Guess the Yankees Opening Day payroll … win a prize! (nah …)
Here’s the news:
- Buster Olney of ESPN.com believes that just because the Yanks have committed 1/4 of a billion dollars to two pitchers, it doesn’t mean they’ve lost their minds and abandoned their supposed new ways of team-building:
Because the Yankees waited to pursue Sabathia, rather than deal for Santana, they still have Hughes and Ian Kennedy and Austin Jackson and all the players mentioned in the Santana talks, and as the pitching talent pool has increased at the major league level, there is now more time for those youngsters to develop. It actually has been more than a decade since the Yankees have had as much minor league talent stacked up as they do now. Yes, they will sacrifice draft picks in landing Sabathia and Burnett. But keep in mind that the Yankees will have picks in the first and second round of the draft in 2009 because of players unsigned in 2008; it’s not as if they are being shut down.
- Over at the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo wonders if the Yanks acquisition of Sabathia and Burnett will make people think of them as prohibitive favorites in the same vein as the Tigers were supposed to be after acquiring Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis last year. Nonetheless, one N.L. executive offered this opinion:
“The one difference is that the Yankees are loading up on pitching while the Tigers did get Dontrelle, [but] there were still questions about their bullpen and their starting rotation,” said one National League executive. “If the Yankees get another guy [Burnett], re-sign Andy Pettitte on top of Sabathia, I’ll take my chance that they might be the best team in the American League.”
- If not Tex, then who?: Lyle Spencer at MLB.com writes of the Yanks interest in Mark Teixeira, but has some ideas on what they might do if they don’t sign him, but DO sign Manny:
If the Yankees pass on Teixeira — leaving first to Swisher — and move on Ramirez, they could shop outfielder Xavier Nady, who made $3.35 million in 2008. Nady, who can play first as well as the corner outfield spots, is eligible for free agency after the 2009 season, and would be an appealing fit for all the clubs who lose out on Teixeira and Ramirez.
- Hank is psyched, and wants the world to know it: Newsday’s Kat O’Brien goes over the Yanks successes at the Winter Meetings, and includes this deliciously-grandiose quote from Hank Steinbrenner:
“I can sense the excitement and the confidence that’s spreading around the entire organization about what we’re getting done and what we may get done still. A rising tide lifts all boats, and the confidence and the excitement right now among the team and the organization is contagious.”
- C.C., A.J. and Cameron/Cabrera update: The Post’s George King has these nuggets for us:
The plan is for CC Sabathia to arrive in town tomorrow night, take a physical Tuesday and possibly be introduced as the Yankees’ $161 million savior by Wednesday. New York Yankees
Expect A.J. Burnett to follow after his $82.5 million deal is official. According to agent Darek Braunecker, no date for Burnett’s physical has been set.
The Yankees and Brewers continue to haggle over how much of the $12 million due to Kei Igawa for the next three seasons the Yankees will swallow in order to complete the swap of Mike Cameron for Melky Cabrera. Kei Igawa Melky Cabrera
Because the Yankees have told the Brewers they cannot have any of pitchers on their 40-man roster, Igawa is the best the Brewers can do.
- Joel Sherman of the Post has an interesting take on those who say the Yankees’ spending is bad for the game:
What is more detrimental to baseball, that the Yankees gave a pitching-record contract to the 2007 AL Cy Young winner (CC Sabathia) and likely will have a lower payroll in 2009 than 2008, or that the Padres are working feverishly to trade the 2007 NL Cy Young winner (Jake Peavy) as yet another way to plummet their way to a $40 million payroll and irrelevance?
And, no, San Diego is not doing this to clear cap room for LeBron James in two years. It is doing this because its owner, John Moores, is going through a costly divorce. The Yankees are being criticized because they continue to try to win, and not a word is spoken that the Padres already have surrendered for at least 2009-10.
- Count BP.com’s Christina Kahrl amongst those with a decidedly negative opinion of the Burnett signing:
… but twice as much money for Burnett versus Carl Pavano (albeit with an additional season) does not provide twice as much certainty that you’ve got a reliable rotation regular on your hands, although I’ll allow that Burnett should be able to start a lot more than twice as many games as Pavano. The problem is that he isn’t replacing Pavano, he’s essentially the big-ticket right-hander who’s stepping into Mike Mussina‘s slot, and he’s just not a great bet to provide similar value for the money over five years.
For that matter, if you buy the proposition that the Yankees have to win now to get that last bit of value out of the Jeter/A-Rod/Posada squad, how does Burnett represent a better guarantor than some of the other options still on the market?
- Even with the pitching upgrades, Yahoo!Sports’ Richard Justice argues that the Yanks are still only the third-best team in the AL East.
- At the Daily News, Mike Lupica takes the Yankees to task for the greed in seeking even more funding for their new stadium, and to the City in seemingly agreeing to it:
Now they have gone back for more than $300 million on top of the original authorized money, what amounts to 30% more than they had made a deal for.
And if the IDA turns them down, then the Yankees will have to go into the public, and taxable, bond market. No breaks. In the process, they would accumulate more debt service than they already have.
Or they could come up with the money themselves.
“They’d get (the taxable bonds) there, even in this economy,” one New York financial analyst said Friday. “Yankee credit is still good.”
But you must start to wonder how much of this is a financial house of cards, built around The House Across The Street From The House That Ruth Built.
Unless you are sucker enough to believe that the New York Yankees, out of all the big businesses in all the land, are the only ones with a license to keep printing money forever as long as they keep winning enough regular-season games to fill their ballparks.
- Happy 64th birthday to Stan Bahnsen. Bahnsen was a workhorse during his four full seasons (68-71) for the Bombers, averaging 240 innings per year. His ERA was right around league-average in his last three years, and his K/9 rate declined in each of those years. He was traded after 1971 for Rich McKinney. McKinney’s Yankee career: 37 games, 121 ABs.
- On this date in 1980, Dave Winfield (.276, 20, 87) signs a ten-year free-agent deal with the Yanks worth a record $16 million.
- On this date in 1992, FA Wade Boggs is signed to a 3-year contract.