• Yanks Must Choose Between Tanaka & Payroll Goal

    Posted by on January 19th, 2014 · Comments (13)

    Via David Waldstein -

    The Yankees settled all of their arbitration-eligible cases on Friday as their payroll crept closer to the $189 million threshold for luxury-tax purposes. If the Yankees were to sign the coveted Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka before the Jan. 24 deadline, they would almost certainly surge past the mark.

    The Yankees agreed to terms with Brett Gardner for $5.6 million, Ivan Nova for $3.3 million, David Robertson for $5.215 million and Shawn Kelly for $1.8 million on Friday, and Francisco Cervelli for $700,000 on Thursday.

    With the Yankees not having to pay the suspended Alex Rodriguez, their payroll is hovering around $170 million. But they still have administrative costs and non-arbitration players to factor in, and that will take the total over $180 million. The final calculation is made at the end of the season.

    Tanaka could easily command a contract over $100 million, with an annual average salary above $18 million, making it almost impossible for the Yankees to sign him and keep the payroll under $189 million. Hal Steinbrenner, the Yankees’ managing general partner, told reporters at the recent owners meetings in Arizona that the Yankees needed to sign an additional pitcher. He has also repeatedly said that the goal of staying under $189 million will not be achieved at the expense of fielding a championship team.

    I know that the Yankees, Dodgers, Diamondbacks, White Sox and Cubs all have offers into Tanaka – with nearly all clubs putting together offers worth more than $100 million over six years.

    But, I betcha that the Yankees brass is all secretly hoping that he goes to another team – so that they can then say to their fans “Hey, we tried.” And, then, they can stick to their goal of having a payroll under $189.

    And, let’s face it, if you’re going to go over $189 million, then you might as well blast right past it. To miss the number by a million or two is just plain stupid.

    Comments on Yanks Must Choose Between Tanaka & Payroll Goal

    1. Scout
      January 19th, 2014 | 11:10 am

      I find myself agreeing with the comment that the Yankees would rather Tanaka go elsewhere. First, I believe Cashman has developed an aversion to overpaying players on long-term deals, and I suspect he wants Japanese players only AFTER they’ve proven themselves in the U.S. (Kuroda). So he would rather sign a Garza, Jimenez, or Santana at a lower average annual cost and a shorter term deal. Second, I share the belief that ownership wants to stay under $189 million. I would be happy to be proven wrong.

    2. McMillan
      January 19th, 2014 | 2:28 pm

      I don’t think Hal Steinbrenner is leaving the decision to sign Tanaka for $120-40 million, or to not sign Tanaka, largely or mostly with the same individual who made the decision to sign Kei Igawa at a cost of $46 million.

      I understand that the Steinbrenner-Cashman family and business relationships goes back decades and that, unfortunately, there will always be a place for Cashman within the Yankees organization, but if Steinbrenner is leaving significant personnel decisions largely or mostly with the history major from Catholic University, such a signing Tanaka or Garza, there is really something wrong with this picture.

    3. KPOcala
      January 19th, 2014 | 5:00 pm

      We don’t “really” know who pulled the trigger for Igawa. As for Tanaka, how far DO you go? Not my money, so if I had to spend an extra ten million to acquire him, and am convinced he can Really Pitch, ok. I was sure that the Yankees would have signed Darvish, I don’t get that one. And they have been overly conservative on “unproven” foreign talent the last few years, and have been burned, badly. And to be fair, we’d all be blaming Cashman and Crew if Chapman, Cespedes, Darvish, Puig, and anyone I missed had bombed. Such is the life of a Yankee GM, although given his salary, I’ll take the criticism and keep smiling………

    4. KPOcala
      January 19th, 2014 | 5:04 pm

      PS, I think the most idiotic thing that fans do is worry about payroll. Unless some get dividend checks from the team. And to listen to sportswriters over the years call the Yankee spending “obscene” makes me want to “Linda Blair”. Where’s all the outrage about the Angels, Dodgers, Rangers, et al? I noticed Gammons shut the hell up once the Sox had a ring, and paid all kinds of money for their “imports”……..

    5. McMillan
      January 19th, 2014 | 6:58 pm

      KPOcala wrote:

      Cashman

      He does mean well.

    6. KPOcala
      January 19th, 2014 | 7:46 pm

      @ McMillan: LMAO! Yep…

    7. Kamieniecki
      January 19th, 2014 | 8:55 pm

      KPOcala wrote:

      We don’t “really” know who pulled the trigger for Igawa.

      Maybe it was a horse named Trigger, from Castleton Farms in Kentucky, that made the decision to spend $46 million on Igawa? Maybe the horse counted out 20 million, 4, and 26 million with one or more of its hooves for Cashman in 2005, before it had to be put down?

      KPOcala wrote:

      PS, I think the most idiotic thing that fans do is worry about payroll.

      It’s not that fans worry about payroll in many instances, it’s that fans expect teams to be able to win more than one League Championship every 10 years with the highest payrolls in baseball. One pennant every ten years is fine for the Tampa Bay Rays, or a team spending $50 million per; it’s not fine for a team spending $229 million per. You can say that a G.M.. is doing a great job winning the second most games in the A.L. with a $50 mil. payroll; you can’t necessarily say that a G.M. is doing a great job winning the most games in the A.L. with a $229 million payroll – there has to be some championships and accountability that come with it.

    8. KPOcala
      January 19th, 2014 | 11:33 pm

      @ Kamieniecki: I believe you’re thinking of “Clever Hanz” being GM for the day :) A good case Could be made that he’d make a few better decisions. I wonder if Hal & Hank are letting Tesio & Clemenza make the big moves. Oh, I meant Trost & Levine. I WISH the other fellows worked for the Yanks……..

    9. McMillan
      January 20th, 2014 | 4:23 pm

      @ Kamieniecki,
      @ KPOcala:
      Tesio was always smarter… Signing Igawa was not the smart move. Fredo Cashman was the G.M., not Fat Clemenza. Fredo was the one responsible for one of the worst contracts in the history of North American professional sports, not Clemenza. Fredo Cashman was the one responsible for this team not having the starting pitching to win in the 2000s, not Clemenza.

      I’d love to take Fredo fishing out on a lake someday…

    10. Kamieniecki
      January 20th, 2014 | 5:48 pm

      KPOcala wrote:

      I believe you’re thinking of “Clever Hanz” being GM for the day.

      Wishful thinking… I’d take Clever Hanz being GM for the 2010s.

    11. January 20th, 2014 | 10:17 pm

      The X Factor here boils down to one thing, merchandising in the Land of The Rising Sun. What is the added value of having Tanaka on this club in additional dollars and cents.

      Frrom a purely baseball standpoint, let’s face facts, the club is in big trouble, finishing below .500 is not out out of the question. They need this guy.

    12. Kamieniecki
      January 21st, 2014 | 12:09 pm

      “But, I betcha that the Yankees brass is all secretly hoping that he goes to another team – so that they can then say to their fans “Hey, we tried.” And, then, they can stick to their goal of having a payroll under $189.”

      Is Tanaka, Sabathia, Kuroda, Nova enough to win?

      If he goes to another team, the Yankee brain trust say to their fans “Hey, we tried,” get below $189 and have the luxury tax rate reset, and save money going forward. If he doesn’t go to another team, years of planning to get below $189 are washed away, he might not be enough to win in 2014, and he might no be worth the $100-20 mil. going forward…

      McMillan wrote:

      Tesio was always smarter…

      @ McMillan,
      @ KPOcala:
      “Tessio” is still with us today. And he’s only 92… Maybe Cashman will give him a shot at a rotation spot, the way Francis Ford Coppola gave him his first shot at acting in The Godfather, if Tanaka goes to another team.

    13. McMillan
      January 21st, 2014 | 9:34 pm

      Kamieniecki wrote:

      “Tessio” is still with us today. And he’s only 92… Maybe Cashman will give him a shot at a rotation spot, the way Francis Ford Coppola gave him his first shot at acting in The Godfather, if Tanaka goes to another team.

      If Abe Vigoda can still throw the knuckleball, why shouldn’t Brian “I Don’t Care If It’s Old I Care If It’s Good” Cashman give him a chance to compete for the no. 5 job for his team in the Spring?

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