Powered by the thought that American ingenuity is not dead (as “proven” by this ) …. here’s the news:
- MLB.com reports that the BoSox have made an official offer to Mark Teixeira, but points out that adding Tex to the lineup could cause a logjam:
The Red Sox have Kevin Youkilis at first base and Mike Lowell at third. To open a spot for Teixeira, the Red Sox might have to trade Lowell and move Youkilis across the diamond.
However, Lowell, coming off right hip surgery, is likely to have to prove his health in Spring Training if he is to be dealt. Last winter the Red Sox re-signed Lowell, the Most Valuable Player of the 2007 World Series, to a three-year, $37.5 million contract.
The Red Sox control Youkilis contractually for the next two years, so it’s highly doubtful he would be moved. … David Ortiz … is a 10-5 man … meaning he could veto any trade.
(My take: From a public relations standpoint, it would be hard for the Sox to trade the beloved Big Papi. Youkilis is too valuable to trade in that he plays both corners well, and is insurance for the “old skill set” Ortiz. The “rational” Sox rooter would understand trading the older, recovering Lowell, although I would think the Sox would have to pay some of Lowell’s salary to move him. The Twins have a void at third, but even if the Sox paid a good portion of Lowell’s salary, I couldn’t see Lowell’s back holding up on that unforgiving Metrodome turf this season.)
- Could Manny be Manny AND be an Angel?: MLB.com reports that should the Angels not be able to re-sign Teixeira, they may set their sights on Manny Ramirez. Manager Mike Scioscia thinks Manny would be OK in Anaheim:
Asked if he’d be for it if things could be worked out with Ramirez, Scioscia said, “Absolutely. Talent like Manny’s is real. He’s a winner. Whether it happens or not remains to be seen. But we would not rule him out.
“We have discussions obviously on character and makeup. We would not rule Manny out. When he’s motivated — and he showed that in the last part of the season — this guy is one of the best talents in the game.”
(My take: Dear Mr. Scioscia … couldn’t it be that Manny was motivated during the last part of the season because he was playing for a new contract? Isn’t it a prerequisite that players are self-motivated during most of the season anyway? Aren’t you worried that Manny will coast if he ends up on your coast? Wouldn’t an outfield with both Vlad and Manny make Torii Hunter’s head [and hamstrings] explode?)
- Over at SI.com, Jon Heyman notes that it appears the Yanks are falling behind in the race for Teixeira, and may therefore go for Manny:
There are those suggesting the Yankees are only in the running for Teixeira to either monitor the rival Red Sox or drive up the price for the switch-hitting slugger. But while it’s true the Yankees don’t appear as eager to sign Teixeira as the Angels and Red Sox, they do appear willing to sign him at the right price. After already signing CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett for $243.5 million combined, the Yankees appear disinclined to offer $200 million for Teixeira, which is what it may take to get him.
That’s where Manny may come in.
While the Yankees have a trio of accomplished corner outfielders — Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui and Xavier Nady — they appear to love the idea of Manny and could still utilize Damon in centerfield on occasion.
- Meanwhile, the News is reporting that there is a split in the Yankee front office over whether to pursue Ramirez:
One baseball official told the Daily News that the Yankees’ interest in Ramirez is more than cursory, that they see the slugger as the perfect complement in their lineup to Alex Rodriguez, forming a 1-2 punch like he did in Boston with David Ortiz.
The official believes that the Yankees are “going hard” after Ramirez, to the point where they are willing to give him a three-year deal worth from $22 million to $25 million per year.
Two other officials are skeptical that the Bombers would commit three years to the enigmatic Ramirez … (however) if the market is limited, the Yanks will try to jump in with a two-year, $50 million package.
According to a source familiar with the Yankees’ thinking, Brian Cashman has been lukewarm to the idea of signing Ramirez, but the rest of the front office – most notably Hal and Hank Steinbrenner – believes he is precisely what the Yankees need to bolster a lineup that underachieved in 2008.
(My take: The Yanks must choose. Will they go for an eight-year, $200 commitment to a young elite first baseman, a position at which they are at a distinct competitive disadvantage currently, and who would make their fiercest division rival even more formidable if he signed with them instead. Or, will they opt for a two to three-year, $50-75 million or so commitment to a 36-year-old, moody, below-averaqe outfielder with an occasionally cranky knee who would have to patrol a spacious left field, and seems to turn himself on and off as he sees fit. As Alex, Cliff and Anthony McCarron discussed, the age of the Yanks roster and the length of some current contracts results in perhaps a three-year “window of opportunity”, which would seem to lean for signing Ramirez, but how do the Yanks pass up the chance to lock down first base well into the 2010s?)
- Cameron/Cabrera deal now firmly in Yanks court: The Star-Ledger reports that the parameters of the Cabrera for Cameron deal appear to be set, but now the Yanks are wondering whether to go through with it:
The question for the Yankees is whether to spend $10 million on Cameron — his salary in 2009 — or put that money to use for a better hitter. If Andy Pettitte takes much longer to decide on the Yankees’ $10 million offer to return, that’s $20 million the Yankees could spend somewhere else — some on a lower-tier free-agent starting pitcher and most on a hitter.
(My take: Cameron still has pop in his bat, and his range in center is still above average, but he struck out in about 30% of his ABs last year, while hitting under .250 for the 2nd consecutive season. Will he be batting in RBI-critical situations … cause he batted .205 with 2 out and RISP last year.)
- Clear your calendar Thursday, cause C.C. is coming to town!: The Daily News reports (via Yahoo!Sports) that Sabathia will be introduced at a news conference on Thursday.
- Back at MLB.com, T.R. Sullivan offers an excellent overview of recent history in terms of signing free agents in their mid-to-late 30s.
- Tony Massarotti of the Boston Globe offers up his top 5 worst pitching contracts, with Igawa and Burnett landing at #4 and #5 respectively.
- Yankees are losing a (sponsorship with) GM: Bloomberg.com reports that financially-troubled General Motors is not renewing their sponsorship of the Bombers for 2009, but WILL retain their sponsorship with the Mets.
- Damon’s play wins “Oddity of the Year” (no … not his overall play in the field …): MLB.com announced that the fans voted this play as “Oddity of the Year” in the “This Year in Baseball Awards”.
- Happy 40th birthday to Curtis Pride, who got into four games with the Yanks in 2003. Pride is one of only thirteen deaf persons to ever play in the Majors.
- Bob Ojeda turns 51 today. The Bombers were Ojeda’s final ML team. He started two games for them in 1994, and lasted a combined three innings, giving up 11 hits and 6 walks, for a WHIP of 5.67. Fun fact: Ojeda’s 5.67 WHIP is the highest single season figure in history for any pure starter with at least three innings pitched.
- Charlie Sands (1 AB in his only game with the Yanks in 1967) turns 61.
- On this date in 1924, the Yanks get four-time 20-game winner (and one of my all-time favorite baseball names) Urban Shocker from the Browns for pitchers Milt Gaston, Joe Giard, and Joe Bush. Shocker led the Browns in wins in each of the prior five seasons and will be a mainstay on two pennant-winning staffs for New York.
- On this date in 1953, the Yankees sell Yankee Stadium and Kansas City properties for $6.5 million in a deal with Johnson Corp and the Knights of Columbus, who later sell the property back to the Yanks.
- On this date in 1964, the long-time television and radio voice of the Yankees, Mel Allen, is fired.
- On this date in 2001, free agent OF Rondell White is signed to a two-year contract.
- On this date in 2003, Gary Sheffield (.330, 39, 132) finalizes a $39 million, three-year deal with the Bombers, which includes $13.5 million in deferred money and a $13 million team option for 2007.