Pineda allows Yanks to spend on offense in future

Pineda gripping the changeup he must develop (used via creative commons license)

By now, the Michael PinedaJesus Montero trade has been dissected from every angle.  But lost in the aftermath of Friday’s atom-bomb dropped by Brian Cashman is the effect this deal will have on the Yankees future beyond the upcoming 2012 season and the change in philosophy it signifies. The popular belief prior to the deal was that the team would try to get through this season with the pitching they had, maybe adding a veteran on a 1-year deal, then try to play their hand in the big 2013 market for Free Agent Pitching.  Is that still a viable strategy?

I believe the trade of Montero for Pineda denotes a change in Cashman’s philosophy of paying top dollar for FA pitchers.  He sees the trend in MLB with teams locking up their good young starters – and he knows his own track record of signing FA pitchers has been dubious with the one exception being the $161M deal for CC Sabathia. But Cash knows he doesn’t have the long-term flexibility to risk $100M+ deals on pitchers even if they do reach the open market.

Whether Pineda instantly becomes a formidable pitcher or struggles in his sophomore year, the Yankees are invested in him for the long haul.  The nucleus of CC, Nova & Pineda will be what they build around with Banuelos & Betances ready to contribute in 2013. Barring trades, they will also have 1 more year of AJ Burnett & Phil Hughes next season so unless there is a major breakdown, I don’t see the Yankees allocating their resources on a high-priced Free Agent starter.

With the emphasis on pitching and the search for a viable frontline starter for the last 2 years, the future of the offense has been neglected.  The core of the team is aging and they will have to endure some lean years with an old ARod & Jeter in the lineup.  Jesus Montero was supposed to be the one to equalize that.  We all saw him as an eventual middle of the order bat that would hit for average and power.  With virtually no potential impact bats in the system above A-ball, there is little help from within coming in the next 2-3 years.  That is where Cashman will spend his money in the coming years.

So where will the Yankees have openings and what will be on the market?  After 2012, Swisher and Russell Martin will be Free Agents, so there will likely be openings at C, RF & DH.  There is also the possibility that ARod takes over a good chunk of the DH duties so the team may look at potential 3B.

With Austin Romine MLB-ready and JR Murphy & Gary Sanchez right behind him, I doubt the Yanks will be in the market for a Catcher.  Martin could be brought back but if Romine shows he’s ready, I think they’ll go with him and let Martin walk.  There will be one very attractive FA Catcher available in lefty swinging , 28-yr old Miquel Montero. Miquel hit .282/.351/.469/.820 in 2011 and led an impressive Arizona pitching staff.

There is also an older version of Jesus Montero on the market.  Mike Napoli crushed the AL in 2011 to the tune of a .320/.414/.631/1.045 clip while catching 65 games and playing 1B/DH for 50 games.  He’ll only be 30 in 2013 and could play the role that Jesus was going to play as back-up Catcher, primary DH and middle of the order run producer.  This would leave the DH spot open for 50-65 games for ARod while Napoli caught and might be the perfect way to break in a young Austin Romine at Catcher in 2013.  We’ll soon find out whether Texas will add Yu Darvish and/or Prince Fielder to the mix but even if they don’t they have the FA of Josh Hamilton in 2013 so they may not attempt to re-sign Napoli.  It’s difficult to determine what he’d cost in FA without seeing if he’ll repeat his dominating 2011 but I’d say he best profiles with Victor Martinez who signed a 4yr-$50M deal prior to 2011.  If Napoli has a another big year and can show some durability, he may be a player for the Yanks to consider.

The options in RF include Josh Hamilton (32), Andre Ethier (31), Carlos Quentin (30), Delmon Young (27), Melky Cabrera (28), Nick Swisher (32) & Ichiro Suzuki (39).  While Hamilton is the elite player of the group, I don’t think the Yanks will lay out the big money needed for a 32-yr old that has played more than 133 games only once (2008).  I like Ethier as a lefty hitter who hits for average and power and a 4 year deal would only put him at 34 in the final year.  He’d be looking at similar money as Swisher (3-4 yrs @$11-12M)

However, with the goal to get under the Luxury Tax threshold in 2014, I don’t see Cashman giving out a long-term deal unless he really likes a player and he has a lot of prime years left.   The DH possibilities are plentiful every year and it’s easy to find all types of DH’s on 1-yr deals.  David Ortiz will be on the market again next year at age 38 so maybe the Yanks put in a big 1-yr offer to steal him.

Next years FA third base crop has absolutely nothing to offer so if ARod needs to DH they will have to find a 3B from within (Laird or Nunez?) or trade for one.  I like lefty hitters Chase Headley & Daniel Murphy.  Both are young players in their primes who hit for average and would be a good compliment to the rest of the lineup.  They have both also been discussed in trade rumors this Winter. Headley will be in his final arbitration year in 2013 so it’s likely SD will look to move his salary with several promising young 3B behind him.  The Mets have David Wright at 3B and have Murphy playing out of position at 2B.  Both players also offer the flexibility to play other positions, 1B, corner OF and in Murphy’s case 2B.

It’s futile to look at who is available beyond 2013 since so many teams sign their young players to extensions nowadays.  But one thing is clear, with the impressive young pitching the Yanks have assembled behind CC, they no longer have to lay down huge chunks of money on risky FA pitching.  More often than not, big money FA contracts for pitchers do not work out.  By Cashman trading his big young offensive chip for a big young pitcher, he is electing to spend his future money on offense – which is generally far less risky and easier to project.  When I first heard of the trade I didn’t like it.  Montero is going to be a big hitter but it will be easier to find a bat of his caliber on the FA/trade market than it will be to find a pitcher of Pineda’s ilk.  The last 2-3 years of searching for pitching has taught him that.

So going into 2013, Cashman should have room for one significant contract. Anymore than that and there’d be no chance to stay under $189M with Cano & Granderson as FAs in 2014.  Who would you look to sign for the offense in 2013?

About fishjam25

Was a 4-yr Pitcher and Communications Major at Seton Hall University in the 90s. His knowledge & opinion of the game comes from his background as a player and ardent lifetime Yankee fan. However, Fishjam also incorporates sabermetrics and statistical support to form a well-rounded view of the game.

Posted on January 18, 2012, in Signing & Trade Speculation and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 64 Comments.

  1. If it were me, I would sign Hamilton in 2013. Good bat and he can play RF if the Yankees don’t re-sign Swisher.

    Good article.

  2. Fishjam – I really can’t see the Yankees going with basically 4 young and for the most part relatively inexperienced starters in their rotation in 2013 (CC, Pineda, Nova, Banuelos and Betances) as you mention above. I do see the Yankees going all out to sign either Hamels or Cain if they hit FA. With who is coming off the books for the 2013 season (presumably Mo and Kuroda) just those 2 alone are enough to pay for one or the other pitchers. And both Mo and Kuroda will be replaced with in house players (presumably Robertson and Banuelos) at a relatively no considerably lower cost. For the 2014 season the Yankees even with signing either Hamels or Cain in for the 2013 season it will still allow them to get to the $189MM threshold for the 2014 season. Burnett if he isn’t gone before then will not be around for the 2014 season, and probably Hughes won’t be around either and neither will need to be replaced per say. Martin will probably be replaced by Romine for the 2013 season, most of Jeter’s salary in 2014 will be gone even if he exercises his option. That’s about $35MM additional monies that comes right off the top of the Yankees payroll estimate of say $215MM for the 2013 season. That the Yankees can take advantage of for 2014 season. So if we assume at least $35MM off the ending 2013 season payroll of $215MM figure for the 2014 season that means the Yankees are at $180MM. Now granted there will be increases for current players like Cano, and those eligible for arbitration. But there are cost savings in other players that the Yankees should be able to do to mitigate those increases. Like you mentioned a lower cost replacement for Swisher and Granderson just to name 2.

    I hope the Yankees do NOT let one of the the “premier”, yes ACE’s of the 2013 FA class get away if they hit FA. They may never get another chance to secure their starting rotation for the next 5 to 7 years like they will have next season. A 2013 rotation of: CC, Hamels or Cain, Pineda, Nova and Banuelos in 2013 will be without a doubt the best in the majors leagues in my opinion for several years to come.

    • uyf – Just to clear things up, I’m not suggesting Banuelos & Betances will both be in the rotation in 2013. Yanks learned the hard way that you cannot have 2 rookie pitchers in the same rotation when they tried with Joba, Hughes & IPK. However with CC, Nova & Pineda as definites you still have AJ/Hughes/Banuelos/Betances/Warren/Phelps so the rotation will be relatively strong.

      I still doubt both Cain & Hamels make it to FA and even if one or both does, I don’t see the Yanks going all-in the way they did with CC. Unless their pitching falls apart their shouldn’t be a need to give out another 6-7 year $22-24M deal. Cashman did everything he could to not trade Banuelos & Betances this year so they will definitely get a chance. If AJ & Hughes are both gone next yr, i’d expect the yanks go with a 1-year rental like they are doing currently with a Kuroda or Garcia type. I think Cashman has learned his lesson with 5, 7, 10-yr deals. Sometimes they may work but it’s not worth the risk especially when he is operating under an even more agressive budget than ever before.

      Going big on a FA pitcher would severley limit the Yanks chances of keeping Cano & Granderson and all but eliminate any chance to add a significant player at RF, DH/3B or C. One or more of those spots will have to be filled with a major bat or the once vaunted Yankee offense will be middling at best.

      I thought along with you that Cashman would press hard for a pitcher in FA but the loss of Montero as a potential 4th or 5th hitter for the next 6 yrs and the addition of Pineda who is being counted on to be a #2 for the next 5 yrs, changes things in my book. Montero’s offense will need to be replaced and the only significant help coming from the minors in 2013-14 will be a lot of pitching. They will have to go outside the organization for an impact bat.

      • See, I don’t think Granderson is a keeper past his team option year of 2013 when he earns $15MM. After that he becomes far to expensive. Besides I’d rather offer either Hamels who will be 29 to start the 2013 season or Cain who will be 28 to start the 2013 season if they are available and are nearly 3 years younger a 6 year deal than Granderson a 4 year deal. I’d rather have either Hamels or Cain in their prime then Granderson on the wrong side of 32 for 4 years to start the 2013 season. I’m not saying the Yankees have to go out 7 or more years but is 6 years that much of problem for 2 ACE’s that are 29 and 28 respectively and obviously in their prime. What’s the additional exposure to them 1 year versus a 5 year deal.

        If both Hamels and Cain are not available that’s one thing but if they are I think it would be a huge mistake to not go after one of them with a vengeance.

        Remember the Yankees only need to get to or at the $189MM tax threshold 1 year (2014) to reset the luxury tax clock back to -0- as well as recoup some money. Before it goes back to 17.5%. Come the years 2016 and 17 the Yankees as of today have almost nothing in committed salaries. So there really isn’t anything to stop them from adding offense come those years and still stay at whatever the NEW luxury tax threshold will be when a NEW CBA happens after the 2016 season.

        In any case we won’t have long to find out, less than 10 or so months. To see what direction the Yankees will take.

        That’s just my opinion.

        • I don’t neccessarily want Granderson back in 2014 either. But whether he’s back or he’s replaced, big money will have to be spent to replace his production.

          I want a well-balanced team because that is what wins. I feel any team that neglects one aspect of it’s team to bolster another will pay in the long run. If Pineda turns out the way he should the Yanks will have an imposing top 3 with plenty of depth and young pitchers to fill out the rest of the rotation. Put a kid in the 5 spot and a veteran innings eater in the 5 spot. If Nova & Pineda look like crap this year then the plan may need to be reconsidered.

          Of the huge dollar pitching contracts, how many have really worked out. With the exception of CC’s 7 yr $161M deal, not many have. It’s just a huge commitment to pay a pitcher who would just be a luxury if Nova & Pineda do advance like they should.

          We can agree to disagree but where do you see the offense comin from in 2013 & 2014?

          • That’s good question. I’m not sure I have the answer but what I honestly believe is it’s way to early to declare the offense dead for the 2013 season. Both Cano’s and Granderson’s team options will be exercised. I happen to believe that the rumors of A-Rod’s death or imminent death (offensive speaking) are greatly exaggerated. Really the only fix I see for 2013 that the Yankees need to address is the catching position. And let’s be honest Martin isn’t really a great or extraordinary offensive threat. As for Swisher since he’s a FA in 2013 I would hope a satisfactory replace can be found for about $7.5MM plus or minus. Just a quick thought about who replaces Granderson come the 2014 season, perhaps it’s Mason Williams. Maybe Melky comes back and replaces Swisher in 2013.

            I don’t see a problem with waiting to see how the offense performs in 2012 before the case is dye for what and who is replaced in 2013 and 2014. I have no doubt that there are or will be all sorts of possibilities especially for the 2014 season as we get closer to that season.

            I certainly understand where you are coming from with wanting a “balanced” team. I just don’t see why the Yankees can’t have a balanced team with a starting rotation of: CC, Hamels or Cain, Pineda, Nova and Banuelos. While also easing some of the Yankees “older” players into different rolls in 2014.

            I want to spend some time doing something else. If I can get to it before to long I’ll post it here.

          • Fishjam – not sure but you will probably disagree with what I’m going to post now. But I just wanted to put a few things down here so you could see where I was coming from.
            Anyway here it is and I really hope it shows up correctly when I hit post comment:

            Looking into my 2014 crystal ball to examine a Yankees
            roster and estimate of payroll by position with a goal to
            stay at or below $189MM:

            Starting Pitchers:
            CC Sabathia ($24MM)
            Cole Hamels or Matt Cain ($21MM)
            Michael Pineda ($3.5MM)
            Ivan Nova ($4.5MM)
            Manuel Banuelos ($750K)

            Teixeria ($22.5MM)
            Cano ($20MM)
            Jeter and Nunez ($11MM)
            A-Rod ($26MM)
            Austin Romine ($750K)
            TOTAL INFIELD: Rounded to $81MM

            Gardner ($7.5MM)
            Mason Williams ($750K)
            Melky Cabrera ($8.5MM)
            STARTING OUTFIELD: $17MM +/-

            Robertson ($6MM)
            Joba ($5MM)
            Betances ($750K)
            3 additional relief pitchers ($7.5MM)
            1 swing pitcher/spot starter or long relief ($3MM)
            TOTAL PEN: $22MM +/-

            Role/Bench Players:
            4 in total to round out roster ($7MM +/-)

            Total: 25 players / $180MM +/-

            Leaves approximately $9MM +/- to upgrade a
            position or positions and allow to round out the
            teams 40 man roster.

            Obviously this is not an exact science and the numbers
            should not be taken as gospel,especially since I’m the
            one doing it. It is merely meant to show that having an A1
            starting rotation and a good offense are NOT mutually exclusive.
            And will still allow the Yankees to fall within the $189MM luxury
            tax threshold for the year 2014 is possible.

            Just one more note. 2015 and 16 become just a little easier
            when A-Rods salary drops to $22 and $21MM respectively.

            • I’m going to love when A-Rod’s contract drops off completely. I don’t hate him or wish him bad. I just wish the Yankees stuck to their guns and when he opted out didn’t go back and re-sign him.

              I also wonder if the Yankees will ever sign a player to that kind of contract ever again.

              Nice work on your 2014 projections I’m sure that took you some time to get all of that down.

              • Matt, I think you have seen the last of any Yankees contract that exceed 6 years. And I think you will only see that on rare occasions and for a very special player. Obviously I think because of their age and position and what they bring to the table both Hamels and Cain fit that bill. At least in my opinion.

              • His projections would be way over 189.

                • I didn’t look at the accuracy of the salary projections, but his estimates do add up to $180MM.

                  • Mike – his numbers on Alex are wrong as his AAV is higher. Jeter if he’s on the team will have an AAV of 14 million. He didn’t take into account any perks an incentives along with minor league players on the 40 so he is well above the 189 threshold. He is projecting Mason Williams as a starter when the kid hasn’t played in a long season league. Melky is pie in the sky as he’s not good enough to be a Yankee. There is no chance this team could stay under the 189 threshold imo.

                  • Mike – I hope everyone that reads my earlier comment and potential player listing pays particular attention to the next to last paragraph of that comment. That begins “Obviously this is not an exact science and the numbers should not be taken as gospel”

                    But if someone whats to take a closer look by all means let’s:
                    The first group:
                    Starting Pitchers – If anything I think I may have overstated the salaries. For example: Both Pineda and Nova would both only be 1 year arbitration eligible for the 2014 season. The chances of them both getting bumps up to the number I posted for each are probably slim. CC’s salary is fixed. Hamels or Cain would be fixed as well and Banuelos being a 2nd year pre-arb probably won’t make what I show.

                    The Second Group:
                    The Infield – I think I overstated that as well. A-Rod’s salary is fixed. Cano,, I don’t see the Yankees offering him any more then $20MM when he re-ups in 2014. After all he will be 32 that contract year. I lumped Jeter and Nunez together for $11MM. I think that’s high because I do NOT think Jeter will exercise his 2014 option so much of that $11MM is a hedge more than anything else. And Austin Romine at most he will be a 2nd year pre-arb and not even make what I show. So again if anything I think I errored on the high side in that group.

                    The Third Group:
                    The Outfield – I think I’m pretty close there with that group. Gardner will be a 3rd year arb player for the 2014 season. Assuming he gets the number he submitted of $3.2MM for the 2012 season. I figure a $4.3MM increase over the following 2 seasons is reasonable. And even if I’m a little off there is no effect since I believe I’ve overstated some of the previous salaries as I’ve already explained. Mason William will probably only be a 1st year pre-arb player so I’ve clearly overstated his salary. That just leave Melky in that group.he just settled for $6MM for the 2012 season. Could I have estimated a little low on him possibly. But by how much maybe $1MM dollars so instead of $8.5 he gets $9.5MM. It has no effect on the overall total.

                    The Fourth Group:
                    The Pen – I think I’m close there as well. Robertson will be a 3rd year arb player for the 2014 season. He will be paid $1.6MM for the 2012 season. So I think if anything I may have been a little generous with his salary prediction of $6MM. Then there is Joba. He will be a FA for the 2014 season I’ve penciled him in for $5MM. I think that’s pretty close based on traditional salaries of relief pitchers. Remember he isn’t the closer. I have him penciled in as the set up man. Then there is Betances he would be at most a 2nd year pre-arb player I’ve probably over stated his salary by a little. Then there are 3 attitional 3 bullpen pitchers and someone I have called a swing pitcher that I’ve figured a total of $10.5MM for. If someone whats to pick that apart for a few bucks fine.

                    The Last Group:
                    The Bench and Roll Players – 4 in total. I’ve allocated $7MM for this group. I think that’s more then reasonable.

                    That takes us to the GRAND TOTAL OF: $180MM for the “Crystal List of 25 Active Roster players for 2014 for the Yankees.

                    The other/remaining $9MM is to be used as previously mentioned in the earlier comment. To fill out the 40 man roster and upgrade positions/players previously mentioned.

                    Is it 100% accurate? Not a chance. Does it give someone looking at it a glimpse as to what can be done? Hopefully it does.

                    • Yup, understood uyf.

                    • If Jeter is on the team you are at least 5 million off. Pretty much all teams leave 10-12 million set aside for perks, incentives and milb players on the 40. So imo there is no chance this team can come in under 189.

                    • If I’m within $5MM IF Jeter is on the team I’m extremely happy. Because I don’t think Jeter will be on the team as I just mentioned in my recap. I don’t think he exercises his 2014 option. That’s just my opinion.

                      In any case $5MM is not an insurmountable amount to work around. In my opinion.

            • Starting Pitchers:
              CC Sabathia
              Michael Pineda
              Ivan Nova
              Manuel Banuelos
              Phil Hughes/Nik Turley

              Mark Montgomery
              DJ Mitchell (Long man)

              Austin Romine

              Mason Williams
              Jorge Soler (Cuban)

              Justin Maxwell
              and 3 others

              Future Players 2013-?????
              Cito Culver SS
              Claudio Custodio 2nd
              Zoilo Almonte
              Slade Heathcott

              • I like seeing Soler in your lineup from what I read about him he seems he will have power and speed.

                What was your thoughts on the recent trade?

              • Sammy – I like your thinking on Nik Turley as he should be ready. He seems to be a nice back end of a rotation lefty starter.

                If you’re projecting this for 2014 Heathcott has a better shot at starting then Williams. Solar if signed will not be ready as there would be way to much for him to learn. Think culture and let’s not forget about learning to play in cold weather.

                Justin Maxwell will be elsewhere as his type is easy to find.

                Joba will likely have moved on as he’ll be a free agent after 2013 but the Yankees do have many in house hard throwing young relievers so that’s not a big deal.

            • uyf – I follow what you are saying. Don’t forget, the Competitive Balance Tax uses the AAV, so ARod would be at $27.5M and as you pointed out to me in the past , his incentives may also have to be included.

              IMO, the estimates for Robertson and Gardner are a little low but that doesn’t matter, The issues that concern me is you don’t have a DH included and the offense you have listed is not good. It’s basically the same offense we have today but 3 years older and you trade perhaps our best hitter Granderson for Mason Williams who if he’s ready by then won’t be much of a force. the other trade is Melky for Swisher which is a push in my book although most people would prefer Swisher. how would our offense have faredin 2011 without Granderson.

              No question we’d have a great pitching staff but that offense would not get us far.

              • Fishjam – I understand what you are saying. I took the fixed salaried directly from Cot’s. My list was not meant as I tried to indicate as gospel only to show what’s possible with a little creativity on the part of the Yankees.

                I know I didn’t account for “incentives” specifically. That’s one of the reasons for the difference between $180MM and the $189MM. Is it enough of an allowance to leave maybe not Please understand some of the names are not important what should be looked at more that anything is the dollars associated with that position. And is it possible to get a player for those dollars. And does the list in and of itself provide a “starting point” with a goal to getting to the $189MM number. I obviously think it does, others may not.

                I would just challenge others to come up with a comprehensive all inclusive list that gets the Yankees payroll in the “hunt” of the $189MM luxury tax threshold for 2014. Understanding/keeping in mind there are many things and players that can’t be changed for the 2014 season.

                I gave it a shot my friend.

      • Fishjam…
        I think one of the “B”s will be up after the call-ups in 2012, maybe even before!
        As for Cain & Hamels…not going to happen, Cashman will not pay the price for them.
        As you pointed out we still have Hughes/Banuelos/Betances/Warren/Phelps to fill in the back end if Kuroda or Garcia implode. So we go with CC, Nova, Pineda, Kuroda and Garcia and a list of players trying to unseat one of the Fab-“5”
        2013 we have; CC, Nova, Pineda, Banuelos, and one of Betances, Warren, Phelps and (the Cuban) Gerardo Concepcion. I look for Hughes to make a vast amount of progress this year, he has the stuff but, with his FB sitting at 90-92+/- and only two other pitches that work off his FB…I say, no matter what his record is this year…trade him. His FB is his key, if it isn’t good that day…Ooooops!
        Question; are not Cain and Hamels class “A” FA and we have to give up draft picks for them? If this is right(?) Cashman will never go for it.

        • hello Ken –
          As usual I agree with a lot of your points:

          1) Cain/Hamels – great pitchers but Cashman has collected a ton of young, talented cost-controlled pitching because he’s learned pitching on the open market is vastly overpriced and its too risky to give any pitcher a 6 or 7 yr deal. he had to do it with CC because they had nothing….this time around they are stacked!

          2) Hughes – I hope he gets the 5th spot because if he’s stuck with the conditioning he said he started in November, I think he’ll be much improved. He has only 2 yrs of team control after 2012 and he’s starting to get expensive so I’d look to deal Phil also as soon as he regains his value

          3) The new CBA eliminates the old “Class A, B, etc.” Elias system for FA compensation. If the player’s current team offers an arbitration figure equal to the top 125 salaries in the game (roughly $12.5M), then the team that signs him gives up their #1 pick (unless its a top 10 pick). SO to make a long story short, YES, the Yanks would lose their #1 pick if they sign Hamels/Cain.

          • Fishjam…
            You do know that there is little to no chance Cashman will sign anyone he has to give up a draft pick for…that’s why I asked!
            Thank you for the info.

            • Ken – I mostly agree, but would say that Cashman definitely does not want to give up his #1 pick although I don’t think it would stop him if he saw the right player for the right contract. And if he does decide to part with his #1, I could see him doing what he did in 2009….sign multiple Free Agents in the same year so he only loses one #1.

              Also, don’t forget it’s highly likely the Yanks will be GAINING at least one #1 pick in 2014. If they let Granderson walk, they would very likely get a #1 unless he has a terrible 2013. You also have Hughes and Joba as FAs but unless they both have breakout yrs in 2012/13, they likely won’t bring compensation.

              It’s possible that Swisher could bring a #1 after this season. In fact that may be their strategy if Swish has a good yr. Offer him the $12.5M arbitration salary…..if he declines and wants to go for a multi-yr deal in FA, the Yanks get a #1 pick………worst case scenario he accepts and Yanks get him for 1 yr @ $12.5M.

  3. Fish – Headley is a super two so he isn’t a free agent until after 2014 plus he’s a switch hitter.

    If healthy David Adams is a legit guy. He can really hit. Abe Almonte has a chance to put himself in the outfield mix in a couple of years if he builds on last years second half.

    I too like this trade and believe it to be an organizational defining move marking bigger changes going forward.

    • Thanks for the correction on Chase.

      I like Adams and Corban Joseph and actually like Zoilo more than Abe, but unless one has a major breakout, I don’t see the yanks turning over a starting spot to any of them next yr or in 2014. Bench roles yes.

      Am I the only one that looks at our offense getting in 2013 and has major concerns? Despite scoring runs this yr, they failed in the post-season once again and in 2013 they all will be 2 yrs older with no one to point to as an improving hitter save maybe Gardner.

      ARod & Jeter will be what 38-39?, Tex will be 33. Romine will likely replace Martin, Swisher will likely (hopefully) be gone. Gardner is a nice player but not a big hitter. There will be a lot on the shoulders of Granderson & Cano. Yanks will definitely need to add a significant bat or 2.

      • Fish – I see what you see. The Yankees need to add a couple of bats going forward.

        If Adams can run straight ahead this spring without pain he has a good chance of being one of them. His ankle injury does not effect his fielding as much as it does him running to first base.

        I do think there will be bats available to the Yankees via trade. I think Jay Bruce might shake free if the Reds go all in on Votto. They can’t really afford both. I like both Headley and Butler as both can hit for average. Batting average on average dropprd 17 points over the last 6 years. This will become more important when looking for a hitter.

        If the Yankees can’t bring in a number 3 hitter like Butler then Jeter needs to bat third against lefties and 7th/8th against right handers. Butler is the perfect bat for this team if you believe he could play just below average right field defense.

        Ellsbury will be 30 when he becomes a free agent an if he continues to hit well should become a Yankees target.

        For me the most interesting bat is Billy Butler going forward into this season and next.

        Another potential Yankees target could be Starling Castro as he can hit for average and plays a premium position. He would cost a ton but wouldn’t be a target in the near future.

  4. It’s a long ways away and a lot of these guys could sign extensions, but there are some impressive Free Agents after the 2013 season.

    Alex Gordon
    Adam jones
    Michael Young
    Nelson Cruz
    Ian Kinsler
    Joey Votto
    Brian McCann
    David Wright
    Hunter Pence
    Ryan Zimmerman
    Michael Morse

    Josh Johnson
    Tim Hudson

    • Fish – I hope there is NO need to sign any starter going forward unless its on a 1 year deal.

      As for the hitters I like Ellsbury, Zimmerman Votto and Gordon but they are the exception here as most of these hitters will be into their 30’s by the time they become free agents.

      Ellsbury and Zimmerman are the most interesting as they play potential positions of need.

      I still think if Butler could play RF in Yankees Stadium he would be my target. He would help this year as a dh and then 3 years in RF while our lower level MiLB outfielders move up through the system.

      I have always thought teams should trade hitters for pitchers and pitchers for hitters. The Yankees did just that with the Pineda deal. The Yankees still have a lot of pitching in their system so that should bode well if they are looking to trade for a bat.

      • Yes please to Zimmerman. I feel he gets lost for the majority of fans playing for the Nationals. (maybe not much longer as they beefed up their team) but he would be nice to see on the Yankees.

        • Matt – I think Zimmerman if he does leave the Nationals will go the Boston not NY. Looking forward Adams has a nice shot at garnering 3rd for NY if healthy. With both Bichette and Austin coming the Yankees have a decent shot at an in house option.

          Ellsbury likely wouldn’t block anyone long term. Their would still be 2 outfield spots open or opening for Heathcott, Santana, Williams, Lopez and Maybe Solar if the Yankees sign him.

          • Looking forward to following all those prospects this year. I really hope Heathcott can stay healthy and put up a good season.

            Also Mason Williams should have a good amount of pressure now that he is known to many now from being very high on the prospect lists from many sources. I hope he continues to put up big numbers.

  5. Dan let’s see your list if you have one to share.

  6. Matt – I posted one weeks ago if you remember. I think the one I posted on behalf of Ballpark can come close to the 189 threshold. Since I had input on that I would start there.

    To me the only shot the Yankees have for doing this is to not have Jeter on the team in 2014.

    Anyone who honestly thinks the Yankees will add an expensive starter is fooling themselves. If they did Cashman wouldn’t be able to offer a long term deal like Gio just got with the Nationals to Pineda or Nova if those two have good seasons.

    If the Yankees can somehow sign Gardner to a 4 or 5 year deal to keep his AVV consistent going forward would help.

    As for Cano he might be asked to take less then 20 million so will he to stay a Yankee?

    So if you start with the rotation –

    CC 24.285
    Pineda 7 multiple year deal AAV
    Nova 7 multiple year deal AAV
    Banuelos .6
    Turley/???? .5

    Total 39.385

    No Jeter infield –

    Romine/Murphy 1.1
    Teixeira 22.5
    Cano 18.5
    Alex 28.7
    Nunez 4 on a multiple year deal AAV

    Total 75.3


    Gardner 7 on a multiple year deal AAV
    ???? Ellsbury 18.5
    ???? Butler 8,125

    Total 33.625

    This leaves around 25 million for the pen with a little over 4 million for the bench.

    Add in 11 million for perks, incentives and milb players on the 40 and you come in
    at just under the 189 threshold. Now the Yankees might want a little more wiggle room
    to deal with CC’s option an Alex’s marketing deals so there could be a little tweaking
    here and there but this is close to achievable imo.

    • I didn’t add in a DH as I think Alex will be that guy half of the time with Adams or Joseph playing third half of the time and the other half of the DH will come from giving players half days off.

  7. UYF – I see where you’re coming from. No matter how we estimate the salaries and crunch the numbers it comes down to this……..the team will have a finite number of dollars to fill out their roster in 2014.

    Depending on how you look at they have betwen $28-35m to spend on a Starting Pitcher, 2 starting corner OF’s and a DH or 3B.

    You’d like to see them go big and sign a SP for $21-23M and piece the 3 big offensive positions with the remainder. I’d rather they’d go cheap on the the last SP spot and invest in the hitters. The corner OF spots and DH/3B are huge offensive positions and I think the Yanks need to take advantage and allocate their resources here.

    The yanks have good pitching prospects in the upper levels of the minors that could fill that last rotation spot but their elite hitting prospects are all in A-ball and many haven’t even played full-season ball yet so the chances are pretty slim that any will be ready to be impact players by 2014.

    We’ll see what happens but i think Cash realizes the odds of a veteran hitter fullfilling his potential on a contract is greater than a pitcher. I’d looove to have Hamels but not at the expense of having a mediocre offense without Granderson that counts on a 39-yr-old ARod and an aging Tex to hit 4th and 5th again 3 years from now.

    • Fishjam – You’re exactly right our difference is basically a philosophical one and primarily evolves around 1 player.

      I prefer to error on the side of spending a larger percentage of the Yankees budget on top of the line, quality, know commodity high end starting pitching staff. And a good offense. In the belief that it is much harder to acquire or develop them. And when the opportunity presents itself with that chance the Yankees MUST jump on it.

      And our difference for the sake of this discussion in my opinion primarily evolves around 1 player and the funds I’ve allocated to acquire him. That player is for all intense purposes Cole Hamels. I might be wrong and please correct me if I am you would much prefer to use the “bulk” of the $21MM I’ve allocated in my example to secure more offense. I don’t think there is anything wrong with either of our approaches. They just represent 2 different philosophies of 2 different fans.

      I would like to explain one other reason though behind my thinking in the example I previously listed. And believe me I could be very wrong in the reasoning I’m about to state. I do NOT think it is the intention of the current Yankees ownership to stay under MLB’s luxury tax threshold forever. I believe it’s their intention merely to get under it for 1 maybe 2 years to “reset” the luxury tax clock so to speak. If I’m correct it is much easier to them to go out in say for the 2015 or 2016 season and bump up their budget and acquire quality offensive players. In my opinion it would be much harder for them to acquire an “ACE” like Hamels because there are simply not that many of them to go around and most teams these days are locking up their “Aces” long term early in their careers. If I’m correct in my presumption the Yankees do with less offensively in my example for just the 2014 maybe the 2015 season.
      Keep in mind though come the 2015 season the Yankees as of today only have 3 long term contracts still on the books then (A-Rod $30MM, CC $25MM, and Tex $23MM) Those 3 come to about $78MM using approximate AAV’s. Add in Cano by then and Hamels in my example and that’s another $41MM about. So now the total for long term contracts for 2015 for 5 players is $119MM. That leaves about $70MM plus or minus for the Yankees come 2015 or 2016 to do what they need to do if they want to increase offense and fill out the roster. Is that enough? Probably not if their intention is to stay under the salary cap past the 2015 or 2016 seasons. But if they intend to increase their budget back up to the $200 to $210MM range where it has been over the past few years. Then yes $80 to $90MM in my opinion would be enough to build the offense back up while already having secured a starting rotation a couple of years earlier that in my opinion would be the envy of most of the MLB teams.

      Please forgive me I’ve babbled enough for now. I just really wanted to make my thinking clear. I hope you and the rest of your team understand I did not just throw up a bunch of names and dollars and throw darts at them to come up with a list that would get the Yankees under $189MM for 2014 without thinking what the next step might be. And for me that’s the Yankees increasing their budget again in the out years. I honestly think your more offensive minded philosophy (if I can call it that) and my pitching first philosophy can co-exist. I just put it off for a year or two to concentrate on pitching, because it seems like the Yankees are forever trying to upgrade or stabilize their pitching and I just wanted to put an end to that for a few years.

      Like I said, now I’m done please forgive me for babbling.

      • no thoughts if about baseball are babbling on this blog. It’s great to hear other views and than discuss them. Not everyone is always right otherwise they would have a position with baseball if the were. It’s fun to make up things like this because than you can keep them and when it becomes 2014 see how close you really are.

        • Thank you. Hopefully !/we will find out shortly after the end of the 2012 campaign whether or not the Yankees intend to pursue either Hamels OR Cain if they do hit Free Agency. Obviously I’m hoping they do.

          I kind of think to myself imagine what the Giants could have accomplished if not only they had Linncecum and Cain but had an offense like the Yankee have. Now I say to myself. Imagine what the Yankees could do even if it’s just for the next 2 years starting 2013 and 2014 with CC, Hamels or Cain, and Pineda and a still very, very potent offense with A-Rod, Tex, Cano and Granderson for 2013 and even just A-Rod, Tex and Cano and even just 1 other average bat in 2014. With some well timed rest and (Dh”ing) especially starting in 2013 and 2014 I see absolutely no reason why A-Rod still can’t be very, very productive. Again this is just my opinion but I see no reason why A-Rod can’t pound out 80plus HR’s over the next 3 years (2012/2014) and get 300 plus RBI’s over the same period.

          Like you said we will see how things play out.

      • We completely disagree philosophically. You just think that the Yankees want to reset the tax threshold where as I believe the team wants to be under the tax threshold EVERY year going forward if possible. The monetary incentives are just too good too ignore. This does not mean that in a given year they will not spend to win just that they want to win being under the tax threshold.

        Secondarily I believe teams like the Phillies, Red Sox, Angels, Yankees, and others will treat the tax threshold as a hard cap instead of a firm one. I think they will do this to put contract length on the table for the next CBA (the NBA now has contract length limits). The union will want to get rid of the luxury tax entirely or raise it substantially and teams will want to limit contract length. If that happens it would be very good for Baseball especially if all players would be able to be trade midyear in the second to last year of their multiple year deals.

        I have said over an over that there is virtually no chance the Yankees sign another starter long term too a salary over 20 million annually. This recent trade indicates they are thinking more inline with mine then yours. Cost controlled starting pitching is the only chance the Yankees have of getting and staying under the tax threshold.

        You suggest having a player in CF that has not even played long season ball so there is basically no chance of that happening. Maybe he gets a call up late that year but that is it.

        Melky is not coming back to the Yankees. He had a fluke year supported by a high babip.
        It’s very doubtful he can repeat 2011 going forward.

        You put Jeter on your team and then say you don’t think he will play in 2014. You can’t have it both ways. When I said you were at least 5 million over I was being generous.

        I agree with Fish when he says this team needs bats going forward. I think in the next 2 years 1 player will emerge from the system likely one of Almontes, Adams, Laird or Joseph. One hitter will be acquired by trade so that player likely will be a Billy Butler, Jay Bruce or Chase Headley type. This should leave just enough money to make 1 splash in free agency most likely after 2013 season. I can’t take credit for the Ellsbury idea as it was not mine but if he continues to hit like last year going forward I can easily see the Yankees going hard after him if he reaches free agency.

      • UFY…….jeez……Ken OR’s college thesis was shorter than this comment.

  8. I don’t have access to ESPN Insider. But I notice this more there is a headline on Rumors and I quote “Yanks looking to move A.J.?”

    Anyone know what that’s about in more detail?

    • no real lead. but saying if they trade him and eat half than they will have some leftover money to spend more on a DH.

      • Make sense, pretty much what we have been discussing here. That if they want to move him they are going to have to eat a good chunk of dough.. Thank you.

      • Matt, I wonder if the 3 outstanding arbitration cases for the Yankees (Martin, Gardner and Logan) will settle somewhere near the middle which tends to be the norm or go through with the process.

      • Matt – it does not make any sense at this time to try and trade Burnett. He just does not have much value in monetary relief for the Yankees. He will most likely will be the 5th starter.

        • I agree with that for a couple reason.

          1. All the money he is owed I don’t think they are ready to admit “they were wrong”

          2. AJ did show some good in the playoffs. I think Hughes can easily be the 6th man slash bullpen as he has done well their.

          I was just reporting what i read from ESPN.

  9. I don’t see the Yanks spending their money on offense in the future. I see Gardner in center in 2014 with Mason Williams in RF. The Yanks will have to sign a LFer for less than 8 million. I think most of their extta money will be spent on pitching for either Hamels or Cain. They will cost 20 million per year. That won’t leave money to keep Grandy or Swisher. They are trying to stay under 189 million in 2014. Adding it up, the Yanks can’t sign them all.

    • Thanks for the comment Rossi.

      Hamels or Cain are certainly enticing but the offense would be average at best if you go that route.

      Cano will be the only elite bat on the team. ARod will be 3 yrs older than today at 39 and so will Tex at 34. Swisher & Granderson will be gone. Martin’s bat will be gone likely replaced by Romine so that will probably be another offensive decrease.

      To count on a 22-yr old Mason Williams and only $8M for a LF and a DH to replace the 60+ HRs per yr Granderson & Swisher supplied and the lost production of older ARod & Tex and Romine taking over for Martin….that’s leaving the offense very thin.

  10. Good article by Peter Gammons explaining Cashman’s long term plans:

    The part that stood out to me:

    “The Yankees have two big-time young arms that theoretically will sometime help them stay away from the free-agent pitching market — a market so flighty that Burnett makes more than Mariano Rivera — because of their farm system.”

  11. Your right fishjam25, but thats what the Yanks need to do to get under the cap. If they go under the cap in 2014 they will only be taxed 17%, thats there goal. Gary Sanchez is projected to hit the majors by 2014, he could give them more punch. I could see the Yanks tradeing Hughes for a good young outfielder with power.

    • Amen Rossi, you hit it out of here with that last post. Good going!

    • Actually if they go under they are taxed nada. The 17% tax would be if they go over the threshold again in 2015 or later.

      I could be wrong but from what I can tell neither Mason Williams or Gary Sanchez will be ready to be starters in 2014. They are both 19 yrs old and haven’t played above Rookie ball and Low A, respectively. If both players advance well this is what I would see for them:

      2012: (20) Plays whole year in Low A Charleston
      2013: (21) Starts in High A Tampa and if he plays well gets a late bump to AA
      2014: (22) Starts in AA with late bump to AAA
      2015: (23) Starts in AAA with chance to make MLB debut if things go well

      2012: (19) Plays whole yr in High A Tampa
      2013: (20) Plays whole yr in AA Trenton
      2014: (21) Plays whole yr in AAA Scranton
      2015: (22) Starts in AAA with chance to make MLB debut

      Right now Sanchez is a worse Catcher than Montero so he’ll take a little time and IMO they should move him to another position now so he has chance to learn it. He’s athletic enough to play corner OF or 1B. Mason has a lot of filling out to do and will take time to add strength to his frame. 2015 would be the absolute earliest I’d expect either to be ready to be MLB starters.

      There are some promising bats that will be up in 2014. David Adams & Corban Joseph could be in the 3B picture while Slade Heathcott and Zoilo or Abe Almonte could be ready to play the OF. It’s possible 1 of these guys become a starter or a platoon partner but I don’t think we can count on any of them to be a difference maker offensively early in their careers.

  12. I could see Cashman signing Jorge Soler from Cuba as an obtion, or trading Hughes for a highly rated prospect like Christian Yellich of the Marlins, or Brett Jackson , Matt Szczur of the Cubs. The Yanks have the abundance of young pitching to be a good fit for teams building like the Cubs or Marlins.

    • I def want them to sign Soler and I’m not adverse to them trading Hughes if they can’t trade AJ. But they’d have to trade more than Hughes to get those types of prospects. Brett Jackson is Chicago’s top prospect. I would consider Hughes and maybe even Betances for a stud young OF ready to burst into the Majors or already in the majors.

  13. I think your under estimating Hughes, he did win 18 games in the majors 2 years ago. I’m not sure what it would take to get a prospect like Yelich or Jackson, but I know that the Yanks have the prospects and players to do it if they want.

    • I like Hughes and think he should be the 5th starter if not traded. I’ll post an article on that in next few days.

      However, he is going to turn 26 in June and coming off a terrible season that saw him come in out of shape and have a mysterious arm injury that sapped his velocity. He only has 2 years of team control left so no way would a team like Chicago or Florida give up their #1 prospects for 2 years of a Question mark.

      I’d be open to dealing Betances or just about any other prospect not named Banuelos, Mason Williams or Gary Sanchez for a big hitting OF ready to debut in the Majors. However I wouldn’t go for Brett Jackson even though he’s a promising player. He doesn’t project to hit for much average and his strengths are defense, speed and a little pop.

      I really think the Yanks need to add some guys who can stroke – hit for a high average with line drive power. The Yankee dynasty of the 90’s was filled with players like that.

      Christian Yelich fits description and is very intriguing. But he’s at least a couple of years away from the bigs and I’d ideally like a guy who’s ready to go sooner.

  14. I’m not sure teams like the Cubs and Marlins are looking for prospects in return. The Marlins are looking to upgrade now, while the Cubs are in a transition period. In a perfect world you might get a high average young hitter who also has some pop, but they are not that easy to find in this market. If the Yanks can add Cain or Hamels next year they won’t need to score as many runs to win, look at the Rays to see this is true. Both Yelich and Jackson could be similar to Gardner in their play, and his WAR was pretty good the last few years. As far as the Yankee dynasty of the 90’s goes, you might not see that again for a long time. By adding another wild card the playoffs will become more random then they already are, with interleague play and unbalanced schedules. Look at the AL West the next couple of years, the Angels and Rangers will be playing the A’s, Mariners, and Astros, 19 times

    • The Yankees really need to make a pitch for Soler and than the other cuban pitchers who are available now is the time to scoop these players up.

      Rossi what’s your take on Garcia? Keep him or see if he agrees to a trade to get something for him.

  15. Matt, I think it’s too early get rid of Garcia. In the 90’s the Yanks had 6 starters and that worked. I would take the 7 pitchers into spring training unless I could get a young outfielder in a package. Pitching tends to work itself out. CC, AJ, and Garcia have the most body of work, while Pineda, Hughes., and Nova have more upside than AJ and Garcia. Only CC is a lock with his quality and body of work. On paper right now I would go with CC,Pineda, Kuroda, Nova, and Hughes.

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