"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

News of the Day – 12/15/08

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.

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.

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.

Categories:  Diane Firstman  News of the Day

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1 rbj   ~  Dec 15, 2008 9:25 am

Completely off topic, but I just hate it when the bleepin' Giants play crappy on a Sunday night game. Losing sleep for a non-enjoyable reason, and then facing a whole work week, grrr.

And to the Cowboys too.
double grrr.

2 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Dec 15, 2008 9:37 am

Seeing as the Giants have lost all of three games this year, I'm not sure you have much right to complain.

If the Yankees can dump Igawa in the Cameron deal and thereby not only rid themselves of him but cancel out a significant portion of Cameron's $10 million salary, my opinion of the deal will improve considerably. Otherwise, they should skip it and sign Edmonds instead.

3 Alex Belth   ~  Dec 15, 2008 9:38 am

Kei Igawa...BE GONE

4 Shaun P.   ~  Dec 15, 2008 10:07 am

[1] I'm with you, rbj. Stupid Cowboys.

Melky and Igawa for Cameron? Dare we hope?

5 ny2ca2dc   ~  Dec 15, 2008 10:09 am

How do guys like Richard Justice keep a job. What a worthless piece of drivel.

Oh by the way, has Dunn been signed yet? Getting Dunn would be seriously good - put him at 1B, Swish to RF (Nady traded for prospects) then either let Gardner/Cameron/Edmonds play CF. I like Tex as much as most, but $200 mil & almost 10 years seems to be pushing it for a guy who's really not in the same class as ARod or Beltran, and doesn't play a prime position. I was all for him when those contract demands seemed nuts, but now they're looking accurate (what with that Angles already being at $180MM). Hell, Pujols will be a FA in 3 years...

6 ms october   ~  Dec 15, 2008 10:28 am

well, at the very least all the yankee haters are back in full effect.

if the yanks sign manny or dunn, the idea of trading nady might actually work. is he really in the long term plans? if boras has outlandish contract demands for him next year, the yanks money is better spent elsewhere next year, and selling high on him this year for a decent prospect might make sense. and nady is not really that young (30).

i just looked up at cots to make sure nady was a boras client and they already have sabathia and burnett on the yanks.

7 Raf   ~  Dec 15, 2008 10:48 am

Here’s an interesting take on Dunn, which may or may not have been buried;

“Since he’s not as good a hitter as Manny but has similar struggles in the field, he ranks as a league average player (+2 wins compared to replacement level). You can bet he’ll get paid more than the $10 million or so he’s worth, though.”

As for Cameron, I'd make the deal, if only for the fact that there's a commitment to him only for next year. Igawa's signed for another 3 years. Melky will be there for at least another 3 years as well (though I think he's arb eligible next year). Come to think of it, that may be the reason that the deal hasn't gone through yet; they're trying to cut costs, but a combination of Melky & Igawa would be more than they send back in Cameron.

Of course, a question that should be asked is that if they're getting revenue sharing money and playoff monies, why are they cutting costs, but usually, it's a bit more complex (the question and answer) than that.

8 williamnyy23   ~  Dec 15, 2008 10:52 am

[2] I would be very wary of Edmonds. Before his Wrigley resurgence, he was awful for San Diego. In total, his OPS+ was still only 2 points higher than Cameron's. Also, Edmonds UZR in CF last season was a well below average -10.9, so his glove appears in rabid decline. Cameron, meanwhile, has still rated above average.

If the choice is between the two, I think Cameron is a much better choice.

9 williamnyy23   ~  Dec 15, 2008 10:53 am

[5] I wouldn't even consider clicking on a Richard Justice link.

10 ny2ca2dc   ~  Dec 15, 2008 11:11 am

[8] I learned one thing today, at least

11 Yankee Mama   ~  Dec 15, 2008 11:17 am

Cameron has a lot of upside. Good defense. We deperately need his bat, any bat, especially his 24 homeruns. I know he's no spring chicken. And wouldn't it be nice to never hear the name Kei Igawa again.

The Giants ruined my Monday.

12 Diane Firstman   ~  Dec 15, 2008 11:34 am


Tony Kornheiser in the booth ruins every Monday ...

13 Yankee Mama   ~  Dec 15, 2008 11:50 am

My sentiments exactly re: Kornheiser. What a tool!! I was like, "Enough already!!!" He rivals Joe Morgan on the please- get- him -off -the- air list.

Olbermann and Costas are amusing (in pre and post games).

14 Shaun P.   ~  Dec 15, 2008 11:54 am

[7] My understanding with fielding metrics is the more, the merrier. Some of the systems reach different evaluations on different guys, so more data over more time may be a better gauge.

BP's (still being updated) FRAA says:

Cameron (06-08): 14 (112 Rate2), -3 (101 Rate 2), 1 (103 Rate 2)
Edmonds (06-08): 1 (103 Rate2), 4 (108 Rate2), 1 (106) in SD, -3 (97) in Chicago

I'm not sure how to combine FRAA, seems like just adding it is wrong, but by this, they same almost even. It is interesting to me that Cameron's best year in his last three came in 2006, when he was in SD, and that Edmonds numbers in SD are also quite good. Maybe there's something about Petco's big outfield giving fielders a boost in their numbers with FRAA and Rate2?

Anyone know what Dewan's +/- says about these two?

Another thing to consider: while Edmonds is a lefty who hits righties well (.883 OPS in '08, .954 career), he cannot hit LHP (nor did Sweet Lou let him.) Meanwhile, Cameron is a righty who hits RHP only so-so (.761 OPS in '08, .767 career). , though he hits LHP well (.951 OPS in '08, .851 career). I guess who is the better fit from a hitting standpoint depends on how Girardi uses the roster (ie, who's the backup CF - Damon, Swisher).
or Gardner),

15 Rich   ~  Dec 15, 2008 12:30 pm

[2] Going into this season, how many Giant fans wouldn't have signed up to be 11-3 at this pint? I know I would have.

I think the Yankees could have Cameron in season, if necessary. Given how bad he has been against RH pitching over the last two seasons, I wouldn't make the move now.

16 Raf   ~  Dec 15, 2008 12:31 pm

So who would be willing to take on a project in Daniel Cabrera? The O's nontendered him. Think Ty Wigginton can fit in as a supersub? Or does he think he can start elswhere?

17 ny2ca2dc   ~  Dec 15, 2008 2:38 pm

[15] (crickets) Looks like no one

18 sonyahennystutu   ~  Dec 15, 2008 2:58 pm

Cameron for Melky and Igawa sounds like one of those trade scenarios that make people say "WTF are Yankee fans thinking?!? There's NO WAY IN HELL any GM in their right mind would make that trade to the Yanks!" i.e. we have an over inflated sense of the market value of our peeps.

If Cash makes this deal I will offer to blow him. Seriously.

19 Raf   ~  Dec 15, 2008 4:03 pm

[18] There’s NO WAY IN HELL any GM in their right mind would make that trade to the Yanks!

If you think about it, it's a bit of relief for the Brewers, and they pick up a CF coming off an off year. Igawa supposedly will do better in the NL, and is locked in for 3 more years at $4M per. It's a shrewd pickup/gamble for the Brewers if the deal goes through. Yanks get a stopgap solution in CF.

It's win win for both teams, and seeing that the teams are pretty close to making a deal, haggling over $$, you may get your wish. Don't know if he'd take you up on your offer, tho' :)

20 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Dec 15, 2008 7:48 pm

Good point about the Padres, what a disgrace..trading your Cy-winning ace is just pitiful.
Am I the only one who will miss the Melk-man??

21 Raf   ~  Dec 15, 2008 8:10 pm

I don't know, the Padres aren't the first team to do it, nor will they be the last.

22 Rich   ~  Dec 15, 2008 8:39 pm

According to Caldera the Yankees are having second thoughts about the Cameron trade:

The Mike Cameron-Melky Cabrera trade is still in the air. "Wejust don't know if we want to do it,'' one club official said. Cameron's high strikeout totals are cause for pause. So, too, apparently, is the Kei Igawa portion of this trade - as in how much of the lefty's salary the Yanks would have to cover if he were included.

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