A creative way of handling the Yankees’ payroll problem

Much digital ink has been spilled about the Yankees’ 2014 payroll, and their possible goal of getting below the $189 million luxury tax threshold to greatly reduce their luxury tax and revenue sharing obligations.  In order to get their payroll below that threshold for 2011, the Yankees would likely have to employ some measure of austerity (for the Yankees, at least).  This may explain why we have not seen them be very active on the market this offseason, and may lead them to curtail future expenditures.

Because we know that the Yankees are perpetually in “win-now” mode, austerity and rebuilding are not really in the Yankees’ repertoire.  When Joel Sherman reported on the potential restrictions in 2014, people around the blogosphere wondered whether backloading existing contracts would provide a solution, by lowering the amount that the Yankees owed in 2014 and paying more at another time.  However, since payroll for luxury tax purposes is calculated by the average annual value of the existing contracts, front or back-loading would have no effect.… Click here to read the rest

My (hypothetical) Hall of Fame ballot

Jeff Bagwell: Bagwell is quickly becoming the biggest story of the Hall voting season, as a large bloc of writers deny him their votes on the basis of “suspicion” of having used “performance enhancing” drugs during his playing days. No one’s accused him of anything, mind you, because there’s no actual evidence that he did anything untoward (and certainly no evidence that he “cheated” given that there was no rule against using steroids in baseball), but it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out what’s implied by these references to collective, ethereal suspicion.

I don’t think it’s hard to imagine what my thoughts on this witch hunt are, but as it relates to my (hypothetical) ballot, it’s neither here nor there since I don’t penalize players for steroid usage whatsoever. Given that fact, Bagwell is a no-brainer. One of the most talented hitters of his era largely overshadowed due to not putting up the gaudy home run totals of McGwire, in no small part because his best years were spent in the mammoth confines of the Astrodome.… Click here to read the rest

A More Comprehensive Matt Garza Post

I’ve said it a lot that I’m not a big fan of Matt Garza. I don’t think he’s a bad pitcher or anything, but I don’t necessarily think he’s as good as made out to be right now, especially after a stellar 2011 that saw him put up 5.0 fWAR for the Cubbies. People point to his stuff and his AL East success (6.0 fWAR in two seasons with the Rays) and say he’d be a perfect #2 starter for the Yankees. I’ve disagreed, citing low ground ball numbers which could hurt him in Yankee Stadium, as well as up-and-down strikeout numbers. I’d also like to see if he’s really learned to keep the ball in the park like he did in 2011. Regardless of all this, I think it’s worth it to run Garza through the trade value calculator and see if he is worth as much as some say he is.

I did the legwork and assuming a projected salary of $8.7M for 2012 and a projected WAR of 5.5 for 2012, as well as a projected $10.7M salary in 2013 with a 3.8 WAR projection (2009-2012 WARs added up and divided by four), I came out with $58.2M of trade value for Garza.… Click here to read the rest

Doctors and MLB talk PRP and the treatments Alex Rodriguez received

Seven years ago Dr. David Crane, of Crane Clinic Sports Medicine and  Dr. Michael Scarpone, currently the team physician for the Pittsburgh Pirates, started looking at some of the information coming out of Germany in regards to biologics. After doing so, he started using Platelet-rich plasma therapies in his practice.

Now, Dr. Crane has seen 10,000 plus patients, treated 7,500 patients with PRP and many of his patients have been professional and collegiate athletes.

“I tell people basically we are working on the linkages — the connections between tendon and bone, tendon and muscle,” said Dr. Crane.  “That’s usually where things tear and have chronic breakdown between tendon and bone and tendon and muscle, or between the meniscus and the bone or the fibers.”

Dr. Crane says sometimes a tear occurs in the middle of the tendon but usually he see’s it where the tendon meets another structure. “Or, they fall apart, they get disease or tendinopathy. Tendinopathy has been the bane of everyone’s existence for over 50 years.… Click here to read the rest

Best and worst current 100M+ deals

ESPN’s Buster Olney recently had an interesting chart up where he looked at the value that clubs received on the largest contracts that have even been issued. Here’s the list:

Dollars spent per win above replacement in completed $100 million contracts, through 2011:

Player Contract WAR $/WAR
Albert Pujols 7-year/$100M 59.0 $1.70M
Alex Rodriguez 10-year/$252M 71.6 $3.52M
Carlos Beltran 7-year/$119M 32.2 $3.70M
Derek Jeter 10-year/$189M 48.0 $3.94M
Kevin Brown 7-year/$105M 26.2 $4.01M
Todd Helton 9-year/$141.5M 32.9 $4.30M
Manny Ramirez 8-year/$160M 34.2 $4.68M
Jason Giambi 7-year/$120M 21.9 $5.48M
Ken Griffey, Jr 9-year/$116.5M 11.7 $9.96M
Mike Hampton 8-year/$121M 10.7 $11.31M

This list represents deals that have expired. But that made me start wondering about the contracts that have been signed more recently and are still ongoing. We obviously can’t take a final tally, but we can look at how things stand as of today. On the heels of the Yu Darvish hoopla I’m going to include Diasuke Matsuzaka in this chart, since the total outlay to acquire him exceeded 100M.… Click here to read the rest

How prospect crazy have we become?

It’s enough to make you laugh, in retrospect, but only so you don’t cry. Though Hughes continued posting good numbers in the minor leagues, it has yet to translate to the major league level. To be sure, that’s not all his fault. He was probably brought up too quickly in 2007, got hurt in 2008, and then was shifted to the bullpen when he struggled in the big league rotation in 2009. Though he was a valuable piece to that World Series winning team, his repertoire has suffered, with his secondary pitches being virtually non-existent. His changeup never developed, his once impressive slider vanished entirely, and his curveball has been sporadic. The only secondary pitch Hughes seems comfortable with these days is a cutter that frankly hasn’t been all that impressive outside of the first month or so he was throwing it. In addition, the relief role limited his workload in 2009, but Hughes was still a full time starter the next season and made three playoff starts thanks to a deep run into the ALCS.… Click here to read the rest

Trost and Levine Take to the Air, Toe the Party Line

(The following is being syndicated from The Captain’s Blog).

Two of the most influential members of the Yankees’ front office took to the airwaves this morning to promote the upcoming Pinstripe Bowl, and not surprisingly, each interview touched on the team’s offseason plans. President Randy Levine, who was a guest on FOX 5’s Good Day New York, and COO Lonn Trost, who appeared on WFAN’s Boomer and Carton morning radio show (hosted by Kim Jones and Chris Carlin), each fielded several questions about what the Yankees are doing, or not doing, and their responses suggested the organization has a coherent party line.

Randy Levine (l) and Lonn Trost (r) flank Derek Jeter during a ceremony honoring his 3,000th hit. (Photo: Getty Images)

Responding to the question about whether the team’s spending philosophy has changed, Trost dismissed the idea that the Yankees were being more cautious, but stated that the team was trying to be smarter. According to Trost, the Yankees do not believe the dollars being spent in the current market are commensurate with the abilities of the players available, putting the organization in a position to depend on its minor league system.… Click here to read the rest