Levine discusses Cano, injuries, payroll

Thoughts following the back-to-back wins over the Orioles
Update: Nova feels good following between-starts bullpen

I’m sure you’ve all heard Randy Levine’s most recent remarks.  A couple days ago, he told Mark Feinsand of the Daily News that Robinson Cano was not guaranteed to return next season as a Yankee if the price went too high, and then followed that up with some other remarks.  Here are the quotes along with my two cents.

“Robinson Cano is a great player. … We will sit down and talk to him. Hopefully he’s a Yankee. Nobody is a re-sign at all costs, but we want him back and we feel good about negotiating something with him. But nobody is a re-sign at any cost.”

Randy makes an absolutely valid point.  No one should be deemed a “re-sign at any cost” type of player (except for maybe Mike Trout at this point), even if they are a player that the team hopes to retain.  Personally, I hope Cano returns, but only if the agreement is sensible for the team too.  As great as he is, I don’t want to see something outrageous like ten years, $250M.  No matter what, Robinson is going to get paid.  You don’t have to fret about his future or that of his family.

That said, why is Randy Levine chiming in on this at all?  How does this help contract discussions down the road in any way?  I’m sure Brian Cashman (and by extension, ownership) has a good idea of how they value Cano relative to the rest of the league.  Conversely, I’m sure Roc Nation Sports has an idea of what they’re seeking for their first major client.  I don’t see how Levine fits into the mix.  Let the conversations happen before publicizing opinions please.

“The fact of the matter is, the reason this season has taken some bumps is because we have had an incredible amount of injuries … When our players are together and they’re playing, which has been very rare, the team has been very successful. Since the All-Star Game, we have had one of the best records in Major League Baseball.”

The injuries are certainly a major factor in this year’s struggles.  That said, that’s not the only reason this team has experienced some “bumps.”  Many of the woes this team has experienced were self-inflicted after a very underwhelming off season and trade deadline.  Also, in the spirit of fact-checking outrageous claims, the Yankees are 26-24 since the All Star Break and decidedly not one of the best teams in Major League Baseball.

“Take a look at this year; payroll has never translated into winning. What translates into winning is great talent … If you look at this year, some great stories; the Oakland A’s, Pittsburgh Pirates, low payroll teams right in there, possible championship caliber teams. We are taking a look at getting down to 189 (million), which has got tremendous financial incentives under the new collective bargaining agreement. But as Hal Steinbrenner has consistently said and as I have said, it has to be consistent with maintaining a championship team.

At 189, I think we would have the second-highest payroll in baseball. That is a lot of money. We will see what happens at the end of the year. The bottom line is the philosophy of this organization is do whatever it can to win the World Series. That’s what the Boss instituted years ago, and nothing has changed.”

See this is where the Yankees go all Billy Beane and try to reinvent the game using pennies on the dollar.  Look, if the team wants to maximize profits, that’s absolutely fine.  Frankly it’s the franchise’s prerogative.  We as fans may not appreciate that line of reasoning, but we can at least comprehend it.  Baseball is a business, and the Yankees are looking to increase profit.  Don’t feed us crap on top of it though.  Make the moves and just call it for what it is.

$189M is still a very respectable payroll, and it definitely should be competitive with the rest of the league.  Of course, it would have been ideal if the team had phased out some of their uglier contracts a bit more smoothly and tried to sign players to smarter deals heading forward — in other words, gradually reach that $189M objective.  Instead, the team implemented an untimely austerity budget during a period when every other team in baseball seems to be upping its spending.

Also, regarding the Oakland A’s and Pittsburgh Pirates, they are certainly feel good stories (and low budget teams).  Of course, I don’t think the folks in Boston, Los Angeles, Texas, or St. Louis are feeling all that lousy about themselves at the moment either.

Thoughts following the back-to-back wins over the Orioles
Update: Nova feels good following between-starts bullpen
  • Frank Costanza

    “Also, in the spirit of fact-checking outrageous claims, the Yankees are 26-24 since the All Star Break and decidedly not one of the best teams in Major League Baseball.”

    That’s awesome. So in other words, STFU Randy Levine.

    • Jason

      No, Randy must have researched those statistics thoroughly. Almost all of the teams in MLB actually have losing records since the All-Star Game.

    • RetroRob

      In fairness, a season is not the most recent 50 games. They are a team that is in contention as we roll into the last few weeks of the season.

      Does that make them one of the best team in MLB? I guess it depends on how one defines “best”. To me, no, they are not one of the best teams, as that would imply one of the five or six best teams. That is not the Yankees this year.

  • http://RiverAvenueBlues Ken

    In my opinion Levine’s remarks are foolish and untimely. He needs to be quiet. Nonsense.

  • YankeeGrunt

    I read Levine’s initial comment as an oblique warning toward Cano’s agents that there will be no repeat of the A-Rod fiasco, that they cannot go over the head of a recalcitrant Brian Cashman to Levine and the Steinbrothers. If that is all it is, I think it’s a pretty reasonable thing to say, no matter how much I dislike Levine.

    • Frank Costanza

      Recalcitrant. My goal for the rest of the day is to find a way to use that in a sentence.

      • ropeadope

        Kramer is such a recalcitrant individual. If he acquiesced with my “manssiere” designation, we’d have made a fortune. No, he needed to call it a “bro.” Typical recalcitrant Kramer.

  • the Other Steve S.

    I swear I do not understand how the new lux-tax protocol went into effect without any consideration of grandfathering in existing contracts.

    It’s entirely possible the A-Rod/Sabathia/Tex contracts would not have happened the way it did if they had known about how it would bear on the team later. Lots of other contracts would fit in here as well. Maybe the old high-dollar deals should count at the ‘Qualified Offer’ level.

    Instead of counting $25 million for ARod next year, make it the $15MM or so that a QO number would be. I hear so much chatter everywhere about fairness but this seems totally rigged to me. Or maybe that’s what it is supposed to be.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      That would have been sensible, wouldn’t it?

      I think we’ve said all there is to possibly say about 189 otherwise.

    • vicki

      a grandfather clause would’ve defeated the punitive purpose; to wit, to handcuff the yankees.

    • YankeeGrunt

      They knew they would contend with a new CBA that was likely to change some of the salary/luxury tax structure. Just as they anticipated changes to the draft and IFA and limited some of their spending, they could have done the same with salary.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    A bunch of hot air.

    I’ll judge on what they wind up doing, not what Randy has to say because Feinsand sat in front of him with a pen and pad.

  • mike

    I hope randy looks down the hall at Cashman for this……Pittsburgh has Cole pitching for them right now, and all of those teams ( including Boston) have developed quality, contributing players at the ML…and some superstars in the last 8 years as well.

    its time we stop blaming Hank for Arod while praising Cashman for pilfering Swisher, and look at the moves and signings made in the light of day….especially as it seems the crown jewel of his ML over the last 6-7 years (Montero) was juicing, and all of the “star” position players ( Slade, mason, sanchez) has publicized attitude problems.

    Thank goodness he was able to bribe a former steroid user ( pettite) out of retirement and keep a 43 y/o closer around for $200,000/ inning pitched

    • nyyankfan_7

      You seem angry…..

      • BFDeal

        and full of misinformation.

    • CS Yankee

      1) NYY drafted Cole, he decided to bang UCLA cheerleaders instead.
      2) NYY have developed quality contribiting players as well…not all of them are currently employed by the NYY.
      3) Hank should be blamed evey single day Arod is employed. He outbid himself likely to the tune of 100M$.
      4) Cash was ninja in regards to Swish and didn’t overpay for him like the Tribe did.
      5) He hid Montero and extracted good value for him. The trade is currently a double-bust but he needed a young stud arm…injuries happen.
      6) What mind probe technology on attitude exists for Cash to utilize? They generally don’t draft like the Pats and Raiders and look at the thugs that the Rays have drafted…it happens.
      7) You define bribe in a weird way to a player you can’t even spell correctly…Pettitte, the dude who has been money the last four weeks.

      They do make some silly decisions…like letting Martin go a few months after they offered him a 3-year deal. Money can cover a lot of sins in this game, but unreal comments like yours make them look like Einstein.

    • Coolerking101

      Cole not signing is Cashman’s fault? Is it Cashman’s fault it rained today too?

  • mick taylor

    how come yanks never play at home on 9/11 since 2001/

    • Mickey Scheister

      I don’t think it’s an accident, it has to be by design.

  • RetroRob

    I think many Yankee fans take Levine’s comments, Hal’s comments, Cashman’s comments all way too literally.

    As for Plan 189, yes that is plenty of money for most teams. Yet it ignores that the Yankees have tons of ageing players on the team, and in order to keep the team competitive, new and younger free agents need to be added to the mix to keep the treadmill going. The Yankees having the aging and in-decline players as part of Plan 189, but they have not been adding in new pieces as they always have in the past. That leads to still-expensive payroll that will get worse every year.

    Yet, the Yankees know this. They’re stating it because they are following some other plan that they don’t want to clearly articulate.

  • nycsportzfan

    I don’t like him going public with his feelings on the up coming Cano contract, but i absoulutley agree with him. I love Cano, but teams get crippled with these type contracts and were barley able to move as it is, let alone if we add 200plus million to the payroll.

    • RetroRob

      A little bit of posturing is my guess. They know it will be a tough negotiation, but all indications are the Yankees want Cano back and Cano wants to be on the Yankees. It’s finding the price. The main fear is if some team comes in and offers him a ten-year deal for $250 million. Even if the Yankees want him back, they would have to walk away.

      Yet with all the old-guard retiring, and now even the Captain’s future in question, I’m sure the front office would like to lock up Cano. He is a home grown player building a potential HOF career. They’ll want to build their brand around someone with the Core Four about to drop like flies.

  • Coolerking101

    I’m not willing to buy the 189 figure thing just yet. It’s a good bargaining chip to use in the Cano negotiations when he pretends to be insulted when the Yanks don’t offer him A-Rod money. I assume Levine’s comments are nothing more than posturing for those negotiations.

  • https://twitter.com/KramerIndustry Kramerica Industries

    So, stop me if you’ve heard this before:

    Final game of a series with the Orioles, and a Yankee victory means they exit the series 1.5 ahead of the Orioles in the standings, while a loss means they exit .5 behind the Orioles.

    This is an atonement game. The Yankees can erase the irritating memory of those two blown chances to sweep the Orioles if they can grab the W tonight.

    This is a tiebreaking game. The winner of this game wins the season series, and that means any tiebreaking games go to that team’s home stadium. Remember the ALDS last year? The Yankees had Game 5 at home, and they won that game. In a winner-take-all scenario, be it against the Orioles or anyone, we want the Yankees to have that crucial game take place in their home stadium. A win tonight would give them that right in any tiebreaking game (or even the wild card game) over Baltimore.

    This is a potential movement game. If the Yankees win tonight, they might move into a virtual tie with Tampa Bay in that second wild card spot, and also move within two games of idle Texas for the first wild card spot. The winner of this game will stand a much better chance of reaching the playoffs than the loser of this game.

    This is a “wash away a bad season in a fell swoop” game. Phil Hughes can erase a lot of the wretched starts he’s had, in the minds of fans and players alike, if he can step up tonight and throw a 6-7 inning, 2 run or less performance tonight on a big stage, on the road, against a fellow division rival and playoff competitor.

    It’s all there in front for the Yankees to grab at this point. All they need to do now is actually grab it. Go forth.

    • https://twitter.com/KramerIndustry Kramerica Industries

      dumbass, wrong thread. Lets fix that.

  • Batsman

    “Many of the woes this team has experienced were self-inflicted after a very underwhelming off season and trade deadline.” – Mike Axisa

    That’s not exactly true.

    The Yankees despite injuries to the majority of their starters climbed to first place in May in time for key injured players to return. Unfortunately those players got re-injured and thus backups had to play. I know Axisa has “Mangasms” over some former 2012 Yankees, but the way this season has gone, those players (Swisher, Martin, Chavez, etc….) would have all found their way to the disabled list too. Therefore it is not possible for a baseball team, including the New York Yankees, to have two “A” Teams to prepare for the loss of one. It is not possible or even reasonable to do so.

    Too bad Axisa can’t see that.

    • http://riveraveblues.com Matt Warden

      1. Please note that you’re not actually quoting Mike. It’s me, Matt, who wrote this post.

      2. You’re right to some extent. If the team retained guys like Martin or Swisher, there’s no telling whether they would have been injured or not. However, I think many of us would have felt more confident heading into the season with them then with the alternatives. There moves (or non-moves) an usual amount of injuries have made for a lot of struggling.

      3. I don’t know what you mean with the statement “…to have two ‘A’ teams to prepare for the loss of one.” Please elaborate.

      • http://riveraveblues.com Matthew Warden

        *last sentence of #2 should read: Their moves (or non-moves) in addition to an unusual amount of injuries…