Let’s dive right in . . .
- Ken Rosenthal lists the Yankees CF battle as one of the top positional tussles of the Spring:
The team only will benefit from the way Brett Gardner has pushed Melky Cabrera. Gardner looks like the favorite to win the job, but Cabrera also has played well, knowing he is less secure.
Gardner can loosen up a defense with his speed and bunting, but he lacks power and is not necessarily the answer over a full season. No problem; Gardner can start 100 games and Cabrera 60, or vice versa. Ideally, they will continue bringing the best out of each other.
- PeteAbe puts his two cents in on the Derek Jeter decline conundrum:
I find the idea that Derek Jeter should go play the outfield to be ridiculous. We have no idea if he can as he’s literally never played there a day in his life. So his lack of range at shortstop will disappear in the outfield?
He’s your shortstop until his contract expires after the 2010 season. Then you have two choices: Bid him a fond farewell or offer him some sort of DH/super utility role at a respectful salary.
The Yankees painted themselves into a corner when they signed Posada for four years, A-Rod for 10 (Seriously, great idea Hank. Just excellent.) and Mark Teixeira for eight. You can’t move Jeter to first or third and Posada isn’t going to be an everyday catcher forever. He’ll DH at some point.
- Apparently the Colorado fans are wondering if Jeff Baker is going to the Bombers:
Baker would make sense for the Astros or Yankees. However, the Yankees,a source close to their situation said tonight, are committed to giving Cody Ransom a shot while Alex Rodriguez is out. They liked him as a utility player before A-Rod’s surgery and he has enjoyed a strong spring. Remember, when Derek Jeter was hurt a few years ago, they went with a no-name for a few weeks.
Circumstances could change, but they don’t want to be held hostage in a trade for a player they might only need for 75 at-bats or so.
- Joel Sherman discusses the future of Chien-Mien Wang:
Wang is going to be a free agent after the 2010 season so to keep him the Yankees are going to have to pay him elite dollars over a long-term to stay: He will likely have a case that he should be paid commensurate with the five years at $82.5 million bestowed A.J. Burnett. And the Yanks, internally, are not positive about going to such extents with Wang. He has pitched four seasons in the majors and two have been interrupted by injury. They wonder how a pitcher who does not strike out batters will age as he loses some bite on his sinking fastball, especially since he has been sketchy in developing the rest of his repertoire. And he would begin a new contract in 2011 at age 31, so you almost certainly are buying declining years.
Because of all of this, the Yankees have weighed trade scenarios in the past involving Wang and, I suspect, they will continue to at least listen, especially if they believe that (Phil) Hughes is capable of being, at minimum, a cost-effective, mid-rotation starter.
- Audi is now the “official luxury vehicle” of the Yankees. So what does that entail?:
The new relationship also includes the naming of the Audi Yankees Club, an exclusive viewing location and membership restaurant, located on the H&R Block Suite Level in left field.
The Audi Yankees Club will be a branded space with the Audi logo displayed on the glass entrance doors and on a glass partition at the entrance. The Club will provide guests a luxurious location to view the game in true Audi style.
Additionally, the Audi logo will be prominently located on the exterior facade of the H&R Block Suite Level and the Audi brand will be featured on napkins, brochures and televisions within the space.
The deal will also see elements including in-stadium branding opportunities and select Audi vehicle display dates on the Babe Ruth Plaza at Yankee Stadium.
- Keith Olbermann now has his own baseball blog over at MLB.com.
- The Times offers up background on the new MLB Network from a media and advertising perspective:
Media buyers said that the talent the network had hired — Bob Costas, Al Leiter, Harold Reynolds and Barry Larkin, among others — had given the network credibility. Reaction to the network’s signature studio show, “M.L.B. Tonight,” similar to ESPN’s “Baseball Tonight,” also has been positive. With the start of the M.L.B. regular season on April 6, the network will expand its “M.L.B. Tonight” studio show to about nine hours, from one hour, each night.
Tony Petitti, the former executive producer of CBS Sports who is now the M.L.B. Network president, said multiple sets in the studio would be used during the “M.L.B. Tonight” broadcasts, to “accommodate advertisers with in-studio signage opportunities.”
- A-Rod’s stock has dropped in fantasy baseball.
- Pat Borzi of the Times paints a depressing picture of the aging and aged Boss George:
About half an hour before the start of Tuesday night’s Yankees-Red Sox game at Steinbrenner Field, two Yankees employees prepared a wheelchair in the wide hallway across from the Yankees’ clubhouse. One couldn’t decide whether to put one cushion on the chair or two. “One,” the other said. “He likes one.”
Moments later, a golf cart chugged down the hall carrying Steinbrenner, with his familiar shades-and-windbreaker look. Steinbrenner often buzzed around in a cart in the old days, but this was different. Several workers helped him into the chair, and they wheeled him to an elevator in the lobby, which whisked him up to a luxury suite on the first-base side.
- Lee Mazzilli turns 54 today. He was acquired by the Yanks in 1982, for another one-time matinee idol, Bucky Dent.