Thursday Morning Round-Up

Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman will meet in Tampa with the Steinbrenners and the front office to determine the financial parameters and other plans for the off-season before the start of the Winter Meetings Monday.

Joel Sherman rebounds from his bizarre, inane screed touting A-Rod for Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year with a decent if speculative piece on corner outfielders depending upon how negotiations with JD proceed.  The Yanks seem determined to sign him for a short-term deal rather than a long one, while Scott Boras has asserted that JD can play until he turns 71.  Hopefully they meet somewhere in between for a nice, two-year deal that gives the Yankees some flexibility for when they need to address Jeter’s and Mariano’s contracts.

In related news, the Yankees did not offer arbitration to Andy Pettite (hardly surprising), Hideki Matsui, and Johnny Damon, meaning they will not receive compensatory draft picks should they sign elsewhere this off-season.  I highly doubt that Pettite would leave for another team, and hopefully he will return.  I am hopeful the Yankees will re-sign Matsui and JD to nice but short-term deals, but admittedly have no idea what they will do regarding them.  I will say this: Yes, the Yankees need to fine-tune some things such as the rotation, while also deciding on what roles Joba and Hughes will have, what to do about LF and DH–all with eyes toward their future with finances and personnel; important stuff.  But fine-tune is the key.  The Yankees are not in a must-sign position after 2009 as they were after 2008, when they had not just lots of money coming off the payroll but also and concomitantly big holes in the rotation and at first to fill.  I will add that Matsui as DH and JD in left still have some juice to offer the offense, which by the way was the best in baseball in 2009.  The question to me, and surely many others, is at least as much if not more a matter of financial flexibility than personnel flexibility for the Yankees, with Sabathia, Burnett, Teixeira, and A-Rod signed to long-term deals, and others such as Jeter, Posada, and Mariano with but a year or two left on their own big contracts and bringing their own questions of what they might demand.  Clearly, these contacts affect not just whether or not to keep their own free agents but also whether or not to acquire other talented, available, but likely expensive players now–as we have discussed at length at The Heartland.  The Yankees are atop baseball’s figurative heap, not trying to get there.  The question at this point, with some question marks but far more positives, is how to stay there for the foreseeable future.

Ol’ Reliable, Tommy Henrich, passed away Tuesday at the age of 96.  A terrific outfielder, clutch hitter, and five-time all-star, Henrich’s exploits were well chronicled in David Halberstam’s classic Summer of ’49–clutch homers to win games, including his solo homer off the Dodgers’ Don Newcombe in the bottom of the ninth of Game 1 in the 1949 World Series to win it 1-0; precise, sure fielding, and mentoring younger players.  His career stats were very good–.282/.382, 183 HR, 795 RBI, led the AL in triples with 13 in 1947 and 14 in ’48.  Something else rarely touted with Henrich–he hardly struck out, never more than 63 times in a season (1946), and fanned 40 or fewer times in 7 of his 11 seasons.  Like so many other Yankee legends, he will be missed but not forgotten.

Published in: on December 3, 2009 at 9:36 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Tell you what the off season has started very slow only the Phillies have done anything. Times like this I miss Yankee Fan Club show there is nothing to listen to here other then the RAB podcast now.

  2. I know what you mean, Nick. The hot stove sure has been rather cold. In a way, that was not unexpected since the Yankees do not have a strong need to be major players as they were last year. They have options within and outside the organization to solve many if not all their needs. Hopefully things start to move after the brass meets today. I looked for a new podcast from RAB recently, but did not see one that came after Thanksgiving. I will look again.

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