Update by Joe, 11:52 a.m.: Interesting thought over at MLB Trade Rumors:
10:05am: One reader asks a question I can’t answer: if the quota is three Type A/Bs, how were the Giants able to sign Jeremy Affeldt (B), Bob Howry (A), Randy Johnson (B), Edgar Renteria (A), and Juan Uribe (B)? Does it only apply to Type A/Bs who were offered arbitration? Is the quota three of each type?
Uribe signed a minor league deal, and I’m not sure if that counts against the quota or not. Still, the Affeldt, Howry, Johnson, and Renteria point still stands. Plus, as he mentioned below in the comments, PeteAbe talked to Cashman, who said the Yankees are not at their limit.
Update 10:40 a.m.: After pouring over the CBA and a few of my older columns on this, the conclusion stands that Bloom is wrong. The Yanks can sign a free agent for every ranked free agent they’ve lost — Pudge and Abreu can still be replaced, and I’m pretty sure Mussina can be too — in addition to the number they allotted under the CBA’s quota.
However, it’s unclear what the quota is. Bloom’s analysis about the CBA, below, is still correct mostly correct. His conclusion is not. The relevant part says:
(a) Clubs shall be limited in the number of Type Aand B Play- ers, as defined below, they may subsequently sign to contracts. The number of signings permitted shall be related to the number of Players electing free agency under this Section B. If there are 14 or less such Players, no Club may sign more than one Type Aor B Player. If there are from 15 to 38 such Players, no Club may sign more than two Type Aor B Players. If there are from 39 to 62 such Players, no Club may sign more than three Type A or B Players. If there are more than 62 such Players, the Club quotas shall be increased accordingly. There shall be no restrictions on the number of
unranked Players that a Club may sign to contracts.
Unless the numbers have been “increased accordingly” through some other means, the Yanks may be stuck with three new, non-replacement free agents, but as I noted above, since three of their former free agents did not re-sign, I think the Yanks still could sign more Type A or Type B free agents under the non-increased quota. It’s tough to say if the lost free agents are added to the quota if the number — in this case, 3 — is the same as the quota.
* * *
While Yankee fans dream of Manny Ramirez or Adam Dunn patrolling the outfield with Ben Sheets on the mound, those are three pipe dreams that won’t — and, in fact, cannot — come true. The Yankees, you see, have reached their free agent limit.
There is some rather convoluted logic to this conclusion, and Barry Bloom sums it up in that MLB.com piece. I’ll summarize: The CBA says that when there are between 39 to 62 Type A or B free agents, a club may sign three of them, not counting their own players lost to free agency. So when the Yanks re-signed Andy Pettitte and Damaso Marte, they were not penalized. They did, however, land CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira and A.J. Burnett, three Type A free agents.
But what if there are more than 62 ranked players, as there were this year? “If there are more than 62 such players, the club quota shall be increased accordingly,” the CBA reads. As Bloom reports, however, no adjustments were made. The Yanks never asked, and the Union and Owners never had to confront the issue. I guess it’s not too late, but that ship has probably sailed.
So all of this convoluted administrative baseball mumbo-jumbo means that there is only one free agent left the Yankees could sign. His name? Bobby Abreu.
This also makes me reevaluate any efforts the Yanks are making to trade Xavier Nady or Nick Swisher. If they cannot sign Dunn as a potential replacement, the team is better served holding on to Nady and Swisher. Both players will be tradeable and in demand when June and July rolls around. What’s the rush anyway?
Marc Hulet at Fangraphs looked at five pitchers the Yanks could/should turn to if they need to fill a rotation spot next year. The first three pitchers are the usual suspects – Hughes, Kennedy & Aceves (though Hulet doesn’t appear to realize that Aceves spent significant time in the Mexican League) – but the last two names are interesting: Phil Coke & Eric Hacker. We know Coke will prepare for the season as a starter, but he’s a two pitch guy with a show-me third pitch. He might be a decent back end option, but his stuff was so much better out of the pen that I can’t help but think he’d be more useful there (especially given the current construction of the team). Hacker finally reached Double-A after being drafted in 2002, and although he was very successful (91.1 IP, 2.87 FIP) he’s still not a guy you’d expect to see on a list like this. Make sure you check it out. · (50) ·
Four months after Yankee Stadium closed, Derek Jeter finally owned up to his cut of the looting. He took the famous Joe DiMaggio sign that used to hang in the runway from the clubhouse to the dugout. Long visible only to non-Yankees on the Stadium tour, the sign will, as New Stadium Insider notes, now be on view only to those who see the insides of Derek’s bedroom. · (26) ·
As it turns out, neither Mike nor I was available earlier this afternoon when we usually record the RAB Radio Show. We got together later on to put the show together, and here it is. We’re posting it now for the open thread.
The first topic is the Pettitte signing, and we talk about how it’s tough to see this as a bad move. We kind of wrote of Joel Sherman when he said the Yankees next offer would be under $10 million, but that turned out to be the case, at least as far as guaranteed money goes. It won’t take much for him to hit around that $10 million mark with his incentives.
Then it’s onto reader questions. We cite a Ken Rosenthal report which states that Nick Swisher is atop the Braves list of desirable outfielders. He notes that the Yankees want prospects in return. I’m not sure I dig this type of deal. Chances are, the prospect won’t be of the blue chip type so, again, the Yanks are probably better off holding onto the depth.
Onto the podcast. It is available in a number of formats. You can download it here by right clicking on that link and selecting Save As. If you want to play it in your browser, just left click the link. You can also subscribe to the podcast feed, which will send it to you every Thursday. You can also subscribe in iTunes. Finally, we have the embedded audio player below.
We appreciate any feedback. You can leave it in the comments or email either of us.
In what is clearly a city-wide construction trend, the new Metro-North stop serving the South Bronx and Yankee Stadium is suffering from increased costs. This isn’t a surprise, but it does tax the already-beleaguered MTA. While some board members want the Yanks to shoulder some portion of the increases, in reality, the transit agency and the city should have worked out the cost increases before building this stop. It does, after all, serve a far better purpose than simply providing more public transit to Yankee Stadium. · (3) ·
Earlier today Mike Ashmore posed a question that piqued my interest: If you had to make a 25-man roster using only Yankees prospects, what would it look like?
Well, let’s see. (h/t Rafi for the email)
C: PJ Pilittere – gets the nod over Cervelli because he’s more experienced
1B: Juan Miranda – not much competition here
2B: Kevin Russo - let’s hope the hot AzFL carries over
SS: Ramiro Pena – slick fielding is all he can offer
3B: Bradley Suttle – I’m pretty sure he could outhit Eric Duncan right now
LF: Austin Jackson – heads to left because he’s inferior defensively to …
CF: Brett Gardner - team captain
RF: Shelley Duncan - team mascot Edwar Gonzalez – next best option
DH: Jesus Montero – not ready defensively, but how could you ignore that bat?
SP: Al Aceves – seasoned vet was an easy choice for top starter
SP: George Kontos – good stuff, Double-A success … why not?
SP: Jeremy Bleich – pitching for Stanford in the College World Series is the closest thing to the big leagues the system has to offer
SP: Zach McAllister – pounds the zone and gets a ton of groundballs
SP: Eric Hacker – tough as nails with Double-A experience
CL: David Robertson – best candidate for the job
SU: Mark Melancon – don’t want to waste him in the closer’s role
LOOGY: Wilkins DeLaRosa – I’m sure he can come in an let it fly for one batter and survive
MR: Phil Coke – how could I not take him?
MR: Steven Jackson – he was the man for Scranton in the second half last year
MR: Jon Albalajedo – big league experience + throws strikes = on my team
LR: Ryan Zink – wildcard … it’s nice to have a sinkerballer that can give you length out of the pen
BUC: Frankie Cervelli – he always was destined to be a backup
IF: Justin Leone – still technically a prospect and can handle just about any position
OF: Colin Curtis - can handle all three spots and maybe even run into the occasional homer
UTIL: Justin Snyder – pest can play everywhere and put up a tough at-bat off the bench
As I was putting the team together I tried to build a squad that would be the most competitive group in the bigs right now. I didn’t just list the best prospect at each position, that’s too easy. I went the more advanced prospects in general, especially the pitching staff. Guys like Brackman and Betances would be in way over their head right now.
So do I think this team could beat the worst team in Major League Baseball right now? No, I think they’d get crushed like a bug hitting a windshield. We’re talking about established big leaguers against practically children. The Detroit Lions would splatter USC too.
The only time they’d have a remote chance of winning is when Aceves is on the mound, and even that’s not all that great. The bullpen is pretty good, so they could steal a few wins if they have a lead after say, five innings. In general though, there’s just not enough experience on either side of the ball and too many rookie mistakes to endure.
So what do you guys think? (make sure you show some love and post your comments on Mike’s site as well)
We know that the Yanks projected starting five in 2009 will be CC Sabathia, Chien-Ming Wang, A.J. Burnett, Andy Pettitte, and Joba Chamberlain. Unless the Yankees have a Rays-esque run with luck, these aren’t the only five guys who will toe the rubber to start games this year. Chad Jennings lists the guys who are next in line for a call-up, and breaks down where they are now and what it will take to see some time in the Bronx.
This brings up an occasion to discuss the AAA and AA rotations. The question was raised in yesterday’s chat, and I couldn’t think quick enough on my toes to give a comprehensive answer. So, given what we know right now, on January 29, 2009, here’s how I see it:
|Phil Hughes||Eric Hacker|
|Ian Kennedy||George Kontos|
|Alfredo Aceves||Chris Garcia|
|Kei Igawa||Zach McAllister|
|Alan Horne||Ryan Pope|
Of course, plenty could change. As Jennings notes, Horne could start in Tampa or extended spring training because of his injury. The Yanks might want to start McAllister and Pope in Tampa as well. They might assign Phil Coke to AAA as a starter. Jason Jones might find a return ticket to New York in his Twins locker. Chase Wright might clear waivers. This list can and will certainly change as we learn more about the above-mentioned pitchers.
While I’m still waiting on my copy of The Yankee Years, one thing is clear about this whole Joe Torre dust: His reputation is in tatters. He broke the age-old code of writing about the clubhouse, and he will pay a price for it.
Exhibit A: Wallace Matthews reports, in a column to which Joe linked last night, that Joe Torre will not be welcome at the new Yankee Stadium. Torre was conspicuously absent during the closing ceremonies for the new stadium, but this is probably the final straw.
The Yanks can be rather petty too. Number Six will not earn its place among the retired numbers, and Torre won’t get the recognition from the team he deserves following the success he enjoyed over his twelve years in the Bronx. I’m not sure which side gets to claim the high ground here.
Exhibit B: Cooperstown. This is where I leave the debate up to our RAB readers. A quick scan of the headlines reveals stories similar to this one by John Harper. By opening his mouth, Torre has damaged his standing among the sportswriters who once idolized him, and it jeopardizes his Hall of Fame standing.
So a poll:
We’re having some serious issues getting the actual radio show up and running, so we’re going to be doing it old school style for the foreseeable future. If you have any questions you want us to answer during today’s show, email them in to Joe or myself via the links to the left. · (14) ·
The Week of Torre continues late Wednesday into Thursday. In this installment, we find out from Wallace Matthews that the Yankees want to include an NDA in future player and manager contracts. Instead of non-disclosure agreement, though, they’re going with a “non-disparagement” agreement “in order to prevent any more tell-all books.” So former employees can disclose parts of their tenure with the Yankees, so long as they’re not portraying the team in a negative light. Sounds like the makings of some compelling literature.
The Yankees only want former employees to write books which are “positive in tone.” Well, of course they do. No one in the Yankees front office is happy that Joe Torre wrote this book. It says some mean things about them. They’d prefer it if they could control that type of speech so they wouldn’t have to deal with the PR issues.
That doesn’t mean that Torre shouldn’t be able to write it. He lived it, supposedly, so why shouldn’t he be able to chronicle it and sell it to anyone willing to buy? That’s the point, isn’t it? People will buy it, so he and Verducci wrote it. That’s what they wanted, and that’s what they’ll get.
As we’ve seen over the course of the week, this has not been without fallout. Matthews tells us in another column that “David Wells will be named the team nutritionist before Torre is invited back to the Bronx.” The player reaction obviously hasn’t been positive. Even some fans are turning against the legendary former skipper. Everyone’s getting theirs, it seems.
Like an overnight post I did on Mark Teixeira back in December, this is my last post on the Joe Torre fiasco. Hey, when I said that about Tex the Yanks signed him the next day. Maybe something cool will happen today.