Reports: Yankees were never close on Justin Upton & Scott Hairston


Via Bryan Hoch & Dan Martin: The Yankees were never all that close to acquiring Justin Upton or signing Scott Hairston, though they did have interest in both players. “Did I ever have a conversation with Arizona about [Upton]? Yeah, but they weren’t focusing on us,” said Brian Cashman, which jibes with a recent report saying the Diamondbacks didn’t love New York’s prospects.

“I think it’s in our best interest to look in the short-term, but that doesn’t preclude us from looking in the long-term … Obviously, there are restrictions we’re trying to navigate through, but that does not preclude us from doing a multi-year deal — but we’re going to be very careful,” added the GM. One thing the Yankees have done in advance of the 2014 payroll plan is create a lot of flexibility. They only have four players under contract for 2014, so they will have a bunch of money available next winter, but that also means they’ll have a lot of holes to fill. I just wish they had made more of an effort to improve the 2013 club as sort of a “one last gasp” before guys start retiring and payroll is slashed.

Categories : Asides, Hot Stove League


  1. Robinson Tilapia says:

    But Wallace Matthews, Jon Heyman, Ken Rosenthal, and Hoss told me all these completely different, contradictory things that all had to be true!

  2. Dicka24 says:

    The Uptons are uber talented, classic under achievers. Unless the deal was a steal, I’m kinda glad the Yankees didn’t make a move for Justin. Don’t get me wrong, he can be a terrific player, and might prove to be in Atlanta, but would anyone be surprised if he continues to underperform? Plus he’s not necessarilly cheap anymore. $14 million is a good price if you’re getting the expected production, but with Justin I honestly don’t know what that actually is. The guy has OPS’d under .800 in 2 of the last 3 years. He’d be better than anything we have in RF obviously, but his numbers the last few years are sort of Swisher’esque. Aside from the SB’s, JU has averaged about .280ish, with 20 HR’s and 76 RBI the last 4 years.

    • LK says:

      Yeah but if the numbers are Swisher-esque, then 14M is a good price since that’s basically what the market just paid for Swisher. Also, I believe 14M is only the price on the final year of his deal, so you’d be paying less than that beforehand.

  3. KenC says:

    How surprising… not

  4. 189,189,189, says:

    $1500 a seat does not buy you much these days……

  5. Blake says:

    I think a lot of how flexible they will be next year depends on what they do with Cano….if they sign him then it’ll be very tight to get under that cap by the time everything is accounted for.

    Considering the bonuses and the room they’ll need to leave in case Alex’s homer bonus kicks in they’ll probably need to start 2014 with an actual payroll around 170…..and if Jeter picks up his player option then around 96 million will already be on the books for 5 players. Sign Cano and you’re up to around 120 for 6 players…..it’s doable but it’d be tight to fill out the rest of the roster with quality players unless some prospects really step forward and offset money (hopefully).

    And I totally agree about wishing they’d gone for it more in 2013….could be their best shot at a title for awhile

    • Ted Nelson says:

      There’s still a lot of flexibility when you have that much money to spend. You can spread it around, you can get a couple expensive guy and go cheap elsewhere, you can trade or sign FAs… there are a lot of options. If they don’t win I think it will be about execution and not a lack of opportunity.

      Prospects and other young, cost-controlled players performing would certainly go a long way, but you can also effectively fill holes cheaply with trades (Swisher and Granderson, for example, had very low AAV for the Yankees) and free agents (Ibanez, Chavez, Garcia, Jones, Martin…).

      • Blake says:

        I think it depends a lot of how their young pitching performs…. if Pineda comes back healthy and close to what they thought they were getting and Nova and Phelps progress and hold rotation spots etc then that’ll put them in a much better spot…..but if they don’t and have to go out and trade for or spend money to add pitching then that’ll make things difficult.

        The Yanks could lose 3 starters in the rotation after this year….probably will….they really need to be able to replace that value cheaply somehow if possible

        • jjyank says:

          Absolutely. An effective Pineda, a rebounded Nova, and a progressing Phelps would be huge. This is more for 2014, but I’ll add a healthy/effective Banuelos as well.

          2013 will be a huge year for the farm for the position players as well. If Heathcott, Austin, Williams, and Sanchez have good years and finally fully cross from “A ball prospect who’s too far away to count on” into “upper level impact talent”, we’ll all feel a lot better I’m sure.

          • Blake says:

            They could realistically have a top 5 system this time a year from now if those 4 play well and their pitching gets healthier….Depaula is an X factor as well as he could move fast in he adjusts well to playing in the states.

            Yes…it’s a big year for the farm….

        • Ted Nelson says:

          Again, young players doing well (and any players doing well) will put any team in a better spot than if they do poorly. I don’t really think that point needs to be stated.

          You don’t need a roster of 25 high performers to be a 95+ win team. Look at some of the rotations the Yankees have run out in recent years for examples. 2010 they had AJ, Javy, and Moseley start 66 games combined games at ERAs above 5. 36 more from Hughes and Nova can in the mid-4 range. 2011 they found Garcia and Colon on the scrap heap, and lived through the struggles of AJ and Hughes. (Yes, if you’re lacking in the rotation you need the line-up to pick up the slack, and vice versa. I’m just saying that the Yankees have consistently won 95 games despite having some holes. Obviously you can’t have too many holes, but you can have some deficiencies and still win. Look at the Giants’ line-up, for example.)

          If CC continues to perform, they can spend some money via FA or trade to fill that #2 spot and live with passable performance 3-5. Or maybe they can have 2 or 3 #3 type starters behind CC and not need that true #2 starter. They can choose to use their $ to build a sick staff, then trade their young Ps for cheap hitters. Or use their money on hitters and go with their young Ps. There’s flexibility there.

          • Blake says:

            We’ll see….I think the main point is that it’s more difficult to fill out a quality roster with less money and more spots to fill…..sure they can figure it all out and hopefully they will…..but it may require a bit more creativity than they have been accustomed to in the past.

            Their operating budget may be about 40 million less than this year….and they’ll need to either sign or replace a lot of the roster…..of course they can get guys to fill the spots..but getting players as good as you’re losing sometimes isnt that easy.

            I don’t think it’s a doomsday proclamation to suggest that it may be easier to field a championship caliber team in 2013 than 2014….for a host of reasons

            • Ted Nelson says:

              “I think the main point is that it’s more difficult to fill out a quality roster with less money and more spots to fill”

              I don’t think that it’s totally clear. Less money, sure: it’s easier to get players with more money, you don’t even have to spend it but it opens up your options. More spots to fill, though, means more flexibility as well. Uncertainty creates opportunity as well as risk. Volatility goes in both directions. When you have a bunch of players under contract, you’re also locked into those players and might miss opportunities to fill out the roster more efficiently.

              If you have AJ in your rotation at $16-18 mill per, or whatever, that’s a rotation spot and $16-18 mill you don’t have to use in other ways.
              If you trade Melky, Arodys, and Dunn for Javy and Logan, you’re both losing those players and the ability to use them in other deals.

              “I don’t think it’s a doomsday proclamation to suggest that it may be easier to field a championship caliber team in 2013 than 2014….for a host of reasons”

              This isn’t really my point. My point was that in putting more eggs in the 2013 basket, you are often taking eggs out of the 2014+ basket. Whether that’s in terms of prospects traded, longer-term agreements with rough back-ends, or whatever else.

              I would also point out, I know people feel the need to ignore this for some reason, that Hal said the $189 million budget is a goal provided that they’re fielding a championship contender. That would imply that if they just can’t find the talent cheaply, if a great opportunity to add talent above the $189 mill limit comes up, or if they’re struggling in season or after 2014… they might break the budget.

              • The Big City of Dreams says:

                I don’t think ppl are ignoring what he said. I think fans are having a hard time buying it because he never said it in the past. When the 189 goal first surfaced all we heard was this is the goal and we’re sticking to it. Even during the 2012 season it was the same thing. But now after hearing all off season about the fans being upset and disappointed he comes out and makes that statement. Why didn’t he say that at the beginning? Not saying he needed to lay out the plan step by step but if he is serious about going past 189 then he it would have been important to mention that yrs ago. Some fans would have complained either way but a number of says would have said yes 189 is a goal but Hal has said more than once he will go beyond that number if they need to. Instead he did the opposite. He painted himself into a corner and is now offering some wiggle room because he’s hearing the fans voice their displeasure.

                • Ted Nelson says:

                  That’s a whole lot of speculation about media reports, and I don’t think there’s any validity to it anyway. I think he’s been pretty clear on this from the beginning.

                  If, in fact, they were using the term “goal” from the beginning instead of just saying “this is the budget,” they were leaving it open ended. There’s no point in stating that you might not reach your goal when it’s implied any time you mention any goal. Most people don’t say, “I would like to gain 5 pounds of muscle, but I might not if I don’t work hard enough or get injured or any number of other things happen.” The “but I might not” part is just implied.

                  Some fans decided to interpret loose media quotes a certain way. That doesn’t mean that’s what was actually meant.

                  • The Big City of Dreams says:

                    That’s not true when ever they were asked about 189 it was always that’s what we want to do and that’s it. They didn’t leave themselves any type of wiggle room.

                    “Some fans decided to interpret loose media quotes a certain way.”

                    It was not interpreted it was stated by them and any other official: it’s 189 and that’s it.

                    • Ted Nelson says:

                      Again, when you say you want to do something that doesn’t mean there’s no wiggle room.

                      Please show me the quote you are referring to.

                    • The Big City of Dreams says:

                      “I’m looking at it as a goal,” Steinbrenner said. “But my goals are normally considered a requirement. Is it a requirement with baseball that we be at $189 (million)? No, it’s not a requirement. But that is going to be the luxury tax threshold and that’s where I want to be.”

                    • Ted Nelson says:

                      So… He says it is NOT a requirement, but where he wants to be.

                      Clearly they want to be under $189 mm. No one is debating that. At no time have they said “we are so dumb that we don’t realize profit is a function of both revenues and costs, so we will stay under $189 mm no matter what it costs us in lost revenue.”

                    • RetroRob says:

                      Big City, I came to this late, so I’m not going to rehash it all, but I disagree.

                      I was very surprised by the reaction to Hal Steinbrenner’s comments a week or so back. I didn’t see anything inconsistent with what he said in the past as it relates to the $189M goal and fielding a championship-level team. They’re clearly implementing Plan 189, but there has always been wiggle room. Depending on how things unfold over the next season will determine is they escalate Plan 189. Yup, I can see them going into a full rebuild mode if they hit a 1965 or 1989 collapse point. I can also see them reversing course if they decide the plan is just not going to work based on changes in the market and on the field.

      • 189,189,189, says:

        in a word ..bull………….

  6. Matt says:

    Yes 2013 is gonna be interesting especially in the division with Tampa unloading shields could impact big and Toronto picking up a whole team this offseason. Those are the same players in Miami that produced nothing together. The yankees have old players but they are promising players if they play up to their potential. I still have faith in this team to get to at least Alcs depending when they meet up with the tigers. Cano is a must resign idc what numerous articles have written but th absolute truth is there is NO 2B in baseball that is going to replace the numbers cano gives the yankees. Id love to see next years outfield consist of Gardner ichiro and say mason williams or slade heathcott if they are ready. Arod will tell a lot about this teams 2014 depending on if he is capable of playing the arod of a couple years ago. It is a long shot but a hope so well wait and see. Bc Hal has to realize NO FANS are paying the money they sell tickets and merchandise for for a losing team. He is going to have to sell or reinvest back into George’s spend mentality. It’s only time well find out and as a yankee fan ill just wait and hope

    • Nice Guy Eddie says:

      Tampa, assuming like 140+ games from longo, will be a better team next year.

      • Blake says:

        I think losing Shields and Upton is gonna hurt them

      • Ted Nelson says:

        Tough to say. Besides Shields, they also lost two of their better position players from 2012 in Upton and Keppinger. They added Yunel along with Longoria maybe being healthy and have plenty of young guys who may (or may not) step up to fill voids. But they have voids… their corner OF, DH, and C situations arguably look worse than the Yankees’. They have James Loney at 1B.

        They also averaged 5.5 fewer wins than the Yankees the last two seasons, so they arguably had ground to make up.

      • MannyGeee says:

        You really want to assume 140 games from Longo ever???

        • jjyank says:

          Yeah, this. Plus, as Blake already mentioned, they lost Upton too. If Longo goes down (and history is not on his side there), that offense is pretty laughable.

          I actually like the Meyers pick up for the Rays, but losing Shields and Upton and gaining Meyers will not make them better in 2013. Maybe in 2014, but I don’t see how anyone can say the Rays definitely got better.

          • Nice Guy Eddie says:

            Maybe I’m assuming too much. But knowing the rays they’ll get big time bounce back seasons from loney and yunel plus you know Moore will step up and have a big year to go along with the plethora of other young arms with big stuff. Jennings will slide over to Cf and replace Upton adequately. Also, you may differ from me on this, but I believe that Friedman fleeced Dayton moore in the Shields deal.

  7. dasani says:

    The pickings left for a righty bat is pretty thin, Carlos Lee, Jeff Baker,Kelly Johnson, Alex Gonzalez. Probaly not all that much better than Diaz/Canzler/Neal. So unless theres a trade looming we are really sinking into the scrap heap.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      Kelly Johnson does not hit RH.

      This is a marginal contributor off the bench. The kind of guy that you almost have to and probably should find on the scrap heap.

    • Blake says:

      Ideally it’d be nice if the primary DH and the RH outfielder were the same guy….that way Jeter and Youk or whoever could rotate through the DH spot when said DH is playing a corner outfield spot vs LHP…..Soriano is about the only guy I can think of that fits this bill and is realistic to aquire at this point

  8. Ted Nelson says:

    I disagree with the impending doom hypothesis as well as going for it all in one year: there are some trade-offs where maximizing your one year performance is going to turn the small window into a self-fulfilling prophecy where you’re sacrificing future resources.

    I would also ask what you wanted them to do for 2013. How many holes do they have on their roster? I count one real hole in the line-up at C, a potential half-season one at DH.

    • Hoss says:

      Keep drinking that Kool-Aid, Ted. I’d love it if the Yankees had the team to beat – I’ve been a Yankee fan since the early 70s. But they are an older team with very little depth and some gaping holes – at least with the present roster for the 2013 season.

      • DC says:

        So if Ted or anyone else has a positive outlook on the team, they are Kool-aid drinkers? What does that make you, a Doom-aid drinker? How is your constant gloom and doom ranting any different?

      • Ted Nelson says:

        Very little depth? I would argue that they have some of the best depth in MLB. This is something the front office has done really well recently. They’ve effectively filled the bench and AAA with good depth pieces. They’ve been able to deal with injuries well.

        I asked where the holes are, and instead of identifying them you just said that they exist. Where?

        What is wrong with being an older team? They were an older team last year, too, and won 95 games. The five youngest teams are: Houston, Miami, Seattle, NYM, and Cubs. The five oldest teams are Dodgers, Blue Jays, Yankees, Red Sox, and DBacks. For all the whining about the Jays and Dodgers out-spending the Yankees, those are both old teams. http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/r.....order/true

  9. Hugh says:

    And unless, the prospects/ young pitching pans out, there will be so many holes to fill after next season that the prospective players and their agents are going to have the Yanks over a barrel cost-wise.

  10. Jacob The OG (formerly Jacob) says:

    I am here for the grave roling party

  11. Pistol Pete says:

    The Yanks were never close because after spending money on necessary but aging veteran players the faucet stopped. We have no fucking catcher, no right handed outfielder, no DH. We’ve lost power with Swisher, Martin, and Arod gone and replaced it with Ichiro, Cervelli, and Youkalis, not bad but not as good as last year. We lost Soriano and did not replace him and are praying that Mo at 43 coming off ACL surgery is going to close all year. Toronto got better, Baltimore is getting better, and Tampa is always good. If the Yanks were not going to replace players how the fuck are we going to compete. And to boot we’ll most likely lose our best player next year because Hal never locked him up a couple years ago. This off season Hal has acted arrogantly and it’s going to come back to haunt him with the fans. The Yankees are not the same as every team but Hal is making them that way. With overblown contracts to aging veterans and an unwillingness to spend it’s a formula for disaster. How does he justify those 1500 box seats when he’s holding tight with the money. The Yanks have a real good chance to really stink next year and it going to make Hal look cheap and incompetent.

    • MannyGeee says:

      Which one are you, doom or gloom??

    • MannyGeee says:

      They do have a fucking catcher, in fact they have many. They also have multiple DH candidates. And potentially more if A Rod comes back in playing shape.

      Stop acting like a spoiled Yankee Fan. The team they will put on the field, while not the $230M juggernaut you’ve “grown up” (using that term loosely) with, will likely compete.

      • Pistol Pete says:

        I don’t want to be like every other team and just compete. The Yankees are always the biggest dog in the room and they always should be. I want to be the team to beat not the team that if everything goes right has a chance. They built a. billion dollar stadium and charge outrageous prices for their seats. The fans deserve better. Lastly, as I stated earlier we don’t have a fucking catcher at least not a Major League one. Please tell me exactly which of their catchers is an everyday Major League catcher please.

  12. Coolerking101 says:

    Is no one else disturbed by the fact that Towers, the only GM with first-handknowledge of the Yankee minor league system (outside of Cashmoney) wasn’t interested in trading for the Yank’s prospects? Not good.

    • Blake says:

      Not really because its pretty clear Towers was targeting specific types of players in the deal…..he wanted a SS and after that he wanted a 3B or a frontline pitcjing prospect and he primarily wanted big league players or guys that are close to the majors as main pieces. The Yanks just didnt match up for what he wanted….. Doesn’t mean they don’t have some good prospects and if he just wanted a value deal of prospects then the yanks may could have competed for him…..they didnt have a Prado to offer

    • RetroRob says:

      You’re reading something into what Cashman said that wasn’t there. The key piece of the trade was Prado, a player the Yankees can’t offer. The Yankees have minor league prospects who are rated higher than what the Diamonbacks received, but they are in the lower levels. The mix wasn’t right.

      • RetroRob says:

        …and I should add, Towers has been gone from the Yankees for nearly 2 1/2 years now. Much of the Yankees top talent is in the lower levels. Some weren’t even there was he was, or were just beginning their careers, so whatever impression he has of them could be way off. In fact, his knowledge and impression of those players from that time could very well work against Towers. Tyler Austin and Mason Williams were only just drafted, and didn’t play their first seasons until 2011 after he was gone. Sanchez and Heathcott were in their first seasons. Campos was not even on the team, etc.

        His knowledge of the Yankee system is not as strong as some would assume. Two-and-a-half years is a long time in the prospect business.

    • DC says:

      Did you ever stop and consider how those prospect fit with AZ’s needs? If you’re in need of a truck, do you let the salesman put you in a sports car?

  13. trr says:

    oh, I can believe it

  14. Luke says:

    All ownership cares about is slashing payroll. Yankees could’ve added one year guys like Pierzynski, Napoli, and Delmon Young (that wouldn’t affect getting under the $189M threshold next year); but they were too busy letting their wallets collect cobwebs. Management has no intentions of improving the team from last season, and quite frankly, they haven’t. It’s the same team except we have a duo of backup catchers penciled in as our 2013 starter and have gotten just another year older.

    • jjyank says:

      You realize that there are plenty of actual baseball reasons to have not signed those three you mentioned, right?

      • Ted Nelson says:

        And we should all be up-in-arms that it’s basically the same team that won 95 games last season.

        • Blake says:

          Well the same team minus Swisher,Martin, Arod, Chavez, Ibanez, and Soriano. They are adding Gardner, Youk, and Rivera back…..but Im not exactly sure that’s a wash

          • jjyank says:

            True. I do think some combination of the guys on minor league deals could roughly reproduce Ibanez’s production though. The Yanks will also probably get more starts out of Pettitte, since he’s not joining late and hopefully doesn’t get hit with a line drive again. Also a full season of Joba and Aardsma could offset losing Soriano.

            Swisher and Martin hurt though, no doubt about it. I just don’t think it will hurt as much as some others do.

            • Herby says:

              If Ichiro can be back to possibly the player he was and Gardner coming back I think it negates a lot of the production you got from the outfield last year.Martin pretty much sucked all year till the end, so I really expect it’s going to be a wash there, especially if a replacement is found halfway through.
              I really don’t care that Rivera is a year older, consider it a year of rest on the arm, it’s still an upgrade over Soriano. Tex should be mostly healthy. He’s not going to be dealing with that cough. I think Youk is going be a good piece (no not of shit) and they’ll be players added through the year.
              In some ways you may find it could be a better team.

              • jjyank says:

                Totally. That’s why I think the doom is generally overstated here. I was a pretty vocal critic of the Ichiro signing, and tend to believe that his 6 week tear at the end of the season isn’t indicative of his 2013 talent level, but I won’t pretend that it isn’t a possibility.

                I have the upmost faith that Mo will be Mo.

                Martin didn’t have a banner year by any means, but he did provide some power. Our current catching situation will not, but Cervelli has a career .339 OBP in the majors. Not great, but far from a black hole. I think they’ll be alright.

              • Ted Nelson says:

                And according to fWAR, Gardner is more valuable than Swisher and Ichiro doesn’t have to do too much to surpass Ibanez/Jones.

            • MannyGeee (Certified Dream AnalRapist) says:

              Can we all agree that outside of a semi string first month and a MEGA CLUTCH playoff series against the Orioles, Raul Ibanez looked done as done can be for a good part of 2011? He was not exactly Willie Mays out there.

          • Ted Nelson says:

            I think it’s basically a wash. Pettitte took a liner to the shin last season, which I’d wager won’t happen twice in two years. Tex missed a significant stretch for the first time in years. Those other roster spots aren’t necessarily being filled with replacement or below players, so you can’t just list the players they lost without listing their replacements. There’s also a general expectation around here that young players from Tampa will step up, but the Yankees’ young players like Nova and Phelps won’t.

        • kenthadley says:

          uhhh, no. The starting catcher is gone, the right fielder is gone, the third baseman is gone, the ss is coming off of an injury that would be a challenge for a 29 year old ss to recover range from, let alone a 39 year old ss, the closer is gone and replaced by a 43 year old coming off of a year ending injury. So it still may be a competitive team, but basically the same team that won 95 games it’s not.

          • Ted Nelson says:

            You’ve looked at all the downsides, and ignored all the upsides. Your analysis is basically a joke.

            I mean you completely ignore that they signed Youk, returned Gardner, Joba, and Pettitte. Gardner and Youk are two key players.
            You assume the worst for their guys returning from injury. You ignore the possibility that some of the replacements for the guys who are gone could perform well.
            You basically ignore all the things that went wrong en route to 95 wins.

            I’m not saying there aren’t downsides, by the way, I’m saying that your analysis has only looked at half the picture.

            • kenthadley says:

              it’s not basically the same team….it might be just as good, but it’s different.

              • jjyank says:

                It’s mostly the same team. Swisher and Martin were really the only important pieces to leave. The rotation is the exact same. The bullpen is almost the exact same, except switching Mo with Soriano. 1B, 2B, SS, LF, and CF are the same. It’s really just Youkilis instead of A-Rod or Chavez (assuming A-Rod plays in 2013), Cervelli or Romine instead of Martin, and Ichiro instead of Swisher. So yeah, it’s not 100% identical, but it’s pretty freaking close.

              • Ted Nelson says:


            • LK says:

              I think on the whole it’s very difficult to say that the Yankees are in a better position this year than they were going into last year. For what it’s worth, projection systems like ZiPs seem to back this up (http://www.grantland.com/blog/.....rve-anyway showing ZiPs has the Yankees with 85 wins for 2013).

              They are one of the oldest teams in the league (not necessarily a bad thing in and of itself as you point out above), but as one of the oldest teams, if they had kept the exact same team together, you would expect the team to be worse as the team is now a year older.

              However, they haven’t kept the same team together. They have lost Swisher, Martin, Soriano, and Chavez (who, while not likely to repeat his performance, performed very well last year). They’ve added Youkilis and 2/3 of a season of Ichiro.

              I also don’t think it’s legitimate to talk about guys like Gardner or things like the additional Pettitte starts as additions. Yes, Pettitte’s injury was a freak occurrence, and is unlikely to happen again. However, it’s not correct to assume that no freak occurrences will happen in 2013. It’s possible that they will have less of an impact, such as a bench player getting injured, but it’s also possible that the victim will be someone more important like Cano. It would only be correct to think of those things as improving the team if you can demonstrate that the Yankees had less luck than the average team injury-wise in 2012, since we should expect them to have average luck in 2013 (they probably won’t, but that would be the expectation going in). I think it’s possible that the Yankees were unluckier than the average team in 2012, but no so much so to make up for the other factors.

              They’re a good team going into 2013. The 2012 team was better going into that year.

              • jjyank says:

                I agree with most of this. I do slightly disagree with the freak injury thing. Yeah, you’re right in that in all likelihood, a freak injury will happen to someone at some point. But all we have right now is the team on paper. So considering the freak injuries of Gardner and Pettitte, there’s no evidence to go on that says they won’t contribute more in 2013 than they did in 2012, and that’s an addition. Not an addition in the traditional form of signing or trading for a player, but it is an aspect of the team that the 2012 squad did not have.

                I’ve mentioned this somewhere else, but I’d also like to add that the Yankees get another ~6 weeks of Pettitte in the rotation just because he won’t be starting the season late this year.

                • LK says:

                  Sure, but if we’re making a comparison of the teams “on paper” as you say, I don’t know how you can consider the freak injuries for one year and then assume they won’t happen the next. Doing so will always bias your analysis to favor the future team over the past one. This is how every team can convince themselves in spring training they might be a contender – “well we had all this stuff go wrong last year” – things will go wrong this year too. Just because we don’t know what they are doesn’t mean we should act like they won’t happen.

                  Good point about the additional weeks of Pettitte in the rotation.

                  • jjyank says:

                    That’s fair. And you are right, shit happens, and it will happen. I do think, though, that it’s a pretty safe bet that Gardner doesn’t miss almost an entire season sliding for a ball, or Mo tears his ACL shagging flies, or Pettitte fucks his leg up on a come-backer. Yes, all of those things are possible, but if I were placing bets, I would wager that this kind of stuff doesn’t happen two seasons in a row. Maybe it will to someone else, maybe it won’t. Maybe Gardner does injure himself again, but is only out for the minimum 15 day DL this time.

                    We call them “freak” injuries because they don’t happen often and it’s relatively rare to see a repeat of them in a short span of time. Since we’re looking at the team(s) on paper, all we have are odds. Sure, Cano could have a freak injury and be out all year. But if I’m comparing teams, I would say that the Rays are more likely to lose their best hitter than the Yankees are to lose Cano. One is injury prone, and one is not. So that’s all we have to go on really.

                    I don’t really see the value in the freak injury thing when discussing the future. It’s just a bunch of guess work.

                    • LK says:

                      Right, but the question is, did the Yankees have more of these injuries in 2012 than a normal team would? I haven’t seen anything that would prove this is the case. I’m guessing if I talked to a die-hard of the other 29 teams, they would come up with 5 or 6 fluke things that held back their teams that aren’t likely to happen again.

                      If your point is that if we compare the 2013 team, assuming that no major injuries will happen other than the A-Rod one which we’re already aware of, to the 2012 team, where some major injuries did occur, we find that the 2013 team is of comparable quality, then I completely agree. I just don’t think that’s a meaningful point to make. I think if we compare the 2012 team, removing the major injuries, to the 2013 team, the 2012 team is clearly superior. I also think if you compare the 2012 team to the 2013 team, assuming something like an average amount of injuries for the 2013 team, the 2012 team is once again clearly superior.

                    • jjyank says:

                      I’m not trying to imply that the 2013 squad is better than it was a year ago. I think there has definitely been a step back. I apologize if you thought that was what I am trying to say. I guess the point I’m trying to make is that there are plenty of reasons to believe that the Yankees will be a strong contender in 2013, in part because of the “additions” they will get from players returning from injury.

                    • LK says:

                      Sounds like we’re pretty much in agreement then. I’ve gotta take off; always nice talking with you jj.

                    • Herby says:

                      Even with fluke injuries aside, which happen to every team, every year. I think this team has a more balanced offense. I think you’ll see a better version of a team with runners in scoring position. Not another, “oh shit, how did they not score any runs with bases loaded situation”. I really don’t believe Arod is going to be out the whole year, and I’m optimistic you’ll see a better version of him.
                      My worry is really Jeter, and how the ankle holds up to the motions of playing the field. Offensively, I still think it’ll be a good team, just not one you’ve come to expect in the last few years.
                      I also do expect a bounce back year from Tex…The Breath Rite strips will make all the difference in the world.

                    • jjyank says:

                      Likewise, LK. Always nice to have a conversation long enough they they stop seeding and none of it includes a flame war :P

                    • RetroRob says:

                      LK, I actually have seen some analysis on this. The Yankees did suffer a high degree of lost time to key players compared with most teams, leading to one of the highest percentage of DL time (lost days) among regulars.

                      The Pettitte, Gardner and Mo injuries were flukes. A run of bad luck like that can happen again in 2013 to those same players or others. Odds are it won’t. A player like A-Rod, however, is a different story. Once one of the most injury-free players, he is now clearly in the bucket of injury-likely player. His replacement, Youkilis, is also a likely DL candidate. On the other side, I have little doubt that Ichiro will be available for basically every game in 2013, despite his age. Health is a skill.

                    • LK says:

                      Thanks for the comment, Rob. And I definitely agree on the “health is a skill” part. The fact that they do appear to have been unlucky last year certainly does bode well for 2013. I still think that overall the team is worse off net of that because of the roster downgrades, but it’s good to know that the difference is mitigated.

              • LK says:

                Also, one other important factor I neglected to mention: the Yankee farm system, while above average overall, has a “talent gap” that Mike has discussed several times over the last few year. That gap has continued to move up and is now at AAA. There are players there that could become serviceable MLB players, but it is unlikely to yield impact talents, and even less likely to yield players who can have an impact right away, so it isn’t really fair to expect the farm to make up the difference between the 2012 and 2013 teams.

                • Hoss says:

                  Sorry to miss out on this good discussion but got called to work. Unfortunate but necessary.

                  If you think about it, the Yankees lost their LFm(Gardner), 3B (A-Rod), 1B (Tex), C (Martin), closer (Mo), a set-up man (Joba) and starter (Andy) for major portions of the year. Lesser injuries hampered Robetson, CC, Swisher, and others.

                  With the roster they have, who steps in if the same thing happens? Injuries are not fluke when you have the oldest team in MLB. Even in the AL East, both the Red Sox and Blue Jays were decimated by injuries last year, and Tampa lost its best offensive player.

                  Injuries to Jeter or Cano would be devastating to this lineup, as there are already gaps at C and DH/OF. There are no true prospects waiting in the wings either. This isn’t doom and gloom, it’s an accurate analysis of what could happen based on what did happen in 2012.

                  • Hoss says:

                    Sorry, Martin should have been in second category, as he wasn’t lost for major porion of year, only hampered by injury from time to time.

                  • Robinson Tilapia says:

                    “With the roster they have, who steps in if the same thing happens?”

                    Could you have predicted the people who wound up filling in when this happened last season? Let me answer that for you: no, you couldn’t.

                    • Hoss says:

                      Can answer for myself:
                      Chavez: Yes. He’s always been an excellent ballplayer, just fragile.
                      Jones/Ibanez platoon: Did just about what was expected at the plate, except more defense from Ibanez which was necessary but didn’t help the cause that much.
                      Soriano: Yes. He was a dominant closer, league saves leader in the past. He stepped in when Robertson went down, but was a better choice to begin with.
                      You were saying?

                    • Robinson Tilapia says:

                      Nah nah nah nah nah. Bull fucking shit, princess.

                      “lost their LFm(Gardner), 3B (A-Rod), 1B (Tex), C (Martin), closer (Mo), a set-up man (Joba) and starter (Andy) for major portions of the year.”

                      Sounds to me more like Wise, Ichiro, Nix, Chavez, Soriano, Phelps, and even contributors like Sam Fucking Pearce very briefly.

                    • Ted Nelson says:

                      Chavez hadn’t had a wOBA over .3300 since 2008. Over .323 since 2006.

                      Jones, on the other hand, had been very strong for two years and was awful in 2012.

                    • Ted Nelson says:


                      McGehee also Robinson. And Eppley when Wade struggled.

                    • Robinson Tilapia says:

                      I basically spotted him McGehee, Ted, as someone who probably was a stretch and just plain forgot Eppley when replying. Thanks, though.

                • Ted Nelson says:

                  There aren’t hot shot, high ceiling prospects in AAA, but there is good depth. The hot shot prospects are not necessarily going to provide a huge boost right away. Occasionally you get a Trout, but you also get a lot of Machados who are ok or guys who are just bad when they debut after flying through a system and hitting MLB at a young age. Prospect rankings aren’t necessarily about who can step in. The solid 25+ year old AAA guy like Adams often is ranked well behind a younger guy who may be less MLB ready. The guy you know can step in and not embarrass himself (say Nix or Dickerson or Wise) is not even considered, while higher risk guys can be ranked high (say Betances a year ago). So, basically, I’m not sure prospect rankings are what you want to look at for AAA depth. They’re different things.

                  Adams, Romine, CoJo, Warren, Whitley, Marshall, Montgomery, Canzler, Mesa, Almonte, maybe Nunez, Wilson, and maybe Mustelier and Garcia are all prospects to step in this season if a hole opens. Possibly Slade and Austin, too. Dan Johnson and maybe some other vets, too.

              • Ted Nelson says:

                The baseline isn’t the Yankees entering 2012, it’s the 95 games they won. They won those with almost no help from Gardner. He’s basically an addition. Sure, guys might get injured. Same for every team, as you say with average luck (if every team has the same chance of injury luck, you can basically just ignore it… Of course no luck doesn’t assume Nick Johnson will play a full season, it assumes average expectations). People point to Longo or Bautista coming back, but I can’t use Gardner? You want to talk about Chavez’s actual performance yourself, yet you want me to act as if Gardner, Mo, Pettitte, Pineda, Jones, and Tex had full, productive years (Pettitte didn’t even start the season on time last year). BS. Let’s get a level playing field.

                The Blue Jays are older, on average, according to espn and so are the Dodgers, yet those are two of the teams people most want the Yankees to emulate. Everyone is focused on the older players, but not the growth potential of youth on the P staff. They also often confuse getting younger and getting better.

                • Hoss says:

                  I like Gardner, but no way can you compare his impact to the impact of a Longoria or Bautista. Seriously, who replaces an injured Jeter or Cano? Granderson or Gardner? Mo? If your answers are Nix, Canzler and Robertson, the Yankees are nowhere near as strong as you think.

                  • Ted Nelson says:

                    Funny, because I never came close to doing that. I compared the situations.

                    Who replaces injured stars on any other team? Get some perspective on this.

                    • Hoss says:

                      You said this: People point to Longo or Bautista coming back, but I can’t use Gardner?

                      You have to keep in mind that as much as we like Gardner, he is not a star ballplayer. That is why his loss didn’t kill the Yankees, like a loss of Cano might have.

                      In my opinion, Soriano was the MVP of last year’s team. He doesn’t step in for Mo and the season is a 3rd place finish.

                    • Ted Nelson says:

                      Yes, and what do you think that means? That I think Gardner is as good as those two? No. It means that other people are counting returning players from other teams as additions, so we should do the same for the Yankees or not do it for the other teams. That the basis for comparison should be the same. Which is exactly what I said. I mean this in the nicest way, but when you can’t understand simple things like that, you might want to approach things with a more open mind. Realize your own limitations. Every thread it seems like you do things like that multiple times.

                      Gardner is not a star, and Soriano is MVP? “Star” is highly subjective and Gardner is not Cano or Bautista or Longoria, but he’s a damn good player. If Mo goes down the Yankees have a ton of BP depth this year, just like they did last year.

                    • Hoss says:

                      My point is that you cannot make such “equal” comparisons between different levels of player, ie Bautista and Longoria cannot be replaced, whereas Gardner can.
                      If you persist in stating that I am missing simple things (of course, in the nicest way) please take a look in the mirror. I will not engage in discussions with you if you resort to insulting to boost your own frail intellect.

                    • Ted Nelson says:

                      I never made an “equal comparison.” That is what I am trying to explain to you.

              • Herby says:

                Just to point out the strength of some of these types of predictions. ZiPs had the Yankees and Rays as behind the Red Sox last year.

    • Herby says:

      Would the Yankees have gotten Napoli at a one-year deal, or would he still have been hand in hand with the Sox. I think he was still pretty much figuring he was going to work something out with them. It probably would’ve taken more dollars for him to walk to the Yankees, and I don’t expect he would’ve been worth the three year deal. As for the other two…who needs Ass and wipe on your team.

      • RetroRob says:

        I never heard any other teams mentioned. I’m sure most were scared off. It is a serious issue. In the end, the Red Sox limited their potential loss to $5M, but the incentives in the contract can still take it up to near the $13M he was scheduled to make. No way the Yankees (or few teams) would match that offer. That’s why he ended up on the Red Sox, even if it was a one-year deal.

        Also, part of his appeal to the Yankees would have been the ability to catch 50 or 60 games. The Red Sox will be using him at first base, not an option on the Yankees. I don’t think Napoli will ever catch a game again, certainly not in 2013, greatly reducing his value.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          Also, the Red Sox seem like a nice fit for Napoli to increase his value. He’s playing the field, not DH, and half his games are in Fenway.

  15. Vern Sneaker says:

    At this point the lineup’s just okay and the D is questionable behind the plate and on the left side of the infield. For sure injuries and new faces will impact the offense but I don’t see this roster hitting its way to the playoffs. The strength is our pitching and it better stay healthy and come through big time or I can’t see a 90-win season.

  16. RetroRob says:

    The prospects are either two low in the minors or injured.

    That’s why it’s better if Stanton isn’t moved by the Marlins for another year. If the A-ball prospects all progress, then the Yankees might be in better situation to trade for Stanton next year than they were for Upton this year.

    As for Hairston, no loss.

    • RetroRob says:

      *too* low

    • The Big City of Dreams says:

      True but then the same prospects they claim they need to transition the team will be blown on 1 player. Stanton is going to cost a fortune.

      • RetroRob says:

        If they trade all of them, sure. The point of prospects is to work some into the team, and use others for trade. Stanton will cost a ton and that may make him difficult to acquire, yet his age, cost and ability is of such a level that they wuold have to explore the deal. In 2013 they wouldn’t have enough. That might not be the case in 2014.

        • The Big City of Dreams says:

          Don’t get me they should definitely explore it. I’m not saying they should I guess what I’m saying is with the package be to the point where it takes a chunk out of what they built.

          • RetroRob says:

            We’re on the same page there.

            No matter what the Yankees do in 2013 on the MLB level, I’ll have my eye on the baby bombers percolating in AA at various points in 2013. Whether they end up on the Yankees, or being traded for other pieces, the future health of the MLB club is directly tied to this group of young players much more so than in recent memory.

            • The Big City of Dreams says:

              That’s true RetroRob. This is a big year for the farm and it means so much to the the organization going forward. It should be exciting especially with guys like Heathcott and Austin.

          • The Big City of Dreams says:

            Sorry about the typos.

            get me wrong*
            Would the Package*

  17. Wiljaq YankFan says:

    What a sad stupid joke this off-season has been, so much so that news is constantly that the Yankees were, “Never close to signing”, every bleepedy-bleep free agent star player after another. Wow, BIG NEWS, like I ever thought that lame-brain, cheap-scape, no guts, Hal-Cash Monster had any desire to improve.

    No, I didn’t. They suck.

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