Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Saturday, December 7, 2013
I understand why the Yankees may not have been willing to go to 10 years on a contract with Cano. We all know what a debacle the A-Rod contract has been and that's a lesson worth learning. That said, Cano has been one of the best players in baseball at a time when there was a fairly strong PED testing policy in the sport, and so some of the issues that have arisen with A-Rod (both in terms of injuries—which may very well be linked to his steroid use—and in terms of off the field and suspension issues) do not apply to Cano.
The Hamilton and Pujols deals are also cautionary tales, but those deals looked bad in year one, and so they seem more like bad bets in toto not bad deals because of diminishing returns in the back end of the contract. Unless you think Cano will forget how to hit next year, those contracts aren't clearly lessons in this case either.
That said, the Yanks did not want to go 10 years. Fine. But part of the Yankees's pitch was that playing in New York provided Cano with two things that no other location could provide. First, Cano would have the chance to become a legendary Yankee, maybe even the first Dominican-born player to be enshrined in Monument Park. Second, if Cano is serious about extending his brand beyond baseball, then New York was the place to do it, as it offered more advertising opportunities.
The second claim is complete nonsense. Like it or not, a Kevin Durant has a far bigger national profile than anybody in baseball right now, and he plays in Oklahoma. Playing in New York alone won't make Cano a national figure. Hanging out with Rihanna in the Philippines will. Being a baseball ambassador abroad, as Cano has been the last few years, will. Frankly, being the attraction for a major American sports franchise, the way he will be in Seattle, will do more to make Cano a brand than playing in New York. Remember when Ichiro toiled in obscurity in Seattle? No, because he was the face of the franchise despite not even speaking much English.
Now the first claim is the one that really irks me. You can't say to someone that there is value in being a Yankee for life when you're not willing to give him a contract that extends through his baseball career. Whether he'll be the same player or not, Cano will probably still be playing baseball 8 years from now. Which means that being a Yankee for life is only possible if the Yankees would still commit to him 8 years from now, which, based on how they are treating him now, is hardly a lock.
Derek Jeter was under contract, coming off a completely lost year in which he suffered two ankle breaks, and got a raise for no reason that increased his share of the Yankees payroll for luxury tax purposes, a payroll the Yankees are supposedly so concerned with decreasing. That's how you treat a life-long Yankee. The Yankees's pitch to Cano seems to have been: "You could be a life long Yankee! Just not with us."
His agents must have known this, and if Cano didn't, his agents informed him. That, more than anything about the contract, is why Cano left.
Friday, December 6, 2013
They wouldn't go beyond 7 years, $160-170M for Cano. They would, however, go 7 years, $153M for Ellsbury, a far lesser player regardless of what you think of Ellsbury. They threw money at McCann, and as best I can tell, they are still considering signing Shin Soo Choo, which means they might still be in on Beltran too. If they sign either, the Yankees will have Soriano, Gardner, Wells, Ichiro, Ellsbury, plus Shin Soo Choo or Beltran. The only player out of that group with any trade value is Gardner, and that value is minimal. He's not a star player, he gets hurt a lot, and he's a year away from free agency.
So, as best I can tell, rather than invest in Cano, who may not be great for all of the next 10 years but will almost definitely be better than all six of our potential outfielders over that span, the Yankees have decided throwing big contracts at outfielders before even signing a single starting pitcher (we currently need three, though Kuroda seems to be on the verge) is their best course of action moving forward.
Does this make anyone feel good? Does it give you any confidence this team isn't flying completely blind? When the 2013 season ended, was your first thought 'We need more offense from catcher and another Gardner-type outfielder or we're #$*&ed' or was it, 'the Yanks better re-sign Cano or we're #$*&ed'?
Now we're apparently planning to make Soriano a DH, even though we need that DH spot if A-Rod/Jeter/Teixeira are going to be in the line-up more than 3-4 times a week, while simultaneously rotating five outfielders in and out of the line-up. Wow. Meanwhile, our solution to our disastrous player development track record has been to fire no one and to ask our scouts to discuss players less with other scouts so as to not have any preconceived notions influencing the evaluations. WTF?!?!
I'm not saying the Yanks had to match Seattle's offer, but if the Yanks had signed Cano for $225M but not signed Ellsbury, would you feel better or worse about this team (long term or short)? This doesn't make any sense to me.
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
We all know the Yankees have refused to sign the best player on the free agent market because they have learned their lesson about long term contracts. The Yankees have now applied that time worn wisdom by signing a player on the wrong side of 30 with a long injury history, and who is at best a mid-, not top-, level major leaguer, to a seven year contract. Let's not forget that he's also a legs guy whose own team did not even try to resign him.
The Yankees have learned that when you sign older, injury prone, but proven players—players like Nick Johnson, Kevin Youkilledus, and Travis Hafner—they always provide above average major league production for a healthy part of the season. Granted, their healthy part of the season does not extend past April, but that's besides the point.
With this signing, the Yankees are out of the Beltran sweepstakes. Beltran has his own health issues (knees), but has stayed in the line-up and is a very productive hitter. The Yankees were reluctant to give Beltran a third year, and have instead opted to do the responsible thing and sign an injury prone Ellsbury for seven years.
If this reminds you of letting a productive Ibanez go in favor of an always injured Hafner, it should. The better option was easily within reach and the Yankees chose the worse one. Why? Because Brian Cashman is not a very good GM. He's just not.
He knows how to close deals, but with Yankee money that's not exactly hard to do and he consistently makes bad personnel decisions while speaking out of turn publicly about far better players who are both more productive and durable. Let's not forget he's been in full charge of baseball operations for some time and our minor league system hasn't produced any high impact players during that time, except maybe an 8th inning reliever. Great.
Friday, November 29, 2013
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Since I last wrote that Yankees have signed Brian McCann and emerged as the front-runner for Carlos Beltran. They haven't signed Beltran yet because they don't want to add a third year to his contract offer, on account of his old age/knees. The Yankees have also met with Cano's representatives in order to inform them that they are asking for way too much money and that Cano shouldn't be so greedy when negotiating with a strictly-for-profit corporation.
But there are much bigger issues on the horizon as Thanksgiving approaches. For example, if you're living in the world today, then you are probably familiar with a particularly troubling social phenomenon: people with ugly babies. It is a delicate situation to encounter such a person, but unfortunately there is only one way to deal with hideous baby havers: You gotta tell them. You gotta tell them their baby is impossible to look at. In daylight anyways. And to take that ugly @$$ baby and keep it indoors, away from my sensitive optical nerves. That's all there is to it.
This won't be a comfortable conversation. But ugly baby havers can't keep pretending their babies are beautiful. A plain looking baby is one thing, but you can't be showing off an ugly baby. Especially that #$&@ing ugly.
Hideous baby havers lying about their baby's good looks is how we end up with people like Brian Cashman, ugly and yet way too full of themselves. It's gotta stop. Now. Some babies are ugly. Deal with it.