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You are currently viewing archive for November 2008.

11/29: The Catchers

Posted by: Patrick
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Cliff Corcoran at Bronx Banter has an in depth look at the catchers in the Yankees organization, as well as what might be available through free agency in terms of a back up for Jorge Posada.
Posted by: Patrick
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Our first interview in the fourth annual Interviewing the Yankees Blogosphere series is with Frank Della Femina of NJ.com.

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

When I'm working and not doing something about the Yankees, you can also find me putting something together on any of the other tri-state teams. The fun thing about NJ.com is that I'm not following just one team, so that keeps me active and reading/browsing material all day. Outside of work I try to absorb any news surrounding any of the teams NJ.com covers to stay on top of the big rumors and heavy talk. Friends and family can't understand why I watch games after work or listen to sports radio at night, but it hardly feels like I'm working when I do these things. What's more relaxing than kicking your feet up and watching a game from the comfort of your own couch? Outside of following sports, I'm an avid reader (try to read 4-5 books a month), video game player nerd and exercise fiend.

How long have you been blogging about the Yankees?

I started working for NJ.com in June. The site launched its real-time sports blog around the first or second week of July, so I guess we're coming up on the fourth month of actual blogging.

What's the best and worst part of blogging?

» Read More

Posted by: Seamus
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The Yankees have released their tentative spring training schedule for 2009. The Yanks will begin play against the Blue Jays in Dunedin, Florida and the schedule culminates, of course, with two exhibition games at the new Yankee Stadium against the Chicago Cubs on April 3 and 4.

Interestingly, the Yankees will play two games against Word Baseball Classic teams (Team USA and Team Canada). I can't recall whether or not Major League teams played exhibitions against WBC teams during the last Classic. So that begs the question: On March 3, will Derek Jeter be suiting up in pinstripes or in the red, white and blue?
Posted by: Seamus
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According to FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal, Andy Pettite has had multiple discussions with his old skip, Joe Torre, about joining forces for a third time in 2009, this time in Dodger blue. Rosenthal goes on to say that the Dodgers could be a suitable alternative to the Yankees if he "does not feel completely wanted."

Andy Pettitte in L.A.? I can't quite see it myself, but to my surprise, apparently 59% of the 18,000+ people responding to the poll on the site of the article at the time of this post disagree with me. This is something I can only see happening if the Yankees completely slam the door on Pettitte (i.e. blatantly tell him to his face that he is "not wanted"). That is something that I really couldn't fathom, especially considering Moose's retirement, which has left the Yankee rotation with only two definite starters.

The only way I don't see Pettitte returning to the Bronx next year is if somehow the Yankees land the entire trio of Sabathia, Burnett and Lowe, or if Pettitte has a change of heart and decides to retire.
Posted by: Seamus
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From SI's John Heyman:

The Angels reportedly are about to make an offer to superstar free agent pitcher CC Sabathia that will approach the Yankees' $140-million bid of a couple week ago, and if the Angels can steal Sabathia, that may change the entire free-agent landscape.

The Los Angeles Times reported today that the Angels are focusing on Sabathia right now while remaining interested in free agent first baseman Mark Teixeira, who's been called their top target all along. The report suggested the Angels may be turning to Sabathia in part because they have come to believe they will have trouble making a quick deal for Teixeira.

That's why you don't make your best offer on the first day of free agency. As many people (myself included) have been saying, if it comes down to money, he's going to end up with the Yankees.

The Angels are probably thinking that if the money is close then he'd choose to play closer to his hometown, and they'd probably be right in their thinking. I think in the end, though, the Angels would just be immersing themselves into an insane bidding war if they decided to make Sabathia the focus of their offseason plans. I'd imagine the Yanks would just slap an extra $10 million or so to any bid the Angels or any other team made, and I would think that the team has already expected to do so. $140 million is obviously a lot of money, but I doubt very highly that the Steinbrenners or Cashman really believe that would be the actual cost of a final deal.

On the flip side, I guess this speculation would just lead to further speculation that this would almost guarantee the Yankees at least one of Sabathia/Teixeira. The Angels are obviously not going to sign both, and if they do somehow end up snagging CC away from the Yankees, one would think that $140 million+ is going to have to go somewhere.
Posted by: Seamus
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Newsday's Ken Davidoff reports:

Darek Braunecker, the representative for A.J. Burnett, said Friday night that his client will be able to sign a five-year deal this offseason, although he didn't identify the team willing to commit so enthusiastically to the power righthander.

It's believed that the Yankees, while open-minded, still are trying to get a four-year deal done with Burnett. And the Blue Jays, the club that employed Burnett for the previous three seasons, don't want to go five years, either.

My guess is that the team is: probably nobody.

While I don't doubt that Burnett might receive a 5-year offer once the market plays itself out and more teams start making offers, this is probably simply a bluff. I don't see any team out there who would go five years when the richest team in the land is supposedly only willing to go four, unless the yearly salary is way down from what the Yankees are offering. And if the Yankees had offered five years, I'd imagine Braunecker would be working on talking up the dollars moreso than the years at that point.

Either way, I don't think the Yanks are desperate enough (yet, at least) to have to throw in another year to compete for Burnett, even if it is true.
Posted by: Seamus
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The Hal Steinbrenner era as officially begun, as Major League Baseball has officially approved the transfer of control of the Yankee franchise from George Steinbrenner to his youngest son. That's Hal Steinbrenner, folks, not Hank, who we all know by now as the voice of the Yankee front office.

From ESPN.com:

"He's been slowing down the last couple years," Hal Steinbrenner said (referring to George). "Really, for the last two years I have been intimately involved with all aspects and all departments of the company. It's what I've been doing day-to-day. My duties aren't really going to change and my workload isn't going to change much. So, I mean, it's as much a procedural thing within the family, I think, as anything at this point."

Parentheses were mine. This doesn't really change anything, as Hal and Hank have been taking over the operations of the franchise for quite some time now. It feels kind of strange, though, to see such a prominent figure fade away so quickly, yet so quietly.
Posted by: Seamus
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Ken Rosenthal is reporting that Mike Mussina has decided to retire, citing "major-league sources." The article says that Mussina will announce his decision at the end of the week. Mussina went 123-72 with a 3.88 E.R.A. and 1,278 strikeouts as a member of the Yankees.

I guess this is what most of us expected, but it's sad to see him go without being able to put a World Series ring on his finger. He pitched in an era of Yankee baseball mostly marred by postseason failures, but he was certainly one of the positives. Moose has shown to be an intelligent individual who can excel in many areas even outside of baseball, so whatever he does, we wish him well.

Posted by: Patrick
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From Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal:

The Yankees' farm system is strong enough to match up with the Padres if the teams revive their discussions on right-hander Jake Peavy. The Padres, according to one major-league source, told the Yankees that a deal would be possible even if the Yankees declined to offer right-hander Phil Hughes.

The Padres scouted Hughes in a recent Arizona Fall League game, but the Yankees have zero intention of trading him.

Via Ben.
Posted by: Patrick
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Yesterday George King of the Post reported:

The Yankees, according to several industry insiders, spent yesterday preparing an offer - perhaps a five-year deal worth about $80 million - for Toronto righty A.J. Burnett. This would come after they offered Milwaukee lefty CC Sabathia a six-year contract worth between $140 million and $145 million.

The emphasis is mine. But, Kat O'Brien reports today:

The Blue Jays already have offered a four-year, $54-million deal to retain Burnett, according to the Toronto Star. The Yankees' offer is expected to top the Blue Jays' in average annual value. However, a source shot down a report that the Yankees would offer five years and $80 million. They will not make an opening bid of more than four years or anywhere near $80 million, the source said.

Gulp. These are some big numbers. How much am I comfortable paying Burnett? The truth is, I don't really want him. Of course, I'd rather he not end up with the Red Sox, either. This is a contract I just don't see ending well and not just at the end, but in the last 2-3 years of the deal.

Via Steve.
Posted by: Patrick
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From Kevin Kernan at the Post:

"I'm looking to keeping my options open, keep working out,'' explained Williams, who last played in 2006. "It's been a great two years. I've had the opportunity to do things that I never really had the opportunity to do when I was playing. I had the chance to travel. Take my kids to school, watch my kid graduate from high school, a lot of things that I never would have never had the opportunity to do if I had been playing the game.''

This after Bernie was asked if he'd like to play in the new Stadium. Of course, he said that he'd love to and that it would be the "opportunity of a lifetime."
Posted by: Patrick
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The website of the Baseball Writers' Association of America reports the full results of the voting for the American League MVP award. Dustin Pedroia of the Red Sox beat Justin Morneau of the Twins by 60 points to collect the honor.

A-Rod appeared on 19 ballots, collecting 45 points, placing him in 8th place. Mussina received a lone eighth place vote, allowing him to claim 19th place.

Somehow, some way, Mariano Rivera did not appear on a single ballot. Despite the fact that Francisco Rodriguez finished in sixth place with 143 votes.
Posted by: Patrick
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I guess you could say that Johnny Damon enjoys being a member of the Yankees:

"I want them both," Damon said yesterday of CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett.

"And I hope we also get Derek [Lowe]."
Posted by: Seamus
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The Yankees have announced that they will in fact be opening the new Yankee Stadium with two exhibition games against the Cubs, as had been speculated. The games will be played on April 3 and 4, and the team will be off on April 5 before heading to Baltimore to open the season the following day.

From the official press release:

"The Yankees organization is excited and honored to host the Chicago Cubs in two exhibition games to be played at the new Yankee Stadium," said Yankees co-Chairperson Hal Steinbrenner. "As we welcome our fans into the ballpark for the first time, it is fitting to showcase two of Baseball's greatest and most historic franchises."

"We are thrilled to have such a great organization in the Chicago Cubs agree to play the first-ever exhibition games as we unveil Yankee Stadium," said Yankees President Randy Levine. "It will be a symbolic event for the fans of two iconic teams while we celebrate the beginning of a new chapter in this proud franchise's history."

I'm still not sure how I feel about the idea, but apparently this has become pretty standard for teams opening new stadiums. When you look back at your first memory of the new Yankee Stadium, are you going to think about the game on April 3, or the the first game that actually counts, on April 16?
Posted by: Patrick
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From Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald:

Even though Varitek’s agent, Scott Boras, said at the GM meetings two weeks ago that Jorge Posada’s four-year, $52.4 million contract should, as a gauge of Varitek’s worth, be considered “probably representative age-wise and it’s also representative of what a player on a winning team - for very different reasons, obviously - can do,” word is that Boras is not asking for a Posada deal.

A $50 million contract worth some $13 million a year is not in the offing for Varitek. It should require something closer to a two- to four-year deal worth $10-11 million a year to sign Varitek. He is coming off a four-year, $40 million deal.

Teams expected to be in on the bidding include the Tigers and Angels. Do not dismiss the chances of the Yankees going after Varitek as doubt remains about whether Posada’s shoulder, surgically repaired last season, will allow him to catch in 2009.

There is no way this is going to happen. It makes no sense and goes against what Cashman has been working to build. With a superior Jorge Posada already under a huge contract, why would we give a 37 year old (next April) a multi-year deal in the $10 million dollar range, when his line for the last three years has been:

Average/On Base/Slugging Percentage
2006: .238/.325/.400
2007: .255/.367/.421
2008: .220/.313/.359

There's just no way. So, I'm willing to dismiss those chances. We can find a catcher capable of those numbers for a lot less with a lot less baggage. And, even if he was cheap, I wouldn't want him.

Via Steve.
Posted by: Patrick
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Via Tyler Kepner.
Posted by: Patrick
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ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick reports that, according to his agent Matt Sosnick, Darrell Rasner has been sold to the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles for $1 million. Rasner had told Brian Cashman that he would like to pitch in Japan and Cashman worked to make it happen.

"He really bent over backwards to make this work for Darrell and his family," Sosnick said. Farewell, Mr. Rasner.

Via MLB.com.
Posted by: Patrick
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From the Taiwan News:

Taiwan-born New York Yankees starter Wang Chien-ming (王建民) returned to Taiwan yesterday morning and pronounced his right foot injury that forced him to miss the last four months of the season completely healed. ...

Asked whether he will pitch for Taiwan in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, Wang said Yankees general manager Brian Cashman believed the pitcher will not be able to regain his top form in time for the international competition next March, and therefore did not want him to participate.

Via Ben.
Posted by: Patrick
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Tom Krasovic of The San Diego Union-Tribune reports:

“We've had advanced discussions with the Cubs and Braves, which are Jake's priority teams,” General Manager Kevin Towers said Thursday night, “but at this point in time, I do not see a potential deal with either club.”

The Yankees and Angels could be next in line, but that doesn't necessarily mean Towers' job will become easier.

David Pinto suggests Kei Igawa, Ian Kennedy and an outfielder for Peavy. Even if that outfielder is Austin Jackson, that seems pretty cheap to me.

Imagine a rotation of Sabathia, Peavy, Wang, Joba and Pettitte/Sheets/Burnett/Lowe/Hughes/Mussina, though. Wow. That said, though, any talk of a deal with the Padres is highly speculative and, at this point, highly unlikely. We can still dream, of course.

Via Ben.
Posted by: Patrick
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Updating a previous story, Anthony DiComo and Barry M. Bloom of MLB.com report:

The Yankees made a record-breaking six-year, $140 million offer to free-agent starter CC Sabathia on Friday as the first part of their plan to overhaul their starting rotation, Hal Steinbrenner, one of the team's co-chairmen, confirmed. ...

"Yes," Steinbrenner said. "And we're prepared to make offers to Burnett and Lowe."

Though this is the supposed starting point, the contract as it is would represent the biggest deal a pitcher has ever received, above the contract that Johan Santana signed last year. Santana's deal was also for six years, but was for $137.5 million.
Posted by: Seamus
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The free agency period has officially begun, and Jon Heyman is reporting that the Yankees will make a hefty offer to CC Sabathia as early as today that will exceed the $137 million dollar deal the Mets gave to Johan Santana last year (perhaps $160 million and a small island or two?). This isn't news outside of what we expected, but the article also expands on the Yankees' pursuit of A.J. Burnett and Derek Lowe:

The Yankees are hoping to blow away the field for Sabathia, who prefers to play in California if all things are equal, then fashion the rest of their rotation from a very strong free-agent market for pitchers. The Yankees don't expect immediate acceptances from all three pitchers, but one competing executive said, "I wouldn't be shocked to see the Yankees sign all three guys.'' (That's probably a long shot, however.)

Heyman also mentions that the Yankees expect Mike Mussina to decide on whether to return or not sometime next week (via WFAN).

UPDATE: Just heard on ESPN that the expected offer is going to be in the $140-142 million range, according to Buster Olney.
Posted by: Patrick
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Peter Abraham reports on Brian Cashman's conference call after making the Swisher deal.

Cashman said that the Yankees do not view Swisher as their center fielder, except in an emergency. The team views him as a first baseman first, then a corner outfielder. If the season started today, Swisher would be the starting first baseman. The intention is for him to be an every day starter, according to Cashman.

Meanwhile, both Abraham and Kat O'Brien speculate that the team will now be less aggressive in any potential pursuit of Mark Teixeira.
Posted by: Patrick
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Jason Beck and Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com report that both Mariano Rivera and Mike Mussina received third place votes for the 2008 AL Cy Young Award.

Only 7 pitchers received votes. Rivera collected three third place votes (one of which came from Peter Abraham, placing him fifth overall, while Mussina had two, putting him in a tie for sixth place. The winner, Cliff Lee, appeared on all 28 ballots.

Via Anthony DiComo.
Posted by: Patrick
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Congrats to the Captain and A-Rod for each receiving a Louisville Slugger's Silver Slugger Award for their offensive contributions in 2008.
Posted by: Patrick
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Updating our previous story, ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick reports on the finalized details of the Yankees trade for Nick Swisher.

In addition to pitcher Jeff Marquez, the Yankees also included infielder Wilson Betemit and pitcher Jhonny Nunez. Nunez was acquired from the Nationals for Alberto Gonzalez last season.

The Yankees also acquired a minor league pitcher in the deal. His name is Kanekoa Texeira. Not Teixeira. Texeira. He is 22 years old and he split time between Single-A and Double-A last season, going 6-3 with 21 saves and a 1.33 ERA in 51 appearances.
Posted by: Patrick
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Breaking news from ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick (and Seamus, through his brother). Sources tell him that the Yankees have acquired White Sox first baseman Nick Swisher, in exchange for pitching prospect Jeff Marquez and, perhaps, more. Swisher, who will turn 28 later this month, hit .219 for the Sox this season, with 24 home runs and 69 runs batted in. He split time evenly between first base and center field.

According to Cot's, he has three years remaining on the 5 year/$26.75 million dollar contract that he signed before the 2007 season. He's set to make $5.3 million in 2009, $6.75 in 2010 and $9M in 2011. The deal also includes a $10.25 million dollar club option for 2012, with a $1 million dollar buyout.
Posted by: Patrick
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Kat O'Brien reports that the Yankees have signed Damaso Marte to a 3 year, $12 million dollar deal with an option for a fourth year.

Earlier this month, the team declined a one year option of $6 million on Marte, electing to pay him a $250,000 buyout. The new deal has Marte receiving $3.75 million in 2009 and $4 million in both 2010 and 2011. The team then holds a $4 million dollar option on Marte for 2012, with a $250,000 buyout.

I like this deal. I think Marte could have received more on the open market. We have been looking for a consistent lefty for years and, though his numbers with the Yankees were not great last season, he has enough of an established pedigree to treat them as an aberration.
Posted by: Patrick
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Mike Mussina told the Daily News that he plans to make a decision on his future, early next week. "I'm still kind of up in the air," he told the paper.

Via Yahoo! Sports.
Posted by: Patrick
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Anthony DiComo of MLB.com reports on the movement from Babe Ruth's Yankee Stadium monument, from the old park to the new one. Check out the video below, as well.


Via Peter Abraham.
Posted by: Seamus
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The Yankees have signed Damaso Marte to a 3-year deal worth about $12 million and a club option for 2012, according to the team's official site. This comes days after the Yanks declined his $6 million club option for 2009.

I can live with this one, I guess. NoMaas doesn't like the deal, but I think the contract is small enough to ship it elsewhere if need be.
Posted by: Patrick
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The National Baseball Hall of Fame reports that former Yankees Carl Mays, Wes Ferrell, Joe Gordon and Allie Reynolds will be considered by the Veterans Committee for inclusion into the Hall of Fame. A player must receive 75% of the vote to be inducted.
Posted by: Patrick
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Yesterday, the Yankees and Cisco Systems held a press conference to talk about some of the new technology that will go into the new Yankee Stadium. But, afterwards, Hal Steinbrenner discussed the free agent market. Nothing ground breaking, but here's what he said:

"We're going to do what we do every year, and that's try to field a championship team," co-chairman Hal Steinbrenner said on Tuesday. "That's not going to change. We know that we've got some weaknesses, and we're going to fix the problems as best we can. If that means spending money, obviously that means spending money. The philosophy has not changed."

"Everyone has a price, we do and free agents do. ... We're going to pursue the market aggressively as we do every year. Our philosophy on that has not changed."

"Decisions haven't completely been made yet," Steinbrenner said. "We're going to figure out everything by Friday. By Friday we're going to know the direction we're going. (In Thursday's meeting) we're going to decide who we're putting offers on first."
Posted by: Patrick
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In a move that quite possibly means nothing, Andy Pettitte has filed for free agency. The Yankees have exclusive rights to him through Thursday.

The Yankees have through Thursday to exclusively negotiate with Pettitte, before the league's free agency filing period ends and all other clubs can discuss financial details with him. With that deadline now merely days away, the Yankees might soon risk alienating a pitcher who has already declared his intentions.

"I think my family has fallen back in love with New York again, being back up here," Pettitte said at season's end. "We bought a house, and I think my wife and kids are extremely comfortable up there. Things are different than I thought."
Posted by: Patrick
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Steve Lombardi reports on Baseball America's brand new top 10 prospects list for the Yankees organization.

1. Austin Jackson OF
2. Jesus Montero, C
3. Andrew Brackman, RHP
4. Austin Romine, C
5. Dellin Betances, RHP
6. Zach McAllister, RHP
7. Alfredo Aceves, RHP
8. Phil Coke, LHP
9. Mark Melancon, RHP
10. Bradley Suttle, 3B
Posted by: Patrick
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Here are the Yankees Minor League free agents, care of BaseballAmerica.com:

New York Yankees (18)
RHP: Oneli Perez (AAA), Scott Strickland (AAA), Jose Valdez (AA), Victor Zambrano (AAA)
LHP: Eric Milton (AAA), Edgar Soto (Hi A)
C: Ben Blumenthal (Lo A), Jason Brown (AAA), Chris Stewart (AAA)
1B: Ben Broussard (AAA), Josh Kreuzer (Hi A)
2B: Bernie Castro (AAA), Nick Green (AAA)
3B: Carlos Mendoza (AA)
SS: Chris Basak (AAA)
OF: Matt Carson (AAA), Edwar Gonzalez (AA), , C.J. Henry (Hi A)

Via Peter Abraham.
Posted by: Patrick
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Scott Brosius, Paul O'Neill, David Cone and Jeff Nelson joined with Bronx students yesterday for the ceremonial moving of home plate, the pitching rubber and some dirt, from the old stadium to the new one. Anthony DiComo of MLB.com and Verena Dobnik of the AP have the story, while Peter Abraham has the press release.

In a dual-Stadium ceremony today, local Bronx high school youth groups were joined by Scott Brosius, David Cone, Jeff Nelson and Paul O’Neill of the Yankees’ 1998 World Championship team and Yankees Vice Chairperson Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal in removing home plate, the pitcher’s rubber and pails of dirt from the original Yankee Stadium, then installing them in the new Yankee Stadium across the street.

The participating Bronx youth groups—Youth Force 2020, led by Turner Construction Company, and the ACE Mentor Program at Yankee Stadium, guided by Tishman Speyer—have been taking part in Yankees-sponsored after-school programs relating to the construction and engineering of the new Yankee Stadium.

"This new Yankee Stadium has got a lot to live up to," Cone said, lounging in a concrete lean-to that will soon become the home dugout. "There are so many great memories, so many championships across the street, that anything you can bring over here -- any sort of memories you can bring with you -- it's a good thing to do to get this place off to the right start."
Posted by: Seamus
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ESPN has the story:

"We are very pleased to add Willie to the organization as he brings recent National League expertise and success to our coaching staff," general manager Doug Melvin said. "His reputation as a player is a quality that will be valuable in his teaching and coaching of our talented young team. Willie is a professional both on and off the field."

Good for Willie. Here's to hoping this leads to another managing job somewhere, eventually.
Posted by: Patrick
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A number of interesting tidbits came out of last night's gala for the Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation, as covered by Kat O'Brien, the AP and Ed Price. But, some of the most meaningful was released to three pitchers we're tracking: Andy Pettitte, Mike Mussina and CC Sabathia.

Despite some "rumblings" to the contrary, Pettitte says he is only after a one year deal. But, he has not heard anything from the club.

"I let them know a few weeks ago I’d like to come back and play," Pettitte told the AP. "My agent said he would call me if he had heard anything and he hasn’t heard anything."

Joe Girardi revealed that, after the season, Mike Mussina told him that he planned to retire. He hasn't spoken with Moose since and the Yankees are still waiting to hear his final word.

Finally, Derek Jeter has spoken to CC Sabathia a few times. He says that he's been answering questions, but that he doesn't feel the need to pitch New York to anyone.
Posted by: Patrick
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Ken Davidoff and Kat O'Brien report:

The Yankees have interest in upgrading in centerfield, though a source called getting Cameron "unlikely." Improving in centerfield ranks far below starting pitching on their priority list, and also below acquiring one more big bat. ...

Talks with the Brewers about Cameron began before this week's meetings, although word leaked out only the past couple of days. Yankees centerfielder Melky Cabrera and righthanded pitcher Ian Kennedy have been discussed, although a source said the Yankees are not inclined to include Kennedy in such a trade.
Posted by: Patrick
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Kat O'Brien reports:

Jorge Posada said his recovery from more intense shoulder surgery is going well. He expects to begin throwing in early-to-mid-December, and his confidence level in being ready to catch before Opening Day is "100 percent." He once again shot down the idea of moving to first base, saying he will be ready to catch.
Posted by: Patrick
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The Yankees have decided to decline Damaso Marte's $6 million dollar option for 2009, electing to pay him $250,000, instead, to buy him out. The Yankees will likely offer him arbitration, which would lead to them receiving two compensatory draft picks when he signs with another team.
Posted by: Patrick
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Mark Hale of the New York Post spoke briefly with Mariano Rivera on his rehab progress.

"It feels good," he said. "Everything feels great, and just going through the rehabbing... Three weeks of rehabbing already and every day it's feeling better."
Posted by: Patrick
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Brian Cashman has confirmed the coaching changes that were reported on Tuesday. However, he denied that the hiring of Mick Kelleher had to do with Robinson Cano.

"I’m not looking for a coach that’s a motivator of Robby," he told Ken Davidoff. "Robby is a self-motivated guy. ... His batting came around in the end. I just think you’ll see Robby back to his old self. The job description has nothing to do with, 'I need a coach to fix Robby Cano.' I think Robby is fixed already. How he finished demonstrates that."
Posted by: Patrick
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Mike Mussina was awarded the 2008 AL Gold Glove for the pitcher position. It's his seventh. The winners were announced today and Mussina was the only Yankee named.
Posted by: Patrick
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Just when you thought Mike Cameron was off the market, Joel Sherman and George King report:

Brewers officials have been asking around about Melky Cabrera, trying to determine why he struggled in 2008. The Yankees are willing to deal Cabrera and pitching to land Cameron. ...

Cabrera, Betemit and a pitcher is probably a package - combined with the savings Milwaukee would receive from moving Cameron's contract - that the Yanks would be willing to move for Cameron.

Couldn't you just see the Brewers walking the streets, calling out to random passerby, "Hey, you, do you know why Melky Cabrera struggled last year?"

"Quick, call your mother. We're running out of options!"
Posted by: Patrick
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Ken Davidoff reports on "rumblings" that Andy Pettitte is seeking a two year deal from the Yankees. Davidoff says that the team is looking for Pettitte to take a 1 year deal to the tune of $10 million dollars.

The Astros could become a player, according to Davidoff, if Pettitte files for free agency and he and the Yankees are still unable to come to terms.
Posted by: Patrick
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Mark Feinsand reports:

Jake Peavy might not have the Yankees at the top of his list, but as the Padres run into more roadblocks with teams Peavy would approve, the Bombers' chances of acquiring the talented righthander keep getting better. According to a source, San Diego wants at least two pitchers and an outfielder in exchange for Peavy, the 2007 NL Cy Young winner. The Yankees don't have the prospects to match what the Braves could offer, but as of Wednesday, Atlanta remained hesitant to give up its top minor-leaguers for the 27-year-old Peavy.

The Yankees could put together a package built around Phil Hughes and Austin Jackson, according to a source, although they would likely have to include two or three more players, one of which could be Ian Kennedy. The Padres, according to the source, have no interest in Robinson Cano. ...

Ken Davidoff says that it's not happening.

Via Dave and Aziz.
Posted by: Seamus
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Total shocker. Ok, not really. Anyway, Ken Davidoff over at Newsday is reporting that the Yankees have indeed met with CC Sabathia's agent, Greg Grenske, during at the GM meetings in California.

Greg Genske, who heads the LS Legacy Sports Group, told Newsday yesterday that the Yankees were one of many teams with which he and his fellow agents, Scott Parker and Brian Peters, met. It was a "preliminary" get-together, Genske said, standard for this early in the offseason.

"He's open-minded," Peters said of Sabathia. "The Yankees are definitely one of the teams he'd consider."

Teams can begin making formal offers November 14. I doubt the Yankees will waste much time, and I fully expect them to offer him upwards of $25M/year and a chunk of the moon.
Posted by: Patrick
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Brian Cashman told Peter Abraham that the club was not yet ready to announce a decision on Damaso Marte's option as there are ongoing discussions between the two sides. Abraham feels that this suggests that they are trying to sign him to an extension.
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Joel Sherman reports that it is "almost certain" that the Yankees will move first base coach Tony Pena to bench coach and have current bench coach Rob Thomson coach third base.

The vacancy at first base would then be filled by minor league defense coordinator Mick Kelleher, who has worked with Robinson Cano in the minors.
Posted by: Patrick
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Jim Molony of MLB.com reports that Andy Pettitte told Houston television station KRIV that he wants to return. As he previously indicated that it was Yankees or no one, it's only a matter of time before the team comes to terms with him.
Posted by: Patrick
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Bryan Hoch reports that the options on Carl Pavano ($13 million with a $1.95 million buyout) and Jason Giambi ($22 million with a $5 million buyout) have been declined. No surprises there. Cashman left the door open as far as either player returning to the club.

Related to Giambi, sort of, Brian Cashman told Peter Abraham that he wants to sign a first baseman, rather than trying to convert someone - like Johnny Damon or Hideki Matsui - to the position.
Posted by: Patrick
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Peter Abraham has a list of things that Brian Cashman shared with the writers yesterday. The two most interesting:

1. He does not consider center field a priority. With Brett Gardner, Johnny Damon and Melky Cabrera around and Austin Jackson on the way, the Yankees are deep there.

2. The Yankees are out to acquire two starters. “We won’t be one and done,” Cashman said. You can interpret that in a few ways. It could be one new player and Andy Pettitte, two new players or maybe two new players and Pettitte. ...

I'm fine with the Yankees going with what they have in center. Especially given the folks that are out there.

Regarding the pitching, as Ben said, we need to make sure one of those two is CC Sabathia. We don't need some combination of everyone else (A.J. Burnett, Ryan Dempster, Derek Lowe, Mike Mussina, Andy Pettitte, Ben Sheets, etc.). We need CC and then 1-2 of those guys. For my money, I'll take Sabathia, Sheets and Pettitte/Moose (assuming one of them retires).
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From the Daily News' Mark Feinsand:

General manager Brian Cashman, who inked Pavano to a four-year, $39.95 million contract in December 2004, remains a big fan of the oft-injured righthander, according to a source, making a return to the Bronx a realistic possibility for the 32-year-old.

"Cashman has definitely not closed the door on Pavano at all," the source said.

Cashman himself acknowledged that he is open to any and all options this winter, though he wouldn't specifically address Pavano's situation.

I have a hard time believing Cashman is a "big fan" of Mr. Pavano. Personally, I'd rather that they just let him walk, but if they want to sign him to a cheap minor league deal, it doesn't really matter.

Via Yahoo!
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Bryan Hoch reports:

Mitre, who turns 28 in February, is recovering from Tommy John ligament replacement surgery in July and was a member of Girardi's stable in 2006, when both were in Florida Marlins uniforms.

"We've agreed in principle to a Minor League contract," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "He's rehabbing from Tommy John and he's on a Minor League contract, so it doesn't really affect anything on the Major League side. We hope someday it could."

The deal is worth $1.25 million and it includes a team option for 2010. Mitre's career has been split between the Cubs and the Marlins. In 78 games (52 started), he is 10-23 with a 5.36 ERA and 1.55 WHIP.
Posted by: Patrick
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Updating a previous story, the Brewers have picked up Mike Cameron's option, electing to pay the center fielder $10 million dollars next year. This ends speculation that he could end up in the Bronx.
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I'm not sure I put much stock into this article by George King of the Post where he states that the Yankees are not likely to pick up Damaso Marte's $6 million dollar option, with a $250,000 buyout. The style of the Post aside, it's unclear what the source of this speculation is. Usually, at least, there would be an "industry insider," or a "person close to negotiations." None of that here, so I'm not sure if it is Mr. King's opinion or intuition or something else.

Since Marte is a Type A free agent, if he goes to another team, he'll net us a 1st or 2nd round draft choice, as well as a pick in the sandwich round between the to rounds. You could certainly argue for the picks and if that happens, I'd be fine with it. But at the same time... it's been challenging for the Yankees to find a left handed reliever with a proven track record, forgetting his numbers last year once he was traded. I could go either way, but I think I'd rather see his option be picked up. I'm all for giving some of the younger arms an opportunity to nail down bullpen spots, but I'd like us to go into the season with one veteran, established reliever besides Mo.
Posted by: Patrick
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From the Star-Ledger:

"There's nothing we are not looking at," the team's co-chairperson said Friday at the team's spring training complex. "And personally, I like Manny. He's one of the greatest hitters in the history of the game. He's a free spirit for sure, but he knows how to win. We like some of the other guys, too. We just don't know yet."

"Free spirit" is an awfully kind description, as far as I'm concerned. I want the Yankees to take a pass on Manny. I respect his offense abilities, but the rest of the baggage that comes with him just isn't worth it to me.
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SI.com's Jon Heyman has obtained the 2008 Elias Rankings and reports that Bobby Abreu, Damaso Marte, Mike Mussina and Andy Pettitte are all Type A free agents while Ivan Rodriguez is a Type B. The rankings are based on statistics from the last seasons. To sign a Type A free agent away from his current team, you must surrender your top pick in the upcoming MLB draft (unless you were one of the 15 worst teams in the game, in which case it would be your second round choice). The former team also receives a supplemental pick. When a Type B player is lost, no draft pick is surrended, but the losing team still receives a supplemental pick.

To be eligible for compensatory picks, though, the player must have been offered arbitration and declined it - or must be signed by another team before December 1, the deadline for an arbitration offer. Joseph wrote a good primer.
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In order to protect them from the upcoming rule 5 draft, the Yankees have added Minor League pitchers Wilkin De La Rosa and Eric Hacker to their 40 man roster.