Report: Yankees Among Several Teams “Looking At” Jeff Samardzija And Clay Buchholz

Interesting tidbit of trade rumoring from Nick Cafardo today.  Buried in a larger article of mostly Red Sox-ian topics, Cafardo included the Yankees in a group of teams who are reportedly “looking at” right-handed starters Jeff Samardzija and Clay Buchholz as we inch closer to next month’s trade deadline.

These are new names as far as the Yankees and their potential deadline targets are concerned.  We’ve been hearing a lot more about Cueto, Leake, and Cole Hamels lately.  But both Samardzija and Buchholz would be upgrades over the guys currently occupying the back end of the Yankee rotation.  Samardzija has seemingly taken a step back this year (4.56 ERA, 123 hits, 19.0% K rate in 108.1 IP), but he’s still a workhorse and his velocity hasn’t dropped so presumably he’s healthy.  Buchholz has actually been one of the best starters in the AL and the only full-time starter in the Boston rotation who’s been any good.

Samardzija is a true 2-month rental while Buchholz has a few team options years attached to him, so the asking prices could vary a little.  …

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ARod’s ‘marketable milestones’ take away his rights

The Yankees brass has made its intentions known without having to show it off on their high-def scoreboard.

When Alex Rodriguez hits home run No. 660 to tie Willie Mays for fourth all-time, their celebration will be tame. No red carpet. No champagne bottles. No commercials or special t-shirts. No, he will not get the “DJ3K” treatment.

Several outlets have reported how the Yankees are going to fight back against Arod’s special contract where he is supposed to receive what can be an extra $30 million for his milestone home runs – $6 million for each. Just don’t call them milestones. Seems the Yankees aren’t interested in that.

However, the New York Post story left me a bit baffled. According to their very special sources with knowledge of the situation, ARod would sign over his image rights and associated branding for $6 million a home run.

Really? Why?

I’m not thrown back by the Yankees wanting to keep the money in the battle over the contract.…

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Monday Morning Rapid-Fire Reactions To What I Missed Over The Last Week

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There was a Hank sighting and I missed it?? Damn

Good morning, dear IIATMS readers.  How’s everybody feeling this morning?  It feels good to be back after a week off, and it feels even better to have had nothing go majorly wrong in Yankeeland while I was away.  It was a bummer to miss pitchers and catchers report day last Friday, but that disappointment is overwhelmed by the excitement that comes with the start of Spring Training and the return of baseball to our lives.

Last week was not an inactive one, and naturally I have my own opinions on the comings and goings of that last week.  Before proceeding with what’s going on in the present and getting back to business as usual around here, I wanted to circle back and give my quick takes on the major stories I missed last week.  I promise this won’t take long.

A-Rod’s Apology Letter

Loved it.  Loved everything about it.  He was obviously in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation when it came to the public apology, and I think he made the right decision to handle it the way he did.  …

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Report: A-Rod And Yankees Agree To Meet

Well well well.  I guess some of those earlier reports about the Yankees turning down A-Rod’s request to meet and clear the air were nothing more than shoddy reporting/typical anti-A-Rod rumor mongering.  According to this report by Nick Cafardo earlier this morning, the Yankees and Alex have agreed to meet and talk before the start of the upcoming season.  Cash went further to say that those previous reports were untrue, and that this was the first time A-Rod asked to have a sit down with the team.

Between Cash shooting down that earlier report, him saying the Yanks are “more than happy to meet with him [A-Rod]” and Alex seemingly trying to do everything the right way, it appears as though all the A-Rod haters might not get the drama and shame they were looking for this season.  I shudder to think at what’s going to become of the Daily News I-Team when that happens.  …

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Report: MLB Holding Up The Yoan Moncada Proceedings, Not US OFAC (UPDATED)

Here’s an interesting new wrinkle in the Yoan Moncada sweepstakes.  According to this report by Ben Badler, the holdup in getting him unblocked and eligible to sign does not reside with the US Dept. of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control as many believed, but rather with MLB itself.

“Any Cuban national who presents documents showing permanent residence in a country outside of Cuba qualifies for OFAC’s ‘general license,’ which is not a written document. As far as OFAC is concerned, that should make him unblocked, and that’s good enough for the government to allow him to sign.

The holdup is that MLB won’t let Moncada—or any Cuban player, for that matter—use the general license any more. That wasn’t always the case. Yasiel Puig, for example, signed using the general license. It’s not clear what exactly changed, but at some point in 2012 after Puig signed in June that year, MLB no longer allowed Cuban players to sign using the general license and instead required them to apply for the specific license, which is a written document from OFAC…

“MLB issued the following statement to Baseball America on Sunday: ‘MLB is confident with the current plan we have in place regarding signing foreign born players and will abide by the guidelines of the OFAC requirements.’

Except, by the OFAC guidelines, Moncada has met the criteria of the general license to be considered unblocked, and he is not alone.

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Report: Yankees “Intrigued” By Johan Santana, Following His Winter League Starts

Johan vs ATL

Courtesy of Getty Images

This would certainly qualify as finding rotation depth on the cheap.  Per a report by Dan Martin, the Yankees were in attendance at Johan Santana‘s first Venezuelan Winter League start last night as he attempts to come back from a torn Achilles tendon.  Santana pitched 2 scoreless innings and looked pretty good by most accounts.  According to Martin, the Yankees are “intrigued” by the idea of signing Santana, and an unnamed source that they “will keep an eye on him.”

Everybody knows Santana’s story by now.  He used to be the best pitcher alive not too many years ago, but a litany of major injuries put an end to that and have all but derailed his entire career.  It’s not just the comeback from the Achilles tear that factors into any decision on Santana, it’s the torn shoulder capsule in 2011, the second torn shoulder capsule in 2013, and the back problems.  Santana has been limited to 21 Major League starts since 2010, and at age 36 it’s hard to imagine his body and its storied injury history holding up to any kind of consistent, regular workload.…

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Report: Yankees 1 Of 2 “Heavy Favorites” To Sign Yoan Moncada

There hasn’t been a lot of news to report on the Yoan Moncada situation over the last month or so.  He held his open workout back in November and was expected to begin private workouts this week, but so far there haven’t been any reports confirming that a workout took place.

The one constant in the Moncada story since his name surfaced last year has been the pack-leading presence of the Yankees.  They were out in full force for his November workout, they’ve been named as one of the teams most likely to sign him since the beginning, and per this report by Kiley McDaniel, they’re now one of the “heavy favorites” to sign him.  The Yanks have been hesitant to seriously engage with many of the recent star Cuban free agents.  …

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Max’s Headroom, $180m? Stars Deserve $40+m/yr, So $180m is Fine for Scherzer (& Was for Sabathia) – Despite the Ugly End of Such “Deferred Comp” Deals

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The Yankees have been adamant that they have no interest in adding another nine-figure salary to the books, resisting the outside cries … [for] Max Scherzer.” Yet the “Is Max Scherzer worth it” debate won’t stop. Dueling opinions are all over our comment threads and the whole internet, with folks declaring, “signing or not signing Scherzer will decide whether the Yankees are playing in October,” or proudly “rail[ing] against long-term contracts” of $20m+/yr because they are “gamble[s] that can cripple an organization…. [M]ost of the Yankees’ $20M busts are in the last years of long-term contracts, and you should no longer be surprised that they passed on Scott Boras’ $200M, longer-term contract demands” for Scherzer. Despite the strongly varied views on Scherzer, there’s little debate on three key points.

(1) He will require a costly seven-year deal. Fangraphs estimates $168m-$175m/7yr, i.e., $24-$25m/yr. Boras may want $200m, but that demand has left Max unemployed a month after the almost-as-good Jon Lester signed for $155m/6yr.…

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Is It Really is 2B Rookie Time? Will No Humdrum Vet Displace Refsnyder’s Shot?

I’m oddly excited to read, “the Yankees are not bidding on free agent infielder Asdrubal Cabrera” (Bryan Hoch tweeting, then Chad Jennings re-reporting), leaving 2B likely a competition between Rob Refsnyder, Jose Pirela, and some journeymen minor-leaguers who won’t really have a shot unless both Ref and Pirela badly tank and/or get hurt.

The lack of an Asdrubal Cabrera era for the Yankees is is good news, as is the lack of news, since the Gregorious acquisition, that Stephen Drew might still be signed for 2B. The kids are not only investments in the future, but better bets for 2015:

  • Refsnyder’s Steamer (Fangraphs) projection is .262/.328/.390 (102 wRC+)
  • Pirela’s is .259/.307/.381 (91 wRC+)
  • Cabrera’s is .251/.316/.397 (100 wRC+)
  • Drew’s is .218/.294/.352 (81 wRC+)
  • That’s offense; on defense, Steamer projects Cabrera as a clearly minus defender, but Ref as a slight plus defender. Reports are mixed on Ref’s defense, probably because 2B is new enough to him that he’s been an inconsistent work in progress in the field.…

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