Signing off from the Winter Meetings

With the words, “And that concludes the Rule 5 Draft,” Brian Cashman was on his way out the door to catch a flight back to New York, completing the Yankees’ business here at the Winter Meetings.
The Yankees may not have made it to the podium here, as they did last year in announcing the Curtis Granderson three-way trade, but there was business done. The focus is now all on Cliff Lee, who has a seven-year contract offer to ponder — one that essentially puts the Yankees into a holding pattern as they wait for his decision. 
Here’s a quick review of the Yankees’ week at the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort:
Monday: Cashman is sequestered in his suite for most of the day and meets the media dressed in a hooded sweatshirt, a faded Yankees t-shirt, blue jeans and flip-flops, spinning a football on his knee … Lee’s agent, Darek Braunecker, meets with a Yankees contingent that includes team president Randy Levine, but no offer is made … Cashman reveals that Andy Pettitte told him he is leaning toward retirement … He also hints there are “a number of different players” he is interested in … The Yankees speak with the agent for Kerry Wood but Cashman vows he won’t pay him “closer money,” and are interested in signing Alfredo Aceves to a Minor League deal … George M. Steinbrenner is among those not elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, receiving less than eight of the necessary 12 votes from the Veterans Committee.
Tuesday: Derek Jeter meets the media at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla., thanking the team for his new contract while also saying he was “pretty angry” at how public the negotiations became … Jeter was upset by a perception of greed on his part and became incensed when the Yankees urged him to test the free agent market, having told them he only wanted to play for one team … Cashman acknowledges the pace of the Lee negotiations are going slower than he’d like and says pitching “is the key to the kingdom” … Hal Steinbrenner says he’s always willing to discuss being flexible with money … Cashman meets free agent Carl Crawford for dinner … In a press conference, Joe Torre thanks Steinbrenner for his 12 seasons managing the Yankees, calling it the “crown jewel” of his career. 
Wednesday: The Yankees make their push for Lee, giving him a six-year, $140 million contract offer … Joe Girardi offers a spirited recommendation of Lee’s acquisition, calling him “important” to the Yankees’ championship hopes and “everything you’d want” … Braunecker leaves the Winter Meetings to deliver the bid to Lee at home in Arkansas … Cashman says all other business is on hold until Lee decides, including a Wood deal. He is confident of Lee’s potential impact, saying, “I know that we’re right on the player” … Brett Gardner has surgery to remove right wrist inflammation in New York. … Girardi notes that A.J. Burnett has already started working with new pitching coach Larry Rothschild to fix mechanical problems that led to his 10-15 season. 
Thursday: Hearing that Crawford signed a seven-year, $142 million deal with Boston, Cashman shrugs in the hotel lobby and says he thought it would be the Red Sox or Angels getting him, while applauding Boston’s moves … the Yankees make one of their own, sweetening Lee’s offer with a seventh year … As the Rangers prepare to visit with Lee in Arkansas, Cashman departs Orlando for New York, promising he has no surprise visits up his sleeve — at least not today. … The Yankees take lefty Robert Fish (Angels) and righty Dan Turpen (Red Sox) in the Rule 5 Draft, while losing righty George Kontos (Padres) and righty Lance Pendleton (Astros).

18 Comments

The Last Time The Yankees Didn?t Get Their Man
?As the Cliff Lee circus continues to play out, it?s tough for many young fans to remember the last time the Yankees failed to sign a free agent they coveted. Ben Shpigel recapped the courtship of Greg Maddux, in which then-GM Gene Michael went above and beyond the normal call of duty only to be left in the dark. It?s also easy to forget that the Yanks were turned down by David Cone, Doug Drabek, and Barry Bonds that offseason, instead settling for Jimmy Key and Wade Boggs. Given how the late-90?s played out (especially against Maddux?s Braves), I?d say things worked out in the end.?- By Mike Axisa-RAB
From: http://riveraveblues.com/2010/12/link-dump-maddux-romine-farm-system-39805/

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Boston Red Sox’ contract to Carl Crawford raises questions
By Thomas Boswell-Sports Columnist-The Washington Post

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/10/AR2010121006172.html?sid=ST2010121007312

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And here?s more details on Jeter?s contract from Ken Davidoff:
1) In 2011, Jeter will earn $15 million, of which $2 million is deferred without interest.
2) In 2012, Jeter will earn $16 million, of which $2 million is deferred without interest.
3) In 2013, Jeter will earn $17 million, of which $3 million is deferred without interest.
4) The 2014 player option is for $8 million, with a $3 million buyout if Jeter opts for free agency. He can get up to $17 million by attaining any of these bonuses from 2011 through 2014 (so in other words, even in 2014, he can start with an $8 million salary and still wind up with more).
a) A $4 million bonus for winning AL MVP.
b) A $2 million bonus for placing second through sixth in the AL MVP voting.
c) A $1.5 million bonus for winning a Silver Slugger award.
d) A $500,000 bonus for winning a Gold Glove.
e) A $500,000 bonus for winning the League Championship Series MVP.
f) A $500,000 bonus for winning the World Series MVP.

For clarification?s sake, Jeter can max out at $9 million in bonuses. So if he won the AL MVP in 2011, 2012 and 2013, he?d nevertheless top out at $9 million, even though that would add up to $12 million.

My analysis: This is a team-friendly structure. Jeter is very unlikely to reach that $17 million figure. He?s unlikely to get even halfway from $8 million to $17 million (that?s $12.5 million, for those of you scoring at home).
-Ken Davidoff

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I think our interest in Martin is as cheep insurance should Montero falter or we decide to give him more “seasoning.” Signing him will be contingent on a full physical to see how his hip surgery healed. It wasn’t his back, Frank. Our plan all along was to ignore the high ticket free agents…except Lee! We have more than two months to explore the trade market and the right “player/s” may take even longer.

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If Lee signs with someone else, I have a strong feeling Pettitte will say YES. And I think we have plenty of trade bait to go after another top of the rotation starter. If we don?t get that done this Winter and Boston is within reach, there will be a lot of trade action in July!!!

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The lessons of this free agent market
Posted by: Chad Jennings
http://yankees.lhblogs.com/2010/12/11/the-lessons-of-this-free-agent-market/

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I must agree w/Robert, not to PANIC because of “Boston?s addition of Crawford and Gonzalez will approximate the offense they lose from Beltre and Martinez”. But I do feel a sense of urgency in improving our front line pitching, another good OFer, and a utility infielder. Forget Martin I’m not sure he’s the answer behind the plate especially after back surgery. Give the kids a chance. I don’t think Lee will be in a Yankee uniform unless he is vastly overpaid. Another big mistake putting everything on hold and wishing we’d get Lee. I’m not so sure about Greinke either.
“GO YANKEES!”

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Looking for another Marcus Thames
Posted by: Chad Jennings
http://yankees.lhblogs.com/2010/12/11/looking-for-another-marcus-thames/

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The longer we wait for Lee and his agent the more I’m wondering if he’s going to sign with Texas. The reality is that it’s more than dollars for many of these ball players that factor into their decision. Some guys and maybe their wives don’t want to come to New York and to the Yankees no matter how much money they’re offered. It’s not a place where everyone wants to play. Maybe that’s why Crawford signed with Boston. I think the Yankees could have signed both Crawford and Lee if they had wanted to. When the Boss was alive if he wanted both players he would have paid whatever it took. Never mind the cap. Everyone is saying it’s “important” that we sign Lee. I would ratchet that word up to crucial rather than important. With the Sox acquisitions and with our shaky starting rotation especially if Andy doesn’t sign we’re in serious trouble in 11 to win he Division let alone the World Series. I’d like to think a new pitching coach can get AJs mechanics fixed. I think it’s more than mechanics with AJ. It’s his fragile mental attitude that needs fixing.

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REAL TIME POST OUT OF ORDER:
It’s no picnic playing in Boston either, Bob, and in fact it may be harder because of the greater “concentration” of fan awareness of what’s going on with the Red Sox. Just ask David Wells!

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It’s no picnic playing in Boston either, Bob, and in fact it may be harder because of the greater “concentration” of fan awareness of what’s going on with the Red Sox. Just ask David Wells!

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If ?the Yanks don?t stand a chance of beating the sux.? is reality in southern California I?m glad I?m 3,000 miles away!

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No one is hitting the panic button here. I?m just being real. Even with Lee, the Yanks don?t stand a chance of beating the sux. We?ll just focus on the OF for starters. Elsbury is better than Gardy, Crawford is better than Grandy, & Drew equals Swish. I don?t see Crawford?s speed lessened in Fenway. They can stick Elsbury in death valley & let Crawford get everything else.

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NoDigidee: I have to agree with you. Even with getting Lee, and there is no guarantee at this point. we won’t match the Sox with the addition of Gonzales and Crawford with all the others they have already in the lineup. That has to be the most powerful lineup in baseball, and their pitching isn’t too shabby either. What happens if the Yankees don’t get Lee? Man then we are really in deep doodoo. While we’re standing around waiting for Lee and his agent to make up his mind and using Crawford as only a fall back in case we don’t get Lee, other teams pick them like cherries on a tree and we’re standing around with our mouth open. And to let him get away to the Red Sox? Unforgiveable for a Yankee fan. We needed both Lee and Crawford if we are going to contend in 11. You can’t compare Gardner with Crawford and a tandem in the outfield of Gardner Granderson and Swisher doesn’t really scare anyone. We are in trouble unless there’s someone else out there at the Crawford level who we can bring in. With Werth gone and Crawford the fall back are guys like Matsui and Damon and Cabrera and Vlady and they’re not even close at this stage in their career. While we’re waiting around other players we could have signed are being picked off quickly.

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REAL TIME POST OUT OF ORDER:
For all of those who have already pounded the PANIC button, Boston?s addition of Crawford and Gonzalez will approximate the offense they lose from Beltre and Martinez. The infield defense will stay approximately the same, but the outfield defense will be better because of Crawford though his speed advantage is lessened by the left field dimensions at Fenway. It will be interesting to see what a Gonzalez extension will cost!

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For all of those who have already pounded the PANIC button, Boston?s addition of Crawford and Gonzalez will approximate the offense they lose from Beltre and Martinez. The infield defense will stay approximately the same, but the outfield defense will be better because of Crawford though his speed advantage is lessened by the left field dimensions at Fenway. It will be interesting to see what a Gonzalez extension will cost!

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Robert Fish? Let?s hope he?s the same ?Fish that saved Pittsburgh?.

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Blosox get A-Gon & Crawford. Sorry folks, but they just won the East & it isn?t S.T. yet. Yanks will place 3rd behind the Rays.

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