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What Do You Do With Martin?

Arbitration figures are in and Russell Martin has asked for $8.2 million and the Yankees have offered $7 million. It seems like there would be common ground around $7.5 million or so, but should the Yankees try and lock him up for longer than that?

The case for doing so is obvious. Martin was was good as a Yankee. He was streaky with the bat, but solid on defense. Fangraphs had him at 3.1 wins above replacement, which ties him for 10th in MLB. He will turn 29 before the season starts, so his age is not a factor in the immediate future. And, with Montero in Seattle, the Yankees don’t have an obvious replacement in their system. Cervelli seems to be a backup at best and Romine should be allowed to get more than 15 AB’s at AAA.

But, he has been brittle in the past and while he hit 18 homers, his overall line of .237/.324/.408 isn’t something to get too excited about. Yes, his defense is very good, but will it be that much better than Romine’s could be in 2013? The Yankees could simply settle their arbitration case with him this year and then let him go to free agency after the season and make their decision then.

It seems to me that the best course of action is to try and lock Martin in for a two-year deal now. The Yankees could offer two years and $17 million or so. That keeps Martin off the 2014 payroll, but also allows Austin Romine a chance to break into the bigs slowly. Now that he is the catcher of the future, Romine should get a full season at AAA with a promotion to the bigs in September. The Yankees could move Cervelli next offseason, when he is arbitration eligible, and use Romine as Martin’s backup for one season like they did with Jorge and Girardi all those years ago.

The question is, would Martin accept that offer?

The Motown Miracle

Let’s get this out of the way. The last time AJ Burnett allowed only one earned run or less in a start was June 13th. So, yeah this was a miracle and please don’t expect it to happen again this postseason. That being said, thanks AJ.

There were a lot of positive things that happened tonight. From AJ’s pitching to the offense finally awakening. The Yankees won a game they had to have and now they head home and face another do-or-die game. You have to feel good right now as a Yankees’ fan, but there are plenty of pitfalls ahead. Can Nova pitch well in a pivotal game? Will the Yankees be able to hit Fister the second time around?

It’s great we have to worry about all of this. Much more tomorrow and Thursday, enjoy this one!

Yanks Add Garcia

Ken Rosenthal tweets that the Yankees have signed Freddy Garcia to a minor league deal. Garcia is an upgrade over Sergio Mitre in the fifth spot and if he can replicate his 2010 performance (4.64 ERA over 157 innings) in 2011 they would be thrilled.

An area of concern is the drop in his strikeout rate and the increase in his walk rate, but overall this is a solid move. Nothing really risked and a definite upgrade over the current alternatives for the rotation.

Now It Makes Some Sense

Here’s a little detail, via LoHud, that helps the Chan Ho Park signing make sense.  Both Mitre and Gaudin have non-guaranteed deals. So, the Yankees could release them from their contracts and not have to pay them.  That’s a big deal considering Gaudin is due almost $3 million and Mitre $1 million if they make the team.  

 

Hairston Gone

Jerry Hairston just signed a one-year/$2.15 million deal with the Padres. It’s not that shocking that the Yankees let him go, he just doesn’t have the bat to play the outfield and Ramiro Pena can do almost exactly the same things Hairston does.

His signing means that of the seven free agents the Yankees had at the end of 2009, four have found homes.  Hinske (Atl), Matsui (Ana) and Hairston (SD) all went elsewhere with Pettitte coming back to NY.  It leaves Nady, Damon and Molina still looking for a team to play on next year and we are less than a month from pitchers and catchers. 

Love It

I’m on vacation so this is being type on my cellphone. I think Cashman did a great job with today’s deal. Yes, we remember Vazquez from 2004 but he has consistently struck out 150 and won 10 games a year this decade. He will be asked to be the fourth starter and is a great bet to throw 200 innings. Losing Melky is not something I am upset about and Dunn is a raw talent who could be replaced by Logan. The prospect had a great year in Staten Island but is years away from the Bronx. The Yankees are built to win now and this gives them an excellent shot. Great move for 2010

It’s Done If The Medicals Check Out

The Yankees got Curtis Granderson who is a very good centerfielder and a very powerful lefty bat.  He is also only 28 years old and will be under team control through 2013 at reasonable money ($5.5 in 2010, $8.25 in 2011, $10 in 2012 and an option worth $13 in 2013)  Granderson had a bad, for him 2009, hitting .249/.327/.453 that is still a lot better than the AL average at center and if he comes close to his 2008 numbers- .280/.365/.494- the Yankees would be thrilled. He is also considered one of the best character guys in baseball.

By adding Granderson the Yankees just gave themselves a ton of options.  They can play hardball with Damon and let him walk, shifting Granderson to left and going with Melky/Gardner in center like 2009.  They can bring Damon back and put Granderson in center, giving them some chips to trade in Gardner or Melky. 

Everyone will focus on the loss of Austin Jackson and while Jackson is a tough player to give up let’s stop and think about him.  Does anyone think he would have turned into a better player than Granderson?  I don’t think so and when you consider that it makes sense to include him in the deal.  Yes, you lose a young player, but the guy you get back is still young enough that it makes sense to swap Jackson for him.

The guy who won’t get as much press, but might be the bigger loss is Ian Kennedy.  Kennedy has a lot of detractors, myself included at times, but I still believe he will develop into a competent starter.  By that I mean someone who can step in and pitch 200 innnings with around a 4 ERA.  That’s not what you want at the top of the rotation, but it is nice to have in the middle.  

The last guy is Phil Coke and I don’t really mind giving him up.  It’s nice the Yankees still have Dunn because he certainly has the potential to equal Coke’s numbers and he is four years younger. 

The more I think about this trade, the more I like it.  Yes, it hurts to give up the prospects, but the Yankees gave them up for the right type of player- a young player with a proven track record in the bigs.  That is a departure from previous years when the Yankees would give up the few prospects they had for older guys.  Brian Cashman said at the outset of the offseason "we have to get younger".  The Yankees just did and they also got better in 2010.  If they bring back Damon or Matui and you could bring either one back with Granderson in the fold, think about that lineup.  That will keep some opposing pitchers up late at night. 

Andy Says No (For Now)

The Post is reporting that Andy Pettitte rejected a one-year/$10 million offer from the Yankees.  But, ESPN is reporting he will pitch in 2010 and it is a matter of "working out a deal with the Yankees."

That’s a pretty good offer he rejected, but I think the Yankees would go a bit higher,  He made about $10.5 million last year with the incentives, so I could see the Yankees going up to $12 million.  We shall see.

Time For A Laugh

This one comes via Scott Boras.  (And isn’t it weird to see Boras standing right behind home plate next to Pat Sajack at the Big A?)  Here is what Boras said to the Daily News about Johnny Damon

"Not that I’ve been thinking about this, but players who can get on the field every day and score 100 runs, how many guys do that?  Johnny just plays, and he’s got the body type that allows him to do that.  If stem-cell research were around, you’d want to tap into that gene pool.  He’s (35), but has a 30-year-old’s body. He plays much younger."

Some thoughts about this

"Not that I’ve been thinking about this" yeah right. 

I guess he has the arm of a 70-year old?

And, Boras may not have realized that stem cells are around, but I think he meant to say cloaning.   

Does Anyone Get This?

When the NLCS and ALCS were scheduled, there were three overlap days- days when both series would have games.

The first was Friday and the Dodgers played at home @1:37 (local) while the Yankees played at home @8:07 (local)

The second is today when the Angels will play at home @1:37 (local) while the Phillies will play at home @8:07 (local)

In both cases the California team at home gets the early game while the eastern team at home gets the late game.  This doesn’t make sense from a scheduling standpoint.  Why not let the team at home in the western time zone play the later game?  And it doesn’t make sense from a weather standpoint, it’s nice in LA, not so nice in NY and Philly.  

Now we all know that TV rules everything with scheduling, but this is one I don’t get.  You could have scheduled both games to start late afternoon local time which would presumeably mean more eyeballs on the screen.  I imagine Angels fans will do their best today, but watching a 1:37 game is going to be a challenge.