Author Archives: Brien Jackson

Saying goodbye to a legend, and a part of yourself

As most of you probably know, in my other primary sports watching life I’m a Baltimore Ravens fan. Not the biggest one in the world by any means (that title belongs to my semi-psychotic wife), and certainly not a lifelong one (really only for the past five years that I’ve lived here/been married to someone from a diehard family), but it’s a pretty big deal in our house, and it’s become my biggest cultural tie to the city (well, metropolitan area) in which I’ve chosen to begin my adult life, raise my kids, etc. And as you also are probably aware, the upcoming Superbowl will be the final game of Ray Lewis’ career, a fact that’s become a very big deal in this city.

You’ll have to indulge me a bit of idiosyncratic whimsy here (I promise to tie this back to the Yankees, eventually), because in all honesty this just occurred to me for real yesterday afternoon, and I’m going to struggle to put any other thoughts together until I get this post off of my chest.…

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Rosenthal: Plan 189 could be less lucrative than anticipated

I’m not sure if this is reporting anything that we didn’t already know, but Ken Rosenthal passes along that the Yankees’ ownership group may not gain as much financial lucre from their rapid budget cutting plans as they anticipated, because adjustments by other teams could reduce the amount of revenue sharing refunds available to them:

The revenue-sharing funds that would have gone to those clubs then would be redistributed to payors such as the Yankees. The idea is to motivate certain big-market clubs — the Toronto Blue Jays, for example — to increase their revenues, knowing that they no longer would qualify for revenue-sharing money.

 From that perspective, the plan appears to be working — the Blue Jays, Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves are among the big-market clubs that anticipate higher revenues next season, according to major league sources.

Such developments would reduce the size of the market-disqualification pot — and in turn reduce the percentage of that pot the Yankees would receive.…

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Joba says Youkilis hasn’t returned his calls

When the Yankees signed Kevin Youkilis as an emergency stopgap at third base, many wondered how the irascible Youk would get along in the clubhouse with Joba Chamberlain, a pitcher who was once suspended by MLB for throwing at Youkilis, and has had several run ins with the right-handed hitter. Joba sought to break the ice by calling Youkilis to welcome him to the team, but via ESPN New York it appears that Youkilis hasn’t been similarly motivated to reach out. According to Joba, he left a message for Youkilis on that call, but the call has yet to be returned. Joba did downplay the fact though, by noting that it’s not like the two don’t anticipate seeing each other soon.  “I’m bound to run into him at some point,” Joba joked. “Sooner rather than later so we’ll see what happens.”

For his part, Youkilis downplayed the importance of his history with Joba when he was introduced as a Yankee, and in all likelihood this is more interesting factoid than story-that-matters.…

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Austin gets invite to big league camp

I’m not sure if this already broke and I just missed it, but via this interview with MILB.com, the Yankees have invited Tyler Austin to big league camp in Tampa. Austin, of course, had a breakout season last year and even got the direct attention of Brian Cashman, so the invitation is well deserved. He only topped out with a cup of coffee at Double-A, however, so don’t mistake this as him getting a serious chance to make the major league roster by any means (though there are worse way to address the current DH hole, amirite?), but more as a chance for the major league coaches to get a good look at him, and for Austin to learn from the big league coaches and players, and maybe even as a bit of an acknowledgement of the tremendous year he had in 2012. Most of all, it means there’s a good chance we’ll get to see Austin take at least a few at bats in the early schedule games, which I’m legitimately excited about.…

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Teixeira still not interested in changing his swing, and he doesn’t need to

Apparently, Mark Teixeira learning how to bunt is going to be one of those things that pops up sooner or later every offseason. Much like last offseason, however, I think this is much ado about nothing, because Teixeira isn’t being significantly hurt by the shift. More specifically, given that Tex tried to make adjustments and is now quite clear that he isn’t comfortable with the approach, whatever Tex may have to gain by beating the shift isn’t worth the potential cost of putting him off of his game at the plate. It’s obviously better for a hitter to use as much of the field as possible, but by the same token, if everyone could spray the ball all around the outfield it wouldn’t be such a valuable skill, would it?

If Teixeira does have a problem, it might well be outsized expectations. There seems to be an expectation that Teixeira should be a consistently elite hitter and MVP candidate, even though he’s only finished above 18th in MVP balloting twice (including a second place finish in his first year with the Yankees), and his offensive production over the past three seasons isn’t actually that far out of line with his overall career numbers.…

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Yankees lineup could be downright offensive

I’m going to be honest: until Brian Cashman raised the possibility that the Yankees may be prepared to head to Spring Training with the roster as it stands now, I hadn’t really appreciated how precarious their offensive situation is. I mean, I knew they’d lost a lot of production, of course, but I don’t think it had ever really hit me how much of a liability the offense could be in the (none too far-fetched) worse case scenario. I won’t go so far as to call them “bad,” if only because that’s just setting myself up to fall on my face when Ichiro Suzuki hits 20 home runs, Robinson Cano wins the triple crown, and the team scores 900 runs. But for a team whose front office has taken to reassuring fans that they still spend $200 million on the roster, there’s barely a position at which the Yankees don’t have serious questions and/or limitations with their projected starter.

Consider this lineup:

C- Chris Stewart (career wRC+ of 59!)
1B- Mark Teixeira (116 wRC+ in 2012, the fourth straight year in which that number declined)
2B- Robinson Cano (Arguably the only non-problem, though his sudden problem hitting lefties is worrisome)
SS- Derek Jeter (Had his second best offensive season since 2007 last year, also had ankle surgery)
3B- Kevin Youkilis (102 wRC+ in 2012 was the worst of his career, only 89 against RHP)
LF- Brett Gardner (career ISO of .103.

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Cashman: Yankees roster could be set

Though he emphasizes that the Yankees are “still looking,” general manager Brian Cashman told ESPN New York that the Yankees’ roster may indeed be finalized at the moment, and could well head to Tampa without any additions. “We’re open for business, but we’re not going to do something just to do something,” Cashman said. “If we have to, we’ll go to Tampa with what we’ve got.”

Though it’s likely about positioning himself in negotiations as much as a serious willingness to round out the active roster with currently available options, let’s consider the possibility that this actually happens for a second. Looking at guys likely to make the active roster already here, the Yankees have 22 spots committed (21 if you don’t count Eduardo Nunez) and spots left for a fourth outfielder, backup corner infielder, and a designated hitter. The first two spots could be filled by Matt Diaz/Russ Canzler and, I guess, David Adams, but the lack of a DH could be a real problem for a lineup that’s already lost production from last year’s roster.…

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Yankees, Robertson, submit arbitration numbers

The Yankees took care of almost every stone before the deadline to submit arbitration proposals today, but David Robertson remains un-signed, even though there apparently isn’t a lot of daylight between what the two sides are comfortable with. Via Ken Davidoff, Robertson submitted a proposal for a $3.55 million salary in the upcoming season, while the Yankees offered a $2.85 million salary. If the matter actually goes to a hearing the abritrator will choose between one of those numbers (my guess is that Robertson would win), but with less than $1 million separating them, I have a hard time imagining a deal won’t be struck fairly soon, allowing the Yankees to focus on their pre-arbitration players and filling out the rest of the roster.

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Logan gets $3.15 million salary for 2013

The parade of abritration avoiding agreements continues with top left-handed reliever Boone Logan. His agency tweeted that Logan and the Yankees had reached agreement on a $3.15 million salary for the 2013 season, avoiding an arbitration hearing and leaving David Robertson as the only arbitration eligible player yet un-signed for the Yankees.

Logan pitched well for the Yankees early last season but either regressed to the mean or wilted a bit under an unusually heavy workload at the hands of Joe Girardi. Logan appeared in a career high 80 games, and pitched to a 3.74 ERA and 3.67 FIP with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 68:28.

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