Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Mike Lupica is a Jackass: Chapter Nine

As we well know by now, nothing pisses Lupica off more than when the Yankees succeed at something. If they do, he'll do his best to shit on whatever parade he can.

Yankees win World Series? "They bought it."
A Yankee gets the MVP? "Fine, but where's the World Series ring, you selfish jerk?"
Yankees do not win World Series? "What a waste of all that money. They should have won, but failed."

Etc., etc., and so forth. When the Yankees signed Teixeira yesterday, my guess is that there was a mean-spritied little busybody in New York who needed to change his underpants.

Christmas spending spree always in season for Yankees
Tuesday, December 23rd 2008, 10:17 PM
It would have been ridiculous for the Yankees not to go after Mark Teixeira, to not pay him and his bag man, Scott Boras, whatever they wanted. But then it was ridiculous, and phony, of Brian Cashman and the Yankees to pass on Carlos Beltran at $100 million a few years ago. At the time the Yankees wanted you to believe that they had some kind of budget. They don't.
Lest anyone forget that Lupica is in love with the Mets (and, to a lesser extent, the Red Sox) here it is in the first paragraph. Of course, this is an apples/oranges comparison. At the time, the Yankees did not need Beltran as much as they needed Teixeira now, and when you're talking about payroll they still had huge contracts on the books then for Giambi, Williams, Pavano et al which were not ready to come off of the books. Lupica still doesn't seem to realize (or chooses to ignore) that lowering your payroll (or perhaps staying in the same neighborhood) is exactly what "having a budget" means. It does not mean you have to lower your expenses; it means usually to stay close to the same financial output. That is what budgeting is.

When Beltran was available, the Yankees thought him overpriced for his talent and the market, and they were not about to move into a new stadium. The comparison is completelty invalid.
Maybe now they have finally spent enough money, after eight years of the greatest financial advantage in the history of professional sports, to finally buy back the World Series.

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No mention of the Red Sox spending the two largest payrolls to ever win a World Series, the 2004 champs with but one homegrown player on the roster. No mention of his precious Mets and their spending.
If not, Manny Ramirez is still out there. You can never be too sure. The last time the Yankees were sure they had put the Red Sox away by getting the hitter the Red Sox wanted was with Alex Rodriguez nearly five years ago.
Now he's just trying to be cute.
Teixeira is younger and a switch-hitter and a better buy than Ramirez and he gets his money from the Yankees the way C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett did. Really: The Yankees would have been stupid not to do it, even if the Yankees now commit more than $400 million in future salary - for three baseball players - at a time when Cashman wants to still tell you how much money he had coming off the books.
Cause and effect. The fact that so much payroll has come off the books should be an indication that the Yankees had the ability to spend again without severely changing their payroll.
But then if you were the Yankee general manager those are the books you'd want to talk about, too. Last winter, Cashman and the Yankees committed around $270 million to A-Rod when they were bidding against themselves, then another $100 million to Mo Rivera and Jorge Posada. Rivera and Posada, you may recall, were around here when the Yankees could beat everybody without outspending them two or three times to one.
You know, Lupica was complaining about the Yankee payroll in the 90's as well. Revisionist historian now wishes to claim the spending made sense back then.
"Re-investing" is the way team president Randy Levine described his team's spending the other day. This, of course, at a time when Levine expects New York City to re-invest in the Yankees by giving them $259 million more in tax-free bonds so they can finish building their new stadium.

But this is who the Yankees are. This is what they do. And all they do. Yankee fans, at least the ones who can still afford to go to the ballpark, love it. Bag men like Boras love the system most of all.

There were two teams being hit with a luxury tax the other day for the 2008 season: Yankees and Tigers. Neither one made the playoffs. The Yankees, of course, paid a lot more in taxes because they were more than $60 million clear of the Tigers. And Cashman thinks he gets to be thin-skinned because people point out his team spends money like this year after year and hasn't been in the World Series since 2003.
Fairly sure Lupica doesn't understand the luxury tax system. The reason - the main reason - the Yankees are spending so much more than the Tigers is not because they simply had a higher payroll, it's because the Yankees crossed the payroll threshold three years (or more) in a row, which brings with it additional penalties.
So now the Yankees try to get back there, win their first Series since 2000, with a payroll that is way more than twice what the Phillies spent to win the World Series last October. Maybe after $180 million on Teixeira and $161 million for Sabathia and $82.5 million for Burnett the Yankees can not only get back into the playoffs but get out of the first round for the first time since 2004.
So bitter. So insecure. So mean spirited.
"You keep swinging for the fences," Cashman said the other day, when Sabathia and Burnett were the latest free agents to show up for Yankee money and talk about how it was always their dream to wear the Yankee pinstripes.

Cashman sure does swing for the fences. He's a sultan of swat, just from the baseball Brunei.
Lupica would suggest perhaps the Steinbrenners pocket the money, or give Cashman a $50M bonus this year.
Cashman talks constantly about a farm system that is supposed to start producing young talent any day now. Just not today. Never today. Developing young talent is something the riffraff are supposed to have to do.
Chien-Ming Wang. Joba Chamberlain. Phil Hughes. Robbie Cano. The centerfield combo of Gardner/Cabrera. Most of the bullpen corps. These are just the recent guys of course who don't count for some reason.
The Yankees write checks and want to be carried around the room for keeping their payroll at around $200 million when nobody else in baseball is close. It must have been a hardship in the old days, winning with guys such as Brosius and O'Neill.
We really can never get through a Lupica Yankees rant without mentioning Brosius, can we? Brosius really only had one good year with the Yankees. They won despite - not because of - him most years.

Also I don't understand the "guys such as" including Paul O'Neill. O'Neill was a good player. Not a Hall of Famer, but an All-Star caliber talent who won a batting title and had good power.
The total outlay of new Yankee money spent in the last two baseball winters is now nearly $800 million. Now the Yankees will try to save money on people such as Andy Pettitte so that they can say that they signed all these big-ticket players and kept their payroll under what it was last year. It is absolutely essential for Cashman to look as if this makes him some kind of numbers cruncher.
So wait, Lupica is admitting that despite this temper tantrum, the Yankees may actually cut spending this year? Also don't give me these tears for Andy Pettitte. The Yankees did him a huge favor of loyalty last year when they picked up his option in the middle of his HGH scandals. Is Pettitte really worth more than $10M/yr?
Even as he now has four players on his roster making more than $20 million per season: A-Rod, Sabathia, Teixeira, Jeter. They have about as much money invested in those four as the Phillies do in their entire baseball team.
Not quite. Also the Phillies' payroll is about to jump, with Cole Hamels and Ryan Howard in arbitration. If we're to talk about bad contracts and overpaid players, let's not forget that the Phillies are still paying Jim Thome to play for the White Sox.
You cannot do this in professional football, as much as owners such as Jerry Jones would like to.
Other things you can't do in football: carry bats on the field, bunt, steal bases, get called for a balk on a pump fake, or field different teams when you're on offense and defense. That is because football is a different sport in many, many ways and thus this comparison is invalid.
You cannot do this in the NBA, because even when teams such as the Knicks go wildly over the salary cap, they aren't out-spending the competition the way the Yankees do, year after year after year. Again: There is no sport where one team, if it has the resources, can attempt to buy this sort of edge.
Yes, you are also in love with the Knicks, I forgot because, well, nobody gives a shit about the Knicks.
The Yankees don't have to apologize. The way they do business, it would have been insane for them to pass on Teixeira. But it takes no genius, or vision, to do this, for Cashman or anybody else. Just deep pockets and owners desperate to look big.
Ok, so why have you spent two pages berating them?
So maybe the Yankees have finally spent enough money to win, after spending a couple of billion on salaries and revenue sharing and luxury taxes and somehow managing not to win a World Series since Mike Piazza's ball ended up in Bernie Williams' glove in October of 2000.
I thought you just admitted the payroll may go down this year. Also, still bitter about 2000. We get it.
Maybe, at long last, they are back to being the best team money can buy. But if they still think they might come up a little short, why not buy Manny, too?
Because Manny is a jerk and would fit in just fine on the Mets.

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posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 12:22 PM   3 comments

A Mark Teixeira Christmas.

"E" before "I." "E" before "I." Gotta remember that. It shouldn't be a problem since I actually learned to spell Mientkiewicz.

Getting Teixeira was a total shock to me. It's like asking Santa for a new bike for Christmas and he shows up on Christmas Eve with an Ecosse Titanium Series motorcycle with the 200-horsepower, 2150cc polished billet intercooled and supercharged aluminum v-twin engine, and MotoGP-spec Ohlins suspension.

If California ever legalizes same sex marriage, I may just have to propose to Brian Cashman.

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posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 10:34 AM   2 comments


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Karl Ravech is Terrible at Math

Jump to the 2:00 mark, and you'll get this gem from Boston's own Karl Ravech:
"If you're looking at 8 years and $180M, you're just north of $18M per year, which is just a starting point."

180 / 8 = 22.5, Karl. Maybe this is just his way of tricking Boras into saying no so that his beloved Red Sox can sweep in and offer "20M for 8 years!" ($160M).

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posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 3:51 PM   0 comments


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Well, it's About Damn Time.

Keith Law and Rob Neyer were elected to the BBWAA. Finally. Per Keith:
I am still unclear on why, exactly, I might need to be a member; after conversations with probably a dozen current members, I think the opposite is true - the BBRAA needed people like me, Rob, etc. as members, to try to boost their credibility as an organization in a time when they receive so much criticism for the backwardness and outright hostility towards intelligent analysis (statistical or scouting) displayed in so much mainstream writing, to say nothing of the RBI/wins fetish in BBRAA voting.

I suppose the plus side is that Tim Raines will get one more Hall of Fame vote in 2018, because Lord knows he’s not getting in any time soon.

Of perhaps even more interest was the additional inclusion of Will Carroll and Christina Kahrl of Baseball Prospectus. Not only is the BBWAA adding 'net writers, it's now adding 'net writers not associated with gigantic media companies (SI, ESPN, etc).

My guess is that the reason is exactly the one given by the esteemed Mr. Law.

Of course this won't prevent the other mediots from voting for Joba Chamberlain for AL ROY in 2009.

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posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 5:04 PM   2 comments

Shopping Checklist

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posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 4:33 PM   1 comments

You Have to Love the Cash Man

Per PeteAbe:
We asked Brian Cashmam how he got to Oakland last night.
“Commercial flight,” he said.
“Not private?” I asked.
“We’re not the Red Sox,” Cashman said with a laugh.

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posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 4:29 PM   0 comments


Friday, December 05, 2008

Shopping list: CC, Sheets, Dunn

Sabathia is an obvious target, and the ball's in his court.

I don't understand why there isn't a lot more talk about two obvious bargain buys - Ben Sheets and Adam Dunn.

I'll hold off on the Dunn talk for this post, since it's been covered on this space numerous times, except to say that speculation is now that he'd cost less than $10M per year and is now an absolute steal.

Sheets, on the other hand, is also a bargain as people wonder about his durability. I'd have no problem with a 2 year contract with a vesting option for a third based on number of starts. I'm not as worried if he needs a bit of rehab time at the beginning of 2008 as adding him into the rotation at a later time would allow for Chamberlain to take some starts off as is the plan to keep his innings under control. Sheets has made 34, 22, 17, 24 and 31 starts over the last five years, respecively, with ERA+ of 162, 128, 119, 117 and 139. It would not be a stretch to expect 25 starts and a 120 ERA+ in 2008.

I'll take that as a bargain.

Sign all three and your lineup and rotation look as such:
SP Sabathia
SP Wang
SP Chamberlain
SP Sheets
SP Pettitte/Hughes

LF/CF Damon
SS Jeter
3B Rodriguez
1B/LF Dunn
RF Nady
DH Matsui
C Posada
2B Cano
CF/LF/1B Swisher

I'd go to war with that team, and there's no loss of financial flexibility or prospects.

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posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 3:40 PM   1 comments

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