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January 19, 2006

2 Yankees seek arbitration
by SG

From the Asbury Park Press:

Shawn Chacon asked the New York Yankees for $4.15 million in salary arbitration on Tuesday and Aaron Small requested $1.45 million.

New York offered $3.1 million to Chacon and $1,025,000 to Small.

The pair were among the pitchers brought in to shore up the Yankees' pitching staff last summer after injuries left New York short. Chacon, acquired from Colorado, went 7-3 with a 2.85 ERA in 12 starts and two relief appearances, and Small was 10-0 with a 3.20 ERA in nine starts and six relief appearances.

Small, brought up from the minors, joined Tom Zachary (12-0) of the 1929 Yankees, Howie Krist (10-0) of the 1941 St. Louis Cardinals and Dennis Lamp (11-0) of the 1985 Toronto Blue Jays as the only pitchers to finish a major league regular season unbeaten with 10 or more wins. Small did lose Game 3 of the AL playoffs to the Los Angeles Angels.

Small is eligible for arbitration for the first time and will make more this year than he has previously in his entire professional career, which began in 1989.

If I were the Yankees I'd try to settle with Chacon. As one of the few Yankee starters under 30, it's not worth the potential acrimony of going to arbitration in the year before he can become a free agent. While I have concerns about him declining based on his peripherals, there's a lot of upside in him. As far as Small, I don't begrudge him asking for more than he's being offered, but I wouldn't care if they take him to arbitration, as I think he is very unlikely to replicate last year.

In other news, Alex Rodriguez has decided to play in the World Baseball Classic, representing the US. For now, anyway. Hopefully this story ends. In Rodriguez's quest to please or not offend anyone, he's just made himself look wishy-washy. I wish he would just do what his heart tells him to do and not work so hard on cultivating his public persona. I'm fine with his decision, he's one of the most durable players in baseball and I don't see much risk for him.

In other Yankee stuff, there's a little story about Matt Desalvo in the News and Sentinel. Some highlights:

While not physically imposing, at 6-foot, 170 pounds, the ex-Marietta College Pioneer is a strikeout hurler with a 90-plus mph fastball and other assorted pitches (slider, forkball, changeup, curveball) - and that can be pretty intimidating to a batter.
Since signing with the Yankees, all DeSalvo has done is perform and turn heads at Staten Island (New York-Penn League), Battle Creek (Midwest League), Tampa (Florida State League) and Trenton (Eastern League).

With Trenton last summer, DeSalvo was 9-5 with a 2.62 ERA and 151 strikeouts in 149 innings pitched.

I think DeSalvo will be first in line when the Yankees need to go into the farm for a starter, and hope he acquits himself well.

Also, in the Hartford Courant, there is an article about Carl Pavano and his high hopes for 2006.

Sure, Carl Pavano was unhappy with the Yankees in 2005. His first season in New York, ended in midstream by a shoulder injury, wasn't the stuff for smiles.

"If somebody wasn't unhappy with the way the year went, what would you think of that person?" Pavano said recently from his home in Florida.

But Pavano is upbeat about his second season.

"Last year, things didn't work out the way either of us hoped they would," he said, "but I think the future is going to hold a more positive story. ... I can't wait."
Although nothing was said about it at the time, Pavano's '05 season was doomed in spring training, when he strained his back. He altered his pitching motion to compensate and hurt his shoulder.

I guess I don't understand why Pavano would be unhappy with the Yankees because he got hurt, unless it was the hints from the organization that he was jaking his injury. This is the first time I've heard about him straining his back. I've advocated trading Pavano, but it may be in the Yankees' best interest to see if he can bounce back. While the Yankees have a glut of starters, all have question marks with age, health, and performance. They wouldn't get much back for him now anyway.