Mailbag: Managers, Uggla, Asdrubal, Castro

A-Rod suing MLB for "witch hunt," buying Anthony Bosch's cooperation
Update: Yankees made offer to Girardi

Got six questions this week, so I tried to keep the answers short and go rapid fire. If you want to send us questions or links or complaints or whatever, the Submit A Tip box in a sidebar is the best way to go.

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

Joe asks: If Joe Girardi leaves who would be on your short list of replacements?

I don’t even know where to start. There are no great candidates out there. You’d need someone familiar with being in a big market just because it’s completely chaotic, or it can be if the manager lets it. Bench coach Tony Pena seems like an obvious candidate and I guess the just-fired Dusty Baker is as well. Triple-A Scranton manager Dave Miley and Double-A Trenton manager Tony Franklin seem like long shots. I want no part of Mike Scioscia (if he’s fired) or Don Wakamatsu, who has big league managerial experience (with the Mariners) and works in the Yankees front office. I don’t see a ton of obvious candidates out there. Pena is clearly the best at this point.

Joey asks: B.J. Upton and Dan Uggla are both well-paid and under-performing for Atlanta. If the Braves cover most of the salary, do you think the Yankees would be interested in either player and would think its a good idea?

I don’t think the Braves would eat a ton of money to move Upton after just one year. Not with his brother still on the team and a roster that still managed to win 96 games despite his terribleness. As for Uggla … I don’t think I’d touch him. He hit .179/.309/.362 (91 wRC+) with 22 homers in 537 plate appearances this season, and he’s also 33 years old (34 in March). That’s right around the age second baseman tend to fall off the cliff. This sums up where his career is heading:

Source: FanGraphsDan Uggla

Go look at Uggla’s graph page on FanGraphs and notice how pretty much everything has been trending in the wrong direction for three years now. The Braves left him off their NLDS roster and they own him $13M in each of the next two years. Yeah, the Yankees could use him as a backup corner infielder/DH, but even if Atlanta eats so much money that he’s a $4M a year player, I wouldn’t touch him. The Bombers already have one Vernon Wells, no need to add the infield version as well.

Anthony asks: Say #HIROK decided to retire, could the Yankees still offer him a qualifying offer and get a pick?

The only way the Yankees would get a draft pick for Hiroki Kuroda (or any other player who turns downs a qualifying offer) is if they sign a Major League contract with one of the other 29 times before next summer’s draft. That’s it. They don’t get a pick if the player retires, goes to Japan, or signs a minor league contract.

(Jim Rogash/Getty)
(Jim Rogash/Getty)

Mr. Fish Fingers asks: Any interest in/chance of acquiring Jason Castro this off-season or (more likely) at some point in the season? Got to cost an arm and a leg, but he had a nice season in Houston and is under team control.

Theoretically, the Astros would want to build around Castro going forward, right? He just turned 26 and hit .276/.350/.485 (130 wRC+) with 18 homers this season, plus he’s a standout defender behind the plate. That’s a cornerstone player. If you’re a rebuilding team, you keep him. That said, the Astros seem to have completely given up on being competitive and are instead focused on having a strong farm system, so who knows. I’d take Castro in a heartbeat — he is arbitration-eligible for the first time this year and can’t become a free agent until after 2016 — and would open up the farm system to give Houston whatever they want. Gary Sanchez and Rafael DePaula? Sure thing. You hope that in six years, Sanchez will be what Castro is right now. Slade Heathcott and J.R. Murphy? Tyler Austin and Mason Williams? Done deal. No-brainer for me. I think Castro is the one guy the Astros will keep, however.

Jon asks: MLBTR got me thinking about Asdrubal Cabrera as a possible 2014 shortstop target. If I remember, Brian Cashman was hot on him previously, only one year left on contract and coming off a down year. Possible buy low, would the Yankees want the Indians to kick some money in to offset $10M ’14 Salary? What would it take in prospects?

Cabrera would make sense as a shortstop target if he was actually a shortstop. The 27-year-old is an awful defensive player — pick any defense stat and it’ll say he’s been terrible for several years running now — and to make matters worse, he isn’t hitting all that much either. Cabrera put up a .242/.299/.402 (95 wRC+) line with 14 homers this year, which is way better than what the Yankees got from the position this year but way below what his reputation would lead you to believe. He’s better than Eduardo Nunez, but we’re not exactly setting a high bar there. Is he so much better that it justifies the massive salary and a trading away a prospect or two? Asdrubal is someone worth looking at more in-depth if he actually ends up on the block at some point. My short answer is: meh.

Elliot asks: If Derek Jeter declines his option (crazy talk) do you see a situation where he wants a longer contract guaranteed, but will spread out the cost over more years and help the team get under $189 million?

I don’t know if Jeter will want that, but there is a scenario in which opting out and signing a multi-year deal would help the Yankees get under the luxury tax threshold. Right now his option is worth $9.5M and can be worth as much as $16.5M with awards-based incentives. The team would have to treat him as a $16.5M player in 2014 — you can’t plan on him costing only $9.5M and then have him blow the whole thing up by finishing fifth in the MVP voting or something. They could, I suppose, guarantee the extra $7M (instead of basing it on incentives) and spread it out over multiple years. Instead of a one-year deal worth $9.5M and potentially $16.5M, it could be a three-year deal worth $16.5 guaranteed. That would lower the average annual salary (and his “tax hit”) from at least $9.5M and possibly $16.5M in 2014 to $5.5M flat. It’s worth considering, but remember, it takes two to tango.

A-Rod suing MLB for "witch hunt," buying Anthony Bosch's cooperation
Update: Yankees made offer to Girardi
  • mitch

    Even if it saves money i definitely wouldn’t want to lock Jeter up for 3 years. Chances are things are going to get uncomfortable, but that would pretty much guarantee it.

    • Slugger27

      we are way past that at this point. its already uncomfortable. the guy barely played this year. hes going to be a yankee for as long as he wants to be. its either a 3 year deal now, or the player option and then a 2 year deal in the offseason. hes staying as long as he wants.

      • mitch

        True, but he’d be more likely to hang around if he has guaranteed money left. If he has another bad year in 2014 and no contract he’d be more likely to just retire. It’s going to end uncomfortably either way though.

  • Need Pitching & Hitting

    RE: Jeter

    As things stand now, because player options are treated the same as guaranteed years for luxury tax purposes (unless the buyout in over half of the option amount), Jeter’s contract counted for 4/$56M for luxury tax purposes, or a $14M AAV (actually slightly less, because some of the money was deferred without interest).
    If Jeter picks up his option, he will count for about $15.5M towards the luxury tax payroll next season ($14M AAV + $1.5M for his 2012 Silver Slugger), and any additional bonuses earned would be added to that total.
    If Jeter opts out, because Jeter will have been paid more than what has been subject to luxury tax so far, the difference between the 2 amounts will be added to the 2014 luxury tax payroll, regardless of whether Jeter re-signed or not.

    • mt

      Great clarification.

      Are you sure rejected option hit gets added to 2014 payroll and not 2011-2013 (whereny those calculations would be redone and Yanks would pay extra tax for those years retroactively?)

      If rejected option causes a 2014 hit, Yanks would have to pay what I calculate as an approximatley $9 million hit ($48 million paid in salary last three years plus $3 million for rejected option versus $42 million accrued for luxury tax purposes (3*14)) PLUS any AAV of his new contract. I had hoped the $9 milion luxury tax hit for a rejected option would not be felt in the tight 2014 luxury tax year. If it were done retroactively to 2011-2013, that might encourage Yanks and Jeter to do something like 2 Year at $11 million AAV ($22 million total) which would be a hit for this year of $11 million and not $16.5 from his old contract. However, if you are correct about rejected option hit coming in 2014, using my scenario of a new contract, 2014 hit would rise to $20 million ($9 million hit for rejected option contract plus the new $11 million AAV).

      I guess the hope is Jeter does not cause any issues and just picks up his options. Yanks certainly do not need a contract negotiation with him on top of everything else (based on today’s events, I also predict Arod will sue Yanks for malpractice for misdiagnosis of his hip injury last year which will add to the shenanigans.)

      • Need Pitching & Hitting

        The difference would be added in 2014:
        If a Player fails to exercise or chooses to nullify a Player Option Year … the difference between the amount paid to the Player under his Contract (including any Option Buyout payment) and the amount that has been attributed to Actual Club Payroll of a Club under that Contract shall be added to (or subtracted from) Actual Club Payroll in the Contract Year in which the Player Option Year falls.

        fwiw, there was a clause in the CBA in effect when Jeter’s contract was signed that would have made the AAV for luxury tax purposes slightly higher for 2011-2013 (about $15.45M, if my understanding of the clause is correct), which would have made the difference $4.65M instead of $9M. That clause is different in the current CBA though, so I’m not sure if the calculation from the CBA in effect when the contract was signed would apply, or if the new CBA would negate that.

  • jsbrendog

    i only read the first question so far.


    that is all

    • Comrade Al


    • hogsmog

      Yes, christ, I don’t want fucking Dusty blowing off the arm of Pineda/Banuelos/whoever the first pitching prospect is to finally claw their way out of our farm system.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      The man is back.

      I don’t think Dusty Baker manages even a “Beers of the World” station at YS3.

  • sar515

    Why is Willie Randolph never in the conversation about potential Yankee manager??

    • gageagainstthemachine

      I get the feeling that Willie isn’t enthused to jump back into managing based on his time and treatment across town…

      • WhittakerWalt

        But he’d be a beloved, returning icon if he managed for us. A lot of Met fans never got past the “we can’t cheer for Willie because he’s a Yankee” mindset.

        • jsbrendog

          i didnt think he was a vur gud manager

    • Robinson Tilapia

      The conversation has been limited to blog speculation, and I’ve seen Willie’s name come up on here. Whether he actually comes up for real is another question.

  • Winter

    I think walks are overrated unless you can run… If you get a walk and put the pitcher in a stretch, that helps. But the guy who walks and can’t run, most of the time they’re clogging up the bases for somebody who can run.

    If Dusty Baker ever becomes the Yankees’ manager I will pull a Kevin Brown and may God have mercy on the nearest wall.

    • Kramerica Industries


    • nsalem

      The Wall won the fight.

  • yooboo

    On Jeter. 3m buyout if opted out. Whatever the contract is set for AAV will add to 3m for 2014.

    3y 21m = 7m AAV.

    2014 – 10m
    2015 – 7m
    2016 – 7m.

    If Jeter picked up the option. Subtract 3m from the final total of real cash for 2014. If he played lousy then his luxury tax would be only 6.5m. Simply play him at DH where he could not win MVP or GG or SS so Yanks only pay him 9.5m but his 6.5m will count against luxury tax.

    • Nick

      Are you sure that’s how it works? Why would you subtract 3 million? I’m also pretty sure that the entire contract he signed in 2010 would count for the AAV if he picked up the option. So it would be ~17 M for 2014

      • yooboo

        [11:$15M, 12:$16M, 13:$17M, 14:$8M player option ($3M buyout)]

        His contract for luxury tax was 3 years 51m (17m AAV).

        Since 3m buyout option from 4th year included AAV for first 3 years, this 3m buyout will be removed from 8m for 2014. Hence 5m for the final year as an isolated year.

        In Jeter’s case, 6.5m for 2014 luxury tax if the option is exercised.

        • Need Pitching & Hitting

          That’s how team options work.
          Player options are treated the same as guaranteed years, unless the buyout if for over half of the option value, which Jeter’s wasn’t.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting

      That’s not how it works.

  • yooboo

    Donnie Mattingly?

    Whoever becomes a new skipper needs to make sure he won’t get fired after one season. Contractual statement is a key.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      The New York Yankees have had only two managers since 1996. This isn’t Yogi getting fired after 14 days anymore.

      • yooboo

        Impatience runs in the family. Don’t overlook it.

        • jsbrendog

          hmmmmm. nope. i’ll go with factual evidence over your made up narrative. but i have no problem with you doing you.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          It hasn’t run in the family for the better part of the past two decades. Quit grasping for straws.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    Mr. Fish Fingers? I smell the work of a couple of you there.

    • Pat D

      How do we know that you and Mr. Fish Fingers aren’t, in fact, the same person? You two always seem to show up at the same time.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        I know who Abi Avelino is, and Mr. Fish Fingers doesn’t.

        • Pat D

          Out of curiosity, how much do you weigh? I get the feeling you’re pudgy / pasty and actually do eat fish fingers all day long.

  • Gonzo

    Castro & Astros

    Quick look up KG’s old Yankee write-ups and build a deal around guys he liked. If life was so easy…

  • Bavarian Yankee

    3 year deal for Jeter? Whaaaaat? If he decides to opt out you just say goodbye and hope he retires.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting

      They’d never do it, but that’s what they realistically should do.

  • mick taylor

    i do not think who the manager is is as important as who is the general manager, head of scouting and minor leagur pitching coordinator. wit respect to the latter, i have great confidence that gil patterson will somehow develop a number 1 starter out of all the pitchers yanks have. he was the main architect of oakland’s staff.

  • Benjy Bronk

    Axisa needs to clear his head. Jeter will not be playing for three more years, anywhere.

    It’s pathetic to watch him at all. He’s finished after this next season.

    Get ready for the year-long farewell tour.

    • I’m One

      This season was pathetic, but he was recovering from 2 broken ankles. Last year, while he was far from a standout on defense, he was an offensive force. Next season? Who knows. I’m sure his defense will decline from 2012, but have no idea what he will look like offensively. It is entirely possible he’ll put up a season that has us clamoring for him to return in 2015 as a full time DH. It’s also possible we won’t.

      • Smooth Black Lester

        It’s possible it may rain somewhere tomorrow. It’s also possible it won’t.

  • Jimmie Foxx

    Mike, why would you be so against Socia?

    • JimmieFoxx

      Wow or Scioscia (I could start by spelling the guys name right).

      • jsbrendog

        i misspell it on porpoise

    • jsbrendog

      mike soscia didnt played jeff mathis over mike napoli because….he was a much inferior ball player and didnt give his team the best chance to win but he was A GRITTY GUTTY CATCHER WHO RECEIVED WELL!!! so they traded napoli…who became one of the best offensive c/dh/1b. and jeff mathis is in miami.

      jeff mathis has only hitover 200 3x in his 8 year career (.211, .211, .218 HE IS SO CONSISTENT!!!)

      this is only one example of why i want nothing to do with mike scoscia.

    • WhittakerWalt

      Scioscia is a HORRIBLE manager.

      • vicki

        and he’s ridiculously overrated.

  • vicki

    where’s the rays-sox game thread?

    • Betty Lizard

      Yeah. And hooray Pirates!

  • nycsportzfan

    How come you don’t think there is a ton of managerial canadites out there mike? Guys do deserve to get a chance like every other manager, right? I mean, you got so many longtime ML players who now have the yrs of working directly behind ML managers, like Ron Washington did, and Mike Matheny, and Joe Giardi, and etc..etc

    Why woulden’t a Mike Aldrete be a good managerial canadite? Or what about Trey Hillman? Ya, he stunk with a horrible team just like Tony Pena did, so what? Hillmans got expierence in the organazation and is familar with managing, and is now coaching under a former yankee icon. He seems like a perfect replacement if you ask me.

  • nycsportzfan

    The redsox really did pickup a bunch of players that just fit that stadium well. Gomes and Napoli both hit sky high balls that just carry and in many parks fall some where in the warning track, and in Bostn, there wall balls.. Cherrington did well this past offseason.

    • The Real Greg

      But The fault there goes to Myers who was duped on the Ortiz fly ball.

      • nycsportzfan

        agreed. I’m mostly talking about the fact those guys helped em to this moment(postseason after last place finish), then anything else.

        I will say Myers screwed up in this one though. But i just watched Drew and Gomes score by straight hustling and there getting the timely hits spread throughout the new players who were well thought of aquisitons by Cherrington. Just giving Kudos where its due.

        • The Real Greg

          No, you’re absolutely right.

          They also have a killer mentality. If you make a mistake, they will kill you.

  • The Real Greg

    I don’t know where it is, But Wil Myers probably just cost the Rays the 2-0 lead.

  • nycsportzfan

    Also, why woulden’t Dave Martinez be a good managing canadite? Hes been coaching under possibly the best manager in the game for awhile now and has a great repoire with the players and was a former player who played all over if i remember correctly? He would seem like a great canadite to me?

    • Pat D

      Could be intriguing, but I doubt the Yankees hire someone who’s a first-time manager with no ties to the organization. If I’m correct, the last time the Yankees did that is when Wild Bill Donovan was player manager from 1915-1917.

      • nycsportzfan

        Ya, they have favored managerial expierence through out there history, but there always is a first for The game has changed and nowadays, guys like Jason Giambi are getting talked about as manager before they are done playing even.

        Matt Williams is another one who seems would be a good manager. I think the leagues littered with possible fantastic managers. Dave Magadan, Jamie Quirk, Mike Aldrete, Jose Oquendo, Dave Martinez, Jim Hickey, Mike Maddux..etc

  • The Real Greg

    Rays defense has cost them the lead. First the Myers play. And then Moore can;t get to the bag and Gomes scores from 2nd.

    • The Real Greg

      And then the Green Monster owns Sean Rodriguez and allows Drew to score from 1st.

      • The Real Greg

        And then a passed ball allows Ellsbury to reach.

        • The Real Greg

          Which allows Victorino to serve a single to right to score Middlebrooks

      • vicki

        i don’t know what vegas says but this game is going to end in a football score.

        fine with me. i hope it goes five, and that the rays show up for the LCS wrapped in bloody bandages.

  • vicki

    IBB’s for EVERYBODY!

  • lee

    Red Sox fans jeering Myers for his misplay. have there ever been any bigger douche bags in the history of sports than the Boston fans????

    • vicki

      beer and testosterone. fans are dicks all over.

  • The Truth

    Yeah pre-2004 I think it was mandatory for Yankee fans to bring Babe Ruth or 1918 posters to every Yankee home game against the the Red Sox. I remember somebody counting strikeouts with Babe Ruth heads. Pretty douchey if you ask me. I wonder what happened to all the Babe Ruth posters?

  • Matt :: Sec110

    Giambi for manager in 2014, will Pena staying on as bench coach. Although I did read that he wants to play for 1 more year (making it an even 20), so there’s that.

    I wonder if a chance managing the Yanks would change his plans?

  • Jason

    Jason Castro and Asdrubal Cabrera are 2 players I’d trade for this offseason. Both are young and will give us years of stability, and won’t cost us a ransom for a good set of years. I’d also re-sign Brendan Ryan and Mark Reynolds for 1-2 yrs. to solidify our infield a bit more, in a very cost controlled manner. No more than 1 year for Jeter, and he needs to agree to DH a good bit. We cannot have thAt vulnerability in the field. I’d also:

    1)sign Matt garza to a 4-5 yr deal
    2)sign Masahiro tanaka to a 5 yr deal
    3)sign Omar infante to 3 yr deal to play 2B(cano will get 200 mil from someone and we will get an extra 1st rd pick)
    4)make Granderson a qualifying offer(he will refuse, sign elsewhere and we will get a 2nd high pick)

    These are a few good moves we can make that will help move us forward, and help give us some more draft picks as well. We do need to change some of our player development personnel though.

    A few other moves as well, and we are respectable. With flexibility and budget to do things when we need to.