Some Light Reading

For our mutual edification, I’ve assembled a list of Yankees executives and players who will be giving up a third of their salaries off the top next season to work for the organization.

Thanks for reading.

36 comments… add one
  • Hard to imagine, but Steve Phillips just made basically this same exact point on BBTN, and I agreed with him (yikes!)
    “Is Brian Levine going to take a pay cut? Is Brian Cashman going to take a pay cut? Hank Steinbrenner? Hal Steinbrenner? And Torre probably had the best year of all of them.”

    Paul SF October 19, 2007, 1:13 am
  • > Steve Phillips just made basically this same exact point
    Thanks for cheering me up. ;)

    attackgerbil October 19, 2007, 1:25 am
  • Mike Mussina made $17 million in 2006. In 2007, he made around $11.5 million. Same with the coming year.

    Nick-YF October 19, 2007, 1:38 am
  • Good point Nick. I think Moose made even more than that in 06, 19 million?

    attackgerbil October 19, 2007, 1:42 am
  • Mussina’s abilities have weakened in recent years. It’s not clear that the same thing has happened to Torre.

    QuoSF October 19, 2007, 1:50 am
  • Torre got a ridiculously big contract in large part because his teams won a ridiculous 4 world series in 5 years. Whether he should have been credited with such a run of good luck and exceptional play is another thing. On the other hand, his teams have not won a world series in 7 years. Whether he should be blamed for such bad luck is also questionable. The point is that Torre was the beneficiary in the first case of a decision-making process that over-valued the importance of post-season success. And now that this post-season success has left his teams, the same somehwat irrational decision-making process says he’s no longer worth world-series winning money…unless he gets to a world series.
    The fundamental problem is that George Steinbrenner’s ethos has infected the air.

    Nick-YF October 19, 2007, 2:06 am
  • I think Tyler Kepner is a pretty good beat writer, no matter what team he writes about, but his story today stinks like the work of a serious front office shill. First, he presents Torre’s salary not in terms of last year, but as a three year average, a ploy designed to make Torre look greedy. I wonder if the Times presents Kepner with a new package and uses his 2005 salary as part of the basis for cutting his pay in a new deal how he’d feel about it. Probably not very good, I imagine, and rightfully so.
    ” The salary would have kept Torre as the highest-paid manager in the majors, but the guaranteed portion would have represented a cut from his present salary, which averaged $6.4 million over the last three seasons. In each year of that contract, the Yankees lost in the first round of the playoffs.”
    Then he conjures up a quote from everyone’s favorite economist, Johnny Damon, who thinks that Torre’s paycut wasn’t all that bad:
    “They gave Joe an opportunity, but with a pay cut and with the pressure that, if you win, here’s more money — which was pretty decent.”
    When was the last time Johnny thought incentives were better than base pay? Oh, never, that’s right.
    And also, a choice quote from the new leadership in Tampa, Hal Steinbrenner, who has almost instantaneously made himself into a loathable figure (at least to me) full of as much of a sense of entitlement and obnoxiousness as his ex-felon father:
    “Our goal is to win it every single year, even though we know, obviously, you can’t win it every single year. But nothing less than a championship is considered really acceptable.”
    We all know that titles are the goal, it sort of goes without saying. But this just gave a new, younger voice to the zero-sum attitude of the Yankees, a team that has primed a good number of willing members of their fan-base to not be able to enjoy the ride, to enjoy the baseball season for what it is: entertainment and diversion. I have, in the past, had too much of a zero-sum attitude towards this, and my attitude has just been corrected. I have no interest in having the same absolutist mentality as those in the Yankee front office.
    Any manager who takes the Yankees skippership has to have a full understanding that there is no respect involved in this job. It may be a glorious position for the tradition, the history, the resources, but there is no reciprocity when it comes to expecting commensurate dignity from the new brats in Tampa.

    SF October 19, 2007, 6:41 am
  • sf, are you still in overdrive about this?…managers are hired to be fired…this is a “what have you done for me lately business”…the landscape is littered with former sox players and managers who would tell you the same thing…the other day i even heard francona’s name [have you guys stopped calling him “fran-coma”] mentioned in the same breath as grady for his decision to start wakefield…the yanks botched the execution of this decision, but the intent is obviously to go in a new direction…i’ll say it here too in case it doesn’t get picked up on another thread, do you really want to entrust the yankees’ youngest members of an already tenuous pitching staff to a guy who has been accused of abusing his favorite pitchers?…for me the handwriting on the wall for torre was the “joba rules”…cashman did not have enough confidence in torre to do the right thing, so he imposed these arbitrary rules to make sure joe didn’t get carried away with using the kid…yes, a 33% paycut is a loud slap in the face, but it’s hard to feel sorry for somebody who would still make much more than his peers, even if it is a paltry $5m with $3m in incentives…as with arod, if you can do better somewhere else, be my guest…

    dc October 19, 2007, 7:55 am
  • as for you gerb, nice perspective ;) but you left out the receptionist and peanut vendors
    when you put it the way you did in the post, it gives a different perspective of the argument…but let’s face it, managers have always received more of the blame and more of the credit then they probably deserved…that’s sports…people in the front office didn’t used to be the “celebrities” they are now, so they’re not held to the same standard i suppose…plus, they’re the ones making the decisions…i worked for a company who went through several downsizings, and it was never the brass who was affected, and if they were, they all got golden parachutes…cold? you bet, but that’s the way it goes…remember when they fired tom landry?…don’t know why i brought it up, it just seemed relevant…

    dc October 19, 2007, 8:04 am
  • OMFG, that was hilarious. I just stumbled upon this site and you can bet your ass I’ll be saving it to my favorites!
    I’m a Sox fan and my best friend in the world, as well as my entire family, are Yankees fans….I think I’ll pass this along.

    SoxMom October 19, 2007, 8:21 am
  • dc:
    I don’t want anything to be misinterpreted, so here goes.
    1) The Yankees have every right to not bring Torre back, and there are certainly legitimate reasons why they may feel he isn’t the best man for the job anymore. This can be discussed on all sorts of levels.
    2) They also have every right to offer him whatever financial package they feel appropriate. I have no beef with the Yankees offering Torre a gift certificate to Katz’s, if that’s what they wanted to use as compensation.
    3) I am not upset about Torre leaving. I think it is bad for the Yankees. I could be proven wrong, but I think this will end up hurting the team, at least in the near term. If they hire Girardi, it could end up hurting their young pitchers more than Torre would have. Therefore, I don’t want anyone to think I have a vested interest in Torre remaining as skipper. I don’t. His rejection of the Yankees is, in my opinion, good for the Sox, at least marginally.
    In the end, what has bothered me is the defense offered for the Yankee organization, that this was a sincere and faithful offer, and that the incentives offered to Torre were legitimate and deserved. Randy Levine’s comments yesterday about the team moving to more “motivation-based” contracts strikes me as completely disingenuous, and with Torre it seemed particularly insulting -telling Joe that he needs motivation (after winning how many divisions in a row?) is a joke. I am more frustrated by the response of some YFs, not by the events themselves, for which I actually feel some pleasure from a baseball standpoint.

    SF October 19, 2007, 8:32 am
  • I don’t understand why other SF’s are getting so fired up about this, except as a way to tweak the Yankees.
    Two questions:
    1) Will Torre make more than 5 million next year?
    2) What are the chances the Yankees make the post-season with just a change of manager (i.e., all else being equal)?

    Pete October 19, 2007, 8:39 am
  • If the Yankees wanted to really incentivize Torre, why couldn’t they give him a share of the increased YES advertising revenue when/if the Yankees win a World Series? Why not put their money where their mouths are: YES has been estimated to be worth $3B, Joe has certainly had a hand in the selling of that network over the past few years, so maybe Joe could have gotten some of the YES money if he led the team to glory? If the Yanks really wanted to incentivize Torre, the incentives should have been far more commensurate with their supposed financial impact on the organization and Torre’s contributions to the value of the franchise, which have inarguably been significant.
    On the other hand, to counter my own statement above, the Steinbrenner family is incentivized only to increase franchise value, that’s their incentive. They aren’t necessarily incentivized to win, as winning (and the costs associated with that winning) may have diminishing returns financially. The Yankees (and YES) have skyrocketed in value over the last five years despite not winning any championships. Sometimes the two items are tied together, as winning can breed brand familiarity and prestige, but sometimes they aren’t, frankly. This was a disingenuous offer by the team to Torre, on so many levels.

    SF October 19, 2007, 9:11 am
  • I have no doubt they’re looking at the bottom line. They’ll be playing to a packed house (and primo advertising dollars on YES) the next few years regardless of whether they win anything. It’s a great time for a transition.
    That’s why I think it’s exactly like the Sox in 2004 (where revenue was going to be guaranteed going forward), and Damon is the best example there. The big difference is the Sox could have kept a championship team together for another title in 2005 and contention in 2006 and 2007. The Yankees obviously think Torre was part of the reason they didn’t advance further (and batting A-Rod 8th, they have a point).

    Pete October 19, 2007, 9:19 am
  • Why did Pete use that “other SFs” line?

    QuoSF October 19, 2007, 9:59 am
  • hilarious.
    i am probably reading way too much into this, but maybe they wanted to let joe walk, but do it in a way that would seem like he was doing so on his own terms.
    the whole situation was effed as soon as george opened his mouth.

    Yankee Fan In Boston October 19, 2007, 10:11 am
  • Well played, Gerb. No pay cut for you!

    YF October 19, 2007, 10:14 am
  • Pay chuts shmay cuts. There are examples of players in baseball re-signing for less money than they made the previous year. Mussina did it. Pedro, if the Sox had matched the Mets offer, would have been pitching in Boston for less money per year than he had the two previous seasons. Essentially, Torre pulled a Danny Glover and said “I’m getting too old for this shit” and good for him. But throughout his tenure as Yanks manager he was constantly undermined, ribbed, publicly questioned by management, so I’m kind of surprised that SF and others think this final act by management is revelatory of the true classless nature of how things are done in YankeeLand. This is how it’s been done since George has been owner. Just ask any non baseball player who works for the team. I know a guy, who after years of working for YES, left and you know what? He hates the Yanks because of his experience with people like George and his sycophants. I root for the players, but George and his cronies…not so much.

    Nick-YF October 19, 2007, 11:18 am
  • so I’m kind of surprised that SF and others think this final act by management is revelatory of the true classless nature of how things are done in YankeeLand
    I never said I was surprised, Nick. I think it is completely illustrative of exactly what you describe. My energy level has been raised by those that think it doesn’t, that this was somehow a completely sincere effort by the team to retain a storied figure like Torre.

    SF October 19, 2007, 11:22 am
  • Cashman’s contract expires after the 2008 season. Will he be asked to take a 30% paycut with incentives, if he’s asked back following another playoff flameout?
    I am curious to know whether the Yankees will stick to their newfound principles in such a scenario.

    SF October 19, 2007, 11:40 am
  • For mutual edification, I have compiled a list of managers who have ever had a larger annual salary contract then that which Joe Torre was just offered:
    I have also compiled a list of the teams that Torre managed to the World Series prior to being hired by the Yankees:
    Thanks for reading.

    IronHorse (yf) October 19, 2007, 11:53 am
  • Comparing players taking pay cuts and Torre taking a pay cut is not appropriate. Players will take a cut in pay on the premise that over time their bodies and skills deteriorate and said deterioration is measurable directly and openly.
    A manager’s ability to manage effectively is not as directly measurable. I don’t think a convincing case can be made that Joe Torre does not have the ability to manage a team to a World Series title. However, a clearer case can be made that Mussina no longer has the physical ability to win 20 games/be a #1 starter.
    The frustrating thing in this is that people seem to forget the surplus of starting pitching that characterized all of the championship seasons when they lay blame at Torre’s door. It’s been a long time since Cash uttered his typical preseason “It’s a great problem to have” line.

    lp October 19, 2007, 11:59 am
  • Like I posted on one of the other threads, the Yankees are so talented/expensive that anyone with a clipboard could lead them to the playoffs.
    I have a deep respect for Torre, but Joe Buck could manage the Yankees to the playoffs. The hitting lineup alone is so strong that you could pick the names randomly out of a hat Billy Martin style and still wind up with a lineup that will score more than any other team in the league.

    Atheose October 19, 2007, 12:00 pm
  • However, a clearer case can be made that Mussina no longer has the physical ability to win 20 games/be a #1 starter.
    Sorry to nitpick lp, but Moose has never had a 20-win season. It’s a reason–though not the only reason–most experts say he won’t get into the HOF.

    Atheose October 19, 2007, 12:01 pm
  • For Iron Horse’s edification, I’ve compiled a list of Yankee executives who look to save the organization money when negotiating the contracts of valued personnel:
    (I ran out of space, but thanks though)

    lp October 19, 2007, 12:05 pm
  • My point Atheose is that he, at one point, was paid like a 20 game winner. And he was most certainly considered to be a staff ace when he was in Baltimore.

    lp October 19, 2007, 12:07 pm
  • “I have a deep respect for Torre, but Joe Buck could manage the Yankees to the playoffs.”
    But could he take George’s and the NY media’s crap along the way along with managing all the massive egos in the clubhouse. Don’t think so.
    The Yankee managerial job is more about what happens outside of the lines.
    What did you learn from Bronx is Burning?

    lp October 19, 2007, 12:12 pm
  • Yeah, I agree with your post lp, I was just nit-picking that one comment.
    Starting pitching definitely wins championships, which is why it will be interesting to see if Posada leaves. His veteran presense behind the plate is absolutely necessary with Hughes, Chamberlain and Kennedy all starting next year.

    Atheose October 19, 2007, 12:14 pm
  • The Yankee managerial job is more about what happens outside of the lines.
    I agree completely, lp. But that’s one of my biggest points–managing the players is easy, because they go out and win all by themselves. Being manager of the New York Yankees means dealing with George and the media. Making the playoffs is a cake walk.
    My main point was that anyone could lead the Yankees to the playoffs, and you pretty much agreed.
    Oh, and The Bronx is Burning was a horrible show. The actor that played Reggie was awesome, though. He was spot-on.

    Atheose October 19, 2007, 12:18 pm
  • It was hilarious in a Showgirls kinda way, especially John Tuturro’s southern drawl!

    lp October 19, 2007, 12:23 pm
  • Hahaha, exactly. I watched every episode, simply because I like Tuturro and the guy who played Reggie, but aside from that the show was horribly made. I mean seriously–whose idea was it to randomly show scenes of the Son of Sam killing people for 10 seconds, and then go right back to baseball? It made me cringe.

    Atheose October 19, 2007, 12:32 pm
  • Like I posted on one of the other threads, the Yankees are so talented/expensive that anyone with a clipboard could lead them to the playoffs.
    I think this is utterly untrue.

    SF October 19, 2007, 1:26 pm
  • I’m not trying to belittle the job that Joe Torre has done. I just feel that injuries and player performance (both of which are uncontrollable for a manager) are far-and-away greater factors in whether or not a team succeeds.

    Atheose October 19, 2007, 1:58 pm
  • To be fair, Mussina, IIRC, was well on his way to 20 wins when the players struck in 1994. I don’t think he’ll make the Hall either, but I think it’ll be a very close call.
    I continue to fail to see how the contract offered Torre was NOT an insult and NOT designed solely for him to turn it down. He certainly took it that way. The money itself is not really the point. Big freaking deal that he’d still be the highest-paid manager in the game (not counting percentage of salary as compared to payroll, in which case he would not be). It’s a pay cut. The Yankees asked him to take a pay cut with incentives, and then turned around and said he needed motivation! I mean, come on.

    Paul SF October 19, 2007, 4:45 pm
  • The team leaves him dangling for a good ten days, then when they finally offer him something it is a non-negotiable paycut with incentives to perform.
    This can be looked at two ways. One, the Yankees believed this to be a truly legitimate, acceptable offer to Torre. In this case, they come off as complete buffoons and businesspeople with no ability to read a personnel situation.
    Or two, they wanted Torre gone and calculated that this was a good way to come off looking like they wanted to keep Joe while knowing he wouldn’t accept the offer.
    Pick whichever you like, both work for me.

    SF October 19, 2007, 4:51 pm
  • No way was the Yankees’ offer meant to be in good faith. The Steinweasels wanted him gone, but didn’t have the courage to just fire him – or technically – not renew his contract.
    It was never about the money with Joe. It was about respect. They stuck his head in a noose during the playoffs, then tried to make it look like Joe kicked the chair away. Pathetic bunch of spineless wonders running the Yankees these days.

    nettles-yf October 19, 2007, 6:35 pm

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