Thursday, February 23, 2017
TAMPA — Let’s start this discussion by not being silly: The endgame arrives when Jacoby Ellsbury gets traded.
No road map that will get the $153 million center fielder a plaque in Monument Park exists. The goal should be to turn Ellsbury — who addressed the media for the first time in 2017 Wednesday at George M. Steinbrenner Field after staying home for the birth of his second child — into his 2013-14 winter classmate Brian McCann: an underwhelming but not awful acquisition who departed — with financial assistance from the Yankees, in return for a couple of interesting pieces — to make room for a more exciting youngster.
Ellsbury makes more money than McCann, he doesn’t possess anywhere as good a clubhouse reputation and he plays a less valuable position. Nevertheless, with young outfielders Dustin Fowler and Clint Frazier plus athletes like Jorge Mateo and Tyler Wade on the horizon, Ellsbury does no good clogging a spot as the Yankees try to construct another perennial contender, especially with the superior Brett Gardner (under team control through 2019) around to help and free-agent-to-be Bryce Harper available for ’19 as well.
The Yankees created this hurdle for themselves when they signed Ellsbury three-plus years ago to a deal that had most baseball folks, including Ellsbury’s previous employers in Boston, raising their eyebrows in disbelief. Now that hurdle must be leapt.
I swear I did not write this article, although I endorse it completely.
It’s not happening though.
Here’s the question. How much value do teams think Ellsbury has remaining over the next four years of his contract compared to the $89,571,428.60 he is owed (including the $5M buyout of his 2021 team option)?
If Ellsbury hits his 2017 baseline CAIRO projection, here’s how CAIRO projects him over the next four seasons.
Is 4.1 oWAR worth $90M or so? Probably not. He now projects as an average CF, and I suppose you can assume he adds some base running value similar to what he has done as a Yankee over the last three seasons, in the area of three runs a year. So let’s say he will be worth something like six wins over the rest of his dreadful contract. How much is it worth? $40M? $50M? Probably not more than that. So figure the Yankees will have to eat at least $40M in any trade.
For the heck of it, if he somehow manages to hit his 65% forecast this year his outlook changes appreciably.
Now you could argue he would project to be worth maybe six wins from 2018-2020 and maybe you only have to eat $20-30M to trade him. And you get maybe three wins out of him in 2017 as well.
But I don’t think that’s particularly likely to happen. And I think the Yankees are going to be stuck with Ellsbury for the next FOUR YEARS…
Monday, February 20, 2017
Now that Jonathon Niese has traded the Mets’ orange and blue for Yankees pinstripes, he’s hoping to find out what it will be like to pitch on the other side of a Subway Series this summer.
After agreeing to a Minor League contract with the Yankees, Niese was in uniform for Monday’s workout at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that Niese will compete for a spot in the bullpen.
“I’m really fortunate to be part of this organization,” Niese said. “It’s probably one of the most successful franchises in history, so I’m proud to wear the uniform.
“With the Mets, they treated me well there. I had a lot of good years, made a lot of great friends. I have nothing but great things to say about that organization, but just like every ballplayer, sometimes you’ve just got to move on. Careers go in different directions.”
The Yanks have Luis Cessa, Chad Green, Bryan Mitchell, Luis Severino and Adam Warren competing for spots in the rotation, with some of those candidates likely to wind up in the bullpen.
Niese is a decent enough addition. The risk is pretty much nil. The upside isn’t much, either, but eh, at least it’s not much of a risk.
Chris Carter had a great quote about his offseason: “It’s definitely a tough offseason this year, but it seems like the game is changing a little bit where there is more emphasis on complete players,” Impressive self-awareness there.
Sunday, February 19, 2017
TAMPA, Fla. — The Yankees beat Dellin Betances in the arbitration room.
How much of a long-term victory it will be remains to be seen, though. The reliever made it clear Saturday that — at least for one day — there are hard feelings, ones that might have him reconsidering how he is used.
Club president Randy Levine kicked off what turned out to be a somewhat bizarre day — one that began with the news that Betances will be paid the $3 million this season the Yankees filed at rather than the $5 million the reliever asked for — by blasting Betances’ representation for taking the case to arbitration in the first place.
I wish Randy Levine would never speak. The actual words are not really that bad here, but what purpose does gloating about winning serve after an already acrimonius process?
Saturday, February 18, 2017
Not too long before spring training started, the Yankees made a late addition in the form of slugger Chris Carter on a one-year, $3 million deal. The club was already set with what appeared to be a platoon of Greg Bird and Tyler Austin at first base along with Matt Holliday at designated hitter.
Still, depth never hurts. That sentiment rang true in light of the news the Yankees received on Friday:
Joel Sherman ✔ @Joelsherman1
Tyler Austin has small break in foot and will be in a boot for 3 weeks and no baseball activity for 6 weeks #Yankees
1:29 PM - 17 Feb 2017
Six weeks from Friday is two days before the Yankees open the season against the Rays. Obviously this means Austin will open the season on the disabled list. Even in a best-case scenario, he’ll play games in extended spring training and then the minors on rehab assignment before having a shot to join the big club. The best bet is he misses all of April before he’s considered for the Yankees.
When the Yankees signed Carter, I didn’t really like Austin’s chances at playing much for the Yankees this year. This doesn’t help him very much. Hopefully he heals up well and tears up AAA and gets a chance.
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
TAMPA – It’s not going to go how you expect.
That is hardly the cheery, pie-eyed optimism associated with pitchers and catchers reporting and the first day of spring training. But it is not going to go how you expect with the Yankees and their most concerted youth movement in a quarter of a century. That doesn’t mean it has to go badly.
If I had told you in 1993 that the Yankees were going to be dynastic from 1996-2001, you would have bet Brien Taylor and Ruben Rivera would anchor the greatness. Taylor blew out his shoulder and never spent a day in the majors, Rivera failed to translate great tools into on-field success.
This is the chaos theory of baseball, what Yankee GM Brian Cashman called “the beauty and the danger of the sport.”
Consider that in the 28 years Baseball America has done a top-100 prospect list, the Yankees have had four top-three prospects: Taylor, Rivera, Joba Chamberlain and Jesus Montero, who ranked third in 2011 behind Bryce Harper and Mike Trout.
Taylor and Rivera were the only Yankees to be in the top three twice. Taylor was the only Yankee who was No. 1 overall, in 1992, and he was second in 1993. Rivera was No. 2 in 1995, behind Alex Rodriguez and ahead of Chipper Jones and Derek Jeter. He was No. 3 in 1996, right behind Paul Wilson. Yep, it is not going to go how you expect.
I still don’t know what happened with Ruben Rivera. He was going to be the next Mickey Mantle…
It is sobering to look the list of former Yankee top-three prospects and realize just how uncertain baseball prospecting is. You can have a bunch of great prospects and none may pan out. Of course, no one thought Robinson Cano was going to be a potential Hall of Fame 2B until he became one.
We don’t know how the Yankees’ youth movement is going to go, but I am encouraged to see them trying it.
Thursday, February 9, 2017
Hal Steinbrenner did not intend to expand payroll again this offseason after the Yankees secured Aroldis Chapman and Matt Holliday at the Winter Meetings.
Money to allocate elsewhere would have to be moved off the payroll by trading Brett Gardner, Chase Headley, Starlin Castro or Michael Pineda.
But as free-agent prices began to fall precipitously in recent weeks, on relievers and sluggers in particular, Brian Cashman asked if Steinbrenner would consider expanding the budget a bit to capitalize on sudden bargains. The Yankees owner agreed to allow one more signing in the $3 million to $4 million range.
That left the Yankees short on two lefties they liked: Boone Logan (who got $5.5 million from the Indians) and especially Jerry Blevins (who agreed at $6.5 million with the Mets). The next level of reliever, a group that included Sergio Romo (who got $3 million from the Dodgers), did not entice the Yankees quite as much.
Is it crazy that Boone Logan got almost twice as much as Chris Carter?
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
Chris Carter, who hit 41 home runs in 2016, finally found a home Tuesday when he agreed to a one-year, $3 million contract with the New York Yankees, a baseball official directly involved with the negotiations told USA TODAY Sports.
The official was not authorized to discuss it publicly because the deal still is pending a physical.
Carter was hoping to reach a multi-year deal when the Brewers non-tendered him in the offseason, fearing he would make at least $8 million in salary arbitration. Yet, the market dried up this winter for right-handed sluggers, and his major-league leading 206 strikeouts soured teams.
Carter, who received several offers of $2.5 million to $3 million early in the winter, was running out of options and even considered going to Japan.
The Yankees, however, decided that they needed depth at first base with rookie Greg Bird coming off major shoulder surgery. He could wind up platooning with Bird at first base.
My first thought is, eh. The terms are certainly reasonable and Carter doesn’t have to do much to be worth his contract, but I’d rather have seen what someone like Tyler Austin would do. But this allows them to take it slow with Greg Bird if he’s not 100% yet, and possibly gives them a trade chip that can be leveraged in July.
Here are his 2017 CAIRO forecasts as a Yankee:
He projects as a below average defender at 1B or LF, but not atrociously bad.
Honestly, it’s a good contract and should have surplus value, even if it’s not an ideal fit given the current roster of the Yankees. But I am completely unmoved by it.
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