Sunday, January 31, 2010

How Bad for the Yankees is Arod's Contract?

After the 2007 season Alex Rodriguez signed a 10 year $275 million contract. For a player with a single team bidding entering his age 32 season this was quite the player friendly contract. Before Arod signed with the Yankees the lack of interest around baseball was significant enough that the MLB player association discussed filing a grievance. So while the Yankees might have overpaid how much have they overpaid? First lets get an idea of the production you can expect from Arod for the duration of the contract. Baseball Think Factory ran some rough projections before the 2008 season, I have replaced the 2008 and 2009 numbers with his actual production;

The RBI numbers will probably drop as Arod goes from a 3-4 hitter to a bit lower in the lineup as he ages. 2013-2017 seem to the big issue. Arod project to be a slightly above average player for most of the time(the average OPS in 2009 was .758) while most likely remaining the top paid player in baseball. You add in the potential 20 million a year Jeter will require for a 4 year extensions and the Yankees could be dishing out 50 million a year in 2013 and 2014 for below average players. They will have an additional 47 million invested in CC and Texieira. Texieria will only be 33 in 2014 and CC 32 so you can expect a fairly high level of production from those two. However the 2013/2014 Yankees will have 100 million in 4 players, possibly achieving only slightly above average production from those 4 spots.

Essentially what the Arod contract has forced the Yankees into is a budget minded approach where they will have to produce cheap players from within their own system. If they do not even the Yankees don't have the financially ability to spend their way into contention. As we get deeper into Arod's contract it will get worse and worse. I know this one is supposedly on Hank but Cashman has to get some blame here too.

But how bad is the contract? Ask me again when Arod is a 41 year old DH producing below average production while making 32 million a year....

The Joba Saga Just Won't Go Away

As the Yankees enter 2010 the team is pretty much set.
The infield spots are rock set in stone;
The OF is now also set, even though the roles and positions could change slightly with Granderson switching to LF and Gardner switching to CF. Also, Winn could potentially get some ABs as a LH if Gardner struggles;
LF-Gardner/Winn vs Lefties
DH and Catcher are also settled;
The rotation has 4 spots settled with AJ, CC, Vasquez and Andy. Throw in Mo closing and there is only two spots of significance left up for debate; 8th inning reliever and 5th starter. This is why the Joba saga just won't go away. If Joba starts and succeeds and 8th inning is a struggle you will here the talk that Joba needs to go to the pen. If the 5th starter struggles with Joba in the pen you have to question why the Yankees suffered through Joba rules only to give up on them so quickly.

With noting else to really debate on this team the radio waves and newspapers will be flush with recycled arguments in both directions. Is there anything that can save us from the same old story here? I don't think so, there is the possibility Joba can dominate as a starter and Phil will do the same in the 8th inning but even then you will hear the whispers. If either struggle the whispers become a roar. So Yankee fans prepare to roll your eyes through months of the Joba debate (again!), hopefully THIS is the last year and next year we can move on to bigger and better things. But as we approach 2010 come to the realization that the Joba debate is here to stay.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Were the Tigers Selling High on Granderson?

When the Tigers unloaded Granderson earlier this offseason it was widely believed they were unloading salary. Dave Cameron at Fangraphs said at the time;
" The Tigers aren't as good today as they were yesterday, but they did manage to shed some payroll...."
Makes sense the Tigers were shedding payroll and restocking with MLB ready talent. But then word comes of the Jose Valverde signing, 2 years and 14 million. Valverde will make the same salary in 2010 as Curtis Granderson. Also, there are rumors of Detroit being in on Damon. So what gives?

The only possible explanation is that Detroit was selling high on Granderson believing that his 2009 was closer to the player he is and his stellar 2007 was the aberration. With clubs still viewing him as the player the saw in 2007 Detroit unloaded him when they had the chance. His salary in 2010 is very reasonable but it climbs to 8.5 in 2011 and 10 million in 2011. If he had another year like 2009 the tigers would have gotten almost nothing back in return for him after the 2010 season.

Now obviously the Yankees feel that Granderson is closer to the 2007 version of himself or they wouldn't have made the trade. However, you have to wonder if the Tigers were watching him every day and felt he was possibly on decline were the Yankees possibly wrong here? Did they buy a player on decline? We will see how it plays out but maybe this deal isn't the slam duck we thought it was at the time.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

1998 - A look Back

1998 was a banner year for baseball. Of course Yankees fans will remember the Yankees dominating the regular season on their way to the World Series. It was also an expansion year featuring new teams in Arizona and Tampa Bay. There were great individual performances as David Wells pitched a perfect game, Kerry Woods K's 20, Roger Clemens K's 18 and then, of course, there were the home runs.

We all remember Sosa and McGwire but 98 was also the first year in baseball history were 4 players hit more then 50 home runs as Greg Vaughn(!) and Ken Griffey jr. joined Sosa and Big Mac. So now that McGwire has admitted what we already knew how does 1998 hold up to hindsight? For starters the top players were clearly cheating as six of the top ten in the MVP voting were most likely on steroids in the NL(Sosa, Big Mac, Vaughn, Biggio, Galarraga,Bonds) and seven of the top ten in the AL(Juan Gonzalez, Nomar, Mo Vaughn, Manny, Albert Belle, Arod and Pudge).

For the Yankees, you also have to wonder how many players were doing steroids with Knoblauch and Pettitte already linked. As hard as it is to admit you have to wonder about some of the Yankees other top players. What about Bernie, Paulie, and even Tino? Any name linked to steroids (outside of Jeter but maybe that is even being naive) would not surprise me.

So now we have the top players and the top team linked to steroids.

So this is where the difficult part of the steroid era really comes into play. If the players and teams who succeeded during this period were clearly cheating what do we do with the records and the accomplishments of this time? Do we discount it all or do we simply take the stance that everyone cheated and call it even?

For the Yankees, I have come to the conclusion that the Yankees were the best team of the era with some of the best players. There is no way that most of the other top players were cheating but the Yankees core was not. However, the shear number of players who are being outed make it hard to discount or even taint the accomplishment of a team when they were clearly competing against other steroid using teams. Using that same logic you have to say the same for McGwire as well. He was facing opponents that were doing the same things he was. So basically the best then we still need to consider the best now. Sure those who were clean faced a competitive disadvantage and it isn’t fair to those players but I am not willing to complete throw those years out.

Knowing what we know now we either accept the timeframe for what it was or wipe it out completely. I am not willing to erase those year so Bonds, Big Mac, Sosa and 125 wins should stand forever in the record books and the Hall of Fame.

It is time to accept the period for what it was and move on.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

We're Back!

The inactive period here at Yankee GM is over!

Come back soon for the new and improved Yankee GM blog!

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