The Yankees are nearing an agreement on a 1-year deal worth approximately $5 Million with free agent 1B/DH Nick Johnson.
Johnson was coveted by the Yankees, Giants, and Mariners.
Johnson was a former Yankee that was traded away along with Randy Choate and Juan Rivera for Javier Vazquez back in 2003. The Yankees drafted Johnson in 1996.
Johnson, whose .426 OBP this year leads all free agents, was wanted by the Yankees mainly for the great On Base Percentage, the fact that he hits well against lefties, and the fact that he is a lefty-hitter himself. With Matsui gone and Damon probably leaving, this was the Yankees big chance to sign a lefty-hitter.
INSTANT ANALYSIS: Since it is a one-year deal, I like it. Even if Johnson is injury-prone, he still puts up good numbers when he plays. This move allows the Yankees to stick the Melky/Gardner combo in left.
-BIG trade today. The Phillies acquire Roy Halladay, the Mariners acquire Cliff Lee, and the Blue Jays acquire a boatload of prospects. Updates as they come.
INSTANT ANALYSIS: I don’t really think the Phillies are winners in the trade. Sure, Halladay is better than Lee but not by a landslide and the trade is essentially Cliff Lee and a few top prospects for Roy Halladay AND a 3 year $60M contract.
-Red Sox sign John Lackey to a 5 year $85 Million contract.
INSTANT ANALYSIS: I really am not just saying this because I am a Yankees fan, but I dislike this move in an enormous way for the Red Sox. 5 years for an injury-prone pitcher? More than Burnett? Sure, Lackey is a clutch pitcher but he should not be getting paid that much.
-Angels sign Hideki Matsui to a 1-Year deal.
INSTANT ANALYSIS: This came as a surprise to me. He is essentially the new Vlad Guerrero for the Angels. I like the move but it all depends on the amount he is getting paid. He will be missed in New York.
HOW ALL THIS HAS TO DO WITH THE YANKEES:
-Roy Halladay is out of the AL East!
-The Yankees have to deal with Lackey in the AL East, however, and also the fact that they do not have much leverage on free agent pitchers.
-The Yankees have much less leverage on Johnny Damon. Hideki Matsui was basically the second-option for the Yankees. He is now gone.
UPDATE: 6:50 PM: Do you know the answer to this? (Hint: do not look in comments or you will find the correct answer, 99% sure)
UPDATE: 9:55 PM: Hideki Matsui signed for a 1 year $6.5M deal. Mike Cameron signed with the Boston Red Sox.
The New York Yankees made a very surprising choice with the first pick of the Rule 5 Draft.
They chose Jamie Hoffmann of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Hoffmann, a former 8th round pick of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes, could make the club as a fourth outfielder. Hoffmann seemed to hit about 9-11 homeruns a year, with a solid batting average of .275+ and is known to have pretty good speed. He could steal up to 20 bases a year. Hoffmann is also known as a solid hitter against lefties and a great fielder.
Personally, I would have taken Kroenke now that Coke is gone, but I am not too upset with the selection.
Analysis: I find it very impressive that Yankees keep getting chosen in the draft. It says something about their minor-league system.
Jamie Hoffmann sticks with the Yankees and makes their regular season roster. He is returned in June when the Yankees trade for a veteran version of him.
Zach Kroenke does not make the Arizona Diamondbacks and is returned. He does have a clause where he can become a free agent, but he chooses to go back to the Yankees, as they promise him a spot on the 40-man roster.
Kanekoa Texeira makes the Seattle Mariners and sticks with them for the entire 2009 season.
We move from the topic of pitchers on to outfielders, which believe it or not, is still a team need. Mike Cameron, 36, is one of the best available outfielders not named Bay or Holliday.
You might be wondering why the Yanks need another outfielder even though they just got Curtis Granderson. Well, with Granderson, we now have four outfielders; Brett Gardner, Melky Cabrera, Nick Swisher and Granderson. Many people are anticipating the resigning of Johnny Damon. And with this, many people anticipate the trading of Nick Swisher. Which leaves us with a very good centerfielder, a decent corner outfielder in Cabrera, a fast outfielder who needs to improve his hitting, and an aging corner outfielder with no arm. Our minor league outfielders could be drafted away from us, as Shelley Duncan and John Rodriguez are expected to be drafted in the Rule 5. So we’re left with Colin Curtis, and newly signed Jon Weber and Eladio Moronta as our backups in case of injury/other needs.
Cameron has always hit for a low average and many strikeouts, but he is a perfect middle-bottom of the order hitter because of his power and speed. He hit just .250 last year but hit 25 home runs and 70 RBIs (and his home was Miller Park, typically a pitchers park). Though his speed has been decreasing over the years, he can still cover the outfield and still has a great arm, which would make his transition to a corner spot (most likely left because of said speed, and Melkys cannon for RF) much easier. He has 3 gold gloves under his belt, most recently in 2006.
Cameron would be a great fit in New York for several reasons. We know he can handle the New York media, as he spent 2004-05 with the Mets without any controversy (many remember him for his nasty collision with Carlos Beltran, breaking several bones in his face and causing him to miss the rest of the season). Second, he hits well against AL East teams for the most part in his career; 10 HR 26 RBI vs Boston, 3 HR 23 RBI vs Baltimore, 6 HR 27 RBI vs Toronto, and 5 HR 22 RBI vs Tampa Bay. Remember, his six full seasons in the AL were with Seattle and Chicago, who would face these teams a max of 10 times a year.
Scenarios with Cameron:
– Damon signed, Swisher traded for starter/reliever/minor leaguer. Cameron takes 6 or 7 spot in order and takes over RF/LF
– Damon not signed, Swisher stays- Cameron bats in front of Swisher because of speed and better clutch hitting; Swisher becomes everyday DH with ability to start in the OF when needed.
– Damon signed, Swisher kept- Cameron becomes everyday outfielder, Swisher and Damon must fight for DH job, one of the two rot on the bench, until Swisher/Cabrera traded before deadline
If the Yankees sign him, look for a 2-year, $17 MM deal.
Cameron has said that he wants to play for a team with a chance at the postseason, let’s see if the Yankees make a run at him.
The New York Yankees have acquired Curtis Granderson from the Detroit Tigers in a three-team trade.
Here’s the trade:
Yankees Receive: Curtis Granderson (Tigers)
Analysis: Love the move for the Yankees. The Yankees are essentially getting a better version of Jackson and giving up Ian Kennedy, who has been often injured but still has a bright future, and Phil Coke. Coke is not a necessary piece for the Yankees, of whom have Damaso Marte, Mike Dunn and Zach Kroenke.
-Jack Curry has left the NY Times.
-Peter Gammons has left ESPN.
-Ivan Rodriguez has signed with the Washington Nationals.
-The Mariners are “unlikely to get involved” in the Jason Bay sweepstakes.
UPDATE: 3:30 PM: Looks like each team got a fair amount in the trade. Jackson will most likely have a solid MLB career, as long as he can get some of his power back. Kennedy will likely be a 4th starter or 5th starter in the MLB if he can heal from his injuries. Coke will make a good lefty specialist for the Tigers.
As for Granderson, with the short porch in right field, he could hit up to 35 HR. Add about 20-25 SB and 70-80 RBIs, I’ll take it. If Jackson can hit better against lefties (.183 Batting Average, .239 Slugging, .245 On-Base) he can prove to be a nice acquisition.
Don’t forget Granderson hit .302 as recently as ’07 and hit .280 in ’08.
Prediction: Granderson hits .268 with 32 HR and 75 RBI in ’10.
“Hello Seattle, I am a mountaineer
In the hills and highlands
I fall asleep in hospital parking lots”
I don’t know if Chone Figgins falls asleep in parking lots but I do know Mr. Figgins is now a member of the Seattle Mariners. Figgins has signed a 4 year $36MM preliminary deal with Seattle. Not a huge change of scenery for Figgins, a new town, a new jersey, and a lesser club, but he will be playing the same opponents he always face with the Angels (except now he gets to verse his old club). In his career Figgins has hit over .290 and averages 48 SB per year and is a sparkplug to the Seattle lineup behind the biggest sparkplug in baseball, Ichiro. Figgins will be replacing Adrain Beltre, who posted five decent seasons in a Mariner uniform. Seattle is the 3rd organization Figgins will play for after spending about five years in the Rockies System, and all his time with the Angels. Im sure Angel fans will miss him greatly and he will get an overwhelming reception when he returns to Angel Stadium this coming season.
With Justin Duchscherer being reviewed with his mental problems, we turn to another high-risk, high-reward type pitcher in Erik Bedard. Yes, we all remember him as the guy who was traded from Baltimore to Seattle for soon-to-be All-Star Adam Jones and reliever George Sherrill, but obviously the trade didn’t go so well for the Mariners. Why you ask? Bedard started just 15 games in each of his two seasons in Seattle, going a combined 11-7 with a 3.24 ERA. In 2008, his season ended in June after tearing his labrum, an injury many doctors say a pitcher will never be able to return to true form from. The labrum is the joint that basically connects the arm to the shoulder and allows movement, so you can only imagine the pain. He had surgery in September and returned for Spring Training. In 2009, he left in June again after inflammation in the very same shoulder, and he missed the rest of the year. Note: He has been on the DL 6 times in the last 3 seasons.
photo from Getty Images
So, let us look back to the good old days when he was a strikeout machine. For the Orioles from 2004-2007 (and .2 innings in 2002) he went 40-34 (remember how below average the O’s have been this decade). A 3.94 ERA over that span; 658 innings, 639 strikeouts, including a team record 221 in 2007 (10.93 KPG) and walking just 254 [just over a 2.5-1 K-BB ratio]. He is a career 5-4 vs. Boston, 11-3 vs. Tampa Bay, but only 1-3 at Yankee Stadium as an opponent.
Now, seeing this, do we take the risk and go after the lefty? There’s a chance he could be a stud again, and there’s a chance he could get hurt again. Let’s face it..we need a starter for next year (more like two or three or four). Personally, I would rather go after someone like a Duchscherer, with Bedard next in line. Harden and Sheets (more Harden to me) are too great of risks to take, unless they remain free agents until late in the off-season. But if we want him, we better hurry, his drafter Baltimore is looking to sign him for some good money…