Thoughts on a random Wednesday

Austin reaches base three times in AzFL opener
Prospect Profile: Ian Clarkin
(Al Bello/Getty)
(Al Bello/Getty)

You know what sucks about the winter? I can’t give these “thoughts” posts a half-decent title. “Thoughts following the off-day” or “thoughts following the big win over the whoevers.” No nothing. “Thoughts on a random day.” Hate the winter.

1. I would very much like Hal Steinbrenner & Co. to shut up about the plan to get under the $189M luxury tax threshold. It’s going to happen. I know it’s going to happen, you know it’s going to happen, and ownership knows it’s going to happen despite the silly “it’s a goal, not a mandate” comments. It’s going to happen. Now just shut up about it and stop reminding everyone at every opportunity. Very simple request. No ownership group in any sport has ever spoken this much and this openly about slashing payroll. I know the media asks about it and all that, but for once just say “I’ve said already I’ve had to say about it” and move on, please. No need to go through the rigmarole once a week. It’s very off-putting.

2. The playoffs have been incredibly entertaining so far, much more than usual for the LDS round, I believe. Watching all the young pitching — most notably Sonny Gray, Alex Cobb, Gerrit Cole, Michael Wacha, and the still-only-25 Clayton Kershaw — has been simultaneously awesome and depressing. Awesome because, well, they can really pitch and it’s fun to watch. Depressing because the Yankees have nothing close to a guy like that. Ivan Nova‘s had two good really second halves in three full years as a big leaguer now. Big whoop. David Phelps is alright but clearly not on the same level as those other guys. He’s not a notch below, he’s like five notches below. Amazing how the game has so clearly gravitated towards young players and yet the Yankees continue getting older and older.

(Jared Wickerham/Getty)
(Jared Wickerham/Getty)

3. This is worth a full post (a series of full posts, most likely) at some point, but I’m really curious to see how the bullpen shakes out next season. You know David Robertson will be in there in some capacity, either closer or setup man, plus we can probably pencil Dellin Betances into a spot. I can’t imagine the team won’t carry him on the Opening Day roster unless he’s just awful and out of shape and whatever else in camp. Adam Warren would wind up as the long man again, assuming he isn’t needed in the rotation. That still leaves four three spots (forgot about Shawn Kelley) up in the air without a whole lot of options. Cesar Cabral and Preston Claiborne? Okay, what about the other two spots? Does Matt Daley survive the offseason? Does it even matter if he does? I’m sure Brett Marshall will be the sixth starter in Triple-A rather than a reliever in the big leagues, but we shouldn’t rule him out of the bullpen mix just yet. The Yankees are going to have to actually spend money on relievers (plural) this winter, which is something they haven’t really done in recent years (Rafael Soriano aside).

4. I was talking to Joe about this yesterday, but I’m legitimately surprised the Yankees have kept the entire front office intact. There is still plenty of offseason left and changes could still come obviously, but usually teams like to get these things out of the way early so they can proceed with everything else on the agenda. If they’re going to replace some people (amateur scouting and player development staff, hint hint), it should happen soon. The longer they wait, the longer it takes for any philosophical changes to be implemented and take affect. I guess this is more of a follow-up to item #3, but whatever. I’m surprised and pretty bummed no changes have been made. The lack of farm system production has been an ongoing problem for too long and apparently the Yankees are happy maintaining the status quo.

email
Austin reaches base three times in AzFL opener
Prospect Profile: Ian Clarkin
  • John C

    no changes have been made becuase they haven’t had their organizational meetings yet. Hal said that would begin next week. Hard to imagine that there won’t be any changes made there.

  • CountryClub

    I know I’m in the minority, but I just can’t get worked up about the yanks having a 190 mil payroll.

    I think Hal is absolutely right, they don’t need to (nor should they have to) spend 220 mil to win.

    I do understand that there may be a couple of lean years ahead though because of the contracts still on the books. That’s the only part that stinks, IMO.

    • Kenny

      “To win”? Hell, no, of course they don’t need to spend 220 merely to “win.”

      But if they want annual post-season competitiveness, in a sport in which various rules are in place to “equalize” and “level,” then, hell, yes, of course they need to spend–if not 220 mil.–much more than the less ambitious teams, with their more modest traditions.

      • MannyGeee

        No team needs 220M to win. HOWEVER, no team is carrying the kind of money (cough A-Rod cough) that the Yankees do.

        While I agree that they *should* be able to win at $189M, they should also face the facts that they are carrying stupid amounts of dead presidents in A-Rod, Jeter, Sabathia & Tex. $189 in 2017 should have been the plan…

        • Robinson Tilapia

          This.

          They can win at 189. I’m not convinced they can put their best effort in at the handcuffed 189 they’d have to work with right now. 189 will be a wonderul number to achieve, say, five or six seasons from now.

          • Pseudoyanks

            True… And I hate how when ownership refers to 189 they leave out the fact that they aren’t building 189 from scratch, they are handcuffed within that 189 with a ton of dead wood. I find that off-putting to say the least (kudos to Mike for using off-putting in a post.)

            • I’m a looser baby so why don’t you kill me?

              I don’t mind when ownership neglects this fact, but I do mind when critical fans and media do…

              “oh poor yanks, spent $3 billion in the last 12 years and only have 1 championship to show for it, and people are whining about how hard it is going to be to compete with “only” a $189mm payroll”.

              …all while conveniently forgetting that the payroll didn’t start from scratch as you said.

              Which brings me to my real gripe, which is that existing contracts weren’t in some way grandfathered or scaled for cap purposes as part of the last CBA. Of course, since we all know the primary point of the CBA was to punish the yanks this is no surprise. Mission very much accomplished.

              • Robinson Tilapia

                I actually don’t have a problem with the Yankees having to lie in the bed they’ve made for themselves. Grandfathering would have been great, but I don’t think it’s a big middle finger that it’s not in there.

                I think that, no matter what, they now need to proudly go lie in that bed and not try to sleep on the couch instead.

                Shitty metaphors FTW.

        • toad

          Right. The problem is not $189 million. It’s what’s left after the stupid contract tax.

      • CountryClub

        189 mil will be more than every team in MLB not named The Dodgers.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          It’s the current distribution of the money. It’s not the money. Obviously, you’re right in overall concept, and the “penny pinching” talk is spoiled fan bullshit

          • CountryClub

            No, I agree. The current deals on the books will obviously be problematic.

            But the truth is, there isn’t much to go out there and get this off season anyway. Even if they wanted to offer someone 180 mil, that player isn’t out there (other than Cano).

            • Robinson Tilapia

              Very true.

              I have no interest in them blowing past 189 just to show that they can. You still have to judge the market appropriately.

              Not that this is going to happen again, and not that there aren’t fans out there who think this led to the problem (I disagree with them), but some fans screamed and yelled in 2008 for the Yanks to do something and, when it was time to pay up for contributors, they did on their own clock.

            • Need Pitching & Hitting

              They have a whole lot of holes to fill.
              2/3 of the starting lineup is uncertain
              3/5 of the rotation is uncertain (including #1 and #2)
              4/7 of the bullpen is uncertain

              And not many of those holes can be realistically, effectively addressed with internal options. They could easily spend $220M for 2014 in a way that makes sense (though probably only makes sense short term)

              • Robinson Tilapia

                Yup. True as well.

                I want them to field a strong contender in 2014. I also don’t want them thinking *too* short-term here.

    • sbertonny

      I’m in complete agreement

    • Twains Yankee

      I would rather that 40 million be spent on players (or scouts) than a new yacht for the Steinbrenners.

      • nyyankfan_7

        And yet if you owned the Yankees business I’m willing to bet you’d rather have the $40 million in your pocket instead of on the expense ledger. Funny how everyone is really good at spending other people’s money……

  • Frank

    The playoffs have been very compelling so far. I’ve really enjoyed the A’s-Tigers and Bucs-Cards. Looking forward to game 5 tonight. Anyone not watching because Yanks are not in it is cheating themselves of some good, exciting baseball. As for the Yanks, no great expectations from me. I still expect this will be a 2-3 year transition period despite what Yankees brass says.

  • I’m One

    The lack of farm system production has been an ongoing problem for too long and apparently the Yankees are happy maintaining the status quo.

    I find this very depressing. While I don’t expect to ever get to see anything like the Core Four (5, really, gotta count Bernie) again in my lifetime, I’d love to see someone to really get excited about coming from the minors every few years. Gardner? Good, not great. Robertson? Maybe, but not yet. Nova? I guess Wang was the last one through the system, and I don’t think he was really a number one starter, he was just the best on the team at the time. Hopefully Jagielo, Katoh or Judge comes through or Sanchez, Ausin or Heathcott. Maybe Pineda or Banuelos recovers, but these are all kinda outside shots at this point. I remember when Jeter got his big shot in ’96. You just new that kid was going to be great and Bernie was already producing well at that point. Add in Pettitte an Mo (and then Posada) and, man, those were exciting times.

    Please, Yankees FO, give us someone like at least one of those again sometime soon.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      We’ll always have September with Jesus Montero. Man, that was awesome.

      • Lukaszek

        Ba de ya say you do remember
        Ba de ya Montero in September
        Ba de ya never was a losing day

    • John

      The MLB leader in bWAR since 2009 is a Yankees homegrown player that debuted after Wang.

      • I’m One

        And how long ago did he debut? It has been a while. I, for one, am ready for the next one.

        /greedyyankeefan

  • MannyGeee

    Are we assuming that Montgomery has played himself out of a shot? Also, are we assuming Vidal Nuno is either a flash in the pan or a rotation candidate?

    • Robinson Tilapia

      I’d say he can have a good spring, but health is going to be a concern moving forward.

      That was a bandwagon people jumped on a bit too quickly. High-rising reliever? Sure. Still just a high-rising reliever.

    • OhioYanks

      I would assume Montgomery is still very much in play. Both out of ST and for a mid-season promotion. He didn’t meet expectations in 2013, but is still a good RP prospect at this point and relatively close to MLB ready.

  • Vern Sneaker

    And we’re assuming Robertson can close. That’s a maybe. Never mind the bullpen, the currently available starters: Sabathia, Nova, Phelps, Warren. Nuno is very much a maybe. Pineda is a pipe dream out of ST. Ford, Pettitte, Guidry, Mussina, and Clemens are unavailable.

  • Guest

    Before people jump over the Rays/Pirates “but teh high draft picks”. Keep in mind that St. Louis has been competing for 15 years, won 2 championships and 3 pennants and still churn out quality players from late round draft picks

    • Frank

      Exactly.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Yanks won four championships in those same fifteen years by apparantly farting in a paper bag and then drafting it.

      • MannyGeee

        Butbutbutbut… teh youthz!!!!!!

      • nyyankfan_7

        What? That didn’t happen…you must be dreaming. The ONLY way to win is to have really good drafts, a roster with an average age of 27 and not be home run hitters but rather .280 slap hitters who are “clutch”.

        • trr

          The game is changing. Either the team’s philosophy changes with it, or get set for many more repetitions of 2013.

          The ideal team is built around a core of young/or in their prime players, with the veterans assumimg more of a bench role. (Less so in regards to pitching, especially the BP)
          and yes, I get this is almost impossible for any team to achieve – I’d think of it as a goal to work towards.

          And Hell Yes, the F/O needs a swift kick in the ass, the sooner the better!

          • OhioYanks

            Lots of questionable assumptions there.

            Certainly financially the best team is built with very good cost controlled players. In terms of wins, though, the Red Sox had the best record in the AL without a young core to speak of. Tigers won the AL Central without much of a young core. In fact, Dave D is being lauded in the press a lot for trading young players all the time. A’s do have young players, some of whom are actually good, but their ace is 40 and their team was put together fairly piece meal.

            I think it’s pretty clear that the Yankees philosophy HAS changed. They can’t just magically create a great young core, but they refocused on the farm a while ago and seem a lot less interested in keeping their veterans around than they were a few years ago.

            I mean veterans on the bench? That’s automatically the ideal team?

          • Robinson Tilapia

            The ideal team is built around the people that win a lot of ballgames. There’s more than one way to skin that cat.

    • Coolerking101

      In 99 and 07, the Cards had a losing record. They missed the playoffs 6 times in the last 15 years, so it’s not like they are playoffs or bust every year like the Yanks. Also…pointing to only one team out of the entire league who has managed to stay competitive without enduring long stretches of suck is hardly a damning indictment of the Yankees.

      I’m not saying the Yanks don’t need to do some serious house cleaning, I’m just saying the stink for a couple of years and get good drafts picks model is generally the one that we see working most often.

      • OhioYanks

        “Also…pointing to only one team out of the entire league who has managed to stay competitive without enduring long stretches of suck is hardly a damning indictment of the Yankees.”

        My thoughts as well. The argument missed a lot of detail in terms of holding onto first rounders / getting first rounders by letting guys walk and as a result being mediocre for a stretch so drafting fairly often in the mid first. From 2003-12 you’re talking 9 more firsts for the Cards and 5 more top 19 picks. It may not continue, but the Yankees certainly had more success over that stretch with their approach.

        Yankees have missed the playoffs and not had the best record in the AL for……………… one year in a row now. People are deterministically predicting doom, but let’s see what they do before deciding they are the worst.

        I don’t know that the suck for a few years model really works. Not saying it doesn’t, I really don’t know. It often gives you a strong farm system, but in baseball more than other sports the teams that sucked five years ago tend to still be the teams that suck now. Maybe that is changing as poorer teams are better able to retain their talent after their controlled years.

        • I’m One

          I don’t know that the suck for a few years model really works. Not saying it doesn’t, I really don’t know.

          Hmmm, let’s see. How long have the Houston Astros sucked and when is it anticipated that they will be competitve for a sustained period? Obviously there are many pieces to the strategies involved in developing sustained success and more ways than one to achieve that goal (or to shoot yourself the foot).

          • Robinson Tilapia

            It only took the Pirates a couple of years. Oh, wait…

  • Chris In Maine

    I wonder if some of the folks the organization is interested in work for teams still in the playoffs? Not that I would expect that would be a huge hindrance.

  • Adam

    Id like to see some f*cking accountability already. No excuses, no bullshit about injuries. This team has been constructed poorly and someone needs to be held accountable.

    I bleed Yankee blue but this team is painful.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    1. I wish people would just stop talking in absolutes. What does it prove? You can’t guarantee it’s going to happen until it happens. What makes it so preferable for people to double down on everything on the internet? I’d actually rather hear them talk in terms of flexibility.

    2. Ivan Nova’s also had an equally nice playoff appearance in his career. Some of what you’re seeing from anyone not named Clayton Kershaw could just as easily be a peak in an early career full of peaks and valleys from a young pitcher. Also, I didn’t know the Yankees lacked a really young front-of-the-rotation guy. No one ever mentions that on here. I wish people would talk about that more.

    2 1/2. I was being sarcastic.

    3. I think Dellin will get every chance at a spot. Would it surprise you if he got DFA’d in Spring Training if he didn’t show some consistency? It would catch me totally off-guard if it happened. I’d like to see Kelley and Claiborne get every opportunity to get the high-leverage work, and I also think the team looks the veteran route for some extra late-inning support. I could see Cabral as a Boone replacement if Boone’s contract situation gets crazy, and it wouldn’t surprise me a bit if it did. Daley? It’d be a nice story if some of that late-season work got him a stronger look, but it was what it was. Phelps/Warren get spots. Nice opportunity for a Whitley, Montgomery, or even someone with less seasoning about to enter AAA who impresses. Don’t count against this team building a solid bullpen without having to overpay for much outside help.

    4. Still PLENTY of off-season to go. It’s actually been kind of jarring to realize that teams can actually make moves now.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      It WOULDN’T catch me totally off-guard if Dellin got DFA’d. Correction.

    • I’m One

      Don’t count against this team building a solid bullpen without having to overpay for much outside help.

      In fact, they’ve actually done this quite well for a number of years now. At least the “without having to overpay” part (excluding R. Soriano, obviously).

      Still PLENTY of off-season to go. It’s actually been kind of jarring to realize that teams can actually make moves now.

      Yes, the off-season has just begun. Plenty of time to make moves. I’d like to see some soon, but we usually don’t see too much activity before the beginning of the year. Gotta breath deep and relax. Like the regular season, it’s a marathon, not a spring. BTW, who won the off-season title last year and how did their season end up? :-)

      • Robinson Tilapia

        *nudges TomH*

  • Kenny

    Agreed about the yammering re the 189. No matter how you shake it, this sounds like de-emphasizing post-season competitiveness. They know they’d get run out of town if they were more forthcoming, and that’s why the goal-not-a-mandate piety.

    Shake-up of F.O. Beats me what’s up. Maybe as someone says, they’re waiting for the post-season to finish because they’re eyeing people on participating p-s teams.

    Maybe it’s a sign of a weakness in the decision-making, the kind of thing that comes when to fire someone means cutting someone you hired because he reminded you of yourself. If so, a bad sign. I’d still wait a bit longer though before getting too depressed on the getting rid of people.

    The general problem, though, of an under-performing conveyer-belt up from the minors to NYS is really serious and related to all sorts of MLB attempts to redistribute the wealth (which, in turn, means the Yanks must use their money muscle to counter).

    Chronic aging. Only a moron couldn’t have seen this one coming from a long way off, and that’s what worries me about the Yanks’ F.O. The age profile and the mediocre farm system make a lethal couple.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      “Chronic aging. Only a moron couldn’t have seen this one coming from a long way off, and that’s what worries me about the Yanks’ F.O. The age profile and the mediocre farm system make a lethal couple.”

      There’s a difference between not seeing it coming and knowing what was coming, then fumbling the ball in trying to transition.

      • OhioYanks

        Or in having every microsecond of the transition analyzed in such detail that people decide you’ve fumbled it half-way through the hand-off… A sloppy hand-off can lead to a fumble, but can also lead to a number of other outcomes.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          Not if you’re the 2013 New York Giants. There’s only one option there.

  • Matt DiBari

    I’m assuming we’re using a very narrow definition of “recent years” to find a way to include Soriano but not Marte or Feliciano.

    I mean, I know it goes against the “only Randy Levine is stupid enough to give a reliever a multi year deal” narrative and all, but still, I’m intrigued to see how we figured that one out to exclude those two, particularly Feliciano

    • Robinson Tilapia

      He brought Brian tasty treats from Queens.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      I completely forgot about Feliciano. Marte was already five years ago though.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Only Fred Wilpon remembered Feliciano.

    • Darren

      Stupid or not, thank sweet baby Jesus we had Damaso Marte. Or did you forget his fanstastic performance in 2009?

      FFFB!!!

      (Flags Fly Forever Biznitches)

  • mt

    1. It sounds good that Yankees shut up about $189 million but that is all they are asked about – watch how Michael Kay asked about it even after Hal talked about it with Francesca. Individual members of news media want to be the one to get the scoop or the nuanced answer where there is some wavering from the goal. Also to be fair given how Yanks have operated for years with an open checkbook, the NY Yanks trying to reduce payroll is a big story for the sport and sports in general (yes, $189 million is still high but right now when you add in benefits and the rest of 40 man roster to make an apples and oranges comparison weren’t Yankees at $240 million or something in 2013? Lots coming off books with all the free agents but that leaves a lot of holes and also a lot of older, declining players making up almost half of the $189 million before one even talks about adding (Arod, CC, Tex, Suzuki, Soriano). So it is a major story.

    2) Glad to see someone else is depressed about young pitching. For example, the three pitchers that pitched in last Cardinals game (Wacha, Martinez, Rosenthal) are all 23 or younger – yes, they all will not go to Hall of Fame and some will struggle or maybe even flame out but at least they have a good size pool from which long lasting gems may come (the Cardinals pool is ridiculous). What is the Yankee pool? The returning from injury twins Banuelos and Pineda, I guess. Also Nova is 26 – these pitchers by and large are are even younger. Actually watching the playoffs have made me question whether Yanks should bite the bullet and not bring back Kuroda – just wonder whether we will ever make transition to younger players while still trying to keep the brand going with older players. Older players were fine when it was Jones, Garcia, Chavez and Colon types all making less than $5 million per year and penciled in for bench or back-end starter roles (injuries sometimes pushed them forward into bigger roles). Not so fine when it was Youkilis, Soriano and dare I say Kuroda, who imploded after August 1, all making over $6 million, in some cases significantly more than $6 million, and relied upon to be major position players and #1/2 starters. Everyone says “the point is not to get younger but to get better” – I agree but given aged players under contract on roster that are not going anywhere maybe mantra is the more subtle “Yanks will have no shot in long-term at getting better unless they get younger which in short term may not mean better”. I have no idea who is available in Cardinals minor league front office system that could come over here but it would be nice to have someone like that in organization – Cards have not had highest picks in first round because they have not been dreadful and not all of their high-end young players were first round either, if I am not mistaken.

    3. Is there some reason Shawn Kelley is not mentioned – do we lose control of him or something? At one point late in year he led majors in % not allowing inherited runners to score until he tired and then had injuries.

    4. Supposedly a “study” is being done of minor leagues – not sure when that study will be completed but timing is a little strange when they also have their organizational meeting next week. Will they take input from minor league folks next week and then replace them in a month or so?

    • OhioYanks

      How is watching the Red Sox making you feel? They’re kind of old, and largely duct taped some short- and medium-term support around the remnance of their aged core. They have exciting young talent, but on the whole it has underperformed.

      It’s odd to assume that you could just take any random person from the Cards’ minor league system and they would replicate the same level of success. In all likelihood their results are due to a mutually reinforcing set of activities as well as a large dose of luck.

      Very difficult to say based on recent promotions who will make it in the near future for a team. I haven’t gone about doing it, but would imagine that the last few years are rarely a good indicator of the next few years for farm systems (much like fund managers). Rays, for example, hadn’t had a single guy they drafted after 2007 debut with them until Beckham after a great run before that. (They have made up for that to some extent with trades, I know, and 2008 wasn’t all that long ago for HS draftees. Just the first example that came to mind.)
      Point being that the Yankees might have a great player development run right around the corner or no run at all… and we probably would have no idea today either way. Pineda + Banuelos + DePaula + Ramirez + Hensley + Clarkin + Turley + Campos + a bunch of BP arms + some back-end candidates close to MLB is a decent enough pool of talent where they could boast some exciting arms as soon as 2014 but certainly in a few years. Or they could boast none.

      Honest question: how was the Cards’ system ranked in the years leading up to their recent development success? A lot of their guys were under-the-radar prospects, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they weren’t rated as highly as they should have been. Lately they’ve been rated at the top, but I think that could be partially as a result of their success in the recent past.

  • ropeadope

    I was talking to Joe about this yesterday …

    Girardi? Namath? Montana? Biden? DiMaggio? Frazier? Paterno? Pawlikowski?

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Jonas.

      • ropeadope

        Too recent for my old bones. I’m more in the Cocker, Jackson (both shoeless and non-shoeless) Pesci, Walsh camp.

    • I’m One

      Saint Joseph. They’re on a first name basis.

      • ropeadope

        Been a while since I paged through the New Testament.

        • Silvio

          Read through is better

          • ropeadope

            Added to my bucket list. Wedged in-between bungee jumping and paragliding.

  • GFFG

    Mike, the point of yammering every week about $189 is to set expectations, not for you, but for agents. Yes, those agents may not care and still try to get top dollar, however, for a current yankee like Cano, who wants to stay, it is a way of setting his expectations about a contract and taking *less* money.

    WIll it work, who knows, and he may not care, but if he wants to stay under the new paradigm and wants to be competitive every year, well then he will “get in line.”

    • I’m One

      I disagree. If it were truely to temper expectations for Cano or someone like him, then they’d call it a mandate and not a goal. By saying it’s a goal, that leaves the door open for negotiations.

      • mitch

        Agreed. Plus I think Cano’s deal is separate from the 189 goal. It’s not happening at his expense. They’ll sign him to a huge deal and save the money by skimping on their various other holes.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          This.

          The freakouts when this actually happens are going to be something. That’s not to say some of them won’t be warranted.

          • mitch

            I think they’ll be warranted considering it’s the monster contracts that put them in this mess to begin with.

            • Robinson Tilapia

              I still maintain that some monster contracts are better than others. I’m not giving back that 2009 trophy, CC, or Tex.

        • GFFG

          Then it is at his “expense” also, because they won’t be competitive. He can ask his buddy Arod how fun that was in Texas. Yes, an extra $10-20M is a tremendous amount of money, however it is what he prioritizes. He is set for life either way.

      • OhioYanks

        If you say it’s a mandate and it’s not, then you proceed to break the mandate… you lose a lot of credibility going forward. (This is why Cashman made such a big deal when ownership went over his head to sign Soriano, because he didn’t want to lose credibility.) Plus you hurt yourself with fans just by announcing that it’s a mandate. Their current stance is fairly reasonable.

        They want to leave the door open to negotiations. Cano alone is not putting them over. Hopefully they give Cano a fair value deal rather than repeating past mistakes of bidding against themselves. Or let him walk if someone else drastically overpays. Then hopefully they evaluate the beenfits of going over $189 against the players they’d be adding in doing so. A lot of fans see 189 as having no benefit to them, but longer term it could help by increasing their spending power down the line. They’re going to try to rebuild efficiently in the short-term, but more spending power later could help them to supplement that approach and/or lock up an efficient core they build long term. Sure, they could just try to spend more now and later. I don’t know if the other owners will allow them to spend later if they keep spending now, though. MLB has been progressively moving towards a cap.

      • GFFG

        The “goal” part is for the fans and media, to make it not seem unreasonable. These aren’t stupid people, they have a PR agency on retainer, who do test marketing and phrases for certain terms and words. They characterize things based on the best way of saying something.

        • Silvio

          The best way of saying something is via a PR agency’s polling? God, what a culture this continent has developed,

          Important distinctions: “unintelligent.” Not too bright.

          “stupid”: character deficiency, choice of how a person will be in the world. Compatible with high IQ (as in “high IQ moron”).

          PR style is by such definitions “stupid.”

          • GFFG

            That is your opinion. As long as you realize that every advertisement you see is shaped by it. Which means over 50% of your life, unless you live off the grid.

            • Silvio

              No, it’s not my “opinion” but my thought. There’s a difference.

              If 50% of YOUR life is “shaped” by this trash, “Get a (new) life.”

              • Robinson Tilapia

                Your thought isn’t your opinion?

    • OhioYanks

      Yes, I think that’s part of it. I would say setting expectations all around: fans, within the FO, and to players/agents.

  • TCMiller30

    “and the still-only-25 Clayton Kershaw”

    This must be a typo. How old was he when he made it to the big leagues? 15?!

    Seriously though, between him and King Felix, it’s crazy how it feels like they’ve been dominant in the league for so long, yet are both very young.

    • mitch

      It is crazy. Felix is 27 and has 9 seasons and 1800+ innings under his belt.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        We don’t sometimes realize CC was part of this group because so much of those years were spent in Cleveland.

  • LarryM Fl

    I have been watching the playoffs off and on. The A’s have a bunch of guys not well known in our neck of the woods but playing quite well. I sit and watch Scherzer pitch out of bases loaded problem with heat and more heat. There is no one in our organization who can do that on the big stage. The Pirates with a bunch of young guys playing well. Seeing Cole wished that he signed with us and the Cardinals pitchers drafted in later rounds pitching like veterans. Then thinking how we missed out on Trout and when the LAA’s picked him back to back with the Yanks next. Seeing Infante wondering if the Yanks sign Cano or go after a guy such as Infante. Just many thoughts on players who are not 300 million dollar players who can get you to the playoffs when surrounded by hard working group of players. I understand that the Yankees will some how get under the 189 and still run out a competitive team but I hope the team is not designed in a narrow focus with the future thrown to the win and the budget especially if a FA or trade of a special player comes our way.

    As I watched the games just contemplating our good fortune with a couple of these players but reality sends in. We have a 40 year old shortstop as our number one guy. We have a Ped issue over at third with no near term clarification in sight. So maybe I should start praying harder for some divine intervention to help with the 40 man roster over the winter.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Let’s not get too crazy with Scherzer. It’s been quite the road for him to get to 2013…..and I’d like to see him do it again.

      We’ve seen him confuse his catcher with the hot dog guy in the legends seats for plenty of start of the stadium.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        PLENTY OF STARTS AT THE STADIUM.

        Damn laggy state computers.

  • Tom Merritt

    My only hope is that the Yankees let Cano go!!! They are facing a total rebuilding effort anyway and this guy is just not a championship ballplayer despite his exceptional talent with the glove. He just does not have it between the ears!!! I would low ball him and let him walk. The last thing that is needed at this point is another A-Rod albatross for 10 years. Cano is not that good right now much less down the road.

    • Pee Wee Herman Ruth

      If you don’t think Cano is “that good right now” then you obviously have no clue about baseball. Just saying…

      • I’m One

        I agree with your comment.

        I do, however, believe that letting Cano go would provide the organization with tremendous flexibility they won’t be able to get any other way. What they do with that flexibility is the unkown. It could be great or a complete disaster. There are arguments to be made in going either way (sign or let him go).

        • Pee Wee Herman Ruth

          There are definitely arguments either way…but to deny Cano’s greatness, yes greatness, demonstrates a fan’s lack of knowledge about the game.

    • The Big City of Dreams

      Yes 30 and 100 from a 2nd baseman is not that good right now.

  • OhioYanks

    The Yankees didn’t trade for Pineda to get older. They clearly made that move to get a top notch, controlled young SP. I think it’s hard to argue that anything but luck screwed that up.
    Generally, I don’t know how you know they are getting older before the off-season starts. This false, pessimistic determinism gets really tiring to read.

    Hal was pretty explicit that $189 is happening, and it is only a matter of when it happens. I would argue that they’ve taken a logical approach. You have a large incentive in place to stay under $189. You have to weigh the costs of going over against the benefits, and that can only really be done in real time when you know the state of your franchise internally plus who is available at what cost. This is why they went with short-term contracts last off-season: to remain flexibility. Options have value. This is basic stuff. Really think you should add at least one other writer with a more analytical background, enjoyed this site much more when Joe and Ben contributed because they brought some of that. You are great at accumulating information, but need to work on your analysis. (I know, I know… I’ll be banned for daring to constructively criticize you in a clear area of weakness…)

    It is silly to comment on management at such a level of detail as player development without any inside insights. You are reacting entirely to results, and ignoring process. (Again, something your colleagues Joe and Ben helped build this site around was analyzing process rather than guessing based on results like the MSM.) You are ignoring the overhaul to their P development staff they made just last year. You are assuming that a bunch of unrelated injuries and down years are an indication of a problem in process, when they could easily be luck.
    Any journalist can call for a change any time something goes wrong. Actually analyzing the cause of the problem is much more difficult and not something I’ve seen you really attempt in any analytical way.

  • nick

    IMO its more of a development problem than an evaluation/scouting problem with the farm system. Theres talent in the system, quite a bit actually, but there seems to be a disconnect as the move up the ladder.

    • OhioYanks

      How do you go about evaluating the causation with that problem, though?

      People seem to be defaulting to: it must be management. Could be.

      It could also easily be luck. The attrition rate is generally very high in the minors, so injuries or simply bad luck could wipe out the few guys would would have made it. Yankees definitely have had injuries: Romine, Adams, Santana, Banuelos, basically Pineda, CoJo and the Cubans this season, etc. They’ve had volatile guys like Brackman and Betances not work out, which could be on them or could be the breaks.

      Those injuries could also be on the medical staff, though I don’t really see the link as they were across so many levels and of very different natures.

      It could also be that the talent they brought in was overrated in the first place.

      It may not be a systemic issue where everyone at the top needs to be replaced, but a matter of specific lower level problems when you really break it down.

      Probably it’s a combination of several things. As an outsider, though, who doesn’t know the thought process behind the moves that were made, I don’t know how you go about determining causation. You can just default to development staff, but you may end up firing good guys who had some bad luck and replacing them with worse performers. (Worth noting that they did just turn over their P development staff last year. Those changes aren’t necessarily going to be felt immediately.)

  • s3fnh

    Just a quick thought on the farm system which has certainly gotten a lot of attention over the course of the season. Admittedly, management has not done a good job of delivering major league talent to the Yankees since whenever. But here’s a thought, when considering Jeter, Posada, Pettite, Rivera and Cano the Yankees have at least 5 home grown players who are either sure fire or borderline Hall of Famers. Just wondering if any other organization has produced anything close to that in the last 20 years. Or has any team in any 20 year period of MLB has achieved this success.

    By the way, none of this excuses the current management team from responsibility with the current farm system. But given what seems to be a historic assemblage of farm talent in the past it does seem worthwhile to point this out.

  • UncleArgyle

    The 189Mil Self imposed Salary Cap doesn’t bother me much. If A-Rod is suspended for the year, the team should still have $80 million to spend in the offseason and could possibly field a pretty darn good team. Obviously the lack of young pitching is a major problem and that’s why I think the Yankees practically have to gamble on Masahiro Tanaka. Dropping a 45 mil posting fee and a 45 mil contract is basically the only way the team can add a talented starter under 25. Hopefully he is more Darvish than Dice-K….In theory you could sign Kuroda (15/1) Cano (27/6) Tanaka (7.5/6) McCann (16/5) & Drew (11/3) and still have a few million left over to try and figure out third base.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting

      You’d also need to find a couple of high leverage-capable relief pitchers.
      A starting RF would also be very useful.
      And a DH/bu1B.

      • UncleArgyle

        Under that senario Jeter would be the full time DH and right feild would be left to a Ichiro/Wells platoon. Which granted is far from perfect, but I don’t see another option. Regarding the bullpen, I think you can lean on guys already on the 40 man or in the system. Maybe take a flier on a Vet for cheap.

        • Need Pitching & Hitting

          They might just do something like that, unfortunately.
          But Jeter as a full-time DH (mediocre at best vs. RHP), a RF platoon where neither platoon partner hits RHP well, and open competition for all of the open bullpen spots, as well as 3B still open, and still questions at the top of the rotation, are all major weaknesses that are likely to be exposed.
          My problem with the $189M plan is it leaves them enough to maybe remain competitive for most of the year like 2013, but likely to still come up short of the playoffs.
          I’d rather that they either decide to go for it and address almost all of their weaknesses (which I don’t see as likely under $189M), or just bite the bullet and start rebuilding.

  • Dan G

    The Rays and Cards are the teams to model after. The Cards drafted both Miller (2009) and Wacha (2012) 19th overall and NYY have the 18th in 2014 so you don’t have to draft high to get quality players. And the Rays haven’t picked lower than 17 since 2008 so I don’t want to hear about drafting high. They got good in a hurry and kept it up with solid picks in later rounds. And the part that gets overlooked in the comments is that Mike pointed out it’s the scouting AND development. The Rays teach all of their pitchers change-ups and how to pitch.

    Via draft:
    Alex Cobb- 2006, 4th rd
    James Shields- 2000, 16th rd
    Desmond Jennings- 2006, 10th rd
    Jeremy Hellickson, 2005, 4th rd
    Matt Moore- 2007, 8th rd

    Via Trade:
    Wil Myers & Jake Odorizzi (Shields)
    Chris Archer, Hak-Ju Lee, Sam Fuld (Garza)
    Yunel Escobar (Derek Dietrich, 2010 2nd rounder)
    Ben Zobrist (Aubrey Huff (!!))
    … and soon David Price??

    Comp picks from letting players walk:
    Crawford
    Soriano
    Upton
    Balfour
    Choate
    Benoit

    Total 2013 payroll? About $62MM.

    That’s ~25% of the Yankees $228M or exactly what A-Rod earned in 2010 ($32M) and 2011 ($31M).

    Hensley, Judge, Jagielo and Clarkin are a good start in the right direction but gone are the days of waiting for Verlander, Kershaw, Cabrera and Tulowitski to become FA’s and throwing $$.

    • OhioYanks

      “And the Rays haven’t picked lower than 17 since 2008 so I don’t want to hear about drafting high.”

      Oddly enough, the Rays also hadn’t drafted a single guy who debuted with them after 2007 until Tim Beckham did late this season…

      I would call them a very well run franchise, but the fact is that the Rays are still very much riding on the legacy of their high picks (Price, Longoria) and the players they’ve been able to acquire with guys they drafted a long time ago. That’s no knock. The Yankees very much ride on their financial advantage. They haven’t had a ton of recent success, though, in the player development department. Some, but not a ton.

      “The Cards drafted both Miller (2009) and Wacha (2012) 19th overall and NYY have the 18th in 2014 so you don’t have to draft high to get quality players.”

      Yankees have drafted #19 or higher once since 1993. 19 is EXTREMELY high for the Yankees.

      “Hensley, Judge, Jagielo and Clarkin are a good start”

      I liked those picks just fine, but how do you know? Those guys have collectively proven just above nothing as pros.

      • Dan G

        All very good points. In reference to drafting #18, I just meant moving forward they’re in a good spot. I know NY is typically in the 25-32 range but honestly it’s not like there’s a huge gap in talent from say #18 and #26. Either way, they are in a range in 2014 that is capable of producing talent.

        And you’re absolutely right- the recent draftees haven’t proven anything but it’s promising that the general consensus has been that they were all solid picks relative to where they were drafted, considering what happend with Culver and Bichette. I fully realize that all picks are basically lottery tickets but the moment both were drafted pretty much every draft talking head said both Culver & DBJ were taken way too high. If NY gets even 1 major league starter out of those 4 guys I’ll be thrilled.

        Hell, David Wright was a supplemental first rounder and Trout was #25 which basically means almost every team whiffed once on both guys. Meanwhile the aforementioned Beckham has yet to produce anything close to justifying being taken #1 overall. Total crapshoot.

  • Nathan

    Chris Stewart and Frankie as catchers. “Championship caliber team” makes me laugh.

    • sas

      Beats Jose Molina and Jose Lobaton.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        I’d take Molina over those three.

  • sas

    Is it just me, or has every Yankee fan, Mike included, been a whiny jerk this early off season? Waaah, other teams have young players! Waaah, don’t talk about payroll even though they get asked about it! Waaah, they should fire everyone!

  • itsallhowyouseeit

    Playoff teams

    Dodgers $216,302,909
    Boston $158,967,286
    Tampa Bay 57,030,272
    Detroit $149,046,844
    St Louis $116,702,085
    Oakland $68,577,000

    Only 2 teams with a payroll over 200 mil, one made the playoffs, the other didnt. Yeah injuries, but you dont need to spend over 200 mil to compete, some dont even spend over 100. Develop young talent that you can control for multiple years…broken record yes, but It will have to start sometime.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting

      So 50% of the teams with a $200M+ payroll made it to the division series, while 21% of the teams with under $200M payrolls managed to do so.
      You don’t need to spend that much to win, but it does give a huge advantage in getting to the playoffs as often as possible.

  • wyldebill

    Call me a polyanna, but I could see both Nova and Warren being outstanding young starting pitchers starting with the ’14 rotation. Also, I live in Seattle, so I saw Pineda’s terrific (apologies to Suzie W) 2011. I know he may never be the same, but if he’s 90% of what he was then, there’s a third good-to-great young starter.

  • meowmix

    I personally would like to see the yankees compete year in and year out. Any fan is the same way, right?

    The yankees will compete next year if and only if they spend the money to put themselves over 189million. They’ve dug themselves too deep of a hole, and it’s catching up to them, and will only continue to hinder the team going forward.

    That said, I also think that if the yankees decide to let cano go, not pursue any big-name free agents, and save chump-change luxury taxes, they will in turn lose that saved money from fan revenue.

    Yankees won 85 games which is still pretty good. Not up to standard, but good. BUT the Steinbrenners are STUPID if they think they can win another 85 next year with 189 in dead-weight money.

    No, they’ll drop to MAYBE 70 wins, fans don’t show up to the stadium and buy beer, and no one will watch YES.

    Even if they are trying to maximize their present value in order to sell by saving some tax, they’re not looking at the big picture.

    i dont even know what im saying anymore. the yankees are awesome, it’s my team. but it’s run by idiots.

  • There’s the Door

    Mathematically impossible to win a championship without significant young homegrown talent, 189 or no.