"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

It’s Raining in Baltimore, Baby, But Everything Else is the Same

Yes, I just used a Counting Crows lyric for the post title. It was the ’90s, I was very young, and this is like the 149th time the Yankees have played the Orioles this year — sue me.

C.C. Sabathia started out a little shaky, throwing too many balls in the early going and allowing too many hits by a team whose best hitter to this point is, probably, Ty Wigginton. This would be no big deal, except that C.C. Sabathia has been shaky a bit more than usual this year… but it hasn’t stopped him from beating the Orioles three times already in 2010, and it didn’t stop him from doing so again tonight. He eventually found his happy place, got a bit of support from his offense, and pitched 7 solid innings for a 4-2 win over Baltimore. I feel I’ve called the O’s”hapless” too often already since April, so tonight instead I will describe them as unpromising, unhappy and ill-starred.

By the end of the third inning, Baltimore had taken a two-run lead, on RBI singles from Garrett Atkins and Adam Jones; they’d hold it for five innings, the longest they’ve held any sort of lead since May 25, which, yikes. In the fourth inning Robinson Cano singled (this was his third straight game with three hits, bringing his average back up to .376 — and over .500 against the Orioles), then advanced on a throwing error and groundout and scored on Curtis Granderson’s sac fly. Two innings later, his bouncing single knocked in Mark Teixeira and tied the game at 2-2. In what was not exactly a powerful offensive explosion, Alex Rodriguez then scored on a Jorge Posada force out, but the Yanks had the lead and, by that time, C.C. Sabathia was in his mental cave communing with his Power Animal. After several strong innings he got into a tough spot in the seventh – bases loaded thanks to two singles and walk, with two out – and extricated himself by striking out Luke Scott. His final line: 7 IP, 9 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 8 K.

New York’s one extra run came in the 8th, when Gardner pinch ran for Posada, stole second even though everyone in the building knew he was about to try and steal second, and scored on a sharp single by Francisco Cervelli. Joba Chamberlain had a relatively non-terrifying eighth inning (let’s get that ERA below 5!) and Mariano Rivera notched his 14th save with a perfect ninth, just because.

The Yankees will play the Orioles again on Thursday, and also, I assume, the day after, and the day after that, and the day after that, and every single day Michael Kay will discuss the declining attendance at Camden Yards, every day, oh god it will never end, never, not ever!


Ahem… deep breaths… A.J. Burnett starts next time out for the Yanks. I’m fine. I SAID I’M FINE.

Categories:  Bronx Banter  Emma Span

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1 Alex Belth   ~  Jun 10, 2010 9:21 am

Ms. Span. Re: the Counting Crows lyric in the title...you WILL be hearing from my lawyer.


2 RagingTartabull   ~  Jun 10, 2010 9:35 am

I still think Adam Duritz went into witness protection, shaved his head, and started a new life in Baltimore as that "Ace of Cakes" douche.


oh yeah...nice game by CC too

3 OldYanksFan   ~  Jun 10, 2010 9:43 am

It's not early anymore..........
Teix can't be this bad, but a .900 season OPS looks near impossible. ARod's OPS is 120 pts below his career avg. He isn't sucking, but looks off balance... lunging at pitches... not staying back and not driving balls to CF and RCF. His hits all seem to be to LF, and he is not getting the ball in the air.
Jeter's line of .297 .347 .426 .772 might be in line with a guy getting older and beginning to wind down. If this turns out to be his final line, do you give him 3 or 4 more years..... at a zillion dollars per???

Our #1, #3 and #4 are all underperforming (an understatement for Teix) and our #2 is out. Possibly the fact that we are playing .627 ball is testimony to how good this team is?

Can Cano and Swish keep up this pace? (No)
Will Gardner and Brains continue to contribute more then we expected? (Maybe?)

Teix and ARod must step up. Jeter needs to talk some pitches and walk more.

TB is very real and the Sox could still be dangerous.
I'm not really sure what to make of this team.

4 Just Fair   ~  Jun 10, 2010 9:55 am

[0] I gotta admit. I was singing that song last eve due to the circumstances. I'm not averse to the Counting Crows. Yeah, I said it. : ) I like the Black Crowes, too. But I HATE the Ravens. Just sweep and get the hell outta "Charm City." cack.

5 rbj   ~  Jun 10, 2010 9:59 am

[0] LOL at the end there, Emma. Thanks.

6 Sliced Bread   ~  Jun 10, 2010 10:00 am

Russo's catch in the 8th was huge. Neither Winn, nor Thames, nor both of them playing left at the same time could've caught that.

7 Diane Firstman   ~  Jun 10, 2010 10:12 am


On topic of that lyric, the Orioles DO possess a "Mr. Jones"

8 Sliced Bread   ~  Jun 10, 2010 10:14 am

[3] yes, the Yankees should, and will give Jeter whatever he wants.

You're not really worried about Tex and ARod are you? They went a combined 3-for-10 last night (only 1k), and each scored in a game that was won by two runs. Small sample size, I know, but they're contributing all the time. Forget their cumulative stats. They're fine, in their prime, and all's well

9 Diane Firstman   ~  Jun 10, 2010 10:18 am


Here's a Counting Crows-inspired riddle ..

Q. When do the Orioles typically play their worst ball?
A. August and Everything After

10 Sliced Bread   ~  Jun 10, 2010 10:37 am

I have no problem with Counting Crows. Their first two albums were very good. I preferred the 2nd one. Lost track of them after that, but I still like hearing those songs from time to time. Except Mr. Jones. Never liked that one.

Mr. Jones by Talking Heads, now that's a great tune:


11 The Hawk   ~  Jun 10, 2010 10:43 am

Counting Crows ... problematic.

I was at UC Berkeley for summer courses once. It was a bit after the band's time and who should I spy but Adam Durwitz. This girl I was with and I decided to follow him down Telegraph and he seemed to go into every other store and come out eating some new tasty treat. He did't look too concerned, nor too healthy.

Sha la la la la la la la laaaaa

12 Diane Firstman   ~  Jun 10, 2010 10:45 am
13 monkeypants   ~  Jun 10, 2010 10:54 am

[3] Teix can’t be this bad, but a .900 season OPS looks near impossible.

No, no, no, you've got it all wrong. As Sterling pointed out---again---last night, assuming Teix ends up with his typical numbers, he's GOT to have a lot of hits, HRs, RBIs saved up for the rest of the season. So if anything, the Yankees can look forward to, indeed expect, a monstrous remainder of the season from their slugger.

See, sometimes you really CAN predict baseball!

14 seamus   ~  Jun 10, 2010 10:56 am

hmm, not sure i approve of this counting crows nonsense. But good recap overall. :)

15 monkeypants   ~  Jun 10, 2010 11:03 am

[3] Jeter’s line of .297 .347 .426 .772 might be in line with a guy getting older and beginning to wind down.

Hm. Didn't we hear this a whole lot in 2008, when he hit .300/.363/.408/.771?

Now, a (somewhat) more serious answer to your question (should they pay him). Accepting the flaws in OPS+, Jeter's relatively poor performance in slash stats this year still results in a 111 OPS+, as good or better than he hit in 1996, 1997, 2002 (when he was 28 y.o.!), 2008, and a smidge below 2004. In other words, he's having an off year, so far, but we've seen this before.

Moreover, his 111 OPS+ is far better than the average AL SS (currently averaging 85 OPS+), and is in fact not far behind the average AL 1B (115 OPS+).

I'll take his production at the SS position every day of the week and a double-header on Sunday. Given the Yankees' relatively unlimited budget, you bet I would extend him for a few years at a zillion dollars. Would that investment "pay off" in the long run? Probably not.

16 Mattpat11   ~  Jun 10, 2010 11:11 am

If everyone in the building knew Gardner was going to steal second, its a good thing I wasn't in the building. With our track record with pinch runners, I thought it was 50/50 at best.

17 OldYanksFan   ~  Jun 10, 2010 11:49 am

"yes, the Yankees should, and will give Jeter whatever he wants."
So... lionizing Jeter is more important then building a winning team?

"You’re not really worried about Tex and ARod are you?"
Yes... I am. You have never seen a great player have a bad year?
The truth is, Teix doesn't need a .900 OPS for the season, but the team could use him to have a .900 OPS from now on. And on ARod... might his hip be an issue? We can all see he is not running as well.

Now I'm not REALLY worried, but I don't know if we can rely on Cano and Swisher to carry the team the whole year. And certainly in the PS, we need our big bats.

Record aside.... Is this team really playing as well as youz guyz expected?

On Jeter: Derek is a great, HOF player. But he's not the first great player the Yankees have had. No, I wouldn't trade him, as they did the Babe. B/4 Jeter, Donnie was a beloved Yankee, and they didn't even re-sign him, no less make him one of the top 5 paid players in the game.

I don't think the Yankees have mistreaded Jeter, paying him $189m over the last 10 years. And I do want to re-sign him. But I hear numbers like 4/$80m being thrown around. With our other contracts on the books, I don't see overpaying him by 50%.

Jeter has done a LOT for the Yankees.
But New York has done a LOT for Derek.
My guess is if he's on Texas, he's still a first ballot HOFer, but has millions less in endorsement money.

Quick question:
If at 36, he is a 111 OPS+ SS, what's he worth as a FA?
My guess is 3/$45 at best. And I think that's high. Am I wrong?

I'm not hating on Jeter.... however......
It seems to me Cashman is trying very hard to keep the payroll at $200m or less. IF... if this is true, 4/$80 for Jeter could really hurt this team

18 monkeypants   ~  Jun 10, 2010 12:01 pm

[17] B/4 Jeter, Donnie was a beloved Yankee, and they didn’t even re-sign him, no less make him one of the top 5 paid players in the game.

I get your overall analysis, but comparisons between Donnie and Jeter large fail to compel. Donnie was beloved, but he was basically a below average producer for a 1B with a long history of injuries when his contract ran out at age 34.

Jeter is a well above average producer at a premium position coming off a near MVP season. He has no serious history of injuries. Simply put, he is a much better investment even at this late stage in his career than Donnie Baseball was.

Is Jeter worth 3/45 or 4/80? I have no idea. But I do not think that 4/80 cripples this team even if (and it is an IF) Cashman wants to stay at 200 million (for now...presumably his budget will increase by 2014). We have to remember who will be coming off the books in the meanwhile: Posada, Mo, Burnett, Igawa (!), Marte. Some of these guys may resign, some not, some for less money. CC can opt out of his contract after next season.

19 monkeypants   ~  Jun 10, 2010 12:03 pm

[17] The other question that has to be asked: if not Jeter at 4/80 (for example), then who? Who replaces him at SS? Who replaces his production? It is conceivable to go with a Peña and flip Jeter money into a slugger at another position, but what FAs are on the horizon?

20 Diane Firstman   ~  Jun 10, 2010 12:13 pm



SS free agents after 2010:
Alfredo Amezaga (age 33)
Orlando Cabrera (36) - $4MM mutual option with a $500K-$1MM buyout
Juan Castro (39)
Alex Cora (35) - $2MM option vests with 80 starts
Craig Counsell (40)
Bobby Crosby (31)
Adam Everett (34)
Alex Gonzalez (33) - $2.5MM club option
Khalil Greene (31)
Cristian Guzman (33)
Jerry Hairston Jr. (35)
Cesar Izturis (31)
Derek Jeter (37)
Julio Lugo (35)
Jhonny Peralta (29) - $7MM club option with a $250K buyout
Nick Punto (33) - $5MM club option with a $500K buyout
Edgar Renteria (35) - $10.5MM club option with a $500K buyout
Jose Reyes (28) - $11MM club option with a $500K buyout
Miguel Tejada (37)
Juan Uribe (31)
Omar Vizquel (44)

Not an appealing lot ... maybe Peralta or Uribe?

21 monkeypants   ~  Jun 10, 2010 12:28 pm

[20] Not resigning Jeter would mean pretty much accepting a major offensive decline at SS. More important than SS FAs are various sluggers at corner OF...that's about the only other position that I can see where the team could flip Jeter-money to offset the loss of his bat.

22 OldYanksFan   ~  Jun 10, 2010 12:30 pm

I didn't say DUMP Jeter.
Everyone on Earth wants to see him retire in Pinstripes.
All I'm saying is:
Pay him his REAL MARKET VALUE + a 20% 'We love you Derek' bonus.
And try to keep it at 3 years, and year by year after that.
(Hey... I don't want to play hardball, but Jeter will NOT play for anyone else)
For $20m.... I'd wait for HanRam. Or Tulo (for less).

So I'll ask again.
What is he worth as a FA?
(Hint: Projected WAR x $4m per)

23 monkeypants   ~  Jun 10, 2010 12:49 pm

[22] But it's hard to assess real market value when the market is as skewed and irrational as professional sports (or entertainment). If, as you say, EVERYONE wants to see him retire in pinstripes, then Jeter's market value is considerably higher than it would seem by merely multiplying his performance by a dollar constant. Moreover, the Yankees budget allows them to operate under different market constraints so that it may (probably?) be more worth it for them to overpay theoretical market value for players who provide even negligible added value (i.e., the Yankees can afford to really overpay for that extra win player X might provide).

My larger point, however, is that every time Jeter has a lesser year or (like last night) gets caught stealing (so he's only successful 75% of the time this season), some folks start throwing around phrases like "slowing down" and "decline" and discussing how the team can't/shouldn't pay too much for his services...all the while completely overlooking that even in diminished form he is still one of the top few players at his position, a premium position at that!

So, given the Yankees generous budget and limited options for replacement, 4/80 (for example) just doesn't seem all that problematic to pay for one of the best players at a premium position, even if it is likely to get uglier at the end of the contract (but by which time 20 million would be worth relatively less AND other players will be off the books allowing the team to, effectively, offset overpaying by probably a year or so).

24 Diane Firstman   ~  Jun 10, 2010 12:52 pm



may I ask what you do for a living? finances?

Would you consider Jeter at 20 mil a "loss leader"?

25 monkeypants   ~  Jun 10, 2010 12:52 pm

Also, given that Jeter is making about 23 million this season, signing him to 4/80 would represent in effect a small savings for the Yankees, freeing up 3 million to be applied elsewhere (for contracts to guys like Mitre).

26 monkeypants   ~  Jun 10, 2010 12:59 pm

OK, after this I have to do some "work". According to Cot's, the following annual salaries come off the books after this season (leaving out the really small contracts):

Jeter: 22.6
Rivera: 15.0
Pettitte: 11.75
Vazquez: 11.5
NJ: 5.50
CHPark: 1.20
Winn: 1.10
Thames: .9

Total: $ 69.55 million

That's a lot of dough. The Yankees can easily resign Jeter and Mo for too much and too many years, and still have plenty of fundage left over. And then in 2012, Posada's 13.1 million comes off the books.

27 monkeypants   ~  Jun 10, 2010 1:01 pm

[24] Finances? ha-ha. I'm a university perfesser...in the Liberal Arts no less. I understand baseball finances 9I think), but my wife has to balance the checkbook. I'm a disaster when it comes to real life finances!

28 Diane Firstman   ~  Jun 10, 2010 1:01 pm

fwiw, baseball-prospectus.com marginal valuation above replacement player for Jeter:

2010 $11,215,937
2011 $10,649,828
2012 $6,662,530
2013 $5,141,060
2014 $3,369,376
2015 $1,239,694
2016 $132,406

29 Shaun P.   ~  Jun 10, 2010 1:09 pm

OYF, you started this all out based on the premise that Cashman wants to keep the payroll at around $200M, and then you asked what's Jeter worth? - and how will that affect the team down the road.

All interesting questions to be sure, but if your concern is the payroll, why not look at the payroll?

Salary bumps for various players (Tex, Swish, Cano, Granderson) and a drop for A-Rod adds $7.5M to the payroll.

The "chaff" (Park, Miranda, Mitre, Gaudin, Logan, Thames) are being paid about $4.6M. Let's guess that keeping/replacing those guys costs the same, so change of $0.

The arb-eligible players are Hughes and Joba (and Logan, but I've already dealt with him above). Let's guess that new contracts/arbitration awards for Hughes and Joba add about $4M more to the payroll.

Then we get to the 5 free agents. Mo re-signs for $15M/year (change of $0). Pettitte retires (I think he will) (-$11.75M). Nick the Sick gets the boot (-$5.25M). Finally, Vazquez re-signs for 2 years, $20M ($10M/year, -$1.5M).

Finally, let's say the Yanks do offer Jeter a $20M/year contract (which would be -$1M).

Presuming all the assumptions I've made above are true - and at the least, I think they are reasonable - the Yanks payroll will go down by about eight million dollars. (+$7.5M + 0 + $4M - $18.5M - $1M = - $8M).

So let's just say that I'm not especially worried about the Yanks offering Jeter $20M/year. I'll even go out on a limb and say he signs for less than that ($18M), with some kind of Brett/Ryan/Clemens "personal services" contract on the side.

30 Sliced Bread   ~  Jun 10, 2010 1:13 pm

[17] yeah, we all know great players can have bad years, but I still can't get worked up, or "worried'" like you can about Tex and ARod "underperforming." I go to bed with things on my mind, yes, even silly Yankee things, and those 2 guys are the least of my "worries" is all I'm saying. If they have bad years, so be it. Ain't a thing we can do about it.

With respect to Jeter, I'm not suggesting you cripple the organization and give him a shortstop contract for life, or some sort of deal that allows him to play the position longer than Jerry Lewis's deal to host telethons, but I'll put it this way:
there will and should be very little if any negotiation of Jeter's next deal. His agents will present a figure, the Yankees will present a figure, and a deal will be made rather quickly, I'm predicting. Questioning what he's really worth, and breaking out the "Projected WAR X $4m per" calculator.. not worth it if you ask me.

I love that you give it so much thought, though -- and I appreciate your knowledge of the game, and your detailed posts.

31 Shaun P.   ~  Jun 10, 2010 1:14 pm

[26] Props to you, monkeypants, for doing the calculations a lot faster, and from the other side!

Don't forget too that Igawa's $4M/year comes off the books in 2012.

Speaking of forgetting, I forgot about Winn in [29], so make that "the Yanks payroll will go down by about nine million dollars. (+$7.5M + 0 + $4M – $18.5M – $1M -$1.1M = – $9.1M)."

Note too that if the Yanks decide Marte is expendable, that's another -$3.75M off the books.

Bottom line - the Yanks can easily afford to pay Jeter $20M/year without any worries at all.

32 Sliced Bread   ~  Jun 10, 2010 1:22 pm

great stuff, Shaun P, and monkeypants!

33 Crazy8Rick   ~  Jun 10, 2010 2:21 pm

Yo Emma; great recap. I loved the "He eventually found his happy place..." line about CC. Shades of Robin Williams in 'Peter Pan'
I am with you girlfriend. Can we please go to another happy place other than Baltimore?

34 ny2ca2dc   ~  Jun 10, 2010 4:27 pm

[23] I agree as far as this goes... but I'm not sure 4/80 is the upper range.

4/80, sure fine, you my boy Jete. What about 6/120? 5/100? yeesh. I guess we'll see!

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