Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Yankees Sign Matt Diaz to a MiLB Contract

The answer? Not quite.
The New York Yankees have agreed to a contract with right-handed hitting outfielder Matt Diaz, first reported by Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News.

Diaz, 35-years-old, comes to the Yankees after playing in just 51 games and undergoing thumb surgery in August for the Atlanta Braves. He agreed to a one-year minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training.

As the free-agent market for outfielders begins to dwindle, the Yankees could have made the move considering Scott Hairston may be demanding more money than they are willing to give and he prefers returning to the Mets in 2013.

Diaz has hit left-handed pitching well in his career, where 31 of his 45 career homeruns come off southpaw pitchers. But for the most part, he has not performed since 2010 with just over 350 at-bats in the last two years. The Yankees are providing him with a chance to showcase what he has left post-injury in Spring Training. There is no guarantee that he is the Yankees answer for their outfield conundrum.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Naughty Listed: Andruw Jones Arrested on Christmas

Andruw Jones' mugshot from the Sheriff's office.
Just weeks after signing a contract to play in Japan, former New York Yankees outfielder Andruw Jones was arrested and charged with battery on Christmas in Gwinnet County, Georgia. There are still very few details from the sheriff's department as to who was involved in the Jones altercation.

The story was first reported by the Capitol Avenue Club, around 3:50 a.m.

Jones was just outside of Atlanta, where he once played for the Braves from 1996 to 2007. In 2012, he hit .197 for the Yankees as he was used as an outfielder and designated hitter after the injury to Brett Gardner allowed for more playing time. After the Ichiro trade, he continued to struggle and was left off the Yankees' postseason roster.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Yankees Bid Adieu to Swisher and Ibanez

An Indian and a Mariner in 2013. That's a Blue Jay in catchers gear.
It may not be done in time for Christmas, but the Yankeeography on Raul Ibanez will be a short one as his time in the Bronx comes to an end after one year. The veteran outfielder provided Yankee fans with a few memories, but none greater than his game tying homerun in game three of the American League Division series, after pinch hitting for Alex Rodriguez. He would then go on to win the game with another homerun in the 12th inning.

Ibanez has agreed to a one year deal worth $2.5M to return to the Seattle Mariners. He returns to the team where he started his career in 1996.

Meanwhile, the Yankees continue their search for a right-handed outfielder on the trading block and free agent market. General manager Brian Cashman made it clear that is currently the team's priority and it may take a while.

Nick Swisher's bat is now off the board as he inks a four year deal with the Cleveland Indians. The Daily News' Mark Feinsand was the first to report the deal and also noted there is a fifth year option, which would allow Swisher to make $70M.

The Yankees were not considering resigning Swisher as they continue to focus on cutting their payroll for the future.

After Christmas, there will be articles posted on what we see as possibilities for the Yankees outfield...that is unless the front office does not have any Christmas surprises for us.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Yankees Add Infielder and Catcher to Team on Minor League Deals

Definitely smiling after getting rid of that hat. 
Joel Sherman of the New York Post was the first to report that the Yankees have signed infielder Gil Velazquez to a minor league deal. He only played in 19 Major League games in 2012 for the Miami Marlins, when he replaced Emilio Bonafacio on the disabled list. He also played for the Red Sox in 2008 and 2009. His chances of making the Major League roster for the Yankees are slim to none.

The Yankees also added catcher Bobby Wilson to add to their squad of Francisco Cervelli, Chris Stewart, and Austin Romine. He is coming from the team making headlines today as he hit .211 (same as Russell Martin, only with less at-bats) in 75 games for the Angels in 2012. In five years with the Angels, he has played in just 191 games.

Update: In other minor moves, Ramiro Pena will be headed to the Atlanta Braves on a one-year Major League contract. He has only made 40 plate appearances in the last two years and will most likely be on the Braves bench.

Update 2: Former Yankee reliever Chad Gaudin is headed to the San Francisco Giants. He pitched for the Marlins in 2012. He has been around in the Major Leagues since 2004 and will turn 30 in March.

Josh Hamilton Signs with the Angels; Impact on the Nick Swisher Market

No interlocking NY for Swisher in '13
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have added outfielder Josh Hamilton on a five year deal worth $125M and now the free agent market attention shifts to Nick Swisher as one of the top outfielder options.

Swisher said that he would make a decision on where to play after Hamilton picks his team, so it appears as if the Rangers would not move into the teams interested in Swisher to replace Hamilton. Among the other teams interested are the Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Phillies, Seattle Mariners, and Baltimore Orioles. The Yankees have turned their attention to bringing back Ichiro in 2013.

Cleveland Indians
The Indians are now aggressive in Swisher talks as they traded away Shin-Soo Choo to the Cincinnati Reds. They offered Shane Victorino a deal for 4-years worth $44M before he decided to sign with Boston. Swisher is asking for more money, but it could be for four years as well.

Philadelphia Phillies
The Phillies actually offered Ichiro a two-year deal worth $14M before he decided to return to the Bronx, according to Buster Olney. They're looking to rebuild their outfield after their trade for Ben Revere and were interested in Hamilton. Their attention right now should be split between Cody Ross and Swisher. The price tag on Ross is lower than that of Swisher.

Boston Red Sox
Even after signing Victorino, the Red Sox have stayed in contact with Swisher's agent. Their outfield seems to be set, unless they can find a team that would present a good trade for someone like Jacoby Ellsbury. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports sees that as unlikely.

Texas Rangers
There are still options on the market to replace Hamilton and the money is available to sign Swisher. They never offered Hamilton a five year deal, so they would most likely offer Swisher a four year deal. All in! This team has the best shot of landing the former Yankees slugger after whiffing on Zach Greinke and Hamilton.

Seattle Mariners
Mrs. Swisher aka Joanne Garcia loves the West Coast being an actress and the San Francisco Giants are out due to the price tag. The Rangers are expected to be more aggressive than the Mariners in the upcoming talks and offer a chance to join a team more likely to win in the short term. The Mariners need offense and this would be a start to go along with their Jason Bay signing (whom they hope to resurrect.)

In the end, he has options and plenty of time to make his decision.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Yankees Sign Kevin Youkilis

Still with a need to fill the hole at third base left by Alex Rodriguez, the New York Yankees extended a contract offer to former Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis. The deal is reportedly worth $12M for one year.

This all comes after the Yankees lost out on players like Eric Chavez and Jeff Keppinger at the the Winter Meetings. Brian Cashman left the meetings at noon on Thursday with very little to show for the time he spent there.

Youkilis made $12.5 million last year, but the Yankees' offer is on the table and he could take it. The Indians are making a push with former Red Sox manager Terry Francona being used as a ploy to maneuver him away from his interest in playing for a playoff contending team. The Mariners are also interested in the Greek infielder.

Youkilis has a Gold Glove to show for first base, but he did play 111 games at third base in 2012.
Update: Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports that the Yankees have agreed to a one-year deal with Youkilis. The deal is pending a physical. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Yankees Better Act Quick on Raul Ibanez; Seattle Pushing

In the last few days, the New York Yankees have been beaten out by several teams to sign a free agent to replace Alex Rodriguez. Some negotiations may have been serious while others were just considerations. One of the players that the Yankees lost out on was Eric Chavez as he signs with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

He was an option to bring back and platoon to fill in for Rodriguez's absence, but the Yankees did not act quick enough to top a $3M deal by Arizona.

The next 2012 Yankee that could decide to walk is Raul Ibanez. Sherman notes that the Mariners are considering him to platoon with newly signed outfielder Jason Bay. The New York Post baseball insider also noted that Ibanez has a home in Seattle that he will move to upon retirement.

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports that the Rangers are also interest in Ibanez and it appears that the Phillies may want to take part in a reunion with the slugger as well.

Ibanez was clutch for the Yankees in the playoffs and New York has him on their watch for a possible outfielder role next year. New York has not been aggressive in negotiations, while Seattle is making a push.

Chances are that by the end of the week Ibanez will not be wearing a new uniform, but one that he has donned in the past. That all depends on they way he looks at the past and if he chooses to wear the Mariners uniform that he wore from 1996 to 2000 and then again from 2005 to 2008.

Yankees Lose Third Base Candidates: Chavez to Arizona; Keppinger to Chicago

The End of An Era
Jon Heyman broke the news that the Chicago White Sox agreed to a deal with Jeff Keppinger. Moments later, he tweeted that third baseman Eric Chavez had agreed to a deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks. The New York Yankees had both players on their radar and now the search continues for a player to replace Alex Rodriguez for the beginning of the season.

Keppinger signed with the White Sox for three years worth $12M. Chavez inked his deal with Arizona just two days after informing the Yankees that he wanted to return for another year. His deal is for one year and worth $3M.

The Yankees now look to other options with Kevin Youkilis still on the market. He reportedly has several multi-year options on the table, but would listen to a one-year deal. The Yankees would probably not commit to him for more than 2013. New York also remains in the mix for Scott Hairston.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Rumor Round-Up: Yankees In on Yunel Escobar? Out on Stephen Drew?

With Alex Rodriguez out for a few months and the Winter Meetings going on in Nashville, expect the New York Yankees and Brian Cashman to be linked to several free-agents and trade candidates throughout the next few days.

Late last night, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweeted that the Yankees were among four teams that were expressing interest in Marlins shortstop Yunel Escobar. Buster Olney of ESPN reported that the team was not very involved in those talks.

Escobar has American League East playing experience from two and a half years with the Blue Jays, where he hit .272/.335/.373.

Olney also reports that the Yankees have no shot of signing free-agent Stephen Drew as a utility infielder or back-up player. He is on the market seeking a full-time job as a starter. Ian Stewart was tossed into consideration as an option by Tyler Kepner of the New York Times, who notes that the infielder is healthy.
The Boston Red Sox are a little hesitant on making a move to sign Nick Swisher now that they realize that they have to surrender a draft pick in order to do so. There appears to be no shot that Swisher returns to the Yankees in 2013 and he is testing the free-agent market, but could wait to sign until Josh Hamilton is off the market.
Jim Bowden of ESPN called the Yankees a dark horse in the Josh Hamilton negotiations. He's been the only one to really link the two together, especially since it would seem unlikely for New York to be able to sign him without abandoning their sub-$189M payroll plan.
Jerry Crasnick of ESPN tweeted that the Yankees, Red Sox, and Cubs were checking in on Shane Victorino. After the Angel Pagan and BJ Upton deals, he could have his head in the clouds as to how much money he can make this offseason. There are a few other National League teams with interest.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Options for the Yankees After A-Rod Injury

Alex Rodriguez not only leaves a hole in the Yankees lineup, but as well as in the diamond defensively. As Brian Cashman gets ready to answer hundreds of questions about what he plans on doing next about third base (even though there are other question marks), we start to explore how the Yankees can fill the hole for a few months.

Resign Eric Chavez
Adams' time to shine? (Photo by
This move is simple and should happen in the coming weeks. Chavez's agent said that his client has an interest in playing in 2013. He was just as injury prone in 2012 as he was in 2011, but he should manage to stay healthy for a few months. Plus, he can still hit right-handed pitchers well.

Enter David Adams
A platooning situation with Adamsand Chavez could hold up for the Rodriguez disabled list stint. If Corban Joseph's glove was better, he would be in consideration here as well. Adams could be worth the shot to see what he can put together for a few weeks. In two seasons at the Double-A level, Adams has hit .307/.387/.468.

Cashman spoke to reporters and said that Eduardo Nunez will not be a candidate for the third baseman job.

Trading for Chase Headley
This seems to be the option that most fans would like to see, because Headley would bring the power to the lineup immediately after a career year. The only problem is that the Yankees do not have the trading chips to get a trade done without dealing their best prospects in the low-A minor league level. The deal could have the Padres receiving a little more than they got in the Matt Latos deal.

Their financial plan of going sub-$189M in 2014 would get a lot tougher, if they chose to retain Headley for much longer than just the Rodriguez injury. His role would change significantly when Rodriguez returns. Under new ownership, the Padres could choose to re-sign him and build up.

Update: The Padres official announced that they will not be moving Headley this offseason. Joel Sherman reported the following from the Winter Meetings in Nashville. 

Moustakas as an option? (ESPN)
Kansas City Royals
The Royals could be trading partners for the Yankees, but it would require New York sending a prospect or two and a Major League ready player in exchange for someone like Mike Moustakas and then adding Jeff Francoeur, since they are looking to shed his contract. Again, trading for a player seems very unlikely for the Yankees to do with other concerns at the moment.

Brian Cashman has his hands full this winter with finding an outfielder, bullpen help, catcher and now a third baseman. An all-star player is not needed at every position. This provides a chance for the Yankees to finally give young guns like Adams a shot at proving themselves in the Majors. No need to panic over Rodriguez missing a few months.

Off-Season Quick Hits: Giambi, Napoli, Hall of Fame

- Catcher Mike Napoli and the Boston Red Sox have a deal in place, which would take another catching option away from the New York Yankees after losing Russell Martin to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The deal for the Red Sox is for three years and he could spend time as a first-baseman there.

- Former Yankees first baseman Jason Giambi was in the news this off-season as a managerial candidate for the Colorado Rockies. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports is reporting that he wants to play in 2013 and there are a few teams interested in his services.

- Former Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert has been elected to the Hall of Fame. He was with the team when they signed Babe Ruth and built Yankee Stadium.

Rodriguez To Miss the Start of 2012; Needs Second Hip Surgery

Defense and mobility could change for A-Rod (Daily News)
The New York Yankees will be without Alex Rodriguez for the first few months of the season after the New York Post reports that he will undergo hip surgery in January.

Rodriguez first reported discomfort in the playoffs and an MRI did not show any tear, since it was the right hip that was looked at. Today it came to light that he has been playing with a torn labrum in his left hip. He suffered a similar injury in 2009 and missed two months of action.

The expected recovery time for him is three to six months and the team hopes to have him back by mid-June or early July.

The Yankees have been quiet on the free-agent market, but could be pressured to make a move for an infielder as Derek Jeter could miss some time as well with his broken ankle. The focus right now is looking for a right-fielder as well as a catcher and bullpen depth.

There is still $113M owed to Rodriguez on his contract for five more years. The Yankees expect to go under the $189M payroll mark for the 2014 season, but it is looking like more of a burden to carry Rodriguez's contract for the long haul, if he can not be productive for the lineup.

One thing is certain, the team can not trade him now.


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