Saturday, December 29, 2012

Matsui Retires, Baseball Mostly Quiet

Not much has gone on this week, but the biggest news is that former Yankees outfielder Hideki Matsui has decided to retire.  Matsui was one of the great outfielders from the last decade, a great teammate by all accounts, and one of the guys you wanted up to bat in a tough spot.  He is now retiring from baseball and we at the RJG wish him the best in his post-baseball endeavors.

In other news, the Yankees signed former Braves outfielder Matt Diaz to a minor league contract.  The deal is worth $1.2 million guaranteed if he makes the big league club and $800,000 in incentives.  The Yankees hope that Diaz will balance out their lefty-leaning outfielder.  My guess is that Diaz will make it on the team to fill the role that Andruw Jones had last season.

In other baseball news, A.J. Pierzynski signed a one year $7.5 million contract with the Rangers.  This is the type of contract that the Yankees should be all over, and I have to think that the fact that they let this one year deal go, indicates that they are committed to developing Austin Romine as their everyday catcher.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas Eve!

Merry Christmas eve, and happy holidays everyone!  Since signing Ichiro, the a few more pieces have moved off the board officially closing any speculation.  Swisher is going to Cleveland on a 4 year $56 million pact with an option for a 5th year, and sadly, our best post season hitter last season, Raul Ibanez has signed again with the Mariners.  Effectively, the 2013 Yankees are now the same as the 2012 Yankees minus Swisher, Martin, and Ibanez on offense.  In other words, the 2013 Yankees, are the same as the 2012 Yankees minus some power on base percentage, and clutch hitting.  Despite this, some think the Yankees could win a championship next year.  The argument is valid but with one major flaw.  The valid part is that even without making a big free agent purchase, and even while losing guys like Martin, Swisher and Ibanez, the Yankees still have some great players.  Do we really believe that a team with Jeter, Teixeira, Cano, Pettitte, Sabathia, Kuroda, and Mariano are going to start playing like the Kansas City Royals next year?  The answer is no, until you factor in age and injury, and therein lies the flaw of the argument.  The Yankees farm system is ill-stocked at the top levels, meaning that any injured players are going to be hard to replace.  We can always hope for Pineda and A-Rod to come back strong, and for all our other guys to stay mostly healthy and mostly productive, but when has there ever been a season without some major injury?  We haven't been able to keep A-Rod healthy for a few years now, last year we suffered freak injuries to Mariano and Pettitte, and even in the post-season we lost Jeter to a broken ankle.  Injuries happen, and the Yankees have very little room for them this coming season.  And when we lose a guy, how will we replace them?  Eduardo Nunez at short?  Dickerson as our everyday outfielder?  Corban Joseph at second?  This is with Austin Romine and Francisco Cervelli likely to take up most of the time behind the plate.  The X-factor is what our minor leaguers will do next season.  Sometimes we get some surprises from the lower levels, and this may be the year to get those surprises.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Yankees Finalize Deal With Ichiro

It appears that the Ichiro signing is officially official.  Although the terms of the deal have not been disclosed, reports have indicated that it was for money, paid in the form of US currency.  This locks down right field for the next couple years, which makes the outfield all-lefty leaning.  An all-lefty outfield has been Cashman's dream since he was a child, and its great to see him achieve his life's ambition.  To ensure his all-lefty outfield is not polluted by a right-hander, Cashman is also in talks with outfield/DH option Raul Ibanez.  The 2013 Yankees are shaping up to be like the 2012 Yankees only 1 year older, and missing key contributors in Nick Swisher, and Russell Martin.  Should be really exciting!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

For Being "All Over" Ichiro, This Deal Sure Is Taking a While

The Yankees continue their aggressive pursuit of Ichiro Suzuki, as more pieces are coming off the board.  Apparently, the hold up on the Ichiro deal is that the Yankees want to pay Ichiro in gold instead of cash, in an attempt to keep Ichiro's contract off the books.  The deal was denied on the level of the commissioner's office.  The Yankees are now reworking the contract to pay Ichiro in shares of Disney and lobster dinners.  It is yet to be determined if the commissioner's office will accept this deal.

In the meantime, the Blue Jays just got a little bit better trading for knuckle-baller and Cy Young winner RA Dickey.  The Blue Jays smell blood in the water as the Yankees and Red Sox are vulnerable.  The Red Sox signed Stephen Drew to play shortstop for a season, and Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima signed with the Athletics a year after he turned down offers by the Yankees to play backup to Jeter. 

Super exciting times in baseball.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Last Day for Domestic Violence Auction

Today is the last day for most items on the ebay auction of Yankees memorabilia. This auction is run by the clubhouse manager of the Trenton Thunder, and all the proceeds go to benefit the Domestic Violence Project.  They have some pretty cool stuff in there, and all of it makes for a great gift for a Yankees fan.  Since we last mentioned the auction, they have added a number of new items, so give it a look.

In Yankees related new, the Yankees continue to close in on Ichiro, and it looks like it'll be the first multi-year offer they make this year.  The report says that Ichiro had a 2 year, $14 million contract on the table from the Phillies, so the deal would have to at the very least match that. 

Josh Hamilton has agreed to terms with the Angels on a 5 year $125 million contract.  Reports now indicate that Nick Swisher is being heavily pursued by the Indians who recently traded outfield Shin-Soo Choo likely to make way for Swish.  The Red Sox continued their off season frugal purchasing spree by signing Ryan Dempster to a two-year deal worth $26.5 million.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Oh. No.

Its official, Kevin Youkilis has signing with the Yankees.  I'm currently struggling between two considerations: on the one hand, Youkilis grinds out at-bats, and when healthy is one of the better hitters out there.  On the other hand, he's Kevin Youkilis.  I'm sure I'll get over the latter fact if he ever hits a walk-off homerun against the Red Sox, but for now I'm really struggling with this one.  I know I can't let emotions get in the way, but Kevin Youkilis?  Really?

With the Yankees closing in on Ichiro, we now need to consider which right-handed outfielder would best compliment Ichiro.  Several names have been thrown out there, but I'm going to suggest Delmon Young.  Let's look past the fact that he can't take a walk, strikes out way too much, isn't great on defense, and was arrested for becoming belligerent and yelling anti-Semitic slurs in New York last year.  Delmon Young hit last post-season.  He hit .353 and .357 in the ALDS and World Series last year, drove in 9 runs throughout the playoffs, and hit 3 homeruns.  He was the antithesis of the Yankee offense.  And because of everything mentioned before, he should be pretty affordable.  Yes he has severe emotional issues, and he would have to prove himself truly repentant over that incident last season, but he may be a good balance for Ichiro's speed and contact type hitting.  But then again, looking past his stupid comments is hard enough to do.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Yankees "All Over" Ichiro

According to recent reports, the Yankees are allegedly "all over" Ichiro, and a deal may soon be had.  This is good news for Yankee fans not because Ichiro solves our perceived offensive deficit, but because its the first interesting thing the Yankees have done this off season.  Well, losing a bidding war to the Pirates was interesting, but this would be the first interesting development in our favor.

Reynolds Goes to Cleveland...

Mark Reynold's has signed with Cleveland.  How does this impact the Yankees?  Well, Youkilis was considering an offer from Cleveland to play third, and if the Reynold's signing precludes Youkilis from playing in Cleveland, it may put the Yankees offer as the next best thing.  We'll have to stay tuned.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Who's on Third?

Now that Nix has been outrighted to AAA, I think we need to have a serious conversation about third base. Should we really be throwing $12 million at Kevin Youkilis? Put aside his face for a moment. Youkilis, if healthy, is a solid player and a gamer. A Paul O'Neill type if there ever was one. He's friends with Jeter and wouldn't be any sort of clubhouse problem. But $12 million?

Does anyone remember Scott Brosius? Do we really need a $12 million player at third to win a championship? Why not let Nix play? If we really need an upgrade after this season, we can think about it next year, and we wouldn't be in any different position than we would be if Youkilis accepted his overpriced one year deal anyway.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

RJG Reviews the Winter Meetings

With the Winter Meetings now over, it is time to reflect on the Yankees' comings and goings in Nashville, TN. Obviously, not much happened this week. Or is it so obvious? Was it really a wasted week?

No. On Tuesday, when Cashman arrived a day late because he was rappelling down a building in Connecticut, he had a steak. For lunch. We openly questioned his selection of a Caesar side salad, but felt he redeemed himself with his choice of amaretto digestif. Classy.

On Wednesday, Cashman was spotted at the hotel's gym. Treadmill? Really? We were hoping for some tickets to the gun show, but Cashman never even approached a dumbbell.

Thursday was more of the same. Power lunches, questionable sides, and uninteresting but sound workouts. I think it is fair to say that Cashman's performance at these Winter Meetings was lackluster, but consistent. Consistently nothing. I hate your face so much right now!

The Yankees Have an Offer Out to Youkilis

It looks like the Yankees have put a $12 million offer out the Kevin Youkilis.  This is a bit baffling, seeing as the Yankees were just outbid for one year of Chavez at $3 million.  Don't get me wrong, Youkilis has a high on base percentage, and when healthy can hit, but he hasn't been healthy for years, and he's the easiest Red Sox player to hate.  How is he worth $12 million?  We need a backup infielder, and we've already let some of those slip by for much cheaper.  We'll see how this unfolds.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Third Base Not Looking Great

Recent reports has Jeff Keppinger signing with the White Sox and Eric Chavez signing with the Diamondbacks.  That leaves Kevin Youkilis as one of the last standing third basemen the Yankees have looked into.  If they sign Youkilis, $5 says Joba pegs him in spring training just out of habit.

Holiday Shopping at its Best

Every year for the past 7 years, the club house manager for the Trenton Thunder has put on an auction of Yankees memorabilia that he collects throughout the season, and gives the proceeds to the Domestic Violence Project.  This years auction has autograph balls from Derek Jeter, Reggie Jackson, Andy Pettitte, Robinson Cano, and many more!  The beauty of this auction is that you can bid on great Yankees stuff, and call it Christmas or holiday shopping, and when your significant other protests your spending money on more Yankees stuff, you can highlight the fact that all the proceeds go to a great cause.  Its a win, win, win situation, and how often do you get those?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Did Jeter Get Fat?

The big news coming out of the Winter Meetings is that it takes a Hank Steinbrenner exactly one off-season in charge to completely derail the team's budget and infield. Now that A-Rod is having another hip surgery&mdashonly this time on the other hip&mdashthe Yankees can now shift focus from right field and catcher to third base.

There is also a vicious rumor that Jeter has gotten fat. There is even a picture they say. But anyone can look fat if they're photographed. When you close your eyes and picture Jeter in all his Jeterian glory, is he fat? Didn't think so. So stop telling your friends Jeter is fat. You know it's not true and this is how rumors start.

Back to A-Rod. Begrudgingly. The Yankees now need to find a third baseman. Let's face it, A-Rod is no longer our third basemen. He's now had surgery on both hips, and he had already lost quite a bit of pop since the last surgery. Since we insist on keeping Nunez as an infielder, can we at least shift him to third? Sure, he may still need to play short at the start of the season, but maybe he can play deep and cover both positions. He's got the erratic arm for it, and it would save us money on payroll.

Man do we need Ichiro already. Just give him a new bat humidor and be finished with it. This is stupid now. Oh, and just let Cervelli catch. You can trade for a first baseman with pop who pretends to be a catcher come the deadline, just ask the Mariners. Oh snap! I think Cervelli has had his dreams kicked around enough that the least we can do is humor him for a few months. Hey, maybe he'll surprise us.

Winter Meetings Under Way

The Yankees entered the winter meetings after locking down Pettitte and Mariano for next season, and losing a bidding war for Russell Martin to the cash-rich Pittsburgh Pirates.  You may be wondering how the Pittsburgh Pirates managed to out bid the Yankees, but if you really think about it, the Pirates haven't spent money on their team in about two decades, so they have a lot of savings in the bank.  Or maybe the Yankees just weren't that interested.  Either way, with the Yankees saving $7.5 million for next season the question quickly turns to who will play right field.  Ichiro is looking at offers from other teams, and the Yankees don't appear ready to sign anyone long term, so do the Yankees look to overpay Ichiro for one year to plug that right field hole?  Do we bring back Ibanez?

A recent development is that A-Rod will need hip surgery again, and will miss part of the season.  The good news is that perhaps it was an injured hip that accounted for his reduced offense last season, and a repaired hip could return his pop, the bad news is, this is his 2nd hip surgery in the last three years. 

The even better news is that the winter meetings are underway, and this means that we could see some crazy Cashman trades or free agent signings soon.