The LoHud Yankees Blog

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

Archive for November, 2012

A pitching staff (as it is)11.28.12

If it’s not today, it will be soon. The Yankees are going to re-sign Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera.

“I think we’ll get there with both,” a source told me yesterday.

Obviously there’s still a chance things could fall apart, but at this point it seems safe to assume those two are back in the fold. That leaves the Yankees with a pitching staff that they could — if they wanted to — carry into spring training with no further alterations.

CC Sabathia
Hiroki Kuroda
Andy Pettitte
Phil Hughes
Ivan Nova/David Phelps

Best-case scenario for this group is pretty good. There’s an ace at the top, reliable veterans in the middle, and young guys with potential at the bottom. That’s a solid mix, and there’s certainly a strong chance the Yankees will add a low-cost veteran or two. Adam Warren and Brett Marshall loom as depth if nothing else, and Michael Pineda lurks as a mid-season possibility.

Mariano Rivera
Dave Robertson
Joba Chamberlain
David Aardsma
Boone Logan
Clay Rapada
Cody Eppley

Add Phelps to this mix if he’s not in the rotation. The 40-man roster also has guys like Cesar Cabral and Mickey Storey as options, and you can bet the Yankees will bring some fringy veterans into the spring training competition. There’s always that chance that another established, late-inning alternative will be signed if the price is right.

As it is, this is not a bad pitching staff. In fact, it will be a very good one if Kuroda and Pettitte can repeat their results, Hughes and Nova can find some consistency, Aardsma and Chamberlain can thrive further removed from surgery, and Rivera can be his old self. If nothing else, there’s no pitching desperation at this point.

That said, is it enough? Would you like to see the Yankees add another arm, and if so, which pitcher — or what type of pitcher — do they need? Is this team still short a starter? Is there too much uncertainty in the late innings? Where is this pitching staff strongest, and where is it still too weak?

Associated Press photo

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Cashman to once again rappel for Stamford’s holiday celebration11.27.12

Brian Cashman is once again going to rappel as part of the holiday festivities in Stamford, Conn. And this time he’ll be joined by Bobby Valentine. Here are the details in the city of Stamford’s press release.

On Friday, November 30 from 6:00 to 9:00am (ET), Rick Reichmuth, FOX News Channel’s Meteoroligist, Brian Cashman, General Manager of the New York Yankees and sports great Bobby Valentine will broadcast live from the top, middle and bottom of one of Stamford, CT’s tallest buildings, The Landmark Building.

Santa’s Elf, Brian VanOrsdel will be on hand, strapping Rick, Brian and Bobby in and guiding them down the 22 stories of the building, all the while broadcasting live on the FOX News Channel, “FOX & Friends” morning newscast. FOX & Friends is the #1 cable morning show in the nation and has been #1 for over 100 months in a row. The event marks the start of Rappelling Santa’s arrival in Stamford and is a good practice run for the rappelling crew for Sunday’s Heights & Lights program

On Sunday, December 2 at 5:00 pm Brian Cashman, Bobby Valentine, Rick Reichmuth, Santa and friends are scheduled once again to make their dare devil descent down the 22 stories of the Landmark Building, for Reckson, A Division of SL Green Realty Corp’s Rappelling Santa. After the rappel, Santa’s busy holiday schedule will take him straight up Bedford Street to Latham Park where he will join the Stamford Community in Latham Park for music with The Jumpers Orchestra and the lighting of the Holiday Tree, donated by Bartlett Tree Company.

Practice Rappel: Friday, November 30, 2012, 6:00 AM to 9:00 AM
Heights & Lights Rappel: Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 5:00 PM

Landmark Square, Broad Street Street for Rappel and Latham Park, Bedford Street for Tree Lighting, Stamford Downtown

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 207 Comments →

Heyman: Yankees one of seven teams interested in Victorino11.27.12

Another good clubhouse guy from my time covering the Phillies minor league system, Shane Victorino is reportedly on the Yankees radar.

According to Jon Heyman, there are “at least” seven teams interested in Victorino, and the Yankees are among them. However, Heyman also notes that some teams are willing to give Victorino a three-year deal, and that doesn’t seem like the kind of commitment the Yankees are looking for.

Victorino would be a strong defensive right fielder, and he’d give the Yankees another switch hitter. He’s coming off a down season, but even then remained productive against left-handers (something the Yankees need). There are a lot of things to like about Victorino, but he’s far from a sure thing. As with everyone on the market, the Yankees interest in Victorino could hinge on money and years.

A few other quick notes:

• A source confirmed that deals with Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte are likely to be completed by the Winter Meetings, but he said it looks like neither deal will be finished today.

• The same source said reports of a deal with Ichiro Suzuki are completely false. The Yankees are engaged in conversations with other free agents, but nothing is likely to be done before the Pettitte and Rivera deals are complete. Joel Sherman went so far as to say the Yankees are not having any serious talks with Ichiro at this point.

• Andrew Marchand hears that Russell Martin is looking for a four-year deal worth close to $10 million per season. Yikes.

• The Angels have reportedly agreed to a one-year deal with Ryan Madson.

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Phillies catcher Ruiz suspended for positive amphetamine test11.27.12

One of my absolute favorite guys I ever covered in the minor leagues. I wasn’t happy to see this one, but here’s the announcement from Major League Baseball.

The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball announced today that Philadelphia Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz has received a 25-game suspension without pay after testing positive for an Amphetamine in violation of Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

The suspension of Ruiz is effective at the start of the 2013 regular season. He will be eligible to participate in Spring Training, including in Spring Training games.

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Montgomery and Romine named to AFL Top Prospects team11.27.12

The Arizona Fall League announced its 2012 Top Prospects team, which is selected by Fall League managers and coaches. Voters are told to consider Fall League performance, but also major league projectability. The Yankees landed two players on the list, but they were also left with two snubs.

Reliever Mark Montgomery and catcher Austin Romine were each chosen for the Top Prospects team.

Romine didn’t have an overwhelming stint in the Fall League — he hit .222/.342/.286 — but still had the second-highest OPS among full-time catchers in the league. Montgomery did his usual strikeout routine, collecting 19 Ks and five walks through 10.1 innings. He allowed a total of five hits.

Of course, this list is missing the names Slade Heathcott and David Adams. Heathcott is especially surprising given his Fall League performance — .388/.494/.612 — and high ceiling projection. Might have been hurt by the fact he missed some time with minor health problems, but I’m still surprised to see him left off. Adams didn’t make the list at either second base or third base and might have been hurt by the fact he wasn’t full time at either spot (also, the guys who made the list ahead of him are pretty good).

Here’s the full AFL Top Prospects team.

Billy Hamilton (CIN)
Rymer Liriano (SD)
Christian Yelich (MIA)
Kyle Jensen (MIA)
Josh Prince (MIL)
Nate Roberts (MIN)

Third Basemen
Cody Asche (PHI)
Anthony Rendon (WSH)

Didi Gregorius (CIN)
Nick Ahmed (ATL)

Second Basemen
Kolten Wong (STL)
Nick Franklin (SEA)

First Basemen
Chris McGuiness (TEX) League MVP
Jonathan Singleton (HOU)

Mike Zunino (SEA)
Austin Romine (NYY)

Designated Hitters
Matt Skole (WSH)
Bryce Brentz (BOS)

Starting Pitchers
Justin Marks (KC)
Kyle Gibson (MIN)

Relief Pitchers
Kevin Quackenbush (SD)
Mark Montgomery (NYY)

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 426 Comments →

Baseball mourns passing of Marvin Miller11.27.12

Marvin Miller, the founding Executive Director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, passed away at his home this morning. He was 95. From the MLBPA:

Marvin served as Executive Director from 1966-82. During his tenure, and through the collective bargaining process, Marvin led players to unprecedented levels of improved pension and health benefits and compensation, while also providing players a greater voice in the rules and regulations of the game. It is often said that Marvin helped form and create one of the strongest unions in American labor history.

Miller is a giant in the history of this game. Here’s what others have said about him today.

“It is with profound sorrow that we announce the passing of Marvin Miller. All players – past, present and future – owe a debt of gratitude to Marvin, and his influence transcends baseball. Marvin, without question, is largely responsible for ushering in the modern era of sports, which has resulted in tremendous benefits to players, owners and fans of all sports. It was an honor and a privilege to have known Marvin. The industry has never witnessed a more honorable man, and his passion for helping others and his principled resolve serve as the foundation of the MLBPA to this day. On behalf of all Major Leaguers and MLBPA staff, I extend my heartfelt sympathies to Marvin’s daughter, Susan, son, Peter, their families and Marvin’s many friends and admirers. Marvin was a champion among champions, and his legacy will live on forever.”
— current MLBPA Executive Director Michael Weiner

“Marvin possessed a combination of integrity, intelligence, eloquence, courage and grace that is simply unmatched in my experience. Without question, Marvin had more positive influence on Major League Baseball than any other person in the last half of the 20th century. It was a rare privilege for me to be able to work for him and with him. All of us who knew him will miss him enormously.”
— former MLBPA Executive Director Don Fehr

“Marvin Miller was a highly accomplished executive and a very influential figure in baseball history. He made a distinct impact on this sport, which is reflected in the state of the game today, and surely the Major League players of the last half-century have greatly benefited from his contributions. On behalf of Major League Baseball and the 30 Clubs, I extend my deepest condolences to Marvin’s family, friends and colleagues.”
— MLB commissioner Bud Selig

Associated Press photo of Miller and Joe Torre in 1972

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Pettitte reportedly close to re-signing11.27.12

Looks like things are getting started a little earlier today.

Buster Olney reported this morning that Andy Pettitte has decided to pitch in 2013, and the deal is almost done. Joel Sherman says it’s a one-year contract worth $10-11 million. I can’t help wondering if the delay in any hard news leaking out was caused by both sides wanting to have a deal in place before saying whether Pettitte wanted to pitching. It would have been embarrassing for both Pettitte and the Yankees to have it known that Pettitte wants to pitch, only to have the two sides get into a tough negotiation about money.

Now if the Yankees can also complete the Mariano Rivera deal this week — which seems possible — they’ll have three significant pieces in place heading into next week’s Winter Meetings.


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The waiting game: Andy Pettitte edition11.27.12

In five days, I’ll fly to Nashville for the Winter Meetings. And as a general rule, you expect a team to be in position to make a move by the time the Winter Meetings start.

At that point, it’s too late to say it’s too early.

And frankly, the Yankees do seem to be gaining some clarity. A week ago they took care of priority No. 1 by re-signing Hiroki Kuroda. They already know Mariano Rivera is coming back, it’s only a matter of getting the contract finalized. There’s finally some buzz about conversations with Russell Martin, and talk of interest in a few outfield targets.

Then there’s Andy Pettitte, who yesterday told Jack Curry that even the YES Network will have to stay tuned.

“All I’d say is a decision will be made soon,” Pettitte said in a text message to Curry.

A decision from Pettitte would let the Yankees truly determine how to proceed. If Pettitte’s coming back, the Yankees have a legitimate rotation in place, and they could still go bottom-feeding to add some fifth starter competition. If Pettitte’s not coming back, the Yankees have to figure out how to upgrade their rotation without hurting their ability to spend next winter. Doing that might affect the way they approach available catchers and outfielders.

With the Winter Meetings less than a week away, the Yankees offseason has a clear spotlight, and it’s pointed right at Andy Pettitte. It’s his move.

Associated Press photo

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Monday night notes and links: A few leftovers11.26.12

A few smaller moves and notes that might have escaped notice last week…

Another fringy reliever
It worked with Cody Eppley, and the Yankees keep adding some fringy bullpen arms. Right-hander Mickey Storey is the third relief pitcher the Yankees have claimed off waivers this winter. He made 26 appearances with the Astros last season and held opponents to a .237 average while getting more than a strikeout per inning pitched. Several of those appearances lasted two innings, and he made two starts in Triple-A, suggesting there’s some multi-inning ability if necessary. Just another arm to look at in spring training.

Gone and back again
Speaking of those fringy relievers, the Yankees lost and then re-signed one of them last week. David Herndon, a right-hander who had been claimed off waivers earlier this winter, was outrighted off the 40-man roster and immediately re-signed to a minor league contract worth $750,000 if he gets back to the big leagues ($180,000 while he’s in the minors). Herndon is coming off Tommy John surgery and I previously talked to one Yankees source who said the team legitimately believes he could help them in the second half next year. The Yankees like his arm.

Minor leaguers signing elsewhere
Baseball America’s latest round of minor league transactions included some familiar names, none of which have re-signed with the Yankees. RHP Eric Hacker (who was traded for Romulo Sanchez back in 2009) signed a minor league deal with the Giants. LHP Justin Thomas (who got some big league time at the end of this season) signed with Oakland. OF Jamie Hoffmann (the former Rule 5 pick who didn’t stick) signed with the Mets. OF Matt Carson (who wound up getting to the big leagues with Oakland and Cleveland) signed with the Indians. SS Alberto Gonzalez (the defense-first utility man) signed with the Cubs. RHP Dan McCutchen (part of the Nady/Marte trade in 2008) signed with the Orioles.

And a few smaller notes that popped up today…

Team USA coaching staff named
Former Yankees manager Joe Torre is going to manage Team USA at this year’s World Baseball Classic, and the rest of his coaching staff will including some other former Yankees. Major League Baseball today announced Torre’s staff: Larry Bowa (bench coach), Marcel Lachemann (bullpen/pitching coach), Greg Maddux (pitching coach), Dale Murphy (first-base coach), Gerald Perry (hitting coach) and Willie Randolph (third-base coach).

Postseason shares announced
There’s plenty of money in baseball. So much that teams are rewarded — significantly — for simply making the playoffs. Postseason shares were announced today, and a full share for the Giants was a record $377,002.64. A full share for the Tigers totaled $284,274.50. As for the Yankees, their share of the total players’ pool was $7,843,616.31, and the value of each of full share was $115,065.28. The Yankees awarded 58 full shares and 10.17 partial shares. For simply playing in the wild card game, the Rangers awarded 44 full shares worth $16,999.09 each. Back in Scranton, I was named Employee of the Month once and I believe I got a $20 gift card to Applebees or something. I’m just saying, Major League Baseball is different.

Opportunity to meet Wade Boggs
The Charleston RiverDogs announced they will hold an online auction for the opportunity to meet Wade Boggs during a private meet and greet opportunity. Boggs will serve as the guest speaker for the 9th Annual Hot Stove Banquet on February 1. The online auction for the meet and greet is currently open for bidding at and will continue through noon Jan. 31. Fans can bid all week (every week) with the bidding closing at noon on each Friday. Each week there will be two winners.

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What did I miss? Ichiro’s preference11.26.12

At this point it’s clear the Yankees are focused on pitching, with catching on their radar. And for the time being, at least one right fielder seems willing to wait.

This weekend, Ichiro Suzuki’s agent made it clear that Ichiro is not close to signing anywhere and would prefer a return to the Yankees.

“They are going after pitching first which is what the Yankees normally do,” Tony Attanasio told the New York Post. “There has been a lot of interest (from teams), but he enjoyed playing for the Yankees so much it’s hard for him to say no to the Yankees. His preference is to stay there instead of going someplace else, but we will wait and see.”

Ichiro doesn’t perfectly fit the Yankees “big, hairy monsters” approach, but given their financial concerns for 2014, they might have to change their approach depending on what fits. If Ichiro will take a one-year deal, he’ll fit. Whether that makes him the best fit is up for some debate.

The Yankees also seem to have some interest in bringing back Raul Ibanez, and adding Ichiro and Ibanez to an outfield that already has Brett Gardner and Curtis Granderson (and Chris Dickerson) would make the Yankees entirely left-handed in the outfield. That’s not a problem if Ichiro, Granderson and Ibanez can hit lefties, but that hasn’t always been the case (Gardner has usually handled lefties pretty well, but he hasn’t always been allowed to start against them). Clearly the Yankees would want some right-handed balance there.

Adding Ichiro would also give the Yankees two speed-based outfielders who don’t provide much power. That might not be a deal breaker, but it’s certainly not the Yankees usual method of roster construction.

That said, Ichiro thrived late last season. He still covers quite a bit of ground, he’s can still have an impact on the bases, and he could give the Yankees some leadoff insurance should Derek Jeter be unable to play on Opening Day. That’s to say nothing of his popularity in the clubhouse, and his veteran presence on the field.

It’s clear that Ichiro would like to come back. We’re still waiting to find out whether the Yankees want him.

Associated Press photo 

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