Friday, December 19, 2003

Happy Arbitration Day! 

Today is the day that players offered arbitration on December 7 must decline or accept. Tomorrow is the day that non-arbitration eligible players must be offered contracts.

As far as the Yankees go, this effects Alfonso Soriano, Karim Garcia, David Dellucci (tomorrow's deadline) and Gabe White (today's). Reverse-split lefty Chris Hammond and regular-type lefties Ricardo Rincon and Arthur Rhodes are all Oakland A's now, so signing Gabe White has taken on an increased importance, as he's the best of what's left (which includes oldies Terry Mulholland, Jeff Fassero and Mark Guthrie, and not-goodies Graeme Lloyd, Ron Villone and Mike Myers).

Check out the rest of what's out there here.

Meanwhile, Dellucci has been drawing interest from the Mets and Rangers and perhaps others. He could be dealt for that back-up first baseman-type. Personally, I'd like to see Dellooch come back, even if Gary Sheffield just stole his number. He runs well, plays the field well, and has the best discipline of any of the Yankee bench hitters. His isolated discipline (OBP minus AVG) has been over .080 in each of the last two years, while no one else on the Yankee bench has been able to crack .057. That said, with Ruben Sierra resigned, Karim Garcia a righty-killer (.528 slugging over the past three years), and four outfielders in the starting line-up (Sheff, Godzilla, Bernie & Loft*cough* *HACK* *THHHPT*on, there's really not any room for a third outfielder on the bench. Just as well, Dellooch can't hit lefty pitching with a boat oar (.154/.210/.209 over the last three years).

posted by Cliff at 2:27 PM

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Hammond A's 

Get it? (just be glad I didn't try to work in the A's primary team color)

Anyway, Chris Hammond is now an Oakland Athletic. In return the Yankees got 23-year-old AA infielder J.T. Sotts (who hit .284 in 292 A-ball ABs and .307 in 176 AA ABs in 2003), and 21-year-old right-handed A-ball closer Eduardo Sierra, who posted a line of 60.1 IP, 46 H, 52 K, 24 BB, 2.09 ERA in 2003. Sierra will be added to the Yankees' 40-man roster.

Hammond was actually a very effective pitcher last year (2.86 ERA, 63 IP, 65 H, 45 K, 11 BB), but Joe Torre pulled his famous losing-faith bit on him (something I won't miss about the Joe Torre Era) and Hammond, who had complained mid-season about the short leash players are given by Yankee fans, was a goner. Basically, Hammond's fate was sealed on July 27 in Boston, as I described here.

While I have your attention, be sure to check out Jay Jaffe's magnificent post on the winter meetings. It's not only a great read, but there's some interesting information in there about Brian Cashman's relationship with the Boss, as well as the suggestion that the Yankees "let" Andy Pettitte go due to injury concerns.

posted by Cliff at 4:31 PM

Wednesday, December 17, 2003


Sorry I've been quiet lately. There are several reasons, most of which have to do with being very busy at work and in anticipation of the holidays. I've also been experiencing a little burn-out stemming from the Yankees' habit of making moves unofficially, which had led to a bunch of redundant "I hear the Sheffield deal is in question"/"I hear the Lofton deal is as good as done" posts. That, and the fact that it looks like we're out of surprises.

Anyway, I remain very busy, so here's a quick update:

Gary Sheffield is officially a New York Yankee. Press conference today at 2pm.

Kenny Lofton is as good as signed (heh) to a two-year deal (grrrr).

Chris Hammond will likely be traded to the A's to make room for Gabe White (or maybe Arthur Rhodes--Ricardo Rincon has resigned with Oakland).

Scott Spezio signed with the Mariners to play third base (good luck, M's). Tony Clark's name has popped up as a back-up firstbaseman (whatever).

Oh, there's also a rumor that the Yankees are still open to signing Rafael Palmeiro, despite the Lofton signing. Inking Raffy would put Bernie back in the field and make Lofton a fourth outfielder. I'm not against this idea, as I wrote a week ago: "My plan B [Tejada being plan A] would be to put Matsui in center, Bernie in left and a give a one-year deal to Rafael Palmeiro who could then alternate with Giambi between first and DH."

The Vazquez deal only became official yesterday, because the Expos were troubled by the results of Nick Johnson's physical (hmmmm). Can you believe it's been less than two weeks since this trade was made? Seems like it happened three months ago. The Yanks are hoping to sign Vazquez to an extension worth about $40 million over four years.

John Flaherty's deal was officially announced, but Gordon, Quantrill, and Cairo remain unannounced, while the Wells deal remains unconfirmed and/or unfinished, or final and unannounced (sigh).

Of course, the Kevin Brown deal became official over the weekend (with the Yankees reducing the cash part of the deal to $2.6 million to compensate for the luxury clauses in Brown's contract). Mark Feinsand got the minor leaguers right as per my last post.

In other news, Miguel Tejada signed with the Orioles, dashing my grand scheme of Tejada at short and Jeter in center against the cruel rocks of reality.

Mike Cameron signed with the Mets, clearly oblivious to the fact that playing in a pitchers' park doesn't bring out the best in his bat. This means centerfield and thirdbase will the largest coals fueling the Yankee Hot Stove next offseason.

Speaking of which, the Cameron and Tejada decisions totally stupefy me. If you're Miguel Tejada and you've been in the playoffs each of the last four years because you're on a team with great pitching, why would you sign with a fourth-place team with no pitching and no legitimate hopes of reaching the playoffs during the life of your contract? And as for Cameron, if playing in a pitchers' park has been depressing your offense, why would you sign to play in another pitchers' park with a much, much worse team than the one you left? I don't get it. For what it's worth, Cameron is from Georgia and Tejada is from the Dominican Republic.

What else? 2004 tickets go on sale tomorrow. As a renewing partial season ticket holder (for the first time!), I'm all set with my Sunday bleacher package and some choice seats behind home in the second row of the upper deck for one mid-week Yanks/Sox game. That should get me out to the park a sweet 16 times, though its interesting to note that the two Tier Box seats cost almost as much as the entire season of Sundays in the bleachers for one person (BOX SEATS SUCK!!!).

I'll be back with some actual insight and a few Brief Histories when things settle down a bit (soon I hope!). Meanwhile, if you haven't read Alex Belth's take on the Winter Meetings, you should. Also, the BRB got a mention in last Friday's Pinstriped Bible. For anyone who's wandered over here as a result of that, my argument about the left-handedness of the Yankee rotation can be found here.

Speaking of which, I had a dream involving Andy Pettitte last night. In it I was a young infielder for the Yankees (nice!) and was visiting Andy and his family in Houston. Just hanging out and witnessing first-hand why he decided to move closer to home. Every now and then I have dreams like this that provide closure on a relationship, real or imagined. I think it speaks volumes about Andy's importance to the Yankees over the last nine years that I had one about him.

posted by Cliff at 12:54 PM

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