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Spring Training Notes 2/13/13: Cervelli, Pettitte, Rivera

Day two of Spring Training has come to an end and there were interviews from three different Yankees: Francisco Cervelli, Andy Pettitte and of course Mariano Rivera. Let’s cover Francisco Cervelli first and then go from there.

Francisco Cervelli

As we all know, Cervelli’s names were handwritten on the Biogenesis report which meant that Cervelli at least visited the Miami clinic after his foot injury.

“When I got my foot injured in 2011, I checked with doctors and someone recommended me Biogenesis. I went there for maybe suggestions, and that’s it. I walked away without nothing in my hands. I just went there and talked, that’s it.” Cervelli said during the 11 minute press conference.

“Right now, I realize that it was a mistake to go there, but it already happened so what can I do?”

Cervelli wouldn’t say who recommended him to go to the Miami clinic but he did say that it wasn’t a player (and it wasn’t Alex Rodriguez). Cervelli went to Biogenesis once and he met with Anthony Bosch during that one visit.

“Sometimes when we’ve got injuries, we get a little desperate to come back quick and we always want a second opinion. I went there. Someone told me. I take my responsibility. Nobody put a gun to my head to go there. And that’s it.”

Andy Pettitte

Now, let’s move on to a non-controversial topic: Andy Pettitte. Pettitte threw a bullpen session today and then met with the media about how he’s feeling along with if he plans to retire in 2014.

“I feel like I’m better than I am at age 30. Heck, I want to win 20 games. That’s it.” Pettitte said during his 11 minute press conference. Joe Girardi even spoke about Pettitte during another press conference this morning in Tampa.

On the topic of whether Pettitte will retire in 2014, Girardi said “I think Andy still loves to compete.” To be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Andy Pettitte return in 2014. That’s a true competitor right there.

Mariano Rivera

And last but definitely not least, everyone’s favorite closer: Mariano Rivera. Mariano Rivera said that he made a decision on whether or not he will pitch next season–but he’s not telling anyone just yet. However, he did say that he was going to reveal whether he planned to retire or not before the season begins.

“You guys have been patient enough.” Rivera said during his press conference. When it came to rating how his knee was doing, he said it was a 9 out of 10 but by the time Opening Day rolls around, Rivera plans to feel 100%. He’s doing agility drills and threw a bullpen session his first day of camp, which is out of the norm for Rivera since he doesn’t throw bullpen sessions his first day.

Now, the main question that came from Rivera’s press conference: will he shag fly balls this season even though he tore his ACL doing what he loved last season? Yes. He will. He will just have to be careful about it when he’s in the outfield. It didn’t take much convincing for Joe GIrardi to let him shag again.

“I don’t want to take it away from him.” That’s the verdict from Girardi–but with one small, tiny exception. “Just not in Kansas City.”

Courtesy of Bryan Hoch from MLB.com, here are some pictures from today’s Spring Training’s events:

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Spring Training Notes 2/12/13: State Of The Yankees Address

Photo taken by Mark Feinsand of the Daily News

Photo taken by Mark Feinsand of the Daily News

Today may be the State Of the Union Address for the United States of America, but today was the State of the Yankees Address live from the minor league complex by none other than the Yankees manager Joe Girardi (who might I add is in the final year of his contract). Girardi covered a plethora of topics but one of the biggest topics that Girardi covered was Alex Rodriguez. Here’s some notes and news from today.

Girardi on Alex Rodriguez:

“There really isn’t a lot to talk about. My concern is for him to get healthy. This club is used to having what people might call distractions.”

Girardi hasn’t spoken to Alex Rodriguez about the PED topic and has confirmed that Alex Rodriguez will not be in camp this spring. Instead, Rodriguez will rehab in New York.

Girardi on the 2013 team:

“We’re going to have to find a different way to score runs. Our offense is going to be different but I believe [we're going to score runs].”

Girardi also believes that the Yankees are going to win 95 games and the World Series. “There’s a lot of talent in this room. If we play up to our capabilities, I believe we’re a very good team.”

Girardi’s biggest concern:

Girardi’s biggest concern is finding a right-handed DH bat before the actual season begins.

Girardi on Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson and Ichiro Suzuki:

As of today, Brett Gardner will be in LF, Curtis Granderson will be in CF and Ichiro Suzuki will be in RF. There’s no plans on moving Gardner and Granderson as of yet, but it could change as he discusses it with his coaches.

Girardi on concerns of Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera:

He doesn’t have any concerns on both Yankees who are coming off of injuries.

MORE AROUND YANKEES CAMP

Austin Romine came into camp thirteen pounds lighter and his back in very good shape. He believes he sees an opportunity.

CC Sabathia is also 100% after having elbow surgery over the winter. He says that the surgery was a relief and he now has complete mobility of his elbow. Sabathia also lost a lot of weight, now weighing in at 290. His first bullpen session will be on Thursday.

– We also have new locker arraignments and numbers in Yankees camp. Here they are:

-Travis Hafner takes Nick Swisher‘s old number and will now wear #33. Hafner’s locker is now next to Youkilis, formerly vacated by Eric Chavez.
-Francisco Cervelli will now wear #29, formerly worn by Rafael Soriano.
-David Phelps changed his number to #35. Mike Mussina used to wear #35 back in the day as did Michael Pineda last season (who we never saw during the season).
-Michael Pineda will now wear #43. His previous number was #35.
-Kevin Youkilis wears #36 and now has Nick Swisher’s old locker.
- David Aardsma will now wear #34.
- Matt Diaz will now wear #22.
- Dan Johnson will now wear #27.
- Juan Rivera will now wear #54.

Could the Yankees upgrades already be on the team?

Brett Gardner could be one of the Yankees biggest "upgrades" going into the 2013 season

Brett Gardner could be one of the Yankees biggest “upgrades” going into the 2013 season

As the offseason winds down, aside from the Alex Rodriguez drama and the small signings of Matt Diaz, Kevin Youkilis and Juan Rivera, the Yankees seem to be almost the exact same team as in 2012 minus a few losses. Nick Swisher packed his bags and went to the Cleveland Indians, Russell Martin did the same and rejoined former Yankees teammate A.J Burnett with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Raul Ibanez decided to take his bat to Seattle where he could end his career on a good note and Andruw Jones went to Japan, one of the few loses the Yankees won’t mind at all. However, as the 2013 season comes upon us, the Yankees look as if they hadn’t done much on the market. The 2013 team has been predicted by multiple fans that they will finish from either 2nd place – 4th place in the AL East.

The Yankees may look like the same old Yankees as the 2012 season, but there’s one small detail that the Yankees completely missed: some of the players that are ready to play this season, weren’t available last season due to injury or health issues. Some of the big names on the team spent quite some time on the DL and the reason that the Yankees didn’t make a deal with other players, is because they believe there’s someone on the team that can do the job better than someone on the market.

Brett Gardner – OF

Last season looked very promising for Brett Gardner. Once April came around, he was hot right off the bat. He looked as if he was going to bounce back from his so-so 2011 season–until injury struck. Gardner was unsure what was going on with his elbow. At first he went on the DL believing that 15 days later, he would be back to help the team. Once he started to swing a bat again, he felt the pain again. The Yankees tried to rehab him for a third time and he still felt pain in his elbow. A concerned Gardner was then sent to a surgeon to see if there was something wrong with his elbow. Alas, the young outfielder once again needed surgery. Gardner is now back for the 2013 season and this time he’s healthy. In the 2010 season, he proved that he was a starter, but his most impressive stat was his stolen base numbers. Although his hitting was down in 2011, Gardner outdid his stolen base numbers from 2010, going from 47-49. A healthy Brett Gardner can steal bases, is the only Yankee that truly knows how to play small ball and can work the count with his impressive patience at the plate. No need for Michael Bourn. Brett Gardner is already an upgrade from what’s on the market.

Five Most Important Yankees For 2013

Spring Training is only a little bit over two weeks away and that usually brings about optimism for every baseball fan. There has not been a lot of reason for optimism for Yankees fans this winter. Ownership has not allowed Brian Cashman to spend freely, due to the mandate of getting the payroll under $189 million by 2014. This has led to very little activity from the Yankees this offseason. They have seen other teams in the American League get better like the Angels and Blue Jays. While the pessimism is certainly justified, it is not all doom and gloom for the Yankees. While the Angels and Tigers are a step above them right now, the Yankees should still have a solid team. Toronto is the favorite in the AL East right now, but it certainly is not impossible for the Yankees to win the division. Here are the five most important players for the Yankees to have a successful year this season:

1. Mark Teixeira- While Mark Teixeira has performed like a very good player over the last three years with the Yankees, he has not been the superstar that they were hoping for and that he was in 2009. The Yankees will be counting on Teixeira to bat cleanup and provide protection for Robinson Cano. That means an .OPS in the low .800’s and a batting average around .250 isn’t going to cut it. The Yankees need his OPS back around .900 and his average around .270 or .280. Teixeira is the Yankees’ only power threat from the right side and they need him to produce. Power won’t be the issue as Teixeira has hit close to 40 home runs even in his down seasons. If the Yankees can get anything close to the 2009 version of Teixiera him and Cano would be one of the best 3-4 duo’s in MLB.

2. Curtis Granderson- Curtis Granderson is in a similar situation as Teixeira. While he hasn’t had the career success that Teixeira has had, Granderson needs to get back to his 2011 season like Teixeira needs to get back to his 2009 form. There is a ton of pressure on Granderson this season because the Yankees did not go and add another bat for the 5th spot in the lineup. Justin Upton or Michael Morse would have been perfect, but obviously the Yankees did not acquire either of them. So, the Yankees will be counting on Granderson to return to his 2011 form. Granderson hit 43 home runs last season, but his line of .232/.319/.492/.811 was simply not good enough. Worst of all, he had an egregious 28.5 K% and looked completely lost at the end of the year. Kevin Long will need to work his magic on Granderson again for the 2013 season.

3. Mariano Rivera- The biggest strength the Yankees have right now is their bullpen. David Robertson, Joba Chamberlian, David Aardsma, Boone Logan and Clay Rapada make up a very solid middle relief core. There is one question about the bullpen Can Mariano Rivera be the Mariano Rivera that we know him to be at age 43 coming off a torn ACL and meniscus? Even for the immortal Rivera it is a legitimate question. If Rivera is injured or ineffective, the Yankees would still have a good bullpen, but probably not an elite one like they do if Rivera is his dominant self. However, I will never bet against Rivera, so I expect him to be just fine.

4. Brett Gardner- The Yankees sorely missed Brett Gardner last season, as a wrist injury in April caused him to miss most of the 2012 season. Gardner, the only Yankees regular starter under 30, will be a key piece for the Yankees this season. Last season, New York’s left fielders hit .253/.315/.444/.759. They largely depended on the power of Raul Ibanez. While Gardner won’t provide that, he will provide many other good qualities. Gardner will provide great patience at the plate, as his career walk percentage (11.0%) and pitches per plate appearance (4.29) are extremely good. Gardner will be huge on the base paths, as he has stolen 47 and 49 bases in his last two healthy seasons. His defense in left field is probably the best in MLB. While we know his defense and base running will be great, his hitting is still a question mark. His career line of .266/.355/.368/.723 is only OK for a non power hitter. Also, he has been poor against lefties for his career (.256/.362/.355/.731). For the Yankees to be an elite offense, they will need Gardner to have a close to .290 average at least. He has never done that in his career, but at age 29 Gardner should be peaking.

5. Phil Hughes- Like the bullpen, the rotation is a strength of the Yankees. CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda form a very solid top of the rotation and Phil Hughes is a little bit of a wild card. Hughes overcame a rough April to have a solid season. He improved on his slider and changeup to help put more hitters away. This helped him to strikeout 7.8 per nine innings and only walk 2.2 per nine innings. Hughes is in a contract year, so he should be motivated to have a great season, as he can cash in big at the end of the year. From June through August, Hughes had a 3.19 ERA. If he can pitch even close to that for the whole 2013 season the Yankees will have a dominant rotation.

Yankees Offseason Notes: Mariano to start throwing soon

The Yankees may have continued to be extremely quiet this offseason, but Mariano Rivera isn’t afraid to make news that has fans buzzing. While hosting a pitching clinic session with young children in Danbury, Connecticut, Rivera stated that he’ll start throwing again in about of week. He also gave more promising news that his knee feels at about “95 percent.”

“It’s not 100 percent.” Rivera told the media. “By the time Spring Training starts, it’ll feel 100 percent.”

Rivera will continue going through the motions, possibly also reporting a bit late to camp as he does every year but he believes that he will be ready to start closing and saving games by Opening Day.

“It needs more strengthening. The five percent will come quick.”

In Other News:

– If the Yankees were hoping for a Lance Berkman reunion–then they will be heavily disappointed. Berkman reportedly signed a deal with the Texas Rangers, possibly to be their DH. The Yankees are still having woes of their own–they don’t have a legitimate catcher (in the fans eyes) and a DH. What could possibly become of the Yankees.

– Also in other news, Yankees PR reported that Mark Teixeira had found a new way to connect with NY Yankees fans–hopping in the same taxi cabs as unsuspecting fans in New York City. I have to say–I’m kind of jealous. Was anyone lucky enough to get a ride with Mark Teixeira?

What Are Some New Year’s Resolutions For Our Yankees?

A new year is upon us and with only 43 days until Pitchers and Catchers report, it would be a good time to list some New Year’s resolutions for some of our favorite Yankees. How could some of our players better themselves coming into the season? Let’s take a look.

gardner 3

Brett Gardner‘s New Year’s Resolution should be to have a healthy 2013 season

Brett Gardner: Have a healthy and productive 2013 season.

Brett Gardner had a frustrating 2012 season only playing in 9 games before becoming sidelined with an elbow injury for majority of the season. Gardner is in serious need of a bounce back season. After hitting  a career high .277 in 2010, Gardner dipped a bit in 2011 with a .259 average. Gardner started on his bounce back season in 2012 before an injury and surgery sidelined him until the ALCS series in October when he clearly wasn’t ready to play yet. 2013 is practically a do or die season for Gardner especially with the way the Yankees are heading. Gardner could be used to his full potential–if he can stay healthy.

Mariano Rivera: Go out in style.

2013 is most likely Mariano Rivera’s final year in Yankees pinstripes before he retires and one thing that the veteran closer could do before hanging it up is going out in style. It’s easier said than done since Rivera had surgery on his ACL that he tore last May. Of course, Mo is practically drinking from the fountain of youth. Him going out in style shouldn’t be too hard for him. 

Kevin YoukilisEarn the Yankees fans respect.

Kevin Youkilis is entering enemy territory after signing a one-year contract with the New York Yankees after being with the Boston Red Sox for most of his career. Of course, he’s not exactly welcomed with open arms since Yankees fans know where he came from. Youkilis could use 2013 in order to win the Yankees fans over by having hits with RISP. If he can do that on a consistent basis then I’ll be sold, but until then…he has some work to do.

david-robertson-yankees-alcs-760066eb7f245395_large

David Robertson‘s New Years Resolution should be to outperform the bullpen in hopes of becoming the closer.

David Robertson: Emerge as a closer role figure.

The Yankees are going to need a new closer most likely after this season. One of the consistent figures in the bullpen is none other than David Robertson but of course earning the closer role is going to be tougher than he thought. Joba Chamberlain and David Aardsma are in the bullpen this season as well and we all know that they will try to fight for the closer spot. David Robertson has the stuff. He just has to put it into play and if he plays his cards right, he could be the future closer of the Yankees.

Curtis GrandersonMake contact on the ball!

Yes, we all know Curtis Granderson can hit HR’s and they are mighty impressive, but it would be helpful if he could hit for average and not strike out so much. Yankees fans are grateful for the Kevin Long tutorial that took place a couple years ago, but lately it seemed that Granderson is swinging at everything over the moon. Don’t believe me? Let’s look at Granderson’s strikeout numbers. In 2011, Granderson had 169 K’s. His 2012 numbers are worse. In 684 AB he had 195 K’s! That’s almost a third of his at-bats! Grandy, as much as we love your HR’s…you need to hit for average. And while you’re at it, just tell Mark Teixeira the same thing.

New York Yankees: HIT WITH RISP!!!!

I don’t know if I can emphasize this of it’s importance (do the caps help?). The Yankees need to hit with RISP. That’s what done them in during the playoffs for the past 3 years! If it weren’t for A-Rod and Hideki Matsui during the 2009 World Series run, then that playoff could have been a bust as well. I know the Yankees are called the Bronx Bombers for their home runs, but would it kill them to play small ball once in a while?!

Cashman goes into Winter Meetings with a lot on his plate

With Russell Martin going to the Pirates, Brian Cashman's winter list got a little bit longer

With Russell Martin going to the Pirates, Brian Cashman’s winter list got a little bit longer

When the Yankees ended their 2012 season with an ALCS loss to the Tigers, the pieces that the Yankees have to pick up again seemed legitimately small. They knew they were going to have to sign Hiroki Kuroda and Mariano Rivera to contracts. They knew they had to wait for Andy Pettitte’s decision on whether or not he would return in 2013–which came quickly this year. They knew they were going to have to replace the right fielder since Nick Swisher most likely won’t come back next season. They also knew that they were going to have to re-sign Russell Martin to another contract to play behind the plate in the Bronx. Well, as of last night Brian Cashman’s list got a little bit longer.

Although he was able to re-sign closer Mariano Rivera to a 1 year, $10 Million contract, he let another player get away–Russell Martin. The offseason plan has always been to take care of starting pitching first before going off and extending contracts to other players. Apparently, Russell Martin couldn’t wait for that, signing a contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates for 2 years and $17 Million, rejoining ex-Yankee A.J Burnett in the process. This leaves Brian Cashman heading into the Winter Meetings on Monday with no catcher and no right fielder, two moves that he has to fill up before Spring Training.

With Martin gone from the Yankees, heading to Pittsburgh there are two legitimate catchers on the free agent market that are still available: A.J Pierzynski and Mike Napoli. Although the Yankees aren’t reportedly targeting either catchers, at this point they don’t have much of a choice.

Last season if Martin had ever gotten hurt, Francisco Cervelli would have been the starting catcher. Now that Martin is gone, that looks to be the case with Chris Stewart at backup and Austin Romine as an emergency choice. As much as I like Cervelli (he’s a big fan favorite), he’s not a power hitter. The same goes for Chris Stewart. Although Stewart is an amazing defensive catcher, he doesn’t have the pop in his bat.

Brian Cashman believes that the answer to the catcher situation could possibly already be on the team, but with players like Cervelli, Stewart, Romine and new Yankee (who is currently in the process of clearing waivers) Eli Whiteside, I don’t see a legitimate starting catcher in the Yankees organization. 2014 is a year away Cashman. Time to take out your wallet and make a deal for someone for this year, no matter what it takes.

Yankees Offseason Notes: Russell Martin signs with Pirates

The New York Yankees ended their day with a serious blow when catcher Russell Martin signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates for a 2 year, $17 Million contract joining ex-Yankee A.J Burnett as his teammate. According to a source, the Yankees never made an offer to Martin with good reason–the Yankees were busy taking care of their rotation first like they do every offseason. The Yankees attention could now turn to A.J Pierzynski who is the second best defensive catcher on the market behind Martin.

In Other News:

– The Yankees signed closer Mariano Rivera to a 1 year, $10 Million deal which includes incentives such as award bonuses.

Yankees Offseason Notes: Andy Pettitte returns in 2013

The Yankees rotation looks less and less uncertain with the signing of Andy Pettitte. Over an hour ago, the Yankees signed Pettitte to a 1 year, $12 Million contract which also includes a $2.5 Million awards bonus meaning that Pettitte could earn up to that much should he win awards in the 2013 season. To make room for Pettitte, the Yankees designated catcher Eli Whiteside for assignment even though the Yankees signed him to a 1 year contract to avoid arbitration earlier this week. The Yankees next order of business? Signing the greatest closer in all of baseball, Mariano Rivera.

In Other News

– Yesterday, Russell Martin revealed that he wanted a 4 year deal for $9-$10 Million per year, and the team that could give Martin what he wants is the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates (along with the Yankees) are one of the front runners for Martin and it could all come down to what happens in the Winter Meetings next week. Come on Pirates, we gave you A.J Burnett. That should be enough.

– Yankees reserve shortstop Eduardo Nunez joined Twitter today, so if you want to follow him you can do so here.

Yankees Offseason Notes: Yankees close in re-signing Andy Pettitte

Looks like the Yankees are beginning to get the ball rolling in this offseason game, and this time Andy Pettitte has control. According to Buster Olney, Andy Pettitte had decided to pitch for the Yankees in the 2013 season. According to Joel Sherman, the contract is rumored to be between $10-$11 Million for one year. Pettitte had confirmed when the season ended that he was going to take about a month before he decided what he planned on doing and that it would happen definitely after Thanksgiving. Pettitte started working out a couple of days after Thanksgiving, leading the Yankees fanbase to believe that Pettitte wanted to return.

In Other News:

Mariano Rivera revealed that he also wanted to pitch in 2013, but the Yankees haven’t officially signed him as of yet. The deal should happen sometime this week before Winter Meetings next week.

– Despite rumors last night, the Yankees have not re-signed Ichiro Suzuki to a contract. As a matter of fact, the Yankees and Ichiro haven’t even come close to an agreement! If the Yankees end up signing Ichiro then that will close the chapter on the Nick Swisher saga.

Russell Martin is reportedly looking for a 4 year deal for $9-$10 Million PER year. I seriously doubt that the Yankees will succumb to Martin’s demands. Then again, is it Martin that wants the contract or his agent?

Morning Bits: Hunter, Rivera, Kuroda

Good morning everyone and a Happy Sunday to you all. Let’s get on with the Morning Bits, shall we?

– With Nick Swisher not likely to return, the most sought out right fielder on the free agent market is Torii Hunter. He had an OPS of .817 last season, he’s a good defender and he’s 37. What’s bad about it? He’s 37 and might want two years.

– While filming a commercial the other day, Mariano Rivera threw 25 tosses off a mound. He said he “felt great.” It was the first time he threw off a mound since tearing his ACL in May.

– If Hiroki Kuroda signs with another team, it could be tough for the Yankees this offseason.

Morning Bits: Rivera, just a game, AFL Rising Stars, Pascual Perez

Good morning everyone and Happy Sunday to you all. Don’t forget to move your clocks one hour back today. Here are your morning links. 

– After publicly toying with the idea of retirement, Mariano Rivera will pitch in 2013. That almost means that Rafael Soriano is gone from the Yankees.

– In the wake of a natural disaster, New York teams will win games that will make a night emotional. But in the end–they’re only games. Winning games doesn’t help relief efforts–donating money does.

– Last night the AFL Rising Stars game took place on MLB Network. The three Yankees that took apart of the game: David Adams, Austin Romine and Mark Montgomery.

– Dominican Republic police arrested three men yesterday in connection to the murder of former Yankees starting pitcher Pascual Perez.

Morning Bits: Yankees free agent, Pineda might not return in 2013?, Gardner, Granderson

Good morning everyone and Happy Saturday to all. Let’s get with the morning links, shall we? 

– The Yankees started off the Winter offseason with a bang by giving Nick Swisher, Rafael Soriano and Hiroki Kuroda a qualifying offer. The Mets however have started their winter–very silently.

– Pitching coach Larry Rostchild said that he expects Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera and Hiroki Kuroda to return. Michael Pineda–might not return in 2013.

– The Yankees might consider moving Curtis Granderson to LF and move Brett Gardner to CF after Granderson’s fielding has diminished over the last two years.

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: Gold Glove Winners, Free Agent List, Mariano Rivera

Good morning everyone and Happy Halloween! Hope everyone is staying safe and inside their homes on this cloudy, cold day. Here are the morning links!

– Mark Teixeira and Robinson Cano both were awarded the Gold Glove Award for 1st and 2nd base respectively. Russell Martin was nominated but lost out to Matt Wieters.

– Here is the free agent list (not just the Yankees) for this winter. Maybe one of these players will be what the Yankees are looking for?

– The Yankees are going to get underway with receiving a makeover in 2013 but before they can do that–they’re going to wait on Mariano Rivera and his decision.

Morning Bits: Girardi calls P.A booth, Soriano, Ichiro, Gardner

Good morning everyone!! The San Francisco Giants are one win away from a WS sweep! So it’s a do or die game for the Detroit Tigers (music to Yankees fans ears). Let’s get onto the morning links!

– So remember in Game 1 of the ALCS when Eric Chavez pinch hit for Alex Rodriguez and they didn’t say A-Rod’s name? Well Joe Girardi called the P.A booth and made that special request to lessen the embarrassment for A-R0d. One problem with your plan Joe–everybody knows when A-Rod is pinch hit for. The booth doesn’t have to say it.

– With Yankees legend Mariano Rivera unsure if he’s going to return for another season, the Daily News writes that Rafael Soriano better think long and hard before following what his agent tells him to do and opt out for free agency.

– This was released a couple of days ago, but Ichiro Suzuki said he would like to return to the Yankees. However, if Ichiro does return–does that mean Brett Gardner gets bumped down to a fourth-outfielder?

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