Open Thread: Wang avoids arbitration

The Yanks and righty Chien-Ming Wang agreed to a one year, $5M deal today, avoiding a second straight arbitration hearing. Last year, as you may recall, the two sides went to arbitration over a $600,000 difference in perceived value, and the arbitrator eventually sided with the Yanks, awarding Wang a $4M salary in 2008. Many felt the Yanks were being stingy with their top pitcher, after all what’s another $600 grand on a team with a $200M payroll? Well, it’s not much, but it sets a precedent for the future and triggers a snowball effect.

If Wang won his case and earned a $4.6M salary in ’08, all of a sudden he’s looking at maybe a $5.8-6.2M salary in 2009, rather than the $5M he signed for. The process then repeats after 2009, and again after 2010. They saved themselves just $600,000 in 2008, but perhaps saved themselves millions in future payroll.

There’s also the overall effect. When Joba Chamberlain, or Phil Hughes, or Chad Billingsley, or Tim Lincecum, or any young right hander reaches arbitration, they’ll probably use Wang as a comparable pitcher because arbitrators love simple stats like wins. Wang getting $600,000 less keeps those salaries down somewhat as well. That benefits everyone.

The Yanks have more money than any team in the game, but that doesn’t mean they should spend their dollars senselessly. They’re still a business, after all. (h/t MLBTR)

Here’s your open thread for the night. Talk Wanger, Packers-Bears, whatever you want. Just be nice.

Oh, and make sure you check out Zell’s run-in with Phil Hughes. Color me jealous.

OT/DotF: Melky & Albie shining in winter ball

Ian Kennedy’s season is over, he was sent home after throwing 34.2 excellent innings in Puerto Rico. He finished the year at 168.1 IP (counting the Triple-A playoffs), meaning he’s good for 190-200 IP in 2009.

Here’s the other winter ball notables:

  • Melky Cabrera: 27 for 83 (.325), 19 R, 6 2B, 1 HR, 12 RBI, 13 BB, 10 K, 2 SB in 22 games … Gammons says the Yanks stopped pursuing Mike Cameron because Melky improved his plate approach this winter, but I don’t buy it for a second
  • Robbie Cano: 19 for 68 (.279), 14 R, 8 2B, 1 HR, 15 RBI, 7 BB, 5 K, 1 SB, 1 HBP in 17 games … he’ll be done soon, he was only scheduled to play for a month
  • Frankie Cervelli: 12 for 49 (.245), 2 R, 2 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 9 BB, 12 K, 1 SB, 1 CS, 1 HBP in 22 games
  • Edwar Gonzalez: 26 for 73 (.356), 8 R, 5 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 4 BB, 16 K, 2 SB, 1 HB in 27 games … they resigned him after he became a 6 year minor league free agent
  • Walt Ibarra: 15 for 75 (.200), 3 R, 2 RBI, 6 BB, 17 K, 3 SB, 1 CS in 35 games
  • Ramiro Pena: 29 for 114 (.254), 13 R, 4 2B, 1 HR, 9 RBI, 3 BB, 14 K, 1 SB, 1 CS, 2 HBP in 32 games
  • Jorge Vazquez: 69 for 198 (.348), 37 R, 12 2B, 15 HR, 46 RBI, 23 BB, 50 K, 2 HBP in 54 games … Yanks just signed him as a minor league free agent after he spent the last ten years playing the Mexican League … MTOM has more info on him if you’re interested
  • Jon Albaldejo: 16 IP, 11 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 11 K, 1 WP in 14 appearances
  • Wilkins Arias: 10.2 IP, 16 H, 16 R, 15 ER, 7 BB, 12 K, 2 WP, 1 HB in 16 appearances

Wafy Rufino & Abe Almonte just reported to their winter league teams in the Dominican, but haven’t had any signifcant playing time yet.

Use this as your open thread for the night. The G-men kick off against the Panthers at 8:15pm, and home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs could very well be decided in this one. Have fun, but play nice.

Open Thread: On parity and salary caps

Now that I’m done with my first round of law school finals, I can dig out from under this avalanche of baseball articles I’ve been saving for various threads. Let’s start with some Maury Brown musings on baseball’s salary structure.

Basically using some recent numbers from Sports Business Journal, Brown argues against a cap. He notes that the Yanks have paid out over $120 million in luxury tax fees with the Red Sox and Angels the only other two teams ever to dole out a cent. “With revenues at an all-time high, the second highest attendance level on record, and as of late, the most parity, it seems a hard sell to say MLB needs a salary cap,” he concludes.

It’s hard to disagree with that. While I recently questioned baseball’s economic system, if the sport doesn’t need a salary cap, I won’t agitate for one. As Yankee fans, we should be happy seeing our team able to dole out the money it draws in by virtue of its being in New York and having great fans.

Anyway, use this as your open thread tonight. Talk salary caps. Talk baseball. The Knicks are off, but the Islanders, Rangers and Nets all have games tonight. Just play nice.

Open Thread: Who’s paying attention?

This, my friends, is the current poll up on FOX Sports’ MLB frontpage:

That’s been up on their site for the past two days, and of the ~23,000 people who’ve voted, 11% feel Jake Peavy is the best remaining free agent. 2,530 of FOX Sports’ readers are idiots. The three of us are so happy and proud that we’re fortunate enough to have such smart readers. Seriously. You guys are the best.

Here’s your open thread for the night. You’ve got the Knicks at home taking on the Bucks, and Anchorman on TBS at 9pm.

Yanks make offer to Manny purple monkey dishwasher

Funny how quickly this:

The [unnamed baseball] official believes that the Yankees are “going hard” after Ramirez, to the point where they are willing to give him a three-year deal worth from $22 million to $25 million per year.

Turns into this:

The New York Daily News has already reported the Yankees have a three-year, $66 million offer out to Manny.

Thanks, Cafardo, for totally and completely playing telephone with this one.

h/t Tim.

Oh, and this is the open thread for tonight. So discuss away.

Open Thread: Uni-Watch Edition

Paul Lukas is one obsessive compulsive dude. The man who slaves over Page 2’s Uni-Watch is back this week with a Sabathia sized edition of “who’s the fattest Yankee ever?” Well, at least that’s what it boils down to. Is it CC? The Babe? Boomer? Find out for yourself.

(Oh yeah. We’re totally stretched for Open Thread content these days. H/t to tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside)

Once you’re done checking out the Uni-Watch, use this as your open thread for the evening. There’s really no local sports to talk about, the Knickerbockers are off and the Rangers have a late start out on the west coast. Uh … go Orange I guess. Don’t forget to guard those sneaky half court shots.

Joba news: His DUI arraignment was pushed back to January 26th. It was supposed to be today, and the delay won’t affect anything as far as being ready for ST.

Open Thread: Slow times for Yankees’ news

The Yanks already made their big free agent splashes this offseason, so understandably things are kind of slow right now. There’s talk that the terms of the Mike Cameron deal have been agreed upon, but the Yanks are going to hold off on giving it green light for now. Manny Ramirez isn’t signing anytime soon, and Mark Teixeira is still picked between several nine-figure offers. I envy his situation.

So here’s your open thread on this slow night. You know how this goes, talk about whatever, just be nice to each other.

Site Note: The 2009 Draft Order Tracker has been updated now that the Raul Ibanez signing is official. If the Mariners fail to sign Josh Fields before the ’09 Draft, they’ll have three of the first 28 picks. With ex-Brewers’ Scouting Director Jack Zduriencik now at the helm, they can do some serious damage.

Update (7:05pm): Actually, something Yankees’ related did happen: Johnny Damon won This Year in Baseball’s Oddity Award. Congrats … I think.