The Robert Whitmer 5-Point Plan to Fix the Yankees

Tuesday October 23rd, 2012

Robert Whitmer:  If I gave you 196 million dollars and told you that you could take that money and build a baseball team out of that money and get whoever you wanted, who would you get?  If we take the bottom 10 teams in regards to payroll in baseball, take their best player at the eight field positions, pitcher and closer, who would we get?

Oakland A’s: Yoenis Cespedes (OF) $6.5 million

San Diego Padres: Chase Headley (3rd Base) $3.475 million

Houston Astros: Jose Altuve (2nd Base) $483,000 million

K.C. Royals: Alex Gordon (OF) $6 million

Pittsburgh Pirates: Andrew McCutchen (OF) $708,333

Tampa Bay Rays: David Price (SP) $5.2 million

Cleveland Indians: Asdrubal Cabrera (SS) $4.55 million

Arizona Diamondbacks: J.J. Putz (CL) $4.5 million

Toronto Blue Jays: J.P. Arencibia (C) $489,600

Cincinnati Reds: Joey Votto (1st Base) $11.4 million

That comes to a total basic payroll of $43,305,933.  That is only 22% of the $196 million that I gave you for the budget to begin with.  That is quite the team that you have started with the players that are listed above.  So what in the world did the Yankees spend $196 million on with their team?  They had 11 players that were each getting paid more than $10 million this season.  Only 3 of the players named above made over $5 million.  With all that money being spent, and all the high-profile players that are on the team, yeah they won their division, but they failed to get out of the ALCS after getting swept by the Tigers.  When you are in New York City and you wear the pinstripes, if you don’t win a World Series, then you have failed.  You can thank George Steinbrenner for that mindset.  So in the spirit of the current presidential elections that the United States are in the middle of, I have a five-point plan for the Yankees and how they can return to dominance by the 2014 season.  For this plan, we are going to assume the worst and their ace pitcher C.C. Sabathia is out for the season with Tommy John surgery.  If you didn’t know about this recent development, you can find the article “here”.

1.  Understand that your season isn’t always a failure if you don’t win a World Series!!!

Now don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying that they can’t have high expectations, but nobody needs to go jumping off of the Brooklyn Bridge if they don’t get a World Series ring in 2013.  It is going to be a down year for the team.  We saw a new team show that they have what it takes to compete in the AL East.  The Orioles don’t really have any issue with any of their big, young stars leaving because of free agency, so they will be bringing back pretty much the same team.  The Rays are going to compete as long as they can keep that pitching core together.  Boston is also going to be in a rebuilding year with their new manager, new players, and new attitude (hopefully).  Toronto is still a year or two away from competing in the AL East.  I can see the Yankees placing second in the East and getting in the playoffs with a wild card win.

2.  Re-signing of potential free agents

Hank and Hal Steinbrenner need to step in and issue an executive order that they, no matter what, will re-sign the following 5 free agent players:

  1. Russell Martin
  2. Mariano Rivera
  3. Freddy Garcia
  4. Hiroki Kuroda
  5. Nick Swisher

Martin must be re-signed because there isn’t really another catcher better than him available on the free agent market that should be available at a reasonable price.  Rivera must be re-signed purely because if you don’t you will have a revolt in the Bronx the likes of which you have never seen, not to mention that he is probably still a top-5 closer in the game.  Garcia and Kuroda need to be re-signed because they are good pitchers and the Yankees don’t want to look for 3 free agent pitchers when they only need to sign 1 to replace Sabathia (who may be recovering from Tommy John surgery).  Swisher is just the best right fielder that is available on the free agent market.

3.  Get rid of Alex Rodriguez

Photo courtesy of nytimes.com

In order to get their roster in order, the Yankees are going to have to be willing to eat a lot of A-Rod’s contract if they hope to move him.  He has five years left on his contract that total to $114 million.  His inability to even produce in the slightest way in the playoffs is just unacceptable for a player that is getting paid what he is.  Here is what I would consider to be the perfect profile of a team for Rodriguez.  He needs to go to a team that is a smaller market team that could afford to pay $50 million of that money over the 5 years ($10 million a year).  The team that he goes to will more than make that back through ticket sales from Rodriguez chasing Bonds (only needing to average 24 home runs over the 5 years to beat his record).  I also think that Rodriguez does have a good head on his shoulders and has the ability to teach the younger players the game.  The Yankees in return should be looking for a slew of minor leaguers and high quality defensive third baseman to take over for A-Rod.  This is probably going to be the biggest thing that they do during the offseason that will have the biggest positive effect on the team.

4.  Retire Derek Jeter’s number

I know what you are going to tell me about him not even being retired.  Who says that a player has to be retired to have their number retired by a team?  What will this do for the team?  The Yankees have the reputation for not caring about their players that come and go from the team.  I know that it really doesn’t seem like much to retire a number, but to the players it is a huge honor.  Retiring the number 2 will be pretty much a huge “thank you” to Jeter for the service that he has given the team and the future service that he will provide while chasing down the career hit total set by Pete Rose.  Let’s say that he plays another 7 years (3 as SS and 4 as DH), that is only an average of 137 hits each year.  That’s very attainable.  Jeter is already the captain of the Yankees and a first ballot hall-of-famer. Might as well go ahead and retire the man’s number!

5.  Spend this year focused on getting the talent that you want at the AA and AAA levels

The Yankees are a very old team.  They had their run of perennial dominance but that time is quickly coming to a close.  Their older players can still play good ball, but at the end of the season, they are tired and worn out.  If you want to be a perennially dominant team again, you must focus on getting your farm system stronger almost than your big league squad.  It might take trading some of your bigger name players like A-Rod, but it is worth it.  If you look around at businesses failing around the country, you see a change of one person at the top, then you see the people who are responsible for completing the day-to-day operations changed out with others who are willing to do the job.  With the Yankees we saw the managerial change, now it’s time to see the change in the organization from the bottom up.  Drafting well and getting the right players in the minor leagues through trades and free agency is vital; especially right now.

Courtesy of New York Times

I hope that you have enjoyed my opinion on what needs to be done to bring the Yankees back to dominance.  With me being a Red Sox fan, it is the last thing that I want to see happen, but I do enjoy seeing the competition in the AL East continuing at a high level.

Every year we have the team in baseball that under-performs and underwhelms us throughout the year.  Every year we will be going through those teams and picking them apart by giving our opinions on what went wrong and what can be done to fix the problems.  When it comes to the Yankees, they just lost their ability to hit when it mattered most.  In the game of baseball, it doesn’t matter how good your pitchers are or how few runs they give up in their starts because even if they only give up 1 run, and you don’t score 2, it’s still a loss.  There is a way, statistically, to fix this issue and it’s called “Moneyball.”  Why don’t you ask the Athletics how that worked for them this year?  Yeah they made the playoffs, but they didn’t get much further than that.  Fixing a team has probably the most varied ideas and proposals that everyone and their dog think will work.  Unfortunately the only way to find out is by trial and error.  Also unfortunately for the managers and coaches of the organizations, the owners don’t allow for trial and error.  They want to win and they want to win now.

 (*The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com*)

***Today’s feature was prepared by Robert Whitmer, MLB reports Baseball Writer. We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers. You can also follow Robert on Twitter (@rwhitmer)***

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Posted on October 23, 2012, in MLB Teams: Articles and Analysis and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Buddy you sound crazy for people that watch the yankees everyday there is no reason to sign Freddy Garcia he was awful and Swisher is a terrible fit for a team trying to cut payroll in the next 2 years and its not for his playoff series this year he didn’t play a good RF and he struck out the most he has since being a yankee. The guy said he wants a Jason Werth contract well get him out of here especially with all the money Cano is going to want next year. Teach Nunez to play the OF like they were trying to do before he got hurt the guy can be a 20/20 player. A-rod is a guy that they are stuck with I’d rather see him playing 3rd base for use than paying almost 100mil of his contract to play somewhere else. He was hitting close to .290 before his hand injury and leading the team in stolen bases so his year wasn’t a failure especially looking at 3b options. I would resign Ichiro for reasonable deal if he wants something crazy we dont need him. Ibanez is going to get resigned because of his last week, but people forget or just werent watching the yankees in August when he was just plain awful and over matched. Picking up Grandersons option is something they have to do but I wouldnt want him to be resigned, if we could trade him I would his strikeouts are something to be concerned about his awful batting average and bad OBP are all things to worry about even if he hits 43 hrs. Robinson Cano is the guy you have to look at and say do we trade him for a boat load of talent or do we resign him next year to a 9 or 10year deal worth 200mil and then they have a situation like Arods all over again when Cano is in his late 30′s not producing or being mobile enough to play 2nd base.

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