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Posts Tagged ‘Brian Cashman’

If you were listening to the Yankees telecast, you must have heard Michael Kay and David Cone break the news that Masahiro Tanaka has just landed on the 15-day disabled list with what they’re calling a “tender wrist.” That sounds like it’s not connected to the UCL tear and we may not have to sound the alarms just yet. Coney said that this report begs a lot of questions and wonders if Tanaka is compensating because of his elbow.

At the same time, no injury to Masahiro’s arm should be taken lightly. According to reports, Brian Cashman has stated that there is “no change” in Tanaka’s elbow. He was also asked if this could be a Tommy John surgery “precursor”…to which he said, “could be.”

Tanaka will be shut down for 7-10 days. We may not see him for another month or so. Nobody knows for sure. Now, we play a waiting game and see how this unfolds.

Masahiro Tanaka

Photo Courtesy of Getty Images

 

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Class is now in session….

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Brian Cashman recently told Mike Lupica on ESPN Radio that “the captaincy should be retired with number two.”

No more captains for the Yankees? Please. I love Derek Jeter as much as the next guy, but enough is enough. Yes, that’s right…I said it. Derek Jeter is a mortal being…just like Lou Gehrig and Thurman Munson before him. There’s nothing that make Derek any more special or deserving than those two, so I don’t see why the New York Yankees shouldn’t have another captain.

Keith Olbermann has called Cashman’s comments  as the “dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.”

After Lou Gehrig passed away from ALS (now known as Lou Gehrig’s disease), Yankees manager Joe McCarthy stated that the club would never have another Yankees captain. Years went by and the organization didn’t have a captain. In 1976 that changed, as George Steinbrenner appointed Thurman Munson to be captain. Just three years later (1979), Thurman died in a tragic plane crash, leaving the Yankees captainless. Nettles, Randolph, Guidry, and Mattingly followed him. What I’m trying to say here is…nobody is bigger than the interlocking NY on their chest.

George Steinbrenner once said:

“I have always been very, very careful about giving such a responsibility (Captain of the New York Yankees) to one of my players, but I can not think of a single player that I have ever had who is more deserving of this honor than Derek Jeter. He is a young man of great character and has shown great leadership qualities. He believes, as I do, what General (Douglas) MacArthur said, that ‘there is no substitute for victory.’ To him, and to me, it’s second only to breathing.”

I don’t believe they need to appoint a new captain right away, but when the right person comes along I don’t see anything wrong with giving that rank to a deserving player. I think you can safely bet that the Yankees will find somebody to be named captain in future years. And if you like to bet like me, you should check out: www.SportsBettingInfo.comLife goes on, and so do the Yankees.

 

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Via Chad Jennings:

Brian Cashman just announced that the Yankees are going to put Derek Jeter on the disabled list, effectively ending his season. More details coming.

More to come…

Derek Jeter

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Hal and Hank Steinbrenner (Hal is on the left)

The Daily News reported this morning that the Steinbrenner family may have the Yankees up for sale.

“Rumors are flying in Major League Baseball and New York banking circles that the family that has owned Major League Baseball’s premiere franchise since Cleveland shipbuilder George Steinbrenner purchased the club for $8.8 million in 1973 is exploring the possibility of selling the Yankees.”

Later this morning, the Yanks issued a flat denial. Via Bryan Hoch of MLB.com:

“‘I just learned of the Daily News story. It is pure fiction,’ (Hal) Steinbrenner said in a statement. ‘The Yankees are not for sale. I expect that the Yankees will be in my family for many years to come.'”

Is this a case of the Daily News, forever locked in a back-page battle with the New York Post, creating a story to spur readership? Or are the Yankees actually on the block? If this were any other tabloid, my gut would be to dismiss the story outright. But this one has Bill Madden in the byline, and over the years I’ve come to respect Mr. Madden’s ability to unearth behind-the-scenes information. So…

The answer may not lie in the perceived value of the Yankees franchise, currently reported to be around $3 billion. Instead, it might be better to examine the current ownership group for any signs they may want out of the baseball business. The two principles, Hal and Hank Steinbrenner, are near polar opposites in terms of their personalities. Hank is much more the fan and fiery competitor. Like George, he also has something of a mercurial temperament – this is the son who lambasted the NL for not having the DH, called out Derek Jeter for building a mansion in Tampa, and stoked the Yankee – Red Sox rivalry by memorably deriding “Red Sox Nation.” Hank even looks more like his father than his brother. Hal, on the other hand, is far more concerned with the bottom line. Hal once referred to himself as a “finance geek.” While it should be obvious to anyone that while he may have been one, I can’t ever picture the bombastic George referring to himself that way.

There is also the fact that Hal is beginning to realize that while Hank was probably overzealous in giving Alex Rodriguez a ten year, $260 million extension going into his age 33 season, his preferred method of building from within isn’t exactly as easy as Gene Michael made it look in the 1990’s. None of the top prospects he anticipated being part of the team’s core by now – Phil Hughes, Jesus Montero, Eduardo Nunez, Dellin Betances, Austin Romine, Ian Kennedy and Manny Banuelos – has been able to establish themselves as major leaguers. Of that list, only Hughes is a regular contributor; Montero and Kennedy are now elsewhere, Nunez is back in the minors and Betances, Romine and Banuelos have been plagued by inconsistency and injury while in the high minors. He understands that the Yankee fan base won’t stand for losing. In order to keep the seats filled at Yankee Stadium (and ad revenue on the YES Network peaking), he needs a winning product on the field. At the same time, Hal has made it a goal to have payroll below the anticipated $189 million luxury-tax threshold by the 2014 season – a season in which the Yankees already have $75 million in salary committed to four players and will likely be well over $100 million if they decide to resign any combination of Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, Ivan Nova, Nick Swisher and Russell Martin.

While I find it hard to believe that Hank would be willing to part ways with the Yankees, it isn’t hard to see Hal wanting to leave the circus and go home to heading Steinbrenner Properties. If this season’s on-the-field troubles continue, I suspect Hal may begin earnestly looking for a way out. He’ll be pressured to do something that really doesn’t work well in the New York market: find inexpensive talent to replace popular (and productive) players jettisoned for contract reasons. He got to preview the way a frugal owner gets treated in the situation when negotiating Derek Jeter’s contract last year. Imagine him playing hardball over money with Cano and Granderson, two popular players entering their prime and the resulting back page fallout from that.

The big question is whether the rest of the family trusts Hank to run the financial side of the team and keep his temper in check. Those of us old enough to remember George Steinbrenner from the 1980’s shudder a bit at the thought of Hank reprising that role. Still, if Hal actually does want out (that $3 billion price tag is awfully enticing to a “numbers guy”), I can see the family giving Hank first shot at forming a new ownership group. It would certainly be interesting, in an All My Children kind of way.

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AJ Burnett‘s time in pinstripes seems to be approaching its end, and the cost to jettison the enigmatic righty looks to be around $13 million. While AJ failed to deliver on his $82.5 million contract, his biggest problem was never attitude or talent: it simply is that AJ remains as inconsistent today as when he first broke into the big leagues. While he certainly can’t be a signing that Brian Cashman considers a success, AJ is far from a total flop. After all, he did actually contribute to a World Championship, and his stand-up attitude and shaving cream pies were welcome additions to the clubhouse. No, the Yankees have made their share of horribly awful deals over the years and I thought it might be fun to remember some of them. Here are the five most miserable transactions, and excuses for baseball players, in Yankee history – at least during the Steinbrenner Era.

#1: Tim Leary (RHP, 1990-92). 18-35 record, 5.12 ERA. The skinny: Originally acquired in a trade from Cincinnati for Hal Morris, nobody expected Leary to be the staff ace. Nobody expected him to lead the league with 19 losses, either. The mystifying part is why, after that, the Yankees signed him to a 3 year, $5.95 million deal. He was so terrible that midway through the ’91 season, he was sent to the bullpen – and the boos were so loud at Yankee Stadium that he ceased pitching at home. Before the ’92 season was over, the “Six Million Dollar Man” was exiled to Seattle. In return, the Yankees received the utterly forgettable Sean Twitty, who never made an appearance in the majors. Morris, however, went on to  a 13 year career in which he hit .304, won Rookie of the Year and was a key member of the Reds 1990 Championship team. Oops.

#2: Steve Kemp (OF/DH, 1983-84). .264 BA, 19 HR, 90 RBI. The skinny: Steve Kemp is the poster child for why guaranteed contracts aren’t necessarily a good thing. A two-time All-Star who averaged 21 HR and 98 RBI from 1979-82, Kemp was supposed to bring a left-handed power bat to Yankee Stadium. After two seasons in which Kemp seemed happier striking out than hitting home runs, the Yanks sent him packing to Pittsburgh for Dale Berra and Jay Buhner (yes, that Jay Buhner). Of course, Kemp’s 5 year, $5.45 million deal was guaranteed, so for the next three seasons the Bombers paid him to ride the bench in Pittsburgh, San Diego and Texas. I realize that in today’s baseball economy, middle relievers make more than a million bucks a season, so the money may not sound outrageous. But this was in 1983 – Kemp’s deal was worth more annually than Dave Winfield’s.

#3: Dave Collins (1B/OF, 1982). .253 BA, 3 HR, 25 RBI, 13 SB. The skinny: remember the Go-Go Yankees? Signed to a 3 year, $2.5M contract, Collins was supposed to team up with Rickey Henderson and Ken Griffey at the top of the line-up and let the Yanks steal a WS title. After stealing 79 bases in 1980 for Cincinnati, Collins only ran 21 times for the Yanks (and got caught 8 times, a miserable 61% success rate). He was traded prior to the 1983 season to Toronto and the Blue Jays demanded Fred McGriff as ransom. George’s attempts at recasting the 1982 Yankees as the 1959 White Sox cost the team more than a lost year and $800,000. It also wound up costing 493 career home runs. And it led to the Yanks signing Steve Kemp.

#4: Kenny Rogers (RHP, 1996-97) 18-15 record, 5.11 ERA. A classic example of a guy who simply couldn’t handle Broadway’s bright lights. When he pitched in small markets, Rogers was a four-time All Star, 5 time Gold Glover and a fixture in the postseason. For the Bombers, the Gambler just couldn’t get the job done, and he and his 3 year, $15M contract were shipped off to Oakland after only two years for the infamous Player to be Named Later. At least the PTBNL turned into Scott Brosius, who was anything but a dud for the Yanks.

#5: Carl Pavano (RHP, 2005-08) 9-8 record, 5.00 ERA. When Pavano hit free agency after the 2004 season, teams were lining up for his services. The Yankees outbid everyone and landed the former Marlin for 4 years and $38 million. We all know how that turned out. Pavano only made 26 starts over those four seasons as a myriad of strange injuries kept him off the pitching rubber (including the now infamous bruised butt). He probably would be more fondly remembered if he had done anything memorable in those starts, but he spent most of his time getting his ego as bruised as his tailbone. Like Rogers, once he left for smaller pastures he became a decent pitcher again, averaging 13 wins and 214 innings over the last three years for the Twins and Indians.

There are some notable honorable mentions who didn’t make the cut; guys like Raul Mondesi, Doyle Alexander, Jeff Weaver and Roy Smalley. AJ Burnett will undoubtedly join this list as a player who failed to live up to expectations, but he is a long way from being considered a flop on this scale.

So, what do you think? Are there any glaring omissions – or would you include AJ in the top 5? Let us know in the comments below. Fire Away!

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Chris “Mad Dog” Russo reunited for a segment on Mike Francesa’s show on Radio Row in Indianapolis. It’s almost as if the two never split up. I don’t know about you guys, but I wish these guys were still back on the air together. It just seems so right.

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Are we talking a matter of days here? A couple of weeks? A September call-up?

“According to sources close to organization, Trenton catcher Austin Romine, then Dellin Betances, will be next to board the SWB shuttle, with top overall prospect Jesus Montero expected to join the Yankees’ lineup in the very near future.

The summer fo 2011 marks the first time since 1999 the Yankees have not made a July trade, and Cashman told reporters in New York today that he was never close to a deal with anyone, including the Colorado Rockies for Ubaldo Jimenez.”

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Ubaldo Jimenez

Some things are a given in life. The sun rises in the east. Commuter trains in New York are overstuffed and never run on time. The Yankees always make a trade in July.

Only, this year that last one might not happen.

It’s not for lack of need. The starting line-up is solid and the bench features guys who could start for better than half the teams in baseball. But the pitching staff, both in the rotation and the bullpen, is loaded with question marks. CC Sabathia is an unqualified ace; Mariano Rivera remains the king of closers and David Robertson has turned into one of the game’s most reliable set-up men. But the rest of the staff doesn’t inspire confidence on a daily basis.

The Yankees are plagued by the fact that among the presumed LCS teams, they’re the only team without a bona-fide number 2 starter. The Red Sox feature Jon Lester and Josh Beckett. The Phillies send Roy Halladay
and Cliff Lee. The Giants have Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain. The Yankees keep hoping that AJ Burnett will be that number two guy – but after 2 ½ seasons of watching him implode at the most inopportune times, I can’t think of anyone who truly thinks he is. Bartolo Colon, based on his performance this year (7-6, 3.29 ERA, 8K/9) is probably the current #2, but he’s already thrown more innings than over the past 4 seasons combined and you have to worry about how much longer he can continue. Freddy Garcia keeps pulling magic acts on the mound, but his xFIP is nearly a half-run higher than his ERA; you get the feeling that sooner or later his luck is going to run out. Phil Hughes exploded on the scene in the first half of 2010, but since then he’s been less than a pedestrian pitcher (7-7, 5.76 ERA). Ivan Nova was sent back the minors earlier and despite showing signs of improvement when he was with the big club, he is nowhere near being a number two starter.

Likewise, the bullpen has a few holes. Rafael Soriano was brought in to be the primary set-up man, but he’s spent most of the season on the DL and was largely ineffective before getting hurt. Boone Logan is the supposed lefty specialist, but left handers are tuning him up to a 138 OPS+. While Cory Wade and Luis Ayala have been reasonably pleasant surprises, neither has experienced this level of success before. And heaven help us all if the abysmal Sergio Mitre is reactivated and added to the post-season roster.

So, like I said, the Yankees certainly have needs. The problem is there doesn’t seem to be anyone available in the trade market that can fill those needs. There’s been a lot of discussion regarding Ubaldo Jimenez, but the Rockies
asking price (3 or 4 of the Yanks blue chip prospects) is insane. Jimenez had a terrific first half of 2010. Otherwise, he’s a sub-.500 pitcher with a career ERA of 3.87 – while pitching in the offensively challenged NL West. If Brian Cashman adds him at tomorrow’s deadline, I’ll be underwhelmed. The other starters rumored to be on the market also aren’t overly impressive. They range from the oft-injured Erik Bedard to the recalcitrant Hiroki Kuroda
to baseball’s version of a spoiled two-year old, Carlos Zambrano. In short, barring some sort of unexpected blockbuster, there simply isn’t anyone available who provides an upgrade over what the Yanks currently have on hand.

In terms of bullpen help, the Yanks are certainly looking for a left hander – but good luck finding anyone. The Orioles probably want to rid themselves of Mike Gonzales and his bloated contract, but he has had zero success in the AL. The A’s might be willing to part with Brian Fuentes, but I can’t imagine the Yankees assuming around $8.5 million in contract for a guy who has actually been worse against lefties than Logan. The only other name I’ve seen available is the Cubs John Grabow. Like Fuentes and Gonzales, he’s been more piñata than pitcher.

So, there you have it. Unlike past deadlines, this one is looking pretty quiet for the Yankee front office.

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For the past 2 ½ seasons, we Yankee fans have been on the Jesus Montero hype train, with appetites whetted by amazing tales of baseballs launched into orbit by the 21 year old phenom’s bat. Last season, we were shocked when we learned that Montero was nearly sent to Seattle for Cliff Lee. I think the shock was even more palpable when we discovered the reason the deal fell through wasn’t Yankee reservations about dealing the stud prospect. It was Brian Cashman‘s reluctance to send along Eduardo Nunez.

Still, entering this past offseason, the general assumption was that Montero would be joining the Yanks for 2011, sharing catching duties with Jorge Posada and perhaps Francisco Cervelli. Instead, Cashman signed Russell Martin. Martin has been solid this season – especially defensively. And that’s where the story of Jesus Montero seems to constantly wind up – with his defense, or rather, lack of defense. We all watched Jesus demonstrate how not to play catcher during Spring Training and further solidify the case that Montero actually projects to more of a Victor Martinez type – good bat, but his best defensive position is the bench.

And if that’s the case, he becomes a luxury for most teams: in the NL, he has nowhere to play. In the AL, he locks up the DH spot.

To make matters worse, the occasional rumors about his mental make-up seem to be holding true. He was recently benched for “attitude problems.” He seems to be taking his defensive struggles and expectations into his at-bats. So far at AAA this year, he’s hitting .283 with only a .747 OPS – or around 125 points lower than last year. More worrisome, his strike out percentage is higher: 22% this year from 17.7% last season while his power numbers are way down. Last year, he homered once every 24 plate appearances. This year, it’s once every 44. It has to concern the Yankees that this supreme talent may not be able to get his head into the game.

We’re now a year later and already Montero’s name has come up in trade rumors. Once again, the Yankees seem more willing to deal him than other top-flight prospects – and he recently dropped out of the top five baseball prospects for the first time since 2009. The organization obviously has reservations about his ability at the big league level, otherwise we wouldn’t have Cervelli on the ML roster. (Or Martin, for that matter). If he survives the trade season still wearing Baby Pinstripes, he will need to perform over the second half of the season and then show something in September with the big club. If not, I suspect will be gone this offseason in some package or another. And we’ll remember Montero the way we remember other über prospects who were never able to realize their full potential, from Ken Phelps to Roberto Kelly.

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Brian Cashman in 1989 as a scrappy second baseman for Catholic University, where he set a team record for most hits in a season. Photo courtesy of Catholic University.

Brian Cashman played College BaseballThere are a lot of you out there who like to criticize Brian Cashman moves, and rightfully so. He hasn’t been perfect. He’s made both good moves and bad moves. A lot of people also seem to think that these general managers know nothing about the game, which is downright idiotic. Cashman was a four-year starter and leadoff hitter at Catholic University. You guys can sit at home and poke fun of these guys all you want, but I bet most of you didn’t play ball at the college level. Of course Cashman has advisors and scouts feeding him information, but who doesn’t? These guys wouldn’t be where they are if they knew nothing about the game. (more…)

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Today has been quite a busy one for Yankees GM Brian Cashman. And he seems to have put an end to all of the questions about the make-up of the pitching staff come opening day.

What it will look like on May 1, though, is anyone’s guess.

The day started with Cashman signing Kevin Millwood to a minor league deal. You may remember Millwood from his days as the supposed ace of the Rangers and Orioles staffs. The fact that he was still available, less than a week before the season opens, tells you all you need to know about baseball’s collective belief in his ability. I even posted a comment on MLBtraderumors.com about how Scranton looked to have some interesting games this year, with Millwood and Kei Igawa being in the same rotation. It’s not a terrible move, since it gave the Yanks plenty of starting depth – even if said depth consists of old retreads.

Then Cashman went one up on himself, trading Sergio Mitre to the Brewers for yet another all field, no-hit minor league outfielder. In so doing, he spared us another season of ragged nails caused by the Experience, as now Milwaukee gets to entertain themselves watching one moon shot after another. Call it addition by subtraction. At least Mitre leaves with a world series ring, something the Brewers kids can oooh and ahhhh over.

All in all, in an interesting and productive day. It seems likely that Bartolo Colon is the 5th starter and Freddy Garcia the swingman, at least for now. If either of them blow up, there’s Millwood in the minors. Whether all of this makes the Yanks better than they were last week remains to be seen, but it could all hinge on what your definition of better is.

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