Yankees Old Timer's Day might need a nap

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Disclaimer: I love baseball. I love history. I love baseball history.
I’m a Mets fan who does not dislike the Yankees (settle down Benigno).

That being said … it might be time to put this Old Timer’s Day thing on the shelf for a couple years until guys like Jeter and Mariano and O’Neill
are old and gray and haven’t been heard from in 10 years. Then you
celebrate them and everyone’s happy and it’s a great time for all. Or
do it every 5 years.

But do the Yanks really need to do this every year? If you continue
to have these ceremonies where the greats (and some non-greats) all
trot out, the oversaturation factor kicks in. Within the last 12
months, the Yanks have now had four similar celebrations – All-Star
Game, final game at Old Yankee Stadium, opening of New Yankee Stadium,
Old Timer’s Day – where the team honors its past. Seriously, we get it.
The Yankees are the greatest franchise ever. You had us at the 183rd
time you told us.

Most of the legends have passed on (Mickey, Joe D). Now, Yogi and Whitey are surrounded by the likes of Dave Eiland, Homer Bush, and Aaron Small. To put things in perspective, imagine the Mets celebrating Old Timer’s Day with Tom Seaver, a couple other dudes from ’69, but also Rico Brogna, Bill Pulsipher, and Keith Miller. Everyone would make fun of it, right? Not to equate Mets history with Yankees history, but hopefully you get the point.

If the Yanks were inviting these guys because they’re truly
acknowledging that the lean years are just as important as the
championship years, then that’s one thing. I applaud that. But me
thinks that some of this crew is just roster filler. Guys like John Sterling, Michael Kay, and the YES propaganda crew rarely reminisce about Mike Easler or Pat Kelly.

And let’s not even get started about the politics with some of these choices. If you think that Joe Torre ever gets invited back with the current regime in place, you’re crazy.

Again, honoring your past is fantastic and the idea of an Old
Timer’s Day is wonderful. But when it gets watered down and played out,
it’s time to re-evaluate things. Let it breathe. Let Old Timer’s Day
take a nap for a couple years. It’s return will feel special again.

Report: Teams reluctant to gamble on Cliff Lee

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park Thursday, July 31, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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In Saturday’s column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo suggests that free agent Cliff Lee is seeking a guaranteed major league deal between $6 and $8 million plus incentives. That is turning some otherwise interested teams away, as the lefty is still recovering from a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow. Lee hasn’t pitched since July 31, 2014.

Last month, Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker said the pitcher would need “a perfect fit” to pitch in 2016. He also noted that Lee has begun a full offseason throwing program.

In his most recent season, Lee compiled a 3.65 ERA with 72 strikeouts and 12 walks in 81 1/3 innings for the Phillies. The Phillies had signed him to a five-year, $120 million contract in December 2010 but declined a club option for the 2016 season, instead buying him out for $12.5 million.

Orioles reconsidering signing Yovani Gallardo

Yovani Gallardo
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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In an article for MASN on Friday, Steve Melewski noted that the Orioles were reluctant to forfeit their first round draft pick (14th overall) in order to sign free agent starter Yovani Gallardo. The club is now reconsidering its stance and rechecking the right-handers medicals, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.

Gallardo, who turns 30 on February 27, posted a 3.42 ERA with 121 strikeouts and 68 walks over 184 1/3 innings for the Rangers last season. The Rangers had acquired him in a trade with the Brewers, sending Luis Sardinas, Corey Knebel, and minor leaguer Marcos Diplan to Milwaukee.

Gallardo has posted an ERA below 4.00 in six of his last seven seasons. He remains unsigned into February, however, because his strikeout rate has rapidly decreased with each year since 2012. Per FanGraphs, that rate was 23.7 percent in 2012, then went to 18.6 percent, 17.9 percent, and 15.3 percent progressively. Some of that may have to do with diminishing fastball velocity, as Gallardo’s 90.4 MPH average marked a career low among his eight full seasons with at least 100 innings pitched.

The Orioles lost starter Wei-Yin Chen, who signed with the Marlins, and the back end of their rotation is highly speculative with Kevin Gausman, Mike Wright, Odrisamer Despaigne, and Tyler Wilson. Adding a veteran like Gallardo, even if he is apparently declining, may be stabilizing.

Freddy Garcia is calling it a career

Screenshot 2016-02-07 at 10.16.43 AM
Elsa/Getty Images North America
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MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez passes along word from the Dominican Republic that right-hander Freddy Garcia will hang up his cleats for good after Sunday’s Caribbean Series championship game.

Garcia will start that game for the Tigres de Aragua out of Venezuela. He’s taking on Mexico’s Venados de Mazatlan.

“Venezuelan fans are expecting something good from Freddy and so is everybody,” said Tigres de Aragua manager Eddie Perez, who also serves as the bullpen coach for the Atlanta Braves. “Knowing that it’s his last game is going to make it very special. We all hope he pitches a really good game so he can retire in a good way and bring the title for Venezuela. Everybody who is rooting for Venezuela expects him to do well.”

Garcia’s last major league game was in the 2013 postseason. The 39-year-0ld will finish with a 4.15 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 6.4 K/9 in 2,264 career regular-season innings. He had a 3.26 ERA in 11 playoff starts, winning a World Series title with the White Sox in 2005.

Video: 2016 will be a season to remember

Carlos+Correa+Houston+Astros+v+Arizona+Diamondbacks+Ctyu5RiU3SWl
Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America
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MLB.com put together this very cool video montage reviewing the 2015 season and setting us up for what should be a wild 2016. Young stars, veterans chasing milestones, unpredictable divisional races.

It’s so close to spring training. Let’s do this.