Results tagged ‘ Dellin Betances ’

No Fan of DH by Committee…

 

All I want are a few home runs…

Lately, more has been written about the potential of the Yankees signing someone like Raul Ibanez to fill the void at DH.  Given all available options, he is probably as good as any, plus he most likely would understand his role if he was offered and accepted a contract with the Yanks.  He’s still got some pop in his bat, and he could occasionally take the field when/if needed.  I am not overly enthused about a former Phillie being on the team, but Ibanez is a former teammate of A-Rod’s from their Seattle days together.

It would be preferable to see a former Yank, i.e., Hideki Matsui or Johnny Damon, if for no other reason than what they’ve already accomplished in pinstripes.  I recognize that Ibanez might be the better fit in 2012, even if he is pushing 40.

In his days with the Montreal Expos, Vladimir Guerrero was one of my favorite players but at this point, I don’t really see him as an option.

He looks great…in a different uniform…

Whatever the Yankees do, I hope they are successful in moving A.J. Burnett.  This one is tough, because I was so in favor of his signing when he first came to the Yankees.  I always admired his arm when he played for the Florida Marlins and later with the Toronto Blue Jays.  He’s largely been a disappointment since the successful 2009 voyage.  There have been flashes of brilliance, but more times than not, his performances have ended on a disappointing note.  Some guys are better served in less pressurized environment, and Burnett would probably excel in a place like San Diego.  If Burnett doesn’t make the starting rotation, I think he would be a distraction to the team in the bullpen.  Therefore, best case scenario would be to move Burnett. Of course, that means he will be accompanied by lots of cash to pay his freight, but sometimes its addition by subtraction.  Sadly for Burnett, that time is now.

“Manny being Manny”…

As for the rotation, my preference is to give Phil Hughes the opportunity to either grab hold of his place on the team or perhaps prove that it is time for him to seek employment elsewhere.  If the latter situation occurs, Dellin Betances should be ready to step in to fill the void (or Freddy Garcia, if he is kept on the roster).  Manny Banuelos will probably make noise this year, but he’ll probably not surface on the major league level until late this year.  Now, if Banuelos comes to Tampa this spring with a ‘refuse to lose’ mentality and takes the job (much like Michael Pineda did last year with the Seattle Mariners), so be it.  Banuelos is the eventual star of the rotation, with Pineda.

Striving to be regular contributors to the daily Transactions column…

I was surprised to see the Boston Red Sox trade starting shortstop Marco Scutaro to the Colorado Rockies.  It’s being said that the move was made to free payroll to sign a free agent pitcher like Roy Oswalt or Edwin Jackson.  Personally, I think it was a move to set up another move, in addition to rebuilding the rotation.  I would be surprised if the Red Sox broke camp with the tandem of Mike Aviles and Nick Punto as their starting shortstop.  I keep hearing that a trade for the Marlins’ Hanley Ramirez is out of the question, but somehow I could still see that happening.  Whatever happens, I do expect the Sox to break camp with a quality shortstop, in other words, someone not named Aviles or Punto…

The Prince of Bel Air?…

It’s too bad that the Los Angeles Dodgers are still an organization in a state of flux until new ownership can take over.  It would make so much sense for the Dodgers to go after free agent first baseman Prince Fielder, and it would be a move that would help begin the healing process for the Dodger fan base, who have suffered under the reign of Frank McCourt.  A lineup that includes Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Fielder would certainly steal some thunder from the Albert Pujols-led Angels.

Checkmate…

There’s still a lot of drama to unfold before pitchers and catchers report next month.  The Yankees and Mariners should finally be in position to announce the Jesus Montero-Michael Pineda trade early this week.  Hopefully, that will open the gridlock at DH and set the stage for other moves that will hopefully produce the 28th World Championship in franchise history.  Whatever happens, I am ready for some baseball…

–Scott

Didn’t see that one coming…

Yeah, but at what price?…

I am bummed…

After years of trade rumors involving Yankees prospect Jesus Montero, I thought he was finally home free and slated to be a member of the 2012 Yankees unless a trade for the seemingly untouchable Felix Hernandez were to materialize.  So, to hear tonight’s news that the Yankees have traded Montero to the Seattle Mariners is a shock since it did not involve the aforementioned King Felix.

I was perusing the MLB Trade Rumors tonight when I saw the blurb that the Mariners were close to acquiring an “young impact hitter”.  Of course, there aren’t too many guys that fit that description and Montero is near or at the top of the list.  I didn’t suspect a King Felix trade since there have been no signals that the Mariners are interested in trading him, so my immediate reaction was the fear of trading Montero for something else.  My fear has been justified as the word has come the Yankees traded Montero and pitcher Hector Noesi, a potential candidate for the starting rotation, to Seattle for pitcher Michael Pineda and minor league pitcher Jose Campos.  I  know nothing about Campos (whether he is a high or mid level prospect or just fodder for the lower leagues).  So, this trade was clearly about Pineda, 22, who made the All-Star Team as a fill-in for Justin Verlander last year during his rookie season.  I recognized that Pineda was a quality pitcher, and I had him on a few of my fantasy baseball teams.

But still, I bought into the hype that Montero was going to be an offensive force.  I recognized that he was a liability at catcher, and that Russell Martin and Francisco Cervelli represent the best catching tandem at the moment until Austin Romine and Gary Sanchez are ready to advance.  To ask a young player to start at DH does seem to be a poor major league decision, but I was looking forward to seeing Montero star in pinstripes.  His bat would have found a good spot in the starting lineup.  Maybe a few years down the road, this trade will look great for the Yankees if Pineda wins the Cy Young or becomes the ace of the staff.  But right now, I am just shocked.  It’s not the type of move that one can embrace or create excitement among the fan base.  I truly would have preferred a short term deal to Edwin Jackson or Roy Oswalt as opposed to giving up young, quality talent.  I also liked Noesi, and knew that he was a viable candidate for the starting rotation.

At the moment, and this could change in time, I think the advantage goes to the Seattle Mariners.  I am assuming that they have the young pitching talent, to go with Noesi, to find a suitable replacement for Pineda in the rotation.  Meanwhile, they get one of the best young bats in the game today.  This takes a little heat off first baseman Justin Smoak so perhaps now he can thrive.  Right now, I rate the Yankees rotation as CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, Michael Pineda, Phil Hughes, and A.J. Burnett.  This means that Freddy Garcia is the pitcher most likely to be cut unless the Yankees can find a home for Burnett.

Maybe he missed pitching to #55…

Okay, after an off-season of solitude, Friday the 13th has just become Yankees Night.  The latest word is the Yankees have signed former Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda.  Based on recent reports, I had expected Kuroda to sign with the Boston Red Sox.  Bobby Valentine’s experience with Japanese players, in my mind, gave the Sox the clear advantage.  Regardless of what transpired and why he decided to come to New York (Russell Martin?), he’s an innings-eater and fits nicely in the back of the rotation.  So, if the news of Kuroda’s signing is accurate, I need to update my starting rotation…CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, Michael Pineda, Phil Hughes, and Kuroda (although an argument could be made for why Hughes should be at the back end of the rotation).  The wild card is Hughes, so do the Yankees keep Burnett for long relief and a potential return to the starting rotation if Hughes falters or do they simply cut their losses?  I suspect that it will be the latter with Freddy Garcia held in reserve.  I also think this virtually confirms that we’ll see Dellin Betances and/or Manny Banuelos in the starting rotation at some point during the season.

My second favorite team is my National League favorite, the Los Angeles Dodgers, so I have to say that I enjoyed the starts I saw from Kuroda in his Dodger days.  He may be older, but he’s a quality pitcher.  He’s not going to shut down the opposition but he’s going to keep you in the game.  I would have preferred Edwin Jackson if no other reason than age (and Jackson’s ability to occasionally be a very dominating pitcher).  But still, it’s hard to find fault with the Kuroda signing.  I’d rather go with Kuroda over Roy Oswalt.  I’ve got to believe that the Yankees figured out the game plan for A.J. Burnett before the events of today unfolded so it’s likely that another deal is forthcoming before pitchers and catchers head for Tampa next month.

The fingerprints of Cash or Hal?…

I always wonder on these types of days if these moves were effected by GM Brian Cashman or if Hank and Hal Steinbrenner got bored and decided to take matters into their own hands.  I am not sure that there’s a move out there that could excite me at this point, but there’s no question the Yankees have a better rotation.  My primary concern still remains a quality backup third baseman for those inevitable A-Rod absences (i.e., trips to the DL).  But now, with Montero in Seattle and Posada on the beach waiting for Old Timer’s Day, who is going to be the DH?  At the moment, it’s a DH by committee with a rotation of A-Rod, Andruw Jones, and others.  It does make one believe that there is a potential acquisition for a veteran hitter in the making.  Bring back Johnny Damon?  It’s certainly within the realm of possibility.

The sleeping giant has awakened…

I know the Yankees objective is to get under $189 million in salary by 2014, but the team is always a sleeping giant.  If the Texas Rangers can come up with $51 million just to talk to Yu Darvish, you know the Yankees are capable of so much more.  It will be interesting to see how the next few weeks unfold.  After a season of inactivity, the Hot Stove League just got warmed up for the Yankees…

–Scott

Down, set, 247, 247, hike, hike…

To act or not to act…

When is the beast (i.e., the YES Network) going to start screaming, “Feed Me!”…

Okay, okay, I know…the Yankees are a strong team with or without reinforcements.  Maybe it is just the residual effect of having to depend upon Alex Rodriguez and A.J. Burnett.

Not unexpectedly, the Yankees failed to reach agreement with Japanese infielder Hiroyuki Nakajima.  Early speculation had Nakajima returning to Japan for one more year since the Yankees wouldn’t afford him the opportunity to start.  The Boston Red Sox seem like the natural fit given their need for someone with Nakajima’s talent and it doesn’t hurt that the manager can speak a little Japanese.

Just as they were not players for Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish, I don’t really expect the Yankees to pursue Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes.  If the Yankees didn’t have any promising prospects it would be one thing, but the organization really likes outfield prospect Mason Williams.  It goes without saying that you can’t sustain a championship squad with $100 million players at every position.  Primarily, it is cost prohibitive, but secondly, the players quickly become less productive than their compensation (i.e., A-Rod) and you’re unable to do anything about it.  Good, cheap young talent is the way to sustain a championship squad.  That’s why Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos should both get opportunities to pitch in Yankee Stadium at some point this season.  If either could prove that he is major league ready, it would significantly strengthen the perceived weak starting rotation.

There are plenty of ‘what ifs’ with the Yankees this year, but IF Phil Hughes can show he is indeed the 18-win game winner we saw several years ago and not the notorious injury risk and IF A.J. Burnett could convert last season’s first half success into full season success, the rotation would be in great shape for supplementation by Betances and/or Banuelos.

Like many, I am anxious to see what Jesus Montero can do on a daily basis with his bat.  I am grateful the Yankees didn’t move him.  I know we’re not out of the woods yet, but if Montero starts hitting like we know he can, he’ll quickly become a fixed commodity in the Bronx.

My primary wish at this point is the return of backup third baseman Eric Chavez.  Yes, I would be in favor of a trade for Matt Garza or Matt Cain, or the free agent signing of Edwin Jackson on a short term deal, but I really think that a solid, proven replacement option for A-Rod is essential.  When A-Rod goes on the inevitable DL stint during the season, I don’t want to see his replacement with a guy that is fighting to stay above the Mendoza line.  I want a guy that is capable of changing the game, and that’s Chavez.  He might not be able to do it every day anymore, but he’s still a superior performer if used properly.  So, Brian Cashman, please talk to your owner and get this deal done.

Money for nothing and the chicks for free…

I have to admit that I am impressed with what Cubs president Theo Epstein has done so far.  To unload the pariah known as Carlos Zambrano and get a young, quality starting pitcher in Chris Volstad was genius.  I know that Andrew Cashner was a heralded pitching prospect, but I really like the move to pick up former Red Sox prospect Anthony Rizzo from the San Diego Padres for first base.  I used to think that Alfonso Soriano was untradeable, but now, if you told me that Theo had traded him for a quality return, I would believe you wholeheartedly.  I kind of feel bad for Cubs GM Jed Hoyer.  Regardless of what he does, Theo will always get credit.  San Diego GM Josh Byrnes is probably saying ‘Thanks, Dude’ every night.

What do you want to be when you grow up?…

I was a bit surprised to see Joe Torre step down from his job with Major League Baseball.  I am sure that the attraction of being a major league owner was very appealing, but it’s hardly a sure bet.  But I guess that Joe’s made his money, and he decided to gamble for the job he wanted, knowing that worst case, he is set for the rest of his life.  One thing’s for sure, if Joe’s ownership group is successful in buying the Dodgers, my longtime idol, Don Mattingly, is secure as Dodgers manager.  So, all I can say is ‘Good luck, Joe!’.

When did Arte Moreno become smarter than a fifth grader?…

I’ve been surprised to hear that the contract Albert Pujols signed with the Los Angeles Angels is so backloaded.  To pay the best player in baseball $12 million to play in 2012 is clearly the best return on investment that I’ve seen in a very long time.  Sure, in 8 years, the Angels will be paying $30 million for a past-his-prime first baseman, but by that time, he’ll have legendary records within his grasp, and will help fill seats, which of course, will pay his excess salary.  GM Jerry DiPoto is too new to give him credit, but this was a genius move by the Angels and it shows that the Cardinals were never going to pay that kind of money.

What a surprise…

It’s funny that I used the word ‘surprised’ in the last two paragraphs.  That’s not the case with the Yankees where the crickets still reign supreme…

I know, the Yankees signed former Red Sox reliever Hideki Okajima but I don’t really see him making the team if Cesar Cabral impresses in camp.  Crickets, just crickets…

–Scott

I am not really looking for new cologne…


Can I say that I am quietly rooting against Bartolo
Colon
?  Sorry, but I just don’t want to
see the 5th spot in the starting rotation go to such a high
risk.  I would never fool myself into
believing that a few good spring starts will lead to a replication of Colon’s
2005 Cy Young year with the Los Angeles Angels. 
My personal preference is for the 4th and 5th
spots to go to Ivan Nova and Freddy Garcia, respectively.  It’s not outside of the realm of possibility
that both Colon and Garcia head north with the Yankees when camp breaks, but I
hope that it means Garcia is in the rotation and Colon is bumping shoulders
with Sergio Mitre in long relief.


FreddyGarcia.JPG

Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger


I am not looking for Garcia to be a full season option.  I’d really like to see one of the Killer B’s
(Andrew Brackman, Dellin Betances and Manuel Banuelos) step up at some point in
the season and prove they belong in the majors now.  My favorite among the group is Brackman if
for no other reason that his age (25) and the fact that he’d have the maturity
to handle New York.  My absolute favorite
among the group is Banuelos but I don’t want to see the Yankees rush him too
soon. 


NY Daily News


Although the Yankees rotation looks questionable at this
point, there is definitely the potential that the staff will be among the
league’s best as the season progresses. 
Either the Yankees will reach out at the trading deadline or one of the
Killer B’s takes it to the next level, but the end result will be a much closer
gap between the Red Sox rotation and the Yankees. 

I am very pleased that Eric Chavez has done well so far in
camp.  I am very hopeful that he, along
with Eduardo Nunez, nail down the infield bench roles for the team.  I like what Jorge Vazquez has done, but
unfortunately, there just doesn’t appear to the room on the roster (barring
injury).  It will be interesting to see
what Brian Cashman does with the excess talent (notably Vazquez and catcher
Francisco Cervelli…once the latter recovers from the foot fracture).  Both have proven they are major league ready,
but if Chavez and Jesus Montero make the team, there won’t be any room for
Cervelli or Vazquez.

Congratulations to former Dodgers assistant GM Kim Ng for
her new role with Major League Baseball (Senior Vice President for Baseball
Operations).  She’ll report to former
Yankees and Dodgers manager Joe Torre.  I’ve
read the news reports that Kim took the job with the hopes it will help propel
her to an eventual GM job.  I have had
great respect for Kim since her days with the Yankees, and I am hopeful that
she does become the first woman GM in baseball. 


Northwest Asian Weekly


I can’t help it but I am definitely pulling for the Los
Angeles Dodgers this year as my favorite NL team.  Go Donnie Baseball! 


Mark Duncan/AP


–Scott

I’m Not A Headline Guy vs Julia’s Rants!…


Well, new year but same old battles.  With the first Yankees-Red Sox match-up scheduled for Friday, it’s time to begin my annual grudge match with Julia of Julia’s Rants.  For the latest wager, the loser of Friday’s spring training game has to post a blog about the opposing team’s manager.  For me, if the Yankees lose, I have to write a post about Boston manager Terry Francona.  Conversely, if the Red Sox lose, Julia will be writing about Yankees manager Joe Girardi.


Of course, I have my doubts about making wagers on meaningless baseball games but I recognize that there is still pride involved for the fans associated with both teams.  Alex Rodriguez may not care if the Yankees beat the Red Sox as he prepares for the season, but for the fans, it is important to win after a long off-season that saw Cliff Lee rebuff the Yanks to join the Philadelphia Phillies while the Red Sox were re-loading with the acquisitions of Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez.  

So, best of luck…to me!  ;)

I was very pleased to hear today that A.J. Burnett‘s first outing was a successful one against the Houston Astros (he pitched two scoreless innings).  Burnett is one of the keys for the season and his success or failure will go a long way toward determining the Yankees’ October fate.  I really believe that new pitching coach Larry Rothschild will have a very positive influence on Burnett.  

As much as I want Jesus Montero to make the Yankees as back-up catcher to Russell Martin, I am concerned what that decision would mean for current back-up Francisco Cervelli. I really enjoyed Cervelli’s energy last season.  If Montero does make the Yankees, hopefully the Yankees can make a move that helps place Cervelli in his best-case scenario.

It’s been very reassuring to hear the strong impressions the young pitchers have made in camp (particularly Dellin Betances, Manny Banuelos, and Andrew Brackman).  While I do not expect any of the three pitchers to make the Opening Day roster, there’s no doubt that we’ll see one or more of the pitchers at some point during the season.  

I hear the San Francisco Giants are looking for a way to dump starting pitcher Barry Zito.  Of course, the Yankees get mentioned regarding the topic but I’d really hope that team avoids Zito at all costs.  I don’t see how the Giants can cut Zito with three years and over $50 million remaining on his contract.  Regardless of what amount of salary the Giants may be willing to absorb, Zito would not be worth the risk.  I’d rather see Andrew Brackman or Dellin Betances in the rotation.

Hey Julia, are you ready to absorb your first loss of the season?  You’re going down, my friend.  Can I get some information about Joe Girardi for you?…

–Scott

A Bad Day at Black Rock…

 

It was a sad day with news of the passing of two legends…


Sad Day.JPG


I was saddened to hear that Hall of Famer Bob Feller had
passed away.  While not unexpected, it
was still the loss for baseball’s legacy. 
I was too young to have ever watched Feller pitch, but I could identify
with him having grown up in a small Iowa farming community. 


3238567, Getty Images /Archive Photos

Getty Images


His three no-hitters included one in Yankee Stadium in
1946.

Feller had the personality traits of my grandmother…cantankerous,
honest to a fault, and a complete disregard about what others may have thought
about him/her.  Of the stories I heard
today, I liked the one about when he bought a new furnace at the age of
90.  Apparently, he was arguing over the length
of the warranty (wanted a 15 year warranty rather than 10 years).  His wife tried to reason with him by saying
that either way, the furnace was going to outlive him.  Yet, Feller simply reiterated that he wanted
15 years.  You gotta love his fight and
determination!  It is a sad day for the
Cleveland Indians organization and an ever sadder day for the baseball
world.  He’ll be missed…

Today also saw the loss of movie director/producer Blake
Edwards.  He made many great movies but
for me, the most notable was the Pink Panther series with Peter Sellers.  He was married to legendary actress Julie
Andrews for over 40 years.  Thanks Blake
for bringing us a lifetime of great memories!

Now, back to baseball and the Yankees.  Of course, not much has happened since I last
wrote.  The Yankees officially announced
the signing of catcher Russell Martin to a one year deal for $4 million with
incentives.  It was also disclosed that
he needs knee surgery but it is considered minor and he’ll be ready to go after
three weeks following the surgery on Monday. 
Of the two up and coming Yankee prospects at catcher, I can see the
argument for Austin Romine given the greater defensive potential than super
prospect Jesus Montero.  I don’t want to
see Montero traded given the power of his bat, but I am warming up to the idea
if it means bringing a #2 starter to the Yankees rotation.  Romine is the son of a former Red Sox (Kevin
Romine) but he does appear that he’ll be a better catcher than Montero but
obviously won’t have similar offensive production.  The wild card is catching prospect Gary
Sanchez who is not as advanced as either Romine or Montero, but is certainly as
gifted.


Gary Sanchez is looking to play in U.S. soon  


The Yankees have two very strong pitching prospects in
Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos.  I’d really
hate to see the Cliff Lee snub result in the loss of either prospect.  I like Betances but I am very intrigued by
Banuelos, a lefty.  I’d also like to see
Andrew Brackman succeed in pinstripes. 
But, all things considered, the Yankees do have the prospects to make a
notable trade.  For whom, that’s anyone’s
guess.  Personally, I would prefer to
target a 25 year old who is on the verge of a breakout season rather than trade
for a 32 or 33 year old starter who has probably seen his better days.  This is why Justin Masterson of the Cleveland
Indians stands out to me.  As a former
Red Sox pitcher, it would be so great to see him realize major league success
in the Bronx.


justin masterson.jpg

Chuck Crow/The Plain Dealer

Admittedly, I am not very optimistic about the Yankees
signing of onetime super prospect Mark Prior. 
Now, just a body for the bullpen, he has potential but I am trying to
keep expectations low. 

The Yankees are apparently working on a deal with former
Mets reliever Pedro Feliciano.  I like
the move.  I think that Feliciano would
be a great alternative for Boone Logan as the second lefty in the pen.  I saw that the Yankees were mentioned as a
possibility for Brian Fuentes, but I just wasn’t that impressed with Fuentes
during his stays in Anaheim and Minneapolis. 
I know the Yankees have long lusted after him dating back to his days in
Denver, but I’d rather go for a specialist like Feliciano. 


mets-pedro-feliciano.jpg

Chris Faytok/The Star Ledger


Now that Kerry Wood is close to re-signing with the
Chicago Cubs, the Yankees do need to find a reliable setup option to Joba
Chamberlain and David Robertson.  Wood
showed how great a solid and consistent setup option for closer Mariano Rivera
can be.  Given the weaknesses of the
starting rotation, the Yankees need to re-create the shutdown capability that
the Tampa Bay Rays had last year with Joaquin Benoit and Rafael Soriano.

The team is still in on former Red Sock Bill Hall, but I
fully expect him to go to the Los Angeles Dodgers. 

Of the remaining free agents, there is not much that
excites me.  It would be great to see the
addition of someone like Rafael Soriano but all indications are the Yankees won’t
pay closer dollars for a setup specialist. 
As each year passes, I do think that the Yankees need a
closer-in-waiting for Mariano Rivera as he will begin to falter at some
point.  This is why I think the Yankees
need to focus on one of those great Roberto Kelly-for-Paul O’Neill type of
trades.  Get the guy who is on the verge
of greatness and one who we will cheer when he takes the field for the final
time.   Easier said than done, but it can
be done.

If I were to believe the press clippings, the 2011 World
Series has already been determined (Boston Red Sox versus Philadelphia
Phillies).  But, sorry, I am not going to
concede.  Give Brian Cashman the time he
needs to assemble the 2011 Yankees.  I am
sure that we won’t be disappointed.  The
YES Network and Yankee Stadium are, of course, two very big beasts to
feed.  Fielding a middle division team
just won’t cut it…

Yankees win.JPG


–Scott


A Few Roster Moves On A Quiet Friday…

 

There always seems to be a lull in baseball activity
following the conclusion of the World Series until the start of the baseball
winter meetings in early December.  There
are generally a few free agent signings but generally not the top shelf talent
that is available.  So, yesterday was a
fairly active day for the Yankees, all things considered.



The biggest news was the surprise announcement of the new
pitching coach.  After continually
hearing the names of Mike Harkey, Scott Aldred, Gil Patterson and even Rick Petterson,
the Yankees named Chicago Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild to the
post.  Rothschild’s name had not surfaced
in media reports and I was very pleased to see the hiring of a coach with his
experience and credentials.  Rothschild
was the first manager for the expansion Tampa Bay Devil Rays, and has been with
the Cubs since 2002. 


AP


It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that A.J.
Burnett will be number one on Rothschild’s priority list.  He has to figure out a way to restore Burnett’s
confidence and get him back to pitching like he did for the 2008 Toronto Blue
Jays and the 2009 Yankees.  Joba
Chamberlain will also be on the priority list. 
I have seen so many reports that Joba would be better served by a change
in scenery but I still think he can achieve success in New York.  The continued progression of Phil Hughes is
another key for the 2011 season.

I think the Yankees would have been fine with someone
like Gil Patterson or Rick Petterson, but they are definitely better with
Rothschild.  Good move by GM Brian
Cashman and Manager Joe Girardi.  I
thought it was funny when I read Rothschild’s comments about the unique
interview experience but I am glad that Cashman made the applicants prove they
were up for the challenge. 



There were a few roster moves as the Yankees released
bullpen pitcher Jonathan Albaladejo so that he could sign with a Japanese
club.  He had a great AAA season this
year, but he didn’t really get much of an opportunity at the big league
level.  I wish him the best with the
Yomiuri Giants and hope that it propels him to another big league opportunity
down the road.


Jonathan Albaladejo has no answers after giving up a grand slam to Carlos Pena in the Yanks' 15-5 loss to the Rays.

AP


The Yankees also acquired Atlanta Braves minor league
outfielder Cody Johnson for cash considerations.  A former top draft pick (24th
selection in the first round in 2006), Johnson has power but also has a
tendency to strike out…a lot.  It looks
like the Braves have given up on him, but he is still young enough (22) for the
Yankees to try and correct the deficiencies in his game.  This looks like one of those low cost, high
reward moves that Boston GM Theo Epstein is so good about. 


CodyJohnson-0702.jpg

Mark Almond/The Birmingham News


In the other roster moves made yesterday, the Yankees
placed three Rule 5 draft eligible prospects on the 40-man roster to protect
them.  Included were top prospects (Dellin
Betances, perhaps the best pitching prospect in the organization, and third
baseman Brandon Laird).  In a breakout
season, Laird, brother of Detroit Tigers catcher Gerald Laird, had 25 home runs
and 102 RBI’s between AA and AAA this year. 
The third prospect placed on the 40-man roster was reliever Ryan Pope.

There were also reports that the Yankees were making an
offer of three years at $45 million for Derek Jeter.  I doubt DJ accepts the offer but I think it
is a very fair one.  Signing elsewhere,
there is no way he would get more than $10 million per season, so overpaying by
$5 mil per year on a contract that will take DJ to nearly 40 years of age is
generous and cognizant of DJ’s contributions and value to the
organization.  I keep hearing that he’ll
have to consider a position switch at some point, but where would you put him?  I’d hate to lose an outfield position to a
player with declining skills.  Would he
be better than Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson or Nick Swisher?  That’s a tough question.  Perhaps if you had a Justin Upton or Carl
Crawford in the outfield to go with Granderson, you could fill the other corner
outfield spot with Jeter. 

In another transaction this week, the Yankees made their
first trade with former Yankees consultant and new Arizona Diamondbacks GM
Kevin Towers.  They shipped first baseman
Juan Miranda, who was out of options, to the D-Backs for pitcher Scott
Allen.  I saw one report that called him “Scottie”.  I really hope that he doesn’t go by that
name.  It sounds like a little black dog
to me, or at the very least, the chief engineer on the Starship
Enterprise. 



No movement on the Cliff Lee front, but I don’t think
anyone expects him to sign until the baseball winter meetings or later.  Next week will probably be very quiet from a
baseball perspective, but hopefully, the Hot Stove League will start cranking
up by the first of December.  I am very anxious
to see who makes the trip to Tampa for spring training in February.  It would be nice to see a Yankees limo
waiting at the Tampa airport for an incoming flight from Little Rock, Arkansas…



–Scott


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