Sunday, January 19, 2014
Five teams have reportedly submitted formal offers for Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, who is expected to make a decision by next Friday. The teams are the Cubs, White Sox, Yankees, Dodgers and D-backs. All of the bids were believed to be more than $100 million and over six years.
This is a BIT of a non-story for the following reasons…
1. There is no formal deadline for these offers. Other teams can still get into the bidding before next Friday.
2. These offers are just preliminary, so if any given team is outbid, they likely will have a chance to match or exceed the other team’s bid.
That said, the fact that the five teams most rumored to be in on Tanaka are also the five who made formal bids is likely a good sign that it will be one of these five teams that sign Tanaka.
Sources say that the Diamondback offer is 6 years/$120 million (plus the $20 million posting fee. All of these rumored following figures also include an additional $20 million posting fee). The Yankees and Dodgers offers are rumored to be roughly the same (but other rumors suggest that the Yankee offer is higher than the Dodger offer). The real wild card is the Cubs, who rumors have at all sorts of figures, even one as high as 8 years/$180 million (and a more likely figure of 6 years/$140 million).
With Tanaka and his agent playing things so close to the vest, it will be one crazy week until the 24th, when Tanaka has to make an official decision.
Friday, January 17, 2014
Injuries, inactivity, a PED suspension—and the threat of arbitration—have paid off for Francisco Cervelli, who agreed Thursday to a one-year deal with the Yankees calling for a near $200,000 raise.
Cervelli, who after winning the starting catcher’s job in spring training was limited to just 17 games last season due to a broken hand and later, an uncontested 50-game suspension for his involvement with Biogenesis, was paid $515,000 last season. According to a published report, he agreed to a $700,000 nonguaranteed contract for 2014.
Honestly, I think Cervelli did get hurt by his injury. If he had played a whole season, even if he had received a 50-game suspension he likely would have earned more than $700,000 based on his performance in 2013.
I imagine that Cervelli will start the season as the regular back-up for Brian McCann, but it really does make you wonder if the Yankees would be better off dealing him to make room for Austin Romine or JR Murphy. I think Cervelli could be a legitimate starting catcher in the Majors, or at the very least an above-average back-up, so I think that the Yankees might be able to get something useful for him. He has to show he is healthy, though, of course, before they can deal him for anything.
Sanchez has always been touted as having tremendous offensive upside, with power to spare—something he’s been able to tap into more as his approach has improved. He’s always had a strong arm, but the rest of his defense—while also better—still needs to catch up. His tools, though, have never been in question. There have been some concerns about his work ethic, but even on that front, he’s been moving in the right direction.
“[Sanchez] made some progress last year. He’s got more progress to make,” Yankees senior vice president of baseball operations Mark Newman said. “He was a 16-year-old kid when we signed him. It’s more the rules than the exception that they’re going to have to adjust to the work-ethic standards we have in professional baseball. He’s a good kid. He wants to be a good player.”
Whether it happens in New York remains to be seen. The Yanks signed seven-time All-Star Brian McCann to a five-year contract this offseason, seemingly creating a large roadblock for a young catcher like Sanchez. The positive is that now there’s no rush to get Sanchez ready for the big leagues. He can continue to iron out his game, mature physically and mentally, without that kind of pressure.
Sanchez is probably at least two years away, He’ll likely start 2014 in AA with a chance to move to AAA if he does well. If that happens he can start 2015 in AAA with a shot at making the majors at some point.
McCann is signed for five years with a vesting option for his sixth season (vests on 1000 PA between 2017-2018 and him not ending 2018 on the DL). So at some point we could see a time-sharing situation/platoon situation with the two. But I don’t think McCann is going to be blocking Sanchez if Sanchez forces the Yankees hand.
Let’s hope they have a dilemma in 2015 with a still productive McCann and a ready to play in the majors Sanchez.
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Abracadabra: Bonds Vanished
An autumn night in Astoria. Years ago, now. An indoor bar beyond a beer garden. A television screen showing a baseball game. I watch, because I love baseball. Ryan Braun hits a game winning home run. There’s no mystery attached. That’s what he does. And this is the essence. A pennant race, a pitcher of beer on the bar slab. He circles the bases. Barry Bonds wasn’t signed by anybody, throughout the winter, spring, summer, and early fall. I considered the season more enjoyable without his participation, hardly an obsessive thought, just a pleasing detail. Bonds, a distraction from the essence.
Similar to instances of collusion occurring in the eighties, the disinclination toward Bonds was public knowledge. A capable ballplayer was being denied an opportunity due to circumstances beyond performance. Bonds had aged, but his offensive skills remained extraordinary. It was I, Bonds. It was I. They said you couldn’t play. And I agreed.
Why was Bonds disposable? He was too damn good, and an inconvenience, pursued by the government, convicted in the public eye by obviousness. He was a magician who had been exposed, but wouldn’t leave the stage. And his sorcery seemed strengthened, not diminished, by the cauldron choking everyone else. Bonds, so good, so great. Bonds was so good that nobody would have been surprised to discover Pujols was just a disguise created by Bonds. Yes, there we would be, at the Awards dinner in Manhattan, the commissioner staring incredulous while Bonds tore open the mask, Millhauser style, and proclaimed the runner-up wasn’t real, he just wanted to take a few swings right-handed. But was Bonds real? He was real when he glided around left field like an elegant two-legged tank. That’s what they said, anyway. They said there were two versions of Barry Bonds, the beautiful yet flawed, and then the masterfully damned. We heard stories about Bonds. We pictured conversing with him. His mustache would be thin, his suit would be bright. We’d sit in the empty upper deck at Candlestick Park, and the air would have that electric feel, like before a big rain. We would try advising him. Keep your numbers clean, Bonds. We want your numbers to be clean.
One may argue Bonds was owed nothingness, a blank season, a void where walking isn’t counted. This man will be on trial, they shouted. This man will disrupt the team. Yes, said the defense lawyers among the mob, yes, because nobody with legal entanglements has ever participated in a professional sports season? Oh, the other side hated that response, the sarcasm burned. No, their rebuttal followed, no. For it seemed obvious that the grand sorcerer was a special case. They dreamt themselves judges, and their Bonds preferred exiting an exception. How else could this drama be interpreted?
Maybe he watched a playoff series. Maybe he watched Manny Ramirez make another Chicago Cubs season romantic. Maybe he watched Ryan Braun and the Brewers fail to advance. Their failure was bittersweet, because they were a good story. Braun, then, was a good story too. Like Manny. Unlike Bonds. They hadn’t been caught. They didn’t need our counsel in empty upper decks.
Baseball statistics are different. Isn’t that magic? And when is magic ever pure? Just this time, for this game? For our convenience? I said these words without speaking, years ago. I said, Barry Bonds, I’m glad you didn’t get to do what you love. Barry Bonds, even though you were capable, you pierced the illusion. That night in Astoria, I returned to the table with a pitcher of beer, and I said Ryan Braun was a great player. If they thought my words misled, they could check the numbers. Abracadabra.
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
“The Yankees have the greater need, and maybe a little more pressure to sign Tanaka after learning they won’t have to pay A-Rod in 2014,” Olney writes. “The Dodgers are perceived by some rival officials to be more shameless in their bidding, untethered to market prices shaped by other teams, and more driven by what they want.”
In a way, if you are a Dodgers fan, this isn’t any big surprise. In the last year-and-a-half, they’ve seen their team’s new owners make a trade that took on more than $250 million in salary and sign two free agent pitchers for another $200 million-plus.
But, from another angle, it’s an absolutely stunning possibility. The Yankees need Tanaka. Badly. The Dodgers just want him. If the Dodgers do end up with the right-hander, who went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA last year, it would tell us that the Yankees are no longer the Yankees. The Dodgers are now the Yankees. Their stadium just happens to have palm trees running along it instead of a subway line.
Everybody knows what this could mean, right? It used to be the Yankees out-bid teams on what amounted to a whim. In 2000, they claimed Jose Canseco (and $1 million left of his salary) off waivers from the Tampa Bay Rays even though Joe Torre had no plans to play him, simply because they were trying to keep him away from every other team.
The Yankees clearly have built their off-season around acquiring Tanaka, who might not begin the season as their No. 1 starter but—they hope—would emerge as their ace. He’d likely begin by pitching behind CC Sabathia, who led the American League in earned runs allowed last season. The next guy in New York’s rotation, Hiroki Kuroda, will turn 39 before Opening Day.
One National League GM told ESPNNewYork’s Andrew Marchand the Yankees look more like an 80-win team right now than a 90-win team, largely because of their pitching. The GM also believed the Yankees’ desperation would lead them to land Tanaka.
Is there really any doubt that Tanaka will be a Dodger by the weekend?
Morisi: Yankees Inquire About San Diego Infielder
You have to love offseason news. Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports had the following pieces of news tonight:
Sources: Yankees have made trade inquiry to Padres about infield depth; Logan Forsythe is the most realistic target, not Chase Headley.
Yankees farm system is not strong enough to acquire Chase Headley now; Logan Forsythe could be a RH complement to Kelly Johnson at 3B.
It is not that Logan Forsythe is not worth picking up (although I don’t really know if he is worth it), it just seems odd to me that Morosi isn’t reporting that the Yankees didn’t inquire about Headley, but that their minor league system is so bad that they can’t even be thinking about acquiring Headley. Seems like a lot of leaps, no? Not saying that he is wrong, but it just seems odd to report anything but “Yankees contact San Diego about an infielder. I would guess that they’re looking at Logan Forsythe, not Chase Headley, because I don’t think that they have enough assets to get Headley.”
Monday, January 13, 2014
Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka has narrowed the list of teams he’s willing to sign with to the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels, according to a report in a a Japanese newspaper.
And of those three, the Yankees are the favorite, according to the report.
Encouraging news, but the Dodgers and Angels scare me. They both throw around money like the Yankees used to.
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The New YorkYankees have signed infielder Scott Sizemore to a minor league deal, according to WFAN and CBSSports.com baseball insider Jon Heyman.
Sizemore, who has a history of knee woes, will have a shot to help fill the gaps left by second baseman Robinson Cano, who signed with Seattle this offseason, and suspended third baseman Alex Rodriguez.
Not a bad flier to take, especially on a minor league deal. CAIRO has Sizemore projected to hit .241/.324/.376 as an Athletic, which is probably something like .350/.430/.475 in DNYS but I don’t have CAIRO in front of me to recalculate it right now. Steamer had him at .254/.336/.399 and Oliver at .257/.345/.415. The average AL 2B hit .266/.325/.384 in 2013. Unfortunately, the defensive metrics think he gives a fair amount of that value back as he’s got a DRS of -6 and a UZR of -2 in 477.2 innings at 2B. Coming off knee surgery, it’s doubtful his range is going to get better. Then again, 477.2 innings is a very small sample size. He can also play 3B, albeit poorly so far in his 820 MLB innings (-11 DRS/-6 UZR),
Then again, bad defense at 2B and 3B is miles better than Nun-E.
Right now the Yankee infield looks like a disaster. So any incremental improvements they can add make sense. Ergo, this move makes lots of sense. This is further evidence of just how smart the Yankee front office is for all you haters out there.
Sunday, January 12, 2014
In advance of Biogenesis founder Anthony Bosch’s appearance on “60 Minutes” Sunday, the Major League Baseball Players Association blistered Major League Baseball and chief operating officer Rob Manfred for violating the confidentiality of their collectively-bargaining drug program and for continuing to “publicly pile-on Alex Rodriguez.” The union also said it was considering legal action against MLB.
This whole thing stinks.
Besides Mark Reynolds, the Yankees will consider Michael Young, a source told ESPN New York.
If it were a team other than the Yankees, I’d be ridiculing them about considering a player who has been below replacement level over the last two seasons and will be 37 in 2014 as any kind of option. Since it’s the Yankees, and they are run so well, they clearly have access to information we don’t which makes Young a great option.
Saturday, January 11, 2014
Alex Rodriguez’s suspension has been reduced to 162 games, according to the New York Yankees slugger’s spokesman.
Rodriguez originally received a 211-game suspension last season for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal.
So this means there will surely be an appeal, and this is going to continue to drag on. But it seems more likely than not that Rodriguez will not be playing for the Yankees in 2014.