Open Thread: Lee

 

"Mr. Lee may become familiar with the pitching mound in Yankee Stadium." Photo Credit: Getty Images via Yahoo Sports

 

Most of the baseball world expects Cliff Lee to soon decide where he wants to spend the rest of his career (most likely). It’s not a secret that the bidding for the lefty is between the Texas Rangers and the New York Yankees. While I don’t expect another team to land the lefty, can you imagine how shocked everyone would be if that happened? Anyway, if I had to guess, I think Lee will decide tomorrow (Monday) on where he wants to pitch, and although I am biased I expect that to be New York.

Feel free to use this post to discuss Cliff Lee and any other items relating to the Hot Stove.

Rivera and Jeter Re-up with New York

"Mo and Jeter will be back with the Yankees next season." Photo Credit: Getty Images via Yahoo Sports

In the past few days the Yankees have re-signed two career Yankees in Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter.

Mariano was the first of the duo to re-join the Yankees by signing a 2 year contract worth $30 million. I cannot say I have any reason to complain about this contract, I think he can hold up for at least another two years and at $15 million per season this doesn’t seem like a gross overpay.

Derek Jeter and the Yankees agreed to a contract yesterday which is somewhat more complicated. The deal will pay him $51 million over the first three years of the contract ($17M per season), and then there is a player option for a fourth season. Since the option is a player option, this is basically a four-year deal. The option is apparently worth $8M and Jeter can earn an additional $9M that year based on incentives. While this seems to be an unnecessary overpay (especially giving Jeter the 4th year), this deal could have been a lot worse, so I can’t say I’m overly upset.

Notes

  • With Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera off the board, the Yankees can head into the winter meetings this Monday focussed on Cliff Lee and any other pursuits, knowing that there really is no rush to sign Andy Pettitte because he will either be going to the Yankees or retiring.
  • Lance Berkman has signed with the St. Louis Cardinals and will be playing left field. Yankee fans never really seemed to warm up to Lance, but I really liked him and although there was no real chance he would return to the Yankees, I’m kind of sad to see him gone. Good luck Berkman!
  • People have been wondering what the chance is that the Yankees sign both Cliff Lee and Carl Crawford. While Crawford would make the outfield defense otherworldly (assuming Swisher would be traded), I think signing the outfielder would be a misuse of resources.
  • We recently heard that the Yankees had a trade set up to send Francisco Cervelli to the Dodgers in exchange for Russell Martin. However, it didn’t go through but now Martin is a free agent so I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Yankees go after Martin as a possible backup catcher. He would certainly be an upgrade over Cervelli.
  • The Yankees have non-tendered Dustin Moseley and Alfredo Aceves. While the Moseley decision was not surprising, I was surprised that Aceves was non-tendered. I guess the Yankees are not confident in his health, especially after his recent bike-induced injury.
  • Sergio Mitre has been re-signed and should serve as the long man and a spot starter.
  • The Red Sox have agreed to a trade for Adrian Gonzales in exchange for three of their top prospects. The deal has not been completed yet and is waiting due to a physical and contract extension talks. I’ll analyze this deal further if the trade is finalized. Update 2:50 – According to Jon Heyman the Red Sox could not reach an extension deal with Gonzalez and the deal has fallen through. Still, I could see the Red Sox revisiting the trade.

 

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.

Around the Horn: Girardi, Sabathia, Warning track…

It hasn’t been long since the Yankees’ season ended, but the team is already in offseason mode. Here are some recent stories:

  • Mark Feinsand reports that the Yankees and Joe Girardi have agreed to a three-year contract worth $9 million which would put the incumbent Yankee skipper back at the helm. I know a lot of people claim to dislike Girardi, but is there really anyone else you’d rather be the Yankees’ manager? I’m very happy that Joe will be back.
  • Along the topic of coaches, Dave Eiland has been let go. His contract was up anyway, so you can get away without calling this a firing, but it sure seems like one.  Brian Cashman said the “letting go” of Eiland was all the GM’s decision and it was “private”. It will be interesting to see who the new pitching coach will be. If the Yankees don’t stay internal I could see Curt Young or Rick Kranitz taking over the position.
  • Yankee fans received some surprising news yesterday when they heard that CC Sabathia would undergo surgery on his right knee. The recovery period is expected to be anywhere from three to six weeks and the Yankees’ ace should be entirely ready for spring training. While this surgery may not be a big deal, it is interesting to wonder if this is the reason CC did not pitch up to expectations during the playoffs.
  • You may very well remember Lance Berkman’s recent slip on the warning track of Yankee stadium. Well it turns out that this was not a freak accident, and in fact the warning track at Yankee Stadium is overly dangerous. Mike Axisa of RAB covered the issue last week.
  • Unsurprisingly, the Yankees turned down the options to retain Lance Berkman, Kerry Wood, and Nick Johnson. I would still expect them to make an attempt to sign Kerry Wood who was excellent in his brief stint with the Yankees.

In case you are wondering, which I am pretty sure you are not, I’m supporting the San Francisco Giants in this year’s World Series, mostly because I love Matt Cain. Plus they had Zooey Deschanel and Ben Gibbard perform at a game recently, which is pretty awesome.

2010 was not their year, but the future is bright

Congratulations to the Texas Rangers who outplayed the Yankees for almost the entire series. But more importantly, thank you to the New York Yankees for provided yet another wonderful season. Obviously the Yankees can’t win the World Series every year, that would take the excitement out of watching them. Still, that doesn’t mean we can’t be happy with the team if they don’t win the championship. I loved watching the 2010 Yankees from the first pitch in April to the final pitch last night, and I’m certainly going to miss them throughout the offseason. However, looking ahead 2011 could be a very bright year. The Yankees’ farm system is progressing excellently and Jesus Montero is expected to make his major league debut next season. In addition, we can be sure that Brian Cashman and the Yankee owners will do everything possible to improve the team this offseason, which could mean we could see a new pitcher in pinstripes. Overall, I’m happy with the 2010 Yankees, the season was a ton of fun, and I’m excited about the 2011 Yankees. Number 28 in 2011!

“We haven’t lost yet.”

Those are the words of Mariano Rivera, and they couldn’t be more true. Sure, the Yankees are in a “win or go home” position, as Joe Girardi said, but this series is not over. The Yankees need to put all of their focus into winning today, and we as fans have to stop complaining and moaning and start rooting our team on. We are the greatest fans in baseball, aren’t we? Let’s go Yankees!

2010 ALCS

 

"Sir Berkman is ready!" Photo Credit: AP via Yahoo Sports

 

Tonight the 2010 ALCS will begin as the Texas Rangers host the New York Yankees in Arlington, Texas. CC Sabathia will toe the rubber and C.J. Wilson will do the same for the Rangers. You can catch the game at 8:00 pm ET on TBS. Are you you ready for nail-biting madness?

Yankees sweep 2010 ALDS

 

"The 24-year-old righty was outstanding in his first playoff start." Photo Credit: Getty Images via Yahoo Sports

 

Last night, behind a dominant Phil Hughes, the Yankees completed a sweep of the Minnesota Twins. The Yankees will now be moving onto the the ALCS and on Friday they will begin playing either the Tampa Bay Rays or the Texas Rangers.

Around baseball

  • The Rangers lead the Rays 2-1 in their ALDS series and will play game 4 this afternoon at 1:00 pm ET.  Wade Davis will go for the Rays while the Rangers will send Tommy Hunter to the hill.
  • The Braves-Giants series is tied at 1 game a piece. They will play game 3 at 4:30 pm ET. Jonathan Sanchez will face Tim Hudson.
  • The Phillies lead the Reds 2-0 and will play tonight at 8:00 pm ET. Cole Hamels will try to lead Philadelphia to a sweep as they face Johnny Cueto.
  • All three games can be found on TBS.

Postseason Links: 10/4/10

The Yankees will begin their postseaon this Wednesday in Minnesota. Today is only Monday. What will we do during this period of no baseball? Don’t worry, the internet should keep us busy. Here’s a few links to check out.

  • Frankie Piliere compiled great scouting reports on each playoff team. Here’s the link for the Twins, and here’s the Yankees.
  • Joe Pawlikowski of River Ave Blues discussed how the Yankees are not the only team stumbling into the playoffs.
  • Chad Jennings gives his take on what he thinks the playoff roster should be for the Yankees. I agree with him.
  • In a surprising move, the Mets let go of both GM Omar Minaya and manager Jerry Manuel.
  • One of the more prominent discussions about the Yankees postseason is over who will start game two. Will it be Andy Pettitte or Phil Hughes? My vote is for Hughes. I could explain my reasons, but Rebecca of This Purist Bleeds Pinstripes did a much better job than I would have done. While you’re there you can also read the rest of her thoughts on the postseason.

I don’t know what to make of this.