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You are currently viewing archive for January 2007.

Posted by: James
If you haven't read this story about a young fan and Roger Maris, you are missing out. It made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside...though I have a sneaking suspicion that the rice & beans I had last night might be adding to that. Hat tip to Steve L. for the link.

Speaking of personal relationships, here's a story from the Daily News about one of Bobby Murcer's.

Bobby Murcer welcomed a familiar friend yesterday, receiving a visit from Andy Pettitte in Houston. Murcer is beginning his third week of chemotherapy and radiation to fight brain cancer at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Have I mentioned how much I appreciated Bobby Murcer as an announcer? In a sea of self-aggrandizing types in the play by play booths, he came off as a genuine guy who loved baseball. Don't forget to keep him and his family in your prayers.

Finally, Pete A. checks in (a day after Lasik, so head over and wish him a speedy recovery) with some notes from a conf. call with Mark Newman:

Phil Hughes will be held to 175-180 innings this season after throwing 152 last season. The plan is to have him start the season in Class AAA but Newman did not rule out the idea of his making the team out of camp...Newman seems very high on Humberto Sanchez and Ross Ohlendorf, saying they can help the Yankees this season. He also mentioned that Ian Kennedy, Joba Chamberlain and Dellin Betances are already in Tampa working out.
Jose Tabata reminds the Yankees of Jeter at the same stage of his career.
Jesus Montero, the kid catcher from Venezuela, has “light tower” power and will get a chance to start in the Gulf Coast League instead of the Dominican Summer League.
Posted by: Patrick

"I will play in 2008," were the words 40-year-old Curt Schilling told Red Sox Nation this morning on the Dennis and Callahan show.

His contract with the Red Sox ends after this season. ...

Would he consider pitching for the Yankees in 2008?

"It wouldn't be in New York,” Schilling told host Gerry Callahan. “No. I could not make that move."

That's fine with me.

Via Steve.
Posted by: Patrick
From the New York Daily News:

Art Fowler, who won World Series rings as pitching coach of the Yankees in 1977 and 1978, died yesterday. He was 84. He died at his home, his son John said.
Posted by: David
Lets face it, Bernie Williams just doesn't fit into the Yankees plans for 2007. He filled in admirably for 2006 with the injuries to Sheffield and Matsui but he simply can't run well enough to play the outfield and his arm has always been poor.

There was some talk about him possibly playing first base but frankly I am thrilled at getting Mientkiewicz who is a stellar defensive first basemen. Giambi should be the full time DH because of his weak throwing arm.

Giambi could be backed up by Andy Phillips and Josh Phelps at the DH and Torre will rest Damon, Abreu and Matsui by having their bat in the lineup as DH. Melky is the backup outfielder we need. He can play all three outfield positions and has a great throwing arm. If your not convinced yet, remember he is only 22 not 38 like Bernie.

We really can't afford to use up a roster spot on a fifth outfielder or sometime pinch hitter. We just signed Cairo today as the backup infielder.

Bernie, Yankee fans will always remember Game 1 of the 1996 ALCS when you homered off of Randy Myers to win the game. Also, how many times have we seen on YES the homer you hit off of Rod Beck to win Game 1 of the 1999 ALCS from the Red Sox. Your 1996 ALDS and ALCS were fantastic and have provided us fans with a lifetime of memories, but, buddy, its time to move on.
Posted by: David
The Yankees have made quite a few changes during the offseason and the starting pitching rotation still has questions. Randy Johnson and Jaret Wright are gone and Pettitte is back along with Japanese newcomer Kei Igawa. This basically leaves the no. 5 starter job to the four headed monster of Pavano, Karstens, Henn and the phenom Philip Hughes.

My opinion is that you start the season with a Pavano, Karstens or Henn since they have had major league experience and since this is a no. 5 starting position, the Yankees will be going up against a rather weak no. 5 from the other team. With the Yankees potential for scoring a huge number of runs they could afford to have a so-so pitcher in the five slot.

However, Joe Torre's leash on this position should be very short. After a month or two of mediocrity, Hughes should be summoned to the Bronx. If he is close to the hype, he should get the chance he deserves. Look at the Tigers and how they gave guys like Bonderman, Robertson and Verlander a chance at very young ages. Bonderman is only 23 or 24 years of age and already has 4 major league seasons under his belt. Remember what the young Tigers staff did to our Murderers' Row lineup.

With Spring Training set to begin on February 15, I hope Torre and the Yankee brass take a long and hard look at Hughes and we get to see him in the Bronx with something more than a cup of coffee for 2007.
Posted by: James
Also known as I Heart

Update: And now they've added ZiPS projections as well. Perfect. Dave Appelman, you are the man.

As I noted the other day, Fangraphs added Marcel and CHONE projections to player pages. However, Dave Appelman wasn't content to just stop there. He has now added one of the bigger names in projections, Bill James, to the stats page. Here's A-Rod's page (and I tend to agree quite a bit more with BJ's prediction simply because the underlying rates seem to be closer to A-Rod's previous years). Obviously, all projections are simply scenarios of what could happen but still, it's fun to look at what each system predicts and see the various differences.

Also of note is Matthew Pouliot of Rotoworld's look at the Top 10 prospects for each team in the AL East. He doesn't break any new ground on the Yankees' Top 10 but it's still worth a look to get a better understanding of the divisional competition.

Finally, John Delcos of The Journal News has an article up about Bernie Williams and his current state of transition. The article is interspersed with quotes from Bernie which alone makes it worth the read. It seems that Bernie has more or less resigned himself to not being part of the 2007 Yankees team, which is sad but as usual, he carries and presents himself as a class act.

"Part of me says if they wanted me, they would have made an offer by now," Williams said. "When you play this game for a long time, you take things for granted and think it won't end. But the harsh reality of it is, it will."
Posted by: Patrick has some quotes from Posada on the subject of Bernie. A sampling:

Posada said that he has spoken "a lot" with Williams this offseason about the 38-year-old outfielder's future. The Yankees appear to be set with four outfielders -- Hideki Matsui, Johnny Damon, Bobby Abreu and Melky Cabrera -- but Posada said that Williams is hungry for one more season.

"Obviously, he wants to come back, and he wants to come back for the right reasons," Posada said. "If he doesn't come back as a Yankee, it would be tough to see him in another uniform. I don't think he would even consider that."

Williams told Posada that other clubs have called with offers but that he has his heart set on the Yankees.
Posted by: Patrick

"I was happy to give up the number to a future Hall of Famer if he comes aboard," Cano said in Tuesday's edition of the New York Post. "Hopefully, he will be one of my teammates; I'll have the pleasure of playing with him." ...

"His dad's favorite player was Jackie Robinson, and he was named after Jackie Robinson," Posada said. "He wanted [No.] 42, but he couldn't have it, so he went with [No.] 24."
Posted by: James
Maybe I was the only one who was wondering, but just in case anyone else was, Pete A. has the lowdown on why J. Brent Cox was left off the spring training roster, straight from the desk of Mark Newman.

Cox is not on the spring training roster because he has a broken bone in his right hand.

”(He’ll be) ready to throw a bit late,” Newman reports.

Whew - I thought this was going to be a elbow injury or something along the Melancon lines.
Posted by: James
Over at Baseball Musings, David Pinto points out a Yankee survey being done by Caitlin A. LaGrotte of Temple University. Here's a description and the link to the survey:

Here is an opportunity to share your experiences at baseball games when the Yankees are playing the Red Sox.
This survey hopes to better understand the environment created in baseball stadiums when rivals are playing. The study will not ask for any personal information and will allow for better understanding of the rivalry between the Yankees and Red Sox. If you have attended a Yankee versus Red Sox game at Yankee Stadium or Fenway Park please click the link below to take the survey. Thank you.

Also, Andy Pettitte appears on the list of pitchers whose second half of the year in 2006 could portend good things in 2007. Here's what Patrick Sullivan (Sully) had to say:

Andy Pettitte
Post-All Star Break 2006: 93.1 IP, 2.80 ERA, 3.19 K/BB, 8.29 K/9

While teams tripped over themselves to ink the Gil Meche's and Jeff Suppan's of the world, the Yankees signed the guy that may very well have been the best pitcher in baseball over the last few months of 2006. Andy Pettitte, with little fanfare, dominated after the All Star break in 2006. While the press focuses their attention on the Bombers' neighbors to the norhteast and their signing of Daisuke Matsuzaka, the Yanks might have made the low-cost (relatively speaking) deal of the off-season.
Posted by: James
If you're looking for more baseball stuff in the month before spring training starts, here's a couple of stops you could make.

The always awesome has done everyone a favor and uploaded both Marcel and CHONE projections into a sortable format. You can find explanations for Marcel here and keep in mind that even the author of the original metrics says that "these forecasts are the minimum level of competence that you should expect from any forecaster". CHONE seems to be a little more detailed as you can see in the explanations here. In any case, they're both fun to take a peek at.

Update: Man, they're quick over there. Both CHONE and Marcel projections have been incorporated into each player page (ex. A-Rod).

Prospect-wise, Bryan Smith of Baseball Analysts fame, has posted his Top 75 prospects in all of baseball. From the time that I began reading his list, I've always enjoyed Bryan's work. This year, has invited him to post the list at their site so head on over and check it out because if you're looking for a good overview of the current world of prospects - Smith's list is a great place to start. Also, he is compiling a mailbag of the questions regarding the list for this Friday so if you have any, I'd encourage you to email him or leave them in the comments. For those wondering, Humberto Sanchez is #52, Jose Tabata is #23 and Philip Hughes is #4 (T-Clip is on the Honorable Mentions list).

Update: Here's Smith's thoughts on Hughes and the rest of the top 15, though why Homer Bailey continually gets ranked ahead of Phil befuddles me (well, not just me).

If Roger Clemens does not return to the Bronx in 2007, Hughes will be the hot-button issue in New York come June. By then, Hughes will be dominating AAA with every outing. The Yankees have done a fabulous job preparing Hughes for his midseason call-up, slowly increasing his workload in the minor leagues. With 146 innings last year, Hughes should be able to pitch consistently through October, by which time he might already be the Yankees' No. 2 starter. Far more impressive than Hughes' heavy sinker or jaw-dropping curveball is his understanding of pitching; he is the most intelligent phenom in recent memory. Hughes does not give in to any bat, rarely allows free trips to first base, and gets groundballs consistently from the stretch. Hughes is as good as a New York pitching prospect has been in a long time.

Also, Mark Healey over at GothamBaseball has posted an analysis of the Yankees' Top 10 Prospects.

Finally, Steve Goldman over at The Pinstriped Bible posted a little quiz about the forthcoming Yankees season that's worth a look over. His answers are at the bottom.
Posted by: James
If anyone out there hasn't already headed over to WasWatching to read this very interesting interview with author Michael Morrissey (his book The Pride and the Pressure: A Season Inside the New York Yankee Fishbowl will be released April 10th), I would strongly encourage you to do so.

Some particularly intriguing points from the interview follow:

What I told various publishers was that my idea for "The Pride and the Pressure" came to mind during the winter after the 2005 season, when a confluence of events hammered home the uniqueness of being a Yankee. GM Brian Cashman broke down in tears at the end of the team’s season, and there was widespread speculation that he would move on. Also, manager Joe Torre was dissatisfied with the culture of the organization, and he spent a week in October debating whether to honor his contract for 2006.
The thing I think I want readers to take away from the book is what a unique, precious and privileged thing it is to be a Yankee - and a Yankee fan. These players understand that, and I hope it comes through vividly. I can say unequivocally the organization is filled with good men and good women who care, and that the baseball operations department - starting with Brian Cashman - is absolutely focused on winning that next world championship. They are, for the most part, dedicating every available resource to do that.

However, with the tradition and the excellence comes a trade-off, and I hope the book portrays that properly. There are no medals for finishing second. Nobody that I know of is sporting "2006 AL East champs" T-shirts around town.

Steve has put together a long and detailed interview and it's definitely worth the time (and from the looks of the interview, the book looks like it will be as well).

01/22: Numbers

Posted by: James
If you haven't noticed by now, I'm a big numbers guy and in the interest of the rest of the numbers guys out there, I wanted to point out a few links of interest.

First, over at the Baseball Think factory, Dan Szymborski has posted the 2007 Zips projections for all teams, which can be then downloaded as an Excel file to play around with. If you're just interested in the Yankees, here's the page for them (note: this was before the RJ trade) and please note Johnson's projection (which I really don't agree with).

If you're more into dollars and cents, The Hardball Dollars is the place to be. I like the site because it shows team totals for current year as well as a couple years in the future. Additionally, to make the site more collaborative, the owner of the site is going to a wiki environment where everyone is free to enter information. Once the wiki is up and running (and more people learn about it), I think it will provide a lot of use for fans who are looking for a summary of where their team stands in terms of pricing their assets. Of course, if you're really only looking for the history of a particular player, Cot's Baseball Contracts is hard to beat.
Posted by: Jason
According to and the NY Times this weekend, there is a high probability that MLB will announce an agreement that restricts the out of market "Extra Innings" package to DirecTV satellite programming.

Taking the package off of cable is offensive to me and every other out of market fan - of any team. In 2006, Extra Innings was available in 75 million homes. If this new deal takes effect, only DirecTV subscribers will be able to see 2007 Yankees games out of the NY market, i.e., about 15 million homes.

In my area, Extra Innings on cable was about $150.00 for the 2006 season.

Now I (and millions of other out of market fans) will be forced to incur:

a) The switching costs from cable to DirecTV and
b) The DirecTV Extra Innings subscription cost ($180.00 in 2006).

What will the price be in 2007 now that DirecTV has been granted a monopoly?

Thanks, Mr. Selig.
Posted by: Patrick
Our next interview is with Mike Axisa of Pending Pinstripes. commenters probably know him best as Mike A.

When you aren't doing something related to or depending on the Yankees, what are you up to?

Well, that doesn't leave much time in the day, does it? I'm lucky enough to work for a relatively small but exponentially growing engineering firm, so I spend about 10-12 hours a day at work. I'm also getting married sometime this summer, so it seems like whenever I'm not working, I'm picking out invitations, or a caterer or a... you get the point. My father-in-law gave me the golf bug not too long ago, so I try to sneak out and spend a half hour or so at the driving range a couple times a week as well. Whenever one of those things doesn't occupy my mind, something Yankee related usually does.

» Read More

Posted by: Patrick
From the official site:

The Yankees agreed to terms on a one-year contract with Luis Vizcaino on Tuesday, avoiding salary arbitration with the right-handed relief pitcher.
Posted by: Patrick
From Yahoo!:

The 2007 All-Star game is scheduled for July 10 in San Francisco and the 2008 event is likely to be played at New York's Yankee Stadium, which is slated to be in its final season.

Via Steve.
Posted by: Jason
According to an article in today's NY Times, Gary Sheffield is about to request that we shell out about $20 for his new book, "Inside Power." Let me say that I liked Sheffield and his idiosyncratic behavior...he sees himself as Detective Shaft, a maverick independent who must tell it "like it is." Among the dimes that Gary will drop:

1) The "cream" that he received from BALCO on Bonds's recommendation was understood by Gary to be a topical ointment that promoted fast healing of cuts, scrapes and in Gary's case stitches that had come loose. This is plausible, particularly because circumstantial evidence tells us (in my opinion) that neither Gary's production nor his physique appreciably changed after the steroid ban.

2) According to the NYT, Gary portrays Joe Torre as an "Enigma." You struck the nail squarely on the head, Sheff. But: Joe is our Enigma.

3) Gary felt disrespected that Torre wanted Vladimir G. over him. News for you Sheff: If I conducted an online poll right now as to who the Yankees Universe would have wanted, I believe you would be disrespected by the results. Had "C-money" Cashman been in total control of the front office during the 2003 free agent season, you likely would never have worn pinstripes, in my opinion.

01/14: Weekend Hits

Posted by: James
David Pinto over at Baseball Musings points out some interesting things from around the web. To start, the 2007 Marcels (from Marcel The Monkey Forecasting System) are out and have been posted out at The Hardball Times. Marcel is a projection system that was put together by Tangotiger and you can learn more about the procedures here. As Dave points out, getting through the stats is a little unwieldy at this point but if you're looking for batting projections, Pinto's done you a solid and pasted the 2007 Yankees into his (very interesting) Lineup Analysis Tool.

Pitching projections are also up though outside of Mariano (he's #2 in ERA), no other Yankee shows up in the top 50 for ERA until Andy Pettitte 12-10, 3.95 ERA and Chien-Ming Wang at 14-7, 3.95 ERA. I think the system might be depressing wins a little bit as the high winner for both leagues is Johan Santana with 15 wins, followed by Josh Beckett (14-9, 4.28 ERA).

Also, if you really want to get an idea of how the Roger Clemens media circus is going to play out, I would strongly suggest reading Pete A's forecast for the next year.

Finally, Dave Pinto also pointed out a quick post over at a Harvard Baseball blog, Sons of Bart Bush, details one Harvard player's recollections on facing Ross Ohlendorf in Ross' freshman year. It's always interesting to me to see what these guys were like when they were young and learning the game.

Heh. I worked a Ross and Marcel the monkey reference into a post for all you Friends fans out there.
Posted by: Patrick
The Yankees non roster invitees to Spring Training are RP Jeff Nelson (who retired, yes), INF Andy Cannizaro, C Francisco Cervelli, INF Angel Chavez, C Raul Chavez, RHP Tyler Clippard, C Ben Davis, INF Eric Duncan, OF Brett Gardner, RHP Phil Hughes, RHP Steven Jackson, LHP Ben Kozlowski, INF Ramiro Pena, RHP Ross Ohlendorf, C Peter Pilittere, C Todd Pratt, C Omir Santos, OF Jose Tabata, INF Marcos Vechionacci, RHP Kevin Whelan and RHP Steven White.

Here is a full rundown from the press release:

» Read More

Posted by: Patrick
I did a double take in my feedreader just a moment ago as Jeff Nelson has apparently signed a deal with the Yankees, so that he could retire as a Yankee.

"I enjoyed a fulfilling 15-year major league career, and each season brought experiences and friends that I will cherish forever," the 40-year-old relief pitcher said in a statement released by the Yankees.

"But being able to be a part of four world championship teams with the Yankees, while playing in a place like Yankee Stadium in front of the greatest fans in the world -- that time will always hold a special place in my heart."
Posted by: Patrick
From the official site:

It had been more than three years since Andy Pettitte had set foot in Yankee Stadium. Not much had changed.

The ballpark was colder than Pettitte had been accustomed to, perhaps, but the painted blue line still led to the Yankees' clubhouse; the photo on the scoreboard, an image of the left-hander donning his old "NY" cap, seemed just right.

"I definitely missed it," Pettitte said on Thursday, as he was officially reintroduced as a Yankee. "It's just a special place to play and to pitch. Now just thinking about it, this is where it all started for me.

And about Clemens:

Andy Pettitte's sense is that Roger Clemens will decide to pitch in 2007. If it happens, Pettitte wants it to be as a Yankee.

"Would that be great," Pettitte said. "Does he know that I would love that? Of course."
Posted by: Patrick
The New York Daily News talks about his yearly visit to South Bronx High.

Humberto Sanchez made his annual appearance at South Bronx High School late last month to provide some of the Phoenix baseball players with perspective and instruction from a professional pitcher.

It's something Sanchez, who starred at South Bronx from 1997-2000, has done every year since he was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in 2001.
Posted by: Patrick
From the official site:

"As we begin a new year, I find myself facing a new challenge [--] the biggest of my life so far," Murcer said. "Pathology reports have revealed that the brain tumor removed was malignant. I'm not having to battle this alone, but am fortified with the most loving family, an abundance of wonderful friends and fans and the very best class of physicians.

"I'm gaining confidence that with God and my faith leading the way, we will as a team put up an incredible fight. Please continue to send up prayers. That's all I can really ask of you at this time." ...

"Bobby Murcer represents the spirit of the Yankees, and above all, he's my dear friend," Steinbrenner said. "I know Bobby very well. He has true grit, is a fighter and our entire Yankee organization offers our prayers to him and his family for a big win in this battle."

Not the news we'd hoped for. We'll be keeping him in our thoughts.
Posted by: Patrick
There is a little concern, I know, due to the fact that we only have one lefty in the pen (and that lefty rarely gets more than 1 or 2 outs), so I thought I'd take a look at how the probable players in our pen have performed against lefties. The "career" OBAA and SLGA numbers are taken from the Baseball Musings database and are from 2000 on (so, if a pitcher pitched before 2000, then it's not their actual "career" numbers). WHIP and BAA are for the entire career, though, even if they have pitched before 2000.

Chris Britton
2006: 1.79 WHIP, .301 BAA, .378 OBAA, .384 SLGA
Career: 1.79 WHIP, .301 BAA, .378 OBAA, .384 SLGA

Brian Bruney
2006: 1.27 WHIP, .115 BAA, .343 OBAA, .115 SLGA
Career: 1.82 WHIP, .233 BAA, .404 OBAA, .380 SLGA

Kyle Farnsworth
2006: 1.01 WHIP, .215 BAA, .263 OBAA, .355 SLGA
Career: 1.42 WHIP, .251 BAA, .328 OBAA, .411 SLGA

Mike Myers
2006: 1.22 WHIP, .257 BAA, .297 OBAA, .443 SLGA
Career: 1.16 WHIP, .210 BAA, .287 OBAA, .322 SLGA

Scott Proctor
2006: 1.08 WHIP, .204 BAA, .269 OBAA, .354 SLGA
Career: 1.40 WHIP, .244 BAA, .322 OBAA, .424 SLGA

Mariano Rivera
2006: 0.81 WHIP, .194 BAA, .224 OBAA, .233 SLGA
Career: 1.01 WHIP, .207 BAA, .244 OBAA, .243 SLGA

Luis Vizcaino
2006: 1.07 WHIP, .163 BAA, .281 OBAA, .288 SLGA
Career: 1.28 WHIP, .228 BAA, .308 OBAA, .394 SLGA

01/10: Ohlendorf

Posted by: Patrick has some quotes from new Yankee Ross Ohlendorf:

"The last several days have been strange, but it does feel really good to know that I'm going to New York and that there is closure. I always had to stop and think that it wasn't for sure [yet], so I'm feeling very excited about everything."

"I'd like to pick up where I left off last year and continue to improve," Ohlendorf said. "If I'm going to make it to the Majors, I need to work on several things -- getting my off-speed over for strikes more, and being more consistent with my off-speed and fastball. That's really what I'm focused on -- trying to get better." ...

"There's so much history with the big cities, especially New York," Ohlendorf said. "It's such a unique city and you're not going to find very many places like that, so I think it would be nice to spend some time around there."
Posted by: Patrick
The Hall of Fame voting results have been announced. Cal Ripken, Jr. and Tony Gwynn were the only 2 players elected.

75% is needed to be elected, 5% is needed to stay on the ballot.

"Goose" Gossage fell just short at 71.2%. He was 21 votes short. The article linked above mentioned that never has a player reached 70% in one year and then not been eventually elected into the Hall. So... things look good for Goose in the future. Here are some other Yankees:

Lee Smith: 39.8%.
Tommy John: 22.9%.
Don Mattingly: 9.9%.
Paul O'Neil: 2.2%.
Jose Canseco: 1.1%.
Tony Fernandez: 0.7%.
Jay Buhner: 0.2%.
Scott Brosius: 0.0%.
Posted by: Patrick
We can all move on with our lives.

"I've stated on many occasions how I wanted to reduce payroll, improve our talent base at the Minor League level and improve our chances of trying to be the best we possibly can be," Cashman said.

"I understand that by making a move here with Randy Johnson, I do put the [pitching] rotation at risk. To take a half-step back, maybe we'll take two steps forward with the greater inventory we have to turn to."

In exchange for Johnson and $2 million in cash considerations, the Yankees acquired reliable reliever Luis Vizcaino plus three Minor Leaguers: pitchers Ross Ohlendorf and Steven Jackson, and infielder Alberto Gonzalez.
Posted by: James
New daddy Mike Plugh, of Canyon of Heroes fame, guest posts over at Pending Pinstripes and puts down his thoughts on Igawa. Mike lives in Japan and has shown himself to be very knowledgeable about the Japanese baseball leagues so he knows Kei's history. It's certainly an interesting read on what kind of person Igawa is and what Yankees fans can look forward to and well worth your time.

As Yankee fans will soon find out, Igawa is the new David Wells. I’m not talking about pitching style, after hours activities, or body type. I’m talking about the “walks to the beat of his own drummer” mentality that both makes him an intriguing character and a tough opponent.
I could go on and on about the personal quirks he brings with him to the Bronx, but the gaming is what I believe is the key to understanding Kei Igawa. The single-minded focus that he gives to competition of any kind helps him on the mound. His ability (or personality quirk) that allows him to tune out a pre-arranged interview, while it’s going on, to concentrate on a game of shogi is the same skill he will use to succeed on the Yankee Stadium mound.
Posted by: Patrick

"Today, my lifelong dream became a reality, to be a Major League Baseball player," Igawa said. "I want to thank the New York Yankees, especially Mr. Steinbrenner and Mr. Cashman. I will give you my best as a Yankee. I'm here to do my best to win the championships for this great city, New York." ...

"I cannot believe it," Igawa said. "I'm in awe and of course a bit nervous wearing these pinstripes, knowing and having all this knowledge about the tradition and greatness of the New York Yankees." ...

"We're trying to be very careful and respectful of the process, and not put too much on his shoulders," Cashman said. "He seems like a tough kid and he's obviously pitched in front of big crowds for a very successful organization. At the same time, there's going to be a lot of new experiences for him here in the States and in this league. We'll have to wait and see what we get."

01/08: Mike DeJean

Posted by: Patrick

Veteran pitcher Mike DeJean began throwing off a mound last week and remains open to returning to the Rockies. However, other clubs have shown interest, including the Yankees.

Via Pro Sports Daily.
Posted by: James
As Patrick and Pete A. mentioned earlier, the AZ Republic is saying that the D'Backs and Randy Johnson have come together on a contract.

The deal won’t become official until Monday after Johnson, 43, completes and passes a full physical in the Valley. But there is strong reason to believe that won’t be an issue and that Johnson will then by introduced during a news conference on Tuesday at Chase Field.

Johnson and his representatives agreed to a contract extension for the 2008 season, which could pay him anywhere from $10 to $14 million or more. The Yankees will pick up $2 million of his $16 million salary for this season, and some of that base pay may be deferred into next year’s contract.

By the way, anyone else noticed Luiz Vizcaino's righty/lefty splits? .227/.308/.394 for his career against lefties (and .163/.281/.288/.569 last season though righties hit him and hit him well). Considering that Mike Myers is the only lefty in the bullpen right now, I'd think that Cashman gave those splits a good amount of thought.

Hat tip to David Pinto's Baseball Musings for the AZ Republic link.
Posted by: Patrick
Peter Abraham mentions that the Diamondbacks and The Unit have agreed to an extension through 2008, reportedly.

Via Pride of the Yankees.
Posted by: Patrick
Joel Sherman:

After flirting with Mark Loretta, the Yankees returned to a comfortable, familiar place to secure their utility infielder, re-signing Miguel Cairo for one year at $750,000.

Via Dan Benton.
Posted by: Patrick
The Mientkiewicz deal is now official. Some thoughts from Mientkiewicz:

"Once I heard the Yankees and Mr. Cashman were interested, I pretty much shut down everything else," Mientkiewicz said. "I was watching the playoffs last year in my living room, and I remember thinking, 'That's a perfect fit for me.'

"I felt like what I do best can be a huge help to these guys. Once they made it [clear] that they were interested, I put blinders on and said, 'Let's just make it work.'" ...

"I think every kid dreams of playing for the Yankees growing up, and when the situation came about and they called first, you try not to get too excited," Mientkiewicz said. "But my heart was leaning there and I felt like this was a good fit for me to help these guys out."
Posted by: Patrick
Bryan Hoch:

Yankees broadcaster and former All-Star outfielder Bobby Murcer -- who underwent surgery to remove a brain tumor on Dec. 27 -- has been released from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, the team announced Friday.

Murcer, 60, spent New Year's Eve with his family in Houston, before being cleared by doctors to return to his Oklahoma home on Tuesday. Murcer is said to be "up and around," and will report back to the Center early next week for further tests.

Quote from Mercer:

"Please tell all my friends up there how grateful I am for their prayers and well-wishes," Murcer told the Daily News by phone from his home in Oklahoma yesterday. "I'm feeling good and I'm grateful to have had the doctor I had for this surgery. I'm hopeful of being able to make it to the BAT dinner."
Posted by: Patrick
From the New York Daily News:

The wife of Yankee center fielder Johnny Damon gave birth to the couple's first child yesterday, a seven-pound, eight-ounce daughter named Devon Rose Damon.

Michelle Damon and her daughter were doing fine in Orlando, Damon's hometown and where the couple makes its winter home. ...

Congratulations to them.
Posted by: James
From Pete A.'s LoHud Yankees Blog, it looks like the Johnson deal is (finally) done. If these really are the players involved, this deal worked out completely differently than most of the Yankee fandom expected.

The Yankees would get:
* RHP Luis Vizcaino (reliable reliever for the Diamondbacks last season)
* RHP Ross Ohlendorf (Princeton product and high-ceiling prospect)
* RHP Stephen Jackson (8-11, 2.65 in Class AA, rocked a bit in the Arizona Fall League)
* SS Alberto Gonzalez (40-man roster player, good glove)

Ohlendorf is a (very smart - 1580 SAT if I remember correctly) 24 year old pitching prospect who gives up hits but seems to have good control. I don't know much about Jackson but looking at his pitching line so far, it looks like he figured something out last year. Hopefully, he can maintain whatever it is that he learned last year. Gonzalez seems like a no-hit shortstop, though he did put up a .750 OPS line at AA last year. Hopefully, he's a good defender. Vizcaino is a soon to be 33-year old right handed reliever. It's not the Micah Owings/Dustin Nippert/Chris Carter combo that had been bandied about often over the last week but it is something. I'll post something a little later on why I think the loss of Johnson won't be as big as some people seem to think it will be. Still, until then - any thoughts on this value received here?

Update: It looks like the Yanks will be putting up $2MM of the 2007 salary and that Arizona has until 4 p.m. Sunday to sign Johnson to an extension.

Update:'s profile has the following to say about each of the prospects mentioned. Jackson and Gonzalez were probably the least mentioned over the last couple of weeks so here's a brief cut. "Another college pitcher who jumps straight to Double-A after spending last year in Lo-A South Bend, Jackson is a pure power pitcher who has a devastating slider" and "Gonzalez, and his incredible defense...started hitting last season, and his continued development will be something to watch". I would also recommend this article from that mentions Ohlendorf and the work he's put in on his curveball.
Posted by: Patrick

The Yankees have reached terms on a tentative deal with first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz, the New York Daily News and New York Post reported Thursday.

Mientkiewicz, 32, was reportedly on his way to New York for a physical examination as a precursor to finalizing a one-year contract with the Yankees.
Posted by: Seamus
Newsday is on top of this Randy Johnson situation. Today they report that the Unit has agreed to a contract extenstion through 2008, which has been looked upon as the main stumbling block between the Yanks and Diamondbacks in the trade talks concerning Johnson.

The Yankees and Arizona have advanced far enough in their discussions that Johnson has already agreed, in principle, to a contract extension for 2008 with the Diamondbacks, two people familiar with the situation told Newsday. The trade could take another two or three days to finish, given its complexities.

No trade is done until it's done, of course, but something would have to go wildly off course for this deal to get blown up.

Good thing I didn't order a #41 jersey last week when I was on the Yankees' online shop.
Posted by: Patrick

Momentum continues to build toward Randy Johnson's return to Arizona, as one official involved in the discussions described the odds of such a deal as "good." It appears just a matter of time now before the Yankees ship the Big Unit back to the team from which they acquired him two years ago.

The remaining issues to be resolved largely concern money, the official said. The talks have advanced far enough that Johnson and his agents, Barry Meister and Alan Nero, are in the loop. Johnson and his family have returned to their Arizona home after a vacation in Hawaii.

Via Pro Sports Daily.
Posted by: Patrick
Next up in our interview series is our very own Jason O'Connell.

When you aren't doing something related to or depending on the Yankees, what are you up to?

I work for an engineering consulting firm in the Boston suburbs. It's a great company and I enjoy it a lot. I like music, history, working out to release stress and I have resolved in 2007 to become a better chess player. My guiltiest pleasures are cigars (about 5 per week) and South Park - I never miss an episode.

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