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

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

NY Times: Yankees Find They Can’t Bear the Market

NASHVILLE — In most years, the Yankees are the team that wreaks havoc on the free-agent marketplace and makes it difficult for other teams to fill openings on their rosters. But in a surprising twist this off-season, the Yankees — fearful of luxury tax penalties in 2014 — are seeing the market price them out of the most attractive free agents, causing them to set priorities as they try to fill their many needs.

“I’m not optimistic on the catching side that this market via trade or free agency is going to produce something that I can feel comfortable with,” General Manager Brian Cashman said. “To be honest, if you’re watching what we’re trying to do, you need to focus on the outfield and the left side of the infield. That’s where your priorities should be, because that’s where mine are.”

As uneventful as the Yankees’ offseason has been, the truth is that this year’s free agent class isn’t very good and they are better off not doing anything than paying more than a player is worth just to fill a hole.  When Shane Victorino is getting 3 years and $37.5M and a 36 year old Marco Scutaro is getting 3 years and $24M I’m not sure I want the Yankees involved.

I do agree with Cashman that they are better off fixing RF and the left side of the infield than trying to find a catcher unless one falls into their lap via a good trade or something.  You can get more offense for less money from the outfield than you can at catcher and this team really needs offense.

My guess is they’ll go with the catchers they have on hand, eventually bring back Ichiro and Eric Chavez and could end up signing Jeff Keppinger and will call it a day.  While signing Keppinger will affect 2014 at the very least, it’s not a huge impact and he’s a pretty useful player.

--Posted at 7:03 am by SG / 125 Comments | - (0)


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They need a RHH who can play the outfield too.

Re Victorino - For CF it’s not horrible money. I think 2011 is an outlier but he is consistently between a 2.5 and 3 WAR player. That’s fair for $13M. Now given he is more of a speed and skill position player is that likely to hold up? Maybe not but it’s only a 3 year deal.

Looking at who they kept and who they’ve signed, it seems the Sox are looking to sign mid level players dealing with shorter term mid level contracts as opposed to getting locked into longer term deals for superstars. Then they supplement that with internally developed talent signed to cheap pre-arb deals like Pedroia and Lester. That’s probably why they are also looking to trade Ellsbury since he seems determined to go to free agency and cash in. I don’t think that’s a bad strategy. It limits their exposure to bad contracts and gives them flexibility to continuously remake their roster.

Maybe they will take a shot at the right superstar if he comes along but I don’t see anyone that fits that description in this free agent class. And honestly, those players seem to be getting locked up long term before they every reach free agency these days.

This season is going to suck so hard ...

Hopefully, Sabathia blows out his shoulder before the trade deadline so Cashman can blow up the team proper.

Saw that the goal is probably Keppinger and Chavez, but that that might be too expensive to pull off for the poor house Yanks.  Terrible.

I really wish the Yankees be sellers right now. Trade Cano, Hughes, Granderson and Tex and build for 2015.

Wow. Lot’s of whining that the Yankees aren’t buying up whatever the FA market has to offer. Seriously people? You wanted Shane Victorino for 3 years? Or Mike Napoli for 3 years? Or you want to give another $160M to a pitcher for 7 years? Or pay $17M for Russell Martin to put up 4 WAR when Cervelli and Romine could probably put up 3+ for $1.5M?

[5] - You can’t dump a collection of mediocre one year contracts for players 1 year from free agency and expect to get enough to rebuild with.  And you’d be lucky to get someone to take Tex without coughing up money let alone getting anything in return.

So basically you want to blow up the team, suck, and try to rebuild through the draft while contracts like C.C and A-Rod run their course?

[7] Don’t forget that these offsesaon complaints turn into “we bought this guy and he sucks already!” complaints by July, mere months into the guys massive contract. Yes, I am complaining about the complaints.

There’s no reason for the Yankees to tank it in 2013, what with TWN still depleted and none of the other teams being clear favorites.  Believe it or not, the baseball season can actually be fun and interesting WITHOUT the home team steamrolling the competition from start to finish.

“Yes, I am complaining about the complaints.”

That’s kind of your thing.

[9] I thought the point was to buy a team that projects to 95 wins, wait and wonder if they’ll flail in the playoffs for 8 months, and then if they do, hate their guts and drive them out of town. It’s our right because beer is $12.

[10] Anything worth doing..

[5] I don’t think Tex is tradable. I’m also not sure why everyone is so high on trading Cano. At this point the return would probably not be that great, unless the receiving team was positive that they would be able to sign him long term. And with Boras that is pretty unlikely. If Cano is not going to be a Yankee long term, the Yankees are probably better off just collecting a draft pick when he leaves after 2013.

What’s going to make this season suck is if we have to root for Youkilis. I for one will cheer every time he gets beaned, especially if it is by a Townie pitcher.

[6] Agree on Cervelli, but I have doubts Romine spends much more time on the field than A-Rod. Not that I would have chosen Napoli, but they gotta do something, and Martin ain’t it.

Since 2009 we’ve had offensive downgrades in 3B, C, 1B, DH, and now RF.

LF too if you’re just talking about offense…surely Damon > Gardner right? (Too lazy to check if baserunning makes a difference)

[6] This the bed that the Yankees made themselves.  The free agent class this season (or next or the year after) isn’t going to fix what ails the Yankees.  They’ve shown next to no interest in planning for the future.  We’re winning now, we’ll deal with the future when it gets here.

Well, hello Future.

[15] Wasn’t Damon terrible last year?

Wow. Lot’s of whining that the Yankees aren’t buying up whatever the FA market has to offer.

Can you point to one sentence in the original post or the first five comments before yours that constitute whining that the Yankees aren’t buying up whatever the FA market has to offer?

[16] - That’s a little unfair.  They have shown a lot more attention to the draft. They have been drafting pitchers first because free agent bats are more reliable.  It’s a smart strategy.  The problem is they have one of the top 2 or 3 records every freakin’ year so they don’t have access to the kind of talent that pans out frequently.  Despite all that, they have still managed to develop prospects and run a pretty decent farm system.

The problem is the the new wave of TV contracts coupled with the sale of the Dodgers has shown everyone how flush with cash the sport really is.  Add in the new CBA with that and the Yankees bread and butter over the Jeter era has been closed.  The free agent pipelines, both domestic and international, have been shut off and now the Yankees have to change strategy at a time when they are saddled with huge contracts that they probably wouldn’t have taken on if they knew this was coming. 

So it’s not that they didn’t plan for the future, it’s that the game has changed and they are stuck in a position where it’s hard to adjust.

17 - weren’t we talking about since 2009? Though that is an unfair baseline, that lineup was straight bonkers.

[18] Can you point to one sentence in the original post or the first five comments before yours that constitute whining that the Yankees aren’t buying up whatever the FA market has to offer?

Yes, [4].

Also, dakranker was quite upset when Martin signed with Pittsburgh a few threads back. In that context, [5] as well.

[20] That’s what I want. A straight bonkers lineup, that also dominates the league from wire to wire. Give me something, life. Throw me a bone. I’m not emotionally prepared for close games and “good losses”.

If the Yankees sign Schierholtz, then would they pass on Ichiro and sign Ibanez? I hope not. Ibanez is not a good hitter and he can’t play the field at all. Both Ichiro and Schierholtz are good fielders and project to be better hitters than Ibanez.

Dave Cameron wrote about blowing teams up a couple of weeks ago, giving a few reasons to be against it, and he was talking about teams with worse projections than the Yankees are going to have next year.

Also, dakranker was quite upset when Martin signed with Pittsburgh a few threads back. In that context, [5] as well.

dakranker was upset when it took the Yankees six games to win the 2009 World Series for crying out loud.

And I don’t read [4] as whining, more like smart-assery.  But I’m not actively hunting for complaints to complain about so perhaps I’m being too charitable.

I don’t think blowing up the team is the answer ... but I am incredibly frustrated that Cashman and the Brothers Stein plus Levine have put themselves in a situation where they’re faced with several holes and signing Jeff Keppinger is considered a good thing. 

The Yankees are not victims of circumstances beyond their control.  I lost a lot of interest in watching the team last season and I can only imagine my apathy will increase this season and next.

I don’t think the Yankees are free from blame, the A-rod contract was a massive mistake, but the new CBA was announced almost exactly a year ago, the Yankees didn’t have much time to react to the salary cap. I can understand being frustrated that they aren’t ignoring penalties like they had previously, but if that’s the problem complain about that. If you take the cap as a given, I think they have reacted as well as can be expected, given the time they had.

Maybe they should have done a better job of predicting where the CBA negotiations would end up, but there isn’t really any public information available on that.

Things aren’t all that bad if we’re still going to be able to field a 90-win team through 2014.  I’ve gotten spoiled and want the Yankees to spend unlimited dollars to put together a 95-win every year.

By the way I think it is a strange and wonderful thing that Gary Sheffield is now an agent.

My expectation was that they’d pass on most of the Victorino, Napoli, Torii Hunter offensive upgrades/replacements for Swisher, but that they’d at least grab one of them.  I suppose it’s still early, so maybe they still have a big move on the way.

Double post.  Sorry.

[30] I don’t think a big move is coming because there isn’t enough room in this year’s and next year’s budget.  Not unless they unload Granderson or someone else with a big contract and free up cash.  But Granderson’s departure would leave another hole to fill, in center or left field.

The big moves were re-signing Toyota, St. Mo, and AP to one-year deals.  The remaining moves are patch and fill.  I wonder if they expected Martin would bolt for the greener pastures of Pittsburgh.

I think through all this complaining we should be thankful that the Yankees are not the Mets who actually cannot afford to extend Dickey for 2 years at 13MM per.

[33] But being thankful would call upon us to be good human beings.

[34] Not all of us are felons…

[13] I think the Yankees could for sure get more than the value of the draft pick - which would be around the 25th pick in the draft - by trading Cano now.  Because the team that gets Cano (if it is before the season starts) would get that same pick if they can’t resign him, PLUS a full season of Cano.  Or basically, the Yankees could probably get a Will Myers.  Not the actual Myers b/c Royals wouldn’t do that, but a player of similar caliber/development.  And probably another decent prospect further away.  Look at it this way; a half-season of Teixeira got Atlanta Case Kotchman and a AA reliever.  Kotchman may not seem like much in hindsight, but he was a 25 year old who had put up 3.5 bWAR the prior season and already 1.8 in the current season.  Pretty sure 1 year of Cano could get more than that.

Now, is it worth it?  Only if the Yankees believe one of two things.  A) That they have NO realistic shot at contending in 2013 or B) That Adams/Joseph + whatever they get back for Cano, makes them at least equal in 2013, with the obvious advantage of being better in the future.

Maybe they should have done a better job of predicting where the CBA negotiations would end up, but there isn’t really any public information available on that.

I hope that Cashman and owners have a better source on what’s happening with MLB economics than Joel Sherman.  The owners have been trying to institute a salary cap since well, free agency started.  There’s been a luxury tax since 2002.  They’ve worked towards a harder cap ever so slowly and I don’t think that there was anything that indicated that future caps would be less restrictive.  All of that never gave the Yankees pause in throwing out contracts with little regard to what will play out in the future. 

As far as their concerned, the impacts will be slight, so why should they have bothered?  They’ll still print money and make millions in profit every year whether the team is an 85 win team that misses the playoffs or a 95 win team that makes them.

[28] I’m thinking closer to 85 right now.

[15] In 2009 BBRef has Damon as 24 RAA before factoring in position and defense.  2010 Gardner was 18 RAA.  2011 was -1.  I’d think 2013 Gardner would be somewhere in between.  But yes, they’ve definitely taken a step back on offense.

[30] Part of the issue was probably the amount of money (and years) being thrown around.  Not many people would have been happy with Yankees signing those players to contracts like that.  There are still a few minor upgrades available.

[32] The “big” move would have to be something more like the Montero-Pineda
trade.  Where Cashman brings back a cost controlled, young player.  Now, he doesn’t have a chip like Montero any more, but he still has chips.  Maybe one (or more) of those chips are veteran players like Granderson, that also may require bringing some salary back as well.  Or getting another team (or two) involved.

[39] The “big move” most likely also involves giving up one or more of Austin/Sanchez/Williams/Heathcott.

Of course Cashman opperates pretty quietly, so who knows what’s happening.

[25] My anti-complaining complaining is overzealous, so I’ll own that and apologize.

That said, this thread initiates with an article about the Yankees no longer owning the market, and right out of the gate we’re talking about how the coming year will suck and we should blow up the team. That’s the basis for my reaction. I’m looking forward to 2013 because it looks like they’ll be forced to give starting jobs to some promising young players without a safety net, and I’d like to see how that goes.

The big moves were re-signing Toyota, St. Mo, and AP to one-year deals.  The remaining moves are patch and fill.  I wonder if they expected Martin would bolt for the greener pastures of Pittsburgh.

Yeah, basically the Swisher money was spent on Pettitte.

And in hindsight I wonder if they passed on Martin because they know about A-Rod and felt they could get better value for the money at 3B rather than C.

But that’s the scary thing that is leading to some of the frustration.  After next season I don’t think Kuroda, Pettitte, OR Mo will be options for 2014 nor do I think they can just spend the $37M elsewhere.  Some of that is going to have to go to $189 and possibly a Cano raise.  So if you think the team looks thin for 2013, well you can argue you’re kind of spoiled, but I think replacing that kind of production (and throw Granderson in too) (around 11 wins) for half the price is not easy task.  Scratch that.  It’s not likely to happen without a few unexpected leaps forward from youngins.

[40] I’m okay with that, for the right player.  I’m not a big fan of giving up *more* than one of them.  There are players I’d be okay doing that for of course, though not sure if any of them are available.  Upton…I’m not 100% sure I would, but even if I would he’s not coming back for guys with barely any experience above A+ so it’s moot.

But if for example, Cash has a secret trade that would give up Sanchez (and other pieces) for Andrus, I’d be all over that.

[41] I’m with you J.  dakranker is certainly the most vocal.  But others have certainly suggested the possibility in greater or lesser terms.  And many who haven’t, have expressed displeasure that the Yankees aren’t going, “all in” in 2013, since 2014 is likely a lost season already.

And I am looking forward to this season.  Sure, this will be probably more 2005-2007 than 2009.  That is, a team with obvious flaws having to fight and claw it’s way to a playoff berth (I think they’ll at least win a wild card).  But heck, that’s still the playoffs, and any team with the pitching the Yankees have, has a shot once they make it there.  And getting to see some young players make a mark - potentially some pushed aggressively - is exciting.

Dickerson/Ichiro/Nate S.(?)

Which ones are promising young players?

[42] nor do I think they can just spend the $37M elsewhere

FWIW, at the positions of interest, FA for 2014 that look interesting:

OF: Cruz, Ellsbury, Pence, Choo, Hart
3B: Nothing
SP: Lincecum, Garza, Halladay (option), Haren, Lester (option), Volquez, Shields (option)

I guess there’s places to spend money there, but yeah, not a lot. Can’t imagine Shields and Lester’s option not being picked up.  I also think SP will be a lesser concern than the position players in 2014, but who really knows. 2/5 of our rotation isn’t expected back in 2014.

[45] Which ones are promising young players?

Phelps, Nova, Adams, Joseph. You didn’t list any of them.

EDIT: Montgomery, as well.

So if you think the team looks thin for 2013, well you can argue you’re kind of spoiled, but I think replacing that kind of production (and throw Granderson in too) (around 11 wins) for half the price is not easy task.  Scratch that.  It’s not likely to happen without a few unexpected leaps forward from youngins.

I freely admit that Feburary 2014 will not be as good (on paper) as February 2013.  Even if they keep Cano.  That’s minus (as you say) any leaps from the minors, and/or ninja-Cashman making a splash.

I’m okay with that.  I think they’ll still find a way to put together a team that should go into the season projecting something like 84 wins.  Sounds awful, but that’s in contention; a true-talent 84 win team could easily win 90 games, EVEN IF they play exactly to their talent.

2015 though should be better.  A little more age (and salary) comes off the roster.  The team should be a little more willing to push some expensive veterans into reserve roles.  And (hopefully) we’d expect some of the crop of high-end talent to start impacting the squad.

No guarantees of course, but if they do this well - and don’t get impatient - 2016-2021 (or so) could be a team rivaling 1996-2001.  Or it could be a team rivaling 1986-1991.  I’d bet on the former of course.

[42] Exactly, the Yankees will still be a competitive team in 2013, they won’t be a post-season “lock” like they have been for a long time, but they’ll be right there with the rest of the division leaders. 2014 is where it gets ugly with cheap parts becoming more expensive and FA for Cano, etc. It’s really hard to see the Yankees fielding a good team in 2014 for 189MM.

Keppinger to the White Sox on a 3 year deal worth 13 million.I think is too much for a utility player.

Lose 100 games next season but please do not sign Youkilis.

[47] Well he didn’t list any of the pitchers, probably intentionally.  But that’s certainly part of the excitement, and then you can also add in Whitley, Montgomery, Marshall, and potentially Turley.  And position players Romine and potentially Murphey.  Plus Mesa, both Almontes.  Sure, some of these guys may have the “promise” of being .5 to 1.5 WAR UIF, 4th OF, etc.  But those role players are extremely important, and yeah, I’d rather they were homegrown players we could learn to like, and we had some certaintity for the next 3-6 years of having those positions filled, instead of needing to spend a few million a year EVERY year to fill out the roster with geriatrics.

[50] Seems pretty reasonable, he’s getting paid less than a win a year.

It’s really hard to see the Yankees fielding a good team in 2014 for 189MM.

First, what qualifies “good”?  90 wins?  85?  80?  I think 85 wins is a good team.  That’s a team in playoff contention; especially one where players like Austin, Heathcott, etc, could be ready by 2nd half.  Can they field an 85 win team for $189MM?  Definitely.  Will they?  IDK.  A lot has to do with the older players already under contract - Jeter, ARod, Gardner, Teix, CC.  Then the development/recovery of Pineda, Romine, Nova, Phelps, Montgomery, and Whitley. 

Those are just the guys we *expect* to have some impact on the 2013 roster, and doesn’t even get into guys like Adams/Joseph, Marshall, Turley, Murphey, etc.  I could see the first 11 I listed all being above average (for their role), and maybe being worth 30-35 WAR which gets them close w/o signing Cano or anyone else.  Of course, I could easily also see them being worth something like 10 WAR, and then they’ll be better off accepting being a 70 win team for a year.

[41] I’d be more interested in seeing Williams or Austin than some 1-WAR rental, even though it’s not a rational move.  If Sanchez shows he can actually catch I’d even consider putting him in after the ASB and tell him that any offense whatsoever is gravy.  I’ve enjoyed following Gardner, even given the injuries, more than almost anything else the last several years, 2009 excepted.

[53] I would qualify good as projecting for ~90 wins. You point out that an 85 win team could win 90 games, but they could also win 80. A 90 win team is a very good bet to at least go >.500. An 85 win team is solid, but I don’t know if I would call that team good.

I don’t think that 2014 will be an absolute disaster, the Yankees will still likely have enough talent to field an above average team, but I don’t think they will be a good team.

I don’t know, I don’t really feel excited about Phelps and Nova. Nova has been around a while and Phelps will probably be a long reliever. I suppose it might be interesting to see if Nova doesn’t suck again. Montgomery I guess. I don’t really think Adams and Joseph qualify as “guys given starting jobs without a safety net,” seems like they are the actual safety net.

It’s not like it was with Montero, or Banuelos before he got injured. Most of the guys you all are listing will probably not play in the majors next year, and those that do will have limited roles if one of the geezers listed in #45 gets injured.

I’m with #54 but I don’t know what it would do to guys that young who have two AA games between them. Is “being rushed to the majors” a myth?

[56] Exactly the Yankees don’t really have anyone all that compelling in the high minors. I like Nova as a solid average to slightly above average pitcher, but also see Pheps as a long reliever/spot starter. If Pineda and Banuelos both come back in 2014 healthy and effective, the Yankees situation won’t be so bad, but I’m not counting on either.

If Pineda and Banuelos both come back in 2014 healthy and effective, the Yankees situation won’t be so bad, but I’m not counting on either.

That and if two of Sanchez/Austin/Williams/Heathcott do well in AA.  That’s why it’s pointless to worry about 2014 now, because it’s possible they will wind up with replacements for some of these holes without having to do anything but be patient.

Not likely, but possible.

[48] Agreed.  However I think some people are looking ahead to 2014 and saying they likely don’t have a realistic chance to compete.  At least, not like we do in 2013.  Then they are looking at 2013 and saying we can complete, but this team is weaker then they are typically.  Then they are putting those two together they to say “Blow it up now while you can still get value for some of these pieces.”

The problem is, I don’t think you can get significant value for any of the pieces being thrown around.  Maybe Cano, but one player in Cano’s position isn’t going to get you enough return to rebuild with so I don’t think it’s worth tanking 2013. I’m not sure I agree with removing all chance of being competitive in 2014 and beyond to go all in for 2013 either. 

However, while I generally share your optimism with the current Yankees, I rarely share you optimism on the value of minor league players.  I think they are much more likely to fail than succeed so I think 2014 and beyond is much more likely to be closer to 1986 than 1996.

[59] I think it’s possible that Austin might be able to break into the MLB sometime during 2014, but I am highly doubtful that any of the other 3 will (outside of September callups).

Mel Hall, am I right in thinking that Abe Almonte is a New Mexican sheep rancher descended from conversos who still does Friday prayers in secret?  And Zoilo Almonte is his heritage-loathing brother?

[59] I think it’s possible that Austin might be able to break into the MLB sometime during 2014, but I am highly doubtful that any of the other 3 will (outside of September callups).

I think Heathcott has a chance.

I keep typing Heatchott and it’s driving me nuts.

By the way, any thoughts on [2]?  Talking about how to build a roster in the current environment, I don’t think it is a bad way to go about things.

[64] I agree with you that that seems to be their approach and this approach has a sound rationale, but I just don’t think they’ll be very good this year and the best players in the minors (Bradley, Bogaerts) are at least a couple years away. 

I don’t know what they’ll do about Ellsbury.

[62] Yes, they descend from Sephardim who came over from Spain with Cortes.

[63] Fair enough, It’s hard to figure out what to do with him. He’s lost so much time due to injury that I could see the Yankees taking him a bit slower, but he is older than Williams/Austin/Sanchez and you don’t want to lose any of the value his speed brings.

[2, 64, 65] Which is basically the same thing the Yankees are trying to do. The only difference is that the Yankees’ current large contracts are generally untradable so they can’t completely blow up the team like the Sox could.

Who cares about missing out on handing Keppinger a three year contract when Nunez is already on the roster, with Adams and Joseph in the minors? It’s a three year deal! For Jeff Keppinger! (not referring to anyone on the blog. Just thinking about the scribes ready to write ‘YANKEES OUTBID FOR KEPPINGER’

Wow, Chavez signing with the Diamondbacks.  Who’s left out there for 3b?

Chavez signs with Arizona?  I guess that forces the Yankees to be more creative now.

Wow. 3 million for Chavez was a great deal for Arizona. I am surprised the Yankees did not sign him.

They might want someone more reliable, since A-rod is going to be gone for half the year, but I think I would have done it.

Whoa, seriously. Who is the Yankees’ Opening Day 3B? They already said no Nuney, right?

[72] - $3M for Chavez sounds like a horrible deal.  I just don’t think he has the health to be a reliable full time player anymore or even a platoon player against RHP, and that much for a backup?

I know I am a pessimistic but right now things are much worse than I think they are

The idea of overpaying for one year of Kevin Youkilis is kind of wretched.

[75] They paid him for somewhere between .5 and .75 wins. Not sure how that is an overpay. Especially given the horrendous 3B talent pool.

[71] Well, now it looks like they’ll have to use some of their younger guys.

My comment in [3] is snark, but the mere thought of Jeff Keppinger being signed isn’t exactly stoking the hot stove.  Sorry, it doesn’t get me excited for the 2013 season.  I’ll turn in my fan club card.

What [45] is getting at is that the Royal Optimists Club keeps trotting out names of kids in A/AA that have very little chance of playing for the Yankees before 2015 and not the players the Yankees are mostly pursuing to close holes on the 2013 ML roster.

I’m all developing from within, but those aren’t the players the Yankees are considering publicly (directly or rumored).  If Cashman comes out and says, “we’re moving Cano to 3B because we have a young prospect we feel can excel at the position at the ML level.”

But he hasn’t.  So I’m not holding my breath until the Yankees do something other than sign has-been veterans off the scrapheap.  But hey, they could enter 2013 with Almonte in RF, Pirela at SS/BUIF, Cano at 3B and Adams at 2B with Romine and Cervelli behind the plate.

Quite a thread for a no-news day in early December.  Better than some game threads last season.


drinking away our tears?

[68] and that strategy conflicts with competing for a World Series every season, consequences be damned.  Rebuilding usually results in a few shitty seasons, but if it results in a strong contender every 3 out of 5 seasons, is that a horrible thing?

Having to remake the team every few seasons and say goodbye to superstars just before they decline isn’t what the Yankees tend do.

In seriousness, absent talent coming up (and I have enjoyed Nova, Gardner, and Phelps), I do like the great supporting cast Cashman brings in.  I really liked Chavez and Shockmaster.  And would you believe Chris Stewart was worth 1 bWAR in 55 games?

MLB Trade Rumors says the Indians are looking at Mark Reynolds. Not sure Baltimore would make him available to NY, but I wouldn’t hate that as a 3B solution.

Reynolds was non-tendered and is free to sign with anyone.

He’s a butcher at 3B though.  Almost Nun-E like.  Not sure I’d want him as my primary 3B for half a season.

[85] And if you were irritated by Granderon’s K-happy ways, I have bad new for you about Reynolds.

I don’t think there are very many Yankee fans who could truly stomach some of the “rebuilding” plans being thrown around here and elsewhere. At least not for more than a month or so. Sure, cutting out the declining, overpaid fat, getting back to basics, and letting the kids play sounds great..but baseball isn’t a passion play. Given our collective birthright, watching a Yankees club struggle to produce a winning season would suck monumentally. You thought last season’s bunch of losers and chokers were bad? Subtract 15 wins or so and see how you feel.

Even if you get to that point of financial flexibility, you still have to make good decisions with that extra cash, which isn’t easy as the Sox are now showing. I’d much rather have a 85-win team over the next few seasons than what they’re being faced with.

Anyone follow English soccer? Just ask any Arsenal fan what they think about their club’s current position. They’ve eschewed big money signings for a few seasons now and have preferred to build from within, trophies be damned. That’s probably why it’s been 7.5 years since they won anything of consequence. And this is a team that went undefeated less than a decade ago (the baseball equivalent of the ‘98 Yankees, if not superior to that.) But their debt load is down and they’ve consolidated their ownership and management structure, yippee!

[85]  You can’t beat Nun-E when you consider the price and the nickname.

[2] - [68]  I think what the Red Sox are starting to do is what big market teams are essentially forced to do going forward, and to win that way teams must draft and develop players through their farm systems.  The tricky thing, again, is if a team like the Sox/Yanks buys enough vets on reasonable 3 year deals, they’ll win too many games during the season and not get the high draft picks needed to draft the true studs, so maybe they HAVE to tank a season here and there to get the prime draft picks.

One thing that could maybe happen, is that some of these younger stars start choosing not to sign these Longoriesque long-term extensions, in order to maximize their earnings potential or to give them more freedom/opportunity to play for a different city/franchise.  The big test case would be Bryce Harper, I suppose, who supposedly loves the Yankees.  Would he eschew an extension with Washington and hold out to become a free agent when he’s, what, 25?  I mean, imagine the payday he’d be facing.  And if he’s worried about risk, just take out some kind of insurance policy that pays in the event of his getting a serious injury.  Call it a Grady Sizemore clause.  Even if he chooses to stay in D.C., he’d surely benefit from the bidding war.

I don’t think tanking for better draft picks is a viable strategy. You really need to be one of the top few picks so if you want to be good 3/5 years like [82] suggests, you need to be both efficient in making the playoffs (average is 4-5/13 for each league) and efficient at tanking in your down years (you want to be among the worst of about 15 teams, since both leagues are in the draft). That’s difficult on it’s own, and even top picks can bust.

[90]  Yeah, it’s pretty tough to beat the system.  Maybe the league has finally found some competitive balance, which I wouldn’t have a problem with.

You really have to end up with a top 5 pick for tanking to make sense. Generally after that the picks are more crap shooty,  although top 20/15 is better than where the Yankees usually pick (30s).

[90] also, I forgot how many teams are in MLB. Whatever.

Eh Tu Raul?

holy shit, you guys, 92 comments and nothing happened!?

I was sure teh Rod had retired an hour ago or we’d signed Bonds to a 1-year deal…

I think it may be more likely that the luxury tax threshold goes way up as previously parsimonious teams realize they can afford a $225 million payroll.

[96] It will be interesting, the owners clearly want to keep the luxury tax in place as it supresses salaries and increases their income. However, baseball is clearly flush with money rigyht now and the players and agents know it. The new CBA could be very contentious. I doubt they’ll get close to a strike, but it certainaly won’t be as amicable as the current CBA was.

[97] I think the secret for the amicability is actually revenue sharing, since teams are required to spend it on improving the team, so increases to revenue sharing should go predominantly to free agent salaries. They need to do something about Loria though, and maybe there isn’t much more room left to increase revenue sharing so the union will look at the cap more harshly.

Can the Player’s Association force Loria to sell in the next CBA, because that would be hilarious.

[99] Somewhere in the CBA apparently the Marlins revenue for calculating revenue sharing has been declared to be $100 million, which is pretty funny.

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