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MLB Rumors: New York Yankees Still Considering Kevin Millwood

Via Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated:

Yankees still considering millwood. Innings eater. #canthurt

It seems like every couple of days Heyman tweets something connecting the Yankees and Kevin Millwood. From what we heard, though, Millwood is looking for at least $4-5 million to sign with a team, and last we heard, that was too much for the Yankees.

Without other suitors aggressively making moves though it seems like his price will have to drop. Pitchers and catchers are due on Monday, so hopefully that price drop will happen before then.

As it currently stands, the Yankees have two open rotation spots. It is assumed that Ivan Nova will get the fourth spot and Bartolo Colon, Sergio Mitre and Freddy Garcia will fight some prospects for the fifth and final rotation spot.


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New York Yankees: Nick Swisher Hires Scott Boras as Agent

Just one week ago Robinson Cano switched agents to Scott Boras, and now we are hearing that Nick Swisher will also switch to the most infamous agent in baseball, according to Joel Sherman of the NY Post.

Swisher, 30, has one year left on a five-year deal that will pay him $9 million in 2011. He also has a club option that the Yankees will most definitely pick up worth $10.25 million for 2012.

This means that when Swisher becomes a free agent he’ll be 32. That’s about how old Jayson Werth is right now (he actually turns 32 in May). Boras will almost definitely be throwing around comparisons between the two players, trying to get Swisher a deal worth north of $100 million as well.

There are obvious differences between Werth and Swisher, but nobody thought Werth would get as much as he ended up getting, so you’d better believe Boras will be expecting a big payday for his new client. With big years in 2011 and 2012, Swisher could be gearing up for a contract worth nearly $100 million.

With Cano set to become a free agent a year after Swisher, the Yankees are going to have to think long and hard about which one they are going to want to keep. At this point it seems highly doubtful that the Yankees will be able to re-sign both of them when they hit free agency.


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Boston Red Sox Sign Alfredo Aceves to Major League Deal

Via Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe:

This just in: the Red Sox have signed Alfredo Aceves to a Major League deal.

This stings.

Aceves was great for the Yankees in 2009. He pitched 84 innings in 43 games with a 3.54 ERA and a 10-1 record. He missed most of 2010 with a back injury and is not expected to be ready to start the season after he needed surgery to fix his clavicle that he broke in a bike accident.

So Brian Cashman released Aceves because he didn’t want him on a guaranteed contract and eat-up a spot on the 40-man roster.

Yes, he released Aceves while Damaso Marte, who probably won’t pitch at all in 2011, still takes up a spot.

To me, this is a very minor move. Back injuries are nasty and there is no guarantee that Aceves will even pitch effectively in 2011.

But still, this didn’t need to happen.

The Yankees, who have nearly a $200 million payroll, were pinching pennies, and now lost a potential starter and difference maker in the bullpen to the Red Sox. For what, $500,000?

Again, I don’t want to overstate the importance of this move. The Yankees bullpen should be fine and Aceves wouldn’t have been the rotation piece that puts them over the top. Still, it makes no sense for this to have happened. Not everybody needs to be signed on a non-guaranteed minor league deal.


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Michael Young: New York Yankees are 1 of 8 Teams He Will Accept a Trade To

Via Jeff Wilson of the Star-Telegram:

[Michael Young] is willing to be traded to eight teams, according to a source: St. Louis, Minnesota, Houston, Colorado, San Diego, the New York Yankees and both teams in Los Angeles.

He has not given the Rangers permission to pursue a trade to a team outside of his wish list, even though the Rangers have heard from a few teams not on it.

I wrote this post not to get people’s hopes up that the Yankees will go after Young. Actually, the opposite is true. As things stand right now, it is extremely hard to see the Yankees making a deal for him.

First of all, for his production, Young is an extremely expensive player. He’s still owed $48 million over the next three years. To put that in a little perspective, Fangraphs has him as worth just $13.13 million each year over the past three years, and at age 34, we can expect him to decline even further over the next three years.

Even still, most Yankees fans don’t care about money (even though you pay for it through extreme ticket prices). So let’s ignore the money aspect of it for a minute.

Young has formally requested that the Rangers trade him. A big part of the reason for that is because he doesn’t expect to get enough at bats in Texas.

He was supposed to be their everyday third baseman this year, but they signed Adrian Beltre. Then he was happy being the DH, but after they traded for Mike Napoli, Young doesn’t believe there will be enough at bats to go around.

That brings us to why he won’t fit with the Yankees.

If he’s expecting 500-600 at-bats or more in 2011, he’s not getting it in the Bronx. Even as versatile as Young is—he can play second, short and third—there just isn’t enough playing time to go around.

Robinson Cano almost takes no days off. Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez figure to sit at least 20-30 games each, but that’s at most 60 games for Young. Even if you put Young at DH for 20 or 30 more games, that still just 80-90 games for him to play.

That’s not going to come close to the 600 at-bats he’s going to need to make him happy.

So if he’s not going to be happy with 300-400 at bats in Texas, a place where he has played his entire career, what makes you think that he’ll be happy in the Bronx?

Besides, who wants a utility infielder, even one as good as Young, who makes $16 million a season. That’s so much more of a waste of money than Rafael Soriano was.

Don’t forget the prospects he would cost as well (although they admittedly wouldn’t be great prospects, but potentially ones that could be used in other deals).

What do you think? Should Young be somebody the Yankees are going after? Or does he just not fit into their roster?


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New York Yankees Tried Sign-and-Trade with DBacks for Carl Pavano

Via Joel Sherman of the NY Post:

There has been previous reporting done that when the Yankees were looking into reuniting with Carl Pavano this offseason that they would involve a third team as a way to avoid losing their first-round draft choice (this was prior to signing Soriano, which did cost that pick).

I have learned that the team was going to be the Diamondbacks, who essentially would have signed Pavano and then traded him to the Yankees for prospects. And that makes sense because the new Arizona GM, Kevin Towers, worked as a special assistant to Yankees GM Brian Cashman last year. One of Towers’ jobs was to assess the Yankees farm system, so he spent a lot of time watching Yankees prospects.

So there you have it. The Yankees were a lot closer to having signed Pavano than most people would be happy with. The truth is, that as much as people would have hated it, it might have been the best thing the Yankees could have done to improve their rotation this offseason (short of sending Jesus Montero and a bunch of other prospects to Kansas City for Zack Greinke, that is).

Even still, I’m happy the Yankees didn’t sign Pavano. Not because he spent four years in the Bronx and didn’t do much at all, but because it is doubtful I could have been able to handle the amount of vitriol that fans would have expressed toward him. It would have made angry Yankees fans even angrier. I’d rather see washed up guys try for one more season of glory while we wait for the prospects.

What do you think? Did the Yankees make a mistake not trying harder to sign Pavano? Or was it the smartest move they’ve made all offseason?

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New York Yankees Would Be Willing To Sign Jarrod Washburn to Minor League Deal

Via Joel Sherman of the New York Post:

Since the Yankees have been shopping in the vintage aisle, I decided yesterday to check if they had any interest in Carlos Delgado or Jarrod Washburn. They have zero interest in Delgado. They did check into Washburn earlier in the offseason to see if he was returning after missing last year. Matters did not go far. But if Washburn were willing to make like, say, Colon and Garcia and accept a minor-league deal then the Yankees would certainly consider bringing in the lefty. Remember that the Yankees talked to the Mariners about Washburn at the July 2009 trade deadline and found the asking price of a two-man package headed by Austin Jackson too much. Washburn was, instead, traded to Detroit.

It’s cool that Sherman looked to see if the Yankees had any interest in Washburn because I was wondering that myself at points this offseason.

He wouldn’t even come close to making up for Cliff Lee and wouldn’t even be a guarantee to eat up 150 innings, but he wouldn’t be a terrible pickup. Especially if he were signed to the same kind of deal Bartolo Colon or Freddy Garcia got.

Washburn is still 36 and a lefty. He didn’t play in 2010, but he didn’t have a terrible year in 2009. He actually had a very good first half with the Mariners that year, but after he was traded to the Tigers he had a rough time in Detroit.

Overall, in his final year, he made 28 starts and threw 176 innings with a 3.78 ERA.

If he could come back and come even close to that, he could be a big help for the Yankees this year.

The problem is that he might not be willing to come back on a minor league deal. I believe the only reason he didn’t play in 2010 is because he never got an offer he liked. It’s hard to see him turning around and accepting a minor league deal after that.

What do you think? Should the Yankees try contacting Washburn again?  Or is he washed up at this point and they might as well stick with what they’ve got?

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Russell Martin Not 100 Percent, Jesus Montero Wants Yankees Catching Job

The Yankees catching job is going to be one of the biggest focuses after the starting rotation this spring.

So it comes as no surprise that both Russell Martin and Jesus Montero have reported to spring training nearly a week early.

Both spoke to reporters today. Martin, who is recovering from both hip and knee surgery, admitted that he’s still not 100 percent, but added that he’s about 15 pounds lighter than he was last spring (ask a Dodger fan, they’ve heard that one before).

Martin isn’t taking anything for granted and realizes that he’s playing for a job. He plans on catching a little bit tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Montero seems like he’s all business this year.

If you don’t remember, last year he supposedly showed up to spring training out of shape and a few of the Yankees coaches made remarks about how he needs to step up before he’s big-league ready.

This year, it sounds different. Brian Costello of the NY Post reported that he looks like he lost weight (Montero, not Costello himself) and that he’s focused on making the majors this year.

Montero said his goal is to win the starting job, but more than that he just wants to prove to people that he can be a catcher. He was also asked about being involved in so many trade rumors, and he responded by saying that he wants to be a Yankee his whole career.

No word on whether or not Francisco Cervelli is there yet, but it doesn’t sound like it. He doesn’t have to report for six more days, but with all the question marks behind the plate and his up-and-down year last season (I’m being generous), it would be nice to see him in camp early. Maybe tomorrow.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman had said earlier in the offseason that the starting job is Martin’s, but he did say previously that it would be an open competition.

For the backup spot, Cashman left it open that it will be a three man competition between Cervelli, Montero and Austin Romine.


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A Retired Star: Andy Pettitte’s Top 10 Playoff Performances

I wanted to do this last week, but I never really got the chance. Anyway, he is one last (probably) post on Andy Pettitte. He has the reputation for being a great big game pitcher so here is a list of his 10 best post season starts.

10. The Game: ALDS, Game 2 vs. Texas

The Date: October 7, 1999

Pettitte’s line: 7.1 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K

Game summary: The 1999 Rangers had a dominating offense and finished first in the division with a 95-67 record, but the 1999 Yankees, were coming off one of their best seasons in franchise history and backed it up with a 98 win season that year. The two teams faced each other in the ALDS and after the Yankees easily took the first game 8-0 they turned to Pettitte for game two.

This was a vintage Pettitte start. He bended, but never broke and ultimately only gave up a solo shot to Juan Gonzalez in the fourth inning. He also battled out of jams in the second and fifth innings. Eventually he handed the game over to Jeff Nelson and Mariano Rivera who faced five batters, retiring them all. The Yankees won 3-1.

9. The Game: ALDS, Game 3 vs. Minnesota

The Date: October 11, 2009

Pettitte’s line: 6.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K

Game summary: The Minnesota Twins needed 163 games to make the playoffs that year and the Yankees needed only three to get rid of the. After taking the first two games of the series the Yankees sent Pettitte to the mound to finish them off and he didn’t disappoint.

The Yankees offense took a while to show up for this one as they were shutout over the first six innings, but Pettitte kept them in the game as he was perfect through 4.2 innings and didn’t allow a run until a Joe Mauer RBI-single drove in Denard Span in the bottom of the sixth.

The following inning the Yankees finally broke through with solo shots by Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada. Pettitte faced just one more batter before handing the ball off to Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, and Rivera to finish off the game. The Yankees won 4-1.

8. The Game: ALCS, Game 5 vs. Baltimore

The Date: October 13, 1996

Pettitte’s line: 8 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K

Game summary: The Yankees won this series in just five games, but it was much closer  in reality as the Yankees got some big breaks (Game 1 was the Jeffrey Maier home run game). Still the Yankees had a 3-1 lead and sent Pettitte, still in his first full season, to the mound to clinch the series.

Pettitte came out and threw two perfect innings when the Yankees jumped all over Scott Erickson and tagged him for six runs in the third inning. From there on Pettitte just cruised and the only runs the Orioles could score off him came as solo homers from Todd Zeile in the sixth and Eddie Murray in the eighth. Pettitte handed the ball over to John Wetteland in the ninth and the game was over. The Yankees won 6-4.

7. The Game: ALDS, Game 2 vs. Minnesota

The Date: October 2, 2003

Pettitte’s line: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 10 K

Game summary: The Twins took the first game of the 2003 ALDS and it was up to Pettitte to keep them from getting a strong 2-0 edge in the series. Pettitte was just what the Yankees ordered as he nearly shut the Twins down over seven innings, allowing just four hits and striking out 10.

In the beginning of this one, Pettitte was dominant and really only had troubles with Shannon Stewart until Torii Hunter homered to leadoff the fifth inning. From that point on the Twins presented some trouble for Pettitte, but it was nothing that he couldn’t handle. He allowed multiple base runners in the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings, but didn’t allow a single one to score. He handed the ball off to Rivera in the eighth inning for a two out save to preserve the 4-1 Yankees win.

6. The Game: ALDS, Game 2 vs. Texas

The Date: September 30, 1998

Pettitte’s line: 7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 8 K

Game summary: The Yankees won a franchise record 114 regular season games that year, but it would have meant nothing without a World Series title. In the first round the Yankees faced the Texas Rangers who as usual had an amazing lineup. Pettitte had no problem dealing with them though.

In the fifth inning he had a perfect game broken up by a Gonzalez double. He scored two batters later on a Ivan Rodriguez single. That was only a blip though as he retired six of the next seven batters before handing the ball off to Nelson. Rivera got the save as the Yankees won 3-1.

5. The Game: World Series, Game 4 vs. San Diego

The Date: October 21, 1998

Pettitte’s line: 7.1 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 4 K

Game summary: Pettitte had thrown a great game in the 1998 ALDS, but had a bad one in the ALCS that year so the Yankees moved him to the back of the rotation for the World Series. Pettitte didn’t pitch until game four with his team already up 3-0. It might have been a low pressure situation, but Kevin Brown was on the mound that night and he was in the middle of his prime. All Pettitte did was out-dueled one of the best pitchers in the game.

He had no problem in the first, but loaded the bases in the second before retiring Brown to escape danger. He retired the next eight batters before Brown singled in the fifth, but he got the next batter. The Yankees finally scratched out a run in the sixth inning, but with just a 1-0 lead Pettitte still had to come through big. He did that in the sixth and seventh innings before running into trouble in the eighth. Pettitte put two runners on that inning, but as has been the common theme among all of these games, a strong bullpen, Nelson and Rivera of course, bailed him out as the Yankees went on to win 3-0.

4. The Game: ALDS, Game 2 vs. Oakland

The Date: October 4, 2000

Pettitte’s line: 7.2 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K

Game summary: The 2000 Yankees limped into the playoffs and faced a very strong Athletics team in the first round who featured a powerful lineup and a very young big three in Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder, and Barry Zito. This easily could have been the end of the Yankees dynasty, but down 1-0 in the series already they turned to Pettitte in game two.

Pettitte didn’t start this one off great. He put two base runners on in the first and needed a double-play to get him out of trouble. He quickly settled down though as he tossed a perfect second, fourth, and fifth innings. In the sixth he gave up a leadoff double to Eric Chavez, but that was all. In the seventh he gave up two singles, but thanks to a double-play he escaped unharmed. In the eighth inning, he got the first two batters, but needed a four-out save from Rivera as the Yankees won 4-0.

3. The Game: ALCS, Game 1 vs. Seattle

The Date: October 17, 2001

Pettitte’s line: 8 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K

Game summary: The 2001 Mariners had a great offense, better pitching, and won an American League record 116 games that year. With a team this good it is important not to give them any momentum whatsoever. So the Yankees turned to Pettitte for game one.

A team like this normally gets a lot of respect, but Pettitte treated them like they were the Pirates. Against a 116 win team, Pettitte faced just two batters over the minimum through eight innings. Back-to-back hits in the fifth, a seventh inning single and a second inning walk were both erased on double-plays. The Yankees won 4-2.

2. The Game: World Series, Game 2 vs. Florida

The Date: October 19, 2003

Pettitte’s line: 8.2 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K

Game summary: Nobody expected much from the 2003 Marlins, but looking back they had a team full of young stars and we should have known better. They eventually beat the Yankees to win the World Series, but not before Pettitte had his way with them in game two.

In game two, Pettitte faced the minimum through four. Miguel Cabrera reached on an E5 in the fifth, Juan Encarnacion walked to leadoff the sixth, and Mike Lowell singled in the eighth. All of those batters were stranded as Pettitte cruised through those innings.

He nearly went the distance in this game, but a single, an error, and an RBI-single from Derrek Lee knocked him out of the game. Jose Contreras got the final out as the Yankees won 6-1.

1. The Game: World Series, Game 5 vs. Atlanta

The Date: October 24, 1996

Pettitte’s line: 8.1 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 4 K

Game summary: I don’t think this game being in the No. 1 spot comes as a surprise to anybody. Yankee Classics were invited for this type of game. It was a classic duel between the supposedly over-matched Yankees and the Braves. It was their Cy Young award winning veteran against the Yankees new star who won 21 games in just his first full season. The Yankees weren’t supposed to win this series and the night after they needed extra innings to mount their miraculous come-from-behind victory, Pettitte was sent to the mound to give his team an edge in the series.

Smoltz showed he was not phased by the comeback just the night before as he opened the game by striking out the side. Pettitte matched him by picking up two strikeouts of his own in the first inning.

In both the second and third innings Pettitte walked one batter and allowed him to steal second, but he faced very little difficulty. In the meantime the Yankees scratched across a run in the top of the fourth when Charlie Hays reached on an error charged to the center fielder Marquis Grissom. Two batters later ‘Big Daddy’ Cecil Fielder doubled him in.

With a 1-0 lead, Pettitte went back to work in the fourth. He walked a batter, but erased him on a double-play. In the fifth he gave up one hit, but this time they caught the runner stealing second.

Smoltz and Grissom leadoff the sixth inning with back-to-back singles, but Pettitte quickly worked his way out of trouble thanks to a bunt that Pettitte threw to third to get the lead runner. The next batter, Chipper Jones, hit the ball back to Pettitte who started a 1-4-3 double-play.

Still with just a 1-0 lead going into the seventh inning, Fred McGriff led off the inning by reaching on a Derek Jeter error. It didn’t phase Pettitte who got the next three batters to get out of the inning with little noise. The eighth inning was quiet despite a Grissom single.

In the top of the ninth inning the Yankees still held a 1-0 lead and managed to get runners on first and third, but the batter who came to the plate was Pettitte himself. Joe Torre left him in to hit though because Jones, a switch hitter, and McGriff, a lefty, were coming up to the plate to lead off the next inning.

This is where the tension grew immense. Pettitte flew out to left to end the inning. Then he came in and immediately gave up a double to Jones. He did get McGriff though and managed to turn the ball over to Wetteland who got the final two outs and finished off an amazing 1-0 victory for the Yankees. More importantly, Wetteland helped save a career defining moment for Pettitte.

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New York Yankees Rumors: Team Considering Scott Kazmir, Joe Saunders and Others

Via Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports:

LH targets kicked around by some #Yankees people: [Joe Saunders], [Scott Kazmir], [Wade LeBlanc], [Clayton Richard], [Gio Gonzalez]. Just ideas right now.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has been operating for most of this offseason with the belief that Andy Pettitte was not coming back. But now that his retirement is official, there is no doubt that Cashman is going to increase his efforts to add a quality starter to the rotation.

The thing is that these are the Yankees. They want front-of-the-rotation talent, and they’ll do what they have to do to get it. The problem is that there really is no front-end talent available. All of the names listed above are middle-of-the-rotation types at best. Also, teams know that the Yankees are desperate at this point, so they are going to ask for a lot for any of these pitchers.

Cashman has preached patience since the day Cliff Lee signed with the Phillies, and he is very proud of the farm system he has been integral in creating. So if teams are going to be looking to get an arm and a leg for any of these pitchers, he’s just going to pass.

So even though Yankees fans are clamoring for a better option, the truth is that there really may not be one at this time. So at this point, the Yankees are going to go into spring training and will try out Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia and a long list of minor league prospects.

At some point during the season, a starter will become available and the Yankees will be aggressive when that time comes. Until then, it’s going to be a rotation by trial and error.

What do you think? Are any of the names above worth a package of good prospects? Or should the Yankees wait for something better to come along?

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MLB Rumors: New York Yankees Considered Bringing Carl Pavano Back

Via Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports:

Yankees GM Brian Cashman told reporters Wednesday that he had “several discussions” with the agent for free agent right-hander Carl Pavano, who endured four trying seasons in New York from 2005 to ’08.

Pavano, in turn, seriously considered returning to the Yankees, according to major league sources, even telling friends at one point that he intended to rejoin the team.

The Yankees explored a one-year deal with Pavano at a high salary, sources said. The talks fizzled when the Twins guaranteed Pavano a second year—an important consideration for a pitcher who is 35.

According to one source, the Pavano camp made frequent contact with the Yankees, expressing a desire for the pitcher to return. The Yankees, though, were mindful of Pavano’s history with the team and were unwilling to forfeit a first-round draft pick by signing him—a sacrifice they later made for free agent reliever Rafael Soriano.

Wow, I really didn’t expect Cashman to get this desperate, but the truth is that after Cliff Lee, Pavano was the best free agent pitcher this offseason. A lot of Yankees fans don’t like Pavano, are not going to like that I even called him the next best pitcher after Lee and the booing would have been worse than it was with Javier Vazquez last season.

Cashman’s job is to put the best product on the field he can to win games, and that sometimes means ignoring what the fans want, as they can easily be blinded by emotion. But again, it is surprising to hear that he even explored this possibility because of the vitriol Pavano inspires in the Bronx.

It’s especially strange with Cashman’s contract up at the end of the year. If he had signed Pavano, he would have created a situation where he would have alienated a lot of fans who would be calling for his head next offseason.

What do you think? With the Yankees very thin rotation, would signing Pavano have been the right move? Or was Cashman crazy for even considering it?

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