A possible payroll hedge?

Breaking down what exactly the Yankees’ 2014 budget plans entail once again this morning, Joel Sherman reports a detail that I was actually unaware of, and leaves open a potential rationale for scrapping the plans altogether:

The second inducement for going below $189 million is in the CBA’s revenue sharing refund program. It is a complicated concept and formula, but what is important to know is the Yankees would be rebated a percentage of what is the highest revenue-sharing payment in the sport, but — and this is key — only in years they are under the luxury tax threshold. If not, they forfeit the rebate.

There is debate about how much the rebate is worth since it is tied heavily to the revenue that, in particular, Atlanta, Houston, Toronto and Washington generate. Some initial projections had the Yankees getting between $5 million-$8 million after 2014 with a steady climb afterward. So between lower payroll, no tax and the steadily climbing rebate, the Yankees could save real money, $30 million-plus annually perhaps.

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Sitting on the sidelines

The Blue Jays pull off a killer deal with the Marlins. The Blue Jays sign Melky Cabrera. The Tigers sign Torii Hunter. Hiroki Kuroda wants to play in southern California. Russell Martin is highly sought after. And the Yankees…the Yankees…have not done anything yet. And when they do, it will be for bit parts for one season. Those bit parts will have an average age of 37 years old or something. Welcome to the new reality.

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Kuroda may prefer pitching in L.A.

From Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles comes a rumor sure to give Yankee fans some indigestion during Thanksgiving week: Hiroki Kuroda may prefer heading back to Southern California to spending another season in New York. Kuroda’s family lives in the area, and his daughters are in elementary school, which apparently has led Kuroda to “tell friends” that his preference is to pitch in Southern California. The Dodgers have been said to be interested in Kuroda for weeks, and we recently learned the Angels are as well, so unlike last year when the Dodgers lacked the finances to make him an offer, it would appear that Kuroda will have a good opportunity to return to the area if he really desires. Continue reading Kuroda may prefer pitching in L.A.

Blue Jays sign Melky

Another day, another potential Nick Swisher replacement off the table. It’s being widely reported around the interwebs that the Blue Jays, fresh off of acquiring half of the Marlins roster and a slice of Marlins’ fans souls, have reached a two year, $16 million agreement with Melky Cabrera. That’s more than most people anticipated the 2012 All-Star Game MVP getting following his 50 game suspension for a failed drug test last season, though probably far less than he would have earned if he hadn’t gotten caught juicing.

Short of keeping Swisher in town, signing Cabrera was probably my favored choice for the Yankees’ outfield, at least if he came on a one year deal, but the Yankees never seemed to be the slightest bit interested in bringing him back. I guess that’s not surprising given the way his previous tenure went and some of the comments Kevin Long and other team officials made about him over the summer, but it’s kind of unfortunate if you think at least some of his break through over the last two years is sustainable. If it is, the Blue Jays are getting a steal in filling one of their few remaining holes, likely in left field. They’re basically a 1B/DH short of a really impressive lineup right now, and there’s a few intriguing options there on the market.
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Link Dump: Melky Signs With Blue Jays, Cattering Saber Data To Audiences, And Austin Jackson

Award week is over, and things are about to heating up in free agency over the next couple of weeks. Melky Cabrera agreed to a 2 year $16 million deal with the Blue Jays. I had little hope that the Yankees would take a risk with him, but he was still a good match for the team. Now he’s playing against them, and the Blue Jays are looking more and more deadly. Their payroll isn’t getting any smaller at this point. Earlier, I wrote about how the MVP award is largely influenced by the voter’s audience. Beyond the Boxscore had Continue reading Link Dump: Melky Signs With Blue Jays, Cattering Saber Data To Audiences, And Austin Jackson

Could we see more big salary dumps?

Joel Sherman thinks so:

And once a second one of these Perfect Storm deals is approved by the commissioner’s office, we should assume it will not stop at a twice-in-a-lifetime occurrence. After all, so many teams are awash in and planning to spend money this offseason that it is just a matter of time, perhaps, that the clubs that sign Josh Hamilton or Zack Greinke will be looking to bundle one of them with a few other pieces to regain financial solvency and sanity.

Do you think it is impossible that, at some point, the Reds recognize that their market might not allow them to have $300 million invested long term in Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips? That the Yankees, with Alex Rodriguez, or the Phillies, with Ryan Howard, are forced to package some goodies with a terrible contract to make those odious pacts vanish? That the Rockies are combining Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez to see what kind of 10-prospect, financial-relief uber-deal can be fashioned?

Three months ago, I would have thought any of that impossible. But now that I have seen baseball’s version of both The Perfect Storm and its sequel, well, the third installment is not likely to take me by surprise.

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Arizona Fall League Wrap-Up

The Arizona Fall League has ended, with the Championship game slated for tomorrow when the Salt River Rafters will take on the Peoria Javelinas. The Yankees’ prospects spent the season with the Scottsdale Scorpions, who ended up 15-16 and 2.5 games behind the Rafters. There were some performances to get excited about, but – as has been the theme for the Yankees’ this season – the players closest to the Majors continued to struggle. I’ll get the bad news out of the way first.

Dellin Betances wasn’t able to get past the rest of his rough 2012 season, going 1-3 with a 5.25 ERA over eight appearances and twelve innings, though the news wasn’t all bad. After an ugly first outing, Betances did string together some solid performances, keeping opposing teams scoreless over four games (5.2 innings). He only allowed three hits and one walk, which was a good sign for a pitcher whose lack of control was particularly problematic this season. Betances got knocked around for four runs on five hits, no even lasting an inning against Salt River. He came back and threw two scoreless innings in his last outing of the year. While Betances has clearly seen his prospect drop off quite a bit this year, the fact that he only walked four, while striking out fifteen, in Arizona was a welcome sign.

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Finding The Next Great Swish/C-Grand-Type Trade Candidate

(The following is being syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod) Barring a a big-time unexpected swerve, the Yankees seem pretty well set in their plans to not add significant payroll this offseason as they try to address their team needs.  They’ve engaged pretty much every older free agent from last year’s team in some capacity while letting the younger, more expensive ones walk.  If there is going to be any real effort towards improving the quality of the on-field product next year and not just controlling the dollars, that effort may have to come through the trade market, a roster-building Continue reading Finding The Next Great Swish/C-Grand-Type Trade Candidate

Vested interests are always the last to see change

Okay, one more post about the A.L. MVP award race, because I haven’t quite gotten over this yet. Yes, that’s Daily News beat writer and MVP voter Mark Feinsand actually pulling out the “I watch all of the games” card to justify his ballot not including Robinson Cano anywhere in the top ten (though fellow Yankees Derek Jeter and Rafael Soriano were third and eight, respectively). I like Feinsand and think he’s probably the best reporter on the Yankees’ beat, but yeah, there’s pretty much no way this one is getting by me.

What makes this whole thing especially hilarious is that Feinsand is responding to Michael Eder, who’s currently the head honcho of TYA. Implicitly dismissing baseball fans as people who don’t watch the games (and that’s what Feinsand was doing, there’s no sense in denying that) is usually ridiculous enough, but it’s even more so when it’s directed at someone writing daily for one of the biggest and most respected blogs out there. I can’t say if Eder watched every game all the way through, but I’m willing to be dollars to dimes he watch a lot of games at least.

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