Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Couple Things
2006-12-23 05:46
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

The Yankees have officially signed Juan Miranda. Plus, here's Murray Chass on the team's finances.

2006-12-23 06:03:14
1.   Simone
Miranda sounds interesting. I hope that he makes it to majors in a year or so. I hope one the day the political situation in Cuba will allow Yuliesky Gourriel to play for the Yankees.

Good to see the Yankees' luxury tax bill decrease. The less money the Yankees pay, the less extra profit the other owners will have to spend on payroll.

2006-12-23 07:06:31
2.   randym77
1 I wouldn't mind so much if they did spend it on payroll. Parity helps the entire league.

It's those teams that don't spend on payroll no matter how much luxury tax they get that tick me off. How can the Marlins have a payroll of $14 million when they get over $30 million from revenue sharing? Where's the rest of the money going? It's not supposed to go into the owners' pockets, but I think there's some creative accounting going on. How does Pittsburgh get $25 million more in revenue sharing than they used to have, yet their payroll goes down?

2006-12-23 07:30:17
3.   C2Coke
Happy Holidays to everyone! Enjoy the family and the food and all that holiday spirit!

It was a great year in this community and I look forward to the next with all the exciting signings.

2006-12-23 07:53:08
4.   wsporter
I had a moment to check in and found over at YF v. SF (link to the right) that the gonzo for Melky 3 way deal appears back on with Gonzo taking a Yankees physical yesterday or today. Oh well, if it's true it was good to know you kid. Good luck and Merry Christmas to Melky. I will never forget that catch or Johnny Dammon hopping around like a school boy at recess.

A happy and a safe holiday season and Merry Christmas to one and all.

2006-12-23 07:54:28
5.   OldYanksFan
Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukkah and Happy Holidays to all.

2 Yes, its a MASSIVE fuck'p that there is no MINIMUM team cap. For George and NY to finance parity and fairness is great... to put money DIRECTLY into other owner's pockets is sick.

You would think the the Players Assoc. would be behind a minimum, or a rule that dictated that Lux.Tax revenues go directly into salaries. This would help stop firesales, and allow players to possibly stay with the 'home' team, instead of needing to leave for a few extra mil.

Baseball is a business and owners should be allowed and encouraged to profit from it. But however you look at it, fans fund the whole show, and we should get some concessions (and I don't mean a stale hot dog). It is also the 'American Pastime' and plays an important role in our culture. Owners should be expected to put a competative team on the field and make all attempts to build a winning team.

Of the 97mil George has been 'taxed', I wonder how much as been directly pocketed. Socialized Health Care, OK..... Socialized Baseball??????

/Holiday rant

2006-12-23 08:39:03
6.   monkeypants
5 Isn't there de facto a team minimum, sine the players must be paid a minimum salaray? I assume you mean a minimum salary that must exceed the sum of the roster size X league minmum salary.

I am actually not that bothered by the fact that some teams don't field competitive teams. Some didn't in the old says (St. Luois Browns, eg), and some don't now. But then, I am not all that convinced that 'parity' should be a goal, either. I think sports leagues are most entertaining when there is a cluster of good teams that are more or less stable (at least for a number of years)--these become the flagship franchises of the league, the teams that everyone can root for or against, etc. The NBA was at its marketing best when they had a few stars placed strategically on a few really good teams. The problems with the NFL's MNF have much to do with parity, as it has become impossible to predict what will be marquee matchups from week to week, let alone season to season.

So, if the Pirates, et al want to pocket the luxury tax cash (basically, the payoff that 'rich teams' make to keep them in the league so that a full schedule can be played) and accept perpetual doormat status, so be it.

2006-12-23 10:30:05
7.   randym77
4 Wow. If that's true, I'm surprised. Not that the deal was done, but that it was done now. They actually dragged Gonzo away from home and hearth three days before Christmas to take a physical?
2006-12-23 11:15:27
8.   Raf
2 It depends. The Marlins, in theory, are set for a while; there isn't a pressing need to sign a big FA if you will. And in this particular offseason, that's probably a good thing.

The Pirates payroll's going down; Sean Casey & Jeromy Burnitz are off the payroll.

2006-12-23 11:20:19
9.   Raf
6 Parity will never be achieved in MLB. Too many variables.
2006-12-23 12:13:47
10.   Orly Yarly NoWai
At the same time, you must admit that it's pretty galling to watch a team be paid $30 million and only spend $15 million of it, especially considering that the owner isn't spending any of it on his stadium or fanbase, but rather is trying his hardest to get out of town.

Damn, that was a long sentence.

2006-12-23 13:28:44
11.   randym77
8 The Marlins need a CFer. They were using their SS in center this season. They could also use a power hitter for the middle of their lineup.

As for Pittsburgh...I don't just mean this year. I mean since 2001, when they completed their new stadium. They're pulling in an extra $25 million a year via revenue sharing since then, and their payroll has gone down.

2006-12-23 17:48:32
12.   Peter
4 7 Where Have You Gone, Andy Van Slyke? is saying that things are slowing down on the Mike Gonzalez front and doesn't put much faith in that Buccosblog post. He also pointed out that Gonzo's picture is still in the banner atop the Pirates homepage. Maybe there's still some hope left for Melky...
2006-12-23 18:48:32
13.   David
Thanks Alex and Cliff for great reportage.

And, thanks to all the posters for comments cogent and funny.

Happy Holidays!

2006-12-23 22:37:00
14.   Raf
11 And who's available to play CF on the market? They're a fairly well-run organization, they won't give out a stupid contract like the Angels or Dodgers did.

As for Pittsburgh, I guess my point is that buying FA's aren't the be-all end-all. Tying that into the payroll discussion, I would rather a team that isn't going anywhere spend that $$ in scouting, development, or whatever, than doing something crazy, like signing Gil Meche.

The Pirates have bigger problems than not siging FA's

2006-12-24 03:36:20
15.   randym77
14 I heard the Marlins want Baldelli. I doubt they'll get him, though.

Pittsburgh...check out this article:

"Pirates' profit is there, but where is it going?"

It is not difficult to circumvent the way revenue-sharing spending is reported, some experts say. Owners easily can disguise which money goes where by saying that it all is lumped into one central pool. From there, they can do anything with it.

Two leading economists believe that approach is common.

"Revenue sharing has enabled teams to put more money into player payroll. But the fact is, a lot of them are not doing that," said Andrew Zimbalist, noted author and professor of economics at Smith College in Northampton, Mass. "You could be paying off debt. You could be paying front-office people. You could be expanding your facilities. Or you could be taking profits. That's what's happening in some places, and I wouldn't be surprised if McClatchy was doing it."

Allen Sanderson, economist at the University of Chicago who studies baseball's inner workings, said low-spending teams now can find a way to profit from being losers, thanks to revenue sharing.

"You have owners who are doing the right thing and making their teams better, and you have owners at the other end," he said. "You could have an owner who says, 'Hey, I can go to the bar and put nine drunks out on the field and maximize my profit.' Even a bad baseball team wins 40 percent of its games. Why should he spend an extra $50 million to win that extra game or two each week?"

I can understand not going out and filling your cart with A-Rods or Giambis. But some teams won't even keep the talent they developed. A lot of Yankees fans think there must be something wrong with Gonzalez, since Pittsburgh's trying to get rid of him. The only thing wrong with him is that he's arbitration-eligible.

Should be interesting to see if the Marlins keep Willis and Cabrera. A lot of fans seem to expect them to be traded when they get expensive, but with revenue-sharing, they can afford to keep them if they want to.

2006-12-24 06:16:47
16.   The Mick 536
Not having the Game around frees up time for other activities that make me feel that I don't need baseball to provide a base for my life. This week I read "The Sportswriter" and saw "The Good Sheperd." Enjoyed the story about Columbus, too. Last night, I watched "One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest." Didn't remember it was a Christmas movie. Had forgotten that, according to Jack's play-by-play the Mick hit a homerun, I think, off of Kofax, and then Nurse Ratched turns off the television. Can't get away from the Game. HAPPY HOLIDAYS.
2006-12-24 06:35:36
17.   Raf
15 The thing with the Pirates has been going on since Bonds, Draebek, Landrum, Bonilla, etc have been there. Baseball over the years has abused Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), it should come as no suprise as to what these teams are doing with revenue sharing $$; they've done it before the current CBA, they're doing it now.

Until MLB undergoes an independent audit, I won't believe a thing they say about "losing $$"

As for teams not keeping the talent they develop, I'd have to know the reasons they don't. Maybe they have better alternatives in the system. One thing I've liked about the Marlins is that despite the "fire sale" they had, they get talent in return (unlike the Padres who did something similar in the early 90's). Look at some of the names they've recieved in turn for the people they moved.

As for Gonzalez, maybe there is something wrong with him, maybe there isn't. They're testing the waters and putting the Sox and Yanks against each other. If played right, the Pirates could do quite well (given their FO history, they probably won't).

2006-12-24 06:40:12
18.   Raf
17 and to build on my post, if the Marlins have viable options to replace Willis & Cabrera, they may as well move them. Who knows, maybe they get a CF for one of them.
2006-12-24 07:20:01
19.   Ihatetheredsox
Also got this from Sosh?

"Quote From Stupid Redsox Fan named Bombdiggz"

The sox haven't just thrown money at the problem. They have spent money to fill holes where they don't have much organizational depth. In a similar way acquiring another young pitcher and locking him up allows them to not rush the bucholz/bowden/masterson/bards of the organization. The ability to be able to let talent fully develop is great and if the talent comes along faster then the veteran can become a trade chip.

Let me just throw in the fact I love how the Yankees are bringing Phillips along. Although he could certainly contribute this year, they've acquired enough veteran SPs that they don't need to count on him to contribute this year.

Are you kidding me? Phillips? How about Melky, Cano, Wang.

2006-12-24 07:25:17
20.   randym77
18 They don't seem to want to trade any of their young pitchers. They have a lot of talent in the system now, but it's kind of in two clumps: ready now, and not ready for years.

If they were willing to trade, I'd love for the Yanks to grab one of their non-Willis starting pitchers.

2006-12-24 08:22:36
21.   OldYanksFan
If George owned the Marlins, they would be close to a dynasty. Check out a (partial) lineup, with most of these guys either very young or in their prime. Like that OF?

Marlins - 1997 WS Winners
Moises Alou, OF
Gary Sheffield, OF
Cliff Floyd, OF
Devon White, OF
Mark Kotsay, OF
Bobby Bonilla, 3B
Edgar Renteria, SS
Luis Castillo, Inf
Jeff Conine, Inf
Craig Counsell, 2B
Gregg Zaun, C
Kevin Brown
Al Leiter
Rick Helling
Livan Hernandez
Robb Nen

Then they had a firesale.
However, 6 years later they were back to having a very good lineup (although not as good as 1997... and we should have beat them!)

Marlins - 2003 WS Winners
Pierre, CF
Castillo, 2B
Rodriguez, C
Cabrera, LF
Lee, 1B
Lowell, 3B
Conine, DH
Encarnacion, RF
Gonzalez, SS

Then they had a firesale.
However, due to good trades and a good farm, they still manage to field a decent team on a team salary of less then Jeter's salary.

Imagine if there FO was like the Yankee FO... signed their great players to long contracts, made good trades, and continued to have good youth.

What could they be if they had 1/2, or a 1/3 of the Yankees payroll.

Imagine if after we won in 1996, ot 97, or 98, if we dumped Jeter, Posada, Pettitte, Rivera, etc... because we didn't want to spend money.

When I was a kid, Pittsburg has some great teams and players.... Clemente, Clendenon... later Bonds and Bonita... and many more. No they are a laughing stock. Imagine if TB (another pathetic team salary) could add/go out and get a Zito, or Clemens, or Schilling (in their primes), maybe add Pudge too.

There should be a salarly minimum of 40-50 mil, that escalates as player salaries escalate. Yes, the Yanks and Sox would still maintain an advantage, but at least the other teams (and their fan base) could have a little more to look forward to.

2006-12-24 08:25:43
22.   Ihatetheredsox

Closer Gonzalez says rumors not true, he's home

2006-12-24 09:28:37
23.   Raf
21 The Pirates are a laughing stock because they've done a lot of dumb things since the early 90's.

Let's say the Pirates decided to step up, and signed the premium FA on the market. They may make a splash with the fans, true, but I'd be willing to wager that they'd still finish in the middle of the pack. Baseball is not a game where one player can make that much of a difference. It simply isn't set up that way.

The only problem (if in fact there is one) is a situation like 1992 when David Cone was able to slip through waivers because Baltimore or Milwaukee couldn't afford to put in a waiver claim; they didn't want to be stuck with his salary (regardless, I do not understand how the rest of the NL and most of the AL couldn't block the trade, or maybe they tried, but I don't know).

Tampa Bay is another organization that is starting to get their head out of their collective asses. It'll be a while before they catch the Yanks or even the Sox, but at least they're on the right path.

Fielding a competetive team in MLB requires a combination of luck and skill. Signing a FA helps, but isn't the be-all end all.

2006-12-24 09:43:46
24.   monkeypants
21 Doesn't your example actually argue against your proposal? The Marlins had two WS wins within 6 years (the Yankees have had 0 in the last 6), and continue to field competitive teams, as you point out. Their fans DO have "something to look forward to," since the team seems to be on a cycle whereby they develop talent, win the WS every five years or so, then dump the soon-to-be expensive players for other young talent.

So what if Florida has periodic 'fire sales', so long as they remain competitive and even the WS with some regularity?

Maybe if you picked a different example...

2006-12-24 10:08:40
25.   randym77
24 I think part of the problem the Marlins have is those periodic firesales. It takes more than winning rings to build a fan base. You have to have some franchise players. The Marlins' Triple-A team sells more tickets than they do, and if they didn't Willis, it would be even worse.
2006-12-24 10:53:44
26.   Orly Yarly NoWai
I really don't care how a franchise runs a team. If the Marlins feel that the best way for them to operate is to make a run at the title every 6 years, so be it. That's fine with me.

What does gall me a bit is the practice of accepting more money in revenue sharing than the franchise is actually spending on player payroll, then complaining that the team can't remain competitive because of discrepancies in payroll.

IMO, revenue sharing should be a dollar-for-dollar system. For each dollar the Marlins spend on their payroll, they should get an additional dollar in RS, up to what they would normally be entitled. Right now, for instance, they'd be getting only $7.5 million rather than the full $30 million. That way, no team is fully subsidized by the Yankees and Sox.

2006-12-24 11:08:05
27.   OldYanksFan
23 So the Yankees (relatively) smart could have fielded the same quality team if they had 80mil to spend as opposed to 200mil?
Are you arguing that a smart team with a 30mil budget has the same advantage as a dumb team with 100mil? Are you a diehard Pittsburgh, TB or Marlins fan? Would those folks agree with you?

24 Thats why I said they might have a dynasty. However, WS wins or appearences isn't what its about. The Yanks have had the best team (or damn close) over the last 6 years even though they have no WS championships to show for it. Winning the AL East 10 years of 11 speaks more about the team then WS wins (as it does for Atlanta). How many years have the Marlins finished under .500?

26 Fine idea. My complaint is not how they run their teams... its what they do the revenue sharing monies... which (I think) have a specific purpose in mind (and not to make multi-millionaires a few mil richer).

Are you guys being pedantic? In sports, which theoretically teaches 'fair play', do you believe that some owners should pocket (the Yankees') shared revenues, as opposed to improving their team? Was this the intention of revenue sharing? Should someone who owns a baseball team have the same responsibilities as someone who owns 1000 shares of IBM stock?

2006-12-24 12:34:00
28.   Raf
27 The Yanks may have a better team, they may have a worse team. It depends on how they spend it. We don't know. What we do know is this;

NYY: $195M - 97W
MIN: $ 63M - 96W
DET: $ 82M - 95W
OAK: $ 62M - 93W

NYY: $208M - 95W
BOS: $124M - 95W
CHI: $ 75M - 99W
CLE: $ 42M - 93W
CAL: $ 95M - 95W

NYY: $184M - 101W
BOS: $127M - 98W
MIN: $ 54M - 92W
CAL: $101M - 92W
OAK: $ 59M - 91W

A lot of $$ spent with varying results

Whether or not I am a diehard ______ fan, it's irrelevant. In Pittsburgh's case, they told me they needed a new stadium to compete. They told me they needed revenue sharing to compete. They got it, they're not competing. What happened?

The whole revenue sharing concept was built on an extremely shaky foundation. Until teams open their books, no one will know if they're truly losing $$ or not. Like I said before, there is so much manipulation of the numbers (GAAP) that even if a team made $$ it can look like they're losing $$.

WRT the Yanks, I find it hard to believe that Steinbrenner has more $$ than Carl Pohlad. Tribune, AOL/Time Warner, Disney, etc

As for Atlanta:
91: 10th
92: 4th
93: 2nd
94: 1st (49M, Expos had 19M)
95: 1st
96: 1st
97: 1st
98: 1st
99: 2nd
00: 2nd
01: 3rd
02: 4th
03: 2nd
04: 5th
05: 6th
06: 4th

2006-12-24 12:36:13
29.   Raf
Numbers taken from baseball reference.

I'd also like to point out that the Yanks have taken on large contracts given by LA, PHI & TEX, among others

2006-12-24 12:58:48
30.   Jeteupthemiddle
19 I think the poster meant Philip Hughes, not Andy Phillips.
2006-12-24 14:03:09
31.   LI yankee
Ugh. Every Giants and Knicks game makes me look more and more forward to pitchers and catchers reporting...

Merry Christmas everyone!

2006-12-24 14:21:11
32.   mikeplugh
30 ihatetheredsox is a kind of "cut and paste" troll that goes around to Yankees sites and posts the same article, message board quote, or whatever. He's known as mediaj33 at blogger. Just ignore him unless he has something original to say.
2006-12-24 14:21:47
33.   mikeplugh
Oh, and Merry Christmas!!
2006-12-24 14:29:01
34.   thelarmis
Mike Plugh = Troll Patrol! : )

i miss bb news. suppan signed w/ the brew crew 4/42, option for 5th year...

the 5-dvd Yanks World Serious set is really good. can't wait til we win another ring...

2006-12-24 14:54:19
35.   randym77
Bucco Blog has posted a holiday card/music video:

I gather he's against this Gonzalez trade, even though he reported it's a done deal...

2006-12-24 15:02:37
36.   mikeplugh
Has anyone seen the new hats for the SWB Yankees? If you're going to use the "Yankees Brand" at least make your caps an interlocking SWB in white on a navy background.
2006-12-24 15:03:40
37.   mikeplugh
35 I saw that Gonzalez laughed about the idea that he'd taken a physical for the Yankees. He said he's been home in Texas with his family hanging out for X-mas. Love those blog rumors.
2006-12-24 15:13:36
38.   thelarmis
36 haven't seen the hats yet. wish i still lived in PA so i could go to the games...
2006-12-24 16:17:50
39.   randym77
Mike, if you're around, can you read this site?

Does it say Aaron Guiel is signing with the Tokyo Swallows?

(My Japanese doesn't go much beyond
"Nihon-go ga wakarimasen." ;-)

2006-12-24 16:25:47
40.   Chyll Will
27,28 I may be wrong, but the past ten years or so the Yanks have not necessarily set the bar on market value for position players. Pitchers and DH's maybe, but for the others the Yanks paid top dollar after another team had thrown a pile of money at players they seemed likely to acquire or had to convince to come. The most obvious exception was Giambi. Is it right to say that Bernie was overpaid to stay away from Boston, but was still within the etsablished market value?

All this to say that for every critic who buries the Yankees for spending over/under $200 million a year on payroll, the core of that payroll comes really as back pay for the championships those players already won for them (though not deliberately post-dated), in other words, the Yankees are getting more value for their dollars than any team in the last ten years, period.

Just a thought >;)

2006-12-24 16:44:24
41.   mikeplugh
39 Yeah, Randy. It appears as though he's going to sign. It says that negotiations are progressing, and that Guiel will be their #5 hitter and right fielder when things are complete. It isn't final, but the tone of the piece suggests it's very close.

There goes Guiel. Great having him while he was here. Too bad he can't find a regular platoon in the Majors. He's got a good enough bat to stick. He's absolutely tear up Japan next year. His quick swing will equal a bunch of home runs.

2006-12-24 16:56:37
42.   randym77
41 Thanks for the info, Mike.

Do you know what's going to become of Bama's favorite, Karim Garcia? I heard he got cut.

2006-12-24 17:18:38
43.   Raf
40 My point is, and always has been, that it isn't how much you spend, it's how you spend it. To me, the whole revenue sharing thing has been built on the premise that everyone has to spend like the Yanks. It doesn't have to be that way. And it seems Cashman is on board with that theory, with the way he's been cutting payroll (for lack of a better term). If having a high payroll meant success, an organization with the Yanks' resources should have a "1998" year every year.

Then again, maybe that comment isn't accurate; Seattle won 116 games with a team that was 6th in the league in payroll (behind NYY, BOS, CLE, TEX, TOR).

All in all, IMO there is too much focus on a how much a team spends, not how a team spends it.

2006-12-24 17:21:53
44.   OldYanksFan
40 I think you need to add Jetes to the list, who has made in the area of 38mil over the last 2 years, Posada around 22mil, ARod around 36mil (paid by the Yanks). Damon, Mats and Abreu all making 13mil/yr.

None are really overpaid except Jetes, but few teams could afford this many quality players. These 6 guys make about 88 mil/yr, or more then (I'm guessing) about 2/3 of all MLB teams.

My complaint was not Yankee spending, but lack of (other) team development with revenue sharing monies.

I've been an ardent Yankee fan for 42 years. However, if you don't believe their economic advantage translates into a competative advantage, then you're just kidding yourself.

2006-12-24 17:46:21
45.   Raf
36, 38 They aren't that bad looking, IMO

Here's a link to the SWB Yanks cap

This is the old logo

Old SWB cap

2006-12-24 18:07:09
46.   randym77
45 Wow, is that really going to be the logo? Peter Abraham said it would be an entwined SWB.
2006-12-25 08:04:30
47.   Bama Yankee
42 "Who is Karim Garcia?" or more importantly "Where is Karim Garcia?"
2006-12-25 19:55:35
48.   Raf
46 It could be, I haven't seen any merchandise, or team jerseys yet.

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