Mailbag: Beltran, Gomes, Payroll, Ethier, Arroyo

Sanchez: White Sox agree to sign Jose Abreu for $68M
What Went Wrong: Travis Hafner

Eight questions and seven answers this week, so let’s do this rapid fire style. Remember to use the Submit A Tip box in the sidebar to send us whatever throughout the week.


Vinny asks: Who would you rather have in right field next year, Carlos Beltran or Curtis Granderson?

In a vacuum, Beltran. No doubt about it. But this isn’t a vacuum. In reality, we’re talking about Beltran and a 30-something overall draft pick or Granderson and the 18th overall pick. There’s also the contract size to consider. I think Beltran winds up with a similar deal to the one he has now, meaning two years and $26M or so. Granderson could wind up with three years and $39-45M. Something like that. Injury history (Beltran’s knees vs. Granderson’s fluky hit-by-pitches), potential age-related decline (Beltran is four years older than Granderson), and the team’s current situation (are they really good enough to win during Beltran’s two years?) all have to be considered. I’d take Beltran though, the difference between the 18th pick and a 30-something pick is pretty small.

Bill asks: How much do you think a pitcher can theoretically make or lose based on a few postseason starts? Take Ricky Nolasco the other night. Would an eight-inning, 11-strikeout game have given him a different label going into this offseason and been worth that much more?

Unless a guy gets hurt, very small. Remember, C.J. Wilson was awful for the Rangers during the 2011 postseason (5.79 ERA and 6.31 FIP in 28 innings) and it didn’t matter at all. He still got a very fair contract and reportedly turned down even more money from the Marlins to sign with the Angels. Maybe a history of good or bad postseason performance would affect a player’s market value, but I don’t think one individual postseason or series or start would. Teams are too smart to let one game change their valuation of a player that much.

Mark asks: Not that more payroll is the answer to the Yankees’ problems, but say hypothetically they were to win the World Series with a 2014 team payroll of say $210 million, would the increased television ratings, higher attendance and playoff ticket revenue make a major dent in the luxury tax they would be assessed for going over their $189 million target? Not sure if this is calculable or not, but it seems like it sure bears some serious discussion if I were them.

A $210M payroll means they’d be paying an extra $31.5M compared to staying under the luxury tax threshold ($21M in overages plus $10.5M in tax). Vince Gennaro’s work has shown that simply making the postseason is worth about $40M in increased revenue for the Yankees while winning the World Series is worth about $70M. His study and calculations were done in 2007, before the new Yankee Stadium opened and baseball’s economics changed with the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement. I have to think those $40M and $70M figures are a bit light these days. So yes, I feel very comfortable saying winning the World Series with a $210M payroll is far more lucrative than not making the postseason with a $189M payroll. Far, far more lucrative. Of course, they could always win a title at $189M. I’m sure the Yankees have run their own numbers. They aren’t doing this on a whim.

(Joe Robbins/Getty)
(Joe Robbins/Getty)

Sean asks: With the emergence of Yan Gomes as the everyday catcher, do you think the Indians would be willing to deal Carlos Santana?  I know they’ve used him at first-base and at DH, but Santana has apparently made it clear that he wants to play behind the plate.  What sort of package do you think we’re looking at for the Yanks to land him?  Do you think he’s a better option than signing Brian McCann?

Guilherme asks: I want to know what you guys think about Yan Gomes. Would he be a fit? For what the Indians would be willing to trade him?

Might as well lump these two together. I do think there’s a chance the Indians will be open to trading either Santana or Gomes for pitching help this winter, and I suppose the choice between the two may come down to the offers. Santana is far more established but more expensive (owed $17.75M through 2016 with an option for 2017) while Gomes has five years of team control and only 300 or so awesome plate appearances to his credit. Unless the Indians love them some David Phelps or Michael Pineda, I’m not sure what the Yankees could give them for Santana or Gomes aside from Ivan Nova. I’d happily take either catcher though. Backstops who can actually hit (!) and are under contract/control at an affordable rate for another few years are a super hot commodity.

Joey asks: When a scout is evaluating prospects, do they ever take what organization he is in in to consideration? What I mean by that is if the Yankees struggle to develop SP and the Rays crank them out year after year, will the scout look at the player and assume the Yankees can’t develop this guy in to a SP where maybe they says the Rays can?

They shouldn’t. The scout is evaluating a player’s package of tools and those don’t change from organization to organization. Scouts might look at a player and know their organization has a chance to help him develop more than another, but I don’t think that would change his evaluation. Gary Sanchez‘s physically ability is Gary Sanchez’s physical ability whether he’s a Yankee or a Twin or a Padre.

(Joe Robbins/Getty)
(Joe Robbins/Getty)

Brad asks: What are your thoughts on going after Bronson Arroyo this winter? He’s an innings-eater and he’s had experience in the AL East. I think we need a veteran arm to round out the rotation, especially if Hiroki Kuroda retires.

No way. It’s been a long time since Arroyo pitched in the AL East and he isn’t close to the same pitcher anymore. Over the last three seasons, he has a 5.52 K/9 (15.1%), a 1.43 BB/9 (14.0% HR/FB), and the fifth slowest non-knuckleballer fastball in baseball (86.6 mph). There’s a small chance three of the four guys ahead of him (Barry Zito, Shaun Marcum, Jeff Francis) will never throw another big league pitch. (Mark Buehrle is the other.) On top of all of that, Arroyo wants a multi-year contract. Innings are good, you need guys to soak up some innings, but I have no interest in bringing a soon-to-be 37-year-old guy with fringe stuff into the AL East and a small ballpark.

Kevin asks: Doesn’t Andre Ethier make sense if the Dodgers are willing to eat some salary and make him, say, a $7M player? He gets on base and doesn’t strike out that much and can take advantage of right field. I know he’s not any good on defense but they could pair him with someone like Justin Ruggiano and have one of the most productive corner outfields in the league.

Spending $7M on an injury-prone DH doesn’t sound like a great idea. Ethier has consistently been a 120-ish wRC+ player throughout his career but he can’t hit lefties at all (73 wRC+ this year and 67 wRC+ since 2011) and is a major defensive liability. I suppose you could hide him in right field for another year or two, but he’s already 31 and will turn 32 right around Opening Day. Ethier can mash righties and there is definitely a spot for him in the Yankees lineup, but that’s an awful lot of money — he is under contract through 2017, remember, so you’re essentially talking about a four-year, $28M contract if the Dodgers eat enough salary to make him a $7M a year player — for a very limited player. With payroll coming down, I’m more than happy to continue dumpster diving for Raul Ibanez types to fill that DH spot. I think that’s the last place the Yankees should commit huge bucks.

Sanchez: White Sox agree to sign Jose Abreu for $68M
What Went Wrong: Travis Hafner
  • tmoney

    Id much rather have Granderson and the #18 pick.

    • Algernon Blackwood


      • David McCann


  • Caballo Sin Nombre

    One other plus with Granderson is that there is a better chance he could be an above-average player at the end of the contract. Thus, being worth a QA and having the possibility of still getting the draft pick.

  •!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

    I was kind of surprised to see you say that there isn’t much difference between 18th and 30th in the draft. 18 seems pretty high, nice mid-round pick. Then I looked at who’s been picked at 18. Not a lot of good players, although Sonny Gray went 18 a couple years back.

    • tmoney

      Thnis year is supposed to be a very very deep draft. Beltran is what the Yankees don’t need. He has bad wheels is getting up there in age and is going to want two or three years. Pass in my opinion.

      • mike

        Judging by the history of Yankee dratees, Beltran’s war will be higher than anyone they will chose, and next year he will be a perfect compliment to a lineup without any righty hitters with pop.
        Granderson is a perfect player for the bottom half of the Yankee lineup, which is a luxury they cannot afford to have with their payroll considerations.
        In the old days the Yanks would rightfully have both players, and play soriano/granderson/Beltran with Gardner spelling each one according to matchups/injuries and have a monster outfield…

        • tmoney

          The Yankees have Soriano and Arod from the right side and Teix against lefties. Cano if resigned hits lefties reasonably well. In 2010 Beltran put up a war at his age 33 season. You can’t predict what he will do next year. No one can. But keep in mind he is going on 37 has bad knees, his defense is not what it used to be and his obp has dropped each of the last 3 years to a low of .339 this season. I still say pass.

          • mike

            IMO we really cant depend on Arod, either in terms of health or full-season performance, and logically the Yanks cant afford Beltran if Arod can play.
            Soriano is super-streaky, and the jury is out on Tex returning from a hand injury.
            we have all seen Cano’s struggles against lefties…and we know Beltran can deliver in the playoffs unlike all the players mentioned above.
            They should have signed him 7 years ago…and shouldnt pass the opportunity up again

            • Need Pitching & Hitting

              “we have all seen Cano’s struggles against lefties”

              291/356/432, 114 wRC+ this year
              290/240/450, 110 wRC+ career

              Not as good as he is against RHP, but not exactly struggling either.
              He struggled last year, and very early this year, before resuming his normal solid hitting.

      • JGYank

        Agree. Beltran is good, but if you want him why not just keep Granderson? Grandy is younger and fits YS very well. I can live with some Ks for a lot of HRs and walks in return. Beltran is probably a better player offensively, but with his injury history and age I think it’s worth keeping Grandy instead. I haven’t heard great things about Beltran defensively. Beltran is more likely to decline due to his age and get injured and probably can’t play everyday while Grandy is normally durable and you know what you will get from him. Plus with Beltran we get a lower pick and less money to spend in the draft. They should get around the same amount. Both seem to want to be in NY though so it’s our choice. Unless Grandy asks for too much, I’d go with him.

    • Mike Axisa

      There’s actually about a $500k difference in slot money between #18 and #30-35, which is significant. Historically though, the WAR return on the #18 pick isn’t all that different than the #40 pick. There’s a huge drop off from #1 to #2, then another huge drop off from #5 to #6. After #15 or so, the return is pretty steady.

      Of course, anything can happen in a given year. The best player in the draft could be taken at #18.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Thank you.

        If the Yanks were to go the route of Beltran, I’d like to think that this sort of analysis, plus an analysis of the actual draft pool itself, were in the decision-making process somewhere.

        I’m not treating the MLB draft like, say, the NBA draft, as I see many doing on the internet. However, I do think taking who, where, and how often you are picking, in order to replinish your system, has to be part of the equation if you’re looking to keep a strong system as the New York Yankees.

        •!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

          That’s the thing. I guess I was kind of looking at the draft from an NFL point of view before.. where there’s often a big difference in value from 18 to 30. Can’t look at it that way though. My opinion has swayed some from Grandy to Beltran.

          • Robinson Tilapia

            Even bigger in the NBA, where you’ve got two rounds and anything beyond the top 10 winds up being more of a crapshoot. That’s why I use the NBA as an example.

            You regularly find very good talent in the high/mid rounds in the NFL.

            •!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

              Agreed. The NBA draft is super top heavy.

              The NFL draft has this value chart..


              The difference between the value of the 18th and 30th picks is essentially a late second rounder. I haven’t seen one, but I imagine a similar chart for the NBA draft would be even more extreme.

      •!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

        Wow.. great stuff. Never really saw a breakdown like that on the value of the picks. Most interesting thing I’ve read today.

      • OhioYanks

        Because I say so! Come on, man, provide a link.

  • jedua

    Maybe Beltran isn’t the one that cost the draft pick. Brian McCann could be the one and i don’t mind giving a second round pick to get Beltran


    • JGNYC

      Kind of like when CC, Tex, and AJ were all signed in the same season. Being a Type A, each guy would’ve cost a first rounder to any individual team, but since the Yankees signed all three I believe it just cost them their first three picks. Can’t remember exactly, though.

      Does anyone know how the new rules have changed this?

      • Andy in Sunny Daytona

        You not only lose the pick, you lose the money attached to the pick, which can/will effect your entire draft.

      • OhioYanks

        Yes, you would still lose your first three rounders by signing all three in one off-season.


    I think I’d rather have neither while keeping both picks and get this rebuild moving along. Stock up with the draft for a few years and build up the system. Now’s the time to do it.

  • Kosmo

    if Granderson declines the QO and signs a 3-4 year deal elsewhere, then NY signs Beltran to a 2 year deal, although it is a gamble of sorts given Beltran´s age and gimpy knees it is one IMO worth taking.

    It was suggested via the rumor mill the Dodgers might be inclined to listen in on a deal for either Ethier or Kemp. Kemp has a mega deal that still has 125 mil attached to it. Teams might jump at the opportunity to land a player of Kemp´s ability, it would cost some good prospects with the Dodgers eating a portion of the contract. As it stands now Ethier given his age and attitude and his lack of defense would not fetch much. Teams would gladly take him off the Dodgers hands for next to nothing. He´s a future DH who can´t hit LHP.
    Kemp and Ethier do have injury baggage to consider.

    • Andy in Sunny Daytona

      Ethier would be a horrible idea for the Yankees. Not a very good fielder, overpaid, terrible splits and the wrong side of 30….so I totally see the Yankees going for him.

      • OhioYanks

        Depends at least in part on what he costs. He’s got his limits, but is still a good player. If the Dodgers happen to be giving him away while eating a big chunk of salary it’s possible he’s a good deal. I don’t see that happening, but it’s possible.

  • Andrew Brotherton

    500 grand is enough for one or two more lottery tickets. Also with this draft being the strongest since 2011 the Yankees need that extra cash. I’d rather have Granderson, and I think he would accept the QO. Granderson, Tanaka, Balfour or Crain, Peralta, Reynolds, and bring back Cano and Kuroda and you have a team that can win a title. I’d love to see if the Yankees could get Santana but I don’t think the Indians would trade him.

  • TCMiller30

    Regarding Bronson Aroyo..

    I’m sure I’m not the only one who had to suffer through such a terrible movie.. But he pitches like that chick in the Twilight movie. That alone is reason enough for me to not want him. Haha.

    • Andy in Sunny Daytona

      So you’re saying you’ve seen Twilight…

      • Donny

        Mr. Samsonite,

        What was all that 1-in-a-million talk?

        Lloyd Christmas

  • Andrew Brotherton

    I know there are a ton of people who love Matt Kemp but he’s almost 30 as well and can’t stay healthy to save his life.

    • OhioYanks

      I could see Ryan Braun being a Yankees this off-season way before Kemp. Not that I expect either.

  • Michael Cutler

    Wasn’t Michael Wacha the 18th overall pick?
    Just saying

    • Andy in Sunny Daytona

      Have you added up the WAR’s yet?

    •!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

      He was 19th, but whatever.

      And David Wells was a 30th pick.

      • Andy in Sunny Daytona

        Chance Caple was a #30 pick as well.

        •!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

          Irrelevant. Guess you didn’t get the point.

          The pick can’t be judged based on one player picked at a particular spot. You’ll find a good player that’s been picked at just about every spot in the first round. Pujols went in the 400’s. Doesn’t mean it’s a great spot to find stars.

          • Andy in Sunny Daytona

            I made the same point you did. You should have went farther back, Mike Schmidt was the #30 pick as well.

            •!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

              Chance Caple sucked though. But plenty of busts have been picked 18 too.

              Good point on Schmidt though.

            • Robinson Tilapia

              You were both indeed making the same point.


              •!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

                I think that if he named a bum that was taken 18 it would have furthered my point. But yes, I think we had the same idea.

                My bad if I misread Andy.

  • FLYER7

    Id take Beltran over Grandy primarily because Grandy has too many Ks and doesn’t put the ball in play enough…2 years of CB may be better than 3 of Grandy

    • OhioYanks

      Have you actually tried to quantify this in any way? Granderson has been worth more the past several years in terms of fWAR.

      Perhaps you have a better metric than fWAR, but it would be nice to see the evidence.

  • mick taylor

    let cano walk if you get kemp from dodgers . he will be cheaper than cano and is a better hitter. resign youk to a minor league deal. sign beltran and omar infante yankee lineup is, gardner cf/ infante 2b/ soriano dh/ kemp lf/ tex ib/ beltran rf/ arod 3b/ jeter / nunez ss/cervelli/ romine c. bench, ichiro , wells , youk

    • Adam

      stop smoking crack.

  • Jimmy

    Mike, I agree with you 99% of the time but do you really stand by the statement that the Yankees don’t do anything on a whim? A-Rod’s contract, the Soriano & Ichiro signings, Igawa, and so on tend to argue against that.

    • Preston

      Making a wrong decision is not the same as making an whimsical decision. All the moves you described were well thought out. I disagree with the thinking behind them, but that doesn’t mean the thinking didn’t occur.

  • RetroRob

    This article mentions both Beltran and McCann. While it’s all plausible, why would the Yankees even discuss these plans (and ones they’ve not even met on yet) in the public.

    Warning, this link connects to ESPN NY, which I try never to reward with clicks, although Andrew Marchand, the reporter, is the sane one compared to Wally and O’Conner.

    • Preston

      As we’ve seen before the Yankee brain trust can be fractured at times. While I don’t doubt that someone told Marchand that this was the off-season plan, I also am not sold on the idea that this is the ultimate direction Hal and Cashman will take. I think that giving up picks to sign McCann and Beltran would be short sighted. I think Romine/Murphy can upgrade the Catcher position next year, while bringing back Granderson gets us a guy who can actually play the field every day without costing us the pick. I do like the idea of going after Tanaka though.

      • OhioYanks

        I have no idea what they’ll do, but you seem to be pick hugging. I understand the value of developing from within, but the expected value of one mid-to-late first or one second is only so much. It has to be weighed in the decision making process, definitely, but you can’t weight it greater than its expected value. I don’t have any numbers in front of me, but it’s not hard to imagine two strong FAs easily being worth the picks.

  • James

    I can’t understand the huge disparity in opinion between Beltran and Ethier. Postseason aside, they’re pretty similar: aging, all-hit/no-glove outfielders who should probably be DHing. Past three years:

    Beltran: 438 G, .288/.356/.503, 137 wRC+, -8.3 UZR/150, 9.7 WAR
    Ethier: 426 G, .283/.359/.436, 122 wRC+, -2.6 UZR/150, 8.6 WAR

    Granted, Ethier has some noticeable splits as well, but it’s not a huge gap. Ethier also has five years on Beltran.

    Then factor in Beltran at 14M through age 37 (plus the pick) and Ethier at $7M through age 35 (plus the pieces moved to acquire him)…I just don’t think Beltran is by far and away the best solution.

    • Preston

      Beltran is the better more complete hitter, and he’s a FA. You have to trade something other than money for Ethier, and he’s still owed over 70 million dollars. I doubt the Dodgers are willing to eat enough to bring down his AAV to 7 million.

    • OhioYanks

      Interesting point. I really doubt the Dodgers are eating that much salary AND giving him away (maybe one or the other), but you make an interesting case.

  • OhioYanks

    Your analysis of the financial tradeoff between winning the WS and getting under the luxury tax is completely off. You’re only looking at a fraction of the picture.

    The cash flow implications are not limited to one year. Outside of complete and total ignorance, the only reason to limit it to one year is to stack the deck in your favor.

    In fact, the luxury tax savings will be felt for years to come. Some estimates have them at $100 million plus.

    I have no idea which is worth more and could certainly see the WS being worth more. Let’s actually discuss the issue, though, instead of creating a strawman to beat to a pulp.


    How come Nova and Phelps are the only ones you think the Indians might be interested in mike? What about one of them along with say, Mason Williams and Jose Ramirez? That woulden’t be enough for Yan Gomes or Santana? Jose Ramirez, David Phelps, and Mason Williams for Carlos Santana? You gotta remember the Indians still have a Catcher, so its not like they must get all ML ready talent. They could in fact, build up there farm system some more while getting a ML ready arm(phelps), for only one of 2 startable catchers they have on roster.

    I think the yanks would be smart to inquire into Gomes and Santana. I like that question by the way, kudos to the

  • ny

    $40M in revenue doesn’t necessarily offset $31.5M in luxury tax – you’d have to do the calculation for how much profit that $40M would actually lead to. Unless they’re making >75% margin on that revenue (which i doubt), $40M in revenue is not enough to offset the $31.5M. You’d need $32M in new profit, not new revenue