Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Musical Recommendation - Stray Heart

In honor of Green Day releasing the 2nd of their trilogy of albums this year I present you with "Stray Heart". Not sure I like the video, but the song kick's ass.

In the immortal words of Lyndsay Lohan... enjoy.

Yankees Interested In Bringing Back Ibanez

I guess his postseason heroics have overshadowed his average regular season, as the Yankees have had "preliminary discussions" about bring Raul Ibanez back next season as a platoon player.

I don't need to repeat what Lord Voldemort's younger brother did in the playoffs, but perhaps I should remind everybody that he only hit .240/.308/.453 in the regular season, and .248/.319/.492 against right-handed pitchers... the group of pitchers he'd platoon against. So I don't understand why the Yankees would bring him back, unless they were to pay him nearly half of what they did last season ($1.1 million).

Toronto Blue Jays Just Got Scary While Robbing Miami

The Toronto Blue Jays are on the brink of making a trade with the Miami Marlins that would make them a scary team for years to come. The Miami Marlins are absolutely getting robbed in this trade that would send the Jays Josh Johnson, Jose Reyes, Mark Buerhle, Emilio Bonifacio, and John Buck for Yunel Escobar, Adeiny Hechavarria, Jake Marisnick, Jeff Mathis, and Anthony Desclafani. The Toronto Blue Jays just got light years better in the American League East and the Miami Marlins just cleared an insane amount of payroll. The Marlins will pay $4 million of the salaries that are sent to the Jays and that raises their overall 2013 payroll to a meager $20 million. What a difference an off season makes.

Melvin & Johnson 2012 Managers Of The Year

Oakland A's skipper Bob Melvin and Washington Nationals skipper Davey Johnson won the American League and National League Manager of the Year Awards tonight on MLB Network. I personally had Buck Schowalter winning this in the American League, seen HERE,  and it was close but at the end of the day either man deserved to win. Congratulations to them!!

My personal predictions are 3/4 so far so we will see how I do in the Cy Young voting tomorrow on MLB Network at 6:00 pm ET.

Understanding The New CBA & 2014 Luxury Tax Plan

Brien Jackson and It's About The Money Stupid had a guest reader make an absolutely great post explaining the new CBA, the luxury tax, the refunds associated with the 2014 plan, and much more pertaining to the Yankees. It is an absolutely amazing and much appreciated post and I just had to share it. Thank you to IATMS, Brien, and guest reader "jerkface" for the post. You can see the post HERE.

This offseason & the following offseason there will be a lot of talk about the $189 million payroll limit that the Yankees will try to get under by 2014 and the impact that it has on the moves the team will make.  A lot of people are unclear as to what this limit really means, so I thought I would write this to help educate fans on how the limit is calculated & how the current Yankee team is impacted by those calculations.
The CBA & Luxury Tax Calculations
The Collective Bargaining Agreement signed by the MLBPA & Ownership is what governs the interactions between players & management in Major League Baseball.  Last offseason a new CBA was signed which introduced new wrinkles into the luxury tax agreement that has the Yankees attempting to get under the limit for the first time in a decade.  Here are the basics:
  1. The luxury tax limit for 2013 is $178,000,000.  For 2014-2016 it is $189,000,000.
  2. There is a new revenue sharing refund program which forces teams who are in the 15 largest markets to refund their revenue sharing if they were eligible in increasing proportions until they refund 100% in 2016.  The Yankees pay around 27.5% of all revenue sharing each season, and would get some of that back thanks to the disqualification program.  The teams who are going to pay back as of now are the Athletics, Braves, Nationals, and Blue Jays.  They receive around 23% of all revenue sharing.
  3. The amount of refunded money the Yankees receives is based on how many consecutive years they have crossed the luxury tax threshold.  100% if they were not over the limit in the previous year. 75% if this year is the 2nd year they have gone over the limit. 50% if this year is the 3rd they have gone over the limit. 25% if this year is the 4th year they have gone over the limit. 0% if this year is the 5th (or more) year they have gone over the limit.  If the Yankees did not go over the luxury tax for 2014-2016 they would receive 11.65% of their revenue sharing back in 2014, 17.47% in 2015, and 23.3% in 2016.  This assumes the same teams above will continue to receive revenue sharing.
  4. The payroll value used to check against the luxury tax limit is not simply the sum of the team’s season contract values.  Payroll figures like those found on ESPN or COTS MLB Contracts are not the number that is used to determine payroll.  Payroll is the sum of: 1 year contract values of everyone on the 40 man roster, the annual average value of multi-year contracts including bonuses/player options/buy outs of non-player options, cash considerations from trades, single season salary escalators or bonuses (such as MVP bonuses/games played bonuses), any amount deductible or includible based on specific player events, and a 1/30th share of player benefits.
  5. Beginning in 2013, the amount of luxury tax a team pays will be changed to the following: 17.5% for first time offenders, 30% for second, 40% for third, 50% for fourth or more.  A team which did not go over in the previous year will reset to the 17.5% amount if they go over again.  This tax is only paid on the marginal overage, meaning if your payroll as calculated above is 190 you would pay tax on the $1 million not $190 million.
  6. The 1/30th share of player benefits is $10,799,590 for 2013, and will increase or stay the same for 2014.

How the Yankees will be looking at 2014
If you read and understand the above, you can see there is definitely incentive for the Yankees to get under the limit if their goal is to increase profits.  They will not only get the savings from simply reducing payroll, but also from paying reduced or no luxury tax and from potential revenue sharing rebates.
Unfortunately for the Yankees, the $189,000,000 goal will be difficult for the team to get under without some very shrewd maneuvering and getting a bingo on a minor league prospect or three.  The 2014 Yankee club, as viewed through a luxury tax lens, looks like the following:
Team must be at or under $189,000,000 for entire season costs
Alex Rodriguez -$27,500,000 (Average Annual Value of contract)
Mark Teixeira -$22,500,000 (Average Annual Value of Contract)
CC Sabathia -$23,875,000 (Average Annual Value of Contract [Original + Extension])
Player Benefits -$10,799,590 (Or more!)

Remaining budget room: $104,325,410

These are known costs, but there is 1 more cost that will definitely factor in to 2014.  It is variable.  If Derek Jeter accepts his player option for 2014 he will cost $15,500,000 (14 AAV+1.5 silver slugger bonus).  If Derek Jeter declines his option, he will count as $9,000,000 for 2014, due to the rules of the CBA.  Derek Jeter’s $8 million player option for 2014 counts as a guaranteed year and is included in the AAV calculation, which lowered the AAV of Jeter’s deal from $16mm to $14mm.  The Yankees will owe $2mm each in back pay for 2011, 2012, and 2013.  They will also owe $3mm for his buyout.

Without doing anything significant via trade, the Yankees 2014 operating budget will be either$88,825,410 or $95,325,410 depending on what Jeter does.  This does not include anyone in arbitration or minor leaguers on the 40 man roster.

Can the Yankees fit ~21 players under that salary amount while still competing for the playoffs?

Pineda Cleared To Continue Throwing Program By Dr's

Michael Pineda has been throwing off of flat ground in his rehab from major shoulder surgery that kept him out of baseball for the 2012 season. He went for a check up with team doctors yesterday and was cleared to continue his throwing program so good signs all around. We will not see Pineda before June of next season and that may still be a little optimistic but any sign of progress is encouraging at this stage in the game.

Robinson Cano Becomes A U.S. Citizen

Robinson Cano on WhoSay
One would think that in the off season Robinson Cano would be worried about whether or not to sign a contract extension with the Yankees or let his current contract expire and head to free agency next season. Instead Robby has been getting his US citizenship so congratulations to him. Robinson is 30 years old and was born in the Dominican Republic but now is a United States citizen! Welcome aboard Robbie!

Yankees Willing To Go 2 Years On Rafael Soriano

The Yankees seem to be giving out nothing but one year contracts this off season before the 2014 luxury tax threshold budget is put into place next season unless your name is Rafael Soriano. The Yankees thinking is that they will have an immediate and proven successor for Mariano Rivera if and when he retires after the 2013 season. It makes sense and I am all for it, especially if the money is right. I could not see Soriano signing a two year deal unless it is loaded with options and opt out clauses again and even then it may be a stretch but the MLB off season was made for hopes and dreams, especially in November.

Award Week : Manager Of The Year Prediction

American League Finalists:

Buck Schowalter - BAL
Robin Ventura - CHW
Bob Melvin - OAK

As much as I hate to admit it Buck Schowalter did an absolutely amazing job with very little this season in Baltimore. It seems like he got the best out of anyone and everyone the GM through at him. Guys like Nate McClouth and Joe Saunders led the team down to the very last day of the season with the big bad Yankees. Bob Melvin may win this and frankly he probably should after winning the AL West with the second lowest payroll in baseball but the whole West Coast bias and the American League East will come into effect in my opinion. Not to take anything away from Robin Ventura but his team did not even make the playoffs and with that payroll they frankly should have. Joe Girardi should have been on this ballot before Robin Ventura was but maybe the #homer is coming out in me again. 

National League Finalists:

Davey Johnson - WASH
Dusty Baker - CIN
Bruce Bochy - SF

I know it is going to be a hard sell for the World Series winning manager from San Francisco, Bruce Bochy, to not win the Manager of the Year award but hear me out. I know that Bruce Bochy did what he did with a struggling Tim Lincecum and without his closer in Brian Wilson, I get it, but what Davey Johnson did is better in my opinion. He took a reasonably young team and rode the backs of the Bryce Harpers, the Stephen Strasburghs, the Ryan and Jordan Zimmermans, the Drew Storens, the Tyler Clippards, etc and not only won the National League East but took their Division Series to the brink with big hits and well managed games. 

Hiroki Kuroda Potential Draft Pick Compensation

Let's just start by saying that I absolutely want Hiroki Kuroda in pinstripes for one more season and have no qualms about giving him any dollar amount that he wants on a one year deal. With that said I still find it necessary to look at what we could potentially get in draft pick compensation should Kuroda leave and sign with someone else. The teams reported to be interested in Kuroda, besides his Japanese Hiroshima Carp team, are the Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, and other "various teams." If I had to purely speculate on the "other teams" I would say teams like St. Louis Cardinals to replace Kyle Lohse, Baltimore Orioles, the Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers, Chicago White Sox, and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Boston Red Sox - 7th Pick
Pittsburgh Pirates - 14th Pick
Chicago White Sox - 18th pick
Los Angeles Dodgers - 19th Pick
St. Louis Cardinals - 20th Pick
Detroit Tigers - 21st Pick
Baltimore Orioles - 24th Pick
Texas Rangers - 25th Pick

Baltimore.... I Say No!!!
Again I want to start this off by saying that I fully expect him to be with the Yankees next season and I want him in pinstripes next season no matter what the fiscal cost as long as it is on a one year deal. The only other conceivable MLB team I could see him going to would be the Dodgers but one would have to think that after winning the posting on Hyun-Jin Ryu that they would not be willing to commit much more money on their pitching staff. Then again Magic Johnson and his crew do not seem to care much about the money they are throwing around so you never know. This would make an insane amount of sense for the Boston Red Sox to sign Kuroda because they would not lose their first pick, 7th overall, because it would be protected and instead lose their second round pick to sign Kuroda. Add on top of that the salt in the wound that he would switch jerseys in the rivalry and I can see real motivation by Cherington and co. The Pirates have the 9th overall pick as well in this draft but it is protected and compensation for not signing last years first round pick Mark Appell so I did not bother including it on the list. This would be a perfect fit for the Pirates as it would give them a veteran arm at the top of the rotation to pitch with AJ Burnett and would fit in with their fiscal responsibilities but I could not see Kuroda going there so I guess we will just have to wait and see how this unfolds.