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.…

Read more

Rumor: Yanks Considering Omar Minaya For Front Office Position

This came out late-ish last night, and it may not be welcome news to some who are seeing it for the first time this morning.  Former Mets GM Omar Minaya’s name started floating around yesterday as one the Yankees were considering for a possible front office position.  Erik Boland reported that it was “strong consideration for a high-ranking position,” but Andy Martino later tempered that by tweeting that the role would be something in scouting or an advisory position and not a major one.  With Mark Newman leaving as Senior VP of Baseball Ops and Minaya currently holding that spot in San Diego, there is a potential lateral opening.

Just the name “Omar Minaya” is enough to make some Mets fans’ skin crawl, and his tenure as GM there was not a good one.  But he does have a very good track record of building strong farm systems wherever he’s been.  With the Yankees putting improving their farm system as a primary goal going forward, Minaya could be useful as someone to help guide the efforts.  …

Read more

Qualifying Offer Price Bumped Up To $15.3 Million

Almost missed this one.  Via a report by the AP on Tuesday, the price for qualifying offers this offseason has risen to $15.3 million.  This is an 8.5% increase for the $14.1 million value for last year’s qualifying offers.

The Yankees have a pair of intriguing QO candidates in David Robertson and Hiroki Kuroda.  Robertson is eligible for free agency for the first time this offsfeason and is coming off a year that saw him replace Mariano Rivera with 39 saves, a 3.08 ERA, and a buttload of strikeouts.  15.3 mil is a high price to pay for a reliever, but D-Rob will probably command a big offer on the open market with multiple big budget teams in serious need of relief help.  The Yankees absolutely have to make him the offer to ensure they don’t lose him for nothing.  Kuroda makes sense simply because he’ll get a 1-year deal on somewhere between $15-16 mil if he decides to stay in MLB for another year and that will most likely come from the Yankees.  …

Read more

Report: Yanks And Cash Working On A New Deal

Well that didn’t take long.  Via Buster Olney, the Yankees and Brian Cashman have “begun the process of constructing a new contract” only a few days after the end of another disappointing postseason-less season.  There had been reports for a while that the Steinbrenners were committed to bringing Cash back and this newest report certainly confirms that.

Cash’s current contract was not up until the end of October, so there was time for ownership to explore other options if they felt the need.  The quickness with which they are beginning talks for a new deal suggests they support Cash fully and are more interested in getting down to the real offseason business.  I don’t know whether that’s a good or bad thing considering how poorly constructed these last 2 teams have been, but we’ll have to wait and see about that.  The Yanks can’t do anything this offseason without a GM and it sounds like they’re on their way to locking their incumbent one up.…

Read more

Wednesday Afternoon Food For Thought: This Is Lame

MLB_JETER_PATCH_1280_090314_2_kpjt2z1d_t453ox43

Courtesy of Yankees.com

Via ESPN:

“The New York Yankees announced Tuesday that the team will wear a patch of Derek Jeter’s final-season logo on all player hats and uniforms from Sunday, the day that the shortstop will be honored at Yankee Stadium, through the end of the season.”

I’m sorry to all you readers who are still diehard Jeter slurpers and think this is cool.  It’s not.  It’s lame.  Super lame.  Derek Jeter isn’t dead.  He’s retiring.  He’s not even retired yet.  Why does anybody need to wear a patch honoring him before he’s even retired?

And it’s not just patches.  Click that link and read the whole article if you haven’t already.  It’s hats, shirts, autographed jerseys, special edition magazines.  The Yankees aren’t going to make the playoffs and reap the rewards of that extra revenue for a second straight year, so they’re going to milk every last monetary drop out of the Derek Jeter teat while they still can.  …

Read more

Are The Yankees Trying To Avoid Paying Brian Roberts?

Roberts E vs TEX

In case you were wondering, yes. That was a play he should have made. Courtesy of Getty Images

This was supposed to be a post asking how much longer the Yankees could afford to keep trotting Brian Roberts out as their everyday second baseman.  It was supposed to be posted on Tuesday, but Mike Axisa beat me to the punch and said everything I was going to say so I scrapped the idea.  That’s blog life.  It happens.  But then I was struck with a new Roberts-centric idea based on what’s transpired over the last few days.  Buried in Mike’s post was this point about Roberts’ contract that I had totally forgotten about:

Roberts is about to start making some decent bucks through bonuses — he has already banked $350,000 in incentives and is two plate appearances away from another $250,0000 — so there is a financial incentive to make a change as well. The Yankees would pay Refsnyder through the end of the season less than the bonus they’d owe Roberts if he gets those next two plate appearances.

Read more

Cash Deserves His Props For Recent Moves

Ninja Cash

Ninja GM mode engaged

Brian Cashman has been around long enough to know what kind of pressure there is to win in New York and how high the standards are for the Yankees.  However realistic or unrealistic it may be for those standards to be met, ownership always toes the company line of “our goal is to win a championship” and a lot of fans and media storylines fall in line with that statement.  That’s what happens when you’ve won 27 of them and been the biggest and most successful franchise in Major League Baseball for a hundred years.

Measured against those standards, the 4+ seasons since the last title have been increasingly disappointing.  The Yankees have fallen further from the top of the American League in each season since 2009, culminating in a missed postseason last year and a battle to stay above .500 this year despite spending almost half a billion dollars in free agent reinforcements this past offseason.  …

Read more

Ellsbury, Gardner, And The Change In Yankee Philosophy

Gardner New Deal Media

When the Yankees signed Jacoby Ellsbury, it looked like the writing was on the wall for Brett Gardner.  He was being replaced as the starting center fielder and leadoff hitter heading into his final arb-eligible year.  The Yankees had just committed $153 million to a player with an almost identical skill set as his, there was no way they were going to entertain the idea of re-signing Gardner and carrying 2 speedy, low-power outfielders for the next X number of years.  They’d make Gardner a qualifying offer after the 2014 season, he’d decline, they’d recoup a draft pick, and he’d sign a 4 or 5-year deal somewhere else to be that team’s starting center fielder and leadoff hitter.

Almost immediately the rumor mill fired up with potential trade partners for the Yankees to move Gardner.  The prevailing thought was that they could try to move him as part of a package to add starting pitching, a thought that I admittedly shared and was on board with earlier in the offseason.  …

Read more

Signing Stephen Drew Makes Even More Sense Now

(Syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)

The Yanks appear to be all done with the Major League free agent market now that we’ve entered the final week of the offseason before pitchers and catchers report.  Per Adam Rubin’slatest report, they might want to rethink that strategy and make a move for Stephen Drew.

According to Rubin, Scott Boras is looking for a multi-year deal with an opt-out clause after the 1st year for Drew.  That’s enough to scare off the Mets, and the rest of MLB already hasn’t been quick to jump at Drew thanks mainly to the draft pick forfeiture that comes with him.  Drew makes a ton of sense for the Yankees for baseball reasons, not so much on business reasons.  This opt-out clause could actually work to their advantage in reducing some of that business risk on the deal.

The Yanks only have to give up a 2nd round pick to sign Drew right now because they’ve already sacrificed their other ones for their previous signings.  …

Read more