UPDATE: Peace in our time.
11:32 AM: In the wake of the Jorge Posada Sit-down-a-palooza, Derek Jeter had this to say:
“My reaction was that I didn’t think it was that big a deal,” Jeter said about the Posada incident. “If you need a day, you need a day. It’s over. It’s done. It’s not the first time a player asked out of a lineup. Joe says if you feel like you need a day, let him know. It’s understandable … Let the person dealing with it go first. I like to know what I’m talking about before I speak.”
That last bit seemed to refer to Brian Cashman and his in-game comments on Saturday, suggesting that Cashman spoke out of turn. Jeter also said that he didn’t think that Posada had to apologize and that it wasn’t a big deal. Now Buster Olney reports that those comments have angered the Yankees’ front office who, according to Olney, were so mad at Posada over all of this that they considered releasing him on the spot.
Setting that insta-release stuff aside — really? — why on Earth someone in the Yankees front office felt it necessary to tell Buster Olney that they’re mad at Jeter over all of this is beyond me. While the big picture issue of what to do with Posada isn’t going away any time soon, this little controversy was over. It was dying, wrapped up with an apology and a standing ovation from the fans 24 hours after the the flareup began. And now someone — Randy Levine? Cashman? A random Steinbrenner? — is throwing gas on the fire?
There was a time when the Yankees front office fought with its own players. Then there was an extended time when it did not. That latter period correlated with the greatest success the team had seen in decades. I won’t say that peace caused the success because that overstates the power of harmony in an undeniably chaotic world, but it sure as hell didn’t hurt it.
I understand that Posada’s act was frustrating and that Jeter’s comments could be construed as critical of Cashman (though I think they were pretty tame ). But the suits not taking the high road here is not good for anyone.
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.
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.
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.
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.