"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

News of the Day – 12/22/08

Let’s get right to it:

  • The Post’s George King details Jays’ GM J.P. Ricciardi concerns over the marriage of Burnett and the Yanks:

“The big question is how he handles New York,” the Blue Jays’ GM said of the Little Rock native. “No one knows for sure. That’s the big test; how he handles that.”

“The first two years here (2006-07), he was a little nicked up,” Ricciardi said. “I think he was more scared than hurt. When he was healthy and right he was fine.”

“I saw a big change this past season compared to the first year,” Ricciardi said. “The first year he was trying to justify the contract (five years for $55 million). Last year it was like, ‘I have nothing to lose; it was either (Toronto) or opt out.’ He let it go.”

  • BP.com’s John Perrotto has some concerns for Sabathia in a Yankee uni:

While he is one of the best pitchers in the game, there certainly are reasons to think that he may not be cut out to pitch in New York. Sabathia has usually been awful during the postseason on baseball’s biggest stage, posting a 7.92 ERA in five starts and 25 innings. That’s not a significant sample size, but Sabathia has admitted to putting too much pressure on himself in October. His lone quality start came as a 21-year-old rookie with the Indians in the 2001 American League Division Series, when he allowed two runs in six innings to beat the 116-win Mariners. Sabathia had quality starts in 15 of his 17 outings for the Brewers last season after being acquired from the Indians in a July trade, but gave up five runs in 3 2/3 innings in losing to the Phillies in Game Two of the NLDS.

(Indians manager Eric) Wedge insists that Sabathia will be fine pitching in New York. “I think he’s going to be more than fine,” Wedge said. “Nobody puts more pressure on CC than CC. I know some people scoff at that because New York is different, but because of everything CC has been through, and because of the adjustments he’s made—mentally, physically, fundamentally, and just the leadership ability he has, the strength he has as a human being, just what he takes care of both on and off the field—he’s going to be fine. He has perspective. He has a tremendous belief system in himself and the process. …”

  • Kevin Kernan of the Post insists that the Yanks must go after Teixeira:

The Yankees have their opening. Face it, they are not going to commit nearly a quarter of a billion dollars to two pitchers and not try to upgrade their offense. Remember, this is a team that had trouble scoring runs last year….

Adding Teixeira would help in so many ways. His on-base percentage was .410. Alex Rodriguez led the Yankees with a .392 mark. Teixeira hit 33 home runs. His presence in the lineup would make A-Rod that much more valuable. This is no different than having David Ortiz and Ramirez. Ortiz has not been the same without Manny.

[My take: While I agree that Tex would do wonders for the Yanks lineup, I wouldn’t say “Ortiz has not been the same without Manny”.  First of all, its a small sample size alert.  Youkilis and Pedroia replaced Manny in the clean-up spot, and they obviously didn’t stink up the joint.  Jason Bay hit .293/.370/.527 with 9 HR and 37 RBIs after coming over to Boston.  After Manny was traded, Ortiz hit .262/.381/.519 with 9 HRs and 42 RBIs in 49 games, despite a cranky wrist.]

  • Angels drop out of the Tex sweepstakes! MLB.com reports that the Angels have withdrawn their offer to Mark Teixeira:

This leaves the Red Sox, Nationals and Orioles as teams known to have submitted proposals, believed to range from $160 million to $184 million according to various reports. The level of interest by the Yankees has not yet been firmly established, but it could heighten quickly if they see Boston as the front-runner for the 28-year-old switch-hitter, as most insiders do.

As recently as Thursday night, when the Red Sox seemed on the verge of withdrawing from the bidding after a meeting with Teixeira and agent Scott Boras, the Angels were thinking they might be very much in the game.

But something clearly happened in the past few days to convince them that those persistent rumors were true about Teixeira preferring an East Coast lifestyle. According to a source familiar with the negotiations, the Angels decided they didn’t want to be used to drive up the bidding if Teixeira wasn’t serious about returning to Anaheim.

  • Why is Melky Cabrera still a Yankee?  Peter Gammons at ESPN has some news:

Cashman backed off the Mike Cameron deal because Melky Cabrera has improved his plate discipline in winter ball, and there are voices in the organization who still believe Brett Gardner is going to be a useful major league player. No one will argue his energy and intensity, but watch him take batting practice, and you’ll find out he’s a lot stronger than he looks. Granted, he has to take it into games, but there is something on which to place hope.

  • Mark Feinsand at the News writes of Manny’s expectations of an offer from the Bombers:

According to a source, Ramirez has told friends that he is confident the Yankees will offer him a contract of at least three years, one year longer than most team officials have said they would want to go.

Ramirez has no plans to get serious about any offers until after Mark Teixeira – a fellow Scott Boras client – makes a decision regarding his own future. Ramirez has already turned down a two-year, $45 million offer from the Dodgers and has told friends he is seeking a four-year deal in the $100 million range.

[My take: Manny is just stoking the fire …. wishful thinking … hoping to get teams bidding against each other …. in other words, its Scott Boras with dreadlocks.]

  • ESPN’s Buster Olney writes of the suddenly decreasing dollar value in offers to free agents, and offers Derek Lowe’s status as an example:

When the offseason began, the agent for Derek Lowe was asking teams for five years and $90 million, baseball executives say. Now that asking price is down by almost a third, and some general managers speculate that if the Yankees retain Andy Pettitte on a one-year deal, Lowe’s price will inevitably drop — and significantly.

The Yankees have been patiently waiting for Pettitte to make his decision, and as one official notes, one possible reason they have allowed him to take his time — rather than give him a deadline — is because the longer they wait, the more likely it is Lowe will be offered to them at a much more acceptable wage than what he was asking for at the outset of the offseason.

  • Pettitte’s return to Yankees “inevitable”, as per MLB.com.
  • At LoHud, Pete Abraham has some encouraging notes from the Winter Leagues.
  • Over at Yahoo!Sports, Richard Justice writes of Jason Giambi most likely returning to the A’s for 2009.
  • The News’ Wayne Coffey has a long piece on former Yankee SS Andre Robertson, whose career was cut short by a serious car crash in 1983.
  • Happy 55th birthday to Tom Underwood.  Underwood went 13-9 with a 3.66 ERA for Dick Howser’s 103-win club of 1980.
  • Matty Alou hits the big 7-0.  A career .307 hitter, he joined one of his brothers (Felipe) on the Yankee roster in 1973, hitting .296/.338/.356.
  • On this date in 1999, the Expos obtain P Hideki Irabu from the Yankees in exchange for P Jake Westbrook and two players to be named.

[My take: I wonder if Canadian customs agents held up the transportation of the rare “Fat Toad” across the border.]

Categories:  Diane Firstman  News of the Day

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1 sonyahennystutu   ~  Dec 22, 2008 9:40 am

Oh to be a fly on the collective walls of the Angels, Sox, Nats, O's and Yanks front offices, as well as the Boras lair. I'd love to know what was really going on here...

2 Shaun P.   ~  Dec 22, 2008 10:14 am

[1] The question is, who backs down first?

My own read on the situation is that: the O's, Nats, Red Sox, and Angels all made offers to Tex; the O's, Red Sox, and Angels have all rescinded those offers; and so that leaves Tex with but one offer, from the Nats.

Supposedly there's a mystery team with a shock-inducing offer, but I think that's just Boras posturing - and I think the Red Sox and Angels think the same way, hence why they rescinded their offers.

So now the question is - who blinks first? Does Tex/Boras decrease their demands? Or do the Angels or Red Sox give in to Tex/Boras? Or do the Yanks sweep in with an offer?

Because the alternative to all that is that Tex is signing with the Nats, and I just don't see that happening.

3 ny2ca2dc   ~  Dec 22, 2008 10:36 am

[2] I had the sense Boston didn't pull its offer, just made that statement about not being in the running.

4 Joseph   ~  Dec 22, 2008 11:29 am

Just before Beltran signed with the Mets, Boras called the Yankees and offered them Beltran at a somewhat discounted price (reportedly 100 mil / 7 yrs. as opposed to the 119 mil / 7 yrs. he signed with the Mets for ). Could Boras do the same with Tex, telling Cashman he could have Teixiera for 8 yrs./ $??? Wishful thinking, most likely.

If Cashman stands idly by and lets Boston scoop up Teixiera I'm going to have to seriously question what Brian is thinking. Everyone knows that Teixiera would be just what the doctor ordered for the Yankees for many reasons, and with the "double your pleasure and double your fun" factor of keeping him from Boston, it seems like a no-brainer.

5 sonyahennystutu   ~  Dec 22, 2008 12:02 pm

[4] I had the same thought and recollection (though I thought he offered CB to us at $100mm for 6 years, not 7, though I could be wrong)

Also shades of the Damon signing.

I would love it he landed here for say 8/160. I can't imagine Tex signing with the Nats or O's - particularly with the hindsight of what happened to ARod in Texas - if the Yanks offer 8/160. If the Red Sox go higher than that as has been reported, then fine.

Otherwise I think we do it and eat the payroll pain this year knowing that next year again a bunch comes off the books.

6 Raf   ~  Dec 22, 2008 12:07 pm

The PTBNL's? Ted Lilly & Christian Parker. Not a bad heist. Westbrook would go in the Justice deal, Lilly would be used to acquire Weaver.

Plate discipline or no (kinda hard to tell in the Dominican leagues, where pitchers bring the heat, but are often wild), I don't think Melky was as bad as he showed us last year. While I don't think he'll be an all-star, he's a useful part.

If Burnett has game, he can pitch here. All kinds of people have succeeded and failed in NY. Same goes for Sabathia.

I hope the Yanks get Teix as well. Makes the lineup that much deeper, and how is that a bad thing? Everyone bounces back, stays healthy and performs like they're supposed to, we have our 900 run offense...

7 Joseph   ~  Dec 22, 2008 12:14 pm

Yeah, I'm not certain whether it was 6 or 7 years Boras offered the Yankees. You may be right about 6. Some days my memory has a teflon like quality to it - things slide right off.

8 The Hawk   ~  Dec 22, 2008 12:45 pm

I think the Teixeira thing is now officially more ridiculous than the Sabathia thing. Maybe that was inevitable given Boras's involvement, but either way, I wish someone would pull the damn trigger.

I also feel like the longer this goes on, the better a chance the Yankees actually sign him. And while I was prepared to be disgusted if they did, I'm okay with the idea now. After all, one of the pitchers they signed was to replace a 20 game winner from last season, so fair enough there.

I mean if Teixeira stared at that Boston offer and declined, what the hell does the guy want - the BoSox are a contender, in the East, and they were offering serious bank. Is it possible he WANTS to go to the Yankees for some reason? Or is he really aiming for a DC-area team?

9 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 22, 2008 12:50 pm

All I know is that it's winter, and Riccardi needs a nice warm cup of STFU, period.

I suggested this in the early morn, the Yanks would do well to perhaps fly in with an eight-year offer comparable to Boston with a high front end (18-22 mil) and an opt-out after 4 years like CC's. You get rid of the Orioles, Nats! and maybe scare off the Angels, so it's between us and Boston. Boston would have to do something with Lowell and would end up eating a lot of his contract in the process, so signing Tex would be something of a large suppository for them at that point. Just a theory...

10 boslaw   ~  Dec 22, 2008 1:55 pm

My biggest concern is the inflexibility. It's rare for any player to remain that good for that long. We have so little flexibility now (arod, jeter, posada, damon, matsui) and that seems to have been a problem over the past 10 years. Maybe there's nothing better out there and you stick with your guys anyway, but it seems like it would be very nice to know that you can move if you need to.

I would say give him a 10 yr deal - player opt out after 4, team opt out after 6. Seems like a good happy medium. He's got Boras so he'll almost certainly opt out, and if it's all just money to re-up him, that's a game the Yanks can beat anyone at.

11 Shaun P.   ~  Dec 22, 2008 2:15 pm

[8] [9] [10] I think what Tex (and especially Boras) want is an opt-out, and my guess is the Red Sox are NOT willing to do it - at least not in the 8 year $184M range. In which case, I think Cashman should swoop in with an offer including an opt-out.

I also notice that "Tex's" "request" for 8 years, $184M is exactly 1 year (and $23M more) than what CC got. Boras does like for his clients to get the biggest deals.

12 sonyahennystutu   ~  Dec 22, 2008 2:39 pm

I have no problems, philosophical or otherwise, with giving him an opt out after 4 or 5 years. And if the deal is "only" 8 years, I wouldn't even feel that big a need to push for a club opt out toward the end of the total period...

13 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 22, 2008 5:06 pm

Sweet. I love a player/team 4/6 opt out. To make it interesting for Boras, the Yanks could offer to take on Manny at 3/60-70 (I still think more than 2 years is foolish, but if it entices Boras to push Tex to accept the first deal, I'd do it).

14 OldYanksFan   ~  Dec 22, 2008 8:50 pm

From MLBTR.com
7:20pm: Roch Kubatko of MASN Online learned from multiple sources that the Nationals "have sweetened their proposal to Teixeira, offering him an eight-year deal worth $178-184MM." He's been told they're willing to go nine years and there's been talk of ten.

The Sox have to get Tex. The Angel and (God forbid!) the Yanks can always go after Manny as a fallback, the Sox don't have that option. And certainly Dunn will like YS better then Fenway. The Sox are bluffing. They will go hard after Tex.

P.S. 8/$180m for Tex is NUTS! And why would he agree to a 'Team' opt out? In essense, that shortens his contract length. He would never go for it.

15 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 23, 2008 12:06 am

[14] He would if he were making 20-25mil the first four years and came off a couple of WS winners in his prime year. But if he's anything like he's been described (a true Boras client), then the Nats! will get him; Boras will make sure of that, and WITH an opt-out on top of it. If that offer is true, the Sux are in trouble if they do get him, because who's gonna help them out by taking Lowell and his contract? They're gonna bleed some red and perhaps prospects over that...

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
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