Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Greatest Hits: Mariano Rivera

To further celebrate his turning 41 yesterday, who better to continue our Greatest Hits series with today than the G.O.A.T, Mariano Rivera. If I attempted to go over stats on Mo, it would take forever as the maestro has built a closer resume unlike no other over the past 15 seasons. Besides, what is there that I could possibly tell you fanatics about Mo that you don't already know. As the word around the blogosphere is that he and the Yankees are close to finalizing a deal soon, here are just some of the reasons why the deal is sure to get done with little muss or fuss.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Mo, Yanks Closing In On Deal

Mariano Rivera and the Yankees appear to be on the cusp of closing a deal for the greatest closer of all time. Via Ken Fidlin of the Toronto Sun:

"Mariano Rivera is quietly closing in on a new contract that will pay him $17 million.

"Rivera, 41, is seeking a two-year deal but the Yankees have not yet agreed to go beyond one more season for their iconic bullpen closer, though they haven’t balked at giving him a raise over his previous $15 million stipend."

With the start of the Winter Meetings beginning next Monday in Orlando, it seems likely that the Yankees may want to wrap up their negotiations with Mo this week or during the meetings. Best case scenario would be to formalize a deal sooner than later as I'd suspect they would like to focus on leaving The Sunshine State with at least an agreement from "The Assassin" aka Cliff Lee to join their ranks. If the Yankees can achieve this, hopefully, it may put some pressure on Derek Jeter and his agent to make a formal statement of their terms and get the negotiations moving on to the next phase. Hopefully.

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Monday, November 29, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mo!!

Mariano Rivera, who I would argue is the least expendable Yankee free-agent on the market right now and the true hero of every World Series win since 2008, turned 41 years old today.

Right now, Mo is in the midst of contract negotiations with the Yankees as he is seeking a 2-year, $18 million per deal for his services. Although the Yankees would like to give the greatest closer, ever, a 1-year deal, a report today by ESPNNewYork.com's Andrew Marchand says that Rivera's negotiations are moving along "smoothly", and that he will likely get around $16-$17 million, which is still an increase from $15 million in 2010.

Happy Birthday, Mo!! I wish you all the happiness and every dime that the Yankees can muster in the world.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Jeter $50 Million Offer Not True

Now, I'm getting dizzy.

Less than an hour ago, George A. King III of the Daily News reported that the Yankees have not increased their original offering on a $45 million, 3-year deal to $50 million to Derek Jeter. King cites a "person with knowledge of the negotiations."

The Jeter negotiations have by far, driven the baseball world into a tizzy. This is the second time in 2 weeks that a report of a contract offering to the Captain was debunked. As I posted in To Be Or Not To Be?, it appears that the Yankees and Jeter's camp have made no real ground in this saga, and it will be awhile before a resolution is made. I wouldn't be surprised at all if the Yankees sign Cliff Lee and Mariano Rivera to deals before Jeter.

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Javy Vasquez To Marlins

According to MLB.com:

"The Marlins dominated Sunday's relatively quiet Hot Stove, agreeing to terms on a one-year deal with veteran right-hander Javier Vazquez.

"The deal, which is pending a physical, will give Florida the quality veteran starting pitcher it desired this offseason. Vazquez, 34, has pitched more than 200 innings nine times in his career, evidencing a durability the Marlins were after. 

"Vazquez is plenty familiar with the National League East, where he nearly won a Cy Young Award with Atlanta in 2009. His '10 season with the Yankees, however, wasn't nearly as smooth -- he compiled a 10-10 record with a 5.32 ERA."

Congratulations, Javy.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Hot Stove: Latest Tidbits

Hey fanatics, I'm back from my much needed, restful Thanksgiving weekend, and ready to give you all the lowdown on the "goings-ons" from the past 48 hours. The Yankees made some additional player moves, the Jeter negotiations appear to be moving into its next phase, and a superstar on-the-horizon celebrated a milestone birthday yesterday.

In the latest round of the now infamous Jeter negotiations, the Yankees appear ready to up their original offer to the Captain. Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated reported yesterday that the new offer would be for a 3-year, $50 million deal, a $5 million raise from the initial $45 million offering. Jeter is said to be seeking a deal of $23-$24 million for 4-5 years, but the Yankees are unwilling to 1) go beyond a 3-year contract and 2) match Jeter's last contract which paid him $18.9 million per for 10 years of which he received $21 million last year. This latest offer by the Yankees would pay him roughly $18.3 million for the next three.

According to a tweet by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports on Saturday, the Yankees signed LHP Andy Sisco and RHP Brian Anderson to minor-league deals. Via the MLB Network ticker, both relievers were invited to Spring Training and so, will vie for a spot on the 25-man roster.

Sisco began his playing career as a starter in the minors after being drafted by the Chicago Cubs in 2001. He was taken by the Kansas City Royals in the 2004 Rule 5 draft and was converted into a reliever. He didn't do much in his time with the Royals and was traded to the Chicago White Sox during the winter of 2006. He missed the '08 and '09 seasons recovering from successful Tommy John surgery, but had a poor showing in 2010 going 4-4 with a 4.32 ERA with the San Francisco Giants Double-A team.

Anderson, a former outfielder with the White Sox was converted to a reliever while playing for the Royals minor-league system last year. In 17.2 innings, he posted a 2.08 ERA with a whip of 0.87 and struck out 17.

And a very Happy Belated Birthday to rising star Jesus Montero, who became legal yesterday as he turned 21 years old. The Yankees top minor league prospect is slated to become their everyday catcher next season and I'd like to wish him the best of luck as he has enormous shoes to fill.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Saturday, November 27, 2010

To Be Or Not To Be?

According to a report yesterday in The New York Times by Mike Schmidt, Derek Jeter is seeking a four to five-year deal at $23-$24 million per. This latest tidbit comes from a baseball insider who had been "briefed" on the matter. The source also claims that Jeter's agent, Casey Close, and the Yankees have done very little, if any, negotiating this past week.

While I feel somewhat giddy that an alleged asking price has been made public by Jeter's camp, finally, I'm going to hold off for at least another 48 hours before I allow myself to believe this story and wait out any reports dismissing it. Why? In the past week, their were two contract stories published on Jeter and Cliff Lee via "sources" that were untrue. My last post here at Bomber Boulevard was a correction to the claim that the Yankees sweetened their original offer of a 6-year, $120 million deal to Lee to $140 million. Turns out that the Yankee have yet to make any offer to "The Assassin." And in yesterday morning's Daily News, Bill Madden reported that a source claimed the Jeter camp's starting price was $150 million for six years, and they were unwilling to go below $25 million per. By 4pm yesterday afternoon, Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports tweeted that Close said the report was "simply inaccurate."

There are two things we should take from all this, fanatics. First, we should all be wary of any stories based on account of "sources", particularly when the account pertains to an erroneous amount of money. Second, we might as well prepare ourselves for a long wait, because the Yankees have made no real ground on either the Jeter or Cliff Lee fronts. Until word comes directly from either players' agent, all reports are suspect and it appears that word ain't coming no time soon.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Seems that the Yankees may still be in the infancy stage of the Cliff Lee sweepstakes.

A report by Yahoo! Sports on Tuesday cited industry sources as saying that the Yankees had sweetened the deal on a 6-year, $120 million payday to Lee, to $140 million for six years. But according to an article in this morning's New York Daily News by Mark Feinsand, baseball officials say that the Yankees have made no offers to Lee yet.

And the merry-go-round continues.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Greatest Hits: Robinson Cano

I'm starting a new series here at Bomber Boulevard called Greatest Hits. I'm scouring youtube and other video channels to bring you some of the best Yankees hits and plays from 2010 and seasons past.

For the inaugural Greatest Hits post, I thought I'd start with none other than the heir to the Yankee throne, Robinson Cano, and what better season to start with than his best thus far, 2010. In 160 games played, he had 29 homers, 109 RBIs and 200 hits in 626 at-bats. His slash numbers were .319/.381/.534. And he is by far the best defensive second baseman in all of baseball. You can bet that as time goes on, there will be plenty of footage on Robbie to be stashed in the archives. Enjoy.

Andy "Leaning" Toward 2011 Return?

Ken Davidoff of Newsday reported yesterday that an industry source says Andy Pettitte is leaning toward a return for the 2001 season with his family's support. If the source is correct, it will be Andy's final season, and he will have to negotiate a contract directly with the Yankees as he was not offered arbitration at last night's deadline.

In speaking with friends, I've stated that Andy will return if the Yankees sign Cliff Lee. I think the prospect of being part of a rotation as lethal as Lee will make it is an opportunity that the competitor in Andy won't pass up. If the Yankees lose the Cliff Lee sweepstakes, which may be unlikely at this point, I believe it may take continuous phone calls from teammates to sway Andy into returning. 

Stay tuned...

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Yanks Offer Arbitration to Vasquez, Not Wood

Contrary to Brian Cashman's own statement yesterday to Wallace Matthews of ESPNNewYork.com, the Yankees did not offer arbitration to RHP Kerry Wood, but they did to starter Javier Vasquez. Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported yesterday that Vasquez agreed to decline the offer in what is termed a "gentleman's agreement". This will allow the Yankees to receive a first-round draft pick as compensation.

According to MLB Rumors, Vasquez seems to be on the verge of securing a deal with the Florida Marlins who are the front-runners for the righty ahead of the Chicago Cubs, Washington Nationals and Colorado Rockies. MLB Rumors also reports that he has already turned down an offer worth $20 million for 2 years; team name was undisclosed.

Jeter, Pettitte, Rivera, and Lance Berkman were not offered arbitration as expected.

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Cashman Advises Jeter To Test Market

In the latest round of the Jeter negotiations, GM Brian Cashman is again putting the Captain and his agent on notice that the Yankees will not be bullied by Jeter's iconic status into an erroneous deal. In another statement yesterday to Wallace Matthews of ESPNNewYork.com, Cashman had this to say:

"We understand his contributions to the franchise and our offer has taken them into account. We've encouraged him to test the market and see if there's something he would prefer other than this. If he can, fine. That's the way it works."

The Yankees are pretty much daring Jeter at this point obviously, because they know that no other team is likely to pay him $45 million which is generous considering his decline. If he's not careful, he's going to find himself in the same position as Alex Rodriguez in 2007--crawling back to the Yankees with his head between his legs begging for a job. Even worse for Jeter, he's allowing what should have been a modest, conjoint meeting-of-the-minds, to turn into melodramatic fodder; something that his humble persona has never allowed.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Yankees Likely To Offer Wood Arbitration

Wallace Mathews of ESPNNewYork.com reports that the Yankees are likely to offer arbitration to right-handed reliever Kerry Wood.

Offering Wood arbitration signals the Yankees' willingness for possible negotiations that would bring Wood back, most likely to be the 8th inning set-up man for Rivera. He pitched well while in New York in 2010 and is seen as a viable option for the set-up role other than Joba Chamberlain. As per GM Brian Cashman:

"I'm thinking yes on Wood. We'll do them a favor. If we put them into an arbitration setting, then we can take them out and make a fair market value offer to them."

The "them" Cashman refers to are Wood, Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera and Austin Kearns. Of the five, Cashman says he's only looking to make an offer to Wood. The arbitration deadline is midnight tonight.

Sources also tell Jayson Stark of espn.com that the Yankees will offer arbitration to Javier Vasquez also, although he is expected to decline. If he does, the Yankees will receive draft picks as compenstion for him.

Texas' Hamilton Wins AL MVP, Cano In Third Place

Josh Hamilton beat out Robinson Cano and Detroit's Miguel Cabrera to win his first AL MVP Award this afternoon.

Hamilton had 22 first-place votes, 4 second-place votes and 2 fourth-place votes, finishing with 358. Cabrera came in second in voting with 5 first place votes and finished with 262.

Surprisingly, Robinson Cano received no first first-pace votes, but made an admirable showing with 229 votes overall. Other Yankees who received votes were CC Sabathia who finished 13th, Alex Rodriguez who took 15th place, and Mark Teixeira who finished 20th.

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Yanks Up Ante On Lee Offer?

In a report today by Tom Gatto of the Sporting News, the Yankees have reportedly offered "The Assassin" aka Cliff Lee a 6-year, $140 million deal according to an industry source. Just days ago, it was reported that the Yankees were looking at a 6-year, $120 million pay out for Lee.

If the industry source is correct, the deal would pay Lee $23.3 million per, slightly trumping CC Sabathia's pay at $23 million, and making him the highest paid pitcher in baseball. He's supposedly holding out on the offer, as he's looking for a 7-year deal.

Stay tuned...

Yankees Will Not Offer Jeter Arbitration

As reported in today's New York Daily News, the Yankees will not offer Derek Jeter arbitration at today's deadline. The team believes that Jeter will be back in pinstripes next season, and are not willing to risk Jeter getting a salary upwards of $20 million, which he would certainly accept if negotiated by an arbitrator. With this decision, if Jeter leaves the team, the Yankees can't receive any draft picks as compensation. The Yankees are expected to offer arbitration to the other "Core Four" members in Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte.

Mo Looking For 2-Year, $18 Million Deal?

Contract news on Mariano Rivera? Finally.

As reported by Ben Nicholas-Smith of mlbtraderumors.com, Rivera is reportedly seeking a 3-year deal with a $3 million pay raise which would pay him $18 million per. This is according to a tweet posted by Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan. The Yankees, however, are looking to offer him a one-year deal, but there have been no reports from their side on a price tag.

This could signal another drawn out negotiation between the Yankees and a member of the "Core Four"; we don't even need to go into the Jeter negotiations. What is interesting to note, however, is that unlike Jeter, Mo has a lot more leverage to bring to the bargaining table. He remains the absolute best closer in baseball; he continues to post an ERA of less than 2.00 and 30+ saves every year; he continues to dominate and break his own records in the postseason and, show no wear-and-tear for a player who turns 41 in a week.

No way to know right now if the Yankees are willing to play hardball with Mo as they are with Jeter. I'll just assume that perhaps in the next day or so, any "subliminal" statements made by Cashman will tell us all we need to know. I do believe though that the Yankees might be willing to heed more to Mo's demands than Jeter's, simply because they know that there is no other closer available that even comes close to replacing him on the team. Winning a World Series is always the goal; how hard would it be to win without "The Sandman"?

Cashman Responds To Jeter's "Baffled" Agent

Earlier in the week, Derek Jeter's agent Casey Close accused the Yankees organization of dealing with his client's negotiations through the media and not taking into consideration Jeter's overall contributions to the club. As reported by Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News, Close referred to the Yankees  negotiation tactics as "baffling:"

"There's a reason the Yankees themselves have stated Derek Jeter is their modern-day Babe Ruth. Derek's significance to the team is much more than just stats. And yet, the Yankees' negotiating strategy remains baffling." He added:

"They continue to argue their points in the press and refuse to acknowledge Derek's total contribution to their franchise."

In this morning's New York Post article by George A. King III, Yankees GM Brian Cashman retorted with this:

There is nothing baffling about our position. We have been very honest and direct with them, not through the press. We feel our offer is appropriate and fair. We appreciate the contributions Derek has made to our organization and we have made it clear to them. Our primary focus is his on-the-field performance the last couple of years in conjunction with his age, and we have some concerns in that area that need to be addressed in a multi-year deal going forward.

“I re-state Derek Jeter is the best shortstop for this franchise as we move forward. The difficulty is finding out what is fair between both sides.”

What I found most refreshing about Cashman's response, is that he noted outright that Jeter's fielding and age are an issue. Yeah, we all know that these were the crux of the Yankees position, but I give credit to Cashman for coming out and saying it. Up until now, it's just been a lot of slick rhetoric and use of the words "value" and "fair". Cashman is now holding a mirror up to Jeter's face and I think the Captain needs to take a long, hard look.

At the risk of exhausting myself with my own opinions on the Jeter front, I will wholeheartedly say, again, that Jeter and his agent need to understand that these negotiations are not about his legacy or about the amount of money he's generated for the organization; they are about giving him a contract that is fair in terms of his worth right now as a shortstop. If the Yankees were truly in the business of doling out money based on legacy and past financial contributions to the club, then Mariano Rivera would be and should be the highest paid player in baseball. Period.

Enough of the back-and-forth, Jeter. Please, be my Captain and do the right thing--be honest with yourself, and take what you're worth; you can work out options for a 4th and 5th year. It's really time to end this.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Monday, November 22, 2010

A-Rod and Jeter: Yesteryear

As we fanatics await resolutions on the signings of Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter and hopefully Cliff Lee, I thought it would be a good time to dig into the archives and regale on a friendship that has long since been forgotten.

It amazes me how many people have forgotten about the very close friendship of Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter. Before A-Rod's comments about Jeter in Esquire magazine which started the rift, these two were the best of friends and arguably closer than any other pair in baseball. I know that we are all beyond the drama that surrounded these two until A-Rod admitted in '07 that they were no longer as close as they use to be, but just indulge me a little and enjoy the video. This one came to me courtesy of my buddy and fellow YES blogger, ilovealex.

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Yankees About To Make First Offer To Lee

According to a report in the Boston Globe, the Yankees are preparing to offer "The Assassin" aka Cliff Lee, a 5-year deal worth between $115 and $120 million, which averages out to about $23-$24 million per.

The deal would not only place "The Assassin" within the hierarchy of highest paid players in the league, it would also match the per year earnings of CC Sabathia, whose contract pays him $23 million a season.

If Lee's salary were based solely on year-by-year performance during the regular season, I would say no way should he be paid the same as Sabathia. The following graphs make my case. Note that the blue line represents the league average in each category:



The graphs clearly show Sabathia's consistency throughout his career in the three major pitching categories. Lee has been up and down, but what is clear are the improvements in ERA and WHIP from '07 to '08, the year he won the AL Cy Young Award.

However, Lee's postseason stats make him worth every penny of this contract offering, and we fanatics know that on Bomber Boulevard, winning a championship is what matters. In his short postseason career of 10 games, Lee is 7-2 with a 2.13 ERA. In 35.2 innings this past postseason, Lee struck out 47 batters and walked only two. When given a chance for postseason play, he's proven that he's the most dominate pitcher out there, and arguably one of the best ever.

All graphs courtesy of fangraphs.com

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper   

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Jim Leyritz Acquitted In DUI Manslaughter Case

Here is the official press release from The Associated Press:

A jury in Florida on Saturday acquitted former major league baseball player Jim Leyritz of DUI manslaughter in a 2007 crash that killed a mother of two.

However, Leyritz was convicted on a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence, which carries a maximum sentence of six months in jail. Leyritz had faced up to 15 years in prison if convicted on the manslaughter charge.

Testimony was inconclusive on whether Leyritz ran a red light on Dec. 28, 2007, when he collided with a vehicle driven by 30-year-old Fredia Ann Veitch, who died.

Defense experts testified that Leyritz may have been below Florida's 0.08 percent blood-alcohol level when the crash occurred, even though it was 0.14 percent three hours later.

Leyritz played 11 major league seasons, hitting a memorable World Series home run for the New York Yankees in 1996.

The crash happened after Leyritz had been out at local nightspots celebrating his birthday. Veitch, who had gone out to other bars after work, was also drunk with a blood-alcohol level twice Florida's limit, according to trial testimony.

Two witnesses testified that Veitch had the green light at an intersection before Leyritz's Ford Expedition hit her vehicle, causing a rollover crash that ejected her onto the pavement. But under cross-examination, those same witnesses were less definitive about whether Leyritz's light was red or yellow.

Defense expert witnesses also said Veitch's lights may have been off and that Leyritz did not appear to be speeding. They also raised questions about the reliability of Leyritz's blood tests and suggested he may have suffered a slight concussion that caused his body to absorb alcohol more slowly.

Prosecutors insisted that Leyritz was too drunk to react to the traffic light or avoid the collision with Veitch's Mitsubishi Montero. They said he consumed the equivalent of between 11 and 12 shots of liquor in the three hours before the crash, which happened around 3 a.m.

Florida law provides for a DUI manslaughter conviction when a person's actions either caused or contributed to the cause of someone else's death.

In May, Leyritz settled a wrongful death lawsuit by agreeing to pay Veitch's family $350,000 in insurance and personal funds.

Leyritz's famous homer for the Yankees tied Game 4 of the World Series against Atlanta, a game New York would go on to win in extra innings. The victory paved the way for New York's 1996 title, its first in 18 years.

Primarily a catcher, Leyritz also played for the Angels, Rangers, Red Sox, Padres and Dodgers. He had a career batting average of .264 and hit 90 home runs.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Saturday, November 20, 2010

More Player Moves

Yankees released pitcher Jonathan Albaladejo today. The righty is off to Japan where he'll pitch for the Yomiuri Giants according to Mark Feinsand of the Daily News.

Albaladejo finished his season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre posting a 4-2 record and a 1.42 ERA. He appeared in 10 games with the Yankees during the second half of the regular season and had a 3.97 ERA with no decisions. Albaladejo had little success during his major-league tenure with the Yankees and so the team decided to release him as they prepare to set their 40-man roster.

Yankees RHP prospects Dellin Betances, Ryan Pope and infield prospect Brandon Laird, were added to the 40-man roster in a move to protect them from being acquired in next month's Rule 5 draft. 

Betances, a Brooklyn native, was drafted in the 8th round pick of the 2006 draft with a $1 million signing bonus. He struggled early on in his minor-league career, being shutdown early in 2007 with the Staten Island Yankees due to forearm tightness. He bounced back in 2008 with Low-A Charleston going 9-4 with a 3.67 ERA in 22 starts, but faltered again in '09 with High-A Tampa; in only 11 starts, he went 2-5 with a 5.48 ERA. He was shutdown early again, this time to have surgery to reinforce a ligament in his elbow.

Pope was a 3rd round draft pick in 2007. He began his minor-league career that year with the Staten Island Yankees going 3-0 with a 2.49 ERA in 10 games. In AA Trenton this year he went 4-6 with a 4.20 ERA in 46 games. He appeared in 3 games with the Yankees during 2010 and went 0-0 allowing one hit and recording one save.

In stints with both AA Trenton and AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this season, Laird hit. 281 with 25 homers and 103 RBIs. He was acquired as a 27th round pick by the Yankees in 2007 and played in their Gulf Coast League that year.  

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Friday, November 19, 2010

Larry Rothschild Named New Pitch Coach

In an "off-the-radar" move today, the Yankees hired Larry Rothschild as their new pitch coach replacing Dave Eiland.

Before today, Rothschild was the pitch coach for the Chicago Cubs, a position he's held since 2002. His professional baseball career spans 36 years, and he's worked for notable managers including Lou Piniella and Jim Leyland. He was part of the coach staffs for both the 1990 Cincinnati Reds and the 1997 Florida Marlins championship teams, and was the first manager of the then Tampa Bay Devil Rays from 1998 to 2001. Ironically, Dave Eiland pitched for him during that time. 

Apparently, one of the reasons Rothschild interviewed for the job--other than the opportunity to play for the greatest team in baseball--is that his home is in Tampa, FL and is just a few miles from Steinbrenner Field. Having more time to spend with his family was a huge factor in his decision to leave the Windy City.

“It’s got less to do with leaving the Cubs than it does more to do with the opportunity to be with the family and also with the Yankees,” Rothschild said, according to Brian Costello of the New York Post.
Joe Girardi, who caught for the Cubs on that 2002 team, said in a statement that Rothschild is “above all else an excellent teacher who brings a professional attitude and a keen sense of preparation to his craft.”  
The new pitch coach's first order of business will be to make introductory phone calls to his new pitchers. He's already been privy to the work of some of his starters as he watched hours of videotape of CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes and AJ Burnett during his interview process.
This was a surprise move by the Yankees. In the past few weeks the notable list of interviewees for the position were bullpen coach Mike Harkey,Triple-A pitch coach Scott Aldred and Oakland A's minor-league pitch coordinator Gil Patterson. Rothschild had never even surfaced as a possible candidate.

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Hot Stove: More Tidbits

Latest Hot Stove notes from the past 24 hours:

The Yankees are preparing to make an initial offer on a 3-year, $45 million deal to Derek Jeter, according to New York Post's Joel Sherman. He writes:

"The expectation is the Yankees will offer something in the three-year, $45 million range, which will create some negotiating room to climb toward $57 million to $60 million on a three-year deal or perhaps go to a fourth-year option or a straight fourth year as a way to reach a settlement. Of course, that is assuming Jeter finds that range acceptable."

According to major league sources, the Yankees are interested in free-agent relief pitcher J.C. Romero of the Philadelphia Phillies. Romero has suffered from the injury bug over the past two seasons, but still posts an admirable 3.28 ERA over that time. He's a lefty, which the Yankees are in need of as they have only one in Boone Logan. LHP Damaso Marte is not expected to pitch in 2011 due to injury.

Shernan also reports that the Yankees have dropped interest in D-Backs outfielder Justin Upton; they are satisfied enough with their present outfield that they see no reason to give up prospects in order to close a deal.

As per the Chicago Tribune, Hank Steinbrenner met with former Chicago Cubs manager and Yankee great Lou Piniella, to invite him to join the team again as an advisor. Piniella was part of the '77 and '78 championship teams and managed the team for two full seasons in '86 and '87; he took over as manager for Billy Martin in '88 for the second half of the season.

Nolan Ryan acknowledged that the Yankees will outbid the Texas Rangers for "The Assassin" aka Cliff Lee. According to Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal, the team plans on trying to sell playing in Texas to the south paw, but notes that Ryan "didn't sound confident."

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Congrats to the "King"

CC Sabathia was again eluded of his second AL Cy Young Award by a younger pitcher with fewer wins yesterday. However, this time around I'd argue that the voters of the Baseball Writers Association got it right in voting Seattle's "King" Felix Hernandez the winner. No need to go into a whole bunch of stats on either pitcher; Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports breaks it all down in plain terms in the video below.

<a href="http://msn.foxsports.com/video?vid=70a8ffd7-41c3-4dd0-b6ea-f392e89323f1" target="_new" title="">Rosenthal: Cy Young for Felix</a>
So, congratulations Felix Hernandez. And, CC, you're always No. 1 on Bomber Boulevard.

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<a href="http://msn.foxsports.com/video?vid=70a8ffd7-41c3-4dd0-b6ea-f392e89323f1" target="_new" title="">Rosenthal: Cy Young for Felix</a>

Juan Miranda To D-Backs

The Yankees sent first baseman/DH Juan Miranda to the Arizona Diamondbacks for 19 year-old minor league RHP Scott Allen. This was obviously the "small" move Brian Cashman spoke of earlier this week.

In 33 games with the Yankees last season, Miranda posted a .219 AVG with 3 HRs and 10 RBIs. He played in 46 games with the team overall from 2008-2010, sporting a .253 AVG with 4 HRs and 14 RBIs.

A native of Cuba, Miranda defected in 2004 and was signed as a free-agent by the Yankees in 2006. With the signing of Mark Teixeira and the recent announcement that Jorge Posada would become the DH next season, the Yankees had little use for Miranda, who was out of player options; had he not made the team out of Spring Training, the Yankees would have risked losing him for nothing.

Allen, who piched for Diamondbacks affiliate Single-A South Bend, went 4-4 with a 4.73 ERA in 16 starts. Over the 16 games, he pitched 78 innings, striking out 79 batters and walking 22. Sometime during the season, he pitched 14 consecutive shutout innings. He was the Diamondbacks 11th-round pick in the 2009 First-Player Draft from Lyman High School in Florida.

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Jeter Negotiations At An Impasse

According to a report by ESPN's Wallace Matthews this morning, the Jeter negotiations have come to a stalemate as the Yankees are looking to offer him a 3-year deal at $15 or perhaps $21 million, but the Captain wants anywhere from 4-6 years at the same rate. A source with inside knowledge told Wallace that someone in the "Yankee hierarchy" wants to play hardball:

"Tell him the deal is three years at $15 million a year, take it or leave it," the person taking the hard-line approach said. "Wait him out and he'll wind up taking it. Where's he gonna go, Cincinnati?"

Hmmm. That ending sounds similar to statements made by Hank Steinbrenner during the Alex Rodriguez free agency debacle, where he questioned if A-Rod wanted to go into the Hall of Fame as a Yankee or a Toledo Mud Hen. It also makes sense that the statement may have come from "Hammering" Hank as he has been relatively quiet on these negotiations; at some point he was sure to get in the mix.

Adding more fuel to the fire was team President Randy Levine who, according to Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News, had this to say:

"All I can say is we think he's a great Yankee, we think he's been a great Yankee and we've been great for him and this is the best place for him. But he's a free agent and he's allowed to test the market and do whatever he wants."

"He's a baseball player. It's a player negotiation. Everything he is and who he is gets factored in. But this isn't a licensing deal or a commercial rights deal. He's a baseball player."

"But with that said, you can't take away from who he is. He brings a lot to the organization and we bring a lot to him.... Derek Jeter is a great Yankee, a great player. That said, now is a different negotiation than 10 years ago."

The ESPN report notes that the Yankees are fearful, however, of going too hard on the negotiations because of possible fan backlash. If this is the case, I, being one of the many fanatics that absolutely respects and admires everything about Derek Jeter, offer this:

Play hardball with Jeter. Now is the time for him to show the team, the organization and his fans that he truly is all about putting what's best for the team first. This wasteful stand-off is all due to him wanting the Yankees to prove that they value him as much as they value A-Rod. Remind Jeter that at the time of his contract signing, A-Rod was coming off of a year where he showed no signs of slowing down, and pretty much carried the team into the playoffs and won the MVP. Remind Derek that that MVP award was A-Rod's second in three years.

We fanatics know now that A-Rod's deal was erroneous, considering his injuries after-the-fact, but hindsight is 20/20; if the Yankees could go back and change A-Rod's deal knowing what they know now, they probably would. Make Jeter and his agent understand that.

Don't worry about us abandoning ship; we got over the "mishandling" of Bernie Williams, the end of the Joe Torre era and the free agency exits of Tino Martinez in 2001 and Hideki Matsui last year. In each case we were initially hurt, sad and disappointed, but we got over it as the team moved forward, and we remain as loyal as ever.

And give us a little more credit; we're not so petty that we would boycott our team over an extra 2-3 years. We know that Jeter is in decline; we know that his true value as a premier shortstop is no longer, and that $15 or even $21 million per is more than generous. We also know that if these negotiations fall through, the onus will be on Jeter as you in the front office offered him a fair deal that in no way minimizes his legacy and was in the best interest of the team.

Do the right thing, Jeter. Take the three year deal and maybe negotiate options for another year or two. Have a renaissance showing for the next three years, and you will surely be back in 2014.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Yankees Hot Stove: Tidbits

Here are the latest notes from the Yankees Hot Stove front:

According to New York Post's Joel Sherman, the Yankees have communicated with at least 12 free agents thus far. This list includes, Cliff Lee, Mets RHP Pedro Feliciano, Rays closer Rafael Soriano, and of course, Jeter and Rivera. Other teams have shown interest in trading for Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson and possibly Nick Swisher.

The Yankees have inquired about Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton. Upton hit .273 with 17 homers and 69 RBIs in 2010. He has approx. $42.7 million left of a $51.25 million contract thru 2015. Yankees aren't really in need of an outfielder, so this may just be them doing due diligence.

Boston Red Sox's Bill Hall has peaked the Yankees interest as a possible utility player.

As per Brian Cashman, Ivan Nova stands a good chance of becoming the 5th starter in the rotation. According to Bleacher Report, Cashman believes this could be the case even if they don't sign Cliff Lee or if Andy Pettitte decides to retire. This might mean bad news for AJ Burnett.

Eduardo Nunez, Ramiro Pena, Juan Miranda and Brandon Laird could all play a bench role next season according to Cashman. 

Yankees are still interviewing for a pitch coach to take Dave Eiland's former job. Thus far, Yankees' bullpen coach Mike Harkey and Oakland A's pitch instructor Gil Patterson, have gone through the rigorous test Cashman has devised to screen applicants. Yankees Triple-A pitch coach, Scott Aldred, is expecting to be taken through the paces this week.

The Texas Rangers "upped the ante" on the Cliff Lee Sweepstakes this past Monday by visiting the southpaw at his home home in Arkansas. No question the Rangers are trying to retain their ace, but the Yankees still seem by many to be the clear favorite to bag the "The Assassin."

Stay tuned...

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

We Exit Bomber Boulevard To Say...

Congratulations to Phillies ace Roy Halladay for winning his second CY Young Award yesterday. Halladay becomes only the fifth pitcher ever to win the award for both the American and National leagues. He won by a unanimous vote of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Halladay had the most wins, complete games, innings and shutouts of any pitcher in the NL. He pitched a perfect game against the Florida Marlins on May 29 and a no-hitter in game 1 of the ALDS against the Cinncinnati Reds. His award is well-deserved.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

The Game of Dollars And Sense

Several sources covering the Yankees, are reporting that Derek Jeter and his agent have had additional meetings with the Yankees this week to discuss his new contract. All reports say that the meetings are going well and that both sides feel positive about the final resolution. Good.

However, according to an article in today's New York Post, the Yankees are on the cusp of taking a step back from the "We Value Derek's Legacy" phase of these negotiations, and are prepared to play hardball. Matter-of-fact, during the first round of talks, Jeter was basically told that legacy aside, the team's only mission is to offer him a contract.


Confidants of Brian Cashman tell Post sportswriter Joel Sherman, that "the GM is determined not to have the team get so lost in the past that it destroys the future by giving Jeter a contract that either lasts way beyond his effectiveness and/or overpays him to such a degree that hurts financial flexibility elsewhere."

There is a method to Cashman's madness; he is putting everyone on notice that he is not that GM who will simply buckle to the pressure of satisfying his fan-favorite, media-darling superstars. This is precisely why Cashman chose to have what Sherman terms a "turning -the-page" meeting with Jorge Posada to inform him that he will be the DH in 2011. As Sherman reports, it is also why "[Cashman]essentially played bad cop with Posada’s pal, Jeter, at a meeting that also was attended by Hal Steinbrenner, team president Randy Levine and Jeter’s agent, Casey Close."

This in no way means that Cashman would ever dare believe that the Yankees won't pay Jeter beyond his true value as an aging shortstop; clearly they will. But how far over they are willing to go and for how long is why the negotiations are being dragged out.

Anyone paying attention to all of this can assume that Jeter wants a six-year contract, which the Yankees are against. Six years keeps him in pinstripes 'til age 42, the same age Alex Rodriguez will be at the end of his contract. What's important to note here is that A-Rod will get no less than $27.5 million per for the life of his contract no matter his decline. The Yankees are reportedly looking at no more than three years at $15 million for Jeter. What's at risk here is sending a message to the "face of the organization" that the "bad boy" is of more value to the team than he is. Sherman attempts to back up the Yankees buckling to the "A-Rod mystique" during his contract negotiations, by reminding us that "the emotional Hank Steinbrenner was very involved then and is not now. Plus, Hal Steinbrenner still had his training wheels on as far as replacing his father, George, as the day-to-day decision maker. Hal is more seasoned now, and projects a bean-counter coolness even in dealing with the face of the franchise in Jeter."

Stenbrenner Boys
That all sounds feasible, but still, the Yankees know that they backed themselves into a corner when they sealed the deal on A-Rod's contract. We'll never know for sure, but I can't imagine that Cashman, at some point, didn't realize that this might come back to bite him and the Steinbrenner boys in the butt. If they do decide to play hardball, it gives Close leverage to argue that the team was clearly willing to give A-Rod a big contract based on his past, so why not do the same for the man who pretty much fills the seats at the stadium for all 81 games every year. On the flip side of this, Jeter risks looking like a guy who is more concerned with not being out-shined by A-Rod, than the guy who is supposed to be all about what is best for the team. This is why many believe that the deal will get done, as both sides stand to lose a bit of credibility if this all falls through.

But the question is: When? How much longer will it really take to bring back the man that "owns" New York? I don't think anyone envisioned that Jeter's negotiations would be this dramatic or this drawn out. This is why we fanatics have to always keep in mind that baseball is a business and at some point, even the icons' worth will be re-evaluated in the game of dollars and sense.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Gotta Go To Mo: Wood vs Chamberlain

As the hot stove begins to heat up, I thought it would be a good time to take a look at one of the storylines that is not getting much play thus far: the ever-essential bridge to Mariano Rivera.

To date, Mo still awaits his turn at the free-agent negotiating table as he and his agent have not yet notified the Yankees as to how many years he wants on his next contract. Most of what's been written in the blogosphere is that it will either be a one or two-year deal. Sounds about right considering Mo's age (he'll be 41 November 29), although, he hasn't shown much sign of slowing down. As I previously posted in What's Been Going On This Week, I don't think that Mo will make a big stink if the Yankees decide to give him a one-year deal; his "Yankee heart" may want more years, but his common sense will think better of it.

But Mo will surely be back, and so, what may probably be the more divisive backstory involving the closer is who'll pitch the 8th inning. The smart answer would be either Kerry Wood or Joba Chamberlain.

So who makes more sense? First of all, Kerry Wood is at present a free-agent also, so if the Yankees want to bring him back, they'll have to compete with all the other teams that are looking for a solid closer, which is what Wood is reportedly seeking to become. By compete, we know that means the Yankees will have to show Wood the money, and we know that the Yankees can do that better than any other team. At the right price, he may be willing to be the bridge to Mo.

Wood had a fantastic run with the Yankees in 2010 posting a 2-0 record in 24 game appearances, and a .069 ERA by allowing only two earned runs in 26 innings pitched. He had a great postseason as well, earning a .167 ERA with two holds for both games 1 and 2 of the ALDS. Wood is a seasoned vet, having been in the league since his rookie season in 1998 with the Chicago Cubs; he remained viable following Tommy John surgery in 1999. For his career, he has a 3.65 ERA with a WHIP of 1.26.

Then there's Joba, who some, but not many, believe the Yankees may want to use if they are not willing to pay Wood upwards of the $10 million he earned in 2010. In 73 games this year, Joba amassed a 4.40 ERA with a WHIP of 1.30. He had a better season statistically this year from last year by default, having only pitched as a reliever with fewer innings; his earned run totals dropped from 83 in '09 to 35 in '10, and he allowed 96 fewer hits this year. His career numbers post a 3.77 ERA with a WHIP of 1.36

Although Joba's numbers are far from terrible, what makes him a concern is the obvious drop in his velocity. According to fangraphs.com, the velocity on Joba's fastball--his best pitch--dropped from around 97 mph in 2007 to approx. 93 in 2010. So? Good hitters can nail almost anything over the plate at 95 or less. On YES Network's Hot Stove report yesterday, Fox sportswriter Bob Klapisch noted that Joba no longer possesses a "blow away" fastball and opposing players aren't "uncomfortable" anymore when he's on the mound. In essence, Joba  is not a sure bet to put hitters away.

All-in-all, the big guy is certainly no pitcher to cough at, and is as tough as they come when he's on his A-game, but the uncertainty of his prowess has caused many to grow impatient.

You gotta believe that the Yankees will do what they have to to try and secure Wood for 2011; his experience, maturity and proven mettle in the New York pressure cooker, make him the wiser option. I say try only because if Wood is adamant on closing, that might be the deal breaker. Klapisch mentions that in this scenario, the Yankees may have to promise Wood the closer role on Mo's exit, but there's no way of knowing when that will happen as Mo continues to defy the law of aging athletes.

Stay tuned...

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Monday, November 15, 2010

Yankees Ticket Information for 2011

The official announcement from yankees.com is below.

The Yankees announced ticket information for the 2011 regular season on Monday.

Specials for this season include: E-Saver Games, $5 Games, Tuesday Night Games Ticket Special, Family Games, Senior Citizen Games, Student Games, Youth Games and Military Personnel Ticket Special. Fans can also take advantage of the Mo-Saver ticket booth at the Modell's Sporting Goods store in Times Square to save up to 50 percent off face value.

Individual game tickets range from $5 (in the bleacher section) to $325 on game day (Field Level, Rows 12-30, Sections 116-124).

New York will play 13 of its first 16 games and 20 of its first 28 at home, including Opening Day on March 31 against the Tigers. Yankee Stadium will host Interleague games against the Mets (May 20-22), Rockies (June 24-26) and Brewers (June 28-30). The Yankees' final five home games of the season will come against the division-rival Rays (Sept. 20-21) and Red Sox (Sept. 23-25).

The Yankees have led the American League in home attendance for eight straight seasons and drew 3,765,807 last year (an average of 46,491 a game).

A complete list of ticket specials can be found at yankees.com/ticketspecials, or by calling 212-YANKEES (926-5337) or e-mailing tickets@yankees.com (or groups@yankees.com for groups of 20 or more). Specials are subject to availability, and all offers are subject to change.

Some Yankees ticket prices for 2011 have gone up. The breakdown is as follows:
  • Best field-level seats will rise from $250 to $260
  • Outfield seats at $100 rise to $110; $75 seats rise to $80
  • Bleacher seats that were $12 are now $15; $5 bleacher seats remain unchanged
  • Main-level seating at $100 also rise to $110; all other main-level seats will go up $5
Here is a comprehensive look at prices and seating

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

MLB GM Meetings Start Tomorrow

Time to warm up the hot stove.

The GM Meetings officially begin in the backdrop of Disney World tomorrow, and will last 'til Thursday. Tomorrow will be exclusive to the 30 GMs who will talk possible trades and free agent signings. Wednesday, they will meet with Commissioner Bud Selig, and then attend the joint Owners' Meetings on Thursday. All of this is an overture to the Winter Meetings which are scheduled for Dec. 6-9.

The set-up of this year's meetings are slightly different, as GMs normally meet the week after the World Series concludes, with assistants in tow. The change this year comes via Selig's request to have only the general managers involved in the Owners' Meetings to primarily discuss the Collective Bargaining Agreement which expires in 2011.

What does this mean for us Bomber fanatics who are itching for the slightest bit of exciting news on the acquisition front? It means we'll have to wait a bit longer, probably during the Winter Meetings, for any juicy deals or what not to go down. So, don't expect any major announcements from Cashman when he returns; there will be no deals or agreements made. The most we'll probably hear is a general statement of how the meetings were "good" and that there are a lot of players available that the Yankees may want to "look at", blah, blah, blah.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Sunday, November 14, 2010

It Is High, It Is Far, It Is...Almost Over?

The beauty of being a Yankees fan is that you get to enjoy watching the greatest team in the history of sports play. We fanatics are spoiled by great plays, big hits, comeback wins, and for us females, a roster of men that are very easy on the eye.

What many of us tend to take for granted are the voices that call the games; the broadcasters who we depend on for analysis, stats, interesting info, quips and rousing signature calls. They make the games worth watching or listening to. Don't believe it? Think of the odd feeling you may have while watching a Yankees playoff game. Even during a home game in the playoffs, the feel of it is not the same because the voices you're accustomed to listening to are different. You'd much rather hear Michael Kay and Ken Singleton call the game than Joe Buck and Tim McCarver, right?

The Yankees contract with WCBS radio expires after the 2011 season. It is possible that the Yankees may look to move their radio broadcast of games to another station, which could also mean losing their on-air talent, i.e. John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman.

There have been no discussions on this from either side of the issue, but it is something to think about. Baseball is a business, and if Yankees brass believes that a move will be in their best interest, it will happen.

Imagine if you are a listener of Sterling and Waldman, not hearing their voices on the radio anymore. No more of Sterling's, "The Yankees Win. Theeeee Yankees Winnnnn!!" No more of Waldman's, "Oh my Goodness Gracious!" moments. While some fanatics might consider these obnoxious at times and a bit overkill, they'd also probably admit that the broadcasts would lose their luster and the familiarity of those voices that listeners are used to.

Sterling and Waldman are part of the Yankee family. Hopefully, they won't be going anywhere, anytime soon.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Saturday, November 13, 2010

What Will Andy Pettitte Do?

Andy Pettitte is still uncertain as to whether or not he will retire before the start of the 2011 season. What he is certain of, however, is that he will only pitch for the Yankees.

"At this point in my career, it'll be New York or it will be nowhere, for sure," Andy said on Houston TV station KHOU. "[I] just feel like I've done too many...special things up there with that group of guys, not to finish it up there."

What continues to make the decision to come back a difficult one for Pettitte are his children. He has three sons and wants to be around more to raise them as they're getting older. Traveling from city-to-city for six months a year makes that difficult.

"I just feel like I have a big responsibility here. I have three boys. I feel like ...we're getting to that point where it's the crucial ages of their lives that I need to be around a little bit more."

If Pettitte does decide to come back for 2011, it will be his final season.

"If...I play one more year, that would be it," Pettitte said. "It would be one more year and that would be it." 

Assuming he returns and the Yankees win the Cliff Lee sweepstakes, the rotation would probably look like this:

CC Sabathia
Cliff Lee
Phil Hughes
Andy Pettitte
AJ Burnett

Pettitte's retirement in this instance would either force the Yankees to pursue another free agent pitcher or possibly slide Dustin Moseley or Ivan Nova into the 5th spot, moving Burnett up one to 4th.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Friday, November 12, 2010

Cano Wins Second Silver Slugger Award

Robinson Cano was awarded his second Silver Slugger award yesterday, after a tremendous offensive season. He was by far the best offensive second baseman in the American League in 2010.

Cano is steadily establishing himself as one of the elite players in the major leagues. He won his first Gold Glove award this past Tuesday, and is still in the running to win his first AL MVP award in which the winner will be announced November 23rd. Cano's numbers for the year rank him as one of the top ten players in all the major categories. He batted .319 (5th) with 29 homers (t-9th) and 109 RBIs (7th). His slugging percentage was .534 (7th) and his OPS was .914 (6th).

Although the Yankees again dominated the AL standings for the majority of the regular season, many of the big names in their lineup (Jeter, Teixeira, Rodriguez) struggled offensively throughout, posting batting averages of .270 or lower. Cano remained consistent and carried the team on his shoulders. He fit perfectly in to the 5th slot of the lineup, proving that he could protect A-Rod in 4th.

"Everybody in the league would want to have a guy like that on their team," Curtis Granderson recently said of Cano. "He's got one of the most dangerous bats in the game."

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Thursday, November 11, 2010

What's Been Going On This Week

Okay, fanatics. Before my And the Award Goes To...post, I'd been absent for a week trying to troubleshoot some Blogger issues. I'm back now and ready to discuss some of the more notable topics that have been reported in my absence. It's been a very interesting week with free agent chases, "Core Four" contract renewal talk, DH predictions, etc., etc. So let's just jump right on in.

The Chase for Cliff Lee Begins

No surprise here. Yesterday, Yankees GM Brian Cashman, flew to Arkansas for a tete-a-tete with Cliff Lee and his agent, Darek Braunecker. While it is highly unlikely that a contract will be signed or an agreement will be made during this meeting, fanatics should be content that the Yankees are wasting no time in their pursuit for the league's most coveted free agent.

Cashman will have to go hard or go home in the Lee sweepstakes. The articles are out there about how "comfortable" Lee is in Texas because it's close to his home in Arkansas; how the Rangers' run in the playoffs may have convinced Lee that they are a team that can contend and so on and so on. The Yankees GM will also have to consider the other teams that will probably be vying for Lee: Boston Red Sox, who will be looking to lock in a third ace-caliber pitcher to compliment lefties, Josh Beckett and Jon Lester; Detroit Tigers who would surely make a serious run to top the AL Central with Lee and ace Justin Verlander headlining their rotation. The Angels may also be another team placing calls to Lee and his agent as they look to rebound from a nightmarish 2010 season. Notable National League teams include the Phillies, Dodgers and Nationals.

Realistically, however, the only two teams that will either have Lee in their rotation in 2011 are the Yankees or Rangers. Again, Lee does like playing in Texas, it's close to his home and he's noted that the Rangers look like a team that will contend "for years to come". Further, it's been reported that owner Chuck Greenberg has plenty of money in his arsenal to make a "more-than-competitive" offer for Lee. But the Yankees can offer more money than any other team. They are a given to make the playoffs every year. If it at all matters, Lee will gain rock star status in New York. And it can not be overstated, the value of Lee's friendship with CC Sabathia. Expect Cashman to highlight all these points in his pitch to Lee and his agent.

Re-Signing Jeter and Rivera

Let's be clear about this folks, Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera will be back in pinstripes next year. For the two most notable Yankees of their era, playing anywhere else would be blasphemous. With that said, however, re-signing both men won't be as easy as most fanatics probably thought it would be.

Mariono Rivera will probably be the easiest signing of the two. On the cusp of turning 41, Rivera knows the "contract game" of aging players and so, may accept a 1-year deal without much muss-or-fuss, but expect him and his agent to seek a 2-year deal. Not much has been written about what Mo may be seeking in terms of pay or what the Yankees are willing to lay out. Going year-to-year, Mariano could easily stay at $15 million per.

Derek Jeter, Derek Jeter, Derek Jeter. What can be said about the value of DJ to the Yankees organization? A whole lot.

He is the face of the franchise. His status as an iconic Yankee has been compared to Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle. He will become the first Yankee to reach 3,000 hits in his career, and he will accomplish this next year. Even after the down year he had in 2010, Jeter's production both offensively and defensively, in both regular and postseason play, put him in an elite class of players in Yankees history. Revenue earned from merchandise and memorabilia that bear Jeter's name and number, far surpass any other Yankee of his era.

Do the Yankees need Jeter? Absolutely. My prediction, like many others, is that Jeter will get about $20 million per. That's just about the right number to make a player of Jeter's caliber comfortable. Sure, there's talk of Jeter's production dwindling and that he will be "over-payed", but is $20 million even close to what he's really worth to the franchise overall? No way.

What may make this a long negotiation, however, is how long Jeter wants to play. Jeter may ask for six years. Sounds like too much when you consider he'd be playing until he's 42 years old, right? But remember, A-Rod is locked in until 2017 when he will also be 42 years old. The Yankees would certainly never want to impress upon Jeter and his agent that A-Rod is of more value to the franchise than he is. It will be interesting to follow Cashman's strategy if Jeter does seek six years.

Who's the DH?

According to reports and tweets by his wife Laura, Jorge Posada may have to relinquish his job as catcher to make way for Yankees' Triple-A superstar, Jesus Montero. As of yesterday, Posada became the second Yankee this offseason to have surgery on his knee to repair a "minor" torn meniscus; Sabathia's procedure was on October 29. Sources close to the situation cited Cashman as informing Jorge "that he should come in [to Spring training] preparing to catch, but they are going to give Montero a real shot." Jorge was also told to "prepare to DH a lot." 

Posada's stats for 2010 were .248/.357/.454. with 18 homers and 57 RBIs; considerably down from .285/.363/.522 with 22 homers and 81 RBIs in 2009. Since being rewarded with a $52 million, 4-year deal in 2007, he's caught less than half of games played thus far. Given his injuries, Joe Girardi's seemingly unwillingness to play him more than three games in a stretch, and his age--he's 39--it's not surprising that the Yankees have decided to make this move. Do keep in mind though, that Montero will still have to compete for the right to dominate play time during Spring Training, so perhaps Jorge can still make a case for himself for at least one more year. And, Francisco Cervelli, who again proved to be a viable backup catcher this season, won't be too far back in the rear-view mirror as the possible lead.

But what could the DH role really mean for Jorge? If there's any truth to the belief that the Yankees may consider moving Jeter to 3rd to hide his shortened range, and have A-Rod be the everyday DH to protect his hip for the rest of his tenure, it's possible that Jorge may face an uphill battle in renewing his contract for 2012. We shutter to believe that fanatics, but it happened to Bernie Williams, right?