Feb
24

Gardner’s extension another sign of change that needed to be made

By
(Jim McIsaac/Getty)

(Jim McIsaac/Getty)

I honestly did not expect it to happen, but over the weekend the Yankees agreed to a long-term contract extension with outfielder Brett Gardner. The four-year deal kicks in next season and can keep him in pinstripes through potentially 2019. The Yankees paid market rate but they kept their homegrown player and avoided a potential free agent bidding war after the season.

After news of the deal leaked, Brian Cashman confirmed to reporters that the team’s no extensions policy was dead. It had been dead for a while, but it wasn’t until now that the club actually managed to sign a player long-term. They tried to ink Russell Martin, Hiroki Kuroda, and Robinson Cano to extensions before they hit the open market within the last two years, but were unsuccessful each time. Only Kuroda re-signed with the team as a free agent.

Hammering out the extension with Gardner was another sign the Yankees have started to change the way they operate these last few months. The extension policy was trashed, changes were made to the player development system, and the international market was embraced. Yes, the team will pass on Aledmys Diaz, but they showed more interest in him than they ever did Yoenis Cespedes and Yasiel Puig. They also went hard after Masahiro Tanaka and are planning a massive international spending spree this summer.

Those are all signs of progress and it’s just the stuff we know about too. Who knows what else is going on behind the scenes. I think the Yankees have been slow to adapt in recent years and not just with this stuff either — they’ve yet to embrace dynamic ticket pricing and fan caravan events for example, stuff the rest of the league has been doing for years. The front office and ownership have changed their team building philosphies though, and not a moment too soon either. Gardner’s deal is the latest and greatest example.

Categories : Musings
  • Bill

    Good signs of evolution in the Yankee hierarchy. As far as dynamic ticket pricing, I’d be surprised if they did that. They probably look at their brand as the attraction, as opposed to other franchises that look at the visiting team as a co-attraction. Not saying that’s right or wrong, but that’s what it would seem. As far as fan caravans are concerned, I think the last one they did was in the 1970s. Maybe instead of a caravan, hold an event in mid-January at the Javits Center or something like that. Maybe even at the Stadium, although the weather might preclude that.

    • nope

      They had fan fests on the early ’90s at Javits. I was there.

  • willie w

    now sign robertson to a multi year deal

  • TWTR

    I think they would have adopted this model earlier if they had had more homegrown candidates for an extension because almost necessarily, they wouldn’t have needed to spend as much on other teams’ free agents. So it would have been inescapably logical to use the money to reward their own.

    That said, on to Robertson.

  • Al

    Great! Now get rid of the “no facial hair’ policy too, and sign David Price next year.

    • 28 this year

      I actually like the “no facial hair” policy. I think it looks more professional, certainly compared to the lumberjacks of Boston.

      • mitch

        There’s a middle ground between no facial hair and looking like a homeless person like many of the Red Sox. I certainly don’t think properly groomed facial hair looks unprofessional.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          I have no clue what I think here. On the one hand, yes, the rugged mountain men of Boston look like a bunch of assholes. On the other hand, I feel like I “should” be opposed to silly rules about appearance on principle.

          The Yankees should just have a team stylist and require everyone to meet with them. Paging Tim Gunn…

          • vicki

            macro/micro.

            i’m pro personal liberties in the big picture, but as a bartender i’m deeply grateful for the smoking ban.

            • Jorge Steinbrenner

              It’s been great for my dry cleaning bill.

              I find the e-cig ban a bit silly, though.

          • The Great Gonzo

            Well, in fairness… the beards were bad, but what made it unbearable was the media glomming onto it and turning ‘Fear Teh Beard” into a thing.

            • Jorge Steinbrenner

              Especially since every Bostonian I know is as clean-cut looking as can be.

              • vicki

                that’s because if you walk around with your face looking like the business end of a 70’s porn star, some drunk donkey will stick his dick in your mouth.

                can’t be too careful.

                • Jorge Steinbrenner

                  This explains Mike Carp.

                • Mr. Roth

                  lol Good point, never thought of it that way before.

          • Kenny

            I’m with Marlowe, talking about the dressed-to-the-nines accountant he meets in Heart of Darkness:

            Yes; I respected his collars, his vast cuffs, his brushed hair. His appearance was certainly that of a hairdresser’s dummy; but in the great demoralization of the land he kept up his appearance. That’s backbone. His starched collars and got-up shirt-fronts were achievements of character.”

            I figure that’s what Marse Joe had in mind for the Yankees all those pennants and WS rings ago.

            • vicki

              holy hell, kenny. raymond chandler? you are my favorite.

        • Kiko Jones

          “There’s a middle ground between no facial hair and looking like a homeless person like many of the Red Sox.”

          +27.

        • vicki

          even worse than homeless people, they look like brooklyn hipsters.

          • Jorge Steinbrenner

            I don’t know who looks worse, the Bearded Bostonian or the Bearded Bushwicker.

            • Kiko Jones

              The beard clashes with the uniform but not with plaid/flannel shirts.

              • vicki

                how about the skinny jeans, bow ties and arm garters?

                yuck, i’m making myself sick. let’s change the subject.

      • vicki

        did you know girardi instituted the policy back in miami?

        • TWTR

          So that’s what got him fired???

          • vicki

            menacing jeffrey loria got him fired.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          There’s really one famous bearded Cuban anyway.

          • The Great Gonzo

            I thought David Ortiz was Dominican?

          • Lukaszek

            I don’t remember the granddad on George Lopez having a beard, maybe we’re thinking of different famous Cubans

    • TWTR

      A good start for the recruiting process might be for Randy Levine to grow a beard.

      • mitch

        he could at least start with a half inch of sideburns. He shaves up to his temple

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          An awful, awful look. Didn’t even work when I was nine years old.

          It just screams I COULDN’T GET MY SIDEBURNS EVEN AND TOOK IT TOO FAR.

          • Giancarlo Murphy

            Nothing can redeem the GingerFro. Dude should just Bic it.

    • gageagaisntthemachine

      The beard crap is about creating a narcissistic circus around yourself in the locker room and on ESPN. I, for one, am glad that they have the policy and hope they don’t change it. If David Price wants to pitch for the Yankees, he’ll grab a Bic like the rest of the players. If not, then his priorities are really out of whack (as would be for any player that drew a line in the sand because someone told them they had to be a presentable professional getting paid millions of dollars, representing and working in their communities, mentoring youth, conducting charities, and, oh yeah, their jobs…and not some college-aged kid fresh out of living in their parents’ basement for the last 18 years). Grab a Bic, shave that shit off, and grow up. Now, with that said, if they changed the policy I would be fine with it as long as it stipulated “grooming restrictions” for the beards(max length, natural color, etc). Beards can be presentable (I have worn one occasionally in my own profession, but always respectable), but this obsession with every baseball player in MLB these days doing their best to make it look like they’re an individual having an incoherent, day-to-day discussion with a deflated volleyball on a deserted island is going too far. They’re professionals. I, as a fan, appreciate and applaud the Yankees’ prerequisites for some professionalism from those seeking employment through them.

      • vicki

        further, the beards don’t convey what their growers imagine. dudes think tattoos, beards and mohawks make you look tough. sorry, guys. you look like conformist sheep in wolves’ clothing.

        • gageagaisntthemachine

          You mean Brian Wilson’s beard isn’t a clear indication that he would do any better than myself in a back alley brawl? Who woulda thunk it?! :)

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          A tattoo is totally my midlife crisis alternative to a red Camaro and/or nineteen year-old. I just don’t know of WHAT yet.

          • I’m One

            I’ll take the 19 year old. In most cases, they’re easier to remove than a tattoo.

            • I’m One

              Although the red (enter name of favorite dream car here) is probably less expensive than the 19 year old.

            • Chip Rodriguez

              I’m in favor of the 19 year old with a tattoo.

          • The Great Gonzo

            OBVIOUSLY the tattoo should be of a 19 year old and a Camaro!

            • Jorge Steinbrenner

              You go first on that one.

              I’m sure it’ll involve my kid in some way.

          • Kiko Jones

            You are aware that a lot of dudes get that Corvette when they’re middle aged ’cause that’s when they could finally afford one, right?

            • The Great Gonzo

              Anecdotally, my uncle could afford a sports car WELL before his midlife crisis, however (as I am very painfully learning day after day) a midlife crisis is difficult to balance with normal husbandly/fatherly duties… Once my cousins were old enough to fend for themselves, he got the car…

              My cousin told my aunt (who was VEHEMENTLY agaisnt the car, but ironically drove it more than he did): “Men at this age typically choose between a young blonde or a new convertible. Since he’s not even considering the former, let him have the fucking car…”

              This has nothing to do with anything, just warrants mentioning.

      • Kiko Jones

        While I agree with you in principle—not interested in seeing the team I root for looking like homeless lumberjacks—I can understand how certain players and fans feel like the policy goes a bit too far. I mean, these guys are athletes not Marines, you know?

        • gageagaisntthemachine

          I did say there was room (more like a “need”) for middle ground (as many others noted) in the Yankees’ beard policy if they changed it. I just don’t understand why the beard policy in most MLB franchises appears to be 100% plagiarized from the least successful “Gandalf Look-Alike Competition Participant’s Manual” the world has ever seen.

    • vicki

      all this talk about beards and nobody brings up hannah davis.

    • Kevin

      The no facial hair policy is one of the best things about the Yankees.

      • Mandy Stankiewicz

        No facial hair below the lip. So a VHS porn stache ala Donny Baseball is most certainly allowed.

  • I

    One of the remaining areas that they need to improve upon, in my opinion, is by bringing prospects up sooner. This has been discussed on here previously and I’ve been very vocal myself that I’ve felt the Yanks in recent years have really babied their prospects, almost to a point, where I wonder if there has been growth stunted on a few, now in the past. Obviously if your stuff isn’t good enough or is the attitude is not there, then I completely understand. I’ve just felt that they could be a little more aggressive with moving players up in the system. Based on a recent comment by Levine pertaining to Banuelos, it seems they might be opening up to this as well. Many Yankee prospects enter the league at 24/25/26 whereas other teams have players at 19/20/21/22. Pedigree has a lot to do with this too.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      Those 19 year-olds are up both because of extreme need and, like you said, pedigree. That pedigree is on those teams because they pick high enough to grab those guys.

      I’ve heard enough “they baby them!” and “they rush them!” to just remain quiet on the issue.

      Except for the burrito in the microwave.

    • stuckey

      I believe the lack of promoting prospects to play key roles is partially a product of “we should be the favorite to have the best record in baseball every season” mentality, which in my experience, fans seem to buy into.

      Fans are always jonzing to be 3 deep in above average players at every position. I often see the term “trust” thrown around (fans want players whose production they can “trust”) and that isn’t prospects.

      Yankees fans have to embrace non-linear growth curves and letting players play through struggles and I don’t see a consensus ready to embrace that.

      • TWTR

        Maybe, but over time, it’s a counterprodutve strategy because in order to have the best record most years a team needs the best players, and under the rules of the current (and to some degree even recent) CBA, teams cannot get the best players without regular in-house promotion.

        There are two conflicting memes that often permeate NY sports:

        1) You can’t rebuild in NY.
        2) NY has the smartest fans.

        Any smart fan knows that in order to be the best, you sometimes have to withstand taking a step back.

        • stuckey

          I agree, but I’m still not sure you do.

          I’ll ask again. When you say the Yankees owner is serious about being competitive this year, are you mocking him or agreeing with him and endorsing the signing of players like Drew?

          • TWTR

            I definitely think he wants to be competitive; the huge bucks he spent demonstrates that. My issues are: 1) not spending big until things get dire as in after the 2008 season as well; 2) not sufficiently prioritizing development.

            The Drew signing isn’t dispositive of anything. I think he would help, but I would prefer keeping money for potentially better infield options after the season.

            IOW, I prefer focusing on the long game over the short one.

            • stuckey

              “1) not spending big until things get dire as in after the 2008 season as well; ”

              I think you’re making a suspect conclusion here.

              Perhaps you can argue that 2008 and 2013 qualify as “dire” circumstances, but equally important is the fact that during BOTH years, the payroll actually declined year-to-year.

              Yankees spent like mad after the 2008 season but their payroll actually declined in 2009 despite the spending spree. Same as this season, which is certainly affected by Arod’s suspension being upheld, but between Soriano, Jeter, Wells, Ichiro and potentially Kuroda all expiring, that’s as much as $32m coming off the books NEXT year too, and that’s not even counting whar path the Yankees may or may not try to take with Arod.

              The point being the Yankees have never GONE hog wild spending ABOVE what they were previously spending in response to a “dire” year. The causality isn’t there. We don’t know what would have happened if those years hadn’t coincided with significant payroll reductions through expiring deals.

              The Yankees payroll has been relatively static since 2004-2005 which is significant when discussing this issue.

              I think as or more likely, Hal spends when he CAN spend and stay in a $2000-210m range, allowing some higher outlier seasons when relief getting things back to the $200-ish baseline is immediately following.

              • TWTR

                How so? Hal set the $189m budget goal a couple of years ago, and as a result, they prioritized one year deals which, given MLB contract realities, almost necessarily have to go to less than sought after veterans (Wells, Youk, Hafner, etc.) instead of using the same aggregate funds on much needed younger players with upside who required multi-year commitments, like Puig and Cespedes.

                The decline from $228,106,125 in 2013 is illusory because of the A-Rod savings windfall. Plus, as I alluded to above, they just overspent on a bunch of older crud in 2013 in some mad dash to maintain some semblance of credibility. So that skewed their allocations. IOW, money for nothing.

                Spending $100m or so on the best targets every year would have negated the need to spend $500m in one year and would have afforded more choices.

                • stuckey

                  I think you’re missing the point.

                  There is little evidence to suggest the Yankees are now or will be willing to significantly increase what’s been a baseline payroll figure since 2005.

                  The $228 is NOT illusory as far as we know because $22m was added AFTER Arod’s suspension was finalized.

                  I practice not concluding what we can’t actually conclude.

                  And again, we don’t know if they plan to try to relieve themselves of Arod’s future salary and we know significant payroll is expiring next year too.

                  I’ll conclude the Yankees are willing to come off a $200-210m baseline for an extended period when they actually do so.

                  Even if we conclude the Yankees and willing to go to $230m long-term, that’s a hair more than 10% increase since 2005 ($208m).

                  That sort of marginal increase can be explained simply by inflationary factors.

                  • TWTR

                    I think you’re missing the point.

                    Spending is not a unitary entity.

                    It’s how you spend, and when you spend, as well as what you spend on.

                    Citing mere aggregate figures is to miss the forest for the trees.

                    • stuckey

                      Not when it’s in response to this:

                      “My issues are: 1) not spending big until things get dire as in after the 2008 season as well; ”

                      That’s a faulty conclusion. Hal relatively hasn’t “spent” in a decade, if we don’t place too much significance on year-to-year 10% fluctuations with no upward trend evident.

                      Are we defining Hal ‘spending’ in 2009 by not letting the payroll decline to $170m?

                      I suggest you ACTUALLY have an issue with Hal not having spent in a decade, which he has not.

                      He’s likely spending LESS in 2014 dollars translated to 2005 dollars, is the point.

                      That he’s increased payroll at ANY time during the last decade is what’s illusory.

                      I’m continually surprised more Yankees fans haven’t wrapped their head around that. Yankees TOPPED out payroll wise a DECADE ago.

        • hogsmog

          I just don’t think that’s true. It might take a lot of skill, but there’s no reason why smart spending, trade, and development can’t keep a team on top.

          I think many people would like to believe a narrative of rebuild->win->rebuild->win, as in, winning was something your team deserved after making sacrifices and working hard, and trying to win all the time is “greedy”.

          I guess what you’re saying might be true, but I wouldn’t go as far as to say “Any smart fan knows .”

          • Jorge Steinbrenner

            Agreed.

            This team has missed the playoffs twice in almost two decades. If that’s not proof, I don’t know what is.

            I don’t think some fans appreciate the magnitude of the transition this team is undergoing. While some of the setbacks have absolutely been self-inflicting, moving on from the combination of very-longtime veteran core pieces AND Alex has an incredible degree of difficulty to it. They’re not going to come out of this unscathed.

            If the worst this ever gets is an 85-win season in 2013, that’ll be quite the accomplishment which they probably won’t get enough credit for.

            • stuckey

              You and I seem to agree more than not, but let’s not forget a significant part of the Yankees equation for the last decade was turning out Bernie Williams, Andy Petitte, Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada, and then Robinson Cano is a relatively short time frame, which obviously the middle 3 being the most bunched together.

              That’s NEVER going to happen EVER again, to any team.

              Could the Yankees have done what they did without that utterly unprecedented, outlying event?

              Understand it was the earliest years when they first four made their greatest impact and fueled the escalating attendance at the old stadium, and essentially gave birth to YES and funded the Yankees most financial advantage at a time when the market evolved so that advantage become more significant that it has ever been.

              I caution anyone concluding what the Yankees did is repeatable, but there was clearly a perfect storm of factors that all contributed.

              That math may never happen again.

              • TWTR

                Just because that level of success may not be repeated, it doesn’t mean that the model is flawed or shouldn’t be tried.

                • stuckey

                  If the model is based on turning out 2 first ballot HOFers, and 4 more borderline HoFers who mostly continued to perform even at an advanced age, then yes, you SHOULD be questioning whether that “model” can be replicated.

                  Let’s play it out logically. You’re arguing trying to follow a model.

                  Okay, starting in 2014, who’s playing young(ish) Bernie Williams, a young Andy Pettitte, a young Mariano Rivera, a young Derek Jeter, a young Jorge Posada and a young Robinson Cano in our new model?

                  Are we also asking the LA Dodgers and other teams to go back to playing their late 90’s, 2000’s role of not spending with the Yankees?

                  • TWTR

                    The model is based on emphasizing development and withstanding learning curves, which they definitely did with Bernie and Posada.

                    So it’s really about process not outcome.

                    They don’t have the young pieces now because their drafting or development has failed so miserably.

                    So the issue is moot in 2014.

                    • stuckey

                      I agree, which makes following the ONE model that’s ever been used to accomplish the goal moot.

                    • TWTR

                      It’s moot in 2014, but the case for doing whatever it takes so that the model can be implemented again on a continuing basis has rarely been more urgent given how many more young players are staying under their original team’s control for longer periods as each successive CBA has further spread the wealth.

                      IOW, to say that the model is moot and therefore abandoned is to fall victim to their developmental incompetence.

                    • stuckey

                      I often get the impression you loose track of the discussion TWTR.

                      I responded to this:

                      “but there’s no reason why smart spending, trade, and development can’t keep a team on top.”

                      And then this:

                      “This team has missed the playoffs twice in almost two decades. If that’s not proof, I don’t know what is.”

                      This isn’t about agreeing or disagreeing about emphasizing smart spending, trades, and player development. Who the hell would disagree with that?

                      It IS about the outcome and the argument that if you follow that mode, you CAN replicate the Yankees level of success for the next 20 years.

                      I’m ALL for managing all roster development techniques smartly. But I’m ALSO saying the Yankees can successfully do at all that they still probably won’t be able to replicate the success of the last 20 years.

                      The Yankees are almost certainly going to miss the postseason MORE than 2 in the next 20 years. They’ll almost certainly experience an actual losing season(s) during that time. They’re almost certainly not going to win 5 more rings in that period. And none of these things will reflect failure on their part.

                      It will reflect the reality of professional sports and the fact the ONE time it occurred was significantly due to an unreplicatable, outlying event.

                      They can still be THE most successful franchise in sports. It just won’t be what it was, under the BEST of circumstances.

                • stuckey

                  Btw, trying to be legitimately competitive in perpetuity isn’t a model – that’s a GOAL.

                  The means to achieve that goal is the “model.”

                  I have no issue with the goal, I just don’t know of the means.

                  A significant part of the means/model of ONE team who’s done it is clearly a fluke occurrence measured against modern baseball history.

                  The question isn’t wanting to be there every year, the question is how, and I don’t know the answer if you remove the 6 near homegrown HoF players.

                  Do I WANT the Yankees to turn out 6 MORE near HoFers starting how? Sure.

                  Do I believe that model is replicatable?

                  I KNOW it isn’t.

          • stuckey

            “I just don’t think that’s true. It might take a lot of skill, but there’s no reason why smart spending, trade, and development can’t keep a team on top.”

            Best way to prove an argument is to offer examples of it actually happening in practice.

            So who’s done it to support the position is can be done?

            • LK

              From 1993-2012, the Yankees lowest winning percentage was .540, and they won the World Series that year. There wasn’t a single player on the 2012 team who was also on the 1993 team.

              It’s extremely difficult to do, and clearly shouldn’t be the expectation, but it absolutely can be done.

          • TWTR

            Call it reloading if you like. The point is that sometimes you have to take a step back in order to take two steps forward. Sometimes you have to withstand a learning curve even on a very good team and hope that the other player(s) can compensate while the young players acclimates himself. I prefer that over known, veteran mediocrity or worse.

            More specifically, a young pitcher could have done what Vazquez and Burnett did in 2010, and may have actually improved over time.

            • LK

              A young pitcher clearly could’ve done what Burnett and Vazquez did in 2010; however, it’s not obvious to me that a young pitcher could’ve done what the Yankees *expected* Burnett and Vazquez to do. Given the information they had at the time I think it’s hard to fault the FO too much in this particular case.

              • TWTR

                But a young pitcher seldom gets the prolonged chance to fail that Vazquez and Burnett did.

                The FO hasn’t been able to develop talent. That is fault enough.

  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    I had to look up what a “fan caravan” was. Not something that cries out “New York City,” but New Yorkers sure love to adopt silly Middle America schtick and turn it into their own version.

    Frankly, rather than that, there are plenty of unused and underused baseball fields all over NYC, especially in low-income areas. I wish something involving the team could be done there, with the main problem being that the team’s free time to do such a thing coincides with winter weather.

  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    Less players are hitting free agency. It’s a different market. The team has to adjust. They are doing so.

    At a time of extreme transition, I’m glad they’re expanding their toolset.

  • Rick

    I still don’t understand why we don’t buy the Rays and start using them like the Royals of old.

    • Munson

      That’s a great idea. They could be like our AAAA team.

  • Yankee68

    I think they just locked him up for a possible trade. Note he did not get a no trade clause. It gives the team options in the future. Don’t get me wrong he is a great player and I think the contract is a great bargain. But we already have a more expensive version. For a team with few trading chips the Yankees have added one for sure.

    • I’m One

      You’re entitiled to your opinion, but I don’t see it. The deal seems to be market value at best (look at Michael Bourn’s contract), perhaps a very slight over-pay. He’s home-grown, something the Yankees don’t have muc of right now. If they’re blown away by an offer, sure then I can see them doing it, but I just don’t see this as being part of a “plan”.

      • CountryClub

        Yeah, but if the Yanks ate a couple mil of his annual salary, he would suddenly be on the cheap side and would theoretically bring back a bigger return.

        • I’m One

          But why would they sign him to a contract that they’d have to eat part of if they planned to trade him all along? Spend money to spend money?

          • Jorge Steinbrenner

            The contract still makes him a tradable commodity, but I certainly don’t think it was the motivation here.

  • Steve (different one)

    The “no extensions” policy was a George policy.

    Which is another reminder why I laugh at all the “rolling in his grave” comments. The Boss definitely had his monents, but contrary to the narrative last season, not everything he did was awesome.

    • hogsmog

      It wasn’t like it was that bad of a policy at the time, when the Yankees could (and did) outspend literally any other team if they felt like it, and had an amazingly good shot at going to the WS every year.

  • Munson

    I like Gardner a lot but once they signed Ellsbury, I figured he was gone. Especially since, the farm system’s strength seems to be in the OF. I agree that he is probably most valuable as a trade piece, especially if the Yankees are willing to eat a little of that salary.

    • stuckey

      A couple years back, when a certain highly-regarded catching prospect was traded for a young pitcher, I got into it with several fans on other forums arguing that at the time, the strength of the Yankees farm system was starting pitching and the weakness was high-end bats.

      The point is, you don’t EVER base transactions on the perceived strength of the farm system.

      That can change on a dime almost to the point of irrelevancy.

      Its one thing to maybe let a position player walk, or not pursue a free agent when you have a HIGH END prospect ready to take over, but none of the Yankees OF prospects are there yet.

      The only ones close are at least a full(ish), healthy, VERY good AAA seasonb away from that, and odds of that even happening are not high.

      If they Yankees find themselves with a wealth of outfield prospects ready to be above average MLers, they’ve figure out how to turn that into an asset.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        It’s also very hard to say right now what truly is the position of strength in the minors for this team.

        If anything, I’d STILL say it’s catcher.

        Agreed wholeheartedly on things switching on a dime. We’ve seen it with multiple generations of pitchers (not just referring to the Yankees – I’ll always love you, Generation K), as well as the supposedly Rangers catching three-headed monster.

      • mike

        Although I am no prospect-hugger and am routinely disappointed by the Yanks pathetic development history, I think its wrong to look at the Minors ( and their strength) as anything more than an asset…..its the perception of the value which is the issue.

        cashman thought to grab a lot of arms for the minors, figuring the position players were able to be bought on the open market, while pitching was a premium asset valued by other teams as well. he believed in cultivating those assets for the Yanks, whereby they would provide the Yanks greater value either by opportunity cost or trade.

        unfortunately for him ( and us, to a point) his perception of the Yanks pitching talent (and his inability to turn draft picks into quality ML pitchers) was flawed, leading him to require patchwork scrap-heap pick ups, and overpay FA pitchers, far beyond what he expected.

        then, because he concentrated on pitching, he let the position player side (necessarily) slide, leaving a system devoid of top level talent across the board.

        its not all his fault, it was a rational plan and it sounded good – except his drafts mostly sucked, they intentionally pased on international FA’s, they didn’t use their financial power internationally as they should have – and taking PED’s from the ML really has re-valued power and health to a point where those once commodity issues now have great value compared to just a few years ago.

    • RetroRob

      No reason to eat salary if he’s performing. At worst he was paid market price, and based on where the market seems to be right now, a year from now he might be under. OF course, they can throw some money in if it leads to a better player(s) returning.

      They have three years to trade him before 10-5 rights kick in. They’ve increased their flexbility and options by signing him. The team should be happy if in a year or so they have a glut of OFers. Easy problem to solve. Trade them for something else needed where they aren’t strong. Right now they don’t have any clear strength to trade from in the minors, outside of catching, sort of.

  • qwerty

    If the yankees knew they weren’t going to be able to re-sign Cano why didn’t they simply trade him for some ridiculous package of prospects or young mlb ready players? This continues to speak to the stupidity of our front office.

    • stuckey

      On what are you basing the conclusion the Yankees KNEW they couldn’t sign Cano, and exactly when are you placing them gaining this knowledge?

      • BFDeal

        It came to him in a dream.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          I wish he’d remained in suspended animation.

          • qwerty

            Trolls who have nothing to add to a discussion. *Shock*

    • qwerty

      Umm…how about the fact that they couldn’t get an extension done? If I try to sign a player and he says no to any deal I propose what precisely does that tell you about my chances of keeping him?

  • KeithK

    In my opinion the Yankees no-extension policy was smart when it was instituted. Why lock up a player early and take on the risk of injury/regression when you can afford to outbid everyone when a player hits free agency and are willing to. The policy worked well overall – they didn’t lose a single homegrown player of consequence over a very long period of time, with the exception of Andy Pettite, who didn’t leave for want of an extension.

    The baseball world has changed and the Yankees can’t operate like their wallet is far and away bigger than the rest of the field. So the team is adapting to the new environment. It’s hard to argue that they’re adapting too late considering that they did sign Robbie to an extension previously (he was dead set on testing the free agent market this time) and there really haven’t been that many players worthy of extensions lately.

    • qwerty

      Right, he was dead set, which is precisely why they should have traded him early.

  • RetroRob

    I’m not quite sure they paid market price for Gardner. I suspect he would have received more if he took it to free agency next year. Too much money floating about now and not enough talent.

    Yet, overall, doesn’t matter too much. They add certainty where if they let Gardner file for free agency, it would have distracted as they negotiated with him and any other players available. Colby Rasmus looks to cash in now if he can duplicate his 2013 season.

    • Dave in VA

      I think they paid the *current* market price for Gardner, not the 2014-15 market price (which I expect to be higher).

      I’m very mixed about this signing. I like Gardner, like him a LOT (“if I could get to Tampa for ST his is the first active player’s autograph I’d want” a lot), but have the Yankees locked themselves into not enough power in 2015 and beyond?

      • RetroRob

        They could if they just accept he’s their player for the next five years and never explore trade options or the minors if a power bat emerges. Since he doesn’t have a no-trade clause, they can use him as they see fit. Right now, based on the market, I think it was a good signing, but they need to keep assessing each year.

        • Tim D.

          The biggest things for me with Gardner is whether or not he stays healthy (same goes for Ellsbury) and whether or not in the coming 2 or 3 seasons the team is able to build by getting production out of other positions like 2B and 3B.

          With Cano leaving, obviously that’s a huge loss in terms of middle-of-the order production, so you’re going to have to allocate your money to the other positions. I’m still wondering if it’s a good idea to go with an all speed-less power OF, especially considering it’s a lot easier to find a power hitting OF than it is to find a power hitting 2B, which is almost non-existent.

  • Brian Strawman

    The Gardner signing was a reminder that this is just a blog. I sometimes forget that and consider RAB a source.

  • Frank

    They should be praised for embracing change but criticized for taking so long to do so. Had they embraced these common sense changes years ago they’d be at or below 189MM and have a much better long term view. By next year Gardner maybe the only home grown hitter and only nova in the rotation. Not good. Instead they pay Ellsbury 153M for his decline and Beltran 48M for his old age years. Poor business.

  • qwerty

    The only thing left to do is to extend Robertson, Cervelli and the rest of the yankee home grown stars like Nunez, Betances and Preston Claiborne.