Whine, Scotty, whine

Gotta love it when Scott Boras feigns naivete:

“Intellectually, Alex is tying to understand the difference between his free agency and that of Mariano and Posada,” Boras said by phone yesterday. “Alex Rodriguez has never said he does not want to be a Yankee. Filing for free agency doesn’t mean that. Because Rivera and Posada are free agents doesn’t mean they don’t want to be Yankees.”

Just a guess here, but it could be the $30 million the Yankees lost when A-Rod opted out. That will be equal to about one year of his salary, which is pretty freakin’ significant.

Someone needs to tell Boras that it’s over. Why the posturing with the New York media? Clearly he can get better than eight years, $224 million from another club, so go and freakin’ get it. It’s becoming more and more clear that A-Rod didn’t want to come back, anyway.

Moving forward: Posada, Mo on the horizon

Now that A-Rod is gone, it’s time to assess the rest of the Yankees’ increasingly painful situation. We’ll go issue-by-issue, so that we don’t get inundated as we have in the past.

First up: Mo and Posada.

Supposedly, the Yankees are prepared to offer them both a boatload of money. However, the Yankees shouldn’t be opening the checkbook so hastily. They should consider the ramifications of locking up both vets to long-term deals.

Posada should get no more than a three-year deal. A fourth would be a deal-breaker for me. Now, many will think I’m nuts. The Yankees have these vast financial resources, and if they’re not using them on A-Rod, they might as well use them on Posada, right? Maybe.

Signing him to a four-year deal would mean he’d be paid probably $15 million per year through the age of 41. That doesn’t sound too attractive. But, as many have pointed out, the Yankees can afford a $15 million albatross, especially if he produces over the next two years (so that might be a $30 million albatross). Plus, having Jorge around to break in any future catcher — whether that be Pilittere, Cervelli, Romine, or Montero — would be invaluable.

The question, though, is whether you can make a $15 million player a part-time player, a la Joe Girardi when Jorge was breaking in. Or would the Yankees be forced to play Jorge full time — either by upper management not wanting to see its investment on the bench, or by a manager refusing to bench a veteran? That’s a question you must answer to some degree before offering Jorge more than three years.

Mo, on the other hand, I can see blowing the cash on. At this point in his career, I can’t think of a better person to have pitch the ninth inning. Why? Because I’m an enormous advocate of the “bullpen ace.” This isn’t a guy you save and deploy in the ninth inning. It’s the guy you bring into the seventh inning with runners on first and third and one out. He’s the guy who gets you out of big jams, so that you can get to the closer. Basically, it’s the same idea as the “bridge to Mo,” except the pitcher isn’t necessarily relegated to the 7th or 8th inning.

Problem: we don’t have that bullpen ace yet. But with Humberto Sanchez, J.B. Cox, and Mark Melancon coming back from elbow surgery, we might find that “bullpen ace” by 2009. Having Mo as the 9th inning at that point would be invaluable.

What do you guys think? Break the bank for Mo and Po? Or make reasonable offers (and by reasonable, I mean deals longer than one year in length) and if they don’t like it, let them walk?

Quick thought on A-Rod

I’ve been thinking about this for a bit, and I thought I’d throw it out there for some reaction.

Here’s why I think Alex will sign the extension. First off, I believe the Yankees will go $20 million or so higher than their current offer. Boras has made his stand, and now the Yankees are going to come in lower, and they’ll meet somewhere between.

Anyway, say A-Rod opts out. Everyone will know how much the Yankees offered. If he can’t secure an offer of that magnitude on the open market, it would be a nightmare for Team Boras. Say, after all is said and done, the Yankees make their best offer of a six-year extension at $30 million average annual value (as opposed to the five years and $28 mil and change under the current reported scenario). A-Rod hits the open market, and all he can get is eight years, $250 million. So he’d be taking $30 million less than the Yankees offered.

I believe Boras knows the market. I also believes that he knows his clients stands to make the most money from the Yankees. He won’t let Alex opt out if there’s a chance that no team bids as high as the Yanks. That would be PR nightmare.

Either way, if A-Rod signs an extension, it will be hours before his opt-out deadline. That’s just the way Boras works. I also think that he’ll have a hard time opting out with the Yankees’ offer on the table.

An A-Rod update

The Official ESPN Reporter of River Ave. Blues has an update for us on A-Rod and the Yankees. (Yes, he still thinks A-Rod would be a good fit for the Yankees.) Buster Olney writes:

The New York Yankees have asked to meet with third baseman Alex Rodriguez, and if and when they get that meeting, league sources indicate the team is prepared to make him an offer that will exceed, in average salary, the $27 million per year that he is scheduled to make over the next three seasons — and A-Rod would be in line to set yet another salary benchmark.

The offer could be for something in the range of five years — beyond the three years Rodriguez is already under contract for, from 2008-10 — and perhaps $30 million a year…If the Yankees’ extension offer is for something in the range of $150 million, over five years, then Rodriguez would be owed about $230 million over the next eight seasons.

So basically, the Yankees are willing to pay Alex Rodriguez an average annual salary of $28.7 million a year for eight seasons with a $30-million-a-year annual salary for the last five years of the deal. I find it hard to believe that Boras would be able to get more — or even equal — money from any other team.

Now, I know that some people keep speculating that A-Rod could go to the Red Sox. However — and this news highlights the very silver lining in what seems to be an inevitable World Series championship for the Sox — the Red Sox probably already have a third baseman. MLB Trade Rumors highlighted a report in The Boston Herald in which GM Theo Epstein basically said that Mike Lowell is all but signed for the next few years.

While one could argue — rather successfully — that Julio Lugo sucks, A-Rod is simply no longer a short stop. It would be nice if other American League short stops could recognize that truth as well.

Meanwhile, in Olney’s story, he notes that the Yankees may not get their meeting with Boras. I find that exceedingly hard to believe as the Yankees hold more money than anyone else. By all accounts, they’re willing to spend it, and Boras and A-Rod are better off listening to what the Yanks have to say than they are in ignoring them outright.

Kepner clarifies the managerial logjam

Usually, I’d just post an aside to this article by Tyler Kepner about the three Yankee managerial candidates, but there are a few things I wanted to share. Allow me to quote the relevant parts, and discuss away in the comments.

On Don Mattingly:

Don Mattingly came in as the favorite of the principal owner, George Steinbrenner, and he made a strong impression on Steinbrenner’s son Hank in his interview Tuesday.

“He gave them more than what they expected,” a person who spoke with Hank Steinbrenner said. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no decision had been announced. “They liked his aggressiveness and his strength. They saw some fire, and they liked that. He came across as real.”

…Mattingly apparently convinced the increasingly powerful Hank Steinbrenner that he could be more than the quiet leader he is perceived to be. In doing so, Mattingly cleared what is thought to be his biggest hurdle in getting the job. Hank Steinbrenner did not know Mattingly the person, but now he does…

It is doubtful Mattingly would return to the coaching staff if he does not get the managing job.

On the Steinbrenners’ leaving the decision up to GM Brian Cashman:

The feeling among ownership is that Girardi, Mattingly or Peña would all be acceptable choices. Hank Steinbrenner said that he would essentially leave the final call to General Manager Brian Cashman and his staff.

“If the baseball guys are unanimous or near it, that’s the way you’ve got to go,” he said, adding that there were no more interviews to be done.

On Larry Bowa and Seattle:

Bowa has been offered the Seattle Mariners’ third-base coaching job, but he said Wednesday that he was still undecided about whether to accept.

Bowa, Kepner notes, could become the Yankees’ next bench coach. I hope Larry sticks around the Bronx, especially if Mattingly is the next manager.

Reading in between the lines o the article, my money is now on Don Mattingly. I think the Yankees are leaning that way due more to PR reasons than anything else. Losing Mattingly after losing Torre would be a big blow to the public perception of this team, and that is not something the Steinbrenners want to face right now. Public relations aside, Joe Girardi would be a better choice based on baseball acumen. We’ll know soon.

A fork in the road! Which way should we go?

Everyone has said it, even the man himself: Brian Cashman is going to have the toughest off-season of his career, and easily the most daunting off-season of any other GM in baseball. He has to choose a direction in which to take the New York Yankees. As you’ll soon see, it won’t be an easy decision, and much of it will be out of his hands.

Essentially, there are two paths he could take: keep the veteran core and let the youngsters work their ways into the lineup, or gut the team and start over — or at least to the extent that’s possible. The problems with these paths are clear. He doesn’t have much control over the former. If Steinbrenner gets his way, Torre is gone, which may preclude our veteran troika of Mo, Po, and Pettitte from returning. The logical thing to do then would be to choose the latter path. However, George wants a ring, and that path is not conducive to victory in 2008. If George doesn’t understand this, it would probably cost Cashman his job.

(Official prediction: Cashman convinces George that if he wants to contend for a ring in ’08, he has to bring Torre back. The Boss acquiesces, and we bring back the troika. A-Rod, of course, is a complete wild card in either scenario.)

Let’s take a journey down each path to see what lies ahead. True, we won’t be able to get a vivid image of the landscape, but we can at least formulate an idea of what 2008 will be like. As always, please leave your takes in the comments. This is just a starting point.

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As Clemens opines, Torre waits the weekend

Roger Clemens today joined the growing litany of folks expressing their support for Joe Torre. In an interview during which he expressed at least a passing interest in playing in 2007 — DO NOT WANT — Clemens also said that Torre should be the one to close the old Yankee Stadium and open the new one. This guy sure has a lot of supporters, and I hear that, as Torre is one of the city’s most prominent Catholics, the Pope wants to issue a papal bull in support of Torre.

In more interesting Joe Torre news, the Yankees braintrust has delayed the meeting about Torre’s (and Alex Rodriguez’s) future to next week. The group will meet in Tampa on either Monday night or Tuesday morning. Clearly, Torre won’t attend the meeting, but ESPN reports that King George, his sons and their aides — whoever they are — will be in attendance.

Right now, the Yanks are pretty much jerking Torre around. A week ago, a maybe-lucid, maybe-senile George Steinbrenner — Tyler Kepner’s piece at the Bats blog on this topic is fantastic — issued his favorite “win or else” ultimatum. Since then, we’ve heard nothing but silence, and the Yanks will wait until at least a week after they were eliminated to deterine Torre’s fate. It’s possible Joe could grow so sick of this crap that he simply holds a press conference to announce his resignation. Somehow, though, I doubt it.

When all is said and done, I bet Torre’s back in pinstripes next year. A delay of this length means that those who aren’t George are lobbying the Boss on behalf of Torre. Or they’re waiting it out until Steinbrenner simply forgets about this ultimatum. That wouldn’t surprise me either.