A Yankee-fueled subversion tactic


Take a look at the remaining free agents and you might see a number of Type A guys still waiting for a home. Namely: Orlando Hudson, Orlando Cabrera, Manny Ramirez, Oliver Perez, Jason Varitek, Ben Sheets, and Juan Cruz. While there are various issues factoring into their current unemployment, for a number of them the major reason relates to draft pick compensation. For a team to sign any of the above, they’d have to sacrifice a first round draft pick (or, for teams finishing in the bottom 15, a second rounder). For many, this just isn’t worth it.

There does appear to be a workaround, though it’s unlikely such a move would make it through the Commissioner’s office. Apparently this comes from Buster Olney, though it is related via South Side Sox. I’ll let them do the talking:

In theory, let’s say the Marlins needed a shortstop (we know they don’t) and wanted to sign Cabrera to a two-year, $16 million deal — but they didn’t want to give up their top draft pick to do it. They could, in theory, pick up the phone and ask the Yankees to sign Cabrera to what the Marlins wanted to pay; the Yankees would give up only a fourth-round pick, and the Marlins could trade a prospect to the Yankees to offset the value of the fourth-round pick. Cabrera would have to waive his right to block the trade because any free agent signing a multiyear deal cannot be traded until June.

Disclaimer: The Marlins are just an example. Everyone knows they have short and second pretty well covered.

First off, you know the White Sox would, rightly, call foul on this one. This screws them out of a first round pick, and the transaction would be achieved by using a means not really allowed by MLB. As they mention, players signed during the winter can’t be traded until June, so Cabrera would have to waive his rights. He would, but I think the Sox would file protest with that. Again, as they should.

Here’s my beef with the argument: The Yanks wouldn’t just settle for fourth round talent for their troubles. They’d be subverting the system. They’d be going out of their way to help out the Marlins get a player they desire without sacrificing a first rounder. That’s worth far more to the Yanks than a fourth round pick. It would probably take something like a player of second round talent. Either that, or they could get demand market value for Cabrera (which probably isn’t that high, really).

In the end, though, this is just a neat idea to think about. The Yanks definitely hold an advantage with the remaining Type A free agents because of their prior Type A signings. Still, I’d far, far rather them use that advantage to sign someone like Cruz or Sheets than to help out another team.

Categories : Hot Stove League


  1. A.D. says:

    I thought about this the other day too, I figured that the team who offered arb would flip out.

    The flipside is that FA with type A that aren’t big names are essentially screwed for Elias rankings….just shows something with that FA agreement needs to change.

  2. Yankees should be more concerned about making their own team the best possible than as to how it helps or hinders another team.

    If you are smart about your team, and win the game you play, what the other teams do in the long run shouldn’t matter (as much, anyway)

    • Manimal says:

      How many yankees do you expect to come from the class of 2009? First of all there isn’t much talent out there this year, and yankees barely have any good picks(just a couple of protected ones) If the other team ends up signing the player anyway then they lose a draft pick and Yankees get nothing, rather than the yankees getting a prospect and Marlins keep their first round pick.

    • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi says:

      “Yankees should be more concerned about making their own team the best possible than as to how it helps or hinders another team.”

      But you’re missing the point. By doing this the Yankees would be discovering a new way to improve their team/organization. It’s not about helping another team, it’s about helping the Yankees. If, hypothetically, the Yankees did this, their reason would be to add a prospect to their organization, not to help some other team out.

  3. Manimal says:

    I thought about that a couple days ago, is it illegal or just frowned upon? That prospect would have to be pretty damn good and obviously, the player would have to be down with doing something like that.

  4. But the Marlins don’t need Cabrera!!!!! THIS PROPOSAL IS STUPID AND YOU SUCK, BUSTER OLNEY!!!!!!!!!

    Seriously, though, the other hole in the argument of why it’s foolish to assume that the Yankees would do a “let’s give up a 4th rounder in order to trade what we gave up the 4th rounder for for some other team’s prospect who is conceivably better than the 4th rounder we gave up” gambit is that all those Type A players also entitle their teams to a free sandwich pick compensation, meaning the Yankees would be slightly helping their own team (buy marginally upgrading our own prospect corps) in exchange for helping TWO other teams by A) giving Club A the ability to sign players they want without paying the premium in draft pick compensation and B) giving Club B the ability to recoup two picks, one in the 40′s and one from us in the 100′s, in exchange for players they didn’t want and are struggling to foist on some random Club A in order to recoup something of value.

    If you examine this idea for longer than half a second, you’ll see it would be a fairly dumb move unless the Club A in question was willing to give us some stud prospect… which they wouldn’t be willing to do, since they’re not willing to part with a first rounder (which is worth LESS than that stud prospect) in exchange for said Orlando Cabreras, Jason Variteks, and Juan Cruzes.

    Analysis fail MSM.

    • jsbrendog says:

      well put there in the middle paragraph.

    • EdB says:

      I think this deal only makes sense if it returns something useful for the Major League team. Playing prospect musical chairs probably isn’t worth the effort. Now if it either helps move a contract (Like Matsui) OR returns a useful piece then maybe its worth thinking about. I mean a team like the Phillies might want a guy like Oliver Perez and be willing to take back a contract in exchange for a backup catcher and/or utility infielder. Maybe Varitek isn’t worth a 1st round pick but I bet there are some teams with young pitching staffs out there that would trade the equivalent of a 3rd rd pick for him or a catcher swap. It would be similar to the Maddux situation a few years ago tutoring young pitchers. Most of the Type As left are talented in some unique way and useful in the right situations. They aren’t worth 1st rnd picks but still worth a good bit in the trade market. Maybe the Mets are willing to give something up for a shot at Orlando Hudson. I bet they’d rather give up the value of a 3rd pick and plug a hole at 2B for 2009 and Hudson’s old team would rather get something than nothing since they don’t appear to have any interest in bringing him back.

      The point is there is a big gap between the non-fiscal cost of these Free Agents and their relative trade value.

      Side question-Can teams trade the arbitration/compensation status to another team for other considerations? Can a team negotiate down that 1st rnd price tag?

    • BJ says:

      Your point has some reason behind it, but it only holds for certain players, like maybe Varitek and to a lesser extent Cruz. For the rest of the Type As, like Sheets, the teams would feel that anything less that a 1st + a sandwich is inadequate compensation, and we would not really be helping them, as they would probably rather give the player an offer at least equal to what they would have given in arbitration. So we only are helping the team that we trade the player to, and are in fact hurting the team who had offered arbitration. In return, we could expect anyone who the team values less than their 1st round pick in the coming draft and that we value more than our 4th rounder. The caveat here is that we would probably pay overslot for our 4throunder, especially now that we have less picks to spend the money on, so our 4th rounder is more valuable than a normal 4th rounder.

      Even though this would pose a problem, the main problem is that the agreement would be so complicated and probably wouldn’t fly with the comish.

  5. Chris says:

    What is the last day that a teams has to give up the picks to sign one of these FAs? I wonder if any of them will sign during next season, as teams get desperate if they need help and the picks are no longer an issue.

  6. brian says:

    Can the yanks sign another type a free agent? Since abreu hasn’t signed aren’t we limited to 3?

  7. Brooklyn Ed says:

    to whoever is a MiLB expert:

    Does Kevin Russo play 2B/3B/SS/OF or just 2B/3B/LF?

  8. Dave says:

    I think it appears that cashman is holding onto every single pitching prospect of value like they are going to be the next Joba Chamberlain. Time to let some of the excess go and package them in with nady for an NL pitcher who will stay healthier than ben sheets and more effective than andy pettitte next year. What kind of pitcher could a package of Nady, Aceves and Kennedy or Robertson land us? I would think a pretty solid one for the fourth spot.

    • Mike A. says:

      Or, they could just keep Aceves and Kennedy for a fraction of the cost and get pretty much the same production out of the #4 spot.

      • toad says:

        Agree. The further advantage of keeping lots of prospects is that, all the stats in the world aside, predicting performance still has a random component. Having three guys who each have a 25% chance of doing well is better than having one guy with a 60% chance.

        • EdB says:

          Technically with Pitchers since you can only play one at a time you’d probably rather have the one pitcher with 60% chance as on any given day he may have a 60% chance while the other guys would only give the team a 25% chance on a given day. The real issue is figuring out which guy is which.

          • toad says:

            You’re right in terms of an individual game. I was thinking about which combination (one or three) gives you a better chance of having one guy give you a solid season. Of course it might take a few starts to figure it out, and there are roster spots to consider also, so it’s not that clear.

            But the main idea is that if you have lots of low-middle probability guys one of them is likely to turn out well, and that will often be a better bet than just relying on a journeyman who will probably be decent, but not necessarily.

            A lot depends, of course, on how well you think you can predict performance, but even if you’re very confident, there are still injuries to worry about.

  9. Raul says:

    Thinking of former type a’s. Would it be an idea for the Yankees if Prior agrees to sign him too a two year minor league deal? With a 500,000 $ signing bonus

    • EdB says:

      Most would shy away from Prior but for that type of deal I would do it in a heartbeat. With that many options for the 4/5 slot and Joba capable of moving into the 3 spot in case of injury for half a season if the Yankees can’t fill out the rest of that staff with someone from the group of Prior, Hughes, Aceves, Coke, Kennedy, Wright, Horne etc–then they should just trade Arod to the Dodgers and start over.

      • Raul says:

        Prior is a semi long term reclamation project. No one would be counting on him this year. It would be a low risk very high reward deal. If he could return too anywhere near where he was in 2003 it would be an amazing deal for the Yanks.

  10. Manimal says:

    MLB 09 THE SHOW fans,


    some video of yankee stadium it looks sick, but look how real the fans look! They’ve usually looked like cardboard cutouts.

  11. Dave says:


    They could have not signed CC or AJ either and started Wang, Joba, Hughes, Aceves and Kennedy. It doesn’t mean that they should have. With a package like the one above, the yanks could land a top of the rotation starter able to throw 200 innings and perform well in the playoffs. Hughes will be a full starter by next season but for not, we need another legit pitcher fully capable of throwing 200 quality innings. Relying on Joba, hughes, kennedy and aceves to fill the fourth and fifth spot and any and all injuries that arise is pretty much the exact same foolish mistake they made last season.

  12. baseballnation says:

    Great idea to talk about or not, that would really make us assholes…

  13. Dave says:

    If we start relying on horne or wright or if coke has to be converted back to a starter mid season, I dont care what our record is because that means trouble.

    • EdB says:

      These guys are here for a reason and none of them is younger than 26. If you’re not willing to use them to fill holes on the club and they presumably aren’t going to get a whole lot better at this point then why are they even in the organization. We’re talking about patching about 240+ innings for the #4/5 slots in the rotation. You don’t think Chien Ming Wang will lose that finger nail and have to miss a few starts, or that Burnett will pitch 220 innings do you? You’re going to need to piece together at least 8-10 spot starts if you start the season with Hughes as #5. I could live with any member of the AAA staff getting those starts (except Igawa).

      Basically the point is if you need a 7th starter do you really want Ian Kennedy being the only viable option?

    • jsbrendog says:

      coke already is a starter. its been said many times that he was told to prepare for 09 as a starter.

  14. Dave says:

    Yea, I agree. But i think that package would land us top of the rotation talent from an NL club. Especially, a club that has a lot of holes to fill – they trade away their better talent to try and fill three or four holes on the team in one swift move.

  15. yankeefan91 (sign manny asap hes getting cheaper lol) says:

    guys have ya watch the new yankee stadium on mlb 09 the show that shyt looks hot as hell tad dont have this for xbox 360


  16. Matt12 says:

    You know, I was thinking about this a while back. I was saying, with our financial advantage, should “sign” Mark Teixeira and trade him to a team like the Giants with a big name prospect or two for somebody like Tim Lincecum, but pay all of Teixeira’s salary, or most of his salary.

    I mean, that’s more or less what the Rangers did with A-Rod. They paid quite a bit of his contract and got Soriano in the process. Or when the Red Sox traded Manny to the Dodgers and paid his whole deal.

    I imagine that the league would snap though, I mean, imagine that for a second. Go back to the start of this season. Rather than sign CC Sabathia, effectively trade the San Francisco Giants 180 million dollars and Austin Jackson for Tim Linecum so that the Giants can sign Teixeira. Or how about trade $82.5 million to the Braves or one of the other teams that wanted Teixeira and get some great young hitter.

    Either somebody needs to explain that I’ve misunderstood the rules, or somebody needs to take advantage of this advantage we have…

    • 27 this year says:

      To tell you the truth, I don’t think that would work very well and teams are not going to trade young players for just money. Aside from that, I highly doubt Bud Selig would even consider it.

      • Matt12 says:

        It’s not just money, it’s what they use that money for. Like a three party agreement where the Yankees agree to pay for the player in question, the second team agree to trade the young players in question, the player in question agrees to go to the second team.

        I don’t see why teams wouldn’t do this kind of deal. Like take the proposed Teixeira and Lincecum deal I mentioned: The Giants desperately need offense. Teixeira is a big time offensive player. The Yankees have the money, but need pitching (assuming that we’re talking about before the offseason when we didn’t have Sabathia & Burnett). Everybody gets what they wanted, assuming Teixeira would want to go to the Giants. Which I would because he would make the team very competitive with the strong rotation the Giants have built, and it would be in California, his first choice…

        • Here’s the mammoth flaw in your argument: The Giants can’t afford to give Lincecum away.

          They need Lincecum AND Teixeira on the cheap, not Lincecum OR Teixeira on the cheap. This deal doesn’t truly help either team, as the Giants, while not having to deal with Texy’s fat contract, lose their ace. And the Yankees get Lincecum for $180M, but don’t get the 1B they want/need.

          I don’t get why we, or they, would do this.

        • EdB says:

          So what you’re saying is pay $60M to the Reds to both circumvent the free agent compensation system and pick up a prospect. I guess it makes sense in theory but would be a horrible business practice. Can you imagine if the team paid $100M+ for Verlander after Detroit’s run? This works out well if you get Evan Longoria but what if you get Mark Teahan? You can’t gamble that kind of money on kids that young.

  17. Matt12 says:

    Well, the Giants are considered nearly if not the favorites in the AL West as is. Remove Lincecum from their strength and add Teixeira to their weakness, and you’ve got a just as good team more or less.

    But thats not the point. It’s more the principal of the matter. I mean, as far as getting the first baseman we need/want, we could have signed Dunn just as easily. In fact, we’d be paying less for Lincecum, Sabathia and Dunn then we actually paid for Teixeira, Sabathia, and Burnett, and would probably be a better team.

    I guess what I’m really trying to get at, is what about Manny to the Reds? We could trade whatever Manny wants to the Reds, get Joey Votto, and then the Reds get Manny. The Reds actually improve their offense (debatable, i know), and don’t raise payroll. Or Grady Sizemore and the Indians, they needed pitching. What about a free Burnett plus a prospect like Austin Jackson and maybe Xavier Nady for Sizemore? I’d consider that deal if I was Mark Shapiro.

    What I’m trying to get at is the concept, not the actual players I mentioned.

    • We could trade whatever Manny wants to the Reds, get Joey Votto, and then the Reds get Manny.

      No, we couldn’t. Not remotely we couldn’t.

      Look, your idea is interesting in theory but I think unworkable in practice. As much as small market teams are interested in elite vets without having to pay for them, they won’t gamble away young, elite homegrown talent to get them.

  18. [...] RAB has an interesting read out on a possible FA [...]

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