Thursday Ramblings

As we wind down Spring Training and approach Opening Day, we’re really just going through motions. At this point, we’re just hoping that no one else gets hurt. And, of course, there is a chance that Derek Jeter will miss Opening Day. Great. Let’s officially start the rambling there.

If Jeter is out for Opening Day, that is going to be one hell of a lineup in a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad way. What could it look like? Let’s assume they’re facing Boston’s lefty, Jon Lester.

1. Kevin Youkilis, 3B
2. Eduardo Nunez, SS
3. Melky Mesa, CF/LF (justification here)
4. Robinson Cano, 2B
5. Juan Rivera, 1B
6. Ben Francisco, DH
7. Ichiro Suzuki, RF
8. Francisco Cervelli
9. Brett Gardner, LF/CF

Um….yikes? That is…not desirable. It could shake out differently and we could end up with Ronnier Mustelier in the fold, likely at third. If that happens, the lineup could be:

1.… Click here to read the rest

To Budget, Or Not To Budget?

After a year of planning a team around a $189 million budget, after thousands of blog posts, millions of water cooler chats, billions of comments about how to spend and who to trade, and one unhappy general manager, Steinbrenner might have a change of heart. But before you get too excited, I’ll warn you that this comes from Wallace Matthews.

Despite his reputation for wild speculation, I have to agree with some of Matthews’ conclusions. In the last few months, Yankee fans have grown uneasy with the increasing age of the team, as well as the organization’s reluctance to spend on free agents. The team’s last big signing was Rafael Soriano, and before that you have to look back to 2009. After watching Nick Swisher, Russell Martin, and Soriano walk without the team bringing in reasonable replacements, Yankee fans have grown uneasy. Hal Steinbrenner was taken aback by their disappointment.

“I’m surprised to hear that there’s anger, if you see what we’ve done this offseason.

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Re-Upping Cashman Bodes Well For The Future

From Buster Olney:

Contract negotiations between the New York Yankees and general manager Brian Cashman are going smoothly, according to sources, and could be concluded with a new deal in the week ahead.

Cashman, who has been the Yankees GM since February of 1998, could theoretically walk away from the Yankees at the end of the month when his contract expires.

But Cashman has made it clear he’d like to return. The Yankees say they want him back, and contract talks with club executives, including Hal Steinbrenner, have started.

On a simple, practical level, bringing Cashman back bodes well for the future because he is a good general manager. While he certainly makes mistakes and has a handful of abysmal decisions on his record, his overall body of work is strong. He has built a consistent winner that also has a stocked farm system, allowing him to make trades and promote prospects to supplement the current roster. Additionally, he handles the administrative portion of the job well, as he knows how to interact with the local media and has deftly survived a difficult to navigate internal hierarchy.… Click here to read the rest

Ten Answers to Ten Pressing Matters

I’m usually not one for reading the Post, but in these desperate times for content–with a little help from my girlfriend’s wandering eye–pointed me to this article from GAK3 outlining his ten most pressing concerns for the Yankees heading into this season. Since I’m an absolute know it all, I’ll answer his concerns:

1. Who is Derek Jeter? King leads off rather existentially, doesn’t he? Anyway, I’ve said many times before that there’s likely no way Derek Jeter can hit as poorly as he did last season. On the positive side, Jeter still did manage a .340 OBP, though his power dropped off. I’m hoping for a modest increase in power, back to his .139 career IsoP. I could also see a BABIP rebound from Jeter helping out his numbers. So, who is Derek Jeter? I think he’s a great hitter who had a down year and will rebound. We must, however, take caution; Jeter is old and that rebound will probably be slight.… Click here to read the rest

Hal: Payroll To Stay At Same Level

Hal Steinbrenner was just on the radio with Michael Kay, and Marc Carig tweeted an interesting quote from the interview:

Hal on payroll: “I can safely say we’re going to stay at the same level.”

This is important information, as it allows us to gauge how the Yankees will approach the offseason. They started 2010 with a payroll of 213 million, and currently have about 145 million tied up in 16 players. That leaves 68 million available for the club to spend in order to stay at the same level. Assuming Derek Jeter gets about 20M, Mariano Rivera gets 15M, and Andy Pettitte returns at about 10M, that leaves 23 million to fill out the roster, with the only real hole remaining being in the rotation.

This means that while the Yankees will target Cliff Lee, they are unlikely to sign any other big name free agents if they can snag the star lefty. Jayson Werth and Carl Crawford are not going to be Yankees, unless Brian Cashman pulls a “Teixeira” and asks for an expanded payroll due to special circumstances.… Click here to read the rest

Why Hal Steinbrenner should open the books a little for Johnny Damon

The common line is that right now, the Yankees have about 2 million dollars left in their budget for the 2010 season. I think that this is entirely plausible. Hal Steinnerbrenner gave Brian Cashman a hard number, and said that he would have to approve any spending over that number. He did so last year with Andy Pettitte, and I think we’re going to see the same thing with Johnny Damon.

On one hand, the Yankees needed a budget. In both the free agent market and the draft, they often found themselves taken advantage of by free agents. I would probably put Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera in this category (both received over market value contracts), I would probably expect Derek Jeter to sit there after this season, and I definitely think that Johnny Damon expected the same thing to happen to him.

Think of it this way: Andrew Brackman got almost 5 million dollars guaranteed from the Yankees even though everyone in the world knew he needed Tommy John surgery.… Click here to read the rest

Yankees Sticking To Budget

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From Joel Serman (h/t to Fack Youk), we get an interesting report on the Yankee ownership’s unwillingness to spend past their stated budget:

The Yankees are telling agents that they only have $2 million, at most, to spend on a left fielder. They figure Damon, even in a diminishing market, would never drop his demands that low. The Yanks being the Yanks, of course, could always just create extra money in the budget as they did last year when GM Brian Cashman successfully lobbied Hal Steinbrenner to add Andy Pettitte’s $5.5 million base plus makeable incentives to the payroll. [snip] After having won the World Series, ownership is not quite as compelled to blow up the budget again.

Hal Steinbrenner, after all, has shown a much greater willingness to hold to some financial guidelines than his father, George, did. For example, the Post has learned, the Yanks had a completed trade last July with Milwaukee for Mike Cameron, pending ownership’s blessing to take on the money.

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The Yankee Bowl?

From Stewart Mandel (SI):

NEW YORK — New York Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and the commissioners of the Big East and Big 12 will announce at a news conference Wednesday the formation of the Yankee Bowl, to be held at the new Yankee Stadium beginning with the 2010-11 postseason, according to sources with knowledge of the event.

The game, which will seek NCAA certification next spring, would reportedly pit the Big East’s fourth-place team against the Big 12’s No. 7 selection. Organizers plan to hold the first edition between Dec. 29, 2010 and Jan. 2, 2011.

With Hal Steinbrenner as the leading figure in the Yankees’ organization, it has become exceedingly clear that the new Yankee Stadium will be host to an assortment of non-baseball events, especially football games. It seems as though the Yankees intend on showcasing Yankee Stadium as a sports venue, rather than just a baseball park. I don’t really have any problems with that, as the old Stadium was also host to a number of non-baseball events.… Click here to read the rest

Payroll concerns limiting Cashman?

From George King (NY Post):

At Friday’s trade deadline, the Yankees added utilityman Jerry Hairston Jr. and nothing else. Not wanting to add payroll, the Yanks weren’t serious players for lefty Jarrod Washburn, who went from Seattle to Detroit.

So, what are the chances of making a deal now that a player has to clear waivers in order to be traded?

“Who knows — if it makes sense we will look at it,” GM Brian Cashman said. “There will be opportunity for people to do deals in the new deadline. What that means for us remains to be seen.”

If Hal Steinbrenner didn’t allow Cashman to take on significant money before July 31, it’s unlikely he will do so now. However, the Yankees are locked in a tight race with the Red Sox, and if Aceves isn’t right and Mitre continues to get spanked, they will be forced to make upgrades.

Multiple sources said yesterday that players will get through waivers this year more than in recent years due to teams not wanting to get stuck with a contract via the claim process.

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