Mailbag: Soriano, A-Rod, Pineda, Jeter, Cashman

Avelino's huge game leads GCL Yankees to win over hated rival GCL Yankees
A-Rod considering plea deal, suspension may not come until Monday

Five whole questions for you today. Use the Submit A Tip box in the sidebar to send us anything throughout the week, mailbag questions or otherwise.

Soriano was a great Yankee. But A-Rod was better. (AP)
Soriano was a great Yankee. But A-Rod was better. (AP)

Nathan: Looking at their stats since the trade, Alex Rodriguez and Alfonso Soriano aren’t too far apart. In retrospect, would you still have made that trade? A-Rod has the better stats but has been the bigger headache.

First, the side-by-side comparison (2004-present):

G AVG OBP SLG wRC+ HR SB K% BB% fWAR bWAR
A-Rod 1249 0.292 0.387 0.538 143 302 141 18.9% 12.0% 48.9 52.0
Soriano 1354 0.268 0.321 0.504 110 292 159 21.4% 6.5% 28.1 17.7

A-Rod was the far better player because he was a better hitter and a better defender at a tougher position. Does the headache, which really only became truly insufferable these last few weeks (at least to me), outweigh the production? I definitely don’t think so. The Rodriguez-Soriano trade worked out marvelously for the Yankees. It’s the new ten-year contract they gave Alex after 2007 that has been mostly a nightmare. The 2009 World Series does still counts for something.

Bruce asks: Why is Michael Pineda still only throwing four innings a start?

The Yankees say it’s “innings management,” and it makes sense they would try to limit his workload following shoulder surgery. He did throw six full innings in his third minor league rehab game (with Double-A Trenton), but since reaching Triple-A Scranton he has yet to throw more than five innings and 86 pitches. The last two starts have been limited to three innings (41 pitches) and four innings (58 pitches).

Pineda has thrown 39 innings in nine official minor league games this year. That doesn’t count all the simulated and Extended Spring Training games though, and there were a ton of those as you probably remember. I’m guessing they want to limit him to about 100 innings or so (hooray round numbers!) this season, and want to make sure there are some left for the big league team in September. Pineda’s has already been down long enough to delay his free agency a year, so that’s not a concern. I prefer flat out skipping starts to short starts to control innings, but the Yankees obviously feel differently. I’m sure Pineda will be allowed to start pitching deeper into the game in the coming weeks.

Sal asks: Based on the way Derek Jeter‘s Yankee Lifelong Legend Legacy is going, and with all kinds of earning potential out there for him even after he retires (corporate sponsorships and maybe even buying a stake in the Yankees), do you think he can end up with more lifetime earnings from the game of baseball than, uh, you know where I’m going with this … Alex?

(AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
(AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

According to Baseball-Reference, A-Rod is baseball’s all-time career earnings leader at $353.4M. Jeter is second at … $253.2M. That’s a nine-figure gap between first and second place. Geez. Keep in mind that Alex still has four years and $86M left on his contract after this season while the Cap’n just has a $9M player option for 2014. Given what feels like an inevitable Biogenesis-related suspension, A-Rod probably won’t see all of that $86M. He’ll probably still get a nice chunk of it though, so the career earnings gap will only widen.

I am completely out of my element when it comes to sponsorships and ownership stakes; I have no idea how lucrative that stuff can be outside of “very.” Forbes has Jeter at $9M in endorsements (Nike, Ford, Gillette, etc.) this year and A-Rod at just $0.5M. We’ve seen him in ads for Nike and Pepsi, among other stuff, in the past. I have to think Alex’s endorsements well will dry up following the Biogenesis stuff, but will that be enough to allow Jeter to pass him in career earnings over the time? It’s possible, especially if he does wind up purchasing a stake in the team, but he’s got a ton of ground to make up.

Mike asks: Does the Yankees being in 4th place make the waiver market at least slightly more favorite than in years past? Seems like there has been times where another team behind them was able to block a player from getting to them, now will they have easier access to players they want and can they now block players from getting to Boston, Tampa, or Baltimore?

Sure, being this low in the standings will definitely help the Yankees on the waiver trade market. Of course, I wish the team was higher in the standings and didn’t need the players, but that’s not the case. The Yankees have waiver priority over all of their wildcard competitors (Orioles, Indians, Rangers, Royals), meaning they’ll get first crack at whoever is on waivers. That means they can both block players and trade for them, if they want. It’s a nice consolation prize and could be helpful at some point.

Shaun asks: It may be to early to speculate, but do you see ownership’s trend of going above Brian Cashman being a problem with Cashman’s next contract? I know autonomy was a big deal to him during previous negotiations. If anything, ownership is making it more difficult to get under the $189 threshold.

Eh, I doubt it. Cashman knows how the Steinbrenner’s operate, and I believe even he said there is no such thing as true autonomy at the GM level. Besides, he signed his most recent contract after the Rafael Soriano signing. Hal is much less meddlesome than his father, though I suppose Cashman could be sick of it after 15 (!) years on the job. Ownership has gone over his head quite a bit these last few years, but it would surprise me if that was a big problem for him going forward.

That said, I do think this is Cashman’s last contract as Yankees GM. I’m pretty sure I’ve said this before. His current deal expires after next season, at which point I think he will be promoted to some other position. The “President of Baseball Ops” position the Cubs made up for Theo Epstein sounds nice. The Nationals just promoted GM Mike Rizzo to that just yesterday, so it’s already a trend. Cashman will have been the GM for 16 years when his deal is up, and a promotion is the natural order of things at that point. It appears as though former pro scouting director and current assistant GM Billy Eppler is being groomed to take over sometime soon, or at least he’s the only obvious in-house successor. I would be surprised if the Yankees brought in a new GM from the outside and threw them to the wolves. Experience and familiarity with the New York market would be a prerequisite.

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Avelino's huge game leads GCL Yankees to win over hated rival GCL Yankees
A-Rod considering plea deal, suspension may not come until Monday
  • SteveO

    I am the only one who always remembers that August 2nd is the day Thurman Munson died?

    • Robinson Tilapia

      I always remember after the date, never on it or before it.

    • Pseudoyanks

      I’m always reminded on the date with plenty of time to show reverence. That was my first FULL (all the way from Pitchers & Catchers reporting to Spring Training) season as a Yankee fanatic.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        It’s one of my first actual memories of watching baseball.

        • Pseudoyanks

          ’69 Mets but not really sure if they are real memories or subconscious concoctions that developed later (this often happens when you look at very old pictures and build your “memories” around those pictures.)

          • Robinson Tilapia

            I remember the announcement before the game. That’s about it. After that, I remember an Eric Solderholm at-bat from ’80, and that’s mostly because I was old enough to actually be able to read the name on the screen.

            I’d like to think I remember ’78, but I’m probably just fooling myself.

        • Cool Lester Smooth

          My first is watching the WTC flag be unfurled on the field during the World Series.

          Yeah, I kinda missed the fun part.

    • JohnC

      I definitely remember what today is. Was at the game the following night when Cardinal Cooke performed the memorial service. I cried my eyes out seeing his picture on the bog screen and home plate empty

      • Pseudoyanks

        And what a game it was….Thank you Bobby Murcer.

    • trr

      No, I remember that day, where I was, etc…
      Kinda like wheen people say they remember where they were when Kennedy was shot

      • Former ACE MannyGeee

        Fun fact: My b-day is November 22, which is the day Kennedy was shot. MY son’s birthday is July 22, the day they recovered JFK Jrs body.

        Jus sayin…

        • Cool Lester Smooth

          The Kennedys better be on watch for when your kid has a son.

    • steves

      I remember it all too well. I was a few miles from the Akron/Canton airport that day (was teaching undergraduate classes at Akron U and Kent State at that time while going for my graduate degree from Kent). I cancelled my classes for the next day.

    • Jan

      I always remember. That was a very sad day.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    I’ve always agreed with your assessment of where Cashman is headed, Mike. I also believe this is his last contract, and that he steps aside for a different voice while remaining with the organization. I’m also glad you offered some needed perspective as to what it means to be the middle manager, what “autonomy” means sometimes, and how it’s still worlds different than working for Papa Bear.

    I trust what they’re doing with Pineda. We’ve had no choice but to settle in for the long haul with him. At least we don’t have the guy facing the 50-game suspension before he’s even come close to establishing himself as an MLB player.

    I do think something of note happens through the waiver wire for the team. We may not have seen the last of Michael Young.

    • Pseudoyanks

      Cash for Presidente de Cuban Scouting.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Changes name to “Brian Castro.”

        • Pseudoyanks

          Give that man a Cigar.

  • Bavarian Yankee

    hey Mike, you forgot to mention that Seinfeld-money O’Neill is talking about all the time. Jeter gets some of those too! If that Episode airs often enough I’m sure Jeter will pass A-Rod in earnings in about … 50,000 years!

  • Different Josh

    I’m confused as to what VP of Baseball Operations entails. Will he not be handling the day to day stuff anymore? Because everybody still refers to Theo as the one handling trades and signings.

  • JohnC

    THing is, Billy Eppler has worked under Cashman and been trained the same way. Is Eppler gonna be any better or will he inherit Cashman’s gun shy ways?

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Being trained under someone doesn’t make you the same as them. Do you have the same style as every one of your bosses, or people who mentored you along in whatever it is you do for a living? You learn. You decide what you want to do the same. You decide what you’d do differently if you were in charge.

      • The Real Greg

        Exactly

    • pat

      Gun shy?

      • YanksFan

        This was my first thought. Cash, from what we hear, talks to anyone & everyone. I think his problem in some people’s eyes are that his trades come out of nowhere. There are not too much in the way of factual rumors and then they announce the trades.

        Just because they did nothing outside of Sori this year does not mean he’s gun shy. He didn’t like the prices, which about 27 other teams didn’t either.

        • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

          One of my favorite $man moves was taking Crawford to dinner.

          Cashman is a hustler, baby…

  • CashmanSuxShit

    So now we’re going take a guy who should have been fired LONG ago and PROMOTE him?!

    What a brilliant, well-run organization.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      No subtlety with this one.

    • jjyank

      Do you want ants?

      • Cool Lester Smooth

        Sweet and sour sauce on the carpet.

  • Stephen

    Kim Ng for GM!

    • Robinson Tilapia

      It’d be nice if she got a job, wouldn’t it? Then again, I do believe she works for the league now.

      • Pseudoyanks

        She was always described as a Procedure Wonk. Knew the “Front Office Rule Book” better than anyone. Not sure that also means she’d be a great GM (Dealmaking, Babysitting, etc.) Also, I really do think there is huge value in the GM being a lifelong baseball person who can utilize “scouting abilities” of their own in addition to relying on scouts.

        • http://www.twitter.com/thewallbreakers Scully

          Definitely see your point, although she’s been working in some baseball capacity since 1995 and does have that experience with the Yanks.

  • pat

    I think they want to get Pineda back into the habit of taking the ball every 5 days. I can’t say whether a series of abbreviated starts or skipping starts is a better method of rehabbing, but I can see the merit in both.

  • JLC 776

    So where’s our ‘ARod/Biogenesis’ post for the day? Lots of stuff to bitch about there!

  • Bats

    “would you still have made that trade?” The answer is easy…YES. Given the fact that the Rangers were paying of Arod’s salary, it was a no-brainer.

    However, the re-signing of Arod for the current contract is questionable, since the results only yielded one World Championship in a 5 year span.

    • Steve (different one)

      Not that I disagree with the overall premise re: ARod’s contract, but I would sign up for 1 championship every 5 years for the rest of my life in a cocaine heartbeat…

      • Cool Lester Smooth

        Yeah, ONLY one World Championship in a 5 year span?

        Textbook Yankees Fan entitlement, ladies and gentlemen.

      • Now Batting

        I wouldn’t. That’s slower than their historical pace.

        • Steve (different one)

          there were also only 8 teams in each league and the end of the season went right to the WS for many of those titles…

  • John Minetola

    Steve:

    You and I have something in common. August 2 is a sad day for me for two reasons: Thurmon Munson’s tragic death in 1979 and my Mom’s passing on August 2, 1989. I will never forget being at Yankee Stadium for a double-header vs. the Oakland Athletics back in 1969 when Thurman Munson was introduced as the Yankees starting catcher in Game 2. Some sitting around me made fun of the name Thurman. Little did they know that he would be the anchor, (not Reggie), to those championship teams in ’77 and ’78. The ultimate clutch hitter when you needed it most.

  • Robert

    Is it true that the head of the Carribean scouting dept. is Hank’s brother in law?

    • nsalem

      Yes, He was also Hank’s sisters gardner and a member of The Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, Only in America.

      • SDB

        Was he a Stonecutter too?

        • NYinTX

          +742

        • nsalem

          Quite possibly, he has technical degrees in construction.

  • nsalem

    I think that MLB may have overplayed their hand with this suspension for life business pertaining to A-Rod. It’s starting to seem like a vendetta and stealing the attention from the game itself. When using terms like not in the best interest of baseball, they should take a nice long look in the mirror. A-Rod has definitely made his mistakes, but they are the ones shining the spotlight on it.

  • Cool Lester Smooth

    Vis a vis Soriano and A-Rod, Sori was worth 9.1 fWAR during the three years of team control the Yanks traded. A-Rod was worth 29 fWAR during the 4 years of team control the Yanks traded for, including 9.6 in 2007.

    It really isn’t close.

    • Preston

      I think it’s better stated in dollar value, in his three remaining years of team control fangraphs has him being worth 9.4 million in surplus value. In Rodriguez’s first four years with the Yankees he was worth 34.7 million in surplus value over the 15 million per the Yankees were paying him. Funny to notice that the money that changed hands is what made the Yankees the winners.

  • Winter

    So what is the job description for the “President of Baseball Ops” and will
    Cashman be able to continue failing in that position? Because I feel like I might experience a minor existential crisis without #CashmanFailed.

  • YanksFan

    I’m not so sure DJ hasn’t earned more money than A-rod. He’s 100M short but is making 8.5M more this year. That’s 85M over 10 years. Their earnings are just their baseball salaries. How about their career endorsements. It’s been forever with Jeter and I would guess he made more, if not significantly more, each year. Since he’s been a NYY what has A-rod done for endorsements?