Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Yanks Sign Bartolo Colon?

Oh boy. Is this really happening?

According to Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports, the Yankees have signed RHP Bartolo Colon to a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training. Joel Sherman of the Post tweets that if he makes the team, he'll earn $900,000.

Ok, I'll be the first to admit that when rumors of the Yankees interest in Colon came out in December, I completely dismissed them as nothing more than him trying to use the Yankees name as a means of building interest from other teams. I could not believe that the Yankees would have actual interest in Colon, who is but a mere fraction of the pitcher he used to be.

He hasn't pitched in the majors since 2009 of which he started in just 12 games and had a 3-6 record and 4.19 ERA with the White Sox. He won the CY Young in 2005, but completely imploded afterward, posting a winning record in just one of his next four seasons. Just recently in the Dominican Winter League, Colon failed miserably for team Leones del Escogido, having won none of his postseason starts. He posted an ERA close to 5.00 and had allowed 27 hits in 16 2/3 innings.

It's obvious that Andy Pettitte's "indecision" has left the Yankees completely vulnerable to themselves at this point. Colon? Has it really come to this? I was so looking forward to watching Spring Training. Now, I shutter at the image of Colon actually pitching in a Yankees uniform. It's just blasphemous.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ ra_cooper

Coney Is Back

Via this tweet from Joel Sherman of the NY Post, David Cone is returning to the YES booth for 25 games during 2011.

I was just having a conversation with Jerome Preisler of the YES Network last week via twitter on this, and we both agreed that of all the YES announcers, Coney was our favorite. What makes him so good is that he has a very laid-back, "conversational" approach to the game. Some other announcers, whom I won't mention, tend to be too analytical in their approach to calling games which makes for boring commentary.

Coney also has a great sense of humor and doesn't mind taking jabs at himself or Michael Kay for that matter. I'm really looking forward to him coming back. For you fanatics who may not have known, apparently, the network and Coney could not agree on terms of a new contract when his expired in 2009, and he wanted to spend more time with his family. It was also rumored that the the Players' Association wanted to give him an executive position which obviously didn't happen. Their loss is our gain.

Welcome back, Coney!

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Cashman Said...What?!

I'm a day behind on this one, but there was no way that I would let this story pass Bomber Boulevard without a retort.

Yesterday, Brian Cashman attended the WFAN Breakfast With a Champion annual sit-down with Mike Francesa, and shed some interesting light on his opinion of the future of Derek Jeter. There were also other comments that Cashman made, particularly that of Joba Chamberlain, which may end the endless debate over his future as a starter or reliever.

Mike Francesa has long been very open about his belief that Jeter will eventually be moved from SS to third, thereby moving Alex Rodriguez to DH. When he brought up Jeter possibly vacating SS to Cashman, the GM responded by saying that he would "be surprised" if Jeter remained at SS for the next four years; terming it a "Robert Yount situation," Cash sees Jeter moving to the outfield.

Okay, okay, okay. We fanatics and those around the blogosphere and some in the media, have speculated for a while now that Jeter will probably end his Yankee career at either third or the outfield because in either scenario, his failing range would be less exposed. So Cashman's opinion on this doesn't surprise me at all and I don't take offense to them. What bothers me, just a tad, is that the comment was made at all.

Did Cashman not learn anything from the Jeter negotiations about discretion? While I understand that he was posed a scenario by Francesa, did he really have to go into specifics about his opinion? Cashman did tell Francesa that "Jeter's our shortstop, period." Why couldn't that have been all he said? Even if he believed the opposite, why go there?

It was apparent at Jeter's press conference his disdain for the lack of discretion surrounding his negotiations with the Yankees on his new contract, do you think that Jeter is going to be OK with this latest "diarrhea-of-the-mouth" moment by his GM? I'd find it hard to believe that he would. A ballplayer of Jeter's caliber, whose held the same fielding position his entire career, can't be thrilled to hear his boss hypothesizing him being moved elsewhere. Cashman seems to be making it very obvious to everyone that he's "over" Jeter and what Jeter once was as an SS. Maybe I'm being a little too sensitive about this, but that's what it sounds like to me. And listen, if Cashman feels that way, so be it, but I find no necessity in having to voice it to a media and fan base that cling onto every word uttered in regards to the Yankees, particularly Jeter.

And, make no mistake, at Jeter's first meeting with the media in Spring Training camp, these comments will be brought up. Prepare yourselves for The Captain to lay down another "polite" zinger at his GM. As modest and humble as Jeter is, he's very sharp in his retorts to "negative" press.

And now, on to Joba Chamberlain. Cashman confirmed yesterday that Joba will remain in the bullpen because he has not been the same pitcher since he sustained a shoulder injury in Texas in 2008.

Wow. As I commented to my buddy Carlos in my Why Not Joba Chamberlain? post, an arm or mechanical problem that the team wasn't talking about, seemed the only logical explanation for why Joba wasn't being considered for a spot in the rotation. It was about time that someone actually came out and just said it, so that the speculation and debate over Joba since the signing of Rafael Soriano, could finally come to an end. You guys know which side I stood on on this issue, but I'm willing to concede my position, if for no other reason, what's best for Joba. I think he's been messed with enough already.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Rays Sign Damon and Ramirez

If this were, say, even 3 years ago, I might be a little intimidated and unnerved by this move.

According to this report from, the Rays have signed OFs Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez to 1-year contracts for $5.25 million and $2 million, respectively.

Wow. What has the baseball world come to when Johnny Damon earns more money than Manny Ramirez?

Besides the subject of pay, I'm assuming that the Rays may be looking to make Damon their everyday left-fielder or platoon him with rookie Desmond Jennings, who now will probably have to show his moxie in Spring Training. Manny will probably assume the role of everyday DH.

Both players still have life left in their bats. Damon hit for .271 and had an OPS of .756 in 145 games with the Tigers last season. Manny's .311 and .261 BAs with both the Dodgers and White Sox, respectively, combined for a .298 AVG. However, in the 24 games Manny played in Chicago, he only hit 1 homer with just 2 RBIs.

I would say that it could be just like old times for both players when the Rays play the Yankees at the stadium, but I'm almost certain that Damon will receive a far warmer reception than Manny will.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Andruw Jones Is A Yankee

Brian Costello of the NY Daily News, reported this morning that the Yankees finally came to an agreement with Andruw Jones for a 1-year deal worth $2 million. Jones is expected to be the back-up, 4th outfielder and will most likely get ABs at DH.

The Yankees had been chasing Jones for weeks, but the two sides were reported recently as having not been able to come to terms on money. For the past two seasons, playing with the Rangers and White Sox, Jones made only $500,000 with each team. His player value dropped tremendously after an unsuccessful season in 2008 with the Dodgers.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Greatest Hits: Nick Swisher

Ok, folks. Now, that the Soriano signing and all the "controversy" behind it is officially over, it's time to move on in the Greatest Hits segment. Next batter up: Nick Swisher.

Bringing Nick Swisher over to the Yankees in 2009 came with mixed reviews. He wasn't known as a great hitter, never having a season where he'd hit for for .300 or more, but fanatics knew that he was a solid defender, and when coverage of his first Spring Training with the team was broadcast, you could see right away how comfortable he was with his new teammates. You knew that he could be that "amped" presence that would bring some life to a "tight" clubhouse.

But his attitude is just a small part of what has made "Swish" a fan favorite in New York. He may not hit much for average--although he just had his best offensive season of his career, hitting .288--but he can definitely hit for power. Did you know that he averages 29 homers per season? That's a statistic that most people don't associate with Swish, but if you remember back in '09, before A-Rod came back to the team from his hip surgery, and while Texeira struggled his usual April struggles, Swish carried the team via the home run. But while homers are always a great part of any ballplayer's arsenal, Swish is also very good at catching balls in right field. And he's just so damn cute! Here, is Nick Swisher's Greatest Hits.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Girardi: Andy Is Working Out To Be In Baseball Shape

The old adage that "no news is good news" works in some cases, but it doesn't work here.

Here's what Brian Costello of the NY Post just recently tweeted:

"Joe Girardi spoke to Andy Pettitte last week. No decision, but Girardi confirms Pettitte is at least working out to be in baseball shape."

I said a few days ago that I was not going to create anymore posts based on Pettitte's non-decision, as the endless reports and blogs repeating the same thing over and over again have made me dizzy. But to know that Andy is indeed working out, is well worth posting on. Matter-of-fact, this is probably the most optimistic I've felt this entire offseason.

Although Costello was clear to note that no decision has been made by Pettitte yet, the implication is worth getting excited about. The fact that Andy is working out to be in "baseball shape" means that the competitiveness that normally rises to the surface as Spring Training nears, has arisen once again. It's had its Hawaiian vacation, had its time to relax and "just chill" and is now ready to make its annual appearance.

Am I too excited? Probably. There is still a chance that he will walk away and ride off into the Texas sunset, but my gut tells me that he will muster up enough of the Old Andy for just one more fling. Roger Clemens be damned!

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Soriano: Happy Yankees Have Confidence In Him

In a brief conference which ended a short while ago, the Yankees introduced set-up man, Rafael Soriano. He officially became a Yankee yesterday after results of his physical revealed he is in great health.

There wasn't much controversial back-and-forth between Soriano and the NY sports media, which was to be suspected since the only real controversy surrounding this acquisition seemed to be more about the Yankees front office squabbling over bringing Soriano aboard. I was sort of hoping that some reporter would dare ask Cashman, who was suspiciously brief in his introduction and quick to pass the mic to Girardi, his feelings of being overruled on this signing. Didn't happen, of course.

But one juicy tidbit, somewhat relative to Cashman's autonomy being ignored, was Soriano's confirmation that Mariano Rivera did indeed use his "power" to bring his new jedi aboard.

"Mariano is one of the ones who did something for me to sign with the Yankees," Soriano told Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York, who mentioned rumors of their relationship. "I'm going to learn a lot from him. He's one of the greatest closers and the communication between he and I is wonderful. We're going to do a lot of good for the team."

When this bit of information came to light over the weekend, many fanatics were somewhat unnerved by its implications. That no matter how great Mo is and no matter how great his legacy as a Yankee already is and will be, forever, no player should have the "power" to influence moves; that that should be left for management to decide. Well, my answer to that is, if you don't believe that Mariano should be allowed that kind of influence, you haven't really been paying attention to who he is in Yankees Universe. The phrase "a God" pretty much comes to mind. Even more so, Mariano knows good pitching and would never put his name on the line, I believe, if he didn't believe that Soriano was the best option, right now, for the team.

Soriano, like so many others given the opportunity to play for the Yankees, seemed humbled by his new home and was very thankful to be given a chance to prove himself on the big stage.

"[This is] one of the most important days of my career to represent this uniform," he opened with. "I feel very happy...that the Yankees have a lot of confidence that I become part of this team."

So, Soriano is officially a Yankee. Like this move or hate it, fanatics, there's no arguing that today, the team officially made their bullpen one of the best in baseball. Let the comments commence!

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Chamberlain , Hughes, Logan Agree to 1-Year Deals

Via Jon Heyman, on twitter, the Yankees signed starter Phil Hughes and relievers Joba Chamberlain and Boone Logan to 1-year deals in the millions, thus avoiding arbitration. Hughes was signed for $2.7 million while Joba and Logan both received $1.4 and $1.2 million, respectively.

This was the first time in their careers that Joba and Hughes were arbitration eligible. Both made under $500,000 in 2010, so each deal was a considerable raise. No surprise that Hughes walked away with the most "greenbacks," as the recent 18-game winning, All-Star season proved his capability as a top-of-the-rotation starter. He was lights out for the majority of last season, his first full year in the rotation. 

Joba's raise is likely to evoke many comments in the Yankees Universe. The Soriano signing has many people taking sides on what Joba's role should now be, as the Yankees insist on keeping him in the pen while many--myself included--think he should go back to the rotation. $1.4 million is a drop-in-the-bucket for the Yankees, but is significant a raise to at least assume that the Yankees still believe in his value. However, it's a typical amount for a bullpen reliever, so this could very well back up what the Yankees obviously think of Joba as a starter.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Yanks Closing In On Jones; Damon Still An Option

This came from a report this morning by Brian Costello of the NY Post:

"The Yankees and [Andruw] Jones continue to talk about the 33-year-old becoming the team's fourth outfielder. The sides remain apart on the contract terms right now, but a baseball source said the sides were moving closer."

The Yankees and Jones are reportedly stuck on the terms of an agreement as I'm sure Jones' agent, Scott Boras, wouldn't be doing his job if he weren't asking for more money than his client is actually worth. It's probable though that the Yankees will "step up" their talks with Jones, especially now that Marcus Thames has reached an agreement with the Dodgers, as per this article from the LA Times. With Thames definitely gone, the Yankees will need Jones to fill the 4th outfielder spot and back-up DH duties. If they can't get Jones, the Yankees are still said to be considering Johnny Damon for the position.

Damon is also being pursued by the Angels and Rays. The Angels are looking to fill the hole left by Hideki Matsui for DH/back-up left-fielder duties and the Rays are in need also of a DH and possible replacement for rookie left-fielder Desmond Jennings, in case he proves not ready for the big leagues. Both teams would offer Damon the regular playing time that he's looking for which would be a problem for the Yankees, as they can only use him part-time.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Monday, January 17, 2011

Ryan's Rhetoric Works for the Jets

Yes, Bomber Boulevard is a baseball blog devoted to the Yankees, but those of us from New York are big on supporting the other NY teams in other sports when they go big. On that note, I'm taking a mini-departure from Yankees news to congratulate the NY Jets on their 28-21 defeat of the New England Patriots last night. I would especially like to give congrats to coach Rex Ryan.

I will be the first to admit that I have not been a staunch fan of Ryan, as I take issue with coaches in any sport who trash talk, particularly when the talk is directed at other players. I find it unprofessional. But my fellow blogger The Captain, over at An A-Blog for A-Rod, wrote this interesting piece in response to ESPN's Andrew Marchand's assessment that Joe Girardi should coach more like the Jets Big Man. In the piece, The Captain points out that football is really a game of emotion and intensity and that the "rantings" of Ryan are actually a positive in terms of getting his players "riled" up to go hard.

I never saw it that way; I'm a child of the "Torre Era." In my own perception, managers or coaches should stay calm, show no heightened emotion, have a "quiet" confidence and focus only on their teams' own shortcomings to make improvements. I see this same Torre-like quality in Joe Girardi and it suits me as a fan.

But, as The Captain also pointed out, baseball managers have to be that way because their teams play everyday; it doesn't work in their favor to work up their players' emotions from one day to the next because with every game should come a new focus. Football players only play once a week, so they need to have that emotion and energy carry them through to the next game. Obviously it works because the Jets defense made Tom Brady look like a second-year quarterback last night. Ryan spoke openly of his want to shut down "brash" Brady who, in his mind is no Peyton Manning and the Jets responded. Trash talk can be a positive. I understand that a little more now.

Will I bill Ryan now as my favorite football coach ever? Not a chance. That honor goes to "The Tuna" Bill Parcells. But am I willing to maybe overlook Ryan's rhetoric as it has been a factor in catapulting the Jets to the upcoming AFC Championship? Absolutely. If the formula works, I'm all for it. Go Jets!

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Friday, January 14, 2011

Why Not Joba Chamberlain?

Saw this one coming from a mile away.

With the signing of Rafael Soriano, the question was raised today by several people on twitter as to what the Yankees were going to do with Joba Chamberlain. I was asked by's Andrew Marchand, whom I follow, if I agreed with his notion that the Yankees should make Joba a starter. My answer was yes, but I also added that if the Yankees weren't willing to make this move, that they should let him go. Apparently, that is exactly what the Yankees plan on doing.

According to this tweet by Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated, the Yankees would consider trading Joba for a viable starter. Right now, the back-end of the Yankees rotation is in dire straits with the 4 and 5-spot now belonging to Ivan Nova and Sergio Mitre. We know that the Yankees are desperate for starting pitching, especially with losing out on Cliff Lee and Andy Pettitte's return still up in the air. So I ask, why not put Joba back in the rotation?

I think the Yankees realize that they "messed up" on the Joba front and would view moving him back to the rotation as a concession. Their need for relief pitching back in 2007 caused them to use Joba in a role that he was admittedly stellar in, but was not "bred" for. During his minor-league career, Joba was a starter and the Yankees saw him as being a future starter. But relegating him to the pen, then putting him in the rotation in 2008 when he no longer had the innings under his belt to be prepared for the role, pushed back his progression. He struggled in '08 yet was still overall very good for a rookie starter, but the Yankees wanted instant results and that didn't happen. Compound what shortcomings Joba did have with the failures of teammates Ian Kennedy and Phil Hughes that year, and you almost felt as if Joba were shutdown for being "guilty by association." The Yankees lost faith in him, and convinced themselves that he could go back to his glory as a reliever. That never happened again, either.

So now, with the team having a chance to at least start the season off with less uncertainty by giving Joba another shot as a starter, they are opting to keep him in the pen. I can't for any logical reason understand why they would be more willing to take a chance on Mitre than Joba; perhaps they are still holding on to strong hope that Andy will return which would push Mitre out, but I'd still rather see Joba in the 5-spot than Ivan Nova.

Or maybe, the Yankees just believe that placing Joba back in the rotation may mess with his head, as my new twitter buddy Rich Stowe of MLB's Sports Nickel pointed out today, "Pitching is a mental thing - especially relief pitching." Perhaps the Yankees have no faith that Joba can make the mental "switch" from reliever to starter. If this is true, I'd argue that the decision makers of the "Joba rules" have only themselves to blame.

My reasoning for saying that if the Yankees don't make him a starter then they should trade him, is because I believe they owe it to him; let him have the chance to do what he's always wanted to do for a team that would benefit from his qualities as a viable starting pitcher and not waste him as a middle reliever. Joba possesses lights out "stuff." He should be dominating batters for 6-7 innings, not eating up innings in relief for a failing starter, which is all he would be used for now. It's really a shame but again, Yankees brass have only themselves to blame.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

The New-Look Robinson Cano?

Seriously, Robbie? Guess after winning your first Gold Glove, second Silver Slugger, coming in third in the MVP voting and being the Yankees best all-around player last season, you can do whateva the hell you want. Until the season begins, that is.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Yankees Close to Signing Soriano

For many of us,  bringing Rafael Soriano to the Bronx seemed like a no-brainer. Why not have the best closer in the majors last year be the set-up man for the best closer of all-time, and form a 1-2 punch to shut down games and give the Yankees their best chance to put other teams away?

For Brian Cashman, the logic hadn't been as simple as that. The question of money--which for the GM is always the question--and how much the Yankees would be willing to pay a reliever who commanded closer-type money, was as relevant a reason to back away from Soriano as as any. Still, the Yankees kept the "contact" with Soriano going; even amidst the unwavering rhetoric from Cashman who stood by his word not to give a would-be reliever a closer-type deal or give up the Yankees no. 1 draft pick. Twenty-four hours ago you would have been able to believe Cashman's words, but now, everything has changed.

As reported by Fox Sports this morning, a source told the Associated Press that the Yankees are indeed close to a deal with Soriano; a 3-year deal worth $35 million with an opt-out clause after one year. Nothing has been finalized yet, of course, as Soriano will have to pass a physical.

What does this mean for the Yankees? First, it eradicates the notion of a 'disappointing" offseason, as Soriano is one of the elite relievers in the majors. He saved 45 of 48 games last year, had an ERA of 1.73 and a SO/BB ration of 4.07.  Obviously, he was just as much the reason for the Rays taking back the Al East at the end of the season as any of their other star players.

Second, not only does Soriano provide some breathing room for the Yankees going into the 8th inning of games, he can also save games if Mariano needs rest. Fanatics may not have to experience that uneasiness of watching  Joba Chamberlain make his run from the bullpen to the mound in the 9th when a game is on the line. In addition, Soriano has the kind of "stuff" that would make him as dominating a set-up man as Phil Hughes was in 2009.
And finally, the Yankees could possibly have their future closer in tow, as there is no way to know right now what Mariano or the team may decide to do at the end of his contract in 2012. Barring any injuries or "pressure" in these next 3 years, Soriano could assume the role at the tender age of 34.

Of course not every aspect of the deal goes into the Yankees favor. The opt-out clause after one-year gives Soriano the option to bail if another team is willing to pay him more money to be their closer, leaving the Yankees with that hole in their bullpen again. You can probably thank Scott Boras for this part of the deal. I'm sure he reminded the Yankees that his star client was willing to give up being a closer to be their set-up man and it would behoove them to give him some breathing room in order to seal the deal. We all know that the market for Soriano closing at this point was thin, but when does logic ever stop Scott Boras?

All-in-all, I give a lot of credit to the Yankees for making this move. Besides preaching "patience," he also vowed to cut deals that made sense and this makes sense for the Yankees. There is still plenty of money available for the team to either make a mid-season trade for a starting pitcher or to pay Andy Pettitte a lucrative amount if he decides to come back.

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Pettitte-Gate: Andy Pettitte Reports "Misleading"

Andy hasn't waved good-bye just yet.
Before I go into the statement made by Brian Cashman yesterday, I want to make something clear to my readers who may be in panic mode right now do to misleading reports: Andy Pettitte has not made any decisions on whether he will return for 2011 or not. He remains undecided.

Now, here is the quote that Cashman made to the Daily News:

"[Andy Pettitte has] chosen at this stage at least not to start in 2011."

Cashman then retracted his statement, noting that instead of using the word "start," he should have said "pitch." Cashman further added:

"I don't think he's determined if he's officially finished or not, but he's chosen at this stage at least not to [pitch] in 2011. If that ever changes he'll call us. We're not going to hound him or bother him."

That last statement is a tricky one to decipher, and its language makes it understandable why at first glance, it sounds like Cashman is saying undoubtedly that Pettitte will not pitch in 2011. But if you read it--all of it--carefully, you'll see that this is just a reiteration of what's already been said and noted countless times: Andy Pettitte is still basically leaning towards not pitching. If he hasn't said that he will return, then saying that he's chosen not to "at this stage" is a reasonable statement, but it doesn't mean that he's not going to.

For the sake of any readers who have been privy to false reporting on this via news articles, the blogosphere or on twitter, I would encourage you to not take it all too seriously until you here anything that gives clear, absolute confirmation that Andy has indeed decided to call it quits. I think we can all agree that with so much riding on Andy's decision, every word written is being analyzed and, in many cases, over-analyzed to a fault; we're impatient in New York, and the closer it gets to Spring Training the more "antsy" we become. But we should try not to hit the panic button just yet.

I for one am a firm believer that whatever decision Andy makes, he will show the team and their fans the courtesy of making some form of announcement. There are some people who understand how what they do affects others and he is certainly that person, and I think that he knows how much it would mean to his team and his fans to just say either "I'm out" or "I'm back." Until a formal announcement is made, I'll hold out hope of seeing the greatest postseason pitcher ever, stare down batters from the mound for one more year.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Yanks In Pursuit of Andruw Jones

Guess the Yankees just can't get enough of sitting a cross the table from Scott Boras.

The Yankees are now said to be actively pursuing another of the shark-agent's clients, Andruw Jones.  Jones, who once stood among the best hitters in baseball during his 10-year run with the Atlanta Braves from 1997-2007, clearly has his best years behind him at this point. In the past two seasons, he's averaged only 63 hits, 45 RBIs and 18 homers, a far cry from his 154 hits, 128 RBIs and 51 homers back in 2005. As someone who the Yankees would use to occasionally pinch hit and be the DH, the dramatic and consistent drop in Jones' hitting from 5 years ago sends up a red flag. Throw into the mix that he's struck out 221 times in 789 at-bats during the last 3 years and you'd have enough to be at least a bit concerned about the Yankees making this move.

What Jones still does have in his arsenal is his defense. The 10-time Gold Glove winner can still play solid D in the outfield which is a plus for the Yankees who can platoon him with Gardner or Granderson, particularly when the team is facing a tough lefty, since Jones slugged .558 against lefties last year.

But as a fanatic, my concern with Jones is his attitude. There have been rumblings of his lackadaisical efforts since he signed with the Dodgers in 2008, a team who payed him to leave after less than a season of play (Note: Jones was placed on the 60-day DL following knee surgery that year). Still, when you think of his consistent success prior, it's begs to question why the Dodgers would refuse to at least allow Jones a chance to bounce back the next year, especially since they were paying him $36 million for 3 years. That's a definite red flag there.

What the Yankees may be hoping is that perhaps playing in New York and getting a feel for approaching the game the "Yankee way" will turn Jones around. One friend told me that if Jones comes to NY and does everything right and is embraced by his teammates and the fans, he could be Jorge Posada's heir apparent to the DH role if the Yankees choose not to re-sign Jorge after he becomes a free agent this year. That's a bit of a stretch in my opinion, but it is worth noting considering Jones is only 33 years old and can still hit for power.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Monday, January 10, 2011

Greatest Hits: Andy Pettitte

With Yankees Universe nervously anticipating "The Decision" of their most noted and celebrated southpaw, we continue the Greatest Hits segment with Andy Pettitte.

If there are any of you fanatics out there who don't buy into the "The Yankees need Andy Pettitte" creed, take a look at these playoff stats to understand why Andy is one of the best playoff pitchers in baseball and why the Yankees must retain him for 2011. Besides the playoffs, the 3-time All-Star boasts numbers that make him Hall of Fame worthy: a career 3.88 ERA in 489 games, 240 wins, 2,251 SOs, a 1.35 WHIP and a .635 win %. Not convinced? Check out this list of HOF pitchers and compare Andy's stats here to that of Whitey Ford.

And, let's not forget that he's had more wins in the postseason than any other pitcher in baseball history and is the winning-est pitcher this decade. Unfortunately, I was unable to find any downloadable video to illustrate Andy's greatness, but I do have this link of his greatest postseason pitching performances. This is only a sampling of how effective and gritty he truly is. Enjoy.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Friday, January 7, 2011

Still a No-Go: Yankees Not Interested in Soriano

According to this tweet from Buster Olney of ESPN, the Yankees are not interested in Rafael Soriano. Buster followed with another tweet confirming the Yankees refusal to pay would-be relievers closer-type money. Guess Brian Cashman is sticking to his "patience" motto.

What do you think? Should the Yankees re-enter talks with Soriano, as he truly is the best free-agent pitcher left on the market to fill their 40-man roster, or should they move on and wait for possible trades during the season?

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Pettitte-Gate: Yankees Willing to Pay Andy $12-$13 Million

Until he makes his decision, all news concerning Andy Pettitte will be referred to as Pettitte-Gate. Just thought it would be

So the latest is this: Jon Heyman tweeted last night that the Yankees are willing to pay Andy $12-$13 million for 2011. It's clear by this price that the Yankees are not only trying to lure Andy back, but they also realize the mistake they made with Andy's paltry $6 million contract for 2009. Andy proved during the playoffs and the WS that year that he is still one of the best on the big stage, and the Yankees realize that he is now their best chance to get back to the big stage this year.

Brian Costello of the NY Post, who visited Andy at his Deer Park, TX home last night, reported this morning that Andy remains undecided and is just "chilling out."

"I'm just chilling out, hanging," Andy said. "I'm relaxing. If I had something, y'all would know. If I knew exactly what I was doing, y'all would know."

In Heyman's tweet he compared Andy to Brett Favre, you know him, the superstar quarterback-turned-posterboy-for-sexual harassment, that played chicken with the media by announcing his retirement more than once only to come back each time. Andy hasn't done this, as his personality makes him a more stand-up kind of guy, but he has to know that he's driving Yankees Universe into a frenzy as he sorts out his priorities. Hopefully, this will all be over soon, and we fanatics can move on and have our biggest concern be getting through the upcoming weeks leading to Spring Training.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Change of Heart? Yankees Talking to Soriano

You knew that after losing out on the Cliff Lee sweepstakes, there would be many rumblings connecting the Yankees to the more viable pitchers left available, both starters and relievers. For weeks now, there has been talk of the Yankees possibly acquiring former Rays closer Rafael Soriano as the setup man for Mariano Rivera. The Yankees, however had maintained their position that they will not pay would-be relievers closer-type money which is what Soriano and his agent, Scott Boras, are looking for. They also said that they were not interested in the closer. Now, with Andy Pettitte still undecided about his return, the Yankees may be reconsidering their position.

Earlier, Jon Heyman tweeted that the Yankees are now talking to Rafael Soriano. This comes as multiple reports say that Soriano has expressed willingness to take the setup role. Furthermore, Boras made it clear that if Soriano were to take a setup role, it would be with the Yankees.

"I don't think there is a team in baseball where he could be asked to be a setup guy other than the Yankees," Boras told ESPN NY.

Acquiring Soriano would be a plus-plus in my opinion. Statistically, he was the best closer in baseball last year, saving 45 games in 48 chances; it wouldn't be difficult for him to transfer his success into a setup role. With Mariano possibly retiring after 2012, Soriano could become the closer, and he'll only be 33 years old. And, Soriano is just that good that if the Yankees are leading a game into the 8th inning, it could be over for the opposing team even before facing Mariano in the 9th.

My opinions aside, I can understand the Yankees hesitation in acquiring Soriano as they may want to keep as much money left in their arsenal for a possible starting pitcher trade mid-season, but with $170 million free, I don't see why they can't do both. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out in the coming weeks. Stay tuned...

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Yankees Sign Brian Schlitter

According to, the Yankees have acquired RHP Brian Schlitter off of waivers from the Chicago Cubs. The 25-year old spent most of his time in the Cubs' Triple-A affiliate team as a reliever.

The Yankees made this move, obviously, to fill up their 40-man roster with needed relievers, but I wouldn't expect to see Schlitter too often this season. In the majors, Schlitter has appeared in only seven games--all last season with the Cubs--and has a 0-1 record with a whopping 12.38 ERA. He's faired better in his minor-league career, posting a 3.32 ERA, but still has a losing record at 7-12.

The "pluses" to Schlitter's game are that he throws a 94 mph sinker-fastball and averages 8.7 strikeouts per 9 innings allowing less than a home run per game in the minors. But, all-in-all, his numbers are not admirable and he would probably be used as a middle reliever if the bullpen becomes overused at best.

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Cashman Not Expecting to Hear From Andy

This according to an article from Brian Costello of the NY Post, although multiple reports yesterday said Andy Pettitte is expected to announce his decision this week, Brian Cashman says that he is not expecting to hear from Andy:

"We've been moving forward as if he's not playing," Cashman told the Post. "He may tell us otherwise at some point, but, no, this week we're not expecting to hear anything from Andy. He's already given us the courtesy on several occasions of telling us don't count on him and he's not expecting to play. It's not official, but he didn't want to hold us up."

The article further notes that Cashman only expects to her from Andy if he decides to play:

"He might call and say, 'Hey, I want to play,' but I don't expect a call with him telling us, 'Hey, I'm not playing,' because he's kind of already told us don't count on me playing,"

As the days go on, the optimism around Yankees universe of Andy's return grow increasingly slim. Never before has Andy been this vocal to the organization about his leaning toward retirement, and never have officials in the organization and teammates been this pessimistic about his return. The only thing in all this that is certain, is that Andy has the team and the Bomber fanatics sitting on the edge of their seats yet again this offseason. This may well turn out to be one of the most disappointing offseasons that the Yankees have had in a very long time.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

It's Official: Feliciano Is a Yankee

The Yankees and Pedro Feliciano finalized their 2-year, $8 million deal yesterday, officially making the left-handed pitcher and former Met a Yankee. The deal also includes a $4.5 million option for 2013.

Feliciano joins Boone Logan as the lone lefties in the Yankees' bullpen.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Monday, January 3, 2011

Pettitte Decision Expected This Week

According to an article from ESPN's Wallace Matthews, the Yankees are expecting to hear a decision from Andy Pettitte this week on whether he will return to the team for 2011 or not. Andy and his family have just returned from vacation in Hawaii.

In the article, Wallace points out that there is an expectation by Yankees officials that Andy is still leaning towards retirement. The team does not want to make any player moves until they know what his decision is.

"Starter, reliever, a bat, it depends on what's out there,'' the Yankees official said. '"But we gotta know what Andy is gonna do first."

The amount of speculation on Andy's decision by fans and the media alike continue to grow while this all plays out. Reports of Andy's advice to Brian Cashman to not wait for him, the stalling of his offseason workout regimen and the belief that he may be seeking retribution for his dismal salary in 2009, have many certain that Andy will retire. Others, including myself, continue to hold out hope that he will return and legitimize the Yankees' rotation this year.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

A-Rod Keeping His Commitment to Steroid Prevention

Alex at press conference in Tampa following steroid admission
In February of 2009 after Alex Rodriguez admitted to steroid use while playing in Texas, he said that he would like to join the fight against steroid abuse. Since then, not much has been publicized about whether or not Alex had actually followed through on his commitment, and if you're like me, you may have wondered why he would make such a public statement and go back on it, knowing that the media and still some fans in New York would relish an opportunity to dog him.

What Alex has done is join the Taylor Hooton Foundation in their efforts to educate young athletes about the dangers of steroids. He began his relationship with the foundation that same February of 2009 and decided to play his part in the fight, discreetly.

"I've just made a point to do instead of talking about it," Alex told The Dallas Morning News during the ALCS against the Rangers. "It's all about Mr. Hooton and his enthusiasm. He lives this."

Don Hooton, the organization's founder and father of Taylor Hooton, who took his life in 2003 after falling into a depression from anabolic steroid use, reached out to the Yankees for Alex and was present at Spring Training camp in Tampa that February in '09 during Alex's now infamous press conference. Since then, Alex has participated in speaking engagements at high schools, fundraisers at the stadium and golf tournaments, all to raise money and awareness for steroid prevention. 

Since his steroid admission last year, Alex has been a model for the benefits of discretion. He's only spoken to the media about his play on the field and has refrained from anything that puts him in the spotlight. The formula is working, as Alex has gained the respect of many who wrote him off after his hip surgery last year. He continues to improve as a team player and hopefully his efforts with the Taylor Hooton Foundation will improve the lives of many young athletes who are tempted or feel pressured to use steroids. Kudos, Alex!

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper