The Yankees Will Surpass A 200 Million Dollar Payroll in 2013 And Are Pinching Pennies At Catcher!
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Thursday, December.27, 2012
Chuck Booth (Yankees Correspondent/Website Owner): Follow @chuckbooth3024
As of this very moment, you are not the happiest of campers if you are a Yankees fan. Francisco Cervelli, Chris Stewart and Austin Romine look to start the year out catching for the Bronx Bombers! Really??? You are telling me that you will spend 215-225 Million Dollars on (Luxury Taxable) Payroll and you couldn’t find a mere 7.5 Million for a 1 Year Deal to sign A.J. Pierzynski? The club will receive some insurance money for A-Rod’s injury this year, however the Luxury Tax is not affected by that. So maybe knowing that they will pay 40% more for a guys salary (more than he really makes as a salary) is another thing stalling the franchise from plunking some serious cash down on a real quality veteran catcher. In my opinion, this is a brutal mistake that will leave the fans frustrated beyond belief if it blows up in the Yankees face. The good news is that if the team is playing well in every other department other than the Catchers position, they can always address the situation at any point next year by a trade. With no significant catchers left on the FA Market, New York will probably go this route. If you can manage to keep atop of the standings, then you may land a veteran catcher that will only have a pro-rated salary for the rest of the year.
If I were Ichiro Suzuki, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera or Andy Pettitte, I would not be happy with the club not landing a proven offensive or defensive catcher. (Boy does that Jesus Montero Trade not look so favorable right now.) These 4 veterans are in the last year or two of their contracts and possibly their careers will end once their contracts. While these guys would never panic, you only need to look what the Blue Jays are doing north of the border for real ‘transaction aggression.’ I just think that you have re-signed and brought in Free Agents that all point to a “Win Now” mentality, yet you are going towards one-dimensional catchers that all have limited experience. It doesn’t feel right and the Yankees ‘Faithful’ will have a field day on Management and ownership should this position end up being a crutch on the teams success chances for 2013.
The Yankees fans are now laughed at by other fanbases when citing that their ownership is not spending enough money on various positional Free Agents. While I would not advise the fans to go nuts on the brass for this decision at this point, I would tell them to keep a cautious eye on this particluar situation.
The Yankees window to win one last title may just be this year. Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson are on the last year of their contracts. Granerson will most likely demand a ton of cash for his services in Free Agency next year and may fly the nest of New York. Cano is poised to enter the ‘Josh Hamilton’ like stratosphere with his contract demands heading into 2014, plus a few years and a few more Million, so the team may not opt to spend money like in the 2013 season. Of course they also patch-worked the Third Base situation by signing Kevin Youkilis of all people to a 1 Year Deal with 12 Million.
There is great talk that the brass has sent out directives to have the 2014 Yankees Payroll under the 189 Million Dollar Luxury Tax Threshold. That means if you sign Robinson Cano, there will be 4 players collecting in the ballpark of 22.5-28 Million a Year with A-Rod, Cano, Teixeira and CC still. They still have Ichiro signed for next year at 6.5 MIL, and a Team Option on Derek Jeter for 8 MIL. So 6 guys will make approximately 120-125 Million worth of payroll in 2014. Good luck trying to whittle that down under that 189 Million Threshold. Point being, if they are serious about next year, why not go all out in 2013 for another World Series Title. After this year, you can play some youngsters, let all of the old guys retire like Rivera and Pettitte. Youkilis and Kuroda walk as Free Agents, along with Curtis Granderson. Then you can play the cheap core young talent of Brett Gardner, Eduardo Nunez, Austin Romine, Manny Banuelos, David Phelps and Michael Pineda, amongst mid-career guys like: Joba Chamberlain, David Robertson, Cody Eppley, Boone Logan and Phil Hughes -in which some are going through the stages of Arbitration and becoming incrementally more expensive each season.
The club has also expressed an interest in slashing payroll for 2014, in hopes of not paying any Luxury Tax penalties at all. So again, I reiterate, with possibly the last look at a World Series Titles, you are looking to go on the cheap at the position. A nice hitting catcher can make a massive difference on a competing ball club. You only have to ask the San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers of recent vintage about how important the position is.
Austin Romine has shown some flashes of offense in the Minors with a slashline of .278/.333/.747. He does have some power, clubbing 3 HRs in just 61 AB with Scranton/Wilkes Barre. While he may be the clubs future at the position, even on the best of circumstances, he is going to struggle. Not even Joe Girardi being his personal mentor will help transform this kid into the next coming of Thurman Munson.
Chris Stewart is definitely not an offense threat, although he did hit .241 in 141 AB last year, which was a better Average than the departing Russell Martin. Stewart is better served as a back up Catcher. This guy has a .217 Career Average in 351 AB. He makes decent contact only striking out 48 times in those AB suggest. He also carries a .281 OBP in that time frame, which is not what you want on a championship caliber baseball team.
Francisco Cervelli definitely has the best offensive capabilities out of the three and he was part of the 2009 World Series club that went through a Post Season run. His defense leaves a little to be desired. In about a seasons worth of games at this point, the guy has 20 Career Errors. On offense, he virtually has no HR power with just 5 HRs in 490 Career AB. What Cervelli can do is make contact and he has decent speed for a backstop.
So unless things change drastically, the Yankees must try to make do with this collection of 3 catchers vying for 2 spots. They may even carry three catchers. As a Yankees fan, your best chance to acquire a nice veteran catcher will be by a trade. I am thinking that if Wilson Ramos can fully heal for the Nationals, that Kurt Suzuki would be available at some point in 2013. You also may look no further than in your own city, where newly acquired Mets Catcher John Buck is on the last year of his contract, so you have to figure the Wilpons will try to save a few Million by trading him early if they continue to wallow in mediocrity in a tough NL East. If I was Cashman, why not kick the tires on these guys right now? Either that, or maybe that Mike Napoli contract issue with the Red Sox will continue long enough to pry him away and put him in Pinstripes. Napoli would look great as a C/DH for the Yankees and would probably sneeze out 30 HRs.
*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com or their partners ***
Chuck Booth- Lead Baseball Writer/Website Owner and author of the Fastest 30 Ballgames: To learn more about my “The Fastest 30 Ballgames Book” and how to purchase it, click here . You can also follow my Guinness Book of World Record Successful Bid to see all 30 MLB Park in 23 Days- click here. I am happy to be part of such an awesome Magazine-Style Baseball Website and am looking forward to talking to all of the fans of the MLB. You can reach me on Twitter here Follow @mlbreports
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Posted on December 27, 2012, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged AL East, andy petttitte, austin romine, boone logan, boston red sox, brady gardner, brian cashman, cc sabathia, chris stewart, Chuck Booth. fastest 30 ballgames, cody eppley, curtis granderson, david phelps, derek jeter, eduardo nunez, francisco cervelli, george steinbrenner, hiroki kuroda, jesus montero, joba chamberlain, joe girardi, josh hamilton, kevin youkilis, kurt suzuki, Luxury Tax Threshold, manuel banuelos, mark teixeira, mike napoli, new york mets, new york yankees, phil hughes, robinson cano, russell martin, scranton wilkes barre, st louis cardinals, texas rangers, thurman munson, toronto blue jays, twitter @chuckbooth3024, Wilson Ramos, World Series 2009, Yankees Management, Yankees Payroll 2013, yankees payroll 2014. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.