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Spring Training Notes 2/15/13: Youkilis, Chamberlain, Pineda

When your a famous ball player (or a famous anything) one of the main rules of stardom is not to search yourself on the internet to prevent what people are saying about you. It could be spiteful, it could be hurtful, it could be someone taking something you said completely out of context and publishing it as if you’re a bad person. Option number three happened to Kevin Youkilis, the brand new Yankees third baseman. Youkilis yesterday made a comment about how he will always be a “Red Sock.” The next thing he knew, he was being written about in every gigantic publication from the New York Daily News to ESPN. After reading the ESPN article last night, Youkilis cleared the air for reporters as he discussed what he actually meant by his comment.

“The whole thing for me, I look at it, when I was saying it, it was more like a baseball card.” Youkilis said. “When you look at it, there’s going to be nine seasons or whatever (with the Red Sox) and that’s why I said it. But in context of what I said, if you read it as ‘I’m always a Red Sock,’ it looks bad. But it’s not that way. I’m a Yankee today, and I’m excited. I’m proud to be a Yankee, and I’m proud for Opening Day and playing against the team that I spent all those seasons with. Trust me, if you know my personality and know who I am, it doesn’t matter what team’s along the way. I want to beat everyone. I want to beat the Red Sox because I want to start out with a win at Yankee Stadium.”

Not only did Kevin Youkilis address the media about his comments but he also made nice with Joba Chamberlain, and it looks like the two became buddies. Their first conversation of the spring? They talked about mustaches. Chamberlain is growing out a mustache and wants Youkilis to do the same. Today the two new teammates gave each other a handshake.

“Tomorrow we’ll hug.” Youkilis said.

Michael Pineda had a side session earlier this morning and threw 25 pitches (all of them fastballs). He said he felt good and he’s still on track to return in June.

– Do you guys remember this pitcher named Cesar Cabral, who was a Rule 5 draft pick, slated to take a bullpen spot last season, only to hurt his elbow forcing the spot to go to Clay Rapada instead? Well he threw a 25 fastball side as well, and could be scheduled to return in May.

– The Yankees writers have all been following the Washington Nationals camp, waiting to see how Rafael Soriano is doing adjusting to his new team. The problem is…he never showed up to camp, prompting another edition of “Where In The World Is Rafael Soriano.” The answer? The Dominican Republic having a visa issue. Nationals say that he should be in camp over the weekend, which would give everyone a chance to continue to keep an eye on him.

– And some somber news for another former Yankee. Cleveland Indians first baseman Nick Swisher left the teams workouts to attend his mothers funeral in Ohio. Condolences go out to Nick Swisher and his family.

– And finally, do you plan on watching a Spring Training game this season but don’t know what channel its on? Yesterday, I made the 2013 Spring Training schedule for the Yankees, including the channels for which game will be broadcast. If you have (or are planning to get) MLB.TV 2013, then you’re in luck since you’ll get to see most of the games this Spring. Here’s the complete list of games, times and channels.

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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 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.

It’s Official: Soriano, Swisher & Kuroda decline qualifying offers

Hiroki Kuroda, Nick Swisher and Rafael Soriano have all declined their qualifying offer thus making them free agents. Should any of the three sign elsewhere, the Yankees will get draft picks in the 2013 MLB Draft. All nine players that were offered the deals declined but only 8 of them are free agents. David Ortiz signed a two year deal with the Red Sox last week. The following players also hit the free agent market: Josh Hamilton, Michael Bourn, B.J Upton, Kyle Lohse and Adam LaRoche.

Josh Hamilton might be too expensive for the Yankees (although he has power and the short porch in Yankee Stadium favors him) and he also has a history with problems off the field while Michael Bourn is equivalent to Yankees OF Brett Gardner although Gardner is injury prone, BUT Gardner is more affordable than Bourn. The Yankees have decisions to make this winter. Maybe B.J Upton? Kyle Lohse? Adam LaRoche?

Yankees expect Kuroda to decline qualifying offer

Yankees expect Kuroda to decline qualifying offer

By Delia E.

A week after giving Hiroki Kuroda a 1 year, $13.3 Million qualifying offer, Brian Cashman and the Yankees expect that Kuroda will decline the offer. Although nothing is official yet, Cashman did speak with Kuroda’s agent unofficially. The other two players that were offered a contract (Nick Swisher, Rafael Soriano) will decline. Soriano is most likely gone from the team since the Yankees refuse to spend $26 Million on the closer role that will now become Mariano Rivera’s in the 2013 season.

Rafael Soriano & Nick Swisher will decline qualifying offers

The New York Yankees announced that relief pitcher Rafael Soriano and Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher are planning on declining their qualifying offers. Swisher (who had another atrocious postseason) and Soriano (who has hinted that he wanted a multi-year deal as a closer) will now hit the free agent market after tomorrow. Hiroki Kuroda has yet to decide whether he will accept or decline the offer.

Swisher is the target of 5 teams but only two are none: the Texas Rangers and the Seattle Mariners.

Other notes:

Andruw Jones has expressed interest in playing again next season. I’m 99.9% sure that it won’t  be with the Yankees.

– Brian Cashman had a small victory today. In Day 2 of the GM meetings in California, he did not have to mention Alex Rodriguez getting traded–at all. Now, let’s see about tomorrow?

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.

What do the Yankees qualifying offers mean?

Last night was technically the beginning of the Yankees offseason after they made qualifying contracts to three players: Nick Swisher, Hiroki Kuroda and Rafael Soriano. Some fans were wondering, why didn’t they offer Ichiro Suzuki or Russell Martin a qualifying offer? What is  a qualifying offer? What would mean if either three of them didn’t re-sign with the Yankees?

What is a Qualifying Offer?

A new procedure that was in place for the 2012 offseason. A Qualifying offer is a team offering their free agent a contract of 1 year and $13.3 Million. The player on the team has seven days to either accept or decline the offer. If the player accepts the offer then they would be on the team for the 2013 season. If the player declines the offer, they could still re-sign with the team but they would be placed in the free agent market where the other 29 teams can have a chance to offer them a contract. If the player signs elsewhere than with his original team, the original team would be rewarded a first round draft pick.

Why didn’t Ichiro or Russell Martin get an offer?

Ichiro Suzuki and Russell Martin are both terrific players–but both of them didn’t get a qualifying offer for different reasons. Ichiro hasn’t been on the team for the entire 2012 season, meaning he’s not eligible to receive an offer. Russell Martin is a good player, but the Yankees don’t deem him worthy enough of 1 year and $13,3 Million.

Does that mean the Yankees don’t want Martin?

No. All the qualifying offer is saying is Martin shouldn’t get $13.3 Million. The Yankees still want Martin, but they probably would offer him less than what the qualifying offer is.

What are the chances Swisher and Soriano accept the offer?

The chances that both Swisher and Soriano accept the offer is–zero. Both players are looking for multi-year deals and one year on the Yankees won’t cut it. The Yankees could possibly negotiate a contract with Swisher and Soriano, but chances are they both will head onto different teams, rewarding the Yankees two first round draft picks.

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.

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.

Yankees Offseason Notes: Soriano opts out, Yankees donate to Red Cross

Good evening everyone. Hope everyone had/is having a nice Halloween. Here are some Yankees notes that circulated around today.

– Well, it looks as if the ‘untuck’ era is over for the Yankees. At around 2pm, Rafael Soriano opted out of his contract thus making him a free agent. The Yankees now have 14  free agents going into the market. So now the Yankees have no catcher, no closer, no backup closer and no right fielder. Yankees have work to do.

Casey McGehee elected for free agency after being out-righted off the Yankees 40-man roster.

– The New York Yankees are donating $500,000 to the American Red Cross to support the Tri-State Area in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Now, if only every other rich billionaire team/organization could do the same thing.

– Last but not least, the L.A Angels are looking to trade Ervin Santana and Dan Haren. Could either of them be a fit in New York?

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?

Morning Bits: Jeter, Sabathia, Soriano, Bronx Businesses, Martin

Good morning everyone. Welcome to another day of the Yankees offseason but if you want to watch some baseball, the Giants and Cardinals play tonight with everything on the line. Cardinals try to punch a ticket to the World Series tonight while the Giants try to force a Game 7. Let’s get on with the morning links.

– With no Yankees baseball until April in the Bronx, businesses on 161st Street are beginning to suffer this winter.

–  According to Rafael Soriano‘s agent Scott Boras (of course), he says there’s a strong chance that Soriano will opt out of his contract.

CC Sabathia is going to visit Dr. Andrews about getting surgery for his elbow. He would just need to get some spurs shaved off and should be ready by Spring Training.

– Speaking of Surgery, Derek Jeter had surgery yesterday. Jeter should be ready to play in 4-5 months. (Also in the article explains Andruw Jones‘s “excuse” as to why he hit .197 in the regular season).

– 2 Yankees pitchers want the Yankees to bring back Russell Martin next season; CC Sabathia and Derek Lowe (who most likely won’t be on the team next year)

2012 Yankees: Keep Em’ or Dump Em’?

It had been a long, trying season for the Yankees where so much has happened. Yankees have lost Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter, at a point lost Brett Gardner, David Robertson, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, suffered through hitting slumps by Russell Martin, Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson and a surprisingly good regular season by Nick Swisher. But the Yankees didn’t realize that the season doesn’t end after 162 games and fell flat against the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS and will now spend their offseason trying to piece it all together. The Yankees have to make decisions before the 2013 offseason, but if you were the GM of the Yankees who would you keep and who would you dump? Infield

Morning Bits: Soriano = Mariano?, Orioles, Ichiro, Teixeira, Gehrig

Good morning everyone and a happy Saturday to you all! The Yankees finally have a play-off opponent and it’s a very familiar AL East foe–it’s the Baltimore Orioles. The Yankees will fly down to Baltimore today and continue workouts there before tomorrow’s Game 1 of the ALDS. Here are the morning links for the day. 

– With no Mariano Rivera in the play-offs for the first time in a long time, can Rafael Soriano fill Mo’s shoes and give the Yankees victories?

– Looks like the Yankees and Orioles aren’t done yet. The Yankees start the ALDS at Camden Yards (where they had a 6-3 record in 2012) and will continue for 3* (if necessary) games in Yankee Stadium.

Ichiro Suzuki hasn’t been to the play-offs in 11 years–yes, I said 11. So to finally be able to play in a meaningful game means a lot to the ex-Mariner.

– The Yankees are looking for some Tex supportMark Teixeira support that is. Teixeira is determined to get out of his postseason rut and help the Yankees defeat the Orioles.

– A group of legislators want to investigate if Lou Gehrig’s disease is what actually killed Lou Gehrig.

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