Sources indicate that the Yankees and Andy Pettitte are closing in on a one year 11 million dollar deal and hopefully this deal will be all done before the winter meetings begin on December 3rd. Sources also say that a deal with Mariano Rivera should be rapped up before the winter meetings as well. Its also been stated that Martin has been visiting some interested cities to see how comfortable he may be in other places if he cannot reach a deal with the Yankees. I read one article that stated that Martin may be looking for a four year deal at ten million a year. This is probably beyond what the Bombers are willing to spend so it will be interesting to see how it all pans out. The Yankees also have not had any conversations with Ichiro but that is not a surprise as they usually wrap up pitching first before dealing with other position players. The rumors continue to fly about the Yankees being interested in Shane Victorino. This makes a lot of sense considering he is a switch hitter that hits lefties well, something the Yankees desperately need. However it seems that Victorino has been offered some multi-year deals already that may just put the Yankees out of the running. Shane had a poor second half at the plate last year but still played great defense . At 31 he might be to expensive to fit into Cashman’s plans to lower payroll under 189 million next season.
Ichiro Suzuki is as close to a man crush as I will come these days. I love the way he plays the game, I love his hustle and even his unorthodox hitting style. Through his agent he has made it clear that returning to the Yankees is his preference and I think it would be a great move, especially if he is willing to take a cheap incentive packed one year deal. For some reason everyone thinks that we need a power hitter to replace Swisher. I say we have enough power hitters with Cano,A-Rod, Granderson,Tex and possibly Ibanez . Thats five of your nine starters who are probably giving you at least 20+ HR. Then there are a couple who are on the fringe of being power hitters in Jeter, Martin (assuming he resigns. Whats wrong with having a speedy outfielder in both corners who can reek havac on the base pads and add some insurance at the top of the line up if Jeter isnt ready to go. Suzuki in 62 games with the Yankees batted .322 with 15 SB and struck out only 27 times in 402 AB, He also added 5 HR giving him 9 for the year. His Stolen base total for the year was 28. Being with a contender seemed to rejuvinte him and if he is willing to take a one year deal with or without a team option for 2014 the Yankees should not blink. The only problem I see with Ichiro is that he is a lefty and assuming that Gardner plays left and they bring back Ibanez the Yankees would have an all lefty hitting outfield. Gardner hits Leftys fairly well and Granderson has been better against them since signing with the Yankees but it still may be problematic. Perhaps they should consider Ibanez as a primary DH and sign a Right handed outfielder to share time time in the outfield against righties. Ichiro is the man Brian Cashman and a great roll model and on top of everything else he puts butts in the seats.
The Yankees universe can breath a little easier with the knowledge that Hideki Kuroda has resigned with the Yankees for a one year 15 million dollar deal. So the top two spots in the rotation are now a lock. Its strongly believed that Pettitte will resign for at least one more year but money might be a factor. Seems that Cashman still likes Nova as a possible rotation piece even with his second half struggles. Pineda is throwing off flat ground and is said to look good. However nobody is counting on him for anything at this point and its almost a given that he will not be ready for the beginning of the season. The Yankees also picked up a young reliever from the Astros. Righty Mickey Story made his major league debut for the Astros last August and went 0-1 with an ERA of 3.86 in 25 appearances. 27 hits in 34 innings with 30 strikeouts not to bad of a start for the 26 year old righty.
I still believe that the Yankees will go out and sign a arm with a name but they are keeping who they are interested in very close to the vest. Speaking of who they are interested in the Yankees have been in contact with Scott Hairston. This makes alot of since and he is a decent fielder with some pop who hit lefties for a good average. It would especially make since if they bring back Ibanez as a platoon partner for him. I still think Youkilis is a good idea but if not him someone else that can play both corners if they are unable to bring back Chavez will be a must.
So Its obvious at this point that Swisher and Soriano will be gone. Soriano does not sting as much with the return of Rivera but the Yankees will need to find an adequate RFer. Swisher also acted as the back up first baseman, so there is another void. Kuroda turned down the qualifying offer from the Yankees and thus will net the bombers a draft pick should he sign elsewhere. The Yankees are still hopeful that they will be able to bring back him and Andy Pettitte next season. If not the rotation will need some serious help.
Setting the rotation aside for a moment the Yankees had expressed some interest in signing Tori Hunter to play RF but today he signed a two year deal with the tigers. My personal hope is that they bring back Ichiro on a one year deal and Raul Ibanez as part time platoon player between RF and DH. This brings us to who the other part of a DH platoon, with no assurance that Chavez will be returning and with his health always a question mark who out there can hit for power and perhaps play first and third base? Yes you guessed it former Red Sox Kevin Youkolis is exactly who I am talking about. I know I know he is hated in Yankee land for his hot head and ties with Red Sox but his departure from the Red Sox nation was far from pleasant and most of his hot hotheadedness can be chalked up to passion and playing the game as hard as it can be played. He is an excellent fielder at third and at First and holds a career .268 average. He wouldn’t come cheap but he wont break the bank or require a long term deal.
Now we can go back to talking about the rotation. Last season pitching was a strength for the Yankees and if we can keep CC, Pettitte, Kuroda, Phelps I feel that we will be in good shape. I think Nova and Hughes should either compete for a rotation spot or be used as trade bait, It would be nice to see the Yankees make a move for a younger number three type starter that can at least be a place card for Michael Pineda who hopefully will be pitching again by June. He is kind of a wild card at this point with no promises that he will ever be the guy that the Yankees hoped for. The bullpen for the most part is a strength for the Yankees with Chamberlain, Robertson and Rivera at the back end creating a solid anchor to a squad that may have over performed or might just be that good. I would like to see them bring back Derek Lowe who I think could be very valuable as a long man/spot starter next year. There are also a few good names on the FA market that are worth a look like Dan Haren, Anibel Sanchez and Edwin Jackson. These guys would cost some money for sure but how bad do they want to win. Also they have Cashmans push to keep away the dreaded luxury tax by keeping payroll under 189 million dollars. Lots of pieces out there just not sure which ones the bombers are going to put together.
Some news out of Yankee land, as most of you know Mariano Rivera has announced his desire to pitch next season. This is great news and you may have also heard that the Yankees will probably offer him less money. This is to be expected when you are 43 years old and coming off surgery that caused you to miss most of a season, I suspect the contract will be laced with obtainable incentives that will make the deal worth as much as his last deal. This is just smart business and Its the same thing they did and probably will do with Andy should he decide to return. The better you do the more you get paid. Its just good business.
Speaking of good business Swisher,Kuroda and Soriano all turned down their qualifying offers as expected. Swisher is as good as gone probably seeking a multi year deal that will be out of the Yankees price range. Soriano will probably be seeking a closing job somewhere and with Rivera back in the picture its not with the Yankees. Kuroda is likely to be negotiated with and hopefully will be back next season but he is also being coveted by the Dodgers whom he used to pitch for. Sources have also stated that he may have an interest in returning to Japan, It will be interesting to see how it all shakes out. The Yankees have some needs, Right field being a big one. There has been some speculation that they may covet Tori Hunter but that would go against Cashmans desire to stay under 180 million in payroll.Personally I hope they decide to bring back Ichiro for an encore showing. Stay tuned
Its interesting some of the names that have appeared in free agency this season and the Yankees have some players that they can deal or resign that will hopefully improve the roster. The Yankees will obviously make a qualifying offer to Swisher who will turn it down and seek a multi year deal elsewhere netting the Yankees a draft pick between the first and second rounds. The same may also be true of Soriano and Kuroda. However Kuroda may take the qualifying offer which would be quite a raise for him. Or they may try to sign him to a two year deal. I saw one journalist who actually said something that made since, the Yankees should deal for Beltran , sign Hunter and move Gardner to center. Then Trade Granderson for a nice package of young talent. I also think either Hughes or Nova could be included in such a trade for Beltran or for another power hitting outfielder. If the Yankees don’t retain Martin they may consider AJ Perzinski who had a career high 27 hr last season. If he can be convinced to leave the white sox.
All the talk of A-Rod being traded is ridiculous. Girardi reached out to A-Rod recently to tell him just that. That being said Alex cannot be relyed on for a whole season, so a back up will be important. If they can resign Chavez who do you think it should be. Magee was not answer, Nunez needs to stick with being a short stop, perhaps Nix? Free agent third baseman will be scarce in 2013 but among them some names to consider are Kevin Youkilis or Brandon Inge. Ty Wiggington may become a free agent if his option is not picked up and it seems to me the Yankees have has some interest in him in the past. Speaking of infielders its a bit of a crap shoot on whether Jeter will be ready and able to start the season at short. I seem to think he will but Nunez will be the man if he is not. Cano is obviously the second baseman and one can only hope that the Yankees will break their own rule and lock him up long term before his contract expires at the end of the season. Texeria is still an elite fielding first baseman but has not been the hitter that he once was. He also has spent some time on the DL the last couple of seasons. The departure of Swisher will make it interesting as to who will be his back up. Some one said the other day bring back Giambi. Well that is an interesting idea if he wasn’t horrible and 42 years old. Youkolis would be a great option if he wasn’t hated in Yankee land. He would get plenty of playing time between first and third and DH. Perhaps fences could be mended and we could see Youk a Yankee. Interesting ????? So as you can see allot of work to do yet. Lets see what happens with our free agents and then go from there. It would be nice if Rivera makes a decision on retiring or not before Soriano decides to opt out. Could make a huge difference.
OK OK so the Yankees got swept by the Tigers for the first time in a like 30+ years, but hey when you go to the playoffs every year you are bound to get swept once in a while. The bombers can hold their heads high on the fine season that led them to the best record in the AL and figure out what needs to be done in order to be even better next year.
To me this years Yankees was built to be sluggers. There wasn’t enough building runs and small ball but there sure were a lot of HR. They need to figure out what will be a good balance of both. The Pitching was outstanding. Bringing back Kuroda and Pettitte should be a priority. I feel like Nova and Hughes should be given a opertunity to compete for a spot but should also be considered trade bait while their value is still decent. Garcia should be done and Phelps should definitely be part of the rotation. Most of the bull pen should try and be retained however there is a good chance that Soriano will exercise his opt out clause and not return. Boy will it be good to see Mo back on the mound though huh? Eppley,Logan,Robertson,Chamberlain were all great and should be retained. I wouldnt even mind seeing Lowe come back on a non Roster invite if he is unable to sign elsewhere with a chance to compete for a Rotation spot.
Bigger problems lie with the offence. Who stays and who goes. Who gets traded and who gets a new deal? These are all questions that will be answered in the up coming weeks. It seems like a no brainer that Grandersons option will be picked up. I also feel that Swisher will be offered a “qualifying” offer which he will turn down, but if they dont offer they dont get the draft pick. There has been a lot of chatter about A-Rod being traded. I think that would be awesome, but come on you and I know that’s not going to happen. First off who would take him and secondly he has a full no trade clause. So you can all get that out of your head right now. I feel that the Yankees might break their own rule and see if they can lock up Cano long term before the end of next season. I think they could do worse than giving Ichiro a one year deal to play in right field as well. Nunez has shown enough with the bat and enough of an improvement in the field to warrant another opportunity at a bench role.
The Yankees also have some injury concerns. Derek Jeter had surgery today and only time will tell if he will be ready to go for spring training or if he will ever be able to play short again. It seems Sabathia will be having a bone spur removed from his elbow which is actually good news as such procedures are common and rarely have any long-term problems. So like I said a lot of decisions need to be made so crying over back to work.
What more can you say except CC Sabathia just took the ball and went out there and dominated the game. He only gave up one run on four hits in a 3-1 victory. When we look back for other heroes in the alds you have to mention Ibanez who again had the RBI single that gave them that lead that broke the scoreless tie.
The Orioles go home and the Yankees are celebrating, but not for long because tomorrow the Tigers are coming to town. On paper this should be a better match up for the Yankees than the Orioles were. They have some good starting pitching at the top of the rotation but they lack the bull pen depth of the Orioles or Yankees. They also have some great hitting with the triple crown winner Migel Cabrera and Prince Fielder but outside of them they are kind of average. In the field they really dont play defense well and lack the Spencerian that the Yankees bring to the field with their gold gloves. Dont get me wrong this is no walk in the park they are a dangerous team that will eat you for lunch if you let them, I just like the match-ups the Yankees will be up against. So tomorrow night Pettitte will take the mound for game one and if the Yankees can win this best of seven series it will be a bit of payback for the tigers eliminating the Yankees last year. Hold on to your hats its gonna be a wild one.
What more can we say about last nights performance by CC Sabathia. He is the Ace and last night he proved it. 8.75 innings of brilliance as the Yankees opened the game up in the ninth inning on their way to a 7-2 victory over the Orioles at Camden Yards. Russell Martin’s 9th inning HR sparked the bombers as they took the lead that would not be relinquished. Other stars of the Game Were Jeter Ichiro and Cano who had great games at the plate. One area of concern is A-Rod who struck out three times but he did contribute with a walk and a run scored and is often brilliant in the field. He needs to get going if the Yankees are to win it all I think it is a key factor.Back to work tonight as Pettitte takes the mound with the Yankees look to take a commanding 2-0 lead before returning to NY on Thursday.
On the last game of the season the Yankees finally look like they are firing on all cylinders. Your Bombers gave the Red Sox a beating with a 14-2 victory. Kuroda picked up the win and finished the season with a career high 16 wins. With the Orioles losing The Yankees finish the regular season two games up and will start the ALDS on the road against the winner of a one game playoff between the Rangers and the Orioles. The Rangers lost the division to Oakland on the very last day of the season and did not look good in the month of September. Its hard to believe that the A’s were 16 games out at the end of June and came back to win the division.
Now lets talk about the playoff rotation. Its obvious that CC Pettitte and Kuroda will be your top three.Not necessarily in that order but CC definitely will be your Sunday starter. After that Girardi intends on letting Hughes start game four. WHAT???!!! Why the hell not David Phelps who was just short of brilliant. I don’t get it. Lets compare the numbers Hughes finished with an ERA of 4.23 giving up 196 hits in 191 innings with a whip of 1.26 and Phelps finished 3.34 ERA giving up 81 hits in 99.1 innings with a whip of 1.19. I think Phelps had pitched his way into next seasons rotation and should be starting a game four in the playoffs.
Im sure that Phelps will be on the post season roster as the long man but another guy who deserves a spot is Derek Lowe, he has been a ground ball machine and I hope that the Yankees reward him as such. Im not going to speculate to much on the postseason roster as most of it will be obvious. I will certainly comment after it come out on what I agree or disagree with so you should be looking forward to that.
Was anyone, Besides Bobby Valentine, surprised that he was fired today? Hell I thought they should have fired him after he decided to pitch to Cano again and again and again. Valentine led the Red Sox to their worst record in over 50 years. It seems that Blue Jays skipper John Ferrall is on tip of the Sox wish list taking one of the worst clubs in baseball and making them suck a little less. Ok Ok everyone here is bugging me to predict the post season roster. This is what I know it should be but lets see how it is.
In my mind there isn’t much room for debate here. The only guy I would like to see on there that isn’t is Dickerson. Your thoughts? Ok waiting game is about to begin to see who the Yankees first opponent will be. My gut instinct is that it will be the Orioles they have been much hotter down the stretch. However it is in Texas and Darvish will be starting for the Rangers. Darvish went 16-9 with an ERA under 4 and is almost unbeatable at home. Its going to be a good game for sure as he will be facing off against Joe Saunders who went 9-13 with an era over 4. I believe it will come down to desire and the Orioles have confidence and believe they are better than they actually are and sometimes that’s all you need.