Ron writes: Does the Matsui/Giants talk really have any life to it, and if so what’s your opinion on the likelihood of something happening? Would it simply be for a bullpen piece like Sanchez and a prospect or is there a possibility someone like Cain could come back. Assuming they did a deal such as this, would it be a pre-cursor to revisiting Santana or would they keep a Sanchez/Cain?
Answer: There is something to it but I doubt the Yankees would part with a productive player for a reliever like Sanchez. They would want Cain. Brian Sabean wants a hitter but he’s not stupid. If a deal gets done with the Giants, I don’t think it would then lead to Santana. They’re against the idea of a long-term deal for any pitcher or trading Phil Hughes.
Mike writes: Does signing Hawkins make it more or less likely that they Yankees will also go after Ron Mahay? Does Mussina have a full no-trade clause? What about Octavio Dotel? Is there any interest there on either side? What about Doug Mientkiewicz, any chance he comes back?
Answers: Probably less, yes, no, no.
Fred writes: What are the implications if someone is taken off the 40 man? Is it automatic waivers or can they invoke an option if they have one?
Answer: A player taken off the 40-man is designated for assignment. That means the team has 10 days to trade, release or pass him through waivers. Options don’t apply in this case.
Gloria writes: Do you have any idea when the contracts for A-Rod and Mariano will be finalized and the announcement made?
Answer: The Yankees move in mysterious ways. The Tigers and Marlins pulled off a six-player deal and announced it the next day. The Yankees agreed to terms with Alex on Nov. 15 and still haven’t announced it. At this point, it has become anti-climatic.
Tony in St. Louis writes: Since the Yankees are in need of a first baseman and to clear some roster spots why hasn’t anyone suggested a trade with St. Louis that would send the Cardinals Wilson Betemit, Shelley Duncan, Darrell Rasner and either Matt DeSalvo or Jeff Karstens for Scott Rolen. Rolen could certainly make the transition to first and that may keep him from being so injury prone.
Answer: Are you a Cardinals fan, Tony? While I applaud the idea of sending four marginal players for one potentially good one, I doubt the Cardinals would agree. Rolen would be an interesting pickup is only see how a new team would change him. But he’s expensive ($36 million over the next three years) and has a full no-trade clause. So he’d want to get paid to move.
Peter writes: With the rotation six deep (assuming no trade,) there certainly are no immediate spots there for the Yankees better young arms after Joba, Hughes and Kennedy. Do you see anyone out of the group of Horne, Edwar Ramirez, Ohlendorf, Melancon, Humberto Sanchez or anyone else filling a spot in the bullpen? I know none of them have Joba’s stuff, but it seems like after Hawkins, Farnsworth and perhaps a Mahay signing/deal for Jonathan Sanchez, etc. to find a lefty, the ‘pen is going to be filled internally. Can you handicap who is the most likely to help out there?
Answer: Horne needs more time in the minors. Melancon and Sanchez are still getting over their injuries. I think Ohlendorf will get a serious look in camp. My sleeper is Jose Veras. He’s throwing really well in the Dominican Winter League.
Chrissa writes: I keep reading that the Yankees will probably cut Carl Pavano but sign to a minor league contract for insurance purposes. What are “insurance purposes”?
Answer: Teams often insure (at high cost) their long-term contracts. They can then recoup some money if the player gets injured. In most cases, the player has to stay on the roster for the team to get compensated. That happened with Mo Vaughn (Mets), Albert Belle (Orioles) and apparently is the case with Pavano. Either that or he has some sort of evidence that Brian Cashman committed a grisly crime.
Jon writes: I wonder if you could help me out with this one. A friend of mine wondered why the Yankees didn’t just add a bunch of cash to the proposed Santana deal they were working on. I thought MLB had a dollar limit on trades.
Answer: It wasn’t the cash Minnesota wanted, it was the prospects. Teams are flush with revenue, so cash isn’t really a problem. There is no dollar limit in trades but anything over a $1 million has to be approved by the commissioner.