Saturday: Sherman has the gory math details if you’re interested. I’ve given up caring about whether they saved money against the luxury tax threshold. It is it what it is. Ronald Blum says the contract includes the same bonus package as Jeter’s previous deal, and unlike the player option stuff, the Collective Bargaining Agreement makes it very clear bonuses count towards the luxury tax if triggered. Jeter can earn a maximum of $7M in awards-based bonuses and the Yankees have to be prepared for that. For all intents and purposes, his “tax hit” for next season is $19.81M.
Friday: To no one’s surprise, Derek Jeter will return to the Yankees next season. Just not the way we all expected. Rather than exercise his $9.5M player option, Jeter has signed a new one-year contract worth $12M, the team announced. Both Joel Sherman and Andrew Marchand report the deal was brokered one-on-one with Hal Steinbrenner as a way to avoid a repeat of their contentious negotiations from three years ago.
According to Sherman and Ken Rosenthal, the Yankees will save approximately $1.19M against the luxury tax with the new contract. The player option was treated as a guaranteed year when the original contract was signed, so Jeter’s original deal was a four-year, $56M pact with a $14M average annual value. The new deal is valued at $12.81M for some complicated reason. There has not yet been any confirmation from Brian Cashman or someone else with the team regarding the luxury tax stuff, however.
Jeter, 39, played in only 17 games this past season due to four (!) leg injury related DL trips. He hit a weak .190/.288/.254 (48 wRC+) in those 17 games and was barely mobile at shortstop, which wasn’t terribly surprising given all the leg problems. Obviously the Yankees expect Jeter to rebound both at the plate and in the field next season, otherwise they wouldn’t have guaranteed him the $12M. The Cap’n hit .316/.362/.429 (117 wRC+) with a league-leading 216 hits as recently as 2012.
Even with Jeter re-signed, the Yankees still need to address the left side of their infield because of the uncertainty surrounding Alex Rodriguez. Even if A-Rod is not suspended, the team can’t count on him or Jeter to play the field everyday. They love Eduardo Nunez and Jayson Nix is a fine utility man, but New York should look into acquiring a better infielder to fill in at short and third on a fairly regular basis. Banking on two guys closing in on 40 with a recent history of leg injuries to stay healthy is an unwise move.
Via Jon Heyman: The Yankees are discussing free agents Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann, and Matt Garza as they look for ways to improve their team this offseason. They’ve also been connected to Stephen Drew, Paul Maholm, Shin-Soo Choo, and Masahiro Tanaka in recent weeks. Free agents can start signing with new teams on Tuesday (Tanaka has to be posted).
Ellsbury, 30, hit .298/.355/.426 (113 wRC+) with a league leading (and ridiculous) 52 steals in 56 attempts this summer. He dealt with a compression fracture in his foot in September and played through a hand injury in the postseason. Ken Rosenthal says he’ll have an MRI in the coming days. McCann hit .256/.336/.461 (122 wRC+) with 20 homers in 2013 and showed no ill effects from offseason shoulder surgery. He turns 30 in February. The 29-year-old Garza had a 3.82 ERA and 3.88 FIP in 155.1 innings split between the Cubs and Rangers this year. He missed the start of this season with a lat strain and the end of last season with an elbow fracture.
Ellsbury and Garza both have plenty of experience in brutal AL East races and McCann is an elite player at a position of great need. The appeal is obvious. The Yankees already have two no power outfielders on the roster and I’m not sure what they’d do with a third, especially since Ellsbury is likely to require a nine-figure contract and forfeiture of a first round pick. McCann is worth the draft pick and simply makes a ton of sense. Garza will not require giving up a pick since he was traded midseason. The team could be considering him an alternative to Tanaka more than Plan A, so to speak. · (49) ·
Only four questions week and they kinda suck. Nah, just kidding. I say they’re good every week, so I wanted to see if anyone is actually pays attention. Remember, the Submit A Tip box in the sidebar is the best way to send us anything throughout the week.
Keith asks: Since there is lots of discussion this offseason about the Yankees’ minor leagues and their development of prospects, I’ve been kind of obsessed with the what ifs. One that particularly sticks out is Mike Trout. It’s been widely reported that the Yankees scouts were on him and of course the Angels ended up drafting Trout with the Yankees compensation pick. If the Yankees don’t sign Mark Teixeira and instead draft Mike Trout, would he even be in the Majors yet? Would they have found a way to screw up his development too?
First things first: if the Yankees did not sign Teixeira, their first round pick would have gone to the Brewers for CC Sabathia. If they did not sign Teixeira and Sabathia, it would have gone to the Blue Jays for A.J. Burnett. They would have had to pass on all three to keep their first rounder, and even then the Angels still would have had a pick (the compensation pick for Francisco Rodriguez) before the Yankees. Ken Rosenthal said the Halos had Trout second on their behind only Stephen Strasburg, so I assume they would have still taken him before New York had a chance at him.
Anyway, just for the sake of argument, let’s assume the Yankees somehow landed Trout in the draft that year. I think that in some cases, with historically great players and generational talents like Trout, the development part almost doesn’t matter. They’re going to succeed no matter what because there isn’t even that much developing that needs to be done, the raw talent is enough. Alex Rodriguez was like that. Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey Jr., Rickey Henderson … players like that. They’re so good and physically gifted that the only thing that can stop them (other than injury) is a lack of effort and work ethic on their part. I truly believe that. Trout was so good that not even the Yankees could have screwed him up. He would have been in the show right now and still been a star.
Kevin asks: Obviously they’ll try starting first but any chance Michael Pineda‘s future with the team is ultimately in the bullpen? It wouldn’t put the stress of 170+ innings on his arm and that way they could possibly get some return on the investment.
Oh it’s definitely possible his future lies in the bullpen. He kept running into a wall around the 70-ish pitch mark during his minor league starts this year, and after such a major shoulder surgery, there’s a chance he may not be able to hold up for 100+ pitches anymore. I’m not sold on the idea that relieving on an unpredictable schedule is less stressful than having a routine and starting every five days, but a move to the bullpen is the next logical step if the starting thing proves to be too much for Pineda.
Ryan asks: What are your thoughts on Roy Halladay? Even though he is older and had the injury, I think the Yankees should sign him. Still has the stuff and experience, similarly to David Cone when they signed him.
I strongly disagree there. He doesn’t have the stuff. He might as he gets further away from the shoulder surgery in May, but Halladay was a shell of his former self late in the season. It wasn’t even Jamie Moyer stuff. No life on his fastball, loopy breaking balls, no command … it was ugly. He looked no part of a big league pitcher. Watching him pitch like that in September made it hard to believe he was the best pitcher in the world as recently as 2011.
The Yankees can’t help themselves when it comes to once-great big name players, so I do expect them to kick the tires on Halladay this winter. He has AL East experience obviously, though I’m not sure that matters much at this point. He’s not the same guy. He hasn’t been the same guy for two years now. There is no way I would guarantee Halladay anything — minor league contract or no contract, that’s it — based on that look in September, there’s no chance whatsoever I would guarantee him a rotation spot. Absolutely zero. If he wants to take a minor league deal and earn his way onto the roster, great. If not, oh well.
Ben asks: It’s pretty staggering to think about all the pitching St. Louis has right now: Adam Wainwright, Lance Lynn, Michael Wacha, Joe Kelly, Shelby Miller, Trevor Rosenthal, Carlos Martinez, even Jaime Garcia. It’s fair to say they’d benefit from trading one or two of those guys. If you were the Yankees GM, what would you think a fair package would be to trade for Lynn or Kelly? Would we possibly have the pieces to trade for Martinez or Rosenthal?
Definite no on Martinez and Rosenthal. As for Lynn or Kelly, I have to think a shortstop would be atop the Cardinals wishlist. It’s hard to believe they did so well this season with a total zero at short in Pete Kozma. The Yankees don’t have a shortstop to give up unless St. Louis is particularly high on Eduardo Nunez, which I doubt they are. Jon Jay had a better year than I realized, so Brett Gardner doesn’t make much sense for them either. I’d have no trouble getting behind a Gardner for Lynn or (especially) Kelly trade, but that doesn’t seem realistic at all. I’m not sure there’s much of a fit here otherwise. The Cardinals are pretty stacked everywhere except short.
Well, this is it. The first official open thread of the offseason. Got another hundred or so of these to go before pitchers and catchers report in mid-February. I haven’t the slightest idea what the Yankees will look like by then.
Anyway, here is tonight’s open thread. The Bengals and Dolphins are the Thursday NFL game, plus the Rangers and Knicks are playing as well. Talk about any of that and more right here. Go nuts.
As I mentioned this morning, eligible players officially became free agents at 9am ET this morning. They still have to wait five days to sign with new teams, however. The MLBPA released a list of all 147 free agents this afternoon, which you can check out right here. Among those 147 players are 13 Yankees: Robinson Cano, Joba Chamberlain, Curtis Granderson, Travis Hafner, Phil Hughes, Hiroki Kuroda, Boone Logan, Lyle Overbay, Andy Pettitte, Mark Reynolds, Mariano Rivera, Brendan Ryan, and Kevin Youkilis.
There are currently 28 players on the 40-man roster, though Mark Teixeira, Derek Jeter, Corban Joseph, Jayson Nix, Francisco Cervelli, and CC Sabathia all have to be activated off the 60-day DL by Monday. So, in reality, there are 34 players on the 40-man. · (11) ·
The 2013 season is over and now it’s time to review all aspects of the year that was, continuing today with a bullpen stalwart and one of the most undeserved punching bags in recent Yankees history (I’m guilty).
Given all the money they’ve spent over the years, it’s pretty obvious the Yankees value having a quality left-handed reliever in the bullpen. And they should. The AL East is full of powerful lefty bats, from David Ortiz to Chris Davis to Colby Rasmus to … uh … James Loney. Once upon a time they had to deal with guys like Carlos Pena and Carlos Delgado as well. It definitely makes sense for New York to have that shutdown southpaw. For the fourth straight year, Boone Logan was that guy.
Fittingly, Logan’s season was book-ended by elbow problems. He was on the 2013 Yankees, after all. The team took it easy on him in Spring Training — Logan only appeared in four Grapefruit League games, less than half what a regular big league reliever usually makes — because of a tender elbow, which likely had something to do with his a) career-high 55.1 innings and league-leading 80 appearances in 2012, and b) extreme slider usage (51.4% in 2012 and 44.8% from 2011-2012). Lots of appearances — not to mention all the times he warmed up but didn’t get into the game — and lots of sliders are usually bad for the elbow.
Despite the elbow issue, Logan was his usual self for most of the regular season. He had his first notable meltdown on May 5th and even that was just a solo homer by MVP candidate/right-handed batter Josh Donaldson to break a tie in the eighth inning. Logan allowed only three runs between that game and the All-Star break, striking out 26 and walking three (one intentionally) in 16.1 innings across 27 appearances. He was dominating both lefties (.189/.225/.324, 50.0 K%) and righties (.190/.217/.333, 26.1 K%).
Logan hit a rough patch in mid-August, allowing four runs on four base-runners in one full inning of work across two appearances against the Angels. He allowed one run in nine appearances going into that stretch and followed with seven straight scoreless outings. It was just a hiccup. When August came to an end, Logan had a 2.68 ERA and 3.51 FIP in 37 innings across 56 appearances. Lefties hit .230/.266/.392 with a 38.8% strikeout rate against him during the first five months of the 2013 season. A little too much power (three homers), but fine overall.
For all intents and purposes, Logan’s season came to an end on September 6th. That was the game in which he inherited a bases loaded situation and allowed the grand slam to Mike Napoli. I know you remember that game. He left that game with what was originally called tightness in his biceps, and subsequent tests showed only inflammation. Logan received a cortisone shot and started a throwing program, but he didn’t improve and headed to see Dr. James Andrews. Andrews found a bone spur in Boone’s pitching elbow. He was given the okay to continue pitching but Joe Girardi only used him once more that season: on September 24th, when he struck out the only man he faced (Sam Fuld).
Logan ended the season having thrown 39 innings across 61 appearances, posting a 3.23 ERA and 3.82 FIP overall. Obviously his primary job was to neutralize lefties and he did that, limiting same-side hitters to a .215/.274/.377 (.281 wOBA) line with very good to great strikeout (14.57 K/9 and 40.0 K%), walk (2.57 BB/9 and 7.1 BB%), and ground ball (44.2%) rates. Among left-handed pitchers, only Clayton Kershaw (41.5%) had a higher strikeout rate against lefty batters this summer (min. 20 IP). In the quirky stat department, Logan led all relievers in appearances in which he struck out every batter he faced this year with 12. Kinda cool, I guess.
Homeruns were a bit of a problem for Logan this summer, as he allowed a career-high seven dingers in those 39 innings (1.62 HR/9). That’s a lot of homers even for Yankee Stadium, especially for a pitcher with a very good 47.3% ground ball rate overall. His 20.0% HR/FB ratio was more than double the 9.3% HR/FB ratio he posted during his first three years in pinstripes. The long ball spike could be due to a number of things, including the elbow issue that he acknowledged had been bothering him all year. The homers were a bit of a bugaboo this summer.
Logan had surgery to remove the bone spur right after the season and is expected to both start throwing again in December and be ready in time for Spring Training. He will become a free agent in the coming days and has already expressed an interest in returning to the New York, though it’s unclear if the feeling is mutual. The Yankees are trimming payroll and lefty reliever sure seems like a potential spot to save money. Either way, Logan capped off a rather successful four-year stint in pinstripes with another very good performance this year. He has been, by far, the team’s best left-handed reliever since Mike Stanton.
Via George King: Brian Cashman confirmed there is still no update on the status of Joe Girardi’s coaching staff. Girardi signed a new deal a few weeks ago, but all of his coaches’ contracts expire at midnight tonight. “I wouldn’t say [what's going to happen], once the deals are done we will put out a release. I won’t say until it’s done,” said the GM.
The Yankees reportedly agreed to a new contract with pitching coach Larry Rothschild two weeks ago, but there haven’t been any updates and nothing has been made official. It’s been rumored that hitting coach Kevin Long could leave to join close friend Don Mattingly, either with the Dodgers or elsewhere if he winds up with another team. Third base coach Rob Thomson and Tony Pena seem to interview for managerial openings every winter (Thomson has already been connected to the Mariners). Bullpen coach Mike Harkey is one of Girardi’s closest friends and confidants, and he’s expected to return. Have to think this stuff will be taken care of relatively soon. · (2) ·
The Red Sox beat the Cardinals to win the World Series last night, meaning the offseason is now underway. At 9am ET this morning, all eligible players officially became free agents. Robinson Cano, Hiroki Kuroda, Curtis Granderson, Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain et al technically are not Yankees right now. They’re aren’t anything. They’re unemployed. They can’t sign with new teams just yet, but they’re not Yankees either.
Now that the offseason has started, I figured it was worth putting together a list of important dates. There are a lot of them, some more important than others. Here’s a look at what lies ahead in the coming weeks and months:
- Next Monday, Nov. 4th: Deadline to make free agents a one-year, $14.1M qualifying offer and also the deadline for option decisions. The Yankees need to hear from Derek Jeter about his $9.5M player option for 2014 (still no word) and they’ll make the qualifying offer to Cano and Kuroda. Maybe some others.
- Next Tuesday, Nov. 5th: End of the exclusive negotiating period. As of 12:01am ET, free agents can negotiate and sign with new teams.
- Nov. 11th: Last day for free agents to accept or reject qualifying offers. Players who reject will net their team a supplemental first round draft pick if they sign elsewhere.
- Nov. 5-14th: Awards season. The announcements are spread out to keep people interested.
- Nov. 11-13th: GM Meetings in Orlando. Not a ton of exciting stuff happens at these — a bunch of rumors and maybe a transaction or two, but these meetings deal mostly with business items.
- Nov. 20th: Deadline to set rosters for the Rule 5 Draft. OF Slade Heathcott and C Gary Sanchez are the team’s most notable Rule 5 Draft eligible players. They have to be added to the 40-man roster.
- Dec. 2nd: Deadline for clubs to offer contracts to players with less than six full years of service time, otherwise known as the non-tender deadline. A fresh new batch of free agents will hit the market on this day. Jayson Nix and Chris Stewart are New York’s most notable non-tender candidates.
- Dec. 9th: Last day to open a 40-man roster spot(s) prior to the Rule 5 Draft. Teams without open spots can not make any picks.
- Dec. 9-12th: Winter Meetings in Orlando. All hell breaks loose during the first three days (the fourth day is kind of a bore). There will be rumors and trades and signings galore. Most of the biggest offseason moves will happen here.
- Dec. 12th: Rule 5 Draft. This is the unofficial end of the Winter Meetings — everyone leaves after the draft is over, the place turns into a ghost town — and the start of what amounts to a holiday recess. Baseball news tends to slow to a crawl after this date and usually doesn’t pick back up until January.
- January: Deadline for each side to submit arbitration filing figures. Eligible players submit one salary, the team another. The exact date is unknown but it’s usually in the middle of the month. The Yankees have seven arbitration-eligible players, most notably David Robertson, Brett Gardner, and Ivan Nova.
- February: Arbitration hearings throughout the month. The two sides can agree to a contract at any point prior to the hearing, even after submitting figures. The Yankees haven’t gone to an arbitration hearing since beating Chien-Ming Wang in February 2008.
- Mid-February: Pitchers and catchers report to Tampa.
It’s also worth noting that at some point before March 10th, the Yankees have to send someone to the Mariners as the player the be named later in the Brendan Ryan trade. I wouldn’t expect it to be a significant (or even an actual) prospect and the deal will probably be completed long before that date. Should happen relatively soon. Just a loose end that needs to be tied up.
Jeter’s option decision is the most immediate and pressing item for the Yankees. I expect him to exercise it after what even he called a nightmare season. It’ll also be interesting to see how the club weighs potential draft picks against staying under the $189M luxury tax threshold when they make (or don’t make) qualifying offers. Are they willing to risk getting saddled with a player they don’t want/can’t afford? Considering all the money the team has coming off the books and the overall disappointment of 2013, I expect this to be one of the busiest offseasons in the Bronx in a long time. I just have no idea what to expect.
I’ve said this probably a million times on this site, but everyone in my family is a Mets fan except for me and my grandfather. I spent most of my formative years watching the Mets and at Shea Stadium, and as a result I became quite the Darryl Strawberry fan. Still am, really. He was me all-time favorite player until recently, when Mariano Rivera took over the throne. Needless to say, I was thrilled when Straw wound up in pinstripes. That three-homer game against the White Sox was the awesomest thing ever. Too bad I can’t find video anywhere. Oh well.
Here is your open thread for the night. The Red Sox have a chance to clinch the World Series title with a win over the Cardinals in Game Six at 8pm ET on FOX (John Lackey vs. Michael Wacha). The Knicks and Nets are playing their season openers as well. You folks know out this works by now, so have at it.