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


Hopes and expectations on Day 1 of the open market

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Nov 03, 2012 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

The free agent market opened to everyone today. The Yankees re-signed no one during their exclusive negotiating window, but that’s not unusual. There are always very few deals worked out in that early time frame, and the Red Sox two-year agreement with David Ortiz stands out as an exception, not the norm.

Now the Yankees are left to shuffle through a market that seems thin. Zack Greinke and Josh Hamilton are the standouts, but both come with obvious concerns about health and ability to perform in New York. For the Yankees most glaring needs, this market offers solutions, but it offers nothing in the way of absolute perfection.

ROTATION
Greinke is the clear standout of the bunch, but if the Yankees aren’t sold on his ability to handle the pressure of the Bronx, then the options get thin quickly. Keith Law’s ranking of the winter’s top 50 free agents lists Hiroki Kuroda as the second-best starting pitcher available. The other starters in his top 10 overall:

Kyle Lohse – More reliable than dominant through most of his career, but coming off two very good seasons. At 34 years old, can he really maintain that performance?
Dan Haren – There’s a reason the Angels declined his option for next season. A bad back and a down year have created real concerns about whether the 32-year-old is still a No. 2 starter.
Edwin Jackson – Always tantalizing, occasionally terrific, consistently falling short of hopes and expectations.
Anibal Sanchez – Turns 29 before Opening Day, and he’s been a pretty good starter for the past three years. Seems to have moved beyond past shoulder problems.

You could dig beyond that group to find guys like Ryan Dempster, Brandon McCarthy and Jeremy Guthrie. All are legitimate mid-rotation options, some with potential to be No. 2-types, but there are risks associated with every one. In some cases, the risk would multiply substantially with a multi-year deal. What makes those options particularly uncertain for the Yankees is that there’s little guarantee any of them would be better than Kuroda or Andy Pettitte, each of whom could be locked up on one-year deals to eliminate long-term risk. It’s not a bad group, but there are more A.J. Burnetts than CC Sabathias.

OUTFIELD
With Nick Swisher hitting the open market and unlikely to return, the Yankees need a right fielder. Chris Dickerson seemed to take some steps forward this year, but it’s hard to imagine the Yankees handing him an everyday job next season. And the market does have some legitimate outfield options, but here are two of the best available, each of whom looks awfully familiar.

B.J. Upton – He hit .246/.298/.454 this season, which suggests he’s little more than a younger version of Curtis Granderson, who hit .232/.319/.492. Across the board, Granderson has a better career average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage than Upton. There’s significant value in a center fielder with that kind of power, but the Yankees have to recognize that they already have this kind of player.
Michael Bourn — This was Bourn’s slash line this season: .274/.348/.391. This is Brett Gardner’s career slash line: .266/.355/.368. Bourn’s numbers are a little bit better, and he’s more proven, but for a pair of left-handed, 29-year-old center fielders, there’s not a ton of difference. Maybe Gardner’s injuries and relative inexperience raise red flags, but like with Upton, there has to be some acknowledgment that it’s a player very similar to what the Yankees already have.

Obvoiusly the market doesn’t stop with those two. Hamilton is a superstar with massive injury concerns. Melky Cabrera is a complete wild card coming off an All-Star season and a steroid suspension. Torii Hunter is still productive, but also into his late 30s. Ichiro Suzuki was trending quickly the wrong direction before two good months in pinstripes. The Yankees can most certainly fill their right field hole on the free agent market, but if you’re looking for a worry-free, superstar fit, this might not be the place.

CATCHER
Through much of the season, there weren’t many Yankees less popular with the fanbase than Russell Martin.  His batting average was shockingly low, and even as he drew some walks and hit some home runs, Martin became a symbol of things gone wrong. The Yankees loved his defense and ability to work with pitchers, but those offensive numbers were hard to overlook.

Two things have changed recently: Martin performed much better down the stretch, and the free agent market came into clear focus. With Austin Romine coming off a limited season, the Yankees in-house options are between a prospect with a bad back and a pair of career backups. The free agent market offers Martin and these two…

Mike Napoli – A powerful bat who might be little more than a first baseman pretending to be a catcher.
A.J. Pierzynski – A proven catcher coming off a career year offensively. He’s also about to turn 36, prompting questions about his ability to keep catching long-term and his ability to repeat this year’s show of power at the plate.

The market’s most reliable all-around catcher just might be Martin. Obviously he comes with some concerns, but that’s true of everyone on this market.

There’s always a hunt for perfection around here, but teams are locking up their elite players, and free agents hit the open market for a reason. Even when a perfect all-around player does become available, there are no guarantees that such production will continue indefinitely (see Teixiera, Mark).

This free agent market is thin, but it offers enough pieces that the Yankees can fill their needs without trading away elite prospects. You just have to know going in that there won’t be a major signing that comes with no concerns about productivity.

Associated Press photos

 
 

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43 Responses to “Hopes and expectations on Day 1 of the open market”

  1. Against All Odds November 3rd, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    G. Love November 3rd, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    Odds,

    Nothing that bad to report here thank goodness. The worst thing I saw was a gas station owner in CT on the NY border tell people with NY plates they couldn’t get gas there. The Police came in and straightened him out. That was starting to turn real ugly. Where I live I literally cross the street and I’m back in NY so to expect people with NY plates not to use his station was ridiculous.

    After a couple of days with no power though your mind starts to play tricks on you and you think people are going to walk up on your property and steal your generator. I didn’t sleep well at all this week worrying about stupid stuff like that.

    ——————–

    Yea in situations like this you start to worry about staying safe because in desperate times ppl do desperate things such as tell the public you can’t get gas here smh.

  2. RadioKev November 3rd, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    I’m not in love with the idea of signing Hunter, but if we could bring him on in a 4 OF set up, Granderson/Gardner/Ichiro/Hunter, that might not be half bad. Especially with guys like Mustelier/Dickerson in AAA and younger guys that could potentially make an impact soon.

    Not really sexy, but it could be an effective stop gap. I’m kind of neither here nor there or Hamilton. Just depends on the price. Same with a trade, at what cost?

    If we could grab Haren now for $5-8m that would be pretty good too. Especially if we could resign Kuroda and Pettitte. Last year was absolute proof you can never have enough pitching on hand.

  3. RadioKev November 3rd, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    Against All Odds November 3rd, 2012 at 1:09 pm
    Just saw Haren’s a free agent. That’s interesting.

    ———————–

    Yea very interesting being that he was a Cub and then Theo and co. backed out.
    ———

    Yeah, it is interesting. Personally I wonder if the Cubs were betting they could sign him cheaper as a free agent. That or it’s the medicals.

  4. JonS November 3rd, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    No way in hell Hunter goes somewhere as a 4th OF. He had a better year than Swisher. He was a borderline gold glover who ha always been good with the bat. The only concern is when he will deine due to being up in age.

  5. Against All Odds November 3rd, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    RadioKev November 3rd, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    Against All Odds November 3rd, 2012 at 1:09 pm
    Just saw Haren’s a free agent. That’s interesting.

    ———————–

    Yea very interesting being that he was a Cub and then Theo and co. backed out.
    ———

    Yeah, it is interesting. Personally I wonder if the Cubs were betting they could sign him cheaper as a free agent. That or it’s the medicals.

    ———–

    It could be the medicals his velocity decreased last yr if I’m not mistaken. I guess we’ll see what happens if the Cubs pursue him in the winter.

  6. Shame Spencer November 3rd, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    Hey all – Hope everyone made it through the storm okay. I’ve just got my power back today.. had a small incident with a tree/branch coming through my window, but otherwise things are a-okay in Shameland.

    So.. what’d I miss? Have you all missed me? ;)

  7. Against All Odds November 3rd, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    Shame!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Good to hear you got power back.

    #teamgreedy lives on :D

  8. Shame Spencer November 3rd, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    Team Greedy, very much like The Goonies, never say die!

  9. Against All Odds November 3rd, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    That’s true buddy.

    Yes you were missed in various threads ppl asked about you.

  10. Tar November 3rd, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    Shame

    You were very much missed. G Love great to hear you have power and are ok as well. Have a nice day everybody

  11. blake November 3rd, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    “I’m not in love with the idea of signing Hunter, but if we could bring him on in a 4 OF set up, Granderson/Gardner/Ichiro/Hunter”

    I think that’s be great if they could get Hunter and Ichiro to sign on for those roles…..I just think Hunter in particular is going to want to be assured he will play every day…..

    I like Hunter ok….think he’s be a fine stop gap if they can’t (or won’t) get anybody better….but the issues are that he will be 38 and is unlikely to reproduce 2012….and also that he will likely want a 2 year deal….I wouldn’t give him 2 years and I think Ichiro is more likely to do a one year deal if its either or there

  12. Shame Spencer November 3rd, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    I don’t think those 4 would make a bad OF… I dunno how much trouble you’d have convincing Hunter and Ichiro they need a bit more rest throughout the season to keep fresh. If you sign Ichiro and aren’t making a move for someone better/a long term option, I like the idea of Hunter.

  13. Shame Spencer November 3rd, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    And thank you Tar and AAO, I’ve missed you guys as well!! *group hug!*

    Things have been pretty ridiculous out here… I’m telling you, if the zombie apocalypse were ever to come to fruition we really would be screwed. Pick your teams now, just in case.

  14. luis November 3rd, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    G Love and Shame,

    So good to hear from you guys. Glad that you are both kicking and well ;) We need some greed around here ;)

  15. Against All Odds November 3rd, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    Shame Spencer November 3rd, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    And thank you Tar and AAO, I’ve missed you guys as well!! *group hug!*

    Things have been pretty ridiculous out here… I’m telling you, if the zombie apocalypse were ever to come to fruition we really would be screwed. Pick your teams now, just in case.

    —————————–

    *group hug*

    Yes it’s pretty bad out there. It just shows what happens when the basic necessities are limited or taken away.

    I’m picking team greedy. *puts on gear and shades*

  16. blake November 3rd, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    Glad Shame, Glove, and all you guys are ok

  17. Jackson November 3rd, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    Mo returning:

    http://www.nypost.com/p/blogs/.....QnCuiGCxjO

  18. jacksquat November 3rd, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    Pretty quiet day for the first day of open free agency…

  19. jr1212 November 3rd, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    http://riveraveblues.com/2012/.....013-78666/

    I guess this means no Soriano (unless Levine gets involved again).

  20. jacksquat November 3rd, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    The possible bullpen:

    Mo
    Drob
    Joba
    Logan
    Aardsma
    Cabral
    Phelps

    How does Montgomery fit in? You know Joe is going to want two lefties.

  21. blake November 3rd, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    @eboland11: Cashman: “Mo said he’d like to come back.” Informed the GM of his decision yesterday. Contract terms obviously will have to be worked out.

  22. hardwired7 November 3rd, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    “Mo returning”

    Does a dance similar to when the power came back on.

  23. UnKnown November 3rd, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    Awesome news about the great one coming back to close. Better yet this means Sori’s lease is over in NY.

    Hopefully MO can get locked up for no more than what Sori’s QO is which is 13.3.

  24. Against All Odds November 3rd, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    Mo back in the fold was there ever a doubt lol

  25. jr1212 November 3rd, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    If Kuroda and Pettite also decide to come back within the next week or so, Cashman will have some pieces to play around with. Their decision is goin to affect the whole offseason

  26. yankeefeminista November 3rd, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    Odds, never! Worth coming in just to so. :)

    Glad to see some missing people here G.Love, Shame, reporting in, safe. We are still without power, and are homeless right now, hanging out in enemy territory (near Philly )till tomorrow. Then not sure what is next, but we’re keeping the faith. At least we have shelter, power, gas, and hot food out here!

  27. yankeefeminista November 3rd, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    I believe that next Pettitte will confirm he is coming back.

  28. yankeefeminista November 3rd, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    to *say so (I am out of practice re: posting…)

  29. Irreverent Discourse November 3rd, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    Wow, I just watched a mother with children in her car plow into the guy in front of her at a gas station because he was “taking too much gas”.

    It’s officially turning crazy out there. Be safe if you have to venture out in this mess, ESPECIALLY if you are going to a gas station.

  30. Tidrow November 3rd, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    How can Martin be the markets most reliable all around catcher? He never was and probably never will be more reliable than AJ Priezynski. Look at the numbers.

  31. Against All Odds November 3rd, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    Sorry to hear about you’re living situation YF.

    Where do you live?

  32. G. Love November 3rd, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the same day I get my power back, Mo announces he’s coming back.

    It’s a symbiotic relationship.

  33. yankeefeminista November 3rd, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    G Love, :)

  34. G. Love November 3rd, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    Yanksfem,

    Hang in there.

    Seeing and hearing what people are going through today since the power came back on is making me realize how lucky I was to get out of this with just having to sit in the dark for 5 days and wait for gas on long lines.

  35. yankeefeminista November 3rd, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    Odds, north central NJ, out in the country, so many trees down, so a lot of damage. Our town has 25% power. I doubt the rest will be back up for another week, but I’ll go back to vote on Tuesday and see what is up. We stayed in the house for a couple of days until it got too cold. There are still a lot of power lines down, and no Jersey power and light trucks anywhere to be seen, so no one knows which wires are dangerous. A lot of people are trapped in their houses still without power, until JCPL comes and removes potentially dangerous wires. We were lucky we could leave.

  36. tucker November 3rd, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    Good news on Mo. Not a surprise, and the timing of his announcement — after yanks extended a QO to Soriano — probably not a coincidence. Mo wants to claim his rightful place.

  37. yankeefeminista November 3rd, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    G Love, I filled the tank beforehand luckily. And will fill it again when I leave the Philly area. Last year we were without power for 8 days, so… we shall see. Glad you survived it though. And NJ is now gas rationing. Not sure about NY/CT.

  38. yankeefeminista November 3rd, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    Hey, isn’t AFL Rising Stars game on today? And on mlb network? Don’t even know if I can get it here. You can tell I am totally out of the loop.

    And FWIW, J-Ram should have been in BA’s top ten.

  39. Bronx Jeers November 3rd, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    I’m announcing my triumphant return to LoGud although the worst thing I can report is that I was stranded at Scottsdale golf resort. :sad:

  40. yankeefeminista November 3rd, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    Game’s on at 8PM on mlb network.

    Jeers for Jeers. ;)

  41. luis November 3rd, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    I am at the airport about to board the flight… Good to hear you are ok YF… Stay safe all of you guys… See you back with a half an hour difference time zone.

  42. yankeefeminista November 3rd, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    Hi Luis, thanks! I feel fortunate. Have a safe flight!

  43. Against All Odds November 3rd, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    yankeefeminista November 3rd, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    Odds, north central NJ, out in the country, so many trees down, so a lot of damage. Our town has 25% power. I doubt the rest will be back up for another week, but I’ll go back to vote on Tuesday and see what is up. We stayed in the house for a couple of days until it got too cold. There are still a lot of power lines down, and no Jersey power and light trucks anywhere to be seen, so no one knows which wires are dangerous. A lot of people are trapped in their houses still without power, until JCPL comes and removes potentially dangerous wires. We were lucky we could leave.

    ——————–

    Yes very lucky indeed to make it through YF. Can’t believe some ppl are still trapped in their house. Is it one of those things that workers have been notified and are just working their way toward that area or are they not aware at all?


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