Daily Archives: November 2, 2012

Yankees Offseason Notes: Yankees make qualifying offers, Yankees keep Cabral

Good evening Yankees fans. Today is one of those days where we ask ourselves–”Is it February yet?” Anyway, onto tonight’s notes that circle around Yankees baseball!

– The Yankees announced today that they have made qualifying offers to Nick Swisher, Hiroki Kuroda and Rafael Soriano. The bigger question here is–why didn’t the Yankees make an offer to Ichiro Suzuki or Russell Martin? Do they plan on letting them go? We’ll find out more as the “Off-Season Saga” continues. (BTW, the Yankees would get a draft compensation pick if either of the three sign elsewhere).

– Speaking of Russell Martin, the Yankees did not make him a qualifying offer. Martin can still sign with the Yankees but they won’t get compensation for him if he goes to another team.

– The Yankees also announced that they plan on keeping Rule 5 pitcher Cesar Cabral for the offseason. They want him to come back to Spring Training and compete for the job in the bullpen. Last season, Clay Rapada beat out Cabral for the job (mostly because Cabral fractured the tip of his elbow) but this season Cabral would have to make the team or he gets sent back. A loophole however is if Cabral makes the team, he doesn’t have to spend the whole year on the team. He can be optioned to the minor leagues at any point during the season.

– And finally, Michael Pineda–might miss the entire 2013 season. There’s no information as of yet but tune into MLB Tonight on MLBNetwork to find out why. (And for those who hate the Red Sox, David Ortiz might be out the entire season as well). MLB Tonight airs at 6pm. Check your cable provider for which channel.

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The Closer Conundrum

 

The closer position is one of the biggest and most interesting questions for the Yankees into the winter. Unsurprisingly, Rafael Soriano opted out of his three-year, $35 million contract with the Yankees on Wednesday.  Soriano’s agent, Scott Boras, is known to get the most money for his clients as possible.

“Scott Boras told me he was confident that he could get Rafael a $60-million contract for four years,” team president Randy Levine said. “We like Rafael Soriano. We want him back. If that’s what his agent can get him, I understand why he opted out.”

The Yankees will make Soriano a qualifying offer worth $13.3 million to assure themselves a draft pick if he leaves. The Yankees will have no interest in Soriano for a four-year contract, but they could be open to a two-year deal if Mariano Rivera does retire.

It will be interesting to see how much Soriano can get on the open market. Soraino had a stellar year for the Yankees filling in for the injured Rivera. He saved 42 games for the Yankees and pitched to a 2.26 ERA. However, teams have paid for over paying closers on the open market lately, which could limit Soriano’s value, especially since he is turning 33 next month.

The Yankees find themselves in a very tough situation in dealing with Soriano. Rivera, who initially vowed to comeback next season after tearing his ACL, has told Brian Cashman that he is undecided about his return. I see it as more of a negotiating ploy, as the Yankees may be hesitant to pay Rivera close to the money he has been making in the past, since he his 42 and coming off a serious injury. He has worked very hard in his rehab and is very prideful, so I see him returning.

However, if Rivera doesn’t return, the Yankees do not want to get stuck without an experienced closer. David Robertson has been a great setup man for the Yankees, but he has been unimpressive in his few opportunities to close. Closing out the game in the ninth is much different from getting outs in the eighth. There is a huge difference in it mentally that certain pitchers can’t get past and Robertson may be one of those guys.  The Yankees have been spoiled with the greatest closer ever for so long and by Soriano last year, but it is not that easy to find a good closer.

If the situation arises where Soriano goes elsewhere and Rivera retires two pitchers the Yankees should consider are Joakim Soria and Ryan Madson. In fact, they should pursue them either way. The Royals declined their option on Soria, who missed all of 2012 after having Tommy John surgery. Madson is another player who missed 2012 due to Tommy John surgery. Both pitchers were elite closers before their injuries and pitchers have been fine coming off Tommy John surgery lately.

The Yankees are in quite a bind here. Letting Soriano walk would mean they would be taking a big gamble that Rivera is healthy and effective in 2013. On the flip side, they don’t want to overspend on Soriano and have Rivera come back strong in 2013.  Then, there is the doomsday scenario that I mentioned before; Soriano could move on to another team and Rivera could then  retire, leaving the Yankees potentially stuck with an inexperienced closer in 2013.

Rivera is obviously a Yankees legend, so it will be interesting to see how much money he gets if he decides to return to the Yankees. The Yankees proved with Derek Jeter that they are not afraid to tell a legend that they will only pay him what they think he is worth. It is just another question, among many others, that the Yankees will face this offseason.

Morning Bits: Ichiro, Torii Hunter, Blood Drive

Good morning everyone and a happy Friday to you all. Here are today’s morning links.

– ESPN New York explains how Ichiro Suzuki and Yankee Stadium are a mutual fit. So, will Ichiro come back to the Yankees in 2013?

– The Yankees are considering looking into Torii Hunter and according to Brian Cashman, age at this point doesn’t matter. So if age isn’t a factor right now, is Brian Cashman going to start signing 50-year old men to play for the Yankees?

– Today the Yankees are hosting a blood drive at Gotham Hall from 10:00 a.m to 4:oo p.m. The first 300 donors will get a voucher for two tickets to a 2013 New York Yankees home game.

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