I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! I know it has been awhile, but …let’s get at it!I hate the Ellsbury signing! The Yankees have blown it! They simply don’t understand what value means and they waste so much money and then still want to get under 189? I do understand the "want" to get under $189 BTW.
The Ellsbury contract is basically a 7 year deal at 153 mil (21.86/year because of 5 mil buyout) or 8 years at $169 mil ($21.13/yr). This allows us to get Ellsbury for 16 mil the last year if the Yanks want to.I think they were smart to hold the dollar amount on Cano to 25 mil a year for 7 years. I would have held at 6 years because I am not so sure who is giving out that type of coin, but I am ok 7 because he is your main guy and making him a Yankee for life has some value. He has a chance to go down as the greatest 2nd baseman of all time…and will be up there. BUT, how do you tell a proven elite player, that is yours, that you don’t want to go more than 25 and then you go give 22 mil a year for Jacoby Ellsbury? WHAT? JE is a very good player; in fact he is a slightly rich man’s version of Gardner who I think is very valuable, but 22 mil and at 7 years? NO WAY! Who was going to give him even close to that amount? Who were the Yanks bidding against? This is the same stupidity they did with ARod when they gave the 3 final years when they didn’t need to; 7 years would have gotten it done. In this case 5 at 100 seemed more than enough to get it done; the Yanks just needed to be patient.
Now how do you go back to Cano and say you are only worth 3 mil more than a guy who has had some injuries and his game is predicated on speed? HORRIBLE decision and a much bigger risk than Cano. Now the Yanks will sign Kelly Johnson for 3-4 mil so they chose Ellsbury and Johnson instead of Cano? Johnson is an OK guy but not a difference maker. Again, Ellsbury is a very good player, but his speed will be diminished 5 years from now and you have an albatross contract once again at the end. I hope we can sign Cano, but I think this contract makes it highly unlikely and if nothing else hurts your bargaining situation.
Let me put into perspective why Boston just won the WS and we are acting like a desperate franchise. Boston signed Pedrioa to a 6 year extension that starts in 2016 for a whopping $14.2 mil a year. Yeah, 14.2 mil a year. Ellsbury is a pretty similar worth to Pedroia when Jacoby is healthy. Cano is a little better than Pedroia. The Yanks should have kept Cano (and they would have), I mean would he really go to Seattle for a few more mil a year…no way, he wants to win and I would be surprised Seattle would give him some 8 year deal worth much more than the yanks anyway.
Ellsbury had a career year in 2011 where he was truly elite. He had a .928 OPS to go along with his speed. He hit 32 HR’s that year but never hit more than 9 before or after (kind of strange). He had injured years in 2010 and 2012 that were bad, but overall his career numbers show an OPS of .789 with adjusting for his SB’s he gets another 50 points for SB’s which puts him at an OPS of .840. (this is pretty similar to what he did last year so that is a good expectation. He is fast but not an elite defender, perhaps similar to Gardner in CF but probably slightly worse. (Gardner played elite in LF and was starting to play really well in CF)
The Yanks also signed McCann who is another huge risk. Nothing is guaranteed, but the Yanks just shot their money on two risks. Ellsbury is a low to mid .800 OPS guy and a good defender who has to stay healthy and McCann is a guy who is showing signs of slowing down from catching a lot. I love offensive catchers and if he can come back to be a good hitter the risk will pay off, but again it is a risk because in 2012 he had the least amount of AB’s he has had since his rookie year to only have even less in 2013. His career OPS is .823 (which is really good for a catcher), but his last 2 years were .698 and .796 respectively. Now, we could look at all of this and say that the .698 was an aberration because it was only one bad year. However, one thing really concerns me, and it is not that he was 0-13 in the playoffs last year. It is that the 2nd half of last year his OPS was .680 and this is showing a little bit of breakdown over the past 2 years. He also had an OPS of .858 at home and .740 on the road. He is a big pull hitter so the short porch can help, but we better make sure we can offset the lefties out of the pen because most teams have 2-3 lefties in the pen (only we don’t) and in key AB’s lefties will be used. His career OPS is just over 100 points higher against righties (.857-.744).
All in all, I think the Yanks messed up and far overpaid for Ellsbury. The McCann contract was a lot as well, but our catching situation was terrible and now while risky should be at least average and could be very good. 17 mil was on the higher side, but I do think that was around where they needed to be to sign him. I don’t love the signing but at least it makes some sense. Ellsbury was just as risky but committed more money and overpaid for the risk…bad decision.
Now, let’s hope we get lucky with these…of course it could work out for a few years but I bet the last 2 years will probably going to be ugly.
Moving forward, I want to discuss some of the thoughts I had regarding the moves we made last year. My main issues with the Wells and Ichiro signings had to do with the payments for the years but just as important; the road block for young guys to come up and contribute. It is pathetic that in a year like last year we once again didn’t develop anyone! This is a critical point as you never get a chance to see if the young talent can contribute and thus contribute cheaply. It is fine if the older and costlier players are producing, but we didn’t get much, nor should have we expected much. The big picture showed:
Ichiro – .660 ops and good defense for 6.5 mil for 2 years
Wells - .631 OPS for 11.5 mil (Yanks cost) and 2.4 this year. We are giving Wells 2.4 mil and my issue is that if you take both their salaries this year, for 9 mil. you could get a good player that can help. Shoot, Pedroia was only 14 mil so if we don’t spend 5 mil on mediocre players a few more times you get a star. Like I have said over and over on this blog, the yanks should go spend the money on the truly elite players and then fill in with young rookies/inexpensive people and then when making a run you see what is needed and you get a “Soriano” as needed. BTW, Soriano costs us 5 mil this year as the Cubs pay 13 mil of his 18 mil this year. Even if Soriano was not as hot as he was for us and he gave us his career numbers (.825 OPS) that makes more sense to fill in as needed. I am not in love with his type of offense (not working walks and swinging at everything, but at least he can be productive.
Just going back to Ichiro…and the signing for 6.5 million a year for 2 years. Last year I used the example of Chris Dickerson as someone we could have had for league minimum (400k) and he would do what Ichiro did. Ichiro ended up with an adjusted OPS of .660 when you take SB’s into account. Dickerson who didn’t get many AB’s finished with an OPS of .666 so they were pretty darn similar. Of course, part of my argument was that a younger player (even younger than Dickerson) who is given a shot to play all the time could get better (in truth, they could get worse as well as they could get exposed as well). The other part is what you could do with the 6 mil in savings as noted above?
Needless to say I am disappointed because I don’t think we get Cano now because of the Ellsbury signing. If he can stay healthy he will help us, but I think we will at best get our monies worth if all goes perfectly and the odds are we will have yet again overspent needlessly.