Sunday, December 10, 2023

Ten Yankee takeaways from the Ohtani mega-deal

1. Never thought I'd say this, but hooray for "Stand Down" Stanton! With Giancarlo clogging our DH hole through eternity, the Death Barge never even pondered a run at Shohei Ohtani. Sometimes, screw ups have their virtues.

2. Considering that he'll be coming off of TJ surgery, which no "Babe Ruth," Japanese or American, has ever done, this $700 million, 10-year pact makes Giancarlo's contract look like a trial subscription to Popular Mechanics.

3. By my cocktail napkin calculations, over the course of this deal, the Dodgers likely will pay about $1.6 million per Ohtani HR. 

4. By the time this contract ends, in 2033 - assuming our robot masters haven't killed us off - I will be posting from a senior center, and Ohtani will mean less to me than whether the cafeteria is serving creamed corn.

5. I feel bad for Blue Jays fans, who - as hateful and sour as they are - were turned into chicken tenders over the last 48 hours, as "news outlets" became sporting versions of George Santos, claiming Ohtani was signing with Toronto. Seriously, how can a franchise do that to its fans? Can you imagine the bile we'd be spewing on IT IS HIGH, if the Yankees pulled a Charlie Brown/Lucy field goal attempt?

6. Wait, scratch that: They might be doing it right now, with Yamamoto.

7. As a hitter, Ohtani is coming off his best year - 44 HRs, 95 RBIs and .304. But his bum elbow must heal, which means the Dodgers are basically paying for his career season. Over the decades, Yank fans have grown accustomed to that hellish strategy - paying for the past. Speaking for the Yankiverse, I say, Good luck with that, Dodgers! 

8. That said, along with utterly humiliating Toronto, the Dodgers will crush their home city competitors, the Angels. I gotta believe a shitload of Angels fans will turn Tommy Lasorda blue. (LA fans are far less loyal than their NY counterparts. Moving from the Angels to the Dodgers will be like switching toothpastes.) And I wonder if Stevie Cohen looks at the Dodgers' deal and thinks, hmm, that's what I gotta do with Yamamoto; that's how I take NYC...

9. For the record, Ohtani last year was 10-5 with an ERA of 3.14 before his elbow started barking. He was a solid starting pitcher, but NOT Gerrit Cole, who finished at 15-4 with a 2.63 ERA. If you believe Ohtani is a combo of Cole and Judge - (frankly, he's not)  - the Yankees will pay Judge ($43 m) and Cole ($36 m) about $79 million this season.

10.  Of course, we all know Fate: In the end, when he's a sad shell of his former self, Ohtani will finish his career in pinstripes, clogging our DH hole and hitting .195. Ah, but that's for another day. In the meantime...

Think Soto and Moto!
(We're not in Kansas, Toto.)


Doug K. said...

700M for a guy who played 6 MLB seasons with a .274 BA and 171 career HRs. 38 career pitching wins.

Needs surgery. Grabbed his side a couple of times after swings last year.

It's unbelievable.

That said, the contract will have massive deferrals of payment. 20-30M a year. So the luxury tax hit per year will be in a reasonable range for a superstar.

What this does is open up a major can of worms in regards to contracts as MLB might start to look like the NFL with tons of dead money on the books. The buy now/pay later door is wide open.

If MLB had a real commissioner he would cancel the deal as not in the best interests of the game as the contract is designed to circumvent the current luxury tax structure.

Either way. I say WTF!

JM said...

The dumbest contract of all time for any sports team. (See Doug's first line, above.)

You know how there have been no significant two-way players since Ruth? There's a reason for that, and Hypetani is beginning to learn it. This surgery is just the start of his arm troubles, which will also affect his swing over time.

You know that overcommercialization some of us were carping about recently? This is it, manifested in a baseball player.

Kevin said...

The Angels have had Babe Ruth and Micky Mantle for six years. Zero winning seasons. And the Dodger paying all that money for a guy who may never be a serviceable starter again. I don't understand this move at all. Especially when it comes time to fill in the roster as players get older and brittle.

Doug K. said...


JM said...

Doug, all the rules...just crazy.

DickAllen said...

We have finally arrived at the intersection of baseball and entertainment, and baseball has taken a back seat.

We've all seen a number of teams (the Yankees being the first) spend major dollars for "name brand" players only to have most of those teams fall flat on their faces come playoff time. Last year the trickle of teams attempting to "buy" a championship became a flood as the Yankees, Dodgers, Mets, San Diego, Philly and a few other less notable teams spent big on players. Every one of those teams launched the idea that this guy was the key to a ring.

It was all a lie.

No one is playing for the World Series anymore. They are playing for what George Steinbrenner blatantly told the world he's doing: "...putting fannies in the seats..."

The playoffs provide a nice chunk of change, but the real profit is in the regular season where home runs rule the day. That's where the real money is: the regular season.
Six months of profit. Everybody stand up and screams hooray when the hometown guy hits a dinger. Then they all sit back down to their beers and hotdogs and sedation until the next homer flies into the stands. Now THAT'S entertainment. PT Barnum was right.

The Dodgers had 3.8MM paying customers last year. They averaged 47M per game. The stadium holds 56M. That means that Ohtani can conceivably bring in another 700,000 paying customers, bringing their total attendance to a little of 4.5MM, which might possibly earn the Dodgers a maximum additional revenue of 140MM. If you add in the additional fannies the Dodgers will bring into every road game, the final figures are astronomical. Big, big money. And that doesn't take into account ancillary sales like souvenirs and the like.

So, paying Ohtani 700MM over ten years is a drop in the bucket. He's no long just a baseball player. He's money in the bank for the Dodgers and every one of the owners who will see their own attendance spike when the Dodgers hit town and the TV revenue keep rolling along.

So let's get clear about what the state of the game is today. Nobody cares if you win a championship. Not Ritchie Rich, not The Intern, and not Booooone. Well, maybe Boooooone. Maybe the players still care.

We can now go out and sign Mr. Moto at any price because the Dodgers just raised the bar. The price looks gaudy, but LA has effectively circumvented the de facto salary cap by deferring the larger portion of his salary into the future.

It's not a game anymore, and truthfully, it never was. It's all about the money.

edb said...

I think Ohtani is overrated. Is he going to pitch again? He is a great hitter, but a DH.

BTR999 said...

There’s always hope

In 73 games: HR:20 RBI: 68 Avg 324 OPS: 1.048

HoraceClarke66 said...

DickAllen, thanks for finishing the math I started in the last comments. Yeah, there are ways for the Dodgers to actually make a stunning profit on this.

But too many things can go wrong.

First, as I mentioned last night, Ohtani has already missed an average of 28 games a year—a figure that might have been considerably larger without the shortened, Covid season. We don't know when he'll pitch again—or how well—and he has never recorded a chance anywhere else on the field. This is a $70-mill a year DH.

Even when it comes to the money, if Ohtani is on the DL, the attendance and the profits drop. (Though a lucrative, Japanese TV contract might lock in some of those.)...

HoraceClarke66 said...

...Most of all, this seems like a weird move from the Dodgers, who have generally been the best team in baseball over the past 11 seasons. In that time, they have won 10 division titles, 3 pennants, and finished with over 100 wins 5 times—including the last, 4 straight full seasons.

Obviously, they have a terrific front office and farm system. So why do this?

I suspect in part it is frustration. The Dodgers have been the one team for whom the postseason really has been Brian Cashman's proverbial crapshoot. But that's mostly because they have overused their ace, Kershaw, during the regular season. It's no coincidence that their one, World Series championship in this time came in 2020, when there wasn't enough time to over-extend him.

If I were the Dodgers, I would have looked much more to shore up the pitching—and gone after YY. But maybe that's still to come.

The Hammer of God said...

Doug, you're right, not in the best interests of the game, with all that deferred money, trying to escape the luxury tax. WTF?

Anyways, to get back to the only thing we care about, the Yankee roster, this just shows what a bargain Judge gave HAL. Judge could've easily got 450 Mill over ten years. His contract was only 360 Mill over nine years. Judge saved HAL a good 5 Mil per year X 9 years = 45 Mill. And a total of 90 Mil as it stands now (450-360).

So now it's time for HAL to put that money saved to good use and get the Moto Man. Get Hader too. And either Bauer or Snell, or even both of them.

Trade Torres for more pitching. Get a couple of good prospects or at least a good young reliever + a good prospect.

The Hammer of God said...

@ Hoss, Hopefully, this means that the Dodgers won't go after Yamamoto. Or that it'll hamper their finances enough to prevent offering him another 700 Mill deal.

The Ohtani deal is pure madness. I don't give a rat's ass what they do. They could've given him 700 Billion for all I care. Maybe Cashman is spreading his disease to other GMs. Nobody knows whether Ohtani will pitch effectively again. And he was never really a top pitcher. Is he a top ten hitter? I don't know about that either. I'd still rather have Pete Alonso.

Carl J. Weitz said...

One should not forget that this is Ohtani's second TJ surgery. Here is an article about the success rates of pitchers who have had the procedure more than once. While there have been notable triumphs such as former Yankees SP Nathan Eovaldi and Jameson Taillon, they (and a few others) seem to be the exceptions.

If $ 700 million isn't staggering enough, because a significant portion of his income (20 million per year) is deferred, the total payment to him will probably be closer to 1 billion dollars!! Think: Bobby Bonilla.

And El Duque's reference to Toto at the end of his post reminds me that when it comes to salary and luxury tax implications, Hal will surely " Hold The Line".

acrilly said...

As a fan of a team, I actually give ZERO craps about what they players get paid. Salary cap, luxury tax, how many million per year, I don't care. The owner wants to own and it's their money, the billionaire should spend to make me clap and cheer. Assemble a good team that's fun to watch and I'll spend money on a ticket. That's how this equation works. Of course Ohtani is gonna be a shell of himself in 5 years, Father Time is undefeated. BUT, That's on the owner to pay the last 5 years, I just wanna cheer for a team that's fun to watch. Not my circus, not my monkeys!!!! This "building a team from AAAA parts" has got to go.

The Hammer of God said...

I keep a close watch on this heart of mine
I keep my eyes wide open all the time
I keep the ends out for the tie that binds
Because you're mine, I walk the line

I find it very, very easy to be true
I find myself alone when each day is through
Yes, I'll admit that I'm a fool for you
Because you're mine, I walk the line

Gregory Peck as a small town sheriff having a midlife crisis, going bat shit crazy for a two bit floozie whose family makes moonshine. Didn't get good reviews, but I liked the movie. Good chemistry b/w Ms Floozie & Peck. I can see why his pecker got a rise out of that wench.

AboveAverage said...

I still believe that the Yankees will sign the Admiral.

Then it’s down to the mad elf to dredge the detritus of the MLB to find some sunken pitching treasure because I doubt that we’ll go big with anyone else after that.

HoraceClarke66 said...

"I Walk the Line"—1970 movie. Peck's married to Estelle Parsons, but lusts after Tuesday Weld.

Wait, it's Tuesday Weld AND she has a family still? I don't really see the dilemma here.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Did you know the Jets actually have people—convicts on a work release? recovering drug addicts?—carry out their banners with the team?


No offense to any Jets fans here, but if the team really deserved banners, they would have long been broken, captured, and carried off to the castle keeps of half-a-dozen opponents: Bills, Dolphins, and especially the Patriots, etc.

13bit said...

Sadly, Acrilly, your libertarian vision of owner freedom is ill considered. Sure, spend whatever you want, but the problem is that this can screw a team for years, thereby making it a big problem for the fans. We need intelligent management, not morons with money.

AboveAverage said...

Hey Bitty - I'm surprised that you haven't yet suggested that the Yankees invest in starting up a Bio-Genetic division so that the team can begin developing embryonic composite hybrids from past Yankee greats to uni up and take the field as soon as 2033 (once you factor in the 28% growth accelerator algorithm).

If you're going to spend a billion dollars on players - why not do it right and make your own.

BTR999 said...

From Ken Rosenthal

Dodgers working on trade with Yankees to create spots on 40-man roster for Shohei Ohtani and Joe Kelly, Expectation is the Yankees will receive two 40-man players for a prospect not on their 40. Names not yet known.

AboveAverage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
HoraceClarke66 said...

That worries me, 999. The Dodgers are a serious team, with people in their front office who know what they're doing. We should not be dealing with them.

13bit said...

Amen, Hoss. Little kids should not be playing cards with seasoned gamblers.

Cash and his 4D chess has left us howling at the moon for over 20 years now.

Think about that. Why should we have any faith in him or the machine he has created. Get all the stars you can buy. It's not the same as building a team and running it well.

We are a failed organization, just as some countries are failed states.

The hereditary ruler is still making money. His top general is protecting his ass. There is a small class of well-paid enablers who keep the wheels greased. And we - the peasants - are just along for the ride....

AboveAverage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BTR999 said...

I’m thinking the trade with the Dodgers would mostly be small potatoes. The Dodgers need to open spots on their foster for Ohtani and Joe Kelly, while the Yanks have open slots and a need for young pitching to replenish what they’ve dealt away for Verdugo & Soto. That’s what I would look for - 2 young pitchers coming back to us.

HoraceClarke66 said...

That's a pretty good analogy, Bitty! We're the Freedonia of baseball!

Rufus T. Firefly said...


Hey! What's wrong with Freedonia???!?

Well, other than corruption and war?