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Monday, February 24, 2014

Yanks sign Brett Gardner! What the heck? The downward spiral continues.

OPS+ in 2013 for Yankee outfielders for 2014:
35. Carlos Beltran 128 (24 HR); 37 years old in 2014; right
64. Jacoby Ellsbury 114 (9 HR); 30 years old in 2014; center
79. Brett Gardner 108 (8HR); 30 years old in 2014; left

Yesterday the Yankees signed  Brett Gardner, their center fielder in 2008 and 2009, to a new multi-year contract for big bucks.  I like Gardner but he does not hit for power.  Neither does Ellsbury, who has hit more than 9 homers in a season only once: 32.  Gardner led in stolen bases (49) in 2011 and triples (10) in 2013.  Ellsbury led in SB in 2008, 2009, 2013; triples 2009; total bases 2011.

But in 2013 neither Gardner nor Ellsbury was an impact player.  Yet the Yankees threw money at them for years to come.  They have speed, not power.  Speed wears down.  Power much less so.

Beltran is terrific but he'll be 37 April 24.  THIRTY-SEVEN.

The Yankee owners are stupid.  They had their general manager, Brian Cashman, make many little decisions for about two years in order to get the team under the $189 million soft cap for the 2014 season.  Those little moves included letting lefty relief pitcher Boone Logan walk.  Logan is not an impact player but those little moves add up.

Rather than use young catchers they already had, the Yankees threw money at 30 year old Brian McCann.  Only three catchers qualified for batting average in each of the last three years.  That's only 502 plate appearances (PA) per season.  502/4=112.  Only 112 games and only three catchers reached that, including PA other than at catcher.  Brian McCann last qualified in 2011.  Is that a good use of resources?

The Yankees were still under the cap when they added one more player: pitcher Masahiro Tanaka from Japan.  Tanaka is 25 years old.  Now they have extended Gardner who could have played center in 2014.  If the Yankees did not sign Ellsbury, they also could have stayed under the soft cap.  That will cost the Yankees about $100 million over the next few years.

So what, right?  It's not your money.  But it's money that the Yankees could spend much more wisely.  More and more teams are getting smarter and smarter.  The Yankees are getting dumber and dumber.  The Yankees are in a downward spiral.  They cannot spend their way out of this.  The Yankees need to make fundamental changes.

Oh, and the Yankees have big holes at second base and third base and 39 year old Derek Jeter returning at shortstop after playing only 17 games in 2013.  None of the starting players is under 30.  Allocation of resources is not an attribute of Yankee management.

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