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Category: News of the Day

News Update – 3/4/10

This update is powered by this cool Rube Goldberg-inspired music video:

  • Nine facts you may not know about Mo, including:

1. Of the 39 relievers with 200 or more saves, only Mariano Rivera has pitched for one team.

4. For the third straight season, Rivera threw only one wild pitch (this follows four straight seasons of no wild pitches). He has thrown only 12 in his career. Last season, his Yankees teammate A.J. Burnett and the Mariners’ Felix Hernandez each threw 17 to the backstop.

6. For the third straight season, Rivera threw three four-pitch walks (one intentional) to bring his lifetime total of four-pitch walks up to 50, which includes 31 intentional walks.

The Yankees need to find a way to make Derek Jeter a Yankee for Life. There’s really only one way. At some point the Steinbrenner family would have to take him into the ownership group.

. . . Jeter, of course, is in the final year of his 10-year, $189 million contract. The Yankees and Jeter will come together on a new deal at some point, but Jeter needs to be a Yankee for Life and there is a way to make him one. The Yankees need to work out a deal with Jeter where they allow him to become part of Yankees ownership after his playing days are complete. Players cannot be part of ownership, so this would have to be a separate deal.

. . . Jeter is set on being an owner when his playing days are done. Without specifically talking about the Yankees, Jeter told The Post yesterday that being an owner is “definitely a goal of mine.”


News Update – 3/1/10

This update is powered by . . . an all-star performance of  “In the Midnight Hour”

  • Joel Sherman warns of the major contracts of the aging Yankee core.
  • Ramiro Pena realizes he won’t be playing short on a regular basis anytime soon.
  • Brian Cashman, on Robby Cano:

“He’s already one of the premier guys in the game, but that’s the only thing separating him from taking it to a whole other level,” Brian Cashman said. “If he can be more selective at the plate, he could have a Hall of Fame-type career.”

Since Cano debuted in 2005, his .306 average ranks 13th among all active players and fourth among all American Leaguers who have played at least 700 games, trailing only Ichiro Suzuki (.328), Derek Jeter (.322) and Michael Young (.313).

“He’s still young,” Cashman said. “He really has a chance to make a name for himself that would last forever. That’s the type of hitting talent he has.”

Mark Teixeira, who watched Cano from across the field for four years, didn’t gain an appreciation for just how good the 27-year-old is until last season.

“He has so much talent, it would be easy for him to say, ‘I’m going to let my talent play and I’ll have a decent year,'” Teixeira said. “But he wants to be one of the best – and he can be.”


News Update – 2/25/10

This update is powered by an amazing mathematician:

. . . If he stays healthy, Rodriguez, who turns 35 in July, is an overwhelming favorite to shatter Barry Bonds’s career record of 762 home runs. Sometime near the 2011 All-Star Game break, Jeter, who currently has 2,747 hits, is projected to get his 3,000th.

. . . Only eight players have amassed more than 3,400, and only five have reached the 3,500 mark, beginning with Tris Speaker at 3,514.

Whether ranking in the top five will mean something to Jeter and motivate him to keep playing remains to be seen.  . . .

Rodriguez, meanwhile, begins this season with 583 home runs and should surpass 600 sometime in late June or early July, reach 700 in 2013 and overtake Bonds in late 2015 or early 2016, when he will be 40 years old.

. . . The most crucial variable is health. Rodriguez missed 38 games last season following hip surgery. Jeter is a remarkably durable player — he has played at least 148 games in all but one of his 14 full seasons — but shortstop is a demanding position. If he continues to play there and perform at a high level, he would buck the trend.

“It’d be tough,” said Curtis Granderson, the Yankees’ new center fielder. “But it’d kind of be like Ken Griffey Jr. Everybody in here who’s a baseball fan knows Ken Griffey Jr. as a Seattle Mariner. Then he goes to Cincinnati and Chicago and back to Seattle. Jeter’s definitely in that category. If Ken Griffey can move teams, you never know.”


News Update – 2/22/10

This update is brought to you by Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards:

Posada caught Vazquez for the first time in more than five years during a bullpen session Sunday.

“I asked him if he remembered the way I pitched,” Vazquez said.

Vazquez, originally scheduled to throw Wednesday, wanted to get in a 30-pitch session because it had been too long (about 10 days) since he last threw, in Puerto Rico.

Like other starters pitching their first session, Vazquez threw only fastballs and changeups. Soon, he will add in a slider that he did not throw during his first tour with the Yankees. Posada said what impressed him most is how Vazquez has adjusted over the years. He specifically mentioned his two best off-speed pitches, his changeup and curve, and how he has a much better feel for increasing and decreasing the velocity of those pitches.


News Update – 2/18/10

This update is powered by the Peanuts gang, cause its still a kid’s game (smile):

. . . Will Joba Chamberlain start or relieve? Or will Phil Hughes get the job? Or will both tyros be in the pen, opening up the rotation slot to a more classically defined fifth-starter type like Chad Gaudin or the reliably bad Sergio Mitre? Or will Alfredo Aceves swap places with Hughes and Chamberlain and get the skippable fifth man’s job? . . .  With the decisions to acquire Javier Vazquez and retain Andy Pettitte, the fifth starter’s slot ought to be skippable given an expensive quality front four; a quick run through the Yankees schedule suggests that the they could avoid starting anybody on short rest and reduce the fifth slot to 25 turns on the year. . . .  it also has the nice advantage of having the fifth starter face the Red Sox or Rays just once in 13 September games against their two most likely rivals, and they could easily turn that number into zero if they felt the need.

Of course, any such proposition relies on the front four being healthy and delivering, and I’ve already expressed my doubts about Javier Vazquez. . . .

. . . If the Bombers were to leave Hughes and Chamberlain in the bullpen for a combined 150-160 innings, it isn’t hard to envision a dramatic improvement, and if Aceves ends up manning the middle innings, that might add up to a historically outstanding unit by any flavor of relief metric.

As for the outfield, I don’t really see the contest as that dramatic, since I expect an initial job-sharing arrangement not unlike what happened last year between Gardner and Melky Cabrera. However, Winn’s the sort of hurdle Gardner should be able to beat out over time, and regardless of the outcome both players should get plenty of at-bats, especially once the Yankees decide there’s not much to be done about Curtis Granderson’s issues against lefties.


News Update – 2/15/10

Today’s update is powered by . . . chocolates, and Lucy:

. . . In some ways, Jeter’s performance will affect the size of his next contract. If he has another standout season, churning out hits and moving nimbly from side to side on defense, he is clearly in a stronger position. But unless he pulls a George Costanza and drags the championship trophy around the parking lot from his bumper, Jeter’s legacy is secure. He is the icon of the franchise.

. . . Jeter’s value is different, and the Yankees understand they must treat him as a special case. Parting ways would be devastating to their brand, but no less so to Jeter’s legacy. The Yankees and Jeter need each other, and it is hard to imagine acrimony at the bargaining table.

. . . Jeter’s ability to stay above the fray, easily accessible to the news media yet out of the firing line, is part of his mystique. In Jeter, the Yankees know they have a dependable, well-spoken, maintenance-free front man for a global business. That is part of why they will pay him handsomely after this season.

The question is how much. Jeter has talked about wanting to own a team someday, and his next contract will help in that ambition. The value of the deal will also reveal something about Jeter and his true feelings about Rodriguez.

Will Jeter demand a contract that also takes him through age 42? Will he seek to make more than Rodriguez?

[My take: Give him three years/$60-70M and then a stake in the Yanks.]

“The industry the last two free agent markets seems to be going downward and the player’s ages are going upward,” Cashman said. “It makes more sense to be patient. My attitude is if this is the place you want to be, you will make it happen. Johnny Damon professed his love for the Yankees, wanted to be here and was given every chance to be here. He’s not here anymore and I don’t feel that is the Yankees’ fault. They have to reconcile why they are not here, not me. If people want to be here and be a part of something, then find a way to work it out. Of course we want (Jeter, Rivera, and Girardi) back, but we choose to delay that until the end of the year.”

Cashman confirmed reports that Damon wanted the same two-year, $18-million deal that right fielder Bobby Abreu got from the Angels in order to re-sign with the Yankees, who countered with two years and $14 million. Damon reportedly has a two-year, $14-million offer on the table from the Tigers.

“I hope he does not sign for something less than our offer,” Cashman said. “That means he should have been a Yankee and that’s not our fault.


News Update – 2/11/10

Today’s update is powered by the ballad of Beaker:

The Yankees could be facing a most interesting offseason following the 2010 season. Closer Mariano Rivera and shortstop Derek Jeter, two franchise icons, will become eligible for free agency, and manager Joe Girardi’s three-year contract will expire.

The Yankees have a strict policy of not negotiating contracts until the current one has expired. Thus, questions about the future of all three will hang over the Yankees all season. GM Brian Cashman, though, does not see that as a potential problem.

“Everybody signed those contracts and there is a lot of money being made and people are comfortable,” Cashman told the New York Post‘s irascible George Arthur King III.


News Update – 2/8/10

Today’s update is powered by the almighty Nawlins staple, the po’boy:

  • MLB.com examines the versatility of the Yankees’ outfielders.
  • Might a former Yankee prospect (since traded) be older than advertised?:

His birth certificate and passport say outfielder Jose Tabata was born Aug. 12, 1988, in Anzoategui, Venezuela. Yet, during a recent radio interview, general manager Neal Huntington admitted there are “a lot of rumblings” that Tabata might actually be in his mid-20s.

In Latin America, record-keeping can be spotty, especially when it comes to youngsters with excellent baseball skills. The New York Yankees investigated Tabata’s background in 2005 and, satisfied he truly was 16, signed him as an undrafted free agent.

The Pirates are not publicly disputing Tabata’s age, and yet …

“All of the documentation he has used to obtain his visa from the U.S. government and his passport from the Venezuelan government indicates his reported age is accurate,” Huntington said in an e-mail to the Tribune-Review. “Apart from unfounded speculation, there is nothing to indicate his age any different than reported. My point is that while we have reason to doubt his reported age, it is a non-issue to us.”

Q: How much of a relief is it to you that the “Joba Rules,” which limited your innings, are now a thing of the past?

JC: It means I’m growing up. As a competitor, I definitely got frustrated at times. But at the end of the day, I also understood why they were doing it. And I have the utmost respect for them taking that time and going through the good and the bad with me. Now we’ve done it. We’re better for it. We all learned how to handle the situation, and now I can just go out and play the game and get 200-plus innings in.

Back on Thursday.

News Update – 2/4/10

Today’s update is powered by . . . Man vs. Food (baseball food)

“They’re the World Series champions from last year and I have a chance to compete and get some playing time,” Winn said in a phone interview Tuesday night with The Associated Press from the Bay Area where he still lives. “I thought it was a great fit, being a versatile guy who can play all three outfield positions and can hit anywhere in the lineup.”

. . . “This came together quickly. The offseason was slow,” Winn said. “I didn’t really know what to expect. I got calls with interest but no offers.”

122. Jose Molina, C: If the Yankees re-sign him, A.J. Burnett should be forced to pay half his contract.


News Update – 2/1/10

Today’s update is powered by a Super Bowl QB, and Pampers . . . its a somewhat bizarre, long-form “commercial”:

  • Jay Jaffe wonders where Johnny Damon will end up:

Where does that leave Damon?  . . . Even for Abreu money at $5 million per year, say, he may be too rich for some of these teams’ blood, and other obstacles may lie in his path. For reference, Damon’s park-neutral projection calls for him to hit .274/.353/.425 with 17 homers and 17 steals in 587 plate appearances, not to mention a +3 FRAA in left field (our system has been considerably more optimistic about his defense than other systems), which would be all good for a .271 EqA and 2.4 WARP, half of what he was worth last year. PECOTA simply doesn’t love ballplayers over the age of 35.

. . .  the Mariners and Braves seem to have the most flexibility, in that adding Damon wouldn’t put an established full-time player out of a job. If I had to put my nickel down, it would be on either of those two, with a slight edge for Seattle due to the ability to DH him occasionally. But their interest in him is no given, and I suspect whoever lands him will have to surprise us with another move in order to do so.

News Update – 1/28/10

This update is powered by a trip in the Wayback Machine, to a commercial for Compaq computers, with John Cleese:

  • As you probably know by now, the Yanks will be adding free agent Randy Winn to their roster.  But they might not be done hunting for outfielders:

The Post also reported that the Yankees could be closing in on a Minor League contract with (Rocco) Baldelli, which would pit him against roster hopefuls like Rule 5 Draft selection Jamie Hoffmann and speedster Greg Golson, acquired on Tuesday from the Rangers for a Minor Leaguer.

. . . “That’s something that we’ll discuss as we get down to Spring Training,” (Joe) Girardi said. “You kind of wait to see what’s going to happen here, if we do sign another bat and another outfielder, and how that really adjusts everyone’s playing time.

“I’m not really locked into anything. We’re going to do whatever makes our team the best, but until we have that full team, it’s kind of hard to make that decision.”

. . . “When you look at our outfield, right field is the short porch, and left and center are the areas to cover ground,” Girardi said. “I think wherever we put either one of them, they’re going to cover a lot of ground when they’re out there.

“If Gardy is in left, he’s going to cover a lot of ground and that’s going to be helpful. Our field is built to where you want your left fielder and your center fielder to cover a lot of ground.”


News Update – 1/25/10

Today’s update is powered by Fats Domino (congrats to the Saints on their first Super Bowl appearance):

Alex Rodriguez looked at the award he just received from Babe Ruth’s granddaughter with big eyes and a broad grin. It was as if he almost couldn’t believe it was his. “Postseason MVP. Wow,” Rodriguez said Saturday night. Pausing for effect he added, “What’s next, the good guy award?”

. . . And after he told fans at the dinner that “he’d stick to the script of 2009 and keep it very, very brief,” he choked up, taking a long pause — save for a nervous laugh — to look down at the podium and smile awkwardly.

Back on Thursday.

News Update – 1/21/10

Today’s update is powered by The Charlatans UK:

. . . Baldelli would make a nice choice for a platoon situation and fits the bill as a right-handed bat that the Yankees could add without breaking the bank. Despite the medical limitations that interfered after he was once a first-round Draft pick, Baldelli can hit — especially against left-handers — and for what it’s worth, he was also well liked in the clubhouse with the Rays and Red Sox.

  • FanGraphs crunched the numbers, and values Derek Jeter’s 2009 season quite highly:

Back in late July, R.J. noted that Derek Jeter was having a resurgent offensive season and on his way to an excellent year. Jeter did not let up after that, either. He finished the season with a wRC+ of 142, his best since 2006 and second best since 1999. Combine that with excellent defense at short and Jeter had a 7.5-win season, his best year in the Fangraphs-WAR era and fifth-best among position players in 2009.


News Update – 1/18/10

Today’s update powered by Mr. Louis Armstrong:

That’s it for a slow weekend recap . . . see you Thursday.

News Update – 1/14/09

Today’s update is powered by Haitian-born musician, rapper and producer Wyclef Jean:

  • Extra musical power for this update provided by Teddy Pendergrass, who died yesterday from colon cancer at the age of 59.

“I definitely think that they cheated,” Gossage said on Tuesday in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. “And what does the Hall of Fame consist of? Integrity. Cheating is not part of integrity.”

. . . “The integrity of the Hall of Fame and the numbers and the history are all in jeopardy,” said Gossage, inducted two years ago. “I don’t think they should be recognized. Here’s a guy Aaron, we’re talking about the greatest record of all records. And he did it on a level playing field. He did it with God-given talent. And the same with Maris, absolutely. These are sacred records and they’ve been shattered by cheaters.”


News Update – 1/11/10

Today’s update is powered by Mr. Billy Taylor (no, not THIS one):

After months of speculation that the Yankees’ hunk and his sexy steady Minka Kelly are headed to the altar, The Post has learned that the super couple may have settled on a wedding date — Nov. 5.

And while it may bring little solace to Jeter’s legion of female admirers, fretful Yankees fans will be glad to note the date is at least two days after the World Series ends.


News of the Day – 1/7/09

Today’s update is powered by . . . a chorus of complainers:

. . . The Yankees general manager confirmed a report that Sergio Mitre has avoided arbitration and agreed to a one-year deal for next season. Jerry Crasnick says it’s worth $850,000. It’s a non-guaranteed deal.

Understandably, a lot of Yankees fans are down on Mitre — his 6.79 ERA last year probably has something to do with that — but he was only a year removed from Tommy John surgery in 2009, and actually began the season less than a year removed. As he gets further from the procedure, his arm strength should improve. That’s why he’s going to get another look this spring.

A few other notes from Cashman:

• The Yankees remain in the market for an outfielder, but not a starting outfielder. “I consider this position I’m playing in as a bench role,” Cashman said. “Right-handed hitting outfielder that Joe can look on the bench and say, I’m not going to start one of my left-handers, I’m going to start a right-hander.”


News Update – 1/4/10

Happy New Year everyone!  Today’s update is brought to you by a classic later edition “Hollywood Squares” moment:

  • MLB.com offers 10 questions for the Yankees in 2010, including:

7. What will Johnson add, and can he stay healthy?

The first part of that question is easier to answer than the second. Johnson gives the Yankees a lineup cog powered by on-base percentage, and that’s really the appeal, since he’s obviously not going to start at first base over Teixeira. If he gets on board and becomes RBIs in the stats columns for guys like Teixeira and A-Rod, he’s doing his job.

The problem is that “DL” is almost as attached to Johnson as “OBP.” It’s not like the Yankees didn’t have to treat Matsui carefully as their designated hitter in ’09, but the point is that Johnson will be no help if he’s on the shelf.

8. Is Vazquez going to be able to cut it in New York?

Yankees fans don’t exactly have the greatest memories of Vazquez’s 2004 season, particularly the grand slam he served up to Damon in Game 7 of that year’s American League Championship Series, so it’s easy to understand some hesitation. But he was also pitching with a lingering shoulder problem that he hid from the trainers a little too long, and the makeup of this staff is a lot different than it was in ’04. If you stack Vazquez against the other fourth starters around the AL, he compares very nicely. No one is looking to Vazquez to drive the bus — that’s Sabathia’s job. All he has to do is stay on turn and come along for the ride.

9. What does the year hold for Chamberlain and Hughes?

The Vazquez trade helped create a domino effect in that, on paper, now only one of the two touted righties would have to be in the rotation for Opening Day — and perhaps neither. Chamberlain and Hughes would conceivably fight for the fifth spot in the rotation, and whoever loses that competition either goes to the bullpen or goes to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. It’s worth noting that Chamberlain has no innings restrictions, and Hughes still does. Don’t forget, Alfredo Aceves, Chad Gaudin and Sergio Mitre have to be considered in that mix too, along with Zach McAllister and Ivan Nova.

News Update – 12/28/09

Today’s update is powered by one of my favorite Lennon solo tunes:

  • MLB.com offers a month-by-month recap of the Yanks’ 2009 season.
  • Tyler Kepner has a brief review of the decade in baseball.
  • Similarly, Ben Shpigel reviews Alex Rodriguez’s decade.
  • Maury Brown analyzes the gap between the Yankees and the lowest-payroll teams over the past decade.
  • Jesus Montero is the #5 prospect for 2010, as per Baseball America.

Poll time!

[poll id=”45″]

I’m off till next Monday.  Have a safe and happy New Year!

News Update – 12/24/09

Today’s update is powered by a unique version of the “Hallelujah Chorus”

On his conference call with reporters, Vazquez acknowledged – for the first time, I think – that his problems for the Yankees in the second half of 2004 were related to shoulder fatigue. I had always been told that the Yankees suspected shoulder problems but ultimately concluded it was poor mechanics.

“My arm didn’t feel as good in the second half as it did in the first half,” Vazquez said, referring to a season that included an All-Star first half but a second-half implosion that included the fateful Game 7 against the Red Sox.

“It’s really the only time in my career that I felt a little bit that my arm wasn’t where it was supposed to be. I started getting treatment a little later than I should have. I never said anything, and I went out there every five days. I hate not being out there.”

While Cashman hasn’t been quite The Cash Man this time, the Yankees did take on the three years and $25.75 million remaining on Granderson’s contract and will pay Vazquez $11.5 million in 2010. That leads to the age-old question of whether the Yankees have an unlimited budget. “I do have a number I’m working under,” Cashman said. “We will be under that number.”

The Yankees seem determined to stay under $200 million, as even the sport’s most well-heeled franchise is sensitive to claims it bought the franchise’s 27th World Series title with last winter’s spending spree. Yet there are many people around baseball who believe owner Hal Steinbrenner will give Cashman the OK to go over the $200 million threshold to sign a premier free agent such as Matt Holliday or Jason Bay to fill the hole in left field created when they decided not to re-sign Damon last week.


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