New York Yankees Rumors
On this date ten years ago, 42-year-old Tim Raines and his son, 22-year-old Tim Raines Jr., played outfield for the Orioles, becoming the second father-son duo to play in the same outfield (the Griffeys were the first). Here are some recent updates from around MLB...
- Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail has not yet decided on his future role with Baltimore, according to MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli. It’s expected that MacPhail will step down and that the Orioles will find a replacement.
- The Indians announced that Grady Sizemore underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. The Indians say they expect the 29-year-old to be ready for spring training 2012, but it’s hard to be overly optimistic - Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer points out that it’s Sizemore’s fifth surgery in three years. GM Chris Antonetti told Hoynes that he isn’t going to speculate on Sizemore’s $9MM option for 2012.
- FanGraphs’ Dave Cameron doesn’t deny that some batters have advantages over some pitchers, but he doesn’t endorse relying on past batter/pitcher confrontations to predict future outcomes.
- Dave Waldstein of the New York Times explains that there's a small chance C.C. Sabathia threw his last pitch for the Yankees last night, since the left-hander can opt out of his contract after the season. When MLBTR readers voted earlier today, they were divided on Sabathia's offseason earning power.
- Rays owner Stuart Sternberg told Jim Caple of ESPN.com that he's frustrated that winning hasn't led to improved attendance in Tampa Bay. The Rays' attendance figures dropped by 15% this year and Sternberg says it's "untenable as a model going forward."
The prevailing opinion is that Yankees ace C.C. Sabathia will opt out of the remaining four years and $92MM remaining on his contract, since he could easily get more money or years. Bill Madden of the New York Daily News wonders if this will result in the Yankees making another Alex Rodriguez-like overpay, committing at least $125MM over five years in total.
On the high end, though, Sabathia could attempt to top the guarantee he received three years ago: $161MM over seven years. Since that offseason, Sabathia has added three 230+ inning seasons to his resume, never posting an ERA over 3.37 in a season. He's still only 31 years old. Last winter Cliff Lee was 32 upon signing a five-year, $120MM deal with the Phillies. At the time, we heard that Lee turned down offers guaranteeing $148MM over seven years from the Yankees and $138MM over six years (including heavy deferrals) from the Rangers.
There's more money in the game than there was three years ago, and Sabathia's resume is at least as strong as Lee's was. Sabathia won't be able to match the 2.13 postseason ERA Lee carried into that offseason, but with a 3.47 mark in ten Yankees postseason starts C.C. hasn't been bad. Sabathia's postseason work outside of '09 has been subpar, but I'm not sure that will affect the free agent bidding. I see Sabathia's ceiling as Lee's $24MM salary over another seven-year term, which would be a new record for a pitcher at $168MM. As with Lee, that seventh year will probably be a sticking point for all involved teams. Let's hear what you think about the total dollars in today's poll.
Some late-night linkage for your reading pleasure as the Phillies and Rangers celebrate victories, and the Yankees appear poised to join them ...
- Former Yankees lefty Andy Pettitte is enjoying retirement is highly unlikely to return to pitching, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. "I feel the desire [to play] is gone," Pettitte said. "I am retired. I would never say never, but God would literally have to give me desire again... I’m really doing good. I just had a good peace about [retiring]."
- Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News has an in-depth look at the three-way trade between the Yankees, Tigers and Diamondbacks following the 2009 season. There are some interesting insights within the piece regarding the relationships between the general managers, Brian Cashman, Dave Dombrowski and Josh Byrnes, and how they met face-to-face to complete the deal.
- The White Sox will likely consider Indians bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr. for their managerial vacancy, tweets Jon Heyman of SI.com. We learned earlier today that Rays bench coach Dave Martinez is among the South Siders' primary targets.
The White Sox acquired one Martinez (Osvaldo) this week as compensation when the Marlins hired manager Ozzie Guillen. Now they're eyeing another one to replace Ozzie on the bench. According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, Rays bench coach Dave Martinez is at the top of Chicago's managerial wish list.
The White Sox also like Yankees bench coach Tony Pena for the job, Rosenthal continues. However, Martinez is the team's number one choice at the moment. Martinez's Rays and Pena's Yankees are both still alive in the playoffs, so the Sox wouldn't be able to approach either coach yet.
Rosenthal hears from another source that Terry Francona's availability hasn't affected Chicago's search, and that the Sox remain focused on their original list of candidates. For more of today's rumors on Francona and the Red Sox, click here.
As important as it is during the regular season, starting pitching becomes even more crucial in the postseason. Rotations are trimmed to three or four pitchers, and - particularly in a short series, when an ace can start twice in five games - the team with the starting pitching advantage is often the favorite.
Between unpredictable weather conditions and the possibility of three-game sweeps, there's no guarantee these are the 16 starters we'll see in the ALDS. However, at the moment, they're the guys penciled in to attempt to win at least one playoff game this week. So let's take a look at how the four American League postseason qualifiers assembled their October rotations.
Matt Moore: Selected in the 2007 draft (8th round).
James Shields: Selected in the 2000 draft (16th round).
David Price: Selected in the 2007 draft (1st round, 1st overall).
Jeremy Hellickson: Selected in the 2005 draft (4th round).
Not only are the Rays the only AL playoff team with four homegrown pitchers expected to start - no other club has more than two. Of the four Rays starters, only Price was a first round selection, a testament to the team's ability to make the most of its mid-round picks.
C.J. Wilson: Selected in the 2001 draft (6th round).
Derek Holland: Selected in the 2006 draft (25th round).
Colby Lewis: Signed for two years, $5MM in January 2010.
Matt Harrison: Acquired from the Braves in July 2007.
The Rangers may have assembled the most unlikely rotation of the four AL contenders. As recently as 2009, Wilson was a setup man and Lewis was pitching in Japan. Meanwhile, Holland was a 25th-round pick and Harrison was often the forgotten man in the Mark Teixeira trade that also sent Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia to Texas.
C.C. Sabathia: Signed for seven years, $161MM in December 2008.
Ivan Nova: Signed as amateur free agent in 2004.
Freddy Garcia: Signed a minor league deal in January 2011.
A.J. Burnett: Signed for five years, $82.5MM in December 2008.
After last night's postponement, it appears the Yankees will have to scrap their plan for a three-man ALDS rotation, meaning that one December 2008 signing (Sabathia) may log significant innings in Game 3 only, while their other '08 signing (Burnett) could be pressed into a Game 4 start.
Justin Verlander: Selected in the 2004 draft (1st round, 2nd overall).
Doug Fister: Acquired from the Mariners in July 2011.
Max Scherzer: Acquired from the Diamondbacks in December 2009.
Rick Porcello: Selected in the 2007 draft (1st overall, 27nd overall).
The Scherzer trade could have a tremendous impact on the 2011 postseason. All three teams involved in the deal qualified for the playoffs and will be relying heavily on players they acquired, including Curtis Granderson for the Yankees and Ian Kennedy for the D'Backs. As for the 2011 trade that most affects the postseason, the Tigers are hoping it's their July acquisition of Fister, who posted a 1.79 ERA after coming to Detroit.
Two of the five AL East clubs made the playoffs, and both will begin their quest for the World Series later today. The Rays and Rangers play at 5pm ET, the Yankees and Tigers at 8:30pm ET. Let's round up some notes from the only division with four 81+ win teams in 2011...
- "It's a big priority, for obvious reasons," said Red Sox GM Theo Epstein to The Boston Globe's Michael Vega when asked about getting big money free agent signings John Lackey and Carl Crawford back on track. "We're going to leave no stone unturned, really, with all of our players and the organization as a whole."
- Orioles owner Peter Angelos is trying to convince Andy MacPhail to remain with the team in a decision-making or advisory role, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. MacPhail was expected to walk-away from the team after the season.
- Joel Sherman of The New York Post wrote about the Yankees and their transition from a team that relies on experience to one with youth in important spots.
- Jeff Passan of Yahoo!Sports broke down Evan Longoria's walk-off homer in Game 162, which sent the Rays to the playoffs for the third time in four years.
It's hard to fake your way through 162 games, so most MLB playoff teams have earned the right to play in October. Once every few years, a team in a weak division slips into the playoffs with a mediocre record, but teams like the 2005 Padres and 2006 Cardinals are exceptions.
Now that this year's postseason lineup has been determined, we have the chance to look back at the trades the eight playoff teams made this year. Here's a summary of the in-season acquisitions that made an impact for one of MLB's 2011 playoff teams (linked team names go to our Transaction Tracker):
- Phillies: Hunter Pence, John Bowker
- Cardinals: Rafael Furcal, Edwin Jackson, Marc Rzepczynski, Octavio Dotel, Corey Patterson
- Diamondbacks: Jason Marquis, Brad Ziegler, John McDonald, Aaron Hill
- Brewers: Nyjer Morgan, Sergio Mitre, Francisco Rodriguez, Felipe Lopez, Jerry Hairston Jr.
- Yankees: Sergio Mitre
- Rays: None
- Tigers: Wilson Betemit, Doug Fister, David Pauley, Delmon Young
- Rangers: Koji Uehara, Mike Adams, Mike Gonzalez, Matt Treanor
All four National League teams added valuable contributors in midsummer trades. The Rangers improved their bullpen with a pair of highly-coveted late-inning relievers and the Tigers acquired Doug Fister, who posted a 1.79 ERA with a 57K/5BB ratio in 70 1/3 innings down the stretch and is arguably the acquisition of the season.
After months of rumors about the Yankees' interest in starting pitching, GM Brian Cashman remained quiet on the trade front. The Wild Card Rays were also inactive despite constant rumors about B.J. Upton, James Shields, Johnny Damon and others. Tampa Bay's midseason acquisitions came from the minor leagues, where Desmond Jennings and Matt Moore began the season.
The Yankees and Rays are not averse to trading players - Cashman nearly acquired Cliff Lee last summer and Friedman makes major trades just about every year. Similarly, the Tigers and Brewers aren't this aggressive every year - they simply saw potential upgrades on the market. If there's a lesson here it's that the significance of the trade market varies wildly from year to year and from team to team.
Yankees president Randy Levine told Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com that he wants general manager Brian Cashman to continue in his current role after the season, when Cashman’s contract expires. It’s the strongest indication yet that one of the game’s longest-tenured GMs is going nowhere.
"Clearly, we want him back," Levine said.
Though Cashman’s three-year deal is mere weeks away from expiring, it’s Yankee policy to wait until the offseason before discussing new deals. Cashman says he has a great relationship with ownership and confirmed that he’s interested in returning to New York, where he has been the GM since 1998.
“They know that I would like to come back and we have a good working relationship, but we'll deal with that stuff on another day," he said.
Cashman told Ian O'Connor of ESPNNewYork.com last week that there’s no better place for him than New York, while acknowledging that his job has its shortcomings. The Cubs don’t currently have a GM and though they’ve been linked to Cashman, it appears that they’ll have to search elsewhere.
The Yankees have made the playoffs in 13 of the 14 seasons that Cashman has been their GM, winning four World Series titles. They are 97-62 this season with three regular season games to play. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported earlier in the month that the Yankees and Cashman have mutual interest in a new deal.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe discusses player conditioning and expanded rosters in his latest column, before sharing a few notes and rumors from around the league. Here are a few highlights from the piece:
- While the Brewers have been all but ruled out of the Prince Fielder sweepstakes in some corners, Cafardo hears from big league sources that the Brew Crew may make a bid to retain their first baseman after all.
- It appears Buck Showalter will have a significant infuence on Orioles' moves and decisions going forward. If Andy MacPhail leaves the team this winter, the O's may hire someone to hold the general manager title, but have Showalter acting as the de facto GM.
- Cafardo speculates that the Orioles, Red Sox, Yankees, Twins, Tigers, and Cardinals could all be in on C.J. Wilson this offseason.
- "Nobody has any real answer" about why the Red Sox and Mets couldn't reach an agreement on a Chris Capuano trade. We heard earlier this week that the Sox tried to acquire Capuano to help them clinch a playoff spot, but that talks were dead.
- Although Manny Ramirez has mentioned the possibility of playing in Japan, Cafardo doesn't think a Japanese team would be willing to take on a two-time PED user.
- Cafardo has heard Bobby Valentine mentioned as a potential replacement if the Red Sox and Terry Francona part ways. Earlier today, FOX's Ken Rosenthal looked into whether or not Francona's job is in jeopardy.
All eyes will be on a trio of AL East matchups today, as the Rays take on the Blue Jays while the Yankees and Red Sox play a split doubleheader in the Bronx. By the end of the day, we could see a massive swing one way or the other in the Wild Card race. If the Sox sweep the doubleheader and the Rays fall to Toronto, Boston would clinch at least a tie of the Wild Card. On the other hand, if the Rays beat the Jays and the Yanks win a pair at home, Tampa Bay and Boston will be tied heading into the season's final series. While we look forward to today's slate of games, let's check out the latest links from the division....
- The Rays asked the Mets about Jose Reyes' availability in June, according to Newsday's Ken Davidoff. Reyes' stock was incredibly high at the time - he was healthy and hit .352/.397/.529 through the season's first three months - so the Mets turned away the Rays' inquiries.
- Within Davidoff's piece, Rays GM Andrew Friedman said his team won't feel the need to trade any starting pitching this winter: "We can't be cavalier about the depth that we have right now."
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports takes a look at Terry Francona's future in Boston, wondering whether the skipper will be the scapegoat if the Red Sox miss the playoffs.
- The Yankees should give Jesus Montero a chance to catch the season's last few games to see if he's a viable option behind the plate, argues Filip Bondy of the New York Daily News.