Around the Horn: Jeter, Lee, Vazquez

Although the offseason has not been very exciting yet, I would expect that to change within the next few weeks so let’s try to sum up what’s happened so far, regarding the Yankees.

  • The negotiations with Derek Jeter have apparantly soured. The Yankees have likely made a contract offer of 3 years worth $45 million, an acceptable overpay in my opinion, and are even willing to up the offer to somewhere within the range of 3 years worth $50 million according to Jon Heyman. The latest news is that Jeter desires a contract for 4 to 5 years worth $23-24 million a year. I have no doubt that any team would offer him such a contract, and perhaps no team would even offer him the 3/45 contract. If Jeter’s agent Casey Close, a horrible lawyer in name, does not make his asking price a little more reasonable, I could easily see these negotiations stretching in January.
  • Cliff Lee has been reportedly shopping around to several teams this winter, but nothing has yet to come of it. But according to Buster Olney, the Lee talks are expected to heat up next week with the winter meetings coming up. Buckle up!
  • Javier Vazquez has agreed to a one year deal worth $7 million with the Florida Marlins. I would not be surprised to see him have a good season, I don’t know why he couldn’t keep it together with the Yankees, and I still don’t buy the ‘he can’t handle New York’ storyline. Oh well, I guess some things are not meant to be.
  • Jonathan Albaladejo will be playing next season with the Yomiuri Giants, Hideki Matsui’s old team, after requesting to be released by the Yankees. I, for one, was looking forward to the chance that he would finally get the opportunity to impact the Yankees next season, but fortunately the Yankees have been compensated with $1.2 million by the Giants.

Montero to start in 2011?

"Yankees fan may get used to seeing this man behind the plate." Photo Credit: Stevens of the New York Daily News

This morning we learned via Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News that Jesús Montero will get a serious chance to leave spring training as the Yankees everyday catcher. According to Feinsand, the Yankees brass discussed Montero over the past two days during meeting at Yankee Stadium. Feinsand cites a source who claimed the plan is for Montero to catch approximately 100 games during the upcoming season, with Jorge Posada serving as a designated hitter and a backup catcher, along with Francisco Cervelli. Here’s the most interesting line from the Daily News’ article:

The front office believes that Montero is already a better defensive catcher than the 39-year-old Posada, who has struggled behind the plate – and to stay healthy.

The question is, do the Yankees really feel this way, or is this some kind of ploy to raise Montero’s value for possible trades? I think it’s both. I really do believe that the Yankees believe Montero, whose defense has been a huge question mark, is a more capable defensive catcher than Jorge Posada. Now mind you, that really isn’t a compliment. Still, even if the Yankees feel this way, there is no reason they wouldn’t want to make Montero appear more valuable to potential bidders, especially since the Yankees are in the market for pitching. I’m not saying that the Yankees will definitely trade Montero, but I wouldn’t rule it out.

Overall, I would expect to see Jesús Montero take over the everyday catching duties at some point during the 2011 season, if not right out of spring training. I am truly excited to see him play in the Bronx.