The annual “Running of the Free Agents” begins today …. so stay inside and read this:
- Mark Feinsand of the News has an update on Mike Mussina’s 2009 decision:
Mussina, who won 20 games this year for the first time in his career, told the Daily News Wednesday that he plans to make his decision early next week.
“I’m still kind of up in the air,” Mussina said Wednesday from his home in Montoursville, Penn. “I’m enjoying my time off, but then again, I always enjoy my time off.”
- Mussina earned two 3rd place votes (and Rivera three 3rd place votes) in the AL Cy Young balloting, with the award going to the Indians’ Cliff Lee (MLB.com).
- Tyler Kepner of the Times was in on a conference call Wednesday with Joe Girardi, and the manager reiterated the Yanks’ primary need this off-season:
“We know that we have to fill some needs in our pitching rotation, and there are some pretty good starters out there and we understand that,” Girardi said. “We’re going to do everything we can to fill the needs of our rotation, and that is more than one guy. There are other pitchers out there that have thrown very well, and we’re looking at those guys as well. We would like to add as many as we can.”
- Jayson Stark has a free agent shopping preview article on ESPN.com. He thinks the Yanks need “three starting pitchers, a run-producing bat, (and) possibly a catcher if Jorge Posada has any setbacks …” He adds, “they’ll be all over CC, Burnett, Lowe and Teixeira.”
- Jay Jaffe has a Hot Stove preview for the Yankees, at BP.com. Here’s what he thinks they should do (and it doesn’t involve C.C.):
“If the Yanks can only go nine figures on one player it should be Teixeira, given the need for youth and the dearth of A-list first basemen in the free-agent pool … One alternative would be to trade for the (aforementioned) Swisher, who can play first base, right field, or even center field; he’d provide flexibility as the winter market evolves. As for the pitching, Burnett’s legacy of injuries should make a team still smarting from the Pavano and Jaret Wright debacles think twice. Lowe, by contrast, is a reliable groundballer who’s every bit as effective and much more durable, with at least 32 starts in seven straight years.” [Editor's note .... as you probably know by now, the Yanks traded for Swisher yesterday afternoon.]
- The Observer’s Howard Megdal has a different point of view, and lays it out very simply in the title of his article: Yankees’ Choice: Sabathia or Mediocrity
- The Post’s Joel Sherman thinks that the Yanks will just flat-out offer 6 years and $150 million to Sabathia, and up it from there if need be (though he doesn’t see another team coming close to those numbers).
One Yankee executive said, “we have to separate ourselves.” Translation: They must divest Sabathia of his dreams of the Pacific and the batter’s box by going to a financial region relatively quickly that no other franchise would even consider, especially in this plummeting economy.
- Over at SportingNews.com, Richard Justice states that the Yankees will control the free agent market this off-season, leaving the other teams to hunt for bargains. He also echoes those who have stated that Cashman will have to (re)-broaden his team-building approach. To wit,
Cashman still is talking the talk, but, suddenly, he is going to try it the old-fashioned Yankee way. That’s what missing the playoffs for the first time since 1993 will do for a good, sound philosophy. Cashman still hopes to build the Yankees from the ground up, but he has some pressing needs that can’t immediately be filled by the farm system.
- Congrats to Jeter and A-Rod for collecting Silver Slugger awards for 2008, as voted upon by managers and coaches (MLB.com).
- We don’t know the 2009 Opening Day roster yet, but now we know the coaches, as per this Yankees.com press release. Mick Kelleher was named the Yankees’ first base coach, Rob Thomson will take over as third base coach and Tony Pena will assume the role of bench coach. Dave Eiland (pitching coach), Kevin Long (hitting coach) and Mike Harkey (bullpen coach) will return in the roles they served in 2008.
- Happy 30th birthday to Xavier Nady, who happens to be one of only three “Xaviers” to ever play in the majors (Xavier Hernandez and Xavier Rescigno were the others). Ruben Rivera, the guy who pilfered Jeter’s glove and bat from the locker room to sell to a memorabilia dealer, turns 35. Rivera was also infamous for being part of a trade (which included the exact sum of $3 in cash) that brought Hideki Irabu to the Yanks.
- On this date in 2005, Alex Rodriguez, whose 48 homers set an AL record for third basemen and broke a 68-year-old club mark for right-handed hitters, earned his second AL MVP Award.