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The Lohud Yankees blog has reported that the Yankees have agreed to terms with first round pick Cito Culver.  Culver is currently a high school senior and cannot sign on the dotted line until after he graduates this weekend.

Lohud is reporting that Culver has backed out on his committment to attend the University  of Maryland opening the door for him to sign with the Yankees.

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Last year I predicted that reigning AL MVP Joe Mauer would sign with the Yankees in the 2010 offseason.  Boy was I wrong.

Monday it was made official.  It was announced that Mauer had signed a 8 year extension with the Minnesota Twins to remain their catcher through at least the 2017 season.  The deal is for $184 Million and average of $23 Million a year and includes a full no-trade clause.

Mauer has been one of the best hitters in the American League, winning the batting title three times and was the clear-cut winner for the MVP in 2009 hitting .365 with 28 homers and 96 RBI.  Oh, and he missed the first few weeks of the season.

Mauer grew up in the midwest and is considered to be a hometown boy so it’s not surprising the Twins wanted to keep their fans happy by signing Mauer long-term.  However, had Mauer waited to re-sign, he could have tested the free agent open waters this fall and would have easily gotten anywhere from $175-$225 Million.  I had predicted the Yankees might be willing to offer him 6 years in the neighborhood of $190 Million, or $32 Million a year.

That would more than exceed the $27 Million that Alex Rodriguez averages annually, but then again, Mauer has won 3 batting titles in his 6 seasons as a big league and established himself as the best player in the American League last season.

The Twins are most definitely trying to prove to their fans that they are serious about competing with the Yankees and Red Sox and this move is a good way to make that point.  However, I hope they don’t make the same mistakes with Mauer that Texas made with Rodriguez from 2000-2003, causing the team with the best player in the league to finish at the bottom of the standings every year.

ESPN’s Buster Olney is reporting that sources are indicating that the Yankees have signed free agent outfielder Randy Winn, effectively ruling out any chance of a Johnny Damon return.

Winn has reportedly signed a 1 year, $2 Million contract and it seems that the Yankees have made an extremely good signing.  Although he only hit .262 with 51 RBI and a .318 OBP in 2009, Winn is a career .286 hitter with a .344 OBP.  In 2007 and 2008, he hit .306 and .300 respectively.

At a paltry $2 Million, he’s a STEAL.  If he sucks, who cares?  If he repeats ’07 or ’08 numbers the Yankees make out big time.  In 2009, Winn made over $9 Million as a member of the San Francisco Giants.

RIP Johnny Damon in pinstripes.

From ESPN Notes:

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Johnson gets a $5.5 million salary next season, and the deal includes a $5.5 million mutual option with a $250,000 buyout. He can earn $1 million annually in performance bonuses: $50,000 each for 400 and 425 plate appearances, $75,000 each for 450 and 475, and $125,000 each for 500 and each additional 25 through 625. The option price would increase to $6 million with 500 plate appearances, $6.5 million with 550 and $7 million with 600. If he has at least 550 plate appearances, the buyout would be $500,000.

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My Two Cents:  I like deals with some incentives in them.  I’m in sales and have worked on commission for a long, long time, so I can appreciate the idea of working harder to make more money.  Sure the money is not “guaranteed” to Johnson, but if he stays healthy he can make up to $1 Million more in 2010, not to mention, more money in a mutual option for 2011.

That being said, I don’t see Johnson in pinstripes beyond 2010.  The Yankees are most likely going to sign Joe Mauer in the 2010 off season, pushing Jorge Posada to DH if he does not retire.

Nick Johnson is now back with the team he grew up with.  Drafted and developed by the Yankees, OF/1B/DH Nick Johnson is all set to be back in pinstripes for the 2010 season after signing a 1 year deal worth about $5.5 Million with some incentives.  The deal also includes a mutual option for 2011.

Johnson spent the first three years of his career with the Yankees but was traded to the Montreal Expos (now the Washington Nationals) after the 2003 season for Javier Vasquez.  He has spent much of his career on the DL, but managed to stay off of it for most of the 2009 season. As a result of that, he had one of the highest on-base percentages in the bigs last season at .426 and his career-high BA of .291.

Johnson played first base for the Yankees from 2001-2003, alternating time there with Jason Giambi.  His $5.5 Million salary is the exact same amount he has earned for the last 3 seasons.

Many are saying that this indicates the Yankees are moving on from Johnny Damon.  Rumors are that Damon’s people reportedly told the Yankees not even bother making an offer unless it was in the $13 Million/year range.  The Yankees had reportedly been planning to offer a two-year deal in the $18 Million range.

I still don’t believe this means the Yankees are done adding position players or that Damon is definitely not coming back.  We all thought the Yankees were done last December before they surprised us in the days before Christmas by adding free agent slugger/awesome first baseman Mark Teixeira.

I do feel happy about this move.  Johnson was a solid guy for the Bombers earlier in his career and it’s good to see him back in the Bronx once again.

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