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Posted by: Patrick
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There's no good way to say this or no way that won't be surprising. The only thing to do is really to say it: YanksBlog.com is closing.

Unfortunately, I'm facing some difficult economic and personal realities that are forcing me to clear my plate some in order to focus on what needs to be done. When you get to a moment like this, tough choices have to be made. Though it has been very difficult, I have had to identify some projects and commitments that I've had to let go or resign from.

I've spent a lot of time thinking about this and it was really hard. It's always hard to stop doing something you've been doing for years, something you've invested in that has become a part of your life. We launched YanksBlog.com on May 5, 2005 (05/05/05) and it's been a nice run.

Obviously, our love of the Yankees doesn't change. I was born a Yankees fan. We were die hard fans before this blog launched and we'll be die hard fans after it's gone. But, it will be different being a fan and not operating a blog, or feeling like you have to be in tune with the news or latest happenings. Quite different.

» Read More

Posted by: Patrick
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Chad Jennings spoke with Mark Newman, focusing on where various pitchers will fit in the minor league rosters. He also asked about free agent Aroldis Chapman. Newman said that if Chapman signed with the Yankees, he'd start in Single- or Double-A, because he needs work on his command and secondary pitches.
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The Daily News has assembled their top 10 best and worst New York athletes and best and worst New York sports moments of the past decade. As one could expect, the Yankees factor heavily.

For the best athletes, we have number 4 in Alex Rodriguez, number 2 in Mariano Rivera and number 1 in Derek Jeter. As far as the worst athletes go, Kei Igawa checks in at 7, Kevin Brown at 3 and Carl Pavano at 2 (Stephon Marbury takes the top slot).

Yankees moments appear in the best moments list 5 times. Number 8 is "The Flip," number 6 is the miracle home runs during the 2001 World Series, number 4 is Aaron Boone, number 3 is the 2009 World Series title and number 2 is the 2000 World Series title. The Giants grab the top spot in this list with their Super Bowl win over the Patriots.

Finally, for the worst moments, we have Clemens throwing the bat at Piazza (number 8), the Diamondbacks beating us in the World Series (6), the steroid accusations and admissions (4) and The Curse being broken in 2004 (1).

Via Joseph Pawlikowski.
Posted by: Patrick
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Mark DeRosa is headed to San Francisco, leaving the Yankees with one less option in left. Anthony McCarron at the Daily News writes about the team's efforts to find a cheap player to slot in.

He lists Reed Johnson and Jerry Hairston Jr. as players that the team is pondering. He says that two team officials told him that the team has no interest in Jermaine Dye, despite reports and that Brian Cashman indicated that Xavier Nady would likely be outside of the budget.

Via Tim Dierkes.
Posted by: Patrick
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Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune is reporting that the Yankees are interested in Jermaine Dye. Dye, 36 in January, played 133 games in right field for the White Sox during the 2009 season. He hit .250 with a .340 OBA, 27 home runs and 81 runs batted in.

Via Steve Lombardi.
Posted by: Patrick
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Derek Jeter has been named New Yorker of the Year by the Daily News. They have a feature story to accompany the honor. He's very deserving. Congratulations.

Via Joseph Pawlikowski via iYankees.
Posted by: Patrick
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Joel Sherman of the Post reports that, according to a National League executive and an agent, the Yankees have been in touch with Reed Johnson's representatives.

Sherman says the team could see Johnson as a versatile option in the outfield, where he has spent significant time at all three positions. He can hold his own against left-handed pitchers, as his .313 (AVG)/.378 (OBA)/.463 (SLG) line against them for his career demonstrates.

Johnson is one of three outfielders, along with Xavier Nady and Jonny Gomes, who stands out to Sam Borden among available outfield candidates.

Via Ben Kabak.
Posted by: Patrick
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The AP has the specifics of Nick Johnson's contract, including performance based incentives and the mutual option for 2011.

Johnson gets a $5.5 million salary next season, and the deal includes a $5.5 million mutual option with a $250,000 buyout. He can earn $1 million annually in performance bonuses: $50,000 each for 400 and 425 plate appearances, $75,000 each for 450 and 475, and $125,000 each for 500 and each additional 25 through 625. The option price would increase to $6 million with 500 plate appearances, $6.5 million with 550 and $7 million with 600. If he has at least 550 plate appearances, the buyout would be $500,000.

Johnson has reached 600 plate appearances just once in his career: with the Nationals in 2006, his finest season.

Via Mike Axisa.
Posted by: Patrick
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Writing at SI.com, Baseball America's John Manuel shares his top 20 prospects in all of baseball. Our own Jesus Montero is fifth on his list. Manuel writes:

Why he's here: The minors' best hitter, Montero gets compared to Mike Piazza as a catcher whose hitting tools far outstrip his defense. The Yankees don't see him as Jorge Posada's heir because his defense is on par with Piazza's or worse.

What he'll be: Because he's likely to move out from behind the plate, Montero should be a first baseman or DH primarily. Other ex-catchers with premium bats such as Paul Konerko and Carlos Delgado leap to mind.

When he arrives: New York's offseason moves will dictate whether Montero spends all season at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre or moves up to the big leagues as a part-time catcher and DH.

Via Steve Lombardi.
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Sam Borden passes along this quote from the Brian Cashman/Nick Johnson conference call, regarding the Yankees efforts to finalize their outfield: "We'll see where this takes us. It won't be a big-name situation, I can promise you that."

Mark Feinsand and Bill Madden say that the team is looking to sign someone for around $4 million, which wouldn't fit with the two years, $12 million that the Giants offered to Mark DeRosa, according to Jon Heyman.

Via Ben Nicholson-Smith and Luke Adams.
Posted by: Patrick
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MLB.com's Bryan Hoch reports that the Yankees have officially announced the signing of Nick Johnson to a one year contract. It's thought to contain a mutual option for a second year.
Posted by: Patrick
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Chad Jennings reports that, according to Brian Cashman, Javier Vazquez may end up being a Type-A free agent. So, if the stars align, he could net the Yankees a pair of draft picks if he leaves in 2011.
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The Yankees are believed to have contacted the Cubs about Carlos Zambrano. Salary was reportedly the biggest issue with Zambrano. But, Mark Feinsand at the Daily News says the Cubs were open to acquiring Kei Igawa and the 2 years and $8 million dollars remaining on his contract.

Of course, it's not known what else would have needed to be in the deal. Bruce Levine speculates that a pitcher like Joba Chamberlain or Phil Hughes would need to have been part of the package.
Posted by: Patrick
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Before trading for Javier Vazquez, the Yankees spoke with the Cubs, Phillies and Reds about Carlos Zambrano, Cliff Lee and Aaron Harang, respectively. This, according to a report by Joel Sherman at the post.

Zambrano's salary was the biggest problem with him, while Harang's salary and health were issues, too. Sherman says that when considering Lee, they found that the Phillies wanted to get him as far away from their fan base as possible, hence shipping him to the west coast.
Posted by: Patrick
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Joel Sherman of the Post says that with Javier Vazquez on the roster, the Yankees will try to trade Sergio Mitre or Chad Gaudin to save some money before the close of spring training.
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Even with Melky Cabrera out of the picture, Joel Sherman of the Post reports that Johnny Damon, Jason Bay and Matt Holliday remain too expensive for the Yankees. It's not like the trade actually saved them money.

Mike Dunn, Arodys Vizcaino and Boone Logan are all low cost and Melky is probably going to get a couple of million this year, but Javier Vazquez is due $11.5 million. So, in all, the team is looking at an additional $8.5 million or so in salary.
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ESPN's Jorge Arangure Jr. expects Aroldis Chapman to go to the team who offers him the most money. The Yankees are one of many teams interested in him.

Via Ben Nicholson-Smith.
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Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Yankees have signed former Brewers catcher Mike Rivera to a minor league deal.

Rivera is 33 and spent the last four seasons in Milwaukee. During that time, he hit .260 with a .333 OBA in 119 games.

Via Tim Dierkes.
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Joel Sherman of the Post reports that the Yankees will trade Melky Cabrera and minor league pitchers Michael Dunn and Arodys Vizcaino to the Braves in exchange for former Yankee Javier Vazquez and reliever Boone Logan.

The Yankees were unwilling to include Dunn in the deal for Curtis Granderson, but he proves expendable here. Vizcaino was recently ranked as the third best prospect in the Yankees farm system by Baseball America while having the best curveball. Dunn was said to have the best slider.

5 seasons after his lone tour of duty in New York, Vazquez returns with less expected of him. He was 15-10 with a 2.87 ERA last season for the Braves, finishing fourth in Cy Young voting. He's signed for 2010 only and he'll earn $11.5 million, according to Cot's. Meanwhile, Logan was 1-1 with a 5.19 ERA in 20 games. For his career, he has a 5.78 ERA and 1.69 WHIP over 164 games.

As an aside, Mark Feinsand of the Daily News is saying that this won't allow for the return of Johnny Damon.
Posted by: Patrick
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MLB.com's Bryan Hoch mentions that the Yankees were the only team to have to pay a luxury tax for the 2009 season. It'll cost them $25.69 million.
Posted by: Patrick
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ESPN's Buster Olney writes on Twitter:

Heard this: Yankees working very hard tonight on deal for starting pitcher. Remember that they came close to deal for Aaron Harang in summer

According to Cot's, Harang is signed with the Reds for $12.5 million next season, with a team option for 2011 of $12.75 million with a $2 million dollar buyout. He was 6-14 with a 4.21 ERA last season.

Earlier today, Mike Puma at the Post said that Brian Cashman was "believed to have inquired" with the Cubs about Carlos Zambrano. Zambrano's agent says he hasn't heard anything and Puma notes that the Cubs asking price would probably be more than the Yankees want to pay, anyway.
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Anthony McCarron of the Daily News reports on Mark DeRosa's interest in playing for a New York team. The Yankees had been considering trading for him last May and met with him this month. ESPN's Buster Olney suggested they might make a move on him and just yesterday we heard that his price has gone down.

"I want to play where I can win a championship, period. The end," DeRosa told McCarron. "The finances will take care of themselves. I want to be part of a team that is committed to winning. I know the Yankees are, I know the Mets are. The Mets didn't have a great season, but I know Omar [Minaya] wants to put a winning program together."

Perhaps more interesting is that DeRosa grew up as a Yankees fan, saying that he "lived and died" for the team in the late '80s and early '90s. A cherished memory that he has is when Matt Nokes greeted him from a car Nokes was driving. Wow. Sign this guy. For that alone.

Via Joseph Pawlikowski.
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Jason Marquis will not be joining the Yankees as he has agreed to terms with the Nationals, according to a report by Byron Kerr of MASNsports.com. It's unclear how much the Yankees were even interested in him, besides a conversation Brian Cashman had as he rode on a plane to the Winter Meetings with his agents.

Via Chad Jennings.
Posted by: Patrick
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Chad Jennings reports that Yankees' vice president of baseball operations Mark Newman revealed that top Yankees prospect Jesus Montero would begin 2010 as the starting catcher for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He played just 44 games at Double-A in an injury shortened 2009, hitting .317 with 9 homers and 33 RBI.
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Mike Puma of the Post reports that, according to a major league source, Brian Cashman will "almost certainly" sign a starting pitcher by the New Year. Ben Sheets, Joel Pineiro, Justin Duchscherer and Jason Marquis are among the names that have been mentioned.
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Here's an interesting note from Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe on Chien-Ming Wang:

Fifteen teams have inquired about the rehabbing righty, according to agent Alan Nero, and while Nero wouldn’t confirm which teams are involved (except the Yankees, who would like to match any final offer) you can bet the Red Sox are one of them.

There is a limit to what they'd match, I'm sure, but it's good to see them take this position. Hopefully, we can get Wang back in pinstripes for 2010.
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Johnny Damon: ESPN's Buster Olney reports that some in the Yankees organization were concerned about the possibility of Damon being unhappy in 2010 if he accepted a pay cut, even if he was the one offering it. Via Chad Jennings.

Mark DeRosa: Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that "the feeling is the [asking] price has come down recently" for Mark DeRosa, after a lack of interest from teams at the approximate $10 million dollar salary level he's been seeking. Via Luke Adams.
Posted by: Patrick
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Tyler Kepner of the Times reports on the Johnny Damon negotiations, having spoken to the outfielder's agent, Scott Boras. Boras disputes reports that he held firm at 2 years, $26 million, saying that he offered the team Damon's services for 2 years and $20 million dollars.

"The reason they did it is they said they did not have the budget for that type of proposal and they were going in a different direction," Boras told Kepner. "That was the end of it."

Via Alex Belth.
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Newsday's Ken Davidoff reports that the "last number the Yankees floated" to the Damon camp was 2 years, $14 million. Agent Scott Boras insisted upon the 2 year, $26 million dollars that has been reported previously. Davidoff says that Damon offered the team 2 years, $22 million, but they said no.

FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal says both sides need to come together: in so many words, the Damon camp needs value him more in line with the market and the Yankees should spend because they can.

Via Alex Belth.
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ESPN's Buster Olney reports that the deal Nick Johnson will sign, pending a physical, will have incentives based on plate appearances and will include a mutual option for a second season - in other words, both the Yankees and Johnson would have to want to return to New York.
Posted by: Patrick
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ESPN's Buster Olney reports that, if Nick Johnson passes his physical and joins the Yankees, the team's next targets will be a starting pitcher and perhaps Mark DeRosa, if the money is right. The Yankees reportedly met with DeRosa earlier this month.
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Ken Davidoff reports that the Yankees are close on a one year deal with free agent first baseman Nick Johnson worth $5.5 million and that it's pending a physical.

Tyler Kepner of the Times writes about what this means, suggesting one of the reasons the Yankees went with the combination of Curtis Granderson and Johnson over Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui was to save money to use next offseason, when the free agent market is set to include Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, Cliff Lee, Joe Mauer, Brandon Webb and Jayson Werth.

Assuming the Yankees would have had to sign Damon for $13 million per for 2 seasons, Granderson saves them $12.25 million during that two year span. And the Johnson deal is worth a million less than the one Matsui received from the Angels. If anything, it gives the team more to play with this year as they try to finish up the roster.

Still, it can be hard to stomach that the difference between Johnson and Matsui, both primary designated hitters with health concerns, was only one million after Godzilla's World Series heroics. Feinsand says that it was all about Matsui's knees - not the money. Still, is Johnson any more likely to stay healthy?

It looks like this is the end for Johnny Damon's time in pinstripes. Mark Feinsaid writes about this with quotes from Damon. "I'm not quite sure what I’m going to do," Damon told him. "I know there are some teams interested, but the Yankees are the best organization I've been a part of so far in my career. I wish them all the best."
Posted by: Patrick
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George A. King III of the Post reports that the Yankees and free agent first baseman Nick Johnson are in serious discussions on a one year contract. He made $5.5 million last season and Ken Rosenthal at FOX Sports says that the Giants have made him an offer in the area of $5.5 to $6 million dollars. Joel Sherman categorized the talks as "ongoing/hot."

Via Chad Jennings.
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When A-Rod had hip surgery before last season, he opted for a less invasive option that allowed him to return to the team as soon as possible - with the thought that he would probably need a second surgery after the season to finish the job. However, in September, we learned that he might not need it after all and that has been the hopeful outcome since. Well, today, it's official: he will not need the second surgery, reports ESPN's Andrew Marchand.

Via Joseph Pawlikowski.
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At today's Curtis Granderson press conference, Hal Steinbrenner was asked about the Johnny Damon situation. Josh Thomson reported this quote: "He was a big part of the reason we won that championship. But I think right now there's just a difference of opinion of what the pay is, quite frankly."
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Bryan Hoch of MLB.com (video), Mark Feinsand of the Daily News (photos) and Josh Thomson of The Journal News all have reports from the Curtis Granderson press conference. Alex Rodriguez, CC Sabathia and Joe Girardi were all on hand. Granderson has elected to wear jersey number 14.
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Sporting News has named Mariano Rivera as their 2009 Pro Athlete of the Year and they have a feature interview with the Yankees closer up on their website.

On being able to peak at the most important time of year, even at his age: In the playoffs, you're talking about something that not many players have the opportunity to be in -- and I'm talking about great players, not just average players. And I've been blessed to be able to be in the playoffs for many years and do the job in all those years. I think that says it alone -- it's the playoffs. You don't want to miss that; you want to be in the middle of it. And when you realize that's your makeup, your ability, your mind, your mentality, you just want to keep going and going and going and never stop.

Via Anthony DiComo.
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The Yankees are considering bringing back former Yankee farm system product Nick Johnson, reports George A. King III of the Post.

"We have had dialogue, things are moving forward," Johnson's agent Rex Gary told King. "Something could happen to speed things up, but it’s hard to predict."

Johnson's bat has never been a question - his career .273/.402/.447 line would be a nice fit in the 2 spot. The issue is his health. In the last 5 seasons, he's averaged just 90 games per season. King runs through the laundry list of injuries, including hand and wrist issues in 2000, 2003 and 2008; a fractured femur in 2006 and a lumbar strain and fractured cheekbone in 2004.
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ESPN's Jorge Aranguré reports that, according to a "baseball source with knowledge of the situation," the Yankees want to "set up a private visit with Chapman in Miami."

Via Mike Axisa.
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More than a month after blogging for the Huffington Post about the value of his client Hideki Matsui, agent Arn Tellem is back with another post from the site, discussing the slugger's move to the Angels.

Tellem says that Matsui's desire to end up playing for a premium, contending franchise led him to secure his spot with the Angels. While interested in the Yankees, Brian Cashman had indicated that the DH spot was not a priority for the club, so Matsui felt that if he waited for the Yankees and the Yankees decided not to bring him back, the Angels opportunity might have been gone at that point. He names the Red Sox as a third consideration that was never really an option because of David Ortiz being on the team.

Via Ben Kabak.
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Utilizing the Pitch f/x technology, ESPN's Tom Haberstroh (insider only) talks about the statistically nasty pitches in baseball since the 2008 season when the system was launched. CC Sabathia's slider in 2008 ranks among the 3 nastiest, as does Mariano Rivera's cutter. Here's what he had to say about Mo:

This isn't a lifetime achievement award; Rivera's cutter is about as consistently good and destructive as any pitch anyone has seen. Somehow, the pitch has showed zero signs of age. The 92-to-94 mph cutter still treats lefties' bats like dry twigs with right-to-left movement suitable for a slider and velocity more appropriate for a fastball. It's not "see ball, hit ball" as much as it is "see ball, pretend ball exists four inches away, swing at air, hopefully hit ball." Simply put, the human brain cannot react quickly enough to adjust for the lateral movement. The pitch's most dominant stretch of the Pitch f/x era came in July of this past season, when Rivera threw the patented cutter 141 times and didn't give up a single hit, with only two balls leaving the infield.

Via Mike Axisa.
Posted by: Patrick
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Joel Sherman of the Post and Mark Feinsand of the Daily News have reports relating to Johnny Damon. He spoke to both about his current situation:

“I am going to start looking around. Teams are getting better and there are teams interested,” Damon told The Post yesterday. “I can’t wait forever and I am sure [the Yankees] are trying to figure things out. I have to be ready.”

"Players out there are getting multi-year deals," Damon said. "(Andy) Pettitte got a raise at 37, even though it was only one year. Cameron is 37 (he turns 37 in January) and he got two years. We're not going to know much until we start negotiating with teams, but that should happen soon."

This seems like fairly normal talk when it comes to free agents. Buster Olney says that Damon "indicated through a conduit to team that he doesn't want the Yankees to make an offer if it's for less than $13 million per.

Meanwhile, Feinsand says that the Yankees appear to be good with an offer of 2 years, $19 million total, which matches what Bobby Abreu received from the Angels. But, another source, he says, will give him an offer of $22 million for 2 years with a third year option that includes a buyout that would bring it to approximately $26 million total for the 2 years, if it was exercised.

Via Tim Dierkes.
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Baseball America has their top 10 Yankees prospects for 2010, announced today along with various best tools rankings, a 2013 projected lineup and more. Catchers Jesus Montero and Austin Romine come in first and second with pitcher Arodys Vizcaino third. Four of the top 8 are catchers.

Via Chad Jennings.
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Chad Jennings reports that the press conference where Curtis Granderson will be officially introduced is set for Thursday at 11 AM ET.
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MLB.com's Gene Duffey reports from Aroldis Chapman's workout for MLB teams today. In short, it went well and he touched 96 MPH on the radar gun while his agents maintain he wasn't throwing as hard as he could. Eddie Bane, the director of scouting for the Angels, compared him to former Yankees first round pick Brien Taylor whose career shockingly and unfortunately ended due to a fight.
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Ryota Igarashi: David Waldstein at the Times reports that the Mets are close to signing Japanese pitcher Ryota Igarashi to a two year contract. The Yankees were said to be among the teams interested in him. Via Jon Heyman.

Jason Bay and Matt Holliday: Though the Yankees may have made contact with Jason Bay, Buster Olney of ESPN quotes an "official with knowledge of the Yankees' thinking" as saying that there is "not a chance" that a move is made on either. Mark Feinsand of the Daily News says that the team has no interest in signing Bay to a long term deal. Via Joseph Pawlikowski.

Ben Sheets: A source told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that the Yankees are "very interested" in Ben Sheets, but they think that he is not feeling any pressure to sign soon.
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ESPN's Jorge Arangure Jr. reports that the Red Sox have offered Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman $15.5 million dollars. Chapman will work out for teams today, including the Yankees.
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With Hideki Matsui and Mike Cameron joining new clubs, John Tomase and Michael Silverman of the Boston Globe report, according to a source, that the Yankees have been in touch with the Jason Bay camp to express interest in the former Red Sox outfielder.

The interest may not be strong, but they're keeping tabs on him nonetheless, especially with the Johnny Damon negotiations reportedly going slowly. Bay, 31, is said to be looking for a five year contract.

Via Joseph Pawlikowski.
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Howard Ulman of the AP reports that the Red Sox and Mike Cameron have come together on a deal, pending a physical. Ken Rosenthal says it's in the 2 year, $15.5 million dollar range.

Via Zach Links.
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With Roy Halladay all but gone to the Phillies, Buster Olney says that some in the Yankees organization feel that the Blue Jays received less in the package deal than they would have required from them. Jon Heyman reports that they were willing to offer Jesus Montero in a "big package," but it wouldn't have included Joba Chamberlain or Phil Hughes.
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Tyler Kepner of The New York Times reports that the Angels and Hideki Matsui agreed to a one year contract today, pending a physical. The deal is said to be about $6.5 million dollars.

Assuming this goes through, we wish Mr. Matsui well. He's been a great Yankee - well worth the respective contracts he's received. A smart player and idle citizen, he's done pretty much everything we've asked for. Happy trails.
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ESPN's Jayson Stark reports, according to a source, that the Red Sox and John Lackey have come to a deal on a 5 year agreement worth a little bit more than the $82.5 million dollar deal that the Yankees signed with A.J. Burnett last offseason. Jon Heyman heard that it's about $85 million.

Joel Sherman of the Post says that the Yankees weren't that interested due to concerns over his health and what it would do to their budget.
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ESPN's Jayson Stark reports that a three team deal that would send Roy Halladay to the Phillies and Cliff Lee to the Mariners is "close," though it isn't done yet. Those are the only stars involved with the only players being prospects.

Joel Sherman of the Post says that the Yankees reached out to the Phillies regarding Lee, but his price was around what it was at the trade deadline, so they were not interested.
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According to a source, Hideki Matsui and the Angels are getting close on a one year deal worth around $6.5 million, reports ESPN's Jayson Stark. The Yankees have maintained interest in the World Series MVP, but Johnny Damon appears to be the priority right now.

Via Alex Belth.
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Johnny Damon has said that the Yankees have not made him an offer yet or really had any talks even. But, ESPN's Buster Olney says that's not accurate. He says the two sides have talked and Damon has indicated that he does not want a pay cut from the $13 million he made last season. The deal is pending the results of a physical, which Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse reported that Lackey would be taking.
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Chien-Ming Wang: ESPN's Buster Olney reports that Chien-Ming Wang may not sign for months. This is coming from his agent, Alan Nero. 6 teams have been in touch with Nero about his availability. Halladay is reportedly negotiating with the Phillies to add 3 years to his contract along with a potential vesting option for 1-2 more seasons.

Mike Cameron: Ken Rosenthal says that the Red Sox and Mike Cameron are involved in "serious talks" on a two year contract. Via Ben Kabak.
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Mark Feinsand of the Daily News reports that Brian Cashman is considering free agent pitchers Justin Duchscherer and Ben Sheets, which we already knew.

Sheets may be too rich for the Yankees. Feinsand says he's looking for an $11-$12 million dollar deal, which probably doesn't fit within the Yankees budget. So, Duchscherer might be a more affordable option, assuming the market doesn't drive Sheets down.
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Bill Madden at the Daily News reports that before the Yankees made Chien-Ming Wang a free agent they offered him a split contract: a minor league deal that would be guaranteed to turn into a major league deal once he was healthy. Alan Nero, who represents Wang, wanted the deal to have guaranteed money in it, but the Yankees would not agree to that and so, off goes Wang.

As a bonus, Sam Borden has a nice Wang appreciation piece where he shares a story from spring training 2005 when a rookie Wang was given extra running and given the opportunity to pick any player to run with him... and he picked Randy Johnson.

Via Zach Links.
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While we've heard reports that Johnny Damon and the Yankees may be far away, Johnny Damon told George A. King III at the Post that the team has yet to make an offer.
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Matt Capps: Marc Carig says the Yankees don't have former Pirates closer Matt Capps "on their radar." Capps was just non-tendered by the club.

Brian Giles: Buster Olney heard that the Yankees are one of the teams interested in giving Brian Giles a shot in 2010. It remains unclear whether he'll get a minor or major league deal.

Via Luke Adams.
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MLB.com's Bryan Hoch has the confirmation: Chien-Ming Wang has been non-tendered and is now a free agent. However, the team did opt to tender Melky Cabrera, Chad Gaudin and Sergio Mitre.
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Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says that the Yankees have non-tendered Chien-Ming Wang as expected. But, as of 8:49 PM ET, Chad Jennings says the team has not confirmed anything. He calls this "very strange." Even later than that Marc Carig has heard nothing. Stay tuned.
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Yakyu Baka links says that a Japanese report indicates that the Yankees are among the teams interested in pitcher Ryota Igarashi, who is looking for a deal in the 2 years, $2-3 million dollar range. NPB Tracker has a scouting report.

Via Ben Kabak.
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The holiday season is here and I wanted to take a moment to wish you Happy Holidays!

Thank you to everyone who has read, commented on and linked to our posts or otherwise supported YanksBlog.com in 2009. We really appreciate it.

We wish you a happy, healthy and successful 2010!

Thank you for visiting YanksBlog.com.
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Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman reports that the Yankees and Johnny Damon's camp could be as much as $34 million dollars away from each other. He mentions the Yankees end as 2 years, $18 million and Damon's end as 4 years, $52 million. It's been reported that the Yankees will not wait on Damon.
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Ken Davidoff of Newsday had said that it was likely Chien-Ming Wang would be non-tendered by the Yankees. Yesterday, he reported that the Yankees would do so. Best of luck to Wang.

Via Ben Kabak.
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ESPN's Buster Olney has confirmed that the Blue Jays have asked the Yankees for a package including Joba Chamberlain or Phil Hughes, along with top prospect Jesus Montero and more.

Via Tim Dierkes.
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ESPN's Buster Olney heard that, after preliminary discussions, the Yankees and Johnny Damon are not close on a new contract. He says that they won't be waiting him out, however - they'll just move on. He links to a Mark Feinsand report with a source indicating that Hideki Matsui would be willing to sign a one year contract.

Via Tim Dierkes.
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Rich Harden: Sam Borden reports that free agent starter Rich Harden has signed with the Rangers for one year and $7.5 million. It had been reported that the Yankees were among the teams interested.

Zach Kroenke: Former Yankee Zach Kroenke, taken by the Diamondbacks in the Rule 5 draft, spoke with Chad Jennings. Seems like a reasonable guy. Since this is the second time he's been taken in the Rule 5 draft, he will have the option of free agency if he doesn't stick with the Diamondbacks. Otherwise, he'll be offered back to the Yankees. Reports indicated that the Yankees were thinking about taking him with the Nationals Rule 5 pick, but Brian Cashman says that wasn't a consideration.

Juan Miranda: George A. King III at the Post spoke to Cashman, too, and he said that Juan Miranda could be a good designated hitter option next season against righties.

Hideki Matsui: Ken Davidoff says that "increasing expectation around MLB" is that the Yankees and Hideki Matsui will eventually come to terms. Davidoff cautions that it might not happen until January, though. Via Tim Dierkes.
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Joel Sherman at the Post reported that the Yankees would select Dodgers outfielder Jamie Hoffmann with the first pick in the Rule 5 draft, acquired from the Nationals for Brian Bruney.

Hoffmann, 25, played in 14 games for the Dodgers last season, hitting .182 (4 for 22). In 97 games between Double-A and Triple-A in the minors, he hit .291 with a .390 OBA and 10 home runs. Sherman says that the Dodgers are happy the Yankees picked him, because they do not think Hoffmann will be able to maintain a spot on the Yankees 25 man roster all season. If he can't, the Yankees will be forced to offer him back to the Dodgers. From the Yankees end, according to Sherman, the team is looking at Hoffmann possibly as a defensive specialist, pinch running guy. "A stronger, slower Brett Gardner," he writes.

Meanwhile, Joseph Pawlikowski at River Ave. Blues reports that the Yankees lost pitchers Zach Kroenke (Diamondbacks) and Kanekoa Texeira (Mariners).

Last November, Texeira came over in the Nick Swisher deal.
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Johnny Damon: ESPN's Buster Olney heard that the Yankees are negotiating with Johnny Damon's camp and they are going to try to use market forces in order to get him to make a decision quickly.

Rafael Soriano: Whether the Yankees had some interest or no interest, the Braves sent him packing to the Rays, reports Jon Heyman according to sources. Via Chad Jennings via MLBTradeRumors.com.

Curtis Granderson: George A. King III at the Post reports that the final hurdle in completing the trade for Curtis Granderson was to have Granderson take an eye exam. The Yankees were concerned due to his strikeout rate and his, at times, questionable route running in the outfield.
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Brett Gardner: ESPN's Jayson Stark reports that the Royals asked about Brett Gardner after the Yankees acquired Curtis Granderson. Via Ben Nicholson-Smith.

Rich Harden: A source told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that Rich Harden would be willing to sign a one year contract and that the Yankees are one of the top teams vying for his services. Via Tim Dierkes.

Mike Cameron: Morosi's FOX colleague Ken Rosenthal says that Mike Cameron would move to left field for the right team. With Granderson set as our center fielder, Cameron might interest the Yankees as a left fielder. Especially if the team is unable to bring back Johnny Damon. Via Dierkes.
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Ken Davidoff quotes Brian Cashman as saying that Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman would "not be a guy we're looking at in 2010 in our rotation." Nonetheless, the Yankees will be represented when he throws a side session for MLB clubs.

Via Ben Nicholson-Smith.
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With the three way trade between the Yankees, Tigers and Diamondbacks confirmed and Curtis Granderson in pinstripes, the new Yankee center fielder and Brian Cashman both talked to the media today and Chad Jennings has the report.

Granderson's saying the right things: if Girardi wants number 28, it's his, he says. Cashman had a few strategic notes, as well. He said that Granderson is the center fielder and he doesn't see there being a situation where he would play left field. At this moment, Cash has him penciled in as the second hitter against righty starters and somewhere in the back of the lineup against lefties. But, if Damon was to return, he'd probably be back in the second spot with Granderson moving to a position where he'd get more opportunities to drive in runs.
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MLB.com's Bryan Hoch reports that the Yankees and Andy Pettitte have officially announced that they have agreed to terms, bringing the lefty back to the Bronx in 2010 for $11.75 million. Earlier today, Jon Heyman had reported that the deal would be finalized today.
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On Twitter, Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated is reporting that the Yankees and Andy Pettitte will finalize a contract today worth about $12 million.

Via Chad Jennings.
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Through ESPN's Nick Pietruszkiewicz, Buster Onley says that if the Yankees bring back Johnny Damon, the chances improve that they may try to move Nick Swisher. At that point, the outfield would consist of Curtis Granderson, Johnny Damon and Melky Cabrera/Brett Gardner, assuming the Yankees don't look to acquire someone else, which would be unlikely with commitments made to both Granderson and Damon.
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Mark Feinsand of the Daily News and Joel Sherman at the Post both report that the Yankees remain engaged in the Roy Halladay sweepstakes. Without mentioning a source, Sherman says that the Yankees believe the Blue Jays don't really want to trade him within the division, but just in case, the Blue Jays know that they're interested.

Via Chad Jennings.
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Hideki Matsui: MLB.com's Bryan Hoch reports that Brian Cashman has met with Hideki Matsui's agent, Arn Tellem. He said that the meeting was "informative," but that if Godzilla was to return to the Bronx, it would be as a designated hitter only. Nick Pietruszkiewicz of ESPN passes on a comment from Buster Olney who says that, regardless of what happens with Damon, it is "increasingly unlikely" that Matsui will be back.

Rule 5: Having picked up the top Rule 5 draft pick, Chad Jennings mentions that the team could take one of it's own players (as the Nationals), allowing them to have, in effect, protect an extra player.

Rafael Soriano: As expected, reliever Rafael Soriano has given the Braves the OK to trade him, after accepting the team's arbitration offer. David O'Brien of the Atlanta-Journal Constitution says that the Yankees are among the teams "the Braves have talked to about Soriano." Via Tim Dierkes.

Ben Sheets: Joel Sherman at the Post notes that Casey Close, who represents free agent starter Ben Sheets will meet with the Yankees and Mets, among other teams. Via Tim Dierkes.
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Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman reports that the Yankees, Diamondbacks and Tigers have agreed on a three team trade that will send center fielder Curtis Granderson to the Yankees in exchange for Austin Jackson, Ian Kennedy and Phil Coke. He says that the only thing standing in the way now are medical reports.

If the trade stands, Kennedy and pitcher Edwin Jackson of the Tigers will go to Arizona while Jackson, Coke and pitchers Max Scherzer and Dan Schlereth of the Diamondbacks will go to Detroit.

According to reports, the Yankees were unwilling to accept an earlier offer that would have required them to send Michael Dunn to the Tigers, in addition to what was already in place. The Diamondbacks were said to be the driving force behind this deal and may have added Dan Schlereth in place of Dunn in order to, ahem, get it done.

The deal would give the Yankees their 2010 center fielder and allow them to more easily let Johnny Damon go or, at least, to not offer as much to him, with Melky Cabrera, Brett Gardner and Nick Swisher still on the roster. The Cubs are said to be interested in Melky.
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Rafael Soriano: Steve Adams at MLB Trade Rumors reports that reliever Rafael Soriano has accepted arbitration from the Braves, taking himself off of the free agent market. Soriano had been mentioned in connection with the Yankees, but it was thought to be a different acquisition because he is a Type-A free agent and the team would have to surrender a draft pick to sign him. Before the decision had been made Braves GM Frank Wren said he expected them to request a trade if they accepted arbitration. That said, Joel Sherman at the Post says the Yankees have no interest in trading for Soriano. Via Chad Jennings and Tim Dierkes.

Jason Marquis: Chad Jennings mentioned that Brian Cashman flew to the Winter Meetings with agents Seth and Sam Levinson and discussed their client, free agent starting pitcher Jason Marquis. Pitching for Colorado, he was 15-13 with a 4.04 ERA. But, it's unclear if the Yankees have any interest in him.

Backup Catcher: Cashman told Jennings that the team was not in any rush to find a backup catcher. "Cervelli can do that job, he said. "Right now, I'm not focused on backup catcher. We have Posada. We have Cervelli. That doesn't mean I won’t look at it."

» Read More

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ESPN's Nick Pietruszkiewicz passes on a report from Buster Olney indicating that during the discussions about a three way trade between the Diamondbacks, Tigers and Yankees, the idea of both center fielder Curtis Granderson and pitcher Edwin Jackson ending up in New York was suggested. Olney notes that this doesn't mean that there was actually any traction behind the idea and when talks ended on Monday, two of the teams involved were not pleased with what was currently being offered.

Even so, Olney says that one of the three teams engaged in the discussions "continues to push the recast deal" that would allow the Yankees to obtain both Granderson and Jackson.
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Last night, a source told Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that the Yankees, Diamondbacks and Tigers were talking about a three way trade that would have broken down as follows:

Yankees receive: center fielder Curtis Granderson from the Tigers and one or two prospects from the Diamondbacks.

Diamondbacks receive: pitcher Edwin Jackson from the Tigers and pitcher Ian Kennedy from the Yankees.

Tigers receive: pitcher Max Scherzer from the Diamondbacks and center fielder Austin Jackson and pitchers Phil Coke and Michael Dunn from the Yankees.

So, in all, the Yankees would have traded Kennedy, Jackson, Coke and Dunn for Granderson and one or two prospects from the Diamondbacks. But, the FOX Sports duo also reported that the deal was at a deadlock and that the Diamondbacks were really championing the deal which was rejected by by at least one of the teams, according to their source.

In a later report, they quoted a source as saying that the chances of the deal taking place were "not good" and that the main issue was that the Yankees didn't feel like they were getting a fair deal. They had even more sources telling them that the Diamondbacks were not willing to kick in any prospects after all.

Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman calls the deal "very unlikely" while Buster Olney of ESPN says the deal progressed to the point where only one team liked it. He also compared the Tigers offering of Granderson to how the Blue Jays offered Roy Hallday in July: "The team is asking for the moon and stars, and if they get [what] they ask for, great."

Via Ben Nicholson-Smith.
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Chad Jennings reports that the Yankees either have already or will offer all coaches on the 2009 staff a return in 2010. Currently, the only member of the coaching staff under contract is hitting coach Kevin Long, who is signed through 2010.

Pitching coach Dave Eiland, third base coach Rob Thomson, bench coach Tony Pena, first base coach Mick Kelleher and bullpen coach Mike Harkey are the free agents.
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Joel Sherman at the Post says that the Cubs are after Mike Cameron, who the Yankees might also be interested in. He notes that the Cubs have an interest in Melky Cabrera, should he become available. Sherman also spoke to a team interested in Tigers center fielder Curtis Granderson who thinks that the Yankees really want Granderson.

But then you have Mark Feinsand of the Daily News who has a source telling him that the Yankees talked to the Tigers, but the asking price was too much - supposedly, it was Phil Hughes and Austin Jackson. That's not happening.

Via Ben Kabak.
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Marc Carig of the Ledger reports that Brian Cashman is set to meet with the agent of utility man Mark DeRosa. He is said to want a 3 year, $9 million dollar contract. Mike Axisa at River Ave. Blues writes that the team should not fall into the trap of overestimating DeRosa.

Via Tim Dierkes.
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Mark Feinsand of the Daily News reports that reliever Brian Bruney has been traded, not to the Braves, but to the Nationals in exchange for their Rule 5 draft pick. They pick first in the draft.
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The Baseball Hall of Fame has results from the recent Veterans Committee vote that saw Whitey Herzog and Doug Harvey elected to the hall.

They don't give specific numbers for everyone and that includes Billy Martin, who they say received 2 or less votes from the 16 person panel, which included players Robin Roberts and Tom Seaver; current and former executives John Harrington, Jerry Bell, Bill DeWitt, Bill Giles, David Glass, Andy MacPhail and John Schuerholz; and media members Rick Hummel, Hal McCoy and Phil Pepe.

Via Rob Neyer.
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ESPN.com reports that, according to a source, Andy Pettitte has decided to return for his sixteenth season and, as expected, his preference is the Yankees.

According to Joel Sherman at the Post, the team has already made an offer to him, in the area of $10 million dollars, that was rejected. But, Sherman quotes an NL official who has spoken to a party involved in the negotiation and that official feels it's only a matter of time before the two sides come to terms. Doing so, Sherman suggests, would allow the team to not be a player in the John Lackey sweepstakes. They could, instead, take a one year shot at a health risk, high upside pitcher, like Ben Sheets, Justin Duchscherer or Rich Harden.

Negotiations will pick up at the winter meetings in Indianapolis, which just began, says Sherman. Both he and Jon Heyman suggest the Yankees will kick them off by offering him a little more than $10 million.

Via Chad Jennings and Steve Adams.
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Brian Bruney and the Braves: George A. King III at the Post reports that, according to a team that asked the Yankees about Brian Bruney heard that the pitcher was "going to the Braves." But, it's just a rumor at this point.

John Lackey Contract Guidance: Tim Brown of Yahoo! says that John Lackey is expecting more than A.J. Burnett received, which was five years and $82.5 million. However, King again at the Post suggests that the market will push Lackey to a Burnett type deal. Via Mike Axisa.

Wang Likely to be Non-Tendered: Ken Davidoff suggests that Chien-Ming Wang is almost certainly going to be non-tendered, which will make him available to other teams. The Yankees, Davidoff says, do not expect the sinkerballer to contribute to any meaningful way this season. Via Ben Kabak.
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Billy Martin fell short of election into the Baseball Hall of Fame on the veterans ballot as they opted to elect umpire Doug Harvey and manager Whitney Herzog, reports Tyler Kepner of the Times.
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Steve Serby at the New York Post has a Q&A with Scott Boras and he asks the agent about his experiences negotiating with George Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman, in addition to many other topics in and around the game. It's an interesting read. Here's what he said on Steinbrenner:

Q: Negotiating with George Steinbrenner?

A: One of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve ever dealt with . . . a true American . . . a great sportsman. Someone who’s very direct, but when information is brought to him, certainly he listened and responded. I really miss working with George, although Hal has demonstrated he has the abilities to carry on the Steinbrenner legacy.

Q: The end of the seemingly endless Bernie Williams negotiations (when Bernie nearly left for the Red Sox)?

A: (George) turned to me and said, “OK partner, we have to make sure this guy does well for the next seven years!”

Q: Your response?

A: “George, we’re gonna look back on this and say Bernie Williams was responsible for at least three World Championships during his career with the Yankees.” He got four. We all felt very good about the outcome of it.
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The Yankees are among the teams interested in the advisory services of former Padres general manager Kevin Towers. Tracy Ringolsby reports that, according to a source, Towers is leaning toward joining the Yankees and working with his friend Brian Cashman.

Via Chad Jennings.
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Mike Cameron has been rumored to be a plan B for the Yankees in the outfield, but Will Carroll says that the Cubs are willing to make a move on him once they deal Milton Bradley.

Via Joseph Pawlikowski via Moshe Mandel.
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Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports report that, even though the team's first priority is to sign Andy Pettitte and they have plans to make an offer on Roy Halladay, they will take a look at what else is out there.

Specifically, John Lackey, Rich Harden, Joel Pineiro and Randy Wolf are named, with Wolf and Pineiro looked at as unlikely.

Via Zach Links.
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ESPN's Buster Olney reports that the team has considered it's considered their options for a corner outfielder and decided that they will not include Matt Holliday and Jason Bay. Johnny Damon remains a priority, but the team could move on to Mike Cameron if that doesn't work out.

Via River Ave. Blues.
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Yesterday, we heard reports from ESPN.com that the Yankees were looking to lower payroll to the $185 million dollar range.

ESPN's Buster Olney now says that the budget is between $190 and $200 million. However, he notes that this could always change.

Via Chad Jennings.
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The Canadian Press reports that former Blue Jays general manaber J.P. Ricciardi told SIRIUS XM Radio's MLB Home Plate that Roy Halladay wants out of Toronto.

The pitcher has set a spring training deadline for any deal. The Yankees are expected to make a bid.

Via Mike Axisa.
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Reports from Friday's team meetings in Tampa are trickling in. They have set a budget and they're aiming lower as sources told ESPN.com and Marc Carig of The Star-Ledger that the team plans to cut it's payroll. ESPN.com says that they'd like to have a figure around $185 million, down from their 2009 opening day payroll of $201 million.

Meanwhile, George A. King at the Post reports that the team will make Andy Pettitte it's top priority, in an effort to solidify the starting rotation.

Finally, Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman says that the team will make a play on Halladay as has been rumored. According to Heyman, the Blue Jays are looking for some combination of Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, Austin Jackson and Jesus Montero.

Via Chad Jennings and Mike Axisa.
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According to stories from MLB.com's Bryan Hoch and George A. King III at the Post, George Steinbrenner is involved in the meetings being held down in Tampa, where the team is crafting it's course of action for this offseason.

Technically, what they are really reporting is not so much that he is active, but that there was a two hour lunch meeting held at Steinbrenner's house, with Hal Steinbrenner, Brian Cashman, Joe Girardi, team present Randy Levine and chief operating officer Lonn Trost.

It seems like there is no shortage of people scoffing at the notion of the elder Steinbrenner being actively involved, but it's not terribly surprising that he'd be involved in some way. After all, he's still the Principal Owner and Chairperson of the team. Just because he's ceded the day-to-day responsibilities to his son doesn't mean that he's never going to impact a decision the team makes.
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First, Sports Illustrated named Derek Jeter as their 2009 Sportsman of the Year. And then, of course, it was time for a gala held in his honor. Finally, we have the magazine profile piece to go along with it, authored by Tom Verducci. It's definitely worth a read.

One of the more interesting parts is where Verducci shares Jeter's dislikes. In order, they are players who don't care about winning, self-promoters, measuring success by statistics, players who talk about injuries when they play and negativity.

Via Alex Belth.
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Mets Want to See Matsui's Physical: According to NPB Tracker, the Mets have asked Hideki Matsui's agent, Arn Tellem, if they can look at the results of his physical. Chad Jennings points out that Matsui has played exactly 23 games in the outfield over the past two seasons.

Aroldis Chapman: Man of International Mystery: CNNSI.com's Melissa Segura goes over the concerns about Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman, who the Yankees are rumored to be interested in. Via Mike Axisa.

Yankees Top Spenders of the Decade: ESPN's Buster Olney says the Yankees have spent $1.45 billion dollars on free agents from 1999 to 2008. Second place? The Mets at $651.3 million. The Red Sox are third with $621.0. Via Steve Lombardi.
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On SI.com, Baseball America's John Manuel ranks all MLB farm systems, placing the Yankees in the 6-15 range. He says that catching prospect Jesus Montero is among the top hitters in the minor leagues.

Via Mike Axisa.
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Joel Sherman at the Post reports that there is a contingent in the Yankees front office that would like to see the team acquire Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay for just one season, rather than a long term deal. This idea hasn't received a lot of support, however. It's been reported that the Jays would allow suitors a negotiating window with the pitcher before completing a trade, so that they would have an opportunity to sign him to a new contract.

The thought is that, if they trade for him for one season, they can offer him arbitration the year after which he'll almost certainly decline if he pitched at least fairly well in 2010. He will then net the Yankees a first round pick and a sandwich round pick when he signs with another team. This would help to offset the value of the prospects or young players we'll have to trade in order to bring him over. If Halladay for some reason pitches awful, that could throw a wrench into these plans, though.

This would have to be a consideration if the team is seriously looking at John Lackey, as well. The Angels offered him arbitration, so we'll have to give up a draft pick if we sign him. So, the choice could be a swap of prospects for Roy Halladay for one season, one first round pick and one sandwich round pick or one first round pick for John Lackey for several years. It all comes down to the prospects, of course. Halladay is said to be after a CC Sabathia or Johan Santana type contract.

Via Ben Kabak.
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The Yankees are just full of sportsmen of the year. First, Derek Jeter was selected as the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year and now, Joe Girardi has been given the same title by the March of Dimes.

Bryan Hoch reports from the gala that was held in honor of him and tennis player Venus Williams, who was selected as the Sportswoman of the Year. Congrats to Mr. Girardi.
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Major league sources have told Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com that the Yankees have expressed interest in relief pitcher Brandon Lyon. Lyon was offered arbitration by Detroit, but it's thought he won't accept it. He's a Type-B free agent, meaning the Yankees wouldn't have to surrender any draft picks to sign him.

Set to turn 31 next August, the right-handed Lyon was 6-5 with a 2.86 ERA last season in 65 games with the Tigers. This was much better than his career average ERA of 4.20.

Rosenthal and Morosi caution that the Yankees have a lot of business (our own pitchers, Roy Halladay, Joch Lackey) to consider and attend to before they might make a decision on Lyon or any other free agent reliever.
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Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors passed on a CTS report that was summarized in a Twitter message by Diamond Leung, revealing that the Yankees had signed 18 year old Taiwanese infielder Fu-Lin Kuo. Taiwanese Baseball says that the team gave him a $150,000 bonus.

Mike Axisa shared a scouting reporter from Taiwanese Baseball. It notes that he has good bat control, average bat speed that could improve and an average arm strength, with the potential to hit for average and gap power. His most likely position, they say, is second base.
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MLB.com's Bryan Hoch has the story from Tuesday's gala honoring Derek Jeter as the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year.

With his parents on hand, Jeter was introduced by his father. Cal Ripken, Jr., the last baseball player to receive the honor solo, as at the event, as well. There are some nice quotes in the piece.

"I thought the [Sports Illustrated] cover came out nice," Jeter said to Hoch. "The only thing that I thought was missing from that were my parents on both sides. Even if you don't see them, just know that they're there beside me at all times."
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The AP reports that Joe Girardi paid a visit to New York Jets practice to help their quarterback, Mark Sanchez, work on his sliding technique.

Jets coach Rex Ryan met Yankees president Randy Levine at the wedding of Woody Johnson, who owns the Jets. Ryan called Levine and asked him to send someone over - not anyone in particular. But, Girardi ended up being the one. He also gave the Jets a pep talk after their practice.

"This is probably the first football player he's ever done that with, but he's a natural," Ryan said, speaking of Girardi's work. "He did an outstanding job. He even talked about protecting his left hand. He did a way better job than I knew I could do, and I was right."
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MLB.com's Anthony DiComo and Richard Goldstein of the Times report that former Yankees right fielder Tommy Henrich has passed away at the age of 96. Henrich, nicknamed "Old Reliable," had been the oldest living Yankee. He played 11 seasons from 1937 through 1950 - missing three to fight in World War II.

In 1,284 career games, he hit .282 with a .382 OBA, 182 home runs and 795 RBI. He won four titles while in the Bronx and was a .262 postseason hitter.

According to Elias Sports Bureau, 92 year old Virgil Trucks is thought to now be the oldest living Yankee. A right handed pitcher, Trucks pitched in 25 games f or the Yankees in his final season of 1958.

Our thoughts are with Mr. Henrich's family and those who were close to him.

Via Chad Jennings.
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Chad Jennings has the news about today's deadline to offer arbitration. Johnny Damon, Jerry Hairston Jr., Eric Hinske, Hideki Matsui, Jose Molina, Xavier Nady and Andy Pettitte were eligible and the team offered arbitration to no one. As such, the team will receive no compensation if Damon, Pettitte or Nady sign elsewhere.
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ESPN's Buster Olney reports that representatives for Blue Jays pitcher Roy Halladay have made it clear that, once he reports for spring training, he will not approve a trade from that point forward. So, the Blue Jays have effectively been put on notice: they have 2 and 1/2 months to work out a deal. Plenty of time.

Via Mike Axisa via Tim Dierkes.
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You're Christmas Bonus Arrived, Clark: The Yankees have been awarded their postseason revenue shares, and they've set a new record with each share worth $365,052.73, according to MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez. The Yankees voted to have 46 full shares distributed, along with 12.25 partial shares and two cash awards. NL champion Philadelphia was given shares of $265,357.50. The Angels voted to give on share worth $138,038.51 to the estate of Nick Adenhart, who passed away earlier this year. Good on them.

Spring Training Schedule Announced: Chad Jennings has the full spring training schedule for the team. Pitchers and catchers report on February 17 and the first workout for all players is set for February 24.

Decision Time for Arbitration: Finally, today is the deadline for the Yankees to decide on their arbitration eligible players, writes Jennings. Johnny Damon, Xavier Nady and Andy Pettitte are eligible. Damon, a Type-A player, would be worth a first round and supplemental pick if the team offers him arbitration, he declines and then goes to another team. Meanwhile, Nady and Pettitte would be worth a supplemental pick each in the same situation. Of course, arbitration means a raise and if the player says yes, then you're stuck.