Yankees tried for Choo before landing Beltran

Thoughts following the Roberts and Thornton pickups
Prospect Profile: Shane Greene
(Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
(Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Once it became clear that they weren’t making progress with Robinson Cano, the Yankees acted. They moved quickly on Jacoby Ellsbury, but weren’t quite done yet. As Newsday’s David Lennon said, the Yankees were ready to act the night before Cano signed with Seattle. Once the signing was confirmed, it was pretty obvious that they’d sign a hitter in short order. When we learned that hitter was Carlos Beltran, it was no surprise. The Yankees had been linked to Beltran not only earlier this off-season, but also in 2011 and 2004. The fit seemed obvious.

Yet it appears Beltran might not have been the Yankees’ top choice. Yahoo’s Jeff Passan shares an anecdote that shines a different light on the situation.

In the aftermath of Robinson Cano’s defection to Seattle, New York presented Choo a seven-year, $140 million deal, three sources outside the Yankees’ organization told Yahoo Sports. When Boras countered asking for more money – one source indicated he wanted “Ellsbury money,” or $153 million over seven years – the Yankees pulled the offer and signed Carlos Beltran to a three-year, $45 million deal.

With four starting outfielders now in the fold, it’s unlikely that the Yankees will get back into Choo talks. It wouldn’t seem a wise use of resources, given the needs of the pitching staff. But it’s interesting to see that the Yankees were willing to spend $20 million per year for seven years on Choo, rather than the $15 million per year for three years on Beltran.

It might seem foolish to turn down such money, but Boras is known for doing right by his clients. Chances are Choo will stay on the market for the time being; with at least a half dozen, and more realistically a dozen, teams pursuing Masahiro Tanaka, there could be a few losers with money to spend. At that point, one of them will probably ante up “Ellsbury money” to get the deal done.

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Thoughts following the Roberts and Thornton pickups
Prospect Profile: Shane Greene
  • Felix

    More and more we continue to see evidence roll in that the 189 was smoke and mirrors. With lots of national and local baseball analysts continuing to use the # as fodder for news material. Jees, Get a grip guys.

    • MartinRanger

      I don’t think it was ‘smoke and mirrors.’ I think it was a legitimate organizational goal until the returns on last season came in and it became obvious they were actually losing more money by being less competitive than you would save by getting under the luxury tax threshold. I think going into this offseason they were hoping to stay under, but prepared to go over. At this point I think 189 is very much secondary to getting good players.

      • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

        Also agree with this.

        Once the current rash of terrible contracts ends, maybe they’ll try again.

        • The Great Gonzo

          This. Some would say that should have been the plan in the first place.

      • Felix

        To be clear, not to resort to plot summary, my main point is that columnists should have deemphasized their 189 points a long while ago. Obviously, our definition as to the timing may be more subjective. Though, I do agree that when they got their decreased revenue numbers it did significantly alter their, um, “goal”.

        • MartinRanger

          It’s a granted the columnists are going to be behind reality when it comes to the Yankees.

          • Dan

            It’s tough to say they’re behind reality when it’s unclear what that is. Hal has said this whole time it’s a goal not a mandate. That includes this offseason. Jeff Passan reported yesterday that the Yanks’ internal calculation w/o A-Rod as of yesterday’s signing is $178m. Seems to me they’re still trying to get under.

            Choo’s AAV would have been $5m higher than Beltran. So I’d say they’d be willing to forgoe bullpen help and more infield depth if they signed him. As is, I’m happy they missed on Choo and they still have the flexibility to add a starter (even if it means getting creative), and stay under $189m.

    • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

      This comment is actually required reading.

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

      Choo’s deal would have only been $5M AAV more than Beltran’s.

      • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

        Well when they’re as close to 189 as they are, saying “only” $5M is a little misleading.

        That’s a lot of money.

      • MartinRanger

        And four years longer.

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

          Choo is six years younger than Beltran.

          • MartinRanger

            Not many players age as gracefully as Beltran has to this point.

            • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

              It’s obvious Mike preferred Choo.

          • El Maestro

            I prefer 3 years of Beltran at 15M AAV than 7 of Choo at 20M AAV. The splits for Choo are not worthy of “Ellsbury Money”, IMHO.

            • xman

              this. Thankful the brain-trust from this site, isn’t in charge of NYY day to day operations.

            • Jorge Steinbrenner

              Yeah. I wouldn’t be too thrilled at having 2/3 of my outfield locked in for seven yaers.

          • Havok9120

            Any years after about 32 appear to be a crapshoot in terms of how a guy is gonna age.

      • Havok9120

        Which would have meant forgoing a couple depth signings or another bullpen arm and cut further into whatever starter is on their wish list beneath Tanaka.

    • Kvothe

      I think it was the legitimate goal until they realized that because the Montero/Pineda deal and the failure of the farm system wouldn’t allow them to field a competitive team while still going below 189. If some of our prospects had done better and Pineda had been able to join the rotation, it may have been a possibility.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        Remix.

        I think it was a legitimate goal until they saw BOTH the landscape of young players coming up and asking price for players on the market AND they deduced (whether correctly or not) that fans weren’t buying Luis Cruz and Lyle Overbay last season.

        They’re doing the right thing. Sticking to a losing proposition because you already started doing it would be pretty stupid.

        • There’s the Door

          So you’re fond of saying. But changing horses in mid stream is how franchises suck for years and years and years.

    • http://peterwrusso@gmail.com PeterWRusso

      I think the Yankees were smart when they did not obtain Choo.

  • MartinRanger

    I’m kind of glad they passed on that. I don’t see Choo ageing all that well. I don’t expect much of Beltran in year 3, but at least that’s just one year.

  • JW

    Of course, here’s the interesting question: would the Yankees have been better off spending their “Ellsbury money” on Choo instead of Ellsbury himself? There’s at least a pretty good argument that they should have.

    • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

      It’d be an interesting discussion. Ellsbury is head and shoulders above Choo defensively, and I’m sure that may have played into the decision.

    • MartinRanger

      It will be an interesting experiment in itself. I expect Choo to get a seven-year deal, probably from the Rangers or Mariners. Who ages better, the big-bodied high OBP, gap-power outfielder or the athletic speedster with a bit of pop? I’m honestly not sure.

      • Rick

        History says speedster

        • 101010

          Not if their legs go. A “speedster” who can’t provide value on the bases or on defense isn’t worth much. You don’t pay someone 20+ million a year to hit single digit home runs.

    • Reggie C.

      Makes for a good argument indeed. Would Boras and Choo have spurned 7/140 if that offer came BEFORE any offer was made to Ellsbury? Boras couldnt have used the “we want Ellsbury money” counter.

      • TWTR

        What if they negotiated with Boras about the two in tandem?

    • Havok9120

      There is a debate to be had there.

      Those splits scare me.

      • The Great Gonzo

        Yeah, but in fairness, Kevin Long has fixed much scarier splits in Granderson… or at least patched them.

        • Havok9120

          Patched is a good word. But there’s a big difference between betting on a three year patch and betting on a seven year fix.

    • xman

      much rather have Ellsbury. #1 FA on my board. Cano, included

    • http://peterwrusso@gmail.com PeterWRusso

      Robinson Canoe made clear he wanted 240 million dollars. And he would not budge. Well that is why the Yankees went another way.

  • Chip

    Man, that’s a lot of money for a guy who is useless against lefties but I sure do love the thought of a .400 OBP in the middle of our order

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

      Choo is still a .340 OBP guy against LHP.

      • MartinRanger

        And how long is that going to last?

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

          OBP skills tend to last longer than any other offensive skill. Ellsbury’s not exactly much of a hitter against LHP himself.

          • MartinRanger

            I’ll give you that, Mike, but his .340 OBP against lefties came with a career high .423 OBP overall at age 31.

            • Ryan

              Choo and Ellsbury basically have the same Career OBP vs Lefties. So the “useless against lefties” argument should apply for the other guy we just signed too then right?

              Personally, I would not have minded Choo at 20 million a year, but I might really only want to go six years. He will still be able to get on base at the end of that contract though, where we don’t know if ellsbury will still have that speed.

              • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

                If OBP were the only measurement of offense, then your first point would be accurate.

              • Havok9120

                Yeah, except for that .040 point difference in BA.

      • Havok9120

        Until the year someone tests him to see if he can still be a threat to lefties and he fails.

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

          He’s got over 1100 PA against LHP in his career. I don’t think they all pitched around him.

          • Havok9120

            I’m not trying to say they did. But are you honestly gonna try to make the case that once his actual hitting numbers against lefties deteriorate past a certain point (due to, say, age) that his OBP against them won’t fall off the table?

            • 101010

              You seem to be arguing to different points. You originally stated “until the year someone tests him” and now you are arguing about deterioration.

              Mike’s example counters your statement about testing Choo, since it’s clearly a large enough sample size to show the numbers aren’t a fluke. I don’t see why you are now bringing up deterioration in response.

  • Bobby D.

    I don’t buy the comments from yankee management that 189 is a goal not a mandate. I am very disappointed in the signings of Roberts and Thornton when they could have had infante or Ellis and JP Howell or Benoit. Call me a spoiled yankee fan if you wish but how is this roster a championship caliber team?? Even if they sign Tanaka, who let’s face it is a gamble, how is this starting staff and bullpen championship caliber. This is a .500 team. There are old injury prone players all over the field and no ace and a weak bullpen. I’m sorry I just cannot be optimistic the way this winter is shaping up!

    • Rick

      Why would you get mad at the Thornton signing? It’s essentially Logan at half the price? That’s a very very smart move. They need to be making more moves like that.

      • MartinRanger

        Not quite – Logan was more than serviceable against righthanders, and Thorton isn’t at this point in his career. On the other hand, Thorton is considerably better at same-side batters for a lot less money and one less year.

        • 101010

          Thorton has also seen nearly a 50% drop in his K% over the last three years.

    • Havok9120

      You’re a spoiled Yankee fan.

      Sorry, couldn’t resist.

      Anyway, if the rotation is your biggest worry, what exactly would you have done to improve it more than they have/will have if they sign Tanaka? Who else do you want?

    • stuckey

      You’re a spoiled Yankee fan.

      Why do you assume a championship caliber roster was there to be built under ANY circumstances?

      You’re convinced that even after the additions of Ellsbury, Beltran, McCann and ASSUMING the addition of Tanaka, that its a .500 team.

      So who exactly did you ALSO want to add that takes from from .500 to championship caliber.

      Name them.

      • Bobby D.

        JP Howell is a better option than Thornton. Balfour or Benoit to either close or set up. Signing Roberts is absurd when they could have signed Ellis or Infante.

        • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

          Balfour and Benoit, and even probably Veras, were going to go to guaranteed closer situations. There’s no way that didn’t have an effect on negotiations.

        • stuckey

          Your response is ignoring the context of your own post.

          You JUST wrote 40 mins ago that the Yankees are a .500 club assuming the addition of Tanaka.

          Are you NOW suggesting the difference between Howell/Thorton, + Balfour or Benoit, + the difference between Roberts and Ellis or Infante takes this team from .500 (again, YOUR words) to “championship caliber” (also, YOUR words)?

          Yes or no?

          • Bobby D

            Yes . I would also do everything possible to get another starter besides Tanaka through a trade. if not I would also sign garza with his experience in the AL east.

            • stuckey

              I don’t think you properly appreciate the vast chasm between .500 and championship caliber.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          1. You may not like the Yankees’ choice for closer, but they have one. Even if we were to say to Benoit/Balfour that they could have competed for the spot in ST, someone else would pay them to close without any competition.

          2. Splitting hairs with decidedly middle relievers is often a time-wasting proposition.

          3. No one is even penciling Roberts in at second base yet.

          4. Calm down.

      • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

        Any reliable projection has the Yankees as a roughly 82 win team right now, without Tanaka.

        • MartinRanger

          And what if Teixeira actually turns in a 2011-2012 season. And Jeter plays 120 games and is slightly above average defensively? And Sabathia bounces back from a career worst year?

          The Yankees had a lot of worst-case scenarios last year. That’s skewing the projections.

          • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

            Oh I know, I’m on the polyanna train.

            I was more using the 82 win projection as a “Look, even after a worst-case year, we’re still .500 as currently constructed”

            • MartinRanger

              Aha. Yes, definitely with you there.

              I mean, I’ve got this roster (plus a bullpen arm, and infielder, and Tanaka/Garza) pegged from anywhere from 94-79 wins. It’s a volatile bunch. But the good news is that in 2015 you still have those premium free agents early in their deals.

              • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

                Agreed. If injuries strike, it’s going to be a long year.

                If they don’t, we’ll be in contention.

          • MartinRanger

            Ah, I meant *offensively* for Jeter. Which given the incredibly low bar for SS production in the AL right now, won’t be hard.

    • The Great Gonzo

      In your opinion, is a rotation of ‘down year’ Lester, ‘Coming off TJS’ Lackey, ‘always injured’ Bucholtz, ‘not proven in the AL’ Dempster, and ‘Due for a sophomore slump’ Felix Doubront considered “Championship Quality”? Because those fuckers got a ring.

      All of this to say, alot of funny things happen from Christmas to Halloween. Lets not write them off quite yet, eh?

      • MartinRanger

        Seriously. That rotation looked pretty suspect on paper.

        There’s some parallel with this year’s possible Yankee rotation as well.

      • MartinRanger

        They did trade for Peavy, to be fair. He was solid, if unspectacular.

        • The Great Gonzo

          The point being that in December, their rotation was shit-tastic, and they won a ring with it. As many, if not more question marks as the Yankees 2014 rotation (SERIOUSLY, show me ONE sure thing in that list as of last December).

          If the Yankees trade for 1.5 seasons of a Peavy type guy (lets say, for the sake of argument, they trade for CJ Wilson), is this all of the sudden the team to beat?

          If so, a 2010 Phillies rotation of Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Oswalt & Happ would like to have a word with you.

      • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

        DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      Then nothing will convince you, at this point.

  • Rick

    If the Yankes buyout A-Rod after any suspension… do his remaining years count against the luxury tax?

    • TWTR

      Yes, I think so, reduced by the amount of the buyout, if it is less than the contract price.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting

      yes

  • TWTR

    Is Choo going to get that much more that it is worth turning down would could be a unique opportunity with the Yankees? I’m skeptical.

    • Chip

      Said everybody about Fielder

      • TWTR

        I think the distinguishing facts are that the difference between the Yankees and Boras on Choo seem “relatively” small.

        • Chip

          True, but I could see some team spending well over 140 million on him. I mean, say the Mariners lose out on Tanaka and have that money sitting around. Would you put it past them to offer 160 million after the contract they gave Cano?

          • TWTR

            Maybe it’s because I am a home boy, but I would have stayed in NY if I was Cano. $175m (or maybe a little more) is worth being a lifelong Yankee to me. But I understand why others would disagree, and I get your point.

            • The Great Gonzo

              That’s because you, like all of us here, are a Yankees Fan Boy. WE ALL WOULDA.

              But he is in the business of making money for playing a sport, not for being a fan of the Yankees.

              This is a very “American” sentiment, and baseball is now an international business. Robinson was not born here, he has no ‘real’ rooting interest for one town or team over another. It is what it is…

              To put it in perspective, if you were a World Class soccer player, would you take 35% less to play for Chelsea, Man United or Barcelona than you would to play for…. Stoke or West Ham? Doubt it, because you’re in the business of getting paid for a skill. And NO ONE should be mad at that.

              • TWTR

                That could be, but I can only spend so much; my heirs can only spend so much. I am not blaming Cano (or anyone else) for prioritizing money. I’m merely saying that my values are different.

                Now, if the difference was between 500k and $1m a year, yes, I get that. That could be life changing.

                But $25m a year for 7 buys a pretty sweet life.

                • Josh S.

                  I personally wouldn’t leave NY for Seattle for any job that paid the same annual salary even if Seattle guaranteed an extra 3 years.

                • stuckey

                  NO ONE can say they would’ve turned down $65m unless GENUINELY presented with the opportunity.

                  You’re trying to project what you’re values would be if you’re circumstances were UTTERLY different than what they are.

                  Circumstances influence values.

                  Not even mentioning the utter disconnect that exists between fans of TEAMS and players who play for them.

                  I work in an industry I was a HUGE fan of growing up. And I can assure you my view on that industry is entirely changed. Its become a business for no other reason than it IS my business.

                  Guys like the Miami three (leaving money on the table to sign together) and Pedroia remain the outliers, not the norm.

                  No one knows if they’d be the outlier or the norm unless actually presented with the choice.

                  • TWTR

                    Calm down.

                    Some of us (including me) have faced similar decisions in life, just on a much smaller scale.

                    • stuckey

                      Since when is scale irrelevant?

                    • TWTR

                      Huh?

                • stuckey

                  You know what most people who make modest livings aspire to? Making slightly less modest livings.

                  People who make 6 figures aspire to be millionaires.

                  Millionaires aspire to be multi-millionaires.

                  Multi-millionaires aspire to be billionaires.

                  Why do you think a guys like Jeter pitches Ford Edge’s? Why Arod owns car washes and gyms? Why he wants to be Magic Johnson when he retires.

                  That’s how people work. The human mind never stops wanting more.

                  • vicki

                    and in this particular stratum money isn’t a means to buy stuff. it’s a way to keep score.

                    • stuckey

                      Yes.

                      A very human condition.

                    • TWTR

                      Which may mean you’ve lost touch with what is most important?

                    • vicki

                      testosterone is a helluva drug.

                    • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

                      As if women are immune to greed and ambition?

                    • vicki

                      studies indicate higher levels of testosterone in driven women as well.

                  • Uh Dinnings

                    Great. That’s why there’s economic inequality. Greed oppresses.

                    Keep perpetuating this cycle of inequality.

                    I bet you’re against the proposed minimum wage hike, right? Asshole.

                • cooolbreeez

                  What if you could do $65 mm more for your own impoverished 3rd world country?

                  If you put it in that context, that’s a tremendous additional impact you cold have that would make a difference in a lot lives.

            • jsbrendog

              to be honest, he might not get as much national recognition but he might get more endorsement deals etc in seattle than he would here because he is one of only two noticable names/faces on the team or in the franchise (king felix being the other) and that might lead to him getting things there that cc/jeter/etc would have gotten here. jsut a thought.

              • The Great Gonzo

                “Dis ees Robinson Cano, an I olee chop at Prrrice Keeng”

                Yeah, he’d much rather schlep local grocery chains in Seattle than the big fish New York. DOUBT IT.

                This was a cash grab. 3 years and $65M. I respect it for what it is. Get as much as you can while you can.

                • Jorge Steinbrenner

                  Price King got some damn fresh salmon, son.

              • vicki

                he’ll make the mariners hat more famous than a mariner can.

      • gageagainstthemachine

        it just astonishes me that of all the players in MLB, Fielder has the current longest streak of consecutive games played at 500 (or so). I believe Cal Ripken’s 2,632 is the new unbreakable record in MLB. Hands down, considering the way the game is played and managed and operated in the current day.

        • botz

          The true unbreakable record in MLB is Cy Young’s win record. Nobody is getting within 125 wins of that.

          • gageagainstthemachine

            Good point. I would say with the way the game is run, played, and managed today neither are likely to be threatened for a long, long time. If ever at all.

    • Havok9120

      Skeptical of their turning it down being a good idea or skeptical that the story is true at all?

      • TWTR

        I was skeptical that he would end up getting that much more. btw, WFAN is supposedly reporting he was offered $120m by the Yankeess.

        • TWTR

          Actually they just repeated the Passan story. The hosts misspoke on the amount.

    • 461deep

      Yankees stocking-up on players who’ve seen better days hoping for them to return to being near their glory days.

      Thornton pitched 1 or 2 good games for Red Sox then tanked so not too high on him. Roberts may be okay as a sub. Team banking on Tanaka and may have best chance on him but others in play such as if I’m Orioles I go big for him as a good starter or 2 is what they need to really make a run. Angelos never wants to spend though.. They need a corner fielder too so Choo-Cruz fit that bill. Yankees banking on Tanaka could be egg in 1 basket win or lose strategy. Older roster a health gamble. All will not avoid injury but Gardner-Elsbury-Tex trio must play at least 140 games each.

  • nycsportzfan

    Choo’s getting at least 4yrs, more likely 5yrs. I’d rather have Beltran for 3yrs. Beltran has all ready exceled in NYC before, and hes switch itter.

    • RetroRob

      Aside from the Yankees offer which they pulled, indications are that Choo has a seven-year offer for $140M already on the table. Looks like Boras wants some team to match the Ellsbury offer. Some team will.

      • nycsportzfan

        Choo for 7yrs is not a good move. I’d rather have Ellsbury, personally.

  • RetroRob

    Always been a Choo fan, although heading into this offseason I thought he’d come in under $100M on a five year deal, and a tick over on a six-year deal. The Giants were criticized for the money they gave Pence, but now it looks like he would have made way more on the open market.

  • Chip

    You know, the more I think about it, the more I would have liked him over Beltran. Sure the lineup is lefty heavy at that point but Choo is much younger and I really miss the super OBP lineups we used to roll out

    • TWTR

      I agree, because of age.

    • Havok9120

      Not at seven years. I don’t want to take the chance that we’d have a 20 million dollar pure platoon hitter for that long. And it might not be long before he’s Ibanez in the OF.

      • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

        He’s already Ibanez in the OF.

        • Havok9120

          Wait, I knew he was supposed to be bad, but is he really THAT bad?

          *checks Fangraphs*

          Holy crap. Yes. Yes he is.

          • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

            Some of that may just be he’s not cut out for Center, which is where the Reds were running him out.

            He’s probably not Ibanez bad in left or right, yet.

            • RetroRob

              That is a valid point. You couldn’t even attempt to put Ibanez in center!

              And as we saw with Swisher, the shorter field in right at Yankee Stadium can make mediocre fielders look much better. Choo also has an excellent arm, ulike Swisher.

              Two-year deal for Beltran vs. seven for Choo would be an easy choice. Beltran. That third year concerns me, yet just as they are going to do with Ichiro this year, the Yankees will move/cut/hide Beltran in the last year if he is no longer productive.

              Two years of decent production from Beltran and punting the third year is doable. I really have no idea how to project Choo out past the next two or three years anymore than Beltran, and that might leave four years of badness with Choo.

        • mitch

          Exactly. Choo is no better on defense or on the bases than Beltran even though he’s 6 years younger. His bat would have looked nice in the lineup, but i’d be scared committing 7 years to a guy whose most appropriate position is DH. 3 for Beltran is risky enough.

      • OldYanksFan

        Make that $22m.

  • nycsportzfan

    This is off topic, but people really need to start realizing how well the yanks are doing in FA’cy this yr so far.

    Carlos Beltran
    Brian McCann
    Jacoby Ellsbury
    Matt Thornton
    Brendan Ryan(as defensize wiz backup)
    Brian Roberts(little risk, huge reward)
    Hiroki Kuroda
    Derek Jeter(obvious)
    Kelly Johnson

    There is alot of consistent talent on that list. Add in, a full yr of Soriano , who clearly is happy to be back with Yanks, and Tex coming back from Injury, and you got a serious team. Also, no more stewart, which changes to a catcher who brings energy and a live bat in Cervelli.

    Were gonna be really really good this yr, is all i’m saying.

    • mitch

      The lineup should definitely be above average, but pitching is still an issue. Even if they sign Tanaka there will be a ton of question marks.

      • Uh Dinnings

        Not really. I am not calling Sabathia a question mark after only one bad season. Kuroda faded down the stretch but still finished with a 3.31 ERA, a point lower than his 2012 ERA. Nova was solid. Tanaka should be at least #3 starter good, if the Yankees landed him. If he posted an ERA double his 2013 ERA, he’d post a 2.54 ERA. If he posted an ERA triple his 201e ERA, he’d post a 3.81 ERA. Whoever the fifth starter is should be serviceable and who says the Yankees couldn’t trade one of the farmhand starters in a package for a starting pitcher?

        Robertson has the talent to be a very good if not elite closer. Thornton will probably be as good as Logan if not better. Kelley and Clairborne should do fine. Warren has shown he can be a serviceable long man. They have tons of in-house options for the final two bullpen slots or they could go with just one of them if they sign someone for a year cheap (a Joba-type deal.) I’m thinking Robertson saves 35 games in 38-39 save opportunities and the rest of the bullpen saves 7 to 10 games with a blown save or two. I think we’re looking at 45 for 51 in save opportunities.

    • Dan

      I think they’ll contend. But I think they need another SP and another IF to make a legit run. Best case scenario with this group is probably 92 wins and a wild card, and they need a lot to go right. If they add a good SP, it becomes much more realistic that they’ll get there.

    • botz

      OK true but then you have to look at what the Yankees have lost through FA and retirements

      Robbie Cano
      Curtis Granderson
      Mariano Rivera
      Andy Pettitte
      Derek Jeter (re-signed)
      Hiroki Kuroda(re-signed)
      Boone Logan
      Mark Reynolds

      To me it’s looking like a wash and this team wasn’t that good last year.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        It’s December.

      • Fin

        Your leaving out a key component to your equation…Injuries. Injuries are the reason this team looked so bad last year. They aren’t replacing Granderson production last year, they are replacing Ichiro/Wells, Granderson only played 60 games and in those 60 he was pretty bad. They are replacing that mess at SS with Jeter who missed the whole year. They are replacing the mess at first base with Teix, who missed the whole year. If healthy virtually the entire lineup outside of second base will be an upgrade, with a mess still at 3b to this point, but probably no worse than last year.

        Lets go through the list:

        Wells LF—Replaced by Gardner
        Gardner CF—Replaced by Ells
        Ichiro Rf—Replaced by Beltran/Soriano
        Overbay 1st —Replaced by teix
        Cano 2b—replaced by Roberts/JOhsnon
        Nix and others SS—replaced by Jeter
        Adams and others 3b–replaced by JOhnson/?
        Stewart C—Replaced by McCann
        Awfulness DH—Soriano/Beltran

        The pitching staff both starting and relief still needs work but plenty of time for that. However, if all are healthy the starting lineup is significantly better than what the Yankees were running out there last year, not only through FA signings but the return of Jeter and Teix.

        • nycsportzfan

          Exactly. Injuries are what kept us outta postseason last yr. As bad as we were, we still were in the hunt just about all yr long. With just alittle more luck, we’d of made the postseason per usual..lol

          Now we lose Cano, Pettitte, Grandy, and Mo. Tough to take, no doubt. But we add a Brian McCann. One of the best offensive catchers in the game, and solid defensivley and has caught very good staffs in ATL. You add Ellsbury, who despite the contract, is a tremendous talent. Hes a 5tool player with game changing speed that turns games around both on the base paths and in CF. As for his offense, hes got a sweet swing and makes consistent hard contact and can beat out just about most grounders to left side. Beltran is just the model of consistently good offense. A nice blend of hitting ability to power, he was bread to play MLB. I could see him in his worst yr for us, bat 275BA 20HR 80RBI. And that is worst case. Oh ya, he switch hits also. Sweet! Then you bring back Kuroda, whos been mostly good with us, and a very consistent LHP in the pen, in Matt Thornton, who has made the AS 2times in his career. Do they stop there? Nope, we bring in Brian Roberts, who switch hits, and if healthy, is one of the 5-7 best hitting 2nd basemen in baseball who has a bit pop in his bat and is really good running the bases. Small risk, big reward in my opinion. I’m singing Cashmans praises to this point. I hope he gets Tanaka , Garza, Malholm, or even 2of those 3 before said and done.. ALso, one more solid reliever would be nice and maybe Mark Reynolds also..

          • nycsportzfan

            sorry ahead of time for the grammar..lol Especially “bread” instead of “bred”..lol

        • Uh Dinnings

          Whoa re: “the mess at firstbase”. Overbay did an admirable job considering he was a 36-year old who was signed the third to last day of spring training and NO ONE including you and I expected him to give the Yankees 445 PA. He played good defense and posted a decent 14 HR (third on the team) and 59 RBI (second.) True nowhere close to 2009-11 or even 2012 Teixiera, but ALOT better than any of us expected. I think it’s a little unfair to lump him in with Wells-Suzuki, Stewart etc. and scary as it sounds, 2014 Teixiera might produce only slightly more than 2013 Overbay. I could see 2013 Teixiera posting 17 HR and 73 RBI which would be bad considering that’s only 3 HR and 14 RBI more than 2013 Overbay and (Teixiera) is making $22.5M vs. 2013 Overbay’s $1.2M.

      • nycsportzfan

        Kelly JOhnson is a upgrade over Mark Reynolds if you ask me, and Mark Reynolds could still return anyhow. I’d take Carols Beltrans well rounded game to Curtis Grandersons one dimensional(offensively). What we lacked was guys who could really hit, ala Paul O’neills, Bernies, and guys like that. Now we add Beltran, McCann, and Ellsbury, who are all players who can hit. They hit some HR’s simply because they consistently make hard contact, not becasue they are HR hitters. Thats what we lacked, and Granderson is clumped into that group, in my opinion. Im talking Giambi, Granderson, Tex, Arod, Swisher, Martin…etc Now a couple of those types sprinkled in is fine. We just can’t have them be our best players. Cano is a loss of course, but i think we gained more then lost so far.

        As far as pitching, your right. But lets see what happens with Michael Pineda, who if healthy(woulden’t be first time in history), could be a number 1 type pitcher. Hes still very young, has imposing frame, and could be a answer were not even thinking about. Not to mention we all ready brought back Kuroda, and guys like Garza are still available. If we add just Tanaka and one more reliever, i think we should be WS faveorites. Thats my opinion.

      • Uh Dinnings

        They have upgraded at EVERY position save secondbase.

        They’ll fill that final rotation slot with someone and probably sign one more reliever and re-sign Reynolds.

  • Holy Ghost

    Considering all the money the Yanks will have to spend to make up for the loss of Cano’s bat, it seems like it would’ve made more sense to just give the guy the ten years he wanted.

    The Yank’s farm system is weak so if they want to stay competitive they’re going to be overpaying for Free agents for the next few years. It makes no sense that they didn’t overpay for their own homegrown FA.

    • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

      Not necessarily. Spreading it out over a bunch of players limits the amount of risk.

      • TopChuckie

        I think there’s something to be said for a balanced lineup as well, as opposed to all the talent bunched around the #3 hitter.

        The total WAR of the lineup might end up equal, but I think having good hitters come up every inning and every at bat is better than having one great hitter come up every 3 innings or 9 at bats. It has to be more of a strain on the pitcher to never get a break, like in the dynasty days.

    • Havok9120

      You see no significant difference between 10 years worth of risk on one player and 3-7 years worth of risk for three?

    • Uh Dinnings

      Cano wasn’t THAT great folks.

      Cano posted 27 HR 107 RBI, the Yankee catcher 8 HR 43 RBI for 35 HR 150 RBI from the 2013 Yankees 2B-C.

      McCann 20 HR 80 RBI + Cervelli 3 HR 20 RBI + Romine/Murphy 1 HR 10 RBI = 24 HR 110 RBI from the 2014 Yankees catcher.

      If Roberts is the 2B figure 3 HR 20 RBI worst-case for 27 HR 130 RBI from the 2014 Yankees 2B-C, an 8 HR 20 RBI loss from 2013. Big deal with Beltran replacing Suzuki in RF or (a full year of ) Soriano replacing Hafner at DH.

      If there’s a Johnson-Roberts platoon at 2B, the Yanks will easily match if not better 2013 Cano-Stewart in HR and RBI.

      So fuck Cano. I don’t wanna hear anymore about “the loss of Cano”. If Roberts is healthy all year he will have a 2010 Jeter like year and that would be just fine in a lineup with McCann, Ellsbury, Beltran, Soriano, Gardner, a healthy Jeter and Teixiera, and either Johnson or Reynolds at 3B.

      • Uh Dinnings

        *26 HR 130 RBI from the 2014 Yankees 2B-C

        • Uh Dinnings

          Wait I was right with 27 HR sorry LOL.

  • Mike

    If Choo didn’t want to join a team that wants to pay him 20 mil per year and the best chance to win it all, he’s a fool.

    • Curt and Bernie

      What exactly gives you the impression we have the best chance of winning it all?

      • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

        Yeah even I wouldn’t consider the Yankees the favorite, right now.

        Probably not even top 3.

        A contender? Sure.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        I think he means historically, and I’d always put money on the Yankees being on the map at some point during any seven-year stretch.

        • RetroRob

          Agreed. Cano can go to Seattle on the forced dream they might put something together. Bad years for the Yankees are 85-win seasons. Seattle isn’t even an 85-win team with the addition of Cano. As CC said referring to his time in Cleveland, losing gets old fast.

      • Uh Dinnings

        I think he meant best chance to win it all in terms of contending teams with openings.

        The Red Sox, Cardinals, Rangers, Tigers, Indians, Athletics, Indians, Pirates, Reds, Angels, and Yankees aren’t giving him 7 years $140M.

  • MartinRanger

    I feel like the last few years have shown the Yankees just how compromising it can be to have 4-6 declining players with prohibitively expensive contracts on the roster at the same time. You have to play them, regardless of performance, and when the offseason rolls around you can’t significantly upgrade at those positions because you’ve already got a big contract player in the way.

    Right now, I expect the Yankees to go into 2017 or so with four big contracts plus A-Rod, who is likely just dead weight right now: Ellsbury, McCann, Tanaka, and another pitcher to replace Sabathia. Maybe one or two more, but they would be newer contracts with younger players. If they signed Choo and Infante, that’s 8 or 9 roster spots – almost a third of the team. That’s a lot of risk and not much wiggle room.

    I’ll happily debate Ellsbury vs. Choo, but right now the difference between a three year deal and a seven year deal is significant.

    • MartinRanger

      If they’d paid Cano, obviously, that would be 9-10 spots. And at least three players (Cano, McCann, Choo) who would require DH spots/ time at 1B to remain effective.

  • Jack

    I hope the Yankees still sign Shoo and put a package of Gardner and others for Headley and a pitcher perhaps Bailey.

    • TWTR

      I want to see scouting reports on the Cuban defector someone linked to at BA last night first. He is younger and would cheaper.

      • John C

        Apparently he is more of a speed guy, a gap to gap doubles hitter. NOt a big power guy.

        • TWTR

          That has value as well. Do you know if he bats LH or RH?

        • Rick

          So….. Gardner?

          • The Great Gonzo

            No….

            CUBAN Gardner.

            • Jorge Steinbrenner

              El Gardnero.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      San Diego gets one leg and Cincinatti gets the other?

  • MartinRanger

    I still wonder if the Yankees might sign Stephen Drew, and offer him his choice of the everyday job at 2B or 3B, plus time at shortstop? He would probably take an offer to be a starting SS anywhere else, but I don’t know if he’s going to get one. The RedSox seem content to roll with the kids on the left side of the infield.

    • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

      Would be interesting. It’s too he wasn’t available next year for the post-Jeter years.

      • MartinRanger

        Still, even if he’s bouncing around year one, I can’t believe Drew wouldn’t be tempted by being Jeter’s replacement come 2015.

        • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

          Someone get him on the phone!

    • Uh Dinnings

      Drew would be a fool not to take the four years and minimum $30M the Yanks would offer him (and have to offer him since Infante got that.)

      If I’m Drew I simply ask the Yankees where they want me to play and could I be the shortstop in 2015 if they don’t re-sign Jeter. If they tell me 2B, 3B, or both with SS here and there and definitely every day if Jeter gets hurt again for 2014, cool. If they tell me yes to me being the heir to Jeter if he’s gone, cool. If they tell me “we’re not sure about 2015 if Jeter doesn’t return”, cool cuz I got four years of job security.

    • Uh Dinnings

      The Red Sox don’t NEED Drew. They just won a World Series and third World Series in a decade. They get a free pass for 2014 and I think even 2015, too, because who knows when they’ll win another World Series? An AWFUL lot went right for them in 2013, so don’t be surprised if they revert to 75-85 win crap to mediocrity. They don’t have anything close to the Toree Dynasty Yankees talent-wise.

  • HectorLopez

    If some team is willing to pay Ellsbury money for Choo, the return for Gardner has to be good!!!!!!!

  • MartinRanger

    Aiming to get under 189 this year would have been a lot more feasible if this winter’s market was anything like last years. You could get high-risk, high-reward players on one year deals at a reduced salary. That’s just not nearly as feasible this year. Teams are spending money.

  • dlcb1

    $140 million for Choo? Eek! The Yankees should have just kept Cano. All the scrambling going on now, including the Beltran overpay and wasting a roster spot on Roberts wouldn’t have been necessary had they just paid their best player. That’s what wealthy teams like the Yankees should do. In 7-10 years the Yankees will have a better farm system than they do now; they will not have the contracts of Arod and Teixeira and CC on the books weighing them down, and 24 million in baseball terms will probably be the equivalent of 14-15 million today. If they can afford 20 million a year for Choo today, the Yankees could have handled the hit from Cano 7 years from now. They would be a playoff contender instead of an also-ran.

    • Uh Dinnings

      Ellsbury $153M
      McCann $85M
      Beltran $45M
      Johnson $3M
      Roberts $2M

      $288M vs. $240M to just Cano

      Those five > Cano

  • OldYanksFan

    Wow. $20m/yr for 7 years doesn’t even buy a career .854 OPS player. It’s nuts.

    • OldYanksFan

      Who can’t even field his position.

  • tommy cassella

    nobody mention the fact that Roberts is a switch-hitter. switch-hitting second baseman do not grow on trees. they are hard to come by.hopeflly beltran, Roberts and texiara, all of whom switch-hitters, will lead the yanks to the promised land. in any case, it won’t hurt to have that many switch-hitters in the yankee liniup.

  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    My only regret: Not signing a guy whose name my son can already spell.

    CHOO-CHOO!!!!

  • Dr. Grenaldine

    Anybody else smell an economic baseball bubble? These prices are just outrageous…

    • RetroRob

      Nope. It’s all the TV money. In the Yankees case, they are paying the smallest percentage of their revenue to salaries than they have in more than a decade. They could easily eclipse a $300M payroll without blinking an eye. They have choosen not to.

      • vicki

        yep. it’s no bubble. thanks to media rights analysts project ACCELERATED growth, irrespective of gdp.

        think about it. live sports broadcasts are the one segment of television you don’t want to dvr. advertisers know we’re captive, and are not likely to ff through their commercials.

        • RetroRob

          Right. And people think there is a salary cap in baseball. There is, but it is a soft cap, and they’ve named it a luxury tax, yet clearly it is having impact, including on the Yankees, who have reguarly eclipsed it but have shown no willingness to continue to grow their payroll at the rate they have in the past, and as we all know have attempted to get below with Plan 189.

          It’s a way for the owners to cap their expenses and transfer some of the wealth away from the players back into the owners’ pockets, and clearly the Yankees are fine with this.

          • RetroRob

            …and people think there is *no* salary cap in baseball.

  • RetroRob

    I do believe the Yankees are going to go hard after Tanaka. Yet if they don’t win, would anyone be surprised if they immediately turned around and gave that money to Choo and then traded Gardner?

    I wouldn’t.

    There is way too much offseason to go.

    • Fin

      I think I would be surprised. I think if they loose out on Tanka they use a good portion of that money to land Garza/Jimenez. Then throw the rest at the best bullpen option. I think if they land Tanka we wont see a big time bullpen piece this year.

  • Tom

    This is consistent with the Yanks offseason to date. Target a guy they want, offer a very good contract, tell him if he doesn’t take it that it may disappear, then move on to the next guy. Whoever steps up and takes the deal becomes a Yankee. I like the aggressive approach. I can see a 6/120 offer to Tanaka if he is posted.

    Hopefully this info shuts up all the people complaining that the Yankees signed player A instead of player B. As someone said before, offering the most money doesn’t guarantee that the player will sign with the Yankees. The player actually gets a say in it too.

    • Uh Dinnings

      Six years no doubt, Tanaka’s only 25, and Matsuzaka and Darvish got six years but fuck $120M / $20M a year. He’s not twice as good as Darvish.

      6 years $90M, $30M more than Darvish because the Yankees need Tanaka, $96M tops. If Tanaka asks for more, especially $120M he’s obviously trying to squeeze the Yankees who could just turn around and trade Gardner for a starter or sign one then sign Reynolds and/or Drew and a good reliever.

  • There’s the Door

    The offer was a little light and they knew it. Had Choo said yes, 189 would have gone out the window in favor of a bargain. They’ll do the same thing with Tanaka, who will also say no, they’ll be under 189 and they’ll be able to say they tried.

    • Fin

      Lmao, you are out of your fucking mind. Choo may end up getting more than $140m but that offer was not “a little light”. The Yankees certainly didn’t take a $140m risk on an offer so they could say they tried. Fans are just plain stupid sometimes. Did you even think before you wrote that non sense?

      • There’s the Door

        “Nonsense” is one word, Sparky.

  • Fin

    I’ll say this. If Choo turned down the Yankees offer to get the 13m more from a team like the Astros hes a moron. If I’m a MLB player looking at $140m from the Yankees, Braves, Cards or Redsox, I don’t hold out for 13m more and risk ending up on a shit team.

    • RetroRob

      I agree, but generally players who sign up with Boras step out of the negotiations and leave it up to Boras to get the most money, period. That’s what Choo wants.

      Boras almost always does, although every once and a while he’ll misplay the market, like he did with Damon after he left the Yankees. He never did get an offer better than the Yankees’. If Choo did have a 7/140 from the Yankees, he better hope at least some team matches that (rumors say one team has, but who knows) or eventually exceeds it.

      • Fin

        Oh I agree he will get his money. Boras almost always gets his client the money. However, I cant hold Boras responsible if he ends up in a place like Huston. I’m sure Boras had to tell him what the Yankees offered, then what he thinks he can get him if he holds out. Now if Boras goes out and gets hims 175 or something, he may have made the right move. I just cant see anyone paying him more than the Yankees payed Els. IF they do, Els will look like quiet the deal. I almost have to think he doesn’t want to live/play in NY to turn that deal down.

  • Pisano

    I’m glad he turned them down, if you hit .213 against lefties, you’re not worth 20 mil a yr. Sorry.

    • Fin

      Its not only his inability to hit lefties that concerns me, its his inability to play the OF. Who wants to sign a guy that’s already a poor defensive player to 7yrs. That’s along expensive contract for a soon to be DH. I’m surprised Mike likes him so much.

  • http://www.myphillywebsite.com Tim McGuire (Computer Doctors)

    I am glad that Choo is not a Yankee, he is a good but not great hitter who is nothing more then a glorified platoon player. I really like Beltran for his bat and his clubhouse presence. Take that money saved and get another starting pitcher or two and then fill out the bullpen. I am loving this lineup and rotation.

    Ellisbury (CF)
    Gardner (LF)
    Jeter (SS)
    Beltran (RF)
    Soriano (DH)
    Texteria (1b)
    McCann (C)
    Renyolds or anyone (3b)
    Kelly Johnson, Brian Roberts 2b)

    Tanaka
    CC Sabithia
    Kuroda
    Nova
    Pineda

    I woudl still like to see if they could pry Chase Headly away from the Padres and still sign another starter even if they win the Tanaka sweepstakes.

    Release or trade Wells and Ichiro…

  • Fin

    With these guys getting these contracts its going to be something to see if Trout hits FA at 26. Gota figure the starting point is 10yrs 300m

    • Uh Dinnings

      Try a dozen years x $30M a year = $360M for these reasons his agent would give (provided Trout is a top five ALMVP vote getter in the final four years under contract with the Angels.)

      1. Trout would be only 38 years old at contract’s end, “only” because Cano would be 40 just before his final year under contract. TRUTH.

      2. Trout’s 2012-17 > Jeter’s 1996-2000 and Cano’s 2005-13. TRUTH.

      3. If Cano is worth $24M a year for a decade, Trout has to be worth $30M a year for a dozen years. TRUTH.

      4. Trout is the closest thing to Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Ken Griffey Jr. in terms of star power, all-around ability, and likeability. TRUTH.

      5. Trout has the talent to be a LCS AND World Series MVP several times.