Tuesday, December 31, 2013

It's expected that we're going to know about Alex Rodriguez's future with the Yankees within the next couple of weeks, and we'll know then whether the Yanks will need to add a third baseman for the upcoming season.

What we do know right now, though, is that Stephen Drew won't be a candidate to play the hot corner for the Bombers in 2014. At least that's the news from Peter Gammons, who tweeted out Tuesday what General Manager Brian Cashman told him yesterday.
The Yankees had been showing some interest in Drew earlier in the offseason, but already adding some pieces on the field, there would appear to be no room for Drew to play his primary position, shortstop, with Derek Jeter and Brendan Ryan already on the team.

Drew could also play third base, which is where the Yankees would mostly likely use him, but it's unknown whether he would change positions just to suit the need of one team.

With the Yankees apparently not interested, it seems like the New York Mets and Boston Red Sox are the most likely landing spots for Drew as we head into the New Year.

Drew made $10 million last season with the Red Sox, and will probably land a deal earning him just over that amount. He has been asking for a three-year deal, at least.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

A lot of people around baseball expect that the Yankees will end up winning the bidding war for prized Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, whose posting process began on Thursday,but a handful of MLB GMs also expect the Yankees to pull of a deal with free-agent pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, even if they sign Tanaka.

"He had an excellent second half, has great stuff, and he has the type of personality that would fit New York," one GM told Cafardo. "He doesn’t let things get to him. He’s good at shrugging off things and turning the page."

The Yankees have not shown any interest in Jimenez, or any of the other top 3 starting pitchers left on the market -- Ervin Santana and Matt Garza -- so it would be pretty surprising if the Yankees land Jimenez, who MLBTradeRumors.com predicted would get a three-year, $39 million deal.

Jimenez wouldn't be a terrible fit for the Yankees. His homerun rate isn't great for Yankee Stadium, but he does have the potential, when his mechanics are right, to be a very good starting pitcher like he was in Colorado a couple years ago, and just like in the second half of last season.

Tanaka has been priority No.1 pretty much all offseason -- or at least since Robinson Cano signed with the Seattle Mariners -- and the Yankees are going to do everything they can to sign him. Now, if they sign Tanaka and Jimenez, then the Yankees' rotation, currently headed by CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova and Hiroki Kuroda, can be very dangerous next season. You can also throw $189M out the window if that's the case.

Other news and notes:

Cafardo noted in his column Sunday that with Brian McCann on board and Francisco Cervelli likely to be the Yankees' back up, Austin Romine is very much available to any teams interested in him.
Romine finds himself in the same spot as the Red Sox’ Ryan Lavarnway, with really no business going back to Triple A. With Lavarnway, there’s at least light at the end of the tunnel with Pierzynski and David Ross in the last year of their contracts. Lavarnway is also being pushed by Christian Vazquez and Romine by Gary Sanchez.
* Last thing from Cafardo: He said that Johan Santana is close to signing a minor-league deal with an unknown club. The Yankees showed a little bit of interest a couple weeks ago. In my opinion, it wouldn't be a terrible idea for the Yanks to sign him to a minor-league deal with a spring training invite. He could compete for the fifth spot in the rotation, assuming the Yanks pick up one more starter. If Santana can't handle it in the spring, then you can cut him without any further trouble.


Thursday, December 26, 2013

When the Yankees missed the playoff in 2008, they went on a massive spending spree -- picking up CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, AJ Burnett and Nick Swisher -- then won the World Series the very next season.

Same thing happened in 2013 -- the Yankees missed the playoffs for just the second time since 1994, and now they have spent over $300 million to add Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran. But it's not enough to replicate the 2009 success. No, the Yankees won't have done their job this offseason if they don't finish the job and sign Masahiro Tanaka, whose posting process began Thursday morning.

Coming into the offseason, many had said that if re-signing Robinson Cano was priority No. 1 for the Yankees this winter, then signing the Japanese right-hander was No. 1a.

Now that Tanaka has been posted -- following a long back and forth with his club, the Rakuten Golden Eagles, over whether or not they would even post him after the new posting system agreed to a couple weeks ago set a $20 million bidding limit, far less than Rakuten expected to bring in for Tanaka -- he's the best free-agent on the market, and the Yankees are ready to go all in on him.

Of course, they won't be the only team bidding for his services over the next few weeks. The Chicago Cubs are also expected to throw everything they have at him. The Both the Los Angeles Dodgers and Angels have shown interest, along with the Boston Red Sox.

At 25 years old, Tanaka would be a big upgrade in the Yankees' rotation for several years. He went 24-0 in Japan last season with the Golden Eagles, posting a 1.27 ERA in 212 innings, leading Rakuten to the NPB championship.

He's a much better option for the Yankees' rotation compared to the other top free-agent pitchers -- Ubaldo Jimenez, Matt Garza and Ervin Santana -- who the Yanks have shown very little interest in.

The Yankees scouted Tanaka heavily over the past year, and they really like him a lot. Many scouts say he has the ability to be as good as Texas Rangers starter Yu Darvish, who came to the big leagues from Japan in 2012, and many think he's the kind of guy that will change a rotation for many years.

Right now, that's what the Yankees need in their rotation -- a game changer. Entering the new year, only Sabathia, Ivan Nova and Hiroki Kuroda are sure things in the rotation for next season -- and even then, you don't know what you're going to get from Sabathia and Nova, but you can only hope they put together good a good season.

Adding a David Phelps and Michael Pineda in the backend of the rotation wouldn't be awful, but it might not be enough for the Yankees to take down two of their AL East counterparts, the Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays.

Boston had a great year in 2013, obviously, winning the World Series, and they have put together a team that can do the same thing next season, while the Rays are always putting together a talented, albeit, cheap roster, with a starting five that can withstand any test.

Put Tanaka into the Yankees' rotation, and suddenly they look pretty dangerous with another solid season from Nova, and a much more adapted Sabathia.

It's also worth noting that the Yankees, assuming they stay healthy, will have enough firepower in the lineup to get back into the playoffs in 2014, but whether or not they contend for a division title will depend on what happens with Tanaka.

At this point, even with Alex Rodriguez's suspension being upheld for most or all of 2014, the Yankees don't have a very good chance of getting under the self-imposed $189 million luxury tax threshold. The bidding for Tanaka is expected to get pretty intense, and many people within the game expect him to get a deal within the $100-$120 million range, at least.

They've come this far to spend the funds necessary in getting them back into October, but now they must finish the job and land Tanaka, no matter the price.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Update, 10:42pm EST:
 Per a report that was passed on by Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, the Rakuten Golden Eagles have officially announced that they plan to post Masahiro Tanaka, letting to finally come to The States after all. Rejoice!

Original: According to reports from Sponichi and Nikkan Sports in Japan, which were passed on by Dylan Hernandez, of the Los Angeles Time, the Rakuten Golden Eagles will let Masahiro Tanaka move to the United States and play the majors next season. The club has not announced it's decision, so nothing is official.

Tanaka, 25, went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA last season in Japan, and was heavily scouted by the Yankees over the course of last season. He has been one of their top priorities, and are ready to go all-in on him if posted.

Many compare him to be the next Yu Darvish, while some scouts would say that he is good, but no Darvish good. The major league teams hoping to sign him would rather he be Darvish good.

MLB and NPB came to a new agreement on a posting system a couple weeks ago. It set a $20 million posting limit that Rakuten's owners were not happy about, leading to the debate over whether or not they would post him. They had been trying to decide if the should keep him and go after another league championship -- Rakuten won the NPB championship a couple weeks ago -- or post him and take the $20 million.

Hernandez cited from the story that the Golden Eagles had been think about keeping Tanaka to help improve their global brand.

The Chicago Cubs are expected to battle with the Yankees right until the very end for Tanaka's rights. A source told David Kaplen that he believes the Cubs will not be outbid on Tanaka. He also said convincing him to come to Chicago over places like New York and Los Angeles will be no easy task.

The Rakuten Golden Eagles are expected to announce within the next couple of days whether or not they will post Masahiro Tanaka, but in the meantime, the Yankees are keeping in touch with the free-agent pitchers on the market as they continue to look for a fourth starter.

Bronson Arroyo has been one of the pitchers that the Yankees have talked with, according the ESPN's Jerry Crasnick.

Obviously Tanaka is priority No. 1 for the Yankees on the pitching front, and general manager Brian Cashman has said that the team is willing to use internal options if needed, with both the free-agent and trade markets not particularly strong right now.

If the Yankees truly have any interest in signing Arroyo, who will turn 37 in January, it would be because he is very durable -- Arroyo has made at least 30 starts in each of the past nine seasons.

On the other hand, he spent a lot of time in the AL Easy earlier in his career with the Boston Red Sox, and his track record there wasn't great. Also, his homerun rate would not do him justice in Yankee Stadium.

Arroyo has been drawing a lot of interest this winter from teams like the Minnesota Twins and Baltimore Orioles. Crasnick also sites the Los Angeles Angels and Arizona Diamondbacks as potential fits. His 2013 team, the Cincinnati Reds have also shown interest in re-signing him.

Monday, December 23, 2013

David Robertson says that he’s ready to take over for Mariano Rivera, baseball’s all-time saves leader, as the New York Yankees’ closer next season — and I believe him.

"I think I’ve got the stuff to do it," Robertson told the NY Post Saturday at a charity event. "It’s just a matter of coming out there and doing it. It’s the same thing as throwing the eighth inning. You got to get three outs, but there is no one behind you."

For the past few seasons, Robertson has been sitting in the bullpen with Rivera, leading the way for Mo to come into the game in the 9th inning to do his thing. Now that Rivera is gone, someone has to step up and take his place. Not only should Robertson be the top choice, but he deserves to be the top choice.

Sorry to do this, but click here to read the rest of my column on yanksgoyard.com.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

After his two-year, $15 million deal with the Baltimore Orioles fell through this past week, the Yankees are starting to show a renewed interest in free-agent closer Grant Balfour.

The Tampa Bay Rays are also said to be in on the soon-to-be 36-year-old.

The Yankees signed Matt Thornton last week to be the team's lefty specialist, and still need to add at least one more arm for the bullpen. With the cloud of uncertainty around David Robertson and whether they believe he can follow up Mariano Rivera and close next season, adding a closer hasn't been out of the question this winter.

Personally, I think that Robertson is capable of being the closer, and has earned the right to be the first choice next season, but bringing in someone experience like Balfour isn't the worst idea -- although it might not help Robertson's confidence.

Obviously with Balfour, you have to wonder if something might actually be wrong with him after the Orioles said they didn't like what they saw during his physical, even though multiple doctors have said that Balfour is fine, and there is nothing wrong with his shoulder.

Balfour saved 38 games for the Oakland Athletics last season while posting an ERA of 2.59. Health has not been an issue throughout his career, as he has pitched at least 55 innings in each of the past six seasons.

It'll be very interesting to see if the Yankees -- or even the Rays -- can get a deal done with Balfour, because you know the first time he gets a save in Baltimore will be quite the show to watch, with him being as emotional as he is.

However, even if the Yankees are interested, the upcoming $189 million luxury tax cap is almost within reach, and you would have to guess that the Yankees are going to wait to see if Masahiro Tanaka is posted, and what is going to happen with Alex Rodriguez.


The Yankees still don't know if Alex Rodriguez will be allowed to take the field next season, or if he'll be suspended for most or all of 2014, but right now, all signs point to Frederick Horowitz upholding at least some of his 211-game suspension.

If that's the case, and A-Rod isn't on the team this upcoming season, the Yankees are going to need someone to play third base -- or even if A-Rod is on the team, they still might need a third baseman.

We've been hearing all winter that the Yankees have been interested in bringing back Mark Reynolds, who the team signed in August and hit 6 homeruns while driving in 19 RBIs in 36 games. But, for the moment, no deal is reportedly close to happening.

The Yankees like Reynolds because he can not only play third base, but can also serve as a back up to Mark Teixeira, who is coming off wrist surgery, and we all know how tricky wrist injuries can be.

Reynolds also gives the Yankees another right-handed power bat in the lineup, which would be key in helping level out the line of lefties the Yanks already have -- Derek Jeter and Alfonso Soriano project to be the only righties in the lineup, if you're not counting both of the switch-hitter, Teixeira and Carlos Beltran.

His defense isn't great, but one would be a better option than A-Rod at second base, with his two hip surgeries and limited range slowing him down.

one of the more talked about free-agents this offseason has been Stephen Drew, whose market could start heating up now that Shin-Soo Choo has signed a seven-year, $130 million deal with the Texas Rangers, leaving Drew as the top position player left on the market.

We're all aware of the questions and concern surrounding Jeter after playing just 17 games last season because of various injuries, including the ankle injury the ended his season -- the same ankles that he had surgery on in October of 2012.

Drew could play shortstop, but also third base if he is willing to moves around the infield for the Yankees. It's seemed like Drew would want to change his postion just to suit the needs of one team, but we're just a couple days away from Christmas, and he still hasn't signed, so he might be willing to come to New York.

Peter Gammons tweeted Saturday that Drew is waiting for some more clarity with the Yankees, likely meaning that he's waiting for a decision to come down on A-Rod to see of the Yankees will need him to come in and play third base. The arbitrator's decision isn't expected to be announced until the first couple weeks of January.

If the Yankees are looking to go with someone already on the roster, they could see Eduardo Nunez as an option. They had spend some time at third base during games last season, but at the same time, he's been such a disappointment in the field and at the plate over the past couple of seasons, it's starting to look like he might not even be on the team next season.

The team signed Kelly Johnson a couple weeks ago, and he's capable of playing third base if needed. Brian Roberts was signed last week, and it's possible that we could see the Yankees using Roberts at second base and Johnson at third base. That might not be the best option, but it would certainly be the most convenient, and wouldn't cost them another penny on the free-agent market.

Friday, December 20, 2013

The MLB Players' Union expects Brett Gardner's salary for 2014 to be high than the $4 million MLBTradeRumors.com projected he would earn, a union official told Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com.

Rosenthal noted that Michael Bourn made $6.845 million two years ago in his final year of arbitration, and his career on-base and slugging percentages were lower than Gardner's at that point in his career, and although Bourn is a much better base stealer than Gardner, Gardner is a better defender.

Gardner had a career year offensively in 2013, hitting .273/.344/.416 with eight homers and 52 RBIs, 33 doubles and a league-leading 10 triples.

He made $2.85M in 2013 and the projected $1.15M actually seems like too little of a pay raise. Gardner is a year away from becoming a free-agent, and could get expensive, unless the Yankees decide now to extend his contract.

Some expect Gardner to get a contract near the one the Bourn got from the Cleveland Indians last winter. If you take a look at the number, Gardner is a player very similar to Jacoby Ellsbury, and he just signed a seven-year, $153 million with the Yankees.

In 2005, Carlos Beltran told the Yankees he wanted to play for them. There was no room on the roster, so he instead signed a seven-year deal with the New York Mets.

Eight years later, his dreams of playing in pinstripes have finally come true. The Yankees officially introduce Beltran Friday at Yankee Stadium after signing him to a three-year, $45 million contract, one week after Jacoby Ellsbury's presser.

"Having the opportunity to come back again [to New York] really means a lot to me," Beltran said on Friday. "I grew up being a Yankees fan. I grew up being a Bernie Williams fan. As a player — and first of all, as a fan — I used to look up to this organization. They always did what it takes to put good teams out there and win championships."

The Yankees added Beltran, who will wear No. 36 with the Bronx, two weeks ago, right after Robinson Cano signed with the Seattle Mariners.

"This is someone that has always wanted to be a Yankee," general manager Brian Cashman said.

The Yankees have been courting Beltran earlier in the offseason, but talks with the three-time all-star seemed to slow down he was looking for a three-year deal, and the Yanks were only willing to offer two-years. Once the Kansas City Royals joined the race, and another team put a $48 million offer on the team, the Yanks gave him the third year.

Beltran, 36, played for the Mets from 2005-11, when he was dealt to San Francisco. He signed a two-year deal with the St. Louis Cardinals prior to the 2012 season, and reached his first World Series with St. Louis this past October, losing to the Boston Red Sox in six games.

"It's gonna be fun, no doubt about it," Beltran said. "I have good memories in Queens and all I have to say about the Mets is just a lot of good things. I was fortunate to play in a good organization, being able to be around good people. And you know, it’s gonna be different, no doubt about it. At the end of the day, we're gonna go out, we're gonna play, we're gonna try to win.

"That's our job as ballplayers. The reaction is gonna be different. Some are gonna cheer, some are gonna boo, but at the end of the day I'm there to play baseball."

Beltran hit .296 with 24 homers and 84 RBIs for the Cardinals this year, and added two homers and 15 RBIs in the postseason -- a place he hopes to go to with the Yankees.

"I'm really looking forward to October with our new player, Carlos Beltran." said Yankees manager Joe Girardi.

Beltran will be joining a now crowed Yankees outfield with Ellsbury, Brett Gardner, Ichiro Suzuki, Vernon Wells and Alfonso Soriano. However, Ichiro and Wells might not be on the roster on Opening Day, unless the Yanks decide to trade Gardner, which they say isn't happening.

To make room on the 40-man roster for Beltran, the Yankees designated right-handed pitcher Brett Marshall for assignment.

We still don't know if Masahiro Tanaka will be posted the Rakuten Golden Eagles in Japan, but recent reports are making it seem like he won't be. He's been the Yankees' top target this offseason, but because of the uncertainty that is surrounding Tanaka, they might be ready to find a starting pitcher somewhere else.

The Yankees have spent a lot of time and money this winter to adds some big bats to the lineup, but they still need to add a starting pitcher to help them compete in 2013.

They were able to re-sign Hiroki Kuroda on a one-year deal, bringing him back into the rotation that is currently headed by CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, Kuroda and a group of younger pitchers -- being a healthy Michael Pineda, David Phelps, Adam Warren, Vidal Nuno and David Huff -- that will battle for the fifth spot during the spring.

Tanaka, who is only 25-years-old, would be the young-stud pitcher that they're looking for to lead them into the future. He might not be a top of the rotation starter, but some have compared him to Yu Darvish, and he would probably make a great 2 No. 2 or 3 starter in most big league rotations.

But it's starting to look less and less likely that the Yankees will even have the chance to sign him, meaning they'll have to start searching the free-agent market for a fourth starter.

ESPNNewYork.com's Wallace Matthews wrote a story Thursday night suggesting that the Yanks took take a risk in signing the once great Johan Santana, who missed the entire 2013 season because of shoulder surgery. And I completely agree.

What would be the harm in offering Santana a minor-league with an invite to Spring Training? Nothing. When healthy -- and that seems to be a big if with him -- he can be a big asset in the rotation. If he pitches well in the spring, he makes the team. If he pitches poorly, no big deal, he doesn't have to be on the roster.

Paul Maholm has been a name that people are throwing out there. He could be a cheap fix as a southpaw in the rotation.

The three biggest free-agent pitchers on the market -- Ubaldo Jimenez, Matt Garza and Ervin Santana -- don't interest the Yankees very much.

There are a lot of other decent pitchers still available. Bronson Arroyo, Jason Hammel, Tommy Hanson, Jeremy Hefner, Colby Lewis, Paul Maholm, Jason Marquis and Roy Oswalt still don't have homes as we head into the christmas week.

Matthews also noted in his story about Santana that Oswalt could be an interesting name to watch. He's been on a career path very similar to Santana. A once great pitcher that has been dealing with injuries over the past couple of seasons, the Yanks could take a risk on him and see what he shows in the spring.

We saw them do that when signing Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia on minor league deals a couple years ago, and they really paid off. I wouldn't be surprised to see them do it again this season.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

It's official, Carlos Beltran is a New York Yankee. It's been a couple of weeks since the initial news broke that the Yankees had reached an agreement on a three-year, $45 million deal with Beltran.

The Yanks will hold a press conference to introduce Beltran Friday morning at 11am EST at Yankee Stadium.

Beltran will be the sixth outfielder on the Yankees' roster, joining Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury, Alfonso Soriano, Ichiro Suzuki and Vernon Wells. Most likely, one -- maybe two -- of those six outfielders will not be on the Opening Day roster. Wells and Ichiro seem to be the two odd men out.

Beltran, a lifetime .283 hitter with 358 home runs in 16 big-league seasons, the past two seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, figures to spend most of his time in right field and as the DH.

To make room on the 40-roster, the Yankees had to designate Brett Marshall for assignment. Marshall spent most of his year in Triple-A Scranton Triple-A where he posted a 5.13 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9 in 25 starts.

If Masahiro Tanaka is posted by his Japanese club, the Rakuten Golden Eagles, he'll become the biggest free-agent on the market -- but that is still a big if.

According to the NY Times, Japanese reports are saying that Tanaka's club will not let him come to America to play in the MLB next season. Tanaka has already told the club that he wants to play in The States, but they are still doing everything they can to keep him.

Although the club has not announced any official decision, they have, reportedly, been trying to retain the big-time pitcher by doubling or even tripling his current $4 million salary to make him the highest paid Japanese player ever.

One Japanese report said the Tanaka is going to meet with the club on Friday, not to negotiate a new contract, but for the Golden Eagles owners to tell him that he will not be posted.

Before Major League Baseball and the Nippon Professional League agreed to a new posting system, Tanaka was expected to bring the Golden Eagles at least $60 million in the posting fee alone.

But the new posting system that was officially announced this past week set a max posting bid of just $20 million, upsetting the Rakuten owners. To them, $20 million is not enough to let go of their best player.

Keeping him would help keep the club in championship contention next season as the defending league champions, and would assure that tickets sales don't go down.

Under his current deal, if Tanaka were to stay in Japan, he would not be eligible to be posted until after this upcoming season, forcing MLB teams to wait another year to get the pitcher they're looking for.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

When the Yankees signed Jacoby Ellsbury to a seven-year, $153 million deal, many thought that Robinson Cano would be the next big signing. Not exactly.

According got Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, the Yankees made a seven-year, $140 million offer to Shin-Soo Choo right after they had signed Ellsbury. When Choo rejected the offer, they moved on and signed Carlos Beltran to a three-year deal instead.

Choo has been searching for a contract at his price, all while his market appears to be shrinking every day. Passan says that Choo has multiple offers on the table at the moment. The Houston Astros, Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners and Arizona Diamondbacks has been the teams showing the most interest lately.

Choo is the best available player on the market -- until Masahiro Tanaka gets posted, if he'll even be posted -- is worth paying a lot of money, but maybe not anything more than the $140 he rejected from the Yanks. A lead-off hitter that can get on base would fill a hole on a lot of teams.

The Yankees were likely trying to sign him to fill the void of Cano's impending signing with the Mariners. The Bombers signed Ellsbury a few days before Cano signed in Seattle, the same day the Yanks agreed to terms with Beltran.

It'll be interesting to see if Choo ends up landing a contract bigger than what the Yankees offered him.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Yankees have signed left-handed reliever Matt Thornton to a two-year, $7 million deal, reports YES Network's Jack Curry. The agreement is pending a physical.

Thornton will like take over as the late-inning, left-handed reliever for the Yanks next season, replacing Boone Logan, who signed a three-year deal with the Colorado Rockies last week. He'll also be able to team up with David Robertson late in the game to help ease the transition into the post-Rivera era.

Thornton made a combined 60 appearance with the Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox last season, posting a 3.74 ERA in 41.1 innings. He's got a 9.2 strikeout/walk ratio over 10 major league seasons. He turned 37-years-old in September, and has been very durable throughout his career.

The Yankees have been looking at bullpen arms throughout the offseason, with there being quite a turnover in the bullpen. After Mariano Rivera retired, Logan and Joba Chamberlain both found new homes this winter.

Before signing Thornton, it was looking like Cesar Cabral would be one of the top candidate to take over the lefty-specialist role in Spring Training, but now the Yanks can let him develop a little more. Should he shine during the spring, it would only give the Yanks another valuable bullpen piece.

The Yankees' 40-man roster is currently full, so the team will have to clear room for both Thornton and Brian Roberts, who was signed to a one-year deal earlier in the day. The Yanks also still have to officially announce the signing of Carlos Beltran, so that would require a third roster move.


Going from an always healthy player in Robinson Cano, the Yankees have agreed to terms on a one-year deal with the often injured Brian Roberts to take his place at second base, sources tell Jon Morosi Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com.

The deal with Roberts will be worth around $2 million, with incentives that could bump up the total pay.

Roberts was once among the best second baseman in baseball, but concussions along with other injuries began cutting down his playing time in the 2010 season.

Rosenthal adds that because of his injury history, signing Roberts doesn't take the Yankees out of signing one of the other free-agent infielders that they have their eye on -- like Mark Reynolds and Michael Young.

With Kelly Johnson already signed to play around the infield, too, the Yankees could use him and Roberts to switch in and out at second and third base, but because of Roberts' injuries and Johnson's no-so-Gold Glove in the field, signing one more infielder would be a more reasonable option.

However, Roberts does hit left-handers pretty well, and platoon him in the lineup with the left-handed hitting Johnson could be a decent short-term fix.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Just because the Yankees have been making any moves recently, it doesn't mean they aren't out there looking.

With Robinson Cano now in Seattle, Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira coming off an injury filled 2013, and Alex Rodriguez likely to miss most or all of next season, the Yankees are looking for infield depth to assure themselves that they will be ready for Opening Day.

The team has already taken the steps to re-sign Brendan Ryan to help spell Jeter at short, and also signed Kelly Johnson as one of the candidates to to replace Cano, but there it still more to be done.

Omar Infante and Mark Ellis had been a pair of the Yankees' top candidate take over at second base, but they've both come off the board recently, as Infante signed with the Kansas City Royals, and Ellis with the St. Louis Cardinals.

As the options are starting to dwindle down, the Yankees have been keeping their eye on infielders such as Mark Reynolds, Brian Roberts and Michael Young.

The Yanks have been showing a good amount of interest in bringing back Reynolds, who the teams signed in August to play both corner infield positions and provide power from the right side of the plate. Bringing him back would give them a third baseman in case A-Rod is not in the lineup, and would also serve as a back up to Teixeira is his wrist causes problems more problems next season.

With Reynolds, he gives you a lot of strikeouts, but can also knock the ball out of the park when he does actually make contact. Basically your high-risk, high-reward player at the plate.

Reynolds has been drawing interest from a handful of clubs, and the Yanks could run into some competition in trying to re-sign him.

Young was a player that the Yankees tried trading for back at the trading deadline, but his team, the Philadelphia Phillies decided they didn't want to deal him, so he remained in Philly before being dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers in August.

His bat isn't as great as it use to be, and he's not that great in the field, although he can play all around the diamond.

Then there's Roberts. An often injured player, he has played in more than 59 games just once since 2009 (he played in 77 games last season). As a switch hitter, he can hit lefties pretty well, and maybe signing him to platoon with Johnson at second base would be a reasonable option.

Major League Baseball and the Nippon Professional Baseball league have officially announced an agreement on a new posting system that will allow Japanese players be posted by their clubs, letting them come play baseball in The States.

The two sides have been at the table chipping away at the terms of a new deal for most of the offseason, and now that they have a deal in place, the bidding war for top Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka can begin.

Here are the guid rules for the new system as laid out in the official press release:
If an NPB Club wishes to make one of its players available to Major League Clubs, the NPB shall notify the Office of the Commissioner of the NPB player's potential availability and the "release fee" that a Major League Club must pay to the NPB Club in order to secure the NPB player's release. The NPB Club may not set the release fee at an amount higher than $20 million and the fee cannot be changed once it has been set by the NPB Club.

* The Office of the Commissioner shall then "post" the NPB player's availability by notifying all Major League Clubs of the NPB player's availability and the release fee sought by the NPB Club.
* All "postings" of NPB players must be made between November 1st and February 1st. 
* Beginning the day after the player is posted, and concluding 30 days later, any Major League club willing to pay the release fee set by the NPB Club may then negotiate with the player in an attempt to reach an agreement on a contract. 
* If a Major League Club is able to reach an agreement on a contract with the posted NPB player, the Major League Club must pay the NPB Club the designated release fee, which will occur in installments, the timing of which depends on the size of the release fee.

* If the posted NPB player fails to reach an agreement with a Major League Club, the release fee is not owed, the NPB player remains under reserve to his NPB Club, and the player may not be posted again until the following November 1.
* The term of the new posting agreement is three years, continuing from year-to-year thereafter until either the Office of the Commissioner or the NPB gives notice of its intent to terminate the agreement one hundred and eighty days prior to the anniversary of the commencement of the agreement. 
MLB Chief Operating Officer Rob Manfred said: "We are pleased to have amicably reached an agreement that addresses various issues raised by all parties. Major League Baseball values its longstanding professional relationship with Nippon Professional Baseball, and we look forward to continuing the growth of the great game we share in the years to come."
So none of the rules comes as much of a surprise. The release fee will be $20 million, and once the player is posted, all the teams that post the $20 million fee will have 30 days to negotiate a contract with the player.

Because of the small $20 million fee, compared to the old system in which teams took part in a blind bidding, more teams will have the chance to bid for Tanaka's services. The Yankees have been setting up to throw everything they have at Tanaka. He's their number one target, and with the need for another starting pitcher still there, I don't see why they wouldn't still be all-in on him.

There has been some confusion lately as to whether his Japanese club, the Rakuten Golden Eagles, would even post him with $20 million being the return, compared to the $60 million, or more, that he was expected to generate. Reports Monday said that his owner would try to have him pitch on Japan at least one more year, while it's now been stated that Tanaka will be posted.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Six months ago, if you would have told me that Robinson Cano was going to sign with the Seattle Mariners, and the Yankees would replace him at second base with non other than Kelly Johnson, I probably would have shrugged you off and said that you don't know much about baseball.

It's now December 15th, Cano was officially introduced as Mariner on Thursday, and it's looking all but sure thing that Johnson will be theYankees' starting second baseman on Opening Day.

Running out of options, another second baseman was taken off the Yanks' board today when Mark Ellis signed a deal with the St. Louis Cardinals, just a couple days after top second base target Omar Infante signed a four-year, $30 million deal with the Kansas City Royals.

Sure, there are still a few options left, but realistically, they aren't better options than Johnson. The Yankees have kicked the tires on Brian Roberts, but his history with injuries is just way too much of a risk, and it would probably be easier to just stick with Johnson.

They could also go after a trade, but it would seem like the options out there are worth what they would be giving up.

The Yankees passed up the opportunity last week to acquire Brandon Phillips from the Cincinnati Reds to Brett Gardner, but the Yanks are too excited about the idea of dealing Gardner -- the team's best trade chip -- and they didn't feel like his declining offensive numbers over the past few seasons is worth the $50 million he's owed over the next four years.

Chicago Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney has come up as a name that the Yankees might be interested in. Barney hit just above .200 last season, and would't give the Yanks much on offense, but he's a Gold Glove second baseman that can provide defense -- it would be like having another Brendan Ryan, which if you ask me, is one too many.

From what I've been reading around the internet, Yankees fans don't seem too happy that Johnson might be the starting second baseman after watching Cano man the position so well for man years. Sorry to tell you, but everything you're root against is likely to come true.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Winter Meetings are over and the Yankees contingent is back in the Bronx to introduce recently acquired Jacoby Ellsbury at a 11am press conference at Yankee Stadium Friday morning. It was a pretty quite week for the Yanks, who didn't make any actual moves, but did stir up the rumor pot a bit.

-- Wednesday night, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported that the Yankees had rejected a deal with the Cincinnati Reds that would have sent second baseman Brandon Phillips the New York in exchange for outfielder Brett Gardner, straight up. The Yankees rejected the deal for a couple of reasons.

1.) Phillips is owed $50 million over the next four-years, which the Yanks feel is too much for a guy who they feel is in decline, with his numbers at the plate having gone down in each of the past three season.

2.) When Phillips began to think that Robinson Cano might be leaving the Yankees, he added the Bombers to his no-trade list. Trying to be clever -- and although he was never actually approached by the Reds about a trade -- it seems like he would have tried to use his no-trade clause to renegotiate his contract before he would waive his no-trade.

3.) It the Yankees are going to make a trade involving Gardner, it would have to give them at least a No. 4 starter for the rotation. Denying a second baseman like Phillips shows that the Yanks are serious about keeping Gardner if moving him doesn't get him a starter. As much as the Yanks want to keep him, they won't hesitate to deal him if it makes the team better.

-- Second base is still very much a priority for the Yankees has they head back home. The team has been heavily involved with free-agent Omar Infante throughout the offseason. Buster Olney, of ESPN, said Thursday that the Yankees offered Infante a 3-year, $24 million offer right after Cano signed with the Seattle Mariners.

The problem is, Infante is looking for a four-year deal worth about $40 million. The Yankees would really like to stand firm at three-years, but just like we saw with them and Carlos Beltran eventually getting the third year he was looking for, it doesn't mean that the Yanks won't budge on their offer and give Infante a fourth year.

Several other teams have recently jumped into the bidding for Infante, including the Kansa City Royals, who appear to be the favorites to sign him at this point.

-- The Yankees made it seem like they would really like to add a fourth starter before pitchers and catchers report to camp in February -- and they should want to. For the moment, the Yanks' rotation is lead by CC Sabathia, who is coming off the worst year of his career; Ivan Nova, who was great in 2013, but you can only hope his continues the success next season; and Hiroki Kuroda, who fizzled down the stretch.

Michael Pineda, according to general manager Brian Cashman, is completely healthy and will compete for the fifth spot in the rotation during Spring Training, along with David Phelps, Adam Warren and Vidal Nuno.

Adding a fourth starter isn't impossible at this point, but it looks like it won't be an easy task. Obviously they could trade Gardner, but the trade market isn't very strong at the moment. The Yankees have been showing interest in guys like Justin Masterson and Jeff Samardzija, however, the Yankees don't have enough high-level prospects to just trade away.

As for free-agents, the Yankees aren't very intrigued with the top-tier starters -- Matt Garza, Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana. They're prices are too high for what they are offering. It would seem more likely that a backend of the rotation starter could be a guy like Paul Maholm, who would fit well with the Bombers.