General Manager Brian Cashman had hardly broken the seal on his honor bar macadamia nuts in his Indianapolis hotel suite before the Yankees had already made news with rumors swirling about that outfielder Curtis Granderson was heading to the Bronx.
According to FOX Sports the Yankees, Tigers and Diamondbacks were proposing a three-way deal that would send Granderson and two Diamondback prospects to the Yankees. The Yankees, in turn, would send lefthanders Phil Coke and Michael Dunn and top outfield prospect Austin Jackson to the Tigers.
The Tigers would ship righthander Edwin Jackson to the Diamondbacks and the Tigers would receive young starter Max Scherzer. The Diamondbacks would also receive righthander Ian Kennedy from the Yankees.
FOX Sports did say the discussions hit a snag Monday night and that one of the teams rejected the deal.
For Cashman’s sake, let’s hope it was him.
The reason is that any discussions about trading a potential star prospect like Jackson would have be treated with caution. Jackson is simply the future centerfielder for the Yankees and Cashman already rejected one deal for Jackson last July.
When Cashman asked the Mariners their price for lefthander Jarrod Washburn and he heard Jackson’s name mentioned, Cashman shut down talks right there. Despite the Yankees need to replace Chien-Ming Wang in the rotation at the trade deadline, Jackson was a price too high to pay.
Now, it appears, Cashman is pulling the plug on this deal because Jackson may be too high a price to pay for Granderson.
In addition, it is hard to see the sense in trading the two best lefthanded relievers in the organization behind Damaso Marte. Coke pitched reliably for most of the 2009 season and only lost his No. 1 status to Marte in the playoffs because Marte was pitching well.
Dunn, a former outfielder converted to relief pitcher, is a young lefthander with potential. He was the Yankees lone representative in this fall’s Futures All-Star Game.
Lefthanders are a scarce commodity in baseball and the Yankees might want to hold on to Coke and Dunn because Marte has some mileage on him and there is no guarantee he will stay healthy in 2010.
The loss of Kennedy also would seem odd considering that Cashman is seeking potential starting rotation help this winter. If the old adage “you never have enough pitching” is true dealing Kennedy would only make sense if the Yankees had given up on him.
There are reports that talks on this rumored deal could resume Tuesday. My guess would be that Cashman is looking to make this deal without Jackson included. If the Tigers insist on Jackson they may have to look for another trading partner.
The Yankees could use Granderson’s bat to replace Johnny Damon. But because Melky Cabrera and Brett Gardner are excellent defensively, Granderson would not add much to the defense. He also is woefully bad as a hitter against lefthanders.
Since the Yankees do not have a righthanded hitter to platoon with Granderson, he and his sub-.200 average would have to slog through an entire season of futility against lefties.
So perhaps this deal might be dead. Let’s hope so. The Yankees could do a lot better and they need to keep Jackson, Coke and Dunn.
NUMBER 99 GONE
The Yankees will have No. 99 available to any player wanting it for 2010 because Brian Bruney was dealt to the Washington Nationals for a player to be named.
Bruney was 5-0 with a 3.92 ERA last season but has been plagued by injuries the past two seasons. Slated to be the setup man for Mariano Rivera, Bruney started the season off well in April. But a sore elbow landed Bruney on the disabled list twice last season and he never really regained his April form.
Though Bruney threw hard, his command was erratic and he quickly fell out of favor of manager Joe Girardi late last season. He was left of the ALDS and ALCS rosters but was added for the World Series.
Cashman said the depth the Yankees built in the bullpen last season simply made Bruney expendable this winter. The Nationals said Bruney will be a back-end option for the woefully bad Nationals bullpen.
PRICE IS RIGHT
The Yankees reportedly offered lefthander Andy Pettitte $10 million and it was rejected by Pettitte and his agent Randy Hendricks. Other reports say that because Pettitte just relayed word through Hendricks he wanted to pitch in 2010 that the Yankees would make their first offer on Monday.
Either way, it appears Pettitte will return to the Yankees in 2010.
It is sure thing that the Yankees will get into the right price range to please Pettitte. The Yankees also can be pretty sure that Pettitte will not be looking at other teams. If Pettitte is pitching in 2010, it will be the Yankees and no one else.
That limits Hendricks’ bargaining position but the Yankees do not wish to low-ball Pettitte as they did last winter. Pettitte, who made a base salary of $16 million in 2007, had to accept a $5.5 million deal with incentives that paid out $11 million.
The Yankees and Pettitte might settle in at $12.5 million for one last season for the 37-year-old veteran. Pettitte might creep closer to Hall of Fame status with another good regular season and playoff run.
Stay tuned . . .