Archive for the ‘New York Yankees’ Category

Japan's pitcher Tanaka pitches against the Netherlands in the fifth inning at the WBC second round game in Tokyo

It was always going to be the Yankees, wasn’t it? The Yankees or the Dodgers were the only two real choices.

There were just too many things working in favor of the richest teams in baseball when it came down to a bidding war for a pitcher like Masahiro Tanaka. It is less of an indictment of the sport than a perfect storm that only the biggest supertankers could navigate.

25-year old pitchers simply don’t become free agents. A 25-year old with electric stuff hits the market just as the bidding process for such a player changes, bringing down the upfront costs and allowing pure payroll spending power to be the determining factor. A scenario tailor-made for the New York Yankees, who didn’t flinch when it came time to get the deal done.

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MLB: San Francisco Giants at New York Yankees

For years — probably since the advent of free agency — there has been a clamor for baseball to enact a salary cap in the name of competitive balance. Star players went on an annual exodus from the small markets of the midwest to the major cities of the coasts, and thus came the concern every World Series would pit the New York Yankees against the Los Angeles Dodgers, as if the Yankees weren’t by far the most powerful team in the days before players could negotiate their own salaries.

Monday, the Yankees announced the plan to spend $12-15 million in bonuses on international free agents according to Kiley McDaniel of Such spending would incur an extra $10-12 million in penalties as the Yankees would rocket past the $2.9 million international free agent spending limit. And this news should help show just why a salary cap — hard or soft — is extremely limited in its ability to enforce competitive balance.

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Texas Rangers v Oakland Athletics

Somewhere along the way, the Baltimore Orioles turned themselves into a very smart team. Facing the expensive prospect of giving a reliever coming off a down year, they improved their second base depth, signed another Proven Closer and added a nice setup guy for good measure – today signing Grant Balfour to a two-year deal reportedly worth $14MM.

Grant Balfour is a legit power pitching stud, with gaudy strikeout totals and a big time fastball, brings his spastic show east to Baltimore. His strikeout rate has grown each of the last three years, all while keeping his walks in check and keeping the ball in the park.

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New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox

The Yankees don’t have fun beards and don’t have sexy blue chip prospects lining their rotation like some teams. Instead, the Yankees pay top dollar for established stars and known commodities.

In signing Carlos Beltran to a thre-year, $45 million contract, the Yankees now have a glut of aging outfielders who are mostly DHs. The difference between Carlos Beltran and Vernon Wells or Ichiro or Alfonso Soriano is Carlos Beltran remains very, very productive. While his body might betray him, he can still provide value in right field.

The former center fielder showcased some defensive chops during the World Series and the RF job at Yankee Stadium is not the most challenging place to play. More so thanks to Ellsbury & Gardner gobbling up fly balls in left and center.

Beltran put very nice numbers for the Cardinals in 2013 and should take advantage of the short porch in the Bronx when hitting left-handed. The Yanks can pay somebody like Soriano to play for someone else or trade Brett Gardner for a starter if they so desire.

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The bad old days are here again. The New York Yankees, as is their five-year tradition, are spending money like only the New York Yankees can. The Brian McCann signing isn’t even official yet (press event Thursday) and now the Yankees have signed Jacoby Ellsbury to a seven-year contract reportedly worth more than $150 million dollars. US dollars. Legal tender.

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Yankees pitcher  Mussina pitches against Toronto in New York

Hall of Fame ballots, hypothetical or otherwise, are subjective by nature. The list of ten players from this year’s ballot who I deemed, in my infinite wisdom, to be worthy of Hall support was subject to my own whims and shifting criteria.

As has been discussed ad nauseum, there is 15 pounds of Hall of Fame meat on this year’s 10 pound ballot. Multiple worthy candidates will find themselves off the ballots of many voters, who take the seemingly clear edict from the governing body and twist and contort it to their own agenda.

Or maybe different people just value the contributions of given baseball players differently. Using what I believe to be important indicators of pitching prowess, I arrived at a slightly controversial conclusion that Mike Mussina was a better pitcher than Tom Glavine. This aspect of my personal (fake) ballot attracted its fair share of attention.

Mike Mussina has become something of a cause célèbre among baseball writers of a certain vintage – and rightfully so. Mike Mussina is a Hall of Famer. Full stop. And here is why he looks better than a player sure to far more support from the voters at large.

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Detroit Tigers v New York Yankees - Game Two

A lot was made yesterday over the unwelcome realization that the Yankees and Red Sox, by virtue of their raft of potential free agents, stand to earn a whole lot of compensatory draft picks. This hardly seems like the intended consequence of the new C.B.A. Rather than compensate smaller market teams unable to retain the services of the their free agents, we see the same old rich clubs nabbing extra picks.

Firstly, anyone who reads the qualifying offer arrangement as anything other than a mid-level salary tax is wholly misguided. Stripping signing teams of a draft pick doesn’t change the way top free agents are valued but it certainly gives concerned teams pause when it comes to more middling players.

Which brings us back to the Red Sox and Yankees, apparently reaping added benefits from the latest CBA. To just throw up our hands and blame the East Coast bias or claim the league is in the cahoots with the Yankees. It is a symptom of long-held factors that existed long before the current CBA.

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