Via Bill Madden –
No, the real [Cliff Lee trade] deal-breaking prospect, as far as the Yankees were concerned, was infielder Eduardo Nunez. Yankee GM Brian Cashman was willing to sacrifice Montero – despite all the scouts’ raves about his power potential – because he has a surplus of catchers. Nunez, on the other hand, is viewed by Cashman as a big part of the Yankee future which is why, when Mariners’ GM Jack Zduriencik asked for his inclusion in the deal as a substitute for injured second-base prospect David Adams, the Yankee GM essentially said: “Enough!” Turns out Zduriencik was right about Adams being potentially damaged goods – the hard-hitting second baseman never came back from the severely broken ankle he suffered at Double-A Trenton and then underwent additional surgery after the season, precluding him from making up for all the lost time in winter ball – but in asking for Nunez he was asking for the player the Yankees are now viewing as Derek Jeter’s successor. Though no one in the Yankee high command is ever going to even speculate about the future after 2011 – especially with the very sensitive contract negotiations with Jeter about to get underway – but it’s becoming increasingly clear the plan is to phase out Jorge Posada next season when his contract expires, opening up the DH slot for Alex Rodriguez, thereby allowing Jeter to move to third, making room for a more athletic shortstop, which would be the 24-year-old Venezuelan, Nunez, who hit .289 with 50 RBI and 23 stolen bases in 118 games at Triple-A Scranton this season.
So what’s the deal with Nunez? Is he the real deal? Here’s what a couple of scouts had to say about him – and Montero.
“Nunez is your consummate ‘tools’ guy,” said the first scout. “He’s got a plus arm, he can hit, has some pop and can run. He has a tendency, however, to get lackadaisical in the field and he needs to learn not to chase so many pitches.”
“Do I think Nunez can be a ‘plus’ major league shortstop?” asked the other scout. “Yes, but he’s still got a lot to learn. The ability’s there. Will he perform to it? I don’t know. I’m just not sure about the makeup. (Robinson) Cano was the same way when he was that age, and he grew up. It says a lot for Nunez that he batted third most of the season at Triple-A. He hit a lot of mistakes which he won’t see that much of in the majors.”
Meanwhile, a now 32-year old Erick Almonte is playing first base for the Brewers’ Triple-A team…
Via Brian Costello –
Consider Monday to be Opening Day of the Yankees offseason.
That’s when general manager Brian Cashman will sit down with owners Hal and Hank Steinbrenner in Tampa, Fla., to start talking payroll, free agency and the game plan for the rest of the winter.
The meetings are expected to last two days. Cashman has informed the agents for Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte that they should not expect to hear anything from him until those meetings are over.
“Nothing is really going to happen until I sit down with my bosses and have a feel and have some discussions about the lay of the land and how things should be approached from our perspective,” Cashman said. “I have made everyone aware of that.”
The first order of business figures to be the Steinbrenners handing Cashman his budget for 2011. The Yankees had an Opening Day payroll of $213 million this year, the highest in the sport.
Cashman said he is unsure if that number will move, and which way.
“I have no anticipation either way,” he said. “I will meet with them. They have not sent me any ideas or smoke signals. We haven’t had any of those discussions.”
“I think we have a great team,” Cashman said. “I don’t think it needs a lot of changes. I think that if the pitching can be shored up it will be to our best interest.”
Typical stuff. In most organizations, I think a budget process works like this: Near the close of the fiscal year and before the start of the new one, your superior tells you “This is what you spent last year, work off that and give me an estimate of what you think you will need next year, and then I’ll review it and give you an approved number at the end of the year (for next year).” And, it sounds like Cashman will find out on Monday what his approved number will be…
The bigger question here is whether or not Cashman will then take that number and give Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte the “Johnny Damon” treatment this off-season and beat them over the head with the “budget” excuse…
Yup. Listening to WFAN just now, I heard Mike Francesa say, implying that he knows the story behind A.J. Burnett’s shiner this year, that the stories suggesting that Jorge Posada or Dave Eiland hit Burnett are not true. Francesa then stressed that Burnett’s back eye had nothing to do with anyone wearing a Yankees uniform.
I have to suspect, if Francesa knows the story, it’s out there. And, in time, it will be known to more in the public. Eventually, someone will let it slip…
Gotta admit, I have a little envy today – seeing the members of Metsville dancing around over the excitement of getting a new G.M. today.
There’s just something about new blood, I suppose?
In Yankeeland, we’ve been looking at Brian Cashman as G.M. for the last 12 years and 9 months.
Yeah, I know, John Schuerholz was the Braves G.M. for 17 years. And, Brian Sabean has been Giants G.M. for the last 14 years. Also, Pat Gillick was the Blue Jays G.M. for close to 17 years. But, it just seems like 13 years, going on 14 now, is just about enough for Cashman. And, maybe it would be exciting to get a new guy in charge for the Yankees?
Then again, maybe it’s just the envy thing working here…because the Mets fans have something to be excited about today and, in Yankeeland, we don’t really have that buzz right now…
How many Yankees pitchers have thrown 300+ innings while they were 25-years old, or younger, and had an ERA+ of 100+ over those innings? Here’s the list:
It will be interesting to see where Phil Hughes ranks on this list, if he stays on it at all, after next season.
If you liked what Matt Cain has done in his career to date, including last night, here’s a Yankeeland thought for you.
The Giants drafted Cain with the 25th overall pick in the 2002 draft. The Yankees had the 24th overall pick in that draft, and could have beat San Francisco to Cain. But, they lost that pick to the A’s when they signed Jason Giambi as a free agent.
But, this is all old news here, right?
Via Bill Madden –
Now that Joe Girardi is back in the fold, the Yankees turn their full attention to finding a new pitching coach – which, in the long run, may actually be a more important hire than the manager. Or as one baseball person observed at the World Series Thursday: “The Yankees can say all they want about (Dave) Eiland’s firing having nothing to do with A.J. Burnett’s collapse after he took that leave of absence, but whoever they hire to replace him had better have a comprehensive plan and idea for how to straighten Burnett out. You’re talking about a $50 million-$60 million investment left there – on a pitching staff that is already one top-of-the-rotation starter short – and if they don’t get Burnett straightened out, they’re gonna be in trouble, even if they are able to sign (Cliff) Lee.”
Or, we can just add Burnett to the list of Brian Cashman failed pitching acquisitions and tell him to get in line behind Weaver, Vazquez, Brown, Pavano, and Igawa.
Via John Heyman -
The Giants have a decidedly Yankees flavor to them. [GM Brian] Sabean led the Yankees’ development program before coming to San Francisco the same year as Barry Bonds, 1993. Sabean seems to have a penchant for ex-Yankees that has paid off: Dave Righetti (pitching), Roberto Kelly (first base) and Hensley “Bam Bam” Meulens (hitting) are on the coaching staff, and Dick Tidrow, Joe Lefebvre, Fred Stanley and Henry Cotto are in the front office.
Dirt Tidrow is the Giants’ V.P. of Player Personnel and Chicken Stanley is their Director of Player Development. And, they do an outstanding job by most reports. Ditto Rags Righetti as pitching coach.
As much as I want to say that the team who knocked the Yankees out of the post-season went on to win the World Championship, I’d be more than happy to see all these ex-Yankees get a ring this year. They’ve earned all the good things to happen to them so far.
Per Jon Heyman -
The Yankees and Joe Girardi have agreed on a three-year, $9-million extension, sources confirm.
The finishing touches are being put on a deal that also includes about $500,000 in World Series and playoff bonuses.
No word on whether or not General Joe’s salary will be dinged for each nervous laugh he makes during post-game press conferences…
Was that really Cliff Lee out there tonight in San Fran?
Via Joel Sherman -
The Yankees and Joe Girardi are closing in on a three-year contract that will pay him somewhere between $9 million and $10 million, The Post has learned.
Girardi would receive a bump from a contract that expires Saturday that was paying him $7.5 million over three years. The raise would make Girardi the fifth- or sixth-highest paid manager in the major leagues.
The sides believe the deal could be finalized Wednesday or Thursday.
I have a tremendous amount of respect for Joe Girardi as a person. As a manager, to be candid, I’m somewhat disappointed in his performance with the Yankees. I’m not terribly upset with him. And, maybe my disappointment is the result of having the bar set too high for him when he was hired?
In any event, does he deserve to be the “fifth- or sixth-highest paid manager in the major leagues”? Man, I dunno…
Yes, there’s a lot of stuff that the Yankees manager has to deal with, and put up with, that many other managers don’t have to tackle. But, on the flip side, with the Yankees, you get a ton of talent to make your job on the field easier too.
So, what do you think? Are the Yankees overpaying for Girardi here?
Hey, at least I had the Giants going to the World Series…
By now, you’ve probably heard the sad news about Bill Shannon.
Man, has it been a terrible year, news-wise, for Yankee Stadium fixtures this year, or what?
Via Joel Sherman –
CC Sabathia was diagnosed with a minor meniscus tear of the right knee that will require surgery, The Post has learned.
Sabathia was diagnosed yesterday at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital and is expected to undergo surgery in the coming days. The Yankees do not consider the procedure significant and expect Sabathia to recover within three weeks and be fully ready for spring training.
Nevertheless, the worry with signing Sabathia to the largest-ever pitching contract always had been the two Ws: weight and workload. He has carried a lot of both, and, thus, it is hard to look at any surgery — especially on a joint — as minor.
The Yankees already are planning a full-court press for free agent Cliff Lee, and any concerns about their ace, Sabathia, only would make the Yankees more motivated to solidify the top of the rotation.
The knee problem could explain Sabathia’s underwhelming postseason. He won two of his three starts, but was never overpowering and pitched to a 5.63 ERA in allowing 22 hits and seven walks in 16 innings.
There is alotta weight on those knees, for sure. And, you know what they say about minor surgery – it’s only minor when it’s done on someone else.
Sandy Alderson will be the next general manager of the New York Mets, a source confirmed to ESPNNewYork.com.
An announcement could come Friday, on the off day between Games 2 and 3 of the World Series.
Alderson, 62, has been considered the favorite to land the position since the outset.
SI.com first reported his selection Tuesday night.
Alderson led the Oakland Athletics to three straight World Series appearances, including the 1989 championship, while serving as general manager from 1983 to 1997. After a stint with Major League Baseball concentrating on umpiring and building the game internationally, Alderson served as chief executive officer of the San Diego Padres until resigning in March 2009 when that ballclub was purchased by a group headed by Jeff Moorad.
Alderson is supposedly a bright guy. (Go read Moneyball.) But, when I think of him, the first thing that comes to mind is that he was the guy who turned a blind-eye to a team full of juicers from 1986 to 1997 and then got rewarded for that when Bud Selig gave him a cushy job in with MLB. In any event, if he does a good job, I wonder if that will bother the Yankees Brian Cashman? Remember a few years back when Cashman was upset because some fan sent him an email that said “You’re no Theo Epstein”? What will happen now if the media starts to extol Alderson and use Cashman’s failures as a basis of comparison? Now, that could be interesting…
Neil Keefe takes a look at who’s to blame for the Yankees losing the ALCS this year. It’s an interesting read.
Via Andrew Marchand -
Fans’ treatment of Cliff Lee’s wife at Yankee Stadium might not help recruitment of one of the game’s top left-handed pitchers.
During the AL Championship Series games in New York between the Yankees and Rangers, fans were extremely rude to Kristen Lee, spitting and throwing beer in her direction and shouting obscenities, according to USA Today.
“The fans did not do good things in my heart,” Kristen Lee said, according to the newspaper. “When people are staring at you, and saying horrible things, it’s hard not to take it personal.”
Kristen Lee sat in the visiting family section, according to USA Today.
What could counter-balance Kristen Lee’s bad experience is her close relationship with CC Sabathia’s wife, Amber. They have been close since Sabathia and Cliff Lee played together in Cleveland.
Cliff Lee and Sabathia are friends as well. The Sabathias and Lees already were discussing where the Lees should live when it appeared as if the Yankees were going to make a trade for Lee in July.
Hey, for what it’s worth, $150 million buys alotta ear-plugs.
Now, that said, if Lee wins a ring with the Rangers and falls in love with the franchise, and, if the state tax advantage that Texas has comes into play, and, if the Rangers come close to being in the range of what the Yankees offer…then this could be something that comes back to hurt the Yankees in their chase for the pitcher.
Following up on M.J.’s excellent post “Cliff Lee To Yankees: The Deal That Wasn’t,” note why Brian Cashman would not include Eduardo Nunez or Ivan Nova in a revised deal for Cliff Lee – via John Harper of the Daily News -
This is what Brian Cashman feared back in July. This is why he was willing to give up the Yankees’ best hitting prospect, Jesus Montero, because he saw the possibility of Cliff Lee standing between his team and another World Series.
At the time he didn’t know it would be the Rangers. It could have been the Twins or the Rays who made a deal for Lee, and chances he would have had a similar impact for them.
“I knew that anybody who was going to make a play for him was playing for October,” Cashman said before the Rangers eliminated the Yankees from the postseason with a 6-1 victory in Game 6 of the ALCS. “I wouldn’t have made the type of offer that I put on the table if I didn’t think this could happen.”
In the end, Cashman says he ultimately turned down the deal when the Mariners came back to him wanting another of his top prospects, either shortstop Eduardo Nunez or pitcher Ivan Nova, in addition to Montero.
“It was too much for a rental,” Cashman said.
So now that it’s right in his face, you have to wonder if Cashman would make the same decision, knowing what he knows now.
On the field before Game 6 last night, he said yes. Well, sort of.
“You can’t go back,” he said. “I believed what I did was the right thing to do, but I also knew they had a right to move him anywhere they wanted. If it was a contender, you deal with it.”
Yet he decided having Lee for this season was worth Montero and the other player the Mariners first asked for, Triple-A second baseman David Adams – who was on the disabled list at the time with an ankle injury.
“He’d been on the DL for two months,” said Cashman, “and (the Mariners) were bugging me about him for a week. I finally said yes and it turned out they didn’t know he was hurt. They came back and asked for either Nunez or Nova.”
It is still not clear if the Mariners used the Montero offer to get the Rangers to give up Justin Smoak, the switch-hitting first baseman they coveted, but Cashman wouldn’t up the ante.
“We see Nunez as a starting shortstop in the big leagues,” he said, “and Nova as a starting pitcher with great potential. I couldn’t do that for a three-month rental. There was no guarantee what would happen going forward. It was too much to give up for three months.”
…We see Nunez as a starting shortstop in the big leagues and Nova as a starting pitcher with great potential…
Hey, I’m not saying that Cashman is wrong or right here…as…who knows…now? Time will tell on this one. We’ll have to wait and see.
Courtesy of a link shared by Rob Neyer of ESPN.com on his SweetSpot blog, we have access to one journalist’s take on the behind-the-scenes dealings between Seattle and New York in the failed Cliff Lee negotiations.
According to this writer’s blog, once the Mariners decided that a Jesus Montero/David Adams trade wouldn’t work because of Adams’s broken foot, they amended their request and asked Cashman to substitute the injured Adams for either Eduardo Nunez or Ivan Nova.
Any time you read a story in a newspaper — especially one that is of a revelatory nature — you always have to consider the source and the motivation behind the revelations. I mention this because this particular journalist (Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times) got into a very public dispute with the Mariners over the summer surrounding the aftermath of the Cliff Lee trade. Specifically, the dispute was over claims made by the Mariners front office about what they knew (and when they found out) about the legal issues of one of the Rangers’ pitchers’ acquired in the Lee deal*.
For that reason, I urge a degree of caution before jumping to the conclusions that some may jump to in reading this story. While on its face it might seem like Brian Cashman walked away from a potential deal for Cliff Lee because he balked at including either Nunez or Nova into the deal, the truth is we just don’t know for certain. Considering Geoff Baker’s history with the M’s organization over the whole Cliff Lee deal, it’s hard to know for sure what is true and what isn’t, or, more importantly, what is written to embarrass the disputing parties and what is written to report hard evidence.
That being said, assuming the report is to be taken at face value, I’m not pleased. If given the choice between Jesus Montero – a hitting stud without a true defensive position — for the next several years or Cliff Lee for the remainder of the 2010 season (and the inside track to resigning him) I know what I would’ve done. That’s not to discount the impact that Jesus Montero may have in the big leagues. It’s more a reflection of my opinion on Ivan Nova and the limited utility I see from him as a member of the Yankees. I’d never let Ivan Nova (or Eduardo Nunez) stand in the way of acquiring Cliff Lee, even at the high cost of trading Montero out of the system.
*An excellent synopsis of the whole Geoff Baker-Mariners dispute can be found on Dave Cameron’s U.S.S. Mariner blog.
Via Dom Amore -
In breaking down the Yankees 2010 season, Brian Cashman told reporters “I didn’t have a good winter.”
Cashman and Joe Girardi spoke to reporters at Yankee Stadium on Monday, a season-wrap up meeting. Both spoke as if Girardi’s return is a given. Cashman will meet with Girardi’s agent today.
Last winter, Cashman altered the Yankees’ championship team, allowing Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui to leave as free agents, trading Melky Cabrera for Javier Vazquez and top prospect Austin Jackson in a deal for Curtis Granderson.
“Some of the players I brought in didn’t benefit us as much as I’d expected,” Cashman said, “and some didn’t benefit us at all.”
Cashman said he thought Vazquez, “pitching at the back of our rotation,” would work out better than in 2004, when Vazquez was a bust as the Yankees’ No. 2 starter. Vazquez pitched well from mid-May to mid-August, but a series of poor starts against contending teams, Cashman said, may have shook his confidence and the Yankees’ confidence in him. Vazquez was out of the rotation in September and left off the post-season roster.
Cashman said he made Damon “the best offer on the market,” but when Damon turned it down he moved on. By then, Matsui had already signed, so Cashman went to what he called “Plan C,” Nick Johnson, who injured his wrist early in the season and never played much.
Among other off-season acquisitions, Randy Winn and Chan Ho Park proved to be little help. In midseason, Cashman acquired Kerry Wood, Lance Berkman and Austin Kearns. Wood helped a great deal, Berkman marginally, Kearns not muct at all.
Granderson, who hit 24 homers and performed reasonably well in the post-season, did benefit the Yankees.
Cashman noted that two years ago, the free agent class was loaded and the Yankees had more than $100 million in salary coming off their roster. So the moves for CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira and A.J. Burnett were made. Last year, it was a sparse free agent class.
And, via Mark Feinsand –
The Yankees made some big moves last winter, bringing in veterans Javier Vazquez, Nick Johnson and Curtis Granderson to help defend their World Series title.
The Granderson trade worked out, but Cashman admitted Monday that the Vazquez and Johnson moves blew up in his face.
“I didn’t have a great winter last year,” the general manager said. “A lot of the things I wound up doing didn’t benefit us as much as I wish they would. Some didn’t benefit at all.”
Cashman made some solid moves at the trade deadline, adding reliever Kerry Wood and DH Lance Berkman before July 31. Both players have expensive options for 2011 – Berkman’s is for $15 million while Wood’s is for $11 million – while Johnson also has an option for $5.5 million.
“I think they’re all such large numbers, that we wouldn’t be picking up options for anybody off the top of my head,” Cashman said when asked if he would pick up any of the options. “But I have to sit down and go through it and talk to ownership. But my initial thought is they’re all pretty obvious.”
I said it yesterday and I’ll say it again today. It’s great to see Cashman own up to his failures as a General Manager. And, let’s hope this is the last time he needs to do that. Or, at the least, let’s hope we don’t need to hear this from him too many more times.
He’s well respected. And, Farrell is just 4 months older than me and went to High School about 30 minutes away from where I live now. So, personally, there’s an interest connection for me. But, more so, I wonder if this is just a positive for Toronto – or, is it also a take-away for Boston too? In any event, the A.L. East could be a very interesting place next season. It used to be just Boston and New York. And, the last three seasons, Tampa Bay has been in the mix. Now, the O’s have Showalter and the Jays have Farrell.
The Yankees have to play something like half their schedule against A.L. East teams. And, there’s very few gimmies in that bunch any more, is there?
It’s a tough question – along the lines of “Why do they sterilize the needles for lethal injections?” and “If you get cheated by the Better Business Bureau, who do you complain to?” And, it will be interesting to see what the Yankees finally decide on this one.
Via Ben Shpigel –
[Joe] Girardi said he would have to “think long and hard about” whether Jorge Posada can be expected to catch 120 games next year. The Yankees believe that Jesus Montero, their top catching prospect, will challenge for playing time next year.
“Is Montero ready for the big leagues?” [Brian] Cashman said. “I have people who believe he is. He’s going to have to prove that.”
I hope this is not the same people who told Cashman that Austin Jackson was not ready for the big leagues in 2010. In any event, it will be interesting to see ‘Sado’s reaction to this news today. Will he take it as a challenge? Or, will he take it as a slap in the face?
A nice little puff-piece about Yankees 3B/OF prospect Brandon Laird, courtesy of Baseball America.
The more positions this kid learns, the better. He’ll start 2011 in Triple-A and will either see time at the big league level on a replacement basis or he’ll be a trade chip for bench/bullpen help around the July trading deadline. Realistically, Laird has next to no shot of ever logging time as a regular in New York. His best value to the Yankees is for his bat to be coveted by another team that wants a young, cost-controlled hitter.
It’s a throw-away line at the bottom of this story and I wasn’t able to confirm it via video of today’s postmortem press conference held at Yankee Stadium but it appears as though the Yankees have decided that RHP Joba Chamberlain is better suited to the bullpen long term.
I spent all of last winter arguing that the Yankees needed to send Chamberlain down to the minor leagues to do with him what the Red Sox did with Clay Buchholz in the first half of 2009. Instead, the Yankees essentially rigged the competition for fifth starter by giving Phil Hughes the job and returning Chamberlain to the bullpen. Much was made of Chamberlain’s spectacular failures in relief this year and, by all accounts, it appears that the organization has lost faith in #62, not only as a starter but as a high-leverage late inning reliever.
I expect this is the first move that sets in motion a plan towards eventually trading Chamberlain to a team with an unaffordable asset that the Yankees covet.
As an unabashed critic of Chamberlain’s, I can’t say I disagree with this decision. If the team is not committed to returning him to the rotation and if Chamberlain himself is unwilling or unable to make the adjustments required of an MLB-level starting pitcher, the Yanks are left with few options. If they can get something for him, the Yanks should trade Chamberlain.
From Wallace Matthews, via Twitter, from the Brian Cashman press conference today –
Cash: i didn’t have a great winter last year. A lot of the things I did didn’t benefit us
I have to stand up and applaud Cashman here for manning up and admitting his failures. This is not something he’s done in the past. It’s refreshing to see this, at the least.
The Yankees Alex Rodriguez is quoted, below, directly after the Yankees lost the 2010 ALCS, via a New York Post report entitled “A-Rod downcast after postseason without homer” –
“This is going to hurt. And it’s going to hurt for a while. And it should. We expect to win every year and our front office has put a team on the field that’s expected to win and should win, and we came up short.”
…This is going to hurt. And it’s going to hurt for a while. And it should…
O.K., remember those words. And, now, see this report from TMZ entitled “A-Rod Mourns Playoff Loss with LeBron” -
The day after the New York Yankees were eliminated from the playoffs, Alex Rodriguez partied at a Miami nightclub with someone who is no stranger to playoff failure … LeBron James.
The two kicked it at the grand opening of the Arkadia at the Fontainebleau Hotel on Saturday night to attend Drake’s 24th birthday party.
Spies inside the club tell us both A-Rod and LeBron partied until 1:00 AM — and were each seen drinking Grey Goose La Poire vodka.
Since they’re each worth roughly a bazillion dollars — who do you think pays for drinks?
Hey, what can I say? It’s stuff like this which is the reason why so many see A-Rod has being totally disingenuous.