Sunday morning brings with it an intriguing — and familiar — story about Mark Teixeira from The Times’ Michael Schmidt. He reports that the Yanks are interested but remain lurkers in the Mark Teixeira hunt.
Although the Yankees have not actively pursued the free-agent first baseman Mark Teixeira, team officials continue to monitor the negotiations between Teixeira’s agent, Scott Boras, and other teams.
The Yankees are interested in signing Teixeira, according to two people in baseball with knowledge of the matter, but for the moment are unwilling to pay him more than $160 million over eight years, one of them said.
For the moment. That’s a rather pregnant phrase.
Schmidt notes that the Yanks would perhaps have to get creative with either the roster or the contract to add Teixeira, but it seems as though the Yanks could do that with so many contracts coming off the books following 2009. At this point, what’s the difference between $160 over eight years and $180 over the same time? If the Yanks want Teixeira badly enough, they will get him. It just depends on how badly that really is.
According to the tireless Jon Heyman, the Blue Jays are fielding offers for center fielder Vernon Wells. Of course, as the Yanks are ever looking for an adequate center fielder, some fans have proposed kicking the tires on this one.
On the surface it’s not a terrible idea. While the Jays probably aren’t too keen to trade Wells to a division contender, the Yanks could use a steady presence in center field. But is Wells really the answer? Probably not
The first problem is that Vernon Wells is set to make a lot of money. Last year, he signed a seven-year, $126-million contract that, from the get-go, promised Wells, then 29 and now 30, far more money than he is actually worth. He may opt out after 2011, but over the next few years, his salary structure looks like this:
His salary is so low up front because the Blue Jays owe him a $25.5 million signing bonus. In fact, his contract is nearly guaranteed to ensure that Wells won’t activate the opt-out clause. Can you imagine a team paying a 33-year-old center fielder more than $63 million over three seasons?
And then there is the problem of production. Wells doesn’t cover that much ground in center, and his career offensive line of .283/.332/.480 just isn’t that good. His career OPS+ of 108 is better than what Melky or Brett Gardner can do, but it’s not $100 million better. In the end, if the Yanks are going to spend this much on a player, Mark Teixeira would be a far, far better investment.
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.
Baseball fans have voted Derek Jeter’s impromptu speech to the New York following the final game at Yankee Stadium as their Moment of the Year. Out of over 12 million votes cast, Jeter’s speech received 34.7 percent of them. For more on the voting and a video of the oration, check out MLB.com’s coverage. · (13) ·
Dock Ellis, a pitcher famous for reportedly tossing a no-hitter while on LSD, passed away yesterday. He’ll be remembered for his battles with drug addictions and subsequent anti-drug activism, but for a brief moment in time, he was a member of the Yankees.
In a way, Dock Ellis was an incidental and accidental piece of the Yankees’ late-1970s success. He was on the Yanks for all of 1976 and 19.2 innings in 1977. Along the way, he was involved in two instrumental trades and had a season quite odd in the annals of baseball.
The 1976 season saw George Steinbrenner‘s passion for winning build. Following a third-place finish in 1975, he retooled the Yanks by bringing in Ellis, Willie Randolph and Ken Brett in exchange for Doc Medich. Ellis would win 17 games in 1976 but also managed to pull off the rare feat of walking more hitters than he struck out. His only World Series appearance that year was an ugly start in Game 3.
A few weeks into the 1977 season, Ellis, persona non grata around the Yanks due to his drug problems, was shipped off to the Athletics in exchange for Mike Torrez. Torrez would go onto win 14 games for the Yanks and two more in the World Series that year.
I never got to see Dock Ellis pitch. He was on the Yanks before I was born, and all I know of him come through stories. Jay Jaffe, however, saw and loved Ellis. Check out his take on the former Yankee and one-time troubled baseball soul.
Jason Giambi, soon to be 38, wants a three-year deal, but it sounds as though he’ll soon get a two-year offer from the A’s with an option. While Tampa has expressed some interest in Giambi as well, my bet is on a return to the Bay Area. He would DH for Oakland and slot in nicely behind Matt Holliday. While Jason once said he’d love to return to New York, the Yanks have so far expressed no interest in having Giambi return. · (15) ·
In one of his tersest reports of the Hot Stove League, FoxSports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that Andy Pettitte will return to the Yanks for 2009. The two sides have to work out appropriate compensation for the aging lefty, but the return, according to Rosenthal’s sources is “virtually inevitable.” The Yanks also seem willing to wait for Pettitte because, as Jon Heyman notes, the Yanks are wary of Ben Sheets’ medical reports. The former Brewer would apparently be the fallback choice if Pettitte doesn’t return.
Bringing Andy back into the fold would leave the Yanks with a rotation of CC Sabathia, Chien-Ming Wang, A.J. Burnett, Pettitte and Joba Chamberlain. Al Aceves, Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy would be waiting in the wings. That sounds like pitching depth to me. Now, if only the Yanks would do something about their offense too. · (48) ·
According to Jon Heyman, the Yankees and Scott Boras are talking about Mark Teixeira. It’s hard to tell how we should take this report. It could be a ploy by Boras to get the Red Sox back to the table or the Yanks could genuinely be interested in the first baseman. For what it’s worth, Mark Feinsand says that Manny remains the Yanks’ target and that the team has probably not yet made an offer for Teixeira. · (96) ·
- Sabathia’s contract includes a $9M signing bonus paid in three equal installments over the next 8 months: one on December 31st, one on March 1st, and the last on July 31st.
- His salary breakdown is simple:
2010-2015: $23M each
- Sabathia will be paid semimonthly over all twelve months of year; most players are paid semimonthly during the six-month regular season only. He’ll earn $583,333 every two weeks in 2009.
- He gets a suite on road trips, not uncommon for big name free agents. And, of course, he can opt out of the deal after the 2011 season.
- Burnett’s deal isn’t front or backloaded, and apparently doesn’t include a signing bonus. He’ll get $16.5M per year for the next five years.
- Both contracts include full no-trade clauses.
So Sabathia will have already been paid $9,499,998 before he throws a pitch in the 2009 season. Livin’ the dream baby, livin’ the dream.
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.