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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Some Yankees Fans Have Gnawing Feeling That All Is Not Well

There is little that screams the words “damage” and “control” like a typically news-media-shy baseball owner suddenly making the rounds of sports talk radio and opening his door to quotation-hungry reporters. In a spate of recent interviews, Hal Steinbrenner, the Yankees’ managing general partner, has given his personal assurance that his franchise remains committed to “fielding a championship-caliber team every year.”

Does a fan base that has gorged on postseason baseball in 17 of the past 18 seasons and wields its annual World Series expectations like a Babe Ruth-model bat now buy Steinbrenner’s song of eternal spring?

A random sampling of friends, acquaintances and denizens of the Internet would seem to indicate that Yankees fans have at least recognized the potential-to-likely effects of age and erosion on their team. Some alarmists believe they are already in the same boat as Mets fans, excitedly singing, “Row, row,” with opening day coming on Monday, while recognizing that any number of leaks could rapidly sink the figurative boat and the actual season.

Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 30, 2013 at 06:55 AM | 21 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: yankees

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   1. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: March 30, 2013 at 10:15 AM (#4399648)
If you resolve to not expect anything out of this team, you'll enjoy the season much, much more.

Start with the assumption that they're going to be mediocre, and if they're any good it will be fun.
   2. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 30, 2013 at 10:24 AM (#4399654)
That's definitely my take, but if things go as expected I'll win 4 BB-Ref sponsorship bets as a consolation prize.
   3. TerpNats Posted: March 30, 2013 at 10:28 AM (#4399655)
Just hope for competitive play (hey, they aren't the Marlins) and see where it leads you. If you're a Yankee fan, do you really want the front office to repeat George Steinbrenner's '80s tactics of spending like a drunken sailor, with no rhyme or reason? Do you remember what that got you? (The only decade from the 1920s on -- if you view decades as ranging from "0" to "9" -- where the Yanks didn't win at least two World Series. Heck, they didn't even win one.)
   4. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 30, 2013 at 11:40 AM (#4399679)
Just hope for competitive play (hey, they aren't the Marlins) and see where it leads you.

I don't know, I think I'd rather have extreme outcomes. Give me a 90+ win season or give me <75 wins. I'd be happy with a serious pennant contender, I'd be happy with a disaster that forced deadline trades of all the pending FAs to restock.

To me, mediocrity is the most likely to produce stupid decisions. If they're 41-40, 4 games back of the 2nd WC, Cashman will trade good prospects for more 1-WAR overpaid veterans to try and save his ass/fool the fans into coming/watching.

The 1980's stupidity wasn't produced by being bad, it was produced by being a perennial 2nd and 3rd place team. The Yankees had the most wins of the decade, but after '81, never could close the deal. The feeling of being "One piece away" led to Drabek for Rhoden, Buhner for Phelps, signing Kemp and Whitson and Baylor, trading for Britt Burns, etc.

When they finally sucked, they turned the team around pretty quickly.
   5. booond Posted: March 30, 2013 at 11:49 AM (#4399685)
I agree with snapper. Better to burn than to smolder.
   6. NattyBoh Posted: March 30, 2013 at 12:56 PM (#4399705)
Wait until 2014, especially if Cano leaves.
   7. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: March 30, 2013 at 01:30 PM (#4399718)
if you view decades as ranging from "0" to "9" -- where the Yanks didn't win at least two World Series.


Do you need the qualifier about how to determine what a decade is? They won a "mid-decade" World Series in every decade except the 80s and the current decade. Changing the determination of the 80s from "80-89" to "81-90" doesn't change that.
   8. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: March 30, 2013 at 01:37 PM (#4399720)
Give me a 90+ win season or give me <75 wins.


I was having this discussion with a friend last night and having suffered through last year I don't buy it. If the <75 win season gives you something beneficial en route toward a future 90 win season that's great but more often than not it doesn't really help in that regard.
   9. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 30, 2013 at 01:55 PM (#4399728)

I was having this discussion with a friend last night and having suffered through last year I don't buy it. If the <75 win season gives you something beneficial en route toward a future 90 win season that's great but more often than not it doesn't really help in that regard.


Well, in this case, a 75 win season would let them cash in Kuroda, Granderson and Hughes for prospects (none of them will be resigned b/c of the cap shenanigans. It would give them a high protected draft pick. And, if they find themselves too far apart with Cano, they can cash him in too, even if they bid on him after the season.

As long as the <$189M plan is in place for 2014, they're not going to be very good the next two years. If you don't look to be a contender in July, the best bet is to trade the guys you don't control past '14 for AA and AAA assets that may be ready to help when you can open the wallet again and sign FAs in 2015.

If you won't be any good anyway, I'd rather sacrifice 10 wins a year in '13-'14, for young talent. If you get one or two good players out of it, it's worth the trade, IMHO.
   10. Benji Posted: March 30, 2013 at 02:48 PM (#4399752)
With all the money they make, and the revenue streams that are promising them even more billions down the road the obsession over the luxury tax seems ludicrous to me. Yes, you need more than just expensive free agents to be the best, but playing guys like Francisco Cervelli just to avoid paying a more expensive catcher is like shooting yourself in the foot.
   11. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 30, 2013 at 03:01 PM (#4399759)
. . . Well, in this case, a 75 win season would let them cash in Kuroda, Granderson and Hughes for prospects (none of them will be resigned b/c of the cap shenanigans. . .

That may be overstating the difficulty of hitting the $189M luxury tax threshold. Parting company with Kuroda & Youkilis, along with the retirements of Pettitte & Rivera, cuts $49M in 2014 payroll - and don't forget the 2014 credit for Vernon Wells! That leaves room to resign Cano & Granderson, or perhaps others. Moreover, if resigning their own talent looks like a better option than the diminishing free agent pool for 2015 and beyond, it wouldn't surprise me to see the Yanks re-up their own and push meeting the luxury tax target back a year or two.
   12. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 30, 2013 at 03:20 PM (#4399769)

That may be overstating the difficulty of hitting the $189M luxury tax threshold. Parting company with Kuroda & Youkilis, along with the retirements of Pettitte & Rivera, cuts $49M in 2014 payroll - and don't forget the 2014 credit for Vernon Wells! That leaves room to resign Cano & Granderson, or perhaps others. Moreover, if resigning their own talent looks like a better option than the diminishing free agent pool for 2015 and beyond, it wouldn't surprise me to see the Yanks re-up their own and push meeting the luxury tax target back a year or two.


The Vernon Wells "credit" has been debunked. He counts for zero in '14.

I believe that there is something in the CBA that makes it advantageous to get under $189M next year, rather than later.

Also, Granderson looks to be in rapid decline; who wants to resign him?
   13. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: March 30, 2013 at 03:50 PM (#4399779)

As an organization, they are saying they are driven to have a payroll of $189 million or less in 2014 when that becomes the luxury tax threshold. Because the incentives that come via the new CBA are just too great for them to ignore.

For if they are at $189 million or less for the three seasons from 2014-16, they not only avoid paying one cent in luxury tax, which would rise to 50 percent for them as repeat offenders, but they also would get roughly $40 million in savings via the to-be-implemented market disqualification revenue sharing program. However, only teams under the luxury-tax threshold get reimbursed in this program, which is designed to prevent big markets such as Toronto and Washington from receiving revenue sharing dollars, which in turn will lower how much teams such as the Yanks pay (as long as they are under the threshold).

And even if they just went under $189 million for 2014 before going over again in 2015, the Yankees would receive serious benefits. They would get about $10 million in the revenue sharing disqualification program. Also, by simply going under the threshold once, the Yankees would go back to having a 17.5 percent tax rather than the 50 percent that begins in 2014 for them if they never go under. Keep in mind that since the luxury tax went to 40 percent for them in 2005, the Yankees have averaged paying $25.75 million in tax annually.


Link
   14. Walt Davis Posted: March 30, 2013 at 05:39 PM (#4399823)
Really the Yanks have been acting "irrationally" for years. With the existing 40% tax hit, doing something like bringing Mo back actually costs them $21 M. (or $24 M for Jeter if you prefer). People want them to resign Cano AND keep a $220+ M payroll ... that means essentially resigning Cano at $35-40 M a year.

Obviously the Yanks generate more $/WAR than other teams, maybe even enough to make a 40-50% lux tax rate rational.

As to 2014 ... calm down folks. They've already achieved their goal. b-r puts their 2014 payroll around $105-110 at the moment (hey Sean, where's AROD?). They can resign Cano and 2-3 FAs and still get the reset.

I'm really not understanding why the Union is just agreeing to all this stuff. Is average payroll not actually going down despite the Yanks not spending and teams like the Marlins and Astros going sub-basement? Does the Union actually think it's a good idea (from their perspective) to make it more profitable for the Yanks to operate at $190 than $220? It seems like almost every young star has signed long-term extensions which (yes) make them extremely wealthy and set for life but (also) may well look like peanuts in 5 years. The MLBPA seems to be painting itself into a corner where they are going to have to accept a salary cap in exchange for a maintained revenue percentage.
   15. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 30, 2013 at 05:44 PM (#4399828)
As to 2014 ... calm down folks. They've already achieved their goal. b-r puts their 2014 payroll around $105-110 at the moment (hey Sean, where's AROD?). They can resign Cano and 2-3 FAs and still get the reset.

Walt, that $100-110M covers all of 6 players (ARod, CC, Tex, Jeter, Suzuki and Wells). 3 of which are likely to be pretty useless. Then you have to account for about $10M in 40-man roster benefits.

If they pay Cano $25M p.a., that leaves $50M to fill 18 spots, with almost no pre-arb contributors identified.

Say Robertson and Gardner get $5M each in Arb3, Boesch gets $3M in arb 2, and Nova $2M, Cervelli, Rapada and Stewart $1.5 M each in arb 1, and Nunez, Phelps and Eppley make the team as pre-arb guys.

That leaves you $30M and this is your roster

C Cervelli/Stewart
1B Teixeira
2B Cano
SS Nunez/Jeter
3B ???
LF Wells/Boesch
CF Gardner
RF Suzuki
DH ARod

SP Sabathia, Nova, Phelps, ???, ???, ???
RP Robertson, Rapada, Eppley, ???, ???, ???

That's an awful, awful team, and you can't fix it with $30M.

You have maybe 3 above average position players (Cano, Gardner, and Teixeira if you're very lucky), 1 above average SP, and 2 averagish SP if you're lucky, and 1 above average RP.

You have gaping holes at C, RF, LF, 3B, the rotation, the pen, and probably an awful platoon at SS.
   16. Gotham Dave Posted: March 31, 2013 at 12:38 AM (#4400020)
Do you need the qualifier about how to determine what a decade is? They won a "mid-decade" World Series in every decade except the 80s and the current decade. Changing the determination of the 80s from "80-89" to "81-90" doesn't change that.


Except for the decade of 2000-2009, which, believe it or not, ended over three years ago.
   17. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:59 AM (#4400071)
FWIW, here are the Times' Tyler Kepner's predictions (* = wild card teams):

ALE: Rays, Orioles*, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Yankees
ALC: Tigers, Royals, White Sox, Indians, Twins
AWW: Rangers, Angels*, A's, Mariners, Astros

LCS: Tigers over Rays

MVP: Longoria
CYA: Verlander

NLE: Nats, Braves, Phillies, Mets, Marlins
NLC: Cardinals, Reds*, Brewers, Pirates, Cubs
NLW: Giants, Dodgers*, Diamondbacks, Rockies, Padres

LCS: Nats over Cardinals

MVP: Kemp
CYA: Strasburg

World Series: Nats over Tigers
   18. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 31, 2013 at 09:12 AM (#4400073)
And from the other side of the tracks, here are the Washington Post's Barry Svrluga's picks:

NL Wild Card game: Braves over Giants
NLDS: Nats over Dodgers; Reds over Braves
NLCS: Reds over Nats

MVP: Votto
CYA: Cueto
ROY: Yasiel Puig, Dodgers

AL Wild Card game: Rangers over Yankees (hah!)
ALDS: Tigers over Rangers; Blue Jays over Angels
ALCS: Blue Jays over Tigers

MVP: Trout
CYA: Verlander
ROY: Wil Myers, Rays

World Series: Reds over Blue Jays

   19. Cowboy Popup Posted: March 31, 2013 at 11:24 AM (#4400121)
LF Wells/Boesch

I sure hope Melky Mesa has a good year. That would be an awful platoon.

3B ???

David Adams!

SP Sabathia, Nova, Phelps, ???, ???, ???
RP Robertson, Rapada, Eppley, ???, ???, ???


3 of Banuelos, Pineda, Marshall and Warren could slot into the rotation by next year (not that I think it is likely). Montogmery is a no brainer for one of the relief spots. Chase Witley grabs another. I'm sure another arm (Betances? Turley? Someone we've never even heard of) will pop up.

The farm should produce a decent amount of MLB ready pitching talent next year. Maybe no impact players, although Pineda, Banuelos and Montgomery certainly have that potential. But it isn't like they will be running Brad Halsey or Jeff Karstens out there. At least that would be a fun pitching staff to watch.
   20. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 31, 2013 at 11:31 AM (#4400124)
LF Wells/Boesch

I sure hope Melky Mesa has a good year. That would be an awful platoon.

3B ???

David Adams!

SP Sabathia, Nova, Phelps, ???, ???, ???
RP Robertson, Rapada, Eppley, ???, ???, ???

3 of Banuelos, Pineda, Marshall and Warren could slot into the rotation by next year (not that I think it is likely). Montogmery is a no brainer for one of the relief spots. Chase Witley grabs another. I'm sure another arm (Betances? Turley? Someone we've never even heard of) will pop up.

The farm should produce a decent amount of MLB ready pitching talent next year. Maybe no impact players, although Pineda, Banuelos and Montgomery certainly have that potential. But it isn't like they will be running Brad Halsey or Jeff Karstens out there. At least that would be a fun pitching staff to watch.


Fun? Yeah, young guys are fun. But let's not pretend a rotation of CC, Nova, Phelps, Pineda, Warren and Banuelos isn't most likely going to be a disaster. You just can't rely on 5 SPs who have no sustained track record. You might catch lightning in a bottle, but it's doubtful.

Plus, that rotation would have plenty of injuries and blow ups, so you'd be seeing the Brad Halseys plenty. Jeff Karstens is actually pretty good now. At this point, he'd be the #2 in the projected 2014 rotation.
   21. Cowboy Popup Posted: March 31, 2013 at 02:23 PM (#4400184)
But let's not pretend a rotation of CC, Nova, Phelps, Pineda, Warren and Banuelos isn't most likely going to be a disaster.

Well, it is extremely unlikely that is the rotation next year, but yeah, it will not be a good rotation. I'm not sure I would call it a disaster, but it won't be good.

You just can't rely on 5 SPs who have no sustained track record.

Nova has a sustained track record, it is just a bad one.

But I still don't see the awfulness you are concerned about. Pineda has pitched in the Majors before. Banuelos, if healthy, is pretty polished. Phelps has MLB experience, Warren will too by the end of the year (of course, he isn't very good). And 30 mil will get them at least one starter.

The Yanks might be a 78 win team next year or something. That isn't an "awful, awful" team.

Jeff Karstens is actually pretty good now. At this point, he'd be the #2 in the projected 2014 rotation.

No he's not. It's an illusion of limited playing time, playing in a big ballpark, and being in a shitty NL Central that is about to be a lot tougher now that the Astros are gone. 13 of his 90 2012 IP were against the Astros (2.77 ERA, 15 Ks, 4 BBs). In 2011 he had 22 IP of .40 ERA against them (8 Ks, 1 BB). That's 14% of his IP over the last two seasons against a AAA squad. Karstens would get housed in NYS, against the DH, playing against exclusively MLB caliber teams.

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