The Risk Analysis of the Abreu arbitration decision

2000, as seen from 1981
Report: Angels not interested in CC

Scenario 1: The market for corner outfielders isn’t strong, and while Bobby Abreu wants a three-year, $45-million deal, no club, for a variety of reasons, would dole that out right now. The Yankees offer arbitration, and Abreu accepts. All of a sudden, the Yanks will have to pay a 35-year-old corner outfielder in the declining phase of his career at least $16 million and probably closer to $18 or $19 million. Not only does Abreu occupy a spot on the 40-man roster, but his decision to accept arbitration means the Yanks cannot go after a younger and cheaper or older but better and more expensive alternative.

Scenario 2: The market for corner outfielders past their prime isn’t strong. In fact, baseball executives feel that Abreu could command just a multi-year deal but only at an AAV of $8-$10 million. The Yanks know that, with this parameter in place, Abreu would do better to accept arbitration. So they don’t offer it to him. They know this makes Abreu a bit more attractive in the eyes of his potential suitors because he won’t cost a draft pick, but they’re willing to make that move in the name of fiscal and roster flexibility.

* * *

If you’re the General Manager, what do you do? To me, the answer is simple, and the Yanks made the right move. They picked scenario two. In doing so, they forfeited the potential to receive two draft picks, but right now, it seems as though Abreu would have been in a position where arbitration was the better option. The Yanks knew and didn’t want to take that chance.

In the RAB piece for Newsday’s On the Yankees beat blog, Joe made a similar point yesterday, and it’s worth delving into the aftermath of this decision. It’s not easy to replace Bobby Abreu’s production, and I don’t think the Yanks are expecting Nick Swisher and Xavier Nady to produce at Abreu’s past levels.

But now without Abreu around — and it seems like he is definitely not coming back — the Yanks have options. They can take a good, long look at Manny Ramirez; they can explore Adam Dunn or Pat Burrell. They can spend on pitching and hope that their offense is good enough if their starters can be outstanding. No matter what, they aren’t locked in to an outlandish obligation to Bobby Abreu.

These days, we tend to overvalue draft picks, and yes, compensation picks can be rewarding. After all, the Yanks wouldn’t have Joba Chamberlain without them. In the end, though, they’re just draft picks that may or may come due in a few years’ time. The Yanks looked at the seemingly weak 2009 draft, they looked at where they needed to be right now, and they determined that Bobby Abreu and arbitration did not go hand-in-hand this year. It was the right decision.

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2000, as seen from 1981
Report: Angels not interested in CC
  • greg

    The one question I really have, even though I know the point is mainly moot as he will stay retired. Why not offer Moose arbitration. I think everyone would take him on a 1 year deal, and if he decides to come out of retirement and play for someone else now, the Yanks don’t get any picks. I really would like an explanation on why no arbitration for moose. Good work though, Ben, that really makes sense now
    I also understand why Pettitte wasn’t offered, because he is very unlikely to sign with another team anyway.

    • dan

      They did offer Moose arb.

      And Pettitte wasn’t offered because they don’t want to pay him $16MM+. They can still negotiate with him and sign him for less.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

        Nope. They declined arbitration to Mussina. Not sure why.

        • greg

          I would love to see Cashman’s explanation for that one.

        • dan

          Yea, you’re right, my bad. Don’t get that at all– what’s the downside? I’m surprised nobody asked him why, unless I missed it.

          • steve (different one)

            the moose decision is odd, but i think you can think about it this way:

            IF moose comes back, and he ISN’T coming back, he would most likely only come back to pitch for the Yankees.

            and even if he did agree to come back for some other team, he would have to “unretire” sometime in the next month or two to be ready for ST. does anyone think that is likely?

            i just don’t see it happening. i could MAYBE see him break down and come back sometime after the season already started, but then the draft pick compensation wouldn’t be an issue.

            i would have still offered him arbitration, b/c i don’t see the downside, but i would guess there is probably less than a 1% chance this blows up in their face.

  • Chip

    It’s funny because every year people say that next year’s draft class is weak. We got Joba out of what was supposed to be a weak class and I believe Hughes is the same deal.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      Joba’s year? Looks pretty weak to me. The Yanks got Joba because they were willing to pay for risk when other teams weren’t. He slipped; they landed him. Offensively, though, that draft was underwhelming beyond Evan Longoria.

      The Hughes draft isn’t that impressive either. The Yanks took a risk on a high school pitcher, and it’s still no guaranteed to pay off.

      Compare those to to 2005 though. That was a strong draft early on.

      • Tooch

        Joba’s year was weak? Morrow is projected to be a No. 1 or 2 SP in the next 2-3 years, Tim Lincecum was the 2008 NL Cy Young, and Max Scherzer is projected to be a No. 1 SP, just to name a few. It drops off a bit from there, but that’s a strong group.

        I think offensively, you’re right that 2005 was strongest, but the pitching stock in 2006, Joba’s year, was significantly better than 2005. I’d love to have any of those pitchers I named.

        • Bo

          how can anyone say a projected draft class is weak. Talking about 17 yr olds six months before anyone really sees them play. Baseball isn’t like other sports when they evaluate talent. This isn’t football or basketball where talent evaluators see the talent for a min of 3 yrs in football and pretty much since they are 11 in basketball.

          • Chip

            My point exactly, you never know with these guys. I mean Mike Piazza was like a fourty something round draft pick. I just can’t see how people can justify things happening now based on a projected draft class

            • http://www.ilikemygirls.com Billy Beane

              While there are plenty of stories of top players coming in the later rounds, they are in the minority. top players come from the early rounds. you tend to remember the mike piazza’s and tom brady’s because they are interesting stories.

              secondly, organizations have a very good idea of not only the 2009 draft class, but also 2010, 2011, and 2012 too (if not even further into the future). for example, rumor is that the yankees started looking at austin jackson when he was 12.

  • dan

    I guess you guys installed some kind of thing to automatically link player names. No idea why I noticed that.

    I think the Abreu and Pettitte decisions were right, especially now that were hearing how Abreu might not get an offer over $10 million. Pudge, we have no idea about. He’s only gonna get a one-year deal wherever he signs, so is it worth the $8 million difference to him to start ($13 on the yanks or about $5 elsewhere)? I sure wouldn’t want a $13million backup catcher.

  • CB

    As the saying goes… there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

    In order to generate opportunities for oneself there’s always some kind of price that we pay whether that price is paid in money, time, deferred wants, etc. Many times we don’t explicitly identify what those costs are but we’re constantly paying them.

    In order to maximize their opportunity to reconstruct their roster as they saw fit, the yankees were willing to pay a price – loss of potential draft picks.

    That equation was the bottom line here. Those potential draft picks are an opportunity cost. That’s it.

    But that was the price that needed to be paid for the yanks front office to be able to guarantee none of the veterans on the roster would accept arbitration and saddle the team with a price they did not want to pay – namely the arbitration determined salaries.

    There’s risks and benefits to paying that opportunity cost. We’ll need to see what they do from here on out – perhaps they could only pursue CC by reducing knowing that they wouldn’t be paying Andy or a comparable #4 starter $16M. Perhaps they can only pursue Tex by knowing they are replacing Abreu’s $17-18M arbitration award with Nady’s $4M salary. Perhaps they’ll pocket all of these savings to make a push for Matt Holliday next off season when the free agent market may look even worse for players and better values can be had.

    Passing on those potential draft picks was the price that this roster flexibility cost.

    • whozat

      “roster flexibility”

      It always amuses/irks me when someone responds to a post like this with a “whatever, they should sign Abreu 16 million isn’t that much money, and then just trade Matsui for prospects, or just dump him for anything they can get. Cashman is so stupid!”

      Ignoring the fact that, in the market we’re looking at, you’d have to eat most of Matsui’s money, and that even if you did…there’s not THAT huge a market for DHes, even if his knees DO prove to be healthy.

      They’re all of a sudden talking about 26 mil or so to have Abreu on the roster (16 + arby raise + 8-10 of Matsui’s money)…it really just isn’t worth it. Before they had Swish, at least there was sort of a place to play Bobby if you squint a bit. I’d rather have Swisher for 5 mil, and then spend some of that money on someone who can take 1B ABs.

      • CB

        Years later if Jose Tabata becomes an all star people are going to forget that he too was part of the opportunity cost to reconstruct the roster this year.

        Probably before 2008 even started probably had determined that they wanted no part of Abreu in 2009. In order to ensure that would happen and they’d be freed of the cost of paying a 35 year old $16M potentially x 3 years they needed some kind of serviceable, low cost right fielder to replace him with.

        I think this was a major reason why they made the Nady/Marte trade. They wanted to make a clean break with needing Abreu past 2008 and still being able to be competitive in 2009.

        No one had any idea even a few months ago that the corner outfield market would collapse as it appears that it may have.

        Tabata was part of the price of ensuring they would have this opportunity, IMO.

        Was it worth it? Depends on what the front office does with the opportunity.

        • steve (different one)

          this is a great point.

          it is something i have been thinking about a lot the last few days: the Nady/Marte trade was MORE about 2009 than they were about “saving” the 2008 season. they made a trade to satisfy the fanbase, but i would not be surprised if internally they knew that 2008 was a bit of a lost cause. even though they were surging at the time of the trade, they still had to catch TWO teams, not just one.

          they got Nady b/c his contract filled a hole almost perfectly. he occupies the one year space between Abreu and hopefully, Matt Holliday.

          here are the Marcel projections for Nady and Abreu:
          Nady – .283/.341/.467
          Abreu- .280/.370/.440

          they are almost identical in terms of OPS. Abreu is slightly more valuable since his OPS is more OBP weighted, but Nady will bridge that gap on defense.

          in other words, the Yankees acquired a reasonable facsimile of Abreu for about $10M less. that’s $10M they WILL pour into the starting rotation. when Damon and Matsui leave, they will hopefully give that money to Holliday.

          it is also why they had never intention of letting Marte walk. Marte was always going to be the one to replace Farnsworth, at $2M less a year. you could argue they could just go with an internal reliever, but i think any manager would want at least ONE veteran in his bullpen besides Mariano.

          in one trade, they gave themselves $12M extra to work with in 2009.

          • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

            And, potentially upgraded their atrocious outfield defense to boot.

            • http://www.ilikemygirls.com Billy Beane

              “this sh*t’s chess–it ain’t checkers.”

              • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

                Yeah, I know you got secrets. Everybody got secrets. Didn’t know you liked to get wet, dog.

      • dan

        It really bothered me when I asked my dad what the team would look like with Abreu on it, and he said “they’ll worry about it later.” I didn’t bother arguing.

  • Tommy

    What the Yankees need to do is forget about Sabathia, he is too expensive and too risky. He is too overweight to stay productive in a long term contract, and if he is having questions about pitching in New York now, how will he perform when he is here. I think that the Yankees should aggressively pursue Texeria, that would nearly replace the production that Abreu and Giambi produced combined. Not to mention the Yankees would have a gold glove caliber 1st baseman for the first time since Tino. Quality defense, especially at first base can never be valued enough. they should make it a priority to sign burnett, then they could also go after Ben Sheets who is a proven performer in the past, albeit he is coming off an injury, however if he can perform the way he has in the past it would be an incredible bargain for the Yankees. Then they can also go after Pettite for a reduced price, I highly doubt any team is going to offer him the 16 Million he is asking for. A 1-5 of Wang, Chamberlain, Burnett, Pettite, and Sheets isn’t too shabby, in fact the only real question mark would have to be Sheets because he is coming off the injury, however even if one of these guys goes down you have Phil Hughes waiting in the wings. One other thing, A-Rod sandwiched between Nady and Texeira will bring fear to any pitcher.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=15305165&ref=profile Doug

      Exhibit A: David Wells

      Exhibit B: facepalm.gif

      • jsbrendog

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    • http://www.freewebs.com/ps3tf2/ Double-J

      A rotation that includes Burnett and Sheets, with Hughes as a backup, isn’t terribly reassuring on the injury scale.

  • http://mlb.mlb.com/stats/individual_player_postseason.jsp?c_id=mlb&playerID=121250&statType=2 Slugger27

    i was on the fence when i first heard about it, but ive come around on the abreu decision. i still, however, disagree with not offering it to pettitte.

    for me, desperate times call for desperate measures, and when it comes to the starting rotation, THE YANKEES ARE EXTREMELY DESPERATE… and while i think ultimately he wants to be a yankee and probably will sign back with them at probably less than 16M, the key word is still PROBABLY… and for a few million on a one year deal, and with the yankees only currently having 200 inning wang and 150 inning joba in the rotation, i still think u swallow your pride and give the guy arb and his 16M… the yankees are too desperate not to, and nobody wants to see another 2004 pitching rotation

    but u are right ben, the abreu decision was a wise one, and cashman should be applauded for it… if him accepting AT ALL interferes with the pursuit of other coveted free agents, then dont offer it… simple as that

    moose, however, i just dont understand… but whatever

  • Dave

    So Ben,

    You wanted to offer arbitration to Andy P and risk giving him 16 million next season for draft picks in case he left but you wouldnt risk doing it for abreu? Even though andy wants to come back and play for the yanks and abreu would never come back if the money in free agency was there. And what is with everyone acting like abreu is a washed up, over the hill player who is at the tail end of his career? He is only slightly older than derek jeter. And he actually improved from 2007 to 2008. He was the heart and soul of our lineup last year with incredible batting average and obp in all late and close situations – almost the only regular on the team to actually do that. On paper, Dunn and Burrell have better ops but remember that abreu stole 22 bases last season. He also had good power – 39 doubles and 20 homers and 100 rbis and 100 runs with a 371 obp.

    Im not saying I wanted abreu back but if i was forced to give abreu 16 mil next year or forced to give pettitte 16 mil i WOULD go with abreu every time. And of course, pettitte actually wants to stay with the yanks making him much more likely to accept. I felt like we could risk having abreu back for one season at 16 million for the chance of a first round and supplemental round draft pick. Now, when we sign two or three type A free agents, we will only have the guaranteed picks from last season in the first three rounds. And those are picks we should have already had so its not that relevant. Cash constantly talks about building the minor leagues and focusing on building from within but he just gave up the chance of getting 7 draft picks by re-signing marte and not offering arb to abreu, pettitte and Pudge. It just doesnt seem in line with his usual babbling. And your earlier decision to offering arbitration followed by your later decision not to offer it to pettitte doesnt really follow any logical reasoning either. Did you watch what cashman did and change your mind like most of the media out there? Cashman it seems is almost immune to criticism – its unreal.

    He talks like he cares more about the farm system than the major league club and backs it up with actions and the media falls in love with the idea claiming that it is the perfect solution to all of the yankees woes – build from within, get younger and more athletic like it was some brilliant plan and not a relatively obvious explanation. Now, cashman gives up 7 draft picks to save a little cash (or better allocate the yankees resources) another words act cheap because the yanks want to reduce payroll and all the media talks about is how bad the draft is next year and how smart cashman is being to reduce payroll in a time like this and how bad abreu was for the team defensively. Forget the fact that he was the only one to hit in the clutch last year, the second best hitter on the team, we had the worst offense in decades, we have no one in sight that appear to be an actual number three hitter and giambi and abreu (two of our best hitter last season) are being replaced by gardner and swisher. Oh and cash feels our offense will be better next season somehow because of course, matsui, posda, cano and swisher will all have comeback year. A perfectly legitimate comment with absolutely no proof to back it up. But cashman can do no wrong – he is turning the team around and taking out all the trash – too bad all the medias praise is nowhere in sight when it comes to actual tangible results. The yanks have gotten progressively worse since cash took full control in 2005. he has made so many bad free agent signings, i cant even count them on two hands. And he is praised for a job that damon oppenheimer, nardi contreras and our scouts are doing. Oh and he is praised for the trades which other team considers salary dumps. And best of all, we finished third in our division last year and failed to make the playoffs with a payroll almost 100 million above the next highest team. Now, the yanks are trying to raise ticket prices, food prices and parking prices and tell us that the payroll needs to go down by a significant margin even though the team was horrible last season. It doesnt have to go up and it certainly can go down by some but cash needs to actually start making smart decisions if we are going to compete with a decent size payroll. We had over 200 million in salary last year and we couldnt compete with the rays. And cash cant just go after the supposedly big name free agents, throw money at them and call it a day when we hit 190 million. Any one in the world can do that and they have been doing it for years. Cash actually needs to think and make strategic moves like signing players whos stock is down that may have a comeback year or sign players that are about to hit their prime. When was the last time we actually did that? I cant even remember the last time we made a free agent signing and the player played better on the yanks then he did the years before he was on the yanks like paulie. Is that such a foreign concept that cash is incapable of making those kinds of personal decisions. Apparently he is because he has never done it. Furthermore, how about we make a trade with another team that doesn’t appear to be a salary dump – swisher was a nice start. We need more trades like that and i think that was cash’s first one. He is doing fine with the development or at least damon and nardi are but it appears that the yanks have started focusing on the minor league clubs far too much – who cares if tampa or trenton makes it to the finals? The yanks need to be good. We need to trade prospects when their stock is up and they are overhyped and overrated. Tabata was the exact opposite. he was our fourth best prospect at the start of last season, had an abysmal start and we traded him. Not good! It should be the opposite even though his hype was so big that we still got some useful pieces back for him but we probably could have gotten move if we traded him in a great season. he went to altoona and hit like he was an all star. Exactly what we shouldnt let happen. Sometimes, i fear, cash doesnt really know what he is doing at all and he is just going with the flow. iM SURE ITS Not true but he looks like a 15 year old nerd trapped in there. Im not even kidding. Hopefully, cash meant what he said when he re-signed his new three year contract and i gave him a second chance – he wants to turn this thing around. With the resources at his disposal – im sure he is capable. He is making 2 million per year for whatever it is he is doing so he better earn it and stop just going after the guys that everyone else seems to want. No derek lowe and no aj burnett – they are overhyped and will be overpayed. They will not succeed in ny and make far too much money because those are the guys everybody wants this year ie pavano, dice k, randy, wright and on and on and on. Stop the cycle.

    • Mike P

      I didn’t read the whole post so forgive me if some of this is redundant. What people don’t seem to get is how far down the draft picks are in an arbitration decision. Here’s what I reckon Cashman’s thought process was:

      1. Do we want Abreu to accept arbitration?
      Given the market and the fact he would get paid more than Dunn and Burrell and the Nady trade. Probably not. Maybe. Debate that one all you want.

      2. Do we think Abreu will accept arbitration?
      It seems that they did, or at least thought it was a distinct possibility. The economy argument and other arbitration decisions debate steps in here.

      3. How much do we value those draft picks?
      Some people a lot. Some people less. Say the Yanks fall somewhere in between.

      4. This one depends on answers to 1, 2 & 3. Do we think the risk of him accepting is worth the draft picks?
      Clearly the answer to this was no, or at least probably not.

      What most fans are doing is answering just one of those. The draft pick argument is way down the list and if the first three questions to ask do not give definitive answers, you have no choice but to decline arbitration. Even if the arguments aren’t black & white, it’s just not worth the risk.

    • stewman23

      What you just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things i have ever heard…at no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could even be considered a rational thought. Everyone on this blog is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may god have mercy on your soul.

      • stewman23

        sorry, that was supposed to be directed at dave’s comment, not Mike P’s

        • steve (different one)

          don’t worry, that was understood.

    • Yank Crank 20

      1,325 words you wrote right there…most of which were complete crap. If you truly think Cashman never gets any criticism than you haven’t been a Yankee fan since 2004.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      Is there a cliff notes version of this? I have law school finals to study for.

      • steve (different one)

        here it is:

        i came from LoHud to post this.

    • steve (different one)

      On paper, Dunn and Burrell have better ops but remember that abreu stole 22 bases last season.

      he was also caught stealing 11 times completely NEGATING the value of the 22 steals.

      Abreu’s base stealing was a net NEGATIVE for the Yankees last year, not a positive.

      forgive me if i didn’t feel the need to read the rest of your rant if you can’t even grasp this simple concept.

  • Dave

    Tommy,

    No one is a less risky free agent pitcher than CC. And the yanks need to fill three rotation spots. Burnett and sheets certainly ARE NOT less risky than cc. If anything, those two may be the riskiest guys on the market but they do have high reward.

    • Tommy

      CC might not be risky this year, but do you want to throw him 140-150 million for three years of quality production, history has shown us that giving pitchers 100+ million dollar contracts are risky (i.e. Mike Hampton, Kevin Brown, Barry Zito, etc.). Also overweight pitchers have never had an especially long career in the majors. Personally I’m not sold on paying a guy 140 million who’s resume includes playing in the small markets of cleveland and milwaulkee. I’d rather pay a substantially lower price for burnett, who by the way has pitched in the A.L. east for the last several years, i’d like to see what sabathia’s numbers would be if he were that unfourtanate.

      • Spaceman.Spiff

        I’d take a Cy Young type player in the small markets of Milwaukee or Cleveland over a guy like Burnett who hasn’t really had the success in the AL East that people seem to perceive. CC’s absolute worst-case pessimist projections have to be better than AJ Burnett track record in the AL East. CC isn’t any more of an injury risk than Burnett either who’s failed to stay healthy in more than half his seasons in the big league. Please do not advocate Burnett over CC, Burnett is the way bigger risk and Cashman might hear you.

        BTW, Burnett isn’t exactly looking for a short term deal for cheap either. I really don’t want to be committed long term to a guy as injury-prone and inconsistent as Burnett. As bad as Yankee fans were displeased with Vazquez, I think they’ll be even worse off with Burnett if he comes to NY.

      • steve (different one)

        . Also overweight pitchers have never had an especially long career in the majors.

        this isn’t supported by anything more than your opinion.
        here, read this study:

        http://www.hardballtimes.com/m.....er-part-5/

  • Steve

    “No matter what, they aren’t locked in to an outlandish obligation to Bobby Abreu.”

    Bingo. That’s what they’ve been trying to get away from after the past few years with Kevin Brown, Randy Johnson, Sheffield, and others. Aging, overpaid players who no longer produce and are being paid too much to sit. It aint sexy, but roster flexibility can be very valuable over the course of a season.

  • Nick-YF

    “The market for corner outfielders past their prime isn’t strong. In fact, baseball executives feel that Abreu could command just a multi-year deal but only at an AAV of $8-$10 million.”

    I love this site and I love Ben’s analysis, but I have to disagree with an assertion here, or at least, I wonder what is meant by the idea that it’s a fact that baseball execs feel Abreu could only make an AAV of $8-$10 million. Which baseball execs? Yankee executives? Because they might very well be miscalculating what the market truly is. Other baseball executives? The ones who are whispering in the ears of the Heymans and Gammons of the worlds? Who knows what their true motives and feelings are? It’s been a slow hot stove, and perhaps this suggests that salaries are going down, but to what degree is anybody’s guess. There is the possibility that the Yanks are miscalculating here, that their being needlessly conservative in response to their short-term bottom-line needs. I like Cashman, for the most part, but I do think he’s been wrong anticipating player prices in the past (and he’s been right as well in some cases).

    • steve (different one)

      you are correct. no one really KNOWS what will happen. Olney is speculating just like everyone else.

      BUT….3 separate organizations all looked at the market at the same time and came to the exact same conclusion: the Yankees, Phillies, and D-Backs.

      there has to be at least something there, more than Cashman just being needlessly conservative.

      but you are right, he could be wrong.

  • Nick-YF

    their=they’re and a number of other corrections need to be made. Anyway, off to work. Have a good day, fellas.

  • Matt M

    this move was to control costs for this year and for future years by not letting the market get further inflated.

    the Free Agent market has become a pissing contest of late and cashman had to decide to draw the line before it got outragesouly out of hand.
    and everyone points to AROD when you talk about insane contracts, but i disagree because AROD at least set the ceiling. he an other-worldly talent and it’d be hard for current players to justify their cause to be paid as highly as him.

    it’s been a cumulative problem. we saw it in posada’s case where Damon and Matsui both make and AAV of 13; posada demanded 13.1

    pettitte’s made AAV of 16 million and now his league average production has set that bar so that Pettitte doesnt feel the need for a pay cut, and pitchers like Derek Lowe want upwards of 16 million because they feel that they’re superior contributors than pettitte is right now.

    awarding Abreu 16-19 million dollars for a declining OF who showed signs of losing everything during the early campaign of 2007 would royally EFF up the future markets.

    we have an aging, contract expiring outfield, and no real replacements beyond jackson;
    we’ll be in the market for a Holliday; we’ll be looking for outfielders to plug into our holes and at that point it gets a lot easier to negotiate and play hardball if the Yankees DIDNT have a 16-19mill deteriorating Bobby Abreu to undermine our stance.

    • Yank Crank 20

      good point, didn’t really think of the damon/matsui and posada situation.

  • ortforshort

    Scenario 3. Abreu gets a better offer and walks. The result is that the Yankees get more of what they’ve already got plenty of and a lot less of what they need. Abreu leaving leaves the Yankees with a big hole in their lineup that they can’t fill – making them a much weaker hitting club this year and, possibly, beyond. They don’t get draft picks – which they could always use – especially for a team drafting at the bottom of the pack each year. But they’ve saved money – the one thing that they’ve got plenty of – altho’ Cashman mysteriously keeps behaving like they don’t.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph P.

      Yeah, and what if Abreu has a month like May 07 next year (my, how we forget the month we all wanted to draw and quarter Abreu) and doesn’t have a hot summer to make up for it? He’s 35 and has shown signs of decline.

    • steve (different one)

      Abreu leaving leaves the Yankees with a big hole in their lineup that they can’t fill

      this is irrelevant: the Yankees have NO intention of bringing Abreu back. none.

      if they feel like their lineup still has a hole in it, they are going to look elsewhere. simple as that.

      they didn’t want Abreu on the 2009 team, why do people keep making this argument, like “if Abreu accepted would it be the worst thing to have him back on a one year deal??”

      no, it wouldn’t be the worst thing, but it is not something they want to do. they don’t want him back.

      there are arguments to be made for offering him arb, this isn’t one of them.

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

      Abreu leaving leaves the Yankees with a big hole in their lineup that they can’t fill.

      Manny Ramirez, Adam Dunn, and Pat Burrell say hello.

  • thisisthedavid

    “In the end, though, they’re just draft picks that may or may come due in a few years’ time.”
    Here your saying draft picks are unpredictable

    and than you go on to say ppl are predicting a weak draft……

    I mean you can one or the other mate!

    Are draft picks unknown? or do we know that this is a weak draft?

    • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      Actually, those ideas are not mutually exclusive, it’s not a “one or the other (mate)” kind of thing. The idea that this looks like a weak draft class makes the picks less attractive not because the player drafted will definitely be weaker than his counterpart in another draft-class, but because the probability that the player drafted will be weaker (than his counterpart in other draft-classes) is higher. One can acknowledge the inherent unpredictability of the draft while still preparing for the draft and grading the players available.

      Do you think that if you stipulate that the draft (and the future of players drafted) is unpredictable, then you can’t evaluate the draft-class and prepare for the draft since “hey, who knows if these guys will pan out or not?” That’s silly.

  • Bo

    This was a small market decision.

    The worst case scenario had him coming back and them trading him for prospects and eating some of the money.

    This decision shows that everyone with a Tex fantasy can just drop it.

    • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      Remember last time you said that? That was awesome.

      • steve (different one)

        i also remember the first time Abraham said it.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      HAH! If you think the Yanks could trade Bobby Abreu at $18M for prospects, you’re delusional. They’d be lucky to find some team to take him if they pay his entire salary.

      • Count Zero

        He has a short memory — he forgot that the whole reason we got Abreu for a bag of chips is that Philly didn’t want to pay him $16MM for two seasons.

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

      This was a small market decision.

      Oh, no, now we may become the Marlins, and then ARod and Jeter would suck because they’d be “toiling in obscurity”!!!!!

      http://riveraveblues.com/2008/.....ent-213687

    • Mike P

      Every market is defined by New York. If the Yanks are small market, what’s Boston? Mini-market? Do you enjoy goading bored people or are you just really that stupid? People have put in a fair few words to explain to idiots why this is a logical decision by some very logical people. Learn to read and reason if you can’t get that.

  • DonnieBaseballHallofFame

    Some good ole RAB waffles today for breakfast!

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      Don’t elaborate. It’s fine. We’ll just use our superior mind-reading abilities to have any idea what you’re talking about.

      • DonnieBaseballHallofFame

        Come on man you guys are the KINGS of over valuing draft picks and prospects on here as well as making it more than clear that Abreu and Pettitte HAD to get arb. Now I understand that markets change, actually I got laughed at just a week or two ago when I said as much on here.

        More age will bring those who pay attention more perspective on a vast amount of issues. The whole “save the big three” thing was funny to me at the time and still is. I mean you guys even got shirts printed up! Even if all three of those guys end up being top pitchers in the MLB it still does not mean everything in the world is based on draft picks and prospects. Our team bungled the draft last year, so possibly getting some more picks really as much as I would want them really means not a whole lot if guys like Stick Michael are not involved in the process with a real voice.

        Yanks acted like a small market team here, and that is something everybody on here and the media at large has been saying they need to do for some time. But for real dude you are getting your eggo waffle on this morning. Make sure to throw some syrup on that and enjoy it.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

          Spare me your retarded, condescending age argument. If we’ve learned one thing from you, it’s that age does not lead to wisdom. Plus, you flat-out refuse to tell us how old you are. There’s no way I can take you seriously.

          If you actually bothered to go back and read what I wrote a few weeks ago, you’d see that I was on the fence about Abreu and never committed one way or the other. That’s not waffling; that’s a nuanced understanding of what’s going on, something you have yet to show.

          • DonnieBaseballHallofFame

            Actually I have said how old I was on here. But I was not talking about my age or yours with this:

            “More age will bring those who pay attention more perspective on a vast amount of issues. ”

            I was talking about anybody. Just from reading posts here there are many gentleman that are beyond my years (they just do not seem to post as much as the younger guys, including myself in that) which I can tell just from talking about which guys on the HOF ballot they watched and what they think of them.

            I get that you think you are hot stuff law student and all buddy, I do. And it is cute and all in a Tom Hanks in Big sort of way. But seriously the “Save the Big Three” thing branded you as much as the whole Bernie thing did with me. The difference is I did not start that one or print t-shirts.

            As far as what the Yanks did here with Abreu it really does not take a rocket scientist to have a “a nuanced understanding of what’s going on”. This is not some hard to figure out math. But I am sure a few of your yes men boyfriends on here will back you up on whatever angle you choose to take today.

            • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

              I see age did not grant you more maturity.

            • Mike P

              You’re a dick. Write your own blog, see how many people read it and make reasoned debate in the comments section. Or are you too old for that? Who gives a damn what degree Ben did/does, does it make him more/less knowledgeable about baseball? Nice to see you’ve finally manned up and said what you’ve been itching to say for ages. Now keep humiliating yourself with stupid comments, prejudice and pathetic approach to debating. Just leave Ben alone.

            • jsbrendog

              eveyrone here hates you. you are akin to butters. we are all going to mistreat you now.

        • steve (different one)

          hey, no offense, but maybe this just isn’t the site for you.

          you seem to think that everyone here, including the authors, are idiots. why keep reading?

          • DonnieBaseballHallofFame

            Actually this is not the only site I read but is one of the more frequently updated Yankees related sites.

            I actually think there are vary many people with interesting and good points on here quite often and I enjoy reading them. I even enjoy reading some of the ones I think are dumb.

            Even though Ben K and a few others like to name call me and all I do not think everything they said is great or crap.

            I have learned some things on here. Maybe the earth really is not flat like I thought? Maybe computers are not all bad? Maybe there are some new stats that are worthy of my caveman sensibilities?

            • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

              Even though Ben K and a few others like to name call me and all…

              Bullshit.

              Nobody on this site does more juvenile name-calling and more petty character-assassinating than you, DonnieBaseballHallofFame. It goes down exactly the same way every time:

              1) You say something ignorant and totally devoid of critical thought
              2) Someone disagrees with you
              3) You start calling the people who disagree with you stupid names and saying they’re not old enough to understand
              4) Everybody else starts piling on you for being such an ignorant, petty, juvenile, worthless dumbass
              5) You disappear from the thread

              Donnie, I don’t know how old you are, but you are the least wise old person I have ever encountered.

              • DonnieBaseballHallofFame

                Here we go I knew Ben Kay would have his wife on here nagging and what not.

                Any name I called anybody was a joking term, and not a really mean word. I do not use constant profanity on here as you do. It really seems you lack home training, class or even post college humor.

                As far as disapearing from a thread that is laughable. Anytime I see somebody say something to what I wrote I write back. I think I may do that too much.

                It is funny because a few of you write a book everytime I post based off of me one time saying I thought Bernie was over rated. Then the snarky comments started. ANYBODY who thinks Bernie was a better baseball player than Donnie I do not think knows much about baseball or did not see them play. That was my point. You guys got mad about that not me. There were other posters who said as much after the fact and did a much better job than I did saying it and nobody said anything back.

                I may not be the best at putting my words together while I type and do my normal job like I assume many you are doing as well. But I made my point AFTER I was hit with a barrage of posts a lot of which had tons of name calling and profanity because I believe something that you do not.

                • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

                  Just to let you know, Donnie, you’re about one comment away from getting banned. Tone down the unwarranted, homophobic attacks or get lost.

                • DonnieBaseballHallofFame

                  Ok so tons of profanity is ok? Just making sure. Would not want to see your buddy with the long name get banned.

                • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

                  Here we go I knew Ben Kay would have his wife on here nagging and what not.

                  Any name I called anybody was a joking term, and not a really mean word. I do not use constant profanity on here as you do. It really seems you lack home training, class or even post college humor.

                  As far as disapearing from a thread that is laughable. Anytime I see somebody say something to what I wrote I write back. I think I may do that too much.

                  It is funny because a few of you write a book everytime I post based off of me one time saying I thought Bernie was over rated. Then the snarky comments started. ANYBODY who thinks Bernie was a better baseball player than Donnie I do not think knows much about baseball or did not see them play. That was my point. You guys got mad about that not me. There were other posters who said as much after the fact and did a much better job than I did saying it and nobody said anything back.

                  I may not be the best at putting my words together while I type and do my normal job like I assume many you are doing as well. But I made my point AFTER I was hit with a barrage of posts a lot of which had tons of name calling and profanity because I believe something that you do not.

                • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

                  Here we go I knew Ben Kay would have his wife on here nagging and what not.

                  Name-calling.

                  Any name I called anybody was a joking term, and not a really mean word. I do not use constant profanity on here as you do.

                  Huh, that’s funny, I call Mike Pop, radnom, Mondesi, Ben, UWS, and numerous other people on here names, and they all know that I’m joking, because I don’t constantly treat them disrespectfully and call them names while I attack their character or love of the game or whatever other stupid shit you constantly say. And yes, I use profanity. Because it’s not insulting. Using curse words while not insulting and demeaning others is a lot better than using chaste language while being an unsufferable, juvenile dick towards everybody.

                  It really seems you lack home training, class or even post college humor.

                  Seeing as how I’m able to constantly clearly articulate myself and easily dissect and analyze your pathetic, anti-intellectual arguments, while you constantly say thoughtless, retarded shit that nobody agrees with and annoy the living fuck out of everybody on every thread, perhaps you’re the one who needs more home training and college schooling. And as for humor? Please. I’m funny, I crack people up on here constantly. I have yet to hear you say anything that’s funny, unless you really think calling someone a “pie chart pixie” 50 times is hilarious. You sound like a 10 year old.

                  As far as disapearing from a thread that is laughable. Anytime I see somebody say something to what I wrote I write back. I think I may do that too much.

                  I’m still waiting on responses to like 5 posts from you. I assume I’ll never get them because you have no sane thoughts left in your head.

                  It is funny because a few of you write a book everytime I post based off of me one time saying I thought Bernie was over rated. Then the snarky comments started.

                  No, I write a book based on every comment you say, because every comment you say is full of ignorant anti-intellectual nonsense, empty emotional stereotype, tautology and flawed logic, arrogance and belligerence, and an utter lack of analysis or self awareness. Bernie was only one small portion of your smorgasbord of mind-boggling, unfunny, worthless inanity.

                  ANYBODY who thinks Bernie was a better baseball player than Donnie I do not think knows much about baseball or did not see them play. That was my point.

                  Which returns us back to the point at hand: You make inflexible, unsupported statements that have no basis in any reality other than your gut. The only other person I know who does this as repeatedly and sincerely as you is George Bush. It’s fine to think that Donnie is better than Bernie, if you have some reason. You have no reason. You don’t know what reason is. You think it’s perfectly acceptable to say that Player A is better than Player B, but there’s no way or NEED to explain or quantify how Player A is better than Player B, and you compound your juvenile anti-intellectualism by then saying that anyone who disagrees isn’t smart. This is classic Bushism. You leave no room for anybody to intelligently disagree with you, because you claim—at the BEGINNING of your argument—that anyone who disagrees can’t possibly understand the question. That’s insulting. That’s how a 10 year old argues.

                  Also, classic character assassination. You couldn’t even go one post without nailing both the name calling and the character assassination. Bravo.

                  You guys got mad about that not me. There were other posters who said as much after the fact and did a much better job than I did saying it and nobody said anything back.

                  We didn’t get mad at your position. We got mad because you feel you don’t need to support you positions, and you don’t believe in disagreeing agreeably. You’re the irrational, inflexible one, not us.

                  I may not be the best at putting my words together while I type and do my normal job like I assume many you are doing as well. But I made my point AFTER I was hit with a barrage of posts a lot of which had tons of name calling and profanity because I believe something that you do not.

                  Go back and read the threads. You started the name calling, each and every time. People call you names because you slander and libel their intelligence and powers of perception. You do this constantly. You have brought on all the anger and vitriol directed against you through your own actions. Every single person who piles on you and fucks with you constantly, we all treat each other very nicely. That should tell you something: perhaps, we’re not meanspirited assholes, you just bring out the worst in us because you are a meanspirited asshole.

                  There, I called you a name. Congratulations.

                • jsbrendog

                  yeah what they all said. and it’s not your fasult bernie has better stats and had a better career than donnie……….you’re not don mattingly are you? trying to assuage your long held hatred of bernie williams?

                • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

                  I’m starting to wonder if he’s Joe Morgan.

                • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

                  December 3rd, 2008 at 10:08 am
                  tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones says:

                  …It goes down exactly the same way every time:

                  1) You say something ignorant and totally devoid of critical thought
                  2) Someone disagrees with you
                  3) You start calling the people who disagree with you stupid names and saying they’re not old enough to understand
                  4) Everybody else starts piling on you for being such an ignorant, petty, juvenile, worthless dumbass
                  5) You disappear from the thread

                  December 3rd, 2008 at 10:19 am
                  DonnieBaseballHallofFame says:

                  …As far as disapearing from a thread that is laughable. Anytime I see somebody say something to what I wrote I write back. I think I may do that too much…

                  December 3rd, 2008 at 11:01 am
                  tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones says:

                  (A lengthy response, redacted here for brevity’s sake, calling you out, line by line, on all the ignorant, nonsensical shit you say, to the point where you have no rebuttal because your argument has been excoriated)

                  December 3rd, 2008 at any point in time after11:01 am
                  DonnieBaseballHallofFame says:

                  http://www.instantcrickets.com

                  Nothing. You have yet to respond. Even though you’ve commented on other topics numerous times since 11:01 am. Sounds like you’re running again, buddy.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=15305165&ref=profile Doug

      FOOD METAPHORS

  • Steve S

    I agree with the concept that Abreu would have caused congestion on the roster that would have limited Cashman’s ability to pursue other free agents.

    Now as for the economics. Those scenarios up there dont present the whole situation. There is a possibility, a strong possibility that the Yankees offer him arb and he declines and you go on from there with the same flexibility. Cashman was gambling and I think this was an extremely conservative gamble. Now I do understand that Cash may have believed (and had info that we dont have) that Abreu would have accepted arb and would have put them in a tight spot.

    But looking on its face I have to say these early reports seem like BS. I understand the economic downturn. But two middle relievers just got $4M a year for two and three years respectively. That has been the only real free agent signings. And two weeks ago everyone said that Affeldt was a below market signing, especially if he were to start a couple of games for the Giants. Its clear to everyone that Abreu is not a $16M. BUT the concept that he is an $8-$10M player is a complete farce and if that came to fruition I think everyone would be stunned. I said this yesterday, Bobby would have a strong collusion case in that circumstance. Any GM who says that Bobby Abreu is only worth two Jeremy Affeldts or two Damaso Martes is insane.

    Its a weak corner outfield market- as mentioned here Manny is not on the same planet as Abreu however, Manny will set the market and Manny’s realistic landing spots are extremely limited- its really New York and LA. Which means everyone else- Abreu, Burrell, Dunn and Ibanez will be available at a discount but not THAT much of a discount because they will have a couple of teams bidding for them. Abreu’s greatest weakness is his age but a two year deal is completely reasonable plus (and its not saying much) he is really the only serviceable defensive player of the group. I just cant believe that Abreu would accept the the concept from his agent that listen “you should take arb because you wont be able to beat that number in free agency in your total package”. Especially before anybody else signs a contract. The market on Bobby has been quiet because he wants to play in Chicago or New York and all of those teams have higher priorities right now. Thats not to say in a month they wouldnt turn around say Bobby Abreu at $12M per for two years with a team option isnt a bargain. With all of that being said, I can acknowledge that there is a possibility that Abreu said look I like playing for the Yankees, I dont care about the contract, Ill take the year at a high rate and see what it looks like next year. That would be the antithesis of every baseball player’s thinking but it could be a reality.

    All Im saying is by not presenting the full picture it looks like a Cashman apologist blog. Im not saying he made a bad decision BUT its not clearly, on its face, the smart decision or right decision. I think were dealing with less information here. And the only criticism I would have for Cashman is that he is now running the risk that he could end up with the current offensive alignment AND no compensation picks. I dont care if those picks are in the bottom half of the first round, they still have immense value, especially for a GM who says he wants to get younger and develop young players.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      We’re not trying to be Cashman apologists. It’s pretty indefensible not to offer arbitration to Mussina. But the decision to not offer Abreu makes a whole bunch of sense.

      • Yankee1010

        But you have to agree that the above two scenarios are not the only possibilities, right?

    • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      “And the only criticism I would have for Cashman is that he is now running the risk that he could end up with the current offensive alignment AND no compensation picks. I dont care if those picks are in the bottom half of the first round, they still have immense value, especially for a GM who says he wants to get younger and develop young players.” (emphasis mine)

      The whole point of the argument against offering arbitration to Abreu is that the risk that he would accept far outweighed the value of the possible compensation draft picks. Remember, if the Yankees are convinced the guy WILL accept arbitration, and do NOT want him back on a $16+ million, 1 year contract, then in their estimation there is an EXTREMELY low chance that they will ever even receive those compensation draft picks. You’re talking about the CHANCE at those picks as if it’s the same thing as actually HAVING the picks, and it’s not.

      • Steve S

        I understand that and I said that Cashman had more info so I understand, the only thing is that all of this is speculation. On its face there is a third scenario which is Abreu would decline arb. And no one seems to want to acknowledge that as a possible scenario when it is very much in play.

        And Ben Im not saying you are Cashman apologists, but it comes off that way when you make it seem like the Abreu decision was a no brainer. I think there are several cogent arguments to be made why this seems a little odd.

  • Rob

    You left out a realistic Scenario 3:

    The Yankees offer arbitration and send signals to his agent that they’re willing to cut Abreu in March if his salary is too great. Now Abreu has a decision: Face the free agent market in December, negotiate a better deal for each party, or face the free agent market in March.

    The new rule is exactly meant to prevent guys from sitting on their last contract AAV and expecting at least that, or more, in arbitration. That scenario exactly applies to Abreu and Pettitte and even Pudge – guys who negotiated an AAV based on performance they can no longer muster.

    The important point is: The teams doesn’t have to cut the player in March. They only have to use that possibility in negotiations.

    I, for instance, have little doubt this is what the Sox are dong with Varitek and Boras. There’s no way they’ll pay him $10 million plus for one year. And there’s no way he’ll get a better deal on the free agent market. So Boras is in a bind. He can accept arbitration but then they have to negotiate a better deal for the Sox. Or they reject and hope for a two-year $12-14 million deal on the market. Point is: There’s no way Varitek is getting $10 million+ for 2009, even if that’s his arbitration figure.

    I can’t believe you guys are missing this angle.

    • DonnieBaseballHallofFame

      I am with you on the first part but you may have lost me with the Varitek thing.

      You are saying that the Sox will cut Varitek during spring training if he accepts arb? I think the union would go bonkers if they did that. I also think that might be something that would make their fan base irate.

      • Rob

        Not if his performance in Spring Training is lagging behind the other the other catchers they have on roster. After his 2008, they can make the legitimate claim that he’s not worth $10 million.

        But that’s all assuming it gets that far. Right now, it’s only about negotiating. And I don’t see how the Sox have any intention of paying Varitek $10 million+. Nor do I see him getting more than $14 million in the market. So something has to give.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

          I’m fairly certain this is 100 percent incorrect. There is no “legitimate claim” that they could make in this circumstance, and the CBA along with the Uniform Player Contract don’t contain provisions that would allow for an unconditional release without payment.

          • Rob

            I haven’t read it, but based on your citation below how can you ever prove that a player fails “to exhibit sufficient skill or competitive ability”?

            1) Recent performance
            2) Performance in Spring Training

            For Varitek it seems like a real option. Pettitte and Pudge too based on how they ended 2008.

            Abreu gets trickier, but all of this is missing the point:

            Cashman had more leverage than he’s letting on. Theo is maybe smart enough to realize it. We’ll see.

            • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

              Take a look at this. That’s the only example I can find of that clause being invoked in a high-priced contract. In practice, it basically means that the player is so injured that he couldn’t reasonably perform his contract. It doesn’t mean that he’s not as good as the team had hoped. As long as he can play, he won’t get cut without pay during spring training.

              • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

                Here’s the relevant language from the Uniform Player Contract. It’s paragraph 7(b)(2):

                …fail, in the opinion of the Club’s management, to exhibit sufficient skill or competitive ability to qualify or continue as a member of the Club’s team…

                The final clause makes it a rather strict standard and not one a club can use at will.

                • Rob

                  Still, it’s “in the opinion of the Club’s management”. If the Sox say their two younger catchers are more deserving of roster spots, then there’s an argument to be made.

                  Again, that argument doesn’t actually have to get made. It only needs to help negotiations.

                  And luckily there’s a clear test case: Varitek. Let’s see what kind of contract he winds up with. It makes most sense for him to accept then go back on the market in 2010.

        • DonnieBaseballHallofFame

          It is an interesting yet to me not highly plausible scenario. It would be interesting to see that play out that way.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      Can you point to where teams are allowed to cut players signed to a guaranteed contract without paying them in March? I’ve just read through the relevant points in the CBA, and at no point does the document make that allowance.

      • Rob

        Great, then can you explain the termination pay to me. Everyone seems to agree it exists as an option, just that it has never been used before.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

          Certainly. The CBA allows for termination pay prior to the end of Spring Training on the grounds “for failure to exhibit sufficient skill or competitive ability.” That doesn’t require a player to be worth what they are signed for. It means that the player signed a contract in bad faith knowing they couldn’t play at all.

          You can’t release a player in spring training under these terms because you don’t think they are going to live up to expectations.

          In your example, Varitek may not be able to play up to a level that would warrant paying him $10 million, but under the limited language of the CBA, the Red Sox wouldn’t be able to cut him if he is showing “sufficient skill or competitive ability.” This isn’t some undiscovered loophole that you’re just finding for the first time.

          • Rob

            Great, then it can exactly be used in the negotiation process. That’s the point. “sufficient” is very vague there and I’m not seeing the whole context. To me, it means justifying their role on the team.

            The point is: If a team indicates this as a possibility, then there’s more incentive to find an agreeable middle ground rather than letting the player wait for his past AAV tto be awarded in arbitration. Just as there would be some hesitancy to actually invoke the clause, so would there be for a player to be on the other side. That’s the point.

            • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

              I’m fairly certain that the PA would throw a shit fit the size of which you would not believe were a team to attempt to terminate in spring training for these reasons or even to use that as a threat during negotiations. Basically, if a player doesn’t misrepresent himself during negotiations, he can sign a contract. If the Red Sox didn’t try this move with Curt Schilling last year, there’s no way they could do it with Varitek this year or the Yanks could do it with Abreu.

              • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

                Exactly. You can’t merely cut Abreu in spring training because he’s hitting a .220/.310/.330 or something and you have a better player in front of him. In order to win the grievance, he’d have to be not just bad, but trainwreck bad.

                Like, hitting .065/.080/.065, 70 pounds overweight, just shot himself in the thigh kinda trainwreck.

                • DonnieBaseballHallofFame

                  So if he was Andruw Joneseaque he could be cut then?

              • Rob

                Who’s to prove it was used during negotiations? It’s delicate, but a team only needs to indicate a worry about the player going forward and seeing how Spring Training goes. Basically it’s a negotiating tactic to either: a) get the player to reject arbitration and go directly to the open market; or b) negotiate a far contract. Obviously the worst case, for everyone involved, is to have the player sit on his past AAV to arbitration and then go to Spring Training and get cut. So there’s a strong disincentive, for all parties, to let it go that far.

                Schilling didn’t go to arbitration and so they singed a guaranteed contract with him and in November.

        • steve (different one)

          why don’t you go and read the CBA yourself?

          you made it a point to call Cashman an “idiot” over this decision, so why don’t you take the time to educate yourself?

          • Rob

            Any time our GM comes out looking worse than Ned Colletti than he deserves the idiot label.

            Even if the Yanks and Dodgers swap Lowe and Pettitte via free agency, the Yanks will end up with the worse contract and no picks for probably the same results.

            Idiot stands until future decisions this off-season prove otherwise.

            • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

              I guess that means Rob won’t be reading the CBA himself, then, huh.

              • Rob

                Ben did and pointed out the relevant passage. Suffice it to say, there’s enough ambiguity in there to use the clause during negotiations. All parties involved wouldn’t want it to go more than that.

                And while my beliefs are just as relevant as any other here, I’ve actually presented situations under which I’m wrong.

      • Steve S

        See the quotes I read on Pete Abe;s blog is that the contract stemming from this arb would be a non-guranteed contract and therefore they could terminate without “cause”. The UPC and the CBA dont seem to have any mention of that but I really havent looked at the whole thing. Im still confused by that. I know Tommie and Steve (DO) said the same thing yesterday but Pete Abe mentioned it twice and on one occasion he quoted Cash.

        • steve (different one)

          what Cashman said was that any contract garnered through arbitration was non-guaranteed.

          and he was factually correct.

          he was simply saying that it would be in Abreu and Pettitte’s best interests to decline arbitration and sign guaranteed contracts. which, in a normal market, it obviously would be.

          however, that was about 2-3 weeks ago when he said that. it SEEMS that the complete lack of activity on the FA market has changed their opinion of the economics of the situation.

          • Steve S

            See my question is whether those non-guranteed contracts are different from the UPC and therefore have different provisions. Sort of like a minor league invitee or non-roster invitee to spring training. I dont know but the context of the quote doesnt jive with what you are saying. The way Pete Abe put it was that Abreu and and Pettitte could be released in ST. Any player can be released at any time but the contract would have to be paid out regardless. The concept I gleamed from non guaranteed would be that they could terminate and not have any obligation beyond termination pay.

        • Steve S

          I should clarify the relevant provisions that were here yesterday of the UPC and the CBA only allow for termination pay when terminated for cause. I didnt really have a chance to read all 200+ pages to figure out what Abe and Cashman were talking about.

    • steve (different one)

      I can’t believe you guys are missing this angle.

      that’s because it’s not a realistic angle.

      the Yankees can’t treat their players like this, and there is NO CHANCE that this is what is happening to Varitek.

      the Sox offered Varitek arbitration b/c they are ok with him accepting. they still need a catcher for next year, and Varitek on a one year deal fits their needs.

      there is no secret agenda there except in your own mind.

      Point is: There’s no way Varitek is getting $10 million+ for 2009, even if that’s his arbitration figure.

      i guess we’ll see, but i bet he comes very close to this number and signs with the Sox.

      • Rob

        Hmmm, if the Sox are in the same position with Varitek as the Yankees would have been with Abreu or Pettitte or even Pudge, then they have no leverage over Boras right now. Varitek is guaranteed $9-11 million. He should absolutely jump at that. Unless the Sox are playing a different game…

        You’re right – we will see. If I’m right, Vartiek either rejects and get something like two years $12 million from the Sox or from another team. If you’re right, he accepts arbitration or get a much better deal – two years $16 – 20 million – on the market.

        I’m putting my money on me.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

          The Sox are playing a bit of a PR game too, and I think it’s one with risks they’re willing to accept. They can’t just cut Varitek. The fans adore him, and it would look really bad. By extending him arbitration, they’re recognizing that he had a bad 2008 and would be willing to bring him back for one year only. If he picks to go, then it becomes his choice instead of the impersonal Red Sox Front Office’s choice.

          It’s not quite the same as Pettitte/Abreu/etc.

          • DonnieBaseballHallofFame

            I agree with this 100 percent.

          • Rob

            Yeah, but if he accepts to stay? Somehow the Sox are just going to swallow his arbitration figure? When they can get the same production from Cash or Kottaras?

            Sorry, but that organization has shown, like the Patriots, that they can get rid or anyone anytime and suffer little backlash. Varitek, by insisting on $10 million, would be seen by a majority of the fanbase as greedy after his 2008.

            Sorry, I think there’s more going on behind the scenes. I’ll be proven wrong if Varitek takes his $10 million and is the starting catcher opening day.

        • Ron

          “If you’re right, he accepts arbitration or get a much better deal – two years $16 – 20 million – on the market”

          If he accepts arb, he’s considered a signed player, and can only negotiate with the Sux, and they don’t appear to want to offer him anything more than a one year deal.

    • steve (different one)

      That scenario exactly applies to Abreu and Pettitte and even Pudge – guys who negotiated an AAV based on performance they can no longer muster.

      and this is where your idea falls apart.

      the Yankees would have to prove that Abreu’s “performance” doesn’t warrant a high salary, but right now THEY CAN’T.

      they would have to make that argument before Abreu takes another at bat in a regular season game, and based on his 2008 season, they don’t have a leg to stand on.

      you are treating REAL LIFE like you are building a roster on PlayStation and it is completely unrealistic to threaten your veteran players with being cut in Spring Training without hearing from the Union.

      • Rob

        It doesn’t matter what they can or can not prove RIGHT NOW. It’s about playing poker. The only way a GM would have to show those cards, or argue that case, is if:

        a) Player X accepts arbitration
        b) Player X refuses to negotiate in good faith and wait for an arbitration award.

        The notion of fighting a battle in March is likely much less appealing than going on the market and getting a three-year deal for $33 million.

        And that will also be telling – what deals Abreu and Pettitte get on the open market. Somehow I think both will easily beat their arbitration figures. A draft pick wasn’t going to change that drastically.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

          Somehow I think both will easily beat their arbitration figures.

          How? Abreu probably would have ended up with $16 mil and so would Pettitte. Never in the history of arbitration has a player been awarded a lower contract than the one from the prior season. If the Yanks lowball them in arbitration, the arbitrator will go with the higher figure.

          • Rob

            I said on the open market. Not in AAV but in years. Abreu can get a three-year $30 million contract. Pettitte can get two or three years at $10-12 AAV from an NL club. Now Pettitte may not want to go more than one-year, but then he’s pricing himself out of dollars he could have had in hand. Either way, there will be comparable to give us an indication.

          • DonnieBaseballHallofFame

            Ben Kay I agree with what you are saying here. And I do believe it would turn out the way you are saying.

            For arguments sake could not the posibility arise that since the economic times have changed and baseball itself is now showing the effects that this would make the arbitors (spelling?) think of maybe going down in salary instead of up for the first time in history?

            I think personally for that to even maybe happen it would take some other free agents to take less money than they would have gotten the last three or four years before that process could even happen.

  • nick blasioli

    i dont know what cc s contract has to do with the other fa…just offer a contract to other fa s and go from there…at least do something before all the good fa s are gone….

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      Have any of the good FAs signed yet? Come on.

      • steve (different one)

        have they even got any offers?

        nick, next week are the winter meetings. things should start happening there.

  • Januz

    I strongly believe the Yankees made the correct decision with Abreu etc. I am sure that the union will charge collusion with this class of free agents. However, the economy’s current weak condition will undermine that argument.
    The players, their agents, and the Players Association have to wake up to the reality of the situation that unless you are a player in the top 1% at your position such as Sabathia, Teixeira, or Ramirez, you are going to take a financial hit, just like people at Citi, Chase, GM, Circuit City, or many other firms in this country. When I read about major cutbacks, someone of a declining skill set like Abreu should thank GOD for $8,000,000 a year.

    • DonnieBaseballHallofFame

      “I am sure that the union will charge collusion with this class of free agents. However, the economy’s current weak condition will undermine that argument.
      The players, their agents, and the Players Association have to wake up to the reality of the situation that unless you are a player in the top 1% at your position such as Sabathia, Teixeira, or Ramirez, you are going to take a financial hit, just like people at Citi, Chase, GM, Circuit City, or many other firms in this country. When I read about major cutbacks, someone of a declining skill set like Abreu should thank GOD for $8,000,000 a year.”

      Yeah you know the collusion charge is coming. The whole system has been out of wack due to the arb process anyway. No way a guy like Bob should be making 18Mill. The reason we are paying record prices for tickets these days is not because of guys like Santana, Alex, and CC it really is because guys like Bob get 16 million and bullpen guys who pitching less than 100 innings a year get 4 or 5 a pop a lot of the time.

      • steve (different one)

        i agree with both of you.

        i think we will be hearing the word “Collusion” sometime before January.

        the SAME thing happened in 2003.

        if you remember, there were a bunch of OFers who all got the similar contracts. Kenny Lofton was one of them. Jose Guillen, Rondell White, Reggie Sanders, etc.

        the Union charged collusion, and they won.

  • http://YankeefaninHouston John Leach

    If this is the plan they should have traded him last year. There were teams in the national league that would have given up something for him. Now we get nothing.
    I’m a Cashman guy but this smacks of a lack of planning. Perhaps Hal has more to say about the baseball moves than we have thought. This looks like a salary dump.
    Why not sign him at 18 mil and trade him to the Cubs for some high ceiling guy in A ball? Even if we have to put in 5 mil, at least we get something back, instead of nothing. No Giami (30 hr, 100 rbi) and no Abreau (20 hr, 100 rbi)? We are putting all our eggs in the Matsui/Posada basket. Hope it works.

  • Dave

    Ben your really not going to even respond to my comment. Just read the first part directed at you. After that i just went off on a tangent, complaining about the things i dont like about cashman.

  • JimT

    If the 2009 amateur draft is considered weak that speaks even more to the failure of the Yankees to sign two of thier top three 2008 picks. It was claimed earlier that not signing the high draft picks in 2008 was no big deal because the picks would carry over. Now part of the justifacation for not offering arbritration is because the 2009 draft is so poor. Whatever!

    Last year at this time it was all about sticking with the “the kids” and building from below. This year its sighn every A type FA availible and screw the farm system. Hmm, some effective long range planning going on here.

    Cashman is in a tough spot, he needs to get an old team younger and stay competitive. Signing top free agents cost draft picks, a condition that perpetuates an unproductive farm system. Since non of the Yankees well regarded everyday prospects are MLB ready Cashman may have to fill a few gaps with non type A FA (Bill Meuller, Mark Bellhorn types). If he does this, puts together a competitive team and continues to build a productive farm system then and only then will he be viewed as a good GM. To use an analogy, Cashman is the Texas Hold Em player with a big bank roll that itimidates and bullies a table full of casual players. However, when he has to play with the real pros he gets smoked. Personnely, I don’t think that he is up for the challenge. Once all of the big bucks have been spent he doesn’t seem to have anyother play.