Thursday, January 7, 2010

News And Notes

Some news and notes regarding the Yankees:
  • Eric Hinske has signed with the Braves. Hinske was a nice mid-season pick up for the Yankees last year and a useful bench piece. While some have expressed concern over the state of the Yankee bench at present, let's not forget that two of last year's most useful bench pieces - Hinske and Jerry Hairston Jr - were mid-season pick ups. With the talent level in the Yankees everyday line up, it's hard to attract good veteran bench players. The Yankees also have a need to keep some roster flexibility with their bench and they can't easily do that with an optionless player like Hinske. Juan Miranda may offer similar offensive value and the team has to be willing to allocate a spot to Rule 5 pick up Jamie Hoffman or risk losing him back to the Dodgers.
  • The Braves have a need for pop in the outfield corners, a need for insurance behind Chipper Jones and Troy Glaus at the infield corners, and a need for a good pinch hitter as an NL club. Hinske makes a lot of sense for them and he stands to get 350 AB or so. Plus, he gets a Major League deal from them where the Yankees likely would have pushed for a minor league one.
  • Meanwhile, with Jason Bay, Matt Holliday, and Mike Cameron signed, and the Braves likely at their budget, Johnny Damon is virtually painted into a corner. Lucky for him, his agent is just now "in the process of turning his attention" to Damon. I'm sure Johnny's happy about that. If you take Brian Cashman's recent comments to Pete Caldera and Chad Jennings at face value, there's virtually no chance returns to the Yankees. But I don't see a better match out there. Just last night perpetual Boras mouthpiece Jon Heyman suggested Damon could return to the Yankees on their terms. While I wouldn't rule it out, I'm not sure whether the latest report is Heyman leaking Boras speak or Heyman just throwing shit at the wall. You never can tell.
  • One thing to keep in mind about the Damon situation is that a $6M salary would represent a more than 50% paycut for him. On multiple occasions this year Brian Cashman has speculated that players who take a paycut are less inclined to do so for their former employer. It worked with Andy Pettitte last year, but Pettitte's a unique case, had an incentive laden deal, and was still semi-vocal about his displeasure. Given some of the accusations hurled at Damon in The Yankee Years, I wonder if the Yankees have particular concerns about Damon's demeanor should return to the Yankees at a greatly reduced pay rate.
  • Sergio Mitre and the Yankees agreed on a deal yesterday, avoiding arbitration. Jerry Crasnick reports it's an $850K base salary with incentives.
  • The Yankees announced yesterday that entire coaching staff will return in 2010. No real surprise there, but outside of Joe Girardi and Kevin Long, everyone's contract expired at the conclusion of last year.

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