Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Alex Rodriguez Suspension Could Be Key Next Year

While thinking about what the team could look like next season, and keeping in mind the team's desire to get payroll under the Luxury Tax threshold, I decided to crunch some numbers.

This is a bit dirty, but it should give you a good idea of what we're looking at.

The Yankees already have seven players under contract through the 2014 season. Those players are Alex Rodriguez, Vernon Wells, Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia, Derek Jeter, Alfonso Soriano, and Ichiro Suzuki.

The team is looking at having seven players that will be arbitration eligible. I'm keeping Brent Lillibridge off of this list, for the simple reason that I don't see a place for him on the team. That gives us Brett Gardner, Jayson Nix, Francisco Cervelli, Michael Pineda, Ivan Nova, David Robertson, Shawn Kelley.

As for players that I can see making the team, who are not yet eligible for arbitration, I have four guys... Eduardo Nunez, David Phelps, Adam Warren, and Preston Claiborne. 

Three of the remaining spots on the team are in the bullpen, all of which could be taken by players making the league minimum next season. Those guys could be Vidal Nuno, Brett Marshall, and Manny Banuelos.

That leaves us with four more spots to fill. Those spots being second base, left fielder, starting pitcher, and catcher. Initially, my thought was the Yankees would fill those spots with Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, Hiroki Kuroda, and newcomer Brian McCann.

The very thought of being a Yankee makes me celebrate.

Just a couple of notes about those four free agents...
  • Robinson Cano will likely get a contract worth around $25 million a season.
  • Curtis Granderson could very well take a qualifying offer, so that he can play a year to get his stock back up for another run at a nice contract after the 2014 season.
  • Hiroki Kuroda could very well leave MLB, but after the season he's having a can see the Yankees offering him another couple of million to return (he's making $15 million in 2013).
  • As for bringing in McCann, I would really like to see that happen. His left-handed power bat would be great at Yankee Stadium. And it's not like his other numbers aren't pretty darn good too.
So here's the active roster we'd be looking at for 2014...

C - Brian McCann $14m
1B - Mark Teixeira $22.5m
2B - Robinson Cano $25m
3B - Alex Rodriguez $27.5m
SS - Derek Jeter $14m (AAV after exercising option for 2014)
LF - Curtis Granderson $15m (qualifying offer)
CF - Brett Gardner $6m (arbitration estimate)
RF - Ichiro Suzuki $6.5m
DH - Alfonso Soriano $17m

BE - Jayson Nix $1.5m (arbitration estimate)
BE - Francisco Cervelli $1.5m (arbitration estimate)
BE - Vernon Wells $18m
BE - Eduardo Nunez $.6m 

SP1 - CC Sabathia $24.4m
SP2 - Hiroki Kuroda $17m
SP3 - Michael Pineda $.75m (arbitration estimate)
SP4 - Ivan Nova $2.5m (arbitration estimate)
SP5 - David Phelps $.5m

CL - David Robertson $5m (arbitration estimate)
RP - Shawn Kelley $1.5m (arbitration estimate)
RP - Adam Warren $.5m 
RP - Preston Claiborne $.5m
RP - Vidal Nuno $.5m
RP - Brett Marshall $.5m
RP - Manny Banuelos $.5m

Before tallying up those numbers we have to remember that the Yankees will be receiving money for Vernon Wells and Alfonso Soriano, The Blue Jays and Angels will be pitching in $22.243 million for Wells, while the Cubs will pitch in $14 million for Soriano.

That brings the Yankees total team payroll to $187.007 million.

But don't jump up and down in celebration quite yet. That number may be under the $189 million Luxury Tax threshold, but you have to give yourself room for things like pickups during the season, incentives reached, milestones reached (see ARod's contract), and even things like the team paying for hotels for players. So a cushion is really needed. 

That "cushion" is where Alex Rodriguez steps in. If Rodriguez were to be suspended for all of 2014, that would mean you could take his $27.5 million off of the board, and use that to get another third baseman. And another third baseman, such as Michael Young, could cost around half of what Alex would make. And that, there, would be the team's cushion.

"Does anybody want me around?"

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)