The Curse of Jerry Hairston, Jr./Eric Hinske:

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NY Post: Scout’s mysterious concerns over Yankees’ hyped prospect
(57 Comments - 10/24/2016 11:42:48 am)

NYDN: Indians, Cubs benefiting from deadline trades with Yankees
(71 Comments - 10/20/2016 10:19:02 am)

NY Post: This is just what Yankees wanted to see from James Kaprielian
(66 Comments - 10/18/2016 3:08:21 am)

Lohud: Eight Yankees prospects get started in Arizona Fall League today
(43 Comments - 10/13/2016 9:29:30 pm)

ESPN: Yankees GM Brian Cashman will resist trading prospects for veteran stars
(121 Comments - 10/12/2016 5:31:00 pm)

FOX Sports: 20 years ago today, Jeffrey Maier gave Derek Jeter and the Yankees a boost
(73 Comments - 10/11/2016 10:24:35 pm)

Bloomberg: Mets Beat Yankees in Local TV Ratings for First Time Ever
(86 Comments - 10/6/2016 3:29:01 pm)

NY Post: Yankees say goodbye to Mark Teixeira and end on sour note
(54 Comments - 10/4/2016 9:07:01 am)

Orioles (88-73) @ Yankees (84-77), Sunday, 10/2/2016, 3:05PM ET
(23 Comments - 10/3/2016 2:05:20 pm)

Orioles (87-72) @ Yankees (83-76), Friday, 9/30/2016, 7:05pm
(44 Comments - 10/2/2016 9:52:54 am)


Current Projected

Look what people have to say about the RLYW!

CAIRO just takes the Marcels and changes the underlying assumptions and components in a bunch of ways that make the Yankees look better.

Wow, two stupid posts in one day. I think you’ve reached your yearly quota.

I don’t know if any of you current posters were around for that, but if so, I just can’t understand how you can call yourselves Yankee fans. Pathetic quitters is what you sounded like. Of the lame posts I could stand to read, the only person who had any confidence in the Yankees at that point was a (yeesh) Red Sox fan.
Jeter is King

Quite the attitude you have SG. Maybe you should shitcan this blog and join Steve at WasWatching? Or follow some other stupid team that has made the PS 15 of the last 17 years. Jeez… and some people think Yankee fans are entitled.

This site is best viewed with a monitor.

Disclaimer: If you think this is the official website of the New York Yankees, you're an idiot. Go away.

Friday, October 10, 2014

CBS Local: Yankees, General Manager Brian Cashman Agree To 3-Year Extension

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — As expected, he’s coming back.

The Yankees have re-signed general manager Brian Cashman to a three-year contract.

Cashman has been New York’s GM since 1998, when the Yankees won the World Series in his first season. He has built three more championship teams, most recently in 2009.

The #Yankees have re-signed Brian Cashman to a three-year contract to serve as Senior Vice President and General Manager.
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) October 10, 2014

I’m apathetic to this, much like I am apathetic to the team I used to care about.

Below, Brian [Cronin not Cashman]‘s more thoughtful take:

Brian Cashman is one of the most intriguing figures in baseball. I think he is one of the best general managers in the game, but there is always the question of whether he is actually good or if he just happens to be the General Manager of the team that is willing to outspend nearly every other team out there. The Yankees have done a poor job of team-building these past four seasons or so, but there’s always the question of who is to blame for it - Cashman or his higher-ups? It seems clear that he was given a strict payroll to work with in every offseason from 2010-2012 and then suddenly had that strict payroll lifted in the 2013 offseason. That strict cap, coupled with the changing face of Major League Baseball free agency (where young talented position players simply do not make it to free agency any more), was the biggest problem the Yankees had these past few seasons and that was not Cashman’s fault. However, once given freer reign this offseason, he handed out two terrible contracts to Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran while choosing not to give Robinson Cano (a player who is single-handedly better than Ellsbury and Beltran combined) a bad contract that certainly seemed to still be a better idea than the contracts handed out to Ellsbury and Beltran. So that’s on Cashman. As was the bad decision to sign Brian Roberts.

But then, during the regular season, he made astute trades that netted the Yankees some of their best players during the regular season - Brandon McCarthy, Martin Prado and Chase Headley. Those three helped keep the Yankees far more competitive than they had any reason to expect to be. And he gave up basically nobody in the deals (Pete O’Brien, a catcher who can’t catch, being the only one player traded who seemed to be actually part of the Yankees’ possible future plans).

So I think Cashman has still got “it,” but at the same time, there is a very good argument to be made that the Yankees should make a fresh start. I don’t really have a problem with that, except for the facts that:

1. The front office is going to remain no matter what
2. The front office would clearly either hire…
a. Cashman’s top assistant, Billy Eppler, in which case things won’t change since Eppler is very similar to Cashman
b. Some terrible outside GM who will be much worse than Cashman

With those two facts agreed on, I think they might as well stick with Cashman.

Another Update: Sources: Yankees fire well-respected hitting coach Kevin Long

Kevin Long, the well-respected hitting coach who presided over a couple record-setting Yankees hitting seasons, was fired by the team after its failure to make the playoffs, sources said.

Long helped guide the team to a couple of its greatest offensive seasons but was a victim of disappointing veteran performance this past season, as a few of their older players struggled. Long, an extremely well-respected hitting coach throughout baseball, is paying for the underachievement of some established veteran hitters in 2014, including Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann and Mark Teixeira.

Makes sense.  When a 38 year old outfielder with bad knees shows up out of shape and has a shitty year, it’s the hitting coach’s fault.  When you let your best offensive player go and replace him with a bunch of garbage, it’s also the hitting coach’s fault.

--Posted at 1:51 pm by SG / 120 Comments | - (0)

Monday, October 6, 2014

NYDN: Even with aging, overpriced sluggers and empty farm, Yankees have shot to win AL East in 2015

To hear Hal Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman tell it, a second straight season of missing the playoffs was a freak occurrence and a product of injuries — and all the impending gloom about the post-Derek Jeter Yankees is ill-conceived.

“I honestly believe if you repeated this season 100 times, you would not get this result,” is the way Cashman put it to the Daily News’ John Harper last week, and a couple of days later, Son of Boss Hal cited the injuries, “especially to the pitchers” and added: “We did invest a lot of money ($283 million in Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann) into upgrading the offense and I don’t think anybody would have seen some of the performances we wound up having.”

It’s funny, because I played this season out 100,000 times before it started and got the same result most of the time.

--Posted at 8:12 am by SG / 74 Comments | - (0)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

TGS NY: Yankees prep Brian Cashman deal

The New York Yankees have begun the process of constructing a new contract for longtime general manager Brian Cashman, sources close to the situation said.

He just completed his 17th season as the Yankees’ GM, yet they failed to make the playoffs the last two years—the first time that’s happened in consecutive seasons since 1992-93.

While I wouldn’t blame Cashman for everything that has put the Yankees in the position they are in right now, I find it awfully frustrating that a team that seems to need to change something will apparently not change anything.

--Posted at 1:03 pm by SG / 17 Comments | - (0)

Friday, September 5, 2014

FoxSports: Reports: Cashman expected to get extension from Yankees

The New York Yankees have had an up-and-down year, but it appears as though it won’t cost general manager Brian Cashman his job.

The Yankees are expected to offer Cashman, whose three-year, $9 million deal expires in October, an extension at the end of the season, according to multiple reports.

“There hasn’t been any discussions yet,’’ a source told New York Newsday. “But he’s done a good job.’‘

Cashman has served as the team’s GM since 1998, helping the team win four World Series titles. But the Yankees have struggled the past couple of seasons and are in danger of missing the playoffs in back-to-back years for the first time since 1992-93.

Eh.  It’s hard to judge how good of a GM Cashman is given the meddling he gets from the people he reports to.  Here’s what I do think.  The Yankees have a bunch of crappy contracts.  The Yankees have a crappy minor league system.  The Yankees will have missed the postseason two years in a row despite the addition of a second wild card which sets the bar for qualifying for the postseason at a markedly mediocre level.  It’s getting harder and harder to get franchise-changing players via free agency.

And the Yankees appear to have little interest in making changes to address any of those things.

--Posted at 9:49 am by SG / 23 Comments | - (0)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

NY Times: Parity Could Be a Plus for the So-So Yankees

Cashman said he expects to make a deal, because that is what he always does. But do the Yankees have the talent to get what they want?

“I feel that we do have the ability to make trades if that’s a route we so choose,” Cashman said. “How we line up with other clubs, I don’t know. It is in the eye of the beholder. But I definitely have people that are wanted within the industry. But we want those guys, too.”

The Yankees have gotten strong bullpen work from the homegrown Dellin Betances and Adam Warren, and those pitchers would have value. But the Yankees need them. With McCann on board for five years, they might consider dealing their top prospect, the Class AA catcher Gary Sanchez. But Sanchez was benched last week for unspecified disciplinary reasons and is hitting .246 with seven homers.

The sooner the Yankees act, Cashman said, the higher the price they will pay. He is not dwelling on the reasons the Yankees are mired in the middle.

“There’s a lot of reasons we are where we are right now,” he said. “The job is to get it where it belongs, which is first place.”

I have a hard time envisioning a trade that makes the Yankees the favorites to win the AL East at this point.  Actually, I can envision a few trades that would accomplish that, but none that are realistic.  Unless my dream of Alfonso Soriano for Mike Trout interests the Angels…

I’d rather see them stand pat at this point and hope for a miracle than further mortgage an already murky future to try and eke out another handful of wins this year.

--Posted at 9:44 am by SG / 6 Comments | - (0)

Friday, February 7, 2014

McCall: Cashman: Yankees view $155M pitcher Masahiro Tanaka as a No. 3 starter

New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told ESPN radio Friday that newly-acquired Japanese star pitcher Masahiro Tanaka has potential to a No. 3 starter.

Tanaka, 25, recently signed a seven-year, $155 million deal with the team, which is the fifth-largest contract ever for a major-league pitcher and the biggest for an international player. He can opt out after four years.

But Cashman downplayed Tanaka’s potential impact.

“We view him to be a really, solid consistent No. 3 starter,” Cashman said. “If we to get more than that, all the better. He’s got a great deal of ability.

This reads as Cashman trying to manage expectations on Tanaka as much as anything, but that’s going to be awfully hard when you give him one of the largest contracts that any pitcher has ever gotten.

But I don’t think it’s unrealistic to think that #3 starter is Tanaka’s most likely outcome.  And while that would certainly help the team, it’d sure feel like a disappointment to me.

Update: In other news, Alex Rodriguez is dropping his lawsuit and accepting his suspension.  He had no chance in hell of winning, so better now than later.

--Posted at 4:44 pm by SG / 39 Comments | - (0)

Monday, October 7, 2013

Seattle Times: Patient Cubs willing to top Yankees’ offer to Girardi

CHICAGO — The Cubs haven’t won a World Series since 1908, so they’re content to wait as long as possible until Joe Girardi decides whether to accept an offer to stay with the Yankees or pursue other opportunities.

There’s plenty of guarded optimism because the Cubs have made it clear through channels that they are willing to top whatever offer the Yankees tender, according to a source familiar with the negotiations.

Girardi, who is completing a three-year contract that paid him about $3 million in 2013, could be in line for a new contract that is longer than three years and could be more than $5 million annually, the source added.

“We’re going to give him a real good reason to stay,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said.

I’m assuming the real good reason to stay isn’t a contending team, so it must be money.

--Posted at 9:19 am by SG / 53 Comments | - (0)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

TGS NY: Yankees to offer Girardi a new deal

NEW YORK—With the assurance from Joe Girardi that he would like to return as New York Yankees manager, general manager Brian Cashman plans on offering him a raise when the time comes to negotiate with Girardi’s agent over lunch Wednesday.
. Girardi, 48, could have other opportunities in managing and broadcasting. Cashman declined to say if he would grant Girardi permission to speak to the Chicago Cubs, who fired Dale Sveum on Monday. Because Girardi is under contract until Oct. 31, a source told TGS NY that the Yankees are hesitant to give him permission to speak with the Cubs.

From the Yankees’ point of view, it would only give Girardi more leverage in negotiations. If talks were to break down, then the Yankees might let him talk to the Cubs, if Chicago has interest. On Sunday, Girardi said he would like the situation to be cleared up shortly.

When asked specifically about letting Girardi talk to the Cubs, Cashman declined to answer if he would or would not.

I don’t have a problem with bringing Girardi back.

--Posted at 9:17 am by SG / 18 Comments | - (0)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

NYDN: When it comes to Jeter, Cashman may need to play bad guy again concerning Yankees SS position

Brian Cashman has been willing to play the role of the bad guy in the past when dealing with aging star players, essentially telling Bernie Williams and Jorge Posada they were done as Yankees. So it will be intriguing, to say the least, to see how he handles the Derek Jeter situation.

The trickiest part is that the Yankee GM may have to make a tough call before Jeter gets the chance to show whether he can still play shortstop in spring training next year.

That’s the consensus opinion of six baseball people — three scouts, three executives — I polled this week, anyway. They all say the Yankees need to acquire an everyday shortstop for next season, as they are convinced Jeter won’t be able to play the position adequately, while Eduardo Nunez is too erratic defensively, and recent pick-up Brendan Ryan can’t hit.

“Cash is in a tough spot,” said one executive. “Jeter won’t like it if they bring in a shortstop, but they have to do it. Even if Jeter works all winter to strengthen that ankle, he was moving so poorly when he was out there that it’s bound to limit him in some ways.

Shortstop has killed the Yankees this year, and there’s no reason to think that if they don’t do something about it it won’t kill them again next year.  Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of good free agent options available that are primarily shortstops.  Here’s the list.

Player/Age:2013 slash line, 2013 bWAR
Clint Barmes/34,: .221/.264/.329,1.3
John McDonald/38,: .094/.171/.156,-0.5
Clint Barmes/34,: .221/.264/.329,1.3
Willie Bloomquist/35,: .348/.393/.393,0.7
Jamey Carroll/39,: .212/.266/.248,-0.9
Alexi Casilla#/28,: .220/.275/.303,0.8
Stephen Drew*/30,: .249/.331/.436,2.4
Yunel Escobar/30,: .267/.336/.382,3.5
Jhonny Peralta/31,: .305/.361/.461,3.4
Alex Gonzalez/36,: .177/.203/.230,-1
Brendan Ryan/31,: .196/.255/.276,0.2

Escobar has a team option, but he’s been solid for the Rays and I’m assuming they’ll pick it up.  Peralta and Drew are the only ones who look like they could be above average but neither one is a good long-term solution at the position given their age.  But they would be reasonable short-term options (say 3 or fewer years).

But that kind of leads to the next question.  Is a stop-gap really what this team needs at this point?  They’re more than a shortstop away from being a solid division title favorite, and they may not be able to spend enough at their other positions of need to make themselves into a solid division title contender.

But I do agree with the premise of the article.  They need to plan for life after Jeter and they need to do it now.

--Posted at 7:42 am by SG / 15 Comments | - (0)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

NYDN: Hal Steinbrenner calls Yankees high command to Tampa to discuss Bombers’ barren farm system

Concerned by the lack of big-league help the Yankees have gotten from their farm system this season, Hal Steinbrenner called his lieutenants to a meeting in Tampa Tuesday to discuss the club’s prospect development, according to sources.

According to a source, the meeting, which included Hal and Hank Steinbrener, GM Brian Cashman and team president Randy Levine, was “a preliminary session and the beginning of a process in which they’re evaluating the entire player development department and all that’s been going on with their scouting, drafting and developing over the past seasons (since Cashman was given full control of the minor league department from George Steinbrenner in 1995).”

The source added that there will be a number of future meetings as part of the process to determine what needs to be done as far as improving the Yankees’ record of drafting and producing players.

This meeting was a much-needed one.  Getting productive players out of the farm system is going to be imperative now with the way MLB’s economic landscape is changing.  It’s getting harder and harder to get true elite free agents, and there are caps on spending for amateur talent.

I also hope they are evaluating the scouting on foreign players who may be available from Japan or Cuba or anywhere else.

We’ll see what comes out of it.  I’m not expecting much unless there’s some kind of change in the organization.

--Posted at 9:37 am by SG / 48 Comments | - (0)

Monday, August 19, 2013

CBS: Cashman ‘Not Comfortable’ Talking To A-Rod Anymore

Prior to the game, A-Rod’s boss, Yankees general manager, Brian Cashman spoke to the media about the A-Rod situation.

Cashman said when he does speak to A-Rod, it is very brief and doesn’t have much to say to him.

“I’m not comfortable talking to Alex on this stuff, because I feel we’re in a litigious environment, so I am not comfortable anymore talking to him.”

“Hello, goodbye, and that’s it. Because anything else, I don’t want to be distorted, to be quite honest,” Cashman said.

So just tell him to STFU and be done with it.

--Posted at 12:55 pm by SG / 65 Comments | - (0)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

NY Post: Cashman anti-trade & overruled — again

Alfonso became the second straight Soriano that Brian Cashman advised Yankees ownership not to acquire — and was overruled on nevertheless.

Just as with the signing of free agent Rafael Soriano, the general manager believed Yankees assets could be spent better than on Alfonso Soriano, two executives not affiliated with the Yankees told The Post.

Cashman would not directly confirm what he advised Hal Steinbrenner, but told The Post: “I would say we are in a desperate time. Ownership wants to go for it. I didn’t want to give up a young arm [Corey Black]. But I understand the desperate need we have for offense. And Soriano will help us. The bottom line is this guy makes us better. Did ownership want him? Absolutely, yes. Does he make us better? Absolutely, yes. This is what Hal wants, and this is why we are doing it.”

I don’t think the Soriano trade was a bad trade.  I think it was a meh trade.  The bigger issue that this points to is exactly who is running the Yankees?  If Brian Cashman is fired or leaves why would we expect anything to change?

The Yankees are in “desperate times” because of a shitty offseason, and poor planning over the last few seasons.  They are delusional if they think they can field a championship caliber team on a $189M payroll with the players they have in the organization.

I guess we should be happy they didn’t force Cashman to get a bigger name and give up some of their higher rated prospects, not that any of them appear to be ready to contribute any time soon.

--Posted at 7:08 am by SG / 21 Comments | - (0)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

CBS Sports: A-Rod says he’ll join Yankees on Monday

Is Alex Rodriguez’s long-awaited and long-fretted-over return to the Yankees upon us at last? To hear, A-Rod tell it, yes, it might be. Here’s what Rodriguez told WFAN’s Mike Francesa on Wednesday:

“I will be back on Monday and I’m very excited.”
It should be noted that A-Rod qualified that declaration by saying, “If I have a good weekend, I’ll be there in Texas.”

The Yankees on Monday begin a four-game road series against the Rangers. The team has yet to make any kind of announcement regarding Rodriguez’s status.

In other news, Brian Cashman is carefully preparing his response to this outrage.

--Posted at 5:34 pm by SG / 29 Comments | - (0)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

TGS NY: A-Rod angers GM Brian Cashman

NEW YORK—Livid over Alex Rodriguez’s decision to tweet an update on his rehab process, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman had a message for the third baseman.

“You know what, when the Yankees want to announce something, [we will],” Cashman told ESPN New York. “Alex should just shut the f—- up. That’s it. I’m going to call Alex now.”

Rodriguez tweeted Tuesday that he has been cleared to play in rehab games. Rodriguez’s comments seemed to contradict what Cashman told ESPN New York’s Wallace Matthews on Monday.

I find Cashman’s reaction to this absolutely bizarre.

--Posted at 10:46 pm by SG / 15 Comments | - (0)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

NY Times: With Teixeira and Youkilis Out Again, Yankees May Need Cashman to Produce

The Yankees returned home from a 10-game West Coast road trip to a rainy forecast and gloomier injury news, heaping more strain on what has already amounted to a star-crossed team in 2013.

Shortly after the team announced Tuesday that it had placed first baseman Mark Teixeira on the 15-day disabled list — with inflammation in the injured right wrist that cost him nearly the first two full months of the season — General Manager Brian Cashman arrived to deliver the news that third baseman Kevin Youkilis would miss the next 10 to 12 weeks because of surgery to repair a herniated disk.

The team could ruminate on the misfortune for one more night. Tuesday’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the anticipated homecoming of Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly, was postponed by rain. The teams will play a split doubleheader on Wednesday.

The Yankees have reverted to where they were in April: forced to tread water without their regular starting corner infielders (Teixeira and Youkilis), shortstop (Derek Jeter) and center fielder (Curtis Granderson). That group does not include Alex Rodriguez, who remains out indefinitely while he rehabilitates after a hip operation.

The spotlight now could shift to Cashman, whose off-season acquisitions of Lyle Overbay and Vernon Wells helped stabilize a short-handed team. Since it has taken longer than expected for the Yankees’ stars to heal, more upgrades may be necessary.

It’s probably safe to say the Youkilis signing has been a disaster of epic proportions.  $12M for essentially no value?  I don’t suppose that money would have been better spent bidding on Yu Darvish or Yoenis Cespedes or Yasiel Puig or something.  But I digress…

This team could definitely use some upgrades, but the question is where and at what cost?  Let’s look at the Yankees’ splits by defensive position so far this season.

as 1B 280 254 53 14 1 11 4 2 21 2 65 .209 .272 .402 .674 9 28 27
as 2B 299 268 75 16 0 16 3 0 27 3 45 .280 .352 .519 .871 10 46 2
as 3B 277 258 67 13 0 4 2 0 12 6 63 .260 .308 .357 .665 7 27 22
as C 246 217 52 5 0 6 4 0 18 3 45 .240 .303 .346 .649 8 22 27
as CF 309 277 82 17 6 7 13 5 26 1 56 .296 .357 .477 .834 5 45 6
as DH 274 240 51 6 1 13 3 0 32 2 71 .213 .310 .408 .719 3 32 10
as LF 290 273 60 7 0 9 5 3 15 0 46 .220 .259 .344 .603 6 22 30
as RF 276 252 65 8 2 5 6 3 19 1 34 .258 .311 .365 .676 7 27 28
as SS 271 239 49 8 2 1 10 1 20 4 71 .205 .272 .268 .540 2 19 25

BR: Linear weights batting runs, not adjusted for position or compared to average/replacement level
Rank: Yankees rank in MLB at this position

According to linear weights, the Yankees are dead last in production out of LF.  You know, the position that’s being manned by a guy who’s signed for next year too.  The ugliness doesn’t end there of course.  They are also getting abysmal production out of RF, 1B and C.  Shortstop is also not doing particularly well.  Really, they have three positions that are outperforming MLB average in 2B, CF and DH and could look to improve just about anywhere else.  In theory, getting Francisco Cervelli, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez back (all uncertain to varying degrees) would be a big help and I suppose if Teixeira is able to eventually return at even his 2012 level that’s an overall improvement.

So outfield is the biggest need and while getting Curtis Granderson could conceivably help one of those spots it’s not helping both.  And outfield is going to be an issue in 2014 as well with Granderson likely gone and a free outfield group that looks like this.

Alfredo Amezaga
Rick Ankiel
Jeff Baker
Jason Bay
Carlos Beltran
Shin-Soo Choo
Coco Crisp *
Nelson Cruz
Rajai Davis
David DeJesus
Mark DeRosa
Matt Diaz
Jacoby Ellsbury
Jeff Francoeur
Curtis Granderson
Franklin Gutierrez
Tony Gwynn Jr.
Corey Hart
Raul Ibanez
Reed Johnson *
Austin Kearns
Jason Kubel *
Nate McLouth
Nyjer Morgan
Mike Morse
David Murphy
Xavier Nady
Laynce Nix
Hunter Pence
Juan Rivera
Luke Scott
Ryan Sweeney
Andres Torres
Chris Young *
Delmon Young

I don’t think I’d sign any of those players.  So if the Yankees are looking to upgrade, getting an outfielder seems to be the way to go, and getting one that is young enough to be useful in 2014 and beyond should be the focus.  As far as who, I have no idea.  So speculate away!

--Posted at 8:20 am by SG / 11 Comments | - (0)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

NY Times: Yankees’ Teixeira Is Likely to Return to Disabled List

Teixeira was removed from Saturday’s game against the Los Angeles Angels because of soreness in the wrist. He originally tore a tendon sheath in the wrist March 5 and missed almost three months.

Cashman was unhappy at miscommunication regarding the timing of Teixeira’s discomfort. He said that neither he nor the medical staff was aware of Teixeira’s troubles until he came out of Saturday’s game. But after that game the hitting coach Kevin Long said Teixeira’s wrist had not been right since the day he came back, May 31.

On Monday Cashman said that neither Long nor Teixeira had communicated any problem to the medical staff or the front office.

He said he was not angry at Long, but he was clearly irritated that one of two things happened: either Teixeira or Long, or both, did not relay important information up the chain of command, or Long was looking back retrospectively in his discussion with reporters. In either case, Cashman did not like it.

I really don’t understand why Kevin Long would not have told the front office that Teixiera couldn’t even hit off a tee with his left-handed swing.  Don’t you think that is a pretty big problem?

All along I’ve thought the Yankees’ run of injuries this year is more due to misfortune than incompetence, but something like this is really head-scratching.

--Posted at 8:24 am by SG / 36 Comments | - (0)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Grantland: The Art of Pitch Framing

It’s the day before a foul tip off the bat of Rajai Davis will fracture Francisco Cervelli’s hand, and the Yankees’ still-intact starting catcher is in excellent spirits. After spending almost all of 2012 in the minors, he’s happy to be back in the Yankees clubhouse. He’s also happy to be off to a good start with the bat, a start that’s about to get better; in a few hours, he’ll take Mark Buehrle deep for his third home run of the season. But how Cervelli hits is secondary, even to Cervelli.

“I’ve been focused on my defense, and that’s it,” Cervelli says. “And I’m going to keep doing that no matter what happens with my bat.”

A lot of eyebrows, and maybe a few middle fingers, were raised over the winter, when the Yankees — the team with the catching legacy of Dickey, Berra, Howard, Munson, and Posada, not to mention the $200 million–plus payroll — entrusted their catching duties to Cervelli and backup catcher Chris Stewart, a duo that entered the season with a combined .249/.315/.332 line in the big leagues. In the past, the Yankees would have dipped into the free-agent market and signed someone with a bigger bat and a bigger name — A.J. Pierzynski, perhaps, who was coming off a 27-homer season, or another offense-first option like Mike Napoli, who signed with the rival Red Sox. Both players agreed to one-year contracts, so they wouldn’t have hampered the Yankees’ goal of getting under the $189 million luxury tax threshold for 2014.1

Instead, they stuck with two players who are earning barely more than the major league minimum. And they’ll probably be better off. Cervelli and Stewart can do more to help the Yankees win with a subtle shift of the glove than Mariano Rivera can with his cutter, than Brett Gardner can in the outfield, than Ichiro can with his arm and his base-running ability combined. They have an ability that not only doesn’t show up in the box score but doesn’t show up in advanced stats like UZR and WAR. Baseball teams have always known it existed, but they haven’t known what it was worth until now. And one need only look at the lineup card to see how valuable the Yankees believe it is.

“They’re both exceptional defenders,” Yankees GM Brian Cashman said of Cervelli and Stewart in a recent interview with Mike Ferrin on SiriusXM’s MLB Network Radio. “Tremendous pitch framers. We’re big into that.”

Perhaps the Yankees are smarter than some of us give them credit for?

H/T to his highness King Jon.

--Posted at 9:38 am by SG / 21 Comments | - (0)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Newsday: Joba Chamberlain says he can be a starter again, but Yankees laugh it off

In many ways, the topic was a moot point. Most interesting was the reaction of Girardi and general manager Brian Cashman, who in separate meetings with reporters, wore pained, irritated looks when asked several questions about it, and ultimately responded with sarcasm, as if Chamberlain had expressed a fantasy akin to colonizing Mars.

“First I’ve heard of it,” Girardi said of Chamberlain expressing a desire to start. “I’d like to catch one more game, too.”

As the manager walked away and Cashman entered the media scrum, the 48-year-old Girardi said: “Cash, I told them, my answer was, I’d like to catch five innings, that’s it, one [more] time. You’ll get a kick out of it.”

Said Cashman: “We’re down an outfield bat right now, too. [We’ll] see if he can play center or not.”

Yeah, it’s the same topic as the last thread, but the Yankees’ reaction really irritates me.

Am I still a fan of the team if I hate the way they do almost everything?  Perhaps I should consult with Jeter is King?

--Posted at 9:04 am by SG / 45 Comments | - (0)

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Index Universe: Yankees GM: Quant Analysis Key To Winning

IU: So you have essentially an analytic process, right?

Cashman: Big time. I’ve been with the team here about 15 years now, and going on my 16th year, and I have changed over time as a department head. One of the changes I’ve made is to take the Yankees into the 21st century. When you see things in the industry improve and change, you’ve got to keep up with the challenges. We have created a quantitative analysis department and hired a director of quantitative analysis. That department has grown to some 14 people who manage a number of different information streams. Not only do they pool that information, but then it is dissected and produced in a meaningful way about what is truly taking place on the field in present performance and then future predictable performance. That has certainly allowed us to make safer, more informed decisions.

Brian Cashman talks about some of the ways Yankees use quantitative analysis in this interview.  He doesn’t say if quantitative analysis was the impetus behind signing Tony Womack and Jaret Wright and Chan Ho Park, but he does get into why they didn’t bid aggressively on Yu Darvish, indirectly.

--Posted at 9:12 am by SG / 32 Comments | - (0)

Friday, January 25, 2013

CBS: Cashman: A-Rod could miss the entire 2013 season

“I think because [of] the serious nature of the surgery and the condition that he’s trying to recover from, you know, there is that chance,” Cashman said when asked if A-Rod might miss the whole season (via CBS New York).

This isn’t, however, the most likely scenario.

“Best-case scenario, yeah, he should be back,” Cashman said (via CBS New York). “Worst-case scenario is he won’t be back or there might be something between.”

I’m setting the over/under on Rodriguez’s 2013 PA at 250.

--Posted at 3:49 pm by SG / 28 Comments | - (0)

Friday, January 4, 2013 Cashman still looking to add meaningful pieces

The Yankees have increased the reach of their old-school scouting staff as well as high-tech statistical analysis over the last several seasons, and those advances have helped procure talent late in the Hot Stove game. They’re not afraid of chasing older players, some with injury histories, because they can represent good value.

“I think we’ve improved our pro scouting network, and I think we’ve improved our evaluation of statistical data streams,” Cashman said. “It puts us in a position to make informed decisions and much more comfortable knowing what is really available, and what you can expect from those players if you sign them and what you’d be comfortable paying them.”

I’m encouraged to read that the Yankees are putting more focus on scouting and statistical analysis at the major league level.  The days of signing Tony Womack, Jaret Wright and Chan Ho Park appear to be a thing of the past.

Hopefully they’ll also work on improving their amateur scouting and their player development.

--Posted at 9:37 am by SG / 54 Comments | - (0)

Monday, December 17, 2012

NY Post: Yankees’ Cashman: ‘More work to do’

“We have more work to do,’’ said general manager Brian Cashman, who is looking for a right-handed hitting outfielder and somebody to absorb DH at-bats. “But a lot of the players who were substantial contributors over the last number of years have been January signs.’’

I’m starting to think the Yankees’ best option for a RH backup OF is Ronnier Mustelier.  Then they can try and get the best available bat that will sign for one year to DH, be it the Shockmaster™ or Lance Berkman maybe?  CAIRO would project Berkman to hit around .270/.383/.475 in 408 PA, which would be worth about 10 runs better than a replacement-level DH.  Plus he can backup 1B and can probably play a pinch of RF if needed.

--Posted at 10:54 am by SG / 55 Comments | - (0)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

NESN: Report: Brian Cashman Lacked Authority to Make Free-Agent Offers at Winter Meetings

The winter meetings — and the baseball offseason in general — has normally been a place where the Yankees have reigned supreme. If there was a free agent they wanted or needed, they got that free agent, money be damned.

The times, though, they are a changing.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Yankees general manager Brian Cashman went to the winter meetings in Nashville this week lacking the authority to make any sort of deals to free agents. New York reportedly offered Kevin Youkilis a one-year deal eventually, but that was only after Cashman was able to gain approval from Yankees ownership.

Agent Scott Boras hinted earlier in the week that Cashman was being held back. “He had indicated that right now, he’s working with ownership on getting advance authority,” Boras said, according to the Journal. “He really is not involved in a lot of dealing right now, but is doing due diligence to go back and meet with them about that.”

Why would a GM need authority to make free agent offers anyway?

A lot of people are getting mad at Cashman, but if you are going to get mad you probably need to shift your attention to the guys who tell him what to do.  Hal Steinbrenner has every right to operate his team the way he wants, and fans have the right to not support the product if they don’t like it.

So who should our new team be?  I need an hour or so to change the underlying assumptions and components in CAIRO to make them look better.

--Posted at 3:08 pm by SG / 61 Comments | - (0)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

NY Times: Yankees Find They Can’t Bear the Market

NASHVILLE — In most years, the Yankees are the team that wreaks havoc on the free-agent marketplace and makes it difficult for other teams to fill openings on their rosters. But in a surprising twist this off-season, the Yankees — fearful of luxury tax penalties in 2014 — are seeing the market price them out of the most attractive free agents, causing them to set priorities as they try to fill their many needs.

“I’m not optimistic on the catching side that this market via trade or free agency is going to produce something that I can feel comfortable with,” General Manager Brian Cashman said. “To be honest, if you’re watching what we’re trying to do, you need to focus on the outfield and the left side of the infield. That’s where your priorities should be, because that’s where mine are.”

As uneventful as the Yankees’ offseason has been, the truth is that this year’s free agent class isn’t very good and they are better off not doing anything than paying more than a player is worth just to fill a hole.  When Shane Victorino is getting 3 years and $37.5M and a 36 year old Marco Scutaro is getting 3 years and $24M I’m not sure I want the Yankees involved.

I do agree with Cashman that they are better off fixing RF and the left side of the infield than trying to find a catcher unless one falls into their lap via a good trade or something.  You can get more offense for less money from the outfield than you can at catcher and this team really needs offense.

My guess is they’ll go with the catchers they have on hand, eventually bring back Ichiro and Eric Chavez and could end up signing Jeff Keppinger and will call it a day.  While signing Keppinger will affect 2014 at the very least, it’s not a huge impact and he’s a pretty useful player.

--Posted at 7:03 am by SG / 125 Comments | - (0)

Friday, November 9, 2012

NY Post: Don’t expect Cano to give Yankees hometown discount

Boras said in the past week he has spoken to both Yankees president Randy Levine and general manager Brian Cashman, but his strong inclination is Cano will play out this contract before any serious negotiations with the Yankees ensue.

Boras’ rhetoric is already being honed. He is not going to lower his asking price based on a Yankees objective to go under the $189 million threshold; a tactic he has made publicly clear he feels is wrongheaded for a franchise he believes should use its financial advantages to the fullest.

Boras also has pointed out that franchise values and coffers have swelled as income streams have soared. His message is the contracts of the best players should climb equally.

You can guarantee Boras will say that a superb two-way middle infielder such as Cano should be paid more than first basemen such as Prince Fielder (nine years, $214 million) and Joey Votto (10 years, $225 million).

The Yankees should just counter all of Boras’s rhetoric with one word.  A-Rod.

Neither the Mets nor Yankees — both in need of outfield help — has yet to express interest in Melky Cabrera. At least five teams have.

Those five teams should be banned from baseball.

--Posted at 12:06 pm by SG / 42 Comments | - (0)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

NY Post: Rivera tells Yankees GM Cashman he wants to return in 2013

Mariano Rivera will be back in pinstripes next year, The Post has learned.

The iconic closer told Yankees general manager Brian Cashman on Friday that he wants to return in 2013. Rivera missed almost the entire 2012 season with a torn ACL and, after initially saying he definitely wanted to come back, he was less sure about it in the last few weeks.

Now all speculation has ended.

“Rivera contacted us and wants to play,” Cashman told The Post.

Yay. Let’s hope Andy Pettitte feels the same way.

--Posted at 3:11 pm by SG / 29 Comments | - (0)

Monday, October 22, 2012

MLB Trade Rumors: Yankees Notes: Swisher, A-Rod, Cashman, Girardi

Earlier today we learned that the Yankees intend to exercise Curtis Granderson’s $15MM club option for 2013, and Jon Heyman of reports that the team is disinclined to explore a long-term extension for the slugger.

I think this is the right thing to do.  They may try and trade Granderson after picking up his option, although I’m not sure what kind of trade value he has right now.

The Yankees are still planning on making a qualifying offer of about $13.5MM to free agent Nick Swisher, writes Jon Heyman of However, the club will only do so in order to receive draft pick compensation and have no expectations of Swisher accepting the deal.

We’ve pretty much known this was the planned course of action all along.

Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman told Heyman that he has no plans to shop Alex Rodriguez this winter.

It’s tough to see a trade that makes sense for Rodriguez given what he’s owed.  Let’s hope an offseason spent making adjustments helps him continue to be a better than average 3B in 2013.

Yankees president Randy Levine confirmed to Jon Heyman of that both Cashman and manager Joe Girardi will return in 2013.

Not surprising.

Also from MLB Trade Rumors, Boras Hints That Soriano Will Opt-Out Of Contract

“There is a strong chance that he would have tremendous value as a free agent,” said Boras. Sherman notes that big market clubs like the Angels, Dodgers, Nationals, Red Sox, Giants, and Tigers could all be in the market for a high-end closer this winter.
Sherman says Soriano and Boras have until three days after the end of the World Series to exercise the opt-out clause, and the Yankees would likely make him a qualifying offer to ensure they receive draft pick compensation if he signs elsewhere.

He’s owed about as much as a qualifying offer anyway, so it’s a no-brainer to offer him one.

I am starting to get the sense the 2013 Yankees are going to look a lot like the 2012 Yankees.  I’m not sure how I feel about that.

--Posted at 7:58 am by SG / 29 Comments | - (0)

Thursday, October 18, 2012 Motown meltdown: Yanks eliminated in ALCS

DETROIT—The Yankees’ ice cold autumn will now give way to an uncertain winter, as their season concluded on Thursday with an 8-1 loss to the Tigers in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series at Comerica Park.

CC Sabathia was rocked for six runs in 3 2/3 innings and the Yankees were held hitless into the sixth inning by Max Scherzer, as Detroit locked up the AL pennant and will advance to the World Series against either the Cardinals or Giants.

New York was swept for the first time in 36 consecutive postseason appearances; the last one came in 1980, when the Royals wiped out the Yankees in a best-of-five ALCS that led to the dismissal of manager Dick Howser.

The positions of manager Joe Girardi and general manager Brian Cashman appear to be secure, but hitting coach Kevin Long will be asked to answer for an anemic offense that hung zeros on the scoreboard in 36 of 39 innings during the ALCS.

It’s hard to win a series when you don’t lead in a single inning in any of the games.  Detroit was probably the better team heading into this series, and they sure looked like it.

It was a frustrating end to a frustrating series.  It shouldn’t feel like a frustrating season because of that, although I’m sure we’ll be treated to some crap from Randy Levine about how the season was a failure.

We’ll have months to think about where they go from here.  The Yankees have some decisions to make on some players, and some players have decisions to make on whether or not they want to return.  I’m sure we won’t see Nick Swisher in pinstripes again.  I was certain we’d see Curtis Granderson back with his option picked up next year but I’m now thinking there’s a chance we won’t.  The whole Alex Rodriguez situation will dictate a lot of what the team decides to do.  I’m guessing Rafael Soriano will opt out, but that’s less of a concern than getting the offense shored up and stabilizing the rotation based on what happens with Hiroki Kuroda and Andy Pettitte.

Anyway, we have months to think about that.

--Posted at 6:40 pm by SG / 56 Comments | - (0)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Yahoo!: Phil Hughes becomes second Yankee to record four strikeouts in one inning

That achievement, of course, is a pitcher recording four strikeouts in a single inning, and now they can finally say it’s happened twice after Phil Hughes struck out four straight batters in the fourth inning of their 10-7 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.

Hughes’ first victim in the inning was J.P. Arencibia, whom he finished off in three pitches with a slider away. After a quick visit from the training staff and Joe Girardi, Hughes got Adeiny Hechavarria swinging on a high fastball that catcher Russell Martin couldn’t handle. Martin was charged with a passed ball because it rolled all the way to screen, allowing Hechavarria to reach and Hughes to pursue a little history.

Now working from the stretch, Hughes would fan Anthony Gose on four pitches with a swing-and-miss curveball low and in. He then completed the impressive inning by catching Brett Lawrie looking on another dandy curveball. Four up, four strikeouts. And he did it all in an economical 17 pitches.

Now, if you can believe this, the only other Yankee to strike out four in an inning was A.J. Burnett, who also did it one time with the Miami Marlins back on July 5, 2002. His four strikeout inning with the Yankees happened on June 24, 2011 when he out Chris Iannetta, Carlos Gonzalez, Chris Nelson and Todd Helton of the Colorado Rockies consecutively, with Nelson reaching on a wild pitch.

Hughes and Burnett, like peas in a pod.

In other assorted crap.

Daily News: Yankee captain Derek Jeter says he’s open to the possibility of playing for another team

As part of a 15-minute powwow last Friday before the Rays series, Reilly asked: “Peyton Manning changed teams this season after 14 seasons with one team. Could you see yourself doing that?”
“Well, if I wanted to keep playing, yes,” Jeter replied. “It’s a business. People forget that.”

Because the team has started annoyingly winning again, let’s manufacture some controversy!

NY Post: Cano slandered by a reckless nit-Twit

Multiple sources confirmed to The Post that the Yankees’ Robinson Cano has not failed a test for illegal performance-enhancing drugs, contradicting a Twitter dispatch by some Charlotte, N.C., television dimwit named Dan Tordjman.

At roughly 1:00 Thursday afternoon, Tordjman — who describes himself in his Twitter page as “a keen observer of NY sports, horse racing and all things Depeche Mode” — tweeted, “Can’t confirm this but I’m hearing that Robinson Cano tested positive for PEDs. Announcement from MLB coming shortly.”

These are new steroids that don’t work when runners are in scoring position.

Washington Post: 1B Mark Teixeira headed to Yankees’ minor league complex in Tampa for calf rehabilitation

“Just by feeling it right now you can tell that it’s swollen and tight and sore,” Teixeira said Thursday.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has expressed hope Teixeira could return in time for the team’s trip to Toronto from Sept. 27-30. He has not resumed on-field workouts but planned to take indoor batting practice Thursday.

“I don’t want to put any timetable on it because we tried to do that last time and it kind of put unwanted pressure on everybody,” he said. “We all wanted me to be back as soon as possible and I wasn’t, I wasn’t ready. So I’m just going to take it day by day, and when the doctors tell me that I’m clear, when the trainers tell me that I’m clear, when the strength coach and the baseball people all say you look normal, you’re running fine, then I’ll be out there playing.”

The runway is getting a lot shorter for Teixeira, but I’d guess they’ll give it a shot by the last series of the year.  If he gets hurt again, he’ll have the offseason to heal up.  Besides, the Yankees don’t need him with Steve Pearce and Casey McGehee around.

--Posted at 7:33 am by SG / 14 Comments | - (0)

Monday, July 30, 2012 Homers aren’t enough as Yanks fall to Orioles

NEW YORK—The Yankees hit three home runs off Orioles starter Miguel Gonzalez, but that power display wasn’t enough to avert a 5-4 defeat on Tuesday at Yankee Stadium, marking the Bronx Bombers’ third consecutive loss.

Yankees starter Freddy Garcia permitted three runs over six innings, but the Orioles added two key runs in the seventh charged to reliever Boone Logan, winning for the third time in their four games played in the Bronx this season.

Back-to-back seventh-inning homers by Eric Chavez and Ichiro Suzuki off Gonzalez—Ichiro’s first home run in pinstripes, and the 100th of his career—closed the deficit, but the Yankees couldn’t push a final run across.

Homers aren’t enough should be the theme song of the 2012 Yankees.  I suppose it would help if it was a song and not a headline. 

Mark Teixeira left the game with a hand injury after a fielding play and obviously that’s the bigger concern than yet another one run loss.  There’s no official word on the extent of the injury, with tests planned for tomorrow. 

The nice thing about losing a bunch of one run games is it generally means you’ve been a bit unlucky and aren’t really as bad as you’ve looked.  While the logical part of me can use that to somewhat mollify the annoyance of the Yankees dropping eight of their last 11 games, the fan in me is pretty freaking annoyed these days.

In happier news, Joe Girardi says there was no setback for Andy Pettitte in recovery from a leg fracture..

Girardi said that the Yankees continue to expect Pettitte to return to their rotation in September, and that this recent update doesn’t constitute a change in that thinking. Doctors have been encouraged by Pettitte’s healing thus far.

Also, Joba Chamberlain is excited about his looming return to the majors.

“I feel like Usain Bolt right now, just not quite that fast,” said Chamberlain when asked if he sees a finish line. “Just to know it’s there and the hard work’s paid off, and to know there is an end in sight, is awesome.”

Chad Qualls is probably a bit less enthusiastic about said return.

And if you’re hoping for a magic deal coming down to save the day, according to Brian Cashman, stop hoping.

Cashman said that the trade landscape has “gotten quiet all of a sudden,” and though he wouldn’t completely rule out the chances of the Yankees making a trade before 4 p.m. ET Tuesday, Cashman said he is “not at all” optimistic because prices have been too high.

“There are some very motivated buyers that you’ve seen, and some very reluctant sellers,” Cashman said. “It’s always difficult to agree on price regardless. I’m very comfortable that I know we’re getting our guys back from the DL. It’s just trying to maintain health, stay healthy and get healthy, and keep going with what you’ve got.”

Translation, I’m about to trade Mason Williams and Gary Sanchez for Brandon Beachy.

--Posted at 9:25 pm by SG / 44 Comments | - (0)

Monday, July 16, 2012 Carig: Yankees see themselves in strong position as trade deadline approaches

For now, it’s not much of a decision. The general manager contends that the Yankees already have the right pieces on hand to compete for a championship, which is why he’s hesitant to make deals for improvements he called “marginal.”

Injuries might change the Yankees’ predicament by July 31 — Cashman’s last major opportunity to improve his roster — but even then he may walk away without making a big move.
“It’s going to be difficult to improve on this roster,” Cashman said, before watching the Yankees prove his point.

I think Cashman’s probably right.  They may not have the optimal 25 man roster right now, but they have the pieces in the organization to make themselves better down the stretch.  Part of that will be the (hopefully) returning injured like Brett Gardner, Andy Pettitte and Joba Chamberlain. 

Another part of it may be finding a way to squeeze Russell Branyan (currently hitting .309/.438/.655 in 137 AAA PAs) or Jack Cust (.259/.400/.498 in 370 AAA PAs) onto the roster as DH options.  They aren’t going to trade for a catcher who can outhit Russell Martin, so you just hope he hits closer to how he projects to hit going forward than he has so far, and you hope the rest of the team stays healthy.

--Posted at 10:09 am by SG / 14 Comments | - (0)

Friday, April 27, 2012

NYDN: Cashman avoids bad press, fan outrage over Montero trade for injured Pineda

When it came to legit Cashman pitching blunders, whether it be A.J. Burnett, Kei Igawa, Carl Pavano or Jeff Weaver, the GM didn’t exactly skate, but his relationship with certain reporters, and the respect many others have for him, softened what could have been severe body blows.

Only now it will be fascinating to watch how Cashman’s relationship with the media evolves going forward. By normal Yankees standards, the pitching is in shambles, filled with inconsistent arms after CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova take their turns in the rotation.

I’m bringing back the complaint thread.  If you don’t like them, don’t read this.

The impact of the Pineda injury is huge.  If the Yankees were looking at Pineda as a 3-4 win player, it probably would have helped them move towards the $189 payroll in 2014 that they’ve been eyeing.  Not having him for 2012, and possibly never having him, should possibly change the organization’s plans.  I don’t know if it will, but let’s think about it logically.

- Say the Yankees were a 95 win team with Pineda, and that losing him makes them a 93 win team (assuming they get better than replacement level pitching from his replacement(s))
- In 2013, with just about every key player on the team likely to be worse since they’re past the age of the typical player’s peak, what would they be then?  An 88 win team? 
-Now subtract Mo, Hiroki Kuroda, Nick Swisher and Russell Martin from that.  Say that’s 10 wins.  So now what, 78 wins? 
-They have $120M committed to 2013, without including arbitration salaries for Brett Gardner, Phil Hughes, Boone Logan, Joba Chamberlain and David Robertson.  Giving them a 20% raise bumps the payroll commitment to about $135M or so. 
-Assume that 90 wins is the target to qualify for the second wild card in most seasons.  So the Yankees need to add about 12 wins for $54M to get to 90 wins in 2013, and that really just puts them on the periphery of the wild card race.

You probably can’t buy 12 wins for $54M on the free agent market due to what’s available and how it fits your roster as well as with competition from other teams.  The better free agents are probably not going to want to settle for one year contracts and anything longer than that impacts the 2014 payroll. 

Maybe they can replace Pineda’s wins with someone from the farm, although at this point it sure doesn’t seem like Dellin Betances or Manny Banuelos are ready and the other arms behind them are either too far away or don’t project to be much more than back-end guys.  They don’t have the position player prospects to replace the hole in RF, at least not for 2013.  They could use a rotating DH to fill the hole there, but then that necessitates having a backup player or two that you’re comfortable playing in the field every day.  I don’t know if Eduardo Nunez is that guy given his defensive issues and the uncertainty of his offense.  Martin’s not making much of a case to be retained, but the falloff from him to some combination of Francisco Cervelli, Austin Romine or Chris Stewart is probably still significant.

Because of that, the only way I can see the Yankees being competitive in 2013 is going over the $189M payroll target.  If they’re not going to do that, I’d suggest rebuilding, but they don’t have anyone trade-able that would help reduce their payroll.  Is anyone really going to take Rodriguez or Mark Teixeira off their hands?

As of now the Yankees only have $75M commited to the 2014 payroll.  However, that number only includes CC Sabathia, Rodriguez, Teixeira and a $3M Derek Jeter buyout.  They’d still have arbitration rights to Gardner, Robertson, Pineda, Ivan Nova, Nunez, Cervelli, Stewart and Ramiro Pena.  How many games would that team win? 

I understand the benefit to getting under the salary cap limit, but if the trade-off is a crappy team that will draw fewer fans and make less revenue it may not be worth it. 

--Posted at 7:35 am by SG / 27 Comments | - (0)

Friday, March 30, 2012

NY Times: Yankees Still Aren’t Certain About Rotation

“I know these guys are anxious to find out what we believe their schedules are going to be and when they’re going to pitch,” Girardi said Thursday before the Yankees played the Baltimore Orioles. “We’re just not quite there yet.”

Girardi said the issue would be discussed over the next few days in meetings with him, members of his staff and General Manager Brian Cashman and his staff. The hope, Girardi said, is to come up with a final five by Monday, but they are still collecting information as the pitchers make their final spring starts.

I’m pretty sure they’ve made their decision, and they’re just figuring out how to tell the one who’s not in it.  I hope they’re not considering a six man rotation, but considering how frequently this team chooses the sub-optimal option it wouldn’t surprise me.

--Posted at 9:33 am by SG / 69 Comments | - (0)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

NYDN: Yankees, GM Brian Cashman concerned about lack of velocity for Pineda

But I spoke to one AL scout a few days ago who got out his notes from last spring training, when he watched Pineda in Arizona, and said he had clocked him from 93-96 mph in early March outings.

That’s quite a difference from 89-92.

And don’t think the Yankees aren’t at least somewhat concerned about it. Cashman said he looked back on the research the Yankees did before acquiring him, and found evidence on that Pineda’s velocity would increase significantly after the first couple of innings.

“They talked on Fangraphs about how in his first inning or two of his starts last year, that’s not unusual, him being that level,” said Cashman. “Those same games he ended up averaging 94 and change.’’

I’ll preface this by saying I’m not concerned about Pineda’s velocity.  What I am concerned about is that the GM of the Yankees is making major decisions and consulting Fangraphs to do it.

Don’t get me wrong, I think Fangraphs is a great resource.  But I would think the richest team in baseball should have first-hand knowledge of something as critical as how Pineda’s velocity works, particularly if they’re going to trade their best prospect for him.  If they’re using a free website as critical input into a decision like the one they made trading Jesus Montero for Pineda,  it doesn’t exactly fill me up with confidence that this team knew what it was doing when they made the trade.

Maybe it’s subterfuge.  If it’s not, let’s at least hope Cashman never finds Bleacher Report.

--Posted at 9:16 am by SG / 55 Comments | - (0)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

NYDN: Brian Cashman talks about ‘awkward’ sit-down he had with CC Sabathia about ace’s weight gain

It wasn’t just that Brian Cashman revealed on Sunday that he arranged a sit-down with Sabathia over the winter that included Girardi and trainer Steve Donahue to talk about the lefthander’s weight. It was also that he called the undertaking of such a task “tough” and “awkward,” making it clear just how important he felt that it be done.

Matter of fact, you got the feeling that Cashman was awfully tempted by September of last season to confront Sabathia and demand to know if he was back on the Cap’n Crunch.

The picture in the article shows both CC and Phil Hughes in noticeably better shape than last year,  as far as I can tell.

--Posted at 4:01 pm by SG / 34 Comments | - (0)

Friday, February 3, 2012

CBS New York: Woman Charged With Stalking Yankees GM Brian Cashman

A woman stalked and shook down New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, getting him to pay her $6,000 and demanding more by threatening to harm his reputation, prosecutors said Thursday.

I’m going to go ahead and assume that this was the impetus behind signing Rafael Soriano in some way.

--Posted at 8:44 am by SG / 30 Comments | - (0)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

NY Post: Yankees GM hopes to trade ‘excess pitching’ for bat

And GM Brian Cashman reiterated that he likely isn’t done tinkering with the roster, since the Yankees have seven viable starting pitchers.

“I think we’re going to look at our excess pitching,” Cashman said when asked about acquiring a bat. Girardi is confident it will work out.

Let me see if I get this.

1) Trade your best hitting prospect for a pitcher
2) Talk about how you now have an excess of pitching and would like to trade it for a bat

Is that right?

--Posted at 8:14 pm by SG / 54 Comments | - (0)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

NY Times: Kepner: Yankees Are Saving Now for a Potential Splash Next Winter

Cain is a 27-year-old right-hander, and Hamels is a 28-year-old left-hander. Otherwise, they are essentially the same pitcher. Cain has a 3.35 career earned run average, Hamels 3.39. They allow roughly the same number of base runners, and their advanced statistics (Wins Above Replacement, E.R.A.+) are close.

The Yankees played a version of this waiting game after the 2007 season, when they resisted a trade (and a subsequent long-term contract) for Johan Santana. They gambled that C. C. Sabathia would be available as a free agent the next winter, and they were right. The Yankees missed the playoffs in 2008 but signed Sabathia and won the World Series in 2009.

If we think about this winter’s relative inactivity in the way Kepner is thinking about it here, it doesn’t seem so bad.  It is a gamble that either Matt Cain or Cole Hamels will even reach free agency, and yet another gamble that someone else won’t outbid the Yankees for their services, but I think after the A.J. Burnett signing went sour so quickly the Yankees will be gun shy about committing big money and years to anything less than top shelf talent.  By the time Burnett’s contract is over, the Yankees will likely have paid $82.5M for maybe 4 WAR.

Not signing less than great players in free agency is a prudent approach provided they can fill out the rest of the roster with complementary players in cost-effective ways.  For example, not signing middle relievers for $36M.

--Posted at 9:58 am by SG / 24 Comments | - (0)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Reuter’s: Yankees fail to sign Japan’s Nakajima

“We unfortunately could not come to an agreement with Hiroyuki,” Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman said in a statement. “We wish him the best of luck during the upcoming 2012 season.”

Oh well.  Not surprised, and don’t really think it’s going to affect things.

--Posted at 4:03 pm by SG / 67 Comments | - (0)

Monday, December 19, 2011 Yankees ‘not getting’ Japanese pitching star Yu Darvish

Not only do the Yankees believe they are out on Darvish, but the person with knowledge also said they almost certainly will be on the sidelines during the pursuit of Cuban sensation Yeonis Cespedes.

The Yankees have scouted Cespedes and came away believing him to be an everyday major league center fielder. But even that belief won’t be enough for the Yankees to

I’d pass on Cespedes.  I just don’t think we know enough about Cuban baseball to think he’ll be worth signing.  At this point, given the apparent cost it would take to trade for a good young pitcher, I’d rather see the Yankees just stand pat.

I’m trying to remember the last offseason that was as uneventful as this one, and I’m drawing a blank.  I am still happy that the Yankees have chosen inaction instead of stupid actions, like signing a middle reliever for $36M for three years and giving up a first round pick for it. 

--Posted at 10:38 am by SG / 103 Comments | - (0)

Monday, December 12, 2011

NY Times: Forget Pujols, Cashman Praises Montero

As news of Albert Pujols’s $254 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels circulated the winter meetings Thursday, Cashman’s initial reaction was: “Wow, that’s all. Wow.”

“I don’t know him personally,” Cashman added with a wry smile, “but I see what he does with that bat, and it’s Montero-like.”

Maybe Cashman should sign Montero long-term before making that statement.

--Posted at 11:13 am by SG / 34 Comments | - (0)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

NY Post: Yanks willing, waiting to make a deal

Brian Cashman departed the Winter Meetings Thursday not optimistic about signing a free agent or making a trade to upgrade the starting rotation.

According to the general manager, progress wasn’t made yesterday, a day after he admitted, “I am ready to rock and roll. The Yankees are open for business.’’

But the Yankees believe the price on free-agent arms such as Edwin Jackson is too high and teams with hurlers to deal are asking for too much. Thus, the lack of movement.

Although there are a lot of reports that the Yankees are iffy on Yu Darvish, my guess is that it’s subterfuge and they’ll be somewhat aggressive with the bidding for him.  Aside from that, I’d be cool with them going into spring training with the team they’ve got now and seeing how the kids do in an open competition.  They’ve already said that Hector Noesi will be competing for the fifth spot in the rotation, and I’d like to see him get a chance.  Some of the other arms like David Phelps and Adam Warren are also probably close to being ready to contribute.

--Posted at 2:07 pm by SG / 56 Comments | - (0)

Sunday, November 13, 2011 Yanks demand a slimmer Phil Hughes

Last season, Hughes was supposed to graduate to become CC Sabathia’s new wingman, the No. 2 starter the Yankees could turn to in the postseason. Instead, he arrived to spring with a couple of extra pounds on his frame and a few miles per hour missing from his fastball. He finished the year 5-5 with a 5.79 ERA.

“He came him into spring training a little bit out of shape,” Cashman said. “Not grossly, not overly, but he wasn’t in optimal position when spring training opened. That is not going to happen in 2012. He had to deal with it. We have what we call ‘fat camp’ so he went into that program to do the extra work to close the gap. You are in better position if you can get that all taken care of in the wintertime.”

Joba was not invited to the fat camp seeing as how he’s just “big boned”.

Also, A-Rod determined to rebound for Yankees:

“I know Yankees fans were disappointed last year, but [they] won’t be next year,” Rodriguez said.

To that end, what is going on in Miami is more vital to the Yankees than what is going on in The Bronx executive offices. Rodriguez has returned home to rebuild, refashion and rehabilitate himself. Both sickened and motivated by how 2011 played out (“There are nights I still have trouble sleeping — we could have been the St. Louis Cardinals.”), Rodriguez triggered his offseason workouts three weeks earlier than normal.

His initial program has been about strengthening and stabilizing a right knee that underwent surgery for a torn meniscus in mid-July. The knee never did seem right late in the year as Rodriguez lost his power stroke and endured the kind of pre-2009 postseason that made him again the enemy of the Yankees state. He kept refusing excuses, but it was clear that he was not 100 percent. He found the pride to get on the field, but could not revive enough of his skills to make his presence matter.

Rodriguez’s strategy is to lose at least five pounds and shake that robotic feeling that haunted him, particularly late in the 2011 campaign. The mantra is get lighter, more flexible, more agile. The term he repeats is “functional movement,” and he says this was his mindset and body condition in 2007-08, “which were the best years of my career.”

Getting that right knee healthy would go a long way towards Rodriguez regaining his swing.  As a righty, that knee endures a lot of pressure and motion with every swing - even a little tweak can throw off a batter’s form. 

Of course, Rodriguez will be turning 37 next year.  Even if close to optimal health, he may not produce like he did in 2008 or even 2009. 

But it sure would be nice to see him try.

--Posted at 10:58 pm by Jonathan / 40 Comments | - (0)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

NY Post: Cashman repeats, Yankees want starting pitching

“We have pitchers who are capable, but they’re question marks right now. They could answer the same questions in a positive way, but in fairness—and to be honest—no, obviously there are more developmental steps necessary for some of those guys.”

No one expected Ivan Nova to suddenly develop into a 16-game winner, but Cashman isn’t holding his breath waiting for another young arm to emerge that quickly.

“Are some of them capable of doing what Nova did?” Cashman said of the right-hander, whose forearm the GM said is “100 percent” healthy after seeing team doctors Tuesday. “It’s possible. Is it something you want to count on and expect? I think that’s a dangerous thing to do.”

Agreed.  I still think they need a bat too though.  At least a RH bat who can play the OF corners and/or 3B,

--Posted at 2:40 pm by SG / 27 Comments | - (0)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

NY Post: Buehrle could become Yankees’ top target

C.J. Wilson is considered the best pitcher on the free agent market in most circles. Yet, when it comes to fitting inside the often hectic Yankees’ universe, several major-league talent evaluators believe Mark Buehrle might be the better fit.

“If you are looking for value, it’s Buehrle because the Yankees have CC Sabathia and aren’t looking for an ace,’’ an AL Central evaluator said of 32-year-old Buehrle, who finished a four-year, $56 million deal with the White Sox this season.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has spoken briefly with representatives for Roy Oswalt, Edwin Jackson and Wilson, and plans to contact Jeff Berry, who represents Buehrle.

--Posted at 2:16 pm by Jonathan / 68 Comments | - (0)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

SportingNews: Yankees’ Cashman contacts C.J. Wilson’s agent

New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman contacted the agent for free agent pitcher C.J. Wilson on Saturday, reports.

Cashman said the call was just the start of a slow process and that he’s “reaching out to all agents” representing players on the free agent market. No offer was made to Wilson’s agent, Bob Garber.

--Posted at 10:20 pm by Jonathan / 4 Comments | - (0)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011 Yanks decline righty Brackman’s option

NEW YORK — Pitcher Andrew Brackman has been released by the New York Yankees, four years after signing a contract for a $3.35 million bonus.

New York drafted Brackman in the first round with the 30th pick in 2007, knowing the 6-foot-10 right-hander from North Carolina State likely would need elbow ligament-replacement surgery. He had the operation that Aug 24.

Brackman made his major league debut on Sept. 22 this year and had three appearances, all against Tampa Bay. He allowed one hit and three walks in 2 1-3 scoreless innings.

Also, the Yankees officially announced they have re-signed Brian Cashman for three years to serve as Senior Vice President and General Manager.

--Posted at 5:20 pm by Jonathan / 35 Comments | - (0)

Friday, October 28, 2011

SportingNews: Yankees reportedly agree to deal with GM Brian Cashman

It was only a matter of time, but the Yankees have reportedly reached a deal to retain Brian Cashman as general manager. According to the New York Post, the deal is worth three years.

Now word yet on exactly how long or how much, but hopefully he’ll make enough to buy a new Jeep.

--Posted at 9:49 pm by Jonathan / 23 Comments | - (0)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

NY Post: Yankees want new deal with Sabathia before deadline

ST. LOUIS—By the time two days of meetings in Tampa end tomorrow, the Yankees will develop a plan they hope will keep CC Sabathia from opting out of a contract following the World Series.

General manager Brian Cashman will chair meetings of Yankees brass that will include president Randy Levine, assistant GM Jean Afterman, Billy Eppler, the head of pro scouting, and likely owner Hal Steinbrenner.

Cashman’s new contract could be finalized in Tampa.

“Their hope is to present Sabathia with an offer he is agreeable with before he opts out,’’ said a person with knowledge of the Yankees’ thinking.

It’s a no-brainer if it can be done.  If the Yankees somehow lose Sabathia, they’re probably going to project as a mid-80s win team, and that’s crazy given the amount of money they’re paying for the rest of their roster.

--Posted at 10:39 am by SG / 28 Comments | - (0)

Friday, October 21, 2011

TGS NY: Yankees scouted Yu Darvish

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told on Thursday that the team scouted Darvish during the 2011 season, in which he went 18-6 with a 1.44 ERA for the Nippon Ham Fighters.

“We scout Japanese baseball the same way we scout the American League and the National League,” Cashman said. “We had a wave of scouts there all season.”

Hopefully not the same scouts that watched Kei Igawa.

While I fully embrace a pursuit of Darvish, the Yankees aren’t going anywhere until they get clutch postseason players like Allen Craig and David Freese to replace their bums like Nick Swisher, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez.

--Posted at 11:26 am by SG / 85 Comments | - (0)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011 Cashman expects new deal by end of October

Cashman said that he will be occupied this week in New York. The Yankees are holding their professional scouting meetings—a first step to determining the course of their offseason, after a disappointing five-game loss to the Detroit Tigers in the American League Division Series.

“We’ve got all our scouts coming in, and we’re going to get after it for at least three days, starting Wednesday here in New York,” Cashman said. “Obviously, Hal and I will talk via phone, and we’ll get whatever we need to get worked out, I’m sure, between now and Oct. 31st.”

No word on whether or not the objective pipe will also be coming back.

--Posted at 9:52 am by SG / 43 Comments | - (0)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

NY Post: Sabathia talks with Yankees could push limits

At this moment, the Yankees rotation for next season is A.J. Burnett, Ivan Nova, Phil Hughes and, perhaps, Hector Noesi — or Three Men and a Maybe. Actually it is more akin to a bunch of backup singers in need of a front man. Sabathia would be the most obvious choice in a return engagement and C.J. Wilson could be added as a sidekick.

. . .

In the last go-around, the Yankees quickly offered six years at $138 million — more than the pitching record total of $137.5 million the Mets had given Santana. Attempting to keep Sabathia, Milwaukee bid five years at $100 million. When word circulated that the Angels were about to enter at the six-year, $125 million range, the Brewers began to fashion an offer for about six years at $112 million, hoping to show how the tax implications made the deal on par with that of the Angels. Remember, a belief existed that Sabathia didn’t want to play in New York and wanted to get back toward his West Coast roots, but loved his brief time in Milwaukee. So the Brewers thought they had a shot competing against the Angels if the Yankees really weren’t a factor.

But the Yankees strategy was to be so aggressive as to signal to the other suitors “no matter what you propose, we will blow it away.” And GM Brian Cashman traveled to Sabathia’s Northern California home to finalize a seven-year, $161 million pact.

A few factors, though, are making the Yankees less zealous this time. They are worried about his weight gain and what it means moving forward for a pitcher who already has had two knee surgeries. And even the more aggressive elements within the Yankees hierarchy are chilled by the ramifications of extending Alex Rodriguez after he opted out; A-Rod still has six years at $143 million left as his body and skills seem to be declining.

--Posted at 9:59 am by Jonathan / 38 Comments | - (0)

Monday, October 10, 2011

NY Post: Yankees must add lefty starters and make big push for Beltran

The Yankees must lean more left-handed in their pitching staff and be more diverse in their lineup.

This is the starting point for their offseason. That is right after they take a deep breath to regain their equilibrium following a five-game Division Series loss to the Tigers. In the days under George Steinbrenner, the Yankees tended to make decisions with the raw pain of season-ending frustration still fresh. Heck, when the Yankees last lost to Detroit in the first round in 2006, The Boss wanted then-manager Joe Torre fired instantly.

The Yankees remain championship-or-failure under Hal Steinbrenner. But the son tends to be more analytical than the father; less rash. So the Yankees will proceed in orderly fashion, which means getting general manager Brian Cashman re-signed (very likely) and then doing the same with CC Sabathia (also likely, but not as certain as Cashman’s return).

Must?  Whatever.

Beltran’s probably better than Swisher in terms of talent, but I’d be wary of thinking he’ll be healthy enough to out-value him over a full season.  I’d have no problem with the Yankees signing Beltran depending on the terms.  If they do, they could explore picking up Swisher’s option and trading him.  If they do that, they’re going to need a fourth outfielder good enough to be a full-time outfielder, because there’s a very good chance Beltran will miss a non-trivial amount of time.

Or sign Beltran, keep Swisher, rotate everyone through DH, and make Jesus Montero the primary catcher. 

Which will never happen.

--Posted at 11:37 am by SG / 27 Comments | - (0)

Friday, September 9, 2011

TGS NY: Yanks call up five; Betances next?

The 25-year-old Brackman, the Yankees’ first-round pick (30th overall) in the 2007 draft who was signed to a four-year, $4.55 million contract, may well be pitching for his future with the club.

“He has an option in his contract so we have to make a decision on whether we’re going to pick it up or not,’’ said Cashman. “He had an awful year as a starter. He’s much different out of the pen. Whether it’s good enough, I don’t know. We’ll take a look at him out of the bullpen and see.’’

This is a couple of days old, but this is the first time I’ve seen that quote from Ol’ Objective Pipe Smoker.  I’d hope a team that’s pissing away $12M per year for a replacement level reliever wouldn’t be penny-wise and pound-foolish again like they were with Alfredo Aceves.  I have no idea if Brackman’s ever going to be a useful major league pitcher, but it would enrage me to no end if the Yankees decide to not pick up his option to save a few bucks.

As far as the headline, it sounds like the Yankees will call up Dellin Betances soon, which is great news.  He can help rest the beleaguered bullpen along with other callups like Brackman, George Kontos and Raul Valdes.  The Yankees will be going from Anaheim to Seattle to Toronto over the next 10 days and the more people they have to carry suitcases the better.

--Posted at 7:14 am by SG / 25 Comments | - (0)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

TGS NY: A.J. Burnett spot in question

NEW YORK—With A.J. Burnett having his “typical terrible August,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said that the pitcher’s five-year, $82.5 million contract will not prevent him from being dropped from the rotation.

“No, money is never going to be a factor,” Cashman told

Cashman reiterated his staunch defense of Burnett from a little more than a week ago. However, a week from now, barring injury, the Yankees will have to make a decision about paring their rotation from six pitchers to five, and Burnett is on the bubble.
In the second half of this season, he is 1-3 with a 7.61 ERA in seven starts. Overall, he is 9-10 with a 4.96 ERA. Cashman added that Burnett “is not our No. 2 starter,” but hasn’t pitched poorly enough to be treated like “Oliver Perez.”

Sounds like someone spiked the objective pipe with something.

--Posted at 7:49 am by SG / 43 Comments | - (0)

Monday, August 15, 2011

TGS NY: Cashman: ‘Smoke the objective pipe’

When it comes to A.J. Burnett, Brian Cashman encourages everyone to “smoke the objective pipe.”

In the eyes of many, Burnett (8-9, 4.60 ERA) hasn’t pitched well enough to keep his spot in the rotation. But Cashman sees things a bit differently. He thinks everything has been overblown.

--Posted at 8:46 pm by SG / 5 Comments | - (0)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

NY Times: Cashman Defends High-Priced Burnett’s Pitching

Cashman obliged by launching into a spirited defense of A. J. Burnett, the high-priced, often disappointing starter for the Yankees who lately has found himself nominated to be the odd man out in a rotation that is about to go from six pitchers to five.

Those nominations are being made by members of the news media and sports talk radio callers, and Cashman, who over the last year has become increasingly blunt in his comments, made it clear he was not amused by any of it.

“He’s being treated differently publicly because he has money attached,” said Cashman, who spiced his remarks with a profanity. “So forgive him for saying yes to a contract. If you want to blame someone for his contract, blame me. But the man can still pitch.”

I realize it’s Cashman’s job to defend his players.  But I say bullshit.  I don’t think it’s the contract.  It’s partially the chronic underachiever thing, where he’s always seemed to have the stuff to better than he was.  Now that stuff has diminished and he hasn’t learned to compensate for it.  It’s also partially the disaster potential in every inning no matter how well he’s pitched to that point.  You just need to look at his last start for an example of that.

Seriously, does anyone really care about how much Burnett’s making?  The only starter you can make a case for Burnett over in terms of results this year is Phil Hughes, and that’s because Hughes has been hurt and is working his way back.  If Hughes can follow up his last start with a couple of good outings it gets that much harder to defend keeping Burnett in the rotation.

One wonders if the team would willingly piss away a chance in a postseason series by stubbornly starting Burnett when there are clearly better options.  It wouldn’t surprise me.

--Posted at 11:29 am by SG / 12 Comments | - (0)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011 Rain cuts into Hughes’ gem as Yanks roll

CHICAGO—Phil Hughes made what seemed like his most important start of the season on Tuesday night and wound up with by far his best pitching effort of 2011.

In the end, the only thing that got in his way was the weather.

By the time a second rain delay hit in the middle of the seventh inning at U.S. Cellular Field, the Yankees held a 6-0 lead, and Hughes had hurled six stellar innings.

That’s the Hughes we’ve been waiting to see all year.  Granted, the White Sox lineup isn’t exactly fearsome, but Hughes had better stuff than he’s had at any point this year and looked every bit as impressive as his final line did (6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K).  If Hughes was indeed pitching for his job, he probably saved it tonight.

Couple Hughes’s performance with a nice debut by Manny Banuelos in his first AAA start and a Jesus Montero HR with Brian Cashman in attendance and tonight was a good night to be a Yankee fan. 

--Posted at 11:55 pm by SG / 50 Comments | - (0)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Rosenthal: Yankees cast lot with their prospects

The Yankees on Sunday made a play for Houston Astros lefty Wandy Rodriguez, but that push was driven by ownership, not Cashman, according to major-league sources. The Yankees were willing to pay $21 million of the $38 million remaining on the final three-plus years of Rodriguez’s contract, according to The Astros, on the other hand, were willing to pay $2 million of Rodriguez’s salary this season or $5 million if his option for 2014 were exercised, sources said. But the teams, unable to bridge the financial gap, never even got to the point of discussing names.

You’d think ownership would have learned their lesson after the Rafael Soriano debacle, but apparently that gives them too much credit.

It’s not that Rodriguez wouldn’t be a bad pick up necessarily, it’s just that I don’t really like seeing another situation where the GM might have had to acquiesce to the push of an ownership that seems more concerned about making moves for PR reasons than for baseball reasons. 

--Posted at 3:46 pm by SG / 19 Comments | - (0)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

NY Post: A-Rod on schedule; Chavez ready to rejoin Yankees

The Yankees may still need pitching—especially as far as a left-handed reliever is concerned—but they won’t feel utterly compelled to go find another bat before the trading deadline.

Not when they expect to have Alex Rodriguez back by the second week of August following the possible activation of Eric Chavez as soon as today.

Rodriguez, who underwent right knee surgery just over two weeks, is right on schedule for a return that originally was pegged at 4-6 weeks. Rodriguez is showing all signs of making the sooner rather than later return.

“I’ve had some communication on what he does. He sends me usually what he does every day. He’s feeling pretty good. He’s moving along,” manager Joe Girardi said last night. “I can’t tell you when we’ll see him. I don’t have that date. I think our doctors are discussing . . . when we might see him but he’s progressing fine. He’s on schedule.”

General manager Brian Cashman told ESPN Sunday night that he was eying “maybe the second week of August . . . That’s just us being conservative. I think we can push it and get him back sooner, but why? Our offense is strong.”

Eh, I don’t see the sense in trading for another lefty reliever.  J.C. Romero should be capable as a second lefty if they really need one, and Boone Logan appears to have found whatever it was that worked for him last year.  In theory, a healthy Chavez fixes the need for a bat and a better defensive 3B, but the notion of a healthy Chavez is probably not one we should get used to.

Obviously, the starting rotation is a concern in the postseason, because the fall off after CC Sabathia is pretty steep, but if the Yankees want to upgrade there they have to get someone better than each of Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia, Ivan Nova, A.J. Burnett and Phil Hughes.  People that fit that description are out there, but they’re not cheap. 

I don’t suppose Andy Pettitte’s getting frisky?

--Posted at 9:55 am by SG / 65 Comments | - (0)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

NY Post: BUSHES: Yankees GM may not have final say on trades

I’ve written my thoughts about this here before, but let’s say the Rockies come to the Yankees at some point in the next two weeks and ask for Jesus Montero, Dellin Betances and, say, Triple-A right-hander Adam Warren. Cashman may not want to make that trade, but that doesn’t mean the Yankees won’t make it.

As we saw last winter, just because Cashman doesn’t think something is the right thing to do doesn’t mean the Yankees won’t do it. The next two weeks should be awfully interesting.

Two weeks of hoping the Yankees don’t do something stupid?  Sounds like fun.

--Posted at 12:06 pm by SG / 61 Comments | - (0)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011 Cashman mocks Trenton Thunder uniforms used in final Jeter rehab appearance

“We had a tough loss against the Mets (Sunday), so I was like ‘Derek I’m going to take a picture of you in this uniform here and I’m going to lift our guys’ spirits (in New York),” Cashman said. “... and I’m also going to send the message: try to do everything you can to not get injured so you don’t wind up in a minor league rehab assignment wearing a uniform looking like this.”

I am now convinced that Brian Cashman is actually a honey badger.

Seriously though, it’s tough to find fault when critiquing this:

--Posted at 10:23 am by SG / 23 Comments | - (0)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Yahoo: Joba’s injury leaves dark cloud over Yankees

The AL East has become the game’s most competitive division again with Toronto and Baltimore surging. Suddenly, the doomsday scenario where the Yankees tumble toward last place rather than surge for a division title isn’t so implausible.

Almost as if to prove the Yankees are indeed still the Yankees, Cashman looked toward the dugout of the Red Sox – a team that had already beaten his club seven out of eight times this year – and said: “We are certainly capable of beating those guys that’s for sure.”

Yeah Cashman, they have sure shown that they’re capable of beating Boston this year.

I can’t think of a series that was as flat out putrid as this one.  I just hope that the Yankees resist the urge to make more stupid moves to shore up the bullpen, since they’ve done such a crappy job of putting one together and it’s done nothing but cost them money and wins and draft picks.  They should sink with who they have on hand, and audition some of their minor leaguers to see who can be part of a good Yankee team in 2012.

The Yankees can still win the East, but in order to do it they’re going to need A.J. Burnett to pitch better than he has, they’re going to need almost every hitter in the lineup to hit better than they have, they’re going to need Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon to stay healthy and reasonably effective, and they’re going to need people like Boone Logan and Luis Ayala to be good in the bullpen, and they’re going to need to replace Ivan Nova with Roy Halladay.

The odds of all those things happening are about the same as the odds of the Yankees beating Boston.

But hey, at least we get to watch Derek Jeter get his 3000th hit.

--Posted at 8:48 am by SG / 44 Comments | - (0)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

NY Times: Yankees Test a Keeper and Encounter a Castoff

FORT MYERS, Fla. — This month is the third anniversary of one of the Yankees’ scouting coups, when Alfredo Aceves and Manny Banuelos were among four players plucked from their team in Mexico, Sultanes de Monterrey, for $450,000.

Their reunion occurred on Monday night at City of Palms Stadium, in a diluted edition of the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry, in front of a national television audience, with each surprising his employer this spring training in a different way.

Aceves, a valuable member of the Yankees’ 2009 championship team, has seemingly rebounded from double-barreled adversity — a back injury that cost him most of last season and a fractured collarbone sustained in a November motorcycle accident — to emerge as a candidate for Boston’s bullpen.

Banuelos, a prized 20-year-old left-hander bound for Class AA Trenton, has impressed the Yankees with his poise and command, eliciting gushing praise from the usually low-key Joe Girardi — and from Red Sox Manager Terry Francona.

Pitching in and out of trouble most of the night, Banuelos still fired two and two-thirds scoreless innings in Boston’s 2-1 victory and struck out Carl Crawford and Kevin Youkilis, his final batter, on a dastardly changeup.


Aceves’s magical career arc with the Yankees — he soared from Class A Tampa to the majors in three months in 2008 — flattened at Fenway Park, of all places, when his lower back stiffened as he ran to cover first base last May 8.

It bothered him for the next four months, his season ending in a Class AAA rehabilitation assignment. The potential for more problems persuaded the Yankees not to tender him a contract.

“We could not get him healthy,” General Manager Brian Cashman said, “and I’ll leave it at that.”

That didn’t stop you from tearing up a one year option on Damaso Marte so you could pay him to not pitch for three years, did it?

The decision to non-tender Aceves because of one season of injury struck me as foolish at the time, and it’s starting to look even worse.  Then again, I don’t know that he’s got the arsenal to be a full-time major league starter and the Yankee bullpen is pretty stacked right now.

I didn’t see the game last night, so I’d be curious about how Banuelos looked if anyone who saw it wants to comment on it.

--Posted at 8:33 am by SG / 62 Comments | - (0)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Looking Ahead To 2011 - Curtis Granderson

It was a tale of two seasons for Curtis Granderson in 2010.  Granderson began the year on fire, hitting .336/.370/.605 through the first 11 games, including a 10th inning homer in Fenway that helped the Yankees beat Boston 3-1.  Granderson proceeded to hit .108/.250/.108 over the next 12 games and then strained his groin, causing him to miss close to a month.

Granderson returned at the end of May and then hit a lackluster .245/.306/.432 through August 9.  His BABIP was a reasonable .293, so there’s no evidence he was hitting in particularly bad luck.  He just wasn’t hitting well.

Of course, then came the fabled revamping of Granderson’s swing by Kevin Long during a road series in Texas.  From that point until the end of the season, Granderson hit .259/.354/.560 to end the year on a strong note.

You want to be careful about reading too much into the observed results of selective endpoints, because there’s a lot of random variance in what a player does that clouds our understanding of how good or bad a player really is, but that doesn’t mean we can’t look at the data in the splits to see if there’s something in the underlying numbers that indicates a tangible change.  In Granderson’s case, here’s what I see.

dates pa avg obp slg wOBA babip iso bb/pa k/pa
Apr 4 - Aug 9 354 .235 .291 .430 .292 .275 .140 7.9% 20.1%
Aug 10 - Oct 3 203 .263 .335 .563 .360 .272 .228 11.3% 20.7%
total 557 .245 .307 .478 .317 .274 .171 9.2% 20.3%

The only really difference here is the higher ISO (isolated power, calculated as slg - avg) and the increase in walk rate.  As I’ve mentioned in prior posts, once you have 200 PA of data you can assume that changes in walk rates and strikeout rates are somewhat meaningful.  The fact that his BABIP was reasonably consistent in both splits tells me there’s no reason to attribute his better performance at the end of the year solely to luck. 

year babip
2004 .353
2005 .324
2006 .333
2007 .360
2008 .316
2009 .275
2010 .277
Total .314

Interestingly, Granderson’s career BABIP is .314, although significantly less than that the last two seasons.  As a fly ball hitter, it’s doubtful he can get back to the heights of 2004-2007 when he hit a higher percentage of grounders, but I wonder if there’s a reasonable chance he can be a bit better in 2011 than he was in 2008 and 2009?  Here’s what the projections think about Granderson in 2011.


bill_james 646 580 95 153 27 9 25 73 14 5 66 .264 .339 .471 .351 91 91 14 27 .308
fans 595 535 80 142 22 8 26 88 16 4 60 .265 .343 .482 .357 86 94 16 28 .296
cairo 638 567 93 143 26 9 25 74 14 4 68 .252 .335 .462 .346 87 89 12 25 .279
marcel 535 475 74 120 19 7 20 58 12 3 53 .253 .327 .448 .336 70 85 6 17 .284
oliver 597 527 81 134 20 7 28 84 11 4 63 .254 .333 .478 .349 83 91 12 25 .285
pecota 652 576 83 148 25 7 26 87 15 4 65 .257 .333 .460 .343 88 88 11 24 .290
zips 621 551 90 144 22 11 28 75 14 3 62 .261 .337 .494 .355 90 95 16 29 .289
average* 609 539 84 138 22 8 25 76 13 4 62 .256 .333 .469 .346 84 90 12 24 .285
2010 546 482 76 119 17 7 24 69 12 2 55 .247 .322 .461 .337 73 86 8 19 .274

wOBA: Weighted on-base average (does not include SB/CS)
BR: Linear weights batting runs
BR/650: BR pro-rated to 650 PA
BRAA: BR above an average player in projected playing time (adjusted for park, but not for position)
BRAR: BR above a replacement level player (adjusted for park and position)
2010: Un-adjusted 2010 performance  
*average does not include bill_james or fans

You know, for a system specifically designed to make the Yankees look better than they are, CAIRO is doing a horsecrap job.  Across the board, the projections expect a better Granderson in 2011, somewhere in the area of five runs better, and that’s assuming an average BABIP of .285.  The average projection calls for 394 balls in play, so here’s how his value would change if he can exceed that BABIP by certain amounts.

bip babip avg obp slg br
394 .285 .256 .333 .469 84
394 .290 .258 .335 .471 85
394 .295 .261 .338 .475 86
394 .300 .265 .341 .479 87
394 .305 .268 .344 .483 88
394 .310 .272 .347 .488 89
394 .315 .275 .350 .492 90

Basically, every .005 points of BABIP adds about a run of value to Granderson’s line.  This assuming a typical allotment of two singles and one double for every three additional BABIP hits.

Here are Granderson’s CAIRO percentile forecasts.

80% 670 595 105 159 31 12 30 84 17 6 77 .267 .359 .509 .376 106 102 26 39
65% 651 578 98 150 28 10 27 79 16 5 72 .260 .347 .486 .361 96 96 18 32
Baseline 638 567 93 143 26 9 25 74 14 4 68 .252 .335 .462 .346 87 89 12 25
35% 574 510 79 123 21 7 20 63 11 3 57 .242 .318 .429 .325 70 80 2 14
20% 510 454 67 105 17 5 16 52 8 2 48 .231 .301 .395 .304 55 70 -5 6

I’m bullish on Granderson in 2011, partially due to how he finished 2010 but also because of how good he was from 2005-2008.  I’d be disappointed if he didn’t at least hit that 65% forecast.

Of course, no discussion of Granderson’s offense would be complete without acknowledging his weakness against left-handed pitching.  He did hit them much better during his hot stretch in 2010 (.267/.353/.467), but that was only 68 PA.  In his career he’s hit .215/.274/.346 in 777 PA vs. LHP.  Here’s how I have his splits projected for 2011.

split pa ab h 2b 3b hr bb so hbp gdp avg obp slg woba br/pa br/650
vs. LHP 160 145 31 5 2 5 12 35 1 1 .216 .287 .396 .297 .095 61
Vs. RHP 478 422 112 21 7 20 56 88 2 3 .264 .351 .485 .363 .148 96
Overall 638 567 143 26 9 25 68 124 3 4 .252 .335 .462 .346 .135 88

These splits are regressed using the basic methodology discussed here.

With Andruw Jones on the bench, the Yankees can probably limit Granderson’s exposure to LHP if needed, while still giving him a few chances to show if he might be able to hit them better going forward.

Base Running

Year ga_opps ga_r aa_opps aa_r ha_opps ha_r oa_opps oa_r total_opps total_r
2007 43 1 60 0 74 3 426 -1 603 2
2008 46 0 49 1 63 4 385 0 543 5
2009 38 1 41 -2 42 3 321 1 442 2
2010 28 1 28 0 30 0 228 1 314 1
Proj 36 0 39 -1 45 2 307 1 427 2

Although Granderson doesn’t attempt to steal all that much, he’s a good percentage basestealer (around 80.6% career) and he runs the bases well in non-SB situations as well. 

ga_opps: opportunities to advance on grounders
ga_r: run value of advances on grounders
aa_opps: opportunites to advance on air outs
aa_r: run value of advances on air outs
ha_opps: opportunites to advance on hits
ha_r: run value of advances on hits
oa_opps: opportunites to adance on other (wild pitches, passed balls, etc.,)
oa_r: run value of advances on other
total_opps: ga + aa + ha + ao opportunities
total_r: total run value of non-SB base running, compared to average


Player Granderson, Curtis
Pos CF
year G Inn DRS zRS uRS tRS avg rARM
2006 157 1312 5 6 12 6 7 0
2007 157 1285 16 9 15 5 11 4
2008 140 1188 -7 3 -11 1 -4 -1
2009 160 1384 14 8 -1 8 7 -1
2010 134 1101 6 2 9 -5 3 1
avg 150 1254 7 6 5 3 5 1
w_avg 147 1232 7 5 3 3 5 0

DRS: Defensive runs saved compared to average using John Dewan’s plus/minus system
zRS: Runs saved compared to average using Chris Dial’s zone rating system
uRS: Runs saved compared to average using UZR
tRS: Runs saved compared to average using Total Zone
rARM: Runs saved with arm compared to average (OF only)
avg: average from 2006-2010
w_avg: weighted average from 2006-2010 (5/4/3/2/1 weight)

These numbers jibe with my feel on Granderson’s defense.  Aside from 2008, he’s been a solidly above average CF by the average of his defensive metrics.  He’s probably not as good in CF as Brett Gardner might be, and he’s at an age where we should expect a gradual defensive decline but I don’t think that flipping them would make that much of a difference in 2011.

Because Granderson adds value on the bases and defensively, he really shouldn’t be viewed as a platoon player.  It does make sense to rest him and pinch-hit for him against lefties in certain situations, but for the most part he’s an every-day CF with one glaring weakness.

In Granderson, Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner the Yankees have a pretty good outfield that was built through trades and player development and not from their checkbook.  I was wondering about how the Yankees’ outfield would stack up to every outfield in MLB offensively and defensively because I had a feeling it’d be pretty close to the top, so here’s a quick comparison.

TEX 255 6 260
COL 257 2 259
NYY 241 13 254
BOS 245 4 249
BAL 242 1 243
ATL 240 2 243
FLO 240 2 242
NYM 241 0 241
ARI 238 2 240
CIN 233 5 237
LAA 212 24 236
STL 260 -24 236
TB 230 6 236
DET 229 7 235
CHC 230 3 233
SF 227 6 233
MIL 230 2 232
PHI 232 -2 229
OAK 224 2 227
LAD 235 -8 227
PIT 227 -1 225
WAS 217 8 225
CHW 222 -1 221
SD 210 8 218
HOU 218 -2 215
TOR 205 3 209
KC 203 5 208
MIN 220 -12 207
SEA 194 12 206

I just gave every player listed as the current starter at LF, CF and RF for each team 600 PA and figured out the total expected linear weights batting runs using an average of CAIRO, Marcel, Oliver, PECOTA and ZiPS. I also figured out their estimated runs saved compared to average defensively using the same methodology I’ve been using for the individual Yankee players.  Then I totaled them.  These numbers are not park-adjusted, which means the Yankees group might sneak ahead of Colorado but they probably still trail Texas.

This is far from rigorous since it ignores backups and doesn’t factor in how platooning may allow teams to pick up a few more runs on the margins, so don’t take it too seriously.  That being said, I wonder how many people would even consider the possibility that the Yankees have one of the top two or three OF in baseball?  To be honest, I didn’t think they did until I did this.  And they didn’t buy a single one of them on the free agent market.

Granderson’s another player I just enjoy watching, aside from when he’s facing a lefty.  I like his combination of speed and power, and I like the way he kind of glides to the ball in the OF.  Unlike they managed to do with the Swisher trade, the Yankees had to give up value to get him, but I’m happy with the end result.  The object of baseball is not to rob other GMs blind.  It’s to make your team better.

--Posted at 10:10 am by SG / 40 Comments | - (0)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

NY Times: Heftier Chamberlain Arrives With Thud at Yankees Camp

Asked Wednesday morning for his impression of Chamberlain, General Manager Brian Cashman said: “He’s heavier. Let’s just leave it at that.”

Told that Chamberlain has said he packed on muscle, Cashman said: “He’s obviously heavier. That’s as much as I’ll say.”

Asked if he expected Chamberlain to lose weight by opening day, Cashman only repeated, “He’s heavier.”

Exactly how much heavier was unclear, considering Cashman, when asked, would not say, and neither would Chamberlain, who tired quickly of the questioning. Saying he felt “great,” “awesome” and “stronger physically,” Chamberlain suggested his weight was not a fair indication of his physical condition.


Heft in and of itself isn’t necessarily bad,.  Since muscle is denser than fat, you can be heavier but in better shape.  Of course I have no idea if that’s what’s going on with Chamberlain.

I wonder if Cashman will have similar feelings with Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia.

--Posted at 1:26 pm by SG / 56 Comments | - (0)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

NY Post: Yankees GM says if Jeter moves, it’ll be to center field

Cashman reportedly said he would be surprised if Jeter finished his career at shortstop, “but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible.”

I’m going to go ahead and say it’s not possible.

Speaking at the WFAN fan breakfast, Cashman reportedly also said the Red Sox were better than the Yankees right now, but his team has a better bullpen.

I think I’d rather be the better team with the worse bullpen, but that’s just me.

Cashman also reportedly said, “We’re one starter away from being a World Series contender,” but it would not be Joba Chamberlain and unlikely to be Andy Pettitte.

Technically, if you’re a playoff contender aren’t you already a World Series contender?  Maybe that one starter could be a better than projected A.J. Burnett?  And maybe Peter Gammons won’t pick the Red Sox to win the AL East.

Of Chamberlain, Cashman said the right-hander hasn’t been the same since suffering a shoulder injury in Texas (in August 2008).

If the Yankees are concerned about Chamberlain’s ability to stay healthy, it makes their refusal to entertain Joba as a starter a little clearer.  Of course, if this is the reason, it is probably also not in their best interests to come out and say it explicitly if they want to keep Chamberlain’s value as high as it can possibly be right now, which is to say probably not all that high.

Say what you want about Cashman, but I find the honesty of some of these comments refreshing.  I also like seeing that Cashman’s assessment of this team’s flaws jibes with reality, at least our reality, which may or may not be actual reality.  Although if it’s not actual reality, it’s not reality at all, and then I am not sure what it is.

--Posted at 7:16 am by SG / 41 Comments | - (0)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

TGS: If Not Short for Derek Jeter, Center, says Cashman

If 36-year-old Derek Jeter doesn’t last at shortstop for the length of his new four-year contract, New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman thinks Jeter is best suited for a switch to center field.

“I like corner outfielders and corner infielders who have power, so for me, if he’s ever gonna move, it’s probably gonna be a Robin Yount situation. But we don’t have to deal with it at this point,” Cashman said Tuesday. “We’ll deal with it when we have to.”

In the understatement of the week, Cashman also said that Andruw Jones “is similar to Thames in offensive production but slightly better on defense.”

--Posted at 2:48 pm by Jonathan / 28 Comments | - (0)

#### New York: 5 Yankees Questions: Does Cash have a move?

1. Who are the Yankees fourth and fifth starters?

One will not be Joba Chamberlain. Brian Cashman has made that clear. Ivan Nova of the 1-2, 4.50 ERA in 42 major league innings is the No. 4. Why he is better than Chamberlain for this year doesn’t make sense to me? But the Yankees feel Chamberlain’s stuff diminishes as a starter.

At the No. 5 spot is Sergio Mitre. Mitre’s career numbers are 13-29 with a 5.27 ERA. Now, read those numbers again for Mitre and Nova—- what do they tell you? They say to me the Yankees will add at least one more pitcher in the next three weeks and hope for Pettitte’s return.

Meanwhile, the Yankees have a host of arms led by Dellin Bettances, Manny Banuelos and Andrew Brackman that they think could be ready by 2012, if not sooner.

Come on sooner…

3) Will Derek Jeter bounce back?

You may have heard that Jeter’s play was questioned this offseason. He will be 37 after the All-Star Break. If he is not hurt in the first half, he should have his 3,000th hit by then, becoming the first Yankee ever there.

But the focus on Jeter will be about every ball that finds the hole and where his average stands. People who follow the sport closely have been watching these things for awhile. Now, they are mainstream and national. It will be interesting watch.

Have people who follow the sport closely really been watching where his average stands for a “while”?  Until 2010 his average was rarely an issue, was it?  Unfortunately I can’t say the same about the defense.

--Posted at 7:32 am by SG / 42 Comments | - (0)

Friday, January 21, 2011

CBS Sports: Did Lee damage Yankees—and front office?

What’s going on here? Did Lee really do that much damage to this Yankee winter—or to the Yankee front office?

It may be that he did, and it may be that what we heard from Brian Cashman on Wednesday is the surest sign that he did.

While it’s not at all unusual for a general manager to get overruled by his owner, it is highly unusual for a GM to air the disagreement publicly. And that’s exactly what Cashman did.

He admitted that he didn’t want to sign Rafael Soriano as a setup man for Mariano Rivera—not for $35 million over three years, anyway. He admitted that he took no part in Soriano negotiations, leaving that to club president Randy Levine.

He even strongly suggested that Soriano was signed in large part to appease fans and sell tickets.

Asked if the Yankees felt the need to respond to what the Red Sox had done this winter, Cashman said, “I think [owner Hal Steinbrenner] felt we needed to do something regardless. We were not going to go into spring training without doing something big.”

Cashman said he spoke out Wednesday only because he wanted to be “transparent.” But some people who know him believe his strong comments were a sign of larger disputes within the Yankee front office.

I don’t know that this makes sense.  It seems to me it’d have to be a case of:

1) Ownership never wanting Lee and preferring to pursue other avenues to improve the team but acquiescing to Cashman’s desire to sign Lee instead
2) Ownership willing to pay Lee as much as it would take to sign him and Cashman setting a cap that ended up costing them Lee
3) Ownership annoyed that the Yankees were in a position where they were so dependent on signing Lee that the failure to sign him significantly blew up their offseason

I find 1 and 2 unlikely.  I guess 3 is possible, but it’s kind of hard to be critical of the situation the Yankees were in after the 2010 season ended considering they won the World Series in 2009.

Cashman’s in the final year of his contract, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he isn’t back next year.  If I were him, I’d be pretty pissed off about having said that he didn’t think signing Soriano made sense and not wanting to give up his first round draft pick only to have his team do precisely that a couple of days later.

While I do think he’s a good GM, I don’t think he’s irreplaceable.  However, the concern I’d have is that if he does leave, Randy Levine will be involved in hiring the next GM and I would be shocked if he hired a good one.

This is the last time I’m going to bring up the lost draft pick, since it’s, well, lost.

According to this draft pick list at River Ave Blues, here are how many picks each of the five AL East teams have through the end of the second round.

Rays: 12
BlueJays: 7
RedSox: 5
Yankees: 3
Orioles: 2

Granting that the Rays would have gotten those picks even if Soriano signed elsewhere, that doesn’t change the fact that the Yankees lost one of their picks in one of the deepest drafts in recent memory according to the people who track that sort of thing, and that most of their opponents in the division are primed to take nice advantage of the deep draft.

And the argument that the 31st pick in the draft generally doesn’t become much of a player ignores the fact that he could be traded if he’s a prospect.  It’s not like C.J. Henry amounted to anything, but he did net the Yankees Bobby Abreu.

Really though, it’s not the loss of a single draft pick that’s so troubling to many Yankee fans.  It’s the thought(or lack thereof) and decision-making process behind it that’s really worrisome.  I really don’t want the front office for my favorite team making decisions based on ‘appeasing the fans’ or ‘selling seats’.  I want them to make decisions based on how much they’ll help the team win in the short and long-terms.

--Posted at 11:27 am by SG / 73 Comments | - (0)

Thursday, January 13, 2011 - Heyman: Yankees add Soriano to bullpen with 3-year deal

The New York Yankees have agreed to a three-year deal with All-Star reliever Rafael Soriano and plan to use him as a setup man in front of Mariano Rivera. The contract is worth about $35 million
The Yankees will have to give up a first-round pick to the Tampa Bay Rays because Soriano is a Type A free agent.

I find this entirely un-exciting and perhaps stupid, but maybe I’ll feel differently in the morning.

I’m not sure why Brian Cashman even bothers making public pronouncements that are demonstrably untrue.

--Posted at 9:46 pm by SG / 63 Comments | - (0)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Lohud: Jennings: Cashman: “I will not lose our No. 1 draft pick”

Essentially taking himself out of the running for Rafael Soriano, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said this afternoon that he absolutely will not make a move that costs the Yankees their top draft pick.

“I will not lose our No. 1 draft pick,” Cashman said. “I would have for Cliff Lee. I won’t lose our No. 1 draft pick for anyone else.”

I think this is the smart move.  Lee was worth losing the pick for, but it’s tough to see someone like Soriano being worth enough over what the Yankees have in-house to justify not just losing their first round pick, but losing it to a division rival in what most are calling one of the deepest drafts in recent memory.  And that’s one hell of a run-on sentence but I’m just killing time until happy hour so I’m not going to edit it.

--Posted at 4:30 pm by SG / 33 Comments | - (0)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010 Carig: Questions surround Yankees rotation with Andy Pettitte’s possible retirement looming

Cashman didn’t rule out a return by Pettitte, but with Christmas approaching, he is proceeding with the rest of his offseason plans as if the pitcher will not be back.
“As of right now, he’s not intending on playing,” Cashman said.
Pettitte’s retirement would be another blow to the club in a winter in which the Red Sox have added firepower to their lineup, while the Yankees have failed to deliver a proportional response.
“We swung for the fences, didn’t get it, and now we move forward,” Cashman said. “We have a very good team and we can make it better.”

Also from the Ny Post

“Could I go out and get a starter? Yes, I could. But there’s just not much out there,” said Cashman, who ruled out acquiring Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez from the Mariners.
Ivan Nova, who went 1-2 with a 4.50 ERA in 10 appearances (seven starts) last season, is the obvious choice as the fourth starter. The top pitching prospects in the franchise are Manuel Banuelos and Dellin Betances, but both are expected to start the season in Double-A. Andrew Brackman could be the favorite for the fifth spot if Pettitte does not return.
“We have 10 prospects starting from Double-A on up that our organization can choose from,” Cashman said.

I’ve been holding off on the pitching part of ‘where do we go from here?’ on the assumption that the Yankees still had some tricks up their sleeve, but at this point that looks unlikely so I should have it up in the next couple of days. 

--Posted at 10:13 am by SG / 202 Comments | - (0)

Monday, December 6, 2010 Cashman says Pettitte leaning toward retirement

“He told me personally he was leaning toward retirement,” Cashman said. “He’s not officially retired. I talked to his agent [Randy Hendricks] about maybe a week to 10 days ago, and that position hadn’t changed. That’s where it’s at as of right now.”

The Yankees have said they would like to have Pettitte back in 2011, but as in past years, they will not force his hand. Pettitte, 38, has been wrestling with the balance between his pitching duties and his family life at home in Deer Park, Texas.

So far, baseball has won out, though Pettitte has been increasingly frustrated with the amount of time he has had to spend on airplanes commuting between New York and Texas on off-days. Cashman said Pettitte’s statement this year was more blunt than his parting words in past seasons.

“That’s the first time he’s ever done that, told me that directly,” Cashman said. “He’s a very honest communicator and I just think that as every year goes by, that tug [of retirement] is a lot harder.”

I wouldn’t put much weight behind the fact that he hasn’t made a decision yet.  It’s basically the Brett Favre model: you haven’t chosen retirement unless the regular season starts without you.

--Posted at 10:06 pm by Jonathan / 54 Comments | - (0)

Saturday, November 20, 2010 - Carig: New Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild inherits staff filled with talent…

NEW YORK — In his nearly four decades in baseball, Larry Rothschild had never dealt with what awaited him on Tuesday, when he sat in front of a monitor at Yankee Stadium.

General manager Brian Cashman transformed a video room near the Yankees’ dugout into a simulator, designed to determine whether he had found his next pitching coach.

Rothschild’s mission, if he chose to accept it, was to break down six hours of film featuring Yankees pitchers CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes and A.J. Burnett. He would return the next day to tell Cashman how he would prepare each for a start.

It amounted to a 48-hour standardized exam, one the 56-year-old Rothschild apparently aced.

Time will tell if Rothschild will be a good pitching coach for the Yankees, but I love the process Brian Cashman used in deciding on him.

For what it’s worth, here are a couple of articles from Another Cubs Blog about the effect Rothschild may have had on Cubs pitchers.

Larry Rothschild and walks.
Larry Rothschild and home runs.

The executive summary is Cubs pitchers had fewer walks and more strikeouts after being coached by Rothschild, with no change in home run rate.

Sounds like FIP heaven to me.

--Posted at 9:52 am by SG / 106 Comments | - (0)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

NY Post: Yankees prepared to brush Jeter back

But confidants of Cashman said the GM is determined not to have the team get so lost in the past that it destroys the future by giving Jeter a contract that either lasts way beyond his effectiveness and/or overpays him to such a degree that hurts financial flexibility elsewhere.

That is why, the confidants say, Cashman decided to have a face-to-face, turning-the-page meeting with Jorge Posada in Manhattan to tell the longtime catcher that the plan is to go with youngsters behind the plate and that Posada is now viewed as a DH. And it is why, the confidants say, he essentially played bad cop with Posada’s pal, Jeter, at a meeting that also was attended by Hal Steinbrenner, team president Randy Levine and Jeter’s agent, Casey Close.

Cashman detailed the organization’s long-term concerns about where Jeter’s offense and defense may be going. The Yankees are willing to add some dollars beyond what they see as strictly Jeter’s on-field value to honor his status as an icon.


--Posted at 9:28 am by SG / 139 Comments | - (0)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - Carig: Yankees may have Rick Peterson on radar as pitching coach

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman did not rule out Rick Peterson as a potential candidate for the team’s vacant pitching coach job, though he did shoot down any chance that former Braves pitching coach Leo Mazzone would be considered.

“We’re not going to interview Leo,” Cashman said Monday as he arrived in Orlando, Fla. for baseball’s general managers’ meetings. “Leo turned down the Yankees job once.”

I find the idea of Peterson intriguing, and wish to subscribe to Brian Cashman’s newsletter. 

As far as Mazzone, apparently hell hath no fury like a GM scorned.

--Posted at 1:59 pm by SG / 32 Comments | - (0)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

NY Post: Cashman, Yankees tell Posada he’ll DH next season

ace to face Brian Cashman informed Jorge Posada that he will be the Yankees designated hitter next season, The Post has learned.

Cashman met with Posada in Manhattan this week to tell the veteran to, as usual, prepare to catch, but the team’s first option is to have youngsters Jesus Montero, Francisco Cervelli and Austin Romine compete in spring training for the two primary jobs.

It is quite a risk to team an expensive, mostly veteran staff with such inexperienced catchers. But it is indicative of how much the Yankees believe Posada’s defensive game has slipped in all areas.

It is possible that plans could change if the Yankees use one of the catchers in a trade and/or they feel there is enough budget left to secure a free agent such as John Buck. For now, though, the Yankees are going to hope that Montero, in particular, is advanced enough to handle a significant portion of the catching as a way to begin working the top prospect’s ultra-promising bat into the lineup.

Not sure Posada’s going to hit enough as a DH to make him particularly valuable, but this move makes sense looking out past 2011.  It’s sink or swim time for Montero as a catcher with several other interesting options behind him, so throw him in the water and see what happens.

--Posted at 11:17 am by SG / 26 Comments | - (0)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

NY Daily News: Eduardo Nunez taking over for Derek Jeter at shortstop is part of the Yankees plan fo

No, the real deal-breaking prospect, as far as the Yankees were concerned, was infielder Eduardo Nunez. Yankee GM Brian Cashman was willing to sacrifice Montero - despite all the scouts’ raves about his power potential - because he has a surplus of catchers. Nunez, on the other hand, is viewed by Cashman as a big part of the Yankee future which is why, when Mariners’ GM Jack Zduriencik asked for his inclusion in the deal as a substitute for injured second-base prospect David Adams, the Yankee GM essentially said: “Enough!”

Turns out Zduriencik was right about Adams being potentially damaged goods - the hard-hitting second baseman never came back from the severely broken ankle he suffered at Double-A Trenton and then underwent additional surgery after the season, precluding him from making up for all the lost time in winter ball – but in asking for Nunez he was asking for the player the Yankees are now viewing as Derek Jeter’s successor. Though no one in the Yankee high command is ever going to even speculate about the future after 2011 - especially with the very sensitive contract negotiations with Jeter about to get underway – but it’s becoming increasingly clear the plan is to phase out Jorge Posada next season when his contract expires, opening up the DH slot for Alex Rodriguez, thereby allowing Jeter to move to third, making room for a more athletic shortstop, which would be the 24-year-old Venezuelan, Nunez, who hit .289 with 50 RBI and 23 stolen bases in 118 games at Triple-A Scranton this season.

This is intriguing, although I’m not sure it’s smart.  Is Derek Jeter likely to be better at third base than Alex Rodriguez going forward?  As far as Nunez, he’s still more tools than performance and at 24 I’m not sure how much time he has to improve.  Butyouneverknow.

I do like the fact that they are acknowledging that Jeter’s almost certainly not going to be the shortstop for the next four years.  This is the first offseason without the late George Steinbrenner at the top.  I’m not sure how involved Mr. Steinbrenner was in the day-to-day operations over the last few years, but it’ll be interesting to see if the Yankees take a more Machiavellian approach without him.

--Posted at 10:13 am by SG / 79 Comments | - (0)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sporing News: Yankees’ Brian Cashman expects Derek Jeter back at shortstop

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told the New York Daily News that contract negotiations between the team and shortstop Derek Jeter haven’t begun, but he believes Jeter will re-sign.

Speaking about Jeter as well as closer Mariano Rivera and lefthander Andy Pettitte, Cashman stressed that the organization’s desire is to keep its core veterans. All three will become free agents this offseason, though Pettitte could retire.

I’m already tired of this Jeter stuff.  Hurry up and sign him to a horrible contract so we can bitch about it.

--Posted at 12:53 pm by SG / 50 Comments | - (0)

Monday, October 25, 2010

USA Today: Moving on: Yankees begin mulling offseason upgrades

“I don’t know how you measure, quantify any of it,” Girardi said. “It all stinks.”

My careful and detailed analysis says this is dead-on.

Speaking of Girardi…

NY Post: Girardi deal likely to be for 3 years

There is no chance the Yankees and Joe Girardi announce a

contract extension today when the manager and Brian Cashman will talk at Yankee Stadium.

Eventually, a deal will be struck. Hal Steinbrenner and Cashman think highly of Girardi, who likely will sign a three-year deal.

As for Girardi’s staff, none of the coaches is signed beyond the end of the month.

There’s no backing evidence in the article, so take it for FWIW.  If Girardi does sign for 3 years, it’s good news for Josh Hamilton, because it will give him a very good shot at beating Barry Bond’s career record for IBB.  If it was only for two years, it may have been a bit tight.

In other “news”, A.J. Burnett keeps quiet as Yankees return to Bronx to clean out clubhouse following ALCS ouster.

There wasn’t much action in the six hours the Yankees opened their clubhouse to reporters Sunday, with just lefty relievers Damaso Marte and Boone Logan addressing the media on a futile cleanup day at the Stadium.

A.J. Burnett also made a late appearance Sunday at the Stadium, but the $82.5 million Game 4 ALCS starter declined to comment before cleaning out his locker for the winter.

So two of the three players who showed up, one of whom hasn’t pitched in four months, talked to the media?  This is news?  This is HEADLINE-WORTHY?

I hate the offseason.

Update: Eiland out.

Bob Klapish (and others) are tweeting that At Yankees press conference: Dave Eiland fired by GM Brian Cashman for “private” reasons.

Not sure it’s technically a firing since his contract was up, but either way he’s gone.  Rick Kranitz was Girardi’s pitching coach with the 2006 Marlins and won Major League Coach of the Year from Baseball America, but is currently employed by the Orioles so I’m guessing he’s not an option.  Wonder what Mel Stottlemyre’s up to…

--Posted at 7:23 am by SG / 92 Comments | - (0)

Friday, October 22, 2010 Heyman - Yankees Plan To Bring Back Girardi

The Yankees plan to bring back manager Joe Girardi at a raise, no matter what some fans may say about his reliance on his ever-present binder. He is well-liked by Yankees honchos Hal Steinbrenner, Randy Levine and Brian Cashman. Girardi hasn’t been great in the ALCS, though, as he got greedy by staying too long in Game 4 with A.J. Burnett, who has been brutal and was pitching on 17 days’ rest. Burnett should have been removed after five very good innings, rather than be left in to try to pitch out of a sixth-inning jam.

Perhaps the raise will keep Girardi from doing commercials.

--Posted at 1:34 pm by SG / 14 Comments | - (0)

Thursday, October 7, 2010 Berkman’s damage all Pettitte needs to win

MINNEAPOLIS—When Lance Berkman was approached with a list of interested teams he could waive a no-trade clause to join in late July, the veteran slugger selected the Yankees, believing they would have the best chance of winning a World Series.

Berkman seized his opportunity to help that cause on Thursday, hitting a tiebreaking homer and a go-ahead RBI double as the Yankees defeated the Twins, 5-2, in Game 2 of the American League Division Series at Target Field to take a 2-0 advantage in the best-of-five set.

A career Astro before this year, Berkman had hit just one home run in pinstripes before connecting off Carl Pavano in the fifth, then added a big hit in the seventh to provide the necessary support for good friend Andy Pettitte, who improved his all-time numbers with his 19th victory in postseason play

I have been nervous about Andy Pettitte’s starts in the postseason given the shakiness of his last two regular season starts, but that sure feels dumb now.

It’s also nice to see some of the guys who were acquired by Brian Cashman in deals that have been criticized for much of the year being the key contributors in tonight’s win. 

Curtis Granderson has been very good the last few months, and he’s carried that into the postseason. 

And Lance Berkman’s track record should have spoken for itself.  He was an outstanding hitter at one time, and even if he’s not what he once was, he’s an asset to this team and he showed it tonight.  Sometimes good players have 30 bad PA.

If you could have any closer in baseball right now for the rest of the postseason, is there anyone you’d take over Mo?

I think Joe Girardi’s managed the first two games of this series very well, both with his lineup and bullpen decisions as well as with his strategy.

But tonight belonged to Pettitte.  I don’t know if he’s going to be back next year, and he probably doesn’t know either, but I’m glad he’s here in 2010.

Twins in 4 is the new prediction BTW.

--Posted at 8:09 pm by SG / 76 Comments | - (0)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Re-Visiting the Second Javier Vazquez Trade

If you were to believe CAIRO, which is deadly accurate, the Yankees just added one of the top five starters in baseball. I’d temper that slightly because Vazquez has had a history of having better peripherals than actual performance (career FIP of 3.83 vs. career ERA of 4.19), but I don’t think it’s a stretch to say he’s a #1 starter right now, who slots in nicely behind CC Sabathia.

-Some dummy, back in December 2009

Well, it’s safe to say I whiffed on that one, huh? 

A lot of people didn’t like the Javier Vazquez trade because of how he pitched in 2004 as a Yankee, but logic would tell you that was less relevant than how he’d pitched recently.  Unfortunately, for whatever reason the Vazquez that pitched in 2009 is not the Vazquez the Yankees got for 2010.  While Vazquez has never really been a fastball pitcher, he needed his fastball to set up his secondary pitches.  If anyone who didn’t like the Vazquez trade at the time pointed out that he’d be throwing 3-4 mph slower with his fastball than he did in 2009, then sure, gloat about how you were right.  As far as I can tell, that’s the biggest reason that he tanked this year.

As far as why he’s lost velocity, I doubt it’s some inability to pitch in New York.  It could be an injury, it could be health, it could be a mechanical issue, it could be the cumulative wear and tear of over 42,000 MLB pitches thrown, but there’s really no way to have known it was going to happen based on what he did last year.

I don’t fault Brian Cashman for bringing back Vazquez in an attempt to shore up the rotation.  While losing Arodys Vizcaino may end up stinging, getting Boone Logan back and opening up a full-time job for Brett Gardner have helped the 2010 squad. 

I don’t fault Javier Vazquez either.  He seems as frustrated as any of us, and I’m sure he’s expending maximum effort.  He just doesn’t have the same tools he had and wasn’t able to compensate for it.  It doesn’t mean he’s gutless or can’t handle the pinstripes, even if some people want to think it does.

It’s just one of those things that has turned out to be a disappointment, and I don’t see the point in trying to blame anyone.

--Posted at 10:09 am by SG / 80 Comments | - (0)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sporting News: Kerry Wood brings relief to Yankees’ bullpen

The Yankees can thank Kerry Wood for the turnaround. They can give an assist to the club’s scouts, too. Wood had not been on the disabled list and not pitched in three weeks when the Yankees traded for him at the deadline.

“I was expecting to be traded, but not then,” Wood said. “I was expecting a waiver deal toward the end (of August). (The Indians) sat me down in the seventh inning when I had been up just to get in an inning and I figured that something had happened. Absolutely I was surprised, mainly because I hadn’t thrown in 2-3 weeks.”

“Our scouts told us that there was a lot left in his tank,” Yankees pitching coach Dave Eiland said.

One outing after Wood’s arrival, Eiland convinced the 33-year-old right-hander to stand taller on the mound and raise his arm slot to improve the downhill angle on his pitches. “Which is how he pitched earlier in his career,” Eiland said.

At the time of his acquisition, Wood had an ugly 6.30 ERA, and a FIP of 5.30.  He’d walked 11.8% of the batters he faced and struck out 19.3%.  His BABIP against was .305.

As a Yankee, Wood’s definitely pitched better, although not really well enough to maintain the 0.44 ERA he’s got as a Yankee.  He’s actually walked batters at a higher rate as a Yankee (13.2%), although part of the difference there is that he has a low .217 BABIP against which suppresses the numbers of batters he faced. In terms of walks per nine innings, he looks a bit better (5.0 in Cleveland, 4.8 in New York).  He’s also jacked up his strikeout rate to 28.9% of batters faced.

Interestingly, Wood is not throwing as hard as a Yankee as he did earlier with Cleveland. He threw his fastball 64.4% of the time with Cleveland at an average velocity of 95.2 mph.  He also threw an occasional slider (83.3 mph, 0.8% of the time), a cutter(89.9 mph, 21.5% of the time) and a curve (78.9mph, 13.3% of the time).

With the Yanks, Wood’s thrown the fastball less frequently (93.4mph, 52.2%), has thrown no sliders, and has upped his cutter and curve usage (89.1 mph, 30.9%) and (76.8 mph, 16.9%) respectively. 

He’s not likely to continue to be as valuable as he’s been to his point, because of that low BABIP, and because of his 5.0% HR/FB rate (compared to 11.1% in his career), but he should continue to be pretty good.

It’s fair to say that Brian Cashman’s offseason wasn’t a great one.  I thought Chan Ho Park was exhibit A there, but getting Wood to replace Park has been a point in his favor.

--Posted at 10:32 am by SG / 36 Comments | - (0)

Friday, July 23, 2010 Red Sox Fans Beware: Yankees GM Brian Cashman Claims Trade Market ‘Dead Out There’

So the Yankees will not be making any big waves in the trade-market pool from now until July 31, according to general manager Brian Cashman.

For Yankee fans, it sounds like a disappointing and boring trade deadline. For Red Sox fans, it sounds like a bluff. A very scary, threatening bluff.

“Right now, there’s just a lot of things that aren’t plentiful,” the GM told the Star-Ledger. “I’ll make my phone calls and if they lead to something, great. But right now, it’s dead out there for us.”

For me, a trade deadline where nothing happens would be far from disappointing.  The Yankees are probably still the best team in baseball, but they are not without flaws.  The thing is, some of those flaws cannot be remedied in a realistic trade scenario without giving up too much value IMO.  And those flaws are going to be more pronounced next year, and the year after that, and the year after that…

I’d rather not see them jeopardize their chances in 2011 and on for a slightly better chance of winning it all in 2010.  I can wait two years between World Series titles.

--Posted at 12:02 pm by SG / 30 Comments | - (0)

Monday, July 19, 2010

ESPN NY: Cashman says there’s no Plan B—yet

So now it’s only natural that Yankees fans will expect, and probably demand, that the team pluck someone, anyone, from the list of starting pitchers expected to be available between now and the July 31 non-waiver trading deadline. Kevin Millwood, anyone?

But general manager Brian Cashman said on Sunday that this year, the Yankees are going to have to make it through October the old-fashioned way: with the roster of players they have, not the roster of players their fans would like them to have.

“Right now, I’m not inclined to make a move,’’ Cashman said. “I always prefer to fix things from within.’‘

I still think a bat would be good depending on the price, but I’d rather see them do nothing than possibly trade Jesus Montero again.

--Posted at 8:51 am by SG / 81 Comments | - (0)

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