Thursday, January 31, 2013

2014 Sans ARod



In a post of mine last Friday I looked ahead to 2014, to see what the Yankees roster could look like after that offseason. With the news that the Yankees are trying to find a way to nullify the remaining 5 years and $114 million on Alex Rodriguez's contract, I thought I'd have a little fun and see what the team could do with that much more money to spend. But, before I do that, let me just say this...

ARod is not going anywhere for at least 5 more years. I see no way Major League Baseball will allow the Yankees to void his contract and wash their hands of the most overpaid player in all of professional sports (that may be an exaggeration, but sadly not by much). It would be the type of thing the Player's Union would fight tooth and nail, which could lead to a lengthy legal battle. I hope I'm wrong, but I'm certainly not counting on it.

That doesn't mean I can't play fantasy General Manager, though. Before I start my spending spree, let's take a look at who the Yankees will already have around after the 2013 season...

I won't need Cashman's ninja gear for this exercise.

C - Austin Romine $500,000
1B - Mark Teixeira $22.5 million
2B - Robinson Cano $23 million (for the 1,937th time... I think he's re-signed, and I'm thinking 9 years/$207 million)
3B -                                                
SS - Derek Jeter $14 million (exercises his player option)
LF - Ichiro Suzuki $6.5 million
CF - Brett Gardner $4 million (arbitration 3, after a raise from $2.85m in 2013)
RF -
DH -

BE - Francisco Cervelli $1.5 million (arbitration 1.... this was tough as I had to go by the fact that Jarrod Saltalamacchia got $2.5m in 2012 from Boston)
BE - Eduardo Nunez $500,000
BE - Tyler Austin $500,000
BE -

SP1 - CC Sabathia $22.125 million
SP2 -
SP3 - Michael Pineda $2 million (arbitration 1... Hughes got $2.7m in 1st year of arbitration in 2011)
SP4 -
SP5 - David Phelps $500,000

CL - David Robertson $5 million (arbitration 3... Robertson will receive $3.55m-$2.85m in 2013, and got $1.6m in 2012)
SU -
RP - Mark Montgomery $500,000
RP - Clay Rapada $1.5 million (arbitration 1... Logan got $1.2 million in his 2nd yr of arbitration)
RP - Chase Whitley $500,000
RP - Ivan Nova $2 million (arbitration 1... Hughes got $2.7m in 1st year of arbitration in 2011)
RP -

15 Players not on Active Roster ~$3 million

TOTAL: $110.125 Million

That total doesn't include bonuses and the Yankees’ portion of the league’s player benefits that are added to the team's total payroll. That amount is expected to be in the neighborhood of $12 million for 2014. So that $110.125 total immediately jumps to $122.125.

That leaves us with about $66.875 million to spend in 2014, in order to stay at or under the $189 million Luxury Tax threshold.

The first hole I'm going to look at is the DH one. While it's unlikely the Yankees have a guy currently in the organization that could fill that role, I'm going to go out on a limb and say otherwise. I'm going to pencil in the name Ronnier Mustelier. Although I included Ronnier on the roster in my last article, I didn't say much about him beyond the fact he could play a little third base to give ARod some rest. With ARod out of the picture, then Ronnier could fill in in the outfield... where he's play the vast majority of his Minor League games. I can also see him hitting .280 and cracking 15-20 home runs a season.

"Yeah, I can be that guy."

Like in that article last Friday, I see the Yankees trading for Corey Hart mid-season, and then signing him to a 3 year/$36 million contract at the end of the season. Corey has a good amount of right-handed power, can hit for a decent batting average, and would be available at a non-premium price unlike a player such as Jacoby Ellsbury (assuming he bounces back from his freak shoulder injury, and hits like he did in 2011). And that non-premium price includes a contract short enough that we'd miss out on his big decline years.

I also see the Yankees re-signing Joba Chamberlain. With Mariano Rivera on his way to retirement after this season (I haven't seen it reported, but I'm assuming this is it for the G.O.A.T.), the bullpen is going to need some work. David Robertson, I believe, could be the next closer for the team. Mark Montgomery could be that guy, but I'm not sure he'll be ready to step right into that position in 2014. The same could be said about Mark for the set-up role, which is where I see Joba after returning to the Bronx on a 3 year/$12 million contract.

One of the holes I see on the team is at starting pitcher, in this case the #4 spot. It would be great if Manny Banuelos or Dellin Betances could bounce back this season and be ready to step into the Yankees rotation, but I'm not feeling too good about that. And I'm not the biggest fan of prospects anyway, so I'm going to say the Yankees should look into re-signing Phil Hughes on a contract of about 5 years and $45 million. I'm not saying Hughes is going to start blowing people away, and winning 18 games a season like he did in 2010, but I can see him being a solid starter in the bottom part of the rotation. And with my plans for the second starting pitcher, I think the rotation could be in really good shape.

That second pitcher I just alluded to is the same guy I talked about in my previous post about the 2014 roster. That man is Tim Lincecum. If you want to read my thoughts about the current Giants pitcher then here again is the link to that article, in which I say plenty about The Freak.

The last big free agent signing I'm going to sign on for is for Martin Prado for 5 years and $80 million (this might need to go 6 years, which could be an option). Prado will be 30 years old when he's a free agent after the 2013 season, and would likely command a 5 year deal, which would mean the team that signs him could avoid the bigger decline players tend to see after their age 35 seasons. I can also see Prado hitting for a .290 batting average and on-base percentage of .350. It would be nice if Martin continues to run like he did in 2012, when he swiped 17 bags, too. Add in some versatility to his defense, as he's played a significant amount of time at second base and in the outfield, and I think he'd make a really good signing to fill the hole left by Alex Rodriguez.

Raise your hand if you want to be a Yankee.

After the team uses some younger players already in the organization to fill a couple of remaining holes, like in the bullpen, this is the team I would put on the field in 2014...

C - Austin Romine $500,000
1B - Mark Teixeira $22.5 million
2B - Robinson Cano $23 million
3B - Martin Prado $16 million
SS - Derek Jeter $14 million
LF - Ichiro Suzuki $6.5 million
CF - Brett Gardner $4 million
RF - Corey Hart $11 million
DH - Ronnier Mustelier $500,000

BE - Francisco Cervelli $1.5 million
BE - Eduardo Nunez $500,000
BE - Tyler Austin $500,000
BE - Pre-Arbitration Player $500,000

SP1 - CC Sabathia $22.125 million
SP2 - Tim Lincecum $23 million
SP3 - Michael Pineda $2 million
SP4 - Phil Hughes $9 million
SP5 - David Phelps $500,000

CL - David Robertson $5 million
SU - Joba Chamberlain $4 million
RP - Mark Montgomery $500,000
RP - Clay Rapada $1.5 million
RP - Chase Whitley $500,000
RP - Pre-Arbitration Player $500,000
RP - Pre-Arbitration Player $500,000

With the remaining 15 players filling out the 40-man roster, who will make about $3 million combined, along with the $12 million that includes bonuses and the Yankees’ portion of the league’s player benefits, the total payroll for 2014 would be $185.125 million.

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