You can constrain the payroll, but the imbalances will remain

Earlier this week Joel Sherman, RAB and our very own EJ Fagan all reported that baseball’s new collective bargaining agreement may finally succeed at one of the game’s least achievable goals. It may successfully constrain the bloated Yankee payroll. This revelation prompted lots of speculation about what life would be life for the Yankees with a hard budget constraint. The team will remain one of the games wealthiest, and therefore one of its best, but the hypothesis was that it won’t be as lonely at the top. I’d like politely to disagree.

Baseball operates under the incorrect assumption that the rich teams compete more frequently than the poor teams because the game doesn’t have a salary cap to prevent the rich teams from buying the best players. The logic goes that the NFL, the paradigm of competitive balance, has such a cap that forces teams to put players on the field who cost roughly the same value. The reasoning argues that if the Yankees can’t over spend then teams like the Royals will stand more of a chance.… Click here to read the rest

Parsing the Yankee quotes on Darvish

With or without Yu?

As the deadline for placing a bid on Japanese sensation Yu Darvish draws near, increasingly we are hearing various Yankee beat reporters downplaying the idea that the Yanks will be aggressive in pursuing him. Newsday’s Eric Boland says there are elements for and against bidding on Darvish, and that the final decision will rest with Hal Stienbrenner. Joel Sherman wrote earlier this week that he doubts the Yanks will even place a bid. (TYA fave) Marc Carig followed up with a similar piece on Thursday. In his latest post at ESPN-NY Wallace Matthews speculates that after speaking to sources in the Yankee brass, he thinks neither Darvish or Cespedes will be Yankees next year.

While I respect the Yankee beat writers, everything I’ve seen has been their interpretation of off the record remarks from unnamed Yankee officials. I’ve yet to read a single quote that leads me to believe the Yanks are out or not all that interested.… Click here to read the rest

Rule 5 Draft and Minor League Notes

The Royals used the fifth pick of the draft to take Cesar Cabral from the Red Sox, before sending him to the Yankees for cash considerations.  Cabral is a left-handed reliever who the Yankee hope to put behind Boone Logan.  Cabral made 36 relief appearances in Class A and Double-A last season.  The Rays took him in the the Rule 5 Draft last year, but returned him to Boston.

A few other notes:

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On the lack of signings

This week, the Yankees did next to nothing at the winter meetings. They did win the rights to Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima, but that’s nothing overly significant. While the Marlins and the Angels went absolutely nuts, the Yankees sat back contently and didn’t do anything.

Some wondered aloud if the Yankees were lacking in activity out of financial restraint and others augmented that thought, saying the Yankees were being a little too careful with their money. I can see that line of reasoning, considering that the money that C.J. Wilson and Mark Buehrle got wasn’t exorbitant. But, I cannot bring myself to agree with that line of thinking.

The Yankees “failing” to sign either Buehrle or Wilson has more to do with their evaluations of those two as pitchers rather than as prices. While it may appear the Yankees were pinching pennies by after Freddy Garcia and not bothering with the two best lefties on the market, the fact that they never got past preliminary talks with Buehrle and passed on the last chance for Wilson indicates that they just didn’t like either guy to fit their club.… Click here to read the rest

Your 2011 Anti-IIATMS HOF selections

Albert Pujols

According to Bob Nightingale, the Marlins attempted to match Alex Rodriguez‘s second contract (grrrr, don’t get me started) with a similarly sized deal. Instead, Albert opted for ARod’s first deal:

@BNightengale: The Miami #Marlins actually outbid the #Angels for Pujols,offering 10-year, $275 million deal, sources confirm.

My dearest Marlins fan(s), you will not regret Albert taking this deal. You would, however regret it in about year five, just as Albert’s 10-5 clause will kick in. However, given that Albert Almighty left some $20-25M on the table, he gets the first 2011 anti-IIATMS selection.

C.J. Wilson

At least this guy just came out and said it, which I dig:

“If it was about the money, I’d be a Florida Marlin.”

Evidently, the Marlins were willing to go to $100M for Wilson, which in corporate finance terms, is called “bat-shit crazy”. Your newer text book might refer to it as something else. Nonetheless, props to Wilson for taking what appears to be a lesser offer to draft behind the Pujols big-rig.… Click here to read the rest