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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Good evening Yankees fans. Today Joe Girardi had his final press conference of the 2012 season and discussed some Yankees. Here was the gist of what Girardi said.
– CC Sabathia hasn’t visited Dr. Andrews but Girardi believes Sabathia will be ready for Spring Training.
– Girardi hasn’t spoken to Alex Rodriguez since the end of the postseason and he said that Rodriguez was (totally) healthy during the playoffs. Girardi also said that Alex Rodriguez will be the everyday third baseman.
– Girardi said Ichiro was a treat to be around but he’s not sure if the Yankees will try to bring him back.
– He hasn’t spoken to Mariano Rivera since the end of the regular season.
– There are no nagging injuries from any other player that we don’t know about.
– Girardi expects his coaches to return in 2013.
– And finally, Girardi will not discuss his contract that expires next season until next season is over.
If next season is Girardi’s last year…can there at least be a World Series trophy involved? Just saying.
Looking ahead is not a bad thing. The Yankees looked ahead when it came to releasing the 2013 schedule, so why not look ahead to see who could be on the field when you go to a game in 2013. Here is how I picture the Yankees having their alignment of players in 2013.
Let us start in the outfield, shall we? In left field, we have none other than the Yankees speedster Brett Gardner (2012: .321 AVG, 0 HR, 3 RBI). Now keep in mind that Gardner has only played in nine games and was shut down for the duration of the season due to elbow surgery. Gardner is a catalyst for the Yankees and plays the game Joe Girardi hates to play–small ball. He gets on base, he steals, he bunts and he is one of the best defensive players in baseball. Gardner is arbitration eligible so do not expect there to be much of a fight since Gardner has not played most of the year.
In center field, we have another speedster but he is known for his power bat, Curtis Granderson (2012: .233 AVG, 37 HR, 89 RBI). 2013 is Granderson’s free agent year and after the Kevin Long tutorial in 2010; Granderson has become a home run hitter. Now, Granderson does not hit for singles or doubles (note the .233 average) but he is a power bat, which is something the Yankees could use in the heart of the lineup. What happens after 2013, we do not know but—at least the Yanks could see Granderson’s bat in the lineup in 2013.
In right field, you may be a bit surprised by my choice but I believe Nick Swisher (2012: .258 AVG, 20 HR, 78 RBI) will be in Yankees pinstripes in 2013. Now, why do I think Swisher will be a Yankee? Because along with Swisher’s good bat in the lineup, he has a charming and bubbly personality that would be sorely missed if he ever left the team. The Yankees were a serious bunch before Swisher came along and now the team seems livelier. Swisher has left an imprint on the team—but if Swisher signs with the Yanks, he cannot expect a $100 Million contract. We are still recovering from 3 of those.
In the infield, we have of course the third baseman Alex Rodriguez (2012: .276 AVG, 17 HR, 50 RBI). A-Rod this season is not A-Rod but he has come back a hot hitter since getting off the DL. In addition, A-Rod is stuck with the Yankees until his contract expires in 2018 (Yikes).
At shortstop, we have the Captain Derek Jeter (2012: .323 AVG, 15 HR, 53 RBI) who becomes a free agent in 2014. There is not much to explain about Jeter except for the fact he is having his best year average wise since 2009.
At second base, there is the young Robinson Cano (2012: .299 AVG, 30 HR, 77 RBI) who is by far the Yankees best player. He plays second base so smoothly and has a great pop to his bat. For a person who does not think he has home run power—he is mistaken. He is a home run hitter. That is all.
Finally, to round out the infield, we have Mark Teixeira (2012: .255 AVG, 23 HR, 81 RBI). Teixeira is stuck with us until 2017 and even if the Yankees wanted to trade Teixeira (they do not), they cannot because of Teixeira’s no trade clause. We might as well make the best of it so Tex…we are going to need lots of game winning and World Series winning HR’s until then.
* An A-blog for A-Rod has a nice article about Yankee stud prospects Gary Sanchez & Mason Williams.
* Bleeding Yankee Blue has some last minute trade options.
* Lady Loves Pinstripes has her latest power rankings.
* Pinstripe Alley takes a look at David Phelps and his pitch sequence.
* River Ave Blues takes a look at the “Year of the setback.”
* The Captain’s Blog takes a look at the Yankees stance with the trade deadline.
* The Yankee Analysts is thinking about the lineup without A-Rod in it.
* Yanks Go Yard has a good article about Mariano Rivera and 2013.