Monthly Archives: November 2011

Yankees Mailbag

Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another Yankees Mailbag. Thank you to those who sent in questions – we appreciate it. If you have a question you’d like to ask, either email Mike at yankeesfansunited@gmail.com or contact us on Twitter (@yankeefansunite). Let’s get started…

@NataliaYank25 asks:
I’m hearing a lot of talk about the Yankees and Gio Gonzalez. Anything is possible, so you think it’s a good fit?

-      Natalia, I think Gio Gonzalez would be a good fit for the Yankees. He is the prototypical number two starter that Yankee fans desperately want after the ALDS loss to the Tigers. Gio does not get much run support for the Oakland A’s and yet still wins 16 games with a 3.12 ERA. His breaking ball is one of the best in the American League and would give the Yankees two lefties at the top of their rotation. Their GM, Billy Beane, reportedly likes the Yankees’ prospects, but I don’t see Brian Cashman pulling the trigger on this deal. I think he wants to see Banuelos or Betances grow into the system. Don’t expect the Yankees to make a trade for Gio, but Matt Garza is a possibility.

Will asks:
John Danks name is coming up in trade talks a lot lately, he seems like the ideal #2 starter and a solid lefty. What would it take to land him in a trade? Would Romine, Warren, Mitchell, Heathcott do it? I appreciate the feedback.

-      Will. I disagree with you on John Danks. The guy has never won more than fifteen games in a season and he had a stretch in the first two months of 2011 where he did not even win a game. He would be nothing more than a back end starter in the Yankee rotation. I think the White Sox would trade him on the cheap just because they have shown no signs that they will give him a long term deal since he is a free agent at the end of 2012. I would not give up Romine or Warren for him, but I would give up a Slade Heathcott for him. I look for NY again to look at Matt Garza, Jair Jurrjens, and Gio before they explore a John Danks trade.

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Morning Bits: Granderson, Mariano, Garza, Winter Meetings, Spring Training

Hello all here is your morning linkage.

Enjoy!!!!

* Curtis Granderson says the new HGH testing is important to Major League Baseball. Granderson also said that the Yankees pitching rotation is fine as is.

* Yankees are keeping quiet on Mariano Rivera’s upcoming vocal cord surgery.

* As talked about here, there is a lot the Yankees could be interested in, in Matt Garza.

* Yankees like flexibility as the Winter Meetings approach.

* Spring Training tickets are now on sale.  When you buy some feel free to get me some as well, with a plane ticket. Thanks.

* Bleacher Report always has something.  Here is an article of 5 surprise guys the Yankees should go for.

* Yankees Brian Cashman not in arm race to sign top free-agents.

Some Late Night Hot Stove

The Yankees have expressed interest in Kyle Drabek, according to Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun.

Drabek was a complete disaster in 2011, posting a 6.06 ERA in the majors and a 7.44 ERA at the Triple-A level. It wasn’t too long ago that the 23-year-old right-hander was considered one of the best pitching prospects in the game, so Elliott hears that Yankees’ people are asking questions to both the Blue Jays and Phillies (his original organization) about what may have changed.

Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston confirms that Bobby Valentine will be named the Red Sox next manager.

The Red Sox are expected to make it official on Wednesday. Valentine was offered while he was away on personal business in Japan and immediately accepted. The 61-year-old has a 1117-1072 record (.510) over 15 years of managerial experience in the big leagues between the Rangers and Mets, but has been out of MLB since 2002. While he’ll inherit a very talented team from Terry Francona, his job will be to help the club rebound from one of the worst collapses in baseball history.

According to Jon Heyman of SI.com, free agent left-hander C.J. Wilson asked the Angels for a $100 million contract.

It’s not clear if the Angels balked at Wilson’s asking price, but most expect the bidding will fall somewhere in the $100 million range. The 30-year-old southpaw visited the Marlins’ new ballpark on Monday and could sign somewhere during the Winter Meetings next week in Dallas.

 

Around The League

Around The League

By Delia E.
  •  The Houston Astros were given permission to interview Tampa Bay Rays general manager Andrew Friedman as the Astros front office goes into a new transition. Ed Wade who was the Astros GM was fired on Sunday Night in the first of changes. Friedman has been known to take the Tampa Bay Rays to the playoffs three out of four years even though they have one of the lowest payrolls in baseball.
  • The Kansas City Royals have signed former Los Angeles Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton on a 1 year, $4 million deal. Broxton will set up for Royals closer Joakim Soria in the 2012 season. Broxton was recruited to the team by Royals LF, Jeff Francoeur who went on a hunting trip with him and Kansas City manager Ned Yost.
  • C.J Wilson was in Florida talking to the officials of the Florida Marlins. Wilson had already met with the Los Angeles Angels while the Rangers have stated that they were still interested in C.J Wilson.
  • The Chicago Cubs have signed Astros bullpen coach Jamie Quirk as their new bench coach for the 2012 season. Quirk is a former MLB player, playing 18 years in the major leagues mostly as a catcher with a career .240  AVG.
  • The Chicago Cubs have also reached out and spoke to the representatives of Albert Pujols. Pujols has already gotten an offer from the Miami Marlins and the Cardinals have experienced interest to bring him back. There is also speculation that the Cubs are interested in former Milwaukee Brewer 1st baseman, Prince Fielder.
  • The San Francisco Giants have extended the contracts of GM Brian Sabean and manager Bruce Bochy. Both contracts have been extended to the 2013 season with an option for the 2014 season. This move was expected this winter.
  • Greg Maddux has said that he will not return as the Cubs special assistant to the Chicago Cubs due to taking an offer with the Rangers in a similar capacity. Maddux would help the Rangers young pitchers in development as a part of his job description.
  • The Red Sox have narrowed their list down to two candidates for the managerial job: Bobby Valentine & Gene Lamont. Both candidates have experience with managing teams. Valentine has managed both the Texas Rangers & New York Mets while Gene Lamont has managed the Chicago White Sox & the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Dan Haren Speculation

 

Brian Cashman has done a great job recently of avoiding the temptation to trade his best prospects for pitchers who were not worth the price. However, in hindsight, one error he did make was not completing a deal for Dan Haren when Arizona traded him. He reportedly would not give up Dellin Betances, Joba Chamberlain, and Hector Noesi for Haren at the July trading deadline last year. Haren is the number two starter the Yankees are looking for, and getting him without having to give up Jesus Montero or Manny Banuelos is a no brainer in my mind. It is obviously easy to say after Joba’s injury but he was not being used as a starter in 2010, and a bullpen arm is not valuable enough to stop you from acquiring a pitcher like Haren. Maybe Cashman will get another chance to redeem himself, but it would cost him a lot more than it reportedly would have before.

The Angels and Yankees do match up pretty nicely as trade partners. The Yankees can help fill the Angels major needs at third base and catcher, where they do not have MLB quality players currently on their roster, and nobody ready in the minors. The top of the Angels rotation is great, but if they lose Haren their rotation would be a little thin. Here are two packages I find to be fair: Jesus Montero, Dellin Betances, Brandon Laird, and a lower level prospect for Haren, or Montero, Eduardo Nunez, Hector Noesi, and David Phelps for Haren. The Angels could want a stronger pitcher back in Betances, or a stronger third basemen back in Nunez. I find the first package to be stronger, but maybe the Angels would think differently. Haren would be exactly the kind of pitcher the Yankees want to put behind CC Sabathia.  He had an excellent year last year going 16-10, with a 3.17 ERA, 192 strikeouts, and a 1.02 WHIP. Haren also only walked an astonishing 1.25 batters per 9 innings last year.  His arsenal of pitches is outstanding with a four seam fastball, a two seam fastball, splitter, cutter and a spiked curve.  Haren does not throw especially hard but still has racked up at least 190 strikeouts in the last 5 years. The downfall is that he is already 31 with a lot of innings under his belt.  The Yankees may fear giving him a long term deal.  He does have team options in his contract for the next two years. A rotation of Sabathia, Haren, Nova, Hughes, and Burnett certainly looks appealing though.

I personally doubt the Angels would trade Haren unless they acquired C.J. Wilson, who they are rumored to be interested in. Haren is still under team control for the next two years, and the Angels are not a small market team, so they can afford him. However, if they got Wilson, they would feel comfortable with a Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson, and Ervin Santana top three, and may want to improve their offense. Montero would be an instant middle of the lineup hitter for them, which they definitely need.  I would love for Cashman to be able to make up for an error in judgment and go get Haren. However, the Angels will ask for more than the Diamondbacks did and Cashman wasn’t willing to pay that price, so one would wonder if he would in fact pay more. I think he would be willing to because he can undo his previous mishap with Haren. Also it helps that Haren is a proven, elite pitcher. If the Angels will listen, the Yankees should consider Haren for sure because I think he would be an excellent fit for them.

Spanning the Yankee Blogs

Hello all and welcome to another addition of Spanning the Yankee Blogs. Lots of great Yankee blogs and a lot of great articles. Be sure to give them all a read. Enjoy.

* Bleeding Yankee Blue has an article on why Mark Buerhle is in demand.

* Mike Silva’s New York Baseball Digest says the Yankees have a few starting pitching options.

* NYYUniverse has a nice tribute to Jorge Posada.

* Pinstripe Alley talks about A.J. Burnett and his disappearing fastball.

* River Ave Blues suggest that with changes to the game Darvish is the right move.

* Road to Yankee Stadium has their 2011 Yankees Minor League All Star Team.

* Yakov Sports says that Gio, Garza and Danks are the Yankees best options for another pitcher.

* The Yankee Analysts wonder if the Yankees will sit on the sidelines this off-season.

* Double G Sports has a nice piece about how a family vacation led to a a 10 year old’s interview of Curtis Granderson.

Happy Birthday to Mariano Rivera

Mariano the greatest closer ever turns 42 today.

Morning Bits: Off-Season, Search for a Starter, Cashman

Good morning.  Let’s get right to it.

Here are your morning links…..

* Unusually quite off-season for the Yankees.  What does it mean?

* Why the Yankees search for an elite starter has stalled.

* Yankees GM Cashman to once again rappel down a building.

Also yankees signed someone yesterday.

Yankees signed LHP Juan Cedeno to a minor league contract.

Cedeno has been pitching in independent leagues. The left-hander was traded from the Red Sox to the Royals in 2005 and DFA’d by Kansas City in the winter of 2006. He spent the 2008 season between the Tigers and Dodgers systems before washing out of minor league baseball. Cedeno has a decent fastball but has no chance to crack the Yankees roster.

Russell Martin News

Russell Martin News

By Delia E.

The New York Yankees have until December 12 to offer arbitration to Yankees catcher Russell Martin. It looks as if it will happen since Brian Cashman compared Russell Martin to Thurman Munson in a press conference earlier this month.

The Yankees could offer Martin a multi-year deal but most likely will only offer him 1 year since there is Jesus Montero & Austin Romine to think about. If Russell Martin performs well in 2012 as well as he performed last season, then he could see a two year deal. A lot could happen with Montero & Romine as seeing if Montero could go behind the plate and if Romine can hit. If not, then one of the two could be traded.

Russell Martin could lock up a 1 year deal, but the question would be how much he would make if he gets a new deal. He made $4 million in 2011.

Cubs willing to trade Matt Garza this offseason

Cubs willing to trade Matt Garza this offseason

by Mike D.

Via Buster Olney, other MLB organizations are of the strong belief that the Cubs are “open for business”, regarding Matt Garza. In fact some teams expect the right-hander to be dealt this winter. As with any starting pitcher on the market, the Yankees are figured to have interest in pursuing Garza. In 2011, he pitched to a 3.32 ERA / 2.95 FIP / 3.19 xFIP line, with a 8.95 K/9 in 198.0 for Chicago.

Around The League: Marlins, Rays, Astros

Around The League

By Delia E.
  • The Miami Marlins have revealed that they had just finished building all the seats in their new ballpark, which is scheduled to be finished in 2012. Here is the picture of the stadium via @MarlinsBallpark’s Twitter account.
  • The Tampa Bay Rays have picked up free agent catcher Jose Molina with a 1 year, $1.8 Million deal with an option for 2013. The signing comes a day after the Rays traded catcher John Jaso to the Seattle Mariners for pitcher Josh Lueke and a player to be named later or cash.
  • The Houston Astros fired their GM Ed Wade and the team president Tal Smith on Sunday night in the first of changes promised by new owner Jim Crane. The Astros had the worst record in franchise history 56-106 in 2011.

Left-Handed Relief Series: Darren Oliver

As the offseason began, we heard something that is oh so familiar for Yankee fans. Brian Cashman is looking for rotation help and left-handed relief pitchers. With Boone Logan as the only lefty in the bullpen, Cashman is at least expected to explore the market, both through free-agency and trades, in search of a second lefty. Considering it will be a miracle if Pedro Feliciano pitches for the Yankees at all next season, the Yankees could use some outside help.

Over the next week or two, I’ll be looking at the free agent market for lefty relief pitchers...

Positives:

•   Oliver, a seasoned veteran at the age of 41, has played 18 seasons in the MLB. Because of his age, a one year contract is just about as close to a guarantee as it gets. Considering the Yankees past history with multi-year contracts for relief pitchers, a one year deal might be a nice change of pace. Plus, he’s maintained some pretty nice numbers of late, including 4 straight seasons with an ERA in the 2s.
•   He does a very good job versus lefties. In 51 IP in 2011, Oliver held lefties to .227/.269/.318, with a 5.75 K/BB ratio, which is quite good. He’s showed that skill against lefties in other recent years as well.
•   Oliver, with a 7.76 K/9 in 2011 doesn’t strike out a ton of guys, but with a stellar 1.94 BB/9 to go along with that, he manages pretty well.
•   He’s always been good at getting ground-balls (career 44.7 GB%), except for in 2011 where he had only a 37.9 GB%. More importantly, his GB% against lefties specifically, was much better at 42.9%.

Negatives:

•   At 41 years of age, Darren Oliver is very far from a sure thing. At his age, he is much more prone to injury, and he is probably one significant injury away from retirement. You also have to figure his numbers will decline from 2011 to 2012, so don’t be expecting another 2.29 ERA / 2.77 FIP / 3.24 xFIP season.
•   In fact, Oliver showed decline from 2010 to 2011. There was a significant drop-off in both his strike-outs, ground-ball, and swing-and-miss rates. Not a good sign if you’re holding out that Oliver will have another great season next year.

Overall, I wouldn’t mind if the Yankees signed Darren Oliver to a one year deal. It’s a relatively low-risk signing, but you simply can’t expect a whole lot out of him. He showed significant decline in 3 very important stats from 2010 to 2011, so there would be no surprises if this trend of decline continues. If Oliver, can stay healthy, and (close to) maintain his 2011 numbers, he would be helpful to the Yankees in 2012. Could he be that extremely dominant, Randy Choate-like, lefty specialist next year? Odds are, no – but he could be of use.

Morning Bits: Jeter, Nunez, Cespedes, Garcia, Joba

Good morning and back to the work week.  Hope you all enjoyed a long Holiday weekend.

Now on to the Yankee links….

* Here is a look at the Yankees 2012 outlook at the position of shortstop.  Jeter is getting old, is Nunez the answer???

* Reports are the Yankees are looking at Cuban defector Cespedes. I am all in favor of this.  Get these types of players now with the old rules before it becomes harder in the future.

* Even though the Yankees re-signed Garcia, more work has to be done.

* Joba says Tommy John surgery is on track.

Joba News…

Joba News

by Matt S.

Joba Chamberlain said Saturday that his recovery from Tommy John surgery is progressing on schedule.

Chamberlain was operated on in June and has been throwing for a while now. He hopes to throw off a mound by spring training and is aiming to rejoin the Yankees bullpen early in the season. Realistically, though, it might be closer to midseason.

Sunday Polls

Morning Bits: Dave Sveum, Garcia

Good morning all I hope you all enjoy your Sunday.   Not much going on in Yankee land.

Here are your links….

* Joe Girardi supports Dave Sveum.

* More on the Freddy Garcia signing.

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