Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hey Fans! An Article About... WHO BUT?!?

Finally, a column in a major online media outlet dedicated to a fake Yankees-related Twitter feed. You know which one I'm talking about:
A lucky few of us are blessed with a special gift. And this anonymous gent (or lady), known on Twitter as @yesmichaelkay, has found his (or her) niche in being able to channel the very essence of the amiable, slightly buffoonish Yankees play-by-play broadcaster Michael Kay into 140-character musings on baseball, philosophy, sex, and life in general -- all of which begin "Hey fans!"
If you are a follower of the Twitter feed, the article is a must read. If you are unfamiliar, it might be even more hilarious.

@yesmichaelkay built up quite a following for himself, amassing over 2,000 followers, earning mention by Will Leitch on Deadspin and apparently getting shown to Michael Kay by Jon Heyman. But all this "fame" and adulation (but mostly RTs) came under a cloak of anonymity. No one seems to know who is behind the feed. In direct message on Twitter, fellow Yankee fan and baseball blogger Rob Iracane of Walkoff Walk called it "the great mystery of his life".

I've long suspected I knew who this mysterious bastard was. The Tom behind the tweets. The Frank firing the feed. The Keith at the keyboard. And since no one else has offered any sort of a theory, here you go.

I think it's Andrew Fletcher of Scott Proctor's Arm.

Fletcher invented the Michael Kay drinking game back in May of 2008. He updated it this year and even parlayed that into an appearance on Kay's radio show. Both the drinking game and the Twitter feed thrive off Kay's speech patterns and catchphrases and there is considerable overlap in material.

Most damning though, @yesmichaelkay is following only 22 people. Among those are, appropriately the YES Network, 1050 ESPN Radio, Awful Announcing, and The Onion. However, the account follows both Fletcher's personal feed and the now-defunct Scott Proctor's Arm. The latter was the second feed YMK ever added.

Only three other Yankee fans. No other Yankee blogs. Quite the discriminating taste, wouldn't you say? The feed just happens to be following the man behind the drinking game, with an existing distaste for Michael Kay and a veritable encyclopedia of his verbal tics. Isn't it more likely that Fletcher simply took care to follow his other feeds?

I'm onto you, Fletcher. You can't hide anymore. Turn yourself in.

[Update: It's not him. Props to Jimmy Trania at Hot Clicks for solving this mystery.]

Yankee Rumor Du Jour: Curtis Granderson

As soon as Joel Sherman found out that the Tigers were willing to listen to offers for Curtis Granderson, he immediately speculated that the Yankees would be "near the top of the list" of possible trade partners. This is not a knock against Sherman, who was the one person responsible for consistently churning up "news" at an unusually dull GMs meetings in Chicago while others were content to tell us that nothing was happening. It's his job to concoct interesting theories based on pseudo-facts to keep people reading about baseball even though very little is actually happening.

However, this morning, he really put on his tin foil hat thinking cap and got to work:
Curtis Granderson would be an ideal fit for the Yankees and is available. He is a very good player with a reputation as a better person. So he would enhance both the exceptional lineup and strong clubhouse community the Yankees already have.

GM Brian Cashman’s vision for the Yankees has been younger, more athletic and more cost efficient. Granderson will play next season at 29, which would give the Yankees another prime-aged player in their everyday lineup along with Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher.
The problem is that Granderson is neither younger nor more cost efficient than 25 year old Brett Gardner who will be making close to the Major League minimum this year or 24 year old Melky Cabrera who will take the $1.4M he made last year to arbitration. So trading for Granderson would make the Yankees younger and cheaper, by making them older and more expensive.

To acquire Granderson, Sherman suggests that the Yanks deal Austin Jackson, Ian Kennedy and Zach McAllister and if that doesn't work, take on some players who are very old, extremely overpaid, and can't play the field. Exactly what Cashman was envisioning!
For example, Carlos Guillen has two years at $26 million left. Could the Yankees take that on and hope his deteriorating body and game holds up enough for him to provide switch-hitting depth in left field, first base and DH?

Or do they take on Magglio Ordonez, who is due $18 million next year and has a games started/plate appearance trigger for another $15 million in 2011. Like Guillen, Ordonez’s body and game are wearing out. He did still hit .310 last year, but with just nine homers. He played his best late in the year, hitting .401 from Aug. 1 to the end of the season, a period of 50 games in which he walked (19) more often than he struck out (17).
Sherman also names Nate Robertson ($7M), Jeremy Bonderman ($12M), Dontrelle Willis ($12M), Brandon Inge ($6.6M) and even Miguel Cabrera, who has $126M left on his deal and no ostensible defensive role in the Bronx.

The Yankees have one position that is occupied by truly young and cheap players and that is center field. Could the they stand to upgrade their production there? Yes. Do they need to trade for someone who is owed $32M over the next 4 years to do so? I really don't think so. Should they take on horrible and/or huge contracts from the Tigers in addition to do so? Absolutely not.

And Now For Some Real News

Good morning Fackers. Freddy Guzman and Josh Towers were both outrighted yesterday, refused minor league assignment, and elected free agency. Guzman pinch ran twice in the postseason, had one plate appearance (immediately after A-Rod's game-tying HR in the 11th inning of Game 2 of the ALCS), and did not steal a base or score a run. Towers appeared in two regular season games and pitched 5 1/3 innings. allowing three runs. Hey, I didn't say it was big news, just that it was news.

This should come as no surprise. Not only did neither figure into next year's plan, but the Yankees need to begin clearing 40 man roster spots in preparation for the Rule 5 draft. The 40 man roster needs to be finalized by November 20th and the draft will take place at the Winter Meetings in early December. Austin Jackson, Kevin Russo, Zach Kroenke, and Ivan Nova are amongst those that need to be added to the 40 man to prevent exposure during the Rule 5 Draft.

The Yankees ended the regular season with a full 40 man roster, plus Chien-Ming Wang and Xavier Nady on the 60 day DL. By my count, the loss of Guzman and Towers combined with free agency filings by Nady, Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui, Jose Molina, Jerry Hairston Jr, Eric Hinske, and eventually Andy Pettitte leave them with 33 spots spoken for.

Shelley Duncan, Edwar Ramirez, and potentially Jonathan Albaladejo are also candidates to be outrighted, though Ramirez and Albaladejo have options left. The Yankees hold a $1.25M option on Sergio Mitre that Joel Sherman has said they will exercise, though I can't imagine why.

Brian Bruney and Chien-Ming Wang are candidates to be non-tendered, but the non-tender deadline isn't until December 12th, so I can't imagine their fate will be decided before the November 20th 40 man roster deadline. For now, Sherman thinks that they will offer a contract to Bruney because he price is somewhat reasonable (~$1.5M) but not to Wang despite a favorable prognosis from Dr. James Andrews.

However many spots the Yankees open up, don't expect them to fill them all by the 20th. They'll still need some open spots available to add free agents as they're signed, so there's little sense protecting a fringe guy in November if he's only going to be cut in December.