finally win Upton sweepstakes

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. Continue reading Braves finally win Upton sweepstakes

The luxury tax: still meaningless

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.

Emphasis mine.

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Hairston gets his two-year deal

So much for being in a New York state of mind. After being linked primarily to the Yankees and Mets for pretty much the duration of the winter, Scott Hairston has agreed to a two year contract with the Chicago Cubs, as reported by Ken Rosenthal. Hairston was the Yankees’ primary target for the role of right-handed hitting fourth outfielder, but it doesn’t appear as though the two sides were ever necessarily close, as Hairston reportedly held out for a multi-year deal and more playing time. He’ll get both of them with the woeful Cubs, though I can’t say I understand their logic here at all. Hairston won’t help them win many more games, and though there’s something to be said for a professional franchise to keep trying to sell tickets rather than just bottoming out before the roster is competitive again, I don’t know how for towards that goal Hairston gets them either.

Either way, he’s off the market now, and barring some really unforeseen development, the Yankees will likely select their fourth outfielder from a competition between Matt Diaz, Russ Canzler, and whomever else they can wrangle up for a song. Continue reading Hairston gets his two-year deal

On the Money 1/23/2013

On tonight’s program, former IIATMS contributor Chip Buck joined Stacey and me to talk about the offseason goings on of the 93 loss also-rans Yankees’ bitter rivals in Boston. Here’s a preview: none of us see the Red Sox competing for a playoff spot this upcoming season. We also discuss the possibility that the Yankees have their Opening Day roster in place already, spend a little bit of time laughing at Boston sports fans, and I finally get enticed into a legitimately angry monologue directed at the Yankees’ ownership group. Enjoy!

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Continue reading On the Money 1/23/2013