So A-Rod owes us something like five homers and a few more doubles, right? You know, to make up for the time on the DL. Clearly I’m kidding, though it would be nice to see him kickstart the offense.
Still no word on the roster move for his activation. Or did I just miss it? I have to believe it’s Britton at this point.
Anyway, it’s raining, and I’m hoping they can get it in tonight. We could sure use a freakin’ win.
P. Mike Mussina
The indispensable Chad Jennings has the news: Danny McCutchen will join Triple-A Scranton, taking the place of reliever Bo Hall, who heads back down to Double-A Trenton. It’s safe to say McCutchen will fill the rotation spot currently held by the over-matched Heath Phillips. Al Aceves was bumped up to Trenton from High-A Tampa to take McCutchen’s starting spot, with Chris Garcia taking Aceves’ spot in Tampa. · (13) ·
This is a guest post by Paul Vinelli.
After enduring another horrific start from Andy Pettitte (earning $16 million this season), a strange question enters my mind:
Are the Yankees’ players paid too well to win?
I’m not an economist, so my logic is almost entirely anecdotal. My formative years with the Yankees were the late 1980s and early 1990s. Back then, the team nearly always sported one of the largest payrolls in baseball. Steinbrenner and company signed “tough, proven” pitchers (Rick Rhoden, Andy Hawkins), over-hyped “stud prospects” (Hensley Meulens), platooned “aspiring sluggers” (Kevin Maas, Mike Blowers) and routinely overpaid one-dimensional outfielders (Deion Sanders, Jesse Barfield). It was a culture of meddling ownership, fiscal irresponsibility, reckless trades, and dismal grooming of young talent.
As a result, while growing up I always believed in the illusion that the Yankees could compete because the team could afford to swallow its most dreadful mistakes in supplementing the efforts of superstars like Mattingly, Henderson, Winfield, and Righetti. However, with the introduction of sabermetrics and the new generation of free-spending owners, I fear that the current squad fields too many mistake signings and that this affects overall performance.
While the current Yankees administration continues to overpay its players, the competition has become far savvier in how it allocates its resources. The Angels and Tigers have owners that are willing to spend money — and they do so relatively intelligently. The A’s have Billy Beane. The Mariners’ front office is clueless (witness the Bedard trade), yet their team still competes somehow. Cleveland has a bunch of young studs, and the Rays’ collection of prospects might be the best in baseball. Most terrifyingly, the Red Sox employ terrific scouting and top sabermetricians while wielding a payroll that rivals New York’s.
And what of the Yankees? Two years ago I considered the Mussina signing to be unwise ($22 million for 07-08) and in 2001 I was rabidly against bringing on Giambi (my friends and I deem the current championship drought as “the curse of the contract”). Andy Pettitte earns $16 million this year, though fortunately his deal is only for one year. Left field is entrusted to the immobile Matsui and the feeble-armed Damon ($26 million combined this year and next). Abreu was re-signed for a ghastly one-year sum, and his effort in RF is best categorized as “easy-going.” If Jorge isn’t splitting time between 1B and DH by the end of 2009, I’ll honestly be surprised. Carl Pavano – ’nuff said.
I believe that the Yankees have repeatedly tendered these ridiculous contracts in the past few years in order to give the elder Steinbrenner one last shot at the title. I respect this win now approach — however, the dynastic nucleus is aging (Pettitte, Jeter, Posada, Rivera) and there is a management struggle at the top (Hank vs. Hal vs. Cash vs. Levine). I’m not sure that if the team even wanted to make a big move (e.g. trade for Sabathia mid-season) that it even could foster the consensus to do so.
Hopefully when the current contracts expire the team will choose to focus on building from within instead of signing another big name to patrol left field. This might require a year or two of non-playoff growing pains, but I’m just hoping that 2008 won’t be one of those years.
According to Keith Olbermann, Gino Castignoli, the construction worker infamous for burying a David Ortiz jersey in concrete in the new Yankee Stadium has also buried a 2004 ALCS program under the new stadium as well. This time, however, he ain’t sayin’ where the goods are buried. While the Yankees aren’t about to dig up their entire new stadium in search of a delinquent program, this new story promises to get Hank riled up and ESPN on the case. I wonder if the Yanks know of anybody who could “send a message” to Castignoli. (Hat tip to iYankees.) · (8) ·
As the Yankees and the Mets both deal with underperforming first basemen at the ends of lengthy and expensive contracts, Dan Graziano takes a look at the Mark Teixeira sweepstakes and concludes that the Yanks and Mets will emerge as the two most likely bidders for Teixeira’s service. Throughout the piece, Graziano bemoans the old sluggers on the New York teams and calls Teixeira — 29 at the start of next season — a “a breath of fresh air for either New York team.”
But the problem is that Teixeira will be a breath of fresh air only until he too starts getting old. I don’t think Teixeira will sign for anything less than seven years, and while I’m not opposed to the idea, his contract will eventually be as problematic as Jason Giambi’s and Carlos Delgado’s are right now. While “in with the young, out with the old” is a sound philosophy, the young grow old quickly. · (59) ·
Foes of Brian Cashman can take heart. In a Tyler Kepner piece in Tuesday’s Times, Hank Steinbrenner, the outspoken of the two brothers, shares his views on the current Yankee brain trust, and from his words, it seems that while Joe Girardi and his three-year contract are safe, Brian Cashman and his remaining five or six months may not be.
Hank on Girardi: “I think he’s doing fine. It’s pretty simple — he’s playing the hand that he was dealt, just like I am. He’s doing the best job he can. I have complete confidence in Joe.”
Hank on Cashman: “If Brian wants to be the G.M. next year, there’s a chance he will be. If he doesn’t want to, he won’t be. At this point, do I still want him to be the G.M.? Yeah, I do.”
Talk about hedging your bets: If Cashman wants to come back, says Hank, it’s not a given. There’s a chance that he’ll return which also means there’s a chance that he won’t return.
But within the same interview, Hank took what could be interpreted as a dig as father’s heavy-handed style of management. “Whether those cards work or not will determine what happens in the off-season, and I’m going to do whatever I have to do to win,” Hank said. “There’s been a lot of mistakes the last five to seven years that I had nothing to do with and Joe had nothing to do with — and quite a few things Brian had nothing to do with.”
There were indeed quite a few things Cashman had nothing to do with that have plagued the Yankee organization over the last ten years. The challenge for anyone — and it’s impossible task for those not in upper-level management positions in the Yankee organization — is to weed out the Cashman Moves and the George Moves. Hank probably knows the difference, and he, for now, sees something he likes in Cashman and the role Brian plays.
We’ve made our thoughts fairly clear on this issue. We think Cashman has done a great job. Of course, many Yankee fans judge success absolutely: Either the team wins the World Series and the season is a success or the team does not win the World Series and the season is a failure. While we can try to convince doubters that the playoffs — five-game and seven-game series — are in no way indicative of how good — the 2007 Red Sox — or how average and lucky — the 2006 Cardinals — a team is, Yankee fans are set in their ways.
If the Yanks are serious about pursuing a new path, they should let Cashman’s plan run its course, and that course is longer than the first quarter of the season. That course is probably two or three years long. If the Yanks were to dismiss Cashman now, the spoilers of his era — a highly regarded farm system and better international scouting — would continue to pay dividends well into the tenure of the next GM. And until the Yankees win four World Series in five years, we’ll forever be having the same debate we have now.
Cashman and his approach have gotten the Yanks into the playoffs every year of his tenure so far. Why change things now?
Yes, I’m kidding.
Triple-A Scranton (5-3 loss to Pawtucket)
Bernie Castro: 1 for 4, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SB
Justin Christian: 2 for 5, 1 R, 3 SB
Brett Gardner: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 3B, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 SB – RBI machine
Jason Lane: 1 for 3, 1 3B, 1 RBI, 1 BB
Cody Ransom: 0 for 3, 1 K – ejected for throwing his bat after taking a called third strike
Eric Duncan: 2 for 3, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 SB
Heath Phillips: 3 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 5-2 GB/FB – CJ says Karstens’ start was pushed back to tomorrow because the weather sucked
Scott Strickland: 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 3-3 GB/FB
Steven Jackson: 2.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 Er, 1 BB, 2 K, 0-5 GB/FB
Jon Lester just completed a 300-pitch no-hitter against the Royals. No one will be more insufferable now than Lester’s biggest fan boy. As ESPN reminds us about Lester’s story — he beat cancer — on the special coverage on national TV, someone totally just said, “Un-fucking-believable” to Lester. It was very audible and rather amusing. · (74) ·
In one corner: The Yankees are done. The Yankees have a terrible defense, an old lineup and no spark-plug. They have young pitchers that need some seasoning, and a new manager who hasn’t yet mastered managing a team in New York. They’re overpaid, underperforming and aren’t likely to get any better this year. Middle of the division, here we come.
In the other corner: The Yankees are once again starting slow. That they are 20-24 despite little in the way of offense is a promising sign. Once they’re hitting the ball, they’ll win games in droves. Chien-Ming Wang and Mike Mussina have been great; Andy Pettitte will get back and track; and Ian Kennedy and Phil Hughes will right their ships in due time. Plus, we’ve got Joba Chamberlain the starter hopefully on the horizon. With A-Rod on the mend and Jorge a few weeks behind him, with Robbie Cano‘s and Jason Giambi‘s bats showing signs of waking up, it’s only a matter of time before they turn it up a notch.
And so that’s your premise for your off-day open thread: Are the Yankees really this bad or is it just an early-season slump? Play nice; have fun.
The 11-year deal between the Yankees and Adidas will come to end when the Yanks move out of Yankee Stadium and across the street to their new digs. According to a report in Sports Business Journal (subscription required), Nike will replace Adidas as the Yanks’ sponsor.
Terry Lefton reports:
Nike and the New York Yankees have agreed in principle to a five-year sponsorship agreement that will begin in 2009, the team’s first in the new Yankee Stadium.
The cash and product deal ends a historic 11-year relationship between Adidas and the Yankees that remains one of Adidas’ biggest U.S. sports marketing expenditures…
But with the deal ending, sources said that the Yankees originally tried to sell Nike a signage package, but that Nike was more interested in other rights. Consequently, Nike’s deal with the Yankees is short on branding and long on marketing. Nike will be able to increase the amount of team apparel it already sells as an MLB licensee and it will have a store-within-store shop at the new stadium. It will also run local marketing campaigns, grassroots initiatives, and outfit Yankee coaches and minor leaguers with cleats and other performance wear.
There is no word yet as to the monetary value of the deal, but it’s sure to be a lot. The Yankees’ deals with this companies tend to pay for themselves rather quickly. Expect to see a lot of Nike signage and branding throughout the new stadium in 2009.
Hat tip to Maury Brown’s Biz of Baseball.