New York Yankees 2009 off-season structure

On Derek's defense, again
Yanks rehash tired relocation threat

Over the last month of the season and into October, Tim at MLB Trade Rumors has put together off-season outlooks for various teams. You can check out his Yankees outlook here. We posted a link to this when he wrote it, and Bo, our invariably negative commenter, brought up a good, albeit still negative, point. Why doesn’t Tim have bloggers for each team put together these outlooks?

That’s what we’re shooting for today. We’ll include all contract obligations, estimate arbitration raises, and the guys who have a prayer of breaking camp with the team in March. Discuss in the comments, and be sure to make sure I didn’t forget anyone.

C – Jorge Posada – $13.1 million

Jorge’s not going anywhere soon, not with that salary. Many people rightfully question his ability to catch over 100 games next year after having shoulder surgery a few months back. We know that Jorge will get every chance to stay behind the plate, and barring further setback, we can pencil him in as the Opening Day starter.

1B – TBD

Many want Mark Teixeira. That’s not a certainty by any means, and even if he’s interested in the Yanks, it will take a truckload of money to bring him aboard. Is it worth it at seven, eight years at somewhere between $130 million and $160 million? Tough call, though it certainly does fill a need for the foreseeable future.

Sans Teixeira, the options are not pretty. You can play a non-1B there, but we’ve seen not so great results from that in recent years. Sean Casey, Tony Clark, Kevin Millar, Eric Hinske, and Doug Mientkiewicz head the uninspiring free agent class. Juan Miranda is an in-house option. You might be paying out the wazoo for Tex, but he’s so much better than any of these options that it might justify the enormous price tag.

2B – Robinson Cano – $6 million

Cano gets a generous raise in the second year of his contract. There has been plenty of Cano trade talk over the past two months, and it’s not a certainty that his $6 million salary makes the Opening Day roster for the Yanks. I wouldn’t bet on a trade, of course; Cano’s value is lower than optimal, if not down like the Dow, and the Yanks likely won’t receive what they consider equal value for the 26-year-old second baseman. If I were a betting man, and I am, I’d put money on him staying.

If he does go, the Yanks had better hope they can sign Orlando Hudson. Beyond him, it’s a group of old, mostly unproductive players at the 4 spot. If Cano gets traded and I hear David Eckstein’s name in the second base mix, I’m just going to flip.

3B – Alex Rodriguez – $32 million

The only commentary here is that the Yankees were smart to front loat A-Rod’s 10-year, $275 million deal. He’ll make $32 million in 2009 and 2010, and gradually will make less in the subsequent years.

SS – Derek Jeter – $20 million

His contract is winding down. This is strange. No worries for 2009, though. You can talk about Derek’s defense if you’d like.

LF/RF – Xavier Nady – $6 million

That’s my arbitration estimate for Nady, who hit .305/.357/.510 on the 2008 season. Those numbers weren’t as good as a Yankee: .268/.320/.474, though we’ve seen that he does possess the ability to hit well. Now it’s a matter of him doing it over the course of a season in New York. His final numbers should give him a good raise over his $3.35 million 2008 salary, especially since he can now compare himself to final-year arbitration cases.


Nady can play left or right, giving us a small amount of flexibility. The free agent class is littered with shiny objects like Pat Burrell and Adam Dunn, but neither will likely live up to the contracts they receive. I like the idea of Dunn, especially since Giambi will likely be done, but Dunn seems like the type of guy who will go the way of David Ortiz/Travis Hafner. That is, succumb to injury in their early 30s. It’s not uncommon for the unathletic, corner OF/1B/DH type.

There’s always Manny, of course, but I see the Yanks showing even mild interest only if they miss out on Tex. Even in that case, I don’t expect they’ll move on him. As a cost-efficient option, they might sign Juan Rivera, but it’s difficult to justify handing him a starting gig, especially after his poor 2008, and especially since he’s only had one stand-out year.

CF – Johnny Damon – $13 million

Furthering the Yanks flexibility, Damon can man center or left, though it’s optimal to have him in left, considering his diminished defense. Melky and Gardner are internal options should the Yankees not find a corner outfielder or center fielder of their liking this off-season. So, for the sake of argument, we’ll talk about the free agent class here as well. Spoiler: none seems definitively better than Gardner at the league minimum or Melky at a bit above (he might be a Super Two, though won’t get a significant raise).

On the free agent market, we’ve discussed Mike Cameron, whose option might be denied by Milwaukee. Rocco Baldelli, considering his mitochondrial myopathy, is probably nothing more than a fourth outfielder, and my guess is he’ll stick with Tampa. Jim Edmonds is old, Mark Kotsay is injury prone, and Corey Patterson flat sucks. Looks like it will be Melk or Gardy unless there’s a trade.

DH – Hideki Matsui – $13 million

After having surgeries on both of his knees the past two off-seasons, it’s not expected that Hideki can roam the outfield in 2009. He might be able to make a start or two out there, but after watching his defense this year, might that be like playing with a 10-pound weight around your neck?

SP – Chien-Ming Wang – $5.5 million

After missing most of 2008, it will be tough for Wang to convince an arbitrator that he deserves a hefty raise. He made $4 million in 2008 after losing an arb case. I’ll bet he settles this year, though $5.5 million might be an overshoot. I’d consider it the ceiling, though, unless he signs a long-term deal. I don’t consider that likely, though.

SP – Joba Chamberlain – $400K

No question here. After his shoulder injury in August, the Yanks will likely just renew Joba and see what he can give going forward.

RP – Mariano Rivera – $15 million

Praise be to Mo.

RP – Damaso Marte – $6 million

Although there is a perceived debate over whether the Yanks will exercise Marte’s option, I still believe they will. There’s always talk about the need of a lefty reliever, and now the Yanks have one. He might be a tad expensive, but it’s still worth it. Phil Coke isn’t a sure thing, after all.

RP – Brian Bruney – $1.5 million

That would more than double his 2008 salary of $725,000, but Bruney could do it. Remember, there was a slight debate last off-season over whether the Yanks would nontender the wild reliever. While he missed a significant amount of time in 2008, he pitched well while healthy and could parlay that into a raise in 2009. Once again, this seems about the ceiling number.

Other relievers

The Yankees have a number of other relievers who will make the league minimum. However, they also have options, so could end up back in the minor leagues and not count against payroll. I think, at least. These include Jose Veras, Edwar Ramirez, Phil Coke, Humberto Sanchez, Chris Britton, Dan Giese, Darrell Rasner, and David Robertson. You can even lump Melancon in with these guys, as I think he has a good chance of breaking camp with the team.

So, in any case, it appears that beyond Mo, Marte, and Bruney, the other four guys in the bullpen will make the league minimum or close to it. That is, unless the Yanks pick from among the free agent crop of relief pitchers, though I don’t see much there. Why blow money on Jeremy Affeldt if you have Marte and Coke as lefty options? I suppose they could take a look at Juan Cruz, who has gotten better in terms of WHIP and ERA over the past three years. Dude struck out 71 in 51.2 innings last year. Too bad he walked 31.

BN – Wilson Betemit – $2 million

After his poor season, I doubt Betemit gets a big raise over his $1.165 million 2008 salary. He’s still a valuable asset as a utility guy, though. As Mike is fond of saying, name three better utility infielders in the league.

BN – Jose Molina -$2 million

He’s a defensive wiz, and might be the best backup in the game. He does what we need, and he also seems to handle the young pitchers well.

Other commitments

The Yankees will owe $1.1375 million to Andrew Brackman and $400,000 to Juan Miranda regardless of where they play in the organization. Might as well figure that into payroll as well. Might as well also count Jason Giambi’s $5 million buyout, as well as Carl Pavano’s $1.195 million.

Total committed salary: $142.5 million

That counts all arbitration-eligible and above players, taking my ceiling estimates for salary. This does not count guys like Joba who are making the league minimum or close to it. Figure the Yanks will probably add another $3 or $4 million in those salaries.

Possible fill-ins

There are a couple of TBD positions listed above, which could be filled internally and cheap. Gardner or Melky could take the outfield spot. Juan Miranda could take the first base slot on the cheap. The bench and bullpen could be filled by league-minimum guys. In that case, the Yankees would have shy of $150 million in current player salary.

However, we know that this isn’t going to happen. There are plenty of possibilities to upgrade the rotation, outfield, and first base, and the Yanks will surely look into each of them, though not all with the same degree of seriousness. Let’s take a look at the probable and possible big-money signings as they affect the 2009 payroll.

Andy Pettitte – $12 million – He’s not getting $16 million next year, that’s for sure. If they bring back Pettitte, which seems likely, I’d bet his salary would be about this number. Speaking of $12 million…

Mike Mussina – $12 million – Some think he’s definitely retiring, others are less sure. In any case, I wouldn’t expect Mussina to make more than $12 million next season if he does return.

CC Sabatha – $24 million – I doubt he makes more than this in AAV, and if he does make that much, it will be from the Yankees. That’s just a staggering number. $24 million for a guy whose arm could fall off. Still, for a guy like CC it’s worth the risk.

Mark Teixeira – $20 million – Once again, if the dude makes $20 million AAV, I would think it would come from the Yankees.

Manny Ramirez – $17 million – Scott Boras has said five years, $85 million. That’s $17 million AAV. Will a team sign Manny for five years? Doubtful. That AAV might go up. That is, unless no team wants a piece of him for nearly that much.

Payroll limit

There have been rumors that the Yankees will cut payroll to around $180 million for 2009, down from $209 million on Opening Day 2008. Given what we’ve been hearing — that the Yanks will look for two free agent starters and will pursue Teixeira — that doesn’t seem likely. After all, that gives them just around $30 million to play with in 2009 payroll. If the Yanks add just one of Pettitte or Mussina, which seems likely, they’d be down to roughly $18 million in flexibility, or in other words not enough to sign Sabathia.

Chances are, payroll will be around $210 million for 2009. This would allow the Yankees to sign two free agents from the upper tier, plus maybe another under-the-radar guy to fill out the roster, though I don’t quite see who fits the bill.

All right, I’ll cut this novel short. Any thoughts?

On Derek's defense, again
Yanks rehash tired relocation threat
  • Malcard89

    I think the Yankees are in a stronger position than we think. The offseason might play out like the 2007-Arod’s-Contract-Scenario… who else could afford to pay a-rod that kind of money? in the same way, will ben sheets really command $17 million a year, or sabathia $24 million, or tex $20 million? We can point to the Mets, Dodgers, and Angels as teams with money, but lets not forget the Angels already have a ton committed to Torii Hunter and Gary Matthews, how many more big moves can they afford? I think the Yankees will get whomever they want with little to no competition.

    • Slugger27

      they will definitely have competition… not as much for CC, but i guarantee tex has MANY suitors

  • Shamus

    Wow… Cashman will be busy this winter.

    I hope he assembles a crew of guys (Jeter, Rivera, A-Rod, Posada) to contact possible free agent targets to do a little picthing…. as in pitch how great it is to be a Yankee, new Stadium, etc.


    If I’m Tex, and the Angels offer 6 years @ $110M, the Orioles offer 7 years @ $120M and the Yankees offer 6 years @$130…. who should I play for?

    • Joseph P.

      What’s neat is that those Tex offers sound about accurate. He’d be leaving a lot of money on the table in that case to play for Baltimore, and I’m sure his agent would have a thing or two to say about that.

      • Yank Crank 20

        Don’t forget Boston. They have a ton of payroll relief with no Manny and Schilling…all the have to do is trade Lowell and offer a lot of money to Tex. I see this as a more realistic possibility than an Angels or Orioles decision.

        • A.D.

          Trade Lowell, real easy, he’s coming of pretty legit hip surgery, and he’s up there in years, with 2/24 remaining on his contract. This would lead the Sox to either trade him to a contender for not a whole lot, or eat a lot of salary

        • Ed

          Trading Lowell’s going to be really hard unless Boston eats the entire salary. He’s coming off a series of injuries and a surgery, and has a lot of money remaining on his contract. This year Joe Crede made something like half what Lowell makes and only had 1 year left, yet he couldn’t be traded.

          • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

            Man, re-upping with ARod for 10 more years is looking better and better. We could have easilty been the ones stuck with that Lowell deal.

            • Michael

              Good point. You know, none of the Cashman haters are pointing that out right now. The guy was a WS MVP last year and now Boston won’t be able to get rid of him.

    • A.D.

      Not the Orioles

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

        Why wouldn’t the Orioles get in on that? I expect Angelos to kick the tires on Texy, Burnett, Sheets, Dunn, and Burrell.

        Shit, the AL East is officially a full-time, 5-team arms race going forward. Us, Sox, Rays, Jays, and Orioles are potential landing spots for anyone and everyone.

        • A.D.

          Oh i would expect them to, I was answering the question If I’m Tex, and the Angels offer 6 years @ $110M, the Orioles offer 7 years @ $120M and the Yankees offer 6 years @$130…. who should I play for?

          My answer would be not the O’s

          • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

            Oh, okay. Gotcha.

  • Slugger27

    its VERY close… but i give the SLIGHT edge to tex over CC as their no. 1 priority… mainly just cuz i think its a safer bet… although i still dont think theyll get both

    if they do get lucky though, according to joe’s projections, that would put them at 186.5 with no glaring need other than a backend starter and CF… and with tex added to the lineup, penciling gardner in for CF would become much easier

    after that, i think u sign pettitte to a 1 year deal, and i think thats all that should be done on the spending money front… leaving us at approx 200M even ((still down 9M from last year, and another 28M coming off next year))

    one last note, i think 5.5 sounds pretty high for CMW

    • Joseph P.

      I do, too, but you never know how these arb hearings will go. As I said above, I tried to give a ceiling number.

      • tim randle

        why? until his ankle injury, he was the winningest pitcher in the bigs for the previous 2 years.

        he is an uncontested ace! by the time he hits moose’s age, he has more 20 win seasons than you can count on one hand. if anyone wants the bet, i’ll put $20 on him winning a cy young in the next 5 yeras.

        he gets whatever the max is if he doesnt sprain his ankle…can we beat carl pavalo’s salary out of him and give it to CMW?


  • Murph1010

    They need to sign Wang to an evan longoria type deal. Long term for cheap money.

    • Joseph P.

      It’s not exactly that easy. Wang is entering his second year of arbitration, while Longoria had basically zero service time when he signed.

      • kgSturnz0r17

        why wouldn’t wanger accept a cheap, long term contract; he is taiwanese after all

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

          BigBankHank: Chein-Ming, I’m prepared to offer you a 2009 salary of 5.5 Million USD, but only if you personally make me a laptop right now, from scratch.

        • Raven

          Wow, nice to see a racist among all these Yankees fans.

          • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

            I’m assuming his comment was in the pursuit of comedy. I know mine was.

  • Ivan

    I guess Brian Cashman hasn’t lost faith in Hughes.

    Cashman looking at papers/research? Are you kidding? He should be fired. Gee who need facts like 108 pitchers are older than Hughes in the AzFL. Fuck facts.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

      PeteAbe says: “Hughes is 22. Give the guy a chance to pitch before you decide whether he can or not.”

      Hey Pete, your constant bashing of Joe Girardi less than one year into the job says hello.

  • Reggie C.

    If Melky Cabrera is the starting day CF in the NEW Yankee Stadium then Cashman did not do his job right.

    • Joseph P.

      What about Gardner?

      • Reggie C.

        eeehh .. Gardner has got a higher ceiling imo. Better plate discipline and smarter on the base paths. Gardner also takes smoother routes to fly balls. So given these assumptions, i can see Gardner starting and hitting 9th.

        Still , i dont think he’s much of an upgrade. We’re talking degrees of improvement that becomes a wash IF other current and/or new Yank regulars don’t hit.

        • tim randle

          how much faster is Gardner than Melky?

          • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

            166 SB’s in 4 professional seasons for Gardner vs. 74 SB’s in 6 seasons for the Melkman.

          • A.D.

            In 150+ games in ’07 melk had 13 stolen bases, in 42 games this year Gardner had 13, which would make BG have an easy 30-40 SB a year as a full timer, figure he might go a little more as he has experience & he probably can get on at a worse clip than this year.

            Melk token younger guy that can steal hear and there, BG, legit threat

            • A.D.


      • waswhining

        His second time up Brett hit 294 (end of Aug Sept/Oct). I think he showed major league defense and speed. Assuming CC is on board that means a Mike Cameron signing. So that’s CF — Cameron/Gardner/Johnny D.

    • steve (different one)

      what if Sabathia and Peavy are Yankees, Matt Holliday is in LF, and Teixeira is at 1B?

      that’s obviously not going to happen, but you can’t make absolute statements like that either.

      i’ll judge Cashman’s off-season by the opening day roster. not just one player and one position.

      • Reggie C.

        No amount of feasible make-over in the lineup can mask Melky’s black hole of a bat.

        • steve (different one)

          and yet the Phillies are about to win the World Series with 2 holes in their lineup (C and 3B) that are equally as poor as Melky.

          i don’t really disagree with you that Melky should not be the CFer.

          but these blanket statements you are making are ridiculous.

          it’s not like the Yankees didn’t lead the league in offense in 2007 with….Melky Cabrera in CF.

          • A.D.

            yeah, its scary that Melk’s 249/301/341 destroys Ruiz’s 219/320/300

          • Ivan

            Right. Your gonna have some holes in the lineup. Melky while not a good hitter makes it up with his defense.

            If Cano bounces back with a healthy Posada, with A-Rod, Damon and Jeter, that’s enough offense and especially if they sign Tex.

          • tim randle

            Doesn’t Melky have a decent arm? What’d he do in assists this year?

            • yanks163

              As a 9 hitter Gardner would essentially be a supplementary lead off hitter in front of damon. Even if he hits only .260 his plate discipline will give him an OBP of about .340 or .350. With his speed he could easily steal 40-50 bases next year and be standing on second base 40-50 times before the top of the lineup comes to the plate.

    • Ivan

      Well guess what, chances are their is a slight chance he will be the CF. Who you want playing CF? Gardner.

  • JeffG

    Forgot the wonderful Igawa – his money still counts toward payroll does it not?

    • Joseph P.

      Dammit. Is he ever not a nuisance?

  • Stewman23

    2009 25 MAN ROSTER FORECAST: Tex & CC as Yankees

    Teixeira, Mark 1B $21,500,000
    Cano, Robinson 2B $6,000,000
    Rodriquez, Alex 3B $32,000,000
    Jeter, Derek SS $20,000,000
    Posada, Jorge C $13,100,000
    Damon, Johnny LF $13,000,000
    Nady, Xavier RF $6,000,000
    Gardner, Brett CF $450,000
    Matsui, Hideki DH $13,000,000
    Molina, Jose BN $2,000,000
    Ransom, Cody BN $450,000
    Cabrera, Melky BN $500,000
    Betemit, Wilson BN $1,750,000
    Sabathia, CC SP1 $24,000,000
    Wang, Chien-Ming SP2 $5,000,000
    Pettite, Andy SP3 $12,000,000
    Chamberlain, Joba SP4 $500,000
    Hughes, Phil SP5 $400,000
    Rivera, Mariano CL $15,000,000
    Marte, Damaso SU1 $6,000,000
    Bruney, Brian SU2 $1,000,000
    Robertson, Dave MRP $400,000
    Ramirez, Edwar MRP $500,000
    Geise, Dan LRP $400,000
    Melancon, Mark MRP $400,000
    2009 TOTAL SALARY: $195,350,000

    Other Commitments:

    Giambi, Jason BUY-OUT $5,000,000
    Pavano, Carl BUY-OUT $1,195,000
    Brackman, Andrew $1,137,500
    Miranda, Juan $400,000

    2009 TOTAL WITH COMMITMENTS: $203,082,500

    • John D

      like this, but what about Coke and Veras

      • Stewman23

        With this quick mock-up I assumed the Yankees give Coke some time in AAA as a starter, by mid-season they should have an idea if he can make it(if he does, great…if not, he can return to the big club as a LOOGY and allow them to possibly trade Marte mid-season).
        Veras, plug him in accordingly if you want and there’s no real difference to the bottom line 2009 salary. He certainly could get a spot in the pen over Edwar, Robertson, or Melancon based on spring training.

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

          It’s still Veras’s job to lose and Melancon’s job to win, and not the other way around, IMO.

          • Stewman23


    • Ken Waterford, CT

      I agree with your roster. C.C. and Tex will be the only big FA’s they will sign. Maybe they will add a veteran (lower priced 1 yr deal for a CF or SP). Hopefully Ajax (if he is the real deal) will contibute later in the year. It sounds like Tex ($ $ $ Boras) and C.C. ( see Heyman, SI) are going to go to the highest bidder (Yanks). We should have a good team next year (baring more injuries) it will be nice to get younger while adding high level replacements.

  • A.D.

    My guess is that the yankees will not count buyouts & ML for Brack under any 180M potential desired payroll

  • John D

    Joseph P. love the post. very instructive for us fans heading into the hot stove. interesting that you listed Manny as a possible fill-in, but not Lowe, Burnett or Sheets. any reason why? and where do you see their respective AAVs settling?

    • Joseph P.

      I’ve been talking a lot about Sheets this morning, though I can’t claim to have a clue as to what he’ll get. Tough considering the injury case. Lowe won’t be in pinstripes, and I can nearly guarantee that. I’d figure him around $17 million per. Burnett will probably get $17 or $18 million per year for four years.

      • John D

        you’re probably right, but that’s too much/long for Lowe and Burnett. not worth it due to age and injury concerns. I think I’d be OK with the Yanks taking a short-term flier on Sheets given his stuff, but I hope they wouldn’t go longer than 2 with a team option for a 3rd

      • Ivan

        If you don’t get CC, would you sign Sheets to a 3-Year 45M dollar deal?

        • Joseph P.

          I’m a sucker for Sheets. It’s not the most justifiable move, though.

          • Mike A.

            I can’t help but wonder if he’ll take a 1 yr prove yourself and go back into the market next yr kind of deal.

            Then again, if Carlos Silva got $48M when it was common knowledge that he’s terrible, why should Sheets settle for 1 yr?

            Sheets > Burnett in my opinion

            • steve (different one)

              if he were willing to do that, wouldn’t he just stay in Milwaukee?

              i don’t know the answer to that, just seems like if you are trying to sign a contract like that, you should stay in the NL. and he seems like love Milwaukee.

              Sheets > Burnett, but Burnett is more likely to throw more innings in 2009.

              Burnett is not nearly the injury risk that Sheets is in 2009.

            • Reggie C.

              Isn’t Sheets like 2 years younger than Burnett on top of having just superior command ?

              Sheets has three 200 IP seasons on his resume. He also threw 198 very effective innings last season. If we missed out on CC, I too would advocate chasing Sheets over Burnett. At least make a 3 year / 45 million dollar offer, and give him the most intensive physical ever done..

              • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones


              • tim randle

                aren’t his high inning count years the year before his contract expires?

            • christopher

              absolutly agree…..sheets and sabathia rae my choices

          • Ivan

            If he’s a healthy which is a big if, he’s better than Burnett. I wouldn’t be surprise if he accepts a 2 year deal, and the yanks prounce on that.

  • A.D.

    Personally I think Miranda is just as good or better option then signing Clark, Casey, Mien, Millar, or Hinske full time. If they don’t get Tex then either signing Mien for defense or someone like Juan Rivera for a platoon would probably be the best scenario

    • Bo

      Miranda can’t hit lefty’s and can he field the position?

      It is amazing that the NY Yankees haven’t developed a good 1b since Don Mattingly.

      • Ed

        Sure they did. Nick Johnson. The guy’s great talent wise, he’s just physically fragile.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

        What, no love for Nick Johnson?

        • steve (different one)

          the Yankees also “developed” JT Snow, who had a decent career.

          but yeah, it would be nice if they could develop another one.

          • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

            You know, it’s worth mentioning that the Yankees have had an all-star first baseman under contract (most of them hefty) continuously for the past 25 years. First Mattingly, then Tino, then Giambi.

            Should we have been investing tons of resources in “developing” a first baseman when his path to the majors was hopelessly blocked? Or should we have gotten credit for developing Snow and Johnson and flipping them for something of value?

      • A.D.

        which is why I specially cited that adding Mien or Rivera to go with Miranda would be a good move, otherwise see if Ransom can do it for a whole year in a platoon.

        We haven’t had a good defensive 1B with Giambi, so the team won’t face a drop off if Miranda is taking the innings

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

          I haven’t seen him in person, but most everything I read/hear says Miranda may actually be WORSE than Giambi defensively.

          And Ransom is as good as gone. He’s a phantom of a mirage. No way does he even sniff a platoon of anything.

  • Januz

    I cannot believe some of the forecasted numbers, particularly with UNSIGNED players like Teixeira and Sabathia. I really think that players are going in for a rude awakening this offseason, when they do not get what they expect. The economy is in horrible shape, and it is a near certainity that taxes will be going up on the owners, and other wealthy people across the country (Barak Obama has essentially said as much, and he will be President in a landslide (Although I personally oppose him)), so they need to offset these losses somewhere (And decreased wages are a real possibility for just that). The Yankees (And the Mets for that matter) are in a different league. The new Stadium will bring in lots of extra $$$$$$$$$$ for at least the next 3 years, which will really help keep them profitable. In addition, while this is occuring, contracts like Damon’s & Matsui’s $13m EACH will be off the books after 2009, after that Rivera’s $15m, then finally the $36m owed Jeter & Posada will disappear after 2010 (I mentioned earlier the possibilities to replace Jeter (Angelini, Lassiter & Joseph). There are others for Posada like Montero, and Romine.
    I am really interested to see what happens?

    • Bo

      That post would make more sense if the Yankees weren’t moving into a new building that cost a billion and will have revenues approaching that yearly for the next few yrs. Not to mention a tv network that is the standard now for teams.

      All it takes is for one team to pay a guy and baseball is flush even in this economy.

      It’s pretty impossible to guess what a FA will make because you will always be off. Who had Zito, Silva, Meche, Jose Guillen, etc making what they got?

      And those are all mid market to small market teams. The yankees haven’t even played the big game FA market in years.

    • A.D.

      You’re dealing with a union, not a free market, it won’t act the same with salaries.

  • daneptizl

    Nice post…..

    About A-Rod though…. how will the payments for the HR records be paid out…. just as bonuses? If it’s like bonuses, he might earn an extra 18 mill in a year when he get 755, 762,763….

  • Bo

    Invariably negative. Ouch.

    Considering this was 100 times better than Tim’s thing I think my point was made.

    Variably positive now.

  • Nick

    Nice post. The yankee needs can be boiled down to two: Score more runs, (more hitting) and give up fewer (more pitching and defense).

    Giambi and Abreu’s production can’t entirely be replaced, so the yankees will have to do what they can for offense, but should focus on pitching and defense.

    That said, Texeira is a wonderful fit. I’m starting to get over some worries I’ve had about signing him just because of the level of improvement in hitting and defense that he’ll bring.

    I think garner/melky in center will be helpful defensively…and just hope that one of them can produce at least average production. Other than centerfield, there aren’t many holes to be filled…we might not like the options available (Matsui, Damon, Nady), but unless they’re traded, which I doubt, there aren’t many openings.

    I think miranda will play a role on the team next year. He has a big league contract, and next year will be his last option year. So either he gets some significant looks next year, or he’ll have a role in 2010 without having been tested, or the yanks are already ready to write him off. And if that’s the case, why keep him around next year.

    I don’t see any changes to the bullpen, other than picking up Marte’s option. The bullpen was solid for most of last year, and other than having a long man in the pen (Aceves, Kennedy, Hughes, Rasner, or Giese), they don’t have to make big changes. If injuries or ineffectiveness happen, there is Coke, Melancon, Robertson, Whelan, Sanchez, and Jackson waiting in the wings.

    CC would be another great fit for the rotation. Just hope that he doesn’t get killed in the press if he has another bad april.

    I’d prefer the yanks bring back Mussina, if he wants it, above any of the other (non CC) options out there. Burnett, Sheets, and Pettite have too many question marks for me to feel to confident about going into the season.

    A lot of next year’s success will be riding on Wang, Posada, Joba, and Matsui returning healthy and productive, Hughes and Cano bouncing back from off years.

    I would expect a lot of prognisticators predicitng 3rd or 4th place finishes for the yanks next year. no worries, though, in 96 and 98 the yanks were predicted to finish 3rd and 2nd place, and in 99 were predicted to not win the series.

    • steve (different one)

      Giambi and Abreu’s production can’t entirely be replaced, so the yankees will have to do what they can for offense, but should focus on pitching and defense.

      the good news is that Giambi and Abreu were by far the worst defensive performers on the team. replacing them with decent fielders would go a long way to correcting the defensive issues on the team.

      • Nick

        Is Nady that much better than Abreu? It looks like he’ll be the top option out there, and I just wonder how much better defensively he’ll be.

        • Ed

          I believe Abreu was the worst defensive outfielder in the majors by a large margin this year.

          • A.D.

            Hawpe was actually the worst regular for ZR, Abreu was second worst, Nady was about Ryan Ludwick/Corey Hart numbers, which would be top 10.

  • Nick

    Another thought I’ve had: the bullpen should be better next year because:

    1) Ramirez and Veras have a full year experience, and can make adjustments to improve. A somewhat questionable premise, but young pitchers always preform worse at first.

    2) Wang and other free agent signees will soak up a lot more innings, so less exposure to the bullpen.

    3) A full year of Marte means less exposure to lefties for the righthandes. (I know there numbers were solid vs. lefties, but I still think this could be a source of improvement.

    4) The presence of a longman will prevent the long outings that killed Ohlendorf, Robertson, and others.

    • A.D.

      4. Hopefully on this one (ie they designate a long man)!

      There is the very real possibility that Veras and/or Edwar digress. The good thing is presumably Melancon, a healthy Cox, and some of the other guys should be able to pick up if these guys don’t perfomr

  • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

    Sorry to repost like a noob, but I think it’s more germane to this discussion than to the general “Hot Stove” posting of Mike. I’ve rejiggered the numbers a bit to reflect what’s stated here.


    Okay: According to, if we lop off all the expiring contracts (including options/buyouts like Giambi, Pavano, and Marte) we’ll have a baseline payroll of 133M for 2009. Let’s add Marte’s 6M option to that, and Giambi’s 5M buyout (which should probably be included in our figures for fairness sake), and I’ll tack on 10M for Pettitte (sounds fair.) We’re now at 154M before signing any free agents.
    EDIT: Plus Igawa’s 4M and Pavano’s 2M buyout, make that 160M. I’ll stick with my 10M figure for Pettitte.

    If CC takes 22M AAV and Texy takes 20M AAV, we’re at 202M payroll for 2009, with the following roster:

    7-Damon (13M coming off the books at end of year)
    9-Nady (5M coming off the books at end of year)
    DH-Matsui (13M coming off the books at end of year)

    B-Molina (2M coming off the books at end of year)
    B-Betemit (2M coming off the books at end of year)

    SP-Pettitte (10M coming off the books at end of year)

    RP-Marte (6M coming off the books at end of year)

    Say we could find someone willing to take on half of Hideki’s salary in return for a non-prospect. (Like, say the Mariners, who have Jose Vidro as their DH and will likely lose Raul Ibanez?) That cuts the above ’09 payroll down to $195.5M, with an additional 51.5M coming off the books after next year (the other half of Hidek + Johnny + Pettitte + Marte + Nady + Molina + Betemit + my 7M accounting total for the Giambi/Pavano buyouts). Meaning that, even after adding CC and Texy, our 2010 payroll is 144M.

    Would you be willing to give 25M a year for 3 or 4 years of Manny, knowing that we could add CC, Texy, AND Manny and still have a 2010 payroll of under $180M and that he’d have a natural slot at DH within a year? I would. We’d have a bloated $220.5M payroll for one year, but we still have a lot of expiring money in our future (Mo’s 15M and Igawa’s 4M fall off the books after 2010.), and lots of that money could potentially be replaced with in-house options as our high-quality youngsters progress through the system (Melancon, Cox, the Hummer, IPK, McAllister, Betances, Austin Jackson, Romine/Montero/Cervelli, etc.)

    • Eric SanInocencio

      Interesting idea, and something that gets overlooked in terms of the decisions to be made this year. At some point, shouldn’t you factor in the contracts that come off the books next year when signing players now?

      I mean, with the mega deals (Jeter, Damon, Matsui, Rivera, Posada, Pettite if he resings) coming off the books nearly every season, can’t you easily forecast three years ahead in terms of budgeting? It never made sense to me to look at it through such a short window. What if the talent is best this year?Good point.

      • Ed

        There’s a limit to how much you can do that. If you go too high on the initial payroll, you can’t make a big trade deadline acquisition. And if you backload a contract heavily, you’re limiting what you can do in future seasons before you even know what your needs will be.

        Don’t forget the luxury tax – any payroll past $155 million gets taxed at 40%.

    • Nick

      Manny, headaches and all, would be an upgrade over Matsu, plus would balance the left/right handedness of the lineup.

      BUT can Girardi make it work? I like Girardi, but he doesn’t seem to have the people skills of Torre.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

        “I like Girardi, but he doesn’t seem to have the people skills of Torre.”

        What do you base this conclusion on? On the rantings of NY sportswriters/talking heads, who have had their Torreian wellspring of inside information dry up under Giambi? Dirty laundry was aired constantly under Torre’s watch. It’s not anymore. I don’t know that that’s a “lack of people skills”, I just think lots of the NYC MSM loved Torre because he gave them what they wanted, and they resent/slander/libel Girardi because he doesn’t.

        • Nick

          It is entirely based on the rantings of the talking heads and sportswriters….

          in hindsight, not the best of sources.

          • tim randle

            you know, this may be the first blog i’ve ever seen where somebody challenged a comment in a thoughtful and quasi-intellectual manner and the person being challenged accepted that criticism and responded intelligently.

            could there be hope for us yet?

            could Joba actually become the 8th inning guy for two years to replace Mo when he’s done? or is he doomed to follow the Smoltz start-close-start pattern? will his shoulder endure 200 innings?

            Clearly, I think not…he hasn’t gotten close yet.

            Sorry about the tacking back and forth, but my wife says I have A.D.D.

            LOOK! a chicken!

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

          Sorry, “who have had their Torreian wellspring of inside information dry up under Giambi Girardi

  • Mike Edelman

    Do you think the Yankees will let Jeter go when his contract is up? He loses most of his value if he has to move to first or third base. His offense is great for a shortstop, but below average for a corner infielder.

  • christopher

    the biggest mistake the yankees made last year was not trading for santantana – sabathia corrects thta.
    also they must compensate for the loss of giambi and abreu

    there are too many good free agrents for hester pryne cashman to play the scarltett lett P….and dont forget backloadng contracts…next season we lose damon cameron and petitte or mussina – i am sure that they can get these guys for a reasonable salary this year and raise it next year

    • steve (different one)

      ;ladjf;ewgfoihtjkewgdbva? asdfasld;kffew. sadflihreiuh!!!

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

        My favorite: “there are too many good free agrents for hester pryne cashman to play the scarltett lett P”

        How he worked Nathaniel Hawthorne into that bramble of obfuscation is beyond me.

        Agreed, we should have acquired “Santanana”. Hopefully, we don’t compound the mistake by losing “Cameron” next year.

    • Jamal G.



    • Slugger27


  • christopher

    cant jeter play center? he has always had a knack for reading fly balls and seems the type to sacrifice his body for an out.

    not this year but next year. he is clearly not a good defensive SS anymore – just watch the WS.

    maybe even this year if the yankees would be okay with Furcal who the dodgers wont be able to sign if they get manny – i doubt he will demand 15 million next year

  • Ari

    Assuming that money is not a concern, which i’m fairly confident it won’t be, then they should go out and sign Tex, CC, and one of Pettite/Moose (I’d prefer Moose) on a one year deal. That gives you a rotation of CC, Wang, Joba, Pettite/Moose, and one of Hughes/Aceves/Kennedy. If they can get Pettite and Moose for one year deals all the better. CC will probably be somewhat of a weight around the team’s neck over the last half of his contract, but that will probably only be relative to his value through the first half, meaning he will be significantly worse, but probably still a productive pitcher (think Schilling in his later years. still a solid pitcher, but not what he once was). Tex is the absolute first priority though. We need his bat, and his glove. Not getting him, regardless of price, would be crazy. As for the outfield spots, I’d put Damon in left, Nady in right, and let Gardner play center. Between Gardner and Melky I think Gardner is clearly a better choice. Even without any power at all, if he can maintain a respectable OBP he’ll transform the offense with his speed. Most important is how these moves set the stage going forward. Aside from Tex at first base you aren’t clogging up positions with long contracts. After this coming season (which will see Matsui as the DH) you can move Posada to DH, making room for one of the catching prospects (Romine, Montero – whichever is further along), and there’ll be room in the outfield for A-Jax (and maybe Jeter – since he can’t play short forever, and Tex will almost certainly be at first, left field seems like a likely destination). You’ll still have CC, Wang, Joba, and probably Hughes in the rotation, which allows you to work in another prospect if one seems ready.

  • YankeeInMichigan

    Joseph P., I see you have no love for Albaladejo (whom tommiesmithjuancarlos finally brought into to the discussion). His strong April certainly leaves him on the radar.

    If the Yankees sign Tex, Juan Miranda could become an appealing trade chip. With his strong finish and AFL campaign, his stock may never be higher.

    • s

      who would trade something significant for a 25 yr old first baseman who has had no more than 10 big league at bats

      • kgSturnz0r17

        a team that could use a 25yo first baseman…

    • A.D.

      anyone know Albys actual health, will he be ready for opening day?

      • Mike A.

        He’ll be ready for Spring Training. He was pitching in AAA rehab games at the end of the year.

        • A.D.

          good news, thanks

    • Joseph P.

      To the contrary, I absolutely love Albaladejo, even moreso because we got him for Clippard, one of my least favorite Yanks prospects of all time. I just forgot about him because he hadn’t been around all year, and we only saw him in DotF form later in the year.

      Just another solid option in the pen. Can’t have too many of them, especially guys who have options.

  • Jackson Riffe

    I agree with the guy up top that said the Yanks are not that bad off. If they won their interleauge games this year….and Kansas games…..they would be playing right now. The SAWX and the Rays had big trouble this year against the Yanks. The bullpen is strong as of now. Marte and Coke, Joba Wang Aceves in the rotation with one big free agent added would be a nice 4..maybe an aging Pettite for 5. Gardner is fast. Needs to learn to get extension on his swing by opening up. A new infield coach could spark Cano. Miranda is on fire in fall play showing he adjusted to MLB pitching. Young guy. Maybe the next Chamblis? The Yanks need young power and speed…Melky is not an offensive threat. Matsui and Damon are getting old. Cant expect Jeter to keep producing either. They need youth.

  • kgSturnz0r17

    what about somehow flipping Nady, Damon and prospects for Hermida and Holliday to get younger? and keep Mats as DH.

  • ko

    The Yankees having a payroll limit where the write says it is is ludicrous. They brought in close to half a billion last year, they’re moving to a new stadium next year with highter seating prices, psl’s (most likely) and, I belief luxury tax relief due to the new stadium that should probably net them another 100m or so. With all that revenue, why the hell are they cheaping out – if this payroll limit thing is true. With the Rays a potentential monster over the next few years, the Red Sox a better team now and better positioned in the near future with lots more good young talent than the Yankees and the Blude Jays with much better young talent thatn the Yankees, the last thing the Yankees can afford to do is go into a shell with payroll. They’ll get massacred on the field and that will directly cause a substantial decrease in revenues, larger than any payroll increases they may incur in putting a contending team on the field. Next year, the Yankees will sell out at home due to the new stadium, but after that, no one is going to run out and watch the schlock team that the Yankees will put out on the field if they don’t aggressively persue Sabbathia and Teixeira this winter.

  • Bill

    Free Agents won’t necessarily receive their average salaries in year 1 of long-term commitments. If you look at Johan Santana’s contract he made 18M in 2008, the first year of his deal with the Mets. Sabathia is looking at a similar contract, so unless the Yankees evenly distribute his salary he’ll probably get no more than 20M in 2009. Teixiera would be a similar situation.

    With that in mind I think we have room to sign 4 free agents (including CC and Tex). I would go with 3 SP because you can never have enough of those

    So 142.5M plus first year salaries for the following players:
    -CC- 20M (first year of a deal averaging ~24M)
    -Tex- 17M (first year of a deal averaging ~20M)
    -Pettitte- 12M
    -Moose/Garland?- 12M

    + another 3-5M on improving the bench/adding competition for Gardner/Melky
    =~207.5M- slightly down from last year

    I think we should really look to sign 3 starters this offseason. At this moment we only have Wang and Joba. Pettitte will likely be back which will be nice. If we sign CC that also helps. However getting those two still leaves us with Joba, Hughes, and Aceves in the 4 and 5 spots. Joba is terrific but will be limited in terms of innings. Hughes has a lot of potential but also has a lot of issues he needs to work out including injury problems and lack of innings which will also limit him. Aceves was great in limited action this past year, but slotting him to a rotation spot with limited exposure would be similar to what we did with Kennedy and Hughes last year.

    We need another starter who can pick up those innings. Moose would be the perferred option if he wants to come back because we all saw what he was capable of last season. He obviously won’t duplicate that, but given his new style I think its certainly feasible to expect him to produce. If not Moose I’d go to Jon Garland who will be relatively inexpensive compared to the market and is a proven innings eater in the AL. A solid #4 type and when Joba is healthy he would be in the 5th slot.

    Depth in our rotation has been one of if not the biggest problem the Yankees have faced the past couple years. We need to find a way to avoid using the Darrell Rasners and Sidney Ponsons for anything more than spot starts.