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

Thursday, January 25, 2018 Yanks could still make big free-agent move

We know the Yankees want to keep their 2018 payroll below $197 million, in order to reset their luxury-tax obligations. They’re currently looking at both pitchers and position players, one source said, shopping opportunistically for value, more so than need.

At the moment, the Yankees’ payroll commitments add up to roughly $162 million, according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts.

By that calculation, one might conclude that general manager Brian Cashman has $35 million left to spend.

That’s not accurate.

Instead, sources say the Yankees’ tentative plan allows for another $15 million in spending this offseason—unless Cashman frees up additional payroll by trading reliever David Robertson or outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury.

Here’s why: Under baseball’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, the payroll calculation for the Competitive Balance Tax includes benefits, insurance and performance bonuses paid to players on the Major League roster. For the Yankees, that figure could be at least $10 million in 2018.

Moreover, the Yankees want to allocate another $10 million to spend at the non-waiver Trade Deadline and on callups during the season.

That leaves $15 million.

I never understand the luxury tax math used by reporters, because it seems like each guy has their own take on how much cap room that the Yankees actually have. Morosi makes sense here with his math, but maybe he’s missing something, too?

In any event. if the Yankees have $15 million to spend, then I imagine we’ll see them wait until the very end of free agency, to see if guys get desperate. $15 million, though, isn’t getting you Darvish. It might get you Cobb, but is Cobb even much of an upgrade over Jordan Montgomery? $15 million would be more than enough to get you Todd Frazier or Neil Walker, but I imagine it is the years and not the money that is the issue with Frazier.

--Posted at 3:05 pm by Brian Cronin / 33 Comments | - (0)


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I doubt this move gets made, at least not this year, but Machado at ss… what are people thoughts?  It’s been a while since he played it full time.  He’s a great defensive 3b but can he go back?  Obviously if that’s what it takes to get him then you promise giving him a shot at it, but how likely is it to work out?

[1] I wouldn’t expect Machado to be much better than league average at SS, but with his offense that’s probably good enough.

Machado’s had surgery on both knees. Maybe they’re stronger now than they ever were, but I don’t think I’d commit 300M to him then move him to a more stressful defensive position. If he really insists on playing SS, let someone else take the chance. It’s not like he’ll be going to BOS, or HOU, or CLE.

[3]  This is my concern too.

[0]  I don’t know if it’s so much about upgrading over Montgomery as it is knowing that you’ll need more than 5 SP.  Kevin Goldstein on Goldman’s podcast said they (the Astros) got Cole not because they needed to fill out a top five, but to strengthen a top nine (paraphrasing).

My concern is why we’re not still talking about Taylor ham.

They got into this position by being patient. There’s no reason to stop being patient now.

Trenton Pork Roll…as a kosher consumer I guess I am not going to those games.

I I don’t know if it’s so much about upgrading over Montgomery as it is knowing that you’ll need more than 5 SP.  Kevin Goldstein on Goldman’s podcast said they (the Astros) got Cole not because they needed to fill out a top five, but to strengthen a top nine (paraphrasing).

I disagree that the Astros got Cole just to beef up their Top 9. They got Cole for the same reason that the Yankees are looking to get a Top 3-type starter - it is more important for the playoffs to have a great top end of the rotation.

Yes, having more than 5 good starters is valuable, as well, but it’s not the reason why the Yankees are (and the Astros were) looking for top level guys and not back of the rotation guys.

Yelich to the Brewers.

[9]  Maybe Goldstein was being disingenuous, but I don’t think Cole really counts as a top 3 starter for the Astros until he has an actual top 3 season.  I know he has in the past, I’m talking about 2018.  If the Yankees valued him as a top 3 starter they would have made a better offer—they could have beaten Houston’s without wrecking the system.

Both the Yankees and the Astros, though, had the depth to take a gamble on a guy being a Top 3 while they had enough rotation depth to deal with him just being a #4 or a 5.

Other teams wouldn’t dream of taking that gamble and the Yankees and Astros obviously didn’t want to gamble TOO much on it themselves.

Plus, considering that the Pirates are going for this moronic “Trade our best players but get guys ready to play for us this year” approach, then I don’t think that the Yankees honestly COULD beat the Astros offer in terms of “Ready to play right now” talent. I think Clint Frazier alone is a better haul than what they got from the Astros, but clearly they felt that four pretty good players ready to go now (including someone to play third base, which was a priority for them)” was better than Frazier, Adams and players not ready to contribute now.

The Yankees wouldn’t trade their other best “Ready to go now” guy in Andujar. And besides Andujar, Frazier and Adams, the Yankees really DON’T have many “Guys ready to play right now” in the minors (that weren’t untouchable like Torres and Sheffield).

Wow, Brewers shipped out Brinson for Yelich.

Hoch: “Suzyn Waldman dropping a little news on @WFAN660. Marcus Thames and P.J. Pilittere will be the #Yankees’ hitting coaches in 2018.”


...and now the Brewers sign Lorenzo Cain.

You can’t have too many outfielders.

[11] Cole is pretty clearly Houston’s 3rd best starter, no? And it’s not like the guys there are consistent performers.

Also Brewers sign Cain for 5/80. How much did we pay again for Ellsbury?

Brewers really want to win next year.  Good for them.

I’m really coming around to what the Marlins were doing. They would have had to gamble on some free agent pitching contracts (because they had no farm system from which to deal) in order to contend before Stanton opted-out. Once they moved Stanton it was a domino effect, and while you could argue they did not get enough for Ozuna (I happen to really like Gallen myself) they got an undeniable haul for Yelich. If they stink another two years and draft high into 2020 they could be a great team in 2021. They are going to take a lot of heat the next two years, but I really believe both they and the Padres are on a great track for success in the next decade.

Cole is pretty clearly Houston’s 3rd best starter, no? And it’s not like the guys there are consistent performers.

Not counting Verlander, who’s clearly either #1 or 2, two other Astro pitchers had higher WAR than Cole last year (Keuchel and Peacock) and both of those guys pitched a lot fewer innings that Cole (so their WAR came in less innings).

Toss in McCullers and I don’t think Cole is clearly ahead of McCullers and Peacock. I think that they certainly hope that he will be ahead of them, though.

Just like the Yankees would hope that Cole would be #2-3 in their rotation.

[6] Because we call it porkroll.  Taylor ham is for tourists.  Take it from a guy who spent many summers slinging eggs & pancakes in NJ shore diner.

And Lester in American Beauty was 100% correct about working in a kitchen as a young man…

[21] That’s ridiculous. I grew up in Bayonne, it doesn’t get any more Jersey than that, and we called it Taylor Ham, no matter the brand. Like kleenex.

Bummed that the Yankees didn’t go after Yelich. 

I wonder if the Yankees would be better off using their salary cap space extending their young superstars rather than getting Darvish or Frazier.  With $15 MM to play with, the team could lock up two of Judge/Sanchez/Severino/Didi long term and save more overall than they would by dipping below the salary cap. 

Come to think of it, that probably even applies to the team even if they go above the cap.  Paying 10 million in penalties vs saving 20 million in signing Sanchez to a below market deal makes sense, right?

For the sake of the players, I hope they don’t agree to an undermarket extension.

Don’t lock up Didi, especially now. He’s coming off a fluke high year where he was a playoff hero.  You don’t want to overpay him based on that and as we talked about yesterday, if Torres works out and Machado comes, Didi would be odd man out.

Maybe it makes sense next year, but wait and see.

You also don’t want to lock people up too early unless they are willing to sign a Longoria contract which the union was really against.

(23) me too. I like yellich and would have traded quite a bit for him. Though maybe not as much as the Brewers ended up giving..,? Hard to equate what they gave to what the Yankees would have had to offer - Frazier, Sheffield, +? Too much maybe. Whatever. Spilled milk. Like the ellsbury contract but in that case we see the mess every day.

I think any offer the Yankees would have made would have had to include Hicks. I would hope that would mean the package contains 1 less prospect but I’m not sure how highly any team values him.

I wouldn’t extend Judge. What’s the rush? Plus it’s very possible he’s already peaked

If you double the dollars in the Evan Longoria contract that he got after his rookie year, I’d sign Judge to that in a heartbeat.

[23] I had this thought the other day, but it’s never been the Yankees’ MO aside from the time they signed Cano to a pretty good extension that delayed his free agency by a couple of years.

[27] Judge probably will never have a season as good as his 2017.  Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t explore extending him now while you still have most of the leverage.  Maybe he’s only a four win player and not an eight win player, but the Yankees are pissing away a hell of a lot more money than Judge would likely agree to on a 1.5 win player.

If the Yankees can figure out a Longoria-esque or Cano-esque deal deal to buy out Judge’s arbitration and first 2 or so years of of FA, that would be great. Hold onto him through his prime and let him go as he moves into his mid 30s.

Now, would Judge sign that and give up that big potential FA contract?

Judge is old. 25 year old rookie. He’s got maybe 10 years left in him.

If he puts up 6 WAR a year in 8 of those, he’ll have more WAR than Jim Rice in fewer years, and still get left out of the Hall of Fame.

But presumably would be a first ballot Hall of Pete.

But isn’t Judge just as likely to sign an extension next year, or the year after that? It’s not like he’ll have much more leverage (being far from FA still). And you get two more years to see if he’s actually a 4 win player.

If they do it now, the AAV would be lower for the duration of the contract.

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