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Comment of the Day: Those scrappy, upstart Yankees

May 2, 2013, 9:13 AM EDT

Houston Astros v New York Yankees Getty Images

We noted in ATHcourtesy of IIATMS — that the Yankees’ disabled list currently has a $95 million payroll.  Commenter ufy1950 notes this morning something which seems even more wacky:

Just for information the 9 players who started the game for the Yankees plus Phelps the pitcher had a combined yearly payroll of under $35MM.

Those scrappy, upstart Yankees, trying to compete on a shoestring. That’s what it’s all about, people.

  1. mybrunoblog - May 2, 2013 at 9:22 AM

    These are uncharted waters for us Yankee fans. Having a team of younger guys and reclamation projects isn’t something we’ve seen in a couple of generations. After Cano and the pitching staff we have a bunch of guys who aren’t household names (Ichiro age 39, still talented but clearly his best years are behind him).
    This is fun. I don’t know how long it can last but I am enjoying the heck out of it. Second best record in the bigs. Who’d a thunk it?
    Mitch Williams on March 30th “The Yankees will finish last”….hmm…hey Mitch, that old mullet messed with your brain bro.

    • genericcommenter - May 2, 2013 at 9:36 AM

      How does one measure a generation in baseball? Is it different than regular life? Because I’m 32, and you just described most of my childhood. I don’t think I’ve been around many generations.

      • mikespra - May 2, 2013 at 10:06 AM

        in baseball, its more like 15-20 years. a collection of core players makes up a generation in baseball – if you’re a tigers fan the whitaker/trammel years would be considered a generation. Jeter/mo/posada was a generation. donnie baseball was the one before

    • bigharold - May 2, 2013 at 11:22 AM

      “Mitch Williams on March 30th “The Yankees will finish last”….hmm..”

      Two things, .. 1. Go back to the prognostications of the HBT guys, .. the Yankees weren’t given much credit around here either, .. including a couple of last place picks. 2. Mitch Williams doesn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground and his stock and trade is saying outrageous stuff.

      It’s still early but I guess that Cashman guy knows a thing or two. We don’t need no stinkin doom watches!!!

  2. danaking - May 2, 2013 at 9:24 AM

    Craig, you noted in ATH how you didn’t want to hear about a manager complaining about injuries, considering how much salary the Yankees have on the DL. To me, this just points out the prime disparity in baseball. The Yankees can afford to have a lot of salary sitting idle, as there’s still a lot of money available to play. (Last night’s line-up notwithstanding.) Even if we don’t count the $90+ million on the DL, I’ll bet they still have one of the top ten payrolls in baseball.

    • Craig Calcaterra - May 2, 2013 at 9:26 AM

      Which of the backups the Yankees have been trotting out there are or ever were unobtainable types by any other team?

      • danaking - May 2, 2013 at 9:53 AM

        True, but the Yankees can overpay for these guys, too. I checked CBSSports.com 2013 payroll listings. Even with $95 million removed, the Yankees have the 7th-highest payroll in baseball. They should be pretty good.

      • dnc6 - May 2, 2013 at 3:28 PM

        Sabathia, Rivera, Kuroda are three big reasons for the Yankees success. Even Vernon Wells counts (and of course he’s playing well again). No other team would think about paying Wells 12 million this year (his salary less this year’s payment from LAA). The Yankees can afford to take a shot on him (and possibly get a credit against the tax next year) because they have money burning a hole in their pocket.

  3. turdfurgerson68 - May 2, 2013 at 9:29 AM

    Hey congrats on making it into an actual ‘article’ ufy1950!

    Too bad the guys who get paid to write these ‘articles’ couldn’t point out what you did.

    Scrappy upstarts…nah. More like Cashman, forced by the Steinbrenner sons, to not increasing payroll in antcipation of the soon-to-be more punitive luxury tax.

    Sorry Yankee fans, the days of going out and ‘buying’ any player (like when papa Steinbrenner ordered Cashman to ‘buy’ Raul Mondesi’) they desired is long gone.

    Welcome back to reality.

  4. randygnyc - May 2, 2013 at 9:29 AM

    Yanks currently have 5 all stars, all position players, on the DL. Unprecedented. Now, of course we have a few starting pitchers and our starting catcher there too.

  5. 18thstreet - May 2, 2013 at 9:35 AM

    Interesting technique to only count that day’s starting pitcher. Is Sabathia hurt ($24 million)? Kuroda ($15 million)? Pettitte ($12 million)? Rivera ($10 million)? That’s $61 million who are excluded from the calculation.

    And the Yankees’ decision to piss away $12 million on what’s left of Kevin Youkilis doesn’t mean that there’s an additional $12 million in talent on the NYY DL. It means the Yankees piss away money. Because (a) they can and (b) they have no farm system.

    • 18thstreet - May 2, 2013 at 9:38 AM

      Fun with math: Phil Hughes would be the 4th highest paid player on the Orioles.

      • wiscotom - May 2, 2013 at 9:52 AM

        Fun with math: Ryan Braun would be the 12th highest paid player on the Yankees.

      • bigharold - May 2, 2013 at 11:24 AM

        “Phil Hughes would be the 4th highest paid player on the Orioles.”

        I think that says more about the O’s than the Yankees.

    • Jason @ IIATMS - May 2, 2013 at 9:47 AM

      It’s all “fun with math”. Lies, damn lies and statistics

      • bigharold - May 2, 2013 at 11:25 AM

        Or, Lies and the lying lairs that tell them.

    • mentalotherhalf - May 2, 2013 at 6:42 PM

      A sampling of the recent products of the NYY farm system, in no particular order (not all of them, of course, on the Yankees):
      1) David Robertson
      2) Joba Chamberlain
      3) Brett Gardner
      4) Ian Kennedy
      5) Austin Jackson
      6) Robinson-Mothereffin’-Cano

      I’d say all of those are confirmed major-league success stories, all . That’s just from the top of my head, and just the players I think any team would be happy to have on a 25-man roster. A few others are debatable for inclusion on–or just miss–the same list:

      1) Phil Hughes
      2) Jesus Montero
      3) Melky Cabrera
      4) Ivan Nova

      Every one of those examples has come up within the last 10 years, and most are closer to 5 than 10 years’ service time. That’s a whole bunch of high-quality players, a few solid options, and one verified, legitimate superstar in less than a decade. All still playing, all still poised for more success. My familiarity with other teams’ farm systems is superficial, at best, but that list must compare favorably to most teams. So: what more, exactly, should the NYY farm system be doing? Sure, there’s been occasional imbalance relative to position players and pitchers, but where is that not the case? And sure, they make some “interesting” first-round choices, but who cares when, overall, the results are successful? Hell, over the last ten years, their minor league affiliates win championships more frequently than the major league team! That’s hardly a fair or balanced comparison, but it’s more valid than the claim that “they have no farm system”.

      Then there’s the future to consider. Over the next three-to-five years, I think it’s fair to predict that the NYY farm system will be proud to have produced:

      1) David Phelps
      2) Jose Campos (granted: with an assist from the Mariners)
      3) Mason Williams
      4) Gary Sanchez
      5) Mark Montgomery

      And there are quite a few other pieces on the cusp with very legitimate chances to make significant major-league-level impacts, including-but-not-limited-to: Mustelier; Ramirez; Nuno; Murphy; Austin; Heathcott; and Adams.

      The idea that NYY has no farm system, inasmuch as it’s entertained at all, is an example of the worst of accepted knowledge. I’ll enthusiastically concede that said system is under-valued, under-used, and too-often relegated to trade currency, but the system is definitely working, by any objective measure. It’s imperfect, but has still produced very significant potency for both current and near-future rosters of both NYY and other MLB teams.

      • 18thstreet - May 3, 2013 at 7:33 AM

        Your team needed a third baseman for half a season (which was the assumption regarding A-Rod’s injury) and signed Kevin Youkilis to a $12 million. You needed a leftfielder for a month A MONTH! (until Granderson returned) and your team traded for Vernon Wells. Your right fielder is 80 years old, and he’s signed for two years.

        Is that accepted knowledge?

      • mentalotherhalf - May 3, 2013 at 12:01 PM

        To 18thstreet, below (I see no reply option to your comment itself):
        Your comments below suggest that, though you apparently read my post–citing as you did my use of the phrase “accepted knowledge–you did not understand it. If you had understood it, you would have known that I share the opinion that you almost manage to express below: NYY does not tend to USE its farm system. I’ll even grant that the points of strength within the current system aren’t good fits for the current points of weakness on the Major League roster. To your original, mistaken, point, however: that does not mean, contrary to your statement: “they have no farm system”.

        Thanks for the idea that they’re my team, though. 27 championships and $3+billion in equity would significantly brighten the craptastic week I’ve had at work. Here’s hoping that yours has been better.

  6. Jason @ IIATMS - May 2, 2013 at 9:39 AM

    Let’s make one thing crystal clear: No one (at least that I know/talk to) is looking for sympathy. Nor are we (ditto) looking to humblebrag that our team is scrappy and winning. We’re just pretty excited that in the face of significantly lowered expectations, the team is finding ways to win.

    We aren’t trying to align ourselves with lower revenue teams/fans who continually have to do more with less.

    We aren’t ignoring the fact that this season was forced by an economic decision rather than simply deft GM’ing.

    We aren’t ignoring that cast-offs like Hafner and Wells and Overbay may indeed turn back into injured/underperforming pumpkins soon.

    We are, however, fairly happy with where this team stands today, May 2nd, given all that’s gone on and wrong.

    • mybrunoblog - May 2, 2013 at 9:50 AM

      Very well said.

      • mikespra - May 2, 2013 at 10:09 AM

        very well said. I will also note that a lot of us are hoping that they wake up and make more hafner deals, more moves like letting russel martin (liked him) and swisher walk and less deals like signing youk and pavano and mondesi and giambi and a-rod.

      • 18thstreet - May 2, 2013 at 12:07 PM

        What distinguishes the Hafner deal from the Youkilis deal, exactly? They’re both old and coming off down seasons. Hafner has hit, and Youkilis is hurt.

        The Yankees made “more Hafner deals” when they signed a third baseman who has never played more than 112 games in a season at third. Hafner played 66 games last year. Anyone who though THAT was going to work out ought to be investing in the stock market.

      • 18thstreet - May 2, 2013 at 12:09 PM

        Less Youkilis, more Hafner!

        http://www.fangraphs.com/graphsw.aspx?players=1935,1573

        Yeah, the Hafner signing was brilliant.

    • jcmeyer10 - May 2, 2013 at 10:58 AM

      What’s funny is, take out the specific player references and you could be talking about the Red Sox. It’s fun to have a team that grinds it out.

      • Jason @ IIATMS - May 2, 2013 at 1:22 PM

        that’s also true

    • bigharold - May 2, 2013 at 11:26 AM

      “We are, however, fairly happy with where this team stands today..”

      I’m a lot more than “fairly happy” but I’m with you.

      • Jason @ IIATMS - May 2, 2013 at 1:24 PM

        if I said “f*ckin’ ecstatic” I’d be accused of being just another pro-Yanks cheerleader.

    • caeser12 - May 2, 2013 at 3:36 PM

      @ Jason *appaluse*

  7. Ralph - May 2, 2013 at 9:44 AM

    It’s clear that while this team may have players with low VORP and WAR numbers, they have bucket-loads of TWTW (that’s how that’s measured, right?).

    • Stacey - May 2, 2013 at 9:48 AM

      Yes, their TWTW is through the roof this season so far.

      • rbj1 - May 2, 2013 at 11:20 AM

        And the Yankees finally have a bunch of players who play the game the right way, such as going from home to first to second to third and back to home.

        Of that $35 million 10 starters, $15 million is just for Cano.

  8. andreweac - May 2, 2013 at 10:26 AM

    Will to Win >>> talent. If they signed Tim Tebow I’d bet the house they win the World Series (sarcasm off).

    • Francisco (FC) - May 2, 2013 at 10:57 AM

      No no, if they signed Tim Tebow they’d win the Superbowl.

      • rbj1 - May 2, 2013 at 11:21 AM

        I thought it was Lord Stanley’s Cup that they’d win.

  9. Ben - May 2, 2013 at 11:11 AM

    So when was the last time the actual Yankees had a payroll of 35 million? The 80s?

    • 18thstreet - May 2, 2013 at 12:24 PM

      Well, if you only count the salaries of players whose salaries add up to $35 million, they’ve done it every year.

  10. jfk69 - May 2, 2013 at 11:18 AM

    Please don’t get your expectations too high. Arod due back in August and the potluck fantasy team Cashman threw together will be over. Wait…Maybe Arod has some value after all…Hmmm,,Is there a 90 DAY DL

  11. Gardenhire's Cat - May 2, 2013 at 2:17 PM

    It’s actually uyf1950 that left the comment (people always seem to switch the y and the f)

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