Would EJax take 2 years?

EJax is eerily similar to Matt Garza

Despite the clear need for a starting pitcher, most Yankee fans want no part of Edwin Jackson.  Despite the fact that he’s been a solid pitcher with great stuff and a chance to improve at the age of 28, he isn’t attractive to the Yankees because of his perceived cost. 

Scott Boras is looking for a 5 yr deal for around $15M per season which based on the contracts given to Burnett, Lackey, D.Lowe, Buehrle & CJ Wilson, is pretty much what the price has been on the Free Agent market.  That being said,  all of those contracts were colossal busts with the exception of Buehrle & Wilson where the stories have yet to be written.  So no one is knocking down the door for Jackson at that price.

If I had to guess I’d say he’ll have to come down to 4 yrs @ $11-12M to find interest.  However, even that is more than the Yanks want to spend because of the payroll flexibility they’d like to maintain heading into 2014.  That being the case, perhaps there’s room for compromise that helps all 3 parties – Yankees, Boras & EJackson.

What if the Yankees offered $15M per season for 2 years?  Boras gets the $15M he asked for, Jackson pockets $30M and re-enters Free Agency at still young age of 30 and the Yanks get a #3 starter with #2 potential while still not touching their 2014 Payroll.

I’m not excited by the prospect of Jackson and $15M is more than I’d be comfortable paying him, but for only 2 years it’s not a bad idea. Let’s do a quick comparison of Jackson and Yankee trade target Matt Garza over the last 3 years:

  W L IP ERA XFIP K/9 BB/9 GB% HR/9 SIERA WAR
Jackson 35 30 623 3.96 3.93 7.08 3.03 44% 0.92 4.06 11.2
Garza 33 32 605 3.73 3.89 7.96 3.05 40% 1 3.85 9.7

 Comparing stuff, Jackson averages 94.5 MPH on his Fastball and throws a nasty 87 MPH Slider, which is his best pitch.  He throws a 2-seamer and mixes in a Change & Curveball about 11% of the time.

Garza is a little more well-rounded but averages 93.7 MPH on his Fastball and throws an 86 MPH Slider as his out pitch.  He also throws a 2-seamer and mixes in the Change & Curve slightly more at 23%, although neither are effective pitches.

So their numbers are nearly identical, they were born 2 months apart and their stuff is very similar too.  What would be the difference in cost?

Garza will likely earn a combined $21M over the next 2 years in arbitration before becoming a Free Agent.  From what we hear, he would also cost 1 or both of Banuelos & Betances plus more in a trade.

If you could get Jackson at a cost of $30M over the next 2 years and KEEP Banuelos & Betances, wouldn’t that be a much better scenario?  You could also even out the costs by picking up$24M of AJ Burnet’s contract to dump him on someone. That would save the $9M difference and make the net cost of Jackson the same $21M that Garza would make.

I like Garza as a pitcher and think he’s tougher and a better all-around pitcher. But Jackson’s stuff and nearly identical numbers as Garza over the last 3 years is hard to ignore.  I know the chances of Jackson accepting a 2 yr $30M deal are slim but if it comes down to accept a 4 yr-$40M deal with Baltimore or a 2yr-$30M deal with New York, which would you choose?  Boras has done the unconventional before and last yr steered Rafael Soriano to the Yanks as a set-up man on a closer’s deal.  It’s not entirely impossible.

I’m not sure this is a good idea but it’s food for thought.  Would you be interested in EJax for 2 years?

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About fishjam25

Was a 4-yr Pitcher and Communications Major at Seton Hall University in the 90s. His knowledge & opinion of the game comes from his background as a player and ardent lifetime Yankee fan. However, Fishjam also incorporates sabermetrics and statistical support to form a well-rounded view of the game.

Posted on January 10, 2012, in Hot Stove, Personal Opinion, Player Analysis, Signing & Trade Speculation, Statistical Analysis and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 29 Comments.

  1. The only reason i was opposed to E-Jax was not me thinking he was a bad pitcher was merely because I didn’t see a fit of a 4 year contract. With what you propose of a 2 year contract that makes it seem more a plan since he would be out before 2014.

    Nice article.

    • My concern with offering Jackson a 2year/$30MM deal is I wonder if it would cause the Yankees not to pursue either Hamels or Cain should they hit FA in 2013. And that I would NOT want.

      My preference is still to sign either Kuroda or Oswalt on a 1 year deal rather than Jackson for 2 years/$30MM.

    • Matt I just did some quick math. If the Yankees signed Jackson for 2 years/$30MM and they didn’t jettison some payroll. And they were to sign either Hamels or Cain their 2013 payroll just for (A-Rod, CC, Tex, Jeter, Burnett, Swisher, Cano and Granderson PLUS then Jackson and either Hamels or Cain. 10 players would come to about $185MM approximately. That would be prohibitive even for the Yankees.

      • UFY – I’d love to get Hamels but I think the chances are pretty small. Howver, there would be room but the following things would have to occur:

        1) Let Swish walk as FA (I think/PRAY they will)
        2) Mo retires ( Hate to see it but he’s giving hints he will)
        3) Martin walks as FA (Can’t block the young Catchers longterm)
        4) Hughes or Joba are traded (1 stays as important Bullpen piece)
        5) AJ is traded for $6M savings (very doable someone takes him 1 yr @ $6M)

        That would leave the team payroll as follows:

        C – Romine 0.5
        1B – Tex 23.0
        2B – Cano 15.0
        SS – Jeter 17.0
        3B – ARod 29.0
        LF – Gardner 5.0?
        CF – Grandy 15.0
        RF – ????
        DH – Montero .5

        SP – CC 23.0
        SP – Hamels 22.0
        SP – EJacks 15.0
        SP – Nova 0.5
        SP – Banuelos 0.5

        CL – DRob 3.0?
        RP – Soriano 14.0
        RP – Joba 3.0?
        RP – Logan 2.5?
        RP – Noesi 0.5
        RP – Kontos 0.5

        Bench –
        Cervelli 1.0?
        Nunez 0.5

        That’s 21 players at $192.5M, add in $10M to make AJ go away and you’re at $202.5M and you still need a starting RF and 3 bench players. So it’s still realistic to keep the payroll in the same $205-225M it’s been the last 7-8 years.

        The pitching staff would probably be the best in MLB. The pen would lose Mo but still be very good. The lineup will have lost Martin & Swisher but there will be money to bring in a solid RF and even a veteran Catcher to put in the mix too.

        • Fish the question for me is how do the Yankees plan to build their future pitching staff. If they did it better over the last 5 years they could easily have the following heading into the season.

          Sabathia
          Kennedy
          Joba
          Nova
          Aceves

          Mo
          Robertson
          Hughes
          Clippard
          Coke
          Melancon
          ??????/Kontos

          The Cashman/Girardi regime has failed miserably when in comes to pitching.

          So what should they do now?

          I think they need to find out this season what Noesi, Mitchell and Phelps can do. If one steps up then trade Hughes mid season.

          So in 2014 the rotation could be….

          CC
          Nova
          1 of the Noesi, Phelps, Mitchell or Warren
          Banuelos
          Betances/?????

          So there is a good chance if they go this route that Burnett will stay for both of his 2 remaining years as an overpaid innings eater.

          • Dan -

            I agree the Yanks haven’t developed their pitchers well. Now Cashman is hugging these prospects hard so he has to give them a legit shot. Last yr he had opportunities to give them some starts but he used guys like Brian Gordon. Why? Let’s hope he uses these guys in trades or gives them a chance in the Bronx

  2. Fishjam – I don’t necessarily disagree with most of your premises. A couple though I think are highly unlikely and I think you have failed to account for 1 additional payroll expense.

    1st) I too wish they would let Swisher walk. Although from what I can see there doesn’t seem to be a real impressive replacement in the 2013 FA class. So unless they make a trade or sign Cespedes, him leaving presents a problem finding a replacement at least as of now.
    2nd) AJ Burnett, I’m not sure the Yankees would be willing to eat $10.5M of his salary in 2013. It’s possible but probably unlikely, and if he has another year like the past 2 that’s exactly what the Yankees will have to do to move him. Like you stated.
    3rd) You haven’t taken into account the Yankees paying A-Rod 1 of the milestone incentives in his contract the $6MM if he passes Mays 660 HR’s. He stands at 629 now so he needs 38 to pass him which will probably happen early in the 2013 season.

    Now there is a little bit of fudge in the numbers being shown in your comment for their 2013 payroll based on luxury tax AAV calculation. For example: Cano’s is closer to $12MM, Granderson’s is just a little over $9MM and Soriano’s a little under $12MM. However, then you have to add in the rest of the players to get to the 40 man roster and possible other incentives for other players like Cy Young voting/MVP voting or in Jeter’s case while most would be unlikely there are any number of possible incentives. It’s quite possible the payroll could fall in the neighborhood of about $218MM +/-.

    Also I know the Yankees for their 2009 payroll final numbers for the luxury tax was $226MM but that was while the Boss was still alive. The last 2 years 2010 and 2011 their luxury tax payroll was $215.1 and $212.7 respectively and that was at the 40% rate. To bump it up to somewhere in the $218MM range at a 42% rate for 2013 is an increase that I’m not sure the Yankees would be willing to do.

    I’m all for spending the money because I want the Yankees to field the best possible team they can regardless of the cost. I’m not not sure Hal and Company sees it the same way.

    From my perspective I’d still rather them sign Kuroda or Oswalt for 1 year and then they would be gone for the 2013 season and let’s see who’s available then. It’s possible both Hamels and Cain will be available it’s also possible neither one of them will be. In that case the Yankees can make a run for Anibel Sanchez or maybe even Greinke or Marcum who are FA’s also in 2013 or maybe some team decides they want to move one of their starters like the Angels who hold options on both Ervin Santana and Dan Haren. Maybe they decide to try and move Santana. There are all sorts of possibilities and things that can happen in the next roughly 9 to 12 months.

    This is what makes baseball fun. No one really knows for sure, we’ll all just have to stay tuned.

    • Good Afternoon UFY -

      Looks like we were just using different methods of calculating the payroll which accounted for the differences. You went by the AAV which is used for Luxury tax calculations while I was going by the actual contracts and what the Yanks lay out year to year. I went this route because the Yanks are def over the cap in 2013. Neither is wrong, just 2 different figures for different purposes.

      A couple comments on what you wrote if I may:

      1) Swish – I don’t want Swish back at all next yr. Based on what Cuddyer got, Swish could be looking at 4yrs @ $11-12m per and the Yanks can’t afford another long-term deal paying good money for a player in his mid 30′s. The Yanks could do a 1-yr platoon in RF and have a lot of guys they could trade (Hughes or Joba, one of the AAA pitchers). I’d much rather they spend on pitching than for a RF

      2) AJ – Who knows what will happen but he’ll be much easier to move with 1 yr left on his deal as we saw with DLowe & Zambrano recently.

      3) ARod – The way he’s been breaking down in recent yrs it’s not certain if he’ll reach the milestones next yr. But even if he does, I’m not sure how those payments will work since they are “marketing agreements”. That’s one of the questions I hope to have answered in the next few days when I interview an authority in the field.

      We have no idea what the Yanks budget will be or who will be available on the FA market, my comment was just to illustrate that they can make it work with a similar budget if they want to. I’m not advocating for EJackson but just throwing out possibilities. Whatever they do, they gotta improve the pitching.

      • Good Afternoon.

        I don’t disagree with you about Swisher. In fact I believe shortly after I came on board here I was advocating that Swisher be traded and a platoon of Jones/??? would work for me.

        As for AJ I don’t disagree with your premise about AJ being more movable with just 1 year on his contract. My comment was more along the lines of I just don’t see the Yankees being willing to eat $10.5MM of his contract.

        About A-Rod. That we will disagree on I honestly believe that even if he doesn’t get to Mays’s 660 HR’s in 2012 he will get to it in 2013 as I said previously. As for the question of it being a “marketing agreement” I don’t see where that would have any bearing on whether or not it subjects the Yankees to luxury tax. To my way of thinking it’s clear that is part of his MLB contract and part of his compensation while playing for the team. Completely different then a personal services contract once a player retires then goes to work for the organization. But like you said you should have an answer soon.

        I agree with you that the Yankees could make a Jackson signing work for 2 years if they so chose. My thought process though is I don’t want anything to even potentially stand
        in the way of the Yankees targeting either Hamels or Cain in 2013 if they are available. We are also in agreement that the Yankees need to improve their pitching. It’s just a matter of how and with whom.

  3. Edwin Jackson imo is going to sign with the Orioles. They need him and he would fit in very well there.

  4. Another option—-What ya think of A.J. some money and low prospect for Wandy?? A possible way of dumping AJ and I am thinking a slight upgrade for same years.

    • Actually Wandy’s contract is:
      2012 – Due $10MM
      2013 – Due $13MM
      2014 – Due $13MM : It becomes a player option IF Wandy is traded, instead of a team option. Which conceivably would put the acquiring team on the hook for 3 years and $36MM. One year longer than AJ and $3MM more in total.

      Don’t see the Yankees giving up AJ, paying some money and giving up even a “low” prospect under those conditions. Plus carrying a pitcher who would be 35 years old at the start of the 2014 season for $13MM when they appear to want to get under the $189MM luxury tax threshold that year.

  5. There is no need to worry about Wandy’s option as it would be bought out before he would be traded. He is just not that good a pitcher. If the Yankees needed a number 4 or 5 starter and wanted to spend on that rotation spot then he would be a good choice but other than that he has no value to the Yankees.

    • Dan I just wanted to “off” AJ, if only a lefty with similar results may be an upgrade.

      • John…sadly I don’t want to off AJ anymore. He is what he is, as an innings eater he’s way overpaid but does bring value to that role. I wrote above that the Yankees need to go young in there rotation.

        There is no reason not to see where this team stands come June 1st an if they are behind they should go young and dismantle the team. If they are in it they can still trade one of Hughes or Freddie and bring up a youngster. If the Yankees can successfully integrate a youngster into this years rotation by the end of the year it puts the team in great shape going forward.

        We as fans need to see what the SIX can do. Noesi, Warren, Phelps, Mitchell, Banuelos and Betances.

        • speaking of the Six they all can’t be on the AAA squad right? I can’t see them carrying six starters. So would one get left behind in Trenton which might be a good thing with less traveling.

  6. In my opinion AJ is a plague upon the Yankees and their fans. Aside from his obviously over inflated salary he takes up a very valuable roster spot. Which in many respects is even more valuable to the Yankees.

    Maybe I’m just imaging it but there seems to be a whole different mindset with the Yankees players when AJ is on the mound. They seem to be able to sense that implosion that simmers just beneath the surface with AJ. And you can take it to the bank that at some point in most games regardless of how much of the lead the Yankees have staked him to it won’t be enough. That’s demoralizing. And with his wildness and pitches in the dirt he’s always just a batter away from putting a runner in scoring position. Not to mention his 5 errors in 2011 versus 3 for Sabathia in many more innings or zero for Nova or 1 for Garcia. AJ Burnett over the past 2 season reminds me of a tornado that leaves a path of destruction in it’s wake.

    Innings eater is nice but an innings eater without all of AJ’s baggage would be a hell of a lot better. At least that’s my opinion.

    • You’re the typical Yankees fan and there is nothing wrong with that. I am one too.

      Last year AJ imploded in August but for the other 5 months he was not terrible. 11-11 w/l and 16/16 team w/l in games he started. There were 5 games he started where the team lost 1-0, 2-0, 4-2, 4-3, 4-3 so if the team ended up winning 4 of them and he himself just 2 things would be looking much different.

      I know AJ brings alot of this on himself (teams plays lazily behind him) but Girardi did him no favors last year with how he managed him.

      As an innings eater with a little luck plus doing a better job of keeping the ball in the ballpark Burnett could and should help this team.

      • Dan– I suppose I am typical as well. What I know for sure is that I have been a Yankee fan since the early 50′s. Have seen a lot albeit from a far (Michigan) lived and died in my earlier years with these guys. Where AJ comes into play I really like what I see when he isn”t pitching however his turn on the mound brings much angst and even my wife a fan thru me as well as 3 of 4 kids and a daughter in-law all cringe with the start of an inning an each pitch. I believe even on these great or near great teams he has a best a .500 record in games the during his Yankee career. imo one of the kids or Wandy or maybe this 67 year old may do that (lol)

        Go Yankees

        • john…
          Are you from the western side of Michigan per chance?
          I only ask because, every year around thanksgiving time I go to Grand Haven and fish off the pier for those big Whitefish as they come in from the big lake.

          • No —I am from Ann Arbor bleed yankee pinstripes and the maize and blue of U of Mich

            1 NY Yankees
            2 Michigan football
            3 Michigan hoops4
            4 Ann Arbor Gold Softball—organization I helped start Girls summer fastpitch (travel)
            and coached for about 15 years

      • I’m sorry I just do not see AJ as anything other then a waste of resources. For example what you see as “not terrible” except August. I see his entire 2011 season as a bad dream. He started 32 games and according to what I see he had 10 or 11 quality starts by MLB standards (at least 6 innings and no more than 3 ER’s). BTW, for July/Aug/Sept. of his 15 starts he had a total of 4 quality starts. That’s pathetic in my opinion. And of those 32 starts in 2011 he went less than 6 innings 15 times.

        Also fans and so called experts have for the past 2 years been saying AJ should be able to this or that. He’s got great stuff, but… Well in my opinion for the better part of 2 years he hasn’t been better and there is no reason to think that he will be anything other then what he has been for the next to years. And I said said early in my opinion he’s a plague. I’m afraid we are just going to have to agree to disagree about AJ and what he has brought and will bring to the table for the Yankees. But I respect you opinion.

        • UFY / Dan -

          I see some of what both of you are saying. AJ eats innings and has some upside to improve but he brings a losing attitude to the team. I know when I played there was always a vibe you got from certain players. You knew which guys who would fold when things got tough and which guys would battle. You always were more pumped to play with certain types of guys. I’m sure that when AJ is scheduled to pitch, his teammates are thinking “ahh shit”.

          With his lack of success, it looks like AJ even has that mentality. As soon as he gives up a hard hit ball or walks a couple of guys it’s like he loses confidence and starts to think “here we go again”. I just think it’s a bad vibe for the team to have AJ in the rotation. A classic case of a guy who needs a change of scenery.

          The other factor is he’s taking up a spot that could go to Noesi or Phelps. I’m sure if you gave Noesi/Phelps 30 starts this year you could do at beat Aj’s #s of the last 2 years:

          He’s 21-26, with a MLB worst 41 Wild Pitches and only Lackey has had a higher ERA than AJ’s 5.20. Eating innings has some value but IMO the Yanks have depth that can eat those innings with better quality.

          • Fishjam – I hope you don’t mind but actually it’s UYF not UFY. Probably just a typo.

          • Fishjam…
            I understand what you are saying about players with a loosing attitude. When I played, two things were a given; 1) 100% or answer to me after the game. 2) I always thought it was my fault if we lost a game, which brings us to number 3) No one ever talked to me after a game if we lost…I am the worlds worst loser. You guys shake hands, even if you lose…I on the other hand…turn and walk of the field or court.
            There is no law that says, “One can’t have fun playing a kids game but, we play to win!”.
            I’m with those of you that want AJ…outa here! for many reason, most have mentioned!

  7. The obvious impediment to the Yankees goal of slipping under the 189 million threshold is A-Rod,whose contract is considered “unmoveable”! I say the Yanks eat an ungodly amount of A-Rods salary over the next 2 years…and trade him for Hanley Ramirez…H-Ram goes to SS,Jeter slides to 3rd and the Yanks get younger..better defense and the enormous albatross is gone and the Yanks are that much closer to their goal of dropping below the 189mil level…with the Miami Marlins looking to make a splash and boost attendance,I have to think that this would appeal them and what they’re trying to do down there!!!!

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