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

Friday, November 30, 2012

NY Times: Martin Leaves the Yankees for the Pirates

Russell Martin’s two-year tenure with the Yankees ended Thursday when he agreed to a two-year, $17 million deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates, leaving the Yankees without a No. 1 catcher.

“I had a great time in New York,” Martin said by phone from Montreal, his hometown. “It was probably the best baseball experience of my life. But this is the business, and it was time to move on.”

It seems to me the Yankees could have matched this deal and I’m not sure why they didn’t.  If it would have taken three years to keep Martin I’d have felt better about letting him walk, but at 2 years and $17M he only has to be worth about 3 wins over two years to be worth it.

We got spoiled by the elite offense that Jorge Posada provided for years as a catcher that makes it a bit harder to appreciate Martin I think.  No, he’s not a great hitter, but neither are the majority of catchers in baseball and there’s pretty some evidence that Martin’s defense makes him even more valuable than his basic stats indicate.

I think this confirms that getting to the target of a $189M payroll in 2014 may be the Yankees #1 focus right now, and that’s going to make it a bit harder to build a super team for 2013.  Of course, you don’t need a super team to win a World Series, but it helps.

I’m not sure where the Yankees will go from here.  I’d be surprised if the starting catcher on Opening Day is on the roster right now.  Here’s the list of free agent catchers and how CAIRO would project them as Yankees.

Last First Age Pos Tm Lg PA AB H 2B 3B HR BB SO GDP avg obp slg wOBA BR BR/650 BRAR oWAR
Napoli Mike 32 C NYA AL 394 342 86 16 1 22 44 98 9 .250 .344 .493 .360 55 91 29 2.9
Pierzynski A.J. 37 C NYA AL 458 424 114 20 2 12 22 53 12 .270 .309 .412 .313 49 69 18 1.8
Blanco Henry 42 C NYA AL 168 152 36 7 0 6 14 35 3 .234 .298 .396 .304 17 67 6 0.6
Shoppach Kelly 33 C NYA AL 287 251 54 10 1 11 23 90 4 .214 .299 .387 .303 29 66 10 1.0
Snyder Chris 32 C NYA AL 237 202 43 7 0 8 30 57 5 .213 .319 .366 .308 24 65 8 0.8
Barajas Rod 38 C NYA AL 315 286 64 11 0 12 19 60 5 .225 .280 .391 .291 30 62 9 0.9
Olivo Miguel 35 C NYA AL 436 410 95 18 1 18 20 120 8 .231 .265 .415 .290 41 62 13 1.3
Schneider Brian 37 C NYA AL 160 143 31 6 0 3 13 30 4 .219 .291 .335 .281 13 54 3 0.3
Treanor Matt 37 C NYA AL 183 157 33 5 1 3 20 36 3 .211 .304 .312 .282 15 52 3 0.3
Nickeas Mike 30 C NYA AL 267 239 54 11 0 4 24 49 6 .224 .298 .315 .279 21 52 4 0.4
Paulino Carlos 24 C NYA AL 305 287 62 14 1 4 14 58 7 .215 .257 .310 .252 20 42 -1 -0.1

BR: Linear weights batting runs
BR/650: BR pro-rated to 650 PA
BRAR: BR above replacement level, adjusted for position
oWAR: Offensive wins above replacement (BRAR divided by 10, although maybe it should be more like 9.5 now)

Not a particularly inspired bunch.

Napoli’s almost certainly not an option, and I’m guessing Pierzynski will want(and get) two years.  So he’s not an option either.  I don’t even know if Henry Blanco is still playing and I’m not sure why CAIRO thinks so highly of a 42 year old catcher, although I guess it probably has to do with him being utilized in a way that plays to his strengths which makes his rate stats better.  He’s not a starter anyway.  Actually, almost none of these guys are except for Pierzynski and Olivo.

So maybe someone like Olivo, Shoppach, Barajas or Snyder will be on their radar, with an eye on anyone who may get non-tendered.

I don’t know that it’s a huge deal.  I ran some projections last night that have the Yankees as around an 89 win team right now.  Considering they were an 80 win team if they had done nothing and have since re-signed Hiroki Kuroda (4.8 wins), Andy Pettitte (2.8 wins) and Mariano Rivera (1.0 win without leverage, maybe 1.5 with)  that seems about right.  They can probably add a win or two in RF if they can’t upgrade catcher.  I’m also assuming Michael Pineda won’t pitch this year, so if by some miracle he’s able to contribute in the second half that could add a win or two.

For whatever it’s worth at this early stage(ie, not a whole hell of a lot), I’ve got Toronto at around 88 wins assuming relatively good health from Jose Bautista, Jose Reyes and Josh Johnson but between Bautista’s wrist, Reyes’s hamstrings on turf and Josh Johnson’s injury history that may be somewhat optimistic.  The Rays are at around 86 wins but they can add a bat and get to 90 wins pretty easily by upgrading 1B or the OF (or both).  The Orioles are in the 77 win range, and Boston’s bringing up the rear as they should be at about 74 wins.  Of course those teams aren’t done with their offseasons yet so all of this is subject to change.

--Posted at 9:10 am by SG / 31 Comments | - (0)


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Holy crap, Kuroda projects for 4.8wins!?

I like Kuroda, but that seems a bit high I was thinking 3-3.5.

[1] Well, Kuroda was really, really, really good last season. However, I am now being told that was due entirely to Martin’s pitch framing ability and the entire pitching staff will fall to pieces now leading to a decade long descent into the abyss all because they didn’t sign Russell Martin.

Isn’t catcher the one position they have a couple of ML ready guys who will be replacement level or better to run out there and a couple of really nice prospects that will be ready in the near future?

Ichiro/Harriston platoon and Olivo with his .239 OBP and that seems like a pretty solid team near the 95 win range. 

And a lot of 1 year contracts to leave flexibility with how to proceed net off-season.

[0] Yay site!

that’s going to make it a bit harder to build a super team for 2013

I think it also makes it harder to build a super team for 2014 & 2015 once they get under the magical $189 cap.  It’s not like the free agent classes are teeming with attractive free agents.  The Yankees might be able to add salary through trades, but they’re still limited by what they can trade away to an extent. 

If they’re going into 2014 with CC, A-Rod, Tex, Gardner, and a bunch of kids that haven’t done squat past AA, it could be ugly because I don’t think that there’ll be a bunch of talent on the open market no matter how much money the Yankees have to spend.

That’s some list.

Thankfully, most of the entries feed right into our strategy of keeping all the snot-nosed 20-somethings off the team. Too loud in the clubhouse and on the busses.

[3] Well Romine should be a reasonable option, but he has back issues… Cervello does not seem to be well liked by the organization. Murphy is still probably a year away, same with Sanchez but he’s probably closer to 2 years away.

Why not make an absurd overpay for 1 year of Napoli.  We’ve saved some nice scratch this year and spending money in ‘13 is way better than ‘14.  Overpay him as compensation for delaying his next contract w/ some other team. 

Then you have a team that’s one year older from last year but has Gardner and Mo healthy, Ichiro (bring him back) replacing Jones/Ibanez, and Napoli’s upgrade at C to compensate for losing Swisher.  That team probably makes the playoffs, and doesn’t hurt ‘14.

There’s an absurd number that will get Napoli to sign for one year.  There just has to be.

I wonder if AJ Pierzynski would accept a 1yr/9mm deal.  I would like an AJ/Shoppach platoon.  I bet that projects as a very good catcher.

[8] I really like the idea of Napoli on a one year deal. He won’t be a full time catcher, but the Yankees have to see if Romine can play at the MLB level and Murphy might be ready for some MLB time in the second half of the season, plus they have plenty of funglible catcher depth in Whiteside and Cervelli.

I like Kuroda, but that seems a bit high I was thinking 3-3.5.

You forgot to make the IF TEAM = NYA THEN WAR = WAR + 1.5 adjustment.

I like the idea of Napoli on one year too, but I’m guessing he does not.  I’m not sure what he’d get on a multi-year deal, $7M?  $8M?  Tangotiger had a post at one time about how a player should get $1M more per year for every fewer year he signs for.  So if the market rate for Napoli is 3 years, $27M then he’d theoretically sign for 2 years/$20M or one year, $11M.

But I’m not sure a 32 year old catcher coming off a down year would turn down the chance to maximize his total earnings.

I think Pierzynski might be more willing to do something like 1 year/$10M especially as a lefty taking his hacks in DNYS.

I think it also makes it harder to build a super team for 2014 & 2015 once they get under the magical $189 cap.

I don’t think they stay at $189M in perpetuity.  I think they stay under long enough to reset the tax rate then proceed from there.  They need to keep the fans coming and they won’t allow themselves to be bad for too long.  They’ll hope they get some good players from the farm and add to them where they can.

[7] IDK if he’s not well-liked.  I think people are reading too much into the Stewart trade as a lack of confidence in Cervelli.  Though he didn’t do a lot to make his case last year.  Romine’s back issues may or may not be behind him.  Sometimes these things are chronic, sometimes they just weren’t properly fixed the first time.  So…

Catcher is definitely a position they could probably go cheap and get 1-2 WAR of value out of.  Possibly more if Romine lives up to his potential.  RF is a bigger issue. 

As of right now, they probably are going in with a Dickerson/Mesa platoon.  That’s…bad.  Either they need a better RF, or at least a better platoon partner for Dickerson.  Those are the only OF on the 40 man (Nunez I think is out) who played in AAA last year.  Mustelier we’ve talked about a lot.  Maybe worth a shot as a RH platoon player in RF.

Down in AA, Zoilo Almonte is an option, as he had an .808 OPS in Trenton with power (21 HR) playing mostly RF (10 assists but 11 errors!)  But that’s not exciting numbers for a 23 year old; maybe sufficient for the RH part of the platoon, but it’s a stretch.  Abe Almonte is a Brett Gardner light, though with the bonus of being a switch-hitter.  Brett Gardner is a starting corner OF.  Brett Gardner light…isn’t.  Cody Johnson is lefty, was hurt for much of last year, and has some power but not much else.  If he hadn’t gotten hurt and thrived at AAA maybe but…Segedin took a massive step back after being promoted.  He’s out of the picture at this point.  Ramon Flores and Tyler Austin had 13 AA PA between them.  At best they’re probably September callups.

I know it’s irrational but Pzyzcski is one of those guys I just don’t like.

Also, in my view there’s nothing wrong with Cervello as a stopgap.  I wonder who he pissed off.

Are the Pirates going to be good?

[13] They’ll probably get the most bang for their buck getting under $189 in 2014, since it resets the tax.  However, each year they are under $189M (or whatever the threshold is), they are elegible for revenue sharing rebates.  Those numbers will likely bet $10MM+ each year.  So, I think they’re committed to getting under $189MM for 2014.  After that I think each year they’ll look at going over the threshold in the manner of, is going over worth losing the rebate plus other extra money?  If the answer is yes they’ll do it.

Now, hopefully of course as you say they’ll have enough good young players by 2015 that they won’t need to import many more.  Also, the further in the future they get, the less massive contracts they have to deal with.

[13] Doesn’t the cap reset ever X number of years though? So even if they get under 189 for 2014, if they balloon up to 200+ again, they’ll have to do the same thing all over again the next time there’s a payroll deadline.

The post referring to Jeter as “Derek Eater” and “Captain Munch” made me snicker on the subway this morning.  I can’t lie.

Are the Pirates going to be good?

I haven’t done much with the NL depth charts but they are around 78 wins.  Will probably drop to 75 or so once I add in more time for bench and 6-9 starters and 7-10 relievers.  But I don’t think they’re necessarily done with their roster either.

[18] the next two years of MiL development are key. At this point, most of their impact MiL players have an expected debut of 2015. Austin might make some appearances in late 2014, maybe Heathcott as well. In the pitching side you have the low ceiling AAA arms in Warren and Marshall who are more or less ready now, everyone else is 2014 (unless Betances magically figures it all out) or later.

As of right now, they probably are going in with a Dickerson/Mesa platoon.  That’s…bad. 

I think Dickerson and a better RHB would be fine in RF.  Is that better RHB Scott Hairston?  Matt Diaz?  Ryan Ludwick?  Juan Rivera?

[19] There will be a new CBA in 2016 that will probably impact the luxury tax rules in some way.

Yeah, figure the payroll limit will go up to whatever Boston has to spend to be good again.

Now, hopefully of course as you say they’ll have enough good young players by 2015 that they won’t need to import many more

This is basically what I’m getting at in [5].

Essentially taking two years off from adding free agents to an aging core of (expensive) vets and only having a lower level kids isn’t so bad if the Yankees can sign excellent free agents in 2015 once the tax is reset.  However, since more and more teams are locking up their younger stars, the free agent classes are getting a lot less sexy.

[4] And a lot of 1 year contracts to leave flexibility with how to proceed net off-season.

Flexibility is one thing. Needing to put together a roster where you have to find a C, RF, LF, 2 starting pitchers, a closer, possibly a DH or a 3B, is borderline ludicrous. The solution is that they should try to stomach as many minor league promotions (instead of one year deals for veterans) that they can so that they could possibly use internal options for 2014.

I suggested letting Martin walk weeks ago. I figured Cervelli could be 85% of Martin at 10% of the cost.

[19] From what I’ve read (which was a little ambiguous, because the reporter’s examples didn’t actually match the rules he gave), every year they are past the cap they lose another 25% of the revenue rebate. Since high AAV contracts tend to be long term contracts (hello A-rod), it is going to be difficult to go past the salary cap in a meaningful way in 2015 while being able to get back under it in another year or two, so I don’t expect them to exceed the cap at all.

A new CBA in 2016 throws a bit of a wrench in things, since all the rules can be arbitrarily different. I have no clue how the Yankees should or would prepare for that.

[23] I agree, it’s finding that RH hitter.  Alternatively, a better LH hitter and Mesa may be accpetable, if that lefty is particularly good.  Finding that lefty is probably even harder.

Either way, I don’t think the Yankees have a better lefty or righty in the system - and ready to contribute - now.

[27] I was okay letting Martin walk if the price was too high.  I don’t think 2/17 was too high.  But at the same time, I think it was high enough that I don’t think it was a no-brainer to match it.

I don’t think Cervelli will be 85% of Martin.  Maybe with the bat.  But defense less.  Now, Romine has a chance to be 85% of Martin.  Possibly even a match.  However, the lost time due to injury - and the fact that the injury may effect him even when he’s able to play - leave a lot of uncertainity.

Clearly the choice here is for Henry Blanco because, age-wise, he truly fits in with the Yankees.

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