The LoHud Yankees Blog

A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News


Archive for January, 2011

Yankees ink Garcia to minor league deal01.31.11

The Yankees have reached an agreement with Freddy Garcia, who will come to camp on a minor league deal to compete for a spot in the rotation.

According to Jerry Crasnick, Garcia will make $1.5 million if he makes the team, and he could make an additional $3.6 million based on number of starts.

By the way, if you’re ever desperate for the Yankees to make a move, tell me to step away from a computer for two hours. It never, ever fails.

UPDATE, 11:22 p.m.: A source just confirmed that the Garcia situation is exactly like Bartolo Colon’s. Garcia is being looked at strictly as a starter, and if he doesn’t make the Major League team, he will be released or traded.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 172 Comments →

What’s Pettitte worth, plus some notes and links01.31.11

This afternoon, Ken Rosenthal wondered whether $12 million would be enough for the Yankees to sign Andy Pettitte (assuming Pettitte actually decides to pitch this season). Rosenthal used Hiroki Kuroda — who got exactly one year, $12 million from the Dodgers — as a comparison.

Kuroda, who turns 36 on Feb. 10, was 11-13 with a 3.39 ERA last season, working 196 1/3 innings. Pettitte, who turns 39 on June 15, was 11-3 with a 3.28 ERA, working only 129 innings in the regular season.

Rosenthal noted that Kuroda pitched in a much weaker division, and Pettitte pitched in a toucher park. He also noted that Pettitte was injured last season.

To me it’s pretty even. Kuroda doesn’t have nearly Pettitte’s track record, but he is three years younger. Pettitte was better than Kuroda last season, but he was also injured through most of the second half. A $12-million offer would be a raise from what Pettitte made last season, and that seems pretty fair to me.

But I must admit, there’s a lot about this situation that’s difficult to predict.

Some other links and notes from today.

Cool little nugget from Cliff Corcoran who notes that Russ Springer retired as the last active player to have played for a losing Yankees team. That was all the way back in 1992, and the Yankees haven’t had a losing season since.

Good stuff from Buster Olney, who looked at which individual pitches — CC Sabathia’s curveball, for example — were the most effective last season. The most effective curveball, by the way, belonged to Jose Veras. Admittedly, a lot of this data depends on the way a certain pitcher uses a certain pitch.

• From Olney’s usual list of links comes this story about Twins pitcher Brian Duensing, who’s wife was at that Omaha high school where a kid shot his principal and assistant principal earlier this month.

• Derek Jeter isn’t the only American League shortstop to land a four-year deal this offseason. Alexi Ramirez just landed a four-year deal with the White Sox.

Associated Press photo

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 119 Comments →

Rays installing new playing surface at The Trop01.31.11

Just saw this mentioned on MLB Network and thought I’d bring it up here on the blog, if only because nasty visions of faded green began floating through my head.

The Rays are installing AstroTurf at Tropicana Field. The name alone makes you think of the rough, fast carpet that used to cover baseball fields all around the league, but this isn’t the old school turf made famous in Houston. This AstroTurf is similar to what’s currently used in Toronto.

“This turf is probably a little bit slower; our turf was getting real fast,” Rays infield coach Tom Foley told the St. Pete Times. “It’s a darker green, it looks real good to the eye. The rolls are true, there’s no snaking, and we should get the same hops we’re used to. It just may be slower.”

The Times notes that the new turf is “less bouncy” than the stuff used in Toronto.

It features a horseshoe-shaped polymer fiber that the company says will remain upright longer to create a more “grass-like, uniform, predictable” surface, leave fewer rug burns when fielders slide or dive…”

I’m sure this is a technological advancement, but I’d rather see the game played on natural grass any day.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 110 Comments →

Freddy Garcia reportedly prefers New York01.31.11

The Google translation isn’t perfect, but today Freddy Garcia was quote in a Venezuelan newspaper saying he would prefer to pitch in New York next season. Here’s the rough quote, according to Google:

“I love to stay in Chicago because I love the city and here I have friends,” Garcia said. “But I do not expect to return. Anyway, thanks for the trust last year, but a team like New York would be ideal match the status of my career. ”

You get the idea, anyway.

It’s not the first time Garcia has expressed a preference for New York. Last week he said — again, roughly translated — “My preference is to stay with the New York Yankees.”

At 35 years old, Garcia managed 12 wins and a 4.64 ERA with the White Sox last season. That’s not terrible production for a guy who would be auditioning for the last spot in the rotation. Garcia was better in the first half than the second half, but pitched pretty well in his last five starts (2.42 ERA, White Sox won four of those games).

In other free agent starter news, Rodrigo Lopez has agreed to a minor league deal with the Braves. Lopez was a league-leader last season. He lead the National League in losses and earned run. Yikes.

By the way, it might shock you to learn that I don’t often read Venezuelan newspapers. Thanks to MLBTradeRumors for the heads up on the Garcia stuff.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 357 Comments →

The inexact science of an unfinished product01.31.11

At this point, you have to wonder if the have all of the rotation options they’re going to have when camp opens in two weeks. Last week, Brian Cashman left now doubt that he’s still in the hunt — “I need starting pitching,” he said on Wednesday. “That’s what I need.” — but the trade market is surely established by now, and the free agent market is only getting thinner.

Late last night, Justin Duchscherer came off the board, agreeing to a one-year deal with the Orioles.

According to MLB Trade Rumors’ free agent tracker, these are the remaining free agent starters: Jeremy Bonderman, Doug Davis, Freddy Garcia, Rodrigo Lopez, John Maine, Pedro Martinez, Kevin Millwood, Jamie Moyer, Andy Pettitte and Jarrod Washburn.

Ten names, and of those 10, Moyer is out for the season, Washburn might be finished and Martinez hasn’t pitched more than 109 innings the past three years. We all know the Pettitte situation.

Nothing stands out from the past month that might have changed the trade market (making a previously unavailable starter suddenly available). If anything, the market has thinned with Wandy Rodriguez signing a three-year deal with Houston and the Cubs trading away one of their excess starters — Tom Gorzelanny — in a deal with the Nationals.

Cashman says quite often that a team doesn’t have to be built in the offseason. There a few small moves to be made at the end of spring training (it’s not out of the question that a back-of-the-rotation starter could be available at that point) and teams reevaluate themselves in early June or early July (that’s when Cliff Lee was traded last season). The trade deadline, obviously, brings a  ton of movement.

For now, though, the Yankees can hope for a Pettitte return, they can add one of those remaining free agents, and they can keep looking for a worthwhile trade opportunity.

Or they can go into spring training with what they have. They can give A.J. Burnett a chance to rebound, give Ivan Nova a chance to establish himself and give Bartolo Colon a chance to re-establish himself. If that plan doesn’t work, they can try to reload.

It’s hard to imagine the market on May 31 being much worse than it is on January 31.

Associated Press photo

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 68 Comments →

Sneaking a peak behind the curtain01.31.11

To a very small extent, I’ve seen behind the curtain. I’ve been in Mark Newman’s office, asked him a question about a specific player, and watched him log into the Yankees database to pull up the necessary information.

I couldn’t see details — couldn’t really see the computer screen, didn’t try to sneak a peak — but it was crystal clear that Newman had all the information he could possibly need at his fingertips. And that information clearly went beyond fastball velocity and batting average on balls in play.

The Yankees know plenty of things we don’t know. Even in this media market, not everything goes public, and the things that do go public quite often come with internal or external spin. We all like to play general manager from our living room — Trade for Felix Hernandez! Make an offer to Jeremy Bonderman! Give Adam Warren a shot! — but we’re at a disadvantage.

With apologies to GI Joe, when it comes to being a GM, knowing isn’t half the battle. It’s the entire battle. And Cashman knows more than the rest of us.

To answer the three questions Jesse asked this morning:

1. What information could possibly be leaked to the public if WikiLeaks ever targeted the New York Yankees?

If the Yankees were lucky: In-depth scouting reports, records of free agent and trade offers, progress reports for minor leaguers and aging veterans. If the Yankees were unlucky: Disciplinary files, commentary on players’ personal lives, in-depth analysis of Yankees beat writers and bloggers!

2. What would be the aftermath of such information becoming public?

That depends. Is it only Yankees information that’s going public? If every team’s scouting reports were suddenly public knowledge, the resulting trade market would be fascinating. Whose scouts would teams believe? If only the Yankees information were leaked to the public, the result would be a massive disadvantage.

3. Would you, as fans, want to know these secrets, or prefer to be kept in the dark?

To some extent, I think the mystery is good. It’s good that some information is out of reach. It keeps the game from becoming too much of a science, keeps the winters buzzing with dreamed-up scenarios from living-room GMs. Then again, if that computer screen were right in front of you…

Associated Press photo

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 282 Comments →

Pinch hitting: Jesse Rosenthal01.31.11

Jesse Rosenthal is our next Pinch Hitter. He’s a 28-year-old Yankees fan who grew up in Massachusetts, despite the fact his parents are from the Bronx. Now living in Hong Kong, Jesse works for Pepsi (which he proudly notes is the official soft drink of the Yankees).

Jesse attended the final game at the old Yankee Stadium, and the clinching Game 5 of the 1999 ALCS at Fenway. “When faced with the question of where I’m from, I always feel compelled to include the fact that, though I’m from Massachusetts, I’m a Yankee fan,” Jesse wrote. “It’s been a a very good conversation starter over the years, though it has been far less effective out here in Hong Kong.”

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months, you’re well aware that some of the most sensitive and confidential state secrets have systematically been exposed to the public through an organization known as WikiLeaks. These have been deemed “attacks on the international community” by the US, and have received both praise and criticism.

One school of thought is that the public should be privy to such information, regardless of the damage it could do to international relations. On the other hand, many believe that such sensitive and valuable information should be kept private no matter the degree to which it may affect our lives.

In November, just as the baseball season was coming to a close, WikiLeaks began releasing US State department diplomatic cables. With the Yankees disappointing postseason fresh in my mind, I naturally began to connect the news du jour with our beloved team and wondered about the impact of a hypothetical “WikiLeaking” of the New York Yankees,” a massive disclosure of all the top Yankee secrets that we never knew existed.

I asked myself first and foremost, what are the most treasured Yankee secrets? Surely in some vault or encrypted database only acceptable by fingerprints and eyeball scanners, there lies a massive volume of proprietary information. Within these volumes are not the normal batting average and ERA statistics that we can find on our own through a multitude of websites out there. There are not even the arcane, sabermetric stats that the guys with Harvard degrees enjoy analyzing until the sun comes up.

In this vault, I thought, are full biographies of each Major and Minor League player, with such minutia as their preferred meals, sleep cycles, deepest fears, and most embarrassing fetish. Within these volumes are the engineering plans of each stadium, complete with the location of the sprinkler systems in the outfield, the exact tilt of the first and third base lines, and the density of the dirt on the pitchers mound. There are the hand signals used by each team in every game over the past 25 years. There are the phone numbers and addresses of the 10 loudest and most obnoxious fans of each team, the ones whose voices travel to the field. Within these volumes that have remained secret to the rest of us for decades lies information that we as fans cannot even fathom, let alone understand how to utilize. Within these volumes lies the difference between a true off-season target and a phony offer made to increase the competitive bid.

After going through the limitless possibilities of what this information could be, I then began to wonder what type of damage would be done to the Yankees if the public was given unbridled access to it. After all, it can be argued that the 1988 World Series was decided by a single shrewd piece of private information. Kirk Gibson, barely able to walk and yet called on to pinch hit in Game 1, had been told by a scout named Mel Didier that, if faced with a 3-2 count against lefties, Dennis Eckersley threw nothing but back-door sliders. We know how that at-bat turned out.

Imagine if that private scouting report was made public prior to the game. We may very well have seen Gibson strike out on a chest high fastball to end Game 1, and the A’s could have gone on to win the World Series.

I pose the following 3 hypothetical questions to all Yankee fans out there:

1. What information could possibly be leaked to the public if WikiLeaks ever targeted the New York Yankees? (Creative responses appreciated).

2. What would be the aftermath of such information becoming public?

3. Would you, as fans, want to know these secrets, or prefer to be kept in the dark?

Associated Press photo of Joe Girardi, standing ready to protect his secret binder

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Pinch hitterswith 164 Comments →

A few Sunday night links01.30.11

If we’ve learned anything today, it’s that we can probably take Justin Duchscherer off the list of potential rotation options. He reportedly down to Baltimore and Washington as possible destinations.

Some other links for today…

• Josh Norris posted a little bit more of his interview with Brian Cashman, with most of it centered on the Yankees scouting department, and specifically the scouting in Mexico that’s led to Ramiro Pena, Alfredo Aceves, Manny Banuelos and Jorge Vazquez.

Former Yankees sinkerballer Ross Ohlendorf is looking to bounce back from a one-win season in Pittsburgh. The guy had a 4.07 ERA and only a single win. That’s brutal.

Former Yankees reliever Russ Springer has decided to retire. Although his career took him all over the big leagues, Springer was originally a seventh-round draft pick of the Yankees.

Buster Olney looked at what could be a solid Orioles lineup if Baltimore signs Vlad Guerrero. Of course, the Orioles pitching remains suspect.

• ESPNNewYork reports that Citi Field likely will host the 2013 all-star game.

• Speaking of the Mets, apparently Martin Luther King III is interested in buying a share of the team.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Noteswith 244 Comments →

Yankees reportedly out on Duchscherer01.30.11

Looks like you can cross Justin Duchscherer off the list of potential Yankees targets.

After an earlier report that the Orioles might be the favorite for Duchscherer, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that Duchscherer has narrowed his options to Baltimore, Seattle and Washington.

If the Yankees are going to land an additional rotation option — on something similar to the Bartolo Colon deal — their choices are going to be very limited.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 234 Comments →

Report: Orioles in lead for Duchscherer01.30.11

Ken Rosenthal is hearing that the Orioles are in the lead for Justin Duchscherer. Jerry Crasnick adds that Duchscherer is choosing from four different teams.

Rosenthal reports that Duchscherer has at least one Major League offer, and it might have come from Baltimore.

Just like pretty much every starting pitcher still on the market, Duchscherer has been linked to the Yankees in various reports. He’s in that group of available starters — Kevin Millwood, Freddy Garcia, Jeremy Bonderman, etc. — who could give the Yankees another option at the back of the rotation.

Brian Cashman has said that just because he hasn’t signed one of those guys yet, doesn’t necessarily mean he’s out of the market.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 49 Comments →

Sponsored by:
 

Search

    Advertisement

    Follow

    Mobile

    Read The LoHud Yankees Blog on the go by navigating to the blog on your smartphone or mobile device's browser. No apps or downloads are required.

Advertisement

Place an ad

Call (914) 694-3581