PinstripesPlus Report 11/18

In the latest PinstripesPlus report, The Insiders have the a roundup of the latest news from Yankeeland. Catch up on all the recent news events, hirings, firings and rumors. Will Mel Stottlemyre's return help bring Andy Pettitte back in '04? Find out inside.

Whatever else the Yankees do this winter, it's conceivable they might have already made their most important acquisition with the announcement pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre will be back for a ninth season.

Stottlemyre, who said he felt "personally abused" by owner George Steinbrenner's criticism and overruling of manager Joe Torre's coaching staff, told the Yankees he would make a decision about his future on Nov. 13, his 62nd birthday.

Unquestionably, Stottlemyre's return is expected to help the Yankees in their negotiations to bring back 31-year-old left-hander Andy Pettitte. The two are extremely close.

Stottlemyre has also been working closely with Jose Contreras and Jeff Weaver, both of whom are expected to be in the rotation next summer.

Pettitte is the Yankees' primary objective, and the package prices are believed to range from $45 million over three years to $55 million over four years.

The Yankees have explored trading for Arizona's Curt Schilling and re-signing the Chicago White Sox's Bartolo Colon and are expected to look into Kevin Millwood.

Any deal for Schilling would first entail signing him to a contract extension -- three years at $35 million would seem to be a reasonable asking price -- but after that there's Arizona's asking price, with the names being Alfonso Soriano and Nick Johnson.

--Owner George Steinbrenner was furious that Hideki Matsui wasn't named AL Rookie of the Year and lost by four points to Kansas City SS Angel Berroa in the closest voting in 24 years. Steinbrenner was upset Matsui was left off two ballots completely, suggesting a bias against veteran Japanese players.
"The award was renamed by the Baseball Writers' Association to honor Jackie Robinson, its first recipient," Steinbrenner said. "Jackie Robinson came to the major leagues after playing in the Negro Leagues, a league whose high level of play is unquestioned. This year's voting farce, where the appropriate qualifications for the award were blatantly ignored, clearly demonstrates unfairness to first-year players from Japan. And that must be stopped."

--Retired slugger Darryl Strawberry was hired as a player development instructor, with presumably the job description of guiding prospects away from the demons that derailed his career. "I believe in teaching," Strawberry said. "I can help, telling about my struggles, what I had to go through, help prepare themselves for off-the-field activities and the way they live. I'm very excited about this."

--Lee Mazzilli, hired for the managerial position in Baltimore, was replaced on the coaching staff by Roy White. 

--The Yankees explored a trade with Arizona for pitcher Curt Schilling. Any trade would entail a contract extension. The cost in money and players -- the Diamondbacks are interested in Alfonso Soriano and Nick Johnson -- would appear to make a deal unlikely.

--LHP David Wells has a Nov. 24 MRI scheduled, but even so, surgery is expected. Wells, at 40, wants to play another season, but the Yankees did not pick up his option.

--The Yankees revealed what most suspected all along, that SS Derek Jeter played the postseason hurt. Jeter took pain-killing injections for a ruptured tendon in his left thumb but still managed a homer off Pedro Martinez in Game 3 of the ALCS and hit .346 in the World Series. Jeter is hoping six to eight weeks of rest and rehab could avoid surgery.

335 -- Career homers by Darryl Strawberry in 17-year career with Mets, Dodgers, Giants and Yankees.

"Our young players will learn from his knowledge and talents as a ballplayer as well as from the mistakes he has made. I will not turn my back on a man who has failed and is doing everything possible to turn his life around." -- Yankees owner George Steinbrenner on bringing back Darryl Strawberry as a player development instructor.

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