Hello from the JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes, the site of this year’s Major League Baseball General Managers’ meetings. Yankees GM Brian Cashman checked into the hotel late last night and didn’t have much to report, but the team will get a bit more clarity this evening, when free agents must issue a decision on any qualifying offers extended to them.
For the Yankees, that means they’ll be waiting on word from the representatives for Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson and Hiroki Kuroda. Cano won’t be accepting the one-year, $14.1 million contract, not with the certainty of much bigger dollars out there. It’d be a surprise if Granderson did, though it’s not completely out of the realm of possibility after his injury-shortened 2013 season.
The qualifying offer actually comes close to satisfying Kuroda’s needs; he has shown a preference for operating on one-year contracts, and the money is close to the $15 million he earned last season. Still, if Kuroda has decided that he wants to pitch for the Yankees again in 2014, the team would probably just slip last year’s contract across the table rather than issue him a $900,000 pay cut.
If any of the three players issued qualifying offers sign with other clubs, the Yankees would receive a compensation round pick in next year’s Draft.
The GM Meetings take place Monday and Tuesday, with the Owners’ Meetings scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday. Hal Steinbrenner is expected to make the trip up from Tampa at some point late Tuesday or early Wednesday.
From a quick stroll around the hotel, you can already see meetings rooms being set up, fueled by bottomless pots of java. Cashman will spend the next two days chatting with his fellow GMs, setting the ground work for things that might pan out in the future. There are also conferences for assistant GMs, running the gamut of a variety of topics.
At night, you can see the Disney World fireworks being set off from a distance, which is kind of fun. There’s also a really nice golf course and a lazy river pool here, neither of which I plan on viewing from much closer than the window of my room. We’ll have updates for you as the week goes along.
Joe Girardi received a substantial contract offer – believed to be three years between $12 and $15 million – from the Yankees late last week. He has not yet responded, which the Chicago Sun-Times suggests may be an indication that Girardi is “torn” between accepting the Yankees deal and hearing what the Cubs will have to say.
The newspaper says that Girardi has received “back-channel feelers” from the Cubs, who may be willing to top the Yankees’ offer. The Yankees have not granted Girardi permission to speak with other clubs. The Nationals are also believed to be interested in Girardi, who is under contract with the Yankees until Nov. 1.
With Girardi in a holding pattern, the Cubs are moving forward with other options to replace manager Dale Sveum. Manny Acta, Rick Renteria and A.J. Hinch are among those on the candidate list, reports MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat.
Meanwhile, the Yankees’ offseason planning is underway. General manager Brian Cashman scheduled the club’s professional scouting meetings to begin this week, a gathering that will determine the Yankees’ blueprint for the winter.
If Joe Girardi and the Yankees are not able to hammer out a new contract this month, there project to be multiple potential landing spots for the manager.
The Washington Nationals have requested permission to speak with Joe Girardi about their vacancy with Davey Johnson retiring, CSN Chicago’s David Kaplan reported. Girardi is under contract with the Yankees until Oct. 31, when his three-year, $9 million pact expires.
He has also drawn interest from the Cubs after they dismissed Dale Sveum, and the Reds also could reach out after they parted ways with manager Dusty Baker this week.
The Yankees would like to retain Girardi and are not expected to grant permission for any club to speak with him until their exclusive negotiating window expires. Girardi met with general manager Brian Cashman for coffee on Monday and Cashman met with Girardi’s agent, Steve Mandell, on Wednesday.
In his end-of-season press conference on Sept. 29 in Houston, Girardi said that he did not expect his contract situation to drag out. He also downplayed the perception that the Cubs position would be an appealing ‘dream job’ for him.
“Our home has been here [in New York]. My kids are engrossed in schools here. We haven’t been to Chicago since … haven’t lived there since 2006. The only person who’s really there, my brother’s still there, a couple brothers are there. My father’s gone, my mother’s gone – there’s not as much there as there used to be.”
It may be safe to erase that image from your mind’s eye of Robinson Cano suiting up in Dodgers blue and becoming the next Hollywood star. Magic Johnson said it isn’t going to happen.
Johnson held court with reporters before Los Angeles’ National League Division Series game in Atlanta last night and said that while Cano obviously has the talent to bring down a huge deal in free agency, the Dodgers have another pressing need to attend to — re-signing ace left-hander Clayton Kershaw.
“I can’t talk about the other guy (Cano),” Johnson said, “but you already know that guy in New York is going to be paid. Not by us. But he’s going to get paid.”
Johnson expanded on his thoughts when specifically asked about Cano by the New York Post:
“You can’t have two guys, I mean, come on man, anybody who knows numbers. A year from now, two, here comes Hanley [Ramirez]. We’ve got guys we need to keep. When it is all said and done the numbers probably don’t add up.’’
Cano and his representation group, the Jay-Z founded Roc Nation Sports, will obviously be looking to make a splash in free agency this winter. For baseball and marketing purposes, it has been difficult to imagine a scenario where the group would steer Cano away from New York. L.A. might have been one option, but without the Dodgers planning to bid, it continues to be the safe bet that the Yankees and Cano will eventually hash out an agreement.
NEW YORK — The Yankees hope to retain Joe Girardi as their manager and are set to open negotiations on a new contract, general manager Brian Cashman said on Tuesday.
Cashman said that he met for coffee with Girardi on Monday and has scheduled a meeting for Wednesday with Girardi’s agent, Steve Mandell. Girardi’s three-year, $9 million pact is set to expire in November.
“I’m not speaking for Joe, but I think if you’re good at what you do, you’ll have opportunities to stay,” Cashman said. “He’s definitely going to have that. We’re going to give him a real good reason to stay. He’s earned that.”
The 2013 season marked Girardi’s sixth at the helm of the Yankees. Over that span, Girardi has compiled a 564-408 regular season record, winning one World Series but also missing the playoffs twice.
Girardi said during the Yankees’ season-ending series in Houston that he has loved his time with the organization, but that he has not made up his mind about managing in 2014.
“It comes down to family,” Girardi said on Sunday. “They are first, and whatever is best for the group of us – not one individual, not me or just my wife or just one of my children – whatever is best for us as a group, that’s what we’ll decide to do.
“And that’s something I’ve put some thought into and I’m going to have to think about a lot of the next few days. But that’s a decision that we’ll sit down and make and decide what’s best.”
He has been mentioned in media reports as a candidate for the Cubs’ managerial vacancy, as Chicago parted ways with Dale Sveum this week, but Girardi said on Sunday that his connections to the Windy City are not as strong as they once were.
Asked if he would grant the Cubs permission to speak with Girardi, Cashman declined to comment.
“We can’t control what other options or interests may be out there,” Cashman said. “If you’re good at what you do, people are going to have some interest. You can’t predict the future on that; you can only control your side of it. I feel we hired a good one.
“He’s been a world champion player for us, a coach, a broadcaster, and obviously a world champion manager. We’ve benefited from having him and we’d like to do that going forward. We’ll have to stay tuned and see how it plays out.”
Cashman said that if Girardi returns, the Yankees would also be interested in retaining the entire coaching staff: bench coach Tony Pena, hitting coach Kevin Long, pitching coach Larry Rothschild, infield coach Mick Kelleher and outfield coach Rob Thomson.
“They’re not technically free agents until Oct. 31,” Cashman said. “If Girardi comes back, I would like to have our coaches back, and I think Girardi feels the same way. But ultimately because of the way the process needs to work, the manager has to be decided first and then you can focus on the coaches.”
Though the Yankees posted only 85 victories in 2013, their lowest total since 1988, Cashman said that Girardi has been “consistently tremendous” in making the most of his roster and keeping the club motivated.
“This year was unique in a lot of different ways and he was able to still maintain that leadership, keep these guys hungry and motivated and not give up,” Cashman said. “They never did. I never saw that. Thumbs up. I thought he did a great job, him and his staff.”
Mariano Rivera just closed his playing career with yet another classy gesture, apologizing to the Astros organization, players and fans for not participating in this season-ending three game series at Minute Maid Park.
“I want to make sure to apologize to the Houston Astros players and the great fans in Houston, because I couldn’t compete my last three days of the season,” he said. “I apologize for that.
“I want to leave with the game I played at Yankee Stadium on Thursday — I want to keep that memory of mine. For that, I apologize. You guys deserved more, but I’m being a little selfish.”
Rivera was honored in a pre-game ceremony here in Houston, one attended by former Yankees manager Joe Torre as well as Rivera’s former teammate Roger Clemens. The Astros presented Rivera with a 13-panel painting by a local artist, depicting moments from Rivera’s life, including a scene of a fisherman and his son on a boat in Panama.
In his brief remarks, Torre said, “You don’t get the chance to manage 12 years for George Steinbrenner unless you have someone like this coming out of the bullpen.”
Clemens added: “We’re going to miss that cool jog coming in from center field. There’s not too many sure things in this world.”
On Saturday, Rivera announced that he did not plan to play in this series, saying that the Yankee Stadium ending had been too perfect. He also revealed that he has been dealing with soreness in his right forearm and right knee for quite some time.
Rivera and Andy Pettitte brought out the lineup card for the Yankees. Manager Joe Girardi said before the game that he’d ask Rivera and Pettitte if they wanted to manage the game; it looks like they might accept that offer.
Mariano Rivera has thrown his final pitch. The all-time saves leader said on Saturday that he will not take the mound during this series against the Astros, instead letting his Yankee Stadium finale serve as his final Major League appearance.
“I’m done, guys. I’m done. I gave everything that I have,” Rivera said. “I think Thursday was the game that I left everything on the field.”
Rivera said that he has been pitching with “tremendous soreness in my arm,” and that “I was giving everything. I left it there.” He said that giving the ball to Andy Pettitte and Derek Jeter at the conclusion of Thursday’s appearance against the Rays gave him complete closure.
“I know it was the perfect moment. It was something I would have never expected,” Rivera said, adding, “I think I squeezed every ounce of fuel out of my tank. It is empty. I have nothing left.”
HOUSTON — Alex Rodriguez said that he is “excited” to begin his appeal of the 211-game performance-enhancing drug suspension levied in August by Major League Baseball.
Rodriguez said that he to be present for each day of the proceedings at MLB’s offices in New York, and expects the appeal process to take five days.
“This has been a burden; a big burden. Let’s get it on,” Rodriguez said. “It starts on Monday. Better to face it head on.”
Rodriguez is not expected to play this weekend against the Astros. He will complete the season batting .244 with seven home runs and 19 RBIs in 44 games, and now can turn his attention to his battle with MLB.
“I’ll be there every day,” Rodriguez said. “I’m fighting for my life and my whole legacy. I should be there. I hope everyone’s there.”
HOUSTON — Mariano Rivera’s playing career may have ended with that tearful embrace on the mound this week at Yankee Stadium.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that he has given Rivera the option of pitching in any of the club’s final games against the Astros here at Minute Maid Park. Rivera told Girardi that he is unavailable again on Saturday, and though Rivera has the right to change his mind, Girardi seems to believe that Rivera will not pitch in Houston.
Rivera’s memorable exit in the Bronx, Girardi said, created a perfect way to go out.
“I think that’s a big part of it,” Girardi said. “That was a special night for him, the way it unfolded. I think he wants it to end that way. But you know, if he changes his mind, it’s OK. Whatever he wants to do.”
Girardi also said that he does not believe Rivera will play center field in Houston; again, his choice. Rivera has long pined for that chance, but seemed to have backed off of his desire earlier this week when Girardi said he was “absolutely” considering it.
“I don’t think we’re probably going to see that as well,” Girardi said. “At least I gave him the opportunity. It’s his decision.”
Rivera is expected to speak to reporters at the conclusion of batting practice.
Here are the early notes as the Yankees (82-75) and Rays (88-69) play the second game of a three-game series here at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees still have a mathematical chance of securing a playoff spot, but the tragic number is at one. Realistically, this is going to be a dark October in the Bronx.
The Yankees’ clubhouse was filled with cardboard boxes and that ripping sound of packing tape this afternoon. That pretty much tells you everything that you need to know.
“You still have a shot, but it’s really remote obviously,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “You have to win every game and the other teams can’t win games. As I talked about yesterday, we had the tough loss on Sunday and we didn’t swing the bats yesterday, and it’s difficult because you work so long to have an opportunity to make the playoffs, and we really hurt our chances.”
David Price (8-8, 3.43 ERA) is getting the call for Tampa Bay, and this could be the final Yankee Stadium start for Phil Hughes, who will try to finish his terrible season (4-13, 5.07 ERA) on a strong note.
“He’s had some good times and some rough times,” Hughes said. “It’s a guy that had a couple big years as a starter, had a big year out of the bullpen. He’s struggled this year. This year has been a struggle for him, and from a personal standpoint, if you’re going to pick a year to struggle as a player, this is not the year to do it.
“For that, I feel bad for him. I know how bad he wants to do well and be successful for this club and this franchise; he loves it here. I feel bad for him. He was a big part of our success in 2009, what he did in that bullpen, he secured that bullpen and us getting to the playoffs the next couple years. He had some big years for us.”
Here are the quick hits:
- The Yankees are holding a 6:50 p.m. ceremony on the field to honor Andy Pettitte. He’ll receive a gift from Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera on behalf of the organization.
- Girardi said there is “probably a good chance” Rivera will pitch on Thursday against the Rays, which would be his final Yankee Stadium appearance.
- Travis Hafner was activated from the disabled list this afternoon. Girardi said he might use Hafner as a pinch-hitter.