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Yankees Rumors and Gossip 9/17/15: Sabathia, Tanaka, and prospects

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In today's rumor roundup: secret backroom deals that are actually more or less abundantly public, new additions to the list of untouchable prospects, and hopes and dreams for a new and improved CC Sabathia.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
  • The Yankees are quietly confident about CC Sabathia's form heading into the postseason with the former ace rocking a new and improved knee brace. His two starts since the adoption of the new brace have been a success—one run in 11 1/3 innings, though those two games were against less-than-fearsome Orioles and Rays sides—and Sabathia himself seems more confident. With Ivan Nova turning out to be a bust this season and some recent shakiness from Michael Pineda, the team seems to need a good Sabathia more than ever.
  • Meanwhile, the Yankees will be going all in with Masahiro Tanaka. Joe Girardi has spent most of the season trying to find ways to give Tanaka extra days of rest but that plan is out the window now. Tanaka will be pitching on the regular four days of rest for the rest of the season.
  • In an interesting cut of half-salacious gossip, Joel Sherman reported on the backroom deal the Yankees made with Slade Heathcott shortly before non-tendering him last year. You may recall the Yankees did not immediately renew Heathcott's contract but instead let him opt into free agency before offering him a new contract (which he dutifully accepted, and I suppose thank God for that). These kinds of deals are made when teams need to adjust their 40-man roster—letting Heathcott go and then re-signing him was an easy way of removing him from the 40-man but keeping him in the organization. As a reward for his loyalty, Heathcott got a pay rise of 51% (up to $110,000), a mid-season opt-out if he wasn't placed back on the 40-man, and, perhaps most curiously of all, was allowed to deploy his own doctors in an attempt to cure him of his rice paper-like fragility. Given events this season, we can say that did not work.
  • Meanwhile, it seems the Yankees front office is high on James Pazosper George A. King, the twenty-four-year-old reliever is on the Yankees' list of 'untradeable prospects.' That's quite the lofty peak to have reached—it's a list made of legitimate talent like Luis Severino, Greg Bird, and Aaron Judge; and so to state the plainly obvious, the front office must be very impressed by Pazos if he's included in those ranks.
  • Forbes' Mike Ozanian, who terms himself a "traffic cop at the intersection of money and sports," has released another one of those articles where he values teams, and in this recent valuation update has valued the Yankees organization at $3.2 billion. If there was ever a time to enact my hugely, hugely flawed—but also maximally fun—Buy All Free Agents plan, now would be it. Imagine the problems you could solve with names like David PriceHisashi IwakumaYoenis Cespedes, and Ben Zobrist on your team. However, as part of the Buy All part, you'd also be getting Drew Stubbs. So, as it turns out, Buy All giveth and Buy All taketh away.
  • Essential Fact of the Day—the headline from Quartz: "Japan now has enough women over 100 years old to fill Yankee Stadium." This has been your Essential Fact of the Day.
  • Finally, we'll leave you with this (click on that link), brought to my attention by Pc_Retro in the comments on the previous Rumors and Gossip post. It's common knowledge I figure, but I for one didn't know Suzyn Waldman was a Red Sox fan in her youth. On visiting Yankee Stadium, said Waldman to the New York Times in 1986:
    Under no circumstances, of course, do you sit in the bleachers. . . . Those are the real crazies. . . . And you don't want to sit on the first base side with the Yankee season-ticket holders either. . . . The third base side behind the visitor's dugout is probably as safe as it gets. It's the only place you can attempt to wear a Boston shirt. Take a jacket in case you need to cover up the shirt. . . . It's only safe to talk to a Yankee fan if he is ahead, 12-0, when they become conciliatory, or we are ahead, 12-0. Then they turn on their own team, and say the most hilarious things.