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A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News


Pinch hitting: Nick Kirby

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Jan 29, 2012 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Next up in our Pinch Hitters series is Nick Kirby, a 19-year-old freshman studying communication theory at the University of Delaware (which happens to be where my brother-in-law went to undergrad). Nick is from Pennsylvania, but he roots for the Yankees because his dad is from New York and took Nick to Yankees games every summer since he was 6.

For his post, Nick took a look at the changing strategy of the Yankees front office. Part conservative patience and part high-powered maneuvering, the Yankees decision making has certainly evolved over the years.

The Yankees go out and sign the big name. Growing up a young Yankee fan in Philadelphia, the son of a transplanted New Yorker, I was accustomed to playoff losses followed by “wins” via trade or free agency. Giambi. Contreras. Matsui. Sheffield. A-Rod. Randy Johnson. Carl Pavano. The list goes on and on.

The Yankees, under George Steinbrenner, had a simple offseason approach of outspending the competition for proven talent. They also gave in too easily to player demands, like when Hank Steinbrenner offered 32-year-old Alex Rodriguez 10 years and $275 million when there were no other bidders. However, this approach did not produce in any championships from 2001 to 2008. The last big spending spree with lengthy contracts was the 2008 offseason when the Yankees committed more than $400 million on Mark Teixiera, CC Sabathia, and A.J. Burnett. The Yankees gave out too many years and too much money for aging stars during the Steinbrenner era and were not shrewd negotiators.

The Yankees needed to do something besides flex their financial muscle in order to win championships. Once Brian Cashman was granted “full autonomy of baseball operations,” the front office started to show more patience. One of the first signs of patience came in 2007, when they resisted trading Phil Hughes to the Twins for Johan Santana. Although Hughes has been somewhat of a disappointment as a prospect, Santana got a six-year, $137.5-million extension with the Mets and has been injured for the majority of the contract.

The Yankees have also started to play hard ball and show patience with their own free agents, such as when they dragged out negotiations with Derek Jeter to make sure they didn’t give him too many years like they did with Rodriguez in 2008. The declining health and eventual passing of Steinbrenner has made this fundamental transition a bit clearer. The Yankees have not signed a free agent to an outlandishly long-term, oversized contract since Steinbrenner died.

The current off season is a prime example of how the culture has changed. Instead of overpaying for C.J. Wilson, the Yankees wouldn’t even meet with him. They didn’t throw $100 million at Japanese sensation Yu Darvish. They didn’t give Albert Pujols a ten-year deal to DH, or attempt to lure Jose Reyes from the Mets in order to make back page news.

They waited, waited and then pounced on Michael Pineda. They got a young flame-throwing starting pitcher who will come very cheap for the next five years. They did it by being patient and not giving into to free agent temptation. They did it by developing Jesus Montero into a grade-A trade chip, and then cashing him in when it was clear that this rotation needed help.

An example of why a patient, controlled philosophy is necessary can be found during the 2010 off season, when Cliff Lee turned down a seven-year deal with the Yankees and took $50 million less to return to Philadelphia. It was demonstrated that nothing is guaranteed in free agency, and that placing a large emphasis on developing home grown players (to either play or be used as trade chips) would be a top priority for the club.

Cashman has taken some heat for “babying” some of his prospects, whether its implementing the Joba rules, refusing to discuss the killer B’s in trade talks, or waiting until the last second to call up a young pitcher. Cashman saw over the years that huge contracts could ruin Yankee teams. The 2002-08 teams were filled with overpaid players who never lived up to their hype or salary. Kevin Brown was 39 years old making big bucks as an injury prone has-been. Gary Sheffield got $40 million dollars to be a statue in right field and complain about management. Carl Pavano spent more time rehabbing in Tampa than he did on an actual pitcher’s mound.

Cashman realized that prospects could not only turn into productive players like Robinson Cano and Brett Gardner, but that they could also be used to acquire stars in their prime. One of his best trades as GM was when he cashed in Austin Jackson to get Curtis Granderson, a 40 home run center fielder who anchored the Yankee lineup last year.

Saving money and saving prospects could not come at a more convenient time. With the new collective bargaining agreement in place, the Yankees are making a serious attempt to be under a $189-million payroll by 2014 to avoid paying a larger luxury tax penalty than is already in place. To accomplish their goal, they will need to continue to develop and call up prospects and avoid giving out large, multi-year deals to players that have done most of their damage for another team. Since the Sabathia/Burnett/Teixeira splurge, the Yankees have stayed true to their new philosophy and will hopefully ride it to a championship in 2012.

If the seemingly endless Yankee finances can be combined with a top notch farm system and smart negotiations, the Yankees will be a dynastic force for years to come.

Associated Press photo

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262 Responses to “Pinch hitting: Nick Kirby”

  1. RadioKev January 29th, 2012 at 9:09 am

    Anyone watching the tennis match? I turned it on getting ready for the rerun..and it’s still on.

  2. MTU January 29th, 2012 at 9:11 am

    great post. thanks.

    A balanced approach is the best way to go.

    Strong farm along with strategic acqusitions.

  3. JCPD January 29th, 2012 at 9:23 am

    Kev, unbelievable tennis match.

  4. MTU January 29th, 2012 at 9:24 am

    JCPD-

    Que pasa amigo ?

  5. JCPD January 29th, 2012 at 9:26 am

    MTU

    Nada senor

  6. RadioKev January 29th, 2012 at 9:29 am

    It’s just unbelievable that Nadal cannot figure Djokovic out. Djokovic’s game seems impenetrable. Even Nadal, probably the mentally toughest guy in sports, wilts against it.

  7. RadioKev January 29th, 2012 at 9:39 am

    What an end. Djokovic has the best game in tennis history. Nobody stacks up to those strokes.

  8. MTU January 29th, 2012 at 9:45 am

    So. Now that the tennis match has finally ended.

    Who is our left-handed bat gonna be ?

    Chavez
    Ibanez
    Damon
    Hafner
    Gordon
    Headley
    Matsui
    Player X

  9. ericns1 January 29th, 2012 at 9:45 am

    That is a great post – I remember George’s trading away prospects along with getting fading vets – so I think this is a smart way to go. But Cashman still may not be the GM for the job – Montero will likely be a star for years and if you look at the Yanks they have a 1st baseman who is declining in average and trying to hit homers to the short porch every time, a gret second baseman with lapses in concentration, a shortstop who will decline and a third baseman held together by Elmer’s Glue. Only Granderson in the outfield is above average. As for pitchers CC is overweight, Nova could suffer a sophomore jinx, and Cashman rarely makes a good pitching trade – Javy, Jeff Weaver, Wohlers and Witasick in 2001 – I think this team could well miss the playoffs – hope I am wrong.

  10. MTU January 29th, 2012 at 9:52 am

    I don’t see any way the Yankees miss the playoffs.

    It would take a phenomenal amount of bad luck.

    Not only that. There may be an extra WC.

  11. 86w183 January 29th, 2012 at 10:06 am

    ericns1 —

    What a doom and gloom outlook you have. The Yanks were the best team in the AL last year and they have improved in the off-season with the additions of Kuroda and Pineda.

    To say Granderson is the only above average player on the team is inane at best.

  12. MTU January 29th, 2012 at 10:10 am

    86-

    Pessimism in the extreme for sure.

    ;)

  13. Rich in NJ January 29th, 2012 at 10:10 am

    I think the Yankees are in much, much better shape than the 9:45 post, although not nearly as good as they could be.

  14. RadioKev January 29th, 2012 at 10:12 am

    Only Granderson in the outfield is above average
    ———

    What? Do you know what average means?

  15. MTU January 29th, 2012 at 10:13 am

    Dog walk time.

  16. NYYanksFan January 29th, 2012 at 10:20 am

    “……… like when Hank Steinbrenner offered 32-year-old Alex Rodriguez 10 years and $275 million when there were no other bidders. ”

    The money and years are crazy in hindsight but A-Rod re-signed with the Yankees before the free agent negotiation time started so saying there were no other bidders can’t be known.

  17. RadioKev January 29th, 2012 at 10:27 am

    The money and years are crazy in hindsight but A-Rod re-signed with the Yankees before the free agent negotiation time started so saying there were no other bidders can’t be known.
    ———-

    And I’ve said this before, but who else would we have at 3B? Would we have won in 2009? I’m not defending the length or size of the contract – but where would we be right now? A-Rod can still be an offensive force when healthy.

    Anyone know what our options would have been?

  18. blake January 29th, 2012 at 10:34 am

    There were other bidders for Arod…..just not at that level. The Angels we’re very interested andthe Boras used that leverage and the young Steinbrenners inexperience against them…..remember…..they had been in charge very long when that went down….I doubt it would happen the same way today. Alex had tons of leverage that winter…..

    Also….you coukd argue that 100 million for Darvish or Wilson > than trading Montero for Pineda……time will tell.

  19. Crawdaddy January 29th, 2012 at 10:37 am

    Boras would’ve definitely got some other team to sign Arod for 225M or more that year. Hank overpaid for Arod, but by how much is the question.

  20. blake January 29th, 2012 at 10:38 am

    Hadn’t been in charge long I mean

  21. RadioKev January 29th, 2012 at 10:42 am

    Also….you coukd argue that 100 million for Darvish or Wilson > than trading Montero for Pineda……time will tell.
    ———

    I’m sure we’ll get that analysis someday down the road.

  22. blake January 29th, 2012 at 10:42 am

    “January 29, 2012 at 10:37 am Boras would’ve definitely got some other team to sign Arod for 225M or more that year. Hank overpaid for Arod, but by how much is the question.”

    Id say about 50 million as you suggest…..people forget how.good Alex used to be and how good he was in 2007……..the Yanks absolutely could not afford to lose him in a similar way they couldn’t afford to lose Sabathia this past year……did they panic and over pay…..yes….but it was a perfect storm of Hal and Hanks inexperience ……the Yankees needs…..Alex having tons of leverage…..and Boras demanding img really good at what he does.

  23. Tar January 29th, 2012 at 10:43 am

    Nice post Nick- Thanks.

  24. blake January 29th, 2012 at 10:44 am

    *Boras being really good at what he does*

  25. Bo knows January 29th, 2012 at 10:45 am

    A Rod opted out and then negotiated unethically at the very least – re peds. I was with Cashman on that. You opt out – you’re gone. Unbelievable the amount of chit Cashman has gone through and remained loyal.

  26. Crawdaddy January 29th, 2012 at 10:45 am

    Blake,

    I think the overpay is anything north of 250M including those bonuses.

  27. Tar January 29th, 2012 at 10:45 am

    ” Alex having tons of leverage… Boras demanding img really good at what he does.”

    Hey Blake

    Wasn’t that the time frame when Boras and Alex weren’t speaking?

  28. Giuseppe Franco January 29th, 2012 at 10:46 am

    The Sherman article this morning was rather eerie as if he’s been reading Lohud the past two weeks.

    Made all the very same points that we trade opponents have rehashed time and time again.

    For the Yanks’ sake, I just hope I’m wrong.

  29. 86w183 January 29th, 2012 at 10:47 am

    Still you gotta think that 8 years @ $ 25 M probably would have gotten it done.

    If $$$ was no concern keeping Montero and signing Wilson or Darvish was the thing to do. But I understand why even the Yanks have to have some limits.

    Still have trouble imagining them getting down to $ 189 unless ALL of the kids work out and a young, capable RF is found on the cheap.

  30. blake January 29th, 2012 at 10:50 am

    Tar,

    Yea I had forgotten that…..I can’t remember exactly how involved Boras was in the whole thing but im sure he pushed him to opt out…..and im sure Alex learned a thing or two from him i’m negotiations..

    Either way……I think the circumstances of that situation we’re pretty unique and it led ti the 275 number…..which is crazy lookibg back…..but when you consider how things were at the time and all the elements involved…..its easier to see his it happened.

  31. blake January 29th, 2012 at 10:53 am

    I think Sherman reads Lohud

  32. Bo knows January 29th, 2012 at 10:53 am

    The whole slime ball, sleaze approach by A Rod and Boras was pathetic. From opting out during the world series, the pretend firing of Boras, the sniveling to Hank Stein, involving Gold Sachs, bonuses for records all built on a cynical lie. Good faith never entered the equation from the A Rod camp.

  33. 86w183 January 29th, 2012 at 10:56 am

    Sherman’s article is interesting, but at the end he changed the measure.

    IF Montero becomes and elite hitter AND remains a catcher then only #1 / # 2 caliber pitching from Pineda makes it an even deal.

    If Montero mashes, but has to be a DH or 1B (unlikely in Seattle w/Smoak) then the bar is considerably lower.

    It’s hardly a news bulletin that a trade of top young prospects comes with significant risk for both sides. Just don’t forget Campos and Noesi in the final calculation.

  34. Stoneburner January 29th, 2012 at 10:56 am

    Sherman’s article also rests on the premise of Montero catching – something that a lot want to brush off with that Montero still has the same value if he is only a DH by pointing to Oritz and Edgar – no – Sherman’s article discusses Piazza, Mauer, Posada – for the Montero trade to pay off for the Mariners and the Yanks to have regret – Montero has to stick as catcher. . . .

  35. yankee21 January 29th, 2012 at 10:59 am

    If Montero becomes an elite hitter it doesn’t matter if he catches a single game.

    Elite hitters that are cost controlled are harder to come by and hold onto than #2 pitchers.

  36. Yankee Trader January 29th, 2012 at 10:59 am

    Short interview with CBS Katie Couric

    http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=3624196n

    A-Rod signs contract 12/13/07

    Talks to Katie Couric 12/16/07

    Finally admits to steroid use 14 months later 2/9/09

  37. Stoneburner January 29th, 2012 at 11:02 am

    yankee21 January 29th, 2012 at 10:59 am
    If Montero becomes an elite hitter it doesn’t matter if he catches a single game.

    Elite hitters that are cost controlled are harder to come by and hold onto than #2 pitchers.

    ********

    No – what makes Montero unique is the catching ability – to have that kind of bat at catching frees up some many abilities and makes it a unique lineup – you cannot divorce the two – b/c in Montero was purely a DH – Seattle does not even do that deal. . . .

  38. blake January 29th, 2012 at 11:03 am

    “The whole slime ball, sleaze approach by A Rod and Boras was pathetic. From opting out during the world series, the pretend firing of Boras, the sniveling to Hank Stein, involving Gold Sachs, bonuses for records all built on a cynical lie. Good faith never entered the equation from the A Rod camp.”

    I don’t necessarily disagree…..but I think that’s besides the point unless we are going to begrudge players for getting the most money they can…..like anyone would do.

    There were a whole bunch of things that lined up perfectly for Arod that winter…..he was coming off maybe the best season of his career….a season where he carried the Yankees on his back to the playoffs and was BY FAR their best player…..the Yankees would have missed the playoffs in 2007 too if it hadn’t been for Alex.

    Alex also had never testing positive for PEDS at the time….had never been really seriously hurt at the time…..and was set to become baseball’s savior from Barry Bonds at the time….you combine all this with inexperience new owners and you get what happened…..the Yankees simply couldn’t let Arod leave in the winter of 2007 no matter how much posturing they did about him opting out.

  39. Nick in SF January 29th, 2012 at 11:05 am

    Nice post, Nick!

  40. GreenBeret7 January 29th, 2012 at 11:05 am

    I don’t care what Rodriguez told Couric? She’s a reporter, not the conscience of the nation. People act like it was the same as lying to Shirley Temple.

  41. blake January 29th, 2012 at 11:07 am

    It’s not like Alex had just taken steroids when he signed his second contract…..he admitted to taking them years earlier and had just had his best season clean.

  42. Yankee Trader January 29th, 2012 at 11:08 am

    If Montero is the second coming of Mike Piazza and Pineda becomes the right-handed version of CC Sabathia, then it was an even trade.

    Pineda just has to work on and fine tune the third pitch, adjust and not tire while throwing 200 innings, and adjust to pitching in YS.

    Montero has to adjust going to a team that won’t contend for years, become the primary catcher, learn the trust of the pitchers and hope that doesn’t interfere with his offensive production initially.

  43. blake January 29th, 2012 at 11:13 am

    “If Montero is the second coming of Mike Piazza and Pineda becomes the right-handed version of CC Sabathia, then it was an even trade.”

    true…..this is what they are hoping for….but the Yankees got the more risky investment long term and thats the part that doesn’t really add up when the Yanks were already fairly deep in high upside minor league arms. They didn’t have anybody with Pineda’s upside…..but they really don’t have a bat with Montero’s upside anywhere close.

    I hope it works out….the good thing about the deal is that the Yanks got 2 high upside pitchers back…..so even if Pineda doesn’t they still have a shot at getting what they are after with Campos in a few years.

  44. blake January 29th, 2012 at 11:14 am

    “The Dodgers will soon decide whether to lock up Andre Ethier with a long-term deal as they did with Matt Kemp. Earlier this month, it was reported that the club had yet to discuss extensions with Ethier and Clayton Kershaw. The right fielder, who will be a free agent at the end of the season, avoided arbitration with the team by agreeing to a one-year, $10.7MM deal.”

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com

    if they decide the answer is no….and they aren’t going to sign him….then the Yankees should absolutely target him either now or this winter as he’s pretty much exactly what they need in their lineup….a consistent hitter vs RHP.

  45. 86w183 January 29th, 2012 at 11:15 am

    Let’s get the fact straight. Alex was told he “might” have tested positive from the base line testing prior to the 2004 season. He also KNEW that he had used steroids.

    The new contract was AFTER that and, to me could be considered fraud. Never understood why the Yanks didn’t try and re-do that deal after his admission.

    Yes, he was clean in 2007, but he knew he HAD BEEN using and thus there would be more concern about his body breaking down at a younger age if they knew at the time of the new deal what he had done.

    If Montero becomes Piazza and Pineda becomes CC its a HUGE WIN for the Yankees.

  46. blake January 29th, 2012 at 11:15 am

    now or this summer I mean.

  47. blake January 29th, 2012 at 11:17 am

    “The new contract was AFTER that and, to me could be considered fraud. Never understood why the Yanks didn’t try and re-do that deal after his admission. ”

    well Alex probably could have pressed charges against MLB for his name leaking out too….given that it was supposed to be confidential and he’s the only name that was leaked.

    I think it is what it is…..and I highly doubt the Yankees could have voided his contract based on information that was never supposed to be made public to begin with….

  48. Yankee Trader January 29th, 2012 at 11:18 am

    I’m late to the party. If A-Rod had signed with another team after opting out, who potentially would have played 3rd base for them in 2008?

    This contract, especially with this clause, doesn’t help the Yankees going forward. Isn’t this added on the AAV when calculating luxury tax?

    $30M marketing agreement based on home run milestones ($6M each for reaching 660, 714, 755 and tying and breaking major league HR record)

  49. blake January 29th, 2012 at 11:19 am

    There are a lot of players out there right now that used and their names were never leaked……and they’ve signed new contracts since then I’m sure too.

  50. Nick in SF January 29th, 2012 at 11:20 am

    “Probably that Nick in SF guy. He’s been known to write in code.”

    They can’t pin those Zodiac killings on me because:

    1) I wasn’t alive yet.

    2) I was in New York at the time.

    3) I was with somebody those nights.

    4) You’ll never take me alive, coppers!

    5) I’m careful to not leave any DNA samples in Vallejo.

  51. blake January 29th, 2012 at 11:20 am

    Trader,

    Its a terrible contract….there is no way around that….but I think hindsight knowledge has made it a lot worse of an idea that it actually was at the time it was signed.

  52. Yankee Trader January 29th, 2012 at 11:22 am

    The Dodgers might sell for 1.2B. I suspect that after jumping in on Fielder, that they”ll get an extension for Kershaw, decide if they want to sign Ethier long term, and be major players for Cole Hamels who will be testing FA.

  53. GreenBeret7 January 29th, 2012 at 11:24 am

    There was more talk about Clemens and PEDs in 2007 than there was about Rodriguez and NYYs had no issues with paying him $17.4 mil for a half a season’s worth of mediocrity. I seriously doubt the yanks were overly concerned about players that used PEDs before coming to the yanks.

  54. 86w183 January 29th, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Blake the point is HE knew he had used steroids to help build his career and thus, defrauded the Yankees. Yes, probably every one of the 105 who tested positive were guilty of fraud too.

    Alex could sue, but he can’t win. The list got into media hands through someone in the Balco prosecution. They got the MLB list and the testing agency list with subpoenas and combined the two to identify those who tested positive. MLB has no liability there.

  55. Rich in NJ January 29th, 2012 at 11:26 am

    “I was with Cashman on that. You opt out – you’re gone”

    This.

  56. DONNYBROOK January 29th, 2012 at 11:26 am

    Most you guys keep telling us how Ace Chuckers seldom hit the free agent market, and in contrast we have just witnessed Top Sticks like Fielder and Pujols jump ship. Supply and demand dictates that Cashman trade a would-be Top Stick, for a would-be Ace.
    The Texas situation with Hamilton is akin to what the Yanks will be looking at concerning Cano inna year. Cashman should take heed.

  57. blake January 29th, 2012 at 11:27 am

    Trader,

    If I were the Dodgers…..I would focus all my energy on getting Kershaw signed and on Hamels if he hits the market…….probably would trade Ethier to the Yankees :)

  58. Nick in SF January 29th, 2012 at 11:29 am

    “There was more talk about Clemens and PEDs in 2007 than there was about Rodriguez and NYYs had no issues with paying him $17.4 mil for a half a season’s worth of mediocrity.”

    That was for half a season, not for ten years,

    Another way Arod potentially screwed the Yanks by opting out was that the Rangers were paying 1/3 or so of his salary until then. Could they have figured out a way to have given him an extension while preserving that arrangement through the life of his original contract with Texas? I do not know.

  59. blake January 29th, 2012 at 11:30 am

    “Alex could sue, but he can’t win”

    Neither could the Yankees

  60. Rich in NJ January 29th, 2012 at 11:30 am

    The Sherman article this morning was rather eerie as if he’s been reading Lohud the past two weeks.

    Made all the very same points that we trade opponents have rehashed time and time again.
    __

    It’s a very thoughtful piece.

  61. DONNYBROOK January 29th, 2012 at 11:31 am

    - Nick in SF -
    Zodiak has already left DNA on the back of a postage stamp. You may soon be viewing a Yankee Championship in an entirely different environment.

  62. Yankee Trader January 29th, 2012 at 11:31 am

    Blake-

    Actually what made this contract worse, is that A-Rod has been injured.

    Games played :

    2007-158
    2008- 138
    2009- 124
    2010- 137
    2011- 99

    At this rate he’ll still be collecting a huge contract, before age 42, possibly on the DL for most of the year.

  63. blake January 29th, 2012 at 11:32 am

    “I was with Cashman on that. You opt out – you’re gone”

    That’s easy to say…..and in theory sure that would have been the way to go….but I don’t think it was that simple.

  64. 86w183 January 29th, 2012 at 11:32 am

    GB 7 —

    Totally disagree. There are mountains of evidence that PED use leads to your body breaking down sooner in terms of peak athletic performance.

    I doubt you can find a single example of a long-term contract signed by someone who had admitted PED use.

  65. Yankee Trader January 29th, 2012 at 11:33 am

    If I were the Dodgers…..I would focus all my energy on getting Kershaw signed and on Hamels if he hits the market…….probably would trade Ethier to the Yankees.
    ———————————
    Blake-

    Ethier for Swisher?? :)

  66. Giuseppe Franco January 29th, 2012 at 11:33 am

    The Yanks don’t need a first baseman so the “big sticks are just as rare as big arms” theory still holds true.

    Fielder and Pujols are first baseman.

    Name the last big stick to become available who doesn’t first base.

  67. Giuseppe Franco January 29th, 2012 at 11:34 am

    doesn’t play first base……

  68. Nick in SF January 29th, 2012 at 11:34 am

    They may have the killer’s DNA but they still need to match it to a suspect’s DNA.

  69. DONNYBROOK January 29th, 2012 at 11:35 am

    Though thoughtful, the piece was flat-out Late. After what has been written around here for 2 weeks running, it was also Redundant. Very disapponting for a columnist of that stature to be both.

  70. pat January 29th, 2012 at 11:36 am

    Cashman wanted to give Alex an extension in 2007 which would have been 2010 + how many years? 3? 5? 7? They would still be under contract with him with any of those numbers.

    $21M is what the Yankees were due from Texas from 2007- 2010. After that it was all the Yankees money in the extension. Again it is unknown how much $$ those years would have been for and if the HR bonuses would have been included in the extension.

    Alex could have sued MLB. The “breach of contract” was with them. The players were contractually promised y were responsible for the list not being destroyed in the timely matter that was promised.

  71. DONNYBROOK January 29th, 2012 at 11:37 am

    - Nick in SF -
    So when do you get swabbed???

  72. DONNYBROOK January 29th, 2012 at 11:38 am

    - Gen. Franco -
    Carlos Beltran

  73. Nick in SF January 29th, 2012 at 11:40 am

    Just go back and read item 5 in my list. If you can’t figure it out, read it again.

  74. GreenBeret7 January 29th, 2012 at 11:40 am

    I don’t care if the Yanks continue paying Rodriguez until 2057. They were satisfied with the deal and they made it. As far as they only paid Clemens for half a season has nothing to do with what I said.

    I see that people are back to the old “steroids are breaking him down” BS again. Why, because he had hip surgery? Since 2008, at least 5 players have had the same injury, including Utley. Were they on steroids? None of Rodriguez’ injuries are the result of steroids. It was a pulled groin, knee surgery (man, that’s a sure sign, huh) and a thumb injury. If anything is causing injuries to Rodriguez and other players, it’s the over reliance on weight training.

  75. Yankee Trader January 29th, 2012 at 11:41 am

    Name the last big stick to become available who doesn’t play first base.
    ——————-

    GF-

    Good morning.

    Matt Holliday- father wanted him to sign with the Yankees.

  76. DONNYBROOK January 29th, 2012 at 11:42 am

    You restricted that to Vallejo. Was there a 6th you omitted???

  77. blake January 29th, 2012 at 11:43 am

    “Actually what made this contract worse, is that A-Rod has been injured.”

    Absolutely …..but he had never really been history whenever he signed it.

    Also….I wouldn’t want Ethier in place of Swisher…..id want them both or it really doesn’t make the team much better.

  78. DONNYBROOK January 29th, 2012 at 11:43 am

    Aramis Ramirez

  79. DONNYBROOK January 29th, 2012 at 11:44 am

    I pass on Ethier. Cashman missed the boat with Beltran.

  80. Rich in NJ January 29th, 2012 at 11:45 am

    “That’s easy to say…..and in theory sure that would have been the way to go….but I don’t think it was that simple.”

    blake

    It depends on the calculus that a team’s decision-makers use in allocating payroll. More specifically, how important is the value of money.

    Alex’s existing contract with the Rangers that the Yankees were assigned in the trade had about $75m remaining. Texas’ remaining subsidy was about $21m.

    So that left the Yankees owing Alex about $54m. Once he opted out, however, their financial obligation increased to $91m for that three year period.

    That’s a huge differential especially when you factor in that Alex would be 35 at end of the original contract, an age when a team would have a far better barometer on the slope of a player’s aging curve.

  81. Giuseppe Franco January 29th, 2012 at 11:45 am

    DONNYBROOK January 29th, 2012 at 11:35 am

    Though thoughtful, the piece was flat-out Late. After what has been written around here for 2 weeks running, it was also Redundant. Very disapponting for a columnist of that stature to be both.

    ——–

    Carlos Beltran is not a big time stick anymore. At least not like he was when he signed with the Mets.

    Yes, he can hit but he’s older now with durability issues and he’s not a long term replacement.

  82. Giuseppe Franco January 29th, 2012 at 11:46 am

    DONNYBROOK January 29th, 2012 at 11:43 am

    Aramis Ramirez

    ——–

    Do you really want to argue that Ramirez is a “big time stick”? Really???

    You’re scraping the bottom of the barrel and you’re making my point for me.

  83. Rich in NJ January 29th, 2012 at 11:46 am

    “Though thoughtful, the piece was flat-out Late. After what has been written around here for 2 weeks running, it was also Redundant. Very disapponting for a columnist of that stature to be both.”

    Truth is never late.

  84. DONNYBROOK January 29th, 2012 at 11:48 am

    -Gen. Franco -
    Beltran will hit at least 25 HR’s and drive in better than 100 with the Cards in 2012. I consider that a Top Stick.

  85. DONNYBROOK January 29th, 2012 at 11:49 am

    Same goes for Aramis.

  86. Giuseppe Franco January 29th, 2012 at 11:49 am

    Yankee Trader January 29th, 2012 at 11:41 am

    Name the last big stick to become available who doesn’t play first base.
    ——————-

    GF-

    Good morning.

    Matt Holliday- father wanted him to sign with the Yankees.

    ———-

    That’s fair. He qualifies. And that was now 3 years ago, which makes my point.

    Big time sticks these days are not becoming available very often.

  87. Nick in SF January 29th, 2012 at 11:50 am

    “I don’t care if the Yanks continue paying Rodriguez until 2057.”

    Nor do I unless it impacts their willingness to spend money on other players.

    “They were satisfied with the deal and they made it.”

    They did make it but would they have made the exact same deal if they’d known that Arod was going to be outed as a steroid user?

    “As far as they only paid Clemens for half a season has nothing to do with what I said.”

    You said their were steroid rumors swirling around Clemens but they signed him anyway. Signing a pitcher who might have taken steroids for a half season is very different from signing a position player who took steroids to a ten year contract. Both players had legendary work/workout ethics at the time, but nobody can say how steroid use will affect a particular player’s body over a long period of time.

  88. Rich in NJ January 29th, 2012 at 11:50 am

    And btw, Sherman has been arguing for months that power was becoming perhaps the scarcest commodity in MLB post PED era.

  89. Yankee Trader January 29th, 2012 at 11:50 am

    GB-

    I believe you’re right. I don’t think there is any clear evidence in adults that PEDS cause the type of injuries A-Rod has had.

    However Ken Caminiti who died from the use of cocaine and opiates used steroids, and one wonders if the steroids hadn’t played a part in weakening the heart muscle, called cardiomyopathy, which caused him to arrest from the overdose.

  90. Giuseppe Franco January 29th, 2012 at 11:51 am

    Giuseppe Franco January 29th, 2012 at 11:45 am

    DONNYBROOK January 29th, 2012 at 11:35 am

    Though thoughtful, the piece was flat-out Late. After what has been written around here for 2 weeks running, it was also Redundant. Very disapponting for a columnist of that stature to be both.

    ———-

    Late and redundant doesn’t make it any less true.

  91. DONNYBROOK January 29th, 2012 at 11:52 am

    When the truth is late, it’s akin to nagging, or “100 Bottles of Beer On The Wall”.

  92. trisha - true pinstriped blue January 29th, 2012 at 11:52 am

    Nick Kirby, great post! And so refreshing to see from a 19-year-old. I think what happens is that as posters get older, many of them start to get crotchety and demanding and want things done immediately and the way they KNOW is the best way, despite the fact that they are mere posters and not in the thick of the game, so to speak.

    Hats off to you for a well-reasoned, rational, and balanced approach and understanding. And kudos for getting why Cashman traded Montero, a trade that threw me for a loop, by the way, but one which I certainly understood the reason for making.

  93. Giuseppe Franco January 29th, 2012 at 11:52 am

    DONNYBROOK January 29th, 2012 at 11:48 am

    -Gen. Franco -
    Beltran will hit at least 25 HR’s and drive in better than 100 with the Cards in 2012. I consider that a Top Stick.

    ——–

    I guess we’ll find out. But that remains to be seen given his age and durability issues.

  94. Bret The Hitman January 29th, 2012 at 11:53 am

    If Cashman can acquire a cheap long-term solution in RF (with Swish moving to DH), the added payroll flexibility will allow the Yankees to angle at free agents like Hamels, Greinke, Cain or Upton.

    But if he is unable to bring in a player like D. Brown or Heyward then I like Ethier as a long-term solution in RF even if he will be expensive. If they’re targeting Ethier as a free agent they will lose a draft pick anyways, so trading for him now gives them an extra season with him and saves them the pick – they get the pick for letting go of Swisher who will be a Type A.

    So while my first choice is to trade for a cheap long-term solution in RF, I’m OK with trading for Ethier now as the DH in 2012 and RF long term. He’s a more consistent hitter than Swisher, hits righties at a career .909 OPS and is a couple years younger.

    I think it was Olney who said early in the offseason that the Yankees were quietly shopping for Nick Swisher’s replacement.

  95. pat January 29th, 2012 at 11:53 am

    Rich in NJ

    But they were willing to extend him in 2007 if he didn’t use the opt out so he would have been on their payroll post 2010 either way so the difference is $21 million.

  96. Rich in NJ January 29th, 2012 at 11:53 am

    “I believe you’re right. I don’t think there is any clear evidence in adults that PEDS cause the type of injuries A-Rod has had.”

    It’s almost irrelevant. Aging players are more susceptible to chroncity injury than younger players. As such, it’s always misguided to give a player entering his mid-30s a ten year contract.

  97. blake January 29th, 2012 at 11:54 am

    Rich,

    True….but he was going to opt out…..the Yanks didn’t have a choice in that matter and probably knew he would when they traded for him.

    The thing was that at the time Alex put a lot of butts in the seats…..and IMO he allowed the Yanks to make the postseason a couple of years there where otherwise they wouldn’t have.

  98. DONNYBROOK January 29th, 2012 at 11:55 am

    Personally, I enjoy the speed game vs. the power game. Detroit is gonna show you how the power game comes in a distant 2nd vs. speed on both sides of the ball.

  99. Yankee Trader January 29th, 2012 at 11:57 am

    Blake-

    A-Rod at least put 4 more “butts” in seats at home games. Per his contract:

    perks: may purchase 4 best available season tickets for 2008, 4 Legends Suite or comparable season tickets for 2009-17

  100. Rich in NJ January 29th, 2012 at 11:57 am

    pat

    Ok, if so, you’re right that they wouldn’t have had the ability to get a read on him at 35, BUT the first $37m (the difference between what they were scheduled to pay v. what they ended up paying) of new money allocated could reasonably be viewed as free money.

  101. Stoneburner January 29th, 2012 at 11:57 am

    Yeah – ask the Rangers about going for the big time stick last year – they did just nice going for the middle range guys in Napoli and Beltre through FA and trade – do not need a masher at every position – can build a team with quality spread throughout as well. It is 1-9 not just 3-4 that always wins. . . .Plus – while Jose Reyes does not hit homeruns – still a nice hitter to have hit the market.

    On the horzion – Hosmer becomes a FA when Tex comes off the books – and McCutchen will not stick in Pittsburgh. A year from now – do the Yanks try to see if they are the ones who can finally tap into B.J. Upton’s talent? I am not sure – but there are options out there on the offensive front going forward. . . .

  102. Rich in NJ January 29th, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    blake

    And that’s the point: is it better to pad your bottom line short-term by putting more butts in the seats, or should you worry that you may have trouble putting butts in the seats in the out years because that player is declining and his contract forces you to trade assets like Montero, who could also put butts in the seats while still cost-controlled and perhaps pad your bottom line more than A-Rod?

    It’s hard to know, but I would argue that the Yankees’ assets and franchise value are such that they should never be held hostage to any one player, especially an aging one.

  103. blake January 29th, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    Rich,

    I agree….but again the Steinbrenners had just taken over for their dad…..I think inexperience got them a little bit there…..I think reference t years have shown that it probably wouldn’t go down the same way today as it did then

  104. Giuseppe Franco January 29th, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    Jose Reyes’ contract will turn out to be a blunder for the Marlins.

    Never mind the fact that we’re talking about how an impact bat would benefit the current Yankees. Reyes sure as hell wouldn’t be playing SS in the Bronx.

    Nobody is saying that the Yanks need a masher at every position. The problem I have is that they already had a masher (the only one in the system) and they moved him.

  105. Tar January 29th, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    “I was with Cashman on that. You opt out – you’re gone”

    What if you opt out— and are Alex Rodriguez—– then dump the Agent who told you to opt out—- then pledge your everlasting love to the Yankees?

    Still doesn’t add up to to Hal’s stupidity, but I can see why they still wanted him back even after opting out.

  106. blake January 29th, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    Think about it…..if Hal and Hanks first big move would have been to let Arod walk ….after the fans were so used ti their dad sparing no expense on talent…..how would that have played out if the Yanks lost the next year (which they did anyway)….Im sure they were a little afraid if that scenario being new on the scene…..Hal didn’t really have the identity he has now in 2007.

  107. pat January 29th, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    Rich

    Yankees had Alex for 4 years at a $15M cost to them. Dollar averaging takes some of the sting out of the $37M.

  108. blake January 29th, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    Im not trying to justify the contract…..Im just trying to point out why I think it happened and the reasons why I think it happened……

  109. Rich in NJ January 29th, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    blake

    Maybe, but the Soriano contract doesn’t suggest a lesson learned.

  110. Rich in NJ January 29th, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    pat

    Yes, that makes it less bad, but the subsidy was really genius of the trade, which is the reason Cashman didn’t want to sacrifice it, even in the face of opposition from those that pay his check, and why he has been proven right.

  111. Tar January 29th, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    “Dollar averaging takes some of the sting out of the $37M.”

    True. Annoying the hell out of Pete A helps as well. :D

  112. dogface January 29th, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    Think about it…..if Hal and Hanks first big move would have been to let Arod walk ….after the fans were so used ti their dad sparing no expense on talent…..how would that have played out if the Yanks lost the next year (which they did anyway)….Im sure they were a little afraid if that scenario being new on the scene…..Hal didn’t really have the identity he has now in 2007.

    =========================

    Fair point. However, I think it can be argued that the Steinbrenners and the Yankees would have been better served by letting the market for Rodriguez define itself before committing to the level they did. While there would have been some risk in that, it’s not as though the Yankees couldn’t outbid a potential suitor.

  113. Nick in SF January 29th, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    Arod’s actions made sense for him and he got the best contract he could get, as most players do.

    It would have been better for the Yankees if they could have extended him rather then giving him the new contract, but they signed him anyway.

    It just so happens that Arod had information about his prior steroid usage which probably would have cost him a lot of money had it been publically known or shared with the Yankees at the time. But we can’t know how things would have played out. He will be with us for a long time. Go Arod!

  114. LGY January 29th, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    If anything is causing injuries to Rodriguez and other players, it’s the over reliance on weight training.

    ———-

    LOL

  115. DONNYBROOK January 29th, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    The inexperienced Stein Boys excuse just doesn’t cut it with Stick Michael around.

  116. Rich in NJ January 29th, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    “But we can’t know how things would have played out. He will be with us for a long time.”

    Yes, the question is in in what capacity. IOW, can he remain on the field and be productive enough to even be a starting DH by the time he’s 40. At some point, a buyout may be something they need to explore.

  117. DONNYBROOK January 29th, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    Hal has an identity??? HAHAAHAHAAH

  118. GreenBeret7 January 29th, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    I think that Rodriguez throwing that big body around at third base and busting it on grounders has more to do with injuries than steroids did. There’s nothing that could have prevented the thumb injury short of waving at the ball as it went by. It was that injury, more than anything that hurt him in September and the post season…not the hip or knee surgery.

  119. pat January 29th, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    “Annoying the hell out of Pete A helps as well”

    Boston should sign Cody Ransom as a daily reminder to Pete of his arrogance.

    Speaking of Boston, amazing how they continue to treat SS as a throw away position.

  120. dogface January 29th, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    At some point, a buyout may be something they need to explore

    =================================

    Is there any kind of history of such a thing? I can’t recall any and would imagine that the MLBPA would likely take issue.

  121. Giuseppe Franco January 29th, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    DONNYBROOK January 29th, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    The inexperienced Stein Boys excuse just doesn’t cut it with Stick Michael around.

    ——–

    Get real. It’s the Steinbrenners’ money. They make all the final decisions regarding the budget.

    You don’t know if Stick Michael has their ears or not.

  122. Crawdaddy January 29th, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    “At some point, a buyout may be something they need to explore.”

    You mean release as I doubt he’ll accept a buyout.

  123. Rich in NJ January 29th, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    “Is there any kind of history of such a thing? I can’t recall any and would imagine that the MLBPA would likely take issue.”

    The Dodgers bought out Andruw Jones, right?

    If his physical situation declines enough, and he has the resolve, the MLBPA will sign on. This isn’t Fehr/Orza. They just bent over for Selig.

  124. DONNYBROOK January 29th, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    Point is, inexperience is Not an excuse for action or inaction with Stick on the payroll.

  125. GreenBeret7 January 29th, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    The Dodgers didn’t “buy out” Jones. They released him.

  126. Rich in NJ January 29th, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    Cot’s:

    with 1 year and $21.1M remaining, Jones and Dodgers re-worked contract 1/09, with union approval

  127. dogface January 29th, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    The Dodgers bought out Andruw Jones, right?

    ===========================

    He’s still on the Dodgers payroll. Will be for a few more seasons.

  128. Crawdaddy January 29th, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    It wasn’t a buyout though, he reworked the contract, but will still get all the monies.

  129. Rich in NJ January 29th, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    So they could rework A-Rod’s contract. The Dodgers obviously got a benefit from doing it. The Yankees could as well.

  130. Bo knows January 29th, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    One can argue that without A Rod, maybe the Yankees don’t win in 2009 but win in 2010 2011 etc. Case in point, Lee does not sign, Yankees win 97 games, A Rod last out, post season, instead of Matt Holliday. Your strategy tree should be “Many roads lead to the objective, not just one”. At this point the Yankees are getting squeezed between the A Rod/Jeter window and the new rules. A Rod’s contract is the big elephant in the room. Winning puts butts in seats not individual players.

  131. Crawdaddy January 29th, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    “So they could rework A-Rod’s contract. The Dodgers obviously got a benefit from doing it. The Yankees could as well.”

    That’s better as I don’t see him accepting a buyout for .75 on the dollar.

  132. randy l. January 29th, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    “Cashman saw over the years that huge contracts could ruin Yankee teams.”

    nick

    well written post, but the reality is that the yankees won in 2009 precisely because they paid sabathia, burnett, and teixeira over 400 million.

    there is no master development plan that has won anything without spending 400 million on players like CC .

    the yankee have not been able to develop their own ace yet. maybe manny baneulos will be the first, or maybe they will be able to teach pineda a plus change and he’ll become an ace.

    but until they do , cashman’s development plan for aces is just wishful thinking.

  133. ericns1 January 29th, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    To go back to my earlier post all I meant is that Tex needs to hit much better, Cano has lapses of concentration and A-Rod and Jeter are aging- CC admitted his weight was a problem and Nova could suffer from a sophomore jinx (hope not) – also Montero is a once in a lifetime talent and as far as his catchIng Yogi took three seasons to get the hang of it – Cashman’s pitching trades have been virtually all bad as opposed to free agent moves – Pineda is a risk while we saw what Jesus M could do

  134. 86w183 January 29th, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    Truth is while Alex/Boras announced he was opting out, he never formally did. The Yanks still got cash from Texas.

    I never said steroids caused a particular injury. I said there are mountains of evidence that athletes who used anabolic steroids DO break down physically at younger ages. Such evidence has been presented to Congress on multiple occasions.

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