Monday, October 15, 2018

The free agent "I wanna play for the Yankees" dilemma

Arizona free agent Patrick Corbin graduated from Cicero-North Syracuse High School, alma mater of Breanna Stewart, the greatest basketball player in history. He grew up in a hotbed of Yankeeslamic radicals (though this will change next summer, when the Mets become mother ship to the Triple A Syracuse Chiefs.) Corbin - age 29 and a lefty - supposedly wants to fulfill his adolescent wet dreams and become a Yankee.

Should we let him?

Spoiler alert: I dunno. But this we do know: The guy threw 200 innings last year with an ERA of 3.17. That beats anything our "ace," Luis Severino, achieved, though let's remember that it happened in the NL desert, where rally-killing pitchers come to bat, and specifically in Arizona, where Carl Pavano once flourished. I hate to mention Pavano - the human cyanide tablet of a memory - but, hey, history is history, and he's the last big pitcher we cropped from Arizona. 

You can't help but fear that Corbin would be the latest in the conga line of Yankee pitchers past their sell dates - in this case, having thrown nearly 400 innings over the last two years. Even if he's not Pavano, he sure looks like Javier Vazquez. He could want a five-year deal. Would we bite?

Remember: He wants to pitch for the Yankees.

Assume sigh here.

What do we do when players target the Yankees as their fantasy destination? If it means a discount, well, count me in. (Then again, I will always favor players over the owners, whose staggering amounts of money don't even get reported to us.) Because this winter - be it truth or bullshit - some big names SEEM to want to be Yankees.

First, there is Bryce Harper, who famously grew up a Yankee diehard. In our fantasies, he has been biding his time with the Capitals, waiting to become a free agent, so he can relive those first Yankee boyhood erections. Tomorrow, Harper turns 26. (I looked it up.) After a terrible first-half slump this year, he ended up with 34 HRs, 100 RBIs and batted .249 - (almost exactly Giancarlo's numbers) - though they fell 70 points below his 2017 season (also similar to Stanton.) If we added Harper, we could have four outfielders with more than 30 HRs next year! (And we could also lose in the first round for lack of pitching.) 

But wait, then there is Manny Machado, who has made no secret of his desire to be a Yankee. In fact, a relative this summer publicly stated that Manny wants to play in the Bronx. Machado, 26, hit 37 HRs this year and batted .297 for the O's and Dodgers. It's worth noting that his hottest period came in Baltimore, where the Orioles were practically eliminated on May 1, and that Machado has been noticeably jogging out grounders in the NLCS, which is galling. Unless there is a reason - and a damned good one - I'd hope the Yankees walk away from Machado. We had one jogger this summer. It almost took us down.  

But wait... we're not done. J.A. Happ says he would love to stay with the Yankees, and so does Zach Britton, and so does Andrew McCutcheon - though, let's be real: They all could simply be trying to induce Food Stamps Hal into a bidding war. It's smart to seduce the Yankees. 

Under old George, the Yankees could be swayed. Remember how Hideki Irabu refused to go to San Diego, because he dreamed of pitching for the Yankees? Same thing happened - sort of, anyway - with Jason Giambi. And then with A-Rod, after he jumped ship and profusely apologized. He wanted to be a Yankee, so all was forgiven... and we gave him the disastrous 10-year deal.

In Hal's tenure, the Yankees have been less likely to bite, simply because a player says nice things. But this is going to be a wild winter. Boston might well be world champions - their dominance can no longer be debated - and Hal has no excuse, flimsy as it was to begin with, over luxury taxes. The Yankees will be expected to shell out. I want zeros on the checks, baby! Big zeros on the checks! But I don't care who loved us growing up. 


TheWinWarblist said...

I am tired of feeling like the poor out of town relatives. I don't care if it's splashy or if costs Hall a few more private planes and yachts. I want the Yankees to spend like the world is going to end.

"Après nous, le déluge"

Scottish Yankee fan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scottish Yankee fan said...

Again please forgive me if I am out of line here I am still learning about all aspects of baseball.

One thing I would say in regarding to free agent and trades of pitchers Cashman seems to have a very poor record.

CC and Tanaka apart we have seen some shocking performances from pitchers we have traded for and picked up as free agents under his watch.

TheWinWarblist said...

That's generally true of all pitchers. They're numbers tend to year to year fluctuations far in excess of position players. They are more prone to injury as well. Have the Yankees done worse than other clubs? I'm not sure. Pitch are always a crap shoot. Please see: TINSTAAPP. Also David Price.

apoorplayer said...

Corbin is the best free agent pitcher out there, so we should get him. 29 years old, 6.3 WAR, almost double the next-best option (Dallas Keuchel). But do not be fooled; he is a solid #2 at best, probably an excellent #3, but not a #1. I very much would like to see a rotation of Severino, Tanaka, Corbin, and Happ. Use the #5 slot for some early experimenting and see who steps up. So Happ? Yes for me.

Manny is a priority. I have only seen him jog out one ground ball in the NLDS, and if we're honest with ourselves, many a MLB player has been known to jog out routine grounders or stare at cans of corn (I think Gardy is the only exception). It doesn't rule him out for me. He is unquestionably the best all-around player out there, and if he wants to play for the Yankees, open the bank. Hopefully we did not get under the luxury cap for nothing.

I am on the fence about Harper. His bat is made for the stadium, but he will also cost a boatload of money. What I fear is that the combination of Stanton, Harper and Machado in terms of salary will mean a lack of payroll flexibility in the future. If one or more of those guys becomes the next Ellsbury, then that's just trouble. We need to Ellsbury-like contracts off the books, not add another one. Since we already have Stanton, adding both Machado AND Harper only increases the risks. For me, it's Machado and not Harper. But if you're like Winnie and you just want Hobo Hal to make it rain regardless the risk, get them both. It might prove to be what gets us to the Promised Land.

Happ I think is worth a flyer. The rest, not for me. I love McCutchen personally, but I don't see where he fits should Frazier come back.Personally, I think Michael Brantley is worth a flyer. Left fielder, LH bat, 3.5 WAR, some speed, some pop. Other than injuries, what's not to like at his cost?

TheWinWarblist said...

Enough with this billionaire's nonsense about "payroll flexibility." That's just a steaming loaded turd from the robber barons that own the team and take or money. Fuck them if they can't afford the biggest yacht in the harbor. Boo fucking hoo, Hal, you miserable miserly bastard.

Anonymous said...

Pavano was a Marlin when the NYY signed him to a four year, $39.95 million dollar deal in December of 2004.

My ideal offseason:

Trade Stanton to the Dodgers for prospects

Trade Gray and Bird to the Rockies for prospects

Sign Machado for 3b, Harper for LF.

Andujar rotates at DH/ 3b with Manny and 1B with Voit.

For pitching, retain Britton in the pen. Resign happ for two years $32m. Corbin gets 5 years and $90m

JM said...

Anonymous makes good sense. That's why little if any of it will happen.

TheWinWarblist said...

Carl Pavano, and I can't stress this enough, sucked. He had two good year, 2000 & 2004, and two average years, 1998 & 2002, in his 9 years of service time before he signed with the Yankees. Anyone with half an ounce of sense could see that he was a mook. Why did we sign him for four years? I don't remember. I don't care. I respect him for staying injured and out of the clubhouse for most of the contract, but he still needs a good solid case of tertiary syphilis.

Anonymous said...

Some good stuff here...

I like very much what anon says. That is pretty much my ideal off season as well.

That's a great lineup

Gleybar SS
Judge RF
Harper LF
Machado 3B
Andujar DH
Hicks CF
Voit 1B
Sanchez C
Dozier 2b (The new Neil Walker)

apoorplayer has a plan B that works for me as well. Brantley is a good choice. I don't recall who said it yesterday but sadly I don't see Frazier as being a factor either. Like Bird it would be like leaning on a reed.

Last, while it's often used as a negotiating ploy I'd rather have people who want to be Yankees. Who "get it" as opposed to being purely mercenaries. I say purely because such is the nature of free agency.

Doug K.

Ken of Brooklyn said...

I echo all above in saying Anonymous has my ideal offseason acquisitions!

apoorplayer said...

RE Plan Anonymous: If the Dodgers will take Stanton, then fine, sign Harper. I suppose we need a lefty in the pen, so Britton OK (you know Miller is a FA), but meh. Gray and Bird trades YES. But I do question whether Andujar has as much defensive flexibility as people seem to think. He was a liability at 3rd, and there is no evidence his glove will play elsewhere. How to keep him in the lineup is a conundrum at the moment.

13bit said...

How about this?

If they REALLY want to be Yankees so bad, let them prove it by signing a contract that gives the team a no-questions-asked opt-out after the first year. Don't give them an opt-out until after 4 years. And give us a hometown discount while you're at it. Put your money where your mouth is and put your mouth where your scrotum wants to be.

I'm tired of bullshit.

TheWinWarblist said...

Oh dear sweet 13bit, you need to sober up soon. The season really is over for us, Darling; don't stay dunk much longer, okay?

apoorplayer said...

13bit - I want what you're smoking/drinking.

If you're interested, here's a link for the Winter 2018-19 Free Agent Class

13bit said...

Sadly, or happily, I'm not on a thing. Stone cold whatever, this is me, unadulterated. You can see why they were reluctant to let me out of the cage when I was young.

Anyway, I'm cool, calm collected, as well as serene, peaceful and filled with joy. Doesn't it show?

Thanks for that list, APP. I have another plan - let's take, from each category, the oldest and cheapest free agents out there. Pull the names out of a hat if you have to. IT DOESN'T MATTER. WE'LL STILL DO AS WELL AS OR BETTER THAN IF WE LET CRACKMAN MAKE THE CALLS. Plus, we can save some money. We might, as Saint Joe Torre used to say "catch lightning in a bottle."

Okay, back to my Randy Levine dart board. Later, my people.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Anon, Scottish Yankee Fan, other brethren and sistren: You're absolutely right. Giving huge, long-term contracts to free agents is no better a way to build a baseball team than some watery tart handing out scimitars is the basis for a rational system of government.

The only thing is: it's now our best alternative.

Coops does not know how to build from a farm system, or make great, stars-for-prospects deals. Most importantly: NOR DOES HE WANT TO.

The only alternative to bringing on the ungodly contracts is going full Food Stamps, and pretending that Neil Walker and the next Shane Robinson can start next year.

Also, I'm for not wasting Andujar's arm, and putting him in left.

I think this is the best we can hope for, at least until Didi gets back:

Gleyber, SS
AnDUjar, LF
Judge, RF
Harper, CF
Manny, 3B
Stanton, DH
Voit/McBroom, 1B
Toe, 2B

Didn't see that Toe coming, did ya?

On the bench:

Wade/Holder, UT
Brantley, OF/DH
Hicks, OF
Romine, C


Severino (yuk)

Holder/anything else