Browsing Posts tagged Brian Cashman

Earlier this week, the Yankees signed free agent center fielder, Jacoby Ellsbury to a seven-year, $153 million contract. Ellsbury, 29, played his first six season with the Boston Red Sox and was a key cog in both of Boston’s world series titles. Ellsbury is one of the game’s premiere leader-off hitters and may be the game’s best base stealer. During 2013, Ellsbury stole 52 bases in 56 attempts and boasts three seasons of 50+ stolen bases on his resume. Add in Ellsbury’s career .350 on-base percentage and you’ve got a guy that can set the table at the top of the order. While that seems like a recipe for success, there are some red flags when it comes to Ellsbury.

After looking through his game logs, two questions immediately come to mind.

  1. What is the deal with Ellsbury’s power output?
  2. Why has he missed so many games? 

Ellsbury home run totals have been mostly modest, but he has one outlier season of 32 home runs in 2011 when he finished 2nd in MVP voting. Outside of this season, Ellsbury has not surpassed nine home runs in a single season. Many think the left-handed Ellsbury will take advantage of the short porch in right field, but I’m not so sure. Ellsbury tends to pepper center field and left center field with line drivers. Whether that’s a product of playing at Fenway remains to be seen, but on the surface, Ellsbury is not a big-time pull hitter. I think Ellsbury has 15-20 HR upside, but the Yankees aren’t paying him to be a home run hitter.

In four of his six full-time seasons, Ellsbury has posted at least 600 plate appearances. Ellsbury had only 84 plate appearances in 2010 and 324 plate appearances in 2012. Ellsbury’s injuries were definitely deemed ‘freak injuries’. During 2010, Ellsbury dove and fell on top of Adrian Beltre’s knee as he was attempting to catch a fly ball in foul territory. He broke three ribs. During 2012, Reid Brignac fell on top of Ellsbury as he attempted to steal second base. Brignac landed on Ellsbury’s shoulder was exposed and he missed three months. This isn’t a guy with chronic knee or back issues. If anything, these injuries define Ellsbury’s effort as a young player. 

At face value, the years and salary amounts seem extreme for a lead-off hitter that has only one All-Star appearance. I can counter that notion with two studies. Dave Cameron of Fangraphs posted a study regarding the ‘Slow Decline of Speedy Outfielders‘. The article shows how 41 other speedy outfielders have fared as they’ve aged. Several outfielders (Kenny Lofton, Tim Raines, Rickey Henderson) aged well while others (Carl Crawford), have not. The article is worth a read, but the study suggests speedy outfielders tend to age well over time. Fangraphs projects a WAR around 4.0 for Ellsbury during 2014. Statisticians suggest a decay of 0.5 wins per season, which would net out to approximately 17.5 wins for the life of the contract. The Yankees are paying about $8.7 million per expected win, which is a little high relative to the rest of the free agent. Thus far, teams have been paying about $7.5 million per win. Still, these are the Yankees and they won’t lose sleep over a few bucks. 

I haven’t focused too much on his defense, but Ellsbury is widely regarded as a plus defender in center field. Ellsbury won a Gold Glove in 2011. Outside of 2009, Ellsbury has graded out as an elite defender in terms of Universal Zone Rating (UZR). He doesn’t have a great arm, but he’s a better defender than Gardner. Pairing Gardner with Ellsbury though will give the Yankees one of the best defensive outfields in baseball. 

Many fans are skeptical of this signing and Ellsbury has drawn unfair comparisons to two former AL East outfielders. Some fans are quick lump Ellsbury in the same category as Carl Crawford, who inked a 7-year, $142 million contract with the Red Sox in 2011 and Johnny Damon who left Boston and signed a 4-year, $52 million with the Yankees in 2005. All three players were represented by Scott Boras and all three players rely on speed. Crawford, who forgot how to hit against lefties flamed out in Boston, was traded in a megadeal to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Before joining the Red Sox, Crawford was a 5-tool stud for the Tampa Bay Rays. Crawford was a horrible defensive fit for Fenway Park and his strengths did not coincide with manager Bobby Valentine’s philosophy. Crawford stopped running and was sent packing to Hollywood. Outside of leaving Boston after winning a World Series title, Ellsbury and Damon have nothing in common. Damon’s defense (and arm) was drastically declining and his base stealing days were long behind him. Damon was also 32-years-old when he joined the Bombers. Free agency is all about money and as we’ve seen first hand, losing a home grown star is rough. Yankee fans are trying to shake off Robinson Cano’s departure and as much as they don’t want to admit it, Red Sox fans must be upset over Ellsbury departure. 

Overall, it’s understandable for fans to skeptical of this deal. The Yankees typically target sluggers and this is a long-term commitment for a speed guy. To me, this type of deal reaks of Brian Cashman. Cashman knows what’s it like not to get any value out of the backend of mega deals. With the Ellsbury signing, this contract will take him until he’s 37-years-old. Cashman is betting he’ll still provide value with his legs and bat, even if he begins to age.  

 

For the last few days, people have tried to shoot holes in the Yankees acquisition of Michael Pineda. Some will argue that Pineda, a pitcher who collected 34 percent of his outs via the flyout, will suffer going from spacious Safeco Field to the banbox in Yankee Stadium. Others will argue that Pineda’s second half ERA (5.12) proves he can’t handle a full workload. Instead, critics fail to address Pineda’s lefty-righty splits. Before unpacking the numbers and presenting my argument, Pineda, a fastball-slider pitcher, must develop a reliable third pitch to justify his value and more importantly–solidify his slot behind CC Sabathia

Pineda Needs A Third--AP Photo

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With the offseason just getting underway, the New York Yankees start the hot stove period with no glaring needs, thanks to general manager Brian Cashman finishing the team’s first offseason priority; resigning CC Sabathia so he will retire as a Yankee. Now that a disaster was avoided there, the Yankees have relatively the same lineup going forward to the 2012 season. However, as shown by the first-round playoff loss to the Detroit Tigers, the Yankees still have some acquisitions and resignings they need to make. Here, in my opinion, are the moves that are most important for the Yanks this offseason.

The Yankees need to find one more starter. CC Sabathia is obviously an ace and Ivan Nova, AJ Burnett, and Phil Hughes all look great as 3, 4, and 5 starters, respectively, but that leaves a glaring hole in the #2 spot. As shown by the loss to the Tigers, a five-game series clearly does not benefit these five starters. Freddy Garcia could be a nice, cheap option, but there is room in the budget to acquire another big time starter. The big name in free agency is CJ Wilson (whom, among others, Brian Cashman plans to target), but his shaky performance in the 2011 playoffs has to raise some red flags. The Yankees do not need a starter with a career 1-5 record with a 4.92 ERA in the playoffs, but he is the best option available. Ten starts is a relatively small sample size, but these ten playoff starts need to be closely evaluated when looking at who will be in this rotation. The rest of the free agent market is littered with questions about durability and age, from Roy Oswalt to Mark Buehrle to Hiroki Kuroda. The bottom line is, these guys are free agents for a reason.

Another option for the Yankees is to make a splash in the trade market. Names linked to the Yankees thus far have been Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Felix Hernandez. All of these names are much more impressive than those above, but the price would be too much for a starter of this caliber. I can’t see a team willing to trade any of the aforementioned players for anything less than a package that would include Jesus Montero and Ivan Nova.

Also, I’d like to see Cashman resign those who are arbitration eligible. I’m looking directly at Brett Gardner and Russell Martin. I’ll start on one of my favorite players, Brett Gardner. Just so I can get it out of my system, it is an absolute crime that Brett did not win the Gold Glove last season. The reasons why he deserved so are worthy of an article in itself, but he is a player who does all of the little things right. Last year, it was widely speculated that the Yankees could target Carl Crawford – but for the amount of money owed to Crawford vs. the amount of Brett’s new contract, I’ll take Gardner any day of the week. He’s the perfect nine-hole batter, and his speed and defense are simply invaluable to the team. Pay the man.

As tricky as it may get, I would love to see Russell Martin in pinstripes for another year or two. He’s another player whose batting line isn’t the reason he’s so valuable, but his defense. He reminds me of a hockey goalie behind home plate, which is necessary with AJ Burnett’s erratic curveball. Also, he can provide enough pop (18 HRs in 2011) to suffice. It may be tricky, because the Yankees got him on the cheap last year because of injury concerns. He quelled those questions in 2011, playing 125 games and staying relatively healthy. Martin really is the perfect defensive mentor for the inexperienced phenom Jesus Montero, so I’d feel much more comfortable with him behind the dish in 2012. If another team doesn’t come along with a multi-year deal, I can see the Yankees having the same batting lineup in 2012.

What do you think the Yankees need to do to ensure another division title in 2012? 

Brian Cashman has been at the helm of Yankee baseball operations since 1998. Hired in a role that sees frequent turnover, he has the third longest tenure of current MLB General Managers. But the Yankee GM job is unlike any other in professional sports. Cashman has spent over half of his time trying to appease the relentless George Steinbrenner. Cashman has spent even more time managing the egos that don the pinstripes. Needless to say, Cashman’s 24/7, 14-year job with the Yankee organization has been a thankless commitment. When Cashman’s contract expires on November 1, 2011, will that be his last day as a member of the New York Yankees?

 

Will This Be A Thing Of The Past?

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Brian Cashman told the media yesterday that he felt like reliever, Pedro Feliciano was ‘abused’ by his last team, the Mets. Feliciano is currently dealing with a shoulder injury and has been placed on the 15-day disabled list. Feliciano averaged 88 appearances for the Mets over the last three seasons and taken on a workload greater than any other pitcher.

Knowing those facts, Cashman did not hesistate to sign Feliciano to a two-year, $8 million contract in the off-season. Given Cashman’s unlimited financial resources, in-depth player scouting, and basically every other advantage known to baseball man, why sign a guy who you think may be on the brink of an injury. We already have one lefty reliever (Damaso Marte) that will not pitch until at least the second half of the season. We don’t need another.

There’s no denying Feliciano’s peripherals against lefties, (.214 BAA; .211 BAA in 2010), but if he can’t stay on the field, it’s a bad signing. Plus, even if there was a question about his health, the red flags automatically go up.  Given all of his advantages, Cashman should be the last person whining about other teams. It just shows bad form for the Yankee organization. I”m a big Brian fan, but in this case, shut up Cash.

In light of yesterday’s serious topic about Brian Cashman, let’s talk about how he may have auditioned for his next career on Wednesday night.  Cashman debuted as a guest bartender at Foley’s Pub & Restaurant in order to help raise money for prostate cancer research, a disease that claimed his father-in-law. This was another badass move on Cash’s part. In addition to rappelling down buildings in Stamford, Cash spends his time serving up some strong drinks. He also has some baseball job that takes up a little bit of time..

I bet he can cook up a mean Jack and Coke. Here’s the link for all of the pictures, but this one below is my favorite. Enjoy your weekend..

It’s no secret that Yankees GM Brian Cashman is entering the final year of his contract. The normally reserved Yankees GM has been rather candid over the last few weeks. He publicly displayed his displeasure with the Rafael Soriano signing, told the media on Monday that he can see Derek Jeter moving to the center field one day, and revealed that Joba Chamberlain has not been the same since his injury in 2008. In addition to some Yankee insight, Cashman has stated that he would prefer to run a small-market team instead of a large market team. One question just begs to be answered:

Will Cashman return as Yankee General Manager after 2011?

Me Hanging Out With Cash at a Yankee Game

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Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter, and Joe Girardi collectively have won 14 World Series rings. However, none of these Yankees will receive a contract extension during 2010. Yankees GM and friend of mine, Brian Cashman announced today that he will not negotiate with Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, or Joe Girardi until the 2010 season has concluded. “I don’t think you can separate one from the other,” Cashman said.  “I am not saying they are the same, but the questions will come, ‘If you did one, why didn’t you do the other?’ If this was Kansas City, it would be different — but it’s not…”

Jeter, who is in the final year of his 10 year, $189 million contract (time really does fly), has been the face of the Yankee franchise since the 1996 World Series Championship. Jeter has a career batting average of .317, good for 6th all-time among Yankees. Jeter is the Yankees all-time hit leader with 2,747 hits. Jeter has been one of the best post season player of this era accumulating 175 hits. More recently Jeter hit .407 in this past season’s World Series. Jeter is the Yankee captain and arguably one of the top Yankees of all time (future article).

The 40-year-old Mariano Rivera, who is in the final year of his 3 year, $45 million contract, is the best post season pitcher of all time. Rivera has a career 0.74 ERA posting an 8-1 record recording, 39 saves. Rivera is as close to automatic as you’ll find in the playoffs. Rivera had 44 saves in 46 opportunities during the regular season. Rivera expressed that he wanted to play until he was 45 years old. As long as he plays at his current level, Rivera could play until he is 50.

Girardi led the Yankees to the World Series Championship last season. Girardi in the final season of his 3 year/$7.5 million contract, proved he was worthy of leading the Yankees last season.

After the season, I expect the Yankees to retain all three players.

Predictions:

Derek Jeter: 3 years, $60 million

Mariano Rivera: 2 years, $30 million

Joe Girardi: 3 years, $11 million