Nightly Links: Robertson, Banuelos, Almonte

Don’t you fret because David Robertson is OK! After strolling through the Yankee clubhouse like a boss, the reliever made his way to catching without any foot pain. On Saturday, David Fung at Beyond The Boxscore released the Yankee version of their Window to Win series. He concludes that with any help from Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances, along with resigning Cano and Granderson, the team can look to compete far beyond 2015. In prospect lists, Fan Graphs listed their top 100 prospects for 2012. Manny Banuelos ranked 28th, Jose Campos 65th, Dellin Betances 68th, and Mason Williams 98th. Wait Continue reading Nightly Links: Robertson, Banuelos, Almonte

2014: A Payroll Odyssey; A Closer Look at the Yankees’ Cost Cutting Ambitions

(The following is being syndicated from The Captain’s Blog; follow the author on Twitter at @williamnyy23). Hal Steinbrenner recently confirmed his intention to lower the Yankees’ payroll below the luxury tax threshold in 2014, setting off a flurry of reaction from the mainstream media and blogs alike. Aside from the simple irony of the Yankees adhering to a budget, the response has mostly centered on either the sacrifices the team must make to achieve its objective or the tricks that might be used to circumvent the spirit of the rule. And, in just about every analysis, the same premise has been applied: the Continue reading 2014: A Payroll Odyssey; A Closer Look at the Yankees’ Cost Cutting Ambitions

$189 Million Contract Shenanigans

By now, we have heard far too many times about how the Yankees need to get under the $189 million threshold (a figure which includes not only MLB salary, but also benefits such as health insurance, for the entire 40-man roster) by 2014. Given the huge legacy contracts that the roster has to deal with, this isn’t an easy task to accomplish while still trying to be the best team on earth. Unless of course, you try some contract shenanigans. On that note, Joel Sherman: The Yankees’ goal is to slice payroll while still filling the roster with stars that Continue reading $189 Million Contract Shenanigans

A (Completely Unconnected) List Of Things I’ve Learned This Spring Training

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve spent way too much time staring at spreadsheets with player statistics on them. And I haven’t done this because I’m Jonah Hill’s character from Moneyball moonlighting as a Yankee blogger. Fantasy baseball season is coming up, and I have a job that affords me a lot of time to care about pretty inconsequential things (though I would never demean fantasy baseball by calling it…“inconsequential”).

My job—I work some gruesomely tiny number of hours every week teaching English to High School kids in the south of Spain—has also afforded me time to care about something almost as trivial as fantasy baseball (and basketball, football…and hockey): Spring Training. I haven’t ever followed Spring Training before, aside from reading game reports, and doing some cursory analysis of some pitcher’s fastball velocity (thanks, IIATMS, which was pretty much the way I kept in touch in years past). But this year, well I’m in the Best (Spring Training) Shape Of My Life—which pretty much means I’ve watched about two thirds of the Yankee’s practices games this March.

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Goldstein on Yankees’ prospects

With top 100 prospect season out of the way, it’s nearly time for organizational ranking lists to come out. Keith Law released his list in conjunction with his top 100 list, and today Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus released his ranking of all 30 MLB teams. The Yankees are ranked 15th on his list, which suddenly feels much lower than I’ve grown accustomed to seeing them ranked in these things. I can’t necessarily disagree with Goldstein’s argument that there isn’t much talent ready to step up in the high minors, but I think I’d probably weight the abundance of projectable talent they have in the lower levels a little bit more highly than Goldstein seems to be. For what it’s worth, Law had the Yankees’ ranked as the 10th best system in baseball, and the biggest gap between the two actually seems to be with regards to the Rays, whom Goldstein has at 13th on his list, while Law considers them the second best system in baseball.

Goldstein also ranked the Yankees’ top prospects last week, and his list is…unique. Not so much at the very top, but he includes Angelo Gumbs (8th) and Cito Culver (10th) in the Yankees’ top ten, the highest I’ve yet seen either of them, especially Culver. Heck, I thought I was being aggressive ranking Gumbs 12th in my top 30. You’ll need a BP subscription to read the scouting reports and see the entire top 20, but the list is free. Continue reading Goldstein on Yankees’ prospects

They’ll just never learn

For years now I’ve been forecasting the day when baseball GM’s (sports GM’s really, but baseball is the worst offender) rub their eyes, focus their vision, look around at the mess they’ve wrought and realize they’re a bunch of idiots wasting insane amounts money. Then Prince Fielder gets signed for $214 million to play at first base, you know, the position that Miguel Cabrera was manning for the Tigers. Some day teams will do a better job of paying players what they’re actually worth, when they’re worth it, but that day has not yet come. Instead, if anything, baseball has Continue reading They’ll just never learn

Banuelos And The Fifth Rotation Spot

I’m clearly on the Phil Hughes bandwagon when it comes to the possible starters in 2012. Much of the blogosphere, us included, has dubbed this year’s pitching “competition” rigged. When Joe Girardi says only CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda are guaranteed a spot, it’s hard to take the manager seriously. While Ivan Nova and Michael Pineda will undoubtedly make the rotation as well, Phil Hughes appears to have the lead over Freddy Garcia for that final spot. While the competition might not be real, a lot can happen between now and opening day. Manny Banuelos has done nothing but impress Continue reading Banuelos And The Fifth Rotation Spot

Keeping Curtis

As the Yankees move forward with their plan to reduce payroll below the luxury tax threshold prior to the 2014 season, one concern that has repeatedly cropped up amongst fans is how, exactly, the Yankees will do that while keeping both Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson in pinstripes when their contracts expire after next season. Given their existing level of commitment to Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, C.C Sabathia, and Mark Teixeira, retaining both at market value would seem to be a daunting task with the $189 million self-imposed hard cap in place, and, at the least, would almost certainly preclude any more large commitments to free agent pitchers, putting quite a bit of pressure on their player development personnel to crank out young pitchers who can fill out the rotation behind C.C. Sabathia, Michael Pineda, and (depending on how you look at it) Ivan Nova. Now the MSM has gotten in on the speculation, with John Harper writing about the conundrum in Saturday’s Daily News, and Randy Levine telling Jon Heyman that both Cano and Granderson are in the plans for 2014.

Color me skeptical.

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Nick Swisher’s cost?

Recently a lot has been made about how the Yankees will get their 2014 payroll below $189 million. The logic of avoiding onerous luxury taxes in the future is sound and no Yankee fan in his right mind should complain about a team that will be competing with only a $189 million budget. But those arguments won’t make the process of shedding excess fat any easier. If free-agents to-be Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson must remain in pinstripes (provided they perform) then certain key Yankees of the past few seasons may fall through the cracks. One such player is Nick Continue reading Nick Swisher’s cost?