• Bad Winter For Yankees Dollars?

    Posted by on December 18th, 2010 · Comments (8)

    First, some background on the Kerry Wood deal via Gordon Wittenmyer -

    Count on the Cubs taking care of Kerry Wood after the iconic right-hander’s one-year, bargain-basement deal he signed Friday expires – and also once his pitching career is over.

    General manager Jim Hendry will have a lot more financial flexibility in his 2012 payroll to work with, and chairman Tom Ricketts seems fully behind keeping Wood in the Cubs’ fold after meeting Wood on Monday and all but closing the deal that may have cost Wood $10 million in guaranteed money left on the table in offers by other teams.

    Meanwhile, what Wood’s willingness to accept a $1.5-million deal has done for the Cubs is keep a winter of creative financing alive through the pursuit of a desired starting pitcher – if not an additional middle-bullpen reliever as well.

    Today, on the MLB Network, on what I think was a replay of Hot Stove, Jon Heyman said that Wood turned down the Yankees offer of $10 million for two years to take the Cubs offer of $1.5 million for one year. So, I guess that’s the deal Wittenmyer is referencing here.

    First Cliff Lee, and, now, Kerry Wood? Doesn’t anyone respond to Brian Cashman throwing heeps of Steinbrenner money at them anymore? What happened to that Cashman charm – you know, the one that we heard about when he supposedly talked Sabathia, Burnett and Teixeira into coming to New York? Didn’t work on Lee. And, Wood as well. Go figure.

    Comments on Bad Winter For Yankees Dollars?

    1. Raf
      December 18th, 2010 | 2:32 pm

      He should’ve wined and dined Wood and Lee’s wives :).

      In all seriousness, can’t fault a player for wanting to play closer to home (the White Sox were in on him too). Seems that Wood made his decision to play with the Cubs after attending Ron Santo’s funeral. Wood also said in his press conference that he didn’t want to leave Chicago the first time, but I don’t know how true that was; why didn’t he give them a hometown discount, if that were the case?

      Don’t forget that both Burnett and Teix signings worked from a geographic standpoint.

    2. butchie22
      December 18th, 2010 | 3:09 pm

      Geographic standpoint?! What the hell? Teix came to the Yanks instead of the Red Sox because the Yanks offered more money. If Arte Moreno added even more money then he would have been an Angel. As For AJ Burnout, money was his motivation. When his wife came to Toronto by limosine they used to have fights all the time! He would have loved to have Los Angels to give him the most money, we saw how he most probably got injured by the proximity of his wife this season,right!

      I wasn’t shocked by Lee. why face lineups like The Red Pox, The Bluebirds, The Blackbirds when you can face the likes of the NY Mess! He also claimed he wants to team up with Doc Halladay. He has an easier chance of making it to the World Series with a strong Philly team in a relatively weak league than a semi-strong Yankee team in the AL.

      Kerry Wood did a very noble thing. Stupid BUT noble. Santos was such a F5^&ing homer he makes John Sterling look objective in comparison. He has a pretty damn good chance of going to the post season and World series with The Bombers as opposed to the unlovable losers called The Cubbies. A very nice bloody nice and heartwarming story but it shows that some people in the corn fed MIdwest need to stop beleiving the Cubbie hype….

    3. Raf
      December 18th, 2010 | 3:56 pm

      @ butchie22:
      Teix has roots in MD, The Orioles and Nats were in on Teix. The Nats’ final offer was more than what the Yanks offered. Mrs. Burnett’s fear of flying is well documented, two teams were in on Burnett; NY and ATL. NY is much closer to MD than GA is. The proximity to MD was also mentioned when Burnett signed with the Yanks.

      Lee pitching for the Phils doesn’t guarantee anything, and he has shown that he can handle any team in any division. The Rangers are also in a relatively weak division, so I don’t think that means much.

      There’s nothing wrong with what Wood did. He wants to play with the Cubs on the cheap, that is his right. Nothing stupid about it.

    4. Evan3457
      December 18th, 2010 | 9:49 pm

      I have a theory.

      Maybe Lee wanted to play for the Phillies again.
      Maybe Wood wanted to play for the Cubs again.

      I know this theory sounds outlandish, but I’m sticking to it.

    5. Ryan81
      December 18th, 2010 | 10:28 pm

      Charm? I’ve seen this guy; he’s no taller than me (I’m 5’5 btw), his shoulders slump, he’s balding, and as pale as a ghost. And while I have only heard him talk in interviews, he sounds about as about as uplifting as the waiting room at Sloan Kettering.

      On the other hand, I’ve also met Pat Riley and was fortunate enough to talk to him for about 5 minutes. Let’s just say that in my humble opinion, Pat Riley came off as a tiny bit more charismatic than Brian Cashman. Kind of seems like a guy who could convince you to leave 40 or 50 million dollars on the table to take a lesser offer…

    6. MJ Recanati
      December 18th, 2010 | 11:09 pm

      @ Ryan81:
      Not seeing your point. Who cares if Riley is charismatic? Who cares if Cashman isn’t? Cashman’s been plenty successful in his profession, as Riley has been in his.

      An abundance of charm hasn’t done Riley as much good as Magic Johnson did for him and an absence of charm didn’t stop the Yankees from reeling off one of the great periods of success in Yankee (and baseball) history from 1998-present.

    7. Ryan81
      December 19th, 2010 | 1:15 am

      I completely agree that an absence of charm didn’t stop the Yankees from reeling off all that success. But of that success, how much of it was Brian Cashman’s doing? How much of it can you say came solely from ballplayers that Cashman acquired? And if you had to put a cap to the Yankees big-spending ways (which is currently happening according to a lot of very credible who talk about a “budget”), how effective can he be? I mean, quite frankly, I think that there is more to Cashman’s job than just throwing the highest number at ballplayers and expecting them to sign. And it’s not even in the free agent market: even in trades he seems to be fleeced. For example: Granderson, 6 years older and with 4 more full seasons of experience in the majors, was outperformed by a rookie the Yankees essentially traded him for. Meanwhile, Epstein got one of the top 5 first basemen in the league for parts, and it wasn’t the first time he did it (see: Schilling, Curt).

      At the end of the day, it seems that there might be people out there who can bring more to this job than Cashman. Sure, charm isn’t a quantitative quality in a person like OPS+, WAR, UZR, etc., but it shouldn’t be poo-pooed aside because there was obviously some other factors that convinced LeBron to take less money to be hated by most Americans and Lee to be hated after every bad start by the most manic-depressive, ill-mannered fans in all of North American sports. I think you and I both can agree that there was more to Lee’s decision than money (and even if we signed the guy, can you imagine him at the end of that deal?). It wouldn’t kill the Yankees to make a switch after 12 years of Cashman and bring in a guy that wouldn’t depress the living crap out of people in a negotiation because God forbid he might come back from the table with a contract signed for a reasonable price instead of having to deal with overpaying players past their prime/value.

    8. MJ Recanati
      December 19th, 2010 | 9:46 am

      Ryan81 wrote:

      But of that success, how much of it was Brian Cashman’s doing?

      A lot.

      Ryan81 wrote:

      How much of it can you say came solely from ballplayers that Cashman acquired?

      Baseball is a team game and no one player can win a World Series all by himself. Thus, it’s unfair for you to ask how much winning the Yankees did with just the Cashman acquisitions. But, having said that, I’d argue that Roger Clemens, Chuck Knoblauch, David Justice and Orlando Hernandez had a significant amount to do with the Yankee “three-peat” of 1998-2000 and all those players were brought in by Cashman. The Yankees then proceeded to make the playoffs every other season from 2001-2007, winning the pennant twice, advancing to the ALCS a third time and finishing with 100 or more wins three times as well. It’s hard for me to imagine that the GM of a team that successful doesn’t have the right to claim those laurels.

      Ryan81 wrote:

      And if you had to put a cap to the Yankees big-spending ways (which is currently happening according to a lot of very credible who talk about a “budget”), how effective can he be?

      The budget is set internally by his employers and isn’t a reflection of how much the Yankees can afford to spend but of how much they’re willing to spend. $200M (or thereabouts) is a fair budget for Cashman to work with and I’d say he’s worked with it effectively. You shouldn’t forget that a portion of the budget is currently allocated to players that have outlived their usefulness (Jeter/Posada will combine for $28.1M or 13% of the budget). Since All-Star shortstops and catchers don’t grow on trees, and since the Yankees have a mandate from their owners and their fans to win every year and to field an All-Star team every year, the Yanks have no choice but to overpay for their own stars instead of letting them walk away.

      Ryan81 wrote:

      I mean, quite frankly, I think that there is more to Cashman’s job than just throwing the highest number at ballplayers and expecting them to sign.

      I agree, there is more to Cashman’s job than free agency. That’s why independent scouting and development observers like Baseball America, Minor League Baseball, Baseball Prospectus and FanGraphs have all come to the conclusion that the Yankees have built a top-10 (and in some circles, a top-8) farm system. Cashman can certainly take credit for that too, as it has been his mandate to Damon Oppenheimer and the farm/scouting staff to improve what was once a position of weakness.

      Ryan81 wrote:

      And it’s not even in the free agent market: even in trades he seems to be fleeced. For example: Granderson, 6 years older and with 4 more full seasons of experience in the majors, was outperformed by a rookie the Yankees essentially traded him for. Meanwhile, Epstein got one of the top 5 first basemen in the league for parts, and it wasn’t the first time he did it (see: Schilling, Curt).

      Again, the Yankees have a mandate to win every year. Rookies that don’t project out as future Hall of Famers don’t win jobs on the team as everyday players. The Yankees didn’t think Austin Jackson could play every day and produce on the level they needed him to produce. And, lo and behold, Jackson was offensively inept this year. His value was tied to his batting average and his defensive range — nothing wrong with that — but Granderson had a great year too, even after a rocky start. Did the Yankees trade Jackson’s unknown future for Granderson’s known present? Yes. And for a team trying to win this year and every year, it was a sensible move. In a season or two, when the Yankees no longer want Granderson, they’ll move on. As for the Schilling example…that’s just bogus. Arizona had a better offer for Schilling on the table the season before and Arizona turned it down because of their owner’s anger at the David Wells negotiation. Boston fleeced Arizona because they just wanted to dump Schilling’s contract. The Yanks made a better offer and it can’t be held against the Yankees that the D-Backs shot themselves in the foot out of spite.

      Ryan81 wrote:

      Sure, charm isn’t a quantitative quality in a person like OPS+, WAR, UZR, etc., but it shouldn’t be poo-pooed aside because there was obviously some other factors that convinced LeBron to take less money to be hated by most Americans and Lee to be hated after every bad start by the most manic-depressive, ill-mannered fans in all of North American sports.

      I poo-pooh charm because I don’t care about it. GM’s can be charming or GM’s can be dour. I don’t know that Cashman is dour and I don’t have to believe he is just because you say so. He very well may be but, again, it hasn’t hindered the Yankees so I don’t see why it matters. For all of Riley’s charm, he still hasn’t won a thing without Magic Johnson and Dwayne Wade running the point guard position so I hardly see how Riley’s charm can just erase all those seasons where the Knicks and Heat didn’t win. Riley charmed LeBron James to Miami? Maybe. Or maybe LeBron always knew he wanted to play with his friend Dwayne and Riley had nothing to do with it. As to your comment about ill-mannered New Yorkers, I see no relevance here. I won’t even respond to it because I missed what you were trying to say.

      Ryan81 wrote:

      I think you and I both can agree that there was more to Lee’s decision than money (and even if we signed the guy, can you imagine him at the end of that deal?).

      Yes, we agree. Lee wanted to pitch in Philadelphia. How that’s Brian Cashman’s fault, I have no idea but, I admit, I am not sure if that’s what you’re trying to say here. As to the point about Lee at the end of the contract, all I can say is that he would’ve been worth it on the front end and that would’ve made up for it at the back end. It’s all math, after all.

      Ryan81 wrote:

      It wouldn’t kill the Yankees to make a switch after 12 years of Cashman and bring in a guy that wouldn’t depress the living crap out of people in a negotiation because God forbid he might come back from the table with a contract signed for a reasonable price instead of having to deal with overpaying players past their prime/value.

      In theory, no, a change after 12 years is never a bad thing. But change for change’s sake isn’t healthy either. If Cashman is doing a good job — and I think he is — then there’s no reason to change GM’s. The rest of your point is your subjective opinion and we have no corroborating evidence to suggest that Cashman is “depressing the living crap” out of potential free agents to the point that they’re going elsewhere. Finally, the Yankees should sign reasonable contracts. I wish it were so. Unfortunately, however, you assume that the entire market is reasonable and that the Yankees aren’t. Do you think Jayson Werth was a good signing for the Nationals? Would you have similarly criticized the Yankees had they signed Werth to that deal? And, to conclude, again, the Yankees pay their own players over market because they have a mandate to. Believe me, I wish the Yanks had told Jeter that he was only getting 3Y/$30M. I’d have been behind Cashman 100% if he told Jeter to piss off and move out of town. But, then, who would be the team’s SS? Eduardo Nunez? Do Yankee fans want to watch a utility player playing 160 games at SS? I know I didn’t…

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