Note to Cash: Hold off on Cameron deal

Three pre-Christmas offensive story lines

The Winter Meetings may have passed, but it’s still relatively early in the baseball off-season. As you can see on our sidebar widget, there are still two months until pitchers and catchers report (the biggest day of the year on which nothing happens). That’s plenty of time for the Yankees to sift through their options and decide on the best course of action for the 2009 team. We’ve been debating this hotly in the comments, and aside from a few overzealous folks, most everyone is making cogent points.

I explained on Friday night that I think there are two paths the Yankees can take right now. First is to create a more balanced team. This would entail bringing back Andy Pettitte to fill the fourth/fifth slot in the rotation and trading for Mike Cameron. The lineup would then be filled with solid, established players (and a high-ceiling guy in Cano), and the rotation would be solid one through five. It would give the Yankees the depth to deal with an injury or two. It would give the team even more of a veteran presence.

The other path the Yankees can explore is an all-in push for 2009. By signing CC and A.J., the Yankees have begun such a movement. Adding a big bat like Manny Ramirez or Mark Teixeira (as we’ve heard from our favorite rumormonger) or even Adam Dunn would re-ignite the talks of a 1,000-run offense. The difference, of course, is that this year the Yanks have the pitching to match it. The lineup would be disgusting one through nine, and the rotation would still feature a top four you can place against any team in the league.

At this point, adding Cameron might hamper the team’s ability to sign one of the boppers on the market. While some cite the $88 million that came off the payroll after last season, that’s not the whole story. Some players are due raises, and others weren’t on the opening-day payroll (Marte, Nady). So let’s go through the team’s current commitments (plus arbitration estimates):

* AAV of contract
** Arb estimate

That totals $173.85 million in committed salaries for 15 players. That leaves 10 more players, likely for the most part under the reserve clause, which will keep their salaries in the $400 to $500,000 range. Even at the high end, $5 million for those 10 players, that leaves the Yanks with a $183.85 million opening day payroll. Notice how it’s right around the team’s stated goal of $180 million.

Still, we know the Yankees. They could find a way to squeeze another contract in there. Perhaps they backload A.J.’s deal, knowing that $26 million comes off the books from Damon and Matsui after the year. That would give them the flexibility now to add a bat and still keep the payroll under $200 million.

If you add Andy Pettitte, it’s almost impossible to add a bat without exceeding 2008’s payroll. Same with Mike Cameron. So the choices going forward:

1) Sign Pettitte. Sign bat. Screw payroll.
2) Sign Pettitte. Trade for Cameron. Go into season like that.
3) Let Pettitte retire or go elsewhere. Let Milwaukee pay Cameron’s salary. Sign big bat.

Without choosing one over the rest (though No. 1 is clearly the best option), this all leads me to believe that the Yankees should hold off on this Cameron deal. Wait until the rest of the bats are off the market so you can see where everyone else stands. Some might say that this would drive up the price for Cameron. Not so. At least, I don’t think it will. What other teams would be interested in a 35-year-old CFer making $10 million? That list begins and ends with the Yankees.

If the Yankees do add Teixeira or Manny or Dunn, they won’t have room for Cameron anyway. All three make the outfield rather crowded — Tex by moving Swisher there, Manny and Dunn because they play there. True, the later two could DH, but what about Hideki? You can’t blindly rely on him to play in 120, 130 games, but you also can’t relegate him to bench duty. He’s too good when healthy, and is making too much money.

Mike Cameron will still be available in January. The Yankees might as well wait on that and see if they can better improve the team with a better bat.

Three pre-Christmas offensive story lines
  • David

    I agree 100 percent. They could also move Matsui to get some payroll back. I think a team that needs a bat might take him as a salary dump. Even if we take some of the salary, it would still provide some savings.

  • A.D.

    Cameron trade probably signals that Nady is available…Reds, Braves, or loosers of the Manny sweepstakes could be interested… but will the Yankees be able to get the type of return they want for him?

  • Ben C

    That 173.85 should come down a little bit because C.C. and A.J’s contracts are backloaded right?

    • Ben K.

      Who knows? Maybe. We don’t have contract details yet for them.

    • radnom

      I hope not. I’m sick of backloaded deals.

      • Simon B.

        I’m not really sure why fans hate backloaded deals so much. It makes me the most sense from a financial standpoint.

        • Mike A.

          Yeah, but then you’re paying the player the most money when he’s the least productive. It makes financial sense right now, but you screw yourself later.

          A-Rod’s deal is great – he’s making $32M this year, but by the end of the deal he’ll be down to $20M. Plus from the player’s point of view, they want all the money now before inflation lessens the value of the dollar.

          • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            Isn’t that a kind of a simplistic way to look at it though? You’re going to pay the player a certain fixed-amount of money over the course of a contract. Money is more valuable today than it is 5 years from now (“time-value of money” concept). Sure, it looks/feels funny to pay a player most when he’s the least productive (in the case of a back-loaded contract), but in reality the team is paying the player less than it would be paying him by paying the player a larger proportion of his overall earnings earlier in the term of the contract. Players should always prefer front-loaded deals and teams should always prefer back-loaded deals.

            • Joseph P.

              Even still, I think there are instances where a team might prefer a front-loaded deal, specifically if they already have a number of back-loaded contracts. It would help keep payroll in check moving forward. Because as we’ve seen, not every team increases their payroll from year to year, despite the movings of the dollar.

              • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                Sure, I hear you… But that’s more a case of a GM saying “shit, my 2010 payroll is going to be astronomical because I back-loaded all these contracts and I have to make the numbers work (i.e. my payroll for a single year can’t be so much higher than my owner says it’s supposed to be).” Even in that situation, though, that GM would have saved his team money by back-loading those contracts; that GM is just in trouble because he shouldn’t have made those back-loaded deals in the first place (he deferred making large payments until later in the contract to fit the player into his payroll earlier in the deal because he really couldn’t afford the player). In the end, the team always saves money by back-loading contracts. Whether the team has acted responsibly given its financial resources is another question altogether.

                • MF

                  Yeah, aside from appearances, there is really no good financial reason not to backload every contract as much as the player will agree to. Money spent later is money you can invest today (and even now there are ways to play it safe and get a small but nearly guaranteed return). The only exception would be in rare cases where frontloading might allow a team to avoid more luxury tax over the course of a contract.

    • headstand

      I’m sure CCs deal is not backloaded. Or else his opt out clause would be worthless. They did explain on ESPN that it would be ~ 70 million through the first three years with the rest coming after the opt out year. And I remember some hack on ESPN also mention it was not a backloaded/frontloaded/any kind of loaded sort of deal.

      • Bruno

        CC’s contract was stated to have no differed money a.k.a. NOT backloaded. Burnett’s I don’t know.

        • Mike P

          Deffered money is slighlty different as I understand it. It’s money paid after the end of the contract, with interest, that is part of the headline value. So for example on a $135 million/6 year deal, say the AAV is $20 million per that leaves $15 million in deffered payments for after year 6.

          I agree though that it would be odd for CC to accept a back end heavy AAV structure as it negates the value of the opt out clause.

  • A.D.

    The Yankees could go with the “screw payroll” approach taking the thought theyre doing all their shopping this year, and next year 32 mil comes off, maybe they take some of that to resign Nady, and keep the rest to cut payroll

  • Patrick T

    This is exactly what I think the Yanks should do. I think Cameron is a waste of money and I’d rather see the kids in the 5-7 holes if it means we can dredge up a little more offense. Much rather see Hughes as the 5 and Kennedy/Aceves as replacements for the inevitable Burnett and Joba missed starts with Dunn or some such in the lineup than Andy back out there. Don’t get me wrong, I love Andy Pettitte, but I fervently believe this team can’t win the AL East with its current lineup or with its current lineup plus Mike Cameron.

    If Cash can move Matsui, Nady or Damon, then we can talk about bringing Manny back.

    • Patrick T

      Andy not Manny, I’m an idiot.

    • Sean

      Moving matsui is a big if. I can’t see an NL team taking him with his injury history. Plus he has no trade clause…maybe Seattle if anyone. Figure he is here next year.

  • Stephen

    I don’t really see who would be in center should the Yankees sign one of the big hitters. I don’t think I have to tell anyone the problems of having Damon there. Sure Nady and Swisher could potentially fill the whole but those both seem somewhat risky to me. Perhaps the best option, though I realize it is likely a longshot, would be to make the Cameron trade then deal either Nady (who would likely have some real value) or Matsui (another guy who should have value to teams desperate for offense, though the Yanks would likely have to eat some salary) to make room for one of the Manny-Tex crowd.

    • Bruno


      Matsui keeps all 4 fresh with 350ab.

  • A.D.

    Some of this may depend if cash can get a deal done.. if he can move Damon, Matsui, or Nady for an OF prospect then they probably should & look to sign one of the bats still on the market

  • danimal

    I think the Yanks should sign Ben sheets and forget about Andy. Andy is now only a first half pitcher due to age and injuries catching up to him (and HGH being gone?). With that rotation, there will be plenty of injuries and due to that, plenty to time to get the young ones into the rotation for some big league exp. That also loads our rotation with 5 potential #1 guys and we all know that pitching wins championships, the offense will rebound after last years poor showing due to injuries

    • K.B.D.

      So adding another injury prone starter who will command a 2-3 year deal to that mix is somehow a sound investment? And when did Andy get injured last year? Yes, he had a poor second half but his FIP and peripherals for the year said way more about his performance than his ERA.

      I liked Sheets more than Burnett. I wished the Yanks signed Sheets instead. But I also realize that now that we have AJ, signing Sheets is a poor idea.

      • leo

        Andy was hurt from at least August on, the severity of which was never revealed. He even said he had a sore shoulder for that period but they never skipped any of his starts to allow him rest, probably because they couldn’t because they considered themselves still “in the mix” and didn’t want to throw Kennedy or Hughes in there.

  • thisisthedavid

    Agreed but couldn’t you sign Pettite and Back load money from Tex, Dunn, Or Manny also? Split the difference between the current salary and last years and we have 25 million to play with. It would be easy to hand A J 15 and spread out the other 2 million over the last 4 years of his deal. While paying Tex 10 and spreading the remainder of the 11 million over the rest of his contract. Then we can head into the winter of 2010 with 168 million and add a bat (Matt Holiday)?

  • danimal

    Nady seems like a good young player, why would we trade him or not resign him?

  • Phil McCracken

    I really like this idea Joe.

    If you have a big bat in either Teixeira, Ramirez, or Dunn, then having Cameron isn’t really necessary. It makes gambling on Gardner a lot easier when you’ve got a clear #3 hitter in your lineup.

    Right now I’ve got some fears about this lineup. I don’t think Nady is an everyday player and was really hoping we got Bay instead despite his high number of K’s. Matsui really is a broken down 34 year old, and I’m not talking just about his knees. Ever since that wrist injury in 2006 he’s really never been the same hitter. As much as I like Posada’s spirit, I don’t think anyone can expect him to be a 2007 version of himself. And as far as Robbie Cano goes, he’s gotta make me a believer than he can lay off those pitches way outside the zone and become something other than a bottom of the order bat who has the potential to be dangerous on occasion.

    • Rory

      Despite having knee problems in 2007 as well, Matsui managed to hit 25 HRs, his second highest since coming over. His line was .285/.367/.488, which is just slightly under what he was doing in the years before the wrist injury.

  • NC Saint

    Unless he comes heavily subsidized, I don’t see the logic of Cameron. He’s obviously better than Melky (or Gardner, much as it hurts to admit that) but he’s not all that great, and he’s very clearly overpaid. In all probability, his 2009 performance will be better than league average, but not by all that much. That’s not worth anywhere near $10 million, especially given our options.

    Melky can’t hit, and no one is too enthusiastic about our collection of OF/1B/DH types, but that doesn’t change the fact that all those people exist. If we trade Melky+ for Cameron, we still have Damon, Matsui, Nady, and Swisher on our payroll. No one likes to see Damon attempt to cover center, let alone throw, but is it worth 10 million to upgrade to a guy with a .340 career OBP?

    If we had zero candidates for CF, overpaying Cameron would be understandable. But looking at the marginal improvement over the guys we know will be on our roster, I don’t see the sense in spending all that money to add to our collection of mediocre hitters.

  • dan

    I don’t really want to be mean to Ben, but:

    “You can’t blindly rely on [Matsui] to play in 120, 130 games, but you also can’t relegate him to bench duty. He’s too good when healthy, and is making too much money.”

  • NC Saint

    Also, if we sign Manny and he suddenly dies a gruesome, suspect death, I might have to go away for a while. Just a heads up…

    • Mike A.

      You can stay at my place. No one will ever know.

      • NC Saint

        Boy, this really is the friendlies Yankees blog on earth…

        • Mike A.

          We share a common belief, which is why I have your back. My futon is pretty comfy too.

  • X-Man(Angel)

    Sing Andy,Manny and Willy Taveras,,,,,and Trade Matsui to Sea X Ronland Smith

    • Jack

      Why on Earth would they sign Willy?

      • Jay CT

        Yeah. Sign Taveras. He is different from Brett Gardner how exactly? Please elaborate

        • X-Man(Angel)

          well Taveras play in the Big leagues..

    • leo

      Why exactly would Seattle want Matsui?

      • X-Man(Angel)

        This is a old rumor, and remember Matsui is a japanese

        • Doug

          I am intrigued by your views and wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

    • Bruno

      I could see Seattle taking Matsui (with us paying 50%) but DEFINATELY NOT giving up Roland-Smith. More like PTBNL. It’s called a “salary dump” for a reason.

  • Ryan S.

    I think Pettitte should, and does, sign with us.

    That bat (being Manny, Tex, or Dunn) really would push this team over the edge. The revenue from winning a world series would far offset any payroll concerns, and we have a team built to win now. And agreed, no need to sign up Cameron when you can get one of those aforementioned heavy hitters. That said I don’t think their pursuit of a heavy bat necessarily stops them from getting Cameron also, especially if we can dump Igawa and some of his contract to offset the cost. For me, its not a question of which way to go, its just which bat do you go after?


    Adam Dunn you can actually sign and still be below 2008’s payroll level and gives you some defensive flexibility as he is passable as a corner OF or 1B. He’s a sure bet and you’d end up bouncing around Matsui, Nady, and Swisher. You could even trade Nady for another need (defensive middle infield utility type maybe?) and have the following lineup:

    1. Damon – LF
    2. Jeter – SS
    3. Rodriguez – 3B
    4. Dunn – 1B
    5. Matsui – DH
    6. Posada – C
    7. Cano – 2B
    8. Swisher – RF
    9. Gardner/Cabrera/Cameron – CF

    I’d say that’s reliably a top 5 offensive team in the AL, with the potential to be even better.

    Tex is by far the most expensive player out there, but also the most desirable and most coveted. He’s gonna be a badass and a cornerstone player. However, I think other teams need him more than we do, and will bid higher and for more years than we are willing to go. Also, we could use some flexibility at the 1B slot with guys like Posada, Jeter, and possibly major prospect Montero needing that position open for them in the future. Still, Teixeira is as good of a 1B as there is this side of Albert Pujols and someone who would complement this lineup perfectly. Again, I would trade away Nady as we don’t have much of a need for him should we get Tex. As we are the Yankees, and we are apparently in the running for this guy, should we get him our lineup might look like this:

    1. Damon – LF
    2. Jeter – SS
    3. Teixeira – 1B
    4. Rodriguez – 3B
    5. Matsui – DH
    6. Posada – C
    7. Cano – 2B
    8. Swisher – RF
    9. Gardner/Cabrera/Cameron – CF

    A top 3 offense in the major leagues, with a good chance of being the best.

    Manny Ramirez is, to me, the most intriguing one out there. He should continue to be a force next year and there is literally no other hitter out there that would do a better job of protecting A-Rod. In my mind, Manny is an everyday DH, maybe taking over left field every now and then. That means he completely replaces Matsui. In my mind, you have to somehow get rid of Matsui if you get Manny. Its important that we continue to improve our defense, and having either of those 2 guys out on the field on a normal basis is a BAD idea. It would also imply Damon playing center, which is also unacceptable. Thus you’ll have to just bite the bullet and sell ultra low on Matsui to a team like the Mariners for a bucket of baseballs. Still, you’d get to have this lineup:

    1. Damon – LF
    2. Jeter – SS
    3. Rodriguez – 3B
    4. Ramirez – DH
    5. Posada – C
    6. Cano – 2B
    7. Nady – RF
    8. Swisher – 1B
    9. Gardner/Cabrera/Cameron – CF

    In my humble opinion, this would be the best lineup in baseball, hands down. THIS could score 1,000 runs, especially if we experience good years from Cano and Posada. This lineup combined with our starting rotation, bullpen, and pitching depth makes us a juggernaut. Posada’s health is still a a major concern, but if he can be your 1B instead of your DH, I think we can work things out with him. I wouldn’t go so far as to say its a guaranteed World Series championship team, but you couldn’t get much closer coming into ST.

    That’s my ramble, thanks for reading and tell me why I’m right or wrong.

    • Rory

      I actually prefer the second option to your third. I like the defensive upgrade of Teixeira, his switch hitting, and his youth. I love Manny as a hitter, it’s just that Tex is better at this stage. Additionally, I prefer Matsui’s bat to Nady’s. If we were to go the last route, I would suggest we keep Matsui to platoon with Nady, as Nady has big career splits.

  • http://okkk MMApro

    If (God Fogbid) AJ, CC, or Joba go down to injury during the season- But, chances are at least one of them will. Andy Pettite will be in great need when this occurs. He could be big game Andy again. He knows how to pitch in the AL east and in the post season. Yankees would be better with Andy on a 1 year deal for 11-12 million. Offense is not as important as pitching and gritty gamers.

  • Matt12

    Personally, I love Matsui. I think he is one of the truest baseball players around. And I’d be looking at him as a first base option (considering he said was open to it) rather than trading him away in the event we signed Manny (whom I only would approve of if it was strictly as the DH).

    LF – Damon
    SS – Jeter
    3B – Rodriguez
    DH – Ramirez
    1B – Matsui
    C – Posada
    RF – Nady
    2B – Cano
    CF – Swisher/Gardner/Melky

    That would seem to be a better plan than just dropping Matsui. We could do the exact same thing with Adam Dunn, using him as the DH with Matsui as the 1B. And if we sign Mark Teixeira instead of Manny, same thing except obviously having Matsui as the DH and Teixeira as the 1B.

    Some might question Matsui’s ability to move to first base, but I personally think he is the kind of player that works his ass off to become at the very least average. Anybody else remember when he APOLOGIZED to the team for breaking his wrist? He isn’t your average baseball player, he is a big time team player. He can do what Sheffield couldn’t, and become a solid first baseman.

    • Ryan S.

      If Matsui could dependably be healthy for 130+ games and play first on a regular basis, allowing us to get Manny as the everyday DH…that’s insane. I’d take that setup in a heartbeat.

      • Matt12

        First base would be a huge help on his knees versus the outfield, I think he’d be more than capable doing that. I’m more worried about Posada’s shoulder than I am about Matsui’s knees, I think he is going to be in good shape for 2009.

        • Ryan S.

          Yeah, I’m pretty concerned about that myself. If Posada can catch 100 games and do some 1B / DH duty, the team is in good shape. His bat should still be there, at least.

    • waswhining

      Why does everyone think all you have to do is toss an outfielder a glove and say “go play first.” Remember Gary Sheffield?

  • Jay CT

    I am not trying to sound like one of the people who forget that other teams want to win as well. HOWEVER, is there anyway that we can make a trade ala the Edison Volquez/Josh Hamilton deal from last season? In other words, trade a young pitcher for a young hitter, both of which have a very high ceiling? I would love another bat; I have been saying Manny is an ideal fit as he is easily a top five all time RH bat, and he would come for less years then Tex, and possibly even Dunn. But if signing a big bat is out of the question, would any young hitters be available? All that I could think of is Adrian Gonzalez, and Towers already said the Angels asked on him and were shot down. Anyone have any thoughts? Would Justin Upton be able to be pried away under any circumstances? The only other team I could come up with that might have a surplus of young hitting was the Brewers, with some hitters (Prince, Gamel, etc) and needing pitching, as outside of Gallardo they have nothing.

    • keith

      Justin Upton? Yeah, for Joba, Cano, Jackson and Montero

      • keith

        probably not even…

      • dan

        They said they’d have to get Mickey Mantle in return. I can’t find the link, but I’m not even joking.

        • Bruno

          Hughes for Nelson Cruz.

          I wouldn’t do it, but that’s the type of deal you’re talking about.

  • Ryan S.

    If I could have a single prospect from any other team, it would be Matt Wieters.

    • Mike A.

      Agreed. He should be a top five catcher within two years.

      • Ivan

        Heck it might be in 09.

        • Mike Pop

          For the Yankees, I would have to take Maybin, Bruce, or Chris Davis

  • ortforshort

    I’m missing this thousand run offense you folks are dreaming about.
    1 thru 4 looks solid with Damon, Jeter, Cano and A-Rod. After that, nothing but question marks. Matsui and Posada are no locks for anything because they’re old and coming off of major injuries. Its hard to believe everyone is pencilling in Posada for 130 games at 37 coming off major right shoulder surgery. And Matsui is 35 and coming off operations on both knees the last two years. Its hard to believe he’ll come back as if nothing has happened from all that. After them, you’ve got Nady, who is solid, Swisher, who ranks in the bottom third among first basemen in the league and Gardner or Cabrera as your centerfielders doing their impressions of automatic outs from the nine hole. Throwing strikeout machine Dunn into this mess doesn’t help. I hope Cashman is more realistic about the lineup that the Yankees are looking at for this season than the folks on this blog are and that he plans to make some moves to correct the situation.

    • Abe

      Yea i agree. it seems to me that people are expecting to much from a yankee’s lineup with major question marks – posada, matsui, and cano, not to mention nady coming off by far a career year. It looks to me like they might have the third best lineup IN THE DIVISION. that being said, maybe all this pitching will offset the questionable offense

    • K.B.D.

      The strikeout machine Dunn… who’s averaged 100RBI the last 5 years God forbid! Also, I don’t understand your skepticism about Posada and Matsui and then your confidence in Cano. Both have proven for far longer than Cano that they are capable hitter. Now, their defense is sure suspect as hell, but their bats are going to be fairly predictable. It’s just where there bats are playing that might be the problem.

      “Swisher, who ranks in the bottom third among first baseman in the league.” Maybe last year, but he’s a guy with a 112 OPS+ for his career and posted easily his worst year by far this past season with one of the top 10 lowest BABIPs.

      • Bruno

        He wasn’t questioning Posda or Matui’s ability to “hit”, he’s worried about them being on the DL.

        And for people saying Nady had “a carrer year”: Paul O’Neill ring any bells? Some players progress later than others due to circumstance (playingtime etc).

  • Mike A.

    Please, just say no to Manny. The Yanks may have no limit financially, but they need to have a limit ethically. A player that fakes injuries and only plays hard when he wants to is not a guy you want on the team. Say what you want about A-Rod being unclutch or Jeter declining or Damon being old and overpaid, but those fuckers play their ass off every play of every game.

    What happens the first time Manny’s on first when he should be on second after hitting a ball off the wall, but he showboated and watch it fly thinking it was a homer? What about the second time? Third? Girardi will freaking kill him. Literally.

    • dan

      Look at the comments of this post:

      See anyone you recognize? ;)

      • Mike A.

        Man, that’s old school right there. IGWT was a looooong time ago.

    • NC Saint

      Exactly. People seem to have a deranged all-or-nothing attitude to this sort of thing. We’ve put up with Abreu who sometimes looks like he’s not 100% focused in the outfield, so how can we object to a guy who only pretends to try when the planets are aligned?

      Well, pretty easily, actually. A lot of it is sentimental: I like being able to say that, star-laiden though they are, the Yankees don’t stand for that. But there is also some actual value there: when we had Soriano (who I love, despite it all), Torre could give him shit for behaving like a jackass, because we had first-round hall of famers giving it their all every day. If we’d been harboring a Manny or a Tejada shuffling along the first base line, wondering what TV shows they were missing, it would have been a lot harder to toe that line. Which means a lot of young players getting away with more. Which means losing a few runs, and a whole lot of dignity.

      Adam Dunn might not be the most popular guy in the MLB, but he doesn’t have so much star power that he can’t be scared into line, and he’s underrated, if anything. Why not throw some cash his way, rather than spending a huge amount of money for an embarassing headache whose former team is so delighted to see the back of?

  • Mike A.

    That totals $173.85 million in committed salaries for 15 players. That leaves 10 more players, likely for the most part under the reserve clause, which will keep their salaries in the $400 to $500,000 range.

    Actually, it leaves 25 more players, not 10. Payroll is calculated using the entire 40 man roster, not just the 25 man roster. Granted most of the extra guys are making nothing more a AAA salary (something like $60,000 I think), but you have guys like Andrew Brackman who’s up over a million due to his contract, or guys like Chase Wright who have ML experience and are making six figures because of it.

    • dan

      And Igawa making $4 mil. Ugh.

    • Joseph P.

      So with Igawa and Brackman and other small commitments, that’s probably up around $190 million.

      • Mike A.

        Igawa’s not on the 40 man though.

        • dan

          They still have to pay him.

  • emac2

    Put me down for Tex, Hughes and Gardner instead of Pettitte and Cameron.

    • Jason Candreva

      Yeah, I’ll second that.

  • Conan the Barack O’Brian
  • Brian Cashman is watching

    If you want to trade Matsui or Damon, forget it: they both have no trade clauses in their contracts. It would take large financial incentives to get them to move. With both Damon and Matsui in their mid-30s, you can expect that they will only waive the NTC for a contract extension. Nady does not have an NTC, may be valuable, but will command a very low salary comparatively. Be reasonable with your trades and realize you can’t simply “dump” players because of their NTCs. Plus, just because a poster reports about a “rumor” that Matsui or Damon said they would waive their NTCs, make sure it is coming straight from Matsui or Damon. If you want a trade, the tradeable commodities on the 25 man roster offensive players are Nady, Swisher, Cabrera, Cano, Gardner, Molina, Ransom (plus minor league players). If New York did sign Teixeira or Manny or Dunn, just beware that payroll will likely not come down.

    Personally I prefer the “at least league average at every position” approach, but I have no objections to Dunn or Teixeira, as it would shift Swisher to the outfield. Plus, with New York needing a right fielder for next year and beyond, Swisher could be that candidate. Cameron leads to the same outcome, albeit at a cheaper price tag that is gone at the end of the year as Austin Jackson steps in.

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

      Cashman: Hey, Hideki, we’d like to trade you to Seattle.
      Matsui: I have a no-trade clause, I’m not moving anywhere.
      Cashman: Hideki, we just signed Manny Ramirez. We’re going with Manny, Johnny, Xavier, and Brett for 2009, and I’m still considering acquiring Mike Cameron.
      Matsui: Oh yeah? Well, then, how many at-bats do you think I can expect for 2009?
      Cashman: Oh, I don’t know… maybe 20? 30?
      Matsui: Where do I sign to waive my no-trade clause?

      … aaaaaaaaaaand, SCENE!

  • Booch

    I think they are solid in their approach right now. They had a battle plan to lower payroll to 180 mil and that’s exactly what they are doing. Cameron is a good fit since they are grooming A. Jackson for CF and should be ready by 2010. Swisher is solid at 1B and Cameron is said to be one notch below Tori Hunter. If they want to get greedy they can sign Tex and keep Swisher as the utility guy.

    • Abe

      Why do people seem to think that swisher should be the utilty guy? He is clearly a better major league player than nady – and his numbers show that

      • A.D.

        Nady is coming off a career high, Swisher off a career low… that’s part of it, and otherwise their offensive numbers aren’t that different 108 vs 112 OPS + in favor of Swish

  • deadrody

    I think it totally makes sense to pursue Texeira as their ultimate goal right now. It makes the payroll big this year, but with Matsui and Damon, two older guys with big contracts coming off next year when there is nobody on the market next year even CLOSE to Texeira….

    Well I certainly hope the Yankees are smart enough to think ahead more than 1 year. I mean crap, think about next off season. Those two come off the books and you are looking yourself in the mirror with $26 Million more available and you think, dang, I wish we could go back a year and sign Texeira.

    I mean really this is exactly the same kind of situation as Beltre or Guerrero, where the Yankees looked like they were the frugal team, didn’t sign the big name than 1) regretted it later, AND 2) pissed away huge money on lesser players anyhow.

    Just bite the bullet and sign Texeira for whatever it takes. Done.

    • steve (different one)

      the Yankees didn’t pass on Guerrero out of frugality. they passed on him b/c Steinbrenner went off on his own and signed Sheffield.

      money wasn’t really part of the equation. Cashman was ready to sign Guerrero when it looked like the Sheffield deal was falling through.

  • deadrody

    Hey, so someone tell me what is so magical about 180 Million is salary – THIS YEAR. They’ll be there the very next year AND they’ll have Mark Texeira to boot. Win-Win.

    • Steve

      You can be there this year AND next if they really want to sign Tex, by simply back loading a deal for the first year.

      Next year’s contracts coming off the books

      Damon-13 mil
      Matsui-13 mil
      Molina-2 mil
      Nady-3.5 mil
      Pettitte? 10-12 mil

      With Andy coming back this year 43 mil, without Andy 31.5.

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

        Plus, his holiness Mo expires the year after that, and he’s likely to retire and ascend into the heavens, so that’s another 15M that will vanish after 2010.

        And, if things go according to plan, Melancon will replace him internally for free, thus making it 15M in utterly disposable income.

        Mo it is written, Mo it shall be done. Mosanna, Mosanna, Mosanna in the highest.

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  • Jason Candreva

    How about this one: If the Yankees wanted an old, declining gold glove CF (besides Johnny Damon), why wouldn’t they just sign Jim Edmonds for at least 1/5 the price? He’ll hit for the same power and average, and won’t strike-out more than 180 times…

    Please take a look at my blog:

    • Joseph P.

      I didn’t say anything the first time, but now that we’re on the second offense: Quit plugging your blog. Your name is a link to it. That is enough.

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

      How about this one: If the Yankees wanted an old, declining gold glove CF (besides Johnny Damon), why wouldn’t they just sign Jim Edmonds for at least 1/5 the price? He’ll hit for the same power and average, and won’t strike-out more than 180 times…

      Mike Cameron 2008 CF errors: 1
      Jim Edmonds 2008 CF errors: 6

      Mike Cameron 2008 CF assists: 3
      Jim Edmonds 2008 CF assists: 1

      Mike Cameron 2008 CF UZR/150: 13.3
      Jim Edmonds 2008 CF UZR/150: -17.6

  • Bruno

    Wouldn’t Marlon Byrd be more attractive than Cameron? I know it’s familiar, but would IPK & Melky for Byrd & low level prospect work? IPK’s a no-brainer for Texas, and Melky gives them a young, cheap, “expierenced” LF to replace Byrd.

    • Mike Pop

      IPK is worth more to us than Marlon Byrd would be

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


  • Bart

    Balanced article – but the requirments is not for 2009 alone but for 2009 and the future. Andy Pettit special as he has been, has no future. Cameron has no future.

    Ramierez – only heaven knows what he woud mean

    Tex is the future

    Think Williams – Beltran – Bubba — Damon for what happens when you mess one of these opportunities up

    Tex also guards in part to solving Catcher if Posada can’t go – there will be a hole in the lineup at C –

    Tex at 1B allows Swisher to play OF — until one of the kids show they are ready – he is a better long term option than Cameron – makes Nady — who may or may not be a useful player – expendable – if he proves out then Damon can leave after this year.

    He only costs a draft choice so the satble is not weakened


    What the heck is all your obsessions with trading Nady? Going “all-out” for Manny or Tex would be idiotic. Nady, on the other hand, is exactly what the Yanks have needed since Paul O’Neil left. As for adding Cameron, I hate that move too. Gardner is just fine.

    • TurnTwo

      “Nady, on the other hand, is exactly what the Yanks have needed since Paul O’Neil left.”

      really? i know a lot of fans grew frustrated with Bobby Abreu by the end of the season last year, but Nady is the one we’ve all been waiting for since O’Neill left? come on.

      • Steve

        Xavier Nady age 29 (first season w/Yanks)

        25 HRs 97 RBIs .305/.357.510

        Paul O’Niell age 30 (first season w/Yanks)

        20 HR’s 75 RBIs .311/.367/.504

        This is the mentality that has got us into trouble in recent years, the notion that we need an all star at every position. Look at the championship team rosters, they had great rotations, great bullpen and good, solid all around position players. The sum was greater than the parts and more importantly, they could pitch.

        • TurnTwo

          what is the mentality?

          i’m not saying Nady cant be a very useful player… but to say something like Nady is “exactly who the Yankees have been waiting for since O’Neill left” is totally ignorant to what Bobby Abreu was able to do in NY for the past couple seasons. to me, thats silly.

          and i dont get the thought process of ‘we dont need all stars at every position.’

          well, yeah, i guess you dont NEED them, but whats the problem with having excellent playing playing on the team where you can plug them in?

          as if having really good players at every position is actually a burden, and you need at least several mediocre or no-name players on the team in order to win.

    • Steve

      Because he had a so-so 2nd half with the Yanks, so people assume he can’t play in the AL. What they don’t realize is he was a platoon player for the first few years of his career, he did the same thing in 07, and 08 was his first season as a full time player.

      Its called not doing your homework.

      • TurnTwo

        or, people think/feel he might be a useful position player who can not just be a salary dump in trying to gain flexibility on the roster (see: Matsui), but someone who you can move to save some money to put towards a Teixiera-like player while also getting something of value in return.

        • CDice

          Look, a guy like Nady IS useful. And what Nady gives to the Yankees goes beyond his numbers. His numbers are similar to Pauly’s, and like Pauly, his contract is NOT bloated. I understand your like of Abreu, but he was vastly overpaid and he displayed no fire whatsoever. This guy was a liability in key situations. But like Steve said, look at the lineups of the great Yanks teams of the late 90’s. Nady fits that model, and so does our current starting rotation. The last thing this team needs is an ego-maniac like Manny, or Tex, who will be just like another Jason Giambi after 3 years. The best thing is to use an outfield of Nady, Damon, and Gardner, and when Jackson is ready, we slot him in.

  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    wow….looks like I went looking for RAB this morning and would up on WasWatching.

    i think i’d rather have the “none of the above” option. only moves i’d make at this point are resigning Andy for a year and picking up some non-tendered FAs (Wiggington, Gomes, Gathright) at a low price as bench options. We don’t need to go “all in” on anything, and those choices mentioned don’t guarantee this team a thing.

    • Steve

      Maybe we can sign Gomes to a minor league deal and send him to AAA Scranton.

    • Joseph P.

      So saying “hold up, let’s see what else is out there before trading for Cameron” is WW material? Sorry if I seem a bit defensive, but that’s quite the insult there. You’re always kind of a dick, though, so I guess it’s to be expected.

      No, those moves wouldn’t guarantee anything. But, considering nothing guarantees anything, I think it’s worth a look to see if the Yanks can add a bat to the lineup. Not only does it make the lineup as a whole stronger, but it also hedges against injuries. If Jorge and/or Matsui go down, we’d have Manny/Dunn/Tex to pick up some production.

  • Steve

    “Note to Cash: Hold off on Cameron deal”

    I disagree with the premise of this post. The Yanks aren’t considering Cammy at 10 mil, they’re considering him for 5-6mil. The only way they take Cammy at 10 mil is if the Brewers take Igawa back, which would again make the deal a net 6 mil.

    Cammy’s also a perfect fit for the Yanks to hedge themselves against the downside of playing Gardner every day.

    -Cammy has power (Gardner has zero)
    -Cammy hits lefties very well (Gardner has had trouble w/lefties)
    -He’s a reliable veteran whereas Brett is an unproven rookie.
    -Cammy also upgrades their bench on days when Gardner starts, and their bench has been weak in recent years.

    There’s no reason to look elsewhere.

    • Balls Deep

      But if you stayed with what we now have:Swisher,Melky or Gardner…Damon/Matsui LF/DH and allows to go after Texeira for 1st without taking on 1/2 of Cameron’s salary. Where the CF would be hitting, whatever you get from them is a bonus; hoping that Posada comes back(when will he be back? May??) and that Cano brings his September attitude, the one he had after Girardi benched him.

      And they are gonna get 1 more pitcher..either Pettite or Sheets/Lowe.

    • Joseph P.

      But Kamrom is da strikeout mashine!!!1!1!!1!1!

    • Old Ranger

      Disagree slightly…
      I would pass on Cammy (good nickname), because his “D” is not as good as our Sept. CF. Hits lefties OK, not as well as Matsui, but better then a lot of guys. He will start getting the same calls on strikes as the vets, if he plays everyday (note: he has a very good eye). His gap power has improved from the 1st time around, Long has been working with him on this…HRs, not so much. If he has OBP of .360+, his “D” and disruption on the bases makes him more valuable then Cammy…also, he can bunt better (or as well) then anyone on the team. He does more good things then Cammy to help the team, plus if they add a big bat (or not) the team can live with a very good “D” CF with no HR power. Defence helps the pitchers have confidence every ball hit to the OF has a better chance of being an out…not like when we had Johnny, Matsui, Bobby, or even Johnny, Melky, Bobby. Save the money, get a good OF next year. 27/09.

  • Sean

    Alot of chatter on this thread involving trading matsui. Seems to be an assumption that Seattle is the refuge for all Asian castaways. If you were a San fran or mariners fan could you imagine yourself chomping at the bit for him? “he is past his prime had been injured the past two seasons and is sub par in the field….got to trade for him!”. He is a DH candidate so NL is iffy in general.
    He is worth more to us since it’s his contract year

    • Joseph P.

      I think this is a talking point that just won’t go away, no matter how many times people point out its unlikelihood.

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

        Well, speaking personally as someone who has mentioned dumping Matsui on the Mariners a few times, it’s not simply the Mariners Japanese marketing ties (which are significant and real) but the fact that the Mariners offense blows and they were giving DH bats to Jose Vidro.

        If I was the Mariners, and the Yankees offered to eat some salary and give me a guy who is only on a short-term, one year deal and who is capable of putting up a .280/.360/.450 in exchange for a relatively low prospect, I’d bite on that. Especially considering that I could sell him to the marketing department.

        Hideki’s ethnicity is the cherry on top that makes the M’s more interested, not the driving force behind it. They’re a team that needs more bats. That’s the main thrust.

        But note that I don’t expect to get much back for Hideki. I just think teams would take him. I’m not asking for Rowland-Smith or anything, just a low-level arm with a bit of long-shot upsideability…

    • Old Ranger

      Agreed! 27/09.

  • daneptizl

    Give me option number 3. Tex and Hughes.

  • steve (different one)

    i am not a fan of this line of thinking.

    Cameron = $10M
    Pettitte = $10M
    Teixeira = around $180M

    i really don’t like the argument that ignores years 2-8 of Teixeira’s contract and says that if the yankees just pass on Cameron or Pettitte they can “afford” Teixeira.

    it’s fuzzy math and it ignores all of the risk that comes with a long term contract.

    honestly, as much as i would LOVE to see Teixeira in pinstripes, the “smart” move is probably Manny on a 2-3 year high AAV deal. the Yankees have taken on a ton of risk with Sabathia and Burnett, and i wouldn’t blame them if they want to take the less risky route on adding offense.

    • Old Ranger

      Why go after a 36 year old disruptive hitter? Granted he is arguable the best hitter in baseball (now). But, two, three years from now, when his bat slows down, will he be useful for the team? And that’s hoping he lasts that long. People yelled about the 8 year contract to Tex (the end would be at his 37th year, right?)…what about Manny turning 40 in Sept. of his last year?
      The team as consituted right now is a very strong team, the additions to the rotation alone makes it better. We can compete with anyone and win as is. We won 89(?) games in ’08 with a few castoff pitchers and some of our best players either hurt or underachieving, what says we can’t win 100+ games in ’09…on the way to number 27? Please don’t say the line-up…that’s boggus! 27/09.

  • steve (different one)

    also, if Igawa is going the other way, how do you not take Cameron??

    • Joseph P.

      That is something I did not factor in above, mainly because there are conflicting reports as to how the deal would change with Igawa involved. If it’s Igawa and all his salary plus Melky for Cameron, that’s tough to turn down.

    • Balls Deep

      Igawa has been forgotten in Scranton… Went to a game he started there over the summer and watched him get lit up… Lost $$…as for Texeira, of course you have years 2-8, but he’s still gonna be productive and you’re gonna need to fill that roster spot; so his $24million is still gonna be useful. Next year, it’s Damon, Matsui,Nady off books for now? right? They have a stud CF in minors that Michael Kay said Gene Michael loves or they grab someone next year.

      • steve (different one)

        as for Texeira, of course you have years 2-8, but he’s still gonna be productive and you’re gonna need to fill that roster spot; so his $24million is still gonna be useful.

        sure. but that’s not really my point.

        i think Teixeira would be a great signing.

        my problem is with the argument that not signing Pettitte or Cameron means they can afford Teixeira.

        which is true….for one year.

        as others have said before: it’s REALLY easy to spend $150M+ of someone else’s money.

        • A.D.

          well with Damon & Matsui off the books they can afford next year… but I get what you’re saying

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  • MP

    But one big thing — if they are able to dump Igawa, it’s only a net gain of $6 mil. And I doubt that is the difference between signing another guy or not.

  • Ryan

    Word from MLBTR is that the Yanks are backing off the Cameron deal for now for “baseball reasons.” who knows, that could indicate that they’re getting deeper in negotiations with another big hitter.

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