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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Yankee signings of Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran were mistakes I opposed.

Two off seasons ago, between 2013 and 2014, I clearly opposed the free agent signings of:
- Jacoby Ellsbury
- Brian McCann
- Carlos Beltran.

Brian McCann: is he worth $17 million for each of the next five years? Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The deed seems to be done.  Supposedly the New York Yankees have signed free agent catcher Brian McCann for $17 million for each of the next five years; that's $85 million total...

My general view is that you don't want one of your better hitters to be your catcher because you will over pay for a player who will get hurt or will be rested to prevent him from being hurt even more than he is rested.  I think that the optimal thing is to have two catchers of about equal value and have them split the catching duties...

In 2012 McCann was injured and lousy.  In 2013 McCann was less injured and less lousy.  That's what the New York Yankees will be paying $17 million for each of the next five years...

The Yankees were also probably doing what they do best in these situations: bidding against themselves.  How many other teams, if any, would not have noticed that McCann was trending down and that he will 30 in 2014?


Musical chairs Yankee style. Sunday, December 8, 2013

Hal, the Steinbrenner Kid who is running the Yankees these days, supposedly indicated that getting under the not very soft salary cap is a goal not a requirement, that he would be OK with exceeding the cap if needed.

Say what?

After all the junk that has occurred Yankee fans should be very upset if the Yanks panic and exceed the cap for 2014.  What a wimp.  Geez, set a policy and stick to it...

Catching was a bit up in the air with no starter but with several serviceable veterans and prospects:
Francisco Cervelli
Chris Stewart
Austin Romine
J.R. Murphy
Gary Sanchez ...

To me the Yankees did not need a catcher.

The one position the Yankees did not need to fill was center field.  However, incumbent Brett Gardner is being replaced with Jacoby Ellsbury.  Both are good fielders, good base stealers and neither hits home runs, except for the 32 (15 home, 17 road) Ellsbury inexplicably hit in 2011, his only season in double figures.

Ellsbury: Born: September 11, 1983    OPS+ 108; 241 SB, 46 CS;  OPS+ 2013 114
Gardner: Born: August 24, 1983    OPS+ 97; 161 SB, 38 CS;  OPS+ 2013 108

Ellsbury is an upgrade but hardly one worth $153 million over seven years.  That money could have been spent on new pitchers.

With so many holes to fill, why fill a non-hole?

In right field the Yankees obviously could have brought back Curtis Granderson who signed with the Mets for $15 million for each of four years.  Instead they signed Carlos Beltran for the same annual pay for three years.

Granderson born: March 16, 1981    OPS+ 117
Beltran born: April 24, 1977    OPS+ 122

Beltran will be 39 in his final Yankee season.  Granderson will be 37 in his final Met season.

Granderson, Beltran and continuity v. winning.   Monday, December 9, 2013

Carlos Beltran will be replacing Curtis Granderson in the Yankee outfield.  Beltran will join another new Yankee Jacoby Ellsbury who is coming from rival Boston.

What differentiates them?  Age, money and continuity...

One option, which would have saved the Yankees about $7 million per year for four years would have been to re-sign Granderson and sign Beltran.  The Yankees really did not need Ellsbury to play center field because they already had Brett Gardner, born August 24, 1983...

Ellsbury is not really a home run hitter.  He has double figures only once: 32 in 2011.

Yanks sign Brett Gardner! What the heck? The downward spiral continues. Monday, February 24, 2014

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 ...

... 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...

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...  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...

Allocation of resources is not an attribute of Yankee management.

Dumb and lazy Steinbrenner Kids never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity: Tampa GM goes to Dodgers. Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A few days ago the Steinbrenner Kids, who own the New York Yankees, signed their 16 year incumbent general manager (GM) Brian Cashman to a new three year contract.  Did they know that the Tampa Rays GM was available, that Andrew Friedman was talking to the Los Angeles Dodgers?


Yanks are too old and with no youth in sight. Monday, November 17, 2014
What was Yankee management thinking at the start of the 2014 season?  What were Yankee fans thinking?  Here is the opening day lineup for April 1, 2014 in Houston ...

Not one player younger than 30.  Three of those players were signed in the 2013-2014 off season to multi-year contracts, all of which I opposed at the time: Ellsbury (7), McCann (5), Beltran (3)...

Are the Yankees decision makers out of their minds?  Can a team win with all its fielders at least 30 years old? ...

The best that the Yankees can do in 2015 is fill their three holes with players younger than 30 but that still leaves the core of players over age 30 with multi-year contracts at the five other positions...

Six years later in 2015 the Yankees will be counting on 2009 holdovers Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez...

Who does that?

Yankees are just another team. Is that good? Monday, November 24, 2014

real v. Pythagorean won-loss estimation
2012 95-67    95-67
2013 85-77    79-83
2014 84-78    77-85

In other words, the last two seasons the New York Yankees were probably sub .500 teams that somehow overachieved and deluded fans and, more importantly, management into thinking that the organization was solid and merely needed some tinkering.

Between the 2013 and 2014 seasons that tinkering led to bad decisions to abandon the team goal of finally getting under the soft salary cap and not paying a luxury "tax".  That may have provided $100 million that could now be spent on a player like Hanley Ramirez or free agent pitcher Max Scherzer.  That's assuming that quality free agents still want to sign with the Yankees.  Most want to go to a team that will contend.  The Yankees no longer offer that.

Instead the Yankees went after the first shiny objects that they saw a year ago and signed Jacoby EllsburyBrian McCann and Carlos Beltran.  You can see their numbers above.  Now they join other players with contracts that will pay them more than they produce for multiple years.

Bad ownership, bad management, blah, blah, blah.  The point is that the Yankees are ordinary.  The organization has no base on which to build.  The 25 player roster is old and mediocre.  The 40 player roster lacks impact players...

The Yankees can no longer spend irresponsibly and hope that enough of their free agent signings will work out to at least keep the team competitive, if not of championship caliber...

Now many teams have their own regional sports network generating additional money...

So, is the baseball galaxy better off with the Yankees reduced to being just another team?

Whom would GEORGE Steinbrenner have acquired? Sunday, December 21, 2014

The late Yankee owner George Steinbrenner would have probably made the same mistakes that his kids made a year ago: Jacoby EllsburyBrian McCann and Carlos Beltran.  George was not a bright guy but his impulsiveness resulted in his spending a lot of money on players, many of whom played very well for the Yankees and also had star quality: Reggie Jackson and Alex Rodriguez were the leading examples.  Since the end of the 2014 season I think George Steinbrenner would have made these acquisitions:

- Andrew Friedman, general manager
Max Scherzer, starting pitcher
Jon Lester, starting pitcher
Matt Kemp, revived OF, a big bopper
Troy Tulowitzki, SS whose hero was retired Yankee captain Derek Jeter.

There's no such thing as bad publicity, whether you're running a circus or the New York Yankees.  If George were still here, he'd tell you.

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