Monday, October 12, 2015

On the matter of money, why do Yankee websites always fundamentally side with Hal?

Mike Axisa is my favorite Yankee blogger on my favorite Yankee website, River Ave Blues. Maybe that's why they both often infuriate me.
Example: This weekend, Axisa wrote a short piece on the MLB's new qualifying offer -  $15.8 million - for free agents. He notes that the Empire won't offer that kind of beans to their three impending exiles - Chris Capuano, Stephen Drew and Chris Young - and then explains the Yankees' plans for fiscal prudence. 
I don’t expect the Yankees to pursue any big name free agents this offseason, mostly because their free agent spending tends to be tied to the contracts they have coming off the books. They shed a lot of money following the 2008 season, leading to the big 2008-09 winter. Two years they shed a ton of money and went big during the 2013-14 free agent market.
Like I said, the Yankees are only losing Capuano, Drew, and Young to free agents this winter, which is about $12.5M in annual salary. That’s nothing, especially with a rather significant arbitration class. Next offseason, when Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran (and maybe CC Sabathia) come off the books, that’s when the Yankees figure to spend big again.
Hmm. That all makes sense, if we're playing a board game. 

In a roundabout way, Axisa is accepting the premise that Hal "I'm Not Cheap" Steinbrenner doesn't have the money to spend. He won't do anything until 2017, because the coffers are bare. Basically, it's because of Teixeira, Beltran and CC: If we could only get rid of those guys, then we'd have money to sign a David Price or Zach Greinke. Unfortunately, we'll have to wait.

Of course, Axisa is writing what he expects the Yankee to do. And he echoes the words of several beat writers, whose access indicates that I'm Not Cheap won't break the bank this winter out of fiscal prudence. For some reason, that's important to them - that I'm Not Cheap is bankrolling enough profits so that he and his siblings, and their families, and their servants, and their exes and Randy Levine can all live in gated comfort. In fact, we should all get miffed when freeloaders - CC, Tex, Beltran, A-Rod, Gardy, Ellsbury etc - have the audacity to cash their paychecks. It's like stealing the silverware from Hal's house, when he's been so kind to them. Why don't they just retire, so Hal can spend some of his hard-inherited money on restoring the Yankees? It's an outrage!

Listen: There is no frickin' reason in this universe why I'm Not Cheap cannot increase the Yankee payroll. This season, the Dodgers spent more than $300 million - that's about $90 million more than the Yankees - and the reason is simple: Their owner wants to win more than ours does. And that should never be the case. Frankly, no Yankee blogger or beat writer should ever accept it - not even in passing - without challenging it. They should never give the Steinbrenners - a family whose worth is measured in billions, not millions - a free pass, when it comes to poor-mouthing.
As for some notion that the Yankees will wait until 2017 before signing any big name free agent? If you think about it, what a load of crap. There is no reason why I'm Not Cheap  - with all that money coming off the books in 2017 - cannot float one extra year of a free agent contract. Are we to believe the Yankees are in a financial bind - they are so hamstrung that they must wait a year? What crap!

I'm Not Cheap has more money than he can count. Whatever fiscal limits the Yankee face are his own cocktail napkin doodlings. And whenever anybody writes about Yankee finances, they should point this out. 

Now and then, I wonder about the ties between River Ave and YES. The site runs the YES toolbar, and YES links to it all the time, and clearly there is some affiliation between the two. It's a great site for Yankee analysis, and - like I said - I enjoy Axisa's work. I hate to be firing on my own troops. But another off-season has started early, and already, it seems as though we are being told to accept whatever edicts that I'm Not Cheap decides to announce. He doesn't deserve such a free pass.


John M said...

Almost 40 years in advertising and marketing tells me that you can't trust them. If they're that cozy with YES there's going to be at least a subtle subtext of propaganda, even if at times it's subconscious or unintended. That's how it works. That's why the advertisers pay the money.

It ain't pretty, but neither is Bud Selig.

Absolom Bracer said...

Amen, Brother. And Amen

KD said...

RAB sells RAB Yankee tickets too. wonder if they get a cut?

KD said...

RAB and their commenters brought the YES story regarding CC hook, line, and sinker. All others who questioned the timing and veracity of the party line were attacked, some with great hostility. Axisa himself ordered at least one guy to log off and that guy was far from exhibiting Alphonso-like skepticism.

RAB is a useful site and I check in regularly. But the reader needs to know what they are actually looking at. It can be appreciated for what it is.

Tom said...

so sad. the fiscal prudence -- with the Steinbrenner's money -- of "outside" observers like RAB is just another example of honest voices being corrupted by power/access/money. what a shame.

it has been shown over and over again since the advent of the Internet that the traditional model of journalism is frequently subverted by these influencers, as sports beat writers and political pool reporters are often unwilling to alienate the people they work with every day. I don't know if RAB has people at games and press conferences, but the business relationship with YES is a clear sign that RAB is does not pass the purity test, even if Mike Axisa is otherwise an excellent baseball analyst.

and that's another reason why the "no-access, no-holds-barred" commentary of, for example, early Bill Simmons, Deadspin and, of course, IIHIIFIIc is so much more fun and much more reliable than so many of these courtiers who rely on the crumbs that Joe Girardi and other control freaks in management hand-feed them.

this is a problem on many levels, not just the Yankees, although that's our biggest concern.

Mustang said...

Should we wonder about It Is High's independence? After all, we run Rupert Murdoch's toolbar, and Rupert often links to us.

I don't think that reporting Steinbrenner's evil plan is less honest or less preferable than railing against it. And I fucking hate Steinbrenner.

Hermodorus said...

Thank you, duque. IMHO this critique is long overdue.

Although I still check RAB multiple times a day, I come to this blog for thoughtful analysis.

Tom said...

Mustang, if I were consistent, I would probably argue that IIHIIFIIc's independence is at risk because of the FOX thingy up top. But I am not all that consistent, and in this case, we have many years of el duque's thinly veiled liberal bias to demonstrate that he is not beholden to Rupert.

However, i do think that being a shill for Steinbrenner, justifying fiscal prudence and selling restraint to the fan base, is, if not dishonest, somewhat akin to what is known as Stockholm syndrome -- sympathizing with your captors.

RAB provides some useful information and perspective, but I am put off by its wholesale acceptance and promotion of management's party line, which is not presented as reporting so much as the right thing to do.

And when it comes to the Steinbrenners -- especially including George, I'll match your hate and raise it to loathe.

Ken of Brooklyn said...

I love the Yankees, but I despise this ownership, for all of the reasons mentioned above. It's dawned on me that I've kind of taken the position that I won't attend games and fork out that kind of money until I feel that the ownership is spending to field a top quality team. This is the first year that I've actually not attended any games at the stadium, of course I listen religiously to each game via the The Master, but it wasn't until I read this post that I could pin point the reason for my level of my distain for the $teinbrenner$.

Since we're stuck with I'm Not Cheap & Co for the foreseeable future, I'll of course give in and pay out the wazoo for a fun night out basking in Yankee greatness,,,,,, I hate feeling this way, it's stupid, petty and cheap,,, hey, I finally have something in common with ownership!