Game Thread: Yankees versus Nationals, Sunday June 17th

The Yankees have won eight consecutive games coming into today’s matinee against the Nationals. All good things must come to an end but there is no reason why the team can’t make it nine straight wins. Incredible starting pitching has fueled the Yankee surge. Ironically, CC Sabathia has probably been the team’s worst starter during this stretch. Ivan Nova will toe the rubber for the Yankees today. He was brilliant in his last start, allowing no runs and just six base runners in seven innings. Hopefully he stays hot. The Nationals will counter with familiar foe Edwin Jackson. Jackson has pitched strong this year, posting a 1.01 WHIP and an ERA of 3.02. That’s all fine and good, but he’s still Edwin Jackson and the Yankees know him well. Enjoy.… Click here to read the rest

Could Raul Ibanez be a Decoy?

Monday appeared as if it was the day we’d finally find out the new DH in 2012. Buster Olney reported late afternoon, that the decision between Raul Ibanez, Johnny Damon, or Hideki Matsui would be made by the end of the week. Ken Rosenthal followed up with rumors only a couple hours later, tweeting that the Yankees had entered serious discussions with Ibanez. For anyone that follows trade rumors, the “serious discussions” card usually means an imminent agreement is only hours away. Alas, we’re a day and a half from the rumor and we’ve yet to see anything official.

"They actually think we'd sign Raul Ibanez!"

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard such confident Yankee rumors from the national media flame out; in fact, it would be at least the third time this offseason. The first, a tweet by Jon Heyman, a confirmation to what we all predicted; CC Sabathia was planning to opt out of his contract.… Click here to read the rest

Edwin Jackson, the Good Panic Move

Ownership could not have made circumstances more obvious, that last year’s Rafael Soriano signing was a panic move. Cashman admitted that the Steinbrenners and Randy Levine overruled him at Soriano’s very own press conference, and Hank later stated,

“People are missing the point; we didn’t get Lee but we got the second-best reliever next to our guy.”

This all happened after Levine met with Soriano’s infamous agent Scott Boras, and as if the panic-driven stars aligned in mid-January again, Hal Steinbrenner met with Scott Boras to discuss Edwin Jackson Wednesday night. While the right-hander is regarded as the best remaining starting pitcher, he doesn’t fit into their plans to cut payroll. Yet the falling price of Jackson makes it seem more and more likely that he will be the Yankees latest panic signing.

I won’t deny the team needs pitching, and neither will Cashman, but the organization is full of depth on its last stretch of maturing. Scranton’s rotation is chock-full of starting pitchers that could, given the opportunity, help the major league club.… Click here to read the rest

The Case for Colon

Cautious. Frugal. Patient. Prudent. There are plenty of adjectives one might use to describe the Yankees strategy this off-season but each inevitably leads to the same conclusion: Brian Cashman is taking the 75 million dollars the Angels gave to CJ Wilson, and the 100 plus million dollars the Rangers will probably plop down for Yu Darvish, and the 50 plus million dollars the Marlins spent on Mark Buerhle and he’s putting that money, and his faith and job security, and all his eggs in one very distinct basket. He’s betting on the 2012 edition of 2011 Yankees. He’s betting a slightly augmented version of the 97-game-winner is capable of capturing the AL East this season. He’s betting that, in the long run, passing on mediocre or otherwise overvalued talent in favor of payroll flexibility will pay off.

In short, he’s getting the gang back together. CC Sabathia signed a contract extension days before an opt-out clause in his contract could have made him a free agent.… Click here to read the rest

Giving and Getting

What a player gives is what the team gets. Sure, that’s a fairly obvious statement that’s likely too broad a generalization. There is more nuance to it, both on the SABR side (marginal value of a win) and the more traditional side (chemistry, etc.), but let’s take a look at the statement at its face and boil it down to two simple things: playing time and quality of performance. You want players to do both of these things and the ones who can perform at the high ends of these respective spectra are the star payers. Of course, that doesn’t always happen. There are some who can pitch a lot of innings or go up to bat a lot, but aren’t necessarily good at it. On the flip side, there are those who posses great skill and talent, but can’t stay healthy enough to play at that high level for extended periods of time.

I’ve talked before about the “two devils” of contract negotiations–money and years–but i guess w could consider this dichotomy a third devil (bonus points if you can come up with a clever term for it).… Click here to read the rest

More Things Not Happening

January 2nd was a busy day for the Yankees…in terms of things that probably aren’t going to happen. We heard multiple reports that the the Yankees are unlikely to bring in Edwin Jackson because of budgetary reasons. We also heard (in that same link) that the asking Price for Matt Garza is getting too high for the Yankees’ liking and that the team is not close to a deal with Hiroyuki Nakajima. So, for the Yankees, still, this offseason is more about inactivity than activity. But, at the same time, it’s not necessarily a bad thing.

I’ve been a little sweeter on Edwin Jackson than most have, but missing out on him is not a bad thing. While he’s certainly durable, he’s obviously not a guy to whom you give a five year contract, but at $12M, he’s not a bad guy to have in your rotation. I still don’t think I’d give him four years, unless the AAV were $10M, but I think he’d be okay to have on a 3/36 deal.… Click here to read the rest

Commenting On Davidoff’s Choices

Yesterday, Ken Davidoff of Newsday floated out six options the Yankees could employ to improve the rotation. Let’s take a look and make some comments.

His first option was trading for Felix Hernandez. He knows it’s not going to happen. We know it’s not going to happen. Let’s just move on.

Door number two is a trade for Matt Garza centered around Manny Banuelos or Dellin Betances. This is definitely more likely, but may not be cheap or easy…and I’m okay with that. I’m much more bearish on Garza than most seem to be, though, so take that with a grain of salt.

Next, he throws out the money suggestion (a 4/$48M contract for Edwin Jackson), but quickly dismisses it. I don’t dislike Jackson as much as some do, but I wouldn’t give him four years. If he can be had for 3 years at 10-12 million a year, sure go for it. The odds of that happening?… Click here to read the rest

With the Darvish drama over, what’s next for the Yankees?

Despite the hopes of many Yankee fans, there was no surprise huge bid for Yu Darvish from the Yankee brass.  Instead, to the devastation of the Blue Jay faithful (and the cult of personality surrounding GM Alex Anthopoulos) the 25 year-old ace will be swaggering on down to Texas, assuming the Rangers can meet the demands of Darvish and agent Arn Tellem.  It is likely that the Yankees knew that they would not be the favorites to land Darvish when they submitted a lower bid, but there is no doubt that they (and other teams) were waiting for the Darvish situation to resolve itself before moving on to other matters.

Now that Darvish’s negotiating rights are in the Rangers’ possession, the Yankees can proceed with their offseason plan and look to further improve the team.  There are two main orders of business remaining as I see it: adding a mid-rotation starter, and considering whether they want to enter the bidding for Cuban OF Yoenis Cespedes.  … Click here to read the rest

The two guys no one’s talking about

As I write this (8:40 PM on Wednesday night) it looks very unlikely that the Yankees are going to get Yu Darvish. We’ve also heard relatively little on the trade front except that the prices of two Yankee target–John Danks and Gio Gonzalez–are exorbitant. The White Sox wanted TWO of Jesus Montero, Manny Banuelos, and Dellin Betances for Danks (lol) and the A’s apparently asked the Marlins for Mike Stanton in return for Gonzalez. Until those trade prices come down, the Yankees are going to have to look to the free agent market to patch up their rotation.

Yes, at this point, it should be clear that they need to do that. I like the Freddy Garcia signing, but will lightning strike twice? Granted, with Garcia, lightning doesn’t need to strike twice. If he can throw 150+ innings while racking up a low to mid 4’s ERA, I’ll be happy. The back end of the rotation really isn’t the Yankees’ problem, is it?… Click here to read the rest