Wednesday, December 31, 2008

You Can't Make This Stuff Up

So I'm reading my beloved NY Times and there's this article about how a dog kennel in Montana was raided and they found all these dead and endangered dogs. The name of this kennel? Shady Lane Kennels. I $#!% you not, Shady Lane Kennels. Here's a tip: if your kennel has the word "shady" in its title, reconsider. How does this relate to the Yankees? It's unclear. Maybe some of the players had their dogs there. But that's not the point. The point is that name is hilarious considering the animal cruelty. It's what makes America great.

Respect Jeter's Gangster to Buy Ownership Stake in Red Sox

It was reported last week that the New York Times is looking to sell their 17.5% ownership stake of the Boston Red Sox. The Times, like many other newspaper companies has been hit hard by the economic downturn and is now looking to sell the stake they had purchased in 2002 for $75 million. With this news, the Respect Jeter's Gangster blog is announcing their intent to purchase the 17.5% stake in the Red Sox. We have officially put forward a $75 million offer to the times, and are willing to negotiate. Respect Jeter's Gangster, like the Yankees, has been unaffected by the recession. Reasons for this have to do with the insatiable demand for all things Jeter's gangster. Revenue from our beloved sponsors shown on the right hand side of the blog, our t-shirt sales, and of course the clicks on the Google ads also shown on the right hand side of the blog, have built up to about a $90 million profit. Because of our relatively low production costs ( is free), we basically generate all profit. I'm not really sure why I still work a day job. In the event that the New York Times accepts our offer to purchase their stake in the Red Sox, what do you think we should do with it? Here are some ideas I have:

-Change the name to the Boston Communist Party.
-Make Fenway a dry park.
-Punch John Henry in the kidney.
-Sell the secret recipe of the Fenway Frank to Oscar Meyer.
-Install a giant photo of Manny on the green monster.
-Prank call Curt Schilling with fake contract offers.
-Sign Carl Pavano.
-Split my ownership stake between Bucky Dent and Aaron Boone.
-Hold a Bill Buckner appreciation day.
-Change the mascot from Wally the Green Monster to Marx the Red Soviet.

Boras Contacts Dodgers

So the supposed large market for Manny Ramirez appears to be limited to one team. Shortly after the Dodgers expressed interest in bringing in either Bobby Abreu or Adam Dunn, Scott Boras has contacted Ned Coletti, the Dodgers GM, to talk about Manny. Though the Dodgers pulled their original $45 million two year deal with a $15 million option off the table, its likely they would put it back on the table. I don't know how much leverage Boras has with Dunn and Abreu still on the market, but thus far this is the only offer on the table for Manny. If the Yankees, wanted him, they could probably get him for 3 years and $65 million guaranteed, but the Yankees seem pretty uninterested. Then again, they seemed pretty uninterested in Teixeira until they signed him for 8 years. Though the Yankees are still under what they were last season, they've already started alluding to Pettitte costing too much to add, and that's a one year $10 million deal. Despite this, the Yankees need another pitcher, and at this point I don't really care who. Lowe was just reportedly offered a 3 year $36 million deal from the Mets, so he's likely off the table. I don't like the idea of filling the spot with Hughes, Aceves, and Kennedy, and I definetely don't like the idea of signing Ponson or any other fill-in to cover the vacancy. The Yankees need Pettitte and they need to get off this whole "not enough money" thing they seem to be on. They started saying the "we don't have money" thing when they were trying to deal Melky to the Brewers and wanted the Brewers to pick up some of Cameron's contract, but then they signing Marky T for 8 years and $180 million right after. We know you have money, and we also know that you have too many players right now. Deal one of those bigger contracts and sign Pettitte.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

About That Trade...

According to CNNSI the Red Sox are interested in reacquiring Hanley Ramirez now that they've missed out on Marky T. It's not like Ramirez was in their farm system and they traded him away for Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell or anything. Good move Boston, good move.

Let's Trade Teixeira for Albert Pujols

I know, I know, Teixeira hasn't even had a chance to play for us , and we literally just signed him. But sometimes, you just need Albert Pujols. I mean, whose better than Pujols? He's a career .334 hitter, and hit 37 homeruns last season despite an elbow that needed extensive surgery. Since then he's gotten the surgery. So, let's get Pujols before we get too attached to Teixeira. Pujols will be a free agent in 2012, but who can wait that long? I sure can't. If not, we can always fill the perceived void of epic slugger with Manny Ramirez. If Pujols won't protect A-Rod then perhaps Manny should. Sign Manny for 2 years $50 million. He'll take it, and the Yankees will sing songs of joy when he hits mammoth homeruns in the post season.

Centerfield On the Cheap

So right now, with the signing of Mark Teixeira the only real need the Yankees seem to have is that of a centerfielder. Its not a real concern since they have Melky and Gardner who can fill the role for the time being, but if the Yankees want to improve that position there are a few options out there. Lets review:

Wily Taveras - The former Rockies centerfielder was let go this off season thus making him a free agent. He likely wouldn't cost much, and he steals bases like his life depends on it, which it does. He swiped 68 bases last season in what was an off year for him. He batted .251 down from the .320 he hit the year before. For $10 million, you could sign the man for 3 years, or just take a 1 year flyer on the man for about $3 million. Maybe even less. Whether his legs are in your field or on your bench, they're going to help. He has zero power, but can lay down a bunt on command. Something our bench can use.

UPDATE: I just found out from Antone, one of our readers and author of the allhiphop sports blog, that Taveras was signed by the Reds. So insignificant was the contract, they refused the mention the amount in the article. Its for 2 years. So the Yankees probably could have signed Taveras for about $1 million per year, and would have a great defensive outfielder, and fast bench player to show for it. Perhaps Gardner fills this need already.

Mike Cameron - This trade fell apart, but I suppose if the Yankees were willing to take up Cameron's $10 million contract, the Brewers would still be interested in making it happen. The benefit is that we might could get rid of Igawa in the trade, the drawback is that we'd be paying Cameron and Igawa's full contracts. Cameron can still steal some bases (17 bases last season) and has some pop (25 homeruns), but he strikes out like a mad man (142 strikeouts last season), and bats for a low average (.250 career average). Still, he would be a good defensive player with some pop. I suspect the Yankees have no interest in this anymore.

Juan Pierre - The Dodgers are looking to get rid of either Juan Pierre or Andruw Jones. Pierre has three years and $28.5 million left under contract, but the good thing is, he would be mainly a salary dump and won't cost the Yankees a super prospect. He, like Taveras, is fast and can hit for a decent average (.300 career average), and doesn't strikeout much. He was used as a part time player last season, but still stole 40 bases. He would be expensive, and has more years on his contract than you would really want, but if he serves any purpose, its to show that some team somewhere should really sign Wily Taveras.

Andruw Jones - If Pierre isn't traded, then Andruw Jones certainly will. His value is extremely low since he was injured all last season, and is due $15 million next season. In 2007 he hit .222, and although he's never been a guy who hits for average, it is concerning that in his walk year he had one of his worst seasons. Last season he had 209 at bats and hit .158 with 3 homeruns. So why in the world would we want him? We wouldn't. We should sign Wily Taveras.

Fernando Alejandro - This is probably the most intriguing option given the talent involved and the contract he would command. Although a free agent, Fernando has said that he would play for less money if signed by the Yankees. The statement angered his agent, Scott Boras, but he has remained vocal about his interest in playing in New York. Although he has no real discernible baseball talent, the Yankees could sign him for cheap, and if anything, he becomes a bench guy who can't hit for power, can't bunt, can't run, and can't play any position at a competent level.

Lastly, the Yankees could always just have no one play in center, put Gardner in right and Damon in left, and between the two of them, cover centerfield. As a concession, the Yankees should be allowed an extra infielder, say Cody Ransom, to play between second and first.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Red Sox Retaliate with Brad Penny Signing

The Red Sox have finally responded to the signings of CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett and Mark Teixeira with a free agent signing of their own: Brad Penny. Brad Penny was the Dodgers former ace until injury issues left him at 17 starts last season only 4 of which came after June. The deal is for $5 million guaranteed with $3 million in incentives. Now that the Red Sox have responded to the Yankees spending spree, it is not completely clear who has the advantage. While Sabathia, Burnett and Teixeira are all great players, the signing of Brad Penny clearly tilts the scales in favor of the Red Sox. The championship along with the division should just be conceded now. Such a power play by the Red Sox is unfair to the rest of baseball. As always, the Red Sox with their rampant free agent spending, are ruining baseball for everyone.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Bronny Cash, Stealth Negotiator

At the behest of one of our loyal readers, we decided to call up one Bronny Cash and discuss the rest of the Yankees' offseason plans over satellite video phone. Here is the transcript:

BC: Hello?

RJG: Yes, may I speak to Brian please?

BC: Speaking.

RJG: Broooooooooooooooooooooonny Caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaash!

BC: Son of a [fined by the FCC]!

RJG: What's up Bronny? Great job with the CC, AJ, and Teix signings. We're all very impressed.

BC: Thank you.

RJG: Our readers want to know, were you wearing a ninja costume while negotiating the Teix deal?

BC: I'm wearing a ninja costume right now.

RJG: Oh [banned in China]! So are you going to trade Matsui and Nady and then sign Manny?

BC: I don't think it's reasonable to expect us to sign CC, AJ, Teix, and Manny.

RJG: Yeah, but you said it wasn't reasonable to expect you to sign CC and Teix. You signed them both plus AJ Burnett.

BC: You callin' me a liar?

RJG: No, I'm calling you dishonest.

BC: How dare you sir?!

RJG: Seriously dude, can you just sign Manny already? It's not that hard. Call him up, say, "Manny, we'll give you three years at $25M per." He'll sign on the spot.

BC: Negotiations are usually more complicated than that.

RJG: You're being dishonest again.

BC: I said good day!

RJG: No you didn't! Are you signing him or not?

BC: Uh, you're breaking up, kshhh, I'm going through a tunnel, I think I'm losing you, kshhh.

RJG: Bronny, you bastard. You're on satellite video phone. I can see your fireplace in the background! Don't hang up on me Bronny! Don't hang up on me!

BC: Kshhhh, you're breaking up. Oh no I lost you. [Click]

There you have it folks. Bronny Cash wears a ninja costume around the house.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Ignore The Conventional Wisdom

After the Sabbathia signing, conventional wisdom held that any Yankee fans holding out hope for a Teixeira signing were foolish, unreasonable blow hards who didn't realize that the Yankees were now in danger of Chapter 11 bankruptcy. There was no way the Yanks would sign CC, AJ and Teixeira. Impossible. The Yanks were out of money, and Teixeira loved Boston anyway and would play there because that's what Boston lovers do. Well, it turns out the conventional wisdom was dead wrong. Now the conventional wisdom says that there is no way the Yanks will sign Manny. No way. Too much money and the Yankees are maxed out as it is. They've single handedly driven the nations savings rate to below zero. Besides, Bronny Cash has said, when asked, that he is not going after Manny. He pretty much said the same thing about the idea of signing two big name pitchers and a big time slugging first baseman. So for those hoping to see Manny in pinstripes, do not fret, it still may happen yet. That's a rhyme, boyeeeee (big clock pendant hanging from my neck).

Yankees Go For Hat Trick, Shall They Go For Grandslam?

So the Yankees finished up signing Mark Teixeira to an 8 year $180 million contract, which improves the Yankees greatly, but now that the Yankees have completed the free agent hat trick of Sabathia, Burnett and Teixeira, it only makes sense to go for it. Go for what exactly? Manny Ramirez. Yes, I've said it. The Yankees should sign Manny Ramirez. Why? Because we've already spent like crazy and there is no better bat out there than Manny's. The Mark Teixeira signing betters the Yankees, and as a number 3 hitter he certainly looks to replace Abreu well. However, he will not protect A-Rod, and where we lost Jason Giambi, the Yankees could use another bat in the 5 spot. We would likely have to move a couple players to make this work, and we could probably get something decent for Matsui and Nady, which would free up right field and the DH role for the Yankees. Freeing that up allows Swisher a spot in right and Manny the DH role to switch off with Damon in left. Just think of this lineup:

Johnny Damon
Derek Jeter
Mark Teixeira
Alex Rodriguez
Manny Ramirez
Jorge Posada
Robinson Cano
Nick Swisher
Cabrera or Gardner

This lineup, combined with the rotation Cashman has built, would kill any team out there. If the Yankees complete the grandslam, I think we could easily be seeing the most amazing team of our time. However it could backfire. All those egos could conflict, and the clubhouse could explode, but then again, they could all love each other and play hard for one another while Girardi buys them pizza after every win. Maybe Girardi should make them do a ropes course in spring training so they build unity and trust in one another. They also still need to add Pettitte to the rotation. Pettitte should take that $10 million deal. The team is looking pretty crazy, and any player would be nuts to miss the opportunity to join.

In an unrelated note, I read this cool post over at Zell's Pinstripe Blog about an interaction the author had with Phil Hughes. Its worth taking a look.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Risky Investment Strategy Pays Off for Yankees

Back in 1998, during a resurgent year for Major League Baseball, George Steinbrenner made a decision that, while risky, would ensure the long term prosperity of the Yankees for years to come.

"He called a meeting of the board of trustees, telling us it was urgent," recalls Lonn Trost. "None of us knew what was going on. George's message was very cryptic. Something about money no longer being a factor. It didn't help that it was communicated through Howard Rubenstein."

That fateful day, George arrived fashionably late and just stood there. "Finally, Felix [Lopez] asked George what was going on," recalls the a no longer wealthy Steve Swindal. "George then motioned towards the door, and in walked these men carrying a giant mattress. It was like four king beds sown together, or maybe duct taped, I think I remember duct tape." Then came the announcement that would rock the Yankees leadership, but ultimately made the Yankees recession proof.

"We're no longer investing in the market," announced Steinbrenner, "From now on we keep our money right under this mattress."

"We all looked at each other like, 'Oh $#!%, he's finally lost it,'" recalls Randy Levine. "We wanted to replace him with Hank right there, but we weren't sure if George had lost it, we knew Hank had."

No one argued with George that day. As soon as he'd left the room, discussion of how to replace him erupted. It did not go anywhere however, as the board could not decide which off-shore shadow corporation the organization should be transferred to in order to lock out the senior Steinbrenner.

"I was very upset at the time," explained Mr. Levine. "I had all these great stock tips: Enron, WorldCom, a myriad of internet start ups. We were going to be rich. In hindsight, George saved our asses that night."

Indeed, the Yankees seemed unphased by the recession of 2001-2002, and currently are spending money like they were Bill Gates, their wife just left them, and they were hell bent on making sure half wasn't going to be worth the legal fees it would cost to collect.

"It was weird for a lot of years," said Brian Cashman. "Every time I wanted to make a deal, George would point to the mattress, which he kept in his office, and would simply say, 'ask the mattress.' Funny thing is, the mattress always said yes, so I didn't ask why George was the only one who could hear the mattress talking."

Now, with the recent signing of Mark Teixeira, in addition to CC Sabbathia and AJ Burnett, it is clear that the mattress policy has paid off. The Yankees have money to burn, meanwhile the rest of baseball whines and moans about how they can't get credit and how their investments have gone belly up. Amazingly, it was one simple yet faithful decision that lead to all of this. A decision, and a mattress.

Many Bothan spies contributed to this article.

Screw the Rumors, Teix a Yankee?

Sports Illustrated is reporting that the Yankees have signed Teixeira! The deal is said to be in the 8 year $180 million range. It would certainly explain the Nationals upping their offer seemingly out of no where.

Not Much Going On, So Rumors Need to Start

The news coming from the Yankees recently has been that Jeter thinks Manny could fit in, and Wang has avoided arbitration by signing a $5 million deal. Those two pieces of news are far less exciting than the Sabathia and Burnett signings, or the Cameron for Melky trade talks. With that being the case, its time to start a rumor. Is there any better way to pass the cold winter baseball-less months than discussing rumors? Recently it was reported that Manny had received a 3 year $75 million deal from the Yankees, but that rumor quickly died out when Cashman bluntly stated that it was "not true". This rumor will require a little more work by Cashman, because its going to sound so true. Here it is:

Yankees Sign Ty Wigginton. Complete trade of Alex Rodriguez to the Angels for a bundle of prospects and outfielder Torii Hunter.

The Yankees have completed a trade with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, which will send third baseman Alex Rodriguez to the west coast in exchange for Torii Hunter and prospects Brandon Wood 3B, Trevor Bell RHP, and Robert Fish LHP.

Hunter who has 4 years and $71.5 million left under contract will fill the centerfield vacancy for the Yankees. Hunter batted .278 with 21 homeruns and 78 RBI's last season with Anahiem, while also stealing 19 bases. Hunter, has won 8 consecutive gold gloves as an outfielder, including one this last season. Hunter will be accompanied by top third base prospect Brandon Wood. Wood got his first big league cup of tea last season, but struggled for the most part batting .200 with 5 homeruns and 13 RBI in 150 at bats. Wood was also recently released from the Dominican Winter league after a weak start.

Also included in the package were minor league pitchers Trevor Bell and Robert Fish. Although neither pitcher has thrown a ball above the Single A level, both pitchers have shown promise. Bell was a supplemental first round draft pick by the Angels in 2005, and went 6-8 with a 4.22 ERA and 80 strikeouts in 117.1 innings last season for the Class A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. Fish, a 6th round draft pick in 2006, landed in second on the Angels organization strikeouts list this last season. Fish went 10-4 with a 4.85 ERA and 138 strikeouts in 143 innings for the Class A Cedar Rapids Kernels.

The Yankees sent third baseman Alex Rodriguez who had been a top producer since coming to New York in 2007. The Yankees saw the deal as an opportunity to drop A-Rod's large contract that can amount to $30 million annually if incentives are reached. In a corresponding move, the Yankees signed third baseman Ty Wigginton to a one year $5 million contract hoping the infielder can repeat his 2008 numbers with Houston where he batted .285 with 23 homeruns in 386 at bats.

"Losing Alex will have a severe impact on our lineup, but we couldn't have Madonna any where around this team next season." Explained Co-Chairperson Hal Steinbrenner. "Hunter gives us the gold glove defender we need in centerfield, and Wiggington will give us a little pop. Though we are still looking at other options to better our team, we feel comfortable opening the season as our team now stands."

"Does this deal better our team?" Asked Brian Cashman rhetorically. "I don't know, I drink a lot. I'm not even really sure where I am right now."

The deal does leave open the possibility that the Yankees could pursue Mark Teixeira or Manny Ramirez, especially since A-Rod was due $32 million next season. Taking on Hunter's $17.5 million contract and Wigginton's $5 million deal still leaves the Yankees with $9.5 million in freed up money. Though the Yankees may not want to spend every dime they have freed up this off season, they are likely to do so if the deal is right. Or in Hal's words:

"We leave ourselves open to every option and opportunity. We are following the free agent market carefully. If there is a deal to be made, it will be made."

Wang Given $5 Million Arbitration Deal

It has been reported that Chien Ming Wang has agreed to a $5 Million arbitration deal to pitch next season leaving the Yankees with Nady, Bruney, and Cabrera as the only remaining arbitration cases. Not much has been said about Wang, who up until last seasons injury was the staff ace. Now that the Yankees have signed Sabathia and Burnett, Wang has been slotted down to the 3 spot. However, the smart money says that a healthy Wang will win more games than those guys next season. That just shows how potent the rotation can be. If the Yankees sign Pettitte as their 4 guy, that will leave Chamberlain and whoever eats up the innings he cannot (Hughes, Aceves?) at the 5 spot. This is looking like a potent rotation. However, we all know that the achilles heal of any rotation is their health, and there are already red flags about Burnett and Chamberlain. Not to mention concerns over Sabathia's Will White like innings, and the fact that Wang's freak foot injury limited him to just 95 innings last season. With any luck, the Yankees will avoid a string of devastating injuries to the rotation in 2009, but with lots of bad luck, we could be seeing Aceves and Ponson fronting our staff again.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Yankees to Buy Chemistry

CC Sabathia has been the big free agent splash of this off season for the Yankees, and though he brings a fierce arm many are also impressed with his cheery disposition. A disposition, which should help the clubhouse chemistry that many insiders have claimed is lacking. But the Yankees will not stop there. A recent report links the Yankees to the purchase of a large portion of chemistry. The Yankees believe this will help the team fuse together as a cohesive unit, and play like a team.

"We are proud to announce that our $180 million purchase of chemistry has been completed, and we look poised to have a strongly bound group that will lead us to a world championship against all odds, which will later become a Disney movie starring Danny Glover as Joe Girardi." Read the Yankees press release.

Some of the features of chemistry are teammates going out to dinner together, players loaning each other their private jets, players pulling pranks on one another, sharing magazines, teaching each other how to read, working out together, teaching the foreign players how to speak English, watching Rambo and playing good baseball. Side effects of chemistry include sharing feelings, hair braiding, and journal writing.

"Truly I believe this to be a great purchase." Explained Yankees GM Brian Cashman. "In the past, chemistry came with the guys you signed, but now-a-days you have to buy that separate. The more money you give your players, the less chemistry they have. Money is a natural solvent of chemistry. Its like the kryptonite of chemistry. In the past we would sign players with a lot of chemistry but little discernible baseball talent to off set the lack of chemistry. Thus Miguel Cairo. Now, there's so much money invested in our players, that its sapped all chemistry from the team. Even guys like Johnny Damon and Robinson Cano are having trouble creating chemistry, and with Giambi gone, I knew we would have to take this measure. Last season, guys like Damon and Cano would invite people out to dinner and they would respond 'No thanks. I have a private chef cooking for me in my private suite. I think later I'll take a private nap on my private yacht, while I fish in private and enjoy an afternoon off in private.' You can't build a team off that. I've heard stories where a player was invited out to dinner but they were too busy bathing in their signing bonus to go. Its no good."

The Yankees hope this purchase will bear results in its first season. "Anything short of a world championship will be considered a waste of money." Stated Hank Steinbrenner.

For now, fans can rest assured that the Yankees have addressed their chemistry issues and are invested in the future of chemistry.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Manny and Teix, Whose the Belle of the Ball?

Two articles came out in the Post today, one has the Yankees back in the Teixeira race and the other has a former scout talking up Manny Ramirez. The former article claims that the Yankees are in serious talks with Boras over Teixeira though they have not put forward an offer. The latter article is about the scout that originally scouted Manny for the Indians and how he believes that Manny would be a great addition to the Yankees. The Yankees appear to be interested in Manny if the money and years are right, but Manny is mad for money and years, and it would be hard to assume that he'd settle.

Teixeira has said that he wants a deal made before Christmas, but with three offers on the table and now the Yankees sniffing around, I just don't see it happening by then.

As for Manny, he's really dug himself in a hole with all his years of nonesense. He can still mash though, and I think he immediately makes the Yankees better. I would prefer Manny to Teixeira if only because the deal would be short term, and it wouldn't block up firstbase where the Yankees are hoping Jesus Montero can one day play. I know its not smart to plan on the projected future of a minor league prospect, but Teixeira for 7 or 8 years certainly locks that position down. Either player would better the team, but only time will tell who will be the belle of the ball at the Yankees homecoming.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


According to Peter Gammons, the reason the Cameron-Cabrera trade talks ended was that Melky has shown increasing plate discipline in the winter leagues. Maybe the Yankees haven't given up on Cabrera after all, and if it is true that his discipline has improved I think he continue to be our best option in center.

Pettitte's Return Inevitable has an article out stating that it is inevitable that Pettitte signs with the Yankees. Nothing new really, just saying that they both want each other and its now just a matter of money. However, that can be quite a large matter, and the fact that a deal hasn't been reached yet shows how much of a hold up it can be. I'm not really sure what Pettitte wants. I hope he isn't trying to get the same $16 million he got last season, since how he pitched for it definetely deserves a paycut. $10 million was what Mussina made last season, and I just don't see why Pettitte thinks its such a bad deal for someone who pitched as poorly as he did. I'm sure a deal will get made, but the bending needs to be on Pettitte's side.

In other events, I got an email from someone who put together an online quiz where you have to name all 30 major league teams in 3 minutes. Sounds easy right? Give it a try here. If anything, it can kill the last 3 minutes of a work day.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Sox Out of Teix Race...For Now

It has been reported that Red Sox owner John Henry has decided that the asking price for Teixeira is too high to continue pursuing him. This would seem to be a contradiction to a report from yesterday that stated the Red Sox were leading the Teixeira race. With the Orioles, Nationals and Angels all bidding for his services, it was just a matter of time before the cost started driving up, but the Red Sox haven't really done much else this off season. I suppose its still possible the Red Sox could jump back into this thing and are just bluffing, but it could also be that after the Sox heard that the Yankees were meeting with Teixeira, they got involved to drive the price up. Now that its clear the Yankees are not pursuing the first baseman, the Red Sox are bowing out. This wouldn't be out of place since it is what they did with Santana last season. This of course would mean that the Red Sox never had an interest in Teixeira, which really shouldn't come as a surprise. For starters, the Sox don't like to spend money. Not that they don't have money, but that they're very miserly with it. Second, they already have a first baseman who also happens to be homegrown fan favorite in Youkilis. They also have third baseman Mike Lowell who was injured last season, but should be ready for next season, and still has 2 years and $24 million under contract. By signing Teixeira the Red Sox would have likely moved Youkilis to third and then traded Lowell, but that's a lot of trouble to go through for a player that you don't really need. So for now, the Sox are out, but they could jump back in if they sense the Yankees are sniffing around again. They might also do it if Manny is announced as the next Yankee.

What Impressed Me About CC

I certainly did not think that CC wanted to come to the Bronx. He was a west coast guy who wanted to stay there, and that's understandable. But I'm impressed that he has chosen to not only play for the Yankees, but to move his family to the area. He easily could have kept his new home, kids, and wife in California, waiting for his opt-out clause to kick in. Heck, most of the big stars on the Yankees have their family residences in Florida. But Sabbathia has made a very conspicuous display of his desire to be here by deciding to move his entire family to the area.

Both CC and AJ spoke well at their press conferences, and in their subsequent interviews on the fan. Either they get it or Jason Zillo is a good press guy.

In other news, reported pretty much everywhere at this point, except here, because we don't engage in speculation, the Red Sox have been outbid for the services of Mark Teixeira, who will apparently be playing for Warren Buffett. If this is true, then I have to wonder if the Yanks will even bother with Manny, though I still think that is likely.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Despite Slumping Economy, No One is Forgetting A-Rod

There has been a call from our fanbase to post something positive about sir Alex Rodriguez. Our comments in the past concerning the third baseman have been full of mockery, and ingratitude towards the man who selflessly switched positions just so he could stand at the right hand of Derek Jeter. Since then, A-Rod has gone through several ups and downs, the ups gaining him MVP awards, and the downs gaining him boo's at the stadium. So now, we wish to present 10 things we appreciate about Alex Rodriguez:

1) He selflessly moved from short to third when he came to the Yankees.
2) He has won two MVP awards in his time in pinstripes.
3) Alex does charity sessions for the Boys & Girls Clubs every off season.
4) Alex, who owns several properties in Tampa, once chased away an arson who was trying to burn down an apartment complex that housed dozens of orphan children that A-Rod was caring for.
5) He's the first player to play for two World Baseball Classic teams.
6) He works harder than most players in the game.
7) Like Jeter, Alex dates famous singers! They may be 25 years older than the ones Jeter dates, but still, famous singers!
8) When he's on, he can be as good as any clutch hitter out there. In 2007 he was on.
9) In the off season, Alex works as a construction worker in Mexico to really feel the plight of working class Latin America.
10) A-Rod could bail out the Auto industry if he wanted to.

So there you have it. You can no longer say that we are all negative all the time concerning A-Rod, because we will point to this post as proof that we love our third baseman. He may drive us nuts half the time, but the love is still there.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Marky T Will Make Decision Soon, Manny Could Come Next

The moment we all been waiting for is nearly at hand. A source with knowledge of the negotiations has reported that Marky T is close to making a decision. He wants a team picked out by Christmas, which by most calendars is next week. Among the teams that are known to have offers on the table are the Orioles, Angels, Red Sox, and Nationals. It is still unknown whether the Nationals actually have the money to back the offer. The Yankees are said to be interested but have not put forward an offer. It is being speculated that the Yankees are only really interested in driving up the price for Boston.

It is also being reported that the Yankees are close to deciding whether to extend Ramirez a 3 year deal worth $22-$25 million annually. The front office is apparently divided in the matter, but the Steinbrenner brothers appear to be in favor of it. Cashman is not sold on the idea, but it probably doesn't matter much. We at the RJG have been preaching Manny for some time now. We are aware of the drawbacks. Namely, he's a me-first habitual malcontent who quit on his team last season, and who makes Barry Bonds look agile in the outfield. But, this wouldn't be the first time the Yankees signed a me-first player who dogged it on the field, and what was the outcome? Did the team fall apart? No, they won the World Series, and this player became one of the most popular in modern Yankee lore. In Manny we have something similar. A powerful bat that hits when it matters. This is someone who hit .500 in the division series last season, and .533 in the championship series. He's hit 28 post season homeruns and driven in 74 post season runs over his career. He may be worth it.

Now, to quell the fear that Manny will up and quit on his team again. He certainly did with the Red Sox last season. But here's the thing. How long has Manny been asking to leave Boston? How many deals have fallen apart that were meant to send Manny away from Boston? He hasn't wanted to be there for a while now, and yet he's performed for them until last season. Now that he has gotten his wish to leave the team, why would he quit on his new team? Because he's Manny? Maybe, but I don't see it happening.

There are some other things to consider as well. Like Mattingly saying that Ramirez was the best right-handed hitter he's seen and that his work ethic is superb. Think about how much pressure a Manny signing would take off of chronic headcase Alex Rodriguez. Not to mention how much better the team is with Manny protecting A-Rod in the lineup. Further more, adding Manny allows us to move Nady who will be a free agent after next season, and could net us something good.

It is said that Manny wants a 4 year $100 million deal, which is pretty steep, and the speculation is that if he doesn't get it he may feel resentful against the team that signs him. That might happen, but that's where the Yankees can get creative. Give Manny a 3 year deal with a 4th year vesting option with a nice buyout. If Manny averages 30 homeruns and 500 at bats a season in each season, than the vesting option kicks in. Otherwise, he walks away with an extra $7 million in his pocket as his buyout. $7 million!? Why not? Its money, and the new stadium should more than make up for it. If not, the Yankees could always sell a few more players to Japan ala Darrell Rasner to make up for it.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Forget Cameron, Look at Taveras

The Yankees seem to really be interested in Mike Cameron despite his high strikeout rate, low average, and age. For one year and $10 million the Yankees feel they can risk bringing in someone who has been very consistant in defense, has some speed, and some pop as well. However, the Yankees should take stock of the new market. Several teams have dropped arbitration eligible players to decrease their payroll. One of these players was Centerfielder Willy Taveras from the Colorado Rockies. Coming off of his worst season in the majors, Taveras batted a mere .251 with 1 homerun and 26 RBI's as the teams leadoff guy. Although those numbers seem anemic at best, it should not be overlooked that this was his career low, and that despite the fact it was his worst season, he still ended up stealing 68 bases, a career best. In 2007, Taveras batted .320, .278 the year before and .291 the year before that. The .251 would appear to be an aberration. Taveras has his downfalls. Namely, he has no power. He will not strikeout as much as Cameron, but will hit about 20 less homeruns than Cameron. Nearly all of Taveras' hits will be singles. However, by stealing 68 bases last season, there were alot of singles turned into doubles and some doubles turned to triples. The biggest reason the Yankees should consider Taveras is that Cameron's $10 million for one year could probably land Taveras for 3 years. He made $2 million this last year, and with a $1.3 million pay raise and a guaranteed 3 year contract, I think he would be willing to sign. Plus, a contract like that makes him easily tradeable, especially to small market teams, and his speed will always be in demand. The only reason the Yankees should pursue Cameron is if the Brewers are willing to take Igawa with the deal. Outside of that, sign Taveras and use the rest of the money saved on his contract to get a bat like Manny's into the lineup.

Did You See This

My Minutemen beat #25 ranked Kansas (probably now unranked). We're nice like that.

Monday, December 15, 2008

What About Four?

The Dodgers have bid 2 years for Manny Ramirez, and the Yanks would have to bid at least that with a higher annual salary. But what happens if the Dodgers decide that they are willing to go three years? Assuming they Dodger will match Yankee single salary offers, should the Yankees consider offering Manny four years, if it gets to that? He'll probably still be a great hitter in four years, but do you risk that long a commitment to such a famous malcontent? Is it worth it if the Sox land Marky T for 8-10 years, considering what Manny would bring to our line-up? Something to think about over a glass of scotch.

Pettitte May Have Another Offer

Heyman is reporting over at that it is rumored that Pettitte has received a 3 year, $36M offer. Apparently the Yanks have not moved their offer, either because $10M is their limit or because they don't believe there is actually another offer out there.

Running the Numbers

It has been regularly stated that with $88 million coming off the books, the Yankees are in a good position to take in the large contracts it is handing out. In fact it is stated that despite the big money contracts they're throwing around they will still be opening next season with a smaller payroll. If you're wondering where the $88 million comes from, let me paint a picture with my money brush:

Jason Giambi: $21 million
Bobby Abreu: $16 million
Andy Pettitte: $16 million
Carl Pavano: $11 million
Mike Mussina: $10 million
Ivan Rodriguez: Approximately $4 million
Latroy Hawkins: $1 million
Wilson Betemit: $1.3 million
Morgan Ensberg: $1.75 million
Assorted Cash From Dropping the Following Players: Richie Sexson, Chad Moeller, Chris Britton, etc...

The $88 million sounds like a lot, but it doesn't take into consideration a number of variables. For example, the Yankees need to pay Giambi $5 million for not picking up his option, and they owe Carl Pavano $1.95 million for the same reason. Chien Ming Wang is likely to see a pay raise despite his injury in arbitration, and let's not forget the $5.3 million in payroll we added with Swisher and the $4 million we added with Marte. Nady and Bruney are two other players likely to see a bump in arbitration. So far they've committed a median salary of $16.5 million to Burnett and $23 million to Sabathia, and $4 million to Marte. Swisher will earn $5.3 million next season, but the Yankees traded away Betemit and his $1.3 million salary for him making a difference of $4 million. Those contracts put together equal $47.5 million. Then you have to add the $6.95 million in payouts the Yankees made to Giambi and Pavano and you're up to $54.45 million. Let's say Wang and Nady earn a $2 million raise through arbitration, and Bruney gets a $500,000 bump. Now we're around $59 million back on the books, which is still $29 million short of what we paid last season. If Pettitte signs for 1 year at $10 million, that will leave the Yankees $19 million shy of last season. Then you have the Mike Cameron contract that may come in valued at $10 million, but recent reports are tieing Kei Igawa to the deal, which would shed $4 million. If all this happens, and the Yankees stand $16 million shy of last years payroll, they then have to make a big decision. If this report from the New York Post is any indication, the Yankees will likely pursue Teixeira or Manny, and may also try to land Ben Sheets. That's at least $20 million for the offensive players, with Manny likely to go for $25 million but for fewer years. The Yankees had reportedly offered Sheets a $26 million deal over 2 years, or $13 million per year. Considering all the interest in Teixeira, I don't think he comes here, but the Yankees will succesfully bump his price up. Manny on the other hand could likely come to the Yankees for about $25 million, maybe less if they give him more years. With all this, the Yankees will be well over their 2008 payroll especially if they take Sheets, though that is less likely to happen.

Fiscal responsibility is overrated anyway. The Yankees have a reputation to keep, and records to break. Namely, the record of most money spent in a single off season.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

All Quiet on the Cameron Front

All discussion of the Cameron-Cabrera trade has disappeared since the announcement of the Burnett signing. According to this blog post from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the talks are not dead, but simply on hold. The Yanks are apparently too busy signing Burnett and hoping that cute boy from class, Andy, calls to reply to Milwaukee's last voicemail and resume the trade talks. Best bet is Cameron is a Yankee on Monday.

Around the Majors

Chicago White Sox

The White Sox have signed a Cuban player to a 4 year deal. We did that once. They also have not signed and don't appear to want to sign third baseman Joe Crede. Crede may be a good fit for the Yankees since he is known for having some pop and never taking a walk. The Yankees of course need to fill their void of players who never take a walk and have some pop after they sent Wilson Betemit to the White Sox earlier in the hot stove season.

Kansas City Royals

The Royals have once again showed that they are willing to throw down money when the player is right. They did so with Gil Meche two years ago, again with Jose Guillen last year, and this year they have done so with power righty and power tackler Kyle Fansworth. The deal is reported as a 2 year contract worth $9.25 million.

Philadelphia Phillies

The Phillies signed outfielder Raul Ibanez to a 3 year $30 million contract. The Phillies were of course concerned with bringing in a known winner to help them get back to the World Series next season, and having spent all but three years of his career playing for the Mariners the Phillies knew they got their man. Those other three years? Kansas City.

Cleveland Indians

The Cleveland Indians have signed former Cubs reliever Kerry Wood to a two year $20.5 million contract. I'm just happy the Yankees are not the only team dishing out large contracts to injury-ridden pitchers. This deal obviously helps the Yankees look less crazy.

New York Mets

K-Rod just announced that the Mets are the team to beat. We heard it from Rollins a couple seasons back when he proved his prophetic gift foreseeing the Mets finishing an epic collapse in the 2007 season. The very next season, Carlos Beltran said that the Mets were now the team to beat, but the prophecy proved false as the Mets sucked all season long. Now K-Rod is saying it, but there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Are these words prophetic? We'll see...

New York Yankees

Besides the 5 year $82.5 million deal given to AJ Burnett, there's nothing really to update. But where there is no news, there's news to invent, and here is where the RJG speculative reporting that has won several awards since 1995 comes into play. The Yankees have been having trouble finishing the Mike Cameron for Melky swap on account of the large salary Mike Cameron would earn next season. To add another layer to the matter, the Rockies recently let go centerfielder Wily Taveras who is coming off an awful season where he batted .251. However, he did bat .320 the season before and stole 68 bases last season. The man is ridiculously fast, and can bunt his way on any time you need. He also had a post season cup of tea with the Rockies in 2007 and the Astro's in 2005. He doesn't have any pop in his bat (albiet playing in Colorado), but being caught 7 times and stealing 68 bases cannot be overlooked. It also can't be overlooked that the .251 average is a career low, and that his previous three seasons he batted .291, .278, and .320. He would not cost us Melky, and we could probably sign him for three seasons at the same amount they would pay Cameron for a single season.

With New Signings, Dwindling Hope for Dinosaurs

The Yankees have been busy this off-season, trading for Nick Swisher, signing CC Sabbathia and AJ Burnett, and pursuing Derek Lowe, Andy Pettitte, and a trade for Mike Cameron. As was first reported by RJG, Hank Steinbrenner, head of baseball operations for the Yankees, had hoped to fill the numerous roster holes with dinosaurs. It seems that Cashman has walked Hank, who still cowers in fear of doing an interview with us, from that ledge. With each new signing and trade rumor the hopes of many dinosaur free agents dwindles, as their chances to play for the Yankees become veritably extinct (oh man am I clever).

A pterodactyl who hope to patrol center field was visibly shaken by the Mike Cameron trade rumors. "First that meteor, and now this! I can't believe it. I was so close, and Mike Cameron? Really? I can fly? sure, I have no arms so I can't hit, but I guarantee no home runs, that's worth an automatic out." Scott Boras, the pterodactyl's agent, is considering filing charges against baseball's GMs for collusion. "With everything my client brings to the table it is astonishing that no offers have come forth," said Boras.

It appears that the Yankees have abandoned their dinosaur movement before it ever had a chance to take off the ground. Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy can relate.

Friday, December 12, 2008

AJax is a Yank

John Heyman is reporting that the Yanks have landed Burnett. In related news, shares of Manhattan's Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital were up at the close of today's trading. Is Pettitte next? Cameron? Manny? Only time will tell.

Apple Juice Goes Well With Candy Corn

The Post is reporting that none other than Apple Juice Burnett really wants to be a Yankee. He recently spoke to a Yankee and told them that soon they would be teammates. This was odd, because that Yankee was Carl Pavano. Zing! See, I insinuated that Burnett is going to be hurt the whole time he's under contract. In all seriousness, I'm sure more than a few Yankee fans would be relieved to know that at least one of our free agent acquisitions actually wants to be a Yankee.

I continue to think that the Yankees are likely to make a move for Manny Ramirez. They've given no indication that they want to do this but the math makes sense. The Yanks have $88M coming off their payroll, Sabbathia's annual salary will be $23M, and assuming they sign Burnett for $80M over five years, that's only an additional annual salary of $16M (somewhere, Andy Pettitte just $#!* himself). This would leave $49M untouched with no glaring free agent needs except for the addition of a primetime bat. The Yanks could easily sign Manny at this point for a couple years at a high annual salary, say $25M. That still leaves the Yankees $24M under last year's payroll and they quickly become the most formidable line up in baseball because of the pressure Manny will take off of A-Rod and Cano. Expect to see Manny in pinstripes, I'm calling it.

Another intriguing option is Teixeira. Consider that Marky T is looking for 10 years, $200M. That's $20M a year. That would leave the Yankees nearly $30M under last year's payroll. For everyone says that the Yankees will never sign Sabbathia and Marky T in the same year, think again. It's not that outlandish.


The likely acquisition of Mike Cameron means $10M more on the payroll. So signing Manny would likely result in a payroll approximately $14M less than last year, while signing Marky T would result in a $19M payroll reduction from last season.

Offense Is Overrated Anyway

The focus on pitching for the Yankees has been necessary since they had more openings in the rotation than they had spots filled, but the neglect on offense has been a bit curious. A team that produced 758 runs last season and has since lost 196 of those runs to free agency has to be a little concerned. The Yankees seem to be saying that with Posada and Matsui back in the line up, the addition of Nick Swisher, and the comeback of Robinson Cano should more than account for what we're losing. However, I fail to see how this is at all a good idea. Besides assuming the healthy returns of Posada and Matsui, we're also putting a lot of stock in the rebounds of both Swisher and Cano. The runs driven in by Jeter and Damon were pretty much in line with what they've produced in other seasons so I don't expect we'll find the runs there. The heart of our lineup as defined by Swisher, Cano, A-Rod, Matsui, Posada, and Nady has more unknowns then definits. A-Rod will give you 100 RBI's, but whose going to protect him in the lineup? This calls into the question the idea of signing Manny. Could you imagine the kind of pitches A-Rod would see with Manny on deck? I know we already have too many DH types on the team, but none of them have a bat like Manny's. Will he clash with his teammates and manager? Yes. Will he do things that will infuriate Yankee fans? Yes. But will he drive in more runs than anyone else in that lineup, and give you some huge hits along the way? Yes.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Pettitte's Getting A Visit

Bronny Cash left the Winter Meetings in a hurry to meet with Andy Pettite, the Post is reporting. Apparently he's making him an offer he can't refuse. The Yanks seem prepped to sign Burnett, leaving one spot in the rotation. Cash will set a $10M contract before Mr. Pettitte and assure him that either his name, or that of Ben Sheets, will be on the contract.

Cashman Outbids Himself to Land Sabathia

It was reported yesterday that the Yankees had landed Sabathia to a deal ranging 7 years for $161 million, with an opt clause after 3 years. Cashman was concerned with beating out the next best offer which had been proposed by the Yankees at 6 years and $140 million. This may seem odd to those of us outside of Cashman's circle, but the reality of the situation is that Cashman may have an undiagnosed split personality disorder. Evidence for this theory can be found in Greg Genske's negotiation tape. He records his negotiations as a way to keep teams honest, but this tape also lends credence to the theory that he has this rare disorder. The Respect Jeter's Gangster blog landed a copy of this recording and transcribed it in this RJG blog exclusive. The transcript reflects what we believe is Cashman's split personality by placing the words offered by the alter ego in italics. Just know that this transcript may disturb you.

Greg Genske: So, $140 million and 6 years? My client is impressed with this offer, but needs to to consider his options. As you know he would like to stay and play on the west coast.

Cashman: Sure, I can understand that, and of course the offer still stands, but just know you can't beat that kind of deal.

Cashman: I think I can beat it Bronny. How does 6 years $145 million sound?

Cashman: Oh, that's a mighty good deal... for a sucker! I can go 6 years $150 million.

Cashman: If you think you're so high and mighty, why don't you consider doing what I'm about to do. We'll give you 7 years.

Cashman: At what price?

Cashman: 7 years and $160 million.

Cashman: That's a pretty steep price there, but you forgot the million I got from the Rasner deal. 7 years $161 million, opt out clause after 3 years. Can you beat that?

Cashman: No, you pretty much have me beat there. I love you.

CC Sabathia: I love you too. So, um, what just happened?

Greg Genske: Just sign the contract Charles.

CC Sabathia: There's my signature, I'll go tell my wife!

So as far as I can tell either Cashman has a split personality or he has the worst negotiation techniques in the world. Some believe it was this same condition that led to A-Rod's most recent contract as well. So much for all this fiscal responsibility nonsense, but here's my question. If the Yankees are making it rain on all these free agent pitchers, why is it all of a sudden so fiscally unsound to pursue a bat like Manny's? For a contract that would end in 2 maybe 3 years, its better to go big now, and have it off the books just in time to re-sign Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera who will age gracefully and lead the team to a new dynastic championship run.

I'm Not Sure How to Feel About This

The Daily News is reporting that in the next two days the Yankees will be sending Melky Cabrera to Milwaukee for CF Mike Cameron. Now, one the one hand, they have the same initials. On the other hand, we lose a 23 outfielder for a guy much older who has never faced AL pitching and hit .243 against NL pitching last year. Melky hit .249 in the AL. Hardly great, but I have cause for concern. The word "veteran" doesn't mean anything to me. Hopefully Bronny knows what he's doing with this one.

Update, 4:16

The Post is reporting that the deal is stalled, and perhaps dead, because the Yankees are asking that the Brewers eat some of Cameron's $10M.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Retraction: Those Words Don't Taste Good, They Taste Terrible

"In fact, the Yankees had begun to send signals that if Sabathia didn't accept their offer soon, they were ready to pull it off the table and move on. But all that became a moot point late Tuesday night, when Cashman was able to satisfy the Sabathias that they could play and live happily in New York." (Source).

Yeah, it was the quality of life that convinced them. How about no west coast team stepping up and the prospect of losing out on the Yanks offer. I knew Bronny read this blog. No charge for the negotiating tips Bronny. But, if you ever cross me...

The Bronny Cash School of Management

The Yanks signed CC for a reported 7 years and $160M. On the plus side, there can no longer be any discussion of whether the Yankees have an ace. We know have two. But I can't help but notice the extra year and $20M. I guess you have to do what you have to do. The other thing I can't help but notice is that the Yankees are now willing to best Atlanta's offer to Burnett. So I must ask, how sever is Cash's drinking problem? I mean, I know that attractive waitresses in skimply outfits walk around the floors of Las Vegas casinos with free booze for the big players, but Cash has to lay off. Burnett? Really? Go for Lowe, he'll be healthy and eat up innings (think Pettitte without the PED scandal). Consider Sheets and Pettitte as well. But don't get pavanoed a second time Bronny, that's not a good look. Lordavmercy!

Post Reports Sabathia Signing

According to the New York Post, Sabathia has agreed to sign with the New York Yankees. Cashman's abrupt trip to California last night would have been hard to explain otherwise. Although it may seem premature since the Yankees have not announced anything, the Post tends to be very well connected, and the article was by Joel Sherman who is a veteran writer. I don't think he would throw it out there unless he had some confirmation.

This is of course big news for the Yankees since this was the piece that needed to fall into place. You can now expect the other free agents to go quicker. Cashman has met with several free agent pitchers including Ben Sheets, Oliver Perez, Derek Lowe, AJ Burnett, and of course Andy Pettitte. It is rumored that Sheets has been offered a 2 year, $26 million contract by the Yankees, and it has been said that the Yankees are willing to go 5 years with Burnett, a huge mistake in my opinion. They are also said to be willing to go 4 years with Lowe. Assuming the Yankees bring back Pettitte, they realistically just need to bring one more pitcher into the fold. However, if they land Sheets, I would feel more comfortable if they brought in someone else. I think Lowe should be the target at this point, because Burnett is a frequent flier on DL airlines. Lowe at his best is not better than Burnett at his best, but I am way more confident that Lowe will pitch the length of his contract with minor problems where I expect Burnett to pull a Pavano, who is the current CEO of DL airlines.

Update 10:36am - Fox news is reporting that the deal agreed to was for 7 years and $160 million.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Um Um, Those Words Taste Good

It seems that just when Sabbathia had his master plan to shop his Yankee offer to the Giants, the Giants said they weren't really that interested and Sabbathia saw the writing on the wall. It appears he will likely sign with the Yankees (I hope this isn't premature, then I'll have to eat this post too), based on the fact that Bronny C hastily abandoned Las Vegas to fly his arse over to Cali to meet with CC and company. So fine, Cashman was right not to pull the offer. Good for him, I hope he feels good about himself for making me look bad on account of my impatience (it's really just New York patience). I hope ninjas ransack his room while he's away and that he gets stuck with the bill for the damages.

Am I Missing Something Here?

Probably. But the Mets just signed K-Rod for 3 years and $37M, essentially $12M a year for a top five closer. Why wouldn't the Angels try to keep him if that's the going rate? Did K-Rod slap Arte Moreno in the face as he left the clubhouse on the last day and yell, "I'm rich $!#@#"? Don't know for sure, but it seems you'd want to keep a guy that good at that rate when you have Angels money. Does this suggest that the Angels are wrapping up all or most of their spending in the Teixeira chase? Doesn't bode well for CC.

I Like the Way You Think

"It's embarrassing. Have some dignity!"
- Mike Francessa of WFAN, 12/09

Mr. Francessa has been railing all day about how stupid the Yankees are being. He thinks it is clear that the Yanks are being played and embarassed by Sabbathia, and that the Yankees should pull the offer instead of letting him shop it around to the Giants. Pete Abe, perhaps playing the voice of reason, thinks that it is fine for Sabbathia to take as much time as he wants. Abe is right about that, but that isn't the issue. The issue is whether the Yanks should let Sabbathia use their offer to get a deal he likes more from another team. The answer is no. If he wants to play for New York, he can look for offers elsewhere and then come back and see if we're still willing to talk. But I think, at this point, if Sabbathia signs here, he is in for an A-Rod type of relationship with the fans. If he even sort of messes up the fans will turn on him, because the perception, by and large, in NY, is that he doesn't want to be here and that if he does sign it is only for the money. If I'm Bronny, I pull the deal and sign Lowe and maybe a short term contract for Sheets. If Sabbathia realizes that no other offers he likes are forthcoming, he can come back and I sign him for more than his next best offer but I don't give him the original $140M. Sure, it's spiteful and unnecessary but it keeps costs down and Sabbathia had his chance for $140. I think I'll be calling Bronny later tonight.

Winter Meetings Are Never This Boring

Whenever they have the Winter Meetings, and not much news is coming out, it leaves reporters, internet authors, blog writers, and people on the streets doing the same thing: making crap up. Yes, this is the time of year for the most ridiculous trade rumors, and of course, free agent rumors the imagination can contrive. Yesterday, we wrote about the potential Cano for Kemp trade that had been discussed, but both teams have since then denied that that talk ever took place. However, today a new set of rumors are floating around including a 2-year $30 million offer from the Yankees for Ben Sheets. Further more, this article reports that the Yankees are ready to go full throttle after AJ Burnett, which means surpassing the 4 year $60 million deal the Braves have offered him. If these two things happen to be true, then I think the Yankees have to finish what they started. Why stop at Sheets and Burnett? Let's resign Pavano. We could also probably snag Mark Mulder, Mark Prior, and Matt Clement for pretty cheap too. Let's get Jaret Wright back on the team while we're at it. I bet you anything that rotation doesn't pitch a combined 100 innings.

In non-rumor news, Goya and the Yankees are running a food drive at the stadium to help those in need throughout the Bronx. If you're in New York, 25 pounds of non-perishable food, or a $25 donation will get you a voucher for two free tickets to a non-premium April-May home game. Not a bad way to ensure cheap tickets to the new stadium, and make sure someone doesn't go hungry this winter.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Interesting Turn of Events

If we are to believe the account given to Pete Abe by Bronny Cash regarding his meeting with Sabbathia then it seems CC may finally be coming to terms with the reality of the situation. There is no west coast contract out there for him. Our reporters in Vegas are also reporting that CC is very worried about being seen as a Panda Jerk, he couldn't handle that. Being married, I know you only start asking questions about quality of life for your family when you are seriously considering moving somewhere. So, either CC is realizing the Yankees offer is not going to be topped nor matched by anyone else, or he's really going all out in order to buy time. I suspect it's the former. It's hard to be that devious without anyone from RJG advising you, and I can vouch that we're not. We shalt see what happeneth.

What's With All The Cowards?

We always here athletes talk about how they want to compete, and beat the best, and blah, blah, blah. But it seems that, lately, in baseball, all we have are players who don't want to play in the AL (see Peavy, Jake; or Sabbathia, Captain Crunch). I don't get it. Why not want to pitch in the tougher league against the tougher competition. Afraid everyone will realize you suck? I suspect that's the case with Peavy. Sabbathia may just want to pitch close to home, but then say so and let the Yankees be on their way. Right now the Yankees are that friend of the hot girl in high school that she keeps around just in case, even though she'll probably never run out of jocks to date, but he's dumb enough to hold out hope anyway. I just don't get this whole "I don't want to pitch in the AL" thing.

Cano to Dodgers for Kemp?

The latest of hot stove rumors is that the Dodgers are interested in one Mr. Robinson Cano and a Mr. Melky Cabrera. The idea is that the Dodgers, probably prompted by Torre, are interested in Cano and Melky, and would trade outfielder Matt Kemp for those two players. The Yankees could then go on to sign Orlando Hudson to play second base. I'm not sold on the idea. Matt Kemp had a good season last year and looks very promising, but last season was his first full season in the majors. Kemp batted .290 with 18 homeruns and 76 RBI's in 2008. Cano batted .271 with 14 homeruns and 72 RBI's, during the worst season of his career. Cano never takes a walk, but he only struck out 65 times in 597 at bats. Kemp struck out 153 times compared to his 46 walks. Kemp looks like he'll develop into a great player, but so does Cano, and it would be a shame to watch the Dodgers reap the benefits of all the work Cano is putting in this off season. I suppose that the combination of Kemp and Hudson would better our team even at the loss of Cano, but when you're thinking about needing two players to replace the one you have, it just doesn't seem worthwhile.

Another Panda Jerk: Cashman

It's time to pull the Sabbathia offer, Bronny. You're making us look stupid, panda jerk! You let this guy sit on the offer for a month, meanwhile, his agent is just shopping it around trying to find something better from another team. Not $40M better, but just a little better, so his client can go play in the NL. If he signs for $110 and an an opt-out clause with the Brewers or Giants, that's on you Bronny. Don't be a panda jerk. Pull the offer, blow Lowe out of the water, give Pettitte his money, and figure out your fifth starter internally or by trade (under no circumstances sign Burnett, since he'll get hurt and you'll just have to figure out your fifth spot internally or by trade). Playtime's over. Time to move on.

All is Quiet on the Sabathian Front

So far the big news of the winter meetings relating to CC Sabathia is that he has met with Cashman, and is set to meet with the Brewers today. I can only imagine what that conversation will be like since I seriously don't know how you sell $40 million less dollars to someone. The only thing I can think is that the Brewers are offering to hire Sabathia through one of their non-profit organizations and make the $40 million pay cut a charitable contribution he can later write off his taxes.

In the meantime, I've decided that I'm going to try and improve A-Rod's image by focusing on qualities that I've largely fabricated. For example, did you guys know that A-Rod is currently in an NYC hospital donating as much blood as legally possible because he read that there was a shortage? Or that he spent this last weekend teaching school children to say no to drugs? Or that three weeks ago he was in Thailand breaking up an illegal child slavery ring? I bet none of you knew that, and yet you all judge him.

Lastly, I'm really hoping for some news today from the Winter Meetings. If not that one Constantine Coolio Sabathia has signed with the Yankees, then at least that Burnett has gone to the Braves or that the Yankees have accomplished a blockbuster trade sending IPK, Melky, and Hughes to the Mets for Johan Santana.

On a completely unrelated note, I'm finding that I really dislike Dunkin Donuts coffee. It just doesn't taste good. But it is the only real breakfast chain restaurant, at least in the northeast. There's no Krispy Kreme's near by, and I suppose I could do Newman's Own fairtrade coffee at McDonald's, but I'm somewhat hesitant to go to McDonald's after I worked there as a teenager. Starbucks costs more than I'm willing to spend, and they don't have any drive-thru locations near here, which means I would have to get out of the car and brave the cold just to pay a lot for coffee that they make you put sugar and cream in like we were animals. Why does this matter? It doesn't, but with the Yankees giving us little to work with, I need to fill these pages with something.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

That's Why Your Contracts Aren't Guaranteed

This whole Plaxico Burress thing has got me to thinking. Whenever a football player refused to go to training camp because they wanted more money, I always defended them since the risk of injury was so high and the dollars weren't guaranteed. But here's the problem, the NFL can't give guaranteed contracts. A good 79% of the NFL players are convicted felons/future felons/in jail. Imagine if they got guaranteed contracts, they'd all be sitting around in prison earning millions, meanwhile their teams are getting totally pavanoed. That's not fair. So, here's to the NFL. Don't ever guarantee those contracts.

The First Periodic Panda Jerk Award

RJG is pround to announce the institution of a brand new award. There are jerks, and then there are panda jerks, and it is time to point them out and subject them to ridicule. What is a panda jerk you ask? One definition is that it is anyone who makes you look like an @$$hole. Another definition...well, there is no other definition. The award is not annual, nor monthly, nor weekly. It is periodic. The reason for this is, I may want to award two in one hour, but I can't do that if I name it a weekly award. The award will be granted whenever the award is merited.

The first award goes to CC Sabbathia. Sabbathia has sat on the Yankees $140M offer even though he has no other options that are remotely close. He's waiting for an offer to materialize from a West Coast team even though they're all looking elsewhere. It's been weeks. You're making the Yankees look like an @$$hole Sabbathia, and it has to stop. Apparently Sabbathia doesn't want to play in New York. Some say it's because it would put him far away from his family. Others suggest it's because the fans are unsupportive and ruthless, i.e. booing A-Rod when he hits a measly .300+ and over 30 homeruns. By the way, you suck A-Rod. But we all know the real reason for Sabbathia's hesitation. He's afraid of Plaxico Burress. Well let me help you out CC. Sure, Burress carries a .40 caliber glock in his sweat pants, and that's pretty crazy (dare I say gangster? I would if he hadn't shot himself in a decidedly ungangster fashion), but the giants play in New Jersey, you will play in the Bronx. Man up already. Panda Jerk!

Friday, December 5, 2008

A-Rod May Play for Dominican Team

According to Big Papi, it would appear that Alex Rodriguez will be playing for the Dominican team in this years World Baseball Classic. If Alex would have joined the Dominican team in the last go round, the team would have been a ridiculous construction of powerful offense. The lineup included David Ortiz, Albert Pujols, Alfonso Soriano, Jose Reyes, Vladimir Guerrero, and Placido Polanco all of them 4 years younger than they are now.

I understand that National sentiments run deep, but with Alex it doesn't appear to run too deep. If you ask me, its a little strange to change, which National team you wish to represent. I can see that maybe he wanted to represent both and couldn't so therefore he had to pick one in '05 and another in '09, but that just adds to the melodrama that is Alex Rodriguez.

If I were a baseball player, there is no doubt that I would play for the Puerto Rican team. I love the U.S. but I'd play for my island. Also, if I were a baseball player, I would probably be a homerun hitter who bats for average and steals bases on demand. My batting numbers would be similar to the 'roided Barry Bonds, only my base stealing would be similar to a young Rickey Henderson, and of course I would be a switch-hitter and gold glove defender with MVP written all over me. I would single-handedly drive the Puerto Rican team to the finals only to lose to the Japanese team, because of our lack of pitching depth (Our rotation in 2005 was anchored by Javier Vazquez, and Joel Pineiro).

Anyway, back to A-Rod, I guess I don't see how you can switch teams now. Stick with one team Alex. It makes you look a little less crazy.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Braves Bail Out The Yankees II

Sorry Ed the Sports Fan, it looks like the Braves have bailed out the Yankees after all. Pete Abe is reporting that the Braves will likely sign A.J. Burnett before the winter meetings. I'm afraid Apple Juice is one gamble the Yankees won't be making in Las Vegas.

Pete is also reporting that the Giants will not be making an offer to Sabbathia. That means the Giants, Angels, and Dodgers are all passing on the Sabbathia sweepstakes. CC won't be playing in Cali, get over it big guy. His options now are to take the Yankees offer or take far less money to play in the NL on a non-California team. To think he could be really rich right now.

On a final note, one thing Yankee fans may want to get used to, though they may not like it, is the reality that Manny may very well be wearing pinstripes come February. The Yanks will probably sign Sabbathia, but Burnett is going to Atlanta and that will cause a bidding war for Lowe which the Yanks may not be interested in winning. They're not going after Marky T and they need some hitting help. Manny isn't going to get a very good deal elsewhere unless he accepts the Dodgers former offer (which I'm sure they'd put back on the table if he wanted). I suspect he'll be wearing pin stripes whether we like it or not.

Around the Majors in One Paragraph

Khalil Greene to St. Louis, Renteria close to signing with San Francisco, Trever Miller signs deal with Cardinals, and Pedroia signs 6 year $40.5 million contract with Boston.

That's all that's a-happening.

Here is my prediction for the winter meetings:

-Giambi and Manny get super-drunk and engage in a fist fight that leaves them both injured and unable to play for next season.
-Sabathia realizes what we all knew all along. No one is offering him more than the Yankees.
-Burnett signs with the Braves, and Cashman doesn't even blink.
-Boras chugs steaming hot coffee during a tense negotiation session with teams over Derek Lowe, and then stares at the GM's present and says "I'm coming for you." The GM's are intimidated and immediately file restraining orders against Boras. All except the Yankees who are used to such behavior from their ownership group.
-Cashman pegs Boras with a football from a distance of about 90 yards. An impressive feat.
-Bobby Abreu enters the winter meetings and sees Brian Cashman standing in the lobby, but he totally ignores him and pretends not to see him. It gets awkward when they're alone in the elevator together, and even more awkward when they realize they're sharing a room together, and even more so awkward when they realize there's only one bed in the room.
-Marky T spends the entire winter meetings walking around with his Gold Glove, and charges different GM's to take a picture with him and his Gold Glove. He makes $300!
-Andy Pettitte spends the entire winter meetings with Ned Colletti and Joe Torre. He makes sure to schedule dinner at the same time as Cashman and then he makes sure to sit at the table right next to him so Cashman can hear them talk about LA.
-Chris Britton comes to the winter meetings and tries to harm Cashman who is rescued when Mike Mussina tackles Britton into a fountain. Mussina was present for the 80's tees convention happening in the same hotel.
-A-Rod and Madonna show up as he tries to make a grand announcement about his intent to marry her, only no one really hears it since everyone's trying to get Madonna's autograph. "'Material Girl' changed my life." says a grateful Theo Epstein.
-Clemens and Bonds show up together to interview with Bud Selig about a new speaking job that would entail going to all the teams and speaking about work ethic and integrity. They are upset when they find out that Canseco was already hired.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Braves Bail Out The Yankees

As I'm sure you've all heard by now, it seems our friends in Atlanta have taken it upon themselves to live up to their name by offering Burnett a five year deal. My only response is this: Please, Pleeeeeease sign Burnett. Do not let us get stuck with him, sign him now, and sign him hard. Do whatever it takes, Atlanta. Give him six years if you need to. Sign him now. Please.

Scott Boras Picks Up Pirate Clients

It is no secret that being a Boras client means long negotiations, and big contracts. In baseball, no one has gotten bigger pay for his clients than Boras, and often times he's even fooled teams to overpay players. He is a master of leverage, and master of perks. His contracts are often laced with incentives and little advantages that help sweeten the pot for his player. Whether its getting Daisuke Matsuzaka free plane rides from Japan or getting A-Rod millions if he goes on a homerun chase, Boras knows how to get the most out of any team out there.

So it is no surprise that the Pirates would hire Boras to help negotiate contracts for them. Not the Pittsburgh Pirates mind you, but the Somali Pirates that keep hijacking ships off of the Coast of Aden.

"It is with great pleasure that I announce that I will represent a group of Somali Pirates in all contract negotiations with different governments and shipping agencies." Read Scott Boras' official press release. "I look forward to working with my new clients and assuring that they are being represented honestly and are getting paid fair value. The days of exploiting pirates is over."

The question of whether Boras could be as effective in negotiating for pirates as he was negotiating for baseball players was answered after his first discussion with the Dutch government over a hijacked ship carrying a shipment of tires and a crew of 230. Boras was able to negotiate $2.8 million for the tires, and another $2.6 million for the crew.

"I used leverage to up the ante. I told them that the tires alone were worth at least $5 million, and that if they didn't buy them back I would sell them to the French who would undoubtedly pay for them. The Dutch wanted to negotiate so I would pretend that my phone was ringing and I'd answer like 'Hi, France? Yeah, how much do you want to give for these tires? Oh, really? The Dutch don't want to pay that much. I guess that makes the dutch a bunch of pansies.', and then the Dutch would up their position. It was flawless negotiating."

Boras' new clients were impressed. "Its all about the perks." Stated one satisfied Pirate whose name loosely translates to Captain Sea Dragon. "Boras not only got us our money, but he also got the Dutch to throw in $1,000 for every crew member not harmed, $10,000 if the ship didn't smell of alcohol, and even got them to throw in 2-dozen pounds of qat to sweeten the deal."

Qat, a mild narcotic popular in the region, has been thrown in to every Boras negotiation, including those back in the states.

"I thought it strange that Manny didn't want to take the contract we offered him." Explained Ned Colletti, the General Manager for the Dodgers. "When we sat down to negotiate with him, Boras said that the money was fine, but there was no qat in the contract. We thought it was some legal term, but when my lawyers couldn't find it anywhere we figured it was slang for incentives. When we started drafting some incentives, Boras was like 'I need at least 10 pounds of qat.' After that we withdrew our offer thinking he was mocking us. Not only because of the qat thing, but also because he took to wearing an eye patch throughout the negotiations. We figured he wasn't taking us seriously."

"I think the qat might be messing with him." Said General Manager Brian Cashman. "I talked with Boras the other day, and he seemed a little out there."

Cashman provided a transcript of the conversation he had with Boras over the phone:

Cashman: Hello?

Boras: Hi, I have a crew of 115 of your people here, and I want to find a way to get them back to you.

Cashman: Boras, this is Brian Cashman. You have the wrong number.

Boras: Who? Brian? From the Yankees?

Cashman: Yeah. Brian Cashman.

Boras: Oh. Well, you want 115 sailors?

Cashman: No.

Boras: Do you have some qat?

Cashman hangs up.

Despite his new found interest in mild narcotics, Boras remains the best at what he does.

As Captain Sea Dragon recalls: "He once got us $2.5 million from the Italian government for a crew of 200 people. The crew wasn't even Italian."

"When it comes to negotiating, you just need to be confident." Explained Boras. "Confident and high on qat. Those two are a winning combination."

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Yankees Do Not Offer Arbitration

It was announced yesterday that the Yankees have decided to not offer arbitration to any of their free agents. None. Not-a-one. This means that if Giambi, Abreu, Pettitte and Pudge sign on with another team, the Yankees will not get a single draft pick as compensation. For someone as concerned about the farm system as Cashman is, its surprising that he would fore go the draft picks, but I guess I can see it from his perspective. From his perspective Giambi made $21 million, Abreu and Pettitte made $16 million, and Pudge made $13 million. The Yankees supposedly want Pettitte back, and they seem to be willing to live with Abreu for another year, but allowing them to go to arbitration will likely mean a pay boost for Abreu and Pettitte will probably not get the pay cut the Yankees would hope for. At $21 million an arbitration case for Giambi would be interesting. As a rule, a team cannot offer less than 80% of the previous seasons salary to a player in arbitration. That means that Giambi would be eligible for at least $16.8 million for next season if he accepted arbitration. By this same rule, Pettitte would get at least a $12.8 million salary and Pudge would get at least $10.4 million. Giambi is likely to get some interest from other teams, but what teams would sign him for more than 2 years at $16 million a year? Giambi likes New York, and I think he'd prefer the 1 year at $16.8 million over 2 years at $16 million. That is just a guess of course since some team could easily offer him more, but he is an aging player who can't play much defense, and has lost some pop over the years. I don't know what teams are looking for a catcher, but the Yankees definetely don't want Pudge for $10.4 million. The market for Abreu, Giambi, and Pudge is weak, and a 1 year deal for a lot more money than they can expect to see from other teams, why not sign on for the season? Then if the Yankees sign Pettitte, which they are expected to do, then the Yankees end up with no draft picks anyway. I think it was a safe move.

No One Invited to the Party

So the Yankees offered arbitration to nobody in order to control costs. They've also outsourced most of their negotiations. Part of the reason negotiations have been taking so long is that agents now have to call an 800 number and be placed on hold before the can talk to an associate negotiator. It's definitely cost effective, but of questionable efficiency. The new stadium will use 1/4 the electricity of the old one, as only 1/4 of the new stadium will even be hooked up to the power grid. This should avoid the sort of blackouts caused by the old Yankee Stadium a few years back. Also, all concessions will be green. Not because they're organic or anything, but the Yankees will be ignoring health regulations and selling moldy food. They will not buy more until all of it is gone. This new streamlined approach should make the Yankees champions within the next three years, so I'm all for it.