Sunday, December 8, 2013
According to one rival executive, the Yankees have also mentioned Ichiro Suzuki’s name in trade talks. There’s no indication that any sort of Ichiro trade is close, and his trade value is minimal at best. One baseball source questioned how well Ichiro would adjust to a fourth outfielder role, which is the way most teams are likely to value him.
And I’m shopping this Motorola flip phone I’ve got.
Call me if you are interested…
Saturday, December 7, 2013
After inking outfielder Carlos Beltran last night, the Yankees have received “significant interest” in Brett Gardner, reports Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger (via Twitter). The club is willing to deal Gardner, says McCullough, though it is not actively shopping him.
Gardner, 30, is projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz to earn $4MM in his final go through arbitration before reaching the open market next year. The capable center fielder posted a .273/.344/.416 line in 609 plate appearances last year, good for 4.2 rWAR. Though his value is limited by the lack of significant team control, his low salary and ability to play any outfield position make him an intriguing trade target.
Of course teams are interested in Gardner. Some teams would pay $153M over seven years to sign someone like him.
I really think if they trade Gardner I’m done, although I reserve the right to change my mind if I like the return. But I know this team, and I know the return will be horseshit.
Friday, December 6, 2013
Mark Feinsand @FeinsandNYDN
BREAKING: Source says Yankees and Carlos Beltran have agreed to a three-year deal. More details to come.
Hiroki Kuroda and the Yankees finalized a one-year deal for $16 million on Thursday night, according to The Post’s Joel Sherman.
Kuroda will earn $16 million and can add $250,000 in incentives for working 190 innings and another $250,000 for hurling 210 frames. The $16 million represents a raise for the right-hander, who will be 39 on Feb. 10.
I like Kuroda, but I really don’t care about this.
The Problem with Plan B
Update: So yeah, as I was writing this, Cano has reportedly signed with the Mariners. This stinks.
If the rumors about the Seattle Mariners being willing to go to 9 years and $225M for Robinson Cano with the Yankees holding the line at 7 years and $175M, it’s starting to look like Cano will not be in pinstripes in 2014.
As presently constituted, I have the Yankees projected at around 78 wins and in last place in the AL East. CAIRO projected Cano to be worth somewhere between 5-6 wins, and those are wins the Yankees need desperately. The Yankees do have some options to get those wins elsewhere, but that comes with a whole host of issues that need to be considered.
The Yankees could add Shin-Soo Choo and get back most of the offense they are losing if Cano leaves.
The Yankees could add Carlos Beltran instead of Choo and CAIRO thinks they’d provide similar value on a rate basis in 2014 but Beltran is five years older and a bigger health risk and probably a worse defender at this point. On the plus side he can be had on a shorter contract, although I’d probably rather sign a 31 year old for five or six years than a 37 year old for three.
The Yankees could also sign Omar Infante to play 2B, which allows them to use Johnson at 3B more frequently in the likely event that Alex Rodriguez misses significant time due to either his suspension or his health.
Signing another OF would allow the Yankees to upgrade DH with Alfonso Soriano as well, although he may not like being the primary DH.
So what’s the problem with replacing Cano with Beltran/Choo plus Infante?
Problem one; replacing Cano with two players means you are using two roster spots instead of one.
Problem two: if you sign two 30+ year old players for multiple seasons and they decline the way a typical 30+ year old player does you are losing twice as many wins per season as you would if were to sign one.
Let’s say Cano is worth 5.5 wins now, Choo or Beltran is worth 3 wins now and Infante is worth 2 wins now and that they will lose 0.5 wins per year.
Let’s say you will have to pay Cano $225M for nine years, Choo $120M for six years, Beltran $48M for three years and Infante $25M for three years.
Let’s try to represent all that in a chart.
|Choo + Infante||5||$28,333,333||4||$28,333,333||3||$28,333,333||1.5||$20,000,000||1||$20,000,000||0.5||$20,000,000||15||$145,000,000.00||$9,666,666.67|
|Beltran + Infante||5||$24,333,333||4||$24,333,333||3||$24,333,333||12||$73,000,000.00||$6,083,333.33|
Although the chart cuts off after 2019, the totals in the last two columns include all nine seasons of Cano.
Here’s the same chart using a 0.7 win decline instead of 0.5.
|Choo + Infante||5||$28,333,333||3.6||$28,333,333||2.2||$28,333,333||0.9||$20,000,000||0.2||$20,000,000||-0.5||$20,000,000||11.4||$145,000,000.00||$12,719,298.25|
|Beltran + Infante||5||$24,333,333||3.6||$24,333,333||2.2||$24,333,333||10.8||$73,000,000.00||$6,759,259.26|
You don’t get a trophy for maximizing your wins per dollar spent. But the less efficient you are in that, the harder it is to build a good team on a budget. And the Yankees have a budget, especially with George Steinbrenner no longer with us.
So the Yankees can get fairly close to Cano’s production in 2014 by signing Beltran or Choo plus Infante. It will only be about 0.5-0.7 wins worse for around the same salary. But then in 2015, you are a full win+ worse. In 2016 you are 1.5-2 wins worse.
They are already not a strong contender in 2014, and if they go with Plan B in lieu of Cano they will be spending more money for less value in each subsequent year which means it’s going to be even harder to make themselves into one going forward.
It’s really hard to justify signing a 31 year old player for nine years, no matter how good he is right now. But if the Yankees go with Plan B they better hope they win it all in 2014, because they’re likely going to be worse for longer from 2015 on.
Thursday, December 5, 2013
ORLANDO—Las negociaciones entre el intermedista dominicano Robinson Canó y los Marineros de Seattle escalaron a otro nivel el jueves, cuando el pelotero tomó un vuelo privado de Nueva York a Seattle para conversar personalmente con el club de la Liga Americana, dijo una fuente a ESPNdeportes.com.
No se pudo determinar el grado de acercamiento entre las partes para un posible acuerdo, pero la fuente de ESPNdeportes.com dijo que los Marineros dejaron saber a Canó que estarían dispuestos a pagarle entre $230 y $240 millones de dólares por las próximas 10 temporadas.
Translation, Robinson Cano is in Seattle, and although no formal offer has been made, the rumor is they are willing to go as high as 10 years and $240M for him.
10 years is probably five years too many. As hard as it will be for this team to contend without Cano, I can’t endorse a contract of that length for a player who’s already over 30.
Have fun sipping Mochchino’s or whatever the hell that stuff they drink is called Robinson.
Should Hiroki Kuroda’s End of Season Fade Prevent the Yankees from Bringing Him Back?
After carrying the Yankee rotation for most of the season, Hiroki Kuroda struggled over the last six weeks. After August 12 his ERA stood at 2.33. From August 17 on it was 6.56.
There’s no secret the Yankees are hoping to bring Kuroda back in 2014. The question is whether it’s a good idea. Let’s look at some selective endpoints from Kuroda’s two seasons as a Yankee.
FIP: Fielding independent pitching
xFIP: Expected FIP
BB/BF: Walks and hit batters per batters faced
K/BF: Strikeouts per batters faced
K/BB: Strikeout to walk ratio
GB%: Percentage of batted balls that were ground balls
FB%: Percentage of batted balls that were fly balls
LD%: Percentage of batted balls that were line drives
IFFB: Percentage of batted balls that were infield flies
BABIP: Batting average on balls in play
FBv: Average fastball velocity
Kuroda’s problem was not velocity, as it was actually higher over the last 5-6 weeks of the season in both 2012 and 2013. In 2013 his control got worse, and he gave up twice as many home runs per fly ball. His BABIP against went from a unrealistically low .251 to .355. He saw a similar issue with HR/FB and BABIP against in 2012, although not to the same extreme in either one.
Kuroda will be 39 in 2014. Because of that alone he carries a fair amount of risk. But I don’t think his late season performance in 2013 is of particular concern as far as what it means for next year. Most of his peripherals were still pretty good, and his velocity was fine. I don’t know if skipping a few starts during the year or managing his innings a bit more judiciously would help him pitch a little better at the end of the year.
For whatever it’s worth Kuroda gave the team two good postseason starts in 2012 so I don’t think we can assume he’ll be useless after mid-August.
The fact that Kuroda will probably only want one year still makes him the best free agent starting pitcher option in my mind, because I don’t really like any of the other available options (unless Masahiro Tanaka ends up as a free agent of sorts). I’d certainly rather have Kuroda for one year and $16M than someone like Ervin Santana or Matt Garza for the same annual salary for 4-5 years.
The Yankees need starting pitching badly, and Kuroda might add four wins to them.
So I will say, no. The Yankees should not be particularly worried about Kuroda’s last eight starts.
If Cano leaves — and Yankees officials believe the Seattle Mariners could offer an eight-year, $200 million contract that they would not match — then there is plenty of money left to spend on free agents, or on the Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka. The Yankees had hopes of signing Tanaka this off-season, but that was complicated by the Ellsbury signing and by developments that were out of their hands.
Major League Baseball has been negotiating a new posting system with its counterparts in Japan, and it sent over its latest proposal Wednesday. Under the proposed system, teams would be allowed to make a maximum bid of $20 million, according to two people who have been briefed on the negotiations. If more than one team bids the maximum, the player will be free to negotiate with all of them.
A team making the highest bid would have exclusive rights to negotiate with the player.
Under the recently expired system, teams could submit bids of any amount, and the team with the highest bid got exclusive rights to negotiate with the player. With a player as highly regarded as Tanaka, several teams could make a $20 million bid, leaving Tanaka free to negotiate with any of them if the new system is adopted.
That system could hurt the Yankees, especially if they hold to their goal of keeping their payroll below $189 million. Under both the old system and the proposed one, the posting fee does not count against a team’s luxury-tax figure. But Tanaka’s salary would, and the lower posting fee means that M.L.B. teams are more likely to give Japanese players higher contracts, which could have an impact on teams that are close to the luxury-tax threshold — like the Yankees.
Dear Yankees. Give up on the $189M payroll, or stop pretending you are committed to fielding a “championship-caliber” team. Maybe you should read this article in the Wall Street Journal, if you can read.
“The financial payoff at this juncture, coming off a missed postseason, is way more than any other team stands to gain by improving themselves by three, four, five, six wins—whatever the number might be,” Gennaro said. “Some people will say, ‘Well, is it an overpay?’ With the Yankees, that’s the wrong question. The second-biggest problem the Yankees could have is overpaying for a free agent. The biggest problem is not getting the free agent they need to get back to the postseason and make a deep run into it.”
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
The Yankees may not be done yet.
Following the high-profile signing of outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, the Yankees are reportedly nearing a deal with infielder Kelly Johnson, according to Joel Sherman. Sherman reports the deal would be for one year at around $3 million.
Johnson, 31, has played for the Braves, Diamondbacks, Blue Jays and Rays during an eight-year career. He hit .235 with a .305 on-base percentage and 16 home runs for the Rays in 2013.
Johnson’s primary selling points are his power and his versatility. He’s hit at least 16 home runs in five seasons, including each of the last four, and has extensive experience at both second base and in left field. He’s also played 16 games at third base. Sherman reports that the Yankees plan is to deploy Johnson around the infield, though he could serve as a fallback option if the Yankees come up short in their pursuit of Robinson Cano.
As opposed to the dumb Jacoby Ellsbury overpay, I really like this potential signing.
CAIRO likes Johnson more than I would have expected, projecting him to hit .239/.320/.410 with 20 HRs in 536 PA as a Yankee. He projects as around average defensively at 2B (+2 in DRS, average in UZR and -2 in zone rating), He isn’t in Robinson Cano’s league, but he would project to be worth about 2.1 wins above a replacement level 2B given that playing time.
He hasn’t played a ton of 3B as the excerpt notes, but he’s an option to play there if needed. He projects as a below average LF, but he hopefully shouldn’t see much time out there anyway.
With Johnson and Ellsbury added to the mix, the Yankees now project to win about 78 games. If they add Hiroki Kuroda and Robinson Cano, they can probably get to about 87 wins.. But they probably can’t do that if they stick to their $189M payroll.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
CAIRO hates the Jacoby Ellsbury Contract
My first thought when I saw that the Yankees signed Jacoby Ellsbury was that it was almost certain to be a bad move. But I’ve felt for a while that whomever signed Ellsbury would regret it, because he has had problems staying healthy, and teams will be wish-casting on his MVP level performance in 2011. Of course, we have 2400+ other PA where he’s never approached anything close to that.
Anyway, after looking at his CAIRO projection for this year and for the next seven years, I’m even more convinced this contract is bad one. But don’t take my word for it, here are the numbers.
Strictly going by hitting and stolen bases, Ellsbury projects to be worth about 2.5 wins above a replacement level CF in 2014. He projects to be somewhere around a +4 defender, and we can maybe give him another run or two for non-SB base running.
Now obviously, if he could hit that 65% or 80% forecast we’d love this contract, but that’s not the baseline for a reason, because it’s just not that likely.
So if you have a player who’s 30 and he’s signed for 7 years and you’re paying him an average of $22M per year, how much does he have to be worth to justify it? Only the team really knows that, but let’s look at how CAIRO projects his next seven season.
Yeah. Even if you want to assume he will continue to provide +5 defense for all seven seasons, he’s doesn’t project to be worth more than 17 wins or so. So the Yankees would be paying about $9M per win in a league that pays between $5M-$6M on the free agent market.
The key number in all these projections is plate appearances. Because he has missed significant parts of the season over the time that is in his projection, he only projects to have 526 PA in 2014 and it only goes down from there. If he can give the Yankees 650 PA in 2014, we can up his overall projected oWAR to 16.5. It’s still a crappy deal, but a bit less so. 650 PA at his 65% forecast in 2014 and now we’re looking at 22.2 WAR and yeah, it’s still a crappy deal.
This deal has all the earmarks of a deal that was not made by a baseball person, rather by a person who thinks signing a big name and making a splash will put asses in the seats. Guess what, you do that by putting a better team on the field than you put out there last year.
Ellsbury is not a bad player, and he should be an asset on the field. But he’s not nearly the player that Robinson Cano is, and won’t make nearly the difference to this team’s fortunes that Cano would. How do you tell Cano you won’t give him 8 years and $200M when you are willing to give a player that’s half as valuable as he is 7 years and $153M? And if signing Ellsbury means Cano is playing elsewhere in 2014, this team will be lucky to finish .500.
You also have to think this means the end of Brett Gardner’s days in pinstripes is close, if not before this season then almost surely after it, and I’m bummed about that.
Just like with the McCann signing, I’m reserving judgement on this move until I see what else they do. But unlike the McCann move which I liked in a vacuum, in a different vacuum I think this move was stupid.
Alternate Universe Where Bad Ideas Work Out: Yankees Sign Jacoby Ellsbury for 7 Years/$153 Million
From Mark Feinsand:
Yankees deal with Ellsbury is seven years and $153 million. That’s $12 million more than Crawford’s contract.
Yeah, so that just happened.
Hole. E. Shit.
I am stunned.
Jeff Passan claims that the Yankees are not officially out on Cano, but sure as heck seems like it.
Perhaps there’s a slim chance that they just decided to skip $189 all together? Maybe? Please be that!
Since there may be a couple of you who don’t read Japanese(including me) the Google translation for that is…
As the new system of posting system (bidding system), the 2nd, and the upper limit set of bidding money, that the preferred plan has been proposed in the major league season lower side team was found. If you did on an upper limit on the bid, there is a plurality of team that bid the maximum amount, as the lower winning percentage of obtaining the right to negotiate in season performance for the year in particular. At an extraordinary meeting of representatives from the 3rd, Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) to consult with 12 teams the proposed system of multiple, including this new proposal.
So MLB wants to implement a maximum bid, and in the event of a tie the winning bid will be the team with the lowest winning percentage.
Well, that makes it much less likely the Yankees will be adding Masahiro Tanaka. Too bad he wasn’t getting posted after 2014, when the Yankees will likely be one of the worst teams in baseball…
WARNING: Link plays a video
NEW YORK—The Seattle Mariners have emerged as a major player in the sweepstakes for free agent Robinson Cano, according to several sources who spoke to ESPNNewYork.com on Tuesday on the condition of anonymity.
With the New York Yankees not wanting to offer Cano more than a seven-year contract or as much as $200 million, an industry source with knowledge of the negotiations put the Yankees chances of retaining their five-time All-Star second baseman at “less than 50-50.”
“It doesn’t look too good right now,” said the source.
Hope you like rain, weed and coffee Robinson.
If Robinson Cano wants a contract for more than $200 million, he’s not going to be wearing pinstripes next season.
Long baseball’s spending leviathan, the New York Yankees are adamant their stance in negotiations with the star second baseman is not pure posturing, sources told Yahoo Sports. Despite Cano’s request for a nine-year, $252 million deal in the parties’ last meeting, the Yankees do not believe Cano is worth the highest average annual value in the game and are sticking hard by a seven-year, $160 million offer that they tell executives and agents may have $15 million of wiggle room.
“They are not going to go to $200 million,” one executive familiar with the Yankees’ plans said. “Period.”
It’s tough to see a contract over $200M as being a good one unless Cano defies the normal aging pattern of just about every MLB player in history, so I understand this stance. The question then becomes if any other team decides they will go where the Yankees aren’t willing to go.
Cano is the single most important piece in determining how good the Yankees will be in 2014. No other player that is available to them without giving up anything but money can add more wins than he can. But you aren’t just signing him for 2014, and you don’t want to find yourself in the same position you are in right now in three or four years waiting for more bad contracts to get off the books.
My guess, someone is going to give him more than $200M. No idea who though.
Monday, December 2, 2013
The Yankees non-tendered three players today: Third baseman David Adams, utility infielder Jayson Nix and reliever Matt Daley. Nix and Daley hardly came as surprises, with Nix basically crowded out by Brendan Ryan and Daley having no realistic chance of sticking on the roster through the winter. The decision to non-tender Adams — rather than wait to DFA him if a 40-man spot needs to open — is a bit of a surprise.
I will miss Nix, but it was pretty much a no-brainer to dump him with the fact that he was bound to make over a million dollars, which is a luxury the Yankees certainly could not afford (and it is not even a given that he would be the best option on the team for a utility man). One thing I will not miss is Sterling and Waldman waxing poetic about how great of a hitter Nix is.
Adams being non-tendered is pretty shocking, really. Seems to be a real vote of no-confidence in the guy. Or perhaps a sign that the Yankees plan to be very active on the fringes of the 40-man roster and figured that if they were bound to cut him eventually that it was more honorable to cut him now when he could stand a better chance of being picked up by another team.
NEW YORK—The Yankees have extended an offer to starter Hiroki Kuroda in an attempt to entice the right-hander to pitch one more season in the Bronx instead of retiring or returning to Japan to play, a source with knowledge of the discussions told ESPNNewYork.com.
The exact figure of the one-year offer is unknown, but it is expected to be in the $15 million to $16 million range. Kuroda, 38, made $15 million in 2013. Prior to free agency, he turned down the Yankees’ qualifying offer of $14.1 million.
Kuroda probably adds 3-4 wins to the Yankees, pushing them close to .500, so let’s hope he goes for it. But if they are going to sign Kuroda while trying to keep their payroll under $189M, it is pointless.
The Pirates are on the verge of acquiring catcher Chris Stewart from the Yankees, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.
Great trade! Who will they get?
Katron: Phil Hughes 2013 DNYS Homers superimposed onto Target Field
Yes, according to this image from Katron.org there wasn’t a single homer that Phil Hughes allowed in 2013 in DNYS that would not have been a homer in Target Field. Of course, this only looks at dimensions of the park and does not account for the other factors that can affect a fly ball’s distance, like altititude, humidity, wind and temperature.
The end of the Hughes era is bittersweet. I didn’t want him back, but it’s still disappointing that he didn’t turn out the way we had hoped when he was one of the top pitching prospects in baseball. I do think he has a pretty good chance to pitch well for Minnesota because he’ll be getting out of DNYS and he’ll be facing the AL Central more than any other division.
I wish him well.