Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
What's Next?
2008-08-21 09:19
by Alex Belth

Steven Goldman, writing in the New York Sun, thinks 2009 might be more of the same, or worse, for the Yanks. His suggestion? Bust 'em up, baby:

With next year's pitching staff likely to be at least as unsettled as the current edition, the Yankees are in a difficult spot. If baseball teams don't decide when to rebuild, the gods of baseball tend to decide for them. There's a penalty to holding on too long, to having the issue forced: Your team might turn into the Baltimore Orioles (in the Yankees' case, Jeter standing in for the aging Cal Ripken). Hence, the Yankees should be broken up now, by Brian Cashman, with the veterans sent out of town by August 31 for the best offers available.

That'd be a bold move. Doubt it'll happen though.

2008-08-21 09:36:23
1.   cult of basebaal
0 yeah, and it's almost certainly the wrong move.

i'm waiting for whatever evidence stevie would like to produce to suggest that the yankees are in ANY way likely to get more value in trading, well, whoever it is he's suggesting (notice that he doesn't mention exactly who should be traded and who would be willing to pay for them) be traded.

take a look at the "haul" cincinnati got for trading adam dunn, then get back to me about whether that's what the yankees need at this point.


i'd offer giambi, mussina, abreu, pudge and marte arbitration in the fall, take the protected draft picks, sign sabathia and tex (within reason) and do a real MONEYball draft in June 2009.

2008-08-21 09:43:51
2.   Shaun P
1 I don't think its the wrong move, but I'd say, do it in the offseason: see if someone will take Damon or Matsui and give something valuable in return. (Jeter will never be traded, obviously.)

My only worry with offering Giambi and Pudge arbitration is that they might take it, since they can't lose more than 20% of their last year's salary. That may be more than they can get on the open market. Marte and Abreu are likely to get long term deals, so my guess is they won't take it.

Though, the more I think about it, if there was a contending team that needed some help at catcher (Florida?) and offered a decent hitting prospect in return, maybe moving Pudge before August 31 would be a good move.

2008-08-21 09:48:11
3.   Chyll Will
0 Godspell gets canceled? Horrors! >;)

1 I wonder what's reasonable. The Yanks have been good at absorbing other bad contracts the last few years (until this year, when they handed out a couple of their own), but with the numbers potentially coming off this season, what would represent a bad deal?

2008-08-21 09:56:52
4.   Sliced Bread
2 I think a lot of teams would like Pudge down the stretch. The Phils are the first team that comes to mind.
They're looking at guys like David Ross, and Johnny Estrada. Not sure what they'd offer in return for Ivan. Interesting thought, but I don't see Cash selling before the leaves turn.
2008-08-21 10:00:55
5.   Cliff Corcoran
Steve was more on point when he wrote that Brett Gardner needs to play now as he'll be their best hope for center field going into next year and needs to get his feet under him in the majors. That concession to an inactive October I could see.

I don't see what value the Yankees could get for anyone other than Nady or Damon right now, and with Abreu leaving and center field in doubt, trading a viable outfielder whose under contract for '09 doesn't sound like the best idea. Also, Giambi, Abreu, Matsui, and Rodriguez all have no-trade clauses.

Worry about it in the offseason. If Matsui, Damon, and Nady finish strong, then you can think about a trade. Otherwise, with Giambi, Abreu, Pettitte, and Mussina (as well as Marte and Ivan Rodriguez) all free agents, the team will have plenty of turnover as it is.

2008-08-21 10:02:01
6.   Cliff Corcoran
5 make that "who's under contract"
2008-08-21 10:02:05
7.   Sliced Bread
2 and I've just been informed that LoDuca is now the Marlins catcher. News to me.
2008-08-21 10:07:13
8.   Sliced Bread
5 I agree Goldman was more on point with that suggestion, but I'm not sure how Gardner fits into the Yanks plans for '09. I just don't see them taking ABs away from Matsui and Damon at this point to accomodate him.

I also don't think they've given up on Melky yet, and Steve's colleague at the Sun, Marchman, believes there's still hope for the Melkman.

2008-08-21 10:08:54
9.   seattleyank
1 I don't think Steve is saying that you can get replacements for Damon, Matsui, etc. in trades. I think the point is that you're not going to win with this group, they're only getting older, so trades allow the Yanks to start fresh while acquiring some young, cheap, potentially useful pieces. It might be time to rebuild, even if that requires a couple down years.
2008-08-21 10:23:19
10.   cult of basebaal
2 that's incorrect.

as free agent arbitration cases, they can be offered any contract the team feels. if the arbiter decides the team's valuation is fair market value, that's what the salary will be.

2008-08-21 10:28:31
11.   cult of basebaal
Hence, the Yankees should be broken up now, by Brian Cashman, with the veterans sent out of town by August 31 for the best offers available.

i'd say that's pretty clear as to what steve wants to see. i'll say again, it's 1/2 a thought (or worse).

just lazy thinking/writing on the part of goldman, who always seems to have one of these, "Oh No, time to trade everyone on the team to retool" articles up his sleeve ...

2008-08-21 10:46:29
12.   tommyl
5 I agree with you Cliff. I fail to see what valuable parts could be gotten right now. Also, if the Yankees followed Goldman's plan they would likely be awful, potentially last place awful next year. I don't see them opening up the new stadium looking up at the Orioles.

What's the deal with the new CBA and type A/B FA's? I thought that now type A's didn't have to be offered arbitration to net a draft pick?

Also, I thought that an arbitration player couldn't make less than his previous year's salary, but is this for arb. elgible players and not potential FAs?

2008-08-21 10:46:39
13.   seattleyank
I still don't see where he says trading Damon and Matsui brings back their replacements. It's the start of a rebuilding process that involves trades, free agency and the draft.
2008-08-21 10:55:45
14.   bp1
5 I can hear Cashman now, sometime in December, saying "We are prepared to open the season with Bubba Cro ... err ... Brett Gardner as our center fielder."

The Banter will go bananas.

2008-08-21 10:56:38
15.   cult of basebaal
12 both type A and type B have to be offered arbitration, there's a blog entry over on RAB that has a link to a Baseball America writeup on the new elements in the 2006 CBA.

pre-free agent arbitration cases may not cut a player's salary more than 20% from their previous year's salary or 30% from their salary from 2 years prior.

there is NO salary reduction restriction on free agent arbitration cases.

2008-08-21 11:00:13
16.   cult of basebaal
13 the point, he states that cashamn should try and trade them now. which is silly. given what people are giving up for things of comparable worth (see: dunn, adam) AND considering all the hoops (see: waivers) that have to be dealt with, it's just far better to let the free-agents-to-be walk, get the draft picks and deal with potentially dealing folks like damon and matsui in the offseason, when you've got waaay more time and flexibility in the deal making process.
2008-08-21 11:11:31
17.   seattleyank
I disagree. I think you're overvaluing draft picks. I like the sexiness and potential of the draft as much as anyone. But guys who rocket through the system like Joba and Kennedy are exception. And we still don't know what, if anything, we have in Kennedy.

Most draft picks will never amount to anything at the major league level. Even fewer are the ones who will do so with a year or two. Fewer still are the stars, especially where the Yankees are drafting. Furthermore, this year we saw more teams, including small market teams, willing to spend big bucks in the draft, so we have to prepare for fewer blue chippers to fall to us. And given that next year's draft is predicted a weak one, you can't put too much faith in it.

The reason a player who established himself in AA or AAA, even if not considered a potential star, is more highly valued than a draft pick is that most players will never even get that far.

So you might disagree with Goldman's theory, but that doesn't make it a half thought. I think he sees the Yanks are being aging team, one unlikely to get better solely through free agency, and believes trading players on the decline is the best way to jump start the rebuilding process.

2008-08-21 11:12:25
18.   tommyl
14 Know what? I'd be fine with that. Gardner is likely a much better player in all aspects than Crosby ever was and Ajax is lurking. He's in play for next year.
2008-08-21 11:28:40
19.   rbj
12 Exactly, re: new stadium

The thing is, the Yankees need to income revenue from 3.5+ mil fannies in the seats of the new stadium, plus revenue from YES, in order to recover the costs of the new stadium. How are they going to sell tickets to another 1980s version of the Yankees. Not to mention afford A-Rod or else the Yankees will be paying part of Alex's salary to play for another team.

There's too much investment for the team to be allowed to be bad.

Though Goldman's correct that the Yankees need to get younger.

2008-08-21 11:37:34
20.   cult of basebaal
17 and i think you're overvaluing the worth of trash. because that's what we're essentially going to get at this point. check out what the reds got for dunn. a pitcher who's better as a hitter (in the weak sister league no less) and dreck.

organizational filler is worth WAY less than a shot at a player with upside in the 1st 60 pick next year.

this whole meme of "OMG, Kansas City is spending money there's no such thing as a signability pick, what will we ever do???" is just so silly. there were signability picks through the 50th round. Tim Melville one of those signability picks that the a little teams snatched out of "our" grasp, went in the 4th this year. Plenty of upside players will be avilable to pick with any compensation pick the yankees get.

will they all pan out, hell no. but it's better to take a shot at something that could become something useful, than accept mediocrity merely for the sake of "making a trade".

and that's what goldman is doing, making the statement that the only way to improve that yankees is by massive trading before the deadline, even though that puts the team in the WORST possible position in terms of recuping value.

again, since he doesn't even bother to explain how he resolves the issues i brought up about the lousy timing, it's a 1/2 thought.

2008-08-21 11:50:18
21.   cult of basebaal
in any case, "never mind that shit, here comes Mongo!"

err ... pavano:

According to his agent, Carl Pavano has been told he will start against the Orioles on Saturday

2008-08-21 11:56:51
22.   tommyl
21 Rain of fire, blotting out the sun, Pavano starting. All these things must happen for a reason!
2008-08-21 11:58:08
23.   Sliced Bread
not coincidentally, the Baltimore Orioles have just announced that Saturday is "Carl Pavano Ice Pack/Seat Cushion Night at Camden Yards." Odd that a team would promote an opposing pitcher with a giveaway, but that's a souvenir every baseball fan can appreciate.
2008-08-21 12:01:06
24.   Rob Middletown CT
This is not the time to make trades.

Obvious holes next year, to me:

1 outfielder
1st base
starting pitching

I think Matsui is the primary DH, with Posada seeing some time there (or maybe some 1B). Given that, actually, backup catcher joins the list - and it's not really "backup" so much as "tandem." Michael Barrett?

I think Tex and CC are obvious targets who fill clear needs. I would be surprised if the Yanks landed both, though. Backup plans? Burnett is a major injury risk. Ditto Sheets, right? Derek Lowe... interesting, depending on his demands. He's not a bad pitcher, but neither is he special. He's been out in the NL West a while, too. Penny? There is little backup plan available for 1B. Giambi, I guess. Yikes.

The OF is trickier. Dunn and Manny have bats, not gloves, and age is a real concern with Manny too. The thought of either in LF at Yankee Stadium is scary. Burrell is cut from similar cloth, no? Milton Bradley is a major health risk, even leaving aside his gentle personality.

I think the Yanks need to make an offseason trade for a youngish OF who brings solid defense. To that end, I hope that IPK and other Yankee pitching prospects finish well this year...

2008-08-21 12:02:04
25.   Shaun P
15 You're right, but arbitration is a matter of picking between 2 figures: what the club offers, and what the player asks for.

The stats valuation often isn't rocket science, and given that Giambi has had his best year in about 3 years, he could easily argue - and win - on a $17M salary. Pudge's numbers show a bit of decline, so he could easily argue and win on say a $10M salary.

To put it another way - what is the lowest the Yanks could offer, and win on? My guess is, not low enough.

Now we all know the Yanks can afford anything with the Stadium v2.0 - but I don't think that's money Cashman and the Steinbrothers want to pay out.

2008-08-21 12:38:51
26.   yankster
11 There are two reasons Steve's piece reads as lazy:
1) It's not a new idea. Just about every fan has spent the last month trying to figure out trades that work, and there haven't been many that include Yankee senior players. That's why the Pudge for Farnsworth deal was so exciting. The Nady/Marte was good, but we gave up prospects there.
2) There are no actionable details or proposals for fielding a team: Steve's "Buy Tex" isn't all that helpful. It's true there will probably be decline next year, but it's mostly in players with no trades or huge contracts - so what can you get?

Here's my plan: next year's free agent contracts must be very short and so can be relatively expensive (Pettite, Giambi, Moose) and new contracts (CC, Tex) have to be very smart, or not at all (even though that's painful).

The other spots like center field must be at least league average, even if it costs, but fewer positions need to be plus power. For example, speed is fun for the fans, and I'd bet dollars to donuts that speed is cheaper than power in terms of total bases when you factor in things like wild throws, induced errors, and distracted pitchers (not too many errors on an HR).

There is nothing certain in baseball, and it costs too much to try to make it certain with insurance players so I like the idea of rolling the dice on the young pitchers again next year. Snake eyes two years in a row are less likely.

2008-08-21 13:00:40
27.   cult of basebaal
25 not enough to what?

all they've got to be is lower than a likely multi-year contract that either will be offered.

look if either gets a multi-year contract (say 2 + a vesting option) offering them more total money, they're going to take that offer 9 times out of 10. at the least. they're not stupid, they're both coming off down years last year. if they take arbitration a) they'll very likely get substantially less than $10 million or $17 million (because that isn't the going rate for their respective production right now) and b) they're somewhat less likely to VERY much less likely to be able to command a multi-year contract in 2010, depending on their production and health.

arbitration is a no brainer.

2008-08-21 14:59:37
28.   Raf
Besides, if the Yanks really don't want a player who hit the arbitration jackpot, they can always trade them or release them in ST.
2008-08-21 18:19:29
29.   uburoisc
Isn't Matt Holliday going to be a free agent? Just thinking.

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