Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Boston is still playing the long game, and we'll have Ellsbury through Trump's entire term

Last night, as I was drunkenly musing how four years of Trump could alter America - (you don't wanna know) - it hit me that one point in my miserable life will remain unchanged:

We will have Jacoby Ellsbury for the entirety of Trump's first term.

By then, his legs will be peanut brittle, his boyish face will resemble Abe Vigoda, he'll be a slow-footed DH, and we will fondly remember Aaron Hicks. Ellsbury represents the horrible, long-term A-Rod-style contract that we signed, while we were in the process of lamenting horrible, long-term A-Rod-style contracts. Four more years. Eighty-four million more dollars. Trump might scuttle Obamacare in one afternoon. With the Yankee batting order, there's no such thing as "Repeal and Replace." We're stuck.

Listen: I don't enjoy ripping Yankee players. Ellsbury tries hard; I'll give him that. But almost everything I've read this winter - all the bullshit rumors being propagated by the click-obsessed Yankiverse - involves trading Brett Gardner for a plate of clams... because we're lashed to Ellsbury like Ahab to Moby (and I'm not referring to the nineties alt-rocker.) We have to trade Gardy, a lifelong Yankee, because of Ellsbury's contract. Even today, when I think of the guy, I see him in a Redsock jersey. If 15 years from now, they vote him into the Hall of Fame, would he even wear a Yankee cap?

Sorry there... I lapsed into today's Ellsbury-bashing frenzy after reading a report that Boston is still looking beyond 2017. This week, their latest GM -  (imagine that? a team that holds its front office accountable!) - is stepping back from signing a Jose Bautista and/or Edwin Encarnacion because a) they don't want to lose their top draft pick and b) they don't want to clog their arteries with horrible, long term A-Rod-style contracts. Thus, they might sign Carlos Beltran for a year or two.

We can't stop Boston from being smart. All we can do is try to do the same. I've wavered about signing Encarnacion - it's so tempting to imagine him batting third - but reasons a) and b) both apply to the Yankees, as well. Are we going to give another five or seven-year deal to a player clearly approaching the twilight of his career? Jeez, I hope not. Because here's the truth, all you "clicks" out there: Boston is by far the favorite in 2017. If they add a pitcher or two, or Joe Kelly finally breaks out, or Yoan Moncada... - GAHHHHHHH! -  well, they could win the AL East by 20 games. In everything we do, we must play the long haul. We must - and it sickens me to write this - try to be like Boston.

I've said this before: Brian McCann must go. We can't spend $17 million on a backup catcher and/or DH who hits .220. And we can't go another year with Ellsbury and Gardner - the twins of tenuousness - batting 1-2. It would nice to see Ellsbury go. But like the reality of America's election, for better or worse, we are stuck with what we've done. The only question is whether we have learned.

7 comments:

Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...

Instead of paying umpteen millions (or even more) on one of the star players of 2012, wouldn't it make more sense for the Steinbrenners to bundle $150 million or so and release Chase, Brian, Jacoby, and CC Sabathia?

Just bite the bullet, eat the money, and let 'em go wherever and do whatever. Beyond "opening up roster space" -- you open up PLAYING space. You already know Brian won't make a serious impact in 2017, but with these moves you get to put some younger folks at 3B and CF.

The plan from there: See what happens.

It might well be worse than the first few months of 2016 -- but it can't be much, much worse.....can it?

John M said...

River Ave. Blues has been touting the reasons why we should keep McCann, foremost of which seems to be that he ensures we have some pop in the lineup when Sanchez inevitably has a day off. Yes, McC does deliver 20 or 20+ homers every year, so there's the pop. And he does try to hit against the shift, which is nice to see. And boy oh boy, does he ever frame pitches like a champ. Further, RAB thinks we'd have to eat some of his salary in a trade, and then go out and get another vet catcher to back up and "mentor" Sanchez. (Am I a dick or is that mentoring stuff really overrated? I suppose you could go with yes or no to either of those...)

So, I dunno. Pop is a nice thing to have, but a .280 or .290 hitter with a decent OBP and less pop ain't hay, either.

Headley Lamarr is also rated pretty highly as a defensive weapon, but I was spoiled by Nettles and Headley's bat will never win me over. CC has one more year and can be a fairly effective pitcher, so with the pitching shortage we have maybe we keep him through his contract.

But Jacoby...Jacoby, Jacoby. What a terrible signing that's turned out to be, and I've always liked the guy, even when he wore that red uniform. All of which is a long way of saying, I agree with Joe Formerly of Brooklyn except perhaps for CC.

Of course, you know it will never happen.

Anonymous said...

IT'S A TOUGH CALL WITH ENCARNACION..... IF HE IS GOING TO REQUIRE 5-7 YEARS AND BETWEEN $130 - $175 MILLION, THEN IT REALLY IS A TOUGH CALL.....BUT HERE IS THE PROBLEM......IF YOU DON'T SPEND THE MONEY, YOU DON'T GET THE HITTER!..... SOMEONE ELSE GETS HIM, AND GOD FORBID IT'S THE RED SOX, AND HE CONTINUES A 5-7 YEAR "PAPI-LIKE" DOMINANCE OVER US......... A SMART ALTERNATIVE?....KENDRY MORALES...IT TOOK ONLY 3 YEARS AND TO ME, A REASONABLE 3 YEARS AND $33 MILLION.....BUT HE IS GONE ALREADY....... I HATE THE WAY CASHMAN HAS BEEN DEALING WITH FREE AGENTS THE LAST 4 YEARS....HE CONTACTS ALL THE BIG STARS RIGHT AWAY, THEN NOTHING HAPPENS.....IT'S LIKE A FARCE TO GET US YANKEE FANS EXCITED......I GUESS IT'S HAL'S FAULT TOO, BUT I AM GOING TO BLAME CASHMAN MORE BECAUSE AS HE NEEDS TO CLEAR PAYROLL FIRST, HIS UNDYING INSISTENCE OF GETTING MORE OUT OF THE "NOTHING BURGERS" IN RETURN, COSTS US TIME, THUS COSTING US THE FREE AGENTS.......WE GOTTA STOP THIS FUCKING MERRY GO ROUND.

Alphonso said...

Like a bad seed, The Ellsbury crop comes back each year, consumes all the water, attracts devouring bugs and yields inedible corn.

After consecutive growing seasons, even the lowest, starving animals can't consume the stuff.

The field needs to be plowed under and lay fallow.

So I am thinking; Accident with the John Deere Tractor.

Start over.

Local Bargain Jerk said...


Instead of paying umpteen millions (or even more) on one of the star players of 2012, wouldn't it make more sense for the Steinbrenners to bundle $150 million or so and release Chase, Brian, Jacoby, and CC Sabathia?

Well, that's an interesting question. Here are some of the finer points of the CBA that I don't know about:

1) If we were to release -- but pay-upfront -- the players you mention, would our resulting net payroll slip under the $189 luxury tax limit? Or would the released payroll still be counted against us, i.e., because the payroll was incurred by us, even though the players wouldn't be playing?

2) If the answer is that the payroll amount would still count in the tax calculation, even if the players are released, how about this as an alternative? Each player agrees to "retire" (thereby relieving the Yanks of their responsibility to pay them) ... and in a "separate" transaction ... each player is awarded some consulting contract roughly equal to the amount they would have been owed as players. They wouldn't be players, they'd be consultants. Would that count against the luxury tax threshold? From the players' standpoints, their pride might be wounded but from a financial perspective, they'd be better than whole: they'd have their money AND they'd effectively be free agents, able to hook on wherever else they wanted. At worst, the Yanks financial position would remain unchanged ... but at best imight improve via luxury tax relief ... and JFOB's goal of opening up playing space would be achieved.

3) If the team were to send McCann to Atlanta, for example, and agree to pay $10MM of his $17MM salary, would Atlanta's payroll would be measured for luxury tax as having increased by $7MM or $17MM? I don't know because I'm unfamiliar with the CBA. Given that the players' reps aren't dummies, I have to think it's the former, but I honestly have no idea how this would work under the CBA. If it's the latter, some of JFOB's proposed moves become that much easier to implement. I.e., shed the player, shed some of the salary, shed some (or all) of the luxury tax limit.

I wish I had the time to sit down and read the CBA, but my lunch hour is now just ending... ;-)

Anonymous said...

INTERESTING VIEWS LBJ......BUT THE SIMPLEST WAY TO RID US OF THESE CONTRACTS IS FOR CASHMAN TO MAKE THE TRADES..... I KNOW HE IS TRYING TO GET MAXIMUM VALUE FOR MCCANN AND GARDNER BUT CASHMAN IS IGNORING THE VALUE OF OPENING UP ROSTER SPACE AND SPENDING TOO MUCH TIME TRYING TO FORTIFY OUR MINOR LEAGUE ROSTER WITH EL DUQUE'S COINED PHRASE, "NOTHING BURGERS"....

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