The Hot Stove is Cooking with Turkey

Thursday my family will celebrate Thanksgiving. I’m not going.
On Friday there is a pre-party for my 20th high school reunion. I’m not going.
On Saturday, my high school reunion itself takes place. I’m not going.

If you want to find me, I’m here at the Pinstriped Bible.

1. Five veteran outfield free agents who would should be avoided if the Yankees don’t come to terms with Johnny Damon (hint: there are more than five, but this is just a selection):
(a)    Garret Anderson: Overrated in his prime, but an offensive and defensive millstone for four of the last five years.

(b)    Marlon Byrd: rates before coming to the Rangers: .263/.327/.373. Overall rates as a Ranger: .295/.352/.468. Rates at home as a Ranger: .309/.375/.522. Rates away from the Rangers’ comfy ballpark: .281/.328/.414.

(c)    Randy Winn: Signing a 36-year-old corner outfielder coming off of a .262/.318/.353 season is never wise, especially when the player’s central offensive skill is hitting for average.

(d)    Jermaine Dye: Old, defensively challenged, never a great on-base guy, and bats from the wrong side of the plate.

(e)    Mike Cameron: Was still very good last year, but he turns 37 in January.

2. One of the most intriguing teams to track this winter is the Marlins. Even after dealing Jeremy Hermida to the Red Sox, they have 11 arbitration-eligible players, and if the Marlins hate anything it’s players getting raises. Any of them could be non-tender candidates, which is to say instant free agents, on December 12. All of them could be dealt at some point between now and then, including ace Josh Johnson, hard-throwing lefty reliever Matt Lindstrom, outfielder Cody Ross, and infielder Dan Uggla. The Yankees would probably have interest in the two pitchers mentioned, and Ross wouldn’t be a bad catch either given the team’s shallow outfield collection.

3. Something I think about every year at this time: I want to see MLB commercials during the Thanksgiving football games. I want to see shots of Derek Jeter standing next to his Christmas tree in a flannel bathrobe, taking practice cuts with a bat over the words, “Spring Training is just around the corner.” Right after the Superbowl-winning quarterback says “I’m going to Disney World!” I want to see another spot with Albert Pujols and Joe Mauer saying they’re going to Disney World too — on the way to camp.

4. It was reported yesterday that Andy Pettitte will take his time figuring out what he wants to do with his life. If you’re the Yankees, how long do you give Pettitte before you move on? He’s a great pitcher and a great Yankee, but you can’t just hold a spot for him until all the Halladays are over.

5. I don’t think there’s anything the Mets can do this winter to be a contender next year, not because they don’t have the money to make real moves — although maybe they don’t — but because they don’t have the kind of braintrust that will allow them to rebuild quickly, the Minor League depth isn’t there to make trades or enjoy impact promotions, and the free agent market is weak. If healthy, David Wright, Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, Johan Santana, and Francisco Rodriguez make for a very nice core, but they’re not enough.

6. The Orioles are roughly in the same position the Braves were in circa 1990, and need to do what the Braves did — shore up their defense. The development of their young pitching staff depends on it.

7. Joe Torre has always preferred glove-first catchers — Jorge Posada was an anomaly for him, one he embraced reluctantly. That’s why it’s ironic that Russell Martin’s bat has died on Torre’s watch. The Dodgers have to fix Russell, or deal him to someone who can. Unfortunately, the Dodgers prospect who should be pressing Russell for playing time, Carlos Santana, is now the property of the Cleveland Indians.

8. I understand that one good way to avoid a dry turkey on Thanksgiving is to brine it before cooking. I would like to try that technique on the people who come to Thanksgiving dinner. On a related note, I think I would enjoy Thanksgiving more if the traditional holiday dish was fajitas.

9. How many years will Marco Scutaro get for the best (read: fluke) season of his career, and which team will reap the disappointing returns?

10. Britt Burns was named pitching coordinator for the Astros on Monday. I still wonder how the 1980s might have been different for the Yankees had Burns, who was acquired in December, 1985 for Joe Cowley, Ron Hassey, and a couple of never-to-develop minor leaguers, hadn’t had his career ended by a degenerative hip problem.

11. The really is nothing funnier than singing sheep, at least not to me, right here, right now.

12. If the Red Sox do manage to trade Mike Lowell and pick up Adrian Gonzalez (sliding Kevin Youkilis over to third), that by itself won’t be enough.

13. Contrary to popular superstition, it is not bad luck to feign illness at Thanksgiving time. If more people feigned illness at this time of year, countless uncomfortable and frankly painful family gatherings could be avoided. If you are still uncomfortable feigning illness to avoid Thanksgiving, you can try hiding in a box.



    Hi Steve,

    How do you feel about offering Damon arbitration? I think it’s kind of an interesting game of chicken, in that I don’t expect Damon/Boras to accept a 1 year deal, but in offering arbitration you depress Damon’s market value enough (because of the lost draft pick) to where it’s not inconceivable that he would accept after all (figuring 1 year for 14-15M is better than 2 years/20M, cause he can easily get a 5-6M contract for 2011).

    I still would prefer they offer him arb, unless doing so would seriously impinge their off-season OF plans (which may very well be the case), as the upside (two draft picks) outweighs the downside (overpaying for 1 more season of Damon).

    Have a good, tension-free Thanksgiving!

    – Louis

  2. hateslibs

    Mr. Goldman, You sound like a major country leader we all know!! You tell us what not to do, but left out 1 small point (what to do). Who do you think we should sign? Bay, ( not Catch em in the gut Holliday), Go after Halliday!. My 1 ?? to you Steve is why hasn’t the MLB forced the Redsox owners to tear down that horrible Fenway , as it gives the Sox’s one heck of home field advantage (left field wall,etc) Kind of like the Baggie Dome gave the Twins.. Do you think the Fans will howl /scream if the the Sox spend a boat load of money on Halliday, like they will if the Yanks sign him??? Have a good Turkey-day!!!! John.

  3. letsgoyankees

    I disagree about Cameron completely. Get him for a 1 year deal, maybe w/an option for a second year. He plays very good defense (you’ll be happy to know I’ve converted to UZR) and then at least you have an A lineup where Cameron’s in LF and Damon’s DH instead of the A lineup including Brett Gardner or Francisco Cervelli. He does not need to be Matsui offensively, or even be a real every day player, he just needs to be above average. He’s a perfect fit.


    Steve, I have been wondering what your take on signing Podsednik for a year plus an option would be (in lew of bringing back Damon) and do you think taking fliers on pitchers such as Bedard, Harden and Sheets may be a better way to go than putting up huge amounts for one (Lackey) pitcher.

  5. paulo720

    “Who do you think we should sign? Bay, ( not Catch em in the gut Holliday). Go after Halliday!”

    It was one error. Sheesh.

    And I’m getting confused with all these Hallidays and Holidays and what not people are throwing around. It’s Roy Halladay; Matt Holliday.

  6. jeffdoc86

    I repeat again

    Trade for dejesus
    -reaonsable contract (under 5 mil for 2010, w a 6. somthing club option for 2011)
    -hits for descent average
    hits for descent power(mid teen–> expect this to improve at Yankee Stadium)
    -Is a plus defender with a great arm
    -is only 30
    -Royals said he was available and is coming off a year of flukey injuries

    Would not cost the world in prospects
    -remember when cash said he was looking to spin off couple peripheral members of the 40 man roster, this could be it!!!

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