Yankees to sign Okajima to a minor league contract

The Yankees are going to sign left handed pitcher Hideki Okajima to a minor league contract. Since coming over from Japan in 2007, the lefty has spent his career with the Red Sox, though he pitched in just seven big league games for them this past season. Overall, Okajima’s been good at striking batters out (7.86 K/9) and he’s got decent control (3.14 BB/9). He doesn’t get many grounders (36.8%). He owns a career 3.11 ERA/3.86 FIP/4.11 xFIP split (61 ERA-; 86 FIP-; 96 xFIP-). He’ll have a chance to make the team out of Spring Training, and his job Continue reading Yankees to sign Okajima to a minor league contract

A-Rod undergoes experimental knee procedure

According to the New York Post, Alex Rodriguez recently traveled to Germany to have an experimental procedure done on his troublesome right knee on the recommendation of Kobe Bryant. The procedure, called Orthokine, is a blood spinning therapy that apparently works in reducing inflammation and thus pain, though according to the experts in the Post’s story it’s not known if the procedure has any larger effects. The procedure doesn’t involve much rehab time, so Alex should be ready when Spring Training opens. Personally I’m all for anything that help keeps A-Rod limber and healthy this year.

According to the story, A-Rod cleared the procedure with the Yankees and the commissioner’s office before going to Germany, so you don’t have to worry about any Colon-esque hand wringing over this. Continue reading A-Rod undergoes experimental knee procedure

Post DH All-Yankee Lineup

Though I didn’t watch the show, it did get me thinking. All three of the outfielders mentioned in that article, Reggie Jackson; Bernie Williams; and Paul O’Neill, are some of the finest the Yankees have had in the post DH era. Back when this blog was still (partially) The Yankee U, I ran the run scoring projections of an all time Yankee team that included the likes of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and what not. To limit the ridiculousness (even the worst configuration of that lineup would break the run scoring record), I decided to go to the post-DH era Continue reading Post DH All-Yankee Lineup

Was passing on Beltran (again) a mistake?

As many of us probably remember from the 2005 offseason, Carlos Beltran really wanted to be a Yankee.  Even though the Yankees ultimately passed on Beltran, he reportedly offered to sign with the Yankees for less than the 7-year $119 million contract he ultimately received from the Mets.  Beltran’s tenure with the Mets was a mixture of ups (MVP caliber seasons in 2006 and 2008) and downs (significant time lost to injury in 2009 and 2010), and I have always wondered how having Beltran in centerfield instead of an aging Bernie Williams, Johnny Damon, or mediocre Melky Cabrera during the Continue reading Was passing on Beltran (again) a mistake?

The Yankees are also irrational

Thinking a little bit more about the Yankees’ sudden aversion to the luxury tax this morning, another thought hit me, this time about the sheer irrationality of the Yankees’ position as related by Matthews.

The general premise goes like this: Hiroki Kuroda will cost about $12 million to sign, but since the Yankees will have to pay a luxury tax bill next year, the “real” cost of signing Kuroda would be roughly $17 million, or the cost of his salary plus the bump to the tax bill. That’s pretty straight-forward, and it’s also a really foolish way to conceptualize the imposition of the tax. Why? Because the Yankees aren’t being taxed on the acquisition of Kuroda, but on the cost of the payroll as a whole. To that end, the best way to view the cost of the tax is to spread the cost evenly between each player on the roster and add that number to everyone’s salary.

This is obviously a more logical method of accounting, since it accounts for everyone’s share of the tax bill and, by extension, their share of the luxury tax bill. Using the method the Yankees are describing doesn’t work well at all, because it can be arranged in a wholly arbitrary manner, namely by where you start adding up everyone’s salary. Taken quite literally, if I added up every player’s salary and started with Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, A.J. Burnett, and Rafael Soriano you could technically claim that those salaries are tax free, since I haven’t crossed the luxury tax threshold yet. That wouldn’t make a lick of sense.

Of course, if you use my method, the marginal cost of the tax increase is very small, and the value of each player’s contract doesn’t change much, if at all. That, I would argue, should be rather plain: considering that the Yankees’ payroll will be roughly $200 million this year, an extra $5 million in a luxury tax bill comes out to about 2.5% of that figure, a relatively inconsequential number. And rather than distort the “value” of individuals on the roster in obviously ridiculous ways, this method leaves you with a much more sound view of the team’s financial state: some players are reasonably priced, others are great bargains, and others, most notably Alex Rodriguez and Rafael Soriano, are being drastically overpaid.

Hal and Hank made their own bed with those two contracts, needlessly throwing away money against the advice of their general manager. Now they’re trying to claw back those costs at the expense of the baseball team. That’s their right as owners, to be sure, but there’s no reason to pretend that isn’t what’s going on. And there’s certainly no reason for anyone to delude themselves into the belief that the Yankees’ rotation as it stands is solid enough to forgo an upgrade on the merits. Continue reading The Yankees are also irrational

Another Trade Possibility To Consider

(The following is being syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod) With all or almost all of what would have been considered “real” trade targets for the Yankees either already traded or re-signed, it’s looking like a near certainty that we won’t be seeing any new rotation arms for 2012.  But there is one guy on the Yankees’ roster who could bring back some value in a trade and actually might make sense to move.  That guy is Joba Chamberlain.  I know he’s still injured and won’t be pitching until some time in the summer of 2012, but early reports have Continue reading Another Trade Possibility To Consider

Looking way ahead to the trade market

Writer’s Note: This is irresponsible. There is a very small chance of any of this happening. But, it’s December 27th and very little is likely to happen this week, so please, bear with me here. For fun, I took a look at the list of potential free agents for 2013. Why? Well, we keep saying that if the Yankees don’t sign any pitching depth, they’ll be able to use that money to acquire a starter. Looking at the list of available pitchers, though, does not inspire much confidence. There are some big names, like Zack Greinke, Matt Cain, and Cole Continue reading Looking way ahead to the trade market

The Yankees are pinching pennies

If you were looking for a brief yet comprehensive account of what’s going on with the Yankees these days, you could do worse than this report from Wally Matthews on the Yankees’ lack of interest in Hiroki Kuroda. Long story short, they “don’t have the money.” Of course, they do have the money, because they’re the freaking Yankees. They just don’t want to spend the money, mostly because they don’t want to continue paying high luxury tax bills, and Kuroda would add about $5 million to their tab next season.

It’s a fine excuse in its own right, and as a long term strategy it will certainly do the organization good to minimize the amount of dead weight spending on the books, but as a short-term strategy it’s rather strange. After all, for all the talk about budgets and wanting to be more fiscally responsible since the Steinbrenner kids took over the team, especially from Hal, the brothers have not been shy at all to spend money on payroll, even when the “baseball people” wanted to exercise some more prudence. Hal and Hank tripped all over themselves to throw money at Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada when Brian Cashman wanted to wait out their asking prices in 2007, and then paid Derek Jeter much more than they had to just because he’s Derek Jeter last winter before famously bigfooting Cashman to sign Rafael Soriano to an absurdly player-friendly contract even though they had no need for an additional reliever. Three of those contracts are on the books and, assuming Jeter exercises his player option for the 2014 season, they account for a combined average annual value of roughly $54 million, not counting any bonus money they may make.

(click “view full post” to continue reading) Continue reading The Yankees are pinching pennies

Cashing In on Overpriced Closers: Can Yanks' GM Turn Soriano Into a Starter?

(The following is being syndicated from The Captain’s Blog). Closers have been in both high demand and overabundant supply this offseason.  Jonathan Papelbon set the market early with a 4-year, $50 million contract, and since then, the likes of Heath Bell, Joe Nathan, and Frank Francisco have fallen in line. Meanwhile, Ryan Madson and Francisco Cordero remain on the free agent market, while names like Carlos Marmol, Andrew Bailey, and Joakim Soria continue to be mentioned as hot commodities on the trade front. When the Yankees signed Rafael Soriano last winter, it seemed like a reach at the time, and this year’s offseason activity has confirmed it. At 3-years and $35 million, Soriano’s AAV of $11.7 Continue reading Cashing In on Overpriced Closers: Can Yanks' GM Turn Soriano Into a Starter?