Could a ‘tight’ 2010 budget lead to wild spending in 2011?


In case you haven’t heard Brian Cashman say it often enough, the Yankees have a budget this season. He hasn’t revealed the exact number, though context clues have most pegging it at roughly $200 million. That leaves very little wiggle room this off-season, meaning we can forget about any more big names. It strikes me as odd, though, that the Yankees plan to hold back this off-season. There has to be some big picture aspect to this restraint, right?

Cashman has made clear his admiration of the 2010-2011 free agent class, noting its superiority over this year’s market. Consistent with that, the Yankees have signed just one free agent, and for a reasonable $5.75 million, one-year contract. They might add another, but expect that price to be even lower. In other words, the Yankees have used this free agent class to fill out their roster. To take care of their larger concerns they have worked two trades, one of which involves a player whose contract expires after the season.

It appears that the Yankees will bide their time (“[to] the extent acquiring Granderson and Vazquez can be called biding one’s time,” says Craig) and wait for a more robust free agent market. Even then, however, signing more than one free agent would likely involve expanding payroll well above the $200 million mark. The Yankees currently have $140 million committed to nine players, and that doesn’t count Derek Jeter or Mariano Rivera. Assuming they bring back both, Jeter at $20 million and Mo at $15, then they’re at $175 million for 11 players.

Almost certainly the Yankees will sign a starter, with Cliff Lee as the presumed frontrunner. That will cost $20 million or more. If Hughes and Chamberlain prove themselves in the rotation this season the Yanks could fill out the rotation relatively cheaply, but then again both pitchers will enter their first arbitration years, making them slightly more expensive. Then there’s the left field situation. Maybe Gardner proves himself this season and allows the Yankees to fill LF cheaply in 2011. But if he doesn’t, and if Jamie Hoffman doesn’t turn into Dan Uggla, the Yanks could look to Carl Crawford of Jayson Werth, costing them another $12 to $15 million per season.

So is this off-season’s budgetary restraint just a precursor to wild spending in the future? It appears possible. The Yankees have a ton of money committed to their 2011 team already, and have a few holes to fill. They obviously like the free agents on the market next year, and to make a run at more than one would mean to put the budget well over $200 million. With the way the team looks heading into this season, I quite like the idea of restraint now and wild spending later. It perfectly fits the Yanks mantra of win now, win later.

Categories : Hot Stove League


    • Colombo says:

      I know he isn’t mentioned in the post, but assuming he doesn’t sign an extension with the Twins (I think he will), Mauer FTW.

      • Rob says:

        Say the Yankees do have a fixed budget:

        Lee and Werth OR Mauer?

        • Colombo says:

          Mauer. Lee and Werth, while attractive, are not unique commodities. Mauer is.

        • Reggie C. says:

          Lee and Werth’s WAR has got to be >> than that which Mauer provides. Mauer is fantastic, but we’re talking about a single man here.

          • Steve H says:

            But Mauer wouldn’t be the single man, someone else would fill a spot and you’d have to count his WAR as well. Plus Lee and Werth are old.

          • steve (different one) says:

            also, Mauer is probably underrated according to WAR, since WAR (admittedly) doesn’t properly reflect catcher defense.

            the Twins are really digging themselves into a deep hole by not backing a truck of money up to Mauer’s door THIS winter. they HAVE to get this done.

            it’s easy to exaggerate since we’re still only talking about one player, and they survived Santana’s departure, but i really feel this is different. they HAVE to extend Mauer, more so than any other player on any other team that i can remember.

            • J says:

              It’s not too late. You make it seem like Spring Training starts tomorrow. Plus, just because nothing has surfaced doesn’t mean nothing is being discussed.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          How about Lee and Werth AND Mauer???

          Not that I’m completely crazy about Werth. At the right price, sure, but it’s not like Philly’s going to let him walk cheap.

          Mauer to replace Posada and move Montero to OF or DH and Lee to replace Pettitte are perfect fits, though. Mauer and Lee are premier players at their positions: the kind of guys the Yankees should be spending their mega-bucks on, and saving them for.

      • mike c says:

        what about the jesus?

        • Colombo says:

          You have to take the proven excellence of Mauer over the high ceiling of Jesus, no matter twhat the probability of Jesus reaching his ceiling is. Mauer is a once in a generation talent. You don’t pass that up.

          • Ed says:

            If the question is Mauer or Montero, you pick Mauer every time.

            If the question is Mauer or Montero + Cliff Lee (or insert your favorite free agent), it’s a much harder call.

            Yes, the team would still have Montero if they signed Mauer. But Montero wouldn’t have a position to play.

            • Steve H says:

              What if they don’t think Montero has a position to play now? Montero, if (a big if) he sticks at catcher, will not be good defensively. Mauer is great back there.

              • Andy in Sunny Daytona says:

                Don’t believe the hype on the lack of defense by “El Redentor”. (How’s that nickname, Mondesi?)

              • Ed says:

                It’s certainly possible that they feel that way, but we’ve got no reason to believe that they do.

                • Ted Nelson says:

                  Pretty much all the reports are that Montero is a below average defensive catcher. If you can bring in a Gold Glove catcher and move him to OF or DH it’s a no-brainer. Even if he’s a below-average OFer, you can hide a bad glove in the OF a whole lot better than behind the plate. If he really can’t play OF, DH him.

                • Mike HC says:

                  Yea, but if his bat is as good as advertised, you can take below average defense at catcher. And getting that offensive production from your catcher is really immeasurable.

                • Ted Nelson says:

                  I disagree. I would say that catcher is the most important defensive position. I am more than happy to take below average offense from a catcher if it comes with superb defense. The reason plus offense from a catcher is so rare is because defense is so important at the position that teams are willing to sacrifice offense. The catcher handles the pitching staff and calls the game. You really don’t want below average defense back there if you have a choice. And Mauer, who is great offensively and defensively, gives you that choice.

                • Ed says:

                  Well, considering the team has had Posada, a plus bat and minus defender at catcher for over a decade, it’s pretty clear that they disagree with your stance on catchers.

                • OldYanksFan says:

                  How valuable was Piazza to his team? Is Montero worse on D then Piazza? Plus, Po is still signed for 2011, so Montero and Posada platoon at Catcher, and probably take 75% of the DH spot.

                  And while Montero’s D is bad, all reports say his has improved greatly, and at his age may continue. All we need is ‘average’ or slightly below average (like Posada) for his bat to give us a great advantage.

                  I’m not the GM, but it looks like the Yankees want Montero to Catch until he proves he can’t. Even if we get a few years of him behind the plate, that’s still a great windfall. Since Teix has 6 years left once Montero is up, it Montero can Catch 3 or 4 years, he can DH/OF for a few years, and possibly take over when Teix leaves.

                • Ted Nelson says:


                  Posada is not a very good defender, but he’s worked really hard to improve and takes great pride in his defense (however mediocre it may be) and working with the pitching staff.
                  And, again, the Yankees might be able to get by with Montero behind the plate, but they can bring in a future HOF catcher and still have Montero’s bat in the line-up.


                  How many FAs like Joe Mauer come along (assuming he hits free agency)? He’s an MVP, Gold Glover, and Silver Slugger… I know those awards are all subjective, but the guy is the total package and will be entering his 28 year old season if/when he signs with the Yankees. Mauer might not cost much more than someone like Matt Holliday, who is not the total package (mediocre defender AND struggled in his one stint in the AL). If you give me the choice between Holliday in left and Montero behind the plate or Mauer behind the plate and Montero in left, I’ll take the latter.

                • OldYanksFan says:

                  I agree Mauer is the real deal. But we do have ARod, yes? Mr. (hopefully) All-time HR champ? I’m guessing that Holliday gets 5/$85m. You think Mauer signs for that? If so, grab him. My guess is more along the 7/$140m route, or more. I just don’t think (hold your breath) that the Yankees can afford FOUR players making over $20m/yr. And that’s not including Jeter.

                  And we ain’t getting Holliday either.
                  Man…. it’s easy to spend the Steinette’s money!

                • Ted Nelson says:

                  It will be interesting to see. I don’t think Jeter will make over $20 mill on his next contract unless it’s a one or two year deal, but who knows. The Yankees have been working hard to develop catchers in the minors, but if the chance to bring in the best overall catcher in the game comes along it will be hard to pass up.

                  The Yankees are at least spending their money in the right places and on the right types of players. They’re giving really big money only to great pitchers or great all-around players at key defensive positions. Mauer seems to me to fit the bill, but you may be right that it’s just too much money. If you’re willing to spend $200 mill on payroll plus tens of millions more in luxury taxes, I’m not sure an extra $20 mill is make or break territory.

            • Thomas says:

              They may not have a position to play Montero, but they could trade him for a very valuable piece. Thus, the comparison is Mauer + player traded for vs. Montero + FA signed.

              • OldYanksFan says:

                Except Montero is free. You gonna trade him for a $10m dollar man, along with our $20m dollar Mauer? I guess people don’t think that $200m is a real limit.

                Trading Phil, Joba or Montero is insanity unless you believe that a $230m payroll is in our near future.

                We MUST have a group of free/cheap players to balance our $20m/yr contracts. You can’t keep trading free players and aquiring guys who make $10m-$25m. The numbers just don’t work.

  1. anon says:

    No mention of Mauer?

  2. Rob says:

    Of course, this is the plan if there ever was one. Looks a lot like 2008 vs. 2009. Lee and Sabathia would be something in YS 2.0. And Werth makes a lot of sense. Still, are the Yankees ready for a $250M payroll? Or are they ready to contain costs with Jeter and Mo?

    What’s really impressive to me is how the Yankee front office has performed this off-season with a harder budget. Any team in baseball would love to have Granderson and Vazquez and at their contracts. The Yankees did it with smarts. But at some point you run out of places to play prospects because of all of the pricey contracts in front of them. Even if Joba or Hughes don’t establish themselves as starters this year, I really hope they leave the back of the rotation open to two youngsters. That’s the one worrisome bit in this off-season. Vazquez is a nice pickup, but he wasn’t truly necessary. There are lots of moves like those every off-season. When do you say enough is enough and give the kids a shot? As it is, greedy Yankee fans still want another high-priced contract in LF of all places.

  3. Mike P says:

    I was thinking that too. It makes sense, especially if you consider that they will probably need to sign an expensive SS free agent sooner or later. The Yankees simply do not want to lock up big dollars when there are more pressing needs than LF coming up in the future.

  4. Reggie C. says:

    The next large contract/ player plausibly coming off the books/roster is Jorge Posada, and that won’t happen till after the 2011 season. The Yanks are going to add some significant money indeed. I agree that Cliff Lee is the front-runner, and (imo) a healthy season from Webb puts him into the conversation. We’ve potentially got two starting slots to fill after 2010.

    Considering no one here views it realistic that one of Gardner/Hoffman makes a case to play full-time, i’m hoping there’s younger LF’s available next off season. there’s gotta be a LF equivalent of Nick Swisher …

    • Thomas says:

      My theory is the Yankees are saving money to research cloning, so they can create a team of 24 Nick Swishers and 1 Jesse Orosco.

      • Colombo says:

        I am pretty sure that, while there will never be a salary cap in place, there will eventually have to be a Nick Swisher cap. Thats too much awesome for one team to be allowed to have, even if it is our beloved Yankees.

  5. Kevin M. says:

    I actually think the Yankees “restraint” (remember….they are still spending $60 million more than anyone else) is due to the upcoming labor negotiations more than anything else for two reasons.

    First, they don’t want to get caught with any more huge commitments and then have MLB up the luxury tax to 100% or something like that.

    Second, heading into the negotiations I think they want to minimize the perception that they just buy whatever players they want.

    I think once the new labor deal is in place….assumimg its favorable to us…..that the Yanks will really open up the budget.

    • Ed says:

      First, they don’t want to get caught with any more huge commitments and then have MLB up the luxury tax to 100% or something like that.

      Player’s union would never agree to that. It would essentially be a salary cap.

  6. Anton says:

    No mention of Mauer? Lee would be ideal – since he’ll be another lefty in the rotation (if Andy retires), but Webb could also be a nice alternative if he puts together a healthy season. Let’s not count out Vazquez yet either. If he can prove he could pitch in Yankee Stadium (again)….he’d fit nicely in the 3, with Hughes and Joba in the backend. It lacks a lefty, but it could work.

  7. BklynJT says:

    I’m definitely concerned about the amount of dollars committed to the players in the upcoming future. Doesn’t seem like we will be able to sign 1, let alone 2 big name free agents next winter without going over 220 mil…

    Anyway, since when did this 200mil threshold become the magic goal that we are suddenly trying to reach, cause if it stands for more than just this year, it doesn’t seem like we will make any big moves next off season either.

  8. Ed says:

    If Hughes and Chamberlain prove themselves in the rotation this season the Yanks could fill out the rotation relatively cheaply, but then again both pitchers will enter their first arbitration years, making them slightly more expensive.

    This lead me to an interesting thought.

    Cashman has thrown out the idea of one of Hughes or Joba in the rotation, with the other in the bullpen or AAA. We’ve all assumed Joba would get the #5 spot, with Hughes losing out, probably to the pen.

    What if they give Hughes the rotation spot to start the year, then move him to the bullpen in at the start of August? Start Joba in AAA, then call him up when there’s an injury, or worst case, when it’s time to move Hughes to the pen.

    Now, the reason to do this… Joba has 2 years, 55 days of service time. If you send Joba to the minors for 2 months, you delay his free agency by a year. In that scenario he does become a Super Two, so he still gets arbitration. If for some reason he lasts half the season in the minors, he becomes ineligible for Super Two and gets a near minimum salary next year.

    That approach also maximizes the odds of both guys hitting their innings targets.

    • Rob says:

      Great wrinkle, Ed. But I don’t ever see the Yankees thinking about this. If Hughes beats Joba for a rotation slot, Joba is probably in the bullpen for the rest of his career.

      • Steve H says:

        If Hughes beats Joba for a rotation slot, Joba is probably in the bullpen for the rest of his career.

        Overreaction FTW!

      • JobaWockeeZ says:

        No not at all. They’re both starters in the eyes of Cashman.

      • steve (different one) says:

        oh, i wouldn’t go that far. the rest of his career is a long time.

        i’m guessing that Joba spends the year in the rotation, Hughes gets some starts but mostly pitches out of the bullpen. in 2011, Pettitte retires and Hughes gets a rotation spot, but by then, Joba is much more of a proven commodity.

        2010: CC/AJ/AP/JV/JC
        2011: CC/Lee/AJ/JC/PH

  9. Evil Empire says:

    Lee, Beckett, and Mauer would all be awesome players to sign. I’d be very happy if the Yankees signed any one (or two) of those 3.

    Jayson Werth is NOT someone I want signed, however. He’ll be 32 years old when he hits FA, so he’d be good on a 2 or maaaaybe 3 year deal, but that’s it. I think he has some knees issues or something … someone will overpay for him and get a subpar ROI.

    Carl Crawford I do like. If we could sign him on a 4 year contract, I think he’s got enough left in the tank for his skill set to not diminish too much throughout a 4 year deal…but ask me again after the 2010 season what I think of him.

  10. crawdaddie says:

    I think the Yankees are being careful because there is going to be changes to the luxury tax formula that will hurt the Yankees even moreso when the CBA expires in 2011.

  11. MattG says:

    “So is this off-season’s budgetary restraint just a precursor to wild spending in the future?”

    No. The purpose of budgetary constraint is to force the team into fiscally sound decisions. The Yankees do not have a budget–at least not in a sense that the other 29 teams do. As a result, the Yankees can do foolish or sentimental things.

    But I do expect the Yankees to expand their budget when appropriate. If Joe Mauer makes it to free agency, there is no budget figure that will stop the Yankees. Does that constitute wild spending? I don’t think so.

    • Evil Empire says:

      Mauer is an interesting case. I have a feeling that the Red Sox will go all out for that guy, since after 2010, that posish is a complete and utter blackhole for them. I could honestly see BoSox outbidding everyone for his services.

      • MattG says:

        Name one free agent the Yankees wanted, in which the Red Sox out bid them (and Daisuke doesn’t count, because of the posting process).

        • Evil Empire says:

          I’m not sure if that’s a valid argument in this particular case. Mauer is a unique talent, and the Yankees are stacked in the catcher position in terms of depth. Montero is the X-factor. If he can make everyone believe that he really can pull off Piazza-level defense, I don’t think Mauer will be viewed as a pressing need and funds would be better allocated in areas such as SP and OF.

          They’ll still be in on Mauer, absolutely, but only to a certain extent, and mostly just to drive up his price.

          • MattG says:

            I don’t agree. If Mauer makes it to free agency, the Yankees will want him just as much as the Red Sox. Every penny as much, and then one more.

            It is true that the Yankees have a lot of depth at catcher and don’t need him as much, but I don’t think that is the valid point. Mauer is a generational talent. The Yankees will offer more money than the Red Sox (which isn’t the same as saying the Yankees will sign him).

  12. steve (different one) says:

    looking at the rough numbers, the Yankees have spent $30M this winter:

    $11 for Pettitte, $11 for NJ and CG, $11 for JV. less $3M for Melky. more or less.

    if their budget was somewhere in that neighborhood, let’s say it’s ~$35M, you have to be impressed with what they’ve done.

    if, for $30M you could have Holliday and Pettitte, or you could do what they’ve done, which includes three 1 year committments and one 3 year committment, i prefer the approach they did take.

    especially if Cashman does have his eyes on next years crop of players.

    i think the Yankees have built the best team on paper to start 2010 while retaining some flexibility for 2011, and held onto all three of their best trade chips. well done.

  13. mryankee says:

    What is the word on Chapman? would he count towrds this years budget? I think you sign him and replace the loss of Vizcaino.

    • Mike Pop says:

      I think this may be the only time I have ever agreed with you.

      • mryankee says:

        I dont get the hold up he showcased a while ago did he not?

        • JobaWockeeZ says:

          The offseason ain’t over yet.

          • mryankee says:

            I know that but you would think in all this time there would be more offers. More word on what is happening with him. I think he is a good sign for the Yankees as I said before he can replace Vizcaino’s loss. I would think 20 million would do it.

        • Rick in Boston says:

          It could be that teams are trying to figure out how much they actually want to spend on a guy who isn’t going to help immediately. It also could be that teams are submitting bids, but the numbers aren’t leaking out to the press.

          Just because the press isn’t saying something, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.

          • mryankee says:

            Just a very slow week I was hoping the Yanks would nab him. I have to believe he would fit nicely in our farm system.

            • Mike Pop says:

              He’s a big target for many teams, things take time. Be patient.

            • Rick in Boston says:

              It’s a slow week since a lot of front offices are closed; throughout baseball it’s one of the few weeks that very little happen unless something is already in the works.

              • mryankee says:

                Front offices are closed but gms and execs still carry their phones? if something big were to break then the baseball people would be in position to respond.

  14. steve s says:

    I don’t see the Yanks going on a 2011 free agent buying spree and increasing payroll to well into the $200+M. 2009 was a unique year in that what the Yanks did was simply replace departing payroll which will not be the case in 2011. At some point the Yanks (and Red Sox) also need to be concerned with the political fallout from going after a guy like Mauer even if they are playing within the rules; if MLB and Minn can’t figure out a way for a home-grown hometown hero like Mauer to stay in Minn then eventually fans and teams in similar situations are just going to disappear to the sport’s ultimate detriment.

  15. Troy says:

    if Arod were traded then it would cut payroll seriously…and with the chips that the Yanks would recieve for him in the deal…they could trade for mlb proven talent that is cheap…
    Stay with me…they could trade some of the players they recieved for Arod for a centefielder like Andrew McCutchen of the Pitts Pirates…he is very cheap very atheletic very fast has desent power and will get his walks…he looks like he would be better in every phase of the game than Granderson except power…i think he would be great in the lead off spot…and the Yanks have traded with Pitt in the past…so they are open to a good trade…from there the Yanks could try to dump salary and while getting good power speed and OBP. by trading Granderson and Swisher to the Milwakee Brewers for Ryan Braun…he is also cheap and has 6 years lsft on his contarct…then they could afford Matt Holliday for likely 5 or 6 years for no more than 18 million…he could be placed in RF…Braun only had 1 error between 08 and 09 and also equals Granderson speed wise…this team would have a smaller payroll and it would be younger and faster than last years or the current one constructed so far…even while paying part of Arod’s contract and signing someone like Adrian Beltre for 3rd for 4 years 7.5 to 9mill or Miguel Tejeda for less money and two years…

  16. Troy says:

    also with Ryan Braun averaging about 200 hits 30 to 35 hr’s and 40+ doubles and Matt Holliday doing about the same this team should hit for more total bases than the 2009 team…epecially if Adrian Beltre returns to 2008 form…about 25 hr’s and 35 to 40 doubles…plus he provides good defense and equal speed to Arod…

  17. DK says:

    I think a bunch of valid points have been brought up about the reasons for the restraint (next year’s FA class, CBA negotiations, fiscally sound business decisions, ect..), but there’s another one that I think might be a part of it, and I’m not saying its the biggest reason by any means…

    Could they be hoping for some sort of “hometown discount” from jete and mo? These guys clearly don’t wanna go anywhere else, and the Yankees certainly don’t want them going anywhere else, but I think the players are the ones inherently with the leverage over the Yanks. Perhaps playing the bad economy card, budgetary restraints, not making any big FA splashes this year will convince the two guys who care about winning above all else to take “reasonable” extensions to keep the payroll in check somewhat.

    Maybe the “discounts” would only save a couple million over a couple years (but more cause of luxury tax), and agents might just call the Yankees bullshit, who knows. Maybe the Yanks haven’t even thought about this and its wishful thinking as a peripheral benefit on my part, but I think at the end of the day the Yankees have to overpay to keep their own FA’s. If Beckett and Ortiz were on the Yankees when they signed their extensions, they almost certainly would’ve gotten bigger deals. Just saying.

    • IRememberCelerinoSanchez says:

      Jeter and Mo are two of my favorite players of all time, so I mean this with all due respect and affection:

      Jeter and Mo will not take one dime below market value. I would be shocked if they agreed to take less money than they make now.

      • I agree, but Jeter is being paid over his market value. Can you think of any team that would sign Jeter to a multi-year deal for an annual salary of $20M?

        • IRememberCelerinoSanchez says:

          No, I think you’re correct about that. But knowing Jeter and Mo (and again, I’m a fan, I’m not hating on them), they will want top dollar. Just like when Mo was a free agent before the 2008 season.

          They’ll use PR/Face of the Franchise leverage to make up for the lack of comparable offers.

        • Neil B. says:

          No other team would nor needs to bother, because there is no way the Yankees would let Jeter (or Mo) leave. And they certainly can’t get away with lowballing either of them.

          Since each of them has continued to be pretty much elite at their positions despite their advancing ages, they’re going to get paid at least as much as they are right now.

          The key for the Yankees is to not give either player *too* long of an extension, which to me means 2 years for Mo and 3 years for Jeter.

    • 28 next year says:

      Maybe give them some sort of lifetime contract that could push money past thier retirements.

  18. Mauer has to be #1 on the wishlist. You have to think that Boston will be all over him if he hits the market. Mauer would make them a MUCH better team. Signing Mauer would be Texeira 2.0. Not only would we benefit from the upgrade at C, we would benefit from denying the Sox an even greater upgrade.

    In a hypothetical utopia they could shed:

    Andy Pettitte = $11.75M
    Javy Vazquez = $11.5M
    Nick Johnson = $5.5M

    Ideally they could have in-house options to replace these players.

    Joba takes over for Pettitte
    Hughes takes over for Vazquez
    Posada takes over for Johnson

    That would equal a saving of about $25 million assuming Jeter and Mo return for the same salary. If you sign Mauer for $20M a year and Lee for $18M a year you would only be over budget for 1 year because the $13M difference comes off the books the following year when Posada leaves and Montero becomes fulltime DH.

    • Neil B. says:

      I agree 100% that this would be the best way to spend money if those two were both available in next year’s FA market, although I think both guys would command even more money (if Lee was only $18M, I think the Phils would have tried harder to sign him long-term).

      In reality, the Twins know they’re going to have to resign Mauer to avoid infuriating their fan base, so they’ll get it done eventually. So the Yankees should really be targeting Lee and Beckett.

    • Captain Bawls says:

      20 mil/py won’t get it done for Mauer.

    • WIlliam says:

      This is great!!!!!

  19. nick blasioli says:

    if the yankees wait until next year to fill the lf hole….they surely will be over 200 mill….what ever route they take next year…they will be way over…i say..sign holliday now and go from there….sure that puts them over the 200 mill…whats the or later….id prefer now….crawford isnt better than holliday….i know you all will not agree with this,,but its just my opinion…

  20. Mike HC says:

    Enjoyed the article. Seems to be the plan.

    It also might be possible that we are keeping the payroll low at the beginning of the season, in order to give us some flexibility mid season. You never know where injuries might hit, or areas of perceived strengths are actually weaknesses for whatever reasons. Waiting for our strengths and weaknesses for the 2010 team to actually play themselves out, rather than use up all of our available money now, will gives us the flexibility needed to make the necessary mid season moves.

    Or we will sign Matt Holliday tomorrow and call it day. Who knows with Cashman.

  21. BX 2010 says:

    I love Jeter and MO just as much as the next guy. I am putting my Jeter man crush aside, there is NO way you give him $20 a yr. Dude will be 37 by then and you will be paying for what they have done in the past. I can see thE Yanks holding tight and saying 12-15 mil 8-10 for MO.

    • JobaWockeeZ says:

      I doubt either Mo or Jeets take paycuts.

      • BX 2010 says:

        Like someone mentioned earlier no other team will come close to paying them that kind of money. And Cashman has been holding tight when it comes to older free agents. Although i do think they both come back just not at the same price.

      • Tom Zig says:

        I think they get pay raises actually.

        Jeter – $25 Mill
        Mo – $17 Mill

    • Neil B. says:

      And I can see Mo and DJ saying, “No.”

      Each guy has serious PR leverage to push on the Yankees, and on top of that they’re elite players at their positions. Are they really going to let the Yankees drive a hard bargain?

      The Yankees need to be smart and, rather than push for pay cuts, need to focus on keeping the contract extensions as short as possible.

      • BX 2010 says:

        You said it Yanks need to be smart, why pay a guy 20 mil a yr when market value for him is probably half that? I love Jeter but his numbers dont translate to 20mil

        • Tom Zig says:

          Except that Mo and Jeter fall under the exceptions to “Baseball is a business and should be run accordingly.”

          • BX 2010 says:

            Right business is business, so why would you pay a declining player more money than they are worth? Its business not personal. Even at 15 milthey are still getting paid above market value

            • Tom Zig says:

              Yes, business is business, but these two players are exceptions to that.

              Yes, it doesn’t make business sense to pay them that much more than market value.

              Yes, no other team will pay them anything close to that.

              But they are half of the Core Four™, and the better half for that matter. One is the face of the franchise (or rather IS the franchise), the other is the greatest closer ever, of all time, [insert superlative here].

              You will not get them to take pay cuts, and even asking them will get you nothing but bad publicity. Hell you can consider it a pay cut if you get them to take the same $$ they’re making now.

    • Rob in CT says:

      I’m with you, but I doubt the Yankees will play hardball with them the way they did with Pettitte (last off-season).

      They have no SS replacement, for one thing. Jeter has them by the balls. If Jeter has a solid year, there’s no way the Yankees can go out and sign one of the Marco Scutaros of the world. If he tanks, well, then we’ve got bigger problems.

      Mo is not as important as Jeter, but he may be even less resplaceable, if that makes any sense. Even if you had 2007′s Joba and were willing to make him a full-time reliever, he’s not Mo. If Mo is still Mo, you end up paying him. Like Mo.

      • BX 2010 says:

        True you make some good points, but I feel that the Yanks kinda have him by the balls as well. Who else is gonna pay a 37 yr old SS 20 mil a yr? So I see them agreeing to about 15 mil which is still way more than anybody else will pay.

    • MattG says:

      Getting Jeter and Rivera to take pay cuts is as likely as trading for a starting centerfielder and a #1 starter with nothing but prospects and fringe players.

  22. Ted Nelson says:

    I like the article a lot, very good analysis. Mauer and Lee, at least, are better than anyone on the market this offseason. Mauer is an amazing 2 way player at the game’s most important defensive position, maybe worth $30 mill per (am I crazy? I really wouldn’t be upset if the Yankees paid that for him) and Lee is a premium lefty starter… rare, important in Yankee stadium, and a replacement to Pettitte.

    LF is also just not a premium position. Defensively it’s often where you hide your worst (non-DH) defensive player.

    I would also add that Cashman is not only saying he likes next offseason’s FAs better because he does, but also as a bargaining tool this offseason. It’s a very credible statement and probably true, but putting it out there publicly also helps him in negotiations this offseason.

    Another reason for fiscal restraint may be a potential salary cap. I don’t know how a CBA with a cap (hard or soft) would deal with teams already over it like the Yankees, but if a cap is set at, say, $150 million, the Yankees may not want to be way, way over that number.

    • IRememberCelerinoSanchez says:

      The Union will go out of business before there is a hard or soft salary cap.

      If the owners want a cap, they will have to be prepared to shut down baseball for a season or two.

      Not happening.

      • Ted Nelson says:

        I don’t know too much about the negotiations between the union and the owners, but if you put a cap high enough it is purely a shot by the other owners at the Yankees (and maybe a way to keep the Mets from shooting themselves in the foot) and mostly irrelevant to the union (from what I see on various sites, no team besides the Yankees is above $150 million). The kind of thing they would be willing to except in return for something else because it costs them so little but they can make such a big deal of it that it gets them something bigger in return.

        If the Yankees and rich teams want some kind of floor or assurance that small-market clubs will spend their revenue sharing dollars rather than pocket them, they’re going to have to give up something… likely meaning a cap.

        A cap anywhere under $150 mill might mean a strike, but I don’t think a cap at or above $150 mill would be a big deal to anyone but the Yankees.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          except = accept

          • Ted Nelson says:

            Rapping up all the top FAs 3 offseasons in a row (last, this, and next), would also fuel the image that the Yankees buy up all the talent and the system is uncompetitive. Probably not the #1 concern to the Yankees, but it might build momentum for a cap.

            • Neil B. says:

              The Yankees haven’t touched any of the top FAs on the current market.

              (then again, neither has anyone else, and I suppose the Yankees are still in the mix, so. . .)

              • Ted Nelson says:

                Yeah, that’s what I’m saying: they sandwich two big spending years around a no-spending year. This allows them to say that they spend only on top talent and that other teams are cheap and should be doing the same thing. I don’t think that’s a big motivator, but it may be a tiny, secondary motivator and certainly could help them in negotiations with the rest of the league.

  23. mike jones says:

    Adam Dunn in Yankee Stadium = 60 homeruns

  24. I hope that Hughes/Joba turn into a very good starters so we have no need to pay $20mm for a Beckett/Lee.

    • Tom Zig says:

      Eh no thanks to Beckett.

    • Even if Hughes and Joba both flourish this year and reach their potential we might still need a starter if Pettitte does not return. I would still rather sign Lee than Beckett even if it takes more $$$ and more years.

      • Evil Empire says:

        I’d take Lee over Beckett at a higher AAV and equal years, but not at more years, as Beckett is one or two years younger than Lee and both will demand at least the AJ/Lackey contract, and realistically, quite a bit more than that.

        I could see both getting something in the 5/$100M range with an opt out after the 3rd year, something like that.

  25. OldYanksFan says:

    Not comprehensive, but the big bucks.
    for 2011: Coming off the books:

    Jeter: $21m
    Pettitte: $11.75m
    Nick: $5.5m
    Mariano: $15m
    ARod: $1m
    Javy: $11.5m

    Swisher: $2.25m
    Cano: $1m
    Tex: $2.5m
    Granderson: $2.75
    Arb players and minor raises.
    Net: $57.25

    Bring Mo Back ($15m???) leaves: $42.25m
    Bring back Jeter ($18m??) leaves 24.25m
    Get Cliff Lee ($20m???) leaves: $4.25m
    Raises and Arb will probably take the extra $4.25m

    So, Joba and Phil are #4 and #5.
    Montero/Miranda are our DH.
    Gardner is still our LFer?

    So…. by adding Cliff Lee, keeping Jeter and Mo, our 2011 payroll about equals our current payroll ($200m +/-)

    Did I miss something?

    For 2012:
    Swisher: $1.25m (or $1m buyout)
    Cano: $4m (or $2m buyout)
    Granderson: $1.75
    Arb players and minor raises.

    So… If we replace Posada inhouse, we have $13m extra

    So…. Looking at Mauer or other BIG contracts, and considering LF,

    • OldYanksFan says:

      For 2012, we save $2m on ARod.
      Thank God ARod’s contract was FRONT loaded!
      Anyone want to pay Jeter more then $18m or Mo more then $15m?

    • YankeesRock says:

      Let’s be realistic. Jeter and Mo are going to get smaller contracts than they have now depending on how well they play in 2010. I say that if Jeter has an average 2010 he’ll get 3 or 4 more years at $15m per. Mo may only get $12m. I know that it’s hard to give guys like that pay cuts, but Mo will be 40, and paying Jeter $20m is just overpaying.

      Basically we can squeeze in one big name FA in 2011 without increasing the payroll. After that, we can sign one more and up the payroll to around the highest it’s ever been. I don’t see us getting more than two FAs.

  26. Ted Nelson says:


    Good analysis. I would say, though, that if the economy has rebounded further and the economic outlook going forward looks favorable, then it would be logical for the Yankees to raise their limit above $200 mm (if that limit really even exists). They’re also likely to raise it for the right player: a young All-World kind of player the likes of whom hits free agency once a decade, say a Joe Mauer. Unless there’s a cap in place.

    One other consideration is that Mo may want to retire and/or the Yankees may be ready to promote Joba into his spot if he doesn’t become a front-of-the-rotation starter and/or Mo falters at all in his 40 year old season. I’m tempted to say that the market for Derek Jeter will not be anywhere near $18 mill and he’s unlikely to leave anyway, but who knows. Would hate to see an ugly battle between Jeter and the Yankees or a divorce, but would also hate to see the Yankees give him multiple years at $18 mill if the market is closer to, say, $10 mill per.

    “Anyone want to pay Jeter more then $18m or Mo more then $15m?”

    Hope they earn more than that with great 2010 seasons, but I think less is more likely than more given their ages… especially if they want more than a year or two.

  27. Tank Foster says:

    Maybe they are hoping that the changes in the market will help them get better deals on Jeter and Mo. If Mo decides to stay. I say they go for Mauer over Lee, if I had to pick one.

  28. WIlliam says:

    I think the only way DJ gets a cut is if he goes out and brings one up 1st, saying he’s willing to take a cut. If he doesn’t, no way the yanks bring one up.

    • OldYanksFan says:

      So you think Jeter gets 3/$60m or more. Ouch. Love the guy but he will be a 38 year old shortstop. Personally, I think something along $16, $15 and $14 would be fair… but there are many fans who think that would be an INSULT.

      Can Jeter ‘blackmail’ the Yanks?
      Would Jeter play for someone else?
      And who would give him more then 3/$45?

      Does Jeter want to play, and get paid, until he is 42… like ARod?

      I guess we will soon find out how big Jeter’s ego is.

  29. [...] value factor plays a large part in the Yankees’ decision making process. If they really do covet the 2010-2011 free agent class, then perhaps they’ll find an even better left field fit in that market. In that case they [...]

  30. emac2 says:

    The wild card I see after the season is the possibility of trading AJ and signing Lee.

    More then the money with Jeter is the position issue as he shows no sign of accepting a position change.

    I also wonder if the 4.25 budget for arbitration is potentially way too small as Phil and or Joba could either do quite will in arbitration or get long term deals.

Leave a Reply

You may use <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> in your comment.

If this is your first time commenting on River Ave. Blues, please review the RAB Commenter Guidelines. Login for commenting features. Register for RAB.