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News of the Day – 12/11/08
Posted By Diane Firstman On December 11, 2008 @ 8:41 am In Diane Firstman,News of the Day | Comments Disabled
What’s the over/under on the number of words dedicated to Sabathia today? Anyway, here’s the news:
Sabathia will get the largest contract ever for a pitcher, Joel Sherman reports, and he is embracing the pressure of going into New York as a savior. That challenge eventually destroyed Chuck Knoblauch and confounded Roger Clemens for most of two seasons. It’s a challenge that still seems to gnaw at Alex Rodriguez.
… Sabathia’s personal puzzle will be to find a way to block out the external pressure and not allow it to compound the internal pressure that he already places on himself, and that pressure is as large as he is. He has been at his worst in the past when he has pushed himself too much — examples include after Bartolo Colon left the Indians and Sabathia wanted to become the ace, and perhaps at the outset of the 2008 season, as he began his free-agent year. The worst thing Sabathia can do is to try harder. But he will be remarkably accountable, owning up to his mistakes quickly and adjusting, and I’d bet that he’ll figure out the emotional puzzle and pitch effectively for the Yankees.
The Sabathia signing won’t put the Yankees over the top by itself, particularly given that it now makes Boston the favorite to sign Teixeira to upgrade a more potent offense than the Yanks can muster and that the young and already stocked Rays have frontline starter David Price and even more top prospects still on the way. Sabathia can’t be expected to match the dominance he showed in his Milwaukee stint because the American League, and the AL East in particular—statistically the toughest five-team division of the Wild Card Era—is a more difficult place to pitch; at the very least one can expect his strikeout rate to drop, since he’ll face designated hitters instead of pitchers. His Cleveland numbers are a better guide to his future performance than his Milwaukee ones.
In all, the move makes a splash in New York by putting most of the Yankees’ eggs into one very big basket and by compensating for the type of deal Cashman apparently wishes he’d done last winter. While it may pay off in the short term, it may prevent them from addressing other big needs, and could very well net them bigger headaches down the road.
Despite the perception around the Yankees that pitching was a problem last year, this contract gilds a reasonably attractive lily, making the rotation strong and decreasing the pressure on the bullpen due to Sabathia’s tendency to work deep into games. On the other hand, signing Sabathia puts $23 million a year in a place other than the offense, which was the team’s real problem in ’08 and projects to be something less than dominant in 2009. The Yankees needed a big bat more than they needed a big arm, and while the two aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive for a team with the Yankees’ money, if signing Sabathia makes it even slightly less likely that the Yankees sign Mark Teixeria, it was probably the wrong move for them.
Major League Baseball gives teams a tax shelter that justifies going into debt to build a stadium. Stadium costs, like bond payments and maintenance, can be deducted from the team’s net local revenue that are used to calculate revenue-sharing.
By slashing the revenues that are taxed at a 31 percent rate, the Yankees will be able to shelter a chunk of the money that would have been shared. They paid about $100 million into baseball’s revenue-sharing pool in 2007, but could have received a multimillion-dollar credit if they had had their deductions for the new stadium.
The new stadium will probably generate so much new revenue that it will compel the Yankees to again pay at least $100 million in revenue sharing. But the deduction will still allow the team to shield enough revenue to help pay off the construction bonds.
This is obviously a great day for Baseball Prospectus as an organization, and a reason for personal reflection and excitement alike. This development provides us with a major obligation to not simply enjoy the benefits of our inclusion, not simply to reflect that Baseball Prospectus was and is worthy of inclusion, but that its ongoing coverage of the game will become that much better. From its inception, Baseball Prospectus has aspired to and achieved the highest levels of quality and coverage, but the task at hand is to take it up yet another notch in our desire to deliver information, insight, and analysis as nobody else can
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URLs in this post:
 ESPN: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?entryID=3759197&name=olney_buster
 BP.com’s: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=8357#commentMessage
 BP.com: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=8358
 Yahoo!Sports: http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=ti-sabathiayankees121008&prov=yhoo&type=lgns&expire=1
 Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel: http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/sports/35869674.html
 Newsday’s: http://www.newsday.com/sports/ny-sptex1210,0,7501758.story
 MLB.com: http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20081210&content_id=3711030&vkey=news_nyy&fext=.jsp&c_id=nyy&partnerId=rss_nyy
 article: http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20081210&content_id=3711419&vkey=news_nyy&fext=.jsp&c_id=nyy&partnerId=rss_nyy
 Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/11/sports/baseball/11yankees.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss
 Times’: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/11/sports/baseball/11araton.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss
 Jack Curry: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/11/sports/baseball/11sabathia.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss
 YESNetwork’s: http://web.yesnetwork.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20081210&content_id=1460170&oid=36019&vkey=4
 ESPN.com: http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3761008
 Yahoo!Sports: http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=ge-loweupdate121008&prov=yhoo&type=lgns
 The Star-Ledger’s: http://www.nj.com/yankees/index.ssf/2008/12/yankees_brewers_talking_mike_c.html
 The Daily News: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/yankees/2008/12/11/2008-12-11_sources_yankees_to_trade_melky_cabrera_t-1.html
 Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/11/sports/baseball/11sandomir.html?ref=sports
 BBWAA credentials: http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/blog/big_league_stew/post/BBWAA-opens-doors-wider-admits-four-more-Intern?urn=mlb,128191
 BP.com: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/unfiltered/?p=1125
 ESPN: http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3761746&campaign=rss&source=MLBHeadlines
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