Jon writes: When I read your blog post about the Yankees organizational meetings, one name mentioned caught my eye – Tino Martinez. I read that he is serving as a Special Assistant to the General Manager. So I wondered if his role was more of a sentimental one or if he was trying to get more involved in player development perhaps leading to a minor league or major league coaching job? Is he a likely candidate for Joe Girardi’s staff?
Answer: There is little room for sentiment with the Yankees, Jon. Tino has a legit job and he’s somebody that Brian Cashman listens to. Tino does not seem interested in a coaching role, as that would require a lot of travel and being away from his family. But as times goes on, it would not surprise me to see him have more influence.
David writes: In 2008, the Yanks allowed 50 fewer runs than they did in 2007. All that is given the absolute failure of 40 percent of their Opening Day rotation, and injuries that took away almost a full season collectively from Joba and Wang. Meanwhile, offensive production decreased by 189 runs. I realize that getting a starting pitcher is important, but how is Mark Teixiera not the No. 1 priority, especially with the (highly likely) loss of Giambi and Abreu? Do they ever want to get on base again?
Answer: You raise a good point, David. But 2007 was an unusually productive season. You can’t hold the Yankees to that standard. Run prevention is as important as run production and the Yankees clearly can’t go into the season with a rotation of Wang, Joba, Pettitte and assorted suspects. Offensively, the Yankees believe that Robinson Cano will bounce back and that a full season of Jorge Posada will make a difference. Hideki Matsui being healthy should help as well. It’s also not unreasonable to think they’ll add a bat somewhere along the way.
Danny from Brooklyn writes: Is there any concern within the Yankees organization about the fact that CC Sabathia has thrown over 500 innings the past two seasons including the playoffs? I don’t know enough about pitchers arms to know whether or not I should be nervous or not.
Answer: You should be worried. Counting the postseason, Sabathia has thrown 513 innings the last two seasons. That said, he’s only 28 and has no history of health concerns. He’s a lefty, he’s available and he’s very, very talented. Those plusses outweigh the minus of a heavy recent workload.
Chad writes: We all know the free agents who might be available, but what are some viable trades we may see the Yankees make prior to the season starting?
Answer: Too early to say, Chad. Teams usually try and get a feel for the free agent market before they start to pursue trades. Once the GM Meetings get underway next week, we should have a better idea of what teams could make deals. The Yankees have so much money coming off the books they could fill their needs with free agents and may not need to make a trade,
Bob writes: What are the chances of Yu Darvish posting this winter and will the Yanks be interested?
Answer: The Nippon Ham Fighters appear likely to hold on to Darvish for at least another year. He’s only 22 and is their biggest star. The Yankees will certainly be interested once he is posted. But it’s probably going to be a another few years.
Steve writes: Any idea for a Yankees-related Halloween costume?
Answer: Blue blazer, pack of smokes, phone pressed to your ear … Hank Steinbrenner! Crewcut, protein shake, sunglasses and a jersey … Joe Girardi! You just can’t have any candy. … Carl Pavano would be fun. Wear a Yankees jersey, put one arm in a sling and carry a steering wheel in your other hand.
Best I can do on short notice.