It’s Jan. 5, baseball’s wake-up call has arrived.
Spring training starts in 40 days and there are approximately 140 unsigned free agents. From big stars like Manny Ramirez to scrubby backup catchers, players are seeking jobs and teams are looking to fill holes in their rosters. There will be a flurry of deals and it will be interesting to see how desperate some big-name players get. You could see some notable players accepting cut-rate contracts.
The Yankees don’t have much to do. It still makes sense to strike a deal with Andy Pettitte but somebody will have to budge first. The Yankees could use a middle infielder. Maybe Brian Cashman will trade one of his extra hitters. But with the free-agent market flush with corner outfielders, he could do much better once the season starts.
Here are a few dates to keep in mind:
Sometime this week: The Yankees will announce their deal with Mark Teixeira. He agreed to a contract two weeks ago.
Jan. 12: Results of the Hall of Fame voting will be announced. This will be a happy day for Rickey Henderson and perhaps Jim Rice. Those who idolize Don Mattingly will grumble and point out he was just as good as Kirby Puckett.
Jan. 20: Salary arbitration figures will be exchanged. Brian Bruney, Melky Cabrera and Xavier Nady are the only unsigned Yankees eligible for arbitration. Bruney and Cabrera are likely to settle for one-year deals and modest raises. Nady, who is represented by Scott Boras, won’t be so easy. Hearings start Feb. 1 in Phoenix.
As for the blog:
Pinch hitter series: This will continue through Feb. 4. These are amateur bloggers who had the guts to express their views before a large audience. Please treat them with respect whether you agree with them or not.
We also will have a few special guests this month.
The pinch hitter roster is full, so please do not submit a post unless you’re been contacted. If anybody drops out, I have several people waiting for spots. It was first-come, first-served.
Registration: The IT people at the office are working on a system and we hope to implement it this month. The idea is to improve the quality of the comments section and allow regulars to register their names. A lot of you have asked for registration and it seems to make sense now. I’ll post the details once I get them. But I do not want registration unless it can be done correctly. We’re working on it.
As always, thanks for reading.