Daily Archives: December 17, 2011

Ask the Reports: Saturday December 17th

Saturday December 17, 2011

Jonathan Hacohen:  Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to, message us on Twitter and post on our Facebook Wall!

Let’s get to your top questions of the week:

Which team is going to bite the bullet and sell the farm for Gio Gonzalez? There have been big demands from Beane thus far!!  Wade

MLB reports:  Great question Wade!  I don’t think we have gone an Ask the Reports segment in the past few weeks (or any days for that matter lately) without discussing the status of Gio.  Gonzalez has been linked to the Yankees for some time, but with the asking price being Montero and 2 other big time prospects, Brian Cashman has wisely declined.  I could see the Nationals getting in on the Gio Derby if they are prepared to pay the price, or the Kansas City Royals perhaps.  From a numbers standpoint, Gio would be best served heading to the National League.  His stuff and abilities would translate well in the NL.  Playing in the American League, specifically the East, would be asking for trouble.  His home/road splits are undeniable.  Gio would have a hard time succeeding in a hitter’s park.  But at this point, smart money is on the Yankees and Red Sox still as the frontrunners.  This is not the right move in my opinion, but the one that is most likely to happen.  But don’t count out the Nationals…they are planning some big moves still preparing for the Harper/Strasburg show.  


Do the Mets go after Theriot? Gio Gonzalez? Trade Murphy? What does your crystal ball say?  Raul

MLB reports:  The MLB reports crystal ball- you have been paying attention Raul.  Well done.  I don’t see the Mets going after Theriot or Gonzalez at this point.  Daniel Murphy is likely to be moved, although I don’t see a big return.  The Mets biggest needs right now are another bat in the outfield, catcher and starting pitcher.  I can see them going after a Jason Varitek or Jesus Flores behind the plate.  As far as an outfielder, the Mets will scrape by with a Rick Ankiel or J.D. Drew signing.  Someone to hopefully hold down the fort at a reasonable salary.  Joel Pineiro or Bartolo Colon could be potential targets.  2012 won’t be pretty…sorry my man.  It will be a rebuild year for the Mets.  


Jesus Montero next year…what will be his line?  Not Shawn

MLB reports:  The mystery of Montero.  I am expecting a big year assuming he gets a full-time position.  Which he should and likely will.  The Yankees will go from one catching DH to another, as Montero will likely replace Jorge Posada at the DH spot.  He will also see time at first base and behind the plate.  Despite 5 seasons in the minors, Montero is still only 22-years of age, believe it or not.  To be realistic, expect a .270 AVG with 15-18 home runs, 70 RBIs, 60 Runs, .320 OBP and .420 SLG.  Most hitters do not adjust to the major league game overnight, especially 22-year-old catchers.  Montero will put up good numbers, but he still needs time.  


When is a team going to sign Danys Baez?  Jason

MLB reports:  When hell freezes over?  At 34-years, Baez is coming off two very unspectacular season.  2010 brought a 5.48 ERA and 1.636 WHIP, while 2011 saw a 6.25 ERA and 1.556 WHIP.  We are looking at a minor league deal with invite to spring training at best.  Teams will look at Baez when all the other useable pitchers on the market are taken, or injuries start to appear at spring training.  If I was Baez, I would go take a nice long vacation around the world and leave my cell phone at home.  He should not expect a call until late January at best.  The man has earned approximately $43 million already in his career.  If he has one more season in him, it would be a miracle.


Yeah what’s up with da Yankees? Why aren’t they making any moves at all??  Drewskie

MLB reports:  We were asking the same question last year, weren’t we Drewskie?  There is a combination of reasons for the Yankees inactivity in recent years.  A very high budget with little flexibility contracts-wise.  Many good young players coming through the system and ready to take big league roster spots.  Very few quality free agents with unrealistic contract expectations.  29 other MLB teams which have little talent that they wish to move, especially to New York (unless the price is high).  Finally, while many players want to play in New York, some are shying away.  With the media and fan glare well-known in Yankee stadium, it is not the environment for everyone.  So at the end of the day, Brian Cashman is being smart in making sure not to make rash decisions and make moves just for the sake of it.  Remember A.J. Burnett?  Rafael Soriano?  Sometimes the best moves that you make are the ones that you don’t end up making.  The Yankees still have a high-octane offense and plenty of depth.  One or two more starting pitchers and fears will be alleviated.  Stay patient as the foundation is there.  Some under-the-radar pieces will be added in the next month.  Trust me.  It just may not be the moves you expect.  But anything that allows the core Yankees prospects to stay in the system is a good thing.


What do you make of the “sky-high” and “north” of $50 million reported bid for Yu know who? Clues that it may be Toronto?  Thomas

MLB reports:  Speculation has really gotten out of control on Yu Darvish.  Many outlets are reporting that the Jays are the winners of the Darvish derby at an estimated $48 million.  Despite this being the golden age of internet information, there is no confirmations at this point.  Darvish’s Japanese squad has until Tuesday to accept the bid, which is still a mystery to the public at large.  I could see the bid being as high as $70 million.  While the Blue Jays are apparently strong contenders for Darvish, don’t count out the Nationals, Rangers, Yankees and others.  This is a high-stakes poker game.  Nobody is showing their cards or folding yet.  I still see the Nationals winning the sweepstakes.  So we won’t know until the very end.  While spending $100 million+ between the post and contract is a risky move for an unknown MLB talent, in Darvish’s case it could make sense.  Between Japanese media attention, stadium revenues and merchandising, the Darvish brand could bring a high revenue stream to a MLB team.  It is not the route I would take, but as I crunch the numbers- I can see how the expenditure is justified.  Darvish will be playing Major League Baseball come April.  But as far as which city will be lucky enough to have him is still pure speculation at this point.  


Last question:  Why does life suck so much without baseball?  Tim

MLB reports:  Because baseball is life.  All kidding aside though, is life that bad without baseball Tim?  We have many outlets to get our fix.  Pop in a DVD to watch some older games or even a baseball movie.  Pick up a baseball book, there are countless good ones out there.   We have daily MLB reports (wink) of free agent signings and trades.  This baseball offseason has been one of the busiest ones in recent times.  We had a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.  The Astros were sold and relocated to the American League West.  The Winter Meetings.  Talk of an International Draft.  Expanding the playoffs.  Realignment.  There is never a shortage of baseball topics and news to discuss.  If you have access, there is winter ball.  Point being that even without live MLB games, there is always something baseball to-do and to keep busy with.  Twitter.  Facebook.  Websites like ours.  You can always find a baseball outlet.  Pitchers and Catchers report in 64 days.  It is a quick offseason.  Look at the season half-full instead of half-empty.  The baseball season is never done.  We just happen to be in the offseason stage- but it is still a key part of the overall baseball year.  I feel your pain Tim though. Opening day will be here before you know it.


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Jonathan Hacohen is the Lead Baseball Columnist & Editor for MLB reports:  You can follow Jonathan on Twitter (@JHacohen)


What the Yankees Need to Win the 2012 World Series

Saturday December 17, 2011

Jeff P (Guest Writer – MLB reports):  It was a long season for Yankee fans in 2011, with an abrupt ending to the season with a brutal series loss to the Detroit Tigers in the AL Divisional series. This is even after the Yankees receiving surprising seasons by Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia and the Yankees receiving production from its usual core players. However, in the 2011 season, there were noted declines of several Yankee players. Due to injuries and other factors, one of the biggest culprits  was Alex Rodriguez.  Limited to only 99 games on the season, A-Rod hit 16 homers, with a batting average in the .270 rang. A-Rod’s stats were some of the worst of his career and he was one the big reason the Yankees did not make it far into the 2011 playoffs.

The Yankees have a long path to go to get to the World Series this coming year, especially given that their team remains at a standstill, unexpected to improve greatly from last year. It is not a positive sign that the Yankees rotation will most likely consist of C.C. Sabathia, Ivan Nova and Freddy Garcia, with a likely spring training knockdown competition between Hector Noesi, A.J. Burnett, Dellin Betances and Phil Hughes for the final two rotation spots.

Both Hughes and Burnett had horrific seasons this past year, while Noesi and Betances were both late season call-ups. Adding to the equation, Ivan Nova might enter a sophomore slump (always a possibility), while Freddy Garcia is unlikely to repeat his astonishing 2011 season.

 The Yankees have very little margin for error going into 2012, which can ruin the chances of them not only winning the World Series, but even making the postseason.  With the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim now serious contenders, the Rays adding a nice hand to the rotation with Matt Moore and the Red Sox players starting to adjust to their new team, it will be a dogfight to the finish in the American League postseason race this upcoming season.  The Yankees will have to play their cards right this year, and not sit back and assume that making the postseason is a given.

 If the Yankees want some rings in 2012, here are several “must do” items for the team to succeed in 2012:

First of all, the Yankees must get rid of A.J. Burnett. For the last two years, Burnett had horrific seasons and should not be given another chance, despite his large contract.  Without Burnett, the Yankees could consider trying a new arm in the rotation, such as Dellin Betances, who is clearly ready for a major league stint. The Yankees this offseason should trade Burnett to a team desperate for a starting pitcher (which should not be difficult given the shallow pool of available talent) and who are willing to give up a useable prospect, which would provide the Yankees with future depth.

Even though it is unlikely, the right thing to do with Joba Chamberlain is to give him a strong opportunity for a comeback season in 2012. I am not saying he should be in the rotation for the season, but he should definitely be given a strong look.  Pitchers often improve after undergoing Tommy John surgery.  Chamberlain left the rotation after the 2009 season, with a stint in the bullpen for the last two seasons. Up to the time of his injury, Chamberlain pitched well in the bullpen, mostly as the seventh inning option. The Yankees are considering Hector Noesi and other rookies for the starting rotation in 2012.  So why not try Joba? Perhaps he will surprise all of us and fulfill the hype that accompanied him since being drafted in the 1st round by the Yankees in 2006.

Another option (although unlikely) is to place Adam Warren in the rotation. He is 24-years-old, and has a powerful fastball in the mid 90’s. His four-seamer can reach 97 mph and could leave major league batters clueless. He has a world of potential, and is ready for a major league stint sooner rather than later.

The Bronx Bombers roster is certainly not set and Brian Cashman needs to search the trade market before his squad will be able to compete for a World Series title. Other teams are considerably high on Eduardo Nunez and the Yankees would be well advised to find a deal involving Eduardo Nunez, Dellin Betances and one of their surplus catching prospects for Gio Gonzalez or similar available starter, who could help provide the Yankees with a balanced and deep rotation.

The Yankees also must keep Montero in New York. Montero had a great stint at the end of the season, and will hopefully continue to provide an offensive spark for the Yankees throughout the 2012 season. Montero is a great offensive force and would make the dangerous  Yankees offense (Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, A-Rod, Nick Swisher, Robinson Cano, Russell Martin etc.) that much more powerful.

Lastly, the Yankees must monitor Manny Banuelos‘ status. Handled correctly, Banuelos could be this season’s Nova.  To get through the regular season and then be a force in the 2012 postseason, the Yankees will need to make changes and several decisions as to their roster.  But a successful offseason can minimize the risks and chances for failure in the coming season, by filling critical spots with the right players.  The Yankees have many needs in their offseason to-do list in order to repeat their 2009 performance. If the Yankees play their cards right, the path to World Series #28 could be in sight.

***Today’s feature was prepared by Jeff P, Guest Writer to MLB reports.  We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers.  You can also follow Jeff on Twitter.***

Please e-mail us at: with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook .  To subscribe to our website and have the daily Reports sent directly to your inbox , click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

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