Category Archives: Hot Stove

Offseason/Trade Deadline Rumors, News, Speculation

Spring Training Notes: Run, Jeter, Run!; Granderson speaks with the media

Although camp technically begins tomorrow, since there is a reasonable amount of players at the complex, we might as well start the Spring Training reports today. Here are today’s top stories from Tampa, Florida.

Jeter begins to run

Derek Jeter told reporters that he received the green light to do all activities that do with baseball–including running. Jeter ran for the first time since the surgery and said he felt pretty good.

 “I’m progressing like I told you. I’m right where I need to be. I’ve gotten the okay to do everything.”

Although Jeter is doing well in his recovery, don’t expect him to play Spring Training games right off the bat. Jeter’s goal is Opening Day, the day where everything begins to matter.

Granderson speaks out to the Media

Curtis Granderson reported to Spring Training a week before position players are slated to appear, and wasn’t shy in talking to the media about the topics that have been surrounding him all winter: the speculation that he will move to LF and his contract.

When talking about the speculation on whether Granderson could move to LF, Granderson said he was “open to it” and that he wouldn’t mind the move. Keep in mind fans, Granderson has barely played LF but of course, you want your best outfielder in CF and that’s not Granderson–no offense Grandy.

Granderson also talked about wanting to talk a contract extension with the Yankees. “I’d be a fool not to.”

“I’m so excited about this fourth season and hopefully this isn’t the last one.” Yeah…that’s what Nick Swisher said last season. Where is he now? Oh, right…CLEVELAND.

Granderson also seems serious about wanting to hit better this season, which is why he talked to Ichiro Suzuki about it. Granderson started working out and hitting earlier than usual, which could be useful since he is speedy and could help out the other speed demons on the team: Brett Gardner, Ichiro and Eduardo Nunez to name a few.

Here’s today’s poll:

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Yankees Offseason Notes: Cashman speaks little about A-Rod saga

Brian Cashman was on ESPN radio with Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco earlier today, and one of the most popular topics was Alex Rodriguez. Now, Cashman didn’t get into details about A-Rod, but he did acknowledge that he was aware of the situation.

– Before we get into the Alex Rodriguez drama, Brian Cashman confirmed the Yankees signed Travis Hafner with a plain “yes.” That’s all. Now, onto A-Rod.

First off, Brian Cashman wouldn’t comment about the Alex Rodriguez saga which isn’t surprising. The Yankees released a statement earlier this week saying that they had no comment. “I am not commenting other than we are in full cooperation with Major League Baseball.” Cashman said that he did find out about the New Times article last week when the Yankees received a letter about the article, wanting a comment from the Yankees. “Our immediate reaction was, once we saw that, we turned it over to Major League Baseball.”

Earlier this winter, Cashman said that the Yankees might not expect A-Rod to play this season and he’s also not certain as of today, but is expecting him for the summer.

“Alex, we’re expecting back in the summer. If we can get A-Rod back under that scenario as expected, that will certainly be a significant contribution as we move forward. But to count on it, I think, would be a mistake from my position as a general manager.”

The biggest question for Brian Cashman? Would the Yankees try to void Alex Rodriguez’s contract?

“I’m not going to comment on anything. I could say, and would say, those types of suggestions and speculations are all premature until you have all the facts (from MLB investigation.”

– Now to move on from the Alex Rodriguez soap opera, Cashman spoke about Derek Jeter and his ankle injury, believing he would be ready for Opening Day.

“We’re just going to take him out slowly because we have time. The goal is starting shortstop Opening Day against Boston. There’s no reason that’s not going to happen. He’s really 100% healthy and he’s just now knocking the rust off.”

Yankees Offseason Notes: Alex Rodriguez will not retire; Yanks sign Travis Hafner

Once again, the main focus of the day belonged to none other than Alex Rodriguez in his ongoing saga about the PED report. For fans that were hoping that Alex Rodriguez would retire out of shame–it’s not happening. A source close to Rodriguez spoke to the press today, addressing the fact that Rodriguez will not retire, meaning that it would take a bigger effort to strip A-Rod of his contract, should the report be true.

“Alex has no plans to retire at all.” The source told ESPN New York early Thursday morning.

While the media continues to buzz about the story of A-Rod possibly using PED’s again, a spokesperson for A-Rod spoke on behalf of A-Rod’s, discussing his rehab and him possibly returning to the field–if he’s not caught cheating and suspended first.

“Alex says he’s working diligently on his rehabilitation and is looking forward to getting back on the field as soon as possible.”

If A-Rod is working to get back on the field and if all of the allegations are proven true, I believe that this could be the last we see Alex Rodriguez in Yankees pinstripes. It would be hard to strip them from him, but if true, a man that repeatedly cheats the game of baseball isn’t worthy of wearing the sacred pinstripes that stand for all that is good to the New York Yankees.

Yankees sign Travis Hafner to one-year deal

The Yankees have signed Travis Hafner to a one year deal, filling the role for the DH–at least against right handed pitching. The numbers of the contract haven’t been revealed as of yet, but he will don pinstripes for the Yankees, filling a vacant role that previously belonged to Raul Ibanez during the 2012 season. Hafner spent nine seasons with the Cleveland Indians, before the Indians declined his option for the 2013 season, sending him to the free agency market.

Reactions from Alex Rodriguez PED report (Plus other Yankees notes)

While the baseball world is not at all shocked that Alex Rodriguez has been linked to PED’s (again), there are more statements and news surrounding the latest chapter that is the Alex Rodriguez-saga. Earlier today both Joel Sherman and the Yankees issued statements about the Alex Rodriguez Miami report. Here’s what the Yankees had to say:

“We fully support the Commissioner’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. The matter is now in the hands of the Commissioner’s office. We will have no further comment until the investigation has concluded.”

Here’s the statement A-Rod’s camp gave to Joel Sherman.

” The news report about a purported relationship between Alex Rodriguez and Anthony Bosch are not true. Alex Rodriguez was not Mr. Bosch patient, he was never treated by him and he was never advised by him. The purported documents referenced in this story –at least as they relate to Alex Rodriguez– are not legitimate.”

As soon as the PED story broke from the Miami New Times, ESPN reported that Rodriguez hired a lawyer, Roy Black, who has represented several celebrities. Along with Alex Rodriguez being linked to the PED report, Nelson Cruz and Gio Gonzalez were also linked. Gonzalez gave his own statement to the press.

“I’ve never used performance enhancing drugs of any kind and I never will. I’ve never met with Bosch or used any substance provided by him. Anything said to the contrary is a lie.”

As we get more information on the A-Rod saga, we will post it here so stay tuned.

Pettitte won’t pitch in the WBC

Andy Pettitte had an extended invitation to pitch in the World Baseball Classic, especially after Kris Medlen of the Atlanta Braves pulled out but now, Pettitte won’t pitch for Team USA and will instead be with the Yankees at camp during Spring Training. With Pettitte now out of the mix, the Medlen roster spot could now go to Justin Verlander. As much as I love the World Baseball Classic, Andy Pettitte and the Yankees made the right decision. This could possibly be the last year for Pettitte (provided he doesn’t make another comeback in 2015 after taking a one year break in 2014) so to preserve him for the 2013 season was a good idea.

Chris Dickerson signs a deal with Baltimore

Chris Dickerson easily became a fan favorite for the Yankees, but it became apparent that he wasn’t going to have a spot on the roster and in return the Yankees granted Dickerson his release. As of today, Dickerson has a ball club. He signed a minor league deal with the Baltimore Orioles with an invitation to Spring Training. Although I’ll be sad that I can’t see Dickerson play for the Yankees anymore, I am glad that he will finally get a chance to show the talent that he has.

Freddy Garcia finds a job. Yes, really

After I was almost a thousand percent positive that Freddy Garcia was going to hang it up after a bad year with the Yankees, he eventually found a new job with the San Diego Padres organization. He has a minor league deal worth $1.3 Million and another $1.25 Million in incentives. Good luck to him.

Yankees Offseason Notes: Yankees sign Juan Rivera; The Captain is back on the field!

Yankees sign Juan Rivera

So while I was at the doctor’s office earlier today, I was skimming through my Yankees twitter feed when I saw that the Yankees had signed none other than Juan Rivera to a minor league deal which includes an invitation to Spring Training. Rivera (no relation to Mariano Rivera), will compete with Russ Canzler, Matt Diaz, Thomas Neal, Ronnie Mustelier and other options to be the fourth outfielders. Rivera if he can stay healthy, is a good signing since he has a career .285/.332/.488 against left handed pitching and could be the bat that the Yankees were looking for this offseason.

Who do you think will ultimately win the fourth outfielder position?

Derek Jeter is back on the field!

Derek Jeter is one inch closer to getting on the field for Opening Day after taking drills at the Yankees minor league complex today. The captain of the Yankees fielded 55 grounders in front of the dirt at shortstop today and also hit in the batting cage.

Jeter was also joined by teammates David Robertson, Francisco Cervelli and Michael Pineda at the complex. Robertson recently signed a deal with the Yankees, Cervelli is competing for the catcher spot (oy vey), and Pineda is working on making his comeback by June of this season.

Mark Teixeira to join Rock of Ages cast for one night only!

It’s no secret Mark Teixeira loves Broadway Musicals and tomorrow he is going to see the Rock of Ages cast for tomorrow’s show. Hmm, I figured that he would have been asked to join the cast of Les Miserables since that is his favorite musical.

Want to sing the National Anthem for the Staten Island Yankees?

The Staten Island Yankees are looking for singers to perform the National Anthem or God Bless America for the upcoming 2013 season. Fill out the form here if you are interested. Tryouts are on February 23 from 12-3pm.

Yankees Offseason Notes: Third-to-First pick-off move banned

Do you remember watching those games where the pitcher would throw from third-to-first and you would either A.) throw your cap down in annoyance, B.) click your tongue at the annoyance of the play or C.) Spill your beer (and maybe food) and once again, would be annoyed? Well, that won’t happen any more! MLB has imposed a rule that a pitcher that fakes to third, then throws to first will be charged with a balk. It makes sense to change the rule since the pick-off move hardly ever worked since the existence of baseball.

Jeff Nelson (who now is a contributor for MLB.com) said, “The managers say it’s all about speeding up the game. I think now, the runner at first might get a little bit of an advantage. All it’s used for is to keep the runner at first close. I might have done it 100 times and gotten two guys on it.”

 “A large majority of the managers, I mean really a good amount, wanted to eliminate it, So we presented it.” Joe Torre, the executive vice president in the commissioner’s office (and former New York Yankees manager) weighed in on the situation. “To me, it’s been inconsistent because sometimes it’s called a balk and sometimes it isn’t. Obviously, it gets a little disjointed that way. Just my experience, added to what they want, I made a case for it. The feeling was, you’re deceiving the runner or the hitter.”

MLB proposed to ban the players association last season, but it was rejected. It was later overridden by the sport.

The rule is slated to take effect during the 2013 season.

In Other News:

– The New York Yankees and David Robertson agreed to a one-year, $3.1 Million contract, avoiding arbitration. Robertson’s pay now increases the Yankees projected payroll to approximately $206 Million. Prior to Robertson’s deal, the Yankees had 17 players on the roster whose contracts combined to a whopping $197.3 Million. In addition, the Yankees owe the Pittsburgh Pirates $8.5 Million from the A.J Burnett deal which took place last February.

– The DEA  (Drug Enforcement Administration) and MLB are investigation an adviser to who has been linked to performance enhancing drugs and Alex Rodriguez, according to the New York Daily News. Anthony Bosch worked with Rodriguez on training, nutrition and dietary supplements along with other Latin ballplayers in Southern Florida. Bosch’s name sounds familiar? His father Dr. Pedro Bosch was investigated in 2009 for his PED ties to Manny Ramirez while the ballplayer was playing with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Rodriguez, who will most likely miss the entire 2013 season has been known for taking steroids, admitting his PED use in 2009.

Yankees Offseason Notes: Yankees sign Dan Johnson; And then there was one; Game times for season

The Signing of Dan Johnson

The Yankees are still being quiet in the Major League department, but the Yankees have another player that they signed for a minor league job. The Yankees signed 1B/3B/DH Dan Johnson to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training. Now, those of you may know Johnson as the player who hit the game tying HR for the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 162 in 2011 against the Yankees (which allowed Tampa to make it to the playoffs and the Red Sox to go home). He played for the Chicago White Sox Triple-A affiliate last season batting .267 with 28 HR’s and 85 RBI’s. He also got a spot in the Triple-A All Star Game and placed second in the Home Run Derby.

Now, I know that Dan Johnson could be a good signing for the minor leagues, but the Yankees main focus should be the Major Leagues. They are basically without a catcher and they don’t have depth on their bench. Spring Training is in less than three weeks and this is the team that the Steinbrenner’s and Cashman want to put on the field?

Johnson has a slight chance to make the 25-man roster as the Yankees DH if he does well in Spring Training, but he could start the season in Triple-A which will once again, leave the Yankees with a thin roster.

Only One Left in Arbitration

I know I didn’t update about this since I was on vacation, but now I can officially report that almost all of the Yankees that were arbitration eligible have signed through the 2013 season–except for one. While Brett Gardner, Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes and Boone Logan don pinstripes for the season, David Robertson will go to an arbitrator with the Yankees if they don’t reach a deal before then. Robertson is the lone Yankee in arbitration and it’s puzzling why the Yankees haven’t worked out a deal with him as of yet. Just give Robertson what he’s asking for since he actually deserves it.

Yankees announce Game Times for 2013 season 

MLB announced today the times for the upcoming season for the Yankees. Now, while the Yankees calendar hasn’t been fully updated, here are some dates and times that have been updated.

April 5-7 (vs. Tigers): 1:05pm, 4:05pm, 1:05pm
April 8-11 (vs. Indians): 4:05pm, 7:05pm, 7:05pm, 7:05pm
May 10-12 (vs. Royals): 7:10pm, 6:10pm, 1:10pm
May 25 (vs. Rays): 4:10pm
June 16 (vs. Angels): 3:35pm
August 2-4 (vs. Padres): 7:10pm, 5:40pm, 1:10pm (All Eastern Time)
Final Series of Year (vs. Astros): 7:10pm, 6:10pm, 1:10pm

Yankees Offseason Notes: Mr. Soriano goes to Washington; 4 Yankees file for arbitration

– Well, it took from October to January but Rafael Soriano finally has a new home and that is with the Washington Nationals. He signed a two year, $28 Million with an option for a third year. Soriano’s contract makes him the highest paid reliever in baseball but second all time to New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera. When Soriano didn’t take the option that the Yankees were offering him, it had fans wondering if he would ever find a job. Well, it took him a while since teams don’t really want to give up a draft pick just to sign a player.

The Yankees now have three draft picks in the first round of the 2013 MLB Draft. They are #27 (which was their original draft pick), #31 (since Nick Swisher signed with the Cleveland Indians) and #32 (since Soriano signed with the Nationals). But if you’re sad that you won’t see Soriano as much and you’re a Yankee fan–don’t be. The Yankees and Nationals meet up on March 29, 2012 for an exhibition game. Although it’s the end of the ‘untuck’ era, I’m sure someone on the Yankees can one-up that this season.

– In our second major story of the day, four Yankees have decided to file for arbitration after not being able to agree on a contract offer. Those four Yankees are Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, David Robertson and Boone Logan. Now, the four players still have time to work this out, but the issue at hand could be that they all feel they are worth what they want. I’ve seen what Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain are reportedly asking for and they should go to an arbitration hearing. They aren’t worth what they’re asking for, especially Hughes. Give Robertson and Logan what they want since they were more dominant but there has been some cries from Yankees fans that maybe it’s time for Boone Logan to go since he only has one year remaining.

Honestly guys, why couldn’t you have made it as easy as Brett Gardner did. The guy took what the Yankees gave him, no questions asked. Then again, he was injured for most of the year. It would be exciting to see how all of this plays out in the end.

In Other News:

– Before signing with the Yankees, Kevin Youkilis spoke to Johnny Damon about the transition from Boston to New York. Luckily for Youkilis, Damon gave the transition two thumbs up. Also dealing with Youkilis, he began working with Kevin Long to prepare for the upcoming season. Sounds like a good idea if you want to get off on the right foot with the Yankees organization.

 

Yankees Offseason Notes: Yankees interested in Javier Vazquez?!?!

When Hal Steinbrenner said the Yankees weren’t done yet, I had to admit I was a bit suspicious as to who the Yankees were interested in. Well, the suspicion has led me to holding up warning flags: the Yankees are reportedly interested in Javier Vazquez, according to the Boston Globe. Yes, the same Javier Vazquez that played for them in 2004 & 2010! The same Javier Vazquez that was less dependable than A.J Burnett (sorry A.J, still love ya though).  It’s reported that the Yankees are observing his winter starts and possibly if they like what they see–I’m afraid to end that sentence. Anyway, let’s looked at the two failed Javier Vazquez experiments.

2004: 14-10, 4.91 ERA, 32 G, 198.0 IP, 195 H, 114 R, 108 ER, 33 HR, 60 BB

2010: 10-10, 5.32 ERA, 31 G, 157.1 IP, 155 H, 96 R, 93 ER, 32 HR, 65 BB

As you can see, the numbers above are simply dreadful. Why the Yankees would even consider Javier Vazquez is a mystery to me. He’s obviously a National League pitcher so even observing him is an utter waste of time. The only thing I can say to the Yankees is this–the experiment failed twice. Do you really want to try again for a third time?! Have you not learned your lesson? With expensive ticket prices and cutting the payroll, signing Javier Vazquez will most likely cause Yankees fans to revolt, knowing that the money the Yankees do have could be spent somewhere better. So if any of the other 29 teams are interested in signing Vazquez, please do before the Yankees get even more ideas! Please?!

Yankees Offseason Notes: Yankees would trade for Michael Morse

So as we all know, the Washington Nationals finalized a two-year deal with Adam LaRoche. Why is this information important to the Yankees? Because Michael Morse no longer fits on the Nationals and now the Nationals are looking to deal him. According to ESPN, the Yankees are one of the teams that are willing to trade for the outfielder. Morse could be a great fit for the Yankees since he can hit both righties and lefties and his power could help the HR tally which will be severely depleted since the departure of Nick Swisher, Russell Martin, Raul Ibanez and Eric Chavez.

Morse will be 31 in March, so that means that he has some years left in him. He could be another answer to the Yankees since he’s a right-handed hitter in an outfield full of lefties (sorry Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson and Ichiro Suzuki). Now, the question is if the Yankees were willing to trade, who would they give up for Morse. Morse is a valuable player so his trade value might mean the Yankees would have to give up some pitchers. If you were the Yankees GM, who would you give up for Michael Morse?

In Other News:

– The Yankees added another game to their Spring Training list: An exhibition game vs. the Washington Nationals. The game will be on March 29, 2013 @ 2:05pm. Tickets will be sold in the near future and a portion of the proceeds will go to the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation which is a charitable organization that is committed to improving lives of children throughout the Washington area. For more information on the organization go to www.nationals.com/dream

– Back to the Yankees, Alex Rodriguez has his hip surgery scheduled on January 16, 2013. Dr. Bryan Kelly (who will be doing the surgery) estimates that Rodriguez could be back by after the All-Star Break but since Rodriguez is older, he expects the recovery time to be longer.

– The Yankees still do not want Rafael Soriano. Looks like Soriano is in quite a pickle–no team is really interested in him, and that means the Yankees.

– Now, since the news above is so serious, here’s something that might make you (or your kids) smile: they now sell toys of our New York Yankees players in stores. Don’t believe me? This is what I found while shopping at Modell’s today.

Yankees Offseason Notes: Yankees say no to Soriano

The Yankees have made it very clear with Scott Boras: They don’t want Rafael Soriano back on a one year-deal. Soriano (who as of today is still a free agent) declined the qualifying offer in October and is now team-less. According to Bob Klapisch, Scott Boras asked if  the Yankees would be willing to let Soriano return. The Yankees quickly declined the request. The fact that Soriano declined the Yankees qualifying offer has really hindered his free agency market since if he signs elsewhere, the Yankees would get a draft pick. The Yankees already have one with Nick Swisher (who has signed with the Cleveland Indians).

It was actually an odd coincidence because this morning I woke up thinking that Soriano was still free agent in January (and I tweeted about it). In return I received a question on whether or not the Yankees would want him back. At the time, I was unaware that the Yankees would have said no, but I did mention that there was no need for Soriano since the Yankees have Mariano Rivera as the closer and if Rivera went down with an  injury, the Yankees have David Robertson, Joba Chamberlain and David Aardsma ready to do the closing job, depending on who was having the better season. Funny how speculation actually ends up being the day’s news.

In Other News:

Francisco Cervelli continues his tradition of getting injured in the offseason, suffering from whiplash after getting hit on a foul tip in the Venezuelan Winter League. Cervelli had an MRI done in Venezuela which came back clean but since Cervelli is one of the three options along with Austin Romine and Chris Stewart to be the starting catcher for the Yankees, they opted him to fly to Tampa, Florida so the team could do their own MRI. No results from the team’s MRI have come back yet.

Yahoo! published an article that I had written earlier today about the many questions that were looming around the New York Yankees in 2013, so read it if you’re interested.

Yankees Offseason Notes: Yankees claim Russ Canzler off waivers, DFA Chris Dickerson

The New York Yankees have a new player on their team, although it’s not the way that everyone prefers. Instead of signing a free agent, the Yankees claimed Russ Canzler off waivers from the Cleveland Indians. He’s speculated to compete for the 4th OF spot with Matt Diaz. In the minors Canzler hit .289/.365/.508 with about 1,000 AB in the International league.

To make room for Canzler on the 40-man roster, the Yankees have designated OF Chris Dickerson for assignment. Honestly Yankees, everyone’s getting tired of the ‘Lets DFA Chris Dickerson‘ game. He’s a great RF and for a moment, I considered him a great bench/Swisher replacement–before you DFA’d him…today.

In Other News:

– There has been no date set for Alex Rodriguez‘s surgery. No one is sure if it’s a set-back but it could be a problem if Rodriguez’s return is postponed by a week or two. Brian Cashman already believes that the 2013 Yankees aren’t going to hit as many HR’s as the 2012 Yankees since the departure of Nick Swisher and Russell Martin along with the injury to A-Rod. Well, maybe if you went to the Winter Meetings and got some big pieces like you were supposed to, then hitting HR’s wouldn’t be a problem.

A Week In Review: Swisher, Ibanez, Diaz, Jones

Good evening everyone. Since I was on vacation for the past week, instead of doing an offseason note article, this article is the week in review. In other words, it’s all the stuff I didn’t report that happened during the week that I am reporting now. Let’s get to it.

Nick Swisher becomes a Cleveland Indian

Yep, Nick Swisher traded in his pinstripes in New York for a cream colored uniform in Cleveland, Ohio. According to MLB Network, Swisher signed a 4 year, $56 Million deal to play RF for the Cleveland Indians next season. We all knew it was coming since the Yankees weren’t going to re-sign him and the Indians front office showed their interest by having breakfast and lunch meetings with him. Looks like all those meetings paid off, because while they have a right fielder–we have Ichiro.

Raul Ibanez going to Seattle

Raul Ibanez who was our hero in the postseason has decided to also trade in his pinstripes…this time to head to Seattle where he played earlier in his career. According to Bleacher Report, the Yankees reportedly never made an offer to Ibanez which probably added into his decision to take a contract with the Seattle Mariners. Looks like the Yankees are going to have to look for a new DH…along with a catcher…and maybe a new bench…oh boy.

Yankees sign Matt Diaz to minor league deal

The Yankees made a deal the day after Christmas with Matt Diaz, whose season was cut short in 2012 due to a thumb injury. Diaz signed a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training. If he makes the team, he’ll get a guarenteed $1.2 Million deal. Yankees mainly signed him because he can do something that the Yankees struggle with–hitting against left handed pitchers.

Former Yankee Andruw Jones arrested

Congratulations to Andruw Jones. He’s joined the exclusive “Former/Current Yankees Players to get arrested” club. All jokes aside, Jones was arrested yesterday morning (on Christmas) after an altercation with his wife. We all know Jones decided to join a Japanese team for the 2013 season–an indication that he knows that it’s going downhill from here career wise. No word if the arrest effects his current contract.

Yanks miss out on Pierzynski

Where was the Yankees offer?

Where was the Yankees offer?

It has been reported that the Texas Rangers have agreed to terms with Free Agent Catcher A.J. Pierzynski.  The Yankees were said to have looked into the 35-yr old as an option to replace Russell Martin but ultimately backed off because he supposedley wasn’t strong enough defensively.  To me, I thought AJ would be an excellent match for the Yankees but I thought he was out of the picture because he would receive a 2-yr deal from someone.  I wanted to see the Yanks offer a Kevin Youkilis type deal – high money for just 1 yr for AJ.  In fact I thought they should have offered the same $12M deal to AJ that Youk signed for.  Well, I was crushed to see that Pierzynski signed with Texas for a mere $7.5 Million for 1 year. Where was the Yankee offer?

Based on the wreckage that is the current state of Yankees catching and the club’s ridiculous insistence on 1-yr contracts – there really couldn’t have been a better match.   I don’t expect AJ to hit 27 HRs and win a Silver Slugger again like he did in 2012, but he seemed to be a good fit and would have improved the team immensely over the Catchers they have now.  AJ is a high average , contact hitter who is one of the toughest to strike out in the league.  He crushes RHP which would be ideal to match with any of the Yankees RH hitting backups in Stewart, Cervelli or Romine.  AJ feasted on RHP in 2012, hitting .287/.338/.536/.874 with 24 HRs in 399 PAs.  It would have been ideal to have him start the roughly 110 games this year vs RHP and one of the RH backups to start vs LHP.

Pierzynski is an all-out player with a fiery personality who gets under the skin of opponents.  He’s one of the more disliked players in MLB but he’s known to be a good teammate and leader.  His demeanor and effort would be a welcome addition to the team.  Apparently, the Yankees had concerns that he was only an “average” defensive catcher. This is rather laughable considering the Catchers currently on the team.   At this point in their careers AJ is better defensively then Cervelli and Romine.  And while Stewart is a solid defender he is like having a Pitcher in the batting order.  Pairing AJ with Romine may have been a good move so the young catcher could learn on the job from a seasoned veteran the way a young Posada learned from the veteran starter Girardi.

Looking at the state of catching in MLB, Pierzynski was an excellent option and a no-brainer at the contract he got.  Although its been just 114 PAs over the last decade, he’s shown that he won’t wilt in the post-season with a .300 BA, 5 HRs and a  .892 OPS.  AJ’s LH power also could have made it easier to trade Curtis Granderson for young talent without inhibiting their offense in 2013.  There seems to be a multitude of good reasons to have signed Pierzynski to be the Yankees catcher in 2013 yet they had very little interest.  I have been perplexed with a number of the team’s decisions this Winter (and the last 2-3 Winters actually) but I totally don’t understand this one.  Currently, it looks like the Yanks have perhaps the worst starting Catcher in the A.L. which doesn’t add up with their apparent strategy.  All of their moves this offseason make it seem that they are going with a lot of veterans to take one last shot while guys like Pettitte, Mariano and Jeter are still around.  They have made no effort to get younger or to make any significant additions for the team’s future beyond 2013. Pierzynski was the perfect fit to go after it in 2013 without adding any further commitment/burden to the 2014 payroll.  I want to believe the team has a plan but with each subsequent move and non-move it makes it harder to understand it.

Michael Bourn vs. Brett Gardner: Who’s the better option?

For a baseball fan, this MLB offseason has been far from dull. Players have been picked up faster than you can say “2013 World Series”, teams are beginning to look good (on paper) and some of the biggest trades have stunned the baseball nation. However, there are still players that are on the market looking for a team to play for in 2013. A name that has been popping up a lot? No, not Nick Swisher. Michael Bourn. Since Josh Hamilton signed with the LA Angels last week, Michael Bourn has quickly become the top free agent, which means many teams are pining for him according to MLB Trade Rumors. I mean, why wouldn’t a team want Michael Bourn? He is a great defensive outfielder; he has a good bat, an outstanding glove, fast blazing speed. Wait a minute, it sounds like I am describing a player the Yankees already have and he is under team control until 2015: the young, talented and underrated Brett Gardner.

The Yankees may have “quiet” interest in Bourn but Gardner practically is almost similar to the free agent outfielder–even the numbers speak for themselves. Let us compare the free agent to the Yankees LF (who could be the CF on Opening Day since the Yankees reportedly plan to switch him and Curtis Granderson) and see who is the better option for the Yankees.

Is Brett  Gardner the better option for the Yankees...

Is Brett Gardner the better option for the Yankees…

Brett Gardner

Let us start with Gardner since he is already on the team. Now, Gardner had a disappointing 2012 season and it was not because he played horrible (because he did not). He was injured almost the whole season after landing awkwardly on his elbow during the Yankees/Twins game on April 18, 2012. Overall, his career numbers are decent: .266 BA/.355 OBP/.368 SLG. In 5 years, Gardner also swiped 137 bases, which is very impressive considering he wasn’t a full time player until the 2010 season. Now, let us look at my favorite defensive stat: WAR (Wins above Replacement). According to Baseball-Reference, throughout Gardner’s 5 years in service to baseball, his dWAR is 7.4. Not bad for a speedy left fielder with a great glove (who has yet to win a Gold Glove award, which I’m still mad about).  Gardner’s numbers are what the Yankees are looking for (even though he doesn’t hit home runs), but let’s go to Michael Bourn and see what his numbers are.

Michael Bourn

Now before we continue, let us keep in mind that Michael Bourn played two more years than Gardner did and played double the games than Gardener did. All right, with that being said, here are Bourn’s career numbers: .272 BA/.339 OBP/.365 SLG.  According to Baseball-Reference, throughout his 7 years in the Major Leagues, Bourn swiped 276 bases, which is also impressive. Looking at Bourn’s defensive stats now, throughout his 7 years in service to baseball, his dWAR is 8.6. Yep, Bourn’s speed helps him become one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball.

...or Michael  Bourn

…or Michael Bourn

So Who’s the Better Option

Looking at both Gardner and Bourn’s numbers, the offense is almost a carbon copy to one another. If not for the 2012 season, Gardner could have had approximately 20 steals shy to 200 SB and could have improved his dWAR significantly. However, although Bourn has better numbers in different departments, I would have to go with Gardner as the better option for the Yankees. I know you are asking, ‘Why Gardner? His numbers are a bit lower than Bourn’s. What’s the reason?’ The answer is simple: Gardner is cheap. Bourn is not. Gardner fits into the Yankees 2014 budget plans in which his contract could be about $3+ Million. Bourn made $6.8 Million last season and he probably won’t take a pay cut just to play for the Yankees. So the bottom line is, the Yankees have all they need in Brett Gardner without having to go out there and spending extra money on Michael Bourn. In Yankee Land these days, the less money you make, the better option you are (especially if you are trying to avoid a luxury tax in 2014).

Kevin Youkilis signs with the New York Yankees

Yep, the Kevin Youkilis waiting game is over. According to Ken Rosenthal, Kevin Youkilis signed with the Yankees for a one-year, $12 Million contract, marking this the first signing of the offseason for the Yankees that wasn’t a re-signing (Yankees signed Hiroki Kuroda, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte and Brett Gardner all on one year deals). Here’s the tweet from Rosenthal:

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