Why The Yankees Should Eye Players That Carry Draft Pick Compensation

Despite signing Brian McCann and Jacoby Ellsbury to long term deals, the Yankees are trying their very best to acquire young talent for the future. With relatively new spending restrictions on prospects for winning teams, the Yankees have tried to crack the limitations of the new CBA. This season they acquired three first round picks, landing Eric Jagielo, Ian Clarkin, and Aaron Judge, as well as a big bonus second rounder in Gosuke Katoh. The organization also signed another top prospect in Leonardo Molina, a center fielder that was ranked by Baseball America as the 5th best international prospect for 2013.

While 2013 proved successful in acquiring top young talent, the Yankees did so by allowing Nick Swisher and Rafael Soriano to depart. The organization again lost Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson in 2013, but the team has already given up their three first round picks by signing McCann, Ellsbury, and Carlos Beltran. To limit the impact of losing out on prime picks in the 2014 Rule 4 draft, the organization plans to break the international bonus pool restrictions for the 2014 class.…

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Getting Over Igawa

When the Rakuten Golden Eagles announced that Masahiro Tanaka would be posted, Yankees fans everywhere (and fans of most every team, I suspect) rejoiced. This off-season has been tainted by the specter of the $189 MM payroll, and yet Tanaka offers hope that the Yankees may well renege upon their new found frugality (insofar as guaranteeing some $300 MM to Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann, and Carlos Beltran can be considered ‘frugal’). Throughout the off-season, there have been rumblings that the Yankees would be willing to break the bank for Tanaka, and Joel Sherman recently revealed that the front office would be willing go “way over” the $189 MM target, rather than brush up against it. Taken hand in hand, that sounds like a recipe for a Tanaka signing.

For all of this, it does seem like the Yankees have gotten over the disaster that was Kei Igawa. After all, Tanaka has been a part of the blueprint for the team’s off-season from the get-go.…

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Revitalizing The Yankee Brand With A Budget

…we’ll market it as New Slurm. Then, when everyone hates it, we’ll bring back Slurm Classic and make billions!

The above quote from Futurama refers to a real-life Coca-Cola conspiracy theory. In 1985, Coca-Cola released New Coke, completely changing the formula and leaving Coke drinkers incredibly disappointed. The conspiracy theory says that the Coca-Cola marketing department did this to counter declining sales, and the awful-tasting New Coke replaced regular Classic Coke to stir up free publicity. Of course after everyone protested the new formula, Coca-Cola went back to Coke Classic, and their brand was rejuvenated as soda drinkers returned to stores to grab up the original drink. Whether this was done by accident or with purpose will continue to be debated, but marketing vice president of Coca-Cola USA, Sergio Zyman, concluded that, “Yes, it infuriated the public, cost a ton of money and lasted only 77 days before we reintroduced Coca-Cola Classic. Still, New Coke was a success because it revitalized the brand and reattached the public to Coke.”

So what does this have to do with the Yankees?…

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Measuring Joe Torre as a manager

In my long life of watching the New York Yankees, I feel like I have two Yankee uncles. There was Phil Rizzuto and there is Joe Torre. Since the better half of me is Sicilian, I guess the feeling is natural. My Uncle Joe was elected into the Hall of Fame this week. I want to celebrate. I really want to celebrate. My problem is that I have no idea how to rate managers. In other words, I don’t know if he belongs there any more than Mayo Smith. You cannot go to a stat site and see WAR or wOBA totals for managers. And if you think win-loss records for pitchers are fairly useless, what does that make the win-loss total of a manager? So how, then, do we measure Joe Torre?

The current way managers make the Hall of Fame is to hang around a long time and win at least one World Series or manage the Yankees.…

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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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History Repeating Itself

It’s late 2007. The Yankees have developed a formidable lineup, one that features the MVP of the league, Alex Rodriguez, a 24 year old Robinson Cano, and an extremely productive core of Jorge Posada and Derek Jeter. After Alex Rodriguez was re-signed to a mammoth 10-year $275 million deal, and Posada reached his own new contract, the team still had a good amount of work to be done in the rotation. Chien-Ming Wang was the lone starter below a 4.00 ERA, but after allowing 12 runs in 6.0 innings during two ALDS starts, the Yankees were no longer confident in their ace. Mike Mussina and Kei Igawa were busts, and the team didn’t want to hand a 45 year old Roger Clemens $20 million. Andy Pettitte was re-signed for the 2008 season, but the biggest starting pitcher free agent that year was Carlos Silva.

The Yankees were in a desperate position where their only real shot-term answer in the rotation was to trade their top pitching prospects for Johan Santana.…

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Why “Clutch” Isn’t Really A Thing

With the MLB playoffs ongoing, the term “clutch” is being thrown around more than ever. Clutch is a media narrative in sports for coming up big in the perceived big moments of a game. This has always been flawed logic and lazy analysis for many reasons.

The clutch bias is that the biggest moments of the game are in late innings or in the last quarter of a game. In reality, often times the biggest at-bat in a baseball game can be in the fifth inning or the biggest play in a football game can be in the first half. This is an example of why closers are very misued in baseball. Also, clutch is a confirmation bias for the media. The media chooses what it wants you to remember about every player.

David Ortiz was being lauded by the media as one of the great clutch players in MLB history after his game tying grand slam in the 8th inning of game 2 of the ALCS.…

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Happy Anniversary, Aaron Boone!

Where were you the night of October 16, 2003?

I was in my apartment in Manhattan watching Game 7 of the American League Championship Series. I was alone in what I called my TV room. It was really my grandmother’s former dining room which I had turned into a makeshift office by placing my giant desktop computer – it was 2003 and flat screens weren’t the norm – onto the table which was still surrounded by a number of chairs. I lived alone, I didn’t cook, and I wan’t planning on throwing any dinner parties so the table was the perfect space for me to use as a writing space.

Back then, I was still a cocky Yankee fan. I believed that the Yankees were going to win because Boston couldn’t possibly win a Game 7 if they were up 10 runs in the bottom of the ninth with two outs.

I sure do miss those days, don’t you?

Anyway, after watching Roger Clemens lay an egg while at the same time watching Pedro Martinez making everyone, except Jason Giambi, look like fools at the plate, I began to wonder if the Yankee magic had indeed run out.…

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The Alex Rodriguez Dilemma

“If it comes down to, would we want the player we signed to be playing that position without any problems? Absolutely, no question about that,” Cashman said. “I think if people think there’s some sort of benefit by losing that talent, I mean, you can’t replace it. It’s not like, ‘All right, well, Alex is gone.’ If he winds up getting suspended and it’s upheld, how do you replace that? It’s not easy.”

It’s common for Yankee fans to underappreciate certain players. Over the last couple of decades, we’ve been spoiled by hitter after hitter, home run after home run, and big money contract after big money contract. Alex Rodriguez is the most underappreciated Yankee. Standing next to Derek Jeter for 10 seasons is no easy task, but Rodriguez has both out-hit and out-fielded the New York icon. Yet if you polled the average Yankee fan, most wouldn’t take a second thought in pronouncing Jeter the fundamental piece of the last decade.…

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