Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Carlos Beltran & Yankees Will Have Mutual Interest For '14

It is only the championship rounds in this years playoffs and we are already talking about free agents that the Yankees are reportedly linked to and free agents that are interested in playing for the Yankees. The Yankees and Carlos Beltran are said to have mutual interest in each other for the 2014 season. This is odd to me as the Yankees already have Vernon Wells and Ichiro Suzuki set to split time in right field but the Yankees may be gearing up to get greedy, I like it, after missing the playoffs in 2013.

Beltran can obviously handle the New York media as he spent time with the New York Mets and his switch hitting power bat would be a welcomed addition to the middle of the lineup. Also his clutch post season hitting would be welcomed on any team, especially the Yankees. What else would the Yankees need to know to sign Beltran for his age 37 season in 2014 and presumably his age 38 season for 2015.

A Carlos Beltran signing would all but end Curtis Granderson's time with the Yankees and would probably prevent us from even entertaining giving him a qualifying offer. The good news is Ichiro is still able to play center field and naturally left field so he would be able to fit in on the bench. The Yankees could also DH Alfonso Soriano and make room for everyone so this deal could make sense on a whole lot of levels for both Beltran and the Yankees.

JR Murphy Ranks 18th On Eastern League Top 20 List

Baseball America released its latest Top 20 prospects list this time covering the Eastern League where one familiar face made the list in JR Murphy. Murphy was ranked as the highest ranking catcher in the list and was ranked at #18 overall. We saw four Boston Red Sox including Xander Bogarts, four Pittsburgh Pirates including Jameson Taillon, and three Minnesota Twins including Josmil Pinto in the top 20, Murphy was the only Yankees player to make the list.

Murphy hit .268/.352/.421 with six home runs in AA before being called up to AAA and not missing a beat. Murphy hit .270/.342/.430 in AAA with six more home runs. Now Murphy will be vying for a starting job or a big league spot in 2014 after a breakout 2013 season.

Can the Yankees get under the luxury tax threshold?

If the Yankees don’t make it under the 2014 Luxury Tax threshold, their luxury tax rate could be 50% but can they get under the magical $189 million figure?

In a recent interview, Hal Steinbrenner, basically came out and said that getting under the threshold is a nice to do, not necessarily a need to do. The big thing for the Yankees is that they need to compete in the postseason and add to their 27 World Series titles. Now, given the performance this year which, at times was mediocre at best and sometimes just downright lousy, has the focus shifted from staying under the threshold to competing at any cost? Earlier this year, we were told that the key thing next year is for the Yankees to be under the threshold but with Hal’s comments, who knows how true this is anymore.

Do we want to see the Yankees winning in October again? Of course we do! Do we want to see that happen at the expense of a huge luxury tax bill again? I’m not so sure. All the Yankees have to do is get under the threshold in 2014 and the whole thing will be reset to 17.5%.

Sounds easy right? Well it may not be as easy as hoped.

The Yankees have 3 players who will definitely (I’m betting that Jeter will NOT retire this offseason) be bumping up the payroll in 2014:

Jeter – $9.5 million option 
Sabathia – $23 million 
Teixeira – $22.5 million

They also have A-Rod who may or may not be included in the figures. If he is then the Yankees will have $80 million tied up in 4 players (none of whom made it through the entire 2013 season unscathed).

If we add Wells, Soriano and Ichiro to the above figure, we look at $95 million and this increases to roughly $110 million when the arbitration guys get factored in.

The rumours now are also that the Yankees could be prepared to bid big on Masahiro Tanaka when he becomes available. Having seen what Yu Darvish got from the Rangers ($5.5 million in year 1), if the Yankees do decide to go big on Tanaka, then it will be increasingly difficult to get under the threshold. Throw into the mix, the Yankees 2 biggest free agents of the offseason, Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson, who could achieve in the region of $40 million between them (I’m working on $25 million for Cano and $15 million for Granderson), and the figure is already $150 million! That leaves just $39 million to finish filling the 40 man roster and maybe make a bid on Tanaka! Oh, I forgot to mention…Hiroki Kuroda would attract a qualifying offer this year of $14.1 million, which would be a pay cut but it is unclear whether he would take this. It is also unclear whether the Yankees will attempt to re-sign him but if they do, even at $14.1 million, there’s another large chunk of money gone.

$39 million (or $25 million if Kuroda were to be re-signed and accept the qualifying offer) only really allows for 1 or maybe 2 big name free agent signings and pretty much decimates the remaining budget to fill the 40 man roster. The Yankees could really benefit from another couple of starting pitchers (maybe Tanaka and Garza?) and a decent catcher (Brian McCann anybody?) as Chris Stewart and Austin Romine haven’t proven to be the most reliable catchers in the major leagues. This would more or less end up blowing the budget though

This situation wouldn’t be so bad, if the Yankees farm system was better but at the moment, there aren’t a great deal of prospects coming through that are likely to aid the Yankees postseason run in 2014. We have traded away a lot of prospects in the past couple of years and it now appears that this has come back to bite us.

In my opinion, the threshold is going to be breached if Hal has anything to do with it. It is more than likely that the Yankees will need to spend in order to make the improvements necessary to get to the playoffs next year but this will come at a cost. With the luxury tax rate not being reset, it is likely to cost the Yankees more in the long term if we sign current young players who become eligible for free agency in the next 3-5 years time. The big examples of this are Mike Trout and Bryce Harper who are likely to be commanding mega contracts if/when they hit the market.

This may all be a bit of a moot point if A-Rod ends up having to take a suspension for all of next year as this would free up $25 million dollars in the Yankees budget and allow some more wiggle room. Ultimately though, this situation really highlights the need to improve the farm system and aim to develop some of the players we already have. Maybe for now, we should look to the medium term (2015 and beyond) and not focus on the short term gain we MIGHT get by blowing the budget and signing a few more big names. If we focus on the medium term and do everything possible to get the tax rate reset, we will be in a much better position going forward and potentially could be even more successful without hurting the pocket so much.

Nuno struggles in first AFL start

Vidal Nuno gave up 4 runs (2 earned) in just 2.2 innings of work last night as the Scorpions lost their fourth straight game to the Mesa Solar Sox, 7-6. Nuno took the loss in this one, which he really couldn't have deserved more. 

Brett Gerrittse, the only other Yankee pitcher who threw in this game, wasn't that good either, giving up a run in his one inning of work. As for the hitters, outfielder Mason Williams went 0-for-5 with an RBI and infielder Tyler Austin went 2-for-4 with an RBI. With this loss, the Scorpions are now just 1-4 on the season, last in the AFL East. 

Robinson Cano 2013 Highlights

Look back at Robinson Cano's 2013 highlights as a New York Yankee

This Day In New York Yankees History 10/15

On this day in 1923 New York got their first World Series championship of their storied career in the first all New York World Series. The New York Yankees beat the New York Giants in six games with a 6-4 victory. The Yankees scored five runs in the eight inning to clinch the title.

On this day in 1964 Yankees second basemen Bobby Richardson set a World Series record by playing in his 30th consecutive World Series game. Richardson also shares the record for hits at the time with 13, RBI's with 12,  and eight runs scored in the seven game Fall Classic.

On this day in 2001 the Yankees became the first team to ever come from behind a 2-0 series deficit to win a best of five ALDS. The Yankees beat the Oakland A's 5-3 on this day to move on to the ALCS.