Tagged: Chien-Ming Wang

Dismissing Arbitration, Everybody Wins…

Photo Credit: Lynne Sladky-Associated Press

Severino Signs 4-Year Extension w/One-Year Club Option…

It took until the final day of MLB arbitration hearings and the day Luis Severino was scheduled to debate his worth in front of a mediator but the Yankees did the right thing securing a four-year extension and club option for a fifth year with the very talented right-hander. The money reportedly is $40 million with the potential  for $12.25 million more if the club exercises the option.

    • 2019: $4 million plus $2 million signing bonus for $6 million total
    • 2020: $10 million
    • 2021: $10.25 million
    • 2022: $11 million
    • 2023: $15 million if option exercised by club or $2.75 million buyout

I feel it is a very good deal for the Yankees and it provides certainty and financial security for Severino and his family even if he could have gotten more by going to arbitration every off-season until his free agent year. While many defend the arbitration process, I view it as the unfortunate opportunity to sit in a room while your employer basically tells you, “You suck!”. Not literally, but the employer is trying to show why the player is not worth the amount of money he is requesting so negatives are embellished to help build their case for the lower club-offered salary.

Cleveland Indians Trevor Bauer won his arbitration case earlier in the week but he described it as a “character assassination”. It seems to me the negativity stemming from the arbitration hearing will have residual impact on the player. I’ve heard people say they (the players) get over it. Maybe some do but we’re all human and it probably affects everyone differently. It’s hard not to forget criticism (justified or not). Regardless of how Sevy may have dealt with it, I am glad that he didn’t get to that point. He’s young and he is the team’s ace. We need to do everything possible to build him up, not tear him down. The extension buys peace of mind for Sevy and that’s invaluable.

Photo Credit: Bryan Hoch via Instagram

The urgency now moves to the primary three pending free agents: Aaron Hicks, Dellin Betances, and Didi Gregorius. I don’t really want to lose any of these guys.  I’d prefer to see the Yankees lock them up on extensions before they ever hit the open market. That’s probably wishful thinking on my part but I am hopeful. With Hicks, I’d probably feel better if Estevan Florial was closer to The Show but he’s still a couple of seasons away so the Yankees cannot afford to lose their current starting centerfielder. The Yankees obviously have other elite arms in the bullpen but losing Betances would still hurt. Didi, to me, is part of the heart of this team with the talent to match. He’s my shortstop and I want it to stay that way. Sorry Tulo.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

CC Sabathia will be holding a press conference today to formally announce his retirement at the end of the season. I guess I hadn’t really thought about it until someone mentioned it recently but CC is a Hall of Famer. In my mind, with no offense and regardless of whether or not you agree, he is a better pitcher than recently selected HOF-er Mike Mussina. Entering the year, he is 246-153 in 538 starts covering 3,470 innings. His K/9 is 7.67 and BB/9 is 2.75.  His career ERA is 3.70 with 67.8 WAR per FanGraphs. He currently sits at 2,986 strikeouts so he’ll notch a very significant milestone early in the season. His number 52 should be retired with a plaque in Monument Park when his playing days are finished. I am hopeful the Yankees find a way to keep Sabathia part of the organization when he hangs up his jersey. He’s been a great Yankee. It would be incredible for him to begin AND end his Yankees career with World Series championships. For his sake (and ours too), I hope it happens.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Congratulations to Dellin Betances and his wife, Janisa, on the birth of their son, Dellin Jr, this week (Wednesday). “With their first pick of the 2037 MLB Draft, the New York Yankees select…” The boy is certainly getting tremendous genes to start his life’s journey. Dellin is scheduled to arrive in Camp on Monday for the team’s first full team workout.

Susan Slusser, a long-time and very respected beat writer for the Oakland A’s, caused a stir on Twitter yesterday when she reported that Chien-Ming Wang had a minor leg strain and would not be throwing today. After an avalanche of ‘what?’ from many people, Slusser acknowledged that she meant Wei-Chung Wang, a non-roster invitee in camp for the A’s. The 38-year-old former Yankee is not attempting a comeback, to the best of my knowledge, but it was funny to see his name in strong circulation yesterday. Wang was featured in a 2018 documentary called Late Life: The Chien-Ming Wang Story. I know I’ve never been a fan of pitchers hitting since Wang suffered the torn Lisfranc ligament in his right foot while running the bases against the Houston Astros during the 2008 season. I’ve always wondered what could have been if Wang had not suffered that freak injury.

I love the story of Yankees hopeful Danny Farquhar. While I do not currently see a spot in the Yankees bullpen for Farquhar, it’s easy to root for a guy who had a life-threatening brain hemorrhage last summer yet has battled his way back to Major League Camp with Baseball’s greatest team. He is very appreciative of the opportunity with the Yankees and it shows. Barring injuries, it seems most likely that he’ll go to Triple A for depth or open eyes for another MLB team. Regardless of what happens, I wish him the best for much success in his journey back to the Major Leagues.

Photo Credit: Charles Wenzelberg-The New York Post

The first exhibition game is a week from today. While the sights and sounds of the practice fields around Steinbrenner Field have been great, I am ready to see the guys playing some actual baseball. Of course, the starters will be guys like Matt Lipka but it will be fun to see the Yankees on the field against the hated Boston Red Sox at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, FL. Hopefully this is the year the Yankees end the Red Sox season prematurely.

Steinbrenner Field will be buzzing tomorrow with the formal arrival of position players in camp. Up to this point, the players in Tampa have had to work out at the minor league facilities so it will be good to see everybody together again. Nothing like an Aaron Judge smile to brighten the World. On a side note, it was so awesome yesterday to see Gleyber Torres greeting pitchers and catchers after the completion of their workouts. I am so excited to see what the new season has in store for Gleyber. Whether he is at second base or shortstop, he’s such a vital cog to the success of this team. He truly embodies the spirit of “there is no ‘I’ in team” and is becoming one of its leaders despite his youth.

As always, Go Yankees!

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The Yanks are assured of putting up 162 box scores…

 

Team Question Mark…

It’s March 22nd and I am still waiting for that deal that instills confidence for the 2013 New York Yankees, but so far, it’s been like an unsuccessful Vegas weekend.  I want to throw out the surgery recovery for Alex Rodriguez because I remain happy that he is not in the lineup regardless of the cost.  Addition by subtraction.  Sorry, I am just not a fan of the narcissistic one.  Even with the injury risk, I prefer to see Kevin Youkilis man third base for the Yanks.  But throwing that aside, the Yankees have lost Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira to injury.  While both are expected to be back in May, there have been numerous professional reports that Teixeira could be lost for the year.  The Yankees lost their backup first baseman when right fielder Nick Swisher signed with the Cleveland Indians.

The catching battle is between two perennial backup catchers.  I fully expect Francisco Cervelli to win the job, but I do not have full faith and confidence in his ability as a starter.  I am sure that Chris Stewart will see plenty of time behind the plate this year.  I had quietly hoped that Austin Romine would surprise in training camp and claim the job, but now that he’s back in the minors, his arrival won’t come until later in the year and perhaps even next year.  Meanwhile, I am hoping that top catching prospect Gary Sanchez can start to accelerate his development to hasten his arrival in the Bronx.

Despite Derek Jeter’s optimistic outlook, it’s unlikely that he’ll be ready on Opening Day so the Yanks will most likely open against the Boston Red Sox with Eduardo Nunez at short.

I am assuming that Ichiro Suzuki will be shifted to left to temporarily replace Granderson, so right field will most likely be a committee led by recent signee Brennan Boesch.  I am hopeful the team also finds room for Ben Francisco, but neither bat will rival the production the Yanks received from Swisher.

Brett Gardner is coming off an injury-lost season so it’s not 100% that he’ll be the Gardy of old.  So, the only “sure thing” in the Yankees lineup right now is second baseman Robinson Cano.  Given his recent health history, I would certainly not label DH Travis Hafner as a sure thing.  If the Yankees lost Cano, this season would be lost.  As it stands, I still expect a late March trade to bring in a capable first baseman.  Gaby Sanchez of the Pittsburgh Pirates is the name that comes to mind.  There’s no way that it will be a frontline first bagger, not under the regime of Hal the accountant.

The Yankees are the oldest team in baseball and rarely has the oldest team succeeded.  This will be a tough year.  Yes, the Yankees will compete for a play-off spot but I do not see them repeating as AL East Champions.  I know that Red Sox fans have been salivating all off-season (along with Rays and Jays fans).

At least I learned what a lisfranc injury is…

While I was pleased to hear the Yankees have re-signed former ace starter Chien-Ming Wang, he’s a bigger question mark than any of the current players on the team.  The foot injury suffered against the Houston Astros years ago led to Wang’s subsequent departure for the Washington Nationals, and he really only enjoyed one reasonably healthy season while away.  I seriously doubt that he’ll ever be the 19 game winner that he was a few years ago.  He does give the Yankees some insurance to trade someone like David Phelps or Ivan Nova for a quality bat.

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen…

I have been a Yankees fan for a number of years but this is clearly one of the most fragile times that I’ve experienced in recent memory.  The Yankees are only an injury or two away from disaster.  Sure, some players could step up and have career years but the range of potential success to non-success have never been wider.  The pressure on Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman will be as high as it has ever been.  It’s unfortunate that they are the front mean for Team Hal.  I am not quite sure why the Yankees suddenly feel that they can be the AL version of the St Louis Cardinals.  My favorite teams, in order, are the Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers.  The pressure on Girardi and Dodgers manager Don Mattingly are higher than any other manager in baseball.  Not that I am against a scenario that could ultimately bring Donnie Baseball to the Bronx as manager, but still, both men deserve better than the hands they have been dealt.

–Scott

 

You had me at MRI…

A foot apart…

Yes, I admit it.  I was genuinely concerned.  Yesterday, news broke that David Robertson had hurt his foot in a mishap at his home.  The Yankees sounded very concerned and of course they ordered a MRI and were making comments about the severity of the injury.  The immediate thought was the Lisfranc injury suffered by former Yankees starter Chien-Ming Wang.  While Wang is pitching again, it took years and he is still not the same guy who won 19 games in successive seasons a few years back.

Today, it was announced that Robertson had a deep bone bruise after missing a step on the stairs at his home.  The foot is a boot and he’s on crutches until Sunday, but it now sounds as though Robertson will be back sooner than initially thought.  So, the best case scenario played out, but it’s another example of how conservative the Yankees are when it comes to injuries.  That’s a good thing, I suppose, from the perspective of the players’ health, but it does cause a little angst among the fan base.  The thought that we’d have to go to the guy who is being paid over $30 million for 3 years to set up (Rafael Soriano) to actually be the set up guy is terrifying!

I know, we’re spoiled but when you live in the midst of a ‘World Series or bust’ environment, it goes with the territory.

Heading into spring training, my concerns for injury resided with players like Alex Rodriguez, Eric Chavez and Joba Chamberlain.  Robertson has been so clutch and reliable that you just don’t expect HIM to get hurt…and particularly not in such a freak accident.  But of course, pitchers are fragile creatures.  You don’t have to look much further than the Mets’ Johan Santana.  Even Pittsburgh’s A.J. Burnett is down after suffering an at-bat injury in a bunt attempt.  The Yankees have been very lucky that CC Sabathia has stayed healthy given the other injuries they’ve dealt with.  Why can’t every pitcher be gifted with the elasticity of David Wells’ arm…

AL East or bust…

Hearing reports of the Baltimore Orioles’ hot and cold interest in Johnny Damon truly shows that Johnny has an interest in playing for every team in the AL East.  I suppose that his agent has been calling the Toronto Blue Jays even if there haven’t been any sightings.  Damon probably should have accepted that trade from the Detroit Tigers to the Boston Red Sox at the trading deadline a couple of years ago.  I hate to see him bouncing from team to team.  That’s probably a good indication that it’s time to go home.  He can still hit, but there’s too many younger, cheaper options.

Have bat, will travel…

The Yankees’ desire to get salaries below the $190 million threshold by 2014, I have to wonder if we are seeing the final two years of Derek Jeter’s Yankee career.  With so much invested in Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, and CC Sabathia, the Yankees will no longer have the luxury of a huge investment in an aging shortstop.  It’s also disheartening to think that the day will come when the Yankees have to make the decision to keep Curtis Granderson or Robinson Cano.  If they manage to find a way to keep both, then there’s not much left for other key positions.  Who would have ever thought that $190 million would be such a small amount of money…

Teams like the Minnesota Twins probably laugh at the Yankees being placed into a situation where they have to re-tool with less expensive options and make hard decisions on popular players given that’s been their business model for years.

I know, doom and gloom…it will work out.  The Yankees will do what they need to do.  I can’t see them allowing the team to become a modern version of the CBS ownership era of the late 60’s and early 70’s.

Can Minneapolis keep the Vikings where they belong?…

After years, it feels like there finally may be movement in the plans for a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings.  The proposal has been finalized and now needs city and state approval.  The new stadium would be located next to the Metrodome, and the team would only be displaced for one season before moving into the new digs.  I believe the target date is in 2016.  This has been a very long road, and hopefully, the city and state will approve the plans so that the construction can begin and Minnesota can be assured of keeping the Vikings.  The Los Angeles Vikings never really had a good flow to it anyway…

Whether it’s in the standings or not, losing still stinks…

If spring training games mean nothing, why do I feel excitement when the Yankees win and angst when they lose…

–Scott

Who’s On First?…

“I consider this position I am playing in as a bench role”…

 

 

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These were the words of Yankees GM Brian Cashman on January 6th regarding the current Yankees outfield.  Cashman is apparently looking for a right-handed bat to complement Brett Gardner in left.  Let’s see if these words still hold true on, say, February 23rd.  I guess we’ll check back at that time to see if Cashman held true to his words.

 

An intriguing option in a platoon situation is free agent outfielder Rocco Baldelli.   Rocco has had medical issues the past few years and suffers from channelopathy, but in a limited role, he might be a viable option.  He appeared in only 62 games last season for the Boston Red Sox, batting .253 with 7 home runs and 23 RBI’s.  I don’t know what the future holds for Rocco, but if he can overcome his medical condition, he might thrive in a part-time position.  I am sure the price tag would be enticing to a GM looking to keep the payroll under $200 million…

 

 

Jim Rogash/Getty Images

 

 

I am warming up to the idea of Reed Johnson as a possibility for a potential platoon, but as each passing day goes by and Johnny Damon remains a free agent, I am hopeful that his price tag falls far enough that he fits into Cashman’s budget.  If the Yankees could get Damon to come back for one year, it would be an ideal situation and Johnny could test the free agent waters next fall.

 

 

 

AP 

 

 

It’s tough when you pull up a New York paper, and the leading Yankees story is the signing of pitcher Sergio Mitre to a one-year, $850,000 deal.  Okay, I accept that the possibility that Mitre will be significantly improved since he’ll be further from his elbow ligament replacement surgery (July 2008).  But to spotlight him in the New York tabloids is a bit much.  I do not see Mitre as more than a bit player in 2010.   Maybe he’ll prove to be the second coming of Aaron Small but who knows…

 

 

 

Sipkin/New York Daily News

 

Peter Abraham says that Chien-Ming Wang is ready to move on from the Yankees.  I am still a bit perplexed why the Yankees didn’t try to give Wang one more chance.  Maybe there’s a possibility that he could still return, but I would hate to see him experience a rebirth in Boston (not that they need another starter with that rotation).  Actually, if it were me, I’d go to Seattle.  The Mariners are definitely poised to make a run in what should be Ken Griffey, Jr.’s final year.  The Mariners have made some great acquisitions this off-season.  Sure, they lost Adrian Beltre, but they’ve acquired Cliff Lee, Casey Kotchman, and Chone Figgins.   But like with Damon, I do hope that Wang finds his way back to the Bronx.

 

 

 

Andrew Mills/The Star-Ledger

 

I was sorry to see David Cone leave the YES Network.  There was always something very re-assuring about Coney as a player and as a broadcaster.  I can’t say that I was pleased when he decided to go to Boston to pitch, but he is a class guy.  Whatever the future holds for Coney, I hope that it’s what he wants to do. 

 

 

 

 

Congratulations to pitcher Joba Chamberlain for being a winner of the Thurman Munson Award (which acknowledges excellence in competition and philanthropic work in the community).  The award will be given on February 2nd.  This is definitely a preferable off-season event over a DUI.  I am glad to see Joba’s growth and maturity in a very positive direction.

 

 

 

Sports Illustrated, courtesy of Microsoft

 

 

My weekend football predictions:

 

Cincinnati Bengals 21, New York Jets 17

New England Patriots 31, Baltimore Ravens 20 (Okay, this is for my friend Julia!)

Arizona Cardinals 27, Green Bay Packers 17

Dallas Cowboys 33, Philadelphia Eagles 31

 

The only problem with my predictions is that it would bring the Dallas Cowboys to Minnesota to face the Vikings.  This, of course, is the match-up that has haunted me for many years.  On December 28, 1975, I was watching the Cowboys and Vikings in the NFC Divisional Play-offs.  It appeared that the Vikings had the game in hand until Roger Staubach threw the unbelievable Hail Mary pass caught by Drew Pearson as Nate Wright fell to the ground.   I remember exactly where I was, where I was standing, and my reaction.  Fortunately, I’ve had the Yankees all these years to give me some “relief” from the disappointment…

 

 

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When can we start talking about baseball?…

 

 


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 Let’s Go Yankees!  🙂

It’s A New Year, What’s New?…

 

New Year, same problems in left…

 

 

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Okay, I didn’t really want to start the new year with any mention of left field, but unfortunately, there hasn’t been much more to talk about.  2010 begins where 2009 left off…the Yankees are still in search of the right combination for left field.  Perhaps the answer is already on the roster in the form of Brett Gardner and Jamie Hoffmann, or maybe the Yanks should move Curtis Granderson to left and install Gardner back in center.  Ultimately, I don’t think either of those options will be viable ones when training camp opens in Tampa.  But they do underscore the lack of urgency on the Yankees’ part.

 

 


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I am a big proponent of finding a low-cost option with high upside.  When Paul O’Neill was acquired from the Cincinnati Reds, he wasn’t a “big” name and he only cost the Yankees the long-forgotten Roberto Kelly.  At the time, I was miffed that the Yanks would give up on Kelly, but history clearly showed that it was one of the most astute moves in Yankee history.

 

 

 

Getty Images

 

 

I read a blog that speculated David DeJesus of the Kansas City Royals would be a good fit.  I do not disagree.  Today, Mike Axisa of River Ave Blues suggested Travis Buck of the Oakland A’s.  Regardless of the latter’s health history, I am okay with either player.  Ideally, there’s no question that I’d prefer Johnny Damon first and foremost.  But I just don’t think it will happen for whatever reason.  So, short of Damon, I like the idea of inserting a player with potential.  It is a given that the Yankees will aggressively pursue Plan B if Plan A doesn’t work out.  I don’t think the Mets would give him up at this point, but I have liked Jeff Francoeur.  I still think that he’ll turn it around and live up to his early career promise.  The Indians signed free agent and former Yankee Shelley Duncan today.  In retrospect, it is too bad that the Yankees never gave him a chance.

 

 

 

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images 

 

 

At the end of the day, I think that GM Brian Cashman won’t leave the Yanks short-changed in left.  I have faith in the man with the plan…

 

 

 

John Munson/The Star Ledger

 

 

Allegedly, 15 teams have expressed interest in pitcher Chien-Ming Wang (with the Yankees included).  I hope that the team can find a way to bring Wang back home.  If Wang is right, how awesome would the Yanks bullpen be with both Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes?  

 

 

 

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images 

 

So, the Boston Red Sox finally solved their third base woes with the signing of free agent Adrian Beltre.  I do not dispute that he is masterful with the glove, but anybody who has owned him in fantasy baseball knows that he is brutal offensively.  He is clearly not the slugger he was with the Los Angeles Dodgers a few years ago.  So, if you ask me if I am disappointed the Red Sox signed Beltre?  No, if it means that the team can no longer pursue San Diego Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez (financially speaking).  Gonzalez is a difference-maker; Beltre is not.  The sad part of the Beltre signing is that it will relegate Casey Kotchman to the bench or at the most, DH.  At DH, he has potential, but of course, it means the end of David Ortiz.  Also, this almost certainly ensures that Mike Lowell will be dealt.  The latest rumor has him going to the Mets for Luis Castillo, which is kind of funny considering that the Mets haven’t been able to unload Castillo on anybody.   So, the Beltre signing is “nice”, but it doesn’t improve the Sox in the long run, in my opinion.

 

 

Infielder Adrian Beltre #29 of the Seattle Mariners bobbles the ball before fielding a ground ball out against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim during the game at Angel Stadium on August 12, 2008 in Anaheim, California. The Angels defeated the Mariners 7-3.

 

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

 

 

Did the Vikings’ total domination of the New York Giants and capture of the NFC second seed restore my faith in the Minnesota Vikings?  Not really.  The New York Giants gave up last week, so they pretty much rolled over for the Vikings on Sunday.  It is hard for me to believe that the Vikings are truly a team capable of laying a 44-7 whuppin’ on a play-off foe.  It’s funny that the Vikings were rooting for the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday considering that the Cowboys have long been my “second” favorite team dating back to the Roger Staubach days.  I admit that I was a bit miffed with the Cowboys beat the Vikings on the Hail Mary pass, but I did enjoy the Cowboys’ success under Jimmy Johnson and Troy Aikman in the 90’s.  Of course, I did live in Dallas at the time, so it was a bit more enjoyable.  Nevertheless, I still remain on the Purple side, so I’ll await the outcome of the NFC wild card games to see if the Vikings can legitimately move the closest to the Super Bowl that they’ve been since 1998.  I am not a great fan of the current Dallas Cowboys so I don’t know who I’ll root for should my Vikings stub their toe.  Perhaps I’ll root for Julia’s New England Patriots, but admittedly, they’ll have a tough road sans Wes Welker.

 

Donna McWilliam/AP

 

I am not surprised that the Washington Redskins sacked head coach Jim Zorn.  I know they are wining and dining Mike Shanahan, and that would probably be a very good move for them.  I think Shanahan is a better fit than Steve Spurrier ever was.  He knows owner Daniel Snyder so I think the two could co-exist so long as Shanahan can produce.  Yeah, I wish the Vikings could be in play for a good coach…

 

 

 

Bill Ross/AP

 

I hope everyone had a great holiday season, and a very happy New Year!  Just think, baseball training camps open next month.  I can’t wait.  I am anxious to resume my battles with a certain friend in Boston

 

 

 

Out with Old, In with the New…

 

It has been a very busy week for the almighty¹ Yankees…

 


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¹Word ‘almighty’ is for the exclusive benefit of my friend Julia!  😉

 

ARRIVED

Curtis Granderson

The blockbuster trade of the Winter Meetings saw the arrival of Curtis Granderson as the newest centerfielder for the New York Yankees. 

The price tag was very high and the Yankees lost a great opportunity to market “Ajax” but who knows if Austin Jackson will ever be the player that Grandy is today.  Maybe he’ll be better but it probably won’t happen for several years.  The Yankees have a window of opportunity right now and the heart of the team is not getting any younger.  It is critical for the Yanks to infuse young, quality talent into the lineup now, not later.  Grandy will be 29 on Opening Day and he can be expected to hold his position through the retirement of Derek Jeter and beyond.

I am looking forward to watching Grandy in the Bronx.  One of my personal favorites in the ‘Wow’ factor (off the field exploits aside) was Darryl Strawberry.  I am hopeful that Grandy will bring that level of excitement and energy to the team and that he’ll quickly become a fan favorite.

 

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Jamie Hoffmann

The former Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder was selected first in Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft by the Washington Nationals and was immediately dealt to the Yankees as compensation for the trade that sent reliever Brian Bruney to the Nats.

Hoffmann, a former hockey player, will compete for the 25th spot on the Yankees roster.  Since Hoffmann will have to be offered back to the Dodgers if he fails to stick on the Yankees major league roster, I fully expect the Yankees to move either Melky Cabrera or Brett Gardner if Hoffmann shows anything during spring training.  You can make an argument for why the Yanks should keep either Cabrera or Gardner but Cabrera clearly has the highest trade value.

Hoffmann, 25, made his major league debut with the Dodgers on May 22nd.  Two days later, he got his first major league hit, a two-run bomb off Matt Palmer and the Angels in Anaheim.  Hopefully, it is a great sign of things to come…

 

Los Angeles Dodgers' Matt Kemp (27) congratulates teammate Jamie Hoffmann (30) on his two-run home run during the second inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels, Sunday, May 24, 2009, in Los Angeles.

 

AP

Andy Pettitte

Okay, it’s not really an arrival.  However, it is a big deal that Andy and the team agreed on a one year deal so quickly after Andy announced his decision to play at least another year.  We didn’t need another Brett Favre-like situation this off-season.  Welcome back, Andy!

 

Andy Pettitte Alex Rodriguez

AP

 

DEPARTURES

This could be called the ‘You’ll get your ring when we come to a city near you’ category…

Brian Bruney, to the Washington Nationals for the first pick in the Rule 5 Draft (Jamie Hoffmann).

Austin Jackson and Phil Coke to the Detroit Tigers, and Ian Kennedy to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Detroit’s Curtis Granderson.

 

Jerry Hale/MiLB.com

 

FREE AGENTS

Johnny Damon, unsigned.  Talks with the Yanks have continued but the team is unwilling to go beyond two years.  At this stage of his career, Damon has to get all he can get since this may be his last major league contract.  I want Damon back, however, I am supportive of the team’s position.

 

AP 

 

Hideki Matsui, unsigned.  Almost certain not to return unless the Yankees fail to sign Damon, Godzilla would be a good fit in the Bay Area if the Oakland A’s could unload Jack Cust.

 

 

Jose Molina, unsigned.  I am ready for Francisco Cervelli to back up Jorge Posada, with Jesus Montero possibly in the mix.  The Yankees do need to reduce their payroll and this is an area that they can still get value at a cheaper price.

Xavier Nady, unsigned.  Personally, I would try to bring the X-Man back to the Bronx.  But I recognize that he is not in the team’s plans, and it is virtually certain that he’ll sign elsewhere (perhaps with the Braves).

Jerry Hairston, Jr.  A good complimentary player but his role can be easily replaced by Ramiro Pena.

 

Kathy Willens/AP 

 

OTHER MOVES

The Yankees are not expected to tender a contract to pitcher Chien-Ming Wang so he’ll become a free agent later today (midnight ET).  It’s unfortunate that it has come to this with the former 19-game winner.  He was perhaps the Yankees most valuable starting pitcher until that fateful day running the bases in Houston several years ago.  I suspect that he’ll be a strong candidate for Comeback Player of the Year so some team is going to get lucky by taking a chance on Wang.  Hopefully, the Yankees will find a way to bring him back but for now, he’ll be up for grabs…

 

Al Messerschmidt/Getty

Former Yankee, and the Opening Day starting third baseman, Cody Ransom has been invited to camp with the Philadelphia Phillies as a non-roster player.

*   *   *

As a California resident, this joke by Conan O’Brien bears repeating since it is oh, so true!

‘Los Angeles was hit by a massive storm that caused power outages and freeway closures.  Meteorologists predict that the storm will head east next week where it will be known as rain.’ 

…or something like that!  Nevertheless, it is an accurate description of life in California!

Too funny!

 

 

 

 

No Royal Pains…

 

They got it right…

 

 

 

 

The homer pick was to go with CC Sabathia for the 2009 AL Cy Young Award.  However, it was clear that Zack Greinke of the Kansas City Royals is THE right choice.  He had an incredible season.  Imagine what he could have done playing for Boston or New York.  The win-loss record wasn’t spectacular (16-8), however, the 2.16 ERA and 242 strikeouts were.  It was a dominating season and Greinke was the class of the American League. 

 

 

Ed Zurga/AP

 

Of course, “dessert” for Greinke is his upcoming nuptials this weekend to former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader Emily Kuchar.  Okay, Zack lives in a world that I will never know…

 

 

 

Congrats, Zack, on a tremendous season! 

 

 

 

I am not so sure that I like the Yankees very slow and non-reactionary approach to the early off-season.  I know that GM Brian Cashman is trying to see how many dollars in his wallet, however, the team is costing themselves money by not proactively seeking to retain certain free agents like Johnny Damon. 

 

IMAGES HAVE BEEN DIGITALLY DESATURATED) Johnny Damon #18 of the New York Yankees poses during Photo Day on February 19, 2009 at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Johnny Damon

Nick Laham/Getty Images 

 

The Yankees would be wise to start talking about an extension with Derek Jeter now rather than wait until the expiration of his current contract.  By waiting, it will most likely cost the team more than if they’d put forth the deal to secure Jeter’s pinstripe-only career.

 

 

 

Barton Silverman/The New York Times 

 

I was really shocked to hear that the only coach signed for next season is hitting instructor Kevin Long.  Even manager Joe Girardi is a lame duck with a contract set to expire after next season.  Maybe it’s just me, but it would be kind of nice to have a first or third base coach.

 

 

 

 

Maybe the Yankees have a grand master plan that will work to perfection.  They’ll walk off with top free agents John Lackey and Matt Holliday signed to very reasonable deals.  But then again, maybe they won’t and they’ll be scrambling to retain the likes of Sergio Mitre, who’s option they declined earlier today.

 

 

William Perlman/The Star Ledger 

 

Admittedly, I am a bigger fan of Theo Epstein’s quick-strike approach.  I’d rather make the moves with swiftness and confidence.  Act before your opponent has time to react.  Take a chance on the sleepers.  I dislike going into September of a pennant chase with Sergio Mitre as your fifth starter.  I know that you can’t have an All-Star at every position, however, there are a number of low budget moves the Yanks can make to strengthen the team for its defense of the World Series championship.  If he’s ready, I would like to see Austin Jackson in center, but that does mean the team needs proven production from the corners.  I liked Boston’s pickup of Jeremy Hermida and I think the Yankee scouts should be doing their homework on the next breakout players.  Last off-season, I would have loved to have acquired the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Andre Ethier.  Now, after the successful season he had in 2009, he’d be impossible to acquire.  But he could have been had pre-2009.  I know, I keep waiting for the next Paul O’Neill, however, those type of deals can be made.

 

 

Andre Ethier #16 of the Los Angeles Dodgers looks on from the dugout during a game against the Colorado Rockies at Dodger Stadium on June 30, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.

Jeff Gross/Getty Images 

 

With the rumors of whether or not 2010 will be the final season for Dodgers manager Joe Torre, I do feel bad that he has to endure the divorce battle between Frank and Jamie McCourt.  There has been talk of contract negotiations between Torre and the team so hopefully the divorce situation won’t adversely impact Torre.  Ultimately, I am a fan of Don Mattingly as the next Dodgers manager, however, it should, respectively, be on Joe Torre’s terms.

 

Joe_torres_a_dodger_now 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If the Yankees do non-tender Chien-Ming Wang, I do hope that they move quickly to sign him to an incentive-laden deal.  I still think that Wang can be the pitcher he was in 2006 and 2007.  I was frustrated last season, however, he clearly was not healthy.

 

 

Lucy Nicholson/Reuters 

 

I’ll be headed to Arizona in a few weeks to finally see Brett Favre play as the Minnesota Vikings take on the Arizona Cardinals in Glendale, AZ.  I haven’t seen the Vikings play (in person) for about 20 years.  The last time was against the Dallas Cowboys in Irving, Texas.  The Vikings won a shoot-out in overtime, 44-38.  A quick Google search tells me that it was 22 years ago on Thanksgiving Day.  Hopefully, December 6th in the Sonoran Desert will be equally exciting and with the same result!

 

 

 

 

The previous week will start with a Kelly Clarkson concert (oh yeah!) and will also include a Broadway play in New York City, so here’s hoping for a GREAT week for ME!  J

 

 


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