Baseball Winter Meetings: Rule 5 Draft Is Held

-- Keep checking this StoryStream for updated news and rumors and moves -- and possible moves -- being made by the New York Yankees and New York Mets during baseball's annual Winter Meetings, which will be held Dec. 6-9.

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Rule 5 Draft: Mets, Yankees Stock Up During Baseball Winter Meetings

The New York Yankees and New York Mets each selected two players during today Rule 5 Draft, held on the final day of the Baseball Winter Meetings.

Selected players must remain on the claiming team’s active roster or disabled list the entire season or be offered back to his original team for $25,000 — half of the claiming fee.

The Mets

In need of inexpensive roster depth, selected infielder Brad Eamus, 24, from Toronto’s system and relief pitcher Pedro Beato, 24, from Baltimore. Eamus hit .298 with 10 home runs and 49 RBIs in 87 games last season. Beato went 4-0 with 16 saves and a 2.11 ERA for Baltimore’s Double-A Bowie affiliate. The 6-foot-6, 230-pound right-hander struck out 50 batters and walked 19 in 59 2/3 innings. He could stick in a Mets’ bullpen that needs help.

The Mets lost single-A right-hander Elvin Ramirez.

The Yankees

Rule 5 picks general don’t have much of an opportunity with the Bronx Bombers, but GM Brian Cashman took fliers on a couple of young pitchers who will be given opportunties to earn spots in the bullpen. The Yankees selected left-hander Robert Fish from the Angels and right-hander Daniel Turpen from the Red Sox.

Fish, 22, is a hard-throwing lefty who was 5-5 with a 6.79 ERA and two saves in 49 relief appearances with Class A Rancho Cucamonga and Double-A Arkansas in 2009.

Turpen, 24, was 7-6 with a 4.30 ERA and four saves in 49 relief appearances for Double-A Richmond in the Giants’ system and Double-A Portland in the Red Sox’s organization this year.

The Yankees lost George Kontos, a 25-year-old left-hander and right-hander Lance Pendleton. Both were AAA players.


Yankees' GM Brian Cashman Talks Derek Jeter, Cliff Lee And More

New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman addressed much of what is going on with the team during an interview with WFAN’s Mike Francesa on Tuesday. Courtesy of Sports Radio Interviews, you can read the full transcript.

I have excerpted some of the key points, and added some thoughts of my own below.

On whether there is any tension lingering with Derek Jeter:

"No, we’re fine. We’re fine. Believe me, I’m a straight-shooter, he’s a straight-shooter and anything that needed to be exercised, they get exercised quick. No, I’m very comfortable around Derek. No worries on my part."

I think the fact that Jeter used the word “angry” to describe his feelings about the public negotiations sent everyone into a tizzy. And I think it isn’t a big deal. When Spring Training rolls around all of that will barely be remembered.

On Andy Pettitte and whether he’s leaning toward retirement:

"I think every year it gets tougher for him. He loves what he does, he’s excellent at what he does, but he’s in a unique position. I think anybody who’s a parent with young kids that has the financial ability to be there for them if they want to be home, I think that tug of the things that he’s missing really pulls at him. … He has the unique ability to say, ‘Enough.’ He’s going to do that here at some point sooner than later and it might be this year. … Honestly, he did tell me that he’s leaning towards retirement."

Pettitte has become baseball’s version of Brett Favre. When push comes to shove he just can’t stay away. He can still perform at a high level, and I believe he will be in the Yankee rotation in 2011.

On the pursuit of Cliff Lee:

"Just kinda waiting. I know he’s a big deer hunter and I feel like, to use a hunting analogy, I climbed up into a tree about a month ago and I’m still waiting for that buck to come in my sights so I can take a shot."

The Yankees are playing by Lee’s timetable right now. When the times comes, and it should be soon, they will place a huge offer in front of the free-agent pitcher.

On whether he’ll go after Carl Crawford:

"I wouldn’t comment. I am casting a very wide net with a lot of players, a lot of trade possibilities because I have to be ready to adjust on the run when necessary and so I’m putting ourselves in the position to do that. The heavy lifting was really with the Jeter negotiations and Rivera, as well as the main focus being Lee. That provided a lot of distraction … but now I’m fully up to speed with everything. … I wouldn’t comment on any other specific names. The obvious is Lee, it makes no sense to try to hide that one."

Cashman can try to hide it, but Crawford is the obvious Plan B if the Yankees don’t get Lee. He is the best position player on the market, and the only other true difference-maker. For Crawford, Lee signing in Texas would be the dream scenario.

On whether they’ll need to fill in more pitchers besides Lee:

"I think it’s better to go outside to hedge your bets. … New York’s not a city that really tolerates maybes too easily. Those maybes better become definites rather soon. That’s why it’s nicer to hedge your bets, get your depth and if something doesn’t work out, you can jettison it."

This explains why the Yankees do things like bring in middle of the road relievers like Chan Ho Park, who they signed and then released last season. You never know with pitching, especially relievers, so it doesn’t hurt to collect a bunch of them.


Baseball Winter Meetings: Mark Prior, Other Yankee Rumors

Have you heard? The New York Yankees and Texas Rangers are in competition for the services of a free-agent pitcher. Yep, the two teams are reportedly finalists for Mark Prior, who is attempting a major-league comeback at the age of 30.

Prior has not pitched in a big-league game since 2006 after a series of shoulder problems derailed his once-promising career. Prior has a 42-29 career record with a 3.51 ERA in five seasons. He has unsuccessfully attempted comebacks in both the Texas and San Diego organizations, and did pitch briefly in the Texas minor-league system in 2009.

Prior was drafted 43rd overall by the Yankees in 1998, but did not sign.

It would be a nice story if Prior were to make it back to the big leagues, even briefly, but I would not count on it. He has tried and failed too many times already.

You want news about that other free-agent pitcher the Yankees and Rangers are vying for? Check the latest Cliff Lee news in the MLB Free Agency StoryStream.

The Yankees had reportedly been interested in Matt Diaz as a reserve outfielder, since Marcus Thames has bolted to Japan. That will not happen, though, since Diaz has signed a two-year deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Can't blame the guy, there are a lot more at-bats for him in Pittsburgh than there would be in the Bronx.


Baseball Winter Meetings: Mets Trying To Deal Carlos Beltran?

Are the New York Mets trying to move expensive, sore-kneed, outfielder Carlos Beltran? Rumors from the baseball winter meetings indicate they are trying to do just that.

The hottest rumor is that new Mets GM Sandy Alderson is trying to coax Oakland’s GM Billy Beane, who once worked under Alderson, into taking Beltran’s $18.5 million contract.

Beane, has developed the best young pitching staff in the American League, but desperately needs an impact hitter to be a legitimate contender again in the AL West.

Carlos Beltran might just be that guy, especially considering that Beane needs to get creative after losing out on free agents Lance Berkman and – it appears – Adrian Beltre. Meanwhile, the A’s could offer the type of high-ceiling prospect or two that would be enticing to the Mets’ front-office regime, which privately is looking past 2011.

If only it were that easy.

In reality, Beltran’s $18.5 million salary next season and the uncertainty that still surrounds his arthritic knee are hurdles that make such a deal improbable at best, even if the Mets were willing to eat a lot of the money.

However, one rival executive who knows Beane well thought the A’s GM would be “intrigued by the idea of trying to catch lightning in a bottle” with Beltran. But he also said Beane probably wouldn’t be willing to give up much in return, knowing the Mets’ center fielder would be a free agent after next season.

The Boston Red Sox might also have interest in acquiring Beltran.

It makes sense for the Mets to use Beltran as a trade chip. He will be 34 next season and has not played a full year since 2008, and his presence in 2011 is not likely to make or break the Mets’ season. If they can get a little younger and get some much-needed payroll flexibility moving Beltran makes a ton of sense.


Baseball Winter Meetings: Mets Are Trolling For Cheap Spare Parts

The Washington Nationals threw $126 million at outfielder Jayson Werth. There is talk they will throw a seven-year deal for $150 million or more at Cliff Lee. The New York Yankees, as usual, are kicking the tires on the big-name, big-money players.

The New York Mets? Well, the names you hear connected to the Mets are second-tier pitchers like Chris Young or Jeff Francis, a backup catcher like Ronny Paulino or an extra outfielder like Fred Lewis.

Yes, the Mets are playing a different game this offseason. Financially strapped, the Mets are bottom-feeding in Sandy Alderson’s first year as general manager. Alderson is playing the ‘lower the expectations’ game.

“We’re getting a sense of what the market is for some of that second-tier starting pitching,” Alderson said. “Right now [the price] is fairly high.”

Alderson even hinted that the Mets may wait until later in the offseason, when players are fidgety about finding jobs, and prices come down.

“There are players available today, and there are going to be players available a month from now,” he said. “There is no guarantee the players available today are going to be better than the ones available in a month. That’s the game we’re playing right now.”

It’s all enough to make a fan wonder if shelling out money to watch the team play in 2011 is a good idea.

Do they really expect to sell any tickets this offseason? Sure, if they start like they did last year, they may get some good crowds in May and June, but barring a big move, Citi Field could be a ghost town this year.

That certainly won’t help the Mets fill their financial coffers.


Cashman Back To Business Of Building Yankees

Now that New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has rappelled a 22-story building he has to get back to scaling the heights required to build another World Series contender in the Bronx.

"My priority list is pitching is everything," Cashman said. "I've been focusing on the pitching. I've been focusing on the legacy guys, but I really need to take care of our pitching."

First and foremost that means doing whatever he can to get free-agent Cliff Lee, the apple of the Yankees' eye for a long time now, to leave Texas for New York. SI's Jon Heyman sees no way the Yankees will allow Lee to slip away again.

The top difference-maker on this year's market is a proven winner who appeals to the Yankees because he dominates October and he dominates them. The Rangers are the stalking horse. The American League champions are pitching camaraderie and proximity to baseball's greatest clutch pitcher, and there are whispers around the game that Lee might prefer to stay in a clubhouse where he was comfortable and only 4 ½ from his home in Little Rock, Ark. But few believe the Yankees will lose a race for the player they've been targeting for a year. Their failure to land him at the trade deadline only makes them want him more, and the Yankees usually do not lose players they want this badly. "The Steinbrenners aren't going to let Lee get away this time,'' one competing GM opined. The Rangers are giving it a game effort, and they have a favorable tax situation (luxury and U.S. taxes) on their side, but are thought unlikely to go beyond five years for the star lefthander. It's still hard to imagine an ending where Lee isn't donning the pinstripes.

Cashman will also spend the week trying to get a decision from Andy Pettitte as to whether the veteran lefty will retire or return to the Yankees on another one-year contract.


Derek Jeter's Contract Details

According to Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman via Twitter (copy is edited for better clarification):

"Jeter's contract very complicated. It's technically a four-year deal since he has player option in fourth year. Will get $51 million through three years if he declines."

"There's a point system for Jeter's contract. If he exercises fourth year he will get $56 to $68 million, depending on the points he earns. Points are based on winning MVP, finishing 2-6 in MVP, winning silver slugger and gold glove (a birthright award for him)."

Jack Curry of the YES Network tries to clear up the details of the contract on his blog.

"Jeter has a player option for $8 million in the fourth year, which could boost his guaranteed money to $56 million. In addition, Jeter has the chance to earn up to $9 million in incentives in the fourth year. The deal averages to $17 million for the first three years, which includes a $3 million buyout in the fourth year. If Jeter doesn’t exercise the $8 million option in 2014, he will make $51 million. If Jeter exercises the $8 million option, he loses the $3 million buyout and is guaranteed $56 million over the life of the contract."

So, there you go. The terms of the deal call for three seasons but Jeter has an option for a fourth.

Interesting that the deal calls for a point system based on winning postseason awards.

Again, it comes down to whatever make both sides happy. 

With that said, it would have been very interesting to be a fly on the wall in the negotiating room. Especially, when they were trying to figure out the points system.


Yankees, Jeter Agree To Three-Year Deal

New York Yankees fans can relax for another three or possibly four seasons. 

According to reports from The New York Times and writer Michael S. Schmidt, the Yankees and star shortstop Derek Jeter have agreed to terms on a three-year deal.

"(The new contract will) guarantee him $15 million to $17 million a year for three years and include an option for a fourth year, according to a person in baseball briefed on the matter."  

"The agreement will include a 'creative hybrid-type option' for the fourth year that is “not vesting and is highly unusual,” the person said."

The YES Networks Jack Curry says the fourth year was crucial in getting the deal done.

"The fourth year of the deal was important to Jeter, who said in spring training that he wanted to play four or five more seasons. But the Yankees didn’t want to guarantee a fourth year to Jeter, who had the worst season of his career when he batted .270 in 2010 and who will turn 37 years old in June."  


It's been a two-week tug of war between the two sides but everything worked out for Yankees faithful.

Clearly, the Yankees had the advantage over the aging Jeter, who was asking for a four- to five-year deal between $23 and $24 million a year. Jeter's new contract isn't close to that asking price.

Either way, it's a win-win for New York fans who didn't want to see these negotiations drag on and Jeter back in pinstripes.

Now, onto the Winter Meetings and starting pitcher Cliff Lee.


Yankees, Red Sox To Battle Over Carl Crawford?

Ahh, nothing like a good old-fashioned knock down, drag out brawl between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox to spice up what has been a pretty dreary baseball offseason thus far in the Northeast.

We might just have one on our hands after all the reports that the Red Sox tried to snatch Mariano Rivera away from the Yankees with a two-year, $30-million offer.

The Yankees have been showing interest in free-agent outfielder Carl Crawford lately, something they had said initially they were reluctant to do. Is this payback to the Red Sox, who would also like Crawford?

The New York Daily News thinks so.

The baseball season is months away but it looks like it’s already “game on” between the Yankees and Red Sox. The ancient rivals have taken the competition into the offseason by injecting themselves into each other’s free-agent pursuits.

The Red Sox fired first by making an offer to the Bombers’ free agent closer Mariano Rivera shortly before, as the Daily News first reported, Rivera and the Yanks agreed to terms on a two-year, $30 million deal Thursday night. The Yankees have counterpunched by getting involved with free-agent outfielder Carl Crawford, most recently of the Tampa Bay Rays. Boston is in serious pursuit of Crawford and already has met with his side. A major league source confirmed the contact between the Yankees and Crawford.

“I really couldn’t comment about that,” Cashman said Friday morning in Stamford, Conn., where he rehearsed for Sunday’s Heights & Lights show by rappelling down the side of a 350-foot building five times.

“I’m doing everything I can to put the best team on the field,” Cashman added. “I wouldn’t want to say specific players. … I’d rather not point out individual players. I’ve reached out to some players that are obvious and some players that people would be surprised about.”

It would not be surprising, to be honest, if the Yankees seeks some type of retribution. Did Boston really think it could snag Rivera, or that the Yankees would take that move without some type of retaliatory strike?

The baseball offseason just got a whole lot more interesting.

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