Powered by a $275,000 to $400,000 watch, here’s the news:
- ESPN.com’s Buster Olney recaps the offers made to Mark Teixeira to this point, and foresees that Tex will wind up with the BoSox at the end of all the circus acts:
Mark Teixeira told Red Sox owner John Henry the other day that he has offers higher than what the Red Sox offered, but as Boston gauges the market, it’s clear that club executives now must have serious doubts about that.
Does Teixeira really have lots of offers for more than what the Red Sox are offering? Clearly, Boston doesn’t think so. Only Boras knows for sure.
It seems that the game has played itself out, the last cards have been dealt, and now Teixeira is in position to make his decision. The read on the table here, still, is that he will sign with the Red Sox.
- The Record’s Bob Klapisch thinks a Girardi/Manny combo won’t work:
Just how much of the Yankees’ ineptitude was the fault of the over-zealous manager, who transferred his anxiety onto his players? Girardi’s postgame death stare was legend in the clubhouse; at times he wouldn’t even speak to his players, much less look at them, as he marched back to his office after a loss.
So before they start negotiating in earnest with Scott Boras, Manny’s agent, the Yankees need to consider how Ramirez would respond to Girardi’s state trooper mentality. Here’s an early theory: He won’t.
Put it this way: How likely is it that Manny would shed his dreadlocks for Girardi, as per club policy? Ramirez did trim his hair for Torre, but only by an insignificant amount. Torre, knowing that he needed a happy and productive Manny during a three-month rental, chose not to push the issue.
- MLB.com reports that the Yanks avoided arbitration with Chien-Ming Wang by signing him to a one-year deal worth $5 million.
[My take: Do only position players get offered deals to buy out arbitration and/or free agency years? Given Wang's excellent track record, his youth, and the fact that none of his injuries have been arm-related, would there be any incentive for the Yanks to wrap him up for a few years, at least in terms of vesting options based on innings pitched? The Tribe are well-known for buying out a year or two of free agency of young position players, saving a few bucks now and down the road. But the Yanks have only done that sort of thing with one player of recent vintage (Cano), and so far, its not a bargain for the Bombers. Nonetheless, if I'm Wang, I'm looking at A.J. Burnett's track record and saying "we get outs in different ways, but I'm just as effective in terms of winning games. How about a multi-year deal for me?"]
- The Star-Ledger’s Dan Graziano writes of his having the Yanks pegged for third place again in ’09. He compares the Rays, Sox and Yankees in terms of offense, defense and pitching, and finds the Yanks trailing in all respects except relievers.
- At FOXSports, Dayn Perry reaches the same conclusion as Graziano.
- Per Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, it appears that Ellis Burks, the special assistant to Indians GM Mark Shapiro, played a role in helping CC Sabathia mature during his time with the Indians, and then helped him decide if the pitcher wanted to play ball on the East Coast:
“I just told him that there’s a big difference between the two coasts when it comes to things like the intensity of the fans, the intensity of the media, and that you’re much more accountable for everything. I told him when you go to New York you’ve got to know you can handle it. He turned to me and said, ‘I think I can handle it.’ And I said, ‘No, that’s not good enough, you’ve got to know you can handle it before you make a commitment like that.’ That’s when he turned to me and said, ‘I know I can handle it.’ And I believe him. He’s got thick skin and he’s done everything he’s ever put his mind to do. He’ll be very good there.”
- The Captain thinks Manny could still be Manny, and a Yankee: Chris Mascaro from Newsday has a quote from Jeter on whether Manny could make it in pinstripes:
“We’ve had some free personalities throughout the years,” he said. ” David Wells was his own person, Giambi is his own person, Johnny is his own person. When you’re on the field, you’re all trying to accomplish one thing. We welcome people with their own personality.” …
“You guys are asking me all these Manny questions, but Manny’s not on our team,” he said. “I don’t know him personally. With the exception of playing against him and some All-Star Games, I don’t know him well. I know he’s had a lot of success everywhere he’s gone.”
[My take: Unlike Manny, Jeter doesn't take his disputes with management out on the field. How well would that play in da Bronx?]
- Over at BizofBaseball.com, Maury Brown lays out how the Yanks found themselves flush with cash to spend this off-season, and the strong desire to spend it.
- They may be flush with cash, but they’re gonna pony up a sizable amount in luxury tax for ’09. The AP reports that the Bombers will be paying $26.9 million to the Commissioner’s Office, based on their being subjected to a 40% tax on 2008 team salaries over $155 million.
- At the Toaster’s Cardboard Gods, Josh Wilker has a nice multimedia perspective on the late Dock Ellis.
- Speaking of cardboard gods, it appears Phil Hughes is a huge collector of baseball cards and assorted memorabilia, to the point of privately responding to a request from a fan on a baseball card message board:
His username was “nyyphily45″ and he told me that he could hook me up with anything Phil Hughes. We exchanged messages for a while and I asked him what he had for me. He told me that he had anything from hats, jerseys, balls, cards, etc. I was interested in all of that stuff, so I asked him what he needed. He told me that he was Phil Hughes. I didn’t believe him when he first said it, but I gave him a chance. … I guess I was the first to know about his identity, because he told me to keep it on the down low. … I offered him money or baseball cards in return, but he refused to accept that. He told me that he would send me some stuff for free. I was like..what do I have to lose? He told me that he would cover shipping and handling.
A couple of weeks later, I received a box from UPS. I noticed the return address had the name Phil Hughes in it. I opened it up and there they were. He sent me three brand new autographed hats, along with a bunch of signed baseball cards, and a small note on the envelope. I was amazed. I later thanked him for everything he sent me. He was very generous, and nice enough to take the time and package this stuff up and send it to me. He later revealed his identity to the message boards, and everyone went wild. Most of them didn’t believe who he was claiming to be, so he had to prove it.
Later on, the administrator of this message board was notified about this. The site verified that it was him …
- Former Banter favorite Andy Phillips got a minor league contract and a Spring Training invite with the Pirates, as per MLBTradeRumors.
- MLB.com reports that 19-year-old Yankee catching prospect Damian Taveras has been suspended for the first 50 games of the 2009 season, after testing positive for Stanozolol, an anabolic steroid.
- Shawn Chacon turns 31 today. Chacon went 7-3 with a 2.85 ERA in 2005 after the Yanks acquired him from Colorado (where he had gone 1-7 to start the year). He then somehow went 5-3 despite an ERA of 7.00 and a WHIP of 1.794 in ’06, before being dealt to the Pirates for Craig Wilson.
- Tim Leary hits the big 5-0 today. Despite decent peripherals (202H, 78BB, 18HRA, 138K, 4.11 ERA in 208IP), Leary went 9-19 for the 1990 Yanks. His 19 losses were the most since Mel Stottlemyre’s 20 in 1966.
- On this date in 1981, the Yankees sign free agent OF/1B Dave Collins for a reported $750,000 a year for at least three seasons. Collins, who stole 79 bases for the Cincinnati Reds in 1979, will end up a bust in New York and will be traded after one season to the Toronto Blue Jays.
[As I remember it, Boss George came down with a case of stolen base and team speed envy after the 1981 season, and decided that what the Yanks really needed was their own version of Rickey Henderson or Willie Wilson. Unfortunately, Collins hit .253/.315/.330 and went a dismal 13 for 21 in SBs for the Bombers.]