The market for Harden, the market for Sheets

To trade or not to trade a spare outfielder
Love me non-tender

They Yankees could, if they were so inclined, enter the 2010 season without adding another starting pitcher. After bringing back Andy Pettitte, they have five starting pitchers in him, CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Joba Chamberlain, and Phil Hughes. Since they continue to see Hughes and Chamberlain as starters, they might want to let both of them, entering their age-24 seasons, to start the season in the rotation. Yet both have struggled at times as starters, and the team might want to bring in a veteran to add some competition in Spring Training.

John Lackey sits atop the free agent market, and could be a potential solution. Even in years when he has missed time with injuries, as he has the past few years, he’s still thrown over 160 innings. He’d slot into the rotation behind Burnett, moving Pettitte to four and allowing for a competition between Hughes and Chamberlain for five. By adding Lackey, the Yankees would certainly bolster their rotation. But that doesn’t come without drawbacks.

While he probably won’t get it, Lackey wants more years and dollars than A.J. Burnett. No one gets more than they ask for, so we can expect Lackey’s price to drop, probably right into the Burnett range. That would represent the third long-term pitching contract the Yankees will have handed out in the past two off-seasons. I’m not sure they’re so inclined to do that, especially with a second pitcher who has shown something of an injury streak. And that’s before the payroll implications.

Another path the Yankees could explore is a high-risk starter — someone with a high ceiling but who has battled injury problems over the past few years. These pitchers will not command nearly the years or dollars of Lackey, so if they don’t fulfill their promise in 2010, teams aren’t on the hook for future years and dollars. The 2009-2010 free agent class features a number of these, though their numbers are already dwindling.

At the Winter Meetings on Wednesday, the Texas Rangers signed Rich Harden to a one-year, $7.5 million contract. It will pay him $6.5 million in 2010 with a chance to earn $3.5 million in incentives. The extra million comes as a buyout of a 2011 option of $11 million. Now that the first risky starter has dropped, perhaps the market will become more clear. That could be good for the Yankees, who have contacted Casey Close, agent for Ben Sheets (also, Derek Jeter). Harden’s deal might give them a better idea of what to expect from Sheets contract-wise.

For his part, Sheets doesn’t want to take a paycut from his 2008 salary, which was $12 million. It’s unlikely any team offers Sheets that much money guaranteed, but hey, he won’t get more than he asks for. That $12 million could provide a good basis for an incentive-laden contract, much like Harden’s.

The knock on Sheets is that he missed all of 2009 with a torn flexor tendon in his right elbow. It’s another in a long line of injuries, though he’s really had only one arm injury in the past, a shoulder issue that recurred not long after he returned from it. Even so, he might be less of an injury risk than Harden. Over the past three seasons (and remember, Sheets missed all of the last one), Sheets has pitched 339.2 innings. In that span, Harden threw 314.2 innings.

Chances are, it will take more than the Harden deal to acquire Sheets, but probably not much more. As ESPN’s Keith Law notes, “the year off may do him wonders, as he’s had a lot of non-arm injuries that have limited his workload for the past few years, and he was never terrible when pitching at less than 100 percent.” So how can we take that information, along with Harden’s contract, and make a fair proposal?

I’m sure Brian Cashman is on the case. Signing John Lackey will mean a huge commitment in years and dollars, and trading for Roy Halladay will mean a huge commitment in prospects (plus, possibly years and dollars). Sheets is a shorter-term option who has plenty of upside. More upside, probably, than Harden, if for no other reason than Sheets walks about half the batters Harden does. Would a one-year contract with $8 million guaranteed, plus incentives to push that around $12, $13 million, with a vesting option, work? Here’s to hoping. That would be a value on the free agent contract, and leave the Yanks a bit of flexibility to upgrade left field.

email
To trade or not to trade a spare outfielder
Love me non-tender
  • Abe

    I’m all for signing Sheets. But $8 million guaranteed seems like a bit much for a pitcher who missed all of 2009.

    • Doug

      agree, but he’s probably going to be a bit more than Harden and he got $6.5M. $8M seems about right

    • Nick Whitt

      i agree, sheets is the best option

  • ADam

    Sheets – 1 Year 5 Mill with Incentives … Tops…

    • DP

      So enjoy him pitching for a different team then.

      • ADam

        No qualms with that either

        • The Scout

          And you would rather the Yankees do what?…..

          • Bo

            If harden got 7.5 Sheets will get close to that.

          • andrew

            nothing.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

    Nitpick: Hughes is 9 months younger than Joba. Joba turns 25 at the end of the season (September), Phil turns 24 midway through the season (June).

    I wouldn’t call 2010 both Joba and Hughes’s “age-24 season”. 2010 is Joba’s age-24 season, 2011 is Phil’s age 24 season.

    JMHO.

    • DP

      I think the cut-off is July 1st (half the season).

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

        Perhaps.

        Phil’s right up against the cutoff, though. I’m just saying, it’s a bit misleading. I don’t want people to forget that Phil’s almost a full year younger than Joba.

        • DP

          My birthday is pretty close to his. Thankfully I can call this my age-23 year. Whew. Worried I was getting old.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

            The question is, do you still have any minor league options left?

            Do you qualify for Super Two status?

            • DP

              Sigh. Unfortunately yes, and unfortunately no.

    • Doug

      my opinion, next season would be joba’s age 25 and hughes’ age 24. with a june b-day, doesn’t next season HAVE to be hughes’ age 24?

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

        Joba’s birthday is September 23, 1985. He’d be 24 for like, 90% of the regular season.

        Phil’s birthday is June 24, 1986. He’d be 23 for like, 50% of the season.

        • Doug

          with phil’s % probably about 45%, it probably should be both of their age 24 seasons (yes, even though they are 9 months apart)

          • Evil Empire

            Its all bullshit semantics.

            What’s relevant is that Phil Hughes is 9 months younger. That matters from a developmental standpoint.

            • Doug

              of course

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

              That’s what I was getting at, I guess.

              Using the July 1 cutoff, yes, this could be considered the age 24 season for both of them. But the fact of the matter is, Hughes is younger. Three fourths of a year younger. That matters.

              • Evil Empire

                He’s further away from the normal peak age of pitchers, and thus his pitching ability projects to develop that much more from where it is now.

                • king of fruitless hypotheticals

                  …mmm, my daughter’s birthday is in November, so her birthday happens in the same school year as kids who are much different in age.

                  were these two both in the same grade at the same time? were they both high school seniors or college freshmen at the same time?

                  it looks like their birthdays put them in the same school year depending on state rules…

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

                  I believe they both were high school graduates in the same year, 2004.

    • ADam

      Case in point… They are still Kids… Give em a chance to grow…

  • J

    Sheets at 1 year and 9 million with incentives bumping it to 12. If his innings incentives are met, he will be more then worth the 12. Plus, the Yankees would get a draft pick compensation at the least next offseason. This is one instance the Yankees should definitely take advantage of their money.

    I would rather have Sheets on a 1 year deal then Lackey on a 5. Lackey will have some sort of surgery soon; two straight years having the same injury reeks of long term issues. He is not the same pitcher he was 3 or 4 years ago.

    • Doug

      “I would rather have Sheets on a 1 year deal then Lackey on a 5.”

      no question

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

        Thirded.

    • Abe

      I think we would all rather have Sheets for 1 year than Lackey for 5. However, the two options having little to do with one another. The reason I wouldn’t want Sheets on a $9 million guaranteed contract is because the money could be spent elsewhere (Cameron or Matsui). So if we believe the Yankees have a $185-$200 million cap then I would rather invest that money in more secure investments like the aforementioned Cameron and/or Matsui. If the Yanks are willing to go over that cap then I would love to have Sheets.

      • J

        I agree. However, my feeling is that this is the type situation where the cap should be secondary. I realize every business has a budget, and the Yankees are no exception. It is rare a pitcher like Sheets would sign a one year deal though, and it could pay huge dividends. Going over the cap by a couple million for Sheets is well worth it, IMO

        • Abe

          Agree. But if there is a cap I would rather go for the safer bets.

          • J

            That’s fair. I wonder who would actually have a bigger positive impact on the team, Cameron with his bat and strong D or an ace level Sheets. You’re probably right.

            I still want Sheets though ;)

  • Zack

    8m guaranteed sounds alot for a guy who hasnt pitched in over a year, when he was suppose to sign with Texas to pitch half way through last season.

    Then again Penny got 7.5m and Wolf got 30m so who knows he might get it.

    • J

      8 million is reasonable. Sheets is dominant when healthy, and Keith Law wrote that this arm injury isn’t necessarily that serious of an issue. When Penny makes 7.5 as you said, there is no reason Sheets doesn’t deserve a similar base with a strong innings incentive bonus. Those innings would be well worth it, and perhaps he winds up a type A FA (Wagner was after his injury for some reason…)

      • Doug

        “Keith Law wrote that this arm injury isn’t necessarily that serious of an issue.”

        in fairness, he didn’t say that it wasn’t serious. and i quote:
        “Sheets ended up missing the entire 2009 season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his elbow — that is, an elbow operation considered less serious than Tommy John surgery”

        • J

          Right. He also didn’t say it WAS serious. I read it that Tommy John is a 1 year recovery, 2 years till full strength, and if it’s not as serious as TJ, the rehab and recovery wouldn’t be as long. I’m not a doctor though so I have zero clue; it’s pure speculation on my part.

          • Doug

            KLaw: “with a 6-12 month recovery time”

            • J

              So, all of last season? Or 6-12 months of game action?

              • Doug

                well, he had the surgery mid-season i believe. trying to find the exact date

                • J

                  I thought it was much earlier, like Feb./March

                • Zack

                  No, it was in February

                • J

                  February 5th is when the news came out that he needed elbow surgery. Not sure when the exact surgery occurred.

                • Doug

                  you’re right. he had it mid-february. so he’s 10 months removed right now. by spring training, a full year. by the start of the season, 14 months.

              • Ed

                Pettitte had that same surgery in late August 2004. He started spring training 2005 on time, but said he wasn’t 100% when the season started. He ended up having the best season of his career.

                Jason Jennings tried to return in a similar timeframe a few years later, and ended up reinjuring the tendon. He never recovered.

                Offhand, can’t think of any other cases. There’s Glavine and Hampton, but the injury seems to have ended Glavine’s career (which possibly should have ended before the injury), and Hampton, well, make your own comment on him.

                • Ed

                  I guess that doesn’t really give a good answer for a time frame. The surgery doesn’t seem that common, and while most people seem to pitch again in 6 months, the results are all over the place. Anyone know anyone else that had the surgery?

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

                  and Hampton, well, make your own comment on him.

                  Mike Hampton, what’s he, like, 45?

                  I could hit him…

                • Doug

                  his bugs bunny change though, is NASTY

                • Zack

                  Victor Zambrano, Rodrigo Lopez, Brad Lidge just recently, Johan Santana (like 8 years ago), and not all injuries are the same- some are complete tears, some have fraying, etc.

      • Zack

        Sheets was dominant when he was healthy yes, he also just had sugery. And atleast Penny actually pitched last year, and did well in the NL.

        When was the last time Sheets pitched? Did he take part in any fall or winter leagues? He hasnt pitched since 9/27/08 and is coming off arm surgery, dont see how 8m is reasonable.

        • Zack

          he also is coming off surgery*

  • JFH

    why roll the dice on sheets but not wang? is it only b/c of the expectation that wang will not be ready until mid season?

    • Doug

      that and sheets is just a better pitcher than wang (when healthy of course)

    • J

      Partly because Wang won’t be ready, and also because Sheets is WAY better then Wang. Take out wins and look at their numbers; a good year for Wang is an average year for Sheets. Go with the higher upside.

    • Thomas

      Besides the possibility Wang may not be ready until after the start of the season. Sheets also has better stuff, has had better results, and unlike Wang, Sheets did not pitch absolutely horrible in his past few appearances.

    • Bo

      Wang doesnt have Sheets’ stuff.

      Let Wang be successful pitching for the Dodgers. Hes a NL pitcher

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

        Let Wang be successful pitching for the Dodgers. Hes a NL pitcher

        Chien Ming Wang, 2005-2007 (in the AL): 46-18, 3.74 ERA (119+)

  • Reggie C.

    I don’t know why Cash is meeting with Casey Close. Why can’t it be to discuss the parameters of an extension for DJ? Why are we assuming the discussion is re: Ben Sheets?

    Cash seems committed to keeping Joba a starter. The question now is: Is Cash committed to fill that last rotation spot with another kid (Hughes)? We’ve seen Hughes dominate as a set-up man. With Bruney gone and Robertson not possessing nearly as good stuff, should Cash keep Hughes in the ‘pen it won’t be met with opposition.

    Will Ben Sheets outpitch Phil? OH hells yeah … but I think Hughes will outperform the league avg 5th starter, and Hughes will probably throw as many innings as Sheets. Pass on Sheets. Sheets wants a chance to start 30 games, and frankly, he deserves too. Let Sheets do it with the Mets.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

      We’ve seen Hughes dominate as a set-up man.

      We’ve also seen Hughes dominate as a starter. It hasn’t been consistent dominance, no; he’s mixed in some clunkers, but we HAVE seen Hughes dominate as a starter. Let’s not forget that.

      • Highest upside Yet

        Let us not forget that we also witnessed Hughes suck as the setup man just as recent as the “World Series”…

        /Just sayin..

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

          Also true.

      • Bo

        When exactly has Hughes dominated as a starter??

        For 6 innings once in Texas?

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

          You don’t know how to read, do you?

    • J

      The unfortunate truth is, Cashman is in a tough spot. Most fans (not RAB readers, the less educated ones lets say) will either argue that if Sheets comes and flops Cash wasted the money, and if Sheets goes anywhere else and excels (which I believe would occur, but that’s just me) fans will say “Stupid Cashman!!1!!1 How do you let him go to the METS!!1!1!”

      • Reggie C.

        Probably so. However, i’d hope that Phil could pitch better than league average, which is kinda of a boon since Phil is no more than a 5th starter for 2010.

        • Doug

          if phil throws 150-175 innings of league average, think we should all be doing cartwheels

    • DP

      We’re assuming that because the Yankees don’t give players extensions. They didn’t for Posada or Mariano, so they probably won’t for Jeter. Maybe they are inquiring about Kenny Lofton?

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

        Maybe they are inquiring about Kenny Lofton?

        Eric Milton on a minor league rehab deal?

        • DP

          Pssshh. Only a dumb franchise would do that!

    • Evil Empire

      If Sheets were to sign with the Yankees, he would have every chance to start 30 games.

      The only difference is that the Yankees can afford to do what it takes to keep him healthy. They wouldn’t need to push him with the strength of the rest of the rotation and the organizational depth.

    • Zack

      “Robertson not possessing nearly as good stuff”

      yeah drob was always rocked this year when he pitched…

  • http://pinstripespa.blogspot.com/ Dan

    I completely agree with signing Sheets. If he was willing to take an incentive-laden contact with a base salry of $7-8 million, it’d be a fair deal. As the third or fourth starter he won’t have to pitch as many innings, and thanks to the decent Yankee bullpen he won’t be pressured to go deep into games. With his high ceiling, he’d be a great pickup. Plus he already has a rapport with CC.

  • Evil Empire

    I don’t think many people would object to signing Sheets in and of itself. Having Phil Hughes as your #6 starter is serious depth.

    So long as getting him doesn’t preclude signing some combination of Damon/Cameron/Matsui/Johnson (or at least one of them), seems like an easy choice.

    The only question, in theory, is if the Yankees wish to spend the requisite amount of money needed to acquire 2 or 3 of the aforementioned players, including Sheets.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

    You know who should be all over Ben Sheets like white on rice?

    The Pacific Time Zone Angels of Anaheim, Los Angeles, and California.

    • Evil Empire

      Agreed. Ditto the Mariners.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

        You know, in Safeco, with the M’s defense behind him, he might have a sub-1.50 ERA.

        • Thomas

          You know, in Safeco, with the M’s defense behind him, he might have a sub-1.50 ERA be able to match Carlos Silva’s production, since Sheets is an NL pitcher who cannot succeed in the AL.

          Fixed that for ya.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

            Heh.

            I almost want to sign Sheets, just to hear the idiots on NYC talk radio complain that he’s just another Carl Pavano.

            … so that I can shove that shit back down their throats when he stays healthy and dominates.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

        What’s the M’s rotation at this point?

        Rotation candidates (with 2009 ERA+)
        Definites:
        King Felix (174)
        Ian Snell (103)

        Other guys who started games for someone in 2009 who are currently on the M’s 40-man:
        Ryan Rowland-Smith* (116)
        Doug Fister (105)
        Brandon Morrow* (99)
        Jason Vargas (88)
        Chris Jaukubauskas (81)
        Yusimero Petit (79)
        Garrett Olson* (77)
        Luke French* (65)
        Carlos Silva (50)
        Gaby Hernandez (quality prospect)

        They’ve got so many potential rotation guys, I bet they don’t add any starting pitchers and just roll with what they’ve got. Spend the rest of the budget on offense somewhere.

    • jsbrendog

      The Pacific Time Zone Angels of Anaheim, Los Angeles, and California of disney movie fame

      go hard or go home

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

        To replace the departed Chone Figgins, they should sign Air Bud.

        • king of fruitless hypotheticals

          I would like to see them break another barrier by signing Maddy, D’s first black princess.

          unfortunately, rumors are she hits like melky, steals like gardener, fields like damon, and runs the bases like swisher.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

            I would like to see them break another barrier by signing Maddy, D’s first black princess.

            That movie is still a bone of contention with me.

            http://www.essence.com/enterta.....e_frog.php

    • J

      Yankees should be on him as well. Depth is a great thing to have, and he would get 30 starts with the team.

      I am a huge Sheets fan, but I want him for depth. I do worry about relying on Joba and Hughes, but I also realize that at some point they need to allow them to prove themselves.

      It’s a great situation to be in.

      • Bronx Cheer

        That is just it … “they need to allow them to prove themselves.”

        Couple that need to give our two young guys a legit shot at starting with holes at LF and DH and only $10-15M more to spend on those spots plus the rest of the roster, and I think Sheets has no spot on the Yanks. At this point, I think re-signing Wang or the like to a make-do contract with incentives (and no promise of an instant rotation spot when healthy) is more likely. If one of the two young guys completely bomb after a legit shot (two months or so), then you have some insurance. Likewise for an injury. If all goes well, then Wang becomes the swing man (or trade fodder) and uses that chance to prove he is healthy for his next contract.

        Don’t get me wrong, Sheets is a good pickup. I just think the roster needs (and Cashman believes it needs) some cost effective young guys being relied upon for production to balance out the current and future big money deals. Very few of the top starters in the game dominate consistently from day one. You have got to give them the ball every turn in the rotation and let them grow, or pay them insane money in free agency after they go through their growing pains with another organization.

  • terri

    Let’s keep in mind that Sheets pitched in the NATIONAL league…Yanks haven’t had much luck with that…

    • Thomas

      Sheets stuff can easily get out AL East hitters. He isn’t Jeff Suppan.

    • Abe

      I’m not a scout or anything but Sheets does not seem like a pitcher who is only suited to succeed in the NL

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

      For some pitchers, I can understand this argument. But just because a guy pitches in the NL doesn’t mean he can’t pitch in the AL. To think so, just based on league affiliation, is foolish. What’s next, Tim Lincecum would be a bad acquisition because he only won the NL Cy?

      Sheets is a top of the rotation starter with any team. His stuff will play anywhere.

      • Evil Empire

        “For some pitchers, I can understand this argument.”

        ::: cough John Smoltz cough :::

        • Doug

          brad penny says hello too

        • Ed

          John Smoltz went to the AL after major shoulder surgery. He needed major repairs to multiple parts of his shoulder. It doesn’t really get much worse than the surgery he had. It’s amazing that he made it back to an MLB mound after that. Don’t knock him for sucking this year. Most guys would’ve retired after that surgery.

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

            This. 1999 John Smoltz would have owned the AL.

          • Evil Empire

            Oh for sure. John Smoltz during his peak is as good as anybody, I wasn’t trying to take that away from him. I was talking about 2009, Old Man Smoltz.

      • J

        Granted it’s an exhibition, but I was at the All Star Game at YS and he looked nasty. I think his stuff translates to the AL the same way that Burnett’s stuff does.

        I could be wrong though, there is reason to doubt the switch, but I feel confident in his ability.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

      Let’s keep in mind that Sheets pitched in the NATIONAL league…Yanks haven’t had much luck with that…

      Counterargument: The Blue Jays and Red Sox have had GOOD luck with that.

      AJ Burnett, Josh Beckett, Curt Schilling, Pedro Martinez. All National League guys who, like Ben Sheets, came over into the AL East with solid ace potential and overpowering, strikeout stuff.

      All did just fine.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

        Furthermore: If he signs with the Yankees, he wouldn’t have to face the Yankees, and we’re the best offense in the AL East by far.

        The Sox no longer have Manny (and Ortiz is on life support). The Jays are a mess. The O’s don’t have anything outside of Jones/Markakis/Roberts.

        The Rays are probably the only lineup that really scares you.

        Sheets can pitch against these AL East lineups.

        • Doug

          look out for Weiters

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

            Probably. This could be the year he makes the leap; he’s certainly got the talent.

            Side-note: I can’t wait for crafty veteran Oriole Kevin Millwood to go 4-0 against the Red Sox this season. Sleeper pick of the year.

            • Doug

              and against us?

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

                We’re gonna fuckin’ kill him. And then we’re going tubing.

                • Evil Empire

                  Pardon my ignorance, but could you define pussytubing? I get a good sense of it through context but … soy un perdedor.

                • DP

                  Pussytubing?

                • DP

                  http://kissingsuzykolber.uproxx.com/

                  Just find any Rex Ryan post. Pure magic.

                • king of fruitless hypotheticals

                  i’m sorry…but didnt CC pitch in teh natinal league too?

  • Patch

    I think that next season’s FAs will affect what we do this offseason. Both Cliff Lee and Halladay will be a FA, along with some other good options.

    Here is a list from MLBRumors.com:

    Starting pitchers
    Bronson Arroyo (34) – $11MM club option with a $2MM buyout
    Josh Beckett (31)
    Joe Blanton (30)
    Jeremy Bonderman (28)
    Dave Bush (31)
    Matt Cain (26) – $6.25MM vesting option
    Kevin Correia (30)
    Jorge De La Rosa (30)
    Jeff Francis (29) – $7MM club option
    Freddy Garcia (35)
    Chad Gaudin (28)
    Roy Halladay (34)
    Rich Harden (29) – $11MM mutual option with $1MM buyout
    Aaron Harang (33) – $12.75MM club option with a $2MM buyout
    Hiroki Kuroda (36)
    Cliff Lee (32)
    Ted Lilly (35)
    Kevin Millwood (36)
    Sergio Mitre (30)
    Brian Moehler (39)
    Jamie Moyer (48)
    Carl Pavano (35)
    Brad Penny (33)
    Andy Pettitte (39)
    Tim Redding (33)
    Nate Robertson (33)
    Jeff Suppan (36) – $12.75MM club option with a $2MM buyout
    Koji Uehara (36)
    Javier Vazquez (34)
    Brandon Webb (32)
    Jake Westbrook (33)
    Dontrelle Willis (29)
    Chris Young (32) – $8.5MM club option

  • PaaakmaaaN

    Let’s say the Yankees do sign either Lackey or Sheets, what do you think they do with Joba and Hughes?

    Also where will they go next, what else do they have to do

    • Bo

      get ready for one in the bullpen fulltime.

  • Neil B.

    so assuming the Yankees are actually committed to staying around $200M, there’s no chance of getting Sheets, correct?

    certainly there can’t be if Damon relents and ends up signing – his $10M by itself would bring the budget to the limit.

    but if Sheets signs for $8M base, and then the Yankees find a DH for $5-7Mish (Matsui could be $6.5M, right?), non-tendering Gaudin would leave them around $201M, which seems pretty decent.

    what’s better, having Sheets and a DH who can’t play the field, or having a Damon/Cameron type and Gaudin as pitching depth?

    • PaaakmaaaN

      i like the sheets and a dh idea.. we don’t need a dh to play the field we have gardner and mr. rule V draft pick Jamie Hoffman

  • terri

    AL vs. NL

    The american league has the DH and has far better hitters than the national

    check out the pitchers that the yanks have gotten from the national league and show me one that did well

    when american league pitchers go to the national…they tend to do good, when national league pitchers go to the american laegue…not so good….granted there are some notable exceptions

    • Tampa Yankee
    • Thomas

      Yes, the AL has better teams and a DH. Additionally, most pitchers put up better numbers in the NL than the AL, because of this fact.

      However, if a pitcher from the NL is talented enough, he can definitely succeed in the AL. Probably not with the same numbers, but he still can be a very good pitchers. Thus, I doubt Sheets will put up a 2.50 ERA like in the NL, but if he is healthy, I would suspect he could post a 3.50 ERA in the AL.

      Also, the Yankees have four starters who pitched in the NL: Sabathia, Pettitte, Burnett, and Gaudin. All, except for Gaudin (who has pitched better in the AL), followed a pattern similar to what I laid out above (great stats in the NL and worse, but still very, very good stats in the AL). So it can be done by the Yankees.

      • terri

        good point, but CC & Andy did start in the AL…and if the talent is there, then yes, they can do it…but TALENT is the operative word here…or maybe i still can’t shake Pavano out of my head

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

          Quoting myself:

          AJ Burnett, Josh Beckett, Curt Schilling, Pedro Martinez. All National League guys who, like Ben Sheets, came over into the AL East with solid ace potential and overpowering, strikeout stuff.

          All did just fine.

          http://riveraveblues.com/2009/.....ent-714069

          • terri

            that is some class of pitcher you are putting ben sheets in with….do you think he is of that caliber? and we cannot discount his health issues…they are real, so the if healthy argument does not apply…and me think the list of unsuccessful pitchers is 4-5 times longer

            • Thomas

              While Ben Sheets is worse than Schilling and Pedro (both of those guys are likely HOF and Pedro is one of the greatest pitchers ever), I’d say Sheets is on par with Burnett and Beckett in terms of pure stuff, command, and injury-proneness. If he is healthy (something that would be checked before any signing), he can easily have a season similar to Beckett’s and Burnett’s AL seasons.

    • DP

      Ask Barry Zito how the NL is working out

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

      Please use the reply button.

    • Zack

      “granted there are some notable exceptions”

      -If you have mediocre stuff you’re mediocre in the NL and suck in the AL
      -If you have great stuff you’re great in the NL and great in the AL

  • Abe

    With payroll restrictions, I would go with Matsui and Cameron and call it an offseason. The Yankees have some pitching depth behind Gaudin. Keeping Matsui in the 5 hole and replacing Melky with Cameron’s D and bat in the 9 hole would make the team noticeably better than last year, assuming everyone stays healthy again. Then again, I am afraid to pass on Sheets and him having a dominant comeback season that he is capable of. Therefore I hope it is Cameron + Matsui + Sheets. Pretty optimistic but I would be very pleased and confident going

    • Abe

      … going into next season.

    • Bronx Cheer

      Agree. Sheets would be nice, but it looks like payroll would be an issue if we sign him. We’d get more out of the remaining budget by filling the LF and DH roles with two people out of the Damon, Matsui, Cameron pool and letting Phil and Joba have a crack at the rotation.

    • Bo

      You always go more pitching.

  • Guest

    What happens to Joba/Phil if we sign Sheets? If the money is there, I would obviously prefer that the Yankees sign Sheets because it seems like a pretty low risk high reward move. (If it doesn’t work, its only a one year commitment and our staff will still be sufficiently solid to win).

    I ask because there doesn’t seem to be a snowball’s chance in heck that the loser of the Joba/Phil 5th start competition would get sent to AAA to hone the craft of becoming a starter? That would be a very difficult move to pull of since the entire fanbase/management has seen that Joba/Phil can be highly effective out of the pen. And even if the Yanks do send the loser of the fifth starter competition down to AAA, how shortly after the first game the pen blows in “Teh Eighth!!!111!!!” will that guy be called up to be “The Bridge to Mariano”? 10, 20 seconds?

    So signing Sheets pretty much guarantees that we would lose one more year in development for either Phil/Joba as starters. Furthermore,another year out of the pen would cement the idea that the loser of the fifth starter competition is not a “stahtin pitchuh!”

    Again, I think that the upside Sheets bring to the table is more than likely worth this headache; but we should certainly acknowledge the fact that it will undermine our hope that both Joba and Phil will become bigtime starters (for the Yanks, at least).

    • PaaakmaaaN

      but imagine if we get sheets…our starting rotation is sooo solid.

      1. CC
      2. AJ
      3. Sheets/Pettitte
      4. Sheets/Pettitte
      5. Joba/Hughes

      can u beat that?

    • Abe

      If Sheets pitches well then he probably deserves to start over one of Joba or Phil. If not, he won’t start and that’s that. It’s a very good problem to have.

      • Abe

        And that view assumes that everyone in the rotation stays healthy which is far from a guarantee.

      • Bronx Cheer

        “If not, he won’t start and that’s that.” – ABSOLUTELY FALSE

        If we sign him, promises will be made to give him a “fair” chance to prove himself. He’d have to outright bomb on 2/3 of his starts before he is removed from the rotation. What if he is just merely sucking (e.g., >1.5 WIP or >5 FIP)? Then he’d likely be run out there every five days, killing the bullpen, all the while taking an opportunity from one of Phil/Joba to prove they can do the same for less than a tenth of the cost and taking up $ that could have been spent on LF or DH.

        • Abe

          I don’t know about ABSOLUTELY FALSE. You may be correct about this and in that case I have little interest in having him on the Yankees (not that my opinion means anything to anyone besides myself). But I don’t think Cashman would make these promises, or at least I hope not.

          • Bronx Cheer

            Sheets wouldn’t sign with us otherwise. He’ll go somewhere that has huge holes in the rotation or that expressly promises to give him enough starts (20+?) to round into shape. Hell, even Smoltz, crappy as he was, arm hanging by a thread and having a giant fork sticking out of his back, complained about not getting a fair shot to round into shape when the Bosox DFAed him. When you demote/cut proud vets like this before they have completely and utterly embarrassed themselves (especially where escalators are involved), you piss them and their agents off and get a reputation in the league for being a team that doesn’t care about its players. While it is debatable whether this reputation truly matters in the larger scheme, my opinion is that the Yanks believe it does.

            With the way the Yanks have given consistent starts to the likes of the Ponsons and Mitres of the world despite poor performances, do you really think they would have a hair trigger with a guy having Sheets’ track record?

            • Abe

              This is likely true. And this is yet another reason, which I didn’t think about until this point that makes it unlikely that Sheets ends up a Yankee. I think Cashman values flexibility and won’t want to make any such promises to a pitcher who missed all of 2009. I am ready for a Joba Hughes 4-5 anyhow and that is what I anticipate we see going into the season.

    • Charlie

      I don’t think it is so obvious that Cashman wouldn’t sent Joba down to AAA. Weren’t there rumors to that effect circulating around August?

      • PaaakmaaaN

        i highly doubt that…

        • JobaWockeeZ

          Nope I’m pretty sure there were rumors about that.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

      If we signed Sheets, I would hope we’d take the loser of the Joba/Phil spring training competition and put him in Scranton, working on his craft as a starter and awaiting the forthcoming AJ/Andy/Sheets injury.

      (commence shitstorming about how they have nothing to learn in AAA and should be in the bullpen helping the big league team, even though that bullpen role has a way of becoming permanent and probably exposes the prospect to undue injury risk if he does transition from bullpen to rotation midseason).

      I want the 6th starter to be a 6th starter, not a bullpen guy. We have plenty of bullpen guys. 6th starters are important too.

      • Abe

        Agreed. And especially when it comes to Joba – I get the feeling the MSM gets to him and makes him truly believe that he is ‘meant to be the 8th inning guy,’ He clearly has a lot to learn when comes to pitching efficiently, and I think AAA could only help while the bullpen will stifle his development.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

          If we don’t sign Sheets, we should do this:

          CC-AJ-Andy-Joba-Hughes in the rotation, Gaudin as the 6th starter waiting in the big league bullpen, Nova and Mitre as the 7th and 8th starters waiting in Scranton.

          If we DO sign Sheets, we should do this:

          CC-AJ-Andy-Sheets-Joba in the rotation, Hughes as the 6th starter waiting in Scranton, Gaudin as the 7th starter waiting in the big league bullpen, Nova and Mitre as the 8th and 9th starters waiting in Scranton.

          • Abe

            Yea that makes sense. I would do something of the sort if they sign Sheets. That being said, I feel that between Joba and Phil, Joba could benefit from AAA more than Phil could. I’m speculating here, but Joba has been sort of rushed throughout his pro career while the yanks took their time with Hughes. Joba has the better stuff, but I just get the sense that Joba also has more to learn.

      • DP

        Does Phil still have options?

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

          I believe so.

        • vin

          I believe he has 2 remaining.

          IIRC, he was added to the 40 man prior to his callup in 2007. Pitched in the big leagues, got injured, worked in minor league games as part of his rehab, but was back up by the end of the year. No options used.

          He broke camp on the 25 man roster in 2008 – got injured, appeared in 8 minor league games as part of his rehab, but was back up by the end of the year. No options used.

          In 2009 he was optioned to SWB at the end of ST, got called up in April, and remained up the entire year. 1 option used.

          Where I may be wrong is in the length of his rehab starts – not sure if he exceeded the alotted time and that counted as an option.

          I’m still not sure why player options are such a mystery – there should be a database of this stuff.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

            I’m still not sure why player options are such a mystery – there should be a database of this stuff.

            Seconded.

            I don’t know why Cots wouldn’t list that on their page. Seems like a natural fit for them.

      • Evil Empire

        Well to me, I think Joba gets first shot at the #5 spot unless his arm falls off in ST. He’s good for 180 innings and he’s earned the right to a spot.

        As for Hughes, I’d prefer to put him into the bullpen and if we need a long term replacement, send him down, stretch him out proper-like, and then call him back up. If we just need to cover 1 or 2 starts, use Chadio Gaundintre

      • Bronx Cheer

        Never going to happen (Joba/Phil to AAA to stay a starter), which is one of the reasons why I am not interested in Sheets.

        Further, is this insurance really all that necessary? We will retain at least one of Gaudin and Mitre, and we already have Aceves, Nova, and ZMac on the 40 man. I have every faith that this group would be able to give us an above replacement level, if not league average, 10-15 starts. If all hell breaks loose in the rotation, and one of these candidates doesn’t step up, then you scramble and look for a pickup from the Royals and Pirates of the world.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

          Nitpick: ZMac’s not on the 40 man.

          Other than that, I agree on everything. I love Sheets, but I’d rather just give Joba and Phil the rotation spots they have earned through their talent, ability, and demonstrated ability to be a successful big league starter.

        • Evil Empire

          You can never have too much starting pitching. I whole heartedly want to see Joba and Phranchise as starters too, but the opportunity to have Sheets in the rotation – and the extra depth that provides – is too tempting to turn down. Its not the end of the world if Phil waits one more year and solidifies the ‘pen in 2010.

          • Bronx Cheer

            Fine, lets set our 40 man with 40 pitchers, then. Or maybe sign Lackey and Sheets, and then trade for Halladay. We can have a battle royale in spring training to see who gets to start, and the loser can pitch the eighth.

            Your statement is as true as saying you can never have too much hitting. You can’t focus merely on one side of the equation.

            Assuming we are approaching our payroll ceiling, money is better spent on replacing Damon and Matsui with somebody other than a craptacular smörgåsbord of at bats from Cabrerra and someone else from the bench (one of Gardner, Hoffman, Pena, and Cervelli EVERY DAY if we have a rotating DH).

            In a world where we have unlimited payroll to sign Sheets plus fill the DH and LF roles with a free agent, and where the team actually would consider sending Phil/Joba to AAA to get innings, fine. But that isn’t the case.

            • Evil Empire

              I do agree with this, if Sheets precludes us from acquiring a LF and/or DH, I wouldn’t be interested. If the Yankees are strictly adhering to that $200M cap than yeah, he wouldn’t make sense.

              Its a cost effective move though, the team would be right around its 2009 payroll level I think.

        • Abe

          Agree. I think it’s their time.

    • yankeewanabe

      cahman said on the mike francessa show he want another Pitcher for competion on the last 2 spost on the 5 man rotation. he also indicted the move would alow a look at lfers

  • vin

    Surprised I haven’t seen Duchscherer’s name mentioned anywhere. He seems to be an interesting fit simply because the Yanks can go into ST with a 3 man competition for the final two roster spots – with the loser going to the BP. All 3 guys have experience in the pen and in the rotation.

    He’d also sign for less than Harden.

    1) Damon 2/20
    2) Matsui 1/7
    3) Duchscherer 1/5
    4) win # 28

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

      We’ve mentioned his name a lot.

      We wouldn’t give him a guaranteed spot, as you said, though, so he probably doesn’t come here. Someone else would offer him a 1/5 (or better), but promise him a spot in the rotation.

  • PaaakmaaaN

    Olney heard the Blue Jays’ asking price of the Phillies for Roy Halladay “is about the same” as it was in July. That doesn’t seem logical, but we are talking about two different GMs here. Olney was able to confirm the reported Halladay demands the Jays made of the Yankees: Jesus Montero, Joba Chamberlain or Phil Hughes, and more.

    So does this mean Halladay demands to be traded to the Yanks?

    this is on mlbtraderumors

    • http://mlbtraderumors.com DERN

      yea i heard that to on mlbtraderumors.com

      Olney heard the Blue Jays’ asking price of the Phillies for Roy Halladay “is about the same” as it was in July. That doesn’t seem logical, but we are talking about two different GMs here. Olney was able to confirm the reported Halladay demands the Jays made of the Yankees: Jesus Montero, Joba Chamberlain or Phil Hughes, and more.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

      (thinks)

      Nope, still don’t give a shit.

      • PaaakmaaaN

        why not

        • JobaWockeeZ

          Expensive in terms of dollars and prospects for a likely declining pitcher is why.

          • Doug

            declining? where?

            • JobaWockeeZ

              Excuse me if I don’t think he’ll put up the same numbers when he’s 36 or 37.

          • Evil Empire

            I agree its not worth the dollars/prospects combo but let’s not undersell Halladay and classify him a “likely declining pitcher”

            Most scouts you talk to would rave about Doc and is super-high on the guy. He’ll continue to be a #1 type for a while and then, when he does begin to decline, it will be on a soft curve.

            FWIW, KLaw says if he had to bet money on *any* pitcher in the major leagues throwing 800 innings over the next 4 years, it would be Roy Halladay.

            • Bo

              If you are going to bet on one pitcher the next 4 yrs it would be him.

              • Zack

                Betting on any SP to stay at the top of his game until hes 38 is bad bet regardless of who the pitcher is.

      • http://mlbtraderumors.com DERN

        tommie y wudnt u give a shit?

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

          Because the price will still be too high.

    • Thomas

      I think it means what the Jays are demanding the Yankees give up for Halladay, so the Jays are demand Montero, Chamberlain/Hughes, and additional prospects from the Yankees.

      • Doug

        this

  • theyankeewarrior

    Let’s say the Yankees get Sheets at 8M + incentives. That, along with Damon AND Matsui coming back would put the Yankees around 213M for the 2010 payroll. I’m not saying this is what should or will happen, but if you look at these salaries, it give you a better feel for what they have the room to accomplish.

    I’m figuring they want payroll to be as close to 200M as possible, so maybe one of Damon/Matsui is toast. Or maybe a guy like Gaudin gets non-tendered. Feel free to insert Nick Johnson or Mike Cameron also (possibly for less $$)

    Rotation:
    CC Sabathia Ace 23M
    AJ Burnett 2 16.5M
    Andy Pettitte 3 11.75
    Ben Sheets 4 8M
    Joba Chamberlain 4 .5M

    Bullpen:
    Mariano Rivera CL 15M
    Phil Hughes SU .5M
    Damaso Marte LHP 4M
    David Robertson RHP .5M
    Mark Melancon LHP .5M
    Alfredo Aceves RP .5M
    Chad Gaudin LM 3M

    Lineup:
    Derek Jeter SS 21M
    Johnny Damon LF 11M
    Mark Teixeria 1B 20M
    Alex Rodriguez 3B 32M
    Hideki Matsui DH 7M
    Curtis Granderson CF 5.5M
    Jorge Posada C 13M
    Robinson Cano 2B 9M
    Nick Swisher RF 6.75M

    Bench:
    Melky Cabrera UOF/PR 2M
    Francisco Cervelli BC .5M
    Ramiro Pena UIF .5M
    Brett Gardner PH/UT .5M

    • Neil B.

      Real solid team, but almost surely not to happen due to budgetary constraints.

      Most likely, it’ll be this team minus Damon (with Hoffmann as the last man), or this team minus Matsui and Sheets (again, with Hoffmann as the last position player and Mitre as the last pitcher).

  • Evil Empire

    Mark Melancon = RHP

    • Evil Empire

      Reply fail. This was meant for the post above.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

        That, and:

        Phil Hughes = SP

        • Bo

          If they sign a Sheets or a Justin D or a Lackey or trade for a starter you should face the facts that they will put one of Joba/Hughes in the pen or in a trade.

        • http://mlbtraderumors.com DERN

          tommie dont tlk ur obviously not a yankee fan u dnt no anything

          • PaaakmaaaN

            im pretty sure hes a yankee fan dern;)

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

            I know how to read, write, and spell properly.

  • Nick Whitt

    I feel like signing Ben Sheets is the best option. The yankees won’t loss the 1st round draft pick and they get a good pitcher. The yankees can do a contract like cleveland did with Pavano and the better he pitches the more money he gets.

    • PaaakmaaaN

      more like the better he pitches the luckier we get…he doesn’t get more money for the better he pitches unless incentives

      • Nick Whitt

        incentives are more money too

      • Nick Whitt

        incentives are more money too

  • Jack

    I am a Yankees fan living in Wisconsin, so I have been able to see Sheets pitch a bunch over the last few years. He has filthy stuff- it’s like Burnett but with control when he is at his best. Doesn’t walk many, filthy changeup and makes hitters look silly with the curve. A lot of fun to watch, and he can definitely succeed in the AL if he is healthy. Definitely an injury risk, as it always seems to be something or another, whether it is arm-related or not. Would be cool to see him as a Yankee…we’ll see.

  • http://www.livingwithballs.com Living with Balls

    The Yankees definitely need to get another starting pitcher just to be on the safe side. We don’t know what Joba and Hughes are gonna give you in the starting rotation.