• 2,110 Days Later, Stuff Changes

    Posted by on January 29th, 2011 · Comments (12)

    When I started writing this blog, back in April of 2005 – which was 2,110 days ago, if you haven’t been counting – my life was so much different. My book had just published. I was 42-years old. I had been on my (then) job for six years. My kids were not yet one and three years old. And, there were maybe a handful of other people seriously blogging about the Yankees.

    Today, nearly six years after I started writing this blog, things are so much different. I’m now 48-years old. I just started a new job. My kids are soon to be seven and nine years old and involved in so many more things today than when they were babies. There are more Yankees bloggers out there than I care to count. Even the Yankees have changed – the owners, the front office, the players, the ballpark, etc. – from those Yankees teams of the ’70′s, ’80′s, ’90′s and early 2000′s that I loved so much. (More to come on that on a later date.)

    And, my “status” in the Yankees (and general baseball) Blogosphere has changed. When I started, and in the first few years that followed, the majority of my “followers” were fans of my work. Today, the majority of those who follow this blog do so because they despise my opinion and want fuel to rip me on Twitter and other blogs. (This doesn’t bother me as much as many may think. It’s the American way. Build someone up and then tear them down. Just about anyone who has achieved a somewhat high profile in the public eye has experienced this to some extent.)

    Lastly, in addition to family, work, age, the Yankees, the following of this blog, my personal interests have changed. (This has been snowballing for the past four years or so.) These days, in my “free time,” I am much more interested in learning more about nutrition, fitness and health than I am about writing about the Yankees. In fact, one of my goals is to spend less time playing around on a computer – after all, as a society, we spend way too much time in front of electronic devices – and using what time I am “on-line” more focused on items that are more important than sharing my opinion on Yankees-related matters.

    I’m not saying that I’m completely done with all this – or that this blog is shutting down. There are other authors here, since February 2010, besides me. But, while I have shared in the past that it may be time for me to scale down on this operation, at this junction, more than ever, I think it’s time. Times change. Things change. People change. If it didn’t, I’d be wearing bell bottom jeans, sporting a David Cassidy shag hair-style, and rooting for Otto Velez to take Roger Moret downtown right now.

    The Last Chance To Go Deep

    Posted by on January 29th, 2011 · Comments (0)

    The other day, Arne Christensen looked at the last ABs of famous sluggers. Anyone think A-Rod’s last AB will be in a uniform other than the Yankees? The more I think about it, I could see Alex closing out his career as a D.H. for the Angels. Or, maybe, as a first basemen for the Marlins…assuming he was released from his contract and the Fish only had to cover him at the league minimum.

    Rowdy Randy Levine Lets Loose On Texas Chuck Greenberg

    Posted by on January 28th, 2011 · Comments (4)

    Via the Daily News -

    The Texas Rangers are “on welfare” and their CEO is “delusional,” according to Yankees president Randy Levine.

    That’s the message the Yankee brass wants Rangers CEO Chuck Greenberg to hear after Greenberg boasted of derailing the New York’s efforts to sign Cliff Lee this winter.

    “If he really wants to impress us then he can get the Rangers off of welfare and show how they can be revenue-sharing payors, rather than recipients for three years in row, without financing from Major League Baseball,” Levine said Friday. “That would really be something.”

    Levine was reacting to comments Greenberg made this week in Texas, claiming that the Rangers’ repeated trips to Arkansas to woo the hottest pitcher in baseball torpedoed overtures from the Yankees.

    “I think if we wouldn’t have gone to Arkansas that last time, I think he was going to sign with the Yankees,” Greenberg said at the Rangers’ Fan Fest in at the Arlington Convention Center on Sunday. “We pried the door open a little bit to give ourselves another opportunity. And ultimately the Phillies were able to take advantage of that opportunity that we created. While we would have preferred that he would have chosen to go with us, we’re real pleased that he’s going to the other league.”

    Levine believes Greenberg is green indeed – a young executive who speaks before he thinks.

    “I think Chuck is delusional,” Levine says. “He’s been in the game a few minutes but it seems to be that he thinks he knows what everybody else is thinking. He should really let Cliff Lee speak for himself.”

    I guess the World Series is over now.

    Yanks Brass Still Want Cashman

    Posted by on January 28th, 2011 · Comments (6)

    From a story on ESPN.com:

    Brian Cashman wants to stay, and the New York Yankees want him back.

    Steinbrenner offered his support.”I think Brian does a great job,” he said, according to the New York Post. “We need to sit and talk, but now is not the time for that.”

    Steinbrenner echoed comments team president Randy Levine made after the Rafael Soriano news conference two weeks ago.

    The team views Cashman as the best man for the job, but per club policy plans to wait until the end of the season before working on a new contract.  There also has been no clear evidence that Cashman is looking to leave.

    Steinbrenner told the Post that speculation about Cashman not being the GM after this season has been a “drummed-up drama.”

    Other than Cashman being overruled in the signing of new setup man Soriano, there has been no evidence that the Yankees’ hierarchy is unhappy with Cashman.  Even in the case of Soriano, Cashman and other executives admitted their disagreement, but didn’t indicate there were larger problems.

    We can choose to believe these words or simply write them off as spin and lip service.  The truth is, we just won’t know how this all plays out until the end of the season.  Nothing said today is written in stone, after all.  But it does somewhat dispel the notion that the Yankees and Cashman are currently in divorce mode.

    Scorecasting: The Hidden Influences Behind How Sports Are Played And Games Are Won

    Posted by on January 28th, 2011 · Comments (7)

    I’ve been reading Scorecasting: The Hidden Influences Behind How Sports Are Played and Games Are Won and loving it.

    Steven D. Levitt, the co-author of Freakonomics, said this book is “”The closest thing to Freakonomics I’ve seen since the original” and that’s dead, solid, perfect.

    It would not shock me if Scorecasting went on to be one of the best books of 2011, period, as well as being one of the best sports books of this year. This book is intelligently written and yet extremely entertaining at the same time. Scorecasting is just as enlightening as…wellagain… Freakonomics; but, it’s all about sports. I highly recommend checking this one out. Related, below is the description of this book via the publisher as well as some links to reviews for Scorecasting: The Hidden Influences Behind How Sports Are Played and Games Are Won that I thought were right on the money.

    (more…)

    Keith Law’s Top 100 Prospects

    Posted by on January 27th, 2011 · Comments (10)

    Hot off the presses this morning is Keith Law’s list of the top 100 prospects in baseball (subscription required).

    The highest ranking awarded to a member of the Yankee organization goes, predictably, to C Jesus Montero, who comes in at #4.  Also ranked among the top 100 were LHP Manny Banuelos (#12), C Gary Sanchez (#68), RHP Dellin Betances (#73) and RHP Andrew Brackman (#88).  Along with the rankings came the following comments (excerpted):

    On Montero: 

    We can all agree on one thing about Montero: He’s going to hit. And by that, I mean he’s going to hit for average, get on base and have huge power — the type of offensive profile that plays anywhere on the field and in the lineup. Montero is a physical beast, the rare front-foot hitter who can generate big-time power, reminiscent of Frank Thomas who was, himself, also a patient and disciplined hitter.

    With a bat this potentially strong, why risk injury or give up the 20-25 games a year when your catcher has to rest? Montero could solve the Yankees’ DH problem for the next 10 years if they commit to it, a move they are unlikely to ever regret.

    On Banuelos:

    Banuelos was on the prospect radar last year as a competitive, strike-throwing lefthander with a good changeup and a chance to add velocity. Now he’s a 19-year-old on the cusp of the majors with a three-pitch mix where all three pitches will at least flash above-average.

    He’ll start 2011 in Double-A, but even though he’s 19 he’s close to maxed out physically now, so he’s just a few refinements away from being able to help the big league club.

    On Sanchez:

    The Yankees are loaded with prospects who currently catch, and while they probably won’t all pan out at the position, it’s a good area in which to have a surplus. Sanchez is the furthest away, and has a chance to replace Jesus Montero at the top of the Yankees’ prospect rankings soon. The two are similar overall; Sanchez has a better chance to catch with a slightly lower ceiling at the plate. He’s going to be very physical, but has plenty of agility behind the plate with an above-average arm and quick release.

    There’s still a lot of projection involved in that evaluation, and he’s barely 18 years old at the moment, but his youth and distance from the majors are the only things keeping him out of the top echelon of this list.

    On Betances:

    Fully recovered from Tommy John surgery, he’ll hit 96-97 and pitch in the low 90s, and has a solid-average changeup with both good arm speed and fade.He’s not a great athlete or fielder. He is also only 22 with just shy of 300 innings total in three-plus years in pro ball, so time is on his side for him to improve his feel or his body control or for the Yankees to continue refining his delivery. There’s No. 1 starter potential here, but the probability isn’t there yet.

    On Brackman:

    Brackman started out slow in 2010, but it was a steady build over the course of the year, with improvement each month, even with a midyear promotion to Double-A. His velocity and command steadily increased, and by the second half he was pretty close to where he was before originally hurting his elbow.

    He may be a bullpen guy, but at least now that’s his floor. A year ago the floor was more of a crawl space. And now the ceiling of an above-average starter is back in play.

    2010 was as good a year for the Yankee farm system as 2009 was rotten.  It will be interesting to see how these five players, along with the handful of others (Culver, Gumbs, Williams, Warren, Noesi, Romine, Heathcott, among others) fare in 2011.  Another year like 2010 and the Yankees could legitimately stake a claim to having one of the deepest systems in baseball.

    Brian Cashman, Wannabe Celebrity

    Posted by on January 27th, 2011 · Comments (59)

    That’s Brian Cashman tending bar last night at Foley’s, wearing the same bandana-and-spiked-hair wig that he wore when he rappelled down a building in Stamford, Connecticut, last Christmas.

    Enough with the “look at me” photo-ops, huh, Cash?

    I know, I know, it’s for charity. Then again, remember what Big Stein always used to say? It was: “If you do something for someone and more than two people know about it, meaning you and that person, then you did it for the wrong reason.”

    Word, Boss. Word.

    At this point, I would much rather have someone who is “no name” – but a real and qualified “baseball person” – someone trying to make his bones as a hard working GM, running the Yankees. Someone who just wants to do his job, and well, with no fanfare or excuses, rather than someone who is running around town in a wig speaking at pancake breakfasts, jumping off buildings, tending bar – and getting his picture on TV and in the papers.

    Gabe Paul and Stick Michael just did their job without using it as a platform to attain celebrity status. Cashman should follow that example instead of trying to be like Billy Beane, Theo Epstein and Kenny Williams – making a “name” for himself for doing things outside of the office. Guys like John Schuerholz and Pat Gillick did it right. Cashman’s inflated sense of self-importance and need for admiration is getting old in a hurry here. I just hope the Yankees put an end to it – and soon.

    One View On WFAN Breakfast With Cashman

    Posted by on January 26th, 2011 · Comments (35)

    Have you read Keefe To The City: Cash Talks?

    I love it when someone “gets it” regarding Brian Cashman.  The movement is building…

    Groovy Links

    Posted by on January 26th, 2011 · Comments (1)

    Mark Simon has been rockin’ stuff out of the park so often these days that someone should make him pee in a cup. Note his latest and greatest on Bartolo ColonDerek Jeter…and Andruw Jones.

    Speaking of links to check out, here’s one pointing to Chris Jaffe’s 10 worst endings to postseason games. From a Yankees perspective, note the Bill Bevens and Mickey Owen games. Two must to know if you’re into Yankees history.

    Yankees Sign Bartolo Colon

    Posted by on January 26th, 2011 · Comments (20)

    I guess this means that Sidney Ponson must really be retired.  Via John Harper -

    How desperate are the Yankees for starting pitching? They signed Bartolo Colon Wednesday to a minor-league contract and will take a look at him in spring training to see if he has anything left.

    Colon, 37, couldn’t find a job in the majors last season. The righthander last pitched in the majors in 2009, when he went 3-6 with a 4.19 ERA for the White Sox.

    Colon’s contract is non-guaranteed. If he earns a spot on the major league roster he’ll earn $900,000 plus incentives.

    MLB’s Top 50 Prospects

    Posted by on January 26th, 2011 · Comments (25)

    A few Yankees on the list—not as many or as high up as you might like—but still, we’re represented:

    Click here for the list.

    YES Censoring Affiliated Bloggers?

    Posted by on January 26th, 2011 · Comments (11)

    I’m a little late to the party on this one. Just saw this news via Greg Cohen.

    Shocking? Not really.

    This I can share: In the two years that I was a member of the blog network for SportsNet New York’s official website, SNY.tv, from 2008 to 2010, I was never asked – ever – to rescind or retract something that I posted. Stress that: Never, ever – at all.

    But, it seems YES has a different policy with their bloggers. Something to keep in mind when you read the YES affiliated bloggers, now, I assume…

    If this is all true, you can expect the YES blogs to always feed the fanboy Yankees-blinders and Pinstripe-Pollyanna throng all the pablum that they crave, but, that’s it – and nothing more.

    Hank Stein On Yanks: “We Just Have To (Bleeping) Win”

    Posted by on January 26th, 2011 · Comments (18)

    Who says Hank was muted? Great stuff from Kevin Kernan today -

    For Hank’s Yanks, with spring training just around the corner, this is the bottom line: Whatever it takes to win championship No. 28.

    Hank Steinbrenner, the Yankees co-chairman, is fired up for the 2011 season — even without Cliff Lee in pinstripes.

    “We will do what we have to do to win,” Steinbrenner told The Post recently in a wide-ranging interview at Steinbrenner Field. “We have the highest payroll and the reason is we are committed to our fans to win.

    “We just have to (bleeping) win,” Hank added emphatically, looking out onto the field and sounding much like his father.

    “The AL East can toughen you up,” Steinbrenner said. “Hopefully it will work to our benefit. We will do what it takes to win. Look at the money we are paying out in revenue sharing. We are baseball’s stimulus package. The fans of other teams have no reason to complain about us or the Red Sox or the teams that support the rest of baseball.”

    “I’m really happy with our bullpen,” Hank said. “You got both Rivera and Soriano, then you got Chamberlain and [David] Robertson and so forth. I think Chamberlain is going to come back and have a big year.”

    The Steinbrenners do put the money where their mouth is.

    “The fans pay the bills, we owe it to ourselves and to them to put the best product out there,” Hank said. “If we couldn’t get Cliff Lee, I’m really happy about getting Soriano. I just wish Lee would have given Brian the chance to meet with him, but [Lee] was on a hunting trip. He’s got his own reasons.”

    Hank knows it all starts with the rotation.

    “Hopefully our starters will get the job done,” he said. “Hopefully Andy [Pettitte] will come back. He knows we want him back. It’s strictly up to him now. Even though he’s already got five rings, he’s the type, like Mo, like [Derek] Jeter, like [Jorge] Posada, he wants another one.

    Steinbrenner believes the Yankees’ young pitchers will make a major contribution as well.

    “We got those kids coming too, [Ivan] Nova more as a starter, and the others [including big right-hander Dellin Betances and lefty Manny Banuelos]. You never know, one or two of them may join the team,” Steinbrenner said. “I know some of our baseball people don’t agree with our other baseball people a lot of the time, but they all like Nova.”

    “I think A.J. [Burnett] is going to come back and have at least the kind of year like he had two years ago. CC Sabathia is going to be great as usual. Phil Hughes, we’re expecting more big things.

    “I say we have one of the top four teams in baseball, whether we end up being the best or not, we’ll see.”

    (more…)

    Notice To Agents & GMs: You Can Go Around Cashman Now & Deal Directly With Stein Bros.

    Posted by on January 25th, 2011 · Comments (10)

    I heard the tail end of Michael Kay’s radio interview with Brian Cashman today on ESPN 1050 AM. I found it very interesting that Cashman said he was proud that he led the transition of the Yankees from what he called a “Checkbook team” to a team who doesn’t just rely on signing free agents (and give up on kids) to field a good team.

    Yeah, I guess that’s why this off-season lived and died with the attempt to sign free agent Cliff Lee. And, to fill voids in the bullpen (Feliciano) and starting catcher (Martin), Cashman went out this winter and signed free agents. (For the record, Cashman also said that this team – as it is now – really needs to add another “front end” starting pitcher. Gee, thanks Cash, good to know…)

    But, what really caught my attention was Cashman’s answer to the question of why he was so vocal at the Rafael Soriano presser – stressing that this was not his move, etc.

    Cashman said that he talks to agents and other GMs all the time. And, this off-season, he spoke to the agents for Bobby Jenks and J.J. Putz, among others, and said that he wasn’t going to pay $7 million a year for a set-up reliever – or give up a pick to sign one. And, he spoke to other GMs looking to unload pitchers and told them the same thing. So, in order to retain his credibility with these agents and GMs, he needed to make it clear that what he told them was true, and it was the Yankees ownership who made the crazy deal with Boras for Soriano. (Brian also included the media in there – saying that his job requires him to deal with agents, other GMs, and the media – and he wanted to ensure that all three knew that he was not telling them one thing and doing another.)

    This is all fine. But, does Cashman also now realize that he (and Yankees ownership) has now essentially told every agent and GM out there “Talk to Cashman. And, if you don’t like what he’s saying, call the Steinbrenner family and see if you can get a better deal”?

    Man, this is pretty basic stuff. Once the word is out that you can get a discount a day after the sale by asking for the manager and bypassing the sales clerk, everyone and their brother is going to start asking for the manager. Yup, that’s what we have in Yankeeland now, thanks to all this stuff. And, by “all this stuff,” I mean Cashman allowing the team to fall short in the starting pitching department, Cashman’s failed plan to solve this problem with “the checkbook,” and management’s reaction to that failure in signing Rafael Soriano (against Cashman’s wishes).

    And, I would bet that Cashman knows this now. He’s had his legs cut out from under him on this thing and he knows, whether he admits it or not, that once they’ve been cut, all the other agents and GMs out there can go around him any time they want with the greatest of ease.

    Cashman: *When* Jeter Moves From SS, He’d Be My Pick For CF

    Posted by on January 25th, 2011 · Comments (24)

    Via ESPN.com -

    If 36-year-old Derek Jeter doesn’t last at shortstop for the length of his new four-year contract, New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman thinks Jeter is best suited for a switch to center field.

    “I like corner outfielders and corner infielders who have power, so for me, if he’s ever gonna move, it’s probably gonna be a Robin Yount situation. But we don’t have to deal with it at this point,” Cashman said Tuesday. “We’ll deal with it when we have to.”

    This offseason, almost immediately after Jeter signed a three-year, $51 million deal with an option for a fourth year, speculation centered on whether the longtime Yankee could play shortstop for the life of the contract. Cashman said that he would “be surprised” if Jeter stays there for the duration, “but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible.”

    “I know he’s working hard to put himself in that position,” Cashman told WFAN’s Mike Francesa at a breakfast appearance at the Hard Rock Cafe in New York.

    “Jeter’s our shortstop, period,” Cashman added.

    Typical Cashman. Only he would move a player in his extreme late ’30′s to center field. Note that Yount was 29-years old when he made the switch from SS to CF.

    Update: Cashman back pedals a bit on this one.

    This Day In Yankee History

    Posted by on January 25th, 2011 · Comments (2)

    According to my little desktop baseball calendar, today marks the 66th anniversary of Larry MacPhail, Dan Topping and Del Webb’s purchase of the New York Yankees from the estate of Col. Jacob Ruppert for $2.5M.

    As Steve posited yesterday, the MacPhail/Topping/Webb ownership group presided over one of the best eras in Yankee history.

    It’s remarkable to think that the most valuable team in American sports was once sold for $2.5M (or, 28 years later, for $10M).

    What’s McCracken-lacking?

    Posted by on January 25th, 2011 · Comments (2)

    Have you read “Sabermetrician In Exile“?  Oh, my, what a story…

    Will Rays Draft Of 2011 Be Bad News For The Yanks In 2013?

    Posted by on January 24th, 2011 · Comments (15)

    Steve Melewski writes about all the early draft picks the Rays have this year:

    Did you see all the draft picks that Tampa Bay will have in June?

    Counting the first round and the supplemental round after that, the Rays will make 10 picks before the second round and 12 through round two.

    That is a massive haul that someone figured out would have taken nine million in bonuses to sign just those players last year using the slot numbers for those individual picks.

    While Tampa does not have a pick until the 24th overall selection, which they got for losing Carl Crawford, they also will select 31st and 32nd in round one. Three times they will have back-to-back picks during those 12 selections.

    For an organization that has been stellar in scouting and player development, this could set up the Rays for long-term success despite the players it lost this winter.

    Reminds me of when the A’s had nine picks within the first 98 players chosen back in 2002.

    Assuming that Tampa does better with their picks than Oakland did in the Moneyball draft, and considering that the Yankees roster is going to have some serious baggage in 2013, this could be future bad news in Yankeeland.

    The State Of The New York Yankees Franchise

    Posted by on January 24th, 2011 · Comments (17)

    Would you say that the Yankees, today, are in the best state in the history of their franchise?

    I’m not sure that’s true. Perhaps it’s true in terms of cash flow. But, are they better than they were…say…from 1949 through 1964? What do you think?

    January 2011 Survey Question #1

    Posted by on January 24th, 2011 · Comments (2)

    Please consider taking the following poll:

    {democracy:113}

    Thanks in advance. And, please feel free to add comments on your opinion in the comments section.

    Is Cashman Longing For Another Job?

    Posted by on January 23rd, 2011 · Comments (103)

    Via Bill Madden today –

    Lot of questions swirling around regarding Brian Cashman and his “Don’t look at me” declaration at the Rafael Soriano soiree last Wednesday – not the least of which was: Imagine if George Steinbrenner was still alive and he picked up the newspapers the next day and saw all these quotes from his general manager criticizing Yankee ownership for giving closer money to a set-up reliever and relinquishing their No. 1 June draft pick in the process?

    No doubt, Cashman would never have dared to get involved in a public hissing match with the late Yankee Boss – the road is still littered with carcasses of those who did – but the very fact he would run the risk of annoying his son, Hal, tells me that Cashman is not very happy in his job. There are a lot of reasons for this, the least of which was being overruled by his bosses on the Soriano signing. If you listen to some of things Cashman has said over the years and look at the pattern with which he has chosen to operate in the last few years – the CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Mark Teixeira winter notwithstanding – a picture emerges of a GM who clearly wishes he was running a small-market team like his pal Billy Beane in Oakland. Indeed, you get the feeling that Cashman is tired of being labled a “checkbook GM”, while viewing that $200 million Yankee payroll as an albatross rather than a built-in insurance policy for making the postseason every year. A tip-off of this was Cashman’s off-the-cuff remark to the Yankee beat writers at the winter meetings in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. last December: “I haven’t had a problem knocking on Hal’s door and asking for more money. I have a problem sometimes of Hal saying yes. I know my title is general manager, but I consider myself the director of spending for the New York Yankees.”

    I have to say, I wonder if Cashman now wishes he went for the Washington Nationals job, when he had a shot, the way they’re throwing around money, etc. Personally, I would love to see Cashman become a GM for a team like the Reds, Royals, Blue Jays or Diamondbacks – and see how he does with a team payroll budget around $75 million a year. It’s only then would we really see how smart of a GM he really is…

    Hey, Jets Fans…

    Posted by on January 23rd, 2011 · Comments (15)

    …do me a favor and win it before you start acting like you’ve already won it, OK?

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan, either way. I grew up a football Giants fan. But, today, I could barely name five players on the team and can’t remember the last time I watched a Giants game on TV. So, this is not a Giants fan complaining. The Jets? I’m not rooting for them or against them – because I have no interest in them, really.

    But, good heavens, over the last week or so, listening to Jets fans has been…well…let’s just say it’s been an earful of cocky, and then some.

    Perhaps it’s better to actually win the thing before you put yourself into a coma with the chest-thumping, eh?

    Maybe There’s Hope On That A-Rod Contract Yet?

    Posted by on January 22nd, 2011 · Comments (8)

    If the Jays could dump Vernon Wells and his remaining years, maybe anything is possible?

    Manny & Damon Return To A.L. East

    Posted by on January 21st, 2011 · Comments (17)

    Via Jon Bois, they’ll be playing for the Rays in 2011 –

    On Friday night, it was reported that Manny Ramirez will continue his career with the Tampa Bay Rays, along with former teammate Johnny Damon. Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman broke the news via Twitter:

    #rays agree to terms with both damon and manny

    manny, damon deals with tampa #rays only subject to physical. #doubleplay

    These are two very high-profile acquisitions for the Rays, who just last month watched slugger Carlos Pena walk away in free agency. Statistically, Ramirez is one of the greatest hitters of his generation. He’ll be 39 years old on May 30th, but he remains an offensive threat — in a 2010 split between the Dodgers and White Sox, Manny posted an .870 OPS in 320 plate appearances.

    Manny will be joined in Tampa by Johnny Damon. The two, of course, won a World Series together with the Red Sox in 2004. For more, check out our Johnny Damon StoryStream here.

    Ramirez is expected to serve as the Rays’ regular designated hitter.

    If the Rays figure out their pen this season, they’re going to be a lot better than many think they will be…

    Is There A Moustache In Tex’s Future?

    Posted by on January 21st, 2011 · Comments (7)

    Tom Verducci wonders if Mark Teixeira could be the next Jason Giambi in pinstripes – and he makes some great points. Of course, this is on the field stuff. Tex will never be like the Giambino when it comes to running around off the field.

    Yanks Sign Andruw Jones

    Posted by on January 20th, 2011 · Comments (19)

    Via Jayson Stark -

    Fifteen years after he put on an eye-popping October show in the first game he ever played in Yankee Stadium, outfielder Andruw Jones agreed to a one-year, $2 million contract with the Yankees on Thursday, sources confirmed to ESPN.com.

    He can also earn an additional $1.2 million in incentives. Jones will earn $150,000 each for 250 and 275 plate appearances, $200,000 apiece for 300 and 325, and $250,000 each for 350 and 375, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.

    Jones, who turns 34 next April, is a long ways removed from his glory days in Atlanta, where he once hit 51 homers in a season, won 10 straight Gold Gloves and played in 75 postseason games. But he did hit 19 homers in 278 at-bats last year for the White Sox and slugged .558 against left-handed pitching.

    He’s also still a dependable defender at all three outfield positions.

    So for $2 million, the Yankees think he’s a good fit as a right-handed-hitting fourth outfielder to complement the left-handed bats of Brett Gardner in left and Curtis Granderson in center.

    Almost a year, to the day, that Cashman spent $2 million on Randy Winn. This $2 million is a better gamble.   If Gardner’s second-half woes carry into 2011 and/or if Granderson’s spurt at the end of 2010 was a fluke, Jones could be in a good position to collect those incentive bonuses too.

    Cashman: Starting Pitcher Market Limited, Hopefully Kids Step Up

    Posted by on January 20th, 2011 · Comments (17)

    Via Bryan Hoch

    There has been buzz on the Hot Stove about the Yankees potentially showing interest in the Tigers’ Armando Galarraga – he of the imperfect Jim Joyce game – who was designated for assignment. He’s easily one of the more appealing options out there, given the marketplace.

    Regarding another possible upgrade to the rotation, Cashman said: “I hope so. The starter might have to come from within. Hopefully we have some of these young kids answer the bell for us. In the meantime, we’ll still keep our eyes and ears open to the remaining market, which is very limited.”

    He added: “It’s a difficult market to choose from. Listen, if you’re still on the board, there’s a reason for it.”

    And, this is not the same as 2008, how, Brian? Remember using Hughes and Kennedy in the rotation to start that season?

    That year, the Yankees went 2-7 in Kennedy’s first 9 games of the season and they went 1-5 in Hughes first 6 games of the season. And, that had to play a part in the Yankees only going 89-73 overall in 2008.

    Really?

    Posted by on January 20th, 2011 · Comments (5)

    In the late 1980′s, a lot of people told me that I looked like Peter Scolari. And, I totally got that – really, I did. And, then, in the early 1990′s, I had more than a few people tell me that I looked like Harrison Ford. That didn’t bother me, I took it as a compliment. (Around 1989-90, once, at a party, a girl – who was a bit buzzed at the time – told me that I looked like Tommy Lee Jones. After I asked her if that was an insult, she said “Oh, no…he’s totally hot!)

    When I got older, and lost my hair, the Scolari/Ford thing petered out. And, then, people started telling me that I looked like Gerald McRaney. This was in the mid-90′s after Major Dad had its run on TV. That’s was OK. I laughed it off most of the time. Later, after I shaved off my mustache, and with what little hair left on my head shaved close, some people started telling me that I looked like Bruce Willis. And, that was cool – as far as I was concerned.

    In any event, today, I met someone for the first time ever – in a professional setting, no less. He introduced himself and then I told him who I was, in return. And, the very next words out of his mouth were “Has anyone ever told you that you look like actor Paul McCrane?”

    Paul McCrane?

    Really?

    Cashman Considering Bringing Pavano Back?

    Posted by on January 19th, 2011 · Comments (54)

    Peter Botte shares this news:

    Cashman [at today's press conference for Soriano] admitted he had “several discussions” with agent for Pavano.

    Wow.

    Yankees/YES Trying To Hide Cashman At Soriano Presser?

    Posted by on January 19th, 2011 · Comments (10)

    Reportedly, Rafael Soriano’s new contract with the Yankees represents the fifth highest average salary ever paid to a relief pitcher.  Only Mo Rivera, Brad Lidge, K-Rod and Joe Nathan made more on an annual basis than what New York will pay Soriano.

    And, the press conference to officially announce his deal is today at 10 am ET. And, what’s on the YES Network right now at ten AM?   Not the press conference.  Instead, it’s a Yankees Classics game from 2009. Why? Is this not big enough news for YES to carry live? Or, are they trying to hide something here?

    At least the Baseball Channel at MLB.com is broadcasting this one.

    Update: 10:20 am ET. The press conference finally starts. Levine, Cashman, Girardi, Trost, and Afterman are there from the Yankees front office. Cashman talks first. Basically says nothing for ten seconds and then hands the podium to Girardi.

    Girardi gives Soriano uniform #29 and Cashman places a Yankees cap on Soriano’s head. It’s photo-op time.

    Update: 10:25 am ET. Soriano speaks. It’s all in Spanish. Yankees have a translator there to help him with the media Q&A. Soriano says he’s happy to set up Mo now but he hopes to be the Yankees closer in the future.

    Update: 10:34 am ET. Soriano still doing Q&A. And, I think I figured out why YES is not carrying this one. The presser is about as exciting as being stuck in traffic on Geroge Washington Bridge. Soriano is 31-years old and has been playing baseball in America since 1999. But, evidently, he’s got no ability to speak any English.

    Update: 10:35 am ET. Soriano is done. That’s it – Jason Zillo says they will break into groups now in the back of the room for media members to ask questions informally. MLB.com drops the feed. Wow. A whopping 15 minutes. I guess we’ll have to read the papers to get the Cashman reaction to any questions.

    Update: 11:13 am. Via Peter Botte – Cashman: “Its not my team. I don’t own it. They do…In any job you better be prepared for every decision to not go your way. I think 29 other GMs would love to have their owner shove Rafael Soriano down their throat.”

    Down their throat, or, up their poop chute, Cash?

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