Jim Callis at Baseball America has a copy of the 2013 Bonus Pools. The Yankees, who have 12 picks in the first 10 rounds, have a total of $7,957,400 to spend on. This amount ranks 8th in all of baseball, behind the Twins, and in front of the Diamondbacks. Most of this money is due to owning the 26th, 32nd, and 33rd overall picks, which should each be worth a little less than $2 million each. The point of this new system is to deter big market teams from spending big money on players later in the draft, and thus increasing the prices of amateur free agents altogether. This year, the Yankees have found a way to match the bonus pool of small-market and losing teams, but at the price of losing Nick Swisher and Rafael Soriano.
Scott Boras isn’t very happy about Robinson Cano switching agencies. One unnamed agent had some unkind things to say about Cano’s decision, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was Boras’ team that released this, as he has a strong grip over the media. Meanwhile, Joel Sherman spoke with Boras, who stated that Cano renewed his contract on March 20th of this year, and was under the impression that Cano was happy with his representation. Boras will likely be fighting for money/compensation from Cano’s next deal. He also speaks about how Hal Steinbrenner and Randy Levine requested extension negotiations this offseason.
As if the injury news wasn’t ridiculous enough, last year’s first round pick, Ty Hensley, will undergo hip surgery to correct a bone impingement. He’ll be out 2-3 months, but at least it has nothing to do with his arm. Injuries happen when you draft young pitchers, and with three first round picks in the upcoming draft, it would be interesting to see if this has any influence on the team’s decisions. Thanks to the budget, the Yankees could use some talent at the major league level as soon as possible, so drafting college players may be in the works. Chad Jennings over at LoHud has a complete roundup of the injuries to the Major League team, and when these players are expected back. Jennings also provides some updates.
How’s your Monday going? It seems it’s not going so well for Stubhub. According to Eric Fisher of the Sports Business Journal the Yankees are suing the ticket outlet.
The Yankees really don’t like Stubhub at all, do they…
Anyway, as was reported earlier this winter, Stubhub was planning on opening a shop near Yankee Stadium this season so fans could print out the tickets they bought online since that option will no longer be available at the Stadium’s ticket offices. The Yankees seem to think that the shop will be violating the state’s scalping laws 1) by being within 1500 feet of Yankee Stadium and 2) they claim it’s a resale store which is why they’re suing.
An injunction hearing is scheduled for tomorrow.
This is what I don’t understand. The Yankees have an issue with Stubhub because they believe the outlet is undermining the team by selling tickets lower than the Yankees box office, right? Okay. But haven’t those tickets already been sold? For example, if I were to sell two of my Sunday tickets on Stubhub, the money for the tickets is already lining the Yankees’ pockets because of the ticket package I bought over the winter. So, what the hell is their problem? Seriously.
It also bugs me that the Yankees seem to be against low prices on Stubhub – one time my brother purchased tickets for a midweek night game for $6 – but they don’t seem to have any issue with the fact that I was shut out of getting a seat for Opening Day in 2012 because people had the audacity to list upper deck seats for $300.
Look, I can go on and on about this whole thing for hours, so I won’t, but this whole situation reeks of Randy Levine’s smarminess and it seems slightly ridiculous to me. The Yankees as an organization are not doing themselves any favors this year as it is and the news of them being this petty by suing Stubhub just adds to the madness.
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According to Jon Heyman, the Yankees have a deal finished with Ichiro Suzuki, a deal that will pay Ichiro $13 million over two years. On the one hand, it’s nice that the Yankees have a right fielder and now pretty much just have to focus on finding a DH and some bench players, but on the other hand I honestly can’t say that I like the contract or can really see the upside in guaranteeing Ichiro two years.
On it’s own terms, the deal is kind of a mixed bag. I’m certainly not a big fan of giving two guaranteed years to a 38 year old no-power corner outfielder who was pretty bad at the plate for most of the last two seasons, even if he did return to his career norm after August 1st. But on this market it would seem to be a fair price, and reports are that Philadelphia and San Francisco both had richer two year offers in front of Ichiro, so this isn’t some sort of aggressive overpayment by the Yankees.
My biggest problem with the contract, however, is how it compares to the non-interest in Russell Martin. You’ll notice that Ichiro’s contract is only slightly smaller than the one the Yankees wouldn’t match for Martin, even though the Yankees need a starting catcher and Martin is probably about as valuable as Ichiro, and certainly younger. But given the going rate for outfielders on the free agent market and the fact that the Yankees don’t have enough viable bodies in their farm system right now to reasonably expect to add two of them before 2014, this move probably does help them get under the $189 million threshold before next season, especially if they’re willing to run Francisco Cervelli/Austin Romine out behind the plate.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I believe Randy Levine is about due to tell us that the austerity budget is about making the Yankees “smarter” and “more efficient.”
Lots of small signings yesterday, as well as rumors of a big trade brewing, but not much from the Yankee front. Signings The Diamondbacks signed former Yankee Wil Nieves to a one-year $800 thousand dollar deal. Nate McLouth and the Orioles have reunited in a one-year $2 million re-sign. After a few days of speculation [...]
Probably the biggest development in Yankeedom this offseason has been the sale of YES to News Corp, a move that could eave Rupert Murdoch’s company owning as much as 80% of the Yankees’ broadcast partner in the near future, and commits the Yankees to having their games televised on the network through the 2042 season. Now we’ve got some details on the specifics of the deal, thanks to Richard Sandomir of the New York Times. Here are the big points:
- While Fox will be bringing some programming to the network, not much will change on this front. YES’ lineup of programs will continue to be anchored by staples like Yankeeography, Yankees’ Classics, and (obviously) coverage of live games.
- The unabashed pro-Yankee slant the network employs will also not be changing anytime soon, according to no less an authority than team President Randy Levine himself. “We tell our people if you want to be bipartisan and fair, don’t work for YES,” Levine said. This is something of an obsession for the rest of the local sports media, but for the life of me I don’t know what the big deal is supposed to be. The fact that YES is owned by the Yankees is hardly a secret (it’s even in the name!) and the network makes no pretense of being an unbiased media outlet covering the team. They don’t even have much in the way of a news department outside of Jack Curry.
- On that last point, don’t expect anything like Geico SportsNite on YES anytime soon. “News is a loser,” said YES honcho Tracy Dolgin. “If you want news, watch ESPN.”
- On to the financials, which are pretty darn juicy. YES will pay $85 million in rights fees to the Yankees this year, a figure which will rise by 4% annually at first, before bumping up to 5-7% in annual increases.
- The most important point, however, seems to be this: in exchange for the extended agreement, News Corp will pay Yankees Global Enterprises, the holding company that owns the Yankees and a share of YES, $420 million in a sort of signing bonus. Half of that payment will be delivered now, and the other half will be paid in three years. I think this is the part where I’m supposed to make a crack about the team’s payroll slashing plan, right?
I intend to say more about this tomorrow, but as a teaser I’ll leave you with this: to echo the sentiments Larry shared when the deal was first announced, this feels a lot like the basic framework of the deal Frank McCourt tried to sign with Fox, an arrangement that Bud Selig nixed using the best interests of baseball clause as a pretense for forcing McCourt to sell the Dodgers.
Since the offseason began, one thing that’s been taken as a given more than any other expected outcome was that, should Rafael Soriano opt out of the final year of the contract he signed after the 2010 season, the Yankees would be unwilling to give him a multi-year contract as they try to get under the luxury tax threshold before 2014. And for the most part that’s exactly what all reports have said to date, but now Jon Heyman dishes that the Yankees would be “amenable” to a two year contract after all. There’s not a lot of detail there, just that they don’t feel inclined to put two years on the table just yet, but apparently might if they feel like they need to/can get a good deal on bringing Soriano back.
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In much expected news, both general manager Brian Cashman and field manager Joe Girardi will be retained by the Yankees for at least the next season. Hal Steinbrenner had previously stated that neither man’s job was on the line over the final month of the season, and yesterday team president Randy Levine both reiterated his bosses’ stance and praised the job both men did in 2012. “They did good getting us to the ALCS,’’ Levine told reporters. “There was one reason we didn’t win and that’s we didn’t hit.”
I’m not the biggest fan of either Cashman or Girardi, feeling that both are average to above average in their job at best, but it’s pretty hard to argue with the logic at work here. The disappointing way in which they ended their season notwithstanding, the Yankees did have the league’s best record over the regular season and beat Baltimore in the ALDS. That’s a pretty successful year in any season, and it’s an even better accomplishment in a year in which they had to deal with as many significant injuries to key players as they did in 2012. To fire either Cashman or Girardi for a lack of results at this point would simply not make any sense.
Can I admit something? I love Rafael Soriano. I just can’t help myself. There’s something about him that I just really dig.
Maybe it’s the look he has on the mound. You know, the look of a man who wants to beat his opponents senseless. Or maybe it’s the way he untucked his jersey after every save. Or better yet, the way he’d leave the clubhouse without speaking to reporters when he had a bad night. Okay, so that’s not a great trait to have necessarily but the aftermath of his actions coupled with the overreaction of the writers was always pretty hilarious.
Even in 2011 when he was primarily Mariano Rivera’s set up man and had a relatively disappointing season – 2-3 record with a 4.12 ERA and am inflamed elbow – I still had a soft spot for Soriano. I felt like people were piling on him because of his contract and that they were being unfairly critical of him. Hmm, that sounds familiar? Doesn’t it Yankee fans? But I digress.
I was so happy that Soriano made the most of the chance he got to step in during Rivera’s absence this season and that he helped guide the Yankees to 95 regular season wins. With all that said, I am disappointed that Soriano wants to test the free agent market but also understand why he would.
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The Yankees’ front office is generally pretty tight lipped these days (with the exception of Brian Cashman, anyway), but team President Randy Levine gave an interview to Barry Bloom of MLB.com in which he discussed a number of topics concerning the Yankees. The very thought of Levine is usually enough to make Yankee fans cringe, and anytime he speaks there’s a palpable sense that embarrassment will inevitably ensue, but in this case at least Levine was about as vanilla as can be. He praised Cashman, Joe Girardi, and the baseball operations department, took a sober view of the team’s place in the standings and the injuries that have plagued them this year, and, to no one’s surprise, declared that the team would be happy to have Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera return in 2013. He did, however, rounaboutly blast the media for the discredited story that ran recently about the Steinbrenners looking to sell the Yankees after the Dodgers fetched $2.1 billion. His one potential faux pas?
MLB.com: There’s been some talk about the Yankees trying to duck under the competitive balance tax threshold rather than continue to pay a 40 percent tax on every dollar spent over that threshold. Next year, it’s $178 million again. In 2014, it jumps to $189 million. How realistic is that?
Levine: We’re going to try and get under the $189 million threshold. We think we can have a great team and do it. The reason it makes sense is that under the new Basic Agreement, there are tremendous financial incentives to do it. In addition to not paying the tax, there are tens of millions of dollars in revenue sharing rebates that will come back to teams like the Yankees if they stay under the threshold.
To this point, most of the commentary surrounding the 2014 plan has focused almost entirely on the luxury tax rate cut teams who are under the threshold will receive, and the supposedly putative new rate that will be levied against repeat “offenders” like the Yankees. That, however, has always been nonsense given that a) in relative terms the difference in the tax rate is neglible and b) the penalty could be avoided at any time it was feasible for the team to dip below the luxury tax mark. The real prize, however, is the tens of millions of dollars tams like the Yankees will stand to receive in revenue sharing refunds in exchange for complying with MLB’s “soft” cap. Given that team officials will freely acknowledge that, its something of a mystery to me why the famously tough, no nonsense, New York media still won’t call that spade what it is.