Category Archives: The Owner

Game 111. Lead down to 1/2 a game as Yanks lose in 16, 5-4.

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Due to the length of last night’s Yankees game, there will be no minor league report today.

The Yanks’ lead is basically gone. They lost their fourth straight game, and fifth in their last six games, 5-4 in 16 innings, in Cleveland last night.

Most of those losses have been excruciating. Three of the five losses were by one run, and another was 2-0.

They are now 61-50 and have just a 1/2 game lead in the AL East over the surging Toronto Blue Jays.

Even Baltimore (4 1/2 back) and Tampa Bay (5 out) are lurking.

Ironically, all fifteen home games won yesterday.

Luis Severino, the 21-year-old rookie, started slowly, giving up runs in the first and second innings to put the Yanks behind 2-0, but he went six innings and those were the only runs he gave up. Once again he pitched well and got no run support.

Stephen Drew hit a HR in the sixth (14) to cut the lead to 2-1, then Carlos Beltran homered (10) in the eighth to tie things up. It was Beltran’s 383rd career HR,  tying Larry Walker on the all-time list.

The Yanks scored two in the top of the tenth on a PH bases-loaded, two-out single by Chase Headley to go up 4-2. Game over, especially with Miller coming in, right?

Nope. Miller blew it. Cleveland scored two in the bottom of tenth to tie it up, then scored in the bottom of the sixteenth off of Brandon Pinder (the Yanks’ eighth pitcher of the night) to win it 5-4.

The Yanks struck out 16 times in the game and got just eight hits in those 16 innings—three by Didi Gregorius, who is now at .265.

The top four in the Yanks’ lineup, Ellsbury, Gardner, A-Rod and Teixeira, went 1 for 25 with nine strikeouts.

Ellsbury is in a bad slump, down to .260. McCann is down to .243.

Ouch.

This was excruciating, especially when you thought you had it going into the bottom of the tenth.

Severino 6 IP, 2 R, 7 H, 1 walk, 2 K. 2.45
Shreve 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks and 2 K. 2.01
Betances 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 walks and 1 K. 1.23
Wilson 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 walks and 0 K. 2.38
Miller 1 IP, 2 R, 3 H, 0 walks and 2 K. 2.08
Warren 1 IP, 0 r, 0 H, 0 walks and 0 K. 3.34
Mitchell 3 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 2 walks and 5 K. 3.72
Pinder (L, 0-2, 3.12) 1 1/3 IP, 1 R, 3 H, 0 walks and 2 K.

In discussions with people about the Yanks making a move. After seeing Severino for two games, would you have traded him for a two-month rental? Too many are focused on the now and would deal someone for a two-month rental. Sorry, but it would have taken Severino to get someone really good. Do you want to trade someone who looks like they could be an ace for the next twelve years for a two-month rental? Put it this way. The Yanks came close in 1993. In 1993 would you have traded Jeter, Mo, Bernie, Pettitte or Posada for someone who you would hope put you over the top in 1993? To beat out the World Champ Blue Jays that year? We know what happened over the next 20 years because the Yanks held on to those players. Imagine if they did not. Imagine if Jeter went for a two-month rental and became DEREK JETER for another team. That is what I am against. Be patient. You need it with the young players. I would not give up a Severino, Judge, etc. for a quick fix. Some would. Not me.

Some say George would have done this or that. George also gave away some fine young players, and the team wasn’t good from 1989-1992 as a result. The Boss had his faults, you know, and patience was not one of his virtues. George is dead, and Hal isn’t his dad. I don’t know why people have a hard time coming to grips with that. It is a new regime, Hal does things a little differently. If it means being patient with young players (who are under team control and won’t cost as much) and not giving out bad contracts to fading players, I am all for that. I am all for building another core 4 (or more) and not trading them away, even if it means sacrificing this year to ensure success for the next fifteen.

The minors, and trade deadline risks.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

With the Yankees off yesterday, a look at the minors and a look at risks at the trade deadline.

AAA: SWB won 2-1 on a walkoff inside-the-park HR by CF Ben Gamel. Kyle Davies 7 IP, 1 unearned run. 3 h, 1 walk and 8 K.  Caleb Cotham two scoreless IP of relief. (W, 2–0, 1.07). Gamel also had a double. Besides Gamel, 1B Greg Bird and 3B Jose Pirela each had two hits.

AA: Trenton off.

High A: Tampa won 4-2. LF Ericson Leonora a 2-run HR. Five others with two hits each. Jordan Montgomery 6 IP, 2 R, 1 ER, 6 H, 2 walks, 7 K.

A: Charleston off.

Funny how people are still complaining that the Yanks didn’t do a major splash at the trade deadline. I have a few thoughts on that.

For those who say that “the Boss” would have done something, face facts. The Boss, George Steinbrenner, has been dead for five years now. Accept that fact and accept that it is a new regime with his son Hal who isn’t his father. He will run things differently. Also, things weren’t always peaches and cream with George. Remember him trading away talents like Jay Buhner, Bob Tewksbury and Doug Drabek?

So for those who wanted a big deal, were you really going to trade away Luis Severino for what may turn out to be a two-month rental? As much as I would like the Yankees to win every year, you don’t want to sacrifice the future for a one-year quick fix. And don’t kid yourself. You can’t get something for nothing. The Yanks would have had to give up top talent like Severino to get something. You weren’t getting a David Price type talent for lower tier talent.

Here are examples of teams that went for it and paid for it.

8-12-87. The Tigers trade John Smoltz to the Braves for Doyle Alexander. Alexander goes 9-0 down the stretch for the Tigers. The Tigers make the playoffs as the AL East champ and lose the ALCS to the Twins. Alexander goes 14-11 in 1988 and 6-18 (leading the majors in losses) in 1989 then retires. The Tigers don’t make it back to the playoffs until 2006. Smoltz goes to the Braves, is in the playoffs every year from 1991-2005 (except for the 1994 strike) and goes to be a Hall of Famer.

8/30/1990: The Red Sox trade Jeff Bagwell to Houston for Larry Andersen. Andersen goes 0-0, 1.23 as a two-month rental. Boston wins the division but loses the ALCS to Oakland. Bagwell goes on to hit 449 HR for the Astros. He played a lot in the cavernous Astrodome. Imagine him with the Green Monster at Fenway.

Is that what these people want?

Also, some people, upset with Stephen Drew, are wondering if the Yanks should pursue Chase Utley. I wonder if these people realize that Utley, although the greatest Phillie 2B ever (and JAWS has him ranked 12th best 2B all-time), has been worse than Drew this year.

Drew: 32, $5MM, free agent after this year. 94 g. .194-13-32, OPS+ 77.

Utley: 36, $15MM, 69 games, .190-4-28. OPS+ 55. Utley has had a far better career than Drew, and is a borderline Hall of Famer.  His vesting option ($15MM each of the next three years) will not kick in because he won’t make 500 plate appearances this year. But a lot of money for someone four years older who is having a WORSE year for even Drew. Utley WAS great. He no longer IS.

Really, do you want that?

Game 44. Yanks fall to .500.

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Sorry for the late post. I was at last night’s game and got home around 2 a.m.

As a result, there will be NO minor league report from Sunday’s games.

On a night when Bernie Williams’ #51 was retired, and Derek Jeter made his first trip back to Yankee Stadium since his retirement, the Yanks continued their funk, losing their tenth game in their last eleven (sixth in a row) to fall to 22-22, even .500. They remain in 2nd place in what is so far a weak AL East, 1 1/2 games back.

The ingredients for a loss were as follows: mental and physical lapses in the field (2B Jose Pirela), a starting pitcher who couldn’t give you five innings (Capuano), an offense that for the fourth time in eleven games gave you two runs in the first inning and nothing thereafter, and a bullpen that let a close game slip away.

Jose Pirela made a mental mistake on the first play of the game, and the batter almost reached because Pirela was too lackadaisical in fielding a ground ball. The play was only called an out upon review. Pirela then booted the next ball. When Prince Fielder doubled to score the run, it appeared as if there was a play at the plate, but Pirela’s throw home on the relay wasn’t good. Pirela was only charged with one error, but had made three bad plays, and Texas had an unearned run.

The Yanks got two in the first when Gardner (who has been slumping badly…down to .279, .196 since May 9)  reached on an error, then Headley singled. Gardner however, was thrown out at third on Headley’s single. Maybe it was a case of over-aggressiveness, of someone trying to make things happen while his team is in the midst of a losing streak, but there you have it. A-Rod singled, and after a ground out that moved up the runners, McCann singled in two runs to make it 2-1 Yankees.

But in the second, on a 2-2 pitch with two out and a runner on, Capuano gave up a 2-run HR that hit the top of the wall and bounced over. One strike away from getting out of the inning and …. …. I suspect Capuano, who in two starts has given a total of 7 1/3 innings, will be the one pulled when Tanaka or Nova become ready. The Yanks need a starter who’ll give more innings than Capuano has provided so far.

It remained that way, 3-2, for a while, but the Yanks’ offense (minus Beltran, who has the flu, the slumping Young (.240, 2 for his last 28, played CF and Garrett Jones was in RF)) couldn’t do anything and the Yanks’ bullpen gave up two in the seventh to seal their doom.

It is a good thing Girardi has some job security. I’m blaming none of this on him, it’s the players, but it may be a good thing if he (or Hal Steinbrenner, who was there for the Bernie ceremony) ripped into the players after the game. Hal, especially, should pull a page from his dad’s playbook. Losing ten out of eleven is not acceptable. A lesser manager than Girardi may be on the hot seat. But these players need to be held accountable, especially with some of the bad mental errors they are currently making out there.

It doesn’t get any easier. The defending AL champion Royals are in now, and the Yanks are heading west soon.

They have gone from 21-12 to 22-22. That should be a wake up call to tell them to pull their heads out of their you-know-where’s.

The good news is that in a weak division so far, losing ten out of eleven—even this early—hasn’t buried them. There is time to right the ship, and it needs to be done now.

Capuano (L, 0-2, 7.36) 4 1/3 IP, 3 R, 2 ER, 8 H, 0 walks, 4 K.
Shreve 1 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 walk and 0 K. 3.00
Wilson 1/3 IP, 2 R, 3 H, 0 walks and 0 K. 5.79.
Betances 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks and 0 K. 0.00
Carpenter 1 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 walks and 0 K. 5.19.
Miller 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks and 2 K. 0.93.

I was kind of hoping, but didn’t get, the MLB debut of Jacob Lindgren, who was brought up yesterday. Brandon Pinder was sent down after having thrown 48 pitches on Saturday.

Moncada, and looking at 2020

Ok, here are some things from MLB Trade Rumors (see italics) concerning the Moncada to Boston deal. Boston gave him $31.5MM (which with the penalty is $63MM). The Yanks liked Moncada, Cashman wanted him, but upper management bid $25MM ($50MM with the penalty) and would go no higher than $27MM/$54MM with the penalty.

 

  • The Padres made an approximately $25MM offer to Moncada, MLB.com’s Corey Brock reports on Twitter. Meanwhile, the Brewers‘ were interested only to the $12MM to $15MM range, MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy tweets. Milwaukee came in early with an offer, learned it would not be competitive, and then bowed out, as Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports.
  • Though the Giants were interested in Moncada, but not at his price tag, GM Brian Sabean tells Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter links). “We were involved, not as much as other teams,” said Sabean. “We’re not built for that. Nor is most of baseball.” That sounds similar to the fate of the Tigers, who as Chris Iott of MLive.com writes had legitimate interest but bowed out fairly early on. “We scouted him,” said assistant GM Al Avila. “We had him here for a private workout. Once we knew where the money was going, it was just a point that we had our money invested in other areas.”
  • ESPN.com’s Keith Law (Insider link) writes that Moncada would have been the first or second player taken in this year’s relatively weak draft, and profiles as a top-ten talent in any year. As Law notes, the signing could be a piece of a push for change, as the league looks to hold down the bonuses going to young Cuban ballplayers.

Now Moncada projects to a 2B (and Pedroia is already there) or 3B (Boston just signed Sandoval). My gut feeling is that Boston may want to move the heavyset Kung Fu Panda (Sandoval) to DH once the 39-year-old Ortiz retires, opening 3B up for Moncada. The Moncada signing also would lessen the blow should Boston put together a package of prospects and get Cole Hamels from the Phillies.

Earlier this morning, the Red Sox reportedly struck an agreement with Cuban phenom Yoan Moncada, landing the 19-year-old switch-hitter with a $31.5MM signing bonus that will cost the team $63MM due to the 100 percent luxury tax it faces for exceeding its international bonus pool. Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweeted shortly after the agreement was struck that the Yankees offered $25MM with a willingness to go to $27MM. Here are some more details on the tail end of a free agency that resulted in the largest signing bonus an international amateur has ever received…

  • The Dodgers never actually made a formal offer for Moncada, GM Farhan Zaidi tells Pedro Moura of the Orange County Register (Twitter links). Though general terms were discussed, the GM explained that Los Angeles weighed other considerations that tempered its interest: “There’s a lot of talent coming July 2. The calculus of that was a big part of our equation.”
  • Steinbrenner was “not the reason” that the Yankees didn’t go higher for Moncada, Matthews tweets, reversing his earlier report (see below).

Earlier Updates

  • The Yankees, Red Sox and Brewers were the three finalists for Moncada, tweets Sherman. However, the Dodgers may have offered the most money, but it came with a price; L.A. was willing to go to $35MM on the condition that Moncada wait until July 2 in order to sign. Doing so would have given the Dodgers unrestricted spending next period, giving them a shot at all the top prospects on the market without the Yankees and Red Sox to compete against. It’s also been reported that Yadier Alvares can’t sign before July 2, so the Dodgers likely could have made a run at both.
  • Indeed, Sherman tweets that the Dodgers are waiting until the new signing period begins on July 2 to spend significantly, and they plan to be very aggressive when that time comes.
  • Yankees GM Brian Cashman badly wanted to sign Moncada, tweets Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York, but he couldn’t convince owner Hal Steinbrenner to spend any more than the reported $27MM figure. The GM told reporters, including MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch (Twitter link), that New York was asked to make its best offer yesterday. He was subsequently informed that it was not sufficient.
  • There was “a feeling from some” that Moncada wanted to end up with the Yankees, but the team simply viewed it as too risky to spend $60-70MM on a prospect, reports Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York (All Twitter links). The Yankees feel that they can buy a proven Major Leaguer with that type of money in the future, and the Red Sox ultimately valued him more, Marchand adds.
  • Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports writes that the Padres were also considered finalists along with the four teams mentioned by Sherman. One team involved in the bidding, Passan adds, was so confident in Moncada’s abilities that they believed him to be capable of jumping directly into the Majors. Instead, he’ll head to the lower levels of Boston’s minor league system.
  • Via MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy and Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (Twitter links), the Brewers‘ interest in Moncada was sincere. GM Doug Melvin believes that he was the first of any GM to submit a formal offer, but the team learned quickly that they wouldn’t be able to sign Moncada
  • Ben Badler of Baseball America notes (Twitter links) that some of the biggest winners in this scenario are Hector Olivera and next signing period’s crop of international amateurs. As Badlery points out, Olivera is being pursued by a number of teams who were also interested in Moncada, but the Red Sox aren’t involved in his market. Moncada signing with Boston means that Olivera didn’t lose a suitor. As for the rest of the international amateurs, they and their trainers are rejoicing, Badler says. The Red Sox were already over their bonus pool, so Moncada signing with them prevents another team (e.g. the Dodgers or Brewers) from going over their pool, giving the next wave of players another suitor.
Ok, we know that the Yanks are in a transition period, and their hands are really kind of tied until some people come off the books. I was hoping that Moncada would be signed with the Yanks as we look five years down the road. What could the Yanks be looking at in 2020 (20/20 vision?)? Best yet, these guys would be in their primes at that time. There is no guarantee any will make it or who may be traded away before then, but…
C Gary Sanchez, righty bat.  Brian McCann is signed through 2018 and has a $15MM team option for 2019. In 2020, McCann will turn 36, and if still with the team, may project better as a DH. Sanchez will be in his prime in 2020 at the age of 27. Sanchez will probably start this year at AAA SWB. Last year at AA Trenton, in 110 games, Sanchez hit .270-13-65.
1B Greg Bird, lefty bat. Mark Teixeira’s last year on his deal is next year, 2016. Teix, if he is still in baseball in 2020, would be 40 that year. I expect him not to be with the Yanks, if he is even in baseball in 2020. Bird would be 27 in 2020. He played in 102 games in 2014 between High-A Tampa and AA Trenton, hitting .271-14-43. In low A Charleston in 2013, he hit .288-20-84 and drew 107 walks. In 264 minor league games, well let’s divide by two. That gives 132…. and if we do that, he has averaged .283-18-70 and 94 walks. He had a great Arizona Fall League, and hopefully the power will develop further. That plate discipline is impressive.
2B Rob Refsnyder, righty bat. With a good spring, he could steal the job from Stephen Drew and open the season as the Yanks’ 2B. If Drew stinks like he did last year, and Refsnyder continues to rake, Refsnyder could take the job in midseason after starting the year at AAA. A converted OF, he may need some more work defensively at 2B, but his bat is impressive. He hit .318-14-63 between AA/AAA in 2014, 137 games. Refsnyder would be 29 in 2020.
SS Didi Gregorious, lefty bat. The just acquired SS would be only 30 in 2020. A defensive whiz, it still has to be proven whether he can hit. In 191 MLB games, he is at .243-13-57, which translates to a .243-11-48 162 g. average, OPS+ 88.
3B. Here is where it gets tricky. Here is where I wanted Moncada, a switch-hitter who would be 24 in 2020. So who COULD be here? Chase Headley is signed through 2018. He’d be 36 in 2020, so he, along with McCann, could be still on the team, and one, say McCann, could DH, and Headley could be backing up at 1B and 3B. But who would be at 3B? Two contenders:
Eric Jagielo, lefty bat. Would be 28 in 2020. In 146 minor league games, has 24 HR, 85 RBI but only a .259 average. .256-18-58 in 2014, 92 games, mostly at High-A Tampa.
Dante Bichette, Jr.  righty bat, would be 27 (28 at the end of the year).  .264-10-68 between High A Tampa and AA Trenton in 2014 in 127 games.
Both have shown some pop, Jagielo more so. But the batting averages haven’t been too impressive so far.
Brett Gardner has an option for 2019. He’d be 36, going on 37 in 2020. Somehow I don’t think he’ll be there in 2020.
Jacoby Ellsbury will be 36 going on 37 and he is still under contract for 2020. Somehow I think he will be there, but no longer in CF. I don’t see him in CF at that age. Maybe a move to LF.
Meaning the Yanks need to find a CF from a current minor leaguer, sign one, trade for one or sign a free agent CF.
RF. Aaron Judge, righty bat. Beltran will surely be gone by then, and Judge would be 28 (see all these players who would be in their primes?). Judge played in 131 games in 2014 between A and High A, hitting .308-17-78.
Looking at the starting rotation, the one thing lacking is a lefty. But Tanaka would be 30, Pineda 30, Nathan Eovaldi 30, Ivan Nova 33, Adam Warren 32 going on 33, Luis Severino 26.
As for the bullpen, Dellin Betances would be 32, and lefty stud prospect Jacob Lindgren 27.
So there is youth there that you hope develops, because they would be in their primes in 2020. The question is who will make it, who develops.
We don’t know who may be traded away. We don’t know what free agents may be signed between now and 2020. We don’t know whose careers get derailed because of injury.
But it would be refreshing to see a team where most of the players are in their prime years, not a team where most of the players have seen their better days.
You hope these prime years would be GOOD years and the players can develop into stars and not mediocrities.
Time will tell.

 

Forget about Moncada…. he goes to Boston.

I’ll have more tonight after I get home from work, but it’s Boston who lands prize prospect Yoan Moncada for $30MM. With the penalty, it’s $60MM for Boston (yes, the Yanks would have had to pay the 100% penalty also had they landed him).

Moncada, 19, is a switch-hitting infielder who is projected as a five-tool prospect at 2B or 3B. Probably a year or two from the majors. Yes, Boston has Pedroia at 2B and Sandoval (newly signed) at 3B but I’m wondering if, with Ortiz being 39 and Sandoval being heavy, they may have designs on the heavy Sandoval moving to DH once Ortiz retires with Moncada taking over at 3B.

More tonight after I get home from work.

One thing for sure. People arguing that “George would have signed him” need to face facts. The “Boss” is gone. 4 1/2 years or so now, and he wasn’t the “Boss”, what with his illness for a few years before his death. Hal isn’t his dad. Time to face that fact.

Nats land Scherzer. Super Bowl set.

Max Scherzer goes to the Nats, $210MM over 7 years, with 1/2 deferred. So $15MM over 14 years. I don’t know about paying someone $15MM between the ages of 37-44, esp. when they are a) washed up b) declining severely and/or c) injured. Not to mention d) retired.

The Yanks said they were not in for Scherzer or Shields, and some but not all, believed them. Maybe with Scherzer off the market, it can be believed now (Shields is still available). It seems last year’s big splash took them out of the market for any big splash (just little splashes–see Headley, Drew….) this year.

That said, there are a lot of free agent pitchers available next year. See this post

http://bronxbaseballdaily.com/2015/01/top-9-pitchers-yankees-can-sign-in-2016/

from our friends at Bronx Baseball Daily to see who may fit the Yanks needs in next year’s free agent draft. The problem is, who comes off the books? McCann has four years left on his deal, A-Rod three, Teix, CC and Beltran a couple. Then you have in-their-prime players like Ellsbury and Tanaka signed to multi-year deals. Even Headley has a four-year deal. Hal doesn’t want to increase the payroll, and there is little flexibility as long as those multi-year deals, especially the ones for aging, fading players, are on the books.

The Yanks did look at Johan Santana, a low-risk, high-reward option. I doubt anything will come out of it. I hope not.  Santana was pitching in the Venezuelan league in hoping for a comeback. Reports have it he was at 86-89 and pitching more on guile than anything else. Santana has missed all of 2011, 2013 and 2014. In his only season since 2010, Johan was 6-9, 4.85 in 2012 (with a tainted no-hitter, the only one in Mets’ history). ERA+ 79. He’s had two shoulder surgeries and turns 36 in March. Minor league deal with incentives? Maybe. But I wouldn’t expect much out of it. Santana had a nice career, not HOF, and it’s a shame his career came to an end basically at the age of 31. 2 CYA, 6x consideration, and 2x in the top 10 for the MVP award. 139-78, 3.20, ERA+ 136. Once great. Now?

I am heading up to the Stadium on May 24th. Hmmmm….. that’s about 1/3 of the way through the season, and A-Rod is 6 HR away from tying Willie Mays at 660. You can do the math. At 18-21 HR/yr. (how much does he have left, if anything?) that could be about the time A-Rod ties or passes Willie. If he does it in front of me, #660* or #661*, I won’t be applauding.

Not much else in Yankeeland right now. That, and busy at work, have me writing less.

The Super Bowl is set. The defending champion Seattle Seahawks vs. the New England Patriots. Interesting games yesterday on Championship Sunday. The Seahawks were outplayed by the Green Bay Packers for 57 1/2 minutes, and the Pack had a 19-7 lead with three minutes to go. TD Seattle with 2:09 left to make it 19-14. Recovery of an onside kick. TD. 2-point conversion to put Seattle up 22-19. Green Bay comes back to tie it on a last-second 48-yd. FG. 22-22. Seattle gets the opening kickoff of OT and scores to win 28-22. What a finish. What a choke by the Pack.

It was the fourth OT NFC title game in the last eight years.

In the AFC, no contest. New England wins 45-7 over the Colts. It’ll be SB #6 for the Belichick/Brady duo. Now the authors of “spygate,” Belichick and the Patriots, are being investigated for deflated footballs. Whatever. They still dominated and will be hard to stop.

It’s a pick ’em right now after the line opened at Seattle by 2 1/2.

So does Seattle repeat for the first time since New England did it a decade ago, or do the Patriots add to their legacy?

 

Are the hands tied?

People are wondering why the Yanks haven’t done much so far, and a lot of blame is being placed on Brian Cashman.

I don’t fault Cashman as much as others do, but I do have to say, what can he do right now? He doesn’t control the $$$, Hal Steinbrenner, the owner, does.

The thing is, what kind of a budget are the Yanks looking for in 2015? For there isn’t much flexibility or maneuverability in that budget. That is why you aren’t seeing moves.

It’s one thing to say increase the payroll. It isn’t your money. But how much do you want to increase it to?

Let’s look at some numbers. The Yanks may not be able to do much for the next two or three years. BaseballReference.com has their budget right now at $179.4MM with an estimate of $193.4MM.

Now let’s look at 10 players and the quickest they would be gone from the Yankees (barring a trade, and let’s face it, a lot of these players would be difficult to move because of salary, age and the fact that the Yankees may need to eat a lot of the contract).

McCann $17MM for 2015. Signed through 2018 with a team option for 2019. He’s gonna be around for a while.

Teixeira $22.5MM for 2015. There again in 2016. I don’t expect the Yanks to bring him back for 2017 but you are stuck with him for 2015 and 2016. Honestly, who’d want his increasing injuries, declining production and that contract?

Prado $11MM. Contract through 2016. Could be tradeable.

Gardner $12.5 MM. signed though 2018. Team option of $12.5MM for 2019, $2MM buyout. Tradeable.

A-Rod $21 MM. Stuck with him through 2017. Really, who’d want him? 40 in July. 44 games played over the last two seasons, two hip surgeries, a PED suspension…. his nickname should be lightning rod (for trouble and controversy). Not only the salary, but a $6MM bonus if he gets the six homers he needs to tie Willie Mays on the all-time list.

Ellsbury $21.1MM. Signed through 2020, 2021 team option at $21MM, $5 MM buyout. Good player, but who’d take that salary?

Beltran $15MM signed for 2015 and 2016. He’s 38 and coming off a bad, injury-plagued year.

CC $23 MM. Signed 2015 and 2016. $25 MM vesting option for 2017, $5MM buyout, but that is based on shoulder, not the knee issue which cost him most of 2014. 17-17, 4,87 since 2012. Who’d take that contract now for a pitcher who has been below average over his last 40 starts, has knee issues, a diminishing fastball and who will be 35 this coming summer?

Tanaka $22MM, signed through 2020, player can opt out after 2017. An ace, and we hope his elbow holds up.

Miller $9 MM. Through 2018.

That is 10 players, $174.1 MM for 2015. Now let’s just say Hal put a limit of $205MM for his team, not the $193.mm listed above (which, as we know, will be unreasonable to match). Now you have 15 players left to fill out the 25 man roster, and you have just $30MM left for them.

Um, tough to do, isn’t it?

How can you bring back Robertson or McCarthy, or for that matter, sign a Shields or Scherzer? You can’t.

That is why Cashman’s hands are tied and why he has to bottom-feed right now—unless Hal increases the budget.

Those 10 are the core of the team—not only for 2015, but as you can see, for 2016 as well. Unless someone retires or you can trade one of them (and for a couple of them, that ain’t happening—-no takers) you are stuck with them. If they don’t produce, then…

and Beltran, McCann, Teix, CC all underproduced in 2014. Now we get a soon-to-be 40 year old A-Rod in 2015, who will probably underproduce.

Either this group finds past glory and steps up, or the next two years will be more of the same from 2013 and 2014.

But the thing is, there is only (even in Yankeeland) so much $$$ to go around, and most of it has been allocated.

Unless Hal wants to increase the payroll to $225 MM, or $250MM, or ….

but I don’t see it.

Which means maybe the next big move won’t be until after 2016, when you can take Teix and Beltran off the books. Maybe Prado, too. Probably not CC, since his vesting option (unless he has shoulder damage) kicks in. Maybe A-Rod won’t come back for 2017 but will retire because of diminishing skills/injury and to avoid himself the embarrasment of hanging on hitting less than .200.

But for now, what can one do? For those 10 players eat up most of your payroll. The Yanks have to hope that players under team control, who are making the major league minimum (or close to it) can step up in the next couple of years. This means a Rob Refsnyder, Jose Pirela, Manny Banuelos, Jacob Lindgren, Bryan Mitchell, Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge, etc., and this comes down to scouting and player development—areas that have been lacking in recent years.