More things that keep me up at night: Will the Hard Rock restaurant at the new stadium offer a dessert called “Robinson Canoli” (and would people sense some indifference in my seemingly not making much of an effort to reach for it on my plate)?
Back to the news:
- Newsday’s Kat O’Brien gives us the latest on the Yanks’ interest in Lowe and Burnett. She states that a source said the Yankees had reached out to Lowe via his agent, Scott Boras. As for Burnett, his agent, Darek Braunecker, said they had not received a formal offer from the Yankees. He wrote in a text message: “We’re strictly discussing parameters.”
- O’Brien also has a quote from a conference call with newly-acquired Nick Swisher:
“Last year obviously, statistically I didn’t have the year that I wanted to,” Swisher said, “but you know what, this is a different year. This is ’09, not ’08. I know in my mind that I’ve grown not only as a player, but as a man. Last year was a very humbling year for me and I learned a lot from it.”
- More from O’Brien on Swisher: “Swisher said the season had humbled him and that he is working hard this offseason to turn things around. While Swisher did not make excuses for his poor performance, he did say he had not adjusted well to some new challenges. He began the 2008 season batting leadoff and playing centerfield, neither of which are his natural spots.”
- Ben Shpigel of the Times states that Swisher has “already received encouragement from Kevin Long, the Yankees’ hitting coach, and from Alex Rodriguez”.
- Tyler Kepner has a nice piece on Mike Mussina’s decision for 2009 and his thoughts about the Hall, over at the Times. Here’s an excerpt:
… A graduate of Stanford, he has always brought an intellectual’s sensibility to his craft and his career.
In an interview in August, Mussina spoke at length about his personal standards for Cooperstown. To him, a Hall of Fame career should be defined by excellent seasons, not lackluster ones that serve only to compile statistics.
“I don’t agree that when evaluating a career you should look at the total numbers, because the last two or three years, the guy might just be hanging around to add up numbers,” Mussina said.
“Five one year, seven the next year, five the next year. O.K., you just won 17 games, but he was 5-10 and 7-12 and 5-13,” Mussina said. “Those are terrible years. They’re not Hall of Fame years. But someone looks at the total and says, ‘Well, how many did he win?’ ”
- Jon Heyman of SI.com has word that the Bombers have decided to offer Abreu arbitration. Furthermore (as we Banter readers already surmised):
” … it remains more likely that he will sign elsewhere as a free agent. The Yankees are in fact very likely making the offer with the anticipation he will sign with another team, and should that occur they will net two draft choices as Abreu is a Type A free agent. Abreu would stand to make about $16 million in arbitration after making that much last year … The Cubs and Mets are seen as among the most likely suitors for Abreu.
- Alex Rodriguez was named on 18 of the 28 ballots cast for AL MVP, with his highest placement being one fifth place vote. He finished 8th overall. Mike Mussina garnered one eighth place vote.
- Put down any sharp objects before you read this Post article for George King.
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 …
… According to a Yankee source, Pettitte’s agent, Randy Hendricks, doesn’t want a pay cut for his 36-year-old client, who went 14-14 with a 4.54 ERA last season.
- Corey Brock of MLB.com gives us the update on the Peavy to NY chances, such as they are:
Padres general manager Kevin Towers said on Monday that he hasn’t engaged Yankees GM Brian Cashman in anything that resembles a serious discussion about Peavy, the 2007 National League Cy Young Award winner who is on the trading block.
“I have had no direct conversations with Cashman about Peavy over a period of time,” Towers said.
- Over at the News, Mark Feinsand gives us a quote on the Yanks offer to Sabathia:
“These things are never quick,” one Yankees official said. “It’s only fair to give the guy a chance to mull it over and see what else is out there – though I don’t think there will be anything really competitive.”
- In a separate article, Feinsand notes that the Yankees have company in pursuit of Burnett, namely from the Red Sox:
According to an industry source, Boston plans to be a major player for A.J. Burnett, one of the pitchers the Yankees are targeting along with CC Sabathia to bolster their starting rotation. Derek Lowe, another arm coveted by the Bombers, is also on Boston’s radar.
The Red Sox are not planning to make an offer to Sabathia, who already has a six-year, $140million offer on the table from the Yankees. But Burnett, who turns 32 in January, will certainly receive serious attention from Boston, which has already engaged in discussions with the pitcher’s agent, Darek Braunecker, according to the source.
- Yearning Bernie: David Lennon of Newsday reports that Bernie Williams, despite his continued musical pursuits, has kept himself in playing shape, on the off-chance that he might get a call:
“I’ll be 75 and still not announce my retirement,” Williams said last night at a pre-production party in Manhattan. “I’m still within this two- or three-year period where I can say, ‘You know what? Let me just work out … ‘”
Williams, who turned 40 in September, has kept himself in shape and insists that he’s only two or three weeks away from being major-league ready if a team did call. And what if he did hear from a GM shortly before spring training?
“I don’t know,” Williams said. “I’d think very long and hard about it though.”
- Also culled from the Lennon article, “Williams has another CD coming out in April, and he’ll also play a musician on the big screen in “Keeper of the Pinstripes,” a movie based on the children’s book, “The Boy of Steel: A Baseball Dream Come True,” written by Yankees executive Ray Negron”.
- Apparently Johnny Damon “wants all the pitchers” too, according to a separate article from the Post’s George King:
“I want them both,” Damon said yesterday of CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett.
“And I hope we also get Derek [Lowe].”
- Happy 29th birthday to John-Ford Griffin, who was drafted by, but never played for, the big club. He was included in a deal that brought the Yanks Jeff Weaver (oy!).
- On this date in 1968, Stan Bahnsen, who posted a 17-12 record with 162 strikeouts and a 2.05 ERA, is named AL Rookie of the Year.
- On this date last year, Alex Rodríguez is named AL MVP.