Jul
30

The Yankees and the risk of being stuck in the middle

By
(Mike Ehrmann/Getty)

(Mike Ehrmann/Getty)

Although they are just a handful of games out of the second wildcard spot with more than two months to play, the Yankees are unquestionably at a franchise crossroads. The late-1990s dynasty era players are on their last legs, in some cases almost literally, while the self-imposed 2014 payroll plan threatens to undermine their ability to navigate around some ugly long-term commitments. There are strong cases to be made for going all-in on the short-term and rebuilding for the long-term.

Based on our poll from two weeks ago, fans are split almost evenly between buying and selling before tomorrow’s trade deadline. The Yankees could try to make one last run with Mariano Rivera or kick start a rebuild by dealing off anyone drawing interest, and both options are perfectly reasonable. I fall on the “try to make on last run with Mo” side, but that’s just me. Beyond this season is another story, however. Pretty much no one will disagree with me when I say the Yankees are probably going to get a whole lot worse before they return to being legitimate World Series contenders.

That’s the dilemma the team will face this coming offseason. Do they continue to hold things together with gum and duct tape or try to build a viable young core to anchor the franchise moving forward? Ownership wants to get under the $189M luxury tax threshold to reap the (smaller than anticipated) financial benefits and that’s fine; it’s their team and they can do whatever they hell they want. At the same time, they’ve sent mixed messages and made reaching that goal even more difficult by trading for Alfonso Soriano and re-signing Ichiro Suzuki to contracts that impact the 2014 payroll.

The Yankees are in danger of becoming a team that is stuck in the middle going forward, meaning a club that isn’t good enough to legitimately contend and not bad enough to completely tear down. They’re there right now, really. Look at say, the 2012 Phillies or the 2010 Angels to get an idea of how that story ends if only half-measures are taken. The Yankees are going to have to decide this offseason whether they want to continue to try to contend or take a step back and rebuild. Ownership and the baseball ops people have to agree with the direction, come up with a plan, and stick to it. They can’t have one group going one way and another group going a different way.

The reason this decision has to be made this winter and not next year or the year after is Robinson Cano. He’s due a massive contract, and I have a very hard time seeing how the Yankees can given him that contract and legitimately contend while staying under the luxury tax threshold. It’s doable, sure, I just have a hard time seeing how without some great production from unexpected places (young prospects, old veterans, etc.). Cano’s a star of the first order, but does the team want to give him a nine-figure deal only to handcuff themselves financially and not surround him with quality players during his remaining years as an elite player? Wouldn’t that completely defeat the purpose of re-signing him?

Given the state of the organization, from the Major League roster on down through the farm system, it appears the team will have to decide between re-signing Cano, scrapping the payroll plan, and going for it, or letting Cano walk, sticking to the payroll plan, and rebuilding rather soon. I don’t see how they can do both, retain Cano and stay under the luxury tax threshold, while contending. There are two very clear sides here and everyone has to get together and pick one. Is there a right answer? I don’t know, but I do know the wrong one: the one that keeps the team in the middle between contender and rebuilder. Pick one of the two and go all-in to accomplish it.

Categories : Musings
  • http://twitter.com/matt__harris Matt :: Sec110

    I think the 189 is a real number even with resigning Cano.

  • BeanTooth

    How does an ARod suspension factor into all this? If he’s out all of next year, does this wipe his $25 million from the books? If so, it would seem the Yanks could sign Cano, add some talent, and still be under the $189 million. Or am I misunderstanding how this all works?

    • BSwink23

      I was just getting ready to comment on this very thing. It seems almost certain that no matter how this thing with ARod turns out (he will either be banned for the year, or be banned for life) he won’t be with the team next year, and from my understanding, the Yankees will be off the hook for his salary. And again, from my understanding, it will not count against them as far as the luxury tax is concerned. $25mil is a nice chunk to have to spend in order to remain competitive for next year and hope that some of the young talent is ready to go by 2015.

      • Mouse

        You would think $25 mil is a lot but knowing the Yankees, they’d just blow it on a Youkilis and Wells type deals.

        • Chris Z.

          If A-Rod is out all next year I give Cano a massive front loaded deal and try to pay off a bunch of that deal ASAP. Can they give him 30 mill and still end up under the 189? Then drop his deal to a more reasonable of whatever mill a year after that?

          Would he take a deal that pays 32, 25, 20, 20, 15, 15, 10?

          • ItAllAboutatheAAV

            Aav

            • trr

              Right.

              • Chris Z.

                The AAV is under 20 a season.

                AAV isn’t the only thing the Yanks have their eye on. Cold hard cash is another. Money saved from the A-Rod mess can go right to Cano, plus a little bit of money saved from guys leaving. Next year is the year to WAY overpay Cano in exchange for a shorter deal or less money overall.

          • Jim B. Johnson

            I don’t think it works like that. The salary cap impact is the average of the salary across the entire contract. So a 2-year deal for 30 million (20M first year, 10M second year) will have a salary cap impact of 15M both years.

            Someone please correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that to be the case. This only applies to new contracts, trades can be finagled to fit however the receiving team prefers (as we did with Wells and his 1M impact next season).

            I think.

            • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

              This is correct.

      • Coolerking101

        Don’t be so sure A-Rod will be banned next year. He’s going to aggressively litigate the issue. He’s got some VERY strong arguments for allowing him to play while his appeal proceeds. There’s a reason all these crazy rumors are going around. It’s b/c MLB wants to scare him into settling rather than deal with a protracted legal battle that may not get them what they want.

      • Tisha

        If A Rod is suspended and I think he will be, the Yanks are off the hook. Being suspended means you forfeit your salary.
        Yankees have coming off the books this year, Rivera 10 million, Kuroda 15 million. Pettitte 12 million, Logan 3.15 million, Joba 1.875 million, Youkliss 12 million. Hefner 2 million, Boensch 1.5 million, Overbay 1.2 million. They have about 70 million
        228 million is the current payroll, bringing it down to around 158 million before anyone is added and without arbitration raises .
        If A Rod gets suspended for 2014, 25 million is saved.

        They can resign Cano, but it will limit whomever else they can bring in. I think is being selfish and greedy. He is NOT a 25 million per year player. He is at the most a 18 million per year player and he definitely is not worth more than a 6 year deal .
        I say trade him and anyone else and re-build

        • King George

          Your math is wrong.

          • Caballo Sin Nombre

            He is correct. I’m too lazy to figure it out exactly, but your savings is about $58-59M.

        • NoMaas

          Pedroia getting 7 years is killer, as i’m sure thats now the Cano camp’s floor.

          I would be happy if we could get him for 100/5….but i won’t hold my breath.

  • LarryM Fl

    Mike, I agree with your article. Its one way or the other. I voted to sell. I think Cano is an excellent player but not one who has leadership qualities. If he was to remain a Yankee then it would be his responsibility to lead with the length and monetary worth of his contract.

    • Mister D

      Like how Zito, Lincecum and Huff led the Giants last year. I agree.

  • JLC 776

    It’s kind of refreshing to see a story that doesn’t once mention ARod.

    I think a lot of people have blinders on when it comes to the ‘tear the team down and start anew’ approach. It’s not that easy. MLB is littered with the corpses of franchises that are perpetually trying to hit the reset button but not finding any kind of gold.

    At some point (either this year, next year, or soon after that) the Yankees very well might find themselves having to rebuild, but don’t expect overnight success. Our farm system isn’t exactly killing it with future Jeters, Bernies, or Pettittes. It’s tougher nowadays to sign talented young players. The money the franchise has is great for doing exactly what it’s doing now: signing overpriced veterans.

    I’m not saying we shouldn’t sell or should buy – I’m just saying you need to be realistic. This might be the last shot at success for quite some time.

    But I sincerely hope I’m wrong!

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Your confidence that they can avoid the fate of those teams also falls on how much you want to call Hal’s bluff as to balancing fiscal restraint and fielding a contender. Obviously, spending money goes a long way towards speeding up all sort of processes…..if spent well. If not, oh, hi 2000′s era Mets. Nice to see you.

      They’re on the right track with player development after taking most of the last decade off and some flubs this decade. It’s not an exact science, and the spoiled part of the fanbase will always want to hear that there’s some recipe for developing a player. Guess what, it’s not an exact science.

      I’m not afraid of making a run this year and missing out in the end. Someone has to play that role every year. It’s going to be the Yankees sometimes. I can’t see how you say, “2 1/2 back? Fuck it. We’re not going for it.” That’s pissing on your fanbase.

      If the team is able to put whatever payroll they decide they’ve got in smart places, and continue to build what looks to me like the beginnings of a much stronger system, they don’t have to take too long a dip, if any, before coming to perennial contender status.

      I’m sure many who don’t believe they can do that will express their opinion here. I believe they can.

      • JLC 776

        Hell yeah! There are some teams and fanbases with a lot of talent that would kill to be only 2.5 back. One of them is even in our division…

        Player development is such a crap shoot in this game. You always see those ‘how many teams passed on Jeter in the draft’ type stories and it really isn’t fair to lambaste the scouts in every one of those instances. Sometimes the dice come up where you end up with two first-ballot HOFers entering at roughly the same time – it sets you up really nicely for the next decade. But usually you aren’t.

        I probably came off as a bit too pessimistic; in reality, it’s exciting to be a Yankee fan because you can always buy your way out of mistakes. The franchise has done that plenty of times in the last decade. You just hope that if they retool, they invest wisely and minimize the waste. I believe they can as well, but I’m always prepared for the worst!

        • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

          TomH is somewhere, shedding a single tear.

      • VT Yankee Fan

        As someone who lived through the Yankee teams of the 80s I agree. It sounds easy to go out and put together a team that can win but actually doing it is quite difficult even with almost unlimited financial resources.

        There are few teams that succeed without a core of home grown players. There is little evidence that there will be such a core of players for the Yanks to build around in the near future.

  • Greg

    If they chose to re-build that would be great and they’d in the catbird’s seat once they came out of it, but that’ll never happen. They’re going to re-sign Cano to an albatross contract, and they’re going to keep signing old players for more than they’re worth in order to get very mild upgrades. They’re the Yankees, and they won’t sell under any circumstances – it’s pure fantasy to think they would.

    All that said, they’re in a lot less danger than you say. They’ll be fine. Not as good as they could be, but fine.

  • Pedro A

    I’m not sure if I understand this whole AAV thing, but couldn’t the Yankees give Cano a 20 yr contract for let’s say 200million. Fully front load it so he makes his money now and the last few years is still making lets say 1 million. It gets Cano paid, the Yankees have more flexibility in the next few years, and makes the 189 a little easier? I may be completely off, but just wondering.

    • jjyank

      If you type out “AAV”, you’d get “average annual value”. Meaning that if Cano get 8/200, lets say, his AAV would be $25 mil per year for the luxury tax. Front loading the contract doesn’t help at all.

      • Mondesi

        I think you’re missing his point. He’s saying make it a Brodeur contract (his 20 yr/$200M example) so the AAV is $10M, but front-load it so Cano still gets paid before he retires mid-contract. I’ll let someone else chime in as to whether this is possible under MLB’s rules.

        • jjyank

          I missed the 20 year part somehow. I can’t imagine the MLB would let such blatant luxury tax circumvention happen though.

          • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

            Nope. Selig would never let it happen.

          • Gonzo

            They wouldn’t.

          • Former ACE MannyGeee

            Yeah, that would NEVER fly in the Selig Era.

        • Mondesi

          “He’s saying make it a Brodeur Kovulchuk contract…”

          My bad.

  • Hassey

    Mr. Gorbachev – TEAR DOWN THAT WALL!!!

    • Pat D

      Hey!

      You, you, you and you!

      SHUT IT DOWN!

  • Rizi Walnutz

    There’s not going to be too many folks on this site who give a legitimate answer. Not because they don’t know what they’re talking about, but because they’re all serious fans of the game.

    In truth, I’d sit in the stadium with 8000 people to enjoy the game itself. I’ve done it before back in the early 70′s. I almost prefer it, to be honest.

    What I look for is a game played with energy and possibility. Young teams of talented players are fun to watch grow and learn. I liked the short iteration of the team back in May where there were young players (and errors!) everywhere. I felt better going forward. So I say sell and build. It doesn’t have to be a fire sale, but yes, use some chips to get a game going again.

    The seats will be empty, though, and that’s why it’s not a legitimate answer. The stadium is too new, with too big an investment. The Yanks are out on the end of the bat financially. A stadium with 8000 people in it will sink the Stiennies. Sure of that.

    The get the team under 189 concept was also pie in the sky. So is trading Cano. You can’t gut the entire ‘possibility’ of the team, but you can sell and get some talent and re-postion going forward.

    As far as Go For Mo? I think I know what Mo would say. He would say team first, what’s best for the team. What’s best for the team is build the possibility.

    • Darren

      Who WOULDN’T like to see a team of young players full of energy instead of Hafnerbay! The problem is that the Yankees don’t HAVE any of those types of players.

      This isn’t the Buhner for Digger Phelps 80′s. We don’t have a great young talents to be be worried about. So to me, it’s not really a choice. We gotta try and win, and win now.

      • Captain

        Who WOULDN’T like to see a team of young players full of energy instead of Hafnerbay

        Miami Marlins fans

        • WhittakerWalt

          Somebody had to say it.
          We’ve seen what our young players can do this season, since we’ve brought up virtually all of them at one point or another.
          Count me out of watching a whole season of that.

  • ChrisS

    The only other point about selling is that it certainly seems to be a seller’s market right now. The Yankees don’t have much, but they do have some valuable chips that could be even more valuable considering that no teams (sans the Chicago boys) seem interested in moving parts.

    Kuroda (dependent on if he has a no trade clause), Cano, Robertson, etc. could all command premium returns.

    Resigning Cano makes sense if the Yankees feel that they can field a winning/contending team for the next 3-4 years. After that, I have doubts about Cano’s ability to continue as a 5+ WAR player.

    It’s a team decision, but like Mike said, they can’t have it both ways.

  • The Bastard

    How does this post get written without the Red Sox getting mentioned? They nailed it last year, trading away the dreck and overpriced and now are in great shape going forward. Think the Yankees have a lock on Kershaw if he becomes available? Think again and look north.

    Let’s not also forget that in the time since Cashman fully took control (except when he bitches to the media about the calls he didn’t support, funny how he doesn’t mention the ones he did), the Red Sox have won two championships (one more than the Yankees) and developed many more home grown players than the Yankees. And that’s with spending 50% less on average than Ca$hman’s crew.

    This post also neglect the rest of the East. The Sox are primed for a big run over the next decade, especially if Boegaarts lives up to his tools. The Rays are finally hitting their stride this year and that’s a very scary team, especially when they consistently make the better calls on borderline cases like Myers (over Shields) and Loney. And the Orioles have as well, picking up Hardy for nothing while slotting in Machado well. If their pitching hits close to it’s potential, the Yankees really are stuck in the middle.

    Of course the biggest problem is Cashman. For all his talk, talk, talk about a youth movement, this team shows what his mistresses have always known – he’s a little dude in a big job. The starting pitching has completely come up empty in his tenure. The system has been barren and no one is set to arrive next year even. It will have been a solid decade of his “control” and yet they’ve produced few if any improvements.

    Fire Cashman. Start over with someone who actually knows how to build an organization. Living off of Stick’s HOFers made Cashman a millionaire but never helped him actually do his job. Spending money is easy. Any idiot could have signed Sabathia, Teixeira, Giambi, Pavano, Burnett, etc. He promised to build the organization. He hasn’t. They’ve instead gotten, much much worse. It’s time for him to go.

    • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

      lol

    • jjyank

      “How does this post get written without the Red Sox getting mentioned? They nailed it last year, trading away the dreck and overpriced and now are in great shape going forward.”

      The Red Sox trade is like, the worst thing to happen to the RAB comment section. Now people thing that it’s actually feasible to find a team like the new-ownership Dodgers, sell the bad contracts, sign a few mid-range FAs, and immediately be one of the best teams in the league over the course of one season.

      It’s an extremely rare occurrence that just happened to be our rival. But it’s just not feasible. It’s not. Even if the Yankees do sell this year, there is just as good of a chance that the Yankees are terrible for several years as there is that they’d be good the following year.

      If some crazy rich guys bought the Padres and were willing to take CC, Tex, and A-Rod, and they waived their no trade clauses, sure, go for it. But it’s not going to happen. Mentioning the Red Sox is pointless in my opinion, because it’s not a model that a team can follow. They got lucky with the timing.

      • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

        Props to you for finding the patience to explain it.

        • Former ACE MannyGeee

          This… my response was going to be much more curt and profanity laced.

          • jjyank

            Heh. Guess I was bored.

            • The Bastard

              Or dumb, reading you want, rather than what was written.

              • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

                LOL.

                ” They nailed it last year, trading away the dreck and overpriced and now are in great shape going forward.”

                Should read: “They got extremely lucky that the dodgers got bought out by a loaded ownership group and wanted to buy every overpriced guy Boston had just to get Gonzalez.”

                And you think jjyank missed the point. You really are a bastard.

      • JLC 776

        Yeah – this. Exactly this.

        This is why everyone in the world thinks the Yankees can just push off all their shitty contracts onto a west coast team, push a button, and magically begin dynasty 2.0.

        It’s like seeing that guy win Powerball and thinking, “Yeah – there’s my retirement plan. I’ll just start playing the lottery every day!”

      • Oy

        Thing is, a CC, Teix and A Rod deal is a bad comparison to the Boston trade. Beckett is 10 million cheaper per year than CC’s. Gonzalez is a better player than Teix. Crawford’S contract is, bad but nowhere near ARod bad.

        • The Bastard

          And Crawford and A-Gon are both still good, unlike A-Rod and Teixeira.

          • VT Yankee Fan

            Teix’s WAR last year was nearly 50% higher than Gonzo’s.

            Arod had a higher WAR (and more games played) in 2012 than Crawford did in 2012 and 2013 combined.

      • The Bastard

        Reading comprehension FAIL. I never said the Yankees have any chance of pulling off the same approach. I’m simply pointing out they are not mentioned in a post about the Yankees being stuck in the middle. They are only there because they are up against at least two other quality orgs in the division.

      • Meatwad

        I don’t buy it was just luck by the Red Sox(strange how rival teams are always so lucky), but even granting you that point. It doesn’t explain the shitload of prospects the red sox have. They have the payroll and prospect flexibility to go whatever way they want.

    • Buddy

      I think you’re being a bit naive. You are too close to the simplistic view of, “cashman an has the easiest job ever. He has such a money advantage!”

      IMO, he has one of the hardest jobs. He can NEVER take a step back without risking his job. He’s gotta walk the line of ALWAYS contending, and since its so hard to sign young stars now, ALWAYS rebuilding. Not easy.

      You mention Boston. Yes that reset worked out. But look at the jobs it cost. Think Cashman wants to fall on his sword like Epstein? That’s what it takes to do something like that and I don’t blame cashman for trying to keep his job.

      • The Bastard

        Funny thing is, Cashman has never ever risked his job over principles. Instead, he simply swallows a call he doesn’t agree with then bitches to the media like a little bitch.

        In this case, he promised a youth movement. He’s had a decade. When can I expect the new prospects to arrive?

        • VT Yankee Fan

          What is he supposed to do resign when his bosses do something he doesn’t like? I’m guessing you do not have a job.

    • Pat D

      Perhaps you think you’re being treated unfairly?

    • Former ACE MannyGeee

      OK I can’t resist. But I will focus on this one paragraph, and I will try to not be a dick about it:

      “This post also neglect the rest of the East. The Sox are primed for a big run over the next decade, especially if Boegaarts lives up to his tools. The Rays are finally hitting their stride this year and that’s a very scary team, especially when they consistently make the better calls on borderline cases like Myers (over Shields) and Loney. And the Orioles have as well, picking up Hardy for nothing while slotting in Machado well. If their pitching hits close to it’s potential, the Yankees really are stuck in the middle.”

      The Sox, as jj mentioned, did nothing but get SUUUUUUPER lucky that new ownership Dodgers went on a spending spree like drunk sailors. They are not ‘primed primed for a big run over the next decade’ based on this past 12 months. They got semi lucky with the mid-tier junk they signed (such as Victorino for three years, who three months in is a platoon player alongside Nava)…

      The Rays are what they are. Don’t let this month fool you any more than the Yankees April should have.

      The Orioles are where they are because they drafted a significant part of their core (Jones, Machado) very high in the draft. That is the benefit of sucking at baseball for a great part of a decade. Credit where it’s due: The Hardy move was a good one.

      • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

        Jones/Tillman were via the Bedard trade, not from the draft.

        Machado is really the Orioles only successful draft story. Wieters too, even though he’s not God. And Jim Johnson.

        But not Mr. Jones.

      • The Bastard

        Yeah, the Red Sox got lucky. Sure. Keep telling yourself that.

        Yet, I never said the Yankees can do the same thing. In fact, I think they are fcuked. The Red Sox, Rays, and Orioles all have better contracts and better talent, now and going forward. The free agents don’t solve the Yankee suckfest.

        The Yankees have to hope they get lucky on A-Rod. If they weren’t so moronic in bringing Texeira back, that could have helped too. Sadly, this is an old organization with little ability to develop talent. That’s an org that needs to replace the GM who promised something far different than what they are.

        • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

          Go have a beer. Or smoke some pot.

      • Meatwad

        Theo was gone before the dodger-sox trade and the orioles got jones in trade but other than that thanks for your very informed opinions.

    • Talking Head

      I agree with the parts about Cashman’s failure to develop the farm system, although I also agree that doing what the Red Sox did last year is basically not repeatable with any degree of accuracy. If you look around baseball over the past ten years, he must be in the bottom half for developing young talent. The low draft pick isn’t an excuse, look at the Angels, Red Sox, Rays (the past few years), Tigers, A’s, Phillies, Cardinals. They’ve all developed true star-level talent and not just through international signings like with Cano, who is the last great thing to come through our farm system. For all of the talk by Cashman and Oppenheimer, what do we have? More promises of can’t miss prospects? I remember hearing the same about the Killer B’s and the triumvirate of Hughes, Joba and Kennedy that was supposedly going to give us a rotation of homegrown aces. Where is the talent at catcher that we were supposedly developing? Romine sucks, Montero sucks (luckily, I guess, since we traded him), and I have little faith in Sanchez. Cashman’s well of trust has run dry as far as I am concerned. If we had someone else at GM, I’d be all for rebuilding. But not with Cashman in charge.

  • mitch

    The answer is pretty clear in my mind — keep spending. It has gotten them to the playoffs almost every year for a couple decades. Even in a year where they have a lineup of stars on the DL, they’re still in the hunt.

    Sure, they need to do a better job drafting and developing. They need to avoid Arod-like contracts. But they can improve on those things without hitting the reset button.

    • The Bastard

      On what? On whom? There’s only trash in that market. The goal was to develop players, and they haven’t.

      • mitch

        I agree they need to develop their own players, but I don’t think you can just cross your fingers and hope Sanchez, Austin, and Williams become the next core within the next few years.

        You can let those guys develop and continue to sign FAs in the meantime.

        • The Bastard

          Who do you sign? The FA market is barren. McCann doesn’t solve nearly enough problems by himself. The rotation options are no better than giving their kids a shot, but they won’t.

          • YanksFan

            The same barren FA market that Boston shopped in last year? Where are all of Boston’s homegrown stars from the last 5 years? WMB has done nothing out of 2 weeks, Iglesias is killing it but that’s out of nowhere. No one thought they would be this good – they were about .500. Exactly where the NYY are.

      • Buddy

        B/c the farm hasn’t produced a lot recently doesn’t mean you give up. The Yanks didn’t develop anything for a long time thn Boom! Along came Jeter, Pettitte, Posada & Bernie.

        As much as we wanna heap praise on Gene Michael and damn everyone else, there’s a lotta luck involved. You just keep at it.

        If it was that easy, just offer Gene $20million to be gm again for 3 years, have him draft 3 or 4 superstars, and we’ll be good to go…

        • The Bastard

          Who said anything about giving up? If anything, Cashman has. They haven’t produced one position player in five years…

          Just an awful, awful GM.

          • YanksFan

            Once again, where are the Epstein/Cherington players developed?

    • fat jeter

      230 million so far this year. most money spent in the history of the game. not really working.

      • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

        Context free arguments ftw!

        • fat jeter

          the context of this season was pretty much known in December. the team did nothing to address its problems in a meaningful manner and is paying for it in the standings, ratings, attendance, and checkbook.

          • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

            Which has nothing to do with what you said initially.

            • fat jeter

              mitch was saying that the answer is to spend. i said they’ve spent more on this team than any other previous team and its not working. What don’t you get?

              • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

                Because you could argue that 2 1/2 games out with 2 months left hardly constitutes as “not really working”, especially when > 100 million of that contributed nothing in the first half, and if we hadn’t spent the extra ~30 mill we have this year, it’s possible we’d be 7-8 out of the WC.

                Spending did work. Just maybe not as well as everyone wishes it did.

                • fat jeter

                  When did the bar get this fucking low? 230 million to be 2 1/2 out of a second wildcard that doesn’t really guarantee you anything and didn’t exist two years ago? Let’s pretend that second wildcard doesn’t exist for a second. Now how many games out of the wildcard are we. 7? 8? (exactly where they would be if we didn’t spend that extra 30 mill). It’s a fucking illusion that we are “still in it”. Now go ahead and look who’s above us. Tampa, boston, and Baltimore are all lined up to go the playoffs if the season ended today. Add to that, we have to pass Texas and Cleveland. We are approaching .500 a hell of a lot faster than we are approaching the wildcard. Will we catch those teams? can we catch those teams? Obviously it is possible — it is just hardly probable.

          • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

            Also, good job predicting that every one of our important players outside of Cano and Gardner would get hurt, stay hurt, and have setbacks. I’m glad you foresaw Tex and Grandy being useless, Jeter not coming back until August, Cervelli breaking his hand, CC being miserable.

            Please, pray, tell me what will happen next year so I can make a trip to Vegas?

            • fat jeter

              Context, bro, context. We all knew going into the season that A-Rod would be out for a while as would Jeter. Personally, I never expected Jeter back until around the All Star break. I never expected A-Rod to come back at all. I think I even wrote that on this site in the discussions section, look it up sometime. We also knew CC was coming off of injury and may not be as effective. That alone, to me at least, made it seem like this year probably wasn’t going to be so great. Add to that dwindling production from Tex and an all or nothing approach from granderson and the self-imposed goal of getting the payroll under 189 million for next year really gave me pause that, hey, this season is probably going to suck pretty bad. My thought was, at that time, maybe they take it on the chin and try to shed payroll in an effort to acquire young talent and replace the left side of the infield / get an impact RH bat for the future and aim for 2014 and beyond. that’s 100% where I was before the season started. No predictions, no crystal ball, just context. To be fair though, I never expected anything from Cervelli.

              Instead the front office continued to play idiot ball and scooped up as many well-known names as possible to try and contend. Its almost working as the Yankees (didn’t say “we”, Pat D.) are within reach of the wildcard, but we’re about a month away from realizing that the team won’t make the wildcard (that’s actually more of an educated guess than a prediction, but do with it what you like).

              next year: everyone in your life will distance themselves from you for being a reactive tool who tries to act like a tough guy on the internet. I don’t think you can bet on that, but have fun in Vegas!

              • Pat D

                Thanks for the shout out?

                :P

                • fat jeter

                  I am willing to change!

              • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

                A tough guy?

                • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

                  I’m 5’11 barely 150. If I’m ever acting like a tough guy, I’m going to very quickly learn that I’m anything but.

                  Smart ass, yes. Tough guy, no.

                  • Former ACE MannyGeee

                    Jim Is A (Bored) Tough Guy

                • fat jeter

                  I don’t know, man. I had to end it with something snarky. you are not a tough guy and no one wants to distance themselves from you. anyone willing to call themselves a peckerhead is good people in my book.

              • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

                Also, just comment like that originally instead of oversimplifying with “WE SPEND ALL THE MONEY AND IT DOESNT WORK”

                • fat jeter

                  fair enough… I had a big response all planned out, but that leaves me open to grammatical errors, misused facts/stats, and other people complaining that my post is too long. it is nearly impossible to please the readers of RAB. I don’t know how you do it, Mike.

                  • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

                    Eh, I hate that short sound bites is all people have time for, but I understand where you’re coming from.

  • Eddard

    I don’t think they’ll re-sign Cano unless it’s a decent deal – No more than 6 years. Look at the Pujols deal. The Angels are now trapped, stuck with Pujols and Hamilton for 4 more years. That’s how you get stuck in the middle.

    • Former ACE MannyGeee

      In fairness, Pujols had a litany of injuries before LAA signed him, including Oblique, calf, foot and forearm issues. Cano has been super durable.

      That said, I would not expect a Pujols contract for Cano.

  • The Bastard

    The other problem of this post is assuming signing Cano is some answer. He’s not. Not even close.

    Just one look at the free agent market means, they’d just be patching holes with more dreck. The only difference maker coming up is Kershaw and many teams have the cash to sign him, including the Dodgers.

    Otherwise, who are they going to sign? They have literally no prospects to plug in to the 2014 team. There is no choice here to be had. This is a stinking, sinking ship. I wouldn’t be surprised in the least to see Cashman bolt. He’s a know nothing. Simply read this gem and reflect on the last two years:

    http://espn.go.com/new-york/ml.....r-contract

    • Pat D

      So…let Cano walk?

      • The Bastard

        Hell yes, but more because I think he’ll be another overpriced, past-prime 1B, Cashman’s third, within three years. They’ll replace Teixeira’s terrible deal with Cano’s.

        • YanksFan

          Tex’s is not as bad as you make it out to be. Still an above average 1B. Cano’s will be bad at the end, but he will be the only one at that moment. CC & Tex will be off the books.

          It’s not a knock on Cano. That is life with FA who are among the best in the game.

  • Gonzo

    I am all for buying this year and trying to make one last run at the crown. I’ve also been in letting Cano walk camp for some time.

    I’m still there. Make a run this year and let Cano walk in the offseason.

  • Pseudoyanks

    The Middle Path worked for the Buddha…not so much for Baseball. Sadly, the Yankee front office and ownership is lacking the one strong definitive leader who can say “This is the direction we are going!” and then bring everyone on-board. Split leadership will lead to far worse then we are seeing right now.

  • trr

    The cold, hard truth is that buy/sell is really not going to be a difference maker for this year. Going forward, this team needs to get younger. A lot younger. Perhaps now the F/O will learn the folly of giving long term contracts to players over, say, 30. Then again I’m not sure if management is more focused on winning or making money. The two are NOT mutually exclusive. We just have to smarter.

    • JLC 776

      I’d argue that age is kind of a red herring.

      You want younger just because of the allure of a great player that you hold onto for a long period of time – 1996 was great for us from that standpoint. But you can be old and still win it all. It happens all the time. They Yankees are really, really good at it.

      You want talented players and you want to minimize big contracts to players who are about to lose a lot of their talent due to their age. When does that happen? Well, there’s your gamble. Youth is great, but it’s really hard to find. It’s also easy to invest heavily in young talent only to find out they were a two or three year wonder.

      Still want to go all-in on Lincecum circa 2010-2011?

      http://www.pinstripedbible.com.....y-pettitte

      • trr

        No. No allure for anything here…except winning I want younger players because they are more cost-efficient, and (very generally speaking) healthier. Of course, you can win with a team that’s a little older, JLC, but this team is damn near ancient. 40 y/o starting SS and 3B next year? no thanks.

        You’re right, it is a gamble. Youth can be a gamble. So can older players (Youkilis, Wells…), so everything is a bit of a gamble. That’s what we pay the F/O to do, and they are judged on the results. I want an organization that’s focused as much on winning as putting asses in the seats

        Good article by the way, fair and balanced, thanks for the link.

        • JLC 776

          I should note that I’m not advocating the 40 y/o approach, either! I just cringe a little when people say the solution is, and this might not be your point at all, to fill the roster with players in their mid-20′s.

          But, yeah, gambles and all that. They’re everywhere. I’m just glad we’re rooting for the team that can afford the most gambles.

          • trr

            Yeah I know that, JLC…

            You always need vets, but when you gotta run them out there everyday they tend to get exposed. A mix, especially for position players usually works best. Pitching is a little bit less of a concern, particularly the bullpen. Mo looks like he could do this for another 3 years!

    • Former ACE MannyGeee

      The Astros is the youngest team in the league. That seems to be working well.

      IN all seriousness, age is not the silver bullet.

      • trr

        Nothing ever is, Manny, at least not all the time….

  • fat jeter

    Here’s something: who says Cano even wants to come back to this mess?

    I would like to sell and rebuild. I just don’t see it happening, so I try not to bring it up too much. I am also a proponent of cutting ties with Cashman as well. I don’t think that will happen either. I see this team continuing to say one thing and do another for a few more years and becoming entirely forgettable and mediocre.

    That said, I really want to be wrong across the board.

  • Buddy

    Why are you leaving out the path of signing Cano and rebuilding around him. Sure, he won’t be in his prime anymore when they’re contending, but are you expecting ownership to head into 2014 with Gardner as their best player?

    Fortunately (or unfortunately for many of us) baseball is more than just contending. It’s also a product. Even if you’re not gonna contend you still gotta sell tickets.

    • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

      Don’t forget Tex is still gonna be here, whatever he’s still worth.

  • Mike c

    Oh goody the 1000th “get rid of cano” article by axisa. YAWN

  • Shittyshittybangbang

    …., and with indecision comes doom ! Can anyone surmise what The Yankees are trying to do ? And I’m really not trying to be facetious, and I’m sure their front office has forgotten more than I know, nevertheless, I’d love to be a fly on the wall and be privy to front-office conversations.

  • Yankonymous

    It’s not Mo. It’s Jeter, as long as he’s playing the Yankees will be in win it all mode.

  • sojuyankee

    Cano is a singles machine with nobody on, otherwise he’s a DP machine. 4 yr contract with options and incentives or let him walk before he’s caught like his buds Melky and A-Rod and his PR lady mule. Amazing how well he hits until Melky was caught last year then A-Rod’s circus this year.

    • Captain

      I’m amazed at how people like you can use the internet.

      • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

        Well, he can use it poorly. He doesn’t know how to look up Cano’s SLG or ISO.

  • http://www.twitter.com/mattpat11 Matt DiBari

    I really have no faith in this current group to evaluate, draft and develop major league players if they blow up the team and rebuild.

    • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

      A full on rebuild is inevitably going to lead to a new GM.

    • mac1

      I agree with the lack offaith in this mgt team to develop young talent. Its the only thing Cash doesn’t do well IMO.

      I wish we all knew what the Yanks breakeven point (i.e. Income before taxes). If the team et al was throwing off 300 mil per year, I’d have no problem wanting them to resign Cano and sign a few FA to try and contend next year.

      If they aren’t as profitable, I wouldn’t bitch about breaking down the team next year. I do think if the Yanks rebuild next year, the network ratings and attendance will be ugly. I don’t know which would be worse for them.

  • Frank

    If there’s any truth to the news that recently came out about Cashman being over-ruled on the Soriano trade, then that’s a problem and it needs to be resolved before they can move forward. Otherwise, with everyone not on the same page, this team (and organization) will just be spinning their wheels.

  • PghPinstripes

    Cano would be the ultimate rental, if you go that direction! I bet the Braves would trade the farm to replace Uggla with Cano. It might even make them favorites to win the WS (yech!)

    http://www.minorleagueball.com.....-in-review

  • JLC 776

    This thread is turning into Mogadishu. Enter and comment at your own risk.

  • RetroRob

    The great Yankee teams of the mid-90s that fueled nearly 20 years of non-stop winning were built on the back of the early 90s collapse. That collapse wasn’t quite planned, but when faced with the reality of where the team stood they embraced it and turned it into something great.

    They are in much better shape (in 2013) then those early 90′s teams were, but that can change rapidly, and frankly a collapse might be the best thing to happen to them since it will force a clear direction. As you noted, being in the middle is in some ways the worst thing.

    Yet if they do plan a rebuild, then they should trade Cano and Kuroda and any useful part they have now for prospects. I don’t see it happening.

    • Darren

      hahaha, they didn’t embrace the early 90s collapse! They had no choice. People like Greg Maddux wouldn’t sign and the Baby Bombers didn’t develop, except for Bernie and to a lesser extent, Leyritz. They counted on young players because that was all they had and it fuckign sucked. Wade Taylor, Kaminecki, Gerald Williams, Bam Bam, Azocar, and of course, Kevin Maas. None of them became more than average (at BEST) players.

      I’m really not in the mood to see shitty minor leaguers on the team for the next 5 years.

      • RetroRob

        Yes. We agree. They embraced it because that’s all they had.

        I experienced those teams, too, and would do it again if it set them up with a solid based. Derek Jeter is not on the Yankees in not for those suck-ass teams.

        As a fan, I’d rather experience another collapse than what they’re “building” now.

  • nycsportzfan

    I don’t think they have to rebuild completely. They just need to evaluate draft talent better, and hopefully that all started with the drafting of Jaigelo, Clarkin, Judge, and Katoh.. Thats a good start right there. I’d probably let cano walk, and scoop up yet another 1st rder, and then look to make smart deals like they did in the mid 90′s or so, when they brought Tino, Knoblauch, and Lloyd into the fold.

    Just gotta look for players that are being undervalued, ala Boone Logan and pounce.

    • Former ACE MannyGeee

      Tino, Knoblauch, and Lloyd were nice players to put on top of young homegrown superstar players…. NOT UNLIKE CANO.

  • adjusts batting gloves

    Thanks for this post, Mike. It’s a much better version of my reasoning in yesterday’s fan confidence poll. I gave the team a five precisely because it seems like the Yankees are at a crossroads. A few wrong moves here and there and we’re looking at an 85 win team for the next 10 years. Yikes.

  • Mister D

    And this was my biggest issue with the Soriano trade – not enough to put them in the mix this year, but a clear sign that they were unwilling to get quality chips for next year.

    The budget is currently hamstrung by 3 factors – over priced veterans (Jeter, ARod, soon Tex and CC) eating up too much payroll, the new CBA laying down harsher penalties for overspending, and the owners deciding to live by the new restrictions rather than shovel out even more cash to the rest of the league (and I can’t say I blame them).

    I just don’t see how they compete next season without at least one of those things giving way, which is why I was all for SELL NOW.

    As for Cano, I don’t see why we should sign him to a contract that will likely be too long, with the probability that he’ll be on the downslide by the time the team gets very good again. Better to let him make the most of what remains of his peak years.

  • Bill

    Let Cano walk….2-3 years from now he’ll be declining like a-rod anyway, why get stuck with an albatross contract for 2 or 3 years of good cano before he starts falling apart to stack with CC’s contract and declining performance, as well as Texiera’s and a-rods? No long term contracts for near future, trade what you can for whatever young talent you can get back, and start drafting good talent with the inevitable higher draft picks were gonna have….How do you think the mid-late 90’s dynasty was built? Steinbrenner got suspended, and Gene Michaels built up the farm system with great scouting, good young talent, and good drafting without Stienbrenner signing every declining old veteran to rediculous contracts he could…..time to rebuild….it happens to everyone, and we’ve had a good 2 decade long run of dominance…..

  • Former ACE MannyGeee

    I will admit that I am in the complete minority, so don’t bother telling me. But I would MUCH RATHER have this team go on the path of being on the fringe of a playoff berth every season and hope for a hot streak in October than roll the dice on a full blow up.

    Astros fans KNOW their season ends in September, we are only speculating that based on ‘teh Cashman SUX’ crowd and the ‘SELL SELL SELL’ guys. So yeah, considering the alternatives, I’ll take ‘stuck in the middle’.

    One could make the argument that the Giants teams that won their respective World Series were ‘stuck in the middle’ teams, but they had strong pitching and got hot at the right time. I’d rather take that chance.

    • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

      I’m with you.

    • jjyank

      I’m definitely with you there.

    • JLC 776

      Baseball is the epitome of ‘anything can happen in the playoffs’

      The worst teams in baseball are still going to win 60 games or so a year. They will still occasionally beat teams that will win 100 games or so a year. Any average team that makes the playoffs is capable of riding a hot streak just as any great team that makes the playoffs is capable of falling apart at the wrong time.

      The second wildcard is both wonderful and incredibly frustrating for this exact reason.

  • nsalem

    Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right

  • bob

    Yankees are a global brand. They have to maintain its value, whatever sentimentality or rationality to the contrary. They will get rid of the 189 and keep Canoe while rebuilding. Unless there are massive losses that only the bean counters and ownership knows, the best strategy is to stay global while appearing (and perhaps achieving) to be working on becoming actual contenders. It’s the appearance to the fanbase that drives the ship forward, not the satisfaction of we baseballers who might want a genuine re-build. And, not having to pay 25M, or whatever remains of the ARoid debacle, will help defray to cost of violating the self-imposed sacred ceiling, which is against their apparent interests in maintaining global recognition, advertising, merchandising revenues that come with the brand.

    • JLC 776

      Remember, Jay-Z made the “Yankee hat more famous than a Yankee can”. Or something like that.

      • bob

        Exactly!, cheers.

  • bob

    Blow ups are massively risky and the loss in interest and attendance with the loss of Cano and Mariano and (obviously A-Rod) and (soon) Jeter will equal or far outweigh the problem of violating the sacred 189. Perhaps Prokharov should be invited in as a partner. And, if a rebuild is what you want, do you still want CASH-man as its overseer?

  • nsalem

    good stuff bob

    • bob

      thanks, nsalem!

  • Bubba

    They are already in the middle. The wild card is in easy sight but they probably not good enough to get it. Adding a few more pieces might help. What’s the goal, getting to the playoffs or building a championship team? If just getting to the playoffs is the goal, add some pieces and it stands a decent chance of happening. We might make some noise in the playoffs but probably not. If building a championship team is the goal, take your medicine and rebuild. The current system makes it very difficult to have a dynasty.

  • Nathan

    Why aren’t the Yankees in on pitching during the trade deadline? Really it’s Kuroda and that’s it. Behind him are CC and Hughes, who have been equally bad, and a not very good Andy.

    As bad as the offense is, pitching hasn’t been much better. They could use some help.

    And for avoiding the middle, I wish they would be the Yankees of old and just YOLO it. (Sorry, drove my teenage cousins all weekend and picked that up.)

  • Matt

    I was against the A-rod re-signing when that happened, and I am against tying up mega-millions with Cano now. No one, not A-rod, not Albert Pujols, not Babe Ruth, is worth that kind of money over that long a term.

    I would trade Robbie now, and whomever else we can get good value for. The team has been limping along the last several years, and keeping Cano while filling in bit parts around him will lead to the same results we’ve already had.

    The Yankees helped create the megabuck contract craze, and it’s time they started to help bring things back.

  • YanksFan

    I have no problems where the NYY are at this moment. They are going with vets on short contracts waiting for the prospects to come up. Who knows how these prospects will do is the question BUT realize that all teams have those same questions.

    They traded a lottery ticket for Soriano, not a blue chip. That’s what you should do. He’s not even in the top 20 of their lists.

    Next year you have Sori/Wells/Ichiro at a combined 13M. What is the going rate for an OF/DH/backup OF going for these days to put that money in context. That means they play for the NYY or are real easy to trade.

    With 189 p/r you can have 3 or 4 high priced players. The only albatross contract really is ARods. If he’s gone, there are no issues for next year’s team.

    The big question is the pitching. Can they re-sign Kuroda? Does Pineda become a number 3 at worse? Which Nova is the real one? You hang around the WC teams, than anything is possible.

    Were the Cards or Giants the best team when they won? HELL NO. Was Cleveland or the Tigers better than the NYY when they won? HELL NO. You get into the WC/ALDS anything can happen.

  • Art Vandelay

    I predict Alex will sue MLB claiming their anti trust exemption contributed to a hostile work environment (buying witnesses). Alex wins and MLB loses their exemption and goes bankrupt.

  • Wedge

    You have to wonder if ownership even really cares about the wins and losses just as long as they are making money. Is Cashman still the GM because ownership believes he is competent or just because someone needs to fill the position. The organization is now a corporation. Ownership is worried about getting tourists to the stadium and doesn’t seem to care if the real fans are left behind. Concerts, college football, hockey, soccer and other partnerships are the only times that ownership are visable any more. It’s easy to get the sense that yankee baseball is no longer their priority. If they think throwing some money at Cano and not addressing the real issues will make fans happy they are seriously mistaken.