Could the Yankees become the Red Sox?

Born in Southwestern Ohio and currently residing on the Chesapeake Bay, Brien is a former editor-in-chief of IIATMS who now spends most of his time sitting on his deck watching his tomatoes ripen and consuming far more MLB Network programming than is safe for one's health or sanity.

34 thoughts on “Could the Yankees become the Red Sox?

  1. not Montero's dad

    I would hope that the Yanks don't feel obligated to sign Rivera (though they probably will) at ~$15MM. This season is a lesson on how a closer not named Rivera won't really derail a team. Rivera is a great relative to other closers, but the closer posiiton is not one that usually impacts a season.

    • steve

      If Soriano blows a couple saves in the playoffs and the Yanks don't get a ring then I wonder how they'd think about that…

      • not Montero's dad

        True, but Rivera blew a handful of saves–even series-ending games–in the playoffs. That's just the nature of relief pitching.

      • George

        Spending big bucks on a reliever is a psychological security blank. Yes Rivera has done it, but long-term continued success as a closer has been precarious. Looking deeper at the numbers Rivera’s save conversion rate vs. the “average” reliever is not that different (talking a few % points). Okay, maybe he really is clutch and money in post-season. I am in the camp that if you want to save money which is what the Steinbrenners want- closer is the easiest. Rather spend decent money across the bullpen vs. wasting $15mm on a closer. You’d still have money leftover to fill other holes in the roster.

  2. brian

    Jay Caspian King or something like that had a good article about this on grantland that i am currently too lazy to look up and link to, but…

    one of the more nauseating 'turns' of 21st century fandom is this idea that now every fan gets hung up in player contracts and wants to be an armchair GM… its annoying even in a sport with a salary cap… its a sport where the only 'caps' are self imposed ones… its just pathetic..

    However, I'm sure Hal Steinbrenner is happy to know that so many fans are ok with, and even applaud his cost cutting ways so that he can stuff even more money into his and his families pockets while continuing to charge fans out the wazoo.. u actually feel crappy drinking a beer at the stadium its so expensive

    • BrienJackson

      I think that's somewhat unfair. Depending on what team you root for, you can obviously be concerned about salaries because the team only has limited resources, so if one guy gets drastically overpaid it means that some other part of the roster will suffer. Of course, that's ultimately about wanting the best team possible, not caring about salary per se.

      On the other hand, I do think there's some people who want the payroll to get leaner just for its own right, which is weird. And beyond those people, I really don't get the smaller subset of people who seem to get angry if you criticize ownership for their get-rich(er)-quick scheme.

  3. Ben

    Is it possible they’ll have to blow up the roster… certainly. Is it also possible that due to a string of bad performances that the Steinbrenners reconsider their self-imposed cap? There are a lot of possibilities out there, depending on how things go.

  4. Norm

    I wondering how long this "hard cap" will stick around if the Yankees start losing, or at least not playing for the WS every year. It certainly doesn't seem to jibe with the "If we don't win the title we stink" mentality the team has. Will the Steinbrenner brothers be willing to endure the crap storm that will most certainly ensue from the fans if they insist on sticking to the cap if the team begins to falter? Somehow I doubt it.

    • They just have to get under it for that year and then the tax rates reset down to 17%, IIRC. Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

      • BrienJackson

        They can get under it *any* year and have the rate reset.

        They have to get under it that year to get the revenue sharing refund.

  5. T.J

    The Yankees have also been fortunate enough to sign players that know what is expected of them and play as a team. Boston just didn't seem to have that over the last 2 yrs.

  6. VinceCT

    I am tired of hearing how smart the Red Sox are. If they are so damn smart how come they are not in first place? I am also tired of this blubbering from Yankee fans worrying about what Boston will do. F*** Them! They need to prove themselves before the Yankees need to worry. After all the Yankees are in first, again. They are going to the playoffs, again. And the Red Sox will be sitting at home sucking their thumbs come October. Give me a reason to worry about the Boston Red Sox and then I will start. And even then I will not care.

  7. Mike Nagle

    Brien, my only apprehension here is to categorize ANYONE beyond Sabathia as "established". Pineda will be one year removed from starting a big league game so he's a crap shoot. Nova is now on the DL with a cuff injury. Pettitte will begin his annual Brett Favre tribute any minute now. That leaves us largely in dry dock for a protracted period of time.

    I've beat the horse to death here about how dealing Austin Jackson and Jesus Montero was a bad idea but forgetting their talent — their replacements cost the Yankees about $12 milllion this year alone. That adds up. Luckily the farm system isn't as bleak as it once was but those of us who remember the 1980s know that 1996 didn't happen overnight. And had it not been for the "lean" years there never would have been starting players like Williams, Posada, Jeter, Pettitte, Rivera, Soriano, Cano, etc.

    Eventually you have to rebuild. It becomes more cataclysmic when you choose not to do it one piece at a time which is the cost of dealing a Jackson, a Montero or any of their successors. Then you have no choice but to blow up the roster. My wife and I often say to the kids, "you get what you get and you don't get upset." We need to integrate some young talent and see what we have or else we're done for at least 8-12 years.

    • BrienJackson

      "Brien, my only apprehension here is to categorize ANYONE beyond Sabathia as "established". "

      That was sort of my point. I stretched the definition to include anyone who had one full year's worth of big league experience, and the only thing you come up with is C.C., a guy coming off of shoulder surgery, and a guy who took a major step backwards after a good 2-3 month stretch last year.

      "I've beat the horse to death here about how dealing Austin Jackson and Jesus Montero was a bad idea but forgetting their talent — their replacements cost the Yankees about $12 milllion this year alone. That adds up."

      Meh, I still think that's unfair. The Jackson-Granderson swap looks like a disaster right now, but A-Jax also looks like a completely different player than the one he was back in 2009. As for Montero, he looks even more like a 1B/DH now than he did this time last year, in which case he would have been of no long term benefit to the Yankees at all, really.

      • a57se

        "As for Montero, he looks even more like a 1B/DH now than he did this time last year, in which case he would have been of no long term benefit to the Yankees at all, really. "

        And how much have the Yankees spent on their 1B/DH this season? Montero couldn't have filled Andruw Jones role as the DH against lefties???? The Yankees are being shortsighted again….

        "The Jackson-Granderson swap looks like a disaster right now, but A-Jax also looks like a completely different player than the one he was back in 2009."

        We also sent out Ian Kennedy and Phil Coke in that trade. Granderson isn't worth Austin Jackson, no less these three guys. A-Jax was 22 years old when the trade was made, I would hope he doesn't look the same….that's what young guys do, namely, develop into better players. When you consistently trade away your future for now, eventually it catches up to you.

        Who on the Yankees is actually worth what they are paying for them????

        • Mike Nagle

          Spot on a57! That is exactly my point since we have Ibanez, Jones and Granderson all eating up money and at bats. Mind you I'm not saying these guys don't contribute and aren't big league ballplayers. The trade of Kennedy really hurt as did Coke who had a great run in the pen.

          I know that performance can't really be compared tit for tat — neither Jackson nor Granderson would have the same numbers if they were in the other situation — but it merits consideration that in the Yankees lineup Jackson would have the chance to mature as Cano has and we're not going to know that.

          You didn't win me over in your response Brien. The Yankees still chased Ibanez to fill that DH role and IMO he was a lazy answer for the question. He was the last guy standing who was available. We could have groomed someone — even Chavez could have handled that role part-time.

          • a57se

            There was one point during the late 80's when you could have made an All-Star team from guys the Yankees had traded away for old, worn out guys……….for those of you who don't remember those days when George was decimating the yanks farm system, if we keep going like we have been the last few years, you'll get to see it first hand!

          • Mike Nagle

            Right again. Lean years when Dave LaPoint was front of the rotation and so was Andy Hawkins.

          • BrienJackson

            "You didn't win me over in your response Brien. The Yankees still chased Ibanez to fill that DH role and IMO he was a lazy answer for the question. He was the last guy standing who was available. We could have groomed someone — even Chavez could have handled that role part-time."

            Well I don't know if you've noticed, but Montero's got some pretty big platoon splits this year, so even if you had him you'd still need someone else to carry the heavy end of a platoon there, and then what would you do with him in those games? Use him as a pinch-hitter? And that's to say nothing of the fact that the plan for this year has obviously called for A-Rod to get plenty of playing time as a DH, which would only complicate that further in the short term, after which time A-Rod would eventually become the everyday DH.

            Look, I was as big a Montero supporter as anyone last season, but like I said over the winter: if Montero isn't a viable long-term catcher (and it doesn't look like he is), then he didn't fit the Yankees' roster from 2013 on.

        • BrienJackson

          "And how much have the Yankees spent on their 1B/DH this season? Montero couldn't have filled Andruw Jones role as the DH against lefties????"

          Well, he can't also play a reasonably serviceable corner outfield defense, so no, not really. And this year isn't the issue here, it's what you do in 2-3 years when A-Rod is a full-time DH that you have nowhere to play Montero.

          "A-Jax was 22 years old when the trade was made, I would hope he doesn't look the same….that's what young guys do, namely, develop into better players."

          He didn't just become a *better* player though, he's an entirely different player. As in, he's showing a lot more power and plate discipline than he ever did while he was in the minor leagues, to an extent that basically no one projected him to be able to have the sort of year he's having right now.

          • Mike Nagle

            We did tout Jackson for +2 years as a "five tool player" so those developments aren't really coming from left field Brien. Sporting News posted a scouting report of Jackson which identified, "Jackson has a long arcing swing with full extension, which could generate power once he grows into it. He lunges into pitches at times, but has shown the ability to stay inside the ball and hit the ball the other way with authority. He’s got tremendous bat speed and athletic ability, which should allow him to adjust as he moves up. He’ll need to pull the ball more if he wants to add power as a real skill. He showed a willingness to draw walks in his pro debut."

            To suggest that Jackson wasn't called out frequently as a Yankee starter of the future is not accurate at all.

          • a57se

            "but like I said over the winter: if Montero isn't a viable long-term catcher (and it doesn't look like he is), then he didn't fit the Yankees' roster from 2013 on. "

            The only reason you give for this is because you see A-Rod being the full-time DH in 2-3 years. I hate to tell you this but A-Rod has declined steadily the last few years, they should have just gottten rid of him (Outright release) and kept Montero. Then he WOULD have fit into their roster plans from 2013 on.
            "He didn't just become a *better* player though, he's an entirely different player. As in, he's showing a lot more power and plate discipline than he ever did while he was in the minor leagues, to an extent that basically no one projected him to be able to have the sort of year he's having right now."
            Yeah, well guys at 22 aren't all physically matured. Many increase their power as their bodies fill out. We never gave the kid a chance, plus we traded Kennedy AND Coke who both could have helped this team the last few years.

          • a57se

            These were bad moves at the time and remain bad moves. We basically traded an average to good starting pitcher, a decent lefty reliever and a talented CF'er for an inferior CF'er who bats .240 who had bad eyesight but now can hit 40 HR's………Don't get me wrong, I like Grandy but we drastically overpaid for him.
            Montero is a better hitter than Jones and while he can't play a "reasonably serviceable corner outfield defense" at this point, is that really a big need? Does our season depend on Jones playing in the outfield occaisionally??? Come on, if that is the best defense of Jones, we're in trouble…….

          • BrienJackson

            "I hate to tell you this but A-Rod has declined steadily the last few years, they should have just gottten rid of him (Outright release) and kept Montero. "

            Um, A-Rod has a 122 wRC+ right now this season. That's not all-time great stuff, or even All-Star level stuff necessarily, but it's certainly not so bad that it would make more sense for the Yankees to pay him $25-30 million to play for someone else in the A.L.

            "Then he WOULD have fit into their roster plans from 2013 on. "

            Not really. If Montero was going to be a long-term DH, it would still have made more sense to trade him for a young frontline caliber pitcher than to keep him on in a role that's not terribly hard to fill on a year to year basis.

            "Yeah, well guys at 22 aren't all physically matured. Many increase their power as their bodies fill out."

            How many other players can you find who went through a similar transformation over that time period?

          • a57se

            A-Rod batting .276 with 15HR's and 44 RBI after 400 plate appearances
            Montero batting .258 with 14HR's and 51 RBI after 444 plate appearances.
            A-Rod costs 20+ million per year, Montero less than 1 million per year.
            What was your objection???

          • a57se

            Male athletes typically reach their physical peak between the ages of 27 and 31. To think a 22 year old is the finished product is just plain silly……..

          • a57se

            Why does it make sense to trade a hitter who has the potential that Montero showed (.300+ hitter with power to all fields) for a 'front' line pitcher who had severely regressed the second half of his first season??? How many young hitters show that kind of potential vs. Pitchers?

          • Well, wait, if you’re going to ding Pineda for being a rookie who had a weaker second half, shouldn’t you also be dinging Montero for being a young hitter with platoon splits? Fair is fair.

            Anyway, the shirt answer is that pitchers are much harder to get, and much more expensive, than designated hitters, and that the Yankees have already committed a crap ton of money to their DH of the future.

          • So how many other similar transformations can you find 22 year old hitters making?

          • Cost is irrelevant. The Yankees agreed to A-Rod’s contract after 2007, and are stuck paying it no matter what they do now. Why they would want to cut loose someone with a 122 wRC+ and pay him all of that money to hit for someone else in favor of a kid with a wRC+ of 89 whom they managed to trade for one of the more promising young pitchers in the game I just don’t get.

  8. Mike Nagle

    I should have posted the link since I quoted it: http://newyork.yankees.mlb.com/nyy/fan_forum/posi

    • BrienJackson

      That's from before the 2006 season, or four full years before the trade happened. In the meantime, Jackson never really showed that he was going to grow into those tools, and was generally a low-power, high strikeout hitter with a chronically high BABIP. At the time of the actual trade, his speed and defense made him look like a legitimate starting centerfielder, but the idea of him being an elite middle of the order hitter would have gotten you a lot of guffaws.

      • Mike Nagle

        Jackson was touted as a top 10 in the international league in 2009 which is more recent. He was batting .300 and averaging about 13 HRs a season. I'm also not touting him as a middle of the lineup hitter – nor was Granderson when he was acquired. And while Granderson showed more pop in the minors, their stats don't look like they are from different galaxies at that stage of their careers (minors). But I do get that we disagree on this one Brien — I don't know if you've noticed.

        • BrienJackson

          Top 10 *hitter*, or top 10 position player?

          Either way, I'm not totally convinced that Jackson's performance this season is totally sustainable. If you look at his peripherals, his last season in the minors looks a whole lot closer to his 2011 performance, when he hit .249/.317/.374 despite a still really high .340 BABIP than they do to the numbers he's posting this year. The question will be how real the walks (11.2%) and power (.185) ISO are, to say nothing of the fact that his BABIP is back up to astronomical levels at .380. Not to mention that his strikeout rate is still right about where it was in Triple-A.

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