Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Official 25 Man Roster


CC Sabathia
Hiroki Kuroda
Phil Hughes
Ivan Nova
Freddy Garcia

Mariano Rivera
David Robertson
Rafael Soriano
Boone Logan
Cory Wade
Clay Rapada
David Phelps

Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Robinson Cano 2B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Nick Swisher RF
Raul Ibanez DH
Russell Martin C
Brett Gardner LF

Andruw Jones OF
Eduardo Nunez SS
Eric Chavez 3B
Chris Stewart C

A Flurry Of Activity Before Final Rosters Set

UPDATE:  Yankees signed 29 yr old SP Ramon Ortiz to a minor league deal after he was cut yesterday from the SF Giants.

Today the Yankees have made a bunch of roster moves before officially setting their final rosters, expected to be announced at 5:00 pm ET today.

The Yankees traded 27 year old left handed starting pitcher George Kontos to the San Francisco Giants for their back up catcher, and former Scranton Wilkes-Barre catcher, Chris Stewart. This was a baffling move because we already have Francisco Cervelli set to back up Russell Martin. Cervelli has options left and Stewart does not so Cervelli was sent down to Empire State to provide depth for the injured Austin Romine down in AAA.

I understand that we basically "had" to trade Kontos because he trade value was not going to get any higher, he is out of options, was only holding a spot in AAA that could be used for someone useful to the majors soon, and was not going to make the big club. I understand , and for the record I think we stole Chris Stewart if all we had to give up was George Kontos, but I do not understand why we made the move. Im not exactly convinced that the move made us THAT much better and I also find it hard to believe that SF was the only suitor for Kontos. This is one of those deals you do not get terribly upset by but you do not understand at the same time. Maybe Cervelli's injury history was a concern and the Yankees wanted to strike while the iron was hot.

The Yankees also designated Justin Maxwell for assignment today. The Yanks hands were basically tied as he was having a great Spring Training and Maxwell was out of options. As much as I would love to have Maxwell stashed down in AAA I am excited to see if he can finally put it all together on another team. There is absolutely no chance that he comes back to the Yankees so let me be the first to say (on this site, lol) Thank You Justin Maxwell.

Bill Hall did NOT have an opt out clause on his minor league contract with the Yankees but the Yankees released him today anyway, per his request, after not making the big league club. His hopes were to make the big league club and still hopes to latch onto someone else's big league club. I am disappointed that he did not make the team because after following him on twitter I learned that he was overly excited to be a Yankee and had worked hard all spring to elongate his career, lose weight, and do everything he can to improve his defense, speed, stolen bases, and hitting attack. He is genuinely a good guy and I hope he latches on with a big league club soon.

Spring Training Ends With A Win

oday was the last day of Spring Training, finally, and the Yankees went out the way then went in... with a win. The Yankees topped the Mets today by the score of 8-3 behind a solid outing from Freddy Garcia and the return of recently un-retired Andy Pettitte.

Freddy Garcia gave up a three run home run to Mets stand out Ike Davis in the third inning, the only runs that Garcia would allow on the day. Pitching 4.2 IP he allowed four hits, racked up four strike outs, and walked two batters. He will make his first start of the season next Tuesday against the Baltimore Orioles as our 5th starter.

Andy Pettitte came into the game in the 6th inning to a standing ovation, which was a great gesture even if it was in George Steinbrenner Field. After allowing a single to the first batter he faced to Corey Vaughn, who was later caught stealing by Russell Martin, Andy retired his next two batters to pitch a quick and harmless scoreless frame.

Francisco Cervelli hit a two run home run today en route to the Yankees win. The Yankees will take the day tomorrow to have a work out day and will start their regular season on Friday, April 6th, at 3:10 pm ET against the Tampa Bay Rays down in Tampa St. Pete. CC Sabathia will be making his fourth start for the bombers on opening day and will face James Shields.

The quest for #28 begins now...

Circumventing The Luxury Tax

The Greedy Pinstripes is going to be making some minor changes when the 25-man/Active Roster is announced later today (it's due to 5:00pm EST). While getting ready for that change I decided to do some digging to figure out some things regarding the team payroll.

You see, I wasn't 100% sure about how options and extensions affected the average annual value of a player's contract. For example, when CC Sabathia signed the extension at the end of last season, then what was the new AAV? Over at River Avenue Blues they believed that the new deal just took over, meaning you'd go by the 5 year/$122 million contract. But that didn't seem right to me, as that doesn't make the new contract an extension at all. If CC had opted out and the Yankees re-signed him to that 5 year deal, then it would make sense. What about the options for Nick Swisher and Robinson Cano? Is the option year treated as a whole different contract, or is that option year simply added onto the current contact as I believed? After all, if the buyout to those option years was figured into the AAV before, why wouldn't the option year be included into that contract when it was picked up? Well, I ended up stumbling upon information that was very interesting.

For starters, it turns out that option years are included with the rest of the contract. Therefore, Nick Swisher's AAV is not $10.25 million, it is $6 million, based on his deal now being 6 years and $36 million. This is what happened to Marco Scutaro's contract with the Boston Red Sox, which you can read about here. Also, Robinson Cano's AAV is not $14 million, it's $8.8 million, based on his deal now being 5 years and $44 million.

Something I hadn't expected to find dealt wiith Derek Jeter's contract, and average annual value. I figured all options were treated the same, meaning that the year of the option didn't count until the option was exercised, however the buyout for that option was figured into the AAV. It turns out different types of options are treated differently according to how it affects the Luxury Tax. While club and vesting options are figured in like how I originally thought, player and mutual options are treated as "guaranteed years". So we are to treat Derek Jeter's 2014 player option as a guaranteed year, therefore it's not an AAV of $17 million based on a contract of 3 years and $51 million, it's an AAV of $14 million based on a contract of 4 years and $56 million ($51m - $3m buyout + $8 million 2014 salary).

Now we get to my favorite part.

Luxury Tax rules stipulate that if an extension is signed before the current deal expires (the expiration date is Opening Day of the last year of the contract), then the years and money "spent" from the old deal are consolidated into the years and money of the new deal. Here are two of the bigger examples I ran into...

Philadelphia extended Ryan Howard before the 2010 season started, thus making it so his old deal affected the AAV of his new deal. Howard's deal before the extension was agreed to was for 3 years and $54 million (an AAV of $18 million), for the years of 2009 through 2011. Howard's new deal was worth 5 years and $125 million (an AAV of $25 million), for the years 2012-2016. Therefore, according to the Luxury Tax, his current contract is now a 6 year deal worth $153 million (The old deal made the AAV of 2010 $18m, plus the years of 2012-2016 at an AAV of $25 million each, and finally add the $10 million buyout of the club option for 2017). This ended up costing the team more towards the Luxury Tax threshold in 2010, but less towards the Luxury Tax threshold in 2011-2016. This made sense for the team as the Luxury Tax threshold was $170 million in 2010, while the team was only at $142 million on Opening Day. Therefore they had no reason to worry about the AAV of Howard's contract being a bit higher in 2010, as they wouldn't reach that $170 million mark anyway (unless they made a huge splash during the season with a signing/trade). Philly could instead look and see that the AAV for Howard's contract would be lower in each of the remaining 5 seasons, making it a bit easier for them.

The case of the Boston Red Sox and Adrian Gonzalez is the opposite of the Phillies and Ryan Howard. Boston extended Gonzalez after the 2011 season started, thus making it so his old deal did not affect the AAV of his new deal. Adrian's old deal, which he signed with the San Diego Padres, was for 4 years and $9.5 million, which is an AAV of $2.375 million. This was important to the Sox because of the Luxury Tax threshold for 2011 being $178 million, and the team already looking at an Opening Day payroll of $161 million. Boston didn't want to sign a new deal that would dramatically raise the AAV of Gonzalez's deal, because that would mean they reached the threshold and cost themselves a lot of money in luxury tax penalties. Adrian's new deal with Boston was for 7 years and $154 million, an AAV of $22 million, so you can see why the team did what they did... waiting until after Opening Day of 2011 to make the extension official. The move ended up making the AAV of Adrian's deal more for 2012 and beyond, but they would cross that bridge when they came to it, rather than taking the sure hit in 2011.

This is exciting as it shows us how the Yankees could re-sign Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson, while keeping each player's AAV down a bit.

Robbie's current AAV is $8.8 million, which is an absolute steal for the Yankees as Fangraphs put Cano's value the last three years at $19.1 million, $26 million, and $25.2 million. However Cano is due for a contract of like 8 years worth upwards of $184 million (an AAV of $23 million), and that may be a low estimate. The AAV of Cano's deal would go from $8.8 million to $23 million. That could hurt. But if the Yankees sign Cano before Opening Day of the last year of his contract (which would be 2013, assuming the team exercises his 2013 option at the end of this season), then that old AAV would affect the new AAV. So say Robbie and the Yankees agree to an extension worth 8 years and $184 million (no options), and it's done before Opening Day of 2013 (after the option was already picked up at the end of the 2012 season). That would make the new deal worth 9 years and $192.8 million ($8.8 million for 2013, added to the $184 million for 2014-2021), which is an AAV of $21.42 million. It's not a huge difference in AAV, but every little bit is going to matter when it comes to the $189 million threshold in 2014 and 2015.

What about Curtis Granderson? Well say Granderson and the Yankees agree to an extension worth 4 years and $68 million (no options) before Opening Day of 2013 (he has an option for 2013 that would need to be excercised at the end of the 2012 season). That would make his new deal actually 5 years and $74.05 million ($6.05 million for 2013, added to the $68 million for 2014-2017), which is an AAV of $14.81 million. Only a little more than Cano's extension would save, but again... every little bit counts.

If you add up the savings by extending Cano and Granderson before Opening Day of 2013 (and after each of their options were exercised), the team could save a total of $3.77 million towards the Luxury Tax threshold. Not a lot of money, but since the team is going to be cutting it close already, that $3.77 million savings could make a big difference.

Meet A Prospect : Nick Swisher Edition

Nick Swisher was born on November 25th 1980 in Columbus Ohio. Swisher is the son of former catcher Steve Swisher who played in carious National League teams in parts of  the 70's and 80's. After his parents divorced when he was 11 years old he went to live with his grandmother, who he claims to be the closest person to him. Swisher honors his grandparent, who are now both passed away, by looking up into the sky before every single pitch. We all in Yankee land and The Greedy Pinstripes thank her for that because without her we might not have had Nick Swisher to be talking about in our next edition of Meet A Prospect, the special edition.

Swisher was a two sport star in Parkersburg High School, where he played both football in baseball and Swisher also lettered in basketball. After being recruited as a Strong Safety by many team, including Notre Dame, he decided to quit football and pursue his baseball career. He was not selected in the draft after his high school years so Swisher decided to go to College at Ohio State University.

At Ohio State he was named Big 10 Freshmen of the Year in 2000 and was a All Big 10 selection in his Sophmore season of 2001 while leading the league with 15 home runs. After his college career he was drafted by the Oakland A's in the first round of the 2002 MLB First Year Players draft using a compensation pick for losing Johnny Damon in free agency. Swisher was the first draft class that the popular term "moneyball" was used in as Swisher was one of the few players that sabermetric heads and traditional scouts could agree on.

Swisher had a minor league career that was pretty much run of the mill to be completely honest. His own shining star was his 102 walks, which led the league, in the 2005 minor league season. Swisher made his major league debut in September of 2004. 

Swisher has done okay as a major leaguer with his shining achievement being his World Series ring he now wears from the Yankees 2009 World Series team and his sole all star selection in 2010 for the Yankees. He also married television Actress, and hottie (see in Yankees wives and girlfriends section of the site), Joanna Garcia. All the time he still had time to have his own foundation called "Swish's Wishes", which I highly recommend everyone check out, that helps children who are facing medical crises.  

Be sure to check back in tomorrow when we cover God Mariano Rivera , who is our next superstar in the special edition Meet A Prospect series.

Who Wants Free Yankees Tickets?

One of our latest partners and friends, Metro Commuter Network (MCN), is offering up a chance for one lucky Greedy Pinstripes reader to win a pair of Yankees tickets for the game against the Angels on April 13th PLUS  free Yankees themed gift basket. In the basket you get the two Yankees tickets, valued at $350, one matted and framed print of the original Yankee Stadium one XL official Yankee T SHirt, one official Yankees baseball hat, one sport bottle, and one tote bag. All pictured below!

Of course these guys are not going to just GIVE you the tickets, you are going to have to work for it a little. For everyone that goes to the website,, and signs up for an account gets one free entry. For two free additional entries you can go to their FACEBOOK page and "like" them and you can also go to their TWITTER page and follow them for the other entries.

The contest starts at 12:00 AM ET on April 4th (today.... now) and ends at 11:00 pm ET on April 10th so I would suggest all to go ahead and sign up now while reading this so you do not forget and let this opportunity pass you by. On April 10th one lucky Greedy Pinstripes reader will win the tickets and be notified by email so make sure you are using a real email address and not a fake one. Good luck to everyone and I am officially jealous of who ever wins!