• Yankee Player To Be Paid $45.5 Million For Season In 2014

    Posted by on November 27th, 2007 · Comments (2)

    Think about it.

    Alex Rodriguez will receive $6 million when he reaches each of five milestones: the career home run totals of Willie Mays (660), Babe Ruth (714), Henry Aaron (755) and Barry Bonds (762), and when he breaks the record. This is above his annual salary of $27.5 million.

    A-Rod should reach 660 homers in 2011. And, he should reach 714 homers in 2012.

    But, come 2014, during that year, A-Rod should be reaching his 755th, 762nd and 763rd career homeruns in the season.

    So, when you add $6 million times three to the $27.5 million, Alex Rodriguez will earn $45.5 million in 2014.

    Some payday, huh?

    Hey, At Least Hank Didn’t Suggest Rod Scurry Or Al Holland

    Posted by on November 27th, 2007 · Comments (7)

    The daily “Get To Know Hank” story for today. From Mark Kriegel this time:

    “Some of his statements were surprising to me,” said Harvey Greene, who served valiantly (if thanklessly) as the Yankee PR man in the Dark Ages from ’86 to ’89. “He was never outspoken like that.”

    Hank chose the worst of all possible years to apprentice in the family business. It was 1986, a season that saw his father’s nightmare become reality with the Mets and the Red Sox meeting in the World Series. George the Elder was at his worst: bitching and bullying and firing employees at will. Green, now senior vice president for media relations with the Miami Dolphins recalls being sacked “about five times” in his Yankees career.

    None of this was lost on Hank, then a 28-year-old with a taste for Led Zeppelin. The great Hank story — and it is told several ways, though not by Greene — has him being asked what it would take for the team to exhibit sustained improvement. “Simple,” said Hank. “Get rid of my father.”

    He was kidding. Or was he?

    “Hank was a decent guy,” recalls another former Yankee employee. “He wasn’t going to fire a secretary over a tuna fish sandwich. He never had George’s temper.”

    “He could laugh at himself and laugh at his father, which not many people could do,” says Greene. “Hank didn’t want to be heavy-handed. He didn’t like when people got berated. He was more sensitive.”

    That’s not to say he enjoyed being laughed at, either, as he was after saying Dave Righetti should rejoin the rotation. The closer’s duties, he added, should go to someone named Alfonso Pulido. As these suggestions were greeted with near universal scorn, one can’t help but think that Hank acquired the hard way what George never would: humility.

    Hank Steinbrenner left his father’s team not long after that episode. The baseball business — at least as it was practiced in the Bronx and Tampa — was not for him. He didn’t need the limelight. He didn’t need to be the Boss’ son. He did something not many have been able to do — leave the New York Yankees of his own volition.

    “He had the courage to walk away from his father,” says Greene.

    Alfonso Pulido. Gotta love it.

    Johan, Whitey & Zito

    Posted by on November 27th, 2007 · Comments (3)

    I was just playing around with the Complete Baseball Encyclopedia, looking for a “comp” on Johan Santana – based on his throwing hand, age, innings thrown, and effectiveness (in terms of ERA against the league and RSAA). And, this is what I found:

    Hey, we know that Ford guy, right?

    Does this mean that Johan Santana has another very good seven years in him, like Whitey Ford did? Of course not – it only shows you how Johan has performed, to date. And, he’s been Whitey Ford-like.

    But, in fact, we know that, two years ago, Barry Zito looked like a good Whitey Ford comp too – and, we know how Zito is doing now.

    You know, the Red Sox have been very good at this “trade for a starter and lock him up” thing. See Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling and Josh Beckett. The Yankees? Well, they’re not so good at it (under Brian Cashman). See Javier Vazquez, Randy Johnson and Jeff Weaver.

    If the Yankees are going to make a big play for Johan Santana, I hope they really know what to look for, now, and have learned from their mistakes in the past.

    To me, the key is “Age, Injury-potential, and Make-up.”

    Checking Johan’s age is simple – and, he passes the test there. As far as the soundness of his body, one would hope that the Yankees would check out his shoulder, elbow, forearm, etc., with great detail before signing him to a long deal.

    The attitude thing is the tough nut. Does he have that borderline-cockiness confidence when he’s on the mound? Basically, is he a win-day pitcher – meaning the day he pitches, you win (because he’s someone who finds getting beat to be unacceptable)? Can he handle October? Is he the guy who wants the ball in Games 1, 4, and 7 of a seven-game series? Can he handle New York? Is he smart enough to play nice with the media or strong enough to block them out and not care what they say?

    I don’t know the answers to these questions. And, I’m not sure how the Yankees will find these answers – but, they better…before they pull the trigger on a deal for Santana.

    One Yank In Bangkok

    Posted by on November 27th, 2007 · Comments (1)

    From Reuters -

    U.S. baseball star Johnny Damon returned to his Thai roots amid great fanfare on Tuesday but the special Thanksgiving lunch laid on for him at a girls’ orphanage was less well received.

    “Not very tasty, don’t like it,” was the general chorus as the girls, whose national “kitchen of the world” cuisine is fiery and flavorsome, warily eyed their portions of roast turkey.

    New York Yankees player Damon, whose U.S. serviceman father met his mother while stationed in Thailand during the Vietnam War, was on a two-day trip to Bangkok, returning to his mother’s homeland for the first time in 32 years.

    “The last time I came I was two years old,” said Damon, who is considered one of the best leadoff hitters in Major League Baseball. “I’m sorry it’s taken so long.”

    During the lunch, one of the girls asked him what he did for a living, prompting roars of laughter from everyone else. Another boldly asked why he had left World Series winners the Boston Red Sox to join their New York archrivals.

    “Because they didn’t want me any more,” Damon answered with a broad grin.

    Poor Johnny. He’s probably going to be asked about the Red Sox a lot this year. But, he’s right – they didn’t want him any more. That’s pretty clear now.

    SOTD: Rickey, Raines & Butler 1982 to 1995

    Posted by on November 27th, 2007 · Comments (3)

    Would Rock make this trade? What do you think?

    What If All The Ships Come In?

    Posted by on November 27th, 2007 · Comments (16)

    Here’s a “What If?” for you….

    What if…the Yankees acquire Johan Santana and Andy Pettitte comes back in 2008?

    That gives the Yankees a front three of Santana, Pettitte and Wang…which is awesome.

    Due to his salary, contract, and resume, Mike Mussina would also have a slot in the rotation after those three…leaving a fifth spot TBD between Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes (assuming the latter is not traded for Santana).

    So, who gets the fifth spot? Joba or Hughes?

    Based on what they did last year, they both deserve to stay out of Triple-A next season. Do you then put one in the big league pen? Which one? Hughes as a long man? Chamberlain as a set-up man? Is that the best thing in the world for their development at this stage in their careers?

    Or, do you tell Mussina that he’s in the pen in 2008? (Good luck with that one.)

    It’s a nice problem to have…but, it’s a problem, nonetheless, no?

    Yanks Admit To Talking With Twinkies On Johan

    Posted by on November 26th, 2007 · Comments (7)

    From Kat O’Brien:

    Yankees senior vice president Hank Steinbrenner publicly acknowledged Monday that the Yankees are involved in trade discussions with the Twins for ace Johan Santana.

    Those talks began before Thanksgiving, as Newsday reported Saturday. Steinbrenner said in a phone interview Monday that there was “nothing new on Santana” but that general manager Brian Cashman is engaged in discussions with the Twins regarding the lefthander.

    That’s not the only thing on the Yankees’ plate. They have talked internally about trying to trade for the Athletics’ Dan Haren and are working to upgrade their bullpen via free agency. “We need to shore up the bullpen, I would say for sure,” Steinbrenner said.

    I’m calling it now. It will be Ian Kennedy, Melky Cabrera, Alan Horne, Jeff Karstens, Alberto Gonzalez, Kevin Whelan, Mitch Hilligoss and Kyle Anson for Johan Santana. It will be baseball’s verison of the Herschel Walker trade.

    Dan Haren (Again)

    Posted by on November 26th, 2007 · Comments (8)

    Another rumor that Dan Haren might be available. From Phil Rogers today -

    With Bonds out of the picture, it will be easier for Beane to decide that an old-fashioned rebuilding is in order, putting All-Star Game starter Dan Haren in play for a possible blockbuster trade.

    Haren (15-9, 3.07 in 34 starts) has been one of the American League’s most reliable starters in the three seasons since he was acquired from St. Louis for Mark Mulder. He is under Oakland’s control for three more years at the ridiculously affordable total of $16.25 million.

    The Yankees and Red Sox are intrigued by his possible availability and would be willing to part with some very attractive youngsters to get him. That list includes the Yankees’ Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy and Boston’s Jon Lester and Michael Bowden, the pitching prospect from Waubonsie Valley High School.

    I think many Yankees fans would be O.K. with Ian Kennedy for Dan Haren. But, Phil Hughes for Dan Haren? It would be interesting to see the reaction in Yankeeland if Cash & Hank pulled the trigger on that one.

    2007 Postseason Shares

    Posted by on November 26th, 2007 · Comments (3)

    The 2007 postseason shares were announced -

    New York Yankees (Share of Players’ Pool: $1,573,781.74; value of each full share: $26,304.22) – The Yankees awarded 47 full shares, 11.83 partial shares and one cash award.

    By my count, the Yankees used 49 players in 2007. So, do you think everyone got something? Chris Basak and Colter Bean too?

    Just Call 1-877-ASK-HANK

    Posted by on November 26th, 2007 · Comments (0)

    Bob Klapisch dishes today on the ever-ready HankdeStein Jr. -

    In the not so distant past, the New York Yankees’ information flow was about as tight as the Soviet-era Kremlin’s, which was to say, good luck trying to get a front-office response to the most benign questions. News blackouts from Tampa, Fla., were the default policy, especially in the offseason.

    But all that’s changed since George Steinbrenner’s sons, Hank and Hal, became the franchise’s new heads of state. Need to take the temperature on the Yankees’ November strategies? Call Hank. There’s a high probability he’ll get back to you within the hour with an unfiltered response.

    It’s now a media nirvana, covering a Yankees team that operates with such transparency. Indeed, Hank Steinbrenner has become one of baseball’s most accessible owners, because, as he says, “I believe it’s the right thing to do. The fans want to know what’s going on.”

    And that begs the obvious question: Is GM Brian Cashman being marginalized as he enters the final year of his contract?

    Both parties insist that’s not the case.

    Hank Steinbrenner on Cashman: “Brian’s been with us for, what, 16 or 17 years? I can’t make any guarantees, but considering he’s been a lifelong Yankee, I don’t see any reason to make a change.”

    Cashman says, simply, “My job has not changed at all” since Steinbrenner began eclipsing him. In fact, Yankees insiders say Cashman is still running the day-to-day operations, answering to Hank and Hal as he once did to George. The only difference is in visibility — or in Cashman’s case, his invisibility. The GM is rarely returning phone calls these days, deferring instead to Hank.

    Hank isn’t just easier to reach than George, he appears to be more patient and benevolent, as well, promising the days of back-page threats and insults are over.

    “We’re paying these guys a lot of money and we expect performance. I don’t expect their demeanor to be one of entitlement. But destroying a player in the press, it doesn’t help,” Steinbrenner said.

    “Look, you can’t hide in a room counting beans. If you’re a leader you have to step up regardless if things are going positive or negative,” Hank said. “Brian is the GM, but the owners have the final decision, because we’re the only ones with a financial stake in the team.

    “Corporations run better when the guy running the company has a big financial stake. Outsiders are the ones who don’t do much, bail out and then take the golden parachute.”

    Man, where has Hank been the last four years?

    Joe Nathan

    Posted by on November 26th, 2007 · Comments (6)

    Joe Nathan has New York roots. He went to high school in New York and attended Stony Brook University as well. From 2003 to 2007, he’s been one of the best relief pitchers in the game.

    Nathan will be a free agent after next season (2008). And, by some reports, he’s not happy about what’s happening with the Twins:

    “If they’re going to get rid of two players like (Hunter and Santana), we better have some darn good players to fill their spots,” said Nathan, the veteran closer who also can elect free agency next winter. “They better get a really good package for (Santana) and get some guys ready to play now. If it goes any other way, it’s probably going to send a message to guys like Morneau and myself.”

    That message: Big-money contracts still aren’t in the Twins’ budget.

    Which would mean, Nathan said, “I only really have another year there.”

    Many think that the Twins will trade Johan Santana. If that happens, Minnesota will not be a contender next season. What good is a free agent closer, an unhappy one, on a team that’s not contending?

    If Santana goes, shouldn’t the Twins look to trade Nathan too?

    I’m still on the fence about the Yankees getting Santana. But, if the Yankees don’t get him, they should, in my opinion, make a play for Joe Nathan – who would not have the same price-tag as Santana.

    Tell Nathan that he can be part of a winning team – which he claims that he wants – as a set-up man for Mariano Rivera. If he pitches well, the money will still be there for him as a free agent after the season.

    Maybe it costs the Yankees a prospect at the Tyler Clippard level to get Joe Nathan for a year? I don’t think that would be terrible – considering Nathan’s talent level and the need for a quality arm in the Yankees pen, in front of Rivera.

    This Man Is 56 Today

    Posted by on November 25th, 2007 · Comments (3)

    buckydent.jpg

    Happy Birthday Bucky.

    (No, I’m not a Bucky groupie – or something like that. I just always remember his birthday – and Joe D’s as well, also today – since it’s one day from mine.)

    General Joe Marches On

    Posted by on November 25th, 2007 · Comments (3)

    From the Cincinnati Enquirer -

    Two weeks ago, Joe Girardi was in Orlando, Fla., huddling with coaches at the general managers’ meetings to plan spring training for the Yankees. Last week, he was in the Dominican Republic at the team’s new academy, viewing tryouts and speaking to the players, some as young as 16.

    Joe Torre was often the only manager in the majors to skip the winter meetings. Girardi, meanwhile, is everywhere. The Yankees are not used to such offseason activity from their manager, but they like it.

    “That’s the whole point,” Yankees vice president Hank Steinbrenner said. “He’s an organization guy. He’ll work with the entire organization. He’ll be involved with Brian Cashman and the other people in the baseball office, including the scouts. He went down to the Dominican, of his own choosing, so the kids down there could get a chance to meet him.

    “That’s going to be his level of involvement. That’s the way he is, and we think he’s going to be a great manager to boot. We have very high hopes for Joe.”

    General Joe’s Army should be fun to watch this year. As much as I hate to say this, because I am also getting older, I think having a younger manager with more energy is going to help the team.

    Torre, when he was in his fifties, meaning before 2001, seemed to have more energy than when he was in his sixties. The older Joe seemed to rely on players like Cano and Melky to energize the team.

    Girardi, at 43, now, will not have to rely on a player to light a fire under the team. He’s got more than enough energy – as his work to date shows – for the team to feed on next year.

    It’s Project P46 Sunday

    Posted by on November 25th, 2007 · Comments (0)

    I’ve noticed that more of my fellow bloggers have mentioned Project P46 recently. (Thanks all! You are all awesome for passing the word.)

    Today is the last day of the long weekend for many of you – so, while you still have this day of your “time off,” I wanted to plug the project again, here.

    If you’ve sent a letter, thank you. Please also be sure to pass the word on the project to all your Yankees fans friends.

    If you haven’t sent a letter, please consider taking 15 minutes today to “pitch” in on Project P46. Click here for the details on how to help.

    Many have mentioned to me, via e-mail, that they have sent letters. Why not join in with us?

    Of course, if you’re reading this after Sunday, it’s not too late to send a note to Andy as well. I’m only plugging it again today to remind folks about it before they have to head back to work or school, etc., tomorrow, and where it may be harder to find that 15 minutes to help with this.

    Hard Times For Howard Rubenstein

    Posted by on November 25th, 2007 · Comments (2)

    HankdeStein Jr. likes to talk. He’s recently did a Q&A with Steve Serby. Here are some of the highlights:

    Q: You once said: “If I fired somebody, it would be for a very good reason, and they’d stay fired. Dad fires somebody, then hires them back and sends their kids to college.”

    A: I don’t want to compare myself with my dad. The fact is, I’m a much easier Boss; I’m very slow to fire somebody. It would have to be for a very good reason – if they cross me or the company. Once I fire them, they stay fired.

    Q: How do you think you’re like your father?

    A: Someone once said in one of the articles I tend to shoot from the hip like my dad. I’ll analyze things as well, just like he did at times. You don’t get to be as successful as he’s been without analyzing things. He was always thinking.

    Q: What was it like working for your father?

    A: He was a difficult Boss. As a dad, he’s a great dad, but a very, very difficult Boss. A pain in the (butt).

    Q: Best piece of advice from your father?

    A: Nothing is as important if you have children than being a good father. And being charitable. The third thing is winning. There’s no reason to get into business, especially if you’re in sports, if you don’t intend to win. It’s more of a coach’s mentality than the usual owner’s mentality. There are owners out there in all sorts of different sports that are not that committed to winning.

    Q: You once said, “If you’re the Boss, you have to be a benevolent dictator. Otherwise, they’ll take advantage of you every time.”

    A: I was speaking historically. There were probably two benevolent dictators: Lincoln and Roosevelt … caring leaders. Most people, when they become dictators, aren’t benevolent anymore … Yeah, you gotta be The Boss, no question about it … you gotta be The Boss, but you should be good to your people.

    Q: Will this be a fun role for you?

    A: It’s the family business, is what it is. Winning is always fun; we want to win. It’s a necessity. If you want to be a leader, you gotta step up. You can’t hide in a room somewhere just because there’s a controversy over the Joe Torre thing or this, that and the other thing. I’m a horse trader, I’m a horse bettor, I’m a horse breeder. You learn a little something when you’re in that business. If you can do horseracing, you can do baseball.

    My dad was kinda looking to be a celebrity, and he enjoyed it. I’m not looking for that and neither is my brother (Hal).

    Q: Why will New York like Joe Girardi?

    A: Baseball-wise, he reminds me a lot of Billy as far as baseball intelligence – tactics, strategy and so forth. Good leader. Obviously Joe Torre was as well, and so is Joe, maybe in a little different way. They’re gonna like him. He’s tough, he’s smart, but he also cares about the players. He’s also a real organization guy; he likes to work with the scouts and with the GM.

    Q: Brian Cashman’s strengths?

    A: He’s probably more frugal with money than myself or my brother are, or my dad was. The biggest thing he’s done these last few years is these young pitchers (Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy). Him and Damon Oppenheimer, and Mark Newman. Nobody gives you pitching. You gotta grow your own, and you gotta draft them, and they’ve done that. Nowadays, it’s very tough to be able to get a (David) Cone or a (David) Wells when they were at their peak. You saw what (the Giants) paid (seven years, $126 million) for (Barry) Zito.

    There’s a very small part of me that gets a somewhat bad vibe when Hank speaks. But, on the whole, reading what he has to say is much more fun than seeing those boring and vanilla Big Stein statements from Howard Rubenstein.

    MLB & MLBPA Approve A-Rod HR $ Marks

    Posted by on November 24th, 2007 · Comments (3)

    From Murray Chass -

    Rodriguez and the team have reached an agreement in principle on the contract, said a major league official on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the deal. Only contract language and a physical for Rodriguez remain to be completed.

    Rodriguez will make $275 million over 10 years in his Yankees contract, which becomes the biggest baseball contract ever.

    The nonguaranteed part of the contract will be the marketing agreement, which the commissioner’s office and the players union have approved. The Yankees and Rodriguez had to keep changing the nature of the agreement to gain approval because players cannot receive bonuses for achievements like home run totals.

    In the approved agreement, Rodriguez will share in revenue the Yankees generate by marketing his home run milestones.

    Under the agreement, Rodriguez will receive $6 million when he reaches each of five milestones: the career home run totals of Willie Mays (660), Babe Ruth (714), Henry Aaron (755) and Barry Bonds (762), and when he breaks the record.

    He will get the marketing money in exchange for making certain appearances linked to his home run milestones over and above what players are required by their contracts to do.

    Interesting move by the Yankees. The 2007 Bill James Handbook gave A-Rod a 90% chance at 600 career homers, a 50% chance at 700 lifetime dingers, and a 31% chance at reaching 756 big flies. If you believe those marks, then there’s a good chance that Alex never sees close to 80% of that “milestone” money. Still, $27.5 million a year for the next decade ain’t exactly roughing it.

    Mark Melancon – A Year After Tommy John

    Posted by on November 24th, 2007 · Comments (3)

    An update on Mark Melancon, via George King in Baseball America -

    Though the Yankees are high on righthander Mark Melancon, don’t go looking for his 2007 statistics.

    He missed the entire season after having Tommy John surgery in November 2006. But when spring training opens in February, it’s likely the 2006 ninth-round pick from Arizona will be in major league camp—despite having just seven games for short-season Staten Island under his belt.

    “This guy’s makeup is off the charts,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said of Melancon, who went 0-1, 3.52 in seven relief appearances in the New York-Penn League in 2006.

    Coming out of Arizona, where he held the single-season and career saves records when he left, the 6-foot-2, 215-pound Melancon had first-round stuff. The barking elbow scared other teams, but the Yankees thought so much of Melancon that they gave him supplemental first-round money to sign.

    “We knew the elbow was going to go. It was a matter of not if but when,” farm director Mark Newman said.

    Elbow woes don’t frighten the Yankees. They wanted righthander Humberto Sanchez from the Tigers in the Gary Sheffield deal, knowing he needed surgery. Righthander Andrew Brackman, taken in the first round of the 2007 draft from North Carolina State, had the surgery as well, and likely won’t pitch until 2009.

    And while they were impressed with Melancon’s physical equipment—94 mph fastball, curveball and changeup—the Yankees gush about his work ethic and makeup.

    “Since I have been here, he is in the top two or three guys as far as working,” Newman said.

    Prior to attending the organization’s Dominican instructional league in early November, Melancon spent time at the complex in Tampa. “He is clearly ahead of the rehab schedule,” Newman said. “He works and is very competitive.”

    Still, it’s a looooong way from the New York-Penn League to the majors. Don’t count on him making the big league team out of Spring Training.

    Sterling On Stage Tonight

    Posted by on November 24th, 2007 · Comments (0)

    From BroadwayWorld.com:

    Neil Berg of Leftfield Productions Inc. and Angles Unlimited Inc. are presenting a special concert on Saturday, November 24 at 8PM at the The Irvington Town Hall Theater in Irvington, New York with The Legendary Voice of The New York Yankees, John Sterling.

    Along with John Sterling will be special Broadway guests Brad Little (star of The Phantom of the Opera – 2000 performances!), Neil Berg (composer of The Prince and the Pauper and upcoming Grumpy Old Men), and Barbara McCulloh (The King and I, Peter Pan); with more Broadway surprise guests!

    John Sterling will talk about the history of the New York Yankees, as well as discussing everything going on with the current Yankees (A-Rod, Joe Torre, Joe Girardi). Brad, Barbara, and Neil will join him as his guests to perform some classic Broadway songs that relate to the New York Yankees championship seasons.

    This should be quite an incredible evening as John Sterling, a musical fanatic, brings together his two great loves: Baseball and Broadway! Saturday, November 24 at 8PM at The Irvington Town Hall Theater (Irvington, New York).

    Click here to listen to a clip of John Sterling rehearsing for his performance tonight.

    Hiroki Kuroda

    Posted by on November 23rd, 2007 · Comments (0)

    From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer -

    A Mariners contingent in Japan might be home by Thanksgiving Day.

    Or maybe not.

    And the group, headed by general manager Bill Bavasi and manager John McLaren, might be closer to an answer for the club’s questionable starting pitching upon its return.

    What is sure is the Mariners aren’t wasting any time or expense trying to add Hiroki Kuroda as their newest Japanese import. Kuroda, a free agent after a decade in Japan’s big leagues, is one of the prizes in free agency this winter, and he’s close to being the Mariners’ top priority.

    Seattle isn’t alone in pursuing Kuroda. The Rangers, Dodgers, Cubs, Phillies and Yankees are all thought to have an interest in the right-hander, who could have come to the U.S. last year but signed a four-year contract with Hiroshima.

    The contract allowed him to become a free agent this offseason, and he chose to.

    Kuroda has said he would prefer to play on the West Coast and remain as close as possible to Japan. That might make the Dodgers the Mariners’ chief rival in negotiations.

    I’ve read that the Royals, Mets and Tigers are somewhat high on Hiroki Kuroda as well.

    Detect-O-Vision, last year, had a nice scouting report on Kuroda. It sounds better than what they once said about Kei Igawa (before he signed with the Yankees).

    The scouting information, and the fact that the Yankees are interested, are probably all moot – since Kuroda reportedly prefers to play on the West Coast (and closer to Japan).

    Maybe the Yankees can get creative here? Sign Kuroda, under the condition that they will trade him to the Twins (who are closer to the west than New York) for Johan Santana, with the Yankees paying most of Kuroda’s salary for the first year of his deal?

    Yes, I’m just kidding with that suggestion.

    Project P46 Update

    Posted by on November 23rd, 2007 · Comments (7)

    Having just finished writing my “Letter to Andy,” I thought this would be a great time to thank all my fellow bloggers who have mentioned Project P46 to date. (Thanks all! You are all awesome for passing the word.)

    And, thanks to all who have sent letters (and to those who plan on sending a letter).

    For those who have not yet decided if they want to be part of this effort, I’ll remind you now that it will only cost you 15 minutes between today and Sunday night (plus a postage stamp) to “pitch” in on Project P46. Click here for the details on how to help.

    Maybe an outpouring of affection by Yankees fan would help sway Andy Pettitte towards returning next season? At the worst, it wouldn’t hurt.

    C.J. Henry Returns

    Posted by on November 22nd, 2007 · Comments (3)

    Seven weeks ago, I shared that C.J. Henry requested his release from the Phils’ organization. Now, the Post has a report that he’s back in the Yankees fold:

    The Yankees signed C.J. Henry to a minor league deal after their No. 1 pick in the 2005 draft asked for and was granted his release by the Phillies. He was dealt to Philly in 2006 as part of the Bobby Abreu deal.

    “He came to us,” scouting head Damon Oppenheimer, the man who drafted the 21-year-old Henry, who batted .184 for Lakewood (Single-A) this past summer. “He told us he wanted to play for us and asked would we want him back? We made sure he wanted to play baseball and we found out the last month of the season he was fitted for contacts and hit .300.”

    Henry, who had a basketball offer from Kansas out of high school, was drafted as a shortstop and moved to the outfield.

    “He will play the outfield in the [Single A] Florida State League,” said Oppenheimer, who wasn’t sure where in Tampa’s outfield the speedy Henry would play.

    Though Henry hasn’t hit in three minor league seasons, Oppenheimer said he believes the 6-foot-3, 205-pounder will benefit from being around people he knows.

    “People have a feeling for him,” Oppenheimer said. “We all have a stake in this one. He means more to us than if he was with another team as a released player.”

    I guess that Oppenheimer is not afraid of the ol’ “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” logic.

    Lee Guetterman

    Posted by on November 22nd, 2007 · Comments (0)

    Lee Guetterman is 49-years old today. Guetterman was great back in 1989. Now, he’s 365 days away from hitting the half-century mark. And, all of a sudden, I feel old.

    Happy Birthday Lee.

    Happy Tryptophan Day 2007!

    Posted by on November 21st, 2007 · Comments (7)

    I justed wanted to take a quick moment to wish all the readers of WasWatching.com (and their loved ones) a happy, and a safe, Thanksgiving Day. Enjoy.

    A-Rod’s Impact To Yankees

    Posted by on November 21st, 2007 · Comments (2)

    What’s A-Rod worth to the Yankees? Here’s two suggestions via a report in USA Today:

    Rodriguez’s contract could be worth $304 million with incentives, according to a person familiar with the negotiations. Gennaro, a consultant to the Cleveland Indians and author of the new book Diamond Dollar$— The Economics of Winning in Baseball, lists six teams that could have afforded to pay Rodriguez up to $30 million a year and still break even on that investment, provided they made the playoffs every year: the Yankees, Boston Red Sox, New York Mets, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels.

    The Yankees stand to make the most from his presence — about $45 million annually, by Gennaro’s calculations, based on a formula that takes into account attendance, broadcast fees, concessions, merchandising and other forms of revenue. They’re also likely the only club that can afford to pay a luxury tax and still recoup its investment on Rodriguez.

    The biggest factor in the equation?

    “A-Rod’s ability to contribute eight or nine wins on the playing field to a team that can turn those wins into a playoff spot,” says Gennaro, adding that it makes no financial sense for non-contenders to take on such a high-salaried player. “When a team reaches the postseason, there’s a windfall of revenues that get unlocked within the next three, four, five years.”

    Citing statistics in the ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia, which he edits, Gillette said A-Rod ranked second in the AL last season in “player wins” above the average performer with 5.2. So a .500 team would be boosted to 86-76 with him and a 90-win team would improve to 95-67, possibly the difference between making the playoffs and staying home.

    Hmmm…but, what about in years like 2004 and 2006, when A-Rod has a “player win” total closer to three than above five? Does Alex have to have an MVP season to cover his expense?

    George Kontos

    Posted by on November 21st, 2007 · Comments (0)

    Baseball America ranks Kontos as the 7th best prospect in the 2007 Hawaii Winter Baseball League. Here’s what they said about him:

    The Yankees jumped Kontos to high Class A for his first full season, where he had moderate success. The club sent the 22-year-old to HWB to work on fastball command and further refine his changeup. Kontos’ fastball sits in the 89-93 mph range, touching 94 occasionally. His mid-80s slider can be devastating at times, and he’s also working on a curveball. Kontos still doesn’t have enough separation between his fastball and changeup, though he made strides to improve his arm speed on the latter offering.

    This is better to share than the last news that I had on Kontos.

    Rob Thomson

    Posted by on November 21st, 2007 · Comments (0)

    The Lawrence Journal-World tells us more about the Yankees new bench coach:

    Rob Thomson, a former Kansas University baseball player, was named bench coach of the New York Yankees on Tuesday.

    Thomson, 44, has held various titles over the past 18 seasons with the Yankees. He was the club’s field coordinator last season under manager Joe Torre.

    First-year Yankees’ skipper Joe Girardi, who spent time with Thomson last week in the Dominican Republic, said he believes Thomson is up to the challenge.

    “I saw the work he did when I was a player there and how prepared he is,” Girardi said of Thomson. “He’s a take-charge kind of guy. He’s managed and he’s coached third base. He’s done so many different jobs that I think he’s ready for this step.”

    A native of Sarnia, Ontario, Thomson was a catcher-third baseman for the Jayhawks from 1983-85. He was named the Jayhawks’ MVP in both 1984 and 1985. Thomson’s .443 batting average in ‘84 is still the school record.

    The 6-foot, 200-pound Thomson was selected in the 32nd round of the 1985 draft by the Detroit Tigers. He was in the Detroit system from 1985-1988 before joining the Tigers’ minor-league coaching staff in 1988.

    Dave Madden, who played “Reuben Kincaid” on The Partridge Family, was also born in Sarnia, Ontario. But, he was raised in Terre Haute, Indiana.

    James Doohan, who played “Scotty” on Star Trek, was born in Vancouver, British Columbia – but, he was raised in Sarnia, Ontario.

    The only big league player born in Sarnia (Ontario) was Mike Gardiner.

    For a guy from Sarnia, it looks like Rob Thomson has done pretty good for himself.

    Melky On The Block?

    Posted by on November 21st, 2007 · Comments (4)

    From the Chicago Sun-Times -

    The New York Yankees, who are shopping center fielder Melky Cabrera for pitching, could become a formidable sixth suitor [for Torii Hunter] if they can trade Cabrera by early next week.

    Ah, the “Whither Melky? question.

    You have to start to wonder if Brett Gardner and Austin Jackson are making El Lechero much easier to deal these days?

    Man, I’m going to miss him. Probably not as much as Cano will miss him – but, pretty darn close.

    The Hank & Alex Show

    Posted by on November 21st, 2007 · Comments (7)

    From Johnette Howard -

    When you look at the Yankees’ club that locks into place for a decade once Alex Rodriguez accepts his new contract, how do you say this team belongs to Derek Jeter or the old guard anymore? The minute Rodriguez signs on the dotted line, he completes his replacement of Jeter as the face of the franchise. Ready or not, Rodriguez is also setting himself up as one half of a new Straight Man/Boss Man shtick that the Yankees haven’t seen since George Steinbrenner was jousting with Reggie Jackson and sparring with Dave Winfield and tweaking Joe Torre.

    In this recast version, A-Rod is the superstar who will be credited or blamed for whatever happens to the Yankees. And Hank Steinbrenner, George’s blunt-talking son, has taken over the role once played to the hilt by his combustible old man.

    Hank and A-Rod are the organization’s twin pillars now – Rodriguez, the power hitter on the field, and Hank, the newly installed powerhouse in the Yankees’ front office. Jeter has his rings. On Monday, closer Mariano Rivera followed fellow free agent Jorge Posada back to the team. But those World Series wins feel like ancient history now. A-Rod has more juice than any of them because of the commitment the Yankees are making to him. The entire dynamic of the organization feels changed.

    Rodriguez and Hank are going to be manacled together for the next 10 years, closing out old Yankee Stadium and opening the new one, chasing the Red Sox and seeing if Rodriguez can break Barry Bonds’ all-time home run record.

    All true. All, so, very, very, true.

    Johnette nails this one. Dead, solid, perfect.

    Project P46

    Posted by on November 21st, 2007 · Comments (1)

    Here’s an idea – where maybe Yankees fans can help the team’s chances in 2008. Some time over the next 5 days (meaning over the long weekend where you should be able to find 15 minutes to get this done), why not send a card or note to Andy Pettitte? You can send it to:

    Andy Pettitte
    c/o Hendricks Sports Management LP
    400 Randal Way Ste 106
    Spring, TX 77388

    Tell Andy that you’re a Yankees fan. Offer best wishes for the holiday season and new year to him and his family. And, of course, tell him that you would be thrilled to see him be a big part of the Yankees season in 2008.

    Maybe an outpouring of affection by Yankees fan would help sway Andy towards returning next season? At the worst, it wouldn’t hurt.

    Are you willing to try it? Also, if you think this is an interesting idea, please pass the word about it. Let’s try and get over 100,000 cards and notes to Andy by the end of this month. Wouldn’t that be something? But, you have to have one sent before you can have 100,000 sent – so, that means you have to send one…yourself.

    Again, why not take 15 minutes between today and Sunday night and “pitch” in on Project P46?

    Scott Linebrink & Ron Mahay

    Posted by on November 20th, 2007 · Comments (5)

    From the Daily News -

    Sources say the Yankees have interest in lefthander Ron Mahay, though the team had not extended the reliever an offer as of last night. The Yanks are also interested in righthanded reliever Scott Linebrink.

    Linebrink peaked in 2004-2005. He’s average now. Mahay is old – but, he’s a converted outfielder. Plus, he’s a lefty. I would take him for the right price on a one year deal. But, what are the odds of him signing a one-year deal?

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