Nov
19

Random Thoughts: Rule 5 Draft, IFAs, Payroll

By
C/3B Peter O'Brien during Arizona Fall League play, which has literally nothing to do with this post. (Presswire)

C/3B Peter O’Brien during Arizona Fall League play, which has literally nothing to do with this post. (Presswire)

There is nothing special about this Tuesday other than the fact that it’s thoughts day. That’s something special, right? Anyway, here are some random tidbits on my mind that really aren’t worth a full post.

1. The deadline to set the 40-man roster for the Rule 5 Draft is tomorrow and we already know the Yankees will protect RHP Shane Greene and RHP Bryan Mitchell. C Gary Sanchez, OF Slade Heathcott, RHP Tommy Kahnle, RHP Chase Whitley, and RHP Danny Burawa are eligible this year as well, ditto RHP Jose Campos according to Josh Norris. I say this every year around this time, but sometimes the best way to keep a player is to leave them unprotected. Ivan Nova was not big league ready in 2008 and, sure enough, the Padres returned him to the Yankees after he got bombed in Spring Training. Campos is 21 and he threw only 87 innings for Low-A Charleston this season after missing virtually all of last season with an elbow injury. Hiding him as the last guy in a big league bullpen for a full 162-game season will be close to impossible at this point of his career, even for a terrible team like the Astros and Twins. Guys with big arms who are higher up the minor league ladder flop in that role as Rule 5 picks every year. Leaving Campos unprotected is a low risk by Rule 5 Draft standards and the Yankees stand to save a 40-man spot and one of his option years. I suspect they will protect him because they protect just about everyone, however.

2. As Joe wrote yesterday, the Yankees appear likely to spend big on international free agents next summer, meaning they’ll blow past their allotted signing pool and pay the penalties the following year. Those penalties including being limited to bonuses of $500k or less (or $250k or less, depending on how far over they go). I understand the strategy of spending huge one year, landing a whole bunch of prospects, then dealing with the penalties and not signing anyone the next summer, but I also don’t like it. You’re basically eliminating yourself from contention for half the talent pool. I also don’t think it’s possible to say the next year’s talent crop will be weaker than the current year’s — thus justifying the extra spending — because we’re talking about 14 and 15 year old kids. The 18 to 21-year-olds in the draft are hard enough to predict from one year to the next. Doing it with teenagers is impossible. The new spending restrictions really suck and hurt the Yankees immensely, especially since the backbone of their farm system for decades was Latin America. I don’t think the solution is alternating big money years and small bonus years (due to penalties). You eliminate yourself from contention for too many players that way …

OF Mason Williams in the Arizona Fall League. Also irrelevant to this post. (Presswire)

OF Mason Williams in the Arizona Fall League. Also irrelevant to this post. (Presswire)

3. … but at the same time, I think the Yankees do a really good job of finding super cheap talent in Latin America. By super cheap I mean $250k or less, which is still a ton of cash in the real world. Guys like RHP Luis Severino ($225k), OF Ravel Santana ($145k), RHP Gio Gallegos ($100k), and SS Thairo Estrada ($75k) all signed for less than a quarter-million in recent years. Maybe that ability to find relatively cheap talent means it would make sense to go over the spending pool one year and incur the penalties the next since they’ll still dig up players in the down year. That makes sense to come extent, but again, you are taking yourself out of the running for the top talent in a given year with that strategy. I don’t know the best way to go — it’s probably a combination of both depending on the talent pool and a given year, but again, who can predict that? — all I know is that this new system stinks.

4. Jon Heyman recently reported Hal Steinbrenner is “at the center of things” this winter, getting involved in talks with agents and whatnot. Ownership has been dipping its toes in the roster building pool more and more these last few years and with payroll set to come down, they seem to want even more control to ensure they actually get under the $189M luxury tax threshold. My biggest concern is depth. Owners get involved to bring in stars and big name guys, not role players. The Yankees have less money to spend this winter than most realize and if Hal & Co. blow it all on two or three big name free agents, there will be nothing left to upgrade the margins of the roster. The Bombers will end up with a top heavy roster similar to the 2004-2008 squads. You know what I’m talking about. Realistically, New York needs a catcher, a second baseman, a third baseman, a right fielder, a DH, at least two (preferably three) starters, at least one (preferably three!) relievers, and a bench. Two or three big name free agents won’t be enough to turn things around even if they’ll create the biggest headlines.

5. The hot stove is just getting warmed up, but there have already been a few contracts handed out (Tim Lincecum, Marlon Byrd, Carlos Ruiz*) that show just how much money is available in the game right now. Teams can’t spend big on amateurs and the best young big leaguers are getting signed to below-market contracts, so the only place that money can go (aside from the owner’s pocket) is towards free agents. Remember, all 30 clubs are getting an extra $25M or so starting in 2014 thanks to the new national television contracts. That’s an extra $25M to pump into the team, just like that. Put all that together and it’s even more annoying the Yankees are trimming payroll to get under the luxury tax threshold. Every other team in baseball is increasing its spending and using the extra cash while the team with the most revenue and in the biggest market is purposefully scaling back and refusing to use its natural financial advantage. This is only going to become even more obvious as the top shelf free agents come off the board. Sigh.

* How much more awful does letting Russell Martin walk for two years and $17M look now? Goodness.

Categories : Musings

128 Comments»

  1. Robinson Tilapia says:

    Complaining about Russell Martin a full season later is the new black.

  2. I'm One says:

    Nike, a couple of points:

    A comment in Joe’s post of yesterday suggeste dthe Yankees sign International draftees with smaller bonuses, but larger contracts. Can that be done?

    You (and many others) keep complaining about the $189M budget. It seems like you feel once they achieve it, it won’t go away. And that once there, it means mediocre teams. At some point, some of the big contracts hurting the team (A-Rod, CC Teix) will come off the books. Don’t you believe that a team can be cometitive with a budget under $200M if it’s constructed properly? I’m not saying it wouldn’t hurt for a few years, but it could lead to a sustainable top-tier team after a few years of teams like the 2013 team. Do you agree or disagree?

    • Mike Axisa says:

      As long as ownership keeps dicking around and spending money (I assume it will only get worse once Cashman is gone), no I don’t think they can sustain a top tier team while staying under the luxury tax. Too many other teams are better at developing players and smarter at spending money.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        That’s incredibly oversimplified. I’d expect that from Eddard, honestly.

        Ownership is going to get involved because that’s what those with the highest stakes do. They get involved, especially in times of perceived crisis. $189 million is a huge amount of money. It may not seem like it now due to where it’s tied up, but it is.

        If they actually were to follow this plan now and/or in the future and you, for some reason, seem convinced there’s only one answer to that question, then their behavior would have to be different than, say, when they signed Rafael Soriano and whatnot. I think they’d know this.

        My thought is that they go past 189, with my biggest concern being when they come to that realization, so my opinion is that this all for nothing. Opinions are like youknowwhat, though.

        • I'm a looser baby so why don't you kill me? says:

          You give an awful lot of benefit of the doubt in a situation wherein there is ample precedent and evidence that direct ownership involvement in roster building is horrible process and usually horrible results. And that extends well beyond the NYY into most teams in most sports (funny that another NY team under horrible meddlesome ownership comes immediately to mind though).

          “I think they’d know this.” Really? What evidence of dynamism of thinking on their part gives you this belief?

          Owners are almost exclusively people with zero skill, experience, or training in evaluating on field/court talent. Their involvement is never good news.

          • Robinson Tilapia says:

            We’re not going through this again.

            In any argument in which you could lean positive or negative, you’re going to lean negative. That’s perfectly fine and, unlike some of the MENSA crew below, you’re obviously an intelligent fan, but don’t get on others who aren’t going to follow you there, especially when what they’re expressing is actually pretty devoid of their own opinion on the matter.

            I don’t think what I’m staring at here is Peter Angelos or Daniel Snyder level nonsense, nor do I think it ever will be.

            • I'm a looser baby so why don't you kill me? says:

              But that’s just it. The Steinbrenners collectively have a lot more of say, Dolan, in them (including demonstrable history) than they do hands off owners. On the whole, what I’ve seen doesn’t bode well.

              Happy to disagree on which way the tea leaves lean at this time. But I have to admit it strikes me as strange that someone so thoughtful could look at something like this and more or less pass it off.

              Onward.

              • Robinson Tilapia says:

                Yeah, but I can’t stand the Knicks, so Dolan sucking works in my favor. :)

                Perhaps I join you in my view of Hal on this one day but, right now, I’m maintaining a curious stance as to how this off-season works out.

                So would keeping the 189 plan be meddling or not meddling?

              • Mac says:

                You’re really oversimplifying things by saying that there are only two types of owners and that it’s necessarily bad to have hands-on owners. There’s a lot of complexity in there.

                In reality, I would bet you that every single owner is going to be involved to some extent in handing out a $100 million or $200 million guaranteed contract. A guy like Ilitch in Detroit often gets publicly involved in these things and his team has done just fine. At the same time, ownership might be just as involved in letting their team know that they can’t hand out those contracts. Beane or Friedman or Mozeliak might much prefer to retain their stars on huge deals if given the chance, but not be able to because their owner won’t write the check.

                “But I have to admit it strikes me as strange that someone so thoughtful could look at something like this and more or less pass it off.”

                You might want to think through your own assumptions here a little longer first. You’re making a bunch of them, and you don’t seem to realize that they’re wild speculation more than fact.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      Also, the bad contracts on the books now will simply be replaced by new ones. Cano, Tanaka, McCann, Garza, Nova, whoever. They’ll exist and are unavoidable as long as they continue to hand out huge deals.

      • I'm One says:

        But at this point, outside of Cano who we all seem to feel will get re-signed, none of those things have happened yet and may not happen. We also don’t what direction ownership will take in the near or more distant future, or what a new GM will do. (I tend to think Cashmand won’t return.)

        Huge deals are happening more and more around baseball. They’re not all bad. Tanaka, if they get him, might be a really good deal. Same with McCann, Nova, or anyone else. Not all huge deals are bad. Jeter’s was pretty good. CC’s started good, has gone bad, but may still turn out OK. The key, as you alluded to, is player development. If they can fix that, they can turn it around. I am disappointed that, on the surface at least, nothing significant was done in the area this offseason.

        • Mac says:

          The assumption that something necessarily needs to be done in process to change bad results is flawed as a premise that applies universally. If you send Miguel Cabrera up to bat 20 times and no hits result, that doesn’t mean some replacement level guy should take his starting spot going forward. The Yankees had a very good run of player production from 2005-10 with a pretty similar crew. The recent results may indicate that those guys got worse at their jobs, but might also indicate a string of bad luck.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

      A comment in Joe’s post of yesterday suggested the Yankees sign International draftees with smaller bonuses, but larger contracts. Can that be done?

      I don’t think so. All players covered by the signing bonus pool are required to sign a Minor League Uniform Player Contract.

      • Preston says:

        Or they can sign an MLB contract, which is the only way to give them more money than the bonus and standard MiLB contract, but that would be incredibly dumb because you’d immediately start burning through their options and waste a 40 man roster spot.

    • Chris Z. says:

      That was my post from yesterday.

      I was wondering if the Yankees could basically have a 250k bonus policy for everyone and the extra money that would have gone to a player gets loaded into their contracts.

      The biggest question I had was the structure of new player contracts. Are they pre-determined by the CBA? There isn’t a minor league lux tax so why not give these kids a year extension right off the top for say 1 mill? That’s a great way around the system. And I don’t feel bad about doing it either. Teams have entire departments devoted to finding ways around the CBA. Its certainly shady but it would work.

      • Havok9120 says:

        Look one post up. And Need Pitching tends to know this kind of thing.

        I’m pretty sure if it were as easy as your solution purports, one of the franchises would have done it by now. But since all minor league amateur contracts are structured the same, I’m fairly certain they’re standardized.

      • Mac says:

        At least two people answered your question yesterday.

  3. TWTR says:

    I realize that spending $189m even while shrinking payroll can erase mistakes and probably ensure fielding a .500 team, but it’s going to be hard to be great again with an owner who spends foolishly and a GM who cannot develop talent.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      That could have written 30 years ago.

      More Boversimplication.

      • TWTR says:

        Thank you, because enduring truths are valuable, but 30 years ago:

        1) The owner largely spent increasing amounts of money;
        2) The rest of MLB spent less relative to the Yankees, as opposed to now when increased revenue sharing is producing more parity.

        So:

        3) They had a unique competitive advantage which negated bad minor league development.

        At some point he did sign players stupidly (for example, Steve Kemp and Dave Collins) and make stupid trades (Fred McGriff and Doug Drabek), so that advantage dissipated, until they got a GM who could develop talent.

        More…I’m not sure what to call it…

        • I'm a looser baby so why don't you kill me? says:

          Actually you also left out the part where the team was only let to develop talent when the owner was handcuffed.

          Direct ownership involvement is never a good thing.

          • Chris Z. says:

            NEVER a good thing? Jeter and Bernie talk often about how the Boss being around and demanding high quality output from everyone was a good thing. Jeter this year said without big Stein things have changed. The players don’t have that fear of messing up.

            That can be a good thing. It worked in New York.

            • Havok9120 says:

              It also failed miserably in New York for roughly a decade.

              I won’t go so far as saying “never” a good thing, but the Boss’s track record on baseball decisions was…checkered.

            • I'm a looser baby so why don't you kill me? says:

              It was a good thing the Boss wasn’t around to trade them before he impressed them with his heavy handedness. Also, you’re talking about two players who literally never played a single inning for another MLB team nor, by extension, another MLB owner. How they possibly have any idea of how the Boss compared? I’d take that kind of comment from O’Neill or Brosius a lot more seriously.

              It’s never a good thing. Full stop.

              • Robinson Tilapia says:

                Hey, look, my favorite owner in sports is Mickey Arison, who just sits there, writes checks, and lets Pat Riley handle things. Clearly, I’m not disagreeing in principle with you.

        • Robinson Tilapia says:

          And that advantage got them….

    • Mike HC says:

      The GM just acquires the talent, he doesn’t develop it. He hasn’t been all that great at acquiring talent either though.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        The Internet is no place for nuance.

      • TWTR says:

        The GM hires the people who develop the talent, doesn’t he?

        • Mike HC says:

          Possibly. Probably. Wasn’t implying that he didn’t.

          Like Tilapia wrote above (albeit snarkily, ha), a one sentence comment doesn’t exactly allow for nuance. The last part of your sentence just stuck out to me and I made a quick, nitpick comment. All good. We all agree, seemingly from ownership on down to the fans, the Yanks need to do a better job of both acquiring and developing talent.

          • TWTR says:

            Cool. My point was merely that Cashman has not exactly distinguished himself in the development area, or in self-scouting (in other words, keeping his best prospects and trading only the redundant ones).

            I agree though. Some people seem to pin most of the blame on everyone but Cashman. There is plenty to be shared.

            • Havok9120 says:

              Nobody does well in “self-scouting” if that’s your definition. Shockingly, most teams don’t want to trade with you if you’re only giving away easily-replaced pieces.

              Just a nitpick, though. Of course Cashman deserves some blame for development going poorly. How much, we cannot tell.

              • TWTR says:

                What would call Stick Michael’s decision to keep Bernie, Pettitte, etc. while trading Hitchock and Russ Davis? At one point, some ratings services thought that Hitchcock was better than Pettitte, and that Davis was a can’t miss prospect.

                • Havok9120 says:

                  You really think there’s a science to that and that Cashman/the Yanks are the team missing out on it?

                  Prospects are lottery tickets. You will win and lose. Who works out and who doesn’t is not a mathematical exercise. By all accounts, Stick knew what he was doing and was pretty darn good at his job, but there’s a reason no one has ever seen a crop of players come up through a system in so short a period of time. If you want to believe that Michael broke The Prospect Code, nursed those guys through the system knowing the exact balance of their potential and their likely outcomes, and then never used this knowledge again then fine. More power to you. But picking the most unique achievement in the history of modern player development and saying “Cashman doesn’t match up!” does not help your argument all that much.

                  • TWTR says:

                    A science requires rigorous proof, so no, but I do think it’s a skill. How else would you explain, for example, the development success that the Cardinals or Rays have had? It’s not all the result of high picks.

                    Some people have said the Yankees should hire the Cards or the Rays’ development people and/or scouts.

                    But those organizations hired at least some of those people before they were successful in their present jobs, probably because they have identified a valuable skillset in people that is needed in those jobs.

                    Cashman hasn’t proven that kind of ability.

                    It’s not necessarily about Stick. It’s just that he, as the last Yankee GM who was successful at developing/scouting young talent is a convenient and natural example

                    A team doesn’t have to have the success of the Core 4 or 5 to be considered successful at development.

                    There are numerous other examples of which I have cited two recent examples.

                    The Yankees, in contrast, have developed about as poorly as any team in MLB.

                    So I’m not sure what your argument is.

                    • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead says:

                      “The Yankees, in contrast, have developed about as poorly as any team in MLB.”

                      False. They’ve developed about as well as any other team consistently in the middle of prospect rankings.

                    • Havok9120 says:

                      Dude, they’ve had at least a mid-ranked farm system for most of the last decade. Organizational rankings have given similar results over that span. You’re acting like they’re bottom ranked at these things and any change would be an improvement.

                      You have, again, picked the two most positive outliers and said “we’re not as good as them!” No organization in the league has been as adept at the Rays at building a consistent pipeline of talent. The Cardinals have an incredible system right now and for the last few years, leading to many number one rankings. If it was as simple to make the changes necessary to accomplish something like this as you’re suggesting, someone else would be doing it too.

                      I’ve been slowly coming around to the opinion that it’s time for Cashman and the team to move on from each other, for the good of both. This offseason and season will probably clinch the decision one way or another. But that doesn’t mean you can pin the majority of the blame on Cashman and his process.

                    • I'm a looser baby so why don't you kill me? says:

                      So you think a meh farm system is acceptable?

                    • Havok9120 says:

                      No, and you know it. I’m saying that throwing blame around and acting as if things are worse than they actually are is not useful.

                • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

                  fwiw, the Hitchcock/Davis trade could have been more about Seattle’s preference for those players.
                  There’s 2 sides to every trade. What the other side wants/is willing to take in return plays just as big a part as a team’s self-scouting.
                  Trading away a prospect doesn’t mean a team gave up on the prospect. It mean’s they value the player they are acquiring more than that prospect at that time and place.
                  Keeping one prospect while trading another doesn’t necessarily mean they prefer the prospect they kept. It could mean the prospect they kept wasn’t appealing enough to the other team to complete the trade.

                  Not trying to defend Cashman here. I think it’s time for him to go.
                  I’m just saying there’s a lot more to it.
                  Also, fwiw, I believe Bob Watson was the GM when they traded Hitchcock/Davis.

                  • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead says:

                    Two sides to every trade? You mean Cash doesn’t get to dictate the terms of the entire deal?

                    Also I don’t know if on purpose, but your name always makes me see NPH and think of Neil Patrick Harris.

                    • TWTR says:

                      False. They’ve developed about as well as any other team consistently in the middle of prospect rankings
                      _

                      Development includes success at the major level.

                      So true.

                    • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead says:

                      And, you know, people you’ve traded that you did all the legwork with.

                      Nah, ignore them, you’re good at ignoring anything else that doesn’t agree with your world view.

                  • TWTR says:

                    That’s not what was reported at the time.

                    Either way, it’s not just about what the other side wants, it’s also about what the counter party is willing to offer.

                    Just because a team thinks that the player they are getting back for a prospect is more valuable, it doesn’t mean that they are correct, or the trade may simply be the result of a lack of patience.

                    Anything could be, but facts govern.

                    It was reported that Stick laid the groundwork for that trade.

                    But any one trade is irrelevant. He knew to trade Roberto Kelly. He also knew to lie to George about other teams’ interest in a young Bernie.

                    • TWTR says:

                      Dude, they’ve had at least a mid-ranked farm system for most of the last decade. Organizational rankings have given similar results over that span. You’re acting like they’re bottom ranked at these things and any change would be an improvement.
                      __

                      As I said above, development includes being able to have success on the major league level.

                      Otherwise, dude, there is no way to assess the developmental differences in trading a player when he is at A v. having spent two years in the major leagues.

                      __

                      You have, again, picked the two most positive outliers and said “we’re not as good as them!” No organization in the league has been as adept at the Rays at building a consistent pipeline of talent. The Cardinals have an incredible system right now and for the last few years, leading to many number one rankings. If it was as simple to make the changes necessary to accomplish something like this as you’re suggesting, someone else would be doing it too.
                      __

                      The Yankees have more resources than any team in baseball. Why isn’t fair to compare them to successful teams?

                    • Havok9120 says:

                      Your definition of “a good farm system” just tossed out every professional opinion available to us. Every single one. I’m sorry, but I’m not going to follow you to the place where we disregard people with more experience and a better vantage point just because we don’t like the results we’ve seen.

                      The Yankees have been successful over the span the Cardinals and Rays have had great farms systems. They’ve simply not used the farm to do so. You’re effectively arguing that the team’s resources mean that they should be great at everything. That’s not how things work in the real world.

                    • Robinson Tilapia says:

                      “The Yankees have been successful over the span the Cardinals and Rays have had great farms systems. They’ve simply not used the farm to do so.”

                      Luckily, there was no use of “i.e.” here, so we’ll repeat this again.

                • Robinson Tilapia says:

                  Continuing to hit “reply” and trying to have the last word does not mean you have an argument. You’re drawing imaginary lines which fit your argument and nothing else.

                  This isn’t about absolving people of blame. It’s about it being laughable that others seem to know exactly who to blame. Again, not being the one who screams CASHMAN FAILED the loudest gets taken as giving people in the organization some sort of pass.

                  Perhaps its more likely that some of us realize we can’t properly even assess the dynamics up and down the chain of authority at our own jobs and aren’t going to pretend we know as much about a much bigger organization.

                  • TWTR says:

                    The “can’t possibly know” thing is funny.

                    We are typing comments on a blog, not carving eternal truths on stone tablets.

                    I understand you have a need to think you’re right, but that doesn’t make it so.

                    • Robinson Tilapia says:

                      Pot. Kettle.

                      It’s funny how a comment that, to paraphrase myself, basically reads that I don’t take leaps as to organizational structure because I don’t know enough about it gets turned into needing to think I’m right.

                      Also, I’m right.

                    • Mac says:

                      That you’re typing things on a blog doesn’t mean you have to pretend to know things that you either don’t know or can’t possibly know. All logic and reason doesn’t fly out the window because you’re on a blog.

                      The point is to identify what your assumptions are, rather than pretending like you aren’t making any. You definitely are. Then two people can have a discussion about which assumptions they disagree with and to what extent. If you just pretend you’re not making any assumptions and your way is right then there will never be any chance to resolve a conversation.

                  • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead says:

                    Imaginary lines are fun, RT.

                  • I'm a looser baby so why don't you kill me? says:

                    Not for me. For me the issue is deciding that we can’t know whom to blame and therefore deciding to make only window dressing moves after a seemingly universal agreement that our system is nothing more than an unacceptable meh.

                    If you want to disagree that the procedural changes the Yanks made are more than window dressing, are substantive, and likely to make material changes beyond the margins, then you’re obviously entitled to that view. That simply doesn’t jive with anything we’ve seen about this organization, nor what we can easily observe of life on earth. Said another way, systems rarely if ever change unless the people do.

                    • Robinson Tilapia says:

                      “Said another way, systems rarely if ever change unless the people do.”

                      Obviously, you have no way of knowing this, but my entire career is based upon the opposite of that notion.

                    • Havok9120 says:

                      Yikes. No wonder you chose to take every rumor and bit of information in the least possible way.

                • Mac says:

                  This is a totally false re-invention of history. The Yankees actively tried to trade at least 3 of the core 4, and just didn’t get the deals done. I believe at least one or two of them were actually offered in the Tino deal, but the Ms just preferred Davis and Hitchcock.

                  You have to realize at some point that a tremendous amount of luck plays into results. Not everything can be explained by skill. This is true in just about any aspect of life.

      • Slugger27 says:

        the gm is in charge of everyone, including the people doing the developing and probably the entire process they use.

        • I'm a looser baby so why don't you kill me? says:

          But haven’t you heard, if those hired to develop the talent do a poor job on a consistent basis then it’s not Cashman’s fault at all?

          • Havok9120 says:

            Since you’ve not deigned to say here how much blame you’d like to see put on Cashman, I fail to see your point.

            Unless you were just trying to paint anyone saying “it isn’t entirely Cashman’s fault” as totally unreasonable without providing any basis for debate.

            • I'm a looser baby so why don't you kill me? says:

              My beef is the capitulation that follows from the notion that we cannot know whom is to blame therefore we make only minor marginal changes to the system.

              Our farm and player development is meh.

              Systems (all systems, corporate, political, etc) rarely change unless the people change.

              • Robinson Tilapia says:

                Systems theorists say completely otherwise, says someone who practices such every day.

              • Havok9120 says:

                I’m not saying we can’t know so only make marginal changes. I’m saying we can’t know so claiming we know better than people with a better vantage point is silly.

              • Mac says:

                “Systems (all systems, corporate, political, etc) rarely change unless the people change.”

                That is such fucking bullshit. It assumes about the worst about people. I would imagine that you’re taking it from two sources: sports and politics. It is not the case in corporate situations at all.

                This is before even talking about all the other assumptions that went into your comment.

                • Mac says:

                  Basically, it is the case if the people lack the talent to do the job. If the people have the talent then they just need to change the way they are doing things and/or get a larger sample over which to be evaluated.

          • Robinson Tilapia says:

            No, actually, I haven’t heard that. You just think you hear it when someone else isn’t willing to jump off the cliff with you.

            This is why those who pull their punches get called Pollyannas and whatnot. The internet, again, doesn’t seem to be a place for nuance.

        • Mike HC says:

          But the owner is truly in charge of everything. So Hal Steinbrenner better fucking learn how to better develop talent!

          • Robinson Tilapia says:

            If you’re a religious man, isn’t God in charge of everything?

            GOD FAILED.

            I’m going to hell for that. Just kidding. Really. Just making a point.

            *plonk*

            • Mike HC says:

              God has a spotty developmental track record too. I mean, he acquired tonsils for us, and then couldn’t develop them for shit. We had to take it upon ourselves to cut those no good, worthless tonsils. He could have acquired fucking wings for us!

              • Robinson Tilapia says:

                I have to have my four wisdom teeth removed. WTF.

                • Mike HC says:

                  Unless the bottom wisdom teeth are currently hurting you, I strongly advise you to think hard about removing them. My doctors didn’t really properly explain the possible problems that could arise (TMJ, for one), and I regret my decision.

                  The upper wisdom teeth, go for it.

                  • Robinson Tilapia says:

                    I have a friend with TMJ. It’s freakish to watch her sit there rubbing her cheek all day.

                    I’ve gotten all sorts of advice. Very hard to sort out sometimes.

                    • Mike HC says:

                      Well, you should probably trust the semi anonymous commenter of a Yankee blog above all else!

                      But seriously, simply google TMJ and wisdom teeth extraction, and you don’t only have to take my word for it. There are varying degrees of severity, but lifelong discomfort and lack of ability to eat certain foods without pain (gum, bagels, big subs etc …) are pretty universal. Also, lots of “freakish” face rubbing, ha.

                      I have given this warning to other friends as well, and they turned out ok. Most seem to be fine. But myself, and a minority of others do never quite completely heal from the surgery. And I don’t believe my doctor adequately educated me about the possible risks so I could make an informed decision. So now whenever someone mentions getting their wisdom teeth pulled, I take it upon myself to at least let them know of one possible risk that the doctors don’t seem to mention, so they can make an informed decision.

                    • Robinson Tilapia says:

                      I honestly really appreciate the input.

                      Oral surgeon, I think, said the lower ones were lower risk in terms of proximity to things that could be bad than the uppers.

                      My concern right now is whether I should do two at a time or all four. Insurance may only cover general anesthesia if I do all four and, trust me, they are going to have to knock my ass out to do this.

                    • Mike HC says:

                      I wish I could say “I’m sure you can trust what your doctor/surgeon tells you,” but unfortunately, I don’t believe that. Good luck with everything, and odds are you will heal 100%.

              • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead says:

                Tonsils and the appendix are the A-Rod and Jeter contract of the human body.

        • Havok9120 says:

          Actually, while we can assume (hope) that he put the personnel in place, I doubt very much he decides process. You don’t hire a guy and then do his job for him. Such would basically defeat the purpose of hiring the guy.

          Of course he deserves some of the blame. Again, we have no idea how much. It isn’t as simple as “he’s atop them on the organization chart, therefore he is to blame when something goes wrong in their department,” anymore than “the team finished with only 85 wins, the manager should be fired since he’s in charge of the team on the field.”

          • Mac says:

            When you’re 14 years old, have never worked a day in your life, and are sitting in front of your parents’ computer it is easy to pretend all sorts of things.

            In all seriousness, though, we don’t really know the backgrounds of any of these people. Their ignorance seems pretty apparent and it’s really frustrating, but it’s hard to say why they feel so strongly about things they don’t seem to understand in this anonymous online setting.

        • Mac says:

          All this speculation about what goes on within a private organization you are not a part of is so useless.

      • Havok9120 says:

        I don’t agree with that second sentence at all. 2 bad 1 round picks doesn’t warrant a statement like that and, beyond those two, I’m not what you’d be referring to. They’ve been very good at finding diamonds in the rough in IFA, FA, and waivers, they’ve been very good at taking risks on guys with flaws that fall to them (the development of those guys is another story, of course), etc.

        The results certainly haven’t been there, but I don’t think they’ve mucked up the acquisitions process.

        • Mike HC says:

          I thought my, “He hasn’t been all that great at acquiring talent either though” left enough leeway for that to mean he has been “ok,” just not “great.” And there is room for improvement.

          TWTR is the guy you want to be talking to. TWTR thinks Cashman is incapable of developing talent!

    • Havok9120 says:

      You have no idea what their overall spending habits will be under the 189 plan. The only really foolish move we can point to right now is Ichiro, everything else they’ve done has pros and cons and can be defended in any number of ways.

      It will not be difficult to build great teams with a payroll pushing 200 million dollars (assuming they never go over the luxury tax again, which is just an unfounded assumption at this point). Even if every team takes the money saved from the draft/IFA and the national TV money and uses it to increase their payrolls by, say, 30 million dollars, 189 would still give us one of the 3 or 4 highest payrolls in the game. There is no long-term problem with building a team around 189.

      • Jay D says:

        The real problem I see with fielding a competitive team goes back to self scouting and developing prospects. The payroll of 189 is fine when you are able to streamline talent (See: Cardinals, Rays). We don’t. We have a heavy reliance on FA signings to make up for the shortcomings in MiLB.

        • Havok9120 says:

          The only reason 189 is at all an impediment right now is the contracts signed before the plan was brainstormed (i.e. before the new CBA).

          Teams without the kind of development pipeline you’re talking about have success all the time. Just this year, for example. Will they build another dynasty simply through FA? Of course not. You need a combination of the two for that. But if the Yankees haven’t had much in the way of successful homegrown talent coming in for, and homegrown talent is essential to building great teams, how did the Yanks manage to have perennially great teams for nearly two decades?

          Have circumstances changed? Sure. But the farm is not the be all end all, and 189 million dollars will still buy you one heck of a team in any given year.

          • Robinson Tilapia says:

            “The only reason 189 is at all an impediment right now is the contracts signed before the plan was brainstormed (i.e. before the new CBA).”

            Repeated for emphasis.

            Actually, let’s say that one more time.

            “The only reason 189 is at all an impediment right now is the contracts signed before the plan was brainstormed (i.e. before the new CBA).”

  4. Frank says:

    They could have had an above average catcher signed to a below market deal, but instead spent the money on a 40 year old singles hitter to play right field. I love the Yankees, but this organization is a mess in terms of player development and long term planning. And if they decide to go past the 189MM…after making ridiculous decisions like this in the name of 189…

    • Mike HC says:

      To be fair, that is not exactly how it played out. The Yanks didn’t decide to sign Ichiro instead of Martin to a similar deal in a vacuum. They passed on Martin earlier in the off season and thought they were going to be able to get Ichiro or a similar player on a one year deal. Well, it turned out Ichiro got some two year offers and used that as leverage to force the Yanks hand due to the lack of other suitable free agents. So the Yanks ended up holding the bag due to their poor decision making to wait on free agents, and not strike early on players they wanted.

      • Greg c says:

        Yeah, but how can a guy who isn’t even worth a roster spot (which was obvious before they signed him) really hold that much leverage? They should have let him sign with another team for 2 years. They didn’t even need to find another name free agent guy to replace his lack of production.

        • Mike HC says:

          If that is your opinion, fair enough. I was commenting on the fact that Frank seemed to imply the decision to pass on Martin was directly because we decided to use that money to sign Ichiro. Which wasn’t how it played out.

          As for what you wrote, I think Ichiro is worth a roster spot and is a good defense first, bench outfielder.

      • I'm a looser baby so why don't you kill me? says:

        Poor decision making. Yes.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      Let’s just break things down into explanations a three-year old can understand. Wonderful.

      Zero correlation here, but why not.

      • Havok9120 says:

        Yeah, I thought you were jumping the gun on the “IT’S NOT THAT SIMPLEEEEE” snark upwards in the thread, but this is getting silly now.

  5. LK says:

    I’m not sure I really get your issue with the IFA spending strategy. Yes, you limit yourself to half the talent pool, but you can actually sign a higher percentage of the other half of the talent pool. I’d much rather sign 3 studs every other year than 1 every year, especially when these kids are 5-6 years away anyway. It’s about the total talent acquired, and I think they can get more with this strategy than by adhering to the limits.

    • Mike HC says:

      There really shouldn’t be one overriding IFA strategy. It depends on the player/s. To me all these guys are random names, lottery tickets. But hopefully, to the Yanks, these guys are scouted and the Yanks know whether it would be worth it to go over for a certain player/s.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

      I agree that’s a path the could have pursued, but I’m not sure there’s enough talent left available in this year’s class to make it worthwhile (unless maybe a young Cuban stud defects and becomes available).
      The penalties become stiffer for exceeding the cap starting in the next IFA class, which would likely make this strategy more difficult to pull of effectively.
      Starting next year, they future year bonus restrictions for exceeding the cap by at least 15% last for 2 years instead of 1.
      If they’d typically sign 2-3 high dollar ((over $300K starting next year) IFA’s within 5% of the cap, they’d need to sign at least 7 and possibly 10 or more in a given year to be worthwhile.

  6. Billy says:

    This is the first I’ve heard of Campos being eligible for the Rule 5. Is there a list or some reference as to where they’re getting this information from? My point is that it seems someone just realized Campos is eligible because no one mentioned him up until this point. I’d imagine if it was aware last month when you posted your 40-man roster crunch, Campos would have at least been discussed…

    • Havok9120 says:

      You’ll find that this is usually how Rule 5 stuff goes. Everyone was pretty sure Sanchez was ineligible until someone finally asked MLB or Cashman (don’t remember which) a couple months ago and were informed that he was eligible. According to Mike it’s pretty tricky, especially with international signings.

  7. Slugger27 says:

    How much more awful does letting Russell Martin walk for two years and $17M look now? Goodness

    my god, let it go.

  8. John C says:

    Why not splurge on the international free agents who are closer to the big leagues and don’t require budget restrictions like Tanaka, and this new Cuban pitcher Raciel Iglesias, who just defected from Cuba, when he is declared eligible to sign?

  9. FLYER7 says:

    Mike listed 7 names to possibly be added. Yankees are now at 34. Subtract Stewart, Huff, Nix, Daley, takes it down to 30. Plus 7 brings it 37 plus Ryan equals 38…means some more cuts when FAs are signed…

    • Havok9120 says:

      Yeah, the roster crunch is very much a real thing.

    • Tom says:

      Yup – this is why Mike was talking about the 40man several weeks ago and people were saying no big deal as it seemed like there was a ton of space.

      The other problem with adding Rule V guys is that while you can take them off later, when they get exposed to waivers a claiming team no longer needs to keep them on the 25 man all year(like the rule V draft), they need to simply carry them on the 40 man.

      So I think they should take the risk on a guy like Campos (not putting him on the 40man) – as Mike said the odds of a team carrying a guy who was in A ballin an MLB bullpen for a full year is slim. Once the Yankees add him to the 40man though, it is basically a burned 40man spot – if they try to take him off the 40 man, a claiming team would merely have to keep him on their 40man and stash him in the minors. That’s a much smaller price to pay to acquire an upside arm, and I think at some point there’s a real chance a 2nd division club grabs him up.

  10. Robinson Tilapia says:

    Lost in all this, BTW, was Mike’s point #2, which I completely agree with. There’s going to be some tough Rule 5 decisions made, with the possibility that the team plays the odds with a guy like Campos not making the cut on another team’s roster. Of course, we’ll hear up and down that he’s the next Jose Quintana when that happens, but I understand completely why you take that chance.

    • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead says:

      It’d be easier to focus on the points worth talking about if he’d stop throwing in snark about the Yankee FO/budget plan/russell martin in every article.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        Should we just proactively address all the potential troll responses to this now?

        • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead says:

          I’d like to just ignore them, but trolls are a moving target. Always hard to figure out who’s serious and who’s just being daft until you engage them.

          I don’t want to isolate or ignore people who are here to actually discuss or learn.

  11. Truther says:

    Tilapia idiot preaching all day long again. *SNOOOOOOOOOOREEEEEEEEEEEE

    Shit dude go do something with your life.

  12. Chris in Durham says:

    “and a bench.”

    Really? While we may not like the components, the Yanks already have their bench. Just to define what that means in NYY terms: 25 minus 12 pitchers minus eight starters equals five backups.

    Backup Catcher: One of Romine / Cervelli / Murphy
    Infield: Nunez, Ryan
    Outfield: Wells, Ichiro

    Now if you move a guy like Wells or Nunez, there’s more bench freedom. I’d like to see Reynolds on this roster, but as a bench player, someone else has to go.

  13. Mac says:

    1) I don’t think that they will protect Campos. Too far away. Do you have an example of someone they protected who hadn’t played a single inning above Low A? A guy who on top of that was on a really strict innings limit because of a recent elbow injury that kept him out 3/4 of a season? It all depends who else is on the roster (long-term, not just tomorrow) that’s losing a spot for Campos, but I just don’t see it.

    2 & 3) The taking yourself out of 1/2 the market logic doesn’t really compute. There’s no rule that signing one or two bonus babies is a better strategy than signing a bunch of slightly less heralded guys for the same $. In all likelihood they are substituting one bonus baby one year for two the next year, and then spreading the wealth around more that second year. There’s also an advantage in spending the extra 15% in a year when you finish relatively poorly, as the total is higher. They can really add another top talent next year by going 15% over (not just with the ~$350K overage, but adding that to their pool money), which might not be the case the following year if they’re going hard in free agency this off-season.

    While these kids are only 14 years old, you can have some idea whether it’s a top heavy class or a deep class. Some guys might pull ahead in the next year or two, but if there are a few guys you really, really want in this class and you’re pretty indifferent among a couple of dozen guys next season then the strategy is perfectly justifiable.

    The spoiled Yankee fan temper tantrum isn’t very becoming in a grown man.

    4) You’re going to need to do a lot more than simply stating it to prove that depth is more important that stars in this case. Obviously this is not a perfect market, but if you assume it’s a fairly rational market then there’s no specific reason to think that getting a bunch of mediocre guys is better than getting a few really good guys with the same money.

    5) Again, grow the fuck up. “Every other kid has a new bicycle!!!!” Who gives a crap? The Yankees have to do what is in their best interest. If they’re spending significantly more on the team for years to come when the luxury tax resets, you’re not going to be complaining then. If they win the division under $189 million, it’s only going to matter so much. You’re seriously telling me that you would be upset if the 2014 season ended the same way as the 2004-7 seasons? Your expectations are just irrationally high. If the Yankees aren’t winning 110 games and the World Series before every season starts you will do nothing but whine incessantly. Stop whining and man the fuck up.

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