D-Rob Is Absolutely Worth Papelbon Money

D-Rob vs CIN

Courtesy of Getty Images

The silence remains deafening on the David Robertson front.  Since he rejected the Yankees’ qualifying offer there has been little to no reported activity on the 2 sides working on a new deal, and there hasn’t been much chatter on him on the rest of the hot stove rumor mill.  It appears as though the attachment of draft pick compensation has slowed the pace of pursuit for this offseason’s top free agent reliever.

The one bit of worthwhile (depending on how you look at it) information to come out on D-Rob was the recent report that he is seeking “Papelbon money” on the open market.  You’ll remember the record 4-year/$50 million deal Jonathan Papelbon signed with the Phillies during the 2011-2012 offseason, a deal that could vest into a 5-year/$63 mil one when all is said and done.

The general reaction I saw online to this report was that D-Rob was crazy for wanting that much and he would never get it.  …

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Pondering D-Rob’s New Contract

David_Robertson_Firefighter

Seemed like a good time to break out the old fireman P-shop

One way or another, David Robertson is going to cash in this offseason.  He can accept the qualifying offer the Yankees made him yesterday and become the single-season highest-paid relief pitcher in baseball history, or he can decline and eventually sign a multi-year deal with any team.  As the top reliever available in this year’s free agent class, even the draft pick compensation won’t be enough to keep all of MLB away from him entirely.

The smart money is on the Yankees retaining him, but for how much money is a question worth asking.  D-Rob is an interesting case as he hits the free agent market for the first time in his career, unlike any top reliever that’s been available the past few offseasons.  His unique body of work, homegrown Yankee status, and attached draft pick compensation make the range of contract possibilities a wide one.

As an example of that range, compare the 2 early projections for D-Rob issued by major baseball sites.  …

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Yankees Undecided On Giving Hirok A Qualifying Offer

Late last week we found out that the Yankees will extend a qualifying offer to David Robertson and that report came as no surprise.  There was no follow-up story over the weekend confirming that the offer had been made, but with today being the deadline for teams to make those offers, it’s practically a certainty that we’ll get that report sometime later in the day.

Another report we haven’t gotten yet is one on the decision to make Hiroki Kuroda a qualifying offer.  Jon Heyman reported yesterday that giving a QO to Hirok was something the team was not “especially likely” to do, and they seem to share many of the same concerns had by the “no-QO” camp of fans.  Hirok has yet to state whether he intends to play next year or not, which has surely added to the indecision on the Yankees’ part.  At age 40, him getting hit with the QO tag would all but ensure that the only MLB team he could play with next year would be the Yankees.…

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Was It Worth It?: Mark Teixeira

Teix Face

Seen way too much of this face the last few seasons. Courtesy of Getty Images

The biggest of the big anchor contracts in Yankeeland, the 10-year one for Alex Rodriguez, is cloudy in terms of the juice being worth the squeeze depending on how you factor in extra revenue and championships against all the negative headlines and declining production.  The next biggest deal, CC Sabathia‘s, was a little more clear in its worth.  Signing CC to lead a rotation desperately in need of an ace was the right decision.  It worked out splendidly for the first half of the contract before the decision to extend him was made and the move went sour thanks to injuries.

How about the “smallest” of the 3 contracts, Mark Teixeira‘s 8-year deal?  He signed it in the same offseason as CC, teaming up with him and the pitcher I’ve sworn never to name again to form the biggest Yankee free agent haul prior to last offseason.  …

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Was It Worth It?: CC Sabathia

CC vs BAL 2012

The big fella in more dominating times. Courtesy of William Perlman/The Star-Ledger

The top prizes of this year’s free agent crop are 2 upper-echelon starting pitchers in their early 30s.  They’re going to command a lot of money and they could command a lot of years from whatever team eventually lands them.  The Yankees are not expected to be seriously in the running for those 2 pitchers, in part because they’re feeling the effects of their own-long term contract they gave out to an upper-echelon starter in his early 30s.  CC Sabathia has been the ace of the staff in name since signing before the 2009 season, and the ace in production from 2009-2012.  He’s on the books for the next few years and may not be able to pitch a full season or pitch at all again.  So was it worth it?

The Deal- 8 years/$186 million, with a $25 million vesting option or a $5 million buyout for 2017.  …

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Was It Worth It?: Alex Rodriguez

A-Rod WS Parade

Insert joke about A-Rod being the devil here. Courtesy of Getty Images

Long-term contracts.  They’re the worst nightmare of owners, general managers, and fans alike, and no team in MLB is feeling the negative effects of them right now more than the New York Yankees.  It’s why they let Robbie Cano walk, it’s why they want to get under the luxury tax threshold to avoid paying so many extra tax dollars, and it’s why they’ve floundered at, around, or slightly above the mediocrity line for the last 2 seasons while still boasting annual payrolls north of $200 million.

When the offseason began and we threw the line out for post ideas, one of the reader suggestions was an analysis of the team’s long-term contracts and whether the players’ production in the early part of the deal was enough to make it worth it when they fell apart at the end of the deal.  This week I’m going to attempt to perform that analysis on the 3 big deals currently weighing the Yankee roster and payroll down like old, expensive anchors: Mark Teixeira‘s, CC Sabathia‘s, and A-Rod’s.…

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The Puerto Rico Rays? Sí, se puede…

Yankee fans following road trips to A.L. East rivals may not have to visit one of MLB’s most humdrum parks and cities much longer: frustrated with MLB-low attendance and a notoriously weak park, the Tampa Bay Rays’ owner “has discussed moving the club … to Montreal.” Believe or don’t believe reports that “play[ing] to a half-empty (or worse) stadium night after night … wore on Maddon” in his decision to leave the team he managed for nine years. But clearly the Rays, despite being roughly tied with the A’s as the team most praised for innovative decision-making, are also roughly tied with the A’s as MLB’s most troubled team; the hit they’ll take from losing simultaneously one of the most respected GMs and one of the most respected managers just compounds their structural attendance and park problems.

Yet a team looking for a more devoted fan base would be making a curious decision by shacking up with Montreal, the one city MLB jilted by permanently confiscating its MLB team for lack of local support.…

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Quick Hit: MLBTR’s Arbitration Projections Are Out

MLB Trade Rumors posted their “Offseason Outlook” post for the Yankees yesterday.  If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend it.  It’s basically everything that every Yankee blog is going to talk about for the entirety of the offseason condensed into 1 long post.  As part of the outlook, they included the list of arbitration-eligible players and their projected salaries.  Let’s take a look.

- Shawn Kelley- $2.5 million
Francisco Cervelli- $1.1 million
Esmil Rogers- $1.9 million
Ivan Nova- $3.3 million
Michael Pineda- $2.1 million
David Huff- $700k
David Phelps- $1.3 million

Kelley is slated for a nice pay boost in his final year of eligibility.  Once again he pitched better than his ERA indicates in 2014, and as a high strikeout guy with late-inning experience he’s a good deal at $2.5 mil.  Nova and Pineda’s injuries are almost blessings in disguise for the Yankees when it comes to money.  …

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WAR is Wrong: Top Relievers Are Worth Double their WAR – So D-Rob Easily Merits $12-15m

Relievers are weird creatures the standard wins-above-replacement (WAR) stat doesn’t evaluate well. I’ll give the punch line first: relievers pitching high-leverage innings are worth at least double what WAR claims. I’ll get back to David Robertson, but let’s start with Greg Holland, a nice example of a consistently true-elite reliever – but you could substitute prime-years Mariano Rivera, who averaged only 3.0 WAR/yr as a closer. In 2013 and 2014, Holland logged low-1s ERAs and converted 95% of about 50 save opportunities (2-3 blown saves (BS) a year) – yet BBREF and Fangraphs call him only a 2-3 WAR player.

Wouldn’t a replacement-level pitcher giving up over a run every two innings – call him “Kawn Shelley” – blow at least 20% of save chances, or easily 10 out of 50 rather than Holland’s 2-3 out of 50 or Robertson’s 5 out of 44? Not all blown saves are fatal – lost leads may be recoverable – but about 60% of blown saves become losses.…

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