To this day, I still amazed that Mickey Mantle was ever able to hit a homerun without the aid of intro music!
To this day, I still amazed that Mickey Mantle was ever able to hit a homerun without the aid of intro music!
Via Jon Heyman –
The Yankees are said willing to offset a part of Ichiro Suzuki’s $6.5-million salary in the right deal, sources said.
The Yankees would seek to receive a good prospect back but are said by rival executives amendable to paying down a portion of his $6.5 million salary under those circumstances.
Ichiro, 40, only fits as a backup outfielder with the Yankees, as their starting outfield is stacked with younger stars Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran and Brett Gardner. The Yankees also have Alfonso Soriano, who’s looked very good this spring — “better than before,” one scout said — so Ichiro, the international icon, will be an unusually limited role.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman declined comment about any possible trades talks, though there is no evidence anything’s hot at the moment. That could change depending on team needs. the Tigers are one team that suffered a loss in the outfield when the lefty-hitting Andy Dirks was lost for a few months after having back surgery.
Cashman, however, said he had “no concern” about Ichiro taking to a role as a fourth outfielder after being such a worldwide star throughout his illustrious career. Cashman actually said Ichiro would make a fine fourth outfielder.
“He’s a great defender and he can steal a base,” Cashman said. “He provides us with options.”
Ichiro hit .262 with seven home runs and a .639 OPS last year, and he’s hitting .225 so far this spring.
Ownership gave Ichiro a two-year deal two winters ago likely in part because of his popularity and maketability.
How come whenever the Yankees have a bad deal on their hand, it’s “ownership” that did it (and not credited to Brian Cashman)? It’s black magic…I suppose?
In any event, this one is just the appetizer. Mark your calendars. The Yankees will be eating some of Beltran’s, Sabathia’s and Teixeira’s money in 2016, some of McCann’s money in 2017. And, don’t forget that they will be eating a ton of A-Rod’s money some time in the very near future. (And, most likely, they will be eating some money on Ellsbury in 2018 or sooner.)
They Yankees will be leading the league in eating money. The only question when it happens will be: Will it be pinned to ownership or Cashman?
Help me…I’m tilted…
I have said this before, and, I still believe it. There is no doubt in my mind that he is a major league caliber pitcher. And, he should be in a big league starting rotation, now, somewhere. I think he’s got the stuff to be a 15-game winner, on the right team.
No, it’s not breaking news. Just a trade I would love to see happen, right, now.
And, his OPS+ was 99.
Lastly, in the second half of 2013, his BA/OBP/SLG line was .220/.296/.384 (in 196 PA).
Hey, it’s always possible that the Braves let him walk for a reason…
Brian McCann. Brian Roberts. Kelly Johnson. Jacoby Ellsbury. Carlos Beltran. Masahiro Tanaka.
They have all never played for the Yankees before – ever, anywhere in their organization – this season.
Tanaka, I think I can handle. The Yankees are always bringing in a new starting pitcher, or so it seems, due to Brian Cashman’s inability to make the right moves when it comes to pitching.
But, we see position players everyday. And, if Roberts sticks, it means the Yankees starting line-up will have FIVE new faces this year. That’s more than half.
As a fan, how long will it take to warm up to these guys? Or, at the least, how long until it doesn’t seem odd to watch them playing for the Yankees?
We know Teixeira, Jeter, Gardner and Soriano. These other dudes, not so much – in terms of seeing them in pinstripes. It’s going to be strange watching them on YES, seeing them on banners outside the Stadium, etc., no?
More on the agent via Bob Nightengale -
There are folks who dream of slipping away from the brutal New York winter to vacation in Mexico, or imagine they’re married to Miss America, or that they make so much money New York Yankees icon Derek Jeter is asking for a loan.
Welcome to the real world of Casey Close.
Close, a former All-America baseball player at Michigan who roomed with Hall of Famer Barry Larkin, who played 4 ½ years in the minor leagues after being drafted by the Yankees, and married Miss America 1989, hit the mother lode as a baseball agent this winter.
Close and his company, Excel Sports Management, negotiated $700 million in baseball contracts, the largest total during a single offseason in baseball history.
“This is the most enjoyable period I’ve ever had in the business,” said Close, 50, an agent since 1992. Close was reunited three years ago with his former co-workers from 22 years ago at IMG. He now is partners with Mark Steinberg – yes, Tiger Woods’ agent – along with Jeff Schwartz, who represents NBA stars such as Paul Pierce, Blake Griffin and Kevin Love.
“It’s not so much the results,” Close said, “but the unique culture we have here. We’re having a blast.”
A little money doesn’t hurt.
Just applying the standard 4% fees alone, Close netted $28 million for his company in a three-month span.
“I told him I need a loan,” said Jeter, who has been represented by Close since he was 18, earning $253 million with the Yankees before he retires after this season. “He’s done a great job. But the thing about Casey is that he’s not someone who goes around flaunting that he negotiated all of these contracts.
“Casey understands that he has a job to do, and it’s not about him. It’s about doing what’s best for his clients. He’s always been that way.”
And, oh, how he ever had reason to brag. There were seven contracts this winter worth at least $100 million, and Close and his company negotiated four of them.
It all started, once again, with Jeter. Jeter, who played just 17 games last season, had a $9.5 million player option that Close turned into a one-year, $12 million deal.
Along came Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, who received a seven-year, $215 million contract extension one year before free ageny, making him the highest-paid player in baseball, with an average salary of $30.7 million.
There were the month-long negotiations for Masahiro Tanaka that involved 15 clubs. The result was a seven-year, $155 million contract with the Yankees – the most lucrative deal signed by a Japanese player.
Then there was Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman’s eight-year, $135 million extension. Jason Heyward’s two-year, $13.3 million deal. And Cincinnati Reds pitcher Homer Bailey’s six-year, $105 million extension.
Toss in another dozen players on one-year contracts, and voila! – you get nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars.
Dodgers starter Zack Greinke examined all of the contracts by his agent, and came to a conclusion.
“I think the best contract of all of them,” Greinke says, “was Jamey Wright’s contract.”
You mean the 39-year Dodger reliever who got a one-year, $1.8 million deal.
“Yeah, Greinke says, “it was his first major-league contract in nine years. So it’s got to be.”
Greinke actually represented himself in the 2012 season before conducting a search and hiring Close. He said he was swayed by Close’s integrity.
Then, Close got him a six-year, $147 million deal, a record at the time for a right-handed pitcher. What’s more, Greinke has an out close after the 2015 season, as does Tanaka after 2017 and Kershaw after 2018 – essentially giving his three top pitching clients their own markets.
This is another reason why Jeter is amazing. He hooks on with Close when the agent wasn’t even thirty years old yet. But, he picked a winner. That’s an ability to spot talent. Maybe Derek should be the Yankees next General Manager?
Via Dan Martin –
The Yankees’ offseason spending spree caught the attention of just about everyone in baseball — including Russell Martin.
The catcher was among the first casualties of ownership’s desire to avoid paying the luxury tax this season and keep the 2014 payroll under $189 million.
That led to the Yankees being in the unusual situation of being outbid by the Pirates. After landing in Pittsburgh on a two-year deal worth $17 million prior to last season, Martin saw the Yankees ink Brian McCann this winter to finally replace him behind the plate for five years and $85 million.
“It becomes an expensive mistake, no question,” Martin told The Post before the Pirates-Yankees game at McKechnie Field was canceled by rain on Monday. “They can’t turn back the clock. They went and got a good guy who, offensively, puts up better numbers than I have and so costs a lot of money. I love McCann. They got a good one.”
McCann’s numbers slipped last year, but the Yankees are confident his left-handed swing will fit perfectly at Yankee Stadium. The 30-year-old catcher had an OPS of .796 with Atlanta a year ago, while Martin finished at .703.
And while Martin, 31, says he doesn’t dwell on his departure from the Yankees, he can’t help but think of what might have been.
“Personally, I thought it was a mistake,” Martin said. “There are no hard feelings. I definitely didn’t feel like it was in the general manager’s hands at that point. I always believed [Brian] Cashman and [assistant GM Billy] Eppler and the coaching staff did want me back. I had some presence and a good impact on the team. But the money doesn’t come from them and I felt at the time, they had different priorities and I wasn’t at the top of the list.”
Any hope the Yankees had of reaching ownership’s goal of $189 million was foiled by the failure of any of the organization’s young talent to perform at the major league level. That forced them to go after costly free agents to replenish their lineup and pitching staff this past offseason — additions Martin applauded.
“I think the smart move is not to repeat a mistake,” Martin said. “I think they paid the price for not acquiring an everyday catcher — or keeping one — and they went and got a good one this year.”
Actually, drafting Andrew Brackman instead of Jonathan Lucroy or Derek Norris was the expensive mistake…
Geesh. I hope they kept the receipts.
Where the Yankees and Marlins will be playing:
Yup, that’s trio who turned a double play in the 9th inning of today’s Yankees exhibition game in Tampa today.
Baseball’s Sad Lexicon Part II?
Yes, it’s just Spring Training. And, yes, it’s early. But, at what point does this become a more serious matter?
Via Jon Paul Morosi -
Over several days at Grapefruit League games, Michael Pineda’s outing against the Tigers was the performance that impressed me most.
Pineda hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2011, when he was an All-Star with the Seattle Mariners. He was traded to the Yankees after that season, only to undergo a shoulder surgery that idled his career for roughly two years. But he looked like his old self Friday night, striking out Miguel Cabrera — and three other Tigers — during two scoreless innings.
“Every time he steps on the mound since he’s been in the big leagues, he’s been getting awkward swings,” said new Yankees catcher Brian McCann, who remembered facing Pineda (and his imposing 6-foot-7 frame) back in 2011. “I don’t think that was anything out of the ordinary. The thing I was impressed about was him pounding the zone with all of his pitches. He struck a guy out on an 0-2 slider. It was definitely encouraging.”
I know we aren’t even midway through March. But a rotation of Hiroki Kuroda, CC Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka, Ivan Nova and Pineda is playoff-caliber, provided Pineda remains healthy and Tanaka adjusts smoothly in his first season as a Yankee. Despite not throwing a meaningful pitch since September 2011, Pineda could become a pivotal figure — not just for the Yankees, but the entire AL East.
It’s March 10th. Call me up on July 1st and then let’s see how the Yankees starting rotation is doing…
A source close to #Yankees has told me team is taking offers for Austin Romine
— Dan Pfeiffer (@danpfeiffer74) March 8, 2014
@xpin3appl3 My guess is that they'd be happy getting either decent RP or a potential righty platoon option at 3B for him.
— Dan Pfeiffer (@danpfeiffer74) March 8, 2014
I guess the Yankees think he’s soft, injury prone, or can’t hit – or some combination therein.
Via George King -
With pitchers Hisashi Iwakuma and Taijuan Walker sidelined by injuries, the Mariners are actively looking for help.
Their search led them to George M. Steinbrenner Field Tuesday night to take a look at Yankees starter David Phelps against the Orioles.
The Mariners had a scout watch Phelps, who is the leading candidate to be the Yankees’ fifth starter but who could be expandable with Adam Warren or, possibly, Michael Pineda finding his way into that slot.
Phelps danced in and out of trouble during a 2 ¹/₃-inning stint in which he allowed a run and five hits.
“It would be nice to get somebody out out of the stretch,’’ said Phelps, who worked on a changeup that got hit. “If that is as bad as it gets, I will take it.’’
Yankees scouts are searching spring training camps for help at third and second base. With Robinson Cano entrenched at second, the Mariners might move Nick Franklin, although it would likely take more than Phelps to pry Franklin away.
The Mariners weren’t the only club represented at GMS Field looking specifically for Yankee players to acquire. The White Sox, who have infielders to deal and need a backup catcher, had a scout at the game. So, too, did the Brewers, who are looking for a backup catcher. They could dangle second baseman Rickie Weeks or third baseman Aramis Ramirez. Both make big money, and general manager Brian Cashman said any additions from the outside would be inexpensive.
However, the Brewers might want to swallow some of the money to make a deal that possibly would include Francisco Cervelli, John Ryan Murphy or Austin Romine.
I always liked Phelps. I think he can be a very good major league pitcher. And, for bleep’s sake, will the Yankees stop dealing with the Mariners?
Via CBS –
A-Rod fans are few and far between these days.
Chelsea Handler certainly isn’t one of them.
The comedian and talk-show host held nothing back when offering her thoughts on the embattled Yankees third baseman on Wednesday.
Handler said on “The Howard Stern Show” on Wednesday that Rodriguez recently approached the actress and asked, “Chelsea, why are you gonna make fun of me all the time?”
Handler, as expected, wasn’t shy about telling the truth.
“Get away from me, I think you’re disgusting,” the author told A-Rod.
She also told the slugger that he’s “gross.” And it didn’t end there.
The three-time American League MVP said, “Why am I gross?” Handler told Stern. ”We got off on the wrong foot. Why am I gross? I read all your books. I’m a big fan.”
She wasn’t flattered by the compliment. Her response?
“I go, ‘Well I don’t know why you’re a big fan,’” Handler told Stern. ”‘I think you’re a f—ing a–hole.’”
When asked by Stern why the writer and producer despises the 38-year-old so much, her answer was simple.
“Just the way he conducts himself,” Handler said. “He’s got a centaur of himself in his bedroom. Yeah, him and a horse, combined as one person … Plus he dates all these girls, he just sleeps around. I don’t like guys who cheat on their girlfriends, you know? I’m not into that.”
She also called the 2009 World Series champion “a buffoon” and revealed that his assistant emailed her assistant on Tuesday, writing “Alex Rodriguez would really like to meet you in person.”
Handler told Stern that she declined the invitation.
“That will just make him email me again, because guys like that love to be rejected,” Handler told Stern. “He’s gonna act like, ‘Oh come on, you’re so funny. You’re so funny.’ No, I’m not being funny. I really don’t want to ever see you.”
Why would anyone care what Chelsea Handler thinks of them? Only A-Rod…
Sounds like a cheap bottle of sangria to me. More via Bryan Hoch:
Yangervis Solarte spent all of last season waiting for a call that never came.
The switch-hitter said that he had been told that the Rangers planned to bring him up at the end of the season, a nod to his solid performance at Triple-A Round Rock. But the 26-year-old instead flew home to Venezuela still waiting for his first day of big league service time.
“I don’t even want to mention the word ‘Triple-A’ at this moment,” Solarte said through an interpreter. “My dream is to play in the Majors. I got very hurt when I did not get called up to the Majors last year, so I feel that I can’t get my heart broken like that again.”
A non-roster invitee, Solarte’s live bat and versatility have opened some eyes this spring in Yankees camp. Solarte entered Tuesday with six hits in seven Grapefruit League at-bats, including two homers.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi has had Solarte play multiple positions, using him at second base, third base, shortstop and left field. Solarte said that his favorite position is shortstop, but he has played mostly second base as a professional.
“I’ve said, if you have a uniform on and you can play different positions, you have a chance,” Girardi said. “He’s going to get a good look. He’s got some versatility. We’re looking for versatility, because of our infield situation, and he has that.”
“That’s one of my abilities as a player, that flexibility,” Solarte said. “I feel like they are taking that into account. My defense is one of the things that I would really like to work on very hard during the spring.”
Solarte said that he never sought an explanation why the Rangers did not call him up in 2013, saying that it was not his place to question those decisions. Solarte hit .276 with 12 homers and 75 RBIs in 133 games at Triple-A.
“Our infield situation.” That’s being polite, isn’t it?
I just watched Mike Yastrzemski come to bat in the Orioles-Yankees exhibition game tonight.
I saw his grandfather, Carl, play against the Yankees. Yes, grandfather.
Pretty sure that’s a first for me – the grandson thing. Ugh.
And, yes, I said SHORTSTOP. Amazing, huh?
Have you ever heard Ivan Nova interviewed in English? Next time, close your eyes and just listen. He sounds just like Bernie Williams, no?
Via NESN -
Jacoby Ellsbury made sure he left the Boston Red Sox on good terms.
Ellsbury, who signed a seven-year, $153 million contract with the New York Yankees over the offseason, contacted Red Sox manager John Farrell shortly after inking his new deal, the Boston skipper said Friday at JetBlue Park.
“He called after the deal was agreed upon. To his credit, he called to say, ‘Thanks,’” Farrell said. “I got the sense he was a little surprised it happened so fast to the magnitude that it happened. And (I) wished him well. We’re certainly going to miss him, but now he’s on the other side. He handled it with a lot of class, and he was very grateful for his time here and gave thanks to the way things unfolded last year.”
Ellsbury spent seven memorable seasons with the Red Sox before leaving in free agency after Boston’s 2013 World Series win. Some times were better than others for Ellsbury, who dealt with several injuries during his Boston tenure, but the explosive outfielder helped lead the Red Sox to two championships, in 2007 and 2013.
What if Ellsbury plays this year, bats .275, and hits less than 10 homeruns on the season? Does he get a buddy pass as long as the team is doing well? Or, does he take some heat for not playing like a $20 million player?
Via George King -
In Francisco Cervelli, Austin Romine, J.R. Murphy and Gary Sanchez, the Yankees have depth at a position a lot of organizations are naked at.
With Brian McCann in the first season of a five-year deal worth $85 million, Cervelli, Romine and Murphy are competing for the backup job. Sanchez, 21, could start the season at Double-A Trenton.
With major question marks at second (Brian Roberts) and third (Kelly Johnson), Yankees scouts are putting a heavy spring training emphasis at looking for infielders as well as relievers.
The Yankees could deal Cervelli, who is out of options, or Romine, or Murphy. The Yankees, who gave the 21-year-old Sanchez $3 million to sign as a 16-year old, view him as a future everyday major league catcher.
In my mind, Cervelli has got to go. He’s over-rated, talks too much, and has the PED scarlet letter.
If the Yankees trade Austin Romine, I could see him, potentially, going down and having a Mike Health kind of career. Stress the potential – since I am not sold on Romine’s mental toughness. I think he has a little Phil Hughes in him.
For some reason, I like John Ryan Murphy. And, I hope, somehow, he ends up as the Yankees back-up catcher this season. But, I know that he really hasn’t played much at Triple-A yet and has options. The odds are against him.
Via David Lennon -
…there is the not-so-small matter of the slimmed-down Sabathia, whose velocity again is a concern after he couldn’t break 88 in Saturday’s two-inning stint.
Try as he may, Sabathia isn’t going to convince anyone that he can be Cy Young-caliber at slower speeds. At least not yet. After his outing, he faced the same barrage of questions he did last year at this time, and he no longer has the built-in excuse of offseason elbow surgery. Or the patience to go down this road again.
Sabathia got a little chippy with his responses when the subject turned from Tanaka to his own diminished velocity, which is out of character for him. He’s as accountable as they come, and he doesn’t dodge any topic. But it’s becoming clear that Sabathia is tired of this particular narrative.
“My fastball is what it is,” he said. “As long as I’m healthy, I’m good.”
That’s the company line, too, and Girardi didn’t even bother to suggest — as he did in spring training a year ago — that Sabathia’s radar-gun readings will climb back to the mid-90s levels of the past. Maybe the manager is bored with the debate. But it’s more likely that he realizes it’s an indefensible position.
“That was something people wanted to make a ton about last year and I’m not going to make much of it,” Girardi said. “To me, if he’s locating, I don’t care what his velocity is. He’s going to get people out.”
The Yankees don’t want to consider the alternative right now. Sabathia has four years and a guaranteed $76 million left on his contract. It’s premature to believe we’re witnessing a changing of the guard in the Yankees’ rotation. But with the arrival of Tanaka, it’s not too soon to wonder about the possibility. Or how quickly that might happen.