Scouting The Free Agent Market For An Ibanez Replacement

I might have watched every game this year, but it’s still hard for me to remember exactly what kind of season Raul Ibanez had in 2012. Our most recent recollection was his three ridiculously well-timed homeruns in the playoffs. For the rest season, the left handed hitter had his good moments, but also some pretty lousy ones. As expected, he was rather awful against left handed pitchers, but a .248/.319/.492 triple slash (115 wRC+) against righties more than made up for it.

Unfortunately, once the Yankees lost Brett Gardner for nearly the entire season, Ibanez saw much more defensive playing time than expected. The 40 year old actually manned 90 games in the outfield, and started nearly half of the regular season games. It’s not a fact, but the extra work apparently caught up to him after the allstar break, where he hit just .190/.287/.341 for the two months of the Yankees most important stretch of the year. From August 16th to September 19th, Ibanez recorded a total of 3 hits over 60 plate appearances.… Click here to read the rest

Selig approves the Marlins-Blue Jays megadeal

This just in: Bud Selig has approved the megadeal between the Toronto Blue Jays and Miami Marlins.

The deal which sent Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Emilio Bonifacio and John Buck to Toronto in exchange for Yunel Escobar, Adeiny Hechavarria, Jeff Mathis, Henderson Alvarez, Jake Marisinick and Anthony DeSclafani was made last week.

Selig said, “I’ve received assurances from Marlins ownership, they’re fully committed to build long-term winning team fans can be proud of.”

That noise you just heard was a collective roar of laughter from everyone else in baseball. Yeah, sure Marlins, whatever you say.

Your move, Yanks.… Click here to read the rest

Raúl Ibáñez: Yay or nay?

According to a Ken Davidoff piece in today’s New York Post, the Yankees have “significant interest” in signing Raúl Ibáñez but they’re asking him to wait while they sort out their starting rotation and Mariano Rivera.

“I know they have certain needs that they need to go after first,” Ibáñez said. “I’m open to anything. I’m looking forward to an opportunity to play in The Bronx again. That would be great.”

And while Ibáñez wasn’t exactly a world beater last season .240/.308/.353, he had better numbers close and late in games.286/.367/.571 (From Davidoff’s article that slash line was in the seventh inning or later with the Yankees tied, ahead by one or with the tying run at least on deck. It seems Davidoff likes Baseball Reference as much as I do.)

So, what do you guys think? Should they Yankees bring Raúl Ibáñez back?… Click here to read the rest

The Erosion of the Yankee Payroll Advantage in One Chart

The number that the Yankees have had their eye on since the new CBA was agreed to one year ago is $189 million. That’s the threshold in which they will have tremendous economic incentives–measured in the scores of millions of dollars–to get and stay under. More realistically, once you include non-pecuniary benefits that we don’t always see, the number looks more like $170 million in payroll. We should probably start using the term, ‘Soft Cap’ a la the NBA.

To put this in perspective, I wanted to see where MLB payrolls have been trending over the years. The Yankees have actually decreased payrolls after their late-George Steinbrenner era high marks, while other teams have caught up. I think the time series is pretty telling:

The lines represent the ranked payroll of non-Yankee MLB teams in their particular year. So, the actually teams represented in the trend lines shift over time. I separated out the Top-3 from the Top-10.

What you can see is huge payroll advantage for the Yankees around 2004-2006, and then the other top-10 teams beginning to catch up while the Yankees trended down a little bit.… Click here to read the rest

Yankees named 2012 Club Retailer of the Year

The timing of this press release, which names the New York Yankees the 2012 Club Retailer of the Year, is kind of amusing to me. Just yesterday, I was going through a pile of clothes in my room that comes up to my shoulders – just to give you an idea of how big the pile is, I’m 5’9″ – and the amount of Yankees items was actually astounding. Everything from jeans, to sweatshirts, to t-shirts, to long sleeved t-shirts. Some of the stuff, I’ll admit, I didn’t remember owning and I joked to my mom that some people have a white wash when they do their laundry and I can say I have a Yankees wash.

From the Press Release:

The New York Yankees have been named the 2012 MLB “Club Retailer of the Year” by Major League Baseball Properties for the Club’s commitment to driving merchandise sales. The Yankees and Legends Hospitality, led by Legends’ GM of Retail, Michael Loparo, earned the honor based on significant improvements to the Yankee Stadium clubhouse store as well as consistent product innovation and reinvention.

Click here to read the rest

Examining the newest Toronto Blue Jays

Earlier this week the Miami Marlins gutted their team, sending several star players north of the border to the Toronto Blue Jays. The main additions to the Blue Jays through this trade were Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle. Since then the Jays have also signed Melky Cabrera. Fellow Yankee Analyst Michael Eder already looked at the Blue Jays in aggregate after this trade. I agree with his conclusion. Between the new additions to the team and the players returning from injury, the Blue Jays figure to be a contender in 2013. Rather than rehashing that, in this post I wanted to zero in on the four new players and assess their value.

Jose Reyes – Yankee fans know Reyes well from his days with the Mets. In 2011 Reyes had a career (injury shortened) year and managed a 142 wRC+. That season had contract year written all over it and Miami took the bait, signing Reyes to a $100 million contract.… Click here to read the rest

Yankees Eyeing Scott Hairston

It seems that we’ll be hearing a lot about one year deals over the next couple of months with the way the Yankees planned for next year’s budget . Thus far, Ichiro Suzuki, Raul Ibanez, Hiroki Kuroda, and Torii Hunter have all been linked to the team on short contracts for 2013. Feel free to have faith though, since Brian Cashman has found a way to consistently pluck unforeseen talent from the market year after year. The Yankees used proper playing-time management for Marcus Thames, Eric Chavez, Andruw Jones, and Ibanez, and each of these players erupted with a huge impact. The newest player on Cashman’s list is Scott Hairston.

The right handed hitter is coming off his best offensive season yet, and all in a pitcher friendly ballpark. In 2012, he hit .263/.299/.504 with 20 homeruns, and 8 stolen bases. Those slugging numbers are particularly impressive, however, he does his best work against left handed hitters, who he hit for .286/.317/.550 (wOBA .368) in 199 plate appearances.… Click here to read the rest

A couple of minor league notes

Kevin Russo has apparently signed a minor league contract with the Tigers. Russo was drafted by the Yankees in 2006 and made his major league debut in 2010. The utility player had a strong year for the Empire State Yankees in 2012, hitting .284/.358/.351, however it was his fourth year in Triple-A and at 28 it was clear the Yankees had no future plans for him, granting him free agency earlier this month.

The Peoria Javelinas defeated the Salt River Rafters 4-3 for the Arizona Fall League Championship. The game was notable for having the first official protest in AFL history, as the Rafters objected to some calls on a play that would have tied the game in the seventh. The officials upheld the original ruling and the Javelinas took the win. Chris McGuiness, a first baseman with the Texas Rangers organization, took the AFL MVP award. Cole Kimball, who pitched for Salt River this fall and is part of the Washington Nationals system, beat out David Adams and four others for the Stenson Award.… Click here to read the rest

The Cy Young voting wasn’t so terrible

There’s been a lot of chatter about the selection of Miguel Cabrera as MVP over Mike Trout. Make no mistake, Trout is and will be the better player. In fact, if his first season is any indication, the dude may be the next Willie Mays or pre-injury Mickey Mantle. That’s solid company. Trout may not have won this year, but I get the feeling he’ll start winning in the years ahead.

What hasn’t gotten as much attention was the voting for the Cy Young award. David Price won in the American League and R.A. Dickey won in the National League. If the baseball writers got it wrong for the MVP, then they at least did a little better on the Cy Young award. Dickey was not the best pitcher in his league. Clayton Kershaw was. But Dickey logged an incredible number of innings – 233.2, more than Kershaw – and had peripherals close to what CC Sabathia did this year.… Click here to read the rest