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Slow day today in the Yankee world.  Here is the little bit that is making news.

This story from Bryan Hoch at mlb.com.  He interviewed Kevin Long, the Yanks hitting coach about the new lineup.  Here’s a quote:

“Potentially, we look great on paper,” Long said. “But we have to come together and jell as a team. We have to become a team as quick as possible. We’re going to have to work at this thing, but having somebody of Mark Teixeira’s caliber and talent certainly makes things look a lot easier.”

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Joseph P at River Ave Blues wrote a great piece on why baseball does not need a salary cap.  Honestly, his reasoning seems so concrete, I’d invite someone to try and beat it.  He makes a phenomenal point that each team should play to its strengths and the fact is a salary cap limits a team’s ability to make big moves when they need to.   I’d continue on and say that its not our fault that the Yankees can make the moves they do.

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Finally PeteAbe at Lohud Yankees gathered the salaries for the Yankees 25 man roster.  Here are the major players:

Rodriguez: $32 million
Jeter: $20 million
Teixeira: $20 million (+$5 million signing bonus already paid)
Burnett: $16.5 million
Rivera: $15 million
Sabathia: $14 million (+$9 million signing bonus in 3 installments)
Posada: $13.1 million
Damon: $13 million
Matsui: $13 million
Nady: $6.55 million
Cano: $6 million
Swisher: $5.3 million
Wang: $5 million
Marte: $3.75 million
Molina: $2 million
Cabrera: $1.4 million

The totals come to $187.9 Million.  Not too shabby.

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There’s a whole lot to share with y’all.

  • A great Yankee blogger, Todd Drew, died just past midnight yesterday. He was a regular on Alex Belth’s blog. I never knew him but from what I’ve read about him, he was quite cool. He was only 41, so that’s even more touching.
  • Kevin Long, the Yankees’ hitting coach, who I don’t have a lot of confidence in, has been very busy this offseason. He visited A-Rod, Cano, and Posada and reports all three ready for monster 2009 seasons. I sure hope so.
  • Now more on the Clemens steroids saga. Kirk Radomski was in D.C. yesterday (thank God I didn’t see him). He testified against the Rocket.  Clemens’ former trainer, Brian McNamee expects to see Clemens in a uniform this year — an orange jumpsuit, that is.
  • No more halted postseason games. They must be played to full completion, so vote the owners yesterday.
  • Youk has agreed to a 4-year contract for $40 million with the Red Sox. I have to admit, I like his fiery attitude and his team-first philosophy. He is a good player playing for a team I love to hate.

Have a good day, y’all!

Yankees 2B Robinson Cano has picked up his former hitting abilities in the Dominican Winter League this season after a sub par 2008 with the Yankees.  He is hitting .303 (10-33) with eight runs scored, five doubles and seven RBIs.   The Yankees cleared the way for Cano to play for Las Estrellas de Oriente as designated hitter for one month.

Cano was disappointed with his 2008 performance and vowed to learn from it and turn it around in 2009.  “It’s a year that I’m going to learn from and not be back in this situation again,” Cano said in September. “This is a year that you can just say, ‘OK, this is not happening again.'”  He hit .271 last year, with an On-Base Percentage (OBP) of just .705.  Just two short years ago, Cano finished second for the batting title, hitting .342 with an OBP of .890 – a huge difference.

The Yankees and Cano are taking a very proactive approach to getting him back on track in ’09.  Cano hired a trainer and has lost weight.  Pitching Coach Kevin Long even spent 6 days with Cano in the Dominican last month to check out the mechanics of his swing.  Long has a lot of confidence in Cano and his swing.  “You’re going to see a huge difference visually,” Long told MLB.com. “You’ll see less movement, an explosive, compact swing, and you’ll probably see more home runs. I think his average will go way up, and I think his walks will go way up.”

Kevin Long has reported after spending some time with Robinson Cano in the Dominican Republic that the Yankee second baseman has been losing weight and gaining some muscle.

“I was as impressed with what he looks like as I have ever been in my whole life,” hitting coach Kevin Long said of Cano yesterday after spending six days last week in the Dominican Republic with the second baseman who led the list of Yankees disappointments last season.

Last season Cano had a year he’d like to forget quickly. Famous for starting slow, Cano’s slow season become prolonged and it wasn’t until his benching in September when he finally surged offensively. During his benching Long worked with Cano to improve his stance. After that he showed flashes of the form where he hit .346 in 2006 and .306 in 2007.

The Yankees have been talking about getting first baseman Mark Teixeira and Orlando Hudson, a second baseman they believe could play center field.

I’m all for Teixeira if we don’t get another fat contract (i.e. Burnett or Lowe), but not for Hudson. Cano is still young, and has all of the ability in the world. The last thing I want to do is to trade him before he really hits his prime.

Although this story is from the NY Post, I’m going to link it here. Read it if you wish.

Although the rumors about the staff had been milling around for a couple of weeks now, Joe Girardi’s announcement today makes it official.  The Yankees are returning five members of last year’s staff and a new addition in Mick Kelleher.  Kelleher will be joining the team as a First Base coach, a position he held with the Detroit Tigers from 2003-2005. Kelleher has been in the Yankees organization for the last few seasons, serving as an infield instructor in the minors and spring training.

Tony Pena, who was the First Base Coach for the last three seasons, will be moving to Bench Coach.  Pena was formerly the manager of the Kansas City Royals from 2002-2005.  Former Bench Coach Rob Thompson is moving to Third Base, replacing Bobby Meacham, who did not have his contract renewed by the Yanks after the season.   Finally, Dave Eiland and Kevin Long will remain with the team as Pitching Coach and Hitting Coach, respectively.

The coaches are the part of the team I know the least about.  Overall, it seems like a solid staff to assist Girardi, however, I cannot help but be surprised at the team retaining Long as the hitting coach.  The Yankees had what was supposed to be a massive lineup last season, and several players, including A-Rod and Jeter, saw their batting averages go down.  If I was to replace anyone, it would have been Long.

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