Yanks, Bronx have yet to fulfill park money promise

When the Yanks, with the help of the City of New York, grabbed the Macombs Dam Park and appropriated it for their new ballpark, they agreed to pay back the Bronx through money that will go toward new parkland. Seventeen months later, the Yankees and the Bronx have yet to fulfill that promise.

Metro has a little bit more:

Central to [the new Yankee Stadium] deal was the promise of an annual $800,000 for Bronx nonprofits over the next 40 years. Critics labeled this a “slush fund,” because the money would be doled out by a new not-for-profit staffed by representatives of Bronx elected officials, and it didn’t have to be spent in the affected community. The funds were to start flowing, the agreement said, “upon the commencement of the construction.”

So imagine the surprise of Geoffrey Croft last week, when he discovered — one full year after the stadium’s groundbreaking — no such not-for-profit has been registered with the state yet, and no funds have been disbursed.

While I may object to the new stadium on the grounds that it’s simply not necessary – and an average home attendance of 52,645 would bear me out – the Yanks have continually stiffed the Bronx community on this deal. As the article notes, the city gave up the parkland to the Yanks with no public hearing.

Now, you may fault community silence, and it does seem that these Save Our Parks folks haven’t gotten nearly the attention they deserve. But the Yanks owe it to the city to make up for the missing parkland. At a deep discount, they’re taking public lands. They should replace it sooner than 17 months after construction started on the new stadium.

Updates on the injured

Lots going on at the good ol’ SWB Yanks Blog. It spans a few posts, so I’ll sum it up for you.

  • Chris Britton has been activated from the DL and has been added to the SWB roster.
  • Brett Gardner has been cleared to play and is awaiting activation.
  • Joba is back in Scranton, so it appears he’s not headed to New York this weekend. Then again, with the performance of Farnsworth today, that could change real quick.
  • Jason Giambi will rehab in Scranton starting tomorrow, and will play first base while he’s there.

Plenty of roster moves have to be made at the top three levels of the organization in the next three days. Someone has to get axed for Hughes (guess: Henn, but it could be Bruney), and eventually Giambi (hope: Cairo). There’s also a logjam at AAA, as Joba, Gardner, Basak, and then Henn (or Bruney) have to be added to the roster. Jennings speculates that Ohlendorf could head to Trenton to hone his bullpen game.

Honestly, if they want to bring Joba up, just DFA Kyle and send him through waivers. Yes, I know that handicaps your ability to make a deal; but the mere fact that he’s Kyle Farnsworth already immeasurably handicaps any deal. Just rip it off like a Band-Aid.

It’s just so frustrating to have him in the bullpen while Britton and Ramirez are still in the minors.

MLB/Stubhub reach ticket resale agreement

If you’re looking to buy tickets off of season ticket holders, it appears that StubHub will be the place to go. They’ve just entered into an agreement with Major League Baseball:

In a nod to the growing strength of Internet ticket exchanges, the league has entered into a revenue-sharing agreement with StubHub, an online market owned by eBay that acts as a middleman in the resale of tickets to entertainment events. Under the five-year deal, all 30 baseball team Web sites and MLB.com will direct fans who want to sell their tickets or buy tickets from other fans to Stubhub.com.

I’ve heard from people in the industry that StubHub wasn’t in good shape. I suppose that’s changed now that they’re in cahoots with MLB.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, yes, we’d appreciate it if you use that lil’ ad on the right hand side to buy your tickets through StubHub.

A note on this A-Rod ‘news’

Greetings, RAB faithful, from San Francisco. I’m on vacation for the next week so I’ll be posting less frequently than usual. But Joe and Mike will have the same great content they always have.

I wanted to chime in briefly on this A-Rod flurry of news. Since the All Star Break, we’ve heard a report say the Yanks were willing to negotiate with A-Rod now; a report saying that Scott Boras, A-Rod’s agent, expects the future Hall of Famer to be earning $30 million annually real soon; and a report today saying that the Yanks won’t bid against other teams for A-Rod’s services.

The three of us have been notably silent on these developments over the last few days for the simple fact that they are not really newsworthy. The Yanks’ initial stance was overblown according to subsequent reports. No team would ever engage in intense A-Rod style contract negotiations while attempting to overcome a sloppy start and 10-game deficit. And the Yanks wouldn’t negotiate with A-Rod during the season while ignoring Mariano Rivera‘s and Jorge Posada‘s current contract situations.

Today’s news is another meaningless piece of unsourced journalism. The Daily News, in an effort to one-up the Post, found some anonymous source in the Yankee organization who said the team won’t bid for A-Rod’s services. Who knows if it’s true? To speculate on that would be pointless, but as MLBTradeRumors notes, if A-Rod opts out, that’s probably going to be the end of his run in pinstripes.

What we do know is that Scott Boras will use all of his leverage — an opt-out clause (you can think Tom Hicks for that one), A-Rod’s 31 HR and 87 RBI in 86 games — to secure a mega-deal for his biggest client. It could be an extension; it could be a whole new contract. But something will happen. That’s it. That’s the story. None of the rest of this carries any weight at all.

Now back to our march to the playoffs…

Yanks to A-Rod: You’ve got a bright future ahead of you son. We want it to be in pinstripes.

From the Worldwide Leader:

The Yankees have changed their traditional stance and are now willing to negotiate during the season with their star third baseman on a contract extension, MLB sources told ESPN The Magazine’s Buster Olney.

The key sticking point for the Yankees in the prospective negotiations is that Rodriguez agree not to opt out of his current contract after this season and agree to add any extension to the current contract, which expires after the 2010 season.

So lemme get this straight . . . A-Rod gets in-season contract talks, but these two guys don’t? Wow, how times have changed in Da Bronx.

The guess here is that he ends up inking a monster extension, like a 6-yr/$200M kind of monster.

Update by Ben: I wanted to make a few points here. I doubt the Yanks have said nothing about this to Rivera or Posada. Those two will re-sign with the Yanks too.

As for A-Rod, I’m thinking more along the lines of five years at $150 million or six years at $180 mil. Now, while I know many people expect A-Rod to head west, the truth is that the Angels and Giants just can’t afford that kind of deal. $30 million would be a whopping one-third of the Giants total payroll or slightly less than 30 percent of the Angels’ total payroll. I just don’t see that happening.

My guess, as like Mike, is that A-Rod negotiates with the Yanks, stays and wins one or two rings in the Bronx as Hughes and Chamberlain join a rotation with Wang. A new ballpark will see the Yanks’ finances improve even more, and they can afford this move.

Ichiro, M’s nearing five-year extension

With the Yanks’ outfield a sore spot this year, a lot of commenters on this and other Yankee sites have suggested the Bombers pursue Ichiro Suzuki this winter. I’ve never been a fan of that move; Ichiro, much like Johnny Damon, would command too much money base don his past performance and not enough on what he will do. While Ichiro won’t decline as much as Damon has, old Ichiro won’t be nearly as potent as 30-year-old Ichiro.

But worry not, Yankee fans. Word has emerged, via FoxSports’ Ken Rosenthal, that the Mariners are Ichiro are nearing agreement on a five-year extension that could worth $100 million. That $100 million sure makes that full-sized Hybrid Chevy SUV Ichiro won tonight as MVP of the All Star Game a real piece of junk.

This contract is exactly why I didn’t want Ichiro on the Yanks. Can you imagine Ichiro in 38 when some of his speed has left him? He’ll be a slap hitting outfielder with a much lower average and less power. He won’t be able to cover as much ground in the outfield either. All of that could be yours for just $18-$20 million a year!

In reality, the Mariners’ need to sign Ichiro transcends baseball. It is a business decision. His presence as a superstar on this team gives them unfettered access to the Japanese leagues and the Japanese media markets. As long as Ichiro remains a Mariner, the team will be in perennial contention for the latest big-name import. And as long as he stays on the team, their games will reach millions of Japanese fans across the Pacific Ocean from Seattle.

We can dream about a player of Ichiro’s caliber playing in New York, but the last thing the Yanks need is a superstar on the wrong end of his career. The Mariners need to take the risk, and they’ve saved the Yanks from making a mistake.

Monday is Hughesday

Sorry for the headline.

There has been a rumor floating around the Internets regarding Phil Hughes making a rehab start on Monday. Pete Abraham confirms that today. It’ll be at Tampa, and you can be sure you’ll hear plenty about it.

Normally, I wouldn’t double-dip from Pete, but to us, this is very important news.