Mike Mussina Rumors

Odds and Ends: Lowe, Redmond, Timlin

Linkage for Friday…

  • River Ave. Blues discovered that Mike Mussina‘s wife may be a bigger factor than we thought in regard to his retirement decision.
  • David O’Brien tosses out some names for the Braves to consider: Derek Lowe, Matt Cain, Roy Oswalt, and Josh Willingham.  Everyone likes Lowe…Anthony McCarron says the Yankees and Mets should consider him.  Those clubs could also enter a bidding war for C.C. Sabathia, says Bob Klapisch.  Will C.C.’s postseason record diminish his contract?  I don’t think so.
  • Greg Couch doesn’t want Javier Vazquez pitching for the White Sox again.  Maybe Ozzie is right, Vazquez is not a big-game pitcher.  But why say that publicly?
  • Joe Christensen seems certain the Twins will exercise Mike Redmond‘s $950K option.
  • Chris Carpenter‘s shoulder injury is unprecedented among pitchers.  Do the Cardinals need to add veteran rotation insurance?  Speaking of unprecedented procedures…Takashi Saito had platelet-rich plasma injected into his elbow in July.
  • Joe Starkey thinks the Pirates should…non-tender Adam LaRoche?
  • Mike Timlin could retire.
  • Huge E-Ticket Manny Ramirez feature from Bill Simmons, wherein Scott Boras is blamed for his Boston exit.  Good read.

Cashman Comments

Peter Abraham has interesting quotes from Yankees GM Brian Cashman:

  • The Yankees are trying to improve their process for scouting Japan.  Thinking back to Kei Igawa in ’06…that seemed like a direct response to the Red Sox getting Daisuke Matsuzaka.
  • Cashman thinks Mike Mussina is leaning toward retirement.  That would complicate Cashman’s situation.
  • It seems that Hal Steinbrenner has gotten Hank under control, which would make Cashman’s job easier. There will be no advisory board, by the way.
  • Joel Sherman says Cashman is now fighting for his reputation.
  • Cashman cautioned fans against getting too attached to any one free agent.  He may have been implying C.C. Sabathia.

Odds and Ends: Manny, Laird, Strasburg, Chipper

Let’s gather up today’s linkage.

Week In Review: 9/21 – 9/27

Here’s your weekly look back at some of the biggest stories we’ve covered on MLBTR!

  • The Pedro Alvarez drama may finally be behind us. The Pirates’ first-round pick agreed to terms with the organization on a new four-year, $6.355MM major league contract. Jim Callis and Dejan Kovacevic have some more insight to offer on the signing here. The contract was officially signed later in the week, and the grievance was resolved. Royals fans and Eric Hosmer are also both relieved that this is over I’m sure.
  • The Blue Jays began talking extension with A.J. Burnett this week. Later on, we learned that the Jays would offer a two-year, $30MM extension onto the remaining two years of his contract, bringing the total remaining value to four years, $54MM. Burnett seemed pleasantly surprised with the amount of money the Jays were said to offer. He expected they’d offer less. You’re always going to be wondering just how many innings he can give you in a season, but in a world where Carlos Silva makes $12MM per season, if Burnett is healthy he’d be a steal at this price.
  • Lots of question marks for another AL East team’s rotation, with the Yankees trying to figure out just what exactly Andy Pettitte and Mike Mussina are planning for 2009. Pettitte has said that he’ll play for the Yankees or retire. Bringing Pettitte back only makes sense if he’s willing to take a much smaller contract. I think around $10MM would make sense; someone also suggested a $7-8MM deal with incentives. That seems fair as well. As for Mussina, he initially said that he didn’t think he’d pitch in 2009, but later at least discussed the possibility of pitching for 300 wins. His first preference would be to pitch for the Yankees again. Congrats to Moose on picking up win number 20 today, by the way. Another milestone in a great career.
  • Erik Bedard’s injury and operation weren’t as serious as thought, and the Mariners now face more of a decision on bringing him back. If he’s healthy enough to pitch, I can’t see a reason not to bring him back. Maybe they can at least get a few months of the pitcher they initially thought they were getting, and get something in return in July.
  • Curious about what it will take for your club to reel in that free agent you’re craving? Buster Olney took a look at the market earlier this week that might shed some light on the issue.
  • One player who will be in that free agent pool is Orlando Cabrera. He openly criticized his teammates, saying that none of them wanted to win enough, and that "they were the problem," not him. Cabera’s hitting a very weak shortstop market; he should draw a lot of interest from numerous clubs. Interestingly, that article suggests Chicago’s biggest rival – Minnesota – as a possible landing place for Cabrera.
  • Two players officially called it quits this week. Todd Jones retired, notching 319 saves in his career. Elsewhere, J.T. Snow signed a one-day contract with San Francisco, so he could officially retire as a Giant.
  • Tim updated the Offseason Outlook series with entries for the Reds, Rockies, and Rangers.
  • Has anyone seen Brad Penny recently? No? Apparently, neither have the Dodgers.

Mussina Speaks About Future

Mike Mussina, who goes for his first 20 win season today, is unsure about his future although he does seem open to stay in the game for at least one more year, this according to Kat O’Brien of Newsday.  O’Brien writes,

"If my intent is going for 300, then if I’m in for one, I’m in for three," Mussina said. He added that if he pitched one year and pushed past the 280-win mark: "By then, I would absolutely owe it to myself to try."

If he does return, Mussina said his first choice is to pitch for the Yankees. If he wants to pitch and they do not want him back, he will look elsewhere, but only within a limited radius of his home in Montoursville, Pa., and only in the American League. Said Mussina: "My market’s pretty limited."

If Mussina does continue on a grail quest to reach 300 wins, which he acknowledged does in fact matter if attainable, seems to have limited himself to three teams in the AL East (New York, Boston, Baltimore) and maybe certain AL Central teams like Chicago, Cleveland, or Minnesota. I’ll posit that Kansas City would not be both too far and not provide the opportunity for wins a guy seeking 300 would want.

Tyler Kepner of the New York Times suggests Moose is more tentative. Writes Kepner,

"Mussina has studied the careers of pitchers with comparable statistics, noticing that many limped to the finish. He would rather leave while pitching well, but his career wins total complicates things."

Will Mike Mussina Retire?

Roch Kubatko recently spoke to Hall of Famer Jim Palmer, who recently spoke to Yankees pitcher Mike Mussina.  When Palmer asked Mussina if he’d play in 2009, Mussina replied, "I don’t think so."

Everything I’ve read says Mussina doesn’t care about 300 wins.  With 31 more to go, the plateau may require three more seasons.  Regardless, it’d be a shame to see Moose retire when he’s clearly not finished as a pitcher.  It’d also throw a wrench in the Yankees’ plans, as they’d probably like to bring him back on a one-year deal at $12-14MM.

Mussina Willing To Return

According to Josh Thomson of The Journal News, Mike Mussina said last night he’d return to the Yankees next year if they’ll have him.  Mussina is earning $11MM this year.

Mussina, 40 in December, bounced back from a lousy ’07 to post a 3.57 ERA in 189.1 innings.  The difference?  More strikeouts and fewer walks despite losing a mile per hour on his fastball.  Mussina is throwing more breaking stuff this year, apparently.

I can envision an ’09 Yankees rotation with C.C. Sabathia, Chien-Ming Wang, Joba Chamberlain, and Mussina locked in.  Then Phil Hughes and others would battle it out for the fifth starter job.

Hank Steinbrenner Forming Advisory Group

SATURDAY: Cashman responds to the advisory group comments.  He wouldn’t say whether he wants to return.

THURSDAY: Peter Abraham relays comments Hank Steinbrenner made to the AP today.  Hank will review the entire organization and put together an advisory group for decision-making.  Brian Cashman would still be in charge, but it sounds like too many cooks in the kitchen.  Cashman probably will not want to stay if he loses autonomy.  Speculation is that Cashman could consider the vacancies in Philadelphia or Seattle.

One thing’s for sure – the Yankees are prepared to throw around some cash this winter.  Steinbrenner seemingly has regrets about not acquiring Johan Santana.  As far as the ’09 staff goes, Brian Cashman would have interest if Mike Mussina wants to come back.  Presumably the Yankees would add one or two more free agent starters after Mussina.

Will Yanks Make Any Trades?

Joel Sherman of the New York Post discusses the Yankees’ trade prospects in a blog post today.  The Yankees have a 3-5% chance of making the playoffs this year, according to Baseball Prospectus.

Sherman suggests Johnny Damon, Bobby Abreu, Andy Pettitte, Mike Mussina, and Carl Pavano as players with a slight chance of being dealt.  No-trade clauses would present an obstacle for most of these players, however.

As Sherman notes, Abreu is locked in as a Type A free agent.  For the Yankees to receive draft picks for him this winter, they’d have to offer him arbitration and have him decline and sign elsewhere.  Many Yankees fans made a strong case to me yesterday that the team will offer arbitration, because another year of Abreu at $16MM+ would be an acceptable risk.  It’s a good point, since Abreu is having a better season than he did in ’07.

A pitching-starved team could take on Pavano if he approves it, but he is still owed over $4MM.  The Yanks would have to assume pretty much all of that.

Looking At The Yankees’ Impending Free Agents

The Yankees have several big-name free agents looming this off-season, including Bobby Abreu, Andy Pettite, Ivan Rodriguez, Mike Mussina, and Jason Giambi ($5MM buyout for his $22MM option). Deciding who to bring back, who to let walk and who to offer arbitration could be the key decisions that have a ripple effect throughout the rest of baseball.

Tyler Kepner says the Yankees have already decided to not bring back Abreu and Giambi at their current salaries, $16MM and $21MM respectively. However Kepler says the Yankees may be open to bringing Abreu back at a reduced rate, especially without any obvious replacements in the farm system.

Peter Abraham thinks Pudge and Giambi would accept arbitration if it is offered by the Yankees. Now that Pudge is only a type-B free agent the Yankees may not think the one compensation pick is worth the risk.

So let’s hear it in the comments…Who should the Yankees bring back this off-season and do they risk offering arbitration to Pudge and Giambi?

Cork Gaines writes for RaysIndex.com and can be reached here.