Hal Speaks On The Offseason (And Some Other Stuff)

Hal Steinbrenner was on hand for the latest owners’ meeting in Arizona yesterday, and as he usually does when he’s out and about, he held court with the Yankee beat writers on hand to talk about the latest happenings in Yankeeland.  I could bust his balls here for implying that the Yankees don’t have room to spend more money or for pointing out the health risks in the rotation while not addressing the need to address those risks, but I’ll just skip that and let people judge his comments for themselves.  All quotes via Ken Davidoff:

On the team’s offseason goals- “We had numerous goals.  Two of the goals were to get younger and get better defensively. I think we’ve done that. I think our bullpen’s better. I think it’s one of the best in baseball, quite frankly. My opinion.”

On the payroll budget and Cash working within that- “We started out with a payroll that was already high before we did anything.

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Yanks Agree To 1-Year Deal With Ivan Nova

Didn’t take long for the first arbitration-eligible domino to fall.  The Yankees avoided arbitration with Ivan Nova today, agreeing to a 1-year deal.  As first reported by Joel Sherman, the contract is worth $3.3 million.  The value of the contract matches Nova’s salary from last season in his first year of eligibility, as predicted by MLBTR.  Nova, 28, will not be ready for the start of the upcoming season as he completes rehab from 2014 TJ Surgery, but is expected to return to the rotation before the ASB.

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Arbitration Figure Submittal Deadline Coming This Friday

It’s not a huge deal, but it is worth pointing out that the deadline for eligible players to file for salary arbitration was yesterday.  Teams and players have until Friday to exchange salary proposals with each other, and the Yankees are down to 4 eligible players after their run of offseason trades: Ivan Nova, Michael Pineda, Nathan Eovaldi, and David Carpenter.  There were no reports yesterday of any of those 4 not filing for arbitration, so it’s safe to assume that all of them did.

The Yankees started the offseason with 7 eligible players.  They’ve already re-signed Esmil Rogers and there’s no reason to expect that they won’t come to terms with these 4 guys.  They’re saving themselves a few bucks on payroll by shrinking their number of eligible guys, and they’re also saving themselves a few bucks by trading away guys who were in their 2nd or 3rd year of eligibility for guys who are entering their 1st.  …

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Report: Yankees 1 Of 2 “Heavy Favorites” To Sign Yoan Moncada

There hasn’t been a lot of news to report on the Yoan Moncada situation over the last month or so.  He held his open workout back in November and was expected to begin private workouts this week, but so far there haven’t been any reports confirming that a workout took place.

The one constant in the Moncada story since his name surfaced last year has been the pack-leading presence of the Yankees.  They were out in full force for his November workout, they’ve been named as one of the teams most likely to sign him since the beginning, and per this report by Kiley McDaniel, they’re now one of the “heavy favorites” to sign him.  The Yanks have been hesitant to seriously engage with many of the recent star Cuban free agents.  …

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Drew and Morales lost boatloads of money

After the 2013 season was over, thirteen players were given qualified offers where the players could choose that option and receive $14.1 million for 2014. After all thirteen turned down the offers, five of the players did not sign long-term contracts: Hiroki Kuroda, Nelson Cruz, Ervin Santana, Stephen Drew and Kendrys Morales. The first three made out just fine as we shall see. But Drew and Morales both lost a ton of money.

Kuroda was a special circumstance. I believe he knew he was only going to pitch one last season of MLB and left his situation to the highest, one-year bidder. The Yankees re-signed him and Kuroda came out ahead on the deal by $900,000.

Nelson Cruz was coming off of a PED suspension and read his market well and signed a one-year deal with the Orioles. While the one year cost him $6 million, his calculated gamble paid off with a big season and just signed a four-year deal that will pay him $14.25 million per season.…

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Max’s Headroom, $180m? Stars Deserve $40+m/yr, So $180m is Fine for Scherzer (& Was for Sabathia) – Despite the Ugly End of Such “Deferred Comp” Deals

MaxH
The Yankees have been adamant that they have no interest in adding another nine-figure salary to the books, resisting the outside cries … [for] Max Scherzer.” Yet the “Is Max Scherzer worth it” debate won’t stop. Dueling opinions are all over our comment threads and the whole internet, with folks declaring, “signing or not signing Scherzer will decide whether the Yankees are playing in October,” or proudly “rail[ing] against long-term contracts” of $20m+/yr because they are “gamble[s] that can cripple an organization…. [M]ost of the Yankees’ $20M busts are in the last years of long-term contracts, and you should no longer be surprised that they passed on Scott Boras’ $200M, longer-term contract demands” for Scherzer. Despite the strongly varied views on Scherzer, there’s little debate on three key points.

(1) He will require a costly seven-year deal. Fangraphs estimates $168m-$175m/7yr, i.e., $24-$25m/yr. Boras may want $200m, but that demand has left Max unemployed a month after the almost-as-good Jon Lester signed for $155m/6yr.…

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“About that $20+ Million I Saved You, Hal…”

Happy New Year! As Brad just noted, the Yankees’ offseason moves have youngered an old team – but they’ve also made it a cheaper team. Yes, they’re still old and expensive, but the difference is striking. Brad tallied the age differences, so I’ll tally key money changes here (all numbers are for one year’s salary) — which is somewhat fuzzy math, but bear with me, because there’s a point I want to make:

  • Losing Kuroda while resigning Capuano for a $2.75m raise → saved $13.25m
  • Losing McCarthy, dumping Kelley, and dumping Thorton late last year, then replacing them with a slew of $500K-$1m guys (Mitchell, Rogers, Miller, Whitley, German) → saved about $7.5m
  • Losing Jeter and getting Gregorious → saved about $11m (depending on Didi’s likely $1m-ish for 2015)
  • Losing Ichiro, using a full year of Young instead → saved $4m
  • Losing Prado and getting Jones (ignoring Phelps/Eovaldi, a monetary wash) → saved $6m
  • Dumping Roberts late last year, replacing him with Refsnyder/Pirela this year → saved $4.5m
  • Replacing Cervelli with Murphy → saved about $1m
  • Passing up Robertson for Miller → added $3.8m (over D-Rob’s $5.2m in 2014, but they saved $2.5m in a sense, by picking Miller at $9m over over D-Rob at $11.5m)
  • Keeping Headley → added $2.5m (the raise from his 2014 salary)
  • Getting (stuck with) A-Rod back on the books → added $18m (he’s getting $21m, but BBREF shows he actually got paid almost $3m last year)
  • Total: saved $47.25m; added $24.3m → net savings of about $23m

I’m sure I’m missing a bunch of other $1-2m differences, like the part-year 2014 salaries of Drew, Johnson, and Thorton, as well as possible modest raises embedded in some long-term contracts.…

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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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