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.

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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.  …

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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.  …

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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.  …

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Report: Rakuten Won’t Post Tanaka


Maybe next year, guy.

It seemed like things were starting to move in a positive direction on the Masahiro Tanaka front.  The new posting system between MLB and NPB was agreed upon and officially announced, and earlier this week Tanaka told his team that he wanted to pitch in MLB in 2014.  Despite their waffling on the decision to post him and their clear desire not to, it was reasonable to expect that the Rakuten Golden Eagles would eventually give in and honor Tanaka’s wishes, not wanting to set a bad precedent for future players who would want to make the jump to the top level of competition.

But in the immortal words of Lee Corso, not so fast, my friend!  A report by Ken Belson of the NY Times, citing multiple Japanese newspaper sources, states that Rakuten has decided not to post Tanaka and instead will retain control over him for the 2014 season.  Rather than limit themselves to the $20 million max posting fee and risk losing more in stadium and merchandise revenues by not having Tanaka next season, the Eagles appear to prefer maintaining their team control over Tanaka, as is their right, and maximizing their own revenue potential.…

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Evil empire all that tired jazz



When Twitter exploded with the news that the New York Yankees had signed Jacoby Ellsbury, the same old tired refrain resonated: “The Evil Empire is back.” Ugh. While some Yankee fans glory in such a moniker and revel at the anguished teeth gnashing behind it, there is a part of me that wishes the team could be feted instead as a great American success story.

It does not happen just in baseball. Sam Walton built his brand and Wal-Mart became so successful that the story turned to a negative. The funny thing about our people is that we want to believe in the American Dream and that a person can create a successful business out of nothing, just as long as it does not become too successful. In the past half-century there has been Gates of Microsoft and even Bezos of Amazon to carry on the tradition of Carnegie and Rockefeller before them.

George Steinbrenner, along with his initial minority partners: Michael Burke, Lester Crown, John DeLorean and Nelson Bunker Hunt purchased the Yankees from CBS in January of 1973 and it was not as if they started their new venture from scratch.…

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Goodbye Operation 189

Joker Money Slide

I’d like to imagine Hal is doing this in his office, maybe even in Joker facepaint

It’s been a fun last couple of weeks, huh?  The Yankees have plucked the second and third best free agents off the market, the top 2 players available at premium up-the-middle positions, and they’ve done in relatively sneaky fashion.  While everybody else was assuming their primary focus was on Robinson Cano and Carlos Beltran, they pushed harder than many of us realized to get Brian McCann and then called an audible for Jacoby Ellsbury.  McCann will finally be formally introduced this afternoon at a 2 PM press conference, and once he passes his physical Ellsbury won’t be far behind.

After the slow, stagnant, predictable, and painful offseason of last year, this year’s has already been full of fireworks and we aren’t even to the Winter Meetings yet.  With wheels still turning on the Cano front and the signing of Ellsbury reportedly not stopping the Yanks from pursuing Shin-Soo Choo, I guess the most important question right now is who’s next?…

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The Problems With Jeter’s New Deal

Jeter July 2013

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

I don’t think there are many out there who thought Derek Jeter wouldn’t be playing for the Yankees in 2014.  I also don’t think there are many out there, myself totally and completely included, who thought Jeter would be playing for the Yankees on a new, higher-dollar contract in 2014.  The announcement of Jeter’s new 1-year/$12 million yesterday Friday afternoon was confusing to the say the least, as there seemed to be little real reason for it to happen.  The subsequent discussion and differing information on the luxury tax implications of the new deal made the situation even more confusing, and the latest reports on those figures make the deal look like a poor decision on the part of the Yankees.

Regardless of average annual values or luxury tax implications, the move to re-sign Jeter to this new deal wasn’t a good one Friday and still isn’t today.  It has nothing to do with money and nothing to do with Jeter’s production potential next season.  …

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Surprise, Surprise. Yankees Still The Most Valuable MLB Franchise By A Wide Margin

Quick, how much money do you think this down year cost the Yankees in terms of franchise value?  If you answered any amount of money, you’re wrong.  According to Bloomberg’s latest calculations, the Yankees are valued at approximately $3.3 billion.  That’s $1.2 billion more than the next most valuable MLB franchise (the Dodgers), and almost $1 billion more than what Forbes valued them at back in March.  Despite the scaled back payroll and subsequent failure to reach the postseason, stadium attendance that was down from 2012, and TV ratings that were the same, the Yankees are still the gold standard when it comes to professional baseball value and are still practically printing their own money.

While it is good news in the grand scheme of things – I’d much rather the Yankees be the most valuable franchise instead of one of the least – it does present an easy opportunity to revisit the topic of Hal’s plans for the team.  …

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