Friday Morning News And Notes: 12/19/14

Last day of work for me before Christmas and if we’re being honest with each other, I’m already on cruise control.  Here’s a quick recap of what’s cooking on the Yankee hot stove:

– The team continues to insist it’s not in on Max Scherzer.  Yesterday it was Randy Levine speaking the company line on behalf of the team, telling Newsday that “the chances of us bringing in another guy who makes $25 million or over are, in my opinion, virtually none.”  Usually it’s bad news when Levine is the team mouthpiece, but he stuck to the script yesterday and managed not to say anything stupid.  That’s a plus.

– In the world of cheaper FA alternatives, another one came off the board yesterday when the Royals signed Kris Medlen to a 2-year/$8.5 million deal.  I know he doesn’t have the upside, but seeing 2 big time arm injury guys like Medlen and Brett Anderson getting close to $10 mil makes me feel better about giving Capuano 5.…

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Cash Dishes On Scherzer And Headley

Brian Cashman made an appearance on NBC’s “Sports Final” late last night.  He talked to Bruce Beck about a variety of Yankee player and hot stove topics, most notably where the team stands with respect to free agents Max Scherzer and Chase Headley.  Quotes here are courtesy of Brendan Kuty, who was live tweeting the interview.

On Scherzer, Cash reiterated the point of the Yankees not being in on him, saying “I don’t think Yankee fans will be looking at Max Scherzer” next season.  Scherzer is reportedly seeking at least $200 mil and that’s a number that, according to Cash, is a “higher level than we’d like to play in right now.”

On Headley, Cash was much more optimistic.  In fact, this was probably the most substantial thing said regarding the Yankees’ pursuit of Headley this offseason:

That’s quite the declaration, especially from the man representing the team that’s done everything it can to downplay its involvement with Headley so far.  …

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Report: Yanks Willing To Go 4 Years For Headley And D-Rob

Not much activity so far on the Yankee front on Day 1 of the Winter Meetings.  I don’t think Cash has even arrived in San Diego yet.  The big story of the day so far is this report from Andrew Marchand about the Yankees being willing to go to a 4-year deal for Chase Headley and/or David Robertson.  This goes against previous reports that hinted at New York not being willing to go more than 3 for Headley, and confirms that the team is still very much interested in and involved in talks with D-Rob even after inking Andrew Miller to a 4-year deal on Friday.

Of course, the Yankees’ reported interest comes with the always tricky “at the right price” contingency.  Headley has supposedly received a 4-year/$65 million offer from an unnamed team, a price tag that I can’t see the Yankees being interested in paying.  With that deal not signed, however, and more coming out today about how much Headley liked playing in New York, I wonder how real that offer is.  …

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Report: Yanks In “Serious Pursuit” Of Andrew Miller

The stove has been ice cold in Yankeeland for the last few weeks, but this report by Buster Olney may have just turned the gas back on.  Andrew Miller was one of the best relief pitchers in baseball this past season, better than D-Rob in some respects, and he’s been drawing a lot more attention on the FA market than Robertson.  I think I read something earlier in the offseason about 20+ teams showing interest in him, and all that reported interest is sure to push him into the 4-year contract territory.

That’s the territory the Yankees seemingly don’t want to enter with D-Rob, so I’m curious as to why they’re willing to go there with Miller.  They really can’t go wrong with either Miller or D-Rob, and I would be a big fan of them adding both, but I really don’t understand the thinking here.  …

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Sunday Morning Rumors: Ibanez, Grilli

A pair of hot stove stories from late Friday on the hitting coach and bullpen situations.

– First the hitting coach.  There were reports earlier in the week about Raul Ibanez being one of the 3 finalists for the Tampa Bay managerial job.  According to George King, if Ibanez doesn’t get that job, he has no interest in becoming the Yankees’ hitting coach.  Sounds like it’s manager or bust for Raul and I can’t really blame him for that.  We’ll have to wait until next week to see who this mystery interview candidate is.

– Now the bullpen.  Via Sweeny Murti, the Yankee front office has discussed right-hander Jason Grilli as a hypothetical replacement for D-Rob should they fail to re-sign him.  Grilli, 38, was really good as the Pirates closer in 2013, less so last year before he was traded to Anaheim.  He bounced back post-trade and could be worth the minimal cost it will take to sign him.…

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Report: Trade Talks On Andrus And Ramirez Not Going Anywhere

Everybody and their mother knows that the Yankees are putting max effort into finding a new shortstop this offseason.  The 2 most talked about trade targets for the position have been Elvis Andrus and Alexei Ramirez, and the Yankees have been linked to both players in recent weeks.  Per the latest information from George King, those links don’t appear to be leading anywhere:

“Yet, according to a person with knowledge of the White Sox’s plans, they don’t believe a deal with the Yankees for the 33-year-old Ramirez is any further along than it was at July’s trading deadline, when the Yankees acquired Stephen Drew from the Red Sox…

As for the 26-year-old Andrus, who starts the first season of an eight-year deal worth $118 million this coming April, the Rangers will listen but aren’t in a rush to deal him…

And because they need pitching and catching — perhaps outfield help if they can move Shin-Soo Choo– there is a problem matching with the Yankees.”

Now THIS is a good rumor.  …

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On Hot Stove Rumoring For The Sake Of Rumoring, Or “Hey, Did You Hear About The Yankees And Max Scherzer?”

Scherzer vs TOR

BREAKING: Still not a Yankee. Not even close

Has everybody had a chance to check around the Yankosphere and baseball blog circuit yet today?  If you have, you were no doubt bombared with stories about the Yankees and Max Scherzer kinda, sorta, maybe, possibly being linked.  Via Jon Heyman:

“So far this offseason, there hasn’t been much that’s new and interesting tied to the Yankees– baseball’s most storied franchise and usually among its most active winter players.

And there has been very little, if anything, that’s been linked to right-hander Max Scherzer — baseball’s top free-agent pitcher.

So it shouldn’t surprise anyone that there’s a chance that the Yankees and Scherzer may start becoming tied together, at least in terms of talk. It’s a match that might make sense.”

At face value, no.  That wouldn’t be a surprise.  Big money players are always linked to the Yankees during hot stove season, and they have a very apparent and widely-known need for starting pitching.  …

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Group Chat: Would You Sell Half the Farm for Tulo?

Scott: Matt’s Yankees Shortstop Options post was depressing, and rumors are flying about possible trades for Elvis Andrus or Troy Tulowitzki, with one rumor suggesting that the Yankees could have Tulo for something like Luis Severino, Greg Bird, and Manny Banuelos. Would you take that deal, or something like it? I absolutely would. (1) Severino is great, with no red flags to date, but has only 25 IP at AA; it’s a long road yet to being a real MLB starter, much less the sort of #1-#2 starter you might regret giving up for a Tulo. (2) Bird has real holes in his game – rough at 1B (1 error every 10 games) and striking in 23% of PA in the low minors (bad but more a yellow than red flag); his 7 HR in 95 AB at AA, and great AFL showing, may signal exciting improvement, but to regret trading him for Tulo, he’d have to show continued progress.…

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Friday Morning Food For Thought: A New Hitting Coach Candidate Emerges

Via George King:

“There was serious speculation running through Kauffman Stadium before the Giants’ 3-2 victory over the Royals in Game 7 of the World Series that the Yankees were waiting for the end of the Series on Wednesday night to contact the Royals’ Raul Ibanez to gauge his interest in becoming their hitting coach.

While Ibanez was not on the active roster against the Giants, he was with the team serving as a wise head for the younger Royals to bounce ideas off and listen to. Royals manager Ned Yost has praised Ibanez’s leadership qualities throughout the postseason.”

Raul Ibanez, huh?  OK, I can get on board with that.  The Yankees have already lost out on what we have to assume was their top 2 candidates for the vacant hitting coach job.  If the silence since then has been them biding their time and waiting to talk to somebody who was still involved in the postseason, that would be much better than them stalling because they didn’t really have a backup plan.  …

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