Saturday, November 30, 2013

It's official: The Phil Hughes era in New York is over. Hughes has signed a three-year, $24 million contract with the Minnesota Twins, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reports.

Neal says that the deal with be announced by the Twins this week, and Hughes will undergo a physical in the next couple of days, at the earliest.

Minnesota locked up the 27-year-old Hughes on a three-year after a year in which he pitched to a 4.19 ERA in 145 innings last season for the Yankees -- another disappointing season that forced the Yankees to not give him a one-year, $14 million qualifying offer in fear that he would actually accept it.

In seven seasons with the Yankees, Hughes went 56-50 with a 4.54 ERA. His best season came in 2010, when he finished 18-8 with a 4.19 ERA and 146 strikeouts.

Hughes will benefit from the spacious Target Field in Minnesota after pitching in the small, hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium where he's giving up more than 70 homeruns throughout his career.

He'll be joining a rotation that recently added Ricky Nolasco earlier this week on a four-year deal, mixing in with guys like Samuel Deduno, Andrew Albers, Scott Diamond and Liam Hendriks competing for the final two spots.

Hughes was also drawing interest from the Kansas City Royals, Seattle Mariners, Miami Marlins and Los Angeles Angels.

During meetings with the Yankees this past week, Robinson Cano's representatives reportedly moved "very slightly" off the high asking for the All-Star second baseman. We didn't know then what that meant, but we do now.

Ken Davidoff of the NY Post is reporting that Cano's asking price now sits in the range of $250-$260 million over the span of nine-years, placing him around Alex Rodriguez territory.

A source also told Davidoff that Cano’s representation, led by Jay Z and Brodie Van Wagenen, have never asked anyone for the insane 10-year, $310-million package, or anything starting with a "3" since he became a free-agent.

Cano most likely did, in fact, ask for something in the $300 million range, but that would have been the price May, when Cano was trying to keep himself from hitting the open market in the offseason.

Davidoff also said that the Yankees have stood firm at their offer of seven-years, $160-$175 million.

The Yankees are scheduled to talk with Cano's side once again on Monday.

According to multiple Major League executives that spoke with Joel Sherman of the NY Post, the Yankees are the strong favorites to land free-agent outfielder Carlos Beltran.

As one executive put it, "I think at this point it would be an upset if he didn’t end up there."

The Yankees have made Beltran their No. 1 priority this winter after signing Brian McCann to a five-year, $85 million contract last weekend, and have seemed to be the favorites all along to sign the 36-year-old outfielder.

The only problem up to this point is that the Yankees are trying to sign Beltran on nothing more than a two-year deal.

"Beltran wants three years, so I think the Yankees will either go three years or give him a [bleep]-load more on a two-year deal." One AL official told Sherman. "I think the feeling in the industry is if it comes down to a two-year deal because no one goes to three, then the Yanks will win."

A new team has recently jumped into the bidding for Beltran, though, as the Kansas City Royals, who Beltran broke into the league with, are starting to show heavy interest.

As the AL official said, Kansas City "really, really wants him." but the AL official also noted to Sherman that "because of the history, it will be hard for them to sell themselves as championship contenders."

Where ever Beltran signs, it will likely be on the final deal of his career, and after making it to the World Series for the first time in his career this past October with the St. Louis Cardinals, he wants another chance to get a ring before his playing days are done.

The Royals have only finished above .500 twice since 1994, and they haven't made the playoffs since 1985 -- the longest playoff drought in the league. Kansas City believes that it will be able to contend for a playoff spot in 2014, but it will be hard to convince Beltran of that.

All offseason, we've been waiting around for the Yankees to strike a deal with second baseman Robinson Cano. As it stands, the two sides are still about $150 million apart, as Cano's camp has reportedly been asking for a 10-year, $310 million deal.

But Cano recently talked to a reporter from the Dominican website El Dia, in spanish, about his contract negotiations with the Yankees, and denied his asking price. Andy Martino of the NY Daily News translated Cano's comments.

"I've never asked anybody for $300 million," the free-agent second baseman told the Dominican website El Dia on Thursday. Cano went on to say in Spanish that "nobody has ever heard that come out of my mouth ($300 million) and you're never going to hear it."

Most likely, Cano is telling the truth, and while he might still be asking for something over $200 million, it has probably been his agents, including Jay Z, that have been asking for the $310 million. However, it does seem that Cano did ask the Yankees for $300 million around the All-Star break as a way to avoid hitting the open market, but I'm sure his own price his dropped off that.

His agents met with the Yankees last week, and though not much progress was reportedly made, Cano's side his moved down "very slightly" from its $310 million asking price. As to how far down that might be, we don't know.

The Yankees have offered Cano a contract worth $160-$170 million over seven years, and team president Randy Levine said a couple weeks ago that the Yankees have no plans on paying any player more than $200, and that "unless he gets more realistic, we have nothing to talk about."

The Yankees and Cano's agents are expected to meet again sometime within the next week after taking a break through the holidays.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Chris Stewart is drawing trade interest from sever teams ahead of Monday's non-tender deadline, and the Yankees are currently working out a deal with the catcher to avoid arbitration, sources tell MLB Daily Dish's Chris Cotillo.

Cotillo also says that there will likely be a resolution between Stewart and the Yankees by the end of the weekend, meaning they will either work out a deal with him, or he'll go elsewhere via a non-tender or trade.

Stewart, 31, became a free-agent this offseason after an extremely poor year at the plate for the Bombers in 2013, hitting .211/.293/.272 in 340 plate appearances as the Yankees' starting catcher for most of the season.

Though he didn't contribute much at the plate, Stewart was very solid for the Yankees with his glove, and his pitch-framing skills are considered among the best in the league. But now that the Yankees have signed Brian McCann, with a handful of young catchers on the way, there is no need for Stewart, and should the Yanks be able to get something for him, them it would be a win.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

After showing some interest earlier this offseason, the New York Mets are no longer in on signing free-agent pitcher Phil Hughes, reports George King of the NY Post.

King notes that Hughes is most likely get land a two-year deal this winter, and that extra year isn't something the Mets are looking for.

Hughes became a free-agent after another disappointing season with the Yankees in 2013, going 4-14 with a 5.19 ERA. But even with his struggles that past couple of seasons in the Bronx, many still see there being some potential in Hughes, and that's why he figures to get a multiyear deal.

"Look where the market is for starting pitchers," a talent evaluator told King. "He is 27 and has never had shoulder or elbow surgery. If I was him, I wouldn't want a one-year deal. Two years ago, he won 16 games."

Hughes would benefit nicely from pitching in a ballpark bigger than Yankee Stadium, where he gave up way too many homeruns.

Hughes has been drawing interest from a handful of teams including the Miami Marlins, Los Angeles Angels, Minnesota Twins, Seattle Mariners and Kansas City Royals.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

According to multiple reports, the Arizona Diamondbacks are expected to announce on Monday the hiring of Yankees bullpen coach Mike Harkey to be the team's new pitching coach.

Harkey has been with the Yankees as their bullpen coach since 2008 when manager Joe Girardi hired him to be on his coaching staff. Harkey has been one of Girardi's closest friends.

Harkey signed a new deal, along with the rest of Girard's coaching staff, to stay in the Bronx earlier this month, and now the Yanks will need to find a replacement for him. Triple-A pitching coach Scott Aldred also interviewed for the gig in Arizona, and it's possible that he could be hired as the man to replace Harkey.

Harkey will join Kirk Gibson's staff on the D-Backs next season, along with bench coach Alan Trammell, hitting coach Turner Ward, first base coach Dave McKay, and third base coach Glenn Sherlock.

The Yankees have re-signed shortstop Brendan Ryan to a two-year, $5 million deal with a mutual option for a third year that includes incentives which could bring the value of the contract to $10 million, reports Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.

The Yankees wanted to re-sign Ryan to provide a solid defensive solution to Derek Jeter, who will go into the 2014 season with questions surrounding his health, and whether his surgically repaired right ankle, which caused him to go back on the DL for a 4th time in 2013, will be ready for next season.

Ryan was acquired from the Seattle Mariners in mid-September, and he played in 17 games for the Yankees down the stretch, batting just .220 with one homerun.

Ryan will provide the Yankees with some very solid defense, as he's been one of the best defensive shortstops in the league for throughout his career. But at the same time, Ryan is very good at handling the bat, and his offense has nothing to do with the Yanks bringing him back.

Re-signing Ryan for two-years could also mean that the Yankees are starting to give up on Eduardo Nunez as an option to replace Jeter when he decides it's time to hang up the cleats.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Yankees met with representatives of Robinson Cano on Tuesday and hopes to come a little bit closer in contract talks to bring the All-Star second baseman back to the Bronx. It's not known how long they met, but the two sides are said to still be far apart.

"There's still a pretty big gap," a source to Wallace Matthews of "But [the Cano side] did move a little."

The source talking to Wallace did not specify whether Cano's side was moving on the length, or total contract worth. Cano is reportedly looking for a 10-year, $310 million contract, which the Yankees have no plans to entertain.

Cano, himself, was not at the meeting, but Brodie Van Wagenen and Juan Perez of CAA Baseball were in New York to talk with Yankees team president Randy Levine and general manager Brian Cashman. Jay Z was also not present.

The Yankees are expected to meet with Cano's representatives once again on Wednesday.

With Cano apparently looking for something around $300, the Yankees have reportedly offered the second baseman a seven-year deal worth approximately $160 million. At that price, the two sides are about $150 million apart.

Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner has already said this winter that the Yankees have no plans to hand out another 10-year contract, presumably after seeing what has become of Alex Rodriguez. They also don't plan on giving Cano anything over $200 million, the source told Wallace.

Levine also told last week that "Unless he gets a little more realistic, we have nothing to talk about."

The Yankees have shown a willingness to get deals done quickly this winter, as they did when signing Brian McCann to a five-year, $85 million contract over the weekend. The Yanks are also said to be very involved with free-agent outfielder Carlos Beltran.

Because the Yankees say they are trying to get payroll under $189 million, as well as spend enough money to get the team back in the playoffs after missing out on October baseball this past season, reports say the Yankees' might not be willing to wait on Cano if they have the chance to spend money elsewhere. Though it's yet to be seen if they'll just let their best player walk without a fight.

Mark Teixeira has his entire rehab schedule laid out. It's to the point that he has even planned out his first at-bat against in Spring Training.

"That first game, against Justin Verlander in Lakeland, he throws me a 95-mph fastball on the inside part of the plate, I want to drop the head (of the bat) on the ball," Teixeira said on Monday night during an appearance on the YES Network. "Even if I don't get a hit or get a home run off it, I want to know that I can make a really strong, quick move on an inside fastball at 95 mph, and have no pain, no tightness. Once I do that, then I'll know that I'll be fine for the season."

Teixeira missed all but 15 games last season after having surgery in June to repair a torn tendon sheath in his right wrist. He originally hurt the wrist while practicing with Team USA during the World Baseball Classic.

His plan back then was to return to action by May 1st, but he missed that date by over a month, coming back in June, only to hurt the wrist once more, forcing him to undergo the surgery.

Teixeira says he is currently performing strengthening exercises to rebuild the tendon sheath. He’s been able to do "some really slow swinging, just to make sure the range of motion is there." He laid out his plan in detail last night:

1. Strengthening and flexibility exercises through December.
2. Beginning tee and pitching machine work on January 1.
3. By early February, hitting off a 90-mph machine with authority.
4. Full everyday workouts when spring training opens, but no games in the first week of exhibitions.
5. Begin playing Grapefruit League games in early March.

"I want to slowly build into live batting practice, simulated games, and then start playing games," Teixeira said.

Yankees pitchers and catchers report to camp on February 14th, and all position players will have arrived by Feb. 19th. The first game is Feb. 25th, and a few days later in Feb. 28th, the Yankees take a bus trip up the the Tigers -- the game that Teixeira said he wanted to play in. If he were to play against the Tigers that day, he would have to be ahead of schedule.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Even while the Yankees are trying to act on making a deal with free-agent outfielder Carlos Beltran, with Shin-Soo Choo and Jacoby Ellsbury still in mind, the Yankees are also keeping tabs on the second-tier outfield market.

The Yankees have remained in contact with outfielder Nate McLouth, says Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. As Rosenthal writes, McLouth could be an inexpensive player to fill the hole in the Yankees' outfield.

This doesn't mean that the Yankees still aren't planning on signing a Beltran or Choo-type player, but it would make getting under the $189 million mark much harder, and that's why the Yanks are making sure to stay in contact with players like McLouth.

Rosenthal also wrote that "McLouth, 32, ranks behind Beltran, Choo and Curtis Granderson on the Yankees' wish list, sources say."

The Baltimore Orioles, McLouth's team of 2013, are still interested in re-signing the right-hitting outfielder. He hit .258 with 12 homeruns and 36 RBIs in 146 games this past season.

After wrapping up the top free-agent catcher on the market, Brian McCann, to a five-year, $85 million contract, the Yankees are ready to move and to quickly fill the remaining holes on the roster.

According to Mark Feinsand of the NY Daily News, the Yankees have set free-agent outfielder Carlos Beltran as their No. 1 priority while they wait for talks with Robinson Cano to heat up, Hiroki Kuroda to make a decision on whether or not he wants to pitch again next season, and for Masahiro Tanaka to be posted by his Japanese club.

Feinsand says that the Yankees prefer Beltran over the other top outfielders on the market, like Shin-Soo Choo, Nelson Cruz and Jacoby Ellsbury, because they feel Beltran would be more of a bit to improve the lineup.

Beltran, who turns 37 in April, is looking for a three-year deal, but the Yankees are trying to wrap him up for just two-years. Several other teams, including the Boston Red Sox, Texas Rangers, Kansas City Royals and Seattle Mariners has shown interest in the eight-time All-Star.

A source told Feinsand that even though the Yankees aren't willing to give Beltran the third year he's looking for, it wouldn't necessarily be a deal breaker.

Beltran, a switch-hitter, posted a split line of .296/.339/.491 in 145 games for the Cardinals this past season, hitting 24 homers with 84 RBIs.

He has expressed interest in the past about joining the Yankees, and it would seem that they could be one of the frontrunners to land him. The Yanks wanted to sign him in 2004, but because Bernie Williams was already the everyday center fielder, there was no room for Beltran, so he then signed a seven-year deal with the New York Mets.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Yankees signed Brian McCann to a five-year, $85 million contract on Saturday and that doesn't mean they're done grabbing everyone they can.

As Olney notes, the Yankees have offers out on other players, and that's not really a surprise when you consider that the Yanks had been looking at almost all of the top free-agents no the market. What would be surprising, however, is who those free-agents are, and how much the Yankees have offered them.

Players like Shin-Soo Choo, Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury and Stephen Drew have been on the Yankees' radar this offseason, and they have appeared to be very engaged with all of them.

The Yankees have also been looking at relievers such as Grant Balfour. With Mariano Rivera retired, Brian Cashman said during the GM meetings that he isn't sure if David Robertson is ready yet to take over the closer role. Maybe the Yanks have an offer out on Balfour.

It was reported by Joel Sherman of the NY Post yesterday that the Yankees are starting to feel "more upbeat" about Hiroki Kuroda returning next season. If that's the case, they might have an offer extended to him, hoping he'll accept it to fill out one more spot in the rotation while the wait to see if Masahiro Tanaka will ever be posted.

Either way, the Yankees are acting this offseason like we never thought they would. They appear to be going right after free-agents, and wasting no time in scooping them up before other teams can get their hands on them. That was the way they did business with McCann, as their offer was enough to take him off the market before the Winter Meetings, when he was expected to make a decision.

For a team that entered the offseason with a ton of questions and holes to fill, they have done a good job over the past couple of days to show that they plan on being championship contenders next season.

Olney also noted that there is no traction in talks with Robinson Cano. Last night it was reported that the Yankees were going to meet with Cano's representatives this week, and it seems like neither side is willing to move from the amount of money they're looking for.

The Miami Marlins have expressed interest in free-agent pitcher Phil Hughes, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.

Hughes, who has almost no chance of coming back to the Yankees after another disappointing year, certainly has the potential to pitch well, but it's also a matter of him finding that if willing to take a chance on him. As Jackson writes,
The Marlins often like to pursue players who had one bad year after a good one, hoping to get them at a reasonable price. So it’s not surprising they called about Yankees free agent right-hander Phil Hughes, who went 4-14 with a 5.19 ERA in 2013 after going 16-13 in 2012. The Marlins are considering adding an inexpensive veteran starting pitcher.
Hughes, 27, would be a great fit in Marlins Ballpark, without a doubt. Being a flyball pitcher, he made it clear that pitching in smaller parks like Yankee Stadium does not work in his favor. But being able to pitch most of his games in the big, spacious ballpark in Miami would certainly lower his homerun rate.

Hughes posted a 4.23 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 in 2012 but followed it up with a 5.19 ERA with 7.5 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in 2013.

The Marlins would also have nothing to lose by signing Hughes. They don't have a roster that is ready to compete in the NL Easy just yet, and should Hughes put together something decent, they might be able to trade him off for some other pieces.

The Twins, Royals and Mets have also shown interest in Hughes so far this offseason.

As we head into the final week of November, some things are starting to become a little more clear as to what moves the Yankees will be able to make this offseason -- of course, it won't become 100 percent clear until we know what happens with Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano.

One of those moves would be re-signing Hiroki Kuroda, the Yankees' best pitcher for most pf last season.

Joel Sherman of the NY Post noted in a column Saturday night that the Yankees have moved away from the "gloomy" thoughts that they would not have Kuroda next season, and are now "more upbeat" that Kuroda will decided to pitch one more season.

Kuroda declined a one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer from the Yankees earlier this month, and he is expected to soon make a decision on what he wants to do next.

Reportedly, his options are to play one more season -- and it would likely be with the Yankees --, go back to Japan to finish his career where he started it, or just retire altogether.

Kuroda, who will turn 39 in February, pitched well when in last season when the Yankees really needed him. CC Sabathia struggled all season, Ivan Nova was hot and cold, and injuries affected the rotation at times.

But the wear and tear of the long season got to him around mid-August as he went 0-6 with a 6.56 ERA in his final eight starts. He finished at 11-13 with a 3.31 ERA in 201.1 innings.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

For the first time in seemingly a long time, the Yankees made a big splash in the free-agent market Saturday night when they agreed to terms on a five-year, $85 million contract with All-Star catcher Brian McCann, the top free-agent catcher out there.

This move alone makes the Yankees a lot better moving forward, and with the all the questions coming into the winter about whether or not the Brian Cashman and company would spend the money to get back to postseason play after missing for the second time since 2008.

McCann is an immediate upgrade for the Yankees behind the plate, and he adds some much needed power in the lineup. Assuming the Yankees can re-sign Robinson Cano this winter, the lineup has a chance to be dangerous once again.

A left-handed hitter, McCann becomes a serious threat to pop at least 30-35 homeruns this season playing half of his games in Yankee Stadium.

He can become a strict pull-hitter, and will go absolutely bananas with the short porch in right field. McCann will be the power catcher in the lineup that the Yankees haven't had since Jorge Posada retired.

After missing some time early this past season, he still went on to hit 20 homeruns with a .796 OPS in 102 games. He's hit at least 20 homeruns in each of the last six seasons, and as I mentioned, playing in Yankee Stadium won't hurt that streak, as long as he can stay healthy.

Last season, the Yankees ranked dead last in the majors in homeruns from the catching positions with 8 from Chris Stewart, Austin Romine and Francisco Cervelli getting the most reps behind the plate.

Clearly, McCann provides a dramatic upgrade not only with his glove, but with his bat, as we would all expect. Before McCann, the catcher position was one of the Yankees' biggest weaknesses, and now that they have McCann, it's one of their biggest strengths.

Also, McCann, being a lefty, would pair perfectly with Cervelli in the lineup since he hits very well against left-handed pitching -- in just under 200 career at-bats against lefties, Cervelli's line is .302/.402/.389. Not that the Yankees would have Cervelli face every single left-hander they face, but they could still mix him into the lineup occasionally when needed, providing Joe Girardi with some actual options when making his lineups.

This move automatically makes up for the Yankees letting Russell Martin walk last winter.

And about the money: for $85 million over five years -- there is also a vesting option for a sixth-year that would bring the total to $100 million -- his average salary will $17 million, making him the highest-paid catcher in the game now that Joe Mauer will be moving to first base in 2014.

Even after signing McCann, the Yankees still have more than enough money left over to re-sign Cano, and in a perfect world, win the posting for Masahiro Tanaka, and bring him to the Bronx, too.

Where some might see a concern with this deal is that fact that McCann will be 30-years-old when the season starts, and being a catcher is only going to speed up his aging process. With a deal that will likely keep him in New York until he's 36, McCann, obviously, isn't going to be the same player in fives years as he is now.

But at least having the option to DH now that he's playing in the American League, Girardi will be able to save McCann much more, while still keeping his power in the lineup.

By the time we get to the back-end of this five-year deal, Derek Jeter will likely be gone. Alfonso Soriano might not be here. And that would mean getting McCann to DH more often wouldn't be an issue.

Keep in mind, McCann is also open to playing first base, so Girardi would have another option for keeping him out from behind the plate.

I really see no reason to hate this deal, because when you look closely, the Yankees signed one of the top free-agents on the market, and they haven't done that in a few years. They still remain in the hunt for signing Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury and Shin-Soo Choo, but for now, they got the man they wanted, and it was finally someone that the fanbase wanted, too.

McCann makes the Yankees better. A lot better. In the lineup, behind the plate, and in the clubhouse. He's their first big acquisition of the winter, and it was a good one.

Update -- 6:18pm EST: Update: Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports has reported that the Yankees’ deal with Brian McCann is done, he will be a Yankee, pending physical.

Rosenthal says that the terms of the deal are 5-years, $85 million, with a vesting option for a 6th year that would bring the total worth to $100 million. His average salary will be $17 million a year.

The Yankees will also be sending their first round pick in 2014 to the Braves because McCann was offered a qualifying offer, which he declined.

Update -- 5:53pm EST: Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports is reporting that the Yankees are indeed close to signing McCann, and that the deal would worth more than $80 million over five-years.

Original -- 5:21pm EST: The Yankees are on the verge of signing free-agent catcher Brian McCann to a long-term deal, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports.

The terms of the deal are unknown, but Grant says that two sources confirmed this news to him Saturday.

McCann is the top free-agent catcher on the market, and has been near the top of the Yankees' offseason wish list.

(Read my column with thoughts on the McCann signing)

Just a couple of days ago, the Detroit Tigers and Texas Rangers finalized a deal that sent Prince Fielder to Texas, with all-star second baseman Ian Kinsler to the Motor City. But does that mean the Tigers are done adding infielders? Maybe not.

Though unconfirmed, a report by Tony Paul of the Detroit News suggests that Robinson Cano might have met with the Tigers Friday.

Paul says that Cano might have been spotted at under-the-radar Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti.

No one has been able to confirm that Cano, or even one of his representatives, was in Detroit to meet with the Tigers, but it does leave the speculation of whether or not they would be able to land the best free-agent on the market.

Yes, the Tigers just freed up more than $160 million in trading away Fielder, but at the same time, they now have Kinsler.

Basically, there would be no place for Cano to play unless Detroit decides they want to flip Kinsler and deal him somewhere else, or if he wanted to change positions to play in the outfield, which is something he said he would do in Texas when the Ranger were dealing with the problem of having three quality middle-infielders with only two positions -- Jurickson Profar, Elvis Andrus and Kinsler.

Of course, there's no telling what the Tigers would do when it comes to Cano. As we've seen in the past, they can be pretty unpredictable when it comes to making offseason moves.

But even if they were in on signing Cano, the bigger question is if he really wants to go to Detroit. Not to knock on the city, but we all know that Detroit is no New York -- the place that Cano really wants to be.

We all suspect that one of the reasons Cano decided to leave Scott Boras and sign Jay Z as his agent is because it would better his chances of staying in New York.

He also wants to play for a winner, and the Tigers are currently in shape to contend for a World Series once again next season. The Yankees, on the other hand, are still to be determined as playoff contenders or not.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Alex Rodriguez and his legal team are done presenting their case to independent arbitrator Frederick Horowitz, and the appeal hearing for the 211-game suspension handed down on him by MLB back in August is officially over, reports Ken Davidoff of the New York Post.

Horowitz now has 25 days to make a decision to either uphold, overturn, or reduce the 211-game suspension. Of course, though, since the hearing has not followed the schedule outlined in the Joint Drug Agreement to date due to complexity of the case, so it possible we don't actually see a decision come within the next 25 days.

The appeal hearing lasted 13 days in total, with a month-long recess in between.

A-Rod was not in attendance for the final day of the hearing after storming out of the courtroom Wednesday in anger when Horowitz deemed that MLB Commissioner Bud Selig did not have to testify, causing A-Rod to shout, reportedly, "This is ****ing bull****."

That was just one of the crazy incidents between the two sides since the suspension was handed down months ago.

Earlier today, a spokesman for A-Rod released a statement saying that the Yankees third baseman's team of lawyers plan on revealing "all of the evidence" they have on the case.

"We're going to open up everything," said Ron Berkowitz, the spokesman. "We're going to show everything we have to the press so they can show it to the American public."

That likely means the release of transcripts of witness testimony, sworn affidavits and other information that was supplied to the Rodriguez team by a "whistle-blower" who allegedly works for MLB, but is said to be sympathetic to Rodriguez's side and objects to the way baseball conducted its investigation.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

This may surprise you, the courtroom saga around Alex Rodriguez wasn't the only thing happening with the Yankees today.

The Yankees acquired minor league infielder Dean Anna from the San Diego Padres for 24-year-old right-handed pitcher Ben Paullus. Paullus had a 5.56 ERA in Class A in 2013, and Anna, 26, had an .892 OPS in 2013 for Triple-A Tucson. Here is the press release:
Earlier today, the Yankees acquired INF Dean Anna from the San Diego Padres in exchange for RHP Ben Paullus and added him to the Major League roster. RHP Jose Campos, RHP Shane Greene, OF Slade Heathcott, RHP Bryan Mitchell and C Gary Sanchez were also added to the Major League roster.  
Anna, 26, spent the 2013 season with Triple-A Tucson, where he hit .331 (165-for-498) with 90R, 38 doubles, 9HR and 73RBI in 132 games and saw time at second base, shortstop, third base and in left field. The left-handed batter was originally selected by the Padres in the 26th round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft.  
Campos, 21, went 4-2 with two saves and a 3.41 ERA (87.0IP, 33ER) in 26 games (19 starts) with Single-A Charleston in 2013. He was acquired by the Yankees from the Seattle Mariners along with RHP Michael Pineda on 1/23/12 in exchange for C/DH Jesus Montero and RHP Hector Noesi 
Greene, 25, combined to go 12-10 with a 3.38 ERA (154.1IP, 58ER) in 27 games (26 starts) with Single-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton in 2013. He was originally selected by the Yankees in the 15th round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.  
Heathcott, 23, batted .261 (104-for-399) with 59R, 22 doubles, 8HR and 49RBI in 103 games with Double-A Trenton in 2013. He was originally selected by the Yankees in the first round (29th overall) of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.  
Mitchell, 22, combined to go 4-11 with a 4.71 ERA (145.1IP, 76ER) in 27 games (26 starts) with Single-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton in 2013. He was originally selected by the Yankees in the 16th round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.  
Sanchez, 20, combined to bat .253 (115-for-454) with 50R, 27 doubles, 15HR and 71RBI in 117 games with Single-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton in 2013. He was originally signed by the Yankees as a non-drafted free agent on 7/2/09.  
Additionally, INF Corban Joseph was outrighted to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
The Yankees roster now stands at 39.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Ask and you shall receive -- expect in the case of Robinson Cano and the Yankees. Team president Randy Levine said Tuesday that the Yankees have no interest in meeting the demands of Cano, who is still sticking to his 10-year, $310 million asking price, as reported by ESPN New York.

"As Hal [Steinbrenner] said, we have no interest in doing a 10-year deal, and we have no interest in paying any player over $300 million," Levine said before a breakfast forum in lower Manhattan about the impact of sports on New York's economy.

 The Yankees have offered him about $170 million over seven years, and Levine said that unless Cano "gets more serious, we have nothing to talk about."

"We hope he comes back to us. We want him." said Levine. "But there's really no reason to have any discussions at this point until we get a little closer."

While Cano is an important asset to the Yankees' plans to make it back to the playoffs in 2014, they don't want to re-sign him at a price that would affect them being able to sign other free-agents and make it hard to get payroll under $189 million by 2014.

"Let me say two things to make it very clear," Levine said. "Hal has said and I've said that 189 is the goal, as long as it's consistent with fielding a championship team. We think that's very possible and doable, and we're not waiting around for anybody.

"We have a list of five or six major free agents and we're engaged with all of them and we're not waiting around. The first guys who come off the board, those are the guys we're going to sign."

Levine also said that he's skeptical of any team even coming close to paying the $300 million that Cano is looking for. When asked whether he could envision the Mets prying Cano away from the Yankees, Levine laughed and said, "For 300 million, yes."

"I think Robbie Cano is a great player," he said. "We would very much like to bring him back. I think we've made a very competitive offer and we're just waiting for him to come back."

Not only are the Yankees waiting on Cano to make a move, it's likely they also won't know whether or not Alex Rodriguez will be with the team in 2014, as he continues his appeal of the 211-game suspension handed down by MLB. Whenever the outcome, whatever it may be, the Yanks will find out if they do or don't have an extra $26 million to spend this winter.

"We budgeted A-Rod as playing, that he's here," Levine said. "The way we look at A-Rod, we assume for budget [purposes] he is playing and his money is in the budget."

With Curtis Granderson likely out the door, and Robinson Cano possibly joining him if someone comes along and offers Cano the blank check he's looking for, the Yankees will be missing a lot of power in the lineup next season.

According to recent reports, the Yankees have been engaged with free-agents Brian McCann, Omar Infante, Johnny Peralta, Stephen Drew, Shin Soo-Choo and Carlos Beltran.

The NY Post is reporting that the Yankees are now interested in bringing back left-handed bat Raul Ibanez to serve as the team's DH next season against right-handed pitching. You may remember that Ibanez last played for the Yankees in 2012, hitting several big homeruns for the Bombers in the ALDS against the Baltimore Orioles.

He left New York and sign a one-year, $2.75 million deal with the Seattle Mariners, landing there for the second time in his career.

Ibanez, who will be 42-years-old in June, became a great steal for the Mariners, hitting 29 homeruns in 2013, while hitting .242 with 65 RBIs and a .793 OPS in 124 games. The Yankees are hoping that he can produce those numbers at least one more year.

After letting Ibanez walk, the Yankees signed Travis Hafner to a one-year, $3 million contract, and after hitting .318, six homers and 17 RBIs in April, he fell into a slump until a shoulder in July kept him out for almost the remainder of the season, limiting him to just 82 games and only one after July 26. He finished the season hitting .202 with 12 homers, 37 RBIs and a .679 OPS, and went hitless in his final 23 at-bats.

By bringing in Ibanez, he would likely serve as just a DH for the Yankees, and wouldn't be needed much in the field with Vernon Wells, Ichiro, Alfonso Soriano and Brett Gardner already under contract for 2014. As mentioned, the Yankees have been looking into some free-agent outfielders as well.

The market for Robinson Cano seems to be very thin at the moment, but another team may have joined the race for the top free-agent on the market.

According to reports by the NY Post, Jay Z met with members of the New York Mets front office staff, including COO Jeff Wilpon, general manager Sandy Alderson and assistant general manager John Ricco for dinner at a Manhattan hotel to discuss Cano’s free agency.

Photo from the NY Post
The meeting was apparently called on by Cano's agents, and it was described to Andy Martino of the NY Daily News as a "Boras-like" presentation, referring to the way that Scott Boras, Cano's agent before he was fired earlier this year, uses printed materials, visual elements and other tools when speaking to teams.

This meeting with the Mets by Cano's agents, that also featured agents Brodie Van Wagenen and Juan Perez, comes as a surprise to just about every one around baseball.

Alderson said last week that the Mets were not interested in signing a player that would cost upwards of $100 million, and it was reported yesterday by Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York that Cano is sticking to the 10-year, $310 million price he reportedly asked the Yankees for back in July.

Alderson was asked during the GM meetings last week about signing players to big deals, and he referred back to the 8-year, $138 million extension that David Wright signed last winter.

"We’ve been in that stratosphere once recently with David Wright,” Alderson said. “Those were special circumstances. I think it would be difficult to duplicate that again — not from a financial standpoint, just in terms of team-building. I think it’s difficult to concentrate those kinds of resources into very few players. It’s not really the way you build a quality, sustainable, winning team, I don’t think."

The Mets already have a sure thing of David Murphy at second base, but he wouldn't be hard to move if the Mets were able to lock up Cano.

Cano and the Yankees haven't had an extensive contract talks since free-agency began, but the Yankees have offered Cano an contract somewhere around 7-years for between $161 and $168 million. If Cano is actually sticking to $310 million, he and the Yanks are about $150 million apart.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Yankees re-signed Derek Jeter to a one-year, $12 million deal on November 1st, and now there close to wrapping up Brendan Ryan for one more year, but that doesn't mean they're done adding  shortstops.

The Yankees have expressed interest in free-agent shortstop Jhonny Peralta, reports Jon Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

Peralta would seem to make sense for the Yankees if Alex Rodriguez, who resumed his appeal hearing with MLB on Monday, is suspended for most or all of the 2014 season. He would also be able to spell Jeter a shortstop when needed.

Peralta also learned to play left field for the Detroit Tigers for the final three games of the 2013 season and into the playoffs after serving a 50-game suspension for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal.

Before being suspended, Peralta earned the second All-Star selection of his career. He finished the season with an .815 OPS in 107 games with the Tigers.

He also been drawing interest from the Yankees' cross-town rivals, the New York Mets.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Robinson Cano is the best player on the free-agent market, yet there doesn't seem to be a bunch of teams knocking down his door to sign him. The lack of teams vying for his services isn't to his liking, so he's willing to wait it out.

In a column for the NY Daily News on Friday, John Harper wrote that a person close to Cano told him that Cano has been preparing all along for the process to take some time, and if he has to drag negotiations into 2014, he will.

“He’s ready for this to go past Christmas, into January if necessary,” the person told Harper. “He’s been told all along that it could take time for a market to develop for him, and he’s fine with that.”

If that turns out to be the case, it comes as no surprise. Cano is in this for the money, not because he doesn't want to play for the Yankees. He's waiting to get the deal that he wants. He doesn't to sign far below what he thinks he worth.

“He wants his money, that’s the bottom line,” the person close to the situation said. “He wants to be a Yankee, but only if he gets the money he wants.”

Cano and the Yankees are apparently about $140 million apart on a contract. Cano's agents reportedly asked the Yankees for 10-years, $305 million back at the All-Star break, and the Yankees countered with a deal in the range of six to seven years at $170 million.

At this point, it seems like Cano doesn't want to sign for anything below $200 million, and the highest I can see the Yankees going is $200 million over 8-years. But even giving 8 years to a player already over 30 seems like a risk.

Yankees principal owner Hal Steinbrenner said during the GM meetings last week that he is expecting with meet with Cano's agents, Jay Z and his Roc Nation group, some time this week.