The three of us have been pretty tied up this week with real world obligations, ergo the constant barrage of Season in Review posts and lack of commentary on any Yankee-related news (though hopefully you’ve been enjoying the Seasons in Review series).
Of course, due to the lack of any real news to speak of outside of the usual irresponsible rumormongering and unfounded gossip that accompanies every Yankee offseason, there hasn’t really been any compelling need to weigh in. However, there have been a flurry of new Yankee rumors during the last few days, so let’s take a moment to address them:
1) Last week it was reported that the Yankees were interested in Jorge de la Rosa. As I noted on Twitter last week, in 2010 de la Rosa was the proud owner of a 4.22 ERA, 4.30 FIP and 4.07 BB/9(!), in the NL West, to boot. As others have noted, he’s essentially the lefthanded version of A.J. Burnett. Words cannot describe how deeply I don’t want the Yankees to sign this man.
2) The Yankees had been linked to John Buck, who wisely cashed in on a career year and got $18 million over three years from the Marlins. Clearly Buck wasn’t going to come to the Yankees as a part-time player for part-time money, and the Yankees really didn’t need him.
3) Possible bullpen target Joaquin Benoit signed with the Tigers today for a rather eye-popping three years, $16.5 million. While he may have been one of the top relievers in the American League last season, the general volatility of relief pitching from year to year combined with a history of arm troubles makes this a pretty substantial gamble on Detroit’s part.
4) Kevin Towers is listening to offers for Justin Upton. Which means every team in baseball should be calling him. Who wouldn’t want Upton? As Mike illustrates at RAB, he’s one of the premier young players in the game, even with a slightly down year in 2010. Upton’s also under team control through 2015 at a very reasonable contract. While everyone will inquire, it seems unlikely that a team would be willing to surrender the players required to obtain such a dynamic piece. I can’t even fathom what kind of package the Yankees would have to put together; it’d clearly start with Jesus Montero, at least one of Manuel Banuelos, Andrew Brackman and Dellin Betances, and who knows what else. However, have no fear, as the 23-year-old Justin will just be entering his prime once his deal with the Diamondbacks expires, and if he rediscovers and maintains his .388 wOBA form from 2009 during the next five seasons, he’ll look mighty good patrolling right field in Yankee Stadium in 2016.
5) Though I sadly haven’t seen any reports on the Yankees contacting him, Adam Dunn apparently is looking for a three-year, $40 million deal. $13.3 million a year for a perennial 40-home run, 100-walk guy? That sounds great to me; too bad the Yankees aren’t in the market for a designated hitter. Additionally, too bad it sounds like there’s a decent chance he’s going to join Benoit on the Tigers. Hopefully the Tigers foolishly decide to play Dunn — who sounded adamant about not becoming a full-time DH — in the field from time to time.
6) The Yankees have kicked the tires on Rafael Soriano, but there’s no way they sign him unless something horrible happens regarding Mariano Rivera. The Yankees have also inquired about Pedro Feliciano, but he can’t face righties, and would probably be too cost-prohibitive for a LOOGY.
7) The Yankees are also apparently interested in Bill Hall as a kind of super-utility bench guy. Unlike the awful, awful Randy Winn signing, this is a move I can actually get behind. Hall seemed rejuvenated in Boston last season, and would be a massive upgrade over the likes of Ramiro Pena.
8) Nothing new on the Cliff Lee front, other than t
hat Nolan Ryan and Jon Daniels went to see Lee on Monday. The general consensus seems to be that Lee won’t sign until after the Winter Meetings in Orlando (Monday, December 6, through Thursday, December 9) next month.
9) The White Sox are talking to Hideki Matsui, which, good for them. While I think the Yankees ultimately made the right decision in not bringing Godzilla back last season, he showed he still had something left last season with the Angels, hitting .274/.361/.459//.356 with 21 homers (a season worth $7.8M, per Fangraphs). Bill James has him falling to a .353 wOBA next season, which would still probably be worth somewhere around $7M, so if the Sox swing a deal in that neighborhood that sounds like a nice acquisition for Chicago.
10) As for their own free agents, the Yankees fortunately sound like they don’t intend to massively overpay for Derek Jeter. We all know Derek’s deal will still end up being for too much money, but it’s good to see that they’re not getting caught up in past performance and “iconic, off-the-field value.” Andy Pettitte likely won’t make a decision about whether to come back until next month, though he’s said if he does it would be his last year. However, given Pettitte’s annual will-he or won’t-he retirement charade, I find it hard to believe that he’d make up his mind about a given year being his last so far in advance. And the Yankees apparently don’t even know how much money or how many years Mariano Rivera is looking for, but whatever it is, they better give it to him.
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