Best wishes for a wonderful 2009

Guys (and girls):

I’m still enjoying some much-needed time away but I wanted to take a moment to say thank you once again to all of you for coming by this year.

(absent from the picture is my little one, age 5)

Thanks also to those of you who have sent me some good articles to read while I am away. I’ve got a good “reader mail” rant to post and some other interesting links to share/discuss. In fact, I’ll open the floor to you guys: If you have something on your mind and would like to craft a guest posting, shoot something my way. Just keep it clean and I’ll post it. A fun way to end the year.

I’ll come back with a flurry, likely over the weekend as I’ll be flying East on New Year’s Day.

Best wishes for a safe, healthy and happy 2009, friends! Continue reading Best wishes for a wonderful 2009

It wasn't totally about the money

Of course, that’s merely quibbling about a few million over 8 years, less than $1m/year after all:

I’ve heard from a reliable source that the first baseman turned down about $5 million more from the Nationals to sign with the Yankees. And the Nats would have gone higher, but were never given the chance. Teixeira jumped at Brian Cashman’s first offer.

I guess it wasn’t ALL about the money – just mostly about it. Being on a contender every year also brings a certain appeal.

I wouldn’t exactly say that Teix put the name of this blog to the real test, but at least he gave it a run. Now, if CC took the Brewers offer, THAT would have put my theory in the trash! Continue reading It wasn't totally about the money

Calling Boras' bluff

Seems that the Yanks held their ground pretty well against Boras, seemingly calling his bluff a few times in the final few hours before signing Teixeira. Kat O’Brien has some good behind-the-scenes stuff:

As for Teixeira, an official involved in negotiations gave a rundown of the back-and-forth between the Yankees and Teixeira’s agent, Scott Boras. The Yankees had made a substantially lower offer to Teixeira before the winter meetings; an offer that was quickly pulled once Boras informed the Yankees how much he was seeking. The Red Sox, Nationals, Angels and Orioles bid on Teixeira in the next few weeks, with the Yankees not making another contract offer until late Monday.

Even Tuesday, hours before Teixeira agreed to terms, the Yankees were pessimistic about getting the 28-year-old slugger, the source said. Boras told the Yankees they needed a 10-year deal, with the last two years as player options. That got an absolute no from the Yankees, who had offered eight years and $180 million ($22.5 million per year).

Around midday Tuesday, Boras said Teixeira would agree to an eight-year contract, but only if the average annual value was $24 million per year, making the total contract value $192 million. The Yankees conferred, then told Boras no, that they had made a fair yet firm offer and would hold pat, the source said. Boras responded by saying that Teixeira would likely be a Red Sox. The Yankees refused to budge from their offer, and 20 minutes later, Boras called back and said Teixeira would take their eight-year, $180 million contract offer.

Continue reading Calling Boras' bluff

Happy holidays

I’ll be jetting cross country tomorrow morning for a week in sunny, warm San Diego. I’ll try (though not too hard) to get something up here if there’s any new news to discuss, but otherwise, I’ll be on break until after New Year’s.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season and a safe, healthy and happy New Year.

–Jason Continue reading Happy holidays

A voice of reason

Shysterball has an excellent take on the Yanks bonanza:

Baseball’s prime directive is to be a financially successful and entertaining enterprise, and it has gotten better and better at this even as the Yankees have gone nuclear with their payroll. Some would even argue that there’s a causal relationship there. I don’t know if that’s the case, but it cannot be denied that the Yankees’ success and subsequent largess of the past 15 years has correlated remarkably well with the growth of baseball’s attendance and revenues.

Maybe that’s cold comfort for Blue Jays and Orioles fans, but unless and until the Yankees’ spending habits either (a) make a mockery of competitive balance; or (b) send fans away from the game in droves, those habits are not worth worrying about, and I don’t see how any of their moves this past month are likely to lead to either of those developments.

Continue reading A voice of reason

Anatomy of a Yankee Spending Spree

Maury from the Biz of Baseball has an excellent posting about the Yanks entire spending spree and the reasons/enablers that made it all possible. You have to read this. To summarize Maury’s reasons:

  • Not Landing Santana
  • Missing the Playoffs for the First Time in 14 Years
  • Shedding Player Payroll in Preparation of an Aggressive Off-Season
  • New Yankee Stadium and Tax-Sheltering
  • The Perfect Spending Storm

Maury’s got another entry that lays out the “cartoonish” figures of the Yanks this coming season.

  • The Yankees now have four of the highest contracts in all of MLB (Alex Rodriguez has the largest in all of baseball at $275 million over 10 years, while Derek Jeter is second at $189 million over 9 years, on top of the Teixeira deal and Sabathia deals). Those four have combined contract totals of a staggering $805 million, or $205 million more than the cost of the Mets’ Citi Field.
  • The total base salaries of A-Rod ($32 million), Jeter ($20 million), Teixeira ($20 million), and Sabathia ($14 million) for 2009 will be $86 million, or more than the Opening Day payrolls of more than half the league last year (Brewers, Indians, Giants, Reds, Padres, Rockies, Rangers, Orioles, Diamondbacks, Royals, Twins, Nationals, Pirates, Athletics, Rays, and Marlins).

Continue reading Anatomy of a Yankee Spending Spree

Portrait of an assassin (reposted)

IIATMS note: This is a repost of something originally posted on 12/4/08. I have decided to repost it due to its relevance given today’s news. There’s a similar article in SI.com on the subject out as well.

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There’s a worthwhile read today about Mark Teixeira. In short, he comes across as a calm, stone-cold assassin. And that’s not meant as an insult. This is a guy with a plan, an approach, a sense of utter coolness. One of many differences between the successful Yankee teams of recent vintage and the successful RedSox teams is their personality.

Yanks have been called “corporate”, “boring”, “methodical”. The Sox are “dirt dogs”, “scrappy”, fun-loving”. Both are true yet both have their exceptions. And Teixeira would clearly fit snugly in the Yanks clubhouse as he has those same traits. Again, that’s not a knock, it’s just his personality.

Tex, as he is known, fits the profile of the modern superstar — polished and savvy, mindful of his image as well as his OPS. He was switch-hitting in elementary school, was a member of the National Honor Society at Mount St. Joseph High in Baltimore, went to Georgia Tech and became an assistant player representative in only his second major league season. When he walks into the clubhouse, dressed in slacks and a button-down shirt, the first thing he does is turn off his cellphone so he is not distracted and does not bother anyone else. He says he has a “plan for every day,” which requires that he eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich before each game and scarf down a Power Bar in the middle innings. “Some people would call me obsessive compulsive,” Teixeira says, “but I take my job very seriously and my preparation very seriously. I am not the kind of guy who goes out at night and parties.”

If you ask me, I’d take a team of 10 of these guys. Boring assassins. Might not be as much fun as Manny leaving to take a leak in the Monster. More ARod than Manny. I want guys who are committed to themselves and their team first. I never want to question a player’s committment. That’s what makes Jeter “Jeter“; we know he’s going to go all out every day. We don’t have to wonder if Jeter will show up or not. We don’t have to wonder if Jeter will beg his way out of the lineup.

Worried about his presence and “clutchness”?

When the Angels acquired Teixeira from Atlanta on July 29, they were 11 1/2 games up in the American League West, and some players worried that a new addition would upset clubhouse chemistry. To the contrary, Teixeira led the Angels in every major offensive category after the trade and they set a franchise record for wins (100), with Teixeira showing a free-swinging team how to work deep into counts.
……
At the All-Star break, the Angels ranked 29th in walks. In the second half they ranked 21st. “
He was the perfect guy for their lineup,” says Mariners pitcher Jarrod Washburn. The Angels lost to the Red Sox in the first round of the playoffs, but not because of Teixeira. He batted .467 with a .550 on-base percentage in his first postseason series.

If the Yanks are unable to sign Sabathia, I would be totally comfortable with them landing Teix. Continue reading Portrait of an assassin (reposted)