Nov
30

Olney: Matsui’s marketability not a factor

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Baseball teams dream of signing players who pay for themselves. It’s a rarity, of course, but a player like Hideki Matsui, as the Yankees learned over the past seven years, brings with him marketing opportunities from Japan which help off-set a portion of his contract. Because the Yankees generate revenue just from having Matsui on the team, they’re essentially getting a discount on him. That has to be an important factor in the Yankees’ decision on whether to bring him back, right?

As Ben noted, the Yankees could lose an estimated $15 million if Matsui signs elsewhere. I can’t verify the accuracy of that number, so let’s use it merely as a rough starting point. If the Yankees would lose $15 million by letting Matsui go, they could theoretically pay him $15 million per season and break even. Yet, apparently that will not factor into their decision, notes Buster Olney on Twitter.

Heard this: Matsui’s attraction as a marketable asset is no factor for the Yankees. It is about getting the right player at the right price.

I agree that the Yankees should look first for the right player. That’s the most important consideration of all. If they feel that Matsui isn’t the right player for the 2010 lineup, then his marketability should not be a factor. No one wants to lose the $15 million, but the Yankees have to consider what’s best for the team first.

If Matsui is the right player to hold down the DH spot in 2010, however, marketability should certainly play a role. If the Yankees get an essential $15 million bonus for having Matsui on the team, that should play into his salary. Not that he should get the whole $15 million. There are other factors involved, notably the luxury tax. Then there’s the idea of market value, and with quite a few DHs on the market and not too many free DH slots, Matsui’s market could resemble Bobby Abreu’s from last year.

So yes, Buster is right — and obviously so — that the Yankees want the right player at the right price. I’m just not sure that Matsui’s marketability will be “no factor” in the decision. It might not factor into whether or not he’s the right player, but if the Yankees decide he is, it will certainly factor into the price they pay for him.

  • Stuckey

    Or in other words….

    IF Matsui’s marketability is indeed a factor, the Yanks don’t want Matsui’s agent to be factoring it into the equation. Or at least they want to negate the factor as much as they can.

    So a little Twitter nugget like this is leaked to a ex-beat/now national sportswriter.

    Not rocket science.

  • Rose

    Agreed. I don’t see how just because a player may bring $15M in marketing revenue…that the player himself is entitled to at least that much. Derek Jeter’s new contract may seem as though you’re paying for past accomplishments or in his case, even future ones…but it’s the whole package. Matsui is well past his prime and can’t play the field. $15M for a crippled DH who has a good chance of getting severely injured is outrageous. Paying a lot of money for somebody like Derek Jeter…is a tad different.

    • Ed

      Agreed. I don’t see how just because a player may bring $15M in marketing revenue…that the player himself is entitled to at least that much.

      He’s not. It’s just an extra plus in the calculation of his value.

      Two things to remember:

      1) Almost all players of significance in NY will have some marketing value. So you don’t worry about how much revenue a player brings in, but rather how much he brings in compared to whoever you would replace him with.

      2) Teams are businesses. They will always turn a profit off the contracts they give out, assuming the player performs similarly to their projections. Because not everyone will, they have to make up for that in other places. So player contracts will usually be worth significantly less than the team actually values the player at.

      • Rose

        I agree with that. What cut do players get for their merchandise do you think? I’m guessing it depends on the contract and the player…but what cut does somebody like Derek Jeter make on his jerseys, shirts, etc…as opposed to say Nick Swisher?

        • Ed

          I don’t know what the cut is for merchandise, but I don’t think it’s that significant. It’s handled by MLBPA, and everyone makes the same amount per item sold.

          As for the money the teams make directly off someone, that gets factored into their salary. That’s why Jeter makes so much, and why all the rumored numbers for contract extensions are higher than his age & stats would suggest he’s worth.

          • Ed

            It’s handled by MLBPA, and everyone makes the same amount per item sold.

            Let me rephrase that more clearly.

            The money MLBPA receives from player specific merchandise is distributed to the player involved. All players are paid at the same rate.

            At the team level, all merchandise is profit is split equally among all 30 teams.

  • Ed

    The luxury tax shouldn’t factor in here when determining Matsui’s value. If the Yankees don’t sign Matsui, they’re going to presumably sign someone else in a similar salary range, so they’re paying the luxury tax regardless of who they sign.

    If the question is do they sign Matsui or do without, then you factor in the luxury tax.

    • Mike HC

      The difference would be that Matsui would pay for the luxury tax himself, due to the extra 15 million he brings in, as opposed to “someone else in a similar salary range,” who probably won’t bring in anything. Thus, the Yanks would not have that extra 15 million to pay for the luxury tax.

      • Ed

        Of course.

        That makes Matsui more valuable, not less as the article implies.

        • Mike HC

          “If the Yankees get an essential $15 million bonus for having Matsui on the team, that should play into his salary. Not that he should get the whole $15 million. There are other factors involved, notably the luxury tax.”

          The article was just saying that while the Yanks get around 15 million dollars extra with Matsui, Matsui does not deserve all of that 15 million because the Yanks still have to factor in things like the luxury tax.

          It is still better to have the money than not have the money assuming the price to replace Matsui with another player is even.

          • Rose

            Yeah, this isn’t David Beckham we’re talking about. It could play a small role…but there are all sorts of more important things to take under consideration before you look at that…especially when you’re the Yankees and it’s not as big of a factor as it may be for a cheaper team.

          • Ed

            The article was just saying that while the Yanks get around 15 million dollars extra with Matsui, Matsui does not deserve all of that 15 million because the Yanks still have to factor in things like the luxury tax.

            There’s lots of reasons that Matsui bringing in $15 million doesn’t mean he’s worth that. See my comments to Rose elsewhere in the thread for some basic comments on that.

            However, the luxury tax isn’t a Matsui issue.

            It is still better to have the money than not have the money assuming the price to replace Matsui with another player is even.

            Which leads us right back to my original point, the luxury tax doesn’t matter when discussing Matsui’s value.

  • A.D.

    If the team didn’t make more money of the players/sum of players than they paid them, every team would be in the red and MLB would implode.

  • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

    The player? Matsui. The price? $8-10MM.

    • Rose

      Agreed. Where the hell else is he going to go??

      White Sox? They’ll probably opt for Damon over Matsui…

      • Drew

        274/369/509.

        Someone will want him as a DH. Whether or not his agent can convince people that he “can” play the field is another issue, but don’t minimize his value as a hitter.

        • A.D.

          Thats not the issue, as much as there aren’t that many open DH jobs with teams that want to add payroll.

          • Drew

            Eh, Angels, Tigers(probably not), Twins, Red Sox, Mariners, Rangers, Rays, White Sox. If he only gets 10 mil for one year, I’m sure there would be suitors.

            • Rose

              Angels: maybe
              Tigers: trying to slash payroll
              Twins: Michael Cuddyer
              Red Sox: David Ortiz
              Mariners: Ken Griffey Jr.
              Rangers: Abundance of outfielders = plenty of DH’s…or at least no need for an expensive injury risk at DH
              Rays: Pat Burrell

              • A.D.

                Exactly, its something like the Angels, irrational Orioles, Rangers, and White Sox as realistic candidates along with the Yankees.

              • Drew

                Holes can be made, there’s still 3 months left in the offseason. Also, who knows if some GM’s will buy into Godzilla’s agent saying that he can play the field.

            • JMK aka The Overshare

              Cross out the Rays and Mariners. Rays have Pat the Bat and won’t take on salary. The Mariners just brought back Griffey (and are saving for Felix, presumably). I can’t see the Tigers (Detroit is Baghdad East), the Twins have Kubel, I believe. Wouldn’t the Rangers just put in one of Smoak or Davis?

              So it’s an Angels, White Sox, Red Sox mix, it would seem (assuming what I said was correct).

              • JMK aka The Overshare

                And the Sox has Papi, so that doesn’t seem promising. Maybe a darkhouse Orioles or something.

              • Rose

                So it’s an Angels, White Sox, Red Sox mix, it would seem (assuming what I said was correct).

                Where would David Ortiz play?? He’s still just as productive as Matsui is (albeit on steroids hardy har har)

                • JMK aka The Overshare

                  Yeah. I realized it right after the post. I corrected myself, then realized everyone else had chimed in above.

              • http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d80/madamsteph/Sports/alg_melky.jpg Drew

                One thing about the twins, Kubel is cheap for the next 2 years. Cuddyer on the other hand is owed 20 mil over the next two. I could see the Twins moving Cuddy for a couple prospects and sliding Kubel into right. It’s too early to say what teams have or don’t have an opening at DH anyway though.

                • Rose

                  Damn. It seems like Cuddyer has been there forever…especially when he’s never been a top tier player of theres…making that type of money.

                  He’s been a VERY GOOD player for them…but always has taken a back seat to guys like Hunter, Morneau, Mauer, etc.

                  Surprising that he makes that much and is still on the team lol

                • http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d80/madamsteph/Sports/alg_melky.jpg Drew

                  I actually mispoke a bit, half of that twenty mil is a club option in 2011. That might make the Twins even more likely to sell high on him and get some prospects.

        • Rose

          The odds that he’s able to get MORE than $8-10M to be a DH somewhere else is incredibly unlikely…

  • ‘nother Guest

    What the Yanks should do is call up the Mariners and offer them Melky, IPK and a couple of assorted pitchers for Ichiro. That would solve one of our outfielder problems, let Seattle pick up Matsui in free agency and give them some young controllable, inexpensive players to build their team around. It will also keep all the Japanese sports reporters where they are, and keep both cities filled with the Japanese baseball tourists.
    Ichiro must be dying to come and play for teh Yanks after watching pis pet nightmare Godzilla light up the Bronx and all the Tokyo Tabloids this WS. This will be one of the few trades where it could actually work out for everyone…

    • ‘nother Guest

      Typo fail:

      “Ichiro must be dying to come and play for the Yanks after watching his pet nightmare Godzilla light up the Bronx and all the Tokyo Tabloids this WS. This will be one of the few trades where it could actually work out for everyone…”

    • Mike HC

      How does that work for the Mariners again? I would not exactly call Melky, IPK and a couple of assorted pitchers, “players to build their team around.”

      • ‘nother Guest

        Okay, you have a point – forget “building around”, let us just say, enough people to make them let go of a “great leadoff hitter and above average fielder” in his declining years.
        They pick up Hideki for the power, Melky for the outfield, IPK to add to the rotation, Coke/Melancon to add to their rotation. That ought to be enough – and if not you can keep adjusting the price until they do bite.
        The trick to the trade is that I do think Ichiro will want to play for a WS contender before he retires and much as he might love Seattle, the chance of winning it all will make him prod management into some action if he sees a chance being dangled before him…

        • Mike HC

          Now that you put it that way, I think they would accept that deal.

          • ‘nother Guest

            Well here’s to hoping Cash is reading this. Nothing would be nicer than to see Ichiro robbing future Jeffrey Maiers in left field…

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

            You’re joking, right?

            • ‘nother Guest

              Double fail.
              Should be RF
              And should be the “bizzarro JMs”

              Not joking about the trade at all…

            • Mike HC

              yea

        • JMK aka The Overshare

          Ichiro may cost quite a bit but they’d be nuts to take that. Melky is an average CF and they already have Guittierez there. His bat won’t play at the corners. IPK is a mid-rotation starter AT BEST. I believe the other guys listed are relievers for a reason. Starting wasn’t working out.

          There’s an advantage to losing the contract for Seattle, no question. But they need to get better value than that. You don’t just dump your best position player and team face for Melky, IPK and a few relievers, especially when he still has great value.

          • ‘nother Guest

            Ichiro is 36 years old – if he is the going to be the face of the franchise for the next three years, then Seattle is certainly in trouble.
            Melky can be made to play RF (or they can take Swish or Grit). A mid-rotation starter is certainly not bad, and two good relievers don’t come around that often. And Ichiro’s value is going to be a lot less next year for Seattle. The Yanks just have to adjust the players until they find a mix that is acceptable. This would be a nice alternative to waiting around for Matt Holliday and more importantly it is a trade that likely only the Yankees can/want to do.

            • theyankeewarrior

              Hahahaha IPK and Melky and kids for Ichiro. Hahahahahahahhahahahahahahhaa

      • Drew

        Not that I think the Mariners would want the deal or that we would make a deal, but the Mariners might enjoy getting 54 million off the books for the next 3 yrs. Especially with the free agent pool upcoming next year and Felix being a FA in the 3rd year. Not to mention the economic climate.

  • Stuckey

    Fun with grammatically correct but misleading without inflection or contact headlines”

    “The Yankees say they won’t re-sign Hideki Matsui for marketing reasons”

    That’s ESPN’s Rumor Central take on Olney’s Twitter post.

    Its an accurate account of the post, but of course can be read two different ways.

    Adding a “just” before “for marketing reasons” would better convey the gist of Olney’s Tweet, but no doubt leaving it the way it is where it can be read as the Yanks have decided NOT to sign Matsui DUE to marketing reasons will get it more eyeballs.

    • JMK aka The Overshare

      Clearly it should have read something like, “If Yankees re-sign Matsui, it won’t be for marketing reasons, they say.” Your version would work, as well.

  • Stuckey

    Apropros of nothing…

    Fun with AP typos:

    “With a rare combination of speed and Sizemore, acquired from Montreal in a 2002 trade, has developed into one of baseball’s best all-around players, but he was limited to just 106 games last season because of injuries.”

    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/.....id=4700413

    • JMK aka The Overshare

      He does have more pronounced Sizemoreish qualities than most of the Sizemores. Then again, it’s ESPN; we should all be thankful there is only one glaring error in the report (AP notwithstanding).

      • Stuckey

        The amusing part is you can clearly see why the typo was missed.

        Someone quickly saw “speed and size” and went right by it…

  • Bo

    The only way any player should be signed or added is if they fit in baseball wise. Not marketing wise.

  • nolan

    how much money does Matsui make by being a Yankee?!?! I’m not so sure he would get all the endorsement deals that he does if he were a tampa bay ray… or Kansas City Royal?? Matsui may make the yanks 15 million a year but how much do the Yanks make Matsui?

    • JMK aka The Overshare

      They pay him in not forcing him to participate in a Japanese game show.

  • Ted Nelson

    Good post. Very interesting topic and I like your take.

    “It might not factor into whether or not he’s the right player, but if the Yankees decide he is, it will certainly factor into the price they pay for him.”

    And the price that he is paid will factor into whether he is the right player…

  • theyankeewarrior

    They can’t replace Matsui’s production on the open market without handing out too many years, or a draft pick. They will re-sign him at 8-10 million.

    This off-season has to be about getting production back without giving up too many picks, and lengthy contracts because next season will be time to reel in more big fish.

    Matsui is the perfect answer to the problem that his expiring contract leaves the Yanks.

  • toad

    Matsui’s attraction as a marketable asset is no factor for the Yankees. It is about getting the right player at the right price.

    This makes no sense at all. Matsui’s value as a marketable asset obviously affects his price. If he brings in $15 million where player X would bring in, say, $5 million, his price is $10 million less than that of X at the same salary.

    You can’t separate salary from marketing revenue. Money is money. To say marketing revenue dosesn’t matter but salary does is stupid. I don’t know about Olney, but Cashman is not stupid.

  • ADam

    That is music to my ears… if true…

  • OldYanksFan

    I would like to respond, but the info we have is far too ambiguous to assess. Is it $15m a year? Accummulated so far over 7 years? Is it revenue that would be replaced (such as advertisers on the outfield walls that would be bought by other advertisers)? And would he be worth the same amount in any other city?

    If Matsui was worth $15m in ‘bonus’ money it would be INSANE to not consider it. Would you pay $15m/yr for Swisher? Isn’t what a player costs part of the ‘right player’ equation? If Matsui is ‘free’, then sigh him and have an extra $15m for another player.

    I mean, if he’s free, he can be cut if he diesn’t perform.

    I don’t get this, but we don’t have enough real info to make a judgement.

  • Reacher

    Is that Olney’s view or the Yankees view? The former of course, but the abject arrogance of the press states it as an absolute. Given the emphasis on financial responsibility, quite clearly the Yankees will take that factor into account, among others, in determining the roster composition. I would be surprised if anything happens before mid-January, given the “Boras Factor” regarding both Holliday and Damon. Cashman is in the driver’s seat across the board….he knows it, Boras knows it, as does Theo.

    I would add that although never stated, and not to be stated, Girardi is not comfortable with Damon in the field, just as he wasn’t last year with Abreu.

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