A number of small stories have popped up around baseball within the past few days, I’ll just sum them up quickly right now…
- The Red Sox signed signed shortstop Marco Scutaro (formely of the Blue Jays) to a two year deal. I think it’s a good move by them, Scutaro’s a pretty good player who should help the Red Sox a lot, and maybe he will finally shore up that shortstop spot that they have been lacking in for years. Let’s hope he doesn’t, don’t forget 161st Street is run by a Yankee fan!
- The Mariners signed Chone Figgins to a four year deal worth 36 million. Why is this important to the Yankees, well Figgins may set the market a bit for Johnny Damon. 36 million spread out over four years is 9 million annually. I would expect Damon to get a little more money than that, maybe in the 12 million range. Would you take Damon back on a one year 12 million dollar contract, or even a two year 24 million dollar contract (he probably wants at least two years)? I’m pretty sure I would.
- The Yankees plan to cut their payroll this year, big shocker. They said that last year too if you recall. Anyway, according to Buster Olney the budget is around 190-200 million, but it is not a “hard ceiling”. Of course it’s not a hard ceiling, but the Yankees do have a hard ceiling, however its probably are 250 million. Don’t think they are going to spend anyway near 250 million though, it’s just hypothetical.
- According to Mark Feinsand, the Yankees first priority is Andy Pettitte. This clearly makes a lot of sense. If they can get him back, then they can worry about Johnny Damon who most likely won’t sign with another team until Jason Bay and Matt Holliday sign, so the Yankees have time on their side with Damon.
- For those of you that can’t stop thinking about trading for Roy Halladay (I’m not one of them, I would be extremely angry if Hughes, Joba, or Montero are moved), it is official that Yankees will be in the contest for him. This isn’t really news, of course they will be in the bidding for him, if only to drive up the price. By the way here’s a little advice on Jon Heyman (the guy who reported this): Take his reports with a grain of salt, he usually will just involve the Yankees in every rumor, just to generate attention. I’m not saying he’s wrong that the Yankees will be in on Halladay, that is obviously true, I’m just saying in general make sure you don’t his reports to literally.
- Matt Holliday and Jason Bay are not in the Yankees plans according to Buster Olney via River Ave Blues. Supposedly Johnny Damon is plan A, and Mike Cameron is plan B. Over at River Ave Blues, most people are in favor of signing Cameron, which I don’t get. Sure, his defense is very good, but it doesn’t make up for his not-so-good offense.
- According to Ken Rosenthal, the Yankees are interested in several free agent starters. These include Rich Harden, Ben Sheets, Joel Pineiro, and Randy Wolf. In my opinion this is how I would rank the free agent class of starters in order of who I feel would best help the team. Andy Pettitte would be my first choice, he is almost a guarantee to give you 200 quality innings. After that I would choose Ben Sheets, if he’s healthy he is Cy Young material, and it looks like he may just be healthy. After Sheets, I would choose Chien-Ming Wang, I feel he has more of a chance to be healthy than my next choice, Rich Harden. After Harden, I don’t think I would touch any other free agent starters. I can’t see how Joel Pineiro or Randy Wolf could help the Yankees, and a guy not mentioned is Erik Berdard, but I wouldn’t touch him either with his desire to stay out of the limelight on top of his injury history. Before going any of these guys I wouldn’t touch, I would go to the AAA guys.