• Jeter’s Agent: Yanks “Refuse To Acknowledge Derek’s Total Contribution To Their Franchise”

    Posted by on November 21st, 2010 · Comments (33)

    Via Mike Lupica

    Casey Close is Derek Jeter’s agent and he has never said very much, and maybe it is one of the reasons why he and Jeter have been together a long time. Close has said very little about his client’s negotiation with the Yankees so far and thought the Yankees would do the same. He was wrong about that. So even Jeter and his representative now find out what it is like going up against the company in a company town.

    All of a sudden, the Yankees have a lot to say, especially through “sources” close to the front office. It is always a scream reading about them, knowing how few people are actually in the room. At least Randy Levine, the team president, is out in the open when he has something to say.

    More and more you get the idea that the people now running the Yankees – Hal Steinbrenner, Brian Cashman, all of them – are the great line from the movie “All About Eve”:

    They think they’re the piano that wrote the concerto.

    Close thought everybody wanted to handle this negotiation the right way, maybe because his client has done things the right way with the Yankees from the day he ran out to shortstop for good in 1996. Only now you can’t shut the Yankees up.

    This is what Casey Close said Saturday night, after a week of reading what the Yankees have to say about everything:

    “There’s a reason the Yankees themselves have stated Derek Jeter is their modern-day Babe Ruth. Derek’s significance to the team is much more than just stats. And yet, the Yankees’ negotiating strategy remains baffling.”

    Then Close said: “They continue to argue their points in the press and refuse to acknowledge Derek’s total contribution to their franchise.”

    Maybe Casey missed the Cashman memo where it said that “Iconic, off-the-field value, doesn’t translate in my world…”?

    When was the last time the Yankees were in a spot like this…where a certain future Hall of Fame player and franchise legend was an older gent, coming off a poor season, and looking for that last multi-year contract while on the doorstep of a notable milestone? In some ways, maybe this is like Reggie Jackson at the end of 1981? Granted, Mr. October wasn’t home-grown or had long Yankees tenure like Jeter. But, at the time, Jackson was 35-years old, coming off a bad year, and just 75 homers away from 500. And, he was a former Yankees World Series hero and a future Hall-of-Famer in the eyes of many…

    What happened then? The Angels, Orioles, Braves, White Sox, Pirates, Rangers and Blue Jays all had an interest in Reggie – and eventually Buzzie Bavasi and Gene Autry fitted Jackson with a Halo.

    At this point, perhaps the smartest thing that Close can do is work up some other suitors for Jeter – if that’s at all possible. Because, without those, the Yankees can, and probably will, hardball Derek and just wait. There’s no Big Stein for Close to call and work over. And, Hank Stein has been neutered since giving A-Rod the house when he could have stonewalled him. Basically, Casey can say anything he wants now, and wonder/ponder things till the cows come home…but the Yankees have all the cards at this moment. And, without some leverage, nothing is going to change that for Camp Jeter.

    Nite Owl Is One Of Us?

    Posted by on November 20th, 2010 · Comments (5)

    So, I’m watching Patrick Wilson sign the national anthem before the Notre Dame-Army game at Yankee Stadium tonight and he’s wearing a Yankees jacket – and it didn’t look like it just came out of a box. Attaboy.

    Leyritz Acquitted

    Posted by on November 20th, 2010 · Comments (3)

    Via the Sun Sentinel:

    He may have been driving drunk when he struck and killed a woman in a car crash nearly three years ago, but Jim Leyritz wasn’t responsible for her death, a jury ruled Saturday.

    The former Yankee baseball player burst into tears upon hearing the verdict, then into smiles of elation upon being convicted of simple DUI charge rather than the more serious charge of DUI manslaughter.

    He faced a sentence of up to 15 years had he been convicted of the more serious charge. Now, the first-time offender faces a maximum sentence of six months on the misdemeanor conviction.

    “There’s no winners in this case. It was a tragic situation,” Leyritz said after the verdict. “All I’m glad about is that I’m going home to my kids.”

    The verdict capped a nearly four-week trial in which the 46-year-old Davie man was accused of drunken driving and running a red light around 3 a.m. on Dec. 28, 2007, when he slammed his Ford Expedition into a Mitsubishi Montero being driven by Fredia Veitch, 30, a Plantation mother of two.

    Leyritz had been celebrating his birthday and was traveling north on Southwest Seventh Avenue in downtown Fort Lauderdale when he collided with Veitch, a bartender on her way home. She was traveling west on Second Street.

    After nearly seven hours of deliberations over three days, a jury of five men and one woman concluded the ex-Major Leaguer couldn’t have caused the wreck.

    “Manslaughter was never an option,” jury foreman Brian Haul said. “There was no way the prosecution could prove he ran the red light. I feel comfortable this jury reached the decision it should have.”

    Bruce Barger, a passenger in Leyritz’ car, initially told police the light was red and he tried to warn Leyritz, who was looking down as if he dropped something. On the witness stand, however, Barger said he didn’t recall the light turning red.

    In a painstaking and often technical defense, attorney David Bogenschutz cast doubt on the reliability of the blood sample used to test Leyritz’ alcohol level. He also argued that Veitch had been speeding, police miscalculated the time of the accident, and a concussion had slowed the alcohol absorption rate in Leyritz’s stomach so he wasn’t impaired during the moment of the crash.

    Bogenschutz said the state never offered a plea deal, leaving no choice but to go to trial. “Had it been a DUI (charge) in the first place we could have worked this out,” he said.

    Assistant State Attorney Stefanie Newman acknowledged proof of Leyritz’ guilt was a hard sell to jurors. “It was a tough case going in,” she said. “We knew we had an uphill climb. The jury has spoken and we respect their verdict.”

    Veitch’s husband Jordan, however, condemned the verdict. “I don’t think he got what he deserved,” he said, before leaving the courtroom.

    Did you know that just one day before Leyritz hit his famous game winning ALDS homerun in 1995, O.J. Simpson was acquitted as well?

    Does this mean O.J. goes yard tomorrow?

    Derek Jeter, Then, Now & Tomorrow

    Posted by on November 20th, 2010 · Comments (13)

    First let’s see what Keith Olbermann has offered this week on the state of Derek Jeter –

    As the fine folks at Baseball Prospectus noted before the 2010 season began, Derek Jeter was in new territory. Even with eleven .300 seasons notched into his bat, there just wasn’t any indication that any shortstops aged 36 or over – unless their names were Honus Wagner – were going to produce anything but a long walk off a short pier. The nearly 400 ground balls Jeter generated in 2010 were not a statistical anomaly. They were the expected outcome of a lifetime of swings and stats and the ravages of time.

    That was the point one of the umpteen coaches and advisors who worked with Jeter during the season tried to get through to him. That was the hard undeniable fact that he was so deftly sidestepping with the answers about insufficient upper body strength. Age, not laziness on the weight machine, adds that half-second to your swing. Age, not sloth, turns those little flares over the heads of the second baseman and shortstop into smothered balls skittering into their gloves. Age, Mr. Jeter, comes for us all.

    And think about $45 million over three years, which is the Yankees’ offer my friend Joel Sherman is hinting at in the newspaper, and what the latest set of grisly projections from Baseball Prospectus is suggesting (you’ll only be able to get 301 plate appearances in the third year of that prospective deal), and think of the market out there for 37-year old shortstops and realize that it is not an insult and not lowball and is in fact predicated on mutual loyalty and respect and the nauseating possibility of having to say “Now batting for Pittsburgh, the first baseman, Derek Jeter…”

    Ouch.  Next, let’s look at some stats of recent players (meaning seasons since 1996) to find someone who was “like” Jeter last season. First, via the Complete Baseball Encyclopedia:

    Seasons from 1996-2010, where AGE BETWEEN 36 AND 37
    PLATE APPEARANCES >= 600 and RCAA <= -10

    PLAYER                        YEAR     ISO      PA      RCAA      OWP
    1    Joe Carter               1996     .222      682      -14     .428
    2    Marquis Grissom          2004     .171      606      -12     .432
    3    Joe Carter               1997     .165      668      -21     .375
    4    Craig Biggio             2002     .151      655      -11     .440
    5    Paul O'Neill             2000     .141      628      -16     .412
    6    Cal Ripken               1997     .132      686      -10     .442
    7    Miguel Tejada            2010     .112      681      -12     .428
    8    Derek Jeter              2010     .100      739      -15     .426

    And, here’s some more from B-R.com –

    Rk Player OPS+ PA Year Age Tm G R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB BA OBP SLG
    1 Joe Carter 77 668 1997 37 TOR 157 76 143 30 4 21 102 40 105 8 .234 .284 .399
    2 Craig Biggio 88 655 2002 36 HOU 145 96 146 36 3 15 58 50 111 16 .253 .330 .404
    3 Kevin Millar 89 610 2008 36 BAL 145 73 124 25 0 20 72 71 93 0 .234 .323 .394
    4 Cal Ripken 89 659 1998 37 BAL 161 65 163 27 1 14 61 51 68 0 .271 .331 .389
    5 Miguel Tejada 90 681 2010 36 TOT 156 71 171 26 0 15 71 30 67 2 .269 .312 .381
    6 Derek Jeter 90 739 2010 36 NYY 157 111 179 30 3 10 67 63 106 18 .270 .340 .370
    7 Paul O’Neill 92 628 2000 37 NYY 142 79 160 26 0 18 100 51 90 14 .283 .336 .424
    8 Cal Ripken 93 686 1997 36 BAL 162 79 166 30 0 17 84 56 73 1 .270 .331 .402
    9 Jeromy Burnitz 94 671 2005 36 CHC 160 84 156 31 2 24 87 57 109 5 .258 .322 .435
    10 Joe Carter 95 682 1996 36 TOR 157 84 158 35 7 30 107 44 106 7 .253 .306 .475
    11 Craig Biggio 96 717 2003 37 HOU 153 102 166 44 2 15 62 57 116 8 .264 .350 .412
    12 Ryne Sandberg 96 621 1996 36 CHC 150 85 135 28 4 25 92 54 116 12 .244 .316 .444
    13 Marquis Grissom 97 606 2004 37 SFG 145 78 157 26 2 22 90 37 83 3 .279 .323 .450
    14 Omar Vizquel 99 651 2004 37 CLE 148 82 165 28 3 7 59 57 62 19 .291 .353 .388
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
    Generated 11/20/2010.


    The name that jumps out the most here to me is Craig Biggio. But, then again, that’s what I said in August as well – that Jeter’s season in 2010 was a lot like Biggio’s season in 2002.

    Now, in terms of “image” value, you can make the case that Biggio and Jeter have a lot in common too.  Both were/are the “clean boy/leader” poster-children of their organization and are/were well respected throughout the game.  And, both – Biggio in 2002 and Jeter in 2010 were/are “nearing 3,000 hits and certain Cooperstown induction” icons for their teams – and, yeah, they’re both “home grown” talents who never played for anyone else but the teams who drafted them.  Oh, and, for the most part, both manned the keystone in the infield.  Therefore, to me, these two really are perfect comps.

    So, how did Biggio do after 2002?    By most sabermetric measures, he was a “league-average” performer (thereabouts) for the next three seasons – and that’s it.  And, while he was still playing past that, at ages 40 and 41, mostly to get 3,000 hits, he should have hung them up after the 2005 season.  And, I’m sure this is what the Yankees are thinking about when it comes to Jeter – and that’s why they don’t want to offer him more than three years on his next contract.

    Now, will $15 million a year for three years be enough?  I doubt it.  Not when the team is paying A.J. Burnett $16.5 million a year and they paid Javier Vazquez $11.5 million last season.  We all know that Jeter has a ton of pride – maybe too much – and will not take a salary that close to what the Yankees paid too crap pitchers last season. 

    And, this is where it gets tricky.  Derek probably wants closer to $20 million a season – especially if the Yankees are only going three years on an offer.  But, no other team in baseball will pay him that much – or can afford to pay him that much.  So, Jeter has very little leverage here.  And, in my opinion, he’s probably going to be lucky to get the Yankees to come up to $18 million a season, in any offer.

    Man, this thing could take a long time to get done…and, wouldn’t it be something if it does turn out, in the end, to be something like Olbermann suggests?  Granted, I don’t think it will be the Pirates.  But, what if a team like Red Sox, Mets, Angels, Orioles, Tigers or Cubs offers Jeter a “pillow contract” like the one Boston gave Adrain Belte last season – say, one year for $19 million.  Would Jeter take it?  And, if he did, what would that mean to his relationship with the Yankees in the future?

    Larry Rothschild Named Yankees Pitching Coach

    Posted by on November 19th, 2010 · Comments (5)

    This sounds dirty. Didn’t Rothschild just exercise his option to stay with the Cubs? Well, now, he has a three-year contract with New York.

    Update via the Sun Times:

    The Cubs’ turnover continued with an unexpected departure Friday. The New York Yankees announced the hiring of pitching coach Larry Rothschild.

    Rothschild, who last month exercised his contract option for 2011 with the Cubs, had talked in recent seasons with general manager Jim Hendry about the possibility of looking into potential job openings that would allow him to spend spring training closer to home in Tampa, Fla., and have more time with his family.

    ”It’s a great opportunity to be with the Yankees also,” Rothschild said. ”It has a lot less to do with leaving the Cubs than it is an opportunity to be with my family and also the Yankees.”

    Rothschild replaces Dave Eiland, who was fired after the World Series amid reports of a rift with manager Joe Girardi.

    Rothschild, 56, signed a three-year contract with the Yankees, who train in Tampa. He spent the past nine seasons as Cubs pitching coach and was the only member of the staff to survive the Dusty Baker regime after the 2006 season. Rothschild’s Cubs run included three playoff seasons.

    ”We’ve been fortunate to have Larry this long,” said Hendry, who called Yankees GM Brian Cashman on Rothschild’s behalf after Rothschild asked the Cubs for consent to look into the opening. ”I think the industry has looked at Larry in a higher light than he was looked at even locally sometimes.”

    Is it just me, or, is that last line sorta strange?

    Baseball America Scouts RHP Scottie Allen

    Posted by on November 19th, 2010 · Comments (0)

    Following up on Steve’s post about the Juan Miranda trade, here is a brief scouting run-down on who the Yankees acquired from Arizona (courtesy of Baseball America):

    Scottie Allen, RHP
    Age: 19
    Born: July 3, 1991 in Lyman, Calif.
    Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 170. Bats: R. Throws: R.
    School: Lyman HS, Longwood, Fla.
    Career Transactions: Selected by Diamondbacks in 11th round of 2009 draft; signed June 19, 2009 ($125,000 signing bonus).

    Allen throws four pitches, three of which grade as average at times, but lacks the one dominating offering to put batters away. He sinks his fastball at 87-91 mph and occasionally breaks out a swing-and-miss slider in the high 70s or a changeup in the same range. His curveball is less refined, but he’s around the zone with it and all his pitches. Wiry strong, Allen has a quick arm, but he tends to tire visibly by the fourth inning. Still, he’s worth taking a flier on because he’s a teenager who already shows a feel for pitching.

    Allen may be a long way from the big leagues, that’s for sure.  I guess we’ll find out over the next two or three years if the Yanks can squeeze a little juice out of this kid.

    Heyman: Yanks To Offer Jeter 3 Years/$45 Million

    Posted by on November 19th, 2010 · Comments (6)

    Jon Heyman of SI.com reports that the Yankees are about to offer a three-year, $45 million contract to shortstop Derek Jeter.

    Oh, this is going to get good in a hurry…

    Sweet Lou Returning To Yankeeland?

    Posted by on November 19th, 2010 · Comments (2)

    Via Jesse Sanchez

    Lou Piniella could return to his Yankees roots.

    According to the Associated Press, Piniella, who attended a Yankees fantasy camp on Thursday, has been invited to participate in the 2011 Old-Timers’ Day at Yankee Stadium.

    Piniella, a former Yankees manager and player, spent 30 minutes with Hank Steinbrenner, and the club’s co-chairman said that he’s sure Piniella will take part in the festivities, according to the report. Steinbrenner also said that he hopes Piniella will consider rejoining the organization in an advisory role and that the former Yankee will “always be a consultant for me.”

    Just imagine how much fun the media would have if Hank & Lou were running the Yankees show instead of Hal & Cashman…

    This Year’s PSA

    Posted by on November 19th, 2010 · Comments (9)

    Yes, it’s that time of the year again – where I put myself out there for everyone to see.

    Since my birthday is coming up, I decided to go for my annual body composition test.  Below are the results compared to the tests from the last two years.

    Age Weight Delta Yr Prior Body Fat % Dry Lean
    Mass %
    Intracellular Water % Extracellular Water %
    46 NA 12.9% 22.9% 39.3% 24.8%
    47 4.8 13.3% 23.0% 39.5% 24.1%
    48 1.5 15.3% 22.5% 38.7% 23.6%

    Why am I sharing this? Well, four and a half years ago, I decided it was time to take a hard look at, and address, my physical condition. And, this has been a focus for me ever since.

    Looking at the numbers above, I’m not concerned about my weight gain between 2008 and 2009. I was underweight back in 2008 and the level for 2009/2010 is a more reasonable mark. And, yes, I’ve put on a few pounds of fat in the past year. But, I can work on that – and, it’s not terrible to be 48-years old and have 15% body fat. So, I’m not overly concerned about it.

    Bottom line, if I can go from where I was in June 2006 to a much healthier state – and then maintain that condition for four years, anyone can do it. The trick? Make good food choices, use portion control, and exercise – in that order. And, if you can’t move around that much, just eat healthy and wisely. It works.

    The holiday feasting season starts next week. And, by some reports, the average weight gain during this time is two to six pounds – although I’ve also heard some claim it to be as high as ten pounds.

    Enjoy your holidays – but, the best gift you can give during this time is the one you give yourself…by aiming to maintain and/or improve your health during this time (as we head into the new year).

    Again, if this old man can do it, so can you.

    Should O’s Try & Sign Jeter?

    Posted by on November 19th, 2010 · Comments (6)

    Ron Fritz thinks so.

    And, I’m sure Jeter’s agent wouldn’t mind having an offer for leverage…

    Do You Know Miranda?

    Posted by on November 18th, 2010 · Comments (14)

    Well, if you don’t…too late…he’s gone.

    The Yankees have traded Juan Miranda to the Diamondbacks for pitcher Scott Allen.

    King Felix Wins Cy Young, Sabathia Finishes Third

    Posted by on November 18th, 2010 · Comments (8)

    Via the BBWA

    Because of the heightened interest in this award, the list of voters is below, grouped by which pitcher they listed first on their ballot:

    Hernandez: Ken Rosenthal, Fox; Amalie Benjamin, Boston Globe; Michael Silverman, Boston Herald; Erik Boland, Newsday; Joe Smith, St. Petersburg Times; Mark Gonzales, Chicago Tribune; Lynn Henning, Detroit News; John Lowe, Detroit Free Press; Sam Mellinger, Kansas City Star; Joe Posnanski, SI.com; Joe Christensen, Minneapolis Star Tribune; John Shipley, St. Paul Pioneer Press; Hirokazu Higuchi, Chunichi Shimbun (LA); Tim Brown, Yahoo Sports; Jorge Ortiz, USA Today; Ray Ratto, At Large (SF/Oakland); Kirby Arnold, Everett Herald; Larry Stone, Seattle Times; Richard Durrett, At Large (Dallas-Fort Worth); Anthony Andro, Fort Worth Star Telegram; Morgan Campbell, Toronto Star.

    Price: Mel Antonen, USA Today; Tony Fabrizio, Tampa Tribune; Phil Rogers, Chicago Tribune; Chris Assenheimer. Elyria (OH) Chronicle.

    Sabathia: George King, New York Post; Bob Elliott, Toronto Sun; Sheldon Ocker, Akron Beacon Journal.

    It will be interesting to see where Sabathia ends up in the A.L. MVP voting this year…

    ESPN New York: Jeter, Yanks “At Odds”

    Posted by on November 18th, 2010 · Comments (15)

    As the headline to this post states, apparently one source* claims that the Yankees and free agent shortstop Derek Jeter are at odds over the length of any future contract between the two sides.

    ORLANDO, Fla. — The New York Yankees would be happy to get Derek Jeter to agree to a three-year contract for $21 million a year, according to a source who has ties to both the team and the player.

    But Jeter, the source said, wants at least a four-year deal, preferably five or six. According to the source, there is at least one voice inside the Yankees’ hierarchy urging the front office to play hard ball with Jeter.

    “Tell him the deal is three years at $15 million a year, take it or leave it,” the person taking the hard-line approach said. “Wait him out and he’ll wind up taking it. Where’s he gonna go, Cincinnati?”

    But according to the source, the Yankees are fearful of fan backlash and a public relations nightmare if they let Jeter go.

    If this report is to be believed — that the Yankees are offering Derek Jeter 3Y/$63M contract — no one could accuse the Yankees of not honoring Jeter’s legacy.  $21M per season would represent the same salary that Jeter played for in 2010 and the length of the contract would mean that he would be 39 years old at the deal’s expiration date in 2013.

    Although $63M is a lot of scratch to commit to a player that may be in steep decline, it is certainly a good faith offer.  If I’m the Yankees, I have a clear conscience.  Should Jeter want to try for more years in another market, that’ll be his prerogative.  The Yankees shouldn’t have any reason to fear fan backlash, provided that sensible people think objectively about what this contract offer truly represents.

    In any case, good luck to Jeter if he thinks he can get more than three years from a team outside of the 10451 zip code.

    *For the record, I hate any story that relies on “a source” but doesn’t provide more insight on the credibility of that source.  In an era where reporters seem to churn out fabricated stories in order to sell papers, the likelihood that this story is legit is somewhere in the “maybe” range in my book.

    Why November 18th Stinks

    Posted by on November 18th, 2010 · Comments (6)

    So I get to my desk and I flip the little baseball calendar to today’s date, Thursday, November 18th.  At the very bottom I notice today’s birthdays:

    David Ortiz
    Gary Sheffield
    Tom Gordon

    Yuck.  Three guys I just absolutely detest.  Today stinks.  I hope all three find maggots in their birthday cake.

    And, The 2010 A.L. Cy Young Award Goes To…

    Posted by on November 17th, 2010 · Comments (4)

    …well, how can it not be “King Felix”?

    See the numbers:

    Pitcher                          RSAA      IP       N_W      N_L    BR/9 IP vs Lge Avg   
    1    Felix Hernandez              41    249.2       18        7     2.63   
    2    C.C. Sabathia                35    237.2       18       10     1.46   
    3    Jon Lester                   25    208         18       10     1.19   
    4    David Price                  23    208.2       16        9     1.48   
    5    C.J. Wilson                  22    204         14        9     0.79   
    6    Jered Weaver                 21    224.1       15       10     2.77   
    7    Cliff Lee                    20    212.1       13        8     3.37   
    T8   Gio Gonzalez                 18    200.2       14       10     0.46   
    T8   Justin Verlander             18    224.1       16       11     1.73   
    10   John Danks                   17    213         15       11     1.33   

    Source: Complete Baseball Encyclopedia

    But, if it goes to CC Sabathia, it’s not as huge a crime as if the award went to…say…A.J. Burnett…


    Posted by on November 17th, 2010 · Comments (0)

    “The sun don’t shine on the same dog’s ass all the time.” – James Augustus Hunter

    Where’s Derek?

    Posted by on November 17th, 2010 · Comments (3)

    Here he is!

    Yankees Have No Interest In Leo Mazzone

    Posted by on November 16th, 2010 · Comments (12)

    Via Mark Feinsand

    The pitching coach search is on hold while the meetings go on, because they have to be conducted at the Stadium. Cashman said the candidates are getting “homework” and they have to use the video equipment and other facilities for the interviews. Mike Harkey and Gil Patterson have interviewed and Triple-A pitching coach Scott Aldred will be interviewed this week. Cashman would not say if Rick Peterson, the former Met pitching coach who was recently let go by the Brewers, would be a candidate, though he did praise Peterson’s pitching acumen. Ex-Braves coach Leo Mazzone is NOT a candidate, Cashman said. “No, we’re not going to interview Leo,” Cashman said. “Leo turned down the Yankee job once. He was offered the job before Gator (Ron Guidry) in 2006 and he went to Baltimore.”

    Hmmm…I suppose that Hell has no fury like a Cashman scorned…when it comes to the job of Yankees pitching coach.

    Cashman: Signing Rivera & Jeter Are “Layups”

    Posted by on November 16th, 2010 · Comments (5)

    Via Paul Hoynes

    Yankee fans need not fear, free agents Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera aren’t going anywhere. GM Brian Cashman called signing Jeter and Rivera “layups in terms of knowing that [the Yankees] have to get done.”

    Who says white men can’t jump?

    Yankees Raise Ticket Prices

    Posted by on November 16th, 2010 · Comments (3)

    Via the AP

    The Yankees raised the prices of some of their most expensive tickets for next season after making big cuts in 2010, and they are increasing the cost of bleacher seats for the third time in 13 years. The price of the best field-level seats will rise to $260 as part of season-ticket plans, the team said. Those seats will cost $250 next season, down from $325 when the new Yankee Stadium opened in 2009. Seats that had been slashed to $235 from $325 will remain unchanged, as will many other seats in the field level. Toward the outfield, tickets that had been $100 will rise to $110, and tickets that had been $75 will go up to $80. Upper-deck ticket prices remain unchanged. Bleacher seats that had been $12 increase to $15, and $5 bleacher seats with obstructed views remain the same.

    I could make a joke here. And, I want to make one. But, seriously, how much extra revenue is this move going to generate for the Yankees and how much will that improve their overall revenue picture? Probably not a lot. It’s not as if this increase means they can sign Cliff Lee and without it they’d have to sell off some players. So, why bother with the increase at all? At this point, all it buys is bad P.R. – and do the Yankees really need that? Talk about being penny hungry and pound stupid.

    Amen Cleveland

    Posted by on November 15th, 2010 · Comments (1)

    I never watch The Cleveland Show. But, last night, I happened to check it out…waiting for Boardwalk Empire to come on…and, as luck would have it, the storyline had a baseball theme.

    Related, at one point, Cleveland Brown is explaining to his son that cheating is part of baseball. And, he said something like “If you don’t believe me, check out Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens, Alex Rodriguez…and…the entire squads of both the 2004 and 2007 Boston Red Sox!”

    Gotta say, when I heard that, I applauded.

    Attaboy Cleveland!

    Brian Cashman Can Safely Skip Down The Street Today

    Posted by on November 15th, 2010 · Comments (7)

    Austin Jackson did not win the A.L. Rookie of the Year Award.

    Stolen 2009 World Series Ring For Sale?

    Posted by on November 15th, 2010 · Comments (0)

    Via Vito Antuofermo

    On another note, reports have come in that the ball Babe Ruth hit for his 702nd home run has been auctioned for $2,64,500. The bidding for the antique item took place at the Louisville Slugger Museum in a 7th annual live broadcast auction that just took place. Along with the memorable item, the auction put up for sale an autographed baseball bat from Cy Young that was dedicated to the first World Series in 1903. Apart from that a 2009 World Series ring belonging to the New York Yankees was also put up for sale during the tenure. The ring is rumoured to be one of the items that went missing back in June.

    Can’t they just check the ring and see who’s name is on it? That would tell you if it’s hot or not.

    Phil Hughes Was Lucky In 2010, Can He Do It Again?

    Posted by on November 14th, 2010 · Comments (12)

    Among the items in The Bill James Handbook 2011 is the Bill James Leader (boards). And, for each league, therein, we can find the leaders in “Cheap Wins.”

    What’s a “Cheap Win”? It’s when a starting pitcher wins a game where his Game Score was under 50. (See our Stat Glossary if you don’t know what “Game Score” is all about.)

    Related, here are the 2010 American League leaders in “Cheap Wins” – min. 5 “Cheap Wins”:

    1. John Lackey, BOS 6
    2. Phil Hughes, NYY 5

    Yup. The Yankees offense really helped Phil Hughes get his 18-8 record last season. And, I would offer that a more reasonable W-L record for Hughes last year would be something like 14-12. In fact, if you look at Hughes’ 2011 Neutral Wins and Losses via the Complete Baseball Encyclopedia, that’s his record. (If you don’t now what Neutral Wins and Losses are, again, see the Stat Glossary.)

    This is all good food for thought for those who believe that Hughes is ready to step into the “front end” of the Yankees starting rotation next season. And, if Brian Cashman and company are thinking Phil is ready to be counted on as a “#3” starter (after Sabathia and Cliff Lee, assuming the Yankees sign the latter), that’s a mistake.

    Don’t let the 18-8 record fool you. If not for the luck he had last season, Hughes would be right up there with A.J. Burnett and Javy Vazquez – not in terms of sucky stats, but, rather, in terms of being just about a .500 pitcher (as those two have been most of their career).

    This is not to say that Hughes cannot take it to the next level in 2011, or, that he can’t get lucky again next season. Anything can happen. But, if the Yankees, or their fans, book on it happening, that’s just wishful thinking at this point.

    Yanks & WCBS-AM To Part Ways After Season?

    Posted by on November 13th, 2010 · Comments (12)

    Via Bob Raissman

    Is the curtain falling on Ma and Pa Pinstripe? Will next season be John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman’s last in the Yankees radio booth?

    Right now their future is up in the air. The Yankees contract with WCBS-AM, worth about $12 million per year, expires at the end of the 2011 season, so do Sterling and Waldman’s pacts. Sterling has been the radio voice of the Yankees since 1989. Waldman joined him in 2005.

    There has yet to be any serious negotiations between the Yankees and WCBS. The job status of Ma and Pa cannot be resolved until a new radio-rights deal is cut. Industry moles say other outlets have chatted informally with Bombers brass. These potential suitors are looking to get a sense of which direction the club wants to go with its radio rights.

    Outside of WCBS, which probably wants to keep the Yankees, it’s highly likely ESPN will – if it hasn’t already – stick its beak into the mix. For ESPN-1050, the process of trying to chip away at WFAN, longtime Mets rights holder, has not been easy.

    Adding Yankees radiocasts to the mix of Jets, Knicks and Rangers would help change the equation – drastically. But how much would ESPN be willing to pay for the radio rights to Yankees baseball? And would pinstripe honchos be satisfied having their games go out over ESPN-1050’s weak signal? That situation could be corrected if ESPN ever purchases another station with stronger reach.

    There also has been talk about the Yankees buying a radio station.

    I really don’t see the Yankees getting rid of Sterling and Waldman. Heck, they’re still doing the YMCA when they drag the infield, right? The Yankees hardly get rid of something when it’s time for it to go. Whatever they do, in terms of picking a station and choosing broadcasters, I just hope they do the right thing. There are many, many, people out there in Yankeeland who use the radio broadcasts as their main way to follow the team. And, it would be a crime against that part of their fan base if the Yankees screw this up…somehow.

    The Cashman Quote

    Posted by on November 13th, 2010 · Comments (4)

    It’s all over the ‘net today:

    Iconic, off-the-field value, doesn’t translate in my world…

    Well, that settles it. I guess there’s no chance that Luis Sojo will ever play for the Yankees again.

    Pettitte On His Plans For 2011

    Posted by on November 13th, 2010 · Comments (2)

    Via Matt (don’t call me Meta) Musil

    In what has become an annual off-season question for Pettitte, I asked Andy if he would play again next year and if it’s possible he would come back to play for the Astros?

    “The three years were great here, there’s no doubt about it. But at this point in my career, it’ll be New York or it’ll be nowhere for sure. (I) just feel like I’ve done too many things up there and too many special things up there with that group of guys for too many years, not to finish it up … up there,” he said.

    Pettitte has no timetable about when he’ll make his decision, but he did make it clear if he pitches in 2011, it will be his last season. Period.

    “I’m just going to wait and see what my heart wants me to do. Right now, I can tell you my heart’s right here in Deer Park. If something happens and I play one more year that would be it. It would be one more year and that would be it,” he said.

    He says, right now, he just wants to relax and enjoy the family and then he’ll figure out his situation for next year.

    Pettitte went 11 & 3 for the Yankees in 2010 and helped pitch the team into the ALCS, so he’s confident he can still pitch in the majors.

    But he says,”my kids are getting older and one’s going to be out of high school real soon, and I’m not going to miss his whole high school. I want to be able to be here and see some of his stuff and you can’t see his stuff playing major league baseball. I just feel like a have a big responsibility here. I have three boys. I feel like I need to be around and raise them and I feel like we’re getting to that point where it’s the crucial ages of their lives that I need to be around a little bit more.”

    Prediction: If the Yankees don’t sign Cliff Lee, they’ll resign Pettitte and give him the “Clemens” deal where he can go home on the days between his starts. And, if the Yankees do sign Lee, they’ll make Andy an offer that’s really low-ball and full of incentives. But, Pettitte will see that as a slap and then decide to retire – until the Astros then offer him the “Clemens” type package to try and get him to play one more year. Shoot, maybe even the Rangers will offer him the “Clemens” deal too?

    Jeter & Cashman Comment On Recent Meeting

    Posted by on November 12th, 2010 · Comments (0)

    Good stuff on the Jeter talks via Mark Feinsand

    There has been speculation that one of the topics discussed was Jeter’s future as a shortstop, but the Yankee captain said that “hasn’t been brought up.”

    Cashman said his talks with Close were in the “infancy stages,” saying it could take a good portion of the winter before a deal is completed.

    Still, Cashman dismissed the idea that things could get “messy” between the two sides, something Steinbrenner suggested in broad terms during a radio interview nearly two weeks ago.

    “He said any negotiation has a chance to get messy,” Cashman said of Steinbrenner’s comment. “He didn’t say he expects this one to; he said that any one can. That’s true. I don’t think there’s any expectation from our perspective this is going to get messy.”

    “It’s not even close to that at this stage at all. No one expects that and we’ll work our hardest on both ends not to have that happen.”

    Cashman said that despite Jeter’s status with the franchise, these negotiations are being conducted the same way as any other free agent he deals with.

    “It’s business; two sides have a chance to sit down and discuss what’s important to them and where they’re trying to go and why,” Cashman said. “You talk through every aspect – good and bad – and find common ground. That’s what I do in every negotiation, but some play louder in the public eye than others. Because this is the Yankees and this is Derek, this is obviously gong to get a lot more attention.”

    Jeter has no idea when a deal may get done, having never gone through the free-agent process before. He declined to say whether any other teams had contacted Close to express interest, adding that he’s tried “to stay removed” from the whole situation.

    Asked if he was nervous about the idea of not returning to the Bombers, Jeter said, “Right now, I’m not.” Jeter was then asked whether he had any doubt that a deal with the Yankees would eventually get done.

    “I have no idea,” Jeter said. “I’d like to think it would, but I don’t know.”

    My recommendation: Just bookmark all this for now and revisit it in a month or so. Maybe everyone will still have the same tone then? But then again, maybe not?

    Jeter Deal Just Weeks Away?

    Posted by on November 11th, 2010 · Comments (0)

    Via Feinsand & Madden

    Brian Cashman might have traveled alone to Arkansas for his meeting with Cliff Lee Wednesday, but the general manager had plenty of company last weekend when he sat down with Derek Jeter.

    A Yankees contingent consisting of Cashman, Hal Steinbrenner and Randy Levine met with Jeter and his agent, Casey Close, over the weekend in Tampa, as the two sides sat down face-to-face for the first time to discuss the captain’s next contract.

    Close confirmed the meeting in an email, but declined to discuss the specifics of the talks.

    No formal offers were presented, according to a source, as Jeter and the Yankees exchanged thoughts, ideas and concerns with regard to the shortstop’s future.

    “It was a very good meeting,” the source said. “Everybody heard what everybody had to say. There’s always information exchanged and questions that each side needs asked and answered. It gets the process moving along.”

    The source indicated that both sides expect to get a deal done in the coming weeks, although there are no more meetings scheduled and no firm timetable for either Jeter or the Yankees.

    Any guesses on who the source was? Was it Hank Stein or Skyzoo? (And, yes, I’m kiding.)

    Lupica: Cash, Not Cashman, Is Yanks Free Agent Nectar

    Posted by on November 11th, 2010 · Comments (12)

    Via Mike Lupica today –

    Whenever the Yankees start recruiting a big free agent, the best part, every single time, is the hilarious notion that it’s not about the money, it’s about the relationships.

    Brian Cashman has now flown to Arkansas to meet Cliff Lee and Mrs. Lee and Lee’s agent, just to get to know them. Maybe tell them that hardly anybody will try to spit on Mrs. Lee when she’s sitting in her own suite. Before getting down to asking the only question that ever matters in this process:

    When the time comes, after they’ve established a relationship and had so much fun getting to know each other, will Lee be willing to take a whole lot more money than anybody else is offering to come pitch for the Yankees?

    We were actually expected to believe a couple of years ago that Cashman and CC Sabathia had practically turned into a buddy movie when Sabathia and not Lee was the big lefthanded pitcher in play. That it was the bonding and not the money when the Yankees ended up paying Sabathia $160 million and the next biggest offer on the table was $100 million.

    A Yankee offer like this is the only kind of dream moment left for the Major League Baseball Players Association, and the reason they will still fight to the death not to have a salary cap. The Yankees have to continue to set the bar stupidly high, from Derek Jeter’s old contract to Sabathia’s. The Players Association never wants a player and his agent to leave a million dollars on the table, much less 60 million.

    It was the same with Mark Teixeira. And A.J. Burnett. It was the relationships. Now when it’s all over, we don’t just hear about how it was always somebody’s dream to wear the pinstripes, it was the sales pitch, too. It was the way the Yankees, especially Brian Cashman, were interested in them as people. It was Cash’s persuasiveness, and winning personality.

    There are probably a lot of other general managers in baseball who think their personalities would become much more sparking if they had Steinbrenner money in their pockets.

    In the end, isn’t it always about the money?

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