Question #3 about 189: Will the Yankees be better or worse in 2014?

March 8, 2012 | 53 comments | in Featured | by Vizzini

At the editorial offices of NoMaas in Boise, ID, we’ve been debating around the water cooler about how this $189 million thing will affect Wins & Losses. While we absolutely believe the main reason behind the payroll cut is so that Steinbrenner Inc makes more money, we’ve been discussing what effect the cut will have on the baseball product. After all, we’ve been advocating efficiency for years, and the Hal Doctrine might push the organization towards that more than ever. Efficiency is a good thing and obviously, Brian Cashman’s been steering the club’s decisions in that direction over the last few seasons. When opportunity costs increase, the evaluation process needs to be more astute. This can be a big positive over time.

With all this said, it’s also important to realize that Hal Steinbrenner is not allowing for a transition period. He’s drawn a hard line in the sand and mandated that this payroll level by achieved by 2014 — and considering the current configuration of the team, the Yankees will be worse than they are now, at least in the 2014 season. Here’s why:

The worst contracts will still be on the books in 2014

Try as they might to add bargain players, the Yankees will still have the millstone of Alex Rodriguez’ contract around their necks. ARod’s salary drops to $25 million in 2014, but for the purposes of the luxury tax, it will be counted at the yearly average of the entire contract: $27.5 million. This historically atrocious contract will serve as a painful reminder of the reality of opportunity costs for the next 6 seasons.

The next biggest contract the Yankees currently have is CC Sabathia, with a $24.4 million hit. Sabathia will turn 34 in 2014 and will likely be overpaid at that point, though not to the level of ARod. Mark Texeira will also be 34 in 2014. He’s already overpaid relative to his $22.5 million AAV contract.

Together that’s $74.4 million in obligations that you know are going to net negative value. If that’s not dispiriting enough, bear in mind that we may be subjected to a 40-year old Derek Jeter exercising his player option for 2014.

The best values on the current roster will cease being values in 2014

Nick Swisher will be a free agent after this upcoming season. Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson will be a free agents after 2013. These are great players who are generating excellent value at their current prices. However, in 2014, most or all of that value will be gone. The Yankees will either have to pony up, or find replacements who are likely to generate less wins.

Russell Martin is a nice value at $7.5 million, but he will also be a free agent after the 2012 season, and he’s already rejected the Yankees lowball extension offer. Hopes are high for Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain to rebound as prime cost-controlled assets. However, next year (2013) will be their last year of arbitration and then it’s free agency. Even the king of value, Brett M Gardner, will cease to be such a grand bargain. The 2014 season will be his final arbitration year and we can expect him to earn about 70% of what he’s worth. That’s still a nice player to have, but it means more value to make up with less money.

GMs are becoming more savvy

As the Omar Minayas and Jim Hendrys of the world continue to get replaced by GMs without mild retardation issues, Brian Cashman will have less opportunities to cheaply acquire undervalued players like Nick Swisher. It’s more difficult to swindle. Combine this fact with less money to spend on free agents, and that’s a problem.

Randy Levine

While Brian Cashman has shown admirable restraint in acquiring free agents, the Yankees team president has a long history of spending like a drunken sailor. Chances are the front office knew last offseason that a payroll reduction would be required in the near future. Yet, Levine still handed out a totally irresponsible contract to Derek Jeter when nobody was bidding anywhere within earshot. He followed that up with the brilliant Rafael Soriano deal. Despite the new budget reality, there’s every chance Randy Levine can’t be stopped.

Hopefully over time, the $189 million directive will push the Yankees even more towards the philosophy of becoming leaner, maximizing the farm system, and avoiding idiotic contracts. Efficiency can produce great results. However, this will take more than two years to accomplish, and thus for at least the 2014 season, the Yankees will be a worse team than they are today.

Where many of our debates take place: the NoMaas break room

Make-or-break for Phil Hughes

March 6, 2012 | 33 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK

Hughes reportedly changed his offseason training from the method above.

Question #2 about 189: Will the Yankees reduce prices for fans?

March 6, 2012 | 61 comments | in Featured | by SJK

If the Yankees are to reduce payroll from the current $212 million level to $189 million by 2014, not only will they avoid paying luxury taxes ($14 mil in 2011), they will also be eligible to receive a rebate on some of their revenue-sharing outflows.

The Yankees are looking at significant savings if everything goes according to plan. So, if the organization’s costs are reduced, will some of those savings be passed along to the fans? Or will the Steinbrenners just pocket the extra dough, while investing less in the baseball product?


Get rid of cable

March 5, 2012 | 28 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK

When you can’t record your favorite shows, you get unhappy.
When you get unhappy, you perform poorly at work.
When you perform poorly at work, you drink a lot and eat fried chicken.
When you drink a lot and eat fried chicken, you look like Josh Beckett.
When you look like Josh Beckett, you grow a beer gut and chin pubes.

Don’t grow a beer gut and chin pubes.

It’s time to battle!: The 5th Annual NoMaas Rap Contest

March 4, 2012 | 51 comments | in Featured | by SJK

The rules:

1. Write a min. 4-line verse w/ at least one reference to a member of the Yankees org.
2. After a few days, we’ll pick the Top 5 verses and then put them up for public vote.
3. Include your real email address if you want to be eligible.
4. You can enter as many times as you want.

The winner gets a free NoMaas T-shirt of his/her choice.


Question #1 about 189: Will they be able to control this guy?

March 3, 2012 | 38 comments | in Featured | by SJK

Over the next week or so, we’ll be analyzing and posing questions about the Steinbrenner Budget Cut, which aims to reduce the Yankees payroll to $189 million by the beginning of the 2014 season.

Of the recent comments Brian Cashman made about the budget situation, this is the one that stood out the most to us (from Lohud):

The only thing is, how does this landscape affect us with our current commitments? Decisions we made from the past will affect decisions in the short term going forward, until some of those contracts expire, or you move them at some point. A lot of those contracts, not that you want to trade them, either have full no-trades or 10-5 rights, so some of those circumstances you just have to hope they stay healthy and productive and they are finishing your career type contracts with the Yankees and you hope that you can maximize your potential with them all, but it will limit your array of choices on those contracts term years because those are legitimate commitments that affect the bottom line.

Read between the lines. “Decisions we made from the past?”/”Finishing your career-type contracts?” It’s clear that in order for the Yankees to cut payroll and for baseball product not to be sacrificed, then there’s one particular person that needs to be kept on a leash.

VOTE: Budget cuts — Does Hal just want to make it rain?

March 2, 2012 | 42 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK


For the first time, Yankees managing partner Hal Steinbrenner disclosed publicly that he intends to cut his team’s payroll over the next two years, signaling a fundamental shift in philosophy from the free-spending ideology once championed by his father.

“Budgets matter,” said Steinbrenner, the managing general partner of baseball’s richest franchise. “Balance sheets matter.”

Steinbrenner’s motivation is clear. Built into the new collective bargaining agreement is a provision that would refund some of money that the Yankees shell out now through baseball’s revenue-sharing program. But eligibility for the refund is tied directly to a team’s ability to stay under the luxury tax threshold.

And then he drops the iron fist with this quote:

“Well, I’m looking at it as a goal,” Steinbrenner said. “But my goals normally are considered a requirement.”

We’re all for the Yankees being run smarter and more efficiently. Keep in mind that part of the reason the Yankees payroll is so inflated is because they’ve given out really bad deals to certain players. If this means an end to obviously overvalued contracts like Arod, Jeter, and Soriano, then great. (Side note: this would also require getting a certain team president out of the player acquisition business).

But is that really the motivation behind Hal’s budget cuts? Do you think he’s doing this for the benefit of baseball product? Will we see money allocated to other areas like scouting, statistical analysis, etc? Will we see ticket costs stabilize? Or is this a straight money grab, pure and simple?

If fighting with your mask on is cool, consider him Miles Davis

February 28, 2012 | 48 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK

Our hearts can’t handle much more of this. First, Boy Wonder. Then, Anus Mouth. Now C is for Cookie.

Farewell, Captain Intangibles:

After weeks of weighing his options, Jason Varitek has decided to retire, multiple sources confirmed last night.

The longtime catcher is expected make it official Thursday at JetBlue Park, and although the team has discussed a role for him in the organization, a source said nothing will be agreed upon until after his retirement is finalized.

The Red Sox offered Varitek a minor league contract and invited him to spring training, but his odds of winning a job were slim, especially after the team signed veteran backup catcher Kelly Shoppach.

The likely scene for Jason Varitek’s retirement presser

Over/Under on how many “best shape in years” articles we’ll read?

February 27, 2012 | 21 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK


“It’s the strongest I’ve ever been, the best looking I’ve ever been — you can write that, too,” Swisher said, laughing. “This is going to be a fun year for me. Last year was super stressful for me, and I’m just not going to do that this year, man.”

Thanks to his offseason, Swisher said that he feels as though he’s living in a new body, though the scale doesn’t tell much of a difference. Swisher said he weighed in at 199 this year, compared to 203 or 204 a year ago.

“I started doing things right away from the gym, eating healthy and all that, then I really noticed my body changing,” Swisher said. “I’m really, really excited about it.”

Ending each sentence with “man” is a great way to stay in shape.

Dorks everywhere continue to unite around Russell Martin

February 26, 2012 | 30 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by Vizzini

Baseball Prospectus has published another article quantifying the effects catchers have on their pitching staffs, and once again, Russell Martin ranks among the top in the game.

The money shot: Martin has added 1.7 wins in catcher defense per year. Overall, this means he’s been between an all-star and an elite level player pretty much every year of his career.

Reportedly, the Yankees offered Martin a 3 year / $20 million extension in the offseason, which would actually be a paycut from the annual salary he will earn in 2012 ($7.5 million). It was definitely a lowball offer and RussMart wisely turned it down.

Already above-average offensively for his position and with the increasing buzz about his defense, Martin is going to get PAID. Three years for $30 million would have been much fairer offer, but because they lowballed him, they now put themselves at a significant risk of losing him in free agency. The Yankees do have a great stable of young catching prospects, but it’s still a big gamble — one they may lose.

It also makes you wonder how the Yankees go about offering contracts. They lowball Martin and yet give contracts to certain players that are so far above their actual production value that you wonder if they’re drunk when they negotiate.

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