The New York Yankees may have not gotten the big name starter, but they sure did get the big name reliever. The Yankees picked up Rafael Soriano from the Tampa Bay Rays and Pedro Feliciano from the Mets to work in the bullpen before Mariano Rivera. Feliciano signed with the Yankees for 2 years while Soriano signed for 3 years. The Yankees felt that they needed a setup man since Kerry Wood went back to the Cubs, and they felt that no one better than Soriano could compliment Rivera in the bullpen while they believed Feliciano could complement Boone Logan or David Robertson.
Meanwhile, the Yankees might not have their starting pitcher or starting left fielder for Spring Training since both of them are recovering from surgery. CC Sabathia is recovering from knee surgery that had to be done after the 2010 season and Brett Gardner is recovering from wrist surgery which was done December 7. Both of them might sit out until the start of the 2011 season which is March 31. No word on who will replace Sabathia and Gardner during Spring Training, which is probably why Cashman is interested in either resigning Johnny Damon or signing Andruw Jones.
Many Yankees fans were in shock Tuesday morning when they found out they lost the Cliff Lee Sweepstakes. They were even more in shock when they found out the Rangers didn’t win either. The Philadelphia Phillies came from behind to clinch Lee, adding power to their rotation. As of now, the Phillies have Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels. The Yankees only have CC Sabathia, A.J Burnett and Phil Hughes, which means the Yankees have to ask Pettite for his return for one last season.
After Plan A and Plan B flew out the window, Cashman revealed another Plan “B”: Patience. Many reasons were speculated as to why Cliff Lee decided to join the Phillies in the first place. Lee answered that he enjoyed his time there and was heartbroken when he was traded to the Mariners during the 2009 off-season. Cashman is known for keeping negotiations out in the open. An example would be dealing with “dirty laundry” when he attempted to resign Derek Jeter. The speculation of his contract was made known to the whole world, even non-baseball fans knew Cashman’s tricks. After the contract was discussed and inked, Jeter revealed he was angry of how his contract negotations went. Maybe one reason that Lee didn’t sign to New York was that he was afraid the same thing would happen to him after his contract expired.
Even though Cliff Lee had disappointed many baseball fans, he still did right by his family, making sure that he chose a place where they would be comfertable. Even though Cliff Lee took a lower amount from the Phillies; 5 years, 120 Million, he was a smart man for making the decision the way he did. Cliff Lee is one smart man, and this just proves that not all the money in the world can buy him.
The Rangers and the Nationals are also the front runners in getting Cliff Lee, but the Yankees 7 year contract might be enough to nip this in the bud and get Cliff Lee. If Cliff Lee decides not to join the Yankees, the Yankees might think of Plan “B+”: Trade one of their outfielders for a starting pitcher. The original Plan B was to snag Carl Crawford if Lee said no, but Crawford joined the Red Sox late Wednesday night. One of the outfielders that have teams in a frenzy is Brett Gardner, with his speed and his money friendly price range. Nick Swisher contains power and is in the last year of his 4 year Yankee contract while Curtis Granderson has the speed, the power but his contract is least impressive, since it deals with a lot of money. For Brian Cashman getting Cliff Lee is a major deal, because if he doesn’t then Plan “B+” will look messy, which he hadn’t thought out.
After Brian Cashman playing his game of chicken with Derek Jeter, they had crossed the t’s and dotted the i’s on Jeter’s contract. According to Cashman, Jeter’s deal will be worth $51 Million dollars for 3 years with a fourth year option of $8 Million. He can also earn $9 Million in incentives, but if he doesn’t pick up the incentives by his fourth year he is guarenteed $56 Million. The Jeter deals had been taking the spotlight away from the Cliff Lee deal for a while, when the Yankees first offered him $45 Million dollars for 3 years. Jeter’s agent on the other hand had a different price range in mind. Jeter’s agent wanted $90 Million for 3 years from Cashman, but Cashman refused to go so high, still with Cliff Lee and Plan B Carl Crawford to think about.
Jeter and Cashman had reached a deal on December 3rd, but had just finalized it over the weekend when Jeter went to get a physical at New York Presbyterian Hospital to complete the offer. The Captian is now guarenteed to being in Yankees pinstripes for the next 3 years with a fourth year if Jeter wants, which most of us believe he will. At least we know the Captian is on board his ship and doesn’t plan on handing over the controls to someone else anytime soon.
Every year, the Yankees empty out their lockers, wish each other luck, say their goodbyes and hope to see each other again in the off-season, but for Andy Pettite he may have emptied and closed his locker for the last time. According to reports from Brian Cashman, Andy Pettite was leaning towards retirement after he had contacted him recently. Understanding Pettite’s situation, Pettite claimed that he had found it difficult for him to go from New York to Texas during the off days that the Yankees had and earlier in the season claimed that he didn’t want to miss his sons go through High School and graduate. While Pettite has a lot to think about so does Brian Cashman. If Pettite decides to retire, Cashman will have to push for Cliff Lee during the Winter Meetings with still Carl Crawford as the Plan B just for back up.
Would you like to see Andy Pettite retire or come back for one more season in 2011? Post your comments in the box below.
Here may be another reason that Brian Cashman is comfortable with Brett Gardner in the Yankees house, the speedy left fielder earned an honor as top defensive left fielder in baseball. Gardner was the only Yankee given the award which isn’t separated from the league. Gardner earned six of 10 first place votes with the other four being for second place. It was just enough to beat out free agent Carl Crawford for the award.
Gardner led all the left fielders in 2010 with a 22.3 Ultimate Zone Rating. Gardner’s defense saved approximately 13 runs during the season.
Mark Teixeira finished the race in fourth in his position to winner Daric Barton (Oakland Athletics). Also nominated in that category for 1B was Albert Pujols (St. Louis Cardinals) and Ike Davis (New York Mets).
Robinson Cano only had four votes in the ballot in the top four while Derek Jeter never got a vote.
Here is the all-defensive team winners from both the American League and National League:
1B- Daric Barton (Oakland Athletics)
2B- Chase Utley (Philadelphia Phillies)
3B- Evan Longoria (Tampa Bay Rays)
SS- Troy Tulowitzki (Colorado Rockies)
LF- Brett Gardner (New York Yankees)
CF- Michael Bourn (Houston Astros)
RF- Ichiro Suzuki (Seattle Mariners)
C- Yaider Molina (St. Louis Cardinals)
P- Mark Buehrle (Chicago White Sox)
Joe Girardi is one happy Yankee this week when he and Brian Cashman reached a deal for 3 years into 2014 with 9 million dollars under his belt. Girardi’s contract was the first one to close a deal after the 2010 season is over. The 3 other main contracts that now need to be negotiated are Andy Pettite, Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter. Girardi acted as if his contract never expired when asked about the lineup for the Yankees in 2011 with him saying “There may be changes to the lineup.” (Hint: Derek Jeter may be moved down, Brett Gardner may move up).
Mariano Rivera is asking for 2 years for his contract which he hope will last him into 2013, not wanting another 1 year deal, Andy Pettite is still determining whether to return to baseball or to retire this season and Derek Jeter is hoping to extend his contract despite his poor season. Now that Joe Girardi has his contract, it’s now time to focus on 3/4 of the Core Four (Posada’s contract expires at the end of next year) and their contracts. Will Mariano get his 2 years, will Jeter prevent Gardner from getting the leadoff spot, and will Andy Pettite retire? These are all questions and more to find out soon.