The Curse of Jerry Hairston, Jr./Eric Hinske:
 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

How Does Signing Youkilis Impact the AL East?

I re-ran my projected standings with Kevin Youkilis getting 500 PA split among 3B, 1B and DH and here’s how it impacted the AL East projected standings.

Before:

TM  W   Div  WC1   WC2  PS%
Rays 86.0 25.8% 8.4% 10.2% 44.4%
Blue Jays 86.0 25.3% 9.2% 8.2% 42.7%
Yankees 85.0 23.0% 8.6% 7.7% 39.3%
Red Sox 84.0 20.1% 7.7% 8.4% 36.2%
Orioles 73.0 5.8% 3.1% 5.0% 13.9%

After:

TM W Div WC1 WC2 PS%
Blue Jays 86.5 25.3% 9.0% 8.7% 42.9%
Yankees 86.4 25.0% 8.7% 9.2% 42.9%
Rays 86.0 24.6% 8.7% 8.8% 42.1%
Red Sox 82.6 17.9% 6.9% 8.4% 33.2%
Orioles 74.1 7.3% 3.7% 4.8% 15.8%

Difference:

TM W Div WC1 WC2 PS%
Blue Jays 0.5 -0.2% 0.5% 0.2% 0.7%
Yankees 1.4 0.1% 1.5% 3.6% 5.0%
Rays 0.0 0.3% -1.4% -2.3% -3.6%
Red Sox -1.4 -0.8% 0.0% -3.0% -3.0%
Orioles 1.1 0.6% -0.2% 1.9% 1.7%

This includes all the other moves that were made since I ran these as well as some adjustments in playing time so that also affects this, but basically adding Youkilis if he can get 500 PA is worth about a win and a half or so.  Is that worth $12M?  It depends on how much you value a 5% increase in qualifying for the postseason I guess.

--Posted at 8:24 am by SG / 65 Comments | - (0)

Comments

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Does this include Ichiro as the full time RF?

No Ichiro yet.

Assuming comparable levels of production, I prefer going with the marquee name (e.g., Ichiro, Youkilis) over a so-so journeyman who was never that good to begin with.  I like to think there’s more inherent upside in a player who used to be great, but who has declined, than in someone who has just kind of muddled along his whole career.  In any case, the former approach—the YANKEE approach—is a lot more interesting (tho more expensive, but the Yankees can’t spend enough money to entertain me as far as I’m concerned).

[3] I’m not sure how many folks subscribe to this, but I really think guys like Youkilis and Ichiro will play better in a winning environment.  Someone made the comment yesterday that Youkilis has declined for 3 straight years - which is true - but in 2010 he was an MVP candidate and in 2011 he was in that next tier of very good players, so simply saying he’s declined is glossing over the fact that he was very recently in the upper echelon of offensive players.  2012 was a disaster, clearly, but is it fair to judge it out of the context of the train wreck that happened in Boston last year? He was much better in Chicago (though clearly not as good as in years past.)  On the analytical side, his LD% last year was consistent with previous years (solid at around 20%), so that’s something that might point to a rebound.

[3] I’m not sure how many folks subscribe to this, but I really think guys like Youkilis and Ichiro will play better in a winning environment.  Someone made the comment yesterday that Youkilis has declined for 3 straight years - which is true - but in 2010 he was an MVP candidate and in 2011 he was in that next tier of very good players, so simply saying he’s declined is glossing over the fact that he was very recently in the upper echelon of offensive players.  2012 was a disaster, clearly, but is it fair to judge it out of the context of the train wreck that happened in Boston last year? He was much better in Chicago (though clearly not as good as in years past.)  On the analytical side, his LD% last year was consistent with previous years (solid at around 20%), so that’s something that might point to a rebound.

I’m less concerned about Youkilis’s performance and more concerned about how healthy he’ll be.  I think he’ll hit pretty well when he can take the field, I just don’t know that he’ll be on the field as much as the Yankees need him to be.

I think it’s also important to keep in mind that the Yankees have been very successful picking up “scrap heap” players who were formally elite players. Maybe they’ve been really lucky, but the sustained success they’ve had points more towards a very good ML scouting department. I would not be surprised if Youk is quite good for the Yankees this year.

He is still an ugly whiny ass bitch though.

It also pleases me that the Yankees have taken a prized piece off of TWN’s mantle, leaving them feeling violated and betrayed. (Is schadenfreude a healthy emotion?)

Dammit ! We need another tenth of a run to take this thing.

SG, can’t you just….you know…?

[6] They mostly *need* him on the field until June, right?  Once they get there (hopefully), ARod will be back, and over the next several months they’ll be able to limit Youkilis’s PT, hopefully allowing him to stay healthy for the rest of the year.

I like the signing.  Sure, it’s probably that they got the best of a bad lot (given $189MM in 2014).  But I’ll still take it.  And for the people complaining…it’s a one year deal, and only costs money.  So what’s the WORST that can happen?  He sucks and they miss the playoffs?  Were any available 3B particularly better bets to *not* suck?  And most of those went for more than one year, meaning they could suck and eat up salary in future years as well.

[8] As healthy as the rest of my other emotions.

The degree of my acceptance of Youkilis will depend on how much outrage and bile wells up in Townie-town.

[9] Well, if the Yankees do sign Ichiro, I’m sure SG can rerun…and it would probably show the Yankees with about .2 wins more than the Jays.  Maybe even .3.  Potentially Yankees would be only team in AL East then with a > P chance of making post season.

The degree of my acceptance of Youkilis will depend on how much outrage and bile wells up in Townie-town.

Face it; if Youkilis gets a walk off hit to beat Boston in April, he’ll be your favorite player.

At least until the next time he strikes out looking and complains about it.

[3], [4]  I agree.

Is that worth $12M?

Well, the Yankees are clearly willing to pay a premium to keep the contract at one year, though this contract, compared to Keppinger’s 3 year, $12MM deal makes you wonder where the line is, i.e., when does paying a premium for one year cease to justify passing up more efficient deals?  It’s a pretty complicated issue, because the Yankee scouts might think that Youkilis can hit his 65% forecast or better, in which case the Youkilis contract could be a pretty efficient deal in its own right.

Ichiro projects to be maybe the worst hitting RF in the majors, nice adition. In fact why not give him a two year deal?

This could be an alltime best complaining month for RLYW. Dak is doing his part. Are you?

It is funny that the one player they may be willing to go longer than a 1 year deal with is Ichiro.  Because…  they want to max out on the sweet sweet marketing yen as he chases 3,000 hits?  The front office’s priorities seem kind of out of whack.

[17] I’m not sure the front office has priorities. They’ve backed themselves into this corner with no clear plan on how to get out of it until the corner disappears after 2014. Meanwhile the Dodgers are taking their place in the market.

Ichiro projects to be maybe the worst hitting RF in the majors, nice adition. In fact why not give him a two year deal?

As a non-Yankee fan, you shouldn’t let this upset you.

Because…  they want to max out on the sweet sweet marketing yen as he chases 3,000 hits?

Considering the bonanza they’ve reaped with A-Rod’s march to the HR record, how can you blame them?

There is no way Ichiro gets to 3,000 in two seasons.  They need to go 3 years.

And yeah. I’ve seen some people talk up Ichiro’s stats as a Yankee and say he was rejuvenated.  In reality I remember him sucking just as much with the Yankees and then going on in insane hot streak where he hit .750 for a week.  I’m guessing the hitting .750 for a week was the outlier that skewed his SSS stats as a Yankee and not the past 2 season.

[16] Does complaining about complaining help?

[22] Who said I’m complaining? I mean I am, but not about the complaining. Maybe I’m complaining about the lack of complaining. Complaining.

[21] It certainly isn’t impossible that playing on a contender - and in a better stadium for offense - has helped Ichiro to be a better player than he was the past couple of years in Seattle.  Assuming he’ll be as good as the last 3 weeks in 2012, or even for his entire stint as a Yankee is a mistake.  But I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think of him as being worth something like 1.5 wins (baserunning and defense added in) as the strong half of a RF platoon.  I don’t think that should get him 2 years - maybe a vestable option.  Like, 1/5, with a $5MM option ($1MM payout) vesting at 600PA.  If he’s playing that much he’s probably the full-time RF.  Hopefully, that’s happening b/c he’s earning it, not for being the only healthy OF.

[23] Oh no, MY contribution would be complaining about the complaining.  I don’t see the point in complaining about much else.  There are a few deals I think the Yankees should have done, that weren’t (e.g. Melky).  But even then I don’t know 100% of the details (i.e. did Cashman call Melky’s agent and was told, “you’re the one man he said not to talk to”?), so I’m not going to complain too much.

The people who have already given up b/c we’re not projected at 95 wins, and have already given up on 2014?  Them, I’ll complain about!

Would you really rather they be like the Dodgers? Throwings hundreds of millions at decent but not great players?  Are they even the favorites in 2013? They better win it now, because I strongly believe they are going to stink in the latter half of this decade.

My emotional reactions consist of the nonsensical ravings of a lunatic mind, with an occasional complaint, by virtue of the mind’s random operation.  The mind of Mel Hall.

[16] Does complaining about complaining help?

The problem is that complaining about complaining leads to complaining about the complaining about the complaining which then leads to complaining about the complaining about the complaining about the complaining.

[26] - My question is if they gave that much to Greinke, what is Kershaw going to make?

[10] Were any available 3B particularly better bets to *not* suck?

I think you can make an argument that Chavez might have been a better value. Probably not as good, but 25% of the price, and if that meant an ability to upgrade elsewhere, maybe they should have explored it.

They mostly *need* him on the field until June, right?

I wouldn’t trivialize Rodriguez’s chance to return to the team as a player capable of playing the field. He may be capable, and even very good (his regression has been mostly offensive), but they may decide that keeping him healthy means much more time at DH, sort of like how the Twins are treating Mauer. In that regard, they ‘need’ Youkilis as an option in the field for the entire year, probably.

[22] Complaining about complaining is my thing.

I think this is where I come in

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5Q8AqYLKro

Sox are in serious talks with Dumpster.  If they sign the Canadian garbage bin, I suppose their projected win total would be about 85, leaving practically a four-team dead heat in the AL East, before hostilities have commenced, that is to say.

Assuming comparable levels of production, I prefer going with the marquee name (e.g., Ichiro, Youkilis) over a so-so journeyman who was never that good to begin with.

I was thinking about this and the Andruw Jones/Justin Maxwell decision last year.  Maxwell’s nothing special, but he’d probably be pretty useful on this team right about now.

[31] Yeah, there’s a definite need for an A-Rod hedge, though a player who supposedly wore down from playing 3d base for the Red Sox may not be a great hedge.

How confident are people that A-Rod is coming back this season at all?  I know I shouldn’t listen to rumors but ...


I can’t say I hate Youk more than I did Boggs so I guess the signing is fine.

Do you think Granderson has about the same value in a trade than Choo? I think they are very alike. LHB with power and good plate discipline signed through one more year.

Any way the Yankees could have made the trade the Indians made parting with Granderson and other secodary players and get back the package Cleveland got in return?

[38] Granderson costs more and is not as good avg/obp waise, however he brings better defense and power. Why would the Yankees want Bauer though? A young right handed pitcher who works up in the zone and has command issues is not a good match for Yankee stadium.

Wait, so we’re going to see whether Youkilis actually has a chin?!

Favorite Red Sox turned Yankees

Babe Ruth
Sparky Lyle
Luis Tiant
Johnny Damon

I’ll put Youk on the list when he actually plays for the Yanks. 

Darnell McDonald and Mark Bellhorn didn’t play for either team long enough to make the list.  That equestrian third baseman and bat throwing pitcher were omitted on purpose.

[40] Okay fine, google image search actually answers that question for me. However, losing the beard will make him less identifiable for me and I will forget to hold my nose until he does his bizarro butt-wiggle batting-box dance.

Sparky Lyle was awesome.

Lyle, who we got for Danny Cater. The early 1970s Yankees made some awesome trades.

Chambliss for a pile of nothing.
Nettles for a pile of nothing.
Randolph + one great year of Doc Ellis for Doc Medich.
Figueroa and Mickey Rivers for Bobby Bonds.

Wow, if they can pull stuff like that off now, maybe this team can make 4 WS and an ALCS in the next 6 years.

The late great Dock Ellis pitched a no hitter while tripping.  bebop gave it to him.

[39] I am not saying the Yankees should have made that deal, just comparing the trade value of both players and noticing that the Indians got a top 10 pitcher prospect in return. Maybe the Yankees could get a good return for Granderson in terms of prospects.

Wow just went from 5 comments to 46 comments in one refresh.

(46) depends on how many teams are willing to even sniff a trade with NY. I sort of think many are pre-disposed not to.

Has there been any era in baseball that a team could sustain excellence for 15-20 years and not be expected to have a down turn and a period of mediocrity.  I am kind of amazed that there is so much handwringing when the team just won 94 games and the division after sustaining a tremendous amount of physical injury adversity. I truly don’t want them to grow old, feeble and lousy, but it happens to all teams in the era of reverse order draft.  Perhaps as with college sports you may sign anyone you want and teams like Kansas simply stay near the top seemingly for ever (basketball), but in pro sports every dog has his day and Yanks have had a tremendous run and I’m not declaring it over, but if it is, wow, so be it. Yankee fans should just be fine with whatever team they field for at least three to four years.

Not much Sox Yankee rivalry going on when Lyle came across.
For a winter project, would be nice to have a compilation of last trades made by Yanks with each other MLB franchise. I think we would be shocked how many years and General Managers ago some of the deals would have been made.

Across baseball, it is interesting to see how some teams continue to trade often with certain other franchises.  Boston and Miami, Boston and San Diego. for example. Any takes on why that is?

(Is schadenfreude a healthy emotion?)

I thought the last few minutes of the 2011 regular season gave us that answer.

I don’t think that should get him 2 years - maybe a vestable option.  Like, 1/5, with a $5MM option ($1MM payout) vesting at 600PA.

But that would affect 2014 payroll by more than just the buyout. It leads to 2 scenarios: 1 - his option vests and he counts as $5M on 2014 (obviously) or 2 - he gets the buyout and his 2013 salary + the buyout counts as the AAV of the deal for 2013 AND 2014, so he wouldn’t be on the roster but would count as $3M towards the 2014 payroll. At least that’s my understanding since it’s all based on AAV and a buyout counts towards 2014 in that case. Anyone know for sure?

Has there been any era in baseball that a team could sustain excellence for 15-20 years and not be expected to have a down turn and a period of mediocrity.  I am kind of amazed that there is so much handwringing when the team just won 94 games and the division after sustaining a tremendous amount of physical injury adversity

Well, the Yankees have made the playoffs 17 out of 18 seasons and have a very good chance to make it 18 out of 19 (plus it should have been 19 out of 20 if not for the strike in 94.) Not to mention, the only season they didn’t they still ended up with a better record than one of the teams that did make the playoffs. I find it very fitting that they have to take a step back (2014) when the remaining members of the amazing core of the mid-90s is finally about to all retire (Mo and BattleCat are for sure after this season and Jeter could.)

45: Mel the Statue of Limitations is up.  Ratting me out won’t buy you a reduced sentence.

I dunno. Obviously, yes, we saw plenty of great baseball so we can’t be too pissed about some bad baseball mixed in there, but when we know that they CAN keep having a good team if they’re willing to pay for it and we know that they can still make a profit while spending the money to pay for it, I have a hard time not being irked at them deciding, “We’d rather be bad-to-decent in 2014 and make a TON of money than having a good team in 2014 and only make a little money.”

It’s their money, of course, but I think it is fair to not be happy at how they’re spending it.

In other words, if this was just a matter of their team being awful and there being no way to get better but just start from scratch, they’d be another story. In that case, sure, I’d have no problem rooting for a rebuilding effort. I did for 57 years with the Knicks (or was it just 10 years and only FELT like 57? It is hard to keep track), so I have no problem with the concept. But with the Knicks, they had to rebuild (in fact, they should have rebuilt a lot earlier than they ended up doing so). The Yankees do not have to rebuild. They have enough good players that they could maintain a good team for the next three-four years if they were willing to spend more money. They are choosing money over having a good team. Which is obviously their right, but I don’t think we should simply give them a mulligan on having a good team in 2014 because they have been good for so many years.

[53] Wait, are you saying the Knicks are actually good again? I haven’t watched since Ewing left.

I can totally see that side, but they have tried the maintain being pretty good but have critical flaws a lot in the past decade. So, if saving money for just one season also forces a mini-rebuild, it could end up being a good thing in the long run. I’ll wait to see how it turns out before buying a Dodgers cap.

Wait, are you saying the Knicks are actually good again? I haven’t watched since Ewing left.

Yeah, they are legitimately good again. Like the Yankees, they have a lot of key players who are older (one of the most important new members of the team is Jason Kidd, who is more than a year older than Jeter!), but they are definitely in the upper tier of the NBA now. This is probably their best team since the 1996-97 “leaving the bench debacle” team. You should give them a look see, they’re actually fun to watch now.

I can totally see that side, but they have tried the maintain being pretty good but have critical flaws a lot in the past decade. So, if saving money for just one season also forces a mini-rebuild, it could end up being a good thing in the long run. I’ll wait to see how it turns out before buying a Dodgers cap.

If saving money that one season gives them the freedom to go back to spending a lot in 2015, then sure, I don’t mind it either.

If they’re now just planning to stay under the cap, then I would mind that. A lot.

We shall soon see which one it is (and even then, with the new CBA coming up, who the heck knows what they’ll end up doing in 2016?).

I’ve kind of lost count.  Given Youk and say $5M for Ichiro, what is the estimate for the 2013 payroll up to?  They are close to pushing $200M no?

[57] If the Yankees fall to mid-tier, it will encourage them that they’ve done the right thing.

If the Yankees manage to excel and dominate despite it, they will simply turn up the volume.

The whole thing is league-wide collusion against one team to punish them for the great sin of - HEAVENS TO MURGATROID - placing winning above everything else.

[59] Ruben Sierra does not think winning is the only thing.

[50] I’m a bit dicey on what things count towards for AAV/tax purposes.  However, if they buy Ichiro out of his option, I don’t think it counts as a 2/$6MM contract.  I think it gets more treated as 2013 is a $6MM hit, and no hit for 2014.  If the option is picked up, it is a 1yr/$4MM option for 2014.  And before you ask, if they did something crazy like offer Hunter a 2/26 deal with the 2nd year being a $13MM year or $12MM buyout, the league would have rejected it for being a clear cap circumvention.

But again, like you I’m doing a bit of guessing.  When options and bonuses come into play, it gets a bit difficult to figure what counts where.

Re: Yankees “choosing” not to be good…

I think that’s a bit of a dubious claim.  Most - not all but most - of the “big” players who have signed contracts so far, I think generally speaking we’ve looked at the contracts and said, “oh, for that deal I wouldn’t have wanted the player!”  Yeah there are a few contracts they could have signed that would have made sense (though we don’t know if they could have signed that contract with that player).  But there really aren’t any Teixeira or Sabathia types of players out there right now.

I also think we’re over-estimating how “bad” the Yankees will be in 2014.  Sure, they *could* be a 60-win team.  But even w/o resigning any of the potential FA, they could also be an 85 win team…built largely on young players who will get better.  No one knows right now.  But for 2014 yeah, I’d rather an 80-win team built on young players likely to get better - where FA targets can be specific (and, Andrus is likely a FA after 2014 when they’ll need a SS), than an 88-90 win team full of older, declining players on unmoveable contracts (e.g. Dodgers).

I also think we’re over-estimating how “bad” the Yankees will be in 2014.  Sure, they *could* be a 60-win team. 

Even if they lose everyone they are probably no worse than a 70 win team, and more likely closer to a 75 win team.

52, 53—I agree generally with Cronin’s sentiments.

[63] Right, that’s part of what I mean about overestimating.  I really think there are some people who think the Yankees will be lucky to win 75 games in 2014.  Well, maybe only one person, but he’s not a Yankee fan any longer.

[64] I understand the sentiment.  But it’s also very possible that they feel, “If we try to be smarter, we can be competitive in 2014 by trusting the kids, AND make a boatload of money!”  Which is probably better for fans, believe it or not.

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