Cashman, Yankees miss out on another firesale

The Yanks missed out on Jose Reyes like they did with Miquel Cabrera, Beckett & Mike Lowell earlier. They need to position themselves to be ready to pounce when Miami is ready to dump Giancarlo Stanton.

The Yankees have used their financial might to help them field the most successful team in MLB from 1995-2012.  They routinely have the highest payroll in baseball and have seen their annual payroll more than double from the late 90s to today.  For years they were able to retain any of their own players they chose and to go after the best Free Agents every year.  However, one area where they haven’t been successful in taking advantage of their financial muscle is in the trade market.  There have been many fire-sales over the last decade but the Yankees haven’t really participated.

The latest such example is the massive dump going on in Miami.  Toronto received 3 valuable pieces in this deal, commodities that are not easy to find when building a MLB team.  In Jose Reyes they got a switch-hitting SS and lead-off hitter in his prime who is signed for the next 5 years.  Reyes is perhaps the best SS in MLB and one of the game’s most exciting players.  In Josh Johnson, they get a 28-yr old starter with Ace pedigree & potential.  He is only signed for 1 year but it gives Toronto a chance to see if he can return to his pre-injury form when he was 29-12 with a 2.64 era & 1.11 whip from 2009-2011.  The 3rd piece of the deal is a consistent, inning-eating lefty starter in Mark Buehrle who has 12 straight seasons of 200 ip.  He’s a proven winner in the A.L. and still going strong at 33 yrs old.

Any and all of these players would be valuable to the current Yankees but they are handcuffed by their self-imposed new budget that doesn’t allow them to take on anymore money for 2014 and beyond.  I don’t know if these 3 players can turn a team like Toronto into a playoff team but they would have been a great addition to a contending team like the Yankees.  Two of Florida’s previous fire-sales netted serious gains for their trade partners.

Marlin Fire-Sales in 2005 & 2007 shifted power in A.L.

In 2005, the Red Sox gave up a promising young prospect in Hanley Ramirez but got 25-yr-old Josh Beckett and the perceived to be bad contract of Mike Lowell.  Both Beckett and Lowell became stars and brought a championship to Boston in 2007.  Even before that deal, Boston bought Curt Schilling from Arizona for the bargain price of Casey Fossum, Brandon Lyon and minor-lg pitcher Jorge de la Rosa. Schilling won 2 WS rings in 4 yrs in Boston while the Yanks tried to play catch-up by trading for 39-yr-old Kevin Brown and 40-yr-old Randy Johnson.

The Marlins fire-sale of 2007 has had far-reaching repercussions on the Yankees that will last for a decade and the team is only half way through its sentence.  During the off-season of 2007, Alex Rodriguez opted-out of his contract with the Yanks and became a Free Agent. After a week or so with no offers from any team, ARod came crawling back to the Yanks and struck the 10-yr deal with Hank Steinbrenner that has been better known as The Albatross. Just a couple of weeks later, Florida put their 25-yr-old slugging 3B Miquel Cabrera on the market and Detroit pounced all over him. Detroit also took on the bad contract of Dontrelle Willis and gave the Marlins 2 Top 10 Minor Lg prospects in Cameron Maybin & Adam Miller. Neither has lived up to their potential and the trade has been an overwhelming success for Detroit.  Cabrera is an MVP who has helped make Detroit a perennial contender.  Imagine how things might be different had the Yankees traded for Cabrera instead of re-signing ARod that Winter.  The Yanks had the young pieces to deal for him too.  Both Hughes & Joba were rated just as high as Adam Miller and Ian Kennedy was also on the team then.  They had 22-yr-old CF Melky Cabrera coming off a strong rookie season and 20-yr-old CF Austin Jackson coming off a breakout season in the minors(rated #41 by B.A. in 2007) as comparable players to Cameron Maybin.  One of Hughes/Joba and one of Melky/Jackson would have been enough to headline a package for Cabrera.

Gaining Flexibility

So while the Yankees always have the highest payroll, they have not always had financial flexibility. Lack of flexibility has been the Yankees biggest drawback year to year.  Too many multi-year contracts for big money have left the team with few options to improve.  They have traded away their young assets in questionable deals for players either too old or just simply not good enough.  The one memorable trade that was somewhat of a money deal was the Texas trade for ARod and that was succesful (up until the new contract).  However, the Yanks gave up a very good player in Alfonso Soriano and Texas kicked in a lot of money to leave the Yanks only responsible for about $16M per year for Alex. Cashman was able to make that move because he had an opening at 3B, he had money to spend and he had assets to trade (Soriano).

Right now the Yanks don’t have the money and they don’t have great assets.  They have some openings but still there are too many positions tied up.  The new budget is limiting the ability to improve the team but hopefully it will also have the secondary effect of allowing the team to build some young assets and to gain much-needed financial flexibility as some contracts begin to expire.  That way the Yankees will be in position to capitalize the next time a team like Miami decides to give away its stars.  One such star the Yanks need to keep their eye on is Giancarlo Stanton.  He’ll eventually be the next Miami Marlin to be sold in the next 2 years.  Stanton is only 23 but already one of MLB’s best players.  He’s already stated publicly that he is pissed off at the team for the recent purge and although he’s not a FA til 2017, I’d expect Miami to move him well before then to get maximum return.  Cashman needs to call Miami every day until they finally agree to deal him even if it’s not until 2015.

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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 November 16, 2012, in Hot Stove, No Category. Bookmark the permalink. 41 Comments.

  1. Fishjam… nice work!
    I don’t know a lot about Miamis Giancarlo Stanton but, everything I have read about him says he would be a very good fit for us he is 23 years old and has improved each year except his SO 3 to BB 1, not what I would like to see. How come other teams bring up players at 19 to 21 years old and let them work it out, while we can’t bring anyone up until they almost ready to retire.

    • old yankee, I’ll tell your why, other teams don’t make the playoffs every year, they have the luxury of letting them work out. You can’t have it both ways either your build like other teams or you try and make the playoffs every year. Stanton is just a pipe dream for the Yanks.

      • Thanks a lot doug, you threw cold water all over my dream!
        I one way I agree with you but, as we have to cut contracts for the next two years, it seems to me, now would be a great time to bring up one or two of our best people and let them get going with the big boys.

        We know, the winter of 2014 is going to be open season on the FA market and trades, by the Yankees. They will have 3 years to build the team with younger talent.

        I think we will need a: out-fielder, SS, Catcher, Two or three pitchers. How we get them I don’t know but, a pitcher and catcher may come from the farm also a OF.

        What do you think? :)

        • old yankee, I agree, two of my outfielders have already signed, Hunter and Melky. That only leaves a few choices left on the free agent market for the Yanks. If the Yanks can’t find upgrades through free agency or trades than the farm will be the answer. I like Ludwick in the outfield, Martin to catch, and Kuroda and Sanchez to start, and Adams in relief. Ichiro would fit in again in RF. I still think our minor league outfield is a year away. Heathcott and Almonte might not be ready yet, Musteleir and Dickerson could be ready. It should be interesting to see the moves that Cashman makes.

    • Stanton won’t be traded now because he’s still making nothing but Miami will trade him within the next 2 years. They trade EVERYONE! The Yanks don’t have anyone as ready as Stanton was at 20-21 but you are exactly right….they need to give these young guys a chance. There is no reason why they shouldn’t bring up 1 young player to play per year.

      The blue-chip guys are still a year or 2 away but Corban Joseph & David Adams are ready to contribute now. Zoilo Almonte could contribute against RHP and Mark Montgomery could pitch in the pen.

      Look at Cano, Melky, Gardner, Robertson, Phelps, Wang, etc… Were any of these guys blue-chip can’t-miss prospects? Nope, but they all were given a chance out of neccessity and they all became solid contributors with Cano a future Hall of Famer.

      • Damn fishjam…
        I really like your thinking, you said it better than I could.
        Bottom line is, the guys that have the talent and show well at every level shouldn’t be kept in the farm system to long. When there is an opening give them a chance. There are very few that come out of the system and play as well as the older more experienced guys, in the first year. All they need do is show they have what it takes and can Adapt & Improvise…the same as the other pitchers or hitters will to them.

        • KENNY….evening. Did you see that,.. Ballpark posted today? Would be nice to see his words on a daily basis……if , for only a post or two. The Miami Herold today…”Kevin Long, asked Jeter to switch to lighter bat, and the ankle may impede the start of switch hitting 101.”

          • Yes, Patrick, I did see and read his postings to day, I wish he would take more of an intrest in the team this year and post more often.
            That was an easy call, lighter bat =more bat speed, unless one is 39 years old but, it won’t hurt him to go lighter.

            • Kenny…..Ballpark,….the site can only be better, if we have a full squad. I think, he’s thinking about it. I think Kevin Long lives in Miami. That must why he is on their pages a lot.

              • Patrick….we will never have a full squad until Oldyankee07 and TWASP stop their silly feuding and get back to their hilarious debating.

                • Fatboy….how do you know this stuff? I’m not getting in the middle again. Old-07 told me, in not so many words once, to back off. And, Twasp is nuts. Have a donut.

                  • Only you can broker the deal between the all time great bloggers TWASP and OldYankee07.

                    My father said they were once good friends that exchanged Mel Allen books.

                    • Fatboy….I really don’t want to go there. But, how do you know this? And, yes they did….. I tried to broker two different deals, with two guys, a while back…..Chris H, and Ernie. You would not know them. Nice guys, That got me nowhere. Right now, I’m trying to coax Ballpark back.

                    • Patrick……I read them on iYankees with my Dad. They were very funny. You are friends with both …….surely you can arbitrate any misunderstandings, their admiration for each other has always been evident.

                    • Patrick/Fatboy/Ken

                      I am willing to go halfway and offer a peace settlement …letting bygones be bygones…..and forgetting any misunderstandings.


            • ****KENNY….You’ve taught me a lot, over the past few years. I learned, and I have changed. And, I thank you……….Kenny, please look at the post below, from Twasp. Really look at it, and think. Is this from someone who dislikes you? No….. You taught me so much, so now I ask you, as your student…why can not, this be corrected? The both of you, when in synch, were as good as it gets. So, very funny. And smart. The best! Its kinda like words, and magic. Do this for me….the both of you, end this, and move forward. As,I did for you……………………..patrick.

          • If I remember correctly, Ballpark said he thought the idea of switch hitting Jeter was ridiculous. And I think Ballpark is a hitting instructor .

            • Fatboy………..yes, Ballpark is the hitting instructor. He may be right re: Jeter, but Jeter is going to give it a shot. Ask Ballpark next time, if he thinks Coco Crisp, would be a candidate to switch hit. Crisp, is capable of throwing, with either arm.

              • Does being ambidextrous make it easier to switch hit? Interesting question?

              • You might want to ask a switch hitter like Kenny Singleton wheather it is possible, it’s not that easy!

                • doug…
                  If I remember right, Singleton said the same as I have, it is twice the work and one must work more on the right side because most pitchers are right handed…therefore one gets plenty of work hitting left-handed. I have the benefit of being ambidextrous but, I never thought of how hard or easy it was for me so, I don’t know if it was or not.

                  • old yankee, very interesting, I would like to know how many switch hitters are ambidextrous, seems like that would make switch hitting easier. My question would be can anyone learn to switch hit?

                    • doug…
                      Good question and one I can’t answer truthfully, my mom said to try it, and no one in their right mind ever went against her. Dat was one scary Irish red-head!
                      It just happened for me…with a lot of hard work.

                    • My mother told me to eat with both hands……I could eat twice as fast as the kid next to me…..I got fat faster than any other kid in elementary school…how embarrassing .

  2. Good answer Doug……in high pressure market my dad said we have to win every year and can’t gamble on too many prospects and a rebuild program.

    • That’s the type of thinking that gets us in the situation we are…..with a bloated payroll, too many overpaid players on the downside of their career and very little in the way of help in the upper minor leagues.

      Was anyone upset the Yanks didn’t make the playoffs in 2008 when they won it all in 2009? I’d rather re-load a bit and miss the playoffs a year otr 2 if it means we are going to come out of it stronger.

      Now that the team can’t continue to buy players, they MUST develop some young, cheap players to stay competitive.

      • If I remember right fishjam, when King Geo ran the team, the team always lost money every year. Geo ended up putting his own money back into the club every year or moved money from one place to another. Anyone with the know how could look it up for the hell of it…I ain’t got no learnings wit dis here thing!

        • My dad says most corporations finagle the books to show losses to get tax benefits…Yankees were no different. Major revenue streams, YES and merchandising, always strong.

          Look at last 12 years ..only championship we won was the George way….open the checkbook fo Tex, AJ, and Cc.

  3. You picking on my Dad, FishJam…….he’s 425lbs…….

  4. My Dad says …Rebuid…reshmild.

    Get the best team every season by buying them

    70 s Catfish Reggie Goose

    2009. Tex, AJ, CC


    • Fatso, if your Dad was Hal Steibrenner we’d be in business. But Hal “The Grinch” Steinbrenner has cut off the money faucet.

      Can’t count on the money to bail us out anymore….need creativity out of our GM to do it.

  5. Grenkie, sanchez and Hamilton = another championship.

  6. Fish …if I were you I wouldn’t mess with my dad….the back of his neck looks like a package of hot dogs. He’s husky.

  7. My dad makes Prince Fielder look like Stick Michael.

    I could eat both of his kids for lunch and still have room for a Shake.

  8. Just read on rumors that Kuroda would prefer to stay in So Cal and be close to his family. Looks like the Yanks are going to have to go in a different direction. The Dodgers and Angels seem to have the inside track on him.

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