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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Stephen Drew: A $5 Million Bridge, Insurance Policy, Lottery Ticket, and Potential Trade Chip

Drew vs BAL

Courtesy of Getty Images

And the offseason of surprise moves keeps chugging along!  He was arguably the least wanted by the fanbase of all the Yankee free agents when last season ended and the least likely to return when the Gregorius trade went down, but somehow we woke up this morning in a world where Stephen Drew will be a Yankee again in 2015.  Actually it wasn’t somehow, it was the team agreeing to a 1-year/$5 million deal with him last night, but you get the idea.

The response to this move from readers of this site and the Yankosphere in general seems to be mostly negative, and that’s understandable considering how horrible Drew was after the Yankees traded for him last year.  But when you really look at this signing from all angles and remember the roster landscape that Drew will be fitting into, this move may end up being the best one the Yankees made this offseason.

The biggest point of contention among folks who are against this deal is the apparent blocking of the kids at second base.  …

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IIATMS Podcast Episode 33: Hall of Fame and Women in Sports Journalism

(We recorded a podcast earlier today but only two of us – yours truly and E.J. – recorded. Domenic is on the 7-day DL and will hopefully be back for the next recording.)

In this episode we discussed the Hall of Fame results, of course. E.J. rants a little bit about certain outcomes but probably not the ones you think. We also talked about an incident that happened to me New Year’s evening which led into a discussion about women in sports journalism.

As usual, leave your thoughts below, tweet us (@ejfagan and/or @stacegots) or email us.


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Yankees Sign Stephen Drew to 1-Year Deal

The Yankees have signed Stephen Drew to a 1-year deal:

We can relegate the Refsnyder/Pirela spring training competition to Bubba Crosby territory.

Some quick thoughts:

  • This should make Brendan Ryan expendable. Drew gives the Yankees a second MLB-caliber shortstop on the roster. If Gregorius gets hurt, Drew plays. Jose Pirela is potentially much more useful as a bench player than Ryan.
  • I think Drew gets a pass for 2014, for reasons we should all be familiar with. He was a pretty good player in 2013. If he can play a solid 2nd base, I think he’s a 1.5+ win player. If he fails to hit well, Refsnyder can take his place while Drew becomes a bench player.
  • There is going to be a lot of yelling about how the Yankees didn’t give Refsnyder a chance.
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2015 Hall-of-Fame Quick Take: Half-Empty, Half-Full; the Hall of Screwed; & Ridiculously Predicting the Next Three Years

(1) The Hall is Half-Empty. I suppose last year’s voting was sillier; not only did a majority of voters think Jack Morris deserves the Hall, but over three times as many thought so than voted for Mike Mussina or Curt Schilling. The similar nonsense this year is over three times as many thinking John Smoltz deserving as thinking Mussina was, given that Mussina was far more clearly Hall-worthy, whether your metric is wins (even if Smoltz remained a starter in his four years as a reliever, he wouldn’t have Mussina’s 270 wins), career WAR (Mussina’s 82.7 is well above Hall-caliber and nearly 25% better than Smoltz’s kinda-Hall-caliber 66.5), or elite years (Mussina had a league-wide top-5 WAR seven times, including a #1; Smoltz had three, with no #1s).

Two Smoltzy thought experiments: (1) If Smoltz pitched instead for the Royals or Twins, and lacked the World Series aura and the Maddux/Glavine reflected glow, is there a shot in hell he’d be a first-ballot winner, or wouldn’t he be a weaker Bert Blyleven case, earning election only after many years of languishing and hand-wringing?…

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Quick Hit: Yanks Re-Sign Slade Heathcott

Missed this yesterday, but via Joel Sherman, the Yankees re-signed outfielder Slade Heathcott to a MiL deal yesterday.  The deal includes an invitation to Spring Training.  You’ll remember that Heathcott was non-tendered in November to clear roster spots for upcoming moves.  Apparently there wasn’t much interest in Heathcott among the rest of MLB, as he sat out there for over a month before being re-signed.

Once a top 5 prospect in the organization, Heathcott all but fell off the prospect map after playing in only 9 games last season before being shut down with another knee surgery.  He’s battled knee and shoulder problems since his pro career began, and has played in just 309 total games since being drafted in 2009.

Despite all the health problems and the removal from the 40-man roster, Heathcott is relatively young at 24 years old and could open the season in the Triple-A outfield thanks to the glut of other prospects expected to play in Double-A.  …

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Who Is Gonzalez Germen?

Gonzalez Germen 2014

Courtesy of USA TODAY Sports


Friday, December 19, 2014 was arguably the most unexpectedly busy day of this Yankee hot stove season.  Nobody saw the big Prado/Phelps-Eovaldi/Jones trade coming, and once it happened it sparked a ton of talk around the Yankosphere about what the deal meant for this coming season and future seasons.  While all that debate was happening, the Yankees made a much smaller move in acquiring pitcher Gonzalez Germen from the Mets for cash.  That move didn’t draw much attention at the time for obvious reasons, but with the Yanks continuing to wheel and deal and the bullpen looking primed to be a major source of spring competition, maybe it’s time to shine the spotlight back on German for a bit and see if he can factor into that bullpen mix.

Germen is a 27-year-old right-handed pitcher from the Dominican Republic.  He was signed by the Mets in 2007 and made his US debut for their rookie league affiliate in 2009.  …

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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

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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A Better Bullpen Part 1: Why Baseball Accidentally Made Up the Closer Position

Why did major league teams evolve to designate their best relief pitcher as the closer, who enters the game only in save situations? It began in the 1950s, when relief pitchers started to pitch more innings than starting pitchers:

Teams carried fewer relief pitchers before the 1980s. Generally, they had just one or two “firemen”, who are ace relief pitchers, and a few mop up guys for low-leverage situations. They almost always entered the game before the 9th inning with men on base. Bruce Sutter was the first relief pitcher to start more than 20% of his career games in the 9th inning. John Franco was the first pitcher to hit 50% in 1987, and Lee Smith broke 75% in 1994. As far as baseball history goes, the modern closer is a very new thing.

Up until the late 1960s, relief pitchers posted worse ERAs than starting pitchers. But that changed as, and relief pitchers now post lower ERAs than starting pitchers:

Why are ERAs lower?…

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