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

Friday, December 14, 2012

NYDN: Ichiro Suzuki and Yankees are closing in on two-year contract to keep veteran in Bronx

It’s not much of a surprise that Ichiro Suzuki is going to be returning to the Yankees in 2013.

But 2014, too?

The Yankees and Ichiro were closing in on a two-year contract worth between $12 million-$13 million, a deal that will keep the veteran outfielder in pinstripes through his 41st birthday.

I’m having a tough time reconciling the fact that the Yankees are willing to go two years on Ichiro while targeting a payroll of $189M in 2014.  Ichiro would probably project to be worth about the two wins over two seasons he needs to be to make the contract reasonable, but if you can’t produce a one win player for less than $6M what the hell are you doing?

Ichiro may have some impact in revenue and marketing beyond his on-the-field value as he moves towards 3000 MLB hits, but it’s highly unlikely he gets there by the end of 2014.  So it’s tough to justify the contract in that regard.

This means that the Yankees have $6M less to play with in 2014 for a team that’s likely to have a lot of holes.  They have to replace/re-sign some combination of Mariano Rivera/Phil Hughes/Hiroki Kuroda/Andy Pettitte/Curtis Granderson/Kevin Youkilis/Robinson Cano or they’re likely looking at a 70-75 win team.

Can they do that?  Time will tell.

--Posted at 8:20 am by SG / 135 Comments | - (0)

Comments

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At least we can see Mo pitch again

Don’t jinx it

Ichiro for 2/12, but not Melky for 2/16. Not that I know that Melky would have signed here but whatever.

This is all about marketing and revenue from Japan, there’s no other rational reason.

Melky is a fourth OF according to Brian Cashman.  You don’t pay fourth OF $8M a year.

Can’t wait for the Steinbrenners to sell the team.

The rational reasons for signing Ichiro to two years are

1) If he’s signed to 1, then you add him to the list of players to replace in 2014

2) The list of OF they have available for 2013 and 2014 is uninspiring.  The best of the crop is probably Segedin, and he crashed after a AA promotion and at best will be ready for a reserve role in 2014.  None of the guys for 2013 are particularly good.

3) They have catchers.  We may be underwhelmed, but Cervelli or Romine in 2013 will probably be a lot closer to Martin, than Dickerson/Mesa will be to Ichiro.  Not to mention Murphey has a chance to be contributing before the season is out and starting in 2014.

Add it all up, and there’s a good chance that Yankees are paying Ichiro for 3-4 wins over 2 years, but only paying Martin for 1-2 wins.  Not how much they’re actually worth, but how much they’re worth over in-house replacements.

I’m not a *fan* of two years for Ichiro.  But this isn’t criminal, and probably helps Yankees for 2014.

[8] Because Rupert Murdoch did so well when he owned the Dodgers?

“If he’s signed to 1, then you add him to the list of players to replace in 2014”

If you can’t produce a 1 win player, what the hell are you doing?

“We may be underwhelmed, but Cervelli or Romine in 2013 will probably be a lot closer to Martin, than Dickerson/Mesa will be to Ichiro. “

What? No. Dickerson projects to be a slightly better hitter than Ichiro.

Does anyone realize that outside of two good months in New York, Ichiro has been terrible for the last two years and is now 39? I’ll actually be pretty surprised if he’s worth 2 wins over the next 2 years.

[12] There’s a Ken Phelps joke in here somewhere.

Add it all up, and there’s a good chance that Yankees are paying Ichiro for 3-4 wins over 2 years, but only paying Martin for 1-2 wins.  Not how much they’re actually worth, but how much they’re worth over in-house replacements.

According to FG, Ichiro was worth 3.1 wins over the last 2 years.  All but 1.2 wins of that was defense and base running.  I don’t think any 39 year old is a good bet to match or exceed their production over the past two year over the next two seasons.  So I don’t know if 3-4 wins for Ichiro is realistic.

Also, since he was only worth 1.2 wins at the plate over the last two years, he is basically a replacement level hitter already.  ANY regression over the next two years makes him a flat out liability at the plate.  How likely is it that he won’t regress at all over the next two years?

I understand making the case that in house options make signing a RF more necessary than a C (I don’t agree but I see the argument), but if you are going with stop gap replacement level options in RF (or any other position) then you don’t sign someone for two years.  Are you telling me it’s a bad bet they could find someone as good as Ichiro in 2014 for as much or less?  I really don’t.

[12] - Read my post in the thread yesterday.  It’s not 2 good months.  It was 1 insane 5 game stretch where he hit .700 that made his 2 months as a Yankee LOOK good.

Ichiro’s signing is all about the money. It’s not about building the best team they can. There’s no valid argument that Ichiro’s contract makes more baseball sense than Martin’s or Melky’s. 
Only makes sense in terms of selling tickets, tv rights and some jerseys.

I can bet that Cashman isn’t the one that taking the decisions this offseason, it’s just not his style to be that suboptimal. The guy can miss judge player’s abilities, but he is not an idiot.

[17] If this is the case there’s a pretty decent chance that Cshman will leave soon. That could be a very, very bad thing.

Ooooh, goodie ! A fight over selective endpoint fun ! You go, Poster A !

[15]  Does that really matter, though?  Is a player who is replacement level most of the time but has short bursts in which he hits like Babe Ruth necessarily less valuable than a player who is completely consistent at some intermediate level?

[18] Yes it is. This team will collapse for at least half a decade.

I am kind of irrationally bullish on Ichiro, but 2 years? No way to defend this signing

Basically, the argument seems to come down to: why sign Ichiro for two years and not Russell Martin, right?  If the Yankees had signed Martin to a two-year deal, fewer people would mind the Ichiro signing?

There really is some dissonance between the approach to the two players.  I think the simplest explanation is that Ichiro has star power—he appeals to casual fans.  To these fans the difference between Ichiro and Chris Dickerson is far greater than the difference between Russell Martin and Francisco Cervelli.  The Yankees get a lot more bang for their perception buck by signing Ichiro.

Also, the offseason isn’t over.  Maybe the Yankees have a plan to fill the catcher slot that we don’t yet know about.

Regardless, I’m happy that Ichiro’s back.  I think he’s fun to watch, and I think he has a good chance at hitting his higher percentile projections.

[23] I think the argument is which is better, two years of Russell Martin at $17m plus Dickerson in right or two years of Ichiro in right at $13m plus Cervello/Romine/Kristen Stewart? 

I like the Tigers signing of Analbeads Sanchez at 5yrs/80m a lot.  Is Sanchez a top 15-20 pitcher?  Les Tigres rotation looks pretty awesome.

Maybe there’s a plan to use Dickerson in a trade for C if certain things work out in spring training ? Are they still holding out hope for Romine (whom I view as the Nick Johnson of catchers) ?

[20] - That’s not the argument I was making. It’s just a tool used to expose the problem with putting stock into SSS. 

In that post I also included the larger sample size of all of 2012 and the even larger sample size of all of 2011 too.  His numbers before the 5 games, his numbers after the 5 games, his numbers of the entire last year, and his numbers over the last two years are all around the same range.  The only outlier is his numbers just as a Yankee.

Essentially hot streaks happen but they even out over time.  The only reason they didn’t even out with his Yankee numbers is due to SSS.

[11] If you can’t produce a 1 win player, what the hell are you doing?

The whole point of “replacement level” is guys you could pick up anywhere, like say AAA.  So maybe getting a 1 win player isn’t as easy as you think it is?  This also assumes Ichiro is only worth 1 win, which may not be true.  And even if it is, they would need to get *2* OF not one.

What? No. Dickerson projects to be a slightly better hitter than Ichiro.

CAIRO projects him better but it’s using MLE’s, when he’s been WAY older than his level in AAA for a couple of years now.  I think you need to take his projection with a larger grain of salt than for most players.  He’s had his chance with multiple teams, and I’m sure he’s been available for trade since *last* off-season with no takers.  He’s probably a AAAA player.

[23] - Quite a few of us are arguing you shouldn’t pay for the market rate for wins for a 1 win player.  So not everyone is tying this to Martin. 

Also, I would argue that winning has more impact on sucking in the in the casual fans than the decision between Ichiro/Stuart vs Dickerson/Martin.  So just do your best to win.

Is Sanchez a top 15-20 pitcher?

No, but he’s definitely good. Maybe top 30-50.

[28] Yes, you’re right, there’s a separate argument about paying market rate for 1 win players. 

sd, which would you prefer and why, Ichiro/Stewart et al. or Dickerson/Martin?

[14] There are three valid arguments for why Ichiro over the next two years may produce more than the last two.

1) Stadium.  Either Seattle affected him more than the park-effects adjustments account for, New York will benefit him more, or some combination of the two (see the Sullivan article)

2) Playing for a contender could help his mindset.  It’s impossible to know how much - if any - effect this has.  But it could be there.

3) Playing time distribution, including proper platooning and proper rest.  Remember that more playing time is not always equal to more value, as if you remove PA’s that result in negative value, value is higher.

You know what?  All three of these things could not add any value, and Ichiro could be a 2 win player for the next two years (still possibly valued correctly).  Or he could be a 4 win.  The Yankees may very well believe the latter, and if they do (and are right) it’s probably a great signing.

Finally, we don’t know if the Yankees weren’t willing to match offer on Martin.  Just that they didn’t make an offer in a timely manner.  Which is probably mostly due to the wierd circumstances with Hal needing to approve making contract offers.

[28] I do agree that win value starts to fall apart as you fall away from the 2-5 win range. So maybe it’s not ideal to sign a 1 win player for market value, but it’s not terrible either.

[30] I would prefer Dickerson/Martin because I think that Martin is a much better bet to retain his value and actually hits for power.

[25] RAB talked about using Dickerson for a righty hitting OF.  Basically, if there’s a team that needs a lefty-swinging 4th OF, then it’s a pure needs-trade.  They specifically target Scott Van Slyke from the Dodgers, and wonder if the Yankees could also get a UIF out of it too.

IDK if it’s quite fair to call Romine the Nick Johnson of catchers.  We don’t know yet if it’s a chronic back issue which will likely keep him out a lot (Johnson), or if it was a single injury that didn’t heal completely the first time, and they’ve corrected it going forward.  I think the Yankees still like Romine.

You either trust the projections or you don’t. Ichiro is like 65 and almost completely dependent on his speed. Maybe his projections need a bigger grain of salt.

[31] We live in the best of all possible worlds.

“Finally, we don’t know if the Yankees weren’t willing to match offer on Martin.  Just that they didn’t make an offer in a timely manner.”

Then they are unbelievable morons who are literally unprepared to do their jobs and should all be fired.

[32 and others] “market value” is always a funny thing.  For one, some research has shown that certain positions command more money per-win than others.  For example, 1B is the most highly paid.  I think close to $10MM/win per year recently.  I’m not sure where RF/LF fall, if they are paid more or not.  For another, “market” often refers specifically for what that particular product costs.  We’ve gotten (credible?) reports that Ichiro was offered more by at least one other team (Phillies).  So by that regard, Yankees are actually getting Ichiro below market.  Based on what some other OF signed for (Gomes, Victorino, what Hairston is asking), corner OF seem fairly pricey right about now…

Analbead Sanchez’s WAR the last three years, according to bbref: 2.9, 3.5, 2.6.  He’s 28 years old.  What is the projection for his WAR over the 5-year term of his contract?  Is he worth $80m?

[34] Not true at all!  It’s always a matter of understanding where the projections are limited, and if you can make a good argument for why they may be wrong.  Obvious examples are players coming off of injury.  If you have good reason to believe they are healthier you may up their projections (if previous seasons where marred by injury).  If you believe less healthy (injury late in year) you can knock down.

Guys who have played a lot in the minors the last 3-4 years are always more difficult to project.  SG is quite open with that.  He uses MLE’s (I believe), and the MLE’s are *not* age adjusted.  So if Dickerson is destroying kids in the minors, it will make his MLE’s look better than they should.  SG does the age adjust at (or near) the end I believe.

[38] Probably not worth 80M If he averages 3 wins for the next 5 years which is a little generous given the general fragility of pitchers and the fact that we will begin is decline phase, he’ll be worth ~75MM. 80MM is probabably close enough that it’s not really an overpay.

[36] Sigh.  I’m starting to feel like we’re rooting for the Jets, where the people who hate the team the most are their own fans.

How is 36 even controversial? You’re saying there’s a chance that the Yankees wanted to sign Martin but couldn’t get an offer to him?

That’s not the Jets, that’s the Knicks of five years ago.

And it’s kind of annoying for someone to tell me that I hate the team.

39) Yeah but Mike your mistrust of the projections seemingly works in one direction—to the Yankees’ benefit.

[40] Depends how much a win is worth right?  At $6MM/win, if the discount is 12% for a contract that long, he’s fairly valued (if 3wins/year).  At $7MM/win even if the discount is 25% he’s still fairly valued, maybe even a bargin.

Probably overall a fair contract with the normal risks for signing a pitcher for that long.

And it’s kind of annoying for someone to tell me that I hate the team.

I hate them.

41—Mike, I don’t hate the Yankees.  I love the Yankees, since I was 6 years old and went to my first game at the stadium.  I don’t think people here hate the Yankees; they make an effort to engage in rational critique that is grounded in empirical facts.  Except maybe dakranky, he’s like that kid in the cereal commercial, “Give it Mikey, he hate everything.”

I do hate them but I already know it. Especially Randy Levine and…oh, I don’t know…Cervelli?

I hate Randy Levine too.  I’ve always like Cashman.

[42] Sorry, getting quite frustrated by the tone against the Yankees.  And I don’t think it’s quite as unusual as you think it is for teams to not get their final offer in before a player chooses to sign elsewhere, for whatever reason.  Ask the Red Sox about Teixeira, for example. 

It’s controversial that you take a potential mistake or miscalculation, and claim that everyone invovled was unprepared and should be fired.  Basically, it’s like you’re saying the options are be perfect, or else.

[43] I don’t think so.  I’ve mistrusted others for players they were looking into signing.  E.g. Colon a couple of years ago I was completely against, and didn’t trust he’d do as well as his projections b/c of injuries.  If you may have noticed, I’m not one to join the crowd.  So if I’m going to write something about these (non)moves, I’m probably going to try to find why the projections may be wrong, for why the Yankees may make such a move.

I don’t really like Cashman after that wife/stalker business. But I guess he’s better than future GM Randy Levine.

[46] I love the Yankees. I am just frustrated the way they are doing business lately.

And I don’t believe there’s people defending what they are doing, but I accept their ideas, maybe the one that’s wrong is me.

[46 & 47] Which is why I phrased it like the Jets.  I know a number of Jets fans.  And yes, they’ve loved the Jets since they were kids.  And more often than not, they hate them, too.

Sorry perhaps it is just my reading comprehension skills, but the overall tone here is decidedly negative.  Sure, there is some optimism, and some discussion that counts as rational critique.  But a lot of it - and more and more - is turning to the Yankees have no idea what they’re doing, they don’t have any plan, if they made any of the moves EXCEPT the ones they are making they’d be better off.  A lot of people have already given up on 2014 - heck many have already given up on 2015! - and a number have already given up on 2013; in large part since the Yankees haven’t realized that 2013 is the their last chance to win in a while and go all in.

And, yes it’s extremely frustrating because this has happened EVERY off-season, and it gets worse EVERY offseason, and with the exception of 2008 - when a few MAJOR injuries derailed them and they were still a very good team - they’ve made the playoffs.  So yeah, I’m starting to get a little annoyed.  Probably best if I take a break.

[51] I was being silly, dak, which is, like, totally unusual for me.  I’m not thrilled about this offseason either.

Analbead Sanchez’s WAR the last three years, according to bbref: 2.9, 3.5, 2.6.  He’s 28 years old.  What is the projection for his WAR over the 5-year term of his contract?  Is he worth $80m?

CAIRO says something like:

2012: 3.7
2013: 3.2
2014: 2.5
2015: 2.0
2016: 1.5
Total 13.0

At $6M per win that’s worth about $78M.  So with inflation it seems like a reasonable contract.

Thanks, SG.

[53]I know. I know I am too negative and some people don’t like it, but that’s how I am in every other aspect in my life. I apologize to those who find it annoying

Just to be clear. I hated the Youkilis signing and really thought about not watching the team next year, but who am I kidding, it’s not a rational thing to me. I can’t stop being a yankee fan.

[52] Dood people on a message board vent; it’s a medium in which rationality is not necessarily required.  There’s no need for you to take on the burden of defending the Yankees.  I can recommend some good therapists, including one that I am screwing at the moment.

I personally am not uniformly negative toward the Yankees.  I dig getting Mo, AP and Kuroda back.  I think letting Martin go and signing Ichiro to a two-year deal were mistakes, but not catastrophes.

What about Hughes, SG? Do you think they should extend him or trading him? Or just keep him for this season and let him walk?

I would like them to extend him to a 40/4 deal. Is that possible?

There are three valid arguments for why Ichiro over the next two years may produce more than the last two

I guess I don’t find any of those arguments rather likely.  I also expect father time to be a considerable factor for a player if Ichiro’s makeup.  Considerable.  Defense, base running, even his IFH% are his bread and butter.  Without them, he IS a replacement level player.  So are those three arguments you listed that significant to not only combat father time but have him IMPROVE his overall numbers?  I just don’t see it as a good bet.  For one year fine, but not for two years.

[58] With inflation Hughes is probably worth at least 10MM a year and the Yankees could use some longer term rotation stability outside of CC. They really should look into extending him Also at 10MM he’s reasonably cheap and probably tradable.

I think Hughes would sign a 4/40 extenstion pretty quickly. They might be able to get him on 4/36.

[49]  As far as finding out why the projections might be wrong, projections are wrong ALL THE TIME if you look at it from an individual player perspective. 

Moreover, I’m not aware that the Yankees’ management has ever taken a blood oath to base player personnel decisions solely on publicly available projections.  Maybe they should, but do this, but I’m not aware of any commitment they have made to the fans NOT to exercise subjective judgment, use scouting info, be influenced by marketing considerations, and/or occasional just roll the dice based on gut instinct or whatever. 

Further, while I’m prepared to criticize their bad moves, I think it would make sense to wait and see if the move really PROVES to be bad before getting all upset about it.  People are objecting to the 2d year of the Ichiro contract.  We still have an entire season of games to be played before that second year even arrives. 

Look at how much scorn was heaped on the R. Soriano contract —yet it worked out in the end.

a number have already given up on 2013; in large part since the Yankees haven’t realized that 2013 is the their last chance to win in a while and go all in.

I agree with you there.  I know what the projections say at this point, but when you look at what they lost vs what they added (both in players and players returning from injury) I don’t see this team as worse than last year.

Of course the Red Sox won’t be as bad as last year, and the Blue Jays won’t either but this is still feels like one of the best teams in the AL (outside of LA) to me.

[36] et al. I’m hoping that it’s just multi-year contracts that need to be run through upper management, and that if they really hadn’t turned down Martin it was because they were waiting to see if they could get a better read on the market, and Martin decided it wasn’t worth waiting around.

2014 rotation will probably be Sabathia, Nova, Phelps, Pineda (throwing lefty if the shoulder doesn’t heal), and a Manny Banuelos impersonator.  You can’t hand out a 4 year contract extension to Phil Hughes if you hope to make a buck in this business.

[61] I disagree. You can’t say that Soriano’s contract was a good one because it worked out well (even if worked well only one year, the other one was horrible), you have to think it in terms of probability. What’s the odds of Ichiro being a 2 win player in 2014? I think they are low, so there’s no sense to give him that second year because it is very likely that you could find a 1.5-2 win player for 7 million or less next year.

[65] You sign Hughes to a cheap extension because he offers certainty. 3 of the 5 pitchers you listed are currently recovering from surgery of some sort or have a history of shoulder or elbow issues. Additionally, Phelps is not really that good.

Hughes might not be the sexiest signing but for 8-10MM/year its a move that offers the Yankees some important stability during a transition period. Also for that money, Hughes is pretty easy to trade.

Hughes is 26 years old. He is a steal for 40/4. He has upside and even if he stays the same on his prime he will be worth 2 wins a year.

“You can’t say that Soriano’s contract was a good one because it worked out well (even if worked well only one year, the other one was horrible), you have to think it in terms of probability.”

No, I don’t have to think about it in those terms at all.  It’s not the central objective of the Yankees to produce wonderful contracts.  That’s not the product people pay to see.  It’s the central objective of the Yankees to produce a good baseball team that regularly competes for championships.  The Soriano contract may have sucked AS A CONTRACT, but it clearly helped them meet their PRIMARY objective of fielding a championship-caliber team. 

Your way of looking at it would be akin to criticizing a movie director for how he prepared for and went about making the movie, ignoring that the resulting film turned out to be a brilliant piece of art and entertainment. 

I don’t think it’s such a radical departure for me to suggest that you should judge this team by their on-the-field RESULTS, not on how well their contracts stand up to internet scrutiny.

[69] The Soriano signing and contract were bad because the Yankees bid against themselves to fill a position that was already strong on their team and which does not provide a lot of value to a team. In addition to that the yearly opt-outs built into the deal meanth tat even if Soriano performed at or above the level he was being paid for, the Yankees would only get one year of that. They were lucky that he happened to pitch pretty well (and get lucky) in 2012 nad opt out before his contract became a serious issue for them in 2014.

Keep in mind that Soriano was bad/hurt for most of 2011, so even if you want to judge the contract on the onfield perfomance/results, it was still bad.

[69] The Soriano contract was bad because the Yankees got an amount of run prevention incommensurate with the amount they paid in dollars over two seasons, whereas the same money could have been deployed to get a commensurate amount of run prevention or run production, and this was easy to predict.

Dood people on a message board vent; it’s a medium in which rationality is not necessarily required. 

I think this is the source of the conflict regarding “negativity” and “complaining.”  For me, I didn’t start coming to this blog for irrational venting.  If I want irrational venting about the Yankees I can listen to WFAN or talk to my dad.  Granted, the brand of irrational venting practiced here is based mostly in sabremetrics, so it’s a lot easier to tolerate, and SG’s work is still great, etc.  So here I am.

But I understand Mike K’s frustration, and would just say that I do appreciate his comments.

[72] We twist the numbers enough so that our irrational venting seems rational.

“So here I am.”

Congrats dude.

Moderate amount of joking aside, I don’t think anyone here is really irrational. It generally starts with someone *accusing* another person of being irrational.

“I don’t think it’s such a radical departure for me to suggest that you should judge this team by their on-the-field RESULTS, not on how well their contracts stand up to internet scrutiny.”

Sure, but aren’t we judging the front office when we question a contract, not the players themselves?

What about Hughes, SG? Do you think they should extend him or trading him?

I’d like to see them extend him.  4/$40M seems reasonable to me, and we’ve got a lot emotionally invested in him.  I also don’t think he’s worth much in trade being in the last year before free agency.

Maybe we should remember that Cashman/the scouts have done a good job with complementary players.  We all scoffed at Shockmaster, and look what happened.  So maybe we should cut them some slack on Ichiro.  It’s the two years that flummoxes me, but I suppose we shall see,

I love Mike K’s posting too, but I simply disagree with him on this case. 

Thant being said, I actually take issue with some of his arguments in this case.  I remember him talking about the value of Martin’s defense and how that isn’t taken into account when they were talking about extending him earlier in the off-season.  How he could be worth significantly more than what his numbers say because of his impact on the pitching staff.  Now when he is defending Ichiro, Martin is suddenly only worth 2 wins over his replacements over 2 years but Ichiro is worth 3-4?  That doesn’t seem consistent.

Maybe I’m misremembering but it seems like he is taking the best/extreme case scenario and using that as a way to defend why the Yankees decisions could make sense.  That’s not objective analysis and, outside of what I would consider his overly optimistic view on prospects, objectivity is normally what I expect most from him.

[70] [71]  I guess I’m not expressing myself well for people to be completely mssing the point of what I’m saying.  More succinctly:  I don’t care if a contract is “good” or “bad.”  I care about how good the team is as measured by wins and losses.  If the quality of the contracts the Yankees are entering into is more important to you than actual wins and losses, championships, division titles, etc., then it’s probably more accurate to say that you are a fan of baseball personnel management rather than a fan of baseball itself.

[78]  No, it’s that bad or inefficient contracts put constraints on the team the Yankees can put on the field.  They never had an unlimited budget—in years past Cashman has been told he can’t add payroll in-season, even small contracts.  Now that they are looking to shed payroll, “bad” contracts are even more onerous.

Put it another way, do you not agree that A-Rod’s contract is bad for the team in terms of putting a winning team on the field?

Also, Mike K, don’t go away.  No one knows more about the minors than you.

[78] Fair enough, but that approach is more or less what has led the Yankees to the point where they are now. In the end I want the Yankees to win, so Soriano being good for the Yankees in 2012 was a good thing, but the signing was bad. I don’t have an issue separating. Similarly I can’t stand Youkilis, but the Yankees signing him was a solid move. I don’t know if I’ll be able to root for his whiny face, but I will appreciate the value he brings to the team.

Personally I look forward to 2014 when the Yankees are only able to field 6-7 players at a time.

[81]  I think the Yankees are in the position they are now because baseball changed the rules on them in the middle of the game, imposing what amounts to a salary cap that is taking effect while the Yankees have a lot of big contracts on the books.  If that hadn’t happened, there’s no doubt in my mind the Yankess could afford the contracts they have now and still be able to fill whatever holes they have with above-average players.  The money is there, clearly.

[79]  I understand that money spent on one player isn’t available to spend on another.  However, there’s no guarantee that signing Player X to play the outfield in 2014 will result in more wins that year than signing Ichiro.  That’s why I think a more farsighted and relevant perspective would be to wait and see how the team actually does in 2014, you know, once ALL of the players have been placed on the roster and they actually play the games.

If you’re so certain Ichiro represents a disaster in 2014, here’s an easy opportunity to take a crisp $1.00 bill off of me.  I’ll bet you a dollar that, at the end of 2014, the Yankees will not have either (a) failed to make the playoffs or (b) failed to win any playoff series because Ichiro was on the roster at $6 million (if that’s the number), according to the consensus of opinion on his blog.  Deal?

“That’s why I think a more farsighted and relevant perspective would be to wait and see how the team actually does in 2014, you know, once ALL of the players have been placed on the roster and they actually play the games.”

But nobody’s trying to judge how the team did in 2014. It’ll be kind of indisputable at that point, no? We’re trying to figure out if the Yankees have put themselves in the best position to win.

[84] - That kind a ridiculous standard no?  Why don’t you do something more straight forward like “A consensus of opinion of this board at the end of the season as to if they would re-up Ichiro for 2014?”

[84] “I understand that money spent on one player isn’t available to spend on another.  However, there’s no guarantee that signing Player X to play the outfield in 2014 will result in more wins that year than signing Ichiro.  That’s why I think a more farsighted and relevant perspective would be to wait and see how the team actually does in 2014, you know, once ALL of the players have been placed on the roster and they actually play the games.”

No, nothing is guaranteed, but that’s not a very powerful argument—the Yankees, and indeed everyone everywhere, have to make decisions about the future before it actually happens.  If you think Ichiro will be worth the money and the roster spot, fine; I disagree.  I would rather you be right in the end than me, because I love the Yankees and want them to win.

“If you’re so certain Ichiro represents a disaster in 2014, here’s an easy opportunity to take a crisp $1.00 bill off of me.  I’ll bet you a dollar that, at the end of 2014, the Yankees will not have either (a) failed to make the playoffs or (b) failed to win any playoff series because Ichiro was on the roster at $6 million (if that’s the number), according to the consensus of opinion on his blog.  Deal?”

But that’s the thing, I’m not saying he’ll be a disaster—though he may be.  I’m saying that I think you can get the same performance for less money, and use the money you saved for something else.  Reminder, the Yankees have a budget—and if they don’t, they’re giving a convincing imitation of it.

Also, as I said in [76], there is every chance Cashman and co. know things we don’t that persuade them this is a great deal.  But that doesn’t mean I can’t assess the deal based on what I DO know, including Cashman’s track record.  And my assessment is:  puzzling, doesn’t seem like a good deal, but we’ll see.  That seems pretty uncontroversial to me—not complain-y or irrational in the least.

Also, I wouldn’t mind a bet, but it seems clear that achieving consensus here is rather difficult…we could do something with WAR.  Anyone got suggestions?

Over/under line at, say, 3.8 for Ichiro’s WAR over the next two years? I’ll start - taking the under.

WAR what is it good for, absolutely nothing AKA the original tittle of Tolstoy’s novel.

An original tittle is right, bebop.

Also, I wouldn’t mind a bet, but it seems clear that achieving consensus here is rather difficult…we could do something with WAR.  Anyone got suggestions?

The problem with WAR is the murkiness of the non-offense components.  My suggestion, set a line for OPS or wOBA and PA or something.

I don’t want R.A. Dickless to get traded to the Jays.

.725 OPS for Ichiro this season—ovary or under?

[Everybody] We won’t know what the impact of Ichiro’s contract for 2014 is until 2014.  Even then, we won’t really know because it’ll likely be difficult to say how the $6mm spent on HIM would have otherwise been spent had the money not gone to Ichiro, and how the player(s) that “should” have been acquired would have performed in his stead. 

Of course, we can vote on whether we like the contract now or not, but what difference does it make whether this particular 2-3% slice of the payroll is likely or unlikely, in our present collective judgment, to bring enough return value in 2014, also in our collective judgment?

Wouldn’t a saner approach be to evaluate the management’s OVERALL performance with respect to the 2014 season, and to base that evaluation on wins and losses?  I realize eliminates the need to complain about it now, but other than that, is there a problem with the basic concept of “let’s wait and see what happens”?

Also, the point of my obnoxious $1 bet was to highlight how unlikely it is that this particular one-year of a commitment to Ichiro will make the difference between getting into the playoffs or not, or winning a playoff series or not.  And I’m not saying that the NYY’s contract decisions shouldn’t be discussed or opined upon at all, just that people are losing all perspective, IMO, by letting the merits of one year of one particular, not-very-big contract dictate their feelings about the team as a whole.

“I realize eliminates the need to complain about it now, but other than that, is there a problem with the basic concept of “let’s wait and see what happens”?”

It’s not complaining. And no, there’s no problem with it, but what’s the problem with you waiting and seeing, and everyone else talking about it?

I realize eliminates the need to complain about it now, but other than that, is there a problem with the basic concept of “let’s wait and see what happens”?

It sort of defeats the whole purpose of a blog to discuss the Yankees.

Analytically it makes more sense to judge moves ex ante.

I’m in favor of irrational venting, as long as it’s literate, witty, or produced by a former Yankee currently incarcerated at an undisclosed location…..

...but isn’t there a rule against schtupping your therapist???

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