Buying out A-Rod

Late last week, word spread that the Giants would “consider” buying Barry Zito out of the final three years and $64.5M left on his contract. It all turned out to be nothing but speculation, and the team has repeatedly denied the report. It doesn’t make a lick of sense for them either; Zito’s overpaid but not useless. Guys that you can pencil in for at least 180 IP with a FIP in the mid-4.00’s have value, especially when your rotation is a bunch of 20-somethings coming off career high workloads following a World Series run. Anyway, hearing that stuff made me think about the Yankees’ own albatross contract, the one belonging to Alex Rodriguez.

My bank is that-a-way. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

As many of you may know, I’m also a pretty big hockey fan, and unlike MLB, the NHL has a system in place that allows a team to buy out a player’s contract. It’s complicated and I won’t bore you with the gory details, but the general idea is that the player gets two-thirds of the money spread out over twice the years. There’s salary cap ramifications and all that, plus the actual year-to-year distribution of the cash is a little tricky, but the general idea is two-thirds the money, twice the years. If you want to read more about the process, check out the Understanding The Cap page at Blue Seat Blogs.

I wanted to have a little fun, so I applied the NHL buyout rules to the remainder of Alex Rodriguez’s contract. We’re a little too late in the game to buy out the 2011 season, so let’s just assume that this would occur next offseason. At that point, Alex will have six years and $143M left on his deal (yikes), so we’re converting it to 12 years and $95.3M. Here’s the breakdown of the annual payouts and savings, so make sure you click the graph for a larger view…

If the Yankees were to buy out Alex as per the NHL rules in my completely hypothetical situation, it would clearly be a trade of long-term pain for short-term gain. The team would save upwards of $20M in both 2012 and 2013, plus another $14M in 2014 before single-digit savings in each of the next three seasons. That brings us to when the contract is supposed to expire, but per the terms of the buyout, the Yankees would still have to pay A-Rod close to $8M a year for the next six seasons. That’s chump change for the Yanks, but $8M is still $8M.

So with Alex bought out, what would the Yankees do at the hot corner? I suppose they could always give Brandon Laird a shot, but that’s pretty much it for the in-house candidates. There aren’t many third baseman on the free agent market next offseason, with Bill Hall representing the only option that jumps out as affordable and reasonably productive. The Yankees aren’t going to buy out A-Rod only to sign Aramis Ramirez (another older and declining third baseman) to a big contract, so that rules him out.

The smart move would probably involve sliding Derek Jeter over to third and finding a new shortstop. That would open the door for Jose Reyes or J.J. Hardy, two guys scheduled to hit the open market after the season. The end result would be a younger team, certainly, but probably one lacking a big bat in the middle of the lineup, something A-Rod still provides at his age.

Would I do it? Eh, probably not. I guess it really depends on how Alex looks in 2011. If he has a big rebound year, say .290/.380/.530 with 35 homers or so, then I’d keep him. If he continues his slide and puts up something like .250/.335/.475 with 25 homers, I’d probably buy him out and take the savings. What about you?


Rivera praises Banuelos: ‘I like everything about him’

Via Andrew Marchand, Mariano Rivera praised just about everything you could possibly praise about the soon to be 20-year-old Manny Banuelos. “I like everything about him,” said Rivera. “The makeup and how he keeps his composure. I notice situations and how you react in situations. Where you make your pitches in tough situations, where you spot your pitches, he has the ability to do that.” Considering the source, this put a smile on my face. “If [Mariano] says that, maybe it is real,” responded Banuelos, who will celebrate his birthday on Sunday.

“Stay humble, stay within yourself, God will take care of the rest,” said Rivera when asked about what he’s told Banuelos. “You don’t try to put that junk in your mind because that will hurt you.” Amen brother.

Open Thread: March 9th Camp Notes

(AP Photo/David Goldman)

The latest from Tampa…

  • The Yankees are playing the Pirates tonight, but the game isn’t on television anywhere. Rafael Soriano is scheduled to pitch, and Eduardo Nunez will come off the bench to play the outfield. That’s interesting. (Erik Boland & Chad Jennings)
  • Mariano Rivera threw live batting practice for the first time today, and could make his Grapefruit League debut on Friday. (George King)
  • “There’s nothing hot,” said Brian Cashman about the pitching market. “I’ve got nothing going on. Zero.” Both Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon can opt out of their contracts if they don’t make the team out of Spring Training, though Colon has expressed an interest in being the longman if he doesn’t crack the rotation. No word on whether or not Garcia is willing to do the same. (all Marc Carig)
  • The Yankees brain trust and the beat writers played their annual game of paintball, so Chad Jennings held us over with a look inside the GMS Field clubhouse. Sounds rather big. The team officials topped the beat writers 4-1. You’re letting us down, fellas. (Yankees PR Dept. & Mark Feinsand)

Here’s the open thread for the evening. MLB Network has the Orioles-Red Sox game (live) while SNY is carrying a replay of today’s Mets-Astros game. The Rangers, Knicks, and Nets are all in action at different times as well. Enjoy.

What to do when you can’t sell your mansion

Mark Teixeira hasn’t played for the Rangers since the middle of the 2007 season, but he still owns a pro athlete-sized house in the Dallas area simply because he can’t sell the place. The house was listed at $5.75M but has since dropped to $4M, but Tex still can’t find a taker. We’re in a recession, you know. In the meantime, he’s renting the place out to New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton for $15,000 a month. I know nothing of multi-million dollar mansions, but that strikes me as a bargain considering what one bedrooms go for in the city these days.

Here’s some pictures of the place, which will surely make you regret the decision to throw right-handed as a child. (h/t rebexarama)

Link Dump: Betances Edition

Aside from the whole fifth starter competition, the storyline of the spring has been the Yankees’ young arms. You can’t find anyone that doesn’t love Manny Banuelos, and Dellin Betances has wowed everyone with a high-octane fastball and a knee-buckling curveball. Danny Wild of caught up with the right-hander, asking him about his elbow surgery, whether he prefers starting or relieving, his upbringing, the whole nine.

Meanwhile, Aris Sakellaridis spoke to two of Dellin’s brothers, who recapped their meetings with Yankees adviser Ray Negron and chairman Hal Steinbrenner. As you can imagine, reaching the big leagues is a dream that Betances shares with his entire New York born and raised family. Make sure you check both pieces out, some great stuff in there.

The RAB Radio Show: March 9, 2011

There was a bit of a hoopla last night into this morning regarding the Yankees and Aroldis Chapman. Word was that the Yankees made him an offer significantly larger than the one, but Brian Cashman debunked that. Still, you have to wonder what the situation would have been if Chapman had signed. Mike and I dive into the topic.

The Yankees plan to play Eduardo Nunez in left field tonight during the later innings. What does this say about his chances to make the team?

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