The LoHud Yankees Blog

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


Archive for November, 2012

Pirates reportedly willing to offer Martin three years11.29.12

The Pirates could be a serious challenger for Russell Martin.

Previous reports have linked Pittsburgh to the two-year Yankees catcher, and George King has offered details, writing that the Pirates recently increased their offer from two years up to three.

“They know they have pay a little more and go a little longer,” King’s source said.

If the Yankees are willing to go three years with Martin, it could be a real indication that they no longer believe Austin Romine can be a legitimate everyday catcher. Three years would basically bridge the gap until — if all goes well — Gary Sanchez will be ready for the big leagues.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 198 Comments →

LoHud Yankees chat begins at noon11.29.12

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 55 Comments →

The lingering question with Pettitte11.29.12

Andy Pettitte is signed. One year, $12 million. Forty-one years old in June. Five-man rotation in much better shape.

But here’s the number we still don’t know: How many innings can Pettitte actually pitch?

Because of injuries and premature retirement, Pettitte hasn’t reached 130 innings since 2009. Last year, even with the postseason he didn’t reach 100.

“I’m pretty confident,” Pettitte said yesterday. “I think 2010, I pulled the groin, so my innings were limited that year. I retired in 2011, then I threw the innings I did last year. I realize it’s been three years since I’ve pitched a normal full season. I know one thing, it’s going to be very good for me to know that I’m going (to pitch). I was training at the end of the season to get back for the postseason as best I could with my leg being broke, but knowing now that I have the rest of this offseason to train and get ready for a full season, I expect to be healthy. I expect to make my 34 starts or however many the Yankees want me to make. I think I can do that. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t try to do this again.

“I want to come and be an effective pitcher for us. For me, that’s going out there and taking my turn every fifth day, taking some of the pressure off the guys that are in the rotation right now.”

Even at his age, it’s hard to doubt that Pettitte can still be effective. He was terrific last season, and he’s talked about the limited workload making him feel fresh. What the Yankees need more than anything is a quality third starter, and Pettitte should give them that. But there has to be some question about just how much he can handle at this point.

It’s Pettitte, so another 200-inning season might not be out of the question. Can’t put it past him, but can’t count on it either.

“It was just like riding a bike last year,” Pettitte said. “From the first bullpen to the end, my command was good. My confidence was good. I felt like my focus was good. I don’t know. I feel like the older you get, you find a comfort level. I know that I really felt like that last year, and I hope to feel that exact same way this year all season.”

Don’t forget. Chat at noon. Stop by!

Associated Press photo

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 220 Comments →

PEDs come front and center on HOF ballot11.28.12

First things first, in the wake of the Andy Pettitte deal, I’m going to host a chat tomorrow at noon. Stop by if you can and we’ll talk about the Yankees offseason heading into next week’s winter meetings. We might even find some time to talk about the Hall of Fame ballot that was released today.

When it comes to the Hall of Fame, I tend to agree with our old friend Pete Abraham, who wrote today that he’s submitting a HOF ballot that reflects production, not suspicion.

Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and the rest of the scoundrels will get my vote. I’ll look at the players based on their statistical merit, how they compared to other players of their era and to other players in the Hall of Fame. I won’t sit at my desk and do Google searches to decide who is clean and who was cheating.

If you think that is a cowardly way out, I can’t argue with you. But it beats stabbing around in the dark and hoping to be right.

I’m a long way from having a Hall of Fame vote, and honestly, I’m happy about that. For now, it’s easy for me to sit back and have my vague opinion with no real consequence. I don’t have to study statistics or come up with my own definition of “integrity,” which is a stated part of the voters’ criteria. I can watch with interest, but without impact. I’m OK with that, because I’m not sure we’re far enough removed from the Steroid Era — if we’re removed from it at all — to have a clear understanding of what it means in the history of this game.

But certainly the steroid impact is going to be the hot button topic for this year’s Hall of Fame ballot.

Three players received at least 50 percent of the vote last year
Jack Morris (66.7 percent), Jeff Bagwell (56.0 percent), Lee Smith (50.6 percent)

Bagwell was kept out last year because of steroid suspicion. Smith is in that relief-pitcher gray area. Morris is one of the most hotly debated candidates on the ballot, and has been for a long time.

One of last year’s first timers earned enough votes to stay on the ballot this year
Bernie Williams

An overwhelming favorite in New York, Williams falls into that not-quite-a-Hall-of-Famer category for most voters. Probably won’t change this year.

Nine other players are returning to the ballot
Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, Dale Murphy, Tim Raines, Larry Walker, Alan Trammell, Edgar Martinez

Of this group, Raines got the most support last year with 48.7 percent of the vote. McGwire and Palmeiro are tainted by steroids, and Martinez’s support has been minimized because he was a designated hitter. Trammell, Walker and Murphy have some real believers out there, but so far not enough for induction. Mattingly is obviously a Yankees favorite, but he didn’t even crack 20 percent of the vote last year.

Six of this year’s first timers are legitimately huge names
Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Craig Biggio, Sammy Sosa, Mike Piazza, Curt Schilling

On the numbers alone, Bonds, Clemens, Biggio and Piazza would surely receive overwhelming support. But because of steroids, Biggio might be the only one with a real chance of induction this year. Sosa and Schilling don’t have the overwhelming resumes of the other four, but there are certainly plenty of people who believe one or both had Hall of Fame careers.

The 18 other first timers range from terrific to somewhat forgetable
Sandy Alomar Jr., David Wells, Kenny Lofton, Shawn Green, Julio Franco, Aaron Sele, Woody Williams, Roberto Hernandez, Jose Mesa, Mike Stanton, Jeff Cirillo, Royce Clayton, Todd Walker, Steve Finley, Reggie Sanders, Rondell White, Jeff Conine, Ryan Klesko

Without digging into the numbers at all, Wells, Lofton and Finley are the ones who standout on this list, but I’m not sure anyone in this group is going to receive considerable support. Maybe I’m overlooking something – Wells does have a lot of wins, and Lofton was awfully good – but if Bernie Williams got less than 10 percent of the vote last year, I’m not sure any of these guys will make a serious splash.

Associated Press photo

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 479 Comments →

Pettitte: “I had the desire to do the work”11.28.12

When the Yankees season came to an abrupt end, Brian Cashman wasted no time trying to get Andy Pettitte back into the rotation.

“As soon as the season was over, I spoke with Cash,” Pettitte said. “(He) basically said that, ‘As soon as you can, we want you back. I don’t know what you’re going to do, but as soon as you decide, we want to sign you back.’ That’s obviously huge for a player. For Cash to reach out to me and tell me that, you feel like this organization feels pretty good about bringing you back and feels pretty good about what you’ve done, and that’s obviously a huge part of me coming back also.”

Pettitte went home. Spent roughly a month with his family. Helped his oldest son, Josh, choose a college. Made sure his wife was still okay with another season. About two weeks ago, he started working out again. He told the Yankees he wanted to comeback, and the basics of the deal were in place before Thanksgiving. Everything came together quickly, with few surprises or hesitations.

“The Yankees made it easy on me,” Pettitte said. “My agent called me and said, ‘Hey, this is what we’ve got. I don’t think they’re doing anything else.’ And I agreed. Then we just had the Thanksgiving weekend, so really the negotiations it seemed like were for a day or so. That was it.”

A few other Pettitte comments from today’s conference call:

On how strongly he considered retirement
“I think everyone, the way I was feeling, was kind of assuming I still had a great desire to pitch. It was still a point where I still felt like it was pretty important to go home whenever I tried to start making the decision on if I was going to play again or not, and obviously still talk to the family about the situation and what they were thinking. Just to make sure, they — especially my wife — hadn’t had a change of how she was feeling about things. So it was for me pretty easy once I started working out and trying to decide if I felt like I had the desire to do the work that needed to be put in. It was pretty easy for me to realize that this was something I wanted to try and do again.”

On whether last year’s injury factored into the decision to come back
“I’m not real sure exactly how that played into it. I definitely think that if I would have pitched a full season and thrown 200 innings that I definitely wouldn’t feel as fresh and physically feel as good as I do right now, and obviously (I) was able to I feel like that helped lead me to a quick decision. … I would imagine if I’d thrown a full season and 200 innings, my body would be beat up pretty good and it would have definitely been a more difficult decision. I may have maybe fully exhausted myself of feeling like this is something I can still do. With the injury, I still have the desire. For me, it was when I tried to start working out on the 16th or 17th of this month, really having strong desire still to work and looking forward to doing the work to pitch a big league season this year.”

On whether his competitive nature is as high as when he was younger
“When I retired, I just did not have the desire to work. Whenever I came back last year, when Cash spoke to me about would I consider coming back, when I started working out, that desire was there again. Last year, I felt my desire to compete was as strong as it’s ever been in my career. I still feel like that right now. There’s obviously a point where that desire will be there and the competitive nature will be there, but you just can’t do it. I feel like I’m healthy, the desire is there, the family is behind it and I feel good about it in my heart to do it. I would say it’s pretty strong.”

On whether he would consider pitching beyond 2013
“Whenever I shut it down again, that is going to be it. It wouldn’t be smart for me to just say right now that I would never play next year. I just don’t think that would be smart because I have no idea. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know what this year is going to hold. There’s a lot of things that will go on during the course of this year, I would imagine, that will play into that decision at the end of this season.”

On whether this team is good enough to win a World Series
“I think we’re good enough to go all the way, I really do. I’m at the point where, if I didn’t feel like we had a chance to win it, deep down, I wouldn’t do this. I feel like we’ve got a certain group of guys that are still there and that know how to win and know how to get it done, and we can go do that. Very disappointed in the way last year ended. I know everyone is. What I’m hoping is that we can learn from that. We can learn from the failure that we had last year in the playoffs, the disappointment, and we can be better and hopefully get back to where we were last year and have an opportunity to go to a World Series. That’s all you can ask. We know the division is going to be nasty, tough again. It is going to be an absolute grind the way the teams have built themselves up, but we’re looking forward to it. We’re looking forward to the competition and I know that we’ve got a team that has a chance to win.”

Associated Press photo

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 386 Comments →

Braves sign B.J. Upton to five-year deal11.28.12

Andy Pettitte just held a conference call. I’ll have highlights on the blog after I get my newspaper story finished, but there was nothing too shocking. Pettitte wouldn’t rule out the idea of pitching again in 2014, but that doesn’t seem to be on his mind. He also said the contract was basically finished before Thanksgiving and came together after only a day or two.

Meanwhile, down in Atlanta, the Braves have signed B.J. Upton to a five-year deal worth $70-75 million. That’s helps set the bar for free agent position players like Nick Swisher.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 253 Comments →

Pettitte deal official; Whiteside DFA11.28.12

The Yankees have made the Andy Pettitte deal official. They’ve also announced that Eli Whiteside has been designated for assignment. If he clears, I have to think the Yankees will hold onto Whiteside to bring additional catching depth in Triple-A. Here’s the announcement from the Yankees.

YANKEES SIGN LHP ANDY PETTITTE

The New York Yankees today announced they have signed left-handed pitcher Andy Pettitte to a one-year Major League contract.

Pettitte, 40, went 5-4 with a 2.87 ERA (75.1IP, 24ER) in 12 starts with the Yankees in 2012 after joining the Major League club on May 13. He missed nearly three months on the disabled list with a fractured left ankle (June 28-September 19), but returned to make three regular season starts—two of which were scoreless—and two postseason starts, going 0-1 with a 3.29 ERA (13.2IP, 5ER) in his playoff appearances. After signing a minor league contract on March 16, he began the year by making four official minor league starts with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Double-A Trenton and Single-A Tampa and two unofficial extended spring training starts.

The left-hander owns a career record of 245-142 (.633) with a 3.86 ERA (3,130.2IP, 1,341ER) in 491 starts over 17 Major League seasons with the Yankees (1995-2003, ‘07-10 and ‘12) and Houston Astros (2004-06). Among all pitchers currently signed with a Major League club, Pettitte ranks first in wins, starts, strikeouts and innings pitched. He is one of just 26 pitchers all time to be 100-or-more games over .500, and—of the 19 Hall of Fame-eligible pitchers who have reached that plateau—only “Parisian Bob” Caruthers, who went 218-99 from 1884-92, is not enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Originally selected by the Yankees in the 22nd round of the 1990 First-Year Player Draft, the Louisiana native has pitched 14 seasons with the club, going 208-116 (.642) with a 3.95 ERA (2,611.0IP, 1,146ER) and 1,892 strikeouts in 417 games (408 starts). In franchise history, he ranks second in strikeouts and starts, fourth in innings pitched and seventh in games pitched. His 208 wins with the Yankees are third-most in franchise history and, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, most for any pitcher for his current club.

Pettitte is the all-time winningest pitcher in postseason history, going 19-11 with a 3.81 ERA (276.2IP, 117ER) in 44 career starts. He also ranks first all time in postseason starts and innings pitched (276.2), and is second with 183 strikeouts. Of his 19 playoff wins, six have come in a possible series clincher, the most series-clinching wins all time. Pettitte has appeared in eight career World Series (seven as a Yankee), winning championships with the Yankees in 1996, ’98, ’99, 2000 and ’09.

The three-time All-Star (1996, 2001, ’10) and 2001 ALCS MVP has posted a record of .500 or better in each of his 17 Major League seasons. According to Elias, he holds the distinction of being the only pitcher in Major League history with a record of .500 or better while making at least 15 starts in each of the first 16 seasons of his career (1995-2010). He also posted a winning record in each of the first 13 seasons of his career (1995-2007), marking the third-longest such streak to begin a career all time, trailing only Hall of Famers Grover Cleveland Alexander (17) and Cy Young (15).

In order to make room on the 40-man roster, the Yankees designated catcher Eli Whiteside for assignment.

Associated Press photo

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 365 Comments →

Andy’s back11.28.12

The Andy Pettitte deal is done. A source has confirmed Ken Davidoff’s report that the Yankees have signed Pettitte to a one-year deal worth $12 million.

Associated Press photo

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 748 Comments →

From Charleston to Boston: Colbrunn named Red Sox hitting coach11.28.12

The Red Sox have named their hitting coach, and he comes from the Yankees minor league system.

Greg Colbrunn, the longtime hitting coach for Low-A Charleston, is the newest addition to the Red Sox staff.

“This was a very astute hire,” Brian Cashman said. “Greg is more than qualified for that job and in our estimation no better hitting candidate in the marketplace than him. We were lucky to have him for as long as we did.”

Colbrunn had been with the RiverDogs since 2007. He was the team’s hitting coach from 2007 to 2009 and again in 2011 and 2012. He was the team’s manager in 2010. Colbrunn lived fulltime just outside of Charleston.

“We hate to see Greg leave the RiverDogs but we also congratulate him on this terrific move,” Charleston general manager Dave Echols said in a statement. “He was very popular with the players, and our fans have come to appreciate his hard work and knowledge of the game. We couldn’t be happier for him to get the chance to return to the big leagues.”

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 523 Comments →

Pirates in position to take another one?11.28.12

Remember a few years ago when a series of secondary Yankees seemed to landed on the Pirates roster? Most were relatively small names — guys like Steven Jackson and Anthony Claggett — and a lot of them went in that Damaso Marte/Xavier Nady trade, but there were a handful of familiar names in Pittsburgh.

Now it seems the Pirates are going after someone the Yankees truly want.

Jon Heyman reports that the Pirates are thought to be the front-runners for Russell Martin, and they might be willing to significantly outbid the Yankees. From Heyman’s story:

The Rangers and Mariners are two more possible suitors for Martin, but his choice appears likely to come down to the Yankees and Pirates. And he is expected to make that choice sometime within the next several days, perhaps before the Winter Meetings, which will begin Monday in Nashville, Tenn.

Of course, the Yankees have plenty of backup options — and they have Austin Romine still carrying some upper-level prospect status — but the catching market is thin, and losing Martin would be a significant blow. Mike Napoli isn’t much of a catcher, and A.J. Pierzynski is certainly the next-best option out there.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 82 Comments →

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