Results tagged ‘ Carl Pavano ’

Yankees notes: Joba, Boston, Jeter and more

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It was a busy Wednesday morning in the Bronx, as the Yankees introduced Rafael Soriano to the New York media, a signing that Brian Cashman acknowledged makes the team better but one that he had still vocally opposed because of the contract value and a lost first-round Draft pick.

  

Meanwhile, Joe Girardi revealed that he hears Andy Pettitte has started throwing – just in case – and Scott Boras said that he plans to continue talking with the Yankees about Andruw Jones.

Then, just for good measure, Cashman acknowledged that he indeed had several discussions about bringing Carl Pavano back to the Yankees, looking for someone to upgrade a rotation that still figures to include both Ivan Nova and Sergio Mitre if the season started today.

Pavano signed a two-year deal with the Twins later in the day, but like we said, it was a busy morning. Here are some of the other tidbits that might have been overlooked:

Cashman: “Joba’s in the bullpen, for the 200th time” – a.k.a., The Debate is Over

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Joba Chamberlain will be in the bullpen and there is no chance of him starting for the Yankees in 2011, both Cashman and Girardi said.

Here’s Girardi’s explanation: “I think Joba is going to be an important part of our bullpen. For me, I like to shorten the game as much as I can. He has a chance to be an outstanding reliever for us and I think his second half was better than his first half. I think we could really have a close down bullpen where the game gets really short. When you’re called upon to pitch, your inning is just as important. If you give up runs in the sixth, you never get to the eighth. Sometimes in the seventh you might face a tougher part of the order than the eighth.”

Asked if there was some physical reason the Yankees wouldn’t consider starting Chamberlain, Girardi answered, “No, not necessarily. It’s probably hard to bounce back and forth all the time. Then you end up with an innings limitation again. I think it’s really important that you have an awesome bullpen and I think he can be a big part of that. … We just decided at this point that’s where he fits the best and that’s where we’re going to put him.”

Responding to a similar question, Cashman said, “I think we’ve seen over time now that his stuff plays so much better as a reliever than as a starter … As a result of everything leading up to and including last spring.”

A reporter then tried to float the case that Chamberlain’s numbers as a starter compared favorably to what Ivan Nova or Sergio Mitre might provide.

“He’s in the bullpen,” Cashman said.

Did Boston’s big winter push the Soriano deal?

Cashman said he never heard that the Yankees needed to react to Boston’s moves specifically, but Hal Steinbrenner felt that there needed to be an upgrade of some kind for the fan base. The decision went beyond just the baseball operations department, he added.

“I think [Steinbrenner] just felt we needed to do something, regardless,” Cashman said. “That’s how it was conveyed; ‘We’re not going to go into Spring Training without us doing something big.’ And this is big.”

Will Soriano fit in the clubhouse? Sure, Girardi says

There have been whispers that Soriano has had trouble with previous managers, including being upset with coming into non-save situations and being asked to pitch more than one inning. You would think that will be different with Mariano Rivera in New York.

Girardi said that reputation won’t be a problem, as he wants to “give everyone a clean slate” and tries to get to know each of his players as much as possible.

Are the Yankees a better team today?

Girardi figures the ’11 team is better than the one that walked off the field after Game 6 of the 2010 ALCS. “I think we’ve added to our bullpen, added another left-hander (in Pedro Feliciano), and I think we’re a better club because we’ve been through it,” he said.

More pitching on the way?

There has been buzz on the Hot Stove about the Yankees potentially showing interest in the Tigers’ Armando Galarraga – he of the imperfect Jim Joyce game – who was designated for assignment. He’s easily one of the more appealing options out there, given the marketplace.

Regarding another possible upgrade to the rotation, Cashman said: “I hope so. The starter might have to come from within. Hopefully we have some of these young kids answer the bell for us. In the meantime, we’ll still keep our eyes and ears open to the remaining market, which is very limited.”

He added: “It’s a difficult market to choose from. Listen, if you’re still on the board, there’s a reason for it.”

Captain leading off

As of this moment, Girardi says he has Derek Jeter penciled in to be the Yankees’ leadoff hitter. Hitting coach Kevin Long has said that he’d like to use Spring Training to experiment with different combinations.

Yanks won’t surrender pick for Soriano

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has decided that the team will not surrender its top Draft pick as compensation, effectively taking them out of the running for free agent Rafael Soriano, the top reliever on the remaining free agent market.

Cashman told the Westchester (N.Y.) Journal News on Friday that he wouldn’t sign a Type A free agent like Soriano, who would net the Rays a compensatory pick if he signs elsewhere. Setup man Grant Balfour is also a Type A player, as is Carl Pavano – not that the Yankees were going to bring him back.
“I will not lose our No. 1 draft pick,” Cashman told the newspaper. “I would have for Cliff Lee. I won’t lose our No. 1 draft pick for anyone else.”
The rest of the free agent market doesn’t entice the Yankees. There are designated hitter types out there, but with Jorge Posada entrenched as their everyday DH, they have little room for the likes of Jim Thome, Vladimir Guerrero or Manny Ramirez. 
SI.com reported Friday that there has been some contact with free agent outfielder Andruw Jones, but that would be in a reserve role similar to the tasks Marcus Thames filled last year.
“Bottom line is, it’s a bad free-agent market,” Cashman said.
 

Greetings from Gate B7

Hello from Gate B7 at BWI, where the Yankees beat is furiously trying to catch up with the team as they’ve already winged their way to Kansas City. This afternoon’s game sees an old pal, as Sidney Ponson will be added to the Royals’ roster to make the start at the newly-renovated Kauffman Stadium. Maybe he’ll do better than Carl Pavano did yesterday for the Indians. 

By the way, I’m now a believer in all the hype — the iPhone has changed my life. I can’t stop telling people about all the neat things it does, and I’ve barely had it for a couple of days now, so I don’t really even know what I’m talking about. In any event, it works better than the phone I had to crack against the Yankee Stadium press box on April 3 just to get it to turn on…

Sharing a couple of photos with you before we depart Baltimore:


Yankees take batting practice at Camden Yards


Yankees-Orioles under the lights on Wednesday


Nighttime in the Inner Harbor @ the Power Plant

An evening with Brian Cashman

Thumbnail image for money.jpgBrian Cashman’s charity discussion out in Pleasantville, N.Y. for Ed Randall’s ‘Bat for the Cure‘ ran long tonight, but if you were as passionate about the Yankees as most of the audience seemed to be, it probably wasn’t a big deal. Just about the only topic Cash wouldn’t discuss was Joe Torre’s book, but there was plenty to go around. Some of the highlights to chew on:

Manny to the Yankees — officially dead: The Yankees are done with their big spending and have no room left to pursue Manny Ramirez. Sorry, folks, but right now the Yankees are trying to sign more guys like Angel Berroa. The Yankees payroll will be reduced in ’09 and Manny’s bat isn’t going to change that.

“Ultimately, we’ve made our decision,” Cashman said. “We chose to put that money into Mark Teixeira to play first base. I do hear rumblings about people actually expect us to get in on Manny. That’s not going to happen. We respect his abilities, there’s no doubt about it, but we’re now in the non-roster invite mode.”

Cashman knows the Yankees have been anointed the Hot Stove champs. It doesn’t mean anything: “I don’t care about headlines in December or January. What ultimately translates is getting enough W’s to be the last team standing.”

Career paths: Cashman wasn’t one of those kids who lies awake at night dreaming of being the Yankees GM. Actually, out in Kentucky, young Cash grew up a Dodgers fan and a Yankee hater. In fact, when Bob Watson gave up the GM post in ’98, Cashman first begged him to stay. Then he asked George Steinbrenner not to give him a contract, instead operating on a handshake agreement so Cashman could be easily dismissed if it didn’t work out.

Tough crowd: Cashman is very wary of the Rays, of whom he said has seen the talent coming for years. On the traditional 20 to 80 scouting scale (50 being an average big leaguer), Cashman said too many of Tampa Bay’s young prospects are coming in around 80. Such is the advantage of smart drafting and terrible in-season results.

But the Yankees have some names Cashman is excited about — he thinks the ’06 crop of Ian Kennedy, Joba Chamberlain, Zach McAllister, Dellin Betances and Dave Robertson could go down as an all-time great one. The Yankees are still top-heavy in pitching prospects and would love to develop more big bats, but most of the really promising position players are at the A-ball level and below.

What if: Yes, the four-year, $40 million deal to Carl Pavano was a bust. But Cashman said Pavano turned down even more money from the Tigers, Mariners and Orioles. The Red Sox were also hot on Pavano.

Flight cancelled: Cashman almost flew to Baltimore from Houston to meet with A.J. Burnett after his meeting with Andy Pettitte in December. It turned out not to be necessary – things had progressed far enough with Burnett that the Yankees were confident it’d get done.

Will the Melk-man deliver?: As of right now, it’s Melky Cabrera and Brett Gardner for center field. Cashman believes Melky is a better player than he showed in ’08 and will be out to prove that. But here’s an ominous warning: “The ones that are good enough will find a way. The ones that aren’t good enough will find excuses.” Cash compared Gardner to “Juan Pierre, who takes a walk.”

Better days?: Cashman said he’s not a big souvenir guy, but one of the things he’s kept was the lineup card from his first win as Yankees GM – April 5, 1998 at Oakland. Cash was actually in Oakland the day earlier, but Steinbrenner had called him back to New York in a fit after the Yankees started the year 0-3. They won 125 games.

The inscription on the lineup card from Joe Torre reads: “Crash – the first of many.” That’s not a typo. The nickname ‘Crash’ stuck to Cashman in his younger, wilder days.   

Driving Mr. Steinbrenner: Cash told a great story about his early days back in the Yankees organization, when George Steinbrenner’s personal drivers were all out shuttling around dignitaries or guests. Cashman got stuck with the assignment and found himself on the FDR Drive with the Boss, who wanted to get a quick haircut before flying to Tampa out of Teterboro.

Long story short, Cash tried to get cute with a shortcut and wound up hearing a full-on assault of the 1980s Steinbrenner in his right ear for the whole rest of the trip. Steinbrenner actually threatened at one point to “just take the subway.” He got the haircut with Cashman but found a different driver to take him across to New Jersey.

Pavano: I had to pick myself up

Interesting comments out of Cleveland today, where Carl Pavano greeted the local media after signing an incentive-laden one-year contract with the Indians:

“When you’re down, you expect your organization to pick you up, not
kick you when you’re down,” Pavano said. “I’ve had to pick myself up
quite a few times the last four years.”

There are those that would argue the Yankees gave Pavano too much slack at times – despite everything that went on, Brian Cashman was always one of Pavano’s most staunch defenders. Mike Mussina, not so much.

Regardless, look for Pavano to have a decent bounce-back year. His velocity wasn’t there late in the season but he pitched OK for the Yankees – enough to prove he was worth taking a flyer on to Indians GM Mark Shapiro. Believe it or not, Pavano will be in the building when the new Yankee Stadium opens on April 16, and could even pitch in that first series.

“That would be exciting,” Pavano said. “There would be a lot of irony
in that. Those are the fun parts of the game. It’s kind of ironic that
I saw the last game in old Yankee Stadium and now I’ll get to see the
first game at new Yankee Stadium. I’ve been blessed with some
incredible things I’ve seen and been given through baseball, and I
appreciate it every day.”

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