Yankees, Mets, trade rumors, free agents, off-the-wall predictions and other MLB musings.
Joba Chamberlain, A.J. Burnett, Jorge Posada, Jose Reyes and Donald Trump
Busy first day of pitchers and catchers at Steinbrenner Field, on another gorgeous day.
For my column (please, I'm begging you, don't tell the competition), I'm going to write about Joba Chamberlain. I'm going to focus on two elements: His weight gain, and the immense expectations that still surround him.
Chamberlain looks a little like Matthew Perry in one of those "fat Chandler" seasons of "Friends." He's definitely more beefy than in the past.
"I’ll acknowledge that he’s put some weight on. I’ll leave it at that," Brian Cashman told me. "All that other stuff gets handled behind closed doors."
I asked Chamberlain directly if the Yankees had ordered or asked him to lose weight, and he said, "No." But I expect him to look a little like his old self when the team breaks camp in late March.
For that matter, I expect Chamberlain to make the team. Yes, he has minor-league options, but he would essentially have to experience a drastic Grapefruit League meltdown in order to be optioned to the minor leagues.
--A.J. Burnett threw an early bullpen session and discussed his ugly 2010 season. With all of the talk about Burnett needing to improve to a "characteristic" or "typical" season for him in order for the Yankees to contend, I looked at Burnett's baseball-reference.com page.
He was pretty consistent from 2004 through 2009 - his WAR ranged from 1.9 to 2.9 - but he got there via different means. In 2005, 2008 and 2009, he stayed healthy and pitched decently. In 2004, 2006 and 2007, he spent time on the disabled list and pitched very well when healthy.
Right now, the Yankees would probably opt for Choice A - decency and innings quantity. Their bullpen is going to be kept busy enough during the fourth and fifth turns through the rotation.
--Jorge Posada is here with pitchers and catchers, but if you want to know how the Yankees regard him this season, there's this: Joe Girardi wouldn't commit to so much as playing Posada behind the plate in a single exhibition game this spring.
"It's something we'll discuss as spring training goes on," Girardi said.
Instead, Girardi stressed the importance of Posada getting comfortable as a DH. I'd be surprised if Posada played in more than five games at catcher this season. I wouldn't be surprised at all if Posada never once played behind the plate.
Speaking of Posada and surprises, Posadaia said he "wouldn't be surprised" if Andy Pettitte wound up pitching for the Yankees this season. But Girardi made it pretty clear that he'd be surprised. I think Posada was just speaking generally and enthusiastically.
--CC Sabathia does look quite slimmer, and he looked fine in a bullpen session. He and Russell Martin shook hands as they worked together for the first time.
--Mariano Rivera missed the workout, as he has been tending to his sick children. Given the deliberate pace with which Rivera approaches spring training (with the Yankees' blessing), he could show up a week late and it wouldn't matter much. He usually doesn't enter a game until mid-March.
--Over at Mets camp, Sandy Alderson reiterated that the Mets probably wouldn't extend Jose Reyes any time soon. That'll be one of Alderson's easier decisions.
--Donald Trump is interested in buying the Mets. Oh, man. I'd donate some good money - how about $175? - to see Trump buy the team and interact regularly with Bud Selig and the other owners. That would be...well, entertaining enough for a reality show.
--The Mets auditioned Jason Isringhausen to see what he had left, and Jim Baumbach tracked down Isringhausen's old Mets pal Bill Pulsipher on the phone.
--Have a great night.