Checking in on other blogs: Spring Training, Top 30…

"Despite nonstop blabbering about Joba's weight gain, reports * are that he is throwing the ball better than he did last year." (Reuters)

With Spring Training starting up along with the 2011 baseball season, it is time to check up on some other Yankee blogs.

  • William J. of the newly formed The Yankee Analysts (a merge of the great TYU and Yankeeist) penned a great piece about the history of Yankees Spring Training, dating back 110 years. It’s definitely an interesting read, as it is quite informative. I for one never would have guessed that at some point the Yankees trained in Alabama. Check the post out for more.
  • In case you missed it, Mike Axisa of RAB came out with his annual top 30 prospects list, always worth the read.
  • Earlier this month, Tom of Friday Nite Yanks posted a poll about who most people expected to play in the Bronx in 2011. It doesn’t surprise me that Freddy Garcia won the poll out of the other candidates.
  • Frankie Piliere came out with his list of baseball’s top 100 prospects about a week ago. Five Yankees made the list, check it out to see who and where on the list they fell.

* Joba story.

2011 Season Dawns

"The Yankees journey begins here every year."

Earlier today pitchers and catchers began reporting to their respective training camps throughout Florida and Arizona. Although the weather here in New York hasn’t quite warmed up yet and the piles of snow remind of us the brutal winter and the not so great off-season the Yankees had, before we know it Spring will be upon us. The winter will soon be a distant memory and we will be focussed on a fresh baseball season accompanied by budding plants and and transforming trees.

We have missed baseball dearly, and although it’s probable that nothing too important will happen over the next few weeks, they will still be welcomed with open arms. The 2011 Baseball Season is dawning, and with it a new chance for the Yankees to capture their 28th World Series Championship, and I for one cannot wait. Although the new year officially began on January 1st for many, or maybe on February 3rd for others, for myself it almost feels like it begins today. Baseball is upon us.

Andy Pettitte to Retire

"Andy will be saying farewell to Yankees fans tomorrow." (Reuters)

Closing the book on a storied 16-year career, Andy Pettitte will announce his retirement tomorrow at Yankee Stadium. In his 13 years while wearing pinstripes, the southpaw became known for his intimidating stare, tricky pick-off move, unshakable mound presence, likable personality, and his huge big-game performances. Andy was a member of five World Champion Yankee teams over the course of his career. His number 46 will hopefully go down in legacy as that of the great lefty.

Although this is disappointing news for the Yankees, the more I think about it, my sadness is not because of the team’s loss, but because of our loss, as fans, of the ability to watch Andy Pettitte control the mound every fifth day. However, Andy has more than earned his retirement as he provided us with a great and memorable career. We will miss you, but you will not be forgotten. So Andy, enjoy your retirement and your family, and good luck with any future endeavors!

Pettitte Won’t Pitch in 2011

We have recently learned that Andy Pettitte will not pitch in 2011. Although this news is not surprising to many, it is worth recognizing. Here’s what Brian Cashman had to say.

via The Daily News:

“I don’t think he’s determined if he’s officially finished or not, but he’s chosen at this stage at least not to start in 2011. If that ever changes he’ll call us. We’re not going to hound him or bother him.”

Clarification via Tyler Kepner:

Cashman said he just used a poor choice of words when he told DN that Pettitte has “chosen not to start.” He meant “chosen not to pitch”.

While it’s nice to envision a scenario in which Pettitte changes his mind and returns the Yankees in 2011, I think it is safe to say that will not happen. We will just have to face the fact that Andy Pettitte will not be pitching for the Yankees this season and they will have to turn to other options. Allow me to quote Brian Cashman again via The Daily News, this time regarding to the pitching market.

“I’m actively out there. It’s a very thin market to be flying in right now. That’s why we may have to rely on our strong farm system a little bit sooner than we expected.”

With no free agent or trade options out there, it looks like the Yankees will start the season with in-house options filling the number four and five spots in the rotation. However, this is no reason to panic. Compare this year’s rotation to last year’s rotation. CC Sabathia is CC Sabathia. How much worse can A.J. Burnett be? A better year from him isn’t that unlikely. Phil Hughes could post similar numbers to those of last year. Ivan Nova (most likely) will theoritically take over Pettitte’s spot in the rotation, and the difference between the two may not be as great as it seems. And finally, an unknown fifth starter will take over the spot which Javier Vazquez has vacated, and we all know what most Yankee fans think of Vazquez.

Right now, 2011 looks to be a promising year for the Yankees. And even if they do not make a significant move during the rest of the off season, you can rest assured that there will be transactions made during the season.

Andy Pettitte, a Nation Turns its Lonely Eyes to You

"A Yankee Nation, or Universe, that is." (Getty Images via Daylife)

Andy Pettitte has not given any clear signs on whether he wants to return to the Yankees next season, so it would be best to assume he will retire. However, with all the attractive free agents off the board and no visible trade candidates, Yankee fans have little to do but wait to see if Pettitte will return.

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: 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!

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?