Archive for November, 2010
Jeter and Close prepare for next step • 11.30.10
The Winter Meetings are less than a week away and Derek Jeter still hasn’t re-signed with the Yankees. Hard to be too surprised at the fact he and Casey Close have some things to talk about. Here’s the Associated Press:
NEW YORK (AP) — A baseball official says Derek Jeter and his agent, Casey Close, have met Tuesday as the New York Yankees await a counteroffer from their captain. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the team didn’t make any announcements. The meeting was first reported by Newsday.
New York has offered Jeter a $45 million, three-year contract, and the All-Star shortstop has not made a formal proposal. Close has suggested a contract averaging about $23 million for four or five seasons, the baseball official said, but the numbers were suggested loosely by Close and should not be interpreted as a precise request.
So Jeter and Close are preparing for their next step. That’s seems to be a positive from the Jeter camp. At least there’s some sort of movement.
A few other notes:
• The Giants have reportedly signed Miguel Tejada. I’m not in a position to say whether they want him to play third base or shortstop, but the Giants certainly seem to be most heavily looking for a shortstop.
• As expected, Scott Downs will decline arbitration and hit the free agent market. That’s a big-ticket left-handed reliever if the Yankees are interested.
• Given the free agent market and trade possibilities, Eduardo Nunez seems as good a Plan B as any at shortstop, and Buster Olney says the Yankees have in fact settled on Nunez as their fallback if Jeter doesn’t re-sign.
• The Rays are going to be swimming in draft picks after a boatload of players turned down arbitration offers.
• One fairly cheap lefty came off the market today. Brian Tallet signed with St. Louis.
Associated Press photo
I mentioned this over the weekend, but I want to mention it again because tomorrow is the final day of the auction, and all of the proceeds are going to a really great cause.
Trenton’s clubhouse and equipment manager Tom Kackley is running his annual auction to support the domestic violence shelter in his home town of Canton, Ohio. It’s a cause that means a lot to Tom, and he’s put some considerable effort into making a difference.
The auction is run through ebay, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the Domestic Violence Project, Inc. in Canton.
The auction itself has signed items from current Yankees, Hall of Famers and elite prospects. There are plenty of big names both in and out of the Yankees organization, with items ranging from signed baseballs and pictures to game-used equipment.
Check out the auction right here. Good stuff and a great cause.
It still seems like a Plan B, but according to Yahoo!’s Jeff Passan, Royals ace Zack Greinke is not necessarily opposed to pitching in New York.
Greinke has a no-trade clause that could block a trade to the Yankees, but so did Lance Berkman, and Berkman still wound up in pinstripes. Speculation has been heavy that Greinke would block a trade to New York out of a desire to stay out of the spotlight, but Passan’s source suggests that’s not a significant issue.
“I wouldn’t put it past him to go to New York,” the source said. “I don’t think he’d rule out anybody. He says he likes New York. Especially because they’re winners. He wants to go to a team that wins.”
Greinke’s past anxiety issues have caused many to question his ability to perform in New York, and those might be the source of questions about his willingness to accept a trade to the Yankees. But the fact is, he’s one of the few viable Cliff Lee alternatives that might be available should Lee sign with a team other than the Yankees.
The free agent market doesn’t offer another front-line starter, and it’s becoming rare for a pitching talent like Greinke to hit the trade market. Acquiring him would cost a ton in Yankees prospects — Passan suggests a package similar to what the Rangers got for Mark Teixeira back in 2007 — but as a fallback plan, Greinke seems as legitimate as any.
Lee will naturally remain the primarily pitching target, but a Greinke contingency plan might not be as far off the table as originally believed.
Up on the rooftop • 11.30.10
Here’s the weird Yankees story of the day, and quite possibly the weird Yankees story of the entire winter.
It seems Brian Cashman is going to dress as an elf and rappel down a building with Santa Claus. This is all new to me, but apparently the Santa rappel is something the Stamford Downtown Special Services District does every year. Santa Claus literally rappels down 22 stories of the Landmark Building, usually accompanied by someone.
Take it away Stamford Advocate…
While the man in red is often escorted by the Grinch and Rudolph, this is the first time a member of the Yankees franchise is to take the plunge.
Cashman, who lives in Darien, mentioned at a DSSD fundraiser this summer that he would be interested in participating, (director of DSSD Sandy Goldstein) said.
“He mentioned something about wanting to rappel,” she said. “What could be better than having a star rappel?”
Cashman will go through a rehearsal rappel on Friday, the real thing is Sunday afternoon and the Winter Meetings begin on Monday in Orlando. If nothing else, he’ll have a cool ice breaker for all of those meetings with rival GMs and player agents. Also, as a not especially tall person myself, I’m going to refrain from making the obvious Cashman elf jokes.
Associated Press photo
The free agent market really doesn’t offer the Yankees a backup plan should Cliff Lee sign elsewhere. Lee is the only proven ace on the market, with every other starter being either a complimentary piece or an ace-like talent with significant injury concerns.
Jorge De La Rosa has now re-signed with Colorado, which is also on the verge of a long-term deal with Troy Tulowitzki.
Jake Westbrook is back with St. Louis, Javier Vazquez is in Florida and Jon Garland is with the Dodgers.
Secondary pieces are coming off the board and the Yankees still have an obvious need for starting pitching. But they can’t put any sort of Plan B into action until they know what’s happening with Lee and Andy Pettitte. It’s not as if anyone who has signed already would have been a viable replacement for one of those two, anyway.
Smooth and quiet, like the man himself • 11.30.10
Mariano Rivera could be signed by the end of next week’s Winter Meetings. That’s what a source told Brian Costa over at the Wall Street Journal.
Naturally, the Yankees closer has been moving toward a deal quietly and smoothly. As silent and effective as ever.
The Yankees and Rivera have been working largely in the background, moving toward an agreement with none of the public back-and-forth that has market the Derek Jeter negotiations. Doesn’t mean there haven’t been disagreements (surely they didn’t both show up asking for the same thing), and it doesn’t mean there wasn’t a gap to be closed (this was a negotiation, afterall).
But just like Rivera himself, these negotiations have been business as usual. Not many bells or whistles, and certainly no public shouting and screaming.
Rivera might be older than Jeter, but he’s coming off another strong season. He’s also reportedly never been looking for more than a two-year deal. As much as anything, those two facts might have eased these negotiations.
Associated Press photo
Yankees mourn Gil McDougald • 11.29.10
The Yankees announced today that former infielder Gil McDougald passed away at home on Sunday.
The New York Yankees mourn the passing of former player Gil McDougald, who died of prostate cancer at age 82 on Sunday at his home in Wall Township, N.J.
McDougald played his entire 10-year Major League career (1951-60) with the Yankees and was a member of eight Yankees pennant-winning teams (1951-53, ’55-58 and ’60) and five World Championship clubs (1951-53, ’56 and ’58). In 1,336 career games as a versatile infielder, he batted .276 (1,291-for-4,676) with 112 home runs and 576 RBI, while logging 599 games as a second baseman, 508 games as a third baseman and 284 games at shortstop.
In 1951, he became the first Yankee to win the American League “Rookie of the Year” Award, batting .306 (123-for-402) with 72 runs scored, 14 home runs, 63 RBI and a .396 on-base percentage. On three occasions, he finished in the Top 10 in AL MVP voting (ninth in 1951, seventh in 1956, and fifth in 1957).
A native of San Francisco, Calif., McDougald was an All-Star in five different seasons (1952, ’56-’59), including two All-Star Games in 1959. In the 1958 contest at Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium, he drove home the game-winning run with a sixth-inning single in a 4-3 American League win.
McDougald batted over .300 twice – .306 in 1951 and a career-high .311 in 1956 – and set a personal best with 83 RBI in 1953.
McDougald is survived by his wife, Lucille, their seven children (Christine, Gilbert Jr., Tod, Denise, Courtney Ann, John and Matthew), 14 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren.
Private funeral services will be held on Friday, December 3, in New Jersey.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his name toward charities that assist with cochlear implants, those that work toward finding a cure for prostate cancer or to the charity of the donor’s choosing.
STATEMENTS FROM FORMER YANKEES:
“Gil was a great guy, well-liked by the team and a helluva ballplayer. He was a good fielder and was always a fierce competitor.”
– Whitey Ford
“Before I was traded to the Yankees, Gil and I played against each other in the minors in the Texas League. He was always one of the most serious guys out there, and he loved to win. But Gil was also a person who got along well with everyone. He was always in good spirits.”
– Bob Turley
Associated Press photo
Mark Feinsand has the story over at The Daily News.
The Texas Rangers have reached out to Andy Pettitte. According to Feinsand’s source, Rangers team president Nolan Ryan reached out to Pettitte in hopes of convincing the left-hander to stay close to home and pitch in Texas.
Previously, Pettitte has indicated that he will pitch for the Yankees or no one next season, but he has been lured back to Texas in the past and it’s hard to blame Ryan for at least pleading his case.
Looks like the Rangers might be competing against the Yankees for more than Cliff Lee this winter.
Associated Press photo of Pettitte
Tino Martinez added to Hall of Fame ballot • 11.29.10
Former Yankees first baseman Tino Martinez is among the first-timers on this year’s Hall of Fame ballot, but he’ll certainly not be the focus.
Bert Blyleven and Roberto Alomar are back after near-misses last year. Edgar Martinez will once again be a measuring stick for designated hitters getting into Cooperstown. Among the first timers, Jeff Bagwell and Larry Walker might have the best chances for election (Bagwell especially).
And steroids will, of course, come front and center with Juan Gonzalez, Rafael Palmeiro and the lingering issue of Mark McGwire.
This year’s list isn’t especially heavy with Yankees. Don Mattingly is still on the ballot, with a very outspoken corner of the baseball world pleading for his induction. Tino Martinez was a good part of great teams, but probably not a Hall of Famer. Kevin Brown, Al Leiter and Tim Raines spent the bulk of their careers playing elsewhere.
I’m a long way from having a vote, which is good because I have a hard time making up my mind about some of these guys. I’ve gone back and forth about Blyleven, McGwire, Lee Smith, Edgar Martinez and Alan Trammell. Larken, Bagwell and Alomar jump out as players I would definitely vote for, and I’m starting to come around on Raines.
Of course, by the time the election results are announced, I will have probably changed my mind 20 times.
The complete ballot, via the AP: Roberto Alomar, Carlos Baerga, Jeff Bagwell, Harold Baines, Bert Blyleven, Bret Boone, Kevin Brown, John Franco, Juan Gonzalez, Marquis Grissom, Lenny Harris, Bobby Higginson, Charles Johnson, Barry Larkin, Al Leiter, Edgar Martinez, Tino Martinez, Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, Mark McGwire, Raul Mondesi, Jack Morris, Dale Murphy, John Olerud, Rafael Palmeiro, Dave Parker, Tim Raines, Kirk Rueter, Benito Santiago, Lee Smith, B.J. Surhoff, Alan Trammell, Larry Walker.
One shortstop comes off the board • 11.29.10
Juan Uribe has signed a three-year deal with the Dodgers, taking one viable shortstop candidate off the free agent market at a price far lower than the Yankees offer to Derek Jeter.
Granted, Uribe is far from a perfect comparison to Jeter — he’s 31 years old and has never made an all-star team, much less flirted with an MVP award — but he does help establish the market value for middle infielders.
The Yankees basically offered Jeter twice what Uribe will be making. A little more, actually.