General Yankees

The Prodigal Son Returns?

Lots of reports floating around now to the effect that a deal is in place between A-Rod and the Yanks; something to the tune of 10 years and $250 million, give or take $10 to $25 million. I’m frankly not interested in handicapping the “winners” and “losers” among the players in the drama. That’s for the tabs. Tune in to sports radio for an endless agonizing about Alex’s personality. I’ll keep my analysis focussed on what his potential return means for the Yankees on the field. Assuming the deal actually happens, the team retains an offensive lynchpin for years, and without giving up a thing besides dollars. Resources that might have gone to filling the void created by his absence can now be directed elsewhere (ie, Johan Santana). Alex is going to win the MVP this week—his second in Pinstripes. He might well win a few more. And the team will be better positioned to take home some more impressive hardware along the way.

47 replies on “The Prodigal Son Returns?”

John Sterling was on Mike & the Mad Dog around 4 pm, and claimed that he had it on good authority from a top source that the ARod deal was done. He said that the accuracy of his source’s info was a “101 on a 1-100 scale.”
(Bear in mind, this is John Sterling, who calls home runs with phrases like “GEORGIE JUICED ONE” and “IT’S AN A-BOMB! FROM A-ROD!”)

P.S. I hope Sterling’s right. It would mean, among other things, a much higher likelihood of A-nti-Rod Mike Lowell returning to Boston.

It wouldn’t surprise me in the least bit if A-Rod has already decided to stay with the Yankees. It’d surprise me a little more if he’s actually told anybody so yet.

Sterling also routinely announces fly outs as homeruns.
Anyway, if it is indeed 10 years, I can’t see how this is really a ‘win’ for the Yankees. If A-Rod indeed come to the Yankees himself, willing to take a paycut, why would you give him a guaranteed 10 year deal, especially when no one, it seems, was offering anything close to that? Yeah, the Yankees don’t care about money at all, but won’t it be fun when they’re paying A-Rod over $30 million (since the contract is almost certain to be back-loaded) to bat 200 times a year when he’s 42?

“what’s $30 million going to be worth in 10 years?”
You’re totally right. He should’ve gotten the contract paid in Euros. Then he’d be getting $67M per year by 2015!
On a (slightly) more serious note, I don’t think I’m exaggerating to say that the fans of 29 other teams sighed in relief because of this news. Not because Rodriguez isn’t a great player who would’ve helped every team needing a SS or 3B, but because no one else wanted their team to be THAT team, the one who pays a max contract to a guy who’s become notorious (rightly or wrongly) for guaranteeing nothing, championship-wise. Of course, there’s no guarantee of anything due to any player, just that one in particular seems to have picked up more attention on that point, and that weighs on fans maybe more than it does on players (I’m guessing) (sort of).
So now can we just fast-forward to the part where Mike Lowell re-signs with the Red Sox?

Well, he’s never been seriously injured, and he keeps himself in phenomenal shape, so here’s hoping that by 2017, 42 is the “new 35,” and that A-Rod remains productive through the life of the contract.

*reads sam’s link*
Ohh god.
*throws up*
Seriously,. Theo needs to just give the guy the god damn 4 years. I dont fraking car eabout the draw backs. A-Rod AND Lowell on the Yanks? Preventing that is reason ALONE to throw everythign he wants at him.

C’mon. Are the Yankees this irresponsible? Mike Lowell to 1B? First of all, he’s a third baseman. Always has been, and for the most part, always will be. His offense doesn’t “play well” at 1B, whatever the hell that means. And he’s a better 3B than A-Rod is (though A-Rod’s better speed means he’s better suited to cover up for Captain Negative Glove at SS). If they’re going to do this, you go ahead and move A-Rod to 1B, which is where he’ll be in a few/several years anyway.

Lowell to 1B is just the Yankee’s way of jacking up the price for the Red Sox. Not a chance.

I hate to break it to everyone here but A-Rod is a much better defensive 3b than you are all giving him credit for. He is not as good as Lowell but he still is way above average for the league.

Wow, that’s some deep analysis, YF. The Yankees are better off with A-Rod than with someone who isn’t the best player on the planet for which they will lose compensation picks or young talent? How did you ever come up with that?

I’m just wondering, is this another example of the new ‘fiscally responsible’ Yankees? Remember back when the Rangers made the $252 million dollar deal and everyone said they were crazy, and hoodwinked, and suckers? If that deal was for a player coming into his prime, well, what does that make the team who’ll pay (reportedly) $275 mil over 10 years for a player in his prime right now but sure to decline?
I’m just sayin’. I can’t blame the Yanks for making the deal, especially for the next few seasons, but the thought that’s swirling around the NY media and radio shows that Boras was somehow taught a lesson . . . it’s another record-setting contract. Maybe, just maybe, he took one for A-Rod, to allow his client to look like a returning hero instead of a puppy with his tail between his legs because nobody else was willing to pony up the money and the years? Just food for thought.

Lowell at first base for the Yankees is (sort of) fine by me, once you eliminate the sentimentality issues, since I like the guy and he was obviously a major part of this year’s success. It would sting, at first. But he’ll be 34, he’s not a player built to hit in Yankee Stadium, he’s never played the position before, and he’ll bring the Sox draft picks. So that’s the pragmatic view. For Sox fans, the biggest worry (even more than a re-signing of A-Rod) should be the Yankees grabbing Santana.
But we SFs should all remember 2003/4, when the Yankees traded for Alex and there was panic from some Sox fans and a maelstrom in the media about how the Yankees had made the move to lock in the decade for their franchise. Hindsight should teach us not to worry too much about the Yankees’ every move, particularly in November. Many things can change in the four months before the season starts, and even more things change throughout the season.

If the Yanks signed Lowell (and at this point I think the chances are slim, and all this talk is more a play to boost up Boston’s offer) I wonder if they’d discuss him playing 2nd in case they trade Cano as part of a package for Santana. Crazy morning thought.

I can’t imagine Lowell playing 2B. I also just can’t imagine the Yankees trading Cano for 1 year of Santana, and 7 years of another overpaid (albeit a good bet to be good) player (meaning Santana).
A young, budding superstar who’s already the best player in the league at his position is a pretty hefty price to pay for someone who will probably be a free agent next year.

the only reason I mention Lowell at 2nd is that he played a few games there a couple years back, but yeah, Cano is a hefty price. But then again, I assume the Yanks would lock up Santana for more years when the deal got done. And he is Johan Santana, the shut-down pitcher they haven’t had for a while.

Lowell, he of the .370 Fenway Park batting average, at 1B for the Yankees? I doubt Cashman is that dumb.

But imagine if you had A-Rod at third, Jeter at short and Lowell at first. Basically, you’d have a potentially amazing defensive infield turned to a mediocrity. The worst infield fielder at the most important infield position, and probably the best third baseman at the least important position, and a potential hall-of-fame shortstop fielder playing average d at third.

Really, the best alignment would be Jeter at first, A-Rod at short, and Lowell at third.
Think Jeter will gather up his impressive leadership qualities and volunteer to move to make that deal happen (assuming A-Rod could play short anymore since it’s been so long)?

“Think Jeter will gather up his impressive leadership qualities and volunteer to move to make that deal happen (assuming A-Rod could play short anymore since it’s been so long)?”
Do you think Jeter thinks he sucks at short? Gold gloves say otherwise. I mean do you think the Captain has read The Fielding Bible or Bill James’ Everett/Jeter essay? For all we know, he thinks he’s helping the team by keeping his gold glove at short.

“Think Jeter will gather up his impressive leadership qualities and volunteer to move to make that deal happen (assuming A-Rod could play short anymore since it’s been so long)?”

Besides, Jeter is underpowered for 1B, probably 3B too – he’d barely be an average hitter at either.
Based on VORP, he’s a very good player at SS or 2B. LF would also work. Those are probably his options going forward. But he’s got another year or two to realize it – depends on how his knee heals.

I don’t doubt that for one second, Nick. Although I would hope he’d have realized A-Rod was the better shortstop back in 2003/4.

The move that made sense in 2004 was A-Rod to SS and Jeter to 2B, especially after trading Soriano. But they saw a hole at 3B, and Jeter had sorta earned tenure with 4 rings and 6 Series appearances in his first 8 seasons, and just coming off of one. Everyone, including A-Rod, realized it. And those decisions never involve strictly defense. Look how long it took to move Ripken. I think it would be different if the trade was being made today – especially with the WS drought and the new manager and owner.

NH Rob – actually, Jeter would be well above-average at third base, offensively. Yeah, he doesn’t have 20 HR power, but he would have been the third-best third baseman in the AL this year offensively, behind A-Rod and Lowell.

I still think the Yanks should offer ARod a lower deal. You know, to show it’s not about the money.
Or at least 8 years instead of 10..

The AL is very weak at 3B. Look across baseball – he’s 8th behind Garett Atkins and ahead of Chone Figgins. Worse, Jeter is only going to lose more power going forward. You don’t move him for one or two years to then move him again.
I think he’s the SS until Matsui/Damon are done after 2009 and then he slides into LF. He’s always been better going back than on grounders. Plus, unless they trade Cano, he’s very valuable at 2B.

But, Rob, the Yankees aren’t competing against the NL. Why should we take them into account when considering average offense at a position?

Because that’s the standard. If both A-Rod and Lowell were in the NL, would anyone dare to call Chone Figgins a great, or even very good, 3B?
Another way of looking at it is the ease of replacing the offense. Upgrading from Jeter at SS, you can choose from 4 guys. At 2B, also four guys. At third, you can choose from 7. In LF, you can also choose from 7. By contrast, at 1B you can choose from 14 or 15 guys.
So that suggests, moving Jeter to 3B or LF. But I’d think the difference in defensive abilities means he’d be better as an OF. Plus, they seem to have a 3B signed passed even the end of Jeter’s contract.

I kind of thought it might be interesting if this is something Boras pulled off to save face. I mean, is it too hard to imagine something like: “Hey Yanks, okay, you called my bluff. I’ll take the hit, talk to ARod ‘directly’.”
Might even engineer the whole thing to make ARod more comfortable. I mean, Boras must know people hate him anyhow.

I’m almost positive that’s what happened, Lar. He’s getting his client a 10-year deal at more money per year than he could get on the open market over at least the final five years of that deal.

SOSH SOSH SOSH SOSH SOSH — ONLY a Red Sox fan would suggest moving future HOF Capt Jeter from short to first. Sometimes the sheer weirdness of Sox fan perspective just comes crawling off the screen.
On the other hand, I think SF is right about NH Rob. He’s trolling.

Oh BTW, I think you should move Manny from left to short, move Capt. Varitek out to left to lessen the strain on his aging knees, put a young healthy Youk behind the plate, Papi at first and sign Bobby Bonds for one year to DH. What a shortstop VORP Manny would have! And Bobby could kill the Yanks at the Stadium!

The difference is, I don’t actually think you should move Manny to short.
No Cubs fan, Giants fan, Angels fan, Astros fan, Royals fan etc etc etc would seriously propose that Jeter should move to first. For better and for worse (and there are both), the Nation is a world unto itself.

Paul, I’m not sure I agree with the idea that Boras couldn’t get A-Rod more on the open-market. How long did he wait for the market to develop? So far, Cabrera hasn’t been dealt, Lowell is still a free agent, and basically teams haven’t started addressing their needs. If Boras waits it out, and Lowell leaves the Sox and Cabrera is dealt to the Dodgers, you’re going to tell me that the Sox and Angels won’t be strongly interested in adding A-Rod? This doesn’t strike me as Boras’s M.O. He usually waits things out until last second.

I think that’s right, Nick.
And Anon – you want to at least choose a name if you’re going to throw around insults?

that point is right on. This was A-Rod’s choice and it was most certainly against Boras’ advice. Boras is gonna be involved in the contract discussion but he is working under orders from the player, who basically said go get this one done, i want to stay in ny.

I meant that getting the 10-year deal was (is? will be?) the key part of that deal. On the open market in, say, five years, A-Rod would not be able to get $27 mil per at age 36. So a 10-year deal at $270 million is not that far down from what Boras wanted, and it locks A-Rod in to prices well above what the market would normally bear for even a player of his caliber five, six, seven-10 years down the road.
So either Boras really is involved or the Yankees jumped to offer a contract that’s higher than they actually needed to offer. Just the way I see it, at any rate.

and it was most certainly against Boras’ advice
How can any of us possibly know the certainty of this? It very well could have been totally ON Boras’ advice, if he found that the market had dried up. This is totally unknown.
As for the anonymous comments, they are coming from the same IP as our frequent commenter “john”, and I imagine this is just an oversight and nothing devious, he’s had a few posts where he didn’t put his name in and it was nothing dastardly. I’d cut him some slack on this, I don’t think the anonymous handle was done other than as an oversight, he’s always been an up-front poster.

By the way, I found this on
Clubs are limited in the number of Type A and B Players they may sign to contracts. The number of signings permitted is related to the number of Players electing free agency. If there are 14 or less such Players, no Club may sign more than one Type A or B Player. If there are from 15 to 38 such Players, no Club may sign more than two Type A or B Players. If there are from 39 to 62 such Players, no Club may sign more than three Type A or B Players. If there are more than 62 such Players, the Club quotas shall be increased accordingly. There are no restrictions on the number of unranked Players that a Club may sign to contracts.
Club are eligible to sign at least as many Type A and B Players as it may have lost through Players having become free agents under this Section at the close of the season just concluded.
So ARod, Posada, Mo would not count. Yanks still free to try to sign whoever they like.

The salary bit is intriguing me so I pulled up some data:
Derek Jeter made 21.6 million, Jason Giambi made 23 million, Manny made 17 million.
More broadly, each of the top 9 teams payroll rise have at least on 15-17 million dollar player. Further down, you have an occasionally 13-14 million (miguel tejada), but the top half of teams in the league have someone (some have more than one) making 10-12 million. Even the Pittsburgh Pirates, they of the 4th smallest payroll are paying Matt Morris 10 million a year.
From this, it would appear to me that there are $15 million players, and what seperates the top-5 high salary teams are that they have more than one. The Red Sox have a 17, a 14, two 13s and an 11. The Yankees have a 23, 21, a 15, two 13s, a 12, a 11 and a 10.(thats before A-Rod.) The Mets seem fairly reasonable with two 14, a 13 and an 10. The other high teams seem to match the Mets’ formula.
But its not just numbers, it is also ages. Thome is 36 making 15 a year, Derek is 33 making 21 million and so on.
A-Rod is just so high over every one else in this stage of his career, so what will he be like at 42? You might make a case that A-Rod is worth it now, though Pujols, his closest offensive competitor is 27 and making nearly half the same salary. Bonds is 43, was 42 during the previous season and was making 16 million a year.
But inflation, inflation, inflation. A-Rod may be making tons more than any other player right now. Outside of Jeter and Giambi, he’s more than 10 million dollars more expensive per year than any other player on any other team. Thats possibly another big-name player right there.
I agree with that, but $27 million a year is locked in. A 36 year old A-Rod will still be a premier player in these league, he will be be coming very close if not pass the home-run record, and $27 million will definitely not more than half what other players will earn. And at the tail end, when he’s in his early 40s and a shadow of his former self? Well, thats what old players do, they fade away. He’ll fade away at 27 million a year, which will probably not be 13.5% of the total salary.
That ends up being my main observation. The A-Rod makes too much money argument is based on the idea that salary and payroll does not naturally escalate over time. The idea that there is a “cap” to how much money a particular player can make. Not even 10-12 years ago, when Bonds hit the $7 million a year plateau, people were shocked. But now it is customary for every team to have at least one player making around twice that much a year.
There is definitely sticker shock when you look at A-Rod’s salary now, and definitely when you look at A-Rod’s salary seven years ago, but as time passes, the gap between his $27 and other elite players will lessen and the sticker shock will fade away.
All this is if A-Rod remains an elite player. If he suddenly becomes mediocre, well, all arguments are moot. But if he remains the type of player he is, if he stays in line performance wise with other players, then I think we’ll find that the other players salaries will naturally rise to meet his.
See you in 5 years.

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