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News of the Day – 12/2/08

A Tuesday without “The Shield” …. sigh.  Here’s the news:

  • As you probably know by now, the Yanks decided not to offer arbitration to any of the their free agents.  Pete Abe at LoHud has the lowdown from the mouth of Brian Cashman:

“The determination we made today was to make sure that we control what amount we’d be spending at least in the event that we’re fortunate enough to bring those players back. We did not want to put ourselves in a position of having that determined by a third party without knowing what that figure would be.”

  • Joe Posnanski has an appreciation of Boss George at SI.com (you gotta go there if only to view the vintage SI cover of George on a horse).  Here’s an excerpt:

The story of King George is fascinating to me because, at the end of the day, the story goes wherever the narrator wants it to go. Do you want a hero? Do you want a scoundrel? Do you want a tyrant? Do you want a heart of gold? Steinbrenner is what you make him. He is the convicted felon who quietly gave millions to charity, the ruthless boss who made sure his childhood heroes and friends stayed on the payroll, the twice-suspended owner who drove the game into a new era, the sore loser who won a lot, the sore winner who lost plenty, the haunted son who longed for the respect of his father, the attention hound who could not tolerate losing the spotlight, the money-throwing blowhard who saved the New York Yankees and sent them into despair and saved them again (in part by staying out the way), the bully who demanded that his employees answer his every demand and the soft touch who would quietly pick up the phone and help some stranger he read about in the morning paper.

  • Back over at LoHud, Pete Abe has some good news on the progress of Robinson Cano in the Dominican League.
  • Rickey Henderson makes his first appearance on the Hall of Fame ballot this year, as reported by ESPN.  The Bombers are well-represented amongst the 23 names vying for entry.  Henderson joins Tommy John, Don Mattingly, David Cone, Tim Raines, Lee Smith and Jesse Orosco amongst one-time Yanks hoping for immortality.
  • Is this surprising?: Sports Business Journal reports that the Bombers are the favorite out-of-market team (in terms of fan support outside their home city) in 2008.   They top the list of 122 franchises across the four major sports.
  • Bob Kammeyer would have been 58 today.  “Kammy” had a non-descript brief trial with the Yanks in 1978, and then pitched in one infamous game in mid-September 1979.  In that game, he relieved to start the fourth inning, with the Yanks already trailing 4-0.  He allegedly took $100 from manager Billy Martin to intentionally hit Cleveland batter Cliff Johnson with a pitch.  His line for the appearance: eight batters faced, eight runs, seven hits (two homers), one HBP, all without retiring a batter.  That was it for his major league career.  He died from a pulmonary embolism at the age of 52.
  • On this date in 1997, pitcher Steve Hamilton passed away, just two days after his 62nd birthday.

Categories:  Diane Firstman  News of the Day

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1 Bum Rush   ~  Dec 2, 2008 8:57 am

The comment from Cashman is clear and utter bullshite. They could have offered arbitration and sent word that they would be willing to cut the player in March, at a fraction of their contract, if they didn't get a number to their liking. Under those circumstances, I don't see how a player chooses the possibility of facing the free agent market in March versus facing it in December. It's a no-brainer really, especially if they expect to stick it to the Yankees by accepting then holding out for a raise (which none of Abreu, Pettitte, or Pudge deserve).

The Yanks had just as much leverage as the players, indeed that's the point of that new rule. It's a matter of negotiating and Cashman failed miserably. Now watch him sign Lowe and Burnett...

2 OldYanksFan   ~  Dec 2, 2008 10:08 am

[1] There's seems some confusion on this. Maybe someone who KNOWS will pipe in. I heard that a player can only be CUT for a specific reason... such as terrible performance or NOT living up to the contract for some reason. I also heard they must pay 25% of the salary.

So... if Andy gets ARB and accepts, he probably gets $16m. Now, if the Yanks CAN (and I'm not sure they can), they cut Andy at a cost of $4m, and now need another pitcher in April/May?

They don't get picks if Andy accepts ARB, so whats the point????

I would say, considering the economy, age, and last year's performance:
Andy is worth $12m
Bobby is worth $12m
Pudge? As a BUC? $5m? In Arb, he gets $10m plus.

The only one the Yanks want is Andy. I heard they made him an offer (I will guess $11m-$13m) and Andy turned it down. Supposedly, Andy, who almost RETIRED last year, ONLY wanted to pitch to open the new stadium. He had league average numbers last year, and a poor 2nd half.

Now he is a year older. After supporting him through the PEDS event, and NOT getting $16m of performance last year, how much should they Yanks pay him? I am a big Andy fan... but if he turned down $12m, and put out rumors of going to LA.... well I'm disappointed in Andy.

He SPECIFICALLY said he ONLY wants another year as a Yankee. The economy is bad and getting worse. It's a buyers market. A $12m-ish offer is VERY FAIR. If he is playing hardball with Cashman, I have no problem with Cashman's decision. Ultimately (unlike the past), the Yankees can't let players dictate terms (see Theo, Red Sox).

3 Bum Rush   ~  Dec 2, 2008 10:45 am


As usual, you're completely missing the point. They didn't have to follow through for the rule to be used. It's Negotiating 101. The Yanks had more leverage than Cashman is indicating. You're putting more pressure on the player to reject arbitration and go on the market with the picks attached.

Now, if the Yanks sign Lowe and the Dodgers sign Pettitte, the Dodgers get the better, shorter deal AND the picks. Somehow, when Ned Colletti comes out looking smarter than another GM, legitimate questions should be asked of that GM.

Speaking of Theo, I have little doubt that the Sox, as they seem to have no problems using the rules to their advantage, have indicated to Boras that they'll take Varitek back but at the right price. If he accepts and they don't get that price, they'll cut him in March. No doubt they're using that rule to their advantage right now. If Varitek doesn't reject arbitration, there's a strong incentive for him to work with the team on an appropriate deal rather than him just sitting on his past contract and expecting the same AAV. The purpose of the new rule is to exactly prevent that.

4 Mattpat11   ~  Dec 2, 2008 11:08 am

I just hope the Yankees aren't outsmarting themselves again. They tend to do that.

5 Bum Rush   ~  Dec 2, 2008 11:13 am


You mean like failing to offer Clemens arbitration.

Whoops, they didn't offer it to Moose either.

Cashman couldn't outsmart his way out of a cardboard box.

6 Mattpat11   ~  Dec 2, 2008 11:25 am

Or like holding on to Carl Pavano for four years in hopes of "increasing his trade value" so we could try to fleece some team.

7 Benjamin Kabak   ~  Dec 2, 2008 12:54 pm

A Tuesday without “The Shield” …. sigh.

You had to remind us so soon? That's still an open wound.

8 OldYanksFan   ~  Dec 2, 2008 2:47 pm

[3] So you think the Yankees can 'fool' Andy AND his agent into rejecting ARB. Dude! Nobody will pay him $16m. He wants to play for the Yankees. He wants to pitch in the new stadium. He said this a number of times.

If the Yanks offer Andy ARB, he takes it. That simple. Wheather he gets $14m or more is up to the arbitrator, but Andy JUMPS on this deal, which is exactly why Cashman didn't offer it.

But I'm sure you, sitting in your bedroom, know more about these things then Cashman, Stick and everyone else in the FO that came to this decision.

9 Shaun P.   ~  Dec 2, 2008 4:14 pm

While I'm still monumentally disappointed that the Yanks didn't offer arbitration to anyone, c'est la vie. However, I am glad that Dunn was not offered arb by the D'backs. If the Yanks miss out on Tex, then signing Dunn and Rob Gee's old friend Milton Bradley (a Type B free agent) would be an excellent backup plan - and costs no draft picks.

10 Mattpat11   ~  Dec 2, 2008 4:39 pm

[8] With the way the Yankee front office has operated recently, I'm beginning to think us shmucks posting on blogs may be more effective.

11 Bum Rush   ~  Dec 2, 2008 5:33 pm


Who said anything about "fooling"? It's about "negotiating". They offer arbitration with the "hint" that if the free agent accepts, then they need to work out a better deal than the last one. That is, if the player is expecting to sit on their last contract then they can also expect to be cut in March. Implicit point there: Good luck going on the free agent market in March.

That's what you're missing. They don't have to actually cut the player in March. All they have to do is indicate they have that option, just as Andy has indicated the option to talk to the Dodgers. It's all about negotiation and Cashman flushed his hand before it played out. The new rule was for exactly the pain point that Cashman is indicating - not knowing the salary. Since a team can now cut the player in March there's a much greater incentive to come to an agreement rather than rely on arbitration. Or else, the player can always reject arbitration and get a fair market value while the team gets compensation.

I have little doubt that Epstein is playing the same game with Boras regarding Varitek. The test of that will be whether a) Varitek rejects arbitration even though he won't get anything close to $10 million AAV on the open market. If he's lucky he gets two years at $12-14 million; or b) he accepts arbitration but takes a lower AAV for two years. If I'm wrong, then Varitek takes one year at $10 million from the Sox because, in this market, that's his very best deal. But, if there's the threat of him getting cut in March, then he'll wind up with that more favorable deal to the Sox. Indeed, that threat could already have Boras promising to reject arbitration then come to a better deal with the Sox or with some other team.

And that's the point for why Cashman is a moron at Poker. Overpaying Pettitte (for another 200 innings) or Abreu (with still decent production) is nothing like the Sox overpaying for Mr. Intangibles Jason Varitek.

12 OldYanksFan   ~  Dec 2, 2008 6:27 pm

[11] You don't seem to understand ARB. You really think 'hinting' at cutting him will hurt? He will get 25% of his salary and sign with someone else. Then, what do the Yankees do, being a pitcher short in APRIL? Bum... you are dreaming. Andy and his agent, as well as the Yankeeds, know exactly how this game is played. With a kid, whose future is in front of him, and who might not want to be traded, and wants to stay on the Yankees 'good side' might compromise a tad. But Andy is a smart dude in his last year. The Yanks will offer $13.5, Andy will counter with $15.5, and it will be one of the other. Andy has been a bit better then league average the last 2 years. The arbitrator will beside what he's worth, but BIG salary cuts are rare.

Plus, what's the point? If Andy accepts, there are no picks.
Also, Andy already turned down an offer from the Yankees.

Cashman, and the Yankees FO by the way, have their plan. You and I aren't privy to all the other things going around. Maybe you and Mattpatt feel you are smarter and more knowledgable then Cashman... but driving from the backseat is always easy. I trust Cashman. If he's taking a gamble with Andy, and this is THEIR best judgement, I abide by it.
And I'll wait and see how it turns out.

But if you think 'hinting' and 'negotiating' when Andy has ALREADY turned down one offer, has any meaning, that you just don't get it.

13 OldYanksFan   ~  Dec 2, 2008 6:34 pm

According to Joel Sherman, the Yankees offered Andy $10m.

14 Mattpat11   ~  Dec 2, 2008 7:28 pm

I've been burned too many times by Brian Cashman's judgment to have blind faith in it anymore.

I've also given up on this supposed "plan" they have. I couldn't even guess what the plan is. If we bring kids up from the farm, its part of the plan. If we trade those players away, its part of the plan. If we sign a free agent its part of the plan. If we stick to young players, its part of the plan. If we go after 35 year olds, its part of the plan. If we acquire a great player, its part of the plan. If we acquire a terrible player, its part of the plan. If we offer arbitration, its part of the plan. If we don't, its part of the plan. If we factor in a player's history, its part of the plan. If we ignore all but his most recent year, its part of the plan. As far as I can tell, "The plan" is the phrase the Yankee front office uses to justify any and every move they make. LaTroy Hawkins was part of "the plan" for christsakes.

I think the Yankee front office does whatever the hell they feel like doing at any given moment and hides behind "The plan" to explain it. I'm sure AJ Burnett will be part of "The plan" soon enough.

15 Bum Rush   ~  Dec 2, 2008 8:52 pm


Yeah, who's going to pony up $10 million plus in March? That's what it would take for Andy, or Abreu, to come out ahead. It's like the last day of training Camp in the NFL and a player gets cut. They're lucky to get signed, let alone get any where close to what they might be worth.

Meanwhile, you're dissembling from why almost every other Type A got offered arbitration, including the poster boy for overpriced possible contracts - Mr. Intangibles and Paul freakin' Byrd. That's the big picture, boy.

Cashman had leverage. He pissed it in the toilet. Now he'll sign Lowe and Burnett and give up almost all their picks to do so.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
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