Blog Archives

Morning Bits: Marte, Beltran, Sabathia

* As was mentioned yesterday, the Yankee declined the option on lefty Marte.

* Carlos Beltran is an option to replace Swisher for the Yankees.

* Sabathia’s weight concerns the Yankees before contract talks.

Yankees decline to pick up Damaso Marte’s 2012 option

Yankees decline to pick up Damaso Marte’s 2012 option

by Delia E.

The New York Yankees have declined to exercise the 2012 option on Damaso Marte’s contract thus making him a free agent. The Yankees weren’t willing to pay Marte $4 Million since he had been out with shoulder problems for the last 3 seasons. Instead the Yankees have given him a $250K buyout.

The Yankees signed him to a 3 year contract in 2008, with him just having 31 innings during the lifespan of the contract with a 6.39 ERA. Although he had a good ALCS and World Series in 2009, the Yankees would rather have a reliever who is healthy and not out a lot with injuries.

Afternoon Bits: A-Rod, Montero, Feliciano, Marte

Hello everyone.  If your sick of watching the weather channel Espn has the little league world series on.  Also at 4pm on Fox it’s the Saturday prime time game.   The game shown depends on where you live.

Stay safe and here are some links.

* A-Rod hit his first home run since June last night.  Hopefully more are to come.

* Montero’s bat remains scalding hot.   I can’t wait to see him called up and get a chance at the Big Show.

* Feliciano and Marte on verge of progress.

2011 Trade Deadline: Left-Handed Relief

It has been made clear that among the types of players the Yankees are searching for are left-handed relief-pitchers. Although Boone Logan has done a fairly solid job of late, they really could use another good lefty in the bullpen. And Steve Garrison is not the solution. There isn’t a clear date in which Pedro Feliciano or Damaso Marte are expected to return, so the Yankees definitely need to make a move for a lefty specialist. Here are some favorable options:

  1. Craig Breslow, OAK: Breslow has been a model of consistency in 2011, 2010, 2009. He has averaged a 2.98 ERA over those past 3 years. This year so far has been the weakest year of those 3 seasons, as his H/9 has spiked up from 6.4 to 10.8, but he seems to be able to limit the damage quite well, as his ERA is still only 3.34 despite that H/9.  He hasn’t had a real platoon split throughout his career, with lefties batting .223 and righties batting .217. Although, this year lefties are getting more hits off of Breslow. However, this could be a simple case of bad luck, as his career stats do not reflect this year’s platoon split. Because he can get righties out as well, Breslow doesn’t just have to be a lefty specialist as Logan is. His fastball tops out a 92-mph. In addition to that, Breslow throws a cutter, a 12-6 curveball, an above-average change-up, and a slider. CONTRACT: Signed through 2011, 1 yr/1.4 MM, Arb. Eligible in 2012, Free Agent in 2014
  2. Aaron Laffey, SEA: Although Laffey is no big-name reliever, he is quietly having himself a very strong season with the Mariners. This year, lefties are hitting a mere .190 against him, compared to righties hitting .322. Therefore, Laffey is your typical lefty specialist. Laffey primarily throws an 88 mph sinker, and is a ground-ball pitcher, with a 1.10 Ground Ball/Fly Ball ratio. His secondary pitches include an above average slider and change-up. Considering how well Laffey has done this year versus lefties, he would be very helpful indeed to the Yankees. CONTRACT: Signed through 2011, 1 yr/432K, Arb. Eligible in 2012, Free Agent in 2015
  3. Randy Choate, FLA: Choate is pitching extremely well this year. He is someone the Yankees should have pursued in this past offseason. In 20.1 innings of work this year, Choate has a 1.33 ERA, 26 SO and only 10 BB. This year, lefties have only hit .123 off of him, while righties still only hit .214. So Choate doesn’t just have to be used for lefties, but he’d do a fantastic job against them. Against left-handed batters, he has a terrific 11.50 SO/BB ratio. The Marlins are in last place, and Choate is the pitcher I want to see the Yankees make a trade for. CONTRACT: Signed through 2012, 2 yr/2.5MM, Free Agent in 2013
  4. Trio of Lefties on the Cubs: The Cubs have 3 lefties in their bullpen: Sean Marshall, John Grabow, and James Russell. Marshall is an elite set-up man, who the Cubs have adamently said is not available to be traded. If that changes, then he would be a very solid option, although I’d be hesistant to trade for Marshall because of the potential price tag in prospects. Grabow and Russell are good against lefties, but still lean more on the side of mediocre lefty specialists. If you’re going to trade for a lefty, trade for someone who you know is going to be very effective.
  5. Sergio Escalona, HOU: Escalona has only been in the majors for 2 years, but his numbers against lefties have been fantastic. They hit only .170 against him, and get this: he’s only given up 1 lefty extra-base hit in 2 years. As a result, lefties only have a .226 SLG against Escalona. He had a 4’s ERA last year, but its done to 2.43 this year. I doubt many people have heard of Sergio Escalona, but he looks like a viable option to get lefties out, and I can’t imagine the price tag of a trade being very high. CONTRACT: Pre-Arb Eligible, Arb Eligible in 2013, Free Agent in 2016

Well this is what I narrowed all the lefties in the majors down to. If there are any others that stand out that I missed, let us know in the comments section.

Yanks Officially Sign J.C. Romero


The Yanks have signed Romero to a minor-league deal. He was just released by the Nationals earlier today. Romero began his season with the Philadelphia Phillies, but was released in June. He then signed with the Nationals…who then released him this morning.

Romero is very good if they use him solely to get lefties out. Over his career, lefties have hit only .215 AVG, and they have a very meager .290 SLG% against Romero.

This should provide some left-handed relief depth that the Yanks so dearly need with Feliciano and Marte out.

Injury Updates


Here are some injury updates from word that we’ve received this morning:

  • Pedro Feliciano has been shut down from doing bullpen work. The Yankees say that there is a big chance that he will not pitch this year and are looking into surgery as an option
  • The abdominal discomfort that Eric Chavez experienced was nothing more than a kidney stone. Yankees doctors said that it had passed and Chavez should be fine.
  • Rafael Soriano will throw live batting practice today to work on his elbow. Soriano injured his elbow in April and was put on the 60 day DL after Jeter was placed on the 15 day DL last month.
  • Mariano Rivera says he feels much better today and is hoping that he can pitch for the Yankees. Rivera was shut down for three days are complaining of soreness in the elbow.
  • It was reported that Damaso Marte had been doing bullpen sessions with the Yankees and is feeling good. He is currently aiming for a comeback in late August if there are no more setbacks.

MLBTR on the Yanks’ Upcoming Contract Issues

Here’s the article from Tim Dierkes of MLBTR:

The Yankees are next in our 2012 Contract Issues series.  Here’s what the team faces after the 2011 season:

Eligible For Free Agency (6)

  • In one of the year’s biggest surprises, Bartolo Colon‘s name is all over the leaderboard for free agent starters.  An offseason stem cell treatment was a factor, a procedure that was unknown to GM Brian Cashman at the time of the signing and is being investigated by MLB.  If Colon is not linked to HGH and his stellar pitching continues for the remaining three quarters of the season, he has to be looking at at least a nice one-year deal north of $5MM.
  • Jorge Posada has been a source of drama but not offensive production this season.  I’m guessing the Yankees move on from Posada, who has hit 267 home runs for them to date.
  • Former stars Andruw Jones and Eric Chavez are bench players on one-year deals; Chavez was hitting well when he hit the DL for a foot injury.
  • Freddy Garcia has a 3.22 ERA on the season, hanging in there in most of his six starts.  Will he do enough to warrant a big league deal after the season?
  • Luis Ayala will also be eligible for free agency.    

Contract Options (5)

  • Robinson Cano: $14MM club option with a $2MM buyout.  This should be an easy decision to exercise for the Yankees.
  • Nick Swisher: $10.25MM club option with a $1MM buyout.  Swisher’s option seemed like an easy choice to exercise, but his bat has yet to come alive in 160 plate appearances this year.  He’s got time to bounce back, but the option is not a lock.    
  • Damaso Marte: $4MM club option with a $250K buyout.  Marte is likely out for the season with October labrum surgery, in which case the Yankees will have gotten 31 innings for their $12MM.
  • C.C. Sabathia: Can opt out of remaining four years, $92MM.  Most expect Sabathia to opt out, though he certainly could re-sign with the Yankees.  GM Brian Cashman told ESPN’s Buster Olney he’ll stick with his policy of avoiding in-season negotiations, but “we fully expect him to be here.”  Sabathia’s overall numbers look solid, though he’s scuffled in May.  If Sabathia does reach the open market, he’ll probably be the best available free agent starter, as he was in the 2008-09 offseason when he received the biggest contract ever for a pitcher.
  • Rafael Soriano: Can opt out of remaining two years, $25MM.  Even without knowledge of Soriano’s current elbow concerns, I wrote two months ago that Soriano is unlikely to opt out of his contract after the season.  This offseason when he does choose to stick with the contract, don’t blame the opt-out clause.  Without it, all the money still would have been guaranteed to him.      

Arbitration Eligible (8)

From the Yankees’ standpoint, none of these cases should be daunting.  This is only Gardner’s second full season, and he doesn’t have power, so his arbitration reward will probably be $3MM or less.  Hughes’ issues will limit his raise to perhaps a million dollars at most.  Raises for relievers Robertson, Chamberlain, and Logan won’t be crazy either.  Martin’s hot hitting has tailed off this month.  He could still get a bump to $6MM+, depending on how the rest of his season goes.  I’ll use a rough estimate of $17MM to retain the team’s arbitration eligibles.

2012 Payroll Obligation

The Yankees’ 2012 payroll obligation, according to Cot’s, is $140.875MM if options for Swisher and Marte are declined, Cano’s option is exercised, Sabathia opts out, and Soriano does not.  That goes up to around $158MM with the arbitration eligibles, about $49MM short of this year’s payroll before accounting for minimum salary players.  If Sabathia is re-signed at a $25MM salary for 2012, that still leaves $24MM in ’12 salaries to work with before raising payroll.  That’d be enough for Swisher or a replacement, as well as some kind of starting pitching signing to go with Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, and Ivan Nova.  Cashman could find $6MM more with a bump to the 2010 payroll of $213MM. 

The Yankees should be able to address their issues without taking payroll much higher.  If Sabathia leaves, it could be another situation where they struggle to find a good way to spend the excess cash.