Sosa is a marginal Hall candidate

When we devoted an entire episode of On the Money to talking about the Hall of Fame, I mentioned late in the show that I regarded Sammy Sosa as a borderline candidate, and that I’d be unlikely to support him over Kenny Lofton or Larry Walker if only allowed to vote for 10 candidates. That got a little bit of push back, both from Mike Bates at the time and others since, so allow me to expound upon my case against Sosa.

First of all, it should be noted that Sosa’ overall body of work makes him a borderline case, statistically, to begin with. Even with the prodigious home run totals and the fact that he was a much better defender than most people probably remember, Sosa finished his career with a total fWAR of “just” 64.1, good for 120th all-time amongst position players, and wedging Sosa directly in between Norm Cash and Bill Dickey on the all-time leaderboard. I’m not saying that WAR should be the end all be all of the discussion, or even a vital part of it, but as far as starting points go, that’s pretty damning for a guy in the 600 home run club.…

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Sickels’ top Yankees’ prospects

It doesn’t get the same amount of attention that the lists put out by Baseball America or Baseball Prospectus do, but John Sickels’ annual prospect rankings may well be the most unique of all of the prospect rankings that come out annually. That’s because, in addition to his own unique perspective and preferences on prospects, Sickels assigns a traditional letter grade to prospects, adding an additional level of depth and context above a simple stacked list of players. He put his list of the Yankees’ top twenty prospects out back before Christmas and, as always, it’s worth a once-over if you’re into the prospecting thing. The top of his list is fairly non-controversial, but there’s some interesting selections in the 8-15 range.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot: Sickels will be joining Stacey and I on On the Money tonight to talk about his rankings, as will our own minor league editor Tamar Chalker. The show goes live at 9:00 P.M. EST, and can be listened to here.

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Countdown to Spring Training: 36

Welcome to a new feature I’m going to be running here at TYA. As we count down to Spring Training, I’m gong to be taking that day’s number and relate it to something significant in Yankee history. For today, with 36 days left until Spring Training begins, I’m going to take a look at the...

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Steroid hysteria is really not good for Cooperstown

While, as always, I respect his opinion and the amount of thought and genuine care he puts into these things, I think Ken Rosenthal badly misses the mark in his latest column on the Hall of Fame. Rosenthal’s main premise is that it won’t be a big deal if no one gets elected to the Hall of Fame this year, that above all else, the “debate” is good for the Hall, and that no major changes to the voting process are needed. I’ll take each in turn.

As far as no one getting elected goes, I think Rosenthal is really missing the forest for the trees in his analysis. Sure, in theory, not electing anyone shouldn’t be a big deal, but in a very tangible sense, the Hall of Fame is bleeding money, and induction weekend is a vital part of keeping the institution afloat. They might not share it with the writers, but I’d bet dollars to dimes that when no one is looking, the people responsible for running the place aren’t the slightest bit happy about the possibility of a weekend featuring no one but long dead and mostly forgotten inductees from the pre-integration era, especially not with the huge potential afforded by this stacked ballot.…

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Ronnier Mustelier: The Forgotten Right-Handed Outfield

In all the talk about a right-handed outfielder, much is mentioned about Matt Diaz, Melky Mesa, Russ Canzler, and even Zoilo Almonte. One name goes overlooked in the organization, not because he hasn’t performed, but because of his age. The 28-year old Cuban outfielder, Ronnier...

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Yankees unlikely to re-sign Soriano

With Rafael Soriano languishing on the free agent market as teams blanch at the prospect of giving up a draft pick (or, more accurate, the signing pool money associated with that pick), there’s been an undertone in the rumor mill that his most likely landing spot for the 2013 would be back in the Bronx. I’m a little bit skeptical of that, both because I think the Yankees will be happy to wait out the market and see what pick they’ll get as compensation when Soriano inevitably signs a deal somewhere, and (more notably) because the Yankees don’t really have an opening in the bullpen with Mariano Rivera and Joba Chamberlain both healthy. That’s a sentiment apparently shared by Brian Cashman as well. “I cannot talk about players on the free-agent market,” Cashman said. “But I am not looking for bullpen help, I can tell you that.”

And before you throw out the surprise signing of Soriano back in 2011, remember that the Yankees didn’t have an elite set up man like David Robertson at the time, and at the beginning of the season Robertson was merely a nondescript middle reliever who got most of his action warming up in the bullpen.…

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Assessing the 2013 Yankee strategy

This has been an unusual Yankee offseason. The past few years the Yankees have spoiled their fans with big news during the winter months. In 2008/09 it was the signing of CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixeira. In 2010 it was the acquisition of Curtis Granderson...

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Mo to start throwing next week

Via Bryan Hoch, Mariano Rivera says his surgically repaired knee isn’t yet 100%, but it’s close. “It’s not 100 percent. It would be, I would say, 95 percent,” Rivera said at a clinic for children yesterday. “By the time Spring Training starts, it’ll feel 100 percent.” Rivera tore the ACL back in early May, and had the surgery delayed by susbsequent blood clot, so the schedule here isn’t much of a concern with six weeks left until pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report (and perhaps a bit more time until Mo is expected to arrive in Tampa).Rivera also said that he expects to begin throwing next week, and anticipates having a “normal” Spring Training schedule.

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Yankees have reached out to Berkman

Via Dan Martin, the Yankees “have been in contact” with free agent Lance Berkman about joining the team for the upcoming season. Berkman, who had a rather astounding bounce back season back in 2011 when he hit .301/.412/.547 with 31 home runs for St. Louis, was limited to just 32 games thanks to knee surgery in 2012, and was reportedly contemplating retirement as a result. Puma is said to prefer staying close to his Texas home, and the Rangers do have a standing offer out to him, so it’s not clear the Yankees are even doing much other than perhaps making the Rangers’ life a little bit more difficult (especially since Berkman is pretty much just a DH who hits better from the left-side of the plate which, though they have an opening for that, is not their top priority at the moment).

Berkman is notoriously not a fan of the American League nor the designated hitter, and with the exception of a few months spent with the Yankees back in 2010, his entire career has been spent in the senior circuit.…

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