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I’m home sick with a cold, sinus, and congestion. So while I’m sitting in bed blowing my nose every five minutes, I’ve been reading blogs and people’s tweets on Twitter. Here are some things for you all to read about this morning.
- The Winter Meetings in Indianapolis produced the busiest week of the Yankees’ offseason. They kicked it off by dealing reliever Brian Bruney to the Nationals in exchange for the first pick in the Rule 5 Draft.
- Early last week, we got word the Yanks were working on a three team trade to land Curtis Granderson. They agreed to a deal on Tuesday, sending Ian Kennedy, Austin Jackson, and Phil Coke elsewhere. Once the medicals were reviewed the deal was made official.
- On Wednesday, Andy Pettitte solidified the rotation by agreeing to a one year, $11.75M contract, though he may have rejected the team’s initial offer. The next day, the Yanks used the first pick in the Rule 5 Draft to select Dodgers outfielder Jamie Hoffmann, who will compete for a bench spot in Spring Training. Some thought the Yanks should have used the pick to take one of their own.
- The Granderson pickup allows the Yanks to put some pressure on Johnny Damon and Scott Boras. The two sides remain very far apart during negotiations, though they Yanks may offer two years at $10M each, which could close the gap. The Yanks have some competition for Hideki Matsui, and they also have the option of dealing a spare outfielder.
- The week concluded with Sergio Mitre, Chad Gaudin, and Melky Cabrera receiving contract offers for 2010, while Chien-Ming Wang was non-tendered. The writing had been on the wall for some time, and Wang rejected the team’s split-contract offer.
- The Yanks expressed interest in various free agent pitchers throughout the week, including Ben Sheets, Kelvim Escobar, and Ryota Igarashi, and of course they’re still in on Roy Halladay. They might not have room for another big contract, however.
- And finally, the front office wants to bring the entire coaching staff back.
The Yankees announced Tuesday that they are not going to offer arbitration to any of the potential free agents they have, meaning the players are free to sign with any club they want to and that club does not have to worry about giving the Yankees draft picks in return.
For the Yankees, it means that they can set and offer the contract prices they want to for those players and don’t have to rely on what an arbitrator might decide on. It appears the Yankees feel that this off-season’s free agent market will be the same as last year’s.
Last year, the free agent market did not pay well outside of high-caliber players such as CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, AJ Burnett, Derek Lowe and a few others. Instead, consistently good players were forced to sign for much lower than in previous years. For example, Bobby Abreu had to sign with the LA Angels for $5 Million, after a 3 year contract with the Phillies and Yankees that saw him earn $16 Million in his final year of his previous contract.
The Yankees have one Type-A free agent in Johnny Damon. Had the Yankees offered him arbitration and he signed with another team, they would have received a first or second round draft pick as compensation – but they also would hypothetically have to pay him higher then they might be planning to.
Xavier Nady, Jerry Hairston Jr, Erik Hinske, Andy Pettitte, Jose Molina and Hideki Matsui are all Type-B free agents, meaning the Yankees would have received supplemental round picks for each.
I do think the Yankees have made a smart decision here. Nostalgia and team pride makes you want the Yankee Brass to keep everyone together, but we all know this is a business and all 7 of those free agents are replaceable. If it was Derek Jeter in this situation, I’d go nuts about it. However, when the dust settles, I would like to see at least Matsui and Damon still on the team, at least for the next 1-2 seasons. I’d offer them both a 1 year contract with a team option for a second year that could become guaranteed based on plate appearances or some other performance measure.
AOL Fanhouse has published its list of the top free agents for this winter. Leading this list is none other than the Angel’s John Lackey, with Matt Holliday and Jason Bay rounding the top three.
For the Yankees, Pettitte is ranked #4, Johnny Damon is ranked #8 and Matsui is #17, one spot after Vlad Guerrero.
I’m gambling that the Yankees go after only Jason Bay. They’re going to save their cash for 2010 when there is a slew of free agents available.
Several items from the Yankees 27th Championship are on display now at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. Although mlb.com reports more memorabilia may be arriving in Cooperstown in a few weeks, there are quite a few things on display currently:
1.) Hideki Matsui’s Game 6 Bat – This bat was used to drive in a record-tying 6 runs to clinch the Yankees’ Championship and earn Matsui the MVP honors.
2.) Mariano Rivera’s Postseason Cap – Rivera was, in my opinion, the MVP of the Yankees postseason. Rivera had a 0.56 ERA and was 5 for 5 in save opportunities. He ended up preserving 5 of the Yankees 11 wins.
3.) Johnny Damon’s Cleats from Game 4 – The game turned in favor of the Yankees when Damon got on base and stole second and third on the same play. The Game 4 win gave the Bombers a 3-1 advantage in the series.
Plus, the HoF received several other notable items, including the catching masks of Jorge Posada and Jose Molina, Andy Pettitte’s World Series Cap, and the first ball to come out of play at Yankee Stadium, which was the first ball ever used in a World Series Game at the new stadium.
The Hall also received the scorecard used by WCBS announcer Suzyn Waldman – who became the first woman to broadcast a World Series game along with longtime Yankees play-by-play man John Sterling, and one of the bats used by Chase Utley, who tied Reggie Jackson with 5 home runs in one World Series.
I’m going to wait a few weeks for more stuff to arrive, but I am going to have to figure out a way to drag Chris up from Maryland and get up to the Hall. I’d love to see the new memorabilia and it’s been a long time since I’ve been to the Hall anyways…