Freddie Freeman and the double whammy of the Yankees farm

Can Gary Sanchez be that guy? (Star-Ledger)

Can Gary Sanchez be that guy? (Star-Ledger)

The Yankees have a policy of not negotiating a new contract until the old one expires, except when they don’t. We first heard about this “policy” in the spring of 2007, when Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada entered the final years of their contracts. Not wanting to sign two older players while they each still had a year left on their current deals, Brian Cashman spoke of this policy.

It was probably a line that he regrets.

Cashman had to tap dance around the line that following winter, when he signed Robinson Cano to an extension. True, Cano’s contract was technically up, since he was still in his pre-free-agency years. But it was still an extension before it became necessary.

It was also one of the smartest moves Cashman has made. With the two team options the Yankees moved Cano’s free agency date from 2012 to 2014. They also paid him a reasonable $15 million per year. So why don’t the Yankees do this with other players?

(You can think about this another way: if Cano had become a free agent after 2011, he might not have gotten a 10-year deal at $24 million per year. Perhaps the Yankees could have signed him, as a 29-year-old, to a Teixeira-like eight years and $180 million.)

One answer to that question: the Yankees haven’t really had any players worth signing to an extension since Cano. David Robertson and Brett Gardner are the only ones who come to mind, but they’ve done fine with those two going year-to-year. Really, no superstars have come up through the Yankees system in quite some time.

This week at ESPN NY, Wallace Matthews and Andrew Marchand have covered the Yankees’ thin system. What they cover is mostly the first whammy: the lack of cost-controlled talent. Developing even three starters during a five-year period can greatly reduce a team’s needs in free agency. The Yankees failures in development have cost them dearly, almost a half billion this winter alone.

There is another aspect, less considered, that hurts the Yankees in the long-term. This week the Braves signed Freddie Freeman to an eight-year, $135 million contract. A $16.875 million AAV might seem lean for a superstar, and it’s true that Freeman hasn’t totally proven himself one. But the Braves like enough of what they’ve seen to lock him down long term.

Freeman doesn’t turn 25 until September.

Because they’ve drafted and developed well, the Braves opened themselves to this opportunity. They can sign a 24-year-old to an eight-year deal at a $17 million AAV, while other teams scramble to sign free agents for prices much higher than that. We can look right to the Yankees and Mark Teixeira as a counter example.

In 2008 the Yankees signed Teixeira, entering his age-29 season, to an eight-year, $180 million contract. The Yankees faced competition when bidding on Teixeira, notably from the Angels and the Red Sox. The winning prize was paying a guy $180 million for his age-29 through age-36 seasons.

The Braves, on the other hand, competed with no one and will pay $135 million for Freeman’s age-24 through age-31 seasons. Yes, they’re paying a $17 million AAV for a guy who would probably make $5.75 million in 2014. But they bet on Freeman, buying out not only his three arbitration, but five of his free-agent years.

Because the Yankees haven’t developed any of their own talent, they have no opportunities for deals of this ilk. Yes, those deals might cost a team more in the short term. But long term who is better off: the Braves, who will pay Freeman during his prime years, or the Yankees, who will pay Brian McCann for his declining years?

With so much money circulating around the game, deals like Freeman’s could become much more common. If you’re the Angels, wouldn’t you offer Mike Trout 10/300 once he becomes arbitration eligible? Yes, it will cost you in the short-term, but you’d get him for his age-23 through age-32 seasons, rather than waiting for him to hit free agency at age 26 and bidding against other teams.

Yes, the farm system can help by producing quality players who will cost little for up to six years. But if it can produce superstars, it can provide long-term savings. That’s what the Yankees are missing now, and this winter we’ve seen the consequences.

Categories : Musings
  • CountryClub

    According to Heyman, Freeman’s deal jumps to 12 mil in ’16 and then 20+ mil in ’17 and beyond. So he’ll be on the market at some point before the 2017 season. Basically the Braves gave themselves cost certainty for the next 3 seasons (at a pretty cheap price) and also guaranteed they will get a return when they trade him in a few years.

    The only way this goes bad for the team is if he gets a major injury.

  • http://www.draftstreet.com/register.aspx?r=Jedile Jedile

    I’d give Trout 15y/375m. Oooh if the Yankees can sign Trout!

  • Havok9120

    Let me preface this with: I know absolutely nothing about the guy besides his base stats on Fangraphs.

    With that said…what if 2013, a year in which he had a .371 (!!) BABIP is the best season of his career? What if 2011 or 2012 is closer to his true talent level? He’s hardly a defensive wizard, so what happens if his bat regresses to his mean rather than improving further? Is that going to be worth him being the highest paid player in franchise history? Heck, what if his legs start to go a bit? One even somewhat serious leg injury and you could have yourself a DH in a league that doesn’t have one.

    I like the deal in most respects, don’t get me wrong. Salaries are going to keep going up, especially next season if a lot of those players don’t sign extensions, and I’m come from the Yankee background where a mistake of even large magnitude can be covered up with relative ease. But there’s been TONS of praise for this deal, and I feel like it’s all coming a bit early. This is somewhat similar to the Tanaka situation, yet I don’t see the same caution from the press we heard about him and his deal.

    • ALZ

      You can say that for any player though. What I really like about the deal is that they aren’t paying for any decline years. Look at Teix/Arod both are declining, but both have also missed significant time. Teix missed the whole year, that is $20M down the drain. So in reality the real aav for those free agents is way higher. Even if FF doesn’t become elite he good chance be healthy whole contract, he shouldn’t be in a major decline phase.

      • Havok9120

        Absolutely true. But if he sticks at, like 1.5-2.5 WAR, you could still be overpaying on the same scale. It still comes down to paying for elite production and not getting it.

        • Havok9120

          And, furthermore, Atlanta doesn’t have the financial wherewithal to absorb a contract like that if it busts.

          Again, I’d have done the deal. I just don’t get why the press and interwebz has been giving it such praise and ignoring the very real possible problems when every possible problem and criticism of standard FA contracts or even a deal like Tanaka’s is at least touched upon.

          Just seems like the jubilee is being thrown too early.

          • The Great Gonzo

            Frankly I am surprised that they: #1 had the money to sign that kind of contract while carrying Dan Uggla’s corpse of a contract and #2 had the appetite to tempt fate on another big contract wile carrying the aforementioned Uggla Corpse Contract.

          • ALZ

            Rays don’t either, but they locked up Longo.

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

          Not really. 2 WAR is or will very soon be worth 17mm AAV, ludicrous though that may seem. WAR inflation is upon us and IMO will make heads spin at how fast we get to $10mm/WAr.

      • Vincent Vega

        I know it isn’t the point but the Yankees didn’t lose 20 million on Tex’s injury.

        • Derek Jeter

          no we didn’t have to pay him, but now we have a “used” player with wrist problems.. It’s still not good.

  • Giuseppe

    So, now Mccann is going to be in his “declining years” in his early 30s? I think the Freemen deal is great and all but for the Yanks the Mccann deal is essentially a can’t lose, even on the tail end if/when Sanchez materializes.

    • Hank and Hal’s Excellent Adventure

      He’s already a platoon bat.

  • Kev

    You presume that the Yanks would actually be able to pull it off if they did have young superstars. I have yet to see evidence that players take “hometown” (or any other type) of discount from the Yankees. All else being equal, the Yanks pay more than any other team for equivalent talent – and it’s not just because they are generous.

    That said, they’d still obviously be better off with a deep farm. I just don’t think it would end up saving them a significant amount of money. They will always be at the top of the salary list and they will always pay premiums for talent – home grown or free agent.

    • ALZ

      It doesn’t have to be a discount. Good chance FF could get more in long run by free agency, but where he gained if financial certainty. For someone that is that young, and hasn’t made a whole lot of money, the lure of having $100M in guaranteed earnings really takes a lot of pressure off. Even if he doesn’t make as much overall.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      The idea is that players would accept a deal that pays them much more through their arb years AND buys the team some additional years at a lower rate. No matter the franchise, I have a hard time imagining a young player not wanting something like that.

      Folks are mentioning Gardner and Robertson. Timing-wise, the right time to have done that may have passed. You actually probably would be paying for Gardner’s decline at this point and there’s really no incentive for DRob to do this now. He’s going to paid moving forward. I agree that the hope there is to lock him up at midseason, but you’re not getting him on the cheap.

    • Hank and Hal’s Excellent Adventure

      Wouldn’t save them money? Go back and look at what the 1996-2002 Yankees ranked relative to the rest of the sport. They had five players they developed who were among the best at their positions.

      It was only in 2003 as those players reached their free agency years, and they developed no other talent, that the payroll exploded. In 2002 they were <$20M above the next team (Boston). By 2003, it was $35M (Mets). In 2004, it was $57M (Boston) and 2005 it was $84M (Boston).

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        You may want to look at:

        1. How many of those five were consensus top talents.
        2. What the team’s record was, and relevant team history, for the several seasons preceding 1996.
        3. Who in recent history has been able to do the same.
        4. What the Yankee spending habits BEFORE that happened looked like.

        Were there really a bunch of young fans who came of age during the dynasty years who expected that it’d always be that way?

        • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead


        • Hank and Hal’s Excellent Adventure

          Like I said, to those capable of reading comprehension:

          1996-2002 their payroll were right in line with the sport.

          Their young players were moderately priced. As soon as they developed *nothing* and those players reached free agency, their costs exploded to the mockery of all of baseball.

          The Red Sox, Giants, and Cardinals have all kept pace with the rest of the sport while developing their own talent.

          Wait, why am I talking to a WFAN caller again?

          • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

            Because you enjoy completely ignoring the point?

          • Hawkeye

            What he is ignoring, intentionally or not, is that those cheap all star caliber players that helped win all those late 90′s titles themselves became much more expensive as the titles piled up. So the payroll increase was not due entirely to new players signed. No other team has had that much success in that short of period so it is hard to make comparisons. Many teams of late have chosen to trade expensive players or to just let them go rather than pay them.

        • Havok9120

          Plus he’s using absolute salary figures rather than relative salary figures. Which is just a touch odd considering how contracts have exploded throughout the league.

          Of course the farm being unproductive has contributed to a larger payroll. But let’s not overstate.

          • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

            Yeah I mean, no one’s celebrating the fact that the farm’s inability to contribute has forced our hand.

          • Hank and Hal’s Excellent Adventure

            Wrong. The comps are to the 2nd highest payroll each year. That difference *is* relative, by definition. And that difference shows their payroll exploded when they stopped producing home grown talent. It’s a direct relationship, just as Joe said.

            • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

              Someone doesn’t understand what relative means.

              You used actual $$$. Shoulda used percentages.

              Better luck next time.

              • The Great Gonzo

                There is no talking to you.

                • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

                  Go explode out of a cannon. :)

            • Havok9120

              You’re either purposely missing the points being raised against you so you can continue to rant on a single topic without nuance, or you enjoy a brusque and often rude conversational style.

              In any case, it let it be clear that by “relative” I meant increased percentage of salary relative to the league rather than what the top two teams were spending each year. YOur model would allow us to assume that just two teams have been paying more for FAs during the last twenty years.

              • Hank and Hal’s Excellent Adventure

                Nope, just prefer not to engage trolls on their asinine terms.

                As to your point, look at the data for yourself. I don’t have the time to collate it all here. You are willfully turning a blind eye to real data and assuming it shows something different than it actually shows.

                The second highest team in 2002 to 2005, at least, was almost always closely clustered to the teams right behind it. Only the Yankees exploded on their own. And just as they stopped producing talent, exactly as Joe says.

                • The Great Gonzo

                  You are attacking everyone who might disagree with you, just to turn around and call them trolls. Again, seems legit.

                  And these ‘asinine terms’ you’re referring to? Those are called differing opinions, which typically sound clearer and more concise when you’re head is not jammed up your ass.

                  Can we go ahead with the O:S now guys? Please??

                • Havok9120

                  I agreed with your point in kind and raised a point about degree. You ignore my point, provide no evidence, and call me a troll.

                  We have seen this movie before.

                  • Macho Man “Randy Levine”

                    The infamous Troll 2?

  • The Great Gonzo

    For every Freddie Freeman getting paid $17M AAV for his contract, there is a Vernon Wells getting paid $18 AAV (and one could argue that he had earned it more than Freeman has) and making the Blue Jays look foolish for it.

    Sure, it makes sense for some players. And the book is far from written on if Freeman is the next elite 1B in the game or if he will merely be paid as it. But the hard and fast rule (punch and Judy, if I may) of ‘sign all teh players to extensionz!’ could hurt as much as it helps. Live by the gun, die by the gun, right?

  • TWTR

    This is the reason that I don’t think Hal’s decision to focus on process with regard to their failures in development is sufficient. They really need changes from the top down. Some people suggest that they hire, for example, the Cardinals’ scouts, but apart from the fact that many are probably under contract, the larger point is that some teams know who to hire for these drafting/developmental decisions, and some don’t. It doesn’t appear that the Yankees have that managerial ability.

    That said, you root for the front office you have, not the one you wish you had, so I can only hope that somehow, someway, things turn around.

    • Havok9120

      I don’t think we’ve seen evidence that the scouting is bad. Developmental results have been underwhelming, but getting talent into the system has not generally been a problem.

      • TWTR

        Bichette and Culver to name just two?

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          There was certainly what seemed to be a strategy there. It just wasn’t a very good one and they seem to have moved away from it with Hensley and the triple-shot last season.

          • TWTR

            If it is/was a strategy to save money, I understand that; they spend a ton (even if the bang for the buck is sometimes underwhelming), but I am referring to what seems to have been a conscious decision to choose those two rather than consensus first round talent, almost as if they purposely decided to “overdraft,” which would seem to indicate that they believed their talent evaluation was vastly superior to the consensus opinion, which is a pretty dangerous way to go.

            As a fan, it’s hard to draw the proper line between failed talent evaluation and failed development, but neither side has been extensively addressed to this point, which is a concern given the track record.

            Also, with regard to pitching, it seems that Tampa Bay drafts pitchers in part because of their perceived ability to throw or learn the change. In contrast, the change doesn’t appear to have been sufficiently emphasized with Yankee pitching prospects, and it should because it makes every other pitch that much more effective.

            • Jorge Steinbrenner

              I’m not quite sure what it was. For lack of a better term, I thought they were being quite too “cute” about it all when, yes, they should have just drafted a consensus guy and have been done with it. Like you said, either they thought they knew something the world didn’t (and clearly, were wrong), or they picked a mid-round guy in the first in order to save money. Either way, it was a dumb call the moment they did it and history hasn’t proven them right on it.

              It’s never a good sign when, after the Yankee first round pick during an RAB draft chat, Mike responds with “I have no clue who that is.” This ACTUALLY HAPPENED with Cito Culver.

              • LK

                I also remember people being initially unclear if he was going to pitch or be a SS, and it wasn’t because he was projected to be awesome at both…

                Either way, the Culver pick was a mistake but is getting too much attention, in my opinion. Guys picked at the back of the first round bust all the time. The problem is that very few of the Yanks’ best prospects appear to reach their “ceilings.” It would be what, Cano, Gardner, and Robertson in the last decade? Perhaps Nova as well if he has a solid year this year.

        • Havok9120

          Name some others that were clear overdrafts. People tend to cite those two and then stop, assuming their point is made. It isn’t That’s two years, and Bichtette, though he was the team’s first pick that year, was drafted in the 50s. Yes, he was thought to be an overreach by Keith Law, huzzah, but let’s not compare him to the success rates of first round talents.

          • Havok9120

            I’m not defending those picks. Whatever the strategy was obviously failed. But this is hardly clear evidence that the org simply can’t scout. Explaining the relative success in dumpster diving, and even the debatable success the Yanks have had in drafting late rounders and diamond in the rough IFAs becomes impossible if “Yankee scouting” is to blame.

          • YankeeGrunt

            Not only that, they paid out seven figures for a bonus baby in each of those years, Mason Williams and Greg Bird (both of whom are highly regarded, even if Williams had an off year last year). And FWIW Culver was a lot better in the second half last year, even before his promotion. Whether or not I liked the picks or thought there was better talent available, they didn’t occur in a vacuum. They were part of draft classes for which early returns seem otherwise promising.

  • Ed

    The no extension policy was always about not wanting to negotiate sooner than they had to. The team had a lot of old players looking for extensions at the time, and they didn’t want to guarantee more years for any of them any sooner than necessary. It’s about minimizing their long term risk when signing older players. Another big issue was they wanted to avoid in season negotiations, or any potential distractions they might cause.

    The policy meant they overpaid for Posada, but avoiding extensions for guys like Sheffield, Matsui, and Damon worked out for the best.

    The policy was never relevant for a case like Cano. Cano was arbitration eligible, so they *had to* negotiate with him. Once you’re in negotiations, go for the best deal possible.

    They did talk a little with Wang about a long term deal as well, but that didn’t get far. Outside of that, I’m not sure there were any obvious candidates worth talking to. Maybe Robertson, but they’ve generally avoided big commitments to relievers. Gardner’s lost 2012 probably messed up his chances at an extension. Otherwise, who else would they really have wanted to extend?

  • Jorge Steinbrenner


    So looking forward to what this thread looks like by 5:00 PM.

  • scott_rostron@yahoo.com

    While I agree with everything Mike said, I don’t agree with Freeman as the example to use. The Braves are taking way to big a risk for a 1st man that is not elite and could have reached his peak or there about already. If he played anyother position, I would have thought this was a good deal for both sides, as it is, Freeman crushed the Braves.

    • Hank and Hal’s Excellent Adventure

      Freeman put up Votto numbers in his year 24 season – a 5 WAR season at that. There’s every indication he’ll continue to blossom, but even if he’s merely good, not great, the terms will still come out as a wash.

      • The Great Gonzo

        HEy, you know who else had a 5 WAR season before signing a mega extension and was showing every indication he’d continue to perform at that level????

        @VernonWells10. Yup. Ponder the shit out of that for a minute.

    • LK

      Freeman may not be elite, but the Braves aren’t paying him to be elite. $20M gets you solid players now, not superstars. If you want an elite guy you’re either going to pay him in the mid-20Ms until he’s 40+ years old, or you’re giving him 30M or more. It’s time to adjust our expectations. The Freeman deal has all the downside risk any long term deal has, but it’s a fine move for ATL.

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

        Yup. At $17mm AAV, by the time this deal is over that will be worth LESS than 2 WAR annually. I’d be willing to bet that he’ll average at least 2WAR/yr for the term, and, that 2 WAR will be worth more than $17mm not only before the deal is up, but on average for the length of the deal.

  • TomG

    I was thinking about this with the Nova article, aren’t there luxury tax implications in tying up young players because of the average annual value of the contract? They’d be averaging the more expensive years down the road into the current payroll and then paying tax on top of it. Kinda takes away the financial incentive, they’re just taking on the risk.

    • Ed

      They get taxed on AAV, so they pay more luxury tax now, but less toward the end of the deal. Could be good, good be bad depending on what their goals are.

  • Hank and Hal’s Excellent Adventure

    It’s really inexcusable that they go out and pay Ellsbury and many years of middling relievers, but haven’t locked up Robertson and Gardner already. I hope both go out and have 3 WAR years then leave this org for places that will pay them appropriately.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      You’re rooting for two players to leave the organization out of spite.


      You’re not a Yankee fan.

      • Hank and Hal’s Excellent Adventure

        Who do you think you are? I’ve been cheering for this team since 1983. And the last four years it’s like cheering for the Knicks. Damn straight I hope Melo leaves too so he can actually win something.

        On Gardner, he’s done everything they’ve asked and given them 20 bWAR in the same time that Ellsbury gave the Sox 21 bWAR. Yet they’ll pay the latter an insane, overpriced rate, but nickel and dime Gardner? Eff them.

        On Robertson, let’s see but after he saves 50 games and with a crappy bullpen behind him, there will be better suitors. So either they’ll pay an insane rate or he’ll walk. They had their chance.

        Being fan doesn’t require being blind or dumb.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          Here’s who I think I am. I’m not the person who said the following:

          “I hope both go out and have 3 WAR years then leave this org for places that will pay them appropriately.”

          With fans like you, who need Red Sox fans?

          • Hank and Hal’s Excellent Adventure

            Wow, I have nothing more to say to you. You’re the type of YF I can’t stand and give the entire fanbase a bad name.

            • Jorge Steinbrenner

              I’m glad you feel that way. It only confirms how right I am.

              • Hank and Hal’s Excellent Adventure

                In your own little mind – typical WFAN caller.

                • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

                  Yeah I know, look at how many WFAN callers have patience and perspective. He fits right in with all of them.

                • The Great Gonzo

                  So wait… the guy who DOESN’T want Gardner and Robertson to leave the Yankees next season out of spite is the ‘typical WFAN caller’?

                  Seems legit

            • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

              If you’re looking in a mirror, that would be correct.

              • Hank and Hal’s Excellent Adventure

                Wow, it looks like the Bleacher Creatures sticking together. How cute!

                • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

                  I’d prefer the bleacher creatures to whatever you call yourself.

                  • Macho Man “Randy Levine”

                    Corporate wine and cheese fan?

            • Macho Man “Randy Levine”

              Says the guy who hopes players on the team leave…just because.

              Or because of a belief that the front office hasn’t done right by them, which his extremely debatable.

        • Macho Man “Randy Levine”

          As bad as the Knicks front office is, it’s not like Melo has done anything to actually, ya know, lift the team to another level.

        • Mr. Roth

          “On Gardner, he’s done everything they’ve asked and given them 20 bWAR in the same time that Ellsbury gave the Sox 21 bWAR. Yet they’ll pay the latter an insane, overpriced rate, but nickel and dime Gardner?”

          They nickel and dimed Gardner? Last I checked Gardner and the Yankees agreed on a contract to avoid arbitration.

          Not to mention the fact that Gardner will have the opportunity to make an insane amount of money when he hits free agency, just like Ellsbury did.

          Obvious troll is obvious.

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

          Melo will NEVER win an NBA championship, regardless of which team he’s on.


      • litfig

        I think his point is the yanks will be overagressive to sign free agents, yet reluctant to sign their own.

        I don’t think it’s 100% but I don’t think his point of view is out of line.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          I just don’t know who was there for them to lock up. They locked up Cano. I understand the logic on Robertson thus far. I understand the logic on Nova thus far. That leaves Gardner. One guy.

          …..unless we want to go back and say they should have locked up Hughes and Joba. ;)

          Joe’s point is that the type of players you lock up haven’t come up, or didn’t perform to the level in which you’d entertain the thought. Saying the players have been there, but that they’ve been reluctant to sign them, is a very different argument.

        • Fin

          I think his point is out of line. The Yankees have paid their own FA’s a shit ton of money. Arod, Jeter, Posada, Petite, O’neil, Williams, Mo ect…the list goes on and on.

    • TWTR

      Why does it matter when they pay them as long as they pay them (assuming they warrant being paid)?

      • Hank and Hal’s Excellent Adventure

        Problem is they won’t offer Gardner even half of what they gave Ellsbury. That’s a huge problem for me when their value over their careers has been identical, and the Yankees have already netted over $80M in value from Gardner. Plus, if Gardner isn’t given a proper role this year, he should absolutely walk for a team that sees him as a leadoff guy and CF – two roles that he filled really, really well for the Yankees and yet they paid dearly to give those roles to a player of equivalent value.

        On Robertson, they were just plain dumb. If they had him penciled in as a closer this year, then they should have signed him to an extension. Now the market will offer $40-50M and they’ll have to overpay to keep him.

        • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

          Giving Gardner what Ellsbury got, this past offseason, would have left the team with a gigantic hole once Cano left.

          Nothing happens in a vacuum. You can pretend it does, but it doesn’t.

          You have to deal with the way the team is constructed. Yeah, mistakes were made in the past, but you have to look forward. Our OF had a hole, we signed Ellsbury, and it cost a lot of money. When Gardner is a FA, we won’t need him as much because we’ll already have a Gardner clone.

          The Yankees are making decisions that they believe will help them win NOW and moving forward, not to make everyone happy.

          You’re not a Yankee fan. You’re only a fan of winning. Go root for SF/STL/BOS if you love the way those organizations are run.

        • The Great Gonzo

          Their values have been nearly identical, but an argument can be made that Ellsbury is the superior player who’s missed more time due to freak injury. Steals more bases, hits with more power, contact and defense is pretty on par.

          And I HATED the contract when they signed him. HATED IT. BUt again, there’s an argument that Gardner is more on par with Micheal Bourne than Ellsbury.

    • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

      Yeah I really hope that players on my team leave, so that we’re worse next year. That’ll show ownership. That’s exactly the best way to win moving forward.


      Here’s what you should have said.

      I hope both have 3+ WAR years and then get paid, hopefully by the Yankees because they’re good players and it’d be fun to keep rooting for them, and the team, moving forward.

      • The Great Gonzo


        Bleacher Creature!

        Typical WFAN Caller!!

        • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

          I’ve been called worse!

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

          Easy there with the Pollyanna there cougar. That’s my department.

  • nsalem

    The Yankees should have tried to reextend Cano’s contract at 20 million per years after the 2010 or 2011 season for 7 or 8 years We knew what he was at that point (2 or 3 excellent years after the bad 2008 season) and could have been done with him at age 36 or age 37. I think there is a good chance that Cano would have been agreeable to this.

    • litfig


      Maybe the Freeman and Braun (and Longoria) extensions were hasty, but it shows forward thinking. Once a guy is with you for 4 years or so, you more or less know who they are. Cano should have gotten a REAL extension, instead of the shorter, team option route. A Matt Kemp type of deal.

    • The Great Gonzo

      I don’t know that a Scott Boras client would have been anywhere near agreeable to this.

    • Havok9120

      I agree that that’s what the Yankees should have been trying to do. But you have to admit that his being a client of an agent who has the next best thing to a no extensions policy of his own makes it pretty hard to say that it would have worked.

      That he very obviously (and rightly, I think) chose the HUGE payday over the merely very, very, big payday makes it even blurrier.

      • Fin

        I find it hard to believe that the Yankees couldn’t have signed him long term at market rate. It seems to me the Yankees were looking for a discount to sign him. Its foolish to let elite players hit the market, because as we have seen time after time there is one team willing to blow way past market value. I really don’t believe Cano would have turned down $160-$180M range deal for 10yrs when he was 28.

  • Casey

    The thing to remember with Freeman is that a $17M annual salary is not the going price for elite talent anymore, and by the time Freeman would have hit free agency, the price for elite talent could very well be over $25M per year. Any long term deal is a risk, but the potential reward here is enormous for the Braves. They could have a good player for under market value through his prime and be able to cut ties with him near the end of his prime.

    • Derek Jeter

      Or he stops giving a Shi^ because he just got paid.. Or he gets injuried. Or he doesn’t pan out. It’s just like playing the stock market. You hope your information/guess works. But think, if this WAS SUCH A GREAT signing by the Braves, why would he Freeman accept the deal? – In the end it’s all a gamble.

    • Havok9120

      Absolutely. If there wasn’t a big potential reward, the Braves would not have agreed.

  • uyf1950

    According to reports the Braves have backloaded Freeman’s contract to the extreme with OVER $106MM of the $135MM not being paid until the last 5 years of the 8 year deal. Makes you wonder if the extreme backloading on Freeman’s contract is an indication that the Braves have NO intention of keeping him for the full length of that contract. They can keep him in his relatively cheap years then move him to another team to pay the disproportionate amount of his salary in the later years and get some prospects for him as well.

    • The Great Gonzo

      Again, which former bad contract does this sound like?

      Yes, this is the third time I am referencing Vernon Wells in this comments thread. Yes, i will do it again.

      • Derek Jeter

        Perfect example!

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

      Not so sure I’d say that 78% vs 62.5% is “extreme” back loading.

  • PunkPitch

    Good concise objectivity has nothing to do with being a disloyal fan. Thanks for speaking the truth. The only thing that will force change is attendance and the almighty bottom line. I remain pessimistic.

  • Derek Jeter

    I agree and disagree… because in the end it’s nothing more than a gamble. Sign players early, and if he gets injured or doesn’t meet expectations you lose. If he plays well and has a good career you win and save money. It’s nothing more than a gamble.

  • EndlessJose

    Unless the Yankees lose they can’t get good prospects.Look at the Red Sox and Cardinals who best prospects came when they didn’t make the postseason and drafted well the next year.

    The Red Sox were not in the postseason between 2010-2012 and had terrible years and great picks and lots to spend in the drafts so unless the Yankees hit the international draft hard which they haven’t they will have bad prospects for years to come.

    P.S. Fire Damon Oppenheimer.

    • Derek Jeter

      I agree that other teams signing good prospects to long deals hurts the Yankees, but all it take’s is a few big busts, and teams will change their thinking… it’s just one big circle.

    • Mike

      We are favorites to win the World Series this year and the next following years.

  • dkidd

    signing tex to that contract was a no-brainer and led to a ring
    if not for a “black swan” situation in seattle, cano is still a yankee
    freddie freeman has had one (babib-aided) season above 800 ops

    i’m frustrated with the development slump (or run of bad luck or bed process or flat-out incompetence or whatever) but the narrative spun by some posters that this is an organization in disarray feels like an overreaction to the red sox winning the world series (the result of another “black swan”). this is a once-in-a-generation transition the team is attempting to make. 2013 sucked, but 2014 looks better (and much more interesting/compelling). this is the time of year to get excited!

    • dkidd

      not sure what “babib” stands for

      • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

        batting average balls in play…of the balls you actually hit, what is your batting average?

        • The Great Gonzo

          that would be babip. babib is only applies to bapps in play by Alphonso Soriano and Austin Romaine.

      • The Great Gonzo

        babib sounds delish. Does that get served with babaganoush?

  • Derek Jeter

    We can all look back and say, yeah they should of signed this player or that player long term, but looking into the future is not easy. The Yankees have money, lets not forget, so why not leave the guessing to the Braves or other teams, who don’t spend as much. Like I said we can always plug holes with money. It may not be ideal, but it’s work pretty damn good for 15 years.

  • Farewell Mo

    I think it’s fair to say developing young talent, especially high end young talent would solve a lot of the woes the Yankees face in paying player after player huge money for many of their declining years.

    Though it’s easier said than done, there’s certainly a lot of room for improvement in this area. It seems to have been a hot topic this off season, more than ever, so hopefully it’s being addressed in a meaningful way.

  • Ahk

    I just feel that there is a bit of hypocrisy here, because on the one hand people say, “sign everyone!”. Then they turn around and say, “you know… we really need to do something about this farm…”. You realize that part of the reason the farm is bad is because we don’t get any good draft picks due to being in the playoffs every year right? Instead of taking a step back and drafting real well the next few years, we sign a bunch of guys and give up the lowest draft pick we’ve had in years. But I know arguing to take a step back and not compete for a few years is sacrilege for the Yankees these days, so the only other thing they can do is sign international talent from Japan and Central America. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but the odds of drafting a guy with the talent of Harper or Harvey with our normal draft picks are not good.

    I’m just saying that hypothetically, with the Yankees resources, they could be garbage for a couple years, draft high, sign international guys, trade away the big names for prospects and once the guys you traded for and drafted/signed start to come up, you’ve got another dynasty. No it’s not “that easy”, but people forget that the 90′s dynasty after the garbage teams of the early 90′s, was due in part to Gene Michael’s smart draft decisions. With the Yankees personnel and resources, they could do this in half the time it takes other teams to. I’m aware that they won’t EVER do this (cearly based on what they did this year) and that most fans would lynch them publicly if they did, but I am saying that it is an option and a good one at that.

    • Fin

      Its a stupid option if you have the Yankees resources. For every Cardinal, Redsox, Braves…there are the Mets, Astros, Rays, Pirates, KC ect…teams that are bad for a very long time before it all comes together. Then there are teams that are stuck in the middle with a couple of playoffs here and there but mostly fighting for a .500 record year in and year out. It can take a team a very long time to get the right people in charge to completely rebuild a team, I don’t think any of us think the current Yankee front office is the one to trust on a rebuild. The Yankees ownership I think most rational people would agree, is doing the right thing for the fans and the business. I think what they should be doing is addressing their failure to develop players, as just getting them to AAA before they flame out or get hurt seems to have become an impassable obstical.

    • JAG

      I think the failure to invest in international players is certainly something that the front office should have addressed. I honestly don’t know what data they were looking at with Darvish that suggested he wasn’t worth the investment. From what we hear, they weren’t in on Cespedes, or Chapman, or Puig. Those are the players they can’t afford to not be in on if they are continuing to get bad draft picks and lose them on free agents.

  • Derek Jeter

    The problem is… Baseball is getting younger with the attemt to remove PED’s. Now teams want to lock up younger players. Free agents tend to be older. If the Yankees cannot Internally develop young players, they will be left paying ageing players. Not sure if we can keep this strategy up….

    • Fin

      I agree with what you’re saying except for the strategy part. I think its pretty clear the Yankees strategy was to start building from within, and get under $189 it didn’t work. This is their “oh shit” we have nothing in house plan. It really is a disaster when every one of your every day players, is playing on a FA contract except Gardner, who is one year away. I think the best case scenario is some one from the farm system will be good enough to be an every day player for the Yankees in 2016. That’s a lot of years to be paying everyone of your starters FA money.

  • Mike b

    Ultimate Fantasy Team. – Scrap the entire NYY minor league system & buy the Rays to use as your new minor league system. AddPrice along w CC & Tanaka as your 1-2 Aces w Tanaka to e seen if he can be ace #3 This yr.

    Move Longoria to 3rd , etc, etc, etc