Jun
28

Could Super Two changes affect the Yanks?

By

Frankie won't be cheap forever. (Photo Credit: Rob Carr, AP)

Once young players started to become more prominent in baseball’s post-PED, post-megacontract era, the intricacies of arbitration and free agency and service time started to become more well known to the common fan. In a nutshell, the player will earn close to the league minimum for the first three years of his career, then go to arbitration and earn a salary comparable to his peers for the next three years, and then he’ll be eligible for free agency. Of course it’s not entirely that simple, talking specifically about Super Twos.

Teams have begun to exploit the process by keeping their best prospects in the minors for a few weeks to start the season, which essentially gives them another year of control over the player. Instead of six years of production at below market rates, the team gets six and a half years, six and two-thirds, something like that. A lucky few fall into the Super Two category, which happens when they fall just short of the three years of service time needed to qualify for arbitration. Those players instead go to arbitration four times. Robbie Cano, Melky Cabrera, and Chien-Ming Wang were all Super Twos, but the Yankees signed Cano to a long-term deal before the arbitration process became a hassle.

Once the Collective Bargaining Agreement expires after the 2011 season, it seems all but given that the player’s union and the owners will make some changes to the arbitration process, but no one knows exactly what. Not even the two sides at this point, I assume. The Super Two provision is sure to be addressed in some manner that will either a) put more money in the player’s pockets, or b) bring them closer to free agency, I’m almost sure of that. Perhaps one solution is setting a very specific date in the season that serves as a cut off; if you call up the player before that date he gets a full year of service time and is that much closer to free agency, but if you call him up after that date he gets just a partial year of service time but goes to arbitration four times regardless. I dunno, just spit-balling ideas.

Anyway, how is all this going to affect the Yankees? The team currently boasts more young players than it has at any time in the last decade and a half, and soon enough the big paydays will come. The first two come this offseason, when Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain go through the arbitration process for the first time. Both are going to get raises into the $2-3M range, maybe a touch less, but that won’t financially kill the Yankees. Those two are the only first timers.

Down the road, the only four players currently on the 40-man roster that are in line to qualify for Super Two status are Ramiro Pena (after 2011), Frankie Cervelli (2011), Jon Albaladejo (2011), and Romulo Sanchez (2012). Brett Gardner falls about two weeks short of qualifying as a Super Two after next season, David Robertson a little more than that. The extra year of team control for Gardner is going to save the team something like $3M in the long run, which may not sound like much, but it’s actually $4.2M because of the extra 40% tacked on by the luxury tax.

Of the four players in line to become a Super Two, Cervelli is the safest bet to actually get there. Pena could go down at any moment in favor of a more experienced utility infielder (similar to what happened last year when the Yanks acquired Jerry Hairston Jr.), and both Albaladejo and Sanchez would have the spend the entire 2011 season (and 2012 in Romulo’s case) on the Yanks’ 25-man roster or Major League disabled list. That’s unlikely to happen for obvious reasons, though Albie will be out of minor league options next year, so it’s always possible. Stranger things have happened.

Cervelli has the backup catcher’s job locked up for the foreseeable future, and there’s really no reason to expect him to go back to the minors anytime soon. Jeff Mathis received $1.3M his first time through arbitration, Gerald Laird $1.6M, and frankly I can’t come up with better comparables for Cervelli. I get the Melky vibe hearing those numbers; Frankie’s a great guy to have around when he’s making six figures, but once you tack on that seventh one, suddenly the appeal isn’t so great.

The Super Two issue is more of a factor for guys who have yet to reach the big leagues. Jesus Montero, despite his subpar 2010 season, is still expected to be a long-term fixture in the Yankee lineup, and Austin Romine is right behind him with the expectation of being an every day catcher. Depending on when those two are summoned to the big leagues and how the arbitration rules are changed, it could end up costing the Yankees in both money and years of team control.With more than $73M  (over $102M with luxury tax) already tied up in just three players during the 2013 season (not counting Derek Jeter), the Yanks are going to need as much production out of cheap players in their pre-arbitration years as possible.

I don’t know how the next CBA will alter the arbitration process, but chances are it’s going to cost teams somehow. They’ll either lose some kind of control over the player or just plain old have to pay up, and as they tend to do, the Yankees will have to pay more than everyone else.

Categories : Players
  • crawdaddy

    Trade for draft slotting.

  • Jake H

    Could be huge later for the Yankees. Would you have Posed catch more in the 1st part of the season to delay Monterey?

    • http://www.twitter.com/stophamm3rtime Dela G

      ??? lol wut ???

    • The209

      I’ll have 2 of whatever he’s having…

    • UWS

      How do you pose a catch and who’s Monterey? Is he a hot new prospect no one knows about?

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        It sounds like it’s got something to do with the unfinished border fence in Arizona.

    • jsbrendog (returns)

      translation: do you have posada catch more in the first half to delay montero.

      answer: as long as jorge keeps hitting you want him to catch as much as his body will let him

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        Thanks for the helpout, jsb.

        We needed someone like you around to translate. Someone who is fluent in authentic frontier gibberish.

        • jsbrendog (returns)

          i am here to help.

      • abbey

        Posada does not have to catch. He can be the DH on a significant basis. I think that Cervelli defensively is better.
        Also with more at bats Cervelli will improve his BA. Even if he were to end the season with a respectable 280 I believe he should be a lock for the starting catching position.
        Additionally, dont forget the untangible issue of his tremendous rapport with the pitching staff.

        • jsbrendog (returns)

          Also with more at bats Cervelli will improve his BA

          i disagree completely. the more he gets the worse he will do as the league adjusts to him and he regresses to his career mean

    • Steve O.

      I think what Jake is getting at, is that next season, do you bring up Montero right away next season, or do you wait until the super two cutoff, which is in June.

      Hopefully this is from his phone, and it suggests different words for players names.

      • UWS

        Pshhh. Go away and take your logic with you!

        /kidding

        • Steve O.

          Similarly unlogical, I saw a Burnett for Zambrano swap proposed while perusing the daily rumors on MLBtraderumors.

          /Gags
          //Is this better?

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            Sadly, that idea is actually more logical than some of the trade proposals I’ve seen around here the past few days.

            • Bret

              You seem to have trouble differentiating between what is smart and what the Yankees do. You are using that logic with Cliff Lee and with other trade proposals.

              I agree it would be dumb to give the Mariners a top line prospect for 2 months of Cliff Lee but you are talking about a team that gave Javy 11 million, plus gave up their best pitching prospect for 1 year of service. You are talking about a team that gave up a top 5 prospect for the right to pay Granderson 6.5 million. Cashman has no problem giving up prospects for big money players – look for the Yanks to get Adam Dunn and Lee and give up 1 very good catching prospect at least plus maybe Joba.

              • UWS

                *reads post*

                *reads post again*

                *eyes cross*

                *head asplode*

              • jsbrendog (returns)

                if the yankees get adam dunn and cliff lee i will eat my shoe.

                \axisa’d

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

                  Wasn’t that Pawlikowski?

              • Steve O.

                First of all, Austin Jackson is floundering with Detroit as his BABIP is plummeting. Oh, and he was barely a top 100 guy. Trading for a workhorse wj=ho finished second in the CY voting(if my memory serves me well) last year for a low-A pitcher is hardly a mistake.

                Adam Dunn is going nowhere, they’re trying to resign him. Lee isn’t happening either. Sorry to bring you down, Bret.

                • TheLastClown

                  Javy finished 4th in the NL Cy voting last year, but your point still stands.

                  • Steve O.

                    Forgive my laziness, My Dominican neighbors are rubbing off on me.

                    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

                      I’m getting Larry Bowa on the phone. He’ll move into your neighborhood and have it hustling its ass off in no time.

              • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

                Oh, just awesome.

            • Steve O.

              Yeah no kidding, like giving up Montero and Joba for Lee when there are 5 good to great starters on the staff(Burnett’s last 6 starts notwithstanding.

      • Jake H

        It was from my new sprint Evo. I didn’t notice the change.

  • The209

    @Mike Axisa:

    “Once young players started to become more prominent in baseball’s post-PED, post-megacontract era,”

    Proof that PED’s DO have an effect!

    (kidding)

    /bann’d (again)

  • Ed

    First off, I think you’re using the wrong service time cut off for Super Two status. Looks like you’re going with about 2 years, 90 days as the cutoff. It’s more like 2 years, 140 days. Late May is usually where the cutoff falls, but 90 days would put it around the All Star Break.

    On the Luxury Tax, it’s not as simple as you’re making it out.

    The extra year of team control for Gardner is going to save the team something like $3M in the long run, which may not sound like much, but it’s actually $4.2M because of the extra 40% tacked on by the luxury tax.

    This holds if the team is operating with an infinite budget. As we’ve seen in recent years, they seem to be working with a fixed budget. I don’t think Gardner being a Super Two would result in the team spending more money, but rather more moves along the lines of Randy Winn & Marcus Thames instead of Johnny Damon. They’d just allocate the budget differently.

    With more than $73M (over $102M with luxury tax) already tied up in just three players during the 2013 season

    The luxury tax is only charged on the amount of payroll over the limit. According to Wikipedia, the limit was $162 million last year, and should be about $170m this year and $178m next year. Based on a $213 opening day payroll (from Cot’s), the Yankees luxury tax bill this season will only be $17.2m.

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

      Eligibility starts at two years, 86 days, but usually it takes 2.130 days to qualify.

      • Ed

        Ah, I think I see what you’re getting at now, but it still differs from my understanding of the rules. This is my take on it. To quality, both of the following must be true:

        1) The player must have spent at least 86 days on the major league roster or DL in the season that just ended.

        2) The player’s total service time must be in the top 17% of the players potentially eligible for super two.

        I believe the 86 days is meant to rule out guys that spent most of the past season in the minors.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

    I don’t know how the next CBA will alter the arbitration process, but chances are it’s going to cost teams somehow. They’ll either lose some kind of control over the player or just plain old have to pay up, and as they tend to do, the Yankees will have to pay more than everyone else.

    In the new CBA, when teams go to arbitration with their players, whatever amount the arbiter decides the team has to play will be payed by the Yankees, regardless of what team the player actually plays for.

    Sincerely,
    Bud Selig and Mark Attanasio, Friends of the Working Man

    • Januz

      The Yankees have shown they will decline arbitration in most cases, even if it means they get nothing for the player (See Abreu, Bobby). The “Super Two” issue will have limited effect on them, because they have never shown themselves to be so cheap that they will keep a player in the minors just to save money, if that guy can benefit the team. This is what Washington did with Strasburg (And it is a move that is penny wise and dollar foolish (Not only would attendance and fan interest increased this year, but it is something Boras will use against them in future negotiations, you can be certain of that)).

      • Steve O.

        Offering free agents to be arbitration is not the same as offering pre-free agency arbitration.

        • Januz

          Ask Brian Bruney about it sometime, They would not pay him (A correct move as it turned out).

      • Ross

        nitpicking but the decision to not offer arbitration to Abreu was, I think, more tied to the global economic collapse. He would have gotten around 10 million had he won, when the Yankees knew he wouldn’t get nearly that much on the open market. (And they were right)

        All things being equal, Cashman wants draft picks as much as the next guy, he’s just been uncertain about offering arbitration as the economy fluctuates so much. I fully expect them to offer it to Vazquez especially if he achieves Type A status.

        • Januz

          I agree with you about Vazquez (Because there are only two Free Agent pitchers better than him: Cliff Lee & Andy Pettitte, he will decline arbitration (And of course, Pettitte is either going back to The Bronx or retiring)). As for Abreu, keep in mind they Yankees signed Tex, CC, & AJ despite the global meltdown, so that was not it. They simply knew they he was not worth the $10m in arbitration, and the market proved them correct.

  • Januz

    Believe it or not, the Yankees will be in good shape long-term. What will happen is the low end guys like Pena will end up being released (We saw that with Randy Winn). If they think a cheaper altenative can do the job that is exactly what they will do. Hughes is a different case, being a possible ace or #2 starter, he will be paid one way or another (I bet he gets a contract extention like Cano did). Cervelli is a guy who could eventually get traded, because he has tremendous value, and could start on a number of teams in baseball. Here is your other financial offset: Keep in mind, that Nick Johnson, Park and Vazquez will be off the books at the end of this season, Posada’s 13 million and Igawa’s ugly contract will be off the books after 2011, and they can decline Nick Swisher’s contract, and pay him a $1m buyout, instead of $10.25. In addition, Pettitte’s contract is up, and sooner or later $11.75 contract goes off the books as well. The most penal contracts still on the books after 2011, are Teixeira’s & Burnett’s, but unlike some of the other players of the past (Like Giambi and Mussina), they helped bring a title to The Bronx, so the World Series and playoff games and merchandising helped pay for those contracts. The Arod contract is very different. Because as he gets closer to Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds in the HR chase, you will see how much money they make in ticket sales and merchandising. Keep in mind, if they win more Championships between now, and say the end of Teixeira’s Contract, the ticket sales, merchandising etc will offset even that contract.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      When I read this, my mind’s ear hears it in the dulcet baritone of Mr. Joe Leonard Morgan.

    • Steve O.

      Page breaks are your friend, Januz.

      • Januz

        Believe it or not, Finance is my speciality (I Majored in it at SUNY Old Westbury). I actually did a Senior thesis paper on baseball contracts vs Hollywood contracts (The basis of which was a statement of Don Fehr’s stating that “Ballplayers are Entertainers”). That statement of course, is to a large extent inaccurate (Lebron is a notable exception)). Getting back to the Yankees, they already have forecasted projections of revenue streams, based on things such as Championships, ticket sales, and merchandising (This is a part of the Arod Contract). With the exception of the CBS years, they have a history of this (One example of this was buying Joe DiMaggio for $100,000 from the San Francisco Seals during the heart of the Depression). Does it mean that it always works? No it does not. But since they acquired Babe Ruth from Boston 90 years ago, they won almost 1/3 of every World Series played, while overcoming things like being thrown out of the Polo Grounds, revenue sharing, the draft, negative mainstream media coverage, the Great Depression, and countless other things. The Yankee Machine will continue to roll on and prosper, no matter how hard MLB tries to slow it down.

        • king of fruitless hypotheticals

          idontthinkitsyourmaththeyreobjectingto…

          • Januz

            With one exception, TSJC has disagreed with everything to everything I say from finance, to hockey, to the new Stadium, to politics, to College Football (Well he does not like The University of Nebraska, and since they will be playing Penn State in the Big 10, we may actually agree there). So him taking an opposite point of view is par for the course.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

              I disagree with most everything you say because you’re Joe Morgan.

              The jig is up, dude. We know it’s you.

        • The209

          yeah, they even overcame things like not prospering, and not rolling on.

    • http://www.soxandpinstripes.net JGS

      and they can decline Nick Swisher’s contract, and pay him a $1m buyout, instead of $10.25

      They could do that, but since joining the Yankees Swisher has a 131 OPS+ in over 900 PAs. $10.25M doesn’t seem like too much to pay for that kind of production

      • Januz

        Nick Swisher has been an excellent player, but if he slips, and (Or) there is a cheaper alternative, they will certainly take it (Bobby Abreu comes to mind).

        • jsbrendog (returns)

          abreu was in his mid-late 30s when they did that and not showing signs of decline. they thought he would decline so they let him go.

          nick swisher will not be 35+ but will still be relatively young and in 2 yrs his 10.25 mil option will be cheap even if he only hits 20 hr, 80 rbi, .220 a yr

        • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

          but if he slips, and (Or) there is a

          Are you e e cummings or something?

    • jsbrendog (returns)

      and they can decline Nick Swisher’s contract, and pay him a $1m buyout, instead of $10.25.

      you half had me paying kindof attention to you until this

      • Januz

        I used the word CAN, not WILL, as it relates to Swisher’s option. This is simply a choice the team has, should they elect to use it.

    • Kiersten

      Never, EVER group Mussina and Giambi in the same sentence when talking about contract value.

      My Mussina-loving soul is in serious pain.

  • http://www.soxandpinstripes.net JGS

    How is this the “post-megacontract era”?