Yesterday, Sergio Romo got a two-year, $15-million deal to rejoin the Giants bullpen. He won’t necessarily be the closer in San Francisco, but we’ve seen that bullpens can evolve through the course of a season, and Romo has the ninth-inning experience to suggest he could step back into that job if necessary.
At some point, at the right price, the Yankees could consider a similar addition: adding an experienced, one-inning closer who could handle the ninth inning, leaving Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances free to pitch multiple innings and put out multiple fires during the course of a game. And if the experienced closer stumbles, the bullpen could evolve so that Betances or Miller moves into the ninth.
Essentially, an experienced closer would be little more than additional depth — except this would be depth that’s familiar with the ninth inning.
Would the Yankees bullpen be significantly better with one of these four free agents coming to camp as a ninth-inning possibility?
Opening day: 33 years old
Last season: 0.99 WHIP, 9.7 K/9, 2.4 BB/9
Career saves: 348 (44 in 2014)
Had not picked up more than 10 saves in a season since 2011, but Rodriguez stepped back into the ninth inning for Milwaukee this year, saved 44 games and went to the All-Star Game. His first half was quite a bit better than his second half — 0.90 WHIP vs. 1.15 WHIP — but his September was strong. He’s familiar with New York (and New York is familiar with his rocky storyline).
Opening day: 35 years old
Last season: 1.13 WHIP, 8.6 K/9, 2.8 BB/9
Career saves: 207 (32 in 2014)
Back in 2012, it was Soriano who ultimately became the Yankees closer after Mariano Rivera was hurt, and Soriano was awfully good. He spent most of 2014 still closing games for the Nationals, and his velocity was fairly similar to what the Yankees remember (fastball down a little bit, slider up a little bit). His WHIP, walk rate and home run rater were actually better this year than they were his last year with the Yankees.
Opening day: 33 years old
Last season: 1.18 WHIP, 5.5 K/9, 1.4 BB/9
Career saves: 90 (25 in 2014)
The Blue Jays closer the past three years, Janssen was good and steady until the second half of last season when he struggled mightily. He suffered a bad case of food poisoning at the all-star break, which might have thrown him off track, but for whatever reason he wasn’t the same in the second half (6.46 ERA, 1.48 WHIP). Otherwise, he’s been a pretty good late-inning guy in the AL East.
Opening day: 38 years old
Last season: 1.33 WHIP, 9.5 K/9, 3.5 BB/9
Career saves: 50 (12 in 2014)
Kind of a journeyman middle reliever for years, Grilli got to Pittsburgh in 2011 and his numbers spiked. In 2013 he was moved into the closer role and, at 36 years old, he made his first all-star team. He struggled with the Pirates in 2014, wound up traded to the Angels, and got his walk rate back under control. Through 40 appearances with the Angels, he was pretty good again with a 1.16 WHIP and 3.6 strikeouts per walk.
Associated Press photo
As details of the Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval deals filtered through the internet yesterday, a friend sent this text message: “Remember when the Red Sox went (overboard) in the winter 2010? Traded for Adrian Gonzalez? Got (Carl) Crawford? Yankees responded with…”
The ellipsis was his own, essentially a stand-in for a question mark. His point was this: What exactly did the Yankees do the last time the Red Sox got incredibly aggressive during an offseason?
So lets flash back to the winter of 2010-11…
What the Red Sox did: Most notably, they traded young talent for Adrian Gonzalez and signed Carl Crawford to a seven-year deal. Those two additions were in place before the end of the Winter Meetings (kind of like the Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval deals this offseason). The Red Sox also signed Jason Varitek to one last contract, and they brought in Bobby Jenks and Dan Wheeler to add bullpen depth (in a relatively minor move at the time, they also signed Andrew Miller).
What others thought: At the time, the Red Sox seemed to have built a powerhouse. They seemed deep in the lineup, in the rotation and in the bullpen. Sports Illustrated picked them to win the World Series. Of course, we now know that the end result was a total mess, but at the time, it looked like the Red Sox were building a juggernaut and the Yankees would have to keep up.
What the Yankees did: It was actually a pretty busy winter for the Yankees. Trading Juan Miranda to the Diamondbacks was only the beginning! The biggest moves, though, weren’t necessarily additions and it’s hard to classify any of these moves as direct reactions to the Red Sox (except maybe one unexpected splash for a player who seemed completely off the radar until he was suddenly on the roster).
These were the Yankees major moves in the winter of 2010-11, the last time the Red Sox went on an offseason spending spree:
1. Re-sign Derek Jeter — This was essentially The Captain’s final contract. It was a three-year deal with an option for a fourth year (rather than exercise that option, Jeter technically signed a new deal for 2014, but it comes down to the same thing). Coming off a bad 2010, Jeter was given four more seasons. He gave the Yankees a solid 2011, a very good 2012, an injured 2013 and a disappointing but memorable 2014.
2. Re-sign Mariano Rivera — This was supposed to be Rivera’s final contract. He signed a two-year deal that would take him through his age-42 season (which seemed perfect for the game’s final No. 42), but after injuring his knee in 2012, Rivera decided to come back for a farewell season. Without the injury, the two-year deal signed in December of 2010 would have been a success. Rivera was as good as ever in 2011 and was off to a strong start in 2012.
3. Sign Russell Martin — This was the initial one-year deal, with the Yankees having Martin under team control for a second year because of arbitration eligibility. Martin had an OK season. He was an all-star and hit for power, but his batting average was down. The Yankees brought him back for one more season, his average dipped even more, and Martin left for Pittsburgh.
4. Sign Pedro Feliciano — This was a total mess. Coming off three straight seasons in which he led the league in games pitched, Feliciano landed a two-year deal with the Yankees, who needed left-handed help in the bullpen. Feliciano was, of course, injured by the time the Yankees broke camp and he never pitched a single inning for the team. Boone Logan, instead, emerged as the go-to lefty.
5. Sign Rafael Soriano — I remember this one quite well because I’m the one who happened to be on the phone with Brian Cashman when he finally seemed to lose his patience with all of the questions about possibly signing Soriano. “I will not lose our No. 1 draft pick,” Cashman told me. “I would have for Cliff Lee. I won’t lose our No. 1 draft pick for anyone else.” Within a few days, Cashman was overruled, a draft pick was gone, and Soriano was in the Yankees bullpen.
6. Sign Bartolo Colon/Freddy Garcia — Two separate signings based on the same idea. The Yankees knew they needed additional rotation depth, and they went looking for it in unlikely places. Colon hadn’t pitched in the big leagues in more than a year, and Garcia had been extremely limited in three of the previous four seasons. Of course, both wound up pitching well that year, with Colon in particular launching a stunning career resurgence.
7. Sign Eric Chavez — Once a star player in Oakland, Chavez had been hurt so often that there were questions about whether he could even handle a part-time role at this point. The Yankees took a shot and got a decent but predictably injury shortened year off the bench. It was the next year that Chavez returned to the Yankees and delivered a truly impressive bounce-back season.
8. Sign Andruw Jones — His second year with the Yankees was kind of a mess, which makes it easy to forget that Jones was actually really good in his first year. The Yankees didn’t finalize their deal with Jones until spring training — he had a locker before he officially had a spot on the roster — and he delivered a .286/.384/.540 slash line against lefties.
Nine fairly significant signings — even if one of them never actually got on the field — but it’s hard to label any one of them a direct reaction to the Red Sox maneuvering. Certainly re-signing Jeter and Rivera had nothing to do with Boston, signing Martin had more to do with internal concerns about Jorge Posada, the Soriano signing didn’t happen until more than a month after the Red Sox big additions, and the other deals were basically attempts at bargain hunting. Seems likely we’ll see more of the same this offseason as the Yankees seem poised to stick with their original plan rather than spend recklessly based on the Red Sox signing two players the Yankees were never really after in the first place.
Associated Press and USA Today photos
Brian Heyman here for Chad today. So Mark Teixeira fielded grounders, did light jogging and took outdoor batting practice for the first time since aggravating his calf strain in Baltimore.
“Everything felt fine,” Teixeira said. “I obviously wasn’t pushing it really out there. But it was a good workout.”
Tomorrow he plans to ramp up the activity a bit more and then head for Tampa in the afternoon. He still has no timetable for a return.
“I’m just going to take it day by day,” Teixeira said. “That’s the plan this time around.”
If he’s still having problems when the first game of the playoffs gets here — the Yankees’ magic number for at least drawing a wild card is down to seven — Teixeira isn’t sure if he will be in there anyway.
“I have no idea,” Teixeira said. “It’s a decision we’ll all have to make together.”
He has concerns, like having to make a quick move to dive for a ball, having to have quick acceleration out of the box and having to push it on the basepaths.
“I want to be comfortable that I can do those things and not blow out again, because then we’re right back to square one,” Teixeira said. “The first game of the playoffs, we’re down one run and I need to beat out a double or beat out an infield hit and I blow out and I’m out for the rest of the playoffs, we’ve accomplished nothing. I just need to be able to play.”
But he says he’s improving.
“Sometimes walking up or down stairs, where I’m not being careful, it still feels a little tight, a little sore,” Teixeira said. “But overall it’s getting better. It’s progressing a little bit better each day.”
Curtis Granders0n, whose strikeout total is up to 182 and whose average is down to .232 (albeit with 39 homers and 94 RBI), is out of the lineup. “Just a day (off),” Joe Girardi said.
Girardi said he probably won’t have Rafael Soriano available for this game after he saves both ends of Wednesday’s doubleheader and blew the save last night. Soriano was experiencing what he felt was normal soreness last night. “I’m pretty sure that would go away,” Girardi said.
Girardi said he wasn’t sure if David Robertson will be available, either, after having appeared three straight days.
Ivan Nova will start today, coming off a good outing in his return to the rotation.
“We want to get him on a roll,” Girardi said.
Brett Gardner still hasn’t been activated.
The Yankees bring a one-game lead into this game.
“It’s playoff baseball in the month of September,” Girardi said. “… I think the guys are handling it very well and having fun.”
Praise for Soriano • 08.19.12
Rafael Soriano is not only the fastest Yankee to untuck his shirt after a game, he’s a Yankee who has had much to do with where they are right now.
Mariano Rivera wrecked his knee May 3 and Soriano has been a rather competent fill-in. We’ll see what happens in October, but the Yankees have no complaints so far with 30 saves in 32 tries to go with a 2-1 record and a 1.68 ERA in 51 games. Opponents have hit just .217 against Soriano.
After his 1-2-3 ninth Friday night against the Red Sox, he became the seventh Yankee to reach 30 saves since the stat began to be recognized on an official basis in 1969.
“It’s not easy to replace a closer, especially someone of Mo’s talent,” Joe Girardi said before Saturday’s 4-1 loss. “You talk about what Mo has done over his career. I don’t know where we are if Soriano … I mean, you start losing four or five games that you should’ve won, it’s different. And then there are concerns about how you’re closing games out.
“He’s meant a whole lot to this club and has accepted that role and has done a really good job and has ran with it.”
Soriano looks intense out there, but there is another side to him, according to Girardi.
“He’s fun loving … relaxed, good in the clubhouse,” Girardi said. “I enjoy being around him. He makes me laugh. He gets on people just like anyone else in the clubhouse. He’s fun.”
The Yankees hit five homers in this 6-4 win over the Red Sox, all solo shots. The homer total tied a season high, and not coincidently the previous time also came against Boston pitching.
“Yeah, the home runs, that’s the way they live and they had a whole bunch of them tonight,” Bobby Valentine said after the Sox fell 13 1/2 games behind the Yankees.
This time, they did it with Mark Teixeira sitting out with his inflamed left wrist.
“I feel like we’re playing pretty well with a lot of our big bombers not in the lineup,” Nick Swisher said. “I think it’s a testament to this team’s resiliency.”
Swisher hit one from each side of the plate, the 12th time that has happened for him in a game. Only Teixeira is ahead of him on the all-time list, with 13. Swisher now has four homers in his last five games, giving him 18 for the season. He also has at least one RBI and one run scored in his last six games, which is a career high.
“It just so happens I’m hot right now,” Swisher said. “I felt I picked something up a week ago. … It’s rare you feel good from both sides of the plate at the same time.”
Derek Jeter hit No. 10 on the season/career No. 250, so the Yankees now have 10 players with at least 10 homers, a major-league high. And it ties the franchise record established in 1998.
Phil Hughes threw away a potential double-play ball in the third thanks to a bad grip or he would’ve had seven shutout innings. The four runs in that inning were unearned. But Hughes only gave up four hits in all and is now tied with CC Sabathia for the team lead in wins with 12.
Hughes used his changeup a lot more, especially to righties.
“It was more just being stubborn before,” Hughes said.
“It’s something we’re probably going to use from here on out,” Russell Martin said.
Rafael Soriano’s great season continues. He picked up save No. 30 in 32 tries, so he’s the seventh Yankee to post 30 saves dating to 1969 when the modern save rule came into existence.
The Yankees have won eight of 10. Saturday’s pitching matchup will feature David Phelps and Jon Lester.
Brian Heyman back here at Yankee Stadium for the series finale. After batting seventh the last two nights, Mark Teixeira is in the three hole with Kansas City switching to lefty Will Smith, who will make his big-league debut.
“You look what Mark has done over his period as a right-handed hitter, he’s been outstanding,” Joe Girardi said. “He’s done a lot of damage here the three years that we’ve had him. We have not swung the bats particularly well against left-handers as a club this year, so I’m going with some track records and putting some guys where they’ve had a lot of success, and I put him there.”
Teixeira bemoaned his lack of selectivity so far, saying he has put too many balls in play. But he’s hopeful about the move up to No. 3.
“We’ve had a lot of success the last three years with me hitting third,” Teixeira said.
David Robertson has indicated that he hopes he’s about a week away from returning, if all goes well from here with the oblique. But will he be going back to the eighth inning or remaining as Mariano Rivera’s primary stand-in for the rest of the season? Girardi opened up the possibility of sticking with Rafael Soriano.
“Let’s just see where we are when Robbie gets back and how Robbie’s doing and how he feels,” Girardi said. “I’ll cross that bridge when the time comes. But I’ve been comfortable bringing in Sori where we’re bringing him because of his experience and what he’s done.
“Obviously he’s had a track record as a closer that’s been very successful, and I expect him to do that here, too.”
Who would you like to see as the closer, Robertson or Soriano?
Meanwhile, with Alex Rodriguez’s lack of productivity, the questions are starting over whether he can live up to his track record and be as productive anymore (with five more years on his contract after this one, we might add).
“I’m sure because he’s (almost) 37, I’m going to be asked that a lot more,” Girardi said. “Only time is going to tell.
“Do I think seven or eight home runs in a month is possible for Alex Rodriguez? Absolutely, I do. Now will you carry that over six months? I don’t know. That’s pretty tough for any hitter to do. But is Alex the kind of guy who can carry us for a month at a time? Yes, I believe that.”
At his best, Ivan Nova was unhitable today, and that’s what he and the Yankees seemed to take out of this outing.
“The command that I had — my fastball, my curveball, slider, especially the changeup today — was unbelievable,” Nova said. “Every time, here in spring training, when you’re trying to work on something, and you have a good day like today – everything was working – you’ve got to take it. You’ve got to be positive on that.”
Nova retired the first 12 batters he faced, then he closed his outing with a 1-2-3 seventh inning. He needed just 76 pitches, 58 strikes, to get through seven. In the middle, there was a two-run home run in the fifth inning and a two-run single in the sixth, but the Yankees came away yet again impressed by an outing that was better than the final pitching line might suggest. Nova’s had a couple of those this spring.
“Seven innings, five of them were really, really excellent,” Joe Girardi said. “He had the two that he struggled a little bit, but I was happy with what he did.”
• Not too far away in Clearwater, Hiroki Kuroda also finished with a pretty good game. He went 5.2 innings allowing one run on six hits. Kuroda got all the way up to 89 pitches in only his fourth start. Nova was making his fifth start and said he expects to start two more before breaking camp.
• The Yankees starters have performed well since Andy Pettitte signed, but Nova said that’s more about time than timing. “I think right now, everybody is in better shape than two weeks ago,” he said. “You’re going to see a lot of good results. Everybody is going to pitch good because everybody is feeling better. Everybody has more command, and I know for sure that pitches are working better than two weeks ago. For me, I expect the guys to pitch well too. I know it’s a competition, but you need not one man, I need my teammates to pitch good and have a good spring.”
• Derek Jeter went 1-for-2 in his return to the lineup. He had a first-inning single and grounded into a double play in the third inning. “I said, ‘You were actually pretty smart today,’” Joe Girardi said. “He didn’t try to kill himself running to first, which was smart.”
• Girardi said there were no other injury updates. He said after the game that he still had not heard any results from MRI and CT scan on Joba Chamberlain’s dislocated ankle.
• Jeter on Chamberlain’s injury: “You feel extremely bad for him. He’s worked hard to get his arm back in shape. It seemed as though he was ahead of schedule on that, and that’s because he worked extremely hard at it. Then to have something like this, a fluke accident, you feel extremely bad for him.”
• Mariano Rivera pitched another hitless inning and has yet to allow a hit in five outings this spring. Rafael Soriano also pitched a scoreless inning out of the bullpen today.
• New father David Phelps pitched in relief of Kuroda in Clearwater and 3.1 innings allowing two runs on three hits and a walk.
• Eduardo Nunez had three hits agianst the Twins today, and Robinson Cano had three hits against the Phillies. … Francisco Cervelli had two hits to raise his average to .214. … Ramiro Pena was 1-for-1 with a solo homer today. … Russell Martin, Brett Gardner, Eric Chavez, Brandon Laird, Chris Dickersona and Dewayne Wise had one hit appiece. … Mason Williams also singled today. He’s 2-for-2 in his pair of appearances in big league camp.
• Doug Bernier had another two-hit game in another start at shortstop. It’s still hard to imagine him making this team, but he’s really had a terrific spring. His batting average is up to .385.
• Speaking of good springs with no obvious roster spot: Justin Maxwell was 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored. His average is up to .444 this spring.
• Despite Bobby Valentine’s criticism, Girardi offered no apologies for not going into extra innings yesterday. “I’m going to worry about our guys,” Girardi said. Apparently much of Valentine’s criticism was based on the fact he had a pitcher — Clayton Mortensen — who he wanted to get in the game. Girardi said he would have been fine with playing just the top of the 10th if Valentine had asked. “That would have been acceptable to me,” Girardi said. “But there was no communication, and usually there is. And it’s not like this is something new. There’s a lot of tied ballgames in spring training that end in the ninth inning.”
• Mortensen, by the way, was optioned out of big league camp today.
Associated Press photos
Wednesday notes: No change for a change • 03.07.12
Finally, a pitcher who’s not working on a changeup.
Hiroki Kuroda throws fastballs and cutters, curveballs and sliders, but he doesn’t throw a change. And the Yankees don’t want him to. Kuroda’s out pitch is a splitfinger, which some pitchers use much the same way as a changeup.
“He doesn’t necessarily need to throw one because of that,” Joe Girardi said. “… His split is different from what some of our other guys have. I know he’ll throw his share of cutters as well. He starts with the location of his fastball, but I really like the split. I think if you look at the couple of strikeouts today, they were both very good splits. That’s a different look.”
Freddy Garcia has been effective with a splitfinger, but it’s not an especially common pitch these days. It’s been effective for Kuroda, and Russell Martin — who caught Kuroda in Los Angeles — has been talking about the effectiveness of that pitch since camp opened. Kuroda said he was happy with it today, and happy that he was able to mix all of his pitches in his first spring outing.
“Usually it takes the full spring training before everything is to the level I need it to be in the regular season,” he said. “… The most important thing that I wanted to accomplish was a feeling for the real game, and I think I was able to do that, so I’m happy.”
• On a day the team was visited by a pregame motivational speaker, the Yankees were held to four hits in a 4-0 loss. Nick Swisher and Jose Gil doubled in the loss. Russell Martin and Dewayne Wise singled.
• Before today’s game, Rafael Soriano told the coaching staff that he felt ready to pitch in a game. In the past, Soriano has been opposed to pitching against division opponents in spring training. “For whatever reason he wanted to pitch today, so I didn’t ask any questions,” Girardi said. “I think it’s good for him to get out there, and I was pleased with what I saw.”
• Soriano struck out two batters in a scoreless inning. Boone Logan also had two strikeouts in an inning, and Cory Wade threw a scoreless frame with one hit and no strikeouts.
• Martin is the Yankees early spring leader in stolen bases. He’s swiped two bags. Chris Dickerson is the only other Yankees player with one.
• Derek Jeter bobbled a ground ball for his first spring training error. Jayson Nix threw a ball away for his second. … Colin Curtis had an outfield assist, throwing to Nick Swisher who relayed to third base for an out that ended the sixth inning. … Clay Rapada pitched a scoreless eighth inning and stayed in to face a lefty to open the ninth. He struck out the lefty before giving way to Kevin Whelan for the final two outs. Rapada is trying to make the team as a left-handed specialist.
• Eduardo Nunez hit with a tee and soft toss today, and he’ll take light batting practice tomorrow, but he’s still not ready to get in a game and won’t play tomorrow. Nunez said his bruised right hand is still “a little bit” sore, but he’s been able to do full fielding drills with no problem. Today he was working out at third base, making the throw across the diamond from foul territory.
• Mark Teixeira had a regularly scheduled day off. His thumb — which he jammed making a tag yesterday — is fine.
• According to Baseball America, the Yankees have signed a Cuban lefty Rigoberto Arrebato to a minor league deal and released minor league first baseman Jamie Mallard. Mallard was signed in the middle of last season and never actually played in an official game.
• Girardi on Yogi Berra’s arrival in camp: “I felt like camp started today. Yogi’s here. It’s great to see… Just kind of puts a smile on everybody’s face. Things pick up around here a little bit. Really good to see.”
• It was announced today that the Yankees Triple-A affiliate officially will be called the Empire State Yankees this season. There’s even a slightly modified logo. The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre stadium is being rebuilt, forcing the team to play all of it’s games on the road, including multiple “home” games in Rochester, Syracuse, Buffalo and Batavia. The team is expected to return to its home stadium — and it’s original name — next year.
Associated Press photos
Pregame notes: Rivera ready to face hitters • 03.04.12
All of the days tend to blend together down here, and progress is marked only by minor landmarks along the way. The first full-squad workout is an early one. The first time pitchers face live hitters is another. The first Grapefruit League game is a big one.
Of course, you can also use Mariano Rivera to mark the passing of time.
There’s the day he shows up (only one day late this year). The day he finally decides to throw a bullpen. The day he begins speculating about when he’ll actually get in a game. And you know you’re well into the spring schedule when Rivera is actually scheduled to pitch.
The Rivera calendar takes another step forward tomorrow, when the Yankees closer faces live hitters for the first time. Rivera will throw early batting practice tomorrow morning with Rafael Soriano. Chris Dickerson and Francisco Cervelli will have the pleasure of trying to hit against them.
Early spring training is officially over.
• On their usual starter’s schedule after pitching Friday, Adam Warren, Graham Stoneburner and Brett Marshall are throwing sides today. Warren said yesterday that he expects the starting pitchers to stay on a usual five-day schedule the rest of the way.
• Tomorrow’s sides: Ivan Nova, Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances, David Phelps and Brad Meyers. This will be the first side for Meyers, the Rule 5 pick who’s been dealing with a sore shoulder since the start of spring training.
• George Kontos has played catch the past two days. He’ll go throw regular workouts with no throwing today, then he’ll play long toss tomorrow. He’s progressing as expected from a sore oblique.
• Today’s available pitchers: Freddy Garcia gets the start followed by D.J. Mitchell, Boone Logan, Cory Wade, Clay Rapada, Kevin Whelan, Chase Whitley, Juan Cedeno, Adam Miller, Ryan Pope and Dan Burawa. My guess is that the guys after Whitley are backups today.
• Today’s second string: C J.R. Murphy, 1B Jose Gil, 2B David Adams, SS Doug Bernier, 3B Corban Joseph, LF Colin Curtis, CF Melky Mesa, RF Zoilo Almonte. There’s no backup DH listed.
• Tomorrow’s traveling players (including starter Michael Pineda and reliever Dave Robertson, scheduled to make their first appearances):
Pitchers: Dan Burawa, Cesar Cabral, Juan Cedeno, Brett Marshall, Adam Miller, Michael O’Connor, Michael Pineda, Ryan Pope, Dave Robertson, Graham Stoneburner.
Catchers: Jose Gil, Russell Martin, Gustavo Molina, J.R. Murphy, Gary Sanchez
Infielders: David Adams, Doug Bernier, Eric Chavez, Bill Hall, Corban Joseph, Brandon Laird, Jayson Nix, Eduardo Nunez, Ramiro Pena, Jorge Vazquez
Outfielders: Zoilo Almonte, Colin Curtis, Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson, Raul Ibanez, Justin Maxwell, Melky Mesa, Nick Swisher
UPDATE, 9:44 a.m.: How many Phillies starters have you heard of?
Tyson Gililes CF
Scott Podsednik DH
Ty Wigginton 3B
Hunter Pence RF
Domonic Brown LF
John Mayberry Jr. 1B
Michael Martinez 2B
Freddy Galvis SS
Tuffy Gosewisch C
RHP Roy Halladay
Associated Press photo
The potentially changing cost of a Type A • 11.09.11
Last winter, when Brian Cashman was arguing against the Yankees signing Rafael Soriano, part of his opposition had as much to do with Soriano’s status as his arm. Soriano was a Type A free agent, and that meant signing him would cost the Yankees a first-round draft pick, and that was a significant cost.
Yesterday, Buster Olney wrote that one of the current sticking points in the collective bargaining agreement negotiation is about Type A free agents, specifically making sure draft pick compensation doesn’t hurt the players themselves.
It ultimately didn’t hurt Soriano — and this winter it won’t hurt Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder — but some players who carry the Type A label could lose out on money because of it. They could accept arbitration for less than the open market would provide, or they could carry an added cost that brings their free agent value down. Kelly Johnson could be one such case this winter, like Grant Balfour and Juan Cruz were in the past.
According to Olney, the league and the union are discussing two alternatives to the current system.
1. Essentially making Type A free agents into Type B free agents so that they generate only compensation picks.
2. Creating a system that assures a massive payday for any Type A who accepts arbitration.
According to Olney: One of the unresolved questions is whether the Type A adjustments will be made for the 2012 season or for 2013. But there continues to be optimism, in general, that a new labor agreement will be finished sometime in the next two weeks.
An immediate change could obviously impact this winter’s free agent market, and the approach to some of the biggest names available.
Associated Press photo