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Buzzin’ ‘Round Your Hive

The Boston Globe‘s “The Buzz” is proving to be a strong Hot Stove roundup, and a helpful one given the local tendency to see every free agent through pinstriped glasses. Here’s some of the latest they’ve collected, the top two of which were updated this afternoon:

A.J. Burnett:

According to a report in the Toronto Star, the Blue Jays have an offer ready for Burnett for $54 million for four years that they have been waiting to make to his agent . . . According to the Globe’s Nick Cafardo, the [Red] Sox don’t want to extend themselves that long contractually or money-wise for Burnett . . . The New York Post’s George King writes . . . “word is spreading that A.J. Burnett will shy away from The Bronx.”

Derek Lowe:

According to the Globe’s Tony Massarotti, Derek Lowe is among the most probable targets for the Red Sox . . . “a major league source has confirmed that the Sox have inquired with agent Scott Boras about Lowe, interest deemed sincere enough that Boras has equipped the Sox with one of his famed marketing portfolios, or ‘books,’ on the player’s value.” Massarotti writes that Lowe “has never has been shy about declaring his fondness for Boston and East Coast baseball . . . Lowe has made Boston his No. 1 preference according to the Globe’s Nick Cafardo. . . . Cafardo also reported that the Mets are going after him strong and have the resources to land him. The Mets also employ Lowe’s personal trainer, Chris Correnti, but Lowe, who wants to play for a winning organization in a place where he’s comfortable, may not see the Mets fitting his criteria. St. Louis, Atlanta, Milwaukee, and Detroit might be better fits, writes Cafardo.

These two pitchers are the Yankees’ top two targets after CC Sabathia (though Burnett shouldn’t be), but it just might be that neither wants to pitch for the Yankees, which could either pass those Yankee bucks on to the likes of Ryan Dempster and Oliver Perez, or, better yet (much better) into an increased offer to Mark Teixiera. Speaking of . . .

Mark Teixeira:

From the Globe’s Nick Cafardo: “The Sox also should be in the mix for Teixeira, in whom they have long had interest. The early chatter is a contract in the vicinity of 7-10 years at more than $20 million annually might whittle the field, though the Angels, Red Sox, and Yankees won’t likely feel their pockets burn no matter what they have to pay. . . . It would be a surprise if they don’t make a substantial offer, though it might not come on Day 1.” According to a report in the Washington Post, the Nationals may be making a run at Teixeira: “Against all odds and logic, the Nationals envision themselves as serious players in the Teixeira sweepstakes, according to team and league sources, and are believed to be preparing an offer they feel will be competitive with the others Teixeira is likely to receive. In other words, it would almost certainly be north of $100 million, if not $150 million.”

I don’t know about you, but the thought of a Boston infield with Kevin Youkilis at third, Jed Lowrie at short, Dustin Pedroia at second, and Mark Teixeira at first base is going to ruin my sleep until Teixeira (hopefully) signs elsewhere. I doubt Teixeira will quarantine himself on a losing team like the Nats, but he’s a Baltimore native, so it’s slightly less than ludicrous.

Meanwhile, heres something I stuck in comments earlier today that I’d be interested in getting your reaction to:

I don’t doubt the accuracy of the estimates of the Yankees offer to Sabathia, but I think a lot of the speculation about how much money the Yankees have to throw around beyond Sabathia is misguided and uninformed. Dealing in 2009 dollars only, I’ve heard estimates that the Yankees have as much as $80 million coming off the books, but my accounting shows something closer to $65, and that was before they spent roughly $9 million on Marte and Swisher for 2009. So $56 million minus $24M for CC . . . that’s $32M. That’s just a pair of $16M pitcher contracts before the payroll starts going up. That means no money for another hitter unless they’re willing to push the payroll past $230 million [or punt on one or both of those other pitchers, or if they don’t land CC]. With unsold suites, $11 million in unpaid taxes being collected by the city comptroller, and a federal investigation into their tax-exempt bonds for the new stadium, I’m not sure they have that much flexibility.

Categories:  Cliff Corcoran  Hot Stove

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1 OldYanksFan   ~  Nov 15, 2008 7:05 pm

FWIW: Manny turned down 3/$60 from LA. He ain't gonna come cheap, whereever he goes.

2 Mattpat11   ~  Nov 15, 2008 7:17 pm

Hmm. The Red Sox were smart enough to know AJ isn't worth the time or money. I wonder if the vaunted Yankee front office is smart enough to follow suit.

3 OldYanksFan   ~  Nov 15, 2008 7:28 pm

From RAB: "Yanks’ Wang feeling better"
Man... you gotta be careful when a sentence contains words like: Yanks, Wang, Feeling Better. I'm sorry, but when Joe G. pulls CMW out of a game, the headline "Girardi yanks Wang early" will always get a snicker from me.

4 Mattpat11   ~  Nov 15, 2008 7:30 pm

Any word on Mussina yet?

5 OldYanksFan   ~  Nov 15, 2008 8:06 pm

[4] He said he will have a decision this week. I wonder if the Yanks are doing anything (like begging) to encourage him to come back for another year.

6 Mattpat11   ~  Nov 15, 2008 8:07 pm

I'm considering begging him.

7 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Nov 15, 2008 8:07 pm

[3] I'm sure that wasn't an accident.

[4] No.

8 Chyll Will   ~  Nov 15, 2008 8:09 pm

I dunno, Cliff, it's getting to look like the organization is very much like those families that are rich until the father shoots himself and you they out they're up to their eyes in debt. How do we know that this talk about AJ and Lowe (neither of whom we really need) isn't just cover for some serious hustling to cover a huge, thunderous bill on the way?

Maybe it's all just smoke, considering how quietly the Swisher trade was done before anyone knew about it. I think if the Yanks don't land CC and they don't get Tex, they should just blow off the rest of the free agent market and make some trades for 2010 and beyond. Then send Hank off on a big-mouthed bass fishing trip around the world until we reach the WS again. Really, I could stand a couple-few years without him. Seriously. Oh, and take all of the Rudy puppets with him, please??? (or trade Levine for John Henry, straight up?)

9 Mattpat11   ~  Nov 15, 2008 8:15 pm

I agree completely. If the Yankees cannot land Sabathia or Tex, don't make bad signings for the hell of it. I doubt they would though. We'd wind up with AJ and Ollie.

10 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Nov 15, 2008 9:17 pm

[8] 2010, you mean when LeBron and Bosh are available? and don't sell me on Dwayne "Flop to 25 points" Wade...

oh, sorry, just in hoops mode recently.

I will really hate Brian Cashman if he signs Burnett...How many times does a guy have to go on the DL before you start thinking, hey, maybe he just can't make 35 starts?

11 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Nov 15, 2008 9:20 pm

oohhh..Yanks just sold the rights to Daryl Rasner to the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles over here! he's moving from the House that Ruth Built to Kleenex Stadium...

12 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Nov 15, 2008 9:44 pm

Really? Huh. I always like Razzmatazz. Thought he was a really deft pickup. Sorry to see him go, even if he was just an organizational guy. At least he finally got his chance last year.

13 Mattpat11   ~  Nov 15, 2008 10:20 pm

[10] If they sign Burnett, it will prove that the Pavano and Wright debacles taught them nothing, and we should have zero faith in this front office.

14 Chyll Will   ~  Nov 15, 2008 11:16 pm

[10] *Click!* You saw right through that one, didn't you? >;)

[13] I'm inclined to believe what Cliff quoted in saying that AJ may not even want to come here. Let's take the matter into our own hands in making that a definite no, shall we? He may be a little gun-shy after seeing what happened to his fellow ex-Marlin and DL-mate...

"The Nats need pitching, why don't you go bother them?"

15 Mattpat11   ~  Nov 15, 2008 11:18 pm

I'm not comfortable making that a definite no until he finally goes somewhere else.

16 Chyll Will   ~  Nov 15, 2008 11:40 pm

[15] What I'm really saying is that he could use a little "push"... yunnow, persuasion...

17 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Nov 16, 2008 12:18 am

[16] he's seen the service at JFK before, right? wouldn't that be enough to dissuade him from signing??

hoops: WTF is going on with the Marbury situation? And is the first time in his career that Starbury is doing the right thing?? I can't believe they won't play him...

18 OldYanksFan   ~  Nov 16, 2008 5:02 am

[13] I don't think it's that the FO is dumb or doesn't learn. I think these moves come out of desparation. Remember, when each time the Yanks were eliminated, we all-but-held-our-breath, wondering about the tyraid from George, and who might get fired?

As much as the Sox want to win, they accept it if they don't. Fans are disappointed, but not devastated.... entitled.... the way Yankee fans are. I am prepared for 2 more years of rebuilding. I want a competative team, but I want a smartly build team looking towards the future.

On Lohud and other blogs, there are fans DEMANDING to win. Litterally demanding. They feel that we are NEW YORK... and have TONS of money... ergo, we should win. And anything else is truly unacceptable.

If we could buy championships, we would have a lot more rings. We have proved over the last 8 years, that while money is a big help, it takes a lot more. Getting AJ (Im assuming along with CC) is an obvious move to try and put us over the top. Maybe. If he's not injured. It's a gamble. Probably a bad one, that means we don't get better resources down the road.

But Mattpatt..... you are the first one here to show utter disgust each time the Yankees lose. You seem to be unable to enjoy anything but a winning team.

Frankly, if the FO announced the TRUTH, that we are behind other teams because we ignored development of our farm, and that we would spend a few years trying to win, but focusing MORE on development, we would be better off.

But would fans accept that? Would you?
With the economy the way it is, salary dumps at the end of 2009, and the 2010 FAs may be much more cost effective. Tex and CC are getting crazy money and contract terms. It's really a roll of the dice.

How would you feel if the Yankees got NOBODY, except in Swisher-like deals, where we obviously get more value then we give. Just play the kids for 2 years. Finish 3rd or 4th and get 2 more years of decent picks, don't lose any picks to FA signings, continue to expand our international signings, and then make the big push in 2011, when AJAx and Montero and other talent is MLB ready, and we have quality pitchers at all levels, and ready to produce 1 or 2 players every year.

Would you be OK with that?
Because that's how you rebuild.

19 Shaun P.   ~  Nov 16, 2008 8:25 am

Hey Cliff, for whatever its worth, my math matches up with yours. Last year's payroll was about $210M, the current cost of all the guys to whom they owe money (including Swisher, Marte, Igawa, Giambi and Pavano's buyouts, Brackman, and Miranda) I peg at ~$155M. That leaves the Yanks ~$55M to spend. I'm thinking CC costs ~$25M, which leaves only $30M . . .

I wonder if Pettitte (or Moose) would come back on a cheap deal, say $8M, and if they structure CC and Tex right, they could fit both in and . . .

I know they want CC, but if the choice is CC or Tex, I hope they choose Tex.

More promising is that, for right now, they only have about $122M in payroll commitments for 2010. That's not without some holes to fill (LF and DH), but certainly doable.

20 OldYanksFan   ~  Nov 16, 2008 8:53 am

Next year, they have to replace JD amd Mats, who are a 'bargain' in todays crazy world at $13m each. If AJax can take one spot, we may save some cash... but how much will Hollidat cost? $18m AAV? How about Crawford? Maybe $16m AAV?

There is simply no way the Yanks can field a highly competative team for much under $200m until the Farm is cooking in high gear... although the recession may help a bit.

21 Bum Rush   ~  Nov 16, 2008 10:26 am

I simply don't understand the fascination with Teixeira given:

1) The Giambi and Helton contracts. Both have shown that you simply don't throw long-term high dollars at 1B's approaching 30 years old.

2) The Yanks already having three high-priced players (Jeter, Posada, A-Rod) who will need to spend time at 1B during the 6-8 year length of a Teixeira deal.

After being tied into Giambi, limiting payroll and roster flexibility, for the last three to four years, why should they do the same again? I shudder to think about Teixeira in 2011 and locked up for another three or four years. He seems alot like Helton to me - a very good peak but with a precipitous fall.

On Manny, I can't see who else, besides the Yanks and Dodgers, are in. The Sox aren't. The Angels already have too many DHs. Perhaps the Mets? Would he really take more money to play for a non-contender? If the numbers are accurate, the Yanks can outbid the Dodgers and get Manny on a decent short-term contract (3/75 million). That move would give them long-term flexibility, fill the RF gap (at least for 80 games at Yankee Stadium), balance the lineup, and help cover for the sensitive 3B. In 2010 and 2011 they'd have insurance for the loss of Matsui and Damon and he could be the DH almost exclusively. It's a no-brainer acquisition for me, and much more so than signing Tex for 6-8 years.

22 Bum Rush   ~  Nov 16, 2008 11:24 am

P.s. If they sign Manny for three years, they'd be in perfect position to make a run at Pujols in 2012 to fill that gap. Or they'd have 3-4 more years of Teixeira...

23 Chyll Will   ~  Nov 16, 2008 11:39 am

Bum Rush, I think the combination of good glove-good bat makes Tex a fascinating option, given how long we've had to deal with bad glove/good- okay-bad bats we've had with Giambi and, more often, his replacements. When you go from Don Mattingly to Tino Martinez to Jason Giambi, the regression is obvious, especially when you consider what made the Martinez teams winners. There was more of an emphasis on pitching and defense than clubbing the hell out of the other team (which is all Steinbrenner ever wanted.)

I think Sabathia is more important to building the next winner than Tex in this regard (sorry Shaun), but I don't discount the idea that Tex would anchor an otherwise suspect defense up the middle and provide stability in the lineup, even if it's not prodigious.

24 Bum Rush   ~  Nov 16, 2008 11:45 am

I'd have less problem with Tex on a four year deal. At six or eight or even ten years and at 20 million AAV, that's absurd - absurd enough for the O's or Nationals or even the Angels (Torii Hunter and Gary Mathews). The Yanks should be smarter than that, especially after the Giambi mess.

Besides which, a good glove/bat can go bad fast over the course of a long contract - see Todd Helton. Considering that 1Bs aren't the best athletes to begin with (hence being at 1B), it's absurd to think they'll justify a long contract especially a ridiculously expensive one.

25 OldYanksFan   ~  Nov 16, 2008 11:49 am

Giambi gets a bad rap. As a Yankee, he posted a .925+ OPS, and aside from last year, was always amoungst the team leader in RISP. We knew he couldn't run or field when we got him, but he was a LOT more productive then Tino.

On Manny... I hate (HATE) the dude and don't want him.... however, if the FO wants him.....
... You have to think Manny would prefer the AL. He is concerned about his numbers, and if he has to play the field, he will break down some over the next 4 years, and his batting will suffer.
... Manny turned down 3/$60 in the NL. It's KNOWN he wants to be a Yankee. We do NOT need to outbid for Manny, just match a bid. Offer him 3/$63, with a performance based option for year 4.

26 Mattpat11   ~  Nov 16, 2008 12:03 pm

Fans SHOULD demand to win. Fan apathy and settling for mediocrity are not going to turn this team around. -

That does not give the front office carte blanche completely disregard a player's history because he's the latest shiny object to come across their desk. A huge, huge reason we're in this position is the Yankee front office has ignored player histories, health or otherwise.

27 Jay Jaffe   ~  Nov 16, 2008 8:22 pm

Cliff, here's the accounting I used to get to $75 mil coming off the books for my SI.com Hot Stove preview. All $ values in millions, via Cots (mlbcontracts.blogspot.com):

Giambi $21
Abreu $16
Mussina $11
Pettitte $16
Pavano $11

That's $75 million right there, and it doesn't include the fractional salary of Pudge Rodriguez ($13 million overall in 2008). Whether you assume they're liable for 1/3 of that (~4 mil) given he played for 1/3 of the regular season with them or you simply sub in the full-season value of Kyle Farnsworth's contract ($5.5 mil) which came off the books when he went the other way, you get to around $80 million.

28 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Nov 16, 2008 9:02 pm

Jay, here's mine (dollars in millions):

Giambi: $21 - $5 buyout = $16
Abreu: $16
Mussina: $11
Pettitte: $16
Pavano: $11 - $1.95 buyout = $9.05
A-Rod: ($4) (from $27 plus $2 of singing bonus, thus $29, to $32 plus $1 of signing bonus, thus $33)
Cano: ($3) (from $3 to $6)

I didn't worry about Farnworth, Pudge, Marte (pre-resigning) coming off the books because I figured they'd be somewhat balanced by a big arbitration reward for Nady (another good reason to trade high on him). Also Wang, Bruney, and Melky are arb-eligible.

29 Jay Jaffe   ~  Nov 16, 2008 9:22 pm

I can understand including the buyouts, since those costs are sunk, but in this context I'm not sure it makes sense to selectively include the increases of Cano and A-Rod unless you're going to account for ALL of the signed players' increases and come up with a true "net loss of payroll."

30 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Nov 16, 2008 9:36 pm

Two things:

1) I wasn't being selective. Other than unknown increases due to arbitration and marginal increases to pre-arbitration players, the only other increase is $250K to Jose Molina. If figure that will all roughly balance out with the other money coming off the books (Farnsworth, Hawkins, I. Rodriguez, etc.).

2) Even if I was being selective, that would only mean that even my figure was too high, and that they're freeing up even less money.

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