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

Thursday, November 8, 2012

NY Post: Luxury tax concerns keep Yanks out of hunt for Hunter

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — The Yankees are so serious about dropping under that $189 million luxury tax threshold for 2014 that, according to a source briefed on their plans, they would not even do a two-year contract in the $20 million range with Torii Hunter, The Post has learned.

Though Arizona’s Justin Upton has become available at the GM Meetings, a person involved in discussions said, “The Yankees are not on him.”

Yankees officials are insisting that you either commit to a philosophy or not, and they remain galvanized on gaining the financial benefits that are available via the collective bargaining agreement if they slip below $189 million.
...
So how do the Yankees’ find a replacement to Swisher that a) costs little and b) approximates the 24 homers, 93 RBIs and .837 OPS (remember, the Yankees will be looking for power here, especially because they are committed to Brett Gardner in one of the other outfield slots)?

The answer could be a lefty-righty platoon. For example, they could re-ink Ibanez to face righties and sign a free agent such as Scott Hairston, Jonny Gomes or switch-hitter Melky Cabrera to face lefties. Mets officials think Hairston will get a two-year deal for between $8 million-to-$10 million, which may be too rich for either New York team. Arizona’s Jason Kubel, Pittsburgh’s Garrett Jones and Oakland’s Seth Smith all are lefty hitters with pop who probably could be had in trades.

85 wins, here we come.

--Posted at 10:09 am by SG / 42 Comments | - (0)

Comments

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I wonder how many lost season tickets it will take for them to reverse course on their austerity budget?

Platoons are nice, but you can’t platoon RF, DH and C.  At some point they are going to have to get some full time players.

If they did nothing, what is their projected payroll number for 2013?  I think I saw $175 but I don’t remember what that was.

I wonder how many lost season tickets it will take for them to reverse course on their austerity budget?

It sounds like $189 is only for one year.

Would Hunter really be the solution to the greatest-offense-ever-that-can’t-get-a-clutch-hit?

Well, he hit .344/.391/.433 with RISP in 2012 so he’s obviously clutch.

Hell, he could hit .100/.100/.100 in the postseason and be more clutch than Swisher.

Anyway, getting back to reality where clutch players don’t necessarily exist, the real question should be are the Yankees as presently constituted better with Hunter in RF?  It’s tough to say no, but since he’s sure to get more than a year from someone it’s moot.

[2] I don’t think it will much affect the luxury seats.  They aren’t selling those anyway and those that are selling the people there don’t seem to actually care about the baseball game.  So what’s a season ticket “worth”?  $4K? ($50 ticket for 80 games)?  Maybe $8K (double it for value of parking/concessions/merchandise)?  Or even double that?  So 5K season tickets, or like 20% of possible sales, would be worth $80M a season, but (IMHO) using a fairly large estimate for how much the average season ticket is worth.  If they have a $189M payroll in 2014 instead of $209M, that saves them what, $70M first season ($20M payroll + $10M tax + $40M revenue sharing rebate).  So, like 4500 tickets or so is the break-even point.

Of course, we already are pretty sure that Rivera is coming back, and there’s a good chance Pettitte will too.  Add just them in and they’re what, an 87 win team?  Probably going cheap they can add another 2-3 wins.  You think a 90-win team on paper is going to cost the team 4000 season tickets?  I doubt it.  And 2014 is WAY in the future.

Maybe I shouldn’t have specified season tickets.

Yankee attendance since 2009.
2009: 3,674,495
2010: 3,765,807
2011: 3,653,680
2012: 3,542,406

Is the three year drop just a blip, evidence that they’re putting a less compelling product on the field, or due to the economy, or a whole bunch of other factors?  I don’t think getting to 90 wins is going to change that, whatever the reason(s).

[3] According to Cot’s, they currently have $131.625M committed to players for 2013.  That’s not counting arb-eligible or minimum-salary players.  I think if we add the arb-elgible players in, we can make a good guestimate of $149M.  That’s 16 players.  Then figure another $12M for minimum salary is $161M, for an ~80 win team.  $38M gets them halfway between 2012’s salary and where they want to be in 2014, can they by 10 wins for that amount?

[8] - Yeah, now that I remember I think the $175 was for the 40 man, included arb raises, and 1 year estimations for Pettitte and Kuroda, but it might have been $178.

85 wins, here we come.

We should be so lucky.

[7] Leading up to 2009 you had a ubunch of people get one last pilgrimage to DOYS, despite missing the postseason. Then a rush to see DNYS, and a dominant team. The falloff in attendance after the WS I think is because the stadium isn’t new anymore, the economy in the shitter, and perhaps some dissatisfaction with the new place. Mainly the economy.

Also, A-Rod. And The Moat.

[10] There are probably also some issues with optimizing ticket prices.  I think it’s obvious they overestimated how much tickets would go for in certain sections.  I think they’ve already done some things to lower prices for certain sections, but that doesn’t mean they are done yet.  So with the economy starting to improve and as they continue to tweak prices, perhaps they could lose 5 more games but increase ticket sales.

I’m sure the Yankees’ bean counters have determined that getting under the cap in 2014 will net profits. 

Does anyone know what proportion of the team’s revenue comes from the YES network? 

They seem to be capable of cobbling together a competitive team next year based on one-year deals with the old timers and other stop gaps.  But the master plan for 2014, or whether there even is one, is lost on this jailbird’s little brain.

Josh Spence, Eli Whiteside and David Herndon had better rescue us.

They could get away with this pretty terrible plan by platooning Hairston and Ichiro. They can’t really be serious about playing Ibanez in the field, though. That’s just ridiculous. This team really might be in trouble next season if they run out the ‘secret sauce’ at DH next season. I mean, who? A-Rod? Nuney getting daily burn at third? This team could suck pretty easily, if they go in that direction. And by that I mean, having *four* potential black holes in the lineup. (A bad signing/trade in RF, Nuney becoming a major factor, Martin, replacement for veteran who might get injured)

[11, 12] Yeah, we would need to know ticket revenues rather than gate attendance. And changes in profit may lag the drop in payroll, as it may take time for onfield suck to manifest in lower ticket revenue.

Eventually you have to realize the TV and seat and other revenue streams ARE affected by on-field performance, which eventually does correlate with payroll. But man, there’s a lot of waste in the system, and stupid contracts hit you both in paying for performance you don’t get, and also result in the luxury tax. Double whammy.

But the master plan for 2014, or whether there even is one, is lost on this jailbird’s little brain.

Long term planning probably revolves around if they can sign Cano to a reasonable deal, and then a wait-and-see approach.  I mean, if they CAN find a trading partner to get someone that fills both a short and long-term need they will.  But the young players in the system will have another year to hopefully improve and move up the ladder, and they’ll be able to better answer questions about which players can help when.

Several players could be filling cogs as either starters or bench players from day-1 in 2014.  Including (but not limited to): Nova, Phelps, Warren, Montgomery, Marshall, Stoneburner, Hall, Joseph, Adams, Romine, Murphey, Segedin, Mesa, the Almontes, and Turley.  Some of these guys have a chance to fill important positions as every day players (or members of starting rotation).  Others could be bench players on the team for the whole year.  And others could be completely useless, or used in trades.  But finding out which of these players can fill roles for cheap in 2014 - not to mention how far Austin, Williams, Sanchez, Heathcott, and others progress - will go a long way to determing the long-term plan.

[16] By “Hall,” are you referring to Mel Hall?  Cuz I’d sign up for that as work release in a heartbeat.

Seriously though that list of players who could be ready in ‘14 does not inspire awe, except for Bob Turley, who turned 82 this year.

If it takes 2 years to get Hunter, I’m gald the Yankees are out on him.

[17] Well, Schaeffer the lefty pitcher who could maybe be a back-end inning eater, or maybe a swing-man.  No, those guys don’t inspire awe.  The major leaguers - Nova and Phelps - I think we’ve seen some flashes to know that the ability is there.  Nova maybe a weak 2, Phelps maybe a 3.  Those are EXTREMELY valuable, especially while cheap.  More likely, one will be a #4, and the other a swing-man.  Still valuable, but not players you build championships around. 

Besides that, Warren, Marshall, Turley, and Joseph there is sufficient evidence and scouts back it up, that these guys could be average regulars (Warren/Marshall #3/#4 starters, Jospeh maybe an average 2B).  But it certainly isn’t unanimous.  And Murphey is probably at least a solid backup catcher, but I think he has the chance to be an All Star (4 win player) for a few years.  There’s some idea his defense could be average, but he could hit close to a corner OF.  That’s a 4 win player.  Again, no guarantees.  And of course that’s not even counting Pineda, who could be anywhere from competing with Betances for, “most disappointing pitcher in AAA” to competing with CC for staff ace.

So…the upside is they could have average or better young, cheap players filling the 2-5 spots in the rotation, at catcher, 2B, with several high-upside arms in the bullpen and athletic players at UIF and 4th/5th OF (plus backup C), hopefully with Cano at 3rd and ARod DH.  And doing nothing else maybe be a 90-91 win team, with below-average players in corner OF, but having the resources and money to acquire players to fill those spots.  Downside is…well, total chaos and 2014-2016 fielding a team like 89-91.  Which lead to 1996-2003 (8 straight playoffs, 6 pennants and 4 WS in 8 years).  I prefer the former, but the latter isn’t as bad as it seems.

[18] I think the way an option year works, is the buyout goes on the 2nd year right?  If Hunter needs more than one year guaranteed, I’d like 1 and an option.  Even with the austerity budget, $10M for a 2-3 win RF in 2014 I don’t think is bad.  And even if they find 2 young, cheap(ish) players to take the corners in 2014, I’m sure picking up the option and trading Hunter (if he’s a 2-3 win player) is very doable, and could be a bonus.  However, $10M for a 1-2 win player or less is VERY bad under the budget. 

So somewhere in the middle, 1 year $10M w/ a 2nd year for $10M or a $2M buyout.  Downside is potentially $2M in dead money.  Is that worth the risk?  I think conditionally yes.  But I’m not strong on it.

Adam Warren projects to be worth 1.6 WAR in CAIRO in 2013
Brett Marshal: -0.6
David Phelps: 2.4
Turley: 0.0
Swisher: 0.5 (I love that Siwsher is projected as a pitcher in CAIRO)

I think that the Phelps mark is pretty high, the Warren mark as well.

SG, how would Bleich look if projected as a reliever rather than a starter?

Also, Tyler Austin projects at 1.5 WAR?

CAIRO loves Austin and Montgomery more than I think it should, at least for this year. 

Not sure on Warren.  His AAA performance isn’t all that impressive to me. 

Phelps’s WAR is high because it’s treating him as a starting pitcher and his projection contains both starting and relieving.  He won’t be that high, most likely.

As far as Bleich as a reliever:

52 IP, 63 H, 6 HR, 25 BB, 39 K, 5.27 RA, 4.88 ERA, 4.70 FIP.  Maybe a hair better than replacement level.

Read this about Pineda today on RAB.  Throwing off of flat ground is throwing.  I don’t feel like looking it up right now, so does anyone know how long it typically (no setbacks) takes from “flat ground” throwing to getting on a mound?  I’m thinking 4-6 weeks on flat ground, another 4-6 on a half-mound (off-season so why rush), and then 4-6 on a full mound and he’d be ready for facing hitters.  So that’s 3-4.5 months.  So best case he’s ready for hitters right away in ST?  More likely he’s facing hitters at the end of ST, spends a few weeks in EST before heading on rehab.  June looks very possible…what we’ll get in June…(shrug).

Just a quick check of the new CAIRO spreadsheet has players projected as worse than in your “If the Yankee do nothing” 80 win scenario.  Gardner was half a win worse.  A-Rod was worse.  Does that 80 win team assume outstanding health for everyone?

[22] The Austin projection is a little nuts, but I don’t think the Montgomery projection is too bad, maybe it’s more like his likely 65% compared to Austin’s 90%.

[24] Maybe he didn’t add the Yankee adjustment yet?

Just a quick check of the new CAIRO spreadsheet has players projected as worse than in your “If the Yankee do nothing” 80 win scenario.

Projections changed because of a few adjustments (I forgot to age everyone into 2013 and had to tweak the league averages and a few other things) and the playing time is different from here and what was in that post.

I modified replacement level slightly too, I had it set too low.

That doesn’t change the 80 win thing though since that was based on runs scored and allowed and not WAR.

I don’t feel like looking it up right now, so does anyone know how long it typically (no setbacks) takes from “flat ground” throwing to getting on a mound?

According to Damaso Marte and Pedro Feliciano it takes a couple of years.

[28] Left handed relievers are different in every way…

[29] The Yankees don’t actually have the resources to rehab lefites, they’ve been outsourcing that to some dude they found outside of Yankees Stadium who told them that he was an expert.

[30] Maybe that’s where MC in VA went.

The day Pineda gets a major league batter out is the first day it’s worth discussing his impact on the team. I’m not betting against him. I’m not betting on him. He’s just not in the casino at all, at this point. I’m willing to believe his upside is still front of the rotation starter, but his downside is effectively being deceased, and I don’t have a reason to favor those either of those two points or any others on the spectrum between them more heavily than another.

Is it possible to extend A-Rod’s contract for a couple of years at the major league minimum and thereby decrease the luxury tax hit?  Or, is that forbidden by the rules? Dropping the AAV from 27-something to 22-23 million would help at least a little bit ...

[33] It’s not forbidden, but the contract does have to be approved by the commissioner’s office and the player’s union and I doubt either would let that happen.

Crackheads have to make moves and so does Cashman.

Swisher and Soriano have turned down their Qualifying Offers.

Two draft picks for us.  They’ll be ready for the big leagues in 2014.

[37] As A-rod’s spare kidneys?

[33] - The down side would be in 2018-2020 when you now have A-Rod on the books for $22M instead of being rid of his contract completely.

So here’s my take on the declining attendance esp in the most expensive seats. NY is the media capital of the USA. Since 2008/2009 media companies like Time Warner, Viacom, Meredith, Conde Nast etc have seen their corporate entertainment budgets slashed because ad dollars are leaving traditional media, and digital media owners either don’t think they have to entertain as much, or they aren’t seeing a 1 for 1 rev shift from old media.

This is important because before those budgets went away, media companies used to wine and dine advertisers and their ad agencies like mad. Often the wining and dining happened at sporting events. I live in Chicago but I’ve been to dozens of Cubs games, Sox games, the Masters, the freaking U.S. Open of Surfing,  etc and never paid for a single ticket. But over the past 3 years or so that stuff has been drying up considerably.

That in and of itself may not explain all of it, but I bet it explains a bunch of it. When you add in the fact that banks, real estate companies etc have also likely seen their T&Es; take a hit, it adds up. Plus the new Yankee Stadium is sorta to very sucky.

That’s clearly a major factor, Schteeve. Not media companies in particular, just corporate spending PERIOD. My sister-in-law’s company had a private box at MSG that they gave up when the economy went into the shitter, and her company was a smallish financial company. Pretty much EVERY corporation was spending money on entertainment and that was the first thing to go during the recession. So yes, the current Yankee Stadium economic model was based on a situation that does not exist anymore, luxury suite-wise. Hopefully it eventually gets back to that point (for the Yankees’ sake, that is).

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