Discussion: Rooting For The Uniform?

Yesterday’s Bobby Jenks – Oney Guillen brouhaha spurred some discussion about Jenks’ character, and brought a 2005 ESPN article about Jenks and his upbringing to my attention. The article suggests that Jenks is lacking in terms of intelligence, and that he is a “backwoods” guy with a drinking problem. The following anecdote caught my eye:

His ex-agent says Bobby Jenks used to call him D.J., short for Dirty Jew.

The agent says Bobby would say it casually on phone messages — “Call me back, D.J.” — and while Bobby denies it, it’s a window into the mystery of a backwoods pitcher.

The relationship between agent Matt Sosnick and Jenks seemingly did not end well, such that I cannot take anything said in the aftermath of their split entirely at face value. However, assuming for a moment that Sosnick is telling the truth, the anecdote raises an interesting point. I wanted Jenks on the Yankees, and I am not sure how I would have felt, as a Jew, after reading the ESPN story if he was in pinstripes.… Click here to read the rest

Bullpen Notes: Boston Adds Jenks, Yankees Eye Soriano

The Red Sox made an excellent move today, signing Bobby Jenks to a 2 year, 12 million dollar deal. While some have suggested this means Jonathan Papelbon is on the trading block, I do not see how they would get nearly enough value for him in a trade for it to make sense. He is expensive and coming off a bad season, so any suitors will be loathe to take on his money and give up decent prospects. It is possible that Boston just lets him go to dump his salary, but I would not count on it.

I really was hoping that the Yankees would nab Jenks to deepen their bullpen. This is what I said last month:

Jenks is a good buy low candidate after what is perceived to be a poor season. With Matt Thornton returning to Chicago, I could see the White Sox and Jenks parting ways. Jenks has conditioning issues and clashed with Ozzie Guillen at times, but he is clearly an immense talent.

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The graphical Bobby Jenks

ETA, 3:20pm. As I noted in the comments, news recently broke that Jenks will be signing with the Red Sox, for less than I expected — two years, $12 million. However, the below analysis still stands; only now Boston will get to benefit from him instead of the Yankees.

It appears that Kerry Wood, who we looked at yesterday in tandem with Rafael Soriano as potential lockdown bullpen solutions for the Yankees, is going to re-join the Chicago Cubs. However, another former flamethrowing Chicago relief pitcher from the other side of town is apparently on the Yankees’ radar — the recently non-tendered Bobby Jenks.

Jenks was a surprising non-tender, considering that he’s been the fourth-most valuable relief pitcher in the American League since 2005, but the White Sox didn’t feel he was worth more than the $7.5 million he made in 2010 and as a result didn’t want to risk having to pay whatever raise he would’ve received had they gone to arbitration.… Click here to read the rest

Interesting Non-Tender Candidates: Pitchers

MLBTR put together a list of players who are likely to be non-tendered, and I want to highlight a few names who might be interesting to the Yankees. I looked at hitters last week, and will focus on hitters today:

JP Howell: Howell is coming off a shoulder injury that cost him all of the 2010 season, so he is definitely a risk if you are counting on him to be a major cog in your bullpen. If his contract is small enough, however, he is certainly worth taking a chance on. Howell was terrible for the first portion of his career, but a move to the bullpen in 2008 turned him around. He had ERA’s of 2.22 and 2.84 and K/9’s over 9 in both of his seasons spent in the bullpen. He does walk too many guys to be counted on as an 8th inning type, but he would be very good as a guy who can be used earlier in the game to get a big strikeout or handle a slightly lower leverage inning.… Click here to read the rest

Gardner Garnering Interest From White Sox, Royals

With the Yankees suddenly flush with outfielders and likely to add another bat before the end of the offseason, clubs are moving in on Brett Gardner as a cheap, reasonably productive option for their open center field jobs. From MLBTR:

Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times hears from a scout familiar with the situation that the White Sox covet Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner. The Yankees, who just acquired Curtis Granderson, have extra outfielders so the White Sox and Royals have inquired on Gardner.

I’m not sure about the Royals, but I do have one name picked out on the White Sox. Lefty reliever Matt Thornton had a stellar year, his second consecutive good year after muddling through his first 4 seasons in the majors. He is 32, so the Yankees would be trading a young CF’er for a guy on the wrong side of 30, but Thornton is a better fit for the Yankees over the next two seasons, as he would fit nicely in the slot held by Phil Hughes in 2009.… Click here to read the rest

Trade Target: Bobby Jenks

Time for a bit of speculative fun.

From Phil Rogers (Chicago Tribune):

Teams looking to add pitching in midseason trades could be disappointed. There’s not a lot on the market, which could play to the White Sox’s advantage if they decide to deal Jose Contreras. They have a decision to make on Bobby Jenks — try to sign him to a long-term contract or listen to offers. They could get a lot if they moved him, with teams such as the Angels, Yankees, Rangers, Cardinals, Phillies, Mets and Brewers looking to beef up their bullpens.

Jenks would be an interesting acquisition for the Yankees. He’s a good closer, despite his many inconsistencies. While his HR rate is up this year (1.6 HR/9 compared to 0.4 last year), his strikeout rate—K/9 of 9.0—has climbed considerably after falling each season since his debut season in 2005 (last year, his rate was a lowly 5.5).… Click here to read the rest