Powered by Moe Green, here’s the news:
- Let’s start with a good trivia question, courtesy of Jayson Stark … now that the John Smoltz-Chipper Jones tag team has been busted up after 16 years together, which pair of active teammates has played together the longest? (Answer at the end of this post)
- Newsday’s Ken Davidoff gives the reasons the Yanks would prefer to keep Swisher over Nady:
1) Swisher’s versatility. He can play both corner outfield positions and first base as well as centerfield (his weakest position). Nady plays only the corner outfield positions.
2) As a switch hitter, Swisher gives Joe Girardi more flexibility.
3) Swisher is signed through 2011 for $21 million. Nady can become a free agent after this season, and with Scott Boras as his agent, he indeed will file for free agency.
4) Although the Yankees like Nady perfectly well, they think Swisher’s upbeat, fiery personality could be an added asset.
- Over at BP.com, Shawn Hoffman details why a salary cap might actually harm lower-revenue/lower-payroll teams:
Let’s say, in some far-off universe, MLB owners and players actually did agree on a salary cap. With it would come the normal provisions: a salary floor at around 75-85 percent of the cap, and a guaranteed percentage of total industry revenues for the players. Since the players have been taking in about 45 percent of revenues the past few years, we’ll keep it at that figure …
Using 2008 as an example, the thirty teams took in about $6 billion … for an average of $200 million per team. Forty-five percent of that (the players’ share) is $90 million, which we’ll use as the midpoint between our floor and cap. If we want to make the floor 75 percent of the cap … we can use $77 million and $103 million, respectively.
With a $103 million cap, nine teams would have been affected last year, and a total of about $286 million would have had to be skimmed off the top. Since total salaries have to remain at existing levels, the bottom twenty-one teams would have had to take on this burden, which had previously been placed on the Yankees, Red Sox, et al. On the other end, fourteen teams would have been under the payroll floor, by a total of $251 million. Even discounting the Marlins‘ $22 million payroll, the other thirteen teams would have had to spend an average of $15 million more just to meet the minimum. Some of those teams might be able to afford it; most wouldn’t.
Imagine being Frank Coonelly in this situation. Coonelly, the Pirates‘ team president, has publicly supported a cap. Had our fictional cap/floor arrangement been instituted last year, the Pirates would have needed to increase their Opening Day payroll by $28 million. Not only would the team have taken a big loss, but Neal Huntington’s long-term strategy would have been sabotaged, since the team would have had to sign a number of veterans just to meet the minimum payroll.
Now fast forward to 2009. Let’s say the Pirates’ sales staff runs into major headwinds, with the team struggling and the economy sinking. The team’s top line takes a hit, falling $10 million from 2008. The Mets and Yankees, meanwhile, open their new ballparks, and each team increases its local revenue by $50 million. If the twenty-seven other teams are flat, total industry revenues rise by $90 million (not including any appreciation in national media revenue). Forty-five percent of that, of course, goes to the players. So even as the Pirates’ purchasing power decreases, the payroll floor actually rises.
In other words, without a more egalitarian distribution of income, the system crumbles.
- Pavano speaks …. at MLB.com:
“When you’re down, you expect your organization to pick you up, not kick you when you’re down,” Pavano said. “I’ve had to pick myself up quite a few times the last four years.”…
“A lot of offers wanted me to come to camp and have to make the team,” Pavano said. “Not that I thought I was above that, but I didn’t want to have to be looking over my shoulder. There is some risk on me, and I understand that. I failed for four years in New York, and the perception hasn’t been that great, and I understand that. To have a team like Cleveland step up to the plate, how could I ask for anything more?”…
“I’m not the first guy who’s had injuries in his career,” he said. “I believe in my ability to be a successful starting pitcher and successful teammate. The biggest worry was finding the right fit, finding a place that had the resources to make me better.”
[My take: Dude ... you LIED to your last employer about an injury that caused you to miss work. In most workplaces, that gets you fired. Get real!]
- Filip Bondy of the News reflects on the Teixeira signing, and seems to think that “born to be a Yankee” has some disturbing undertones:
I always get a bit wary when I read or hear things about how a player was born to be a Yankee, or how he is made for pinstripes, or how he is a throwback to another era in the Bronx.
Because we all know these are code words for: The guy is white! That’s what I kept reading about Mark Teixeira, after his introductory press conference. The Perfect Yankee. Somehow I didn’t read anything like that about CC Sabathia, even though his numbers are every bit as impressive.
I’m not saying this is overt racism. I get that Teixeira is a standup guy, and that he appears anxious to play in New York. But I also know that we must be on guard against a dangerous strain of nostalgia that romanticizes the days when the Yankees and other clubs were virtually all white.
Some people still want Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle in the middle of their lineup, not Bobby Abreu and Alex Rodriguez – and not just because of the power to right field. …
[My take: Let's see .... our favorite pitcher is Mariano Rivera ... our favorite position player is Derek Jeter ... we adore Jorge Posada ... we worshipped Bernie Williams .... and when people get on A-Rod, the LAST reason is his ethnicity. Thus, I do believe Mr. Bondy is an early nominee for "worst blog entry of the year".]
- We know Rickey Henderson won’t go into the Hall as a unanimous selection, thanks to one Corky Simpson. Simpson has some thoughts on the reaction to his leaving Rickey off his ballot:
“Rickey deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, and if I had my ballot back, he’d have a shot at unanimity — and I wouldn’t be hated by quite so many people,” Simpson said.
“First things first, would I vote for Rickey if I had it to do all over again? Damn right, I would,” Simpson said. “I had no idea my ballot would cause such an uproar.”
“If I had properly researched the situation, I would have voted for Rickey Henderson if for no other reason than he played for nine ball teams,” he said. “Imagine that. He’ll be the first Hall of Famer to have a bronze bust with nine caps stacked on his head.
“Seriously, he was a wonderful player and I simply goofed. I voted for eight deserving men. I could have picked two more — and I wish to heck I had.”
[My take: If he had properly researched the situation????? Was he living under a rock for the past 30 years? He wrote for the same Arizona-based newspaper for 32 years. He must have seen Rickey play a lot. And for goodness sake, we're talking about enshrinement in the Hall .... not picking out what shirt to wear ... you BETTER do some research beforehand if you don't think you know enough about a player. The "nine caps stacked on his head" may have been an attempt at humor, but it makes a mockery of this man's vote.]
- Jim Dwyer of the Times takes the Yanks (and the City) to task for the handling of the new stadium funding:
… Even in times of great prosperity, the city could scarcely provide these modest basics. Now, beyond all sense or sensibility, the New York Yankees have appeared with a request for $370 million in new taxpayer-backed financing for a new baseball stadium that will open in April.
This is more. New. In addition to. On top of the $942 million in previous financing, and $660 million that the city is pitching in to replace parkland sacrificed for the new stadium and transportation improvements.
What is the team going to spend the new $370 million on?
Here are some items on the submission filed with the city’s Industrial Development Authority: $10.5 million for “suite level upgrades,” and $5 million more for “public washroom upgrades,” and $1.1 million to “upgrade suite seats, field seats” and areas where disabled fans will sit.
For a better sound and television system in the building, new mounts and screens, a video system and scoreboard, they want $34 million. And $3.9 million for “extensive cabling necessary to accommodate multiple, domestic and international broadcasters.”
To enclose the press box and build a dining room for employees, they’re going to spend $3 million. They also plan to spend $137 million for “food and beverage build out.” …
- Rich Dotson turns 50 today. Dotson went 12-9 for the ’88 Yanks, despite a 5.00 ERA. He was released in June of ’89 after giving up 69 hits in only 51.7 innings, and striking out a mere 14 batters.
- On this date in 1992, the Yankees trade 2B Steve Sax to the White Sox for pitchers Melido Perez, Domingo Jean and Bob Wickman.
Trivia answer: Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, at 14 years and counting.
That’s all till Monday …