The Yankees continued to strengthen their bullpen yesterday, signing right-hander Juan Acevedo--- a product of the Mets farm system---to a minor-league contract. Ostensibly, Acevado, who served as the Detriot Tigers closer for most of 2002, would compete for set-up role in the Yankee bullpen. There is a chance he won't make the opening day roster, but as the saying goes, "You can never have enough pitching." According to espn:
Acevedo is guaranteed $150,000 and would get a $900,000, one-year contract if he's added to the Yankees' major league roster. If he's added to the roster, New York also would get a $3 million option for 2004 with a $50,000 buyout.
Mike C from Baseball Rants thinks this is another good pick up for the Bombers.
WEAVER MAY GET SHOT
Joel Sherman reports today that the Yankees are leaning toward using Jeff Weaver in the starting rotation and putting Jose Contreras in the pen to start the season. I know there are a lot of things that can happen between now and opening day, but this sounds like a sensible plan to me.
"It is Weaver's [rotation] job to lose," [one] source said.
In fact, the source said, the Yanks are intrigued about what Contreras' 95-mph fastball would look like setting up Mariano Rivera if the rotation were blocked to him initially
¡¦ And now it looks as if Weaver will start because: a) the Yanks recognize Contreras might need an adjustment to the majors and could even begin in the minors and b) that asking him for 30 starts/200 innings in his first season could be unwise. They also know that with age issues involving Clemens and Wells, plus Pettitte coming off elbow woes that there should be many chances for a sixth starter in 2003.
"They will not force Contreras into the rotation just because of the contract," the source said. "They are looking at the big picture."
Travis Nelson, who runs Boy of Summer, has a good link to one of the Yankees few viable pitching prospects, youngster Julio DePaula.
I am currently reading Ed Linn's book, "Steinbrenner's Yankees" which I owned as kid, but lost at some point along the way. It just arrived from Barnes and Noble.com and I'm eating it up accordingly. Linn, who is most famous for co-writing "Veeck as in Wreck," "Hitter" (with Ted Williams), and "Nice Guys Finish Last" (with Leo the Lip), covers the Bronx Zoo Yankees in a brisk, readable manner. The more I refresh my memories of those turbulent days, the tamer George's recent outbursts seem in comparison (the Mark Newman situation notwithstanding).
Bob Klapisch contributed another piece on the Madness of King George this past Sunday:
We know why Steinbrenner is occupying all the space in the Yankee universe: he hasn't quite digested the early exit from last October's AL Division Series, and the high-fiving that's gone on in Bud Selig's office ever since. But The Boss' need for revenge already cost him one of his most trusted advisers and is threatening to soil his relationship with Torre, as well as Derek Jeter.
Interesting, wasn't it, that Torre wouldn't respond to Steinbrenner's recent jabs about the club's underachievement last year. Smart man, Torre. He knows there's no winning a public war with The Boss. Torre also knows that when Steinbrenner wants to take down his manager, he starts with the coaches - a tactic he perfected in the Billy Martin era. That's why it was so revealing to hear Steinbrenner say Torre's coaches, "have to do more than just be friends with Joe."
We're still waiting to hear from Jeter, who, according to Steinbrenner, partied too much in 2002, hence his first sub.-300 average since 1997. If Jeter is as smart as Torre, he won't utter a word in response. If history has taught the Yankees anything about a Steinbrenner tempest, it's this: Make like the matador handling the enraged bull. Use the cape, avoid the frontal assaults, wait until the beast exhausts itself.
The strange story of Kevin Millar continues to unfold, and evidently, it's not out of the question that he may wind up in Boston after all. According to the Boston Globe:
Now, Millar is not due to report to Japan until Saturday, when spring training begins. But even the Chunichi Dragons, the team that signed Millar to a three-year, $6.2 million contract after purchasing him from the Florida Marlins, yesterday expressed uncertainty about whether Millar will show up.
Major league sources, meanwhile, said yesterday that Millar will not report, has informed the Dragons of his intentions, and is attempting to have his contract voided so he can play for the Red Sox. One source said Millar's agents plan to cite as precedent the case of Japanese third baseman Norihiro Nakamura, who earlier this month backed out of a two-year deal with the Mets to sign a $6.5 million contract with Kintetsu, becoming the highest-paid player in Japan.
In the past year, Red Sox Nation have dealt with the passing of several men who were vital to their beloved team in fashion or another: Ted Williams, greatest hitter ever; Dick O'Connell, arguably their best GM ever, and Ned Martin, who for 31 years worked as the television and radio voice of the Home Nine. This weekend, Jack Rogers, longtime traveling secretary of the Sox, who has charted pitches in the press box for the Sox since he retired in 1994 died. Dan Shaughnessy paid tribute in his most recent column.
DAUBACH CHANGES SOX
Former Red Sox super-scrub Brian Daubach has been invited to spring training with the Chicago White Sox.
Here is how Mike C from Baseball Rants views the move:
Daubach isn't the next coming of Gehrig, but he has hit 20 home runs a season for the past four and has had an OPS at least 16% better than the adjusted league average in three of those seasons. His .812 OPS last year beat out a lot of other first basemen: former MVP Mo Vaughn, Angel and Tim McCarver hero Scott Spiezio, super-rookie Carlos Pena, playoff-bound Tino Martinez, Scott Hatteberg, Doug Mientkiewicz, Julio Franco, Mark Grace, J.T. Snow, and Nick Johnson (DH-1B), and teammate Tony Clark, among others.
This is a guy that could be a useful part of a contender or a useful starter on a pretender. Now, he will have to be a bench player on a team that now has three first basemen better than the starter on its main competitor, the Twins. Though I hate to endorse any Jerry Reisdorf team, the ChiSox could be the closest thing to a lock in MLB. I fully expect the world to be shocked if or when they win their division.
Both Gordon Edes (Boston Globe) and Bill Madden (Daily News) criticized the Florida Marlins for giving Pudge Rodriguez a one-year, $10 million contract, over the weekend in their Sunday columns.
According to Edes:
Texas catcher Ivan Rodriguez, a 10-time All-Star who last week signed a one-year, $10 million deal with the Florida Marlins, said he was depressed that teams showed so little interest in him this winter. But Rodriguez has missed an average of 59 games the last three seasons, and with the rare exception, like a Carlton Fisk, few catchers avoid a decline in production after a decade behind the plate.
¡¦The notion that Rodriguez is going to cause a rush at the box office is laughable, especially since he is so obviously a short-timer. For a team that supposedly has no chance of making a go of it without a new stadium, the Marlins are making some curious choices about how to allocate their resources. They're already committed to paying $23 million for Mike Hampton to pitch for division rival Atlanta, part of a complicated three-way deal with the Rockies. And with $7 million of Rodriguez's contract deferred, chances are strong that Florida will be paying I-Rod while he's playing for someone else next season.
As one scout said: "The four at-bats per game did not compare to the 120 decisions Rodriguez had to make with pitchers." From Rodgriguez's standpoint, he turned down a three-year $22 million offer from the Orioles - purportedly because his agent, Jeffrey Moorad, had promised to get him $10 mil per year. But according to industry sources, the Marlins are deferring $7 million of the $10 million, meaning the value of the contract will be reassessed at around $8 mil. Meanwhile, Rodriguez has consigned himself to a new league, with no DH to give him valuable extra at-bats, and in one of the worst hitter's parks in baseball. And for $8 mil he almost certainly could have stayed in Texas to showcase his wares for one season.
In case you missed them, make sure to check out Rob Neyer's two (frick and frack) very funny and convincing columns regarding the future of the Astros' old second baseman/newest center fielder, Craig Biggio.