In this job, the week between Christmas and New Years is a pretty easy time to take a few days off. I managed to spread my holiday week from North Carolina to Missouri to Michigan, and I got to see a lot of friends and family at every stop along the way. As expected, it was a fairly quiet week for the Yankees, with a few notable exceptions.
• Andruw Jones is coming back to reprise his role as platoon outfielder. The Yankees have been open about their interest, but there was some recent speculation about whether Jones might be lured elsewhere. Ultimately, the AP reports that he’ll receive a one-year deal worth $2 million, plus another $1.45 million in incentives.
• Add Hideki Okajima to the bullpen competition. The Yankees agreed to a minor league deal with the former Red Sox left-hander. He didn’t get much big league time last year, but his Triple-A numbers were good, and the Yankees basically got him on a no-risk contract. Seems likely he’ll compete with Rule 5 pick Cesar Cabral — also a former Red Sox reliever — to be a second lefty in the pen.
• Brian Cashman held a conference call to discuss Alex Rodriguez‘s right knee and left shoulder, each of which was treated with plasma-rich platelet injections in December. Sounds odd, but Cashman says Rodriguez is fine and there are no concerns about his availability for spring training.
• Not a lot of time left for the Yankees to negotiate with Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima, and as of two days ago, Jon Heyman was reporting that the two sides were not close to a deal.
• There was a report that the Rays might be interested in Jorge Posada, apparently as a backup catcher, first baseman and designated hitter. Of course, there’s still no indication — one way or the other — whether Posada wants to play next year.
• The Red Sox made another trade to bolster their rotation, dealing for Athletics closer Andrew Bailey, who will obviously replace Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth inning. The Red Sox downgraded their outfield in the process, losing Josh Reddick and a pair of minor leaguers in the deal.
• In a much smaller AL East bullpen deal, the Blue Jays traded for Jason Frasor, bringing back a player Toronto traded last season. Speaking of the Blue Jays, they signed short-term Yankees reliever Aaron Laffey to a split contract. They also signed free agent lefty Darren Oliver, who might have made sense as a target for the Yankees.
• Rutgers won the Pinstripe Bowl, beating Iowa State at Yankee Stadium.
Associated Press photo taken before the Pinstripe Bowl