Saturday, November 23, 2013

To My Friend...

Most of you have probably learned that my friend, and co-founder of The Greedy Pinstripes, Daniel Burch had a baby yesterday. I couldn't be happier for him, as he's not only an incredible guy, but an amazing father. Hayden Alexander, like his older brother Evan, are two lucky kids.

I met Daniel online years ago. You see, I live in Columbus, Ohio, so you can imagine that there are very few people to talk about the Yankees with. So I was looking around the internet for message boards, and there was this "DBurch" guy. Honestly, I can't remember what his exact username was, but I do remember having some great conversations with him.

I may not remember his username, nor can I remember the message board we met at, but I can say without any BS at all that he's made me a better Yankees fan.

Congratulations, Daniel.

My Reaction To Signing Brian McCann

I think it's safe to say that other Yankee news has been put on hold for a bit.

"Robinson who?"

The team obviously needed an upgrade at the catching position for 2014, and they certainly got one. Last season Yankee catchers hit a combined .213/.289/.298, along with only 8 home runs. Meanwhile, Brian McCann hit .256/.336/.461, to go along with 20 homers. And keep in mind that Brian's batting average was twenty points lower than his career mark in that department. In fact, all three of his triple-slash numbers were lower than his career marks. While I didn't include McCann in my "What I'd Like To See For 2014" roster, it certainly wasn't because I didn't like him as a player.

But what about the contract?

While $17 million a year is a lot of money, that's hardly my concern. I'm not the one paying these guys. My concern when it comes to money has revolved solely around how it affects the team. The Yankees have talked about getting under a payroll of $189 million in 2014 for a couple of years now, but the team has made it clear that it's a goal... not a mandate. So if putting a winning team on the field means spending more, then so be it. It's not like 2014 is their only chance of saving money when it comes to the Luxury Tax.

Even if the team pushes to stay under $189 million, this deal for McCann does not destroy it. Even if the team were to bring back all of their arbitration eligible players, which is highly unlikely, then the payroll is currently around $104 million. Add Robinson Cano for $25 million, Masahiro Tanaka for $10 million, and Carlos Beltran for $15 million, and that brings things to $154 million. You can also add $12 million for the team's portion of league bonuses, as well as players not on the active roster, bringing the total to $166 million. So the team could add $14 million more to the payroll, and leave themselves about $9 million for mid-season additions.

Of course, the Yankees still have to think about third base. I mean, they could probably get by with the tandem of Vernon Wells and Ichiro Suzuki in left field, along with Alfonso Soriano getting some time out there too, but Eduardo Nunez is the only option currently on the team for the hot corner. And nobody wants that.

On top of that, the Yankees could use somebody good to pair with David Robertson to finish off wins. As of right now Shawn Kelly would be slotted into the set-up role, and although it's not as bad as starting Nunez at third base, that's still not a very attractive option. Thankfully relievers, even good ones, can be had without spending a ton.

Putting payroll to the side for now, should we be concerned about the length of the contract?

Brian McCann's contract is guaranteed for five years, and with his injury history it's highly likely that he'll either become the regular DH in a few years or will move to 1B once Mark Teixiera's contract ends after the 2016 season.

The only real concern is how effective a player McCann will be down the road. He will be 35 in the final year of his deal, which is not that old. If we were in the National League, and Brian would have to catch more often than in the AL (thank you, DH), then I'd be more concerned. But I believe the team can keep him healthy. And if he's healthy, I see no reason why he can't continue to hit 20+ home runs a season, and bat around .270. Which is better than what Jorge Posada produced on average in his final three years.

Speaking of Posada, I have every reason to believe McCann will be at least as valuable as Jorge was at the end of his career. And while Jorge made $39 million in his final three years, McCann will only make $12 million more over his final three years (not a lot comparing 2009-2011 payrolls to what 2016-2018 payrolls could look like).

Ah, but speaking of the future!

Some people have expressed concern about the future of youngsters JR Murphy, Austin Romine, and Gary Sanchez. Honestly, the only player whose future with the team is truly in jeopardy is Austin Romine. Well, I'm sorry to be so blunt, but that doesn't bother me. Romine could turn out to be a solid MLB catcher, but I don't think he's going to be anything special. He's certainly not the type of player/prospect that should keep a team from getting a player the caliber of Brian McCann.

While Romine is ready for MLB, Murphy and Sanchez will likely spend one and two more years in the minors. At that point, one or both of them will be able to "sit under the learning tree" for a couple years before taking over behind the plate, while McCann becomes the regular DH or first baseman.

On that note, I do believe at least one of Romine, Murphy, and Sanchez will be traded in order to avoid spending more money in free agency to fill holes on the team. It would be great if the team could keep as many catchers as possible, as there's really no such thing as having too much depth, but the Yankees likely don't have that luxury. However, I wouldn't expect a big-name player in return. What's more likely is that Romine, along with a couple others, is traded to get a good set-up man or closer.

So, in conclusion, the Yankees greatly improved their offense, didn't hinder their ability to get under $189 million for 2014, and didn't hurt the future of the team. Brian McCann's contract may be for a lot of money, and five years is a long time, but I think they did a pretty good job with this signing.

"Thanks, bro."

Brian McCann Is A Yankee!

The New York Yankees are on the verge of signing free agent catcher Brian McCann. The reported deal is somewhere in the neighborhood of five years and worth around $80 million. This all but means the end of Chris Stewart and is hopefully just the beginning for the Yankees shopping spree.

Details to follow as they become available. 

Brian McCann About To Sign With The Yankees

UPDATE: We're now hearing the deal is official, pending a physical. It will apparently be worth 5 years and $85 million (An AAV of $17 million).

The details of the contract aren't clear, but the Yankees are apparently on the verge of signing Brian McCann.

While Ken Rosenthal has said the deal is worth 5 years and around $80 million, others have said that it will be a 4-year deal,with a vesting option for a 5th year, worth around $89 million.

Cano May Or May Not Have Traveled To Detroit Recently

As the world turns, and when I said the world I mean the negotiations with Robinson Cano in his search for a $300 million contract on a 10 year deal. The only reason that this is news is because of how dreadfully slow the offseason has been for the Yankees to date. I mean, to put this in perspective, my wife and I had a baby this  weekend and the only "Yankees news" I missed was David Freese being traded to the Angels.

There is a rumor circulating that Robinson Cano recently charted a private plane to Detroit over the weekend to talk about a potential contract. This is somewhat surprising seeing as the Tigers just acquired Ian Kinsler, a second basemen, from the Texas Rangers. This could all be part of the plan for Dave Dombrowski to play Kinsler at first and free up the money to sign Cano as the second basemen. This could also be a part of the plan from Jay Z to make the Yankees want to up their offer or make an offer sooner so who knows. Jay Z would probably not be above using rumors and such to get a maximum contract for his client and the Tigers would not be above using Kinsler at first base since the Rangers were talking of using him at first anyway before trading him.

That's what makes it fun, we just don't know and probably never will. Anyway here is the "rumor" that sparked all the discussion in Yankees land:

There was, indeed, a charter plane that took off from Teterboro, N.J., about a half-hour outside New York City, at 6:59 a.m. Friday and landed at Willow Run 90 minutes later. The plane then sat at Willow Run until 2:04 p.m., when it headed back to Teterboro. The plane in question is a Kelso Air-owned business jet, a Bombardier Challenger 600, which seats between 14 and 18 passengers. This plane could cost as much as $4,100 per hour to charter, or more than $32,000 for this particular trip - impressive, to be sure, but not much of a dent for someone who made, say, $15 million in salary in 2013.
This jet also has made no other recent trips to Michigan. Its recent getaways include such locales as Augusta, Ga. (home of swanky Augusta National Golf Club); Bermuda; Sacramento, Calif.; San Diego; and Chicago.

The Three Yankees Likely Lost To The Rule 5 Draft

The Yankees finalized their 40 man rosters earlier in the week by acquiring Dean Anna from the San Diego Padres, outrighting Corban Joseph off the 40 man roster and assigning him to AAA Scranton with the RailRiders, and adding their own prospects Slade Heathcott, Gary Sanchez, Shane Greene, Jose Campos, and Bryan Mitchell to the 40 man for protection from the Rule 5 Draft. The most notable names that have been left unprotected, and are extremely like to be selected, are Danny Burawa, Chase Whitley, and Tommy Kahnle.

Kahnle was part of a number of trade rumors this season so that seems to show the Yankees line of thinking, that he is fringe enough to leave unprotected but good and polished enough to get taken. Kahnle spent his first full season at AA with Trenton this season and struck out over 11 batters per nine innings, posted a 2.85 ERA, and a 3.85 FIP. Kahnle is left off the roster because of his 6.75 walks per nine innings.

Chase Whitley spent his season in AAA with the RailRiders while striking out over eight batters per nine innings. Whitley posted a 3.06 ERA and was on the short list at the end of the season of guys to be called up if someone went down with an injury so he is clearly polished and ready for the big show. I cannot see a scenario where a team does not take him and stash him as the last man out of the bullpen, he is that young and that good.

Burawa missed the 2012 season with an injury and reached as high as AA with the Thunder in 2013 so he may represent our best chance of not losing out of the three. Burawa struck out nine guys per nine innings on the nose, although he walked nearly six batters per nine innings, posted a solid 2.59 ERA, and is still only 25 years old.

I think Whitley is gone, Kahnle is more then likely gone, and I would not be surprised if Burawa is taken too. I could not see Burawa sticking on a 40 man roster all season and being returned but I could see Kahnle and Whitley so they are all but gone in my opinion. The Rule 5 Draft is next month so all we can do is speculate until then.

David Freese Comes Off The Yankees Board

David Freese is not going to be hitting big time World Series in 2014 for the New York Yankees as he was traded to another American League team in need of a third basemen, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Freese was traded along with relief pitcher Fernando Salas for defensive outfielder Peter Bourjous and outfield prospect Randal Grichuk.

It makes me wonder what the Cardinals would have wanted from us for Freese and the first mind that comes to mind was Brett Gardner. I am not sure, well no I am sure actually, that Freese would not be worth the loss of Gardner and would only create more holes then would be fixed.

This Day In New York Yankees History 11/23

On this day in 1988 the New York Yankees signed free agent Steve Sax to a three year deal worth $3.75 million. The fan favorite Willie Randolph was the player that the former NL Rookie of the Year Sax would be replacing which came with a whole new set of responsibilities. The Yankees signed Sax to replace Randolph and the Dodgers countered by signing Randolph to replace Sax.