For the right players, baseball’s economy is just fine

Open Thread: KLaw's farm system rankings
Yanks battling Mets for Garcia

I know we dump on Melky Cabrera a lot, and I realize that Melky has his supporters among Yankee fans. We don’t root against Melky Cabrera because of who he is; we feel that Melky’s presence in the lineup doesn’t help the Yankees and in fact makes them a worse team. We would like nothing better than to see Melky mature into a decent-to-good center fielder who can help the Yankees win while playing a demanding defensive position. It hasn’t happened yet.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few numbers — and do keep in mind that I’m using Melky as an example. Last season, Melky Cabrera earned himself 453 plate appearances and put up a 68 OPS+. Only three players with at least 453 PAs put up a worse OPS+, and all of them — Michael Bourn, Willy Taveras, Cesar Izturis — played in the NL. In terms of VORP among ALers with at least 453 PAs, Melky’s -5.4 mark was third-worst in the league.

In other words, Melky had a bad year. If you figure that his job was to get on base and be at least an average Major League player or even a replacement-level player, he didn’t do his job. Basically, he got the equivalent of a terribly negative employee review. If any of us not in the sports world performed down to Melky’s standards, we wouldn’t get a job, and we might not even have a job after that.

So what happens? He made $461,200 last year and somehow managed to lose his starting to job two-thirds of the way through the season. Well, Melky ends up with a $1.4 million contract for 2009. That’s a 300 percent raise for being among the worst everyday players in the game.

Now, I know I’m being unfair to Melky, but I am basically using him to make a point. $1.4 million isn’t a lot, and in fact, it’s around $2 million less than the Major League average. It is, however, hard to convince anyone that baseball economics is suffering when bad players earn 300 percent raises.

In the end, it could be a Yankee thing. The Bombers can afford to toss $1.4 million at Melky with the hopes that he could put it together and have a good year in 2009. But otherwise, it’s just another example of baseball economics disconnect. Even in a bad economy, even when a player is as bad as can be over the course of the season, he can still earn a disproportionate raise. What a business.

Open Thread: KLaw's farm system rankings
Yanks battling Mets for Garcia
  • toad

    It’s a 200% raise, I think, not 300%.

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

    You gotta love the power of union. Arbitration sure is kind to the players.

  • Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

    “It is, however, hard to convince anyone that baseball economics is suffering when bad players earn 300 percent raises. ”

    Ben Sheets, Bobby Abreu, and Adam Dunn all would beg to differ. Even many of the guys who signed (K-Rod/Fuentes) got half of what they expected going into the off season. Many others got decent money, but the years were reduced sharply. The economy is affecting most players, just not some top ones. I don’t think there’s any doubt.

    • Ed

      I disagree.

      Sheets ended the season with an elbow injury, and the rumors are that teams are concerned about his shoulder. It’s not realistic to expect a big market there.

      Like all other markets, the free agent market is ruled by supply and demand. There were more available closers this winter than teams with a need. The Mets and Angels were the only big spenders that needed a closer, and the Angels made it clear before the season that closer wasn’t the position they wanted to open their wallet for. Without a bidding war, prices can’t go up.

      The OF/1B/DH player market is similar. There’s more of those guys available than there are teams with a need. It doesn’t help that most of the guys available this year are awful defenders while most of the teams in need are in the NL.

  • LA

    Freddy Garcia down to NY teams…..

    • A.D.

      interesting

      • andrew

        if garcia signs for 2 or 3 million + innings incentives then that probably explains why they didnt want to overpay for pettitte.

  • Tripp

    This reminds me a little of when Aaron Small received a million plus for the half year with the Yankees. Everyone kind of knew also that he wouldn’t last to long either the following year, but it’s like the Yankees were saying here’s a million bucks, thanks for those 10 wins.

    • Whozat

      Except he’d done a good job, and didn’t just age into a new compensation category.

  • Mike Pop

    At least the union works hard for the players.

    • Lanny

      the nfl players should really smarten up and use the mlb model

  • Mike Pop

    To think they got Lidge for Bourn. Ugh Cashman is the SUX! We could of had the best 8th-9th combo ever while maybe keeping Joba in the 7th to make it a 6 inning game.

    • Thomas

      Houston’s 2007-8 offseason:
      1. Trade Brad Lidge and Eric Bruntlett for Michael Bourn, Geoff Geary, and Michael Costanzo
      2. Sign Kazuo Matsui for 3 years and $16.5M
      3. Trade Matt Albers, Luke Scott, Dennis Sarfate, Troy Patton, and Michael Costanzo for Miguel Tejada
      4. Suck

      • Mike Pop

        I would rebuild if I was them. Screw it, deal all the good players and get huge returns. But that is easy for me to say since I am not a fan of the Astros and could care less about their PR appearance.

        • Thomas

          The problem is they don’t have a lot of worthwhile pieces. Berkman is excellent and Oswalt is good, but declining. Both are also expensive. Outside of that who do they have. Lee, Matsui, and Tejeda are all too expensive to deal. Pence and Towles are young, cheap, and players you want. So while they need rebuild, they won’t be able to trade for many top/decent prospects.

          Additionally, they have no money, no farm system, and an owner that refuses to rebuild. They’ve essentially forced themselves into mediocrity for the next few years.

          • andrew

            Carlos Lee may be expensive, but he is a beast, I’m sure they would get decent returns for Berkman, Oswalt and Lee. Granted they would probably suck after making those trades, but sometimes you just gotta tear it all down and start over.

            • Drew

              unless ur the yanks!

      • http://asportsaddictneedsdivineintervention.blogspot.com/ E-ROC

        They were better than you think, despite that signing and those trades.

        • Mike Pop

          Ya but I don’t get why they are not going after any pitchers. It was reported they made a 28 mill offer to Wolf and he turned it down. Why don’t they split that money up and get Sheets and another veteran pitcher. They could compete with that.

          • http://asportsaddictneedsdivineintervention.blogspot.com/ E-ROC

            Yeah, I agree. I think they are at their budget limit, right?

          • Ed

            I’m not sure if Wolf turned it down or the Astros pulled back the offer, but, shortly after making the offer ownership came in and said to cut payroll.

            Houston’s screwed because ownership won’t increase payroll, won’t allow the stars to be traded, won’t pay over slot money in the draft, and still wants to be competitive.

        • Thomas

          True, they came in third and had a record of 86-75. However, they expect Pythagorean record was 77-84.

          FWIW, they also went 36-18 over Sept. and Aug. when their season was over and the rosters expand to 40 man.

          • Ed

            Just about every season since ’04 Houston has looked dead in July but then finished in or close to the playoffs.

  • Drew

    Come on man, I’m tired of this hate on Melkman. Turn your negativity towards Cano if anyone. I love both Melk and Robby. Melky has been a solid defensive and offensive contributor. Last year was bad, similar to his buddy who recieved a big contract. I honestly believe Melky will be what we all want him to be. Look for a rebound!

    • Whozat

      It’s not hate. It’s an objective evaluation. One can admit he did a poor job without hating him.

      • Drew

        yea i know, I’m just writing last year off as a bad year.. the year before he did hit 280. We need to support him! he’s homegrown and still has tons of potential.

        • andrew

          I believe he hit .273 the year before. Either way, I think most of us here would take the 2007 Melky. 8hr/73rbi/.273/.327

          • Whozat

            I wouldn’t. I’d prefer the 06 melky with the .360 obp. I’d consider the 07 version barely adequate

            • andrew

              Well yea, I’d prefer the ’06 Melky also, he had a higher avg and obp and lower rbi’s while slugging the same as 07. I was just saying, 73 rbi’s , 12 steals, above average defense from your 9 hitter is a pretty good return.

              • whozat

                Well, the slugging has been kind of anemic all along, so “slugging the same” isn’t necessarily a good thing.

                95 OPS+ at 21 is promising. 89 OPS+ at 22 is still ok, but he needs to show something the next year. Dropping to a 68 OPS+ at age 23 is NOT a promising sign. Nothing has trended upward for this kid. I’d love for him to do well. If he rebounded to an OBP-heavy 90 OPS+ in part-time duty this season, that’d be solid. But nothing indicates that that is a likely outcome. It’s more likely that his seeming ability to take a walk in 2006 was a illusion caused by small sample size. Unless he’s slugging (and defending) like Mike Cameron in his prime, a below-league-average OBP is really not something that’s worth putting up with.

                I’m not so sanguine about Gardner either…I think that he waited out lots of pitchers with spotty control in the minors, and that boosted his walk (and K) numbers. I don’t know that that’s going to work in the big leagues. I think they’ll come right at him until he shows them he can turn the ball around pretty well and put himself on second or third with his legs. And I don’t know that I believe he’ll be able to put the ball in play often enough to make that happen.

                • andrew

                  Gardner did look overmatched last year, i agree. I don’t think either of them are the answer in CF.

                  But to say Melky’s ’06 was too small of a sample size, (i dont necessarily agree with this, but just for the sake of the argument) is a bit unfair considering he had more at bats and games played in ’06 than he did in ’08… why isn’t ’08 too small of a sample size?

                • whozat

                  He also played games in the minors in 2008.

                  I’m not saying that 2008 is his true talent level either. The whole body of work is a more significant sample, though, and that indicates that he might be capable of an OPS a bit north of .700, and an OPS+ of 85-90…but not much more than that.

                  If he doesn’t beat Gardner out for the CF job, but is putting up a .300/.400/.450 line in Scranton while Brett struggles to get on base in the majors…flip flop them. I’m not saying he’s done, I’m saying that he’s had a shot and I’m kind of skeptical now. Let’s see the devil I don’t know, and Melky has to play well enough to earn another chance.

        • Whozat

          The problem is that there’s no real reason to write off 2008 for melky. Except that you want to because you like him. He doesn’t have tons of potential, he probably is what he is. He might rebound a bit to a replacement level player, but that’s really not worth that much.

          When he’s on the field, of course we all cheer and hope. But there’s no need for us to avoid speaking rationally about him here on an Internet discussion board.

      • Spaceman.Spiff

        What I don’t really get is why RAB seems comparatively to be in love with Gardner. Everyone seems to be looking forward to Gardner winning the job for unknown reasons. Sure Melky had a terrible year last year, but his best full season in the majors at least shows that when having a good year, he could not be a liability in the lineup. Gardner sure hasn’t proved any of that in albeit limited time last year. I’m not saying we should be gungho about Melky but we should at least be as hopeful for him as we are for Gardner.

        • Spaceman.Spiff

          Especially considering Melky seems to be working hard this offseason and performed reasonably well in winter league play, as unimportant as that may be.

          • Manimal

            Results man, results. Who cares if he hits .300 in another country, come spring training he better hit .500 or he is sitting on the bench opening day.

        • Manimal

          Because Gardner can freaking run. I may have personal beef with Gardner(He threw the freaking ball to the kid next to me during BP!!!) But he is basically Melky 2.0. He needs to work on his swing but that’s what Kevin Long is for.

          I think people just like him because he had that game winning single vs Papsmear. Can’t blame them.

          • Dave M

            Papsmear!!

            I like it.

        • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          The reason there’s more love for Gardner than there is for Melky is that Gardner hasn’t yet produced a big league track record of suckitude. Melky has.

          If you saw two moderately hot chicks in a bar who were basically equal in the looks department, but you happened to work in the same office as one of them and knew she was a boring, shrill hag with an annoying voice and bad breath, wouldn’t your interest be a bit more enthusiastic to talk to the chick you didn’t know? Sure, she may ultimately be as unappealing as the chick you know with the personality and grooming flaws, but there’s only one way to find out; may as well get her drunk and see what happens.

          • andrew

            Perfect.

            • Lanny

              If you come here you got to deal with the anti Melky thing. The RAB guys love to hate Melky.

              • whozat

                The RAB guys love to hate Melky provide rational baseball analysis.

                Fixed that for you.

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

                I take it, Lanny, that you didn’t actually read the post. The whole point wasn’t that Melky sucks. We know that he had a bad season in 2008. The point was that Melky can be as bad as he was and still get a $1 million raise this year. That’s a good economy for players who haven’t hit free agency. That’s the whole point.

                • NY Yankee Fan

                  I am at a loss for Melky getting a pay raise of $1 million. Does anyone really have a justiifcation for this bump in slary. Has any reporters asked Cash the though questions on this one?

  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

    There’s video of Melky here:

    http://video.aol.com/video-detail/lidom-melky-cabrera-jardinero-de-las-guilas/2660192143/?icid=VIDURVSPR07

    I can’t really understand a lot of it but basically the interviewer’s asking him if last season was disappointing and how Melky plans to improve this season and Melky basically says that he’ll work harder and also that he loves playing in the Dominican.

    • Manimal

      Thank you Sra. Traductora :) I can always count on you with spanish.

      Melky looks childish with his chinstraps.

      • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

        He does, but I think he looks better…seems to have lost the baby fat!

        • Manimal

          Yeah he does look leaner. Seems like Melky and Cano are taking the offseason seriously.

    • Drew

      MELKY!!! he looks like he lost some weight or got leaner.. I wish I could’ve understood what he was saying.

    • Manimal

      Was it just me or did it look like he was about to just burst out laughing.

    • The Evil Empire

      He said that on the last day of the season Joe G. told him to keep his head up, it’s all part of baseball. He also said he was very excited to play in the Dominican Republic because he wasn’t allowed to last year, he says that he loves playing there because there are so many veterans that he can learn from. He mentions that his favorite player is Luis Polonia, he loves the way he plays and the way he bats. The reporter also mentioned that he has seen progress from the Milke man this off season.

      haha my dad is from the Dominican and my mom is from Spain, some people say i can pass as A-Rod’s little brother haha.

  • Manimal

    You think if Lowe signed before Burnett, he would’ve walked away with 1 less year, and 1.5 mill less (annually)?

    • Dave

      Manimal -i doubt it. Lowe wanted four years all along and even before burnett signed. Lowe’s plan was probably to wait for CC and AJ to come off the market anyway so i dont think it ever would have went down like that.

      • Lanny

        If Lowe came to the Yankees in early Dec before Burnett signed and hammered out a deal he may have got 5 yrs.

        The MVP of this off season is Burnetts agent who saw the market and saw the fact that the Yankees wanted 2 out of 3 of the top 3 SP’s and made sure they were engaged right off the bat and in a bidding war.

        He didn’t languish trying to get a market. Like Lowe did.

  • Dave

    In fact, the only thing melky has done in the last year to show that he is a major leaguer is to become over-payed. There has to be something wrong with the arbitration process, when one of the worst players in the game, gets a 300 percent raise in a horrible economy and he did not even have to go to arbitration to prove his worth. The yanks just gave him his asking price for all intensive purposes. You guys can complain, say I dont understand the game, say I dont know how good melky actually is but you know its true.

    I have been saying for two years that there is no way in hell that melky becomes our starting center fielder for years to come. I for one, did not think he would make it through the season holding onto the starters job and I was correct. This is the ny yankees and even if melky improves, we cannot have a below league average or even around league average player at an offensive position for any more than two years tops. It just doesnt work.

    I know no one wants to hear this but melky is one thing – the product of a franchise in a player development craze after years of a barren farm system who got swept up and embraced around all the noise and celebration of the real talent that came up around him namely wang, cano, Chamberlain, Hughes, etc. He was never all that good but there were so many other quality players coming out of the farm all of a sudden any one with the slightest show of talent had the potential to be an all star in the eyes of the yankee fan – everyone outside of the fan base and organization could have told us that melky would never stick and never had the talent but was developed as a product of the times who could do no wrong.

    • andrew

      The kid hit .280/.360 at the age of 21. I don’t think anyone ever thought he was the future of the yankees or anything, but there was reason to be optimistic.

      • Lanny

        He stunk up the joint last yr but it’s not like he’s old and done.

        Some guys need some failure. Some guys become players thru adversity.

        You don’t give up on talent even if it fails

        • whozat

          The point is that you’re assuming the talent, when evidence of such is not necessarily clear. He got on base at a great clip in 2006, especially for someone so young. Then, pitchers figured him out a bit more in 2007. And then 2008 happened. I think he’s a bit better than he was in 2008. But I don’t know if he’s much better than he was in 2007. And that kind of line, unless it comes with all-world defense and/or the ability to swipe 60 bags at an 80% success rate does NOT make you a starting OFer.

    • whozat

      The yanks just gave him his asking price for all intensive purposes. You guys can complain, say I dont understand the game, say I dont know how good melky actually is but you know its true.

      Can I say that you don’t understand the realities of the arbitration process, and the factors upon which the adjudicators make their decisions?

      Willy Taveras got over 1.9MM last offseason. You think Melky’s agent couldn’t have made a case that he was worth a couple hundred grand less than that? They point to his solid defense, the numbers he put up as a 21 and 22 year old (compared to Taveras at 23, 24 and 25)…there’s a case. And then the Yanks have to pay 1.7 mil.

      The arbitrators don’t care about the economy. They look at the contracts in light of what other, comparable players have received before.

      • Dave

        Willy tavarez is not comparable to melky. Tavarez stole 68 bags last year – he is batting 283 for his career with a 331 obp and tremendous speed only getting caught 7 of a possible 75 times. He also placed second in roy NOT too long ago. It is very difficult to make a case that melky had the kind of impact that tavarz had last year if damn near impossible. They both had similar numbers last year in avg and obp except melky has almost no speed on the base path and little power while tavarez is probably one of the best base stealers in the game already.

        i WOULD say tavarez is worth significantly more on that point alone. There are other reasons as well but that is good enough to not be able to justify any where close to 1.9 mil. And melky actually asked the yanks for 1.4 and the yanks gave him 1.4. I was under the impression that the arbitor either went with melky’s asking price or the yanks price after hearing both sides. They did not go through the actual arbitration hearing and the yanks gave melky his asking price. Why after playing a pitiful offense and then, being demoted and barely called up in september? I have no idea. Im sure it has something to do with the fact that gardner and him are our only options at center next season. Just a hunch

        • steve (different one)

          Melky asked for $1.7M, not $1.4M.

          that’s kindof a key detail you’re missing in your purposeless rant.

          the arbitration process is what it is, i’m not sure what you are complaining about.

          • Dave

            Steve,

            I believe pete abraham had posted that melky was asking for 1.4 mil but i could be mistaken because I never double checked. If i was wrong, i apologize but .3 mil below his asking price is basically melky winning out as he still tripled his salary – i would not necessarily say it was a crucial detail as I was basically and i thought rather clearly saying that melky did not deserve such a raise and that willy tavaraz was not a very good player for comparison because he is far better and only got .5 mil more than melky.

            My broader point was that the entire arbitration process seems to be inherently flawed as there should be much more compromise even if the details have to be worked out through the arbitration process – it is not very smart to give have only two results at the end of the long process because most of the time, the players salary should be somewhere in the middle. If you did not know what i was saying perhaps, you should have read my two posts below this one before commenting – that may have cleared things up a bit more.

            • steve (different one)

              i would not necessarily say it was a crucial detail as I was basically and i thought rather clearly saying that melky did not deserve such a raise

              yes, it is a crucial detail.

              you wrote a paragraph questioning why the Yankees just gave Melky his asking price instead of taking him to arbitration.

              i am pointing out that they didn’t give him his asking price.

              he asked for $1.7M, the Yankees offered $1.2M.

              so they settled closer to the Yankees’ number than Melky’s number.

              they had to choose, settle for $1.4M or roll the dice at paying $1.2M or $1.7M. the took the guaranteed $1.4M.

              does that make sense?

              your point about him “deserving” a raise is largely irrelevant. for the first 6 years of a players career, there are artificial floors and ceilings on a player’s salary. it’s not a price set by a free market.

              if Melky was a FA, he’d probably have to settle for less than $1M. but he’s not. he’s entitled to go through this inflexible arbitration process that may or may not lead to a salary that is indicative of a player’s true value.

              unless you think the Yankees should have cut Melky, i don’t see ANYTHING interesting or controversial about his 2009 salary when you view it in the proper context.

              • NY Yankee Fan

                The Yankees number never should have been at the $1.2 million number to begin with. I would have offered a 50% to 75% raise and called it a day. He is lucky to still have a job. Melky came as close to being fired as a MLB player can be last year based upon his poor performance. I am all for letting him prove himself, but he does not deserve a major pay raise. My two-and-a-half cents.

                • steve (different one)

                  would have offered a 50% to 75% raise and called it a day.

                  and you would have lost your case and had to pay him $1.7M.

                  if the Yankees offered $700K, they would have lost.

                  it’s really that simple.

                  you don’t understand the process. my two-and-a-half-cents.

    • steve (different one)

      I have been saying for two years that there is no way in hell that melky becomes our starting center fielder for years to come.

      you make it sound like this wasn’t the prevailing opinion.

      i think most people saw Melky as a stopgap until Jackson was ready.

      • Dave

        Steve, you are incorrect about the prevailing opinion being that melky was a stopgap. One, two years ago, after the 2006 season, Ajax was coming out of A ball after his first full season with a line of 260 340 346. He did not exactly scream center fielder of the future with those numbers. Of course, people knew he was going to be a solid prospect for us but there was not too much talk of him being a cant miss prospect at the time. Melky was coming off his best season in the last three years putting up a line of 280 360 391 and while showing a lot of potential, he was of course, far over-rated by yankees fans who considered him our future center fielder at that point.

        But it was clear to me at least that while melky showed us something, he certainly did not seem to have the talent to be our starting center fielders for years to come as i said. This was also when the melk man shirts were flying off the store shelves. It certainly was the prevailing opinion so dont try to rewrite history and tell me every one shared my sentiment around here. i argued with people daily about melky’s worth hoping the yanks would trade him every day that off season while his value was still very high.

        • steve (different one)

          ok, i can’t say that he wasn’t overrated by some fans. i won’t fight you on this.

  • Dave

    I meant to say all the noise and hype – not noise and celebration

  • Infamous

    I’m kinda new to following the prospects, probably about a year ago I gained interest. So i was just wondering what the consensus was on Melky before he was called up. Also who would he be compared to before he was rushed up to the big leagues.

    • whozat

      I don’t think he was really on the radar. Another reason to think that 2006 was an outlier…no one really saw it coming, based on the skills he showed in the minors.

  • Dave

    Willy tavarez is not comparable to melky. Tavarez stole 68 bags last year – he is batting 283 for his career with a 331 obp and tremendous speed only getting caught 7 of a possible 75 times. He also placed second in roy NOT too long ago. It is very difficult to make a case that melky had the kind of impact that tavarz had last year if damn near impossible. They both had similar numbers last year in avg and obp except melky has almost no speed on the base path and little power while tavarez is probably one of the best base stealers in the game already.

    i WOULD say tavarez is worth significantly more on that point alone. There are other reasons as well but that is good enough to not be able to justify any where close to 1.9 mil. And melky actually asked the yanks for 1.4 and the yanks gave him 1.4. I was under the impression that the arbitor either went with melky’s asking price or the yanks price after hearing both sides. They did not go through the actual arbitration hearing and the yanks gave melky his asking price. Why after playing a pitiful offense and then, being demoted and barely called up in september? I have no idea. Im sure it has something to do with the fact that gardner and him are our only options at center next season. Just a hunch

  • Dave

    For less than a mil on a minor league deal – we should sign garcia. Any more than a mil or a major league deal – we should leave him to the mets. He isnt worth a roster spot nor any more than a mil. Him asking for guaranteed termination money tells everyone how much faith garcia has left in his arm – if garcia does not think he can pitch at the major league level, why would any one else think so? That was a great way to damage his reputation even further than sitting out for two years, saying that if you dont make the team, you still want to get payed. Well, you dont have to make the team on a minor league deal so no termination package, no major league deal and there you go.

    I have a feeling the combo of johnson, garcia and the other junk we sign off the scrap heap will begin to add up to whatever ben sheets gets in the end – which will probably be only 6 mil guaranteed the way things are going. That is certainly worth the gamble IMO and clearly, the guys here agree. The yanks either lose out on six mil, far from the worst signing they have made in the previous two years or they strike gold and pay 14 mil for one year of an ace or sheets pitches 100 innnings and get hurt for about 8 mil or so which is still a fair rate for half a season of an ace.

  • RustyJohn

    Only way Melky improves next year- scrotal injections of HGH.

  • Dave

    Melky did well in 2006, I did not realize how well he did posting a pretty solid 95 ops plus with 12 steals and 8 homers. But 2007, that dropped to 89 and then, last year to 68. His 280 360 line fell to 273 327 which is hardly respectable for a major league center fielder and then, to 249 301 which is not respectable for a starter at any position. If he could put up his 2006 line again in a full season, he would be around league average in center which is a competitive offensive position but anything less than that is just not good enough to start in center. His stock has fell dramatically since then and this may very well be his last season to prove his worth on this ball club.

    The yanks will not always have above average offensive production in non-offensive positions and be able to carry a subpar performer in center. i just dont believe he has the skills necessary to provide us with league avg talent year in and year out. I know some people do but i think it is mainly because he rose through the yankee system in a time when it flourished and every prospect with some talent was expected to improve every year. That is not how it works with every prospect who proves capable in one major league season. His stats in 2006 will only take him so far and afford him so many opportunities. I still think he could provide some club with enough offense to start in center, it is just not the nY yankees IMO.

  • JeffG

    That’s what happens with players coming up through arb. If he got let go we would not have had to pay him. Considering that he is still on a club and that club paid him 400k for his better years, you’d have to think as a whole it’s fair.

    In 2006 he was nearly league average with an OPS+ of 95 and the year after 89… now last year he did blow (you have his number). According to Fangraphs though, his value for 06-08 was $4.9mil, $0.2mil and $-0.2mil respectively. – Considering that, he has still been a bargain over the years that he was on the club. Pre-FA years work to pay players on a step up system as arbitrary as that may seem it is the system that we have.

    • Dave

      Good point jeff – i did not think about it that way and while it was nice for the yanks to finally get some production out of a league minimum player, i suppose it was not too bad to pay him more money than he deserves next year – at the very worst I guess we break even. It is extremely arbitrary though and even when players significantly decline, their pay still goes up and that is the precise reason I dont particularly like the system but you do make a very convincing point. Thanks.

  • Mike – Sunrise

    I wouldn’t be shocked if we see a platoon in CF. Girardi really likes Gardner, with the defense and speed he brings. Plus, the Yankees are hoping that he can bat .250 with a near .400 OBP. If he can do that out of the 9 hole, I think he will replace Damon in the lead off spot in 10 and play left field with A-Jax taking over CF. I could see either Melky or Swisher getting the AB’s against lefties in CF. It really will come down to how they do in spring training.

    • steve (different one)

      i don’t know if the roster can support a CF platoon.

      with one of Gardner or Melky in CF, you already have Nady or Swisher on the bench.

      don’t know if they’ll have room for 5 OFers.

    • Dave

      If gardner has a 400 obp, they willl not be platooning – he will be starting every day. Gardner is inferior to melky defensively (he makes up for it in speed but melky is still better) but if gardner has a 400 obp, he can easily steal 60 bags of more starting every day. That would be amazing but unlikely. I know gardner improves in his second year at every level and had an on base percentage of over 400 in AAA but i don’t think he will be quite that good at the major league level. If gardner could put up those kind of numbers, he will definitely take the leadoff spot when damon leaves. Swisher will not start in center unless gardner and melky both completely fall off to the point where the team cannot even carry them. The reason being that swisher blamed much of his horrendous season last year on the fact that he was very uncomfortable in center field every day – i doubt the yanks put him back there after a comment like that.

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