Thursday, May 24, 2012
Rumors are flying in Major League Baseball and New York banking circles that the family that has owned Major League Baseball’s premiere franchise since Cleveland shipbuilder George Steinbrenner purchased the club for $8.8 million in 1973 is exploring the possibility of selling the Yankees.
Team for sale.
Unappetizing old team for sale.
Team that’s stale and spoiled.
Team that’s soiled.
Team for sale.
Given my thoughts on the current ownership and front office, this doesn’t bother me as much as it would have a year ago. As long as new ownership cleans house(bye bye Randy Levine) and is better suited to working within the new collective bargaining agreement this may end up being a positive.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
At this moment, the Yankees rotation for next season is A.J. Burnett, Ivan Nova, Phil Hughes and, perhaps, Hector Noesi — or Three Men and a Maybe. Actually it is more akin to a bunch of backup singers in need of a front man. Sabathia would be the most obvious choice in a return engagement and C.J. Wilson could be added as a sidekick.
. . .
In the last go-around, the Yankees quickly offered six years at $138 million — more than the pitching record total of $137.5 million the Mets had given Santana. Attempting to keep Sabathia, Milwaukee bid five years at $100 million. When word circulated that the Angels were about to enter at the six-year, $125 million range, the Brewers began to fashion an offer for about six years at $112 million, hoping to show how the tax implications made the deal on par with that of the Angels. Remember, a belief existed that Sabathia didn’t want to play in New York and wanted to get back toward his West Coast roots, but loved his brief time in Milwaukee. So the Brewers thought they had a shot competing against the Angels if the Yankees really weren’t a factor.
But the Yankees strategy was to be so aggressive as to signal to the other suitors “no matter what you propose, we will blow it away.” And GM Brian Cashman traveled to Sabathia’s Northern California home to finalize a seven-year, $161 million pact.
A few factors, though, are making the Yankees less zealous this time. They are worried about his weight gain and what it means moving forward for a pitcher who already has had two knee surgeries. And even the more aggressive elements within the Yankees hierarchy are chilled by the ramifications of extending Alex Rodriguez after he opted out; A-Rod still has six years at $143 million left as his body and skills seem to be declining.
Monday, August 1, 2011
The Yankees on Sunday made a play for Houston Astros lefty Wandy Rodriguez, but that push was driven by ownership, not Cashman, according to major-league sources. The Yankees were willing to pay $21 million of the $38 million remaining on the final three-plus years of Rodriguez’s contract, according to SI.com. The Astros, on the other hand, were willing to pay $2 million of Rodriguez’s salary this season or $5 million if his option for 2014 were exercised, sources said. But the teams, unable to bridge the financial gap, never even got to the point of discussing names.
You’d think ownership would have learned their lesson after the Rafael Soriano debacle, but apparently that gives them too much credit.
It’s not that Rodriguez wouldn’t be a bad pick up necessarily, it’s just that I don’t really like seeing another situation where the GM might have had to acquiesce to the push of an ownership that seems more concerned about making moves for PR reasons than for baseball reasons.
Friday, January 21, 2011
What’s going on here? Did Lee really do that much damage to this Yankee winter—or to the Yankee front office?
It may be that he did, and it may be that what we heard from Brian Cashman on Wednesday is the surest sign that he did.
While it’s not at all unusual for a general manager to get overruled by his owner, it is highly unusual for a GM to air the disagreement publicly. And that’s exactly what Cashman did.
He admitted that he didn’t want to sign Rafael Soriano as a setup man for Mariano Rivera—not for $35 million over three years, anyway. He admitted that he took no part in Soriano negotiations, leaving that to club president Randy Levine.
He even strongly suggested that Soriano was signed in large part to appease fans and sell tickets.
Asked if the Yankees felt the need to respond to what the Red Sox had done this winter, Cashman said, “I think [owner Hal Steinbrenner] felt we needed to do something regardless. We were not going to go into spring training without doing something big.”
Cashman said he spoke out Wednesday only because he wanted to be “transparent.” But some people who know him believe his strong comments were a sign of larger disputes within the Yankee front office.
I don’t know that this makes sense. It seems to me it’d have to be a case of:
1) Ownership never wanting Lee and preferring to pursue other avenues to improve the team but acquiescing to Cashman’s desire to sign Lee instead
2) Ownership willing to pay Lee as much as it would take to sign him and Cashman setting a cap that ended up costing them Lee
3) Ownership annoyed that the Yankees were in a position where they were so dependent on signing Lee that the failure to sign him significantly blew up their offseason
I find 1 and 2 unlikely. I guess 3 is possible, but it’s kind of hard to be critical of the situation the Yankees were in after the 2010 season ended considering they won the World Series in 2009.
Cashman’s in the final year of his contract, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he isn’t back next year. If I were him, I’d be pretty pissed off about having said that he didn’t think signing Soriano made sense and not wanting to give up his first round draft pick only to have his team do precisely that a couple of days later.
While I do think he’s a good GM, I don’t think he’s irreplaceable. However, the concern I’d have is that if he does leave, Randy Levine will be involved in hiring the next GM and I would be shocked if he hired a good one.
This is the last time I’m going to bring up the lost draft pick, since it’s, well, lost.
According to this draft pick list at River Ave Blues, here are how many picks each of the five AL East teams have through the end of the second round.
Granting that the Rays would have gotten those picks even if Soriano signed elsewhere, that doesn’t change the fact that the Yankees lost one of their picks in one of the deepest drafts in recent memory according to the people who track that sort of thing, and that most of their opponents in the division are primed to take nice advantage of the deep draft.
And the argument that the 31st pick in the draft generally doesn’t become much of a player ignores the fact that he could be traded if he’s a prospect. It’s not like C.J. Henry amounted to anything, but he did net the Yankees Bobby Abreu.
Really though, it’s not the loss of a single draft pick that’s so troubling to many Yankee fans. It’s the thought(or lack thereof) and decision-making process behind it that’s really worrisome. I really don’t want the front office for my favorite team making decisions based on ‘appeasing the fans’ or ‘selling seats’. I want them to make decisions based on how much they’ll help the team win in the short and long-terms.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Less than a week earlier, GM Brian Cashman had said he wouldn’t give up the first-round draft pick required to ink Soriano. But Hal and Hank Steinbrenner didn’t agree with his game plan - according to a source familiar with the Yankees’ thinking - and overruled him, giving the righthander a deal that could ultimately go to three years and pay him $35 million.
The overwhelming concern among the Yankee brass, the source said, was that the club was going into the season with an uncertain starting rotation and little protection for closer Mariano Rivera. The move leaves the team without the draft pick Cashman coveted, but with one of the best bullpens in baseball.
According to the source, the Steinbrenners were bothered by Cashman’s blueprint. One of the big issues was that Joba Chamberlain, a prized prospect yet to reach an expected high ceiling, was going to be Rivera’s primary set-up man.
So we’ve gone from the scary scenario of a lying GM who overpaid for a relief pitcher to an ownership who doesn’t care what their GM says and will act impetuously and foolishly.
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