Ellsbury, Gardner, And The Change In Yankee Philosophy

Gardner New Deal Media

When the Yankees signed Jacoby Ellsbury, it looked like the writing was on the wall for Brett Gardner.  He was being replaced as the starting center fielder and leadoff hitter heading into his final arb-eligible year.  The Yankees had just committed $153 million to a player with an almost identical skill set as his, there was no way they were going to entertain the idea of re-signing Gardner and carrying 2 speedy, low-power outfielders for the next X number of years.  They’d make Gardner a qualifying offer after the 2014 season, he’d decline, they’d recoup a draft pick, and he’d sign a 4 or 5-year deal somewhere else to be that team’s starting center fielder and leadoff hitter.

Almost immediately the rumor mill fired up with potential trade partners for the Yankees to move Gardner.  The prevailing thought was that they could try to move him as part of a package to add starting pitching, a thought that I admittedly shared and was on board with earlier in the offseason.  …

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Yankees and Gardner Agree To 4 Year Extension

According to Jack Curry of the YES Network, the Yankees and Brett Gardner are on the verge of a $52 million 4 year deal that includes a 5th year option for $12.5 million. The deal starts in 2015, which means the guaranteed portion keeps him under team control through 2018, or his age 34 season.

With Jacoby Ellsbury also locked up for at least the next 7 years, the Yankees won’t be able to take advantage of Gardner’s elite center field defense or leadoff-type bat. Instead, Gardner will continue to provide top defense in left field, and may move up in the order once Derek Jeter retires at the end of 2014.

Considering the deal that Ellsbury agreed to earlier in the season, Gardner at $13 million a year could be a steal.…

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Some Sunday news, links and notes

On this last Sunday with no baseball to watch, here are a few notes and some news about the Yankees:

Mark Feinsand has video of Michael Pineda throwing batting practice.

Feinsand also provides us a handy-dandy Spring Training television schedule you can print and put on your fridge.

Vidal Nuno...

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Quick hit: Yankees Sign Andrew Bailey to a Minor League Deal

Per Buster Olney: Andrew Bailey agreed to terms with the Yankees on a minor-league deal, stacked with incentives.

From Bill Baer of Hardball Talk:

Bailey, 29, spent the last two seasons with the Red Sox. In 2012, he missed the first 116 games of the season after undergoing surgery on his right thumb to repair the ulnar collateral ligament. He returned in August but struggled, posting a 7.04 ERA in 15 1/3 innings through the end of the season. In 2013, he started off strong but went on the disabled list in late April with a strained right biceps. In mid-July, he went on the shelf again, then underwent surgery on the 24th to repair the labrum and capsule in his right shoulder.

So while Bailey does have a slightly frightening (okay very frightening) injury history and won’t be ready for the start of the season, he is expected to return by mid-season and this could end up being a solid move if he can stay healthy and make the big club.…

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Weekend Open Thread 2/22/14

How is this for weird? It was a mild sunny day here in New York and it was a rainy washout down in Tampa. It’s about time we got some weather bragging rights around here, not that it’s going to last because there’s another polar vortex on its way. Oh well.

Since it wouldn’t be Yankees camp without injuries of some sort, here are a couple of updates:

More stuff:

  • It was photo day and from what I’ve seen so far, there weren’t any bathroom shots like in years past. Those always amused me. You can see some of the shots here.

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Faces of the Yankees

Several of my colleagues here have shared thoughts on Derek Jeter‘s retirement announcement. Coming on the heels of Mariano Rivera‘s and Andy Pettitte‘s last year and Jorge Posada‘s the year before, the Core Four will be no more. I guess I have sadness at the end of...

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War of Words: Larry Lucchino vs Randy Levine

In case you missed it Larry Lucchino doesn’t like when people lump the Red Sox and Yankees together:

“We’re very different animals. I’m proud of that difference,” said Lucchino. “I always cringe when people lump us together. Other baseball teams sometimes do that. They are still, this year at least, relying heavily on their inimitable old-fashioned Yankees style of high-priced, long-term free agents. And, uh, I can’t say that I wish them well, but I think that we’ve taken a different approach. … If you compare what we did last year in the offseason to what they did this year, there’s quite a contrast there.”

Of course, Randy Levine couldn’t leave well enough alone and he said this – courtesy of Mark Feinsand:

“I feel bad for Larry; he constantly sees ghosts and is spooked by the Yankees. But I can understand why, because under his and Bobby Valentine’s plan two years ago, the Red Sox were in last place.…

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Projecting 2014: Alfonso Soriano

Corey Sipkin/New York Daily News

Corey Sipkin/New York Daily News

Before Alfonso Soriano was traded for Alex Rodriguez, the second baseman hit .290/.338/.525 for a .365 wOBA and a 124 wRC+ in his last season with the Yankees. In 2013, in his 243 plate appearances with the Bombers, Soriano hit .256/.325/.525 with a .366 wOBA and 130 wRC+. The right-handed hitter has lost some of his ability to hit for contact, but his power hasn’t gone away. The 17 home runs he hit in the second half of 2013 played a huge factor in the Yankees’ potential comeback in the AL East race.

Soriano worked out well in 2013, but his upcoming 2014 performance could bring some regression. There were no numbers that were startlingly out of the ordinary, but his power did increase substantially. When a power hitter moves from Wrigley Field to Yankee Stadium, this sort of thing happens. Soriano, who hits for power to all fields, benefitted greatly in the AL East and their hitter-friendly ballparks.…

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Quick Hit: The Incredible Shrinking Pitcher vs The Rapidly Expanding Ex-Prospect

I know a lot has been said about how skinny CC Sabathia has become but this picture really illustrates just how much weight he’s lost and how much his body has changed.

The picture is courtesy of the Yankees’ twitter account:

skinnycc22114

Amazing, right?

On the flip side, here’s Jesus Montero, who showed up to Mariners’ camp 40 lb. overweight:

SEATTLE MARINERS SPRING TRAINING

(Picture courtesy of Dean Rutz/Seattle Times)

Montero, who was embroiled in the Biogenesis mess last season, isn’t exactly endearing himself to his current team and I don’t think he can justify showing up to training camp so out of shape. Montero admitted that after winter ball ended, “All I did was eat.”

Look, I know what it’s like to binge eat and it’s something I battle nearly everyday but I’m not paid to play baseball and I don’t have a team counting on me to be responsible for my health. If Montero doesn’t shape up (pun intended), he will be out of a job soon.…

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