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News » New York Yankees Notes, Quotes 2008-12-17

New York Yankees Notes, Quotes 2008-12-17

New York Yankees Notes, Quotes 2008-12-17
--CF Mike Cameron could be a solid addition to the Yankees if the reported trade with Milwaukee for CF Melky Cabrera were to go through. While Cameron, 35, doesn't fit the Yankees' goal of getting younger and more athletic, he would give them an excellent defensive center fielder for one year as well as one who can hit for power if not average (.243, 25 homers in 2008). Cameron also would provide the benefit of helping new teammate CC Sabathia acclimate himself to New York by spotting a familiar face in the clubhouse from his time with the Brewers. With CF Austin Jackson -- dubbed the organization's best by GM Brian Cashman -- potentially a year away, Cameron would provide the perfect bridge.

--RHP A.J. Burnett cost the Yankees more than they should have been willing to pay, but they edged out Atlanta for his services. The Yankees had initially refused to budge beyond four years on their contract terms but expanded that to five to beat the Braves. Thus, the Yankees have greatly improved their '09 rotation -- and their financial risk. Burnett, who won 18 games for Toronto this season, has battled injuries throughout his career. Despite that fact -- and numerous long-term pitching contracts that have backfired on the Yankees in recent years -- co-chairperson Hal Steinbrenner was excited about the prospect of landing Burnett.

--LHP Andy Pettitte will have to ignore his ego if he returns to the Yankees, as he has reportedly wanted to all along. The Yankees and Pettitte have been mutually interested in having the left-hander back in pinstripes, but not as agreeable on terms, according to reports. With the Yankees set to lock up ace CC Sabathia for a record deal reported at seven years and $161 million, and also chasing RHP A.J. Burnett with a five-year deal, Pettitte would have to swallow his pride and likely accept a pay cut from last year's $16 million salary. He'd also probably have to deal with becoming a bottom-rotation starter for a team he often led during the regular season and playoffs.

--CF Melky Cabrera might find his head spinning if a reported deal with Milwaukee goes through and sends him to the Brewers for CF Mike Cameron. Actually, either way, Cabrera will have to think long and hard about how far he had fallen in the Yankees' eyes in the past year. After a shaky start in a handful of games in 2005, Cabrera had become a fan and teammate favorite the next two years, replacing Bernie Williams in center field and batting .280 and .273. Along with his bat, Cabrera offered a strong glove and a youthful energy veterans appreciated. But Cabrera sunk to .249 last season and was eventually demoted to Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Pa.) as prospects Austin Jackson and Brett Gardner passed him up in the future expectations department.

--SS Derek Jeter was the first player named to the U.S. team for the 2009 World Baseball Classic and said he was looking forward to returning to the event that debuted in 2006. The Yankees' captain said there had been initial skepticism about the tournament when it first started, but eventually the players' interest increased.

"When we had the opportunity to get on the field, every player to a man was so excited to represent (his) country," Jeter said at a press conference with U.S. manager Davey Johnson. "Obviously I have not had an opportunity to represent our team in the Olympics, and this is the closest I'll ever get. But there is a lot of pride there."

The U.S. team will have to show some more of that pride to help erase the bitter memory of a 3-3 performance in '06, when the team didn't make it past the first round. Jeter hit .450 in the six games. The team will be without 3B Alex Rodriguez, who decided to play for his mother's native Dominican Republic this time around. Rodriguez flip-flopped last time and eventually played for the U.S. squad. Jeter didn't begrudge his teammate for switching sides.

"He has his reasons for doing that, and that's a great option for him," Jeter said. "And whatever team he plays for, he's going to help."

--INF Reegie Corona was the second pick taken in the major league portion of the Rule 5 draft, costing the Yankees the 22-year-old who played at Class AA Trenton last season. Seattle claimed Corona, who hit .274 with 24 steals last season. The Rule 5 draft, which closed the winter meetings, allows teams to take a player from another club's farm system for $50,000 as long as the player remains on the new club's 25-man roster the entire season. If not, the original club can reclaim the player for $25,000. The Yankees lost four players to the major league phase and two more in the Class AAA phase, but did not select any players from other teams. The other Yankees selected in the major league draft were LHP Zach Kroenke (Marlins), RHP Jason Jones (Twins) and RHP Ivan Nova (Padres). LHP Andres Santos went to the Pirates' organization and RHP Josue Selenes went to the Athletics in the Class AAA phase.

BY THE NUMBERS: 161 -- Millions the Yankees reportedly will pay LHP CC Sabathia over seven years -- a record amount for a pitcher.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I'm very excited. It's just great. Great for the team, great for New York and great for the fans." -- Yankees co-chairperson Hal Steinbrenner to Newsday after reports of CC Sabathia's pending signing.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: December 17, 2008

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