This was the week of the GM Meetings, the week of BBWAA award announcements, and the week that instant replay changes were set in motion. But it was also a week that started with qualifying offer decisions.
Robinson Cano, Hiroki Kuroda and Curtis Granderson each declined, as did every other player in baseball who received the one-year, $14.1-million offer.
Two years into this system of free agent compensation, we have yet to see anyone accept a qualifying offer. Doesn’t mean the system’s not working, only means that it’s successfully letting teams determine which free agents are worth a supplemental draft pick. It’s assigning real-market value, rather than depending on the old Type-A, Type-B system that sometimes penalized players for being too effective in roles that don’t have overwhelming financial value.
In the case of Granderson in particular, it seemed this might be an opportunity for someone to accept a qualifying offer, but Marlon Byrd has already shown that offensive power is worth a lot in this market, and Granderson should have little trouble matching or exceeding $14.1 million.
Even after an injury, he’s still a compensation-worthy free agent, and in that way, the new system worked perfectly.
• The Yankees first significant signing of the winter — if you call it that — could be shortstop Brendan Ryan. The team is said to be “close” to a deal that would bring Ryan back as infield insurance. He’s an elite defender, and he had his moments with the bat during his brief Yankees tenure this season.
• Knowing the Yankees are in the market for a shortstop, Derek Jeter spoke at Joe Torre’s foundation gala and said he still fully expects to be the Yankees everyday player at the position next season. Jeter has started his offseason workout and said he feels good. He expects to be 100 percent healthy in 2014.
• There have been some snags in changing the Japanese posting system, and those snags led to an early belief that Masahiro Tanaka might not be posted after all this winter. The current thinking, though, seems to be that Tanaka will still become available at some point. He seems like a strong fit for the Yankees.
• Instant replay changes seem all but certain this point, with managers likely given two challenges per game (successful challenges won’t count toward the total) and given no opportunity to challenge a play that’s argued on the field. Kind of have to see these changes in action to have a real sense of how they will work.
• Alex Rodriguez was going to interview with MLB — setting the stage for him to testify during his appeal hearing — but then he called in sick. Just another weird event in a weird saga.
• Robinson Cano finished fifth in MVP voting, and Joe Girardi finished fourth for Manager of the Year. No Yankees player got a vote for either Rookie of the Year or Cy Young.
• Hal Steinbrenner made it clear that Mark Newman and Damon Oppenheimer will not be fired, meaning not huge shakeup in the player development department.
• Brian Cashman made it clear that the Yankees will tender a contract to Francisco Cervelli, meaning Cervelli will be back in some capacity next season. Chris Stewart might not be back.
• The Yankees announced their spring schedule, with pitchers and catchers scheduled to report on February 14. My girlfriend is going to love that. Happy Valentines Day!
• The Arizona Fall League season came to an end. Vidal Nuno probably had the most impressive numbers of all the Yankees prospects assigned to the league. The numbers from Peter O’Brien and Mason Williams showed a mix of good and bad, while the most significant Yankees news coming out of Arizona was the early decision to pull Tyler Austin because of ongoing wrist issues.
• Nothing official yet, but it certainly sounds like the Yankees are going to play two exhibition games in Panama next season. The trip would be a sort of gesture of thanks to Mariano Rivera, who’s from Panama and would, presumably, make the trip.
Associated Press photos