Powered by the great guitarwork of blues/jazzman Melvin Taylor, here’s the news:
- Late-breaking news …. (7:06 this morning): Joel Sherman of the Post is reporting the Sabathia has accepted the Yankees offer. I’m sure we’ll see about the validity of this article throughout the day.
- I sprained my Ankiel tripping over this news: the Post’s Joel Sherman blogs that the Yanks have expressed some interest in the Cards’ Rick Ankiel, and mentions that the Cards like Ian Kennedy.
- Lifestyles of the rich and famous Yankees: Tyler Kepner of the Times writes of the diligence shown by C.C. Sabathia in asking all sort of “living in NYC” questions during his talks with the Yankees. Sabathia (the person) impressed Brian Cashman:
“I walked out of there saying to myself, ‘That’s exactly the type of person I thought he was from afar,’ ” Cashman said. “Now I get a chance to meet him up close and get a sense of the person. He’s a quality guy. Whether he picks us or doesn’t pick us, I think he’s going through this process with genuine, sincere effort to make the best decision for himself and his family, simple as that.
“We’re not being played, we’re not being manipulated, we’re not being used. I just think that he’s making an informed decision.”
- Cashman goes to San Fran for the night (but it wasn’t for a Jeter/A-Rod type of sleepover): Newsday reports that Brian Cashman had a third meeting with Sabathia last evening in San Francisco:
The Yankees have renewed optimism about their chances of signing CC Sabathia after general manager Brian Cashman met with Sabathia for a third consecutive day. Last night’s meeting was a last-minute affair for which Cashman jetted to San Francisco for the evening, multiple sources told Newsday.
Earlier in the day, a Yankees official told Newsday “things are going in the right direction” with Sabathia. That became quite apparent once Cashman canceled his planned daily meeting with the New York media. Media relations director Jason Zillo explained in an e-mail: “Brian is off hotel property and unavailable for the rest of the evening. This was not scheduled and he/we apologize for the inconvenience.”
Cashman is believed to have gone alone to the San Francisco area, where Sabathia lives, as manager Joe Girardi was seen at the Bellagio later yesterday.
- Not Right Said Ned: MLB.com notes that Dodger GM Ned Colletti clarified what C.C. Sabathia supposedly said to him about wanting to pitch for L.A.:
Colletti clarified his chance meeting with Sabathia in the Bellagio Casino on Sunday night, on the eve of the four-day Winter Meetings, saying it wasn’t Sabathia who said he wanted to play for the Dodgers but that “he’s told us in other ways, not directly to me.”
- In that same article, its noted that the Dodgers consider Sabathia “special”:
Even more intriguing, Colletti revealed that Sabathia is the kind of pitcher for which the Dodgers might relax their unwritten rule limiting contracts for pitchers to three years, although the club hasn’t decided how far it might go for him.
“We’ve tried to stay short, three or less, but in special circumstances it might be more depending on the age, the health history, like that,” said Colletti. “He would be worth a consideration.”
- ESPN reports that the Giants also met with Sabathia Monday night, and would meet again after the Meetings.
- Lowe spark of high-payroll boys: MLB.com notes that the Yanks and Phils are now the two leading pursuers of Derek Lowe.
- The Boston Globe reports that Carl Pavano may end up back with the Marlins, though the Red Sox (!) and the Bombers (!) are still in the mix. They also report that Andy Pettitte had his “tires kicked” by the BoSox.
- Also on the Andy Pettitte watch are the Phillies, according to the Newark Star-Ledger. If the Phils are not able to re-sign Jamie Moyer, they may seek to add Andy.
- Bryan Hoch of MLB.com details the meeting Joe Girardi had with Ben Sheets:
“I thought that was a good meeting,” Girardi said. “Obviously, I faced Ben Sheets when I was with the Cubs and have admired the work that he’s done over the years. It was good to talk to him about his health, his routines, what he likes to do. He was a very open young man and he was impressive.”
“His numbers stack up against anyone’s,” Girardi said of Sheets. “He’s healthy now, we believe. He’s had some injuries, but injuries are what have kept him out of that class. When he’s on the mound, he’s dynamite.”
- Remember that link I posted yesterday on the MGM Mirage’s sportsbookmaker and how he might adjust the 2009 World Series odds based on the events this week? Well, it appears that Vegas bigwigs got nervous over any “insider information” being used for bets (source: Boston Herald):
After an inquiry from the Herald, Las Vegas Sports Consultants (LVSC) decided to issue an alert at 4:05 p.m. EST to sportsbooks at casinos in Nevada and around the world that the potential for insider information arising from the meetings posed too much of a threat for gaining an unfair advantage.
“Major League Baseball’s annual meetings are under way here in Las Vegas through Thursday afternoon,” the alert stated. “LVSC is recommending to lower limits on futures or take them completely off boards during the meetings. News of trades or free agent signings will be known prior to being made public.”
Shortly after the alert was issued, the sportsbook at the Bellagio, where the meetings are being held, took action. Currently, the sportsbook is taking bets on the odds of a team winning the World Series and either the AL or NL pennant. This morning, a bet of up to $500 could be made. After the alert, any bet of $100 or more needed to be investigated before it was allowed.
- Hearty congrats go out to former Yankee shortstop and TV analyst Tony Kubek, who was selected as the 2009 Ford Frick Award winner by the National Baseball Hall of Fame:
“For an entire generation of baseball fans, Tony Kubek was the face and the voice of the game,” Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson said. “In the days before all-sports TV networks, Tony brought baseball into your living room every Saturday afternoon for almost three decades. His straight forward style, quick and detailed analysis and no-nonsense commentary on the game’s nuances gave viewers an insider’s look at what the players were experiencing on the field.”…
As a Frick winner, Kubek is the first to be named exclusively as an analyst since the award was inaugurated in 1978, the first television broadcaster to be honored since Bob Wolff in 1995 and the first Frick Award to have called games for a Canadian team, the Toronto Blue Jays.
- Paul Assenmacher (a two-month rental in 1993) turns 48 today. Assenmacher graduated from that baseball powerhouse, Aquinas College. The only other major leaguer from that college? Dave Gumpert.
- A very special birthday wish to Griddlemeister Bob Timmermann!
- On this date in 1988, FA Willie Randolph signs with the Dodgers. He will replace Steve Sax in the lineup, who earlier in the month signed with the Yankees.
- On this date in 1991, admitted gambler Howard Spira is sentenced to 2.5 years in prison for attempting to extort $110,000 from George Steinbrenner.
- On this date in 1992, FA Jimmy Key is signed to a four-year contract.
- On this date in 1997, FA Chili Davis is signed to a two-year contract.