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Posts Tagged ‘Mark Texeira’

Courtesy: NY Daily News

Yesterday, the Yankees finally made a splash in the free-agent market, signing the best reliever on the market in Rafael Soriano. Signing the all-star closer definitely takes care of the 8th inning spot, so we can cross that off the list of needs heading into 2011. If the contract runs full term, then the Yankees have also addressed the question of who takes over for Mariano Rivera when the future Hall of Famer decides to retire. In all, I like the signing; although the contract is probably a bit too player friendly.

But the signing has opened up a whole new line of questions about the team, Brian Cashman and who is really running the show. Buster Olney tweeted the question that is running through quite a few minds this morning:

“Looks like there was a split in Yankees’ org. over this — since it took place just days after Cashman said he wouldn’t give up No. 1 pick.”

Let’s take a look at the other reasons many are wondering who actually pulled the trigger on the deal.

  1. The contract is extremely player friendly. Not only does it make Soriano the 3rd highest paid reliever in MLB (behind Mo and Francisco Cordero), it gives him the option to opt out after years 1 and 2. In other words, this could be a 1 year deal for $10M, a 2 year deal for $22M or a 3 year deal for $35M. Given Cashman’s known reluctance to pay out big dollars to relievers, his reluctance to spend on anyone this winter and his absolute abhorrence to player friendly contracts (see Jeter, Derek or Rodriguez, Alex), you have to wonder why he would throw that kind of money or those terms at Soriano.
  2. The Yankees have taken a beating in the tabloids for, well, basically standing pat this off-season. Cashman seemed content to avoid signing anyone of consequence, even as the Red Sox, Orioles, Phillies and even the Nationals have gone all-out to improve their teams. Despite the team’s obvious need for starting pitching, he never made a play for Zach Greinke and according to published statements, quickly gave up on acquiring Matt Garza. Cashman may be made of teflon in terms of criticism, but a certain member of the ownership group isn’t.
  3. Cashman’s history in the FA market is to make runs at the consensus best player available (like CC Sabathia or Mark Teixeira) or try to find diamonds in the rough (Nick Johnson, Marcus Thames from last season). He doesn’t really have a history of targeting a big name to fill a limited role.
  4. Soriano’s agent is Scott Boras. Like most GM’s, Cashman normally treats Boras – and his clients – as if they have a combination of leprosy and bubonic plague. That he would suddenly, in less than week’s time, go from “we’re not surrendering a 1st round pick” to handing out a player friendly contract to Boras is really hard to fathom.

In other words, this looks a lot more like Hank Steinbrenner pulled the trigger on this deal than Cashman. Hank is like his father in many ways: not afraid of dealing with Boras, willing to hand out player-friendly contracts and hates the Yanks being upstaged by anyone.

So, here’s the question of the day: who do you think was most responsible for signing Rafael Soriano, and what do you think it means for the future of the front office? Let us know!

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As a baseball fan, I love this time of year. The trade rumors start flying and in the modern world of communications, they fly so fast it’s almost impossible to keep up with them.

Anyway, I just read a bunch of articles that make it appear the Nationals priced Adam Dunn right out of the trade market. Joel Sherman is reporting the Yankees consider Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo’s asking price for Dunn too steep; the Rays apparently feel the same. Now, I just read that the White Sox are basically saying Rizzo needs his head examined. The only contender remaining at this point are the Giants, and that’s more wishful speculation on the part of their fans than anything else. So, the question needs to be asked: without any real movement on a new contract for Dunn and the Nat’s suddenly without a viable trade partner for him, could the Yankees sneak in at the last minute and grab him?

It certainly seems a plausible enough situation. The Nationals are motivated to move him if they can’t sign him now, since he is a pending free agent and has expressed a desire to test the market at season’s end. The Yankees have expressed interest in bringing Dunn to the Bronx. Certainly, enough knowledgeable baseball types like Dunn (Mike Axisa at River Avenue Blues practically drools over him). As anyone who’s read my previous posts knows, I’m not that crazy about him. This is a player who takes a sort of perverse pride in being lazy, is more or less a statue in the field and strikes out at rates that make Dave Kingman look like a contact hitter. Of course, there are pluses: Dunn has inordinate power from the left side, draws a ton of walks and is impervious to injury. In other words, he’s Nick Johnson with more power and without the ability to get hurt simply by walking on a piece of bubble gum.

So, for the right price, I wouldn’t mind having Dunn on the team. I just don’t think it should be a very high price, given that this would be a two-month rental. And I’m beginning to think this is must-move for the Yankees. Not because they need Adam Dunn – the current DH rotation seems pretty effective – but because Brian Cashman hasn’t made a good personnel move since signing Mark Texeira two offseasons ago, and Cashman has already struck out twice this trading dealine (Cliff Lee and Dan Haren). I realize Hal and Hank aren’t as impetuous as their dad, but eventually they’re going to wonder if Cashman has lost his mojo – so the pressure may well be on in the front office for Cashman to show that he can still play with the big boys.

Somehow, I’m not going to be surprised to wake up Sunday morning to find out the Yanks sprung an 11:59pm deal to put Dunn in Pinstripes.

Hey Yankee Fans! Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Facebook!

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