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9 years ago  ::  Sep 30, 2013 - 1:56PM #1
Posts: 66,015
It's that time of year again.   Yankees didn't make the playoffs, and they have Hal's budget to contend with this offseason.  It should be interesting to say the least.  I'll post as much Yankees, and related news in this thread as I can find.  All comments are welcome.
"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."
9 years ago  ::  Sep 30, 2013 - 1:56PM #2
Posts: 66,015

What’s next?

Posted by: Chad Jennings

Mariano Rivera

Mariano Rivera seemed at peace with it all, and maybe that’s to be expected. He’s always been calm and controlled at the end.

“I would say we worked hard the whole year,” he said. “Now, it’s over. There’s a sense of relief, yes. … Definitely, I’ve been ready for this moment. I’m OK with it. I’m happy with it. Move on.”

For some, that’s a lot easier said than done.

Tonight the Rays and Rangers play a tiebreaker to determine which team plays a wild-card play-in game on Wednesday. It’s not an ideal situation for either team, but it’s a better situation than the Yankees are in right now. They finished tied with the Orioles for third place in the American League East, a full six games out of the wild card. The Royals had a better record than the Yankees.

There were positives to this season, and a case could be made that the Yankees overachieved considering all the injuries. Of course, a case could also be made that the Yankees were ill-prepared — in terms of depth and minor league talent — to deal with those injuries. And certainly we’ll spend some time this winter looking back at the things that went wrong along the way. Today, though, we follow Rivera’s lead and move on into the uncertainty of this offseason.

“I don’t know who’s going to be here next year,” Derek Jeter said. “I have no idea. I can’t comment on next year. I don’t even know if the manager and coaches are free agents too, so anything I would say about next year would be premature and speculation.”

Truth is, there aren’t many answers about next season. So how do we start dealing with the offseason’s many questions? Well, it starts today.

Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter• This is the first day of Alex Rodriguez’s appeal hearing, the first step toward finding out how much time he’ll miss — and how much he’ll be paid — next season.

• Joe Girardi will meet with ownership in the next few days to discuss whether or not he returns at Yankees manager. Larry Rothschild’s contract also expires this offseason, and the Yankees seem to want him back.

• Free agency will pluck a group of key Yankees off the roster. Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson and Hiroki Kuroda are the headliners, but Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, Boone Logan and Lyle Overbay — among others — will also need to be replaced one way or another. This is going to take a while, though.

• Dave Robertson and Brett Gardner are due for arbitration raises, Ivan Nova and Shawn Kelley are also arb-eligible for the first time, and the Yankees will have to make decisions about whether to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible guys like Chris Stewart, David Huff and Jayson Nix.

• Slade Heathcott and Chase Whitley are among the prospects who are eligible for the Rule 5 draft this winter.

• Winter ball will start in October, and Dellin Betances has asked the Yankees to let him play in the Dominican Republic so that he can keep throwing and stay sharp. Eduardo Nunez is also planning to play winter ball, but he said he’s not sure yet whether he should focus on shortstop, second base or third base. Cesar Cabral has also played winter ball in the past, and Vidal Nuno is heading to the Arizona Fall League. By spring training, each of those four could be legitimate big league options.

Point is, it’s a long offseason, and it’s going to be even longer than usual for the Yankees. There’s also a lot to be done, with huge decisions to make and key players coming and going. For Rivera there may be a sense of relief. For everyone else, it seems more like uncertainty.

“We’ll see,” Jeter said. “There’s a lot of ifs and questions; who’s coming back and who’s not coming back. I have no idea. It would be unfair to even speculate.”

Of course, that won’t stop us. And we’ll have plenty of time to do it.

"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."
9 years ago  ::  Sep 30, 2013 - 1:58PM #3
Posts: 66,015

Up next for A-Rod: Today’s appeal hearing

Posted by: Chad Jennings

Alex Rodriguez
The regular season just ended. The offseason drama begins right away.

Today is Day 1 of Alex Rodriguez’s appeal hearing. It’s expected to last several days while Rodriguez’s lawyers argue against Major League Baseball, each side pleading its case to an independent arbitrator who will decide whether Rodriguez serves all, none or part of a 211-game suspension stemming from his connection to the Biogenesis clinic.

“I’ll be there every day,” Rodriguez said. “I’m fighting for my life and my whole legacy. I should be there.”

This hearing will determine how much Rodriguez is allowed to play — and how much the Yankees have to pay — next season. The ramifications are obvious for both the player and the team, a pivotal offseason event beginning on the offseason’s very first day.

“Obviously this is going to be a grueling process all the way through,” Rodriguez said. “(After) it’s completely over, I told you guys (during a rehab assignment) in Trenton that you’ll hear the full story when the time is right for me. That time is not just now.”

It’s interesting that Rodriguez actually had a sort of return-to-form season before hamstring and calf injuries sapped his power and mobility down the stretch. He was plenty productive for about a month and a half, suggesting he could be a legitimate help to the Yankees next season. But at what cost? The Yankees need offensive help, and Rodriguez might be able to provide it, but it’s still pretty easy to think the Yankees would be better off getting his contract off the books and searching for a third baseman fill-in elsewhere.

“I think I was pleasantly surprised while I was healthy the first month,” Rodriguez said. “I was able to move around well at third, drive the ball, improve my hitting against right-handed (pitchers), hit balls that are 95-plus; all things I wasn’t able to do the year before. Those things, you build on those. I look forward to immediately getting into the hard-core workouts to help this team win again.”

These next few days will determine whether Rodriguez is actually allowed to do that.

Associated Press photo

"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."
9 years ago  ::  Sep 30, 2013 - 1:59PM #4
Posts: 66,015

Up next for Girardi: “A real pow-wow around the dinner table”

Joe Girardi

The Yankees first free agent decision won’t involve Robinson Cano or Curtis Granderson or Hiroki Kuroda. It will be their manager: Deciding whether the team wants Joe Girardi back, and whether Girardi wants to come back.

“It comes down to family,” Girardi said. “We’ve talked about it, but we’ll sit down and actually have a real pow-wow around the dinner table probably is what we’ll do, and then we’ll go from there.”

Girardi’s options might have opened today when the Cubs fired Dale Sveum, but surprisingly, Girardi downplayed his Chicago connections yesterday. I say it was surprising largely from a negotiation standpoint. You’d think Girardi would could at least use Chicago as leverage with the Yankees, but he did not sound especially interested in going back to the area where he grew up, went to college and made his Major League debut.

“Our home has been here (in Westchester),” Girardi said. “My kids are engrossed in schools here. We haven’t been to Chicago since — haven’t lived there since 2006. The only person who’s really there, my brother’s still there, a couple brothers are there, (but) my father’s gone, my mother’s gone. There’s not as much there as there used to be.”

Indications are that the Yankees like Girardi, and even in this non-playoff season he is surely going to appear on some Manager of the Year ballots. Girardi is a by-the-book kind of manager, and the Yankees seem to appreciate that he has a calculated reason for his decisions.

As for Girardi’s side of the decision, he opened the possibility of doing something outside of baseball, possibly a return to broadcasting — perhaps as a replacement for Tim McCarver on FOX? — but Girardi also admitted that he hasn’t really envisioned himself doing anything other than managing next year. It also seems to be worth noting that his kids are 14, 11 and 7 years old now, old enough that uprooting the family might be a little more difficult than in the past. TV might not require such a move out of the New York area.

“I have to make sure that everyone is taken care of,” Girardi said. “… I wouldn’t think (debating a decision) would go too long. It’s not my personality to drag things out. I’m always a guy that likes to know what I’m going to do the next day.”

Joe GirardiA few more from yesterday’s conversation about Girardi’s contract situation.

Concerned the Yankees won’t be good enough to win next season?
“There’s no challenge that really scares me, that I would ever shy away from, so that has very little impact on it whatsoever. … It’s not like you’re cutting the payroll down to $60 million. It’s still a pretty high number. There’s a substantial amount of money coming off the books too just because of free agency and some players retiring. I’m sure it will be a busy winter, but a good winter.”

Do you think the front office values your opinion in the offseason?
“I’m at the Winter Meetings, and there’s discussions about what we’re trying to do, and I’m able to voice my opinion. I’ve always been able to voice my opinion. That’s never ever been a problem. There are going to be things, always, that people don’t agree on. I’m okay with that. My job is to manage the players that I’m given, and that’s what I’m going to do.”

Have you enjoyed all that comes with being manager of the Yankees?
“I’ve really enjoyed it. You learn a lot about yourself as a person. You learn a lot about what it’s like to sit in the chair. I’ve really enjoyed it. I’ve really enjoyed my time here, as a player, as a broadcaster, as a manager. As someone who wasn’t sure about New York when I came, it’s a wonderful place. … I think the competitiveness is here on a yearly basis, a weekly basis, a daily basis. There’s no doubt about it. And there’s expectations no matter what, which I’ve always had, too. So there is definitely a match there.”

Harder to replace Mike Stanley at catcher or Joe Torre as manager?
“Initially, it was probably Mike Stanley. There was a lot more heat on me following Mike Stanley, it seemed like, than following Joe Torre in the beginning. I’ve never been booed like that. I went to the FanFest and got booed. I was like, ‘Man, I haven’t even done anything yet!’ I got booed at the Welcome Home Dinner. It took about a month and a half. … I think it was when Doc Gooden threw his no-hitter (that opinion turned). It just kind of seemed to change. No, Joe Girardi wasn’t going to hit home runs like Mike Stanley did, but he was there for a different purpose. I tried the first month, but it didn’t work real well.”

Given the potential volatility of this job, surprised to be here this long?
“I didn’t take the job to stay here a year. I envisioned that I would be here. I did. I’m a guy that’s a creature of habit and thinks that things are going to be that way for a long, long time. You can go back to when I was a player, I thought I would be in one place for a long time and that changed a number of times. That’s just how I think.”

Associated Press photos

"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."
9 years ago  ::  Sep 30, 2013 - 2:00PM #5
Posts: 66,015

Olney: Yankees will have to give Girardi “significant” raise


Via Buster Olney: The Yankees will have to give Joe Girardi a “significant raise” if they want to retain their manager this offseason. He was making $3M annually on his last contract, which expires November 1st. “It comes down to family,” said Girardi to Chad Jennings. “It doesn’t even necessarily have to be in baseball, in a sense,” Girardi said. “It’s just, as I said, it’s not so much the (managerial) circumstances, but what’s best for my crew.”

Girardi, 48, also downplayed his ties to Chicago while talking to the media yesterday, though I suspect that was done (at least in part) to create more leverage against the Cubs. The Cubbies fired manager Dale Sveum this morning. It’s obvious the Yankees are going to have to give their manager a raise if they want to keep him (especially after all the crap they put him through this season), but I guess the question is how “significant” of a raise. I think Girardi is an average-ish in-game manager but based on what we saw this season, he excels in clubhouse and keeping things from becoming chaotic. That’s an essential trait in New York.

"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."
9 years ago  ::  Sep 30, 2013 - 2:01PM #6
Posts: 2,568
Welcome back bg. Let's start an interesting offseason
9 years ago  ::  Sep 30, 2013 - 2:02PM #7
Posts: 66,015

Could Damon Oppenheimer and Mark Newman be on the hot seat?

Scott Halleran

Someone usually has to take the fall after a bad season. The farm may be the first place the Yankees look to shake things up.

After a disappointing season at the major and minor league levels, the Yankees front office could be looking to shake up personnel now that the nightmare season has come to a close. Someone will likely have to answer for the lack of production this season in the form of losing their job, and Joel Sherman of the New York Post speculates that Damon Oppenheimer and/or Mark Newman could take the fall.

The two employees are charged with drafting and developing the newest Yankees, who by all accounts did not have anything resembling a banner year. Oppenheimer, Director of Amateur Scouting, may have more security than Newman, vice president of baseball operations, because the talent seems to be there at the lower levels of the minors before slowly (or quickly) fading out as they progress toward the majors. The last real promising player that the Yankees produced plays for another team in the form of Austin Jackson. In a season where injuries meant that the Yankees needed to lean on their farm system more than they usually do, nothing worked out for them. David Adams and Zoilo Almonte started strong before falling off in a big way or succumbing to injury. Adam Warren had a fine season out of the bullpen as a long reliever, but he's unlikely to end up in the Yankees rotation going forward unless the team fails to pick up necessary pieces this offseason or an injury keeps one of the regulars out for some period of time.

Prospects are a fickle business and most of them are merely lottery tickets, particularly when drafting as low as the Yankees have been in recent years. It's difficult to point fingers over players not reaching their potential, but at some point, someone needs to answer for the fact that the farm is just not producing major league talent. Sherman speculates that the Yankees may look to an organization like the Cardinals, who have been amazing a developing minor leaguers, in hopes of hiring someone to come in and turn their own system around.

Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman are in no danger of losing their jobs over the front office's anger at the lack of farm production, according to Sherman. Girardi, of course, is not under contract for 2014 and Cashman's deal is up after next season. It sounds like the frustration over the state of the farm system comes from higher than that, likely meaning some combination of Randy Levine and the Steinbrenners. After missing the playoffs for the second time in six years, someone was inevitably going to take the fall.

Picking on the farm system, while not completely unfair, is sort of the low-hanging fruit. The system had very little upper level talent heading into this season and only players at the Triple-A level were given a shot to replace injured veterans. Success doesn't come right away and the prospects weren't exactly given a fair shot for playing time to work out all their issues. Adams and Almonte are not prospects who are likely to become stars, but pointing to their failure in order to indict the whole process may not be fair. Still, it's undeniable that prospects are flaming out and nothing is really making it from the minors to the majors on a regular basis. That is concerning and there needs to be a change, especially with Plan 189 looming. The Yankees cannot field a competitive team with albatross contracts already on the books without some help from the minors. The front office will have to decide if Oppenheimer or Newman are standing in the way of developing a system that can consistently churn out every day big league players on a regular basis

"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."
9 years ago  ::  Sep 30, 2013 - 2:04PM #8
Posts: 66,015

End Of Season Musings

Andy vs HOU

Well at least they ended the season on a winning streak.  That’s something to build on for 2014, right?  In all seriousness, I can’t tell you how glad I am that this season is over.  It was absolutely exhausting.  I started writing AB4AR in August of 2009, and jumped right into the drama of a World Series run, staying up late to take notes on each game, write, drink, scream, and stomp around my apartment like a child.  Covering this year’s team, who won’t play a single postseason game, was a way more arduous task than that.  Between the injuries, the re-injuries, the bad starting pitching, the even worse situational hitting, and the front office’s decision to basically stand pat and not address any of it, the 2013 season was a meat grinder of disappointment.  I’m actually looking forward to covering the offseason and hot stove topics for a few months just to break up the monotony of writing about Derek Jeter‘s rehab, Phil Hughes‘ HR allowed, CC Sabathia‘s command, and the lineup’s inability to get a hit when they really need it.

Before we jump into that offseason talk, here are some final thoughts on 2013.

- I hope there wasn’t anybody out there who was upset that Mariano Rivera didn’t play or pitch this past weekend.  The guy was run into the ground from about mid-August on and let’s not forget that he is 43 years old.  He said his body wasn’t up to it and there was no reason to run him out there one last time and take the risk of him performing poorly or suffering a serious injury.  That would have put a bit of a damper on his send-off and nobody wants to remember something like that as Mo’s final appearance.  The moment with him, Jeter, and Andy on Thursday night was the right way to end it.  Mo didn’t owe the people of Houston anything.

- As for Andy, he got his moment on Saturday night with that throwback complete game performance.  Yes the awful opposing lineup aided in that outcome, but Pettitte was dealing and kudos to Joe and his staff for letting him go for it in the 9th.  Like Mo, he left it all on the field in his final few appearances and ended his career on a high note.  Not many guys who can say they went out that way.

- Speaking of which, why is Andy retiring again?  He gave up 13 ER over his final 10 starts and threw 2 of his longest outings of the season in his final 2 starts.  This time he sounded like his mind was made up and his decision wasn’t going to change, but Cash needs to put in at least 1 call to him sometime around November-December, no?

- Nice to see Joe dust off Travis Hafner for a game yesterday.  That 0-4 in 6 plate appearances should really send him into free agency with a lot of buzz.

- For all the people who wanted the kids in the final games, you got ‘em.  What’d you think?  Zoilo Almonte went 2-17 in the final 4 games with 4 strikeouts, David Adams went 2-10 in his last 2 games with 7 strikeouts (and 2 XBH), and J.R. Murphy hit .154/.185/.192 in his 27 PA September audition with a 33.3% K rate.  Not saying all these guys are garbage, but it’s hard to think any of them could step into a full time role in 2014 and be better than what the veterans produced.

- On that same topic, what to do about Mark Reynolds?  While he’s not as obvious a choice for next year as Brendan Ryan, there is some value there.  He hit .236/.300/.455 in 120 PA as a Yankee, with a 25.8% K rate down from his career average.  Everybody knows about the power and he’s been known to draw walks.  Some more time to work with Kevin Long could smooth some things out in his swing and he won’t command much on the FA market after being cut from the team that originally signed him mid-season.  If I’m Cash, I don’t think I build my offseason plan around having Reynolds as my first 3rd base option behind A-Rod, but he’s not a bad Plan B or C.

- 2 applause-worthy spot starting performances by Adam Warren and David Huff this weekend.  Warren figures to play a prominent role in next year’s rotation competition, as least for the time being, and Huff could be an interesting option as a ST invite.  Again, not Option A for a bullpen role if I’m Cash, but a name worth keeping on the bulletin board if he can stash him away in Triple-A again.

- Whatever the plan ends up being for this offseason, and I assume it will be very similar to last year’s, Cash needs to do something to try to shake things up.  He needs to be much more aggressive on the trade front.  He can’t just sit there with his hands tied on the FA market while the team penny pinches their way down below the luxury tax threshold.  Pick up the phone and make a push for Giancarlo Stanton; call the Brewers and see if they’re willing to talk about Jonathan Lucroy.  There aren’t any prospects in the Yankee system who can help the Major League club in the next year.  Might as well see if some of them can be useful on the trade market to help improve the team.

- Lastly, on Joe’s contract situation, I don’t think there’s much concern about him going elsewhere.  He knows New York, he’s comfortable in New York, and the front office likes him and wants him back.  The best new offer he’s going to get is going to be from the Yankees and there aren’t any other teams out there who he could go to that are in a better position for 2014 than the Yankees.  That said, would I blame him if he left?  Absolutely not.  That’s what happens when your front office hands you chicken sh*t and doesn’t even give the impression that they’re interested in having chicken salad.

(Photo courtesy of Getty Images)

"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."
9 years ago  ::  Sep 30, 2013 - 2:05PM #9
Posts: 2,568
Yankees are finally coming to their senses that the development crew has not done a very good job. We all been saying it for a while. The yanks need to hire you bg
9 years ago  ::  Sep 30, 2013 - 2:07PM #10
Posts: 66,015

What’s in the immediate future for the Yankees?

HOUSTON — Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera faded to black, the ceremonies and tears finally at an end.

Robinson Cano and Derek Jeter exited to mystery. Are they the once and future double-play combo? Or will Cano follow the dollars elsewhere and will Jeter be unable to effectively rehab his damaged ankle? We are months away from answers to each.

With just the second playoff-less season in two decades complete, the immediate agenda focuses on three items that will shape not only the 2014 Yankees, but the near future of the organization as well:

ALEX RODRIGUEZ’S FUTURE: His arbitration is set to begin Monday. The Yankees are hoping for a quick resolution — shortly after the World Series would seem to be the quickest possible — so they know whether A-Rod is part of next year’s team or not and have as much time to plan accordingly.

And, obviously, they are rooting like heck arbitrator Frederic Horowitz upholds the 211-game suspension. The Yankees are going to try to get under the $189 million luxury-tax threshold for next season. And if A-Rod is back, they would have to budget him for $33.5 million — the $27.5 million average of his salary plus the $6 million bonus he would be in line for if he hits six more homers to reach Willie Mays’ 660. That would destroy offseason plans to do anything much, maybe even to keep Cano.

So the Yankees are a little more than interested bystanders to this process. A-Rod has said he plans to fight and fight hard for his legacy and playing future. But I have wondered for quite a while if his main goal in appealing was to play the last third of this season, knowing this might be the healthiest he will ever be again.

It is possible A-Rod’s side will watch the beginning of MLB’s case and make a determination from that whether to try to seek a shorter sentence — 100 games, 150 games, a season. And does MLB relent because it knows Rodriguez has the financial resources and legal/investigative team to go scorched earth?

That might not be a winning strategy in the arbitration room, but the Rodriguez side could put MLB and Bud Selig essentially on trial, threaten to go to federal court, dirty up a lot of folks. Destroy legacies. Cost jobs.

By the end of this week, we should have a much better idea of just how dug in and vicious both sides will be.

JOE GIRARDI’S FUTURE: Girardi spoke at length Sunday and sounded more like a guy who wants to return than at any time this season. And Yankees officials have made it clear they want him to do so.

But there are real opportunities out there for Girardi. Tim McCarver’s spot in the Fox national booth is opening. Harold Reynolds and John Smoltz are perceived as strong candidates. But sources said the network loves Girardi and would strongly consider him.

Also, as early as Monday, the Cubs might fire manager Dale Sveum. The Cubs have hemorrhaged nearly 400,000 fans in the past three years at Wrigley Field and are not expected to be major players in free agency. Thus, to better sell a rebuilding plan to disillusioned and departing fans that promises no special results before 2015, they could look to Girardi as their “star” purchase.

He would come with not only championship pedigree and a reputation as one of the better managers in the sport, but also a hometown guy (from nearby Peoria, went to Northwestern, played for the Cubs). Owner Tom Ricketts and influential team president Crane Kenney are said to be huge fans of Girardi.

Girardi has played the leverage game before with the Yankees, and he certainly has leverage here. But on Sunday, he said finances would matter zero to him and his ties to Chicago are greatly diminished from the past. Again, he sounded like a man who wanted to stay to fix the Yankees.

THE FUTURE’S FUTURE: At the highest levels of the organization, there has been frustration and anger about the lack of young talent available this season as injuries mounted. The Yankees used a team-record 56 players, none you can call a high-end prospect — and there appears to be none on the horizon.

Within the industry there is a sense there will be a scapegoat or two for that, and that it will not be Girardi or GM Brian Cashman, who has a year left on his pact. Instead, two longtime organizational employees are perceived as most in peril: Damon Oppenheimer, who is in charge of the draft, and Mark Newman, who is in charge of development.

The Yankees, for all the caricatures of George Steinbrenner’s firing squad, have been mainly an insular group. Will the lack of young talent motivate them to try to reach into an organization that drafts and develops well — such as the Cardinals — to make a significant hire or two to restructure how this business is done?

"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."
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