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Yankee Panky: If There’s a Stove, Is It Hot?

Is it me, or has the three-week time frame since the Yankees extended the six-year, $140 million offer to CC Sabathia represented a Dead Zone? John Harper noted as much in today’s Daily News.

Perhaps the greatest hitch in the lack of offseason movement so far, as many local scribes have hinted, is Scott Boras, who not only represents Sabathia, but the three other major names in whom the Yankees are reportedly interested: Mark Teixeira, A.J. Burnett and Derek Lowe. Maybe it’s also because the local headlines have reflected a fascination with the Plaxico Burress PR disaster and the BCS College Football mess.

As we all know, New York, despite its fervor for the Giants, Jets, Rangers and the Knicks, is a baseball town. Keeping up with everything at this time of year is no small feat. I applaud our Diane Firstman for linking the hell out of the coverage, which can get messy.

Every year, I try to observe which reporter has the goods on the story — or stories — and gets the jump on his competition. Here’s how you know: When a reporter from a competing newspaper — and yes, they all read each other — credits you by name in a column, you’re on point.

From Dan Graziano in the paper of Tony Soprano, the Newark Star-Ledger:

Nice reporting from Tyler Kepner at the New York Times, who found out that the Yankees’ GM was in Washington D.C. Thursday meeting with Mark Teixeira and his agent. A person familiar with Cashman’s itinerary, who declined to be identified because he’s not authorized to speak for Cashman, confirmed this information as well as the news that Cashman would be meeting with free-agent lefty CC Sabathia in Las Vegas in the coming days.

Expect to see more of that in the coming weeks, as more news begins to break with roster moves, and beat writers and columnist invariably get scooped.


If history is an indicator, the Winter Meetings will be a bastion of activity. The Meetings used to be the focal point of offseason roster activity. The fact that this year’s installment is in Las Vegas adds to the anticipation, and leads me to believe that a lot can – and will – happen. It’s a five-year cycle. I covered the Meetings in New Orleans five years ago. In the span of three days, the following deals were announced:

• Yankees confirmed the Jeff Weaver-for-Kevin Brown trade with the Dodgers.

• Yankees signed Gary Sheffield.

• Orioles signed free-agent shortstop Miguel Tejada to a six-year deal.

• Red Sox signed free-agent closer Keith Foulke to a three-year deal with a fourth-year option.

• Blue Jays signed free-agent righty Miguel Batista.

• Cardinals and Braves orchestraded a trade, with the key components being Eli Marrero going to Atlanta and Adam Wainwright, a AAA prospect at the time, going to St. Louis.

• Less than 48 hours after Andy Pettitte signed with the Houston Astros and was introduced, Roger Clemens appeared at a memorabilia signing and stopped by, hinting to everyone that he would come out of “retirement.”

That year, the Yankees did not send a team representative to the meetings. They had just come off a World Series appearance and the internal sense was that a great deal of roster jockeying was unnecessary. This year is a different story. Despite the unattributed quotes coming from the organization regarding Sabathia signifying a sense of confidence/arrogance/smugness (you can play Mad Libs with this), if the Yankees really believed landing him was a sure thing, Brian Cashman would not have made an early trip West to meet him. It’s not a make-or-break offseason for the Yankees, but reading between the lines, it’s clear that not landing either Sabathia or Teixeira would be an abject failure for Brian Cashman and the Yankees, given the number of holes they need to fill.

Now to the coverage of the Meetings. A couple of posts ago, I mentioned how the blogosphere has taken on greater significance in general presentation of news events, namely on the political spectrum. This week, all eyes will be on Vegas and MLB. The best way to follow it will be to check in online every hour or so. The editors know this, and have resigned themselves to it. And if you review the local news sites, the reporters and columnists are becoming more amenable to it.

Should be good times.


Anyone who didn’t see Steven Goldman on Yankees Hot Stove this past Thursday, check it out here. I congratulate Steve on this appearance. He was poised, knowledgeable, concise and direct. Steve’s appearance on YHS is something he and I talked about going back five and six years ago when he first began contributing to YESNetwork.com. To see that the production group and Kevin Sullivan, who oversees YESNetwork.com, have figured out a way to incorporate him into the program is tremendous progress. It’s the kind of dot.com / TV integration I, along with Fred Harner — who’s now the GM of SNY.tv — tried to establish in our time at YES, but it was probably too early in the Network’s existence to make it work.

Steve’s next appearance: December 18th.

Happy reading, and good luck sifting through rumor, B.S. Boras and the truth. Maybe now the offseason will finally get interesting.

Until next week …

Categories:  Will Weiss  Yankee Panky

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1 Benjamin Kabak   ~  Dec 7, 2008 9:06 pm

Scott Boras does not represent Sabathia. That honor belongs to Greg Genske.

2 Dimelo   ~  Dec 7, 2008 9:18 pm

I'm trying to figure something out, there has been a lot of ARod news lately - is there a moratorium on talking about ARod at the Banter? Everywhere I look there's a picture of ARod, he's Hollywood now.

I understand he's the best in the world when it comes to VORP and his numbers in the clutch (or lack thereof, depends if you drink red or grape kool aid how that all gets interpreted) is a media creation, he's actually the "best" there too. But when do we start to take my Dominican brethren - both my parents were born there too - to task with his very, very odd behavior? We gotz a crackpot at 3rd base!!

I did a quick search/find on "ARod" or "Rodriguez" at the banter's main page and all I found was a Todd Drew mention on December 5th.

I'm so glad we have 9 more years of this, I'm strapped in and ready for the ride. I would love if ARod came to bat and this song was blasting through the Bronx on opening day:

Holiday celebrate
Holiday celebrate

If we took a holiday
Took some time to celebrate
Just one day out of life
It would be, it would be so nice

3 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 7, 2008 9:54 pm

[2] So what exactly are you asking, Dim? Do we spankdatazz because he's a bad boy or beat him up and take his lunch money or what? >;)

4 Dimelo   ~  Dec 7, 2008 10:12 pm

[3] I'm asking why hasn't there been any talk of ARod, even after he makes the back cover of the Daily News with a big cigar in his mouth.

What do we do with him you ask? I just wish he were elsewhere. I know, I know...that's hardly the wish of the VORP community, I'm sure I'll be bombarded with a ton of stats saying how dumb I am. I already know I'm dumb, that's why I don't get ARod and the blind love people have. I just wish I knew when enough is enough. I thought a lot of the criticism he got from 2004 - 2007 was unfair, but I gave up defending him and did a 180 on him. I really feel everything they say of the man is true now, I just don't think he's the right fit for the team I love so much.

If it were 1985 and ARod was going to Madonna concerts then I'd be like good for him, he's the best baseball player with the hottest pop star at the moment. Now we get the flip-flopping on the WBC thing, he just really disturbs me at this moment - not like an OJ disturb, but more like a Michael Jackson disturb.

5 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 7, 2008 10:29 pm

[4] I dunno, man. It's not illegal to tap OPA. He's not doing a Hulk Smash on his organization like a fellow brethren of his did. And he'd be kinda hard to get rid of for equal value at this point unless St. Louis decided to cash out from baseball altogether. Besides that, I honestly don't care about A-Rod's personal life. If he dropped Madonna for Elton John, I'd say good for him and keep it movin'. I'm not even interested in Buddy's Grand Waste of Time. I'm waiting for MLB Baseball to start...

6 Dimelo   ~  Dec 7, 2008 10:49 pm

[5] Yeah - I guess that makes us different then. I like to read about Jeter tapping some hot girl, let's me know he's having fun. And, if ARod traded the Golden Girls for Elton John then that is something I am rooting for.

7 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 7, 2008 11:18 pm

[6] I've got nuthin... g'nite, buddy! >;)

8 RIYank   ~  Dec 8, 2008 6:58 am

Varitek is declining arbitration. I'm surprised. Who will give him as much as an arbitrator would?

Also, Chyll and Dimelo: 'brethren' is plural.

9 Dimelo   ~  Dec 8, 2008 7:31 am

[8] I had an excuse.... "I already know I’m dumb", but thanks!

10 Mark   ~  Dec 8, 2008 9:25 am

"They had just come off a World Series appearance and the internal sense was that a great deal of roster jockeying was unnecessary."

That was then, this is now--let the "roster jockeying" frenzy begin.

11 Will Weiss   ~  Dec 8, 2008 9:37 am

[1] I should have caught that. Thank you, Benjamin.

12 Will Weiss   ~  Dec 8, 2008 9:41 am

[2] I could have easily gone the tabloid route with A-Rod, but the sense I get from the community is that no one gives a damn anymore. Plus, it's useless. How many times can we acknowledge that the guy is an attention whore? Chyll Will [5] nailed the sentiment. People just don't care about that stuff, and in the grand scheme, the tenor I try to take with the column, talking about A-Rod and Madonna, or analyzing his decision to play for the Dominican Team in the WBC is a waste of time and energy.

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