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

Friday, December 7, 2012

NY Post: By George, old Yankees’ brass wouldn’t pass on Hamilton

In the 2010-11 offseason, the Yankees were so publicly thrashed for losing the winter they overreacted by signing Rafael Soriano to a three-year, $37 million contract over the objections of general manager Brian Cashman.

So forgive me if I will only believe the Yankees are truly out on Josh Hamilton when I see him at a press conference for another team. They keep insisting they are the new Yankees, more prudent, less reactionary, more careful about long-term expenditures on anybody, much less fragile cargo such as Hamilton — in part because of the lessons learned in the aftermath of Orlando.

Hamilton obviously carries a lot of risk, but would the Yankees be better off committing to him for say four or five years and letting Robinson Cano walk at the end of the year?  I think once you factor in position Cano’s more valuable than Hamilton, but I’d imagine being off the hook on paying one or the other sooner rather than later would be more beneficial to the team in the long-term, and signing Hamilton for 2013 probably makes the Yankees one of the favorites in the AL.

--Posted at 10:36 am by SG / 73 Comments | - (0)


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j’s trade idea makes sense since Adams/Joseph are way closer than Williams/Heathcott/etc. Then maybe Cano could fetch a young 3B or SS. It makes too much sense to ever happen.

Sign Hamilton and let walk Grandy and Cano next season

Trading Granderson makes too much sense if they sign Hamilton. They should trade him for infield prospects.

Hamilton obviously carries a lot of risk, but would the Yankees be better off committing to him for say four or five years and letting Robinson Cano walk at the end of the year?

No.  Hamilton has been worth 4.1 and 4.4 fWAR the past two years.  $25MM is probably roughly a fair deal for a 1 year contract.  Unless you use CAIRO, which has him I think 2.4 WAR, and you’re paying over $10MM per win for ONE year.  Doing some numbers…if Hamilton costs 4/100, and he’s worth 4 WAR next year - may actually be high - and ages “normally”...4, 3.5, 2.8, 2 wins, for a total of 12.3 wins.  That’s over $8MM per win.  That’s a horrible deal, especially when you add in the risks that Hamilton comes with, for injury (only played over 140 games twice) and other problems.

Cano, start with the 7.8 fWAR and ignore 2013 (already under contract)...figure 7, 6.5, 6, 5.3, 4.5, 3.6, 2.5 over 7 years.  Should be reasonable.  That’s 35.4 wins, or a little under $5MM per win if they sign him for 7/175 (or 8/200 overriding the 2013 contract).  Even if he misses his WAR total by 20%, it’s still $6.25MM per win, which when you factor in inflation is probably fair-market.

Of course, Cano could age worse, or Hamilton could age better.  Hamilton could come in at 3/60 ($5.8MM per year) which is close to fair market, or Cano could demand (and get) 10/250 which means he walks.  But I think there’s a lot more risk attached to Hamilton over the next 3-4 years than Cano for 6-7 years.  Yankees also clear salary after 2014 (Jeter) and after 2016 (Teix) when Cano’s contract starts to not equal his contributions.

Also, Hamilton costs a pick, remember.  That pick is valuable not just for the potential player, but the draft $$‘s they get.  It’s like another $1.2MM or so in slot money; with other picks for Soriano and Swisher, they could potentially find a high-schooler who wants top-10 money but may not be a top-10 talent (but is top 20) yet, and punt a couple of picks to give him the money he wants.

Any chnace Hamilton could be had at 100/5?

[5] Probably.

I would not swap Hamilton for Cano. I can’t guarantee that Cano will age better, but I can tell you that Cano does not have a history of addiction to hard drugs that would almost certainly shorten a professional athlete’s career.

[4] Thanks for running the numbers. Where I disagree is the risk valuation of Cano and Hamilton. I’d be very concerned giving a 31-year old 2B even a 6-7 year deal after 2013. Maybe his arm allows you to move him to 3B to mitigate the risk of a career-ending injury, or perhaps you think he’s so smooth on the turn at 2B that he won’t just fall off a cliff like Alomar did.

Those things may be comforting, but whether they turn out to be true or not, you’re going to be paying for them anyway. Certainly Boras will attempt to jack up the cost by pointing to them (meaning maybe Boras gets 7/168 for a theoretical non-smooth, weaker-throwing Cano but gets 8/200 or more for the current smooth, strong Cano).

It actually doesn’t bother me as much to give a 31-year old (almost 32) Hamilton 3 years this offseason, though 4 would be pushing it. I would be more concerned if they 1) signed Cano to the monster deal, which could wind up being another ARod contract, or 2) let Cano walk completely after 2013 without much to show for it, and just take the offensive hit.

Obviously Hamilton isn’t a perfect guard against the 2nd scenario, and he’s got his own problems, but he could fit in a pinch I think.

Picking up Hamilton would be a old school Yankees move but then the tax cap will fit them like a pair of dress pants from their college graduation after a 2 month drinking binge.

but I can tell you that Cano does not have a history of addiction to hard drugs that would almost certainly shorten a professional athlete’s career

Nor does he have a history of missing large chunks of most seasons for injuries.  Also, Hamilton last year had his K-rate surge and walk rate be pretty stable, while is isoP also surged.  Only one season, but red flag for a player swinging more for the fences to increase HR rate.  We’ve already seen what that can do (Teix).  And right now, Cano is 2 years younger.

Hamilton led the league in swinging strike rate at 20%. The next person was 15.5%. That isn’t the good sort of outlier.

“And right now, Cano is 2 years younger.”

Won’t this always be true, not just right now?

At least the front office gave us a good topic to discuss, even if we know we are not getting anyone signed.

[11] Time is a funny thing.

[7]  I’ve always thought of Cano as a future 3B.  Or even 1B, like Rod Carew who he has been compared to.  I mean either one is definitely a risk.  Hamilton I think is high risk for each of the next 3-4 years.  Most other teams seem to as well, which is why he hasn’t signed yet.  Cano is little risk for the next 3-4 years, but his risk goes up substantially thereafter.  So one of the questions, is Cano an all-time great, who will age better than most middle infielders?  And/or does current sports-medicince/training allow him to age better than other recent 2B?  I think there is more risk to not signing Cano, than not signing Hamilton.

Remember too though that even if Cano walks, having Hamilton - very possibly 2-3 WAR or worse Hamilton - also means the Yankees probably don’t have room to pick up any other contracts for 2014.  Including, potentially, trading for Andrus, trading for Stanton (more available since he won’t be free), or others.  Or even resigning Hughes (if he pitches well enough).  Or finding another quality OF since Granderson is gone pretty much no matter what.

Basically, I’d rather have Cano than Hamilton, and rather let Cano walk than have Hamilton.  Now, if Hal is OK paying Hamilton $30MM for one year and Hamilton is good for it…or even $25M + $5M buyout for an option at $25M, sure.  Hamilton may be willing to do that if top offer is 3/60…

[13] Especially since the Yankees SS is so fat ... his additional gravitational force impacts time around 2B to the extent that Cano is aging much faster than anyone else on the infield.

[14] He already hits like a 1B. But since the positional adjustment for 2B and 3B is the same, moving him there would keep his value high for longer.

Basically, I’d rather have Cano than Hamilton, and rather let Cano walk than have Hamilton.

I completely agree.

[1,4] FWIW, the premise of my proposal is based on getting Hamilton at something like 3/$75M.  I think the logic starts to break down after that.  I mean, I would just look at the sum total of the value of the contracts. Give Hamilton $100M or maybe give Cano $160M? Ehh, ok, then maybe I’d be more inclined to stick with Cano. But if we’re talking about a way to replace Cano’s elite bat, get a player in return, and pay half the price with half the commitment, I think it’s at least something to consider.

[14] Hmmm. I may be changing my mind mid-thread.

So you seem to presenting a discussion of the certainty of what we’ll have in 2014 under contract as important as what we’ll have the ability to add with our payroll constraint. Basically, if we’re going to pay someone in 2014 and 2015, they better damn well be worth what we’re paying them if not more in those years specifically. If they’re worth less in future years, well who knows what the CBA will look like or if we’ll have two other $20M+ contracts (and 3-4 other $15M-ish contracts). It may just take a little more discipline in those out years with the second tier of the roster to avoid this crisis.

I’m gonna go out on a limb and assert that Cano will always be two years younger than Hamilton, provided they are both alive.

[11 & 13] So signing Cano makes even more sense…


I’d rather get Hamilton now, and lose Cano after the season.

Flags fly for ever, and this team is getting old fast.  They may suck in 2014-2016 even with Cano putting up monster season.

[4] Shouldn’t the analysis be supplemented with the WAR the Yankees could buy with the money they would not be paying Cano?

[19] Are you so sure we can’t add two $20M contracts and get under $189M in 2014 (one of those being Cano)?

I add everything up, with Cano getting $20M, and get ~$153M with

5 IF: Rodriguez, Jeter, Teixiera, Cano and Nunez: $80.9M
4 OF: Gardner and a 4th OF (league min): $7M
5 SP: Sabathia, Nova, Phelps, Pineda, Banuelos $29.7M
7 BP: Who knows. $10M.
2 C: Cervelli and Romine. $2.5M
2 bench players, $2M each, so $4M.
15 other players on the 40 man: $7.5M
Benefits: $11M.

That teams need two OFers and, of the 2 OF and 2 bench players not identified, needs some serious offense.  $35M can’t get us there?

edit: No longer makes sense


<For all the talk that these two sides were headed for a four-year, $108 million deal this week, a variety of baseball people who spoke with the Rangers paint a very different scenario.

They portray Hamilton and his agent, Michael Moye, as still holding out for a six-year or seven-year contract, in the neighborhood of $25 million a year. And those same folks are theorizing that Moye and Hamilton are finding it very difficult to jump at a shorter deal, for a lot fewer total dollars than marquee free agents have been used to commanding in recent years, especially in an $8 billion industry.

[15]  Waittaminnit, what about time dilation?  If Jeter collapses into a supermassive black hole, won’t time slow and stop as Cano approaches the event horizon?

Jeter’s certainly eating his way into supermassive status.

I wonder if there’s a BBW supermodel dating scene in the Tampa area.

[21] Cano is pretty easily the wiser investment, why would you sign a guy with a ton of question marks for a 3-4 year deal and a ton of cash, when you can just resign a better player for slightly more cash a year later? If the Yankees choose to let Cano go, they choose to let him go. But they should not try to mitigate that loss by signing a very risky high priced FA.

[30] I don’t think that’s clear at all.

First of all, you get one season of overlap.  Having both Cano and Hamilton in 2013 raises your championship chance considerably.

Second, signing Cano may require something like 10/250.  I’d much rather pay Hamilton $25M for 4 or 5 years than pay Cano for 10.

Any 2B over 30 automatically comes with question marks of his own.  The history of elite 2B in their mid-30’s is a maelstrom of injury and suck.

Given that ARod is likely done as an effective player, Teixeira sucks, and almost all our good players are old, if the Yankees are going to keep spending under $200M, they’re gonna suck anyway in 2014-2017.  Might as well get a flag before we suck, and not extend the suckage with a black hole contract to Cano.

[30] why would you sign a guy with a ton of question marks for a 3-4 year deal and a ton of cash, when you can just resign a better player for slightly more cash a year later?

What if “slightly more” meant double?

[30] You’re not including the opportunity cost of signing Cano to a 7-9 year deal.

“maelstrom of injury and suck”—LOL

[22] Yes, but not if they are instead paying Hamilton that money.  I think they *can* afford one more $20MM+ contract, but not two.  So if it’s Hamilton or Cano, that’s what the analysis is.  If you’re talking about neither…having difficulty finding a list of available FA right now.  It makes it more likely they could afford Hughes (though IDK how much he’d be worth, or if it would make sense to do), or resign Granderson for cheaper (even more so w/ him IDK the answer).  Not sure who else is likely free…Cot’s isn’t showing next year’s yet.

[35] Correct, and if you sign Cano to a 9-10 year deal, you’re going to be paying $20M+ to a player who’s not nearly worth it the last 3-4 years.

If you sign Hamilton for 4 or 5, you get to sign another great player in the last 4-6 years, who will be considerably younger than Cano.

[35] We may be talking past each other.  Here’s the hypo: which is more valuable, Hamilton at 4 yrs/100m or Cano at 8yrs/200m?  Shouldn’t the analysis include what the Yankees can get in terms of WAR with the money that they would have had to pay during years 5-8 of Cano’s contract?

[36] This is what I was driving at.

[23] Was that directed at me?  I see no problem w/ Yankees having two big contracts in 2013, but I don’t think they can have Cano AND Hamilton on the 2014 team, and afford to fill other roles.

[37] Can you make that assessment without knowing the CBA in those out years?

Also, are you considering the uncertainty with the projection in 2014 and 2015, when it matters most? Cano may be real bad in the out years, but he’s a better bet to do what he’s supposed to in 2014 and 2015, when you absolutely need it. Maybe they think the tax threshold will beraised in the new CBA.

I’m admittedly straddling this discussion because I see merits for both sides.

[39] Yeah, but I think I referenced the wrong comment.

I can understand your point about not affording it. I mean, I can put together a roster than has those two big contracts on it, but it’s relying on a lot of guys at the league minimum to hold down spots, and that will probably not work out for 50% of those guys.

Another thing to consider in this discussion- I don’t see much if any in the way of elite offensive players in available via free agency in the next 2 years besides Cano.  Best I can find is Headley, who is currently slated for free agency in 2015.  There’s talks that he could be extended.

[40]  The way things are going, I think Cano could win the MVP in 2014 AND 2015, and still not make the Yankees a legit title contender.

Unless ARod or Texeira bounces back strong, and a young SP takes a BIG step forward, I don’t see how they construct a contender for 2014-15 under the new financial restraint.

[37] I think that Cano is probably more valuable, since he will probably exceed his cost in value in the first few years of his contract. However, salaries appear to be set to balloon across the next several years, meaning that the value of a win will be far more, so as he declines his decline phase won’t accrue as much negative value compared to his cost.

Like j mentions in [40] Cano holds more risk at the end of his contract but that risk will be somewaht mitigated by salary inflation and the “certainty” of the inital few years of his potential contract outweighs the uncertainty of Hamilton’s IMO. I’d love to see Hamilton and Cano on the same team, but if you have to choose between both, to me at least, it’s an easy choice: Cano.

It almost seems like Cash has a trade for Granderson worked out and is looking to see if he can move Grandy and splurge on Hamilton.

What about mimicking the Marlins a little.

Sign Hamilton to a front-loaded deal, and then trade him after next season.

[31 & 36] Well that’s the downside.  If they can sign Cano for 7/175 I think it’s worth more than Hamilton at 4/100.  Easily.  If Cano costs 10/250 or more, then Hamilton probably makes more sense.  However, I’m still arguing that since I don’t think they can afford BOTH for 2014, I’d rather roll the dice that they can sign Cano to a better deal, because I just don’t think Hamilton is worth it.  I’d rather have neither, than have Hamilton.

[43] I like the Yankees’ chances better if they keep Cano, than you do.  I’ve already discussed ad nauseum about the ways they can be contenders those years.  And 2016-2017 Cano could still be a valuable player, with enough offense to handle 3rd or 1st after Teix is gone.  Of course the thing too, if players like ARod and Teix *don’t* rebound in 2013, they probably aren’t winning even with Hamilton.  Then *not* having signed Hamilton, allows them the luxury of deciding to let Cano walk, and maybe putting some money saved towards maybe a trade for Andrus or another long-term player.  If players do rebound (and or step forward) and Hamilton sucks, you’ve doomed 2014.

[37] Ah…agree with [40].  I think it’s too difficult to look at 2017 and beyond and look at what other players they could have instead for the $$‘s.  Yeah you need to be careful locking into albatross contracts, but can’t go too far in future…also CBA, and Yankees may be willing to go over threshold by then anyway.

[46] Better, I guess, but risky.  If he rebounds to 2010, he’d have tons of value (if remaining deal is say 3/60), but very tempting to keep him despite risks.  If he plays like last year, still tradeable and may be able to get decent return.  If he hits his CAIRO project (2.4 WAR)...Yankees may need to eat significant chunk of salary ($8MM+ per year) to get anything, and then they’ve got dead salary.  If of course he crashes…yikes.

[49] Of course.  Every big contract has risk.

[41]  That’s the thing, the Yankees don’t have the type of farm system to completely rebuild the team in two years and the free agent market sucks.  So since the Yankees aren’t adding bits and pieces for the 2015-16 teams now and next off-season - it’s going to be mighty tough to completely revamp a team in one off-season between 2014 and 2015.

[51] Which is why the Yankees should pass on Hamilton.  The draft pick could be crucial to those years.

[27] I think I got my time change backwards.  But I don’t think we need to worry about Cano getting close to Jeter’s event horizon, though.  If Cano is planning on getting paid after next season, you can bet your cornbread that he’s keeping his hands far away from Jeter lest they get bitten off.

What are the chances that the Yankees draft an impact player in the compensation round, or whatever it is now?

[54] not good.

Hamilton may likely want to remain in Texas. My gut says he does and they will find a way to reign him in. Greinke, who knows? I think he’s overated. Didn’t myself.  I could see LA Angels or Dodgers. Youk will likely go to Cleveland to get a multi year unless Yanks match.

Didn’t myself.
That’s what happens when you stop for a phone message and then hit submit.
What I was going to say is the Angels tried every which way to make the playoffs including obtaining Grienke and still were left on the outside. To me though going forward they are the best team in the league over the next three years.

[53, 54] The Yankees seem to have a better drafting record in the early/middle rounds than the first rounds recently. So who knows?

[58] yeah, anything can happen. If Hal wanted to put his MBA to good use, he should find the people and resources to create a better player development system.

Seems to me a lot of people with MBAs don’t know jack shit about business.

Never trust an MBA. Or was that weathermen?

60 or politics or birth certificates or how to eat pizza

So the votes are in:

Mariners - 11
Dodgers - 111111
Cleveland - 1
Astros - 1
ennui - 1
Marlins - 1
Mariners - 1
BJays - 11
Clippers - 1
Rays - 11
Oakland - 1111
oppressive heat - 1
Thunder - 1
Phillies - 1
Natinals - 11

[63] as alluded to earlier, all votes for NL teams are also votes for ennui.

[63] I’m all for BJays, but I’m not sure we can maintain the family friendly nature of this blog if we all start watching them.

Phil Hughes BJays

I think, as a predominantly male user base, it is safe to say that we’re ALL for BJays. I may be speaking out of turn, though.

Disirregardless, it appears as if the Dodgers are the likeliest candidate. Snuggles has officially voted for every team on the list, so I consider the entire process tainted.

I think the Mariners, Natinals, Dodgers, and A’s are the most likely teams to gain our allegiance.

My vote is as follows: whichever team team has the best farm system to fawn over is the team we should root for. The Yankees do everything well except draft, so I think it’s time that this fanbase be rewarded. We’ve suffered through enough winning seasons, MVP awards, ALDS/ALCS/World Series collapses to understand the importance of a good farm system.

It’s about time we were rewarded for our patience.

To be fair, Snuggles has also lived in all 50 states and a few territories, so he’s not technically a bandwagoner.

I like saying Natittude.

Can someone with an MBA explain why the Mariners votes got split into two line items ?

[70] #1 I blame Snuggles. #2 You said 1.5 votes. #3 Alcohol.

[71] I think we should be freelance complainers/fans. We clearly have the chops to do this professionally. Why limit ourselves to one team?

Alternatively, we could just root for whatever team I am living closest to at the time.

I vote for the A’s based on the NL exclusion and the Snuf criterion.

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