Sunday, December 29, 2013

Puig's New Car Is Awesome

Dodger's outfielder and anti-communist hero Yasiel Puig's Mercedes reached recorded speeds as high as 110mph. Can your car do that? Didn't think so.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Buyer Beware

As the race to overpay Masahiro Tanaka heats up, teams need to take into account two very important factors: 1) the Yankees really want this guy, and 2) if the Yankees really want this guy his best days are probably behind him and he's almost certainly going to underperform.

In fact, the best way to measure a player's future performance is in inverse relation to the Yankees's interest in the player. Are the Yankees making a push? Bidding against themselves and pinning the team's future on this player? Run, don't walk, away. Far away. Get a job in a league in another country if you have to, just to stay away.

Are the Yankees showing complete and utter disinterest? Go in. Hard. Remember when the Yanks wouldn't even call Ibanez after he was the only player who showed up to the 2012 postseason? He hit 29 home runs in 2013 for someone else. Remember the players the Yanks signed to replace him? Maybe, but you remember them from previous years when they were performing for other franchises.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Oh Snap!

The Rakuten Golden Eagles have posted Tanaka. Normally this would be grounds for celebration, but in doing so the Golden Eagles have made a couple of my previous posts completely moot, making me look like a complete @$$hole.

You'll pay for this Golden Eagles!! You'll Pay!! You better save those $20 million you get from the posting fee, you're going to need them for Youkilis's medical bills.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Are the Rakuten Golden Eagles the Yankees of Japan?

After signing an injury-plagued, former MLB star in Kevin Youkilis, it begs the question. Right now the answer is: it depends.

If the Eagles hold onto Tanaka, then Youkilis is a complimentary piece that one hopes will bring some veteran know-how and presence to a contending team. If the Eagles, on the other hand, have decided to part with a younger, effective player and have decided to appease the fanbase by signing older, injury ravaged versions of former stars, then yes, the Rakuten Eagles are the New York Yankees of Japan.

Choo Takes Less Money to Stay Off Sinking Ship

Outfielder Shin-Soo Choo has agreed to a 7 year, $130 million contract with the Texas Rangers. This represents $10 million less than the deal he turned down from the Yankees about a month ago, when he decided he didn't want to spend his late thirties on a team with no pitching on the 25 man roster or the minor leagues.

Additionally, with no Texas state income tax, Choo will pocket slightly more than he would have had he accepted the deal in New York, guaranteeing that he will actually be able to afford a home in New York City—should he inexplicably decide to live there—something that New York's offer could not guarantee.

"I like New York and would love to be able to live in Manhattan," explained Choo. "But if you're not the head of a large bank or brokerage you basically have to live in Jersey, or Westchester. I was not moving to @#$*ing Westchester."

Choo's agent, Scott Boras, explained the economics in these terms, "Basically, the Yankees would have to have offered $1.3 billion in order to match the housing buying power Choo will enjoy in Arlington Texas. That was our counteroffer, but the Yankees were worried about guaranteeing that much money to a player on this side of forty. Maybe in seven years."

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Ownership Stops Trying to Make Sense

The news coming out of Japan is that the Rakuten Golden Eagles are planning to offer Tanaka a record one year contract rather than post him and send him to the Major Leagues. With the new posting system in place, this is hardly surprising. For a player like Tanaka, the team knows they will get the maximum $20 million bid whether they post him now or next year—their last chance to do so before he becomes a free agent.

It may make sense, in such a situation, for the team to hold onto the player as long as possible, maximize his profit-generating value to the team, and then collect the $20 million later, since they know that's what they're going to get anyways. By capping the posting fee, teams with high level players like Tanaka know exactly how much they are going to get so the best business plan is to wait to post the player (sure, there's always the risk of injury but that clearly isn't influencing Rakuten's thinking right now, and I wouldn't expect it to be).

What's strange is that this deal was supposedly intended to level the field for small- and mid-market teams who could not compete with some of the outrageous posting fees for higher end talent being posted from Nippon Professional Baseball. But under this new system, multiple teams can bid the maximum and then have to compete on contract size, which leaves the small- and mid-market teams at the same disadvantage they were in under the old posting system.

The only leveling effect this new posting system has is to make more of the money a team spends to acquire a Japanese player through the posting system liable to the luxury tax. Maybe that's all the smaller market teams wanted, but then why not just make the posting fee taxable rather than cap it? The smaller market teams would then see more of the total money spent on the new player taxed and redistributed to them (currently, the $20 million maximum posting fee would not be factored into luxury tax calculations), and higher level players would be more likely to be posted. (You could also make any amount of the posting fee over $20 million liable to the tax, and it would have the same effect as the current system except it would make it more likely that players get posted earlier). It's in Major League Baseball's best interests that these players be posted because they tend to be impact players (early Dice-K, Yu Darvish) which generates increased interest, revenue, and on-field competition. It also helps Major League Baseball be more international, something they have pursued aggressively.

Increasingly I feel like this posting system was put in place by owners who didn't have a clear sense of what they were doing. Limiting the posting fee doesn't help smaller market teams. It doesn't help NPB or MLB. The only person helped by this arrangement is the player being posted. That hardly bothers me as I'm a labor guy, but it seems weird that ownership would make this move unilaterally since it serves none of their interests. Either these owners know something I don't, or we've just exploded the myth of the meritocracy.

This Could Be Trouble

Nothing official yet, but reports are indicating that Tanaka will not be posted.  It makes sense.  With the new posting system, his home team would be receiving $20 million.  By contrast, Matsuzaka's former team got over $50 million under the old posting system.  A young ace phenom like Tanaka is worth more to his team than $20 million.  So it's looking like Tanaka won't be available to the outside world until maybe 2015 (if his team decides to part with him then), or in 2016 as a free agent.  This will work in our favor because at that point there will be no artificial budget caps, and they can do what they do best: spend, spend, spend.  If this is true, then the Yankees need to hope that Sabathia returns to form, Kuroda continues his dominance, Nova builds off of last season, and Pineda, Phelps, Nuno and anyone else can hold down the end of our rotation. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

How Many Physicals Has Beltran Failed?

With the pick ups of Matt Thornton and Brian Roberts, the Yankees continue their trend of getting older, more brittle, and overall worse than they were last year. I can only assume that's their organizational mandate and orienting philosophy. Which is why I find it so odd that they haven't announced the Carlos Beltran deal yet. How bad are this guy's knees that even the Yankees are hitting pause? I mean, I know there's no cartilage there but maybe it's even worse than that. To give the Yankees pause, I can only assume Beltran no longer has knees, and that his femur has fused to his lower leg bones, the names of which I am completely and utterly ignorant. But I'm not so ignorant as to let Google have a record of my having searched 'names of lower leg bones'. Employers read that $#!% nowadays and I'm not going to risk future employment opportunities for the sake of self-improvement. #capitalism.

Yanks to Sign Roberts

Though he has been limited by injuries for the past several seasons, it is being reported that the Yankees are likely to sign former Oriole second baseman Brian Roberts. Roberts will fill the hole vacated by Travis Hafner: guy on 40-man who spends most of the year on the DL.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Yankees Have No Choice but to Continue to Operate at Sequester Levels

While the recently revealed budget deal struck between Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) lifts sequester level spending caps from many federal agencies, the New York Yankees received no such reprieve and will have no choice but to continue to operate at sequester levels.

"Obviously, we're less than pleased," explained team president Randy Levine. "But this is a bipartisan deal and is likely to pass. We're simply going to have to find a way forward even though we believe these across the board cuts could have been lifted by finding savings elsewhere."

The Yankees have been hamstrung in recent months by an operating budget below $200 million, the lowest for the agency since the Clinton era.

"These aren't the gold old, dot-com days anymore," lamented Yankees GM Brian Cashman. "With current tax rates, they're stifling innovation and creativity, and it's hurting the job creators. We used to go up to a free agent—any free agent—and just be like, 'Want a job? Here's a blank check, write whatever you want on it.' We used to get some real creative numbers, innovative unfathomable numbers, but now we just can't create jobs like we used to."

Some experts have pointed out that the New York Yankees are not a federal agency, and that their current budget cap is self-imposed rather than a function of the sequester.

"People will believe whatever they want," explained acting head Secretary Hal Steinbrenner. "This is America's team, and it's being limited by a congress who seems to have prioritized scoring cheap political points over job creation, tax relief, and general preparedness. At day's end, we're all losers."

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Internal Documents Reveal Yanks Concerns over Cano's Age

A trove of internal documents acquired by RJG show that the Yankees held extensive discussions about Cano's age prior to determining that a long term deal was not in their best interest. According to these documents, the Yankees questioned giving so many years to a player under the age of 35, pointing out that their current road map is based on the principle that a player's most productive years are between ages 37 and 43.

"Look," explained one Yankee official who insisted on anonymity in order to speak freely about internal strategy meetings, "when you look at our track record, we only like giving multi-year deals to players like Ichiro, or old Jeter. On the trade market, we generally go for older players with multiple years left on their contract like Wells and Soriano. We're not about to blow up our whole plan of having the oldest roster in baseball by doling out contracts to guys in their early thirties or late twenties. That's just not how we're built."

When it was pointed out that Brian McCann was signed to a multi-year deal at age 29, the official defended the consistency of the team's position.

"That's not fair. You have to understand that at McCann's weight, he's at least 36 in catcher years, which is a metric developed internally to ensure a consistent rate of passed balls from year to year. If there's one thing we don't like, it's change. And youthishness. Cano was youngish for a second baseman. McCann is in a different category."

Despite their average age, the Yankees have been remarkably consistent over the years, generally making the playoffs and entering most years as World Series contenders. Some, however, are wondering if the Yankees are currently reaching the limits of their approach to team building.

"The Yanks' decision making seems to be ruled by a lot of weird, old-timey values that don't make sense anymore," suggested one rival executive. "They like old vintage style ball players, like those videos from the 20s and 30s where the legs are moving really fast but the player is moving really slow. That's why they sign guys like Teixeira, or Posada. The fans don't help either. Their best hitter and defender doesn't run out a bunch of automatic outs and they get mad. The franchise responds but the team gets worse. Maybe it's time to play 2014 baseball and not 1927 baseball, even if that was Murderer's Row."

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Yanks Must Now Look to Trade Market for Second Baseman

With Omar Infante off the board, the Yanks must now look to the trade market to fill their hole at second base. Usually the grounds crew takes care of that sort of thing, but I suppose a trade is just as good.

With their outfield depth, the Yankees could look to move one of their excess outfielders for a second baseman. Some have suggested trading Gardner, but the Yankees need Gardner for when Ellsbury inexplicably destroys himself for absolutely no reason.

Here does not endeth the lesson, however. The Yankees could look to move Ichiro Suzuki, a living legend who brings a veteran presence and instant star power to any team. He could be an attractive candidate, particularly for a younger team needing an outfielder and some veteran leadership.

In light of this, I have the perfect candidate: the Seattle Mariners.

Think about it, they have some money and they need to replace Ibanez. They could take on Ichiro in exchange for second baseman Robinson Cano. Cano currently has 10 years left on his contract and is still owed $240 million, but at 31 he's young enough to continue to play at a high level for some time and has been durable enough to not be overly concerned about the length of the contract. After all, the way the Yanks have spent this offseason, they are clearly living for now, so why not make the switch? Seattle, though they have some cash on hand, is currently somewhat hamstrung by Cano's contract, unable to make any really significant moves.

By trading Ichiro, the Mariners get a player who is not only legendary, but has proven he can play in the demanding spotlight of the Northwest media and fanbase. The Yankees fill their hole at second and would be set at the position for the foreseeable future. Considering Seattle's financial handcuffs, they would probably pick up part of the costs of Cano's contract in order to facilitate the deal, easing the Yanks' own concerns about a ballooning payroll. Everybody wins.

Oh $#!%, Breaking News! Yankees Farm System Consists of Actual Farms

It is no secret that the Yankees have not produced a quality Major Leaguer since they tried to trade Cano before letting him try-out at second. A recent investigation by Respect Jeter's Gangster has discovered one possible reason for the lack of player development: the Yankees farm system largely consists of actual farms.

While this does not bode well for the Yankees' future, the front office has assured RJG that these farms provide all the organic produce served at Yankee Stadium concession stands. This explains how the Yankees are able to pass along the savings to their fans, who enjoy some of the most affordable concessions in all of baseball.

Yanks Miss Out on Infante after Disrespecting Cano, And Cashman Is in Denial

The collective hopes of Yankees' fans everywhere had settled on Omar Infante playing second base for us next year. It's not that we really wanted Infante, but he was kind of all that was left after we had made Cano cry and forced him to find solace in the arms of $240 million. That whore. Sorry. I'm still sort of bitter about the break-up I guess.

By the way, none other than Boston slugger David Ortiz agrees that the Yankees disrespected Cano, and since Ortiz is the principal authority in Yankee Land on all baseball related matters, I win.

We lost Infante over 1 year and $6 million, which is actually the Yankees' operating budget for second base in 2014.

That said, we'll probably need those $6 million to pay the medical bills when Jacoby Ellsbury inexplicably runs into a wall or another player attempting to field a ball he couldn't possibly reach anyways. He plays the game the right way: delusionally.

When asked about Ellsbury's injury history, Cashman seemed to act like his injuries were all freak accidents. This is kind of true, but some players attract freak injuries. Nick Johnson anyone? He broke his leg much the way Jacoby broke his ribs. Some guys just tend to find ever more unbelievable ways to end up on the DL. How many of Pavano's injuries were recurring and how many were weird, freak events? Some guys just break easy.

The Yankees may have passed on Infante in the hopes that Tanaka eventually gets posted, knowing that under the currently proposed posting system they will likely need to make a bigger contract offer to retain Tanaka than originally thought. I suggest this on the assumption that the Yankees have some rational thought process behind their roster building strategy this winter, and that Hal Steinbrenner isn't simply collecting outfielders because he's mad with power.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Cano Felt Disrespected By Yankees

Apart of the news coming from Cano's introduction as a Mariner, is that he felt disrespected by the Yankees throughout the negotiations.  The basic issue was that the Yankees never offered above 7 years, $175 million, which was a solid offer, but when you're comparing that against a 10 year, $240 million contract, it's easy to see which team wants you more.  Being a Mariner does not have the same impact as being a Yankee, and allegedly, being in New York can only help your endorsement deals.  However, not paying income tax in Washington allows Cano to hold onto more of that money, and winning teams tend to bring in endorsement deals for their star players. 

Now there is this enduring myth in baseball about player loyalty to teams.  It goes back to a time before free agency, when baseball players stayed with the same team their entire careers (unless they were traded), because well, the teams controlled the players.  Now, teams control the players for about 6 years.  After that, the players are free to test their value on the open market.  Not all players chase the largest contract.  Cliff Lee spurned the larger offer by the Yankees to play in Philadelphia, and Dustin Pedroia famously accepted a well-below average contract for his services to stay in Boston.  But do not be deceived.  Both players are being paid over $100 million to play baseball, and in Lee's case, it's not like he took the lowest offer.

The myth of player loyalty to teams is built on two false premises.  First, there's the idea that this team drafted you, developed you, and made you a star, so now you're turning your back on them by signing elsewhere.  The reason this is a false premise, is that the team drafted you because of the value they believed you could have to their team.  They weren't loyal to the player, they were interested in their talent.  If the player struggles, they are cut.  Plain and simple.  And whether they're performing or not, this player can be traded at any time at the whims of the team.  It's a business, and and the teams loyalty is to the company.  The only reason a player makes it to the big leagues is because they perform, and the only reason they become a star, is because they continue to perform once they make it to the big leagues.  Their performance at the big league level makes the team a lot of money.  That's the reason they remain on the team.  If they do not perform, then trust that the team has no enduring loyalty to that player.  If the player is worth less than their roster spot, then that player will no longer be on the team.  So when that player becomes a free agent, there is no reason to believe that they owe their team anything beyond an opportunity to listen to their offer. 

Now, in some cases if a player feels particular loyalty to a team, they may feel compelled to give a home town discount if the money for the large contract just isn't there.  But this is because the player is placing value on other considerations (playing for the team closest to their home, or they're on a small market team that they've come to like).  Teams like the Yankees and Red Sox who are ranked as the 1st and 3rd most valuable baseball franchises respectively with a net worth in the billions, should not be given home town discounts.  Their financial success is based on the performance of the players.  As the Yankees learned last year, and the Red Sox the year before, fans don't suffer the cost of $10 beers to watch a losing team. 

The second premise is more of a perception.  We, the fans, view the team from the perspective of fans.  So we expect the players to have the same loyalty to the team that we do.  But none of us would accept this premise for our own lives.  If you were hired by a company out of college, trained by them, and given the opportunity to advance, then another company comes and offers to up your pay 100%, are you saying that you would stay with your company out of loyalty?  Especially knowing that your company won't match that offer, even though the work you're doing for them is making them mounds of money?  Get out of here!  You may be willing to negotiate a pay raise where you still accept less money, but you won't take a substantial pay cut just to stay with them.  We can have undying loyalty to our teams, but we can't expect their employees to feel the same.  It's a different relationship altogether.

And this is what bothers me about what CC Sabathia said:

“Just a player like that, putting on the pinstripes, and being able to play your whole career in New York means something – to me, obviously....It didn’t mean that much to him (referring to Cano)."

CC Sabathia came to the Yankees not because he wanted to be a Yankee, but because we outbid the closest team by $40 million.  Then let's not forget how he asked for an opt out clause in case his family wasn't adjusting to New York, only to then exercise it so he could get an extension, and more money.  Putting on pinstripes only meant something to Sabathia because of the millions of dollars they paid him to put them on.  Ironically, the extra $65 million Seattle was willing to pay Cano, was enough to make him value putting on a Mariners cap.  Funny how that works.

Cano Felt Disrespected By Yankees after Yankees Disrespected Him

At his introductory press conference, Robinson Cano claimed the Yankees made no effort to retain him and that they disrespected him. A lot of people will complain, seeing just another self-indulgent athlete, and say that they would love to be disrespected with $175 million, but this misses two key points.

First, you are not Robinson Cano. You are not the best second baseman in baseball and on a Hall of Fame trajectory. You work at a desk, or maybe standing, just not standing at second base for a major league baseball team. $175 million to you would be a gross overpayment relative the economic value you produce in return. That is not the case with Cano.

Which brings us to the second point. $175 million, in baseball, is not a lot of money. It sounds like a lot of money to everybody else, partly because wages have stagnated in this country since the '70s and partly because it is $175 million. But within the framework of baseball economics, it is not a lot of money for a player of Cano's caliber, especially when players like Ellsbury are getting $153 million and players like Hughes are getting contracts at all.

The teams have a lot of cash right now, cash generated by the players. Cano is one of the best players in the game, and so he deserves to be paid like it. In an era where salaries are continuing to rise, his deal is not that gargantuan. Believe me, in the next five years, more than one player will surpass it.

Offering Cano $175 million is at best willfully ignorant of the value he generates for the team. Some will say people didn't come out to watch Cano last year when he was the main attraction, but I think that's unfair. The Yanks were losing in a town used to seeing them win at least 94 games a year. Add completely irrational Yankee Stadium ticket prices to the mix and there was bound to be a drop in interest. I went to a few games last season, and watched many on television, and the only players I really cared about were Cano and later Soriano.

But back to the issue at hand, the $175 million offer. It was an insult. It was a thorough undervaluation for the only durable and productive player that has performed consistently for the Yankees for quite sometime. Cano and his agents negotiate on behalf of Cano's business and financial interests. Cano was going to get a contract starting with a '2', which means the Yankees were at least trying to get a 12.5% discount. Considering he ended up with $240 million, the Yankees' offer meant a 27% undervaluation. Sure, the market hadn't produced the $240 million figure yet, and many would say that offer itself is an overvaluation, but in this league, with its current economic state, the Yankees were basically asking Cano to play for them, a team willing to devalue him to his face, for a discount.

Cano is a baseball player, not Wal-Mart. He doesn't do rollback sales. He gets paid to play baseball. The team he had played for was busy painting him as a greedy person who only cared about money as they tried to hold onto as much of theirs as they could. Why would he give them an almost 30% discount? Or even 12.5%?

We can pretend that we prefer the Pedroia's of the world, players who take less money to stay with one franchise, but the Pedroia deal has to look completely idiotic at this point. Think about it, Dustin Pedroia has a worse contract than Jacoby Ellsbury. By choice. And why? So he can be associated with the same corporate entity (the Boston Red Sox) for his entire career. That's completely stupid.

Cano was not stupid, and the Yankees were disrespectful in their approach to him. They frankly wasted his time and should have simply said we're moving in a different direction because we've decided we don't want to spend what it is likely going to cost to retain you. Instead they tried to bully him and diminish his value through the press by blaming him for their declining ticket sales. Disrespectful.

Thursday, December 12, 2013


The Mariners have officially introduced Cano to their fans, and they have this cool 'Hello Cano' logo with Cano's stance post-hit. Cano has grown out his beard, and while the Mariners may not yet be better than the Yankees, they clearly have a better graphics department (Yankees Universe anyone?). If the Yankees strategy of growing the farm system by overpaying free-agents instead continues, it's only a matter of time until the Mariners's graphics department has a baseball team they can be proud of.

Joba Chamberlain has agreed to underperform for 1-year for the Detroit Tigers. Who knows, maybe he'll have success there like Phil Coke. More likely, however, he'll continue to eat up way more food than quality innings.

The Yankees are looking at Omar Infante, but so far have been unwilling to budge from their 3-year offer. Since his name isn't Robinson Cano, expect the Yankees to budge.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Yankees Without A Franchise Player

With Cano signing with the Mariners, and the Yankees picking up Ellsbury and Beltran it got me thinking.  For many Yankee fans, we never experienced a franchise that didn't have a franchise player.  Even when we weren't winning, we still had at least one iconic player that represented the brand.  We have been extremely lucky to have several over the years, and since 1996 we have had some combination of Jorge Posada, Bernie Williams, Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, and Mariano Rivera.  The players we picked up who supported them also became core Yankees (the Paul O'Neil's, David Cone's, Tino Martinez etc.) but we always took particular pride in the core four.  Before the dynasty Yankees, we had Don Mattingly through the 80's and early 90's to put our hope in.  I bring this up because Derek Jeter is likely to retire after the 2014 season.  He will be the last of the core group to go, and will mark the end of an era for the Yankees.  So when we return for the 2015 who will be the face of the franchise?  Ellsbury?  Beltran?  Sabathia?  McCann?  Teixeira?  Let's say Robertson and Gardner are still around, will they stand out as the next line of franchise players?  I think the Yankees are in for a new era of their history, where their most iconic players will be hired hands instead of home grown guys.  Even when the Yankees have been bad (and they've had their stretches) they've had a homegrown guy the fan base could support and get behind.  With Cano gone, we are going to see the culmination of the Yankees team-building strategy: a team without a face.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

We Better Not

Apparently the Phillies have placed Papelbon on the trading block. If we trade for Papelbon instead of giving Robertson a chance, the sort of thing that would be classic Yankees, especially with three or four superfluous outfielders on the 25-man, I will not be watching this season. I don't care how many outfielders we sign.

The Two Things I Still Don't Get About the Yankees Position Vis-a-Vis Cano

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

What Exactly Is the Yankees's Plan Right Now?

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

Did Cashman Get Boras'd Again?

The Yankees were very clear that they had learned their lesson about giving big money, long term contracts to players in their 30's.  They always come back to bite us, because we end up with a roster of unproductive, oft-injured players who are being paid for the production they had with their previous team.  That is why the Yankees would not go up to $200 million and 8 years for Cano.  It was a sensible response to the lessons learned from A-Rod, Pujols, Hamilton etc., and the Yankees were right to consider the impact of long term deals like those.  Then the Yankees signed Ellsbury.   The 30 year old outfielder got a 7 year deal worth $153 million deal.  But let's not forget the option year which would bring the deal to 8 years and $169 million.  So yes the Yankees had learned their lesson, until super agent Scott Boras came in.  Apparently, the same tricks that landed A-Rod and Teixeira their mega deals, were in play when Boras came to the Yankees peddling Ellsbury.  I don't know what was said in those meetings, but I don't doubt that Cashman walked out of those meetings believing that Ellsbury will be healthy, hit 30 homeruns in Yankee stadium, and be productive at age 38.  The Yankees are also apparently in on Scott Boras' other client Shin Soo Choo, because as we all know, we just don't have enough outfielders.  Is it possible that Boras' negotiation tactics include hypnotism and/or the mafia? 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Yanks Get More Injury Prone

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.