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Yankees 2007 2008 Off Season

Welcome to the Bomber Banter 2007-2008 Off Season archive! Whew, that’s a mouthful!  Anyway, to make life more difficult, the following entries are posted backwards… meaning the first entry below is from the end of the off season and if you scroll to the bottom of the page, you’ll find the first entry from late fall of 2007, after the Yankees and Joe Torre parted ways.  This blogs were originally posted at my old MyTriState.us Yankees Blog and since they’re more than yesterday’s news, I thought I’d drop them all in one file for your nostalgic convenience.

Yankees set 25 man roster – Pettitte out till 2nd series, Karstens injured
New York Yankees pitcher Jeff Karstens has gone down with yet another injury – although the results of the MRI are not yet in, it sounds like no one has an optimistic appraisal of the situation. The front runner for the long relief spot in the Yankees bullpen, Karstens was ahead of Kei Igawa and Darell Rasner to make the Yankees opening day roster. (see that article here)
But things have changed since Thursday. Joe Girardi announced on Friday that Andy Pettitte would miss the first series against Toronto and be placed on the DL retroactively so he could still make an appearance the first time through the starting rotation on Saturday (April 5) against Tampa.
The Yankees also unveiled their 25 man roster, deciding that neither Igawa or Rasner were what they were looking for in a long man and decided to go without one. They ended up picking Brian Bruney, who we assume will fill the right handed middle relief spot, and Jonathan Albaladejo, who we assume will be sent back down when Pettitte rejoins the team. Check out the Yankees site here for a full list of cuts or view the 25 man roster here – OK, maybe not. There are more than 25 names there. We’re sure Sean Henn did not make the team – Billy Traber is the Yankees left handed specialist.

Yankees Shelly Duncan and Melky Cabrera suspended for incident with Rays
We found some video, we’ve got the articles – what more could you ask for? Something worthy of discussion and suspension? You bet your sweet backside!
So, here’s our tribute in links to a slow few weeks in sports: The Broken Wrist | Girardi is still mad | Girardi sides with Duncan | Suspensions
First off: if people don’t stop referring to this as a preseason brawl, we’re going start tattooing “I must not tell lies” on their hands. As far as we can tell, not a single punch was thrown, making it pretty hard to call it a brawl. Secondly, the suspensions seem like an overreaction. Consider: Francisco Cervelli got hit so hard his wrist was broken, but Akinori Iwamura got a little mark on his pants from Shelly Duncan’s slide – in fact, the blindsided hit Duncan took from Gomes was the hardest hit anyone got in that particular game. The bottom line is this: you aren’t witnessing the birth of a new rivalry. The Rays stink. If their new ownership doesn’t adopt a different business model, they’re always going to stink. Sure, these two teams might not like each other very much, but we don’t see it impacting this season’s standings very much.  [sorry – the video of Francisco Cervelli taking a big hit and his wrist being broken is hard to come by]  [sorry – this video was also deleted by YouTube]

Yankees win their first two spring training games.
Just a quick shout out for ya – the Yankees beat USF on April 29 and the Phillies on March 1st.

Yankees sign Morgan Ensberg to minor league deal
A crowded spring training just got more crowded as the New York Yankees sign Morgan Ensberg to a minor league deal as seen here. Now, the Yankees have a ton of first base options.
So now, it looks like there will be an all out battle for 1B – assuming Johnny Damon is manning LF and Hideki Matsui has the DH locked up – and we think those are both safe bets. Morgan Ensberg joins contenders Jason Giambi (if he plays the field, he’ll get hurt quickly), fan favorite Shelly Duncan (has he played much 1B in his life? no idea), Wilson Betemit (who comes out to his at bats to Pearl Jam’s “Better Man” – have to like that!) and Jason Lane, another former Astro. Is a little healthy competition good? Yes. Is having other options for when Giambi goes down injury good? Yes. Will this provide additional motivation for a young player like Shelly Duncan? We think so. Was this additional invitee necessary at a position where the Yankees already appear to have plenty of depth? Probably not. On the other hand, Ensberg knocks the bajeezits out of left handed pitching, and that was a Yankees collective weak spot last year. The article referenced above notes that Ensberg is the owner of a 284 average, with 35 homers and 95 RBIs in 560 career at-bats against left handed pitching – a stat any disgruntled 2007 Yankees fans have to like.

Check out Phil Hughes’ Blog
You can find it here. Today he posted his top 7 songs of the day… yeah, never heard of more than half of these… we must be getting old. Master of Puppets? Must be spending the off season with David Wells…

Pettitte admits to using HGH twice
We read an article on Yahoo! Sports that states that Pettitte says he used HGH to recover from an elbow injury. Our response to this is: so?
We don’t have any problem with this at all. If it was against the rules, then that’s a matter for Bug Selig, but otherwise, we don’t feel the need to say anything more than Pettitte was trying to get healthy so he could help his team; he wasn’t attempting to acquire bulk muscle and improve his fastball. and anyone who watches him pitch knows he gets by with guts and smarts. Is HGH unsafe? We have no idea. We don’t think it’s worth it for athletes to risk their health to help themselves and their careers, but clearly, many of them do think its worth it. On the other hand, nutritionists say eating fast food is a health risk not worth taking, so we Americans aren’t especially good at following doctor’s advice.

ARod apparently unhappy with Boras as revealed on 60 Minutes
The New York Post has an article up on their site that details some highlights from ARod’s 60 Minutes interview, in which he seemed to say that relations between himself and agent Scott Boras are strained.
See, always a mistake; picking Sunday Night Football over 60 minutes… Anyway, ARod seems pretty disenfranchised from his agent, so who knows how things between the two of them will proceed. Not that it matters; ARod’s contract is done and it’ll probably carry him through the rest of his career. And we wouldn’t put it passed Boras to tell ARod to blame everything on him so his client looks better, which helps his public appearance and that lends itself to more endorsement deals. But if ARod is stepping up and taking charge, we’re glad – Boras is annoying. But, many would argue, so is ARod.

Daily News’ Pettitte article annoys us
Don’t ask us why we let the tabloids annoy us, but we read an article in today’s NY Daily News and wow, this is really a great story. He played golf that day, huh? Journalistic dynamite. But seriously, there is no new information in this story. We’ve already heard the alleged infractions (although we didn’t know baseball had a rule banning human growth hormones) and all we really learned from this was that the Daily News had someone waiting at Pettitte’s house to try to get a quote and he didn’t give them one. We can see how someone would be annoyed if they followed Pettitte around all day and all they learned was that he took his kid to Sunday school and played golf, but that’s no reason to post this ridiculous article that restates things we already new.
But lets get down to it: the Mitchell Report alleges that Pettitte received an injection of human growth hormone (HGH) to aid with the speedy recovery of an elbow injury. We don’t know if that implies any health risks and if not, we don’t have a problem with that. We think a line must be drawn between those who are using substances to acquire bulk (which presumably will put more speed into a fastball and more power into a bat) and those who are trying to recover from an injury. There is a very real difference (in our minds) between someone who is using steroids to amp up their training program and someone who is injured and is trying to get back into the game faster. And since we are left with nothing but one man’s word (who allegedly changed his story after being threatened with jail time) and no other evidence, we can’t take too much stock in this report.

Yankees to sign LaTroy Hawkins
Our fear was that Vizciano was the latest name to be added to the Joe Torre wall of relief pitching destruction. (please see: Scott Procter, Paul Quantril, Mike Myers…) Vizciano seemed to suffer from shoulder issues toward the end of the year and that’s something that scares us, so we’re not too upset Vizciano declined salary arbitration.
We remember LaTroy Hawkins best from a few great years with the Twins and anyone who can keep their ERA under 3.50 in Colorado in over fifty innings of work is worth a shot. Besides, we think the Yankees have a lot of young talent to plug up the holes if this doesn’t work and it’s only a one year deal. And don’t forget, Kyle Farnsworth is still here. Maybe he’ll get it together.

Yankees close the door on Santana trade
Never say never, but it looks like the Yankees are walking away from a trade with the Twins for left handed starting pitcher Johan Santana. We wouldn’t be shocked if this still happened, but we think the Yankees are OK without him. On the other hand, he could end up with the Red Sox; image a three game series where you face Beckett, Santana and Schilling… a frightening prospect for any offense.
This would put a different spin on the Red Sox from an organizational perspective: spending $150 million on two starting pitchers is a bit out of character for them. And the Yankees are really in love with their young talent: they believe Chamberlin, Hughes and Kennedy are all legit front end rotation starters. With Chamberlin in the rotation, we count six starters (we had to use both hands), so we’re not sure how they’re going to work that out.

Yankees trade SP Tyler Clippard to Nats for RP Jonathan Albaladejo

It’s not a done deal yet (physicals pending), but the Yankees have begun work on that bullpen with a trade for Jonathan Albaladejo, a 21 year old hard throwing right hander that they figure will appear in middle relief. Check out the article here.
We don’t know who the lefty will be (there are some expensive free agents, but maybe they’ll use Igawa? That’s an expensive reliever…), but it seems as though the Yankees middle relief competition will feature the likes of Albaladejo, Jose Veras, Edwar Ramirez and Ross Ohlendorf.

Yankees set Santana deadline

With Andy Pettitte back in the fold and the Red Sox reportedly unreceptive to the Twins crazy requests, the Yankees have decided to get tough on the talks and impose a deadline of Monday, Dec 3. Check out the article at the NY Post here.
We like this move by the Yanks; the Twins are starting to get out of hand with their requests to both the Red Sox and the Yankees. They’ve reportedly countered the Yankees offer of Phil Hughes, Melky Cabrara and a mid level minor leaguer by adding that they replace the mid level minor leaguer with Ian Kennedy. Yes, they are serious. We know they have a new stadium opening (that’s not a dome; you guys are boneheads, by the way), but this is too much. Why not just pay Santana his money? If he leaves, the Twins all star closer is sure follow. The Twins say they are comfortable with not trading Santana and having him open their 2008 campaign, but we would guess that an unhappy player’s value goes down just a bit at the all star break, depending on how desperate the interested teams are. And by then, Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy could establish themselves, which would up their value and make a deal harder to make, or decrease their value if they pitch poorly, boding bad for the Yankees. In theory, we’ll flearn how this all plays out by tomorrow morning.

AP reports Andy Pettitte returning to Yankees for 2008

So guess who’s back? Pettitte is back. Back again. (We are actually scratching records while we post this.) Pettitte pitched very well for the Yankees in 2007, especially in tough spots, but he always has. Check out the article at the New York Post or check the Yankees official site here.
We love this for the Yankees. Pettitte is both a great leader and a clutch pitcher and should be a positive influence on the young pitchers and players on the team.

Yankees and Twins talk Santana

The idea of the Yankees picking up a true #1 starter is very exciting, but it’s not going to come cheap – the NY Post reports it’ll cost either Phil Hughes or Chien-Ming Wang and then some.
We think Sanata is the best pitcher in the game bar none. A lefty in Yankee Stadium is just what hte doctor ordered, not to mention a true #1 starter who throws hard and has a great slider and change up to go along with it. We think Santana would tip the balance of power in the AL East indisputably into the Yankees favor. Is he worth Wang? Yes – despite all those wins he piles up. Is he worth Hughes? Yes, probably – can’t really know for sure what Hughes is yet and if you still have Chamberlin and Kennedy, that sounds like enough young starters. Santana is not yet 29, after all. We think this is a deal that the Yankees need to do, and so do the Twins – Their meager $80 million dollar offer is not going to get it done. (Sheesh, never thought we’d see ‘$80 million’ and ‘meager’ in the same sentence.)
Check out the NY Post story here here.

ARod could up his deal by $30M

Arod, seen above demonstrating the size of the bag he’ll need to hold his money, could up his reportedly 10 year/$275M deal by another $30M if he reaches homerun milestones. Check out The MLB.com article here, or pick your media outlet here. Check out our Yankees page here.

Yankees 08 coaches: Guidry is out

In a move we find to be a bit over due, Ron Guidry’s contract was allowed to expire and he’s been replaced. The Joe Girardi led staff comprises of returning hitting coach Kevin Long and first-base coach Tony Pena. Dave Eiland has been promoted to pitching coach from the minor leagues, probably because of all the young pitching that has come up. Rob Thomson is the new bench coach, the third-base coach is Bobby Meacham and bullpen coach Mike Harkey round out the list. Read the full story here.

MVP Roundup: NYY’s ARod for the AL and Philly’s Jimmy Rollins for the NL

The locals have to be happy with our home town heroes selection to the MVP honors .SI did a great job covering these stories. We admit, Jimmy Rollins wasn’t on our radar for the MVP (we favored Colorado’s Matt Holiday) and SI was all over it. We were surprised ARod (who’s stats were so much better than anyones) didn’t win unanimously and its more than a little suspicious that the two first place votes came from the same town as the player that got them. Check out the ballot and the SI story here. SI, we love ya!

Mariano Rivera offered improved deal

UPDATED: The New York Post reports that Mariano Rivera is about to accept the 3 year, $45 million dollar offer. We’re breathing a sigh of relief!

UPDATED: We’ve been reading that Mo and the Yankees are apart on the terms for a contract. We’ve heard he wants the price upped to $50 million and we’ve also heard he wants a fourth year at the $15 million/year rate. We think the Yankees have to resign Mo and put Jaba Chamberlin in the rotation.

MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports that the Yankees have sent their free agent all star closer an improved deal of 3 years at $15 million/year and are awaiting his response. Rivera most likely became a free agent because his request to have an extension worked out this spring was denied, along with Jorge Posada (who is reportedly reached a deal, but no official word). Head on over to their site and check it out but all the papers and sports outlets are covering this story.

Andy Pettitte declines 1 year player option

Andy Pettitte has decided to decline his 1 year player option for the 2008 season, which was valued at $16 million. Pettitte is apparently unsure whether he will pitch next year or retire but he continues to say that he will only pitch for the Yankees. Check out more MLB veteran pitcher news (Madux’s 1 year deal, Schilling near deal with BoSox) on Yahoo! Sports.

Yankees pick up Bobby Abreu’s 1 year option for $16 million

With good numbers in 2007, Bobby Abreu has had his 1 year option picked up by the Yankees. We can’t see them trading him away as they did Sheffield last off season; who’d bat 3rd? Jeter? We think the outfield will remain as is and Melky could be the odd man out again, perhaps used as trade bate – we think the Yankees are comfortable with Damon as their lead off hitter and we can’t see anyone picking up Giambi’s final expensive year, so we think Giambi will be the DH.

Torre To Dodgers
UPDATED: Joe Torre is now, officially the new Manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Makes sense; Torre grew up a Giants fan, so its only natural he’d go on to managed the hated Yankees and Dodgers… yeah.
Still no official word, except that Grady Ltttle is done in Los Angeles. All signs point to Torre coming in and he could be bringing Don Mattingly, Lee Mazzilli, Larry Bowa and maybe Kevin Long, too. Some speculate this could be the begining of a masexudus from New York, but time will tell. We think this is unlikely and word has it that Andy Pettitte told Houston TV that if he pitches in 2008, its for the Yankees. We think the Yankees will resign Mariano River and Jorge Posada and pick up the option on Bobby Abreu. We are expecting them to bring in a high profile right handed power bat but are not yet prepared to speculate on this… Head over to Yahoo! Sports for more on the Torre story.

It’s Official: Girardi is Yankees New Skipper
Signing a deal that reportedly pays $6 million over 3 years, Joe Giradi becomes the first new Yankees manager in over a decade. The official announcement of the deal terms have not yet been made. We think Girardi is as good a choice as any and he’ll do fine. Check out Yahoo! Sports for more details.

Yankees Offer Girardi the Skipper Job Today?

Multiple sources are reporting that Joe Girardi could be offered the Yankees skipper job today. At least two sources (Sports Illustrated and Yahoo!) say Girardi is Brian Cashman’s first choice. Head over to Sports Illustrated for the story and check out the rumblings at the NJ.com Yankees Forum.
Updated: Confirmed That Offer Has Been Made
Head over to ESPN for the story. Still no word about Joe Torre being offered the Dodgers job. We here Mattingly will leave…

ARod Opts Out

He finally did it. We always knew he would; agent Scott Boras insists his clients take home top dollar and with the free agent market as it is now, Alex Rodriguez can get an amazing deal (we speculate $30 million/yr for at least 8 yrs) and his history has shown us that he follows the cash. Back in the proverbial day, ARod reportedly wanted to go the Mets but ended up with the Rangers. Why? 250 million reasons, some of which he’s now forfeited. But you wait, the 2007 AL MVP will get it all back, and then some. Oh, and notifying Brian Cashman by voice mail was classy. Head over to Yahoo! Sports or any other paper, everyone is covering this story.

Yankees’ Brass Makes Decision

While it has been reported that the Yankees’ Brass has reached a unanimous decision on who to offer the manager’s job to, they have not yet done so nor will they make an announcement until after the world series is over, which is in accordance with MLB rules about making big announcement during the World Series. So, there isn’t much of a story yet… besides Bug Selig’s office making sure the Yankees don’t steal any thunder from what’s turned into a boring World Series. We piked the Red Sox in 5, losing game 3. We’re right so far…

Goodbye, Joe – And Good Luck!

If you don’t want an employee on your staff anymore, fine. Handle it with some class. But the Yankees didn’t see it that way.
Yesterday, Joe Torre rejected a 1 year contract for $5 million and – get this – incentive bonuses for each round of the playoffs the Yankees reached. It seems obvious that incentives are provided for motivation and its easy to understand how someone could perceive that as an insult. And who would consider doing the same job they did previously for over 20% less? A pay cut has to be from a reflection on job performance, and, if it takes you two weeks to decide if you want to keep someone around, then, we think you probably don’t want that person there anymore. And as Yankees fans know, a 1 year deal gives Big George the right to fire you three weeks into into the season (ask Yogi and ask Yogi how long it took to forgive him). Torre would never have accepted this deal and neither would anyone else with any pride or self respect. And how could Torre expect the players to respect him when it’s clear that the Yankees brass doesn’t? In the past, George would accept the proverbial blood on his hands and fire someone, but the brass didn’t let it go down like that this time. Why? Now they look like corporate schmucks It’s clear from George’s September threat he didn’t want Torre anymore. Why not just say so and get it done already, like they used to?
So its now clear that the Yankees never wanted Torre back and spent those days discussing how they could get rid of a very popular member of their organization and make it appear as though they had made every effort to retain him. Well, we’re not that stupid – its transparent.
As for Torre, we think he handled it with class and moved through his press conference with his dignity in tact. We think Torre will manage again – the Mets may have Willie Randolph on a short leash, who knows. But we wish Joe Torre all the best and thank him for the outstanding job he did over twelve years with the Yankees.

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