Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Hey, Big Spender
2007-11-16 22:41
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

Has everyone lost their minds?

Look, we all knew Alex Rodriguez was going to get a ridiculous contract. He didn't get the $300 million guaranteed he was aiming for, but he came close enough, landing a record setting deal that has the greatest total worth ($275 million guaranteed) and greatest annual salary ($27.5 million) in baseball history and won't expire until Rodriguez is 42 years old.

We all knew Jorge Posada was going to get a ridiculous contract for a 36-year-old catcher, and he did, landing a four-year deal with an average annual salary of $13.1 million that won't expire until Posada is 40 years old.

One can justify overpaying those two because their value so greatly exceeds the other available players at their positions, and in Rodriguez's case, so greatly exceeds all other available players, period.

On top of those two deals, the Yankees offered Mariano Rivera a three-year, $45-million contract that would give him an annual salary nearly 43 percent higher than the next highest closer in baseball (Billy Wagner, $10.5 million) and would cover his age 38, 39, and 40 seasons. That's a legacy deal, a contract that has more to do with what Rivera has done for the Yankees than what he's likely to do over the next three seasons. It's the Yankees showing respect and saying "thank you" to the greatest closer the game has ever seen. Yet, somehow, Rivera thinks he deserves a fourth year despite the fact that he's coming off his worst season.

Maybe it's because Posada got a fourth year. Maybe it's because Hank Steinbrenner just couldn't keep his mouth shut (in confirming the Yankees offer to Rivera on Tuesday, Steinbrenner said, "He'd be, by $4 million a year, the highest-paid relief pitcher. To say that's a strong offer would be an understatement. . . . The ball's in their court. If they still want to look for more somewhere else, that's up to them." With those kind of diplomacy skills this guy could be president.) Whatever it is, Rivera is holding out for more, and I'm not sure the Yankees should give in.

To begin with, the ability to close ballgames is overrated. Just look at the Blue Jays. Two years ago, the Blue Jays gave B.J. Ryan a contract that everyone thought was ludicrous. (Ryan was 30 at the time of the deal, which was for $47 million over five years. Compare that to what Rivera seems to be asking for on the verge of his 38th birthday.) In the second year of the deal, Ryan's arm blew out on him so, after a brief period of trial and error, the Jays made Jeremy Accardo, a third-year reliever making the league minimum who was picked up in the Shea Hillenbrand dump trade the previous year, their closer. Accardo converted 30 of 35 save chances over the remainder of the season while posting a 2.79 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP. Compare that to Rivera's 2007 season in which he converted 30 of 34 save chances while posting a 3.15 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP. Similarly, Rule 5 draftee Joakim Soria was more effective closing games for the Royals than veteran free agent Octavio Dotel, and the A's got on just fine with journeyman LOOGY Alan Embree closing games when Huston Street hit the DL.

If you look around the majors, you'll see that, outside of Rivera, Wagner, Trevor Hoffman, and Jason Isringhausen, closers are either players who have yet to hit free agency (Accardo, Papelbon, Ray, Nathan, Jenks, Soria, K-Rod, Street, Putz, Otsuka, Lidge, Gregg, Chad Cordero, Capps, Valverde, Corpas, Saito, Hennessey) or underwhelming veterans who have found success in a role that's not nearly as demanding as the mythmakers would have you believe (Jones, Borowski, Reyes, Weathers, Dempster). It seems that the word is getting around that it's easier to make a new closer than pay an old one (we should be able to add Chad Qualls and Rafael Soriano to the former list for 2008, and it seems likely that the Tigers wouldn't have thrown $7 million at free agent Todd Jones if Joel Zumaya hadn't hurt his arm attempting to evade the wildfires in Southern California this fall).

Of course, the Yankees need good relief pitchers, period, and Mariano Rivera is still one of the best relief pitchers in baseball, even if he had his worst year as a closer this past season. He is, however, less than two weeks from his 38th birthday, and greatly overvalued because of his history and his role. Unlike Rodriguez and Posada, Rivera isn't worth such an extravagant contract relative to his peers. Francisco Cordero, who is currently a free agent, made just $5.4 million last year and is five years younger than Rivera. Cordero will certainly get a raise, but he won't get anything near $15 million a year, and I doubt he'll get more than three years either. The gap between Rivera and Cordero in the closers role is not nearly big enough to justify the giving Rivera a fourth year at what is likely to be double Cordero's salary.

Some think that Alex Rodriguez returned to the Yankees because he couldn't get the money he was after anywhere else. I'm not so sure. I still believe that Angels owner Arte Moreno would have given him $30 million per year (and until Rodriguez's signature is on his Yankee contract, I won't feel confident that his contract talks with the Yankees aren't just an elaborate plot to force Moreno's hand). I'm utterly convinced, however, that if Mariano Rivera shops himself around, he will not get a single offer to rival the three-year, $45-million deal the Yankees have offered him. Rivera has threatened to join Joe Torre in Los Angeles, but the Dodgers have a good, inexpensive bullpen (their closer, Takashi Saito, the highest paid of the bunch, earned an even million bucks in 2007). Any team would benefit from adding Mariano Rivera to their pen, but there's no reason for the Dodgers to pay Rivera much beyond the going rate for established closers, which seems to be about $7 million a year, and there's really not much reason for them to even offer that much. Heck, the highest paid starter on the Dodgers staff will make $12 million in 2008.

To their credit, the Yankees don't appear to be budging. Here's Hank again from yesterday: "[Rivera and his agent, Fern Cuza] haven't rejected it outright, as far as I know. It's pretty much known that they're seeking a fourth year, or more [money] for three years.I want him back, and that's why the offer is as high as it is. We don't have to change anything. Everyone in baseball knows it's a great offer; we've even gotten a couple of complaints about it."

If Rivera bolts, the Yankees can go after Cordero at half the cost, or they can let the kids audition for the job. I'm sure the Yankees have an Accardo of their own among the young arms on the bubble of the major league roster. The requirement is that the Yankees avoid the temptation to make Joba Chamberlain the closer in Rivera's absence. Yes, Chamberlain would excel in the role, but, as we've just seen, finding a closer isn't hard. Finding an ace starting pitcher, which Chamberlain has the potential to be as early as the 2008 season, is.
But wait, there's more. Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe reports that the Yankees are one of four teams (also the Angels, Cardinals, and Braves) who have offered Mike Lowell a four-year deal worth between $55 million and $60 million. On Wednesday I considered the possibility of signing Lowell to a Posada-like deal for $52 million over four years and concluded that it would be worth giving Lowell a four year deal in the $40-$44 million range, but classified even that as "overpaying." That, however, was for a team without Alex Rodriguez that would use Lowell as a third baseman. The Yankees want Lowell to play first base. A significant portion of Lowell's value comes from his defensive play at the hot corner. Move him to first base, a position he's never played in the major leagues, and he's a barely league-average bat (Lowell career: .280/.344/.468; average MLB 1B in 2007: .276/.357/.463) and a complete unknown on defense.

The most mind-blowing part of this idea, however, is the concept of a team that would play both Alex Rodriguez and Mike Lowell, a pair of legitimate Gold Glove winning defenders at shortstop and third base respectively, out of position to accommodate the erroneously gold-plated glove of Derek Jeter. If you ask me, the Yankees don't need a first baseman. Between Jason Giambi, Wilson Betemit, Shelley Duncan, Andy Phillips, and Juan Miranda, the Yankees should have the position covered just fine in 2008 and should save their money for a run at Mark Teixeira next winter.

Just for good measure, the Yankees gave Jose Molina, a career .243/.279/.345 hitter, a two-year, $4-million contract. As I wrote on Tuesday, I agree with the decision to bring Molina back, but that is on the assumption that Molina could be sent the way of Wil Nieves or Kelly Stinnett should he fail to provide the bare minimum replacement-level production over the first half of the season. Four mil is chump change to the Yankees, but I'm guessing it's enough to keep Molina in pinstripes through Opening Day at the new Yankee Stadium, no matter how much he might struggle this year.

Of course, this entire post is moot if Hank plans to out-do his father by running up a 2008 payroll that will dwarf Alex Rodriguez's ten-year contract (perhaps Papa George has some kind of wacky Brewster's Millions-type clause in his will). In reality, the Yankee payroll has been heading in the other direction in recent years as, according to Forbes, the team has been operating at a loss since 2004.

Comments (66)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-11-17 04:50:51
1.   OldYanksFan
I know Mo is not dumb, but I thought he was somewhat humble. 3/$45, for a reliever his age, could stand as the highest RP salary for a decade or more.

I can't understand it. He would be getting paid as much for 1 inning as ARod gets for 2 games. That sounds pretty royal to me.

I have read hundreds of comments and a number of articles. There are a few 'pay Mo whateve he likes', but in the by-and-large, people are stunned that he had to think for more then 2 seconds about this offer, and the word 'greedy' was used often.

When die hard Yankee fans start to say 'just let Mo go', you know that a lot of people are pissed. Mo is going to kill his own legacy. What the hell is going on with this guy?

2007-11-17 05:03:32
2.   monkeypants
1 Mo seems really to want the fourth year. I wonder if the Yankees made a mistake by offering so much for three years. If they had offered him, say, 3 years/36 million, they could have bumped the offer up to four years 48 million--and Mo might have taken it. But by starting at 3 years/45 million, they don't really have place to go. Maybe offer 4 years but "only" 50 million total--but then, would that be seen as an "insult"?
2007-11-17 05:04:25
3.   OldYanksFan
3 IIRC, they started at 3/$40.
2007-11-17 05:08:10
4.   OldYanksFan
While this contract for Mo isn't as large (in total) as ARods, the $$ and years are nuts. If they Yanks cave here, they will grossly overpay every decent kid that comes through the system to stay.

I couldn't see losing Posada, but more bacause it was truly irreplaceable. Frankly, I'm ready to let Mo go. In a business where Owners can be cut-throat, this is an example of player insanity. Giving in to Mo would be a very bad example.

2007-11-17 05:09:11
5.   OldYanksFan
DAMN! Hit the wrong button again. My writing is making me look like the village idiot.
2007-11-17 05:17:28
6.   monkeypants
3 4

They did start at 3/$40. Then they upped the offer to 3/$45. I wonder if the better move would have been instead to offer 4/$50.

But overall, I agree with your sentiment. On one level, we can argue that A-Rod, Posada, and Mo are all overpaid (and I do not mean this in a philosophical way, but only from a baseball perspective). However, we can also consider their value on a relative scale. In that case, A-Rod and Jorge are, frankly, worth more than Mo, simply because of the positions they play and the level at which they play them.

The Yankees should stand firm here, no doubt.

2007-11-17 05:34:29
7.   jeterian swing
It's amazing that we have reached the point where Mariano Rivera is viewed by Yankee fans as being greedier than A-Rod. What's more amazing is that this conclusion is so hard to dispute that it seems factual.

We'll (ideally) never know if A-Rod could have gotten more than the Yankees' offer, but any fan can plainly see that Mo will not get anything close to 3/45 anywhere else. Is there any team in baseball right now (besides the Yankees) that needs a closer? Is there any team in baseball right now (including the Yankees) that could justify spending what Mo is asking? His skillset+age+salary simply don't fit anyplace else -- if the Mets needed a closer, I could see Omar making a big offer, but the Mets already have the highest-paid closer in baseball on their payroll. Angels? K-Rod. Dodgers? Saito? Tigers? Jones. Red Sox? Papelbon. Cubs? ...well, the Cubs might make sense, if they really don't like Dempster and don't feel Marmol is ready and aren't thinking of re-signing Wood with the intention of having him close out games...but can they justify adding Mo's insane, irresponsible salary while ownership is still in flux?

So where else can he go? Milwaukee? He's left himself out on a limb here, and it's almost a little sad. Instead of making ridiculous threats and demands, he and Cash and Hank should be thinking of ways for him to accept the Yankees' offer without looking like he caved. And then he should fire Cuza, because if Boras misread the market, Cuza (and Mo, sadly) ignored the market entirely.

2007-11-17 05:43:01
8.   monkeypants
7 I don't think we need to view Mo as "greedier" than A-Rod. It is not an issue of who is greedier, but rather who has a better sense of his value in the MLB FA market (as you point out in your last paragraph).
2007-11-17 05:46:25
9.   Mattpat11
I just had a horrible nightmare where TJ Beam trotted out to close a division deciding game.
2007-11-17 05:58:34
10.   RIYank
I think he's seething. But because of something else, not because he thinks he deserves more money or even years. I just hope he doesn't back himself into a corner where he's forced to be humiliated or go elsewhere.
2007-11-17 06:29:33
11.   tommyl
MLB Trade Rumors is reporting that the Yankees have pulled their offer to Lowell off the table (thank G-d), due to being close on the A-Rod signing. Gotta say, that makes no sense if they really wanted him to play 1B.

As for Mo, I do think he's making a big mistake here. I'm unclear as to what he is seething about, unless he just doesn't like Hank. If he shops himself around he won't find a deal even close. If the Dodgers come even close to the Yankees deal, than that's even more reason we should be happy that Torre is gone. It shows that he'll convince his FO to be retarded in the name of getting "his guys." I love Mo, but my main motivation for signing him at this point is to keep Joba in the rotation. If Cash/Girardi would come out and say that Joba starts even without Mo, then I would be ok with letting him walk.

2007-11-17 06:34:45
12.   jeterian swing
8 I almost wonder if Mo and Cuza were depending on greater fan outrage and sympathy here: "Well if those spoiled Steinbrenner boys can afford to pay that fink A-Rod all that money, surely they can give the beloved Mariano a ridiculous and irresponsible contract!" Etc. Instead, public opinion seems to have swung exactly the other way and the market for closers is nonexistent (especially with the younger and very effective Francisco Cordero still available for half the price).

I agree, we don't "need" to attempt to interpret any player's intentions; I just meant that right now, the public probably perceives Mo as being somewhat greedy, and A-Rod as being somewhat selfless, and really, that's not an unfair perception, given the circumstances. If someone has advised Mo to hold out, that person is a fool and should be fired. If Mo has decided on his own to hold out, he is deluded and needs someone to step in and clarify the situation for him before his does real damage to his reputation. If, as 10 suggests, this is about something else entirely, something more insidious...then what? Where does he go from here?

2007-11-17 06:38:57
13.   OldYanksFan
Once the dust settles, on a slow, snowly day this winter, I would love to have a discussion on the financial and social ramifications the current FA system has wrought. I am basically a socialist at heart, but as I look at the last few years, and see some of the current negotiations going on, I can't help but think there is something very wrong with the current system.
2007-11-17 06:50:11
14.   jeterian swing
13 If you're a socialist, you should be outraged that the players today aren't being fairly compensated (at least, not across the league; the Yankees still pay fair salaries). In terms of overall percentage of revenue, baseball players are making LESS today than they were 15 years ago, even though revenues have skyrocketed. The following is excerpted from a fascinating recent Yahoo article on the subject (link to full story below):

In 1992, when Bud Selig took over as baseball's commissioner, the sport's gross revenues were $1.5 billion. Payrolls from that season added up to about $784 million, meaning 52.3 percent of baseball's money went back to the players. By 2001, the year following the bull-market offseason in which Alex Rodriguez signed his 10-year, $252 million deal, the money going toward players had increased to 56.1 percent, even with revenues at $3.5 billion.

Revenues didn't stop growing, jumping another billion dollars in the next four years. Salaries, though, nearly stagnated, and by 2005, owners were taking the majority of the profit, giving 48.7 percent back to players.

Today, the numbers are shocking. Baseball claims it will reap more than $6 billion in revenue this season, a number that nearly matches the mighty NFL. And yet the sum of the 30 MLB teams' opening day payrolls for 2007 was approximately $2,478,970,000 – about 41.3 percent of the gross revenues.

In contrast, the NFL paid its players $3.2 billion last season, more than 50 percent of its revenues.

So it's not necessarily that MLB players, individually, are underpaid. It's that compared to the percentages received by their predecessors, they are getting shortchanged big-time.

2007-11-17 07:05:08
15.   monkeypants
13 The problem is that the system is neither truly a free market, nor a socialist arragement. The owners decided years ago to go for a limited free agent system that guaranteed only a few major players would hit the market at the same time. This in turn drove up the value of individual players, leading to grosly exaggerated player salaries. Meanwhile, on the other side of the scale, the owners still have the "rights" over young players for six years, allowing them to be paid the league minimum, with no competition, regardless of player performance.

Overall, the system leads to gross inequalities in terms of player salary, often underpayment for current performce, and overpayment for past performance.

Worst of all (maybe), both "sides" are to blame. The owners have, in the end, made out pretty well (see 14 ). At the same time, the players--that is to say, the exalted fraternity of veterans--make out very well themselves. The only people who should want to change the system are the younger players who are not allowed to seel there services to the highest bidder until six years expire. But even they realize that if they stay in the league, there is a good chance for a big pay day in the future. Moreover, they would never want to cross the veterans, who also dominate the players unon.

So, as long as the owners make millions, and aging players can count on fat salaries because they bring "veteran presence" or "they did so much for the club in the past they deserve it" or simply "they paid their dues," there is little incentive to change the system.

In any case, I have a hard time getting worked up over how overpaid/underpaid people are--owners or players--when they make hundreds of thousands OR hundreds of millions of dollars playing a game.

2007-11-17 07:08:09
16.   monkeypants

"Today, the numbers are shocking. Baseball claims it will reap more than $6 billion in revenue this season, a number that nearly matches the mighty NFL. And yet the sum of the 30 MLB teams' opening day payrolls for 2007 was approximately $2,478,970,000 – about 41.3 percent of the gross revenues."

Interesting, but this does not prove that the owners are taking home more profit (though they probably are). It is possible that baseball teams spend a larger percentage of gross revenues on additional overhead (stadium renatals, staff, etc.) than do teams in the NFL. In other words, just because players take home 40% of gross income does not necessarily mean that owners take home all of the other 60%.

2007-11-17 07:18:22
17.   jeterian swing
16 Right, it's an incomplete analysis, but if players took home 56.1 percent of overall revenue in 2001 and 41.3 percent of overall revenue in 2007, one has to imagine that somewhere along the line, the players started getting shortchanged, and the owners started figuring out ways to pocket more money while spending less. (I would also assume that things like stadium-rental and staff costs remained more or less static, percentage-wise, no?) Believe me, I'm not crying poverty on behalf of the MLBPA here, but one can't deny the discrepancy in those figures.
2007-11-17 07:24:51
18.   monkeypants
17 Hard to say how static costs are. There have a been a rash of new, costly stadiums built since Bud took over the throne, er, office. On the other hand, many (all?) have been mostly publicly funded AND have gone hand-in-hand with a rise in attendance (and presumably income).

It would be interesting to see how much more (if any) teams spend on minor league and/or overseas development and scouting.

In general, though, you are almost surely correct.

2007-11-17 08:08:28
19.   OldYanksFan
I know things are relative and 'Fair' is not an absolute value. I personally would rather see a little of MLB salary money go to MiLB. And a $300,000 minimum is still not a bad wage. However, if the was a more 'modest' scale to salaries in general, the minumum could be higher.

If a plumber is making $80k/yr, that's a pretty good salary. To me, it doesn't matter if the owner is making a zillion. While many are born rich and handed over ownership (Hello H&H), many small business owners take great risks and work like dogs to make a successful business. I believe the part of Capitalism that rewards entrepreneurial success is a good one. I don't think 'rich' owners should 'abuse' the help, but I don't think comparing well paid employees to owners in right.

A baseball owner may be risking millions to buy a ballclub. Players have guaranteed salaries. I don't think what the owners make should be compared to what players make... but maybe compared to the price of tickets and going to a game.

At one time, the idea of unions was to insure 'fair' pay and conditions. I think the players union has far exceeded 'fair' by quit a bit.

How hard does the average American work to earn 40-50k annually? I think this should be considered when looking at ballplayers salaries. It's complicated, but it seems like many players make too much money. What, the average salary is close to $3m/yr?

I don't know. That seems like a good gig. I know they have special and unique skills, but so does a school teacher with 8 years of post HS education.

2007-11-17 08:18:22
20.   yankster
0 I think we are all forgetting the only complaint we've definitely heard from Mariano: They made me wait the whole season for an offer.

He's never mentioned publicly to my knowledge wanting an extravagant contract (unlike Arod who says he likes getting paid the most). He just wants some respect.

I suspect Mariano has already signed the paperwork and is off enjoying his off season. When he feels the Yankees have been hurt enough by the uncertainty he is causing (and it is hurting the Yankees to have to keep thinking about getting Cordero) he will send in his contract.

Rather than negotiating, I think he is punishing, and I don't see what's wrong with that. He had to be patient, and now we do too.

2007-11-17 08:36:23
21.   Simone
0 Glad to see that I'm not the only one still skeptical that all this negotiation is Alex using the Yankees for leverage.
2007-11-17 08:37:11
22.   RIYank
Why doesn't Cashman just go get Cordero? Is it that he wouldn't agree if he couldn't be The Closer?
2007-11-17 08:37:37
23.   Xeifrank
Luckily for the Yankees, they have enough money to eat these contract when/if they don't pan out due to age or other factors.
vr, Xei
2007-11-17 08:48:35
24.   Simone
19 If it doesn't matter to you that "the owner is making a zillion," then you are not a socialist. You are a capitalist. A socialist believes that labor should compensated by a fair share of the profits. As jeterian swing pointed out, baseball players are in fact not getting a substantial proportion of the profits.

Additionally, what the "average American" earns in other occupations is irrelevant to what baseball players earn. Like other pro athletes, baseball players have special skills that are highly valued so they should be paid according to the demand in their specific market. What is relevant what percentage of the profits that employers of average Americans pocket rather than increase their incomes or provide necessary benefits.

2007-11-17 09:28:24
25.   monkeypants
20 "Rather than negotiating, I think he is punishing, and I don't see what's wrong with that. He had to be patient, and now we do too. "

There are many, many things wrong with that. One should only "punish" someone who has done something wrong--did the team do anything wrong by waiting until the end of the season to negotiate?

To "punish" because you have not been shown "respect" (whatever that means in this context) is petty and spiteful.

By "punishing" the Yankees now, he runs the risk of influencing other personnel moves. Thus, in a fit a spite Mo may actually hurt the team (and thus his team mates).

Behaving in this manner may have personal, practical ramifications. If I was the Yankees FO, I would seriously contemplate looking elsewhere for the closer (and think, 15 million/year saved on Mo helps offset A-Rod's salaray). If Mo really wants to stay with the and also make the most money, he should just sign the deal. If he really believes he can get more money by playing hardball, then he should do so. But if he thinks he is going to make the team "suffer" by making them sweat, he is running a silly risk for no practical gain.

2007-11-17 09:30:06
26.   monkeypants
24 I'm not sure 40% is not a substantial portion of the profits. Perhaps it should be more--though I personally could give a damn how the millionaires and billionaires divide their pie--but that is not an insignificant slice.
2007-11-17 09:31:14
27.   OldYanksFan
24 It's true, I am not a pure socialist. I believe that the 'profit' and 'greed' motivation is crucial to motivating individuals to push themselves, take chances, invest. But I am not a pure Capitalist either. I don't believe the bottom line should always be money. I am a Sociocaptialist. A blend on the best and most realistic aspects of each.

And while baseball players have special skills, I guess so do firefighters who put their lives on the line. What are they paid? How about nurses? I lot of people won't and can't do what they do. Brain surgeons are pretty special. They make a lot, but not as much as many ballplayers. And look at what they had to invest in time, effort and money for their skills.

"Like other pro athletes, baseball players have special skills that are highly valued so they should be paid according to the demand in their specific market."

Really? What happens if baseball players decide and average salary pf $3m sucks, and all go on strike? What happens if all doctors go on strike? Firemen? Teachers? The skill of hitting a baseball may be rare, but how valuable is it?

2007-11-17 09:40:43
28.   OldYanksFan
27 Since all profits ultimately come from the fans, is there a reason some can't be put back into the community? Holding the costs of going to a game in check? I mean, if FANS continue to support baseball and make it more profitable, The ARods of the day need to make $40m/yr, while it costs $250 for a family to go to a game with crappy seats?

"The team says 2008 ticket prices at Fenway Park will jump about 9 percent on average.
Field box seats will cost $125, up from $105. Infield grandstand seats and right field roof boxes will go up from $45 to $50. Red Sox president Larry Lucchino says the added revenue is needed to pay for a team that will be competitive and entertaining every year."

Didn't someone say there was no correlation between player salaries and ticket prices?

Not a lot of play on the "Jeter/Taxes" issue. I wonder if we would be hearing more if it was ARod in tax trouble.

2007-11-17 09:42:35
29.   OldYanksFan
RLYW has a headline that might sum up the whole ARod situation:
"The Worst Contract In History - And I'm Thrilled"
2007-11-17 09:56:42
30.   51cq24
mo is clearly upset with the yankees. i think it's more than just not offering him a contract in spring training. remember he made comments after torre left? and then he says there's always joe in la. i think he is upset that torre isn't going to be back. and he blames the yankees. it's just as stupid as misreading the market would be, but i really doubt that he thinks he'd get anywhere near what the yankees are offering him. the most surprising thing to me is that he supposedly wants a 4th year. i was under the impression that he only wanted 3 and then would retire. i think he's just trying to be difficult, which is annoying and trivial. but what can you do? just wait it out, i guess. you can all say we can replace him with anyone, but i for one would much prefer to see him on the mound in the 9th inning than anyone else, no matter how obnoxious he's being right now.
2007-11-17 10:05:10
31.   unpopster
I know I'm about to open up a can of whoop-ass on my selfish by even proposing such an idea, but I say that Hank, Cash & Co. draw the line at 3 years for Mo and let him walk if he refuses. Then guarantee a starting slot for Joba and, dare I say it, give the closers role to Farnsworth. Then shore up the middle relief core with guys like Fuentes and/or Mahay.

I say let Farnswacker prove it to us one last time as the closer. For some strange reason, I think he'd do a much better job for us as the last man in the pen than as a middle reliefer.

ok, let the flaming begin!

2007-11-17 10:17:45
32.   RIYank
31 All of that is reasonable, except...

But replace "let Farnswacker prove it to us" with "get Francisco Cordero" and it makes a lot more sense.

2007-11-17 10:18:47
33.   OldYanksFan
Mo Rivera: 2005, 2006, 2007

ERA+: 307, 251, 142
WHIP: 0.868, 0.960, 1.121
Saves: 43, 34, 30
Hits: 50, 61, 68
Earned Runs: 12, 15, 25
ERA: 1.38, 1.80, 3.15

Discussion: What does Mo have left in the tank for the next 3 years? What does $45m buy in RP with the current FA crop?

31 "the closers role to Farnsworth"
Dude... you trying to get banned from the Banter? :-)

2007-11-17 10:18:51
34.   51cq24
31 i wouldn't mind getting fuentes. i don't know what to say about your farnsworth idea.
2007-11-17 10:22:17
35.   51cq24
33 he's obviously getting older and probably won't be the dominant closer he used to be ever again. but if you take away the 05 and 06 stats, the 07 ones are still pretty damn good. what is it worth to you to not see mariano rivera close out a game against the yankees?
2007-11-17 10:23:17
36.   51cq24
35 (in the yankees' money, not your own)
2007-11-17 10:31:27
37.   JeremyM
I appreciate that Mo is upset, but if he can't see that the deal the Yankees offered him was a sign of respect to him, I don't know what to say. This has been said, but I'm stunned that Mo is acting this way while Posada was in the same boat and signed his deal-yeah, it was a more lucrative deal, but there was a bigger market for him.

However, Hank's comments to the media regarding Mo have been pretty ill-advised, even if I agree with them.

2007-11-17 10:33:05
38.   JeremyM
37 All that said, the Daily News reported that he was probably going to sign the deal this weekend or soon after.
2007-11-17 10:38:25
39.   Simone
27 Your argument is pure capitalism through and through. There are no elements of socialism in your argument. I suspect this is because the concept of socialism is not well understood.

You totally support baseball owners and other business owner monopolizing and controlling profits and how they are distributed to labor so money is the bottom line for you. Your real objection is that baseball players get paid too much for their labor compared to other occupations. Like any good capitalist, you object to any occupation getting a larger share of the profits.

What people in other occupations get paid on average is a straw argument. Like most Americans, it is highly unlikely that you support these people when they take any labor action to increase their income or benefits.

2007-11-17 11:02:04
40.   51cq24
39 why are you arguing this point? does it really matter? we're talking about baseball, and the capitalist/socialist distinction is really irrelevant.
2007-11-17 11:20:12
41.   OldYanksFan
Last rebuttal and I will drop it:
"Like most Americans, it is highly unlikely that you support these people when they take any labor action to increase their income or benefits."

I am not against the concept at all. Ben & Jerry's had a 7:1 highest paid:lowest paid pay ratio. Ideas like this are important. I am all for creative and fair ways to distribute earned monies more fairly. But owners/chance takers most be motivated unless you want State sponsored business.

Ballplayers are millionaires. They don't need more money to make the equation 'fairer'. In comparison to most other Americans, they are being treated VERY fairly. Owners making profits in-and-of-itself, to me, does not justify higher (then already) ballplayer salaries. If anything, I think it show go to better services for the fans (parking, transit, clean bathrooms, more HC facilities, etc). I think the current salary level has dominished the game and the games fairness in many ways.

35 I guess it's Line in the Sand time for me. 3/$45 is a sick offer, everything considered. Considering his history with the Yankees, in MLB FA history, it would be hard to find a bigger slap in the face (to the Yankees) then Mo's current behavior.

It's insane. There is no other way to describe it.

2007-11-17 11:35:48
42.   OldYanksFan
More depth from the WSJ:

"Mr. Boras advised his client to exercise his opt-out clause, a move reported Oct. 29. The player reluctantly took his agent's advice, say people familiar with his thinking, even though he and his wife Cynthia were eager to stay in New York and have him continue to play for the Yankees."

"During the call, Mr. Rodriguez appeared to be "beside himself" that he was on the outs with the Yankees and eager to extend an olive branch, say people with knowledge of the matter."

"A-Rod really loves being a Yankee," says Mr. Buffett.

Does the WSJ carry more weight then the Post or Snooze?

2007-11-17 12:21:30
43.   Eirias
This is a question that has probably been covered in a previous thread, but how good are we expecting Cordero to be? Doesn't he only pitch (very) well at Petco?
2007-11-17 12:24:13
44.   Sarasota
42 Does the WSJ carry more weight then the Post or Snooze?


2007-11-17 12:26:54
45.   Eirias
43 And by Petco, I mean Miller Park.
2007-11-17 12:37:13
46.   RIYank
45 Yes. But it seems incredibly unlikely that that would really be due to the stadium itself, doesn't it? For one thing, Miller is pretty much a neutral park. Wouldn't you think the splits have more to do with being at home?
2007-11-17 14:22:16
47.   marc
Mo's feeling and position was pretty clear when it mattered. It was if Torre is kicked out then he's going to be an extremely unhappy camper. I think now a big factor will be how much the Dodgers might be interested. He may not want to accept anything short of a spectacular package from the Yankees until he knows how the Dodgers feel. The Yankees knew or certainly should have known that would be a problem and now that Torre landed in LA it's an option he wants to keep open.
2007-11-17 14:56:48
48.   monkeypants
47 Well, 3 years/45 million is pretty spectacular. Maybe the Yankees should just move on and let Mo get fitted for Dodger blue.
2007-11-17 15:10:02
49.   JeremyM
The A-Rod/Buffett stuff is interesting. I live in Omaha, and he's flown in here a couple of times (at least) to meet with Buffett on various things, including one time with Lebron James. I always thought it was kind of bizarre in a way, but if's helped the Yanks keep A-Rod, I guess I was wrong:)
2007-11-17 15:32:22
50.   Raf
28 There isn't, but that won't stop people from making the link...
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-11-17 15:39:19
51.   buddaley
Cliff, I think your analysis of the value of closers in general and of Rivera specifically is exactly right.
2007-11-17 16:36:07
52.   Bob B
I hope the Yankees don't budge on the offer. Frankly, if Rivera went to LA, all that money could be used to upgrade the entire bullpen which was really the Yankees Achilles heel last season. Like I said the other day, a bald wrinkled 42 year old Mariano is not what I want to see in 2012 trying to close with a 85 mph cutter. He's been great, a fist round HOF reliever, but every player reaches a point where their skills decline. I thought I was cracks in the armor 2 seasons ago and again last season. 45 million for three years is a great offer. If he doesn't take it use it and get better in the rest of the bullpen.
2007-11-17 16:39:26
53.   Mattpat11
52 Christ help us. If the Yankees want to spend the money on the bullpen, let it be on Rivera. When they spend money to upgrade the bullpen, we get Farnsworth and Igawa.
2007-11-17 16:54:30
54.   OldYanksFan
51 I guess I would have to know what percent of total operating cost goes to player salaries. 25%? More? What are ticket prices to games for the lower tier teams?
2007-11-17 18:38:38
55.   OldYanksFan
Should we be hearing some ARod news soon? Is there a problem?
2007-11-17 20:12:53
56.   JeremyM
55 I don't think so, my understanding is it's a pretty complicated deal and they're mainly haggling over the incentive portion. My feeling is it's going to be "finished" the same day he's announced as MVP. I don't know, I guess I'm probably being naive after all that's happened, but I'm not worried about him using the Yankees to drive up the bidding at this point.
2007-11-17 21:26:41
57.   nemecizer

/rant on

Yes. The WSJ has much higher editorial and journalistic standards than any paper in the world. They are very rigorous in their fact checking, very disciplined in their release of information, and much less worried about "the scoop" than other papers. They rarely report based on "anonymous sources" and they prefer analysis to breaking stories. They also deal in facts, and recognize they are a paper of record. Since they deal with the financial industry much more than other papers, which is a heavily regulated industry, they are much more careful on what they report. If the WSJ reports it, you can largely believe it.

The Old Gray Lady (i.e. New York Times) used to have the same standards, but they have dramatically weakened them over the past decade. I think their sports pages are still pretty good, but take it from me on personal experience, their news reporting is not what it was.

While I love the Post, News, etc, they are just basically tabloids.

For reliable news coverage I read the WSJ, the Washington Post, and that's it. The rest are garbage.

/rant off

2007-11-17 23:14:21
58.   Sub4Era
47 why would the dodgers be interested when their closer is the best in the NL? only Putz put up numbers anywhere near him. Mo would be a downgrade in all honesty
2007-11-17 23:49:47
59.   Shaun P
58 Because the Dodgers seem to overvalue high priced experienced veterans, especially in regards to inexpensive but also "inexperienced" talent.

I think you're right about Mo being a downgrade for them (as crazy as that sounds to us) - but I don't think Ned Colletti would ever see it that way.

53 Not only that, buying a better bullpen is a strategy that fails at least 90% of the time. Relievers' performance almost always fluctuates too wildly from year to year; the guy who dominates today is likely washed up in two years.

0 Cliff, I agree with your analysis, but for the sake of making sure Joba starts, I would overpay Mo.

And the lunacy to the Lowell rumors, to me, remains that the Yanks would forfeit a 1st round pick with no way of getting it back.

2007-11-18 05:47:05
60.   Mattpat11
CBS 2 seems to think Rivera will sign with us any day now.

And good. Regardless of how "overrated" Rivera may be, my heart and stomach lining can't take a year of Farnsworth closing.

2007-11-18 05:55:23
61.   Raf
54 Here's a a list of avg ticket prices;

Don't know what percentage of operating costs go to player salaries.

2007-11-18 06:05:40
62.   Mattpat11
59 That too. It largely falls into my "I'm not a fan of acquiring mediocre pitchers" stance.
2007-11-18 06:46:21
63.   OldYanksFan
61 Those numbers seems low, but a family of 4 is paying around $200 (according to that table). That's if you have only 1 soda and 1 hot dog. But fair enough. You don't have to eat. Last time I took my daughter to Fenway and got decent seats, it was over $200 for the 2 of us. I parked over a mile away to park cheap... only $20.

It gives the avg. Yankee ticket at $29. Is this the experience of most of you going to games?

It gives Fenway parking at $23.00. That's off. Unless it's in Rhode Island.

2007-11-18 06:57:02
64.   OldYanksFan
There is a lot of hatred for Bonds in the press. Somehow, Selig, who I think is by far most responsible, and Fehr, a close second, are hardly mentioned. Meanwhile, many fans think Bonds should go to jail fot this; lying to the Grand Jury. Jail.

Meanwhile, hundreds of offenders got off totally unscathed. I just read a comment on another blog (for whatever that's worth) who had 2 cousins in pro ball. 1 said steroids were all over MiLB, the other guess half the players in MiLB were doing PEDs.

I guess if we throw Bonds in jail, everyone will feel much better, and that this issue is 'really' being addressed.

2007-11-18 07:09:01
65.   Mattpat11
64 Eh. Bonds made his bed. I really can't feel sorry for him.
2007-11-18 07:43:32
66.   Raf
63 I posted that to have a pricing guideline; I can't find anything current on ticket prices. I'm not concerned about food or parking, we eat before we enter the park, and we take mass transit to/from the park.

I haven't sat in the lower bowl at Yankee Stadium since 1993. Normally, you'll find me in the bleachers or in the upper deck somewhere. IIRC I paid $20 for tier reserved.

FWIW, according to the 2007 yearbook, NYY ticket prices range from $400-$12.

64 It never was about addressing the issue, it isn't about doing the right thing. Bonds is getting the treatment because he's Bonds, and those who hate him for whatever reason (seems it has been that way and increasing since his screaming match with Leyland all those years ago), are thrilled that he's getting his "comeuppance." Whether he goes to jail, or not, I couldn't care less.

Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.