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Monkey See, Yankee Do?

Cincinnati Reds v St. Louis Cardinals

Should the Yankees imitate what the Red Sox did last winter?

Over at River Ave. Blues, Joe Pawlikowski doesn’t think it’d work. 

That said, I’d enjoy watching Shin-Soo Choo play for the Yanks.

[Photo Via: Getty Images]


1 Chyll Will   ~  Nov 5, 2013 9:36 am

Of course, that article fails to mention that the Red Sox were able to unload their biggest and most under-performing contracts onto a team ready to make a big splash and willing to take a chance on a change-of-scenery scenario; that worked out pretty well for both teams in fact. The Yanks should be so lucky; who in their right mind is going to take A-Rod (especially right now*), a declining CC, and an older, injured and clearly declining Teixeira (and why does my computer want to spell-check Teixeira as Reiterate?)

Those were contracts that were structured NOT to take their advancing ages in mind, but to entice them to come to and stay in NY and win now while they were still in their prime; the players the Red Sox traded were for the most part in their prime, which was still an asset to other teams willing to absorb the high price. Big differences in negotiating an exit strategy that would allow you to invest the savings in younger players that could contribute to a core.

The Red Sox situation, outside of the age of their rosters at the time, was nothing like the Yankees, who gave out bad contracts to support an aged core with nobody who could replace them as they were phased out of the game. It's not that the Yanks should or shouldn't imitate the Red Sox strategy, it's that they can't even if they wanted to. UNLESS they:

A.) Let all of their free agents walk; take the draft picks and draft/sign can't-miss players that are MLB ready or close to it and enduring a rebuilding process until they blossom...


B.) Find that one or two teams with a desperate idiot who wants to make a big splash.

Either way, it seems like the Yanks have painted themselves into a corner with sloppy personnel management and inconsistent development, and it could be a few years at least before they straighten it out and can provide a level of consistency beyond just being soft contenders year in and year out. Unless they get lucky.

2 RIYank   ~  Nov 5, 2013 9:47 am

They won't get a draft pick for Hughes, because they didn't make him a qualifying offer.
I assume they have to sign Cano, and that's probably the right move because he's likely worth more to the Yankees than he is to other teams.
I expect Granderson will accept the qualifying offer, unless the sides come to some other, longer-term agreement.
Will Kuroda take the offer? If not, does it make sense for Cashman to let him walk and take the pick?

3 rbj   ~  Nov 5, 2013 10:16 am

Yankees mentality for a while has been "screw the future, win this year." Well, now the future is here. And it isn't pretty.

4 Chyll Will   ~  Nov 5, 2013 10:20 am

[2] I don't think they sign Cano if he tries to hold them over a barrell, but it will be interesting how they structure the contract if they do sign him. This could be very telling of the Yanks strategy for the foreseeable future; if they are in a win-now mode or if they are looking down the road at not only his career path, but at what will be available at certain points. I have no doubt that they want Cano to be the leader of any core group they intend to build, but it makes no sense if they throw bad money after good by guaranteeing a set amount year after year without taking his performance and age into consideration; it's contracts like that which have severely hindred their progress. Again, wait and see; Cano's contract, if the Yanks sign him, will indicate a whole lot about the Yanks as an organization going forward.

As for the others, Granderson I hope they keep because there are really no other feasible options until they get some of their minor talent up in the club, and Kuroda can go either way with me, as long as whoever they bring into the rotation can by comparison make Kuroda no more than a three. If I were him, I'd see what they do with Cano before I make a decision, unless retirement or going back to play in Japan and retire is what I really want to do.

5 Chyll Will   ~  Nov 5, 2013 10:23 am

[3] And that will almost never work now that most other teams play on the same financial field with them in terms of their ability to sign or keep their core players and free agents.

6 Shaun P.   ~  Nov 5, 2013 10:41 am

I would love to see Choo in pinstripes, but I don't think the Yanks can afford to give up their top draft pick. I expect that Granderson will take the qualifying offer, and the Yanks will have a full OF anyway. C'est la vie.

Guessing I am in the minority, but the Yanks were foolish to not give Hughes a qualifying offer. I don't think it would have limited his market - the Angels at the least are in "must win now" mode and they desperately need pitching - and I don't think there was any chance he returned to the Yanks.

7 RIYank   ~  Nov 5, 2013 10:54 am

[6] Well, I agree about Hughes. He's worth more than two WARP per year to somebody. And even if he did take it, the deal isn't terrible for the team, so the risk is small.

[4] It doesn't matter much how they structure it. The way the luxury tax and salary ceiling rules work, they just take the average of the total contract. (Except when there are options, in which case it gets complicated.)

8 Chyll Will   ~  Nov 5, 2013 11:44 am

[7] Option the heck out of it after age 36 then.

[6] You're not alone; on the Mud Fight thread others tended to agree. I still think the Yanks have played that option foolishly in the past.

9 Chyll Will   ~  Nov 5, 2013 11:46 am

Umm, by others I guess I mean the nominal amount that qualifies that statement as plural...

10 GaryfromChevyChase   ~  Nov 5, 2013 12:42 pm

[6] Yeah, Hughes was worth a tender, because of the lack of pitching depth; I thik he'd return a draft pick, because he'd probably have a half point off his ERA in another park.

And BTW, I do send out good wishes to Joba. I think he had a legit chance to be excellent, but the Yanks ruined him through lack of trust, the whole reliever to starter to middle guy to reliever to bench siter to mop up guy. I'd like to think that if the bugs hadn't gotten to him that night, he'd now be a closer or at least the 8th inning guy for the Yanks. Hope he lands well elsewhere (clearly, his days as a Yankl are loooooong gone).

11 Bronx Boy in NC   ~  Nov 5, 2013 1:03 pm

[3] et al: The difference is that in many past years, a "shortsighted" win-now strategy had a realistic chance of producing "win."

I think you saw that happen in 2003 (Matsui, Giambi.. Armando Benitez! down the stretch) and certainly in 2009 (CC, AJ, Teixiera, Swisher) -- big signings at or near the beginning of whatever their Bronx tenures were destined to be.

You can characterize all that spending as stopgap "win-now" strategy, coming as it did well after the "dynasty" (Tino, Paulie, Brosius etc.) had ceased to exist. You sign dis year, we win dis year, das it. And it worked at least... sometimes.

That ain't happenin' now.

Which tells me the team needs not only to let go of "win now," but also to stick to its guns for a few seasons of development. Because a one-year break from "win now" isn't any break at all.

12 thelarmis   ~  Nov 5, 2013 2:25 pm

I like Choo.

I'm not the biggest believer in draft picks. It's way in the future and there are no guarantees. We're picking 18th or 30th. Who knows if/when that player will work out. If that were the only reason not to sign Choo, it's a no-brainer for me.

Choo is cool, but not perfect. Chad at LoHud has some good stuff today on all the players who were given Quality Offers.

13 RIYank   ~  Nov 5, 2013 4:53 pm

[12] Nothing's guaranteed no matter how you acquire a player.

It's important to draft a whole bunch of players with some high upside. That way you end up with a couple who are good enough to play on the Yankees. More than a couple, we hope. Maybe a Cano and a Gardner plus what we hope Betances will be.

In the years to come, even the Yankees aren't going to be able to spend enough money to field a great team of free agent signings.

14 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Nov 5, 2013 7:49 pm

Mark Reiterate.

I like the way your computer thinks.

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